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Prophecies Fulfilled

When the time passed at which the Lord’s coming was first expected in the
spring of 1844, those who had looked in faith for his appearing were for a season
involved in doubt and uncertainty. While the world regarded them as having been
utterly defeated, and proved to have been cherishing a delusion, their source of
consolation was still the Word of God. Many continued to search the Scriptures,
examining anew the evidences of their faith, and carefully studying the
prophecies to obtain further light. The Bible testimony in support of their position
seemed clear and conclusive. Signs which could not be mistaken pointed to the
coming of Christ as near. The special blessing of the Lord, both in the conversion
of sinners and the revival of spiritual life among Christians, had testified that the
message was of Heaven. And though the believers could not explain their
disappointment, they felt assured that God had led them in their past experience.
Interwoven with prophecies which they had regarded as applying to the time
of the second advent, was instruction specially adapted to their state of
uncertainty and suspense, and encouraging them to wait patiently, in the faith
that what was now dark to their understanding would in due time be made plain.
Among these prophecies was that of Habakkuk 2:1-4: “I will stand upon my
watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto
me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me,
and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that
readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak,
and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by
his faith.”
As early as 1842, the direction given in this prophecy, to “write the vision, and
make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it,” had suggested to
Charles Fitch the preparation of a prophetic chart to illustrate the visions of
Daniel and the Revelation. The publication of this chart was regarded as a
fulfillment of the command given by Habakkuk. No one, however, then noticed
that an apparent delay in the accomplishment of the vision – a tarrying time is
presented in the same prophecy. After the disappointment, this scripture
appeared very significant: “The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end
it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it
will not tarry. . . . The just shall live by his faith.”
A portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy also was a source of strength and comfort to
believers: “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is
that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged,
and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God: . . . The
days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. . . . I will speak, and the word
that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged.” “They of the
house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he
prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the
Lord God: There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word
which I have spoken shall be done.” Ezekiel 12:21-25, 27, 28.
The waiting ones rejoiced, believing that He who knows the end from the
beginning had looked down through the ages, and, foreseeing their
disappointment, had given them words of courage and hope. Had it not been for
such portions of Scripture, admonishing them to wait with patience, and to hold
fast their confidence in God’s Word, their faith would have failed in that trying
The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 , also illustrates the experience of
the Adventist people. In Matthew 24 , in answer to the question of his disciples
concerning the sign of his coming and of the end of the world, Christ had pointed
out some of the most important events in the history of the world and of the
church from his first to his second advent; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem,
the great tribulation of the church under the pagan and papal persecutions, the
darkening of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars. After this he spoke of
his coming in his kingdom, and related the parable describing the two classes of
servants who look for his appearing. Chapter 25 opens with the words, “Then
shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” Here is brought to view
the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of
chapter 24. In this parable their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an
Eastern marriage.
“Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took
their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise,
and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with
them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom
tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made,
Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”
The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel’s message, was
understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread
reformation under the proclamation of his soon coming, answered to the going
forth of the virgins. In this parable, as in that of Matthew 24 , two classes are
represented. All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth
to meet the Bridegroom. But while “they that were foolish took their lamps, and
took no oil with them,” “the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” The
latter class had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power
of the Holy Spirit, which renders his Word a lamp to the feet and a light to the
path. In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and
had earnestly sought for purity of heart and life. These had a personal
experience, a faith in God and in his Word, which could not be overthrown by
disappointment and delay. Others “took their lamps, and took no oil with them.”
They had moved from impulse. Their fears had been excited by the solemn
message, but they had depended upon the faith of their brethren, satisfied with
the flickering light of good emotions, without a thorough understanding of the
truth, or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth to meet the
Lord, full of hope in the prospect of immediate reward; but they were not
prepared for delay and disappointment. When trials came, their faith failed, and
their lights burned dim.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” By the tarrying
of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was
expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. In this time of uncertainty,
the interest of the superficial and half-hearted soon began to waver, and their
efforts to relax; but those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the
Bible had a rock beneath their feet, which the waves of disappointment could not
wash away. “They all slumbered and slept;” one class in unconcern and
abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should
be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their
zeal and devotion. The half-hearted and superficial could no longer lean upon
the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.
