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HISTORY

OF

THE ADVENTISTS.

BY JOSIAH LITCH, OF PHILADELPHIA.

ADVENTISTS are so called from the prominence which they give to the doctrine of the near and personal coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have no new views of truth, and base their belief entirely of the testimony of the holy Scriptures, as understood by the church in its best and purest ages.

As a body they have arisen under the labors of Wm. Miller, of Low Hampton, N. Y., and others who looked to the coming of the Lord, about A. D. 1843.

Wm. Miller commenced lecturing in 1833, and his views were published about the same time in the Vermont Telegraph. To meet the calls for information on his views, he collected these articles in a pamphlet, which he distributed gratui tously. One edition of his lectures was published in 1836. Early in 1840, Joshua V. Himes, a minister in the Christian Connexion, became a believer in these views, and commenced the publication of a paper called "the Signs of the Times, and Exposition of Prophecy," issuing it for nearly two years, only once in two weeks. Since that time it has been published weekly, and has reached the fourteenth Volume. It is now called "The Advent Herald." It was commenced without subscribers or funds, but its circulation gradually increased, so that it is widely circulated in our own country, and is sent to Canada, England and the West Indies.

PECULIARITIES OF ADVENTISTS. Advent believers are not distinguished

as a body by any dissent from the great leading doctrines of the Evangelical portion of the Christian Church, such as the Divinity of Christ, His Sacrifice and Atonement for sin, the doctrine of future and eternal rewards and punishment, &c. On all these points they receive the plain literal testimony of the Bible, in its most obvious import, without attempting to explain it away.

THEY DO DIFFER FROM MOST BODIES OF CHRISTIANS.

On the personal, Premillennial Advent of Christ, and his personal, bodily reign on the earth with his Resurrected and glorified saints.

They cannot see, if, according to Isa. vii. 14, Christ was fortold to be born of a virgin, and it came to pass; Matth. i. 18-25;-If, as foretold Micah. v. 2. Christ was literally born in Bethlehem, Matth. ii. 1 :-And that according to Dan. ix. 26, Messiah came at the expiration of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks, Mark i. 15; and if after the sixty-two weeks, Messiah was literally cut off:If, as foretold by Isa. liii. 8, 9, he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of his people;-And made his grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death;-If according to Ps. xvi. 10, Christ's soul was not left in hell (hades) nor did his flesh see corrup tion;-If according to Ps. cx. 1, Christ did sit on the right hand of God, and is to sit there till his enemies be made his

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footstool :—If all these predictions have | will be pre-millennial, they conclude from litterally come to pass, and they have;m various considerations. Then the Adventists cannot see. ground 1. The Millennial Reign is placed after for doubting that the same rule will be THE FIRST RESURRECTION, Rev. xx. 1—6, observed in the fulfilment of all other which cannot be till the Second Advent prophecies relating to Christ.

of Christ. Thus, prophecy foretels Christ as the Those who have part in the first resursecd of Abraham, in whom all the fami- rection are Saints, and will live forever. lies of the earth shall be blessed ; Gen. The Second death has no power on them. xxii. 18. It also promises to the seed of But they that are Christ's, are to be raised Abraham, all the land of Canaan, for an at his coming; and that is the order of EVERLASTING possession, in connection the resurrection to follow Christ's resurwith Abraham himself, Gen. xvii. 8. rection. 1 Cor. xv. 23. Christ's coming, Hence the land is called Isa. viii. 8, and the resurrection of the just, must Emanuel's land. But when Christ was therefore, precede the millennial reign. on earth he had not where to lay his Again :The Millennial period, follows bead :—Therefore, he must return per- the casting the beast and false prophet sonally to inherit it.

into the lake of fire, and shutting up the Christ is the predicted Son of David, devil in the Abyss or bottomless pit

