Life Sketches



IN September, 1842, Elders Himes, Miller, and others, held a meeting in the mammoth tent in eastern Maine. In company with Elder Moses Polly, a Christian minister of my acquaintance, I attended that meeting. I there for the first time saw that great and good man, William Miller. His form and features showed great physical and mental strength. The benevolent, affable, and kind spirit manifested by him in conversation with numerous strangers who called on him to ask questions, proved him a humble, Christian gentleman. Infidels, Universalists, and some others came to him with opposing questions. He was quick to perceive their designs, and with becoming firmness and dignity promptly met their objections and sent them away in silence. So long had he, even then, been in the field, meeting opposition from every quarter, that he was prepared for any emergency. LIFSK 24.2

In his public labors his arguments were clear, and his appeals and exhortations most powerful. The tent in which he spoke was a circle whose diameter was one hundred and twenty feet. On one occasion, when this tent was full, and thousands stood around, he was unfortunate in the use of language, which the baser sort in the crowd turned against him by a general burst of laughter. He left his subject with ease, and in a moment his spirit rose above the mob-like spirit that prevailed, and in language the most scorching he spoke of the corruption of the hearts of those who chose to understand him to be as vile as they were. In a moment all was quiet, and the speaker continued to describe the terrible end of the ungodly in a solemn and impressive manner. He then affectionately exhorted them to repent of their sins, come to Christ, and be ready for his appearing. Many in that vast crowd wept. He then resumed his subject, and spoke with clearness and spirit, as though nothing had happened. In fact, it seemed that nothing could have occurred to fully give him the ears of the thousands before him, and to make his subject so impressive as this circumstance. LIFSK 25.1

God raised up Paul to do a great work in his time. In order that the Gentiles might be clearly taught the great plan of redemption through Jesus, and that the infidelity of the Jews might be met, a great man was selected. LIFSK 25.2

Martin Luther was the man for his time. He was daring and sometimes rash, yet was a great and good man. The little horn had prevailed, and millions of the saints of the Most High had been put to death. To fearlessly expose the vileness of the papal monks, and to meet their learning and their rage, and also to win the hearts of the common people with all the tenderness and affection of the gospel, called for just such a man as Martin Luther. He could battle with the lion, or feed and tenderly nurse the lambs of Christ’s fold. LIFSK 26.1

So William Miller, in the hands of God, was the man for his time. True, he had been a farmer, and had been in the service of his country, and had not the benefits of an early classical education. And it was not until he had passed the noon of life that God called him to search his word and open the prophecies to the people. He was, however, a historian from his love of history, and had a good practical knowledge of men and things. He had been an infidel. But on receiving the Bible as a revelation from God, he did not also receive the popular, contradictory ideas that many of its prophecies were clad in impenetrable mystery. Said William Miller: “The Bible, if it is what it purports to be, will explain itself.” LIFSK 26.2

He sought for the harmony of Scripture and found it. And in the benevolence of his great and good heart and head, he spent the balance of his life in teaching it to the people in his written and oral lectures, and in warning and exhorting them to prepare for the second coming of Christ. LIFSK 26.3

Much of the fruits of his labors are now seen. Much more will be seen hereafter. Heaven will be hung with the fruits of the labors of this truly great and good man. He sleeps. But if it can be said of any who have toiled and worn and suffered amid vile persecutions, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them,” it can be said of William Miller. He nobly and faithfully did his duty, and the popular church, united with the world, paid him in persecutions and reproaches. The very name of William Miller was despised everywhere, and Millerism was the jeer of the people, from the pulpit to the brothel. LIFSK 26.4

But, dear reader, if your deed of real estate be registered at the office of the county clerk, rough hands may tear the paper you hold in your hand which you call a deed, and your title is no less secure. And however roughly and wickedly men may have handled the name of William Miller here, when the final triumphant deliverance of all who are written in the Book of Life comes, his will be found among the worthies, safe from the wrath of men and the rage of demons, securing to him the reward of immortality according to his works. LIFSK 27.1

As I have introduced to the reader the man whom God raised up to lead off in the great advent movement, it may be expected that something of his life, experience and labors should here be given. I have room for only a very few sketches from his memoir. He was born in Pittsfield, Mass., February, 1782. His biographer says:- LIFSK 27.2