About this time, fanaticism began to appear. Some who had professed to be
zealous believers in the message, rejected the Word of God as the one infallible
guide, and, claiming to be led by the Spirit, gave themselves up to the control of
their own feelings, impressions, and imaginations. There were some who
manifested a blind and bigoted zeal, denouncing all who would not sanction their
course. Their fanatical ideas and exercises met with no sympathy from the great
body of Adventists; yet they served to bring reproach upon the cause of truth.
Satan was seeking by this means to oppose and destroy the work of God. The
people had been greatly stirred by the Advent movement, thousands of sinners
had been converted, and faithful men were giving themselves to the work of
proclaiming the truth, even in the tarrying time. The prince of evil was losing his
subjects; and in order to bring reproach upon the cause of God, he sought to
deceive some who professed the faith, and to drive them to extremes. Then his
agents stood ready to seize upon every error, every failure, every unbecoming
act, and hold it up before the people in the most exaggerated light, to render
Adventists and their faith odious. Thus the greater the number whom he could
crowd in to make a profession of faith in the second advent while his power
controlled their hearts, the greater advantage would he gain by calling attention
to them as representatives of the whole body of believers.
Satan is “the accuser of the brethren,” and it is his spirit that inspires men to
watch for the errors and defects of the Lord’s people, and to hold them up to
notice, while their good deeds are passed by without a mention. He is always
active when God is at work for the salvation of souls. When the sons of God
come to present themselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them. In
every revival he is ready to bring in those who are unsanctified in heart and
unbalanced in mind. When these have accepted some points of truth, and gained
a place with believers, he works through them to introduce theories that will
deceive the unwary. No man is proved to be a true Christian because he is found
in company with the children of God, even in the house of worship and around
the table of the Lord. Satan is frequently there upon the most solemn occasions,
in the form of those who he can use as his agents.
The prince of evil contests every inch of ground over which God’s people
advance in their journey toward the heavenly city. In all the history of the church,
no reformation has been carried forward without encountering serious obstacles.
Thus it was in Paul’s day. Wherever the apostle raised up a church, there were
some who professed to receive the faith, but who brought in heresies, that, if
received, would eventually crowd out the love of the truth. Luther also suffered
great perplexity and distress from the course of fanatical persons who claimed
that God had spoken directly through them, and who therefore set their own
ideas and opinions above the testimony of the Scriptures. Many who were
lacking in faith and experience, but who had considerable self-sufficiency, and
who loved to hear and tell some new thing, were beguiled by the pretensions of
the new teachers, and they joined the agents of Satan in their work of tearing
down what God had moved Luther to build up. And the Wesleys, and others who
blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered at every step the
wiles of Satan in pushing overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into
fanaticism of every grade.
William Miller had no sympathy with those influences that led to fanaticism. He
declared, with Luther, that every spirit should be tested by the Word of God. “The
devil,” said Miller, “has great power over the minds of some at the present day.
And how shall we know what manner of spirit they are of? The Bible answers: ‘By
their fruits ye shall know them.’” “There are many spirits gone out into the world;
and we are commanded to try the spirits. The spirit that does not cause us to live
soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, is not the Spirit of Christ. I
am more and more convinced that Satan has much to do in these wild
movements.” “Many among us, who pretend to be wholly sanctified, are following
the traditions of men, and apparently are as ignorant of truth as others who make
no such pretensions.” “The spirit of error will lead us from the truth; and the Spirit
of God will lead us into truth. But, say you, a man may be in error, and think he
has the truth. What then? We answer, The Spirit and Word agree. If a man
judges himself by the Word of God, and finds a perfect harmony through the
whole Word, then he must believe he has the truth; but if he finds the spirit by
which he is led does not harmonize with the whole tenor of God’s law or book,
then let him walk carefully, lest he be caught in the snare of the devil.” “I have
often obtained more evidence of inward piety from a kindling eye, a wet cheek,
and a choked utterance, than from all the noise in Christendom.”
