« הקודםהמשך »
SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
AS DENOTED BY THE FULFILMENT OF
FROM THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY TO
THE PRESENT TIME.
REV. ALEXANDER KEITH,
MINISTER OF ST. CYRUS,
“At the end it shall speak, and not lie. - Hab. ii. 3.
of the times.-Matt. xvi. 3.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
A PREFACE, as has often been said, should be short. And, in presenting these pages to the public, the author knows not how they could be prefaced more briefly than in the answer which he gave to a friend who asked him to tell in three words, what is the object of the treatise, or what it is designed to show,
- viz. WHERE WE ARE, or on what point of prophetic history we stand.
It is only necessary to add, in regard to the execution of so serious a task, that, from the consequent manifold imperfections, he would be ashamed to acknowledge and unable to justify the haste with which, throughout the far greater part, the essay has been written, were it not, that, while the signs of the times are such that they may speedily pass into their significancy, a word in season, however weak, may be worth the hearing, even as the timely sound of the tocsin or the trumpet may be more effective of safety to a host than the boom of the cannon a few moments later, when the enemy has surprised and surrounded a sleeping camp. The great danger is, lest it should give "an uncertain sound;" and of that he has sought, as he would caution the reader, to beware. .
The question is one of time, not of talent; and of plain truth, not of ingenious invention, far less of presumptuous speculation. And if the time be come, that the judgments of God are manifest, all that needs to be said, is--Come and see.
When first led to the investigation of the subject, it was the purpose of the writer to attempt only a brief outline. But finding this unsatisfactory, the treatise has gradually and unexpectedly not only swelled into a volume, but, after the printing was too far advanced to admit of an alteration of the paging, into two. The fullness of the matter which came successively to hand, left no other task than that of condensing it; and the most scrupulous reader need not fear to take up what, perhaps, may most properly be called a book of historical abridgments and extracts. And still it is but a mere syl. labus, designed to show how prophecy, at once, may be followed in its order, and history in its course.
If happily, through the Divine blessing, there be aught contained in these pages which may, in the least, be conducive to the interests of the great cause of truth, of righteousness, and of peace, the writer may be permitted to state, that, without any preconceived theory, or any eleborate investigation, on simply reading, at no distant period, the Book of Revelation, he wondered that he could have been previously ignorant of the significancy of the seals and vials, which, however, it had never before entered into his thoughts to scan. The meaning seemed so manifest as to afford a practical illustration, that the apocalypse, or Revelation, as the very term literally implies, denotes light and not darkness,—and that its object, like its name, was finally to make clear and not to mystify. Hence, looking throughout to the same simplicity of truth, he was led to a more enlarged and combined view of history and of prophecy, and sadly has he failed in the execution of the task if he has not rendered it intelligible, as it might have been revealed, to a child. :
NEVER, perhaps, in the history of man, were the times more ominous, or pregnant with greater events than the present. The signs of them are in many respects set before the eyes of men, and need not to be told ; and they strike the senses so forcibly, and come so closely to the apprehension of all, that they may be said to be felt, as well as to be seen. The face of the sky never indicated more clearly an approaching tempest, than the signs of the times betoken an approaching convulsion,—not partial, but universal. It is not a single cloud, surcharged with electricity, on the rending of which a momentary flash might appear, and the thunderbolt shiver a pine, or scathe a few lowly shrubs, that is now rising into view; but the whole atmosphere is lowering, a gathering storm is accumulating fearfully in every region, the lightning is already seen gleaming in the heavens, and passing in quick succession from one