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imprint it on your hearts. His diligent visitation of the sick occasioned the fever, which, by God's commission, tore him from you and me. And his vehement desire to take bis last leave of you, with dying lips and hands, gave, it is supposed, the finishing stroke, by preparing his blood for putrefaction. Thus has he lived and died your servant. And will any of you refuse to meet him at God's right hand in that day?
“ He walked with death always in sight. About two months ago, he came to me and said, “ My dear Love, I know not how it is, but I have a strange impression, Death is very near us, as if it would be some sudden stroke
upon one of us. And it draws out all
soul in prayer, that we may be ready.' He then broke out, “Lord, prepare the soul thou wilt call. And, O stand by thy poor
disconsolate one that shall be left behind.'
“ A few days before his departure, he was filled with love in an uncommon manner, saying to me,
I have had such a discovery of the depth of that word, God is Love, I cannot tell thee half. O shout his praise.' The same he testified, as long as he had a voice, and continued to testify to the end, by a most lamb-like patience, in which he smiled over death, and set his last seal to the glorious truths he had so long preached among you.
“ Three years, nine months, and two days, I have possessed my heavenly-minded husband. But now the sun of my earthly joy is set for ever, and my soul is filled with anguish, which only finds its consolation in a total resignation to the will of God. When I was asking the Lord, if he pleased to spare him to me a little longer, the following promise was impressed on my mind with great power (in the accomplishment of which I look for our re-union)
Where I am, there shall my servants be, that they may behold my glory.' Lord, hasten the hour.”
There is little need of adding any farther character of this man of God, to the foregoing account, given by one who wrote out of the fulness of her heart. I would only observe, that for many years I despaired of finding any inhabitant of Great-Britain, that could stand in any degree of comparison with Gregory Lopez, or Monsieur de Renty. But let an impartial person judge, if Mr. Fletcher was at all inferior to them? Did he not experience as deep communion with God, and as high a measure of inward holiness, as was experienced either by one or the other of those burning and shining lights? And it is certain his outward holiness shone before men, with full as bright a lustre as theirs. But if any should attempt to draw a parallel between them, there are two circumstances that deserve consideration. One is, we are not assured, that the writers of their lives, did not extenuate, if not suppress what was amiss in them. And some things amiss we are assured there were, viz. many touches of superstition, and some of idotatry, in worshipping saints, the Virgin Mary in particular. But I have not suppressed or extenuated any thing in Mr. Fletcher's character. For indeed I knew nothing that was amiss, nothing that needed to be extenuated, much less suppressed. A second circumstance is, that the writers of their lives, could not have so full a knowledge of them, as both Mrs. Fletcher and I had of Mr. Fletcher, being eye and ear-witnesses of his whole conduct. Consequently we know, that his life was not sullied with any mixture of either idolatry or superstition. I was intimately acquainted with him for above thirty years. I conversed with him morning, noon, and night, without the least reserve, during a journey of many hundred miles. And in all that time, I never heard him speak one improper word, nor saw him do an improper action. To conclude. Many exemplary men have I known, holy in heart and life, within fourscore years. But one equal to him, I have not known: one so inwardly and outwardly devoted to God. So unblamable a character, in every respect, I have not found either in Europe or America. Nor do I expect to find another such, on this side of Eternity.
As it is possible we may all be such as he was, let us endeavour to follow him as he followed Christ!
Norwich, Oct. 24, 1785.
Mr. FLETCHER'S EPITAPH.
Here lies the Body of
Vicar of Madeley ;
September 12, 1729,
In this Village,
Will never be forgotten.
In this Parish,
The Lamentation of the Prophet, “ All the Day long have I stretched out my Hands
Unto a disobedient and gain-saying People:
And my Work with my God.”
TO THE PEOPLE CALLED METHODISTS,
WITH REGARD TO DRESS.
I. 1. I Am not fond of saying the same thing over and over; especially when I have so many things to say, that the day of life, which with me is far spent, is not likely to suffice for them. But, in some cases, it is needful for you that I should: and then it is not grievous to me. And it may be best to speak freely and fully at once, that there may be the less need of speaking on this head hereafter.
2. When we look into the Bible with any attention, and then look round into the world, to see who believes, and who lives according to this Book; we may easily discern, that the system of practice, as well as the system of truth there delivered, are torn in pieces, and scattered abroad, like the members of Absyrtus. Every denomination of Christians retains some part either of Christian truth or practice : these hold fast one part, and those another, as their fathers did before them. What is the duty, meantime, of those who desire to follow the whole Word of God? Undoubtedly to gather up all these fragments, that, if possible, nothing be lost: with all diligence to follow all those we see about us, so far as they follow the Bible: and to join together, in one scheme of truth and practice, what almost all the world put asunder.
3. Many years ago, I observed several parts of Christian Practice among the people called Quakers. Two things I particularly remarked among them, plainness of speech, and plainness of dress. I willingly adopt both with some restrictions, and particularly plainness of dress. The same I recommended to you when God first called you out of the world; and after the addition of more than twenty years experience, I recommend it to you still.
4. But before I go any farther, I must entreat you, in the Name of God, be open to conviction. Whatever prejudices you have contracted from education, custom, or example, divest yourselves of them, as far as possible. Be willing to receive light either from God or man: do not shut your eyes against it. Rather be glad to see more than you did before, to have the eyes of your understanding opened.” Receive the truth in the love thereof, and you will have reason to bless God for ever.
II. 1. Not that I would advise you to imitate the people called Quakers, in those little particularities of dress, which can answer no possible end, but to distinguish them from all other people. To be singular, merely for singularity's sake, is not the part of a Christian. I do not, therefore, advise you to wear a hat of such dimensions, or a coat of a particular form. Rather, in things that are absolutely indifferent, that are of no consequence at all, humility and courtesy require you to conform to the customs of your country.
2. But I advise you to imitate them, First, in the neatness of their apparel. This is highly to be commended, and quite suitable to your Christian calling. Let all your apparel, therefore, be as clean as your situation in life will allow. It is certain, the poor cannot be as clean as they would, as having little change of raiment. But let even these be as clean as they can, as care and diligence can keep them. Indeed they have particular need so to be, because cleanliness is one great branch of frugality. It is, likewise, more conducive to health than is generally considered. Let the Poor, then, especially, labour to be clean, and provoke those of a higher rank to jealousy.
3. I advise you to imitate them, Secondly, in the plainness of their apparel. In this are implied two things: 1, That your apparel be cheap, not expensive; far cheaper than others in your circumstances wear, or than you would wear if you knew not God: 2, That it be grave, not gay, airy, or showy ;-not in the point of the fashion. And these easy rules may be applied both to the materials, whereof it is made, and the manner wherein it is made or put on.