The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 9
Ellet J. Waggoner
The Christian at Work of February 18, 1886, contained an original story so full of Spiritualist teaching that one would think it was in a Spiritualist paper, instead of an independent Presbyterian journal. That the reader may get the full force of the article, we quote quite largely from it. It opens thus: —
“‘Mamma, are you thinking of Jessie?’
“‘Yes, dear, she seems to be very near me to-night.’
“Bertha drew a low stool to the window by mamma’s side, and asked in hushed tones, ‘Do you indeed think that sister Jessie can sometimes be with us in this room?’
“‘I cannot doubt it,’ was the reply. Mamma’s hand was laid caressingly and soothingly upon the bowed head, for Bertha had not yet learned (alas, how few in this weary world do learn!) the quiet repose and steadfast hope of a perfect faith.
“After a moment’s silence Mrs. Grey continued: ‘I have been sitting here alone thinking of Jessie’s life among the angels. How happy she must be in her beautiful home! I often wonder in just what way the hopes and aspirations, that made her earth life so pure and true, are finding their perfect realization in the unrestricted possibilities of spiritual life.’
“‘But, mamma, what comfort do you find in that?’ cried Bertha. ‘I want her here; she was older and so much wiser and better than I, and she would have helped me so much.’
“‘But that is a selfish grief, dear Bertha; is it no comfort to know that Jessie is safe and happy? She knows how much you need her help, and can guide you far more truly now, in her perfect knowledge of the good and true, than she could have done in her earthly existence.’
“‘But I cannot see her; I cannot hear her. How can she help me now?’ and Bertha sobbed with the unreasoning abandon of a grief that would not be comforted.
“‘Be quiet, my child; Jessie does not wish you to mourn for her in this rebellious way. It can be a help to you always to think in what way your angel sister would rejoice to have you think, and speak, and act. If you seek to do those things that merit her approval, you will surely feel her guiding power. Jessie can both see and hear you; but her spirit is released from its earthly fetters, because the loving Father had need of her among the angels. We cannot hear her voice, but we may feel the holy influence of her angelic presence; we cannot see her face, but we may be cheered and comforted by the thought that her bright spirit is near us, and that she loves us with a love that is purer and holier than earth-love, even as her life in its changed relations is purer and holier.’
“Bertha sobbed no more, but listened with eager interest, while her mother talked to her of Heaven and the angels. The gentle voice subdued the rebellious heart. The loving words of faith, submission, and steadfast hope lifted her thoughts from the dark and narrow grave to the beauty and grandeur of the Father’s ‘many mansions.’ Sitting in the moonlight, with her mother’s hand clasped in hers, a strange, sweet peace came upon her. Her heart was filled with an unspeakable joy, born of the thought that Jessie—angel Jessie, might always be unto her an invisible guardian, an intangible, loving presence.”
Then follows an account of a dream that Bertha had, in which she seemed to be dead and in the spirit-land, with her sister Jessie and other spirits, all told in the regular Spiritualist style. The story closes thus: —
“Suddenly the scene faded from view. In another instant Jessie also had vanished. She felt herself sinking to earth again and was soon conscious of lying in her own bed without the pangs of disease. She opened her eyes to find herself alone in the silence of night, awakened from a beautiful dream. Its calm influence entering her heart taught her that death is indeed life; that God’s angels must far exceed in beauty and power any dream-like conceptions of earth; and that unseen spirits—God’s messengers—may indeed be near us, if the heart be kept pure and true, receiving their whispered counsels and holy influence.”
