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The relics of that age are, many of them, a rich repast for the lovers of God's word and the Savior's coming.
From the close of the last century up to the present time, there has been a large and increasing number who have advocated the doctrine of the millennium near; some the spiritual, and some the personal reign of Christ a thousand years. But for the last ten years the doctrine of the Savior's personal reign has been perseveringly and ably advocated by some of the ablest pens of Great Britain; and through their labors a great body of Christians have been aroused to love and look for the Savior's return to earth, to make up his jewels.
In our own country, although a few have risen so far above the clouds which have obscured the doctrine as to be illuminated and warmed by the heavenly truth, yet until within a few years but little has either been said or written upon the subject. Not but that we have had our writers on the prophecies; but we must think, in many instances, they have shed more darkness than light on the subject they undertook to explain. Yet we would by no means censure them; we believe they wrote according to the best light they had. Nor has their labor been without its effect on the world. If it has done no more, it has kept the subject of scripture prophecy before the church, and excited a desire to understand it.
The work of Mr. Spalding, however, is an exception to this remark. Few writers, of any age, were more clear on the doctrines of Christ's second coming and kingdom, the two resurrections and millennium between them, than he. But in his views he was violently opposed by his compeers in the ministry. Rev. E. Smith informs us of his opposition to Mr. Spalding's views, and his refusal to give him any countenance or support, even so much as to assist him in selling his book. Yet, although dead, he speaketh; and the church will yet honor the memory of the man who, in the midst of obloquy and reproach, stood boldly forth as the messenger of God to a sleeping church. But the seed so long ago sown will yet, we trust, bring forth much fruit. We learn from those who had the happiness of sitting under Mr. Spalding's ministry, that he was a most pious, godly man, and excellent minister of the Lord Jesus. That he was an able and sound divine, we need not inform any who will take the pains to read his work. To those who knew the man personally, or by report of their fathers, the repub lication of the work can but be most acceptable.
From the time of Mr. Spalding, none came forward to take up and wear his fallen mantle, and advocate distinctly and boldly, from the pulpit and press, the doctrines he held, (at least we have met with none,) until William Miller commenced his career, about ten years since. Through the labors of Mr. M. the whole country has been aroused to an attention to the subject; so that, whether they believe his doctrine
or not, there are very few in whose ear the midnight cry has not sounded, and who have not heard of the expected end in 1843.
At present there is a large number scattered abroad through the United States, both clergy and laity, who cordially embrace and advocate his views. Several other writers have come forward within three or four years, who are laboring to disseminate the doctrine of the advent near. "The Signs of the Times" was started in the spring of 1840, for the purpose of assisting in the dissemination of the light which is constantly increasing upon this great question. It is published 14 Devonshire street, Boston, semi-monthly, $1,00 per year. "The Second Advent Witness," just commenced in New York, is devoted to the same cause. Two General Conferences have been held, composed of those who believe and advocate the doctrine; the Reports of which have been widely circulated through the country and world.
We now take pleasure in giving anew to the world and church the labors of a departed brother, the fruit of which we trust will be glory to God and good to man.
We do not, of course, endorse all the author's views; such, for instance, and in particular, his idea the return of the Jews prior to Christ's coming. We do not believe the Jew has anything to hope, except it be by becoming Abraham's seed through faith in Christ. For since Christ nailed the enmity, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, to his cross, and took it away, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; but if Christ's, then Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." The unbelieving Jew, with the unbelieving Gentile, will receive "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish," in the day when God judges the secrets of men. The restoration, therefore, must be the true Israel, to the heavenly country which the patriarchs sought, at the resurrection of the just.* Another point which our author did not take up, but which we deem important, is the times and He indeed believed the event near; but how near, he did not attempt to determine. Nor had the time of the end then come, when the seal was to be broken, the words opened, and the wise understand. But, if Mr. S. were now alive, we doubt not but, with the light which shines on this point of the prophetic Scriptures, he would most cordially embrace the theory. On the whole, we believe the work calculated to do much good.
BOSTON, OCTOBER 1, 1841.
JOSHUA V. HIMES,
* See APPENDIX, No. II.
THE COMING OF CHRIST.
Behold he cometh.-REV. i. 7.
"To wait for the Son of God from heaven” is the glorious privilege of believers-a privilege were they denied, they would be of all men most miserable; but, indulged with which, though many are their tribulations, they are of all men most happy.
This hope being their helmet of salvation, they are commanded to comfort one another with the promises of his coming, and especially as they "see the day approaching."
An attempt to collect and compare a few Scripture accounts of this glorious event will certainly be agreeable to those "who love his appearing ;" who wait with longing desires to see him," whom, having not seen, they love; in whom, though now they see him not, yet, believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory."
To comfort the people of God, and to animate them in a dark, trying day to look up and rejoice; I have penned some of the grounds of a belief
that their warfare is almost accomplished, and that their eternal redemption draweth nigh.
And who can see the shades of the evening stretching over the world, without attempting to awaken a generation, perhaps in the deepest sleep, and the most unapprehensive of such an event, of any that were ever on earth?
The same Jesus who once came to suffer in the world, is coming again to reign. He who died on Calvary's cross, under every circumstance of reproach which wicked men and devils could invent, "shall come in the glory of his Father," "and every eye shall see him." And notwithstanding there be no direct revelation of that day and hour, and no man knoweth it; yet the holy Scriptures do mention certain events and things, as immediately connected with it, designedly, that by them the approach of that day may be seen and certainly known;* which events we conceive must take place before the millennium, and which it is our present object to point out and illustrate.
One event so connected is the recalling of the Jews.t
Our Lord in his last visit to Jerusalem bade it an affectionate adieu, in which is this prophecy : Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you, ye shall not see me hence
*In this manner the disciples of Christ understood him to foretel the time of his coming and kingdom; for, they ask not, what day or year, but, "What shall be the sign of thy coming?" or, "What sign will there be ?" and having answered them, he added, "When ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is near, even at the doors."
+ See Appendix No. II.