Wesley Center Online

The Letters of John Wesley




JANUARY 8, 1774, TO DECEMBER 27, 1776



To Joseph Benson, Edinburgh [1]

LONDON January 8, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--Many persons are in danger of reading too little; you are in danger of reading too much. Wherever you are, take up your cross and visit all the Society from house to house. Do this according to Mr. Baxter’s plan, laid down in the Minutes of the Conference [See Minutes for 1766; works, viii. 302-3, 315]. The fruit which will ensure (perhaps in a short time), will abundantly reward your labor. Fruit also we shall have, even in those who have no outward connection with us.

I am glad you ' press all believers ' to aspire after the full liberty of the children of God. They must not give up their faith in order to do this; herein you formerly seemed to be in some mistake. Let them go on from faith to faith--from weak faith to that strong faith which not only conquers but casts out sin. Meantime it is certain many call themselves believers who do not even conquer sin, who are strangers to the whole inward kingdom of God and void of the whole fruit of the Spirit.

We must not go on at Dunbar in this manner. Rather we must quit the place. For who will pay that debt

On Tuesday I was under the surgeon’s hands, but am now (blessed be God) quite recovered [See next letter].--I am, dear Joseph,

Yours affectionately.



To James Hutton




LEWISHAM, January 8, 1774.

DEAR JEMMY,--On Tuesday I was tapped by Mr. Wathen [See letter of Dec. 31, 1773], and now (blessed be God) I am well and easy. I hope yours is an hydrocele; because, if so, it admits of an easy remedy. The being tapped, if you have a skilful surgeon, is no more than being let blood. I expect dominucete’s fumes will do you neither harm nor good [Hutton wrote to the Moravian Society on Jan. 16 resigning his position as Chairman on account of his deafness. See Benham’s Hutton, p.496. Domine stekan a corruption of Dominus tecum].

If you can spare half an hour on Monday, I shall be glad of your company. I will endeavor to be at Mr. Atwood’s [Wesley dined with Atwood on various occasions, See Journal Index], house (one of the King’s musicians) by two o'clock on Monday. He lives at Pimlico, just behind the Queen’s Gardens.

I suppose Mr. Rivington’s advertisement is only a puff, as the booksellers call it.--I am, dear Jemmy,

Yours affectionately.

To John Mason

LONDON, January 10, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--It is nothing strange that those who love the world should not love to continue with us. Our road is too strait.

Down the stream of nature driven,

They seek a broader path to heaven.

However, let us keep in the good old way; and we know it will bring us peace at the last.

If you press all the believers to go on to perfection and to expect deliverance from sin every moment, they will grow in grace. But if ever they lose that expectation, they will grow flat and cold.

Last week I was under the surgeon’s hands; but am now (blessed be God) better than I have been for some years.--I am Your affectionate friend and brother.

To his Brother Charles [2]

LONDON, January 13, 1774.

DEAR BROTHER,--Probably, if I live another year, I may need Mr. Wathen again; but as yet it is not easy to determine. However, I am at present perfectly well.

Your advice with regard to Mr. D[avis] is good. He is very quiet, but not very useful

To tell you my naked thoughts (which I do not tell to every one), I have talked with Ralph Mather again and again. I think verily I never met with such another man. I am much inclined to think (though he is not infallible, neither of an uncommon natural understanding) that he is now as deep in grace as G. Lopez was.

I mean Dr. Boyce. I am glad Charles is at home. [But why should you not have him to your hour is the question. You are a man!]

No truth in it at all. A mere Georgian story.

I think God raised up out of the dust T. Olivers in the room of poor decrepit Walter Sellon. The conclusion of his book is noble: true, strong oratory.

Goldsmith’s History and Hooke’s are far the best. I think I shall make them better. My view in writing history (as in writing philosophy) is to bring God into it. When I talk with Ralph Mather, I am amazed and almost discouraged. What have I been doing for seventy years!

Peace be with you and yours! Adieu.

To the Rev. Mr. C. Wesley, In Bristol.

To Mrs. Bennis [3]

LONDON, January 18, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--A will steadily and uniformly devoted to God is essential to a state of sanctification, but not an uniformity of joy or peace or happy communion with God. These may rise and fall in various degrees; nay, and may be affected either by the body or by diabolical agency, in a manner which all our wisdom can neither understand nor prevent. As to wanderings, you would do right well to consider the sermon on Wandering Thoughts [See Works, vi. 23-32]: you might likewise profit by Elizabeth Harper’s Journal, whose experience much resembled yours, only she was more simple; and you may learn from her to go straight to God as a little child, and tell Him all your troubles and hindrances and doubts, and desire Him to turn them all to good. You are not sent to Waterford to be useless. Stir up the gift of God which is in you; gather together those that have been scattered abroad, and make up a band, if not a class or two. Your best way would be to visit from house to house. By this means you can judge of their conduct and dispositions in domestic life, and may have opportunity to speak to the young of the family. By motion you will contract warmth; by imparting fife you will increase it in yourself.

As to the circumstance mentioned in the postscript of your last, I should think you would do well to exert yourself in that matter as much as possible [On Dec. 29, 1773, she wrote from Waterford, where she found the people very dead. There is no postscript to the printed letter]. It will be a cross: take up that cross, bear your cross, and it will bear you; and if you do it with a single eye, it will be no loss to your soul.--I am, my dear sister, Your affectionate brother.

To Isaac Twycross

LONDON, January 18, 1774.

DEAR ISAAC,--I have not received any letter from you since I saw you in London. There is no danger that I should be displeased at any one for speaking freely to me. You have known me long enough to know this. I speak just what I think to all, and I would have all speak so to me. I advise you, Let not mercy or truth forsake you whatever company you are in; but bind them about your neck and

write them on the table of your heart!--I am Your affectionate brother.

To be left at Mr. Bold’s [See letter of May 6 to Charles Wesley],

In Brecon.

To Ann Bolton [4]

LONDON, January 20, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You in your little station, as I in mine, have abundance of trouble and care and hurry. And I too have often thought, Had I not better throw off some part at least of the burthen But I think again, Is it my burthen Did I choose it for myself Is it not the cup which my Father hath given me And do I bear it for my own sake, or for the profit of many that they may be saved

Let me not hurt my dear friend if upon such an occasion I speak with all plainness. You are now highly favored. I trust God has made you a partaker of His great salvation. He has given you a good understanding improved by experience and free conversation with many of His dearest children. He has placed you as a city set upon an hill in a situation wherein you have full exercise for all your talents. 'But there are many crosses therein.' There are--that is, many means of brightening all your graces.

And is it a little thing that would induce my sister, my friend to quit such a situation as this

If, indeed, you could enlarge the sphere of your action; if you could be more extensively useful; or if you could have a closer union than you ever had yet with a person of very eminent grace and understanding, I should instantly acknowledge the call of God and say, ' Go, and the Lord will be with thee!' But I can see nothing of this in your present case. All dark, I fear; evil is before you.

When John Fletcher pressed Mary Bosanquet [They were married in 1781] much, she said (desiring my advice concerning it), 'If I change my situation, it must be with one I can not only love but highly reverence and esteem: one that is qualified to be my guide; one who is eminent not only in grace but likewise in understanding.' I would add, ' And one that will furnish you with full liberty of action that you may exercise your every grace.' Give me such an one for my beloved friend, and I will instantly wish you God speed!

You see I speak without reserve; and I hope the die is cast. Speak you as freely to

Your affectionate friend.

To Thomas Wride

LONDON, January 22, 1774.

DEAR TOMMY,--John Hilton [See letters of Nov. 12, 1773 (to Christopher Hopper), and Aug. 18, 1775] is a pleasing preacher, but perhaps not so deep as some others. Yet I suppose he is and will be a popular one. He has a good person and an agreeable utterance.

You did exactly right in not countenancing hymns [Wride said in a letter to Wesley that he refused to sing or sell certain fine new hymns made and printed by William Ramsden] not publicly received among us. Were we to encourage tittle poets, we should soon be overrun. But there is not the least pretence for using any new hymns at Christmas, as some of my brother's Christmas hymns are some of the finest compositions in the English tongue.

Arthur Kershaw [See letter of Oct. 22, 1773] should have wrote to me before he left Northampton. Where is he or what is he doing

Tommy, be mild, be gentle toward all men.--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mary Bishop

LONDON, January 26, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--When I observe anything amiss in your temper or behavior, I shall hardly fail to tell you of it; for I am persuaded you would not only suffer it but profit by advice or reproof. I have been sometimes afraid you did not deal plainly enough with the young women under your care. There needs much courage and faithfulness, that you may do all that in you ties to present them faultless before the throne.

I do not know whether there is any other outward employ which would be so proper for you as that you are now engaged in. You have scope to use all the talents which God has given you, and that is the most excellent way. You have likewise a most admirable exercise for your patience, either in the dullness or forwardness of your little ones. And some of these will learn from you, what is of the greatest importance, to know themselves and to know God. You must not, therefore, relinquish this station lightly--not without full and clear proof that God calls you so to do. Meantime bear your cross, and it will bear you. Seek an inward, not an outward change. What you want is only inward liberty, the glorious liberty of the children of God. And how soon may you enjoy this! Who knows what a day, an hour, a moment may bring forth How soon may you hear 'the voice that speaks Jehovah near'! Why should it not be to-day--I am, my dear sister,

Yours affectionately.

Miss Bishop, Near the Cross Bath,

In Bath.

To Mary Bosanquet [5]

LONDON, February 9, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--The mob which hurt not me but the old hired chaise which I then used made their assault some months since at Enniskillen in Ireland. We are little troubled at present with English mobs, and probably shall not while King George III lives.

In July I hope to see you in Cross Hall. My spring journey lies thus: Manchester, April 4; Monday, April 18, Halifax; Tuesday, Huddersfield, Dewsbury; Thursday, Bradford; Sunday, 24, Haworth Church.

Surely, though we have seen great things already, we shall see greater than these. ' If thou canst believe! ' That is the point; then what is impossible--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Bolton

LONDON, February 17, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--As our friends who write to me from Witney observe, Mr. Saunderson might be useful if he continued with you. But I have promised, not only to him but also to several at Edinburgh, that he should come with me when I came into Scotland [See letter of Feb. 27]. Joseph Bradford, who succeeds him for the present, is much devoted to God, and he is active and laborious. Tell him if you think anything wanting. I doubt not he will take it well.

The manner wherein you receive advice encourages me to give it you freely [See letter of Jan. 20]. I am fully persuaded that is not the person. He has neither such a measure of understanding nor of spiritual experience as to advance you either in divine knowledge or in the life of God. Therefore yield to no importunity, and be as peremptory as you can consistent with civility. This is the wisest way with regard for you and the kindest with regard to him. I should have desired you to meet me at Stroud, March 14; but on this account [Probably the gentleman lived at Stroud] it seems not expedient.

I have often examined myself (to speak without any reserve) with respect to you, and I find ' no fever’s heat, no fluttering spirits dance,' but a steady rational affection, ' calm as the warmth of life.’ [Probably based on Young’s Night Thoughts, viii.]

March 2, 1774. I found the above (which I thought had been finished and sent) among my papers this morning. I hope you did not think you were forgotten by, my dear Nancy,

Your ever affectionate brother.

To his Brother Charles

DEPTFORD, February 22, 1774.

DEAR BROTHER,--I have seen Mr. Leddiard [One of Charles Wesley’s Bristol friends, evidently visiting London. See his Journal, ii. 270, 275, 279]. Speak a few words in the congregation, and the remaining tracts will be sold in a quarter of an hour [Wesley published his Thoughts on Slavery in 1774. See Green’s Bibliography, No. 298].

Surely you should reprint the depositions; only leaving out the names both of captains and ships.

Read on. The farther you read in Thomas’s [A Scourge to Calumny, by Thomas Olivers. See letter of Jan. 13] tract the better you will like it. I never saw it till it was printed.

Miss March [See letters of March 4, 1760, and June 17, 1774, to her] is likely to recover; she rides out every day. Mrs. G---is not joined with the Germans. I believe Miss B----is. Miss F----is in town.

To-day, Henry Hammond [In 1766 Charles Wesley persuaded Hammond, ‘a poor wandering sheep that did run well for years, but left us upon his marriage, and Christ too,’ to go to Spitalfields Chapel after twelve years’ interruption. He returned to the fold, and was a regular attendant. See C. Wesley’s Journal, ii. 216-17] and Jo. Bates pleading on the one side, Mr. Horton and Ley on the other, Mr. D[avis] [See letters of Jan. 13 and May 6 to Charles Wesley] had a full hearing. In the end he desired (not demanded) that some compensation might be made him for his losses. This is to be referred to the committee which meets to-morrow night. I shall not be there, but at Lewisham.

We join in love to you and yours.

To Martha Chapman

NEAR LONDON, February 25, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I should have been glad to see you at Newbury [He was there on March 7]; but the will of our Lord is best.

You can never speak too strongly or explicitly upon the head of Christian Perfection. If you speak only faintly and indirectly, none will be offended and none profited. But if you speak out, although some will probably be angry, yet others will soon find the power of God unto salvation.

You have good encouragement from the experience of her whom God has lately taken to Himself [Bilhah Aspernell. See letter of Nov. 9, 1753, to Mr. Gillespie]. Speak to all, and spare not. Be instant in season, out of season; and pray always with all perseverance, particularly for

Yours affectionately.

To Walter Churchey [6]

NEAR LONDON, February 25, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--The deliverance of our two fellow travelers should certainly be matter of thankfulness, to grace prevailing over nature. And should it not be a means of stirring up those that remain to greater zeal and diligence in serving Him who will be our Guide even unto death Should not you labor to convince and stir up others, that they may supply the place of those that are called away And let us lose no time. Work while it is day; the night cometh, wherein no man can work.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To John Fletcher [7]

LONDON, February 26, 1774.

