VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
ABOUT MISSIONS IN CHINA.
FRANCIS H. NICHOLS, an American traveler, writes in the Atlantic Monthly:
"Perhaps in the higher sense, that 'no power is lost that ever wrought for God,' it is not wholly correct to say that efforts to introduce Christianity into China have failed. But humanly speaking, in proportion to the amount of money, lives and effort expended, they have apparently not met with great success. The small number of converts after one century of Protestant and three centuries of Roman Catholic endeavor is the least part of the failure of missions in China. All over the empire today there prevails a spirit of hatred and antagonism to Christianity so intense and so peculiar that a certain brilliant missionary in describing it had to coin a new word. He has called the feeling of the provincial authorities of Shantung toward Christianity 'Christophobia'. Usually it is specially stipulated when foreign teachers are engaged for recently organized government schools that they shall make no reference even in the remotest way to the Bible or to anything connected with it. In the gradual subsiding of the Boxer storm the one kind of foreigners warned to keep away from a troubled district are always missionaries. Except in the few places where they are numerous enough to form a community by themselves, Christian converts are ostracized, boycotted, and sometimes persecuted."
ENGLAND'S POOR LESS PROSPEROUS.
"It is estimated that 500,000 persons are idle in the United Kingdom and the board of trade returns show the largest per centage for ten years past of unskilled persons out of work, while the proportion of skilled men without employment is constantly growing. The Woolwich arsenal authorities have discharged 2,000 mechanics since the winter set in and are preparing to let out 4,000 more.
"To the army of people out of work must be added 56,000 members of the army reserve who have been released from service with the colors. The worst distress naturally is visible in the east end, where thousands of unemployed persons daily congregate at the dockyard gates, literally fighting for a chance to do a day's work. Unskilled laborers are there in strong force, and the police find it necessary to escort the foremen who distribute the work tickets each morning.
"A number of newspapers have started subscription columns, and daily print harrowing stories of half-clad school children, many of whom are without food except scanty luncheons furnished by sympathetic teachers. A number of the London suburban councils are starting public works in order to employ a portion of the idle persons. The Canning Town suburb, where the distress is keenest, has appropriated $50,000 for relief work."
FINANCIAL PROSPERITY OF U.S. CHURCHES.
The Boston Transcript, reviewing the progress of religious matters in the United States during 1902, gives the following summary--the many millions of which cast quite into the shade our report of last December. But the Lord knows how much prosperity the truth can bear advantageously and we bow to his wisdom. Ere long the change will come--truth will be prospered and error will be put to flight. The clipping reads:
"Church interests, maintenance and betterments are now costing the people of the United States $260,000,000 a year. And this vast sum does not include $70,000,000 which is given in benevolence, outside of government charity, and in sums above $5,000 each gift. Of this benevolence $3 in every $4 comes from members of churches. It cost to maintain all Baptist churches in the United States last year $14,138,195, all Episcopal churches $15,184,926, and all Congregational churches $10,276,105. Figures for Reformed Churches (Dutch) last year are $1,622,696, and for Presbyterian (North) $17,080,191. To maintain all Methodist churches, South and North, cost last year $24,552,800. These figures in every case include betterments. [R3148 : page 52] They also include contributions to missions, both home and foreign. Financial figures for Roman Catholic churches are unobtainable, in great part because Catholic officials do not themselves collect them."
HIGHER CRITICISM GAINING GROUND.
The following dispatch shows the progress being made by skepticism--infidelity:
"London, Jan. 14.--The Times' Berlin correspondent says that Emperor William appears to be taking a keen interest in what is called the higher Biblical criticism. He recently expressed publicly views which formerly he was understood to regard unfavorably, and spoke of the necessity of further development in religion.
"The Kaiser is on terms of personal friendship with Prof. Harnack, the leading exponent of the higher criticism, but appears to be influenced even more by Prof. Delitzsch, whose lecture, 'Babel und Bibel,' he recently caused to be re-delivered to a select audience at Potsdam palace.
"On Monday night the Emperor and Empress and other exalted personages listened to a lecture wherein Prof. Delitzsch expounded views denying the divine origin of the Bible and finding a Babylonic source for much of the Old Testament doctrine of theology."