Anne Dutton, Great Gransden, to George Whitefield [accompanied by a note to Mrs. Whitefield], 20 June 1752.
Great Gransden June 20, 1752
Reverend & very Dear Sir,
Your most kind Letter, & valuable present, with that of your dear Consort’s, which to me is most acceptable, I received with humble Joy in God, & gave Thanks to Him, from whom all Blessings flow, & pray’d for ye choicest Favours to descend upon you both, as a rich Reward of your abundant Goodness to unworthy me.—I knew not how to take it, that you should be ashamed of ye smallness of yr Present, which surpris’d me with its Greatness, & melted me into Tears of Joy; yea, struck my Heart with an holy Fear, lest I should not render unto God ye Glory of this his great Goodness; cast upon worthless me, thro’ you his worthy Servants. No Part of your kind Favours to me seem’d small, but great Love, struck my Eyes, & broke my Heart in all. Please to accept ye utmost Acknowledgements, that a Heart warmed with deepest Sentiments of Gratitude is capable of giving. Surely I am your Debtor: God grant me Grace, to seek your present Joy & eternal Glory, as an Hundredfold Reward of this your Labour of Love, shewn towards ye Lord’s name, & ye least & last of those that belong to Him! I do indeed accept your Token of Love, as from Love unfeigned: And as it is for Jesus Christ’s Sake; it gives me double Joy; and your Reward from Him, shall be ineffable & eternal.
But why do you ask me, Sir, “What I want further? Hav’t you lov’d me enough already? Wou’d you yet do more for me? Wou’d you be glad to help me? Yea, think it your Privilege, your great Privilege, to minister to my necessities? This is wondrous Love! The God of Love reward you, not only according to what you have done, but also according to what you would do for Him, & for poor me as related to him! Your Love to Christ herein, comforts my Heart greatly, tho’ ye worm you wou’d favour, is most unworthy. Our Lord will write, Loved. And you will find all that you would have done for Him & His; recorded in the Book of his Remembrance, for a full Reward, at his glorious appearing, & Kingdom.—And as I find, that when you have done your utmost, to proclaim ye Redeemer’s Gospel, & to win ye Lamb’s Redeemed to ye Lord-Redeemer, you still lament yt you can do no more with an “Oh how little do I do for God!” And mournfully add, “I am ashamed from my inmost Soul of my unfruitfulness:” Behold herein, how Jesus loves You! Is it not enough for Christ to give you an Heart to do so much for him, as he enables you to do; but has he given you such a Largeness of Heart, that your Desires after a more abundant Service, & a more exceeding Fruitfulness, to his more abundant glory in & by You, are as it were insatiable? Oh what Love is this, in ye Lord of Love, to draw out your Soul thus to love him! And what an abundant Reward, think you, will ye Prince of Grace bestow upon yr Soul in future Glory, which in ye present State, he draws out to love him thus ardently! Rejoyce & be exceeding glad, & even leap for Joy, for great is your Reward in Heaven! And, Go on, Happy Soul, to love & serve ye Lord your infinite Lover; till increasing Love & Duty, shall rise to their meridian Brightness, & be crown’d with eternal Glory!—But I am to answer your Query: And at present, Dear Sir, I want no more, either for Food or Raiment, nor have a Prospect of so doing for this year, if the Lord spares my Life. I have All and abound, having received ye things which you sent: which I doubt not being given to Jesus Christ & for his Sake, are by him presented as an Doer of a Sweet Smell, or Sacrifice acceptable & well-pleasing unto his & your God & Father.—I am a Partaker of your Bliss, in ye joyful Days you see at London: The Lord continue & increase them! And may his Kingdom come with Power & great Glory, till ye whole Earth universally, & all opposite Power fall before it speedily! Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come quickly!—I remember you before ye Lord, & as he enables me, shall endeavour to hold up your Hands in his work. I commit you to his Love & Care. Great Grace be with You! I subscribe, with great Affection & under great Obligation,
Your most humble Serv.t in ye Lord,
To Mrs. Whitefield,
Your generous & agreeable Present, I accept with all humble Thanks: And ye undeserved Love of ye Giver in the Gift, brings a sensible Endearment with it. May ye Lord refresh & comfort you with ye Joys of his infinite Favour & clothe you sensibly in ye view of Faith, with ye Garments of Salvation, with ye Robe of Righteousness; that as ye Lamb’s [paper torn] made ready, you may with Him inherit ye Throne of Glory: while his own all-gracious Hand, according to his all-faithful Word, bestows on you ye promis’d Crown of Righteousness, to your ineffable & eternal Bliss!—I am very Affectionately,
Your most thankful & obliged hble Serv.t,
Text: MS. of this letter can be found in the Methodist Archives, John Rylands University Library of Manchester, MAM. PLP. 36.51. A fully annotated text of the letter can be found in Timothy Whelan, ed., Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 1741-1845 (Macon: Baptist History Series, Mercer University Press, 2009), pp. 3-5. George Whitefield married Elizabeth Burnell James (d. 1768), a widow ten years his senior, in 1741. They had one child, John, who died in 1744.