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in your behalf, that you are better in body, and more languishing for spiritual health. Pray that my coming may be a furtherance, not hinderance, to this.
“My bodily strength increases, the more I use it for my Lord. Every day brings its blessing, both to me, and to those that hear me. It is pleasant travelling with such an errand. Nothing but the company of my true yokefellow could make it pleasanter.
“ The next time you hinder me in my work will be the first time. But we may learn even from our enemies what to guard against. The more heartily I labour in the vineyard, the longer I shall continue with you.
“Let us join with greater earnestness than ever to seek the kingdom of God together. And let our dearest Beck make up the three-fold cord.
“You do not consider, I lodge most nights in little towns, where is no post. It is much I can write so often.
“We must shut up our doors at five o'clock, if we can no otherwise get retirement. But most of our friends would favour our retreat from them at that hour. If resolution be not wanting on our part, we shall find the custom as practicable as my father did for forty years.
“I am creeping towards you, and rejoice to be thirty miles nearer than on Sunday. If nothing extraordinary retard me, I hope to see you,- let me see,—whenabouts will it be?about Tuesday, Oct. 24th, N.S.; or, at the farthest, some time the week after next. Direct, after receiving this, to Tiverton.
“I wish my horse may escape the staggers. Many horses about us fall down dead in a moment. But thou, Lord, shalt save both man and beast.
“ Remember me at family prayers, and in private. I am afraid of myself, that, when I return, I shall cumber the ground as heretofore. Preaching once a week in the country might be a means of preventing it: but nothing will do without private prayer.
"Pray me a successful journey. The Lord bless you and yours, and keep us to our happiest meeting around his throne!”
The reference to five o'clock, as the hour of secret devotion, is not the least interesting part of this letter. I would seem
Oct. 24th, a see, -whenabad
time the week
that Mrs. Wesley had complained that her intercourse with the Lord at this sacred time had been interrupted by visitants; and her husband intimates, that if they could not otherwise secure their hour of private prayer, they must fasten the door of the house. The Rector of Epworth, it is here stated, employed this part of the day in secret converse with God for the long space of forty years. His example in this was followed by his two sons.
The friendship which subsisted between Mr. John and Charles Wesley was very tender and confidential. It was also marked by Christian fidelity. They entertained precisely the same views concerning the nature and importance of true religion, and the manner of its attainment. Yet their characters were very dissimilar. Charles was the child of secling and emotion ; and John of intellect, who demanded a reason for everything. This difference of temperament occasioned in some instances a diversity in their courses of action; and they did not hesitate to tell each other what they deemed erroneous or reprehensible in their conduct. After John's
marriage their personal intercourse was for some years less ities a
frequent than it had formerly been; his wife cherishing Il towards her brother- and sister-in-law feelings of strong dis
like, which she was seldom backward to express. Her invectives were more empassioned than welcome, and served to keep apart those whose hearts were one, and who lived and laboured for the same object.
Towards the close of the year 1753 Mr. John Wesley deemed it his duty to address his brother in the language of reproof and caution, but without any approach to anger or unkindness. Under the date of Oct. 20th he says, “I came back from Bedford last night. I know not whether it was your will or no (I believe not); but I am sure it was God's will, for you to call there. How do you judge whether a thing be God's will or no? I hope not by inward impressions. Let us walk warily. I have much constitutional enthusiasm ; and you have much more.
"I give you a dilemma. Take one side, or the other. Either act really in connexion with me, or never pretend to it. Rather disclaim it, and openly avow you do not, and will not. By acting in connexion with me, I mean, take counsel with me once or twice a year, as to the places where you will labour. Hear my advice before you fix, whether you take it or no. At present you are so far from this, that I do not even know when and where you intend to go : so far are you from following any advice of mine ; nay, even from asking it. And yet I may say, without vanity, that I am a better judge in this matter than either Lady Huntingdon, Sally, Jones, or any other ; nay, than your own heart; that is, will. I wish you all peace, zeal, and love."
On the 31st of the same month he wrote again, pressing the necessity of acting by united counsels. He concludes by saying, “Why do you omit giving the sacrament in Kingswood ? What is reading prayers at Bristol, in comparison of this? I am sure, in making this vehement alteration you never consulted with me.”