“In his early childhood, marks of more than ordinary intellectual strength and activity were manifested. A few years made these marks more and more noticeable to all who fell into his society. His mother had taught him to read, so that he soon mastered the few books belonging to the family; and this prepared him to enter the senior class when the district school opened. But if the terms were short, the winter nights were long. Pine knots could be made to supply the want of candles, lamps, or gas. And the spacious fire-place in the log house was ample enough as a substitute for the school-house and lecture-room. LIFSK 27.3

“He possessed a strong physical constitution, an active and naturally well-developed intellect, and an irreproachable moral character. He had appropriated to his use and amusement the small stock of literature afforded by the family while a child. He had enjoyed the limited advantages of the district school but a few years before it was generally admitted that his attainments exceeded those of the teachers usually employed. He had drank in the inspiration of the natural world around him, and of the most exciting events of his country’s history. His imagination had been quickened, and his heart warmed, by the adventures and gallantries of fiction, and his intellect enriched by history. And some of his earliest efforts with the pen, as well as the testimony of his associates, show that his mind and heart were ennobled by the lessons, if not by the spirit and power of religion. What, now, would have been the effect of what is called a regular course of education? Would it have perverted him, as it has thousands? or would it have made him instrumental of greater good in the cause of God? LIFSK 28.1

“Whatever might have been the result of any established course of education in the case of William Miller, such a course was beyond his reach: he was deprived of the benefit, he has escaped the perversion. Let us be satisfied.” LIFSK 28.2

William Miller was married in 1802, and settled in Poultney, Vt. His biographer continues:- LIFSK 28.3

“But the men with whom he associated from the time of his removal to Poultney, and to whom he was considerably indebted for his worldly favors, were deeply affected with skeptical principles and deistic theories. They were not immoral men; but, as a class, were good citizens, and generally of serious deportment, humane, and benevolent. However, they rejected the Bible as the standard of religious truth, and endeavored to make its rejection plausible with such aid as could be obtained from the writings of Voltaire, Hume, Volney, Paine, Ethan Allen, and others. Mr. Miller studied these works closely, and at length avowed himself a deist. As he has stated the period of his deistical life to have been twelve years, that period must have begun in 1804; for he embraced or returned to the Christian faith in 1816. It may fairly be doubted, however, notwithstanding his known thoroughness and consistency, whether Mr. Miller ever was fully settled in that form of deism which reduces man to a level with the brutes, as to the supposed duration of their existence. And the question is worthy of a little inquiry, to what extent was he a deist?” LIFSK 28.4

He received a captain’s commission, and entered the army in 1810. He returned from the army, and moved his family to Low Hampton, N.Y., to begin there the occupation of farming in 1812. LIFSK 29.1

“As a farmer, he had more leisure for reading; and he was at an age when the future of man’s existence will demand a portion of his thoughts. He found that his former views gave him no assurance of happiness beyond the present life. Beyond the grave all was dark and gloomy. To use his own words: ‘Annihilation was a cold and chilling thought, and accountability was sure destruction to all. The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as iron under my feet. Eternity! - what was it? And death! - why was it? The more I reasoned, the further I was from demonstration. The more I thought, the more scattered were my conclusions. I tried to stop thinking, but my thoughts would not be controlled. I was truly wretched, but did not understand the cause. I murmured and complained, but knew not of whom. I knew that there was a wrong, but knew not how or where to find the right. I mourned, but without hope.’ He continued in this state of mind for some months, feeling that eternal consequences might hang on the nature and object of his belief. LIFSK 29.2

“It devolved on Captain Miller, as usual in the minister’s absence, to read a discourse of the deacons’ selection. They had chosen one on the Importance of Parental Duties. Soon after commencing, he was overpowered by the inward struggle of emotion, with which the entire congregation sympathized, and took his seat. His deistical principles seemed an almost insurmountable difficulty with him. ‘Soon after, suddenly,’ he says, ‘the character of the Saviour was vividly impressed upon my mind. It seemed that there might be a being so good and compassionate as to himself atone for our transgressions, and thereby save us from suffering the penalty of sin. I immediately felt how lovely such a being must be; and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of, such an one. But the question arose, How can it be proved that such a being does exist? Aside from the Bible, I found that I could get no evidence of the existence of such a Saviour, or even of a future state. I felt that to believe in such a Saviour, without evidence, would be visionary in the extreme. LIFSK 30.1

