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Bristol, 1809. —
I have not seen Mr. Wood’s family. He went down to Taunton yesterday to open Mr. Lackington’s chapel, who, it appears, is willing to give it up to the Methodists on certain conditions; one of which is, that the preachers who officiate in it shall wear gowns. If he had said that each shall be supplied with a new coat, it would have been better.
To his son John. —
We have agreed that you shall stay at least a year at your uncle Johnson’s, which I hope you will spend to the very best advantage. Enter radically into everything you attempt to learn; and never, never be contented with superficial knowledge in anything. Go through the Persian Pentateuch with as much speed as you can, and afterwards read the Baktyor Nameh. Get every rule and example of Jones’s Grammar by heart, and then you will be able to go through anything you may meet with. I suppose your uncle has the grammar. I have spoken to him to put you immediately to geometry, and after to learn Euclid’s Elements. This, I hope, you will apply yourself to diligently. It will be of the greatest advantage to you through life. Do not read to hurt your eyes. Be sure you never read with bad light, or late at night: if you do, you will infallibly ruin your eyes. Pray much; and take care that you give no way to evil tempers.
THE CAUSE OF CHRIST HAS THE FIRST CLAIM
To Mr. Boyd, 1815. —
Your piece on St. Paul is too valuable not to be brought in somewhere [in the Commentary]. I wish I had had it when I wrote the character of that apostle at the end of the Acts. However, I will watch for a proper place to introduce it. I am going off this day to a missionary meeting at Birmingham, from which I shall not be able to return till the middle of next week. This will make a great breach in my time; but I believe the work to be of God, and therefore feel it my duty to perform it in the best manner I can.
METHODISM FEARS NO FOE
To Mr. Boyd, 1817. —
I am much surprised to find that any of our preachers should “labor hard to dissuade you” from publishing your pamphlet against Methodism; for, although I have a very high respect for your learning and abilities, I am sure that Methodism has nothing to fear from anything that you or any other person can write on the subject in question. The most subtle casuists [a person, esp. a theologian, who resolves problems of conscience, duty, etc., often with clever but false reasoning; a sophist or quibbler] in the land have long ago done what they could, and Methodism continues now, as it was then, as inexpugnable [or inexpungible — that cannot be expunged or obliterated] as the pillars of the eternal hills. It has confuted all the arguments and calumnies ever brought against it; and if you can bring anything new, worthy consideration, it will in all probability confute that too. You should bring forward no argument that has been answered; because that would expose you to the censure of writing on a subject which you did not understand. For we do not fully understand a subject, if we are ignorant of what has been said or written pro or con Have you counted the cost, and answered to your own satisfaction the Cui bono? But I must not proceed, lest you should think that I too was joining in the strong dissuasions of Mssrs. M. and K., to prevent you from publishing. As your friend, I would; but, as fearing for my system, I would not. You would have smiled had you heard the conversation on your letter when it came last night Mary Ann, who has studied both sides of the question, and, as you know, has made some progress even in metaphysics, pleasantly said, “Well, if Mr. Boyd be so weak as to go to press with anything of this nature, I know not but I may be weak enough to answer him; and shall take for my motto 2 Kings 19:21: ‘ This is the word that the Lord bath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee!’ “ Now, if you cannot laugh at the quaintness of this conceit, you will laugh at poor Mary’s presumption. Well, they all wish you were here, and they would give you some better work than polemic divinity.
THE TENANT OF THE CAVERN
To Mr. Boyd, 1817. —
In passing along Red Bay, on my journey from Belfast coastwise to Ballycastle, I observed several caves opening to the sea. Our driver stopped, and I went into one where I saw a smith’s forge, but no person. I went into a second, and saw a woman about sixty years of age, who had made it her residence. She keeps a goat, which browses about the fields, and furnishes her with milk. She gave us some, for which we gave her ample pay. Observing the roof and floor of this wretched habitation to be damp, I asked her how she could live in it, especially in winter. She said she did very well, except when the wind blew from the sea; and she was then very cold. Her bed is never otherwise than damp throughout winter or summer. She is a good Catholic, and swears hard when a little provoked. She gave me to understand that she “sold a drop of whisky.” I was astonished at the power of accommodation which belongs to human nature: by habit and resolution a man may make all circumstances his own, and live anywhere but in the fire or under water.
