1. The True Inheritance of the Saints
2. Dissertation on the Twelve Hundred and Sixty Days of Daniel and John
The beginning of the little horn, or Papacy
The end of papal dominion
Two witnesses clothed in sackcloth 1260 days
The 1260 days of the church in the wilderness
3. Circular Address of the Conference of Believers in the Second Advent Near, Held at Low Hampton, N. Y., Nov. 2-5,
The first and second death explained
DEAR BROTHER HIMES:--I send you a few thoughts for publication on the text, Matt. v. 5: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth;" with a dissertation on the 1260 days of Daniel and John. On this latter article I have nothing to say, except to invite the critical examination of the students of prophecy who oppose the theory I advocate, and to show, if they can, that these prophetic periods did not end in 1798.
My object in the first article, you will readily perceive, is to try, if possible, to get some of our brethren of the spiritual reign, and also those of the English view, to look at the promises of God in their proper light; and, if possible, to save some of them from preaching a doctrine which flatters the carnal heart with the idea of a future peace and safety, and prevents many a careless and unwary soul from seeing the awful danger they are in, promising themselves a long time to come, when sudden destruction is at the door.
Two ideas I hope our brethren will weigh well before they go about deceiving souls, as I do most solemnly and sincerely believe their doctrine is calculated to do.
1. Is this promise made to all the redeemed; or only to those who may live in some age of the present evil world? I hope some of the advocates of the spiritual reign, will answer this question honestly and fairly. Did the disciples who heard Christ, do right in believing in this promise for themselves? or did they understand the Savior to refer to some of the meek who might live in some after age? And, if so, would it not be right to apply all the promises of this chapter to the people living in one age only? Again, if the meek are only to inherit the earth, how can the carnal Jew, and the as carnal heathen, inherit it at the same time? I cannot believe that those wicked Jews will be joint heirs with Christ and the meek.
I would also inquire if this inheritance is not at the same time that Daniel speaks of, when the saints possess the kingdom, under the whole heaven. Daniel vii. 22, 27: "Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him."
2. If the text, Matt. v. 5, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," is to be understood as belonging to the millennium day before the resurrection, then all the promises contained in Matt. v. 3-12, must be construed to mean the same time, by the same rule. If so, how can the promise, Matt. v. 10, 11, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake," be fulfilled? Can there be persecution for righteousness' sake, when the saints possess the kingdom under the whole heaven? Will men revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Christ's sake, in this millennium? No. Then if these persecuted brethren had died before this day came, how can they possess the kingdom on earth, except they rise from their graves? Who, then, can claim this promise? Not those who live in this millennium; for they are not persecuted. Nor those who live before this day; for they are dead. Who, then, shall possess the kingdom of God, under the whole heaven? and who are the meek, to inherit the earth?
I boldly and fearlessly say, such a millennium as our opponents of the second advent present, is impossible to be realized in the earth, before Christ's coming, and the resurrection of the just. I challenge the world to show us how these things can be.
If Christ is at the door, and the time has come when "he will thoroughly purge his floor," and when he "will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire," will it not be an immense detriment to the world of mankind to flatter them with a long time of peace and safety, when sudden destruction is coming upon them? O ye servants of the Most High, beware what you teach!
Where has Christ taught such a millennium as you teach? Put your finger on the place, and tell me where? I ask one text, one passage; in the name of my Master, I ask you where? Give me none of your great men as authority, none of your wise sayings, no vain philosophy, no commandments of men; but the plain word of God. Where is your proof? Souls are hanging upon your skirts; you cannot slumber safely. There has a cry gone forth: "Watchman! what of the night? Watchman! what of the night?" We adjure you by the living God, that you tell us the truth. You profess to be teachers; O teach us with the wisdom of God, and not of men. You call yourselves pastors; feed us, then, with the rich promises of God, rather than vain traditions received from the fathers.
We ask for "bread;" give us not "a stone."
Boston, Jan. 1, 1842.
Matthew v. 5:--"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
So says the dear Savior, and so said the Holy Spirit by the sweet psalmist in Israel.* (Psalm xxxvii. 11.) This then is a promise of God, given by his Spirit, and ratified by his Son Jesus Christ. Who then will say, this promise will never be consummated? Many, my kind reader, have said what is tantamount to a denial of this promise, or an unbelief in its fulfilment.
The kings of the earth have opposed it, and will as long as the devil is prince of the power of the air, and ruler over the children of disobedience in the earth. The great men and mighty men of the earth, have, and will oppose this glorious promise, so long as the world is governed by physical force, and war, rapine, and lust are the instruments of power. The proud clergy will oppose this good promise, as long as they seek to please men, to lord it over the heritage of God, to obtain notoriety over their fellows; or to gratify their lust by sanctimonious names or titles, which our Savior forbade his followers to receive, or wear.
All impenitents will oppose it, so long as they possess reason or judgment: for they well know if none but the meek should inherit the earth, they themselves must be thrust out: and this is the very reason why a certain class of men never quote this text to prove universal salvation; because their reason tells them that shame would mantle their cheek with a blush, to claim this appellation for all men.
Then let me discuss my subject in the following
I. I WILL INQUIRE, WHO ARE THE MEEK?
II. WHAT EARTH IS PROMISED AS THEIR INHERITANCE? AND WHEN, AND HOW, THIS BLESSING WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED?
I. WHO ARE THE MEEK? They are not the proud Pharisees, who think themselves better than others; for this would be a contradiction of terms. To say a proud man is a meek man, would be putting evil for good, and I should meet with the wo pronounced by the prophet Isaiah, (v. 20,) "Wo unto them that say concerning evil, it is good." And the wise man says, Proverbs xvi. 5: "Every one that is proud in heart, is an abomination to the Lord." It cannot be a bigoted man; for the prophet has pronounced a solemn wo against all such. Isaiah v. 21: "Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight."
It cannot be those who are seeking honor of men, or one of another; for Christ says of such, "But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you." It cannot be those who are fond of titles, love the uppermost rooms at feasts, chief seats in the assemblies, greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Doctor, Doctor, or Rabbi, Rabbi; for Jesus says of the like, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" Matthew xxiii. 1-23. Who then can it be? you may inquire; for there is no sect in Christendom, at the present day, but are seeking for the honors and emoluments of the world. I acknowledge your charge is apparently just, but not universally true. As it respects the leaders and most active men, as the world would judge, in all the sects of Christendom, I fear your objection would hold good in the main; and the reason is plain: meekness is modesty; it "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;" and, of course, in the bustle of the present day, meekness would not be found in the world's first ranks. It is only in a time of severe trial, or great persecution, that you will discover the meek man in the front rank; and then he "doth not behave unseemly, seeketh not his own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil."
Therefore, not many mighty, nor many noble, or rich, will be found in the company of the meek, in such a time as this. Yet God has reserved, in my opinion, more than seven thousand, who have not bowed the knee to Baal, (the god of honor.) But, who are the meek? I answer, Christ was meek, as he tells us: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls." Again; "Behold thy king cometh unto thee, meek," &c. Christ also, has the same promise from the Father, Psalm ii. 8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." The children, which are born of the Spirit of God, are meek, because they possess the same spirit which was in Christ. Isaiah xxix. 19: "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Those who are given to Christ by the Father, are called the meek. Psalm xxii. 26, 30, 31: "The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this." Those who obey the commandments of God. Psalm xxv. 9, 10: "The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. " Those who obtain salvation through faith, and are saved from wrath in the day of the Lord's vengeance. Psalm lxxvi. 9: "When God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth." In one word, the meek are penitent, humble followers of Christ--obedient in word and doctrine--lovers of truth and righteousness, of a contrite spirit, a broken heart, and a reconciled mind to God; a poor and a persecuted people, hated by the world, despised of men, but chosen of God, and precious.
