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The Letters of John Wesley



To Joseph Benson [1]


LONDON, January 7, 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I am surprised at nothing. When persons are governed by passion rather than reason, we can expect little good. I cannot see that there was anything blameable in your behaviour. You could not do or say less with a clear conscience. I suppose you have: given Mr. Fletcher a plain account of what has passed; although he will hardly be able to set things right. Which way do you think to steer your course now You are welcome to stay at Kingswood till you are better provided for.

I shall write for Mr. Mather [Alexander Mather, then Assistant in the Bristol Circuit. See Wesley's veterans, ii. 107.] to go into Brecknockshire. You may always be sure of any service which is in the power of, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Jos. Benson, At Mr. Churchey's, Near the Hay, Brecon.

To John Fletcher [2]


January 16, 1771.

DEAR SIR,--Mr. Churchey enclosed this letter to me, doubting whether it was proper to send it you or no. I judged it very proper, and so send it without delay. You have need of much wisdom, courage, and patience. Write a line if you have not quite forgot

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Joseph Benson

LONDON, January 21, 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--It was of their own mere motion that the students, when I was in Wales, desired me to come and spend a little time with them. I had no thought or desire so to do, having work enough upon my hands. When Mr. Ireland [See letters of Oct. 23 and Nov. 4, 1759.] asked me why I did not go thither in August, [He was in Bristol from Aug. 13 to 20.] I answered, 'Because my Lady had written to me to the contrary.' But I do not remember that I showed him her letter; I believe I did not.

I know not why you should not keep the rest of your terms at Oxford and take a Bachelor's degree. Only if you should be pressed in spirit to give yourself up to the work of God sooner, I think you must follow your own conscience. Write quite freely to, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate brother.

To Hannah Ball [3]


LONDON, January 24, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--The sure way is,

By doing and bearing the will of our Lord,

We still are preparing to meet our reward. [See Poetical Works of J. and C. Wesley, v. 427.] Go on steadily doing and suffering the holy and acceptable will of God. It pleases Him sometimes to let us sow much seed before there is any visible fruit. But frequently much grows upon a sudden, at a time and in a manner which we least expected. So God confounds human wisdom, and constrains him that glorieth to glory in the Lord.

I am glad the providence of God led you to Wallingford, were it only for the sake of poor Miss Hartly. [See letter of Aug. 3 to Miss March.] She departed from us for a season that we might receive her again for ever. This should be an encouragement to you to labour with other backsliders. No one is ruined while he is out of hell.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Miss Ball. At Mr. Ball's, Laceman, In High Wycombe.

To Lady Maxwell [4]


LONDON, January 24, 1771.

MY DEAR LADY,--Although Mr. M'Nab [The preacher then stationed at Glasgow.] is quite clear as to justification by faith and is in general a sound and good preacher, yet I fear he is not clear of blame in this. He is too warm and impatient of contradiction; otherwise he must be lost to all common sense to preach against final perseverance in Scotland. From the first hour that I entered the kingdom it was a sacred rule with me never to preach on any controverted point--at least, not in a controversial way. Any one may see that this is only to put a sword into our enemies' hands. It is the direct way to increase all their prejudices and to make all our labours fruitless.

You will shortly have a trial of another kind. Mr. De Courcy purposes to set out for Edinburgh in a few days. He was from a child a member of one of our Societies in the South of Ireland. There he received remission of sins, and was for some time groaning for full redemption. But when he came to Dublin, [Passing through Trinity College.] the Philistines were upon him and soon prevailed over him. Quickly he was convinced that 'there is no perfection,' and that 'all things depend on absolute, unchangeable decrees.' At first he was exceedingly warm upon these heads; now he is far more calm. His natural temper, I think, is good: he is open, friendly, and generous. He has also a good understanding, and is not unacquainted with learning, though not deeply versed therein. He has no disagreeable person, a pleasing address, and is a lively as well as a sensible preacher. Now, when you add to this that he is quite new and very young, you may judge how he will be admired and caressed! 'Surely such a preacher as this never was in Edinburgh before! Mr. Whitefield himself was not to compare with him! What an angel of a man!' Now, how will a raw, inexperienced youth be able to encounter this If there be not the greatest of miracles to preserve him, will it not turn his brain And may he not then do far more hurt than either Mr. Whitefield or Mr. Townsend [See letters of Aug. 1-3, 1767, and Aug. 19, 1770.] did Will he not prevent your friend from 'going on to perfection,' or thinking of any such thing Nay, may he not shake you also He would, but that the God whom you serve is able to deliver you. At present, indeed, he is in an exceedingly loving spirit. But will that continue long There will be danger on the one hand if it does; there will be danger on the other if it does not. It does not appear that any great change has been wrought in our neighbours by Mr. Whitefield's death. He had fixed the prejudice so deep that even he himself was not able to remove it; yet our congregations have increased exceedingly and the work of God increases on every side. I am glad you use more exercise. It is good for both body and soul.

As soon as Mr. De Courcy is come, I shall be glad to hear how the prospect opens. [See letter of Feb. 26 to her.] You will then need a larger share of the wisdom from above; and I trust you will write with all openness to, my dear Lady,

Your ever affectionate servant.

To Philothea Briggs

LONDON, January 25, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--As you desire a few directions with regard to the improvement of your mind, I will set down just what occur to me at present. Only, as my business is great and my time is short, I cannot stay to explain them at large.

All the knowledge you want is comprised in one book--the Bible. When you understand this, you will know enough. I advise you, therefore, to begin every day (before or after private prayer) with reading a portion more or less of the Old or New Testament, or of both if you have time, together with the Notes, which may lead you by the hand into suitable meditation. After breakfast you may read in order the volumes of Sermons and the other practical books which we have published, more or less at a time (as other business permits) with meditation and prayer. Young, Milton, and the Moral and Sacred Poems you may read chiefly in the afternoons.

Whatever you write, you should write in the forenoons. But learn to write sloping, not leaning upon your breast.

Take care never to read or write too long a time. That is not conducive either to bodily or spiritual health.

If I can be of use to you in anything else, tell me; you know you may speak freely to, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Thomas Wride [5]


LONDON, February 14, 1771.

DEAR TOMMY,--If we live till August, the matter of David Evans [David Evans was preacher on trial at Haworth. Sister Evans is among the preachers' wives to be provided for. He ceased from travelling in 1776.] must be throughly inquired into. I do not see that you could do anything more with regard to Longtown.

The providence of God has remarkably interposed in behalf of the poor people at Whitehaven. I am in hopes there will be more peace among them, and more life than has been for some time.

Now, Tommy, you have good encouragement to stir up the gift of God that is in you. Labour to be steadily serious, to be weighty in conversation, and to walk humbly and closely with God.--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mary Bishop

LONDON, February 16, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Never be afraid of being troublesome. That would not be the case, were you to write every week.

You look inward too much and upward too little.

Christ is ready to impart

Life to all, for life who sigh;

In thy mouth and in thy heart

The word is ever nigh.

Encourage yourself to trust Him; that is your point: then He will do all things well.

Legality, with most who use that term, really means tenderness of conscience. There is no propriety in the word if one would take it for seeking justification by works. Considering, therefore, how hard it is to fix the meaning of that odd term, and how dreadfully it has been abused, I think it highly advisable for all the Methodists to lay it quite aside.

If he could find any other doctrine which he thought was peculiarly mine, Mr. Shirley would be as angry at it as he is at Christian Perfection. But it is all well: we are to go forward, whoever goes back or turns aside. I hope your class goes on well, and that you are not weary of well doing. The Lord is at hand.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Walter Churchey

LONDON, February 21, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I am glad Mr. Benson and you had an opportunity of conversing freely with Mr. Fletcher, and that he has dealt so faithfully with my Lady. Perhaps it may have a good effect. At least, he has delivered his own soul, whether she will hear or whether she will forbear. [See letter of Jan. 7.]

Entire sanctification, or Christian perfection, is neither more nor less than pure love--love expelling sin and governing both the heart and life of a child of God. The Refiner's fire purges out all that is contrary to love, and that many times by a pleasing smart. Leave all this to Him that does all things well and that loves you better than you do yourself.--I am, with love to Brother Thomas,

Your affectionate brother.

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post' [6]


LONDON, February 26, 1771.

SIR,--The editor of a monthly publication pompously called the Gospel Magazine, Mr. Romaine, has violently fallen upon one and another who did not knowingly give him any provocation. And whereas in other magazines the accused has liberty to answer for himself, it is not so here: this gentleman will publish only the charge, but not the defence. What can a person thus injuriously treated do To publish pamphlets on every head would not answer the end; for the answer would not come into near so many hands as the objections. Is there, then, a better way than to appeal to candid men in one of the public papers By which means the antidote will operate both as widely and as speedily as the poison. This method, therefore, I take at last, after delaying as long as I could with innocence.

In that magazine for last month there is a warm attack upon my sermon on the death of Mr. Whitefield.

The first charge is against the text: 'Let me die the death of the righteous.' 'How improper,' says Mr. Romaine, 'to apply the words of a mad prophet to so holy a man as Mr. Whitefield!' 'Improper'! See how doctors differ! I conceive nothing can possibly be more proper. If Mr. Romaine did indeed tell his congregation, some of whom disliking his attacking my poor text before, 'Let who will be vexed, I do not care; I will not justify Balaam while I live'; yet others imagine nothing could be more suitable than for Balaam junior to use the words of his forefather; especially as he did not apply them to Mr. Whitefield, but to himself. Surely a poor reprobate may without offence wish to die like one of the elect. I dare say every one understood me to mean this the moment he heard the text; if not, the very hymn I sung showed to whom I applied the words,--

O that without a lingering groan

I might the welcome word receive,

My body with my charge lay down,

And cease at once to work and live!

But the main attack is on the sermon itself, wherein I am charged with asserting a gross falsehood in the face of God and the congregation, and that knowing it to be such--namely, 'That the grand fundamental doctrines which Mr. Whitefield everywhere preached were those of the New Birth and Justification by Faith.' 'No,' says Mr. Romaine; 'not at all: the grand fundamental doctrines he everywhere preached were the Everlasting Covenant between the Father and the Son and Absolute Predestination flowing therefrom.'

I join issue on this head. Whether the doctrines of the Eternal Covenant and Absolute Predestination are the grand fundamental doctrines of Christianity or not, I affirm again (1) that Mr. Whitefield did not everywhere preach these; (2) that he did everywhere preach the New Birth and Justification by Faith.

1. He did not everywhere preach the Eternal Covenant and Absolute Predestination. I never heard him utter a sentence on one or the other. Yea, all the times he preached in West Street Chapel and in our other chapels throughout England he did not preach those doctrines at all--no, not in a single paragraph; which, by-the-by, is a demonstration that he did not think them the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.

2. Both in West Street Chapel and all our other chapels throughout England he did preach the necessity of the new birth and justification by faith as clearly as he has done in his two volumes of printed sermons; therefore all I have asserted is true, and provable by ten thousand witnesses.

Nay, says Mr. Romaine, 'Mr. Whitefield everywhere insisted on other fundamental doctrines, from the foundation of which the new birth and justification take their rise, with which they are inseparably connected: these are the everlasting covenant which was entered into by the Holy Trinity, and God the Father's everlasting, unchangeable election of sinners' (in virtue of which a fiftieth part of mankind shall be saved, do what they will; and the other forty-nine parts shall be damned, do what they can); - 'these doctrines are not of a less essential nature than either Regeneration or Justification. No, by no means; they are to the full equally essential to the glory of God. Yea, there is an inseparable connexion between them. This is a most essential, a most fundamental point.' (Gospel Magazine, p. 41.)

If so, then every one who does not hold it must perish everlastingly. If, as you here assert, he cannot be justified, then he cannot be saved. If, as you say, he cannot be born again, 'he cannot see the kingdom of God.'

After asserting this, can Mr. Romaine ever take the name of catholic love into his mouth Is not this the very opposite to it the height and depth of bigotry Does this spirit do honour to his opinion Can we conceive anything more horrid Is it not enough to make a person of humanity shudder yea, to make his blood run cold I will not here enter into the merits of the cause; I need not. It is done to my hands. The whole doctrine of Predestination is throughly discussed in those three tracts lately printed--An Answer to the Eleven Letters commonly ascribed to Mr. Hervey, Arguments against General Redemption considered, and An Answer to Elisha Coles. [See Green's Bibliography, No. 227; and letter of Dec. 30, 1769.] Till these are seriously and solidly refuted, I have no more to say on that head. But this I must aver, that the excluding all from salvation who do not believe the Horrible Decree is a most shocking insult on all mankind, on common sense, and common humanity.--I am, &c.

To Lady Maxwell

LONDON, February 26, 1771.

MY DEAR LADY,--I cannot but think the chief reason of the little good done by our preachers at Edinburgh is the opposition which has been made by the ministers of Edinburgh as well as by the false brethren from England. These steeled the hearts of the people against all the good impressions which might otherwise have been made, so that the same preachers by whom God has constantly wrought, not only in various parts of England but likewise in the northern parts of Scotland, were in Edinburgh only not useless. They felt a damp upon their own spirits; they had not their usual liberty of speech; and the word they spoke seemed to rebound upon them, and not to sink into the hearts of the hearers. At my first coming I usually find something of this myself: but the second or third time of preaching it is gone; and I feel, greater is He that is with us than all the powers of earth and hell.

If any one could show you by plain scripture and reason a more excellent way than that you have received, you certainly would do well to receive it; and I trust I should do the same. But I think it will not be easy for any one to show us either that Christ did not die for all or that He is not willing as well as able to cleanse from all sin even in the present world. If your steady adherence to these great truths be termed bigotry, yet you have no need to be ashamed. You are reproached for Christ's sake, and the Spirit of glory and of Christ shall rest upon you. Perhaps our Lord may use you to soften some of the harsh spirits and to preserve Lady Glenorchy [She gave up all connexion with Wesley's preachers shortly after De Courcy's arrival. See letter of Jan. 24.] or Mr. De Courcy from being hurt by them. I hope to hear from you (on whom I can depend) a frequent account of what is done near you. After you have suffered awhile, may God stablish, strengthen, settle you!--I am, my dear Lady,

Your very affectionate servant.

