Philander Chase



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Philander Chase philosophizes about the goal of humans on Earth before death. He believes that good Christians should not expect a joyful life while on Earth but rather should work hard to get into Heaven when they die, where they will be able to rest.




Philander Chase, Rachel Denison, death, religion, afterlife, philosophy


Jubilee College May 2 1845

Dear Sister Rachel;

Here I am as full of care as ever, but I trust all my cares and studies are conserning[sic] another and a better state than this. If they were not they would be more useless.

You know when we were young and used to read of mens passing thro the world & at its close of their “going unto the Shades of Retirement” and “enjoying the fruits of a well spent life.” Such descriptions were very fascinating; but they were as we witness with sorry all founded in romance not in fact. There is no such thing ever designed by Providence. In the first place man at his best is but an unprofitable servant to his Heavenly Master and has no right to think of tasting here on Earth any rest and fruits of real enjoyment. Since the Earth was cursed for Sin these fruits don’t grow here below: and if we be so foolish as to think they do we lay in food for disappointment to gnaw upon. Better far better it is for us to lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break throw nor steal.

In the second place the very nature of our state forbids us to think of reward till trial is over, the whole day of it closed in the night of the grave. Should a soldier think of a triumph till the battle is won? Shall the mariner cast anchor in the midst of the sea before his voyage is over & he arrived in the Haven where he would be? And shall the Christian Labourer think his days work is done till his Master calls him from the field, and gives him to sit down, when all his work is finished, to sup in his presence? No, no, dear Sister our christian ethics and our own experience, I trust, have taught us better things than these. Let worldly minds continue to be deceived and endeavour to deceive others with hopes of Rest & real enjoyment here but let us work while the day lasts in our Masters vineyard even till the night of the grave fall upon us. Then we shall be called to go thro’ the dark Valley of the shadow of death to meet our Masters face. Oh that it may be in peace thro’ the Atoneing[sic] blood of him who died for us! In him I trust--but it is the trust of faith concerning things “hoped for”; the evidence of things not seen.”

This view of things eradicates two great errors from the heart of man: The one is the fatal mistake mentioned above viz that this world was meant for enjoyment in temporal rest, and the other is that it is ever to cease to be a state of trial and amount to a certainty of even future felicity. We are to judge no man not even not ourselves before the time. God will sit in judgment on our whole life and if we judge before that life is finished may not our judgment be different from his?

This view of things by no means deadens faith nor clips the wings of hope but rather the Contrary[.] I feel more of both than even I did. This quickens me in the path of duty so that I have not a moment to spare. In this I am [joined] my Wife and our dear Children. We are all hard at work in perfecting our School of the Prophets. We now number about 50. most of whom are looking forward to the Ministry. Three of these having finished their time of study, are to be ordained on the 8th of the coming june about the time you’ll receive this letter. We now number 21. Clergymen here in Illinois. How different the field looks from what it did, when first I entered it? God be praised for all the good which hath come upon us & which hath appeared in spreading the gospel here in the prairies of the far west. It is quite late at night so for the present Adieu! Your loving Philander

My best love to yr dear husband and Children. Mr G.P. Cumings[sic] is a good teacher of Mathematics and Stephen Child (both our dear Relatives) is a good & studious young man. Tell their friends this.

Letter to Rachel Denison



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