::R3557 : page 147::
VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE WRONG-HEADEDNESS OF HIGHER CRITICISM
EMIL REICH, a Hungarian writer, discussing and contradicting the conclusions of Higher Critics, in the Contemporary Review, says,—”The complete wrong-headedness of the whole method of higher criticism cannot fail to be manifest to anybody who bases his judgments upon the true essence of the matter in dispute, and not upon mere externals.
“Some of the latest samples of philological jugglery with which the public has been duped are too amusing to be omitted. If only read from the humorous standpoint, it is doubtful whether any book could afford a merrier half-hour than one of the latest achievements of Prof. Hugo Winckler—two volumes in which he finally dissolves into myth the small portion of Jewish history which had been mercifully left to us. Listen a while, and you shall hear how Jewish tradition is a mere flimsy plagiarism of Babylonian myths. Among the general massacre of Biblical personalities we can only mention a few of the victims. What person has hitherto been more historical than Joseph? But to Professor Winckler he is an obvious astral myth, for in the 43d chapter of Genesis, verse 25, does he not come at noon? And is not this clear enough proof that he is a mere personification of the sun? Besides, if we are disposed to doubt, we must recollect that Joseph dreamed that the sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down to him; and who should they bow to save the sun? Joshua, too, is the sun. For he is the son of Nun, and does not Nun, being interpreted, mean fish? and does not the sun at the spring equinox issue from the constellation of Pisces? What could be more conclusive? Besides, does it not amply explain why Joshua’s companion is Caleb? Now Caleb is Kaleb, and Kaleb is Kelb, and Kelb is a dog. So of course Caleb is clearly put for the dog star Sirius.” This, as he suggests, is “philology run mad” and “utter misconception.”
“They imagine because they have been able to trace similarities, or even identities, between the purely external phenomena of Judaism or of Christianity and the religious ceremonials of ancient Babylonia, that they have thereby proved that Christianity and Judaism are nothing but cribs of what the Babylonians long before possessed.” But “within the last few weeks matter has been published which should finally turn the higher critics out of the position in which they have been so long comfortably entrenched.”
Reference is here made to the recent discovery in east Africa, of an obscure tribe of negroes, whose religious myths and traditions show an extraordinary similarity to those of the Hebrew Scriptures. Herr Reich argues that this confirms the thought that Babylonia and other lands possessing such religious foundations got them from the Hebrews; contradicting the “higher critical thought” that the Hebrew ideas on religious subjects were but a rehash of what the people of Babylonia possessed long, long before Moses’ day. Continuing on this line he says:
“Arabia, at all times the ‘store chamber of nations,’ was never able to feed her untold thousands of hardy, beautiful, gifted people. Accordingly, they emigrated in all directions, as they did in the times of Mohammed and at other times. Thousands of years before Christ a stock of religious and other legends had grown up among them about the great riddles of the world. This they carried into their new countries; and thus the Babylonians, the Hebrews, the Masai, and very probably many another now unknown tribe from Arabia, whether in Persia, Afghanistan, Beluchistan, or India, preserved, and still preserves, the legends about creation, the deluge, the decalogue, etc., in their aboriginal form. It is just as possible, with purely philological arguments, to deduce the Masai legends from Hebrew stories as it is to deduce Hebrew legends from Babylonian myths. Or, to put it in a different fashion, the same philological arguments that have served to declare the Hebrew legends as mere copies of Babylonian myths, may now be employed in proving that all the Hebrew legends are of Masai origin, or vice versa. This absolute inability of the philological method of higher criticism to decide definitely which is the parent and which the child, at once condemns it.” …
“It is evident that philological reasoning which brings us to results which are so little permanent, results which are absolutely overturned by the first chance discovery, must have something fundamentally wrong in it. This fundamental and initial vice, quod tractu temporis convalescere nequit [which the lapse of time cannot heal], which can be cured neither by the moderation and
::R3557 : page 148::
