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    HIS PUBLIC LABORS

    The public labors of Mr. Miller, according to the best evidence to be obtained, date from the autumn of 1831. He had continued to be much distressed respecting his duty to go and tell it to the world, which was constantly impressed on his mind. One Saturday, after breakfast, he sat down at his desk to examine some point, and, as he arose to go out to work, it came home to him with more force than ever, Go and tell it to the world. He thus writes:LIFIN 60.8

    “The impression was so sudden, and came with such force, that I settled down into my chair, saying, I can’t go, Lord. Why not? seemed to be the response; and then all my excuses came up - my want of ability, etc.; but my distress became so great, I entered into a solemn covenant with God that if he would open the way, I would go and perform my duty to the world. What do you mean by opening the way? seemed to come to me. Why, said I, if I should have an invitation to speak publicly in any place, I will go and tell them what I find in the Bible about the Lord’s coming. Instantly all my burden was gone, and I rejoiced that I should not probably be thus called upon; for I had never had such an invitation. My trials were not known, and I had but little expectation of being invited to any field of labor.LIFIN 61.1

    “In about half an hour from this time, before I had left the room, a son of Mr. Guilford, of Dresden, about sixteen miles from my residence, came in, and said that his father had sent for me, and wished me to go home with him. Supposing that he wished to see me on some business, I asked him what he wanted. He replied that there was to be no preaching in their church the next day, and his father wished to have me come and talk to the people on the subject of the Lord’s coming. I was immediately angry with myself for having made the covenant I had; I rebelled at once against the Lord, and determined not to go. I left the boy without giving him any answer, and retired in great distress to a grove nearby. There I struggled with the Lord for about an hour, endeavoring to release myself from the covenant I had made with him; but I could get no relief. It was impressed upon my conscience, Will you make a covenant with God, and break it so soon? The exceeding sinfulness of thus doing overwhelmed me. I finally submitted, and promised the Lord that, if he would sustain me, I would go, trusting in him to give me grace and ability to perform all he should require of me. I returned to the house, and found the boy still waiting. He remained till after dinner, and I returned with him to Dresden.LIFIN 61.2

    “The next day, which, as nearly as I can remember, was about the first Sabbath in August, 1831, I delivered my first public lecture on the second advent. The house was well filled with an attentive audience. As soon as I commenced speaking, all my diffidence and embarrassment were gone, and I felt impressed only with the greatness of the subject, which, by the providence of God, I was enabled to present. At the close of the services on the Sabbath, I was requested to remain and lecture during the week, with which I complied. They flocked in from the neighboring towns; a revival commenced, and it was said that in thirteen families all but two persons were hopefully converted.LIFIN 62.1

    “On the Monday following I returned home, and found a letter from Elder Fuller, of Poultney, Vt., requesting me to go and lecture there on the same subject. They had not heard of my going to Dresden. I went to Poultney, and lectured there with similar effect.LIFIN 62.2

    “From thence I went by invitation to Pawlet, and other towns in that vicinity. The churches of Congregationalists, Baptists, and Methodists, were thrown open. In almost every place I visited, my labors resulted in the reclaiming of backsliders, and the conversion of sinners. I was usually invited to fields of labor by the ministers of the several congregations who I visited, who gave me their countenance; and I have never labored in any place in which I was not previously invited. The most pressing invitations from the ministry, and the leading members of the churches, poured in continually from that time, during the whole period of my public labors, and with more than one-half of which I was unable to comply. Churches were thrown open everywhere, and I lectured to crowded houses, through the western part of Vermont, the northern part of New York, and in Canada East; and powerful reformations were the results of my labors.”LIFIN 62.3

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