JOURNAL - FROM OCTOBER 14, 1735, TO FEBRUARY 1, 1737-8
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Tuesday, October 14,1735. — Mr. Benjamin Ingham, of Queen’s college, Oxford, Mr. Charles Delamotte, son of a merchant, in London, who had offered himself some days before, my brother Charles Wesley, and myself, took boat for Gravesend, in order to embark for Georgia. Our end in leaving our native country was not to avoid want, (God having given us plenty of temporal blessings,) nor to gain the dung or dross of riches or honor; but singly this, — to save our souls; to live wholly to the glory of God. In the afternoon we found the Simmonds off Gravesend, and immediately went on board. Wednesday and Thursday we spent with one or two of our friends, partly on board and partly on shore, in exhorting one another “to shake off every weight, and to run with patience the race set before us.’ Fri. 17 . — I began to learn German, in order to converse with the Germans, six-and-twenty of whom we had on board. On Sunday, the weather being fair and calm, we had the Morning Service on quarter-deck. I now first preached extempore, and then administered the Lord’s supper to six or seven communicants. A little flock. May God increase it! Mon. 20 . — Believing the denying ourselves, even in the smallest instances, might, by the blessing of God, be helpful to us, we wholly left off the use of flesh and wine, and confined ourselves to vegetable food, — chiefly rice and biscuit. In the afternoon, David Nitschman, Bishop of the Germans, and two others, began to learn English. O may we be, not only of one tongue, but of one mind and of one heart! Tues. 21 . — We sailed from Gravesend. When we were past about half the Goodwin Sands, the wind suddenly failed. Had the calm continued till ebb, the ship had probably been lost. But the gale sprung up again in an hour, and carried us into the Downs.
We now began to be a little regular. Our common way of living was this: — From four in the morning till five, each of us used private prayer. From five to seven we read the Bible together, carefully comparing it (that we might not lean to our own understandings) with the writings of the earliest ages. At seven we breakfasted. At eight were the public prayers. From nine to twelve, I usually learned German, and Mr. Delamotte, Greek. My brother writ sermons, and Mr. Ingham instructed the children. At twelve we met to give an account to one another what we had done since our last meeting, and what we designed to do before our next. About one we dined.
At four were the evening prayers; when either the second lesson was explained, (as it always was in the morning,) or the children were catechized and instructed before the congregation. From five to six we again used private prayer. From six to seven I read in our cabin to two or three of the passengers, (of whom there were about eighty English on board,) and each of my brethren to a few more in theirs. At seven I joined with the Germans in their public service; while Mr. Ingham was reading between the decks, to as many as desired to hear. At eight we met again, to exhort and instruct one another. Between nine and ten we went to bed, where neither the roaring of the sea, nor the motion of the ship, could take away the refreshing sleep which God gave us. Fri. 24 . — Having a rolling sea, most of the passengers found the effects of it. Mr. Delamotte was exceeding sick for several days; Mr. Ingham, for about half an hour. My brother’s head ached much. Hitherto it hath pleased God, the sea has not disordered me at all; nor have I been hindered one quarter of an hour from reading, writing, composing, or doing any business I could have done on shore.
During our stay in the Downs, some or other of us went, as often as we had opportunity, on board the ship that sailed in company with us, where also many were glad to join in prayer and hearing, the word. Fri. 31 . — We sailed out of the Downs. At eleven at night I was waked by a great noise. I soon found there was no danger. But the bare apprehension of it gave me a lively conviction what manner of men those ought to be who are every moment on the brink of eternity. Sat . Nov. 1 . — We came to St. Helen’s harbor, and the next day into Cowes road. The wind was fair, but we waited for the man-of-war which was to sail with us. This was a happy opportunity of instructing our fellow-travelers. May He whose seed we sow, give it the increase! Sun. 16 . — Thomas Hird, and Grace his wife, with their children, Mark, aged twenty-one, and Phebe, about seventeen, late Quakers, were, at their often-repeated desire, and after careful instruction, admitted to baptism. Thur. 20 . — We fell down into Yarmouth road, but the next day were forced back into Cowes. During our stay here there were several storms; in one of which two ships in Yarmouth road were lost.
The continuance of the contrary winds gave my brother an opportunity of complying with the desire of the Minister of Cowes, and preaching there three or four times. The poor people flocked together in great numbers.
We distributed a few little books among the more serious of them, which they received with all possible expressions of thankfulness. Fri. 21 . — One recovering from a dangerous illness desired to be instructed in the nature of the Lord’s supper. I thought it concerned her to be first instructed in the nature of Christianity; and, accordingly, fixed an hour a day to read with her in Mr. Law’s Treatise on Christian Perfection. Sun. 23 . — At night I was awaked by the tossing of the ship and roaring of the wind, and plainly showed I was unfit, for I was unwilling, to die. Tues . Dec. 2. — I had much satisfaction in conversing with one that was very ill and very serious. But in a few days she recovered from her sickness and from her seriousness together. Sun. 7 . — Finding nature did not require so frequent supplies as we had been accustomed to, we agreed to leave off suppers; from doing which, we have hitherto found no inconvenience. Wed. 10 . — We sailed from Cowes, and in the afternoon passed the Needles. Here the ragged rocks, with the waves dashing and foaming at the foot of them, and the white side of the island rising to such a height, perpendicular from the beach, gave a strong idea of “Him that spanneth the heavens, and holdeth the waters in the hollow of His hand!”
Today I spoke closely on the head of religion, to one I had talked with once or twice before. Afterwards she said, with many tears, “My mother died when I was but ten years old. Some of her last words were, ‘Child, fear God; and though you lose me, you shall never want a friend.’ I have now found a friend when I most wanted and least expected one.”
