Miller, William

Miller, William the founder of the Millerites (q.v.), was born at Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1781. He enjoyed but slender educational advantages. During the war of 1812 he served as a volunteer with the rank of captain. About 1833, while a resident of Low Hampton, N.Y., he began his career as an apostle of the new doctrine, which taught that the world was coming to an end in 1843. The main argument on which his belief rested was that relative to the termination of the 2300 days in Da 8:14, which he regarded as years. Then considering the seventy weeks in Da 9:24, as the key to the date of the 2300 days of the preceding chapter, and dating the periods B.C. 457, when Artaxerxes, king of Persia, sent up Ezra from his captivity, to restore the Jewish polity at Jerusalem (Ezra 7), and ending the seventy weeks, as commentators generally do, in A.D. 33, with the crucifixion of Christ, he found the remainder of the 2300 days, which was 1810, would end in 1843. For ten years he held forth to this purport, and succeeded in gathering a large number of followers, which is said to have reached fifty thousand, who awaited, with credulous expectation, the appointed day. The result, however, turning out contrary to the teaching of their apostle, the Adventists, as they are sometimes termed, gradually forsook Miller. He died at Low Hampton, Washington County, N.Y., December 20, 1849. His followers esteemed him as a man of more than ordinary mental power, as a cool, sagacious, and honest reasoner, a humble and devoted Christian, a kind and affectionate friend, and a man of great moral and social worth. SEE MILLERITES.

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