SYNOPSIS OF HIS VIEWS--ADDRESS TO BELIEVERS IN THE NEAR ADVENT--INTERVIEW AT WATERFORD--UTICA--DISTURBANCE AT PHILADELPHIA--THE THIRD OF APRIL--STATEMENT OF HIS AFFAIRS, ETC.
"Mr. Miller had not been sufficiently definite respecting the time of the advent, in the estimation of some who embraced his views. The expression 'about the year 1843' they regarded as too general. As he was about to enter on the long-looked-for year, he prepared and published the following
SYNOPSIS OF HIS VIEWS.
"1. I believe Jesus Christ will come again to this earth. Proof. John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 1:7.
"2. I believe he will come in all the glory of his Father. Matt. 16:27; Mark 8:38.
"3. I believe he will come in the clouds of heaven. Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; Dan. 7:13.
"4. I believe he will then receive his kingdom, which will be eternal. Dan. 7:14; Luke 19:12, 15; 2 Tim. 4:1.
"5. I believe the saints will then possess the kingdom forever. Dan. 7:18, 22, 27; Matt. 24:34; Luke 12:22, 29; 1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:8; Jas. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4.
"6. I believe at Christ's second coming the body of every departed saint will be raised, like Christ's glorious body. 1 Cor. 15:20-29; 1 Cor. 3:2.
"7. I believe that the righteous who are living on the earth when he comes will be changed from mortal to immortal bodies, and, with them who are raised from the dead, will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so be forever with the Lord. 1 Cor. 15: 51-53; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 4:14-17.
"8. I believe the saints will then be presented to God blameless, without spot or wrinkle, in love. 1 Cor. 4:14; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22; Jude 24; 1 Thess. 3:13; 1 Cor. 1:7, 8.
"9. I believe, when Christ comes the second time, he will come to finish the controversy of Zion, to deliver his children from all bondage, to conquer their last enemy, and to deliver them from the power of the tempter, which is the devil. Deut. 24:1; Isa. 34:8; 40:2, 5; 41:10-12; Rom. 8:21-23; Heb. 2:13-15; 1 Cor. 15:54, 56; Rev. 20:1-6.
"10. I believe that when Christ comes he will destroy the bodies of the living wicked by fire, as those of the old world were destroyed by water, and shut up their souls in the pit of woe, until their resurrection unto damnation. Ps. 50:3; 97:3; Isa. 66:15,16; Dan. 7:10; Mal. 4:1; Matt. 3:12; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:2, 3; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 1 Pet.1:7; 2 Pet. 3:7, 10; Isa. 24:21, 22; Jude 6-15; Rev. 20:3-15; John 5:29; Acts 24:15.
"11. I believe, when the earth is cleansed by fire, that Christ and his saints will then take possession of the earth, and dwell therein forever. Then the kingdom will be given to the saints. Ps. 37:9-11, 22-34; Prov. 2:21, 22; 10:30; Isa. 60:21; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 5:10.
"12. I believe the time is appointed of God when these things shall be accomplished. Acts 17:31; Job 7:1; 14:14; Ps. 81:3; Isa. 40:2; Dan. 8:19; 10:1; 11:35; Hab. 2:3; Acts 17:26.
"13. I believe God has revealed the time. Isa. 44:7,8; 45:20, 21; Dan. 12:10; Amos 3:7; 1 Thess. 5:4.
"14. I believe many who are professors and preachers will never believe or know the time until it comes upon them. Jer. 8:7; Matt. 24:50; Jer. 25:34-37.
"15. I believe the wise, they who are to shine as the brightness of the firmament, Dan. 12:3, will understand the time. Eccl. 8:5; Dan. 12:10; Matt. 24:43-45; 25:6-10; 1 Thess. 5:4; 1 Pet. 1:9-13.
"16. I believe the time can be known by all who desire to understand and to be ready for his coming. And I am fully convinced that some time between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, according to the Jewish mode of computation of time, Christ will come, and bring all his saints with him; and that then he will reward every man as his works shall be. Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12.
"With the commencement of the new year, he issued the following
ADDRESS TO BELIEVERS IN THE NEAR ADVENT.
