Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

and attempted to preach. In twenty minutes became confused and embarrassed, and sat down. I lacked resignation and humility, therefore was not sustained. I finally gave up all for Christ and his gospel, and found peace and freedom.

Soon my mind was especially called to the second advent by hearing Elders J. V. Himes and A. Hale speak several times upon the subject, in the city of Bangor, Me. I then saw that it was a subject that required study, and felt the importance of commencing in earnest to prepare myself to teach others. I purchased Advent publications, read them closely, studied my Bible, and spoke a few times during the summer on the second coming of Christ with freedom, and felt encouraged.

WILLIAM MILLER.

In September, Elders Himes, Miller, and others, held a meeting in the mammoth tent in Eastern Maine. In company with one Moses Polly, a Christian minister of my acquaintance, I attended that meeting. I there for the first time saw that great and good man, William Miller. His form and features showed great physical and mental strength. The benevolent, affable, and kind spirit manifested by him in conversation with numerous strangers who called on him to ask questions, proved him a humble, Christian gentleman. Infidels, Universalists, and some others came to him with opposing questions. He was quick to perceive their designs, and with becoming firmness and dignity promptly met their objections and sent them away in silence. So long had he, even then, been in the field, meeting opposition from every quarter, that he was prepared for any emergency. 3

Life Incidents.

In his public labors his arguments were clear, and his appeals and exhortations most powerful. The tent in which he spoke was a circle whose diameter was one hundred and twenty feet. On one occasion, when this tent was full, and thousands stood around, he was unfortunate in the use of language, which the baser sort in the crowd turned against him by a general burst of laughter. He left his subject with ease, and in a moment his spirit rose above the mob-like spirit that prevailed, and in language the most scorching he spoke of the corruption of the hearts of those who chose to understand him to be as vile as they were. In a moment all was quiet. And the speaker continued to describe the terrible end of the ungodly in a solemn and impressive manner. He then affectionately exhorted them to repent of their sins, come to Christ, and be ready for his appearing. Many in that vast crowd wept. He then resumed his subject, and spoke with clearness and spirit, as though nothing had happened. In fact, it seemed that nothing could have occurred to fully give him the ears of the thousands before him, and to make his subject so impressive as this circumstance.

God raised up Paul to do a great work in his time. In order that the Gentiles might be clearly taught the great plan of redemption through Jesus, and that the infidelity of the Jews might be met, a great man was selected.

Martin Luther was the man for his time. He was daring and sometimes rash, yet was a great and good man. The little horn had prevailed, and millions of the saints of the Most High had been put to death. To fearlessly expose the vileness of the papal monks, and to meet their learning and their rage, and also to win the hearts of the common people with all the ten

derness and affection of the gospel, called for just such a man as Martin Luther. He could battle with the lion, or feed and tenderly nurse the lambs of Christ's fold.

So William Miller, in the hands of God, was the man for his time. True, he was a farmer, and had been in the service of his country, and had not the benefits of an early classical education. And it was not till he had passed the noon of life that God called him to search his word and open the prophecies to the people. He was, however, a historian from his love of history, and had a good practical knowledge of men and things. He had been an infidel. But on receiving the Bible as a revelation from God, he did not also receive the popular, contradictory ideas that many of its prophecies were clad in impenetrable mystery. Said William Miller: "The Bible, if it is what it purports to be, will explain itself."

He sought for the harmony of Scripture and found it. And in the benevolence of his great and good heart and head, he spent the balance of his life in teaching it to the people in his written and oral lectures, and in warning and exhorting them to prepare for the second coming of Christ.

Much of the fruits of his labors are now seen. Much more will be seen hereafter. Heaven will be hung with the fruits of the labors of this truly great and good man. Hesleeps. But if it can be said of any who have toiled and worn and suffered amid vile persecutions, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them," it can be said of Wm. Miller. He nobly and faithfully did his duty, and the popular church, united with the world, paid him in persecutions and re

proaches. The very name of Wm. Miller was despised everywhere, and Millerism was the jeer of the people from the pulpit to the brothel.

But, dear reader, if your deed of real estate be registered at the office of the county clerk, rough hands may tear the paper you hold in your hand which you call a deed, and your title is no less secure. And however roughly and wickedly men may have handled the name of Wm. Miller here, when the final triumphant deliverance of all who are written in the Book of Life comes, his will be found among the worthies, safe from the wrath of men and the rage of demons, securing to him the reward of immortality according to his works.

As I have introduced to the reader the man whom God raised up to lead off in the great advent movement, it may be expected that something of his life, experience and labors should here be given. I have room for only a very few sketches from his memoir. He was born in Pittsfield, Mass., February, 1782. His biographer says:

"In his early childhood, marks of more than ordinary intellectual strength and activity were manifested. A few years made these marks more and more noticeable to all who fell into his society. But where were the powers of the inner man to find the nutriment to satisfy their cravings, and the field for their exercise?

“Besides the natural elements of education, the objects, the scenes, and the changes of the natural world, which have ever furnished to all truly great minds their noblest aliment, the inspiring historical recollections associated with well-known localities of the neighboring country, and the society of domestic life, there was nothing within William's reach but the Bible, the psal

1

[ocr errors]

ter and prayer-book, till he had resided at Low Hampton several years.

"His mother had taught him to read, so that he soon mastered the few books belonging to the family; and this prepared him to enter the senior class when the district school opened. But if the terms were short, the winter nights were long. Pine knots could be made to supply the want of candles, lamps, or gas. And the spacious fireplace in the log house was ample enough as a substitute for the school-house and lecture-room.

"He possessed a strong physical constitution, an active and naturally well-developed intellect, and an irreproachable moral character. He had appropriated to his use and amusement the small stock of literature afforded by the family while a child. He had enjoyed the limited advantages of the district school but a few years before it was generally admitted that his attainments exceeded those of the teachers usually employed. He had drank in the inspiration of the natural world around him, and of the most exciting events of his country's history. His imagination had been quickened, and his heart warmed, by the adventures and gallantries. of fiction, and his intellect enriched by history. And some of his earliest efforts with the pen, as well as the testimony of his associates, show that his mind and heart were ennobled by the lessons, if not by the spirit and power of religion. What, now, would have been the effect of what is called a regular course of education? Would it have perverted him, as it has thousands? or would it have made him instrumental of greater good in the cause of God?

"Whatever might have been the result of any established course of education in the case of Wm. Miller, such a course was beyond his reach: he was deprived

« VorigeDoorgaan »