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A D V ENT OF MESSIAH
DEMONSTRATED FROM THE SCRIPTURES.
FIRST PRINTED IN THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, AND NOW REPUBLISHED WITH
CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS,
FROM THE THIRD LONDON EDITION.
By WILLIAM CUNINGHAME, Esq.
OF LAINSHAW, IN THE COUNTY OF AYR.
ORRIN ROGERS, 67 SOUTH SECOND STREET.
E. G. Dorsey, Printer.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
A PERIOD of fourteen years has now elapsed since, in the first edition of my work on the Apocalypse, which appeared in 1813, I brought before the church the doctrine of the second personal advent of our Lord at the commencement of the Millennium, and his reign upon earth during that dispensation. Opposed however as these views were to the doctrine held in highest repute in the church, and unsupported as I then was in maintaining them, by any other commentator of the present day, I did not, either in the first or second editions of my work, enter into the subject minutely. I was, indeed, well aware, that the mind of the Christian public was scarcely at that time prepared to receive even some distant hints of the nature of the dispensation, which I then believed to be rapidly approaching, and now believe to be near. Contenting myself, therefore, with a simple avowal of the doctrine wherever it occurred in the course of exposition, I purposely abstained from further details; but in the Preface of my book, the sense in which I held the advent itself was thus explicitly acknowledged.
“In the following work, the reader will find frequent mention of the second personal advent of our Lord. I am aware that it is the common doctrine of the present day, both among private Christians and the teachers of religion, to interpret in a figurative sense many of those passages which I suppose to refer to that great event. But I have the support of the greatest writers on prophecy in understanding them literally; and the opinion which I now hold on this point, is not only the result of a long and most attentive consideration of the prophetical Scriptures, but was slowly and reluctantly formed in opposition to early prejudices. In the continued prevalence of the opposite sentiment, we may discern the symptoms of that spirit of unbelief, which our Lord assures us, shall mark the season of his second coming:
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?'* by which is meant not faith (or the want of it] in the doctrines of his Gospel in general, but in the particular promises which relate to the second advent.
“On this point I shall introduce the following quotation from King's 'Remarks on the Signs of the Times.'
“On the one hand, the Jews would not apprehend nor believe the words of holy prophecy written concerning our Lord's first coming in his state of deep humiliation and suffering, being dazzled with bright apprehensions of what was written concerning his second coming, his coming in glory; and on the other hand, the Christian world are now too backward to believe what is really written in the same words of holy prophecy concerning his second coming upon earth in glory, being blinded by their constant habit of contending against the Jews, chiefly for the former, and by the presumptuous mystical application which has taken place, by means of applying those holy words that relate to the latter, merely to the fancied prosperity of the Christian church on earth, though such a fancied prosperity is a misapplication of the words, in direct contradiction to all the warnings of our Lord himself, and his holy apostles.”
The time, however, seems at length to have arrived, when this primitive doctrine of the personal advent of Messiah, at the commencement of that glorius and now nearly impending dispensation, wherein the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom,t is no longer to be spoken in proverbs, but in the plainest and most intelligible language, in order that a sleeping churchf may be aroused to deep and earnest inquiry respecting the signs of the stupendous events which are approaching. It has pleased God to raise up for the above momentous truth, many witnesses in the southern part of the United Kingdom. The doctrine itself is there making rapid progress, and is sounding forth in many pulpits. In Scotland, however, all appears to be still and at rest. No
cry is heard-no alarm is sounded---not even a suspicion seems to lurk in the minds of the watchmen, that the morning approaches, and also the night;
* Luke xviji. 8.
+ Dan. vii. 18. The parable of the Ten Virgins with lamps, Matth. xxv. 1–7, 13, manifestly describes the state of the professing church of Christ shortly before the ad. vent. They all slumber and sleep-an alarm of the approach of the bridegroom is suddenly given, and they arise to trim their lamps; while they are doing this the bridegroom comes. It seems to me, therefore, no breach of charity, to maintain that the church is asleep, as it respects the expectation of the coming of Christ.
$ Isaiah xxi. 12. A glorious morning for the just, viz., that of the first resurrection-an awful night for the wicked.
and yet we should be apt to think that the evidence for the doctrine, is not of that scanty nature, as to be passed over in silence. Assuredly it is easy to run it down under the appellation of the Millenarian heresy, or, like Nicodemus, to ask, “How can these be?” or to say, as some once said, “Are ye also deceived? have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed it?”* But to meet and confute the Scriptural evidence upon which we assuredly believe, and confidently affirm, that if there be a second advent of Messiah promised at all to the church, that advent precedes the Millennium, and introduces that dispensation of saving health and glory to this miserable worldto confute the Scriptural evidence upon which we hazard these assertions, will, we say, be found a matter of far less easy attainment.
I shall now inform the reader that the circumstance which gave birth to the following Tract, was the appearance of a letter under the signature of D. D. in the Christian Observer for July last, (1827,) which, after stating the divided state of opinion in the religious world, in reference to the Advent, concludes as follows:
“I am told that the expectation of a personal advent at the approaching crisis is rested by its advocates upon the following maxims as its foundation; namely, that wherever a future advent or argouoia (Parousia) of our Lord is foretold in Scripture, the same advent is uniformly intended; and that consequently, if in any one place the advent intended be plainly a personal advent, the same construction must be put upon all. I shall be much gratified if any of your correspondents will take the trouble to inform me whether this be indeed the basis of the whole scheme of interpretation alluded to, and if so, on what proofs the rule of construction laid down in it, is asserted and
In consequence of the request of this anonymous writer, I was led to draw up the paper which (having appeared in the above-mentioned periodical work) is now offered to the public; and in republishing it as a Tract, I have not thought it necessary to divest it of its original form, but have simply made such corrections and additions as seemed to be calculated further to elucidate and strengthen the general argument.
To the reader who is in no degree conversant with the subject of prophecy, it will doubtless appear that I have assumed in this argument certain positions which ought to have been
* I think this is the spirit of some papers which have appeared on the subject in some of the Religious Magazines of the day. No attempt is made 10 refute our views by Scriptural reasoning. The appeal is rather made to the principles of human reason and ihe authority of men.