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    In the books both of Daniel and the Revelation distinct reference is made to that abnormal national experience known as “The French Revolution.” (See Daniel 11:36-39; Revelation 11:7-10.) The time when the principles of irreligion and infidelity were given full opportunity to bud and blossom and bear fruit, that all the world might judge of their nature; when men were left to show to what deeds of darkness the carnal heart would lead, unrestrained by any principles of righteousness and truth, was most appropriately noted in prophecy. And the descriptions given of the character of the last days by the same pen of inspiration, are such as to show that the masses will then fall, to a large extent, if not wholly, under the same principles of evil. While such is the representation of prophecy, it is a serious question in many minds whether the preliminary stages of this condition of things are not already appearing before our eyes, and if we may not now be on the threshold of one of those eras wherein “history repeats itself” in its worst forms.DAR1909 777.1

    Those who entertain the sentiments concerning the nature of our times set forth in some portions of this work, are often charged with being pessimists, alarmists, and looking too much on the dark side of the picture. To the charge of being alarmists in the bad sense of that term, we do not plead guilty. While there may be such a thing as imagining evils which do not exist, and anticipating trouble which never comes, there is, on the other hand, such a thing as crying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace, and shutting our eyes to real danger till it is too late to guard against it, and we find ourselves involved in irretrievable calamity and loss. The wisest of men has said, “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3. Noah was not an alarmist when he warned the world of the approaching catastrophe of the flood; nor Lot, when he warned the Sodomites that an all- devastating storm of fire was hanging over their doomed city; nor our Lord, when he foretold the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and gave his people directions how to escape it. Let us not be diverted from the real situation by the cry of “alarmist,” nor think that there can be no danger because all do not see it; for St. Paul has warned us that “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3.DAR1909 777.2

    But we need offer no apology for ourselves in this particular; for the strongest utterances we put on record are simply those we find in the secular press of the day. Even so cautious a paper as the Chicago Evening Journal, in its issue of Aug. 26, 1874, under the heading “The Reign of Crime,” drew the following picture of the times, which no one can say have been growing better since that time:-DAR1909 778.1

    “If Mr. Beecher used to be rather soft on the doctrine of ‘total depravity,’ we suspect he may have got more light on this point by this time. But Brooklyn does not by any means monopolize the illustrative evidence of it. Crimes of all sorts and sizes seem just now to be ‘breaking out,’ like the measles, all over the body social. The newspapers, if they give the news at all, have to be darkened with the wretched records of misdoings. We confess that the dailies at the present time are not so cheerful reading as might be. Suicides, murder, and the whole catalogue of offenses against God and man, are startlingly prevalent. Is it symptomatic of some great social disease, the seeds of which have long been growing, but long hidden? Is there some malign moral miasma in the air, some taint in the blood, some great, though subtle, popular error that has been silently conceiving sin, and is at last bringing forth iniquity? Or is it only a kind of spiritual contagion, or epidemic, like the epizootic, for instance, among animals, that has somehow got started, and is sweeping across the continent?DAR1909 778.2

    “Such questions are full of significance, even if not easily answered. The philosophy of epidemical influences in society is better understood than it was a generation ago; but we suspect the subject is far from being cleared up yet. We need more light both as to the incipient causes and the concomitant conditions which allow such alarming potency to causes that seemed to be latent, until, all at once, they break forth, as if thousands had suddenly taken to the habit of carrying loose powder and matches in the same pocket. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ Is it, then, that somehow communities get to thinking of the same ill things, and the bad thought becomes a tempting suggestion, and forthwith begins to work in the heart like a spark of an old-fashioned tinder-box? If so, one scarcely dares to think of the frightful consequences that may come of this Brooklyn scandal-sowing throughout the land.”DAR1909 778.3

    While this extract speaks of our own land, there is testimony to show that an equally alarming state of things prevails in Europe. As a representative statement upon this point, we quote from the distinguished and devoted J.H. Merle D’Aubigne, author of the History of the Reformation, who, just previous to his death, prepared a paper for the Evangelical Alliance, which was read at a meeting of that association. All thoughtful persons will consider his words most solemn, and his statements as startling as they are true:-DAR1909 778.4

