A few years ago the watchmen who were in the light, proclaimed that the "Day of the Lord" had come; that the King of kings and Ruler of rulers had arrived and is present; that he had taken unto him his great power, and had begun his reign. At that time there was little or no outward signs of any such stupendous event; and very naturally, as clearly foretold, there arose scoffers, walking after their own desires, who sneeringly asked, "Where is the promise of his presence? (See margin of New Revision)...all things continue as they were," etc. Walking by faith, and not by sight; trusting the infallible Word of God, the watchmen proclaimed further as to what means would be used by the Stone Kingdom in striking the kingdoms of earth; that oppressed peoples would rise against the governments and throw them down. It was announced that the "Times of Restitution" had begun; and the faithless asked, Where? It was also clearly taught that the time had come when God's ancient people, the Jews, (beloved for the Father's sake) would be stirred up to begin to return to their own land. Lastly, the proclamation went forth, "Babylon has fallen," "Come out of her, my people, that ye partake not of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues."
As we said when these announcements began to be made, there were but few outward signs. It required implicit faith in the Word to believe that these things were to be fulfilled in "our day." Any believer almost was willing to assent to their being due two or three generations in the future.
While the world and a worldly church still lie in darkness, to those in the watch tower there has been increasing light. Already to any who have eyes to see, the outward signs are multiplying. Day by day we see all about us increased proof of our position. Compare 2 Tim. 3:1-7 with the days we live in, and see if the picture is not a faithful one. But such things have always been, says some one. True, to a certain extent, in accordance with verse 13; but are we not reaching a climax in wickedness? Judges, grand juries, and others who have opportunity to see and to know these things are alarmed at the prospect. The land is flooded with the vilest literature. The artist and the writer vie with each other in dishing up the horrid feast to the hungry army. And who compose this insatiate and ever-increasing multitude? Old and young, rich and poor—we had almost said saints [?] and sinners—we will simply say, church members. It is not in novels, story papers, etc., alone that the poison is found. If it were, we could easily keep it out of our homes. The reporters of the daily press have caught the infection, and news items that the briefest note of would be quite enough, are spiced and seasoned and served up steaming hot. If the facts are few, the reporter draws, without stint, on his morbid imagination for the balance. What kind of men and women will the rising generation make, fed on such slops? It is not difficult to see the result; it is already showing itself. Boys not yet in their teens are getting quite familiar with the revolver; a spirit of independence and lawlessness is revealing itself everywhere.
Enough of this picture; let us look at something else. It has been announced that the times of restitution have begun; and that Christ's kingdom now established, is about to overthrow the beastly kingdoms of earth. Be patient, it will take time. The forces are at work; see all over the earth the people are waking up and clamoring for their rights as never before.
The Czar of Russia has obtained the title of the Emperor Recluse, because he is afraid to go out amongst his beloved [?] subjects. He has not yet been crowned (it is a year since he became emperor). Plots have been discovered to blow up both him and his guests at the coronation, and it has been postponed. Failing to kill him, the Russians have been amusing themselves robbing and slaughtering the Jews.
The stories that come to us of these atrocities read like Indian massacres, or something worse. We clip the following: "In Southern Russia alone L16,000,000 ($80,000,000) in property have been lost, 100,000 Jews rendered homeless, and in 45 places where reliable statistics could be collected there have been 40 murders and 225 women subjected to torture." We hope, and rather think that the reports are, as usual, exaggerated, yet there may have been much that we have not heard of. Many are fleeing to America, but many more are destitute, and piteously appeal for help to come.
What does this mean in the light of prophecy? It means that we have reached the period spoken of in Jer. 30:7. "It is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it [read the context]. Their coming to America is, of course, not returning to their own land; neither will they go there in any such multitude at the first gathering. The prophecy says, "Ye shall be gathered one by one, O, ye children of Israel." Isa. 27:12. It is well to remember that there are over 30 years yet to accomplish this work. The recent developments and proposed improvements in Palestine, and all this trouble shows plainly that the present Lord has begun this work also.
What of Babylon? Are there any outward signs of her fall? Very many. People are waking up to investigate as never before. Reverence for old creeds is rapidly passing away. Among some this causes a searching to know the truth. (Blessed are those seekers.) Among others it brings nothing but skepticism, carelessness, and hypocrisy. Among the masses it produces infidelity—an utter disregard for many of God's laws, and contempt for all who profess his name. The trial of Guiteau has evidently been an instrument used to bring odium upon the Christian profession. The church is losing its power and falling into disrespect. The stars are falling: some one way, some another. Soon the lights will be all out—not even a candle left. Rev. 18:23. Already the merchants (priests) complain that "no man buyeth their merchandise any more." Read the clip from the New York Herald, in this paper, which shows that some of the denominations did not average one new member per church during the past year. The membership completely fails to keep pace with the growth of the population. One hopeful mission statistician is so pleased with the success amongst the heathen [where a chief commands and all his people are numbered in at once], that he asserts that if Christianity can only hold its own at home the world will in a few years be converted. What an [R342 : page 6] idea! It sounds like the derision of an enemy. It looks like an acknowledgment that what is now preached, though easily foisted upon and suited to the ignorant savage, is repudiated by the intelligent and civilized. And is there not much truth in this thought? Is it not a fact that the most intelligent and best of the people have outgrown the creeds? Some, unfortunately, failing to see the whole truth, have drifted off to sea; others are boldly attacking error with all the light they have. [See article "Liberty of Protestantism," in Zion's Day Star for Jan.]
One recent event should demonstrate to all that the house has been left desolate. Where in all the records of the past did a whole nation, almost as with one voice, cry to God in prayer without being answered? Did God ever do so with his chosen people? And did not all the orthodox churches in the United States pray that President Garfield's life might be spared? Even the infallible [?] Pope mingled his prayers with those of Ingersoll and the Protestant churches; and one proved as potent as the other.
If God has proved unfaithful it is the first time. Something is wrong. It evidently never happened before. One of two has become unfaithful. Is it the Unchangeable One? or rather, has not the hand appeared and written on the walls of Babylon, NUMBERED! NUMBERED! WEIGHED! DIVIDED! and above all in letters of fire, ICHABOD! W. I. MANN.