Now and then a historian’s long-time quest for a particular document that seemed impossible to find is unexpectedly rewarded when the item suddenly materializes. For years I searched to find a pamphlet published by Solomon Chamberlin (1788–1862), an April 1830 convert to the Church in western New York. The pamphlet had been published in 1829.
I first became aware of the pamphlet in 1969. Provo resident Jennie Romney Swensen (now deceased), a great-granddaughter of Solomon, had in her possession an original autobiographical document entitled A Short Sketch of the Life of Solomon Chamberlin,in which Solomon mentioned his 1829 pamphlet. Chamberlin had sent the Sketch to Albert Carrington, editor of the Deseret News, writing, “Herewith I send you a short sketch of my life, which I wish if you think proper, inserted in the Deseret News.” This note to Carrington accompanied the Sketch and was dated Beaver City [Utah], July 11, 1858.
The pamphlet is also mentioned in one of John Taylor’s Nauvoo journals. The journal itself had been missing until it was rediscovered by Brent F. Ashworth, a Provo collector.Under an entry for Friday, February 28, 1845, Elder Taylor recounted, “Speaking a few days since with a man of the name of Solomon Chamberlin, he related some particulars that I thought interesting concerning the manner that he was brought to obey the truth; and concerning the early rise of the Church as he was one of the first members. I will relate it in his own words.” He then went on to record Chamberlin’s story.
Solomon Chamberlin Shares His Pamphlet with the Smiths
Both the 1858 autobiography and the account recorded by John Taylor in 1845 tell in similar words of Solomon’s visit to the home of Joseph Smith Sr., during the fall of 1829. Solomon averred that “about the time that Joseph Smith found the Gold record,” he (Chamberlin) “began to feel that the time was drawing near, that the Lord would in some shape or other, bring forth his church.”He made inquiries through the country where he traveled “if there was any strange work of God, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Christ.” Solomon stated that while traveling on the Erie Canal from Lyons, New York, to Upper Canada, he had gone as far as Palmyra when he was directed by “some genii or good spirit” to “leave the boat, and go or travel a south course.”
About three miles south of the village, his spirit-guide told him to put up for the night at a farmhouse. It was from a woman in the household where he lodged that he learned about Joseph Smith and the “Gold Bible.”When the woman mentioned the “Gold Bible,” Solomon said, “There was a power like electricity went from the top of my head to the end of my toes.” Finding that he was only about one-half mile from the home of Father Smith, he went “across lots” and called on the household. Solomon entered the Smith home and first saw Hyrum Smith, whom he greeted with the salutation:
Peace be to this house. he [Hyrum] looked at me as one astonished, and said I hope it will be peace. I then said, Is there any one here that believes in visions or revelations, he said Yes, we are a visionary house. I said then I will give you one of my pamphlets, which was visionary, and of my own experience. They then called the people together, which consisted of 5 or 6 men who were out at the door. Father Smith was one & some of the Whitmer’s. They then sat down and read my pamphlet. Hyrum read first, but was so affected, he could not read it, he then gave it to a man, which I learned was Christian Whitmer. he finished reading it.
Following the group’s examination of the content of his pamphlet, Solomon expounded his interpretations of its meaning, and he “then said, if you are a visionary house I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them. They then made known to me, that they had obtained a gold record, and just finished translating it.”These conversations led to Solomon’s baptism by Joseph Smith in Seneca Lake in April 1830.
The Pamphlet Is Discovered
Solomon Chamberlin’s references to his pamphlet at once intrigued me when I first encountered them in the above readings. These two accounts unfolded some invaluable insights relative to the early Church. Not only did both texts refer to the missing pamphlet, but both documents also spoke of things which Chamberlin learned in the course of dreams and visions. Obviously, the content of that pamphlet might prove to be a valuable resource in identifying the circumstances that brought this earnest seeker after truth to the Smith’s door. It might also give a more inclusive narration of his personal associations with angelic visitors. I pursued every constructive avenue to retrieve the elusive pamphlet—all to no avail.
In July 1989, I received a phone call from A. Dean Larson, associate university librarian at the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, who indicated that a book dealer, Rick Grunder of Rick Grunder—Books, Syracuse, New York, was offering for sale a pamphlet entitled A Sketch of the Experience of Solomon Chamberlin, to Which Is Added a Remarkable Revelation, or Trance, of His Father-in-Law Philip Haskins: How His Soul Actually Left His Body and Was Guided by a Holy Angel to Eternal Day, published in Lyons, New York, in 1829. Dean Larson inquired whether this pamphlet would be a valuable addition to the university collection. I am sure that he had anticipated my elation and my resounding response in the affirmative. Brigham Young University acquired the pamphlet on August 17, 1989, and its contents were subsequently made available for research.
Rick Grunder has since informed me that the Chamberlin pamphlet originally “came from Susan Heller [of] Rare and Out-of-Print Books in Beachwood, Ohio,” about a dozen miles southwest of Kirtland, and was found “among a small pile of old Shaker pamphlets which she sold to me.”With the assistance of K. Haybron Adams of the Harold B. Lee Library Archives, I have searched the indexes of library collections across the country and locally. At present, the pamphlet acquired by Brigham Young University seems to be the sole survivor of what was probably a limited printing by Solomon at Lyons, Wayne County, New York.
The twelve-page pamphlet gives two accounts in one. Solomon devoted seven and two-thirds pages to his own account. Following Solomon’s story is a three-and-one-third-page account of a vision experienced by his father-in-law, Philip Haskins, who writes of an out-of-body experience during which a “holy angel” guided him to the eternal world, where he visited with his mother and saw Christ and some Apostles.Appended to the title page was a quotation based on Joel 2:28–29, reading, “And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” The pamphlet, including the title page, is twelve pages and measures 17½ × 10 cm. in 3 folio format (three sheets folded in half). A dark blue wrapper (probably not original) has been stitched to the spine. The pages are heavily foxed (brownish spots). On the front of the wrapper, the statement has been penned, “Remarkable gifts To Children of Nature Instructive Psychic Experiences.” The entire text of the pamphlet has been included herein.
Solomon Chamberlin Searches for a Religion
In order for readers to more fully appreciate the setting which generated the content of the pamphlet reprinted below, I have included an abbreviated account of Solomon Chamberlin’s life, with emphasis on that period leading to, and associated with, the printing of the pamphlet.
Early Life and Visions. Solomon Chamberlin was born on July 30, 1788, in Old Canaan, Litchfield County, Connecticut, the son of Joel (1747–c. 1796) and Sarah Dean Chamberlin (1757–c. 1806). In Solomon’s ninth year, his family moved to Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York, where his father died soon afterwards. Approximately six months later, Solomon’s younger brother also died. The family relocated immediately north of Hillsdale at Green River, Columbia County, New York, where they became associated with the Congregational Church under the ministry of Reverend John Morse. Solomon’s mother was examined, and the membership voted that she be “propounded” (proposed or named as a candidate for admission to communion with the church) on December 15, 1800. She was received as a member on January 11, 1801. Solomon, his brother Lewis, and sisters Electa and Polly were baptized into that faith on February 11, 1801.
According to Solomon’s 1858 autobiography, he received two remarkable visions when in his nineteenth year. Solomon describes the first vision in detail in his 1829 pamphlet. He was shown the judgment of God and the dominions of hell, and a heavenly personage gave him one year to rectify his life of wickedness or face an ominous summons.In the second vision, mentioned in the 1858 autobiography, Solomon beheld “three heavens, and their glories, and the third one, far exceeded the others.” Seeking earnestly to discover how he might be saved, Solomon conversed with the Congregational minister, Reverend John Morse, “whose meetings,” the 1829 pamphlet says, “I had attended from a child.” But no satisfactory answer was forthcoming, for, as Solomon confirmed, “instead of enlightening my mind,” Reverend Morse “darkened it.” Solomon’s darkness remained until he attended a Methodist Episcopal prayer meeting, where he prayed publicly for the first time. “Thus I began to vent my feelings to God,” he later recalled and soon “felt a peace of mind.” His burden lifted, Solomon leagued with the Methodist Episcopals and remained with them until about 1816.
During this time, Solomon’s family situation changed dramatically. His mother, Sarah, died about 1806, leaving the family bereft of parents. On October 23, 1809, when he was twenty-two years old, Solomon Chamberlin of Green River, New York, married Hopestill (Hope, Hopee) Haskins, age twenty-three, of Adams, Massachusetts. Hope (1787–1847) was the daughter of Philip Haskins (1748–1820) and Mary (Molly) Myrick (1752–?). The marriage was performed by Jesse Blackinton, justice of the peace at Pownal, Bennington County, Vermont. Three children were born to this union—Lorenzo D. (1810), Polly (1812), and Electa (1814)—apparently all in the town of Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts.
Solomon’s association with the Methodist Episcopal Church did not last. According to Solomon’s 1829 pamphlet:
I joined the methodists and lived with them 10 or 12 years, at the expiration of which I felt uneasy and began to conclude they as a people had apostatized from God and I began to be uneasy and pray much to the Lord to shew me his true church and people; about this time I became acquainted with the people called Quakers; here I was greatly deceived on account of their plain speech and dress and being averse to bareing arms, but God gave me soon to see how poor and naked their spirits were, and my greatest desire was to find those that lived the nearest to God.
A Vision and the Reformed Methodist Church. At this juncture, Solomon experienced yet another dream or vision of the night in which he saw in detail a gathering of “some of Gods dear children.”A few days after the vision, he heard of a quarterly meeting which was to be conducted at Readsborough, Vermont, by the Reformed Methodist Church, a recent offshoot of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Solomon had never heard of the Reformed Methodists before but concluded he would attend. As he descended the mountain into the valley and proceeded to the house of worship to be greeted by the people, he was astonished to discover that the setting—the physical terrain, the house of worship, and the speakers—was exactly the same as that witnessed in his vision. Stirred by this divine witness, he “joined them to live and unite with, so long as they would follow the Lamb of God.”