I expect to be at Chester on Saturday fortnight, and a week or two after in Dublin.

I have laid up your late direction so safe that I cannot find it.

To the Lady Maxwell, (late) In Wariston's Close, Edinburgh.

To Mary Bishop

BRISTOL, March 8, 1771.

DEAR MISS BISHOP,--The advice which Mr. Mather gave you was good; and, indeed, the very best that could be given. Bear your cross, and it will bear you; but still deal faithfully with your sisters. And warn them all, both together and singly, of that snare into which they have so often fallen. If need be, Mr. Mather too must speak to them and enlarge upon the same head.

In praying with the children, you have only to ask for those things which you are sensible they most want, and that in the most plain, artless, and simple language which you can devise.

You will have other trials when that well-meaning (though not always well-judging) woman [See letters of Nov. 27, 1770, and May 27, 1771.] comes to Bath. If she continues to show scraps of my letters, I shall be obliged to give you a copy of the whole. Be humble, zealous, active.-- I am, my dear Miss Bishop,

Your affectionate brother.

PS.--On Monday I am to set out towards Dublin. A letter directed thither will be sent to me in any part of the kingdom.

To Miss Bishop, In Bath.

To Joseph Benson [7]


BRISTOL, March 9, 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I must write a few lines, though I can ill spare time. You seem to be providentially thrust out into the harvest. But consider what you do. Read the Minutes of the Conference, and see whether you can conform thereto. Likewise think whether you can abstain from speaking of Universal Salvation and Mr. Fletcher's late discovery. The Methodists in general could not bear this. It would create huge debate and confusion. I wish you would read over that sermon in the first volume on The Spirit of Bondage and of Adoption. [Works, v. 98-111.] Invenio te corde simplicem, as the Count speaks, sed turbatis ideis. [I found thee simple in heart, but troubled in your ideas.' See Journal, ii. 488.]

My love to Mr. Hallward.--I am, dear Joseph,

Yours affectionately.

To Joseph Benson [8]


CHESTER, March 16. 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--No, I do not forbid your being connected with us. I believe Providence calls you to it. I only warn you of what would lessen your usefulness. On that subject I never suffer myself to reason. I should quickly reason myself into a Deist, perhaps into an Atheist. I am glad you do not lay stress upon it. We have better matters to employ our thoughts.

A babe in Christ (of whom I know thousands) has the witness sometimes. A young man (in St. John's sense) has it continually. I believe one that is perfected in love, or filled with the Holy Ghost, may be properly termed a father. This we must press both babes and young men to aspire after--yea, to expect. And why not now I wish you would give another reading to the Plain Account of Christian Perfection.-- I am, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate brother.

PS.--While I am in Ireland you need only direct to Dublin. I am afraid that smooth words have prevailed over Mr. Fletcher and persuaded him all the fault was on your side. He promised to write to me from Wales, but I have not had one line.

To Mr. Benson, In Edmund Hall, Oxon.

To Elizabeth Briggs [9]


CHESTER, March 17, 1771.

MY DEAR BETSY,--You do well to break through that needless fear. Love me more, and fear me less; then you will prove,

Love, like the grave, makes all distinctions vain. ['Love, like death, hath all destroyed.' See Poetical Works of J. and C. Wesley, i. 362; also letter of Feb. 15, 1769.] You have great reason to praise Him who hath done great things for you already. What you now want is to come boldly to the throne of grace, that the hunger and thirst after His full image which God has given you may be satisfied. Full salvation is nigh, even at the door. Only believe, and it is yours. It is a great blessing that at your years you are preserved from seeking happiness in any creature. You need not, seeing Christ is yours. O cleave to Him with all your heart!--I am, my dear Betsy,

Yours affectionately.

To Mary Stokes [10]


CHESTER, March 17, 1771.

DEAR MISS STOKES,--I almost wonder, Have I found another Jenny Cooper [See letter of Sept. 11, 1765.] I take knowledge of her spirit in you. I doubt not God has begun a good work in your heart. He has given you a taste of the powers of the world to come. He has delivered you from the vain expectation of finding happiness in the things of earth; and I trust you will be entangled no more in that snare. You know where true joys are to be found. Now stand fast in that beginning of liberty wherewith Christ has made you free. Yet do not stand still. This is only the dawn of day: the Sun of Righteousness will rise upon you in quite another manner than you have hitherto experienced. And who knows how soon Is He not near Are not all things now ready What hinders you from receiving Him now If thou canst believe.' Here is all the bar: only unbelief keeps out the mighty blessing! How many things have you been enabled to overcome since I saw you in the great garden But do not leave my poor Molly Jones behind,-- not that you can stay for her,--but bring her on with you. I have much hopes that nothing will stop Sally James or Miss Flower. [Mr. Stokes and Captain and Mrs. James were intimate friends of Charles Wesley. See letters of Feb. 11, 1772, and Nov. 29, 1774.] O bear one another's burthens! Then shall you be not almost but altogether Christians! Then shall you fulfil the joy of, my dear Miss Stokes,

Yours affectionately.

While I am in Ireland you need only direct to Dublin.

To John Fletcher [11]


PARKGATE, March 22,1771.

I always did for between these thirty and forty years clearly assert the total fall of man and his utter inability to do any good of himself; the absolute necessity of the grace and Spirit of God to raise even a good thought or desire in our hearts; the Lord's rewarding no work and accepting of none but so far as they proceed from His preventing, convincing, and converting grace through the Beloved; the blood and righteousness of Christ being the sole meritorious cause of our salvation. Who is there in England that has asserted these things more strongly and steadily than I have done

To Joseph Pilmoor [12]


DUBLIN, March 27, 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I cannot find your letter high or low, so that at present I can only answer it by guess. There are some of our friends here who bitterly condemn both you and Richard Boardman. This they do in consequence of a letter from one of their correspondents at New York, who asserts, That the preaching-houses there and at Philadelphia were settled in the manner of the Methodists; but that one or both of you destroyed the first writings and procured others to be drawn, wherein the houses are made over to yourselves.' I could not tell how to answer the charge. Send me the plain state of the case, that I may know what to say. I think the matter must be greatly misrepresented. For where are the persons I can confide in, for disinterested men, men of a single eye, if Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor are not such What is become of Robert Williams Where is he now And what is he doing Are he and John King of a teachable spirit Do they act in conjunction with you Still, I complain of you all for writing too seldom. Surely it would not hurt you were you to write once a month. O beware of every degree of sloth or indolence! Be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and send a circumstantial account of all your proceedings to, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mr. Pilmoor, At Mr. Lupton's, Merchant, In New York.

To Philothea Briggs [13]


DUBLIN, March 30, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--So poor, tempted, disconsolate Nancy Bolton was sent to London for your sake also! She was sent to you among others to quicken your expectations of the great salvation. And what is it our Lord calls you to now Whereunto thou hast attained hold fast! You may undoubtedly lose what God has given; but you never need. Is not His grace sufficient for you Is not His strength made perfect in weakness Indeed, you shall pass through the fire; but lean upon Him, and the flames shall not kindle upon you. You shall go through the waters; but keep hold on Him, and the floods shall not run over you. Suffer all, and conquer all.

In every temptation He keeps you to prove

His utmost salvation, His fullness of love I

Be exceeding wary in your conversation, that it may be worthy of the gospel of Christ. Let not the liveliness of your spirit lead you into levity; cheerful seriousness is the point you are to aim at. And be willing to suffer with Him, that you may reign with Him. Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him.--My dear Philly, I am

Yours affectionately.

While I am in Ireland you need only direct to Dublin.

To Miss Phil. Briggs, At Miss March's, In Worship Street, Moorfields, London.

To Damaris Perronet [14]


DUBLIN, March 30, 1771.

I do not wonder you should find such a nearness to Miss Bolton. She is an amiable young woman. When she was with us last, I marked her every word and almost every meaning; but I could find nothing to reprove. There was in all her actions sanctity and love. God sent her to you in an acceptable time. She came with a good message, and blessed is she that believed; for there shall be a performance of those things which were spoken unto her. He will water you every moment, and on this depends the continuance of the great salvation. It will surely continue if you watch and pray; and yet not without temptation. I expect temptations will come about you

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the vales,

But what are temptations to you He giveth occasions of fighting that you may conquer. If there is no fight, there is no victory. There is no general rule whereby we can always determine whether a thought come from a good or an evil spirit; but on all particular occasions we may plead that promise, If a man be willing to do My will, he shall know of the doctrine,' or suggestion, by the light then given, whether it be of God.'

Your affectionate brother.

The following three undated letters to Miss Perronet may here be inserted:--

I am sensible you have many trials, not only such as are grievous to flesh and blood, but such as oppose those desires which are not from nature but the Spirit of God; and if you chose for yourself, you ought not to choose the situation you are now in. If you did, it would be a great hurt to your soul. It would hinder the work of God in you. But you do not choose for yourself; God chooses for you: and He cannot err; so that you may safely say,--

I'll trust my great Physician's skill:

What He prescribes can ne'er be ill.

It is true so it may seem to us, because we are dim-sighted and dull of understanding; but in this case, too, we may apply His word, Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.' O believe, and feel Him near! Believe, and experience that blessedness. He calls you into a stormy path; but did He not Himself tread it before you And does He not go with you through the fire, so that you are not burned, neither can the flames kindle upon you Lie, then, as clay in the Potter's hand, that He may stamp you with all His image. Be still, and know that He is God-- your God, your love, your all. Be as a little child before Him. The word of God to them of old, Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward,' is undoubtedly spoken to you. Horses, and chariots, and armies, and mountains, and seas cannot hinder you; for God is on your side. You have Him with you who has all power in heaven. O trust Him, and you shall praise Him! And do not fail to remember in your prayers

Your affectionate brother.

By-and-by you shall have the abiding witness of His Spirit, and He will shine upon His own work; and why not now Ask, and it shall be given you. The Lord is at hand; and He cannot deny Himself. Your trials, you know, are all chosen by God. It is the cup which your Father has given you; and He does and will bless it as long as He is pleased to give it. Just when it is best He will take it away and give you outward fellowship with His children. Continue in private prayer, in spite of all coldness and wanderings, and you shall soon pray without ceasing.

Your affectionate brother.

That remarkable sinking of spirits did not necessarily imply any preceding unfaithfulness. It might possibly be owing to the body. At such a season you have nothing to do but simply to give yourself up into the hands of God. Tell Him, Lord, I am Thine. I will be Thine. I desire to be Thine alone for ever. Thou shalt answer for me. Keep Thou Thine own; and let me do or suffer just as seemeth Thee good.' What can hurt us if our eye be single Look forward! Holiness and heaven are before you. You have no need to determine whether your heart is or is not made new till the witness speaks within you and puts it beyond all doubt. You are led in a rough way: it is a safe one. A more smooth way would be more dangerous. Your earnestly desiring the most excellent means of grace is neither sin nor infirmity. It is right to say, My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the house of my God.' Read the 84th Psalm, and try if your heart answers to it. At present exercise all the faith you have, and it will be increased day by day.

Your affectionate brother.

To Mary Stokes

DUBLIN, April 4, 1771.

MY DEAR MISS STOKES,--There is a sweetness and friendliness in your spirit which is exceeding agreeable to me. And you have an openness withal which makes it the more pleasing. Let nothing rob you of this;--although you cannot retain it without a good deal of resolution; for the example of all the world is against you, even of the religious world, which is full of closeness and reserve, if not of disguise also. How will you do then to retain that artless simplicity which almost every one disclaims Nay, this is not all; you must likewise expect to be yourself deceived more or less. You will believe persons to be sincere who will abuse your confidence, who will say much and mean nothing. But let not my dear maid copy after them; let them have all the artifice to themselves. Still let not mercy or truth forsake you, but write them upon the table of your heart. Only know to whom you speak, and then you cannot be too free. Open the window in your breast. I pray never be afraid of writing too large letters: you must not measure yours by mine; for I have a little more business than you.

Your weakness and tenderness of constitution, without great care, may prove a snare to you. Some allowance must be made on that account; but the danger is of making too much. Steer the middle way. So far as you are able, rejoice to endure hardship, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ; and deny yourself every pleasure which you are not divinely conscious prepares you for taking pleasure in God. I am glad you can converse freely with Sally Flower. Let her not lose her rising in the morning. Surely she and you together might overrule Molly Jones's Irish reason for not meeting, I said I would not.' I feel much for poor Sally James. Perhaps she will outrun many of you by-and-by.-- My dear Miss Stokes,

Your affectionate brother.

To Elizabeth Briggs [15]


ATHLONE, April 14, 1771.

MY DEAR BETSY,--You may be assured that I am always well pleased to hear from you and that I shall never think your letters too long. Always tell me whatever is in your heart, and the more freely the better. Otherwise it would be hardly possible to give you the advice you may want from time to time. As soon as you had your armour on, it was fit that it should be proved; so God prepared for you the occasions of fighting, that you might conquer and might know both your own weakness and His strength. Each day will bring just temptation enough and power enough to conquer it; and, as one says, temptations, with distinct deliverances from them, avail much.' The unction of the Holy One is given to believers for this very end--to enable them to distinguish (which otherwise would be impossible) between sin and temptation. And this you will do, not by any general rule, but by listening to Him on all particular occasions and by your consulting with those that have experience in the ways of God. Undoubtedly both you and Philothea and my dear Miss Perronet are now more particularly called to speak for God. In so doing you must expect to meet with many things which are not pleasing to flesh and blood. But all is well. So much the more will you be conformed to the death of Christ. Go on in His name and in the power of His might. Suffer and conquer all things.--I am, my dear Betsy,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss March

ATHLONE, April 14, 1771.

Whatever comes from you is agreeable to me; your letters always give me pleasure, but none more than the last, which brings the welcome news of the revival of the work of God among you. You will encourage I-- T-- [Miss Thornton, of London, the intimate friend of John Fletcher. See Bulmer's Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Mortimer, p. 115; and letters of July 6, 1770, and Dec. 18, 1780.] to send me a circumstantial account of God's dealings with her soul. Mr. Norris observes that no part of history is so profitable as that which relates to the great changes in states and kingdoms; and it is certain no part of Christian history is so profitable as that which relates to great changes wrought in our souls: these, therefore, should be carefully noticed and treasured up for the encouragement of our brethren.