soberness of Hommel, who together with a few other historians has not yet given in to the claims of the ‘higher critics’, nor by a still greater refinement of philological methods—this initial fault has vitiated and will vitiate all modern hypercriticism of ancient records. Nor is there any particular difficulty in finding out the true nature of this fault. It is this: The history of the ancient nations must be constructed not on the basis of the philological study of their records, but mainly on the basis of considerations of geography, or, as the present writer has ventured to call it, of geo-politics. What made the few tribes, ‘Semitic’ or other, in Palestine, Syria, and Phenicia, so important a factor in history was neither their language nor their ‘race’. The Hebrews and the Phenicians have indeed played in history a role of the first magnitude. So have, even in a greater measure, the Hellenes. All the three were—and this is the capital point—border-nations proper. They lived on the great line of friction between the powerful and civilized inland empires of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Lydians, etc. All these inland empires necessarily, and as a matter of history, gravitated toward the ‘Great Sea,’ or the Mediterranean; all the peoples on the ‘line’ between the Mediterranean and the territories of the conflicting empires were then necessarily exposed to the maximum of friction, danger, and deeply agitated activity. Those nations were called the Hellenes, the Phenicians, the Hebrews, the Edomites, etc. Being in imminent danger of absorption at the hands of the empires, those nations could not but see, and did see, that they could protect themselves with success only by having recourse either to the immense leverage of sea-power, which the empires did not possess; or by energizing themselves both intellectually and politically to a degree much more intense than the empires had ever done. Accordingly some of them were forced to lay extraordinary premiums on higher intellect and spiritual growth, by means of which they resisted the more massive onslaught of the intellectually inferior empires. … That gigantic intellectual struggles, such as those border nations were forced to undertake or else perish, can not be conducted without personalities of the first order, only a mere text-critic can doubt. One may deny the existence of the Jews; but once their existence is conceded one can not deny the existence of Moses. One may deny the existence of the Carthusians; but once their existence, i.e., their secular spiritual struggle with all the forces of life is admitted, one can not possibly deny the historic existence of St. Bruno. One may minimize, or doubt the Reformation; but certainly not Luther. Higher criticism has arrived at its final term: bankruptcy.”
POPE PIUS X. AND FRANCE
The conflict between the French government and the Pope continues and is expected soon to result in the dissolution of the “Concordat” and thus in a complete separation of Church and State in France. The “Concordat” is an agreement in writing under which France is bound to support and defend Roman Catholicism in France and to some extent its missions, etc., in foreign lands. In consideration of this the papacy acknowledges the right of the French government to have a voice in determining who may or may not be the bishops, arch-bishops and cardinals of France.
The present trouble, it will be remembered, began with the determination of the French to put their schools on a higher level, to accomplish which, necessitated the prohibiting of further teaching by Jesuits, nuns and others of monastic orders, in their official garbs, etc. In other words France wanted such Free Schools as have so greatly profited the people of the United States. This led to wordy-strife, many ecclesiastics attacking and denouncing the Government. These in turn were opposed by the Government which speaking for the majority of the people, declared such strife to be against France, and some of the bitterest, accused of attempts to foment rebellion and civil commotion were expelled from the country.
As one bishopric after another became vacant and a successor was nominated by the Pope he was seen to be of the bitter anti-France kind and was refused under the terms of the “Concordat.” The Pope has refused to nominate other bishops more acceptable to the French until now ten bishoprics or sees are vacant, and the Catholic populations of the same are, it is claimed, suffering “spiritual deprivations” as a consequence. We doubt this, but it is a cause for continued and increasing friction.
France is firm and declares she will cut the “Concordat” knot and be free to manage her own Church affairs—either paying such priests and bishops, etc., as she chooses or leaving them as in the United States to be supported by the people who desire them. The latter
::R3558 : page 148::
plan is not likely, however, because the French people, unused to paying their preachers, could not be expected to voluntarily contribute more than a tithe of the amount now paid to support the clergy, and because the Government and wealthier class would fear to lose a restraint over the masses maintainable through a paid ministry.