“‘I saw that the Bible did bring to view just such a Saviour as I needed; and I was perplexed to find how an uninspired book should develop principles so perfectly adapted to the wants of a fallen world. I was constrained to admit that the Scriptures must be a revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend. The Saviour became to me the chiefest among ten thousand; and the Scriptures, which before were dark and contradictory, now became the lamp to my feet and light to my path. My mind became settled and satisfied. I found the Lord God to be a rock in the midst of the ocean of life. The Bible now became my chief study, and I can truly say, I searched it with great delight. I found the half was never told me. I wondered why I had not seen its beauty and glory before, and marveled that I could have ever rejected it. I found everything revealed that my heart could desire, and a remedy for every disease of the soul. I lost all taste for other reading, and applied my heart to get wisdom from God.’ LIFSK 30.2

“Mr. Miller immediately erected the family altar; publicly professed his faith in that religion which had been food for his mirth, by connecting himself with the little church that he had despised; opened his house for meetings of prayer; and became an ornament and a pillar in the church, and an aid to both pastor and people. The die was cast, and he had taken his stand for life as a soldier of the cross, as all who knew him felt assured; and henceforth the badge of discipleship, in the church or world, in his family or closet, indicated whose he was, and whom he served. LIFSK 31.1

“His pious relations had witnessed with pain his former irreligious opinions; how great were their rejoicings now! The church, favored with his liberality, and edified by his reading, but pained by his attacks on their faith, could now rejoice with the rejoicing. His infidel friends regarded his departure from them as the loss of a standard-bearer. And the new convert felt that henceforth, wherever he was, he must deport himself as a Christian, and perform his whole duty. His subsequent history must show how well this was done. LIFSK 31.2

“Soon after his renunciation of deism, in conversing with a friend respecting the hope of a glorious eternity through the merits and intercessions of Christ, he was asked how he knew there was such a Saviour. He replied, “It is revealed in the Bible.” “How do you know the Bible is true?” was the response, with a reiteration of his former arguments on the contradictions and mysticisms in which he had claimed it was shrouded. LIFSK 31.3

“Mr. Miller felt such taunts in their full force. He was at first perplexed; but, on reflection, he considered that if the Bible is a revelation of God, it must be consistent with itself; all its parts must harmonize, must have been given for man’s instruction, and, consequently, must be adapted to his understanding. He therefore said, ‘Give me time, and I will harmonize all those apparent contradictions to my own satisfaction, or I will be a deist still.’ LIFSK 32.1

“He then devoted himself to a prayerful reading of the word. He laid aside all commentaries, and used the marginal references and his Concordance as his only helps. He saw that he must distinguish between the Bible and all the peculiar partisan interpretations of it. The Bible was older than them all, must be above them all; and he placed it there. He saw that it must correct all interpretations; and in correcting them, its own pure light would shine without the mists which traditionary belief had involved it in. He resolved to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and to receive with child-like simplicity, the natural and obvious meaning of the Scripture. He pursued the study of the Bible with the most intense interest - whole nights as well as days being devoted to that object. At times delighted with truth, which shone forth from the sacred volume, making clear to his understanding the great plan of God for the redemption of fallen man; and at times puzzled and almost distracted by seemingly inexplicable or contradictory passages, he persevered until the application of his great principle of interpretation was triumphant. He became puzzled only to be delighted, and delighted only to persevere the more in penetrating its beauties and mysteries. LIFSK 32.2

“His manner of studying the Bible is thus described by himself: ‘I determined to lay aside all my prepossessions, to thoroughly compare scripture with scripture, and to pursue its study in a regular, methodical manner. I commenced with Genesis, and read verse by verse, proceeding no faster than the meaning of the several passages should be so unfolded as to leave me free from embarrassment respecting any mysticisms or contradictions. Whenever I found anything obscure, my practice was to compare it with all collateral passages; and, by the help of Cruden, I examined all the texts of Scripture in which were found any of the prominent words contained in any obscure portion. Then, by letting every word have its proper bearing on the subject of the text, if my view of it harmonized with every collateral passage in the Bible, it ceased to be a difficulty. In this way I pursued the study of the Bible, in my first perusal of it, for about two years, and was fully satisfied that it is its own interpreter. I found that by a comparison of Scripture with history, all the prophecies, as far as they have been fulfilled, had been fulfilled literally; that all the various figures, metaphors, parables, similitudes, etc., of the Bible, were either explained in their immediate connection, or the terms in which they were expressed were defined in other portions of the word; and when thus explained, are to be literally understood in accordance with such explanation. I was thus satisfied that the Bible is a system of revealed truths, so clearly and simply given, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.’ LIFSK 33.1

