MR. MILLER AND HIS REVIEWERS--DOCTORS DOWLING, CHASE, JARVIS, ETC.--THE FOURTH KINGDOM--THE LITTLE HORN--PROPHETIC NUMBERS--SEVENTY WEEKS--COMING OF CHRIST, ETC.
"As it will be proper to take some notice of the controversy between Mr. Miller and those who entered the lists against him, it may as well be referred to in this connection. As his views gained adherents, various publications of sermons, reviews, &c., were issued from the press--the design of which was to counteract his expositions of prophecy. Some of these were direct attacks on him, and others only indirect, by opposing the long-established principles of Protestant interpretation. The controversy had respect principally to the following points:--
"1. The Fourth Kingdom of Daniel, 7th chapter.
"2. The Little Horn of the same.
"3. The Little Horn of the 8th.
"4. The Length of the Prophetic Periods.
"5. The Commencement of the Seventy Weeks of Dan. 9.
"6. Their Connection with the 2300 days of Dan. 8.
"7. The Rise of the Little Horn of the 7th.
"8. The Nature of Christ's Second Advent.
"9. The Return of the Jews.
"10. The Epoch of the Resurrection.
"Mr. Miller laid no claim to originality in his position respecting any of the above points; but maintained that they were established opinions of the church, and, being so, that his conclusions from such premises were well sustained by human as well as by divine teachings. While his opponents attacked the view he took of these points, no one of them assailed the whole; but each admitted his correctness on some of the points; and, among them, the whole were admitted.
"1. The Fourth Kingdom of Daniel. This he claimed to be the Roman. In this, he had the support of the ablest and most judicious expositors of every age. William Cunninghame, Esq., of England, an eminent expositor, in speaking of the four parts of the great image of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, says that they are 'respectively applied by Daniel himself to four kingdoms, which have, by the unanimous voice of the Jewish and Christian churches, for more than eighteen centuries, been identified with the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.' Should this be questioned, the witnesses are abundant. In the Jewish church, we have the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel, Josephus, and the whole modern synagogue, including the names of Abarbanal, Kimchi, David, Levi, and others. In the Christian church, such as Barnabas, Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Cyril of Jerusalem in his catechism, Jerome, and according to him, all ecclesiastical writers, Hyppolitus and Lactantius in the early ages; since the Reformation, Luther, Calvin, Mede, T. H. Horne,(1) Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Dr. Hales, Scott, Clarke, Brown,(2) Watson,(3) Bishop Lloyd, Daubuz, Brightman, Faber, Noel, Dr. Hopkins, and almost every biblical expositor of any note in the Protestant church. Those who make this application of the four parts of the image have no difficulty in making a like application of the four beasts of Daniel seventh. The remarkable similarity of the two visions requires this.
"This long-established opinion was controverted by Prof. Stuart of Andover, in his 'Hints,' before referred to. He said: 'The fourth beast in Dan. 7:6, &c., is, beyond all reasonable doubt, the divided Grecian dominion, which succeeded the reign of Alexander the Great.'--Hints, p. 86.
"Prof. Irah Chase, D. D., said: 'The fourth empire was that of the successors of Alexander, among whom Seleucus was pre-eminent.'--Remarks on the Book of Daniel, p. 20.
"Others, of lesser note, copied from these, and took a similar position respecting the fourth kingdom.
"Of those who opposed Mr. Miller on other points, John Dowling, D. D., of New York city, in his 'Exposition of the Prophecies,' did not assail this.
"Rev. W. T. Hamilton, D. D., of Mobile, Ala., in his 'Lecture on Millerism,' said: 'I freely admit, that in his general outline of interpretation (excluding his dates), following, as he does, much abler men who have gone before him, Mr. Miller is correct. The several dynasties prefigured in the great metallic image of Nebuchadnezzar--in the vision of the four beasts, and of the ram and he-goat--Daniel himself points out. Mistake there is not easy."--p. 18.
"Dr. Jarvis, D. D., LL. D., of Middletown, Ct., in his 'Two Discourses on Prophecy,' also applies the fourth beast in the same manner.--p. 42.
"J. T. Hinton, A. M., of St. Louis ('Prophecies Illustrated'), said: 'The dream of the image, the vision of the four beasts, that of the ram and he-goat, and the "Scriptures of truth," give us four detailed descriptions of the history of the world, from the time of Daniel to the "time of the end;" and the Apocalyptic visions refer to the same period as the latter portion of the prophecies of Daniel.'--p. 25. 'The dream of the image is of the greatest importance; it leaves without excuse those who would reduce the remaining prophecies of Daniel to the narrow compass of the little acts of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. Nothing can be clearer than that the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay, are designed to cover the history of the world in all its successive ages."--p. 27.
"Again he says: 'We think our readers will concur with us, and with the great mass of writers on prophecy, that the "ten horns" or Daniel's "fourth beast," and "the beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads," of the Apocalyptic visions, refer to the ten kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided. Of the identity of the ten-horned beasts of Daniel and John there can be no reasonable doubt."--p. 232.
