THE Rev. Chas. L. Bovard, a Methodist minister of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a contribution to the N. Y. Christian Advocate, of April 22, on the subject of “Some Alarming Tendencies,” says:—
“Ponder this. It is estimated that in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand people flocked to Denver and Albuquerque to see the pseudo Messiah—Schlatter! There is no need of comment upon the intellectual, social, and religious character of so credulous a populace. They are prepared for the wildest vagaries. Can it be that we are two centuries from Salem witchcraft? Nor was the Schlatter following chiefly confined to the ignorant Mexican population, but the cultured yet godless leaders of society were his stoutest defenders. It sometimes seems as though a ‘perverse spirit’ had been poured out upon the people of this nation, furiously driving them to cut loose from their every conservative mooring.”
What is the trouble? We are living in “the blazing light of the nineteenth century”; yet it may be doubted whether credulity and superstition were ever more prevalent than they are to-day. And not the ignorant alone, but “the cultured yet godless leaders of society,” constitute the ready victims of their power.
What is the trouble? Do we want more science, more public schools and colleges, more newspapers, more civilization? There was never so much of all this as there is at present. Yet it is nothing short of the truth that “it sometimes seems as though a ‘perverse spirit’ had been poured out upon the people of this nation, furiously driving them to cut loose from their every conservative mooring.”
Ah, there is a “perverse spirit” which works independently of all restraints of science and civilization, a spirit which runs riots in “the blazing light of the nineteenth century” as freely as it did in the ages before it. And that “perverse spirit” is the spirit of opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the spirit of selfishness and of the prince of evil, which sets at nought [sic.] the counsel of the Most High. This is an age of Bibles, yet the Word of God is not in the hearts of the people. The power and wisdom of God find no place for operation in their lives.
There is but one antidote and preventive of this perverse spirit which drives the people to such displays of credulity and superstition; and that is, truth; and not “truth” merely, but “the truth as it [sic.] in Jesus.” Ah, this is the education for the need of which the world is dying,—the knowledge of “the truth as it is in Jesus.” There can be no true education without the knowledge of Christ.
When the people know the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” they will have no desire to follow after other manifestations of power claiming to be divine. When they know the voice of the “Good Shepherd,” they will not be ready to heed the voice of a stranger.
No one, however capable or qualified by nature and education, need expect to escape the “perverse spirit” of this age and the delusions to which it leads, unless his education shall include an acquaintance with Him who is the Author and embodiment of truth. And that acquaintance can be secured by any and every person by receiving His word into the heart by faith.