Many of the household of faith looking out can see the storm coming upon the worldthe "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." (Dan. 12:1.) They can see the various brigades preparing for "the battle of the great day of God Almighty." There are the Socialistic "Regulars," and to their army is being added daily "Volunteers" from among the honest, well meaning mechanics, and laborers, of every kind, called together by various circumstances and with hopes of maintaining present advantages, or bettering their condition.
On the other hand as opposed to this organization, are the established governments, who seek to perpetuate their honors, titles, revenues, etc., by maintaining control over the people; and to these and their armies of paid soldiery dependent upon them, are being added volunteers also: The rich of this world see that their interests are closely linked with those of present governments to whom they must look for the protection of their interests.
The members of the true Church (whose names are written in heaven) imbued with the spirit of justicethe Spirit of Christcan behold both of these gathering armies, see the wrongs of each, and the rights of each, and can pity and sympathize with both. They can sympathize with the poorer classes, those who have little, and have never had much, of this world's goods, and who under the clearer light of increasing knowledge on every subject, are beginning to believe that, all men were created free and equal, and to inquire why there is so unequal a division of the honors, power, and wealth, of the world as at present exists. They see that some men own tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of acres of land, which, (notably in Europe) under the Landlord system, is rented out to the masses for as much as they are able to pay; and they inquire whether if the earth is a gift of the Creator to all men, some have a real right to so much more than they use, while others have none; and whether the land should not remain as free as God's other common gifts, air and water.
They see that something is wrong, and that the present arrangement is not entirely just and equitable. The study of their rights and the rights of others, lead them to the inquiry: How came our Landlord's right to ten thousand acres while we have none? The answer comes, it was handed down from father to son for several generations; and looking into the pages of history he finds that the present landlord's great-great-great-grand-father took it by forceor stole itfrom his great-great-great-grand-father. Is it any wonder that he expects a restitution of some part of it? As surely as the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereofas surely as he gave it to the people in general, so surely when he whose right the dominion is, shall take his great power and reign, there shall be Times of RESTITUTION of all things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21.)
But they know not what steps to take to obtain rights, privileges, and comforts, which they believe are God-given. They see little hope of their condition betteringrather, they fear that as mechanical inventions increase, the result will be merely to make the rich richer, which with the increased competition among skilled and common laborers, will result in bringing down wages and making the poor poorerwhich means less honor, less power, less comfort.
The true Church can sympathize also with the "kings, rich men, mighty men, and chief captains," in their view of the conflict. The kings and rulers of earth have so long felt themselves to be superior to their fellow men, that they find it difficult to believe that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men." (Acts 17:26.)
Did not "BABYLON THE GREAT" acknowledge their right to rule the people? Did not the Popes in crowning their ancestors, declare that they acted as God's representatives, and that really God had crowned them? Did they not declare that their reign was "by the grace of God"a mark of God's favor to the people? Have not all the DAUGHTERS of "Babylon the Great" (all denominations of so-called Protestantism) endorsed this policy of the "Mother of Harlots and abominations"? Do not all religious people recognized as "Wise" according to the course of this world, endorse and support the same theory? Why then should these great ones give up the privileges which they esteem far more than life? Rather they will reassert and exert their power, and drive back the "common people"; if necessary, restraining them yet more, by restricting present liberties.
Surely in the conflict they will have the support of Babylonmother and daughters, for not only are they committed to the support of the kings of the earth whom they have declared to be of God's appointment, but they are bound by closest ties of common interest to mutually support each other. Are not the nominal churches of Europe supported directly by the kingdoms of Europe?
The great and rich men of all countries are naturally led to join this same side in the battle. Their wealth, both in money and lands, has been accumulated by methods approved both by the governments and the nominal churches, whom they in turn support with it, and from whom they expect both moral and material support and protection now. They have, perhaps, inherited their lands and the income from them for many generations, and while they have no ill-will to the tenants, they have come to consider them as semi-slaves who belong to the land. If they are manufacturers they can truthfully reason that they run risks in business and have the trouble and anxiety of its management, which should entitle them to a greater proportion of the profits than the laborer who uses his muscle only and is free from responsibility. For these reasons the rich will be on this side of the battle.
But the true Church stands separate from both these armiessympathizes with the feelings of both, but joins neither. But she has an interest, nevertheless, in their conflict, and instructed out of the Word of the Heavenly King, she realizes what few others do, that this conflict is "The battle of the great day of God Almighty," and that "the mighty man shall weep there bitterly." (Zeph. 1:14.) It will be a day of wrath"The great day of his wrath." He will overthrow the throne of kingdoms. (Hag. 2:22.) It is the day in which the delusions with which earth's rich men, and chief captains, or kings, and the mighty men of the nominal churches who have deceived themselves in their own favor, will all be swept away, and true rights, full liberty (to do right) and progress need no longer be fought for inch by inch, but will be firmly and forever established by earth's new King, who, at this time, takes possession of the dominion under the whole heavens. (Dan. 7:27.)
