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fiery trials, and under Papal tyranny alone, according to the Religious Encyclopedia, more than 50,000,000 of lives have been slain, besides the millions who have suffered by Paganism. But in the last century their persecutions ceased, and the church has had truly a glorious period of latter day glory. "The Tribulation” began to subside in the reformation under Luther, but continued to rage in a measure until the days of Wesley and Whitefield; since which there has been no very general war against the church, and apostolic revivals began to prevail, and great numbers were gathered into the church. But how little was done during the dark ages to spread the gospel! Had those days of darkness and persecution continued till the consummation, there would have been comparatively no flesh saved; but now multitudes have been brought into a state of reconciliation with God. While therefore the tribulation of the wicked is not at an end, and they will all wail because of Christ when he shall come, and the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other, in " the last end of the indignation;" yet all will be delivered whose names are written in the book, and they will be in safety, till the indignation be overpast. For the elect's sake, those days are shortened.
Verses 23—26: “ Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false
Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Where
fore, if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert ; go not forth : behold, he is in the secret chambers ; believe it not."
When were false Christs to arise ? Ans. During those days of tribulation; and we are informed by history, of more than fifty persons who arose at various times, from the destruction of Jerusalem, till the persecutions of the church ceased, who claimed to be the Messiah. But Christians were commanded to go after none such; for Christ would come in such a visible and glorious manner that none could doubt his presence.
Verses 27–28: “ For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together."
Wherever we are, we shall be sure to behold his coming, and his all-seeing eye will be sure to penetrate our hiding-places. There will be no ignorance of the fact when he comes, that one should apprise another; all will see him. As certainly as the eagle by instinct finds his prey, so will all the saints find their Lord in the air.
Verses 29--31: “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her
light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
The days of tribulation were shortened for the elect's sake in the last century; immediately after which the sun was literally darkened, as our Savior predicted, and the moon did not give her light.
This was fulfilled to the letter, in 1780, when, on the 19th of May, the sun was supernaturally darkened from morning till night, and even into the night. Dr. Webster says that “that was a remarkable day. Candles were lighted in many houses; the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fowls retired to roost. The Legislature of Connecticut was then in session at Hartford. A very general opinion prevailed that the day of judgment was at hand. The House of Representatives, being unable to transact their business, adjourned.” There have been several other days of the kind since; one in France, in 1788; one in England, in 1806.
The moon did not give her light; for in the night following, although there was at the time a full moon, (the moon having fulled the 18th,) "it was so dark that a sheet of the whitest of paper, six or eight inches from the eye, was equally invisible with the blackest of velvet.” The sun was darkened, and the moon did not give her light.
The stars also have fallen from heaven. * The following is the record of a scene which occurred on the night of Nov. 13, 1833, copied from the Connecticut Observer of Nov. 25th, 1833:
“The Falling STARS.—The editor of the Old Countryman makes a very serious matter of the 'Falling Stars. He says:
"We pronounce the raining fire which we saw on Wednesday morning last, an awful type—a sure forerunner--a merciful SIGN of that great and dreadful day which the inhabitants of the earth will witness when the SIXTH SEAL SHALL BE OPENED.
" The time is just at hand-described not only in the New Testament, but in the Old ; and a more correct picture of a fig-tree casting its leaves when blown by a mighty wind, it was not possible to behold.'
" And again :
6. Many things now occurring upon the earth tend to convince us that we are in the "LATTER DAYS.” This exhibition we deem to be a type of an awful day fast hurrying upon us. This is our sincere opinion; and what we think, we are not ashamed to tell.
666 Men may, and have, called us enthusiastic. We care not if they call us fanatic and mad, so that we feel that they are mistaken. Fearing neither the face of human clay, man's arm, nor man's voice, while we obey human laws, and love and fear God, and have the evidence within that we are beloved in return, we WILL go on our way rejoicing. Nor would we go on alone. Hence we WARN all to turn to the Lord while YET he is near.""
The following extracts from "OBSERVATIONS ON METEORS," by Prof. Olmstead, of Yale College, will show the nature and extent of this wonderful phenomenon :
" The extent of the shower of 1833 was such as to cover no inconsiderable part of the EARTH'S SURFACE, from the middle of the Atlantic on the east, to the Pacific on the west; and from the northern coast of South America, to undefined regions among the British possessions on the north, the exhibition of shooting stars was not only visible, but everywhere presented nearly one and the same appearance.
" The duration and maximum, or period of greatest display, were characterized by a similar uniformity. In nearly all places, the meteors began to attract notice by their unusual frequency as early as eleven o'clock, and increased in numbers and splendor until about four o'clock, from which time they gradually declined, but were visible until