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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sylvester Bliss (1814-1863)


During the year 1842, -while the ministers who had embraced the doctrine of the Advent near, were preaching it with much success, others were writing books and tracts, reviews, criticisms and correspondence and instruction in the papers. Among theso writers, Bro. Sylvester Bliss, of Hartford, Ct., a lay member of the Congregational church, soon became known as a young man of more than ordinary ability. He had become awakened to the subject of Christ's immediate advent, and investigated it until fully convinced of the great truths underlying the message which was being preached. He was liberally educated, of fine abilities to critically examine and analyze theological questions: becoming a believer and reading the books, sermons and papers which contained the efforts of the chief opposers he was more confirmed in its truths, his zeal for the Lord was throughly awakened to review the works of some of these champions who had entered the field of theological combat.

He wrote a few articles for the columns of the "Signs of the Times," in which his gifts and qualifications were so manifest to the manager of the paper, that his services were secured as an assistant editor, and he entered upon that relation in Nov., 1842. He sustained that relation for several years and then became the responsible editor of the paper, changed to "Advent Herald," and business agent of the publisher; which relation he sustained until his death in 1863.

The paper was conducted with much ability, and was the medium through which very much important biblical, historical, theological and critical information and Christian experience has been communicated to its readers, while under his charge, and since. He was a devout, conscientious Christian, and endowed with a discriminating mind which enabled him to select, generally, the best intellectual, moral and spiritual food for the readers of the paper, which is one of the chief qualities of a good editor. lie was an able theologian, a good logician, and generally very reliable in his references to authors, history, or the events of the day. He was studious to avoid sensational, unreliable, fabulous floating articles and speculative, groundless opinions of political and religious novices and erratics; perhaps too much so to accept of some truths which had been long buried beneath papal dogmas and but just exhumed, for this has been the danger of all able men of great caution. But he was an excellent writer and editor.

The very reverse of his qualifications have been those of some who have attempted to edit papers for the Adventists, and have led parties into strange and speculative vagaries, as idle and as eager as the Athenians of Acts xvii. 21, to whom Paul once preached.

Bro. Bliss reviewed with much ability and great candor, the "lectures of Dr. N. Colver," against the views of Miller. The sermon of Rev. O. E. Daggett, preached to overthrow the faith of those who were looking for the Lord; the work of Dr. Weeks, which seemed to be prepared to weaken the faith of the people. The work of Dr. Jarvis, who had a better motive, but seemed out of the track of truth. The work of Prof. Geo. Bush, who denied the personal advent and the literal resurrection of the dead. The work of Prof. Sanborn, who denied the personal advent, the visible reign of Christ, the doctrine of the restitution, and nearly everything else which the Scriptures promise the Christian church. Bro. Bliss also prepared a "brief commentary on the Revelation," "Time of the End," an "Analysis of Sacred Chronology," and several smaller works. " The Analysis," and the " Time of the End," should be reprinted and in the market.

Although Bro. B. never embraced the views concerning the naturo of man, his state in death, and the final reward of the wicked, which the great majority of his co-laborers have, and which we think his writings and reasonings helped some of them to find in the Sacred Word (though he opposed them and wrote against them), yet we remember him with much affection for his sincere Christian integrity, faithful labors and fellowship in the work of the gospel. And we cherish the blessed hope which animated his heart, causing him to toil and endure opposition, scoffs and derision for the truth's sake, expecting to see him redeemed from death, and to enjoy his society with Christ and the blood-washed church in a little while, on the new earth filled with the glory of God.

- History of the Second Advent Message and Mission, Doctrine and People, By Isaac C. Wellcome, 1874

Sylvester Bliss (1814–1863) was a Millerite minister and editor. He served first as assistant editor, then editor, of the Millerite journal, The Signs of the Times. Originally a Congregationalist from Hartford, Connecticut, he obtained a liberal education and was a member of the Historical Society of Boston. He was also an editor of the Advent Shield and later edited the Memoirs of William Miller (1853). He remained until his death the editor of the Advent Herald (the continued and renamed publication of Signs of the Times), which remained the organ of the group of Millerites who did not accept the conditional immortality of the soul. His books include Commentary on the Revelation, The Time of the End, and Analysis of Sacred Chronology.

- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 11/28/2009

Memoirs of William Miller, by Sylvester Bliss

Originally published in 1853, Memoirs of William Miller still remains the most comprehensive biographical study of the founder of Adventism and the instigator of one of the most dramatic episodes in American religious history. Thus, the Adventist Classic Library is proud to announce the publication of this most "classic" of all Adventist classics. In the early 1830's, Miller, a farmer and lay Baptist preacher in upstate New York, began preaching and writing that the second coming of Christ would occur about the year 1843. By the fall of 1844, most of America was very aware and significantly agitated that the "Millerites" had finally named the day: Jesus would return, and the earth would be destroyed by fire, on October 22, 1844. Memoirs has remained useful for more than 150 years, and still provides the foundation of all other popular and scholarly studies of Miller. It was written by those who worked most closely with Miller from the early 1840's until the end of his life and is based on significant primary source material, some of which is no longer extant. The Adventist Classic Library edition of Memoirs of William Miller includes two other important contemporary biographical accounts of Miller's life. The first comprises two short essays from Views on the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology, Selected from Manuscripts of William Miller, a work published by Himes in 1841. The second is Miller's own Apology and Defence, first published in 1845 as Miller's explanation of the "Great Disappointment" of October 22, 1844. Historian Merlin D. Burt, director of the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University, provides an insightful introduction to the content and relevance of this enduring Adventist classic.

Sylvester Bliss was the ablest of the Millerite editors. He was first assistant editor, then editor, of the Millerite journal The Signs of the Times. He was a Congregationalist from Hartford, Conneticut, with a liberal education and was a member of the Historical Society of Boston. He was also an editor of the Advent Shield and later edited the Memoirs of Miller (1853). Among his works are Commentary on the Revelation, The Time of the End, and Analysis of Sacred Chronology. He remained until his death the editor of the Advent Herald (a later name of The Signs of the Times), which remained the organ of the group of ex-Millerites who did not accept the doctrine of conditional immortality.- Source: SDA Encyclopedia