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Full listing > Accession MC2009/87
Accession #MC2009/87
TopicMiller, Robert Henry: Minister, Church of the Brethren,
KeywordsFaculty/Staff, Professor Robert Henry Miller,
TitleFirst Copy of an Unpublished Book By Professor Robert H. Miller, "Comments on the Gospel of John"
LocationRA Shelves (IS)
CitationFirst Copy of an Unpublished Book By Professor Robert H. Miller, "Comments on the Gospel of John" , MC2009/87, Archives and Church of the Brethren Collection, Funderburg Library, Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana.
AccessResearchers are responsible for determining copyright status of archived materials where this is relevant to their intended use of the materials.
ProvenanceRobert M. Miller: See Archivist's Note
Scope and Content1. One box containing the manuscript of the unpublished book by Professor R. H. Miller, "Comments on the Gospel of John."
Date of Accession17 June 2009
Bio History Note

Professor R. H. Miller taught History, Religion, Bible and Philosophy at Manchester College, serving as chairman of the Department of Religion and Philosophy. Professor Miller was employed from 1929 - 1959.  He was the publisher of three books.  He died on 4 December 1966. 

Professor Miller's father, Elder R. H. Miller was honored in the Gospel Messenger 15 March 1892, p.168-169 and in the Gospel Messenger 19 April 1892 p.248-249, reprinted below.

Professor R. H. Miller was one of the four boys born to Elder R. H. Miller and Emma Norris. 

Mary Coe (see MC2004/386  Mary Coe Collection) is the daughter of Professor R. H. Miller and is Robert M. Miller's sister.  A brother to Mary and Robert Miller was, John David.  He was a doctor who died in 1990.

These Following Articles Are About the Father of Professor R. H. Miller

Robert Henry Miller (1825-1892)

"Death of Elder R.H. Miller"

Gospel Messenger 15 March 1892, p.168-169

It becomes our sad duty to chronicle the death of our beloved brother, Elder Robert H. Miller, who fell asleep in Jesus, at the residence of Bro. J.G. Royer, March 8, shortly after eleven o'clock A.M. He was sick just eight weeks, almost to the hour. He came to Mt. Morris eight weeks ago, for the purpose of delivering fifteen doctrinal discourses during the Bible Term. He delivered only a few of his discourses and then took sick.

At first his illness did not seem alarming, and we all felt that he would soon recover sufficiently to resume his work, but he gradually grew worse, and finally his wife was sent for. At times he would rally, and we were made to feel that the Lord would spare him. In his own mind he felt that he would get well. One week ago we were all quite hopeful, but after a few days he began to sink, and those around him realized that the end of the race could not be far off. He continued to grow worse until Monday evening, when it became certain that death had too firm a hold on him to leave any ground for hope.

Tuesday morning he called his wife to the bed and calmly said to her: "Mother, do not weep for me. Heaven will repay us for all of these sorrows and trials. I had hoped all along to get well, but now I feel that I shall have to go, and the sooner the better." Looking into her eyes, he continued, "Mother, tell my boys to continue in their prayers. Tell them that I want them to always obey you and to mind all good people, and above all things, I do not want them to associate with bad, vicious boys, for that is one of the worst things they could do."

This he spoke as deliberately and as distinctly as though he were in good health. Shortly after this he bade his good wife farewell. The room had been kept very quiet for some weeks, and the family had been holding its morning worship in another room. But on this occasion he told them to come into his room and have their worship. He had them read 2 Cor. 5, where it says, "For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of god, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

About eight o'clock he said to Bro. Royer, "Bro. John, I must now lay my armor by." Soon after this he gave his wife another message for his children, and then said: "Now, I am ready to go." About ten o'clock he was distinctly heard to say, "Oh that the Lord would come and take me!" Later he repeated the same words. When told that the Lord would come soon, he answered, "Oh that he would come now." Shortly after this he breathed his last, passing away as gently as a babe falling asleep in its mother's arms. He was conscious up to within a few minutes of his death.

