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    THE PASSING OF THE TIME

    The tenth day of the seventh month of the Jewish year 1844, came and passed, and left impressions upon the minds of believers not easily effaced; and although a quarter of a century has passed since that memorable period, yet that work has not lost its interest and force upon the minds of those who participated in it. Even now, when one who shared in that blessed work, and who feels its hallowed influence rekindling upon his mind - if in obedience to the injunction of the apostle when he says, “Call to remembrance the former days in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, partly whilst ye were made a gazing stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used” - shall speak of that solemn work, of that consecration of all, made in full view of eternal scenes, and of that sweet peace and holy joy which filled the minds of the waiting ones, his words will not fail to touch the feelings of all who shared the blessings of that work and have held fast.LIFIN 180.1

    And those who participated in that movement are not the only ones who can now go back in their experience, and feast upon the faith-reviving, soul-inspiring realities of the past. Those who have since embraced the Advent faith and hope, and who have seen in the three messages, of Revelation 14, the past consecration and blessedness, the present work of preparation, and the future glory, may go back with us to the autumn of 1844, and with us share the rekindling of the heavenly illumination. Was that our Jerusalem, where we waited for, and enjoyed, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Then as all Christians, as well as Christ’s first disciples who were present on the occasion, have looked back to the day of Pentecost with pleasure and profit, so may these who have embraced the doctrine of the Second Advent since the memorable seventh-month movement, look back to that period with all that interest those can who participated in it.LIFIN 181.1

    The impressions made and left upon the minds of believers were deep and lasting. However far one has since departed from God and his truth, there still remains upon the soul of the apostate traces of the work. Let him hear the subject afresh; let the simple facts be again brought before his mind, and he will feel upon this subject as he can feel upon no other. And those who took part in that work, who are far backslidden from God, yet cherish regard for the word of God and Christian experience, will yet feel deeply over this subject, and the faith of many of them will be resurrected to new life. God grant that these pages may prove a blessing to many such.LIFIN 181.2

    The disappointment at the passing of the time was a bitter one. True believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared his presence as never before. They had, as they supposed, given their last warning to the world, and had separated themselves, more or less, from the unbelieving, scoffing multitude. And with the divine blessing upon them, they felt more like associating with their soon-expected Master and the holy angels, than with those from whom they had separated themselves. The love of Jesus filled every soul, and beamed from every face, and with inexpressible desires they prayed, “Come Lord Jesus, and come quickly.” But he did not come. And now to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of the jeers and revilings of unbelievers who now scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Portland, Me., a few days after the passing of the time, and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.LIFIN 182.1

    But God did not forsake his people. His Spirit upon them still abode, with all who did not rashly deny and denounce the good work in the Advent movement up to that time. And with especial force and comfort did such passages as the following, to the Hebrews, come home to the minds and hearts of the tried, waiting ones: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Chap. 10:35-39. The points of interest in this portion of Scripture are -LIFIN 182.2

    1. Those addressed are in danger of casting away their confidence in that in which they had done right.LIFIN 183.1

    2. They had done the will of God, and were brought into that state of trial where patience was necessary.LIFIN 183.2

    3. The just at this time are to live by faith, not by doubting whether they had done the will of God, but faith, in that in which they had done the will of God.LIFIN 183.3

    4. Those who should not endure the trial of faith, but should cast away their confidence in the work in which they did the will of God, and draw back, would take the direct road to perdition.LIFIN 183.4

    But why apply all this to the subject of the second advent? Answer: Because Paul applies it there. His words, in the very center of the foregoing quotation from his epistle to the Hebrews, forbid any other application: “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” No one will for a moment question that the second advent is the subject upon which the apostle treats. The peculiar situation of those who should be looking for the second appearing of Jesus, is the burden of his exhortation. And how wonderfully applicable to those who were sadly disappointed, tempted and tried, in the autumn of 1844, are his words. With great confidence had they proclaimed the coming of the Lord, with the assurance that they were doing the will of God. But as the time passed, they were brought into a position exceedingly trying to faith and patience. Hence the words of Paul to them, just then, and just there. “Cast not away therefore your confidence... ..... Ye have need of patience..... Ye have done the will of God.” To this decision of the apostle every true Adventist, who tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, in the movement of 1844, will respond, Amen.LIFIN 183.5

    But how fearful the words which follow: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” As Adventists came up to the point of expectation in the blazing light of unsealed prophecy, and the rapidly-fulfilling signs that Christ’s coming was at the doors, they walked, as it were, by sight. But now they stand with disappointed hopes, and stricken hearts, and live by faith in the sure word, and the work of God in their Second-Advent experience. With these who hold fast, God is well pleased; but in those who draw back he has no pleasure. These believe to the saving of the soul; while those who become impatient, cast away their confidence in the way God has led them, and give it up as the work of man, or of Satan, and draw back to perdition.LIFIN 184.1

