Hello Boys and Girls!
Do you like to go on field trips? I do! In fact, they are my favorite part of school–both when I was a girl and now when I am all grown up! Our family likes to go on as many field trips as possible, as I suspect yours does too. Sometimes I wish that our friends could come with us as we visit different places, so we decided to bring you with us through this blog post! 🙂
The first field trip I want to take you on this school year is a trip to William Miller’s home. Do you know who William Miller is? He is not alive now, but years ago he played a very important part in the start of our Seventh-day Adventist church. Now this field trip is one that I was not able to go on myself–my son went with his college class on a big tour bus, and when he got home he took me there the same way we are going to take you–through pictures and stories telling me and showing me what he saw! So the rest of this blog post will be from my son Austin. I hope you enjoy the trip! There are lots more places I want to take you to–later this school year we will go to more important places in Adventist History. It is really neat to study your church’s history, because that way you get to see how Jesus is leading our church. So learn all you can, and I hope you enjoy Austin’s pictures and stories as much as I did!
It was a beautiful sunny New England autumn day as the tour bus I was on crossed from Vermont into New York, and a few minutes later rolled into the driveway of the William Miller home. While I had previously seen the Miller home in pictures, it was such an incredible experience to be just driving along the New York countryside, round a corner, and THERE IT IS. So cool to see it in real life!
After a wonderful lunch, Dr. Lake (our tour guide) led us to the front door and started his talk. William Miller was a Deist, meaning that he believed that God created the world but then left it to its’ own devices. However, after serving in several minor political positions, and having a near-death encounter in the War of 1812, Miller began to have his doubts.
William Miller began to study the Bible in order to refute his Christian friends, but in the process God got ahold of him and by 1816 Miller was a Christian himself. For the next two years, Miller completed an exhaustive study of the Bible, starting at Genesis 1:1 and finishing with Revelation 22:21. He was particularly interested with the prophecies of Daniel, and their connection with the second coming of Christ. It was an amazing experience for me to stand in Miller’s study, to see where he studied the Bible, and to realize that this is where “God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a famer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people.” (Early Writings p. 229)
At the end of his two year study, Miller wrote: “I was thus brought… to the solemn conclusion, that in about twenty-five years from that time 1818 all the affairs of our present state would be wound up.”1
But even with arriving at such an exciting conclusion, William Miller was scared to go preach this message. For the next 13 years he kept silent, only telling a few family members and friends about his discoveries. They encouraged him to go public, but he refused. His friends and family were not the only ones who were encouraging Miller to preach; all this while God was telling William Miller to “Go, tell it to the world!” But Miller continued to fight off this impression.
Finally, one very early August morning in 1831, Miller gave up and made a bargain with God. If God would send him an invitation to preach somewhere, Miller would accept and “Go, tell it to the world” For the first time in years, Miller felt at peace. He was a farmer, and getting old. No one had ever invited him to preach, and surely no one ever would!
Right at that moment, a knock sounded at Miller’s front door. He got up from his study, opened the door, and welcomed in his 14-year-old2 nephew Irving who had obviously not even eaten breakfast! Irving quickly relayed his father’s message to his uncle: “Come and teach our people that the Lord is coming.”
Just as quickly, speaking not a word William Miller strode out of the house, fuming at God. This was an invitation to preach at his nephew’s local church! That meant that he would have to preach more, like he had agreed in his bargain with God! And all the while that same Voice spoke in his mind’s ear, “Go, tell it to the world!”
William Miller ended up in his farm’s maple grove.
“Lord, I can’t go!”3 Miller pleaded, “I can’t! I’m only a farmer, not a preacher; how can I carry a message like Noah?”
But the only response he got was,
“Will you break a promise so soon after you have made it? Go and tell it to the world!”
Finally, Miller surrendered.
“Lord, I don’t know how I can do it; but if you will go with me, I will go.”
Immediately, that huge, heavy burden that he had been carrying for years rolled off his shoulders. He had said “yes” to God, and this middle-aged man danced for joy. William Miller’s youngest daughter, Lucy, had followed him out to the maple grove. Seeing her father’s sudden change of disposition, she ran back to the house exclaiming,
“Mother, Mother, come quick! Father’s down in the grove, and he’s gone crazy!”
William Miller didn’t walk, nor run out of that grove; he danced. His family was thrilled. Miller joyously assured young Irving that just as soon as they finished eating breakfast, he would gladly go with his him to preach the next day. Miller did, and his life was never the same.
Dr. Lake told us this story on the front steps of the Miller home. It was so cool to hear this story right where it happened…to have Dr. Lake to pretend to be Irving and knock on the very door that Irving knocked on…and later, to walk out to the very maple grove where William Miller surrendered to God.
I have grown up on these stories, love these stories, but it was a totally different experience to actually see the locations where these stories of major Adventist historical significance took place. I pray that you have been blessed by reading this article, and gained at least a taste of the joy of visiting the William Miller home in person. If you are interested in seeing the video footage that I shot of the William Miller farm, you can check it out here: http://youtu.be/bb9wyiLeMcs?list=PLlDVWuYZthlAxY-jEHo26-qG8JQZDbk4R