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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
THE chief concerns of the world are food, clothing, shelter, money and the preparation of munitions of war;—among the Christian (?) nations. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: turn your factories from the manufacture of the implements of peace to the preparation of war materials is the order of the day.
Great Britain vs. France and Russia, as well as Spain vs. the United States, are straining every nerve to be prepared for war, should it come;—the former over China and her trade, the latter over Cuba and her liberty. We have many reasons for hoping that a conflict will be averted in both cases. Should war come, however, in either case our sympathies would, we are glad to say, justly be with the English speaking nations. For altho England’s policy in China has not been one of disinterested benevolence, there can be no question that it has been and is and will continue to be more liberal toward the Chinese than would be the yokes of other Christian (?) nations of Europe.
An armed intervention by the United States to secure the liberty of Cuba from the despotism and cruelty of the most bitter and cruel nation in Christendom would be, as nearly as can be imagined, a war on lines of disinterested benevolence. We believe that it is neither the desire of the government nor of the people of the United States to annex Cuba, while its population in all respects is as dissimilar to our own as is that of Mexico: hence whatever may be done for Cuba must be accredited either to pride or to benevolence—as with the food supplies already sent and still being forwarded by government and people to relieve victims of barbarity.
We incline to think that the President’s policy will result in securing for Cuba, without war, a liberty similar to that enjoyed by Canada, and if so he will deserve the congratulations of all civilized peoples. However, should war come—either of the above suggested—it would have no special prophetic significance so far as we can see. It would mean loss of life, increase of debts: and by increased business prosperity for a few years it would really put off the great catastrophe which will overthrow all governments in anarchy.
Not long since we, in common with other journals, called attention to the inconsistency of the New York millionaire, Trustee of the First Presbyterian church, H.M. Taber, whose Will showed him to have long been an infidel. The son of the deceased has since corrected some misapprehensions which we gladly record. He declares that his father “cherished a peculiarly bitter abhorrence of religious hypocrisy,” and points out that he never was a member of the church, and that he had severed his relationship of Trustee ten years before he died: his acceptance of that office originally was to gratify a dear member of his family who was a member of that Church.
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In Rules for Daily Life given in last issue (which, by the way, we learn have been helpful to the friends in various localities) we neglected a very important item. It is one which is generally recognized by earthly courts and judges, but, alas, too frequently forgotten in the family and in the Church. It is this: No one is to be esteemed guilty because guilt is charged; but only after it has been PROVEN.
The charged person is not to be esteemed guilty until he or she has proved the charge untrue: he is to be esteemed and treated as absolutely guiltless until the accuser has taken the Scriptural steps outlined in
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Rule V., and has manifested or proved the guilt. If this course were followed strictly it would quickly put an end to slandering and back-biting. For if the Church slanderer found that his charges were not believed, he would abstain or else follow the Scriptural rule.
Because the fact is not generally known, we remark that any injurious or derogatory report is a slander. Webster defines “Slanderer, One who injures another by maliciously reporting something to his prejudice; a defamer; a calumniator.” No one under the control of the holy spirit will engage in such “devil’s business;” and each should be careful not to encourage others in such “works of the flesh and of the devil.”
In referring to conscience as an unsafe guide (Rule XI), we merely meant that because of “the fall” all of our consciences need the constant guidance and control of the Lord’s Word, or they will mislead us. We have no other guide than conscience or judgment; hence, the necessity of having it divinely directed. It is not enough to say, “My conscience does not reprove me.”
CHURCH REVENUES DECREASE
Commenting on the resignation of Dr. John Hall from the pastorate of one of the most prominent Presbyterian churches in the world—the resignation having been subsequently recalled—an Exchange says:—
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“Surprising as his resignation, since withdrawn, was to the public and the Presbyterian church, this reason will be even more surprising. From a surplus, large enough in successive years to build a $100,000 manse, the church has run behind, and pews once rented at $3,000, are let with difficulty. Where 10 years ago the church was giving $44,000 yearly to home missions, it is now giving $12,000, and its contribution to foreign missions has sunk from $28,000 to $9,000. As is always the case, this reduction has affected all receipts. Any church which stops giving to missions before long will stop adequately supporting its own gospel services.”
The Editor proceeds to say that a similar falling off is noted in the receipts of all Presbyterian churches.
We render acknowledgment to God that the voluntary contributions to the spread of present truth have been increasing yearly, during this same period, as shown by the reports of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society;—and that notwithstanding the friends of “harvest truth” are nearly all poor—”not many rich,” mighty or great among them. But where the heart has been touched and the flame of love to God and man has been enkindled, there is a burning desire to be, to do and to give to the glory of him who called us “out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
“THE MODERN STEPHEN”
This is the title of a sketch in the Ram’s Horn for January 29th. It represents a faithful minister of the gospel under persecution. He is shown fallen in the street, a Bible on his arm: around him lie stones labeled Hate. Around him are pictured his assailants throwing more stones: a saloon keeper hurls a stone labeled Revenge; a society man with kid gloves hurls a stone labeled Persecution; a finely dressed man resembling a banker hurls a stone labeled Malice; an elegantly dressed woman (possibly his wife?) hurls a stone marked Scandal; while a College Professor with a large head (resembling that of a certain Xenia, Ohio, Professor) is throwing stones marked Ridicule.
The cartoon is a good one, and very forcibly illustrates the changed methods of Satan and his employees for the accomplishment of the same ends as formerly. Thus are the prophets prohibited, “killed” and “beheaded” who do not shun to declare the truth, the whole counsel of God, today.—Compare Rev. 13:15,17; 20:4; 6:11; Luke 21:17; 2 Tim. 3:12.
— April 1, 1898 —