Soon after the founding of the Reformed Methodist Church in 1814, leaders decided to gather a central core of their adherents into a single community. Reverend Wesley Bailey described the rationale behind this common-stock society:
With a view to thrust labourers into the field, a sort of community was formed, Wm. Lake, E[lijah] Bailey, E[benezer] Davis, E[zra] Amadon, and several others being members of it. They bought a farm on the state line in the town of Bennington, Vt., and Hosack [Hoosick], N. Y. This farm consisted of several hundred acres, and the community, of near a dozen farmers.
Savoring the implications of his conversion, Solomon aligned himself with the new community: “In 1816, I moved to Shaftsbury [Vermont] into the combination.” He explained their ultimate design:
At this time the heads of the Church and some families myself with the rest, purchased a farm that cost $25,000, and moved on to it, thinking that the day of the gathering had come; and we came into common stock, striving to come on to the Apostles ground.
The newly discovered pamphlet supplies much information about Chamberlin’s experiences and visions during the time he was associated with this group.
The combination, however, was short-lived. Solomon later recalled: “We believed in revelation and the healing of the sick through faith and prayer; but we were wrong in many things, we had no prophet nor priesthood. This year (1816) we found we were mistaken in many things.”Reverend Wesley Bailey, a son of one of the founders, Reverend Elijah Bailey, spelled out his own assessment of the demise of the order:
Providence did not seem to smile on the undertaking, though conceived in the purest benevolence. The cold season’s coming on, the want of funds to pay in advance for the farm, rendered it impossible for them to pay for the place, and after remaining near two years on the premises, they were compelled to scatter; not scattered to abandon their principles, but to promulgate them in other regions, where Providence might open the way.
A Heavenly Visitor and a New Church. Just what Solomon did after the combination failed is unclear. His 1829 pamphlet skips from 1816, when he still considered himself a Reformed Methodist, to 1819, when he again associated with the Methodist Episcopals. His break with the Reformed Methodists is not discussed. But in the 1845 and 1858 accounts, Solomon wrote about the combination and then immediately told of another vision.
According to the 1858 account, the vision occurred in the year 1816.Solomon recalled feeling “very anxious to know whether there were any people on the earth whose principles were right in all things; for I was tired of all orders unless they had the true principles of God.”
In the 1845 account, Solomon wrote:
I believed we might receive revelation for ourselves before God in mighty prayer, and asked in sincerity he would give us; I did so with all my heart, and he answered my prayer. The Lord revealed to me in a vision of the night an angel, I thought if I could ask him, he could tell me all I wanted to know. I accordingly asked him if we were right. He said not one of us were right, and that there were no people on earth that were right; but that the Lord would in his own due time raise up a church, different from all others, and he would give power and authority as in the days of Christ; and he would carry it through, and it should never be confounded; and that I should live to see the day, and know the work when it came forth; and that great persecution should follow.
According to the 1858 account, Solomon was shown that he “should live to see the day” when “there would a book come forth, like unto the Bible, and the people would be guided by it, as well as the Bible.”
Sometime after the Reformed Methodist combination failed, Solomon returned to his old haunts in the town of Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts, where he established a cooper’s shop, a trade which he had learned in his youth and had continued to follow. Solomon attended the funeral of his younger sister, Mary Chamberlin, on October 23, 1818. He said of that occasion that Mary was a believer in Christ and “seemed very near to me,” and “I was so filled with the glory of God, that when I went into the room of brother Buel’s where the corpse lay, I shouted the praises of God aloud.”
By the fall of 1819, he was once more associated with his old friends in the local Methodist Episcopal Church and tried to introduce to them certain reforms that he had previously espoused among the Reformed Methodists. He was rebuked by the class leader for his particular approach to the preaching of the doctrine of sanctification, and he managed to upset a number in the congregation who mocked his exhortations that called for specific persons within the flock to repent.Soon, however, his mind was cleared as he read Matthew 10:32–33, and he felt that Christ would confess him before God. Chamberlin, convinced of “the fallen state that the church was now in,” soon experienced a manifestation “of the presence of Christ” in his workshop. This feeling was so strong that it left him without appetite for a week and led to other spiritual experiences mentioned in the 1829 pamphlet.
Solomon’s activities between 1820 and 1828 are more difficult to trace. The Solomon Chamberlin family appears in the 1820 census for Adams, Berkshire, Massachusetts. But between then and February 1828, when Solomon purchased an acre of land on the Erie Canal in the township of Lyons, Wayne County, New York, his activities are unknown.
