« AnteriorContinuar »
you more brothers than one?" I replied, Yes, I have two, and the youngest is tall; but I never received any thing in particular from him, nor have I the least reason to ex. pect it. Her discourse, however, with several concurring circumstances, made an impression on our minds; and after asking direction from the Lord, we agreed to take the step in a fortnight.
For the first week all remained as usual ; but in the beginning of the second, a gentleman came quite unex. pectedly, and bought the place, for one thousand six hun. dred and twenty pounds. Three days after, another took the stock, &c. A way seemed also to open for each mem. ber of the family; so that with a little assistance, every one had a comfortable prospect before them. The case of one, a poor cripple, who had lived with me sixteen years, seemed difficult. Though she feared and loved God, she had such infirmities no one was willing to take her; and we had some reasons against taking her with us to Madeley. But this difficulty also was removed. On Sunday night, November the 11th, I received a letter from a pious lady, who had first recommended her to me, stat. ing that she would take her back and maintain her.
All was now so far settled, that I did not need to sell Laytonstone estate. My income would afford to allow the pious souls of my dispersed family fifty-five pounds per year; pay the interest of the money still owing; and yet leave me such an annual sum as was about equal to my dear Mr. Fletcher's income; and in case of my death, there was in Laytonstone more than would pay all.
So on Monday, the 12th of November, 1781, in Batley church, we covenanted in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, “ to bear each other's burdens,” and to become one for ever.
We agreed it would be best to leave all our furniture, except a few trifles, to be sold with the house. Pine would do for us as well as mahogany. I felt some attachment to my neat furniture; but love to the order of God made me take the spoiling of them very cheerfully. The money was not to be paid in immediately for the estate ; we were, therefore, rather at a loss to settle all our accounts before we left the place, and to give that assistance to our friends we wished to do. On an exact calculation, we found a hundred pounds were wanting. We laid it before the Lord; and the next post I received a letter from my youngest brother, with a bank note of one hundred pounds enclosed, as a present ;-though he knew nothing of our particular want, nor had I the least reason to expect his assistance, except the extraordinary communication by Mrs. Clapham, which I have related.
On January 2, 1782, we set out for Madeley. But 0! where shall I begin my song of praise? What a turn is there in all my affairs ! What a depth of sorrow, distress, and perplexity, am I delivered from! How shall I find language to express the goodness of the Lord! Not one of the good things hath failed me of all the Lord my God hath spoken. Now I know no want, but that of more grace. I have such a husband as is in every thing suited to me. He bears with all my faults and failings in a manner that continually reminds me of that word, “ Love your wives as Christ loved the Church.” His constant endeavour is to make me happy; his strongest desire my spiritual growth. He is, in every sense of the word, the man my highest reason chooses to obey. I am also happy in a servant, whom I took from the side of her mother's coffin, when she was four years old. She loves us as if we were her parents, and is also truly devoted to God.
Madeley, Shropshire, May 30, 1782.-Where shall I begin, or how recount thy faithfulness, O my God! (! " What is man, that thou art mindful of him ?” Above all, what am I, most sinful dust and ashes, that thou hast made my cup to run over above all I could think or wish for! O for holiness! Lord, let me be thine, and doubly thine for ever!
O the fears which filled my soul before and after our marriage! but how causeless have they all proved! I have the kindest and tenderest of husbands; so spiritual a man, and so spiritual a union, I never had any adequate conception of. He is every way suited to me, all I could wish.* The work among souls increases. I feel it is the Lord
* Mr. Wesley observes in a letter to the late Mrs. Rogers, at ihat time (December 9, 1781) Miss Roe, “I should not have been willing that Miss Bosanquet should have been joined to any other person than Mr. Fletcher; but I trust she may be as useful with him as she was before.”-See his Works, vol. vii.
who hath cast my lot here. For some months I suffered much through fears of various kinds; all my situation being changed, I feared I should not be equal to the task allotted me, and that I should not be able to please the people “ for their good.” But O! had I in every trial but believed all the way through, how sweetly might I have gone on! Now I see what a gracious Providence hath superintended all! “ Praise the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, praise his holy name !"
June 7.-What a deliverance hath the Lord wrought for me! A year ago, I thought there was nothing before me (temporarily) but ruin. This day twelve months, I cried out, “ Thou hast not delivered thy people at all." How wonderful a chain of providences! As soon as we determined to marry in a fortnight, and leave the event to the Lord, the house and all was sold in ten days, and a way made for every one! But wanting a hundred pounds more to get out of that situation, we prayed the Lord to appear in our behalf, and immediately my youngest brother supplied our every need, though he knew not any thing of our necessity.
