VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
DANGER POINT IN GERMANY NEAR
YEARS ago the German Emperor, although ostensibly the Head of a Protestant Church, found it necessary to conciliate the representatives of the Centrist-Catholic Party, which previously had been decreed by his Government to be the "powers of darkness." By now the Socialists and other radical parties in Parliament are numerically so strong and so opposed to the Kaiser's schemes that his Government policies would fail without the Catholic support.
Socialists in the Reichstag (Parliament) twit the Emperor and the Catholics with the suggestion that as the Catholics were once officially known as the "powers of darkness," and opposed to the Government which represents the Divine will, so their coming into power with the Government should be understood as a return of Divine favor toward them; and that now that Socialists are coming into power, this should be regarded by the Emperor and all as the latest manifestation of Divine will.
The Emperor is seeking to impress the people with the thought that they are his subjects, and that he is responsible to God for their government. Thus politics and religion are more strongly than ever united. And the Pope's wishes become practically the law in Germany.
Meanwhile the present Pope is asserting himself against what he styles modernism--Higher Critical Infidelity, etc. He has recently issued an edict that all ministers of the Catholic Church shall be examined and sworn as respects their loyalty to the Bible and to the Church of Rome--the tests extending even to theological students, and requiring of them an oath annually.
The Catholic priests of Germany receive support from the German Treasury, as do the Protestant ministers. The latter are resenting the Pope's demands, while the Emperor inclines to support them. Thus a new cause of friction is introduced into German affairs. The Emperor must stand by the Catholic party in Parliament, in order to have passed his schemes for a great navy and militarism in general.
The Socialists and Liberals in Parliament are demanding separation of Church and State, such as we have in the United States; such as has recently been established in France and Portugal.
The conflict between Parliament, the law-making body, and the Emperor and his Executive Board of Administration of Government grows in intensity. The Emperor's pronouncement that he reigns not by the will of the German people, but by the grace of God, is publicly declared in Parliament to be an attack upon the people and their Parliament. The theory opposed to the Emperor is that he holds his authority in the State of Prussia by the gift of the people there, and that his title as Emperor of all the Germans came to him from the German Parliament, which, having created him an Emperor, is his Superior and fully qualified to take from him the Emperorship, and, if it choose, to create a Republic.
Dr. David recently declared in Parliament that the Kaiser had written into the "gold book" of the German people, as intended for eternity, the message, "by Divine right I am King; hence, am responsible to the Lord alone. The weighty responsibility, therefore, which the King bears for his people gives him the right to expect faithful co-operation on the part of his subjects."
"But," said Dr. David, "we are no subjects. We are free citizens of a State. The people gave the Prussian King his crown in the battles of liberty, and, as for the crown of the Empire, the matter is clear that the Kaiser received it from the Reichstag" (Parliament).
Another representative, Ledebour, said that German citizenship is standing face to face with a question of destiny. "Perhaps this question is being raised for the last time," he continued...."We could fight our battle alone, and the result would be that all the men of people's parties who disdain the Divine right of kings, etc., would ultimately come on our side. If we (Socialists) fight together with you (Liberals) we will still maintain our aims. We hold fast to our Republican demands. As in other lands, so in Germany. Republicanism must be fully developed. The spirit of the times, which the Kaiser had declared pernicious, must be victorious. ...If you will fight with us, we will ultimately win. And if the world were full of devils, we would, nevertheless, succeed."
The approaching issue in Germany is equal and unlimited franchise to rich and poor alike. The Socialists believe that this point gained will mean a peaceable revolution in Germany. Others fear that rather than permit the Parliament to be thus freed from the imperial control, the Emperor, acting upon his claim of Divine right to reign, would put the country under imperial law without a Parliament, and reign as an autocrat. It is further feared that such a move would mean civil strife, anarchy, bloodshed. All seem agreed that the issue between the Kaiser and the people cannot long be deferred of solution. [R4762 : page 52]
The German Chancellor is quoted as using the following language: "The revolutionary character of the Socialist Party becomes more pronounced and brutal in its character. Dr. Carl Liebknecht, a Social-Democrat of the Prussian Diet, in an address delivered in the United States recently, said that the conditions in Germany were such as might cause the German Crown to be blown away in a single night, just as was the case with Portugal. Our nation must have a clear answer to expressions of such character. The Socialists and all those teaching the masses that prosperity can come to them only after the overthrow of the present form of government, are responsible when the masses draw practical conclusions from such teachings. For this reason I hold the Socialists responsible for the excesses that were recently committed and the strife in Moabit, Berlin, and elsewhere. 'Whoever sows wind will reap a whirlwind.'"
CONSCIENCE IN ACCUSATION
It is a fact that in their offensive tactics many of our public men are deficient either in conscience or in manner, or in both. They make charges against their opponents recklessly. They say things which they cannot prove and which it is only charitable to their intellectuals to assume they do not believe. It seems to be the idea that if you throw enough mud some of it will stick, and none of it will spatter yourself; that if you throw enough clubs some will land, and none return, boomerang fashion, on your own head.