DEAR SIR,--In going down, my route lies, Tuesday, March 8, Bristol; Wednesday, the 16th, Worcester; Saturday, the 19th, Birmingham; Monday, the 21st, and Tuesday, Wednesbury. I do not know that I shall come any nearer to Madeley then. But if I live to return, I hope to be at Salop on Thursday, July 28, and at Madeley on Saturday and Sunday.

The prejudiced will say anything, everything of us; but it is enough that we stand or fall to our own Master. That expression 'the necessary union between faith and good works' must be taken with a grain of allowance; otherwise it would infer irresistible grace and infallible perseverance. You will please to send the Essays and Equal Check to London unstitched. I hope they will do good; but I doubt they will not shame the Calvinists. The young man did act by her instructions, which I never heard she had recalled. So at present what they do is her act and deed. 'Tis well He that is higher than the highest doth regard it. And what can hurt us while we cleave to Him with our whole heart--I am, dear sir,

Ever yours.

To Hannah Ball

LONDON, February 27. 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--If not now, yet we shall probably live to meet again; and the great comfort is that we shall meet and part no more. Before Mr. Saunderson came into Oxford Circuit I promised him that he should travel with me in spring. Another will come in his place that is much alive to God. Some will be profited by one, and some by the other.

There are two general ways wherein it phases God to lead His children to perfection--doing and suffering. And let Him take one or the other, we are assured. His way is best. If we are led chiefly in the latter way, the less there is of our own choice in it the better. It is when we fly from those sufferings which God chooses for us that we meet with 'spiritual deaths' and 'spiritual martyrdoms,' as some speak that is, plainly, God punishes us either by Himself or by the devil for going out of His way. Nay, but keep in His way! Do and suffer just what seemeth Him good.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Bennis [8]

LONDON, March 1, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER.--Elizabeth Harper was frequently in clouds too; and in that case it is the best way to stand still: you can do nothing but simply tell all your wants to Him that is both able and willing to supply them.

I enclose James Perfect's letter, on purpose that you may talk with him. He has both an honest heart and a good understanding; but you entirely mistake his doctrine. He preaches salvation by faith in the same manner that my brother and I have done, and as Mr. Fletcher (one of the finest writers of the age) has beautifully explained it. None of us talk of being accepted for our works; that is the Calvinist slander. But we all maintain we are not saved without works, that works are a condition (though not the meritorious cause) of final salvation. It is by faith in the righteousness and blood of Christ that we are enabled to do all good works; and it is for the sake of these that all who fear God and work righteousness are accepted of Him.

It is far better for our people not to hear Mr. Hawksworth. Calvinism will do them no good. As to the rest, I refer to my enclosure to Mr. M'Donald, with whom I wish you to have some conversation. Be not discouraged: I really believe God will visit poor Waterford in love. Do you go on. Bear up the hands that hang down; by faith and prayer support the tottering knee; reprove, encourage. Have you appointed any days of fasting and prayer Storm the throne of grace, and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.--I am, my dear sister, Your affectionate brother.

To Joseph Benson

LONDON, March 4, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I am glad you have been at Greenock, and think it highly expedient that you should follow the blow. Meantime let Brother Broadbent supply Glasgow and Billy Thompson Edinburgh. I think with you that it is no great matter if Dunbar be left for a season. When you have been three or four weeks at Greenock and Port Glasgow, Brother Broadbent should change with you. But I agree with you the harvest cannot be large till we can preach abroad.

Before I settled my plan that thought occurred, 'It would be better to go a little later into Scotland.' Accordingly I have contrived not to be at Glasgow till Friday, the 6th of May, coming by way of Edinburgh. Probably it may then be practicable to take the field. I incline to think it will be of use for you to spend another year in that circuit.--I am, dear Joseph, Your affectionate brother.

To Thomas Stedman

BRISTOL, March 10, 1774.

DEAR SIR,--I thank you for your welcome present. It pleases God to carry on His work in every part of the nation, although at some places in a more especial manner, particularly in Yorkshire. The Works will be comprised in thirty volumes, two shillings and sixpence each. The twenty-eighth is now in the press.

The Preface concludes thus: 'It may be needful to mention one thing more, because it is a little out of the common way. In the Extract from Milton's Paradise Lost and in that from Dr. Young’s Night Thoughts I placed a mark before those passages which I judged were most worthy of the reader’s notice. The same thing I have taken the liberty to do throughout the ensuing volumes.'

Commending you to Him whose you are, and whom you serve, I am, dear sir,

Your affectionate brother.

To the Revd. Mr. Stedman, At Cheverel,

Near the Devizes, Wilts.

To Isaac Twycross

WORCESTER, March 17, 1774.

DEAR ISSAC,--Because you desire it, I write again. You do well to follow after peace. Nothing is more desirable: one would give up anything for it but a good conscience. And the only way whereby you can secure it is to walk closely with God. So long as your ways please Him He will make even your enemies to be at peace with you. Be serious! Be earnest! Be little in your own eyes, and God will order all things well!--I am

Your affectionate brother.

At Trevecca, Near the Hay, Brecon.

To Hannah Ball

LIVERPOOL, April 12, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--When it pleases God to take any of His children to Himself, especially those that have been eminent in His service, He usually sends a gracious rain upon the survivors. And He has not done yet. You are to expect more and more instances of His love and of His power to save unto the uttermost.

I hope you will have many opportunities of conversing with Joseph Bradford, and that you will speak to him with all freedom. He is plain and downright. Warn him gently not to speak too fast or too loud, and tell him if he does not preach strongly and explicitly concerning perfection. Go on in the Lord and in the power of His might. Warn every one, as you have opportunity, and exhort every one, that you may present every one perfect in Christ Jesus.--I am, my dear sister Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Bennis [9]

LEEDS, May 2, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Until Mr. Hill and his associates puzzled the cause, it was as plain as plain could be. The Methodists always held, and have declared a thousand times, the death of Christ is the meritorious cause of our salvation --that is, of pardon, holiness, and glory; loving, obedient faith is the condition of glory. This Mr. Fletcher has so illustrated and confirmed, as I think scarcely any one has done before since the Apostles.

When Mr. Wrigley wrote me a vehement letter concerning the abuse he had received from the young men in Limerick, and his determination to put them all out of the Society if they did not acknowledge their fault, I much wondered what could be the matter, and only wrote him word, 'I never put any out of our Society for anything they say of me.' You are come in good time to make peace. Go on, and prosper.

Your ever affectionate.

To John Atlay [10]

WHITEHAVEN, May 6, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Send no books till you have the accounts. I have desired T. Lewis to send you fifty pounds for Mr. Hawes to pay Mr. Nind the papermaker fifty, and (when he has his general accounts) two hundred pounds to Mr. Pine; so I hope you will soon be able to answer your other demands and to keep your head above water. I am not sorry that Robert Yates cannot come. It seems it might be well either to take in that little room or some other spot you agree upon.

For the present you must not go out of town or be from the Foundery on Tuesday or Thursday evenings. But what think you Could you be my clerk for a twelvemonth (as much longer as you please). Instead of the f22 a year which you have for Sister Atlay and you, I would willingly give you fifty.--I am, with love to Sister Atlay,

Yours affectionately.

To Mr. Atlay, At the Foundery)


To his Brother Charles

WHITEHAVEN, May 6, 1774.

DEAR BROTHER,--With or without Mr. Southcote, he need not print nonsense, which he has done in an hundred places.

I will give nothing and spend nothing out of it--not a shilling; and what is paid can but be repaid. Nothing is hereby embezzled.

Duty is all I consider. Trouble and reproach I value not. And I am by no means clear that I can with a good conscience throw away what I think the providence of God has put into my hands. Were it not for the Chancery suit, I should not hesitate a moment. My complaint increases by slow degrees, much the same as before. It seems I am likely to need a surgeon every nine or ten weeks. Mr. Hey, of Leeds, vehemently advises me never to attempt what they call a radical cure.

You did tell me Mr. D[avies] had accepted of your mare. But surely there are more mares in the kingdom!

I never said a word of 'publishing it after my death.' I judged it my duty to publish it now; and I have as good a fight to believe one way as any man has to believe another. I was glad of an opportunity of declaring myself on the head. I beg Hugh Bold to let me think as well as himself, and to believe my judgement will go as far as his. I have no doubt of the substance both of Glanvill's and Cotton Mather’s narratives. Therefore in this point you that are otherwise-minded bear with me.

Veniam petimusque damusque vicissim. Remember, I am, upon full consideration and seventy years’ experience, just as obstinate in my opinion as you in yours. Don't you think the disturbances in my father’s house were a Cock Lane story Peace be with you and yours!

To Mrs. Savage [11]

WHITEHAVEN, May 6, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You send me an agreeable account of the work of God in Worcester. I expected that He would give a blessing to the zeal and activity of your present preachers, and of Mr. Collins in particular, who is everywhere of use to those that are simple of heart. But much also depends upon the spirit and behavior of those who are united together. If their love does not grow cold; if they continue walking in the Spirit, using the grace they have already received, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour, and going on to perfection, their light, shining before men, will incite many to glorify our Father which is in heaven.

I am glad to hear that Billy Savage and you are still pressing toward the mark. Indeed, God will permit all the grace you have to be tried. He prepares occasions of fighting, that you may conquer; yea, in all these things you shall be more than conquerors through Him that loveth you. To His tender care I commit you; and am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Ann Bolton

WHITEHAVEN, May 8, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Have you quite forgotten me It would not be strange if you had, but rather if you had not, considering the many things you have to think of, your much business, and your many correspondents. But it would be strange if I were to forget you. I could as soon forget myself. I know not how it is that you have for some time past seemed nearer to me than ever. I think ever since I saw you last I have indulged a pleasing expectation that there will be a more free and open intercourse between us than there has been yet. Is your heart as my heart Do you desire there should Or are you indifferent about it Nay, I think you are not, and I think I may judge of you by what I feel in myself. And if so,

Who shall our souls disjoin

Souls that Himself vouchsafed to unite

In fellowship divine.

I want to hear how you go in your new way of life. Is it likely to answer your brother’s expectations with regard to temporal affairs In so short a time you cannot know much, but you may form some little conjecture. Do you give attention enough and not too much to the various businesses that lie upon you I know you will be diligent therein. But are you too diligent, so as to engage too much of your time and thoughts to entrench upon things of an higher nature To deprive yourself of sufficient time for exercises of a nobler kind If you should intermit these on account of any business whatever, I doubt you would suffer loss. There would be a danger that the tenor of your spirit should cool by imperceptible degrees, and that your mind should be too much engaged in the things of this world. For many years my mother was employed in abundance of temporal business while my father, who meddled with no temporals, had his living in his own hands. Yet she never suffered anything to break in upon her stated hours of retirement, which she sacredly observed from the age of seventeen or eighteen to seventy-two. Let my friend tread in the steps of my mother. Follow her as she followed Christ. Do not delay to write and tell me just how you are and what you do. Everything that concerns you very nearly concerns me, my dear Nancy,

Your friend and brother.

Any time this month direct to me at Edinburgh.

To Elizabeth Ritchie [12]

WHITEHAVEN, May 8, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--It is not common for me to write to any one first; I only answer those that write to me. But I willingly make an exception with regard to you; for it is not a common concern that I feel for you. You are just rising into life; and I would fain have you not almost but altogether a Christian. I would have you just such an one as Miranda. And you cannot be content with less: you cannot be satisfied with right notions; neither with harmlessness; no, nor yet with barely external religion, how exact so ever it be. Nay, you will not be content with a taste of inward religion. This it has pleased God to give you already. You know in whom you have believed; you have tasted of the powers of the word to come; but

A taste of love cannot suffice;

Your soul for all His fullness cries!

Cry on, and never cease! Mind not those who rebuke you that you should hold your peace. Cry so much the more, 'Jesus of Nazareth, take away all my sins! Leave none remaining! Speak the word only, and I shall be healed!' Write freely to Yours affectionately.

To Ann Bolton

GLASGOW, May 13, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--You give me a pleasing account of the work of God which seems to be dawning about Tavistock. It is probable you was sent thither for this. Redeem the time; buy up every opportunity; and never be discouraged, although many fair blossoms should fall off and never ripen into fruit. How gladly should I pay you a visit there! But I know not how I can do it this summer, unless I was to miss Stroud and come directly from Cheltenham. But I will say no more of it yet. I hope to hear from you again and again before that time.

Take care you do not forget poor Witney! Be mindful of your eldest care! I am not content that you should be pinned down to any one place. That is not your calling. Methinks I want you to be (like me) here and there and everywhere. Oh what a deal of work has our Lord to do on the earth! And may we be workers together with Him!

What mighty wonders love performs

That puts such dignity on worms.

Don’t forget me. I think few love you better than, my dear Nancy, Yours affectionately.

[On leaf after the letter:]

Now you write like a woman of business. They commonly leave out the I, and say, 'Shall come. Shall do so,’ not I shall.

To Miss Bolton, In Witney.

To Christopher Hopper

GLASGOW, May 14, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Ought such a man as John Horner to starve God forbid that we should suffer it. I beg of you to do these two things: (I) Procure a friend to call his creditors together and state his case. His integrity will easily be shown; and surely, when he has given up his all, they will be willing to clear him. (2) When he is clear, then set on foot a subscription for him. We must needs set him above want.

Here are many people in North Britain that ask, Will Mr. Hopper never come to see us again In several places the work of God both widens and deepens. Oh for zealous and active laborers!--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Walter Churchey [13]

GLASGOW, May 15, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I cannot but agree with you entirely in respect of John Prickard. Unless he has a clearer call than I apprehend, he ought not to go to America. The reason is plain: there is a greater call for him in Wales than in the Province of New York or Pennsylvania. And there is no call at all in the Northern or Southern Provinces. To go thither is stark, staring madness. But if John has a mind, he may come to the Conference at Bristol and talk with me about it.

