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It is appalling to contemplate the woe and carnage that would follow in the wake of these forces, if once let loose. No wonder the statesmen strain every nerve to defer that day by their struggle to preserve the peace of Europe.
In the very midst of the scene, lawlessness lifts its hydrahead. Capital cringes before the coming revenge of labor. Jas. 5. Men's hearts fail them for fear of the things that be coming on the earth. And well they may, for Satan will combine all these forces in his mighty culminating effort to stamp out the name of God from the earth. He will head them up in his masterpiece, the atheistic Antichrist, who will deny both the Father and the Son.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." 1 Tim. 4:1.
Modern Spiritualism is by no means mere trickery. There is plenty of fraud and deception that requires darkened rooms and suspicious cabinets, but there are also unquestionable mysteries and spirit manifestations, demons that long to possess the bodies of men, wicked spirits which love darkness rather than light.
It is a definite sign of the times.
So also is Christian Science a doctrine of devils, for, like Theosophy, it denies the atonement of Christ, and asserts that every man is his own Savior.
There are said to be more esoteric Buddhists in and about Boston than there are natives in Australia. Christian Science has swept over the country like a prairie fire, and Spiritualism has its myriads of adherents. This surprising prevalence of these three delusions is, like a cloud of darkness, a sign that the end is near.
The day of the Lord (the revelation), shall not come, "except there come a falling away first." 2 Thes. 2:3.
The Laodicean, or the last state of the Church, is one so sickening that the Lord says He will spue it out of His mouth.* There is to be a dearth of faith especially in regard to the coming of the Lord. "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh shall He find the faith on the earth t" Luke 18:8.
An aged minister once said that he did not believe the Lord was coming for 60,000 years. I concluded that he could not be watching for it.
Post-Millennialists say very little about the coming of the Lord. An elderly Methodist clergyman in Florida, said that he had never heard only five sermons on the Lord's coming, and he preached them all himself. In many * large audiences where an expression has been taken it is surprising to see what a great majority have never heard a single sermon on this Blessed Hope, which finds so large a place in the Holy Scriptures.
There is a notable dearth of power in the preaching of the Word to-day! Men descant on how to reach the masses but the masses go on unreached.
Every period of hard times and business depression heretofore, has been followed by a wonderful revival. But not so this last time. Why so few conversions during this last era of hard times? There is evidently one answer. The attacks by Higher Critics upon the inspiration of the Bible have found so many adherents in the ranks of the clergy and theological professors who proclaim their doubts that the faith of the masses has been undermined and the great truths of the Bible have no longer that firm hold upon their consciences which has heretofore stimulated the disciples to faithful service, and brought sinners to repentance. With the great Greek church wedded to polities, the Catholic church worshiping Mary in the place of Christ and pronouncing blessing upon those who idolatrously kiss the toe of the image of Agrippina and Nero,*
*In the church of Saint Augustino, in Rome, is a marble statue of a woman and child, which, it is generally claimed represents Agrippina and Nero. This is denied by the Roman Church, but it appears to be evidenced, by the fact
(3) Rev. 3:16. So then be- neither cold nor hot, I will spew cause thou art lukewarm, and thee out of my mouth.
and the Protestant churches so largely stiffened with formalism and honeycombed with infidelity, we see the apostacy moving forward with such rapid strides that we again conclude the end is near.
V. World-wide Evangelism.
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, then shall the end come." Mat. 24:14.
We ought just here to explain that while the Church is the present agent for the world's evangelization she may be caught away at any moment. Then the tribulation saints—those who will believe by the very fact of the Church being caught away—may become the agents, for God will always have a witness in the earth. Later it may be converted Israel. Lastly it is to be a heavenly messenger.4
So we are simply to work while the day lasts, watching and waiting because we have no sign nor event that stands between us and the coming of the Lord.
But let us see what has been accomplished.
What is a witness?
We have only one exemple or illustration in the Word, and that is Jonah's three days preaching in the streets of Nineveh.
Every nation in the world to-day has a testimony comparatively as great, with the exception of Tibet, Nepaul and Bhotan and the Mohammedan countries of Afghan
that the latter is crushing a bird against his breast, showing the ferocious cruelty of his nature. This image has been consecrated by the highest authorities of the Catholic Church to represent the virgin Mary and the child Jesus. On the pedestal underneath is this inscription in Latin: "Our Lord, the Pope Pius 7th, concedes perpetually 100 days of indulgence, to be used once a day, to all those who devoutly kiss the foot of this holy image, reciting one Ave Maria for the needs of the Holy Church. June 7, 1822."
(4) Rev. 14:6. And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
istan and the Soudan, and into the former the Bible has already gone in great numbers, and missionaries stand at the doors waiting the privilege of entering in.
Is it not impressively significant that the missionaries sent forth during this century have seemingly without any human supervision, been impelled to go to every land, island, nation and tribe of the earth.
"Oh, Church of Christ, behold at last
The promised sign appear;
And lo! the King draws near."
VI. Rich Men.
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. ... Ye have heaped treasures together for (in) the last days." James 5:1, 8.
The accumulation of riches, in the hands of a few men, is specially characteristic of the present times.
It is needless to mention the financial kings who, through trusts and various manipulations, continue to add to their enormous estates.
If Adam had lived to the present time and accumulated $10,000 additional wealth each year of his life, this vast aggregate would not equal several individual fortunes which have been amassed in recent years.
What limit these colossal estates shall attain by joining "house to house" and "field to field," none can tell. But we know that "woe" has been uttered concerning it,5 and that it is distinctively a sign of the last days.
If we want to know our place in chronology, our position in the march of events, look at Israel. God says of Israel: "I will make a full end of all the
(5) Isa. 5:8. Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!
9. In mine ears said the Lord of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.
nations whither I have scattered thee, but I will not make a full end of thee." Jer. 30:11, R. V.
Like Tennyson's brook they can sing, nations come and nations go, but I go on forever. They are the generation which pass not away.
Israel shall be restored to Palestine and no more be pulled up out of their land.8
Hundreds of prophecies affirm this dispensational truth. Like the red thread in the British rigging, it runs through the whole Bible. Prophecies to the people like Ezek. 37, and prophecies to the land like Ezek. 36.
The title deed to Palestine is recorded, not in the Mohammedan Serai of Jerusalem nor the Serglio of Constantinople, but in hundreds of millions of Bibles now extant in more than three hundred languages of the earth.
The restoration was summed up at the first council of the apostles in Jerusalem, as their conclusion based upon the words of the prophets.7
As the fig-tree which Jesus found bearing nothing but leaves, Israel hath been set aside for a whole (aion) dispensation.8
(6) Amos 9:15. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.
(7) Acts 15:13. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16. After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the
ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17. That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
(8) Mark 11:13. And seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; tor the time of figs was not yet.
14. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever (an alon). And his disciples heard it.