REMOVAL TO LOW HAMPTON--HIS CONVERSION--STUDY OF THE BIBLE--RULES OF INTERPRETATION, ETC.
"ON the retirement of Mr. Miller from the army, he removed his family from Poultney, Vt., to Low Hampton, N. Y., to begin there the occupation of farming. His father had died there, in the year 1812, leaving the homestead encumbered with a mortgage. That was cancelled by Mr. Miller, who permitted his mother to live there with his brother Solomon, while he purchased for himself another farm, in the neighborhood, about half a mile to the west. This lay mostly above the general level of the valley of the Poultney river, and comprised about two hundred acres of land, with a surface somewhat uneven, and with soil similar to that usually found in sections geologically marked by black slate and limestone. Two miles to the east was the village of Fairhaven, Vt., near the Poultney river; and eight miles to the west, on the southern extremity of Lake Champlain, at the foot of bold, precipitous hills, was the village of Whitehall, N. Y.
"On this spot, in 1815, Mr. Miller erected a convenient farm-house, similar to those built throughout the interior of New England at that epoch. It was of wood, two stories high, with an ell projecting in the rear. The front and ends were painted white, with green blinds, and the back side was red. It fronts to the north. A small yard, inclosed by a picket fence, and ornamented by lilacs, raspberry and rose-bushes, separates it from the public road leading to Fairhaven, which is one of the interesting objects in the foreground of the extended view to the east, as seen from the window of the 'east room,' so full of tender and holy recollections to all visitors.
"To the west of the house, a few rods distant, is a beautiful grove, where, in later times, he often prayed and wept. This spot was selected by the political party to which Mr. Miller belonged, for the place of a public celebration of the national independence, on its anniversary, July 4, 1816. Mr. Miller was selected as the marshal of the day; but, not fancying a party celebration, he used his influence so that all persons, irrespective of party, were invited to partake of its festivities. In those days of party excitement this was considered a wonderful stretch of charity.
"Mr. Miller's grandfather Phelps was in the practice of preaching at the house of Mr. M.'s father, when he made his occasional visits. There was no church at the time in that section of the town. Through his labors Mr. Miller's mother was converted; and a little church was there organized, as a branch of the Baptist church in Orwell, Vt.
"In 1812, Elisha Miller, an uncle of the subject of this memoir, was settled over the church in Low Hampton, and a small meeting-house was afterward erected. On Mr. Miller's removal to Low Hampton, he became a constant attendant, except in the absence of the preacher, at that place of worship, and contributed liberally to its support. His relation to the pastor, and the proximity of his house, caused it to become the head-quarters of the denomination on extra as well as on ordinary occasions. There the preachers from a distance found food and shelter; and, though fond of bantering them on their faith, and making their opinions a subject of mirth with his infidel friends, they always found a home beneath his roof.
"In the absence of the pastor, public worship was conducted by the deacons, who, as a substitute for the sermon, read a printed discourse, usually from 'Proud-foot's Practical Sermons.' Mr. Miller's mother noticed that, on such occasions, he was not in his seat, and she remonstrated with him. He excused his absence on the ground that he was not edified by the manner in which the deacons read; and intimated that if he could do the reading, he should always be present. This being suggested to those grave officials, they were pleased with the idea; and, after that, they selected the sermon as before, but Mr. Miller did the reading, although still entertaining deistical sentiments.
"The time had now come when God, by his providence and grace, was about to interpose to enlist the patriotic soldier in another kind of warfare; when, to his mind, so fond of those departments of truth which appealed only to reason and sense, was to be opened a more inspiring field; when the persevering and delighted student of history was to see and appreciate the connection between the most stirring scenes and mightiest revolutions in this world's affairs and God's great plan of redemption, to which all the events of time are made subordinate.
"Detecting himself in an irreverent use of the name of God, as before related, he was convicted of its sinfulness, and retired to his beautiful grove, and there, in meditation on the works of nature and Providence, he endeavored to penetrate the mystery of the connection between the present and a future state of existence.
"As a farmer, he had had more leisure for reading; and he was at an age when the future of man's existence will demand a portion of his thoughts. He found that his former views gave him no assurance of happiness beyond the present life. Beyond the grave, all was dark and gloomy. To use his own words: "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 knew that there was a wrong, but knew not how or where to find the right. I mourned, but without hope." He continued in this state of mind for some months, feeling that eternal consequences might hang on the nature and object of his belief.