When these letters were written Mr. John Wesley was in a declining state of health. He thought, indeed, when he wrote the last of them, that the disease was subdued, and he was convalescent. “My fever intermitted,” says he, “after twelve hours. After a second fit, of about fourteen hours, I began taking the bark, and am now recovering my strength.” In this, however, he was mistaken. The complaint returned with greater violence, and, in a few weeks, it was generally thought that his case was hopeless. He continued, with his wonted zeal, to preach, administer the Lord's supper, and meet classes, under great personal suffering and weakness, till the 26th of November, when Dr. Fothergill, the celebrated Quaker Physician who attended him, declared that he could not remain in London another day, but at the certain hazard of his life. “If anything does thee good," said the Doctor, “it must be the country air, with rest, asses milk, and riding daily." His symptoms were those of confirmed consumption : a severe cough, pain in the breast, fever, with the loss of strength. Not being able to sit upon his horse, he was conveyed in a coach to the house of his faithful friends, Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell, of Lewisham, where he found every accommodation that his circumstances required.
In the mean while the news of his danger spread, and caused a deep and general sympathy. Charles was in Bristol when the distressing intelligence was communicated to him. He was the less prepared for it, because of the impression which he had received from recent letters, that his brother was decidedly improved in his health. A valuable fragment of his journal, which he wrote at the time, will give the best view of his feelings, of his brother's condition, and of the excitement which was produced by this unexpected visitation of divine Providence. On his way to London, and during his stay there, it will be observed, his trouble was increased by the company and care of Mr. Hutchinson, a friend of the family, who was suffering both from bodily disease, and mental aberration.
“Nov. 29th, 1753. Between nine and ten," says he, "Lady Huntingdon surprised us by bringing Mrs. Galatin to see us. She had met with her at Bath, and conducted her to our house, with the mournful news of my brother's danger. I concluded, from several letters last received, and mentioning his recovery, and design of officiating at the chapel, that he was out of all danger; but Mrs. Galatin assured us, she thought he would have expired at the altar last Sunday.
“Mr. Sims, a Clergyman, followed Lady Huntingdon, full of his first love. We joined in the Lord's supper, and found much power to pray, particularly for my brother.
“At two, as Mr. Hutchinson and I were setting out, we were met by a letter from Mr. Briggs, informing me that I must make haste, if I would see my brother alive. This made us all renew our entreaties to Mr. Hutchinson/not to accompany me, lest he should retard me in my journey. But he would not be dissuaded, resolving, if I left him, to follow me in a post-chaise. I was therefore forced to take him, sorely against my will, in a chaise to Bath. We got to Mrs. Naylor's with the night. He could not sleep for cold. Nov. 30th, we prayed with great earnestness for my brother. My heart was melted into warm desires of his recovery. Between seven and eight we set forward, in a post-chaise, and came safe to Newbury before night.
“Saturday, Dec. 1st. My companion was strengthened to set out again before seven. Soon after seven we were brought safe to Mrs. Boult's. She had no expectation of us, and was therefore quite unprepared. I had no other place to lodge my poor friend, than the noisy Foundery. He had not more sleep than I expected.”
On his arrival at the Foundery, Mr. Charles Wesley addressed the following hasty letter to his wife. From Bath
he had sent her a short note, requesting her to hold herself in readiness to follow him to London, should this be necessary.
“My dearest Sally,—God has conducted us hither, through an easy, prosperous journey. My companion is better for it, not worse. But, first, you expect news of my brother. He is at Lewisham, considerably better : yet still in imminent danger, being far gone, and very suddenly, in a consumption. I cannot acquit my friends of unpardonable negligence, since not one of them sent me word of his condition, but left me to hear it by chance. I hasten to him to-morrow morning, when I have stationed my patient at Mrs, Boult's. To-night he lodges in the green-room ; I in sister Aspernal's.
"Send this immediately to sister Jones, and bid her see to it, that Wick be not neglected on Monday night. I passed my word, that I or John Jones should preach there. Frank Walker, or whoever supplies our place, must inform them that we hasten to see my brother before he dies.
“If my brother recovers, his life will be given to our prayers. Pray always, and faint not.”
"Sunday, Dec. 2d. The first news I heard last night in Moorfields was, that my brother was something better. I rode at nine to Lewisham ; found him with my sister, and Mrs. Blackwell, and Dewal. I fell on his neck, and wept. All present were alike affected. Last Wednesday he changed for the better, while the people were praying for him at the Foundery. He has rested well ever since; his cough is abated, and his strength increased : yet it is most probable, he will not recover, being far gone in a galloping consumption; just as my elder brother was at his age.
"I followed him to his chamber, with my sister, and prayed with strong desire, and a good hope of his recovery. All last Tuesday they expected his death every hour. He expected the same, and wrote his own epitaph. ‘Here lieth the body of John Wesley, a brand, not once only * plucked out of the fire. He died of a consumption, in the fifty-first year of his age ; leaving, after his debts were paid, not ten
• Mr. Wesley, after his recovery, inserted this epitaph in his printed Journal, leaving out the clause, “not once only,” which contains an allusion to his almost miraculous escape from the parsonage-house at Epworth, when it was on fire.