Is this Spiritualism, or is it not? If it is not, can anybody show us the genuine article? We affirm that no more direct Spiritualist doctrine can be found in any Spiritualist paper in the world. It is not Spiritualism simply to the extent that it teaches the intercourse of spirits of the dead with the living, but it carries the thing to the logical conclusion of utterly ignoring Christ. Notice how Bertha’s doubt of the presence of her dead sister is given as evidence that she had not learned “the quiet repose, and the steadfast hope of a perfect faith.” A “perfect faith” in what? In Christ? Oh, no! a “perfect faith” in the doctrine that her dead sister “might always be unto her an invisible guardian, an intangible, loving presence,” and that if she should do the things that merited her sister’s approval, she would always feel her guiding power. Thus the people are taught by a professedly Christian journal to put their trust in the dead, instead of in Christ. Such teaching is not a single degree removed from the ancestral worship of the Chinese, or the hero worship of the ancient Greeks and Romans. When people swallow down such teaching, what is there that is opposed to the Bible, that we may not expect them to accept, if it coincides with their fancy?
But we have some more “Christian” Spiritualism. In an article commemorative of Dr. Daniel Curry, in the N.Y. Christian Advocate of September 8, 1887, Rev. J. Pullman, D.D., said: —
“And he is gone! We are not to see him on the Conference floor ever again! We are not to see that white head among us, that noble white head, nor to hear that peculiar, strident voice to which we have listened all our lives! And that face, that wonderful face, with its deep-seeing eyes and beetling brows and massive chin—a face as unique and startling in its way as the face of Giotto’s Dante, but kind and tender, and yet the hiding-place of thunder. ‘A soft, ethereal soul looking out so stern, implacable, grim, trenchant, as from imprisonment of thick-ribbed ice.’
“But he is not gone. We will not say ‘Good-bye’ to him. We will keep him among us still. Reserve that seat in the front pew of the Conference. Let the old place be kept sacred. He was not the man to leave his friends. In the thick battle, in the time of danger or holy communion, in the solemn hour of crisis, he will be there. ‘Are they not ministering spirits?’ No, thou art not gone from us, beloved friend, and we will love thee till Conference is convened in the presence of the King.”
Just before Dr. Curry’s death, one of his Methodist brethren called upon him. As the visitor puts it, it was “as he lay within sight of his triumph.” In answer to a wish that he might live many years longer, Dr. Curry said: —
“I had marked out in my mind that I might live on till about eighty-five, perhaps; but when a man has lived and worked till nearly seventy-eight, what is left is not of much consequence. About the future, as I wrote to Brother Smith, there are two things. The first is, I have perfect confidence in the general truth of Christianity (although I expect my conceptions to be changed when I get over there); and the second is, that I know that Christ has taken my case in hand.”—Christian Advocate (N. Y.), August 25, 1887.
Some people think it an impossibility that professed Christians should ever as a body deny the doctrine of Christ, which they now profess, and which alone holds them to morality. But compare the last two quotations. Dr. Pullman has said that Dr. Curry is not gone, that he would not leave his friends, and that in the thick battle, in the time of danger, he will be there, occupying the front seat which they reserve for him. They will probably not be disappointed. Satan will be most likely to gratify them with the sight of the form of their fallen leader. But before he left, Dr. Curry gave notice that he expected many of his conceptions to be changed when he reached the home “over there.” Therefore when Satan, or one of his angels, does appear to the Methodist Conference in the form of Dr. Curry, and tells them, as Mr. Ravlin’s spirit friends did, that he has learned that his old views of the Bible were all wrong, they will have their minds all prepared to receive whatever he may give them in their stead.
The Michigan Christian Advocate of September 1, 1887, contained an address delivered at the funeral of Bishop Harris, in which the following occurs: —
“He is not dead—God’s saints don’t die; they only change their modes and forms of life.”
At the funeral of Rev. Israel Thrapp, August 29, 1887, Rev. A. S. Fisher delivered an address which was printed in the Methodist Recorder of October 29, 1887, from which we take the following: —
“For more than fifty-six years he answered the roll call of his Conference here on earth. He answers now to another call, where the weary are at rest. At rest, but not idle. He cannot be. It would not be Israel Thrapp if he were idle. He was not idle here, and he cannot be there. He will go, if bidden to itinerate as a ministering spirit, and carry help to some who are to be ‘heirs of salvation.’”
Surely the Methodists stand in grand array on the side of Spiritualism.
