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Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller

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    6. VISITS MASSACHUSETTS - INVITATION TO LOWELL - EXTRACT FROM THE LYNN RECORD - IS INVITED TO BOSTON - CONVERSATION WITH ELDER HIMES - PUBLICATION OF HIS LECTURES BY MR. MUSSEY - LABORS IN PORTSMOUTH - INTERVIEW WITH ELDER ROBINSON, ETC

    “IN compliance with an invitation from Mr. Seth Mann, of Randolph, Mass., dated January 15, 1839, informing him that ‘I, myself, and many of our Baptist and Pedo-Baptist friends here, wish you to come and preach to us,’ Mr. Miller visited Massachusetts, and arrived for the first time in Boston on the evening of April 18. The next day he wrote as follows:-SLWM 121.1

    “‘Boston, April 19, 10 o’clock A.M., 1839.

    “‘DEAR SON:- I am now in this place, hearty and well. Start at half-past twelve for Randolph, where I expect to be next week. Roads were very bad. Snow-storm night before last in Keene, N.H.; pleasant yesterday and to-day. I have been running about this morning; visited India wharf, the new Market, Faneuil Hall, etc., etc. Busy time in Boston. I have no news as yet. Will write as often as you will wish to hear. I stopped at the Pemberton House, No. 9 Howard street. Yours, etc. WM. MILLER.’SLWM 121.2

    “He reached Randolph, and commenced his first course of lectures in Massachusetts on the 21st of April of that year. He closed his lectures there on the 28th; commenced in Stoughton, Mass., on the 29th, and continued to the 6th of May; lectured at Braintree, Mass., on the 7th and 8th, and from the 9th to the 13th in East Randolph, Mass. His lectures in these places were attended by powerful revivals. On the 27th of May Mr. Mann wrote him from Randolph, saying:-SLWM 121.3

    “‘The Lord, we trust, is doing a gracious work in this place. There have been twelve or fourteen already converted, and at the close of the last meeting about twenty arose for prayers. Our last conference meeting was so crowded that we had to adjourn to the meeting-house.... There appears to be a great solemnity on the minds of nearly all in Mr. M’Leish’s society. A powerful work is going on in East Randolph.’SLWM 122.1

    “In July following, Rev. Charles Peabody transmitted to Mr. M. the unanimous vote of the church for him to repeat his lectures in Randolph; but he does not appear to have done so.SLWM 122.2

    “Previous to Mr. Miller’s visit to Massachusetts, Elder T. Cole, of Lowell, had heard of the results attending his labors in Vermont, and had written for him to visit that city. The dress of Mr. Miller was very plain and ordinary, much more befitting his profession of a farmer than of a preacher. Elder Cole, from the reports of his great success, expected him to appear like some distinguished doctor of divinity. When Mr. M. came to Randolph, Elder C. obtained a promise of his services in Lowell, to commence on the 14th of May, and was requested to meet him at the cars. He had heard that Mr. Miller wore a camlet cloak and white hat, but expected to see a fashionably-dressed gentleman. On the arrival of the cars, he went to the depot to meet him. He watched closely the appearance of all the passengers as they left the cars, but saw no one who corresponded with his expectations of Mr. M. Soon he saw an old man, shaking with the palsy, with a white hat and camlet cloak, alight from the cars. Fearing that this one might prove to be the man, and, if so, regretting that he had invited him to lecture in his church, he stepped up to him, and whispered in his ear:-SLWM 122.3

    “‘Is your name Miller?’
    “Mr. M. nodded assent.
    “‘Well,’ said he, ‘follow me.’

    “He led the way, walking on ahead, and Mr. M. keeping as near as he could, till he reached his house. He was much chagrined that he had written for a man of Mr. M.’s appearance, who, he concluded, could know nothing respecting the Bible, but would confine his discourse to visions and fancies of his own.SLWM 123.1

    “After tea, he told Mr. M. he supposed it was about time to attend church; and again led the way, Mr. Miller bringing up the rear. He showed Mr. M. into the desk, but took a seat himself among the congregation. Mr. M. read a hymn; after it was sung, he prayed, and read another hymn, which was also sung. He felt unpleasant at being left in the pulpit alone, but took for his text: ‘Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.’ This he sustained and illustrated by apposite quotations of Scripture, proving a second personal and glorious appearing of Christ. Elder C. listened for about fifteen minutes, when, seeing that he presented nothing but the word of God, and that he opened the Scriptures in a manner that did honor to the occasion, like a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, he walked up into the pulpit and took his seat. Mr. M. lectured there from the 14th to the 22nd of May, and again from the 29th to the 4th of June. A glorious revival followed, and elder C. embraced his views in full, continuing for six years a devoted advocate of them. On the 25th of July, elder C. wrote Mr. M. that, since the lectures, he ‘had baptized about forty, sixty in all having joined the church; and there are yet some who are seeking the Lord.’ Mr. Miller says of his visit:-SLWM 123.2

    “‘At Lowell I also became acquainted with my Bro. J. Litch, who had previously embraced my views, and who has since so aided their extension by his faithful lectures and writings, and energetic and consistent course.’SLWM 124.1

    “From the 24th to the 28th of May, Mr. M. lectured in Groton, Mass., and from the 3rd to the 9th of June, in Lynn, Mass. In connection with his visit to this place, he made the following entry in his memorandum-book: ‘Thus ends my tour into Massachusetts, making eight hundred lectures from October 1, 1834, to June 9, 1839 - four years, six months, nine days.’ The editor of the Lynn Record gave the following notice of Mr. Miller, and his visit to that place:-SLWM 124.2