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The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4

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    CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR: The Millennial Emphasis Persists

    It has not been our purpose to carry forward a complete, detailed history of the increasingly complex and variant expositions of prophecy centering in the second advent and the last things, which mark the remaining decades of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. To do so with the comprehensive coverage uniformly followed throughout the four volumes of Prophetic Faith, to this point, would necessitate a fifth volume. That is wholly beyond the space limits set for this survey, and beyond the terminal point of our quest. Moreover, these recent and contemporary sources are accessible to all.PFF4 1177.1

    But a sketch of certain outstanding developments, beginning in the 1870’s and appearing simultaneously in North America and Great Britain, is highly desirable ere we close this volume. And we should similarly note certain further developments in the early part of the present century, continuing the same premillennial and Historical School exposition. They perpetuate not only the essential positions of the church of the early centuries, but the Reformation and post-Reformation revival of these same early positions, as well as the early nineteenth-century Old World and New World renewal of emphasis that has just been presented. This definitely stresses for the third time, during the Christian Era, this changeless truth of the premillennial second advent. And this is quite apart from the strong Millerite movement emphasis, and its aftermath, which we have but recently surveyed.PFF4 1177.2

    The beginning of this third general awakening on the prophecies concerning the second advent is carefully covered for North America in Part I of the present volume, and for the Old World in Part II of Volume III. The further developments that we shall now note, which highlight the last quarter of the nineteenth century, as well as related activities under way in the opening decades of the twentieth, disclose a singular continuity and persistence of premillennialism. And this despite increasing deflections, fade-outs, and countermoves to the contrary. And all this, be it observed, is quite apart from the distinctive Sabbatarian Adventist movement and teachings that we have just traced in Part III, but with which there is considerable accord.PFF4 1177.3

    This brief excursion beyond the confines of Parts I to III is therefore for the sole purpose of showing the persistence and continuity of the main stream of premillennialism, despite multiplying cross currents, swirling eddies, and countering tides, as well as to disclose the essential unity on most fundamentals by the majority of premillennialists through the years. Let us turn our eyes first to New York City, and the year 1878.PFF4 1178.1