Solomon Joins the Church and Shares His New Faith
Solomon and Hope sold the Wayne County property in December 1828.However, Solomon was still at the site or in the immediate vicinity of Wayne County in the fall of 1829 when he described himself as “living about 20 miles east of where the gold record was found, on the Erie Canal.” After his previously described visit to the Smith home, Solomon spent two days receiving instruction from the Smiths on the Book of Mormon. He was then taken to Palmyra to the shop of E. B. Grandin, Book and Job Printer, where the printing of the Book of Mormon was under way. There his new friends gave him sixty-four newly printed pages of the incomplete work before he continued his journey toward Lockport, New York, and on to Upper Canada. Solomon specified, “I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism, to all both high and low, rich and poor . . . [and] exhorted all people to prepare for the great work of God that was now about to come forth, and it would never be brought down nor confounded.” Solomon then enumerated various episodes involving his preaching of the Book of Mormon in Canada and among the Baptists and members of the Reformed Methodist Church in the New York area. On April 6 of the following year, the Church was organized, and “a few days after,” Solomon later declared, “I was baptized in the waters of Seneca Lake by Joseph Smith” and in the spring of 1830 “ordained a Priest under the hands of Hyrum Smith.”
As Phinehas and Joseph Young passed through the town of Lyons on or about August 20, 1830, they called on their “old acquaintance” Solomon Chamberlin, now a Latter-day Saint. The two men were on their way to the Kingston/Earnestown area of Upper Canada as preachers for the Reformed Methodist Church. Solomon told the brothers that “there was a Church organized, and ten or more were baptized, and every body must believe the Book of Mormon or be lost.”
On his way home from Canada, Phinehas Young met his brother Brigham at the annual conference of the Reformed Methodist Church held at Manlius, Onondaga County, New York. Solomon Chamberlin also attended the gathering. Phinehas related that Solomon “told me he had come to offer the conference the Book of Mormon, saying that if they rejected it they would all go to destruction. He soon filled his mission, and was driven from the place by the voice of the conference.”Solomon reported, “At this conference was Brigham and his brother Phinehas Young, they did not oppose me but used me well.” While returning to the town of Lyons, Solomon recalled,
I stopped at their [the Reformed Methodists] Camp meeting, where I found one of their greatest preachers, whom I contended with concerning the Book of Mormon, by the name of Wm Lake, who utterly condemned it & rejected it, who spurned at me and the Book, and said, if it was of God, Do you think he would send such a little upstart as you are around with it.
It is most interesting that Solomon signed as one of the two witnesses to the highly significant indenture dated April 7, 1831, in which Martin Harris deeded 151 acres of his Palmyra farm land to Thomas Lakey in return for $3,000. Martin Harris then paid that amount to E. B. Grandin to liquidate the debt owed to Grandin and secured by Harris for the publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon.
Solomon and Hope emigrated to Ohio in 1831 and in the fall of that same year journeyed to Missouri, where they resided with the Saints in Jackson County as members of the Prairie Branch. When forced from Jackson County in 1833, Solomon and Hope lived among the Missouri Saints in Clay, Caldwell, Clinton (that portion which later became Gentry County at “Three Forks”), and Daviess counties until their expulsion by the 1838 extermination order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. Solomon and Hope left Missouri in the spring of 1839 and soon settled with the faithful at Nauvoo during the formative years of that community.
Following the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844, Solomon continued his allegiance to the Church under the leadership of President Brigham Young. In the exodus to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, Hope Haskins Chamberlin was among the many who died at Winter Quarters, passing away on January 12, 1847.Solomon went west with Brigham Young’s 1847 pioneer company. He married Terressa Morse in Salt Lake City in 1848, and they had one child, Sarah Louisa, born October 8, 1849.
Solomon served settlement missions to Southern Utah, assisting in the establishment of the communities of Parowan, Cedar City, Beaver, and Santa Clara and was also among those who briefly mined for gold in California during 1850. In January of 1862, Solomon and Sarah Louisa, then twelve years old, survived the terrible flooding of the Santa Clara River by clinging to a tree while the water swirled about them for some thirty-six hours. An aged Native American, seeing their predicament, managed to get some bread to them and also assisted in their rescue.Already sick before the deluge, Solomon was further debilitated by the exposure he suffered in that incident. He died shortly thereafter at the home of John D. Lee in Washington, Washington County, Utah, on March 26, 1862.
I WAS born July 30th l788. at old Canaan. Connecticut; my fathers name was Joel Chamberlin, from Tolland and, Sarah Dean his wife. When I was in my ninth year my father moved to Hillsdale, in York State, and a few years after departed this life, leaving no evidence behind that he had closed his eyes in peace. This made solemn impressions on my mind, but they like the rest that I had from a child soon wore off again. About six months after my youngest brother died, in his seventh year, with heaven on his countenance; about his last words were, while looking up to his mother with a smile, mother I am going home and thus expired.
