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by Dr. John Thomas
While a Christian would take no part in the armed mêlée, he is convinced that nothing but violence in the beginning, in order to punish and crush the tyrants, can prepare the way for the amelioration of society.
This is the order, as I shall show, which God has ordained as preliminary to the setting up of His kingdom.
But the conductors of the press do not understand this.
It is not more corrupt and vicious than it is blind to the scriptural philosophy of the things of which it treats.
It cannot see afar off, and the objects which are near, it cannot comprehend.
How applicable to its scribes is the exclamation of the Lord, "O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but how is it ye cannot discern the signs of the times!
" -- signs, which are announcing to the nations with a voice of thunder that Jehovah hath aroused Himself in His holy habitation; that the time hath at length come when He will be still and refrain Himself no longer; but that He will make bare His holy arm, and "destroy them that destroy the earth," or oppress mankind.
But, though the Lord hath a long time held His peace, He hath not been unmindful of His people, nor heedless of human affairs.
The great incidents of history which have given rise to successive kingdoms and dominions, from the overturning of the kingdom and throne of God, and of David, His anointed, in Judea, by the Chaldeans, to the present time, are but events predetermined and arranged in the purpose of God, and revealed in the "sure word of prophecy".
Not a kingdom has been established, nor a king dethroned, but it has formed a move, which has contributed to the maturity of the present crisis, which will ultimate in the introduction of the kingdom of God.
This truth is beautifully expressed in the words of the prophet, saying, "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever; for wisdom and might are his; and he changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the fight dwelleth with him".
It is He to whom all things are subjected; "for he ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men".
This is the reason why men and women with so little wisdom, or rather possessed of so much positive folly and imbecility, are able to rule the nations without "setting on fire the course of nature".
When their wickedness and stupidity become obstacles to His purpose, He removes them out of the way, and introduces other actors upon the stage.
In this way, He controls and regulates the world's affairs; but in every interference He shapes the course of events towards the consummation predetermined from the foundation of the world.
In ages past, God has had among the nations a people of His own.
These are wise in the wisdom of God, and venerate His word above all things.
Though not His counsellors, He has graciously condescended to inform them what He intends to do before it comes to pass.
Hence, it is testified by the prophet that "the Lord God will surely do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets".
This revelation is made that His people's faith may be confirmed and enlarged, and that in every generation they may know the times and seasons to which they stand related.
Knowing the signs, they are enabled to discern the times; and while consternation and dismay cause men's hearts to fail they are courageous, and rejoice in perceiving the approach of the Kingdom of God.
This is the proper use of the prophetic word.
It was thus that the ancients used it, and were enabled to five in advance of their contemporaries.