Wesley Center Online

The Letters of John Wesley




JANUARY 1, 1770, TO DECEMBER 28, 1771



May 5. Letter from Dr. Wrangel.

Aug. Doctrinal Minutes at the Bristol Conference.

Sep. 30. Death of George Whitefield.

Nov. 18. Wesley preaches Whitefield's funeral sermon.


Jan. 17. Benson dismissed from Trevecca.

Jan. 23. Mrs. Wesley leaves him.

Sep. 4. Francis Asbury sails for America.

Fletcher's First and Second Check to Antinomianism published.

Wesley issues the first five volumes of his collected Works.



JANUARY 1, 1770, TO DECEMBER 28, 1771

To Mrs. Crosby

LONDON, January 1, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Whereunto you have attained hold fast. You never need let it go. Nothing is more certain than that God is willing to give always what He gives once. If, therefore, He now gives you power to yield Him your whole heart, you may confidently expect the continuance of that power till your spirit returns to God, provided you continue watching unto prayer, denying yourself, and taking up your cross daily. Only beware of evil reasoning! Hang upon Him that loves you as a little child; living to-day, and trusting Him for to-morrow.[See letter of Jan. 2.]--I am, dear Sally,

Your affectionate brother.


To a Nobleman: The Earl of Dartmouth (?) [2]

[January 1], 1770.

DEAR SIR,--I bless God that you are not disgusted at the great plainness with which I wrote. Indeed, I know not but it might be termed roughness; which was owing partly to the pressure of mind I then felt, and partly to my being straitened for time: otherwise I might have found softer expressions. I am thankful likewise for your openness; which obliges me to be open and unreserved, and to say all I mean, and that in the most simple manner, on each of the articles that lie before us.

I must do this even with regard to my fellow labourers, lest I should seem to mean more than I do. But I am sensible this is a tender point, and one so extremely difficult to treat upon that I should not venture to say one word did I not know to whom I speak. What I mean is this: From many little circumstances which have occurred, I have been afraid (just so far it went) that those clergymen with whom you are most acquainted were jealous of your being acquainted with me. I was the more afraid when I heard the sudden exclamation of one whom you well know, 'Good God! Mr. Wesley is always speaking well of these gentlemen, and they can never speak well of him.' But I am entirely satisfied by that full declaration which you make: 'I do not know of any impression that has been made upon me to your disadvantage.'

I had once the opportunity of speaking a few minutes to you on the head of Christian Perfection; and I believe you had not much objection to anything which was then spoken. When I spoke nearly to the same effect to one of the late Bishops of London, Bishop Gibson, he said earnestly, 'Why, Mr. Wesley, if this is what you mean by perfection, who can be against it?' I believe verily there would need no more than a single hour, spent in free and open conversation, to convince you that none can rationally or scripturally say anything against the perfection I have preached for thirty years.

The union which I desire among the persons I mentioned is an entire union of heart, constraining them to labour together as one man in spreading vital religion through the nation. But this I do not hope for, though I know a few who would cordially rejoice therein. The union which I proposed is of a lower kind: I proposed that they should love as brethren and behave as such. And I particularized what I think is implied in this, I imagined in so plain a manner, as was hardly possible without great skill to be either misunderstood or misrepresented. I really do not conceive what ambiguity there can be in any part of this proposal, or what objection can lie against our going thus far, whether we go farther or no.

With regard to you, I have frequently observed that there are two very different ranks of Christians, both of whom may be in the favour of God--an higher and a lower rank. The latter avoid all known sin, do much good, use all the means of grace, but have little of the life of God in their souls and are much conformed to the world. The former make the Bible their whole rule, and their sole aim is the will and image of God. This they steadily and uniformly pursue, through honour and dishonour, denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; considering one point only--'How may I attain most of the mind that was in Christ, and how may I please Him most?' Now, I verily believe never was a person of rank more prepared for this state than you were the first time I had the pleasure of seeing you. Nay, I doubt not but you pant after it now; your soul is athirst to be all devoted to God. But who will press you forward to this? Rather, who will not draw you back? It is in this respect that I think one that uses plain dealing is needful for you in the highest degree; so needful, that without this help you will inevitably stop short: I do not mean stop short of heaven, but of that degree of holiness, and consequently of happiness both in time and eternity, which is now offered to your acceptance.

It is herein that I am jealous over you. I am afraid of your sinking beneath your calling, degenerating into a common Christian, who shall indeed be saved, but saved as by fire. I long to see both you and your lady a little more than common Christians--Christians of the first rank in the kingdom of God, full of all goodness and truth. I want you to be living witnesses of all gospel holiness! And what shal1 hinder if you seek it by faith? Are not all things ready? The Lord God give you to experience that all things are possible to them that believe!

O God, let all their life declare,


How happy these Thy servants are;

How far above these earthly things;

How pure when washed in Jesu's blood;

How intimately one with God,

A heaven-born race of priests and kings!

--I am, honoured sir,

Your friend and servant.


To Mrs. Woodhouse

LONDON, January 1, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Indeed, there is no happiness without Him for any child of man. One would rather choose to be pained and restless whenever He withdraws His presence. He has permitted that difference which prevents your finding comfort even in a near relation, that you may seek it with a free and disengaged heart in Him who will never deceive your hope. This will endear and sweeten every cross, which is only a painful means of a closer union with Him. The neglect of others should incite you to double diligence in private prayer. And how knowest thou, O woman, but thou shalt gain thy husband? [Mr. Woodhouse was evidently not in sympathy with his wife's Methodism.] You have already many blessings. You are surrounded with them. And who can tell if He may not add this to the rest? I pray, tell me from time to time all that is in your heart. Use no reserve with, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Woodhouse, At Mr. Hutton's, In Epworth, Near Thorpe, Yorkshire.


To Mary Bosanquet [3]

LONDON, January 2, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You know I am not much given to suspect the worst; I am more inclined to hope than fear. Yet I cannot but fear that they who make those sage remarks do not always speak with a single eye. But what are they afraid of? There is little danger now of any wrong intercourse between you and me. Indeed, we love one another and can trust one another; and there is good reason that we should. God seemed to mark us out for it long ago, and perhaps lately more than ever. You may now speak all that is in your heart, and with all simplicity.

Keep your place. Keep the reins in your own hand. It is best for her, [Mrs. Crosby.] best for you, and best for all. You ought not to suffer any interruption or any forming of parties. I suppose you have Instructions for Members of Religious Societies. I know nothing equal to them in the English tongue. It would be well diligently to inculcate those instructions on all under your roof.

The moment any are justified, they are babes in Christ, little children. When they have the abiding witness of pardon, they are young men. This is the characteristic of a young man. It was not this, but much more, even salvation from inward sin, which above five hundred in London received. True, they did not (all or most of them) retain it; but they had it as surely as they had pardon. And you and they may receive it again. [See letter of Jan. 1 to Mrs. Crosby.] How soon!--I am, my dear friend,

Your affectionate brother.

To Miss Bosanquet, Gildersome Hall, Near Leeds.


To Mary Bosanquet

LONDON, January 15, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is not strange if the leading of one soul be very different from that of another. The same Spirit worketh in every one; and yet worketh several ways, according to His own will. It concerns us to follow our own light, seeing we are not to be judged by another's conscience.

A little time will show who hinders and who forwards the welfare of the family. And I hope you will have steadiness to pursue every measure which you judge will be to the glory of God.