"'DEAR BRETHREN:--This year, according to our faith, is the last year that Satan will reign in our earth. Jesus Christ will come, and bruise his head. The kingdoms of the earth will be dashed to pieces, which is the same thing. And he, whose right it is to reign, will take the kingdom, and possess it forever and ever. And the God of peace shall tread Satan under your feet shortly. Therefore, we have but a little time more to do as our good brother, Paul, was commanded, Acts 26:18, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
"'Let us then put forth our best energies in this cause; let every one of us try, by persuasion, by the help and grace of God, to get one, at least, of our friends to come to Christ, in this last year of redemption; and, if we succeed, what an army of regenerated souls may we not hail in the new heavens and new earth! I pray God, my brethren, that nothing may deter you from this work. Let scoffers scoff, and liars tell lies; we must not suffer ourselves to be drawn from our work. Yes, the glorious work of salvation, within a few short months, will be finished forever. Then I need not exhort you more on this point; you yourselves know the value of this great salvation.
"'And another thing it is well for us to remember. The world will watch for our halting. They cannot think we believe what we speak, for they count our faith a strange faith; and now beware, and not give them any vantage-ground over us. They will, perhaps, look for the halting and falling away of many. But I hope none who are looking for the glorious appearing will let their faith waver. Keep cool; let patience have its perfect work; that, after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. This year will try our faith; we must be tried, purified and made white; and if there should be any among us who do not in heart believe, they will go out from us; but I am persuaded that there cannot be many such; for it is a doctrine so repugnant to the carnal heart, so opposite to the worldly-minded, so far from the cold professor, the bigot and hypocrite, that none of them will, or can, believe in a doctrine so searching as the immediate appearing of Jesus Christ to judge the world. I am, therefore, persuaded better things of you, brethren, although I thus speak. I beseech you, my dear brethren, be careful that Satan get no advantage over you by scattering coals of wild-fire among you; for if he cannot drive you into unbelief and doubt, he will try his wild-fire of fanaticism and speculation to get us from the word of God. Be watchful and sober, and hope to the end for the grace that shall be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
"'Think not, my brethren, that I stand in doubt of your perseverance. I know your faith, your love, and hope, to be rooted and grounded on the word of the Almighty. You are not dependent on the wisdom or commandments of men. Many, if not all of you, have examined for yourselves. You have studied, and found true, what at first was only reported unto you. You have found the Bible much more precious than you had before conceived; its doctrines to be congenial with the holy and just character of God; its precepts to be wise, benevolent and kind; and its prophecies to be clear and lucid, carrying conviction of the truth and inspiration of the Scriptures, by a harmony of manner and matter from Genesis to Revelation. In one word, you have found a new Bible, and I hope and believe you have read it with new delight. I fear not that you can ever be satisfied with the views of our opponents; their manner of explaining Scripture is too carnal to satisfy the devoted child of God.
"'Then let me advise to a continual searching for truth, both for faith and practice; and wherever we have wandered from the word of God, let us come back to the primitive simplicity of the gospel once delivered to the saints. Thus we shall be found ready at his coming to give an account of our stewardship, and hear our blessed Master say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou in to the joy of thy Lord." Every truth we get from the blessed book prepares us better for his coming and kingdom. Every error prevents us, in part, from being ready. Let us, then, stand strong in the faith, with our loins girt about with truth, and our lamps trimmed and burning, and waiting for our Lord, ready to enter the promised land, the true inheritance of the saints. This year the fullness of time will come, the shout of victory will be heard in Heaven, the triumphant return of our great Captain may be expected, the new song will commence before the throne, eternity begin its revolution, and time shall be no more.
"'This year--O blessed year--the captive will be released, the prison doors will be opened, death will have no more dominion over us, and life, eternal life, be our everlasting reward. This year--O glorious year!--the trump of jubilee will be blown, the exiled children will return, the pilgrims reach their home, from earth and Heaven the scattered remnant come and meet in the middle air,--the fathers before the flood, Noah and his sons, Abraham and his, the Jew and Gentile, all who have died in faith, of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, will meet to part no more. This year! the long-looked-for year of years! the best! it is come! I shall hope to meet you all through faith in God and the blood of the Lamb. Until then farewell. May God bless you, and sustain you in the faith.
"'May you be patient in all tribulation, and endure unto the end. May you this year be crowned with immortality and glory. And finally, my brethren, pray God, your whole body, soul, and spirit, be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.'
"'Low Hampton, Jan. 1, 1843.'
"In compliance with the wishes of Elder Marvin Eastwood and his congregation, in Waterford, N. Y., Mr. Miller lectured there from the last day of December, 1842, to the 8th of January, 1843.
"On the morning of the third day, the Congregational minister called on him, with a deacon of his church, and wished to ask him a few questions. Five other gentlemen soon came in, and took seats in the room. Mr. Miller told the clergyman that he might ask any question he pleased, and he would answer the best he could. The minister accordingly asked him some twenty questions, each one of which Mr. M. answered by quoting a text of Scripture. He then thanked Mr. M. for his politeness, and acknowledged that he had answered him fairly. 'But,' said he, 'I do not believe your doctrine.'