The Pope is blamed by many “liberal” French Catholics for being short-sighted and likely to do great injury to Romanism. The Pope on the contrary declares that he is quite willing that France should do her worst, declares that he will not recede, and that the breaking of the “Concordat” will furnish him the better opportunity to “purge” the French clergy amongst whom he implies there is serious unfaithfulness—the result of their semi-political appointments.
A writer in The Edinburgh Review criticizes the Pope’s course as unwise and says:—
“Certain prelates of unblemished reputation, whose only offenses are their attitude of reserve toward the congregations (religious orders), their refusal to support the campaign against the republic, and—in a few cases—their sympathy with the movement toward a scientific theology, are already marked out for attack. The refusal of Rome to institute to the ten sees now vacant gives color to this belief, which is entertained in quarters usually well informed and has been encouraged by the clerical press. This process of ‘purging’ would be facilitated by the repeal of the Concordat.”
The writer thinks that then,—
“The bishops and higher clergy would be simply nominees of Rome. Thus the rights of the laity, surviving, however faintly, under the present system, as in our own ‘conge d’elire,’ would be extinguished; thus the last vestige of popular election, without which the early church refused to acknowledge a bishop as legitimately appointed, would disappear. The present method of selection is not ideal. ‘Le gouvernement propose un fripon; Rome un cure de campagne: on nomme un imbecile’ [‘The Government proposes a rascal; Rome a country pastor; an idiot is appointed’] said a cynic.”
We cannot concur in this view. If the French Government shall “hire” the priests and bishops, Rome’s nominations will be of insignificant force, unless
::R3558 : page 149::
done privately, through the people. The same writer gives the following portrait of the Pope, which at least gives him credit for sincerity.
“Everything is against him: his seminary training, his provincialism, his seclusion from the free air of the world. France—her people, her history, her language even—is strange to him: he sees ‘men as trees, walking’; he misconceives the situation with which he has to deal. He sees, because he is prepared to see it, an atheist ministry kept in power by the vote of a godless majority; persecuted religious—guileless Jesuits and peace-loving Assumptionists—secularism rampant in the schools; unbelief, in the shape of criticism, invading the clergy; religion attacked from without and from within. And his singleness of purpose forbids him to take into account the motives of prudence that would have weighed with his predecessor: he is for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, sword as well as trowel in hand.”
“As to the reasons for the estrangement from religion of so large a proportion of the French people thoughtful Catholics are pretty well agreed. They hold Rome to be chiefly responsible. The Vatican, they say, has for the last half-century and more persistently encouraged fanatics and crushed every movement that promised to bring about a revival of religion in France. There have been several such movements since the time of Lamennais, and they have all met the same fate as that with which he was identified. In the early nineties there was a great revival of enthusiasm among French Catholics; partly, at least due to the encyclical Rerum Novarum of Leo XIII. and other utterances of the late Pope which seemed to be progressive in tendency. This enthusiasm found expression in such organizations as the ‘Union progressiste de la Jeunesse catholique,’ of which M. Felix Boudin was the founder. The movement was bitterly opposed by the Ultramontane party in France, but it grew stronger and more influential in spite of their opposition until at last Rome, as usual, yielded to the fanatics, and the movement was ended by the letter of Leo XIII. condemning ‘Americanism’ in January, 1899.
“If ever a Pope had need of accurate information and prudent counsel, that Pope is Pius X. Never was the incompatibility between Catholicism, as a polity, and society more palpable; never was the opposition between Catholic teaching, as commonly presented, and science more radical or more widely felt. This incompatibility and this opposition have reached their climax in France.”
In our opinion the Lord is overruling in France, as elsewhere to the intent that now in this “harvest” time his sincere truth-hungry people may be fed the meat in due season, each according to his condition and hunger. Whoever overlooks the supervision of our present Lord in the affairs of the nations and churches of “Christendom,” ignores the principal factors in the momentous events through which the world is now passing, and which will culminate in anarchy, worldwide, by the end of A.D., 1914, according to our reading of the prophetic Word.