“‘While thus studying the Scriptures,’ continuing the words of his own narrative, ‘I became satisfied if the prophecies which have been fulfilled in the past are any criterion by which to judge of the manner of the fulfillment of those which are future, that the popular views of the spiritual reign of Christ - a temporal millennium before the end of the world, and the Jews’ return - are not sustained by the word of God; for I found that all the scriptures on which those favorite theories are based, are as clearly expressed as are those that were literally fulfilled at the first advent, or at any other period in the past. I found it plainly taught in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ will again descend to this earth, coming in the clouds of heaven, in all the glory of his Father. LIFSK 33.2

“‘I need not speak of the joy that filled my heart in view of the delightful prospect, nor of the ardent longings of my soul for a participation in the joys of the redeemed. The Bible was now to me a new book. It was indeed a feast of reason; all that was dark, mystical or obscure, to me, in its teachings, had been dissipated from my mind before the clear light that now dawned from its sacred pages; and oh, how bright and glorious the truth appeared! All the contradictions and inconsistencies I had before found in the word were gone; and, although there were many portions of which I was not satisfied I had a full understanding, yet so much light had emanated from it to the illumination of my before darkened mind, that I felt a delight in studying the Scriptures which I had not before supposed could be derived from its teachings. I commenced their study with no expectation of finding the time of the Saviour’s coming, and I could at first hardly believe the result to which I had arrived; but the evidence struck me with such force that I could not resist my convictions. I became nearly settled in my conclusions, and began to wait, and watch, and pray for my Saviour’s coming.’” LIFSK 34.1

“From the time that Mr. Miller became established in his religious faith, till he commenced his public labors - a period of twelve or fourteen years - there were few prominent incidents in his life to distinguish him from other men. He was a good citizen, a kind neighbor, an affectionate husband and parent, and a devoted Christian; good to the poor, and benevolent, as objects of charity were presented; in the Sunday-school was teacher and superintendent; in the church he performed important services as reader and exhorter, and, in the support of religious worship, no other member, perhaps, did as much as he. He was very exemplary in his life and conversation, endeavored at all times to perform the duties, whether public or private, which devolved on him, and whatever he did was done cheerfully, as for the glory of God. His leisure hours were devoted to reading and meditation; he kept himself well informed respecting the current events of the time; occasionally communicating his thoughts through the press, and often for his own private amusement, or for the entertainment of friends, indulged in various poetical effusions, which, for unstudied productions, are possessed of some merit; but his principal enjoyment was derived from the study of the Bible.” LIFSK 34.2

What can be more natural than for man, as he looks forth upon a world where evil is everywhere present, and the marks of disorder and decay everywhere visible, to inquire whether or not this state of things shall always continue? And what inquiry can be of more interest and importance to the race than that which has respect to the age of the world in which we live? It would therefore be reasonable to conclude that God would give to man a revelation informing him in respect to subjects of such absorbing interest. And the declaration of the Scripture is in strict accordance with enlightened reason, when it says, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets.” Amos 3:7. LIFSK 35.1

The object of prophecy is to forewarn the world of things to come, in time for the requisite preparation, and to inspire the people of God with fresh courage as they see the time for the full fruition of their hopes drawing nigh. No judgment has ever come upon the world unheralded; and none have ever fallen therein unwarned. And if, from the uniform dealings of God with our world in the past, we may judge of the future, then may we conclude that of the events yet to transpire, and above all, the great event in which earth’s drama shall close - the ushering in of the great day of the Lord, and the coming of the Son of man - something will be known, and the world be faithfully warned thereof, ere they shall take place. LIFSK 36.1

In calling attention to these things, William Miller and his associates were accused of prying into the secrets of the Almighty. From this charge, however, they needed no better vindication than the language of Moses, in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” Prophecy belongs to that portion of the Bible which may properly be denominated a revelation. It is designed to reveal to us things of which we could not in any other way gain information. LIFSK 36.2

Again, they were met with the plea that the prophecies could not be understood. But says the Saviour, referring directly to the prophecy of Daniel, “Whoso readeth let him understand.” Matthew 24:15. That many of the prophecies, such as those portions of Daniel which reach to the close of earthly governments, have not been understood, is very true. But to assert that they cannot at any time be understood, is a virtual denial that they are a portion of God’s revelation to man. LIFSK 36.3