"The anniversary of the battle of Plattsburg--Septemper 11--was celebrated in all that region, for some years, with much enthusiasm. In 1816, arrangements had been made for its observance, by a ball, at Fairhaven. The stirring scenes of the late campaign being thus recalled, Captain Miller entered into the preparations for the expected festivities with all the ardor of the soldier. In the midst of these, it was announced that Dr. B. would preach on the evening previous to the ball. In the general gathering to that meeting, Captain Miller and his help attended, more from curiosity than from other actuating cause.
"They left Captain Miller's house in high glee. The discourse was from Zech. 2:4: 'Run! speak to this young man!' It was a word in season. On their return, Mrs. M., who had remained at home, observed a wonderful change in their deportment. Their glee was gone, and all were deeply thoughtful, and not disposed to converse in reply to her questions respecting the meeting, the ball, &c. They were entirely incapacitated for any part in the festive arrangements. Other managers of the ball were equally unfitted for it; and the result was that it was indefinitely postponed. The seriousness extended from family to family, and in the several neighborhoods in that vicinity meetings for prayer and praise took the place of mirth and the dance.
"On the Lord's day following, it devolved on Captain Miller, as usual in the minister's absence, to read a discourse of the deacons' selection. They had chosen one on the Importance of Parental Duties. Soon after commencing, he was overpowered by the inward struggle of emotion, with which the entire congregation deeply sympathized, and took his seat. His deistical principles seemed an almost insurmountable difficulty with him. Soon after, 'suddenly,' he says, 'the character of a Saviour was vividly impressed upon my mind. It seemed that there might be a Being so good and compassionate as to himself atone for our transgressions, and thereby save us from suffering the penalty of sin. I immediately felt how lovely such a Being must be; and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of such an One. But the question arose, How can it be proved that such a Being does exist? Aside from the Bible, I found that I could get no evidence of the existence of such a Saviour, or even of a future state. I felt that to believe in such a Saviour without evidence would be visionary in the extreme.
"'I saw that the Bible did bring to view just such a Saviour as I needed; and I was perplexed to find how an uninspired book should develop principles so perfectly adapted to the wants of a fallen world. I was constrained to admit that the Scriptures must be a revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend. The Saviour 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 marveled that I could have ever 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.'
"Mr. Miller immediately erected the family altar; publicly professed his faith in that religion which had been food for his mirth, by connecting himself with the little church that he had despised; opened his house for meetings of prayer; and become an ornament and pillar in the church, and an aid to both pastor and people. The die was cast, and he had taken his stand for life as a soldier of the cross, as all who knew him felt assured; and henceforth the badge of discipleship, in the church or world, in his family or closet, indicated whose he was and whom he served.
"His pious relations had witnessed with pain his former irreligious opinions; how great were their rejoicings now! The church, favored with his liberality, and edified by his reading, but pained by his attacks on their faith, could now rejoice with the rejoicing. His infidel friends regarded his departure from them as the loss of a standard-bearer. And the new convert felt that henceforth, wherever he was, he must deport himself as a Christian, and perform his whole duty. His subsequent history must show how well this was done.
"To the church, his devotion of himself to his Master's service was as welcome as his labors were efficient. The opposite party, especially the more gifted of them, regarded him as a powerful, and, therefore, a desirable, antagonist. He knew the strength of both parties. That of the former he had often tested, when, in his attacks, though they might have been silenced, he had felt that he had a bad cause; and the weakness of the latter had been forcibly impressed on him in his fruitless efforts to assure himself that they were right. He knew all their weak points, and where their weapons could be turned against them. They were not disposed to yield the ground without a struggle, and began their attack on him by using the weapons and assailing the points which characterized his own former attacks on Christianity; and to this fact, under God, is probably owing his subsequent worldwide notoriety.
"He had taunted his friends with entertaining 'a blind faith' in the Bible, containing, as it did, many things which they confessed their inability to explain. He had enjoyed putting perplexing questions to clergymen and others--triumphing in their unsatisfactory replies. These questions had not been forgotten; and his Christian friends, also, turned his former taunts upon himself.