We say this notion is wrong. We believe that men who are careless in their words are equally careless in their acts. The man who, without justification, calls another a rogue is the man who will bear watching, for too often he credits the other man with the same motives that control himself, and assumes that the other man has done what, with the same opportunities, he would do himself.
Bearing false witness, however, is more than an unfavorable symptom. It is itself an offense almost equal-- in the scales of eternal justice probably held entirely equal--to the offense charged.
The habit is not even good politics. It goes against average human nature, which is sportsmanlike and fair; and even the brutalized atmosphere of the ringside instinctively hisses the foul blow. What does it profit one to exhibit himself as a man eager to win, regardless of everything else? There is real chivalry in human nature. Every manifestation of it has a universal response. Why should it be considered bad politics?
Maybe we are wrong, but our theory is that conscienceless accusation derives as much from ignorance as from malice. Many public men conduct campaigns on personalities because they have not qualified to conduct them on issues. It is easier to accuse, to clamor, to rail, than it is to get clear to the bottom of a political or economic issue, understand it yourself, and then so present it that others can understand it. The most sobering thing in the world is adequate knowledge of a subject, an appraisal of it from all sides. Those who achieve this knowledge necessarily speak words of truth and soberness. They have neither the inclination nor the time to utter anything else.--New York Evening Mail.
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The lack of conscientiousness noted by the Mail amongst politicians seems equally noticeable amongst theologians and others who, in professing the name of Christ, imply that they respect the standards of God's Word, while their words and conduct give the lie to their professions.
PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERIAL UNBELIEF
The New York Presbytery not long since licensed Rev. N. M. Thomas to preach the Gospel as representative of the Presbyterian denomination. The vote granting the license was thirty-four against ten who protested --and the ten are not active Pastors in charge of Churches. The mental attitude of the Presbyterian Ministers of the New York Presbytery is, therefore, reflected in the faith of Rev. Thomas, which may be judged from the following items of protest:--
"He did not accept the authority of Holy Scripture as the only infallible rule of faith and practise as sufficient to finally determine his faith. This appeared in his repeated [R4763 : page 52] refusals to affirm his faith in the Virgin birth of Christ, the raising of Lazarus from the dead and the raising of Christ's own body from the grave.
"Second, in answer to questions, he twice declared his readiness to lead a congregation in the repetition of the Apostles' Creed, including the phrase 'born of the Virgin Mary,' which he had told the Presbytery that he really did not believe."
From this it appears that it is no longer Presbyterian doctrines in New York that we have a sinless Savior-- "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." (Heb. 7:26.) Indeed, it is safe to assume that these ministers are Higher Critics who have no use for the Bible, and do not believe in Jesus as a Savior, because they have abandoned the theory that man fell from God's image and likeness and needed to be redeemed. They have probably all accepted the Evolution theory that Father Adam sprang from a monkey, and that his race has been doing nobly since and needs no Redeemer. They would probably acknowledge Jesus as a noble sample of manhood for his time, but not up to our day and standards, which are to be sought rather amongst college professors.
Is it any wonder that Christian character, unsupported by a message recognized as Divine and upheld merely by expediency, is crumbling everywhere? What will the end be? The majority of Presbyterians will follow their leaders and soon Christendom en mass will be without God and without hope. Faith in a nature god and in laws of nature can have no such influence upon heart and life as has faith in a personal God, a personal Redeemer, a personal salvation and an inspired Bible.
Thank God that the terrible confusion and anarchy which the Scriptures show to be imminent will be speedily followed by the inauguration of the Kingdom of God's dear Son, a reign of righteousness backed by power Divine, as well as by Love and Justice. In that strenuous hour nature as a god will not succor and faith in the God of nature will not comfort. But evidently, as the Scriptures show, all the "blind eyes" will be opened; all the "deaf ears" will be unstopped; and the wisdom of man, in contrast with the wisdom of God, will be manifested as foolishness.
THE MARK OF THIS AGE
Judge Connine says: "The mark of this age is irreverence. Reverence and respect for age, for office, for intellectual attainments, for uprightness, ability and honor are on the wane. Some of the causes can be named; among them are encroachments by the executive branch of our States and Nation upon the legislative and judicial and the belittling, impugning and assailing the acts and motives of those in authority, particularly by the press. No [R4763 : page 53] motive is now clean, upright and honorable, no act found grand or commendable. Traveling with this is a growing irreverence for the law, and the end of all this is detriment and danger.
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Back of disrespect for human laws and customs lies disrespect for the Divine Law. And for this disrespect of the Bible, the Christian ministry, colleges, and seminaries are chiefly responsible. The colleges have led the way in teaching Higher Criticism, Infidelity and Evolution theories. They have within the last fifty years gradually molded the opinion of the ministry and generally educated classes to these anti-Biblical teachings. They were led on in this wrong course by the opinion that they were taking their stand for Truth as against ignorance and superstition. So far as their own minds were concerned they repudiated the creeds of the "dark ages," which they still laughingly profess to adhere to. And as the creeds were repudiated the Bible went with them, under the assumption that it was to blame for the absurdities of the creeds. All the same they have gradually, systematically undermined the Word of God as a Divine authority in the judgment of millions.