And now, my friend, where shall we go to find such a people as this? There is a people somewhere on the earth that will answer to the description of character given us by our blessed Master in Matthew v. 3-12, inclusive, or the promise of God would be of no effect. What sect, or denomination shall we visit, to find a people of this description? Let us go to the Baptist,--a sect to which the writer belongs. What do we see? A people "poor in spirit?" If so, they are making great efforts not to remain so much longer; for they are seeking anxiously for a good share of worldly goods and popular applause, and are very successful in their calling, in those things. Do they "mourn?" Yes, for the want of more riches and honors of this world. Are they "meek?" Many of them would blush to claim that appellation. Do they "hunger and thirst after righteousness?" I fear many, very many of us, are hungering and thirsting after the wisdom of the world, and to favor tyrants and slaveholders, more than to seek righteousness and truth. Will they show mercy? Not if you differ with them in the least article of their creed, or oppose the least of their popular schemes of the present day. But are they not pure in heart? Dare they claim this grace? No; unless a man can claim it, while his heart is full of self-love, a love of the world, and pride, avariciousness, and covetousness. Surely you will give them some praise as a sect. Are they not peacemakers; and may they not be called the children of God? They make no peace with one another, nor with other sects, if they cross their path. They plead for, and support war as a sect; and I would be very thankful to know in what sense they can be called peacemakers at the present day. Are they not "persecuted for righteousness' sake?" If they are, then to be persecuted, is not what I have supposed persecution meant: but this, as a sect, they will not, dare not claim.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." May they not claim this blessing as a sect? Where is the world saying all manner of evil against the Baptists? If we should claim this, the world would have reason to call us liars.
To what sect shall we go, where we may find the meek? To Presbyterians? No, no, say all the other sects, they cannot be the meek; for they are much more anxious to obtain good names from men, and honors of the world. Yes, yes, none seek for these things more. They cannot be the meek. And if we could give them the preference, still there is a difficulty, we cannot well surmount;--there are two parties there; and until they make peace, we could not call them meek; I refer to the old school, and the new school.
Where shall we find the meek? for they must inherit the earth. Shall we find them in the Church of England? Methinks I hear a rush, and all the other sects cry out, at once, no, no. Why, what's the matter now? Shame, shame, to call them meek. They do not even pretend to have their members all born of the Spirit; and if pride, and the love of the world, and a love of the honors from men, and the high-sounding titles, are opposed to meekness, surely you cannot claim the world for them.
Shall we go and try the Methodist? Methinks I hear, from every other sect, no, no. They are as proud, and much more selfish, than others of our sects; they love the world, are covetous, and boasters, and, in common with modern sects, choose the highest seats. We cannot, will not, call them meek.
And, if we should go to any other sect,--to Christians, Freewill Baptists, Protestant Methodist, Moravians, Disciples, Lutherans, Unitarians, Greeks, Quakers, Shakers, Mormons, Turks, or Jews, we should hear a loud voice,--no, no,--from every other sect. Where then can we find the meek? I answer,--from the four winds of heaven, from every continent, from land and sea, from every age, from every clime, from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, on our globe, from every sect, from Catholic and Jew, from high and low, from rich and poor, from bond and free, from the fair Georgian to the dark African: "For thou was slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Not all, of any class, or sect, or nation, kindred, tongue, or people; but, out of every class; so says the text, and so my soul believes. "And hast made us unto our God, kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth." Revelation v. 9, 10.
But will not the earth be inherited by the meek before the resurrection of the saints? NEVER. But I have been taught to believe, says the objector, that the time was coming, in the gospel day, when the meek would inherit the earth; that is, the nations of the earth would, at some time, all become holy, and constitute a universal race of the meek. This could not be "the meek," if such a state of things could be brought about; it would be only a PART of "the meek." This promise to the meek seems to me to be a general promise to all "the meek."
Did not the dear, meek children of God, who then heard the Savior speak, receive that promise to themselves, with all the other promises in that chapter? Certainly. Then, if you are correct in your views that only those who lived in that day will inherit the earth, you must see, that they have been deceived; for they have been dead near eighteen hundred years. And if that promise can be thus taken away from them who heard him, I ask, what promise was there given in that sermon, which might not, by the same rule, be taken away, and given to a people who may live in ages long to come? And what warrant have you, or I, that any promise belongs to us? I hope you see the folly of such constructions.
Again; the promise to Abraham, "that he should be heir of the world," was not to Abraham or his seed, through the law, but though the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Therefore, it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. Romans iv. 13-16. You cannot help but to see, that the promise to Abraham, that his seed should be heirs of the world, is virtually the same promise as made by Christ, "The meek shall inherit the earth;" and this is made sure to all the seed, both under the law and under the gospel. How then, I ask, can this promise be verified until after the resurrection of all the saints? "For God is not a God of the dead, but of the living."
Again; if the meek are to inherit the earth in this state of things, I wish some one would prove to me which Christian sect will be the favored sect; for there can be no division in that state of meekness; they will all be peacemakers there. And you, gentlemen, who are in favor of such a millennium, and expect it to be brought about by the present gospel, and the means now in use, are very remiss in your duty, it appears to me, if you do not settle that point immediately, and begin your millennium without a moment's delay. If ministers and watchmen ever will see eye to eye, in the gospel day, why not NOW? Come, show us the first fruits of your happy millennium. And begin ye watchmen in Zion; tell us, who shall lead us in this glorious cause, to make all sects one? Shall the mother Catholic church of Rome lead us? No, no,--no pope, cry a hundred voices at once. Who then shall lead us,--her oldest daughter, the English Episcopal church? No,--no bishops of England shall lead us, say a hundred voices more.
To whom then shall we look? The twin sister of the last, the Lutheran church? Ninety and nine voices join in one cry,--she is dead, twice dead, and ought to be plucked up by the roots; this will not do.
What do you say to some of her younger daughters,--the Presbyterians, for instance? No, by no means; we may as well be ruled by popes and bishops as by a presbytery. Indeed, gentlemen, you will be hardly suited. What do you say to the Congregationalist grand-daughter of the old lady? Away, away, say many speakers at once. She is proud; too much pride for her years,--cannot bear her.
Well, then, let us take another grand-daughter, in another line. What say you to the Methodist,--will you follow them? No, no, she has too many bishops for her cloth,--not a little too proud, and over much righteous,--cannot follow her. Then let us try some of the illegitimate daughters;--the Baptists. See, see, a hundred noses are turned up at once; all cry out,--it is an insult,--come from Munster, or nobody knows where,--tries to be proud, but makes a fool of herself,--shows her bringing up,--low bred,--but loves to imitate her more proud neighbors,--she is puffed up, doting on smaller matters of the law,--she has become vain in her imaginations,--thinking herself something, she knows not how others look upon her. We will not have her to rule over us. Shall we call up the other sects, legitimate, or illegitimate? Scores of voices cry out at once, name them not.
Where then shall we go? The watchmen must see eye to eye, they must lift up their voices together. Come, tell us, to whom shall we go? To Christ,--so say you all; but is Christ divided? And if we should go to him, and be one in him, we must drop our sectarian names, and be called by a new name. What,--Christian? No. Why not? Because it is the name of a sect already. Away with that name then. Shall we be called Unionists? Are they not a sect, as deep in the mud as we are in the mire? They say we must all come to them. We can have no fellowship for them; for they are only making new divisions in our old sects, to build up a new one to benefit themselves. Ye believers in a temporal millenium, tell me how you calculate to bring on your happy time, and who will rule the earth? Who will be our king, and who will set upon the throne of David forever? You are well aware, if the meek inherit the earth, they must have a king and a kingdom, and it will stand forever. For Daniel plainly tells us, (vii. 27,) "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." Serve and obey whom? I answer, the Lord Jesus Christ. See verses 13 and 14: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days; and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that (the meek from) all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom, that which shall not be destroyed."
