Alexander Campbell.

The Millennial Harbinger abridged (Volume 1) online

. (page 14 of 70)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

according to his will and became great. And as I was considering,
behold, an he-goat came from the west, on the face of the whole earth,
and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between
his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had
seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his
power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with
choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns;
and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast


him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there wa^ nono
that could aeliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore tho hegoat
waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken,
and for it came up four notai)le ones, toward the four winds of
heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed
exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the cast, and toward
the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven:
and it cast down some of the host and of stars to the ground, and
stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of
the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place
of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against
the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the
truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. Then I heard
one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint
which spoke. How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sac-
rifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary
and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto
two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be

Evident it is, that in the scenes just read, there is one supreme,
while all the others are subordinate. And who can doubt that the
LiTTi.E nous and his achievements must engross the attention ot the
Prophet and of the interpreting angel, as well as occupy the largest
space in the whole group? Neither does the "ram" with his two horns,
nor the "he-goat" with his one horn, so much arrest the Prophet's eye
as the presumptuous deeds and heaven-daring impiety of the "little
horn." We must, therefore, in all reason, contemplate him as the
hero of this drama. He was the person who was to desecrate the
sanctuary and to tread down the host for 2,300 days.

When, then, did he appear? But first comes the question. Who is
hef We have to choose amongst but three candidates — Antiochus
Epiphanes, Mahomet, and the Pope. But none of these can by any
means subserve the views of the Millerites, or any of those who are
predicting or anticipating the end of the world this year. If Antiochus
Epiphanes. the "days" must be literal days; and, indeed, no individ-
ual ever did more completely fill up a prophetic description for the
time designated, than did that fierce enemy of the Jewish people, their
temple, and worship.

Make the days prophetic we must, if we elect the Pope or Mahomet
to this dishonorable conspicuity. Then each day will stand for a year.
But if so, then the Pope and Mahomet, the two great Antichrists —
one of the Eastern, the other of the Western defection, must yet reign
f-ome thousand years and more, supposing them to have commenced
their career early in the seventh century.


Some there are who would date the vision from the moment it
occurred, as they would date a book from the year in which it was
printed rather than from any character or narrative found in its pages.
These, therefore, seize the date as its head, viz.: the third of Belte-
shazzar; and that being the year before Christ 553, the vision closed,
and the sanctuary was cleansed in 1747, almost a hundred years ago.
Others again take the scenes communicated in the vision, and begin
with the Medo-Persian "ram," commencing with the 1st of Darius or
the Fall of Babylon. But that helps not the chronology: for them
the catastrophe is over and the sanctuary was cleansed in the year of
our Lord 1762, some eighty years ago.

Again, in the preceding vision, chapter vii., and in the succeeding
prophecy, chapter ix., the dates assigned are inseparately connected
with the chief person or main subject of the scene — the little horx
of the seventh and the Messiah of the ninth. I ask then, in the name
of all consistency, by what oracle of reason, by what canon of inter-
pretation, can any one presume to depart from these precedents, and
borrow the interpretation of the 2,300 days, the date of the interme-
diate prophecy, from the date of the third, rather than from that of the
first; or from that of the first, rather than from that of the third? — !

From this difficulty I see no escape except in a new assumption,
viz.: that the question propounded by the one saint in the intermediate
vision has respect rather to the continuance of the whole vision, than
to the days of the little horn, its main subject.

But then we must take the date of the vision, not from the year in
■which Daniel was favored with it, as before shown, (for then it is
accomplished long since,) nor from the scenes of the Medo-Persian
"ram;'' for in that case, too, the time is also expired, and the prophecy
fulfilled, but from the vision of the "he-goat," and his empire alone, for
that is the special vision of the eighth Daniel. Then the only ques-
tion is. What is the date of the vision of the "he-goat" out of a frac-
tion of whose empire the kingdom of the "little horn" arose. This ques-
tion decided, and our objection is insuperable.

