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William Miller

Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 10, 2008


William Miller

God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given to him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the Word of God. He saw there a perfect chain of truth. That Word which he had regarded as uninspired now opened before his vision in its beauty and glory. He saw that one portion of Scripture explains another, and when one passage was closed to his understanding, he found in another part of the Word that which explained it. He regarded the sacred Word of God with joy and with the deepest respect and awe.  {EW 229.1}
As he followed down the prophecies, he saw that the inhabitants of the earth were living in the closing scenes of this world’s history, yet they knew it not. He looked at the churches and saw that they were corrupt; they had taken their affections from Jesus and placed them on the world; they were seeking for worldly honor, instead of that honor which cometh from above; grasping for worldly riches, instead of laying up their treasure in heaven. He could see hypocrisy, darkness, and death everywhere. His spirit was stirred within him. God called him to leave his farm, as He called Elisha to leave his oxen and the field of his labor to follow Elijah. With trembling, William Miller began to unfold to the people the mysteries of the kingdom of God, carrying his hearers down through the prophecies to the second advent of Christ. With every effort he gained strength. As John the Baptist heralded the first advent of Jesus and prepared the way for His coming, so William Miller and those who joined with him proclaimed the second advent of the Son of God.  {EW 229.2}

Preachers and people have looked upon the book of Revelation as mysterious and of less importance than other portions of the Sacred Scriptures. But I saw that this book is indeed a revelation given for the especial benefit of those who should live in the last days, to guide them in ascertaining their true position and their duty. God directed the mind of William Miller to the prophecies and gave him great light upon the book of Revelation.  {EW 231.1}
If Daniel’s visions had been understood, the people could better have understood the visions of John. But at the right time, God moved upon His chosen servant, who, with clearness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, opened the prophecies and showed the harmony of the visions of Daniel and John and other portions of the Bible, and pressed home upon the hearts of the people the sacred, fearful warnings of the Word to prepare for the coming of the Son of man. Deep and solemn conviction rested upon the minds of those who heard him, and ministers and people, sinners and infidels, turned to the Lord and sought a preparation to stand in the judgment.
{EW 231.2}
Angels of God accompanied William Miller in his mission. He was firm and undaunted, fearlessly proclaiming the message committed to his trust. A world lying in wickedness and a cold, worldly church were enough to call into action all his energies and lead him willingly to endure toil, privation, and suffering. Although opposed by professed Christians and the world, and buffeted by Satan and his angels, he ceased not to preach the everlasting gospel to crowds wherever he was invited, sounding far and near the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”

To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach the message in America, and the light kindled by their labors shone out to distant lands. God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given to him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the Word of God. He saw there a perfect chain of truth. That Word, which he had regarded as uninspired, now opened before his vision in its beauty and glory. He saw that one portion of Scripture explains another, and when one passage was closed to his understanding, he found in another part of the Word that which explained it. He regarded the sacred Word of God with joy, and with the deepest respect and awe. {SR 356.3}
As he followed down the prophecies he saw that the inhabitants of the earth were living in the closing scenes of this world’s history; yet they knew it not. He looked at the churches, and saw that they were corrupt; they had taken their affections from Jesus and placed them on the world; they were seeking for worldly honor, instead of that honor which cometh from above; grasping for worldly riches, instead of laying up their treasure in heaven. He could see hypocrisy, darkness, and death everywhere. His spirit was stirred within him. God called him to leave his farm, as He called Elisha to leave his oxen and the field of his labor to follow Elijah. {SR 357.1}
With trembling, William Miller began to unfold to the people the mysteries of the kingdom of God, carrying his hearers down through the prophecies to the second advent of Christ. The testimony of the Scriptures pointing to the coming of Christ in 1843 awakened widespread interest. Many were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods were correct, and, sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth. Some ministers laid aside their sectarian views and feelings, left their salaries and their churches, and united in proclaiming the coming of Jesus. {SR 357.2}

William Miller possessed strong mental powers, disciplined by thought and study; and he added to these the wisdom of Heaven, by connecting himself with the Source of wisdom. He was a man of sterling worth, who could not but command respect and esteem wherever integrity of character and moral excellence were valued. Uniting true kindness of heart with Christian humility and the power of self-control, he was attentive and affable to all, ready to listen to the opinions of others, and to weigh their arguments. Without passion or excitement, he tested all theories and doctrines by the Word of God; and his sound reasoning, and thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, enabled him to refute error and expose falsehood.  {GC88 335.1}

