R4073-307 Views From The Watch Tower

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ONE after another so-called “Catholic countries” are shaking themselves free from the Roman Church-fetters which have held them for centuries. All are familiar with the situation in France, where the authority of Rome is now disowned and disallowed—Catholics, Protestants and Jews, etc., all standing on a common footing before the law—much as in this country.

Spain followed the same course with, it is reported, the following outline of policy:—

First. No religious order shall be established without the authorization of parliament.

Second. The State shall accord support to any member of a religious order desiring to renounce the vows taken.

Third. The Minister of Justice is empowered to withdraw the authorization of any religious order found to be inimical to morality or public tranquility.

Fourth. The Cabinet shall forthwith examine the authorizations previously granted to religious orders and cancel those which are illegal.

Fifth. Religious orders whose members are foreigners or whose director resides abroad shall be dissolved. The authorities are empowered to enter monasteries without ecclesiastical sanction.

Sixth. Religious orders shall not be allowed to hold property in excess of the objects for which they were instituted.

Seventh. The sums of money given by members of religious orders to such institutions on their admission and the sums derived by orders from charitable subscriptions shall be strictly limited.

Eighth. All legacies to religious orders or donations to orders by living persons or by testaments or through intermediaries are formally prohibited.

Ninth. Religious orders engaging in trade or industry shall pay the regular taxes.

Tenth. Regulations for the dissolution of religious orders shall be established.

Eleventh. The law of 1887 concerning the registering of religious orders remains in force.

Now the people of Italy are in a ferment. Charges of immorality against the clergy (many of them probably false) are being widely published, with demands for the opening of all “homes,” “reformatories,” “nunneries,” etc., to civil inspection, as are all others not Roman Catholic. In a word, the special privileges and immunities of the Church of Rome are likely to be abolished—as of course they should be. Austria-Hungary is the only great nation still acknowledging pronouncedly the Roman Catholic system as entitled to special and exclusive rights and privileges.

The reason for the apparent greater prosperity of Romanism in Protestant countries—Germany, Great Britain, Canada and the United States—is that in these their clergy wisely refrain from expecting much special privilege, though they quietly obtain some because of their solidarity and the respect of politicians for the influence of their votes.

The stripping of Romanism’s power and special privileges will doubtless prepare her the better for the new role marked out for her in Revelation—her cooperation with Federated Protestantism in the exercise of power during the closing days of this Gospel Age—just before the downfall of everything in horrible anarchy.


Under the heading, “Preaching without Religious Faith,” a secular editorial says:—

The confusion of religious thought at this time of declining religious faith was never made more apparent than in the sermons preached hereabouts on Sunday.

The Rev. Dr. Van Dyke, preaching on the Atonement, declared his belief “that the Son of God would have come into the world whether man had sinned or not,” a confession which conflicts radically with the whole orthodox theory of the sacrifice of Christ. He said also that “there are a thousand true doctrines of the Atonement,” which is substantially the same thing as saying that no doctrine specifically is true, for instance, the doctrine of the Westminster Confession, to

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which Dr. Van Dyke pledged loyalty when he was ordained a Presbyterian minister.

The first sermon of the Rev. Dr. Hillis, as pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, was devoted to extolling Christ without any reference to the Atonement or any doctrine which raises him to a divine or a supernatural elevation. He spoke of “the supremacy of Christ among men of genius,” said “Jesus is the supreme literary artist,” and celebrated the wonderful power of his “imagination.” Nowhere in his sermon was there any evidence of the positive faith which gave the impulse to Christianity; only generality, sentimentality, the vague imaginings of a mind without any definite belief were made manifest in the pretty sentences of Dr. Hillis.

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Secular editors deprived of theological instruction in word and conscience-twisting seem much more logical and more honorable than theologians. This editor evidently sees clearly that those who have abandoned the faith of their ordination vows should seek a new ordination in accord with their present agnosticism, and not practise a fraud.

We publish the item to call attention to the departure from the central feature of the Gospel—our Lord’s atonement for sin. We have challenged the evidence that there is a single college or theological seminary in the United States where Evolution or Higher Criticism infidelity is not taught publicly or privately. No one thus far has produced proof in refutation of this charge.

Similar conditions prevail in Canada. A minister recently charged publicly that there is but one college in Canada loyal to the doctrine of original sin and our redemption from it by the death of Christ. We challenge that one case. We are morally sure that investigation will prove that if Higher Criticism, Evolution and No Atonement for Sin are barred from the textbooks and curriculum some of the professors surely hold these wrong views and privately confess them and laugh at the backwardness of their college. Well did the Apostle declare, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but having itching ears [desiring something new and different] will gather to themselves teachers after their own liking: and they will turn away their ears from the Truth and unto fables”—respecting monkey progenitors millions of years ago.—2 Tim. 4:3,4.


