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FROM every point of view the Year 1914 seems big with possibilities. The headlines of all the newspapers of the world tell that our Master's prediction of nearly nineteen centuries ago is being fulfilled—"Men's hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" in the present social order of affairs. Evidences multiply on every hand that the teachings of the Colleges for the past thirty years along the lines of human Evolution and destructive Higher Criticism of the Bible are bearing their fruitage. What only the educated and the wealthy a few years ago knew respecting these matters, people of all classes now know. Doubts about the inspiration of the Bible have led people to guess for themselves and to realize that all who reject the Bible are merely guessing at the future.
This matter affects the industrial classes as it does not affect the wealthy and the learned. The industrial classes, with little financial backing, do not feel satisfied with their own or other men's guesses respecting a future life. The next logical process of their minds is to inquire how we may know that there is a God, and in general to doubt everything. The next step in order is a determination to make the most of the present life, in view of their uncertainty about the future one. Under such conditions, can we wonder that Socialism in its various forms and phases is growing—that a general spirit of doubt and discontent is increasing?
So long as employment continues at profitable wages, the majority of these people are too cautious to desire a wreck of the social system, through whose operation they have a comfortable living and by whose destruction their comforts might be diminished. The world, therefore, must face the fact that, if dire necessity comes, as it has done in the past, the common people, the artisans of the world, will meet the situation differently from what their fathers did. Faith in God and in the Bible shaken—gone with most of them—we may be assured that a stoppage of the wheels of industry would speedily bring a terrible Time of Trouble to the civilized world. And these very conditions are threatened at the present time. It is on this account that many of the rich and influential are trembling as they face the near future.
The man or the woman possessed of a hope beyond the grave has in the storms of life an anchorage for the soul which others do not have. Should the time come, soon or later, when the social fabric will be stretched to the breaking point, when banks suspend payment of money to their depositors, when factories and mills are closed, when people are hungry, we may be sure that a roar and an explosion will not be long deferred. This awful condition is just what the Bible portrays. So far as our judgment goes, the Year 1914 is the last one of what the Bible terms "Gentile Times"—the period in which God has allowed the nations of the earth to do their best to rule the world. The end of their "Times" marks the date for the beginning of Messiah's Kingdom, which the Bible declares is to be ushered in with a great Time of Trouble, just such as we see impending.
As already pointed out, we are by no means confident that this year, 1914, will witness as radical and swift changes of Dispensation as we have expected. It is beyond the power of our imagination to picture an accomplishment in one year of all that the Scriptures seem to imply should be expected before the Reign of Peace is ushered in.
Letters from all over the world assure us that the sentiment of THE WATCH TOWER readers is in full accord with that of the Editor in a resolution that, whatever may occur or may not occur during these years, our faith in the great Divine Plan of the Ages and in the Harvest shall not be one bit shaken. We know in whom we have believed. We consecrated our lives to His service—even unto death, whether that death shall come within this year or at another time.
The signs of the times clearly indicate the near approach of the very trouble for which we have for forty years been looking. The signs of the Son of Man in the wonderful inventions and progress of the world are manifest to us. We believe that the Parousia of our Redeemer took place thirty-nine years ago and that He is the potent Factor in all the affairs of His Church and the Supervisor now of the conditions which will shortly lead up to the establishment of His own Kingdom and the binding of Satan, the Prince of Darkness.
We believe that the Year 1914 gives evidence of greater possibilities of service for the Truth than has any previous year of the Harvest. Moreover, all those who have tasted of the good Word of God and who are rejoicing in the light of Present Truth seem to be actuated by zeal for God and for His Cause and for His people, both in Babylon and out of Babylon, more than ever before. Besides, the number of these fully consecrated ones increases every day. Also the conditions are [R5373 : page 4] favorable to the opening of the eyes of understanding and the unstopping of the deaf ears of our dear brethren of various denominations.
Let us be more than ever on the alert, therefore, to be used and useful in the service of our King. Let us remember that the moments and the hours are important, that no matter how many cares of life we may have, we can always find some time for the service of the Truth, not only in our own hearts and homes, but also in doing good to all men as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith.
While watching for the consummation, while realizing that it will bring the Time of Trouble, while seeking to be as fully prepared as possible for whatever share we may have in that Trouble, let us not unduly emphasize this feature of the Divine Plan in presenting matters to our Christian friends of the world. Let us more and more cultivate a sobriety of mind, a loving tenderness of disposition, which will seek to tell only so much as may be necessary to be known. Let us emphasize the goodness of God and the great blessing that is in store for mankind and the nearness of this blessing and the grand results to be obtained. Let us tell that the fulfilment of our Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come," is close at hand!