Foreword: (this Foreword written January, 2001 (updated 2021); email@example.com.)
Rather than a book written as such, this work is a collection of lectures and letters written by Mr. Miller, and put into book form by Mr. Himes. It's hard to believe today in 2001, that nearly all "Christians" in the early 1800s were dead-set against the idea that Jesus would literally come back to this earth and reward the faithful and punish the wicked. A man led of God, Mr. Miller, fought against 3 major errors among "Christians" of his day - (from Letter V.) [the unscriptural doctrine of "peace and safety," the "spiritual millennium," and "return of the Jews."]The "peace and safety" folks said that the prophecies written in the Bible were fulfilled a long time ago, or will be far in the future. The "spiritual millennium" crew said that there would be a 1,000 year reign of peace on the earth before Jesus comes back. And the "return of the Jews" group is one that is still very vocal today, that the people called "Jews" must get back to their home-land and then the prophecies would be fulfilled. William Miller exposes all these as error that keep the child of God from making a close examination for their own readiness for Jesus' coming back.
This particular book was scanned from a photo-copy of the original, and I neither added nor deleted anything to this work other than this Foreword. Spellings were left as found - so for example the word "graft" is spelled "graff" 3 times and "graft" 5 times. I spent around 100 hours scanning and proofreading and tried to make this format for the computer look as much like the original as possible, but if I made any errors, someone please let me know. The notes (*), were originally placed at the bottom of the page, but with no pages here, I put them in parentheses immediately following where they are referenced. When there were two notes on one page, the second note was denoted by a symbol which looks like maybe a sword or a cross. As the sword symbol is not available in the Times New Roman font, I chose the cross symbol.
For this HTML format, I split the book into 4 physical pages for easier loading. All sections can be accessed easily from the CONTENTS section further down on the page you are on now.
A few notes on this book: "&c." = "etc." Roman numbers are used for Bible and book chapter numbers. A short refresher course:
Yes, having greater light now in 2001, we may smile at some of his interpretations - but in looking at the overall effect of his message, and seeing how God led him in the whole (read chapter 22 of the 1858 Great Controversy titled "William Miller") we should be even more thankful to God for leading his people in a mighty way, out into the truth (^-^).
TO ALL THEM
WHO ARE LOOKING FOR THE BLESSED HOPE
AND GLORIOUS APPEARING OF THE
GREAT GOD, AND OUR SAVIOR
JESUS CHRIST AT HAND,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
BY THE EDITOR.
THE EDITOR'S REMARKS.
WE hold the doctrine of a man's responsibility for the sentiments which he publishes, whether they are his own or another's. He is accountable to the community, and will be held accountable at the great tribunal, for the good or the evil they produce. We have had this thought in view in all that we have done to give publicity to Mr. Miller's writings; both in the publication of the Boston edition of his Lectures, and of the numerous Essays and Letters from his pen which have appeared in the "Signs of the Times" during the past year.
Notwithstanding the fears of many, esteemed wise and good, that the effect of this class of writings upon the community would be deleterious; we have, on the contrary, witnessed, as we expected, the most happy results. Their moral and religious influence upon all classes who have given them a candid examination has been most salutary.
We are now induced to add a second volume on similar subjects, with a short memoir of Mr. Miller's life. We send it forth with the fullest assurance of its usefulness to the church and the world. It will be a valuable aid to an understanding of the chronology of his Lectures; as also the dictionary of prophetic figures, and principles of interpretation, will be of great service to the biblical student.
As it respects the general views of Mr. Miller, we consider them in the main to be in accordance with the word of God. We do not, however, adopt the peculiarities of any man. We call no man master. Yet we frankly avow that there is much in his theory that we approve and embrace as gospel truth. For example: His views of the literal interpretation of the prophecies - The character and divinity of Christ, and his personal reign on the earth - The restoration of Israel according to the faith of Abraham, with the rejection of the "judaizing notion" of the return of the carnal Jew to Palestine - The true millennium of the saints in the resurrection state; and the utter rejection of the modern notion of a temporal millennium - The first and second resurrections and judgments - The final destiny of the righteous and the wicked: on all these points we fully agree with him.
