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children of Chicago that never heard of the complete diagnosis of the national Jesus Christ except from the profanity disorder in one sentence: of the streets,—worse conditions in New York, and like conditions in all large them, Ye exact usury, every man of his
“I rebuked the nobles, and said unto cities. The glory of an independent
brother."-Neh., 5:7. home; twenty millions of children in this Christian land with no chance to inherit It had now been nearly a hundred years from their parents even a grave plat, and since the return of a large part of the Jewbut scant chance of ever owning an acre ish people from Babylon. The mass of by their own toil.
them came back poor. A few who had The laws regulating Tools were like- made money in Babylon had opened pawnwise violated by the Southern kingdom, shops and real-estate-mortgage offices, and these violations invariably brought charging one per cent. per month, as apdisaster.
pears from verse eleven of the chapter The following gives a faint picture of quoted. The collection of rents referred their effect on the political life of the peo- to in the same verse was only an incident ple and upon their public interests in of the loan business resulting from the ungeneral.
pleasant necessity of foreclosing mortNehemiah, who was to the Jews what gages on such land as could not pay twelve Agis and Cleomena were to the Greeks, per cent. besides supporting the farmers and the Gracchi were to the Romans, a and providing for the king's tribute. prophet come in time to delay but not to During this reign of Interest, by means divert national disintegration. In the of “Eastern money” generously loaned fifth chapter of the book which bears his for the “development of the West,” not name he gives us a picture of the effect of a stone had been relaid in the walls of interest which, for realism, is excelled Jerusalem or any other Jewish city, and nowhere in economic literature:
the people were in “great affliction and “And there was a great cry of the peo- comfort for the masses was as rare as pub
reproach.” (Nehemiah, 1:3.) Private ple and of their wives against their breth
lic enterprise among the rulers. The ren, the Jews. For there were that said, We have mortgaged our land, vineyards too poor to build houses; and beset on
common people lived in shacks and tents, and houses, that we might buy corn. We
all sides by enemies, without city-wall have borrowed money for the king's tribute, and that upon our lands and vine protection, permanent houses would have
been destroyed as fast as built. (Neh., yards. Yet now our flesh is as the flesh
7:4.) of our brethren, our children as their chil
Ezra and Zerubabel, as their first task dren: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, dred years before, had rebuilt the temple
on the return of the Jews nearly one hunand some of our daughters are brought and reëstablished the priesthood. If reinto bondage already: neither is it in our
ligious rites could ever bring popular prospower to redeem them; for other men have our lands and our vineyards.”-Ne- perity without economic justice, good
times should have been enjoyed by the hemiah, 5:1-5, condensed.
Israelites when they first returned to their This would seem to be a picture of evils ancient heritage. But then, as now, the of land monopoly; but as if to emphasize pawn-shop paralyzed the pulpit. the economic fact that all economic history The marvelous prosperity which folhas writ large, that Rent would be Sam- lowed this period of debt and degradation son shorn of his locks but for the coöpera- when Nehemiah abolished usury and tion of its twin brother, Interest, he gives compelled the restoration of both interest and rent that had been collected during houses of hewn stone and ye shall not this reign of robbery, mentioned in a dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant former article of this series, reveals more vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine fully the blackness of this century of eco- of them. nomic night.
“Therefore wailing shall be in all the In spite of all efforts of statesmen like streets, and they shall say in all highways, Nehemiah to reëstablish permanently the alas! alas!”—Amos, 5:11-16. economic system of Moses, and of prophets like Malachi to make religion and
The most specific charge against the social justice synonymous, the trend of Northern kingdom, however, was that of this people continued steadily toward the tampering with the currency and making fulfilment of the prophecy of Ezekiel: a dear shekel, thus using the market for
robbery: “There is a conspiracy of her prophets like a roaring lion, ravening the prey;
“Hear this, O ye that swallow up the they have devoured souls; they have needy, even to make the poor of the land taken the treasure and precious things; to fail
, saying, when will the new moon her priests have violated my law.
be gone, that we may sell corn? And “Her princes in the midst of her are
the Sabbath that we may set forth wheat, like wolves ravening the prey, to shed making the ephah small and the shekel blood, and to destroy souls to get dishonest great and falsifying the balance by deceit. gain. And her prophets have daubed That we may buy the poor with silver and them with untempered mortar (modern the needy for a pair of shoes.
