The Midnight Cry

DURING THE WHOLE SUMMER of 1841 Miller was confined to his home by illness. Once more he was called upon to contemplate the mysterious ways of God toward man and to learn patience in the face of disappointment. It was during this summer that the second session of the general conference was held. This was called to meet in Lowell, Massachusetts, on the morning of June 15, 1841. [106]

At this second session a resolution was passed calling on the friends of the movement to "take measures for procuring for circulation in their neighborhoods and towns the Second Advent Library; *107 that none need be in darkness on the doctrine who will take the pains to read these valuable works." [108]

The list of the members of the conference, with their addresses, reveals a representation from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York. Approximately two hundred names are recorded. When we think of the difficulties and costs of travel in those days we may rightly describe a conference of two hundred meeting for several days as a significant event. Millerism was making headway.

This second session of the general conference drafted an address directed to "all who love the Lord Jesus and His glorious kingdom." The address expresses, first, the profound conviction that the day of the Lord is near, and that because of this there is a tremendous responsibility resting on the believers in this truth to publish it abroad. The address presents nine specific suggestions as to the procedures to follow in order to accomplish successfully the solemn task. Set forth early in the history of the now more or less well-defined movement, these suggestions laid down the strategy of warfare that was to be employed with increasing vigor in the days to come.

"1. The work of personal consecration to God. Little or nothing can be done without this. But this point will not be attained nor maintained without labor and sacrifice Watchfulness and prayer is the great secret of a holy life...

"2. The work of personal conversation with others on religion, and especially on the near coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, says one, I have no talent for doing this, I do not sufficiently understand it myself to enter into it. Then there is the more need of applying yourself diligently to the study of it, until you can do something in that way...Let the testimony of the Holy Scriptures but be applied, although it may be in ever so feeble a manner, if it be done in a right spirit, and from a heart overflowing with the love of Christ, and it will produce its effect.

"3. We recommend the formation of Bible classes for the mutual study of this great question...

"4. Social meetings for prayer and exhortation have been established in several places since our former conference, and have been found to be of special service in strengthening the faith of believers, and cheering on their way the lovers of the Lord Jesus Christ and His appearing. They should be held in every place where there are a sufficient number of believers to sustain them...

"5. We recommend the practice of questioning your ministers on the subject. Propose to them texts of Scripture for their explanation. They are set for the defense of the gospel, and have or should have the keys of knowledge, so as to be able to open to the people of their charge the Word of God...We know of no better way than this, to bring them to an examination of the points.

"6. Another part of our work, and not an unimportant part either, is the circulation of books. We have them, but to do good with them they must be circulated. Multitudes would read and be benefited if the works were put into their hands, who will not take the pains to procure a book themselves."

[Then follows a discussion of how much time and resources should be put into this work of circulating the literature. It was feared that some might conclude that the conference was "recommending an entire abandonment of business, because we believe the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Far from it. The command is as binding now as it ever was, to 'be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.'" At the same time the conference warned against the opposite extreme of being so filled up with "the cares of this life" as to neglect the work of God. "There is no necessity of going to either extreme," continued the address. "Be diligent; but be sure to take time for religious duties and an entire preparation for the kingdom of heaven."]

"7. There are some who feel themselves burdened because the church with which they are connected not only do not fall in with their views of the coming of the Saviour but actually oppose them on that ground. What shall we do? they ask; shall we remain with them or is it our duty to go somewhere else? We answer, it is impossible for us to give any general advice which will be appropriate in all cases. Circumstances will alter cases. But as a general rule we think it best for persons in such circumstances to abide where they are and endeavor to do what they can to bring the church to a better mind...

"8. The spirit with which we should labor and suffer. That we shall meet with opposition, scorn, reproach, and many other things hard to be endured by nature, is to be expected. But we should never murmur nor be impatient under them...