. Rev. who is to sit forever on David's throne; xix. 20; and xx. 1–3. Thus, before the he is the Son of David according to the Millennium, all the great anti-christian flesh, Ps. cxxxii, 11. But while on earth powers are put down. The man of Sin, he never sat on David's throne. He went however, the Son of perdition, is only to to Jerusalem as foretold, on an ass' colt;

be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's claimed his rights, was proclaimed king coming. 2 Thess. ii. 8. The coming of by the children, but rejected by the Christ, for his distruction must, therefore, Rulers; Matth. xxi. Hence, he must return

be pre-millennial. 10 carth to enjoy his kingdom and “ reign

It will be seen by the foregoing, that over the house of Jacob forever.” Luke they believe there will be two distinct rei. 32, 33.

surrections, a thousand years apart; “the Christ has the promise of the uttermost life;" “ the resurrection of the just;"

first resurrection;" “ the resurrection of parts of the earth for his possession ; but he never yet had it. Ps. ii

. 8. Therefore, dead;" « the resurrection of damnation;"

and the resurrection of “the rest of the he must come back to earth, to possess it.

“the resurrection the unjust." The Prophecy points out the coming of separating period is only named in Rev. Christ to receive his kingdom and domin.

xx, but the distinction in the resurrection ion over all nations, to be in the Clouds is frequently made. of Heaven.” Dan. vii. 13, 14. But he never yet came thus :—He must, there. fore, fulfil the prediction in futurity, at

THE NATURE OF THE MILLENNIUM. his Second Advent. He cannot have uni.

The general view entertained by the versal dominion till he does.

Church that the millennium will be a Christ rose from the dead in the identhousand years of peace, and be introtical body in which he was crucified and duced by the conversion of the world to buried, and was so identified; John xx. Christ, and consist in his universal Spi. 24–31. Those who thus identified his ritual reign; together with the Millinnaperson, of flesh and bones, saw him go rian or Litteralist view, that although from earth up into heaven, and a cloud Christ will come and reign personally on received him out of their sight. They carth during the Millennium, yet that were told by divine messengers, that this period will be a period of probation, in same Jesus, whom they saw go into which the heathen who never heard the heaven, “Shall so come again in like Gospel, and the Jews who have been cut manner.” Acts i, 2-11.

off during the christian dispensation, will That the Second Advent of Our Lord I have the gospel preached to them and be converted, are both unscriptural and not conversion of the world before the Second to be received.

Advent of our Saviour. The Adventists cannot receive the first, They also find equal difficulty, in rebecause both the general and specific ceiving the Millennarian theory of the teachings of the bible are against it.

conversion of the heathen and Jews, after Throughout the bible the descriptions the Second Advent of Christ, and during given of the moral and political state of

the Millennium. For they regard the the world, show the utter impossibility of thousand years as being rather a day of the triumph of righteousness till the es

JUDGMENT than of PROBATION. tablishment of the ETERNAL kingdom of

For they read in the second Psalm, that God, in all the earth, and under the whole when the heathen are given to Christ for heaven. Thus the dream of Nebuchad- his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of nezar, Dan. ii, foretels four universal the earth for his possession, that he is to empires, which are to fill up the period break them, or rule them (Rev. xii. 5. and from then, till the everlasting Kingdom ... 27.) with a rod of iron, and dash them of God comes and destroys them and fills in pieces like a potters vessel. Such a the whole earth. But there can be no description they consider to be any thing everlasting kingdom without immortality, else beside conversion. They also learn which cannot be till the resurrection at from the cxlix. Psalm, that all the saints the Second Advent of Christ.

will have the honor to “ bind their kings The Seventh Chapter of Daniel, presents with chains, and their nobles with fetters in vision the same four empires, with the of iron, and to execute upon them the divisions and successions of the fourth Isa. and xiv, of Zech. they learn that the

judgments written.” From the lx, of empire, which only end (sec verses 13, 14) when the son of man comes in the worship and service of the heathen, will clouds of Heaven, to receive his everlast

be compulsory service. ing dominion, which is also universal.