Now this question is of peculiarly easy solution; for no event in
history is more notorious than the battle at the river Granicus, in
which Alexander the Great, the first king of the Grecian Empire, tri-
umphed over Darius and, broke to pieces the Medo-Persian dynasty.
Now we can not date the Grecian Empire under the symbol of the
•'goat," (which, by the way, was the ensign armorial of the Macedonian
people,) more correctly than from the invasion of Asia by Alexander
and his all-conquering army, in the year before Christ 334. Here, then,
we are compelled, by the force of historic facts, to date the vision
under consideration. From this date we compute the 2,300 days. And


what is tho result? The time of the end will be in the year of our
Lord 19G6 — one hundred and Ixccnty three years yet distant.

If, then, the Millerites, and all who agree with them in their times
and seasons, seek to rid themselves of all the previous difficulties by
taking tho date of tho vision proper, to which the 2,300 days belong;
if they prefer this horn of the dilemma, is it not as evident as demon-
stration that they have wholly mistaken the dales, (to say noiliing
more,) and that which they are now expecting in 1843, can not occur
till 196G! Having now directed my investigations to the cornerstone
ot the Miller hypothesis, the very basis of all their assurance and
strong assertions, and shown it to be, as I humbly conceive, a palpable
mistake, I regard it as a work of supererogation to expose the other
errors of the system, until at least some of them, or of our brethren
who endorse for them in the main, shall have satisfactorily expounded
and removed tho difficulty and main objection, offered in these remarks
to their speculations on the subject.

I presume no man of sense among them will deny that their very
confident predictions of all the exciting events of the present year, rest
exclusively upon the date of the commencement of the 2,300 days of
Daniel's second vision. While 1 regret to see the vile abuse ot an
ignorant and unbelieving multitude of priests and people, heaped upon
our amiable enthusiast and pious expectant of the world's end in 1843,
1 have no sympathy for a theory, which, in my humble opinion, makes
of non effect much of the oracular predictions of Ciod's Spirit; and
which, ill the manner of the operations of its author and his warm
adherents, is calculated to do an infinite mischief, if it be possible for
the most extravagant fictions and enthusiastic scenes, transacted in
modern times, to do an incalculable mischief to the cause of a sulfering
and degraded Christianity.

If the Lord will come next year, or "immcdiateh/." how can such
Scriptures as these be verified? —

1. "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears
into pruning-hooks." This indicates that after wars shall have ceased
and tho peace of Messiah's reign shall have become universal, sworda
and spears shall be fabricated no more; and that the demand for
ploughs and pruning-hoo-ks will survive the demand for the imple-
ments of war. Now if the world ends next year, or immediately,
then we shall no more need ploughshares and pnining-hooks than
swords and spears. Nor will it help the matter to view the last
thousand years as one day of judgment, and thus make the Millennium
and the day of judgment identical: for in the day of judgment they
will no more need ploughs and pruning-hooks than swords and lances.

2. "Habylon the Great is fallen!" ?ay the weeping merchants while
they survey her smoking ruins. They lament that the market for


their wares has ceased forever. But if the world terminate immedi-
ately, Babylon never falls, unless Babylon means the whole world.
Jerusalem and Babylon, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the
lofty towers, the great globe itself shall dissolve into ruin at the same
moment. Babylon, then, never falls if the world ends next year.

3. Again, Satan is never "bound for a thousand years" if the world
end next year. There will ba no nations to deceive; and, indeed, there
will be no utility in binding him a captive when nations are no

4. Can any one believe that the following predictions have yet been
accomplished?— Isa. lix. 16-21; Ix., Ixi., Ixii., and Ixiii.; Ixv. 17-25, and
Ixvi. 10-24. Also Jer. xxx. 1-3, 17-24; xxxi. and xxxii. 36-42, and xxxiii.
1-26; Ezek. xxxvi. and xxxvii.; also chapters xxxviii. and xxxix., con-
cerning Gog and Magog. Can any one say that these prophecies are
now fulfilled? and, if not, can any one show how they are to be fulfilled
after the end of the world?

