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AMID WARS AND RUMOURS OF WARS.
Such are additional predicted signs of the nearing exhaustion of our present mundane economy. It is true, as objectors urge, such rumours have been heard more or less in all ages. But toward the end the air will be more electric; men’s presentiments more intense and pronounced; the preparations for war by the nations of the earth more gigantic and menacing; and the susceptibilities of kings and peoples far more sensitive.
This condition is proved by facts to exist, and these facts are daily chronicled by the press. Instead of dilating and dwelling on the obvious meaning of the prophecy, we will produce the echoes of its words and leave them as undoubted witnesses to the fulfilment of the Divine sign. Living history records facts that are the fulfilment of prophecies. Man acts, the historian writes, and the reader recognizes words uttered eighteen centuries ago, in the shape of deeds done in 1867.
There is no evidence stronger than that of facts; and no illustrations of the first century fresher and clearer than the deeds of the nineteenth. We bring the prophet's words to the test of the historian's recorded events, and thereby we recognize Divine inspiration in the one and Divine providence in the other. God inspired the Bible, and man unconsciously and the annalist unintentionally proves “ Thy word is truth.”
The Times writes in April, 1867:-“While Europe is being made into an armed camp,' and not only the ordinary political alarmists, but sober mercantile men, have a suspicion that important events are in store for us, our own Foreign Office, however cautious its chief, cannot avoid being drawn into the controversies which agitate courts and embassies. The irrepressible Eastern Question seems likely to mix itself with any disputes which may arise on the Rhine or in Central Europe. It is boasted that an organization exists, and that at some not remote time the Turkish Government will be assailed by the great mass of its Christian subjects, and that they will have the sympathy and support, not only of Russia, but of all the chief Powers of the Continent. The events of the last few weeks indicate that these expectations are not entirely unfounded.
"Since the Volunteers were mustered last Easter at Brighton the greatest battle since Leipsic has been fought, and the most ancient and honoured state of Europe has been humiliated and almost overthrown. A new weapon has become famous, another revolution
in the art of war has been effected. All the gunsmiths in the world are besieged with orders for breech-loaders on various principles, each warranted by its inventor to slay more human beings than its rival weapons in the same space of time. To this we have come after centuries of Christianity and morality, and, what the philosophers of the age value still more highly, increasing international intercourse and commerce. The past campaign is everybody's story at the present time; the war which is possibly to come is their speculation. Who will be parties to it ? when will it begin? what will be the issue ? can it be averted ? and, if not, will it be possible to keep clear of it ? are the questions which each one asks or reflects upon. So general is the fever that it is thought even Italy, which has gained almost everything she has to gain, will hardly shrink from the abyss of bankruptcy when she scents the battle afar off on the other side.”
The Opinione Nationale says, April 5, 1867:—"It cannot remember in the history of modern Europe a more strange and more menacing situation than the present; that one would almost be inclined to say that some outward and fatal force has substituted itself for the will of mankind and was pushing them on, in spite of themselves, along a downward slope on which they cannot stop short, and at the end of which war awaited them-fatal, irresistible, and inevitable.”
These words of the French newspaper remind
one of the prophecy in Rev. xvi. 14, “The spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the war of that great day of God Almighty."
The late Sir Archibald Alison, in an address in Glasgow, in April, 1867, said :—“A dreadful war is about to commence on the Continent, which will, to all appearance, terminate in the undisputed supremacy of one Power. What such power will be as yet lies buried in the womb of time; but of one thing we may be well assured, that whichever gains on the Continent will ere long turn its victorious arms against this country—the only remaining check on its ambition.”
The Spectator wrote, March 30, 1867:-“Napoleon cannot bear to be always baffled; the American complication is over; the French are in the dangerous mood which the idea that their influence is waning always inspires; England is paralyzed by internal dissensions, and indisposed in any event to interfere with France ; Germany is exalted till it will bear no menace; the East is stirring and heaving with excitement; all things point to that greatest of earthly calamities—a general European war. We have still three months, for Napoleon must give the signal, and the Exhibition does not close till August; but if he lives, and the foreseen does not arrive, Germany will yet be welded into a harder unity by blows from the outside.”
The Globe thus wrote in April, 1867:—“Although
Europe has vowed to have peace for this year, whatever may happen afterwards, it begins to be doubtful whether it is in the power either of kings or cabinets to postpone for that period the hour of conflict. That a great war is impending is certain : it is only a question of time ; and it is in south-western Europe that we may look for the initial movements precursive of the storm. Hitherto there has been every reason to believe that the difficulties which beset the Turkish empire could be kept within bounds for another year at least; but we confess we no longer feel confidence in such an anticipation. While Candia is in open insurrection, and begins to receive the sympathy of Italy as well as Greece, and with Servia meditating not only to throw off the yoke of the Sultan, but also to annex to herself the adjoining Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovine, it is no light task to keep under the gathering flames. And lastly, while the Grand-Duke Nicholas of Russia drinks success to the Candian insurgents, an order is despatched to the military authorities in Poland and the Baltic provinces (and probably other parts of the empire also) to recall all men to the ranks before the 1st of April. Doubtless this is purely a precautionary measure : but such precautions are not taken save when serious troubles are thought to be approaching.”
The following remarks in the Times, March 11, 1867, are more than a rumour. They are the shrewd guess of one “who has understanding of the times,"