I am glad you find your temporal difficulties are lessened. Beware of increasing your expenses. I advise you not to take any other child till all these expenses are over. [See previous letter, and Moore's Mrs. Fletcher, p. go: 'I lessened my family all I could by putting out some of the bigger children to trades or servants' places; but much expense attended it.'] 'Tis pity but you had an electric machine. [Wesley procured an electric apparatus in Nov. 1756, and was greatly impressed with 'the virtue of this surprising medicine.' See Journal, iv. 49, 190.] It would prevent much pain in a family and supersede almost all other physic. I cure all vomiting and purging by warm lemonade.

She is there still [His wife, who was in Newcastle. See letter of Nov. 20, 1769, to Christopher Hopper.]; and likely so to be, unless I would hire her to return, which I dare not do. I will not buy a cross, though I can bear it. Many are much stirred up here and are greatly athirst for pure love. I am sure you tasted it once, though you was reasoned out of it. How soon may you find it again! Simple faith is all we want. Peace be with your spirit!--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.


To Christopher Hopper [4]

LONDON, January 16, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--There is reason to believe that this has been indeed a festival time all over the kingdom. While a Sacheverell madness has spread far and wide, God gives us the spirit of love and of a sound mind.

I think verily, if we could procure those premises upon reasonable terms, together with such a servitude or security (are these synonymous terms?) as you mention, it would be a noble acquisition, and might tend much to the furtherance of the work of God in Edinburgh.

If all the Assistants would exert themselves with regard to the Yearly Collection as heartily as Christopher Hopper, a great deal might be done. We must have farther proof of William.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.


To Ann Bolton

LEWISHAM, January 25, 1770.

Nancy, Nancy! I had almost said, I wish I could be angry at you; but that would not be an easy thing. I was wondering that you never wrote. I doubt your love is grown cold. Let it not be six weeks before I hear from you again. You find I can chide if you provoke me.

You surprise me with regard to the books. I have spoke to Mr. Franks twice; and twice he told me he had sent them. I doubt he sent them among the other books without directing them particularly to you. I shall see that matter set right.

You must not leave off riding [See letter of Feb. 12, 1769.] if you would have tolerable health. Nothing is so good for you as exercise and change of air. It was upon that as well as other accounts that I wanted you to come up to London. I do not know whether the objection of 'giving offence' need to affright you from it. I wish you had a week to spare before I go out of town. [She had once before come up to London to meet him. See letter of April 7, 1768.] If I should be called to America [See letters of Dec. 30, 1769, and See Feb. 17, 1770.] (though I determine nothing yet), it might be a long time before we meet again.

In every temptation there will be a way made to escape that you may be able to bear it. Do not stay a month longer before you write to, my dear Nancy,

Your affectionate brother.

I have a room or two to spare now.


To Joseph Benson [5]

LONDON, January 27, 1770.

DEAR JOSEPH,--All is well. We have no need to 'dispute about a dead horse.' If the school at Trevecca is the best that ever was since the world began, I am glad of it, and wish it may be better still. But do not run away with any of my young men from Kingswood: that I should blame you for. I have wrote already to T. Simpson, [The Head Master. see letter of Jan. 2, 1769.] and will write again. Do all the good you can in every place.--I am

Your affectionate brother.


To John Whitehead [6]

LONDON, January 27, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Tell John Hilton 'wherever Mr. Wesley is he labours to strengthen the hands of the Assistant and does nothing without advising with him.' So I do nothing here without advising with John Pawson. [Pawson was the Assistant in London and Hilton at Bristol.] I believe his doing otherwise was chiefly through inadvertence. Therefore come to an explanation as soon as possible. Brother Hitchens [William Hitchens, a native of Bisveal near Redruth, was for some time an itinerant preacher; but he married and settled as a hatter in Bristol. He laboured as a local preacher for many years. See Atmore's Memorial, pp. 190-1.] complains you broke through the plan of preaching which I fixed and did not allow him his turn. But, however this was, Wick must not lose its turn. I solemnly promised Mr. Haynes it should not, and allowed the preacher the use of my mare once a fortnight. Neglect another place rather than that. Give my kind love to Brother and Sister Thomas. [Barnabas Thomas, the second preacher at Bristol, a Cornishman, had become a preacher in 1764. see letter of March 25, 1785.] I thank him for his letter. You should give Mr. Shirley [The Hon. Walter Shirley, Rector of Loughrea, and cousin to Lady Huntingdon, had evidently been teaching Calvinism in Wesley's preaching house. See letter of Nov. 27.] an hint not to contradict me when he preaches in my house. I hope you spend a little time (you and Brother Thomas) with our children at Kingswood. Who are your new class-leaders? --I am, with love to Sister Whitehead,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mr. Whitehead, At the New Room, In Bristol.

To Dr. Wrangel [7]

[LONDON, January 30, 1770.]

The last time, the last words however important, are commonly remembered. Notwithstanding your intentions of revisiting this country, I consider it as very unlikely. The distracted state of your own, the various events which may take place, the thousand circumstances which may happen, lead me to regard this opportunity as the last I may ever have of addressing you--at least of seeing you; and I wish it to be worthy of recollection.

The length of our acquaintance, indeed, will not authorize the subject of this letter or the recommendation of the enclosed book. Let the interest I take in your welfare excuse it. Or should you ascribe this interest to the weakness of superstition or the folly of enthusiasm, deem it not the impertinence of zeal.

I have often thought of you--thought of you as possessing everything which the world calls enviable or delightful: health, friends, leisure. Permit me with the solicitude more properly belonging to a matron than to myself--permit me to entreat you to look beyond all these for happiness.

The dangers of prosperity are great; and you seem aware of them. If poverty contracts and depresses the mind, riches sap its fortitude, destroy its vigour, and nourish its caprices.

But the chief disadvantage of an elevated situation is this: it removes us from scenes of misery and indigence; we are apt to charge the great with want of feeling, but it is rather want of consideration. The wretched are taught to avoid, and the poor fear to accost them; and in the circles of perpetual gaiety they forget that these exist.

You need not be reminded that there is no rank in life which exempts us from disappointment and sorrow in some kind or degree; but I must remind you there is but one belief which can support us under it.

Neither hypocrisy nor bigotry, neither the subtle arguments of infidels nor the shameful lives of Christians have yet been able to overturn the truths of Revealed Religion.

They contain all that is cheering--all that is consoling to the mind of man--that is congenial to the heart and adapted to his nature.

You admit their importance; you reverence their mysteries: cherish their influences.

The book which I have taken the liberty to enclose was written by a gentleman as much distinguished for literature and taste as for piety. The style alone might recommend it: you will find none of the cant and narrowmindness of sects and parties in any of its pages. Give it one serious perusal.


To Lady Maxwell [8]

LONDON, February 17, 1770.

MY DEAR LADY,--To us it may seem that uninterrupted health would be a greater help to us than pain or sickness. But herein we certainly are mistaken; we are not such good judges in our own cause. You may truly say, 'Health I shall have if health be best.' But in this and all things you may trust Him that loves you. Indeed, nervous disorders are, of all others, as one observes, enemies to the joy of faith. But the essence of it, that confidence in a loving, pardoning God, they can neither destroy nor impair. Nay, as they keep you dead to all below, they may forward you therein, and they may increase your earnestness after that pure love which turns earth into paradise.

It will be by much pains and patience that you will keep one in high life steadfast in the plain, old way. I should wish you to converse with her as frequently as possible. Then I trust God will use you to keep alive the fire which He has kindled. I am in great hopes that chapel will be of use; but it will not be easy to procure a converted clergyman. A schoolmaster will be more easily found; although many here are frighted at the name of Scotland. A diligent master may manage twenty or perhaps thirty children. If one whom I lately saw is willing to come, I believe he will answer your design.