That neither Jew or Gentile will be con

verted after the Second coming of Christ, Till the judgment, the little blasphemous horn wears out the saints, and prevails they think the xxv, chapter of Matth. and against them.

xiii, of Luke, plainly teach. The first of So likewise in the 24th of Matthew; the eternal retribution will be awarded to all

these texts expressly declare that final and course of events from the time of Christ, nations, when the Son of man comes in to the Second coming of Christ and end his glory. There is no exception of any of the world, is given. There were to be wars, famines, pestilence, persecution of but in vain, for a Change of doom. There

one nation. They will some of them plead, the saints, false prophets, false christ's, are but two classes ; one of them enters abominations, great tribulation, mourning the kingdom of God; the other goes away of all the tribes of the earth, the preach: into everlasting punishment. There is no ing of this gospel of the kingdom in all middle class, who will have another pro. the world, for a witness to all nations, and

bation. then the end shall come; and they shall

Luke xiii, teaches still more expressly see the son of man coming in the clouds that the unbelieving Jews will seek to en. of heaven with power and great glory. ter the kingdom of God or be saved, after There is no peace in the prediction, till he the master of the house is risen up, and comes. Therefore, he will come personally hath shut the door, “but shall not be to judge the world and reign; and not able.” They will see the patriarch’s there, spiritually to convert and save the world.

with some from the east, west, north and Once more ;—The tares and wheat, south, but they thrust out in outer dark. (righteous and wicked) are to grow to- Paul asserts, Rom. ii. 9, 10, 16, gether till the end of the world or age. that God will render, Glory, honor, peace, And then the one be cast off and punished, to every soul of man who doeth good, the other glorified in the kingdom of God. Jew and Gentile; but indignation and Marth. xüi, 24–43. For these and many wrath, tribulation and anguish on every other reasons they cannot believe in the soul of man that doeth evil, Jew and Gen. tile, in the day when God shall judge the reasonable one, but the result has proved secrets of men by Christ Jesus. This is it erroneous. Since 1844, many have not probation.

ness.

i

adopted the views of the English Liter

alists, which ended the 2300 days in THE JEWS.

1847, instead of 1843. But as a general On the subject of the return of the Jews thing they adopt a waiting position, and to the land of Palestine, they differ from wait for more light on the import and most others. They hold that the promises dates of the prophetic periods, which they made to Israel, of a yet future and final still firmly believe are of Divine origin, gathering to the land of Canaan, will be and to be understood by the church in literally accomplished; and that Israel God's own appointed time. For they will forever dwell there in peace. But cannot think any portion of Revelation then they cannot think such a promise has been given in vain. can be fulfilled before the resurrection of They regard the coming of the Lord to the just, when the believing remnant of be at the door, for various reasons : Israel, of every generation, including 1. The four great empires are to be sucAbraham, Isaac and Jacob, will be raised ceeded by the everlasting kingdom of from the dead, and restored to their own God; and it is very manifest that the last, land. This, Ezekiel, xxxvii. chapter, de- the Roman government, has passed its clares will be the way the whole house of predicted divisions and must soon end. Israel will be restored. “ I will open your 2. The wancing of the Ottoman or graves, and bring you up out of your Mahommedan power, is regarded as angraves, and bring you into your own land." other index that the kingdom of Christ

The resurrection, according to Paul, is will soon come. “ the hope of Israel.” But if the resur- 3. The universal movements and agitarected and glorified Israel are to have the tions, with the famincs, pestilences, and land and dwell there forever, the Jews in earthquakes, together with the signs in the flesh and blood, as a nation cannot have sun, moon and stars, &c., &c., they conit forever. All the promises, however, sider conclusive evidence of the spcedy of a future return, promise an everlasting coming of Christ. possession of the land. But mortal Jews This gospel of the kingdom which was cannot possess it'forever. Glorified and to be preached in all the world for a wit. immortal ones can; therefore, they are ness to all nations, is now completing its the heirs of promise.