From this day to the fourteenth, being in the Bay of Biscay, the sea was very rough. Mr. Delamotte and many others were more sick than ever; Mr. Ingham, a little; I, not at all. But the fourteenth being a calm day, most of the sick were cured at once. Thur . 18 . — One who was big with child, in a high fever, and almost wasted away with a violent cough, desired to receive the holy communion before she died. At the hour of her receiving she began to recover, and in a few days was entirely out of danger. Sun. 21 . — We had fifteen communicants, which was our usual number on Sundays: On Christmas-Day we had nineteen; but on New Year’s day fifteen only. Thur . Jan. 15, 1736 . — Complaint being made to Mr. Oglethorpe, of the unequal distribution of the water among the passengers, he appointed new officers to take charge of it. At this the old ones and their friends were highly exasperated against us, to whom they imputed the change. But “the fi erceness of man shall turn to Thy praise.” Sat. 17 . — Many people were very impatient at the contrary wind. At seven in the evening they were quieted by a storm. It rose higher and higher till nine. About nine the sea broke over us from stem to stern; burst through the windows of the state cabin, where three or four of us were, and covered us all over, though a bureau sheltered me from the main shock.
About eleven I lay down in the great cabin, and in a short time fell asleep, though very uncertain whether I should wake alive, and much ashamed of my unwillingness to die. O how pure in heart must he be, who would rejoice to appear before God at a moments warning! Toward morning, “He rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” Sun. 18 . — We returned God thanks for our deliverance, of which a few appeared duly sensible. But the rest amount, (among whom were most of the sailors) denied we had been in any danger. I could not have believed that so little good would have been done by the terror they were in before.
But it cannot be that they should long obey God from fear, who are deaf to the motives of love. Fri. 23 . — In the evening another storm began. In the morning it increased, so that they were forced to let the ship drive. I could not but say to myself, “How is it that thou hast no faith?” being still unwilling to die.
About one in the afternoon, almost as soon as I had stepped out of the great cabin door, the sea did not break as usual, but came with a full, smooth tide over the side of the ship. I was vaulted over with water in a moment, and so stunned that I scarce expected to lift up my head again, till the sea should give up her dead. But thanks be to God, I received no hurt at all. About midnight the storm ceased. Sun. 25 . — At noon our third storm began. At four it was more violent than before. Now, indeed, we could say, “The waves of the sea were mighty, and raged horribly. They rose up to the heavens above, and” clave “down to hell beneath.” The winds roared round about us, and (what I never heard before) whistled as distinctly as if it had been a human voice.
The ship not only rocked to and fro with the utmost violence, but shook and jarred with so unequal, grating a motion, that one could not but with great difficulty keep one’s hold of any thing, nor stand a moment without it. Every ten minutes came a shock against the stern or side of the ship, which one would think should dash the planks in pieces. At this time a child, privately baptized before, was brought to be received into the church. It put me in mind of Jeremiah’s buying the field, when the Chaldeans were on the point of destroying Jerusalem, and seemed a pledge of the mercy God designed to show us, even in the land of the living.
We spent two or three hours after prayers, in conversing suitably to the occasion, confirming one another in a calm submission to the wise, holy, gracious will of God. And now a storm did not appear so terrible as before. Blessed be the God of all consolation!
At seven I went to the Germans. I had long before observed the great seriousness of their behavior. Of their humility they had given a continual proof, by performing those servile offices for the other passengers, which none of the English would undertake; for which they desired, and would receive no pay, saying, “it was good for their proud hearts,” and “their loving Savior had done more for them.” And everyday had given them occasion of showing a meekness which no injury could move. If they were pushed, struck, or thrown down, they rose again and went away; but no complaint was found in their mouth. There was now an opportunity of trying whether they were delivered from the spirit of fear, as well as from that of pride, anger, and revenge. In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the main-sail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English; The Germans calmly sung on. I asked one of them afterwards, “Was you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”
From them I went to their crying , trembling neighbors, and pointed out to them the difference in the hour of trial, between him that feareth God, and him that feareth him not. At twelve the wind fell. This was the most glorious day which I have hitherto seen. Mon. 26 . — We enjoyed the calm. I can conceive no difference comparable to that between a smooth and a rough sea, except that which is between a mind calmed by the love of God, and one torn up by the storms of earthly passions. Thur. 29 — About seven in the evening, we fell in with the skirts of a hurricane. The rain as well as the wind was extremely violent. The sky was so dark in a moment, that the sailors could not so much as see the ropes, or set about furling the sails. The ship must, in all probability, have overset, had not the wind fell as suddenly as it rose. Toward the end of it, we had that appearance on each of the masts, which (it is thought) the ancients called Castor and Pollux. It was a small ball of white fire, like a star. The mariners say, it appears either in a storm, (and then commonly upon the deck,) or just at the end of it; and then it is usually on the masts or sails. Fri. 30 . — We had another storm, which did us no other harm than splitting the fore-sail. Our bed being wet, I laid me down on the floor, and slept sound till morning. And, I believe, I shall not find it needful to go to bed (as it is called) any more. Sun . Feb. 1. — We spoke with a ship of Carolina; and Wednesday, 4, came within soundings. About noon, the trees were visible from the mast, and in the afternoon from the main deck. In the Evening Lesson were these words: “A great door, and effectual, is opened.” O let no one shut it! Thur. 5 . — Between two and three in the afternoon, God brought us all safe into the Savannah river. We cast anchor near Tybee Island, where the groves of pines, running along the shore, made an agreeable prospect, showing, as it were, the bloom of spring in the depth of winter. Fri . 6 . — About eight in the morning, we first set foot on American ground. It was a small uninhabited island, over against Tybee. Mr. Oglethorpe led us to a rising ground, where we all kneeled down to give thanks. He then took boat for Savannah. When the rest of the people were come on shore, we called our little flock together to prayers. Several parts of the Second Lesson (Mark 6) were wonderfully suited to the occasion; in particular, the accounts of the courage and sufferings of John the Baptist; our Lord’s directions to the first Preachers of his Gospel, and their toiling at sea, and deliverance; with these comfortable words: “It is I, be not afraid.” Sat. 7 . — Mr. Oglethorpe returned from Savannah with Mr. Spangenberg, one of the Pastors of the Germans. I soon found what spirit he was of; and asked his advice with regard to my own conduct. He said, “My brother, I must first ask you one or two questions. Have you the witness within yourself? Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit, that you are a child of God? “I was surprised, and knew not what to answer. He observed it, and asked, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” I paused, and said, “I know he is the Savior of the world.” “True,” replied he; “but do you know he has saved you?” I answered, “I hope he has died to save me.” He only added, “Do you know yourself?” I said, “I do.” but I fear they were vain words. Mon. 9 . — I asked him many questions, both concerning himself and the church at Hernhuth. The substance of his answers was this: — “At eighteen years old, I was sent to the university of Jena, where I spent some years in learning languages, and the vain philosophy, which I have now long been laboring to forget. Here it pleased God, by some that preached his word with power, to overturn my heart.
