THE CHRISTIAN LIFE


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Pages: 342
Language: English
Publication date: 16/05/2012
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Biography of William Miller's life
INTRODUCTION.
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BEFORE us is a plain volume, the title page of which reads, 'Memoir of William Miller generally known as a Lecturer on the Prophecies and the Second Coming of Christ, by Sylvester Bliss, author of Analysis of Sacred Chronology, a brief Commentary on the Apocalypse,' etc.
Mr. Bliss was for more than twenty years the local and able conductor of the Advent Herald, which sustained the leading doctrines promulgated by Mr. Miller, published at Boston, Mass. The publisher of this volume, Elder Joshua V. Himes, Mr. Miller's intimate fellow-laborer and friend, in his preface says:--
'The name of William Miller, of Low Hampton, N. Y., is too well known to require an extended introduction; but while well known, few men have been more diversely regarded than he. Those who have only heard his name associated with all that is hateful in fanaticism, have necessarily formed opinions respecting him anything but complimentary to his intelligence and sanity; but those who knew him better, esteemed him as a man of more than ordinary mental power, a cool, sagacious, and honest reasoner, a humble and devout Christian, a kind and affectionate friend, a man of great moral and social worth.'
'However his public labors may be regarded by a majority of the community, it will be seen, by a perusal of his life, that these were by no means unproductive of great good. The revivals of religion which attended his labors are testified to by those who participated in them; and hundreds of souls will ever refer to him as a means, under God, of their awakening and conversion.'
'As the public learn to discriminate between the actual position of Mr. Miller and that which prejudice has conceived that he occupied, his conservativeness, and his disapprobation of every fanatical practice will be admitted, and a much more just estimate will be had of him.'
We hold that the great movement upon the second advent question, which commenced with the writings and public lectures of William Miller, has been, in its leading features, in fulfillment of prophecy. Consistent with this view, we also hold that in the providence of God Mr. Miller was raised up to do a specific work; therefore to us the history of the important events in his Christian life and public labors possess peculiar interest.
It is true that Mr. Miller and his associates and numerous friends were disappointed in the definite time of the second coming of Christ. And as might be expected from the nature of the case, those who have not sufficient interest to investigate the subject, especially those who are opposed to the doctrine of the soon coming of the Redeemer, conclude that the second advent movement has been a fanatical mistake.
But we take a more favorable view of this matter. We hold that Mr. Miller was correct in three of the four fundamental points of Adventism, while on the fourth he was mistaken. But even this one mistake, viewed in the light of Scripture and reason, does not in the least affect his general position.
1. Mr. Miller was correct in his views of the pre-millennial second appearing of Christ. No doctrine is more plainly stated and more fully sustained by the sacred Scriptures than the personal appearing and reign of Jesus Christ. And whatever may be said of the views and labors of Mr. Miller, this fact will not be denied, that very many ministers of the different denominations changed their views upon the millennium, renouncing the popular view of the conversion of the world, and the spiritual coming and reign of Jesus Christ.
2. Mr. Miller was correct in his application of the prophetic symbols of Daniel and John. In this he is sustained by Protestant expositors generally.
3. He was also correct in his exposition and application of the prophetic periods. The dates fixed upon have stood the test of the most rigid criticism. And those Adventists who have changed to other dates have done so simply because of the passing by of the first period
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