"2. The Little Horn of the seventh chapter of Daniel. This he held to be the papacy. This was no novel view of that symbol, being, as it was, the view of the whole Protestant world. See Dr. Clarke's Notes on 2 Thess. 2; Croly on the Apoc., pp. 113-117, Horne's Int., vol. 4, p. 191, Watson's Theol. Dic., p. 62, G. T. Noel, Prospects of the Church of Christ, p. 100, William Cunninghame, Esq., Political Dest. of the Earth, p. 28, Mede, Newton, Scott, Daubuz, Hurd, Jurieu, Vitringa, Fleming, Lowman, and numerous others of the best standard expositors.
"Prof. Stuart, Prof. Chase, and others who applied the 'fourth beast' to the four divisions of Alexander's successors, applied the little horn of the same chapter to Antiochus Epiphanes.
"Mr. Hinton took the same view that Mr. Miller did of this symbol. He said: 'If any other events of history can be set forth and made to fill out all the particulars mentioned by Daniel and John, we should be happy to see them stated; till then, we shall believe the little horn rising up amidst the ten horns, and having three of them plucked up before it, to refer to the rise of the papacy in the midst of the kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided in the sixth century."--p. 237.
"Dr. Dowling, Dr. Hamilton, and others, who admitted that the fourth beast symbolized the Roman Empire, also applied its little horn to the papacy.
"3. The Little Horn of the eighth chapter of Daniel, that became exceeding great. This Mr. Miller believed to be a symbol of Rome. In this view he was sustained by Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Dr. Hales, Martin Luther, Dr. Prideaux, Dr. Clarke, Dr. Hopkins, Wm. Cunninghame, and others.
"Dr. Horne said of the first three above named: 'Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, and Dr. Hales, have clearly shown that the Roman power, and no other, is intended; for, although some of the particulars may agree very well with that king (Antiochus), yet others can by no means be reconciled to him; while all of them agree and correspond exactly with the Romans, and with no other power."--Intro., vol. 4, p. 191.
"In addition to these, almost all the old writers who applied it to Antiochus Epiphanes did so only as the type of Rome, where they looked for the Antichrist. St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, in the fourth century, said: 'This, the predicted Antichrist, will come when the times of the (pagan) Roman Empire shall be fulfilled, and the consummation of the world approach. Ten kings of the Romans shall rise together, in different places indeed, but they shall reign at the same time. Among these, the eleventh is Antichrist, who, by magical and wicked artifices, shall seize the Roman power.
"Prof. Stuart, Prof. Chase, and even Dr. Dowling, with others, applied this symbol to Antiochus Epiphanes.
"Rev. R. C. Shimeal, of New York ("Prophecy in Course of Fulfillment"), dissented from Mr. Miller, and also from the foregoing, and understood this horn to symbolize the Mahommedan power. Mr. Hinton took the same view.
"Mr. Miller was sustained in his application of this point by Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Jarvis. The latter said: 'Sir Isaac Newton, with that sagacity which was peculiar to him, was the first, I believe, who showed clearly that this little horn was the Roman power.'--p. 43.
"4. The Length of the Prophetic Numbers. In explaining these, Mr. Miller adopted the Protestant view, that they represent years. There is probably no point respecting which Protestant commentators have been more agreed than this. Faber, Prideaux, Mede, Clarke, Scott, the two Newtons, Wesley, and almost every expositor of note, have considered this a settled question. Indeed, so universal has been this interpretation of these periods that Professor Stuart says: 'IT IS A SINGULAR FACT THAT THE GREAT MASS OF INTERPRETERS in the English and American world have, for many years, been wont to understand the days designated in Daniel and the Apocalypse as the representatives or symbols of years. I found it difficult to trace the origin of this GENERAL, I might say ALMOST UNIVERSAL, CUSTOM.'--Hints, p. 77.
"He also says: 'For a long time these principles have been so current among the expositors of the English and American world, that scarcely a serious attempt to vindicate them has of late been made. They have been regarded as so plain and so well fortified against all objections, that most expositors have deemed it quite useless even to attempt to defend them. One might, indeed, almost compare the ready and unwavering assumption of these propositions, to the assumption of the first self-evident axioms in the science of geometry, which not only may dispense with any process of ratiocination in their defense, but which do not even admit of any.'--Hints, p. 8.
"Prof. Stuart, however, dissented from this 'almost universal custom,' and claimed that the prophetic days--the 1260, 1290, 1335, and 2300--indicated only days. Of the 1260 he said: 'The very manner of the expression indicates, of course, that it was not the design of the speaker or writer to be exact to a day or an hour. A little more or a little less than three and a half years would, as every reasonable interpreter must acknowledge, accord perfectly well with the general designation here, where plainly the aim is not statistical exactness, but a mere generalizing of the period in question.'--Hints, p. 73.
"Again he says: 'A statistical exactness cannot be aimed at in cases of this nature. Any near approximation to the measure of time in question would, of course, be regarded as a sufficient reason for setting it down under the general rubric.'
"'By the 1260 days,' he said, 'no more than three and a half years literally can possibly be meant' (p. 75); and of the 2300: 'We must consider these 2300 evening-mornings as an expression of simple time, i. e., of so many days, reckoned in the Hebrew manner.'--p. 100.