I immediately threw aside all my learning, but what tended to save my soul. I shunned all company, and retired into a solitary place, resolving to spend my life there. For three days I had much comfort here; but on the fourth it was all gone. I was amazed, and went for advice to an experienced Christian. When I came to him, I could not speak. But he saw my heart, and advised me to go back to my house, and follow the business Providence called me to. I went back, but was fit for nothing. I could neither do business, nor join in any conversation. All I could say to any one, was Yes, or No. Many times I could not say that, nor understand the plainest thing that was said to me. My friends and acquaintance looked upon me as dead, came no more to me, nor spoke about me. “When I grew better, I began teaching some poor children. Others joining with me, we taught more and more, till there were above thirty teachers, and above two hundred scholars. I had now invitations to other universities. But I could not accept of any; desiring only, if it were the will of God, to be little and unknown. I had spent some years thus, when Professor Breithaupt, of Halle, died: Being then pressed to remove thither, I believed it was the call of God, and went. I had not been long, there, before many faults were found, both with my behavior and preaching; and offenses increased more and more, till, after half a year, a petition against me was sent to the King of Prussia, who sent an order to the commander at Halle; in pursuance whereof I was warned to leave the city in forty-eight hours. I did so, and retired to Hernhuth to Count Zinzendorf.” “The village of Hernhuth contains about a thousand souls, gathered out of many nations. They hold fast the discipline, as well as the faith and practice, of the apostolical Church. I was desired by the brethren there last year, to conduct sixteen of them to Georgia, where two lots of ground are assigned us; and with them I have staid ever since.”
I asked, “Whither he was to go next?” He said, “I have thoughts of going to Pennsylvania. But what God will do with me I know not. I am blind. I am a child. My Father knows; and I am ready to go wherever He calls.” Fri. 13 . — Some of the Indians sent us word of their intention to come down to us. In our course of reading today, were these words: ‘Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of Hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” ( Zechariah 8:20-22.) Sat. 14 . — About one, Tomo Chachi, his nephew Thleeanouhee, his wife Sinauky, with two more women, and two or three Indian children, came on board. As soon as we came in, they all rose and shook us by the hand; and Tomo Chachi (one Mrs. Musgrove interpreted) spoke as follows: — “I am glad you are come. When I was in England, I desired that some would speak the great Word to me; and my nation then desired to hear it; but now we are all in confusion. Yet I am glad you are come. I will go up and speak to the wise men of our nation; and I hope they will hear. But we would not be made Christians as the Spaniards make Christians: We would be taught, before we are baptized.”
I answered, “There is but One, He that sitteth in heaven, who is able to teach man wisdom. Though we are come so far, we know not whether He will please to teach you by us or no. If He teaches you, you will learn wisdom, but we can do nothing.” We then withdrew. Sun. 15 . — Another party of Indians came; they were all tall, well-proportioned men, and had a remarkable softness in their speech, and gentleness in their whole behavior. In the afternoon, they all returned home but three, who stayed to go with Mr. Oglethorpe. Mon. 16 . — Mr. Oglethorpe set out for the new settlement on the Alatamahaw river. He took with him fifty men, besides Mr. Ingham, Mr. Hemsdorf, and the three Indians. Thur. 19 . — My brother and I took boat, and, passing by Savannah, went to pay our first visit in America to the poor Heathens. But neither Tomo Chachi nor Sinauky was at home. Coming back, we waited upon Mr. Causton, the chief Magistrate of Savannah. From him we went with Mr. Spangenberg to the German brethren. About eleven we returned to the boat, and came to our ship about four in the morning. Sat. 21 . — Mary Welch, aged eleven days, was baptized according to the custom of the first church, and the rule of the Church of England, by immersion. The child was ill then, but recovered from that hour. Tues. 24 . — Mr. Oglethorpe returned. The day following I took my leave of most of the passengers of the ship, who all appeared serious. It may be, all the seed is not fallen upon stony ground.
In the evening I went to Savannah again, whence Mr. Spangenberg, Bishop Nitschman, and Andrew Dober, went up with us to Mrs. Musgrove’s, to choose a spot for the little house, which Mr. Oglethorpe had promised to build us. Being afterward disappointed of our boat, we were obliged to pass the night there. But wherever we are it is the same thing, if it be the will of our Father which is in heaven.
At our return the next day, (Mr. Quincy being then in the house wherein we afterwards were,) Mr. Delamotte and I took up our lodging with the Germans. We had now an opportunity, day by day, of observing their whole behavior. For we were in one room with them from morning to night, unless for the little time I spent in walking. They were always employed, always cheerful themselves, and in good humor with one another; they had put away all anger, and strife, and wrath, and bitterness, and clamor, and evil-speaking; they walked worthy of the vocation wherewith they were called, and adorned the Gospel of our Lord in all things. Sat. 28 . — They met to consult concerning the affairs of their Church; Mr. Spangenberg being shortly to go to Pennsylvania, and Bishop Nitschman to return to Germany. After several hours spent in conference and prayer, they proceeded to the election and ordination of a Bishop. The great simplicity, as well as solemnity, of the whole, almost made me forget the seventeen hundred years between, and imagine myself in one of those assemblies there form and state were not; but Paul the tent-maker, or Peter the fisherman, presided; yet with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. Sun. 29 . — Hearing Mr. Oglethorpe did not come any more to Savannah, before he went to Frederica, I was obliged to go down to the ship again, (Mr. Spangenberg following me thither,) and receive his orders and instructions on several heads. From him we went to public prayers; after which we were refreshed by several letters from England. Upon which I could not but observe, how careful our Lord is to repay whatever we give up on his account. When I left England, I was chiefly afraid of two things:
One, that I should never again have so many faithful friends as I left there; the other, that the spark of love which began to kindle in their hearts would cool and die away. But who knoweth the mercy and power of God?