I have some thoughts of going to America [See letters of Jan. 25 and Feb. 21 (to George Whitefield).]; but the way is not yet plain. I wait till Providence shall speak more clearly on one side or the other. In April I hope to reach Inverness and to take Edinburgh in my way back to England. But let us live to-day! What a blessing may you receive now!

Now let your heart with love o'erflow,

And all your life His glory show!

--I am, my dear Lady, Your ever affectionate servant.


To Walter Sellon

LEWISHAM, February 21, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Do not make too much haste. Give everything the last touch. It will be enough if the papers meet me at Manchester before the end of March. I believe it will be the best way to bestow a distinct pamphlet on that exquisite coxcomb. [Toplady. See letters of Dec. 30, 1769, and June 24, 1770] Surely wisdom will die with him! I believe we can easily get his other tract, which it would be well to sift to the very foundation, in order to stop the mouth of that vain boaster. I am to set out for Bristol March 5, and from Bristol March 12.--I am

Your affectionate brother.


To George Whitefield [9]

LEWISHAM, February 21, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Mr. Keen informed me some time since of your safe arrival in Carolina; of which, indeed, I could not doubt for a moment, notwithstanding the idle report of your being cast away, which was so current in London. I trust our Lord has more work for you to do in Europe as well as in America. And who knows but before your return to England I may pay another visit to the New World? [See letters of Feb. 17 and Dec.14.] I have been strongly solicited by several of our friends in New York and Philadelphia. They urge many reasons, some of which appear to be of considerable weight. And my age is no objection at all; for I bless God my health is not barely as good but abundantly better in several respects than when I was five-and-twenty. But there are so many reasons on the other side that as yet I can determine nothing; so I must wait for farther light. Here I am: let the Lord do with me as seemeth Him good. For the present I must beg of you to supply my lack of service by encouraging our preachers as you judge best, who are as yet comparatively young and inexperienced, by giving them such advices as you think proper, and, above all, by exhorting them, not only to love one another, but, if it be possible, as much as lies in them to live peaceably with all men.

Some time ago, since you went hence, I heard a circumstance which gave me a good deal of concern--namely, that the College or Academy in Georgia had swallowed up the Orphan House. Shall I give my judgement without being asked? Methinks friendship requires I should. Are there not, then, two points which come in view--a point of mercy and a point of justice? With regard to the former, may it not be inquired, Can anything on earth be a greater charity than to bring up orphans? What is a college or an academy compared to this? unless you could have such a college as perhaps is not upon earth. I know the value of learning, and am more in danger of prizing it too much than too little. But still, I cannot place the giving it to five hundred students, on a level with saving the bodies, if not the souls too, of five hundred orphans. But let us pass on from the point of mercy to that of justice. You had land given and collected money for an Orphan House; are you at liberty to apply this to any other purpose--at least, while there are any orphans in Georgia left? I just touch upon this, though it is an important point, and leave it to your own consideration whether part of it at least might not properly be applied to carry on the original design. In speaking thus freely on so tender a subject, I have given you a fresh proof of the sincerity with which I am

Your ever affectionate friend and brother.


To Matthew Lowes

LONDON, March 2, 1770.

DEAR MATTHEW,--The way you propose for clearing the circuit [Lowes was Assistant in the Dales Circuit.] is, I think, the very best which can be devised. Only let your fellow labourers second you heartily, and the thing will be done.

Four or five circuits exerted themselves nobly. Had all the rest done the same our burthen would have been quite removed. Well, we will fight till we die.--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.


To Mrs. Barton

TEWKESBURY, March 15, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I rejoice to hear that you stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free; and the more because, although many taste of that heavenly gift, deliverance from inbred sin, yet so few, so exceeding few, retain it one year, hardly one in ten, nay one in thirty. Many hundreds in London were made partakers of it within sixteen or eighteen months; but I doubt whether twenty of them are now as holy and as happy as they were. And hence others had doubted whether God intended that salvation to be enjoyed long. That many have it for a season, that they allow, but are not satisfied that any retain it always. Shall not you for one? You will, if you watch and pray and continue hanging upon Him. Then you will always give matter of rejoicing to, dear Jenny,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Jane Barton, In Norwood, Beverley, Yorkshire.


To Mrs. Marston [10]

BROADMARSTON, March 16, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I want to ask you several questions. At what time and in what manner was you justified? Did you from that time find a constant witness of it? When and how was you convinced of the necessity of sanctification? When did you receive it, and in what manner? Did you then find the witness of it? Has it been clear ever since? Have you not found any decay since that time? Do you now find as much life as ever you did? Can you give God your whole heart? In what sense do you 'pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks'? Do you find a testimony in yourself that all your words and actions please Him?

You have no need to be nice or curious in answering these questions. You have no occasion to set your words in order; but speak to me just as you would do to one of your sisters. The language of love is the best of all. One truly says,--

There is in love a sweetness ready penned:

Copy out only that, and save expense. [George Herbert's The Temple, 'Jordan.']

You have love in your heart; let that teach you words. Out of the abundance of the heart let the mouth speak. I shall then know better how to advise you. I have a great concern for you, and a desire that you should never lose anything which God has wrought, but should receive a full reward. Stand fast in the name of the Lord and in the power of His might!-- I am

Your affectionate brother.

You may direct to me at the preaching-house in Manchester


To Mary Bosanquet [11]

MACCLESFIELD, March 26, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am now moving northward. In about a fortnight I expect to be at Whitehaven, and a week after at Glasgow, in the beginning of May at Aberdeen, and May 11 at Edinburgh.

To exert your faith is the very thing you want. Believe, and enter in. The experience of Eliz. Jackson has animated many. It is the very marrow of Christianity; and if it be diligently spread among our believers it may be of unspeakable use. It is certainly right to pray whether we can pray or no. God hears even when we hardly hear ourselves.

She saw it so through the advice and importunity of Clayton Carthy. [See letter of June 12, 1759.] And God permitted it. So all is well. With regard to us, I do not at present see any danger either on one side or the other. You have need of a steady guide, and one that knows you well. If my brother had not given Mrs. Gaussen that fatal advice, 'to keep from me,' she would not have fallen into the hands of others. [See letter of Sept. 25, 1757.]

I am glad Richd. Taylor is of use. [Manager of Miss Bosanquet's estate in Yorkshire.] He will be more and more so, if he continues simple of heart, speaks explicitly of full redemption, and exhorts believers to accept it now. The same rule it will be well for you to observe in conversation with all that are in earnest! Peace be with your spirit!

My dear sister, adieu!

To Miss Bosanquet, At Gildersome Hall, Near Leeds.


To Mrs. Marston

CHESTER, April 1, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--As I had not time to converse with you as I would at Worcester, I was exceedingly glad to see you at Wednesbury. [Wesley had been at Worcester on March 14 and 15, and at Wednesbury on the 21st. See letters of March 16 and Aug. 11.] It was the very thing I desired. And surely our Lord will withhold from us no manner of thing that is good. I am glad that you can both speak and write to me freely; it may often be of service to you, especially if God should suffer you to be assaulted by strong and uncommon temptations. I should not wonder if this were to be the case: though perhaps it never will; especially if you continue simple --if, when you are assaulted by that wicked one, you do not reason with him, but just look up for help, hanging upon Him that has washed you in His own blood. Do you now find power to 'rejoice evermore'? Can you 'pray without ceasing'? Is your heart to Him, though without a voice? And do you 'in everything give thanks'? Is your whole desire to Him? And do you still find an inward witness that He has cleansed your heart? Stand fast, then, in that glorious liberty wherewith Christ has made you free!--I am, dear Molly,

Your affectionate brother.

I expect to be in Glasgow about the 17th of this month.


To Mrs. Bennis

WHITBHAVEN, April 12, 1770.

