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of the benefit, he has escaped the perversion. Let us be satisfied."

William Miller was married in 1802, and settled in Poultney, Vt. His biographer continues:

"But the men with whom he associated from the time of his removal to Poultney, and to whom he was considerably indebted for his worldly favors, were deeply affected with skeptical principles and deistical theories. They were not immoral men; but, as a class, were good citizens, and generally of serious deportment, humane, and benevolent. However, they rejected the Bible as the standard of religious truth, and endeavored to make its rejection plausible by such aid as could be obtained from the writings of Voltaire, Hume, Volney, Paine, Ethan Allen, and others. Mr. Miller studied these works closely, and at length avowed himself a deist. As he has stated the period of his deistical life to have been twelve years, that period must have begun in 1804; for he embraced or returned to the Christian faith in 1816. It may fairly be doubted, however, notwithstanding his known thoroughness and consistency, whether Mr. Miller ever was fully settled in that form of deism which reduces man to a level with the brutes, as to the supposed duration of their existence. And the question is worthy of a little inquiry, to what extent was he a deist?"

He received a captain's commission, and entered the army in 1810. He returned from the army, and moved his family to Low Hampton, N. Y., to begin there the occupation of farming, in 1812.

"As a farmer, he had more leisure for reading; and he was at an age when the future of man's existence will demand a portion of his thoughts. He found that his former views gave him no assurance of happiness


beyond the present life. Beyond the grave all was dark and gloomy. To use his own words: Annihilation was a cold and chilling thought, and accountability was sure destruction to all. The heavens were as brass over my head, and the earth as iron under my feet. Eternity! what was it? And death!-why was it? The more I reasoned, the further I was from demonstration. 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. I mourned, but without hope.' He continued in this state of mind for some months, feeling that eternal consequences might hang on the nature and object of his belief.

"It devolved on Captain Miller, as usual in the minister's absence, to read a discourse of the deacons' selection. They had chosen one on the Importance of Parental Duties. Soon after commencing, he was overpowered by the inward struggle of emotion, with which the entire congregation sympathized, and took his seat. His deistical principles seemed an almost insurmountable difficulty with him. Soon after, suddenly,' he says, ‹ the character of the Saviour was vividly impressed upon my mind. It seemed that there might be a being so good and compassionate as to himself atone for our transgressions, and thereby save us from suffering the penalty of sin. I immediately felt how lovely such a being must be; and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of, such an one. But the question arose, How can it be proved that such a being does exist? Aside from the Bible, I found

that I could get no evidence of the existence of such a Saviour, or even of a future state. I felt that to believe in such a Saviour, without evidence, would be visionary in the extreme.

"I saw that the Bible did bring to view just such a Saviour as I needed; and I was perplexed to find how an uninspired book should develop principles so perfectly adapted to the wants of a fallen world. I was constrained to admit that the Scriptures must be a revelation from God. They became my delight; and in Jesus I found a friend. The Saviour became to me the chiefest among ten thousand; and the Scriptures, which before were dark and contradictory, now became the lamp to my feet and light to my path. My mind became settled and satisfied. I found the Lord God to be a rock in the midst of the ocean of life. The Bible now became my chief study, and I can truly say, I searched it with great delight. I found the half was never told me. I wondered why I had not seen its beauty and glory before, and marveled that I could have ever rejected it. I found everything revealed that my heart could desire, and a remedy for every disease of the soul. I lost all taste for other reading, and applied my heart to get wisdom from God.'

"Mr. Miller immediately erected the family altar; publicly professed his faith in that religion which had been food for his mirth, by connecting himself with the little church that he had despised; opened his house for meetings of prayer; and became an ornament and pillar in the church, and an aid to both pastor and people. The die was cast, and he had taken his stand for life as a soldier of the cross, as all who knew him felt assured; and henceforth the badge of discipleship,

in the church or world, in his family or closet, indicated whose he was, and whom he served.

"His pious relations had witnessed with pain his former irreligious opinions; how great were their rejoicings now! The church, favored with his liberality, and edified by his reading, but pained by his attacks on their faith, could now rejoice with the rejoicing. His infidel friends regarded his departure from them as the loss of a standard-bearer. And the new convert felt that henceforth, wherever he was, he must deport himself as a Christian, and perform his whole duty. His subsequent history must show how well this was done.

"Soon after his renunciation of deism, in conversing with a friend respecting the hope of a glorious eternity through the merits and intercessions of Christ, he was asked how he knew there was such a Saviour. He replied, "It is revealed in the Bible.” "How do you know the Bible is true?" was the response, with a reiteration of his former arguments on the contradictions and mysticisms in which he had claimed it was shrouded.

"Mr. Miller felt such taunts in their full force. He was at first perplexed; but, on reflection, he considered that if the Bible is a revelation of God, it must be consistent with itself; all its parts must harmonize, must have been given for man's instruction, and, copsequently, must be adapted to his understanding. He therefore said, 'Give me time, and I will harmonize all those apparent contradictions to my own satisfaction, or I will be a deist still.'

"He then devoted himself to a prayerful reading of the word. He laid aside all commentaries, and used the marginal references and his Concordance as his only helps. He saw that he must distinguish between the Bible and all the peculiar partisan interpretations of it.

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The Bible was older than them all, must be above them all; and he placed it there. He saw that it must correct all interpretations; and in correcting them, its own pure light would shine without the mists which traditionary belief had involved it in. He resolved to lay aside all preconceived opinions, and to receive with child-like simplicity, the natural and obvious meaning of the Scripture. He pursued the study of the Bible with the most intense interest-whole nights as well as days being devoted to that object. At times delighted with truth, which shone forth from the sacred volume, making clear to his understanding the great plan of God for the redemption of fallen man; and at times puzzled and almost distracted by seemingly inexplicable or contradictory passages, he persevered until the application of his great principle of interpretation was triumphant. He became puzzled only to be delighted, and delighted only to persevere the more in penetrating its beauties and mysteries.

“His manner of studying the Bible is thus described by himself: 'I determined to lay aside all my prepossessions, to thoroughly compare Scripture with Scripture, and to pursue its study in a regular, methodical manner. I commenced with Genesis, and read verse by verse, proceeding no faster than the meaning of the several passages should be so unfolded as to leave me free from embarrassment respecting any mysticisms or contradictions. Whenever I found anything obscure, my practice was to compare it with all collateral passages; and, by the help of Cruden, I examined all the texts of Scripture in which were found any of the prominent words contained in any obscure portion. Then, by letting every word have its proper bearing on the subject of the text, if my view of it harmonized with

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