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    ERRONEOUS VIEWS CONNECTED WITH THE DOCTRINE

    As time has progressed, I have been pained to see many errors which have been embraced in different sections of the country by some who have labored in connection with myself; errors which I cannot countenance, and of which I wish to speak freely, although I may lose the fellowship of some for faithfully doing my duty.WMAD 26.1

    I have been pained to see a spirit of sectarianism and bigotry, in some sections, which disfellowships everything that does not square with the narrow prejudices of individual minds. There is a tendency to exalt individual opinions as a standard for all to submit to; a disposition to piece the results of individual investigation upon a level with solemn conclusions to which the great body of brethren have arrived. This is very wrong; for, while we are in this world, we are so short-sighted that we should never regard our conclusions as infallible, should bear with the imperfections of others, and receive those that are weak in the faith, but not to doubtful disputations.WMAD 26.2

    Some have an inclination to indulge in harsh and denunciatory remarks against all who do not agree with them. We are all liable to err; but we should avoid thus giving occasion of offence. We should instruct with meekness those that oppose themselves, and avoid foolish and unlearned questions, that gender strifes.WMAD 26.3

    There may be causes operating on the minds of others, of which we know nothing, that influence them contrary to the truth, as we have received it. We should therefore, in all our intercourse with those we deem in error, treat them with kindness and affection, and show them that we would do them good, and not evil; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.WMAD 26.4

    Some are prone to indulge in a spirit of uneasiness and disorder, and looseness with regard to church government and doctrine. In all the essential doctrines of the Bible, as they have been held by the pious of the church in all ages, were given to the saints, and for which we are commanded earnestly to contend, I have never seen any reason to change my faith. Jesus I regard as my all sufficient Savior, by whose merits alone I can be saved. No being but Him “whose goings forth were of old, from everlasting,” who should take upon himself our nature, and bear our sins in his own body, could make an atonement, on the efficacy of which I should dare to rely. The Bible speaks as plainly of my Savior’s divinity as it does of his humanity. He is therefore Emanuel, God with us. The Bible tells us plainly what the Savior is. That should satisfy us without venturing beyond the Bible to say what he is not.WMAD 27.1

    It is in the use of terms not found in the Scriptures, that disputations arise. For instance, the difference between the Calvinist and Arminian, I often thus explain: Both are in the same dilemma. They are like a company of men in the lower story of a house when the tide is entering, and from which there is no escape only by a rope by which they may be drawn up. All endeavor to lay hold of the rope; the one is continually afraid he has not hold of the right rope; if he was sure he had the right rope he would have no fears. The other has no fear but he has hold of the right rope; he is continually afraid his rope will break. - Now both are equally fearful they may perchance not escape: their fears arise from different causes. How foolish it is, then, for them to begin to quarrel with each other, because the one supposes the rope may break, and the other that it is the wrong rope.WMAD 27.2

    Now I have found Christians among those who believed they were born again, but might fall away; and among those that believed that if they were ever born again they should certainly persevere. The difference between them I regard as a mere matter of education; both have their fears; and both believe that those only who persevere unto the end will be saved. I therefore look on men as bigots who quarrel with others, and deny that those are Christians who cannot see just as they do.WMAD 28.1

    Some are disposed to lay a stress on the seventh month movement which is not warranted by the Word. There was then a dedication of heart in view of the Lord’s coming, that was well pleasing in the sight of God. Desire for the Lord’s coming and preparation for that event are acceptable to Him. But because we then ardently desired his coming, and sought that preparation that was necessary, it does not follow that our expectations were then realized. For we were certainly disappointed. We expected the personal coming of Christ at that time; and now to contend that we were not mistaken, is dishonest. We should never be ashamed to frankly confess all our errors.WMAD 28.2

    I have no confidence in any of the new theories that have grown out of that movement, viz., that Christ then came as the Bridegroom, that the door of mercy was closed, that there is no salvation for sinners, that the seventh trumpet then sounded, or that it was a fulfilment of prophecy in any sense. The spirit of fanaticism which has resulted from it, in some places, leading to extravagance and excess, I regard as of the same nature as those which retarded the reformation in Germany; and the same as have been connected with every religious movement since the first advent. The truth is not responsible for such devices of Satan to destroy it. I have never taught a neglect of any of the duties of life, which make us good parents, children, neighbors or citizens. I have ever inculcated a faithful performance of all those duties, enjoining good works with faith and repentance. Those who have taught the neglect of these, instead of acting with me or being my followers, as they are called, have departed from my counsels and acted in opposition to my uniform teachings: men have crept in unawares, who have given heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, teaching lies in hypocrisy, denying any personal existence of Christ, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from certain kinds of food, denying the right to pray for sinners, and commanding to violate our social duties, etc. With such things, I have no sympathy.WMAD 28.3