On the question of "prophetic periods," and of his laborious and learned chronology, we are not competent, with our limited erudition on the subject, to decide with such positiveness as on the other topics; having never given our attention to the critical study of the subject till within the last year. We, however, believe in the definiteness of prophetic periods, and feel satisfied that we live near the end of time. We have come to this conclusion by the prophetic times of Daniel and John, and not from the fact only that the kingdom has always been at hand. These "times," (to which we might refer, if it were proper in this place,) are nearly accomplished, as all who believe in prophetic periods agree. Some have fixed upon the year 1866, some 1847, while Mr. Miller fixes upon 1843 as the "time of the end." We think he has given the more satisfactory demonstration of the correctness of his calculation. The advent is near. It is possible that we may be mistaken in the chronology. It may vary a few years, but we are persuaded that the end cannot be far distant.
With these views, we proclaim continually the gospel of the kingdom at hand. And not being able with the voice alone, and our limited abilities, to give the "midnight cry" the extent which we think the subject demands, we have availed ourself of the aid of the press. Accordingly, Mr. Miller's Lectures were put into the hands of a popular bookseller, who has in the last year circulated five thousand copies. In the mean time, fifty thousand numbers of the "Signs of the Times" have been sent abroad in the United States and in Europe; and two thousand copies of the full Report of the General Conference on the Second Advent have just been issued from the press, for distribution. We now send out this volume to bear the same message, and arouse a slumbering world to duty.
Some repetitions may be noticed in this work, in consequence of many of the articles having been written at different times, without reference to publication in a connected series. But these the reader will find of advantage, on the whole, as they will present the subjects in various and new aspects.
The work claims nothing of literary merit. It is given in a plain English dress, that will present to the reader the various subjects discussed in a distinct and intelligible style.
We are not insensible of the fact, that much obloquy will be cast upon us in consequence of our association with the author of this work. This, however, gives us no pain. We had rather be associated with such a man as William Miller, and stand with him in gloom or glory, in the cause of the living God, than to be associated with his enemies, and enjoy all the honors of this world.
Finally, whatever may be the truth upon the subject treated in this volume, it is certainly one that commends itself to the serious and careful examination of all persons, whether saints or sinners. If, indeed, the grand drama of this world's wickedness and wrongs is about to close up - if, indeed, the Son of God is about to descend from heaven, to take vengeance on them who obey not the gospel, and to receive his saints to their final rest, - then how important is it that we should all know these facts - the wicked to tremble if they will not repent, and the righteous to wait with calm faith, and a certain hope of the coming of the Lord. Do not dream that all is well because you see no threatening signs of the great day. Did the inhabitants of the old world stand in fear of the flood? Yet the flood came and "took them all away." All great calamities which come upon the nations by special interposition of divine Providence have been sudden, and, by the mass, unexpected.
ADDRESS AND LECTURES.
REVIEWS AND LETTERS.
WILLIAM MILLER was born at Pittsfield, Mass., Feb. 15, 1782. When he was four years of age, his father removed to the town of Hampton, Washington County, New York, the present residence of Mr. Miller. The country was then new, and his means of education, till nine years of age, were very small. His mother, however, taught him to read, so that when he was sent to the common school, he could read in the Bible, Psalter, and an old Hymn Book, which at that time constituted the whole of his father's library. After his ninth year, he was sent to school three months in the year, till he was fourteen. During this time, he was noted by his companions as a prodigy for learning, as they called it, particularly in the branches of spelling, reading, and writing. At the age of fourteen, he became anxious to obtain books to read. The first history he obtained was Robinson Crusoe; and the first novel he ever saw was Robert Boyle. He read them with avidity, and being so much interested in them, he read them many times over. He then became still more anxious to obtain books, especially histories and journals of travellers. A number of gentlemen in the vicinity of his father's residence, on being made acquainted with his love of reading, kindly offered him the privilege of their private libraries, which he accepted with much gratitude. From this time till he was twenty-one years of age, he was a most devoted student of ancient and modern history. The names of his benefactors ought to be given in this place, as they deserve to be honored for their liberality and love of learning. One of them was the Hon. Matthew Lyon, Representative to Congress from Vermont, from 1794 to 1798. The others were Judge James Withcrell afterwards judge of Michigan Territory; and Alexander Cruikshanks, Esq., of Whitehall, formerly of Scotland. By the kindness of these gentlemen, he was enabled to store his mind with a vast collection of historical facts, which have since been of so much service to him in the illustration of the prophecies. Possessing a strong mind and a retentive memory, he appropriated the contents of those gentlemen's libraries to his own use; and even now, after a lapse of more than thirty years, it is astonishing to observe the correctness of his frequent references to these historical facts and dates in his extemporaneous lectures.
