FOLLOWING the appeal to the Czar, of the striking workmen of St. Petersburg, which was refused, and the bloodshed which resulted when the crowds attempted to enter the palace grounds after being forbidden to do so, the Czar sent an invitation to some of the leading workmen to visit him at his palace. They responded, and the following is a detailed report of their reception:
Emperor Nicholas adopted the traditional fatherly tone in his talk with the workmen yesterday. He chided them for allowing themselves to be misled into engaging in a movement imperiling the internal order of Russia and aiding the foreign foe, and for attempting to demand by force what he otherwise would be willing to do voluntarily.
This interview, face to face with their "Little Father," in whom their faith has not been shaken by the events of the bloody Sunday of January 22, has had a far greater and more reassuring effect than any number of proclamations by Ministers and Governors General, and the workmen of St. Petersburg are now generally inclined to accept the promises of Governor General Trepoff and Finance Minister Kokovsoff at their face value.
The gift by the imperial family of $25,000 to aid the families of the victims of the conflict of January 22 also has had an excellent effect; and as the news slowly permeates the laboring classes of Russia it is expected it will make them content to wait for the promised reforms.
The workmen received the royal assurances of reform with cheers, and after a lunch at the imperial table returned to St. Petersburg in the best of humor to report to their fellows, as enjoined, the words of His Majesty. No attempt was made by them to present their desires, which already are sufficiently evident.
The action of the St. Petersburg manufacturers in placing themselves in the hands of the Government in the matter of the adjustment of the main points of the dispute, and promising to grant the men pay for the time they have been on strike, not as a matter of right, but as a favor, and their contribution in aid of the sufferers among the families of their workmen, are expected to add to the prevailing good feeling.
"I have summoned you in order that you may hear my words from myself and communicate them to your companions. The recent lamentable events, with such sad but inevitable results, have occurred because you allowed yourselves to be led astray by traitors and enemies to our country. When they induced you to address a petition to me on your needs, they desired to see you revolt against me and my government. They forced you to leave your honest work at a period when all Russian workmen should be laboring unceasingly in order that we might vanquish our obstinate enemy.
"I know that the lot of the workmen is not easy. Many things require improvement, but have patience. You will understand that it is necessary to be just toward your employers and to consider the condition of our industries. But to come to me as a rebellious mob in order to declare your wants, is a crime.
"In my solicitude for the working classes I will take measures which will assure that everything possible will be done to improve their lot and secure an investigation of their demands through legal channels. I am convinced of the honesty of the workmen and their devotion to myself, and I pardon their transgression. Return to your work with your comrades and carry out the tasks allotted to you.
"The probability that the dynasty will be crippled and a revolution of some kind inaugurated is very great. The true pivot of power in Russia, the mystical belief in the autocratic [R3523 : page 84] Czar, has been shaken, if not destroyed. The autocracy substituted for his is that of the elder grand dukes, who have no 'divine' claims, who are divided by incurable jealousies, spites and rival female pretensions, and who are, with one exception, men without great parties behind them. If they make, as is possible, a palace revolution, they run the risk of dividing the troops, for the baby heir and the sickly Grand Duke Michael stand between the strong Vladimir and the succession, and the army, or sections of it, might pronounce for different men. Every ambition will be unloosed, and under an autocracy fear makes all ambitions fiercer. Meanwhile Kuropatkin will be hampered by want of supplies and reinforcements, and a new discredit must fall on Russian arms, which are now employed six thousand miles from St. Petersburg, and liable to paralysis from any interruption en route. The [R3524 : page 84] great cities, Moscow, Odessa, Kieff, Riga, and perhaps others farther east, are seething with agitation; the Reservists are furious and have arms; and it is hardly conceivable that the millions of revolutionaries, all white men and most of them drilled men, should not produce a competent leader who when he appears will be recognized in a flash. Even if we discredit the very minute accounts of the mutiny of the Black Sea sailors, and the refusal of the troops to crush them, it is clear that the vastness of the empire which has so long protected the central power is turning against it, and that the authorities may be more than bewildered by the necessity of violent repression in so many places at once. Prophecy is of course, futile; but we should say that unless the imperial family produces, or can attract, a chancellor of genius who understands how to preserve the autocracy by conciliation, or to transmute it into a despotism bound by laws like the governments of India and Germany, the days of the terrible regime which has prevailed in Russia for more than two centuries are approaching to an end."
Recently a Catholic priest (Mgr. Doane) on his death bed related a vision he hadthat he was taken to heaven and saw the Lord and the throne and a great crowd in which he definitely recognized one person at least. There was some error about the matter, surely, for Catholics admit that practically none of their Church go directly to heaventhat all go first to purgatory. We doubt not masses were said for poor Doane, for the easing of his soul in purgatory. And if priests and popes know and teach that they can and do liberate such souls from time to time they surely ought to know who are there. Otherwise how could they know whom to attempt to deliver.
