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William Miller was born February 15, 17 82 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. While he was still a small child, parents moved to the hamlet of Low Hampton, in Washington County, New York, almost on the Vermont line. William was raised in a religious atmosphere, for his saintly mother had obediently woven into her life the religious instruction received in a minister’s home. Because of this, William came under the important influence of religion. But he wasn’t a peculiar boy with strange experiences; he grew up as a healthy American, living in the western edges of civilization. In those early years, young William was an ambitious boy undiscouraged by pioneer hardships. He was determined, despite all handicaps, to better his plot and to secure a training of mind as well as body. Along with most early settlers, Miller lived in a home cursed with poverty; every dollar that was gathered was put for the mortgage. Even though there was no money for books, William had a quenchless desire for knowledge. He consumed all the books he could find reading and rereading them over and over again. As William grew older, his thirst for knowledge grew, and the few books that the family’s limited income provided, weren’t enough. Combining resourcefulness with courage, he went out to se some prominent citizens for a loan of books. In this manner, William continued to satisfy his restless mind with the treasures that have ever been found in books.
Miller entered public life as a deputy sheriff in 1809 as a deputy sheriff. Soon after he added the duties of a military officer, being appointed a lieutenant in the militia of the State of Vermont. Two years later, on November 7, 1812, Lieutenant Miller was promoted to captain of the militia. But Miller didn’t remain in the militia very long, in the spring of 1813; he was appointed a lieutenant in the United States Army. Early in 1814 miller was promoted yet again to the rank of captain in the United States Army. Along with this advancement, Captain Miller also received his own regiment, the 30th infantry. The end of this exciting time spent in the service came with William Miller’s release from the army on June 18, 1815. But more exciting days lay ahead in the years to come.
After two years in the service William Miller moved back to Low Hampton once again. There he built himself a two-story frame house. William now found himself in the center of the little community where he hoped to live quietly as a farmer thorough his remaining years, but this was not to be. There were restless stirrings in the soul of this man that cannot be fitted into the typical picture of a peaceful farmer. Miller didn’t realize it, but he was at heart a deeply religious man. Even though conscience-smitten by the sound of his own voice, he couldn’t easily shake off skeptical thoughts. He heard the still small voice speak to his conscience in rebuke, but it was while he was standing in the fogs of doubt and discouragement.
After two years of comprehensive research, William Miller announced his belief that the second coming of Christ was only twenty-five years away, he based this belief mainly on the prophecy of Daniel 8:14: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days: then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” For five more years Miller searched the Scriptures for further light on the startling message that he was bringing into focus. Another eight years passed before he finally came to the decision to heed the recurring impression, “Go and tell the world of its danger.” In 1831, William Miller pledged to God that he would tell this message if he was invited to preach it at a church. Less than thirty minutes had pas when Miller received an invitation to preach in Dresden, New York. For the next thirteen years the Second Advent Message stirred the world. It shook America from the late 1830’s until 1844.
By 1840, Miller was joined by some outstanding members of the church. One of which included Joshua V. Himes, a publisher of the widely spread newspaper, Sign of the Times.” Joshua told Miller that the word needed to be more widely spread. He told him that he
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