DEAR SISTER,--If two or three letters have miscarried, all will not; so I am determined to write again. How does the work of God go on at Limerick? Does the select society meet constantly? And do you speak freely to each other? What preachers are with you now? [The Minutes for 1769 give: 'Feb. 1--Let Thomas Taylor go to Limerick.' He was stationed at Cork, and Richard Bourke at Limerick. See letter of June 13.] Do you converse frankly and openly with them without any shyness or reserve? Do you find your own soul prosper? Do you hold fast what God has given you? Do you give Him all your heart? And do you find the witness of this abiding with you? One who is now in the house with me has not lost that witness one moment for these ten years. [Was this Joseph Guilford, the Assistant there?] Why should you lose it any more? Are not the gifts of God without repentance? Is He not willing to give always what He gives once? Lay hold, lay hold on all the promises.--I am Your affectionate brother.


To Mrs. Barton

ARBROATH, May 8, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Two things are certain: the one, that it is possible to lose even the pure love of God; the other, that it is not necessary, it is not unavoidable--it may be lost, but it may be kept. Accordingly we have some in every part of the kingdom who have never been moved from their steadfastness. And from this moment you need never be moved: His grace is sufficient for you. But you must continue to grow if you continue to stand; for no one can stand still. And is it not your Lord's will concerning you that you should daily receive a fresh increase of love? And see that you labour so much the more to comfort the feeble-minded, to support the weak, to confirm the wavering, and recover them that are out of the way. In June I hope to see you. Peace be with your spirits! --I am

Your affectionate brother.


To Richard Bourke [12]

EDINBURGH, May 12, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I doubt not your going into Waterford Circuit was for good. It is well the house at Kilkenny is at length getting forward. But the General Collection, out of which I propose to assist our brethren, is not brought in until the Conference; and I myself seldom have any money beforehand. I live, as I may say, from hand to mouth.

As to the preachers, I think it very hard if Ireland cannot allow a maintenance to the preachers in Ireland. But, indeed, your case is peculiar. Exclusive of what they are to allow for your wife, I will allot her five pounds (English) for you.--I am

Yours affectionately.

Endorsed in another hand:

Received the contents from Miss Mary Holland, June 11, 1771.


To Thomas Robinson [13]

NEWCASTLE, May 22, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I hope to be at Scarborough on Monday, June 18, and on Wednesday the 20th at Hull. If you can show me how to take Burlington [Bridlington.] in my way to Hull on the 20th, I shall be glad to call upon you. Perhaps one of you will meet me at Scarborough.--I am

Your affectionate brother.


To Mrs. Bennis [14]

YARM, June 13, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Just now we have many persons all over England that are exactly in the state you describe. They were some time since renewed in love, and did then rejoice evermore; but after a few years, months, or weeks, they were moved from their steadfastness; yet several of these have within a few months recovered all they had lost, and some with increase, being far more established than ever they were before. And why may it not be so with you? The rather because you do not deny or doubt of the work which God did work in you, and that by simple faith. Surely you should be every day expecting the same free gift; and He will not deceive your hope.

But how is this with respect to Waterford? [See letter of July 27.] They would, and they would not: I sent two preachers to that circuit; why did they not keep them? W. L--wrote word that there was neither employment nor maintenance for two, and therefore wished leave to return to England. Let me hear more from you on this matter.

If you can guard Brother Saunderson against pride and the applause of well-meaning people, he will be a happy man and an useful labourer. I hope Brother M--- has not grown cold. Stir up the gift of God which is in you!--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.


To Mary Bishop

LONDON, June 20, 1770.

DEAR MISS BISHOP,--At present you are exactly in your place; and I trust no temptation, inward or outward, shall ever induce you to depart from the work, to which God has called you. You must expect to be pushed to both extremes by turns--self-confidence and too much diffidence. But it is certain the former is the more dangerous of the two; and you need all the power of God to save you from it. And He will save you to the uttermost, provided you still retain the sense of your poverty and helplessness.

It is a good prayer,

Show me, as my soul can bear,

The depth of inbred sin!

And just so He will deal with you; for He remembers that you are but dust. But you should not wait to be thus and thus convinced in order to be renewed in love. No: pray now for all the mind which was in Christ; and you shall have more and more conviction as it pleases Him. Mr. Spencer [See letters of Sept. 13, 1769, and Oct. 12, 1771.] and Glynne are of excellent spirits, notwithstanding their opinion. I hardly know their fellows. Love is all we want; let this fill our hearts, and it is enough. Peace be with your spirit,--I am

Your affectionate brother.


To George Merryweather

YORK, June 24, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Mr. Augustus Toplady I know well. But I do not fight with chimney-sweepers. He is too dirty a writer for me to meddle with. I should only foul my fingers. I read his title-page, and troubled myself no farther. I leave him to Mr. Sellon. He cannot be in better hands. [See letter of Feb. 21 to Walter Sellon.]

As long as you are seeking and expecting to love God with all your heart, so long your soul will live.--I am

Your affectionate brother.


To Miss March

DAWGREEN, July 6, 1770.

When things are viewed at a distance, one would be apt to imagine that no degree of sorrow could be found in an heart that rejoices evermore; that no right temper could be wanting, much less any degree of a wrong temper subsist, in a soul that is filled with love. And yet I am in doubt whether there be any soul clothed with flesh and blood which enjoys every right temper and in which is no degree of any wrong one, suppose of ill-judged zeal, or more or less affection for some person than that person really deserves. When we say, 'This is a natural, necessary consequence of the soul's union with a corruptible body,' the assertion is by no means clear till we add, 'because of the weakness of understanding which results from this union'; admitting this, the case is plain. There is so close a connexion between right judgement and right tempers as well as right practice, that the latter cannot easily subsist without the former. Some wrong temper, at least in a small degree, almost necessarily follows from wrong judgement: I apprehend when many say, 'Sin must remain while the body remains,' this is what they mean, though they cannot make it out.

You say, 'My silence usually proceeds from my views and thoughts of myself as a Christian.' Bishop Fenelon [Archbishop of Cambria, 1695-1715.] says, 'Simplicity is that grace which frees the soul from all unnecessary reflections upon itself.' See here one sort of simplicity which you want! When I speak or write to you, I have you before my eyes, but, generally speaking, I do not think of myself at all. I do not think whether I am wise or foolish, knowing or ignorant; but I see you aiming at glory and immortality, and say just what I hope may direct your goings in the way and prevent your being weary or faint in your mind. Our Lord will order all things well for Sister Thornton. [See letters of Aug. 12, 1769, and April 14, 1771, to Miss March.] What can hurt those that trust in Him?


To Mrs. Bennis [15]

ASHBY, July 27, 1770.

DEAR SISTER,--Will you ever find in yourself anything but unfitness? Otherwise your salvation would be of works, not of grace. But you are frequently sick of a bad disease--evil reasoning; which hinders both your holiness and happiness. You want the true Christian simplicity, which is indeed the highest wisdom. Nothing is more clear, according to the plain Bible account, than sanctification, pure love reigning in the heart and life. And nothing is more plain than the necessity of this in order to feel happiness here and hereafter. Check all reasoning concerning these first principles, else you will exceedingly darken your soul; and go on denying yourself, and taking up your cross, until you

Sink into perfection's height,

The depth of humble love.

If the preachers on Waterford Circuit had punctually adhered to the plan which I fixed, the horse would have been no burthen; but the misfortune is every dunce is wiser than me. However, at your desire I will send a second preacher into the circuit after Conference; but the preachers must change regularly. It would never do to let one man sit down for six months with a small Society; he would soon preach himself and them as lifeless as stones. Your alteration of the circuit so as to take in poor, dead Clonmel I much approve, and hope Sister L-- [See letter of June 13] will be made a blessing to the few there. I rejoice at Sisters P and B--'s happy release. [Mrs. Bennis had told him that both died triumphantly.] Is not this worth living for?