T. Judson, at No. 11, in Carey Court, Gray's Inn, is a Christian attorney. I ordered the third epistle to be sent to your sister, and I suppose it was. Your friend Joseph Benson sits at my elbow and is much at your service.--I am, with love to Sister Churchey, Your affectionate brother.

PS.--I have seen an exceeding well-wrote book, an Introduction to the Study of the Law, published eleven or twelve years ago, I think, by one Simpson. It is a thin octavo. You should have it if you have it not already.

The Conference begins the second week in August. Immediately after it I hope to see you in Brecon.

To Mr. Walter Churchey,

Near the Hay, Brecon.

To his Wife

EDINBURGH, May 18, 1774.

MY DEAR LOVE,--I am just now come hither from Glasgow, and take this opportunity of writing two or three lines. I desire you would let Mr. Pine have an hundred pounds of that money which is in your hands, provided he gives you his full account first: which I must beg of you to send to London to John Atlay, together with fifty pounds for Mr. Nind, the paper-maker, and fifty pounds for Robert Hawes. There is no use in letting the money lie dead. If I do not administer, I can but pay this again. I am just going to preach, and am in great haste.--My dear Molly,

Your affectionate Husband.

To Mrs. Mary Wesley, In Bristol.

To Mrs. Crosby

EDINBURGH, June 3, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I have received an excellent letter from Betsy Ritchie. Her experience seems to be exceeding clear. But her youth will expose her to many temptations within, and her circumstances to many from without. So that you have need tenderly and carefully to watch over her, lest she be moved from her steadfastness. I am persuaded our dear Sister Clapham will not rest until she is conformed in all things to our Head.

I have been considering (as our friends so much desire it) whether I could not spend another night at Leeds. And I think I can consider it by taking a night from York. I purpose, God willing, to leave York on Wednesday, July 13; to dine at Leeds that day, and preach there at half-hour past six in the evening. So my horses may stay there till I come. If Wakefield be in the way to Doncaster, I could preach there at nine in the morning, on Thursday, July 14.

Wherever the preachers simply and strongly insist upon full salvation, a blessing will attend their word.

I was glad to observe a freer intercourse between Miss Bosanquet and you than formerly. If possible, Satan would keep you asunder. Be not ignorant of his devices. Pray speak freely to Duncan Wright. I am afraid he has suffered loss.

Peace be with all your spirits!--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Miss J. C. March


You are living witness of two great truths: the one, that there cannot be a lasting, steady enjoyment of pure love without the direct testimony of the Spirit concerning it, without God's Spirit shining on His own work; the other, that setting perfection too high is the ready way to drive it out of the world. A third thing you may learn from your own experience is that the heart of man contains things that one would think incompatible. Such are the tempers and sensations of those especially that are renewed in love. Some of them seem to be quite inconsistent with others; so that, if we give way to reasoning on this head, if we will not believe what God has wrought till we can account for all the circumstances attending it, till we know how these things can be, we shall bewilder ourselves more and more, and

Find no end, in wandering mazes lost.

I believe one thing which has hurt you is that kind of silence. One use of your present journey may be this: Learn to speak for God without either fear or shame. You have need to be more simple. Look straight forward; eye one thing! Do not consider that you are a woman or a gentlewoman. Do not you bear an higher character What! know you not that your very body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you Therefore glorify God with your body and with your spirit. Give Him the praise that is due unto His name.

I am glad you are going to Stroud. It is probable you will see that good young woman, A. Esther. If you do, I hope you will be enabled to encourage her, that she may hold fast the good gift of God. Her experience was exceeding clear when I talked with her last. If possible, guard her against evil reasoning, that she may never let go her simplicity. Peace be with all your spirits!

To Elizabeth Ritchie [14]

EDINBURGH, June 3, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--I shall much want to hear that you stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free. It is absolutely certain that you never need lose anything of what God has wrought. He is able and He is willing to give you always what He has once given. He will do it, provided you watch unto prayer and stir up the gift of God which is in you. There is one invariable rule which God observes in all His dealings with the children of men: ' Unto him that hath,' uses what he hath, ' shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly.' When we are justified, He gives us one talent; to those that use this He gives more. When we are sanctified, He gives, as it were, five talents. And if you use the whole power which is then given, He will not only continue that power but increase it day by day. Meantime be not ignorant of Satan's devices: he will assault you on every side; he will cast temptations upon you

Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the ground.

But with every temptation there shall be a way to escape; and you shall be more than conqueror through Him that loves you. You can do, you can suffer His whole will. Go on in His name and in the power of His might; and fulfil the joy of

Yours affectionately.



To his Wife


MY DEAR LOVE,--Last night Billy Smith gave me your letter. I had some time since had an account from John Pawson of what occurred in Bristol between him and you. Your behavior as to the money was admirable. You did yourself much honor thereby. You behaved like a woman of honor, sense, and conscience. O why shoed not you behave so in everything If it were possible for you to observe but one thing, 'Commit your cause unto the Lord, and speak nothing against me behind my back,' the people in general will love you. Till then they cannot.--I am, my dear Love,

Your affectionate Husband.

It is believed John Fenwick cannot last twelve hours

To Mrs. Wesley, At the Foundery,


To Miss Lewin

WEARDALE, June 12, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--The word of our Lord to you just now is, ' Open thy mouth wide, and I will fit it.' Whereunto you have attained hold fast, and the residue of the promises is at hand.

Mr. Saunderson is necessarily detained at Edinburgh, being to answer for himself on the 24th instant before the Lord's Justiciaries. I had the honor myself of being sent to the Tollbooth, and am only out upon bail. Billy Thompson, who travels with me in his stead, will speak to a few more of our friends.

I think Miss Rhodes should try, together with constant riding, decoction of nettles every night and morning.

In any wise the horses should be broke to go in a chaise. I wish you would send them to Leeds the day that I come.

Peace be with your spirits! I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mary Bishop

SUNDERLAND, June 17, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is something strange that I should never hear of your illness till I hear of your recovery. Both the one and other were designed for blessings, and I doubt not have proved so to you. Since I saw you first I have not observed much reason for reproving. But we have all need of advice and exhortation, else we should soon be weary and faint in our minds. It is to be expected that above one half of those who not only profess great things, but actually enjoy the great salvation, deliverance from inbred sin, will nevertheless sooner or later be moved from their steadfastness. Some of them, indeed, will recover what they had lost; others will die in their sins. The observing this should incite us to double watchfulness lest we should fall after their example.

The English tongue is derived from the German: in both, the imperfect tense in the indicative mood is generally the same or nearly the same with the participle, and to be distinguished from it by the preceding and following words.--I am, my dear sister, Yours affectionately.

To Miss March

SUNDERLAND, June 17, 1774.

I am glad you think of me when you do not see me; I was almost afraid it was otherwise. Air and exercise you must have; and if you use constant exercise with an exact regimen, it is not improbable that you will have vigorous health if you live to four- or five-and-thirty. About that time the constitution both of men and women frequently takes an entire turn. At present you are certainly in your place, and you need take no thought for the morrow.

The praying much for those we love much is doubtless the fruit of affection, but such an affection as is well pleasing to God and is wrought in us by His own Spirit. Therefore it is certain the intercession that flows from that affection is according to the will of God.

That is an exceedingly nice question. 'How far may we desire the approbation of good men' I think it cannot be proved that such a desire is anywhere forbidden in Scripture. But it requires a very strong influence of the Holy Spirit to prevent its running into excess.

Friendship is one species of love; and is, in its proper sense, a disinterested reciprocal love between two persons Wicked persons are, it seems, incapable of friendship. For 'he who fears no God can love no friend.' Nor, indeed, is every one that fears God capable of friendship. It requires a peculiar turn of mind, without which it can have no being. The properties of Christian friendship are the same as the properties of love; with those which St. Paul so beautifully describes in the 13th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. And it produces as occasions offer, every good word and work. Many have laid down the rules whereby it should be regulated; but they are not to be comprised in a few lines. One is, 'Give up everything to your friend except a good conscience toward God.'

There have undoubtedly been instances of real friendship among Jews, yea and among heathens, who were susceptible of it: but they were by no means wicked men; they were men fearing God and working righteousness according to the dispensation they were under. I apprehend wicked men, under whatever dispensation, to be absolutely incapable of true friendship. By wicked men I mean either men openly profane or men void of justice, mercy, and truth. There may be a shadow of friendship between those, whether of the same or of different sexes. But surely the substance is wanting; in all my experience I have found no exception to this rule.

After an acquaintance of four-and-thirty years, I myself cannot have freedom with Miss Johnson. Yet I know not but you may. In most respects she judges truly, although her natural understanding is not strong. Miss Newman's is: the more you know her the more you will taste her spirit. The others you mention want a little more age and experience; then they might make companions for you.

To Hannah Ball

SUNDERLAND, June 19, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is next to impossible to retain salvation from sin without having a dear witness of it, especially in time of temptation; they who then lose the witness commonly lose the blessing itself.

When you can spare a day or two to visit any of the neighboring Societies, it will be a labor well bestowed. You will always find it a blessing to your own soul, as it is a means of quickening and strengthening others

Sometimes I have been a little afraid for my dear Ann Bolton. If she is more engaged than she used to be in temporal things and less in spiritual, she must be something more than human or she will suffer loss, her soul will be flattened thereby. I am afraid lest she should sink into that delicate species of spiritual sloth which some call 'ceasing from our own works.' I wish she would write more frequently either to me or to you. It might be profitable to her. She has been as a mother in Israel; pity she should ever be less useful.

I left Mr. Saunderson behind me in Scotland, but expect to see him at the Conference.--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Jonathan Pritchard [15]


DEAR JONATHAN,--It appears to me that Mr. Oliver should in a mild and loving manner talk with T. Bennett, and tell him, 'Mr. W. will take it exceeding ill if he does not pay the money according to his promise.' If he urges any or all the complaints you mention, Mr. O. may readily make the same answers that you do. I can hardly think that T. Bennett has any design to wrong me; but he is stout, and stands upon his honor.

Be not weary of well doing. Be glad if you can do a little for God. And do what you can till you can do what you would.--I am, dear Jonathan,

Your affectionate brother.

Mr. Jon. Pritchard, At Boughton, Near Chester.

To Elizabeth Ritchie


MY DEAR BETSY,--It gives me pleasure to find that you still stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and that in spite of various temptations. And these, indeed, you are still to expect; for Satan neither slumbers nor sleeps, and he will strive to torment if he cannot destroy. Nay, God Himself, as one observes, 'prepareth for thee occasions of fighting, that thou mayest conquer.' So that you are still called to fight the good fight of faith, and thus to lay hold on eternal life. One admirable help toward conquering all is for believers to keep close together, to walk hand in hand, and provoke one another to love and to good works. And one means of retaining the pure love of God is the exhorting others to press earnestly after it. When you meet on a Sunday morning, I doubt not but this will be the chief matter both of your prayers and conversation. You may then expect to be more and more abundantly endued with power from on high, witnessing that He is faithful and just both to forgive us our tins and also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.--I remain Yours affectionately.

To Joseph Benson [16]


DEAR JOSEPH,--You fell upon Hugh Saunderson without rhyme or reason for contriving to supplant you at Edinburgh; whereas his staying there was not his choice but his cross: he must be there from the 24th instant to the 5th of July. During that time you may make an excursion either north, west, or south. Afterwards you will be fight welcome at Edinburgh. And seeing the people desire it, I cheerfully consent to your staying in that circuit another year. The following year, if you and I live, you may spend in London.

Your congregations in Edinburgh are large: Hugh Saunderson’s are larger still. Your preaching, and perhaps mine, has stirred up a sleepy people: his preaching has stirred them up still more. Our conversation has often quickened them: his has quickened them much more. 'But why does God work more by him that has far less sense than we' To stain the pride of our wisdom. And hence not 'five or six girls' but 'the generality of the congregation' prefer his preaching to either yours or mine. They feel therein more of the power of God, though it has less of the wisdom of man. Now, I see more than any single preacher can see, which of the preachers do most good, who have most fruit; and according to this, I form my estimate of them.

Pray tell Sister Gow I have her letter, and that both Mr. Thompson and I wholly acquit her. She has neither done nor said anything amiss. Mr. Broadbent blamed her without cause.--I am, dear Joseph, Yours affectionately.

To Henry Brooke [17]

HULL, July 8, 1774.

DEAR HARRY,--When I read over in Ireland The Fool of Quality, I could not but observe the deign of it, to promote the religion of the heart, and that it was well calculated to answer that design; the same thing I observed a week or two ago concerning Juliet Grenville. Yet there seemed to me to be a few passages both in the one and the other which might be altered to the better; I do not mean so much with regard to the sentiments, which are generally very just, as with regard to the structure of the story, which seemed here and there to be not quite clear. I had at first a thought of writing to Mr. Brooke himself, but I did not know whether I might take the liberty. Few authors will thank you for imagining you are able to correct their works. But if he could bear it and thinks it would be of any use, I would give another reading to both these works, and send him my thoughts without reserve just as they occur.

I admired Miss Brooke for her silence; her look spake, though not her tongue. If we should live to meet again, I should be glad to hear as well as see her--I am Yours.

To Francis Wolfe

YORK, July 10, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I had set you down for Bristol the next year. But last night I received a letter from John Murlin, and another from Tommy Lewis, desiring he might be there. Pray tell T. Lewis they will have him and two other new preachers, and that I am seeking for an housekeeper.

Explicitly press the believers to go on to perfection!--I am, with love to Sister Wolfe,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mr. Wolfe, At the New Room,


To Ann Bolton [18]

LEEDS, July 13, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--At all hazards get an electric machine. It is your bounden duty. You are no more at liberty to throw away your health than to throw away your life.