The Signs of the Times : February 17, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 10
From a sermon preached at Cornell University, by Rev. Henry M. Field, D. D., and published in the Christian Union of November 3, 1887, we take the following extract: —
“As I stand here, I have before me the vision of one in all the grace and charm of womanhood, the idol of her home, who in an instant vanished out of sight. It was the flashing of an angel’s wings as the shining gates were opened and she passed into the heavenly city. How precious are these memories of the dead, without which this world would be poor indeed! The conversation of the living is but tame and commonplace compared with that which is whispered to us from those lips of air. Oh, may the dead ever be with us, walking by our side, taking us by the hand, smoothing the cares from the troubled brow, and pointing us upward to the regions of everlasting light and peace!”
If anybody can tell us the difference between this and Spiritualism, we should like to know it. Instead of looking to Christ for comfort and guidance, the dead are invoked for that purpose. (Isaiah 8.19) Is not this the spirit of antichrist?
On Sunday, November 20, 1887, services in memory of Dr. Parker were held in the First Baptist Church at Los Angeles, Cal., at which Mrs. P. W. Dorsey, the wife of the Baptist minister, read a “Tribute,” of which the following [printed in the Herald of Truth] is an extract: —
“Another soul has taken its place among the great cloud of witnesses, and to-day looks on with clearer, juster, kindlier vision than earth can know at the battle you and I are still waging. Have you thought with what loving interest he is watching our work and lives? Not with the imperfect vision of men, and with the unjust judgments of earth, but with the clear and just discrimination of Heaven he sees us to day as we in turn shall see.
“There is for us who meet in Parker Chapel a new tie binding us to Heaven, and there is just as surely a new motive for more earnest, more worthy, more holy living and work on earth. If there be any incentive to worthy endeavor in the thought that the great and good of all ages are witnesses of our efforts, then the knowledge that he who so recently was with us has taken his place in the great host of heavenly witnesses, should be a fresh motive for us to lay aside every weight, and run our race with patience.”
“‘Do we indeed desire the dead
Should still be near us at our side?
Is there no baseness we should hide?
No inner vileness that we dread?
“‘Shall he for whose applause I strove,
I had such reverence for his blame,
See with clear eyes some hidden shame,
And I be lessened in his love?
“‘I wrong the grave with fears untrue;
Shall love be blamed for want of faith?
There must be wisdom with great Death;
The dead shall look us through and through.
“‘Be near us when we climb and fall.
Ye watch, like God, the rolling years
With larger, other eyes than ours,
To make allowance for us all.’”
Who is it that is near us, watching over us, protecting us, inspiring us to noble action, looking us through and through, judging us with clear and just discrimination, and making allowance for us all? Is it “God the Judge of all?” Oh, no; it is the dead! What greater power could they give to God himself? Such an utterance is nothing less than a deification of the dead. Can it be possible that the papers from which we have quoted all these Spiritualist utterances, profess to teach and hold to the Bible and the religion Jesus Christ? Oh, the far-reaching influence and the blinding power of Satan’s lie in Eden! Of a truth, we may now say of him as was once said of Christ, “Behold, the world is gone after him.” With very few exceptions, all have accepted the lie by which he caused our first parents to fall. If it caused Adam and Eve to lose Eden, will it not likewise cause those who are now deceived by it to lose the eternal life, which it professedly holds out to them? How can it be otherwise?
But we have yet a few more quotations to give. In her address of welcome at the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Convention, held in Nashville, Tenn., November, 1887, Mrs. Meriwether spoke as follows of her dead sister: —
“In this work I have had her daily companionship, her inspiration, and her help, and I know I shall have it until I, too, cross the river, and meet her face to face, upon the other side. The morning has come for me. The sun has risen, and shall set no more. Bird nor bee nor blossom, wind nor wood, nor wave, shall ever again sigh to me, ‘only one,’ for we two walk together once more, and shall never again lose each other’s hands. We walk and talk together, just as when, on the sunny, upland slope of this century, we clasped our little hands, and roamed the daisy fields together. She lives in my life, works through me, thinks through my brain, and speaks through my voice. Very rarely, if ever, have I stood upon the platform, but words of hers came to me unbidden, and I spoke her message with my own, and to-night as I stand here and bid you welcome, down through the blue fields of ether comes the solemn sound of her prophetic measure, and salutes you through my lips.”
