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perplexity ; the sea and the waves roaring, men‘s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; and then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Most thoughtful persons admit that the evolutions of this age are startling and extraordinary. Many think they see in them shadows of rapidly-approaching change. Students of prophecy generally regard all that is passing as the presignificant events foretold in Scripture. This work so regards them. It is written in order to prove that the portentous phenomena of our day are those predicted in ancient prophecy, and clearly indicated therein as signs of the last times. The proofs adduced in these pages are taken from the records of that marvellous living history which chronicles every day with impartial pen the events and phenomena of the four quarters of the globe. The modern newspaper is aliving history—a daily record of events—0f authentic and reliable facts. These events and facts are laid side by side in this volume with ancient and inspired prophecies, and the reader in the exercise of his reason and private judgment is invited to decide whether the former be not the fulfilment of the latter, and both together the signs of the approach of evening and of the fall of “ that dark but short night,” in the depth of which the Sun of righteousness will rise and shine with healing under His wings.
The Rev. Samuel Garrett, in a most able and thoughtful commentary on the Book of Revelation, observes—
“ There is a striking agreement among expositors that the mystic period has almost run its course.” “ We are living in the very age toward which eyes have been directed as those of the closing days of the Church’s conflict, as long ago as the time of Martin Luther, though Luther, when his study of prophetic chronology led him to the 19th century, fell back upon the hope that the days might be shortened, and that Jesus Christ might come even in his own time.” “ It is a marvellous thing, and itself a sign that at this very point of time, when all these signs are gathering fast around us—when the long expectations of earlier prophetic students are meeting their full accomplishment—when the shadows of evening are falling on earth’s history—that this should be the time when not only men of the world, from whom it might be expected, but even Christian men should be found denying that there are, or were ever meant to be, any signs of Christ’s appearing. Why ? Because history is earthly, and the revolutions of empires are earthly, and the Christian is a creature of heaven, as though the earth were not the Lord’s, and its history the Lord’s.”
“ There is a very general agreement among historical commentators as to the fact that the chronology of prophecy has nearly run out.”
These are the just observations of one who has thoroughly studied the subject, and though I differ from his interpretation or rather chronology of the vials, I do, nevertheless, most heartily agree with him in his general estimate of the times in which we now live—in his expectation of yet more fearful complications, and in the solemn words of warning which he addresses to the whole Church of Christ. It is gratifying to know that there are increasing thousands who “ love His appearing,” and watch for His coming as they that watch for the morning, and lift up their heads in joyful and firm persuasion that their redemption draweth nigh. “ Coming events cast their shadows before,” and promised events send beams of light into waiting hearts. Error and apostasy will, no doubt, deepen and darken more and more. Truth and love, nevertheless, will increase in fervour and purity and area. The world will become more worldly, more bitter and scofiing. The Church of God will stand out more sharply defined—more conspicuous as a divine creation in the world, and yet not of the world—more aggressive on the realms of the wicked one—more successful in her work—till, having accomplished her mission on earth, she puts on her bridal robes at “ that day,” and is presented to her Lord a glorious Church, without spot and blameless. To be found then and there not having our righteousness, but His—this is safety, this is peace.
In words true and weighty :
“ It would be useless and even dangerous to desire to disguise from ourselves that Europe is at present passing through one of the most serious crises that have occurred since the commencement of this century.
“ There is hardly any country in Europe that has not its ‘ question.’ There are the Polish question, the Eastern question in Turkey, the question of dualism and federalism in Austria, the North Schleswig question in Denmark, the question of Germany on this and the other side of the Main, the question of Fenianism in England, and the question of Rome, planted upon the banks of the Tiber, but filling with its expectation and the eventualities that may issue from its solution all the Catholic peoples, and even, in our sense, all the civilized countries in both hemispheres.”