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Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller - Contents
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    “‘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.SLWM 381.3

    “‘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 held, in the simplicity of my heart, called your candid and serious attention.SLWM 381.4

    “‘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.SLWM 382.1

    “‘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.SLWM 382.2

    “‘I am thankful for 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.SLWM 383.1

    “‘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:-SLWM 383.2

    “‘1. Will Christ appear the second time? Hebrews 9:28.SLWM 384.1

    “‘2. Will he come himself? 1 Thessalonians 4:16.SLWM 384.2

    “‘3. Who will see him? 1 John 3:2; Revelation 1:7.SLWM 384.3

    “‘4. Who will not be ashamed before him at his coming? 1 John 2:28; 4:17.SLWM 384.4

    “‘5. What will Christ come to do? 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Hebrews 1:10-12; Revelation 21:5.SLWM 384.5

    “‘6. When Christ comes, will there be a resurrection? and of whom? 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18.SLWM 384.6

    “‘7. Where is Christ now? Acts 1:11; 3:21.SLWM 384.7

    “‘8. At what time will Christ be sent again to earth? Acts 3:20, 21.SLWM 384.8

    “‘9. When may we know he is near, even at the door? Matthew 24:30, 33.SLWM 384.9

    “‘10. Has any one of the signs been seen which are given by our Lord in Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24, 25, or Luke 21:25, 26; or by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1-3; also 2 Timothy 3:1-9; or by Peter in 2 Peter 3:3, 4, by any one living in this generation?SLWM 384.10

    “‘11. When is the day of redemption? Ephesians 4:30; Luke 21:28.SLWM 384.11

    “‘12. When shall our bodies be redeemed? Romans 8:23.SLWM 385.1

    “‘13. When shall our souls be saved? 1 Peter 1:7-13.SLWM 385.2

    “‘14. When shall the righteous inherit eternal life? Mark 10:17; Matthew 19:29; 25:46.SLWM 385.3

    “‘15. What is the earnest of that inheritance? Ephesians 1:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:4, 5.SLWM 385.4

    “‘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 Timothy 4:8.SLWM 385.5

    “‘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?SLWM 385.6

    “‘18. And, if you were commanded to watch, would you watch without expecting him? Luke 12:35-40.SLWM 385.7

    “‘19. And, if he did not come when you expected, would you not be disappointed in some proportion to your love for his appearing?SLWM 385.8

    “‘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.” ‘WILLIAM MILLER.’SLWM 385.9

    “On the 4th September, in view of my contradictory opinions afloat, he proffered the following advice:-SLWM 385.10

    “‘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; sent 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.’SLWM 385.11

    “On the 8th 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.SLWM 386.1

    “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 22nd 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:-SLWM 386.2

    “‘Is this Vermont, the State which boasts of its freedom, of its republicanism? Shame on Vermont!’SLWM 386.3

    “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.SLWM 387.1

    “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.SLWM 387.2

    “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.SLWM 387.3

    “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.SLWM 387.4

    “‘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.’SLWM 388.1

    “On the 27th of November following, he wrote to Elder Buckley, who accompanied him on the above journey:-SLWM 388.2

    “‘I cannot tell you what I have done since you were here, but I can tell you what I have not done.SLWM 388.3

    “‘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 chose 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 be come a hermit?SLWM 388.4

    “‘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 the hermitage, away from these evil-tidings and shameful acts of our friends in this time of severe trial?SLWM 388.5

    “‘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 or a great deal of corruption.SLWM 389.1

    “‘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.SLWM 389.2

    “‘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?’SLWM 389.3

    “‘No, no.’SLWM 390.1

    “‘Who has then?’SLWM 390.2

    “‘I answer, it was the grace of God which worked in me of his own good pleasure both to will and to do.SLWM 390.3

    “‘Since I have been preaching this hour, I will give you my text, 2 Corinthians 12:11, last clause: “Though I be nothing.” And now, lastly the improvement.SLWM 390.4

    “‘1. You may learn, by my subject, that I am nothing - like the clay in the hands of the potter.SLWM 390.5

    “‘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.SLWM 390.6

    “‘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.SLWM 390.7

    “‘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,” ‘W.M. MILLER.’SLWM 390.8

    “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:-SLWM 391.1

    “‘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.SLWM 391.2

    “‘I fear that I shall not be able to attend at Boston.’SLWM 391.3

    “His health was, however, so much improved, that, with Elder Buckley, his companion in travel of the previous year, he left home on the 30th of May, and arrived in Boston on the 22nd, three days before the Conference commenced.SLWM 391.4

    “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.SLWM 391.5