The prophecy of Daniel, reaching far into the future, could not be understood by the prophet himself. Neither could it be understood by any until the time of the end, when much of it should be fulfilled. Hence the answer of the angel to the anxious inquiry of the prophet. “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Chap. 12:8-10. Again says the angel to the prophet: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Verse 4. LIFSK 36.4

From the very nature of the prophecy of Daniel, it was closed up and sealed till the time of the end, when, most of its prophetic history being past, it was to be unsealed, understood, and many were to run to and fro with the knowledge of the great subject upon which it treats. The result of the increase and spread of knowledge in relation to the approaching judgment, which is the great theme of the prophecy, is also given. The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand. But the wise shall understand. LIFSK 37.1

As I heard able and godly men present the subject of Christ’s soon appearing my mind was deeply affected with the evidences found in the book of Daniel and the Revelation. The second chapter of Daniel opens with the kingdom of Babylon, or Chaldea, at the summit of its greatness and glory, B. C. 603. Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean monarch, as it is natural for man to do, had been anxiously looking into the future, and pondering what should come to pass thereafter. Verse 29. Instead of rebuking or discouraging this spirit of inquiry in man, God takes occasion to grant to the king, and through him to the world, the information which he sought. Under the symbol of a great image he presents before him the most impressive history of the world, from that time on, that can anywhere be found. This image’s head was of fine gold, symbolizing the kingdom of Babylon, then existing. In his interpretation, the prophet addressed himself to the king in the following words: “Thou art this head of gold.” Verse 38. The breast and arms of silver represented Media and Persia, which shortly supplanted Babylon in the empire of the world. The belly and sides of brass prefigured Grecia, which, conquering its predecessors, enjoyed its period of universal dominion. And finally Rome, the legs of the image, bore its iron sway over all the earth. In development of the ten toes, said the prophet: “The kingdom shall be divided” [Verse 41]: and so was Rome divided into ten kingdoms between the years A. D. 356 and 483. What next? The monarch beheld till a stone cut out of the mountain without hands smote the image upon its feet, ground its metallic parts to powder, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. The inspired interpretation of this impressive scene is given thus: “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, ...but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Verse 44. LIFSK 37.2

The prophetic history of Babylon, Media and Persia, and Grecia, has long since been completed, and that of Rome also has been fulfilled, excepting the dashing in pieces to give place to the immortal kingdom of God. And mark: The stone smote the image upon the feet. And it was in the days of the kings, or kingdoms, represented by the ten toes of the image, that the God of Heaven was to set up an eternal kingdom purely his. This kingdom is not yet established. It is evident that it was not set up at the time of Christ’s first advent, from the fact that Rome was not then divided into the ten kingdoms, represented by the ten toes of the image. LIFSK 38.1

Paul looked forward to this kingdom in his solemn charge to Timothy in view of the judgment at the appearing and kingdom of Christ. 2 Timothy 4:1. For this kingdom all Christians were to pray: “Thy kingdom come.” Matthew 6:10. James speaks of this kingdom as a matter of promise to the poor of this world, rich in faith. Chap. 2:5. LIFSK 39.1

Adventists never believed, however, that all that is said in the New Testament relative to the kingdom of Heaven relates to the future kingdom of glory. Especially in some of the parables of our Lord does the term refer to the work of grace with the people of God in this mortal state. But if we may be allowed to express the relation between believers and their Lord in this mortal state by the term kingdom of grace, and the future relation of immortal beings with the King of kings by the kingdom of glory, the position that the kingdom was set up at the first advent is not relieved of any of its difficulties. For certainly the kingdom of grace was established immediately after the fall. Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, were as truly the subjects of the kingdom of grace as the apostles of Jesus. With this view of the subject every text relative to the kingdom can be harmonized. LIFSK 39.2

It is true that both John and Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of Heaven at hand. The immortal kingdom of glory was then at hand in the sense that it was the next universal kingdom to come. In the time of the Babylonian kingdom, the kingdom of Persia was at hand. The kingdom of Greece was at hand in the period occupied by Media and Persia. And in the days of that kingdom, Rome was at hand, for it was the next kingdom to succeed. In this sense was the kingdom of Heaven at hand in the days of the ministry of John and of Christ. LIFSK 39.3