At the age of twenty-two, he was married, and settled in Poultney, Vt. Here, he was still favored with the privilege of pursuing his favorite study; having free access to a large public library. Here also he became acquainted with the deistical writings of Voltaire, Hume, Paine, Ethan Allen, and others. He studied them closely, and at length professedly became a Deist. The principal men in the village were Deists; but, as a class, they were good citizens, and as a general thing were moral, and of serious deportment. With these he was associated about twelve years, in the defence of deistical sentiments.
In the last war with Great Britain, he received a captain's commission in the United States' service, and served in the army until the 25th of June, 1815, after peace was declared. He then moved to his present residence, Low Hampton, where the year following, 1816, he was converted from Deism to the christian faith, and united with the regular Baptist church in that place, of which he is now a member in good standing.
We gather the following facts relating to his past history and experience from his letters to us on this subject. The following connected account is made out from them, mostly in his own words:
"In my youth, between the years of seven and ten, I was often concerned about the welfare of my soul; particularly in relation to its future destiny. I spent much time in trying to invent some plan, whereby I might please God, when brought into his immediate presence. Two ways suggested themselves to me, which I tried. One was, to be very good, to do nothing wrong, tell no lies, and obey my parents. But I found my resolutions were weak, and soon broken. The other was to sacrifice; by giving up the most cherished objects I possessed. But this also failed me; so that I was never settled and happy in mind, until I came to Jesus Christ. While I was a Deist, I believed in a God, but I could not, as I thought, believe the Bible was the word of God. The many contradictions, and inconsistencies, which I thought could be shown, made me suppose it to be a work of designing men, whose object was to enslave the mind of man; operate on their hopes and fears, with a view to aggrandize themselves. The history of religion as it had been presented to the world, and particularly by the historians of the eighteenth century, was but a history of blood, tyranny, and oppression; in which the common people were the greatest sufferers. I viewed it as a system of craft, rather than of truth. Besides, the advocates of Christianity admitted that the Bible was so dark and intricate that no man could understand it. This always was to me an inconsistent idea of God; and even made the Bible appear more like the oracles of the heathen gods, than like the wisdom of the just and righteous God: To give us the Scriptures to teach us the way of eternal life, and at the same time clothe them in a mantle of mysticism, so that no man could understand them! Reveal his will, which we cannot understand, and then punish us for disobedience! How can such a being be called either wise or good? These, and the like, were my arguments against the Bible. In the mean time, I continued my studies, storing my mind with historical knowledge. The more I read, the more dreadfully corrupt did the character of man appear. I could discern no bright spot in the history of the past. Those conquerors of the world, and heroes of history, were apparently but demons in human form. All the sorrow, suffering, and misery in the world, seemed to be increased in proportion to the power they obtained over their fellows. I began to feel very distrustful of all men. In this state of mind I entered the service of my country. I fondly cherished the idea, that I should find one bright spot at least in the human character, as a star of hope: a love of country - PATRIOTISM. But two years in the service was enough to convince me that I was in an error in this thing also. When I left the service I had become completely disgusted with man's public character. I retired from the busy scenes of public life, in which I had been engaged about ten years; and thought to seek for that happiness, which had always eluded my pursuit in my former occupations, in the domestic circle. For a little space, a care and burden was taken off from my mind; but after a while I felt the need of some more active employment. My life became too monotonous. I had lost all those pleasing prospects, which in youth I expected to enjoy in riper years. It appeared to me that there was nothing good on earth. Those things in which I expected to find some solid good had deceived me. I began to think man was no more than a brute, and the idea of here-after was a dream; annihilation was a cold and chilling thought; and accountability was sure destruction to all. The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as iron under my feet. ETERNITY! What was it? And death, why was it? The more I reasoned, the further I was from demonstration. The more I thought, the more scattered were my conclusions. I