"'What doctrine?' said Mr. M.
"'I don't believe God has revealed the time."
"Mr. M. asked him if he would answer three questions.*
"The minister replied that he did not come there to answer questions. One of the gentlemen present then inquired of the minister why he would not answer. He said he did not come for the purpose of answering questions, and did not choose to. The gentleman then said to him: 'I have disbelieved the Bible, but have been one of your principal supporters many years; and, when Mr. Miller has answered so many of your questions, if you will not let him ask you three, I can pay you no more of my money.' He added, 'I have seen more evidence in proof of the truth of the Bible in the few lectures I have heard from Mr. M. than in all the sermons you have ever preached.'
"'Why,' said the minister, 'how does Mr. Miller prove the truth of the Bible?'
"'By the fulfillment of prophecy.'
"'And do not I prove it in the same way? Do not I show how all the prophecies in reference to Christ were fulfilled in him?'
"'Why, yes, you do that; but you have never shown that those prophecies were written before Christ; and it is very easy to write a history. But Mr. M. has shown us how the prophecies are being fulfilled in our own day; he has shown us how the history of Napoleon is a perfect fulfillment of prophecy; and I know that that prophecy was written before the time of Napoleon.'
"The minister and deacon retired. The gentleman then turned to Mr. Miller, and said that he and his four companions were infidels; that they had attended his lectures; had become quite interested; but had very curious feelings, and wished to know what ailed them.
"Mr. M. inquired whether they would attend any more of his lectures.
"They replied that they should lose none of them.
"'Well,' said Mr. M., 'I think I will not tell you what ails you; but, if you will give close attention during the week, I think you will find out.'
"They attended his lectures, and, before the end of the week, with a number of others who had been infidels, were rejoicing in the goodness and forgiveness of God. At the close of his last lecture, one hundred and twenty persons voluntarily arose for prayers; a goodly number were soon rejoicing in the Saviour, and a glorious result followed.
"On the 10th of January, 1843, Mr. M. began a course of lectures in the Presbyterian church in Utica, N. Y., where an interest was elicited which extended to surrounding places. Invitations were received from many of the neighboring towns, which could not be complied with. The meetings closed on the 17th, when forty or fifty were inquiring what they should do to be saved. A good work had been commenced, which continued for several weeks. The Methodist Reformer, published in that city, announced that 'many thoughtless sinners and cold professors were stirred up to duty by them;' and the Baptist Register said, 'Mr. Miller's appeals were often very pungent, and made a very deep impression on the audience, and many came forward for prayer.
"From the 21st to the 29th of January, 1843, Mr. Miller lectured in Bennington, Vt. He then went to Philadelphia, Pa., and lectured in the large hall of the Chinese Museum, which was crowded to excess, from the 3d to the 10th of February. On the evening of the 7th, a gentleman arose and confessed that he had been an infidel, but could now praise God for what he had done for his soul. Many others followed, bearing testimony to God's pardoning mercy.
"The interest attending the lectures continued to increase from the first till the evening before their close. On that evening the house was filled to overflowing at an early hour. When the lecture commenced, the crowd and confusion were so great as to render it almost impossible to hear the speaker; and it was thought best, after notifying the people what was to be done, and giving an opportunity for all who wished so to do to go out, to close the doors, and thus secure silence. This was done, and the speaker proceeded to his subject. For about half an hour there was profound silence, and deep interest was evinced by the immense audience, with the exception of a few unruly boys. This would have undoubtedly continued had it not been for the circumstance of a lady's fainting, and it becoming necessary to open the doors for her to go out. When the door was opened, there was a rush of persons who stood outside for admittance. As soon as this was done, and a few had come into the room, an unruly boy raised the cry of 'fire,' which threw the whole assembly into confusion, some crying one thing, and some another. There did not appear to be any disposition on the part of the multitude to disturb the meeting; but all came from the rush and cry. The disorder arose more from the excited fears of the people than from any other cause. Order was again restored, and the speaker proceeded for a few moments, when another rush was made, and the excitement became so great within as to render it expedient to dismiss the meeting.
"The police of the city were willing to do what they could, but there was nothing for them to do; for they could not govern the excited nerves of the audience.
"On Friday morning the multitude were again assembled at an early hour for service, and Mr. Miller proceeded to answer numerous questions which had been proposed. A most profound attention was manifested until the meeting was about half through, when a man arose and wished to propose some questions, which interrupted the order of the meeting.
