Ellen G. White Writings

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The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4, Page 456

Congressman Matthew Lyon, and Alexander Cruikshanks of White-Hall, formerly of Scotland—offered him free access to their excellent private libraries. And his passion for study was so great that he kept a hidden supply of candlewood (splinters of pitchy wood and pine knots) to supply light at night. Despite parental warnings, after the family had gone to bed he persisted in getting up to study. In this way he was able to keep a rendezvous with his beloved books, as he lay in front of the open fireplace.

He was blessed with a strong mind and a remarkably retentive memory, and earnestly longed to obtain an advanced formal education. But that was not to be, despite his earnest attempts. He was, nevertheless, fitted for vigorous living and became a leader among his fellows. He was unusually well read and self-educated, and conspicuously methodical in all his ways. He came to be recognized as on a parity with the best-trained minds of the community, with whom he constantly associated. He was also a kind of community scribe, an excellent penman, and a versifier.

In 1803, at the age of twenty-one, Miller married Lucy Smith and soon set up housekeeping in Poultney, Vermont, where a sizable public library became the object of his supreme interest. 2The first public library in Vermont was at Poultney. And it was here that Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Herald-Tribune, spent several years in printer’s apprenticeship, beginning in 1826. Such were the environs of young Miller at roultney. (Walter E. Johnson, East Poultney, Vermont’s Cradle of Culture in the Wilderness, pp. 1-22.) His ability to versify made Miller popular at public occasions in the new community. He joined the local Literary Society, and also became a Mason. But about this same time he formed the acquaintance of the deists of the town. And this, alas, proved to be the beginning of grave spiritual and intellectual difficulties. Miller loved philosophical discussions with his literary friends, for he had a keen mind and a ready wit. He was quite perplexed over the inconsistencies he observed in the professing Christians about him. And he was even more perturbed by the seeming conflicts and contradictions in the

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