Our point is that poor Doane's words were taken up by a leading newspaper, and reporters sent to interview leading ministers of various denominations on the subject. These interviews were published, and several of them show a remarkable tendency toward Spiritism. As a whole they show that the leaders of the nominal Church are prepared to lead their flocks toward Spiritism. Nay, the words we quote will doubtless influence thousands in that direction. We quote the words of two of the more prominent as follows:
Dr. George R. Van de Water, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, said to an "American" reporter last night that he considered the vision of Mgr. Doane as direct and indisputable evidence of the belief that he had always held, that it was possible for people on earth to hold communion with the souls in Heaven.
"I have always maintained the possibility of communication with the other world. Any man with the experience of dying persons which a clergyman or a physician has cannot fail to know positively that glimpses of Heaven are often vouchsafed to persons of great faith and saintly lives on their deathbeds.
"Personally, I consider that it is just as unscientific to deny the possibility of supernatural manifestations and the meaning and significance of dreams and visions as it is unscientific to swing to the other extreme and attribute to perfectly natural phenomena occult and supernatural meaning.
"Mgr. Doane's vision has unquestionably made a wide and profound impression on the mind of the public, just as it appeared to have made a deep impression upon his own mind at the time. The fact that these things are not to be understood or explained is no reason why they should not be believed."
The Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst, discussing with an "American" reporter last night the wonderful vision of Mgr. Doane, frankly avowed a deep interest in the investigation of these problems that hitherto have been regarded as entirely outside the domain of strict religious thought.
He declared that he saw nothing incompatible with Christianity in the earnest efforts that are being made by well-known scientists to reach a point of view where avowed spiritualists and devout Christians may agree on an explanation of the recurring phenomena in the unseen world.
"I myself have been impressed recently with the belief that there are spiritual manifestations going on about us in the unseen world which might profitably be investigated by some such organizations as that which Professor James, of Harvard, Professor Quackenbos, Dr. Hyslop and others are striving to form.
"As to dreams and visions, and this one in particular, I have no word to say. The matter, I should say, belongs to the psychologists. I should say that such things might be investigated by such a jury as I have referred to, and some practical results might thereby be attained."
"According to the story told by two men to whom Mgr. Doane related his dream, he had a distinct view of heaven, and was even conducted to the foot of the throne," said the reporter. "He disclosed to his friends the fact that he recognized at least one person whom he knew on earth, and spoke with him. Will you say, Dr. Parkhurst, whether or not this agrees with your conception of heaven?"
"There has been an awakening along these lines recently, as is evidenced by the fact that such men as Professor James are giving serious attention to it. The danger lies in irresponsible persons, or those not fitted by study and temperament for the work, taking it up and exploiting it."
Dr. Parkhurst laughed at the idea that he was verging upon a belief in spiritualism, but referred to the remarkable experience of Dr. Funk with Mrs. Pepper in the matter of the lost widow's mite and the late Henry Ward Beecher.
It is not necessary to claim that all visions are of evil origin. Doubtless some of the worst dreams have resulted from improper eating. We know of no reason why the Lord might not permit his people a special warning through a dream, although his proposal that we must learn to "walk by faith and not by sight" implies that such special guidances outside the Word will be very exceptional.
Visions, etc., occurring in connection with the delirium of fever or with the last flicker of life on a death-bed need [R3524 : page 85] not be considered uniformly miraculousof a holy or of a Satanic inspiration. Bad people have had pleasing experiences of the kind, and the very best have experienced a horror of great darkness at the dying moment. Our Lord, for instance, cried aloud, "My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?" with his latest breath. Evidently our sleeping thoughts even more than our waking ones require supervision and rectification in the light of God's Word,to which alone the Apostle commends us, and never to dreams and visionsour own or those of others.
"Readiness to suffer persecution is the supreme test of fidelity. That, perhaps, is the reason why Christ puts it at the very topmost round of his ladder of perfection. The special passion that distinguishes the persecutor is relentlessness. The figure is that of a bloodhound on the track of his victim. Earnestness turned to a bad use, describes the persecutor, for only so long as he is terribly in earnest is he to be feared. Curiously enough, the sorest persecutions that befell the early Christians befell them under the so-called 'good emperors.' The good emperors were given their epithet because they were diligent in attending to their business of governing. They saw that the new religion was eating into the very vitals of the Roman system, and that if not arrested, it would eventually overthrow the empire. Therefore, they persecuted the new religion's adherents, persecuted them to the death.
"The modern Church ought to be not a little mortified at observing how largely it is obliged to draw upon the annals of the far past for illustrations to supreme fidelity to duty. We interpret the 'faithful unto death' as meaning while life lasts, but there was a time when the words bore a sterner sense of faithful at the cost of dying. The Church of to-day is very much in the position of a man living on an inherited fortune; he may know how to enjoy it, but he has a very meagre knowledge of the toil and struggle that went to the amassing of it. The title deeds to this goodly heritage we call Christian civilization were written in blood, and in 'the place of the seal' we note, dim and faded by lapse of years, the sign of the cross.
"Whether the days of active persecution for conscience' sake have passed never to return is a question upon which only a rash thinker would venture an opinion. The time may conceivably come when a Christian minority may make itself so obnoxious to a non-Christian majority that there will be a renewal of physical pains and penalties. To-day toleration is the favorite word; it may not be to-morrow. As things are, the true reading of the Beatitude is that which applies it to those who dare to be unpopular rather than surrender what they know to be right. Under the soft condition of life as it is now lived, unpopularity is the nearest approach to persecution that is allowed.
