The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshalling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. While the Protestant (?) sects are coming daily into closer sympathy with the "Mother Church," as they rightly call the Church of Rome, the governments are doing likewise. The latest proof of this is found in dispatches dated January 1, 1886, in which it is announced that the Prussian government, which for several years past has been at enmity with the Church of Rome, proscribing many of her priests and bishops, declaring that the influence of Papacy is contrary to the peace and prosperity of the Empire, is now come into perfect harmony; and the Pope has decorated Prince Bismarck with the "Order of Christ," the badge of which is richly set in diamonds. This present was accompanied by an autograph letter from the Pope, and in return Emperor William of Prussia has decorated the Pope's chief secretary, Cardinal Jacobini, with the "Order of the Black Eagle," the most honorable decoration of the Prussians.
What of this you ask? A fulfilling of prophecy we reply. In the battle already beginning, we are clearly told that there will be a general division of the world into two contending parties. The kings, chief men, and mighty or influential men, the wealthy and the worldly great, are all on one side the battle, and with them the symbolic beast (Papacy) and Protestantism. All these unite their efforts, realizing that they must stand or fall together. (Rev. 19:18-20.) On the other side is the now present Lord, who, having taken his great power, begins the work of blessing the world by smiting down the oppressors—oppressive errors, and those influenced by the spirit of those errors, who attempt to monopolize the favors of God both temporal and spiritual, and to oppress the people in their own advancement.
But who are with the Lord in this great work of smiting down error and oppression? The kings of earth? No. Financiers and capitalists? No; their interests are on the other side the question also. And where will the professed ministers of Christ stand who were sent to declare the good tidings of the deliverance which the King of kings is now bringing about? Where will the dignitaries and the influence of the Nominal Church be found? With the Lord? Ah, no; they have become so identified with the world that their interests will be bound up together, and their influence will be given on the side of error and oppression, on the side of kings and capitalists from whom they receive their support and upon whom they have become dependent.
Who then are with the King of kings in this conflict? Those close to him, his "regular army" are few—a little flock. Among these his followers, all faithful and true, are not many great, or rich, or mighty, according to the course of this world; but they are all rich in faith—chosen and faithful. (Rev. 18:14.) But the new and rightful King has an immense army of "irregulars" in every kind of uniform (except the white of the "regulars") Communists, Infidels, Socialists, Anarchists, Nihilists; all these fight in the battle of the great day, though ignorant of him whose kingdom they help to establish. These are the vultures of Rev. 19:17,18,21, who battle for plunder and get their fill in the overturning of earth's kingdoms; because the time is come for the Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17,18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.
Meantime, while those who are in opposition to the kingdom of God and its scepter of righteousness, impartiality and justice, are being gathered to the great slaughter referred to above, (See Luke 19:27) the Lord's professed Church is having its trial completed. Its testing "so as by fire" is being accomplished, and the stewards are being heard as to the faithfulness or slothfulness of their stewardship. (Luke 19:15.) We see and feel this daily also, another evidence that the time for the glorifying of the Church, the body of Christ, is nigh at hand, after which they will shortly be manifested for the joy and blessing of the groaning creation. Rom. 8:19-23.
From the TOWER it seems evident that the deeply interested are daily becoming more so, as inspired by the truth they are making effort at the cost of inconvenience and sacrifices of various kinds to spread the glad tidings; while others who love the present world and its honors and comforts are becoming more and more cold and indifferent. This, too, is what we should expect. We are in the testing time, and must take our stand on one side or the other.
Many who inquired for the "suggestions" offered in our issue of September last, and engaged more actively in the work, are finding it a favorable opportunity for reaching hearing ears; and more than that we notice that their own hearts are being enkindled with the flame of the heavenly love in the message which they bear to those who sit in gross darkness all around them.
Financially also the outlook is more favorable than last year. The receipts of the "Tract Fund," from the sale of the Florida Lands donated a year ago, together with the voluntary donations received during the year past, have enabled considerable work to be done besides well nigh wiping out the debt that was upon us for some years previous. See statement of Secretary in another column.
All this is encouraging, and in the name of the Master, we bid his faithful ones be of good cheer, and of thankful heart; while we trust that we all shall be more faithful and more used in the blessed service during the year begun, and that it shall be yet more rich in grace, knowledge, love, and good works of faithful stewardship, let us render thanks for the favors and blessings past; for by the grace of God we are what and where we are.
To all the readers of the TOWER the Editor sends greeting and best wishes for the year 1886. May it be to all of you "A Happy New Year." Happy may ye be because of God's favors, realizing them in all the affairs of life, especially in the increasing knowledge of His plan and word of truth; in the privilege of suffering reproach and dishonor for the truth's sake, rejoicing and being exceeding glad that He counts you worthy to thus share the sufferings of Christ. (Acts 5:41.) May you have abundant and well improved opportunity for suffering reproach for the name of Christ and in suffering for well doing. (1 Pet. 4:14-16.) And being thus proved worthy of the everlasting glory reserved in heaven for such as thus follow in the Master's footsteps, may you have at the same time the joy of the Lord, rejoicing with an unwavering hope in "the glory that shall be revealed in us." Rom. 8:18.