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Madeley, March 26th, 1769.
My dear friend,
THE Lord is desirous of making you a true difci. ple of his dear Son, the Man of sorrows, by sending you affliction upon affliction. A lister and a wife who appear to hasten to the grave, in which you have so lately laid your only daughter, places you in circumstances of uncommon affliction. But in this see the finger of him, who works all in all, and who coinmands us to forsake all to follow hini. Believe in him ; believe that he does all for the best, and that all shall work for good to those who love hiin, and you shall see the salvation of God; and, with your temptations and trials he shall open a door of deliverance for you and yours. His goodness to your daughter ought to encourage your faith and confidence for Mrs. Ireland. Offer her upon the altar, and you shall fee, that, if it be best for ber and you, his grace will fufpend the blow, which threatens you.
Your rich present of meal came last week, and small be distributed to the pious poor agreeable to your orders, as a proof that Tefus, the liberal Tefus, the bread of life, is indeed risen and lives in his members, who mutually aid and comfort each other. We are happy to receive your bounty, but you are more happy in bestowing it upon us; witness the words of Jesus-It is more blessed to give than to receive. Nevertheless, receive by faith the presents of the Lord, the gifts of his Spirit, and reject not the bread which cometh down from heaven, because the Lord gives it you with so much love. Adieu. The God of peace be with you, and prepare you for whatever it shall please him to appoint!
I shall be' obliged to go to Switzerland this year or . the next, if I live, and the Lord permits. I have there a brother, a worthy man, who threatens to leave his wife and children to come and pay me a visit, if I do not go and see him myself. It is some time since:
our gracious God has convinced him of sin, and I have by me some of his letters which give me great pleasure : this circumstance has inore weight with me than the settlement of my affairs. Your I. F.
Madeley, May 27th, 1769. James Ireland, Esq.
My dear Friend,
I SYMPATHIZE with you with all my heart, and I pray that you may have patience and wisdom proportioned to your difficulties. You must take up your cross, and pray in secret, like a man whose eartlıly cisterns are broken on every side, and who hath need of confolation from feeling the fountain of living waters springing up in his soul unto eternal life. I have every moment need to follow the advice I give to you ; but my carnal mind makes strong resistance. I must enter into life by death : I must be crucified on the cross of Christ, before I can live by the power of his resurrection. The Lord give us grace to die to ourselves ; for it is not enough to die to our relatives. Blessed indeed is that union with Jesus Christ, by which a believer can cast upon that rock of ages, not only his burdens, but himself the heaviest burden of all, O Lord give us power to believe with that faith which works by the prayer of confidence and love! I am, &c. I. F.
Madeley, Dec. 30th, 1769. James Ireland, Esq.
My dear friend,
LAST night I received your obliging letter, and am ready to accompany you to Montpelier, provided you will go with me to Nyon. I shall raise about 20 guineas, and with that sum, a gracious Providence, and your purse, I hope we shall want for nothing : If the Lord fends me, I should want for nothing, though I had nothing, and though my fellow-traveller was no richer than myself.
I hope to be at Bristol soon to offer you my, services to pack up. You desired to have a Swiss servant, and I offer myself to you in that capacity ; for I shal be 110 more ashamed of serving you, as far as I am capable of doing it, than I am of wearing your livery.
Two reasons, (to say nothing of the pleasure of your coinpany) engage me to go with you to Montpelier-a desire to visit some poor Hugonots in the South of France, and the need I have to recover a little French, before I go to converfe with my compatriots.
The Priest at Madeley is going to open his inasse hould, and I have declared war on that account last Sunday, and propose to strip the whore of Babylon and expose her nakedness to-morrow. All the Papists - are in a great ferment, and they have held meetings
to confult on the occasion. One of their bloody bul. lies came to pick up," as he said, a quarrel with me, and what would have been the consequence had not I providentially had company with me, I know not. How far more their rage may be kindled to-morrow I don't know ; but I question whether it will be
right for me to leave the field in these circumstances. · I forgot to mention, that two of our poor ignorant
churehmen are going to join the mass-house, which is the cause of my having taking up arms also. Farewell. Yours I. F.
' Trevecka, Jan. 13th, 1770. James Ireland, Esq.
My dear Friend,
I KNOW not what to think of our journey. My heart frequently recoils ; I have lost all hopes of being able to preach in French, and think if I could, they would not permit me. I become more stupid every day; my memory fails me in a very surprising manner. I am good for nothing, but to go and bury myself in iny parish. I have those touches of inisanthropy which
make. solitude my element: judge, then, whether I am fit to go into the world. On the other hand, I fear that your journey is undertaken partly froin complaisance to me, and in consequence of the engagement we made to go together. I acquit you of your promise, and if your business does not really demand your presence in France, I beg you will not think of going there on my account. The bare idea of giving you trouble would make the journey ten times more difagreeable to me than the season of the year.
The day after I wrote to you, I preached the fermons against popery, which I had promised to my peo. ple: and Mr. S-t-r called out several times in the church yard as the people went out of church, that, " there was not one word of truth in the whole of my discourse, and that he would prove it,” and told me, that, “ he would produce a gentleman, who should answer my sermon, and the pamphlet I had distributed.” I was therefore obliged to declare in the church, that I should not quit England, and was only going into Wales from whence I would return soon to reply to the answer of Mr. S-t-s and the Priest, if they should offer any. I am thus obliged to return to Madeley, by my word so publicly pledged, as well as to raise a little money for my journey. Were it not for these circumstances, I believe I should pay you a visit at Bristol, notwithstanding my misanthrophy.
The hamper, which you mention, and for which I thank you, provided it be the last, arrived three days before my departure ; but not knowing what it was, nor for whom it was intended, I put it in my cellar without opening it. I want the living water rather than cyder, and righteousness more than clothes. I fear, however, lest my unbelief should make me fet aside the fountain whence it flows, as I did your ham per. Be that as it may, it is high time to open the treasures of divine mercy, and to seek in the heart of Jefus for the springs of love, righteousness, and life. The Lord give us grace fo to seek that we may find, and
be enabled to say with the woman in the gospel, I have found the piece of silver which I had lost.
If your affairs do not really call you to France, I will wait until Providence and grace, shall open a way for me to the inountains of Switzerland, if I am ever to see thein again. Adieu. Give yourself wholly to
God. A divided heart, like a divided kingdom, falls · naturally, by its own gravity, either into darkness, or
into fin. My heart's desire is, that the love of Jefus may fill your soul and that of your unworthy, and greatly obliged fervant, 1. F.
My dear Friend,
MY delay has, I hope, driven you to the Lord who is our Urim and Thummim, whose answers are infallibly true and just. Not so those of men : nevertheless, the Lord generally helps us by each other : may he, therefore, help you by these lines.
You got safe out of Egypt with gladness, and now you seem entangled in the wilderness; but it may be needful for the trial of your faith, patience, felf-denial, &c. thai you thould be left, for a while, to feel your
own barrenness. Therefore hold fast what you have, - till the Lord comes with more ; equally avoiding dif
couraging thoughts, and flight indifference. Retire ' more inwardly, and quietly listen to what the Lord will say concerning you ; refusing creature comforts, and acting faith in God your Creator, Christ you Redeemer, and the Spirit your Comforter.
You have always a feeling, which properly attended to, would make you shout, I am, I am out of hell!
I beg that this wonderful mercy may not appear cheap to you: if it does, you have got up, and must come down ; for it is proper that the Lord should bring down your fpirit, and keep you upon'crumbs, till you have learned to be thankful for them. '
At the first reading your letter, these things struck me, J. You are wanting in the venture of faith :