"The age of the fagot and the axe is passed. The only flames of martyrdom to-day are those kindled by hot, burning words. It is with the breath of his lips or by the stroke of his pen that the modern lictor does his work. The desire [R3525 : page 85] for popularity is a natural instinct. The man never lived who was wholly devoid of it. The child desires popularity with his playmates, the college student with his class, the politician with his party, the man of business with the public, the seeker after social promotion with the particular set or circle in which he or she is ambitious to shine."N.Y. Tribune.
Although there seems little likelihood that definite union will be accomplished for a long time to come, the movement in Canada toward an amalgamation of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches of the Dominion, is progressing and leading men in all three bodies are seriously working for its accomplishment. There have been several meetings of committees, and the present status of the matter is that at the last joint meeting of the committees there were appointed sub-committees to consider the subjects respectively of "Doctrine," "Polity," "The Ministry," "Administration" and "Law."
Each sub-committee has forty members (sixteen Methodists, sixteen Presbyterians and eight Congregationalists), except the committee on law, which has but fifteen members. These committees will study the subject assigned them and report to some future meeting of the full joint committee, trying to find some basis on which all three bodies may agree. There is no disposition among Canadian leaders to hurry matters, for it is realized that so large a subject needs the most painstaking consideration, and that a successful union will need the hearty approval not only of leaders, but of the entire membership of the churches.Boston Transcript.
Are we entering upon a new age of cathedral building? asks the New York Tribune. Not long ago it was announced that $750,000 had become available for work on the new cathedral of St. John the Divine; it is a matter of months only since the great Roman Catholic Cathedral of Westminster, in London, was finished; and it is less than a year since a bequest of $1,000,000 toward the construction of a cathedral for Boston was recorded. These facts lead The Tribune to remark: "The vast commercial structures, the luxurious hotels, must reach at last a limit beyond which men will go only for 'God and country.' Has the time come? In this period of magnificence and lavishness in building, are we at last turning some of our riches to the visible glorification of religion? If we are, we are coming indeed to a new age of cathedral building."
"After fifteen years' residence as a missionary in Africa, I find upon my return to America that the Church here is dead. I find that the Church has gone away backward; I find an immense amount of empty profession. The Church for the most part is dead, and why? Because she has opened her doors to the world. The spirits of sedition that are abroad have entered in. The people are running after Dowieism, Spiritualism, and all kinds of fads which make a pretence of being scientific.
"I ask you here, do you think that if Christ walked the streets of this city to-day he would be popular? I tell you no. To be a Christian means to take up your cross and follow him. When a Christian says that he can get along with everyone it is because he is not following close to Christ."Toronto Star.
Recent despatches from Denmark tell of remarkable experiments, carried on in the Sound between Denmark and Sweden, for the purpose of testing the seaworthiness of a vessel built according to the dimensions of Noah's Ark, as given in Gen. 6:15. According to the Copenhagen Daily Dannebrog: "Naval architect Vogt, who has experimented for a long time with the dimensions of Noah's Ark as given in the Bible, has recently completed a model of that ancient craft....It measures 30 feet in length by 5 feet in width by 3 feet in height, the actual measurements of the Ark of Noah being 300 x 50 x 30. The model is built in the shape of an old-fashioned saddle-roof, so that a cross-section represents an isosceles triangle. When this queer-looking craft was released from the tugboat which had towed it outside the harbor and left to face the weather on its own account, it developed remarkable sea-going qualities. It drifted sideways with the tide, creating a belt of calm water to leeward, and the test proved conclusively that a vessel of this primitive [R3525 : page 86] make might be perfectly seaworthy for a long voyage. It is well known that the proportionate dimensions used by modern shipbuilders are identical with those of the diluvian vessel."
Eighteen religious bodies, including all of the principal ones, have now responded favorably to the proposition of the National Federation of Churches and Christian Workers to come together in a representative way and effect organization through which they may, on all great problems, speak as one body. Acceptances have behind them a constituency of nearly eighteen millions of communicants. Thus it may be said that Protestant America is getting ready to act.
The National Federation, which led in suggesting the scheme, has to some extent turned the working out of the details over to representatives of these bodies, who have set to work on their own account. The aim is not union of the bodies. Neither is it one designed to interfere with forms of government, much less to frame a doctrinal standard. It is, instead, unity on all moral questions, such as laws governing divorce and remarriage, Sabbath observance, temperance, and the scores of other matters with which form of denominational government and creed have nothing to do.
It is purposed to have the supreme judicatories of all the religious bodies joining in the movement appoint a commission or delegates, to represent them in the organization, if one be effected, and authorized to speak for them, to the end that the Church may be heard in no uncertain way. The meeting to effect this organization is to be held in Carnegie Hall, New York, next fall, and its sessions are to extend over six days, with various auxiliary meetings in the same period. A committee is now at work on the programme.Boston Transcript.