[From Rosser History of Wesleyan Methodism in IoM, 1848]
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
I have often recalled to my recollection the pleasing circumstance of your visit to this Island in the summer of 1847; and have never lost sight of the request which you so kindly made, that I would, as soon as convenient, prepare and publish some account of the introduction and progress of Wesleyan Methodism in the Isle of Man. I believe I then stated that I had, for some time, been more than half disposed to do so; but if my dear Sir, I had had no previous intention of the kind, I could not have remained altogether indifferent to your suggestion on the subject. Allow me to say, I have long been accustomed to regard you with sentiments of admiration, affection, and esteem, and can never fail to cherish a grateful remembrance of those spiritual benefits which it pleased God to confer upon you and your faithful and affectionate ministry, at a very early period of my Christian course. Those were, indeed to me, and likewise to many others, " days of grace." Hundreds delightfully realised what the poet has so sweetly sung :-
The barren souls shall be restored,
The desert all renew'd shall rise;
Bloom as the garden of the Lord,
A fair terrestrial paradise.
Gladness and joy shall there he found,
Thanksgiving, and the voice of praise;
The voice of melody shall sound,
And every heart be filled with grace.
His mercy he will cause to rest,
Where all may see their sins forgiven;
May rise no more by guilt opprest,
And bless the light that leads to Heaven."
Thank God! although more than forty years have rolled away since the period alluded to, the soul-transforming,heaven-creating work doth still go on ; and you, Sir, after an exemplary ministerial course of more than fifty-five years, live to participate in its hallowed labour and glorious success. May the adorable "Head of the body, the Church," crown your remaining days with the manifest manifestations of his favour and love, and abundantly prosper the work of your hands!
In the account which I purpose to give, I have made choice of the epistolary style.- first, for the personal gratification which it affords me of addressing my observations to one for whom I cannot but entertain a sincere and affectionate regard; and in the second place,. because of the facility which it furnishes in a statement of such events and circumstances as I wish to record. "It is one great vantage of epistolary writing, that it is not subject to the general laws of composition, but admits of every diversity of miscellaneous matter. It not only admits of a variety of subjects, but of the most abrupt transition from one subject to another, however dissimilar."1
My next letter will contain some account of the Isle of Man, and also a description of its inhabitants, government, &c; being well assured that you will not deem such particulars either uninteresting or irrelevant. The third of this series of letters will refer chiefly to the life and times of good bishop Wilson, and furnish a brief sketch,of the character and labours of that excellent prelate ; and of the state of religion and morals, especially during his very protracted episcopate. In the letters which may succeed, it is my intention to confine myself move immediately to the history of Wesleyan Methodism in connection with the island ; particularly marking its commencement,. progress and present condition in this very interesting locality.
Hoping that the plan proposed will meet with your approbation, and that its execution will prove such as, in some degree, to reflect the divine glory, and enlarge the Redeemer's kingdom;
I remain, Rev. and dearWith the greatest respect,Yours affectionately,J. R.
1 Mrs. Hannah More