William Miller

William Miller

Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 20 Dec 1849 (aged 67)
Hampton, Washington County, New York, USA
Burial Low Hampton, Washington County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 60532213 · View Source
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William Miller was an American farmer and Baptist preacher, who predicted that some time between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, Jesus Christ would appear in person to judge the world. When the end did not come some of his supporters moved the date to October 22, 1844. Not until the spring of 1845 did he affirm that the 1844 movement was not "a fulfillment of prophecy in any sense," and declared himself in opposition to "any of the new theories" that developed immediately after Oct. 22, 1844. William Miller was the greatest Second Advent preacher of his time. After his death in 1849 the Millerite movement split into a number of different factions. The Seventh-day Adventist church is the largest body to come out of this movement. Pastor Charles Taze Russell (1852 - 1916) who founded the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society in 1881, also had a number of early friends who were former Millerites. The Watchtower Society is the legal arm and publishing house used by Jehovah's Witnesses.

In 1832 Miller published a series of eight articles in the Vermont Telegraph, a Baptist weekly. In 1833 he incorporated these articles into a 64-page pamphlet entitled Evidences from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ About the Year A.D. 1843, and of His Personal Reign for 1,000 Years. In that year he was given a license to preach by the Baptists, and by the close of 1834 he was devoting his whole time to preaching. During 1836 he brought out his "lectures" in a book, which was later reprinted several times and enlarged from 16 to 19 lectures, with a supplement containing chronology and charts.

From October 1834 to June 1839 Miller's manuscript record book lists 800 lectures that he had given. He accomplished this single handedly at his own expense, and with no theological training, wholly in response to direct invitations.

Miller was a good preacher, not a good promoter. However, help in the area of promotion soon came. In December 1839 he was invited by Joshua V. Himes, of the "Christian Connection" (now part of the Congregational Christian Church and the United Church of Christ), to speak in Boston. For Himes there was only one question of importance. If this message was really true, then what steps should be taken to blazon it over the whole land? Convinced of its correctness, he assured "Father Miller" that "doors should be opened in every city in the Union, and the warning should go to the ends of the earth" (Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller, p. 141). Himes, a born promoter, immediately began publication of The Signs of the Times. Thus was launched the extensive publication activities of the Millerites, which later included other periodicals and a series of booklets called the Second Advent Library, composed of writings of Miller and others.

Miller used the general phrase "about the year 1843" to describe his belief as to the time of the Advent until in January 1843 he set forth the time as sometime "between Marc 21st, 1843, and March 21st, 1844." He never set a date or day within this period. Writing from Washington shortly before Mar. 21, 1844, he said: "If Christ comes, as we expect, we will sing the victory soon; if not, we will watch, and pray, and preach until He comes, for soon our time, and all prophetic days, will have been filled" (Advent Herald, Marc. 6, 1844, p. 39).

After the passing of Oct. 22, 1844 - a date that Miller did not set, but accepted at the last moment - Miller wrote to Joshua Himes: "Although I have been twice disappointed, I am not yet cast down or discouraged….My hope in the coming of Christ is as strong as ever. I have done only what after years of sober consideration I felt to be my solemn duty to do….I have fixed my mind upon another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light. - And that is Today, TODAY, and TODAY, until He comes, and I see HIM for whom my soul yearns" (letter, Nov. 10, 1844, in The Midnight Cry, Dec. 5, 1844, pp. 179, 180). - IMS Media Online Library

Additional Millerite, Bible Student, and Watchtower History can be seen at http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com/

Memoirs of William Miller, by Sylvester Bliss

Originally published in 1853, Memoirs of William Miller still remains the most comprehensive biographical study of the founder of Adventism and the instigator of one of the most dramatic episodes in American religious history. In the early 1830s, Miller, a farmer and lay Baptist preacher in upstate New York, began preaching and writing that the second coming of Christ would occur about the year 1843. By the fall of 1844, most of America was very aware and significantly agitated that the "Millerites" had finally named the day: Jesus would return, and the earth would be destroyed by fire, on October 22, 1844. Memoirs has remained useful for more than 156 years, and still provides the foundation of all other popular and scholarly studies of Miller. It was written by those who worked most closely with Miller from the early 1840s until the end of his life and is based on significant primary source material, some of which is no longer extant.

  • Created by: Sherlock(JW1983)
  • Added: 23 Oct 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 60532213
  • Sherlock(JW1983)
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Miller (15 Feb 1782–20 Dec 1849), Find a Grave Memorial no. 60532213, citing William Miller Cemetery, Low Hampton, Washington County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Sherlock(JW1983) (contributor 47279431) .