My dear Brother in the Lord,—Yours came to hand last evening, with the kind present from your friend. Give thanks to him, both for myself and the poor. I do assure him it will be a timely help for the poor. We had just been giving a little flannel and a few blankets to some of our poor, and though we have given to 50, there are others that still stand in great need. I think there are about 90 upon our regular poor-list; so you will see we cannot do a great deal for each; and I was just contriving how I could give them a little beef at Christmas; for there are many of them that cannot get a morsel for months together. I had spoken to a butcher as to what price he would let me have some at; and I shall dispose of a part of the money our friend has kindly sent for that purpose, and the rest in the best way I am able.
I have just been reading in the paper this morning that more than forty thousand persons have been relieved this year by a public subscription that has been made, and that more than twenty thousand were taken into the night asylums in last year,—persons who had no homes nor any means to get a night’s lodging with, and who must otherwise have been in the street all night; and this year I believe there will be a great many more in number than in the last. This seems an awful state of things. What the end will be I cannot tell. They do hope trade will mend after Christmas. I wish it may; for real distress for want of trade is very great in these parts. We have a great many poor in the church and congregation; and some of our friends who, in good times, were able to help cannot do so now. I hope I feel a measure of thankfulness to the Lord for putting it into the heart of Mr. to send that kind present, and I once more thank him also as the Lord’s instrument.
And now, my dear brother, let me say that I am glad the Lord has in any measure raised you up; and if it is his good pleasure I hope you will be able to spread the word of life with power under the sweet unction of God the Holy Ghost; for I find it dreadfully dry work to preach when there is neither rain nor dew; and more so when, in addition to the want of dew, the horrible filth of old nature boils up enough to suffocate, or at least make us sick and faint, and wish we had never been born. And O! How solemnly sweet it is when, after such a dreadful season, the Lord is graciously pleased to shine into the soul, give a glimpse of his glory, and say, “Fear not; I am with thee.” Through the riches of God’s grace, I have at times experienced this; but very often I have to work in the dark, and in deep waters and hot fires. Were , it not for some sweet helps by the way, I must sink, and sink to rise no more; but my dear Lord has made me feel that his mercy is for ever sure. Bless his precious name, he is all and in all.
Through mercy, I am able to attend to my ministry as it respects bodily health, and now and then have a sweet view and feeling of the lord’s presence.
I have just received a letter from London, wishing to know, God willing, what month I can go there next year. And now, my dear brother, can you, and will you, God willing, supply at our chapel the last four Lord’s days in May next, and on the Tuesday evenings? Our friends will be glad to see and have you, if you can come. Your reply soon, to say that if you are able, God willing, you will come, will greatly oblige —Manchester, Dec. 14, 1840.
William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher, writer and philanthropist.