Still draw near to the fountain by simple faith, and take all you want; but be not slothful in

your Lord's vineyard.--My dear sister,

Yours affectionately.


To Rebecca Yeoman [16]

LONDON, August 4, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I was glad to hear from you; and especially to hear that you are still athirst for God. O beware of setting up any idol in your heart! Give all to Him; for He is worthy. You did exceeding right in going to Jane Johnson. There is no end of shyness if we stand aloof from each other. In this case we have only to overcome evil with good; and they are wisest that yield first. Promises of that kind are of no force. The sooner they are broken the better. You should take Molly Strologer in to board. Oh self-will! How few have conquered it! I believe it is a good providence for your account: she can pay but few visits. She fears God and wishes to save her soul; and the visiting those that are Otherwise-minded will not profit her: she wants nothin but Christ. Surely you may tell anything to, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.


To George Merryweather [17]

LONDON, August 7, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I have the credit of stationing the preachers. But many of them go where they will go for all me. For instance, I have marked down James Oddie and John Nelson for Yarm Circuit the ensuing year. Yet I am not certain that either of them will come. They can give twenty reasons for going elsewhere. Mr. Murlin says he must be in London. 'Tis certain he has a mind to be there. Therefore so it must be: for you know a man of fortune is master of his own notions.--I am, with love to Sister Merryweather and Mr. Waldy, [See letter of Jan. 24, 1760.]

Your affectionate brother.


To Mrs. Marston [18]

LONDON, August 11, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I thought it long since I heard from you, and wanted to know how your soul prospered. Undoubtedly as long as you are in the body you will come short of what you would be, and you will see more and more of your numberless defects and the imperfection of your best actions and tempers. Yet all this need not hinder your rejoicing evermore and in everything giving thanks. Heaviness you may sometimes feel; but you never need come into darkness. Beware of supposing darkness, that is unbelief, to be better than the light of faith. To suppose this is one of the gross errors of Popery. 'He that followeth me,' says our Lord, 'shall not walk in darkness.' That you are tempted a thousand ways will do you no hurt. In all these things you shall be more than conqueror. I hope the select society [For the origin of the select society, see the letter to Vincent Perronet in Dec. 1748, sect. VIII.1-4.] meets constantly and that you speak freely to each other. Go on humbly and steadily, denying yourselves and taking up your cross daily. Walk in the light as He is in the light, in lowliness, in meekness, in resignation. Then He will surely sanctify you throughout in spirit, soul, and body. To hear from you is always a pleasure to, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

I am going to Bristol.


To Ann Bolton

BRISTOL, August 12, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--'He that feareth God,' says the Apostle, 'and worketh righteousness,' though but in a low degree, is accepted of Him; more especially when such an one trusts not in his own righteousness but in the atoning blood. I cannot doubt at all but this is your case; though you have not that joy in the Holy Ghost to which you are called, because your faith is weak and only as a grain of mustard seed. Yet the Lord has done great things for you already: He has preserved you even in the dangerous season, even

In freshest pride of life and bloom of years,

from ten thousand snares to which a young woman of a pleasing form and behaviour and not an ill temper would naturally be exposed, and to which your own heart would surely have yielded had you not been preserved by His gracious power. He has given you resignation in pain and sickness. He has made you more than conqueror, even a gainer thereby. And have not you abundant reason to praise Him, to put your whole trust in Him, and firmly to expect all His great and precious promises?

The spirit of your last letter engages me much. I dearly love seriousness and sweetness mixed together. Go on, my dear Nancy, in the same path, and you will be nearer and nearer to Your affectionate brother.


To James Freeman

BRISTOL, August 19, 1770.

DEAR JEMMY,--It is lost labour. It will not do. It is vain for any man to attempt it, to make me think any ill of James Freeman [See letter of June 7, 1762.] or Tho. Garrett. [Thomas Garrett, a native of Holland, was one of the oldest members in Dublin. He died in

1776. See Crookshank's Methodism in Ireland, i. 123, 303.] I know them too well. I did hear reports of that kind; but I regarded them not. I would fain hope that Mr. Townsend [Rector of Pewsey. See letter of Aug. 1-3, 1767. He preached against Arminianism.] will behave better in Dublin than he did in Edinburgh. However, he will do little hurt, if you stand fast in one mind, striving together for the hope of the gospel.--I am, dear Jemmy,

Your affectionate brother.

Letter addressed to Mrs. Jane Freeman, Near the Linen Hall, In Lisburn, Ireland.


To Mrs. Marston

ST. IVES, August 26, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Your last gave me a particular satisfaction, because I was jealous over you. I was afraid lest you, like some others, should have received that dangerous opinion that we must sometimes be in darkness. Wherever you are, oppose this, and encourage all who now walk in the light to expect not only the continuance but the increase of it unto the perfect day. Certain it is that, unless we grieve the Holy Spirit, He will never take away what He has given. On the contrary, He will add to it continually, till we come to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

I am glad the select society meets constantly. See that you speak freely to each other. And do not speak of your joys and comforts only; this is well-pleasing to flesh and blood: but speak also of your sorrows and weaknesses and temptations; this is well-pleasing to God, and will be a means of knitting you together by a bond that shall never be broken.

I hope you lose no opportunity of speaking a word for God, either to them that know Him or them that do not. Why should you lose any time? Time is short. Work your work betimes! To-day receive more grace and use it! Peace be with your spirit!--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.


To Richard Locke

BRISTOL, September 14, 1770.

Milton justly supposes that if ever angelic minds reasoned on 'freewill entire, foreknowledge absolute,' they would 'find no end, in wandering mazes lost.' [Paradise Lost, ii. 560-1.] How much less can an human mind reconcile them! Men have no line to fathom such a depth. We may, however, rest in this:

Yet my foreknowledge causes not their fault,

Which had no less been certain unforeknown. [Ibid., iii. 118-19: 'Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.'] I believe you will find some light on the head by reading that little tract Predestination Calmly Considered. [Published by Wesley in 1752. See Works, x. 204-59.]

The illustrators, Mr. Harwood, [Edward Harwood, D.D. (1729-94), Presbyterian minister at Bristol 1765. His Introduction to New Testament Studies gained him his degree in 1768.] Leibnitz, Clark, Montesquieu, and above all that wretched man Voltaire, would only unhinge and perplex your mind. Hall, Scot, Sharp, Whitby, [Daniel Whitby, D.D. (1638-1726), Prebendary of Salisbury; a voluminous theological writer.] and Fleetwood are good writers; so are Locke, Hooper, and Mosheim in their several ways, but far less useful than Baxter and Law. Dr. South, Knight, and Taylor are some of the finest writers in the English tongue--if you mean Dr. James Knight of St. Sepulchre's.

But I believe the best way for you would be to read only a few select authors. Then (mixing reading with prayer) you would not only find good desires, but they would be brought to good effect.--I am

Your servant for Christ's sake.

To Mr. Richard Locke, At Burnham, Near Bridgewater.


To Miss March

BRISTOL, September 15, 1770.

To use the grace given is the certain way to obtain more grace. To use all the faith you have will bring an increase of faith. But this word is of very wide extent: it takes in the full exercise of every talent wherewith we are entrusted. This comprises the whole compass both of inward and outward religion. That you may be able steadily and effectually to attend to this you have need of that prayer, 'Give me understanding, that I may keep Thy law; yea, that I may keep it with my whole heart.' This is to 'make the best of life,' which cannot be done without growing in grace. I believe it would help you to read and consider the sermon on Self-Denial in the fourth volume, [See Works, vi. 103--14.] and that on Universal Conscientiousness in the Christian Library.

