John Wesley's Letters From Ireland
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|John Wesley in Dublin|
|The Letters of John Wesley from Ireland
|March 1747 or 1748, Dublin|
|August 1747, Dublin|
|April 1750, Dublin|
|July 1752, Dublin|
|August 1752, Athlone|
|April 13th 1756, Dublin|
|April 19th 1756, Dublin|
|June 1758, Castlebar|
|June 1762, Cork|
|May 1766, Sligo|
|May 1767, Cork|
|June 1767, Sligo|
|April 1769, Armagh|
|April 1770, Whitehaven|
|May 1771, Cork|
|May 1783, Dublin|
|April 1785, Dublin|
|May 1785, Cork|
|June 1785, Killeman, near Armagh|
|June 1785, Dublin|
|June 1785, Athlone|
|June 1787, Londonderry|
|July 1787, Dublin|
|June 1789, Dublin|
have enquired of several, but cannot yet hear of any such merchant as Mr. John Warr
have not found a place yet that will suit us for building. Several we have
heard of, and seen some; but they are all leasehold land, and I am determined
to have freehold, if it is to be had in
I find the engaging, though but a little, in these temporal affairs, is apt to damp and deaden the soul; and there is no remedy, but continual prayer. What, then, but the mighty power of God can keep your soul alive, who are engaged all the day long with such a multiplicity of them? It is well that his grace is sufficient for you. But do you not find need to pray always? And if you cannot always say, -
“My hands are but employ’d below,
Is there not the more occasion for some season of solemn retirement, (if it were possible, every day,) wherein you may withdraw your mind from earth, and even the accounts between God and your own soul? I commend you and yours to His continual protection; and am, dear Sir,
Your affectionate servant.
I suppose my brother will be with you almost as soon as this.
I have found a home in this strange land. I am at Mr. Lunell’s just as at the Foundery; only that I have not such attendance here; for I meet the people at another part of the town. For natural sweetness of temper, for courtesy and hospitality, I have never seen any people like the Irish. Indeed, all I converse with are only English transplanted into another soil; and they are much mended by the removal, having left all their roughness and surliness behind them.
receive the word of God with all gladness and readiness of mind. The danger is,
that it should not take deep root; that it should be as seed falling on stony
ground. But is there not the same danger in
Lunell and his family desire their best respects to Mrs. Blackwell and you. His
daughter can rejoice in God her Saviour. They propose to spend the winter in
I am, dear Sir,
I doubt you are in great deal more danger from honour than from dishonour. So it is with me. I always find there is more hazard in sailing upon smooth water. When the winds blow, and the seas rage, even the sleepers will rise and call upon God.
no ship ready to sail, either at
month a large mob assaulted the new house here, and did considerable damage.
Several of the rioters were committed to Newgate. The bills were found against
them all, and they were tried ten days since; but, is spite of the clearest
evidence, a packed Jury brought them in, Not guilty. I believe, however, the
very apprehension and trial of them has struck a terror into their companions.
We now enjoy great quietness, and can even walk unmolested through the
principal streets in
apprehend my brother is not at all desirous of having those copies transferred
to him. I cannot easily determine till I have full information concerning the
several particulars you touch upon, whether it be expedient to make such an
alteration (though it would easy me much, ) or to let all things remain just as
they are. Therefore, I believe it will be best to take no farther step till I
am fully persuaded, if you had always one or two faithful friends near you, who
would speak the very truth from their heart, and watch over you in love, you
would swiftly advance in running the race which is set before you. I am afraid
you was [sic] not forwarded by one who was in town lately; neither was that
journey of any service to his own soul. He has not brought back less indolence
and gentle inactivity than he carried to
I am, dear Sir,
almost wonder that I hear not one word from you since the trial at
Some of our Preachers here have peremptorily affirmed that you are not so strict as me; that you neither practise, nor enforce, nor approve of, the Rules of the Bands. I suppose they mean those which condemn needless self-indulgence, and recommend the means of grace, fasting in particular; which is well nigh forgotten throughout this nation. I think it would be of use, if you wrote without delay, and explain yourself at large.
They have likewise openly affirmed that you agree with Mr. Whitefield, touching perseverance at least, if not predestination too. Is it not highly expedient that you should write explicitly and strongly on this head likewise?
Perhaps the occasion of this latter affirmation was, that both you and I have often granted an absolute, unconditional election of some, together with a conditional election of all men. I did incline to this scheme for many years: but of late I have doubted of it more and more: first, because all the texts which I used to think supported it, I now think prove either more or less; either absolute reprobation and election, or neither. Secondly, because I find this opinion serves all the ill purposes of absolute predestination; particularly that of supporting infallible perseverance. Talk with any that holds it, and so you will find.