tried to stop thinking; but my thoughts would not be controlled. I was truly wretched; but did not understand the cause. I murmured and complained, but knew not of whom. I felt that there was a wrong, but knew not how, or where, to find the right. I mourned, but without hope. I continued in this state of mind for some months; at length, when brought almost to despair, God by his Holy Spirit opened my eyes. I saw Jesus as a friend, and my only help, and the word of God as the perfect rule of duty. Jesus Christ became to me the chiefest among ten thousand, and the Scriptures, which before were dark and contradictory, now became the lamp to my feet and light to my path. My mind became settled and satisfied. I found the Lord God to be a Rock in the midst of the ocean of life. The Bible now became my chief study; and I can truly say I searched it with great delight. I found the half was never told me. I wondered why I had not seen its beauty and glory before, and marvelled that I could ever have rejected it. I found everything revealed that my heart could desire, and a remedy for every disease of the soul. I lost all taste for other reading, and applied my heart to get wisdom from God.
"I laid by all commentaries, former views and prepossessions, and determined to read and try to understand for myself. I then began the reading of the Bible in a methodical manner; and by comparing scripture with scripture, and taking notice of the manner of prophesying, and how it was fulfilled, (so much as had received its accomplishment,) I found that prophecy had been literally fulfilled, after understanding the figures and metaphors by which God had more clearly illustrated the subjects conveyed in said prophecies. I found, on a close and careful examination of the Scriptures, that God had explained all the figures and metaphors in the Bible, or had given us rules for their explanation. And in so doing, I found, to my joy, and as I trust with everlasting gratitude to God, that the Bible contained a system of revealed truths, so clearly and simply given that the 'wayfaring man though a fool need not err therein.' And I discovered that God had in his word revealed 'times and seasons;' and in every case where time had been revealed, every event was accomplished as predicted, (except the case of Nineveh, in Jonah,) in the time and manner; therefore I believed all would be accomplished.
"I found, in going through with the Bible, the end of all things was clearly and emphatically predicted, both as to time and manner. I believed; and immediately the duty to publish this doctrine, that the world might believe and get ready to meet the Judge and Bridegroom at his coming, was impressed upon my mind. I need not here go into a detailed account of my long and sore trials. Suffice it to say, that after a number of years, I was compelled by the Spirit of God, the power of truth and the love of souls, to take up my cross and proclaim these things to a dying and perishing world.
"The first time I ever spake in public on this subject was in the year 1832. The Lord poured his grace on the congregation, and many believed to the salvation of their souls. From that day to this, doors have been opened to me, to proclaim this doctrine of the second coming of Christ, among almost all denominations, so that I have not been able to comply with but a small portion of the calls.
"I have lectured in the states of New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and Canada. In every place, I think, two good effects have been produced. The church has been awakened, and the Bible has been read with more interest. In many, and I might say almost in every place, a revival of religion has followed, which has lasted for months. Infidelity in many cases has been made to yield her iron grasp on the mind of many an individual. Deism has yielded to the truth of God's word, and many men of strong minds have acknowledged that the Scriptures must be of divine origin. The sandy foundation of Universalism, has been shaken in every place where it could be reached by an attendance on the whole course of lectures. And hundreds of men of sound minds and strong powers, have had their spider's web broken, and have got a more sure hope in an experimental knowledge of the justice of God, and the forgiveness of sin, through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
"As proof of the truth of the above facts, I would refer you to the many false reports which Universalists and Infidels have industriously circulated in their periodicals and papers, concerning me and my views: the 'hundred years' mistake,' the 'refusal to sell my farm,' and the 'rail fence,' &c. &c. Stories too foolish for children to credit are promulgated as facts, sufficient to destroy the truth which is fairly proved by the word of God and history of ages past. Why use such false and weak arguments? Because the goddess Diana is in danger. It is evidence strong as holy writ, that when men use weak arguments and false productions, their cause is weak, and their foundation is trembling.