We have very closely scanned the pages of Spiritualist papers, but we have never seen from the lips of a professed medium any more explicit declaration of belief in spirit control than this from Mrs. Meriwether; and yet Mrs. Meriwether would no doubt be indignant if she were told that she is a Spiritualist. So would Mrs. Dorsey and Rev. Henry M. Field, and all the others from whom we have quoted. But if they are not Spiritualists, what are they?
And now we will hear from the talented Dr. T. De Witt Talmage. Dr. Talmage is a learned and eloquent man, a Presbyterian. In his tabernacle, Brooklyn, N.Y., he probably preaches to more people every Sunday, than any other preacher in the United States. More than this, his sermons are printed in scores of papers, so that there are few, if any, preachers in the world, whose influence extends farther than his does. Some time in the summer of 1887 he preached a sermon on “The Employments of Heaven,” in which he told how all the dead are busying themselves at their several callings. Among other things, he said: —
“What are our departed Christian friends, who in this world had their joy in the healing art, doing now? Busy at their old business. No sickness in Heaven, but plenty of sickness on earth, plenty of wounds in the different parts of God’s dominion to be healed, and to be medicated. You cannot understand why that patient got well after all the skillful doctors of New York and Brooklyn had said he must die. Perhaps Abercrombie touched him—Abercrombie, who, after many years’ doctoring the bodies and the souls of people in Scotland, went up to God in 1844. Perhaps Abercrombie touched him.
“I should not wonder if my old friend, Dr. John Brown, who died in Edinburgh—John Brown, the author of ‘Rab and His Friends’—John Brown who was as humble a Christian as he was skillful a physician and world-renowned author—I should not wonder if he had been back again and again to see some of his old patients. Those who had their joy in healing the sickness and the woes of earth, gone up to Heaven, are come forth again for benignant medicament.”
It is quite the fashion with some to mildly sneer at Talmage’s extravagant statements, but nobody sneers at that. Such statements as the above find ready entrance anywhere. Well, the devil does make a pretense of doing a big business in the healing line; and with those words of Dr. Talmage’s in their minds, thousands of people will readily visit any “healing medium” who professes to be controlled by the spirit of Abercrombie shall appear more readily still, when Abercrombie shall appear to come back in person to heal the sick. Be assured that the devil will treasure up that sermon by Dr. Talmage, and will reap a harvest of souls from it. But read further: —
“What are our departed Christian friends doing in Heaven, those who on earth found their chief joy in the gospel ministry? They are visiting their old congregations. Most of those ministers have got their people around them already. When I get to Heaven—as by the grace of God I am destined to go to that place—I will come and see you all. Yea, I will come to all the people to whom I have administered in the gospel, and to the millions of souls to whom, through the kindness of the printing press, I am permitted to preach every week in this land, and in other lands—letters coming from New Zealand and Australia, and uttermost parts of the earth, as well as from near nations, telling me of the souls I have helped—I will visit them all. I give them fair notice. Our departed friends of the ministry are engaged in that delectable entertainment now.
“But what are our departed Christian friends who in all departments of usefulness were busy, finding their chief joy in doing good—what are they doing now? Going right along with the work. John Howard visiting dungeons; the dead women of Northern and Southern battle-fields still abroad looking for the wounded; George Peabody still watching the poor; Thomas Clarkson still looking after the enslaved—all of those who did good on earth busier since death than before.”