    “If the meeting for which you are assembled is an important one, the period at which it is held is equally so, not only on account of the great things which God is accomplishing in the world, but also by reason of the great evils which the spirit of darkness is spreading throughout Christendom. The despotic and arrogant pretensions of Rome have reached in our days their highest pitch, and we are consequently more than ever called upon to contend against that power which dares to usurp the divine attributes. But that is not all. While superstition has increased, unbelief has done so still more. Until now, the eighteenth century - the age of Voltaire - was regarded as the epoch of most decided infidelity; but how far does the present time surpass it in this respect! Voltaire himself protested against the philosophy which he called atheistic, and said, ‘God is necessarily the Great, the Only, the Eternal Artificer of all nature’ (Dialolgues, XXV). But the pretended philosophers of our day leave such ideas far behind, and regard them as antiquated superstitions. Materialism and atheism have, in many minds, taken the place of the true God. Science, which was Christian in the brightest intellects of former days, in those to whom we owe the greatest discoveries, has become atheistic among men who now talk the loudest. They imagine that by means of general laws which govern the physical world, they can do without Him from whom these laws proceeded. Some remains of animals found in ancient strata of our globe, make them reject the creation of which the Bible inaugurates the account in these solemn words: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’DAR1909 778.5

    “Eminent literary men continually put forward in their writings what is called Positivism, rejecting everything that goes beyond the limit of the senses, and disdaining all that is supernatural. These evils, which had formerly only reached the upper ranks of society, have now spread to the working classes, and some among them may be heard to say, ‘When man is dead, all is dead.’ But there is a still sadder feature of our times. Unbelief has reached even the ministry of the word. Pastors belonging to Protestant churches in France, Switzerland, Germany, and other continental countries, not only reject the fundamental doctrines of the faith, but also deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and see in him nothing more than a man, who, according to many of them, was even subject to errors and faults. A synod of the Reformed Church in Holland has lately decreed that when a minister baptizes, he need not do it in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. A journal, when relating this fact, adds, ‘Will they then baptize in the God abyss?’ At an important assembly held lately in German Switzerland, at which were present many men of position both in the church and the state, the basis of the new religion was laid down. ‘No doctrines,’ was the watchword on that occasion. ‘No new doctrines, whatever they may be, in place of the old; liberty alone,’ which means liberty to overthrow everything. And too truly some of those ministers believe neither in a personal God nor in the immortality of the soul. For a portion of the European population there is no other gospel than that of Spinoza, and often much less even than that.”DAR1909 779.1

    Such words from such a source should cause the most thoughtless to pause and consider. Mark the expressions: The spirit of darkness spreading through Christendom, superstition and unbelief increasing, the present age far surpassing that of Voltaire in infidelity, atheism taking the place of God, science becoming atheistic, eminent literary men teaching Positivism; the masses becoming pervaded with these ideas, and even Protestant ministers denying the fundamental facts of the gospel, - these are the prominent features of the times.DAR1909 779.2

    Professor J. Cairus, D.D., of Berwick, England, draws the following picture of the present generation: “The advance, so rapid and wonderful, of science and art, and the progress of education and the diffusion of literature; the self-assertion, by long-oppressed nationalities, of their rights and liberties; the approximation to a commercial and political unity of the human race, - all tend to foster the idea of man’s inherent capacity, and to set afloat wild and chimerical schemes and hopes of moral regeneration, irrespective of Christianity. The dream of independent morality finds countenance. Theories of spiritual development, more exaggerated and fictitious by far than these of physical development, are accepted. The march of intelligence, or the revolutionary impulse, is to make all things new. Meanwhile, the sad and humbling aspects of the nineteenth century - its hideous vices and crimes, its luxury, selfishness, and greed set over against pauperism, debasement, and discontent; its wars and international feuds, with ever-increasing conscriptions and standing armies - are overlooked.”DAR1909 780.1

    HOn. Geo. H. Stuart, of Philadelphia, thus spoke before the Alliance: “The field is the world. It has in it 1,300,000,000 immortal souls, destined to meet us at the judgment bar of God. Of these 1,300,000,000 there are some 800,000,000 bowing down to stocks and stones, the workmanship of their own hands. Besides these 800,000,000 heathen, there are 110,000,000 Mohammedans and 240,000,000 of other false systems of religion, leaving only 100,000,000 nominal Protestants. It is not for us to say how many of these 100,000,000 are true disciples of our risen and exalted Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”DAR1909 780.2

    Sad indeed is the view here presented; and is it not every year growing worse? Students of prophecy are sometimes looked upon as fanatics, because they believe that the second advent of Christ is soon to take place, when all the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous saved. But we ask the candid reader whether the man, who, in the face of all the facts above stated, believes in the speedy conversion of the whole world and the near approach of the millennium, may not more justly be regarded as a fanatic. While a few thousand pagans in heathen lands are receiving the gospel, millions in Christian lands are turning away from it and embracing false religions and atheism, and among these we find the educated, the scientific, the so-called higher classes taking the lead. But this need not surprise us; for Jesus himself said respecting the last days, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8.DAR1909 780.3

