Orson Hyde, socialist?
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Noah was lifted up over the surface of the earth in the ark on the swelling floods of the water until the Earth was purified and washed clean of the wicked, whereupon he landed safely on the mountains of Ararat. He saw the waters falling away and the dry ground emerging, and he looked around and found that he was the sole heir and monarch of a new world, for there was no one left to contest his claims. Thus will it also be with the true sheep of the Good Shepherd who remain alive on Earth until the time of the second coming of Christ, when they will be caught up in clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then the vial of God’s wrath will be poured out over the godless with no admixture of grace, for the salt has been taken from them by the Savior, and nothing is left to save the world.
Our blessed Lord himself once asked concerning His second coming, when He still walked in the flesh on Earth: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on Earth?” — He did not answer this question, but he well knew that those who had faith would be caught up from the Earth at this time to meet Him in the air, and that consequently there would no longer be any faith on Earth. But when the Earth is cleansed by the spirit of judgment, or when it is baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit; when Satan is bound and the fountains of wickedness sealed, then the Lord will descend with his people, while the vast ark of Heaven will echo with the triumphant exultation of the redeemed.(1) Admiring angels will listen to the joyful tones that glide from the lips of the redeemed like the shiny drops of the morning on delicate flowers. In their chorus, the words will resound: “By Your blood You have redeemed us for God from all nations, peoples, tribes and tongues, and have made us kings and priests before God to reign on Earth.”
Then they will see the promise fulfilled to them that was made more than 1800 years ago; “Blessed are the meek, for they will possess the Earth.” There will no longer be anyone who contests their claims, because they will own the earth like Noah, undisturbed and without fear.
After our first parents transgressed the Lord’s commandment by sharing the fruit, the Earth was cursed for mankind’s sake. Those who possess the most earthly riches will therefore have the greater share of this curse, especially if they use them for their own aggrandizement and do not use them according to the admonishments of mercy and compassion. Therefore our Savior said: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to Heaven.”
“If you want to be perfect,” He further said, “then go, sell all you have and give it to the poor, and take up your cross and follow me, and you will obtain treasures in Heaven.”
This teaching is just as unpopular in our times as it was in the days when the Lord first taught it. The rich man turned away and departed—and so they will also do now. Therefore, not many of the rich and mighty or scholars and wise men according to the judgment of this world are called, for God has chosen the poor of this Earth who are rich in faith to become the heirs of His kingdom.
Those who hope to ride to Heaven in golden triumphal chariots and across the flowerbeds of prosperity will use all their ingenuity and all their skill to give a different interpretation to this doctrine so that their conscience may be lulled to sleep undisturbed in the cradle of wealth.(2) But they cannot make even a hair black or white; so said He who cannot lie. Therefore my advice to the rich is: “to make friends of the mammon of iniquity so that when they part from the Earth, they may be received in the eternal abodes.”
For my part, I look at the goods of this world as a master builder looks at the scaffolding that his workmen carry while they erect the walls of his palace.(3) He has no other pleasure in the scaffolding beyond its contribution to bringing his residence to completion. And so I have not the slightest desire for the riches of this world except as they may contribute to the building up of the cause of my master and to my support until I have completed the work which was given me to do. But then I hope through the grace of God to find rest in that temple that is not built by human hands, but shines with the glory of Him who died to save me and who now lives again to plead my cause with the judge over the living and the dead.
I have no personal objection to those who amass as much wealth as they can gather or wish for; nor do I envy the condition of such persons. I have only repeated here those principles that our Redeemer taught us, and that I am capable of giving to such persons as the best and most salutary counsel.
The desire to unburden myself of the duty imposed on me by my master moved me to make this remark, and in accordance with this impulse, I will add one more thing and then leave it to each person to decide how he wishes to act concerning this point. If the mighty ones of this Earth would be more generous to the poor, and cease from their pride, or let a good part of it go, they would be asked much less often to help compensate for those losses that so often arise from fire, earthquake or storm.
The time will come when the curse under which it has sighed for nearly 6000 years will be lifted from the Earth. When a king or some mighty man wishes to give a present to one of his special friends, he certainly chooses no trivial thing for it, but instead something characteristic of a noble generosity that commands respect and arouses admiration.
So also the Lord will rebuke the curse that lay on the Earth and clothe it again with the fresh green of Eden; indeed, He will bring back the Tree of Life and give it to his people. But as long as it still languishes under the curse, He is not inclined to grant it to them, for they would only use it like a thoughtless child uses a razor blade (to their own harm). Therefore lift up your heads, you virtuous and humble poor who do not complain about your situation and keep the commandments of the Lord, for this word of salvation is sent to you.
The rich can also have their share in this great inheritance if they take the appropriate measures. No, no one is excluded if he seeks it in a righteous manner.
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(1) The German word, Arche, is the thing Noah loaded animals into, and the text raises the topic of Noah and the flood in this passage. My guess is that Hyde either wrote or intended to write “arc of Heaven,” but wrote (or was understood by the translator as having written) “ark of Heaven.”
(2) Hyde too appears to have seen the Sunday school lesson on helping the poor turn into a discussion of why we shouldn’t help the poor.
(3) Here again the German word seems to be not exactly what Hyde is describing. The German word Baumeister is usually the architect or master craftsman overseeing construction, but what Hyde describes is more like a Bauherr, the person financing the construction and in this case the eventual resident of the house, or perhaps the two roles combined in one person.