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MR. FLETCHER'S LETTERS.
To Miss PERRON E T. My dear Friend,
Newington, April 21, 1777. A Thousand thanks to you for your kind, comfortable lines.
The prospect of going to see Jesus and his glorified mem. bers, and among them your dear departed brother, my now everliving friend :-this sweet prospect is enough to make me quietly and joyfully submit, to leave all my Shoreham friends, and all the excellent ones of the earth. But wby do I talk of leaving any of Christ's members, by going to be more intimately united to the head ?
We all are one, who him receive,
And each with each agree;
Bleft Point of unity!” A Point this, which fills heaven and earth ;-which runs through time and eternity. What an immense point! In it fickness is loft in health, and death in life., There let us ever meet. There to live is Chrift, and to die is gain.
I cannot tell you how much I am obliged to your dear brother, for all his kind, brotherly attendance as a physician. He has given me his time, his long walks, his remedies : he has brought me Dr. Turner several times, and will not so much as allow me to reimburse his expences. Help me to thank him for all his pro, fusion of love, for I cannot sufficiently do it myself. My duty . to your father : I throw myself in spirit at his feet, and ask his blesling, and an interest in his prayers. Tell him, that the Lord is gracious to me; does not suffer the Enemy to disturb my peace; and gives me, in prospect, the vi&tory over death. Thanks be to God, who giveth us this great vidtory, through our Lord Jesus Christ! Absolute resignation to the divine will baffles a thousand templations, and confidence in our Saviour carries us sweetly through a thousand trials. God fill us abundantly with both!
Thank dear Mrs. Bissaker for all her love to my dear departed friend; and may our kindred spirits drink deeper into God, till they are filled with all the fulness, which our enlarged souls can · admit. Nor let your niece, to whom I send my thanks, keep aloof. Let us all tend to our original centre ; and experience that life and death are ours, because the Prince of Life, who is our Resurrection and Life, has overcome sin, death, and the grave, for you, and for your obliged, unworthy brother,
f heavene been blekteer the oppor May be for you are
Im not having im of my great phabundantly carin Riay you
To Mr. and Mrs. GREENWOOD. .
Brillington, May 28, 1777. M Y very dear Friends, and Benefactors, Charles and Mary
V Greenwood..-My prayers shall always be, that the merciful may find mercy, and that the great kindness, I have found under your quiet roof, may be shewed you every where under the canopy of heaven. I think with grateful joy, on the days of calm retreat I have been blessed with at Newington, and lament my not having improved better the opportunity of fitting, like Mary, at the feet of my great Physician. May he requite your kind care to a dying worm, by abundantly caring for you and yours, and making all your bed in your sickness! May you enjoy full health! May you hunger and thirst after righteousness, both that of Christ, and that of the Holy Spirit, and be abundantly filled therewith! May his rod and staff comfort you under all the troubles of life, the decays of the body, the assaults of the enemy, and the pangs of death! May the reviving cordials of the Word of Truth be ever within the reach of your faith, and may your eager faith make a ready and constant use of them; especially, when faintings come upon you, and your hands begin to hang down! May you stand in the clefts of the rock of ages, and there be safely sheltered, when all the storms of justice shall fall around ! May you have always such temporal and spiritual helps, friends, and comforts, as I have found in your pleasing retreat!
You have received a poor Lazarus, though his sores were not visible, You have had compassion, like the good Samaritan : you have admitted me to the enjoyment of your best things; and he, that did not deserve to have the dogs to lick his sores, has always found the members of Jesus ready to prevent, to remove, or to bear his burdens. And now, what shall I say? What but, Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! and thanks be to my dear friends for all their favours ! They will, I trust, be found faithfully recorded in my breast, when the great Rewarder of those whó diligently seek him, will render to every man according to his works. Then shall a raised Lazarus appear in the gate, to testify of the love of Charles and Mary Greenwood, and of their godly fifter.
I thought myself a little better last Sunday; but I have since spit more blood than I had done for weeks before. Glory be to God, for every providence! His will be done in me, by health or sickness, by life or death! All from him is, and, I trust, will always be welcome to your obliged pensioner, your owngea peniioner,
1777 TEN thousand blessings light upon the heads and hearts of my
1 dear benefactors, Charles and Mary Greenwood ! May their quiet retreat at Newington become a Bethel to them! May their
offspring be born again there! And may the choicest consolations of the Spirit visit their minds, whenever they retire thither from the busy city! Their poor pensioner travels on, though slowly, towards the grave. His journey to the sea seems to him to have haftened, rather than retarded, his progress to his old mother, Earth. May every providential blast blow him nearer to the heavenly haven of his Saviour's breast; where, he hopes, one day, to meet all his benefactors, and among them, those whom he now addresses. O my dear friends, what shall I render? What to Jesus ? What to you ? May He, who invites the heavy laden, take upon him all the burdens of kindness you have heaped 'on your Lazarus! And may angels, when you die, find me in Abraham's bosóm, and bring you into mine, that, by all the kindness, which may be shewn in heaven, I may try to requite that which you have shewn to your obliged brother,
J. F. To Mrs.. THORNTON. · My very dear Friend,
Brillington, , 1777 I Shall not attempt to express my gratitude to you, for all your I charitable care of a poor sickly worm. As we say, that silence fpeaks often best the praises of our great Benefactor, so I must fay here. I hope these lines will find you leaving the things that are behind, and pressing forward toward the mark,-the prize of our high calling on earth. In heaven we are called to be filled with all we can hold of the glorious fulness of God, and what that is, we know not, but we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord. But here also, we are called to be filled with all the fulness of God. God is love, you know; to be filled with all his fulness is, then, to be filled with love. O may that love be fhed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us, and abiding in us! I still look for that ineffable fulneis; and I beg, if you have not yet attained it, you would let nothing damp your hope, and flack your pursuit.
