Letter

Scope and Content

[Annotated at the top of the letter in a different hand to that of the correspondent - 'I think this is S. Bardsley's handwriting. LT']

To Revd. Brishman[?] . It is likely that the person to whom this letter is sent, will be surprised to receive it from a person with whom they enjoy no acquaintance. It is prompted 'because of your frequent misrepresentation of an innocent harmless people [the Methodists], a people, dear sir, who wish you well, and whose prayers are that you may save your own soul, and be instrumental of saving them that hear you'. Why then does he represent the Methodists as "Modern enthusiasts", and as a people whose evening assemblies 'are attended with those scenes of foolishness[?], as day-light would blush?' Surely, he must be very prejudiced, or else most wickedly misinformed'.

Bardsley charitably hopes that the Revd. Brishman[?] is a gentleman of more honour and a greater regard for truth than to deliberately and wilfully "bear false witness against his neighbour". He should divest himself of his prejudice and make enquiry into the doctrine that the [Methodists] preach and the nature and design of their societies and evening assemblies. He will soon discover that they are no enthusiasts nor do they have cause to be ashamed of their conduct when they devote their evenings to the worship of God, not to sin against him as some have accused. Rather, the Methodists exhort their fellow men to repent and be converted so that their sins may be blotted out. Their meetings frequently begin with singing the praises of God and in calling upon him with solemn prayers. So far are they from countenancing those who live in sin, that if after they are reproved, they persist in their wicked ways, then they are no more allowed among them until they repent.

Should not Bishman and his clerical colleagues be pleased that their neighbours meet together for spiritual edification? Bardsley is certain that Jesus himself is not ashamed of the Methodists, so why are those who profess to be his ministers. Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail.

Bardsley respects Bishman as 'a minister of an excellent establishment'.