Walter Scott The Second Adventists (1844)

The Protestant Unionist



      After the most careful examination of the prophecies, we have never been able to see with some other men, that the day, or hour, or year of Christ's coming and kingdom could be infallibly ascertained from Scripture. Yet we have long been of opinion, that as articles of Christian doctrine, these grand themes have been unwarrantably neglected. We have therefore to the utmost limits of our christian liberality, listened calmly to, and, we trust, judged impartially of, all that our Second Advent brethren have written and spoken of the matter.

      There is one canon of interpretation which is of universal application in prophecy--viz: that until the conditions of any particular prophecy be fulfilled in history, the event referred to will not occur. This of course is true in regard to the coming of Christ. Till all the conditions of the prophecies touching this great event are realized in history, the event itself cannot take place,--Now history has not yet exhausted the contents of the 6th vial, Rev. 16 c. Because, taking for granted what most interpreters affirm, that the sixth vial, poured out upon the river Euphrates, indicates the current dismemberment of the Turkish Empire--has the trinity of evil influences noted in the chapter as yet assembled at Armageddon the kings of the whole world! Surely not. Yet this is there made a condition of the coming of Christ. It may be laid down, therefore, in conformity with the above canon, that until the previous event occurs--until the princes of the whole empire to which the particular prophecy of this vial refers, are assembled "at a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon," this condition of that prophecy is not fulfilled, and the Lord will not come.

      Mr. Miller, in his recent letter, dated 6th October, made this extraordinary avowal, that the fact to which we have just given a marked relief in the above paragraph, has been a stumbling block in the way of his conclusions "for twenty years past!" This is a home thrust from home; nemo se accurare debet.

      The 'Voice of Truth' has given its readers a reprint of Mr. Miller's epistle. But we do not like it; and cannot understand why those paragraphs embracing this confession of the aged gentleman are omitted. Butt that during all the late excitement--even for 20 years past, and up to the day when he penned his late letter--that during all the time, I say, Mr. Miller should have, unknown to his followers and the American public, felt serious and secret misgivings touching the truth of his calculations, was not half so wonderful as his avowal of it was ingenuous, but impolite. Mr. Miller then secretly believed that at least one condition of the prophecy was not fulfilled--that until the unclean influences proceeding from the mouth severally of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet assembled the kings of the whole world at Armageddon, the Lord would not come. That "Time tries all things" is a trite adage. But should any one exult over the failure rather than sigh for the disappointment of these poor brethren; other persons of more feeling and equal piety might not be so delighted with his ill-timed merriment. We therefore only add, that it is of sovereign importance to us all, and it ought to be to the Second Advent brethren in particular, to allow past experience to improve our future course. All the finest mind in the Protestant world--the greatest strength and extent of learning--the utmost candor and nicest possible critical sagacity, have been expent for some hundreds of years past, in adjusting history to prophecy and bringing the system of prophetic interpretation to its present advanced state. Without the slightest feeling of disrespect for the leaders of the Second Advent movement, then, we nevertheless humbly believe that it were becoming as it certainly would be safe for the pious persons who have been pressed into this movement, never again so unhesitatingly to surrender themselves to the dictation of any man on earth as they have heretofore done to some of their brethren, and to the venerable Mr. Miller in particular.

      It is not necessary at this late date, that the Christian world again should file off under demagogues. Personal respect, as well as the love of God, should teach us to approve and recognize his image wherever found, and to hold in just suspicion ever organizer of a sect or party.--The radical error of these brethren, doctrinally, is that they have changed the hope of the gospel into faith, and made it the rudiment of their union, that each convert shall believe the Lord Jesus will come on a particular year, day or hour! Their second error is organic. They have created a new sect.


["The Second Adventists." The Protestant Unionist, 1 (November 6, 1844): 6.]


      Walter Scott's "The Second Adventists" was first published in The Protestant Unionist, Vol. 1, No. 2, November 6, 1844. The electronic version of the essay has been produced from microfilm of the newspaper.

      Inconsistencies in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and typography have been retained.

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik
373 Wilson Street
Derry, PA 15627-9770

Created 5 February 2002.

Walter Scott The Second Adventists (1844)

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