William Miller Biography CHAPTER XIX.


"IN the month of September, Mr. Miller attended Conferences in Addison and Bristol, Vt., and lectured in each place. He then took a journey into Connecticut, and visited Hartford, attended a camp-meeting in Newington, near Hartford, and one at Square Pond, in Tolland County. He then visited Middletown. He was much pleased with his journey, and returned home refreshed.

"After this, in connection with Elder A. Hale, he lectured, in November in the State of Vermont, at Waterbury, Morristown, Stowe, Waitesfield and Burlington. Besides at these places, he seems to have labored but little during the remainder of the year. He occasionally communicated articles for the Advent Herald, giving expositions of Scripture, &c.; but the approaching infirmities of age admonished him that his labors were nearly ended.


"'DEAR BROTHER HIMES:--I am yet in this land of toil, where sin has spoiled all the blessings and enjoyments of earth, which were appointed by our beneficent Creator for the best good of his creatures, and which, had it not been for sin, would have led us to reverence and adore that Being who had produced, by his power, this earth and all its appurtenances, and placed in it man--rational, intelligent, social man--to enjoy this vast and wondrous piece of mechanism.

"'Perhaps we are unable rightly to appreciate the blessings which were placed within the reach of man at his creation, when "the sons of God shouted for joy." Yet I think that we do realize some of the evils to which man is heir by reason of "sin, and death by sin," which have entered the world. How manifest it is, at the present day, that all the influences of the pit are inciting men to crime, bringing in their trail consequences ten-fold more dreadful than those entailed upon us by the sin of our first parents! If there were one spark of philanthropy existing in the world, methinks it must bleed at beholding the rapid increase of evil within the last few years.

"'I confess that to me it would be but a dismal and appalling prospect in the future, did not a ray of light beam forth from the word of God, that there should be a glorious and final renovation of all things! This "exceeding great and precious promise," to the man of God, is the only hope that cheers him in his weary pilgrimage. Every means that the wisdom of man could devise for the melioration of the condition of man has failed; ministers of the gospel have been sent into every land; Bibles have been scattered broadcast in the earth, translated into almost every tongue, and placed in the hands of the poor, "without money and without price;" schools of every grade, from the college to the common, have sprung up, in which have been developed the highest mental qualities of man; societies have been multiplied for the moral improvement of our race,--to Christianize the heathen, to reform the inebriate, to break the bonds of the enslaved, to liberate the debtor, to stop the horrid practice of legal murder, to promote peace among nations, to protect the orphan, to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to nurse the sick, and even to bury the dead. These, and many other noble and benevolent enterprises, have been formed within the present century. But how much good have they accomplished? That great good has been done, cannot be denied. But it is likewise true that evil has predominated in a far greater ratio than at any former period.

"'When I look back to the period when we began to publish the news of a coming Saviour, I think it the happiest time of my life. How were our hearts refreshed by the readiness of the dear brethren in Christ to hear, believe, and obey, the simple gospel of the kingdom! With what delight have I, in company with many of the dear, anxious children of God, read and re-read the Scriptures, searched diligently and compared the prophets, Jesus Christ, and his apostles, to see if these things were so! What glorious light I have often seen in that holy book while thus engaged! And with what joy have I taken sweet communion with kindred hearts in the house of God, where our faith was more and more established by the word of his grace; where our prayers were mingled at the same altar, and arose together, as incense, to the mercy-seat of our Redeemer, for a preparation to meet the coming glories, which we then expected shortly to realize; where our hearts burned with love and gratitude to God for the good news of the near approach of the King of kings; where our songs of praise and hallelujahs to the Lamb cheered our drooping spirits, and prepared us more vigorously to pursue our weary pilgrimage to the land of promise, which, from evidence to us conclusive, and which I am not ashamed of, we soon expect to reach!

"'Then, heart beat in unison with heart, soul mingled with soul, and love, holy, heavenly, divine, united us in that oneness of gospel truth, and prejudice and party were dissipated from our thoughts like midnight darkness, or the morning mists by the rising sun. This was a time of love, a time of faith, working by love and purifying the heart. It was this hope, "the blessed hope," that made us purify ourselves from our sectarian prejudices and bigotry.