"The owners became alarmed for the safety of the hall, and ordered the meetings to be closed after the afternoon service. Although this fact was unknown except by a few persons, yet the room was literally packed with a mass of living beings, who listened with breathless silence to Mr. Miller's last lecture.
"There had been no intimation given throughout of what had transpired to close the meetings, until he came to bid them farewell. There were then bitter tears and strong sighs. The announcement of the fact came unexpectedly. The appeal was melting beyond expression. Probably more than a thousand persons arose to testify their faith in the truth of the advent near, and three or four hundred of the unconverted arose to request an interest in his prayers. Mr. Miller closed the services by a most feeling and appropriate prayer and benediction. No blame was attached to the owners of the Museum for their course.
"About this time it was announced, by a correspondent of Bennett's N. Y. Herald, that Mr. Miller had fixed on the 3d of April for the advent. This being industriously circulated, led Prof. Moses Stuart to say of 'the men of April 3, 1843," 'I would respectfully suggest, that in some way or other they have, in all probability, made a small mistake as to the exact day of the month when the grand catastrophe takes place, the 1st of April being evidently much more appropriate to their arrangements than any other day in the year."--Hints, 2d ed., p. 173. The New York Observer, of February 11, 1843, in commenting on this suggestion of Prof. Stuart, thought it sufficient 'to quiet every feeling of alarm!' As remarks like these, and other equally foolish stories which are referred to in the following letter, met the eye of Mr. Miller, he thus denies them through the columns of the Signs of the Times:--
"'DEAR BROTHER HIMES:--At the request of numerous friends, I herein transmit to them, through you, a brief statement of facts, relative to the many stories with which the public are humbugged, concerning the principles I advocate, and the management of my worldly concerns.
"My principles, in brief, are, that Jesus Christ will come again to this earth, cleanse, purify, and take possession of the same, with all his saints, some time between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. I have never, for the space of more than twenty-three years, had any other time preached or published by me; I have never fixed on any month, day, or hour, during that period; I have never found any mistake in reckoning, summing up or miscalculation; I have made no provision for any other time; I am perfectly satisfied that the Bible is true, and is the word of God, and I am confident that I rely wholly on the blessed book for my faith in this matter. I am not a prophet. I am not sent to prophesy, but to read, believe, and publish what God has inspired the ancient prophets to administer to us, in the prophecies of the Old and New Testaments. These have been, and now are, my principles, and I hope I shall never be ashamed of them.
"'As to worldly cares, I have had but very few for twelve years past. I have a wife and eight children; I have great reason to believe they all are the children of God, and believers in the same doctrine with myself. I own a small farm in Low Hampton, N. Y.; my family support themselves upon it, and I believe they are esteemed frugal, temperate, and industrious. They use hospitality without grudging, and never turn a pilgrim from the house, nor the needy from the door. I bless God that my family are benevolent and kind to all men who need their sympathy or aid; I have no cares to manage, except my own individual wants; I have no funds or debts due me of any amount; "I owe no man anything;" and I have expended more than two thousand dollars of my property in twelve years, besides what God has given me through the dear friends, in this cause.
"'Yours respectfully, WILLIAM MILLER.
"'Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 1844.'
"The almost unparalleled abuse to which Mr. Miller was subject, through most of the secular and some of the religious papers, during this period, called forth the following manly rebuke from the Sandy Hill Herald, a paper published in Mr. Miller's own county:--
"'While we are not prepared to subscribe to the doctrine promulgated by this gentleman, we have been surprised at the means made use of by its opponents to put it down. Certainly all who have ever heard him lecture, or have read his works, must acknowledge that he is a sound reasoner, and, as such, is entitled to fair arguments from those who differ with him. Yet his opponents do not see fit to exert their reasoning powers, but content themselves by denouncing the old gentlemen as a "fanatic," a "liar," "deluded old fool," "speculator," &c., &c. Mr. Miller is now, and has been for many years, a resident of this county, and as a citizen, a man, and a Christian, stands high in the estimation of all who know him; and we have been pained to hear the gray-headed, trembling old man denounced as a "speculating knave."