From ten friends I am awhile secluded, and he hath opened me a door into a whole Church. And as to the very persons I left behind, his Spirit is gone forth so much the more, teaching them not to trust in man, but “in Him that raised the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were.” About four, having taken leave of Mr. Spangenberg, who was the next morning to set out for Pennsylvania, I returned to Savannah. Sat . March 6. — I had a long conversation with John Reinier, the son of a gentleman, who, being driven out of France, on account of his religion, settled at Vivay, in Switzerland, and practiced physic there. His father died while he was a child. Some years after, he told his mother he was desirous to leave Switzerland, and to retire into some other country, where he might be free from the temptations which he could not avoid there.
When her consent was at length obtained, he agreed with a master of a vessel, with whom he went to Holland by land, thence to England, and from England to Pennsylvania. He was provided with money, books, and drugs, intending to follow his father’s profession. But no sooner was he come to Philadelphia, than the Captain, who had borrowed his money before, instead of repaying it, demanded the full pay for his passage, and under that pretense seized on all his effects. He then left him in a strange country, where he could not speak to be understood, without necessaries, money, or friends. In this condition he thought it best to sell himself for a servant, which he accordingly did, for seven years. When about five were expired, he fell sick of a lingering illness, which made him useless to his master; who, after it had continued half a year, would not keep him any longer, but turned him out to shift for himself. He first tried to mend shoes, but soon after joined himself to some French Protestants, and learned to make buttons. He then went and lived with an Anabaptist; but soon after, hearing an account of the Germans in Georgia, walked from Pennsylvania thither, where he found the rest which he had so long sought in vain. Sun. 7 . — I entered upon my ministry at Savannah, by preaching on the Epistle for the day, being the thirteenth of the first of Corinthians. In the second lesson ( Luke 18) was our Lord’s prediction of the treatment which he himself (and, consequently, his followers) was to meet with from the world; and his gracious promises to those who are content, nudi nudum Christum sequi: “ Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or friends, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”
Yet, notwithstanding these plain declarations of our Lord, — notwithstanding my own repeated experience, — not withstanding the experience of all the sincere followers of Christ whom I have ever talked with, read or heard of; nay, and the reason of the thing evincing to a demonstration that all who love not the light must hate Him who is continually laboring to pour it in upon them; I do here bear witness against myself, that when I saw the number of people crowding into the church, the deep attention with which they received the word, and the seriousness that afterwards sat on all their faces; I could scarce refrain from giving the lie to experience and reason and Scripture all together. I could hardly believe that the greater, the far greater part of this attentive, serious people would hereafter trample under foot that word, and say all manner of evil falsely of him that spake it. O who can believe what their heart abhors?
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! Let us love thy cross; then shall we believe, “if we suffer with thee, we shall also reign with thee!”
This evening one of the Germans, who had been long ill of a consumption, found himself much worse. On my mentioning it to Bishop Nitschman, he smiled and said, “He will soon be well; he is ready for the Bridegroom.” Sun . 14 . — Having before given notice of my design to do so, every Sunday and holiday, according to the rules of our Church, I administered the holy communion to eighteen persons. Which of these will endure to the end? Mon . 15 . — Mr. Quincy going for Carolina, I removed into the Minister’s house. It is large enough for a larger family than ours, and has many conveniences, besides a good garden. I could not but reflect on the well-known epigram: — Agrov Acaimenidou genomhn pote? nun de Menippou. f8 How short a time will it be before its present possessor is removed! perhaps to be no more seen! Sun. 28 . — A servant of Mr. Bradley’s sent to desire to speak with me.
Going to him, I found a young man ill, but perfectly sensible. He desired the rest to go out, and then said, “On Thursday night, about eleven, being in bed, but broad awake, I heard one calling aloud, ‘Peter! Peter Wright!’ and looking up, the room was as light as day, and I saw a man in very bright clothes stand by the bed, who said, ‘Prepare yourself, for your end is nigh;’ and then immediately all was dark as before.” I told him, “The advice was good, whencesoever it came.” In a few days he recovered from his illness; his whole temper was changed as well as his life; and so continued to be, till after three or four weeks he relapsed, and died in peace. Tues. 30 . — Mr. Ingham, coming from Frederica, brought me letters, pressing me to go thither. The next day Mr. Delamotte and I began to try, whether life might not as well be sustained by one sort as by a variety of food. We chose to make the experiment with bread; and were never more vigorous and healthy than while we tasted nothing else. “Blessed are the pure in heart;” who, whether they eat or drink, or whatever they do, have no end therein but to please God! To them all things are pure. Every creature is good to them, and nothing to be rejected. But let them who know and feel that they are not thus pure, use every help, and remove every hindrance; always remembering, “He that despiseth little things shall fall by little and little.” Sun . April 4. — About four in the afternoon I set out for Frederica, in a pettiawga, — a sort of flat-bottomed barge. The next evening we anchored near Skidoway Island, where the water, at flood, was twelve or fourteen foot deep. I wrapped myself up from head to foot, in a large cloak, to keep off the sand-flies, and lay down on the quarter-deck. Between one and two I waked under water, being so fast asleep that I did not find where I was till my mouth was full of it. Having left my cloak, I know not how, upon deck, I swam round to the other side of the pettiawga, where a boat was tied, and climbed up by the rope without any hurt, more than wetting my clothes. Thou art the God of whom cometh salvation: Thou art the Lord by whom we escape death.
The winds were so contrary, that on Saturday, 10, we could but just get over against Doboy Island, twenty miles from Frederica, but could not possibly make the creek having a strong tide also against us. Here we lay beating off till past one, when the lightning and rain, which we had long seen at a distance, drove down full upon us; till, after a quarter of an hour, the clouds parted, some passing on the right, and some on the left, leaving us a clear sky, and so strong a wind right after us, as in two hours brought us to Frederica.
A little before we landed, I opened my Testament on these words: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Coming on shore, I found my brother exceeding weak, having been for some time ill of a flux; but he mended from the hour he saw me. This also hath God wrought! Sun. 11 . — I preached at the new storehouse on the first verse of the Gospel for the day: “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” There was a large congregation, whom I endeavored to convince of unbelief, by simply proposing the conditions of salvation, as they are laid down in Scripture; and appealing to their own hearts, whether they believed they could be saved on no other terms.