In the days of the Reformation its enemies charged all the evils of fanaticism
upon the very ones who are laboring most earnestly against it. A similar course
was pursued by the opposers of the Advent movement. And not content with
misrepresenting and exaggerating the errors of extremists and fanatics, they
circulated unfavorable reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth.
These persons were actuated by prejudice and hatred. Their peace was
disturbed by the proclamation of Christ at the door. They feared it might be true,
yet hoped it was not, and this was the secret of their warfare against Adventists
and their faith.
The fact that a few fanatics worked their way into the ranks of Adventists is no
more a reason to decide that the movement was not of God, than was the
presence of fanatics and deceivers in the church in Paul’s or Luther’s day a
sufficient excuse for condemning their work. Let the people of God arouse out of
sleep, and begin in earnest the work of repentance and reformation, let them
search the Scriptures to learn the truth as it is in Jesus, let them make an entire
consecration to God, and evidence will not be wanting that Satan is still active
and vigilant. With all possible deception he will manifest his power, calling to his
aid all the fallen angels of his realm.
It was not the proclamation of the second advent that created fanaticism and
division. These appeared in the summer of 1844, when Adventists were in a state
of doubt and perplexity concerning their real position. The preaching of the first
angel’s message and of the “midnight cry” tended directly to repress fanaticism
and dissension. Those who participated in these solemn movements were in
harmony; their hearts were filled with love for one another, and for Jesus, whom
they expected soon to see. The one faith, the one blessed hope, lifted them
above the control of any human influence, and proved a shield against the
assaults of Satan.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight
there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.” Matthew 25:5-7. In the
summer of 1844, midway between the time when it had been first thought that
the 2300 days would end, and the autumn of the same year, to which it was
afterward found that they extended, the message was proclaimed, in the very
words of Scripture, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!”
That which led to this movement was the discovery that the decree of
Artaxerxes for the restoration of Jerusalem, which formed the starting-point for
the period of the 2300 days, went into effect in the autumn of the year B. C. 457,
and not at the beginning of the year, as had been formerly believed. Reckoning
from the autumn of 457, the 2300 years terminate in the autumn of 1844.
Arguments drawn from the Old-Testament types also pointed to the autumn
as the time when the event represented by the “cleansing of the sanctuary” must
take place. This was made very clear as attention was given to the manner in
which the types relating to the first advent of Christ had been fulfilled.
The slaying of the passover lamb was a shadow of the death of Christ. Says
Paul, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7. The sheaf of
first-fruits, which at the time of the Passover was waved before the Lord, was
typical of the resurrection of Christ. Paul says, in speaking of the resurrection of
the Lord, and of all his people, “Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are
Christ’s at his coming.” 1 Corinthians 15:23. Like the wave-sheaf, which was the
first ripe grain gathered before the harvest, Christ is the first-fruits of that immortal
harvest of redeemed ones that at the future resurrection shall be gathered into
the garner of God.
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to the time. On the
fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very day and month on which, for
fifteen long centuries, the passover lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the
passover with his disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate his
own death as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” That
same night he was taken by wicked hands, to be crucified and slain. And as the
antitype of the wave-sheaf, our Lord was raised from the dead on the third day,
“the first-fruits of them that slept,” 1 Corinthians 15:20, a sample of all the
resurrected just, whose “vile body” shall be changed, and “fashioned like unto his
glorious body.” Philippians 3:21.
In like manner, the types which relate to the second advent must be fulfilled at
the time pointed out in the symbolic service. Under the Mosaic system, the
cleansing of the sanctuary, or the great day of atonement, occurred on the tenth
day of the seventh Jewish month, Leviticus 16:29-34, when the high priest,
having made an atonement for all Israel, and thus removed their sins from the
sanctuary, came forth and blessed the people. So it was believed that Christ, our
great High Priest, would appear to purify the earth by the destruction of sin and
sinners, and to bless his waiting people with immortality. The tenth day of the
seventh month, the great day of atonement, the time of the cleansing of the
sanctuary, which in the year 1844 fell upon the 22 of October, was regarded as
the time of the Lord’s coming. This was in harmony with the proofs already
presented that the 2300 days would terminate in the autumn, and the conclusion
seemed irresistible.
