Love Under Fire


Chapter 18—New Light in the New World

An upright, honest farmer who sincerely desired to know the truth was the man God chose to lead in proclaiming Christ's second coming. Like many other Reformers, William Miller had battled poverty and learned the lessons of self-denial. LF 134.1

Even as a child Miller showed more than ordinary intellectual strength. As he grew older, his mind was active and well developed, and he had a deep thirst for knowledge. He loved to study and made a habit of careful thought and keen analysis. These things made him a man of sound judgment and broad views. His moral character was excellent, and he had an enviable reputation. He performed well in the various civil and military positions he held. Wealth and honor seemed to be in his future. LF 134.2

In childhood he had been responsive to religious matters. In early manhood, however, he began to associate with deists,* whose influence was strong because they were mostly good citizens, humane, and benevolent. Living in the midst of a Christian society, their characters had been molded to some extent by their surroundings. They were indebted to the Bible for the qualities that won them respect, and yet they perverted these good gifts to influence people against the Word of God. Miller adopted their views. LF 134.3

The interpretations of Scripture that people held then presented difficulties that seemed unsolvable to him. Yet his new belief, which set aside the Bible, offered nothing better, and he remained far from satisfied. But when Miller was thirty-four, the Holy Spirit impressed his heart that he was a sinner. He found no assurance of happiness beyond the grave. The future was dark and gloomy. Referring to his feelings at this time, he said: LF 134.4

“The heavens were like brass over my head, and the earth like iron under my feet.... The more I thought, the more scattered were my conclusions. I tried to stop thinking, but my thoughts would not be controlled. I was truly miserable, but I did not understand why. I was unhappy and complaining, but didn’t know whom to blame. I knew that there was a wrong, but I did not know how or where to find the right.” LF 134.5