A CONTEMPORARY thus sums up the recent tendencies toward union on the part of Churchianity,in full harmony with what our pages for the past twenty years have shown will be the procedure of "Babylon" just prior to her fall "as a great millstone into the sea." We quote as follows:
"The question of denominational union is fast becoming one of the most important questions of the day in all Protestant lands. In Germany, as we have lately pointed out, a strong movement exists for the federation of the state churches, amounting to nearly fifty in number; and federation is one step on the road to organic union. In Scotland, the Congregationalists and the churches of the Evangelical Unionsometimes called Morrisaniansamalgamated their forces a short time ago; and the Free and the United Presbyterian churches are to become organically one next October, as already mentioned in these pages. In South Australia the three leading Methodist denominations, and in Canada all the various Methodist bodies have for some years been one. This is an encouraging record.
"Besides this measure of union already attained, there are promising movements under way in England. All the great Protestant churches outside the Establishment have for some years had a strong federal organization, as we have several times pointed out. During several years past an attempt has been made to unite organically two of the Methodist bodiesthe Princeton Methodists and the Bible Christians. Both are offshoots of the original Wesleyan parent stock, but separated from it on questions of church government."
"Japan enjoys the unique distinction of being the only non-Christian power that has been admitted into what is called the comity of nations on a footing of perfect equality, and, to judge from the utterances of the European and American press she is by no means the least respected power. Unfortunately the cause of this respect is not such as to satisfy all Japanese. Japan has made great progress in the arts of peace; but that is not really why she is respected. That respect was earned in a short nine months by the achievements of the Japanese army and navy. Now, that sort of thing is pleasing enough to a nation's amour propre, but on calmly thinking the matter over some Japanese would wish that the respect of Western nations had been earned by something else than by mere proficiency in the art of slaughter conducted on modern scientific principles. Russia, too, is respected and feared. Yet she is the only non-constitutional country in the comity of nations. The liberty of the individual and of the press is under the tyranny of mere administrative orders in Russia, and official peculation is nearly as rife as in China. And this gives rise to strange misgivings. Are the so-called Christian nations really followers of the religious cult they so ostentatiously and proudly profess?...
"Without going so far with Count Tolstoi as to say that his rendering of the real meaning of Christianity is the correct one, we do go so far as to say that the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount are the most important in the so-called Christian code of morality. And these precepts, unquestionably, are against war, and all against according honor to any nation or any man on the mere grounds of success in the exercise of brute force, much less of success in slaughtering enemies. And yet it is precisely on these grounds that non-Christian Japan has been accorded the respect of so-called Christian Europe and America!
"We can very well understand the old Hebrews respecting us for success in war, for the old Hebrew God was a God of battles. But we have always understood that the Christian Father in heaven was no mere tribal war-god, but a God of love. The present situation is not a little puzzling to us poor benighted heathens of Japan, who have earned the respect of those who profess to follow the precepts of Christ on [R2711 : page 308] the Mount, by success in slaughtering our enemies, and by that alone. Will real Christians kindly explain what it all means?"
Perfect lovethe mark for the prize;
How shall I reach it, O Lord?
The way thou hast walked is a narrow way,
So we read in thy precious Word.
We eagerly start in the way with joy,
Thinking our love is pure;
But the Father, seeking our perfectness,
Purgeth us more and more.
Till, by dint of strokes and of tears
Made to look back o'er bitter years
Our hearts in anguish deep exclaim
"Woe is me!" "Wretched man that I am!"
We know that in us dwelleth no good thing,
But in the Beloved do we stand;
O glory and honor and praises to him
Who holdeth us in his hand!
O Lord can it be
Thou in infinite mercy canst see
In one so unworthy, so helpless as I,
A heart that unto thee would draw nigh?
Perfect love! Lord, can it really be
Thou hast so loved and cared for me,
That when in me did sin so abound
Thy grace more abundant was found?
Perfect lovethe mark for the prize
Thou hast placed beyond the skies!
O yes, our dear Lord, we will patiently run,
With our eyes on thee alone;
Not looking back on the way we have come,
Battles fought, and victories won;
But forgetting those things which are behind
Press along our reward to find.
Perfect lovewe do see it in him,
Who gave his life, our poor lives to redeem;
That we might as sons to our Father draw near,
For in Jesus we've nothing to fear,
As in the light of his glorious face
We press to the end of the race;
Standing complete in his Righteousness,
He alone our perfect dress.
MRS. C. A. OWEN.