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“THE NIGHT COMETH WHEREIN NO MAN CAN WORK”
THE article from Brother Woodworth, which follows, will be read by all with great interest. If it be merely speculation, it is surely ingenious. We received it eight months ago, but after careful consideration wrote our dear brother W. that we enjoyed the reading of it but could not endorse it as truth—that it is more fanciful, inferential and speculative than anything we have ever published. Brother W. was by no means offended at this, but urged that if published even as a conjecture or with a suggestion that it may be only a cunningly devised fable, it might do some good by awakening some to the fact that whether this calculation be right or wrong, evidently “the time is short,” anyway, for labor in this great harvest work. We give a portion of his letter:—
February 16, 1898
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—In reply to your loving letter of the 14th, I beg to assure you that I sympathize with your statement that you have considerable hesitation in respect to this matter, for I think I realize quite clearly just how important it is that you should be cautious in what you place before the Lord’s hungry “sheep.” If, therefore, after you have carefully considered the points, you still feel averse to publishing the article, how would it do to mention that you were considering some further points in the chronology, which, if correct, would show that the night will begin to settle down early next year—that you had not yet fully satisfied yourself as to their correctness and that since the time is now so near at hand you think best not to make any definite statements for the present, but to wait and see whether the date will be corroborated by developments? It would seem to me that you would thus be provided with a good opportunity for an exhortation to special effort during the year, and at the same time no harm can come in case we should find my arguments unsupported by the facts. However, this is merely a suggestion.
I treat the Time of Harvest as one complete day, from sunrise to sunrise. It seemed to me clear that having established the proportion of light : darkness :: 14.6 : 9.4 in its application to a representative harvest day of 24 literal hours, the same proportion should hold good in the division into day and night of the great forty-year harvest day in which we are now living. Reasoning in this way I found the date February 1st, 1899.
In my understanding the period from Oct. 1st, 1874, to Feb. 1st, 1899, would therefore represent the 12 Jewish hours of daylight, while the period from Feb. 1st, 1899, to Oct. 1st, 1914, would represent the four “watches” of night, the night including a period of twilight at each end.
Do as you may think best, and be assured I will continue to be, as ever, your brother and servant in the hope of the Gospel,
CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH
* * *
We conclude to place the matter before the TOWER readers with the foregoing cautions against accepting this matter as of the same weight and authority as the more definitely stated prophecies treated in the MILLENNIAL DAWN volumes. Should the outward work of “sealing” with the truth be stopped at the date indicated it will surprise us greatly—our expectation being that it will continue for probably eight years yet, until the Religious Federation shall have been consummated and have gained sufficient political prestige to deprive us of our rights of publication, etc. Nevertheless, we wish to use this year and every year as tho it were the last for this precious service of the Lord, his Word and his “sheep.” And this is the spirit of all possessed of the holy spirit of God’s dear Son.
Brother Woodworth’s article follows.
— March 15, 1898 —