In the seventh chapter of this prophecy we have the same great outline of this world’s history as symbolized by the image of chapter 2, again brought to view, but in a different form. The prophet here saw four great beasts, explained in verse 17 to be four great kingdoms, corresponding respectively to the gold, silver, brass, and iron, of the great image. LIFSK 40.1

The first was like a lion, and had eagles’ wings. Verse 4. The Chaldean empire, as advanced to its summit of prosperity under Nebuchadnezzar, was intended by this beast. - Scott. LIFSK 40.2

The second like to a bear, and it raised itself up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth. Verse 5. A fit emblem of the character and conquest of the Persian nation which succeeded Babylon B. C. 538. - Prideaux, Vol. I, p. 139. LIFSK 40.3

And lo, another like a leopard, which had four wings and four heads. Verse 6. This was the emblem of the Grecian or Macedonian empire, which for the time was the most renowned in the world. It was erected by Alexander the Great on the ruins of the Persian monarchy, and it continued in four divisions under his successors. The leopard being exceedingly fierce and swift, represented the kingdom, and especially under Alexander, its founder, but the swiftness of the quadruped was not an adequate emblem of the rapidity with which he made his conquests; the leopard had therefore four wings of a fowl upon his back. - Scott. Prideaux, Vol.I, p. 380. Rollin’s Hist. of Alexander. LIFSK 40.4

And behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly. Verse 7. The kingdom that succeeded Greece was Rome, the invincible fortitude, hardiness and force of which, perhaps were never equaled. This beast had ten horns. These are declared in verse 24 to be ten kingdoms. The ten kingdoms are enumerated by Marchiaval, Bishop Lloyd, and Dr. Hales, as follows: 1. The Huns, A. D. 356. LIFSK 40.5

2. The Ostrogoths, A. D. 377. 3. The Visigoths, A. D. 378. 4. The Franks, A. D. 407. 5. The Vandals, A. D. 407. 6. The Suevi, A. D. 407. 7. The Burgundians, A. D. 407. 8. The Heruli and Rugii, or Thuringi, A. D. 476. 9. The Anglo-Saxons, A. D. 476. 10. The Lombards, A. D. 483. It is certain that the Roman Empire was divided into ten kingdoms; and though they might be sometimes more and sometimes fewer, yet they were still known by the name of the ten kingdoms of the western empire. - Scott. LIFSK 41.1

I considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. In this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. Verse 8. This little horn is by all Protestants acknowledged to be a symbol of the Papacy. Said the angel, speaking of this horn, “He shall subdue three kings.” Verse 24. The three kingdoms that were plucked up to make way for the Papacy were, 1. The Heruli, in 493. 2. The Vandals, in 534. And 3. The Ostrogoths, in 538. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Into the hands of this power the saints, times, and laws, were to be given for a time, times, and the dividing of time (1260 years; see Revelation 12:6, 14). From 538, when the Papacy was set up, 1260 years extend to 1798; and it is a notable fact of history, that on the 10th of February, 1798, Berthier, a general of Bonaparte’s, at the head of the Republican army of France, entered Rome and took it. The papal government was abolished, and the Pope died in exile in 1799. (See Croley on the Apocalypse, Thier’s History of the French Revolution, Clarke on Daniel 7:25.) The Papacy has never been restored to its former power. We are by this chain of prophecy brought down to the eighteenth century. And the prophet does not see this beast gradually changing his wild and ferocious nature to the innocence and gentleness of the lamb, to make way for a temporal millennium; but he looks only a step further, and says:- LIFSK 41.2

“I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Daniel 7:11. LIFSK 42.1

It is characteristic of the different chains of prophecy that each succeeding one introduces particulars not furnished in any previously given. The seventh of Daniel, after covering the general field symbolized by the image of chapter 2, instructs us more particularly concerning the development of the little horn, or man of sin. In the eighth chapter we are again conducted over a portion of the world’s great highway, with additional particulars concerning the mighty kingdoms that stand as waymarks along our journey. On the symbols of this chapter, the ram, he-goat, and horn which waxed exceeding great, the prophet received the following instruction:- LIFSK 42.2

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. Verse 20. The Persian division of the empire was the highest and came up last. The ram with the two horns was the well-known emblem of the Medes and Persians. It was usual for the Persian kings to wear a diadem made like a ram’s head of gold. - Scott. LIFSK 42.3

