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John Fletcher
1729-1785

      Born in Switzerland on September 12, 1729, John William Fletcher was educated at Nyon. As a young man he intended to enter the army. A series of circumstances foiled his plans. In visiting England in 1752, he fell under the influence of Methodism and determined immediately to become a pastor. Five years later he was ordained. After assisting John Wesley and preaching to French-speaking Swiss expatriates, he threw himself into assisting the vicar of Madeley.

      Madeley was a hard town. Fletcher literally chased down sinners to share the gospel with them. No matter what the excuse they gave for not attending church, he tried to rob them of it, even walking through the streets ringing a bell loudly at five in the morning to deny them the pretense that they could not waken themselves on Sunday morning. He was a warm supporter of Sunday schools and set up one himself at Madeley.

      No weather could keep him indoors. Wherever and whenever he was needed, there he was found. To help the poor he gave himself so greatly that his health broke, a condition aggravated by his constant exposure to the elements.

      John Fletcher was strong in his insistence on regeneration. Only with a new birth, a new creation, did one belong to Christ. This is a constant theme of his sermons and writings. In a sketch telling of his conversion, he says he was a religious enthusiast at 18 but did not apprehend Christ from his heart. A nightmare in which he found himself rejected with the damned woke him to a real need for Christ. He saw that all the good works he'd done had been from pride or from fear of Hell, not for love of God. Nonetheless he felt that the fear he went through was an essential part of becoming a Christian.

      In 1776 he had scripted a tract decrying the American Revolution. A copy was forwarded to the king of England. The latter wanted to repay him with any ecclesiastical "plum" Fletcher cared to name. Graciously he turned down his monarch, adding, "I want only more grace."

      He wrote prolifically. And although born and reared in Switzerland, John Fletcher adopted the English language so thoroughly that he left fine works in it. He is considered one of the great early Methodist theologians.

      John Wesley was dismayed to learn of Fletcher's death. The heartbroken 82-year old agreed to conduct the funeral. The text for Wesley's address leapt off the page at him: "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright." (Psalm 37:37)

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Tribute An Appreciation of John Fletcher
      by David R. Smith I believe that it was in the providence of God that my early years in the Christian life were spent amongst the Methodists. For, although I now consider that some of their doctrines are not altogether biblical, my soul derived vast benefit from the things I learned in their midst. Upon reflection, I think it likely that I gain ...read
Tribute The Death of the Rev. Mr. John Fletcher
       JOHN WESLEY SERMON ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE PREACHED ON THE OCCASION OF THE DEATH OF THE REV. MR. JOHN FLETCHER VICAR OF MADELEY, SHROPSHIRE TO THE READER It was a consciousness of my own inability to describe in a manner worthy of the subject such a person as Mr. Fletcher, which was one great reason of my not writing thi ...read
Pamphlet
Christ Manifested - Table of Contents
      It is most appropriate that the famous letters of the saintly John Fletcher should be re-published in 1968. For this year happens to be the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Countess of Huntingdon's College at Trevecca, for the training of preachers (later known as Cheshunt College). John Fletcher was the first president of the College, which ...read
PamphletChristian Perfection: Chapter 1 - Christian Perfection Defined
      We call Christian perfection the maturity of grace and holiness, which established, adult believers attain to under the Christian dispensation; and by this means we distinguish that maturity of grace, both from the ripeness of grace which belongs to the dispensation of the Jews below us and from the ripeness of glory which belongs to departed saint ...read
Christian Perfection: Chapter 2 - An Address to Imperfect Believers
       AN ADDRESS TO IMPERFECT BELIEVERS WHO CORDIALLY EMBRACE THE DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN PERFECTION Your regard for Scripture and reason, and your desire to answer the end of God's predestination by being conformed to the image of His Son, have happily kept, or reclaimed, you from Antinomianism. Ye see the absolute necessity of personally fulfilling t ...read
Christian Perfection: Chapter 3 - An Address to Perfect Christians
      Ye have not asked in vain, O ye men of God, who have mixed faith with your evangelical requests. The God who says, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it;" the gracious God who declares, "Blessed are they that hunger after righteousness, for they shall be filled;" that faithful, covenant-keeping God has now filled you with all righteousness, peac ...read
Biography
The Life of John Fletcher - Table of Contents
       THE LIFE OF THE REV. JOHN W. DE LA FLECHERE By Joseph Benson Compiled From: The Narrative of Rev. Mr. Wesley; The Biographical Notes of Rev. Mr. Gilpin; From His Own Letters, And Other Authentic Documents, Many of Which Were Never Before Published. New York: Published by T. Mason and G. Lane, For the Methodist Episcopal Church At the ...read

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