A sense of wants and weaknesses, with various trials and temptations, will do you no real hurt, though they occasion heaviness for a time and abate your joy in the Lord. It is wrong so to attend to this as to weaken your faith; and yet in the general it is not wrong 'to form your estimate of the state of your soul from your sensations'--not, indeed, from these alone, but from these in conjunction with your words and actions. It is true we cannot judge of ourselves by the measure of our joy, the most variable of all our sensations, and frequently depending in a great degree on the state of our blood and spirits. But if you take love, joy, peace, meekness, gentleness, and resignation together, I know no surer rule whereby to judge of your state to Godward.

What is the difference between 'the frame of my mind and the state of my soul'? Is there the difference of an hair's breadth? I will not affirm it. If there be any at all, perhaps it is this: the frame may mean a single, transient sensation; the state, a more complicated and lasting sensation, something which we habitually feel. By frame some may mean fleeting passions; by state, rooted tempers. But I do not know that we have any authority to use the terms thus or to distinguish one from the other. He whose mind is in a good frame is certainly a good man as long as it so continues. I would therefore no more require you to cease from judging of your state by your frame of mind than I would require you to cease from breathing.

Unless you deal very closely with those committed to your care, you will not give an account of them with joy. Advices and admonitions at a distance will do little harm or good. To those who give in to dress you might read or recommend the Advice to the Methodists on that head. It would be proper to go to the root of the matter once or twice; then to let it sleep, and after a few weeks try again. A Methodist using fine or gay apparel must suffer loss in her soul, although she may retain a little life; but she never will attain an high degree either of holiness or happiness. [See Works, xi. 466-77; and letter of Feb. 26, 1776.]


To Joseph Thompson [19]

BRISTOL, September 23, 1770.

DEAR JOSEPH,--You are in the right. The most proper time for making the division is in the Quarter Day. I can confide in your prudence as well as impartiality in greater things than these. Be diligent in the books everywhere and exact in every point of discipline.--I am, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate friend and brother.


To Richard Locke

BRISTOL, October 4, 1770.

Your last gave me a good deal of satisfaction. I am glad your mind is more settled, [See letter of Sept. 14.] and hope you will not rest till you are not only almost but altogether a Christian.

I have always observed that where there is a cheerful, clean, convenient house for preaching, there will not want hearers. It would therefore be well if such an one could be built at Highbridge. What you purpose giving towards it is considerable. If Mr. Mason [John Mason, Assistant in Devonshire. He was extensively read, especially in botany, and natural history in general. He died on March 27, 1810.] judges the rest of the money could be raised in the neighbourhood, the sooner it were done the better. I wish you all happiness; and am

Your affectionate brother.

To Joseph Benson [20]

BRISTOL, October 5, 1770.

DEAR JOSEPH,--You need no apology for your writing; the more frequently and freely you write, the better. I cannot doubt but your neighbour means well; but he is a thorough enthusiast, and has hardly one clear conception of anything, natural or spiritual. Mr. Keard, from Aberdeen, and Mr. Wootton (our new writing-master, a man of an excellent spirit) are at Kingswood. But does Mr. J-- know the price?-- sixteen pounds a year. Does he know the rules of the school? Again: of what age are the children? I will take none that is above nine years old: now especially, because I will not have our children corrupted; nine of whom, together with our three maid servants, have just now experienced a gracious visitation, and are rejoicing in a pardoning God. [Wesley says, 'Fifteen of the boys gave me their names; being resolved, they said, to serve God.' see Journal, v. 388-92.]

I am glad you had the courage to speak your mind on so critical an occasion. At all hazards do so still, only with all possible tenderness and respect. She is much devoted to God and has a thousand valuable and amiable qualities. There is no great fear that I should be prejudiced against one whom I have intimately known for these thirty years. [The countess of Huntingdon.] And I know what is in man; therefore I make large allowance for human weaknesses. But what you say is exactly the state of the case. They are 'jealous of their authority.' Truly there is no cause: Longe mea discrepat illi et vox et ratio. [Horace's Satires, 1. vi. 92-3: 'My language and judgement are far different from that.'] I fear and shun, not desire, authority of any kind. Only when God lays that burthen upon me, I bear it for His and the people's sake.

'Child,' said my father to me when I was young, 'you think to carry everything by dint of argument. But you will find by-and-by how very little is ever done in the world by clear reason.' [See Clarke's Wesley Family, ii. 321.] Very little indeed! It is true of almost all men, except so far as we are taught of God,--

Against experience we believe,

We argue against demonstration;

Pleased while our reason we deceive,

And set our judgement by our passion.

Passion and prejudice govern the world, only under the name of reason. It is our part, by religion and reason joined, to counteract them all we can. It is yours in particular to do all that in you lies to soften the prejudices of those that are round about you and to calm the passions from which they spring. Blessed are the peace-makers!

You judge rightly: perfect love and Christian liberty are the very same thing; and those two expressions are equally proper, being equally scriptural. 'Nay, how can they and you mean the same thing? They say you insist on holiness in the creature, on good tempers, and sin destroyed.' Most surely. And what is Christian liberty but another word for holiness? And where is this liberty or holiness if it is not in the creature? Holiness is the love of God and man, or the mind which was in Christ. Now, I trust, the love of God is shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto you. And if you are holy, is not that mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus?

And are not the love of God and our neighbour good tempers? And, so far as these reign in the soul, are not the opposite tempers, worldly-mindedness, malice, cruelty, revengefulness, destroyed? Indeed, the unclean spirit, though driven out, may return and enter again; nevertheless he was driven out. I use the word 'destroyed' because St. Paul does; 'suspended' I cannot find in my Bible. 'But they say you do not consider this as the consequence of the power of Christ dwelling in us.' Then what will they not say? My very words are: 'None feel their need of Christ like these; none so entirely depend upon Him. For Christ does not give light to the soul separate from, but in and with, Himself. Hence His words are equally true of all men in whatever state of grace they are: "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me: without" (or separate from) "Me ye can do nothing." For our perfection is not like that of a tree, which flourishes by the sap derived from its own root; but like that of a branch, which, united to the vine, bears fruit, but severed from it is "dried up and withered."'

At length veris vincor ['I am conquered by the truth.']: I am constrained to believe (what I would not for a long time) these are not the objections of judgement, but of passion; they do not spring from the head, but the heart. Whatever I say, it will be all one. They will find fault because I say it. There is implicit envy at my power (so called), and a jealousy rising therefrom. Hence prejudice in a thousand forms; hence objections springing up like mushrooms. And, while those causes remain, they will spring up, whatever I can do or say. However, keep thyself pure; and then there need be no strangeness between you and, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate brother.

To Christopher Hopper [21]

LONDON, October 13, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--You are quite right. If a man preach like an angel, he will do little good without exact discipline. I am glad honest William Hodgson has been of use; and hope you have made him and his brother friends. I will trust you for letting any place be six or eight weeks without preaching. Let this evil be removed, and the congregations will increase on Wednesdays as well as Sundays. Pray warn your young man continually (and yourself), 'Not too long or too loud!' I am right glad honest R. Roberts has preached at the Cross. 'Go thou and do likewise.' I leave both the vicar and the curate in your hands. I have no concern with them. I let them drop. Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Matthew Lowes [22]

LONDON, October 13, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Health you shall have, if health be best: if not, sickness will be a greater blessing. I am glad you have Dr. Wilson near. A more skilful man, I suppose, is not in England. If you should continue weak (as I did from November to March), good is the will of the Lord. You are not a superannuated preacher; but you are a supernumerary. I believe one of your boys is rejoicing in the love of God.--I am, with love to Sister Lowes, dear Matthew,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Crosby

BEDFORD, October 26, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I congratulate you both upon your sickness and your recovery from it. Do not all things work together for good to them that love God?