If you disperse the small tracts among the poor people round Finstock, it will continue and deepen their awakening. Your removal from Witney was sufficient to cause slackness among the people. I hope Brother Taylor will recover, if he be plainly and yet tenderly dealt with.

You try me when you delay to write; it makes me almost fear your love is grown cold. It is on Monday, August 1, I have appointed to be at Worcester, on Tuesday at Broadmarston, on Thursday at Cheltenham, on Friday at Stroud, on Saturday at Bristol; and I know not how I can see you, unless at one of these places. My love to Neddy.--I am, my dear Nancy, Yours affectionately.

To Miss Bolton, In Witney, Oxfordshire.

To Philothea Briggs

[YORK], July 13, 1774.

I trust all your sorrows are now turned into joy, and you are enabled in everything to give thanks. Go on, trampling upon sin and Satan, and praising Him who hath put all things under your feet.

To his Wife [19]

YORK, July 15, 1774.

MY DEAR,--1. I think it needful to write one letter more in order to state the case between you and me from the beginning. I can’t, indeed, do this so exactly as I would, because I have not either those letters or those parts of my Journal which give a particular account of all circumstances just as they occurred. I have therefore only my memory to depend on; and that is not very retentive of evil. So that it is probable I shall omit abundance of things which might have thrown still more fight on the subject. However, I will do as well as I can, simply relating the fact to the best of my memory and judgement.

2. Before we married I saw you was a well-bred woman of great address and a middling understanding; at the same time I believed you to be of a mild, sweet, even temper. By conversing with you twenty days after we were married I was confirmed in the belief. Full of this, I wrote to you soon after our first parting in the openness and simplicity of my heart. And in this belief I continued after my return till we went down to Kingswood.

3. Here, as I came one morning into your room, I saw a sight which I little expected. You was all thunder and lightning: I stared and listened; said little, and retired. You quickly followed me into the other room, fell upon your knees, and asked my pardon. I desired you to think of it no more, saying, It is with me as if it had never been. In two or three weeks you relapsed again and again, and as often owned your fault, only with less and less concern. You first found we were both in fault, and then all the fault was on my side.

4. We returned to London, and your natural temper appeared more and more. In order to soften it as I could, I tried every method I could devise. Sometimes I reasoned with you at large, sometimes in few words. At other times I declined argument, and tried what persuasion would do. And many times I heard all you said, and answered only by silence. But argument and persuasion, many words and few, speaking and silence, were all one. They made no impression at all. One might as well attempt to convince or persuade the north wind.

5. Finding there was no prevailing upon you by speaking, I tried what writing would do. And I wrote with all plainness; yet in as mild a manner as I could, and with all the softness and tenderness I was master of. But what effect did it produce Just none at all; you construed it all into ill-nature, and was not easily prevailed upon to forgive so high an affront.

6. I think your quarrel with my brother was near this time, which continued about seven years; during two or three of which it was more or less a constant bone of contention between us, till I told you plainly, 'I dare not sit and hear my brother spoken against. Therefore, whenever you begin to talk of him, I must rise and leave the room.'

7. In the midst of this you drew new matter of offence from my acquaintance with Mrs. Lefevre, a dove-like woman, full of faith and humble love and harmless as a little child. I should have rejoiced to converse with her frequently and largely; but for your sake I abstained. I did not often talk with her at all, and visited her but twice or thrice in two years. Notwithstanding which, though you sometimes said you thought her a good woman, yet at other times you did not scruple to say you 'questioned if I did not lie with her.' And afterward you seemed to make no question of it.

8. Some time after you took offence at my being so much with Mrs. Blackwell, and was 'sure she did me no good.' But this blew over, and you was often in a good humor for a week together, till October 1757. Sarah Ryan, the housekeeper at Bristol, then put a period to the quarrel between my brother and you. Meantime she asked me once and again, 'Sir, should I sit and hear Mrs. Wesley talk against you by the hour together' I said, 'Hear her, if you can thereby do her any good.' A while after, she came to me and said, 'Indeed, sir, I can bear it no longer. It would wound my own soul.' Immediately you was violently jealous of her, and required me not to speak or write to her. At the same time you insisted on the 'liberty of opening and reading all letters directed to me.' This you had often done before: but I still insisted on my own liberty of speaking and writing to whom I judged proper; and of seeing my own letters first, and letting you read only those I saw fit.

9. Sunday, February 25, 1758, you went into my study, opened my bureau, and took many of my letters and papers. But on your restoring most of them two days after, I said, 'Now, my dear, let all that is past be forgotten; and if either of us find any fresh ground of complaint, let us tell it to Mr. Blackwell, or Jo. Jones, or Tho. Walsh, but to no other person whatever.' You agreed; and on Monday, March 6, when I took my leave of you to set out for Ireland, I thought we had as tender a parting as we had had for several years.

10. To confirm this good understanding, I wrote to you a few days after all that was in my heart. But from your answer I learned it had a quite contrary effect: you resented it deeply; so that for ten or twelve weeks together, though I wrote letter after letter, I received not one line. Meantime you told Mrs. Vigor and twenty more, 'Mr. Wesley never writes to me. You must inquire concerning him of Sarah Ryan; he writes to her every week.’ So far from it, that I did not write to her at all for above twelve weeks before I left Ireland. Yet I really thought you would not tell a willful lie--at least, not in cool blood; till poor, dying T. Walsh asked me at Limerick, 'How did you part with Mrs. W. the last time' On my saying 'Very affectionately,' he replied, 'Why, what a woman is this! She told me your parting words were, "I hope to see your wicked face no more." I now saw you was resolved to blacken me at all events, and would stick at no means to accomplish it. Nevertheless I labored for peace; and at my return to Bristol, to avoid grieving you, did not converse with Sarah Ryan (though we were in the same house) twenty minutes in ten days' time. I returned to London. Soon after, you grew jealous of Sarah Crosby, and led me a weary life, unless I told you every place to which I went and every person I saw there.

11. Perceiving you still rose in your demands, I resolved to break through at once, and to show you I would be my own master, and go where I pleased, without asking any one's leave. Accordingly on Monday, December 18, I set out for Norwich; the first journey I had taken since we were married without telling you where I was going.

[I cannot but add a few words: not by way of reproach, but of advice. God has used many means to curb your stubborn will and break the impetuosity of your temper. He has given you a dutiful but sickly daughter; He has taken away one of your sons. Another has been a grievous cross; as the third probably will be. He has suffered you to be defrauded of much money; He has chastened you with strong pain. And still He may say, 'How long liftest thou up thyself against Me 'Are you more humble, more gentle, more patient, more placable than you was I fear quite the reverse; I fear your natural tempers are rather increased than diminished. O beware lest God give you up to your own heart’s lusts, and let you follow your own imaginations!

[Under all these conflicts it might be an unspeakable blessing that you have an husband who knows your temper and can bear with it; who, after you have tried him numberless ways, laid to his charge things that he knew not, robbed him, betrayed his confidence, revealed his secrets, given him a thousand treacherous wounds, purposely aspersed and murdered his character, and made it your business so to do, under the poor pretence of vindicating your own character (whereas of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God) ;--who, I say, after all these provocations, is still willing to forgive you all; to overlook what is past, as if it had not been, and to receive you with open arms; only not while you have a sword in your hand, with which you are continually striking at me, though you cannot hurt me. If, notwithstanding, you continue striking at me still, what can I, what can all reasonable men think, but that either you are utterly out of your senses or your eye is not single; that you married me only for my money; that, being disappointed, you was almost always out of humor; that this laid you open to a thousand suspicions, which, once awakened, could sleep no more

My dear Molly, let the time past suffice. If you have not (to prevent my giving it to bad women) robbed me of my substance too; if you do not blacken me, on purpose that when this breaks out, no one may believe it, stop, and consider what you do. As yet the breach may be repaired; you have wronged me much, but not beyond forgiveness. I love you still, and am as clear from all other women as the day I was born. At length know me, and know yourself. Your enemy I cannot be; but let me be your friend. Suspect me no more; asperse me no more; provoke me no more. Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me. Attempt no more to abridge me of the liberty which I claim by the laws of God and man. Leave me to be governed by God and my own conscience. Then shall I govern you with gentle sway, and show that I do indeed love you, even as Christ the Church.

To Thomas Rankin [20]

EPWORTH, July 21, 1774.

DEAR TOMMY,--In yours of May the 30th you give me an agreeable account of your little Conference in Philadelphia. I think G. Shadford and you desire no novelties, but love good old Methodist discipline and doctrine. I have been lately thinking a good deal on one point, wherein perhaps we have all been wanting. We have not made it a rule, as soon as ever persons were justified, to remind them of going on to perfection. Whereas this is the very time preferable to all others. They have then the simplicity of little children, and they are fervent in spirit, ready to cut off the right hand or to pluck out the right eye. But if we once suffer this fervor to subside, we shall find it hard enough to bring them again to this point.--I am, &c.

To Christopher Hopper [21]

ROTHERHAM, July 25, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--It was not two or three or a few inconsiderable people who desired that Billy Hunter might stay another year at York, but the stewards and the leaders and the most considerable persons both in respect of grace and understanding. I was agreeably surprised by the account they gave of him, as I had conceived him to be not the best, though not the worst, of our preachers.

See that Brother Hudson bring all the accounts. Don’t you remember last Conference, on my scrupling his staying another year at Bristol, Jo. Pawson flatly refused to travel at all So I suppose he would do now, were he not to be at Leeds. 'And what should I lose by that' Nothing. But he might lose more than ever he would regain.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mr. Hopper, At the Orphan House,


To Joseph Benson [22]

SHEFFIELD, July 26, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--Certainly an account of the Societies in the Edinburgh Circuit will be expected from you at the Conference. I will then propose the case of Greenock. I am glad you have sent Brother Ferguson the Appeals. I believe Billy Eels might come to you directly, if you wrote to him and to Joseph Cownley. At length I hope good may be done in Scotland, and I incline to prefer your scheme to Dr. Hamilton's. Three preachers may do better than two, provided they change regularly, according to the plan you lay down. I know not but you must make a private subscription and wire over the cupola. 'Be zealous and humble; but never be still!'--Dear Joseph, adieu!

To Elizabeth Ritchie [23]

MADELEY, July 31, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--It gives me much pleasure to find that you stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free. Trials you will have; but they will only be means of uniting you to Him more closely. While your eye is singly fixed on Him your whole body will be full of light. You will be enabled

To trace His example,

The world to disdain,

And constantly trample

On pleasure and pain.

While you are doing this you will not find many doubts of the way wherein you should go. The unction of the Holy One will shine in your heart and shine upon your path; especially if you frequently consider the Directions for preserving Fervency of Spirit and the Father Thoughts upon Christian Perfection. If you should at any time be in doubt concerning any point either of doctrine or practice, use me as a friend; and speak freely to Yours affectionately.

To Joseph Benson [24]

BRISTOL, August 8, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I just snatch time to write two or three lines. Consider the thing thoroughly, and then send me word of the exact circuit wherein three preachers may follow one another. If this be steadily done, I am not without hope that before the next Conference there will be such a flame kindled as has not been seen for some years in poor Scotland.

I was sorry to find that Mr. P---was almost discouraged from proceeding in his little labor of love. I commend you for dealing tenderly with him. Certainly he is an honest man, and undoubtedly he is useful in his little way. Pray what becomes of Mrs. L--- Is she gaining or losing ground O Joseph, fight through and conquer all!--I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Hannah Ball

BRISTOL, August 12, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--Your letters are always pleating to me, as is the writer of them. I hope Mr. Harmer's preaching in the church will have many good effects. He will prepare the way for Brother Wolfe and his two fellow laborers; all alive to God, simple of heart and of one heart and mind, without any jarring string. And I suppose, by the addition of a third preacher, you will have a traveling preacher every other Sunday. You will love Sister Wolfe: she is an amiable creature, and has done good to the children here. We have made a little beginning for poor Brother W[estrup], which I hope will be some encouragement for others. Walk in the narrowest path of the narrow way, and the Spirit of glory and of Christ shall rest upon you.--I am, my very dear sister,

Yours affectionately.

To Penelope Newman

BRISTOL, August 12, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am glad to hear that any of our dear friends are refreshed and strengthened. Surely He who loves us will withhold from us no manner of thing that is good!

We have not any Minutes of the Conference here; but I have ordered some to be sent down from London.

Now be active! Be

Patient in bearing ill and doing well.

You may improve by everything that occurs, especially by what is grievous to flesh and blood.--I am, my dear sister,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Newman, At Cheltenham.

To Mrs. Woodhouse

BRISTOL, August 12, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER--It was the particular desire of William Thom that he might labor a little longer with Mr. Robertshaw. He judged it might be of great advantage to his soul; and I believe he was not mistaken. Therefore I have appointed him to be with Mr. Robertshaw in the east of Lincolnshire.

I know not whether I had ever so much satisfaction with you before as in my last journey. Indeed, we have not before had such opportunities of conversing together. I was well pleased with your seriousness and your openness. Indeed, why should we hide anything from each other I doubt you have but few near you with whom you can converse to any real advantage. You have need, therefore, to make the best of those, and whenever you meet to provoke one another to love and to good works. The time is short! There is but one step between us and death.--I am, my dear sister,

Your ever affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Woodhouse, At Mr. Hutton’s,

In Epworth, Near Thorne, Yorkshire.



To Thomas Stedman [25]

BRISTOL, August 13, 1774.

DEAR SIR,--When I returned to Bristol a few days since, I found your letter of March 26 with those useful discourses of Mr. Orton to the aged, for which I sincerely thank you. I have myself a large collection of letters, chiefly written within these fifty years: but some of them were written much more early, by my father and mother; and one, in the year 1619, I suppose, by my grandmother's father to her mother not long before their marriage. My mother was Dr. Annesley's youngest daughter.

