Miller, George Benjamin, Dd
Miller, George Benjamin, D.D.
an eminent divine of the Lutheran Church, was born of Moravian parentage at Emmons, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, June 10, 1795. His father, the Reverend George G. Miller, connected with the classical and theological school at Nazareth, and descended from a long line of Moravian clergymen, furnished him with special facilities for intellectual and moral culture. He entered Nazareth Hall as a pupil when only eight years of age, and there he continued his studies for eight years. He then left for Philadelphia, and commenced his career as a teacher in a private school. Subsequently he turned his attention to mercantile pursuits, but he soon discovered that the work was not adapted to his natural tastes and inclinations. In less than a year he resumed his former employment, and became associated with the Reverend Dr. Hazelius as an instructor in an academy at New Germantown, N.J., and at the same time continued his theological studies, which had been commenced at Nazareth. In the autumn of 1818 he entered upon the work of the ministry at Canajoharie, N.Y., having been previously licensed to preach by the New York Ministerium, then under the presidency of the Reverend Dr. Quitman. In connection with his pastoral labors he established a classical school, and gave regular instruction. In this position he faithfully labored till 1827, when he accepted a professorship in Hartwick Seminary, N.Y., and again became the colleague of Dr. Hazelius, whom he succeeded as principal of the institution in 1830. With the exception of five years spent in the work of teaching and preaching elsewhere, he continued connected with this seminary, either as principal or professor of theology, until his death, devoting all his energies to the preparation of young men for college or of candidates for the holy ministry. His name will always be as closely identified with the history of the institution as that of its benevolent founder. He died with the harness on, April 5, 1869. Dr. Miller was married to Delia B. Snyder in 1816, and in 1866 commemorated his "golden wedding" with a large number of relatives and friends, who had gathered from different parts of the country to present their congratulations and good wishes, the whole family, twenty-three in number, on the evening preceding the wedding festivities, uniting in the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and the reverend patriarch, surrounded by three generations, administering the sacred ordinance. Dr. Miller was a man of quick, acute, and discriminating intellect. He was distinguished for his accurate and ripe scholarship. As a man of learning, he had few superiors in the country. He had a perfect command of his own vernacular, and spoke and wrote German and French with wonderful facility. He was familiar with the exact sciences, his acquaintance with history was very extensive, and his knowledge of the ancient classics critical and complete. He was also a Profound Hebraist, and thoroughly versed in the Scriptures, so that he never found it necessary to use a concordance, but could turn with almost unfailing intuition to the required passage of the sacred page. Dr. Miller was noted as a man of original thought and independent research. As a writer, he was universally commended as clear, accurate, and instructive. The productions of his pen show his power of analysis, of generalization, and great condensation in the method of statement. His extensive erudition and enlarged experience were only surpassed by the loveliness of his Christian character; and his earnest, simple-hearted, active piety made a deep impression upon all who came within the range of his influence. His elevated type of Christian excellence, his high culture, his unpretending, modest character, his life unsullied by a single stain, attracted towards him by the strongest sympathies all men. He was a bright and shining light in the Church, and his name will ever be cherished with the most affectionate interest. All his acquisitions were made subordinate to that which most deeply interested his active mind — the study of divine truth. All his treasures were laid at the Master's feet, and devoted entirely to his service. When, in 1836, he received the distinction of D.D. from Union College, he meekly submitted, remarking to a friend that the letters would serve as a good Scriptural motto, Deo Duce. The Lutheran Church owes to him as much as to any other laborer in this country. The only works published by Dr. Miller are a volume of Sermons on some of the Fundamental Principles of the Gospel, and a text-book on German Grammar, which never reached an extensive circulation. For a more detailed account, see Evangel. Qu. Rev. 1870, January page 25 sq.; Memorial Volume of Hartwick Seminary. (M.L.S.)