"'I have often thought that we then enjoyed a foretaste of the love and fellowship of the saints in light. Why is it not so now? The reason is as obvious as the sun at noonday. We have been drawn from our first principles by wicked and designing men, who have crept in among us and drawn us into parties, to follow men instead of God, and to form new tests instead of the Bible. Some of our lecturers first began the confusion by declaring an unholy crusade against the sects, which brought in men of blood instead of men of peace. True, after the manner of men, the sects had provoked us to the course we took by all the wicked arts and misrepresentation of our views and motives that human and satanic agency could invent--by slander, ridicule, and wresting the word of God from the meaning which had long been laid down in their own creeds, and departing from those rules by which their fathers, for centuries, had applied mystic Babylon to the church of Rome. We were not called, in my humble opinion, to engage in so universal a war. I think we have, in this, "left our first principles," which were to preach the blessed hope, and beseech men to be ready for the "glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," without personal or denominational considerations. While we pursued this course, God blessed us in our work. We were commanded by the word to be patient, sober, to judge not, not to be high-minded, but to fear, and, by so doing, manifest the same spirit that was in Christ. What have been the fruits of this departure from the plain line of duty? Surely, they have not been love, peace, and joy, such as we formerly experienced, when we believed in our hearts that Christ was at the door. On the contrary, it has, in many instances, separated those who had been knit together in the closest friendship, fomented jealousies, produced "lo! heres, and lo! theres!" while some have blasphemously arrogated to themselves names and titles which belong to Christ. With such I have no sympathy, no fellowship. I will refer them to Christ's words, Rev. 3:3: "Remember, therefore, how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If, therefore, thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."

"'The glorious appearing of Christ is my only hope; to this I cling--it is my anchor; and all who look for and love his appearing are my brothers and sisters, and with such I have fellowship in the Lord, and exhort them to watch.


"On the 11th of March, 1846, in company with Messrs. Himes and Apollos Hale, Mr. M. lectured at Glenn's Falls, N. Y. It does not appear that he visited any other place till about the time of the annual Conference, which met in New York city on the 12th of May.

"His bodily infirmities rendered it unsafe for him to journey without the attendance of some one to render him all needful assistance; therefore he arranged with Elder Henry Buckley, of Hampton, N. Y., to accompany him to New York city.

"They left home on Saturday, the 9th of May, and proceeded as far as Lansingburg, N. Y. On the Sabbath he went to Middletown, N. Y., where he preached twice, returning, after service, to Lansingburg. On Monday, the 11th, they proceeded to New York city. He took part in the debates and preaching of the Conference, and, though feeble, seemed to enjoy the meetings.

"After its adjournment, they visited Philadelphia. On Sunday, the 17th, he preached in the morning and evening to large and attentive congregations. The next day he visited his former acquaintances, and, on the 19th, he left for Providence, R. I. There they attended a meeting of the Friends, which continued four days, and to which Mr. M. preached four discourses, with his usual interest. On the 25th he visited North Scituate, R. I., and gave two discourses. On the 26th he preached twice in North Attleboro', Mass., and, on the 27th, arrived in Boston. The Annual Conference was adjourned from New York to meet there, and commenced on the day previous. He again took part in its debates, but spent most of his time in visiting friends and acquaintances in the vicinity. They visited Westminster, Mass., where Mr. M. preached on the 3d of June; and, on the 5th, he arrived home, much fatigued with his journey, but in good health and spirits.

"On the 24th of June, in company with Elder Buckley, Mr. M. visited Cranbury Creek, N. Y., where he preached seven discourses in four days. No other place being open for the meetings, they were held in a large barn, owned by Judge Gilbert. It was comfortably furnished with seats, and accommodated very respectable congregations, composed of the more intelligent and pious portion of the community. Mr. M.'s discourses there were spoken of by those present as logical and interesting.

"During the warm months he attempted no public labors; and his pen, even, seems to have lain idle. The next communication received from him was published in the Advent Herald of September 9, 1846, as follows:--


"'DEAR READER:--Permit me to address you once more by calling your attention to the great events which the word of God declares are soon to come to pass, that I may faithfully perform my duty; and that you may be able to answer, in that way which will be satisfactory to your own soul, in the day when God shall judge the secret thoughts of men by Jesus Christ.