I am glad you have at length broke through those evil reasonings which so long held you down and prevented you from acknowledging the things which were freely given to you of God. Always remember the essence of Christian holiness is simplicity and purity; one design, one desire--entire devotion to God. But this admits of a thousand degrees and variations, and certainly it will be proved by a thousand temptations; but in all these things you shall be more than conqueror.

It takes God (so to speak) abundance of pains to hide pride from man; and you are in more danger of it than many, were it only on account of outward advantages. Happy are you if you use those for that single end, to be outwardly and inwardly devoted to God, and that more entirely than you could be in different circumstances. I have just been conversing with that excellent woman Molly Penington [See letter of May 30.]: what a mystery that one of such gifts and such grace should be fixed in a place where she is almost useless! So much the more thankful you may be who have opportunity of employing every talent which God hath given you. If you would retain the talent of health, sleep early and rise early.

To Ann Bolton

TULLAMORE, April 15, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You are a little unkind. Why do you not send me, as I desired, a particular account of all that concerns you Where you are How you are in soul and in body Do you stand fast in that glorious liberty wherewith Christ has made you free Has He bruised the reasoning devil under your feet and taught you simply to hang upon Him Are you not ashamed to confess Him before men Are you bold, are you active in His cause Where have you been and what have you done since you left that lovely family at Shoreham [The Perronets. See letter of March 30 to Damaris Perronet] You did love me a little. Do you still Do you think of me sometimes If so, do not delay writing. Let me be an helper of your joy. And I pray take care of your health. In this respect I am often jealous over you. I think you never will neglect your soul; but I am afraid lest you should neglect your body. And you know not how great pain anything befalling you gives to, my dear Nancy,

Your ever affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Pywell [16]


KILKENNY, April 23, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I hardly knew whether you were dead or alive, having not heard from you for so long a season. Yesterday I received yours of March 28, and am glad to hear you are not moved from your steadfastness. Certainly it is not the will of our Lord that you should; His gifts are without repentance. Do you find no decay in faith Do you as clearly as ever see Him who is invisible Is your hope as lively as at first Do you still taste of the powers of the world to come And can you say in as strong a sense as ever,

I nothing want beneath, above,

Happy in a Saviour's love

Do you feel no anger at any time no pride no will but what is subordinate to the will of God And have you the witness in yourself that all your ways please Him Then expect to see greater things than these, for there is no end of His goodness; and do not forget, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr.-

BANDON, May 1, 1771.

My DEAR BROTHER,--The case being so, I do not see how you could act otherwise than you did. If he had been throughly penitent, it would have been proper to show all possible lenity. But as his heart does not seem to be at all broken, you could not have any fellowship with him.

Spare no pains with regard to the Yearly Collection.--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Ann Bolton

BANDON, May 2, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I wanted much to know how your soul prospered. I could not doubt but the god of this world, the enemy of all righteousness, would use every means to move you from your steadfastness. Blessed be God, you are not moved! that all his labour has been in vain! Hitherto hath God helped you; and, fear not, He will help you to the end. He gives you health as a token for good; He can trust you with it while you give Him your heart. And O stand fast in the glorious liberty wherewith He has made you free! You are not called to desire suffering. Innocent nature is averse from pain; only, as soon as His will appears, yours is to sink down before it. Hark! what does He say to you now Lovest thou Me more than these' more than these,--

Wealth, honour, pleasure, or what else

This short-enduring world can give

Then feed My lambs,' carry the little ones in thy bosom, gently lead those that are great with young.

Be not weary of well doing; in due time thou shalt reap if thou faint not, &c. &c.

Yours most affectionately.

To Philothea Briggs

BANDON, May 2, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--There is no fear I should forget you; I love you too well for that, and therefore love to hear from you, especially at this critical time, when all the powers of hell are engaged against you. But let them come about you like bees, they shall be extinct as the fire among the thorns. Tempted you are, and will be; otherwise you could not know your own weakness and the strength of your Master. But all temptations will work together for good; all are for your profit, that you may be partaker of His holiness. You may always have an evidence both of God's love to you and of yours to Him. And at some times the former may be more clear, at other times the latter. It is enough if, in one case or the other, you simply stay your soul upon Him. Sister Harper's is the ordinary experience of those who are renewed in love. [Charles Wesley met Mrs. Harper at Mr. Sims's on July 2, 1738; and as they sang, Who for me, for me hath died,, she burst out into tears and outcries, "I believe, I believe!" and sunk down. She continued, and increased in the assurance of faith, full of peace and joy and love., Wesley printed an extract from her Journal in 1769. see c. Wesley's Journal, i. 115.] Sister Jackson's [See letter of March 26, 1770.] experience is quite extraordinary, and what very few of them have yet attained.

There is a danger of every believer's mistaking the voice of the enemy or of their own imagination for the voice of God. And you can distinguish one from the other, not by any written rule, but only by the unction of the Holy One. This only teaches Christian prudence, consistent with simplicity and godly sincerity.

The four volumes of Sermons, the Appeals, the Notes, and the Extracts from Mr. Law's Works and from Dr. Young, might best suit you now: meddle with nothing that does not suit your present temper. When you feel you are led to it, write verses; do not bury your talent in the earth. Meet with them that meet on a Friday, and speak in God's name without fear or shame.

The general rule, not to correspond but with those who have both grace and understanding,' admits of several exceptions, in favour of a few who want one of them or the other or both. [See letter of May 28.] While I am in Ireland you may direct to me at Dublin. Be not afraid of writing too long letters. The longer the more agreeable to, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Phil. Briggs, At Miss March's, In Worship street, Moorfields, London.

To Christopher Hopper

CORK, May 5, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--The work is to be delivered in weekly and monthly numbers; but it is of most use to have portable volumes. [The first collected edition of Wesley's Works, published in thirty-two 12mo vols. 1771-4. see Green's Bibliography, No. 276.] I have corrected as much as will make nine or ten out of the thirty volumes. All the verse works I have corrected in conjunction with the preachers, and left the corrected copy at London. If I live to finish the correction of my own works, I shall then revise the Christian Library. If ever you should spend a twelvemonth in this kingdom, you would not repent of your labour. Here is a people ready prepared for the Lord.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mrs. Marston

CORK, May 6, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am always pleased to hear from you, and expect to hear nothing but good. Conflicts and various exercises of soul are permitted; these also are for good. If Satan has desired to have you to sift you as wheat, this likewise is for your profit; you will be purified in the fire, not consumed, and strengthened unto all longsuffering with joyfulness. Does Mr. Clough [James Clough was then stationed in the Staffordshire Circuit. He began to travel in 1760, and after ten or twelve years settled at Leicester, where he died about 1795.] or any other of the preachers speak against perfection or give occasion to them that trouble you You would do well to speak to any one that does, that you may come to a better understanding. So far as in you lies, let not the good that is in you be evil spoken of. But beware lest the unkind usage of your brethren betray you into any kind of guile or false prudence. Still let all your conversation be in simplicity and godly sincerity. Be plain, open, downright, without disguise. Do you always see God and feel His love Do you pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks I hope you do not forget to pray for, my dear Molly,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Bennis [17]


LIMERICK, May 15, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Whenever there is a dependence, though frequently secret and unobserved, on any outward thing, it is the mercy of God which disappoints us of our hope, that we may be more sensibly convinced, Neither is he that planteth anything, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.'

From time to time you must find many difficulties and perplexities that none but God can clear. But can He clear them That is enough. Then He surely will. This is the very use of that anointing which we have from God. It is to teach us of all things, to clear up a thousand doubts and perplexities which no human wisdom could do. This was given you in the case of your child; and when that came, temptation spake not again. This is never more needful than with regard to anger; because there is an anger which is not sinful, a disgust at sin which is often attended with much commotion of the animal spirits: and I doubt whether we can well distinguish this from sinful anger but by that light from heaven.

I really hope John Christian will do well: within these two years he is improved exceedingly.

If our sisters miss you any more, there is but one way-- you must go or send after them. Be not idle; neither give way to voluntary humility. You were not sent to Waterford for nothing, but to strengthen the things that remain.'

It would be a strange thing if I should pass a day without praying for you. By this means at least we may reach each other; and there may be a still increasing union between you and

Your affectionate brother.

To George L. Fleury [18]


LIMERICK, May 18, 1771.

REVEREND SIR,--1. In June 1769 I spent two or three days at Waterford. As soon as my back was turned, you valiantly attacked me, I suppose both morning and afternoon. Hearing, when I was there two or three weeks ago, that you designed me the same favour, I waited upon you at the cathedral on Sunday, April 28. You was as good as your word: you drew the sword, and in effect threw away the scabbard. You made a furious attack on a large body of people, of whom you knew just nothing. Blind and bold, you laid about you without fear or wit, without any regard either to truth, justice, or mercy. And thus you entertained both morning and evening a large congregation who came to hear the words of eternal life.'

2. Not having leisure myself, I desired Mr. Bourke to wait upon you the next morning. He proposed our writing to each other. You said, No; if anything can be said against my sermons, I expect it shall be printed: let it be done in a public, not a private way.' I did not desire this; I had much rather it had been done privately. But, since you will have it so, I submit.

3. Your text was, I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.' (Acts xx. 29-30.) Having shown that St. Paul foresaw these false teachers, you undertake to show, (1) the mischiefs which they occasioned; (2) the character of them, and how nearly this concerns a set of men called Methodists. (First Sermon, pp. 1-4 )

4. Against these false teachers, you observe, St. Paul warned the Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, and Hebrews (pages 5-8). Very true; but what is this to the point Oh, much more than some are aware of! The insinuation was all along just as if you had said: I beseech you, my dear hearers, mark the titles he gives to these grievous wolves, false apostles, deceitful workers, and apply them to the Methodist teachers. There I give them a deadly thrust.'

5. These are well styled by Christ "ravening wolves," by St. Paul "grievous wolves," from the mischiefs they do, rending the Church of Christ, and perverting the true sense of the gospel for their own private ends. They ever did, and to this day do, pretend to extraordinary inspiration.' (Page 8.)

Round assertions! Let us consider them one by one. (1) These are styled by Christ "ravening wolves," by St. Paul "grievous wolves."' True; but how does it appear that these names are applicable to the Methodists Why, they rend the Church of Christ.' What is the Church of Christ According to our Article, a Church is a company of faithful people,' of true believers, who have the mind that was in Christ,' and walk as Christ walked.' Who, then, are the Church of Christ in Waterford Point them out, sir, if you know them; and then be pleased to show how the Methodists rend this Church of Christ. You may as justly say they rend the walls or the steeple of the cathedral church. However, they pervert the true sense of the gospel for their own private ends.' Wherein do they pervert the true sense of the gospel I have published Notes both on the Gospels and the other Scriptures. But wherein do those Notes pervert the sense None has yet attempted to show. But for what private ends should I pervert it for ease or honour Then I should be sadly disappointed. Or for money This is the silliest tale of all. You may easily know, if you are willing to know it, that I did not leave Waterford without being some pounds lighter than I was when I came thither.

6. But they pretend to extraordinary inspiration.' They do not: they expressly disclaim it. I have declared an hundred times, I suppose ten times in print, that I pretend to no other inspiration than that which is common to all real Christians, without which no one can be a Christian at all. They denounce hell and damnation to all that reject their presences' (page 9). This is another charge; but it is as groundless as the former, it is without all shadow of truth. You may as well say the Methodists denounce hell and damnation to all that reject Mahometanism. As groundless, as senselessly, shamelessly false, is the assertion following: To reject their ecstasies and fanatic presences to revelation is cried up as a crime of the blackest dye.' It cannot be that we should count it a crime to reject what we do not pretend to at all. But I pretend to no ecstasies of any kind, nor to any other kind of revelation than you yourself, yea, and every Christian enjoys, unless he is without God in the world.'

7. These grievous wolves pretended to greater mortification and self-denial than the Apostles themselves' (page 11). This discovery is spick-and-span new: I never heard of it before. But pray, sir, where did you find it I think not in the canonical Scriptures. I doubt you had it from some apocryphal writer. Thus also do the modern false teachers.' I know not any that do. Indeed, I have read of some such among the Mahometan Dervises and among the Indian Brahmins. But I doubt whether any of these outlandish creatures have been yet imported into Great Britain or Ireland.

8. They pretend to know the mind of Christ better than His Apostles' (page 12). Certainly the Methodists do not: this is another sad mistake, not to say slander. However, better than their successors do.' That is another question. If you rank yourself among their successors, as undoubtedly you do, I will not deny that some of these poor, despised people, though not acting in a public character, do know the mind of Christ--that is, the meaning of the Scripture--better than you do yet. But perhaps, when ten years more are gone over your head, you may know it as well as they.

9. You conclude this sermon, Let us not be led away by those who represent the comfortable religion of Christ as a path covered over with thorns' (page 14). This cap does not fit me. I appeal to all that have heard me at Waterford or elsewhere whether I represent religion as an uncomfortable thing. No, sir; both in preaching and writing I represent it as far more comfortable than you do or are able to do. But you represent us as lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.' If any do this, I doubt they touch a sore spot; I am afraid the shoe pinches. They affirm pleasure in general to be unlawful, grounding it on, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God"' (page 15). Wrong, top and bottom. Did we hold the conclusion, we should never infer it from such premises. But we do not hold it: we no more affirm pleasure in general to be unlawful than eating and drinking. This is another invention of your own brain which never entered into our thoughts. It is really curious when you add, This is bringing men "after the principles of the world, and not after Christ."' What, the affirming that pleasure is unlawful Is this after the principles of the world' Was ever text so unhappily applied

10. So much for your first sermon: wherein, though you do not seem to want goodwill, yet you are marvellously barren of invention; having only retailed two or three old, threadbare objections which have been answered twenty times over. You begin the second, I shall now consider some of their many absurd doctrines: the first of which is "the pretending to be divinely inspired"' (Second Sermon, p. 1). An odd doctrine enough. And called in an extraordinary manner to preach the word of God' (pages 2-4).

