||Chosen no: R-4844 a, from: 1911 Year.
|Change lang |
Views From The Watch Tower
UNREST IN EUROPE
THE FOLLOWING "United Press" report
from London seems to give a very moderate view
of the Old World's affairs:--
"After an undisputed reign of more than
1,000 years, the European 'ruling classes' are beginning to realize that the
existence of their order is threatened everywhere. Not even the French
Revolution itself--hitherto perhaps the most remarkable social upheaval in the
world's history --was so significant as the present movement of the masses
against the classes.
"Curiously enough, it is in England, with all its conservative traditions
and the freest government in Europe, that the
feeling is strongest. To a great extent this is due to the fact that in Great Britain
the upper classes and the landed interests have always been practically
identical. And the land-hunger which has been increasing among the English
masses for forty years past has intensified popular hostility against those
representatives of the upper classes (which substantially means all of them)
who have selfishly monopolized the land for their own pleasures.
"Recent advanced legislation, tending
toward the breaking up of the great landed estates, has made matters worse,
too, instead of better. The people who want land are angrier than they were
before, because they have secured only a part of what they consider their due,
while the landed aristocracy is furious over having had to relinquish even a
fraction of its possessions.
"The change that has come over rural England
in the past three decades, is, in fact, nothing short of marvelous. In the old
days, if a villager failed to doff his hat to the parson or the squire, or if
his wife omitted a reverential courtesy to them, it was a foregone conclusion
that that couple would be driven from the village forthwith, or that at any
rate, if they remained, their lives would be made intolerable. Today, even in
cases where the farm laborer retains an outward appearance of respect for those
above him, he looks on the latter as his natural enemies, and never misses a
chance of voting against them at the polls. More than this, he has reached a
point where he not only disputes the aristocracy's title to monopolize the land
which he thinks should be his own, but refuses to acknowledge its superiority
over him in any form.
"In the towns, of course, where radicalism
has long been rampant, the ruling classes have been hated for a much greater
length of time than in the country. But whereas they were merely hated fifty
years ago, their very right to exist is now disputed. Popular education and
popular newspapers have been mainly responsible for the growth of this feeling.
The average mechanic who has to work hard for small wages, denies the right of
another to live in idleness upon what his father left him. The present-day
British workmen's creed is that everyone in the world ought to start equal.
"To a large extent, the growth of this
sentiment has been at the bottom of recent labor troubles in England. Complaints have been made
everywhere that the labor unionists have refused to obey their own chief's
orders and have thus precipitated useless strikes. But this is only partly
true. Leaving out the fact that most of the labor leaders belong to a passing
generation, and are not in as close touch as they should be with the
rank-and-file, there is quite a different reason for the men's unmanageability.
And this reason is that the feeling of unrest and discontent is so rife as to
render the masses of workmen anxious to defy rather than to treat with their employers.
Just as the village laborer regards the squire, so the city mechanic regards
the capitalist. Both country squire and city capitalist represent the ruling
classes to the man who works.
"Generally throughout Europe,
the growth of Socialism is held accountable by the aristocracy for the masses'
"In England, for instance, it is the
Tories' custom to refer to any man of progressive political ideas as a
'Socialist.' They use the word as a term of reproach, but the truth is that it
is really not the right word to use as the Tories use it. 'Advanced radicalism'
would be more accurately descriptive. Not many English workmen admit that they
are Socialists and not many of them are.
"In Germany they do admit--assent it in
fact. And the spread of Socialism in the Fatherland is making the old
aristocracy shake in its shoes. No one there would be surprised by a Socialist
victory at any election and when the Socialists secure control of the Reichstag
the aristocracy's--and the monarchy's--days are numbered. German Socialists,
like the English, are advanced Radicals. Their idea is less the rule of
Socialism than an evening-up of conditions--with perhaps a not entirely
unnatural desire, on the part of some of them, for revenge upon the privileged
classes who have oppressed them so long. [R4844
: page 196]
"In Austria-Hungary an identical
process is at work. The dear-food riots--the revolt against the excessive cost
of living--are the first expressions of the popular demand. Exploited,
generation after generation by the greedy rich, the masses have lost their
patience at last.
"The strained industrial situation in France
is due to the same cause. In France,
however, the rebellion is not against an aristocracy, but against the ring of
capitalists which runs the government and every thing else in the republic. As
the members of this ring grow richer, the poor--and the middle classes--grow
poorer every day. Concessions in one particular trade will do no good in France.