"Prof. C. E. Stowe, D. D., of Andover Mass., in his 'Millennial Arithmetic,' claimed that 'day does not mean year in the prophecies any more than elsewhere;' and that 'a definite designation of time was not here intended, but only a general expression.'--p. 13.
"Prof. Chase agreed with Prof. Stuart respecting the 1260 days; but said of the 2300: 'The period predicted is not two thousand and three hundred days but only half that number--1150.'--Remarks, p. 60.
"Dr Dowling agreed with Prof. Chase that the 2300 were half days; but differed both from him and Prof. Stuart respecting the 1260, of which he says: 'I believe, as Mr. Miller does, and indeed most Protestant commentators, that the 1260 years denote the duration of the dominion of the papal Antichrist. After comparing these passages, and the entire prophecies to which they belong, with the history and character of papacy, I cannot doubt that this is the mystical Babylon, whose name is written in Rev. 17:5; and that, when the 1260 years are accomplished, then shall that great city, Babylon, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.'--Reply to Miller, p. 27.
"Prof. Pond, D. D. (of Bangor, Me.), in his 'Review of Second Advent Publications,' was in doubt whether the periods of Daniel could be proved to be years; but was willing to cut the matter short by conceding the point that it may be so.--p. 22.
"Dr. Jarvis, Mr. Hinton, Mr. Shimeal, and Prof. Bush, sustained Mr. Miller respecting the significance of the prophetic days.
"In speaking of the application of the 2300 days to the time of the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, Dr. Jarvis says: 'This interpretation would, of course, be fatal to all Mr. Miller's calculations. It is not surprising, therefore, that it should be eagerly embraced by many of his opponents. But, with all due deference, I think there are insuperable difficulties in the way of this scheme, which makes Antiochus Epiphanes the little horn.' 'I make no difficulty, therefore, in admitting the evening-morning to mean a prophetic day.'--Sermons, p. 46. He further says that Daniel was told to shut up the vision, 'because the fulfillment of it should be so far distant; a strong collateral argument, as I understand it, for the interpretation of 2300 prophetic days.'--Ib., p. 47. And 'The vision is the whole vision of the ram and he-goat.'--p. 45.
"Prof. Bush, in writing to Mr. Miller, said: 'I do not conceive your errors on the subject of chronology to be at all of a serious nature, or in fact to be very wide of the truth. In taking a day as the prophetical time for a year, I believe you are sustained by the soundest exegesis, as well as fortified by the high names of Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Faber, Scott, Keith; and a host of others, who have long since come to substantially your conclusions on this head. They all agree that the leading periods mentioned by Daniel and John do actually expire about this age of the world; and it would be strange logic that would convict you of heresy for holding in effect the same views which stand forth so prominently in the notices of these eminent divines.' 'Your results in this field of inquiry do not strike me as so far out of the way as to affect any of the great interests of truth or duty.'--Ad. Her., vol. 7, p. 38.
"Writing to Prof. Stuart, Prof. Bush said: 'I am not inclined precipitately to discard an opinion long prevalent in the church, which has commended itself to those whose judgments are entitled to profound respect. That such is the case in regard to the year-day calculations of prophecy I am abundantly satisfied; and I confess, too, at once to the pleasure that it affords me to find that that which is sustained by age is also sustained by argument.' Again he says: 'Mede is very far from being the first who adopted this solution of the symbolic term day. It is the solution naturally arising from the construction put, in all ages, upon the oracle of Daniel respecting the SEVENTY WEEKS, which, by Jews and Christians, have been interpreted weeks of years, on the principle of a day standing for a year. This fact is obvious from the Rabbinical writers en masse, where they touch upon the subject; and Eusebius tells us (Dem. Evangl. 8, p. 258--Ed. Steph.), that this interpretation in his day was generally if not universally admitted.'
"I have, in my own collection, writers on the prophecies, previous to the time of Mede, who interpret the 1260 days as so many years, and who are so far from broaching this as a new interpretation that they do not even pause to give the grounds of it, but proceed onward, as if no risk were run in taking for granted the soundness of the principle which came down to them accredited by the IMMEMORIAL usage of their predecessors.'--Hierophant, vol. 1, p. 245.
"If the old, established principle of the year-day theory is wrong, then, said Prof. Bush, 'not only has the whole Christian world been led astray for ages by a mere ignis fatuus of false hermeneutics, but the church is at once cut loose from every chronological mooring, and set adrift in the open sea, without the vestige of a beacon, light-house, or star, by which to determine her bearings or distances from the desired millennial haven to which she had hoped she was tending.'
"5. The Commencement of the Seventy Weeks.--These were believed by Mr. Miller to be the weeks of years--four hundred and ninety years--and commenced with the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus to restore and build Jerusalem, according to Ezra seventh, B. C. 457. This has also long been considered by commentators to be a settled point; and it probably would not have been disputed were it not for a desire to avoid the conclusion to which Mr. Miller came, on the supposition that it was the beginning of the 2300 days. On so settled a point as this it is only necessary to mention such names as Horne (see Int., vol. 1, p. 336, vol. 4. p. 191), Prideaux (see Connection, pp. 227-256), Clarke (see Notes on 9th of Daniel), Watson (Theol. Dic., p. 96), William Howel, LL. D. (Int. of Gen. His., vol. 1, p. 209), Scott, and Cunninghame.