"Shall not the land tremble for this, vernacular-"whitewash"), seeing vanity and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus and it shall be cast out and drowned as by saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath the flood of Egypt.”—Amos, 8:4-8. not spoken.
It will be noted that these “Captains of “The people (ruling class) of the land Industry” whose genius reduced the price have used oppression and exercised rob- of a man to a pair of shoes, were a pious bery, and have vexed the poor and the folk so far as the observance of the Sabneedy: yea, they have oppressed the bath and feast-days was concerned, but stranger wrongfully. And I sought for on the market “business was business”; a man among them who should make up but Israel found, as we may yet find, that the hedge and stand in the gap before me Sabbath observance is not religion, nor for the land, that I should not destroy it: Fourth-of-July festivities patriotism of but I found none.
the kind that saves. “Therefore have I poured out my in- In connection with this degeneracy of dignation upon them; I have consumed Israel, were the debauching of the youth them with the fire of my wrath: their own and the suppression of all the enthusiasm way I have recompensed upon their heads, of the young for political purity, and the saith the Lord God.”—Ezek., 22:25–31, forbidding of religious agitation against condensed.
public wrong, as already noted in conThe evils of land monopoly cursed the nection with the same evils in Judah: kingdom of Israel as well as that of Judah, “And I raised of your sons prophets, and the violation of the law of land tenure, and of your young men for Nazarites, but especially in the matter of rent, is assigned ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and by Amos as the cause of its downfall: commanded the prophets, saying, Proph
esy not."-Amos, 2:11-12. “Forasmuch, therefore, as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from The college that will not allow the truth him burdens of wheat; ye have built on social problems to be taught to its
students, and the ecclesiastical muzzle "Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, designed especially for ardent young min- that are in the mountains of Samaria, isters, are not wholly modern institutions. which oppress the poor, which crush the
As to the effect of these violations of needy, which say to their masters, Bring, economic law on the social life, “race let us drink.”—Amos, 4:1. suicide" so much deplored by strenuous
tends to sustain the constatesmen in recent times, was not omitted
passage from this ancient catalogue of calamities tention of the economic reformer that it having their root in economic law, as ap
is useless to waste social energy in the pears from the following:
attempt to suppress intemperance while
economic oppression creates conditions “They have deeply corrupted them- that make it impossible, that the chief selves as in the days of Gibeah:* There- cause of the drink evil lies deeper than fore He will remember their iniquities; the drink, and that the saloon will go only He will visit their sins.
when the economic causes that make it “As for Ephraim (used by metonymy inevitable shall go. for the northern kingdom), their glory From the foregoing it should clearly shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, appear that the downfall of the Jewish from the womb, and from the conception. Democracy, the division of the Jewish Give them, O Lord: What will Thou Monarchy, the captivity of the kingdom give them? give them a miscarrying of Israel by the Assyrians, and the utter womb and dry breasts. Ephraim is dispersion of the ten tribes composing it smitten in their root and dried up; they into an oblivion so deep that all attempts shall bear no fruit. My God shall cast of history to fathom it have failed, the them away because they did not hearken captivity of the two tribes composing the unto Him: and they shall be wanderers kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians, among the nations."-Hosea, 9:9-17. their subsequent oppression by various
nations, and their final obliteration by the Not only in matters of land and money Romans, together with innumerable midid Israel fatally sin, but there was a disregard of general commercial relations tion of the fundamental law of this people
nor disasters, are all chargeable to violasufficient for national disintegration:
relating to Land and Tools. “For three transgressions of Israel,
The Jewish people, however, are not and for four, I will not turn away the pun- the only example which the Jewish literaishment thereof; because they sold the ture furnishes of nations that fell because poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of the violation of economic law. of shoes; they pant after the dust of the Ezekiel says to Jerusalem: earth on the head of the poor, and turn way the ,
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy themselves down upon clothes laid to sister, Sodom, pride, fullness of bread,
and abundance of idleness was in her and pledge.”—Amos, 2:6-8, condensed.