It was indeed a glorious death, and we could all feel that "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." A more patient and God-fearing man in sickness we never saw. He bore all his afflictions without a murmur. He stood up as firmly against the disease as he had ever stood in defense of the truth. He talked to the physician and others of his conflict with disease as deliberately and as coolly as he would of a perplexing church trouble. He never once lost his rare, logical ability. When the physician approached him three hours before his death, he said: "Doctor, there is one thing very much against me in this case; they have all given me up to die." Many other things were said, showing a good use of his reasoning faculties till death. He died as he had lived, with a firm trust in the Lord, surrounded by many brethren and sisters, who had known him only to love him. He said he would like to have died at home, but since he had to die from home, he would sooner die at Mt. Morris than any place else.

We all feel that a mighty man in the Scriptures has fallen, a brave Christian soldier has fought his last battle, the race is ended, and to him will be given the crown, that has always been before his eyes during all his earnest conflicts in defense of the Christian religion.

Bro. R.H. Miller was born in Shelby County, Kentucky, June 7, 1825. His parents seem to have been in limited circumstances. At the age of eleven years he was taken to Montgomery County, Indiana, and spent much of his early life in the vicinity of Ladoga. He had few school privileges but managed, by his own efforts, to obtain education enough to enable him to teach school, and he taught a number of years, while pursuing still other studies. He studied law, and became quite skilled at the legal bar. In his younger days he was much in demand as a political speaker, and always had the ability to interest large and earnest gatherings.

At the age of about twenty-five he married sister Sarah Harshbarger, daughter of Bro. Wm. Harshbarger, a well-established deacon. She was a woman of strong faith and great piety, and it was largely through her instrumentality that Bro. Miller was converted. When he united with the church, he surrendered everything of a worldly nature, laying aside his law practice, and ceasing entirely from delivering political speeches of any class. A short time after uniting with the church he was elected to the ministry, and preached well from the very start. In a very short time he was advanced to the second degree. In course of time he was ordained to the eldership. He came to the front among our able brethren very rapidly, and continued an elder of rare influence to the close of his life. About twelve years ago his wife died, leaving him with a family of children to care for. His family was very sickly and he met with reverses until he lost his farm the loss of his wife, some of his children, and then his farm, was a sore trial for him, interfering much with his studied and work in the ministry. His wife died I March. In the fall of the same year he was elected President of the Ashland College (Ohio), to which place he removed his little family, and remained eighteen months.

September 15, 1881 he married sister Emma Norris of Maryland, who has since been a faithful companion to him. In the Spring of 1882 he moved on a farm near North Manchester, Ind., where he labored very hard, both mentally and physically. It is said that he was as good a farmer as he was a preacher. He had the reputation of being on eof the best farmers in that part of the country. During this time he was active and earnest in church work, did much able preaching, and held several public discussions requiring rare skill and learning.

Failing health, however, caused him to retire from the farm a few years ago. He lived a while in the City of North Manchester, and then located near the Brethren's large meeting-house, west of the city, where he had intended to make his home during the remainder of his earthly life.

Bro. Miller served a number of times on the Standing Committee, and very extensively on other committees. He was also Moderator of the Annual Meeting at Broadway, Va., in 1879. He was one of the ablest counselors in the church, and always stood firm for the principles of the church. We always knew just where to find him. There was no uncertain sound about anything he wrote or said. In the very beginning of his Christian career he unreservedly adopted the principles of the Brethren church, and unflinchingly maintained them until the close of his life. It seems that he never entertained any doubts concerning the church being founded upon the true principles of Christianity, as set forth by Chris and the apostles. When it cam to defending the principles of the church he never knew what it was to flinch.

As a preacher he possessed rare gifts, and has for years been regarded as the ablest doctrinal preacher in the Brotherhood. He had not only a clear understanding of the Scriptures, but had the ability to make it clear to the minds of others. When preaching, he never lost sight of his subject. He never wandered. He always had clear, well-defined points before him, and bent all his energies to get them well fixed in the minds of his hearers. Few men put more work on their sermons than did Bro. Miller. He has been known to work for weeks on one discourse, with a view of not only getting the truths of the Scriptures well fixed in his memory, but to so arrange his subject that his hearers would be both edified and instructed.