What is needed is a change in the entire economic system.
"Russia is no better off. The
revolutionary movement there is and always has been an attempt to
"pull" the system of feudal tyranny which grinds the people into the
dirt. Unlike his fellows elsewhere throughout Europe,
the Russian workman thinks nothing and knows nothing [R4845
: page 196] about the working of economic laws. All he knows is that for
centuries he and his ancestors have been down-trodden --and he sees clearly who
the people are who have been responsible for it. He simply takes the position
that, if he can remove these people, it will be all the better for him.
"The question is whether all these
different national movements can ever be combined into one. Labor leaders
answer affirmatively. Year by year international conferences are more
successful in drawing the strings of such a union tighter. At the present
moment there is the common ground of the increased cost of living upon which
all are fighting. Those who are responsible for the high price of necessities
are held always to be the ruling classes. It is against these that the campaign
will be waged.
"One thing, however, is becoming
increasingly clear. It is that, so far as the working classes are concerned,
the form of government makes very little difference. A monarchy may be more
corrupt than a republic, or it may not. There is probably less corruption in England than in
any other European country of the first class. There is at least as much of it
as there is anywhere else upon the continent.
"The truth is, as European workingmen see
it, that the form of government counts less than the sort of people who conduct
it. If labor unions or any other sort of organization can put matters straight
with these people, then in the opinion of European workingmen, the condition of
the masses is bound to improve without much regard for the actual form of
"Naturally the upper classes are not
insensible to the change coming over the attitude of those whom they consider
beneath them. This is plain from their frantic appeals during outbreaks in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Barcelona and South Wales to have the military hurled against the
strikers and demonstrators. In every case these appeals were made by the
wealthy under the guise of appeals for the maintenance of law and order. In
reality, it is understood on all hands that the aristocracy throughout Europe realizes that it is in the last ditch. Hence its
anxiety to put the popular movement down at all costs.
"The class war in Europe
has certainly begun. It will be marked by actual violence in spots, but in the
main it will be fought out at the polls. And when the people that do the work
begin to know their real strength, popular leaders declare, there will not be
much chance left for those who have hitherto regarded it as their right to
While the average minister's salary outside of
cities does not rise above $1,000--a figure about on a par with that of the
unskilled laborer, human documents like one printed by The Standard (Baptist, Chicago) need cause no surprise. It comes from a minister who tells
why he is quitting his profession to enter business. The editor of this paper
tells us that the letter was not intended for publication; and the early part
of it shows that it was addressed to an old friend of seminary days, who, with
the writer, had "talked of the future and painted pictures of what we were
to do for the Kingdom
of God." Twenty-five
years have passed and the old friend is given the reasons that led to this
man's decision to desert the active ministry. Thus:--
"To be perfectly honest with you, money has
had much to do with my decision. I think you will not charge me with being
mercenary in those days when you knew me well, and I am not conscious of caring
any more for money now than I did then. I have never desired to be rich; I do
not now desire to be. I have not gone into business with any expectation of
making a fortune, but I do want to have something for the years when I can no
longer work, and for my family, if I should be taken from them. I do want to be
able to meet my bills as they fall due. A month ago in our ministers' meeting
an old minister, shabby almost to raggedness, arose and told us that he and his
wife were on the verge of starvation. He had no money, his credit was
exhausted, they had no food, no coal, and were about to be put upon the street
because they could not pay the rent. We raised some $30 among us and gave it to
him, and I suppose he will go to the home for aged ministers; but it scared me.
I saw myself in him. What reason have I to expect that I shall not be where he
is twenty years from now?
"Frugality? Well, I have not been
thriftless. Wife and I have tried hard to lay up a little each year. We did get
$500 saved up, and then Edna was taken with tuberculosis and it all went, and
much more, before God took her home. I had $1,000 per year from the church at
B__________. They paid it promptly, and possibly some men would have been able
to save something out of it each year. We tried our best, and failed. Once the
church thought of increasing the pastor's salary, but Deacon Edmunds argued
that the minister should trust God; said that when he began life he had an
income of only $200 for the first year; spoke of the joys of Christian
sacrifice; pointed to the Savior of the world and His self-abnegation, and the
salary was not increased. I may say that the deacon is supposed to be worth not
less than $200,000. Then I was called to this field at $1,200 per year. I have
been here seven years, and there has never been a month since the beginning
when my salary has been paid promptly. At times the church has owed me $600 and
$700. I have borrowed and paid interest, have 'stood off' my creditors until I
was ashamed to go upon the street, have scrimped and twisted and wiggled until
my soul was raw. I've had enough.