    The doctrine of annihilation and the soul’s unconsciousness in death, has been connected in the minds of some with the doctrine of the Advent. With this there is no necessary connection. This its advocates acknowledge. The doctrine of the Advent was the faith of the primitive church; while the doctrine of annihilation was no part of their faith. It evidently arises from a mistaken use of Bible terms, and a stress on words not warranted by parallel Scriptures. The fact that no trace of this doctrine is found among the ancient Jews, except the Sadducees, who were reproved for not believing in angels, spirits, and the resurrection, shows that none of the pious of that nation attached a meaning to the words of the Old Testament that would sustain such a doctrine. And the fact that no trace of such a belief is found among the early Christians, shows that those who sat under the teachings of the apostles and martyrs gathered no such doctrine from their instructions. - Therefore when such a doctrine is taught, a meaning must be attached to words that they would not bear at the time the Scriptures were written: to get the correct understanding of Scripture we must use words as they were used at that time.WMAD 29.1

    The translators of the Bible had no faith in such a doctrine; therefore they attached no such meaning to the language they used in rendering the original as is attached to the words of the texts by those who quote them to maintain that doctrine. All the arguments in its favor rest on a certain meaning attached to such words as perish, destroy, death, etc. But when we find that the old world being only overflowed with water, perished; and that when our Savior told the Jews to destroy the temple of his body, and in three days he would raise it up, John 2:19, he did not mean that his body should cease to be a body during those three days; we see that such words do not necessarily convey a meaning that proves that doctrine. In fact, one evangelist uses the word destroy, Wilt thou “destroy” us before the time? where another does the word torment, Wilt thou torment us before the time? compare Mark 1:24 and Matthew 8:29. God said that in the flood he would destroy man with the earth, Genesis 6:13, but the earth did not cease to be. Therefore we learn that these words cannot set aside the declarations that the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, etc.WMAD 29.2

    If the word death implies that there can be no part of the man then conscious, it would follow that when Christ died, there could be no part of Him that was conscious; and if there could be no part of Christ conscious after his body was dead, there could have been no part of Christ conscious before he was born of Mary. Death, therefore, can only apply to the body. But that doctrine carried out, must lead to a denial of the divinity of Christ; and we find that in all past history, in the different periods when it has come up for a time, it has been connected with that and other heresies.WMAD 30.1

    The calling of all churches, that do not embrace the doctrine of the advent, Babylon, I before remarked, was the means of our not being listened to with candor; and also, that I regarded it as a perversion of Scripture. This I think all will see who compare Revelation 14 and 18., and observe the chronology of the fall of Babylon.WMAD 30.2

    Revelation 14:6, 7, represents an angel flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming the hour of God’s judgment as having come. This proclamation must of course continue until Christ shall actually come to judge the quick and dead at his appearing and kingdom. In the 8th v. another angel follows, crying, Babylon is fallen; but as the first continues till Christ comes, this cannot follow till Christ comes. But, on turning to Revelation 18:1, 2, we find the angel that follows, crying Babylon is fallen, is one that comes down from heaven, having great power, and lightens the earth with his glory. This angel that follows must therefore be the Lord Jesus Christ descending from heaven to take the kingdom; and when he takes to himself his great power to reign, Satan is no longer the god of this world. It may then be well said, Babylon is fallen, i.e. it has lost the supremacy, Christ has taken that; but while it has fallen it is not destroyed: before that can be done, the saints must be taken out, that they may not partake of the consequences of her sins, nor receive of her plagues, which shall be poured out when Great Babylon shall come in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. When the angel has cried the hour of his judgment come, and the angel has come down from heaven, declaring the fall of Babylon, then in Revelation 14:9-12 another angel follows, pronouncing the fate of the worshippers of the beast, which they are to experience when the cup is poured upon them; then in v. 13 a voice is heard from heaven, declaring those who died in the Lord blessed from thenceforth. The time has then come when the dead are to be raised; and this must synchronize with the voice from heaven in Revelation 18:4, saying, “Come out of her, my people.” To come, is to go in the direction of the invitation. It must therefore be the invitation from where Christ will then have come to meet him in the air.WMAD 30.3