work. A distinguishing feature of the faith of They likewise consider the study of the Adventists, was their confidence in the ter- prophetic Scriptures an important but mination of the prophetic periods, and the greatly neglected duty of the church; and second advent of Christ, about 1843. being fully convinced that the coming of

The main argument on which they Christ is at hand, they feel constrained to rested, was that relative to the termination make it a prominent theme in their public of the 2300 days in Dan. viii. 14, which ministrations and writing; that thus they they regarded as years. And then they may supply, in some measure, the lack considered the period of 70 weeks named of service of other denominations, in this in Dan. ix. 24, as the key to the date of department of religious truth. They feel the 2300 days of the preceding chapter. in a great measure compensated for their Dating the periods B. C. 457, when Ar. disappointment in relation to time, by wittaxerxes, king of Persia, sent up Ezra nessing the great change which has taken from his captivity, to restore the Jewish place in the public mind since this discus. polity at Jerusalem, (sce Ezra, 7th chap.) -sion came up, on the subject of the perand ending the 70 weeks as commentna sonal advent and reign of Christ on earth tors generally do, in A. D. 33, with the with his saints. They still labor for the crucifixion of Christ ; they found the re-extension of these principles over the mainder of the 2300 days, which was world, by every lawful means in their 1810, would end in 1843. The argu- power; being fully persuaded that their ment, many beside Adventists thought a sentiments are those of the primitive church for the first three hundred years, worship of God, and the due observance and that they will be restored, as the de- of the Gospel ordinances, as a Church of ceptions of the great apostacy yield to the Christ. As such, it is an independent word of God.

body, accountable only to the great Head There are at present, as near as the of the Church. To all such we recomnumber can be arrived at, in the United mend a careful examination of the ScripStates and Canada, between fifteen and tures, and the adoption of such principles twenty thousand believers identified with of association and order, as are in accordthe body. These are scattered over ance therewith, that they may enjoy the nearly all the States in the Union. There advantages of that Church relation which are also prosperous missions in England, Chrich has instituted. Scotland, and the West Indies. In this In accordance with the foreging recomestinate, those in the different churches mendation, the Second Advent believers are not included. But they are numerous. generally throughout the country, have

As in all great religious movements, united in Church fellowship, with no other fanatics and imposters have availed them- creed or form of discipline than the writselves of the deep interest felt on this ten word of God, which they believe is a great subject, to lead away disciples after sufficient rule both of faith and duty. them, and introduce fanatical doctrines Second Advent conferences are held as and practices. These have been uniformly often as it is deemed necessary, for the resisted and exposed when detected. As consideration and discussion of such suba body, Adventists give no countenance jects and measures as the interests of the to fanaticism.

cause may demand ; they are constituted Although contrary to the original design of both ministerial and lay members, from and wish of those who commenced this all portions of the country. This body movement, yet circumstances which they is purely voluntary and advisory, and could not control, rendered it necessary to claims to exercise no authority over the adopt some form of associated church conscience of any. action. The Mutual Conference of Ad. They look upon the Advent doctrine, ventists held in Albany, N. Y., April 29th, embracing as it does, the resurrection of 1845, thus briefly express themselves on the body, the personal and visible appear. this subject.

ance and reign of Christ on earth, the

restitution of the heavens and earth to ASSOCIATED ACTION.

their paradisical state as the eternal inherOrder is heaven's first law. All things itance of the saints, &c., as the only view emanating from God, are constituted on which will explain and harmonize the principles of perfect order. The New word of God. Testament rules for the government of the They believe the Second Advent of Church, we regard as binding on the Christ to judge the world, to be near at whole brotherhood of Christ. No circum- hand; and, that is the great practical stances can justify us in departing from doctrine set forth and used by the apostles the usages established by Christ and his as a motive to holiness. It was to them Apostles.

and their suffering brethren the great We regard any congregation of be source of comfort, and the hope of the lievers who habitually assemble for the whole Israel of God.

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