HOLY RUSSIA IN THE BALANCES
Many of the Russians are very religious. In their estimation the term “Holy Russia” is applied in all sincerity. To them (as to the Chinese) all the remainder of the world is benighted and barbarian. The Czar is their emperor and pope. God is the “Great Father,” the Czar is the “Little Father.” To them the fulfilment of our Lord’s prayer petition, “Thy Kingdom come,” means the spread of the Russian empire over all the earth.
Some time ago they were mere serfs—slaves to the Nobles. The reform movement of some time since, changing all that and making the people free, was hailed as a boon from heaven through the “Little Father.” The measure was really a good one, but in selfish hands it has been perverted. Instead of the many nobles, Russia now has, besides the Czar, his close relatives, the Grand Dukes, under whom a bureaucracy has sprung up that oppresses both the nobles, used to favor, and the people who, released from slavery, had hoped for so much more liberty and prosperity. Thus it happens that Russia is full of discontent and both the upper and the lower classes are longing for a change. The Czar no doubt is doing his best, but is in a trying position. His close relatives as his advisers control the army of office-holders, who, drawn from the lower social planes, are their willing tools—each for his price, of imperial favor and financial prosperity.
The shaking which Russia is experiencing from the Japanese is joined to the shaking and discontent at home, and the results look ominous. Where it will end none can tell. The shaking will no doubt awaken the poor, ignorant peasantry and at a great cost of pain and sorrow may prove a blessing in disguise. The N.Y. Sun gives particulars respecting a great revolutionary demonstration recently at the renowned University of St. Petersburg, participated in by the faculty as well as the students. The meeting denounced the government, tore a portrait of the Czar to shreds and displayed a red flag and a motto, “Hail to the Constituent Assembly.” It voted to discontinue the work of the University for the remainder of the term and passed
RESOLUTIONS AS FOLLOWS:
“Effete Russian absolutism is drawing daily—nay, hourly—to its inevitable doom. Powerless to cope with an awakened people, in its agony it devises one measure more ridiculous than another and one method more reckless than another to delay its downfall.
“It entered upon a criminal adventure in the Far East, which has cost the people tens of thousands of lives and millions of hard-earned money. Conscious of its goal, the intelligence of the students has long conducted a stubborn fight to obtain the most elementary human rights, often falling fainting before the brutal force of an unbridled Government until at last the proletariat entered the historic arena, and at the same time, as it came to the knowledge of itself, dealt czardom the heaviest blows.
“The recent bloody events have clearly shown what absolutism is capable of in defense of its pitiful, shameful existence. The sincere, fraternal, harmonious action of the proletariat on those days of January signed the death-warrant of absolutism and without doubt insured the speedy political liberation of Russia.
“We, as a section of the educated community, conscious of our goal, welcome the solidarity of workmen and put forward the following demands:
“First—Summoning a legislative assembly on the basis of a universal, equal, and secret ballot of male and female citizens; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; freedom of organization and of striking.
“Second—Amnesty for all who have been punished for their political or religious convictions.
“Third—The fact of belonging to any particular nationality shall not prejudice political rights.
“Further, as a guarantee against interference of the Russian Government in the free execution of these demands, a people’s militia must immediately be formed, in whose ranks all citizens can fight to realize our aspirations.
“Recognizing the significance of this historical
::R3559 : page 150::
moment, when Russia is emerging from a period of ferment into open revolt, and when every one has but one end in view, we can not pursue our studies, and therefore suspend them until September. By that time events will have furnished new material for the solution of these questions.”
HOW RUSSIAN NOBILITY VIEW THINGS
The following is from the N.Y. Tribune, an editorial.
