From Here to Forever


Chapter 18—New Light in the New World

An upright, honest farmer, who sincerely desired to know the truth, was the man chosen of God to lead out in the proclamation of Christ's second coming. Like many other reformers, William Miller had battled with poverty and learned the lessons of self-denial. HF 198.1

Even in childhood he gave evidence of more than ordinary intellectual strength. As he grew older, his mind was active and well developed, and he had a keen thirst for knowledge. His love of study and a habit of careful thought and close criticism rendered him a man of sound judgment and comprehensive views. He possessed an irreproachable moral character and an enviable reputation. He filled civil and military offices with credit. Wealth and honor seemed wide open to him. HF 198.2

In childhood he had been subject to religious impressions. In early manhood, however, he was thrown into the society of deists,* whose influence was strong from the fact that they were mostly good citizens, humane and benevolent. Living in the midst of Christian institutions, their characters had been to some extent molded by their surroundings. For the excellencies which won them respect they were indebted to the Bible, and yet these good gifts were perverted to exert an influence against the Word of God. Miller was led to adopt their sentiments. HF 198.3

Current interpretations of Scripture presented difficulties which seemed to him insurmountable; yet his new belief, while setting aside the Bible, offered nothing better, and he remained far from satisfied. But when Miller was thirty-four, the Holy Spirit impressed his heart with his condition as 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: HF 199.1

“The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as 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 wretched, but did not understand the cause. I murmured and complained, but knew not of whom. I knew that there was a wrong, but knew not how or where to find the right.” HF 199.2