“In all my ways thy band I own!
Thy ruling providence I see.” September 12.-I have seen forty-three years! Lord, to what purpose ! Most of this day I have spent in secret prayer ; yet my soul is rather sorrowful. I have a variety of people and different calls of God to attend unto; and I seem to want more wisdom, light, and love. My spiritual sphere of action is different. I have in many respects a wider call for action than before ; but such a one as re. quires the momentary teaching of the Lord, both in con. versing and writing. Yet I do not feel all that I felt at Hoxton. No, I do not so live by faith as I did then. But I lie before thee, O Lord! Do all thy will on thy poor creature, for whom thou hast appeared in so marvellous a manner!
October.—The animating example of my dear husband stirs me up much. What a spiritual life does he livenight and day he is always on the stretch for God. I am a good deal encouraged for the people. I have much liberty in meeting them, and my soul feels sweet fellow. ship with some among them.
November 1.-I feel the care which a new place, and a new situation, is apt to bring on, and it disturbs the peace which should be kept in my soul. “Lord, increase my faith!” There are many peculiar circumstances in our affairs, and strangers are concerned therein ; but in the end I have found it all work for good ; it has been to me a good and useful lesson. First, I find it a cause of rejoicing that I have found so much love to the persons concerned in it; and secondly, while I was praying about it, it seemed as if the Lord showed me, as immediately from himself, that I was not required to have any anxious care, but that doing as well as I could, I might leave all to God. And if still I could not have things as I would wish, that it was the most profitable cross in the world ; for it may be helpful to the soul, after doing all we can, to ap. pear a fool in the eyes of men. Those words also bore much on my mind :
"Fix on his work thy constant eye,
So shall thy work be done.” I now felt a sweet calm waiting on the will of God, and I could say, Lord, I leave every thing to thee! “ One only care my soul shall know !” As I was telling the whole affair to my dearest husband, he said, “ Polly, do not encumber yourself for my sake. If we must be thought ignorant and awkward, let us submit to it. I require nothing of thee, my Polly, but to be more and more devoted to God.”
November 12.--Glory! unceasing glory to my adora. ble Lord! This day we have been married one year. O how does my soul praise God for his gracious providence ! What a helpmate is he to me, and how much better do we love one another this day, than we did this day twelve months ! On a close examination, I have reason to believe my soul is coming forward. I have seen this year many and great changes, had many trials and many comforts, and I have learned much experience in various things, which has been much blessed to me. O for the moment when I shall become a whole burnt sacrifice !
Having had some hurry by means of unexpected com. pany staying in the house, and some other things, and reflecting how hard it is to keep up uninterrupted com.
munion with God in outward hurry, it was opened before me, that the very spirit of the Christian life stood in the strictest observations of these words : “ If a man offend not in tongue, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” Now, for want of this watchful. ness, I offend often, and that causes distraction of spirit, and much hurt many ways. If I had a more constant waiting, a more continual attention to the Spirit of God. I believe I should find much more room for silence than I usually do ; and that when it was my duty to speak, my words would have more weight. O my God, bring me to this by the way that thou knowest ; give me a watchful mind! An eye always fixed on thee, and a far deeper sense of thy sacred presence! I also want a greater power of faith to lead on these precious souls that are under my care to more abundant life. Many are now just on the river's brink, but it seems they want a better helper to assist in bringing them over.
May 21, 1783.–This day has been a day of trial. In the morning as I walked out about six o'clock, Mr. ***'s letter of last night came with pain to my mind. I do not like the good that is in my dearest Mr. Fletcher to be evil spoken of. Before dinner I strove to get near to God, but having been up most of last night, I was very heavy. In the afternoon I could do but little, but I strove to pray. . That passage in Mr. Wesley's Notes on the First Epistle of St. John, was much blessed, and very sweet to me. 6 Love is the beginning of eternal life. The same in substance with glory.” Also St. John's words, “He that abideth in him sinneth not." I saw love comprised all in itself. For two hours I was led to lie before the Lord, though with many distractions, yet mingled with faith and longing desire. O when wilt thou take up in me thine everlasting abode!
May 22.-I have this day been engaged in company, and sweetly met the order of God therein. I was enabled to be watchful; and blessed be God, my tongue has been kept. We took sweet counsel together, and I felt the Lord was the director of all within and without.
August 5.-Since the above, (May 22,) what have 1 seen of the goodness of the Lord! A fever has been in the parish, which took off many whom we saw it our duty