This is all harping upon the same string--the grand objection of lay preachers. We have it again and again, ten, twenty times over. I shall answer it once for all. Not by anything new--that is utterly needless; but barely by repeating the answer which convinced a serious clergyman many years ago. [See letter of May 4, 1748.]

11. But why do you not prove your mission by miracles' This likewise you repeat over and over. But I have not leisure to answer the same stale objection an hundred times. I therefore give this also the same answer which I gave many years ago:

12. What is it you would have us prove by miracles that the doctrines we preach are true This is not the way to prove that. We prove the doctrines we preach by Scripture and reason. Is it (1) That A B was for many years without God in the world, a common swearer, a drunkard, a Sabbath-breaker Or (2) That he is not so now Or (3) That he continued so till he heard us preach, and from that time was another man Not so. The proper way to prove these facts is by the testimony of competent witnesses; and these witnesses are ready whenever required to give full evidence of them. Or would you have it proved by miracles (4) That this was not done by our own power or holiness that God only is able to raise the dead, those who are dead in trespasses and sins Nay, if you "hear not Moses and the Prophets" and Apostles on this head, neither will you believe "though one rose from the dead." It is therefore utterly unreasonable and absurd to require or expect the proof of miracles in questions of such a kind as are always decided by proofs of quite another nature.' [A Farther Appeal, Part III. See Works, Viii. 233-4.]

If you will take the trouble of reading that little tract, you will find more upon the same head.

13. If you say, But those who lay claim to extraordinary inspiration and revelation ought to prove that claim by miracles,' we allow it. But this is not our case. We lay claim to no such thing. The Apostles did lay claim to extraordinary inspiration, and accordingly proved their claim by miracles. And their blessed Master claimed to be Lord of all, the eternal Son of God. Well, therefore, might He be expected to do the works which no other man did,' especially as He came to put an end to that dispensation which all men knew to be of God. See, then, how idly and impertinently you require the Methodists to work miracles because Christ and His Apostles did.'

14. You proceed: They pretend to be as free from sin as Jesus Christ' (page 6). You bring three proofs of this: (1) Mr. Wesley, in his answer to a divine of our Church, says, "Jesus Christ stands as our regeneration, to help us to the same holy, undefiled nature which He Himself had; and if this very life and identical nature is not propagated and derived on us, He is not our Saviour"' (page 7). When I heard you read these words, I listened and studied, and could not imagine where you got them. I knew they were not mine: I use no such queer language; but did not then recollect that they are Mr. Law's words in his Answer to Dr. Trapp, an extract from which I have published. [Joseph Trapp, D.D., preached four sermons, mainly against Law's Serious Call, in 1739. Wesley published an extract from Law's Answer in 1748. See Green's Bibliography, No. 118.] But be they whose they will, they by no means imply that we are to be as righteous as Christ was,' but that we are to be (which St. Peter likewise affirms) partakers of the divine nature.' (2) A preacher of yours declared he was as free from sin as Christ ever was.' I did not hear him declare it: pray did you If not, how do you know he declared it at all, Nay, but another declared he believed it was impossible for one whom he named to sin, for the Spirit of God dwelt in him bodily' (page 8). Pray, sir, did you hear this yourself Else the testimony is nothing worth. Hearsay evidence will not be admitted by any court in the kingdom.

What you say of that good man Mr. Whitefield, now with God, I leave with Mr. H-- 's remark: I admire your prudence, though not your generosity; for it is much safer to cudgel a dead man than a living one.'

15. You next descant upon the disorders which the spirit of enthusiasm created in the last age.' Very likely it might; but, blessed be God, that is nothing at all to us. For He hath given us, not the spirit of enthusiasm, but of love and of a sound mind. In the following page you quaintly compare your hearers to sheep and yourself and friends to the dogs in the fable, and seem much afraid lest the silly sheep should be persuaded to give you up to these ravening wolves.' Nay, should you not rather be ranked with the sheep than the dogs For your teeth are not so sharp as razors.

16. Another fundamental error of the Methodists is the asserting that laymen may preach--yea, the most ignorant and illiterate of them, provided they have the inward call of the Spirit' (page 11).

The former part of this objection we had before. The latter is a total mistake. They do not allow the most ignorant 'men to preach whatever inward call' they pretend to. Among them none are allowed to be stated preachers but such as (1) are truly alive to God, such as experience the faith that worketh by love,' such as love God and all mankind; (2) such as have a competent knowledge of the Word of God and of the work of God in the souls of men; (3) such as have given proof that they are called of God by converting sinners from the error of their ways. And to show whether they have these qualifications or no, they are a year, sometimes more, upon trial. Now, I pray, what is the common examination either for deacon's or priest's orders to this

17. But no ambassador can act without a commission from his King; consequently no preacher wit,hout a commission from God' (page 11). This is a tender point; but you constrain me to speak. I ask, then, Is he commissioned from God to preach the gospel who does not know the gospel who knows little more of the Bible than of the Koran I fear not. But if so, what are many of our brethren Sent of man, but not of God!

However, these laymen are not sent of God to preach; for does not St. Paul say, "No man taketh this honour to himself but he that is called of God, as was Aaron"' (Page 13.) Another text most unhappily applied; for Aaron did not preach at all. But if these men are not sent of God, how comes God to confirm their word by convincing and converting sinners He confirms the word of His messenger, but of none else. Therefore, if God owns their word, it is plain that God has sent them.

But the earth opened and swallowed up those intruders into the priestly office, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram' (page 14). Such an intruder are you if you convert no sinners to God. Take heed lest a deeper pit swallow you up!

18. But the Church of Rome has sent out preachers among us, such as Thomas Heath, a Jesuit; and Faithful Commin, [See letter in Dec. 1751, sect. 48, to Bishop Lavington.] a Dominican friar' (pages 16-17). And what do you infer from hence that my brother, who was thought a student of Christ Church in Oxford, was really a Jesuit and that, while I passed for a Fellow of Lincoln College, I was in fact a Dominican friar Even to hint at such absurdities as these is an insult on common sense.

19. We have now done with the argumentative part of your sermons, and come to the exhortation: "Mark them that cause divisions and offences among you; for they serve not the Lord, but their own bellies"' (page 18). Who serve their own bellies' the Methodists, or Alas, how terribly might this be retorted! "And by fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."' Deceive them into what into the knowledge and love of God! the loving their neighbour as themselves! the walking in justice, mercy, and truth! the doing to all as they would be done to! Felices errore suo! ['Happy in their error.' ] Would to God all the people of Waterford, rich and poor, yea, all the men, women, and children in the three kingdoms, may be thus deceived!

20. 'Do not credit those who tell you that we must judge of our regeneration by sensible impulses, impressions, ardours, and ecstasies' (page 19). Who tells them so Not I; not Mr. Bourke; not any in connexion with me. Sir, you yourself either do or ought to know the contrary. Whether, therefore, these are or are not 'signs of the Spirit' (page 20) see you to it; it is nothing to me, any more than whether the Spirit does or does not 'show itself in groanings and sighings, in fits and starts.' I never affirmed it did; and when you represent me as so doing, you are a sinner against God and me and your own soul.

21. If you should see good to write anything more about the Methodists, I beg you would first learn who and what they are. Be so kind as at least to read over my Journals, and the Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion. Then you will no longer 'run' thus 'uncertainly,' or 'fight as one that beateth the air.' But I would rather hope you will not fight at all. For whom would you fight with If you will fight, it must be with your friends; for such we really are. We wish all the same happiness to you which we wish to our own souls. We desire no worse for you than that you may 'present' yourself 'a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God'; that you may watch over the souls committed to your charge as he 'that must give account'; and that in the end you may receive 'the crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to all that love His appearing!'--So prays, reverend sir, Your affectionate brother.

To Mary Bishop

GALWAY, May 27. 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Perhaps we may see a new accomplishment of Solomon's words, 'He that reproveth a man shall afterward find more favour than he who flattereth with his tongue. But, be that as it may, I have done my duty; I could no otherwise have delivered my own soul. And no offence at all would have been given thereby had not pride stifled both religion and generosity. [See letter of March 8.] But the letter is now out of date; it is mentioned no more: there is a more plausible occasion found-- namely, those eight terrible propositions which conclude the Minutes of our Conference. [The Minutes for 1770, which gave occasion to Fletcher to write his Checks to Antinomianism.] At the instance of some who were sadly frightened thereby, I have revised them over and over; I have considered them in every point of view; and truly, the more I consider them, the more I like them, the more fully I am convinced, not only that they are true, agreeable both to Scripture and to sound experience, but that they contain truths of the deepest importance, and such as ought to be continually inculcated by those who would be pure from the blood of all men.

Joseph Benson is a good man and a good preacher. But he is by no means clear in his judgement. The imagination which he has borrowed from another good man, 'that he is not a believer who has any sin remaining in him,' is not only an error, but a very dangerous one, of which I have seen fatal effects. Herein we divided from the Germans near thirty years ago; and the falseness and absurdity of it is shown in the Second Journal and in my sermon on that subject. [The Lord our Righteousness. See Works, v. 234-46.]

Your experience reminds me of these lines:

So many tender joys and woes

Have o'er my quivering soul had power!

Plain life with heightening passions rose,

The boast or burthen of an hour. [Gambold, in Poetical Works of J. and C. Wesley, i. 8.]

They who feel less, certainly suffer less; but the more we suffer, the more we may improve; the more obedience, the more holiness, we may learn by the things we suffer. So that, upon the whole, I do not know if the insensible ones have the advantage over us.

If you wrote more than once in three months, it would not be amiss. Few are more tenderly concerned for you than, my dear Miss Bishop,

Your affectionate brother.

PS.--You need only direct to Dr. C-- To Miss Bishop, Near Lady Huntingdon's Chapel, In Bath.

To Philothea Briggs

GALWAY, May 28, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--Your concern is with the present moment; your business is to live to-day. In every sense let the morrow take thought for the things of itself. It is true the full assurance of hope excludes all doubt of our final salvation; but it does not and cannot continue any longer than we walk closely with God. And it does not include any assurance of our future behaviour; neither do I know any word in all the Bible which gives us any authority to look for a testimony of this kind. But just so far you may certainly go with regard to the present moment,--

I want the witness, Lord,

That all I do is right,

According to Thy will and word,

Well-pleasing in Thy sight.

Seriously and steadily, my dear maid, aim at this, and you will not be disappointed of your hope.

With regard to the impression you speak of, I am in doubt whether it be not a temptation from the enemy. It may occasion many wrong tempers; it may feed both pride and uncharitableness. And the Bible gives us no authority to think ill of any one, but from plain, undeniable, overt acts.

In the Thoughts upon a Single Life [Published in 1765. See Works, xi. 456-63.] you have what has been my deliberate judgement for many years. I have not yet seen any reason to alter it, though I have heard abundance of objections. I do not know whether your particular case [See letter of May 2 to her.] be an exception to the general rule. It is true your temper is both lively and unstable, and your passions are naturally strong. But that is not much: the grace of God can totally subdue the most stubborn nature. So far, then, you may certainly go. You may now devote yourself to God soul and body in your present state, and resolve never to alter it--without strong and urgent reasons. Of the weight of those reasons likewise, not yourself but your most spiritual friends should judge.

To Thomas Mason [19]


CASTLEBAR, May 30, 1771.

DEAR TOMMY,--A conversation I had yesterday with Brother Proctor determined me to write immediately. The person at Birr will not do: not only as she is far too young, little more than a child; but as she has only little if any Christian experience. You want a woman of middle age, well tried, of good sense, and of deep experience. Such an one in every respect is Molly Penington; but whether she is willing to marry or no, I cannot tell. If she is, I hardly know her fellow in the kingdom. If I meet with any, I will send you word.

I hope you speak to Jonathan How with all freedom and tell him whatever you think amiss in him, especially encouraging him to press all believers to go on to perfection, and to expect it now! Peace with all your spirits!--I am, dear Tommy,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Tho. Mason, Shopkeeper, In Limerick.

To Elizabeth Briggs

CASTLEBAR, May 31, 1771.

MY DEAR BETSY,--You judge exceeding right: as yet you are but a little child, just a babe in the pure love of Christ. As a little child, hang upon Him, and simply expect a supply of all your wants. In this respect reasoning profits you nothing; indeed, it is just opposite to believing, whereby you hearken to the inward voice, which says, 'Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.' Undoubtedly it would be a cross to you to declare what God has done for your soul; nay, and afterwards Satan would accuse you on the account, telling you, 'You did it out of pride.' Yea, and some of your sisters would blame you, and perhaps put the same construction upon it. Nevertheless, if you do it with a single eye, it will be well pleasing to God.

Your letters will be always agreeable to, my dear Betsy,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss March

CASTLEBAR, May 31, 1771.

The dealings of God with man are infinitely varied, and cannot be confined to any general rule; both in justification and sanctification He often acts in a manner we cannot account for.

There cannot be a more proper phrase than that you used, and I well understand your meaning; yet it is sure you are a transgressor still--namely, of the perfect, Adamic law. But though it be true all sin is a transgression of this law, yet it is by no means true on the other hand (though we have so often taken it for granted) that all transgressions of this law are sin: no, not at all--only all voluntary transgressions of it; none else are sins against the gospel law.

Although we have 'faith's abiding impression, realizing things to come'; yet as long as we are in the body we have but an imperfect, shadowy knowledge of the things of eternity. For now we only see them in a glass, a mirror, which gives us no more than a shadow of them; therefore we see them darkly, or in a riddle, as St. Paul speaks. The whole invisible world is as yet a riddle to us; and it seems to be in this sense that some writers speak so much of the night or darkness of faith--namely, when opposed to sight; that is, to the view of things which we shall have when the veil of flesh and blood is removed.

Those reasonings concerning the measure of holiness (a curious, not useful question) are not inconsistent with pure love, but they tend to damp it; and were you to pursue them far, they would lead you into unbelief.

