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without my consent or knowledge. It now stands as it was wrote; without any addition, diminution, or amendment: It being my only concern herein, nakedly to declare the thing as it is.
4. Perhaps my employments of another kind may not allow me, to give any further answer, to them who fay all manner of evil of me falfely, and seem to think that they do. God service. Suffice it, that both they and I shall shortly give an account, to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
Oxon, October 18, 1730. SIR, 'HE occasion of my giving you this trouble is of
a very extraordinary nature. On Sunday last I was informed (as no doubt you will be e'er long) that my brother and I had killed your son: That the rigorous fasting which he had imposed upon himself, by our advice, had increased his illness, and hastened his death. Now tho', considering it in itself, “it is a very small thing with me to be judged by man's judg. ment; yet as the being thought guilty of so mil. chievous an imprudence, might make me less able to do the work I came into the world for, I am obliged to clear myself of it, by observing to you, as I have done to others, that your son left off fasting about a year and a half fince, and that it is not yet half a year Since I began to practise it.
I must not let this opportunity flip of doing my part towards giving you a jufter notion of some other particulars relating both to him and myself, which have been industriously misrepresented to you.
In March last he received a letter from you, which being not able to read, he desired me to read to him ; several of the expressions whereof I perfectly remember, and shall do, 'till I too am called hence. I then determined, that if God was pleased to take away your son before me, I would justify him and myself, which I now do with all plainness and fimplicity, as both my character and cafe requires.
In one practice for which you blamed your son, I am only concerned as a friend, not as a partner. That therefore I fall conlider first : Your own account of it was in effeê this, “ He frequently went into poor people's houses in the villages about Holt, called their children together, and instructed them in their duty to God, their neighbour, and themselves. He like wise explained to them the necessity of private as well as public prayer, and provided them with fuch forms at were best suited to their several capacities : And being well apprized how much the success of his endeavours depended on their good-will towards him, to win upon their affections, he fometimes distributed among them a little of that money, which he had saved from gaming, and the other fashionable expences of the place." This is the firft charge against him; upon which all that I shall observe is, That I will refer it to your own judgment, whether it be fitter to have a place in the catalogue of his faults, or of those, virtues, for which he is now numbered among the Sons of GOD.
If all the perfons concerned in “that ridiculous Sos | ciety, whose follies you have so often heard repeated," could but give such a proof of their deserving the glorious title * which was once bestowed upon them, they would be contented that their lives too should be counted madness, and their end thought to be without ho
But the truth is, their title to holiness stands upon much lefs ftable foundations; as you will easily perceive when you know the ground of this wonderful outcry, which it seems England is not wide enough to contain.
In November, 1729, at which time I came to reside in Oxford, your son, my brother, myself, and one more, agreed to spend three or four evenings in a week together. Our design was to read over the Claflicks, which we had before read in private, on common nights, and on Sunday some book in divinity. In the summer following Mr. M. told me he had called at the gaol, to see a man who was condemned for kide ling his wife; and that, from the talk he had with one of the debtors, he verily believed it would do much good, if any one would be at the pains of now and then speaking with them. This he so frequently repeated, that on the 24th of August 1730, my brother * The Holy Club.
and I walked with him to the Castle. We were so well fatisfied with our conversation there, that we agreed to go thither once or twice a week; which we had not done long, before he desired me, to go with him to see a poor woman in the town who was sick. In this em. ployment too when we came to reflect upon it, we believed it would be worth while to spend an hour or two in a week, provided the Minister of the parish, in which any such person was, were not against it. But that we might not depend wholly on our own judgment, I wrote an account to my Father of our whole design; withal begging that he, who had lived feventy years in the world, and seen as much of it as most private men have ever done, would advise us whether we had yet gone too far, and whether we fhould now stand still, or go forward? Part of his Answer, dated Sept. 21, 1730, was this :
6 And now as to your designs and employments, what can I say less of them than Valde probo: * And that I have the highest reason to bless God, that he has given me two sons together at Oxford, to whom he has given grace and courage to turn the war against the world and the devil, which is the best way to conquer them. They have but one more enemy to combat with, the flesh; which if they take care to subdue by fafting and prayer, there will be no more for them to do, but to proceed steadily in the fame course, and expect the crown which fadeth not away. You have reason to bless God as I do, that you have so fast a friend as Mr. M, who I fee in the most difficult service is ready to break the ice for you.