Now redeem the little uncertain time that is given you; perhaps fifteen years, perhaps not so many months. Deal very faithfully and freely with my dear M. Bosanquet and with

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Barton

NORWICH, November 5, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--For many years I had a kind of scruple with regard to praying for temporal things. But three or four years ago I was throughly persuaded that scruple was unnecessary. Being then straitened much, I made it matter of prayer; and I had an immediate answer. It is true we can only ask outward blessings with reserve, 'If this is best; if it be Thy will.' And in this manner we may certainly plead the promise, 'All these things shall be added to you.'

I hope the little debates which were some time since in the Society at Beverley are at an end, and that you all now continue in love and bear one another's burthens. You had for a long time an hard part to act between the contending parties; but as God preserved you from anger and from a party spirit, you suffered no loss thereby. Beware of suffering loss from another quarter, from worldly care. This is a dangerous enemy. You had need steadily to cast your care on Him that careth for you. To Him I commit you and yours; and am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Jane Barton, In Norwood, Beverley, Yorkshire. North Post.

To Mary Bishop

NORWICH, November 5, 1770.

MY DEAR MISS BISHOP,--I am glad you had such success in your labour of love. In all things you shall reap if you faint not. And the promise is, 'They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.' I hope the building is begun, [See letter of Nov. 27.] and will be finished as soon as possible. What temper are your neighbours in? Do they bear with you? And do you confirm your love toward them? How does our little Society prosper? Are you all united in love? And are you all aware of that bane of love, tale-bearing and evil-speaking? Are the congregations as large as they have been for some time? Herein we may well say, What hath God wrought! See, I ask you many questions, because I have a mind you should say a great deal to me. How does your own soul prosper? Do you retain that little spark of faith? Are you going forward, and have you as strong a desire as ever to increase with all the increase of God?

See the Lord, thy Keeper, stand,

Omnipotently near!

Lo, He holds thee by thy hand,

And banishes thy fear!

O trust Him, love Him, and praise Him! And for His sake love, my dear Miss Bishop,

Your affectionate brother.

To Miss Bishop, Near the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, In Bath.

To Ann Bolton

LONDON, November 16, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--To see even the superscription of a letter from you always gives me pleasure. I am glad you are still waiting for the kingdom of God: although as yet you are rather in the state of a servant than of a child. But it is a blessed thing to be even a servant of God! You shall never have cause to be ashamed of His service. What I peculiarly advise is, that you will never omit private duties, whatever hurry you may be in, and however dull and dry your soul may be: still they shall not be without a blessing. And therein you will receive power against that temptation, which to your tender spirit may be the most dangerous of any.

On Sunday I am to preach a funeral sermon for that blessed man Mr. Whitefield at the Tabernacle and at Tottenham Court Chapel. [See next letter.]

If it is an help or comfort to you, write often to, my dear Nancy,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Woodhouse [23]

LONDON, November 18, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It always gives me pleasure to hear from you, and to know that your soul prospers; so does the work of God in various places, and I hope in Lincolnshire. It certainly will if Mr. Ellis is exact in discipline. It is sure none is a member of a Methodist Society that has not a ticket. This is a necessary thing; but it is only a small one. The great point is to conform to the Bible method of salvation--to have the mind which was in Christ, and to walk as Christ walked. I hope all your three preachers insist upon this, which is the very essence of Christian perfection. And why should note my dear friend, in spite of a thousand temptations, experience this every day?

This morning I am to preach Mr. Whitefield's funeral sermon at the chapel in Tottenham Court Road and at the Tabernacle in the evening. It is true it will be impossible, humanly speaking, for my voice to fill either of those places; especially if it is as full as a beehive, and consequently as hot as an oven. But nothing is impossible with God. Let us trust Him, and He will do all things well!--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Woodhouse, Owston Ferry.

To Samuel Bardsley [24]

LONDON, November 24, 1770.

DEAR SAMMY,--According to your account the very same difficulty subsists to this day. Your mother is not willing; and I told you before, this is in my judgement an insuperable bar. I am fully persuaded that a parent has in this case a negative voice.

Therefore, while matters continue thus, I do not see that you can go any farther.

Your affectionate brother.

To Mary Bishop

LONDON, November 27, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Let them remember to make the aisles on the side of the room, [See letter of Nov. 5 to her.] and to place the forms in the middle crossways, with a rail running across from the pulpit downward, to part the men from the women. And I particularly desire there may be no pews and no backs to the forms.

I could not advise our people to hear Mr. Shirley, [The Hon. Walter Shirley. See letter of Jan. 27, to John Whitehead.] but still less to hear the Moravians. Their words are smoother than oil, but yet they are very swords. I advise them by all means to go to church. Those that leave the Church will soon leave us.

I know not that you have anything to do with fear. Your continual prayer should be for faith and love. I admired an holy man in France who, considering the state of one who was full of doubts and fears, forbade him to think of his sins at all, and ordered him to think only of the love of God in Christ. The fruit was, all his fears vanished away and he lived and died in the triumph of faith.

Faith is sight--that is, spiritual sight: and it is light, and not darkness; so that the famous Popish phrase, 'The darkness of faith,' is a contradiction in terms. O beware of all that talk or write in that unscriptural manner, or they will perplex if not destroy you. I cannot find in my Bible any such sin as legality. Truly we have been often afraid where no fear was. I am not half legal enough, not enough under the law of love. Sometimes there is painful conviction of sin preparatory to full sanctification; sometimes a conviction that has far more pleasure than pain, being mixed with joyful expectation. Always there should be a gradual growth in grace, which need never be intermitted from the time we are justified. Don't wait, therefore, for pain or anything else, but simply for allconquering faith. The more freely you write, the more satisfaction you will give to, my dear Molly,

Yours affectionately.

PS.--I should think she [Lady Huntingdon. See letter of March 8, 1771.] would not be so unwise as to give any copy of that letter.

To Miss Bishop, Near the Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, In Bath.

To Walter Churchey [25]

LONDON, November 29, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--You have done well in showing your respect to the memory of that blessed man. His works shall follow him, and his name will be had in remembrance unto many generations, were it only for that excellent institution the Orphan House in Georgia.

I understand from our common friend, Mr. Bold, [See letter of May 6, 1774, to Charles Wesley.] that your situation is critical indeed. But what have Mr. Thomas and you to do but to continue instant in prayer? Then, suppose that your eye is single, that you simply pursue the glory of God in the good of souls, He will from time to time clear up all difficulties and make plain the way before your face.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Walter Churchey, Near the Hay, Brecon. [26]

To Joseph Benson

LONDON, November 30, 1770.

DEAR JOSEPH,--For several years I had been deeply convinced that I had not done my duty with regard to that valuable woman; that I had not told her what I was throughly assured no one else would dare to do, and what I knew she would bear from no other person, but possibly might bear from me. But, being unwilling to give her pain, I put it off from time to time. At length I did not dare to delay any longer, lest death should call one of us hence. So I at once delivered my own soul, by telling her all that was in my heart. It was my business, my proper business, so to do, as none else either could or would do it. Neither did I take at all too much upon me; I know the office of a Christian minister. If she is not profited, it is her own fault, not mine; I have done my duty. I do not know there is one charge in that letter which was either unjust, unimportant, or aggravated, any more than that against the doggerel hymns which are equally an insult upon poetry and common sense.