And the rough goat is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king. Verse 21. This was Alexander, who was born B. C. 356, decided the fate of Persia at the battle of Arbela, B. C. 331, and died eight years thereafter in a drunken fit, at the age of 33, B. C. 323. LIFSK 42.4

And whereas the great horn being broken, four came up in its stead, four kingdoms, said the angel, shall stand up out of the nation. Verse 22. These were Macedonia, Thrace, Syria, and Egypt, into which the empire was divided shortly after Alexander’s death, governed respectively by Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. LIFSK 42.5

And out of one of them came forth a little horn. Verses 9, 23-27. Rome was not connected with the people of God, and hence is not introduced into prophecy, till after its conquest of Macedonia, one of the horns of the goat; hence it is represented as coming forth from one of those horns. That this little horn which waxed exceeding great was Rome, the following considerations prove:- LIFSK 43.1

1. It was to rise in the latter part of their kingdom, that is, of the four kingdoms. So did Rome, so far as its place in the prophecy is concerned. Its connection with the Jews commenced B. C. 161. - 1Mac.8. Josephus’ Antiq., B.xii,c.x,sec.6. Prideaux, Vol.II, p. 166. LIFSK 43.2

2. It was little at first. So was Rome. LIFSK 43.3

3. It waxed “exceeding great, towards the east and towards the south.” So did Rome. It conquered Macedonia, B. C. 168; Syria, etc., to the river Tigris, B. C. 65; Egypt, B. C. 30. From this horn’s increasing toward the south and east particularly, Sir Isaac Newton infers that it arose in the north-west corner of the goat’s dominion, i.e., in Italy; which points directly to the Romans. LIFSK 43.4

4. It cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground. So did Rome; persecuting the disciples and ministers of Jesus as no other power ever did. LIFSK 43.5

5. He magnified himself even to the Prince of the host. Thus did Rome, when both Herod and Pontius Pilate conspired against Jesus. LIFSK 43.6

6. He shall destroy, wonderfully, the mighty and the holy people. Let from 50 to 100 millions of martyrs make good this charge against persecuting Rome. See Religious Encyclopedia. LIFSK 43.7

7. It was the only power that succeeded the four kingdoms which waxed EXCEEDING GREAT. LIFSK 43.8

8. In this vision Grecia succeeds Medo-Persia, just as it had been seen twice before; and it is absurd to suppose that the power which follows them in this vision is a different power from the one which twice before had been seen succeeding them, in chapters 2 and 7; and that power was Rome. LIFSK 43.9

9. He shall be broken without hand. How clear a reference to the stone cut out without hand, which smites the image upon its feet. Chap. 2:34. LIFSK 44.1

Besides the symbols of governments contained in Daniel 8, there is a definite period of time brought to view, which claims attention. As recorded in verse 13, Daniel heard one saint ask another the question, how long the vision should be concerning the daily [sacrifice] and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot. The angel then addressed himself to Daniel and said, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Waiving for the present the question as to what may constitute the sanctuary, we wish to ascertain if possible the nature, the commencement and termination of this period of time. There are two kinds of time to be met with in the Bible; literal and symbolic. In symbolic time, a day signifies a year. Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6. To which class do the 2300 days belong? Being brought in connection with acknowledged symbols, it would be both easy and natural to infer that they partook of the nature of the rest of the vision and were symbolic, presenting us with a period of 2300 years. And that such is the case is further evident from the fact, as is shown in the investigation of Daniel 8, that the field of the prophet’s vision, was the empires of Persia, Greece and Rome. The 2300 days there given cannot therefore be literal days; for literal days (scarcely six years and a half) would by no means cover the duration of any one of these empires singly, much less embrace so nearly the whole of their existence put together, as they evidently do. They must consequently denote 2300 years. Can we now ascertain the commencement of this period? We answer, Yes, the key to the matter being in the ninth chapter of Daniel, between which and the eighth there is an unmistakable connection, as we shall now endeavor to show. LIFSK 44.2

After their mention in verse 14, the 2300 days are not again spoken of in chapter 8. All the other parts of the vision are there fully explained; it must have been, therefore, this point concerning the time, that troubled the mind of the prophet, and in reference to which, solely, that he exclaims at the end of the chapter, I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it. LIFSK 45.1

