LOCOMOTION AND SCIENCE:
TWIN SIGNALS OF THE ADVENT*
[* NOTE. This tract was published in The Dawn on June 16th, 1924.]
By D. M. PANTON, B.A.
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.
RAPIDITY OF TRANSPORT
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
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
* Tutankhamens chariots, unearthed at
They are in all the broadways - as
* A distinguished architect said
So rapidity of thought-transmission
also is one of the miracles of the modern age.
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 Everymans 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 mans swiftness, and mans 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 Gods 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.
FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY
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