“A significant light is cast upon the state of unrest pervading all classes in Russia by the personal message of a prominent Russian to a friend in this country which we are permitted to publish. For obvious reasons it would not do to give the writer’s name or furnish any hint of his identity. He belongs, however, to a wealthy family which is on terms of intimacy with the imperial household. He is related to members of the Ministry and is himself a high official. His message was written in French on one of the Red Cross picture postal cards which have been sold in large numbers to swell the fund to care for the victims of Japanese bullets. His words, literally translated, are:
“‘I had wished to write thee a letter, above all, about our ideas on the war. The war is most unpopular, and we all desire our own defeat. We hope that it will open the eyes of the common people to the fraud of our government, which is universally hated. One hears on all sides that the Japanese are fighting for our freedom—there is nowhere the slightest feeling against the Japanese.’
“How this remarkable sentiment ever came to be let out of Russia is a subject for speculation, but certainly it came out by mail and was duly delivered in this country by the postal authorities. … If on ‘all sides’ among the Russian upper classes it is said that the Japanese are fighting for Russian freedom and an intelligent Russian can report ‘we all desire our own defeat,’ on what a precarious foundation must the whole bureaucracy, with its domestic and foreign troubles, stand? However we may consider this letter, it is prophetic of important changes in Russian society.”
* * *
The world is making history very rapidly. One year counts for almost as much as fifty long ago,—for more indeed. How easily all we expect of Scripture fulfilment can come about by October, 1914!
INGERSOLL’S CHANCES FOR SALVATION
A minister having expressed hope that Robert Ingersoll may be reckoned amongst the saved, the New York Herald sent reporters to interview ministers of various denominations on the subject. Some of the replies quoted below seem peculiar, to say the least. The keynote of all is that Faith is not essential; a contradiction to the Scriptural declaration that—”without faith it is impossible to please God,” and many others of like import. We quote:
The Rev. William B. Bodine, rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Savior, said: “I do not know why any agnostic, if honest in his beliefs, should not enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
What kind of a Kingdom does this gentleman—titled, ordained, and doubtless esteemed, but Scripturally an unlearned “teacher”—imagine? He certainly does not stumble into the erroneous idea that each denomination of Christendom is a Kingdom of heaven, for doubtless, he knows that Ingersoll was not a member of any of them in his lifetime, and could not join any of them since. We are bound to suppose that he has in mind the glorious Kingdom to be established at our Lord’s second advent, respecting which he said to his apostles and footstep followers: “Fear not, little flock; it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Our Lord again said to his followers, “Through much tribulation shall ye enter the Kingdom;” and again, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” and “Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven;” and again, “Except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
We have no unkind word or wish for Mr. Ingersoll, but we confess that we never knew him as meek or “poor in spirit,” nor as persecuted for righteousness, nor as “born again,” nor as one of the Lord’s jewels, his “little flock.” If this reverend gentleman teaches truthfully on this subject we would like very much to hear him tell us just what classes of men are outside the “little flock” and not “born again.”
The Rev. Chas. W. Bickley, of the Mariners’ Methodist Episcopal Bethel, said: “I cannot believe that an all-merciful Father will punish his erring children when they unknowingly disregard his divinity. Ingersoll’s many good acts and strict moral life will plead with him who abundantly pardons.”
Here an appeal is made to divine mercy regardless of the divine testimony that all of God’s mercy is exercised through Christ—that “there is none other name given, under heaven or amongst men, whereby we must be saved.” Hope built on any other foundation is false hope. And any teaching of any other hope is false teaching.
We are glad to note the sentiment of compassion expressed, but must repudiate the thought, that Ingersoll or any other member of the human family has or ever had such acts and morals as would plead his cause with God and secure his forgiveness. If that be true teaching it would follow that Christ died in vain, “the just for the unjust to bring us to God,”—then every man should be told to let his acts and morals “plead” for him.
Ingersoll’s acts and morals do not need to “plead” for him; because God had compassion on him and all of our race before we were born, and sent forth his Son to redeem us all from our death sentence and to make possible to all a return to divine favor. All must learn of this favor in God’s “due time,” and if the present life was not Ingersoll’s due time to learn of God’s grace his will surely come to him in the future life. And he will have a full opportunity to profit by the “resurrection by judgments.”—John 5:28,29.
