[* NOTE. This tract was published in The Dawn on June 16th, 1924.]






One utterance of the Spirit - largely unintelligible three thousand years ago - is so curiously emphatic, so extraordinarily explicit, and now so startlingly fulfilling, that it flashes like an Advent-lightning across the sky.  “Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book” - a warning of unintelligibility to contemporaries: the full meaning of the prophecy could only be grasped when circumstances supplied the key - “until the time OF THE END” - the neighbourhood of the Great Tribulation named in verse 1, when the book will be unsealed to myriads of minds: “many shall RUN TO AND FRO” - a sentence so hard to understand for three thousand years that almost all commentators turn it into metaphor, in a strained and far-fetched translation: there is no assertion in the text that it is a running to and fro in the Scriptures, or in the Book of Daniel – “and KNOWLEDGE” - our word for the Latin word Science: there is no assertion in the text that it is Scripture knowledge, but knowledge absolute – “shall be increased” (Dan. 12: 4); a rapidity of transport, and a growth of Science, so gigantic, so portentous, as to be a blazing portent of the End, visible thousands of years before their joint arrival.






So the forecast of Daniel is transport of incredible rapidity in the latter days.  “Many shall run to and fro” is explained by Gesenius thus:- “to run up and down, to go to and fro, hither and thither in haste; to go over the earth or land in travel*  Not until a century ago was fire, the agent of all revolution in transport, brought by engineers to the aid of locomotion: until then the camel and the horse were the swiftest means of human transport.  Our Lord, on earth, walked; once - so far as we know - He rode; and never travelled in a chariot, which was reserved for royalty and the great: nor was it otherwise for five and a half millenniums.  Carriages first appeared in England, but only for the rich and invalids, in A.D. 1380, private coaches in 1510, and public coaches in 1662; and it was said at the time – “Incredible as it may appear, the coach will arrive in London from Manchester in four days and a half,” or the time now taken by a swift Cunarder to span the Atlantic.  To-day the rail-car covers the distance in three to four hours.  The motor record is (I believe) 136 miles an hour; the aeroplane, 266 miles an hour; and even the submarine, driven against dense underwaters - the slowest of all possible progression - travels faster than the earliest railway trains.**


* It is manifest, by their translations, that both the Authorized and Revised translators so understand it.


** Man has thus outstripped all beasts and birds.  The cheetah, or hunting leopard of India, the fastest thing on foot, can cover sixty miles an hour over a short distance; and the spine-tailed swift, which breeds in the mountains of North-Eastern Asia - the fastest bird in the world - is capable of two hundred miles per hour.






But the supreme modern land-transport, altogether outclassing even rail travel, appears foretold with an explicitness of detail not less than astounding.  Be it remembered, that, so far as we know, chariots, always made of wood,* were never propelled by fire, nor ever carried lamps or “hooters.”  Now Nahum (2: 3) says:- “The chariots flash with steel in the day of his preparation”: for the swiftness of modern transport is a shadow of the Advent both of Christ and Antichrist: the Hebrew is “with fire of steel” - that is, fire encased in steel: the word is unique in the Bible.  “And the fir-trees are shaken terribly” - by the thud and thunder of the armoured cars; as a London street will be shaken by a motor-van, or the countryside tremble under the passing of a tank.  “The chariots rage in the streets” - go at mad speed; the word is used of Jehu’s furious driving: they tear along as if mad – “they jostle one against another in the broadways” - the esplanades, and avenues: “the appearance of them is like torches” - the glare of the headlights – “they run like the lightnings  Mark the description: the end-time chariot is of steel; it is propelled by fire - no horses are named; it is a ponderous car, jostling; it “rages” - one scholar gives the word as “toot a call, or warning; it carries torches, or headlights; and its speed is so great that it is said to flash like lightning.


* Tutankhamen’s chariots, unearthed at Luxor, are wood overlaid with sheet gold; even the wheels are covered with gold, and the axles richly encrusted.  The iron chariots of Judges 4: 3 were so exceptional as to be recorded.



They are in all the “broadways” - as New York’s greatest thoroughfare is called:* in the United States alone four million cars were sold last year (1923): the streets of all great cities throughout the world to-day are dangerous with jostling, raging, lightning-chariots.  “Their ‘appearance” as Calvin said long ago, “will dazzle the eyes of beholders with their brightness


* A distinguished architect said recently in Paris that if automobiles continue to increase as in the last three years, by 1940 motor transport will be impossible except in the widest streets, and that New York, Chicago, Paris and London will have to be rebuilt.





So rapidity of thought-transmission also is one of the miracles of the modern age.  When Stanley found Livingstone at Ujiji, the letters he carried were two years old: a telegram now covers the space in one-twentieth of a second.  At a Railway Exhibition in Washington recently, Mr. Morton, the Secretary of the Navy, opened a telegraph switch at midnight, starting a time signal round the world, while a Map 21 feet by 42 feet showed its progress by electric bulbs.  The signal circled the globe in seven seconds.  Most wonderful of all, during the presidential address at the meeting of the British Association in Liverpool, Sir Ernest Rutherford’s voice, which took 1-5th of a second to reach the back of the hall, took only 1-50th of a second to reach the North of Scotland; so that the address was heard in Aberdeen ten times more quickly than on the back benches of the hall in Liverpool.  So the Book of Daniel was to remain, in parts, sealed, until illuminated by facts then inconceivable: to-day we stand in the dawn of its revelation.






