Letter

Scope and Content

From Miss C. Rhodes in Sheffield to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. At the time that Fletcher’s last letter arrived, Rhodes was absent from Sheffield and only returned a day or two back. ‘I feel myself obliged to you for so kindly opening my way and that of my friend. I should most gladly embrace the opportunity if I could be fully persuaded in my own mind it was the right step to take at the present, but here I am doubtful, some difficulties seem to arise in the way. The summer is drawing near to a close and my time when I must return to Leeds is drawing near. Also, a friend from Leeds is coming to spend a week or two at Sheffield with an intention to take me back with her in her chair. This will prevent me embracing the present opportunity of reaching Madeley this summer…’

Rhodes rejoices that the work is prospering in Madeley. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.

Sheffield is still ‘the garden of the Lord’ and every week some souls are brought into liberty. 'I visited a woman yesterday whose experience is very clear and rather extraordinary. She has for fourteen years been a steady follower of Jesus and professed and really enjoyed the pardoning love of God. She believed a state of sanctification attainable but considered it altogether as a gradual work. This made her very circumspect though she was often very low in her mind and could not love God as she wished to do. Since [William] Bramwell came to Sheffield her soul was much quickened and her thirst for sanctification was increased. She heard it held forth as a privilege to be obtained by them that believe – she was determined not to rest. One Friday at the morning prayer meeting she was deeply affected and wrestled with God secretly for near two hours, not willing any should know. Her convictions increased, she deeply felt the evils of her heart and on Sunday evening she was by her own fireside reading a little tract upon Christian Holiness. The author observed that there were many sincere souls who are seeking sanctification by degrees, creep, creep, creep, while there are others who by one view of faith from Pisgah’s top get into the promised land. She said immediately she saw she had been one of those creepers, she had been indirectly seeking it by works. She saw her error and immediately burst into a flood of weeping, she then thought she should obtain it in the Monday morning meeting. She accordingly determined to get up at 5 o’clock the next morning. Her husband being a serious man, he also got up and went downstairs before her (she having a little child) when he went out, he in an involuntary manner locked the door and took the key so that when she came down she could not get out. This being such a disappointment she said she felt anger at her husband would rise, but she resisted it with all her might. She wept and thought what must I do, the thought struck her I will pray to God and see what he will give me by myself. She immediately fell on her knees and pleaded with God to deliver her, she had not been many minutes at prayer before the Lord appeared to her in such majesty and glory that she could not stand before him. She shrieked out “O my sins, my sins have pierced thee.” She saw she could not stand the presence of a Holy God, she felt as an impure creature, she could not behold his glory with delight, just at that moment she saw a spirit come from Jesus and touch her breast and took from her heart a nest of vipers and buried them in the earth before her. She immediately felt she was cleaned and cried out “Thou has cleansed me. Now I can behold thy glory with delight. I know thou hast made me one spirit with thee. Glory, glory be to God and the Lamb for ever.” In this blessed spirit her husband found her on his return, making the house ring again with the praises of God. Her eyes nearly swelled up with weeping under the melting power of God; indeed, her countenance has been changed ever since. Something divine appears about her and the Lord owns and makes her a blessing wherever she goes.’

Rhodes knows of another very remarkable conversion but space will not permit her to describe it in this letter.