THE THREE WITNESSES
To Mr. Boyd, 1817. —
I have settled the point on the three heavenly Witnesses. After I had written my note on 1 John 5:7, and my dissertation at the end of that Epistle, I looked over Porson; fbb2 but I found nothing essential to add to what had been said. I have, however, quoted him, and have examined authorities which he never saw.
A BIRTH FROM ABOVE
To the same [Mr. Boyd]. —
Well, we are getting on to Christmas. May we all be born of incorruptible seed! A birth from above beggars all earthly nobility. To them who believe in His name, the Lord Jesus gives power, ekhousian, the privilege and authority to become the sons of God. This, my dear Boyd, I wish you and myself; that, belonging to the heavenly family, we may be kings and priests unto God.
THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE
To his son John, 1817. —
Mr. Fisher wishes much to have some memoirs of the princess: can any authentic be procured? If I had a few well-attested facts relative to her education, manner of thinking, political intentions, sayings, actions, &c., I think I could draw up a good thing; — something that would set the nation right, and vindicate the conduct of the regent; for I cannot help thinking that he has been unjustly blamed. Besides, I do think that the nation has made too much of this death. We have acted as if the throne were vacant, or as if we had no legitimate stock, or the present ruler were acting a most unconstitutional part, and there were hope for the empire only in the life of the princess. Now, the reverse of all this is true; and I should like to have some excuse for a pamphlet which might set all to rights. Green would glean up all that the newspapers have; and you and he, and some others, might get me all I want. — N.B. Naples and Spain could only inherit in the Stuart line; but they are cut off by the Act of Settlement in the posterity of Sophia, being Protestants.
To Mr. Boyd, 1818. —
I consider the whole system of philosophy unsettled, and chemistry and medicine to be retrograde. Even in my short life I have seen many changes; systems, which seemed to have been demonstrated, overturned from their very bases. Two years ago I talked with my old preceptor, Dr. Perceval, under whom I studied chemistry at Trinity College. I mentioned the doubts he proposed in his concluding lecture relative to that system which then seemed to have obtained universal credit, and that he had lived to see all those doubts realized. He observed, that he had equal doubts concerning the present system of chemistry, and had reason to believe that all our boasted modern discoveries would in process of time be entirely nullified. As to the geologists, they are as deeply in the mud as the chemists are in the mire.
There is no end to their world-making; and, in my mind, they are worthy of little regard. The foundation of God alone standeth sure, and to this they will all turn back when the pure light shines upon them; or rather, when they permit it to shine into them. Have a little patience, and all will come about. The bombast of the present system will soon make its last explosion.
THE LAND’S END.
FBB3 Oct. 11th, 1819. —
I write this on the last projecting point of rock of the Land’s End; upwards of two hundred feet perpendicular above the sea, which is raging and roaring tremendously, threatening destruction to myself and the narrow point of rock on which I am sitting. On my right hand is the Bristol Channel, and before me the vast Atlantic ocean. There is not one inch of land from the place on which my feet rest, to the American continent. This is the place where Charles Wesley composed those fine lines, — “Lo, on a narrow neck of land, ‘Twixt two unbounded seas, I stand,” &c.
The point of rock is about three feet broad at its termination; and the fearless adventurer will here place his foot, to be able to say that he has been on the uttermost inch of land in the British empire westward. On this spot the foot of your husband now rests, while he writes the words of the same hymn: — O God my inmost soul convert, And deeply on my thoughtful heart Eternal things impress: Give me to feel their solemn weight, And tremble on the brink of fate, And wake to righteousness.”
ST. AUSTEL CHAPEL.
FBB4 Oct. 22nd. —
I am just come in after preaching here. The crowd was immense. They had just enlarged the chapel, building a new end and gallery to it. When I was about to take my text, the gallery gave way; the timbers fairly came out of the walls, yet it did not fall down; but the confusion was awful. I was close to the gallery, and distinctly saw the peril; and, had it come down, I knew I must have been the first victim; but at least two hundred others would also have been killed. I stood in my place; for, had I moved, universal terror would have taken place, and many must have fallen victims to an impetuous rush. The chapel was soon nearly emptied, and no one was hurt. Many came back again, and I preached; but I knew not till the end of the service all the miracle it required to save us. Then it was found that, owing to the pressure in the gallery, the timbers being too short, they had started out from the walls two feet, fbb4 and the gallery actually shook, having nothing but its pillars to support it. O ur son John being beneath could see this plainer than I could at the time; and he saw also that, if it fell, he must be killed if he kept his place, which was immediately before the pulpit; but, as he knew that his father must be the first victim, he resolutely kept his situation, expecting eternity every moment. But enough of this. It makes one’s blood run chill. This is the last crowd I ever wish to see.
