From Nantwich [part of the Chester circuit where Bardsley was stationed between 1769 and 1770] to Martha Bardsley (to be collected at the house of William Wild, lower end of Jackson's Row, Manchester). The Lord be thanked, Bardsley is pretty well in body and soul. He wishes that these lines may find her likewise. 'O my dear mother, time is short, eternity is at hand'.
When he wrote to her some time ago from Chester, he told her how he was suffering from a bad cold. Fortunately, it left him when he was in Wales and he remained very well throughout his visit to the principality. He returned a week ago.
He asked her to send him a letter to Shrewsbury and when he called there, he asked Mrs Hatton if any had arrived, but none could be found. This made him rather uneasy and concerned that something was amiss with her, that possibly she was ill or that his brother Jerry [Jeremiah] was up to some mischief. 'O bless my poor undutyfull brother and suffer him not to peresh.'. He would be very grateful if she could write as soon as she can.
Since he last wrote, Bardsley has been very comfortable with regard to the state of his soul. 'I find that the Lord does not send me a warfare at my own charge while I am preaching to poor souls. The Lord often blesses me, so that I do not repent as yet that I came to seek poor sinners.' He often thinks of his dear mother and is aware that she pines for his company but he hopes that she will consider whose service he is engaged in. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail - she should be very concerned for the state of her own soul as if they are unable to spend much time together here on earth, they will be able to do so in heaven.
Is she still affected with temptation? She must remember that God is above the Devil. She should call upon him in prayer and he will be ready to save her. He will not allow her to be tempted beyond what she can bear. Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail.
Bardsley hopes, God willing, to be at Chester next Saturday or Sunday. He hopes to come over [to Manchester?] as soon as he can after the quarterly meeting. His love should be passed to his brother, with the message that he has a few 'odd' things for him, and that he would be willing to do what he can for him, as long as Jerry [Jeremiah] was prepared to do better and serve God. His dear love should also be passed to Mr and Mrs Bowden and their child, Mr and Mrs Armstrong, Betty and Polly and their other children, Mrs Hardman and her daughter. He often thinks about poor John and is afraid that he continues in the old way - may the Lord turn his heart.
In a postscript, he adds that his love should be passed to his brother John and Sister Betty and to John and Ann Ainsworth.