At this scene my impressions of mind returned seven fold severer than before, and my mind was impressed like this, “be ye also ready for in such an hour as you think not the son of man cometh,” and it may be thy turn next. I began to feel awful on account of my sins; I thought I should die and go to hell; I began to promise the Lord if he would spare me a little longer I would lead a better life; but those promises were soon broken, and I again fell into bad company and became worse than ever. Thus I went on with a high hand and an out stretched arm, drinking, fighting, swearing, pursuing my way down to hell against all the strivings of Gods holy spirit, and became noted for wickedness. At a certain time in the neighborhood a school house took fire and consumed; I was soon charged of being guilty of it, but I was innocent of it and can assert it if they were my dying words, but I rolled sin under my tongue, and turned a deaf ear to all the tender whispers of Christ; at a certain time I was alarmed by a supernatural power; one first day evening when playing at cards, it was a clear night of a full moon about midnight, the door of itself opened, we shut it, & continued playing; in a few minutes it opened again, we shut it and said we would not be beat off so, it directly opened the third time, at the same time we were ready to see if any human being did it and found none, at the same time we heard a noise in the chamber as though a man was walking on the floor. we searched the chamber and found nothing, I said Lord it is enough, this shall be my last game, and so it was for I kept my promise; I have always tho’t it was a call from God to alarm my poor wicked soul.—Thus God called me in various ways; soon after God called me by a vision of the night. At this time I was in the 19th year of my age; while in my slumbers I saw that the day of judgment had fully come, & all nations were assembling to hear their doom; we were drawn by an irresistable power; I tried hard to stop but could not, for I shudered at the thought of coming before God to give an account of my wicked life. I at length descended down to the regions of the damned and while standing in the door or gates of the prison of the damned, I saw them blowing up the flames and preparing red hot iron to lay their faces on to all eternity. I trembled at the thoughts, and expected every moment to begin my eternal torment; but to my great joy and surprise a man came to me and said, you may go back to yonder world and have one year longer to prepare for death in, and if you are not prepared at the expiration of one year, you, or one of your neighbors by the name of Ephraim Herger will come to this place of torment. I then awoke and found it to be a vision of the night; I was in a great sweat, a groaning and crying to God for mercy, and glory to God it had its desired effect; I thought if I did not repent and lead a better life I should soon die and go to hell.
I began to consider on my past life and give way to conviction. I felt the need of religion, and having Christ for my friend; I began to cry “God be merciful to me a sinner, save Lord or I perish.” I thought I would go to some professor and enquire what I should do to be saved, for I was so ignorant of the plan of salvation that I knew not what to do to be saved, and I thought all that professed religion enjoyed it, but I soon found my mistake, there were many in high profession and not one in the place that could say they knew their sins forgiven. I concluded that the presbyterian preast by the name of Morse, whose meetings I had attended from a child could tell me what to do in order to be saved; the first opportunity I had, I enquired of him what to do to be saved, and I said to him if I die as I now am I shall be eternally miserable, after pausing a while he said, be not to forward, but wait the Lords time, and in his own due time he will bring you in; instead of exhorting me to “repent of my sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.” and I should receive a pardon of my sins; and thus instead of enlightening my mind, darkened it, and the devil tempted me, and I almost believed that I was one of the reprobates, and I expected to die and go hell, and if I died I would die at the feet of Jesus, and I would go to hell crying for mercy; thus under my dreadful load I went till I heard of a methodist prayer meeting about five miles distant which I attended; while we were on our knees praying I felt every moment as though I should sink into eternal misery. There was one kneeled each side of me that urged me hard to pray, I never had prayed in public in my life, but the devil told me that I could not pray correct, and I should make many blunders, but blunder or not, I thought, I will pray if the devil be at my elbow, for it seemed that I could not live long so. Thus I began to vent my feelings to God and cry with a loud voice, for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” for my mouth was filled and my burthern fell off, and I felt a peace of mind.—Soon after at Greenbush campmeeting in the year 1805 I received a clear witness of what God, had done for my poor soul; from this time till the year 1816 I passed through various scenes, sometimes happy in God, and oftentimes I had to mourn my apostacy from God; after my acception with Christ, I joined the methodists and lived with them 10 or 12 years, at the expiration of which I felt uneasy and began to conclude they as a people had apostatized from God and I began to be uneasy and pray much to the Lord to shew me his true church and people; about this time I became acquainted with the people called Quakers; here I was greatly deceived on account of their plain speech and dress and being averse to bareing arms, but God gave me soon to see how poor and naked their spirits were, and my greatest desire was to find those that lived the nearest to God; and one night while in my slumbers I was traveling a very strait road in pursuit of the people of God, I saw much people by the wayside and quite out of the path, among the rest were many Quakers; I listened to see if they were the Diciples of Jesus, but their whole discourse were on the things of this world; I followed on and descended into a valley where was a house built for the worship of God; as I entered the building I looked very narrowly if happily I could see one of God’s dear children; the building was full of people; I soon saw a man with a very solemn countenance, I said, I have found one of God’s dear children. Soon he arose & spake in such love, power, and authority, as I had never heard before, and then a young woman arose and spake in the same power, it reached my heart, and I felt thankful to think I had found some of Gods dear children, and it seemed we had a good meeting: thus I awoke and found it a dream or vision of the night. A few days after I heard of a quarterly meeting held by the Reformed Methodists at Reedsborough, I had never heard of them before, I thought I would go and see what people they were. but to my great surprise in going I went down the same mountain I had seen in my dream. In the valley I saw the same house of worship, after I saw the same man and woman and heard them speak in the the same power, though I never had seen them before, yet I knew them and asked them their names; he said his name was William Lake, and thus all my vision was fulfilled this day; thus I went home rejoicing in the Lord, and joined them to live and unite with, so long as they would follow the Lamb of God.