For near fifty years I have been called to go through evil report and good report; and, indeed, the latter without the former would be 'a test for human frailty too severe.' But when one balances the other all is well. The north wind prevents the ill effect of the sunshine, and the providence of God has in this respect been highly remarkable. Reproach came first from men of no character, either for learning or religion; next from men who had no pretence to religion, though they had sense and learning; and afterwards from men that were eminent for religion and learning too. But then we were old weather-beaten soldiers, so that a storm of that kind did not affright us; neither did it surprise us at all, as we had long weighed that word, which we know must be fulfilled--'If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household.'

The Journals will conclude the Works. But some have pressed me vehemently to leave out all that relates to the Moravians and all the accounts of demoniacs and apparitions. I cannot yet see it proper to leave out the latter, for the reason given in the last Journal, prefatory to that remarkable account of the young woman at Sunderland. And as to the former, as I never wrote one fine in haste, neither in anger or prejudice, but from my cool and deliberate judgement that it was absolutely necessary to guard the simple from a most specious delusion, I know not but the same cautions may be of use to others when I am no more seen.--I am, dear sir,

Your affectionate brother.

To John Bredin

BRISTOL, August 28, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I have deeply considered the state of Scotland, and have stationed the preachers thus:

Edinburgh--Jos. Benson, Wm. Eels, John Bredin.

Dundee--Thos. Rutherford, Jo. Wittam, P. Milne.

Aberdeen--Robert Wilkinson, Jam. Watson.

If the preachers sit still this year, as they have done hitherto, I will send no more of them into Scotland. I cannot do it with a clear conscience. It is destroying both their soul and body. I hope it will not be long before all the preachers stationed in Scotland reach their appointed places. The staying too long before they get into their circuits has been attended with many inconveniences.

It is well that Jamey Watson is come to Aberdeen. Pray tell him, if we live till another Conference, we will repay what he is now obliged to borrow for necessaries. And I trust Brother Wilkinson and he will regularly attend the northern Societies. Then they will increase (perhaps more than any others) both

in number and strength.--I am Yours affectionately.

To Mr. John Bredin, At Mr. W. Smith’s, Writer, in Aberdeen.

To Mr. --------

BRISTOL, August, 28, 1774.

DEAR BILLY,--I beg of you to go without delay to the Isle of Purbeck for a week or two. You are to go to Mr. William Ingram's at Corfe; where, if you go soon, you will meet Brother Saunderson. He writes me word that a door is opened all over the island, although there are many adversaries, but the bridle is in their mouth. Perhaps it would be best for you to go by Salisbury, and to tell John Undrell I desire he would follow you. Take particular care of the little, weak infant Societies. And see what books they want--I am, dear Billy, Your affectionate brother.

To Thomas Wride

TAUNTON, August 29, 1774.

Alas! Alas! You have now confirmed beyond all contradiction what many of our preachers, as many as have had any intercourse with you, alleged concerning you. I am persuaded, had I read your last letter (that of the 17th instant) at the Conference, condemning, with such exquisite bitterness and self-sufficiency, men so many degrees better than yourself, the whole Conference as one man would have disclaimed all connection with you. I know not what to do. You know not what spirit you are of. Therefore there is small hope of cure. I have no heart to send you anywhere. You have neither lowliness nor love. What can I say or do more

To Mr. -------

TAUNTON, August 29, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Very probably Mr. Bentley is gone abroad. If so, we shall hear of him among our Societies in America. His sister should take good care of his effects till she hears of him again. To Mrs. Pim you should speak strong words of consolation. Don't try to reason with her; but tell her flatly, 'The devil is a liar. God loves you. Christ loves you. He will help you. Look up, and He will help you now.' Then wrestle with Him in prayer for her. Faith will prevail. [There] is the same remedy and no other for the [person] you speak of. But this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

It is best for you to spend some time with me,

Eternal Providence, exceeding thought,

When none appears can make itself a way.

Sometimes that drowsiness is not natural but diabolical; in that case it is commonly taken away in a moment. When it is natural, cold bathing is of use.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Elizabeth Ritchie [26]

PENZANCE, September 1, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--It is an admirable Providence which keeps you thus weak in body till your soul has received more strength. It is good that you should feel how very helpless you are, that you may hang upon Him continually. Are you always sensible of His presence In what sense do you pray without ceasing Can you in everything give thanks And have you a witness in yourself that all you say and do is well-pleasing to Him

Could you but use constant exercise in the open air, I think you would need no other medicine. But it is certain, be your body well or ill, all is best as long as your soul is stayed on Him. And why should not this be without any intermission till your spirit returns to God--nay, with a continual increase For this is your calling to sink deeper and deeper into Him, out of His fullness to receive more and more, till you know all that love of God that passeth knowledge.

I hope you do not pass any day without spending some time in private exercises. What do you read at those seasons Do you read, as it were, by chance Or have you a method in reading I want you to make the best use that is possible of every means of improvement. Now is the time! Now you have the fervor of youth on your side. Now animal nature is in perfection. Now your faculties are in their vigor. And happy are you, who have been enabled to begin your race betimes! I hope you are just now minding this one thing --looking unto Jesus, and pressing on to the mark, to the prize of our high calling! O run, and never fire! So shall your love and zeal always be a comfort to

Yours affectionately.

To Mary Bishop

BRISTOL, September 13, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--The difference between heaviness and darkness of soul (the wilderness state) should never be forgotten. Darkness (unless in the case of bodily disorder) seldom comes upon us but by our own fault. It is not so with respect to heaviness, which may be occasioned by a thousand circumstances, such as frequently neither our wisdom can foresee nor our power prevent. It seems your trial was of the latter kind; perhaps, too, it was partly owing to the body. But of whatsoever kind it was, you may profit thereby: it need not leave you as it found you. Remember the wise saying of Mr. Dodd,

'It is a great loss to lose an affliction.' If you are no better for it, you lose it. But you may gain thereby both humility, seriousness, and resignation.

I think the seldom you hear the Moravians the better. I should have heard them two or three times in a year; and perhaps I might have done it without any hurt. But others would have been emboldened by my example to hear them. And if any of these had been destroyed thereby their blood would have been upon my head. Some have lately advised me to omit what relates to them in the present edition of my Journals. So I would if the evil were removed. But I have no reason to believe it is. I never found them acknowledge any one fault. And without this there can be no amendment.

On Wednesday the 21st instant I hope to see you at Bath on my way to Bradford. I purpose preaching about noon, and dining at one with the person who lives opposite to Brother Hemmings.--I am, my dear sister, Yours affectionately.

To Miss Bishop, Near the Cross Bath, In Bath.

To Captain Richard Williams [27]

BRISTOL, September 13, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--I am glad to hear of the present prosperity of the work of God among you. Now let every one of you stir himself up before the Lord! And press his neighbor (friend or stranger) to rush on and grasp the prize!

Fifty yards square (allowing five to a yard, which is the lowest computation) will contain twelve thousand five hundred persons But here they stood far beyond the edge of the pit on all sides.

Future things belong unto the Lord. I know He will do all things well; and therein I rest. As to the things which I do not understand, I let them alone. Time will show.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Miss March

BRISTOL, September 16, 1774.

I believe my displeasure at you is not likely to rise to any great height. It will hardly have time; for I should tell you very soon of anything which I did not like.

You want more simplicity. I will give you the first instance that occurs of that simplicity which I mean. Some years since, a woman sitting by me fell into strong convulsions, and presently began to speak as in the name of God. Both her look, motions, and tone of voice were peculiarly shocking. Yet I found my mind as ready to receive what she said, as if she had spoken with the look, motion, and accent of Cicero.

'Unprofitable; far from edifying.' Nay; but this does not go to the bottom of the matter. Why is that unprofitable to me which is edifying to others Remember that remark in the Thoughts on Christian Perfection: If one grain of prejudice be in my mind, I can receive no profit from the preacher. Neither in this case can I form a fight judgement of anything a person says or does. And yet it is possible this prejudice may be innocent, as springing from the unavoidable weakness of human understanding.

I doubt not Mr. Murlin will be of use to many. He has much sense and much grace, together with uncommon activity and patience; and wherever he goes the work of God prospers in his hand.

Bishop Browne thought Arianism and Socinianism were the flood which the dragon is in this age pouring out of his mouth to swallow up the woman. Perhaps it may; especially with Dr. Taylor's emendation. But still the main flood in England seems to be Antinomianism. This has been a greater hindrance to the work of God than any or all others put together. But God has already lifted up His standard, and He will maintain His own cause. In the present dispensation He is undoubtedly aiming at that point, to spread holiness over the land. It is our wisdom to have this always in view, inward and outward holiness. A thousand things will be presented by men and devils to divert us from our point. These we are to watch against continually, as they will be continually changing their shape. But let your eye be single; aim still at one thing --holy, loving faith, giving God the whole heart. And incite all to this: one love, one present and eternal heaven.

To Joseph Benson

BRISTOL, September 18, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--Your last proposal is incomparably the best: I approve of it entirely. Without consulting any at Dunbar (which would only puzzle the cause), immediately begin to put it in execution. Let the preacher go to Ormiston on Wednesday, Dunbar on the Thursday, and return to Edinburgh by Linton on Friday, every week. At present we sate them with preaching. It will be best to keep an horse; then both your health and your soul will prosper.

If William Eels crawls in at last, send him directly to Aberdeen. And you should be preparing to change with John Bredin.

I wish Dr. Hamilton would send me the receipt for extracting the opiate from sow-thistles, and give me some account of its effects.--I am, dear Joseph,

Your ever affectionate friend and brother.

PS.--I left ninety members in the Society; I hope there are not fewer now.

To Mrs. Crosby

BRISTOL, September 26, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am glad you have been with James Oddie and Sister Merryweather I hope their souls will revive. It is of great importance that you should be upon as good terms as may be with the preachers in every place. And everywhere [tell them] to preach in the morning; else they will do little good either to themselves or others. A fortnight longer I stay here, and then move toward London.

My disorder is no hindrance to me, only that my friends will not let me ride on horseback. Now and then I break through a little, where the roads are not convenient for wheels.

You are called to do all you can, be it more or less. And the more we do the more we feel how little it is.

While I was in Wales my best friend (as my brother terms her) went to London, and has hired part of an house in Hoxton, professing she would never more set foot in Bristol house or in the Foundery. Good is the will of the Lord! 'I cannot choose. He cannot err.' Your advice is good. I desire to follow it; and am, dear Sally, Your affectionate brother

To Ann Bolton [28]

BRISTOL, October 1, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I hope to be at Wallingford on Monday the 17th instant; Tuesday, the 18th at noon, in Oxford; at five or six in the evening at Finstock; and on Wednesday evening at Witney.

There is no exercise more profitable to the soul than that of the presence of God. It is likewise of great use constantly and invariably to attend to His inward voice. And yet there is a danger even in this

--nay, there is a twofold danger: it is very possible, on the one hand, that you may insensibly slide into Quietism, may become less zealous of good works; on the other hand, that you may slide into Stoicism, may suffer loss as to the love of your neighbor, particularly as to that tender affection towards your friends, which does not weaken but strengthen the soul. Shall I speak freely I must when I speak to you: it is quite natural. I am afraid lest you have already suffered some loss with regard to this amiable temper. Otherwise whence arises this general complaint of your not answering their letters Oh who can be sufficiently upon their guard against Satan coming with his angel face! I want you to be exactly right in all things. You have often been a great comfort to me; but you have scarce given any pain (unless by your own pain) to, my dear Nancy,

Yours affectionately.

To Martha Chapman

BRISTOL, October 6, 1774.

My DEAR SISTER,--On Monday se'nnight, the 17th of this month, I hope to be at Wallingford; and at High Wycombe, as usual, on the Thursday following.

When you have time, you would do well to write down the particular circumstances of your conversion to God. The more closely we are united to Him, the more nearly we shall be united to each other. I cannot doubt but He will make Mr. Wolfe an instrument of good to many of His children. He is simple of heart, and much devoted to God; and, indeed, so is his wife also.

Yours affectionately.



To Mrs. Barton

BRISTOL, October 8, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It is exceeding certain that God did give you the second blessing, properly so called. He delivered you from the root of bitterness, from inbred as well as actual sin. And at that time you were enabled to give Him all your heart, to rejoice evermore, and to pray without ceasing. Afterwards He permitted His work to be tried, and sometimes as by fire. For a while you were not moved, but could say in all things, ' Good is the will of the Lord.' But it seems you gave way by little and little till you were in some measure shorn of your strength. What have Brother Barton and you to do but to arise at once and shake yourselves from the dust Stir up the gift of God that is in you! Look unto Him that is mighty to save! Is He not able in every sense to turn your captivity He has not forgotten to be gracious; neither will He shut up His loving-kindness in displeasure. He is a God nigh at hand. Only believe; and help, while yet you ask, is given! Trust in Him and conquer all.--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Joseph Benson

LONDON, October 16, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--I have written to Dr. Hamilton that Brother Eels must go to Aberdeen, and Edinburgh and Dunbar must be supplied by one preacher. They should have thought of preaching in the churchyard before. While I live itinerant preachers shall be itinerants; I mean, if they choose to remain in connection with us.

The Society in Greenock are entirely at their own disposal: they may either have a preacher between them and Glasgow or none at all. But more than one between them they cannot have. I have too much regard both for the bodies and souls of our preachers to let them be confined to one place any more. I hope John Bredin will punctually observe your direction, spending either three days or a week at each place alternately. I have weighed the matter and will serve the Scots as we do the English or leave them. I wish you would write a letter to John Campbell and another to R. Mackie, and argue the case with them. If John Bredin does not go to Greenock, let him (or his successor) spend half his time at Dunbar; then a preacher may be constantly at Edinburgh. But give me only six days in a fortnight there, and I will visit all the Society from house to house.--I am, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Mrs. Gair

LONDON, November 5, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--With regard to you, the great danger is that you should forsake the sacred channels of His grace. Only abide in the way. Read, meditate, pray as you can, though not as you would. Then God will return and abundantly lift up the light of His countenance upon you.