Dan. ii. 40-44; vii. 7-14, 23-27. Compare these with John's Apoca-
lypse, chapter xvi. 12-21, with chapters xvii., xviii., xix., and espe-
cially chapter xx. 1-10. Surely no one will affirm that all these things
have yet come to pass.

The following assumptions, while essential to this theory, are.
nevertheless, fatal to the views of prophecy which they seem to enter-
tain: —

1st. The day of the Lord's coming is the end of all time.

2d. It is also the end of the present heavens, earth, and sea.

3d. It is, moreover, the end of all the nations of the earth.

Now, all this is only equivalent to affirming that, when the Lord
comes, the material heavens, earth, sea, time, and nations, shall be no
more. It is, therefore, incumbent on them to show that all the prophe-
cies that respect these heavens, earth, sea, time, and nations, have
been fulfilled. Indeed, this is their strong and oft-repeated assertion.

"Will anyone ekilled in that theory, please reconcile it and John's
intimations in the following particulars?

1. John gave a thousand years' respite from Satan's influence.
(Rev. XX. 1.) And how shall we count a thousand years after time is
no more? 2. John speaks of nations existing after the thousand years
are past. Are we to expect new nations to be created after the pres-
ent nations are destroyed? He also speaks of the earth, in its common
acceptation, as existing after the thousand years are ended. His words
are — "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed
out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in
the four quarters of the earth, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
They went up upon the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp
of the saints," etc. Now, all this is positively said to occur after the


Millennium — that is, alter time, earth, sea, and nations shall have
been destroyed, there shall be a thousand years — the present earth,
and sea, and nations, numerous and puissant. Are these prophecies
lu in lied?

Pleasing and delightful, however, though the vision be, I regret
that I can find no real foundation on which to build a hope that the
opinion has any evidence from the "sure word of prophecy." Nay,
the manner in which it seems to propagate itself is so destitute of
rational arguments, or well defined Scriptural premises, that I can not
acquiesce in the conclusions so strongly affirmed by some whom I
j^reatly esteem and love.

When the excitement of the present year shall have passed away,
it will be more profitable to analyze the whole premises from which
we anticipate great changes in the world: for I am one of those that
look for a thorough cleansing of the sanctuary as an event not only
most devoutly to be wished, but most certainly soon to be commenced
iu a way which perchance but few of us either expect or are at all
prepared for. a. c.

In the Harbinger of 1833— pages 153-lCO— appears the following:


Dear Brother Campbell:

There are several of your readers, besides myself, in this vicinity,
who respectfully solicit, for the truth's sake, and our fellowship in
the same, a brief, but definite explanation of your remarks in the last
Harbinger, page 9, on the nature of our blessed Lord. Whether it is
to be attributed to obtuseness of understanding on our part, or to
indefiniteness of statement on yours, the fact is, beloved, that from
the closest attention we are capable of giving to all you have written
on this subject, we do not yet understand you.

We are equally opposed with you to "Trinitarian, Arian, and Uni-
tarian speculations on the divine essence." From the systems of fal-
lible and erring man, we trust the Son has made us free. Our desire
is, simply to understand what the Spirit of truth teaches on this and
every other subject.

Most cordially do we unite with you in acknowledging the Messiaii
as "a. divine person, the only begotten of God." Most devoutly would
we love, "worship and adore him" as "the, only begotten of the Father,
full of favor and truth." But we tremble at the word of Him who
will not give the glory to another, and we obey that word which
teaches us to love and worship the Son "to the glory of God the

Will you favor us with a definite answer to the following queries.'

1. Who is the One God, besides whom there is none else — who is


to be acknowledged, loved, adored and worshiped as the eternal, unbe-
gotten, independent All in all, of whom are all things?

