From Bristol to Sarah Ryan at Leytonstone. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
The Wednesday night bands and the men’s[?] bands all meet together and everyone speaks freely and prays. God has made this an instrument for the removal of prejudices and promotion of union. One brother Lewis and Sister [Susanna] Designe are ‘athirst’ , while Johnson does not think that it will be long before Sisters Raxell[?] and Masten ‘proclaim a loude ye glories of ye triune God’.
One Sister Prothero has testified to his power – she had a hard time and experienced a ‘very sencible deliverance’, & still retains it’. Sister Gee [Probably the wife or close relation of one Mr Gee of Bristol, a member of the Methodist society. He met with John Wesley several times in 1783 and 1784 for tea, prayer and religious conversation.] is strong in faith but expresses her amazement at being tempted so much. ‘Sister Shephard, I trust does not let goe her hold, but lives a weakling, a tendency to this we have found in all, that does not meet with theyr brethren’.
They have great glorification of God in their Friday’s meeting.
At present they have a ‘very humble loveing brother, our preacher Mr [John] Murlin who seems much blessed among ye [unreadable word] people’ .
- Susanna Designe (b. 1712) was born of French parentage near the Isle of Ely. After her marriage, she moved to Bristol with her husband and opened a private school in her own home. She acted as a band leader in Bristol and Kingswood and was a correspondent of the Wesleys. Source: Biographical information provided by Dr T. Albin and A Biographical Dictionary of 18th century Methodism by Samuel Rogal (Edwin Mellen Press 1997)
- John Murlin (1722-99) was born in St Stephen near Brannel in Cornwall, the son of a farmer. After serving an apprenticeship as a carpenter, he was converted in 1749 by the preacher John Downes. He began to preach locally and in 1754 left his prosperous business to join the itinerancy. His circuit ministry was exercised in England and Ireland. Upon his superannuation in 1787, he and his wife settled in Oxford. Murlin was one of the preachers at the centre of the Norwich sacramental dispute in 1760. An exceptionally gifted preacher, Murlin's emotional style earned him the nickname 'The weeping prophet'. [Murlin was stationed in the Yorkshire circuit of Birstall in 1765 and was visiting Bristol for the Conference.]Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)