With regard to Brother Gair, it is not unlikely that the impression he feels is really from God. I think he might make a trial as a local preacher; and probably God would confirm the word of His messenger.--I am, dear Becky,

Your affectionate brother.

To Hannah Ball

SHOREHAM, November 28, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--It gives me great pleasure whenever it is in my power to assist you in anything. I love you for your openness and simplicity and for your desire to do the whole will of God. I think there need be no reserve between Brother Wolfe and you. He is of a truly childlike spirit. And the more you labor the more blessing you will find. Go on; run, and never tire.

I hear the good account of two young maidens who have lately joined the Society. I do not doubt but you will watch over them that they turn not again to folly. See that you warn every one and exhort every one that you may present every one perfect in Christ Jesus.--I am, my dear sister,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Ball, At Mr. Thomas Ball’s,

In High Wycombe.

To the Editor of 'Lloyd's Evening Post'

[LONDON November 28, 1774.]

SIR,--Some years since, a gentleman published 'An exact translation of the Koran of Mahomet,' with a deign to contrast it with the Bible, and show how far preferable it was; consequently how greatly Mahometanism was preferable to Christianity.

As this had not all the desired effect, another gentleman has lately published an exact translation of the Koran of Indostan, of the Shastah of Bramah, undoubtedly with the charitable deign to contrast this with the Bible, and to show how great is the pre-eminence of Indian Paganism over Christianity.

Letting alone a thousand wonderful assertions scattered up and down his work, I would only at present (1) give an extract from this curious book in the words of this writer; (2) examine what he says concerning the antiquity of it and of the nations that hold it sacred; (3) observe some instances of this author’s esteem for the Bible; adding some cursory remarks.

And, first, I am to give an extract from this curious book. 'The rebellious angels groaned in hell for four hundred and twenty-six millions of years. After this, God relented. He then retired into Himself and became invisible to all the angels for five thousand years. Then He appeared again, and said, "Let the fifteen regions of punishment and purification appear for the residence of the rebellious angels, and let them be brought from hell to the lowest of these regions." And it was so. And He prepared bodies for their closer confinement, and said, "Herein they shall undergo eighty-seven transmigration’s for their punishment and purgation. Then they shall animate the form of a cow, and afterward the form of man. This is their eighty-ninth transmigration. If they now have any good works, they shall pass from earth into the second region of punishment and purgation, and so successively through the eight, and then through the ninth, which is the first region of purification."'

Accordingly, 'The souls that animate every mortal form, whether of man, beast, bird, fish, or insect, are fallen angels in a state of punishment.'

'When God began to create the world, He fought with two giants for five thousand years. Then He commanded His first-born creature, Birmah, to create the fifteen regions of punishment and purgation. And Birmah straightway formed a leaf of Betel, and thereon floated on the abyss. Then Bistnow, His second-made creature, transformed himself into a mighty boar, and, descending into the abyss, brought up the earth on his back. Then issued from him a mighty tortoise and a mighty snake, and he put the snake erect on the back of the tortoise, and put the earth on the snakes head.'

'The world is to continue six millions of years in all, of which 359,126 are to come.'

Such is the substance of the Shastah; far more wonderful than the Tales of the Fairies. This Mr. H--- gravely styles the Word of God, and seems to believe every word of it.

As to the origin of it, we are told, 'Four thousand eight hundred and seventy-four years ago an angel received the laws of God, written in the language of angels, came down to Indostan, and, assuming an human form, translated them into the language of the country, calling them Chartah Bhade Shastah of Bramah--that is, the four Scriptures of divine words of the Mighty Spirit, which he promulged as the only means of salvation.'

I am, secondly, to examine what is said on the antiquity of this and of the nations that hold it sacred. 'For a thousand years the Shastah remained pure; but then it was corrupted by a bad paraphrase; and still more about five hundred years after, which was 3,374 years ago.'

But what proof have we of this Why, 'This account we have had from some of the Bramins and from the most learned of the Laity. And in the earliest ages the Bramins were famed for their wisdom by the concurrent testimony of all antiquity.' Pray cite a few testimonies from authors that wrote four or five thousand years ago. We know of none such. If we except the Bible, we know of no book that is three thousand years old. And we see no reason to think that letters have been in use so much as four thousand years.

If 'Zoroaster and Pythagoras did visit them about the time of Romulus’ (which I do not allow), what then Romulus did not live three thousand years ago; and Zoroaster a late author has sufficiently proved to be no other than Moses himself. The antiquity, therefore, of the Shastah is utterly uncertain, being unsupported by any clear authority.

Equally doubtful is the antiquity of that empire. Nay, ' Indostan, by their own account, was peopled as early as most other parts of the known word.' But who can rely on their own accounts This authority is just none at all. But 'the first invaders of it found the inhabitants a potent, civilized, wise, and learned people: Alexander the Great found it so.' No. Arrian and Q. Curtius (the only writers who give us the particulars of that expedition) say quite the contrary. But 'the Gentoo records affirm it, which mention the invasion of a great and mighty robber.' I answer (1) How is it proved this was Alexander the Great There have been more great and mighty robbers than him. But if it was, (2) Of what antiquity was he who died little above two thousand years since (3) Of what authority are the Gentoo records As much as the visions of Mirza.

But 'these doctrines were universally professed by the Gentoos, some thousand years before Christ; and the Metempsychosis was held in the most early ages by at least four-fifths of the earth; and the Gentoos were eminently distinguished in the most early times.' Roundly asserted: but that is not enough; a little proof would do well.

Here it is at last. 'The Gentoos admit no proselytes to their faith or worship. This proves their great antiquity.' I know not how: the consequence halts sadly. But see another argument. 'This is also proved by the perpetuity of their doctrine through a succession of so many ages.' Right, when that succession is proved.

A third proof! ' Pythagoras took his doctrines from them, which the Egyptians took from him.' I am an infidel as to both these facts till I see some proof of them. His true doctrines I believe Pythagoras learned from the Egyptians, and they from the Israelites.

I come, in the third place, to observe some instances of this writer's esteem for the Bible. 'We profess ourselves' says he, 'an unworthy though zealous subscriber to the pure, original Scriptures.' But for fear you should believe him, he immediately adds, 'and propagate no system but what coincides with every religious creed that has been or is now professed throughout the known world.' Why, are there not an hundred religious creeds now in the word that are taffy contradictory to each other How, then, can your system coincide with them all Certainly you do not understand the word. But if it coincides both with Paganism and Mahometanism, it does not with Christianity. For you everywhere strike at the root of those Scriptures on which alone it is built. This I shall briefly show both with regard to Moses, the Law, the Prophets, and the New Testament.

As to the first, 'Moses' detail of the Creation and Fall of Man is clogged with too many incomprehensible difficulties to gain our belief.' (Add, for decency’s sake, 'that it can be understood literally.’) Hence his anger at Milton's diabolical conceits'; because he has shown that detail in all its parts to be not only simple, plain, and comprehensible, but consistent with the highest reason, and altogether worthy of God.

Again: 'To suppose the Indians less the care of God than the Israelites,'--that is, to suppose He ever had a peculiar people, or that He regarded the seed of Jacob more than that of Esau,--‘this would arraign His justice.' Then what is Moses, who perpetually supposes this throughout the whole Pentateuch

As to the Law: ‘Nothing but the devil himself’ (insert, for decency, 'the Bramins say') 'could have invented bloody sacrifices, so manifestly repugnant to the true spirit of devotion and abhorrent to' (it should be abhorred by) 'God.'

This is an home thrust at the Mosaic Law, wherein without shedding of blood there was no remission. Therefore with him it is 'manifestly repugnant to the true spirit of devotion and abhorred by God.'

As to the Prophets: 'Gods prescience' (so he affirms) 'of the actions of free agents is utterly repugnant and contradictory to the very nature and essence of free agency.' If so, the inference is plain: the Prophets were all a pack of impostors; for it is certain they all pretended to foretell the actions of free agents.

And this strikes at the New Testament also, wherein there are numerous Prophecies. But here, indeed, the mask quite falls off. He laughs at 'the reveries of Paul' (well he might! how unlike those of his apostle, Bramah!); and tells us in plain terms 'that only the words of Christ Himself are the pure, original Scriptures.' Nay, herein he allows too much; for some of His words foretell the actions of free agents.

And lest we should urge the death of the Martyrs in favor of Christianity, we are told (which he that can believe may), 'The contempt of death is the character of the Gentoo nation. Every Gentoo meets death with a steady, noble, and philosophical resignation.' And yet 'the Gentoos in general are as degenerate, crafty, and wicked a people as any in the known world.'

To complete the contrast between the doctrines of our Bible and his Bible, the Shastah he adds: 'The fundamental points of Religion were impressed on the heart of man at his creation; and he never has and never will be able to efface them. These primitive truths are: (1) the being of a God, the Creator and Preserver of all things; (2) the existence of three prime created beings; (3) the creation of angels; (4) the rebellion of part of them; (5) their fall from heaven; (6) the immortally of the soul; (7) future rewards and punishments; (8) that one angel tempted the other angel, and now tempts men; (9) the necessity of one, or more Mediators, for the expiation of sin; (10) an intermediate state of punishment and purification after death; (11) the existence of a golden age, wherein men used no animal food; and (12) the ministration of angels. These were the primitive truths revealed by God to man, and the only ones necessary to man's salvation!’

Is not this inimitable

Hither, ye Eastern Bramins, come!

Hither, ye Western Locusts, Monks of Rome!

Behold the frontless, all-imposing man,

And match him with your Priestcraft if ye can.

Are these twelve articles of his creed the fundamental points of religion in particular, that men and brutes are devils incarnate and are to be in purgatory after death And are they all so 'impressed on the heart of every man as never to be effaced' Why, they never were impressed on my heart yet; several of them I no more believe than I do the Koran. I never have met with an American Indian who believed one half of them; nor with an uninstructed African who believed one of them unless, perhaps, the being of a God. And is the belief of all these (fundamental point, indeed!) 'necessary to man's salvation' I cannot but repeat the observation, wherein experience confirms me more and more, that they who disbelieve the Bible will believe anything. They may believe Voltaire! They may believe the Shastah! They may believe a man can put himself into a quart bottle!

To John Simpson

LONDON, November 28, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--Read over, with earnest, humble prayer, Mr. Fletcher's three Checks, and I think you will see things clearly. Or read the Farther Appeal, in the beginning of which those points are clearly stated. You ask: (1) Are any persons mentioned in the New Testament as seeking faith who have not found it Certainly there are. 'Seek, and ye shall find.' They had not found it yet. And every man must seek for the good pearl before he can find it. But the word 'seeker' you do not use. (2) Is anything proposed to a convinced sinner in Scripture, but to believers only Yes. How readest thou 'Cease from evil, learn to do well'; or God will not give you faith. 'Bring forth fruits meet for repentance'; otherwise you are never likely to believe. (3) Ought every unbeliever to pray or communicate Yes. 'Ask, and it (faith) shall be given you.' And if you believe Christ died for guilty, helpless sinners, then eat that Bread and drink of that Cup.

The Philistines are upon thee, Samson! Beware the Lord do not depart from thee! I am afraid, in confidence of your own strength, you have been disputing with some subtle Antinomian, and he has confounded your intellects. Talk with him no more, at the peril of your soul, and beware of their pernicious books. You have been warned by me; now, escape for your life!--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Sarah James [29]

SHOREHAM, November 29, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I do not love you because you are without faults, but because you are desirous of being delivered from them. And I trust you will now find a great deliverance in a little time. For you are now taken into God’s school, into the school of affliction. The continued weakness and distress of Mrs. James (nay, and I fear Mr. James is not much better) is designed to humble and meeken your soul, to keep you dead to all below, and to teach you that grand lesson to say in all things, 'Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.' Only carry this point, and then I am not solicitous whether you have joy or not.

See, the Lord thy Keeper stand

Omnipotently near!

Lo! He holds thee by thy hand,

And banishes thy fear.

Thou, poor sinner stay not to be any better, but take Him just as you are. Trust Him, praise Him now! The Lord take you with His sweet force! and then you will not forget, my dear Sally,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss Sally James, In St. James Barton, Bristol.

To Elizabeth Ritchie

SHORRHAM, November 29, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--It gives me pleasure to hear that you have recovered your health. If you find any fresh illness, you should let me know; we must not neglect the body, although the main thing is an healthful mind. There are many excellent things in Madame Guyon’s works, and there are many that are exceedingly dangerous. The more so because the good things make way for the mischievous ones. And it is not easy unless for those of much experience, to distinguish the one from the other. Perhaps, therefore, it might be safest for you chiefly to confine yourself to what we have published. You will then neither be perplexed with various sentiments nor with various language; and you will find enough on every head of religion, speculative or practical.

I know not whether any method of reading would be more profitable than to read a chapter of the Old Testament with the Notes every morning; and every evening a chapter, or at least a section, in the New Testament. At other times of the day I advise you to read our works regularly from the beginning; marking any tract or part of a tract which you find most useful, that you may make it matter of meditation. Some of the most useful to believers are Mr. Law's tracts, the Lives of Mr. Brainerd, De Renty, and Thomas Walsh, the tracts translated from the French, and those upon Christian Perfection.