To his son John, 1819. —
Some time ago you requested me to set about writing my Life. This is a task which I have contemplated, but long feared to attempt; but I have felt more on the subject since you wrote to me, and have lately been obliged to think deeply, as I received credible information that my Life is cut and dry, ready for the eye of the public as soon as my heart is cold. I came in here (Liverpool) last Wednesday evening. In a private conversation with Mr. Drew, he most solemnly begged and charged me to begin the work; for some hackneyed, hunger-bitten scriveners [a copyist or drafter of documents] were ready to praise me to death in prose, and murder me on verse. I believe all my conversations, and anecdotes which I have related concerning myself and my family, for several years past, have been carefully taken down and preserved. Mr. Comer took up the same subject, and most instantly begged me to defer it no longer, — because, I suppose, they all see I am going; and I am led to think myself t hat I may be soon gone. Well, what should I do? This Comment is still hanging heavy on my hands; but, it is true, I am free from the Records. This gives a measure of leisure, and saves from much anxiety.
Laying everything together with the Semel calcanda via, I sat down on Friday in Mr. Comer’s little study, and made a trial. All seemed light, all recollection; circumstances and incidents, in their regular chronologic order, crowded upon me. I began with the origin of the distinction of families accounted for our name; gave, as far as I could, a history of our family; gave a short sketch of my grandfather; then the history of my father, his studies, projected voyage to America, employment, character, and death; — of my mother; my brother, his education, professional pursuits, voyages, death, and of the children left by him, John, Adam, Thrasycles, and Edward — then my own birth; singularities of my childhood, development of genius, commencement of studies, the labors of my brother and self in our little farm, &e., &c.: and in twenty-three closelywritten pages I have brought myself on in my journey through life to the ninth year. Unless death stop me, I shall not stop now till this be finished.
I am delighted with it: it is all incident. I have written it in the third person.
This form can be altered, if necessary: the collection of the facts is the grand thing. I have always had it in purpose to write my own Life as Caesar wrote his Commentaries. This [way] prevents egotism. When Mr. Thoresby wrote his own life, the pronoun “I” occurred so often in it, that the printer was obliged to borrow I s from his brother-printers, as his own had run out. Your father has never been in the habit of speaking much of himself; and it would ill become him, when about to p ass the great deep, to occupy his time or that of his readers with these ceremonious and generally unwelcome pronouns.
THE FEAST OF REASON
May, 1822. —
The company [at Kensington Palace] consisted of His Royal Highness, [the duke of Sussex,] Dr. Parr, Judge Johnstone, Sir Anthony Carlisle, the Rev. T. Maurice, the Hon. _____ Gower, Solomon Da Costa, Hon. Colonel Wildman, Sir Alexander Johnstone, Mr. Pettigrew, Lord Blessington, and A. C To give you a sketch of the conversation is impossible: but I can give you some outlines: — The manners of the great were freely canvassed; the bench of bishops was dissected; the degradation of the Royal Society was deplored; the character and conduct of the late Sir Joseph Banks criticized; the talents of the ministry estimated; the marquis of Londonderry characterized; several texts of Scripture, proposed by the duke of Sussex, discussed; Bonaparte eulogized, as one who had never broken a treaty, and who in the flush of victory ever offered peace to his subdued enemies; the probability of a Russian war conjectured; the writings of Aristotle praised; the different species of Greek literature discriminated; with many other matters which I cannot now detail.
London, May 6th, 1823. —
Yesterday we had our public meeting. It was a very good one, and well attended. The chief speakers were Mr. Hughes, (who is very ill, and I think dying,) Sir George Rose, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Stephen, (master in Chancery,) Mr. Bacon, the statuary, Mr. Williams, M.P., and others: almost all were churchmen, and seemed to rally around us. These eminent churchmen bore the finest and the most decided testimony to the excellence and glory of Methodism. The collection, I believe, was large. I made some mistake in the account I sent you of my work. Mr. Jay had got at Queen-street between 80 and 90, and two gold rings. My friends were determined that none should go beyond me; and my gleanings on Sunday morning, after Mr. Jay’s harvest, were 92. 10s.