"9. We also would say a word on a subject introduced in a resolution. The establishment of Second Advent Libraries. *109 Let no town or village be destitute of one of these auxiliaries of our cause: and let it be free for all who will take, read, and return, the books. No time should be lost in starting this enterprise; great good may and will be the result." [110]

Shortly after the Lowell conference Himes wrote to Miller expressing the hope that he would be sending along from his sickbed two lectures and "a good letter to the brethren of the conference to be published in the report." [111] Himes assured him that "the brethren in this vicinity are firm and much engaged. One thing is manifest in regard to the time: they are more confirmed as the time draws near."

He added that "Brother Litch has now entered the field. God will give him success I doubt not. He is a strong man." Litch's own published works reveal that as far back as 1838 he had been sufficiently impressed on the nearness of the second advent to write on the subject. But with him as with most others there was a lag between the time of believing and the time of actually entering the field, as Himes expressed it.

When Josiah Litch "entered the field," it was as a "general agent" of the movement. In a report of the "Doings of the Committee of Publication" held on July 15, 1841, we read:

"The Committee will depend upon the friends of the cause to supply the wants of their agent, wherever he may work. 'The laborer is worthy of his hire.' " [112]

This was another definite step in giving substance and stability to the movement. It was the custom of religious bodies in those days to employ ministers to travel in behalf of the publications of that body. Such persons were known as general agents. Thus the Committee of Publication of the Millerite movement was following a well-established practice. While it was true he was to devote his time lecturing, he was being sent forth by the Committee of Publication, evidently to foster very particularly that phase of the movement. Litch was one of the first of the really prominent men of the movement who went wholeheartedly into the promotion of it.

Himes, in the same letter from which we have been quoting, told Miller of the plans for literature distribution:

"We shall distribute $1,000 worth of the 'reports' and publications this year. You may ask where we expect to get it? Answer. We have got about $700 now; and the rest will be forthcoming when needed. We have resolved to establish a library in every town, where it is practicable." [113]

Then employing a mixed metaphor, he added with vigor, "These libraries will make some noise about town, but we must let the light shine."

Himes assured Miller that he had done such a good job answering attacks made by two religious papers named in the letter that he ought to try his hand on a third one that had been attacking them. The story of the running fight–that is precisely the word to use–carried on between the Millerites and their opponents of the religious and secular press would fill a volume in itself. And for the lovers of polemics it would provide stimulating reading. Debate a hundred years ago, whether conducted orally or in print, did not employ vague phrases. Even the short, ugly words "lie" and "liar" are often found in the controversial literature of those robust times, both secular and religious.

The charge that the leaders of the Millerite movement were adventurers, that the preaching of Millerism was resulting in insanity and murder, were charges already being sounded, and in language that left little to the imagination. These charges will be examined in later chapters. We refer to them now only to indicate the increasingly bleak climate in which the Millerites found themselves.

This intensifying opposition put a very great strain upon the patience and poise of Miller and his associates. They were men of like passions as we are. Take, for example, the retort Miller made to a false accuser. A minister who opposed Millerism preached a sermon against it in which, among other things, he read a signed statement from a man who impressively began with the words, "This certifies," and went on to declare that he had heard Miller state in a certain church in the month of May, 1839, that "there would not be any more rain on the earth or any marriages" after a certain date.

The facts were that Miller had never given a lecture in the church named, nor had he ever made such forecasts. But he was not content with a simple denial. He could not resist the temptation to add a vigorous thrust for good measure. We quote in part:

"I never predicted there would be no rain on earth, at any time or place since I have believed my Bible. For I do solemnly and firmly believe that when Christ comes, He will rain hail, fire, and brimstone upon all liars, and will sweep away the refuge of lies." [114]

We would not respond to an attack in that way today; at least, we would try not to make such thoughts audible, and that would be well. But Miller was employing a style common to his day, and even his adversaries had to admit that he wielded the sword with deadly force. So effectively, indeed, did he and his close associates strike down false accusations, that rarely, if ever, did an opponent return to the attack with alleged further proof in support of his original charge. Perhaps this does not so much prove the skill of the Millerites in debate as it does the utter groundlessness of the charges made against them. Opponents followed the path of least resistance–when one charge was refuted they simply trumped up another.

