Page images
PDF
EPUB

account. I take pleasure in saying, to the praise of God, that I enter upon this work with a sweet and delightful witness in my soul, (from God's Spirit, as I fully believe,) that I am doing that which pleases Him; sincerely desiring thereby to glorify the name of Jesus Christ, my God and Savior, and to do good to souls for whom he shed his blood.

I will here state the process of mind, by which, in the providence of God, I have come to my present convictions respecting the truth of the Bible on the subject under consideration.

It is now somewhat more than three years and a half, since the lectures of William Miller, on this subject, were put into my hands. At that time I had neither read nor heard anything of the views which he advocates, nor did I know anything of the subject of which his work treated, except that it was concerning the millennium. His book, therefore, was to my mind an entire novelty I took it up, as we often say, by mere casualty ; but, as I fully believe, by the wise direction of Him who numbers the hairs of our heads. I devoured it with a more intense interest than any other book I had ever read; and continued to feel the same interest in it, until I had read it from beginning to end for the sixth time. My mind was greatly overwhelmed with the subject, until I felt that I could truly love Christ's appearing, and that I

could therefore hope with Paul, that there was laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which God, the righteous Judge, should give me at that day." The subject then seemed to me to be surrounded, and fortified, on all sides, with an array of scriptural testimony, which nothing could overthrow.

In this state of mind, I wrote to Mr. Miller; but as I have no copy of the letter, I do not remember whether I did, or did not, express myself to him as fully convinced of the truth which he advocated. It is my impression, however, that I did. About the same time, also, I wrote and preached to the people in Boston, with whom I was then laboring, a couple of sermons, designed to lay before them the theory of Christ's

second coming at hand, which Mr. Miller advocated, and the evidence on which the truth of the doctrine rested; telling them that I expressed no opinion of my own, but wished them to examine the subject for themselves. Having also, at the same time, an appointment, to read an essay for criticism, before the Suffolk South Asssociation of Congregational Ministers, of which I was then a member, I laid the same subject before them. In expressing their minds with regard to it, the first said "moonshine;" the second said "ditto;' and another said the prophecies can't be understood.I think there were two whose feelings seemed revolted at the idea that the prophecies could not be understood; but there were none present who seemed to sympa. thize in the impression that there was truth in the subject, or that it was worthy of investigation. I left the meeting much pained, and, if I rightly remember, not a little mortified; for there was much laughter over the subject, and I could not help feeling that I was regarded as a simpleton, for entertaining the thought that there could be any truth, in what seemed to them such palpable nonsense. I did not feel ready to say to them that I coincided with Mr. Miller; for the subject was new to me, and I had not sufficiently surveyed and examined the ground to attempt much by way of defending it, even if I had had an opportunity. Soon after this, I found opportunity to converse with an aged clergyman, for whom I have great respect, and who, as I then believed, had given more attention to the prophetic parts of the Scriptures than any other man in this country, and had written and published much, and with great acceptance. The firmness and fluency with which he opposed Mr. Miller's views, led me to feel that it might be owing to my ignorance that I was so much impressed on reading his book; and the reproach, which I saw would come upon me, if I advocated them, led me to lay the matter aside. Some time after, when a member of the Association asked what I then thought of Miller's book, I said, (for the sake of retaining his good opinion,) “I was much overwhelmed with it at first, but now I don't think anything of it.” The truth is, that the fear of man brought me into a snare; I was unwilling at this time to appear as an advocate of the truth defended by Mr. Miller; but neither Scripture nor argument had ever settled the convictions of my mind to the contrary.

After this, I left Boston and went to New Jersey, where my mind became deeply absorbed in examining the subject of full sanctification by faith in Christ. So fully had all my previous teachings set me against that doctrine, and so unprepared was I in my experience to appreciate its value, and the blessedness to be derived from it, that it was a long time before I felt established and confirmed in the belief and experience of it, as a doctrine of the Bible. But I was at length led by the Holy Spirit to cast myself by faith upon the faithfulness of Him, who is declared “faithful to sanctify us wholly, and to preserve our whole spirit and soul and body blameless unto the coming of Christ.” In doing this, I have found a blessedness in Christ, which is indeed a “ peace that pass. eth all understanding,” and a "joy unspeakable and full- of glory.” Such was the power of the gospel which I now felt in my own soul, that I thought, if God were to fill the whole earth, as He had filled me, with the blissful manifestations of his spiritual presence, it would make this world a blessed place indeed ; and as I knew that he was it able to do 'for us exceeding abundantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us," and had said, " But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord,” I preached, as the expected millennium, the universal prevalence, and experience of entire sanctification. Respecting the Christian's delightful privilege, to be "sanctified wholly, and preserved in spirit, soul and body, blameless to the coming of Christ,” through his faith in the faithfulness of Him who hath called him, and will do it; I have the same blessed convictions and experience that I have for a considerable time entertained : but I think that I now better understand what that coming of Christ meant, to which God is faithful to preserve us blameless; and also better what Paul meant by exhorting "as many as be perfect," like him to "forget the things behind, and reach forth unto those before; and thus follow after, to apprehend that for which they are apprehended by Christ Jesus, if by any means they may attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” In the state of mind which I have described, I remained up to the time when you called upon me, having delightful enjoyment in my soul, from receiving Christ as of God made unto me sanctification, as well as “wisdom, righteousness, and redemption," and endeavoring, by all means in my power, to urge

« PreviousContinue »