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am good for nothing, but to go and bury myself in my parish. I have those touches of misanthropy which make solitude my element: Judge, then, whether I am fit to go into the world. On the other hand, I fear that your journey is undertaken partly from complaisance to me, and in consequence of the engagement we made to go together. I acquit you of your promise, and if your business does not really demand your presence in France, I beg you will not think of going there on my account. The bare idea of giving you trouble, would make the journey ten times more disagreeable to me than the season of the year.
The day after I wrote to you, I preached the sermons against Popery, which I had promised to my people And Mr. S-t-r called out several times in the church-yard as the people went out of church, that "there was not one word of truth in the whole of my discourse, and that he would prove it," and told me, that he would produce a gentleman, who should answer my sermon, and the pamphlet 1 had distributed." I was therefore obliged to declare in the church, that I should not quit England, and was only going into Wales, from whence I would return soon to reply to the answer of Mr. S-t-r and the priest, if they should offer any. I am thus obliged to return to Madeley, by my word so publicly pledged, as well as to raise a little money for my journey. Were it not for these circumstances, I believe, I should pay you a visit at Bristol, notwithstanding my misanthropy.
The hamper, which you mention, and for which I thank you, provided it be the last, arrived three days before my departure; but not knowing what it was, nor for whom it was intended, I put it in my cellar without opening it. I want the living water rather than cyder, and righteousness more than clothes. I fear, however, lest my unbelief should make me set aside the fountain whence it flows, as I did your hamper. Be that as it may, it is high time to open the treasures of divine mercy, and to seek in the heart of Jesus for the springs of love, righteousness, and life. The Lord
give us grace so to seek that we may find, and be enabled to say with the woman in the gospel,
found the piece of silver which I had lost.'
If your affairs do not really call you to France, I will wait until Providence and Grace shall open a way for me to the mountains of Switzerland, if I am ever to see them again. Adieu. Give yourself wholly to God. A divided heart, like a divided kingdom, falls naturally by its own gravity, either into darkness, or into sin. My heart's desire is, that the love of Jesus may fill your soul, and that of
Your unworthy and greatly obliged Servant,
To the Rev. Mr. Charles Wesley.
MADELEY, Jan. 1775.
MY VERY DEAR SIR,
I thank you for your letter, and your very friendly postscript to your brother's. I am glad you did not altogether disapprove of my "Essay on Truth." The letter, I grant, professeth but little, until the Spirit animates it. I had, some weeks ago, one of these touches, which realize or rather spiritualize the letter, and it convinced me more than ever, that what I say in this tract, of the Spirit and of faith is truth.
I am also persuaded, that the faith and spirit, which belong to perfect Christianity, are at a very low ebb, even among believers. When the Son of Man cometh to set up his kingdom, shall he find Christian faith upon the earth? Yes; but I fear, as little as he found of Jewish faith, when he came in the flesh.
I believe you can rest either with the easy Antinomian, or the busy Pharisee. You and I have nothing
to do, but to die to all that is of a sinful nature, and to pray for the power of an endless life. God make us faithful to our convictions, and keep us from the snares of outward things. You are in danger from music, children, poetry; and I from speculation, controversy, sloth, &c. &c. Let us watch against the deceitfulness of self and sin in all their appearances.
What power of the Spirit do you find among the believers in London? What openings of the kingdom? Is the well springing up in many hearts? Are many souls dissatisfied, and looking for the kingdom of God in power? Watchman, what of the night ?What of the day?--What of the dawn?
I feel the force of what you say in your last, about the danger of so encouraging the inferior dispensation, as to make people rest short of the faith which belongs to perfect Christianity. I have tried to obviate it in some parts of the Equal Check, and hope to do it more effectually, in my reply to Mr. Hill's Creed for Perfectionists. Probably, I shall get nothing by my polemic labours, but loss of friends, and charges of "novel chimeras," on both sides. I expect a letter from you on the subject: Write with openness, and do not fear to discourage me, by speaking your disapprobation of what you dislike. My aim is, to be found at the feet of all, bearing aud forbearing, until truth and love bring better days. I am, Rev. and dear Sir, Your most affectionate Brother and Son in the Gospel, J. FLETCHER.
To Mr. Charles Perronet.
MY VERY DEAR BROTHER,
BRISTOL, July 12, 1776.
HAVING an opportunity of writing a line to you, by a friend whom I meet daily at the hot-well, and who is about to set out for Canterbury, I gladly embrace this opportunity of thanking you for your last favour about my health. I am here drinking the waters; with what effect time will show. The Lord keeps me hanging by a thread: He weighs me in the balance for life and death, I trust him for the choice: He knows, far better than I, which is the best; and I leave all to his unerring wisdom. The fumigating medicine you recommend me, is advertised in the pump-room; but I fumimy physician says, it is not proper in my case. gate my lungs with vinegar, drink the waters, and live pon vegetables. These, with some pills, change of , and moderate exercise, make the whole of my phycal regimen, if you add bleeding.
With respect to my mind, I am calm, and wait in Submission what the Lord will say concerning me. wait to be baptized into all his fulness, and trust the word, the faithful word of his grace. Afflictions and shakes may be a plowing necessary to make way for the heavenly seed, and to prepare me to bring some fruit in life, or in death. Whether it be in the former or in the latter, I hope I shall live and die the object of your love, and subject of your prayers, as you are of the cordial affection and good wishes of, My very dear friend,
Your devoted Brother, and obliged
Companion in tribulation,
To James Ireland, Esq.
MADELEY, Sep. 7, 1776.
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
I THANK you for your kind letter, and am glad you will continue to oppose bigotry, though I would not have you bring a whole house about your ears, for the sake of so insignificant a creature as I am. As many, who espouse the sentiments of my opponents, condemn me without having heard me out, and upon the dreadful charges which they have brought against me, they are not much to blame; for what good man can think well of a blasphemer, and an enemy to the gospel? I hope, for my part, to do what shall be in my power to remove prejudices, and trust to gain some resignation and patience, by what I shall not be able to remove. God is my witness, that I honour and love them, though I will never part with my liberty of exposing error, wherever I shall detect it. Why might I not endeavour to take off a spot from a friend's sleeve, without running the risk of losing his friendship, and incurring his ill-will?
My health is, I thank God, better than when I wrote last. I have not yet preached, rather from a sense of my duty to my friends, and high thoughts of Mr. Greaves's labours, (who does the work of an evangelist to better purpose than I,) than to spare myself; for, if I am not mistaken, I am as able to do my work now, as I was a year ago.
A fortnight ago I paid a visit to West Bromwich: 1 ran away from the kindness of my parishioners, who oppressed me with tokens of their love. To me there is nothing so extremely trying as excessive kindness.