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William Miller

:
Selections from
Contemporary Books
Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates (SDA
Publishing, 1868)

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Evidence from Scripture of the Second
Coming of Christ about the Year 1843
(William Miller, 1841)

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The Midnight Cry (Francis Nichol, 1945)

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A Familiar Exposition on the Twenty-fourth
Chapter of Matthew (William Miller, 1842)

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Views of Prophecies Selected from William
Miller (Joshua Himes, 1842)

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An exposition of the prophecies by William
Miller, (John Dowling, 1840)

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The Theory of William Miller Utterly
Exploded (Otis Skinner, 1840)

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Memoirs of William Miller (Sylvester Bliss,
1853)

©2010 Doug Mason
doug_mason1940@yahoo.com.au

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In my other collection (http://www.jwstudies.com/Christ_is_Coming_Very_Soon.pdf), I
show that throughout the 19th Century, people excitedly believed in the imminent
physical return to Earth of Jesus Christ. Each Advent group proposed its date for that
Promised Event, and each was intensely disappointed when its selected date passed
without the anticipated event taking place.
This should provide a salutary lesson for current date-setting Adventist groups and
individuals. Those people of the 19th century were just as convinced and were to every
degree as passionate as any modern-day counterpart.
This collection of pages, readily accessible through the Internet, are from books at the
time of one 19th century date-setting predictor, William Miller. He and his immediate
predecessor, John Aquila Brown, stand in a long line of people who had made the same
mistake of setting dates. These had all been wrong, just as surely as their successors.
William Miller is notable for the number of movements he spawned, several surviving
today. Indeed, this collection starts with a noted early voice of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, Joseph Bates. Leaders of other consequential movements, including
Nelson Barbour and his protégé, Charles Taze Russell, acknowledged their debt to
William Miller, although I have not cited them in this collection. Interestingly, each of
these groups – the SDAs (with 1844) and the JWs (with 1874) – rationalised its
disappointment by saying that the date was correct but the anticipated event was not
visible to the human eye.
Rather than provide the material in chronological order of the publication date, I
arranged the material logically, starting with a description of William Miller.
At times I include the Contents Listing for the book being cited. This provides a guide to
further reading that can be accessed through the Internet.
Since I have provided only a selection of pages, read the page numbers carefully, in
order to recognise where pages have been omitted.

I hope these pages illustrate the folly of pursuing the rationale Miller employed, such as
using contemporary events to help interpret the Bible, as well as the folly of setting
dates for activities of the Divine.
Hopefully this material conveys the sense of anxiety and urgency generated by those
date-setting Adventists as well the reasoning they put forth, along with the
corresponding urgency displayed by those who did not hold those views.
Doug
Melbourne
February 2010

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Although this following book by William Miller is dated 1841 (an
identical edition of the book from the following year is also
available on the Internet), the book was written a few years
earlier.
These lectures were first given in 1833, and were first published
as a book in 1836 (page 263). Bates bought his copy in 1839.
On page 390, he explains that Lecture VIII was written 12 years
earlier, which would be in the 1920s.
Miller strongly promoted the prophetic period of 2300 years,
which is still the focus of the Seventh-day Adventists, and he
promoted with equal vigour the 2520 year period (provided to
him in the 1820s books of John Aquila Brown) which length is
still the focus of the Watchtower and Bible Society, founded by
Charles Taze Russell.
I have included a picture of the chart used by William Miller,
sourced from the SDA book, The Midnight Cry by Francis D.
Nichol.
Doug

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These books by John Dowling (1842) – pages 62 to 79 – and
by Otis Skinner (1842) – pages 80 to 126 – were produced by
those opposed to the positions taken by William Miller.
These pages focus on refuting Miller’s positions on the date of
Christ’s coming and on the manner of his Coming.
These pages provide a fuller image of that period. They show
that many felt the need to rebuke Miller’s reasoning and their
concern at the fervour he was generating.
Doug

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This biography was published in 1853 by Miller’s
friend and supporter Joshua Himes, shortly after
William Miller’s death.
Doug

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