In every one of the six following days, I had some fresh proofs of the absolute necessity of following that wise advice of the Apostle: “Judge nothing before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” Sat. 17 . — We set out for Savannah, and reached it on Tuesday evening. O blessed place, where, having but one end in view, dissembling and fraud are not; but each of us can pour out his heart without fear into his brother’s bosom!
Not finding, as yet, any door open for the pursuing our main design, we considered in what manner we might be most useful to the little flock at Savannah. And we agreed, 1. To advise the more serious among them to form themselves into a sort of little society, and to meet once or twice a week, in order to reprove, instruct, and exhort one another. 2. To select out of these a smaller number for a more intimate union with each other, which might be forwarded, partly by our conversing singly with each, and partly by inviting them all together to our house; and this, accordingly, we determined to do every Sunday in the afternoon. Wed . May 5. — I was asked to baptize a child of Mr. Parker’s, second Bailiff of Savannah; but Mrs. Parker told me, “Neither Mr. P. nor I will consent to its being dipped.” I answered, “If you ‘certify that’ your ‘child is weak, it will suffice’ (the rubric says) ‘to pour water upon it.”’ She replied, “Nay, the child is not weak; but I am resolved it shall not be dipped.” This argument I could not confute. So I went home; and the child was baptized by another person. Sun. 9 . — I began dividing the public prayers, according to the original appointment of the Church: (Still observed in a few places in England:) The morning service began at five; the Communion Office, (with the sermon,) at eleven; the evening service, about three; and this day I began reading prayers in the court-house, — a large and convenient place. Mon. 10 . — I began visiting my parishioners in order, from house to house; for which I set apart (the time when they cannot work, because of the heat, viz.) from twelve till three in the afternoon. Sun. 16 . — We were surprised in the evening by my brother, just come from Frederica. After some conversation, we consulted how the poor people there might be taken care of during his absence: And it was at last agreed that Mr. Ingham and I should take our turns in assisting them; and the first was allotted me. Accordingly, on Tuesday, 18th, I walked to Thunderbolt; whence the next afternoon we set out in a small boat. In the evening, we touched at Skidoway, and had a small, but attentive, congregation to join with us in evening prayer. Sat. 22 . — About four in the afternoon we entered upon Doboy Sound.
The wind, which was right a-head, was so high, when we were in the middle of it, and the sea so rough, being driven in at the inlet, that the boat was on the point of singling every moment. But it pleased God to bring us safe to the other side in half an hour, and to Frederica the next morning.
We had public prayers at nine, at which nineteen persons were present; and (I think) nine communicants. Fri. 28 . — I read the Commendatory Prayer by Mr. Germain, who lay at the point of death. He had lost his speech and his senses. His eyes were set, neither had he any discernible motion, but the heaving of his breast.
While we stood round him, he stretched out his arms, rubbed his head, recovered his sight, speech, and understanding; and immediately sending for the Bailiffs, settled the affairs of his family; and then lay down, and died.
At the first service on Sunday, May 30th, were only five; at the second, twenty-five. The next day I made Mr. Lassel’s will; who, notwithstanding his great weakness, was quite revived when any mention was made of death or of eternity. Tues . June 1. — After praying with him, I was surprised to find one of the most controverted questions in divinity, disinterested love, decided at once by a poor old man, without education or learning, or any instructor but the Spirit of God. I asked what he thought of paradise; (to which he had said he was going;) he said, “To be sure, it is a fine place. But I don’t mind that; I don’t care what place I am in. Let God put me where He will, or do with me what He will, so I may but set forth His honor and glory.” Thur. 3 . — Being Ascension Day, we had the holy communion; but only Mr. Hird’s family joined with us in it. One reason why there were no more was, because a few words which a woman had inadvertently spoken had set almost all the town in a flame. Alas! how shall a city stand that is thus divided against itself? where there is no brotherly love, no meekness, no forbearing or forgiving one another; but envy, malice, revenge, suspicion, anger, clamor, bitterness, evil speaking, without end! Abundant proof that there can be no true love of man, unless it be built on the love of God. Sun. 6 . — Calling on Mr. Lassel, and asking how he did, “My departure,” said he, “I hope is at hand.” I asked, “Are you troubled at that?” He replied, “O no; to depart, and to be with Christ, is far better. I desire no more of this bad world. My hope and my joy and my love is there.” The next time I saw him he said, “I desire nothing more, than for God to forgive my many and great sins. I would be humble. I would be the humblest creature living. My heart is humble and broken for my sins. Tell me, teach me, what shall I do to please God? I would faint do whatever is His will.” I said, “It is His will you should suffer.” He answered, “Then I will suffer. I will gladly suffer whatever pleases Him.” Mon. 7 . — Finding him weaker, I asked, “Do you still desire to die?” He said, “Yes; but I dare not pray for it, for fear I should displease my heavenly Father. His will be done. Let Him work His will, in my life, or in my death.” Thur. 10 . — We began to execute at Frederica what we had before agreed to do at Savannah. Our design was, on Sundays in the afternoon, and every evening, after public service, to spend some time with the most serious of the communicants, in singing, reading, and conversation. This evening we had only Mark Hird. But on Sunday Mr. Hird and two more desired to be admitted. After a psalm and a little conversation, I read Mr. Law’s “Christian Perfection,” and concluded with another psalm. Sat. 12 . — Being with one who was very desirous to converse with me, but not upon religion, I spoke to this effect: — “Suppose you was going to a country where every one spoke Latin, and understood no other language, neither would converse with any that did not understand it:
Suppose one was sent to stay here a short time, on purpose to teach it you; suppose that person, pleased with your company, should spend his time in trifling with you, and teach you nothing of what he came for:
Would that be well done? Yet this is our case. You are going to a country where every one speaks the love of God. The citizens of heaven understand no other language. They converse with none who do not understand it. Indeed none such are admitted there. I am sent from God to teach you this. A few days are allotted us for that purpose. Would it then be well done in me, because I was pleased with your company, to spend this short time in trifling and teach you nothing of what I came for? God forbid! I will rather not converse with you at all. Of the two extremes, this is the best.” Wed. 16 . — Another little company of us met; Mr. Reed, Davidson, Walker, Delamotte, and myself. We sung, read a little of Mr. Law, and then conversed. Wednesdays and Fridays were the days we fixed for constant meeting. Thur. 17. — An officer of a man-of-war, walking just behind us, with two or three of his acquaintance, cursed and swore exceedingly: But upon my reproving him, seemed much moved, and gave me many thanks. Sat . 19 . — Mr. Oglethorpe returned from the south, and gave orders on Sunday, the 20th, that none should profane the day (as was usual before) by fishing or fowling upon it. In the afternoon I summed up what I had seen or heard at Frederica, inconsistent with Christianity, and, consequently, with the prosperity of the place. The event was as it ought:
Some of the hearers were profited, and the rest deeply offended.
