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REV. JOHN W. de la FLECHERE,
compiled From The **
Nannatives OF REV. M.R. WESLEY;
OTHER AUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS,
BLANY OF WHICH WERE NEvKR BEFORE PUBLISHEid-
BY JOSEPH BENSON.
PUBLISHAD BY B. Waugh AND T. MASON,
FOR THE METHodist EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AT THE ConFERENCE
J. Collord, Printer.
It has long been the desire of many of Mr. Fletcher's friends, to see a more full and complete account of that extraordinary man, than any that had appeared. Mr. Wesley's Narrative of his life was drawn up in great haste, and in the midst of so many important labours and concerns of another kind, that it is not at all surprising it should contain some small mistakes, and, in other respects, should be imperfect. Mrs. Fletcher never intended to write his life, but only to give an account of his death, with a few particulars of his character. The Rev. Mr. Gilpin's Biographical Notes, annexed to his translation of Mr. Fletcher's Portrait of Saint Paul, are very excel. lent, and very accurate, as far as they go. But neither did Mr. Gilpin intend to write his life, but simply to give some more traits of his character, and add a few anecdotes concerning him, which had been omitted by Mr. Wesley and Mrs. Fletcher. Add to this, that Mr. Gilpin's Notes are scattered through that work without any order: and however useful, as detached pieces, do not, in any respect, furnish the reader with a regular and connected history of that great and good man. In consideration of these things, it has been judged, by his friends, to be a debt due to his memory, and to the Christian world, to compile from the whole, and from such other documents as might be collected, such an authentic and properly arranged narrative of his life and death, as might be at once clear and sufficiently full, comprising every article of importance. Mrs. Fletcher, knowing that I had been par. ticularly intimate with Mr. Fletcher from the year 1768, till his death, and that we had been in the constant habit of corresponding, earnestly desired I would undertake this
* 4 PREFACE.
work. And our general conference, held at Leeds in the year 1801, having joined with her in the same request, I have, at length, complied, and am not without hope, that the interests of pure and vital Christianity will be promoted by it. This narrative includes the whole of what is material in the forementioned accounts, digested in regular order, together with much new matter, taken chiefly from Mr. Fletcher's own letters to myself, and some other friends, especially to the Rev. Mr. Perronet, late of Shoreham, and some members of his family. I have found it to be peculiarly useful to myself to be employed about this work: and I pray God that every reader may obtain similar, and even greater benefit from it, and be induced to follow him as fully as he followed Christ.
- - Joseph BENson.
LoNDoN, October 25, 1804.