    In Revelation 14:14-16 Christ is symbolized as seated on a cloud, the cry is given to reap the earth, and the earth is reaped; the saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Then, in vs.17-20, the vine of the earth is reaped and cast into the wine press of God’s wrath; Babylon is thus destroyed.WMAD 31.1

    Thus we have a harmonious view of those Scriptures. If this is the correct application, to apply them differently is to pervert them. And if it is, then everything, of whatever name, that is conformed to this world, that loves this world more than the kingdom of God, must have its portion with it: it is Babylonish.WMAD 31.2

    The “woman,” or mystical Babylon, I regard as the fallen church, that ruled by means of the kings of the earth; and all churches that have the papal spirit of formality, or persecution, are partaking of her abominations. But it does not therefore follow that there can be no churches that love the Lord in sincerity.WMAD 32.1

    Intimately connected with the construction which has been given to this portion of God’s word, is a notion respecting the writing out of our belief. It is said by some to be Babylon to be associated together, to write out a synopsis of our belief, or to subscribe our names to our opinions. I am never afraid to put my name to whatever I may believe; and I can find no text of Scripture that forbids it. When the Jews went up from the Babylonian captivity, they made a sure covenant, and wrote it, and the princes, Levites and priests sealed unto it, Nehemiah 9:38.WMAD 32.2

    With regard to the association of the church, her practice has varied in different ages, according to the circumstances in which she has been placed. - When all thought alike, or understood the Bible alike, there was no necessity for an expression of opinion respecting its meaning. But when heresy crept in, it was necessary to guard the meaning of Scripture by expressing, in plain and unequivocal language, our understanding of it. It is because the early Christians did this that we are enabled to ascertain the understanding which the primitive church had of the faith once delivered to the saints. When this has not been done, the history of the church shows that error has spread with the greatest rapidity. For instance, Theodore Parker, among the Unitarians, celebrated for his transcendentalism, takes ground that his brethren have not the right to disfellowship him on account of his constructions of Scripture; and as they have heretofore denied the right of the church to express its belief, they must, on their own ground, fellowship him with all his infidel sentiments; for the dispute between them respects only interpretations of Scripture. To guard against such evils, I am in favor, where erroneous views prevail, of expressing my understanding of the word in such plain terms, that all may be able to compare my views with the Bible, and see whether I make a faithful application of it. And if the world wishes to see, in short, the peculiar characteristics of my faith, and of those who associate with me, I see no harm in giving, as did the mutual Conference of Adventists at Albany, a synopsis of the views in which we can unite and act, and which among others, we believe the Bible teaches.WMAD 32.3

    I have thus given a plain and simple statement of the manner of my arriving at the views I have inculcated, with a history of my course up to the present time. That I have been mistaken in the time, I freely confess; and I have no desire to defend my course any further than I have been actuated by pure motives, and it has resulted to God’s glory. My mistakes and errors God, I trust, will forgive. I cannot, however, reproach myself for having preached definite time; for as I believe that whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning, the prophetic periods are as much a subject of investigation, as any other portion of the word.WMAD 33.1

    I therefore still feel that it was my duty to present all the evidence that was apparent to my mind; and were I now in the same circumstances, I should be compelled to act as I have done. I should not however have so done, had I seen that the time would pass by; but not knowing that it would, I feel even now more satisfaction in having warned my fellow men, than I should feel, were I conscious that I had believed them in danger, and had not raised my voice. How keen would have been my regret, had I refrained to present what in my soul I believed to be truth, and the result had proved that souls must perish through my neglect! I cannot therefore censure myself for having conscientiously performed what I believed to be my duty.WMAD 33.2

