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The Bosanquet / Fletcher Letters Project

Letter: MB to John Wesley, [1]6 Apr. 1761

Reference: M[ary] B[osanquet], 'Letter CLXV . From Miss B. to the Rev. Mr. Wesley [[1]6 Apr. 1761]', AM (1781), 333-36.

Introductory Note:
This is the second of two letters published in the same volume of the AM from MB to JW, dated 6 April 1761. Given the mention of the date 10 April in this letter, it is likely that ‘16 April’ should be the date for this. The date of 16 April is actually the last date mentioned in the text of the letter, and it may be that Wesley, when he published the letter, took the date from this. A letter from MB to JW dated 17 April 1761 follows in the succeeding issue of the same volume (pp. 388-90). The italicized text below is as it appears in the AM.

April [1]6, 1761.     

Dear Sir,

On Easter-Day, we had a Love-feast indeed. aM. W---- was there, who had for some months been in great darkness, having quite lost the Assurance of her pardon. But God restored it to her that day, and soon after, gave her such a sight of her idols and inbred corruption, that she could not bear it, but wrestled with the Lord, to take it away just then. And he quickly answered her prayer. Two days after, she was seized with a violent Fever. Miss M. visiting her, found her rejoicing in God, and having no will either to live or die.

            There was much of the presence of the Lord during the whole Love-feast. This was redoubled, while Mr. Jones prayed. Several cried out much, particularly bMrs. Streaton, having such a sight of her sinful nature, as she never had before, but with a full persuasion, that God would take it away.

            Mrs. Mitchell had, some time before, found the blessing! And so had many more.

            When we went on Friday, April 3, John Fox said, Though he knew he was saved from sin, and loved God with all his heart, yet, his mind was not always stayed upon him. But he saw, This as well as the former blessing, was to be received by simple Faith. From this time he continually prayed for an increase of Faith. And it was not long before his soul was brought as into the immediate presence of God, who from that hour did every moment keep his heart and his mind also.

            When he mentioned this, Daniel Carney said, ‘Mr. M. spoke some time since, concerning the necessity of watching over the wandering of the Eye and Ear. This struck me exceedingly; for I remembered, how often, when I was happy in God, my eye was nevertheless wandering, to look at my child, or something else that did not profit. I cried mightily to be delivered from this; and one morning pleaded that promise, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. I said, Why not now, Lord? Thou canst give it me now! Immediately it was to me according to my Faith. I have found no wanderings since.

            Brother Biigs and Calvert received the same blessing, about the same time. This morning Sarah Guilford, and another of our brethren, testified the same thing. And they all declare, This is as different from what they received before, as That is from Justification.

            Friday, April 10. cBrother Depay said, ‘I was much helped last week by what my brethren said, of having their minds wholly fixt on God. I cried earnestly to him: and have ever since found my mind so fixt, as it never was before.’

            At the same time Brother Marston said, ‘Ever since I received a clean heart, I was convinced that I wanted a farther power, in order to stay my mind constantly on God.’ And a few days since as I was walking I said, ‘Lord, I want to have my mind always so deeply fixt, that nothing may hinder me a moment.’ It was answered, ‘If thou canst believe, it shall be according to thy faith.’ I replied, ‘Lord, I do believe.’ And since then my soul goes out to God continually: nor does any thing I do, or meet with, hinder my intercourse with him. He added, God has indeed wrought a quick work in my soul: for a few months ago, I lived in all manner of wickedness. And a quick work he will work in every soul, that does but cry earnestly to him.

            Thursday 16. Miss March and I went to see M. W. though it was very improbable we should be admitted. But we had spoke only two or three words, when her mother asked us to go up, and left us alone with her. She told us, She had that morning entreated the Lord, to bring Miss M. and me: that she had been much persecuted in various ways, but continued always happy in God: having an uninterrupted witness in herself, that he had indeed cleansed her from all sin.

            I am many times much tried; but stronger is he that is with me, than all that are against me. And blessed be his holy Name, he does keep me night and day. But I long to be so entirely dedicated to him, that my mind may be fixt on him every moment, with

            ‘That speechless awe that dares not move,

            And all the silent heaven of love.’[1]

            I want not only to walk in the way, but in the highway of holiness: so that every breath I draw, every word I speak, every drop of my blood, and every grain of my strength, may be holiness to the Lord. Yea, I want to be more abundantly nothing, and my Jesus to be all in all! I believe the promise standeth sure, Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you. I find many times nothing so helpful, as to cast my soul just as it is at the foot of the cross; forgetting all that is past both good and bad, and only pleading, ‘Thou, Lord, must ordain my peace; for thou, Lord, hast wrought all my works in me.’ I then love Jesus, and give up my will that moment, as if I had not one more to live.

            This is indeed a time of blessing, which the Spirit of God is pouring out on all around us. May we be as ready to receive, as he to give, that none of us may be at last constrained to say, The summer is over, the harvest is ended; and we are not saved.

                                                I remain, dear Sir, yours, &c.

                                                            M. B.

a [Ed. of AM:] M.W. soon cast away her shield.

b [Ed. of AM:] Mrs. S, lived in love, and died in peace.

c [Ed. of AM:] He and Sarah Guilford witnessed a good confession to the end.

[1] [DRW:] From Charles Wesley, ‘Sinners, Obey the Gospel Word’, Hymns and Sacred Poems, vol. 1, no. 155 (1749).

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