Fountain Lake Feb 16th, 1864 Dear friends, It was with real pleasure that I recd your long good letter yesterday so full of the experience and fruit of the aged Christian. I was sorry to think that it had been so long a time in the office, but I shall hereafter be more careful about my mail. A draft was being made just when I should have been starting for Ann Arbor which kept me at home, but letters addressed to Midland shall always reach me wherever I am. I was happy to perceive in your letter so much of that quiet resignation which the true living Christian can feel under all of the afflictions which may be placed in his cup. How Again when I reflect upon the magnitude of lifes duties and upon the numberless paths which lead astray and feel at the same time that I am so susceptible of bad impressions I think of the lives which begin thus, “O fear not thou to die, But rather fear to live.” My sheet I see is nearly full and I must close, I am really happy Mr. Newton to think of having you as a correspondent. I have many friends but none so aged and experienced as yourself. I feel that I have need of the advice and counsel of Christians. I am sure that I shall always give your letters a hearts welcome. I thank you for the expressions of esteem which you have tendered me in your kind letter but feel that I do not deserve them. Remember me with much respect to your partner. And may you always be cheered and upheld by the God of all consolation. Goodbye. Yours with much respect John Muir dreadful must be the condition of those, who when called to pass through the same bitter waters of sorrow, have no heavenly arm to rest upon. All human aid, so utterly powerless and can look for none from God. How greatly we should prize and love that gospel which shows us the hand of a kind heavenly parent directing all the good and ill that makes life the changeful and mysterious thing which it is. One of our neighbors must be borne to the grave tomorrow - a Christian who long has known the power of a Saviours love, she died in hope of the glory of God about to be revealed to her. Like summer plants the most sainted believer sickens and dies but thanks be to God for the gospel which proclaims immortality for those cold limbs about to be folded in the coffin. I sometimes fear that I am not prepared to die at any time, that I do not keep the shortness and uncertainty of life sufficiently in view, and it seems too that I do not think enough of heaven as a reality. I have faith but surely it is weak; for I do not find these unseen realities in my everyday thoughts and plans, were I sure that in a few years I should go to France and that I might be taken there at any time I am sure that it would exert a controlling influence upon all of my plans, but here is a city whose maker and builder is God - Heaven in whose length and breadth not a mortal or unholy thing is found, to this place I admit and claim that at any time I may be removed, and still, strange to say, I almost forget it in seeking a path through this world. John Muir [Feb] [ ] 8 [Stamp: Portage Wis. [Wisoncin] Feb [February] 24] Mr. Ambrose Newton Middlefield Mass [Massachusetts]
Fountain Lake, [Wisc]
1864 Feb 16
Original letter dimensions: 33.0 x 21.5 cm
Muir, John, "Letter from John Muir to Ambrose Newton, 1864 Feb 16" (1864). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 1158.
Reel 01, Image 0630
The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.
Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters