MULTITUDES in all parts of the world have expressed their approval of this imaginative, yet true-to-Scripture account of what will transpire on this earth at the coming of the Lord. It is written in a style so fascinating that young and old will read it with almost breathless interest from start to finish.
Already many thousands who would never have studied their Bibles, or looked at an ordinary book or pamphlet to learn the precious truth of the Second Coming of the Lord, have been awakened, quickened and even converted by reading "In The Twinkling of An Eye."
Convincingly true, terrible and beautiful in turn, this book is one of the most startling in the annals of Christian literature-just the book to solemnize and awaken careless, ill-taught, professing Christians to a complete realization of the fact that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
SOME years ago I received from an important Southern town, a letter from a Ladies' Temperance Committee, to this effect:- "Sir, We the undersigned, are a committee of Ladies, who, for many years, have purchased your "Stories for the People" in very large numbers, for free distribution and
loan; always assuming that you were to be thoroughly relied upon as an upholder of strict Total-
abstinence principles. But your latest story has sadly undeceived us, as regards your usefulness as a worker in the great cause we are pledged to uphold and further.
On PP-- of your last story, you make your hero, returning from a day's run with the hounds, come upon a woman lying in a lonely place, who has been injured in a trap accident. You say, speaking of your hero's prompt help to the woman, that "taking his hunting flask from his pocket, he forced a few drops of the brandy between the woman’s lips, etc." Now, sir, we contend that had you had the cause of Total-abstinence fully at heart, you would have made that huntsman's flask to have contained water."
So much for the letter. The moral of it lies on the surface. There are some persons who seem unable to see anything from the side of real, actual life - that Ladies' committee could not - whose vision is narrowed down to the tiny slit of their own cramped, cabined life and thought, they have no true out1ook upon life, as a whole.
I preface this foreword with the above incident, because I am perfectly certain that the standpoint from which I have written this book will be utterly, absolutely misunderstood by many earnest loving-hearted people, whose eyes, with my own, have caught the upward gaze "from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."
I would at once acknowledge that the inceptive idea of writing such a book as this was born within me from reading ''Long Odds," that wondrous little half-penny booklet written by the late General Robertson, I believe, a booklet that has been so marvellously "owned and blessed."
For five or six years the idea for this present volume has been simmering and seething in my mind.
The first and only real problem I had to face in the matter was that of the principle involved in using the fictional form to clothe so sacred a subject (for, to me, the near Return of our Lord is the most sacred of all subjects). But the problem of the principle was speedily settled, as I remembered how wondrously GOD had owned and blessed "Long Odds," in which the fictional is the vehicle of the teaching.
Then, too, there are, I know, myriads of people into whose hands "Long Odds," could never, by any chance, fall - for there are multitudes who will not so much as glance at, or touch a tract, while a volume will easily win its way among all classes. There is an enormous percentage of attendants at our churches and chapels, and many otherwise very earnest Christian workers, to whom the whole subject of the Lord's Second Coming is an absolutely unknown realm of Truth - and these I would fain reach and arouse with the message of this book.
To those Christians who are looking for the Return of the Lord, to whom the subject is the most tenderly sacred of all subjects, who will at first sight condemn the use of the fictional element, the dramatic color in this book - and many good people will, I am assured - I would say, first, that the book is not written for them, and second, that, our Lord Himself, speaking of His own Return, used two very remarkable illustrations from life's strangest dramas.
First, "As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until THE DAY, etc." Now, think what a myriad dramas were being enacted when the flood came. And had the disciples asked their Lord, privately, after His utterance, to explain more fully what He meant, what thrilling stories He could, He doubtless WOULD have sketched.
If any Christian cavils at the dramatic in this book, I would refer him or her to CHRIST's own pointing in the picture of Noah’s time, then bid them fill out, by help of the feeblest, simplest imagination, the picture of the myriad dramas that were being enacted when that flood came, of old time.
Then, if the objector is honest, and is capable of the least imagination, he will say "I see! and now that I see this fact, my wonder is not that there is a certain dramatic freedom in this book, but that the writer has kept so powerful a restraint upon his pen."
Again, CHRIST said:- "As it was in the days of Lot," etc. Now think over this saying of our Lord's, and remembering what is actually recorded in Genesis, of the vice and crime of Sodom, (and how, alas! even when saved from the doomed city, Lot and his daughters brought away much of the vicious, criminal essence of the place with them), think how the Return of our Lord, presently, will mean the snatching away of many of His own out of scenes infinitely more awful than anything I have used herein, or ever hinted at.
A book written on the subject here chosen, and written in the vein our Lord Himself suggests in the two passages referred to above, could not have been written in any other way - to be true to life, and to the subject.
Should any reader object to the expository lectures of Major H---, as the chief vehicle for the doctrinal teaching, I would say that personal experience has proved the style to be infinitely more acceptable to readers than that of the dialogue mode.
I have purposely placed special emphasis on the Jewish side of the subject, since the Jewish question is infinitely more closely enwrapped with the fact of our Lord's near return, than many speakers and writers give prominence to.
"The Fire,” Vernham Dean, Hungerford, Berks