If this is not Spiritualism, where can Spiritualism be found? See how Dr. Talmage has prepared the way for thousands to be deceived. He assures the people that when he dies he is coming back to them. Says he, “I will visit them all. I give them fair notice.” Having been thus taught, they will not be surprised when they see a form that looks like him, and claims to be him. And then when he shall tell them that the churches have held wrong views of the Bible, and confirm them in some erroneous doctrine which they already hold, of what account will a plain declaration from the word of God be to them? Who of those that accept the teaching of his sermon, will presume to take the simple, commonsense statement of Scripture, in opposition to the declarations of what they believe to be a saint direct from glory?
Another thought. If a man disbelieves one plain, unequivocal statement of the Bible, what is there to hinder his disbelieving the whole Bible? If he reads the statement that the dead know not anything, and straightway declares that they know everything, he shows that he does not believe the Bible according to what it says, but according to his fancy. He shows that he has not received “the love of the truth,” but rather the love of his own opinion. Now when Satan comes to such a one, in the form of some highly esteemed friend, and declares that the Bible is all a fiction, designed to teach certain “spiritual” truths, what is to hinder his discarding the Bible entirely? Nothing at all. Well, the whole world is in just that condition now. And when confidence in the Bible has been shaken, when the atonement is regarded as a myth (and Spurgeon says that it is so regarded now by very many Baptist ministers), and when men have gained so high an opinion of themselves, as immortal beings, that they lightly regard God and his law, vice and immorality must flood the land to an extent not known since the days before the flood.
Then it will be that the churches will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof, and Spiritualism will work wonders to resist the truth.
The Signs of the Times : February 24, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 11
Even now the restraints of God’s law are being thrown off, and the floodgates of iniquity are being opened. In the summer of 1887, Professor John Fiske, of Harvard University, delivered a lecture in Oakland, Cal., of which the following is a portion of the synopsis given in the Oakland Enquirer of June 27: —
“Mr. Fiske took as the text for his remarks the fifth verse of the third chapter of Genesis, ‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’ The legend, from which this sentence is taken, Professor Fiske said, is borrowed from one of the books of the Zorastrian Scriptures. All the evidences indicate that it was incorporated in the book of Genesis at a late date, after the Babylonish captivity. None of the earlier prophets or the writers of the historical books of the Bible have left a record that they knew the story of the Garden of Eden. It is a real Persian myth. In intention it is one of the attempts, which theologians have made from the earliest times to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the theory of the goodness of God.
“Mr. Fiske then went into a discussion of considerable length to establish the relativity of all knowledge. We know nothing, he said, except by contrast with or relation to something else. If there were only one color in the world, we would be unable to conceive the idea of color at all. If everything were as sweet as sugar, we would not know what taste means. In the same way, evil exists only by contrast—the contrast of a lesser good with a greater. Evil may be defined as a low stage of existence looked at from a higher one. There is ground for the hope that evil may be evanescent in the universe, but it now exists as a necessary condition of the development of man, like the relation of the shadow to the light. Were there no evil in the world, there could be no morality—no man in the highest sense; human beings would be so many puppets, but such a thing as character would be impossible.”
Just think of it! A professor in one of the leading universities in America, —an institution that moulds the thought and character of thousands of the young men of our country, —openly teaching that sin is a necessity! That evil is only undeveloped good! And for this he is not rebuked, but rather applauded. Let no one say that it is impossible that the world should ever again become as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. The time will come when in “Christian” America vice will be counted virtue. With such teaching as the above, from so high a source, it would seem that that day is not far distant. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). We have known of such a thing as an adulterer quoting the seventh commandment to his paramour, in justification of their crime. In the days of Jeremiah the professed people of God would steal, and murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and would then go to the temple and stand before the Lord, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations” (Jer. 7:9, 10). The man, who knows the human heart, will not be surprised at any wickedness that any man may do. It is not strange that men fall; but it is a miracle of saving grace that any walk uprightly.