But the growth of Science foretold by Daniel, and now patent to all the world, beggars language, and baffles imagination.  It is the peculiarity and outstanding feature of the present age.  To take a single example, Astronomy: early in the Christian era Hipparchus catalogued 1, 022 stars; the early telescopes, in the dawn of the nineteenth century, revealed 6,748; the great telescopes now expose (Sir Robert Ball tells us) 5o,ooo,ooo; and the sensitive plate of photography lays bare still myriads more.  And that is but one small section of Science!  “I do not believe,” says Lord Balfour, “that we yet realize the magnitude of the growth of knowledge that has taken place in three generations, in the sixty or ninety years drawing to a conclusion: our whole revolutionized in that time, our view of history, our whole view of science, our whole conception of the material world, our whole knowledge of the growth of progress.” The increase is no less extensive than it is intensive.  The record of new books in England in the first half of the eighteenth century was an average of 93 a year; the annual output in the first quarter of the nineteenth century was 600: a year or so ago it was 8, 446, with 2, 279 new editions.  Of one edition alone – “Everyman’s Library” - 14,000,000 volumes have been sold.  The British Museum, a huge mausoleum of literature - since by law a copy of every British book has to be stored within it - has grown into a town in the middle of London, containing four million books on 46 miles of bookshelves; and 12 other great libraries of the world hold another 14 millions.*


* The details are these :‑Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 3,500,000 ; Imperial Library, Leningrad, 1,881,000; Congress Library, New York, 1,793,000; Royal Library, Berlin, 1,400, 000; Royal Library, Munich, 1,300,000; Imperial Library, Vienna, 1,000,000; and Rome (two), Oxford, Brussels, Edinburgh, and Dublin, under a million each.






The lightning rapidity with which God can counter man’s swiftness, and man’s science, the parent of the rapidity, the earthquake in Tokio has shown.  It took but a few moments for the University Library - knowledge laboriously accumulated through centuries - to go up in ashes.  Its 750,000 volumes included a unique collection of 790 volumes of Chronicles of the Li (Korean) Dynasty, and the great Chinese Encyclopaedia in 9, 998 volumes, together with seventeenth century Jesuit books on Japan - all of which can never be replaced.  Such will be the lightning rapidity of God’s “short work  “I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a SWIFT WITNESS against the sorcerers” - the Spiritualists - “and against the adulterers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages” - the sweaters – “and that turn aside the stranger” - anti-foreign legislation is increasing in all lands - “from his right” (Mal. 3: 5).  The judgment angel stood by Daniel in two minutes from the Throne of God (Dan. 9: 23) – the length of time taken to repeat the prayer - a speed in aviation even now inconceivable to Science; and how swiftly judgment can act, when it has alighted on the earth, is seen in the Messina earthquake, when 250,000 souls were shocked into eternity in seven seconds.  “When they are saying, Peace and safety, then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape” (1. Thess. 5: 3).  So God can be as swift to save.  “We shall all be changed in a moment” - for the dead - “in the twinkling of an eye” - for the living (1. Cor. 15: 51): swift as lightning the mortal will be swallowed up of life.






What an overwhelming proof of the truth of the Holy Scriptures!  The modern world is stamped all over with prophecy, and every newspaper publishes God - and in the heart of it all is Calvary.  For if the Word of God can be so overwhelmingly true in the literal details of a single phrase foretold three thousand years ago, how overwhelmingly more true - if that were possible - must be its great blazing central truth, the Incarnation and Offering of the Son of God.  Every fresh fulfilment is a warning-bell where wrecks go down.  A vessel named the Thetis was cruising in the Mediterranean in search of an uncharted shoal.  The captain, having failed to locate it, abandoned the enterprise, but an officer on board, who formed a different judgment, afterwards discovered a reef of rocks, which he reported at the Admiralty, and it was inserted in the charts.  The intelligence came to the captain’s ears.  “The whole thing is a falsehood,” he exclaimed; adding, “If ever I have the keel of the Thetis under me in those waters again, if I don’t carry her clean over where the chart marks a rock, call me a liar, and no seaman  Two years after, he was conveying, in the same vessel, the British Ambassador to Naples.  One windy night he and the master were examining the chart on deck by the light of a lantern, when the latter pointed out the sunken rock on the map.  “What,” exclaimed the old seaman, “is this invention to meet me in the teeth again?  I swore I would sail over the spot the first chance I had, and I’ll do it  He went down into the cabin, merrily related the story to the company, and said,- “Within five minutes we shall have passed the spot  There was a pause.  Then, taking out his watch, he said, “The time is past!  We have gone over the wonderful reef  But, a moment after, a grating touch was felt on the ship’s keel; then a sudden shock - a tremendous crash - the ship had foundered.  The captain was last seen a white figure, bareheaded, and in his shirt, on the dark hull of the Thetis, as the foam burst round her sinking bows.  He perished, a victim of unbelief.