He was exceedingly anxious about the discourses that he was to have delivered at Mt. Morris. He had put much work on them, and, had he remained well, no doubt would have given us a most interesting series of discourses. While on his death-bed, he expressed his great regrets that he was not permitted to finish his discourses. But we all feel that during his sickness here we have learned lessons in patience, godliness, piety and trust that will greatly aid us all through our Christian career.

It was, perhaps, as a debater that Bro. Miller showed his greatest ability. He probably held no less than twelve public discussions, some of them lasting as long as eight days. He held two discussions with Aaron Walker, a Disciple minister, thoroughly schooled in the art of debating. He also held a debate with a minister by the name of Jewell, another in Virginia, one in Southern Missouri, and one with Daniel Sommer, in Ray County, Missouri. This was his last discussion, and the only one that was fully reported and published. He also went to Southern Illinois to hold a discussion, but the other parties withdrew their man when they discovered Bro. Miller's ability. He held other discussions, of which we have no special information at this time. As a debater he was always cool and always ready. He was never known to become excited or to flinch. He always entered these discussions well prepared, made but few points and they were always his very best, and he defended them to the last. As a defender of the faith he was as bold as a lion, and yet as gentle as a lamb. He happily combined the rare elements of strength, firmness and goodness. As a debater, he probably never had an equal among us.

Bro. Miller was also a good writer, and has left behind him some productions that will always be highly prized by our people. His book, entitled "The Doctrine of the Brethren Defended," will always remain a standard work among us. As a defense of some of our doctrine, it is not excelled by any work written by any of our Brethren. He also occupied a position on the editorial staff of the Brethren at Work, and did much very able writing for that journal. At the time of his death he was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Messenger, where his name still remains. While Bro. Miller was a good writer he was never in love with the pen. He rather dreaded to write, and that is probably why he has not written more for publication. His writings were always sought after, and he has been many times requested to write some books, containing his ripest thoughts, but somehow he never got at it. He preferred to talk rather than to write.

By his first wife Bro. Miller had eight children, the most of whom are dead. With sister Emma Miller he leaves four children, all bright boys, on whose shoulders, it is to be hoped, the mantle of the father may some day fall. Sister Miller, in her bereavement, has the prayers and sympathies of this entire community, and as this article is read, we feel that the united prayers of all our readers will go up in her behalf. It was a hard experience for her to leave three children at home in Indiana, to come here and see her husband die away from home. But she bore her affliction bravely, and we feel that God is sustaining her in these sore trials that have come to her home.

On Wednesday morning, at 8:30, memorial services were held over the remains in the College Chapel, conducted by brethren D.L. Miller and J.G. Royer. The services were very impressive, and left lasting impressions on the minds of the hundreds who filled the Chapel. At the close all were permitted to take a last look at all that was mortal of Bro. R.H. Miller. The remains were then sent to North Manchester, Ind., accompanied by sister Miller, brethren D.L. Miller and J.G. Royer and their wives, it was Bro. Miller's request that he might be buried in the Brethren's cemetery at North Manchester. Thus ended the days of a good and useful man, who will long be remembered as one of the ablest men with which our Brotherhood has ever been blessed.

"Elder Robert H. Miller"

Gospel Messenger 19 April 1892 p.248-249

After the death of our well-beloved brother, Eld. Robert H. Miller, a memoriam was published in these columns, in which Bro. Moore gave us a brief sketch of the life and labors of our deceased brother, the loss of whom will be felt over our entire Brotherhood. We believe it is but due to the memory of Bro. Miller, and that our readers will be interested in a further account of his last days and funereal. It fell to our lot, with Bro. J.G. Royer, to accompany sister Miller, with the remains of her husband, to her home near North Manchester, Ind., where we attended the funeral of our dear brother.