"Furthermore. I have been fully convinced, that the effects of the promulgation of this doctrine on those who candidly hear, produce no little examination of the evidence of their hopes, founded upon the word of inspiration. The traditions of men too are brought before the public and tried by the unerring rule of God's word: such as a 'temporal millennium,' the 'Jews' return.' In one word, in a moral point of view, every effect is good; and if ever there is a 'midnight cry' made, the effect must be similar to the one now produced, or it cannot have a scriptural fulfilment. 'Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.' If this doctrine does not make men search the Scriptures, (lamp,) I cannot conceive what would. One more effect I will mention. In every place where I have been, the most pious, devoted, and living members of the churches do most readily embrace the views thus proclaimed; while the worldling professor, the pharisee, the bigot, the proud, haughty, and selfish, scoff at and ridicule the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ.
"And if ever God's word, in his second Epistle of Peter, can be fulfilled, surely it is so now: 'Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the creation.' Every word of this sign is literally fulfilled. In every place where I have been, the Infidel, the Universalist, and many who would be called teachers in our several sects of limitarians, before they are convicted, can all meet on the broad ground of scoffing, ridicule, and falsehood, to put down the doctrine which they are not prepared to meet; and even meet the Universalists on the ground that the judgment day was past at Jerusalem, rather than believe this thrilling doctrine of immediate accountability. McKnight thinks these scoffers will be in the church; how true is it so fulfilled. I have often blushed to see the hardihood of our priests who take the ground of 'my Lord delayeth his coming,' and publicly advocate the doctrine that it is a long while yet to come. 'And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants.' Hear them, calling all manner of names, 'false prophet,' 'visionary fanatic,' 'crazy old man,' &c. 'And to eat and drink with the drunken.' Join any other doctrine, however repugnant to their creeds, rather than consent to this. 'Pilate and Herod can make friends' against this doctrine of the coming of Christ.
"In conclusion, although I have received scoffs from the worldly and profane, ridicule from the proud and haughty, contempt from the bigot and pharisee, and insult from the pulpit and press; yet I have one great consolation: God has never forsaken me, and their weapons have fallen harmless at my feet. Thousands have been brought to read their Bibles with more pleasure; hundreds have found faith in that word they once despised; false theories have been made to pass through a fiery ordeal; and undisputed errors have been searched out and exposed, and the 'word of God has mightily grown and multiplied.'"
MR. MILLER'S INFLUENCE UPON THE
MUCH has been said in the pulpit, and by the editors of public journals, about the evil tendency of Mr. Miller's lectures. An orthodox clergyman of Lynn, (Rev. Parsons Cook,) thinks they are more demoralizing than the theatre! A minister in Boston, of high standing, stated to one of his hearers, that he thought itas great a sin for church members to attend these lectures, as to visit the theatre! Indeed, most of the ministers and laity of different denominations, who have not heard Mr. Miller, have judged unfavorably of his labors. It is supposed that the people are frightened - excited by terrific scenes connected with the conflagration of the world. To place this matter in its true light, we shall give, as a general illustration of Mr. Miller as a speaker, and the influence of his labors on the community at large, the following account of his visit and labors in Portland, Me., in March last.
"MR. MILLER IN PORTLAND. Mr. Miller has been in Portland, lecturing to crowded congregations in Casco-street church, on his favorite theme, the end of the world, or literal reign of Christ for 1000 years. As faithful chroniclers of passing events, it will be expected of us that we say something of the man, and his peculiar views.