The Rev. Dr. William Lyons, of the First Unitarian Church of Brookline, said that “the statement of the clergyman who said that if Ingersoll was sincere and honest in his belief he would be saved, is morally all right. We must all come to the truth, and Ingersoll, no matter what his belief, has come to the truth in the life hereafter.”
This reverend gentleman’s views would be amusing were the subject a less serious one. We could have agreed had he said that Mr. Ingersoll will come to a knowledge of the truth in the life hereafter, but we deny that he could come to any knowledge in death, because, as the Scriptures declare, “The dead know not anything.” “There is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in the grave.” (Eccl. 9:10.) How then can it be said that dead
::R3559 : page 151::
Mr. Ingersoll “has” come to knowledge beyond that enjoyed while alive? As to how he “has” attained knowledge in “the life hereafter” is not explained. The life hereafter is still future, and must be entered upon before any knowledge respecting it can be acquired.
Rt. Rev. Jas. A. McFaul, Bishop of Trenton, said: “Robert Ingersoll evidently owed his prejudice against Christianity to his early Calvinistic experience. Had he studied the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church he would have beyond doubt regarded Christianity in a more favorable light. If he was sincere in his belief and lived a moral life we are allowed to hope that God has shown him mercy.”
Like the minister first quoted, Bishop McFaul evidently thinks that an “agnostic” can be honest in his “beliefs.” But here we are in trouble, for the word “agnostic” signifies without belief; and Ingersoll, a professed and boasted agnostic, could not therefore be considered “honest in his beliefs” when he had none. The gentleman must therefore be understood to mean that he was honest in his disbeliefs.
The bishop kindly says: “We are allowed to hope that God has shown him mercy.” We fear that his kindness of heart led the bishop to abbreviate his statement of his “hopes,” and that many readers will not accurately understand his words unless we amplify for him, as we are about to do. When he says, “We are allowed to hope,” it implies that the teachings of Roman Catholicism grant the hope. Only, therefore, when we know those teachings can we properly weigh the bishop’s hope for Ingersoll. Thus delimited it is—
(1) A hope that although a hell of everlasting and untellable anguish is set forth as the penalty of all heretics—all living in Christian lands and not giving adherence to the Church of Rome,—yet as a glimmer of hope is held out for all heathens and idiots, or others not knowingly and willingly opposed to Papacy, so there is such an allowance of hope for Ingersoll.
(2) But what does this “hope” amount to? This: That he has gone to Purgatory for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, and may hope “some sweet day” to get out of it and into heaven. This is either a warm or a cold hope, according to chance, as taught by Doctor Dante in his great poem, “Inferno.” He pictures some frozen solid in the ice, and others in other quarters burning in fiery ovens.
The bishop is “allowed to hope” that Ingersoll will get the full limit of punishment, hot or cold or alternated, because he left no money to pay for masses, nor has he friends who will spend their money for them thus to secure a curtailment of his sentence.
No intelligent Catholic can, on reflection, doubt that we have rightly outlined the bishop’s “hope,” for if bishops,
::R3560 : page 151::
archbishops, cardinals and even popes must tarry for a longer or shorter period in purgatory, according to Catholic doctrine, it follows, as beyond peradventure, that Ingersoll would be required to tarry quite a while in Inferno to get rid of his unbeliefs, etc.
The Rev. A. A. Berle, Congregationalist, said: “Colonel Ingersoll was a brave, chivalrous, high-hearted man, resolute in his championship of what he believed to be true, infinitely more to be respected than certain clerical infidels who discredit both the gospel and the Bible by covert insinuations. Peace to his ashes!”
We are pleased to find in the list of comments this one which we can unqualifiedly endorse. Mr. Ingersoll’s outspoken opposition to the Bible is indeed to his credit as compared with the covert attacks on the Bible of so-called “higher critics,” who in the name of the Lord and under vows of belief and under pay as defenders of the faith, are doing all in their power to undermine the Scriptures. Yes, Ingersoll was saintly as compared with these.
