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    FULFILLMENT

    1. The sun shall be darkened.” We have but little to say on this point—not that there is not much to say, but that so much has already been said. The dark day is a common phrase to denote the 19th of May, 1780. Not long since a few were living who saw it. The writer well remembers that, in his boyhood, aged people made frequent mention of it in relating notable points in their experience. Four testimonies only we here give, from authorities of indisputable reliability. A publication of the American Tract Society, entitled, “Life of Edward Lee,” says:—EMTF 46.2

    “In the month of May, 1780, there was a very terrific dark day in New England, when ‘all faces seemed to gather blackness,’ and the people were filled with fear. There was great distress in the village where Edward Lee lived, ‘men’s hearts failed them for fear’ that the judgment-day was at hand; and the neighbors all flocked around the holy man, for his lamp was trimmed, and shining brighter than ever, amidst the unnatural darkness. Happy and joyful in God, he pointed them to their only refuge from the wrath to come, and spent the gloomy hours in earnest prayer for the distressed multitude.”—Tract No. 379 of American Tract SocietyLife of Edward Lee.EMTF 46.3

    Had the author and publishers of this work intended to give a forcible illustration of the fulfillment of this prophecy, they could not better have chosen their language for that purpose. But they had no such intention—they had not this prophecy in view at all, which makes their testimony all the more emphatic as evidence on the question.EMTF 47.1

    Dr. Tenney, in 1785, in writing to the Historical Society concerning that day, says:—EMTF 47.2

    “Although the uncommon darkness which attracted the attention of all ranks of people in this part of the country on the 19th of May, 1780, was a phenomenon which several gentlemen of considerable literary abilities have endeavored to solve, yet, I believe, you will agree with me that no satisfactory solution has yet appeared.”EMTF 47.3

    Herschel, the great astronomer, says:—EMTF 47.4

    “The dark day in Northern America was one of those wonderful phenomena of nature which will always be read with interest, but which philosophy is at a loss to explain.”EMTF 47.5

    2. “And the moon shall not give her light.” In New England, where the sun’s darkening was most noted, the moon, though full, was totally obscured till midnight, when it came out with brilliancy. Here is the evidence that the darkness lasted fourteen hours—from 10 A. M. of the 19th till the midnight following. Many descriptions have been given of the intense darkness of the night. One said that if every luminous body had been struck out of existence, he could not imagine that the darkness could have been more intense.EMTF 47.6

    “Almost, if not altogether alone, as the most mysterious and, as yet unexplained phenomenon of its kind in nature’s diversified range of events during the last century, stands the dark day of May 19, 1780, a most unaccountable darkening of the whole visible heavens and atmosphere in New England, which brought intense alarm and distress to multitudes of minds, as well as dismay to the brute creation, the fowls fleeing, bewildered, to their roosts, and the birds to their nests, and the cattle returning to their stalls. Indeed, thousands of the good people of that day became fully convinced that the end of all things terrestrial had come; many gave up, for the time, their secular pursuits, and betook themselves to religious devotions.”—Our First Century.EMTF 48.1

    It was startling, and overpowering, and even painful to the senses, because of its intensity. And learned men say it cannot be explained or accounted for. We think it admits of just one explanation,—the God of heaven—the Ruler of nature—hung out these signs in the heavens to teach the student of his word that the Son of God would soon make his second advent to this world. And we are thankful that the warning has not been in vain. The marked fulfillment of the prophecies has led thousands to look, to hope for, and to rejoice in, the “blessed hope” of the coming of the dear Redeemer.EMTF 48.2

    3. “And the stars shall fall from heaven.” We may be permitted to notice this more particularly, as efforts have been made to show that no past fulfillment can meet the requirements of this part of the prophecy. We believe that it was fulfilled in the fall of 1833.EMTF 48.3