My collection on Thursday night was 72; and the before-mentioned at Queen-street was the largest collection made this year in the city. So, you see, your old weather-beaten father is still at the head of the poll.
During my speech yesterday I mentioned the Shetlands; and what was the consequence? I had one ten-pound note put in my hand, another tenpound, and a five-pound. Mr. Bunting, being afraid that I should get all the monish, warned the congregation to give for the foreign missions; and so I got no more. However, I was content with what I did get.
PLEASANT VOYAGE TO IRELAND
The sea was very smooth, and we were crowded with passengers; several of them persons of distinction. We had three clergymen, two of them D.D.’s; three generals, Welsh, Greaves, and Bingham; several majors and colonels one Indian judge; some members of Parliament; and some ladies of rank. We had no less than five carriages on board, with horses, servants, &c. We were crowded; but such an agreeable set I never met with in any place. All conversed with me freely and frequently; the generals, and the other military men. On Sunday morning the ladies sent me a message desiring me to preach the officers joined: but, a there were three clergymen, I thought it much better that they should be asked, as they were very respectable and indeed pious men. They consented. An awning was placed over the quarter-deck. One read prayers; another, the lessons; and the third preached. It was really a good sermon of its kind, and read well by its author, Dr. Woodward, son of the bishop of Cloyne In the evening we got into knots. I had invitations on all hands to visit different country-seats near Limerick and Cork, but was obliged to decline them all, as my stay was to be so short. They tried me on all subjects, religious, civil, philosophical, and literary. Blessed be God, who has given me some brains, and enabled one to cultivate them, I was not at a loss in any one instance, but spoke largely on all After long sailing we got into the Channel. The prospects on both sides the river were most lovely. Our French horn blew different airs, — “Adeste fideles,” “God save the king,” and some psalm-tunes; and the returning echoes were the finest I ever witnessed.
OPENING OF EASTBROOK CHAPEL, BRADFORD, YORKSHIRE
Sept. 4th, 1825. —
I have now finished my work at this place. It is evening, and, while the rest are gone to hear Mr. Lessey, I sit down to write to you. I preached this morning at the Old Chapel. It was not a congregation, nor an assembly, nor a concourse, nor a crowd, but a tremendous torrent of human beings, produced by a conflux from the thirty-two points of the compass, of this town and its vicinity. I thought preaching would have been impossible; and it would have been so, had not W. Dawson got out into the burying-ground, and carried off one thousand of the people with him. I began at about half after nine, the chapel being then thronged. To deceive the, one slyly stopped the clock at a quarter before ten. I had in a few minutes perfect stillness; preached till twelve, not knowing how time went on. My voice was as loud as a trumpet, and I spoke till body and soul were nearly bidding each other a final farewell.
The spirit of glory and of God rested upon all; and I felt a hope that not a soul there would ever turn again to folly. Though there had been already three collections, at the first of which on Friday I got them 100, yet this morning I got upwards of 100 more, besides what Mr. Dawson got in the yard. I came to my lodgings in a piteous state; a strong pain between my shoulders, indicating inflammation of the diaphragm Leeds comes next. I almost dread the human billows, the mountain-swells of thousands who will be there.
THE FAR NORTH
Northwich, Lat. 61 N., July 6th, 1828. —
I have this day had the highest honor of my life, having preached Christ crucified to the inhabitants (on this line) of the very ends of the earth beyond which the sound of the Gospel never was heard, and indeed beyond which, in this direction, there is no human inhabitant. The huge hills of serpentine rock on either hand, with scarcely any vegetable covering, and of the islands and mainland on either hand, answering nearly to the description of Ovid: — “Est locus extremis Scythia glacialis in oris, Triste solum, sterilis, sine fruge, sine arbore, tellus; Frigus iners illic habitant, Pallorque, Tremorque, Et jejuna Fames.” — Met. viii. ver. 788-91 fbb4
COUNSELS TO THE ZETLAND MISSIONARIES
God seems to have opened your way wonderfully to a people who seem to be prepared for Himself. I hope you will be enabled to enter at every opened door; and by all means form Societies in every place where you preach, if possible. You remember what our Large Minutes say on the subject; that “where we preach often without doing this, our seed has been sown by the wayside.” If you can get but a dozen to meet in a place, on our rules, form them into a class; and show everywhere the great advantages of this: and this is what we mean in that article of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the communion of saints.” It does not mean [only] receiving the Lord’s Supper together Show that God’s people acted in this way in all ages; and that, without such advantages, even the bestdisposed make little advance in the divine life.