"Through all these years a conviction has
been growing within me that the average church-member cares precious little
about the Kingdom
of God and its
advancement, or the welfare of his fellowmen. He is a Christian in order that
he may save his soul from hell, and for no other reason. He does as little as
he can, lives as indifferently as he dares. If he thought he could gain heaven
without even lifting his finger for others, he would jump at the chance. Never
have I known more than a small minority of any church which I have served to be
really interested in and unselfishly devoted to God's work. [R4845 : page 197] It took my whole time to
pull and push and urge and persuade the reluctant members of my church to
undertake a little something for their fellowmen. They took a covenant to be
faithful in attendance upon the services of the church, and not one out of ten
ever thought of attending prayer-meeting. A large percentage seldom attended
church in the morning, and a pitifully small number in the evening. It did not
seem to mean anything to them that they had dedicated themselves to the service
"I am tired; tired of being the only one in
the church from whom real sacrifice is expected; tired of straining and tugging
to get Christian people to live like Christians; tired of planning work for my
people and then being compelled to do it myself or see it left undone; tired of
dodging my creditors when I would not need to if I had what is due me; tired of
the affrighting vision of a penniless old age. I am not leaving Christ. I love
Him; I shall still try to serve Him.
"Judge me leniently, old man, for I cannot
bear to lose your friendship."--Literary Digest.
THE CAUSE OF
A Portuguese resident in London, being
questioned by the Daily Mirror as to the reasons for the intense hatred
evinced by the people of Portugal against the Church, replied to the following
"The frenzied hatred of the populace of Portugal
against the religious orders and the priesthood generally, which is so strongly
marked a feature of the actual revolution, is no new thing in European history.
today, as in Northern Europe four hundred
years ago, the clergy exact privileges, social, moral, and financial,
to which they have no just claim. "The religious fraternities
possess vast wealth, which is every day growing greater, and they evade
taxation and do as little as they possibly can towards the maintenance and defence of the State.
"They are a clog upon the
intellectual advancement of the country. Education is
entirely in their hands, and Portugal has, as a consequence, the largest percentage of illiterates of any
country in Europe, with the one exception of Turkey.
"The mendicant Orders bleed the ignorant
and superstitious peasantry to an incredible extent. Money, food, wine,
garments--all is fish that comes to their net. The bitter proverb to the effect
that 'three beggars make one priest,' once a household word in England and in Germany
also, is still current in Portugal.
"They infest the bedsides of the old, the
sick, and the feeble-minded, and persuade them to bequeath large portions of
their goods--sometimes all they possess--to the monasteries.
"It is almost impossible for a layman who
has a grievance against a priest or a religious house to get justice done to
The situation described by a dispatch to the New York Sun is
"Popular feeling against the Church is very
strong in Lisbon.
The Government opposes excesses and says it will prevent them, but Quelhaes has
been the scene of shameful vandalism by a mob. The accounts of the origin of
the trouble there are conflicting.
"The throwing of bombs by Jesuits is as vehemently
denied on one side as it is asserted on the other. Sympathizers with the
Jesuits say the mob attacked the Jesuits without the least provocation, but
they admit that the Jesuits [R4846 : page 197] fired
rifles in self-defense. Whoever was initially to blame, the seizure of the
convent by the mob was followed by disgraceful barbarism, which was not checked
by the authorities.
"There is no doubt that the mob's object
was plunder, and in the search for treasure the rioters smashed, tore, and
generally destroyed almost everything of value within the building.
"Sacred images, altar-vessels, priceless
volumes, illuminated missals, gorgeous vestments were smashed or torn and
trampled upon with senseless fury, while everything that was regarded as worth
stealing was looted. Disgusting acts of ribaldry and defilement were also
committed by the mob.
"It was a brutal expression of the popular
hatred for the priesthood, especially the Jesuits, which was the animating
cause of the revolution far more than hostility to the monarchy. A similar orgy
was enacted at the Trinas Convent. Apart from these scenes, however, the
self-control of the people has been exemplary and the city is entirely
THE BLACK PLAGUE
Harrowing reports come from both China and India. Eighty-eight thousand four
hundred and ninety-eight are said to have died in India in February, as reported by
the British India Office. In Northern China
the plague has been gradually progressing since early in December. And it is
said that not one who has taken the disease has, thus far, recovered. Death
follows it in from three to six days.
