Friday, May 20, 2016
John Wesley and Sophy Hopkey (2)
Read the previous entry here.
July 26. I set out for
. In my journey, hearing Mr.
Mellichamp was gone to Savannah, I was deeply concerned, having often heard her
say that she hoped God would keep him out of her sight, at least till her mind
was stronger, for if she was to see him then, she could deny him nothing. I
prayed earnestly that he who alone was able, would snatch her out of the fire.
And he did indeed stir up his power and save her with a great deliverance. Charleston
Of this, when I came to Frederica, August 13, Mr. Oglethorpe gave me a large account. At the same time, he said he wished I would spend as much time with her as I could. For this he gave two reasons: her deep distress, wherein none but me, under God, could comfort her, and her earnest desire to be fully instructed in the duties of a Christian life.
From him I went to her, at Mr. Hird’s, and talked with her near an hour. I told her I would now lay aside the reserve I had used with her at Savannah, being convinced that God had in a peculiar manner committed her to my charge; that therefore in all my intercourse with her I should look upon her as one of my sisters, and omit nothing in my power which might be conducive to her giving herself up to God. I was both pleased and surprised with the good sense, piety, and gratitude of her reply.
Monday, August 16. I was seized with a fever. At hearing of this, she expressed much concern, saying, ‘If Mr. Wesley dies, I shall lose the only friend I ever had in the world.’ She desired me the next day, if it returned, to send for her immediately. I did so, and she instantly came, sat by my bed, read several prayers, and prepared whatever I wanted with a diligence, care, and tenderness not to be expressed. Thursday, [August] 19. Being a little recovered, I resumed the Collection of Prayers for Every Day in the Week. I had begun to read and explain them to her the day after I came to Frederica. And one of these we read every morning after breakfast till Wednesday, [August] 25. On which, having ended them, I began ((Dr. Heylyn’s)) the Devotional Tracts on the Presence of God. I was quite surprised to find in one of so little experience a taste for the noblest passages in them. Those thoughts, she often said, gave her comfort and ease in the bitterest of afflictions. Twice or thrice after our reading I kissed her; but I ((soon)) immediately condemned myself as having done foolishly, being convinced (and the more so because she seemed not displeased) that it was not expedient either for her or me.
In private she commonly employed herself in Mr. Law’s Serious Call and Christian Perfection. She made no objection to the strictness of either, being fully convinced, as she frequently said, that ‘as there is no happiness but in holiness, so the more holiness the more happiness.’
Friday, August 20. Mr. Oglethorpe returned. Between five and six in the evening I called at Mr. Hawkins’s for my decoction of the bark. He was not at home. She desired me to sit down, and sat down by me. I told her ‘the being ill-treated by those from whom I expected it had given me little concern. But it had grieved me to find Mr. Hawkins joining with them, whom I used to look upon as my friend.’ She asked how he had treated me ill. I answered, ‘By exposing my brother’s paper, which as a friend he should have shown to me only.’ She said, ‘All the women in the town are uneasy and affronted at the two Greek words there. They think them a general reflection on them all. Pray tell me, who do they mean?’ The substance of my answer was: (1) What my brother says is not said by me; neither am I accountable for it; (2) This was writ before we had explained, when all things were dark; he is now of a quite different opinion; (3) I take him to mean by those words only two persons, you and Mrs. Welch.
She started up, said I was a villain, a scoundrel, a pitiful rascal, with several titles of the same kind. In the midst of her speaking, Mr. Hawkins came in. She told him I said that dog my brother meant her by those damned words. Upon which he immediately joined her, bestowed much of the same sort of eloquence both upon him and me, only intermixed with more oaths and imprecations. I was much grieved, and indeed could not refrain from tears. I know not whether they interpreted this as fear, but they rose in their language, and told me they would unfrock us both: him for adultery (the terms they used were coarser), the consciousness of which, they said, forced him to run away to England; and me for what was as bad, or worse. I replied, the sooner the better, and that I would go to Mr. Oglethorpe just now. I did so, and gave him a plain relation of what had occurred. After prayers, they came too; but were so warm and used such language in the very relating their case, that Mr. Oglethorpe was obliged to check them more than once. After a long hearing, Mr. Oglethorpe said (1) That my brother had been guilty of an indiscretion in writing that paper; (2) That this was not imputable to me, who was no way accountable for what he said; and that therefore, (3) They had done very ill in abusing me in a manner no way justifiable or excusable. With this reprimand he dismissed them.