Friday and Saturday next is our little Conference at
if you find such a surprising alteration at Bonner’s Hall, what need have you
of removing to
You ought not to drink much tea; and none without pretty much cream (not milk) and sugar. But I believe, were you to drink nettle-tea for a few mornings, it would do you more good than any other. It seems best for you to have frequent returns of weakness: it may be needful to fix seriousness upon your spirit, by a lasting impression, that there is but one step between you and eternity. But sickness alone will not do this; no, nor even the near approach of death. Unless the Spirit of God sanctify both, a man may laugh or trifle with his last breath.
You will overcome trifling conversation, and the fear of man, not by yielding, but by fighting. This is a cross which you cannot be excused from taking up: bear it, and it will bear you. By prayer you will receive power so to do, to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. But it is more difficult to resist hurtful desire: I am most afraid you should give way to this. Herein you have need of all the power of God. O stand fast! Look up, and receive strength! I shall be glad to hear that you are more than conqueror, and that you daily grow in the vital knowledge of Christ. Peace be with your spirit.
I dined at Mrs. Moreland’s last week, and promised to drink tea with her this evening. She has been at the preaching several times, and desires much to be remembered to Mrs. Blackwell and you. She seems to have a liking to the Gospel. It may sink deeper. There is nothing too hard for God.
hope Mrs. Blackwell and you are improving to the utmost these days of
tranquillity. I purpose going to
I am, dear Sir,
I have learned, by the grace of God, in every state to be content. What a peace do we find in all circumstances, when we can say, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt!”
have now gone through the greatest part of this kingdom:
hope you find public affairs changing for the better. In this corner of the
world we know little about them; only we are told that the great little King in
near the middle of next month I expect to be at Mr. Beauchamp’s in
I am, dear Sir,
MY DEAR BROTHER,
So your labour has not been in vain. I shall expect an account of the remaining part of your journey too. And you will be able to inform me of the real character and behaviour of Robert Miller also. I do not rightly understand him. But I see James Kershaw and he do not admire one another.
let me know, as particularly as you can, how William Fuggill has behaved in
expect to be in
hope you will all exert yourselves in the Midsummer Collection for
MY DEAR SISTER,
It is a long time since I heard either of you, or from you. I hope you think of me oftener than you write to me. Let us continue in prayer,
“And mountains rise and oceans roll,
I frequently find profit in thinking of you, and should be glad if we had more opportunities of conversing together. If a contrary thought arises, take knowledge from whom it comes: you may judge by the fruit of it; for it weakens your hands, and slackens you from being instant in prayer. I am inclined to think I found the effect of your prayer at my very entrance into this kingdom. And here, especially, we have need of every help; for snares are on every side. Who would not, if it could be done with a clear conscience, run out of the world; wherein the very gifts of God, the work of God, yea, his grace itself, in some sense, are all the occasion of temptation?
I hope your little family remains in peace and love, and that your own soul prospers. I doubt only whether you are so useful as you might be. But herein look to the anointing which you have of God, being willing to follow wherever he leads, and it shall teach you of all things.
is an amazing increase of the work of God within these few months in the north
“Constantly trample on pleasure and pain.”
they gain ground in
My dear sisters,
am now come to my second station in
I am glad there is so good an understanding among the Preachers: a great deal depends upon it. But I hope you do not forget gentle T. O. May not you venture to give him a hint, that your Hints were incorrectly printed? If he says, “They were written so, I could hardly read them;” you can tell him, “I hope to write the next better.”
Miss Briggs’s spending so much of her time at Shoreham answers an excellent design. It, in a great measure, supplies the want both of Miss Perronet and of her father, whom I remember with sincere affection.
I am, dear Sir,
MY DEAR BROTHER,
Sometimes the children forget the parents; but it is seldom that parents forget their children. I suppose it was the death of honest Paul Greenwood which occasioned the report of yours. He could ill be spared: but he was ready for the Bridegroom; so it was fit he should go to Him.
should take care to be either in
I wish you joy of having full employment. You know, the more work the more blessing. There is good work to be done in this kingdom also; and many of our Preachers do it in good earnest. But we want more labourers; especially in the north, where one Preacher is increased into seven! and the people cry aloud for more. But, alas! we can neither make them, nor hire them!
I am, with love to S. Hopper,
hope to see you and honest John at the Conference. An exact account of the
societies you will bring with you.
shall now tell you the things which have been more or less upon my mind since I
have been in the north of
1. To begin with little things. If you regard your health, touch no supper, but a little milk, or water-gruel. This will entirely, by the blessing of God, secure you from nervous disorders; especially if you rise early every morning, whether you preach or no.