"This point was not much questioned by any. A Mr. Kindrick, in a 'New Exposition of the Prophecies of Daniel,' said: 'They are seventy years only, and commenced with the birth of Christ and ended with the destruction of the Jewish nation.'--p. 4. Rev. Calvin Newton affirmed, in the Christian Watchman, that they were fulfilled in seventy literal weeks. And Prof. Stuart said: 'It would require a volume of considerable magnitude even to give a history of the ever-varying and contradictory opinions of critics respecting this locus vexatissimus; and perhaps a still larger, to establish an exegesis which would stand. I am fully of opinion that no interpretation as yet published will stand the test of thorough grammatico-historical criticism.'--Hints, p. 104.
"Mr. Shimeal, while he admitted that they are weeks of years, commenced them four years later than Mr. M.
"Dr. Hamilton sustained Mr. Miller on this point. He said: 'The interpretation which Mr. Miller gives of Daniel's seventy weeks, commencing with the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, in the seventh year of his reign (B. C. 457), for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and terminating with the death of Christ, A. D. 33, is, in the main, correct, because here Mr. M. but gives a tolerably faithful report of the result of the labors of the learned Prideaux and others in this field of research.'--p. 18. This interpretation was not denied by Dr. Jarvis, Mr. Hinton, and Mr. Morris. And Dr. Dowling said: 'Mr. Miller says the four hundred and ninety years begin B. C. 457, which is correct. He says they end A. D. 33, which is also correct.'--p. 49.
"6. The connection between the 70 weeks and 2300 Days.--This was a vital point in the chronology of Mr. M. to bring the end in 1843. The Rev. William Hales, D. D., the most learned modern chronologer, says: 'This simple and ingenious adjustment of the chronology of the seventy weeks, considered as forming a branch of the 2300 days, was originally due to the sagacity of Hans Wood, Esq., of Rossmead, in the county of Westmeath, Ireland, and published by him in an anonymous commentary on the Revelation of St. John, Lon., 1787.'--New Anal. Chro., vol. 2, p. 564. He elsewhere calls it 'the most ingenious of its class.'
"The argument which Mr. Miller used in support of this point was based upon the literal meaning of the Hebrew word, which, in our version of Daniel 9:24, is rendered 'determined'--cut off, or cut out,--and the circumstances in which Gabriel appeared to Daniel, as stated in the ninth chapter, with the instruction given.
"In the 8th chapter of Daniel is recorded a vision which was to extend to the cleansing of the sanctuary, and to continue 2300 days. Daniel had 'sought for the meaning' of that vision, and a voice said: 'Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.' Gabriel said to Daniel: 'I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for, at the time appointed, the end shall be;' and then proceeded to explain the symbols, but said nothing of their duration. At the close of the explanation Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; and he says he 'was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.'
"Three years subsequent to that vision, Daniel--understanding 'by books the number of years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem,'--set his face unto the Lord to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. He proceeded to confess his own sins and the sins of his people, and to supplicate the Lord's favor on the sanctuary that was desolate. While he was thus speaking, Daniel says:--'Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation; and he informed me, and talked with me, and said: 'O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand the matter and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined' &c. 'From the going forth of the decree to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince: '--after which Jerusalem was to be made desolate 'until the consummation.'--Dan. 9:20-27.
"Dr. Gill, a distinguished divine and scholar, rendered the word 'determined,' cut off, and is sustained by good scholars.
"Hengstenberg, who enters into a critical examination of the original text, says: 'But the very use of the word, which does not elsewhere occur, while others, much more frequently used, were at hand, if Daniel had wished to express the idea of determination, and of which he has elsewhere, and even in this portion, availed himself, seems to argue that the word stands from regard to its original meaning, and represents the seventy weeks, in contrast with a determination of time (en platei), as a period cut off from subsequent duration, and accurately limited.'--Christology of the Old Test., vol. 2, p. 301. Washington, 1839.
"Gesenius, in his Hebrew Lexicon, gives cut off as the definition of the word, and many others of the first standing as to learning and research, and several versions have thus rendered the word.(4)
"Such being the meaning of the word, and such the circumstances under which the prophecy of the seventy weeks was given, Mr. Miller claimed that the vision which Daniel was called on to consider, and respecting which Gabriel was to give him skill and understanding, was the vision of the 8th chapter; of which Daniel sought the meaning, which Gabriel was commanded to make him understand, but which, after Gabriel's explanation, none understood; and that the seventy weeks of years--i. e., four hundred and ninety that were cut off--were cut off from the 2300 days of that vision; and, consequently, that those two periods must be dated from the same epoch, and the longer extend 1810 years after the termination of the shorter.
"The same view was advocated by several English divines. Rev. M. Habershon says: 'In this conclusion I am happy in agreeing with Mr. Cunninghame, who says, "I am not aware of any more probable era which can be selected for the commencement of the 2300 years than that which has been chosen by some recent writers, who supposed this period to have begun at the same time with the seventy weeks of Daniel, or in the year B. C. 457, and consequently that it will terminate in the year 1843."'--Hist. Dis., p. 307.