"Soon after his renunciation of deism, in conversing with a friend respecting the hope of a glorious eternity through the merits and intercessions of Christ, he was asked how he knew there was such a Saviour. He replied, 'It is revealed in the Bible.' 'How do you know the Bible is true?' was the response, with a reiteration of his former arguments on the contradictions and mysticisms in which he had claimed it was shrouded.
"Mr. Miller felt such taunts in their full force. He was at first perplexed; but, on reflection, he considered that if the Bible is a revelation of God, it must be consistent with itself; all its parts must harmonize, must have been given for man's instruction, and, consequently, must be adapted to his understanding. He, therefore, said, 'Give me time, and I will harmonize all these apparent contradictions to my own satisfaction, or I will be a deist still.'
"He then devoted himself to the prayerful reading of the word. He laid aside all commentaries, and used the marginal references and his concordance as his only helps. He saw that he must distinguish between the Bible and all the peculiar and partisan interpretations of it. The Bible was older than them all, must be above them all; and he placed it there. He saw that it must correct all interpretations; and in correcting them, its own pure light would shine without the mists which traditionary belief had involved it in. He resolved to lay aside all pre-conceived opinions, and to receive, with child-like simplicity, the natural and obvious meaning of Scripture.
"He pursued the study of the Bible with the most intense interest--whole nights, as well as days, being devoted to that object. At times, delighted with truth which shone forth from the sacred volume, making clear to his understanding the great plan of God for the redemption of fallen man; and at times puzzled and almost distracted by seemingly inexplicable or contradictory passages, he persevered, until the application of his great principle of interpretation was triumphant. He became puzzled only to be delighted, and delighted only to persevere the more in penetrating its beauties and mysteries. His manner of studying the Bible is thus described by himself:--
"'I determined to lay aside all my prepossessions, to thoroughly compare scripture with scripture, and to pursue its study in a regular and methodical manner. I commenced with Genesis, and read verse by verse, proceeding no faster than the meaning of the several passages should be so unfolded as to leave me free from embarrassment respecting any mysticisms or contradictions. Whenever I found anything obscure, my practice was to compare it with all collateral passages; and, by the help of Cruden, I examined all the texts of Scripture in which were found any of the prominent words contained in any obscure portion. Then, by letting every word have its proper bearing on the subject of the text, if my view of it harmonized with every collateral passage in the Bible, it ceased to be a difficulty.
"In this way I pursued the study of the Bible, in my first perusal of it, for about two years, and was fully satisfied that it is its own interpreter. I found that, by a comparison of Scripture with history, all the prophecies, as far as they had been fulfilled, had been fulfilled literally; that all the various figures, metaphors, parables, similtudes, &c., of the Bible, were either explained in their immediate connection, or the terms in which they were expressed were defined in other portions of the word; and, when thus explained, are to be literally understood in accordance with such explanation. I was thus satisfied that the Bible is a system of revealed truths, so clearly and simply given that the 'wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.' In thus continuing the study, he adopted the following
"RULES OF INTERPRETATION.
"1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible. Proof, Matt. 5:18.
"2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by a diligent application and study. Proof, 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
"3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering. Proof, Deut. 29:29; Matt. 10:26, 27; 1 Cor. 2:10; Phil. 3:15; Isa. 45:11; Matt. 21:22; John 14:13, 14; 15;7; James 1:5, 6; 1 John 5:13-15.
"4. To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have its proper influence; and, if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error. Proof, Isa. 28:7-29; 35:8; Prov. 19:27; Luke 24:27, 44, 45; Rom. 16:26; James 5:19; 2 Pet. 1:19, 20.
"5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom, is my rule, and not the Bible. Proof, Ps. 19:7-11; 119:97-105: Matt. 23:8-10; 1 Cor. 2:12-16; Eze. 34:18, 19; Luke 11:52; Matt. 2:7,8.
"6. God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are oftentimes revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one. Proof, Ps. 89:19; Hos. 12:10; Hab. 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Cor. 10:6; Heb. 9:9, 24; Ps. 78:2; Matt. 13:13, 34; Gen. 41:1-32; Dan. 2d, 7th & 8th; Acts 10:9-16.
"7. Visions are always mentioned as such. 2 Cor. 12:1.