“Peace be to his ashes!” We can agree to this, too. His ashes are in the cold ground. He is suffering nothing, enjoying nothing, simply waiting unconsciously for the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom, which will overthrow sin and every evil, causing the knowledge of the Lord to fill the earth, and calling forth from the tomb all of our race to test their willingness to live everlastingly, righteously, under reasonable conditions, or die the second death as utter reprobates. We have hope that Ingersoll when called forth from the tomb will be one of many to accept and obey the new government and share the blessing of the destruction of sin and all enemies, even “the last enemy”—death.
DR. S. G. LEE’S FUNNY DREAM OF THE FUTURE CHURCH
“The Christian religion is facing the most obstinate and bewildering crisis in its history. The Church is not in a commanding position because the rest of the world is more eloquent than we are—is not so bodiless. The new Church is going to be the next feat of the Strong Man. He has attended to the other things. The iron in the ground in America—the unborn iron—is organized into a steel trust. The very coal, down in its thousands of years’ sleep in the earth, is massed or nearly all massed and is getting ready to move as one body for the winter. The very ice on the ponds, before it is frozen, has a body all waiting for it, distributing it to its finger-tips in the great cities. Even sugar has a body. Millions of hens are laying eggs to-day as if they were one hen, for a syndicate out in Chicago. We are familiar enough with the fact that all powerful ideas are magnificently organized, and insist on having bodies. It is the fundamental fact that every man is dealing with, in the conduct of his business every year, and yet right in the midst of it we have the spectacle of the Christian churches still clinging to a sort of pleasant basket-picnic idea of religion, separate churches, separate denominations of separate churches, flocking feebly together on the round earth, each family bringing its own little basket of its own special food and keeping a little apart and chewing on it, looking over its shoulders at the others perhaps now and then in a sort of empty, anxious, kind-hearted way—getting together for a few remarks, or a city census, possibly. But that is all.
“As I see the Church of the future, we are not going to give anything up; we are all going to have our individual ways, our chapels, but we are all going to insist upon having a great central cathedral in every city, which shall belong to all of us. The Church of the future is going to be a great spiritual metropolis, every man going there, every man belonging there. It shall be like a great worshiping street of souls. Men shall feel in Church as in some great hushed city of each other’s lives. It shall be the one place where a man can go with a whole human race and face God. It is simple enough to get people to agree if we have something big enough. It is going to be a Church where Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Cardinal Newman and Luther would be able to worship in the same pew—and without having to be born several hundred years ago—to have people see that their souls belonged together. The Church of the future is going
::R3560 : page 152::
to give room to every man’s life while he has it. If it does this, we will all get together. And if we all get together, the cathedral is inevitable. We will soon give God a body on the earth. The Church in every town at last shall be to every man and to every growing boy the greatest thing he knows. It shall be like the sky over the other things. It shall be fair to God. I am convinced that not until we have the cathedral in every community to symbolize the oneness in the churches, and the denominational chapels clustered about it to symbolize their individuality, can we expect a Church that will at once command and invite great cities and mighty men. The nations of the earth shall be seen kneeling in it, and all the institutions of the sons of men, the universities, the corporations, the very railroads, the stately lines of ships from around the sea, shall bow themselves and the great brutal mines from the hollows of the earth—all these shall come, and be seen kneeling there before the God who is the God of all that is. To say that he is the God of all that is, is what the cathedral is for. With its hundreds of voices, its hundreds of instruments of praise, its scores of preachers, its unceasing services and kinds of services, it shall enfold all men in one prayer and song. The same men will separate to be theological, perhaps. They will need to go off into different rooms and back parlors to be intellectual, and into different offices or parish houses to perform the details and to execute the business of religion; but for worship, the one thing that all Christians have in common, they are going to unite, that the worship may be worshipful, that the spirit may have a body and God be made amazing on the earth.”—The Outlook.
— May 15, 1905 —