Second Adventists, Or Adventists, a religious sect who believe in the speedy second advent of Christ and the end of the world. They owe their origin as a body in the United States to William Miller. (See Miller, William.) Under his preaching and that of some of his followers, the number of adherents rapidly increased. The time at which they at first expected the second appearing of Christ was October, 1842, and subsequently some of them have fixed upon different dates, among others 1843, 1847, 1848, 1857, and 1861. In 1840 Joshua V. Himes, one of their preachers, began the publication in Boston of a semi-monthly journal in advocacy of their views, called the "Signs of the Times and Exposition of Prophecy," and two years later changed it to a weekly, called the "Advent Herald," which had a very large circulation. The number of members continued to increase, notwithstanding the repeated errors into which they fell in regard to the date of the second advent. After the death of Mr. Miller (1849) there was some division in their views, a part holding to some modification of the usual Trinitarian view of the divinity of Christ, and some of them adopting the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked; while the remainder adhered to the usual views of Trinitarians, except as to the second coming of Christ, which they believe will be speedy and pre-millennial, and that the first resurrection, that of the righteous, will then occur, while the wicked will not be raised till 1,000 years later; that during this thousand years he will reign on the earth, and while his reign will be a period of happiness for the righteous, it will be one of terror and judgment for the wicked.
The Adventist churches are entirely independent, and generally receive their members by immersion on a profession of faith. - The "Advent Christian Association" is a body of Adventists who believe in the final destruction of the wicked. At the 16th annual meeting of this body, held at Springfield, Mass., in August, 1875, it was resolved, in order to complete the congregational form of government which has been adopted by the denomination, to convoke at once a general conference. The chief organ of this denomination is the "World's Crisis," edited by John Couch and Miles Grant. The "American Millennial Association," founded in Boston in 1858, is the centre of the "evangelical" Adventists, who do not believe in the final destruction of the wicked. Their principal organ is the "Messiah's Herald," published at Boston. The "Life and Advent Union" is another organization of Adventists believing in the annihilation of the wicked. Its organ is the "Herald of Life," published at Springfield, Mass. - Another branch of Adventists observe the seventh day as the sabbath, and are called Seventh Day Adventists. They originated as early as 1844. They set no time for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that the prophecies which, in the opinion of other Adventists, fix the second advent in or about the year 1844, really brought the world only to the "cleansing of the tabernacle," a period of brief but uncertain duration preceding the coming of Christ. One of the first organizers of this movement, Elder James White, began in 1850 the publication of the first organ of the Seventh Day Adventists, the "Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath," which in 1855 was removed to Battle Creek, Mich., which place was henceforth the centre of all the denominational interests.
The "Seventh Day Adventist Publishing Association" published in 1874, at Battle Creek, four denominational papers in English, one in Danish, and one in Swedish. Another English paper was established in California in 1874. The churches are organized into state conferences, of which in 1875 there were 13. A general conference, consisting of delegates, ministers, and laymen, meets annually. A mission has been established in Switzerland, where 200 believers were reported in 1875. The general conference of 1875 resolved to send missionaries as soon as possible to Great Britain, Prance, Germany, Holland, Italy, Hungary, Africa, and Australia. Strict temperance views, including the prohibition of the use of tobacco, prevail, and abstinence from pork, tea, and coffee is recommended. According to a report made to the general conference of 1875, the number of ministers was 69, of churches 339, and of members 8,022.