Letter

Scope and Content

To [Mary Bosanquet]. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail. Since March last wrote, she has indeed drunk from a ‘bitter cup’ but ‘it is good to be afflicted, for whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth & scourgeth every son whom he relieveth. He has led me through the valley of humiliation…’ From the time that March began to seek the Lord, she wanted to do something excellent, but the Lord has made her willing to be the least of his Saints, a vessel of wood rather than of gold. She saw so many weaknesses and infirmities in herself that she asked herself how she could be saved from sin. March wrote to Mr W. [John Wesley] of her vileness and he wrote to her a most encouraging letter, saying “you are condemned for nothing, if you love God & have given him your heart.” [John Wesley to Miss (Jane) March, 11 November 1760. The Letters of John Wesley, edited by John Telford (London: Epworth Press, 1960), 4:109.] Wesley advised her to hold fast and added that she needed more faith; “faith while yet you ask is given. God comes down, the Lord & God that made both earth & heaven.” March was however more ‘delivered’ by a dream – she thought that she had heard the sweetest sermon that she had ever heard in her life. It was on looking unto Jesus - & sense then the Lord had given me power to cast my soul simply on him…’ Spiritual matters are further discussed in detail, with particular regard to March’s feelings of worthlessness and the need for her soul to aim for that love referred to in Corinthians 13, so that she may be a true disciple of Christ.

‘Yr band have most all wrote to you therefore I need say the less on that head, only I believe they get forward. Betty Tolly desires her love, she thanks you for yrs, she still tells the old story, allways, in one note, I speak very plain to her, she bears it wthout being offended, I can’t think she has faith now, her soul wants I think awakening – we are to carry all our band lists to Mr W. [John Wesley] & he will alter some of them. Betty Coleman is put to class to Sally Denton, I continue to pay her the money.’

Mrs Berkin [March’s sister] sends her love. She [Berkin] thinks that Bosanquet could have written to her. March has not seen Berkin alone lately but thinks that she is seeking after the nature of God.

March’s love should be passed to [Sarah] Ryan. ‘I think only to write an extract from her diary, ye things wch are most material & to leave out the minute particulars…’

[Annotated in the hand of Mary Fletcher – ‘For Read’. A separate annotation in the hand of Mary Tooth reads ‘Coppied for Madeley Wood April 7th 1816.’

[Dated from the reference to John Wesley’s letter of November 1760.]