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evening, and from half past four to fix in the morning. I now dept little and ate little, and the grief of my soul drank up my spirits. But yet I could not believe, tho' I continued in prayer and fupplication day and night seeking God in sincerity of heart, and carefully departing from evil.
17. About this time my Wife and I were permitted to stay at the meeting of one of the Classes. I was much pleased and refreshed: but she said, “ They had all agreed what to say, in order to catch us." Such is the folly of prejudice! It was foon after this, that you returned from the Bristol Hotwells, (being just recovered from your Consumption) namely, on Easter Eve, 1754. The next day you preached at West-ftreet, April the 14th: it was the first time I ever saw or heard you. Under that sermon God set my heart at liberty, removing my (ins from me, as far as the East is from the West : which the very change of my countenance téftified, before my tongue could utter it. I had no great transport of joy ; but my load was gone, and I could praise God from the ground of my heart: all my forrow, and fear, and anguish of spirit, being changed into a solid peace.
[To be continued.]
[From the Rev. Mr. Fletcher to the Rev. Mr. Wesley:]
London, May 26, 1757. Rev. Sir, IF I did not write to you before Mrs. Wesley had asked me,
'tis not that I wanted a remembrancer within, but rather an encourager without. There is generally upon my heart N 2
such a sense of my unworthiness, that I dare hardly open my mouth before a child of God sometimes, and think it is an unspeakable honour to stand before one who has recovered something of the image of God, or sincerely seeks after it. Is it possible that such a sinful worm as me should have the privilege to converse with one, whose foul is besprinkled with the blood of my Lord ? The thought amazes--confounds me, and fills my eyes with tears of humble joy. Judge then at what distance I must see myself from you, if I am so much below the least of your children ; and whether a remembrancer within fuffices to make me presume to write to one, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. I rejoice that you find every where an increase of praying fouls. I doubt not but the prayer of the just has great power with God; but I cannot believe that it should hinder the fulfilling of Christ's gracious promises to his Church: he must and will certainly come at the time appointed, for he is not slack as some men count slackness; and though he would have all come to repentance, yet he has not forgot to be true and just. Only he will coine with more mercy, and will increase the light that shall be at evening-tide, according to his proinise in Zach. xiv. 7. I should rather think that the visions are not yet plainly disclosed, and that the day and year in which the Lord will begin to make bare his arm openly, is still concealed from us. I must say concerning Mr. Walsh, as he said once to me, concerning God. I wish I could attend him every where as Elisha attended Elias; but since the will of God calls me from him, I must submit and drink the cup prepared for me. I have not seen him, unless for a few moments, three or four times before divine service: we must meet at the throne of grace, or meet but feldom. O when will the communion of saints be com. pleat? Lord hafen the time, and let me have a place among them that love thee, and love one another in sincerity! · I set out in two days for the country. O may I be faithful! harmless like a dove, wise like a serpent, and, bold as a lion,
for for the common cause! O Lord do not forsake me, stand by the weakest of thy servants and enable thy children to bear with me, and wrestle with thee in my behalf! O bear with me dear Sir, and give me your blessing every day, and the Lord will return to you sevenfold.
Your unworthy Servant,
Tof Public WORSHIP, in a Letter to a Friend, by the Rev. Mr. John Wesley.]
Sept, 20, 1757 Dear Sir, THE longer I am absent from London, and the more I at
tend the service of the Church in other places, the more I am convinced of the unspeakable advantage which the people called Methodists enjoy. I mean, even with regard to Public Worship, particularly on the Lord's Day. The Church where they assemble is not gay or splendid; which might be an hindrance on the one hand: nor sordid or dirty, which might give distaste on the other : but plain as well as clean. The persons who assemble there, are not a gay, giddy crowd, who come chiefly đo see and be seen : nor a company of goodly, formal, outside Christians, whose religion lies in a dull round of duties: but a people most of whom know, and the rest earnestly seek to worship God in spirit and in truth. Accordingly, they do not spend their time there in bowing and curtseying, or in staring about them: but in looking upward and looking inward, in harkening to the yoice of God, and pouring out their hearts before him,
It is also no small advantage that the person who reads prayers (though not always the same,) yet is always one, who may be supposed to speak from his heart, one whose life is no reproach to his profession; and one who performs that solemn part of divine service, not in a careless, hurrying, slovenly 'manner, but seriously and slowly, as becomes him who is transacting so high an affair between God and man.
Nor is their folemn addresses to God interrupted either by the formal drawl of a parish clerk, the screaming of boys, who bawl out what they neither feel nor understand, or the unseasonable and unmeaning impertinence of a voluntary on the organ. When it is seasonable to sing praise to God, they do it with the spirit, and with the understanding also : not in the iniserable, scandalous doggerel of Hopkins and Sternhold, but in pfalms and hymns which are both sense and poetry; such as would sooner provoke a Critic to turn Christian, than a Christian to turn Critic. What they sing is therefore a proper continuation of the spiritual and reasonable service; being selected for that end (not by a poor hum-drum wretch who can scarce read what he drones out with such an air of importance, but) by one who knows what he is about, and how to connect the preceding with the following part of the fervice. Nor does he take just “ two staves,” but more or less, as may beft raise the soul to God: especially when sung in well composed and well adapted tunes, not by a handful of wild unawakened striplings, but by a whole serious congregation: and then not lolling at ease or in the indecent posture of fitting, drawling out one word after another, but all fanding before God, and praising hinn lustily and with a good courage.
Nor is it a little advantage as to the next part of the service, to hear a Preacher whom you know to live as he fpeaks, speaking the gemine gospel of present Salvation through Faith, wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghoft: declaring present, free, full Juftification, and enforcing every branch
of inward and outward Holiness. And this you hear done in the most clear, plain, sinple, unaffected language; yet with an earnestness becoming the importance of the subject, and with the demonstration of the spirit.
With regard to the last and most awful part of divine service, the celebration of the Lord's Supper, altho' we cannot say that either the unworthiness of the Minister, or the unholiness of some of the Communicants, deprives the rest of a blessing from God, yet do they greatly lessen the comfort of receiving. But these discouragements are removed from you: you have proof that he who administers, fears God: and you have no reason to believe, that any of your Fellow-Communicants walk unworthy of their profession. Add to that the whole service is performed in a decent and folemn manner, is inlivened by hymns suitable to the occasion, and concluded with prayer that comes not out of feigned lips.
Surely then of all the people in Great-Britain, the Metho. dilts would be the most inexcusable, should they let any oppor. tunity slip of attending that worship which has so many advan. tages, Should they prefer any before it; or not continually improve by the advantages they enjoy! What can be pleaded for them, if they do not worship God in spirit and in truth: if they are still outward worshippers only, approaching God with their lips while their hearts are far froin him ? Yea, if having known him, they do not daily grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!
L E T T E R C. [From Mr. John Walsh to the Rev. Mr. Wesley, containing
an Account of a Clergyman.]
Knightsbridge, June 21, 1758.
my soul, I have not once written to you; fupposing the many thousands of Israel would write more, than well suits