Preach the whole truth, but not no a controversial way; and dwell especially on Christ’s love to all sinners, salvation by faith, the witness of the Spirit, and redemption from all sin. I have, often successfully combated the Presbyterians with those words of their own Catechism: “Quest. 36.
What are the benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification? Ans. They are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein unto the end. Romans 5:1,2,5 Proverbs 4:18; 1 John 5:13; 1 Peter 1:5.” From these you may show the people what the doctrine of their forefathers was, and press them to look for the same blessings.
Brother Dunn tells me that he is forbidden to preach in the churches: — so much the better. I do not wish you to preach in any of their churches. You are Methodists. Build on your own foundation. You cannot form classes, if you preach in other men’s churches and chapels; and, if you do not form classes, you do not the work of Methodist preachers. Go on believingly.
Read much, pray much, believe much. Visit the people from house to house. Take notice of the children; treat them lovingly. This will do the children good, and the parents will like it All my family send their love to you. You have our constant, earnest prayers. — Letter to the Rev. J. Raby.
TO OBTAIN RELIEF IN DEPRESSION
Bristol, April, 1828. —
I get ground but very slowly. The easterly cold winds and wet weather are much against me; and, if some genial temperature do not soon prevail, I cannot divine when I shall be able to remove. News came today that Mr. Myles is dead. He preached on Good Friday, Luke 23:48; and gave the sacrament on Easter Sunday, and died a few days after. Today, I have been able with much pain to get on my coat. I have nothing new to add. That my mind is low, very low, I need not say. May God help me to look above, and, when I look, to see always the brightness of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ!
READING OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
After having more than half a century read it so much, I formed the resolution on Jan. 1st to read the Bible through once more. I read the New Testament in Greek, and the Old Testament in English, collating it occasionally with the Hebrew: I bind myself to one chapter in each daily; but I have often read more, and have read over the five books of Moses and the four Gospels. This I find very profitable. Now I commend this to you: and read so that your mind shall feel the reading, and then the reading will profit you. — To Miss Smith, February, 1830.
With the new year I felt a purpose to mend, particularly in two things:
First, to read my Bible more regularly; and to get through it once more before I die. Second, to bear the evils and calamities of life with less pain of spirit: If I suffer wrong, to leave it to God to right me; to murmur against no dispensation of His providence; to bear ingratitude and unkindness as things totally beyond my control, and consequently things on account of which I should not distress myself; and, though friends and confidants should fail, to depend more on my everlasting Friend. — To Mr. Rowley, 1830.
Il y a quelque temps depuis que je vous ai ecrit en vous proposant cette question: S’il me faudrait vous confier le plus grand secret de mon ame, le garderiez-vous a vous, sans le commettre a qui que ce soit? C’est a dire, pourriez-vous le garder inviolablement jusqu a la mort? Vous m’avez repondu, Ah que oui! Eh bien, je vous dirai que vous etes la seule personne au monde a qui je puis me fier. Vous m’aiderez de vos conseils, et de votre adresse, et vous ne me tromperez pas. C’est assez de termes generaux: quand j’aurai une affaire particuliere, je vous le confierai. — To the same
IRISH EDUCATION 1831. —
The letter I wrote to the chief secretary for Ireland, on the Education of the Irish Poor, makes nearly nine folio pages. It takes a view of the uneducated state of the people, the ardent desires which the Irish feel for knowledge, and their remarkable aptness to receive instruction; an account of the six schools which, in the course of April and May of this year, I established in very neglected places in the north; the places of instruction the difference between education and cultivation; the great necessity for girls’ schools, and prudent, humane female teachers; and the easiness of educating the whole of the people. I have asked no help from him, but have offered to aid others by my experience.
OLD FRIENDS PRECEDE HIM TO THE GRAVE
January 10th, 1832. —
You may have heard that I was sent for, at his earnest request, to see Mr. Baynes on his death-bed. I went with all speed, and saw him on Thursday morning, stayed all night, and saw him in Friday. He was in a truly glorious state. Took the coach that evening to return. It was dark and foggy, and the fellow had no lamps. I was apprehensive of danger. She was full outside; and five, instead of four, within. A little short of the Swan he swamped over the coach, and projected all the outsides and the luggage into the ditch, broke the pole in two, smashed the windows, and stove-in the side of the coach. I suppose I lay (for it fell on my side) fifteen minutes, with three persons on the top of me, before they could get us out. I was only a little bruised on my right shoulder, but sadly trampled on; and then had to stand more than an hour, in the rain from above and the slush below, before I could get relief.
