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    OBJECTIONS TO CALCULATING THE PROPHETIC TIMES CONSIDERED

    One mode by which the God of truth commends his word to men, is, by exhibiting the absurdity, sometimes the wickedness, of the positions which are taken in opposition to his truth. So Christ repelled the blasphemous slander of the Jews, on one occasion, who charged him with casting out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of devils. “If I, by Beelzebub, cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out!” Are they connected with Beelzebub! So, also, the reply of Christ to those who complained of him for receiving “sinners and eating with them,” was intended to contrast the position which they condemned with their own position. As much as if he had said, “Yes, I receive sinners and eat with them-you do not; very well; let us make a comparison or two. (See Luke 15.) The father of the prodigal is on my side-and the man who lost a sheep, he is on my side-and the woman who lost a piece of silver, she is on my side-and the angels of God-these are all on my side. But you don’t receive sinners! nor eat with them; very well, I do.” Every age has had its contests for and against some particular form of truth, and the opposition is always characterized by ignorance and absurdity.TSAM 5.1

    If ever there was a time when all the antitypes of the old recorded enemies of the truth, from the magicians of Egypt to Simon Magus, were on the stage at once, and all of them actively engaged, the day in which, we live must be the time; and if there is any one particular part or form of truth in reference to which their special anxiety is manifested, it is the sublime and clearly stated doctrine of Christ’s second coming. No person who is at all acquainted with the subject can doubt for a moment, that, if a heathen should come among us, and compare the various and contradictory opinions which prevail everywhere, in reference to it, he must certainly think that the Bible has said nothing about the subject, or that we do not believe our Bibles. The Bible, however, has predicted exactly the state of things which we now witness upon this subject; it has warned us in view of it, and pointed out the only safety—“Behold,” says Christ, “I have told you before,” etc. Matthew 24:25. “Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” etc. 2 Peter 3:2-4.TSAM 5.2

    But the particular question involved in the subject, against which “the head and tail” of society is moved, is the question of time. This is the question against which the scoffing infidelity, refined and vulgar,—much of the reputed christian wisdom,—and not a little of the undoubted piety of the land, stand forth in their most expressive attitudes of scorn, contempt, or horror. To the infidelity we have no apology to make, (though we rejoice to know that not a few of its more candid votaries have been converted to Christ, through the special instrumentality of Mr. Miller.) To the literati ecclesiastical, who look upon Mr. Miller with so many airs of affronted superiority,—we say, Point out the mistakes, and give us a more scriptural explanation of these prophecies. We solemnly aver, that if any man will do this, we will not only abandon the explanation now defended, but we will labor to disseminate the better one to the utmost of our ability; but, to tell us that we have “no business to meddle with the prophecies,” or that “we cannot understand the prophecies until they are fulfilled,” will not do. We have never been able to perceive the value of a chart that would not tell the sailor where to find his port, until after he had arrived. We have become the disciples, and advocates, of Mr. Miller’s theory from a sincere conviction of its truth, in opposition to all our prejudices and worldly interests,—we do not wish to be deceived ourselves, and we would not for our lives deceive others. If we are mistaken, we will thank any man to set us right. To the piety of the land we bow with the most sincere respect and tender sympathy. We would not take a step or speak a word to give offence for our right hand, and wherein we may seem to offend we frankly and fully give the reasons for so doing. We feel that we have the fullest authority, from the plain statements and directions of the word of God, to give our attention to this particular question; and that we have every reason to believe, from the prophecies, the events of history, and the signs of the times, that the period has come for the question of time to be understood. That it has generally been supposed, in every age of the church, that the time in which the end of all things is to take place, is indicated to us in the prophecies of Daniel, we might give a long list of her most worthy names to prove; and although there may have been a difference of opinion upon the time for commencing the prophetic periods of his visions, every age, we believe, has spoken with the strongest confidence that they would be understood before the end should actually come; but if the church had not thus looked upon the subject during this long period, the statements and directions of the apostles would be sufficient to settle that point. Peter has given us an undoubted explanation of the design of these prophecies of Daniel in particular, (though others of course are included,) and he, with Christ and the other apostles, directs us repeatedly to the prophets for “light.” Luke 16:29-31; 24:25; Romans 16:25, 26; Revelation 1:3-10; 10:5-7; Jude 14-18.TSAM 6.1