Dr. M. Scheinkin, Director of the Information Bureau, Jaffa, Palestine, says in a recently published report in The Jewish Exponent:—

“Soon after the October riots of 1905, Jewish immigration into Palestine considerably increased. Every vessel from Russia brought sixty and even one hundred passengers. About 1500 persons arrived in Palestine during the winter of 1905-06. Among these three to five per cent. were wealthy people, between ten and fifteen per cent. workmen, ten per cent. artisans and twenty per cent. had no particular occupation, and the remainder consisted of old people who became proteges of the Halukah. Almost all of the young workingmen found work in the colonies. Most of the artisans, with the exception of the tailors and shoemakers, who arrived in very large numbers, obtained employment in the cities of Jaffa and Jerusalem. Twenty families of the wealthier class remained in the land, eight of whom acquired land in the colonies, one rented a large farm from an Arab, and the rest engaged in business, chiefly in Jaffa. Eighteen thousand dunams of land passed into Jewish hands during the past two years.

“Different societies undertook the rebuilding of various streets in Jerusalem. A London philanthropic society built up one quarter of 150 houses. There are also two private building associations which are financially assisted by the Anglo-Palestine Bank. A large society of artisans recently began to build up a new quarter in Jerusalem. Ten families formed a company to build up a Jewish quarter in Kaifa, at the foot of Mt. Carmel.

“The large commercial enterprises are still in the hands of Mohammedans and Christians, although during the last decade many Jews also attained a high position in the commercial world. In consequence of the recent immigration, twenty new Jewish stores were opened in Jaffa, a similar number in Jerusalem and several in Kaifa and in Beyrut. During the last month a Russian Jewish immigrant opened a large grocery store in Damascus. The lumber business is passing entirely into Jewish hands, due to the large credit allowed them by the Anglo-Palestine Bank.

“The spiritual condition of the Palestine Jews greatly improved during the past two years. The hundreds of young laborers, the teachers and other intelligent persons brought with them a new life and new spiritual aspirations.

“Aside from lower-grade schools the grown-up youth is desirous of obtaining more knowledge, and for that purpose there was organized in Jaffa, first, evening classes for languages, natural history, history, etc.; and secondly, popular lectures on hygiene, political economy, etc. It is interesting to watch the groups of young people returning in the evenings from the various places of study and instruction. In Jerusalem there is an evening school in connection with the Bezalel. The educational and cultural work of the Alliance and the Hilfsverein are being strongly influenced by the new tendencies.”

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“The distinguished author, Prof. Goldwin Smith, approaches this vexed question with a judicial spirit, and in the brief space which he has occupied tells some plain truths which both sides in the controversy might study with profit. His sympathy with labor goes back to the days when he defended the unions after the Sheffield outrages, and stood on the platform of Joseph Arch. ‘All round the industrial horizon there are signs of continuing storm,’ he says, in opening. ‘The outlook is threatening, not to industry and commerce only, but to the general relations between classes, and even to the unity of the commonwealth.’

“He accepts the estrangement between labor and capital as a fact. Capital has been erected into an industrial tyrant, the mortal enemy of labor, and yet, what would labor do without capital? ‘Without capital we should be living in caves, and grubbing up roots with our nails. Such, in fact, was the state of primitive man. The man who first stored up some roots was the first capitalist, and the man who first loaned some of his roots on condition of future repayment, with addition, was the first investor.’

“On the other hand, the author admits that a strike is a legitimate engine for enforcing the concession of a certain wage, though not for any exaction beyond. Further exaction must break the trade. As a matter of policy the author believes that employes should share in the prosperity of their employers, and the want of inducement to improving effort on the part of workmen is a weakness in the factory system. While capital can be rapacious and unjust, it is also true that organizations formed for an aggressive purpose are naturally apt to fall into the hands of the most aggressive and least responsible section. ‘There would be fewer strikes if the votes were always taken by ballot, and every married man had two. … Power newly won and flushed with victory seldom stops exactly at the line of right. From enabling the wage-earner to treat on fair terms with the employer, unions seem now to be going on to create for themselves a monopoly of labor. To this the community never has submitted, and never can submit. Freedom of labor is the rightful inheritance of every man, and the vital interest of all.’

