Miller’s Works, vol. 1. Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology



MUCH has been said in the pulpit, and by the editors of public journals, about the evil tendency of Mr. Miller’s lectures. An orthodox clergyman of Lynn, (Rev. Parsons Cook,) thinks they are more demoralizing than the theatre! A minister in Boston, of high standing, stated to one of his hearers, that he thought it as great a sin for church members to attend these lectures, as to visit the theatre! Indeed, most of the ministers and laity of different denominations, who have not heard Mr. Miller, have judged unfavorably of his labors. It is supposed that the people are frightened-excited by terrific scenes connected with the conflagration of the world. To place this matter in its true light, we shall give, as a general illustration of Mr. Miller as a speaker, and the influence of his labors on the community at large, the following account of his visit and labors in Portland, Me., in March last. MWV1 15.1

“MR. MILLER IN PORTLAND. Mr. Miller has been in Portland, lecturing to crowded congregations in Casco-street church, on his favorite theme, the end of the world, or literal reign of Christ for 1000 years. As faithful chroniclers of passing events, it will be expected of us that we say something of the man, and his peculiar views. MWV1 15.2

“Mr. Miller is about sixty years of age; a plain farmer from Hampton, in the state of New York. He is a member of the Baptist church in that place, from which he brings satisfactory testimonials of good standing, and a license to improve publicly. He has, we understand, numerous testimonials also from clergymen of different denominations favorable to his general character. We should think him a man of but common-school education; evidently possessing strong powers of mind, which for about fourteen years have been almost exclusively bent to the investigation of scripture prophecies. The last eight years of his life have been devoted to lecturing on this favorite subject. MWV1 15.3

“In his public discourses he is self-possessed and ready; distinct in his utterance, and frequently quaint in his expressions. He succeeds in chaining the attention of his auditory for an hour and a half to two hours; and in the management of his subject discovers much tact, holding frequent colloquies with the objector and inquirer, supplying the questions and answers himself in a very natural manner; and although grave himself, sometimes producing a smile from a portion of his auditors. MWV1 16.1

“Mr. Miller is a great stickler for literal interpretations; never admitting the figurative, unless absolutely required to make correct sense or meet the event which is intended to be pointed out. He doubtless believes, most unwaveringly, all he teaches to others. His lectures are interspersed with powerful admonitions to the wicked, and he handles Universalism with gloves of steel. MWV1 16.2

“He is evidently disposed to make but little allowance for those who think differently from him on the millennium; dealing often in terrible denunciations against such as oppose his peculiar views on this point; as he fully believes they are crying peace and safety when sudden destruction cometh. Judging from what we see and hear, we should think his lectures are making a decided impression on many minds, favorable to his theory.” MWV1 16.3

This account of Mr. Miller is from the Rev. Mr. Springer, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and editor of the “Maine Wesleyan Journal,” from which we copy it. Mr. Miller, on reading the account, exclaimed, “I have found one honest editor!” Mr. Springer, it will be observed, is not a partisan of Mr. Miller. We commend him for his candor. MWV1 16.4

The following extracts of letters from Elder Fleming, the pastor of the Christian church in Casco St., where Mr. Miller delivered his lectures, will show the legitimate effects of his labors. MWV1 16.5

Immediately after the lectures were closed, Mr. Fleming writes: “Things here are moving powerfully. Last evening about 200 requested prayers, and the interest seems constantly increasing. The whole city seems agitated. Br. Miller’s lectures have not the least effect to affright; they are far from it. The great alarm is among those who did not come near. Many who stayed away and opposed seem excited, and perhaps alarmed. But those who candidly hear are far from excitement and alarm. MWV1 17.1

“The interest awakened by his lectures is of the most deliberate and dispassionate kind, and though it is the greatest revival I ever saw, yet there is the least passionate excitement. It seems to take the greatest hold on the male part of community. What produces the effect is this-Brother Miller simply takes the sword of the Spirit, unsheathed and naked, and lays its sharp edge on the naked heart, and it cuts! that is all. Before the edge of this mighty weapon, infidelity falls, and Universalism withers. False foundations vanish, and Babel’s merchants wonder. It seems to me that this must be a little the nearest like apostolic revivals of anything modern times have witnessed.” MWV1 17.2

A short time after, he wrote again, as follows: “There has probably never been so much religious interest among the inhabitants of this place generally as at present; and Mr. Miller must be regarded, directly or indirectly, as the instrument, although many, no doubt, will deny it; as some are very unwilling to admit that a good work of God can follow his labors; and yet we have the most indubitable evidence that this is the work of the Lord. It is worthy of note, that in the present interest there has been comparatively nothing like mechanical effort. There has been nothing like passionate excitement. If there has been excitement, it has been out of doors, among such as did not attend Br. Miller’s lectures. MWV1 17.3

“At some of our meetings since Br. Miller left, as many as 250, it has been estimated, have expressed a desire for religion, by coming forward for prayers; and probably between one and two hundred have professed conversion at our meeting; and now the fire is being kindled through this whole city, and all the adjacent country. A number of rum-sellers have turned their shops into meeting-rooms, and those places that were once devoted to intemperance and revelry, are now devoted to prayer and praise. Others have abandoned the traffic entirely, and are become converted to God. One or two gambling establishments, I am informed, are entirely broken up. Infidels, Deists, Universalists, and the most abandoned profligates, have been converted; some who had not been to the house of worship for years. Prayer-meetings have been established in every part of the city by the different denominations, or by individuals, and at almost every hour. Being down in the business part of our city, I was conducted into a room over one of the banks, where I found about thirty or forty men, of different denominations, engaged with one accord in prayer, at about eleven o’clock in the day-time! In short, it would be almost impossible to give an adequate idea of the interest now felt in this city. There is nothing like extravagant excitement, but an almost universal solemnity on the minds of all the people. One of the principal booksellers informed me that he had sold more Bibles in one month, since Br. Miller came here, than he had in any four months previous. A member of an orthodox church informed me that if Mr. Miller could now return, he could probably be admitted into any of the orthodox houses of worship, and he expressed a strong desire for his return to our city.” MWV1 17.4

Similar accounts might be given from most of the places where he has given a full course of lectures, to a society; the minister and church co-operating with him. We could name Boston, Cambridgeport, Watertown, and numerous places; but we will refer to one more, viz. Portsmouth, N. H. The same glorious effects followed his labors in this place, as at Portland. We simply wish to give the testimony of the Unitarian minister of that town, relating to the character of the revival. We are the more particular on this point, because the advocates of revivals have charged Mr. Miller with getting up “fanatical excitements.” Now we have an impartial witness on this point. Hear him; he says: MWV1 18.1

“If I am rightly informed, the present season of religious excitement has been to a great degree free from what, I confess, has always made me dread such times, I mean those excesses and extravagances, which wound religion in the house of its friends, and cause its enemies to blaspheme. I most cheerfully express my opinion, that there will be in the fruits of the present excitement far less to regret, and much more for the friends of God to rejoice in, much more to be recorded in the book of eternal life, than in any similar series of religious exercises, which I have ever had the opportunity of watching.” 1 MWV1 19.1

Will the Rev. Parsons Cooke join with the editor of the “Trumpet” in ridiculing such revivals as these? Will he now pronounce these lectures “more demoralizing than the theatre?” These are the legitimate fruits of Mr. Miller’s labors. Let his accusers beware, lest they be found fighting against God. 2 MWV1 19.2