When Luther was accused of preaching novelties, he declared: “These are not novelties that I preach.  But I affirm that the doctrines of Christianity have been lost sight of by those whose special duty it was to preserve them; by the learned, by the bishops. I doubt not indeed that the truth has still found an abode in some few hearts.” “Poor husbandmen and simple children in these days understand more of Jesus Christ than the pope, the bishops, or the doctors.” When Wm. Miller was charged with showing contempt for the doctors of divinity, he pointed to the word of God as the standard by which all doctrines and theories must be tested; and, knowing that he had truth on his side, he went forward in his work undismayed.  {4SP 213.2}
In every age, God has called his servants to lift up their voices against the prevailing errors and sins of the multitude. Noah was called to stand alone to warn the antediluvian world. Moses and Aaron were alone against king and princes, magicians and wise men, and the multitudes of Egypt. Elijah was alone when he testified against an apostate king and a backsliding people. Daniel and his fellows stood alone against the decrees of mighty monarchs. The majority are usually to be found on the side of error and falsehood. The fact that doctors of divinity have the world on their side does not prove them to be on the side of truth and of God. The wide gate and the broad road attract the multitudes, while the strait gate and the narrow way are sought only by the few.  {4SP 214.1}
If ministers and people had really desired to know the truth, and had given to the Advent doctrine the earnest, prayerful attention which its importance demands, they would have seen that it was in harmony with the Scriptures. Had they united with its advocates in their labors, there would have resulted such a revival of the work of God as the world has never witnessed. As Whitefield and the Wesleys were urged by the Holy Spirit to arouse the formal and world-loving churches of their time, so was Wm. Miller moved to proclaim the coming of Christ and the necessity of a work of preparation. His only offense was that of opening to the world the “sure word of prophecy, whereunto,” says the apostle Peter, “ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” [2 PET. 1:19.] He urged its truths upon the people, not with harshness, but in a more mild and persuasive manner than was employed by other reformers.  {4SP 214.2}

The great controversy between truth and error has been carried forward from century to century since the fall of man. God and angels, and those united with them, have been inviting, urging men to repentance and holiness and Heaven; while Satan and his angels, and men inspired by them, have been opposing every effort to benefit and save the fallen race. Wm. Miller was disturbing Satan’s kingdom, and the arch-enemy sought not only to counteract the effect of the message, but to destroy the messenger himself. As Father Miller made a practical application of Scripture truth to the hearts of his hearers, the rage of professed Christians was kindled against him, even as the anger of the Jews was excited against Christ and his apostles. Church-members stirred up the baser classes, and upon several occasions enemies plotted to take his life as he should leave the place of meeting. But holy angels were in the throng, and one of these, in the form of a man, took the arm of this servant of the Lord, and led him in safety from the angry mob. His work was not yet done, and Satan and his emissaries were disappointed in their purpose.  {4SP 219.2}

Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:–  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 23}
“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 24}
The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth.  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 25}
Genuine faith is founded on the Scriptures; but Satan uses so many devices to wrest the Scriptures and bring in error, that great care is needed if one would know what they really do teach. It is one of the great delusions of this time to dwell much upon feeling, and to claim honesty while ignoring the plain utterances of the word of God because that word does not coincide with feeling. Many have no foundation for their faith but emotion. Their religion consists in excitement; when that ceases, their faith is gone. Feeling may be chaff, but the word of God is the wheat. And “what,” says the prophet, “is the chaff to the wheat?”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 26}
None will be condemned for not heeding light and knowledge that they never had, and they could not obtain. But many refuse to obey the truth that is presented to them by Christ’s ambassadors, because they wish to conform to the world’s standard; and the truth that has reached their understanding, the light that has shone in the soul, will condemn them in the Judgment. In these last days we have the accumulated light that has been shining through all the ages, and we shall be held correspondingly responsible. The path of holiness is not on a level with the world; it is a way cast up. If we walk in this way, if we run in the way of the Lord’s commandments, we shall find that the “path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”  {RH, November 25, 1884 par. 27}

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