If you reply, in the words which the Holy Spirit teaches, (I. Cor.
viii. 6,) "the Father," we ask —

2. Do you, in the term Father, used in the above sense, as "the on-?
God," include or exclude the only begotten of the Father, who was
with him "before the world was"?

3. Do you, or do you not, understand the terms first, only begotten
Son, beginning of the creation of God, first born of every creature,
"in the full import and meaning of (these) words," as we do, viz.: as
teaching that the Son, in his highest personal nature, is a distinct
being from the Father, and had a "beginning" of existence?

4. Do you understand our Lord's words, "My Father is greater than
I," in a limited, or unlimited sense? Do you understand him to affirm
this without any reservation? When the Son, or Word, was with the
Father, before he came down from heaven, was he, or was he not, as
independently wise, powerful, self-existent and eternal, as the Father?

5. Do you, or do you not, make distinction in the worship you offer
the Father and the Son? Do you not worship the Son as the begotten
of the Father? Do you not worship the Father as unhegotten? Do
you not worship him as the one God, of whom are all things; who, by
his own infinite, underived wisdom, power, and goodness, creates,
upholds, saves, and judges? Do you thus worship the Son, also? or do
you worship him as the one Lord by whom are all things, iy whom
God made the worlds, by whom he saves, and by whom he will judge
us? Do you not worship the Son to the glory of the Father, and the
Father to his own independent glory?

I am aware that an answer to some of these questions will neces-
sarily involve an answer to others; but I have thus presented the
subject, that we may, by a singleness of eye to truth and the favor of
our Lord, obtain an understanding of what is written in our Father's
book concerning his best beloved, and that believing we may have life
through his name.

I have too much confidence in your kindness and candor to think
that you will decline publishing this communication; nor can I imagine
that you will excuse yourself from giving a definite answer (which
many, for the truth's sake, are wishing to hear) with the plea that we
have presented to your vain speculations. It will not be denied that
Jesus Christ is the one God of whom are all things, or he is not. Nor
can it be denied that it is important for us to know whether he is
so or not, that we may worship with understanding and in truth.
Yours in the good hope through favor,

Henky Grew.

Hartford, Conn., February 6, 1833.


Dear Sir:

With that promptitude and candor due to yourself and those of my
readers whom you represent, I proceed to answer the questions which
you have so affectionately and respectfully propounded to my consid-

Averse to all speculations which can have no practical influence on
the hearts or behavior of men, the only reluctance which I could feel
in replying to some of these interrogatories is their apparent propin-
quity to the high and cold latitudes of metaphysical theology. In our
ascent to these high and cold regions of abstract speculation, it is no
easy matter to keep the mercury from freezing. I will, however,
attempt to give them as practical an aspect as the off-hand and desul-
tory thoughts of an hour snatched from other pressing subjects of
examination will afford.

Before replying to your queries in the form of direct answers, 1
would request your attention to the following preliminary reflections.
These considerations will, indeed, explain some of the reasons which
influence the answers which I may tender, and therefore I would urge
the necessity of giving them due attention.

The modus of the Divine existence, as well as the modus of the
Divine operations in creation, providence, and redemption, is, to our
finite minds, the creatures of yesterday, wholly inscrutable and incom-
prehensible. On both, the Bible is silent. Becomes it us, then, to be
dogmatical on such a theme, or to stretch our inquiries beyond the
terra firma of revelation?

My principal objection to the popular doctrine of "the Trinity" is
not that it is either irrational, or unscriptural, to infer that there are
three Divine persons in one Divine nature. That these three equally
have one thought, purpose, will, and operation, and so one God; — or,
to use the words of the Westminster Confession, "In the Unity of the
Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eter-
nity;" I say I object not to this doctrine because it is contrary to rea-
son, or revelation, but because of the metaphysical technicalities, the
unintelligible jargon, the unmeaning language of the orthodox creeds
on this subject, and the interminable war of words without ideas to
which the word Trinity has given birth. For example, in the same sec-
tion from which I have quoted the above words is found the following
jargon: "The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the
Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally
proceeding from the Father and the Son."