But, says the objector, we read that Christ's reign must cease. 1 Corinthians xv. 24-28: "Then cometh the end, (viz., at the coming of Christ) when he shall have delivered up the (mediatorial) kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power." To me, this is the amount of Paul's remarks: God has given all power on earth, into the hands of Jesus Christ, as mediator, to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him, or as many as shall believe on his word; and when the end of this mediatorial kingdom shall come, he will raise his children, and all the meek of the earth,--"For he must reign, until he hath put all enemies under his feet, the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death,"--to him or the church: "for he is head," or king, "over all things to the church;" then he will dash all the kingdoms of the earth to pieces; destroy all those wicked men who rejected the gospel, and who would not have him as mediator to rule over them; and shall raise his church and present it to God, without spot or wrinkle, holy unblameable in his sight. See 2 Corinthians iv. 14, Ephesians v. 27, Colossians i. 22, Jude 24. Then the glorified kingdom will be given to Jesus Christ, and he will be known as our God forever; for "he is over all, God blessed forever." Romans ix. 5, Colossians iii. 11. See also Ephesians i. 22, 23: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." But he will not raise the wicked until a thousand years after, says the objector. How then can he conquer death until the second resurrection? The inconsistency is not in the Bible, of which you complain; it is in your understanding of it. Where has God, or Christ, or the Bible ever promised to conquer death for the final impenitent?* (*see page 66) Show me the passage, and I will acknowledge the restorationist has some ground for his faith; but I never could find the least promise, or hint of anything of the kind. But will you not admit, says the objector, that the wicked will arise from death? Yes, I will admit it; or which is the same thing, I will admit they live again in the flesh, but what has that to do with the subject? So far from death being conquered, they are no sooner raised and judged, than they are sent into the second death, which is apparently much more awful and terrible than any previous death; for from this death there is no reprieve. Well, then, will you not agree that they are raised in Christ? No, I cannot; because it needs proof. Will you not agree that they are raised by the power of Christ? I will; for all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, (death conquered) and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation (death eternal.) "Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth." Psalm lxxvi. 8, 9. "The Lord lifteth up the meek, he casteth the wicked down to the ground." Psalm cxlvii. 6. The meek are the penitent and humble followers of Christ, who shall be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, and have part in the first resurrection. Blessed, indeed, are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. "Thy people (the meek) also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever." Isaiah lx. 21.
II. WHAT EARTH IS PROMISED TO THE MEEK, AS AN
Earth, has a number of significations. (1.) It means the terraqueous globe, as in Gen. viii. 22: "While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease." (2.) It means the land, as in Gen. i.10 "And God called the dry land earth." (3.) It means the inhabitants of the earth, as in Gen. xi. 1: "The whole earth was of one language."
I have an opinion that "the earth" in our text means the globe which we inhabit. Man was made to inhabit the globe; and if the devil can prevent this part of God's purposes from being executed, then so much of the design of the Almighty would be frustrated. But he cannot do it: for Jesus Christ has engaged to redeem the earth from the curse, and fill the world with fruit of the holy seed: "the meek shall inherit the earth." And already he has given indications of his power to do what he has engaged to perform.
First; he has proved his power to forgive and cleanse penitents from sin, on earth. This even his enemies acknowledged he did; for they brought it as an accusation against him. Mark ii. 7, 10: "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?" Then Christ says, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." This is one great step towards executing this glorious purpose and promise of God.
Secondly; he has manifested his power to conquer death, by raising Lazarus and others, and afterwards taking his own life again; showing that he has power to raise up all the meek of the earth. If this could not have been done, then death would have held us in bondage; and how could the meek inherit the earth? For we must have bodies to inherit the body of the earth, and substance to inherit substance. Therefore, two important hindrances to our inheriting the earth are removed by the manifested power of Christ. Another power is also necessary to be used in order to ensure the happiness of the meek.
Thirdly; evil spirits must be driven out of the earth, or the meek might be liable to deception and error, which would fill the earth with confusion and despair: but in this Christ has proved his power, by casting out a legion of evil spirits from one man, and many out of others, and driving them into the sea, and doing as he pleased; showing that in due time he would be able to chain Satan and his host, that they come not upon the earth to trouble or deceive the meek.
Fourthly; he must cleanse the earth, in order to make the place of their residence glorious. This has been once done by water. And as Peter tells us, (2 Peter iii. 6, 7,) "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word (or power) are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men," at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints. Some say this burning day is not to be until after a thousand years' reign of the saints on the earth. I must differ from such; for i can see no object in burning the earth after the meek have inherited it a thousand years, and after the new heavens and new earth are created. I know your objection; for you say,--the new heavens and new earth are not created until after the thousand years' reign. But that needs proof. And one thing is certain, this thousand years is the great sabbath of rest spoken of by Paul in Heb. iv. 1-9; and Paul tells us that when this day of rest shall come, and when Christ hath entered into his rest, he will cease from his labors, as God did from his; and if Christ has not created the new heavens and new earth, then how can he cease from his labors? For he says, "Behold I create new heavens and a new earth." Isa. lxv. 17-19.
Again; Peter says, (2 Epistle iii. 13,) "Nevertheless we, according to his promise,"--Whose promise? Christ's. Where has he promised? Matt. v. 3-12: "Blessed are the meek," &c.--"look for new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,"--the meek of the earth. Also the new Jerusalem is on the earth during this thousand years. See Rev. xx. 9: "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them." Will that be burned up? But it is evident that God will cleanse the world by fire, before he reigns with his saints, or the meek, on earth. See Matt. iii. 12: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, (the earth,) and gather his wheat (children of the kingdom) into the garner: (New Jerusalem) but he will burn up the chaff (the wicked) with unquenchable fire." This is evidently the same burning day that Peter describes as at the coming of Christ. 2 Peter iii. 10-12: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, (or men of the earth,) and the works therein, shall be burnt up." Not the globe; for if Peter had meant the globe, there would have been no propriety in mentioning the works in the globe, after the globe itself was burnt. "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." The meek are not yet the inheritors of the earth; for it is the present inhabitants that are commanded to be "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." The elements of the earth are air, fire and water; these will be so overpowered by fire, as to melt with fervent heat. As water once overpowered the earth, and destroyed all living from the face of it, except those who were prepared for it; so will fire overpower the earth, and burn up all living, that have not the "form of the fourth" with them. And after that, the heavens and earth will be new as they were after the flood. And the meek will inherit the earth forever. One more evidence I will bring, that the wicked must be cut off from the earth before the meek shall inherit it. Psalm xxxvii. 10, 11: "For yet a little while and the wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." In this passage we are clearly taught that when the meek inherit the earth, there will be no wicked on the earth. Then this must be after Christ's coming; for Paul tells us, 2 Thess. ii. 8: "And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
So it will be impossible to find any time between now and the coming of Christ, but there will be wicked on the earth; and afterwards, you shall diligently search for his place on earth, and it cannot be found. Where then is the temporal millennium? Or where shall we find the unconverted Jew or wicked heathen in this reign of the meek? for thou shall diligently consider his place and it shall not be. Again; Psalm xxxvii. 22: "For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off." Blessed are the meek, says the dear Savior. Again, verse 34: "Wait on the Lord and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it." What shall we see? We shall see the meek inherit the land, when the wicked are cut off. And when shall that be? Paul says, "Whom the Lord shall destroy by the brightness of his coming." David says, verse 38: "But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off." Christ tells us, Matt. xiii. 30: "Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn."