During his last illness it was our privilege to be with Bro. Miller quite frequently. When we were at home, we sat with him almost daily, and we can truthfully say that, in all our experience, we never saw any one bear sickness and suffering so uncomplainingly and so patiently as did he, and when he came to realize that the time of his departure was near at hand, he met death as peacefully and as calmly as if he were simply folding the drapery of his couch about him and "lying down to pleasant dreams." He talked to us all quietly and calmly, making all necessary arrangements as to his business affairs, asking us to take charge of the further publication of his book, spoke of his desire to have his funeral conducted without ostentation or show, saying: "Let it all be in harmony with the principles of the church," and in all his conversation he was just as calm as if he had been engaged in talking about some one else. He manifested no hear of death, but entered the valley trusting in the God of his salvation. He fell with his armor on, battling for the cause he loved so well.

On the morning of his death, the sun rose bright and clear. The clouds, which had hung heavily overhead for several days, had disappeared, and it was a bright, beautiful morning. In the sick-chamber lay our dear brother, the sands of his life almost run. His wan, sunken features told of the physical suffering he had endured. Around the bedside stood the sorrow-stricken wife and a number of brethren and sisters, who felt that a wise counselor, a father in Israel, a faithful servant of God, a loving brother was going away from them. A curtain at a window was drawn aside and the bright sunlight fell across his couch, but the light was too strong for his weakened eyes. The curtain was again replaced, and then the question was asked, "Is it not too dark?" and the sufferer said, "It is light enough for me." Yes, it was light enough for him, for in his soul was shining the light of the brightest hope that God gives his children in this world, a light that gilds even the dark valley and shadow of death, and makes it but a pathway to glory. It was the hope of eternal life that cheered our brother, the hope of a mansion above, "A building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Soon after this he requested that we have a season of worship and devotion around his bedside. He indicated the position to be occupied by those present, and being asked if he had a Scripture reading to suggest, after a moment's thought he gave these words: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." After prayer, to which he most heartily responded, he left messages for absent loved ones, to his sons and daughter, and especially to his little boys who were so soon to be left fatherless. And then he composed himself and waited patiently for the end to come. He was ready and anxious to go home. As his feet were slipping over the brink, we heard the thrice-repeated prayer: "Oh that the Lord would come and take me," and with these words upon his lips, the last he was ever to utter I this world, the Lord took him home. "And he was not, for God took him." Such was the death of our beloved brother, R.H. Miller. A death like this must have inspired the prophet when he gave utterance to these words: "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

After the memorial services, which were held in the Chapel at this place, an account of which has already been given in the Messenger, we started on our sad journey to North Manchester, Ind., the earthly home of our departed brother, and where he requested that his body might be placed in the tomb. The journey was a sad one. Only a short time before, our brother had come to us, to labor in the ministry of the Word. Sickness had come to him, and then his devoted wife hastened to his bedside to care for him, and now we were going to his home with his lifeless body. While we were cheered by his glorious and triumphant death, yet we felt the personal loss which we all had sustained, and it was with sad hearts that we made the journey.

We reached North Manchester in the evening, in the midst of a heavy storm of wind and snow. A number of brethren and sisters were at the depot, and in every face was to be seen the evidence of the love all bore for Bro. Miller. Each one felt that In his death they had suffered a personal loss, and that his place would not be easily filled. Carriages were in waiting, and we were taken to the now desolate home of sister Miller, about two miles from North Manchester. The scene here was one to melt the hardest heart. The meeting between sister Miller and her now fatherless boys, we will not attempt to describe. It was a scene over which angels might well weep.

The next day at 11 A.M., the funeral was appointed, at the Brethren's new meeting-house, which had only recently been completed, and in the construction of which Bro. Miller had taken a great interest. The house is a very large one, yet, notwithstanding the fact that the roads were very bad, and that a heavy snow-storm prevailed the entire day, the large meeting-house was filled, thus showing that our brother had the respect of the community. Bro. J.G. Royer preached the funeral sermon. His text was taken from the chapter selected by our dear brother to be read the morning of his death, 2 Cor. 5: 10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." The sermon was a practical lesson to the living, and was made especially impressive on account of the occasion that called it forth. At the close the dying words of Bro. Miller to his children were repeated, and the scene was painfully impressive. A number of ministers were present from other congregations, and brethren William R. Deeter, Amasa Puterbaugh and the writer assisted Bro. Royer in the services.

