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The work was necessarily slow at the beginning, and delays in transportation then did not hinder it as much as they would have done later. The first missionaries had to make grammars and dictionaries, translate the Bible, write tracts, and in general lay the foundation. As the work grew, and it became possible to have schools on a large scale, and the way opened for the preaching of the gospel, the improved methods of transportation were brought into use, and it was possible to send large
companies of missionaries to occupy posts all over the heathen. world.
Thus divine Providence in a wonderful way has gone before the missionary. When the facilities were most needed, they were provided. And no enlightened Christian can look on the marvelous intellectual advancement of the nineteenth century in any other light than as a means of bringing the gospel to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, and of preparing the world for the coming of Christ.
The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21.
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel." Eze. 3: 17.
PROPHECY is a characteristic feature of the Christian religion. It constitutes more than one third of the Scriptures, and may be said to form the vital framework of the whole Bible. But prophecy is more than a framework. It is everywhere mingled with the substance of the Bible as a quickening spirit, giving beauty and far-reaching significance to the most ordinary subjects therein treated, and lighting up the things of time with glimpses of the eternal.
Prophecy has been called the mold of history. It marks out the divine plan of the ages. A knowledge of it is necessary to a large view of the scheme of redemption. Mortal man, struggling onward amid darkness, oppressed mayhap by doubt and discouragement, is often led to ask, "What of the night?" Prophecy gives him the answer,-" The morning cometh, and also the night."
Prophecy was the glory of Old Testament times. By its light Abraham saw the day of the Messiah; henceforth his life was no longer bounded by the narrow limits of the earthly Canaan: "he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose
builder and maker is God." David was a seer, and his psalms are instinct with the very essence and glory of prophecy. God's people of old were strongly marked by the expectant spirit. Their hearts were cheered in the Babylonian captivity by the prophetic promises. When galled by the Roman yoke, they encouraged themselves by glad anticipations of a King who should rule in righteousness. And although the Jews as a nation had
fallen from their high estate when the Saviour appeared, yet there were not wanting some faithful souls who, through their knowledge of prophecy, were looking for the Consolation of Israel.
When the Saviour came to this earth, He walked in the path marked out for Him in prophecy. And when, after His crucifixion and resurrection, He accompanied the two disciples to Emmaus, He chided them, not because they had neglected His instruction, but because of their ignorance of the prophetic
word. Yet the prophecies concerning the first advent of our Saviour are really few and obscure compared with those which speak of His second coming in glory.
In the early church, prophecy was a vital part of the teaching. Those devout followers of the Lamb who are said to have. coveted the crown of martyrdom, looked beyond the present life. Their hearts were cheered by the expectation of a coming
JESUS TEACHING FROM THE PROPHECIES
"Beginning at Moses and all the prophets. He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24: 27.
Saviour. They pondered the words of Paul concerning the falling away which must intervene before the glorious appearing of their Master. To them, engaged in a death grapple with paganism, the world about them almost wholly given to idolatry, their own earthly lives hanging as it were by a slender thread, prophecy was indeed a light shining in a dark place, until the day of the kingdom should dawn, and the day-star arise in their hearts.
But other times followed,- years of worldly favor, but of spiritual drouth and famine. The Christian church was at ease