How exactly all the Scriptures harmonize in this view of our subject! And take any other view, and difficulties meet us in every step. I would ask, why are men so loath to look at our subject? And why do the dear servants of Christ put off the examination of this subject until it will be forever too late? I adjure you, as you love my Master, as you love souls, as you love truth, examine these precious promises. If I am correct, you certainly must see that the doctrine of a temporal millennium, or of the Jews' return, are and will be the cause of sinking thousands to endless ruin. I know you preach immediate repentance, and I thank you; may God bless you in so doing: but you know the human heart is as prone to put off repentance, as it is death, and you are well aware that some of our neighbors and friends reject every motive you can place before them concerning duty, or death. They mean to repent before they die; they expect to die, but not now. Therefore they are not ready to repent or die. Now, say you, preach as Paul did a judgment to come. Poh! say they; you need not try to alarm us with that stale doctrine: you say that we must have a thousand years yet, before the judgment; or the Jews must return, and build old Jerusalem again; or Christ must come and live on earth a thousand years before he destroys the wicked.
These are so many shields to ward off present necessity, and they become to the poor, blind sinner, peace and safety, although you design it not. Yet if it should be false, think, my dear brethren, do think, what awful consequences will actually follow. It can do you no harm to examine; truth is what you want; you want no error,--it will do no good.
A certain impenitent man, in a place where I was giving a course of lectures, went to the minister of the place, and enquired of him what he thought of Mr. Miller's lectures, and especially concerning the thousand years' millennium before Christ would come. The minister answered him, by saying, "Mr. Miller has taken away my millennium, root and branch." "Well, do you not suppose the Jews must return and be converted?" "I have also been shaken from that belief," said the minister. He said the poor man dropped his head, turned pale, and after a moment's reflection, observed, "then Mr. Miller may be right, and I am gone." May you, my dear reader, find as honest a minister as the one I have just mentioned; and if you are in a lost condition, may you cry to God, "I am gone," and find one to help when you shall be in deep trouble. Amen.
IT is very evident to every Bible student, that "time, times and a half," "forty-two months," "and one thousand two hundred and threescore days," mean the same length of time, in the prophecies of Daniel and John. And although they apply to different things, yet they have been, and will all be fulfilled in the same period of time. I shall therefore take up the several places where they occur, and show as well as I can, by Scripture and history, what the terms import,--when they began,--and when they had their end, or when they will have their accomplishment, as the case may be.
Daniel vii. 24, 25: "And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time."
We must notice, in the first place, that this power, into whose hands the saints are given "until a time, and times, and the dividing of time," is a part of Daniel's fourth kingdom--the Roman. (See verses 7, 8, 11, 19-23, of the 7th chapter.) Again; it is represented as coming up after the Roman kingdom should be divided into ten parts. Verse 24: "And the ten horns out of this kingdom, are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall arise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings."
Of course, this power must have arisen after the empire of Rome fell, and after the division into ten kingdoms, which all happened before the beginning of the sixth century, A. D. 489. The character and acts of this power are minutely described by Daniel. "And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High." This is the same character that Paul calls "that wicked," or "that man of sin." 2 Thessalonians ii. 3-8: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." Is it possible for any man, not prejudiced, not to understand this power to mean Rome in its papal state? It must be in the Roman kingdom; or in the fourth and last empire of Daniel's vision. This little horn was to come up among the ten. I believe all commentators and historians agree that the western empire of Rome was divided into ten kingdoms. Then this power was to come up in the west; it was to make "war with the saints and prevail against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High." Before the end of the world, his dominion was to be taken away. Daniel vii. 26. Or, as Paul says, 2 Thessalonians ii. 8: "And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy by the brightness of his coming." This horn then must be the power which was to have power over the western kingdoms in the Roman empire, and the people of the Most High are to be given into his hand for a time, times and an half, or which is the same thing, twelve hundred and sixty years. This same power is mentioned by John, in Revelation xii. 5: "And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given him to continue forty and two months," or twelve hundred and sixty years.
From a similarity of character and acts, as well as the time this power was to make war with the saints, (not the Jews,) we cannot be mistaken; it must mean papal Rome. See John's farther description of this power, Revelation xiii. 6-8: "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God," by calling himself "Most Holy Lord God, the pope;" "to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle," by calling that abominable city of Rome, where everything is unclean and filthy, the "holy city--holy catholic church;" "and them that dwell in heaven,"--those that are departed from this life--are worshipped as gods by the subjects of this same power. "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Thus we see the character and marks of this power agree in the writings of Daniel, Paul, and John.
And now, if we can find the same harmony in the beginning of this power, and in the ending of the same, agreeing with history, we cannot be far from right.
THE BEGINNING OF THE LITTLE HORN, OR PAPACY.
Daniel says it came up among the ten horns of the Roman empire, meaning the ten kings; and that he should be diverse or different from the ten. Then he would subdue three kings. Also, Daniel xi. 31: "They shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and place the abomination that maketh desolate." Paul agrees with Daniel. 2 Thessalonians ii. 3-8: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." Verse 4: his character. Verse 5: "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you of these things? And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time: for the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now hindereth will hinder, until he be taken out of the way; and then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
John says of the same power, Revelation xiii. 2: "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, (the Grecian kingdom,) and his feet were as the feet of a bear, (Persian,) and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, (Babylon;) and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." Also, in Revelation xvii. 12, 13: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."
In these passages we must expect to get a clue to know when and where we shall find the beginning of the twelve hundred and sixty years.
1. We can satisfy any mind that it was among the ten kings; therefore, we cannot begin it before about A. D. 538. Then the ten kings became, of course, of one mind; for when they were all converted to the Christian faith, then how natural that they should agree and give their kingdom unto the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
2. The three kingdoms were then plucked up,--the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths,--the last of which was the Roman kingdom, in 538.
3. Justinian, emperor of Constantinople, (called the dragon,) gave the pope of Rome "his power,"--meaning a code of laws, on which his power was established, and which were continued until the French abolished them, when Italy was made a republic, in 1798,--"and his seat,"--the city of Rome, the capital of the Roman empire,--"and great authority:" he made the bishop, or pope, head over all others, both in the Greek as well as in the Latin churches.
4. The remainder of the kings acknowledged the supremacy of the pope, and became subject to his ecclesiastical domination, about the same time. Thus was the rises and establishment of that power, which Daniel calls the "little horn," and the "abomination that maketh desolate;" Paul calls, "the man of sin," "that wicked;" John calls the same power, "beast," and "woman," "mystery Babylon, mother of harlots."
This power, thus described by these inspired prophets, as they tell us, was to exercise power over the kings of the earth, and war against the saints, "time, times, and a half," or "forty-two months," which, in prophetic language, means twelve hundred and sixty years. If this time began when the emperor Justinian subdued the Ostrogoths and Arians in Italy, and gave power to the bishop of Rome to rule over all others, both east and west, and when the city of Rome was made the seat of papal power, and when that power began to be exercised over the kings of the ancient Roman empire, and a war of extermination began against the saints, who would not yield obedience to the idolatrous worship of papacy; then it must have had its rise in A. D. 538, to which add twelve hundred and sixty, and it will end in A. D. 1798. We will now see if the prophecy of the end will warrant us in the beginning.
THE END OF PAPAL DOMINION.
Daniel says, (vii. 26,) "And they (the ten horns, or kings) shall take away his (the pope's) dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." Who, I ask, can be so ignorant as not to know, that the power or dominion of the pope was taken away in the year 1798? Two hundred and ten years before, or "seven months" in prophecy, England had broken off the yoke of papacy, and some of the German states had joined England in the protestant declaration of rights, against the catholic league: but for the year 1798 was reserved the final stroke, which broke the last link of papal dominion over the kings of the earth, and a consumption was fastened upon papacy which has caused them who worship the beast, to gnaw their tongues with pain. (See the letters of the pope to the priests, of late date.)
Paul says, (2 Thessalonians ii. 8,) "Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth (preaching of the gospel) and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." Surely no one can deny, but that the gospel, as it has been preached for more than forty years, has produced a consumption on papacy, and has fulfilled this part of Paul's prophecy to the very letter. Even the pope himself is our witness.
