William Miller’s Apology and Defence, August 1



I had never been positive as to any particular day for the Lord’s appearing, believing that no man could know the day and hour. In all my published lectures, it will be seen on the title page, “about the year 1843.” In all my oral lectures, I invariably told my audiences that the periods would terminate in 1843, if there were no mistake in my calculation; but that I could not say the end might not come even before that time, and they should be continually prepared. In 1842, some of my brethren preached with great positiveness the exact year, and censured me for putting in an IF. The public press had also published that I had fixed upon a definite day, the 23rd of April, for the Lord’s Advent. Therefore, in December of that year, as I could see no error in my reckoning, I published my belief, that sometime between March 21st, 1843, and March 21st, 1844, the Lord would come. Some had their minds fixed on particular days; but I could see no evidence for such, unless the types of the Mosaic law pointed to the feast of Tabernacles. WMAD 24.1

During the year ’43, the most violent denunciations were heaped upon me, and those associated with me, by the press, and some pulpits. Our motives were assailed, our principles misrepresented, and our characters traduced. Time passed on: and the 21st of March, 1844 went by, without our witnessing the appearing of the Lord. Our disappointment was great; and many walked no more with us. WMAD 24.2

Previously to this, in the fall of ’43, some of my brethren began to call the churches Babylon, and to urge that it was the duty of Adventists to come out of them. With this I was much grieved, as not only the effect was very bad, but I regarded it as a perversion of the word of God, - a wresting of Scripture. But the practice spread extensively; and from that time the churches, as might have been expected, were closed against us. It prejudiced many against us so that they would not listen to the truth. It created a deep feeling of hostility between Adventists and those who did not embrace the doctrine; so that most of the Adventists were separated from their respective churches. This was a result, which I never desired, nor expected; but it was brought about by unforeseen circumstances. We could then only act in accordance with the position in which we were thus placed. WMAD 24.3

On the passing of my published time, I frankly acknowledged my disappointment in reference to the exact period; but my faith was unchanged in any essential feature. I therefore continued my labors, principally at the West during the summer of ’44, until “the seventh month movement,” as it is called. I had had no participation in this, only as I wrote a letter eighteen months previously, presenting the observances under the Mosaic law, which pointed to that month as a probable time when the Advent might be expected. This was written because some were looking to definite days in the Spring. I had, however, no expectation that so unwarranted a use would be made of those types, that any should regard a belief in such mere inferential evidence a test of salvation. I therefore had no fellowship with that movement until about two or three weeks previous to the 22nd of October, when seeing it had obtained such prevalence, and considering it was at a probable point of time, I was persuaded that it was a work of God, and felt that if it should pass by I should be more disappointed than I was in my first published time. WMAD 25.1

But that time passed; and I was again disappointed. The movement was of such a character, that for a time it was very mysterious to me, and the results following it were so unaccountable that I supposed our work might be completed, and that a few weeks only might elapse between that time and the appearing of Christ. However that might be, I regarded my own work as completed; and that what was to be done for the extension of these views, must be done by younger brethren, except an occasional discourse from myself. WMAD 25.2