William Miller’s Apology and Defence, August 1



It may not become me to speak particularly of “my manner of life from my youth,” which is known to an extensive circle of neighbors and acquaintances; but I have ever endeavored to live “in all good conscience before God until this day,” and to discharge conscientiously my obligations to my fellow men. I was early educated to reverence the Scriptures as a revelation from God to man; and I was more or less a reader of the Word, without being savingly affected by it. I was, however, always perplexed with what I then deemed inconsistences and contradictions in the Bible, which I was unable to harmonize; and yet I knew that if the Bible was what it purports to be, it must in some way all be harmonized. WMAD 2.2

Not having any serious doubts of its authenticity, I was exceedingly anxious to reconcile all its various parts, and, unsuccessfully, resorted to all means within my reach. I was particularly anxious to have them harmonized by the preachers of the word; and accordingly embraced every opportunity, to present for their removal, the difficulties under which I labored. But I obtained from them no satisfaction; they usually adduced the opinions of various commentators, which were as contradictory as were their own, or told me they did not understand them, and that I could not, because God had hidden their meaning under a mystical veil. This served more to perplex my mind than to shed light on the questions at issue. WMAD 2.3

In this state of mind, at the age of twenty-two, I removed from Hampton, N. Y., where I had resided from the age of four years, to Poultney, Vt. There I became acquainted with the principal men in that village, who were professedly Deists; but they were good citizens, and of a moral and serious deportment. They put into my hands the works of Voltaire, Hume, Paine, Ethan Allen, and other deistical writers, in which the difficulties that had perplexed my own mind were discussed in so plausible a manner, that I concluded the Bible was only the work of designing men; and I discarded it accordingly. I, however, believed in a Supreme Being as brought to view by the works of Nature and Providence; and believed that there was to be an hereafter, in which our happiness would be proportioned to the virtue of our lives in the present state. With these views, I was associated with others in the defence of deistical sentiments, for about twelve years. WMAD 3.1