in her daughters (suburbs); neither did Other national sins, not strictly viola- she strengthen the hand of the poor and tions of economic law, are often referred the needy.”—Ezek., 16:49. to as causes of national disaster, but they will invariably be found on close exami
Much has been said of the social abomnation to be conditions growing out of inations of Sodom, but seldom have they economic wrong; such, for instance, is been referred to the extremes of wealth intemperance:
and poverty growing out of the violations
of economic law, notwithstanding the * Referring to the economic and social evils resulting in the first civil war mentioned in the begin- plain language quoted above. ing of this article.—(Judges, 19:1-30.)
Jeremiah says of Babylon:
“O thou that dwellest upon many
What has seemed to be the wiser course waters, abundant in treasures, thine end has been followed; giving by quoted refis come, and the measure (penalty) of erence Moses and the Prophets, with but thy covetousness.”—Jer., 51:13.
little comment or argument; for, as was
said to Dives who wanted Lazarus sent The charge against Tyre was:
back to earth to warn his five brothers “ By the multitude of their merchandise that they might not live in violation of the they have filled the midst of thee with Mosaic law of social justice as he had violence, and thou hast sinned, thou hast done, “If they hear not Moses and the defiled thy sanctuary by the multitude Prophets neither will they be persuaded of thy iniquity, by the iniquity of thy though one rose from the dead.” traffic.”—Ezek., 28:16-18.
He who uttered this sentiment in parIf the plain statement of social and able, who "knew what was in man" and economic laws, as given by Moses, and who “spake as never man spake,” realizthe prosperity that followed their observ- ing the hopelessness of curing economic ance, are not sufficient to convince readers ills by the mere letter of the law, sought of the Bible of their binding force, the the solution of the vexed economic probwoes that wait upon their violation, which lem with which Moses struggled, by giving are described in the passages quoted, and to the world a spiritualized ideal of ecoin innumerable other passages which we nomic life. do not have space to quote, and which While ratifying specifically every prinare seen to-day on every hand, in every ciple of the Mosaic system, this new so-called civilized nation, should be suffi- Prophet announced a new Economic, cient. Attention has been called to both, and founded thereon a higher Ethic than without censure or denunciation of those was possible under the Mosaic régime. who profess to believe the Bible and teach Of this we shall inquire in the articles to its truth, and yet either ignore or apolo- follow on the “Economics of Jesus.” gize for the social wrongs which it con
GEORGE MCA. MILLER. demns.
Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Ill.
HUMAN LIBERTY OR HUMAN GREED?
By Ex-CONGRESSMAN ROBERT BAKER.
WOULD counsel the people to let January 6th. We are told that the speech
the streets of Tucson run with the evoked scenes of almost riotous enthublood of martyrs as have the gutters of siasm.” But what was the occasion ? Warsaw!”
Was the orator calling upon them to
arise and defend themselves from an imStrange language and strong, surely, pending foreign invasion ? for the mayor of a large American city to Was he enunciating some great docaddress to the people of a distant section trine of human rights and human liberty ? of the United States. What great danger Was it to assert that human life must threatened the people of Arizona that the always be held sacred, no less for the FiliMayor of Milwaukee should thus address pino than for the American ? them?
Was it to express sympathy with an The meeting at which this language oppressed people—the Jews in Russia, was used was held at Tucson, Arizona, for instance ?