BATTLE CREEK, MICH., furnishes a good illustration of the failure of Adventism after a fair trial. Beginning in 1855, it was the headquarters of the denomination for about a half century. It was the home of Elder White and wife. For all those years it had the benefit of the labours of all their strongest men, and the influence of their great general conferences. Here were built, at immense cost, their great institutions, as their large publishing houses, their college, their great sanitarium of world renown, their large tabernacle, etc. When I withdrew in 1887, there were nearly two thousand Sabbath keepers here, all united. Often I preached in that great tabernacle when every seat, below and in the gallery, was full. In the college I taught one class of about two hundred, all young men and women preparing to work either as ministers or Bible readers. Now, 1914, the college is closed and lost to the cause; the sanitarium has revolted from the denomination, and nearly all the management, doctors, nurses and helpers are Sunday keepers; the publishing houses were burned and the remnant moved away; the church has dwindled down to about four or five hundred; the tabernacle is largely empty and an elephant on their hands; three separate companies of Sabbath keepers now meet every Sabbath, having no connection with each other. Worse still, large numbers have backslidden, lost faith in everything, and attend nowhere. It has been like a desolating cyclone.
About twenty years ago among the strongest men in the ranks, men of whom the whole denomination was proud, were Dr. J. H. Kellogg, head of the sanitarium; Elder A.T. Jones, editor, author, minister, orator; Elder E.J. Waggoner, editor, author, preacher; Elder Geo. Tenney editor, minister, missionary; Elder L. McCoy, minister, chaplain of sanitarium; with many persons in important positions as business managers, college professors, doctors, etc. All these are now out of the church, and all their influence is against the body.
What has happened here is constantly happening all over the field in their old churches. It is in new fields and foreign lands where their history is unknown, that their chief gains are made. I can name large numbers of churches all over the land, which were large, strong churches thirty and forty years ago. Now they are either extinct or only a little handful meeting in the corner of an old church. Such are Norridgewock, Maine, Danvers, Mass., Memphis, Wright, and Monteray, Mich.; Knoxville, Sigourney, Winterset and Osceola, Iowa, with scores of smaller churches in many of the states. The thing does not wear. If the past is any guide, twenty years hence many of their strong men now will leave and oppose them, and many of their best churches will go down. In 1912, the latest statistics available, with 4,000 workers in the field, with millions of money spent, they only gained 4,000 in membership in all the world, or only one for every labourer! The Review and Herald, April 23, 1914, says: "Take 1912 as a basis, and we find that it cost this denomination practically from $900 to $1,000 for every person added to the church membership."
How does this compare with the claims that theirs is the most wonderful message the world ever had and that the power of God is with them as with no other people? Cold facts are against them.
The system of Seventh-Day Adventism rests for its foundation on the unsupported theories of an uneducated old farmer in his last days and the reveries of a totally uneducated, unread, sickly, excitable girl. Wm. Miller, the founder of Adventism, was sixty-one years old in 1843, the year he set for the end of the world. He died six years later, disappointed and confused. He had only a limited country schooling. He rejected all Biblical helps and depended solely upon his own ideas of the Bible. See "Life of Miller," by James White, pages 46, 48, 59. He accepted as infallibly correct the dates then found in the margin of the Bible. These were arranged by Usher according to the best information then obtainable. Later investigations have shown these dates to be incorrect by many years. Miller based all his figures on these old dates and fixed by these to a year, the beginning and ending of every prophetic period in the Bible! By this he set 1843 for the end of the world and all other periods to fit that date, such as the seventy weeks, the 2,300 days, the 1,335 days, the 1,290 days, the 1,260 days, the seven churches, seven seals, trumpets, etc. He said all were absolutely correct!
Then came the present Mrs. White, a mere girl, wholly unacquainted with history or chronology, and set her seal to all Miller's figures and dates, said not one must be altered. Hear her: "I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord and that it should not be altered, that the figures were as he wanted them." "Early Writings," page 64, edition of 1882. By these dates the whole denomination must always abide, right or wrong! So their whole prophetic system rests upon the figures of an old farmer and an ignorant girl made seventy years ago! God pity them.
The fanatical expectations of Adventists. For about seventy years Seventh-Day Adventists have predicted that a few months, or years, before the end, the Holy Ghost would be poured out upon them like Pentecost. They call it "the latter rain." Then will occur the "Loud Cry" to close up the work. Now, 1914, they preach and publish that all this has begun and the work is to close up quickly! Of this work Mrs. White says: "Miracles are wrought, the sick are heated, and signs and wonders follow the believers." "Great Controversy," page 430, edition of 1884. She devotes five chapters predicting the wonders to occur just before the end. Read them. I can only sketch a few items. Satan will appear personally and visibly to all, in dazzling glory, claiming that he is Christ come to earth. All the world but Adventists accept him as such. He smiles on them and blesses them. All shout "Christ has come." Then Satan tells them that Adventists are wicked blasphemers for working on Sunday and must all be killed. Pages 442, 443. Read it.
Spiritualism has taken possession of all the churches, pages 405, 422; church and state have united, pages 423, 424, not only in the United States, but "throughout all Christendom," page 444; Satan then moves all legislative bodies to issue an edict that all Sabbath keepers shall be killed and exterminated unless they recant by a certain day. "No man may buy or sell" who does not keep Sunday, page 422; whoever refuses "shall be put to death." Sabbath keepers "will be thrust into prison, some will be exiled, some will be treated as slaves." Page 426. "They are threatened with destruction." Page 427. Adventists will then flee from the cities and villages and associate together in companies, dwelling in the most desolate and solitary places." Page 445. "Many of all nations will be cast into unjust and cruel bondage and sentenced to be slain." Page 445. "In every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death, with shouts of triumph, with jeers and imprecations, they are about to rush upon their prey." Page 452.
