Newark, Aug, 3.
Dearly beloved in God,
I REACHED Grantham Thursday night at nine o'clock, and preached on Friday evening to a full house, which sent me home with a wet shirt. The poor, the halt, the maimed, and the blind, still flock together, and inquire after Jesus of Nazareth. An old gentleman came from Helmsley, in the North riding of Yorkshire, to hear me last night at Grantham - a distance of a hundred and ten miles. He is in chains, and has been long persuaded that, if he could hear one that knew Christ, he should come forth; and I think he soon will. A young woman at Grantham was among the Arminians; but, God having made her heart honest, and her head sound, she could not put on the sheep's skin, nor make lies her refuge. She took to my books, and The Child of Liberty in Legal Bondage' suited her, though she was frightened at the name of a bad spirit. She then wrote to a friend to inquire about me and my writings; who sent her a scandalous account, enjoining secrecy; which she thought sufficient to convince her that he wrote it with shame and fear. She therefore continues to read my books, and hopes in the contents of them. My sermon making against her, she fainted. Good advice, however, private prayer, and some predictions of better days, left her in hope. And I expect an act of grace and a goal delivery for her in a short time, as her strength and working arm are at the point of giving up the ghost; and we know that when these withdraw, the arm of God is made bare. But Christ and company, flesh and spirit, must not be named together; at least it must not be so done in our country, though it be carried on at Sinai.
I have had invitations to Leicester, Sheepshead, Kegworth, &c. but am bound and bent for York. Am to preach here again to-morrow and Monday; at Redford on Tuesday evening; at Sherborn, near York, on Wednesday, and at Helmsley on Friday evening. Having been much indulged in secret, I keep my room continually, in hopes that I shall savour more of Christ in the pulpit. The people would drain my cruse all day long, if I would let them, and keep me up all night; which they attempted last evening, when the room was full, supper set out, and the guests set down. - But, old age having taught the Doctor to exercise clemency towards the Coalheaver, he practised French leave and Kentish compliments - that is, withdrew supperless, and left them to wait his return in vain; which enabled me to spend two or three hours this morning alone, before the householders could rise from their beds.
I expect great success this journey, as my Lady's men are sadly despised; one, who has the chapel in this town, often preaches to two or three persons. I bless my good God, that he does not drive me on against wind and tide at such a discouraging rate as that.
And now I suppose Tommy is inquiring when I return. To this I shall make no reply, as London is too full fed at a constant and well furnished table, while the poor souls in the country crave the crumbs that fall from the table of others. But sure I am that all the family, sooner or later, shall find the Bridegroom's absence, and feel a fast in those days. At present I am a bishop at large; and am no more afraid of wanting a diocese, a rectory, or a vicarage, than I am of wanting bread: nor do I believe that I shall want money to bear my expenses, being more than sure that my journey is of God. There are two men now in Newark who came from Sheffield to hear; and some now in London will know the time when they would be glad to go as far. The farm and the merchandize are of no use when leanness enters the soul.
God bless thee. My love to dame.
W. H. S. S.