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5E, Oil. ISth, 1779.
The Rev. Mr. Boddily, having first examined the Epistle to Gillingham, subscribed ; and sent a Recommendation of it to Bath: Afterwards it gained the following Approbation of other Ministers.
JT/'E whose Names are under written, have perused the Epifile to Gillingham, do believe it to be the true Spirit of the Gospel, and the Genuine Experience of a true Believer; and as such recommend it, hoping and wijhing 'it may be of general Advantage to the Jnterejl of Religion, and the Souls of Men in particular.
Batm, Nov. 5th.
CALEB EVANS, Senior.
Have not perused all the Book, but what I have
North Bradly 1
Jan. 5th, 1780. S
N B. The Number of Subscribers to this EPISTLE con. sisteth of about Two Thousand: but it being so well attested by the above Divines ; it is needless to insert their Names for a Recommendation,
To the READER.
fJ/'Hcrcas, by the Providence of God, this EpijUe hath made its Way into the World; my Readers might be anxious tt knew the efficient Cause of its being written: therefore I would ivtjh to inform them, that I was born in Gillingham, in Dorsetshire, brought up a Churchman, end by Occupation a White Tawer and Glover: after which I commenced an Officer of Excise, and was oraered to Talgarth, in Breconshire; and having Treveck* under Survey, had frequent Opportunities of attending the ATmiJlry. of Mr. Howell Harries, who lived there; under whose effica-* ttous Doihine I was convinced of Sin; after which the Lord was graciously pleased to reveal himself unto me. Some Years after, I was favoured with an amiable Wife; and having now left the Excise, we sudg'd it proper to go to Gillingham to fettle: and being a Native of that Town, was received with much Affeition, and lived exceeding happy for some Time: but feeing the People quite ignorant of the true Knowledge of God, was grieved for want of Christian Fellowship; I therefore endeavoured to exhort my Neighbours to seek the Lord, as they really flood in Need of some one to teach them ; for on a Sabbath Day, as I was coming from Church, I heard some of them boajling to each other, faying , "What a.famous Scholar our Minister is, his Learning is so C great, that we do not understand the Half that he fays !'.' Iasked j them what Advantage his Learning was to them, if they did not understand him, and also how many knew their Sins forgiven in his Congregation? They all declared that in this Life there was no such Knowledge to be obtained. I then infijled upon the Necessity of Men's knowing it\ or at leajl to have a well grounded Hope, through Grace: and that the constitutional Doclrine of the Church of England agreed thereunto. This new Opinion. as they called it, soon spread about, which caused the Rev. Mr. Wesley's Society from Shaftsbury to come to fee me. The Town by this Time began to be alarmed, at seeing so large a Company ff^Methodrsts, as they called them. Therefore when Preaching began, it being out of Doors, the Riot Act was read, and from thai Tims Persecution commenced against me through the whole Town; and the Minister every Sunday railed against the Methodists. And a, my House was opened for all enlightened Ministers, therefor (Satan's Revenge was the more against me, 'till at length the People withdrew all their Custom. After this I removed and came back to Wales; But have often wondered why the Lord suffered me to go to Gillingham to experience so muchTrouble; but as our Lord must needs go thro' Samaria, to talk to the Woman at Jacob'* Well, whit brought the whole City to hear and believe on him: so there was needs be for me to go to Gillingham, for a Foundation to write this Epijlle; and I trust that more than the whole City s/Samaria will fee the Lord Jesus in it, and worship him no more an the Mountains of Ignorance, but worship God in Spirit and in Truth.