We laid his body to rest in the silent grave, surrounded by a multitude of sorrowing friends, whose tears manifested the depth of their love and sorrow. Around that open grave the snow was eddying and drifting, driven by the fierce storm. As we stood there we thought of the quiet, peaceful rest our brother was then enjoying, in such strong contrast with the tempest that was raging all about us. Undisturbed by the driving storm he sleeps his last sleep. The storms are past, the pains of death no more feared, life's labor and sorrow have ceased and the warfare is ended. His last battle has been fought. With is armor on, he fell in the line of duty, and his soul has found rest and peace with God.

"Servant of God, well done!

Rest from thy lov'd employ;

The battle fought, the victory won,

Enter thy Master's joy."

Some one having been asked as to a monument to mark his last resting place, said, "Let me live in the hearts of my people. I ask for no other monument." We believe that our departed brother will live in the hearts of his people. The evidences, manifested at his funeral, were of such a character as to show that where he was best known, he was most loved. Strong men wept as they took a last look at his familiar face, and the members of the church at North Manchester and surrounding congregations showed that they felt they had lost a faithful shepherd and a kind, loving father.

But Bro. Miller's death is not simply a local loss. His influence and labor were not circumscribed by the lines of a local congregation, or by the bounds of a State District. His influence was felt over our entire Brotherhood, and his place in our Annual Conferences, as a wise counselor and a faithful adherent to the principles of the church, will not soon be filled. He was a man who had the courage of his convictions and manfully maintained them. He loved the church of his choice, and her principles were dear to his heart. He was a true champion and defender of the faith. He gave the best years of his life to her service, and died in the full vigor of ripening age. The last sermon he preached was marked by all the force and power which he knew so well how to use. He spoke over an hour and held the interest of his large audience to the very close. Some of us who had heard him often, felt that it was one of his best efforts. His life was a grand success, not as the world counts success, for he had but little of this world's goods, but in abundant and far-reaching labor for the church of God.

For some years we have been intimately associated with him in our work. As we came to know him well, our love for him, as a man and a brother, and our respect for his abilities and faithfulness to the church increased. He was a man you could depend upon, and you could always tell where to find him. The church was always first with him and to her interests he was true, first, last, and all the time. He was a warm-hearted friend, and to those who knew him well, there was a depth of love and earnestness, unknown to the casual observer. He had a kind heart, and to us he often spoke kindly of those who had gone away from the church, and no one regretted more than he, the causes which led to the final rupture. When it came he stood unflinchingly by the church, and defended her with all the rare ability with which God had endowed him. But he has gone. The church has lost one of her pillars, and those who know him best, a warm-hearted, loving brother and friend. May not his life of faithfulness be helpful to us? May it not prove an incentive to us all to be faithful unto death?

The story of his life of labor and love is written in the hearts of the people for whom he labored, but it should be written on paper and published for the encouragement of others, and we hope some one will undertake this labor of love. We give here, in closing, a few items of interest that came to us from Bro. William Harshbarger, of Ladoga, Ind.:

Bro. R.H. Miller was born in Kentucky, March 7, 1825, and reached the age of sixty-six years, nine months and one day. In 1857 he united with the church at Ladoga, Ind., and August 16, 1858, he was called to the ministry in the same church. The certificate of his election to the ministry shows that he received the entire vote of the church, thus evidencing that he had the confidence of his brethren and sisters. The certificate is signed by brethren Hiel Hamilton, Samuel Murray, Matthias Frantz, Daniel W. Himes and Wesley Burket. After a few years he was advanced to the eldership and had charge of the church at Ladoga until 1880, when he moved to Ashland, Ohio, where he spent two years, and then went to North Manchester, where he lived at the time of his death, and where his widow, with her four little fatherless boys, will continue to make her home. Brethren and sisters, let us not forget that humble home, where our dear sister Miller, bereft of the help and counsel of a beloved husband, is struggling alone to bring up her boys in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Archivist Note

Robert M. Miller, son of Professor R. H. Miller and grandson of Elder R. H. Miller donated this unpublished first copy to the Archives.

Description prepared 17 June 2009 by Jeanine M. Wine and updated 7 April 2011 by Jeanine M. Wine.



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