I am glad you have been with our dear sister Crosby. Converse as much as you can with those of her spirit; they are the excellent ones of the earth. You must not give place--no, not for a day--to inactivity. Nothing is more apt to grow upon the soul; the less you speak or act for God the less you may. If elder persons do not speak, you are called, like Elihu, to supply this lack of service. Whether you are young or old is not material: speak, and spare not! Redeem the time! Be fervent in spirit! Buy up every opportunity; and be always a comfort to

Yours affectionately.

To the Authors of the 'Monthly Review' [30]

REIGATE, November 30, 1774.

GENTLEMEN,--I can easily believe what your correspondent affirms (Review, October 1774), that there are some slave-holders who have a little humanity left, and that the Georgian laws sell the blood of one slave only to each master, and prescribe the instruments wherewith he is to torture the rest.

What is still the general spirit of American slave-holders is observed in a letter from Philadelphia now before me.

As a farther influence of the inhumanity with which the poor Negroes are treated, I will add two advertisements published in the public papers, one of Virginia, the other of North Carolina:--

From the Williamsburg Gazette

'Run away on the 10th instant, a lusty Negro, named Bob---.The said fellow is outlawed, and I will give ten pounds reward for his head severed from his body, and forty shillings if brought alive.'

From one of the North Carolina newspapers.

'Ran away last November, from the subscriber, a Negro fellow, named Yeb; aged thirty-six. As he is outlawed, I will pay twenty pounds currency to any person who shall produce his head severed from his body, and five pounds if brought home alive. John Mosely.' --I am, gentlemen,

Your very humble servant.

To Mary Bishop [31]

REIGATE, November 30, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--We so become all things to all, as not to hurt our own souls, when we first secure a single eye, a steady design, to please all for their good to edification, and then take care that our discourse be always good to the use of edifying and such as may minister grace to the hearers. But in order to this we have need of power from on high and of the wisdom that sitteth by the throne. This alone can give us to order our conversation aright, so as to profit both others and our own souls.

Before this can effectually be done, you must conquer your natural reserve, and exercise it only to those of whom you know nothing at all or of whom you know nothing good. Perhaps there is one occasion more on which it will be highly expedient, if not necessary--namely, when good persons (at least in some measure so) sink beneath their character, trifle away time, or indulge themselves in a conversation which has no tendency to improve either the speaker or the hearer.

I think it will not be best for you to go out less than you ever did. Suppose you have more faith and more love (as I would fain think you have), you certainly ought to go out more. Otherwise your faith will insensibly die away. It is by works only that it can be made perfect. And the more the love of solitude is indulged the more it will increase. This is a temptation common to men. In every age and country Satan has whispered to those who began to taste the powers of the world to come (as well as to Gregory Lopez), 'Au desert!' Au desert! Most of our little flock at Oxford were tried with this, my brother and I in particular. Nay, but I say, 'To the Bible! To the Bible!' And there you will learn, 'as you have time, to do good unto all men': to warn every man, to exhort every man as you have opportunity; although the greatest part of your care and labor should be laid out on those that are of the household of faith. Certainly you may continually do good to others without any ways endangering the salvation of your own soul. What at present you much want is simplicity, in the Archbishop of Cambray's sense of the word: that grace 'whereby the soul casts off all unnecessary reflections upon itself.' I wish I could say of you, as I did of a young person many years ago, when I sent her his little book,--

In art, in nature, can we find

Colors to picture thee


Speak, Cambray’s pen, for Sally’s mind;


She is simplicity.

--I am, my dear Miss Bishop,

Yours affectionately.

Miss Bishop, Near the Cross Bath, In Bath.

To Philothea Briggs

REIGATE, November 30, 1774.

It is certain God hath given you a talent; and I still think it ought to be used. I grant, indeed, to be hid and to be still is more agreeable to flesh and blood; but is it more agreeable to Him who left us an example that we might tread in His steps You have just now particular reason to remember His kingdom ruleth over all.

Thou on the Lord rely, so safe shalt thou go on;

Fix on His work thy steadfast eye, so shall thy work be done.

No profit canst thou gain by self-consuming care;

To Him commend thy cause, His ear attends the softest prayer.

To Miss March

REIGATE, November 30, 1774.

You are in the safer extreme. When I formerly removed from one college to another, I fixed my resolution not to be hastily acquainted with any one; indeed, not to return any visit unless I had a reasonable hope of receiving or doing good therein. This my new neighbors generally imputed to pride; and I was willing to suffer the imputation.

I 'sum up the experience' of persons, too, in order to form their general character. But in doing this we take a different way of making our estimate. It may be you chiefly regard (as my brother does) the length of their experience. Now, this I make little account of; I measure the depth and breadth of it. Does it sink deep in humble, gentle love Does it extend wide in all inward and outward holiness If so, I do not care whether they are of five or five-and-thirty years’ standing. Nay, when I look at Miss Betsy Briggs or Miss Philly Briggs, I am ready to hide my face: I am ashamed of having set out before they were born.

Undoubtedly Miss Johnson is deep in grace, and lives like an angel here below. Yet some things in her character I do not admire; I impute them to human frailty. Many years ago I might have said, but I do not now,

Give me a woman made of stone,

A widow of Pygmalion.

And just such a Christian one of the Fathers, Clemens Alexandrinus describes; but I do not admire that description now as I did formerly. I now see a Stoic and a Christian are different characters; and at some times I have been a good deal disgusted at Miss Johnson's apathy. When God restores our friends to us, we ought to rejoice; it is a defect if we do not. In that and several other instances I take knowledge of Sarah Ryan's littleness of understanding: and this, as well as our temper, we ought to improve to the utmost of our power; which can no otherwise be done than by reading authors of various kinds as well as by thinking and conversation. If we read nothing but the Bible, we should hear nothing but the Bible; and then what becomes of preaching

Many people have clear conceptions of a few things, concerning which they judge and reason. But they have no clear ideas of other things. So, if they reason about them, they stumble at every step. None can have general good sense unless they have clear and determinate ideas of all things.

To Christopher Hopper [32]

LONDON, December 3, 1774.

MY DEAR BROTHER,--The case of Liverpool house has puzzled us all. But I know you have a little common sense. Therefore I give you a carte blanche. Settle it how you please, and I will subscribe to it.

I know no married preacher that [was] sent from Liverpool into the North of Ireland. I suppose Brother Sweeny is in the South; but on that express condition that neither his wife nor children shall be any expense to us at all. But still there will be growing families, unless we forbid to marry. Five-and-twenty years ago ten pounds a year was more than twelve now.

We are really a company of poor gentlemen. But we have food and raiment and content.--I am, with love to Sister Hopper, Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Joseph Benson

SEVENOAKS, December 12, 1774.

DEAR JOSEPH,--You know Dr. Hamilton imagined great good would be done by the preaching in the churchyard at Dunbar. If it does not answer ought not the Dunbar preacher to serve all the country places, that the Edinburgh preacher may have the more time to spend there, which is of far greater importance

It is the Scots only whom, when they like a preacher, would choose to have him continue with them Not so; but the English and Irish also—yea, all the inhabitants of the earth. But we know our calling. The Methodists are not to continue in any one place under heaven. We are all called to be itinerants. Those who receive us must receive us as such. And if the Scots will not, others will.

Brother Watkinson is welcome to those books, and any other which he thinks would be useful to him.--I am, dear Joseph,

Your affectionate friend and brother.

To Hannah Ball

LONDON, December 19, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I do not see any valid objection against inoculation either from prudence or religion. But I wonder to hear you talk of preparation. It is now quite out of use. Experience has shown in ten thousand instances that all preparation is needless, if not hurtful. Only the preparation of the heart, prayer, and self-devotion, this is now peculiarity needful.

I commend you and your dear nieces (whom I love for your sake and for their own) to Him that is able to save both their souls and bodies; and am, my dear sister.

Your very affectionate brother.

To Miss Ball, At Mr. Thos. Ball’s,

In High Wycombe.

To Thomas Rutherford [33]

LONDON, December 24, 1774.

DEAR TOMMY,--I think you acted exactly right with regard to Peter Mill. If we live till another Conference, I purpose transplanting him into England. I judge he will be an useful preacher.

My new coachman is dead; so Joseph Bradford cannot persuade himself to leave me. And your Scots are such terrible critics that few of our preachers care to venture among them.

I do not despair of Mrs. Greig yet. She is not incurable. I am glad you are gone to Aberdeen. Take care of the country Societies.--I am, dear Tommy,

Yours affectionately.

To Miss March

LONDON, December 27, 1774.

A few minutes I spent with Miss M---- when she was in town two or three years ago. She seemed to be of a soft, flexible temper, and a good deal awakened. From her letters I should judge that she had still many convictions and strong desires to be a real Christian. At the same time it is plain she is surrounded with hindrances and is sometimes persuaded to act contrary to her conscience. It is extremely difficult to advise a person in such circumstances what to do. Methinks the first thing I would advise her to, at all events, is, 'Do nothing against your conscience. 2. At a proper opportunity, after praying for courage, tell your lady you scruple such and such things. And I doubt not but she will take effectual care that no one shall press you on those heads.' Leaving her place is the last step to be taken if she finds she cannot save her soul therein.

You know it is very natural for me to estimate wisdom and goodness by years, and to suppose the longest experience must be the best. But, although there is much advantage in long experience and we may trust an old soldier more than a novice, yet God is tied down to no rules; He frequently works a great work in a little time. He makes young men and women wiser than the aged; and gives to many in a very shorn time a closer and deeper communion with Himself than others attain in a long course of years. Betsy and Philly Briggs are witnesses. They have borne huge contradiction; and Philly has stood such shocks as might have overset some of the most established souls we have in London.

There is a great calmness and meekness in Betty Johnson; but I want more softness and tenderness; I want more of human mingled with the divine. Nay, sometimes I want it in Miss March too. But I do not call that warmth anger--at least, not sinful anger; perhaps it would be culpable to be without it. I desire no apathy in religion; a Christian is very far from a Stoic.

In every case, the last appeal must be made to our own conscience. Yet our conscience is far from being an infallible guide, as every wrong temper tends to bribe and blind the judge.



To Elizabeth Briggs

LONDON, December 28, 1774.

MY DEAR BETSY,--You have done what you could in this matter and 'angels can do no more.' I am glad you tried; by-and-by she may see more clearly. I am always glad to hear from you, whether you have time to write accurately or not. And I love that you should tell me both what you feel and what you do; for I take part in all. I doubted not but you would find a blessing at this solemn season: see that you strengthen each other’s hands in God. I should be glad to see both or either of you when it is convenient.--I am, my dear Betsy,

Yours affectionately.

To Charles Perronet [34]

LONDON, December 28, 1774.

DEAR CHARLES,--Certainly there is nothing amiss in the desire to do something for a good Master; only still adding (in this, as in all things else), 'Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'

If we could once bring all our preachers, itinerant and local, uniformly and steadily to insist on those two points, 'Christ dying for us' and ' Christ reigning in us,' we should shake the trembling gates of hell. I think most of them are now exceeding clear herein, and the rest come nearer and nearer, especially since they have read Mr. Fletcher's Checks, which have removed many difficulties out of the way.

I expect more good from Mrs. Brigg’s medicine than from an heap of others. Remember Hezekiah’s figs.--I am, dear Charles,

Ever yours.

To Mr. Charles Perronet,

In Canterbury.



To Mrs. Pywell

LONDON, December 29, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--I am glad you parted from our honest friend C--ne upon so good terms. All the trials you suffered while you were there ate now passed away like a dream. So are all the afflictions we endured yesterday; but they are noted in God’s Book, and the happy fruit of them may remain when heaven and earth are passed away. Trials you are likewise to expect where you are now; for you are still in the body, and wrestle, if not with flesh and blood, yet with 'principalities, and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with wicked spirits in high places'; and it is good for you that every grain of your faith should be tried; afterwards you shall come forth as gold.

See that you never be weary or faint in your mind; account all these things for your profit, that you may be a full partaker of His holiness, and 'brighter in all His image shine.'--I am, my dear sister,

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Barton

LONDON, December 30, 1774.

MY DEAR SISTER,--One observes well that, in order to judge of the grace which God has given us, we must likewise consider what our temptations are, because a little grace will balance little temptations, but to conquer great temptations much grace is requisite. Formerly you had comparatively little temptation, and through His grace you could rejoice with joy unspeakable. At present you do not find that joy. No; for you have the temptations which you had not then. You have little children, you have worldly care, and frequently a weak body. Therefore you may have far more grace than you had before, though you have not so much joy; nay, though you should for a time have no joy at all, but sorrow and heaviness; yea, though you should say with your Master, 'My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.' Oh what a gainer are you by this! when you are enabled to say in the midst of all, 'The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it 'See how He loveth whom He chasteneth! And what is at the end An eternal weight of glory!

It is laid up for you both. Taste of it now!--I am

Your affectionate brother.

To Mrs. Jane Barton, To be left at

Mr. Snowden’s, In Hull

Editor’s Introductory Notes: 1774

[1] Benson’s son says in the manuscript Life, i. 347: 'Whenever Mr. Benson removed, the propensity here alluded to followed him; and it is made by him a reason for regret, as being a hindrance to him in his public employment.' He used to spend the summer and autumn in Edinburgh, and to divide the winter and part of spring between Glasgow and Greenock, visiting also Dunbar. See letter of March 4.

[2] Wesley went on to Exeter on August 12, 1773, with' Ralph Mather, then an humble, scriptural Christian.' On January 29, 1774, and during the following week, he ' had much conversation with Ralph Mather, a devoted young man, but almost driven out of his senses by Mystic Divinity.' He became a Quaker and a Mystic. See Journal, v. 523, vi. 10. For Davis see letter of February 22, 1774.

This letter is endorsed by Charles Wesley: ' B[rother]. Jan. 13, 1774; 20. R. Mather, Gregory Lopez!'