"8. Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are used much in prophecy to represent future things, times and events--such as mountains, meaning governments; Dan. 2:35, 44; beasts, meaning kingdoms; Dan. 7:8, 17; waters, meaning people; Rev. 17:1, 15; day, meaning year, &c. Eze. 4:6.
"9. Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as figures, by the subject and Bible. Mark 4:13.
"10. Figures sometimes have two or more different significations, as day is used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time, namely, first, indefinite; Eccl. 7:14; second, definite, a day for a year; Eze. 4:6; and third, a day for a thousand years. 2 Pet. 3:8. The right construction will harmonize with the Bible, and make good sense; other constructions will not.
"11. If a word makes good sense as it stands, and does no violence to the simple laws of nature, it is to be understood literally; if not, figuratively. Rev. 12:1, 2; 17:3-7.
"12. To learn the meaning of a figure, trace the word through your Bible, and when you find it explained, substitute the explanation for the word used; and, if it make good sense, you need not look further; if not, look again.
"13. To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of a prophecy: If you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event; but if one word lacks a fulfillment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development; for God takes care that history and prophecy shall agree, so that the true believing children of God may never be ashamed. Ps. 22:5; Isa. 45:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:6; Rev. 17:17; Acts 3:18.
"14. The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith. It must be a faith that requires a sacrifice, and, if tried, would give up the dearest object on earth, the world and all its desires--character, living, occupation, friends, home, comforts and worldly honors. If any of these should hinder our believing any part of God's word, it would show our faith to be vain. Nor can we ever believe so long as one of these motives lies lurking in our hearts. We must believe that God will never forfeit his word; and we can have confidence that He who takes notice of the sparrow's fall, and numbers the hairs of our head, will guard the translation of his own word, and throw a barrier around it, and prevent those who sincerely trust in God, and put implicit confidence in his word, from erring far from the truth.
"'While thus studying the Scriptures,'--continuing the words of his own narrative,--'I became satisfied, if the prophecies which have been fulfilled in the past are any criterion by which to judge of the manner of the fulfillment of those which are future, that the popular views of the spiritual reign of Christ--a temporal millennium before the end of the world, and the Jews' return--are not sustained by the word of God; for I found that all the Scriptures on which those favorite theories are based are as clearly expressed as are those that were literally fulfilled at the first advent, or at any other period in the past.
"'I found it plainly taught in the Scriptures that Jesus Christ will again descend to this earth, coming in the clouds of heaven, in all the glory of his Father:(1) that, at his coming, the kingdom and dominion under the whole heaven will be given unto Him and the saints of the Most High, who will possess it forever, even forever and ever:(2) that, as the old world perished by the deluge, so the earth, that now is, is reserved unto fire, to be melted with fervent heat at Christ's coming; after which, according to the promise, it is to become the new earth, wherein the righteous will forever dwell:(3) that at his coming, the bodies of all the righteous dead will be raised, and all the righteous living be changed from a corruptible to an incorruptible, from a mortal to an immortal state; that they will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, and will reign with him forever in the regenerated earth.(4)
"The controversy with Zion will then be finished, her children be delivered from bondage, and from the power of the tempter, and the saints be all presented to God blameless, without spot or wrinkle, in love;(5) that the bodies of the wicked will then be all destroyed, and their spirits be reserved in prison(6) until their resurrection and damnation;(7) and that, when the earth is thus regenerated, and the righteous raised, and the wicked destroyed, the kingdom of God will have come, when his will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven; that the meek will inherit it, and the kingdom become the saint's.(8)
"I found that the only millennium taught in the word of God is the thousand years which are to intervene between the first resurrection and that of the rest of the dead, as inculcated in the twentieth of Revelation; and that it must necessarily follow the personal coming of Christ and the regeneration of the earth,(9) that, till Christ's coming, and the end of the world, the righteous and wicked are to continue together on the earth, and that the horn of the papacy is to war against the saints until his appearing and kingdom, when it will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming; so that there can be no conversion of the world before the advent;(10) and that as the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, is located by Peter after the conflagration, and is declared by him to be the same for which we look, according to the promise of Isa. 65:17.