The next day I received a letter from Mr. Scott, (of Pensford,) and one from his wife, begging me to come to see him, as his life hung in doubt, and he wished to see me before he died. I sent to town to take my place. After my late shaking, this is a serious experiment. Pray for your poor father, who, through God’s mercy, has been ever ready to obey such calls.
Pensford, January 16th. —
I got into Bristol Wednesday night very late, and set off the next morning for this place. I found Mr. Scott ill; but he would walk from room to room, talk about the things of God, and appeared as if he would yet weather a few storms. But he has continued to sink, and is now as low as well can be. But he is quite sensible, and is very happy in God. He seems to dwell in God, and God in him. I have not found a greater evidence of complete salvation. His mouth is ever filled with the high praises of God for what He has wrought in and for him. He is full of admiration of the perfections of the Divine Nature, and His wonderful condescension towards the fallen race of man. “God is love,” is a frequent ejaculation; and he seems to feed upon it, as the very food of his spirit. He takes no food, but a little drink to wet his lips from time to time.
This morning he performed the last act of his life; viz., signing a cheque for 50 for Zetland. He would do it, it being his last instalment a nd, though he had only to sign his name, Mrs. Scott having filled up the cheque, yet he was at least a whole hour before he could do this. His right hand had lost its cunning, and its strength also. He will no more grasp a pen. Having loved Zetland, he loved it to the end.
From another letter. —
When he found he had succeeded [in signing the paper], he spoke, as well as he could, these remarkable words: “There, for the work of God in Zetland, I send my last cheque to heaven for acceptance; and the inhabitants will see that the writer will soon be there himself.” I turned the chair a little about; he leaned himself back, and sighed out, “Glory, glory be to God, for His astonishing love to such a worthless worm! O, God is Love!” He is sinking very fast, and will, to every human appearance, keep his next Sabbath in heaven. Talking of resignation, he said to the doctor, “My soul is perfectly resigned to the Divine will. I have a full assurance of God’s love; and it is no odds to me whether I be found in this world or in the world of spirits an hour hence.”
From another. —
Mr. Thomas Roberts, whom you must have known, one of our preachers, now lies dead in Bristol. I hoped to see him, but he was gone before I reached the city. I should have been glad to see him: forty-seven years ago I sent him out to preach his first sermon. He was an amiable, sensible, and pious man.
THE ROYAL FRIEND
January, 1832. —
This morning I have written a congratulatory letter to the duke of Sussex, on his birthday, the 27th.
March 13th. —
From every appearance I find, by laying another load on an already overburdened horse, I may be able to preach for the schools at Stoke-Newington on April 8th. This is as far as I can go. I hope Mr. Smith will take care that there be no reporters of sermons suffered at City-road on Sunday, 25th. I must, if possible, be at Kensington Palace on the evening of the 24th, though I should stay but half an hour; as I have received the special invitation of the royal duke to be there. [We make this extract to show that the good feeling between the Prince and the Doctor continued to the close of life.]
May, 1832. —
Wherever I went, the congregations were vast, and the collections for the Missions great beyond example. At Birmingham, 12 last year; it was 50 this. At Sheffield, last year 120; this year 240. I went to Thorncliffe, where, instead of thirty or forty shillings, I had 11 .. I got to Bruerton, and on Sunday preached at Stafford, where we had good times.
WHEN’S THE BLAST IN IRELAND
Coleraine, June, 1832. —
I am here cooped up, a burden to myself and I fear to others. Since I got to this place, I have not been able to go where I could do the work for which I came, till yesterday; when I was taken by Mr. M’Alwine to visit the Port-Rush school, with the intention of returning by Port-Stewart. But I was so exhausted, when at Port-Rush, as not to be able to stand alone; and therefore, having looked around, I resumed my seat and got back to Coleraine, to all my feelings worse for the journey.
Manufactories are a blessing, independently of the means of living which they insure; as discipline and order, which they produce, are unnoticed restraints on immorality and vice; and ‘order is Heaven’s first law.’ The want of it is ruinous. I think how much I owe to it. Had it not been for this, I should have read little and written less. Time would have hung heavy on my hand, and yet I should not have had enough of it for any purpose of life. As everything should have its place, so every place should have its proper occupant; and habit and caution will do the rest.