"'In my former communications to you on this subject--which is near my heart, fills my soul at times with indescribable joy and consolation, and is big with the hope of soon, very soon, coming into possession of immortality and eternal life--I readily confess I was misled in my calculations; not by the word of God, nor by the established principles of interpretation I adopted, but by the authorities which I followed in history and chronology, and which have been generally considered worthy of the fullest confidence. And I fear many of you have been blinded to your own interest, which may be of eternal consequences to you, by hasty expressions of full confidence in these authors, before I had carefully and more extensively examined the subject to which I had, in the simplicity of my heart, called your candid and serious attention.

"'The testimony of historians, as to the dates of events, cannot affect the testimony of the word of God, that, at certain periods from these events, his promises shall be fulfilled. They may fail, but his word cannot fail. I confess I have been thus mistaken as to the definite time; but what of that? Will you or any man dare to take the ground that, because Mr. Miller or any other man made a mistake, the word of God is not true? No, no. There would be nothing in that worthy of being called an argument.

"'But, above all things else, I was deceived in the number and character of those who, without study, argument, or reason, rejected the (to me at least) glorious news of the coming Saviour. Neither did I suppose that a man or woman could have been found on the habitable earth, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and believed the Bible, who would reject the second advent or the redemption of the body; the final salvation of the soul, or the inheritance of eternal life, at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Yet facts warrant me to say I find more than one-half who profess Christianity denying one or more of these fundamental pillars of the Christian hope.

"'I am thankful to God, although much and sorely disappointed, that I never pretended to be divinely inspired, but always directed you to the same source from which I obtained all the information I then had and now possess on this glorious and heart-cheering subject. Let me, then, exhort you, kind reader, by the value of truth, by the worth of your own soul, and the love of life everlasting, to examine your Bible on the coming of Christ, the redemption of the body, the salvation of your soul, and the everlasting inheritance. Lay by all prejudice, all opinions not founded on the plain and clear declarations of God's word; keep close to that rule which will thoroughly furnish you, and make you perfect in every good work; examine for yourselves; let no man deceive you in these days of deception, when the devil has come, deceiving, if possible, the very elect. Now is the time for you to exercise the "sober second thought;" a good time for you to come over on the side of truth, to choose the good, and refuse the evil. I beseech you, do not say, "Nay, I will not examine!" Do not say, "I am well enough off, and I have got the truth!" Perhaps you have; if so, it will not hurt you to re-examine, for every re-examination only makes the truth the brighter, our evidence more clear, and our love for the truth more fervent; it helps to establish our faith and hope, and keeps us from wavering.

"'And now, dear reader, let me propose a few questions, in view of what I have said, for you to answer to God and your own soul; and I pray you not to trifle with them, or one of them, if you can find a plain Scripture text which authorizes the question. And I beg of you delay not to answer every question which may or can be answered; and let your answers be such as you will be willing to meet before the throne of God in the day of Judgment, to which day I appeal in thus addressing you. I append a text to every question, to show you they are scriptural:--

"'1. Will Christ appear the second time? Heb. 9:28.

"'2. Will he come himself? 1 Thess. 4:16.

"'3. Who will see him? 1 John 3:2; Rev. 1:7.

"'4. Who will not be ashamed before him at his coming? 1 John 2:28; 4:17.

"'5. What will Christ come to do? 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Heb. 1:10-12; Rev. 21:5.

"'6. When Christ comes, will there be a resurrection? and of whom? 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 4:14-18.

"'7. Where is Christ now? Acts 1:11; 3:21.

"'8. At what time will Christ be sent again to earth? Acts 3:20, 21.

"'9. When may we know he is near, even at the door? Matt. 24:30, 33.

"'10. Has any one of the signs been seen which are given by our Lord in Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:24, 25, or Luke 21:25, 26; or by Paul in 1 Tim. 4:1-3; also 2 Tim. 3:1-9; or by Peter in 2 Pet. 3:3, 4, by any one living in this generation?

"'11. When is the day of redemption? Eph. 4:30; Luke 21:28.

"'12. When shall our bodies be redeemed? Rom 8:23.

"'13. When shall our souls be saved? 1 Pet. 1:7-13.

"'14. When shall the righteous inherit eternal life? Mark 10:17; Matt. 19:29; 25:46.