    This and many other portions of Scripture of like import, having a direct application to the condition of believers at that time, served not only as an encouragement to them to hold fast their faith, but as a warning to them not to apostatize. And a general impression remained upon the minds of believers for some time after the disappointment, that the seventh-month movement was in the direct providence of God, and that those who had been engaged in this work had done his will.LIFIN 184.2

    And according to the best light they had, there was a general agreement that the seventh-month movement was the last great test, that the harvest of the earth was ripe for the sickle of the Son of man, and that the door was shut. That the salvation of the soul, or perdition, hung upon the manner in which those who heard treated that solemn message, I doubt not. And this is especially clear in the case of the disappointed believers after the time passed. In holding fast and believing, there was salvation; in drawing back, the result would be perdition. The view, however, that the harvest of the earth was ripe, and that the door was shut, was soon abandoned. But although all, long since, gave up this position as incorrect, I fail to see why they should be censured for taking it upon the passing of the time. In fact, the conclusion seems very natural, and I hardly see how they could have come to any other. I will here mention some of the reasons why such a conclusion was reasonable, if not unavoidable.LIFIN 184.3

    1. William Miller and others had taught that the door would be shut, and that probation would close a short time before the second advent. In a letter to Elder J.V. Himes, October 6, 1844, he said: “I am strong in the opinion that the next will be the last Lord’s day sinners will ever have in probation. And within ten or fifteen days from thence, they will see Him whom they have hated and despised, to their shame and everlasting contempt.”LIFIN 185.1

    2. And, certainly, that probation will close prior to the second advent is plainly taught in the following emphatic testimony from Revelation 22:11, 12: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly.” I will only add, that the order of events here given is, first, the final decision of all men living at the close of probation, and, second, then follows the advent of Him who says, “And behold I come quickly.”LIFIN 185.2

    3. All true believers expected that probation would close as soon as the tenth day of the seventh month. And as the time of expectation drew near, their burdened spirits felt more and still more heavily the weight and responsibility of doing every duty to others. But as the point of expectation was finally reached, all this burden at once fell off. This was as true of the isolated brother or sister, in some distant part of the country, as with those in the crowded city mingling with hundreds of like faith. It was true of all. All felt that their work in warning sinners was done. No one can have a just idea of this great change, only those who participated in the movement, and came up to the time of expectation with the burden of the solemn work upon them. Jesus had not come as they expected, and why this great change had come over all was a matter of proper inquiry. And how natural the conclusion, to say the least, that probation was ended.LIFIN 186.1

    4. The change that had suddenly come over the ungodly seemed to strengthen the conviction that the door was shut. Although the passing of the time, removing their fears, may now be regarded as a sufficient cause for the change in them, yet at the time the fiend-like conduct of many after the tenth day passed, who but a few hours or days before had appeared penitent, gave the idea that the restraining influence of the Spirit of God had forever left them.LIFIN 186.2

    In view of these things it should not be a matter of surprise to any, that Adventists were agreed that the midnight cry was the last great test, that the work for the world was finished, and that the door was shut. That this was their faith, may be seen by reviewing the writings of leading men in the cause, published immediately after the passing of the time.LIFIN 186.3

    William Miller, in a letter addressed to J.V. Himes, says:LIFIN 187.1

    “We have done our work in warning sinners, and in trying to awaken a formal church. God, in his providence, has shut the door; we can only stir one another up to be patient; and be diligent to make our calling and election sure. We are now living in the time specified by Malachi 3:18; also Daniel 12:10; Revelation 22:10-12. In this passage we cannot help but see that a little while before Christ should come, there would be a separation between the just and unjust, the righteous and wicked, between those who love his appearing and those who hate it. And never, since the days of the apostles, has there been such a division line drawn as was drawn about the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month. Since that time they say ‘they have no confidence in us.’ We have now need of patience, after we have done the will of God, that we may receive the promise.”LIFIN 187.2

    The Advent Herald, for November 13, 1844, J.V. Himes, S. Bliss, and A. Hale, editors, says:LIFIN 187.3

    “But the alarm was everywhere made; the cry was everywhere given. And again we can see that God was with us. It was a soul-purifying work; and the children of God bowed themselves in his presence and received blessings to their souls, unprecedented in the history of the Advent cause. And yet we are disappointed; the day passed away and we are still here. And those who only looked on, and passed by, were ready to exclaim that it was all a delusion; and that now of a certainty we must relinquish all our hopes, and abandon all our expectations. We, however, do not thus feel. As great a paradox as it may be to our opponents, yet we can discern in it the leadings of God’s providence; and when we are reviled and censured by those to whom the world look as the Gamaliels of our age, we feel that they are only speaking of the things they understand not.LIFIN 187.4

