A Higher Standard – Part 2

TimeWatch Editorial
January 25, 2017

This young man, William Miller, self studied and driven was indeed set aside by God for the work that he did. In the autumn of the year 1833, Mr. Miller received a license to preach, from the church of which he was a member.

"Let brotherly love continue: the Baptist Church of Christ, in Hampton and Whitehall, do certify that Brother William Miller is a member in regular standing in this Church. Brother Miller has been improving his gifts with us in expounding the words of Divine Truth, in public, for some time past, to the approbation and edification of the church. We are satisfied that Brother Miller has a gift to improve in public; and are willing he should improve the same, wherever his lot may be cast among the Zion of God, - that the name of the Lord may be glorified, and his followers edified: Done in Church Meeting, Saturday, September 14, 1833. - By order of the Church:”Signed: BYRON S. HARLOW: Clerk pro tem."
Sylvester Bliss and Joshua V. Himes, “Memoirs of William Miller,” 1853, page 91.

The fundamentals of his beliefs were clearly articulated in a statement he recorded on September 5, 1822.

"I hereby acknowledge that I have long believed it my duty . . . to leave, for the inspection of my brethren, friends and children, a brief statement of my faith (and which ought to be my practice); and I pray God to forgive me where I go astray. I made it a subject of prayer and meditation, and, therefore, leave the following as my faith, - reserving the privilege of correction, Signed: WM. MILLER.”

After this, he listed a number of items that were fundamental to his faith. There were approximately twenty fundamental beliefs listed, along with the one which he is perhaps best known for. That belief is states as follows:

“I believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, even at the door, even within twenty-one years, - on or before 1843." Sylvester Bliss and Joshua V. Himes, “Memoirs of William Miller,”
1853, page 91.

Here is the complete list of beliefs that he embraced.

"ART. I. I believe the Bible is given by God to man, as a rule for our practice, and a guide to our faith, - that it is a revelation of God to man."

"ART. II. I believe in one living and true God, and that there are three persons in the Godhead, - as there is in man, the body, soul and spirit. And if anyone will tell me how these exist, I will tell him how the three persons of the Triune God are connected."

"ART. III. I believe that God, by his Son, created man in the image of the Triune God, with a body, soul and spirit; and that he was created a moral agent, capable of living, of obeying, or transgressing the laws of his Maker."

"ART. IV. I believe that man, being tempted by the enemy of all good, did transgress and became polluted; from which act, sin entered into the world, and all mankind became naturally sinners, thrust out from the presence of God, and exposed to his just wrath forever."

"ART. V. I believe that God, knowing from eternity the use that man would make of his [free] agency, did, in his council of eternity, ordain that his Son should die; and that through his death salvation should be given to fallen man, through such means as God should appoint."

"ART. VI. I believe that, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, sinners are made the recipients of mercy, in conformity to the Divine plan, founded on the wisdom and knowledge of God; the fruits of which are manifested in the recipient by works of repentance and faith; and without which no man, coming to years of discretion and able to choose between good and evil, can have an interest in the blood and righteousness of Christ."

"ART. VII. I believe that Jesus Christ is an offering of God to sinners for their redemption from sin and that those who believe in his name may take him by faith, go to God, and find mercy; and that such will in no wise be rejected."

"ART. VIII. I believe that Jesus Christ was the sacrifice for sin which justice demanded; and that all those who confess their sins on the head of this victim, may expect forgiveness of sin through the blood of the atonement, which is in Jesus Christ, the great High Priest in the Holy of Holies."

"ART. IX. I believe the atonement to be made by the intercession of Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of his blood in the Holy of Holies, and upon the mercy-seat and people; by which means the offended is reconciled to the offender, the offender is brought into subjection to the will of God; and the effect is, forgiveness of sin, union to the Divine person, and to the household of faith."

"ART. X. I believe all those for whom Christ intercedes, who are united to God by a living faith, and have received the forgiveness of sin through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, can never perish; but are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation."

"ART. XI. I believe that all the promises of God are and will be accomplished in Christ Jesus; and that none of the human family are or can be entitled to the promises of grace, but those who are born of the Spirit in Christ Jesus, any more than the antediluvians could have been saved from the deluge without entering the ark."

"ART. XII. I believe that Jesus Christ will eventually take away the sin of the world, and cleanse the earth from all pollution, so that this earth will become the abode of the saints forever, by means which he has appointed; all believers being regenerated, sanctified, justified and glorified."

"ART. XIII. I believe that all final impenitents will be destroyed from the earth, and sent away into a place prepared for the Devil and his angels."

"ART. XIV. I believe Jesus Christ will come again in his glory and person to our earth, where he will accomplish his Divine purposes in the saving of his people, destroying the wicked from the earth, and taking away the sin of the world."

"ART. XV. I believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, even at the door, even within twenty-one years, - on or before 1843."

"ART. XVI. I believe that before Christ comes in his glory, all sectarian principles will be shaken, and the votaries of the several sects scattered to the four winds; and that none will be able to stand but those who are built on the word of God."

"ART. XVII. I believe in the resurrection, both of the just and of the unjust, - the just, or believers, at Christ's second coming, and the unjust one thousand years afterwards, - when the judgment of each will take place in their order, at their several resurrections; when the just will receive everlasting life, and the unjust eternal condemnation."

"ART. XVIII. I believe in the doctrine of election, founded on the will, purpose and fore-knowledge of God; and that all the elect will be saved in the kingdom of God, through the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the truth."

"ART. XIX. I believe in the ordinance of baptism by immersion, as a representation of Christ's burial and resurrection, - also of our death to sin and life to holiness."

"ART. XX. I believe in the ordinance of the Lord's supper."

It is interesting to note that the fundamentals of his list of beliefs match favorably with those which are embraced today.

Cameron A. Bowen

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