"Mr. Miller is about sixty years of age; a plain farmer from Hampton, in the state of New York. He is a member of the Baptist church in that place, from which he brings satisfactory testimonials of good standing, and a license to improve publicly. He has, we understand, numerous testimonials also from clergymen of different denominations favorable to his general character. We should think him a man of but common-school education; evidently possessing strong powers of mind, which for about fourteen years have been almost exclusively bent to the investigation of scripture prophecies. The last eight years of his life have been devoted to lecturing on this favorite subject.
"In his public discourses he is self-possessed and ready; distinct in his utterance, and frequently quaint in his expressions. He succeeds in chaining the attention of his auditory for an hour and a half to two hours; and in the management of his subject discovers much tact, holding frequent colloquies with the objector and inquirer, supplying the questions and answers himself in a very natural manner; and although grave himself, sometimes producing a smile from a portion of his auditors.
"Mr. Miller is a great stickler for literal interpretations; never admitting the figurative, unless absolutely required to make correct sense or meet the event which is intended to be pointed out. He doubtless believes, most unwaveringly, all he teaches to others. His lectures are interspersed with powerful admonitions to the wicked, and he handles Universalism with gloves of steel.
"He is evidently disposed to make but little allowance for those who think differently from him on the millennium; dealing often in terrible denunciations against such as oppose his peculiar views on this point; as he fully believes they are crying peace and safety when sudden destruction cometh. Judging from what we see and hear, we should think his lectures are making a decided impression on many minds, favorable to his theory."
This account of Mr. Miller is from the Rev. Mr. Springer, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and editor of the "Maine Wesleyan Journal," from which we copy it. Mr. Miller, on reading the account, exclaimed, "I have found one honest editor!" Mr. Springer, it will be observed, is not a partisan of Mr. Miller. We commend him for his candor.
The following extracts of letters from Elder Fleming, the pastor of the Christian church in Casco St. where Mr. Miller delivered his lectures, will show the legitimate effects of his labors.
Immediately after the lectures were closed, Mr. Fleming writes: "Things here are moving powerfully. Last evening about 200 requested prayers, and the interest seems constantly increasing. The whole city seems agitated. Br. Miller's lectures have not the least effect to affright; they are far from it. The great alarm is among those who did not come near. Many who stayed away and opposed seem excited, and perhaps alarmed. But those who candidly hear are far from excitement and alarm.
"The interest awakened by his lectures is of the most deliberate and dispassionate kind, and though it is the greatest revival I ever saw, yet there is the least passionate excitement. It seems to take the greatest hold on the male part of community. What produces the effect is this - Brother Miller simply takes the sword of the Spirit, unsheathed and naked, and lays its sharp edge on the naked heart, and it cuts! that is all. Before the edge of this mighty weapon, infidelity falls, and Universalism withers. False foundations vanish, and Babel's merchants wonder. It seems to me that this must be a little the nearest like apostolic revivals of anything modern times have witnessed."
A short time after, he wrote again, as follows: "There has probably never been so much religious interest among the inhabitants of this place generally as at present; and Mr. Miller must be regarded, directly or indirectly, as the instrument, although many, no doubt, will deny it; as some are very unwilling to admit that a good work of God can follow his labors; and yet we have the most indubitable evidence that this is the work of the Lord. It is worthy of note, that in the present interest there has been comparatively nothing like mechanical effort. There has been nothing like passionate excitement. If there has been excitement, it has been out of doors, among such as did not attend Br. Miller's lectures.
"At some of our meetings since Br. Miller left, as many as 250, it has been estimated, have expressed a desire for religion, by coming forward for prayers; and probably between one and two hundred have professed conversion at our meeting; and now the fire is being kindled through this whole city, and all the adjacent country. A number of rum-sellers have turned their shops into meeting-rooms, and those places that were once devoted to intemperance and revelry, are now devoted to prayer and praise. Others have abandoned the traffic entirely, and are become converted to God. One or two gambling establishments, I am informed, are entirely broken up. Infidels, Deists, Universalists, and the most abandoned profligates, have been converted; some who had not been to the house of worship for years. Prayer-meetings have been established in every part of the city by the different denominations, or by individuals, and at almost every hour. Being down in the business part of our city, I was conducted into a room over one of the banks, where I found about thirty or forty men, of different denominations, engaged with one accord in prayer, at about eleven o'clock in the day-time! In short, it would be almost impossible to give an adequate idea of the interest now felt in this city. There is nothing like extravagant excitement, but an almost universal solemnity on the minds of all the people. One of the principal booksellers informed me that he had sold more Bibles in one month, since Br. Miller came here, than he had in any four months previous. A member of an orthodox church informed me that if Mr. Miller could now return, he could probably be admitted into any of the orthodox houses of worship, and he expressed a strong desire for his return to our city."