This black death plague is said to be of the
same kind as that which so devastated Europe
in the Middle Ages. It is pneumonic as distinct from bubonic; that is to say,
it attacks the mucous lining of the nostrils, throat and lungs, rather than the
glands. It is so deadly that the physicians who inspect and those who handle
the corpses take every precaution, some wearing a suit of linen from head to
foot, and all breathing through pads of lint soaked with carbolic acid. Any
houses in which the plague has appeared are so contaminated as to make
necessary their burning. Japanese and Russian physicians are assisting Chinese
authorities and physicians. It is feared that with the coming summer the
disease may be further spread by fleas. Following is a clipping from the press:
"The lives of scores of physicians have
been sacrificed in the fight against the spread of the pestilence. Hundreds of
soldiers have died in the plague zone. Orders have been given to prevent
residents of certain sections of Manchuria and China
from fleeing, but, despite this order, refugees are finding their way into
Vladivostock and Shanghai.
Traffic upon the Chinese Eastern Railway is practically dead. Advices from
Kuang-Chang-Tsu, Mukden, Harbin, Feng Hua and
other towns in Manchuria, state that the
plague has made steady headway despite efforts of the Chinese and Japanese to
head it off. Along the great wall conditions are appalling."
The poor world needs the intervention of Divine
power; although medical knowledge has greatly increased in recent years we
recognize more and more that only power Divine can release humanity from the
bonds of sin and death.
MILK, BUTTER AND CHEESE
Information comes from Paris
that a skilled chemist and Chinaman, Li Yu Ying, has discovered a means by
which synthetically he can produce good imitations of cow's milk, butter and
cheese from the China
bean known as soja. It is said that he has already established a factory in
which twenty-four men are kept busily employed. [R4846
: page 198] A by-product is a sweet syrup that may be used in preserving,
Why not? By some process the cow changes the
quality of grass, beets, etc., producing milk and cream, from which butter and
cheese can be manufactured. What wonderful things the Lord evidently has in
store for the world's comfort and nourishment during Messiah's Kingdom and
subsequently! God is only now unlocking the mysteries of nature to
mankind--now, because we are entering the day of His preparation.
NEEDS OF METHODISM
The Rochester (N.Y.) Times says that
"at a meeting of the Methodist ministers of this district, in the Parish
House, of the First Methodist Church, Rev. S. J. Clarkson, of Middleport, made
a sensational arraignment of the church, stating that Methodism was fast
losing its reason for existing and that as a church it was making itself
a laughing-stock for the world, inconsistent within itself in its
teachings and preachings. He said that it was making itself foolish because
one minister in one place would state that dancing and card playing were
proper and not harmful, while another would pass upon them as the
devices of the Devil. He said that the teachings of the ministers
should either enforce Paragraph 248, respecting card playing and dancing, or
should strike it from the book.
"Methodism is fast losing her reason for
existing, by the dropping of many things which have distinguished her from
other denominations in the past. Methodism must retain her progressive
character and still do that branch of work of evangelizing the world that only
she seems fitted to do, or she will fail and cease to exist.
"In the past, the prayer-meeting was the
starting point of the revival. Today the average small church prayer-meeting is
a waste of time, and a burden to the flesh and the revival is no more. Too many
of our laymen have too much faith in the ability of their wives to do the
praying for the household.
"Methodism needs some settled policy on the
question of amusements. Nothing better could have been invented to keep this
church than Paragraph 248. I believe in being charitable, but the day is here
when we need some young people ourselves. I am not discussing the right or
wrong of dancing. But it sounds foolish for a Methodist minister to stand in
his pulpit and say that dancing is right when the ban-book says that is one of
the things for which a man can be tried for immoral conduct. It sounds just as
foolish, and makes the church a joke, when the minister in Podunk declares that
there is no harm in dancing. Then next Sunday the minister in Pig Valley
declares that it's the Devil's best snare. If dancing is right in Buffalo it is right in Rochester. If it's wrong in Buffalo,
it's wrong in Rochester.
We need to be consistent.
"Now when Methodism undertakes to tell
people what is right and wrong in amusements it should first have some settled
policy itself. Enforce Paragraph 248, or else have the courage to take it out
of the Discipline. We stand before the world today in the attitude of the man
who had the bear by the tail while it chased him around the tree. He was afraid
to let go and afraid to hang on."
W.T. R-4844a : page 195 - 1911r