This day, at half past an hour past ten, God heard the prayer of his servant; and Mr. Lassel, according to his desire, was “dissolved that he might be with Christ.” Tues. 22. — Observing much coldness in Mr. ——’s behavior, I asked him the reason of it. He answered, “I like nothing you do. All your sermons are satires upon particular persons, therefore I will never hear you more; and all the people are of my mind, for we won’t hear ourselves abused.” “Besides, they say they are Protestants. But as for you, they cannot tell what religion you are of. They never heard of such a religion before. They do not know what to make of it. And then your private behavior: — All the quarrels that have been here since you came, have been ‘long of you.
Indeed there is neither man nor woman in the town who minds a word you say. And so you may preach long enough; but nobody will come to hear you.”
He was too warm for hearing an answer. So I had nothing to do but to thank him for his openness, and walk away. Wed. 23 . — I had a long conversation with Mr. —, upon the nature of true religion. I then asked him, why he did not endeavor to recommend it to all with whom he conversed. He said, “I did so once; and for some time, I thought I had done much good by it. But I afterwards found they were never the better, and I myself was the worse. Therefore now, though I always strive to be inoffensive in my conversation, I do not strive to make people religious, unless those that have a desire to be so, and are, consequently, willing to hear me. But I have not yet (I speak not of you or your brother) found one such person in America.” “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!” Mark the tendency of this accursed principle! If you will speak only to those who are willing to hear, see how many you will turn from the error of their ways! If, therefore, striving to do good, you have done hurt, what then? So did St. Paul. So did the Lord of life. Even His word was “the savior of death,” as well as “the savior of life.” But shall you, therefore, strive no more? God forbid! Strive more humbly, more calmly, more cautiously. Do not strive as you did before; — but strive while the breath of God is in your nostrils!
Being to leave Frederica in the evening, I took the more notice of these words in the Lesson for the day: “Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” ( Luke 7:31-34) About eleven at night we took boat; and on Saturday, 26, about one in the afternoon, came to Savannah. O what do we want here, either for life or godliness! If suffering, God will send it in his time. Sun. 27 . — About twenty joined with us in morning prayer. An hour or two after, a large party of Creek Indians came; the expectation of whom deprived us of our place of public worship, in which they were to have their audience. Wed. 30 . — I hoped a door was opened for going up immediately to the Choctaws, the least polished, that is, the least corrupted, of all the Indian nations. But upon my informing Mr. Oglethorpe of our design, he objected, not only the danger of being intercepted, or killed by the French there; but much more, the inexperience of leaving Savannah destitute of a Minister. These objections I related to our brethren in the evening, who were all of opinion, “We ought not to go yet.” Thur . July 1. — The Indians had an audience; and another on Saturday, when Chicali, their head man, dined with Mr. Oglethorpe. After dinner, I asked the gray-headed old man, what he thought he was made for. He said, “He that is above knows what he made us for. We know nothing. We are in the dark. But white men know much. And yet white men build great houses, as if they were to live for ever. But white men cannot live for ever.
In a little time, white men will be dust as well as I.” I told him, “If red men will learn the good book, they may know as much as white men. But neither we nor you can understand that book, unless we are taught by Him that is above: And He will not teach, unless you avoid what you already know is not good” He answered, “I believe that. He will not teach us while our hearts are not white. And our men do that they know is not good:
Hearing the younger of the Miss Boveys was not well, I called upon them this evening. I found she had only the prickly heat, a sort of rash, very common here in summer. We soon fell into serious conversation, after I had asked, if they did not think they were too young to trouble themselves with religion yet; and, whether they might not defer it ten or a dozen years. To which one of them replied, “If it will be reasonable ten years hence to be religious, it is so now: I am not for deferring one moment.” Wed. 7 . — I called there again, being determined now to speak more closely. But meeting company there, prudence induced me to put it off till another opportunity. Thur. 8 . — Mr. O. being there again, and casually speaking of sudden death, Miss Becky said, “If it was the will of God, I should choose to die without a lingering illness.” Her sister said, “Are you, then, always prepared to die?” She replied, “Jesus Christ is always prepared to help me. And little stress is to be laid on such a preparation for death, as is made in a fit of sickness.” Sat. 10 . — Just as they had done drinking tea, Mrs. Margaret, seeing her color change, asked if she was well? She did not return any answer; and Dr. Talser soon after going by, she desired him to step in, and said, “Sir, my sister, I fear, is not well.” He looked earnestly at her, felt her pulse, and replied, “Well! Madam; your sister is dying!” However, he thought it not impossible bleeding might help. She bled about an ounce, leaned back, and died!
As soon as I heard of it I went to the house, and begged they would not lay her out immediately, there being a possibility, at least, she might only be in a swoon; of which, indeed, there was some slight hope, she not only being as warm as ever, but having a fresh color in her cheeks, and a few drops of blood starting out upon bending her arm; but there was no pulse and no breath; so that having waited some hours we found her “spirit was indeed returned to God that gave it.”
I never saw so beautiful a corpse in my life. Poor comfort to its late inhabitant! I was greatly surprised at her sister. There was, in all her behavior, such an inexpressible mixture of tenderness and resignation. The first time I spoke to her, she said, “All my afflictions are nothing to this. I have lost not only a sister, but a friend. But it is the will of God. I rely on Him; and doubt not but He will support me under it.”
This evening we had such a storm of thunder and lightning as I never saw before, even in Georgia. This voice of God, too, told me I was not fit to die; since I was afraid, rather than desirous of it. O when shall I wish to be dissolved and to be with Christ? When I love Him with all my heart.