    From this general description, let us come to particulars. Every student of history understand that like causes produce like effects, and that indications which foretokened the occurrence of certain events in one age, will generally reappear when similar events are about to transpire in any other age. As in the natural world there must be the gathering of clouds and the accumulation of electricity before the storm, so in the moral and political world there must be the dissemination of principles, the formulation of ideas, and the rousing of passions, before the revolution. Causes which in the past have led to anarchy, rapine, license and a general disintegration of society, will, if permitted to operate, produce again the same results. The French Revolution of 1789-1800 stands fixed in history as the “Reign of Terror.” Each succeeding faction which gained power during that awful era shed in torrents the blood of its enemies, until over 2,000,000 lives were sacrificed. All social order was destroyed. The marriage covenant was abrogated, and lust stalked abroad everywhere, licensed and unrestrained. Christ was declared an impostor, and his religion a fraud. The existence of God was denied, and the reading of his word forbidden. All this was the work of infidelity. Behold, therefore, in that terrible Revolution, the miniature of the world without the restraining influence of God’s revelation. And is there danger that this frightful condition of things may be reproduced in our own day? Facts constrain us to answer in the affirmative; for the same causes are operating everywhere to-day which a hundred years ago were at work in France. The same names and principles may be heard and seen all about us. Let us first notice some of the more prominent elements which produced the French Revolution.DAR1909 780.4

    1. Spiritualism. - Says Samuel Smucker in his Memorable Scenes in French History, p. 116: “We find in the records of that period, materials and events which prove that then it was that the impostures of modern spiritual rappers and mediums were first practiced, in precisely the same way and for the same results as they are at the present day.... Count Cagliostro enabled Cardinal Rohan to sup with the deceased D’Alembert, with the king of Prussia, and with Voltaire, all dead some years before. He convinced His Eminence that the worker of these wonders had himself been present with Christ at the marriage in Cana of Galilee.... In the triumphs of Cagliostro, of Misner, and of St. Germain, which at this period were at their greatest height, we behold another instance of the uprooting of the firm and stable foundations of society in an excessive desire for novelties, and a restless itching after things new, mysterious and wonderful.”DAR1909 781.1

    As a system of pretended communication with the dead, Spiritualism, is as old, at least, as the Mosaic dispensation, for it was strictly forbidden in his day; and it has at favorable epochs manifested itself among men; but its wonder- working phase is peculiar to modern times, and first manifested itself in this country, according to the prophecy of Revelation 13. Its principles and spirit found congenial soil in France in the Revolution. But if what then appeared contributed in any manner to produce the state of society which then existed, what must be its tendency to-day?DAR1909 781.2

    2. Infidelity. - Mr. Anderson, in The Annals of the English Bible, p. 494, says: “Never let it be forgotten that before the Revolution of 1792, the promoters of infidelity in France are stated to have raised among themselves, and spent, a sum equal to L900,000 in one year, - nay, again and again, - in purchasing, printing, and dispersing books to corrupt the minds of the people and prepare them for desperate measures.”DAR1909 782.1

    Dr. Dick, in his work on The Improvement of Society, p. 154, says: “The way for such a revolution was prepared by the writings of Voltaire, Mirabeau, Diderot, Helvetius, D’Alembert, Condorcet, Rosseau, and others of the same stamp, in which they endeavored to disseminate principles subversive both of natural and revealed religion. Revelation was not only impugned, but entirely set aside. The Deity was banished from the universe, and an imaginary phantom, under the name of the Goddess of Reason, substituted in his place. The carved work of all religious beliefs and moral practice was boldly cut down by Carnot and Robespierre and their atheistical associates. Nature was investigated by pretended philosophers, only with the view to darken the mind, and prevent mankind from considering anything as real but what the hand could grasp or the corporeal eye perceive.”DAR1909 782.2

    The infidelity of to-day, in many respects, according to the quotation from D’Aubigne, leaves that of France at the time of the Revolution far behind.DAR1909 782.3

    3. Socialism. - Webster makes this word synonymous with “communism,” which he defines as follows: “The reorganizing of society, or the doctrine that it should be reorganized, by regulating property, industry, and the sources of livelihood, and also the domestic relations and social morals of mankind; socialism, especially the doctrine of a community of property, or the negation of individual rights in property.”DAR1909 782.4

