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battle of Sadowa was fought, in which the power of Austria was so seriously crippled by Prussia, that it could no longer be used to thwart the designs of Cavour and Emmanuel. The main body of the French army which had protected the Pope was withdrawn from Rome. This utterly broke the temporal sovereignty of the Pope. The Papal States were absorbed into the unified kingdom of Italy, and in 1870 King Victor Emmanuel-significant name!-entered Rome triumph and made it the capital of his kingdom. Here, then, was the most striking sign of the times—the temporal sovereignty of the Pope was destroyed; and this was 1260 years from the date of the decree of the Emperor Phocas (606) which invested the Bishop of Rome with supreme authority over the Latin church. I cite attention to this stupendous sign of the times. For more than a thousand years the Popes had reigned in Rome. Now, the Pope is, civilly speaking, a mere denizen of that city, with his spiritual rights reserved to him.
I have no right to dogmatize upon the subject, but it is probable there are indications of it now—that a great effort will be made to restore the temporal sovereignty of the Pope. If so, a conflict must ensue attended by tremendous results, and leading on to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, in which Antichrist, whatever form he may then assume, will, with all his forces, be finally extinguished.
Further, it is also a sign of the times, that the temporal supremacy of the Pope, which is not to be confounded with his temporal sovereignty over the Papal States, his temporal supremacy over nations and rulers has been reduced almost to naught.
The second noteworthy fact is one in the recent history of the Mohammedan power. The very day on which, in 1882, the despatch of Lord Dufferin to the Home Office, announcing the fall of Alexandria under the British bombardment, was exactly 1260 years from the date of the Hegira. That, as has been already stated, occurred in 622. Add to that number 1260 and you have 1882. Moreover, the very day of the year and month on which Alexandria fell was the day of the year and month on which the Hegira took place. The latter date is precisely fixed as it is that from which the Mohammedan notation starts, just as ours does from the date of the birth of Christ. Now, the fall of Alexandria broke the Moslem power in Egypt and virtually subjected that country to English domination. The inference is obvious, and it is confirmed by the general decadence of the Turkish power. Here again we perceive another marked sign of the times, concurrent with the first mentioned, indicating the drying up of Mohammedanism, as the first does the downfall of the temporal power of the Papacy-both pointing to the near approach of the close of this period. We cannot shut our eyes to these signs. They are too obtrusive.
It may be asked, How is it that if the temporal power of the Papacy has been already broken, the end has not already come? The answer is twofold: first, because if the temporal power is destroyed of the Woman drunken with the blood of the saints, the saints of the Most High are, as predicted, delivered out of her persecuting hand; she can fulminate anathemas, but she cannot burn a Protestant; secondly, because Daniel expressly indicates a period of limited duration supplementary to the 1260 years. That sup
plementary period is one of preparation for the final, decisive conflict; and I believe that we are living in it now. Let us not solace ourselves with the cry of Peace! Peace! The great guns of a mighty contest, which no well-meant but futile resort to arbitration can avert, will ere long begin to boom.
It deserves remark that another line of calculation founded on Daniel's prophecy, as this is upon Revelation, brings the period which closes this age to about the end of the present century. The substantial coincidence of the two lines is remarkable. But let it be observed that I have not spoken alone of the prophetic times, but have directed attention to undeniable facts, falling in with the generally adopted interpretation of those times. It is the facts, viewed in connection with the prophecies, which constitute phenomenal signs.
I have dwelt, at what may prove disproportionate length, upon these signs, because I deem them the most important of our time.
2. The fact must be signalized as one of the signs of our times, that the Jews are, to some extent, returning to their own land.
The prophecies of the Old Testament declare that they will be restored to their ancient inheritance the country which in covenant was given to Abraham and his seed for a perpetual possession. These predictions are far too literal to be applied to their spiritual incorporation into the same church with Gentile Christians. It is hardly a distinctive characteristic of Christians to own lands and plant vineyards; and it is certain that such is not the tendency of Jews in their expatriated condition; nor can they be regarded as having been exhaustively fulfilled in the return from the Babylonian captivity. One or two considerations
would seem decisive. One is that God repeatedly asserts that He will gather to their own land again both Israel and Judah-making a clear discrimination between them. That certainly has not yet been realized. Another is, that God assures His ancient people that when He shall bring them again to their own land and settle them after their old estates, He will do better unto them than at their beginnings. That has not yet received fulfilment. Another is, that the land shall no more be bereaved of men, and that restored Judah and Israel shall no more be plucked up out of their land. And still another is, that they shall be gathered out of all the heathen countries whither they had been dispersed. None of these predictions were fulfilled in the restoration from Babylon. They, therefore, await fudfilment.
Now, what, in this relation, are the discernible signs of the times?
I have often said in the past, "When you see the Jews moving to Palestine, then look for the coming end of this period." But a few years since there was a Turkish inhibition upon any large immigration of Jews into the Holy Land. That has to a considerable extent been removed. A few years ago there were only 15,000 Jews in Palestine. Recent accounts show that they now number 80,000 and more. This is very remarkable. True, they may yet be expelled; but the presumption is mightily against that supposition. They are engaging in agricultural pursuits-another singular fact. It is reported that the rains which had so long ceased are again falling, and by distintegrating the rock that is everywhere found imparting a rich fertilizer to the soil. Hotels are said to be going up at prominent points. It is stated that a railway is in
operation from the Mediterranean to Damascus, that one is building from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and that still another is projected from Egypt to Syria. One is reminded of the prophecy of Isaiah: "In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria." The expulsion of the Jews from Russia is causing many of them to seek an asylum in their ancient land. Societies transportation of Jews to Palestine. Verily, these are are said to be organized in England to assist in the significant facts of our times. Do they not look to the occurrence of some great change?
3. Another conspicuous sign of the times is the rapidly increasing evangelization of the world. It has been often said that this is the age of missions, that the Foreign Missionary enterprize is the glory of the Nineteenth century. See what a change has in this respect taken place since 1794, when William Carey was ridiculed by his brethren for undertaking a mission to India, and asked them to hold the rope for him while he ventured down into the well! As late as 1833, in this section of our favored country, it was considered foolhardy for Wilson to risk himself among the savage jungles and the more savage tribes of the African coast, and useless for Adger to waste his time and strength in the effort to enlighten the benighted Armenians. It was ten years after the beginning of this century that Mills, Judson, Nott and Newell presented an address to the General Association of Massachusetts calling attention to the wants of the heathen world. It was after that the first suggestions were offered which subsequently led to the formation of the American Bible Society and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. What behold we now? The grey dawn of a century ago has passed through the flush