"'Speculating, forsooth! Why need he speculate? He has enough of the good things of this world to last him through the few days which at longest may be his on earth, without traveling from city to city, from town to village, laboring night and day like a galley-slave, to add to a store which is already abundant. Who that has witnessed his earnestness in the pulpit, and listened to the uncultivated eloquence of nature, which falls in such rich profusion from his lips, dare say that he is an impostor? We answer, without fear of contradiction from any candid mind, None! We are not prepared to say how far the old man may be from correct, but one thing, we doubt not that he is sincere; and we do hope that some one of his many opponents will take the pains to investigate the subject, and, if it be in their power, drive the old man from his position. It is certainly a subject worthy of investigation, and one fraught with momentous consequences; and no matter who the individual is that promulgates the doctrine, if he offers good reasons and sound arguments, drawn from the word of God and from history, we say he is entitled to his position until, by the same means, he is driven from it. Mr. Miller certainly goes to the fountain of knowledge, revelation, and history, for proof, and should not be answered with low, vulgar, and blasphemous witticisms.'
"We like the following remarks, copied from an exchange, in relation to this subject:--
"'MILLERISM.--This is the term by which the opinions of those who oppose the idea of a millennium, and maintain that the end of the world will take place in 1843, are distinguished; and they are thus denominated because Mr. Miller first propagated it.
"'We certainly are not a convert to the theory; but we feel bound in duty to lift our voice in reproof of, and enter our protest against, the infidel scurrility and blasphemous witticisms with which some of our exchanges abound, and from which religious periodicals are not wholly exempt.
"'If Mr. Miller is in error, it is possible to prove him so, but not by vulgar and blasphemous witticisms and ribaldry; these are not arguments. And to treat a subject of such overwhelming majesty, and fearful consequences--a subject which has been made the theme of prophecy in both Testaments; the truth of which, occur when it will, God has sealed by his own unequivocal averments--we repeat it, to make puns and display vulgar wit upon this subject, is not merely to sport with the feelings of its propagators and advocates, but is to make a jest of the day of Judgment, to scoff at the Deity himself, and contemn the terrors of his judgment bar.'
"The Pittsburg (Pa.) Gazette, also said:--
"'We do not concur with Mr. Miller in his interpretations of the prophecies; but we can see neither reason nor Christianity in the unmerited reproach which is heaped upon him for propagating an honest opinion. And that he is honest we have no doubt. True, we think him in error, but believe he is honestly so. And suppose he does err in his views of prophecy, does that make him either a knave or a fool? Have not some of the greatest or best men who have lived since the days of the apostles erred in the same way? And who will say that all these, including Whitby, Bishop Newton, and others of equal celebrity, were monomaniacs, and driven by a pitiable or culpable frenzy to the adoption of their opinions? The truth is, as we apprehend, that many of those who are so indecorous and vituperative in their denunciations of Miller, are in fearful trepidation, lest the day being so near at hand, should overtake them unawares, and hence, like cowardly boys in the dark, they make a great noise by way of keeping up their courage, and to frighten away the bugbears.'
"The editor of the Countryman, in giving the synopsis of Mr. Miller's views, added:--
"'The abstract of Miller's views, which we give on our fourth page, so far as we give it in this paper, is and has been, according to what we have been able to ascertain, the professed belief of orthodox Christians, from the day of Christ's ascension into Heaven until the present hour. Therefore they are not merely Mr. Miller's views, but the acknowledged views of the Christian church, the received Bible doctrine; and if Bible doctrine, then are they the truth.
"'One of the apostles, who shared as largely in the confidence and personal instruction of his Master as any, concludes a reference to this subject in these words: "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless." 2 Pet. 3:14. If the things here referred to have not taken place--and who will say they have?--they, of course, are yet to transpire. If so, is not the caution of the apostle as important in this our day as it was when he uttered it? And if it was an event to be looked for and hoped for then, should it be an object of less solicitude now? Every intelligent, free moral agent upon earth, whether aware of it or not, has an interest in this issue. He may absorb his mind in other matters, he may drown reflection in the whirl of business or pleasure, he may wrap his soul in projects of wealth or ambition, and fill his aspiring eye with the anticipated glories of some dazzling hight, but his interest still cleaves to the immortality of his nature, and, sooner or later, he must discover that it is the most important interest ever presented to his consideration, or that is attached to his being or his destiny. Is it not, then, the hight of wisdom to give heed to these things, and examine them with all that diligence and dispassionate attention their importance merits?'
* Mr. M. was in the habit of replying to those who denied that God has revealed the time by asking them: "What 'wonders' are referred to in Daniel 12:6?" "Who gave the answer to the inquiry there asked?" and "If those 'wonders' include the resurrection,--and the Lord has sworn with an oath that it shall be for a time, times, and a half,--is not the time revealed?" adding, "Whether we understand it correctly or not, is another question."