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that the door was shut. That the salvation of the soul, or perdition, hung upon the manner in which those who heard treated that solemn message, I doubt not. And this is especially clear in the case of the disappointed believers after the time passed. In holding fast and believing, there was salvation; in drawing back, the result would be perdition. The view, however, that the harvest of the earth was ripe, and that the door was shut, was soon abandoned. But although all, long since, gave up this position as incorrect, I fail to see why they should be censured for taking it upon the passing of the time. In fact, the conclusion seems very natural, and I hardly see how they could have come to any other. I will here mention some of the reasons why such a conclusion was reasonable, if not unavoidable.
1. William Miller and others had taught that the door would be shut, and that probation would close a short time before the second advent. In a letter to Elder J. V. Himes, October 6, 1844, he said: "I am strong in the opinion that the next will be the last Lord's day sinners will ever have in probation. And within ten or fifteen days from thence, they will see Him whom they have hated and despised, to their shame and everlasting contempt."
2. And, certainly, that probation will close prior to the second advent is plainly taught in the following emphatic testimony from Rev. xxii, 11, 12: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly." I will only add, that the order of events here given is, first, the final decision of all men living at the close of probation, and,
second, then follows the advent of Him who says, "And behold I come quickly."
3. All true believers expected that probation would close as soon as the tenth day of the seventh month. And as the time of expectation drew near, their burdened spirits felt more and still more heavily the weight and responsibility of doing every duty to others. But as the point of expectation was finally reached, all this burden at once fell off. This was as true of the isolated brother or sister, in some distant part of the country, as with those in the crowded city mingling with hundreds of like faith. It was true of all. All felt that their work in warning sinners was done. No one can have a just idea of this great change, only those who participated in the movement, and came up to the time of expectation with the burden of the solemn work upon them. Jesus had not come as they expected, and why this great change had come over all was a matter of proper inquiry. And how natural the conclusion, to say the least, that probation was ended.
4. The change that had suddenly come over the ungodly seemed to strengthen the conviction that the door was shut. Although the passing of the time, removing their fears, may now be regarded as a sufficient cause for the change in them, yet at that time the fiend-like conduct of many after the tenth day passed, who but a few hours or days before had appeared penitent, gave the idea that the restraining influence of the Spirit of God had forever left them.
In view of these things it should not be a matter of surprise to any, that Adventists were agreed that the midnight cry was the last great test, that the work for the world was finished, and that the door was shut. That this was their faith, may be seen by reviewing the
writings of leading men in the cause, published immediately after the passing of the time.
William Miller, in a letter addressed to J. V. Himes, says:
"We have done our work in warning sinners, and in trying to awaken a formal church. God, in his providence, has shut the door; we can only stir one another up to be patient; and be diligent to make our calling and election sure. We are now living in the time specified by Malachi iii, 18; also Dan. xii, 10; Rev. xxii, 10-12. In this passage we cannot help but see that a little while before Christ should come, there would be a separation between the just and unjust, the righteous and wicked, between those who love his appearing and those who hate it. And never, since the days of the apostles, has there been such a division line drawn as was drawn about the tenth day of the seventh Jewish month. Since that time they say 'they have no confidence in us.' We have now need of patience, after we have done the will of God, that we may receive the promise."
The Advent Herald, for November 13, 1844, J. V. Himes, S. Bliss, and A. Hale, editors, says:
"But the alarm was everywhere made; the cry was everywhere given. And again we can see that God was with us. It was a soul-purifying work; and the children of God bowed themselves in his presence and received blessings to their souls, unprecedented in the history of the Advent cause. And yet we are disappointed; the day passed away and we are still here. And those who only looked on, and passed by, were ready to exclaim that it was all a delusion; and that now of a certainty we must relinquish all our hopes, and abandon all our expectations. We, however, do not thus feel. As great a paradox as it may be to our opponents,
yet we can discern in it the leadings of God's providence; and when we are reviled and censured by those to whom the world look as the Gamaliels of our age, we feel that they are only speaking evil of the things they understand not.
"Those who have not been in this late movement, can appreciate nothing respecting it. And we regard it as another, and a more searching test, than the first proclamation of the time. It has searched Jerusalem as with candles; and it has purged out the old leaven. It has 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, and awakened sensibilities, 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 to 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 of God.
"And we as much believe that we have done the will of God in thus sounding the alarm, as we believe that Jonah did when he entered into Nineveh a day's journey, and cried, saying, 'Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.' Nineveh was not then overthrown; nor has the Lord yet wrought deliverance in the earth,
nor the inhabitants of the world fallen. Was Jonah a false prophet when he preached the time of Nineveh's destruction? No; he had only preached the preaching that God had bid him. But God had said that 'at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom to pluck up and to pull down and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.' Jer. xviii, 7, 8. 'So, the people of Nineveh believed God and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them; and God saw their works that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he said he would do unto them; and he did it not.' The preaching of Jonah served as a test to the inhabitants of Nineveh, and accomplished God's purposes, as much as it would have done had the city perished.
"So we believe that this last cry has been a test; and that with our views of duty, we should as much have sinned against God, had we refrained from giving that message, as Jonah did when he rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord;' that we should as much have sinned, had we refused to give heed to it, as the Ninevites would in refusing to repent at his preaching; and that all who are angry that we have preached a time which has not been realized, are as guilty as Jonah was when he was angry and prayed the Lord to take his life from him, because God had spared that great city."
The following is from the Advent Herald of October 30, 1844, relative to the suspension of meetings in the Advent Tabernacle of Boston. The article from which it is taken, had previously been inserted in several of