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The Great Second Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress

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    William Miller’s Conversion

    He further said: “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 revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend.... 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.”GSAM 119.1

    William Miller’s 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, methodical manner.... 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.... 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.GSAM 119.2

    “While thus studying, 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 yet 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.... 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.GSAM 120.1

    “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 the Saviour’s coming.”GSAM 120.2

    Again he says: “I believed; and immediately the duty to publish this doctrine, that the world might believe and get ready to meet the Judge and Bridegroom at his coming, was impressed upon my mind. I need not here go into a detailed account of my long and sore trials. Suffice it to say, that after a number of years I was compelled by the Spirit of God, the power of truth, and the love of souls, to take up my cross and proclaim these things to a dying and perishing world.”GSAM 120.3

    Mr. Miller, like those moved out by this message in other countries, first thought to fulfil his commission by writing and publishing in the public journals and in pamphlets. He first published his views in the Vermont Telegraph, a Baptist paper, printed in Brandon, Vt. This was in the year 1831. He first spoke in public on the subject in the year 1832. He said of this meeting, “The Lord poured his grace on the congregation, and many believed to the salvation of their souls.”GSAM 120.4

    In 1836 his lectures were printed in some of the public journals of the day. In the winter of 1837-38 his lectures were issued in a pamphlet. In 1838 a second pamphlet of 204 pages was printed, and in this pamphlet Mr. Miller stated that the Ottoman power might fall in the year 1839 or 1840. His first lectures in any of the large cities were in the year 1836. He then spoke in the cities of Randolph, Lowell, Gratton, and Lynn, Mass.GSAM 121.1

    Down to 1840 Mr. Miller stood almost alone as a public speaker on the theme of the near advent of Christ. In that year, suddenly, hundreds joined him in proclaiming the message. What produced this great change will be noted in the following chapter. In the winter of 1839-40 Mr. Miller gave a series of lectures in Exeter, N.H. He there first met Elder J. V. Himes, who at that time accepted the faith, and from that date stood side by side with Elder Miller as publisher and ardent preacher of the great second advent message.GSAM 121.2

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