No one who is acquainted with the mental condition of the great bulk of the intelligent classes in these days can doubt that a wide-spread defection from the faith exists already, and extends continually. Infidelity and rationalism in countless forms, both open and concealed, are not only rife in the world, but also in the Church. A great intellectual change has passed over the minds of men within this generation, and its effect has been to a large extent adverse to faith in revelation. Historic criticism, the philosophical mode of treating ancient history, which has been applied since the time of Niebuhr to the books of the Bible, too often rashly and inconsiderately, has done much to produce in the minds of many a state of suspended belief, if not of actual unbelief; while the tendency to hasty generalization on the part of the rapidly developing natural sciences, which has seemed to place nature, the work of God, in opposition to Scripture, His word, has helped to undermine the old foundations.
Truer criticism and truer science are slowly undoing some of the mischief which was all too quickly wrought; but the flood of rationalistic teaching still flows alike from the professor's chair and the periodical press, from the pulpit and the platform. An organized diffusion of infidel principles is proceeding in every class of society, and the young are peculiarly exposed to be injured by it. The less the instruction and experience, the greater the danger of being misled by the specious arguments of skepticism, and the greater the need of confirmation and establishment in divinely revealed truth. The ceaseless warfare being waged against the word of God should prepare us gladly to welcome every additional evidence of its inspiration.
Of all the various lines of Christian evidence none is so specially adapted to these last days as that based on fulfilled prophecy. It is as distinctively suited to the close of the dispensation, as were miracles to the commencement…the proofs of supernatural power and wisdom arising from fulfilled prophecy accumulate and become irresistible. Each century of Jewish and Gentile history adds to its amount, and the last century especially has done so very largely.
—Henry Grattan Guiness (11 August 1835 – 21 June 1910, Irish Protestant preacher, evangelist, author, reckoned as the great evangelist of the Third Evangelical awakening, preaching during the Ulster Revival of 1859. This quote concerning conditions of the “Last Days” was taken from his book Light for the Last Days, written in 1888).