In the light of such disputes we can better understand the letter Henry Dana Ward wrote to William Miller. Ward had presided at the first session of the general conference. Though he was active in the movement, believing that the second advent of Christ was near, he did not accept Miller's forecast that sought to name the year. Wrote Ward:

"I write you without ceremony as a brother called to suffer reproach for Christ's sake...Your confidence in the time of the Lord's coming I understand, and yet I am far from feeling: but that does not hinder me from uniting in the cry: 'The Lord is at hand!'...The enunciation of the date also subjects you and those who act with you, to great reproach and obloquy: and one great and moving consideration of this letter is to persuade you to bear it (reproach) meekly...

"I think you wrong in urging the matter of the date; but I honor your zeal, your fidelity, your learning, your industry; and I desire to preserve you from the hurt of those wounds which the malice of the enemy inflicts...I know you think and feel right upon this subject, and I wish heartily that you would exert your great influence in subduing the passions and restraining the vexed spirits of others, whose feelings are smarting under the undeserved wounds of their friends." [115]

By the close of the summer of 1841 the movement had made a further concrete development in the city of Boston, as the following item in the Signs of the Times reveals:

"The friends of the cause in this city have procured a spacious and convenient room within one minute's walk of the Post Office, where a Library and Reading Room, as a place of resort for our citizens who are interested in the cause; and for strangers in the country who may wish information, aid, or publications on the subject of the advent near.

"It will afford to inquirers all necessary information on the state, and progress of the cause. American and English periodicals will be furnished having any bearing on the subject of the advent near, and signs of the times: a rich collection also of ancient and modern works on the predictions of the holy prophets. "It will be sustained by the voluntary contributions of those who appreciate the measure as a profitable auxiliary to the cause." [116]

An examination of Millerite correspondence shows that they knew how to promote in season and out of season with the printed page. Letters in those days were not sent in envelopes. They were simply folded to what would be approximately the size of our envelopes today, and then sealed with a drop of wax or a small sticker of some kind. Himes, who had promised Miller that he would publish the truth of the second coming to every corner of the land and beyond, offered to the ardent members of the movement stickers about two thirds the size of our United States postage stamp, on which was printed "an appropriate passage of Scripture, or a striking sentiment" on the second advent, that the writer could use for sealing his letters. They were called "monitory wafers." [117]

The third session of the "General Conference, Expecting the Advent of the Lord," was held in Portland, Maine, October 12-14, 1841. A round of other appointments prevented Miller from attending. In his letter to the conference he dwelt on the importance of promoting the beliefs they held dear, and offered certain suggestions by which they could effectively do this. [118] He saw the danger to the cause of being misrepresented on the

public platform by those who had a zeal to speak, but were not qualitied. He recommended that a "committee be appointed for the express purpose of examining, advising and recommending" such persons as the committee felt were qualified to lecture.

Since Millerism was a movement and not a church body with disciplinary powers, such committee action regarding qualification of lecturers could have only the power of recommendation. There was nothing to prevent a man's rising up anywhere as a lecturer and declaring that he was a preacher of the doctrines of Miller. While it is remarkable that the movement held as closely together as it did and presented such a large measure of unanimity in views in different parts of the country, there were inevitably instances

where men wholly on their own presumed to speak for the teachings of Miller without truly representing those teachings either in doctrine or in life. The embarrassment and confusion that may result from this are merely part of the price that any new religious movement in the world must pay in its formative years.

In suggesting the creation of a committee to examine prospective lecturers, Miller displayed keen insight. He foresaw the potential dangers in connection with a religious movement that was rapidly developing on all sides, and sought to protect against the dangers. He called for unity. In the very next paragraph following his recommendation of a committee, he declared, "Union is strength." He expressed the fear that "all of us [are] so liable to be prejudiced in our own favor, that it becomes a matter of some difficulty to know, and keep the place in the vineyard, which God calls us to fill"–in other words, some who think they are called to be lecturers are not. But, he added, there "is a field for usefulness, in which we can all work." He reminded the members of the conference that many of them were probably first awakened to consider the subject of the advent by means of the printed page. Therefore, if God "has blessed this means, to the good of our souls, why may we not reasonably suppose He will bless the same means to the good of others? " Hence he felt safe in encouraging all to distribute literature.