Similar accounts might be given from most of the places where he has given a full course of lectures, to a society; the minister and church co-operating with him. We could name Boston, Cambridgeport, Watertown, and numerous places; but we will refer to one more, viz. Portsmouth, N. H. The same glorious effects followed his labors in this place, as at Portland. We simply wish to give the testimony of the Unitarian minister of that town, relating to the character of the revival. We are the more particular on this point, because the advocates of revivals have charged Mr. Miller with getting up "fanatical excitements." Now we have an impartial witness on this point. Hear him; he says:
"If I am rightly informed, the present season of religious excitement has been to a great degree free from what, I confess, has always made me dread such times, I mean those excesses and extravagances, which wound religion in the house of its friends, and cause its enemies to blaspheme. I most cheerfully express my opinion, that there will be in the fruits of the present excitement far less to regret, and much more for the friends of God to rejoice in, much more to be recorded in the book of eternal life, than in any similar series of religious exercises, which I have ever had the opportunity of watching."*
Will the Rev. Parsons Cooke join with the editor of the "Trumpet" in ridiculing such revivals as these? Will he now pronounce these lectures "more demoralizing than the theatre?" These are the legitimate fruits of Mr. Miller's labors. Let his accusers beware, lest they be found fighting against God.✝
* Sermon on Revivals, by Rev. A. P. Peabody.
✝ The above testimony to the salutary influence of Mr. Miller's labors must suffice. If it were necessary, we could add a volume of similar testimony from ministers of almost all denominations.
RULES OF INTERPRETATION.
In studying the Bible, I have found the following rules to be of great service to myself, and now give them to the public by special request. Every rule should be well studied, in connexion with the scripture references, if the Bible student would be at all benefitted by them.
MY DEAR BROTHER, - You have requested a synopsis of my views of the christian faith. The following sketch will give you some idea of the religious opinions I have formed by a careful study of the word of God.
I believe all men, coming to years of discretion, do and will disobey God, and this is, in some measure, owing to corrupted nature by the sin of our parent. I believe God will not condemn us for any pollution in our father, but the soul that sinneth shall die. All pollution of which we may be partakers from the sins of our ancestors, in which we could have no agency, can and will be washed away in the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, without our agency. But all sins committed by us as rational, intelligent agents, can only be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, through our repentance and faith. I believe in the salvation of all men who receive the grace of God by repentance and faith in the mediation of Jesus Christ. I believe in the condemnation of all men who reject the gospel and mediation of Christ, and thereby lose the efficacy of the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer, as proffered to us in the gospel. I believe in practical godliness as commanded us in the Scriptures, (which are our only rule of faith and practice,) and that they only will be entitled to heaven and future blessedness, who obey and keep the commandments of God as given us in the Bible, which is the word of God. I believe in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is a Spirit, omnipresent, omniscient, having all power, creator, preserver, and self-existent. As being holy, just and beneficent, I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, having a body in fashion and form like man, divine in his nature, human in his person, godlike in his character and power. He is a Savior for sinners, a priest to God, a mediator between God and man, and King in Zion. He will be all to his people, God with us forever. The spirit of the Most High is in him, the power of the Most High is given him, the people of the Most High are purchased by him, the glory of the Most High shall be with him, and the kingdom of the Most High is his on earth.