I am going to do by my poor filter, what you have done by me; ...I mean, try to smooth the road of sickness to the chamber of death. Gratitude and blood call me to it :---you have done it without such calls; your brotherly kindness is freer than mine; but not so free as the Love of Jesus, who took upon him our nature, that he might bear our infirmities, die our death, and make over to us his reiurrection and his life, after all we had done to render life hateful and death horrible to him. O! for this match, Jess Love! let rocks and hills, let hearts and tongues break an ungrateful filence; and let your christian muse find new anthems, and your poetic heart new flights of eloquence and thankfulness. You partly owe me, by promise, a piece of poetry on joy in redeeming and fanétifying Love. May the spirit of praise aslift you mightily in the noble work! Maintain the frame of poetiç
christian joy, by using all your talents of grace and nature, to embrace and Thew forth his goodness.
I shall be glad to hear from you in Switzerland, and shall doubly rejoice, if you can send me word, that she, who is joined to the Lord according to the glory of the new covenant, is one spirit with him, and enjoys all the glorious liberty of the children of God! The God of peace be with you all! I am, My dear Friend, &c.
[The necessity of exerting the Power TO BELIEVE, in order
to receive the divine Blessings.]
A LETTER from Mr. M. to Mr. P. . · My dear Brother,
Sheffield, Jan. 26, 1786. I Am greatly obliged to you for the freedom you have used, in I laying open all your mind concerning the hinderances of those Souls who are earnestly seeking the Lord, but do not find him. It is my opinion, that if we make the cause of delay to rest with God, we cannot make his conduct to agree with his word; since he has said, “ Behold, now is the accepted time: Behold, now is the Day of Salvation." We must then find some other way to account for it, unless we leave it as it is, and this we oughi not to do, for many reasons. We will suppose the case which you describe, --." A person deeply sensible of his want of a blessing, “ seeing it freely offered, athrist for it, yea, seeking it with the “ whole Heart, willing to receive it in God's own way, on his “ own terms; yet not made a partaker of it."...“ The hinderance, you say, is unbelief. The power to believe is granted, but not improved.” But the question is, How does unbelief operate in fuch? I think simply thus, in not supposing Faith to be an active thing, but conceiving it to be merely passive. They rest in a passive expectation that the blessing is to be conferred, and are looking inwardly to feel some of the real, or supposed effects, of its being communicated, without exerting any power to lay hold upon and bring home to themselves the caule of these effects, And these expected effects not being found, they begin to reason and cast about io find a cause why the divine consolation is withheld. Persons in this situation soon find a variety; and on these, or some one of them (perhaps, it is not God's time) fixes; and so give over the agony of struggle, satisfied that when it is God's time, the Blessing shall be given; never once fupposing themselves to blame for not stretching out the withered hand, or not touching the border of that Garment they had laboured to get so nigh unto. The supposition that it is not God's time,"hinders examination on the one hand, and self-accusation on the other; and if not pre. vented speedily, will bring a listlessness upon the soul, that will
occasion an indifferency, if not a stupidity : for this kind of reae foning is to the Soul as Opiates are to the Body. Hence so many who were once on full stretch for Pardon or Holiness, are now at ease in Zion, without having obtained the object of their pure fuit. The more you consider this, the more you will perceive that this consequence will be unavoidable in such Cases; and yet it is no less dangerous. There may be, and no doubt are, many instances of the Lord's dealing with persons in this case, as he dealt with Thomas. The general tenor of the Scriptures represent Faith as an active thing; an eye ihat sees, a foot that draws nigh, and a hand that lays hold upon a promised Good. I cannot at present fee, how Faith can be the instrument of our acceptance on the one hand, and the Cause of our condemnation on the other, if an all.gracious God withholds the power to exercise it from any, but especially from such as you describe. I am, &c.
A LETTER from Mr. FLETCHER, to Mrs. HUGHES. My dear friend,
Madeley, August 20, 1766. I HAVE juft time to thank you for the kind Letter I had some 1 time ago from you; I was exceeding glad to find by it, that your heart is still in the ways of the Lord, and that you do not draw back into the paths of vanity. May the God of all Grace keep and strengthen you day by day. Life is going, my dear friend, make the best of it, by going with your thoughts, will, and affections after the Lord Jesus Christ, the friend of Ginners and bridegroom of souls. If you have seldom an opportunity to hear the word, read it the oftener at home, and use private prayer with the more diligence. Many of our friends here draw back, and go to the World, under the sound of the Gospel. O my friend, stay you in the narrow path, and shame them. Temptations you must expect both from within and without, and especia ally from your own backward heart; but be of good cheer, Jesus hath overcome all for us. Believe firmly, that he hath bought you, a lost finner, with his heart's blood ; love him fervently for is, and obey him gladly. I beg you would accept of the two pamphlets, as a token of my kind love to you. Remember me in your prayers, and the God of all peace be with you, and bless you, in soul, body, and circumstances. D. W. and all friends, falute you in the Lord, and should be glad to see you, as well as your unworthy friend in the Lord,
The preceding Letter from Mr. Fletcher to Mrs. Hughes, one of his parishioners, who was then absent, has not been published in the collection of Letters.