John says, (Revelation xii. 9, 10,) "If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." It is evident that the prophet is here telling every man, who is not a bigot, or prejudiced against the truth who has an ear to hear, how this power would come to its end, of forty-two months, spoken of in the fifth verse. As he would lead into captivity the kings and their subjects during the forty-two months, so, in the end, would they, the kings and their subjects, lead this power into captivity. This was literally fulfilled in 1798. The pope was taken from his throne on the 15th day of February 1798, and by the French army made a captive, and kept a prisoner until 1799, when he died in captivity, in France. This power had wielded the sword of his civil authority over the the kingdoms and states of Europe for many centuries, and had pulled down and set up at his will, and by the power of his armies had destroyed kings and their subjects. He now must be killed in like manner. When the twelve hundred and sixty years should be finished, his power would be killed, or taken away by armies, or by the authority of the kings. And sure enough, when the twelve hundred and sixty years had come to their end, behold, the power which the pope had exercised over others was now exercised over him, and he became a dependant on the breath of Bonaparte for his mere nominal existence as bishop of the church of Rome.
"Here is the patience." Paul had told the brethren not to be troubled as that the day of Christ was at hand. 2 Thessalonians ii. 3: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." This is the same power of which we have been speaking, which Paul tells us would precede the coming of Christ; and would make war with the saints, a time, times, and a half, as Daniel says; and continue forty-two months, as John tells us. Therefore the saints were to have patience, to wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, until this man of sin should be led into captivity, and his power be destroyed by the sword of kings. This would try their patience, and when they would see these things take place their "faith" would teach them that they might look for his coming, even at the door. Therefore, when they see these things come to pass, the true saints will believe. "This is the patience and the faith of the saints."
Again; John has another rule by which we may know when the end of this power will come. Revelation xvii. 16: "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire."
The ten kings of the Roman kingdom, shall hate the false church of Rome, and shall make her desolate, by the means of separating from her communion, taking away her benefices and tithes, confiscating her property, and abolishing her laws and ordinances, and renouncing her power by which she had ruled over the kings of the earth. See the 18th verse: "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." This prophecy has been literally fulfilled; and yet how many, who pretend to be teachers in Zion, deny the fulfillment as soon as they will the prophecy itself; for they say we may understand prophecy when it is fulfilled. Yet who believes this, forty-three years after it has all been fulfilled? I am truly astonished at the unbelief and blindness of professed Christians at the present day. The same unbelief which was manifested at Christ's first coming, is as much if not more visible in professors now than then.
Take heed; if God spared not the natural branches, how will he spare those who live in the gospel day?
Thus, then, has this little horn of Daniel come and strutted out its short space of time, times, and a half; but his dominion is taken away. And Paul's "man of sin," who was then in the future, has been revealed; he has wickedly exalted himself above all that is called God; he has set in the temple of God; has been showing himself that he was God; but his proud looks have been humbled, his high titles have come down, he is no more a god, and the hectic fever has bleached his cheek, and his consumptive voice shows him on his decline. How can we help believing?
But we have another mystery to explore, of the same time as the former; it is that, which by Paul is called the "mystery of iniquity," which did already work. It is what Daniel calls the "daily sacrifice," meaning the "daily abomination:" this, too, is to continue a time, times, and a half. See Daniel xii. 6, 7: "And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by Him that liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."
This power, which is to scatter the power of the holy people, is a different one, quite, from the one we have been attending to. This scatters; that wears out. This treads under foot; that makes war against the saints. This carries us to the end of all wonders; that only to the end of the power of mystical Babylon, over the kings of the earth. This alludes to literal Babylon and the kings of the earth; that to mystical Babylon and the power of the popes of Rome.
Again; in Revelation xi. 2: "But the court which is without the temple leave out and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." This is the same twelve hundred and sixty years, as in the time, times, and an half; and alludes to the time the Gentile kings would scatter the holy people and rule over them. This was prophesied of by Moses, in the 26th chapter of Leviticus; see 33d verse: "And I will scatter you among the heathen and will draw a sword out after you; and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste! Deuteronomy iv. 27: "And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you." Many places might be brought to prove the scattering of the Jews, and now I will prove the scattering of the Christians. Matthew xxvi. 31: "Smite the shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." The high priest said, (John xi. 51, 52,) "that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." This proves the fact of the scattering of the holy people, who will be gathered when the Lord Jesus shall come in the clouds of heaven, and send out his angels and gather together his elect from the four winds of heaven. And then comes the question, How long to the end of these wonders? The answer was, "for a time, times, and a half:" or forty-two months; three years and a half prophetic, which is twelve hundred and sixty years common time. We now wish to know when the scattering of the holy people began? Isaiah prophesied, in the year B. C. 742, that within sixty-five years Ephraim should be broken, and be not a people. Isaiah vii. 8. Sixty-five years from that time, in the year B. C. 677, the ten tribes, including the tribe of Ephraim, were carried away, and were never afterwards known as a nation. The same year Manasseh, king of Judah, was carried in fetters to Babylon, and the power of Judah and Benjamin was broken, and the Gentiles exercised their authority over them, and the kings of Judah only reigned by sufferance, paying tribute to Babylon, or the kings of the earth, afterwards. See Lamentations ii. 9: "Her gates are sunk into the ground: he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more: her prophets find no vision from the Lord." We see, by this, that the power of the holy people was already scattered among the Gentiles when Jeremiah wrote his lamentations. But the same prophet has told us plainly when this scattering of the holy people began. Jeremiah xv. 4: "I will cause them (my people, verse 7,) to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem." Here, then, the power of the holy people began to be scattered in the days of Manasseh.
Now if we can find a fulfilment of these things in the history of Manasseh, we cannot err. 2 Chronicles xxxiii. 9-11: "So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hear him; wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters and carried him to Babylon." This captivity took place in the year before Christ, 677. (See chronology over this passage.)
If this is the time when the kings of the earth began to rule over Zion, and to scatter the power of the holy people for a time, times, and an half, or twelve hundred and sixty years, when will it end? I answer,--when all these things shall be finished. First, the kings exercised their authority 677 years before Christ, and 538 years after Christ; which 677 added to 538 makes up 1215 years only, which did not accomplish the scattering of the holy people, nor the treading under foot of the court forty-two months; or the twelve hundred and sixty years; and this is the reason why John was not to measure, because it would not be fulfilled until mystical Babylon should wear out the saints, and change times and laws, a time, times, and an half; for God hath put it into the hearts of these kings to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the mystery of Babylon, or papal Rome, until the twelve hundred and sixty years of mystical Babylon should be fulfilled; which 1260 years added to 538,--when the kings became of one mind, converted to the orthodox faith, gave up their power to the bishop of Rome, and the power of papacy began,--will carry us down to the year A. D. 1798, when the kings again took their power, and will now accomplish the scattering of the holy people, by reigning from A. D. 1798 to 1843, which is 45 years; add which to 1215 which the kings had reigned, before mystical Babylon obtained the power, and we have twelve hundred and sixty years of the kings' reign, scattering the holy people, treading under foot the the sanctuary and host, which is properly the court, where the host stands waiting the return of our great High Priest, who will return to bless his people, in turning every one of them from their sins and their iniquities in Zion. There is no wonder, then, that the angel told Daniel, (xii. 12, 13,) "Blessed is he that waiteth (that is, on the Lord) and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days;" for then the High Priest of our profession will come out of his temple, from his holy place, to shake terribly the earth, to dash in pieces the kings and kingdoms of this world, as a potter's vessel, to carry them away that no place on the earth shall be found for them. "But go thou thy way till the end be, for thou shalt rest, (die,) and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Then all those who have waited on, and for the Lord, will have part in the first resurrection; "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first." Then the sanctuary will be cleansed, and the place of his feet made glorious. Then will be the resurrection of the just, and Daniel will stand in his lot.
