Of the things that we have spoken, this is the sum. The moral and political
history of mankind for the last twenty-five centuries is the fulfilment
of a programme divinely revealed beforehand to Daniel in Babylon. This
grand outline, which includes the chronological relation of the events
predicted to the coming kingdom of God, is given in the brief but pregnant
sentence of the angel, "Four kingdoms shall arise out of the earth;
but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it
for ever, even for ever and ever."
The period in which the saints are destined to do this- fixed from the beginning in the eternal counsels, mysteriously indicated in this prophecy, and made plain in these days by providential fulfilments-is, as every sign of our time indicates, at hand. It will be a day of sore judgment on the corrupt Papal apostasy and on all kindred false professions of the name of Christ, but a day which will bring eternal glory to the true Church, and unspeakable blessing to the repentant remnant of the Jewish people, as well as to the spared nations of the Gentile world. It will come suddenly and unexpectedly, when least looked for by men, and the generation now living is likely to witness its advent. With united voice history, chronology, astronomy, and Scripture endorse this solemn conclusion, and bid the Church lift up her head, because her great redemption is now close at hand.
Now knowledge is the guide of action. If we know these things, happy are we if we act accordingly. We do well to learn and to believe; but "faith without works is dead." Let all who believe in the near coming of the Lord show their faith by their works.
TRUE BELIEVERS, hold fast till He comes! Trim your lamps, and be ready; we have not long to wait. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." "Let us not sleep, as do others." "The Lord is at hand." Let us awake, and act!
YOUNG CHRISTIANS, with all your fresh powers, your vigour of mind and body, your attractiveness, your sympathies, your knowledge of the truth, your warmth of first love, what are you doing with your priceless possessions in these few and final hours before the King cometh to take account of His servants? Redeem the time; for the last sands are running in the hour-glass of this evil age, and on every side work in profusion is awaiting willing hands and loving hearts.
UNSAVED reader of these lines, what are you doing to lay hold on eternal life before this day of salvation closes? Oh, cease trifling, cease putting off, cease to hide from yourself the certain fate of all unbelievers. How shall you escape if you neglect Christs great salvation? You may be moral in your relations to your fellow men, but what are your relations to God? He claims, and justly claims, the first place in your heart and mind; your deepest trust, your warmest love; you are not giving Him these, and hence the day of Christ, which glows with glory and joy to His people, looks dark and dreadful to you. We speak to you in His name. He died upon the cross that all who believe in Him should be justified and saved. His message to you is in your mouth and heart. BELIEVE AND LIVE! Turn. Trust. Be reconciled to God. Take His gift freely. Learn, and you will love. Then Christ shall be in you-your own, your All.
SCEPTICS, you who reject with a smile of superior wisdom the very notion of inspired prophecy and of God in history, we challenge you to account for the numerous and unquestionable facts set forth in this volume. Here are proofs of fore-knowledge and prediction which you cannot honestly gainsay. The day for denying the true date of Daniel is past. Can you give any credible account of the fore-view of human history contained in his book? Is it within the power of man to discern and delineate the events of twenty-five future centuries, with their times? Yet you are witnessing in the political condition of Europe this day that which was foreseen and foretold in the days of Nebuchadnezzar! What does this mean? It means that the Mind which made your mind is appealing to it. God has not left Himself without a witness! He is saying to you, "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them." "Who hath declared this from ancient time? . . . have not I, the Lord? and there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me." If the Bible be not Divine, you will lose nothing by studying it candidly; while if it be so, you may gain more than tongue can tell! "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Search the Divine word. He who will not search shall not find.
STUDENTS OF THE SURE WORD OF PROPHECY, let no anti-Christianism surprise you. Before Christ, antichrist. (Cyprian.) Such is the foretold order. We have had the great predicted historic antichrist in the self-exalting head of Papal superstition; we have now its soul-destroying result and outcome in the existence of modern infidelity. But the darkest hour is that before the dawn. Let us gird on our armour for the final conflict, and strive for the reward promised "to him that overcometh."
The "sure word of prophecy" was given for the guidance and establishment of faith. The apostasies of the falsely professing Church, its fall into vice, superstition, and infidelity, viewed as foretold, ought to be a confirmation of our faith! The fact that the Jews fulfilled prophecy in rejecting Christ is one reason why we receive Him. The fact that so large a portion of Christendom now in another way rejects Him was equally foretold, and is an added reason why we should cleave to Him in faith.
May we see through this anti-Christianism, tracing it to its roots in the historic past, and to its fruits in the foretold future! May the despairing infidelity, the scoffing unbelief, the Christ-rejecting, God-ignoring blasphemy of these days be seen in their true light, as the natural, predicted consequence of the long-continued corruption of the professing Church! It is a question of the rotting of dead branches severed from the true and living Vine, of the mortification of lifeless members. Modern infidelity is the legitimate outcome of the great apostasy, which, having passed through many and various stages, is now assuming its final form. Long has been the warfare waged by the powers of darkness "against Jehovah and His Anointed"; now the last conflict has set in. Let us not shrink from it ! The world has never changed in its rejection of Christ, nor the true Church in its faith in Him. The cross is still "a stone of stumbling and rock of offence" to the disobedient, but still also "the power of God unto salvation" to every one who believes. Let us remember the solemn and repeated warnings of the word of God. Is it not written, "They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables"? Is it not written, "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful"? Is it not written also, "But ye, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." But instead of apostatising thus, "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever."
May the spirit of careless security, the popular "peace and safety" cry of these days, which is the foretold precursor of the coming of "sudden destruction," have no power over us to lull us into unwatchfulness and unbelief! Let us not expose ourselves to the reproachful question, "Could ye not watch with Me one hour?" May we "be diligent" that we "may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless"! May we "abide" in Him, and abound in the work of His service according to His word, "Occupy till I come"! May we stir up the gift that is in us, utilise the buried talents, and bring in the precious sheaves of the harvest field! "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
"NOW UNTO HIM THAT IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING,
AND TO PRESENT YOU FAULTLESS BEFORE THE PRESENCE OF HIS
GLORY WITH EXCEEDING JOY, TO THE ONLY WISE GOD OUR
SAVIOUR, BE GLORY, AND MAJESTY, DOMINION, AND POWER, BOTH
NOW AND EVER. AMEN."