The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
The Last Days. — Introductory
The Last Days.
This little work, now started on its journey, is bearing on an important part of unfulfilled prophecy : the rise, progress, and destruction of the great Deceiver and blasphemer of the latter days, and his kingdom; and the events to take place thereafter to the end of the world. Those of our readers who have studied prophecy will admit that in many cases prophetical expressions are somewhat dark and difficult to understand, and require close attention and deep searching to come to a right knowledge of them. In the prophecies we are going to consider, however, no complaint need be made on the ground of their obscurity, for the reason which we shall presently give. (Of course, it must be understood, to an enlightened mind, for, to a natural mind not merely prophetical expressions but the whole Scripture is obscure.)
Many expositions have been published on the subject before us, a few of which we have read; and, whilst some have taken an altogether erroneous view of the matter, others have understood it to a limited extent : and some in part, but have quite failed in other portions. The reason for their failure appears to have been because they do not seem to have observed the "key" which unlocks the mystery of this prophecy. Others there are, again, who. having commenced right, but failing to observe how the events are linked one into the other by the marks pointed out, and what they are to teach us, have made very great mistakes, and consequently given various events a wrong interpretation. Possessed of this "key," commencing at the right mark, and examining closely the various surroundings of these symbols or figures, no enlightened mind need experience much difficulty in coming to a right conclusion respecting the matters foretold. On the other hand, a person may easily make a wrong start; or, not sufficiently examining the various signs and marks given—for these are all connected one with another—will fail in many cases to understand; and, once entered into a wrong course may go astray altogether, and instead of making the matter clear to the mind, may as it were, throw a cover over it, thus doing more harm than good.
It was 6urely necessary that this prophecy should have been clearly pointed out in Scripture, considering so much depends upon a right understanding of it, that so we might have a sure guide through all those dark and critical times which are before us, and which apparently are very near at hand. When we consider the expressions of our Lord in regard to these times, the false doctrines to be promulgated, and the false miracles to be wrought, in order to deceive and mislead the world (Math. xxiv. 24) how necessary is it that a clear light should be given to God's people to lead and direct them through the darkness.
The key to this prophecy is the Roman Empire, which is three times represented by a beast—once in the book of Daniel, and twice in Revelation; and in each case with some variations, to represent those particular events which were intended to be made manifest and to be observed. If the reader properly studies those representations, and closely examines the surrounding particulars, he cannot go far wrong.page 6
This little work is intended to rouse and direct the attention of its readers to those things which it is especially necessary to understand. And here we would observe that it is quite a mistake to say, as we have often heard expressed, that it is presumptuous for a person to trouble himself about these matters, because they are reckoned dark and mysterious, and difficult to comprehend. If it were impossible to understand them, why were they predicted and placed on record? On the contrary, it is our duty to search out these mysterious and hidden meanings, for for that purpose they are recorded. And if some do not understand them, it does not therefore follow that others should not. The Scriptures contain nothing that cannot be understood, if we truly desire it. We are commanded to search God's word for its hidden treasures, with the promise that he who seeks shall find (Math. vii. 7; John V. 24). It is, further, the duty of him who has found to direct others, and lead them on to search and find, so that they also may come into possession of like knowledge, and, acording to their capability, to enlarge thier knowledge thus obtained. We toil, labour, and study day and night to carry our miserable life honestly through the short space of time allotted us here. Is it not far more necessary for us to study and seek earnestly first to make our election sure, (2 Peter i. 10,) and then to make sure steps through the wilderness of this world, so that we may not be misled and turn aside from our road until we reach the borders of the Jordan, and pass the stream of death to enter into the heavenly Canaan.
This little work is by no means intended to exhibit the author's learning, or his capabilities in writing. It is the first time he has attempted to write on any subject; and in reading he chooses books and writings whereby he may profit in matters of more concern than the wisdom of this world. The only reason he has for writing on this subject is that he believes he has, after many years' study, obtained a true knowledge of matters predicted and things shortly to take place; and is therefore desirous of directing the attention of others to those subjects.
We have purposely avoided enlargement upon matters to which we desire to direct the attention of our readers, but have taken the simple facts, as revealed by God the Most High to His servants the prophets and apostles, with a few explanatory remarks to enable the reader to trace out for himself those events which, led by the Scriptures of truth, we are sure will take place in due time. Whether our interpretation of this most important subject be true or not is left with the reader to judge, for this little work is so modest as not to force itself upon anyone.
H. B.Wellington, N.Z.,