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7. The conflict between Capital and Labor.

“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabbath. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and He doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. 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. 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” (James 5:1–9).

Observe that the above passage makes express reference to “the last days” (vs. 3). It tells us that in these “last days” there shall be a class of “rich men” (vs. 1). It speaks of them having “heaped treasure together” (vs. 3). It declares that their riches have been acquired by “fraud” (vs. 4). It makes mention of them having “condemned and killed the just” (vs. 6). It intimates that their rapacity and dishonesty will evoke and provoke a loud “cry” (vs. 4) from their victims. It denounces them for having “lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton” (vs. 5). It pictures the sorrows and anguish brought upon the laboring classes whose cries have entered into the ears of the Lord of hosts (vs. 4). It announces the terrible judgments of heaven which shall yet descend upon them for their crimes, and predicts that they shall “weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them” (vs. 1).

What human wisdom could have delineated so faithfully the present conflict between capital and labor! What mortal mind could have foretold, almost two thousand years beforehand, the amazing and heart-rending situation that is now before our eyes. Who but men “moved by the Holy Spirit” could have foreseen the recent rise of multi-millionaires, the accumulation and concentration of three fourths of the wealth of the world in the hands of scarcely one hundred men, the hoarded riches of the capitalist and monopolist, the extravagant and voluptuous living of the wealthy, the suffering which should be brought upon the laborer by the rapacity of his merciless employer! How remarkable is this prophecy in view of our twentieth century trusts and syndicates which corner the markets, hoard up raw materials, and rob the masses by fixing extortionate prices! And what is the significance of these things? They are another proof that the end of the age is reached. They are further intimation that the “last days” are upon us. The cries of the distressed poor have reached heaven, and the Divine Judge is just about to come to the deliverance of His people and deal in vengeance with those who have robbed them. The Lord’s people are not to resist and fight: the command is “Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned.” Believers are here urged to stablish their hearts and be patient, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” We turn now to consider.

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