Be steadily serious. There is no country upon earth where this is more
3. In every town, visit all you can from house to house. I say, “all you can;” for there will be some whom you cannot visit: and if you examine, instruct, reprove, exhort, as need requires, you will have no time hanging on your hands. It is by this means that the societies are increased wherever T. R. goes: he is preaching from morning to night; warning every one, that he may present every one perfect in Christ Jesus.
4. But on this and every occasion, avoid all familiarity with women. This is deadly poison both to them and you. You cannot be too wary in this respect; therefore, begin from this hour.
5. The chief matter of your conversation, as well as your preaching, should doubtless be, the weightier matters of the law. Yet there are several (comparatively) little things which you should earnestly inculcate from time to time; for “he that despiseth small things, shall fall by little and little.” Such are,-
(1.) Be active, be diligent; avoid all laziness, sloth, indolence. Fly from every degree, every appearance, of it; else you will never be more than half a Christian.
(2.) Be cleanly. In this let the Methodists take pattern by the Quakers. Avoid all nastiness, dirt, slovenliness, both in your person, clothes, house, and all about you. Do not stink above ground. This is a bad fruit of laziness; use all diligence to be clean, as one says, -
“Let thy mind’s sweetness have its operation
(3.) Whatever clothes you have, let them be whole; no rents, no tatters, no rags. These are a scandal to either man or woman; being another fruit of vile laziness. Mend your clothes, or I shall never expect you to mend your lives. Let none ever see a ragged Methodist.
(4.) Clean yourselves of lice. These are a proof both of uncleanness and laziness: take pains in this. Do not cut off your hair but clean it, and keep it clean.
(5.) Cure yourself and your family of the itch: a spoonful of brimstone will cure you. To let this run from year to year, proves both sloth and uncleanness. Away with it at once. Let not the north be any longer a proverb of reproach to all the nation.
(6.) Use no tobacco, unless prescribed by a Physician. It is an uncleanly and unwholesome self-indulgence; and the more customary it is, the more resolutely should you break off from every degree of that evil custom.
Use no snuff, unless prescribed by a Physician. I suppose no other nation in
Touch no dram. It is liquid fire. It is a sure, though slow, poison. It saps
the very springs of life. In
I might have inserted under the second article, what I particularly desire wherever you have preaching; namely that there may be a little-house. Let this be got without delay. Wherever it is not, let none expect to see me.
two or three letters have miscarried, all will not; so I am determined to write
again. How does the work of God go on at
MY DEAR BROTHER,
work is to be delivered in weekly and monthly numbers: but it is of most use to
have portable volumes. I have corrected as much as will make nine or ten out of
the thirty volumes. All the verse works I have corrected, in conjunction with
the Preachers, and left the corrected copy at
I am, with love to S. Hopper,
three or four days we hope to embark: when we land, you may hear further: but
at a venture you may direct to
I marvel Miss F. does not answer my letter. Surely she is not affronted at anything. We parted in much friendship. I think verily you will keep out of debt while I live, if you will give me a hint now and then.
We must positively let Mr. Abraham drop. Let his relations win him and wear him. I am in hopes T. M. will satisfy Dr. Coke. I suppose she loses her annuity if she owns her marriage.
I have not seen Mr. Barnard. We had an exceeding happy Conference, which concluded this morning. I wish all our English Preachers were of the same spirit with the Irish, among whom is no jarring string. I never saw such simplicity and teachableness run through a body of Preachers before.
Tell me all you know of the good Congress, the Loyalists, and the Colonies. Peace be with you and yours! Adieu!
I just write a line to let you know that we came to Holyhead on Saturday afternoon, and went on board about ten at night: but we had a dead calm till between ten and eleven in the morning, at which time I began the public service. After sermon I prayed that God would give us a moderate wind, with a safe, easy, and speedy passage. While I was speaking the wind sprung up, and carried us on at an average five miles an hour; so that we sailed from Holywell-Bay to Dublin-Bay in exactly twelve hours. The sea, meantime, was as smooth as a looking-glass; so that no creature in the ship was sick a moment. Does not God hear the prayer? All is quiet here. Love to all. Adieu!
Twice I have wrote to Dr. Coke concerning the Journal. I suppose one, if not two, of his letters have miscarried. I will not sentence him till he answers for himself.
