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THE UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES OF PRESENT CIVILIZATION
Having received the spirit which is of God (1 Cor. 2:12) and no longer looking at present governments as from God—though realizing that he permits them—we know that they must pass away.—1 John 2:16,17.
The great statesmen of the different eras have devoted their time and study to formulate some kind of government that will secure an equilibrium in human relations, and thereby remain permanent. We know from history that every effort in this direction has failed, and Scripture prophecy informs us that all present and future trials must meet the same fate, until the Lord has come and has established his government in righteousness.—Dan. 2:31-35; and Dan. 7.
In addition to understanding the plain Bible teachings on this important subject, it is also the privilege of the saints to fully comprehend the reason why all government of and by man in his fallen condition is “beastly” in its character, and must terminate in times of trouble; and also why our Lord’s government will be everlasting. The base of action for every carnal man—and this includes all who are not really born from the spirit (John 3:3-8),—is pure self-interest. This principle is so fully understood and endorsed not only by the world, but also, in practice, by the nominal church, that the saying of “Every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,” has been given the position of an axiom. The same principle is recognized in the world’s maxim, “If you don’t look out for No. 1, no one else will.” A moment’s reflection will convince anyone that the more perfectly these propositions are carried into effect, the sooner and more complete must be the overturning of all government, and the consequent condition of thorough anarchy. While the world’s great ones, both inside and outside of Babylon, are relying on education of the masses to open up an escape from this foreseen condition, we know from our Bibles that much of the knowledge current to-day is knowledge “falsely so-called,” and that only a new mind, secured through a complete consecration of one’s being to God (Rom. 12:2,1), will transform this motive of the depraved heart. In relying on a burnishing of the intellect only, by the means now in use, the world is leaning on a broken staff and must again be disappointed. Statistics prove that among people of American parentage in those parts of the United States where the public school system is best maintained, and illiteracy is at a minimum, there is a larger percentage of criminals than among the same class in those portions of the country where schools are poorly sustained and illiteracy reaches its maximum. The same fact is demonstrated in another way by comparing the percentage of criminals of American parentage in any given locality now, with those of the same class in the same locality twenty-five or thirty years ago. We copy an article from the St. Paul (Minnesota) Globe of Sunday, June 9th, 1889, which covers this ground fully, and shows that thinking men of the world are realizing the danger of cultivating the intellect, and leaving the heart free to follow out its own evil imaginations. (Matt. 15:18,19; Gal. 5:19-21.) We clip the following from the article referred to:—
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OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“I now come to the fifth charge that is brought against our public schools, and I consider it the most terrible arraignment of the system I have ever seen, and the proofs the most crushing. Its strength lies entirely in the official figures of the United States census reports, as carefully tabulated by the late assistant attorney general of the United States. The figures have been verified and authenticated by those who were best able to judge, and their accuracy will not be disputed.
“Now keeping steadily in view this common standpoint, namely, that a people properly educated are more moral, virtuous, contented, happy and law-abiding than an ignorant people, let us suppose that we find somewhere, living side by side, two communities, one of which is made up almost entirely of educated people, while the other is largely composed of illiterate people; and let us further suppose that amongst those considered educated you find that in proportion to their population they have more criminals, paupers and insane, and their death list shows more suicides and more deaths from the criminal indulgence of the brutal passions than that of the illiterates,—what conclusion would you arrive at with reference to that kind of education?
“For such educated community, let us take the native-born white population of the six New England states, to-wit: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island, and for the unlettered community we will take the native-born whites of the six states of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. It will be observed that the states thus enumerated are either a part of the original thirteen, or such as have been carved out therefrom.
“Both of these communities started on their career of existence about the same time; both spoke the same language and had been accustomed to the same laws, manners and usages. There was one important particular, however, in which these two communities widely differed at the very start, as we shall presently see. More than two hundred years ago the principle was incorporated into the legislation of Massachusetts that the whole people must be educated to a certain degree at the public expense, irrespective of any social distinctions. Virginia, which may represent the Southern states named, had at that time no general free school system.
“Now we find that in 1860 Massachusetts and her five New England sisters had 2,665,945 native-born white inhabitants, and out of these only 8,543 adults who could not read or write, while Virginia, with her five sisters, numbered 3,181,969 native-born whites, of whom 262,802 adults could neither read nor write. So that in the six New England states the proportion of illiterate native whites was only one to every 312, while Virginia and her five sisters counted one illiterate to every twelve. But mark you! How stand the criminal lists? Massachusetts, etc., out of about 2-1/2 millions, had on the first day of June, 1860, just 2,459 criminals in prison (i.e., one to every 1,084); while Virginia, etc., out of over 3 millions, had but 447 in prison (i.e., one to every 6,670); this being a disproportion between the two communities of more than six to one. A glance at the same table will show that the natives educated under the New England system had one pauper to every 178, while those without it had but one pauper to every 345.
“Of those who in one year had died by suicide, New England had one to every 13,285 of the entire population while Virginia and her five sisters had but one to 56,584, and of those who perished the victims of their criminal lusts, New England had one to every 84,737, while her southern neighbors had but one to every 128,729. From the census report of 1870 it appears that the New England states had one insane person to every 800 native-born inhabitants, while in the other states named one insane came to 1,682 native inhabitants.
