From Clifton to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. How is Fletcher’s health and poor dear suffering Sally [Lawrance]? Spiritual matters are discussed.
Fletcher expressed an interest in hearing about the ‘second thing in my dream’ and Ritchie has therefore transcribed the entire experience.
‘It must have been a close trial for you to [missing word due to a tear in the page] to Coalport [preaching] house. Mrs Smyth sends you £2.2.0 for it, which I sent you by a good man from Bath (who lives at Dudley I think). His name is Mr Newton – he told me he should be at Madeley in three weeks: the time is past. I was in hopes he would add to the sum as he is a man of property. I told him to give it to you for your preaching house at Coalport and I would write to you to tell you whose it was.’
Lady Mary [Fitzgerald] has been in London for almost a month – she was much better before she left Bath and continues so.
Ritchie’s love should be passed to Mr Walter – he should be told that Ritchie can tell him nothing about the [Kennet and Avon] Canal until after the annual meeting as it has not yet been determined how to proceed. Many plans have been put forward and some appear very feasible.
‘I deferred finishing this scrawl on purpose that I might inform you of a little business I have some hopes of carrying my point in…it is now so far settled that I have sent the receipt into Yorkshire and at its return I shall have the money. Part of what Mrs Edwards left Mrs Norman was £400 in the 3 percent [annuities]: the interest for her life and at Mrs [Norman’s] death the principal was to be divided among the single women in the Methodist society who were upwards of 50. I have been enabled to procure it for Sister [Ann] Tripp [and] it will be a good help this hard winter.’
‘In the evening I had been conversing with a friend and saying that I did not think we had the honourable view we ought to have of the love of God to his creatures and praying he would give me a deeper sense of the meaning of that text in the first epistle of St John chapter 4 verse 16 “We hath known and believed the love God hath to us.” Going to bed under the above impressions, I fell asleep and had the following dream:
I thought I was at Leeds and going into Mr Rhodes’ house, saw an old man sitting by the fire. He arose and offered me his hand. I saw it was my old friend Joseph Bradley who had been dead about fifteen years: he smiled on me and looked very heavenly. I felt no fear, but my spirit was all expectation to hear something from the world of which I knew he was an inhabitant, though he appeared so much like what he used to be. He sat down and with a most heavenly countenance spoke to the following purport. “If precious souls did but know while in a state of trial the future benefit they would derive from a close walk with God and from taking up the cross they often turn aside from, they would act differently. Grace used will bring increasing glory. If they saw things aright they would be wholly the Lord’s, they would embrace the cross. Another thing believers are much wanting in, is proper views of the atonement. They have not the honourable views they ought to have of the virtue of the bleeding sacrifice. If they had clearer views of the efficiacy of the atonement, they would have stronger confidence in God and juster views of his unbounded love to them. If believers had the views we have of the amazing love of God to his Church, their hearts would be filled with love. They would be as flames of living fire.” He continued for near ten minutes exhorting on the love of God to man. His countenance was divinely irradiated and the more he enlarged on the blessed subject the more heavenly he looked. My heart caught the living flame, I felt all desire, adoration and praise. My heavenly visitor rose up, shook hands with me and went out…I immediately went after him but he was no longer visible. I awoke with such sensations on my mind as filled my heart with prayer of praise.’