From John Bennet in Chinley, Derbyshire, to Charles Wesley. Despite their lengthy separation, Bennet thinks of Wesley constantly and remembers him often in his prayers.
Charles is no doubt mindful of the work being carried out in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Derbyshire, where the recent persecutions 'have been as fires to purify them of dross'.
At Woodley in Cheshire, Bennet with three other Methodists were pressed into the army. Bennet was however released after he disputed the right to press him as a vagabond or stroller, and his companions also were later freed.
The authorities in Woodley have been searching houses for Methodists, and as a result no meetings have been held for some time. When they did meet however 'many were filled with joy', and their number has increased.
He has been informed that the local magistrates have been meeting to consider action to be taken against him, but he does not know with what result.
This persecution was initiated by the dissenters. Many of the Woodley Society were dissenters and their involvement with Methodism has aroused hostility. Charles's advice would be appreciated.
The people live many miles rom the parish church, and want to know if one of the Wesleys will call to administer the sacrament once or twice a year. Bennet himself feels spiritually weakened by the refusal of the minister at Chapel en le Frith in Derbyshire to give him communion. Indeed he and several others were ordered from the church.
A friend in Woodley has offered the lease of a house for preaching. Is it permissible to hold services at the same time as the dissenting minister and will he be punished for preaching in an unlicensed house ?
. The situation in Chinley is similar, where Dr [James] Clegg is 'doing much harm amongst our people'. He has criticised Wesley's attachment to the established church, but his son who is intended for the ministry has expressed an interest in meeting Wesley. The young man will be in London shortly, and Bennet will give him directions.
He has heard that the situation in Yorkshire is quiet. Bennet has not visited that county since [John] Nelson left the area, but is prepared to visit there if Charles wills it.
Annotated by Charles Wesley -persecution by ye dissenters.