Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
In March, 1840, William Miller visited Portland, Maine, and gave a course of lectures on the second coming of Christ. These lectures produced a great sensation, and the Christian church on Casco Street, where the discourses were given, was crowded day and night. No wild excitement attended the meetings, but a deep solemnity pervaded the minds of those who heard. Not only was a great interest manifested in the city, but the country people flocked in day after day, bringing their lunch baskets, and remaining from morning until the close of the evening meeting.
In company with my friends, I attended these meetings. Mr. Miller traced down the prophecies with an exactness that struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. He dwelt upon the prophetic periods, and brought many proofs to strengthen his position. Then his solemn and powerful appeals and admonitions to those who were unprepared, held the crowds as if spellbound.
A Spiritual Revival
Special meetings were appointed where sinners might have an opportunity to seek their Saviour and prepare for the fearful events soon to take place. Terror and conviction spread through the entire city. Prayer meetings were established, and there was a general awakening among the various denominations; for they all felt more or less the influence that proceeded from the teaching of the near coming of Christ.
When sinners were invited forward to the anxious seat, hundreds responded to the call; and I, among the rest, pressed through the crowd and took my place with the seekers. But there was in my heart a feeling that I could never become worthy to be called a child of God. I had often sought for the peace there is in Christ, but I could not seem to find the freedom I desired. A terrible sadness rested on my heart. I could not think of anything I had done to cause me to feel sad; but it seemed to me that I was not good enough to enter heaven, that such a thing would be altogether too much for me to expect.
A lack of confidence in myself, and a conviction that it would be impossible to make anyone understand my feelings, prevented me from seeking advice and aid from my Christian friends. Thus I wandered needlessly in darkness and despair, while they, not penetrating my reserve, were entirely ignorant of my true state.
(Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 16-17)