"The celebrated Joseph Wolf, though dating the seventy weeks and 2300 days from B. C. 453, commenced them at the same epoch.--Missionary Labors, p. 259. And Dr. Wilson, of Cincinnati, who is high authority in the Presbyterian church, in a discourse on 'Cleansing the Sanctuary,' says: I undertake to show that Daniel's 'seventy weeks' is the beginning or first part of the 'two thousand three hundred days' allotted for the cleansing of the sanctuary; that Daniel's 'time, times, and a half' is the last or concluding part of the 2300 days.'
"Prof. Stuart, Dr. Dowling, Prof. Chase, and others, who denied the year-day calculation when applied to the 2300 days, of course dissented from Mr. Miller on this point. Dr. Dowling went so far as to deny (!) that the Hebrew article hai (THE) is in the phrase 'the vision,' in the original of Dan. 9:23.
"Of those who admitted the year-day theory, Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Jarvis, Mr. Hinton, and Dr. Pond, denied any connection between the two periods. Dr. Hamilton commenced the 2300 days B. C. 784, and ended them with the era of the Reformation, A. D. 1516. The others did not hazard any opinion respecting the time of their commencement.
"Mr. Miller was supposed to be sustained on this point by Prof. Bush, who did not consider him in any serious error respecting the time. And Mr. Shimeal said, 'I trust it will not be deemed a violation of that modesty which becomes me, if, for the reasons here given, I withhold my assent from the conclusion of the Rev. Dr. Jarvis on this subject; which is that the seventy weeks form no part of the two thousand three hundred days.'--p. 34.
"7. The rise of the Papacy--the Little Horn of Dan. 7.--Mr. Miller claimed that the one thousand two hundred and sixty years of the papacy were to be reckoned from A. D. 538, by virtue of the decree of Justinian. This decree, though issued A. D. 533, did not go into full effect until 538, when the enemies of the Catholics in Rome were subjugated by Belisarius, a general of Justinian. In this view, as to the rise of papacy, he was sustained by Croly (see his work on Apoc., pp. 113-117); G. T. Noel (see Prospects of Ch., p. 100); Wm. Cunninghame, Esq. (Pol. Destiny of the earth, p. 28); Keith, vol. 1, p. 93; Encyclopedia of Rel. Knowl., art. Antichrist; Edward King, Esq., and others.
"Prof. Stuart and Prof. Chase, in applying this little horn to Antiochus, and the beast of the Apocalypse to Nero, explained these numbers in days, satisfactorily to themselves.
"Dr. Jarvis, who admitted that they symbolize years, denied Mr. Miller's commencement, without assigning any other. He said: 'I would rather imitate the caution of the learned Mr. Mede, with regard to the time of the great apostasy, "and curiously inquire not, but leave it unto him who is the Lord of times and seasons."'
"And of the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days, Mr. Dowling said, 'If I am asked the question, As you reject the interpretation Mr. Miller gives of these prophetic times, can you furnish a better? I reply, I do not feel myself bound to furnish any'!--Reply to M., p. 25.
"Dr. Hamilton rather agreed with Faber and Scott, in dating from the decree of Phocus, A. D. 606.
"Mr. Shimeal sustained Mr. Miller in dating from the decree of Justinian, but reckoned from the date of its issue, instead of from its going into effect.--p. 45.
"8. The Coming of Christ.--Mr. Miller contended that this was to be literal and personal. This was the view which had been entertained by the church in all ages, and is recognized in the formulas of faith adopted by all evangelical churches. Whether his coming is to be pre or post millennial, is another question; but that Christians, in all ages, have believed that Christ will come again in person to judge the world, will not be questioned.
"That Christ will ever thus return was denied by Prof. Stuart and Prof. Bush. The former said that he had 'a deeper conviction than ever of the difficulties which attend the supposition of a personal, actual, and visible descent of Christ and the glorified saints to the earth.'--Hints, 2d ed., p. 153. Again: 'All the prophecies respecting the Messiah are invested with the costume of figurative language.'--Ib., p. 183. And again:
'Christ himself assumed a visible appearance,' at his first advent, 'only that he might take on him our nature and die for sin. When he appears a second time, there is no necessity for assuming such a nature.'--Ib., p. 185.
"Prof. Bush gave as his opinion, that 'the second advent of the Saviour is not affirmed to be personal, but spiritual and providential; and that the event so denominated is to be considered as having entered upon its incipient fulfillment at a very early period of the Christian dispensation.'--Anastasis, p. 9.
"Mr. Dowling and others, who admitted the personal coming of Christ at the close of the millennium, claimed that the predicted reign of Christ on earth during that period is to be spiritual.
"But Mr. Shimeal sustained Mr. Miller in his belief that the advent will be personal and premillennial. And Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont (Two Discourses on the Advent), while he claimed that the time was not revealed, said, nevertheless, 'we would admonish you, with still greater earnestness, to keep your souls in constant readiness for your Lord's advent, and in a state of sacred desire to behold him in his glory.'--p. 29.
"9. The Return of the Jews.--Mr. Miller looked for no return of the Jews previous to the resurrection of the just; and the righteous of that nation, who have died in the faith of Abraham, with all Gentile believers of like precious faith, he regarded as the subjects of all unfulfilled promises to Israel--the fulfillment of which will be in the new earth, and in the resurrection out from among the dead.