What you feel is certainly a degree of anger, but not of sinful anger. There ought to be in us (as there was in our Lord) not barely a perception in the understanding that this or that is evil, but also an emotion of mind, a sensation or passion suitable thereto. This anger at sin, accompanied with love and compassion to the sinner, is so far from being itself a sin, that it is rather a duty. St. Paul's word is, 'not easily provoked' to any paroxysm of anger: neither are you; nevertheless, I suppose there is in you, when you feel a proper anger at sin, an hurrying motion of the blood and spirits, which is an imperfection, and will be done away.

To Ann Bolton

ROOSKY, June 8, 1771.

Woman, remember the faith! It is given to you to believe in the name of the Son of God! Nay, and also to suffer with Him, to drink a little of the cup which He drank of. O beware that you are not weary or faint in your mind! See what blessings are reserved in store for you What if God sees good to permit for a little season that Satan should sift you as wheat Still you have a Friend before the throne above; and He hath prayed for you that your faith fail not. You shall lose nothing in the furnace but your dross; you shall be purified, not consumed. I cannot tell you how near you have been to me ever since I heard of your present visitation. And why should you not expect that He who loves you a thousand times more than I do will heal both soul and body together Look for Him! He is not far off! Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Duncan Wright

LONDONDERRY, June 11, 1771.

DEAR DUNCAN,--You ought to speak largely and strongly against Antinomianism in all its branches. And you would do well when occasion is to read to any congregation and enforce

the three sermons on the Law. [See Works, v. 433-66.] Let us be open and downright both in public and private, and it will succeed best.

The work of God will never stand still for want of money so long as He has the hearts of all men in His hand. You should all use your best endeavours with regard to the Yearly Subscription. Scotland especially has found the benefit of it.

I should not advise our brother Hamilton to give up his business. It is a talent God has entrusted him with. But it would be wise to contract it, that he may have more leisure for business of greater importance. See that you strongly and explicitly exhort the believers to go on to perfection!--I am, dear Duncan,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mr. Duncan Wright, Edinburgh.

To Mary Bosanquet [20]


LONDONDERRY, June 13, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I think the strength of the cause rests there--on your having an extraordinary call. So I am persuaded has every one of our lay preachers; otherwise I could not countenance his preaching at all. It is plain to me that the whole work of God termed Methodism is an extraordinary dispensation of His providence. Therefore I do not wonder if several things occur therein which do not fall under the ordinary rules of discipline. St. Paul's ordinary rule was, 'I permit not a woman to speak in the congregation.' Yet in extraordinary cases he made a few exceptions; at Corinth in particular.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Crosby

LONDONDERRY, June 13, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Reading a chapter or part of one and making short observations may be as useful as any way of speaking. I doubt whether at that particular time it was advisable for you to go to Huddersfield. But it is past. All that you can do now (if you have not done it already) is to write lovingly to Mr. A-- [John Atlay was stationed at Birstall.] and simply inform him of those facts, concerning which he was misinformed before. It is not improbable he may then see things clearer; but if he do not, you will have delivered your own soul. And whatever farther is said of you is your cross. Bear it, and it will bear you.-- I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Bolton

LONDON, [Wesley was in Londonderry when he wrote this and the next letter. See Journal, v. 419n.] June 15, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--A letter from you is always welcome; but never more so than now, as this is the time wherein it seems good to our Lord to try you as by fire. Fear nothing; only believe. He is with you in the fire so that the flames shall not kindle upon you. O how will you praise Him by-and-by for His wise and gracious visitation! He is purging away all your dross, that you may be a vessel meet for the Master's use. Happy are they that do His will, and happier still they that suffer it. But, whatever you suffer, cast not away that confidence which hath great recompense of reward. In order to keep it, do not reason, but simply look up to Him that loves you. Tell Him as a little child all your wants. Look up, and your suit is made: He hears the cry of your heart. And tell all that troubles you to

Yours affectionately.

To the Countess of Huntingdon

LONDON, June 19, 1771.

MY DEAR LADY,--Many years since, I saw that 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' I began following after it, and inciting all with whom I had any intercourse to do the same. Ten years after, God gave me a clearer view than I had before of the way how to attain this--namely, by faith in the Son of God. And immediately I declared to all, 'We are saved from sin, we are made holy, by faith.' This I testified in private, in public, in print; and God confirmed it by a thousand witnesses. I have continued to declare this for above thirty years, and God hath continued to confirm the word of His grace. But during this time wellnigh all the religious world hath set themselves in array against me, and among the rest many of my own children, following the example of one of my eldest sons, Mr. Whitefield. Their general cry has been, 'He is unsound in the faith; he preaches another gospel!' I answer, Whether it be the same which they preach or not, it is the same which I have preached for above thirty years. This may easily appear from what I have published during that whole term. I instance only in three sermons: that on Salvation by Faith, printed in the year 1738; that on The Lord our Righteousness, printed a few years since; and that on Mr. Whitefield's funeral, printed only some months ago. [See Works, v. 7-16, 234-46; vi. 167 - 82.] But it is said, 'Oh, but you printed ten lines in August last which contradict all your other writings! [Minutes of the Bristol Conference,1770: 'Who of us is now accepted of God &c.'] Be not so sure of this. It is probable, at least, that I understand my own meaning as well as you do; and that meaning I have yet again declared in the sermon last referred to. By that interpret those ten lines, and you will understand them better; although I should think that any one might see even without this help that the lines in question do not refer to the condition of obtaining, but of continuing in, the favour of God. But whether the sentiment contained in those lines be right or wrong, and whether it be well or ill expressed, the gospel which I now preach God does still confirm by new witnesses in every place; perhaps never so much in this kingdom as within these last three months. Now, I argue from glaring, undeniable fact; God cannot bear witness to a lie. The gospel, therefore, which He confirms must be true in substance. There may be opinions maintained at the same time which are not exactly true; and who can be secure from these Perhaps I thought myself so once: when I was much younger than I am now, I thought myself almost infallible; but I bless God I know myself better now.

To be short: such as I am, I love you well. You have one of the first places in my esteem and affection. And you once had some regard for me. But it cannot continue if it depends upon my seeing with your eyes or on my being in no mistake. What, if I was in as many as Mr. Law himself If you were, I should love you still, provided your heart was still right with God. My dear friend, you seem not to have well learned yet the meaning of those words, which I desire to have continually written on my heart, 'Whosoever doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother.'--I am, my dear Lady,

Your affectionate.

To Thomas Wride [21]


ARMAGH, June 23, 1771.

DEAR TOMMY,--I said before, we will pay the five pounds to Brother Littledale at the Conference. If T. Colbeck had done as I ordered, it would have been paid long ago. Then also we will make up what Brother Garnet wants. If he desires it, he may come to the Conference in your stead. If not, send your account of things by R. Seed. Will not the Yearly Subscription pay both those debts If there be an overplus, it may lessen the debt on Whitehaven house.

I desire that neither any preacher of ours nor any member of our Society would on any presence go to an Anabaptist meeting. It is the way to destroy the Society. This we have experienced over and over. Let all that were of the Church keep to the Church.--I am, dear Tommy,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mrs. Hall

CLONMAIN, June 24, 1771.

DEAR PATTY,--You may boldly say, 'Health I shall have if health be best'; although in a natural way we are not to expect much of it when we are got on the wrong side sixty.

So much the more surprising is it that I find more health at sixty-eight than I did at eight-and-twenty. I have far less pain, less sickness at stomach, and fewer bodily infirmities. So that I have a good hope I shall not live to be useless, but rather

My body with my charge lay down,

And cease at once to work and live.

It signifies very little whether the time we creep about upon the earth be a little longer or shorter. Only let us see to that,--

Be they many or few,

My days are His due,

And they all are devoted to Him!

It seems my sister Harper [Mrs. Harper died this year in her eightieth year. See letter of June 30, 1743.] will go out just as a lamp for want of oil. Well, let you and I live to-day.--I am, dear Patty,

Your ever affectionate friend and Brother.

To Miss March

COCKHILL, IRELAND, June 25, 1771.

Undoubtedly the reward which is purchased for us by the blood of the covenant will be proportioned to what we are (through grace), what we do, and what we suffer. Whatever, therefore, prevents our doing good prevents our receiving so full a reward; and what can countervail that loss It is certainly right that we should bear one another's burthens; that we should weep with them that weep, and for them that weep not for themselves. 'When Jesus saw them weeping, He troubled Himself.' He willingly sustained that emotion; He voluntarily suffered that sorrow; and it is good for us to tread in His steps. 'But how far' Just so far as does not disqualify us for any other part of our duty; so far as softens, not unnerves, the mind, as makes us more, not less, zealous of good works.

Undoubtedly there are various kinds and various degrees of communion with God. We cannot confine it to one only; it may take in the exercise of every affection, either single or variously mixed together; and may run through all our outward employments. The most desirable prayer is that where we can quite pour out our soul and freely talk with God. But it is not this alone which is acceptable to Him. 'I love one,' said an holy man, 'that perseveres in dry duty.' Beware of thinking even this is labour lost. God does much work in the heart even at those seasons.

And when the soul, sighing to be approved,

Says, 'Could I love,' and stops, God writeth, 'Loved!'

And yet the comfort is that you need not rest here: you may go on until all your heart is love; till you 'rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.' You know this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus.

I think Molly Penington [See letters of May 30, 1771, and Sept. 16, 1780.] enjoys this, and grows in grace continually. So do two or three more members in this Society. But they sadly want more searching preachers, and those that would help them forward by explaining the deep things of God.

Peace be with your spirit.

To Several Preachers and Friends [22]


DUBLIN, July 10, 1771.

DEAR SIR,--You desired my farther thoughts on those propositions which close the Minutes of our last Conference.

'We have leaned too much toward Calvinism.'

'1. With regard to man's faithfulness. Our Lord Himself taught us to use the expression; and we ought never to be ashamed of it. We ought steadily to assert it, on His authority, that if a man is not faithful in the unrighteous mammon God will not give him the true riches.'

I think nothing farther need be said on this, as it is grounded on the express Word of God.

'2. With regard to working for life. This also our Lord has expressly commanded us. " Labour " (literally work) " for the meat that endureth to everlasting life." And, in fact, every believer works for as well as from life.'

'Every believer': of such only the proposition speaks, And who can doubt it

'3. We have received it as a maxim that " a man is to do nothing in order to justification." Nothing can be more false. Whoever desires to find favour with God should " cease from evil and learn to do well." Whoever repents should " do works meet for repentance." And if this is not in order to find favour, what does he do them for'

And who can deny one line of this if he allows the Bible to be true

Thus far, then, here is no ground for this marvellous outcry. Here is no heresy, but the words of truth and soberness.

'Review the whole affair.

'1. Who of us is now accepted of God' (I mean, who is now in His favour The question does not refer to the gaining the favour of God, but the being therein, at any given point of time.) 'He that now believes in Christ with a loving and obedient heart.'

Well, and who can deny this Who can find any fault either with the sentiment or the expression

'2. But who among those that never heard of Christ He that " feareth God and worketh righteousness " according to the light he has.' The very words of St. Peter [Acts x. 34-5.]: 'Of a truth I perceive God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him' (dektos autw esti), is in a state of acceptance.

Disprove this who can.

'3. Is this the same with he that is sincere Nearly, if not quite.'

So I think. But I contend not for a word. You may either take it or leave it.

'4. Is not this salvation by works Not by the merit of works, but by works as a condition.'

By salvation I here mean final salvation. And who can deny that both inward good works (loving God and our neighbour) and outward good works (keeping His commandments) are a condition of this What is this more or less than 'Without holiness no man shall see the Lord'

'5. What have we, then, been disputing about these thirty years I am afraid about words.' That is, so far as we have been disputing (as I did with Dr. Church) whether works be a condition of salvation--yea, or of justification, suppose you take that term as our Lord does (Matt. xii. 37), where (speaking of the Last Day) He says, 'By thy words thou shalt be justified.' With justification as it means our first acceptance with God this proposition has nothing to do.

'Tis true thirty years ago I was very angry with Bishop Bull, that great light of the Christian Church, because in his Harmonica Apostolica he distinguishes our first from our final justification, and affirms both inward and outward good works to be the condition of the latter, though not the former.

'6. As to merit itself, of which we have been so dreadfully afraid, we are rewarded according to our works--yea, because of our works. How does this differ from for the sake of our works And how differs this from secundum merita operum as our works deserve Can you split this hair I doubt I cannot.'

I follow after truth; and wherever I find it, I not only embrace it, but own it in the face of the sun. If any will show me this is not the truth, I will retract it. But let us consider it part by part. (1) 'We were dreadfully afraid of the word merit.' None can deny this. (2) 'We are rewarded (at the Last Day) according to our works.' Neither can this be denied. (3) 'Yea, because of our works.' Witness Abraham, the grand pattern of believers: 'Because thou hast done this thing, . . . in blessing I will bless thee' (Gen. xxii. 16-17). (4) 'How differs this from secundum merita operum as our works deserve ' I say again, I cannot split this hair. Whoever can has my free leave. And afterwards let him split his throat with crying out, 'Oh dreadful heresy!'

'7. The grand objection to one of the preceding propositions is drawn from matter of fact. God does in fact justify those who by their own confession neither feared God nor wrought righteousness. Is not this an exception to the general rule It is a doubt if God makes any exception at all.'

But methinks I would rather answer, We are sliding away from our question, which is not, how we gain, but how retain the favour of God.

'8. Does not talking of a justified or a sanctified state tend to mislead men almost naturally leading them to trust in what was done in one moment Whereas we are every hour and every moment pleasing or displeasing to God according to our works, according to the whole of our inward tempers and our outward behaviour.'

Perhaps the former part of this sentence is a little too strong. Instead of almost naturally I would say very frequently. But the latter contains a truth of the deepest importance, and one that cannot be too much inculcated. Every hour God is more or less pleased with us according to the whole of our inward and outward behaviour.

If any candid person desires it, I am ready to explain myself more largely on any of the preceding heads.--I am

Your affectionate servant.

