THE pope has decided that burning of the dead “may be allowed under special conditions.” Upon this the Investigator remarks: “There was a time when popes of Rome decided that burning of the living was perfectly proper. Leo XIII. thinks cremation ‘heretical in principle.’ How tenderly Romanism handles dead men, but how roughly it has handled live ones.”
THE Catholic Review of this city suggests that—
Wherever there is a public library, the Catholics of the neighborhood should combine to raise a fund to contribute, say, one hundred first-class Catholic books to it. If they don’t do this, they will lose of great chance to spread knowledge of the truth. Is there such an opportunity where you live!
Protestants ought to see to it that every library is likewise supplied with anti-Catholic literature.
SOME of the people of Church Hill, Md., are still threatening violence against the Adventists. Elder Horton, the Adventist minister in charge of the work there, has again been threatened with personal violence; and one night recently a mob attacked the large tent in which meetings are held, and partly demolished it. They also did some damage to the new church building, now nearly ready for dedication. They declare that the building shall never be dedicated. The Adventists are very certain that it will be both dedicated and used after dedication.
ONE of the strangest things in human nature is the tendency to accept from government rights as favors, and to be devoutly thankful to government for them. Thus we find a Fourth of July orator near Lincoln, Neb., saying that notwithstanding the fact that our Government “is not as true to the Constitution as it once was,” “we should be thankful for what our country has done for us, and for the privileges still granted us.” The connection shows that the “privileges” have reference to rights of conscience, to believe and practice according to the dictates of conscience. The man who can be thankful for such privileges “granted” by government, could be thankful if he were about to be hung.
If we may believe the Declaration of Independence, there are such things as inalienable rights; rights not only not conferred by government, but rights of which government has no right to deprive a single man, however humble. Among these are rights of conscience. In 1829, Hon. Richard M. Johnson said, in a report to the United States Senate:—
What other nations call religious toleration, we call religious rights. They are exercised not in virtue of governmental indulgence, but as rights, or which government cannot deprive any portion of citizens.
This is true, but what then becomes of the idea of being thankful to government “for the privileges still granted us”? In 1827 Lord Stanhope said, in the British House of Lords:—
The time was when toleration was craved by dissenters as a boon; it is now demanded as a right; but the time will come when it will be spurned as an insult.
But that time can never come to people who are taught that religious liberty is a privilege granted by government. It is granted by God only, and the government that touches it is a tyranny, whatever its form or by whatever name it may be called.
THE Boston Investigator has this to say about the failure of the National Reformers to interest Congress in their raid on the Constitution:—
The God-in-the-Constitution fanatics are waking up to the fact that they were sat down upon when the Judiciary Committees of both Houses refused to submit the proposed amendment to the Constitution to Congress. After all the flourish of Christian trumpets and grand boasts of the National Reform Association that the nation was to be made a Christian nation, Congress would not even listen to the petitions asking to have the preamble of the national Constitution amended to suit Joseph Cook, Wilbur F. Crafts, Rev. Dr. George, and a few other fossilized ministers. Good-bye, God-in-the-Constitution party.
As all are aware, we have not the slightest sympathy with the so-called National Reform movement; but it is bound to succeed. Whether they will yet secure the proposed amendment, we do not pretend to say; but the churches already dominate the Government; and according to the dictum of the supreme court, that “this is a Christian nation,” all that the National Reformers demand can be practically done without the amendment. We shall yet hear much more from the God-in-the-Constitution party, though in just what shape, time must reveal.
THE case of W. B. Capps, the Seventh-day Adventist, now serving a sentence of fifteen months in a Tennessee jail, for doing ordinary labor on Sunday, has revived the question, Why do Adventists work on Sunday? The answer is, Believing the papacy to be antichrist, and holding the Sunday Sabbath to be the badge of its power, with Adventists the observance of Sunday would be equivalent to rendering homage to antichrist; hence their steady refusal to obey Sunday laws, and their willingness to suffer imprisonment, (as Mr. Capps is doing), the chain-gang, (as several Adventists have done), or even death itself, rather than to so much as appear to regard Sunday as other than a common working day. It is not therefore, as many seem to regard it, simply a matter of choice of days, but is with the Adventists a vital question directly affecting their salvation.
THE state of mind of the rulers, in at least a part of Europe, is thus described by a foreign correspondent of the Sun, in its issue of July 15:—
The French authorities are in a state of alarm approaching panic over the warnings of fresh anarchist plots. The information has been furnished principally by London and other foreign police, and extraordinary precautions have been taken to prevent the execution of the bloodthirsty designs. These measures are so stringent that all foreigners in France are likely to suffer inconvenience. Merely stopping to admire the architecture of the public buildings is likely to lead to arrest on suspicion, as an innocent Englishman found who gazed curiously for five minutes at the foreign office on Thursday. The customs inspectors have been instructed to investigate the contents of everything larger than a small orange. The bill for the suppression of anarchy, which is almost certain to pass the chamber next week, is one of the most drastic pieces of legislation in history. I literally fulfills Macaulay’s prophecy that it might prove necessary to destroy liberty in order to preserve civilization. It almost forbids people to think anarchy. It certainly forbids them to mention it in a private letter. It tries offenders without a jury, and on conviction sends them to solitary confinement, and possibly to Cayenne.
Macaulay was by many regarded as a pessimist when he predicted such a condition as now exists; but his “pessimism” was simply the result of an intimate acquaintance with human nature. But even had he been less acute than he was he might have drawn his conclusions from the Scriptures of truth. Speaking by inspiration of God, the Apostle Paul wrote: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. And our Saviour foretold a time when men’s hearts should be “failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Luke 21:26. That time of peril and of fear has come; and the next thing is the coming of the Lord.