It may be said that the teaching concerning evil, which we last quoted, is from a Unitarian source, and therefore cannot strictly be charged to “orthodoxy.” That really makes no difference, since “culture” is fast becoming the religion of the day; but take the following from Dr. Lyman Abbott, editor of the Christian Union: —
“Each disciple of Christ is to judge for himself how far the law is thus fulfilled in his own character; and is at liberty to cease to regard any provision of the law which has ceased to be useful in the development of character.”—Christian Union, August 11, 1887.
The italics are Dr. Abbott’s. Again he says in the same article: —
“If any man is living in sympathetic fellowship with God, if his impulses, his desires, his aspirations, are divine in their origin and character, he is no longer under rules and regulations.”
That agrees exactly with what we have quoted from Spiritualist writers. They simply claim that there is “a continuous divine inspiration” in all men, and consequently that every man is a law unto himself. To the same intent Dr. Abbott further says: —
“Just in the measure in which he is at one with God in character he is free from all laws external to himself. The law is not destroyed; but when it has accomplished its purpose in him it is fulfilled.”
When such teaching appears in such a paper as the Christian Union, and from such a man as Dr. Lyman Abbott, it may be taken for granted that it is quite popular. Unfortunately we do not have to take it for granted. The idea that the law of God is abolished, or, what is the same in effect, that each disciple is to be his own judge as to how much of the law he will keep, and what provisions he may cease to regard, has been openly taught for years from many professedly Christian pulpits, and in many professedly religious journals.
The Signs of the Times : March 2, 1888
The Spirit of Antichrist : No. 12
One point more remains to be noticed in the work of antichrist. In the remarkable discourse concerning the signs of his second coming, our Saviour first said: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4, 5). This was given in answer to the question. “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The Savior’s language plainly indicates that attempts would be made to counterfeit his second coming, and so successfully made as to deceive many.
Again he says, speaking of the time following the great persecution: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Verses 23, 24). This shows that the counterfeit will be very close. From these statements and warnings, we can come to no other conclusion than that just before the coming of Christ, his great adversary, Satan, will, as far as is possible, counterfeit all the wonderful signs that Christ has said would attend his coming. This conclusion is stated in express terms, in 2 Thess. 2:7-10. The apostle Paul says: —
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”
The sum of the apostle’s argument is very clear. The whole chapter is devoted to the time of the coming of the Lord. Some unscrupulous person had written a letter to the Thessalonian brethren, telling them that the Lord’s coming was close at hand, and had signed Paul’s name. (See verses 1-3. Compare also chap. 3:17). Paul wrote to them that that day could not come until after the great apostasy, and the setting up of the Papacy, and reminded them that when he was with them he had told them so. Paganism then hindered the complete establishment of the Papacy, but soon that would be taken out of the way, and when that was done, then should the Papacy be fully revealed, to be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of Christ. And the coming of Christ to destroy the Papacy would be, he said, just after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
We inquire, “Is there any present prospect that these predictions of Jesus and Paul, concerning Satan’s counterfeiting Christ’s second advent, will be fulfilled?” Our answer must be, “There is.” Spiritualism is even now planning such a campaign, one that is calculated to turn the attention of people away from Christ’s literal coming. In the World’s Advance Thought (published at Salem, Oregon) of April 5, 1886, there was the following editorial utterance upon the subject of “A Coming Messiah”: —
“In a recent Harmony Hall lecture on ‘The Messianic Idea,’ the necessity for a new messiah, and the certainty of his early advent, were philosophically considered, as well as prophetically proclaimed.
“The messianic idea is involved in the theory that all the phenomena of spiritual manifestations, however diverse and widely separated, may be referred to a single mediumistic source of distribution. . . . The time has already come for logically arranging the authenticated facts which shall demonstrate it. . . .
“There are regular cycles of spiritual progress, of truth unfoldments; and we are now passing from one into another. Another ‘Sun of righteousness’ is called for on earth, and the messenger cannot be far off whose life mission it shall be to practically illustrate the new truths that will be vouchsafed. He will not be a mere racial messiah, to which class belonged Buddha, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Mahomet; nor a half-world messiah, as was the great Nazarene; but steam locomotion and lightning communication, and the harmonizing influences of commercial intercourse, have made a whole world messiah possible, and such the next one shall be. Though themselves ignorant of the fact, as a body, the great and multiplying army of mediums are his accomplices.”
