Walter Scott The Millerites (1847)

The Protestant Unionist



      The reader will find on our first page a letter from Charles Beecher, addressed to the Editor of the Advent Herald. We advert to it principally on account of the excellent spirit manifested by the writer, who, though not a Millerite (we use not the word with the slightest degree of disrespect) is a Millenarian. We drop a word on this subject for another reason, namely: to say that it even affords us a real gratification to see the faithful and pure of that portion of the Protestant community treated with affection and respect, for as prophecy, history and the voice of the church concur in affirming that the crisis of the Millennial age is at hand, it will not be denied that the Second Adventists as they choose to be called, have at least given, to that great event, in the minds of the thinking portion of the Church who were prudent enough to hear them and keep pace with their developments, a relief and fixedness which it did not antecedently possess. The clamor about 1813 is long hushed into obmutescence; the exultation of the Adventists has sunken into the gloom of disappointment; the swollen public excitement has burst, and by the inexorable law of re-action, has been followed and superseded by a proportionate recklessness and apathy. It ought however be remembered that while the errors of the Adventists have receded into the past their greatest thought--the "second coming" of Christ is still before us; and stands singled out from other truth for public contemplation. It may now be said with special emphasis, we apprehend, "the Lord is at hand."

      The whole enquiry touching the second coming may be reduced, we think, under three heads or questions as follows, namely:

      1. Will Christ personally come again at all?

      2. Do the Scriptures inform us of the age when he will come?

      3. Do they give us the day and hour when he will come?

      The first of these questions--that the Lord Jesus will come again personally from heaven to earth in the glory of God and of the Holy Angels, is so universally affirmed in scripture by the Apostle and Prophets, by the Evangelists and the Saints, by Angels, by the Spirit of God, and by the Son of God himself, that nothing short of the blindness of Universalism itself could fail, we think, to perceive it.

      In regard to the last of these questions--"can we know the day and hour of his coming"--it is negatived as emphatically as the other is affirmed; and one would imagine, that, after the Lord had said neither men nor angels, know the day and hour, that curiosity herself would have restrained her impertinence, and suspended enquiry; yea, and have put her finger upon her lips lest by speaking of the day or hour she might give occasion to the enemy to speak reproachfully and insult the Lord.

      In the second question then--the age of his coming that is left free to investigation. It is this we are commanded to have our eyes upon. It is the age, not the hour of his coming that signs have reference to. "Behold the fig tree while her branches are yet tender and she putteth forth her leaves, you know the summer is nigh, so likewise you, when you see all these things (the history leading to his second coming) know that it is nigh, even at the door.

      While therefore it is said "watch for ye know not the hour of your Lord's coming; and be ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh," Mat. 24 c., it is said "ye know not the age," for we are actually commanded to watch this, and to be assured of the proximity of the event by knowing this. The age of the second Advent ought therefore, in our humble judgment, to be selected as the theme of constant discussion and teaching by every one who would vindicate his own claims to the title of a "faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season." Mat. 24 c. 45.

      The reader will see that Mr. Beecher's letter is intended for a corrective criticism of certain matters affirmed of the principles of the Millenarians by the Adventist Editor. The last part of the letter touches upon the return of the Jews, which is, as it were, the battle ground where the two parties meet for "tilt and tournament." We should like better by far to hear what Mr. B. could say of the question--"whether the present is the age of Messiah's return, and how many links in the chain of human events leading to it, require yet to be taken up by history. Where we are, on the ground that lays between the first and second advents, "Watchman, what of the night?"

      There are several chapters in the holy prophets from which an answer by this question may by the aid of history be derived. We will set them down

1. Daniel 2 c., also 7 c.
2. Mat. 24 c.
3. Rev. 16 c., also 10 c.

      We would like to see an induction of history with relation to these chapters, and for the purpose of deciding the question of the age, and the age merely.


["The Millerites." The Protestant Unionist, 1 (June 23, 1847): 114.]


      Walter Scott's "The Millerites" was first published in The Protestant Unionist, Vol. 1, No. 2, June 23, 1847. The electronic version of the essay has been produced from microfilm of the newspaper.

      Inconsistencies in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and typography have been retained; however, corrections have been offered for misspellings and other accidental corruptions. Emendations are as follows:

            Printed Text [ Electronic Text
 p. 114:    Millenial age [ Millennial age
            recklesness [ recklessness

      Addenda and corrigenda are earnestly solicited.

Ernie Stefanik

Created 15 January 2003.

Walter Scott The Millerites (1847)

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