The Monomaniac

The Monomaniac


            Early in his preaching experience, Miller heard that a physician in his neighborhood had charged that he was a “monomaniac” on the subject of the advent.  When one of Miller's children was sick, he decided to send for this doctor for treatment.  After he had prescribed for the child, he noticed that Miller was sitting very quietly in the corner, and asked what was wrong.

            Miller replied: “I hardly know, Doctor.  Can you prescribe something for me?”

            The doctor felt his pulse, but found nothing apparently wrong.  He then asked Miller what he supposed was wrong.

            “Well,” said Miller, “I want you to examine me and see if I am a monomaniac.  Can you tell when a man is a monomaniac?”

            The doctor blushed and said he thought he could.

            Miller wanted to know how.

            “Why,” said the doctor, “a monomaniac is rational on all subjects but one; and when you touch that one, he will become raving.”

            “Well,” said Mr. Miller, “I insist that you check to see if I really am a monomaniac.  I’ll present the subject of the advent for two hours, and by that time you should be able to find out.”

            The doctor hesitated, but Miller insisted that he would pay him as in regular practice.  Miller then proceeded to study the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14.  As they studied, the doctor was brought to the conclusion that it would end in 1843.  He settled back in his chair in silence, then took his hat and left the house in a rage.

            The next day he came to visit Miller again.  He looked like he had been in great mental agony.

            “Why,” said the doctor, “I am going to hell.  I haven't slept a wink since I was here yesterday.  I have looked at the prophecy every way, and I am unprepared, and must go to hell.”

            Mr. Miller calmed him, and for the next week, every day they studied together.  He finally went on his way rejoicing, as great a monomaniac as Mr. Miller.—Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller, pages 95-97.


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            William Miller gave two courses of lectures in Portland, Maine.  (March, 1840 and June, 1842) The Harmon family attended and gladly received the message that Jesus was coming soon.  Later at a Methodist class-meeting, the teenage children, Robert and Ellen spoke of the great joy and peace they felt.

            Ellen said, “When I was called upon to speak, I arose, free in spirit, with a heart full of love and peace.”

            With Ellen, an early teenager, sick and weak, spoke of receiving the long desired blessing and wanting to be entirely conformed to the will of God, and her joy “in the tidings of the soon coming of my Redeemer to take his children home.”  The pastor tried to talk her out of the desire for Jesus to come soon. . . .

            “He then inquired if it would not rather die peacefully upon my bed than to pass through the pain of being changed, while living, from mortality to immortality.  My answer was that I wished for Jesus to come and take his children; that I was willing to live or die as God willed, and could easily endure all the pain that could be borne in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; . . .” vol. 1, pp. 35, 36.