[3] An Extract from the Journal of Elizabeth Harper was published in 1769. Wesley says she was the daughter of William Tuck, of Penzance, and married Andrew Harper, a cooper, at Redruth, in 1755. They opened their house to Wesley and his preachers. She left four daughters, one of whom (June) married William Michel, of Penponds, Circuit Steward at Redruth. Wesley issued the Extract from her Journal to show that loving God with all our heart was 'well consistent with a thousand infirmities which belong to every soul while in the body.' See letter of March 1.

[4] Miss Bolton was considering an offer of marriage of which Wesley did not approve. See letters of December 12, 1773, and February I7, 1774.

[5] Wesley had left his chaise and ridden forward. When the carriage passed, the mob fell on it, cut it with stones in several places, and wellnigh covered it with dirt and mortar. George III showed special interest in the Wesleys, and proved a kind friend to Charles Wesley, jun., the organist.

See Journal, v. 507-8; Telford’s Charles Wesley, pp. 265-6.

[6] On May 18, 1774, Churchey says in a letter to Benson {manuscript Life, p. 490): ' Thomas Rock's brother, James, died lately at Hay, “full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” I had the happiness of triumphing with him the evening before; not in the ideal notions of corrupted Christianity, but in the solemn. vale of holy peace and heavenly love.'

[7] Fletcher’s Equal Check to Pharisaism and Antinomianism was printed at Shrewsbury by J. Eddowes in 1774. It contained essays on the Danger of Parting Faith and Works, on the Rewardableness of Works, and on Truth. Fletcher met Wesley at Wolverhampton on March 21. See Journal, vi. 12.

[8] Mrs. Bennis wrote on February 10, 1774: 'As usual your letter brought a blessing with it; from the time I received it my mind has been more at rest and my soul more happy. I have Elizabeth Harper's Journal, and sincerely wish I had her simplicity; I know I suffer from want of it. When I can come simply to the Lord, I always find it does best with me.' In her reply on April 12 she said: 'Mr. Perfect is a good man, and in whose conversation I should have much satisfaction.' She had left Wesley’s letter for him. She told him that Mr. Hawksworth, a Calvinist preacher under Lady Huntingdon, had come to Waterford and preaches regularly in Methodist hours. 'Our people, though forbid by the preachers, go almost constantly to hear him.' She had spoken to several in the same sense with little effect, and had had an hour’s conversation with him at his lodgings. ' I charged him with unfriendly and un-Christlike conduct in taking advantage of the disordered state of your Society, and trying at such a particular time to widen the breach and glean all to himself, which he indirectly acknowledged was his motive for coming.'

[9] Mrs. Bennis wrote on April 12 that she had often thought in times past that 'the necessity of good works was not enough enforced upon the people; but since Mr. Fletcher’s writings on the subject had appeared, I think, with some the error seems to be on the other side.' She asked his judgement 'whether we are to expect justification or acquittance at the day of judgement merely for our works, and whether the merit and righteousness of Christ shall then avail us anything.' She added: 'Matters here' (in Limerick) ' wear a gloomy aspect, both as to spirituals and temporals and the present situation much depends on the person who may succeed Mr. Wrigley. Had your plan been followed, there would be none of all this, nor do I ever see good proceed from the opposing your commands.' Francis Wrigley, of Cork, had exchanged with Jonathan Hem, the Assistant at Limerick. 'He was abrupt and imperious in his manner, a strict disciplinarian, rather inclined to stand on his official dignity, and of unbending integrity, yet withal having a kind heart.' See Crookshank's Methodism in Ireland, i. 285.

No letter from Wesley to Mrs. Bennis has been preserved between May 2, 1774, and December 21, 1776. She wrote on July 21, 1774, that George Snowden, Wrigley’s successor, 'came at a very critical time, and his entire deportment since has been such as to gain the love and esteem of all the people.' On December 24, 1774, she said she had delayed her answer to Wesley's last letter till she could inform him of her son's arrival at Kingswood School. 'The work of God goes on blessedly here under Mr. Snowden and Mr. M'Donnel.'

[10] John Atlay was stationed in London in 1773-5. In 1776 the notice appears: 'Joseph Bradford travels with Mr. Wesley; John Atlay keeps his accounts; Thomas Olivers corrects the press.' Wesley, who had asked John Valton to take charge of his books, says Atlay is 'cautious to an extreme.' He was offended that his name was omitted from the Deed of Declaration in 1784, and writes in 1785: 'I have begun to do a little business for myself as coal merchant; and have reason to think it will do well for me. I have not left the Book-Room; nor do I intend it at present.' He left Wesley in 1788 to take charge of the chapel at Dewsbury, the trustees of which refused to have it settled as Wesley wished. See Tyerman's Wesley, iii. 552, 555; and letters of September 20, 1773, and June 19, 1779 (to Samuel Bardsley).

[11] Wesley in his Journal refers to the blessing on the work of William Collins in Bandon the previous year, where 'the Society was near doubled within a twelvemonth.' He put his name in the Deed of Declaration, and left 'whatever money remains in my bureau and pockets at my decease to be equally divided' between him and three other preachers. See Journal, v. 504, viii. 342.

[12] This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, which enriched Wesley’s life. John Ritchie was a native of Edinburgh, and had served many years as a naval surgeon. He lived at Otley. When Wesley visited them on June 30, 1772, Miss Ritchie, who was then nineteen, accompanied him and Mrs. Wesley in their chaise to Parkgate. In May 1774 she went with him to Birstall, and he stayed a night at their house in Otley. She says on May 13, ' I have been favored this day with a letter from Mr. Wesley; it has been much blessed to me.’ See Bulmer's Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Mortimer, pp. 15, 30-8.

[13] John Prickard was born in Pembrokeshire in 1744. He went to live with his uncle at Brecon in 1761, where he became a local preacher and class-leader. In 1773 he offered himself for work in Africa; but Wesley disapproved. He did not go to Bristol, as Wesley suggested, but received a letter from him soon after the Conference to say that he had been appointed to the Glamorgan Circuit. See Atmore’s Memorial, pp. 336-42.

[14] Miss Ritchie had written on May 23 to tell him how she had been blessed: ' All I feared was the losing what I had received, which made me backward in speaking of it’ (Memoirs, p. 40).

[15] Thomas Bennett was born in 1732 at Christleton, three miles from Chester, and went to Dublin, where he joined the Methodist Society. He set up in business as an ironmonger in Chester at the advice of Pritchard. He was the principal means of erecting the Octagon Chapel there in 1765. The preachers stayed at their house, which was known as Pilgrims' Inn. See Bretherton's Early Methodism in and around Chester, pp. 60, 65-6; and letter of January 16, 1753.

[16] 'Mr. Benson,' says the manuscript Life, i. 377, 'had sufficient discernment of the impropriety of an appointment made by Mr. Wesley, who had been too ready to believe well of several individuals who were afterwards causes of trouble.' Hugh Saunderson was not appointed to Edinburgh, but was detained there by the charges brought against him and Wesley. See letter of June 12.

[17] From Memoirs of the Life of Mr. Henry Brooke, by Isaac D'Olier, LL.D., his son-in-law, we learn that Brooke was born in County Cavan in November 1738. His father’s name was Robert, and his uncle was the Counselor Henry Brooke, author of The Fool of Quality. The younger Henry was trained as an artist in Dublin, and went to London to improve himself and push his fortunes. In April 1765 he wrote to Wesley from Dublin, telling him that he had joined the Methodists, and giving an account of his conversion in London. He had thoughts of entering the ministry, but finally settled in Dublin as a painter and drawing-master. Wesley was once his guest for three weeks. The artist was wondering how he could bear the expense if Wesley came, as his earnings only met his expenses; but a gentleman came in and offered a guinea for an hour’s teaching every day. The lessons lasted till the day Wesley returned to England. He died on October 6, 1806. He was a special friend of John Fletcher, and his poetic gifts are shown by various pieces in his Memoirs.

Brooke told his uncle Henry of Wesley's suggestion, and wrote on August 6: 'He is deeply sensible of your very kind offer, and most cordially embraces it. He has desired me to express the warmth of his gratitude in the strongest terms, and says he most cheerfully yields the volumes you mention to your superior judgement, to prune, erase, and alter as you please.' Wesley published his revised edition, The History of Henry, Earl of Moreland, in two volumes in 1781. Juliet Grenville had been published in 1774; but Wesley did not abridge this novel. See Arminian Magazine, 1787, pp. 160-1; Tyerman's Wesley, iii. 172-4; Green’s Bibliography, No. 351; and letter of March 1, 1762.

[18] His Journal shows what personal benefit Wesley received from electric treatment, and how he provided an electrical apparatus in London by which 'hundreds, perhaps thousands, have received unspeakable good.' See Journal, iv. 49, 190-1.

[19] This letter shows not only what Mrs. Wesley was but how long and patiently her husband bore with her. The piece in brackets is missing from the Hall manuscript, but is given in Moore’s Wesley, ii. 173-4. See letters of June 10, 1774, and September 1, 1777.

[20] The Conference in Philadelphia began on March 25 and ended on the 27th. 'We proceeded in all things on the same plan as in England.' More than a thousand members had been added to the Societies since Rankin and Shadford reached America ten months earlier. There were now seventeen preachers and upwards of two thousand members. See Wesley's Veterans, vi. 180.

[21] William Hunter died, ‘full of divine peace, love and joy,’ at Newhead, Alston Moor, on August 14, 1797, at the age of seventy-four. He was a powerful gospel preacher and truly devoted to God. Pawson spent the year as a supernumerary at Bristol. He had married on July 23, 1773, Miss Grace Davis, who lived there, and Pawson wanted to be among her friends. She was very ill from June to October 1774, and could not leave for Leeds till October 10, ‘such was her extreme weakness.’ See Methodist Magazine, 1798, pp. 26-9; Wesley’s Veterans, iv. 52.

[22] William Eels, a native of North Shields joined John Atlay, and died at Dewsbury in 1793. He was now in the Newcastle Circuit, where Joseph Cownley (whose health had broken down) also lived. Eels became Benson’s colleague after the Conference. See Atmore’s Memorial, pp. 116-17.

[23] Miss Ritchie had been staying with Miss Bosanquet at Cross Hall, and told Wesley on July 19: 'Since I came home, I have at times been in the fire; but this cannot harm while God is near. It cannot hurt the soul that cleaves to Jesus.'

[24] Benson had been in Edinburgh as second preacher. At the Conference, which began the next day, he was appointed to be Assistant there. See letter of March 4.

[25] An important survey of Wesley’s personal and family history, with references to his Journal.

[26] The Conference met in Bristol on August 9, 10, and 11. Friday the 12th was observed as a day of fasting and prayer for the success of the gospel. Miss Ritchie and her friends seem to have kept it thus at Otley. She had told Wesley that her health was in a delicate and precarious state. She replied to his letter on October 18, informing him that her mother had been very ill for some time. She says 'I am in some measure always sensible of His presence,' and in a sense 'I pray without ceasing.' See Memoirs of Mrs. Elizabeth Mortimer, pp. 46-50.

[27] Wesley says on Sunday, September 4, 1774: ' The glorious congregation assembled at five in the amphitheater at Gwennap. They were judged to cover fourscore yards, and yet those farthest off could hear.' He reached Bristol on the 10th, and wrote this letter to Captain Richard Williams, in Poldice, near Truro. The letter shows how Wesley stimulated his helpers, and lets us into the secret of his calm confidence in the midst of perplexing problems. See letter of December 30, 1778.

[28] In the letter of June 19 to Miss Ball Wesley expressed a fear lest 'my dear Ann Bolton . . . should sink into that delicate species of spiritual sloth which some call "ceasing from our own works.”’ Miss Bolton wrote from Finstock, four miles north of Witney, on August 5: 'I am endeavoring to learn how to walk in a narrower path than in time past by attending more constantly to the divine presence in my soul. In order to this end the mind must be kept in silence and divested of every other pursuit but that of knowing, doing, and suffering His holy will.' See Arminian Magazine, 1787, P. 159.

[29] Miss James was the daughter of Captain John James, of Bristol, Charles Wesley's intimate friend. See his Journal, ii. 247,263; Church Record, 1896, p. 43; and letters of September 20, 1772, and January 2, 1781.

[30] Wesley's indignation at the horrors of the Slave Trade is well known, and this letter brings it out with emphasis.

[31] Miss Bishop wrote on November 24: 'To write to you in my straits and difficulties is not grievous, your answers being generally satisfactorily decisive, and refreshing as the distilling dew.' She says John Hilton had gently reproved her for her reserve, and tells Wesley: 'Retirement is the soft in which my soul prospers. In company my spirit seems removed from its place of rest; for which reason I go out less than ever. I do not know but love of solitude grows upon me, perhaps more than it ought.' Hilton had been a great blessing to her. 'I have not been so fed in the outward means since Mr. Pawson left us.' She asks for 'some directions for a profitable attendance on public worship.' See Arminian Magazine 1787, p. 219.

[32] The financial burdens resting on Wesley through the growth of Methodism and the increase of the families of the preachers may be slightly understood from this letter.

[33] Mill was Rutherford's colleague in Dundee. He was stationed at Londonderry in 1776. Ill-health compelled him to retire in 1795, and after a brig illness he died on April 20, 1806, aged fifty-five. See letter of October 22, 1776, to Mrs. Johnston.

[34] Charles Perronet wrote next day from Canterbury: 'I cannot make you any suitable return for your repeated offers of making the Foundery my place of abode at a time I can only be a burthen to you and my friends. Since you were here [on December 5] I have had such pains of body that I could not sit up by day nor scarce lie in bed at night.' Wesley saw him at Canterbury on December 14, 1775. 'What a mystery of Providence! Why is such a saint as this buried alive by continual sickness' He died on August 12, 1776. See Journal, vi. 89; Arminian Magazine, 1787, pp. 280-1.

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