All I can say, and all I will say, is, I do not intend ever to publish your picture in the Magazine.
speak of myself, as of other men, with a single eye. I am glad you have been at
Newgate. All we have heard in
If Sally wants the sinews of war, give me a hint. John Atlay has not complained to me of poverty for above this month.
I am fully persuaded that the measure of peace which enables me to go on cheerfully in my work, and to employ all my time and strength therein, is not from Satan, nor from nature, but from God.
To save tenpence postage, I will write a few lines to Patty in your letter. Peace be with you all!
So the good man will know pain no more! But I suppose he died without disclosing what his son Vincent charged him not to reveal till he came to die! If it had been of any consequence to the cause of God, he could not have died without disclosing it.
Pray talk with, as well as inquire concerning, the Clergyman you mention. Many times you see farther into men than I do.
suppose you have before now received my Journal, as well as preceding letter.
Probably the first ship that sails after the 6th of July will bring
me to Holyhead. I hope to see Dr. Coke in
About once a quarter I hear from Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher. I grudge his sitting still: but who can help it? I love ease as well as he does; but I dare not take it while I believe there is another world.
patriots here are nobody. They are quite scattered, and have no design, bad or
good. All is still in
came hither (as I proposed when I set out) yesterday. This week I am to meet
the classes. Next week we have our little Conference. The week following I hope
to cross the Channel. The work of God, almost in every part of the kingdom, is
in a prosperous state. Here is a set of excellent young Preachers. Nine in ten
of them are much devoted to God. I think, number for number, they exceed their
I am glad you have paid them one more visit at Shoreham. What the poor people will do now, I know not: but the Great Shepherd knows, and will order all things well. But what becomes of Betsy Briggs?
should be sorry indeed if Sammy Tooth were a sufferer; but surely he knows his
own business. Many here know and love you well. My love to all. Adieu!
Certainly you have heard from me; for I sent you one, and intended to send you two, Journals: only George Whitfield made a blunder, and directed the second to Henry Moore.
Several months since I wrote to Dr. Coke concerning the extract he had taken from your Journal. I will write to him again. But he must bring it, not send it by post. My letters to-day cost me eighteen shillings.
I promise you, not to publish your picture in the Magazine before midsummer, 1786. I think that is long enough to look forward.
Barnard is dead. I know nothing of M.F. Ireland is full of quiet as
If Sally is ill, why does she not go into the country? Peace be with all your spirits!
Irish posts are not the quickest in the world; though I have known one travel
full two miles in an hour. And they are not the most certain. Letters fail here
more frequently than they do in
Heath has need of abundance of faith and patience. He is in a very unpleasing
situation. But this I am determined on; he shall not want, as long as I have
either money or credit. He is a truly pious and a very amiable man; his wife
and children are cast in the same mould. I am glad you all showed him, while he
As the work of God increases in so many parts both of England and Ireland, it would be strange if there were no increase of it in London; especially while all the Preachers are of one mind, and speak the same thing. Only do not forget strongly and explicitly to urge the believers to “go on to perfection.” When this is constantly and earnestly done, the word is always clothed with power.
Truly I claim no thanks for loving and esteeming Betsy Briggs; for I cannot help it. And I shall be in danger of quarrelling with you, if you ever love her less than you do now. Peace be with all your spirits!
MY DEAR LADY,
correspondence, I hope, will never be broken off, till one of us be removed
into a better world. It is true, I have often wondered that you were not weary
of so useless a correspondent: for I am very sensible the writing of letters is
my brother’s talent, rather than mine. Yet I really love to write to you, and I
love to think of you. And sometimes it
may please Him, who sends by whom He will send, to give you some assistance by
me. And your letters have frequently been an encouragement and a comfort to me.
Let them never, my dear friend, be intermitted, during the few days I have to
stay below. After Miss Roe first, and then Miss Ritchie, had given me so
particular an account of that branch of their experience, I examined, one by
one, the members of the select society in
My dear Lady,
MY DEAR BROTHER,
Michael --- is an original. He tells lies innumerable, many of them plausible enough. But many talk full as plausibly as he; and they that can believe him, may. I do not doubt, but some part of your verse, as well as prose, will reach the hearts of some of the rich.
Dr. Coke made two or three little alterations in the Prayer-Book without my knowledge. I took particular care throughout, to alter nothing merely for altering’ sake. In religion, I am for as few innovations as possible. I love the old wine best. And if it were only on this account, I prefer “which” before “who art in heaven.”
Mr. Howard is really an extraordinary man. God has raised him up to be a blessing to many nations. I do not doubt, but there has been something more than natural in his preservation hitherto, and should not wonder if the providence of God should hereafter be still more conspicuous in his favour.
three weeks hence, I expect to embark for