"That the promise to Abraham has reference to the resurrection state, is no novel or unscriptural view.
"Rabbi Eliezer the Great, supposed to have lived just after the second temple was built, applied Hosea 14:8 to the pious Jews, who seemed likely to die without seeing the glory of Israel, saying: 'As I live, saith Jehovah, I will raise you up in the resurrection of the dead; and I will gather you with all Israel.'
"The Sadducees are reported to have asked Rabbi Gamaliel, the preceptor of Paul, whence he would prove that God would raise the dead; who quoted Deut. 9:21: 'Which land the Lord sware that he would give to your fathers.' He argued, as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had it not, and as God cannot lie, that they must be raised from the dead to inherit it.
"Rabbi Simai, though of later date, argues the same from Ex. 6:4, insisting that the law asserts in this place the resurrection from the dead, when it said, 'And also I have established my covenant with them, to give them the Canaan;' for, he adds, 'It is not said to you, but to them.'
"Mennasseh Ben Israel says: 'It is plain that Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs did not possess that land: it follows, therefore, that they must be raised in order to enjoy the promised good, as, otherwise, the promises of God would be vain and false."--De Resurrect. Mort., L, i., c. 1, sec. 4.
"Rabbi Saahias Gaion, commenting on Dan. 12:2, says: 'This is the resuscitation of the dead Israel, whose lot is eternal life, and those who shall not awake are the forsakers of Jehovah.'
"'In the world to come,' says the Sahar, fol. 81, 'the blessed God will vivify the dead and raise them from their dust, so that they shall be no more an earthly structure.'
"Luther, Calvin, and many other divines of the era of the Reformation, apply the promises to Abraham in a like manner; as do many divines of the present time.
"Of those who entered the list against Mr. Miller, Dr. Dowling, Mr. Shimeal, and Dr. Hamilton, strenuously contended for the return of the Jews in the flesh to Palestine.
"Prof. Stuart sustained Mr. Miller so far as the question has respect to the true Israel, applying the promises to all who are of the faith of Abraham.
"10. The Epoch of the Resurrection.--Mr. Miller held that the resurrection of the just will be pre-millennial, and that that of the wicked will be at the close of the millennium. This hinges on the interpretation given to Rev. 20:4-6. It is worthy of note that, during the first two centuries, there was not an individual who believed in any resurrection of the dead, whose name or memory has come down to us, who denied that a literal resurrection is there taught.
"Eusebius admits that Papias was a disciple of John the Evangelist, and that he taught that, 'after the resurrection of the dead, the kingdom of Christ shall be established corporeally on this earth.'--[Hist. Lib. 3, Sec. 39.] And Jerome quotes Papias [De Script. Eccles.] as saying, that 'he had the apostles for his authors, and that he considered what Andrew, what Peter said, what Philip, what Thomas said, and other disciples of the Lord.' Irenaeus taught that at the resurrection of the just the meek should inherit the earth; and that then would be fulfilled the promise which God made to Abraham.
"Justyn Martyr, who was born A. D. 89, seven years before the Revelations were written, says that he and many others are of this mind, 'that Christ shall reign personally on the earth,' and that 'all who were accounted orthodox so believed.' He also says, 'A certain man among us, whose name is John, being one of the twelve apostles of Christ, in that Revelation which was shown to him, prophesied that those who believe in our Christ shall fulfill a thousand years at Jerusalem.'
"Tertullian, who wrote about A. D. 180, says it was a custom of his times for Christians to pray that they might have part in the first resurrection; and Cyprian, who lived about A. D. 220, says that Christians 'had a thrist for martyrdom, that they might obtain a better resurrection,'--the martyrs being raised at the commencement of the thousand years.
"The first of whom we have any account that opposed this doctrine was Origen, in the middle of the third century, who styled those who adhered to it 'the simpler sort of Christians.' Mosheim assures us that the opinion 'that Christ was to come and reign a thousand years among men' had, before the time of Origen, 'met with no opposition.'--Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 284.
"At the era of the Reformation this doctrine was revived, and taught by Luther and Melancthon; it is in the confession of Augsburg (A. D. 1530); was the belief of Latimer, Cranmer, and Ridley; is in the Articles of the Church (Ed. vi., A. D. 1552); is not denied in the more prominent creeds and confessions of faith of the churches, and was believed by Mede, Sir Isaac Newton, Bishop Newton, Milton, Knox, Bunyan, Gill, Cowper, Heber, Pollok, Greswell, and many other distinguished names of modern times.
"This point was vital to Mr. Miller's theory, for, however correct he might be in his time, without this event he must fail in his application of prophecy.
"Prof. Bush, while he admitted that all 'the leading periods mentioned by Daniel and John do actually expire about this age of the world' (Letter to Mr. M., p. 6), claimed that 'the great event before the world is not its physical conflagration, but its moral regeneration.'--p. 11.
"Mr. Hinton said: 'It is possible we may have reached the goal of the world's moral destiny. It is, indeed, our deliberate opinion that we are in the general period of termination of the 23d century alluded to by the prophet . . . . . and that the events alluded to in the phrase "then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" are now actually passing before us.'--p. 121. But he considered the event 'a resurrection from death in trespasses and sins.'--p. 336.
