Oswestry: Ranters in Oswestry
A Prisoner for the Gospel, 1823
This letter, reprinted in the Oswestry Advertiser (1894), was first printed as a handbill in 1823. It shows the spirit of the early Primitive Methodist preachers, who suffered imprisonment for sharing their faith.
A Letter by Mr Doughty, Preacher of the Gospel, Among the Primitive Methodists, vulgarly called ‘The Ranters’, (Addressed to a person who sent him some provisions into the jail)
For the prisoner of our Lord Jesus Christ the multiplied favour shall have its reward, if your eye be single.
Rest assured, the grace of God is upon me in this place of confinement; and I feel the power of that world which is to come. I am blessed with submission to the will of God: in suffering, in being rejected and despised of men. I know my sufficiency is of God: by reason of which I count not sufferings of the present life worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in Christ.
I am looking for the Lord to deliver me out of this prison; and if he doth it, I shall come out by His wisdom, power and goodness. God’s ways are sometimes unknown to men; So it is written: the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, neither understandeth the things that be of God.
The place is too dark to write clear. I feel at this time a love to every soul of man: even my enemies if I have any. But he that has put me in this place I do not count as an enemy, but a friend to me; for my happiness is increasing and the Almighty presence of God doth me attend.
All shall be for His glory and the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ.
In the shortness of time and the length of eternity,
A Prisoner for the Gospel.
Prison, Sunday evening, June 8th 1823.
NB – The profits to be given to the Prisoner.
W J Harper, Mow Cop and its Slopes, Tunstall (1907), pp42-43