Letter

Scope and Content

From John Radford in Salisbury [postmark] to Mary Tooth. Radford feels a very deep obligation to Tooth ‘for the spiritual edification and assistance received from your society, as well as from your pious communications; I am nevertheless inclined to think that that in relation to the laws of epistolary correspondence, the arrears will be found on the other side.’ However, leaving that aside, he can assure her that she continues to occupy a most exalted position in his Christian affection. He recalls with great pleasure his meetings with Tooth and [Mary] Fletcher. He holds those memories very dear and they will never be anything but a source of spiritual inspiration.

Radford has often been asked by individuals and groups in the various places where he has been stationed for his reminiscences of Madeley ‘and what was seen and heard and felt by me in my visits to that memorable place.’ Such recollections have enlivened conversations and enriched multitudes in private conversation and when delivered from the pulpit. Often large numbers have listened with rapt attention to his anecdotes of Madeley.

He trusts that Tooth continues to enjoy good health. Her situation certainly needs physical and mental vigour. ‘I know your place is felt by you to be one of trust. You hold it as bequeathed to you by that exalted Saint who has passed into the skies…’

‘To the solicitude you have felt for the good of souls (especially since you have entered into the labours of one whose success was so conspicuous), the Lord has been perfectly acquainted with; and his goodness you retrace in fitting you for, and blessing you in the service…’

Radford will now provide her with some account of the progress of the work in this circuit. For more than several months there has been good attendance at preaching and during the last six months there have been ‘precious displays of divine power in the awakening of sinners and in the conversion of souls.’ For a while this quickening was relatively restricted to the city of Salisbury but it has now spread to other parts of the circuit. At the Christmas quarterly visitation for the giving of class tickets, forty people were admitted on trial. Among this number was one who was deaf and dumb – he had attended for some time on the ‘ordinances of religion’ and appeared as attentive as though he could hear every word. He started to evidence signs of ‘keen conviction’ and through gestures, he signified his great sorrow for offending God. He also signed that his sins were hateful to him and shortly afterwards he showed signs of deep repentance. ‘He was deeply engaged in prayer when a most blessed change was observed to take place in his state and feelings, so that he was seen to rejoice…’

At the Lady Day visitation for the renewal of class tickets no fewer that 145 people were admitted into the society on trial. This good work has chiefly taken place among young people from the ages of thirteen to twenty-five - between fifty and sixty have been added to the membership in this city. Radford gave fifteen notes of admission to young ladies in just one evening and another fifteen to young and old females during another evening. A week or two ago the clerk of a country parish church seven miles from here came to Salisbury with his wife with the specific intent of hearing a Methodist preacher and receive instruction in the way of salvation. Radford had conversation with them and they appear very promising people.

At Wilton, the county town, the ‘cause’ has been languishing for many years past. ‘The state of feeling among the people was like that which prevailed at the place opposite Madeley Wood the other side the water.’ The ‘cause’ is now however starting to revive.

Several have not only found peace with God but have experienced entire sanctification.

Radford would love to hear from Tooth how religion is progressing in Madeley.

His regards should be passed to his old friends in the vicinity of Madeley and Coalbrookdale.