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The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4

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    I. Harriet Livermore-Expects World’s Climax in 1847

    One of the most colorful figures of this period was the brilliant and beautiful, but erratic, HARRIET LIVERMORE 1HARRIET LIVERMORE (1788-1868), daughter of a. judge (later U.S. Senator), and friend of many of the elite of Washington, was born in Concord, New Hampshire, receiving an excellent education. While in the Byeneld Female Seminary, she frequented the home of Judge Minot and became a social belle in influential circles. In 1811 she taught school at East Haverhill, Massachusetts, where she was a periodic visitor to the parents of John Greenleaf Whittier, who in turn immortalized her in verse. After her lover died from yellow fever, Harriet turned from her life of vanity to religion, for sanctuary from the sorrows of life. A zealous reader of religious literature, she soon began to write. Not satisfied with her Episcopalian confirmation in childhood, she joined the Congregational Church in 1818. In 1824 she published Scriptural Evidence in Favor of Female Testimony, because public preaching by a woman was then looked upon as ludicrous, improper, and un-Scriptural. In 1825 she joined the Baptists and became active as a Sunday School teacher. In the same year she abandoned teaching and entered upon a lifework of evangelism, assuming the title “The Pilgrim Stranger.” “pilgrim,” preacher, author, and world traveler. She is fascinatingly, though somewhat satirically, depicted in John Green-leaf Whittier’s Snow-Bound:PFF4 269.2

    “And under low brows, black with night, Rayed out at times a dangerous light.PFF4 270.1

    “Since then what old cathedral town Has missed the pilgrim’s staff and gown, What convent-gate has held its lock Against the challenge of her knock!”PFF4 270.2

    The first woman ever to speak publicly within the walls of the U.S. Congress, Miss Livermore four times 2On January 8, 1827 (with President John Quincy Adams and his Henry Clay, among her auditors), also in 1832, 1838, and 1843 - under Andrew Jackson’s, Martin Van Buren s, and John Tyler’s administrations. (Rebecca I. Davis Valley, p. 16.) called upon the President and lawmakers to repent, turn to the Lord, and flee from the wrath to come. “The judgment cannot miss Washington,” she asserted. Senator George U. Briggs, formerly governor of Massachusetts, who heard her at the Capitol in 1832, stated that there were “few better models of correct speaking,” and that she was “the sweetest singer I ever heard.” 3S. T. Livermore, Harriet Livermore, the Pilgrim Stranger, pp. 82, 151-156. She also spoke in the legislative halls of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.PFF4 270.3

    She preached everywhere—among the Dunkards, Episcopalians, and Methodists, as well as to unfortunates in asylums and prisons, and on the waterfront. Press reports were commendatory. The Southern Literary Messenger (1840) declared her sway over audiences in Richmond to be akin to that which moved Oberlin under Charles G. Finney. 4Ibid., pp. 140, 141.PFF4 270.4

    In 1831 she became a firm believer in the second advent. Years later, when she became acquainted with the Millerites, she was much perturbed over their not sharing one of her fondest beliefs—the literal restoration of the Jews. 5Ibid., pp. 87, 111. In 1832 she made a six-thousand-mile tour of the “Western wilderness,” preaching to the Indians, thinking they might be the lost tribes of Israel, as did Joseph Wolff, from whom she derived her beliefs on the advent. 6On Wolff, see Prophetic Faith, Vol. III, pp. 461-481.PFF4 270.5

    Each time she went to Europe—in 1836, 1839, 1845, and 1852—she also visited Jerusalem. 7S.T. Livermore, op. cit., pp. 81, 90, 91. In Egypt she compared notes with Bishop Gobat, likewise a student and preacher of prophecy. 8On Gobat, see Prophetic Faith, Vol. III, pp. 485-487. She was a colorful and really remarkable, though unpredictable, woman of high caliber. She was distinctly an enthusiast, and quite temperamental, not a close, logical thinker, but a magnetic speaker. Ever traveling and preaching, she exerted an unusually wide influence.PFF4 270.6


    In a series of booklets called Millennial Tidings, Numbers I to IV (published in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, 1831-1839), and other books bearing on prophecy, Miss Livermore taught the personal second advent of Christ in 1843 or 1847 (based on Daniel 8:14), to stand upon the Mount of Olives, and to reign personally in Jerusalem. 9Harriet Livermore, Millennial Tidings, No. I (2,000 copies 1831), pp. 3, 28, etc., No. II (1832), pp. 14, 15, 61; No. IV (1839), p. 4. No. III was issued in 1838 and wag addressed to the Indians. (See S. T. Livermore, op. cit., pp. 103-111.) These were largely the reflection of the British advent writers, especially of Wolff. Cuninghame, Irving, Drummond, and M’Neile, the Albury Park Conference, and The Morning Watch, etc., are cited in the pages of these four numbers, and their teachings presented.PFF4 271.1