In the parable of Matthew 25 the time of waiting and slumber is followed by
the coming of the bridegroom. This was in accordance with the arguments just
presented, both from prophecy and from the types. They carried strong
conviction of their truthfulness; and the “midnight cry” was heralded by thousands
of believers.
Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. From city to city, from
village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people
of God were fully aroused. Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation, like
early frost before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity
removed, and hope and courage animated their hearts. The work was free from
those extremes which are ever manifested when there is human excitement
without the controlling influence of the Word and Spirit of God. It was similar in
character to those seasons of humiliation and returning unto the Lord which
among ancient Israel followed messages of reproof from his servants. It bore the
characteristics that mark the work of God in every age. There was little ecstatic
joy, but rather deep searching of heart, confession of sin, and forsaking of the
world. A preparation to meet the Lord was the burden of agonizing spirits. There
was persevering prayer, and unreserved consecration to God.
Said Miller, in describing that work: “There is no great expression of joy; that
is, as it were, suppressed for a future occasion, when all Heaven and earth will
rejoice together with joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is no shouting; that,
too, is reserved for the shout from Heaven. The singers are silent; they are
waiting to join the angelic hosts, the choir from Heaven.” “There is no clashing of
sentiments; all are of one heart and of one mind.” Another who participated in the
movement testified: “It has produced everywhere the most deep searching of
heart and humiliation of soul. . . . It caused a weaning of affections from the
things of this world, a healing of controversies and animosities, a confession of
wrongs, a breaking down before God, and penitent, broken-hearted supplications
to him for pardon and acceptance. It caused self-abasement and prostration of
soul, such as we never before witnessed. As the Lord commanded by the
prophet Joel, when the great day of God should be at hand, it produced a rending
of hearts and not of garments, and a turning unto the Lord with fasting, and
weeping, and mourning. As God said by Zechariah, a spirit of grace and of
supplication was poured out upon his children; they looked to Him whom they
had pierced, there was great mourning in the land, . . . and those who were
looking for the Lord afflicted their souls before him.”
Of all the great religious movements since the days of the apostles, none
have been more free from human imperfection and the wiles of Satan than was
that of the autumn of 1844. Even now, after the lapse of nearly half a century, all
who shared in that movement and who have stood firm upon the platform of truth,
still feel the holy influence of that blessed work, and bear witness that it was of
At the call, “The Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” the waiting ones
“arose and trimmed their lamps;” they studied the Word of God with an intensity
of interest before unknown. Angels were sent from Heaven to arouse those who
had become discouraged, and prepare them to receive the message. The work
did not stand in the wisdom and learning of men, but in the power of God. It was
not the most talented, but the most humble and devoted, who were the first to
hear and obey the call. Farmers left their crops standing in the fields, mechanics
laid down their tools, and with tears and rejoicing went out to give the warning.
Those who had formerly led in the cause were among the last to join in this
movement. The churches in general closed their doors against this message, and
a large company of those who received it withdrew from their connection. In the
providence of God, this proclamation united with the second angel’s message,
and gave power to that work.
The message, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” was not so much a matter of
argument, though the Scripture proof was clear and conclusive. There went with
it an impelling power that moved the soul. There was no doubt, no questioning.
Upon the occasion of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people who
were assembled from all parts of the land to keep the feast, flocked to the Mount
of Olives, and as they joined the throng that were escorting Jesus, they caught
the inspiration of the hour and helped to swell the shout, “Blessed is He that
cometh in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 21:9. In like manner did unbelievers
who flocked to the Adventist meetings – some from curiosity, some merely to
ridicule, feel the convincing power attending the message, “Behold, the
Bridegroom cometh!”
At that time there was faith that brought answers to prayer, faith that had
respect to the recompense of reward. Like showers of rain upon the thirsty earth,
the Spirit of grace descended upon the earnest seekers. Those who expected
soon to stand face to face with their Redeemer felt a solemn joy that was
unutterable. The softening, subduing power of the Holy Spirit melted the heart, as
his blessing was bestowed in rich measure upon the faithful, believing ones.