“One very noticeable fact in this connection, as shown by the foregoing, is that the state of Massachusetts, which claims the honor of being the founder of the New England system of education, while she had by far the smallest proportion of illiterate persons, had at the same time much the largest proportion of criminals, viz., one to every 649 native white inhabitants.
“In their efforts to find some plausible explanation for the astounding growth of crime in their states, the advocates of state-governed schools have sometimes claimed that this difference is owing to a variety of local causes, entirely unconnected with and independent of difference in educational systems. But this is, in our opinion, entirely refuted by the fact that in the very same localities every material increase of expenditures for public school purposes has, without a single exception, been followed by a corresponding increase of crime.
“In 1850 the state of Massachusetts, for example, had a native white population of 827,430. At that date her public school pupils numbered 176,475, and she expended $5.70 for each pupil; and her criminal list showing was only one to every 1,267 native inhabitants. But coming down to 1880, we find the native white population numbering 1,320,897 and the public school pupils 316,630, and $14.83 per pupil being expended; and the convicts were one to every 638. Similar results show themselves in other states, as New York, Ohio, California, etc.”
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These facts, though they do not show what the writer intended to show, namely, that Catholic school training is superior to and more beneficial than public school training, for the higher proportion of criminals is to be traced to the corruption of the prevailing social system, getting worse and worse, which makes itself felt more in factory than rural districts, yet they forcibly demonstrate what God tells us in his Word, we may expect. (2 Tim. 3:1-7; 4:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:3-5.) It seems to us a truism that increase of knowledge among those whose hearts are depraved, and who are given over to self-seeking, will simply increase the means of lawlessness. As the lower classes, so-called, learn more and more what their rights as men are, in these days of the beginning of the “Restoration of all things, spoken of by all the holy prophets” (Acts 3:21), and as they get more understanding of the means in vogue at present to obtain and maintain desired ends, (which is the old law of Might,) they will begin to match lawlessness with lawlessness. This course of action can produce but one fruit, viz., practical anarchy. We, whose eyes are anointed (Rev. 3:18), must stand aloof, and take sides with neither the capitalistic forces that would strangle the rising giant of free thought, nor with that great army which is realizing more and more its full rights, and smarting under the injustice and oppression that would forbid it to come into possession of its privileges, and which, before long, will put force against force, thus endeavoring to gain right ends by wrong means. As we cannot approve of the course of either of these great classes, we will be misunderstood by both, and
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necessarily subjected to bad treatment from both. The weakness of the present boasted civilization is that it has heard Christ’s teachings of love, meekness, forgiveness and righteousness (Matt. 5 th, 6 th and 7 th chapters), and then gone and done them not. Hence, in the coming trouble, the house so carefully erected on the sands of selfishness must fall.
Let us briefly and in contrast look into God’s “perfect law of love.” If all men loved God supremely and “their neighbors as themselves,” they would “walk humbly before God,” and “look not every man at his own things, but also at the things of others.” (Phil. 2:4.) Christ having paid the price and redeemed the race from the condemnation of Adam’s sin (1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Cor. 15:22), and thus justified all to life (Rom. 5:18), all would receive the testimony of the ransom, and become reconciled to God, who would not impute their sins to them. (2 Cor. 5:19.) Then going about to build up others, as well as themselves, a state of equipoise would exist in the body politic, and a reign would be inaugurated that must, by its very nature, be co-extensive with man’s life. W. E. PAGE.
Nothing becomes more evident to us all, daily, than the fact that none of the fallen race is capable of self-government or self-guidance in any respect. The wisest and the oldest see continually how they have frequently mistaken and chosen evils, thinking them good. And much more so is this true of the young and inexperienced. There is but one remedy, but one safe course, therefore, for both old and young, viz.: “Commit thy way [course, plans, conduct, ideas] unto the Lord, and he will bring it to pass.” In other words, all need to be converted; not in the ordinary sense but in the fullest sense converted (turned) to God, to submit every thought and act and plan to his superior wisdom and to obey his orders, whether the necessity or expediency of so doing is seen or not seen, at the time. The future will reveal the wisdom of the Lord’s way—the very near future in most cases.
Unless the heart be converted and brought fully into loving captivity to the Lord, all the knowledge that can be gained will but increase the capacity for evil,—for gratifying selfish desires. But to the fully converted heart every item of experience and education brings length and breadth and nobility of character and leads on and on into the depth of the unsearchable riches of God in Christ—riches of wisdom, riches of grace, riches of experience and riches of love.
But what has the Church of Rome to answer to these statistics? She charges
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that for all this increase of crime in proportion to the increase of knowledge our public school system is to blame; because Roman Catholic errors are not taught there. And now she sets herself up as the great champion of true education—an education of the head and of the heart.