"Dr. Dowling, Dr. Hamilton, and others, while they did not admit, with Prof. Bush, that the present age 'is just opening upon the crowning consummation of all prophetic declarations,' contended that the millennium 'is to be ushered in, not by a literal resurrection of the bodies of the saints, but by the figurative resurrection of the holy men of all past ages, in the numerous instances of eminent piety that shall appear in every nation under heaven.'--Dr. H., p. 30.
"Prof. Stuart, while he admitted that the resurrection here brought to view was a resurrection of the body, limited it to the martyrs, and denied that there is to be a descent of Christ to the earth, or a visible reign of the martyrs with him.
"Dr. Jarvis did not deny the event for which Mr. Miller looked; and Mr. Shimeal taught, with Mr. Miller, the resurrection of the glorified saints, and their visible reign with Christ on the earth; but he held that they would reign over the converted nations, and denied the conflagration previous to the end of the thousand years.
"And Bishop Hopkins gave as his opinion that the consummation 'is drawing nigh; how nigh none can tell.'
"There were various other issues between Mr. Miller and his reviewers; but they were more collateral than vital to the question at issue, and are not, therefore particularly noticed in this connection.
"It is seen, from the foregoing, that Mr. Miller's points, taken separately, were not new or original with him; and that the peculiarity of his theory consisted in putting them together; and that, while none of his opposers condemned the whole, and each point separately was admitted by some of them, there was no more unanimity between them than between him and them. They had not only to battle with Mr. Miller's theory, but each had to disprove those of the others.
"It was, therefore, not surprising that the reviewers of Mr. Miller made no impression on those who held his opinions. It was seen that to oppose him they were ready to abandon old established principles of Protestant interpretation. Even the Boston Recorder (Orthodox Cong.) said: 'It must needs be ACKNOWLEDGED THAT OUR FAITH IS GREATLY SHAKEN IN THE INTERPRETATIONS ON WHICH, IN COMMON WITH MOST OF OUR OWN BRETHREN, WE HAVE HERETOFORE RELIED, and which forms the FOUNDATION of the baseless theories of Miller!' And the Christian Advocate and Journal (Meth. Epis.) said: 'If his (Prof. Chase's) views in regard to the prophecies of Daniel be correct, the long-established opinion that the Roman Empire is the fourth kingdom of the prophet, must give way to the more successful researches of Dr. Chase. Some other opinions, which have been thought to be settled beyond a doubt, ARE TERRIBLY SHAKEN.'
"Those who adhered to the established principles of interpretation did not fail to perceive that Prof. Stuart, Dr. Dowling, Prof. Chase, &c., had not fairly met Mr. Miller, and that their expositions would not stand the test of sound criticism.
"Of Professors Stuart and Bush the New York Evangelist said: 'The tendency of these views is to destroy the Scripture evidence of the doctrine of any real end of the world, any day of final judgment, or general resurrection of the body. The style of interpretation, we assert, tends fearfully to Universalism. This tendency we are prepared to prove.'
"The Hartford Universalist said of Professor Stuart: 'He puts an uncompromising veto upon the popular interpretations of Daniel and Revelation, and unites with Universalists in contending that most of their contents had special reference to, and their fulfillment in, scenes and events which transpired but a few years after those books were written.'--Oct. 15, 1842.
"Mr. Hinton said of the same: 'We regret that, in the midst of the great moral conflict with Antichrist, which is now carrying on, those into whose hands the saints were so long given should find so able a coadjutor. We have, however, no fears that Christians of sound common sense, and capable of independent thought, will, after a candid consideration of the scheme which excludes papacy from the page of prophecy, and that which traces in the prophetic symbols a faithful portraiture of its abominations, make a wrong decision. Since we have read the work of the learned Stuart, we have rejoiced the more that our humble abilities have been directed to the defense of the old paths.'--Proph. Illus., p. 231.
"Of Mr. Dowling, Dr. Breckenbridge said: 'As for this disquisition of Mr. Dowling, we may confidently say that it is hardly to be conceived that anything could be printed by Mr. Miller, or Mr. Any-body-else, more shallow, absurd and worthless. There is hardly a point he touches on which he has not managed to adopt the very idlest conjectures of past writers on the prophecies; and this so entirely without regard to any coherent system, that the only clear conviction a man of sense or reflection could draw from his pamphlet, if such a man could be supposed capable of believing it, would be that the prophecies themselves are a jumble of nonsense. Such answers as his can have no effect, we would suppose, except to bring the whole subject into ridicule, or to promote the cause he attacks.'--Spirit of the 19th Century, March No., 1843.
"Again he says, in speaking of 'the general ignorance which prevails on this subject,' that of it 'no greater evidence need be produced than the fact that this pamphlet of Mr. Dowling has been extensively relied on, yea, preached, as a sufficient answer' to Mr. Miller.