He encouraged those who were able to write "useful and interesting articles" on the subject of the advent, to write them, and "if any have important questions which they wish to have solved, let them not be backward in asking: for light is our object, and what may be hid unto us, may be made clear unto another. Let us interchange our views one with the other in a Christian spirit, by so doing, we may receive, as well as give much good."

It would be hard to take exception to this forthright formula for making progress in Scriptural knowledge. Miller referred to the difference of viewpoint within the movement as to the matter of the time of the end. He referred to those who believed simply "in the advent near" and to those who believed "with the writer, that 1843 will close our period of probation." He considered both as parts of one whole, together constituting a movement whose prime object was to make men ready to meet their God.

So real was the unity of heart of the conference members, so lifted were they above sectarian levels, that they held a communion service together. In a day when sectarian controversies raged bitterly, this was no small achievement.

Not only were the general conference sessions models of propriety, but the theological views they expounded, with the exception of the controversial question of the time of the advent, could easily have passed for orthodox views in most denominations.

If Miller could not come to the general conference–thus far he had been present only in spirit and by letter–the general conference would finally come to him. The fifth session was held in Low Hampton, November 2-5, 1841. [119]

One of the resolutions passed at this session specifically named "Brethren Miller, Himes, Litch, Jones, and Ward, together with those according with them in sentiment, and associate with them in effort" as being "entitled to the confidence, prayers, and co-operation" of all the believers in the advent near. [120] It would seem a reasonable deduction that an endeavor was here being made to place the movement on record as to who might rightly be considered as representing it. A prudent move indeed!

While Himes could say in his letter of June 26, 1841, that in the Boston area, at least, "the brethren" are "more confirmed" in "regard to the time" of the advent, there were some, as already observed, who were not confirmed. Near the close of 1841 more than a page of an issue of the Signs of the Times is filled with a letter to the editors from Henry Dana Ward, setting forth his reasons why he could not accept that part of Miller's teachings which forecast the advent in 1843. It is a model of restraint in presentation of a differing viewpoint, for the editors of the Signs of the Times believed with Miller on the matter of time. Said Ward, in his closing paragraph:

"This is the length and breadth of our opinion relative to fixed times. It is not forwarded to you, Messrs. Editors, in a controversial spirit, but with the desire, humble and honest, to be held personally responsible, only for that I personally hold; and to be instructed in any matter on which I may seem to differ without reason. It is one of the blessed fruits of the doctrine of our Lord's near coming, that men can walk together, who differ on other points, while they accord in 'that blessed hope.' I wish to encourage your circulation, and to multiply the number of your readers, and I ask the insertion of this, not for debate, but for the liberty of opinion to hold with our Lord. 'It is not for you to know the times, or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power,' while I am with you expectant of His coming and kingdom." [121]

If the reader is startled at the fact that the chairman of the first advent conference failed to accept Miller's view on time, he will also be surprised to know that Henry Jones, the secretary of that first conference, likewise demurred on this point. Nor were these two the only prominent men who had a vital part in promoting the movement called Millerism without accepting what many mistakenly have thought was the one and only teaching that characterized Millerism, the teaching that the Lord would come "about the year 1843." If such men as Ward, Jones, and others could devote their time and reputation in promoting Millerism, it must have been something larger than this one teaching on time. It was. How much larger, we shall seek to discover in a closing chapter, where we shall consider more particularly the religious teachings that distinguished the Millerite movement.

In an earlier chapter we quoted from a letter written by a minister, Charles Fitch, to Miller in 1838, telling of having read Miller's book of lectures and being persuaded of the truth of them. A news note in the Signs at the close of 1841 states briefly concerning Fitch: "This dear brother has come into the full faith of the second advent." [122] And so the ranks of the spokesmen for the movement were rapidly filling. Fitch was to prove to be one of the most prominent of Miller's associates.

