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good sense of community, to judge any formal refutation of so absurd a theory to be necessary But it was urged upon his consideration, that much injurious excitement had been already produced ; and that men, who, in themselves, are deserving of no attention at all, may be made worthy of it, when those who profess to be the pastors and guides of the flock, make use of them as tools to accomplish sectarian purposes. For these reasons, and these alone, this work is now given to the public. We hope it will be read, not with an idle curiosity, but with a sincere desire to know what the word of God says on the subject of the coming of Christ, and its attendant events. These lectures will be found to cover all the principal ground of Mr. Miller's theory; and they are sent out with the ardent prayer, that they may be instrumental of much good.
MILLER'S THEORY EXPLODED.
CHRIST'S COMING AT THE DESTRUCTION OF
“ Therefore, be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." Matt. xxiv. 44.
In the short series of Lectures, which I have been requested to deliver in this place, I am to consider the theory which has recently been advocated among you, respecting the destruction of the world in the year 1843. This theory, though entirely without foundation, and fraught with the greatest absurdities, has produced much excitement wherever it has been promulgated.
And it is this circumstance, that has induced me to comply with the invitation I have received, to reply to some of the leading arguments ou which it is established. What may be in itself considered wholly unworthy of notice, may demand our immediate and special attention, in consequence of the injury it is doing, and the dangerous excitement it is creating. An ignorant, superstitious nurse may, by her marvellous stories, produce the greatest possible terror and alarm among a family of children, and not only render them deeply wretched, but unfit for either duty or study. In such a case, no judicious and reflecting
parent would say, “ The nurse is unworthy of notice, and the stories are absurdly false and ridicu- ' lous." No; he would look at his children, at their unhappy condition, and at the tendency of the stories they had heard to make them the slaves of superstition ; and thus he would be led brace the earliest opportunity to correct their errors and remove their fears.
It is the same with regard to the theory about the destruction of the world, A. D. 1843. Very many have been greatly moved by it; terror has been spread over many portions of the community; it does not become us, therefore, to stand still and say, It is an absurd notion, and advocated by a man who is either artful and designing, or wild and superstitious; we are to look at what it is doing, and estimate its claims to notice "accordingly. For aught we know, it may yet produce an incalculable degree of mischief. A warning voice comes down to us from the past, bidding us to beware. History informs us, that many have risen up in different ages, who have advocated the immediate destruction of the world. And all these have had their followers; all these have deluded many. In some cases, people have been so affected, as to forsake their business, abandon their several employments, and leave their families unprovided with the necessaries of life. In others, they have sold their possessions, and given up all to the church; hoping, thereby, to secure the salvation of their souls. Hence, it would be no new thing, if some who receive this theory should forsake their employments, abandon their houses and lands, and give themselves up to excitement and fear; to what they would call a preparation for
the great calamity or judgment they suppose is so soon to come.
There is no subject on which an excitement can be more easily produced than this ; and no theory can be advocated, which many will more readily receive, or which they will adopt when it has no greater claims to credence. theory to be broached, not immediately calculated to alarm the fears, for which no better proofs could be offered than have been advanced in favor of this, it would not be adopted by one in a thousand, who should hear all that could be said in its support.
You all recollect the comet, that appeared a few years since, and which some conjecturer said might possibly hit the earth. Well, even that conjecture, idle and unfounded as it was, filled thousands of breasts with the most anxious fears. Many began to see strange sights and movements in the heavens; and though they did not actually behold the stars fall, the sun turn to blood, and the moon fade, they almost imagined they could feel the earth tremble as it rolled on its axis, and moved on in its orbit.
The comet appeared; we all beheld the strange visiter ; it remained its appointed season, and then gradually faded from our sight.
During all this, we felt no shock; the earth remained secure and un harmed.
And I doubt not, that it will so remain till 1843 shall have been numbered among the years
that were. With these remarks, which I felt bound in justice to myself and friends to make, I will proceed to examine some of the leading arguments on which the theory in question is built.
What I have to say, will be offered in seriousness and candor. I shall make no resort to ridicule or sarcasm ; for though it is well at times to laugh men out of their errors, I do not conceive this to be one of the times. I shall take it for granted, that all who believe the world is to be destroyed A. D. 1843, are sincere in that belief, and, though mistaken, honest in their mistake.
Besides, the theory comes to us recommended by the appearance of great research, and an extensive acquaintance with the Bible and history. People are not aware, that the author, in his cal. culations, is indebted chiefly to such men as Mede and Newton. He has their theory of explaining the prophecies, though he has varied in many tespects from their dates, and their applications of predictions.
In several cases where they suppose they may be right, he is positive. Thus, there is much borrowed research brought to sustain this theory; and, therefore, it will require patient investigation and candid argument in considering it.
This evening, I shall ask your attention to the following question, viz. Do the Scriptures teach a coming of Christ during the lifetime of some who heard him preach ?
This is an important question, and one which affects the main pillar of the theory we are considering. The first proposition in Mr. Miller's Lectures is, that Christ did not come at the destruction of Jerusalem ; did not come while some were living who attended on his ministry. To this point, therefore, I ask your especial attention.
Lest some should think we are the only sect of Christians who say, Christ did come at the de