    But while I frankly acknowledge my disappointment in the exact time, I wish to enquire whether my teachings have been thereby materially affected. My view of exact time depended entirely upon the accuracy of chronology: of this I had no absolute demonstration; but as no evidence was presented to invalidate it, I deemed it my duty to rely on it as certain, until it should be disproved. Besides, I not only rested on received chronology, but I selected the earliest dates in the circle of a few years on which chronologers have relied for the date of the events from which to reckon, because I believed them to be best sustained, and because I wished to have my eye on the earliest time at which the Lord might be expected. Other chronologers had assigned later dates for the events from which I reckoned; and if they are correct, we are only brought into a circle of a few years, during which we may rationally look for the Lord’s appearing. As the prophetic periods, counting from the dates from which I have reckoned, have not brought us to the end; and as I cannot tell the exact time that chronology may vary from my calculations, I can only live in continual expectation of the event. I am persuaded that I cannot be far out of the way, and I believe that God will still justify my preaching to the world.WMAD 34.1

    With respect to other features of my views, I can see no reason to change my belief. We are living under the last form of the divided fourth kingdom, which brings us to the end. The prophecies which were to be fulfilled previous to the end, have been so far fulfilled that I find nothing in them to delay the Lord’s coming. The signs of the times thicken on every hand; and the prophetic periods I think must certainly have brought us into the neighborhood of the event.WMAD 34.2

    There is not a point in my belief in which I am not sustained by some one of the numerous writers who have opposed my views. Prof. Bush, the most gentlemanly of my opponents, admits that I am correct in the time, with the exception of the precise day or year; and this is all for which I contend. That the 70 weeks are 490 years, and the 1260 and 2300 days are so many years are admitted by Messrs Bush, Hinton and Jarvis. That the 2300 days and 70 weeks commence at the same time Prof. Bush does not deny. And Dr. Jarvis admits that the former carry us to the resurrection and judgment. Prof. Bush, Dr. Jarvis, Mr. Hinton, and Mr. Morris admit that the legs of iron and fourth beast are Rome, and that the little horn of Daniel 7th is papacy. While Dr. Jarvis and Mr. Hinton admit that the exceeding great horn of Daniel 8th, is Rome. The literal resurrection of the body the end of the world and a personal coming of Christ have not been questioned by several who have written against me.WMAD 34.3

    Thus there is not a point for which I have contended, that has not been admitted by some of those who have written to disprove my opinions. I have candidly weighed the objections advanced against these views, but I have seen no arguments that were sustained by the scriptures, that in my opinion, invalidated my position. I cannot therefore conscientiously refrain from looking for my Lord; or from exhorting my fellow men as I have opportunity, to be in readiness for that great event. For my indiscretions and errors, I ask pardon; and all who have spoken evil of me without cause, I freely forgive. My labors are principally ended. I shall leave to my younger brethren the task of contending for the truth. Many years I toiled alone; God has now raised up those who will fill my place. I shall not cease to pray for the spread of truth.WMAD 35.1

    In conclusion, suffer a word of exhortation. You, my brethren, who are called by the name of Christ, will you not examine the Scriptures respecting the nearness of the advent? The great and good of all ages have had their minds directed to about this period of time; and a multitude are impressed with the solemn conviction that these are emphatically the last days. Is not a question of such moment worthy of your consideration? I do not ask you to embrace an opinion of mine; but I ask you to weigh well the evidence contained in the Bible. If I am in any error, I desire to see it; and I should certainly renounce it; but do look at the question, and in view of the teachings of the inspired word, decide for eternity.WMAD 35.2

    What shall I say to my unconverted friends? I have faithfully exhorted you these many years to believe in Christ; you have excused yourselves. What can I say more? Will not all the considerations that are presented in the Scriptures of truth move your hearts to lay down the weapons of your rebellion? You have no lease of your lives, and if the Lord should not come, your eyes may be soon closed in death. - Why will you not improve the present moment, and flee from the wrath to come? Go to Christ, I beseech you; lay hold on the promise of God, trust in his grace, and he will cleanse you by his blood.WMAD 36.1

    I would exhort my advent brethren to study the Word diligently. Let no man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit. Avoid everything that shall cause offences. Let your lives be models of goodness and propriety. Let the adversary get no advantage over you. We have been disappointed; but disappointments will work for our good, if we make the right use of them. Be faithful. Be vigilant. Exhort with all long-suffering and patience. - Let your conversation be in heaven, from whence you look for the blessed hope. Avoid unnecessary controversy, and questions that gender strifes. Be not many masters; all are not competent to advise and direct. God will raise up those to whom he will commit the direction of his cause. Be humble. Be watchful; be patient, be persevering. And may the God of peace sanctify you wholly, and preserve you blameless unto the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.WMAD 36.2

    WM. MILLER.
    Low Hampton, N. Y., August 1, 1845.

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