    Christ’s personal reign will be preceded by the overthrow of Antichrist and the binding of Satan. Sometimes Antichrist is the Mystery of Iniquity, the “false church,” the counterfeit of Christianity; at other times it appears to be a malign individual—the “vile” person of Daniel 11, Paul’s Man of Sin, and the Beast. 10Ibid. (II), pp. 22, 38; (IV), pp. 42, 55, 58. And like Wolff, Miss Livermore believed the Indians might be the lost tribes of Israel. 11Ibid. (II), pp. 91-106. She held that the drying up of the Euphrates refers to the Ottoman power. The warning is being heralded insistently to the church, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh.” 12Ibid. (IV), pp. 17, 18.PFF4 271.2

    3. “SEVEN TIMES” FROM 677 B.C. TO A.D. 1843

    Miss Livermore cites The Morning Watch, of London, on chronological prophecy. The “seven times” of the Gentiles—with 360 days to a prophetic “time,” or 2520 year-days in all-are possibly the length of Israel’s degradation, from the captivity of Manasseh in 677 B.C., on to A.D. 1843, when Jewry should flourish again. 13Ibid. (IV), p. 15. On The Morning Watch, see Prophetic Faith, Vol. III.PFF4 271.3

    4. 2300 YEARS FROM 457 B.C. TO A.D. 1843

    The 2300 years, beginning jointly with the 70 weeks, from the decree of Artaxerxes in the time of Persia, she ends with the future restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem. Then follows this key paragraph from The Morning Watch:PFF4 272.1

    “The decree of Artaxerxes for restoring the Jewish polity is given at length in the viith chapter of Ezra, and it was issued in the seventh year of that monarch’s reign, which was the year A.C. [B.C.] 457. From which if we reckon the 2300 days, according to prophetic analogy, a day for a year, we shall find that this period also terminates in A.D. 1843, when, without presumption, we may hope that the sanctuary will be cleansed and the kingdom be restored to Israel.” 14Ibid. (IV), pp. 16, 17.PFF4 272.2

    She speculates on the Jubilee, or year of release, as possibly falling around the same time. 15Ibid. (IV), pp. 28-33.PFF4 272.3


    The book of Revelation, Miss Livermore declares, was excluded for a time from the canon of Scripture, by the church of the fourth century, which also changed the “ordinance” of the Lord’s day. (The footnote reads: “In the Council of Laodicea, A.D. 360.”) The spirit of Antichrist, she holds, was manifest in all this. Then she affords an unusual word on the great apostasy, not mentioned by any other prophetic writer at this early date. This early Council of Laodicea, she says, is marked by “the two notable evidences of usurpation and blasphemy (rejection of the Apocalypse, and alteration of the Sabbath time,) resulting from that council.” 16Ibid. (IV), pp. 84, 85. Twice the author makes reference to this act of the “Apostate church,” after she had lost her first love. In the other instance, she declares the church “‘played the harlot with the state,’ changed the ordinance * [The footnote reads: “I mean the Sabbath”], and broke the covenant of her Lord.” (Ibid., No. II, p. 34.) It should be added that she was not a Seventh Day Baptist.PFF4 272.4

    She does not explain further at this time. Noting God’s special message to the seven churches of the Apocalypse, Miss Livermore again refers to Laodicea:PFF4 273.1

    “They have violated the law of God, by profaning His holy things; and have hid their faces from the Great and Glorious Sabbath of the Lord. These things have they done, and the Lord kept silent a long time.” 17Ibid. (IV), p. 86.PFF4 273.2

    But Christ’s instruction to Laodicea, she adds, is to open the door of the heart, in response to which He will come in. Then the solemn voice rings out, “Babylon is fallen,” and the prophesied warning of Revelation 14:9-11 is uttered by the third angel. Such, she adds, constitutes God’s “strange act.” 18Ibid. (IV), pp. 87, 88.PFF4 273.3

    Miss Livermore looked with apprehension to the new year, 1844, 19Harriet Livermore, The Counsel of God, Immutable and Everlasting (1844), p. 2. Among the subscribers for this volume appear the names of Presidents John Quincy Adams and John Tyler, and Secretary of the Treasury J. C. Spencer, and many other notables in Washing ton, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, including five ministers and two newspapermen. for the destruction of Antichrist (the “eleventh horn” of Daniel 7 and the “Beast” of Revelation 13) occurs before the second advent and the resurrection of the righteous. 20Ibid., p. 20. Aware of the different dates suggested for the advent, between 1847 and 1866, she looked with anticipation to the former, but recognized the existing element of uncertainty. 21Ibid., pp. 78, 79.PFF4 273.4

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