    Let us hear Peter.— 1 Peter 1:3-13. For whose benefit did the prophets understand their message to be intended? Unto whom (the prophets) it was revealed, that not unto themselves, But unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. v. 12. Here, then, are “things” brought to view, to communicate which the prophets “did minister;” and “them that have preached the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, have reported;” and “which the angels desire to look into.” Now if these “things” should happen to involve the coming of Christ, and the time of his coming, let those sneer and scoff who will; they do it not to men, but unto God.TSAM 7.1

    What, then, are the “things,” in reference to which it is said, “unto us they did minister?” 1. “The prophets have inquired and searched diligently,—searching what the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify,” “when it testified beforehand” of a “salvation” which consisted “of the grace that should come unto you,” and which you should receive “as the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” v. 9, 10. What grace? “The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” v. 13. And the “salvation” was that “unto” which they were “kept by the power of God, through faith,” and their faith looked “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven”-and “ready to be revealed in the last time.” v. 4, 5. Which “faith, more precious than gold which perisheth, though tried with fire,” the apostle desired “might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” v. 7. These “things” are “what” “the prophets inquired about, and apostles reported,” and “angels desire to look into.”TSAM 8.1

    2. “The prophets have inquired and searched diligently what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” v. 11. The “time,” which referred to “the sufferings of Christ,” has been filled up. “The glory,” which belongs particularly to “his appearing and kingdom,” has not yet been realized. The 70 weeks which indicated the time of the sufferings of Christ, explain the “manner” in which the prophetic times of Daniel are to be understood; and by their exact fulfilment give us a demonstration that “at the time appointed the end shall be,” when Daniel saw “one like the Son of man come 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 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.” Daniel 7:13, 14. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory;” (Matthew 25:31;) “and them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”TSAM 8.2

    That Daniel is particularly referred to by the apostle here, is evident from three considerations. 1. He is the only one of the prophets who has given us the time in connection with “the suffering of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Dan. chapters 9:12.TSAM 9.1

    2. To him “it was revealed that not unto himself he did minister,” in the things named by the apostle. Daniel 8:26, 27; 12:4, 8, 9. 3. “The angels” are brought to view as having taken a particular interest in these “things” when communicated to Daniel. Daniel 7:16; 8:13, 14, 16; 9:21; 10:10-21; 12:5-7.TSAM 9.2

    Now to Daniel, with the other prophets, we are specially directed to guide us on this subject. (2 Peter 3:1, 2.) To their “word” we do well that we take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn.2 Peter 1:19. And by the plain terms of the prophecy of Daniel itself, the vision is to be understood “at the time of the end:”—that is, a short period before the end shall actually come. And is there not good reason to believe, that, according to every series of prophetic events, we have nothing else to look for but “the end?” Can any man put his finger upon the prophecies, and point out a single event, which has not already taken place, except those events which are to accompany or follow the coming of Christ? And while these prophecies all tell us that the “time of the end” is come; “the signs” which were immediately to precede his coming, have given their note of warning and retired, or are now hovering over the very point we occupy, to assure us that his coming “is near, even at the door!TSAM 9.3

    Have we not reason, then, to believe that the time has come for the vision to be unsealed? May we not expect to understand the “time” as well as the other “things” of which it speaks? For ourselves, we think there is at least tenfold more reason to believe that the end of all things will come before another year shall have passed away, (though we cannot but expect it every day and every hour,) than those who were exposed to the deluge-the fires of Sodom-the famine of Egypt, her plagues and the ruin of her armies-the destruction of Babylon or Jerusalem, had to expect those events at the time they came. We are sure no truly serious person, whose mind is sufficiently enlightened upon the prophetic scriptures to appreciate at all their clear and full and awful burden, will lightly treat this question.TSAM 10.1

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