At the sixth session of the general conference, which opened November 30 at Himes' Chardon Street Chapel in Boston, an appeal was made for additional funds for the publication and distribution of literature. About a thousand dollars was raised. When it is remembered that men often worked for from fifty cents to a dollar a day in those times, and that those attending the conference were not rich, this thousand dollars begins to assume large size. [123] And when it is further remembered that this was not the first thousand that had been raised, nor the last that was to be raised, it takes on even larger dimensions. These conference members who were the very center of the movement, gave rather concrete proof of the genuineness of their interest and belief. [124]

Thus far the preachers of the movement had met only verbal opposition. Something more concrete than this was soon to add to their troubles in various places. One of the first omens of it is found in a letter written in December, telling of a series of lectures in Nashua, New Hampshire, that were "well-nigh broken up by some twelve or fifteen fellows of the baser sort." [125] The revival meetings of John Wesley and others in past years had often been disturbed by mobs. Now, in turn, the Millerites were to be confronted with this test to their patience and their resourcefulness.

The year 1842 opened with sessions of the general conference held in rapid succession in Connecticut, New York State, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The session in Sandy Hill, a town in the same county as Low Hampton, held its closing service at the courthouse. Among others who arose to speak near the close of the service, was a prominent lawyer of the county. He told of having stood many times to address the jury in that very room, and of how he had come to the lectures "predisposed to reject the doctrine, and exceedingly skeptical." But he now wished to confess that his mind was changed. He was not prepared to say that the event would take place 1843, but that certainly according to the Bible the event was near. [126]

Those Millerite preachers must have been persuasive men whose line of reasoning was not quite so thin or irrational as critics have thought!

How earnest were becoming the requests from various places for firsthand knowledge on the teachings of Miller is illustrated by a letter written to Miller early in 1842 from Charles W. Stewart, postmaster in Morristown, Vermont. This was the second letter he wrote to Miller urging him to come to lecture:

"The minds of the people are strongly fixed on you and there is an impression on the minds of many that some great event is about to transpire....Many are deeply solicitous to have you come, while others manifest not a little uneasiness about your coming." [127]

Stewart assured Miller that the one inquiry of the people in his town and in the adjoining towns was this: "Is Mr. Miller a coming? " The time was drawing near when the fateful year of the end of the world would begin. This was in Stewart's mind when he repeated once more in his letter his urgent request for Miller to come: "We cannot refrain from beseeching you to come down ere we die."

About the same time Miller received a letter from a Sarah M. Marsh, who explained that she was writing from the "Palladium office" for her husband, Joseph Marsh The Christian Palladium was an organ of the Christian Church, and Joseph Marsh was one of the editors. Mrs. Marsh explained that her husband had been wanting to write to Miller, but a revival service that "has been going on in this, and the adjacent neighborhoods since you left us," together with his editorial work, had hindered him. He had requested her to write in his stead.

She told Miller of her changing feelings after hearing his preaching:

"At the first, when I examined the subject I was convinced the testimony was weighty and altogether in favor of the speedy return of our Lord, but I could not (strange as it may appear) wish it true. But of late, I have felt to rejoice in the exceeding great and precious promises of God, and to pray that He would 'come quickly.' My soul grows happy when I contemplate the glorious appearing of the dear Saviour." [128]

She stated also that after Miller had left their town, "Elder Marsh commenced a critical examination of the Scriptures." And what was the effect?

"After much study and prayerful examination of the matter, he fearlessly asserted some things in favor of the doctrine in the Palladium and called for a candid and careful investigation of this important subject. You will anticipate the result. It has raised much opposition from some of our dear and good brethren. Some feared the evil consequences of a failure; some advise that it be thrown out of the Palladium immediately...

"It is true, Elder Marsh is taking a bold stand and fearlessly presents his views in favor of the doctrine you preach, but is unwilling to admit anything on this point which he has not himself investigated, and compared with the Word of God. With regard to the time his mind is not fully settled, save that it is near even at the door. And never did I see him so much engaged in preaching and laboring for the salvation of an ungodly world as now."