In 1816, I moved to Shaftsbury into the combination; I had professed sanctification about six years but had mistaken it for the witness of sin forgiven; I soon found I never had been clearly convicted for it, one night, while I was in my highest light and love, brother William Lake & Baily with the assistance of the Holy Ghost convinced me of the necessary of a clean heart or sanctification.—The more I gave way to the truth of what they said, the more I saw the corruption of my own heart, and my great animation in a measure was gone, and a great hunger and thirst in my heart was created for the bread and water of eternal life; I now had keen temptation from the devil, I was tempted to believe I was backsliding from God, and I had better give over my supposed convincement or necesstiy of the blessing; but thought I, I will retain my peace with God, and seek for the blessing if it shall be to the expense of my life, I felt no condemnation, but a distress and labor of soul for a clear heart, and my soul to be filled with the nature of God. I was now drinking of the cup of Christ sufferings in a small degree and being baptized with his baptism, I followed the distress and labor of my soul for six weeks, which was like dying, and could not die for Fareo and all his host, in my heart had to die a hard death at the expiration of six weeks.
The Reformers campmeeting came on at Reedsborough Sept. 5. 1816; I thought it my duty to go, at which the brethren objected against; at the same time I had exceeding sore eyes, and thought if they so continued I should take no comfort if I went; I besought God, if it was my duty to go, to give me a sign by healing my eyes, which he did in less than twenty four hours, and the brethren gave their consent, and I accordingly went. My sore distress, firery trial, and crucifixion continued till thursday evening, when the work seemed to come to a crisis, and it appeared victory was near at hand.
The first assault the Satan made was to personate himself in the person of Christ and impressed my mind with these words! You aught to be as willing to go home without the blessing as you are to receive it here! I answered let my will be God’s will! He then says it is Gods will you should live without the blessing as long as Hayms did, which was 20 years; I was on the point of hearing to it when an impression struck my mind like this—God is always willing on his part and it may be that I am not fully prepared to receive the said victory; my life for six weeks past was brougt before me, I viewed it over to see if I had left any thing undone, I could see nothing, for I had done every duty and followed his good spirit as he had made it manifest unto me, yet said I, Lord I am destitute of the blessing—I cried Lord what shall I do? I am sinking into despair! And while standing between hope & despair I saw my supposed Saviour to be Satan, who had transformed himself into an Angel of light; but he disapappeared in an instant, and the blessed son of God stood close by me and said, give your case to me. It seemed there was nothing lacking only my resigning my case and giving up my all into the hands of my blessed Savior, which I could do as easy as to breathe; hope sprung up and I cried Lord Jesus, live or die, dam’d or saved, all I have and am is thine—I give it thee! That moment the light and love of God broke into my soul by the power of the Holy Ghost, and I felt a change to go all over me, and through soul and body, as plain as if a pail of water had been poured on to my body; I felt such humility as I never felt before, and such love to all mankind, even my worst enemies, as no tongue can tell, or heart conceive unless they have had the like travel. Glory, honor, and renown, be unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Thus I went home rejoicing & my peace became as a river. In the fall of 1819, while I was enjoining my highest light, and walking in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, great concern came over me, for the society of the Episcopal Methodists in Adams, Mss. where I then lived, and I began to learn testimony of the work of God in my soul, and that amongst various orders. The class leader soon rebuked me for letting my light shine before the world, for said he, it will not do to preach up sanctification before unbelievers—it will only prejudice their minds, but it will do to hold it up to believers. Here I began to reason with the enemy of souls, and I was tempted to give it over, but the Lord soon cleared my mind by applying these words to my heart with power, 1st Matthew, 10, 32, 33, “whosoever therefore shall confess me before men him will I confess also before my father which is in heaven, but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in heaven.” I felt stronger in the faith than ever, and had something of a discovery of the fallen state that the church was now in, and the power of Antichrist.
Here a circumstance took place which I feel it my duty to mention. One Monday morning while at work in my shop I was taken with a weakness through my whole system, the cause I could not tell, I was well in body but the exercise increased more and more, and in awful awe and glory of the presence of Christ filled the room, and my mind was wonderfully drawn up into heaven; I felt a very still and quiet spirit, for to stand still and see the salvation of God; my appetite for food was wholly taken away from me, and my body as completely satisfied as if just refreshed with food and drink; it seemed I required no literal food for I ate but little of any kind for almost seven days; sometimes my wife over-persuaded me to drink a little milk, for she said I was going deluded. My exercise increased till Wednesday in the after-noon I was in a continual scene of prayer all this while, I now cried with a vocal voice and said Holy Ghost teach me from the eternal world, and I prayed in faith. That moment there was a departed spirit entered the room.