    Professor Olmstead, of Yale College, said that they who were so fortunate as to witness the falling stars on November 13, 1833, probably beheld the greatest display of celestial fire-works that has ever been since the creation of the world—certainly the greatest that has ever occurred within the time covered by the annals of history. It was more than a “shower,” as it has been called. They began to fall as early as 11 o’clock, and increased until they truly resembled a showery but of many hours’ continuance. We witnessed them in all their glory for nearly three hours, till they were obscured by the dawning day. And when the day dispelled the appearance, they were still falling as numerous as ever, as was proved by their being visible in the west when the advancing light of the sun rendered them invisible in the east. During their fall, the largest and brightest would leave a mark of light down the heavens like a mark of phosphorus on a wall in a dark room. When it became so light that the mass of them could no longer be seen, one would occasionally make its presence known by such a penciling of the sky.EMTF 49.1

    We here give an extract from an article written by Henry Dana Ward, in regard to the falling stars of November 13, 1833, published in the Journal of Commerce, November 15, 1833:—EMTF 49.2

    “At the cry, ‘Look out of the window,’ I sprang from a deep sleep, and with wonder saw the east lighted up with the dawn and meteors. The zenith, the north, and the west also, showed the falling stars, in the very image of one thing, and only one, I ever heard of. I called to my wife to behold; and while robing, she exclaimed, ‘See how the stars fall!’ I replied, ‘That is the wonder!’ and we felt in our hearts that it was a sign of the last days. For, truly, ‘the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.’ Revelation 6:13. This language of the prophet has always been received as metaphorical. Yesterday, it was literally fulfilled. The ancients understood by aster, in Greek, and stella, in Latin, the smaller lights of heaven. The refinement of modern astronomy has made the distinction between, stars of heaven and meteors of heaven. Therefore, the idea of the prophet, as it is expressed in the original Greek, was literally fulfilled in the phenomenon of yesterday.EMTF 49.3

    “And how did they fall?—Neither myself, nor one of the family, heard any report; and were I to hunt through nature for a simile, I could not find one so apt to illustrate the appearance of the heavens, as that which St. John uses in the prophecy before quoted.EMTF 50.1

    “The stars fell ‘even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.’ Here is the exactness of the prophet.EMTF 50.2

    “The falling stars did not come as if from several trees shaken, but from one; those which appeared in the east, fell toward the east; those which appeared in the north, fell toward the north; those which appeared in the west, fell toward the west; and those which appeared in the south (for I went out of my residence into the park), fell toward the south. And they fell not as the ripe fruit falls. Far from it; but they flew, they were cast, like the unripe fruit which at first refuses to leave the branch, and when, under a violent pressure it does break its hold, it flies swiftly, straight off, descending; and in the multitude falling, some cross the track of other, as they are thrown with more or less force; but each one falls on its own side of the tree. Such was the appearance of the above phenomenon to the inmates of my house.”EMTF 50.3

    No description can give any conception of the grandeur and glory of the scene. As our memory recalls it, we feel that the power of God was manifest to make known to the student of prophecy that the coming of the Son of man is near.EMTF 51.1

    By comparing the testimony of the evangelists we find these signs still more definitely located. We have noticed that the greatest tribulation, or affliction, whichever befell the church of Christ was under the papal; Roman power. This power was symbolized by the “little horn” of Daniel 7, into whose hands the saints of the Most High were given for a thousand two hundred and threescore prophetic days—1260 years. This period commenced A. D. 538, and ended when the civil power fell from the hands of the Papacy by The imprisonment and exile of Pius VI., in 1798. For more evidence on this point see “Thoughts on the Revelation.” The persecution began to wane under the German Reformation, and ended in the first half of the eighteenth century. To this the Saviour doubtless referred when he spoke of shortening the days of affliction for the elect’s sake. The affliction ceased before the expiration of the days spoken of bar the prophet. And Mark says, “In those days, after that tribulation, the sun, shall be darkened.” Mark 13:24. This was actually fulfilled, in that order. The days of the prophecy closed at the very close of the eighteenth century. The power was still in the hands of the Papacy, but unused; the affliction was passed; the long, dark night of persecution upon the church of Christ had come to an end; there was a respite “for the elect’s sake,” lest no flesh should be saved—lest the faithful witnesses for Jesus should be exterminated by the power and malice of the Inquisition. And in this time of respite, while yet the power lingered in the hands of the man of sin, the sun was “darkened—God’s “signs in the heavens above” commenced their fulfillment. The darkening of the sun in 1780 was the greatest that ever was known, and it took place at the very time specified in the “sure word of prophecy.”EMTF 51.2

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