Were any one to ask me. Can there be three distinct persons, or
even beings, in one God? I would say, Reason informs me not. and
revelation does not assert it. But if asked, Can there be one. and


one three in the same sense? I reply, Both reason and revelation say
No. But then no Trinitarian or Calvinist affirms that the three are
one, and the one three, in the same sense.

Language fails and thought can not reach the relation in which
the Father and Son have existed, now exist, and shall forever exist.
But that there is, and was, and evermore will be, society in God him-
self, a plurality as well as unity in the Divine nature, are inferences
which do obtrude themselves on my mind in reflecting upon the divine
communications to our race. I will add, that common sense, reason,
and revelation, give one and the same testimony, in my ear, upon this

If you ask how this can oe, I will ask you. How can there be
one selt-existent, independent, unoriginated, eternal God? You will
say, I believe, but can not comprehend. So say I. But while our
faith has in its first effort to encounter a truth so incomprehensible,
and to receive it; a truth so mysterious, supernatural, unsearchable,
transcendant; a truth which, in its stupendous dimensions, encom-
passes infinite space, an eternity past — the universe, natural, intellec-
tual, moral; a truth which leaves out no existence, past, present, or
future; which overwhelms every intellect, and sets at defiance the
combined efforts of all created intelligence — I repeat it, since this
must be the Alpha of our faith, where shall we place our Omega, on
the mode of the Divine existence? He that comes to God, must first
believe that he is.

But I am not more confounded than delighted with the idea of the
One, Self-existent, and Eternal God. To me, its incomprehensibility
is a source of joy. With exultation I ask, "Who by searching can
find out God, or know the Almighty to perfection?" My child says.
Who made God? and, methinks, I am no wiser in the estimation of
my superiors.

But, sir, the Alpha and Omega of all the scholastic strifes about
trinity, and all the questions agitated for fifteen centuries on the mode
ol Divine existence, appear to me to spring from one source. None
appears to me to have noticed, with sufficient attention, that there is
"but one word in the language of viortals ivhich is absolute and irrela-
tive. It angels have a language, although I am in perfect ignorance
01 their stipulated signs, one thing I can affirm, that they too have
bui one word in their language which is not relative.

All the names of God are, with the exception of this one, the names
of relations. God, Almighty, Lord, Creator, Father, King, Governor,
Judge — infinite, omniscient, eternal, etc. If no Satan, there could be
no God: il no mighty, no Almighty; if no dominion, no Lord; if
no creation, no Creator; if no Son, no Father; if no subjects, no
King etc But what sublimity, what unspeakable meaning, in the


address to Moses (Ex. vi. 2, 3): "And God said lO Moses, 1 am Jeho-
vah. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name
o. God Almighty; but by my name Jkiiovau was I not known to
them. I AM knows no relation to any creature, or being; to past,
present, or future; to time or to eternity. It is equivalent to / exist,
a name which can not be given to any being which by nature is not
God, or self-existent.

I repeat it, I am not more oewildered than delighted. In the idea of
the incomprehensibility of the same Jehovah. And while this name
is before us, let me ask the wavering to reflect, how man could be
created social, and in the image of God; man, having in his nature
plurality, incomplete in one person; for man is not without the woman,
nor the woman without the man, in nature or religion. I ask. How
could man be created in the image of God, incomplete in one person,
social, and necessarily plural; and that God, in whose image and
likeness he was created, could be a solitary eternal unit, without soci-
ety and plurality in himself! This I can not comprehend, when I
believe that God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our like-
ness, and let him have dominion;" and, "In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

While, then, I do most cordially repudiate the whole scholastic
phraseology of the Trinitarian, Arian, and Socinian speculations, I
do not, with some Trinitarians, regard my Lord Messiah as having