    “Those who have not been in this late movement, can appreciate nothing respecting it. And we regard it as another, and a more searching test, than the first proclamation of the time. It has searched Jerusalem as with candles; and it has purged out the old leaven. It has tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a love for the Lord’s appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more or less perceivable, but known to God, of his coming. It has drawn a line, and awakened sensibilities, so that those who will examine their own hearts, may know on which side of it they would have been found, had the Lord then come; whether they would have exclaimed, ‘Lo! this is our God, we have waited for him and he will save us;’ or whether they would have called to rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God thus, as we believe, has tested his people, has tried their faith, has proved them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial, from the position in which He might see fit to place them; and whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit confidence in the work of God.LIFIN 188.1

    “And we as much believe that we have done the will of God in thus sounding the alarm, as we believe that Jonah did when he entered into Nineveh a day’s journey, and cried, saying, ‘Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ Nineveh was not then overthrown; nor has the Lord yet wrought deliverance in the earth, nor the inhabitants of the world fallen. Was Jonah a false prophet when he preached the time of Nineveh’s destruction? No; he had only preached the preaching that God had bid him. But God had said that ‘at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.’ Jeremiah 18:7, 8. ‘So, the people of Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them; and God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he said he would do unto them; and he did it not.’ The preaching of Jonah served as a test to the inhabitants of Nineveh, and accomplished God’s purposes, as much as it would have done had the city perished.LIFIN 188.2

    “So we believe that this last cry has been a test; and that with our views of duty, we should as much have sinned against God, had we refrained from giving that message, as Jonah did when ‘he rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord;’ that we should as much have sinned, had we refused to give heed to it, as the Ninevites would in refusing to repent at his preaching; and that all who are angry that we have preached a time which has not been realized, are as guilty as Jonah was when he was angry and prayed the Lord to take his life from him, because God had spared that great city.”LIFIN 189.1

    The following is from the Advent Herald of October 30, 1844, relative to the suspension of meetings in the Advent Tabernacle of Boston. The article from which it is taken, had previously been inserted in several of the daily papers of that city. It is important, as it correctly sets forth the views and feelings of Adventists at that time. In view of such testimony, it is vain for any man to deny that it was the universal belief of Adventists, in the autumn of 1844, that their work for the world was forever done. After giving some of the reasons why they expected the Lord on the tenth day of the seventh month, the writer of the article says:LIFIN 189.2

    “With this expectation we were desirous to meet once more, to mingle our prayers, and to encourage one another in the last work of preparation; and for this purpose we had met at our well-known place of worship in this city. We gave no special notice of our meeting, we made no appeal to the public, and it was characterized by no exercises which were calculated to excite either the mirth or vengeance of any portion of the community.LIFIN 190.1

    “We were serious, we were bowed in penitence and prayer before God, or heartily affected by the mutual confessions of tried and dear friends. We had no ill-feeling to indulge toward any man; we felt that we were done with the world, and had forgiven them the many injuries they had inflicted upon us; but stale and silly slanders in reference to us were revived; the restless spirits of the community have been aroused; we could not meet in peace, and our meetings in consequence have been suspended. And we now make these remarks to disabuse the public, and with the hope that some, who would not otherwise give their attention to the calls of the present time, may lay them to heart.LIFIN 190.2

    “To the city authorities, who faithfully rendered their services, we are grateful, though we could not promote the objects of the meeting when such protection was needed.LIFIN 190.3

    “We forgive our enemies. They have not injured us; and oh! that they could see how much they may have injured themselves; but we have done with them now. We expect the realization of the promise of God. He who delivered Noah and Lot; he who brought his people out of Egypt and Babylon, has promised (as we believe) to save them finally ‘by his Son from Heaven.’ We expect it. We have hazarded all on that expectation; and we only ask that God may give us, and all who look for him, grace to abide the issue.LIFIN 191.1

    “In behalf of the Adventists in Boston and vicinity,
    “JOSHUA V. HIMES.”
    LIFIN 191.2

    I have not a word of censure for a single soul who came to the honest conclusion that the work of warning sinners closed with the burden of the midnight cry. And more, I solemnly believe that the providence of God brought us to that position. And there the Advent hosts should have remained, patiently waiting, watching, and praying, until our true position could have been clearly seen by the light of the heavenly sanctuary.LIFIN 191.3

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