Letter

Scope and Content

From Anne Ray in London to Mary Bosanquet at Gildersom Hall313 in Yorkshire. Bosanquet’s last letter ‘proved a word in season to me. The experience you therein mention, “of meeting God today in his own divine order” and proving through that his will inexpressibly sweet, even in most trivial employments, was the very exercise my spirit was then peculiarly engaged in, and from which I found such a rest in all I did, as gave occasion to Satan (just before your’s came to hand) to suggest “How is this?” How can God be with you in such insignificant employs?”…’ Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail.

Ray has not been very ill during these last twelve months but has often felt quite poorly. Her strength has been weakened so that she cannot take such long walks as usual without feeling very tired. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail. ‘The light of faith has at times shone much upon me, by which I have discovered the presence of God filling heaven and earth, all time and space…’ Spiritual matters are further discussed and the following lines quoted from the work of the poet [Edward] Young:

My prostrate soul adores the presence of God Praise I a distant deity?…

Ray cannot express how much she feels wrapped up in God’s being. Spiritual matters are described in detail. ‘I cannot enumerate my estrangement from my beloved [Jesus], the slightings of his love, the forgetfulness of his presence, the turning away from his embraces, to busy myself with persons, the things that don’t concern me, but which I feel sensibly grieve his holy spirit…’

Bosanquet’s frequent moves from place to place is a ‘stumbling block’ for some of the brethren who cannot understand how this can be the will of God. ‘For my part I don’t see we are called to understand for others and I often feel for you in this particular, that you are so frequently to give account of your ways to men. Only I look upon it as a cross entailed upon you by the Master of the Cross…’

Reference is made to Bosanquet’s letter to Sister M.

Betsy Hurrel has sent a letter to Ray with someone returning from the Conference. Ray was surprised that she had sent a letter considering that the two have had so little acquaintance. ‘The purport of it was desiring one [a letter] from me, that she was frequently in much distress for inward religion…but not a word either of persons or things. I felt no desire for further intimacy with her and should have chose not to correspond, but thought the apparent distress of her mind called for all the compassionate help one member could afford another. I therefore have answered it. It seemed right to me, to acquaint you with it, as probably you might hear of my writing and think she made me her confidant respecting what passed in your house, which if ever she attempts to, I shall studiously avoid, my heart being too much united to you…’

Ray has just heard that Mr Morris is to see Bosanquet and she is therefore sending this letter with him.

Her love should be passed to Sister Gerard – Ray will answer her letter as soon as possible.

Notes

  • Edward Young (1683-1765) was educated at Winchester and Oxford. After his hopes of a parliamentary or professional career were thwarted, Young took Holy Orders, and became Rector of Welwyn in 1730. Young was a poet and satirist of note, whose most famous work was the Night Thoughts, which appeared between 1742 and 1745. This work was highly regarded by the Wesleys. Source: Dictionary of National Biography
  • Eliza Hurrel (1740-98) was converted under the influence of Revd. John Berridge of Everton in Bedfordshire, and thereafter travelled as a preacher with John Wesley's approval. Her influence was greatest in the North of England, where she was an associate of Sarah Crosby. At the time of her death, she was resident in Upper Gower Street, London. She was interred at City Road Chapel. Source: Zachariah Taft, Holy Women (1825), Vol. 1, [modern reprint by the Methodist Publishing House, 1992] and George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), p.361

Note

Notes

  • Edward Young (1683-1765) was educated at Winchester and Oxford. After his hopes of a parliamentary or professional career were thwarted, Young took Holy Orders, and became Rector of Welwyn in 1730. Young was a poet and satirist of note, whose most famous work was the Night Thoughts, which appeared between 1742 and 1745. This work was highly regarded by the Wesleys. Source: Dictionary of National Biography
  • Eliza Hurrel (1740-98) was converted under the influence of Revd. John Berridge of Everton in Bedfordshire, and thereafter travelled as a preacher with John Wesley's approval. Her influence was greatest in the North of England, where she was an associate of Sarah Crosby. At the time of her death, she was resident in Upper Gower Street, London. She was interred at City Road Chapel. Source: Zachariah Taft, Holy Women (1825), Vol. 1, [modern reprint by the Methodist Publishing House, 1992] and George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), p.361