Carefully and solemnly those who received the message came up to the time
when they hoped to meet their Lord. Every morning they felt that it was their first
duty to secure the evidence of their acceptance with God. Their hearts were
closely united, and they prayed much with and for one another. They often met
together in secluded places to commune with God, and the voice of intercession
ascended to Heaven from the fields and groves. The assurance of the Saviour’s
approval was more necessary to them than their daily food, and if a cloud
darkened their minds, they did not rest until it was swept away. As they felt the
witness of pardoning grace, they longed to behold Him whom their souls loved.
But again they were destined to disappointment. The time of expectation
passed, and their Saviour did not appear. With unwavering confidence they had
looked forward to his coming, and now they felt as did Mary, when, coming to the
Saviour’s tomb and finding it empty, she exclaimed with weeping, “They have
taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” John 20:13.
A feeling of awe, a fear that the message might be true, had for a time served
as a restraint upon the unbelieving world. After the passing of the time, this did
not at once disappear; at first they dared not triumph over the disappointed ones;
but as no tokens of God’s wrath were seen, they recovered from their fears, and
resumed their reproach and ridicule. A large class who had professed to believe
in the Lord’s soon coming, renounced their faith. Some who had been very
confident were so deeply wounded in their pride that they felt like fleeing from the
world. Like Jonah, they complained of God, and chose death rather than life.
Those who had based their faith upon the opinions of others, and not upon the
Word of God, were now as ready again to change their views. The scoffers won
the weak and cowardly to their ranks, and all these united in declaring that there
could be no more fears or expectations now. The time had passed, the Lord had
not come, and the world might remain the same for thousands of years.
The earnest, sincere believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared his
presence as never before. They had, as they believed, given their last warning to
the world, and, expecting soon to be received into the society of their divine
Master and the heavenly angels, they had, to a great extent, withdrawn from the
society of those who did not receive the message. With intense desire they had
prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly.” But he had not come. And now to
take up again the heavy burden of life’s cares and perplexities, and to endure the
taunts and sneers of a scoffing world, was a terrible trial of faith and patience.
Yet this disappointment was not so great as was that experienced by the
disciples at the time of Christ’s first advent. When Jesus rode triumphantly into
Jerusalem, his followers believed that he was about to ascend the throne of
David, and deliver Israel from her oppressors. With high hopes and joyful
anticipations they vied with one another in showing honor to their King. Many
spread their outer garments as a carpet in his path, or strewed before him the
leafy branches of the palm. In their enthusiastic joy they united in the glad
acclaim, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” When the Pharisees, disturbed and
angered by this outburst of rejoicing, wished Jesus to rebuke his disciples, he
replied, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Luke 19:40. Prophecy must be fulfilled. The disciples were accomplishing the
purpose of God; yet they were doomed to a bitter disappointment. But a few days
had passed ere they witnessed the Saviour’s agonizing death, and laid him in the
tomb. Their expectations had not been realized in a single particular, and their
hopes died with Jesus. Not till their Lord had come forth triumphant from the
grave could they perceive that all had been foretold by prophecy, and “that Christ
must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.” Acts 17:3. Five
hundred years before, the Lord had declared by the prophet Zechariah, “Rejoice
greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, thy King
cometh unto thee. He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass,
and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9. Had the disciples realized that
Christ was going to judgment and to death, they could not have fulfilled this
In like manner, Miller and his associates fulfilled prophecy, and gave a
message which inspiration had foretold should be given to the world, but which
they could not have given had they fully understood the prophecies pointing out
their disappointment, and presenting another message to be preached to all
nations before the Lord should come. The first and second angels’ messages
were given at the right time, and accomplished the work which God designed to
accomplish by them.