Just then Christ appears and 144,000 Seventh-Day Adventists are caught up in the clouds and saved. All the rest of mankind, worldlings, Methodists, Baptists, and all Sunday keepers, are utterly destroyed! This is what Adventists believe and teach. Read the above quoted book. Of all the wild, fanatical theories ever preached this is the climax. To bring this about the wheels of progress, would have to be turned back a thousand years. It would be the most miraculous revolution the world ever saw, and all within a few short years! It is to be world-wide" all nations." Page 445. India, China, Japan, where they care nothing for Sunday, will decree that all must die who work that day! The trend of the whole world is exactly the other way, separation of church and state, greater liberty of thought, greater toleration of all religious beliefs, and greater laxity of Sunday observance; a man is blind who cannot see this.
THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE, not Sunday, is the 'MARK" of the papacy. The one supreme claim of the papacy, the one all essential TEST of the loyalty of every Catholic, the one thing which every Catholic must swear to when he joins that church, the one thing above all others insisted upon in all catechisms and doctrinal books, is the SUPREMACY OF THE POPE OF ROME. No one can be a Catholic and deny this claim. Subscribe to this, and all else follows. During the papal supremacy tens of thousands were martyred because they would not bow to the authority of the pope. It was this that brought on the great Reformation under Luther and originated the name PROTESTANT. It is what all Protestant churches have been warning against for three hundred years. The TEST, the MARK, of loyalty of a Mohammedan is to acknowledge the supreme authority of Mohammed as a prophet; of a Mormon, to acknowledge J. Smith as God's prophet; of a Christian Scientist, to acknowledge the authority of Mrs. Eddy; of a Catholic, to acknowledge the authority of the pope of Rome as supreme. In this city we have several Catholic churches and scores of other churches which keep Sunday. Does anybody think of these churches as Catholic because they keep Sunday? No. Do Catholics think of them as Catholics on this account? No. Do these churches themselves ever think of themselves as Catholics because they keep Sunday? No. Is it then a MARK of a Catholic to keep Sunday? No, because no one, either Catholic, Protestant, worlding, or any one else, ever thinks of it as the mark of a Catholic. Hence as nobody in the church or out ever regards a person as a Catholic because he keeps Sunday, that cannot be the mark of a papist.
But the moment any person acknowledges the authority of the pope as supreme, every one regards him as a Catholic, a papist. And the Catholic church so regards him. But if he simply keeps Sunday and denies the authority of the pope, will the Catholic church accept him? Emphatically no. Then what is the TEST, the MARK, of a papist? It is to acknowledge the supremacy of the pope of Rome. That MARKS him as a Catholic.
Thus "Johnson's New Universal Encyclopedia" says: "Roman Catholic Church, that body of Christians which acknowledges the authority of the pope of Rome." The same article gives the creed to which every Catholic must swear obedience thus: "I promise and swear true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter, Prince of the apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ."
Here you have the MARK of that church. It is not keeping Sunday, but the supreme authority of the Pope. Every Catholic catechism or doctrinal work has in bold letters this headline: "MARKS OF THE CHURCH." Sunday keeping is never given as one of them, but the supremacy of the pope is always given. Mark well this fact.
The following statement I drew up, and read to a leading Catholic priest of Grand Rapids, Mich., who readily signed it, as will be seen below:
"The Catholic doctrine of the change of the Sabbath is this: The apostles, by instruction from Jesus Christ, changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost, both of which occurred on Sunday. The change was made by the apostles themselves, and hence by divine authority, at the very beginning of the church. There are references to this change in Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Rev. 1:10, etc. Yet these texts do not state positively such a change; hence Catholics go to the statements of the early Christian Fathers, where this change by the apostles is confirmed and put beyond doubt. Catholics also rely upon the tradition of the church which says that the change was made by the apostles. Catholics never teach that the change of the day was made by the church two or three hundred years after Christ. Such a statement would be contrary to all the facts of history and the traditions of the church.
"The Holy Catholic Church began with the apostles. St. Peter was the first pope. Hence, when they say that the church changed the Sabbath, they mean that it was done by the church in the days of the apostles. Neither the church nor the pope, two or three hundred years after the apostles, had anything whatever to do with changing the Sabbath, for the change had been made ages before. Catholics do not call the first day of the week the Sabbath, for that was Saturday; but they call it Sunday, or the Lord's Day.
"The above statement by Rev. D. M. Canright is true and pure Catholic doctrine. Rev. James C. Pulcher, Pastor of St. James' Church, Grand Rapids, Mich."
In answer to my question Archbishop Ireland wrote me thus: "St. Paul, March 2, 1914. "MY DEAR SIR: In answering your question I would state that the Jewish Sabbath was simply a positive precept in the Mosaic law and lapsed with that law. The apostles and early Christians instituted the Sunday as a day of special prayer in honor of the great mysteries of the Christian religion: the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, both occurring on the first day of the week. "Very sincerely, "JOHN IRELAND."
I have carefully examined the "Catholic Encyclopedia,", the "Catholic Dictionary," a large number of Catholic catechisms, large and small, and all agree in locating the change of the, Sabbath in the time of the apostles and by the apostles. This is emphatically the doctrine of the Catholic church. Not a single Catholic authority ever locates the change anywhere else. Adventists are unfair in omitting this fact when they quote only a part of what Catholics say. The above Catholic authorities quote Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10, the same as Protestants do as evidence that the observance of the Lord's Day originated with the apostles.