You do not know of how much good that poor wretch who killed his wife has been the providential occafion. I think I must adopt Mr. M- to be my son, together with you and your bro, ther Charles; and when I have such a ternion to profecute that war, wherein I am now Miles Emeritus, I should not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate.”.
“ I am afraid left the main objektion you make against your going on in the business with the prisoners, may secretly proceed from flesh and blood. For who can harm you if you are followers of that which is so good ? * I greatly approve.
And which will be one of the marks by which the Shepherd of Israel will know his sheep at the last
-Tho' if it were possible for you to suffer a little in the cause, you would have a confeffor's reward. You own none but such as are out of their senses would be prejudiced against your a&ting in this manner; but say, “ These are they that need a physician." But what if they will not accept of one, who will be welcome to the poor prisoners ? Go on then in God's name in the path to which your Saviour has directed you, and that track wherein your father has gone before you! For when I was an under-graduate at Oxford, I visited those in the Castle there, and refle&t on it with great satisfaction to this day. Walk as prudently as you can, tho' not fearfully, and my heart and prayers are with you.
" Your first regular step is to consult with him, (if any such there be) who has a jurisdiction over the prifoners, and the next is, to obtain the direction and approbation of your Bishop. This is Monday morning, at which time I shall never forget you. , If it be pollible I should be glad to see you all three here in the fine end of the summer. But if I cannot have that satisfaction, I am sure I can reach you every day, tho' you were beyond the Indies. Accordingly, to Him, who is every where, I now heartily commit you, as being
Your most affectionate and joyful Father. In pursuance of thefe directions, I immediately went to Mr. Gerard, the Bishop of Oxford's Chaplain, who was likewise the perfon that took care of the prisoners wben any were condemned to die, (at other times they were left to their own care) I purposed to him our design of terving them as far as we could, and my own intention to preach there once a month, if the Bishop approved of it. He much commended our design, and said he would answer for the Bishop's approbation, to whom he-would take the firft opportunity of mentioning it. It was not long before he informed me he had done so, and that his Lordship not only gave hiş permillion, but was greatly plealed with the undertaking, and hoped it would have the desired fuccefs.
Soon after a gentleman of Merton college, who was one of our little company, which now conüited of five
persons, acquainted us, that he had been much rallied the day before for being a member of The Holy Club: and that it was become a common topic of mirth at his college, where they had found out several of our customs, to which we were ourselves utter ftrangers. Upon this I consulted my father again, in whose anfwer were these words :
« This day I received both yours, and this evening in our course of reading, I thought I found an answer that would be more proper than any I myself could dietate; tho' since it will not be easily translated, I sond it in the original. 2 Cor. vii. 4. Tlonan pear Kaux oors, υπερ υμων πεπληρωμαι τη παρακλησει, υπερ, περιοσευομαι τη хара.
# What would you be ? Would you be angels?. I question whether a mortal can arrive to a greater degree of perfection, than steadily to do good, and for that reason patiently and meekly to suffer evil: For my part, on the present view of your actions and designs, my daily prayers are, that God would keep you humble; and then I am sure that if you continue to suffer for righteousness fake, the' it be but in a lower degree, 'the Spirit of God and of glory Shall in some good measure reft upon you. Be never weary of well-doing: Never look back, for you know the prize and the crown are before you. Tho'. I can scarce think so meanly of you, as that you would be discouraged with “ the crackling of thorns under a pot." Be 'not high-minded, but fear; preferve an equal temper of mind under whatever treatment you meet with from a not very just or well-natured world. Bear no more fail than is necessary, but steer steady. The less you value yourselves for thefe unfashionable duties, (as there is no such thing as works of fupererogation) the more all good and wife men will value you, if they fee your actions are of a piece; or, which is infinitely more, He by whom actions and intentions are weighed,''will both accept, esteem and reward
Upon this encouragement we still continued to meet together as usual ; and to confirm one another as well as we could in our resolutions, to communicate as often as we had opportunity (whichi is here once a week ;) + Great is my glorying of you. I am filled with comfort. I am exceeding joyful,