A comparatively few ministers have known better than this. These have stuck to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of their faith. More or less clearly they have seen the conflict between the Bible and their creeds. Yet they have feared to mention it lest they should be identified with the Higher Critics and be considered faith-breakers. And some of them, alas, have shunned to declare the whole counsel of God, because of fear of losing their bread and butter and honorable name and standing. Their refraining from telling their people the Truth respecting the teachings of the Bible left their flocks in ignorance and just ready to fall into Higher Criticism or some of the bad religions which wrest the Scriptures, instead of interpreting them.
All the same, the general shaking of the public faith, and especially that of the literary "upper-crust," is being reflected everywhere in the growingly prevalent spirit of irreverence above commented upon. Soon this will lead, as the Scriptures point out, toward atheism and toward anarchy--the great time of trouble Scripturally foretold as near.
Those of us who realize the true situation should be doubly earnest in our outward manifestation of religion and upholding of the Bible, as well as in our heart appreciation of the Almighty and our worship of him and service of his cause.
DEBTS OF CIVILIZED NATIONS
The below figures show the public debts and annual interest charges of the principal nations of the world. These debts represent chiefly monies expended for war, war equipments, battleships, etc. The amounts continue to pile up year by year.
The public scarcely understand the situation; they wonder to whom the amounts are owing and what can be done when pay-day comes.
The wealthy know that these bonds represent their money and they feel satisfied to get even a small interest with such good security and no trouble.
Of late, however, a certain fear is taking hold upon the rich--what if Socialism should gain control? And what if, by and by, the national treasury should go into bankruptcy and repudiate its bonds?
Evidently the world needs just such a good, strong Government and just such wise and just laws as the Kingdom of God's dear Son will shortly bring to them. How significant is the Scriptural statement respecting that--"The desire of all nations shall come." (Hag. 2:7.) Following are the figures:--
Public Debt. Charged.
France................... $5,898,675,451 $186,802,380
Russia................... 4,558,152,565 204,766,421
German Empire............ 4,270,488,716 179,778,179
Austria-Hungary.......... 3,703,235,511 133,925,824
United Kingdom........... 3,669,931,350 152,759,411
Italy.................... 2,602,299,757 96,941,138
Spain.................... 1,817,674,327 78,709,000
British India............ 1,346,999,187 41,681,212
Japan.................... 1,287,604,261 76,283,536
Australia................ 1,184,192,157 46,883,998
United States............ 1,023,861,531 21,803,836
Portugal................. 864,561,212 29,907,983
Brazil................... 657,097,561 32,390,824
Belgium.................. 663,325,145 27,022,108
China.................... 601,916,605 92,375,017
Turkey................... 527,983,636 36,494,753
Argentine Republic....... 545,712,120 29,594,251
These are all the nations whose public debts exceed $500,000,000, but every government on earth has been for years, and still is, borrowing to cover the deficits that are annually created by spending more money than the revenues will justify. They are compelled to issue bonds in order to make up the difference. It is a serious question how long this extravagance can be continued.
FINANCIAL PROSPERITY AND RELIGIOUS DECLINE
Newspaper reports tell us how great is the financial prosperity in Germany, as per the following clipping:--
"Germany today is one of the most prosperous nations in the world, and both the farmers and mechanics, the land owners and the manufacturers, have shared the benefits of a protective tariff. Nowhere have the results of the protective policy been so conspicuous as in Germany. During the first ten years after it was adopted the national income increased 19 per cent.; during the last ten years it has increased 56 per cent. The aggregate incomes of persons who pay the income tax in Prussia increased during the last ten years from $725,000,000 to $1,650,000,000."
But the reports tell us also of great religious decline there. Prof. Rudolph Martin, German philosopher and political prophet, refers to the decline in religion in Germany as remarkable and notes the almost complete disappearance of religious influence among the peoples of Europe. He considers it a striking symptom of this Age. He notes a growing anti-religious feeling and a profound indifference, with marks of hostility, toward the clergy.
The professor asks what will take the place of religion in checking the inherent tendencies of mankind, when this indifference and opposition shall have gained a little further headway. He dreads the removal of such a potent safeguard and fears danger to humanity in general.
Pointing to England as once the home of piety he declares that it is now drifting toward extreme worldliness. [R4764 : page 53] He remarks on the empty churches; declares that nine-tenths of the people never enter a house of worship, and that Sunday observance has given way to golf, tennis, bridge-poker and concerts. He wonders if the same is true of America. In Germany he sees that despite the Kaiser's pious utterances and his wife's pious utterances, the masses of the people are being alienated from the old forms of religious belief rapidly. What, he inquires, will be the effect? Will mankind sink into depths of wickedness? Will there be outbreaks of wrong-doing?
The Scriptures answer, Yes; "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."