When will this glory be revealed? I answer, at the end of these days, which is forty-five years after papacy should lose her power over kings, and after she should be led into captivity by the kings of the earth; when the "seven times" should pass over the holy people, and when the seven years of bondage of the church shall be ended; for God has said, (Deuteronomy xv. 1,) "At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release;" and none can dispute but these were shadows of good things to come; and God will release his children, at the end of seven years. And all must agree that the children of God have been in bondage now almost seven prophetic years.
I shall now show when the twelve hundred and sixty days
had their fulfilment, in Revelation xi. 3: "And I will give power
unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two
hundred and three-score days clothed in sackcloth." I shall ask
and answer the following queries:
1. Whose witnesses are they?
2. What is a witness?
3. What are these witnesses?
Whose witnesses are these? I answer, they are Christ's: because he is the speaker. See Revelation i. 1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass." Again; he only has power to prophesy, or give the power; for "the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy;" and he has all power.
Then these witnesses are Christ's witnesses.
What is a witness? I answer there are two kinds, oral testimony, and written testimony. Oral testimony is the testimony of a living person, who testifies to facts which he knows by means of one or all of his five senses. No man can testify to a matter of faith; and all must see to the impropriety of supposing these two witnesses can be persons or men, when we read the time,--twelve hundred and sixty days; for we have already shown that these days have only been fulfilled in so many years,--"each day for a year:" and, as no man ever has lived so many years, and, as we have no evidence that any individuals will ever prophesy so long in this state of the world, we must therefore look for some other mode of testimony beside oral. Again; it cannot be a man or men: for Christ positively and plainly declares, (John v. 34,) "But I receive not testimony of man;" which sets that matter at rest forever, that men cannot be the two witnesses.
What are the witness, then? I answer, written testimony may be witnesses; and the last will and testament of a man, written, signed, sealed, and ratified by death, is considered the best testimony in the world, and is held almost sacred among all men and in all nations. Then we must conclude that Christ's two witnesses must be the Old and New Testaments; for nothing short can testify, in this our day, concerning Christ. Yes; we have the testimony of Christ himself to this point. John v. 39: "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me."
The very name, two testaments, signifies "two witnesses." If, then, the Scriptures are the two witnesses, where and when were they clothed in sackcloth? I will answer. During the reign of papacy, the Bible was suppressed from the common people; the laws of that power prevented the Bible from being published in any language but the Greek and Latin, in those kingdoms and nations where the Roman church had or could obtain the ascendancy or power; and, for a long season, from the beginning of the sixth century to the reformation in the sixteenth century, more than nine tenths of our world was covered with gross darkness. The word of God was little known or read, if credit can be given to the histories of those times, and even down to the year 1798, but very little pains was taken to publish the Bible in or among the nations of the earth. And up to that time, protestant writers, many of them, clothed the Bible in mysticism, and taught that it could not be understood by common minds at least. But from that year we may date the rise of missionary efforts, and Bible societies. Then the Christian community began to awake, as from a long sleep of moral night, and began to see and feel the necessity of publishing the lamp of life, to a dark and a benighted world without note or comment. "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps;" translations of the Bible began, and in the space of forty years since, four times as many languages have received the Bible or parts of it, as had received it in eighteen hundred years before. Well may we exclaim,--the sackcloth is rent in twain; the little book is open; the angel is flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth! We know the two witnesses are no longer clothed in sackcloth. If ever, since the days of the apostles, the Bible has been free and clear, it is so now. Who can say, in sincerity and truth, that the Scriptures are now darkened by a sackcloth covering? Even the Roman church, who so long suppressed its translation and circulation, are now translating, and circulating too, the Bible in many languages. Then, indeed, must the twelve hundred and sixty years have ended. And you may inquire, When? I answer, When the pope lost his dominion, and Italy was made a republick; when free toleration on religious opinions was given by the power of the French; and when the Bible was permitted to be read and published in any language under the whole heaven,--in the year of our Lord 1798. Then, from the year 538 to the year 1798, was the twelve hundred and sixty years completed, and the word of God fulfilled. Roman bishops may jeer at these calculations; but one thing is true,--the wounded bird will always flutter. So, my dear reader, when you see any of our would-be great men, whether protestant or catholic, begin to laugh or sneer at the writings of a poor old man, believe me, there is a wound.
THE TWELVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DAYS OF THE CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS.
Revelation xii. 6, 14: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." By the woman, we must understand the church; by the wilderness, we must understand, driven away from the "great city which rules over the kings of the earth." Revelation xvii. 17. Or, in plain English, it is the true church of Christ, separating herself from the abominations and communion of the old mother of harlots and abominations of the earth; the Roman church being the only church which has reigned over kings, especially the ten kings of the Roman empire.
The time specified is twelve hundred and sixty years,--the same time Daniel's "little horn" and John's "mother of harlots" were to reign over the kings. Of course the church of Christ must have separated herself from the mother church at the time the church of Rome obtained her power to reign over kings, in the year 538, when the Arian kings were subdued and made to yield obedience to the orthodoxy of the bishop of Rome, from which time many schismatics, as the historians of the Roman church tell us, separated themselves from the catholic church, as they call her. And Moshiem tells us, that in the beginning of the sixth century, many who professed Christianity, opposed the worshipping of saints and images, and many of the unmeaning mummeries of the Roman church.
Then twelve hundred and sixty years would bring us to the year 1798, when free toleration was given to all churches, of whatever sect or denomination, to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, or their own sense of religious duty; even in Italy, the very seat of the beast, and in France and other kingdoms, which had, for ages, held a rigid and iron sway over the minds and consciences of men, and had persecuted and driven away, outlawed and beaten, every church not in fellowship with the Roman bishops and priests.
I ask, can we be mistaken in the fulfilment of this prophecy? Is the church now in the wilderness? And if you should respond,--she is,--I ask you, when then was she out? Not in the apostolic age: for she was not more free then, than now. And then, let me inquire, where is your twelve hundred and sixty years? It can have no meaning. O, Christian! I beg of you, believe in the word of God; do not, I pray you, discard time, any more than manner. Is it not selfishness in us to discard the set times which God has fixed, and not man? Where is our faith? Why are we so slow of heart to believe? Three times we have witnessed,--yes, in the lifetime of some of us,--the fulfilment of the "time, times, and an half," in the accomplishment of the "forty-two months," in the completion of the "twelve hundred and threescore days," and yet, O God, we refuse to believe! Shame on that professor who will not open his eyes!
They tell us we cannot understand prophecy until it is fulfilled. But here it is three times fulfilled in this day we live. What excuse have you now, O ye heralds of the cross? Ah! say you, that is your construction; we are not bound to follow your explanations. No, no. But for ages you and your fathers have been telling us that these prophecies were true; and you have told us that when they come to pass we should know what they meant; and although ages on ages have rolled their rapid course, yet nothing has transpired, as you will own; and we, if we should search, and find, as we believe, the prophecies fulfilling, and tell our reason, you then can taunt us with a sceptic argument,--"this is your construction,"--and then not dare to tell us what it means! Awake, awake, ye shepherds of the flock! Come, tell us why these things are not fulfilled. Deceive us not. You stand upon the walls, both night and day; then tell us what it means? We have a right to ask, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" An answer we must have; or you must leave your towers. It will not do to answer us, like Dowling, "I am under no obligation to tell you." Has Zion no better watchmen on her walls than this? Alas! alas! then we may sleep, and sleep, until the trumpet's dreadful blast shall shake our dusty beds, and the last angel raise his hand and swear, "that time shall be no longer." Why are you thus negligent and remiss in duty? If I am not right in my construction of God's holy word, pray tell us what is truth, and make it look more plain,--and will we not believe? Thus you will cleanse your garments from our blood, and we must bear the shame. What time of night? Come, tell us plainly. There are portentous clouds hanging over our heads; we hear the murmurs of the fitful winds; we see sad omens of a dreadful storm; and where is our watchman's voice? Your silence gives us fears that we are betrayed. Awake, awake! Ye watchmen, to your post! It is no false alarm. There are judgments, heavy judgments, at the door. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people." How shall the fearful stand in that great day, when heaven and earth shall hear his mighty voice, and they that hear must come to judgment? Where will the unbelieving scoffer then appear? When God makes inquisition for the blood of souls, and when the under-shepherds stand with their flocks around the "great white throne," to have each motive, thought, word, act, and deed, brought out to light, before a gazing world, and tried by that unerring rule "the word,"--I ask you, scorner, jester, scoffer, how will you appear? Stop, stop, and think, before you take a fatal leap, and jest away your soul!