To Robert Costerdine [23]


DUBLIN, July 11, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--If you send the accounts of the money, number of people, and other circumstances, it will be sufficient for Brother Linnell to come; for the circuit should not be left vacant. If you judge it best, divide the money in the manner you mention. I believe you will be either in Chester or Liverpool Circuit. Be all alive, and do all you can for a good Master.--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Philothea Briggs

DUBLIN, July 13, 1771,

MY DEAR PHILLY,--Truth and falsehood, and so right and wrong tempers, are often divided by an almost imperceptible line. It is the more difficult to distinguish right and wrong tempers or passions, because in several instances the same motion of the blood and animal spirits will attend both one and the other. Therefore in many cases we cannot distinguish them but by the unction of the Holy One. In the case you mention all self-complacency or self-approbation is not pride. Certainly there may be self-approbation which is not sin, though it must occasion a degree of pleasure. 'This is our rejoicing, even the testimony of our conscience toward God.' And this joy is neither better nor worse for being accompanied with a natural motion of the blood and spirits. Equally natural and equally innocent is the joy which we receive from being approved of those we love. But in all these instances there is need of the utmost care, lest we slide from innocent joy or self-approbation into that which is not innocent, into pride (thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think), or vanity, a desire of praise; for 'thin partitions do their bounds divide.' [ Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel, i. 163: 'Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partitions do their bounds divide.']

Certes, I have for many days

Sent my poetic herd to graze. [Prior's Erle Robert's Mice: 'Certes, I have those many days Sent myne poetic herd to graze.']

In youth it is almost natural to write verses, especially at leisure times. But I have no leisure time; my every hour is constantly and fully employed.

You have no business to begin any dispute with your young acquaintance. If she begin with you, say but little, till you carry her Predestination Calmly Considered, and desire her to give it a calm and serious reading. That book is such an hotch-potch as I have seldom seen, and is brimful of Antinomianism (as are all Mr. Romaine's writings [See Tyerman's Wesley, ii. 534.]). I advise you to think and speak as little about it as possible. Here and there he blunders upon the truth, as in the sentence which she quoted.

I remember nothing particular in the sealing of that letter. In about ten days I expect to embark for England. Be all in earnest! and always speak without reserve to, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Philly Briggs, At Mr. Barker's, In Sevenoaks, Kent.

To Miss March

DUBLIN, July 13, 1771.

As long as we dwell in an house of clay it is liable to affect the mind; sometimes by dulling or darkening the understanding, and sometimes more directly by damping and depressing the soul and sinking it into distress and heaviness. In this state doubt or fear of one kind or another will naturally arise. And the prince of this world, who well knows whereof we are made, will not fail to improve the occasion, in order to disturb, though he cannot pollute, the heart which God hath cleansed from all unrighteousness.

I rejoice with you concerning poor Martin Madan. [See reference to his mother in Tyerman's Wesley, ii. 284.] Persons who are eminently dutiful to their parents hardly ever fail of receiving a reward even in the present world.

My call to America is not yet clear. [See letters of Dec. 14, 1770, and Aug. 14, 1771 (to Philothea Briggs).] I have no business there as long as they can do without me. At present I am a debtor to the people of England and Ireland, and especially to them that believe.

You have a delicate part to act with regard to Philly. [See previous letter and that of Sept. 13.] There are so many great defects in her natural temper that a deal of grace will be required to make her altogether a Christian; neither will grace shine in her as it would in others. You have need carefully to encourage what is of God in her and tenderly to reprove what is of nature. I am afraid for P--D-- , [Damaris Perronet.] lest she should be less zealous of good works than she was formerly. I doubt she has at present little encouragement thereto.

In the 13th of [the First of] Corinthians you have the height and depth of genuine perfection; and it is observable St. Paul speaks all along of the love of our neighbour, flowing indeed from the love of God. Mr. De Renty is an excellent pattern of this. But many things in his fellowship with God will not be explained till the Holy Spirit explains them by writing them on your heart. That darkness which often clouds your understanding I take to be quite preternatural. I believe the spirit of darkness spreads a mist over your mind, so far as he is permitted; and that the best remedy is simply to look up to God, and the cloud will flee away at His presence.--I am, &c.

To Mrs. Bennis [24]


DUBLIN, July 20, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am much pleased to hear so good an account of John Christian. If I was resolved to understand all God's dispensations, I should embrace his opinion; because it in a manner accounts for some things which otherwise are unaccountable. But this I do not expect; I am content to understand exceeding little while I am in the body. What He does I know not now; it is enough that I shall know hereafter. Our business now is to love and obey; knowledge is reserved for eternity. My chief objection to Milton's doctrine of Election is that I cannot reconcile it to the words of St. Peter, which manifestly refer to the eternal state of men: 'God is no respecter of persons.' Now, how can we allow this, if we believe He places one man, as it were, suspended between heaven and hell, while He fixes another, ere ever he is born, under an absolute impossibility of missing heaven

I am well pleased you see some reason to hope well of Mr. Thompson. Speak closely to him. He has a strong, cultivated understanding, and would make a shining Christian. If he continues serious, he will not long be pleased with his former company; they will grow tasteless, nay irksome.

It is not material whether this or that infirmity or defect be consistent with this or that gift of God. Without reasoning about this, it is your part simply to spread all your wants before Him who loves you; and He will richly supply them all!

Your ever affectionate brother.

To Mary Bishop

DUBLIN, July 20, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--For your own satisfaction I send you this [See letter of July 10.]; but I wish you would not show it before the Conference. If the Calvinists do not or will not understand me, I understand myself. And I do not contradict anything which I have written within these thirty years. You understand me right, and express more at large the very thing I mean. I know not that any one could express it more justly in the same number of words. Poor Mr. Shirley's triumph will be short. Peace be with your spirit!--My dear sister, adieu!

To Miss Bishop, Near Lady Huntingdon's Chapel, Bath.

To his Brother Charles

KINGSWOOD, August 3, 1771.

DEAR BROTHER,--I will not throw away T. Rankin on the people of London. He shall go where they know the value of him. [Rankin had been in London; he now went to Cornwall West.]

We cannot put out what we never put in. I do not use the word merit. [See sect. 6 in letter of July 10.] I never did. I never did, neither do now, contend for the use of it. But I ask you or any other a plain question; and do not cry 'Murder,' but give me an answer: What is the difference between merere and 'to deserve' or between 'deserving' and meritum I say still, I cannot tell. Can you Can Mr. Shirley or any man living In asking this question, I neither plead for merit nor against it. I have nothing to do with it. I have declared a thousand times there is no goodness in man till he is justified; no merit either before or after: that is, taking the word in its proper sense; for in a loose sense meritorious means no more than rewardable.

As to Reprobation, seeing they have drawn the sword, I throw away the scabbard. I send you a specimen. Let fifteen hundred of them be printed as soon as you please. [A Defence of the Minute of Conference (1770) relating to Calvinism. See Green's Bibliography, No. 273; and letters of July 10 and 20. ]

Nothing was ever yet expended out of the Yearly Subscription without being immediately set down by the secretary. I never took a shilling from that fund yet. What you advise with regard to our behaviour toward opposers exactly agrees with my sentiments.

My wife, I find, is on the high ropes still. I am full of business, as you may suppose. So adieu!

To Miss March

KINGSWOOD, August 3, 1771.

How wise are all the ways of God! And although in many instances they are past finding out, yet we may even now discern the designs of His providence.

The Appendix to the Philosophy [The third volume of A Compendium of Natural Philosophy forms an Appendix to the several sections of the previous volumes. See Green's Bibliography, No. 265; and for Hymns on the Trinity (1767), No. 246.] and the Trinity Hymns, I hope, will settle you on that important point. It is a striking remark of Bishop Browne's that we are not required to 'believe any mystery' in the matter. The mystery does not lie in the fact 'These Three are One,' but in the manner the accounting how they are one. But with this I have nothing to do. I believe the fact. As to the manner (wherein the whole mystery lies) I believe nothing about it. The quaint device of styling them three offices rather than persons gives up the whole doctrine.

There is scarcely any word of coextensive a sense as 'wisdom.' It frequently means the whole of religion. And, indeed, no one can be termed throughly wise until he is altogether a Christian. To devote all our thoughts and actions to God, this is our highest wisdom; and so far as we inwardly or outwardly swerve from this, we walk as fools, not as wise. In order to be all devoted to the Lord, even those who are renewed in love still need the unction of the Holy One, to teach them in all circumstances the most excellent way, and to enable them so to watch and pray that they may continually walk therein. It seems my time for writing either on this or other subjects is pretty well over; only I am ready to add a word now and then if Providence so require.

Persons are in one sense delivered from unbelief when they are enabled to believe always, when they have 'faith's abiding impression, realizing things to come.' For they can then no longer be termed unbelievers. When this is given in a very glorious manner, so that they are filled with faith and are not able to doubt even for a moment, it is natural for them to say 'they are saved from all unbelief.' The soul that is all light (as Lopez, when he said, 'All is midday now') may affirm, 'I am saved from all darkness.' And is not this the will of the Lord concerning you Undoubtedly it is. Fear not then; reason not: only look up. Is He not nigh, even at the door He is nigh that justifieth; He is nigh that sanctifieth; He is nigh that supplies all your wants! Take more out of His fullness, that you may love Him more, praise Him more, and serve Him better. It is desirable to glorify God, like Mr. De Renty or Haliburton, in death as well as in life. I am sorry for poor Miss H[artly]. [See letters of Jan. 24 and Aug. 14 to Hannah Ball.] It is a mysterious providence.

To Samuel Bardsley [25]


BRISTOL, August 5, 1771.

DEAR SAMMY,--I had intended you for a more distant circuit, where I believe you would have been exceeding useful. But we can hardly show tenderness enough to an aged parent. Therefore, for your mother's sake, I will alter my design, and appoint you for the Derbyshire Circuit, which you know borders on that of Manchester.

Take care to walk closely with God and to exhort others so to do. Be instant in season and out of season. Encourage all to expect salvation now!--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Samuel Bardsley, At Mr. James Walker's, In Sheffield.

To John Hallam

BRISTOL, August 10, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Mr. Olivers [Thomas Olivers was Assistant in Derbyshire.] is able and willing to instruct you more particularly as to any doubts than I can do by letter.

I advise you do not on any account stay from those that love God. Meantime you may see many who neither love nor fear Him in their own houses, either single or more of them together.

If any refrain from our preaching because you do not go to it, it is a good reason why you should. Meantime do all the good you can to all. Any of the practical books which we have published might be of use to yourself and give you a farther opportunity of being useful to others. [See letter to Samuel Bardsley on Jan. 29, 1773: 'John Hallam is a good man, though a queer one; I am in hopes he will do good.']

Perhaps it might answer your design if you taught school six or seven hours a day.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To John Hallam, At Castle Donnington.

To Hannah Ball [26]


BRECKNOCK, August 14, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am glad you remain at Wycombe. That is undoubtedly your place: you have there a large field of action to exercise all the grace and gifts which God has given you. See that you be zealous for God. Redeem the time, and in due time you shall reap if you faint not.

The great point is to retain what we have received. You have need by every possible means to watch over your sister [Miss Ann Ball, who continued the Sunday School after Hannah's death.] and your mother, lest they lose what God has wrought. Hardly three in five of those that are either justified or sanctified keep the gift of God a year to an end. So much the more exhort them to watch and pray that they enter not into temptation. I love you the better because you love dear Miss Hartly. [See letter of Aug. 3 to Miss March.] Peace be with your spirits!--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Philothea Briggs

THE HAY, August 14, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--If you find any comfort or help thereby, write on, without any reasoning about the matter. As yet you need take no thought about my going to America [See letters of July 13, 1771 (to Miss March), and Feb. 1, 1772.]; I have some more business to do in Europe. The various thoughts and suggestions you mention are just such as any person of a lively imagination may expect. Satan, too, very well knows whereof we are made, and always attacks us on the weak side. But these and a thousand clouds passing over your mind prove nothing as to the state of your heart: see that this be devoted to Him, and it is enough. You have given it Him: stand to your gift. However, then, your imagination may be affected, you will have the testimony of a good conscience toward God. Not but that you may plead that promise, 'The peace of God shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' As the former word takes in all your passions, so does the latter all the workings of your reason and imagination. Pray, therefore, and look for the answer of your prayer. It shall come, and not tarry! You did well to give up that little idol. You may fast on Fridays by somewhat lessening the quantity of your breakfast or dinner. Do Miss Lambert all the good you can. Peace be with all your spirits!--I am, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

I shall soon be at Bristol.

To Miss Phil. Briggs, At Shoreham, Near Sevenoaks, Kent.

To the Countess of Huntingdon [28]


NEAR THE HAY, August 14, 1771.

MY DEAR LADY,--When I received the former letter from your Ladyship, I did not know how to answer; and I judged, not only that silence would be the best answer, but also that with which your Ladyship would be best pleased. When I received your Ladyship's of the 2nd instant, I immediately saw that it required an answer; only I waited till the hurry of the Conference was over that I might do nothing rashly. I know your Ladyship would not 'servilely deny the truth.' I think neither would I; especially that great truth Justification by Faith, which Mr. Law indeed flatly denies (and yet Mr. Law was a child of God), but for which I have given up all my worldly hopes, my friends, my reputation--yea, for which I have so often hazarded my life, and by the grace of God will do again. 'The principles established in the Minutes' I apprehend to be no way contrary to this, or to that faith, that consistent plan of doctrine, which was once delivered to the saints. I believe, whoever calmly considers Mr. Fletcher's Letters [Five Letters to the Hon. and Rev. Walter Shirley, which formed the First Check to Antinomianism. See Tyerman's Wesley's Designated Successor, p. 192. ] will be convinced of this. I fear, therefore, 'zeal against those principles' is no less than zeal against the truth and against the honour of our Lord. 'The preservation of His honour appears so sacred' to me, and has done for above these forty years, that I have counted, and do count, all things loss in comparison of it. But till Mr. Fletcher's printed letters are answered, I must think everything spoke against those Minutes is totally destructive of His honour, and a palpable affront to Him both as our Prophet and Priest, but more especially as the King of His people. Those letters (which therefore could not be suppressed without betraying the honour of our Lord) largely prove that the Minutes lay no other foundation than that which is laid in Scripture, and which I have been laying, and teaching others to lay, for between thirty and forty years. Indeed, it would be amazing that God should at this day prosper my labours as much if not more than ever, by converting as well as convincing sinners, if I was 'establishing another foundation, repugnant to the whole plan of man's salvation under the new covenant of grace, as well as the clear meaning of our Established Church and all other Protestant Churches.' This is a charge indeed! But I plead, Not guilty. And till it is proved upon me, I must subscribe myself, my dear Lady,

Your Ladyship's truly affectionate but much injured servant.