"'15. What is the earnest of that inheritance? Eph. 1:13,14; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:4, 5.

"'16. If we are to receive all this when Christ appears, and not until then, can you blame any Christian for loving his appearing? 2 Tim. 4:8.

"'17. And, if you were commanded to watch for him, and these blessings were promised when he comes, would you not look with intense interest until his coming?

"'18. And, if you were commanded to watch, would you watch without expecting him? Luke 12:35-40.

"'19. And, if he did not come when you expected, would you not be disappointed in some proportion to your love for his appearing?

"'Remember this is the situation of your Advent friends; this is our experience. And may God help you to love, watch, and expect the dear Saviour until he shall come.


"On the 4th of September, in view of many contradictory opinions afloat, he proffered the following advice:--

"'When we write to a brother to complain of some of his opinions, let us consider of it three days before we write; pray God nine times to direct us before we take up the pen; read it in the room of our brother three times before we send it; seal it only when we love him for being God-like; send it when we would delight to be the bearer; while it is going, think with what tears of joy he will devour its contents; and remember to pay postage.'

"On the 8th of September, Mr. M. commenced a tour into Canada. He went by way of Lake Champlain to Burlington, Vt., where he preached in the evening of that day. There he met Elder Buckley, who accompanied him on his tour. From this place they went to Essex, Vt., where Mr. M. gave two discourses. On the 12th, they commenced a two-days' meeting in Cambridge, Vt., where there was a good attendance. On Tuesday, the 15th, they commenced a meeting in Montgomery, Vt., which continued over the following Sabbath, Mr. Miller generally preaching twice a day.

"While at this place he was taken with a severe pain in one of his toes. He was soon relieved of that, when the pain commenced in his left shoulder. He then desired to return home, but was persuaded to continue his journey. On the 22d, he gave two discourses in South Troy, Vt. The meeting was held in a large hall which had formerly been used for a ball-room. While he was preaching in the evening, the windows were pelted with eggs, clubs, and stones, thrown by some 'rude fellows of the baser sort,' who were outside of the building. Some of their missiles entered the room. One stone, about the size of a hen's egg, struck the desk in front of Mr. Miller, where he was speaking. He paused, and, with emphasis, asked, very composedly:--

"'Is this Vermont, the State which boasts of its freedom, of its republicanism? Shame on Vermont!'

"The audience were somewhat agitated; but he requested them to be quiet, and proceeded with his discourse. No one was injured, and good evidently resulted from the interruption; for it aroused the old gentleman's energy, and gave additional interest to the remainder of the sermon.

"On Thursday, the 24th of September, they commenced a Conference at Derby Line, Vt., which continued four days. The pain in Mr. M.'s shoulder had increased considerably, and resulted in a tumor of considerable size, which was much inflamed. Yet he preached six times, with a good degree of vigor.

"On Monday, the 28th, a widowed sister of Mr. M., living in Canada, having met him at Derby Line, he left with her for her residence in Hatley. He was there confined about three weeks with the tumor on his shoulder, which was very painful, affecting his neck and head, and discharged freely for many days. In consequence of this indisposition, he was unable to fulfill several appointments, which he had made in that region, much to the disappointment of the inhabitants.

"As soon as they were able to ride, they started for Low Hampton; but the weather and roads made the traveling very tedious. On his way home he spent a Sabbath, and preached a discourse of two hours' duration, at Rickford, Vt., which left him so weak that it was with difficulty he could walk. On arriving at Fairfield, Vt., they spent a night, and Mr. M. preached in the evening. They arrived at Low Hampton after an absence of about nine weeks, during which he had been treated with great kindness and respect wherever he visited,--with the exception of the incident at Troy.

"'My tour into Canada,' he wrote, soon after his return, 'would have been pleasant and agreeable to me, had it not been for sickness, which confined me to the house.'

"On the 27th of November following, he wrote to Elder Buckley, who accompanied him on the above journey:--

"'I cannot tell you what I have done since you were here, but I can tell you what I have not done.

"'1. I have not done with vanity. It is as natural as my breath; and if I ever cease from vain and trifling conversation in this world, you must place me in society which I have no regard for,--either to love or to hate,--where I could be a hypocrite without any drawback. For I have often noticed, when I am alone and with no one to converse with, that I am not tempted to speak words of vanity. This is the reason why I choose to be alone much of my time. In my opinion, this accounts for the ascetic lives of the early Christians. What think you--is it not best for me to become a hermit?