We had a good time both at the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court Chapel. The congregations were immense. Perhaps not a third part could come within hearing; and they were more quiet than could well have been expected. The sermon will be published on Monday and sent down to Bristol. Mr. Keen and Hardy, his executors, have, I apprehend, the whole and sole disposal of the Tabernacle, Tottenham Court Chapel, and all the other houses which were occupied by Mr. Whitefield. The Chapel and Tabernacle are supplied by Mr. Joss and Brooksbank, and Mr. Neale administers the sacrament there.

I find no such sin as legality in the Bible: the very use of the term speaks an Antinomian. I defy all liberty but liberty to love and serve God, and fear no bondage but bondage to sin. Sift that text to the bottom, and it will do the business of poor H--and all his disciples: 'God sent His own Son in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.' Justitia legis, justitia legalis! ['The righteousness of the law is legal righteousness.'] Here is legality indeed!

I am glad you come a little nearer the good old Emperor's advice, Thn twn bibliwn diyan ripte. [Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, II. sect. 3: 'Throw away that thirst for books.' See letter of March 14, 1756] That thirst is the symptom of an evil disease; and crescit indulgens sibi dirus hydrops. [Horace's Odes, II. ii. 13; 'His own indulgence makes the dreadful dropsy grow.'] What is the real value of a thing but the price it will bear in eternity? Let no study swallow up or entrench upon the hours of private prayer. Nil tanti. ['Nothing is of so much importance.'] Simplify both religion and every part of learning as much as possible. Be all alive to God, and you will be useful to men!--I am, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Marston

LONDON, December 14, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--If I live till spring, and should have a clear, pressing call, I am as ready to embark for America [See letters of Feb. 21, 1770 (to Whitefield), and July 13, 1771 (to Miss March).] as for Ireland. All places are alike to me; I am attached to none in particular. Wherever the work of our Lord is to be carried on, that is my place for to-day. And we live only for to-day; it is not our part to take thought for to-morrow.

You expect to fight your way through. But I think the preachers understand you and can receive your report; and so do most of your sisters. What forces, then, can Satan raise up against you? You can speak to me without reserve; for you know I love you much.

Abundance of deficiencies must remain as long as the soul remains in this house of clay. So long the corruptible body will more or less darken and press down the soul. But still your heart may be all love, and love is the fulfilling of our law. Still you may rejoice evermore; you may pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks. Peace be multiplied unto you!--I am, dear Molly,

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Bolton

SEVENOAKS, December 15, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is true there is a danger, and that continually, of thinking too much of yourself. But there is another danger to which you are more immediately exposed: thinking too little of the grace of God which is given you. Instantly resist all reasoning on that head, whether you are in a state of acceptance. As surely as you are in the body hold this fast, by His free almighty grace; and then

Expect His fullness to receive And grace to answer grace.

It might be of use to you to read again with much prayer the sermon on The Repentance of Believers, which will show you just where you are now, and The Scripture Way of Salvation. [See Works, v. 156-70, Vi. 43-54.] In one sense faith is all you want. If thou canst believe, are not all things possible to him that believeth? What may you not receive to-day? at this hour? at this very moment?

Your affectionate brother.

To Christopher Hopper [27]

LONDON, December 21, 1770.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--We are sure God is wise in all His ways and gracious in all His works. But many times the reasons of them are past finding out. We can only say, 'It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him good.'

I wish that good young man Mr. Hill could be prevailed upon to cast in his lot among us. He is upright of heart, and bids very fair to be an useful labourer in our Lord's vineyard.-- I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Joseph Benson

LONDON, December 28, 1770.

DEAR JOSEPH,--What a blessing it is that we can speak freely to each other without either disguise or reserve! So long as we are able to do this we may grow wiser and better every day.

One point I advise you to hold fast, and let neither men nor devils tear it from you. You are a child of God; you are justified freely through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Your sins are forgiven! Cast not away that confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.

Now, can any be justified but by faith? None can. Therefore you are a believer; you have faith in Christ; you know the Lord; you can say, 'My Lord and my God.' And whoever denies this may as well deny that the sun shines at noonday.

Yet still ten thousand lusts remain,

And vex your soul, absolved from sin;

Still rebel nature strives to reign,

And you are all unclean, unclean!

This is equally clear and undeniable. And this is not only your experience, but the experience of a thousand believers beside, who yet are sure of God's favour as of their own existence. To cut off all doubt on this head, I beg you to give another serious reading to those two sermons Sin in Believers and The Repentance of Believers. [Works, v. 144-70.]

'But is there no help? Is there no deliverance, no salvation from this inbred enemy?' Surely there is; else many great and precious promises must fall to the ground. 'I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you.' 'I will circumcise thy heart' (from all sin), 'to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.' This I term sanctification (which is both an instantaneous and a gradual work), or perfection, the being perfected in love, filled with love, which still admits of a thousand degrees. But I have no time to throw away in contending for words, especially where the thing is allowed. And you allow the whole thing which I contend for--an entire deliverance from sin, a recovery of the whole image of God, the loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength. And you believe God is able to give you this--yea, to give it you in an instant. You trust He will. O hold fast this also--this blessed hope, which He has wrought in your heart! And with all zeal and diligence confirm the brethren, (1) in holding fast that whereto they have attained-- namely, the remission of all their sins by faith in a bleeding Lord; (2) in expecting a second change, whereby they shall be saved from all sin and perfected in love.

If they like to call this 'receiving the Holy Ghost,' they may: only the phrase in that sense is not scriptural and not quite proper; for they all 'received the Holy Ghost' when they were justified. God then 'sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.'

O Joseph, keep close to the Bible both as to sentiment and expression! Then there will never be any material difference between you and

Your affectionate brother.

This morning I have calmly and coolly read over my letter to Lady Huntingdon. [See letter of Nov. 30.] I still believe every line of it is true. And I am assured I spoke the truth in love. It is great pity any who wish her well should skin over the wounds which are there searched. As long as she resents that office of true esteem her grace can be but small!

To Ann Bolton

LONDON, December 29, 1770.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You did well to write without delay; it may be a means of strengthening you. To confess the work of God is one of the appointed ways of retaining whatever He has wrought. That you are assaulted on every side is a good sign: so much the more will you cry to the strong for strength; so much more will you

Hang upon His arm and feel

Your utter helplessness.

I am glad of your interviews just at this time with my dear Hannah Ball. Nothing could be more providential; at this season particularly you stand in need of every help. And God has favoured her with a considerable measure of the wisdom that cometh from above. It is your wisdom to suppress to the uttermost of your power all unprofitable reasoning; to abide simple before God, crying, 'Lord, what I know not teach Thou me.' Now you may profit by Jenny Cooper's Letters and the Plain Account of Christian Perfection. But you need to be nursed like a little child. Therefore write soon and freely to

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Foard

LONDON, December 29, 1770.

MY DEAR Sister,--When we had an opportunity of spending a day or two together, you convinced me that you fear and love God and desire to enjoy all His promises. And I found you less prejudiced than I expected against the doctrine of Christian Perfection. I only want you to experience this--to be 'all faith, all gentleness, all love.' Labour to be wise and yet simple! to steer between the extremes of neglecting to cultivate your understanding, which is right, and leaning to it, which is fatally wrong. And be free and open with, my dear Nancy, Your affectionate brother.

(c)1998 Wesley Center for Applied Theology. All rights reserved. No for-profit use of this text is permitted without the express, written consent of the Wesley Center for Applied Theology of Northwest Nazarene College, Nampa, Idaho 83686 USA. Contact the webmaster for permission.