The sequel to this is a letter to Miller from Joseph Marsh himself two months later. Marsh wrote of preaching to a "crowded house" on the subject of the millennium. "I have not yet lectured on the time," he continued, "but shall before I close. I am fully convinced that the glorious advent is near. And if I define the time I shall be compelled to say A. D. 1843." [129]

Marsh's difficulty in giving free expression to his new-found belief on the advent, while still holding his editorial position, is revealed in this line: "I am bound here and sigh to be free, and mean to have my liberty as soon as circumstances will admit."

In the 1840's a harmless humbug known as phrenology had considerable vogue. Students of phrenology believed, among other things, that the various faculties of the mind were situated in different areas of the brain, and that the relative development of these faculties was revealed, in part at least, by the shape of the skull. It was quite the thing to have one's head examined by a phrenologist. In the spring of 1842, while Miller was lecturing in the vicinity of Boston, a man who had espoused Miller's views on the advent, till he was rather generally known as a Millerite, persuaded Miller to go with him to a phrenologist in the city. The phrenologist was personally acquainted with Miller's convert –knew him as a Millerite–but not with Miller, nor was he informed whose head it was he was about to examine. As he proceeded, he turned sarcastically to Miller's convert:

"'I tell you what it is, Mr. Miller could not easily make a convert of this man to his hare-brained theory. He has too much good sense.'

"Thus he proceeded, making comparisons between the head he was examining and the head of Mr. Miller, as he fancied it would be. 'Oh, how I should like to examine Mr. Miller's head,' said he; 'I would give it one squeezing.'

"The phrenologist, knowing that the gentleman was a particular friend of Mr. Miller, spared no pains in going out of the way to make remarks upon him. Putting his hand upon the organ of fanaticism, as it is sometimes called, or the organ of marvelousness, he said, 'There, I'll bet you anything that old Miller has got a bump on his head there as big as my fist,' at the same time doubling up his fist as a sample. Others laughed at the perfection of the joke, and he heartily joined them, supposing they were laughing at his dry jokes on Mr. Miller...

"He got through, made out his chart, and politely asked Mr. Miller for his name. Mr. M. remarked, that it was of no consequence about putting his name upon the chart, but the phrenologist insisted. 'Very well,' said Mr. M., 'you may call it Miller, if you choose.'

"'Miller, Miller,' said he, 'what is your first name? ' "'Well, they call me William Miller.' "'What, the gentleman who is lecturing in Boston? ' "'Yes, sir, the same.' "At this, the phrenologist, filled with astonishment and dismay, settled back into his chair, pale and trembling, and spake not a word while the company remained. The reader may judge of the poor fellow's feelings." [130]

This much can be said for the embarrassed man: he was no more mistaken in his preconceived ideas of what Miller was like than were thousands of others.

While Miller and others were increasing their activities from the pulpit and lecture platform, Himes was busily engaged in expanding the publishing side of the movement. The eight-page Signs of the Times which had been begun early in 1840 and had been published for two years as a semimonthly, was now changed to a weekly. It was no small undertaking to conduct a paper of any kind as the organ of a movement no more closely organized than Millerism. But doubling the issues of the Signs of the Times was only one step in the expanding literature program of Millerism. New volumes of the Second Advent Library were being published by Himes in increasing numbers. The authors represented a wide range of men.

Though by this time the name of Miller was sufficiently well known, so that the simple announcement that he was to conduct a series of lectures in a city was generally sufficient to bring out a large crowd, this was not always the case. In the spring of 1842 Miller and Himes went down to New York City and hired the large, expensive Apollo Hall on Broadway for a series of lectures. New York was different from most places where lectures had been held. There were too many attractions in that metropolis to make Miller's preaching of sufficient interest to draw the multitudes. Besides, the bad press reports that Miller was generally receiving, produced a particularly effective prejudice in New York. Writing of this two years later Josiah Litch recorded:

"An impression had gone abroad in reference to the Adventists, that they were monsters, or almost anything but civilized beings. So strong was this impression, and so general, that a number of days had passed and scarcely a lady dared to make her appearance in the meetings." [131]

In this great city there were few, if any, friends of the movement. No one invited Miller or Himes even for a meal or a night's lodging. Their funds were too limited, they felt, to warrant taking rooms in a hotel; so they lived and slept for a time in an anteroom just off the lecture hall. Their bed was the floor. Finally someone brought them a cot. The story has a happy ending. Those who did attend the lectures began to tell others, and before the close of the series the hall was filled, [132]