"'2. I have not done with pain. I have been troubled with head-ache, teeth-ache, bones-ache, and heart-ache, since you left; but much more of the last ache, when I think of so many of my once dearly beloved brethren, who have, since our disappointment, gone into fanaticism of every kind, and left the first principles of the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. And now, can you blame me for desiring a hermitage, away from these evil tidings and shameful acts of our friends in this time of severe trial?

"'3. I have not done with corruption. My swelling discharges a little every day, and I see myself falling to corruption daily. It may be that I am corrupting others who may be brought into contact with me,--for instance, the fanatics. If they never had heard of "Millerism," they would have been sober, worldly-seeking, church-loving, and sectarian-building men and women to this day; and they would have been respected as much as other church members are by the rich and popular worldlings. Yes, yes; so says the world; and you know that what the world says must be true. This is, in these modern times, the best evidence. If then, I had been a recluse, instead of running at large, it might have saved the world a great deal of trouble, and the church the knowledge of a great deal of corruption.

"'4. I have done no good thing. I can prove this by every writer, Christian and political, editors, doctors of divinity, professors and ministers of all denominations,--from the Roman Catholic to the Mormon,--save only a few despised Adventists, who, in the eyes of the world, are as much below the Mormons as Christ was below Barabbas in the Jews' estimation.

"'But,' say you, 'you say you have done no good thing. Was it not a good thing to tell us, who love Christ's appearing, that he was near to come? Was it not a good thing to read the Bible to us, and show by history its fulfillment and truth? Was it not a good thing to warn sinners of their danger, which might lead them to repentance and a preparation for the Judgment? Was it not a good thing to preach the kingdom of Heaven at hand and the Judgment? Was it not a good thing to preach the resurrection of these bodies, the inheritance of the saints, and the reign of Christ and his people on the earth made new forever? Was it not a good thing to comfort the saints with the words of his coming, and to stir them up to a remembrance of the things which Christ, the prophets, and apostles, have spoken concerning his coming? And have not you done all this?'

"'No, no.'

"'Who has then?'

"'I answer, it was the grace of God which worked in me of his own good pleasure both to will and to do.

"'Since I have been preaching this hour, I will give you my text, 2 Cor. 12:11, last clause: "Though I be nothing." And now, lastly, the improvement.

"'1. You may learn, by my subject, that I am nothing--like the clay in the hands of the potter.

"'2. You may learn, if any good has been done, that God has done it by his grace; and if any evil, it is a chastisement for disobedience; for "shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" Amos 3:6.

"'3. We may learn, by the effect of any work, whether it be of God. If wicked men, and proud, selfish, popular professors join hand in hand to oppose you, you may be sure that God is in the work.

"'4. You may learn, by my subject, that I am not well of my disease, nor do I expect to be till Christ comes; for which event I look with great interest and desire. Yours,


"With the exception of an occasional article for the press, Mr. Miller made no public effort during the winter. His health would not permit. As the time approached for the usual Annual Meeting in New York city in May, 1847, he made arrangements to be present; but his health was not sufficient. In writing of his inability to be present, under date of May 6, 1847, he said:--

"'I cannot charge myself with any corrupt motive in promoting the Second Advent doctrine. If I have any regret, it is because I have done so little, and because I have been so inefficient. I have lacked in zeal more than I have lacked in faith. I believed, and do still, in this glorious and Bible doctrine of the second coming of our dear Redeemer, and of his everlasting kingdom or reign in paradise restored.

"'I fear that I shall not be able to attend at Boston.'

"His health was, however, so much improved, that, with Elder Buckley, his companion in travel of the previous year, he left home on the 20th of May, and arrived in Boston on the 22d, three days before the Conference commenced.

"The day following was Sunday, and he preached two discourses, in the afternoon and evening, at the saloon, at No. 9 Milk street, where the Adventists then worshiped. On Monday evening he preached, in the same place, on the resurrection of the body. He took part in the discussions of the Conference during the week, preached once on the following Sabbath, and on Monday left for home, where he arrived on Tuesday, June 1. This was his last visit to Massachusetts.

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