The reader may wonder how I should know that there was a departed spirit in the room and could not behold it with my bodily eyes, but I could behold it with the eyes of my spirit; it was a woman that formerly had belonged to the society, nnd died happy in the Lord; she was the wife of Daniel Arnold, she saluted me with these words, “dont you remember the exhortation that I gave you while on my dying bed.” I now knew her in a moment, and said yes, that I do sister spirit. Now the exhortation was this, she exhorted me to live more obedient to God, and not live so light and trifling—be more sober and watchful, &c. the spirit says “go thou and do likewise,” tell my husband he must repent and do his first works, or where I am he never can come. This man had backsliden from God, in heart, & had a name to live in the church. The spirit gave me a message for a number of the society of like cases, and gave me a charge to be faithful and go and deliver them at their meeting on Sunday—she said they all would be their and that I should have an opportunity, & speak in the power & authority of the holy Ghost.
The state of the society was now opened to my view, and I had a spirit of discernment, and could discern the sandy foundation that many of them were building on. I now fell on my knees and gave thanks to God for his condescention to unworthy me, and while lifting up my soul to God it appeared to me that I saw my Saviour stand before me with the bible in his hand, and said to me this is the book—live in the spirit that this was wrote and you shall shine in the enternal world on high. I now felt joy and peace that is “unspeakable and full of glory.” I opened my bible that lay on my bench, and it was opened to my understanding with such glory as I never saw before, and my exercise increased, for I now felt my message to be from the eternal world.
Sunday arrived, and at 2 o’clock I told my wife if she would go with me to the house of worship she would see the end of my travel, and we accordingly went; I felt to take my seat and wait patiently till the class leader had gone through with his lifeless discourse as usual, and no liberty was given, and he about to close the meeting. I arose and stept out on the floor, and said I, I have a message from the eternal world to deliver to this people; and said I, it came not by my own imagination neither is it a phantom of the brain, but I will tell you how I came by it; I then related my exercise for the week past, and delivered my message first to the man that sat close by me who was formerly husband to the departed spirit as before mentioned. I then turned and delivered my message to several others, while some wept, others mocked, and I spake to an aged professor in the tenderest love and said, dear neighbor you have used me like a kind father, and I respect you as such, and the love that I feel for you is, that I could drane my veins of the last drop of blood for you if it was required of me, as freely as to ate when a hungery.
Here I was interrupted, for he sprang up in a great rage and said, Solomon, stop, I want none of that—you are going to fast. Said I stop dear man, wait patiently and hear me through, and then mock on.—he sat down and heard me through; after I had freed my mind; now said I, I am clear from the blood of this people, and if Christ should say to me this moment, man give an account of the stewardship, I am now ready; I now felt the glories of the invisible world to fill my soul, and could eat my meat with gladness and singless of heart. But shocking to relate the husband of the departed spirit, a few years after went and hung himself Oct. 23, 1818. This day I attended the funeral of my sister, Mary Chamberlin, she being my youngest sister and a believer in Christ, seemed very near to me, and I was so filled with the glory of God, that when I went into the room of brother Buel’s where the corpse lay, I shouted the praises of God aloud, and while relating the dealings of God with my soul; a young woman present began to weep on account of her sins, and I now could pray and weep for the living and not for the dead. Why I was moved in this singular manner I cannot tell, unless it was on account of the formal traditions of man; for in time of worship while at the meeting house, my friends were weeping all around, I did not refrain from shouting aloud the praises of my redeemer, and on the road to the grave at this time, I was so filled with the life of God, that if she had died in her sins, I should have shouted the praises of my redeemer, and glory be to God, many refreshing seasons have I enjoyed from the presence of God, even up to this day; and now I feel wholly given up to follow the lamb of God withersoever he shall be pleased to lead me, if it shall be through tribulations and persectuions, ’till I am translated to a better world.
A SKETCH OF THE EXPERIENCE OF PHILIP HASKINS;
A REMARKABLE REVELATION.
I was born in the town of Taunton and county of Bristol, State of Massachusetts; I was the son of Henry Haskins and Mary Rowsful his wife. I followed farming until I arrived at the age of eighteen, I then took to the seas and followed them for seven years, chiefly whaling. I then returned to Berkley and was married to Mary Mirric daughter of Nathan Mirric;—by her I had eight children, six daughters and two sons, the eldest of which followed the seas, and died in his return from the West Indies, with the yellow fever, in the twenty-eighth year of his age.
Soon after I was married, these words came to my mind with great power, “turn ye, turn ye for why will ye die oh house of Israel”. These words followed me from day to day I knew not that they were in the bible; but on searching it I found them; they then rested seven fold heavier than before, and so continued for about the space of one year; at the expiration of one year, it pleased the Lord to give me an evidence that my sins which were many were all forgiven me.
