Miller, Daniel

Miller, Daniel a German religious enthusiast of low origin and condition of life, was born in Nassau in 1716, the time of the Pietist movements, when various indications of an inward religious life made their appearance in Germany, and many opposing circumstances excited a longing for a new development of the Church. At first he attached himself to the secondary effects of pietism, and busied himself with Jacob Bohme and other Mystics. For a long time also he was engaged in historical studies, and his mysticism became connected with a historical scepticism. At this juncture also there was the commencement of a rationalistic reaction, especially hastened on by the appearance of the Wolfenbiittel Fragments. But neither of the two parties — neither the Church nor the rationalistic — suited him. He wished to maintain the authority of the Bible against the new scepticism, and to insist on its inspiration in the most unqualified sense. But, on the other hand, he was not satisfied with orthodoxy; he was led to a peculiar religious idealism, by which he wished to establish a harmony of all religions. An original revelation was at the basis of all of them, the symbols of which had been misunderstood. Everything in the Old Testament and the New was to be understood symbolically; it was the garb of God's inner revelation, and of the eternal revelation of the divine Logos. Everything historical, as such, is untrue; it is only the clothing of ideal truth. In this view of the life of Christ, although proceeding on quite different principles, he was the forerunner of the modern mythic school, and combated the belief in the historical miracles of Christ on grounds very similar to those brought forward by Strauss. If such miracles, he says, as feeding the five thousand had actually happened, all the Jews would have received Christ, and would not have crucified him. Indeed, Miller went so far as to give any religion the authority for man's ultimate conversion to the state of eternal bliss, and Adam and Christ were to him simply the same human formation of the all-pervading Deity, the same divinity pervading the sacred writings of all nations. Later in life Muller himself claimed to be an Elias, called to redeem the world from the yoke of the letter. He travelled through the whole northern part of Germany to announce that the external Church was about to be subverted; and although he died in 1782, under an impression that God had deceived him, he had yet made such an impression on his fellows that even now there are followers of his in Germany. They reject the historical Christ, look upon infidels as their brethren, and are expecting Muller's return to set up a universal kingdom. See Keller, Daniel Muller, Religilse Schwarmer des Achtzehnten Jahrh. (Leipsic, 1834); Zeitschr. fur Histor. Theologie (1834); Neander's Hist. Christian Dogmas, pages 634, 635; Hase, Ch. Hist. page 508.

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