"This is the same that John saw in vision after the passing away of the former heavens and earth; it must necessarily follow that the various portions of Scripture that refer to the millennial state must have their fulfillment after the resurrection of all the saints that sleep in Jesus.(11) I also found that the promises respecting Israel's restoration are applied by the apostle to all who are Christ's--the putting on of Christ constituting them Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise.(12)
"I was then satisfied, as I saw conclusive evidence to prove the advent personal and pre-millennial, that all the events for which the church look to be fulfilled [in the millennium] before the advent, must be subsequent to it; and that, unless there were other unfulfilled prophecies, the advent of the Lord, instead of being looked for only in the distant future, might be a continually-expected event. In examining the prophecies on that point, I found that only four universal monarchies are anywhere predicted, in the Bible, to precede the setting up of God's everlasting kingdom; that three of those had passed away--Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Grecia--and that the fourth--Rome--had already passed into its last state, the state in which it is to be when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall smite the image on the feet, and break to pieces all the kingdoms of this world.
"I was unable to find any prediction of events which presented any clear evidence of their fulfillment before the scenes that usher in the advent. And finding all the signs of the times, and the present condition of the world, to compare harmoniously with the prophetic descriptions of the last days, I was compelled to believe that this world had about reached the limits of the period allotted for its continuance. As I regarded the evidence, I could arrive at no other conclusion.
"Another kind of evidence that vitally affected my mind was the chronology of the Scriptures. I found, on pursuing the study of the Bible, various chronological periods extending, according to my understanding of them, to the coming of the Saviour. I found that predicted events, which had been fulfilled in the past, often occurred within a given time. The one hundred and twenty years to the flood; Gen. 6:3; the seven days that were to precede it, with forty days of predicted rain; Gen. 7:4; the four hundred years of sojourn of Abraham's seed; Gen. 15:13; the three days of the butler's and baker's dreams; Gen. 40:12-20; the seven years of Pharaoh's; Gen. 41:28-54; the forty years in the wilderness; Num. 14:34; the three and a half years of famine: 1 Kings 17:1; the sixty-five years to the breaking of Ephraim Isa. 7:8; the seventy years captivity; Jer. 25:11; Nebuchadnezzar's seven times; Dan. 4:13-16; and the seven weeks, threescore and two weeks, and the one week, making seventy weeks, determined upon the Jews; Dan. 9:24-27; the events limited by these times were all once only a matter of prophecy, and were fulfilled in accordance with the predictions.
"When, therefore, I found the 2300 prophetic days, which were to mark the length of the vision from the Persian to the end of the fourth kingdom, the seven times' continuance of the dispersion of God's people, and the 1335 prophetic days to the standing of Daniel in his lot, all evidently extending to the advent,(13) with other prophetical periods, I could but regard them as 'the times before appointed,' which God had revealed 'unto his servants the prophets.' As I was fully convinced that 'all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable,'--that it came not at any time by the will of man, but was written as holy men were moved by the Holy Ghost, and was written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope,--I could but regard the chronological portions of the Bible as being as much a portion of the word of God, and as much entitled to our serious consideration, as any other portion of the Scriptures.
"I, therefore, felt that, in endeavoring to comprehend what God had in his mercy seen fit to reveal to us, I had no right to pass over the prophetic periods. I saw that, as the events predicted to be fulfilled in prophetic days had been extended over about as many literal years; as God, in Num. 14:34, and Eze. 4:4-6, had appointed each day for a year; as the seventy weeks to the Messiah were fulfilled in 490 years, and the 1260 prophetic days of the papal supremacy in 1260 years; and as these prophetical days extending to the advent were given in connection with symbolic prophecy, I could only regard the time as symbolical, and as standing each day for a year, in accordance with the opinions of all the standard Protestant commentators. If, then, we could obtain any clue to the time of their commencement, i conceived we should be guided to the probable time of their termination, and, as God would not bestow upon us a useless revelation, I regarded them as conducting us to the time when we might confidently look for the coming of the Chiefest of ten thousand, One altogether lovely.
"From a further study of the Scriptures, I concluded that the seven times of Gentile supremacy must commence when the Jews ceased to be an independent nation, at the captivity of Manasseh, which the best chronologers assigned to B.C. 677; that the 2300 days commenced with the seventy weeks, which the best chronologers dated from B.C. 457; and that the 1335 days, commencing with the taking away of the daily, and the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate, Dan. 12:11, were to be dated from the setting up of the papal supremacy, after the taking away of pagan abominations, and which, according to the best historians I could consult, should be dated from about A.D. 508. Reckoning all these prophetic periods from the several dates assigned by the best chronologers for the events from which they should evidently be reckoned, they would all terminate together, about A.D. 1843.