The people amongst whom I lived were chiefly Baptists. They exhorted me to be baptized & join the church, but I refused. One morning while lying in bed, these words were impressed on my mind;—“arise and be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord &c.”, I accordingly arose and made my desires known to the brethren; it being in the month of January, they cut a hole in the ice and I was baptized by Elder Hyme, and joined the church and lived happy in Christ for several years. During this time my mother died; she had never made an open profession of religion and it labored hard in my mind, what had become of her. These thoughts kept impressed in my mind, what has become of her—where has she gone; these words seemed impressed in my mind, and the more I tho’t of it the more anxious I felt to know her condition; at length I had become so given up to the meditation, that it was not absent from my mind while awake one hour.—for months. It appeared to me that I should be made acquainted with her condition soon, and this ere long was the case; one night as I lay in bed with my wife, what time in the night this view happened I cannot tell; the first I knew I was almost to the chamber floor with a holy angel, who had come to be my gude to the mansions of eternal day; the room was as light as day, and by guide turned me round and I saw my body lying in bed with my wife apparently a sleep. I likewise saw my children sleeping in their bed; I next found myself in open air.
I had all my rational powers of mind. My eye-sight was strengthened beyond description. I was carried I cann ot tell how far or how swift, at length through the regions of space my eyes caught sight of eternal day, or what is called heaven. I saw my mother seated on the right hand of Christ; she then appeared to be millions of miles distant, but the light of etenal day was so bright and my eye-sight so clear and piercing that I saw and knew her in a moment. While I stood viewing and admiring this shining abode with the deepest wonder and admiration these words came into my mind. Rev. 21—22—23—while I was viewing my mother at this amazing distance, it seemed but a moment and I was there. On going up to her she thus addressed me. Well Philip, you have soon came after your mother.” I replied, yes mother. I have soon followed you. There appeared to be a girdle around her waist which was of the purest gold, and on it was reading, the letters of which were smaller than the eye of a cambric needle; she said come Philip, read what is round my wast. I replied I will mother if I can. I then began and read one verse, upon which the heavenly angels struck in and sung the same; I then proceeded to read another verse, which was sung likewise, and so on until the whole was finished. I then looked round on the angels and those just ones made perfect, but in attempting to describe their glory, their powers and loveliness, language fails me, for no tongue can express, no heart conceive nor understanding comprehend the thousanth part of their happy, holy and heavenly appearances. Their skin appeared like that of an infant, or a child eight or nine months old. There was one that stood close by me, and whom I viewed to my satisfaction;—he like the rest appeared to be three or four feet above the streets which were of the purest gold. They were larger than a common sized man and had six wings.—They had on robes of the most beautiful white that my eyes ever saw, but their glorious features cannot be described; their glorious features and their immortal music was such, that no imortal could endure it unless strengthened with immortal powers and faculties to see and know people for millions of miles. I then understood that the sun received its light from this inexhaustible source of day.
The reader may think it strange that I should know people here which I never before saw, but I most certainly did, I knew Christ, I saw some of the Apostles, which I instantly knew; I also saw several of my old acquaintance. I moved on a little further and saw one Nathaniel McCumber, with whom I was well acquainted; we shook hands, I asked him how long he had been in this knew abode, he replied about twenty days, and how long said he have you been here? I have just come I repeated. At this we passed on; I saw one of my ship-mates and would have spoke to him, but my guide would not admit it; so we passed on and joined with Peter and John, two of Christs beloved disciples. Peter was the largest and John was the slimest and handsomest. I had no thoughts of ever returning to this earthly habitation again, but to my great disappointment I understood by my guide that I must return. It appeared to be an immence distance to this earth, and the next that I knew, my spirit was returning to my body again and the daylight shined into the windows. How long I had been gone I could not tell, I was in great distress when my blood began to circulate, it first began at my heart, and from thence extended in to all my members; I tried to move but I could not; I tried to speak but I could not; at length my blood having reached and circulated in all my limbs, I found I could move; I then awoke my wife and related the occurrence, but she treated it all as a dream and said if what I had said was a reality, and if I had actually been there, I could remember the verses that was on the golden girdle, I told her I could and likewise rehersed them to her, which soon convinced her of the reality of it. They were then taken from my memory and I could never remember them more, for they were the language of immortals and not to be retained by mortals.
I now felt more happy in the love of Christ than ever, and could praise and bless his great and holy name for condescending to gratify my desire. I believed as little in dreams, visions, or revelations in our day, perhaps, as any one, but this I certainly know, that my soul left its earthly habitation and was guided by a heavenly messenger to the regions of eternal day. This I can affirm as my dying words.—This happened in the year of our Lord 1798. Thus I lived happy in the Lord for several years, but at length I was ovetaken with anger, and I gave way to it till it became so headstrong that I became its slave. I fell from my stedfastness—I grieved the spirit of God, and lost that sweet peace out of my soul, and now I feel the gnawings of that worm, that never dies, and the fire that is never quenched.
“How is gold changed and the most fine gold become dim.” Though this man had great natural abilities, strong powers of mind,—a great memory and a great scripturion, and it was thought by some he had a call to publish salvation and neglected it, he was often heard to say in his last sickness, a little before he died; I have once been to heaven but I shall never go there again.—He often would rage like a devil, filled with madness, desiring and wishing to die, that he might know the worst of his case.
He died in the year of our Lord 1820, about 20 years after this view happened, in black dispair.