THE LAST CONFERENCE
July 22nd, 1832. —
I got to Liverpool last evening; obliged to travel all night and all yesterday. My friends were looking out for me. I have been to hear Mr. Entwisle in Brunswick chapel, on ‘All the promises of God are yea and amen.’ I am got here in the very jaws almost of the cholera. The man-servant of this family took it, and his wife took it also. They have escaped with the skin of their teeth. The mistress of our charity-school in this chapel, where we hold our Conference, was taken last Saturday, and died in a few hours. Her sister, who came to minister to her, returned to her own house, was seized on the road, and was dead before twelve o’clock. Am I then, in the very same house and chapel, out of danger, and likely to escape? Yes; if God say, “The cholera shall not kill thee.” I am waiting the Divine determination. We expect a crowd of preachers. I think when they are come, and see and bear as I do, they will put their helm a-lee and seek safety on some other tack. Liverpool is full of this ruinous disease. Now, my dear Mrs. Tomkins, I commend you and yours to God, and the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and give you all an inheritance among the saints in light.
From another, to Mrs. Smith. —
Hear of our state, and pity us. We have had the cholera, with its concomitants; but, thank God, it is abating. My niece Burnett and her child have been snatched out of the fangs of the poisonous viper; and now a burning atmosphere is absorbing all our moisture. I keep as close as I can to the Conference, and go limping on my staff. I am constantly in fever; and Mr. Hensman comes frequently to the chapel to examine my state. Several of the preachers have been indisposed, less or more; but I trust we shall return with our ranks unbroken. Today I am finally set down supernumerary for Windsor, — with a roving commission.
To Mrs. Clarke. —
They are determined to commission me to be a general visitant of the churches, attend public meetings, and make collections. Mr. Watson said privately to me, that “they were resolved to make me an archbishop. Yesterday I delivered up the Zetland missions to the Conference; also the 3,000 of my trusteeship, which I held for them under Mr. Scott’s will, and the 400 which I have from Miss Sophia Ward. I have offered also the Irish schools, which, I believe, will be received.
Frome, August 9th, 1832. To Mrs. Clarke. —
I believe I told you I was obliged to preach at Stanhope-street, (Liverpool,) before the Conference, on Sabbath morning; and a glorious time it was. The preachers were greatly affected, and poor Gaulter cried like a child. I returned over the water, went to Mr. Forshaw’s for dinner and sleep, and the next morning set off, and got to Worcester in twelve hours. The Rowleys were well, and the cholera within a few doors of them. I got some sleep, rose in time, and set off for Bath, which I reached at seven in the evening. Yesterday morning got a coach, and arrived at Frome before twelve: found Matilda and children well, and Joseph full of anxiety, preparing for today’s meeting.
Memorandum, by the Rev. J. B. B. Clarke. —
For some time I had been engaged in organizing a “Society for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Poor” in the extensive parish of Frome; and, wishing to obtain all the help in my power, I wrote to my father, who had gone down to the Conference at Liverpool, urging him to attend our public meeting, and to preach the first sermon for the Society in the Methodist chapel of the town. To this request he assented, and wrote to say he hoped to be in Frome on the morning of the 9th, which was the time appointed for the meeting.
Much earlier in the morning than there was reason to expect my father, I was passing through the hall, when I saw the well-known blue travelingbag resting against the wall; and, filled with unexpected joy, I went to the dining-room, which he had entered just before me. “The old man, you see, Joseph, is come,” said he, with his usual tone of kindness, as he placed his hand upon my head and kissed me: “though battered and tossed about, he has yet strength to come at the call of his son.” He sat down for a few minutes while I took off his gaiters [a covering of cloth, leather, etc. for the leg below the knee, for the ankle]; and then, as was his frequent custom, he began to walk slowly, diagonally across the room, asking various questions about myself and family, and talking of the occurrences and company he had met with on the road from Cheshire. It was then that I observed a very marked difference in his appearance: his cheeks had fallen in, and he was considerably thinner than when I had last seen him. Hi s step was slow and heavy, with small remains of that elastic firmness for which his walking was always remarkable; and the muscles of his legs had evidently much shrunk, — a sign of old age which his straight and well-proportioned limbs had never before shown. His neck also was apparently shorter.