"I was thus brought, in 1818, at the close of my two years' study of the Scriptures, to the solemn conclusion that in about twenty-five years from that time all the affairs of our present state would be wound up; that all its pride and power, pomp and vanity, wickedness and oppression, would come to an end; and that, in the place of the kingdoms of this world, the peaceful and long-desired kingdom of the Messiah would be established under the whole heaven; that, in about twenty-five years, the glory of the Lord would be revealed, and all flesh see it together--the desert bud and blossom as the rose, the fir-tree come up instead of the thorn, and, instead of the briar, the myrtle-tree--the curse be removed from off the earth, death be destroyed, reward be given to the servants of God, the prophets and saints, and them who fear his name, and those be destroyed that destroy the earth.
"I need not speak of the joy that filled my heart in view of the delightful prospect, nor of the ardent longings of my soul for a participation in the joys of the redeemed. The Bible was now to me a new book. It was indeed a feast of reason; all that was dark, mystical or obscure, to me, in its teachings, had been dissipated from my mind before the clear light that now dawned from its sacred pages; and oh, how bright and glorious the truth appeared!
"All the contradictions and inconsistencies I had before found in the word were gone; and, although there were many portions of which I was not satisfied I had a full understanding, yet so much light had emanated from it to the illumination of my before darkened mind, that I felt a delight in studying the Scriptures which I had not before supposed could be derived from its teachings. I commenced their study with no expectation of finding the time of the Saviour's coming, and I could at first hardly believe the result to which I had arrived; but the evidence struck me with such force that I could not resist my convictions. I became nearly settled in my conclusions, and began to wait, and watch, and pray for my Saviour's coming.
"The above are the conclusions to which he arrived on the general subject of prophecy; but his views on other scriptural topics may not be uninteresting in this connection. His general theological opinions may be inferred from his connecting himself with a Calvinistic Baptist church, as the one most congenial to his faith. But he has left, among his papers, an unfinished compendium of his belief, which bears date, and is appended to the annexed certificate, as follows:--
"'LOW HAMPTON, SEPT. 5, 1822.
"'I hereby acknowledge that I have long believed it my duty . . . to leave, for the inspection of my brethren, friends and children, a brief statement of my faith (and which ought to be my practice); and I pray God to forgive me where I go astray. I made it a subject of prayer and meditation, and, therefore, leave the following as my faith,--reserving the privilege of correction.
"'(Signed,) WM. MILLER.
"'I believe the Bible is given by God to man, as a rule for our practice, and a guide to our faith--that it is a revelation of God to man.
"'I believe in one living and true God, and that there are three persons in the Godhead--as there is in man, the body, soul, and spirit. And if any one will tell me how these exist, I will tell him how the three persons of the Triune God are connected.
"'I believe that God, by his Son, created man in the image of the Triune God, with a body, soul, and spirit; and that he was created a moral agent, capable of living, of obeying, or transgressing the laws of his Maker.
"'I believe that man, being tempted by the enemy of all good, did transgress, and became polluted; from which act, sin entered into the world, and all mankind became naturally sinners, thrust out from the presence of God, and exposed to his just wrath forever."
"'I believe that God, knowing from eternity the use that man would make of his [free] agency, did, in his council of eternity ordain that his Son should die; and that through his death salvation should be given to fallen man, through such means as God should appoint.
"'I believe that, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, sinners are made the recipients of mercy, in conformity to the divine plan, founded on the wisdom and knowledge of God; the fruits of which are manifested in the recipient by works of repentance and faith; and without which no man, coming to years of discretion, and able to choose between good and evil, can have an interest in the blood and righteousness of Christ.
"'I believe that Jesus Christ is an offering of God to sinners for their redemption from sin, and that those who believe in his name may take him by faith, go to God, and find mercy; and that such will in nowise be rejected.
"'I believe that Jesus Christ was the sacrifice for sin which justice demanded; and that all those who confess their sins on the head of this victim may expect forgiveness of sin through the blood of the atonement, which is in Jesus Christ, the great High Priest in the holy of holies.
