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Verse 7
    The testimony of the Old and New Testaments which indicated that at the end of the 1260 years their abasement should end was nullified when the Napoleonic government of France after having broken the power of the Papacy began in November, CE 1799, to moderate its attitude toward it, "by putting an end to religious persecution and thus indicating a forthcoming concordat with the Pope [July 15, 1801]" (Encyclopedia Britannica, Napoleon I, Vol. 16, p. 88, 1945 edition).

    By thus fraternizing with the church system, it seemed that the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments had failed, because the system which had suppressed the Scriptures was not being set aside at the time appointed, but was receiving recognition again. However, after three and one-half years, the Spirit of God caused these "two witnesses" to be exalted, despite the fact that Bible suppressing papacy was again receiving recognition.

    Hence in May, CE 1803, Mr. Hughes "presented an impression of an Essay, prepared in compliance with the wishes expressed at the primary Meeting, under the title of ‘The excellence of the Holy Scriptures an Argument for their more General Dispersion.’" This placed in motion subsequently the formation of the first Bible Society. (The History of the Origin and First Ten Years of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Vol. 1, by Rev. John Owen, 1816).

    At this same time we read: "In the course of the discussion initiated by Mr. Charles, Mr. Hughes uttered the momentous suggestion: ‘Surely a [Bible] society might be formed for the purpose; and if for Wales, why not for the Kingdom; why not for the whole world?’ It was hailed with enthusiasm; week by week the project was debated; friends were approached; appeal was made to the publicthrough an admirable essay by Mr. Hughes, The Excellency of the Holy Scriptures: an Argument for their more General Dispersion, to assist in founding the ‘first institution that ever emanated from one nation for the good of all’; a constitution was drafted by Mr. Samuel Mills, who lived to serve for forty-three years on the Committee of the Society which he did so much to organize, and at the general meeting of the Religious Tract Society in May 1803, the urgent need for the association was pressed with fervid eloquence." (History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, by W. Canton; 1904, p. 10)

    While The British and Foreign Bible Society was actually formed in 1804 it resulted from the earlier meeting in May, 1803. It is just as Elijah prayed and when he saw a cloud the size of a "man’s hand," he ran to forecast to Ahab and the nation that rain was coming. The cloud the size of a "man’s hand" did not bring the rain in 1803. However, it guaranteed to the Elijah class that rain was on the way. This May 1803 meeting was in essence the cloud the size of a "man’s hand" (1 Kings 18:44).


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