I believe the Bible is the revealed will of God to man, and all therein is necessary to be understood by Christians in the several ages and circumstances to which they may refer; - for instance, what may be understood to-day might not have been necessary to have been understood 1000 years ago. For its object is to reveal things new and old, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished for, and perfected in, every good word and work, for the age in which he lives. I believe it is revealed in the best possible manner for all people in every age and under every circumstance to understand, and that it is to be understood as literal as it can be and make good sense; - and that in ever case where the language is figurative, we must let the Bible explain its own figures. We are in no case allowed to speculate on the Scriptures, and suppose things which are not clearly expressed, nor reject things which are plainly taught. I believe all of the prophecies are revealed to try our faith, and to give us hope, without which we could have no reasonable hope. I believe that the Scriptures do reveal unto us, in plain language, that Jesus Christ will appear again on this earth, that he will come in the glory of God, in the clouds of heaven, with all his saints and angels; that he will raise the dead bodies of all his saints who have slept, change the bodies of all that are alive on the earth that are his, and both these living and raised saints will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There the saints will be judged and presented to the Father, without spot or wrinkle. Then the gospel kingdom will be given up to God the Father. Then will the Father give the bride to the Son Jesus Christ; and when the marriage takes place, the church will become the "New Jerusalem," the "beloved city." And while this is being done in the air, the earth will be cleansed by fire, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the works of men will be destroyed, the bodies of the wicked will be burned to ashes, the devil and all evil spirits, with the souls and spirits of those who have rejected the gospel, will be banished from the earth, shut up in the pit or place prepared for the devil and his angels, and will not be permitted to visit the earth again until 1000 years. This is the first resurrection, and first judgment. Then Christ and his people will come down from the heavens, or middle air, and live with his saints on the new earth in a new heaven, or dispensation, forever, even forever and ever. This will be the restitution of the right owners to the earth.
Then will the promise of God, to his Son, be accomplished: "I will give him the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession." Then "the whole earth shall be full of his glory." And then, will the holy people take possession of their joint heirship with Christ, and his promise be verified, "the meek shall inherit the earth," and the kingdom of God will have come, and "his will done in earth as in heaven." After 1000 years shall have passed away, the saints will all be gathered and encamped in the beloved city. The sea, death and hell will give up their dead, which will rise up on the breadths of the earth, out of the city, a great company like the sand of the sea-shore. The devil will be let loose, to go out and deceive this wicked host. He will tell them of a battle against the saints, the beloved city; he will gather them in the battle around the camp of the saints. But there is no battle; the devil has deceived them. The saints will judge them, the justice of God will drive them from the earth into the lake of fire and brimstone, where they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever. "This is the second death." After the second resurrection, second judgment, the righteous will then possess the earth forever.
I understand that the judgment day will be a thousand years long. The righteous are raised and judged in the commencement of that day, the wicked in the end of that day. I believe that the saints will be raised and judged about the year 1843; according to Moses' prophecy, Lev. xxvi. Ezek. xxxix. Daniel ii., vii., viii-xii. Hos. v. 1-3. Rev. the whole book; and many other prophets have spoken of these things. Time will soon tell if I am right, and soon he that is righteous will be righteous still, and he that is filthy will be filthy still. I do most solemnly entreat man-kind to make their peace with God, be ready for these things. "The end of all things is at hand." I do ask my brethren in the gospel ministry to consider well what they say before they oppose these things. Say not in your hearts, "my Lord delayeth his coming." Let all do as they would wish they had if it does come, and none will say they have not done right if it does not come. I believe it will come; but if it should not come, then I will wait and look until it does come. Yet I must pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly."
This is a synopsis of my views. I give it as a matter of faith. I know of no scripture to contradict any view given in the above sketch. Men's theories may oppose. The ancients believed in a temporal and personal reign of Christ on earth. The moderns believe in a temporal, spiritual reign as a millennium. Both views are wrong - both are too gross and carnal. I believe in a glorious, immortal and personal reign of Jesus Christ with all his people on the purified earth forever. I believe the millennium is between the two resurrections and two judgments: the righteous and the wicked, the just and the unjust. I hope the dear friends of Christ will lay by all prejudice, and look at and examine these three views by the only rule and standard, the BIBLE.