The world had been looking on, expecting that if the time passed and Christ
did not appear, the whole system of Adventism would be given up. But while
many, under strong temptation, yielded their faith, there were some who stood
firm. The fruits of the Advent movement, the spirit of humility and
heart-searching, of renouncing of the world, and reformation of life, which had
attended the work, testified that it was of God. They dared not deny that the
power of the Holy Spirit had witnessed to the preaching of the second advent,
and they could detect no error in their reckoning of the prophetic periods. The
ablest of their opponents had not succeeded in overthrowing their system of
prophetic interpretation. They could not consent, without Bible evidence, to
renounce positions which had been reached through earnest, prayerful study of
the Scriptures, by minds enlightened by the Spirit of God, and hearts burning with
its living power; positions which had withstood the most searching criticisms and
the most bitter opposition of popular religious teachers and worldly-wise men,
and which had stood firm against the combined forces of learning and eloquence,
and the taunts and revilings alike of the honorable and the base.
True, there had been a failure as to the expected event, but even this could
not shake their faith in the Word of God. When Jonah proclaimed in the streets of
Nineveh that within forty days the city would be overthrown, the Lord accepted
the humiliation of the Ninevites, and extended their period of probation; yet the
message of Jonah was sent of God, and Nineveh was tested according to his
will. Adventists believed that in like manner God had led them to give the warning
of the Judgment. “It has,” they declared, “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, 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 for 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 [word] of God.”
The feelings of those who still believed that God had led them in their past
experience, are expressed in the words of William Miller: “Were I to live my life
over again, with the same evidence that I then had, to be honest with God and
men I should have to do as I have done.” “I hope I have cleansed my garments
from the blood of souls; I feel that, as far as possible, I have freed myself from all
guilt in their condemnation.” “Although I have been twice disappointed,” wrote this
man of God, “I am not yet cast down or discouraged.” “My hope in the coming of
Christ is as strong as ever. I have done only what, after years of sober
consideration, I felt it my solemn duty to do. If I have erred, it has been on the
side of charity, the love of my fellow-man, and my conviction of duty to God.”
“One thing I do know, I have preached nothing but what I believed; and God’s
hand has been with me, his power has been manifested in the work, and much
good has been effected.” “Many thousands, to all human appearance, have been
made to study the Scriptures by the preaching of the time; and by that means,
through faith and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, have been reconciled to
God.” “I have never courted the smiles of the proud, nor quailed when the world
frowned. I shall not now purchase their favor, nor shall I go beyond duty to tempt
their hate. I shall never seek my life at their hands, nor shrink, I hope, from losing
it, if God in his good providence so orders.”
God did not forsake his people; his Spirit still abode with those who did not
rashly deny the light which they had received, and denounce the Advent
movement. In the Epistle to the Hebrews are words of encouragement and
warning for the tried, waiting ones at this crisis: “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.” Hebrews 10:35-39.
That this admonition is addressed to the church in the last days is evident
from the words pointing to the nearness of the Lord’s coming: “For yet a little
while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” And it is plainly
implied that there would be a seeming delay, and that the Lord would appear to
tarry. The instruction here given is especially adapted to the experience of
Adventists at this time. The people here addressed were in danger of making
shipwreck of faith. They had done the will of God in following the guidance of his
Spirit and his Word; yet they could not understand his purpose in their past
experience, nor could they discern the pathway before them, and they were
tempted to doubt whether God had indeed been leading them. At this time the
words were applicable, “Now the just shall live by faith.” As the bright light of the
“midnight cry” had shone upon their pathway, and they had seen the prophecies
unsealed, and the rapidly fulfilling signs telling that the coming of Christ was near,
they had walked, as it were, by sight. But now, bowed down by disappointed
hopes, they could stand only by faith in God and in his Word. The scoffing world
were saying, “You have been deceived. Give up your faith, and say that the
Advent movement was of Satan.” But God’s Word declared, “If any man draw
back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” To renounce their faith now, and
deny the power of the Holy Spirit which had attended the message, would be
drawing back toward perdition. They were encouraged to steadfastness by the
words of Paul, “Cast not away therefore your confidence;” “ye have need of
patience;” “for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not
tarry.” Their only safe course was to cherish the light which they had already
received of God, hold fast to his promises, and continue to search the Scriptures,
and patiently wait and watch to receive further light.

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  1. The Ellen G. White Estate
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