July 19, 1894
SINCE Easter Sunday last, the attention of the people of the United States has been stirred, watching the armies of the “Industrials,” the strikers and their consequent violence, and the calling out of armed troops because of the troubles in a connected line of States reaching from the Pacific to the Atlantic,—California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Seeing these things carried on so continuously, every man is asking his neighbor, “What does this mean?” “What is to be the end of this matter?”
THESE things are not meaningless; they are full of meaning in many more senses than one, but there is one meaning that they have above all others. And, seeing these things that everybody sees, let us inquire at the source of all truth, what they really do mean; for if the Word of God has spoken on these things and told us anything as to what they mean, then we may be certain of that meaning, whatever other meaning may be in it all. And the Scriptures have spoken in more than one place, describing the condition of things which is now before the eyes of all people, not only of the United States, but of all the world.
Turning first to James, fifth chapter, there is the description of a time, and a condition of affairs, in which the rich are afraid of what is coming, and hold together their treasure in heaps in which the gold and silver is cankered; while on the other hand, there is a cry of the laborers against the rich, and of real distress, indeed, because their wages are kept back; and while these are in distress and are crying out because of it, these same rich ones are nourishing their hearts and living in pleasure and wantonness.
NOW any one can see plainly enough that this exactly describes the situation as it is all over the United States to-day; and every one knows that this situation has been brought about by precisely the methods here described. There is certainly no room for any difference of opinion in this. The strife between the laborers and the rich, between “capital and labor,” has been brought on by the insatiable desire of those who are already rich, to gather together all that was possible. Men whose income has been a million a year when there was any sign that that income might be lessened a little, would cut down the wages of the laboring men a few cents more or less all around, while in most cases these wages were already so low that they would no more than supply the necessaries of life.
Now it is hardly too much to suppose that a man with an income of a million could subsist on a half or three quarters of a million a year, or such a part of a year as might tide over a period of business depression, thus allowing the balance of the million income to remain in payment of the wages of laborers. If all the wealthy men of the country had done this from the beginning, there would to-day be no more of a contest between capital and labor, no more of a cry of the laborers against the rich, than there would be a cry of the earth against the rain.
FOR more than a year there has been all over this land a continuous cry of “hard times,” caused by the scarcity of money, while, as a matter of fact, all this time there has been more money in this country than ever before. In the summer of 1893, when so many banks were closed, and when there was the greatest “scarcity of money,” there were hundreds of millions of dollars simply on deposit in the banks of New York City alone, to say nothing of the other great cities of the country. The trouble is not that money is scarce in itself, but what there is is hoarded, and it is this hoarding of the money that makes the scarcity.
And being so hoarded, the money is cankering. In the month of May, 1894, some workingmen in a money vault, employed in recounting the money there, were in danger of being drowned in a flood of silver of which the canker had eaten up the strong sacks in which it was stored. Money that can have a chance to circulate will never canker; but to-day, although there is so much money, it is hoarded and held so closely together it can only canker. And this Word says that the cankering of it will be a witness against those who have so hoarded it and held it back from circulation while the cries of distress are heard throughout the land.
AND those who have the money so hoarded, even as this Word also says, are living in pleasure and even wantonness. And when a woman will give a grand reception, costing hundreds of dollars, in honor of a dog, while almost within hearing from her doors are the cries of hungry people, certainly such a course is fitly described as “wanton.” This may be an extreme case; but admitting that it is, it is only an extreme case in a long series of like though perhaps not identical wantonness on the part of the over rich.
And yet it is said that “capital is shy” and will not venture forth when there is so much disturbance and such an unsettled state of affairs generally. But if this capital would only venture forth in legitimate investments, instead of venturing so much in selfish pleasure, and such wantonness as giving grand receptions in honor of dogs, there would be no such unsettled condition of affairs as would cause capital to be afraid to venture in legitimate and beneficial enterprises. This is not, however, in any way to sanction or excuse the violence that so largely attends the laborers’ side of the controversy, any more than it is to sanction or excuse the wantonness of the rich.
HOWEVER, we are not discussing the question of capital and labor, or their relations or antagonisms, we are simply inquiring of the Scriptures, What is the meaning of the present condition and course of things? And every one knows that the foregoing statements exactly describe the situation as it is. Well, then, this being the situation as described in this scripture, what does the scripture say as to the time when this shall be? This same scripture answers plainly that this was to be in the “last days.” And  everybody sees now the very things that are set forth in this scripture. Then every person has before his eyes, and held irresistibly upon his attention, the positive proofs that we are in the last days.
The Scriptures having spoken of the rich and of the poor; of the hoarding of wealth and the keeping back of the wages; of the fear of the rich and the cries of the laborers—having spoken of these two classes, it now speaks of a third, or rather, to a third, thus, “Be patient, therefore, brethren.” These are the Lord’s people who are now spoken to, for he said, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50. So in the times described in the previous verses, in the last days, the Lord gives a word of counsel to his own people, and he gives this counsel because of the times that are here described; so he says, “Be patient, therefore, brethren.” And what further?—“Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.”
Then the great meaning, above all other meanings, which all these things bear to the people of the world to-day is, that the Lord is coming. These are signs, evidences, clear and plain, of the coming of the Lord, that are being held before the eyes and upon the attention of all the people, so that it is impossible that they should not see them. Whether the people will believe that these are signs of his coming, or not, is for the people themselves to decide. The Lord has fixed upon these things in his Word, and says that that is what they are. And those who would be the brethren and the people of the Lord, must see in all these things that meaning which the Lord says is there; namely, that the Lord is coming.
The scripture continues: “Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and the latter rain.” As certainly as the sowing of the seed by the farmer means a certain result, and the farmer certainly expects that result, so certainly these things which are described in this chapter, and which all the people now see, mean a certain result, and mean that the people seeing these things can as certainly expect that result as the farmer may expect the result from his sowing. Then, just as the farmer, when he has planted his grain, waiteth patiently for the harvest, so the Lord would have his people wait patiently for that harvest, which is to be the end of this sowing, and “the harvest is the end of the world.” Matthew 13:39.
Consequently the scripture continues to counsel of God, “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door.” Then the coming of the Lord is so near, and the Judge, standing before the door, is so nearly ready to open that door and call all men to account, that it is too late to indulge grievances, complaints, and grudges against others. Of course, there is never time for any such thing as that, but now, of all times that there have ever been in the world, there is the least time for such things and the greatest risk in indulging them. “The coming of the Lord draweth nigh,” “the Judge standeth before the door,” and as “every one of us” is to “give account of himself to God,” and as that account is about to be called for, the thing to do is for every one to have his account so squared up each day and each hour, that if the Judge should open the door and call for the account, it can be rendered with joy and not with grief.