In the same paper a lecture delivered in Harmony Hall, Salem, Oregon, by Judge H. A. Maguire, is reported thus: —
“I say, ‘as one having authority,’ Spiritualists, and all, may see a hope, that shall be a realization to this very generation, of the higher spiritual forces getting control over and governing all the institutions of earth. Silently and invisibly to the worldly-wise, these forces have been, and are being, under the direction of a divine intelligence, extended into every department and station of human life, and the culmination is near at hand, —the ushering in of a new messiah and a new spiritual dispensation.”
The editor of the Golden Gate, of April 2, 1887, in an article entitled, “Significance of Prophecy,” speaks as follows concerning the second advent: —
“It is not thought by all who believe in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures—except a small portion who adhere to the literal but strained and illogical interpretations thereof—that the prophecies pointing to a second coming of Christ, do not contemplate a personal return to earth of the gentle Nazarene whom the Jews crucified; but rather the advent of the Christ spirit to the world—the unfoldment of a new spiritual dispensation.
“Now these prophecies, by several lines of computation, were demonstrated by Miller and his coadjutors to point to the year 1843 as the time when the great cataclysm, the destruction of the world, was to take place. By a revision of their data the time was afterward brought down to 1848, the year when direct and positive communication was opened up between the two worlds—the advent of modern Spiritualism.
“From that time to the present, the believers in a literal second coming of Christ have been daily and hourly looking for his appearance in the heavens, accompanied by a mighty host of angels. The mighty host are here, and the Christ spirit comes with their teachings; hence, may it not be that the prophecies have been fulfilled.”
The well-informed reader knows full well that by no “revision of their data” was the time for the coming of the Lord ever brought down to 1848; but that does not invalidate the fact that Spiritualists expect that all the prophecies concerning the second advent are to be fulfilled by Spiritualism.
But one Ben Franklin French, of Los Angeles, Cal., is still more positive, and in an article entitled, “Who Are the Real Adventists?” written March 18, 1887, he claims that Spiritualists alone are the true Adventists, and that those who are looking for Jesus from Heaven have no right to the name. He says that he was a ‘44 Adventist, that he did not give up his faith when the time passed, but waited, believing that the prophecy would be fulfilled, although it might tarry, and that the introduction of Spiritualism in 1848, was the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision. So the promises of the coming of Christ are all to be fulfilled only by Spiritualism! And professed Protestants, by claiming that the coming of Christ is to be a spiritual coming, are preparing themselves for Satan’s deception on this point.
We believe that the Scriptures most plainly teach that Satan will appear in glory surpassing anything that men have seen, and that he will have a host of his followers with him, and that this will be claimed as a fulfillment of the prophecy that “the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels.” Then the warning, “If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not,” will apply.
But will Satan find any who will acknowledge his claims to be Christ? Yes; all who have not received the love of the truth, will follow him. Those who are looking for Christ to take the reins of this Government will flock to the standard of this usurper. To show how ready people are to follow anything that offers them present happiness, we quote the utterance of the editor of the National City (Cal.) Record, in commenting upon a sermon in which the preacher had declared Spiritualism to be real, but of the devil: —
“We have not yet been allowed the privilege of witnessing a materialization of the dead; have not been so fortunate as the Elder in that respect; but whether they are agents of the devil or not, so the spirits had the appearance of being good spirits, it would matter not, we would go a long way to see the same, and forever after worship the devil.”
We have in our possession a letter from an infidel, touching the attitude of infidels toward the National Reform movement. Says he: —
“If Jesus will come and sit visibly on the throne where we can see him, and talk to him, there will be no unbelievers, and all will obey.”
Thus the way is preparing for Satan’s last, over-mastering deception.
The Signs of the Times : March 9, 1888