Unknown to men, he has for some time past been holding back the windspreventing the conflict until the servants of God were sealed in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3)given an intellectual knowledge of the things coming and their relation to the plan of God in the establishment of his kingdom. The Lord reserved until its due time that which he had previously declared through the prophet, the means and agency in the overturning of the thrones of kingdoms"knowledge shall be increased." [R684 : page 1] When ready to have knowledge increased, and through knowledge liberty, the Lord brought to men the art of printing, to which, more than any other perhaps, the overturning of every form of evil and oppression among men is traceable.
But what about the true Church? Has she no share in this conflict? Will she have no part in this battle of the great day? Ah! here is a weak point with many: while interested in watching the world's preparations, they neglect proper attention to their own share in this battle.
Yes! yes!! Awake! the battle is already upon you. It begins with the house of God real, extends to the house of God nominal, and ends with the world. Be sober, be vigilant; for the fiery darts of the enemy are even now falling thick and fast about you. The battle of the great day has already commenced. The grand efforts of the adversary now, is to disarm us of our faith in the cross of Christ as the power of God unto salvation, and if possible to convert us into enemies of the cross. The alarming extent to which he has already succeeded should bid every saint that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. Never, by the grace of God, never let the banner of the cross be torn down. Evidently the "offense of the cross" (Gal. 5:11) has not yet ceased. Still, it is to the Jew [and the nominal Christian] a stumbling-block, and to the Greek [all the worldly wise] foolishness, that the death of Christ bought for mankind life and liberty. Up, soldiers of the Cross
The preaching of "Redemption through His bloodthe forgiveness of sins" (Eph. 1:7) has always been opposed by the adversary, and he has ever found able assistance but never with such persistent and deceptive effort as now.
It is well that we all should clearly see the Enemy's plan of attack. His soldiers appear clad in garments of light; they even wear aloft the name of Christ, and are divided into various companies, prominent among these being "Spiritists" and "Progressive Christians" so called, but all and everywhere they may be discerned by their opposition to the Cross. Some are more open and some more wily and mild in their opposition, but all deny the ransomdeny the very foundation of real Christianitythat we "were bought with a price" even "the precious blood of Christ." (1 Cor. 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:19.)
Will the battle be hotwill many fall? Alas! yes, a thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand. (Psa. 91:7.) A thousand to one is a very heavy slaughter, and marks the severity of the battle, but evidently pictures what we may expect before our share in the battle is complete. The thousand falling to one who will stand, is as real and truthful as the statements of the same prophet relative to the trouble coming upon the world.
Do you ask the cause of so many falling, and the means by which the few shall stand? We answer that they fall because the Apostles words have not been heeded"Take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be ABLE to withstand in the evil day." (Eph. 6:13.) Alas! how many in the ranks have nothing but the shield of faith. The shield is very valuable, and if we could have but one piece of armor it would doubtless be the most valuable, but unless we have more we must surely fall as this conflict progresseswe will not be "able to stand" without more armor. Ah! how much we need sandals, the preparation of the Gospel which leads us to [R684 : page 2] expect and enables us to endure the sharp difficulties of the narrow way unflinchingly, as good soldiers. How much we need to be girt about with truth, with the precious promises of God's word, lest we become weary and faint. How much we need to have well in hand the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, that we may be able to keep the adversary at a respectful distance. How much need there is also for the breastplate of Christ's righteousnesshis merit recognized as covering our life, our vitals. How much need too, for the helmet, an intelligent hope of salvationa head-cover.
Those who are negligent about putting on the armor, and are relying solely upon their shield of faith, to meet every attack of the enemy, are making a great mistakeAs the enemy's arrows ["bitter words," sarcasm, sophistry, etc.,] are showered upon you and he presses you close, you may lower your shield for a moment to note his position, and then unless you have an intellectual apprehension of the trutha helmetthe enemy will be sure to succeed in striking you with an arrow of sophistry. Or if very guarded about your head, and busy seeking to protect your intellect by your shield of faith, you lift high the shield your breast will be exposed, and there the arrow of no ransom will strike, unless you have on the breastplate of Christ's righteousness.
Even armed with the whole armor you will barely be able to standso fierce the assault. With all the armor on there are chinks and openings of various sizes in our helmets (intellectual apprehensions) which demand that we still be on our guard and cast not away our shield.
Let every soldier of the Cross put on the whole armor and see well to it that it is true steel and not mere polished tin. See that it all bears the imprint and marks of the Royal Armorythe Word of God.