"On surveying the whole field of controversy, Professor Bush, while he claimed that the spiritualists were nearer the truth, said of them: 'They have not answered the arguments of their opponents, nor can they do it on the ground which they themselves professedly occupy in respect to a millennium. Assuming that that period is yet future, and its commencement of no distant date, the Literalists, or Adventists, bear down with overwhelming weight of argument upon them, maintaining that the second coming precedes and ushers in that sublime era. The spiritualists say, Nay, but refuse to commit themselves to a defined position. All that they know is, that there is to be a millennium of some kind, occurring at some time, introduced in some way, and brought to an end from some cause; and that immediately thereupon the Lord is to descend from heaven, burn up the earth, raise the dead, and administer the judgment; but as to the what, the when, the how, the why--on these points they rest content in knowing nothing, because of the impression taken up that nothing is to be known."--N. C. Repos., 1849, p. 248.
"Dr. Jarvis, in his sermons, was particularly severe on Mr. Miller, but afterwards did him ample justice, as in the following. He said: 'Mr. Miller, in his eagerness to make out his scheme, absolutely falsifies the language of the Bible. He makes Jehoram to have reigned five years, where the Scripture positively says he reigned eight; and between Amaziah and Azariah, or Uzziah, he introduces an interregnum of eleven years, for which he has not even the shadow of an authority in the Bible. He quotes, indeed, chapters 14 and 15 of the 2d book of Kings; and this may be sufficient for those who are ready to take his opinions upon trust. But, if you examine the chapters to which he refers, you will be astonished to find that there is not in either of them one word upon the subject.'--Sermons, p. 55.
"In his preface to his sermons Dr. Jarvis makes the following correction of the above. He says:--
"'It will be seen that in speaking of the curtailment of the reign of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, from eight to five years, and the introduction of eleven years of interregnum between the reigns of Amaziah and Uzziah, he has censured Mr. Miller in too unmeasured terms. These particulars he is bound to explain.
"'It would have been easier, and perhaps more advantageous to the author, to have made the alterations silently, and omitted the censure. But would it have been equally honest?
"'In preparing the introductory volume of his "Ecclesiastical History," he had carefully avoided reading modern writers on chronology, for fear of being biased by their systems. For this reason he had never read the learned work of Dr. Hales; and though familiar with Petavius, Usher, and Marsham, a good while had elapsed since he had consulted them on the parts of history connected with the prophecies. But these great writers being entirely silent as to any interregnum in the kingdom of Judah, the existence of such an interregnum was entirely a new idea to him. Mr. Miller quoted 2 Kings, 14, 15, without mentioning the verses from which he drew the inference; and it was not till the author had read Dr. Hales' "Analysis" that he saw the correctness of that inference. If this admission gives Mr. Miller an advantage, he is fairly entitled to it. We cannot, for one moment, suppose that he knew anything about Dr. Hales or his work. As a plain, unlettered man, his perspicuity in reading his Bible, and his Bible only, is much to his credit; and we ought to consider it as giving additional force to the reasons assigned by Dr. Hales, that an ignorant man, as Mr. Miller confessedly is, should, from the mere examination of the Bible, have arrived at the same conclusion. The censure, however, in the sermon, holds good with regard to the reign of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings, 8:17; 2 Chron. 21:5); but, being equally applicable to Archbishop Usher, should not have been laid particularly at Mr. Miller's door.'
(1) See Introduction, vol. 1, p. 333; vol. 4, pp. 189, 191.
(2) See Harmony of Scripture.
(3) Theol. Dic., p. 228.
(4) A Hebrew scholar, of high reputation, makes the following remarks upon the word: "The verb chathak (in the Niphal form, passive, nechtak), is found only in Daniel 9:24. Not another instance of its use can be traced in the entire Hebrew Testament. As Chaldaic and Rabbinical usage must give us the true sense of the word: if we are guided by these, it has the single signification of CUTTING or CUTTING OFF. In the Chaldeo-Rabbinic dictionary of Stockius, the word 'chathak' is thus defined:--
"'Scidit, abscidit, conscidit, inscidit, excidit.'--To cut, to cut away, to cut in pieces, to cut or engrave, to cut off.
"Mercerus, in his 'Thesaurus,' furnishes a specimen of Rabbinical usage in the phrase chathikah shelbasar--'a piece of flesh,' or 'a cut of flesh.' He translates the word as it occurs in Daniel 9:24, by 'praecisa est '--WAS CUT OFF.
"In the literal version of Arias Montanus it is translated 'decisa est'--WAS CUT OFF; in the marginal reading, which is grammatically correct, it is rendered by the plural 'decisae sunt'-- were cut off.
"In the Latin version of Junius and Tremellius, nechtak is rendered 'decisae sunt.'--were cut off.
"Again: in Theodotion's Greek version of Daniel (which is the version used in the Vatican copy of the Septuagint as being the most faithful), it is rendered by ---greek letters---were cut off; and in the Venetian copy by ---greek letters---have been cut. The idea of cutting off is pursued in the Vulgate, where the phrase is 'abbreviatae sunt,' have been shortened.
"Thus Chaldaic and Rabbinical authority, and that of the earliest versions,--the Septuagint and Vulgate,--give the SINGLE SIGNIFICATION OF CUTTING OFF TO THIS VERB."
Back to top
Back to Index
Back to Earlysda home page
I want to see how to download this free William Miller biography now!