Almost the whole town was the next evening at the funeral; where many, doubtless, made a world of good resolutions. O how little trace of most of these will be left in the morning! It is a true saying, “Hell is paved with good intentions.” Tues. 20 . — Five of the Chicasaw Indians (twenty of whom had been in Savannah several days) came to see us, with Mr. Andrews, their interpreter. They were all warriors, four of them head men. The two chief were Paustoobee and Mingo Mattaw. Our conference was as follows: — Q. Do you believe there is One above who is over all things?
Q. Do you believe there is but One that lives in the clear sky?
A. We believe there are two with him, three in all.
Q. Do you think he made the sun, and the other beloved things?
A. We cannot tell. Who hath seen?
Q. Do you think he made you?
A. We think he made all men at first.
Q. How did he make them at first?
A. Out of the ground.
Q. Do you believe he loves you?
A. I do not know. I cannot see him.
Q. But has he not often saved your life?
Q. Then, cannot he save you from your enemies now?
A. Yes, but we know not if he will. We have now so many enemies round about us, that I think of nothing but death. And if I am to die, I shall die, and I will die like a man. But if he will have me to live, I shall live. Though I had ever so many enemies, he can destroy them all.
Q. How do you know that?
A. From what I have seen. When our enemies came against us before, then the beloved clouds came for us. And often much rain, and sometimes hail, has come upon them; and that in a very hot day. And I saw, when many French, and Choctaws, and other nations came against one of our towns; and the ground made a noise under them, and the beloved ones in the air behind them; and they were afraid, and went away, and left their meat and drink, and their guns. I tell no lie. All these saw it too.
Q. Have you heard such noises at other times?
A. Yes, often; before and after almost every battle.
Q. What sort of noises were they?
Q. Have you heard any such lately?
A. Yes; four days after our last battle with the French.
Q. Then you heard nothing before it?
A. The night before. I dreamed I heard many drums up there; and many trumpets there, and much stamping of feet and shouting. Till then I thought we should all die. But then I thought the beloved ones were come to help us. And the next day I heard above a hundred guns go of before the fight began; and I said, “When the sun is there, the beloved ones will help us; and we shall conquer our enemies.” And we did so.
Q. Do you often think and talk of the beloved ones?
Q. Where do you think your souls go after death?
A. We believe the souls of red men walk up and down, near the place where they died, or where their bodies lie; for we have often heard cries and noises near the place where any prisoners had been burned.
Q. Where do the souls of white men go after death?
A. We cannot tell. We have not seen.
A. I believe so too. But I told you the talk of the nation. (Mr. Andrews. — They said at the burying, they knew what you was doing. You was speaking to the beloved ones above, to take up the soul of the young woman.)
Q. We have a book that tells us many things of the beloved ones above; would you be glad to know them?
Q. What do the French teach you?
A. The French black kings never go out. We see you go about; — we like that; — that is good.
Q. How came your nation by the knowledge they have?
A. As soon as ever the ground was sound and fit to stand upon, it came to us, and has been with us ever since. But we are young men; our old men know more: But all of them do not know. There are but a few whom the beloved one chooses from a child, and is in them, and takes care of them, and teaches them: They know these things; and our old men practice; therefore they know. But I do not practice; therefore I know little. Mon. 26 . — My brother and I set out for Charlestown, in order to his embarking for England; but the wind being contrary, we did not reach Port-Royal, forty miles from Savannah, till Wednesday evening. The next morning we left it. But the wind was so high in the afternoon, as we were crossing the neck of St. Helena’s sound, that our oldest sailor cried out, “Now every one must take care for himself.” I told him, “God would take care for us all.” Almost as soon as the words were spoken, the mast fell. I kept on the edge of the boat, to be clear of her when she sunk, (which we expected every moment,) though with little prospect of swimming ashore, against such a wind and sea. But, “How is it that thou hadst no faith?”
The moment the mast fell, two men caught it, and pulled it into the boat; the other three rowed with all their might, and “God gave command to the wind and seas;” so that in an hour we were safe on land. Sat. 31 . — We came to Charlestown. The church is of brick, but plastered over like stone. I believe it would contain three or four thousand persons.
About three hundred were present at the Morning Service the next day; (when Mr. Garden desired me to preach;) about fifty at the holy communion. I was glad to see several Negroes at church; one of whom told me, she was there constantly; and that her old mistress (now dead) had many times instructed her in the Christian religion. I asked her, what religion was. She said, she could not tell. I asked, if she knew what a soul was. She answered, “No.” I said, “Do not you know there is something in you different from your body? Something you cannot see or feel?” She replied, “I never heard so much before.” I added, “Do you think, then, a man dies altogether as a horse dies?” She said, “Yes, to be sure.” O God, where are thy tender mercies? Are they not over all thy works? When shall the Sun of Righteousness arise on these outcasts of men, with healing in his wings! Mon . Aug. 2. — I set out for the Lieutenant-Governor’s seat, about thirty miles from Charlestown, to deliver Mr. Oglethorpe’s letters. It stands very pleasantly, on a little hill, with a vale on either side, in one of which is a thick wood; the other is planted with rice and Indian corn. I designed to have gone back by Mr. Skeene’s, who has about fifty Christian Negroes. But my horse tiring, I was obliged to return the straight way to Charlestown.
I had sent the boat we came in back to Savannah, expecting a passage thither myself in Colonel Bull’s. His not going so soon, I went to Ashley-Ferry on Thursday, intending to walk to Port-Royal. But Mr. Belinger not only provided me a horse, but rode with me himself ten miles, and sent his son with me to Cumbee-Ferry, twenty miles farther; whence, having hired horses and a guide, I came to Beaufort (or Port-Royal) the next evening. We took boat in the morning; but, the wind being contrary, and very high, did not reach Savannah till Sunday, in the afternoon.
Finding Mr. Oglethorpe was gone, I stayed only a day at Savannah; and leaving Mr. Ingham and Delamotte there, set out on Tuesday morning for Frederica. In walking to Thunderbolt I was in so heavy a shower, that all my clothes were as wet as if I had gone through the river. On which occasion I cannot but observe that vulgar error, concerning the hurtfulness of the rains and dews of America. I have been thoroughly wet with these rains more than once; yet without any harm at all. And I have lain many nights in the open air, and received all the dews that fell; and so, I believe, might any one, if his constitution was not impaired by the softness of a genteel education.
