1773 JOHN WESLEY. Unpublished Letter Exhorting to Female Celibacy and Abstaining from Alcohol!

1773 JOHN WESLEY. Unpublished Letter Exhorting to Female Celibacy and Abstaining from Alcohol!

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A wonderful, previously unpublished single page, fine framing example autograph letter by John Wesley. Dating to 1773, when Joseph Benson, who would be the Methodist Conference President from 1798 to 1810, was just 24 years old and had just ended his time running the Countess of Huntingdon’s College. The letter is to an undisclosed female recipient who recently lost her husband.

Importantly, he shows his eschatological affinity with Paul in urging her to remain unmarried after the death of her husband. It is a temptation, and hints that is perhaps sensual that she wishes to do so. It is to be resisted and the Lord sought as a refuge against it in order that she might focus on the work of God. Further, the letter refers to Mr. B. [which has traditionally been thought to refer to the young Joseph Benson] regarding the use of “intoxicating liquor” and urging him against it.

In generally fine condition. Small tear from wax seal as shown.

Letter as follows:

My dear Sister,

Surely if you love me (and I hope, that will not admit of a doubt) you should write to me frequently and freely. I am glad you have spoken to your Brother. If he only hears you patiently, that is a point gained, and undoubtedly you are now in your place. If you ever fixed a thought of remarrying, give no place to it; it is a mere temptation; you have only to make the best of your present Station. Something of a cloud upon the Mind, is frequently owing to the corruptible Body, which in a thousand unobserved ways, presses down upon the Soul. But still we know where our Help lies. "Help, while yet I ask is given!" "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; when you are tried, you shall come forth as Gold!" One of the Advices I gave Mr B. was "Touch no Spirituous Liquor". Otherwise he can have little Health. Pray speak freely both to Him, etc. [probably implying that temperance is the preferred policy].

My dear Sister,

Your affectionate Brother, J.Wesley.