To Ann Bolton

PEYBROKE, August 25, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Now you make me amends. Your affectionate letter gave me unspeakable satisfaction. I am glad you have been with Sister Iles. She is a jewel. Is she going to be married or not I am glad likewise that you have better health; surely He will withhold from you no good thing! But I cannot tell you how glad I am that your love is not grown cold. Perhaps our wise Lord may sometimes make that love a balance against the temptations you speak of. You certainly have need to watch in all things; otherwise you would suffer loss. And you have need to be always active and zealous for God, forgetting yourself and simply following Him. But one caution I would give my dear friend. Do not spend too much time at once in any company. An hour at a time is generally enough; and if we spend more, it is less useful. O how I long for patience to have its perfect work in you, that you may be perfect in Him, and lacking nothing! I will pardon your past delay only on one condition, that you quickly write again. Let not your works of mercy rob you of time for private prayer; and fail not then especially to remember, my dear Nancy, Yours affectionately.

To Mrs. Savage

BRISTOL, August 31, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Right precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints! And I believe many of the blessings which we receive are in answer to their dying prayers. It is well if the great change be wrought in a soul even a little before it leaves the body. But how much more desirable it is that it should be wrought long before, that we may long glorify Him with our body and with our spirit! O exhort all whom you have access to not to delay the time of embracing all the great and precious promises! Frankly tell all those that are simple of heart what He has done for your soul; and then urge,

May not every sinner find

The grace which found out me

If Mr. Fletcher has time to call upon you, he will surely bring a blessing with him. He is a man full of faith. Be free with Sister Brisco, [Her husband, Thomas Brisco, had been in Devonshire, but was this Conference appointed to Wiltshire North.] who brings this.--My dear sister, adieu!

To Mary Bishop

BRISTOL, September 1, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I hope to see you at Bath on Tuesday, and to preach about six in the evening. I choose to preach early that I may have time to meet the Society after preaching.

Concessions made in the chapel at Bath would not quench the flame kindled over the three kingdoms. [As to the 1770 Minutes.] Mr. Fletcher's Letters may do this in some measure; but the antidote cannot spread so fast as the poison. However, the Lord reigneth, and consequently all these things shall work together for the increase of His kingdom.

Certainly simple faith is the very thing you want, that faith which lives upon Christ from moment to moment. I believe that sermon The Scripture Way of Salvation [See Works. vi. 43-54.] might at this time be particularly useful to you. It is a great thing to seize and improve the very now. What a blessing you may receive at this instant! Behold the Lamb of God!--I am, dear Miss Bishop,

Your affectionate brother.

To Thomas Wride

BRISTOL, September 7, 1771.

DEAR TOMMY,--The preachers appointed [The Conference met at Bristol on Aug. 6, when these appointments were made.] for Whitehaven Circuit are John Mason and William Linnell. Jos. Garnet is appointed for Sheffield; and Thomas Wride Assistant in the Armagh Circuit. Many of the people there are much alive. Probably you may cross over to Newry, which brings you just to the spot.

Let Brother Mason and Linnell follow the blow at Keswick. I am glad to hear so good an account of John M'Combe. [For John M'Combe's escape from a pit on fire, near Whitehaven in 1759, 'burned from head to foot, but rejoicing and praising God,' see Journal, iv. 314.]

Be zealous, serious, active! Then you will save your own soul and them that hear you!--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Philothea Briggs

KINGSWOOD, September 13, 1771

MY DEAR PHILLY,--Your present weakness will, I hope, be an unspeakable blessing. You was in danger of having more sail than ballast, more liveliness of imagination than solid wisdom. But it seems God is correcting this defect, and giving you more steadiness of mind. [See letters of July 13, 1771, and April 12, 1772, to her.] You now see and feel what is the real worth of this poor, perishable world, and how little real happiness is to be found in all things under the sun.

Meantime you are to use all probable means of recovering and confirming your health. Taking many medicines, indeed, is not a probable means: I would in no wise advise this. [See letter of Oct. 6.] But what complaint have you I always thought you had firm and vigorous health. Perhaps I may direct you to some little rules of common sense which will be of service to you. It is right to pour out our whole soul before Him that careth for us. But it is good likewise to unbosom ourselves to a friend in whom we can confide. This also is an appointed means which it generally pleases God to bless. Whenever, therefore, you have opportunity, speak all that is in your heart to, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Phil. Briggs, At Miss March's,

In Worship Street, Moorfields, London.

To Ann Bolton

BRISTOL, September 16, 1771.

Nancy, Nancy! Why do you forget your friends Why do you tempt me to be angry I tell you again you will lose your labour: I can't be angry at you. You are marvellously slow in writing. Come, I hope you will make me amends (if you are well) by a long letter. I purpose, if God permit, to be at Wallingford on Monday, October 14; at Witney on Wednesday and Thursday; at High Wycombe on Friday; and at London on Saturday. Do not delay to write. I want to hear how you are and what you are doing, as well as how the work of God goes on at Witney and elsewhere And how go on Brother Jaquis and his wife

Peace be multiplied upon you!--My dear Nancy, adieu!

To Mrs. Savage [29]


BRISTOL, September 19, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--A report was spread abroad of my coming to Broadmarston and several other places; but I know not what was the occasion of it. I am now expected in the southern parts of the kingdom, and my course has been for several years as fixed as that of the sun.

Mr. Ellis is a steady, experienced man, and a sound preacher. Wherever he is the work of our Lord prospers in his hand; and the more so as he is a lover of discipline, without which the best preaching is of little use. I advise you to speak to him as freely as possible, and he will be made profitable to your soul. Your late trials were intended to give you a deeper sense of your poverty and helplessness. But see that you cast not away that confidence which hath great recompense of reward. Cleave to Him with your whole heart, and all is well.--I am, my dear sister, Your affectionate brother.

To Christopher Hopper [30]


BRISTOL, September 22, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--You and I differ a little in our judgement. I take Yarm Circuit to be a very comfortable one. But I see an evil growing among us: preachers claim to be two years together in the same round, because it has been suffered sometimes; but if it be so, I must suffer it no more. Every preacher shall change every year; unless they will leave it to my judgement to make an exception now and then when I may see sufficient cause. However, for the present, if Thomas Hanson is willing, you may change circuits with him. To a request which I did not approve of silence was the mildest answer. Nevertheless I had rather you had been at Leeds. I believe you would have done more good. But others had spoke first. Pray let them not be beforehand with you, if we live to another year.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mr. C. Hopper, Yarm.

To Hannah Ball [31]


PORTSMOUTH, October 4, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--The being 'sealed by the Spirit' in the full sense of the word I take to imply two things: first, the receiving the whole image of God, the whole mind which was in Christ, as the wax receives the whole impression of the seal when it is strongly and properly applied; secondly, the full assurance of hope, or a clear and permanent confidence of being with God in glory. Either of these may be given (and sometimes is, though not frequently) separate from the other. When both are joined together, then I believe they constitute that seal of the Spirit. But even this admits of various degrees. A degree of it, I trust, you have. Watch and pray! Do and suffer the whole will of Him that calleth you; and He will supply whatever is wanting.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Philothea Briggs

LONDON, October 6, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--I commend you for not meddling with medicines, [See letter of Sept. 13.] except some of those simple ones in the Primitive Physick. Perhaps youth, with abstinence from tea and whatever else you feel hurts you, may restore your health. And, while it continues, this weakness may be of excellent use by weaning you from the love of present things.

The first Appeal is a complete treatise of itself independent on the rest. This, therefore, may be given to any one without the others, which makes the expense easy. But to your friend you might give or lend them all. And if she has sense enough to read them impartially, she will learn to speak and write without ambiguity, just according to common sense. You may tell her, 'If you was doing those works, thinking to merit salvation thereby, you was quite wrong. But if you was doing them because they are the appointed way wherein we wait for free salvation, you was quite right.' But you need only send her Mr. Fletcher's Letters, and they will clear up the point sufficiently.--I always am, dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Joseph Benson [32]


LONDON, October 11, 1771.

DEAR JOSEPH,--Here, in this very point, is your mistake. You was as really a believer when you came to Kingswood as you are now. Five-and-thirty years since, hearing that wise man Mr. Spangenberg describe the fruits of faith, I immediately cried out, 'If this be so, I have no faith.' He replied, 'Habes fidem, sed exiguam.' This was then your case too. It is not strange that you are seldom satisfied by my letters; for I use few words, and you are not to be satisfied but by many. You want me to think for you. That is not my design. I would only help you to think.--I am, dear Joseph,

Yours affectionately.

To John Fletcher

LONDON, October 12, 1771.

DEAR SIR,--Returning from Bedfordshire this evening, I received your two letters and the bill. I do not propose saying anything to Mr. Shirley, at least not for the present. I am glad mine came too late to prevent your writing me the Sixth Letter, which I trust will be as useful as the others have been. Certainly it is possible to reconcile meekness, yea and kindness, with the utmost plainness of speech. But this will infallibly be termed bitterness by those who do not receive it in love. Their returning us hatred for goodwill is the cross we are called to bear.

I can hardly believe what he says of Mr. Spencer, [See letter of June 20, 1770.] whose love, I verily think, is without dissimulation. But Calvinism I know to be a deadly enemy to all Christian tempers.

Peace be with your spirit!--I am, dear sir,

Ever yours.

To Christopher Hopper

LONDON, October 13, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Methodist preachers cannot have always accommodations fit for gentlemen. But let us look upon David Brainerd, and praise God for what we have. In the general, Yarm Circuit is one of the best in England. [See letter of Sept. 22.] The living souls make us ample amends for the inconvenient houses.

I am persuaded, wherever the Assistant is earnest in the matter and has a little address and patience, the weekly contribution will answer the end. Difficulties we must expect; but by the help of God you will conquer them. If Tommy Hanson and you live till May, you may change again.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Philothea Briggs

WITNEY, October 16, 1771.

MY DEAR PHILLY,--It is no fault to be grieved at the unkindness of those we love: only it may go to an excess; so that we have need to watch in this, as in all things, seeing the life of man is a temptation upon earth. And it is no fault not to grieve for the censure we must often meet with for following our own conscience. Of those little ones you cannot be too tender or too careful; and as you are frequently with them alone, you may teach them many important lessons as they are able to bear them. But it requires immense patience; for you must tell them the same thing ten times over, or you do nothing. [Compare his mother's patience. See Stevenson's Wesley Family, p. 169.]

An higher degree of that peace which may well be said to pass all understanding will keep, not only your heart, but all the workings of your mind (as the word properly signifies), both of your reason and imagination, from all irregular sallies. This peace will increase as your faith increases; one always keeps pace with the other. So that on this account also your continual prayer should be, 'Lord, increase my faith!' A continual desire is a continual prayer--that is, in a low sense of the word; for there is a far higher sense, such an open intercourse with God, such a close, uninterrupted communion with Him, as Gregory Lopez experienced, and not a few of our brethren and sisters now alive. One of them (a daughter of sorrow for a long time) was talking with me this morning. This you also should aspire after; as you know, He with whom we have to do is no respecter of persons.

If you are writing any verses, I will give you a subject. Give me a picture of yourself: what you are at present (as you have already told me in prose), and what you wish to be. You may write in four-lined stanzas, such as those of the 'Elegy wrote in the Churchyard.'

The more free you are with me the more welcome. You never yet was troublesome (and I am persuaded you never will be) to, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Robert Costerdine

LONDON, October 25, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Do what you can, and you do enough. No debt is properly included but that which was contracted three years ago. However, in such cases as that of Birmingham we may make an exception. [Costerdine was Assistant in Staffordshire. Birmingham received 12 at the Conference of 1772.] You are in the right to stop all who would tell you any stories of past things. Tell them, 'Now is the day of salvation,' and strongly exhort them to embrace it. Recommend the books wherever you go. Meet the children, and visit from house to house.--I am, dear Robert,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mrs. Bennis [33]


RYE, October 28, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is no wonder that finite cannot measure infinite, that man cannot comprehend the ways of God. There always will be something incomprehensible, something like Himself, in all His dispensations. We must therefore be content to be ignorant until eternity opens our understanding, particularly with regard to the reasons of His acting thus or thus. These we shall be acquainted with when in Abraham's bosom.

As thinking is the act of an embodied spirit, playing upon a set of material keys, it is not strange that the soul can make but ill music when her instrument is out of tune. This is frequently the case with you; and the trouble and anxiety you then feel are a natural effect of the disordered machine, which proportionately disorders the mind. But this is not all: as long as you have to wrestle, not only with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, wise as well as powerful, will they not serve themselves of every bodily weakness to increase the distress of the soul But let them do as they may; let our frail bodies concur with subtle and malicious spirits: yet see that you cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 'Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.' Whereunto you have attained hold fast; and when you feel the roughest and strongest assault, when the enemy comes in like a flood, do not reason, do not (in one sense) fight with him, but sink down in the presence of your Lord, and simply look up, telling Him, 'Lord, I cannot help myself; I have neither wisdom nor strength for this war; but I am Thine, I am all Thine: undertake for me; let none pluck me out of Thine hands. Keep that safe which is committed to Thee, and preserve it unto that day.'

I am in great hopes, if we live until another Conference, John Christian will be useful as a travelling preacher: so would J-- M-- [Evidently a local preacher in Limerick.] if he had courage to break through. However, I am pleased he exercises himself a little: encourage him. I wish you would lend Mrs. Dawson [See letter of March 31, 1772.] the Appeals: take them from the book-room, and present them to her in my name. Go yourself; for I wish you to be acquainted with her. I believe they will satisfy her about the Church. She halts just as I did many years ago. Be not shy towards Brother Collins: he is an upright man. Sister L-- is already doing good in Clonmel. [See letter of July 27, 1770.] Do you correspond with her

Your affectionate.