It was in the third year of Belshazzar, B. C. 553, that Daniel had this vision of chapter 8. Fifty-three years previous to this time, Jerusalem had been taken by Nebuchadnezzar, and the seventy years’ captivity commenced; and thirty-five years before this, the Chaldeans had utterly demolished the city, broken down its walls and burnt the house of God with fire. 2 Chronicles 36:19. Daniel had learned from the prophecy of Jeremiah [chapter 25], that the seventy years of captivity were drawing near their close, in the first year of Darius, B. C., 538, as we read in the first verses of Daniel 9; and it is evident that he so far misunderstood the period of the 2300 days as to suppose that they ended with the seventy years of Israel’s servitude; therefore, turning his face toward the prostrate city and the ruined temple of his fathers, he prays God to cause his face to shine upon his sanctuary which is desolate. Verse 17. LIFSK 45.2

“While I was speaking in prayer,” says he [chapter 9:20-23], “even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me and talked with me, and said, O, Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” LIFSK 45.3

That this is a continuation of the explanation of the vision of chapter 8, would seem sufficiently evident without the aid of any special argument to prove it so. But as there is a vital point that hinges upon this fact, we will offer a few reasons which place it beyond the limits of contradiction. LIFSK 46.1

1. Gabriel had received a charge [chapter 8:16], to make Daniel understand the vision; but at the end of that chapter, Daniel says he was astonished at the vision, but none understood it. Gabriel therefore did not complete his mission in chapter 8; the charge still rested upon him, Make this man to understand the vision. LIFSK 46.2

2. The being who came to Daniel at the time of the supplication, was the very same who had appeared to him in the vision at the beginning; namely, Gabriel. And that he had now come to undeceive him concerning his application of the time, is evident in that he says, I am now come forth to give the skill and understanding. Why did he not give him a full understanding of the vision at first? We answer, because he revealed to him all that he was then able to bear. He fainted and was sick certain days. LIFSK 46.3

3. Direct reference is made to the vision at the beginning. And if that is not the vision of chapter 8, it is impossible to find it. And again, if Gabriel does not explain in chapter 9 what he omitted in chapter 8, it is impossible for any man to show wherein Gabriel fulfilled his commission to make this man understand the vision. LIFSK 46.4

4. When Gabriel commenced his further explanation, he did not explain the symbol of the ram; for that he had already explained. He did not explain the goat; for he had likewise explained that. Neither did he commence about the little horn; for he had made that plain also in chapter 8. What then did he explain? The very point there omitted; namely, the time: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, etc. These facts are sufficient to show the connection of Daniel 9 with the vision of chapter 8. But how do the words of Gabriel, Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, etc., explain the period of the 2300 days? The answer is, The word rendered determined, signifies literally, cut off. Gesenius, in his Hebrew Lexicon, thus defines it: Properly, to cut off; tropically, to divide, and so to determine, to decree. The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance says, Determined, literally divided. From what period are the seventy weeks divided, or cut off? From the 2300 days; for there is no other period given from which they can be taken; and this is placed beyond a doubt by the connection of the two chapters, which has already been proved. LIFSK 47.1

Having now ascertained that the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 are the first 490 years of the 2300 days; and that consequently the two periods commence together, we further learn that this period of weeks dates from the going forth of a commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. Daniel 9:25. If then we can definitely locate this commandment, we have the starting point for the great period of the 2300 years. The Bible furnishes us with four tests by which to determine when the true date is found:- LIFSK 47.2

1. From the time the commandment, 49 years were to witness the completion of the street and wall of Jerusalem. Daniel 9:25. LIFSK 47.3

2. Threescore and two weeks from this time, or, in all, 69 weeks, 483 years, were to extend to Messiah the Prince. LIFSK 48.1

3. Sixty-nine and a half weeks were to extend to the crucifixion - the cessation of sacrifice and oblation in the midst of the week. Verse 27. LIFSK 48.2

4. The full period of 70 weeks was to witness the complete confirmation of the covenant with Daniel’s people. LIFSK 48.3

In the seventh of Ezra, we find the decree for which we seek. It went forth in B. C. 457. Much concerning this decree, and the date of its promulgation, might here be said. But a more full explanation of it may more properly be given in another place. I will say, however, that, admitting that B. C. 457, is the correct date for the commencement of the 2300 years, which is susceptible of the clearest proof, none will fail to see how William Miller came to the conclusion that this prophetic period would close in the year 1843. LIFSK 48.4

And there remains1843