    These principles were carried into practice in France, and as the result the Revolution blossomed into all its horrid reality. The relations of the different classes of society were completely changed. The monarchy was overthrown, and an infidel republic established on its ruins. The king and queen were beheaded.DAR1909 782.5

    Alison, Vol. IV, p. 151, says: “The confiscation of two thirds of the landed property in the kingdom, which arose from the decrees of the convention against the emigrants, clergy, and persons convicted at the revolutionary tribunals, ... placed funds worth above L700,000,000 sterling at the disposal of the government.”DAR1909 782.6

    Titles of nobility were abolished. It was a conflict between the rich and the poor, between capital and labor. The motto of the Revolution was, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” - blessed words, but, with the strangest inconsistency, wholly outraged and misapplied. The same principles are treated in the same way to- day, and are shouted as the watchword among the discontented masses and the labor organizations the world over. The principles of socialism, or communism, were probably never so widely diffused as at the present time.DAR1909 782.7

    4. Free Love. - When the existence of the true God was denied, as it was during the French Revolution, and in his place men set up a lewd women as the Goddess of Reason, and the object of their highest adoration, it was a natural consequence that the sacredness of the marriage relation should be wholly discarded. Marriage was therefore declared a civil contract, binding only during the pleasure of the contracting parties. Divorce became general, and the corruption of manners reached a height never before known in France. One half of the whole number of births in Paris were illegitimate. See Thier’s French Revolution, Vol. II, p. 380. Free-lovism is an integral part of the spiritualistic movement of our day, not so openly advocated as formerly, but none the less cherished and practiced as a part of the boasted “freedom” to which the human race is attaining.DAR1909 783.1

    5. The Commune. - This word is derived from a small territorial district in France governed by an officer called a mayor. It has come to have a much more extensive application at the present time; but the origin of the word is not so important as the principles which it is taken to represent. Of these we have already had a definition from Webster, and seen a practical illustration in the French Revolution. Thier’s French Revolution, Vol. III, p. 106, gives the whole number of persons guillotined during the reign of terror as 1,022,351, besides massacres of other kinds in other places, in some of which the population of whole towns perished. Dr. Dick, in his Improvement of Society, p. 154, says: “Such was the rapidity with which the work of destruction was carried on, that within the short space of ten years not less than three million human beings ... are supposed to have perished in that country alone, chiefly through the influence of immoral principles, and the seductions of a false philosophy.”DAR1909 783.2

    In connection with this, as showing the tendency of the times, may be mentioned the “International,” an association which, not long since, was prominent and created a good deal of apprehension. The object of its members was to overthrow those whom they esteemed their enemies, namely, kings and capitalists. Its platform was, briefly, the abolition of all class rule and privileges; political and social equality of both sexes; nationalization of land and instruments of production; reduction of hours of labor; education to be controlled by the state, and to be obligatory, gratuitous, and secular; religion to be ignored, a direct system of taxation based upon property, not upon industry; the abolition of all standing armies; and associative production instead of capitalist production.DAR1909 783.3

    It will be seen at once that to put these principles into practice would be completely to change the present political and social relations of society. The different branches of this revolutionary body may now go by different names, as Nihilists in Russia, Communists in Germany, Anarchists and Monarchists in France, Fenians and Land-Leaguers in Ireland, the different secret labor organizations in this country, and Socialists everywhere. The principles involved are similar in all their divisions; the end sought, the same; and in the natural order of things, a great crisis in respect to these movements is inevitable.DAR1909 783.4

    The impress of the Satanic hand is clearly seen in that the state of society sought for is exactly the opposite of that established by God in the garden of Eden. There God was supreme; Christ, by whom God made all things, was recognized and honored; God’s law was the governing rule; a spirit of true worship, prompted by love, controlled man’s mind; the marriage relation was sacred; and the Sabbath was honored as God’s great memorial. In the French Revolution, God was dethroned, Christ crucified afresh, Christianity denounced, and all restraint broken off from the carnal heart, worship discarded, the rest-day abolished, the marriage relation annulled, and society rent into mournful fragments. Let Communism prevail, and such is the state of society we shall have again.DAR1909 784.1

    The fruit of this agitation is appearing more and more in the strained relations between labor and capital, all the time growing greater, the multiplication of “orders” among the working men, and the combination of capital for self-protection, the great strikes and mobs of 1893-95, necessitating even armed intervention on the part of the government. Suspicion and mistrust everywhere prevail; and “What are we coming to?” is the question that trembles on many a lip. Truly, as our Lord said it would be just before his coming, “men’s hearts” are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Luke 21:26.DAR1909 784.2

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