The lectures in New York closed with a three-day general conference session beginning May 10. The "sentiments" set forth by this conference dealt almost exclusively with matters of theology, and to these we shall refer later. The conference report contained this one item of news: "The brethren in New York intend to form an association, and open a depository for publications." [133]

This association was formed on May 18. Those who joined it "were to pay a sum monthly, to defray expenses of forwarding the message of Christ's immediate coming." [134]

But more important in the rapid expansion of the movement than any local association or any session of the general conference, significant as these meetings were, was the holding of camp meetings. The decision to hold such meetings was reached at a session of the general conference held in Boston in the spring of 1842. The conference opened on May 24, presided over by Joseph Bates. In this conference the significance of the time element in the preaching of the advent came definitely to the front as indicated in this resolution that was passed:

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this conference, there are most serious and important reasons for believing that God has revealed the time of the end of the world and that that time is 1843." [135]

However, a person did not need to be a believer in the precise time to be enrolled as a member of the conference. So long as he rejected certain false teachings about the advent, and believed that Christ's personal coming and the first resurrection were "the next great events of prophetic history" he could be a member, and in good standing.

The very fact that an increasing emphasis was being placed on the time element meant that all who accepted this phase of the teaching felt an increasing sense of urgency in discharging their responsibility to warn the world. They believed that the time had come to proclaim with vigor what they described as "the midnight cry." [136]

Looking about them in the religious world, the Millerites saw the effective way in which camp meetings were being employed for disseminating religious teachings and awakening religious conviction. So they reasoned:

"These means have been eminently owned and blessed of God to the awakening and salvation of souls. Why, then, should we not seize upon them as one of the most efficient means of giving the midnight cry? We believe we should be criminally negligent not to do so." [137]

A formal resolution was therefore passed that in view of the fact that "our time for giving the midnight cry is short," a series of camp meetings be held.

How deep and how vivid now was the sense of urgency is revealed in this resolution:

"Resolved, That we should keep it distinctly in mind, that we are this year to do our last praying, and make our last efforts, and shed our last tears for a perishing world." [138]

Important as was the camp meeting action taken by this general conference, there was another of equal significance. The Millerites were great believers in the promotion value of the printed page. Describing the action of the conference regarding the printing of charts to visualize the prophecies, Joseph Bates, who was chairman, wrote a few years later:

"At the opening of this meeting Brethren Charles Fitch and A. Hale of Haverhill, presented us the Visions of Daniel and John which they had painted on cloth, with the prophetic numbers and ending of the vision, which they called a chart. Brother Fitch, in explaining the subject said in substance as follows: he had been turning it over in his mind, and felt that if something of this kind could be done, it would simplify the subject, and make it much easier for him to present it to the people. Here new light seemed to spring up. These brethren had fulfilled a prophecy given by Habakkuk 2,468 years before, where it says, 'And the Lord answered me and said, write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.' This thing now became so plain to all, that it was unanimously voted to have three hundred of these charts lithographed forthwith, that those who felt the message may read and run with it." [139] [140]

In the very same issue of the Signs of the Times that contained the report of the Boston conference is a letter from one of the Millerite preachers, telling of meetings he had been holding in a Methodist church and of the good results. The same sense of urgency that controlled the conference was controlling the writer of this letter, for after telling of the meeting he added:

"But with so short a time to awake the slumbering virgins, and save souls, we must work; work night and day. God has thrust us out in haste, to give the last invitation, and we must labor in earnest, and compel them to come in, that His house may be filled. Why, I expect that God will shake the world with a moral earthquake, before the close of '43. Strong men in Israel are rallying to our help. The midnight cry must yet be made to ring, and ring through every valley and over every hilltop and plain. An awful trembling must yet seize upon sinners in Zion, a crisis must come, before the door of mercy is everlastingly shut against them. They must be made to feel that it is now or never. And they will." [141]

This is increasingly the tempo of the Millerite movement as it entered the summer of 1842.

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