“And father,” murmured Molly, “designs him to take Epworth cure! But why are you telling me this?”
“Because I see now that if God’s love reaches up to every star and down to every poor soul on earth, it must be something vastly simple, so simple that all dwellers on earth may be assured of it, as all who have eyes may be assured of the planet yonder; and so vast that all bargaining is below it, and they may inherit it without considering their deserts. Is not God’s love greater than human? Yet, see, this earthly love has come to me—Johnny Whitelamb—as to a king. It has taken no account of my worth, my weakness: in its bounty I am swallowed up and do not weigh. To dream of it as holding tally with me is to belittle and drag it down in thought to something scarcely larger than myself. I share it with kings, as I share this star. Can I think God’s love less magnificent?”
But Molly shrank close to him. “Dear, do not talk of these great things: they frighten me. I am so small—and we have so short a while to be happy!”
Samuel Wesley to the Lord Chancellor.
Westminster, January 14th, 1733-4.
My Lord,—The small rectory of Wroote, in the diocese and county of Lincoln, adjoining to the Isle of Axholme, is in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and more then seven years since it was conferred on Samuel Wesley, Rector of Epworth. It lies in our low levels, and is often overflowed—four or five years since I have had it; and the people have lost most or all the fruits of the earth to that degree that it has hardly brought me in fifty pounds per annum, omnibus annis, and some years not enough to pay my curate there his salary of 30 pounds a year.
This living, by your lordship’s permission and favour, I would gladly resign to one Mr. John Whitelamb, born in the neighbourhood of Wroote, as his father and grandfather lived in it, when I took him from among the scholars of a charity school, founded by one Mr. Travers, an attorney, brought him to my house, and educated him there, where he was my amanuensis for four years in transcribing my Dissertations on the Book of Job, now well advanced in the press; and drawing my maps and figures for it, as well as we could by the light of nature. After this I sent him to Oxford, to my son John Wesley, Fellow of Lincoln College, under whom he made such proficiency that he was the last summer admitted by the Bishop of Oxford into Deacon’s Orders, and placed my curate in Epworth, while I came up to town to expedite the printing my book.
Since I was here I gave consent to his marrying one of my seven daughters, and they are married accordingly; and though I can spare little more with her, yet I would gladly give them a little glebe land at Wroote, where I am sure they will not want springs of water.