To Isaac Twycross [34]


RYE, October 29, 1771.

DEAR ISAAC,--Nothing is fixed as yet. But whatever God calls you to He will fit you for. Not, indeed, without a good measure of reproach; but so much the better. Reproach for doing our duty is an unspeakable blessing.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Isaac Twycross, At Kingswood School.

To Philothea Briggs

LONDON, November 3, 1771.

DEAR PHILLY,--I am always well pleased to see and hear from you. I answer you, more or less fully, as I have time. Neither do I know how to advise Nancy Greenwood; although I think he is free to marry.

Rollin was a pious man and a fine historian. If you read one volume, you would feel whether it enlivened or deadened your soul. The same trial you may make as to serious poetry. Very probably this would enliven your soul; and certainly the volumes of Philosophy may, as Galen entitles his description of the human body, 'An Hymn to the Creator.' Temporal business need not interrupt your communion with God, though it varies the manner of it.

It is certain every promise has a condition; yet that does not make the promise of none effect, but by the promise you are encouraged and enabled to fulfil the condition. You might like it better were there no condition; but that would not answer the design of Him that makes it. It is certain there are times of nearer access to God, and that it nearly imports us to improve those precious seasons. But we may find plausible objections against this, and indeed against anything. The more free you are with me, the more you oblige, my dear Philly,

Yours affectionately.

To Ann Bolton

LYNN, November 7, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--At length I have snatched an hour to repeat to you in writing the advices which I gave you before. [He had been at Witney on Oct. 15 and 16.] (1) Keep that safe which God has given you; never let slip any blessing which you have received. Regard none who tell you, 'You must lose it.' No; you never need lose one degree of love. (2) You never will, provided you are a careful steward of the manifold gifts of God. To him that hath--that is, uses what he hath--it shall be given still, and that more abundantly. Therefore (3) Use your every grace. Stir up the gift of God that is in you. Be zealous! Be active! Spare no one. Speak for God wherever you are. But meantime (4) Be humble; let all that mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. And be clothed with humility. Pray that you may always feel that you are nothing, less than nothing, and vanity. In this spirit speak and do everything, giving all the glory to Him that reigns in your heart by faith.

Last night I was reading some advices of a French author, part of which may be of use to you. Only observe, he is writing to one that had living faith, but was not perfected in love.

'How can I distinguish pride from temptation to pride' 'It is extremely difficult to distinguish these, and still more so to lay down rules for doing it. Our eyes cannot penetrate the ground of our hearts. Pride and vanity are natural to us; and for this reason nothing is more constantly at hand, nothing less observed, than their effects. The grand rule is to sound sincerely the ground of our hearts when we are not in the hurry of temptation. For if, on inquiry, we find that it loves obscurity and silence; that it dreads applause and distinction; that it esteems the virtue of others and excuses their faults with mildness; that it easily pardons injuries; that it fears contempt less and less; that it sees a falsehood and baseness in pride and a true nobleness and greatness in humility; that it knows and reveres the inestimable riches of the cross and the humiliations of Jesus Christ; that it fears the lustre of those virtues which are admired by men and loves those that are more secret; that it draws comfort even from its own defects through the abasement which they occasion; and that it prefers any degree of compunction before all the light in the world;--then you may trust that all the motions you feel tending to pride or vanity, whether they are sudden or are thrust against you for some time, are not sin, but temptation. And then it may be the best to turn from and despise them, instead of giving them weight, by fixing your attention upon them.'

I want a particular account both of your inward and outward health. Tell me how you are and what you are doing; withhold nothing from

Your affectionate friend and brother.

Write soon, or come: write and come.

To Mary Stokes

LYNN, November 9, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--How glad should I be could I be of any service to one I so tenderly regard! you have an heart susceptible of friendship; and shall it not be a blessing to you, a means of increasing every holy temper, and perhaps of guarding you against some of the dangerous temptations which are incident to youth

Shall I give you a few advices (1) Keep that safe which God has given; never let slip any blessing you have received. Regard none who tell you, 'You must lose it.' No; you may have more or less of joy--this depends upon a thousand circumstances; but you never need lose one degree of love. (2) You never will if you are a careful steward of the manifold gifts of God. To him that hath--that is, uses what he hath-- it shall be given still, and that more abundantly. Therefore (3) Use your every grace. Stir up the gift of God that is in you. Be zealous, be active, according to your strength. Speak for God wherever you are. But meantime (4) Be humble! Let all that mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. Pray for the whole spirit of humility, that you may still feel you are nothing, and may feel those words,

All might, all majesty, all praise,

All glory be to Christ my Lord!

I am accustomed to remember a few of my friends about ten o'clock in the morning: I must take you in among them, on condition you will likewise remember me at that time. I never shall think your letters too long.--My dear Molly,

Your affectionately.

To Matthew Lowes [35]


NORWICH, November 10, 1771.

DEAR MATTHEW,--I am glad you was able to do so much. You should do all you can, otherwise want of exercise will not lessen but increase your disorder. It may be travelling a little may restore your strength, though as yet you are not able to travel much. Certainly there is no objection to your making balsam while you are not considered as a travelling preacher. --I am, with love to Sister Lowes,

Your affectionate brother.

To John Valton [36]


NORWICH, November 12, 1771.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Many of our brethren have begun to assist their neighbours on the principles of the Primitive Physick. At first they prescribed only simple things, and God gave a blessing to their labours. But they seldom continued as they began; they grew more and more complex in their prescriptions. Beware of this; keep to the simple scheme. One thing will almost always do better than two.

I think there is a small tract of the kind you mention among those given away by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. If so, I can easily abridge it into a penny pamphlet. Dr. Tissot wrote for Swiss constitutions: we must make allowance for English, which are generally less robust.

In every place there is a remarkable blessing attending the meetings for prayer. A revival of the work of God is generally the consequence of them. The most prevailing fault among the Methodists is to be too outward in religion. We are continually forgetting that the kingdom of God is within us, and that our fundamental principle is, We are saved by faith, producing all inward holiness, not by works, by any externals whatever.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. John Valton, At Purfleet.

To Mary Bishop

LONDON, November 20, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--What if even before this letter comes to your hands our Lord should come to your heart Is He not nigh Is He not now knocking at the door What do you say 'Come in, my Lord, come in.' Are you not ready Are you not a mere sinner a sinner stripped of all Therefore all is ready for you. Fear not; only believe. Now believe, and enter into rest. How gracious is it in the kind Physician to humble you and prove you and show you what is in your heart! Now let Christ and love alone be there.

Sister Janes's experience is clear and scriptural [Thomas Janes was one of the Bristol preachers in 1770. See letter of Dec. 26 to Mary Stokes.]: I hope she does not let go anything that God has given her. I don't know anything of Mr. Morgan's Sermons [James Morgan, who wrote the Life of Thomas Walsh, published The Crucifed Jesus, considered in three discourses.]: some in Dublin think he is married, and some not. I hope the preachers at the chapel now let you alone and follow after peace. Mr. Fletcher's Letters [The First Check to Antinomianism had just appeared in the form of five letters.] have done much good here, and have given a deadly wound to Antinomianism.--I am, my dear Miss Bishop,

Yours affectionately.

To Samuel Bardsley

LONDON, November 24, 1771.

DEAR SAMMY,--It is a great blessing that your fellow labourers and you are all of one mind. [He was in Derbyshire Circuit with Thomas Olivers and David Evans.] When that is so, the work of the Lord will prosper in your hands. It will go on widening as well as deepening while you draw in one yoke. If you desire it should deepen in believers, continually exhort them to go on unto perfection, steadily to use all the grace they have received, and every moment to expect full salvation. The Plain Account of Christian Perfection you should read yourself more than once, and recommend it to all that are groaning for full redemption.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Bennis

CANTERBURY, December 3, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I did believe Brother Collins [See letter of Oct. 28.] would be of use to you and you may be of use to him: speak to each other without reserve, and then you will seldom meet in vain. Thrust him out to visit the whole Society (not only those that can give him meat and drink) from house to house, according to the plan laid down in the Minutes of Conference: then he will soon see the fruit of his labour. I hope he is not ashamed to preach full salvation receivable now by faith. This is the word which God will always bless, and which the devil peculiarly hates; therefore he is constantly stirring up both his own children and the weak children of God against it.

All that God has already given you hold fast. But expect to see greater things than these.

Your affectionate brother.

To Hannah Ball [37]


LONDON, December 9, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It always gives me pleasure to hear that you are not removed from the hope of the gospel. It is no wonder if, as your desires increase after the whole image of God, so your temptations, particularly from that enemy of all righteousness, should increase also. I trust Mr. Wells will be made a blessing to you and to many,--especially if he visits from house to house; not only those with whom he eats or drinks, but all the Society from one end of the town to the other. Forward him by all means in this labour of love, though many difficulties will attend it. But what are crosses and difficulties to those who experience the living power of faith divine You can do all things through Christ strengthening you, however grievous to flesh and blood. Now let the return of health be a blessing to you. Spend and be spent for a good Master.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Thomas Simpson [38]


CHATHAM, December 12, 1771.

DEAR TOMMY,--I make no doubt at all but God will give you strength according to your day.

I found John Glascock [Is this John Glascott who was converted at the school in April 1768, and became a preacher in 1782-3 He may have come from Cardiff. See letter of May 13, 1764.] in want of everything; I sent him to Kingswood, that he might want nothing. But, since he is neither thankful to God nor man, send him back again as soon as you please.

Whenever we can find a young man that can and will conscientiously observe the rules of the house, you shall have him directly. Is the young man of Coleford such an one If so, take him without delay.--I am, dear Tommy,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Thomas Simpson, Kingswood.

To S. L- [39]


LEWISHAM, December 14, 1771.

DEAR BROTHER,--For some time I have been in doubt whether it was best for me to write or to leave you to your own reflections. But at length love turns the scale. I cannot be silent any longer without being wanting in affection. I will therefore state the case as impartially as I can; and may God give you a right judgement in all things!

It has pleased God to entrust you with several talents--a measure of His grace, of natural understanding, improved by reading and conversation, and a tolerable utterance. And what are you doing with these talents You are wellnigh burying them in the earth. A dispensation of the gospel is committed to you; and yet you preach not the gospel, or but now and then, instead of continually stirring up the gift of God that is in you. Is this inactivity, this losing so many precious opportunities, owing to any temporal views Do you expect to get more money by delay I hope not. Do you want to avoid labour, shame, or censure I would fain think better things of you. Surely you have not so learned Christ!

But you have promised, not indeed to man, but before God, that you will not leave the Church. What do you mean by this What ideas do you affix to that confused expression In what sense can the officiating at West Street or Spitalfields Chapels (both of them consecrated places, if that avails anything) be called leaving the Church Does Mr. Dodd, one of the King's chaplains, leave the Church by officiating at Charlotte Street Chapel although this was never consecrated yet, neither is under any Episcopal jurisdiction.

But if you had made that promise ten times, still I ask, Would it not be 'more honoured in the breach than in the observance' For what was it you promised To wait for dead men's shoes Was not this a foolish promise To bury your talent in the earth Was not this a sinful promise To incur the woe of not preaching the gospel Is not this both foolish and sinful 'But you do not intend to stand in the vineyard all the day idle. You will but wait a while longer.' Well, how long will you be as a dumb dog twenty years or ten or one and a half If you have a lease of your life, well. But what if you are called in one year to give an account of your stewardship O live to-day! Do all the good you can while it is called to-day! Now stir up the gift of God which is in you! Now save as many souls as you can; and do all you can to ease the labour and prolong the life of

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To James Hutton [40]


December 26, 1771.

DEAR JAMES,--It really seems the time is come when our Lord will roll away our reproach, and Ephraim shall no more vex Judah, nor Judah vex Ephraim.

Frank Okeley and you, with my brother and me, so many at least, are lovers of peace. After having seen above half a century of years, we are sick of strife and contention. If we do not yet think alike, we may at least love alike. And, indeed, unity of affection is a good step forward toward unity of judgement. We need not despair of getting farther by-and-by: the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass. Nothing will be wanting that is in the power of, dear James,

Your old friend and brother.

To Mr. Hutton, At Lindsey House, Chelsea.

To Mary Stokes [41]


LONDON, December 26, 1771.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Sanctified crosses are blessings indeed; and when it is best, our Lord will remove them. A peculiar kind of watching, to which you are now called, is against the suggestions of that wicked one who would persuade you to deny or undervalue the grace of God which is in you. Beware of mistaking his voice for the voice of the Holy One. Do justice to Him that lives and reigns in you, and acknowledge His work with thankfulness. There is no pride in doing this: it is only giving Him His due, rendering Him the glory of His own graces. But in order to this you stand in continual need of the unction, to abide with you and teach you of all things. So shall you never lose anything of what God has given; neither the blessing itself nor the witness of it. Nay, rather you shall sink deeper and deeper into His love; you shall go on from faith to faith; and patience shall have its perfect work, until you are perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Cannot poor Molly Jones discern the difference between John Pawson and T. Janes [See letter in Jan. 1772 to Miss Stokes.] In Tommy's conversation there is nothing solid or weighty, as neither was there in his preaching. Therefore neither religion nor sound reason would lead one to admit either one or the other. It is only free, open love, however shy she may be, whereby you can make any impression upon her. And love, seconded with prayer, will persuade.

Do you not find as much life in your soul as ever Can you still give God all your heart Do you find as much of the spirit of prayer and the same zeal for God Go on, in His name and in the power of His might, trampling yours and His enemies under your feet.--My dear Molly,

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Bolton

LONDON, December 28, 1771.

I hope this affliction will be a great blessing to your brother. Lose no time in encouraging him to turn to God in earnest. Do you feel as much life in your soul as ever Are you as happy as you were Do you find as much of the spirit of prayer And are you as active for God as when I saw you Is your heart whole with Him, free from idols I am jealous over you. I was in many fears, occasioned by your long silence. I want you to be gaining ground every hour. I love Mr. Hallward [See letter of March 9, 1771]; but do not let him proselyte you to his opinion. Write soon to

Your affectionate brother.

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