THE world to-day is full of theories. Never was human thought more productive of speculation and alleged discoveries relative to panaceas for social and political, as well as physical ills. The human mind is prone to inventions. “God hath made man upright,” writes Solomon, “but he has sought out many inventions.” He has been continually trying, ever since the fall, to invent some means of becoming his own saviour. But his efforts in this line are, of course, as useless as those made to discover the long-sought “perpetual motion.”
The trouble with these “inventions” and theories is, they are human. Man has turned away from a field of knowledge opened before him by the wisdom of God, to wander in the mazes of his own wisdom and speculation. Man cannot be his own saviour. He cannot uplift himself from the plane of his fallen human nature by the force of his own laws and resolutions. But there is one adequate Saviour—Jesus Christ—and one adequate uplifting power for every fallen condition—the power of the gospel of Christ. There is one sure way of attaining happiness here and hereafter, and that is the way of God’s word. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. There is one way of securing uninterrupted prosperity, of having all things works together for our good; and that is stated in the inspired utterance, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28.
Men, however, are not willing to let happiness and prosperity be assured to them in this way. They have more confidence in the methods dictated by their own wisdom, than in those set forth in the God-ordained scheme of redemption, which their finite wisdom cannot grasp. They have more faith in a tower of babel as a means of attaining heaven than in the ladder of Jacob’s dream. Though it is recorded that the ancient builders “left off to build” the structure begun in the plains of Shinar (Genesis 11:1-10), their descendants have been busy rearing similar towers in the field of ethics, from that time down to the present.
The foundation stone of all these structures is salvation by works. Upon this we see being reared to-day the babel tower of governmental religion. The power of national law is to be made the means of regenerating and saving the nation. By the works of that law is the nation to be made Christian. The Christianity of the nation is to be the Christianity of the people; and when the Church, directing human legislation, shall fulfill(?) the prophecy, “Out of Zion shall go forth the law,” the cap-stone of the mighty structure will have been laid. But the work will end in confusion, as it ever has in the past.
Another monument of the modern Babylon may be seen in “Christian” communism. Communism is asserted by its advocates to be identical with Christianity. In this guise it is proclaimed from the pulpit, and in one Western college it is even made the basis of a professorship, under the name of “Applied Christianity.” But the very name “communism” indicates that the doctrine is one which deals with masses rather than individuals. Applied Christianity is the life of Christ in the heart of the individual. Christianity deals with individuals only, since it operates only through faith, which is something each person must possess for himself. Christianity operates through faith in Christ; communism operaters [sic.] through “faith” in a theory. The one seeks to give, the other seeks to receive. The one means self-denial, the other is self-assertion. Any doctrine which seeks to apply Christianity to the State, or the people en masse, or to make it operative through the theories and conceptions, or laws and resolutions, of men, is not Christianity, but a base counterfeit. It is the doctrine of self-salvation.
Communism in the pulpit proclaims that the “revelation of Jesus was a social idea,” and that “the career of Jesus was as truly political as was that of Mazzini or Sumner.” It asserts “that Jesus was crucified for disturbing the social order of things;” and that “Jesus went at Jerusalem more truly than Parkhurst at New York, and far more wisely.” 627 But Jesus himself said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He would not allow his servants to use the sword in his behalf. He refused to let the multitude make him a king. 628 He refused to be made a judge. 629 Neither military force nor political office pertain to the kingdom of Christ.
The world does not need more theories and more isms; it has too many of these already. It is not in need of new discoveries in ethics or sociology. It needs more of that which has been known and preached since the world began,—the “faith which worketh by love.” More love of humanity by humanity is the world’s great need, which no human inventions or theories can supply. More love of humanity means more of God in the heart, for “God is love.” And this means more faith in the Word of God, for there is enough of the Spirit of God if only the heart is open to receive him. Thus we come back again to the great truth which men have so persistently slighted, that to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth,” and to that alone, must we look for peace, happiness, satisfaction and true success amidst the vicissitudes and troubles of this life.