"I can hardly ever read the conditions Christ attributed to the time of the flood without thinking of the parallels in our own time. The wickedness of humanity was represented as being great and prevalent. It was a time of selfishness and luxury. People were anti-religion and inconsiderate. It reminds me of many European countries today. Yet the warnings against such things seem not to have influenced the day-to-day business of their societies. Jesus said they were 'eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage' (Matt. 24:38) right up till the day the flood came. The result? They were all destroyed."
The author? William Wilberforce, anti-slavery advocate who led the movement to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
This observation comes from chapter four of Wilberforce's 1797 book, A Practical View of the Prevailing System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity.
It's either a sign that the British Empire, like the Roman Empire before it, is taking a long time to fall... or, that precedents exist for continuing to hope for a renewal of spirit in the UK, that the struggle to keep faith in the possibility of a future worth living in, is not a new challenge, unique to our times.