The conversation was chiefly occupied with family affairs, and the plan of the intended Society. He entered into its object, and appeared gratified at the extensive and influential support which it had obtained. It was impossible not to notice the depth of interest which be felt: all showed that what he said and did were the results of feeling and consideration.
This observation applies to his whole stay with me Constantly cheerful and pleasant, and even playful; but mingled with such blandness and holiness as at once won you to love the man who thus felt, and looked, and spoke. A touch of heaven seemed to have passed upon all his feelings, and he appeared as one who was not preparing to be, but had already been, beatified; his joy was so pure, his kindness so heartfelt, his piety so intense, his manners and voice so expressive of inward peace. Many times, while we stayed together, was I compelled to give way to the emotions of my heart, in the mental exclamation, — “Thou God of Love! I bless Thee for my father.”
THE FATHER’S REJOICING IN THE WORTHY SON
To Mrs. Smith, August 14th, 1832. —
I have given you some information relative to our operations at Frome on the 9th; and you had some from Matilda. Give me leave to make a reflection. What is your brother?
Nothing further than the curate of a vicar? When you consider his amazing plan to visit the thirteen thousand persons that form the population of Frome, and relieve and instruct all those who should be found to need instruction and relief, you may call it Quixotish. When you consider his having penetrated into every lane, and alley, and court, and divided [the place] into fifty-three districts, and gone into every house of all sects and parties, and prevailed upon a sufficient number to occupy those fifty-three districts as visitors, you may judge this to be a task Herculean; and when you further consider that this young man, without patronage, but by his own moral weight, has projected and established such a work, and has been capable of bringing forward to the assistance of the institution all the constituted authorities of the place, the marquis of Bath, the earl of Cork, the lord bishop of the diocese, the county representatives, the clergy, &c., you may well be astonished. Such an effect he could not have produced, had not God been with him.
ONE OF THE LAST LETTERS
Bath, August 20th, 1882. To Mrs. Tomkins. —
I have nearly finished my work in these parts, and must get home as fast as I can. I have to preach the anniversary sermon at Bayswater next Lord’s day. I have had some hard work hereabouts, but it has been owned of the Almighty. Though far from being well, I have had either incessant work and traveling, or confinement and suffering, for nearly four months; and now I should have rest: but that, I doubt, is yet far from me. My wife has sent me a letter received from the Zetlands, giving an account of a most calamitous event.
Many Methodists were in them, and not a few leaders; and the misery that has fallen to our lot is, at least, forty widows, and more than two hundred orphans. I thought I could have a little rest; but now, to meet this calamity, I must collect my little strength and set out afresh, to strive to me et and relieve this loud and dismal cry. My dear Mrs. T., you must endeavor to feel with me for them, and try what you can do.
About seven weeks before his death, Dr. Clarke, in closing a short journal of his last visit to Ireland, does it with the following words: — “Thus terminates a journey remarkable for affliction, disappointment, and suffering. I went over to Ireland to work; I could do nothing, being called to suffer. My soul, hast thou learned any good lesson? Yes. “What is it? It is this: that I have now such evidences of old age as I never had before. Yet I believe my understanding is as clear, and my judgment as sound, as ever. But, during my late detention and sufferings, have I repined against God or His Providence? — felt that my lot was hard, and that I was not permitted by Him to do that work which was for His glory? No: I was only disappointed; and I endured the mortification without a murmur.
I was enabled to bow my neck to His yoke, or lie at His footstool. I felt that He was doing all things well, that I was safe if in His hands; and therefore I could say, and did often repeat that commendatory petition frequent among our pious forefathers, — in manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. “The cholera was before me, behind me, round about me; but I was preserved, from all dread. I trusted in the sacrificial death of Jesus: no trust is higher; and none lower can answer the end. — I have redemption through His blood; and I am waiting for the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Jesus.
“I FEEL A SIMPLE HEART:THE PRAYERS OF MY CHILDHOOD ARE YET PRECIOUS TO ME;AND THE SIMPLE HYMNS WHICH ISANG WHEN A\parCHILD, ISING NOW WITH UNCTION AND DELIGHT. hemoi gar to zan, Christos kai to apothanein, kerdos. ( Philippians 1:21)
MAY I LIVE TO THEE,DIE IN THEE,AND BE WITH THEE TO ALL ETERNITY. AMEN.