If the church of Rome is the little horn, we know his dominion is taken away, the twelve hundred and sixty years are passed, and I am right in my calculations.
If the pope of Rome is the man of sin, we know he has been revealed, lived out his day, and is now "consuming" by the gospel light; and waits only the glorious coming of the Son of man to be utterly destroyed.
If the apocalyptic beast is the church of Rome, we know she reigns over no kings now; but that she who has led kings in captive chains, has in her turn been captive to their power; and the forty-two months are fulfilled, and my numbers must be true.
If the "mother of harlots" is the Roman church, we well do know the kings of Europe have taken away her power, have eaten her flesh, and the twelve hundred and sixty years of her exaltation are finished; and then my reckonings must be sure.
If the two testaments are the two witnesses, it is well known they are not clothed in sackcloth, and the twelve hundred and sixty years of their prophesying are fulfilled, and I cannot see how I am mistaken, if this time is fulfilled.
The church in the wilderness. If the woman, in Revelation xii. 6, 14, means any church now in Christendom, it would be very difficult to tell how they can now be said to be in the wilderness; and if she is permitted to dwell in the city, she cannot be in the wilderness state. Therefore, this time is fulfilled. And all that can remain is the forty-five years from 1798. Are we ready?
TO THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF BELIEVERS IN THE ADVENT NEAR, HELD AT LOW HAMPTON, N. Y., NOVEMBER 2-5, 1841.
BY WILLIAM MILLER.
To all who are "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ," grace, mercy and peace be multiplied.
We know, dear brethren, the anxiety and joy with which you are looking for the kingdom of God on earth; we realize, in some measure we hope, the deep feeling of soul, the warm gratitude of heart, and the well-grounded stability of faith towards God and the Lord Jesus Christ, in the hope of soon seeing that kingdom established over all the earth, and the kingdoms of this world given to the saints of the Most high, who will possess the same forever, even forever and ever.
If great men can, and do devote their ease, their comfort, their riches, and life, to obtain an earthly crown, which perishes while it is yet only in their hand, or vanishes away before it is realized even by sight; how much more ought we to fight, suffer or do, to obtain an incorruptible crown, which fadeth not away, and an inheritance which wasteth not! Let us, then, put on the whole armor of God; for we must fight until the shout of victory is heard in heaven, when the spiritual Joshua shall descend from on high, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God,--until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ. Yes, dear brethren, we must not think of laying down our armor until our glorious leader comes, and conquers death, and him that has the power of death, that is the devil. We know you are told by our Judaizing teachers and the temporal millenists that you are to have a long time of peace and safety before our Jesus shall come; but we pray you, brethren, be not deceived. It is false. These are the false prophets, that cry peace and safety when sudden destruction cometh. Listen not to their flattery; they cannot conquer for you. It is Jesus alone that can conquer; he is the Captain of the Lord's hosts, and he will come and save us in the day of his coming. Let none deceive you by any means; for the "man of sin" who has long made war against the saints, and that "wicked one" which has been a long time revealed, must continue to work iniquity, until Christ shall destroy him by the brightness of his coming,--when he will come in flaming fire, to take vengeance on them who obey not the gospel, and destroy them who cry peace and safety.
We warn you against these false teachers, who mind earthly things. They are deceiving you by the traditions of men; they tell you that the world is growing better and better, while the truth is, the world is as it was in the days of Noah, waxing worse and worse. They tell you that all sects will be one, and will see eye to eye; but the facts in the case are, that the old sects are dividing, and new ones are rising to an alarming extent. And they must acknowledge that, to all appearance, their temporal millennium is receding rather than advancing; confusion and anarchy are now in the ranks of all sects, and disunion and division have broken the bonds and removed the most ancient landmarks among them.
Why will not men open their eyes? How true it is that the god of this world has blinded their eyes! Men are determined to have their great blessings in this world. God has determined we shall be "strangers and pilgrims" here, and receive our "evil things" in this world, but in the world to come everlasting life. On the other hand, the worldly-minded man will receive his good things in this life, and in that which is to come, his "evil things." God will be justified in his people, and glorified in all them that believe.
We then would entreat you that ye be not conformed to the fashions, customs and opinions of this world,--for they will drown you in perdition; but be ye ready to enter into that kingdom which will be eternal, and which will be set up when Christ shall leave his mediatorial seat and take his throne of the kingdom of his Father, and shall reign on the throne of David forever. To this time we are looking, for this we are waiting, and for this time we long and pray. "Thy kingdom come:" what is this but praying for Christ to come? Surely, every man who thus prays, virtually says, "Come, Lord Jesus;" and we fear that many who are in the habit of saying these words, do not understand the import of the prayer. What kingdom is this we ask to come? The gospel? No. Why not? Because the gospel has already come. It was first preached to Abraham, and then to the Jews,--afterwards to the Gentiles, and then in all the world, as a witness unto all nations,--and then shall the end come. Now are we praying for a kingdom to come, which, as soon as it comes and is proclaimed among all nations, hath an end? This cannot be: pray for a kingdom to come, which has been in the earth certainly four thousand years,--how foolish! What do we mean by praying "thy kingdom come?" We must mean, if we have any meaning, that which the Holy Spirit inspired,--the kingdom which Daniel speaks of, (vii. 14.) "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." If it is this kingdom, it is an everlasting one, it is an universal one,--"all people, nations and languages, should serve him." It is "under the whole heaven." It shall not pass away. Then it must be in the new heavens and the new earth; for these heavens and earth will pass away. It must be after the great burning day; for Peter shows plainly that then the heavens shall pass away, the earth and the works therein shall be burned up. 2 Peter iii. 10: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up."
We see, by these passages, that the kingdom for which we pray cannot be the kingdom with "tares," &c., or the wicked, in it; for "thy will" is to be done in it as in heaven. It cannot be the kingdom before Christ puts all enemies under his feet, for all dominions are to serve and obey him. It cannot be the kingdom given up to the Father; for it is given to the Son of man. It cannot be before it is presented to the Father; because it is an everlasting kingdom, and will never pass away from the seed of David: he is to set on the throne of his Father David forever and ever. It cannot be the kingdom which our English brethren describe, with the carnal Jew and wicked heathen in it; for under the whole heaven it is given to the saints of the Most High. It will never be destroyed nor given to another people. But Christ and the saints will possess it, joint heirs forever.
But can you make these things to harmonize, says the objector? We will try. In the first place, we must remember that Christ reigns now in his kingdom of grace: for "grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord;" and this is the kingdom which is given up to God the Father, and this at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. See 1 Corinthians xv. 23, 24: "But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. Also, Ephesians v. 27: "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." And Jude, 24: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." By these texts, it is evident that the kingdom presented to the glory of God, the Father, is the mediatorial kingdom of grace, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians iii. 13: "To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints."
