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Wesley Writes His Epitaph

Monday, 19.—I retired to Shoreham and gained strength continually; till about eleven at night, on Wednesday, 21, I was obliged by the cramp to leap out of bed and continue, for some time, walking up and down the room, though it was a sharp frost. My cough now returned with greater violence and that by day as well as by night.

Saturday, 24.—I rode home as was pretty well till night; but my cough was then worse than ever. My fever returned at the same time, together with the pain in my left breast; so that I should probably have stayed at home on Sunday, 25, had it not been advertised in the public papers that I would preach a charity sermon at the chapel, both morning and afternoon. My cough did not interrupt me while I preached in the morning; but it was extremely troublesome while I administered the sacrament. In the afternoon I consulted my friends whether I should attempt to preach again or no. They thought I should, as it had been advertised.  I did so; but very few could hear. My fever increased much while I was preaching; however, I ventured to meet the society, and for nearly an hour my voice and strength were restored so that I felt neither pain nor weakness.

Monday, 26.—Dr. F.--- told me plainly that I must not stay in town a day longer; adding, “If anything does thee good, it must be the country air, with rest, asses’ milk, and riding daily.” So (not being able to sit a horse) about noon I took coach for Lewisham.

In the evening (not knowing how it might please God to dispose of me), to prevent vile panegyric, I wrote as follows:


Here lieth the Body

of

JOHN WESLEY,

A BRAND PLUCKED OUT OF THE BURNING:

WHO DIED OF A CONSUMPTION IN THE FIFTY-FIRST YEAR OF HIS AGE,

NOT LEAVING, AFTER HIS DEBTS ARE PAID,

TEN POUNDS BEHIND HIM:

PRAYING,

GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME, AN UNPROFITABLE SERVANT!


He ordered that this, if any, inscription should be placed on his tombstone.


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