But what are the facts of history, known to all except the Roman Catholics, whose youths are supplied with falsified histories? The facts are that the Church of Rome never favored the education of the people. Her schools and colleges of the past were all and only for the few and they chiefly, almost exclusively, those preparing for clerical orders. We want to look over Catholic Italy, Catholic Spain, Catholic Portugal, Catholic Austria, Catholic Ireland, if we want to see what centuries of Roman Catholic education would do for the people. The curse of America to-day is this ignorant, foreign-born population and the unlovely papal ideas and manners which they introduce through their families to American soil.
A part of the truth not shown by the above statistics, but which is generally known, is that the most of the crimes are committed by Roman Catholics. Who does not know that about four out of every five murderers executed confess that they are members of the Roman Catholic Church? Beautiful Christians! Elegant examples of what the influence of the spirit of Rome produces, are they not? Yes, the spirit of Rome is a domineering spirit, a brow-beating spirit of tyranny and fear. It rules in the church; it rules in the monasteries and convents; it rules in the family. They are an unhappy people from childhood up. You can read it in their faces;—superstition, fear, and very often ignorance, leave traces which even years of after-refinement and broader ideas among the well-to-do scarcely obliterate. The loveless, domineering spirit extends to their secular affairs between brothers and sisters, and between parents and children; sourness and moroseness and brutishness are the results; and what wonder that, raised in such homes and under such influences, a bountiful crop of brawlers is produced to fill the police stations of all the large and small cities, and a bountiful crop of murderers for the gallows, and so miserable a showing as the above in the matter of statistics.
How ridiculous, then, for a Roman Catholic bishop to refer to these statistics. And yet thousands will be deceived by Rome now, as they have been in the past. Her present establishment of a great Roman Catholic College at Washington and the enlargement of parochial schools will deceive many who know not of the past or vainly think that this great Antichrist system has reformed; and who forget to notice that the pupils of their parochial schools constitute the majority of the criminals.
What is the remedy for the recognized evils? Is it the closing of public schools and the return of the masses to the deep ignorance and superstition of the “dark ages,” of which Papacy boasts as her most prosperous era? No; that can never be done now. Even Papacy abandons that policy now. Does the remedy lie in the establishment by each sect of its own schools in which the various unpalatable facts of history will be carefully screened out and a false impression given instead of a true one? and where the catechism of each sect shall duly instruct the children of each in the misconceptions of God’s character and plan prevalent among the founders of each sect—which generally is bad news of damnation and hate and vengeance instead of good tidings of great joy which a loving, gracious God has prepared for all people? Is this the remedy? Shall the few hours of each day of the few years of childhood be spent in the study of such monstrous concoctions as would both shock and bewilder an old head, instead of in learning the common branches of education? No, no! We see enough of that sort of education in the thousands of ignorant Hungarians, Italians, Irish and Germans, who are arriving duly educated according to the Roman Catholic standard;—able to repeat word for word a Catechism of 327 pages, but unable to read or write their own names. Shame upon the poor Romanists thus deluded; more shame upon others who see and know this all, but who for business and political reasons silently, and often openly, lend support to that system which has blighted Europe and now would similarly enslave the new world in the chains of her superstition. We have great sympathy for the poor deluded perverts of Rome, and we have a measure of sympathy even for some of her priesthood, who are evidently also deceived, but for the system of Antichrist as a system we have neither love nor sympathy, but hate it “with a perfect hatred” (Psa. 139:21,22); and because we love and adore and honor God with a perfect love. The two being opposites properly produce opposite sentiments.
The religious training of children should be left in the hands of the parents, where God placed the responsibility; and neither church nor state has the right, under the divine arrangement, to supplant the parent in this matter, nor to force into children along with (or instead of) common and useful education, principles and theories of religion. If Sunday schools are established for the instruction of the young in moral and doctrinal matters, and if the parents see fit to make use of the same, it is their privilege to do so. But surely this with the hours of family intercourse are quite sufficient.
Let the “clergy,” if they will, deal with the stronger minds of the Sunday School workers and the parents, and let these in turn deal with the tender minds, instilling thereinto gentleness, meekness, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, love, respect for God, and for parents, and strive by precept and example to cultivate in the youth love of right and truth, and lofty principle, and the Bible story of salvation provided by the love of God through the Redeemer. This is the remedy, the only remedy for the godlessness which keeps pace with the increase of general intelligence. But this remedy cannot be applied either, because the parents and teachers and the so-called “clergy” of Christendom are unprepared to do their parts. False doctrines have so distorted their conceptions of right and truth and love, and power and authority have so displaced meekness and patience, that the majority do not know how to appreciate the fruits of the spirit of Christ and consequently cannot teach them to others. The result is that nothing will check the general increase of intelligence and nothing will hinder the increase of crime and lawlessness; but as God’s word foreshows, the ignoring of his gracious plan of salvation and the substituting therefor of the terrible, false, God-dishonoring traditions of eternal torment, etc., in the past, while it did serve to blind and bind the ignorant and to build up the great system called “Christendom,” in the end will work the destruction of the system, in the anarchy and confusion of the battle of the great day of God Almighty,—for particulars of which we must refer you to MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. III., which we hope to have ready by Spring.
— February, 1890 —