Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 2, 1855

Vision at Paris, Maine

[Topsham, Maine]

August 26, 1855

Portions of this manuscript are published in PH016 33-35; MRmnt 40. See also Annotations.

I saw while at Paris that James’ health has been in a critical situation; that his anxiety of mind has been too much for him. When the present truth was first published, he had to put forth double energies and labor with but little encouragement and from the first he has taken burdens upon him that were too much for his strength. The burdens were not equally borne. While he took much responsibility, some were not willing to take any and those who shunned taking responsibilities and burdens did not realize his burdens and were not as interested in the cause as they should have been. There was a lack. James felt it and laid his shoulder under burdens that were too heavy. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 1

He has thought he could deny himself of many things that were actually necessary to health and God would sustain him; that he could labor days without any rest. The labor has not only been days but nights too. He has looked upon things in their wrong light; he has violated the laws of nature, and his health has suffered in consequence. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 2

I saw by these extra efforts more souls would be saved, but it is these efforts that have undermined the constitution and taken away his strength. Regardless of his own interest and health, he has labored with interest for others and it has not been appreciated. His reward from many has been dissatisfaction, evil surmising and jealousy. Those who should have helped him bear the burdens were a burden themselves by their unwise course. By care and incessant labor and overwhelming anxiety has the work gone on until now the present truth is clear, its evidence by the candid undoubted, and it is easy work now to carry on the paper to what it was a few years ago. The truth is now made so plain that all can see it and embrace it if they will, but it needed much labor to get it out clear as it is, and such hard labor will never have to be performed again to make the truth clear. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 3

I was pointed back to Paris when we were there and Brethren Andrews and Rhodes went to Vermont. James was all awake to the interest of the cause and the interest of Brethren Andrews and Rhodes that they should go comfortable, and neglected his own health. He had been closely confined through the winter, his health and strength run down by lack of nourishing food and by constant labor. [He] required the greatest care and [needed] to journey comfortably, but he neglected his own health and trusted to get along any way and journeyed most uncomfortably and inconveniently, thinking if he sacrificed for others, God would take care of his health. He disregarded the laws of health, did not study his ease or comfort and was exposed to colds to save expense and help others; and the effects of colds taken upon that journey, and then the trials connected with the journey, have never yet been got rid of. The constitution became run down, disease fastened itself upon the lungs and its effects are still visible. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 4

After all this evidence that his brethren had of his interest in the cause, many looked over it all and the very ones he had helped were jealous and fault-finding; and in Brother Butler’s house where he labored under many difficulties and had to wade through evil feelings of jealousy and unbelief, it cost him much. He labored far beyond his strength, and through other’s wrong courses, he was left alone with but little, if any, sympathy. His friends were his enemies. Although they did not all realize it, it was so. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 5

These trials have done their work; but although all even now do not realize or understand the sufferings of mind caused by those trials, God has noticed them. Not one sorrowful pang will be passed by unnoticed. Disease has been making progress upon him, but God has answered prayer in his behalf and done that for him that no medicine could do. I saw the efforts made for the recovery of health were right, but God’s power above all, said the angel. I saw that medicine could not cure him. God’s power had sustained him and by still looking to the stronghold, he would obtain strength. I saw that he must lay aside his anxiety and care, for God is willing he should be relieved from such wearing labor and have rest in a measure and attend more to the cultivation of the minds of our children; try to fit them for heaven, explain in an easy way to them, and in an understanding manner, the way of salvation. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 6

I saw also that more time should be spent in devotion and care for our own souls; that our duty would not be as we travel to enter into individual trials and the burdens would not be laid upon us as they have been; that such mental trials and sufferings endured for others’ wrongs would be too much for his now broken-down health. God is lifting these burdens from us and James has not understood it; has feared he was displeasing God and that was why he did not feel the burdens, but in mercy God has been relieving from these burdens. He could now take all the anxiety and care upon him, labor with all his might and last a short time and go down to the grave; or he can now be relieved while he has some strength left, improve and last longer and his voice can be heard and he can have influence yet and do good. 1LtMs, Ms 2, 1855, par. 7