"'I believe the atonement to be made by the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of his blood in the holy of holies, and upon the mercy-seat and people; by which means the offended is reconciled to the offender, the offender is brought into subjection to the will of God; and the effect is, forgiveness of sin, union to the divine person, and to the household of faith.
"'I believe all those for whom Christ intercedes, who are united to God by a living faith, and have received the forgiveness of sin through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, can never perish; but are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation.
"'I believe that all the promises of God are and will be accomplished in Christ Jesus; and that none of the human family are or can be entitled to the promises of grace, but those who are born of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, any more than the antediluvians could have been saved from the deluge without entering the ark.
"'I believe that Christ will eventually take away the sin of the world, and cleanse the earth from all pollution, so that this earth will become the abode of the saints forever, by means which he has appointed; all believers being regenerated, sanctified, justified, and glorified.
"'I believe that all final impenitents will be destroyed from the earth, and sent away into a place prepared for the devil and his angels.
"'I believe Jesus Christ will come again in his glory and person to our earth, where he will accomplish his divine purposes in the saving of his people, destroying the wicked from the earth, and taking away the sin of the world.
"'I believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, even at the door, even within twenty-one years,--on or before 1843.
"'I believe that before Christ comes in his glory, all sectarian principles will be shaken, and the votaries of the several sects scattered to the four winds; and that none will be able to stand but those who are built on the word of God.
"'I believe in the resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust--the just, or believers, at Christ's second coming, and the unjust one thousand years afterwards--when the judgment of each will take place in their order, at their several resurrections; when the just will receive everlasting life, and the unjust eternal condemnation.
"'I believe in the doctrine of election, founded on the will, purpose, and fore-knowledge of God; and that all the elect will be saved in the kingdom of God, through the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth.
"'I believe in the ordinance of baptism by immersion, as a representation of Christ's burial and resurrection--also of our death to sin and life to holiness.
"'I believe in the ordinance of the Lord's supper, to be'--
"The last article was left thus incomplete, and the series of articles was not extended, as it was evidently designed to have been, so as to give an expression of his faith on subjects not included in the foregoing. It is not known that his views, as above expressed, ever underwent any change--excepting as his belief in the date of the second advent was afterwards shown, by the passing of time, to be incorrect."
(1) See John 14:3; Acts. 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 16:27; 24:30; Mark. 8:38; 13:26; Dan. 7:13.
(2) Dan. 7:14, 18, 22, 27; Matt. 25:34; Luke 12:32; 19:12, 15; 22:29; 1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:1, 8; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4.
(3) 2 Pet. 3:7-10; Isa. 65:17-19; Rev. 21:22.
(4) 1 Cor. 15:20, 23, 49, 51-53; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thess. 4:14-17; 1 John 3:2.
(5) Isa. 34:8; 40:2, 5; 41:10-12; Rom. 8:21-23; 1 Cor. 1:7, 8; 4:14; 15:54, 56; Eph. 5:27; Col. 1:22; 1 Thess. 3:13; Heb. 2:13-15; Jude 24; Rev. 20:1-6.
(6) It will be seen that Wm. Miller held the doctrine of consciousness in death, which most of the Adventists have renounced.
(7) Ps. 50:3; 97:3; Isa. 60:15, 16; 24:21, 22; Dan. 7:10; Mal. 4:1; Matt. 3:12; John 25:29; Acts 24:15; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Thess. 5:2, 3; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; 1 Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 3:7,10; Jude 6:7, 14, 15; Rev. 20:3, 13-15.
(8) Ps. 37:9-11; 22, 28, 29, 34; Prov. 2:21, 22; 10:30; Isa. 40;21; Matt. 5:5; 6:10.
(9) Rev. 20:2-7.
(10) Matt. 13:37-43; 24:14; Dan. 7:21, 22; 2 Thess. 2:8.
(11) Rom. 2:14, 15; 4:13; 9:6; 10:12; 11:17; Gal. 3:29; Eph. 2:14, 15.
(12) 2 Pet. 3; Isa. 65:17; Rev. 21:22.
(13) The supposition that two of the periods of Daniel extended to the second advent constituted Mr. Miller's mistake, hence the consequent disappointment. J. W.
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