« AnteriorContinuar »
you. I shall leave my box here, as I fear there woald not be room for it in Mr. Ireland's carriages.
Do not forget to deduct from your Chateau D'Oex money all you have spent to get it: That will make the fine much lighter. I fear the Geneva people will fine you also, if you do not come away as fast as you can.
Let us return to our heavenly country and inheri. tance: Nothing will draw back a part of it, unless our unbelief and sins do it: The Lord crush them both!
My love to Miss P. and her mother. We all join here in wishes for your perfect recovery; but none more heartily than Your old obliged Friend,
To Mr. Wm. Perronet.
LYONS, April 6, 1781.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
We are both weak, both afflicted; but Jesus careth for us. He is every where, and here he has all power to deliver us, and he may do it by ways we little think of: "As thou wilt, when thou wilt, and where thou wilt," said Baxter : Let us say the same. It was of the Lord you did not come with me : You would have been sick as I am. I am overdove with riding and preaching. I preached twice in the fields. I carry home with me much weakness, and a pain in my back, which I fear will end in the gravel. The Lord's will be done. I know I am called to suffer and die. The journey tires me; but through mercy I bear it. Let us believe and rejoice in the Lord Jesus.
In the beginning of March, 1781, Mr. Fletcher took à final leave of Switzerland; and proceeded to the South of France, where he was engaged to meet his friend Mr. Irelaud, and to returu with him from thence to England. Nothing particular is known of his journey, except that during the short time he stopped at Montpelier, he somewhat impaired his health by too great exertion in the pulpit; and on their arrival at Paris, his attendance on a sick person would have brought on him the censure of an intolerant church, had not Mr. Ireland, who was mistaken for him by the police officers, quietly suffered them to remain in their error, until Mr. Fletcher, who was apprised of his danger, had proceeded too far on his journey to be overtaken. The friends afterwards joined each other, and arrived safely in England in the middle of April, after an ahsence of three years and four months. Calling at London, Mr. Fletcher preached at the New Chapel, City Road, slept at Newington, April 27, and the next day set out for Bristol. He stayed there only a short time, and then retired to Mr. Ireland's, at Brislington. “When I was informed of Mr. Fletcher's arrival at Brislington," says Mr. Rankin, “I rode over to Mr. Ireland's, the day after, and had such an interview with him, as I shall riever forget in time or eternity. As I had not seen him for upwards of ten years, his looks, his salutation, and address, struck me with a mixture of wonder, solemnity, and joy." As Mr. Ireland was then confined by affliction, and wished to accompany his friend to Madeley as soon as he should be able, Mr. Fletcher stayed a few days at Brislington, waiting for his recovery, before he set out for his parish. Upon their arrival there, it was his first care to inquire into the spiritual state of his dear flock; but he did not find such cause of rejoicing as he had fondly expected.
To the Rev. Mr. Perronet, Shoreham.
NewINGTON, April 28, 1781,
REV, AND DEAR SIR,
I have brought from Switzerland a letter front your dear son: I wish I had brought him himself; but the snow setting in at the time I had engaged to set out, he thought it upadvisable to come with me, and I durst not urge him to do any thing against his mind.
I went to Lausanne to see him two days before my departure : I found him weak and low; but the frequent vomitings he had some months ago, have left him, and his appetite returns. He is very well taken care of: Miss Perronet and her mother are as kind to him, as my dear friends here were to me when I lay sick in this house. He gives you himseif, probably, a fuller account of his health. His physician hoped, the return of the fine weather would be very favourable to him. I would not have come away without him if he had not urged me to do it, considering my engagements and circumstances. His mind is quite easy : He is sweetly resigned to the will of God, and my sister-in-law was quite edified to see his meek resignation while he lay sick at her house.
I leave Loudon this morning, sorry not to have had time to wait on you ayd Mrs. Perronet, to ask your blessing, and to answer any question you might have asked me concerning my dear friend, your son. I shall write to him, please God, as soon as I shall be in Shropshire. I offered to go and fetch him at the end of the year, if he chose to spend another winter in Switzerland : But he said, he made no doubt he should have good company to come before, if God permitted.
I hope you will give me your blessing, and grant me a share in your prayers, which I should have been glad to sit under : But in these bodies we can be but in one place; and I comfort myself with these words of St. Paul:-Soon we shall be ever with the Lord,' and with all his people. In that sweet hope I remain, Rev. and dear Sir, Your affectionate Son and Servant in Christ,
I desire to be remembered in Christian love to Mrs. Perronet and Miss Briggs.
In Mr. Benson's excellent Life of Mr. Fletcher, it is said: “Mr. Perronet had expected to gather strength as the spring advanced, and the weather became nilder. In this, however, the Lord saw meet, in a great measure, to disappoint his expectations. Spring, and even summer, bringing warm weather, came; but still he continued in a similar, and even increasing, state of weakness. On the 15th of May he writes :- As to my health, it is not yet restored to me.
It has pleased God to break down my strength in my journey, and to continue me in that weak condition to this time, notwithstanding all the efforts of my friends and physiciaus, and iny own endeavours, in using a little very gentle exercise from time to time, as I was able. Whenever I go out, every one stops to stare at me, and many express their astouishment, at the sight of such a spectre ; so greatly am I reduced and altered.' On the 12th of June following, he seemed to himself to be rather gaining a little gronnd, but, says he, 'the continual, sudden, and severe changes in the weather here, tear me almost to pieces, and seem to throw me back as fast as I recover.' Soon after this, he removed to a pleasant village, called Gimel, between Lausanne and Genera, where Miss Perronet's sister was settled. There he rode out, drunk asses' milk, and breathed the purest air: 'Mrs. Perronet is there,' says Mr. Fletcher to his father, with her two daughters. So that, if his
illness should prove more grievous, he will not want for good attendance, and the most tender nursing. Support him, dear Sir, with your fatherly exhortations. They are balm to his blood, and marrow to his boves.'
* As the reader will undoubtedly wish to know the sequel of the story of this benevolent man, I shall here insert an extract from another of his letters. Being returned to Lausanne, Oct. 23, he wrote from thence to his father as follows:
To the Rev. Vincent Perronet.
HONOURED AND DEAR SIR,
I WROTE some time ago by a private hand : Bat that is not always either the safest or the most expeditious method of couveying intelligence. My letter, however, contained little more than an account of my return from the mountains, where I seemed to have gaived very little in point of health and strength. I mentioned, likewise, my carnest wishes to return to England, in case it should please God to assist me in the means. This, I humbly trust, is in good measure effected: For I have, quite unexpectedly, inet with a very worthy gentleman, (a Swiss, whom I formerly knew in England,) who sets out for London within about a week or fortnight. We shall travel in a chaise, and he is so kind as to promise to suit his mode of travelling to my weakness, which, indeed, is very great. We may possibly be on the road, when this letter reaches you, and I doubt not but my friends will assist me with their prayers. The season for travelling is late, it is true, especially for one in my weak state: Bat I choose this rather than venture to stay another winter in this terrible climate. Besides, I consider it as a providential call to return; and I have taken your advice, to put what remains to be done in my affairs into trusty and good hands. I am, honoured and dear Sir,
Your dutiful Son,