But, says the objector, it is equally evident that Christ destroys death, the last enemy, before he presents his kingdom to God the Father. True; but does he present the wicked to God the Father? We read of no such presenting. Are the wicked in his kingdom at the end, when he gives up the same? No. For at the end he gathers out of his kingdom all that work iniquity or that offend, and they are burned, and this too at his coming and kingdom. Then, if Christ conquers the enemies of his kingdom, raises all the dead saints, and changes all the living saints to immortality and eternal life; has he not fulfilled his promise? Who dare say, Nay? Where has he promised to conquer death for the wicked? Find such a text, if you can. But it is not so: for no sooner do the wicked dead "live again," than they are judged and sent away into the "second death." Then the subject we have been considering resolves itself into the following form:
The reign of grace continues until Christ leaves the mediatorial throne; then the judgment begins, first at the household of faith; the wicked and the proud are gathered and burned, and their bodies are made ashes under the feet of Christ and the saints; Malachi iv. 3: "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts;" the righteous are raised and caught up to meet the Lord in the air, unto eternal life; they are there judged and justified, before God and the holy angels, and, through righteousness, they are now presented to God the Father without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Thus grace has finished the work; the cap stone, Jesus Christ, is brought in with shouting and grace unto it. The Lord Jesus Christ takes his place as the cap or top stone of the building, which is now become a holy building, compact in every part,--a house not made with hands, but without hands, eternal in the heavens, "unto eternal life." Then will the Father give up the glorified kingdom to the Son of man, and the Lord Jesus Christ become King on the holy hill of Zion, and "God blessed forevermore." He is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us.
This is the kingdom for which we pray; and when this is set up, the will of God will "be done in earth as in heaven."
You may be anxious to know what we understand by "second death." We will now explain.
A second always implies a first; for if there were no first, there could be no second. Again; the second must be, in its general character, like the first. It would not properly be called the second, without a resemblance to the first. Therefore, in order to understand the second, we must have an understanding of the first death.
What constituted the first death which man experienced?
I answer, it was a moral death. Man was created in the image of his Creator; he was pronounced good; a law was given to him, which, if kept inviolate, would secure his happiness and moral life forever, but if disobeyed, would prove his moral death. "For in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." In his primeval state, he was placed in the garden of Eden,--the holy of holies in the new made earth,--where he could hold sweet communion with God, and enjoy intercourse with his Divine Creator. All things on the earth were given into his hands to enjoy, and he was made ruler over them all. He was only prohibited from the use of the tree of knowledge, in the midst of the holy garden of God. To partake of this tree was death. He knew the divine prohibition, he understood the law. No plea of justification could be raised on account of the ignorance of the law, or the penalty; for the woman says to the serpent, (Genesis iii. 3,) "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." Man disobeyed, and died; he became an enemy to God by wicked works, and a rebel to that being who made him ruler in the dominion of the earth. Man became obnoxious to the divine purity, and was thrust out of the garden, and from the presence of God. His dominion was cast down, and the subjects of man's dominion became rebels to his authority; the earth was cursed, and he that was created lord over all the earth became a vagabond in his own kingdom, and a stranger in his own territory, by a moral death.
Then, as man rebelled against his Governor, so the subjects of man's government rebelled against man, and natural death, as it is called, became king over all the earth. It was the consequence or fruit of man's moral death, by which death reigned over man, and the subjects of man's dominion became the means of man's dissolution and death. The natural world, fire, earth, air and water, are the instruments of death to man. The animal world, from the mastodon to the gnat, may be, and have been, the means of natural death. The mineral contains its poison, and produces death in all living. The vegetable, from the cedar to the hyssop, are but so many weapons, in the hands of the king of terrors, to bring men to the dust, and all living to their mother earth. Moral death was the penalty; natural death is the wages or consequences of moral death. Thus the moral death must be first death; for all must agree that the man is morally dead who works sin, and that he cannot obtain the wages of sin until sin dwells in him. Then moral death is the poison which taints the blood and pollutes the mind of man; while natural death preys only upon the body, and reduces the frame to dust. The first death is then the penalty of sin. Natural death is the wages of sin, and the consequence following moral depravity. Man cannot sin without deriving instantly a moral death. Yet man may live six hundred years, and sin all those years, before he dies a natural death. Thus, when man had sinned, he was driven out of Eden and from the presence of God. This was the first death, the wages of which were consequently the separation of soul and body. These deaths, being inseparably connected, are but the stock and fruit of the same tree.
When God saw man thus lost, morally dead, and subject to natural death, he provided remedy for fallen man against both these evils, by Jesus Christ: from the first, by moral regeneration; from the second, by the resurrection. Let me be understood, then, as believing that these two deaths, as they are commonly called, form in fact but one death, and may be called the first death, being the penalty and wages of sin, or disobedience of the commandments of God,--the tree and fruit of rebellion. The second death is in consequence of the rejection of the remedy which God has provided for the first death, which came upon us in consequence of our first transgression. Then we were cast off from the presence of God in the garden of Eden,--the spirit separated from the body, and the body cast into the grave. This constitutes the first death.
The second is like unto the first. Let me explain. When Christ comes to sit upon the throne of his kingdom on the earth, and to be glorified in all them who have believed, and to give eternal life to as many as have obeyed the gospel and received the remedy which has been provided by the great God, in Jesus Christ; then, those who have refused to comply with the requirements of the gospel, and have trampled on the blood of the covenant and counted it an unholy thing, will be banished from the presence of the Lord, thrust out from the kingdom of grace, separated from the glory of his power, and have no inheritance in the New Jerusalem, the Eden of God, be separated from the new earth, and cast into hell. "This is the second death." 2 Thessalonians i. 9, 10: "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." Revelation xx. 14, 15: "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the walk thereof." Revelation xxi. 8: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." To this all must come who will not obey the gospel. There is no deliverance from this death, only by Jesus Christ, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. He has the power to restore to all who believe and obey him, what the first Adam lost. Moses says, that soul who will not hear this prophet shall be cut off from among the people. And the Savior says, the tares shall be gathered and burned. "Take the unprofitable servant and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." If man rejects this offering and sacrifice of the dear Redeemer, he will be forever lost. "There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversary." There is no other name given under heaven amongst men, whereby we can be saved, but the name of Jesus. Therefore, if we reject him, and his offering, our death becomes eternal of necessity; we cannot have a hope of deliverance when and where there is no deliverance.
Let us then be diligent to do the work of our Master; let us try to save all the souls in our power, by persuasion and entreaty for them, that they may come to Christ and be saved, while his arm is stretched out, and his mediatorial kingdom is not completed.
Let us encourage each other to faithfulness and good works, that the world may have no occasion to say of us,--they believe not in a coming Jesus. Let us be diligent, that we may be found of Him in peace.
And now, brethren, we exhort you to let your light shine; be not ashamed of this gospel, which brings life and immortality to light. When you read the history of the ancient sufferers, and servants of God, in Hebrews, 11th chapter, will you not be ashamed of that false delicacy, which prevents some of you from owning and publishing to a scoffing world, what you in your consciences do believe is true? We have great reason to be thankful to God for the courage and faithfulness of many of our brethren, who are laboring to publish the present truth of the second advent. God has raised up and sent forth, as we humbly believe, a number, from different sects, of our dear brethren, to give the "midnight cry." We might name to you many who have the confidence, and we hope the support of our friends in our several conferences; viz., brethren Litch, Himes, Ward, Jones, French, Fuller, Thompson, Sutclife, and others, who are already in the field, proclaiming "the midnight cry," "go ye out to meet him."
And now, brethren, we advise you to open your pulpits, houses, hearts, and hands, that you may further them in this work of the grace of God; that when the Master comes to reward every man as his work shall be, He may say unto you, "As much as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto me." We know, if this work be of God, it will stand. And wo be to that man, who may be found fighting against God! Better for that man that a millstone be hung about his neck, and he cast into the depth of the sea, than to offend one of those little ones! Let us put forth every exertion, that the cry be made to every son and daughter of the human family, before the "great and notable day of the Lord come."
errata noticed when preparing this book for the internet:
"though the righteousness " should be "through the righteousness"
"the the" should be "the" (2 occurrences)
"the walk thereof" should be "the wall thereof"