“‘Refusal to work with non-union men is undeniably lawful, though far from kind,’ is another of the author’s many obiter dicta. ‘The best of tempers,’ he adds, ‘can hardly fail to be tried by the intrusion of a walking delegate. Why aggravate by discourtesy the perils of the industrial situation? Capital and labor must settle down in harmony at last, or both must be ruined.’ His examination of Socialism leads to a rejection of that remedy for the industrial ills. In spite of the harsh aspects of competition, he believes it will remain the indispensable spur. The danger attending public ownership is interfering with the rights of those who have been allowed to invest their capital under the protection of the law, and disregard of whose rights would be public rapine.

“The conclusion reached by the author, after his all-too-brief discussion of the problem, is found in his closing paragraph:—

“‘It would seem, then, that there is something to be said for acquiescing, provisionally at least, in our industrial system, based as it is on the general relation between capital and labor, and trying to continue the improvement of that relation in a peaceful way, without class war and havoc. Progress, in a word, seems more hopeful than revolution. When the Socialist ideal, perfect brotherhood, is realized, there will be social happiness compared with which the highest pleasure attainable in this world of inequality, strife and self-interest would be mean; but all the attempts to rush into that state have proved failures, some of them much worse. It is conceivable, let us hope not unlikely, that all who contribute to progress may be destined in some way to share its ultimate fruits; but there is no leaping into the Millennium.'”—Toronto Globe.


Whatever may be said of Pope Pius X. he cannot be charged with being a Higher Critic or sympathizing with the agnostic spirit of our day which has gained such absolute control of all Protestant seminaries and secular colleges. It would appear that this same spirit has been gaining rapidly amongst Roman Catholic professors, etc., also. This fact has led the Pope to condemn and prohibit recently a large number of books tinctured with “Modernism” or “New Theology,” and on Sept. 16 led him to issue an encyclical or general epistle to all Roman Catholics, condemning the same. In it he declares:—


“Modernism is a peril for the Church. Its reforms in faith, philosophy, theology and history are all errors and drive those who believe in them to atheism. Boundless curiosity, pride of individualism and disregard of true Catholic knowledge and discipline actually have spread modernism among the clergy.”

The encyclical decrees that philosophy and theology hereafter must be taught in the Catholic schools and universities in the complete spirit of the Catholic Church and in accordance with the rules of the Church.

It is decreed that all teachers imbued with the spirit of modernism be dismissed and all bishops must compel the clergy and the faithful to abstain from reading papers inspired by the spirit of modernism or advocating the new theories.

A board of censors is to be established in every bishopric to revise and edit all Catholic publications.

The ecclesiastics are forbidden to send papers through the mails or otherwise directing them without the consent of the bishop. The ecclesiastics also must keep a close watch upon their assistants to prevent violation of this ruling.

Clerical congresses are forbidden, except in cases when dangers of modernism arise; or when the laity show signs of restlessness and rebellion against clerical domination.

A board of supervision is to be formed in every diocese to prevent the spread of “new errors.”

All bishops are instructed that they must forward

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to the pope individual reports regarding the matters covered in the encyclical.

The encyclical has caused a great stir throughout Europe and is regarded as by far the most important issued during the present pontificate. It is regarded in some circles as liable to arouse as much controversy and discussion as the famous promulgation of the dogma of the immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX.


Mr. Edison does not profess a general knowledge of the Millennium, but he does see some things in the line of his own experience and work. He sees them to be near, too. Of his views The Electrical Trade says:—

“‘A great electrical discovery which I expect to see before I die,’ remarked Thomas A. Edison, the man whose own inventions have done so much to revolutionize modern life, ‘is the direct generation of electricity from coal. Imagine what will be the consequences! Then locomotives will be thrown into the scrap heap. All trains will be run by electricity. No longer will coal be laboriously transported to the cities, but there will be great power plants established at the mouths of the mines, from which the electricity will be sent out over the country by wire. There will be no horses in the streets, no stables, no flies. Wagons will be propelled by electricity, for it will be so cheap it can be used by the humblest tenement dwellers. Ships will no longer be driven by steam. Electricity will be their motive power. And then it will be possible to cross the Atlantic in three days. At the present time nine-tenths of the power obtained from coal is lost by the use of boilers, wheels and dynamos. With the direct generation of the electrical current, therefore, the world will have ten times more energy than now. We are still ignorant of the true character of electricity. Indeed, to me, after all the years I have spent in studying electricity, it is more a mystery now than ever.'”


— October 15, 1907 —