The evidences are increasing on every hand which prove not that the Day of the Lord is near, but that it has come; that we are in it and that onward "it hasteth greatly." We are already in the time of which the Prophet spoke, saying, "The mighty man shall weep there bitterly,"the mighty in every sense of the word, in power, in wealth, and in religious influence. They are getting into the predicted distress, though the pinching process only begun, does not as yet cause them to cry out with bitterness; but surely and increasingly it is coming, as graphically described in Scripture language "as travail upon a woman;" with increasing severity, relieved by intervals of rest.
The stirring events of the past few weeksriots, strikes, lockouts, boycotts, etc., are known to all, and speak of a power which the mighty men, statesmen, capitalists and clergymen, little imagined or dreamed of a few years ago, when the TOWER in its first issues pointed out from the Scriptures that thus it would be.
Day by day, the forces gather and the trouble increases, yet so gradually have they come, that few are awake to their extent, or appreciate the situation fully; hence the present condition of affairs causes even less uneasiness than it deserves to.
Another point to which we called attention some time since, is being fulfilled. We pointed out that "The Beast" of Revelation 13:4-8 representing the Papacy, would in the struggle between capital and labor already begun, be found on the side of the "kings and mighty," and would with them be overthrown, and along with it the "false Prophet" (representing in symbol the various sects of Protestantism) as portrayed in Revelation 19:19. The fact that the "Two Horned Beast" was not mentioned at all in this final struggle we interpreted as signifying that that system (The State Church of England and Ireland) would pass out of existence as a "beast," or church and state combination.
Looking about us, we see that not only are Papists and Protestants coming closer together to the support of the "mighty," but to the support of each other, feeling that they must all stand or fall together. We see too that Germany, the once bitter foe of Papacy, has surrendered and granted it special rights and privileges in Germany, and honored it by submitting to the Pope state questions for arbitration; and the Pope in turn has honored Bismarck with membership in the so called "Order of Jesus," though as the opponent of Papacy, few ever earned more richly than he, the curses and anathemas of the Pope.
While thus strengthening herself with the "mighty and the chief-captains" on the one hand, on the other Papacy has commenced a crusade against labor organizations; and the public press reports show, that since our last issue a number of their Bishops have issued circular letters denouncing the workmen's association known as "The Knights of Labor," and ordering that their faithful shall not be identified with it.
This would have been a wise stroke of policy in times past, but is not to-day. In thus seeking the favor of the "mighty," Rome will surely lose her hold over the masses, whose intelligence is rapidly growing, and who are learning to think for themselves. The result will be as shown (Rev. 19:20), the governments will fall and these religious institutions will go into destruction.
The ecclesiastical power symbolized by the Two Horned Beast, is rapidly dissolving. The church as a governmental establishment in Ireland, has already passed away, and the ablest statesmen of England concede that it is only the question of a very short time when it will be disestablished in England. In fact a bill to this effect was introduced in Parliament this present month, and was evaded by but a small majority, because some felt that the question was scarcely ripe yet.
Thus we see the Two Horned Beast as such dropping from view, and we can thus account for the fact that it has no part in the struggle at its close as shown in Rev. 19:19,20. A "beast" is the symbol of a kingdom: hence the separating of the English church from the government will neither destroy the beast nor church; but since Revelation is treating of ecclesiastical beasts, it drops from view when it ceases to be an ecclesiastical government. In Rev. 19:19,20 its government appears among the othersamong the "kings of the earth," etc., and the English church is represented among the other Protestant systems in the "false prophet."
Thus, the great events of the "great day of God Almighty" are transpiring before our eyes. "The voice of the Chief Messenger" [Jesus] is separating among men and nations and systems, and the result as symbolically stated will follow, and is even now commencing: "He uttered his voicethe earth [society] melted." Even now the "trump of God" the "Seventh Trumpet" is sounding, and the events it introduces (Rev. 11:15-18) are visible to the eyes of the understanding of such as have had their eyes anointed with the eyesalve of truth (Rev. 3:18), and whose senses are exercised by reason of use. (Heb. 5:14.)
Be it remembered too, that we pointed out, that not only must a trial or test pass upon all the systems of Christianity in this hour of trial, but that it must also pass upon every individual in those systems manifesting, and separating the wheat from the tares. This work must be thorough.
The tares are those who profess to be wholly consecrated, but really are not: the wheat are those who are actually, as well as professedly, wholly consecrated to the Lord and his truth. The "harvest" work must separate these. It will in some manner test the sincerity of each individual professing membership in Christ.
Each one will be brought increasingly to the test"Lovest thou me"more than the houses, lands, business, friendships, luxuries, etc., of the present life? Lovest thou me so much more, that thou wilt leave the pursuit of these to follow me in the narrow path, using them only to the extent that necessity may compel; seeking chiefly the prize of your high callingjoint heirship with me in the kingdom?
It will be found that the breach will widen if you are not fully consecrated. If you are not rendering to the Lord according to your covenant, and according to your ability, you will more and more come to dislike such reminders of it as this, until, to a large extent, you will lose your interest in everything associated with it, or that reminds you of the greatness of the prize for which we run, or the narrowness of the way which leads to it and in which you are not walking.
On the contrary, if your consecration is full, and your spirit fervent, and your labor of sacrifice abundant, and its perfume constantly ascending before Godacceptable through Jesus Christ our Lordyou will go from strength to strength increasingly, and each additional self-denial, or self-sacrifice on behalf of the truth, will be an added pleasure, and bring you closer to the Master, and cause you to feel a deeper and clearer interest in the "harvest" work now in progress. And you will not only pray the Lord for more laborers in the harvest, but will be one of those to answer your own prayers.
While social and religious systems are falling, and melting in the presence of the Lord,in this the great day of his wrathwho shall be able to stand? "Who may abide the day of his presence? and who shall stand when he appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire." Make use of every means of grace for yourselves and others; "abide" in Christ; bring forth much fruit; let your light shine; and have on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand in this evil day; and having done all you can, having complied with your covenant, you shall stand complete in Him.