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Sketches of the Christian Life and Public Labors of William Miller

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    “‘FATHER MILLER

    “‘While we are not prepared to subscribe to the doctrine promulgated by this gentleman, we have been surprised at the means made use of by its opponents to put it down. Certainly all who have ever heard him lecture, or have read his works, must acknowledge that he is a sound reasoner, and, as such, is entitled to fair arguments from those who differ with him. Yet his opponents do not see fit to exert their reasoning powers, but content themselves by denouncing the old gentlemen as a “fanatic,” a “liar,” “deluded old fool,” “speculator,” etc., etc. Mr. Miller is now, and has been for many years, a resident of this county, and as a citizen, a man, and a Christian, stands high in the estimation of all who know him; and we have been pained to hear the gray-headed, trembling old man denounced as a “speculating knave.”SLWM 183.2

    “‘Speculating, forsooth! Why need he speculate? He has enough of the good things of this world to last him through the few days which at longest may be his on earth, without traveling from city to city, from town to village, laboring night and day like a galley-slave, to add to a store which is already abundant. Who that has witnessed his earnestness in the pulpit, and listened to the uncultivated eloquence of nature, which falls in such rich profusion from his lips, dare say that he is an imposter? We answer, without fear of contradiction from any candid mind, None! We are not prepared to say how far the old man may be from correct, but one thing, we doubt not that is is sincere; and we do hope that some one of his many opponents will take the pains to investigate the subject, and, if it be in their power, drive the old man from his position. It is certainly a subject worthy of investigation, and one fraught with momentous consequences; and no matter who the individual is that promulgates the doctrine, if he offers good reasons and sound arguments, drawn from the word of God and from history, we say he is entitled to his position until, by the same means, he is driven from it. Mr. Miller certainly goes to the fountain of knowledge, revelation, and history, for proof, and should not be answered with low, vulgar, and blasphemous witticisms.’SLWM 184.1

    “We like the following remarks, copied from an exchange, in relation to this subject:-SLWM 185.1

    “‘MILLERISM, - This is the term by which the opinions of those who oppose the idea of a millennium, and maintain that the end of the world will take place in 1843, are distinguished; and they are thus denominated because Mr. Miller first propagated it.SLWM 185.2

    “‘We certainly are not a convert to the theory; but we feel bound in duty to lift our voice in reproof of, and enter our protest against, the infidel scurrility and blasphemous witticisms with which some of our exchanges abound, and from which religious periodicals are not wholly exempt.SLWM 185.3

    “‘If Mr. Miller is in error, it is possible to prove him so, but not by vulgar and blasphemous witticisms and ribaldry; these are not arguments. And to treat a subject of such overwhelming majesty, and fearful consequences - a subject which has been made the theme of prophecy in both Testaments; the truth of which, occur when it will, God has sealed by his own unequivocal averments - we repeat it, to make puns and display vulgar wit upon this subject is not merely to sport with the feelings of its propagators and advocates, but is to make a jest of the day of Judgment, to scoff at the Deity himself, and contemn the terrors of his judgment bar.’SLWM 185.4

    “The Pittsburg (Pa.) Gazette, also said:-SLWM 186.1

    “‘We do not concur with Mr. Miller in his interpretations of the prophecies; but we can see neither reason nor Christianity in the unmerited reproach which is heaped upon him for propagating an honest opinion. And that he is honest we have no doubt. True, we think him in error, but believe he is honestly so. And suppose he does err in his views of prophecy, does that make him either a knave or a fool? Have not some of the greatest or best men who have lived since the days of the apostles erred in the same way? And who will say that all these, including Whitby, Bishop Newton, and others of equal celebrity, were monomaniacs, and driven by a pitiable or culpable frenzy to the adoption of their opinions? The truth is, as we apprehend, that many of those who are so indecorous and vituperative in their denunciations of Miller, are in fearful trepidation, lest the day being so near at hand, should overtake them unawares, and hence, like cowardly boys in the dark, they make a great noise by way of keeping up their courage, and to frighten away the bugbears.’SLWM 186.2

    “The editor of the Countryman, in giving the synopsis of Mr. Miller’s views, added:-SLWM 186.3

    “‘The abstract of Miller’s views, which we give on our fourth page, so far as we give it in this paper, is and has been, according to what we have been able to ascertain, the professed belief of orthodox Christians, from the day of Christ’s ascension into Heaven until the present hour. Therefore they are not merely Mr. Miller’s views, but the acknowledged views of the Christian church, the received Bible doctrine; and if Bible doctrine, then are they the truth.SLWM 186.4

    “‘One of the apostles, who shared as largely in the confidence and personal instruction of his Master as any, concludes a reference to this subject in these words: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that he may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14. If the things here referred to have not taken place - and who will say they have? - they, of course, are yet to transpire. If so, is not the caution of the apostle as important in this our day as it was when he uttered it? and if it was an event to be looked for and hoped for then, should it be an object of less solicitude now? Every intelligent, free moral agent upon earth, whether aware of it or not, has in interest in this issue. He may absorb his mind in other matters, he may drown reflection in the whirl of business or pleasure, he may wrap his soul in projects of wealth or ambition, and fill his aspiring eye with the anticipated glories of some dazzling hight, but his interest still cleaves to the immortality of his nature, and, sooner or later, he must discover that it is the most important interest ever presented to his consideration, or that is attached to his being or his destiny. Is it not, then, the hight of wisdom to give heed to these things, and examine them with all that diligence and dispassionate attention their importance merits?’SLWM 187.1