At Thunderbolt we took boat; and on Friday, August 13th, came to Frederica, where I delivered Mr. O. the letters I had brought from Carolina.
The next day he set out for Fort St. George. From that time I had less and less prospect of doing good at Frederica; many there being extremely zealous, and indefatigably diligent, to prevent it; and few of the rest daring to show themselves of another mind, for fear of their displeasure. Sat. 28 . — I set apart (out of the few we had) a few books towards a library at Frederica. In the afternoon I walked to the fort on the other side of the island. About five we set out homeward; but, my guide not being perfect in the way, we were soon lost in the woods. We walked on, however, as well as we could, till between nine and ten; when, being heartily tired, and thoroughly wet with dew, we laid down, and slept till morning.
About day-break, on Sunday, the 29th, we set out again, endeavoring to walk straight forward; and soon after sunrise found ourselves in the Great Savannah, near Frederica. By this good providence I was delivered from another fear, — that of lying in the woods; which experience showed was, to one in tolerable health, a mere “lion in the way.” Thur . Sept. 2. — I set out in a sloop, and about ten on Sunday morning came to Skidoway; which (after reading prayers, and preaching to a small congregation) I left, and came to Savannah in the evening. Mon . 13 . — I began reading with Mr. Delamotte, Bishop Beveridge’s Pandectae Canonum Conciliorum. Nothing could so effectually have convinced us, that both particular and general Councils may err, and have erred; and that things ordained by them as necessary to salvation, hate neither strength nor authority, unless they be taken out of holy Scripture. Mon. 20 . — We ended (of which also I must confess I once thought more highly than I ought to think) the Apostolical Canons; so called, as Bishop Beveridge observes, “because partly grounded upon, partly agreeing with, the traditions delivered down from the Apostles.” But he observes farther, (in the 159th page of his Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Primitive: And why did he not observe it in the first page of the book?) “They contain the discipline used in the Church at the time when they were collected: Not when the Council of Nice met; for then many parts of it were useless and obsolete.” Tues . Oct. 12. — We considered if any thing could yet be done for the poor people of Frederica; and I submitted to the judgment of my friends; which was, that I should take another journey thither: Mr. Ingham undertaking to supply my place at Savannah, for the time I should stay there. I came hither on Saturday, the 16th, and found few things better than I expected. The morning and evening prayers, which were read for a while after my leaving the place, had been long discontinued; and from that time every thing grew worse and worse, not many retaining any more of the form than the power of godliness.
I was at first a little discouraged, but soon remembered the word which cannot fail: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” I cried to God to “arise and maintain his own cause;” and after the evening prayers were ended, invited a few to my house; as I did every night while I stayed at Frederica. I read to them one of the exhortations of Ephraim Syrus: The most awakening writer, I think, of all the ancients. We concluded our reading and conversation with a psalm; and I trust our God gave us his blessing. Mon. 18 . — Finding there were several Germans at Frederica, who, not understanding the English tongue, could not join in our public service, I desired them to meet me at my house; which they did everyday at noon from thence forward. We first sung a German hymn; then I read a chapter in the New Testament; then explained it to them as well as I could. After another hymn, we concluded with prayer. Mon. 25 . — I took boat, and, after a slow and dangerous passage, came to Savannah on Sunday, the 31st. Tues . Nov. 23. — Mr. Oglethorpe sailed for England, leaving Mr. Ingham, Mr. Delamotte, and me, at Savannah; but with less prospect of preaching to the Indians than we had the first day we set foot in America. Whenever I mentioned it, it was immediately replied, “You cannot leave Savannah without a Minister.” To this indeed my plain answer was, “I know not that I am under any obligation to the contrary. I never promised to stay here one month. I openly declared both before, at, and ever since my coming hither, that I neither would nor could take charge of the English any longer than till I could go among the Indians.” If it was said, “But did not the Trustees of Georgia appoint you to be Minister of Savannah?” I replied, “They did; but it was not done by my solicitation: It was done without either my desire or knowledge. Therefore I cannot conceive that appointment to lay me under any obligation of continuing there any longer than till a door is opened to the Heathens; and this I expressly declared at the time I consented to accept of that appointment.” But though I had no other obligation not to leave Savannah now, yet that of love I could not break through: I could not resist the importunate request of the more serious parishioners, “to watch over their souls yet a little longer, till some one came who might supply my place.” And this I the more willingly did, because the time was not come to preach the Gospel of peace to the Heathens; all their nations being in a ferment; and Paustoobee and Mingo Matthew having told me, in terms, in my own house, “Now our enemies are all about us, and we can do nothing but fight; but if the beloved ones should ever give us to be at peace, then we would hear the great word.” Thur . Dec. 9. — Hearing of one dangerously ill, I went to her immediately. She told me, “that she had many things to say:” But her weakness prevented her saying them then; and the next day God required her soul of her. Wed. 22 . — Mr. Delamotte and I, with a guide, set out to walk to the Cowpen. When we had walked two or three hours, our guide told us plainly, he did not know where we were. However, believing it could not be far off, we thought it best to go on. In an hour or two we came to a Cypress Swamp, which lay directly across our way: There was not time to walk back to Savannah before night; so we walked through it, the water being about breast high. By the time we had gone a mile beyond it, we were out of all path; and it being now past sunset, we sat down, intending to make a fire, and to stay there till morning; but finding our tinder wet, we were at a stand. I advised to walk on still; but my companions, being faint and weary, were for lying down, which we accordingly did about six o’clock: The ground was as wet as our clothes, which (it being a sharp frost) were soon froze together; however, I slept till six in the morning.
There fell a heavy dew in the night, which covered us over as white as snow. Within an hour after sunrise, we came to a plantation; and in the evening, without any hurt, to Savannah. Tues. 28 . — We set out by land with a better guide for Frederica. On Wednesday evening we came to Fort Argyle, on the back of the river Ogeechy. The next afternoon we crossed Cooanoochy river, in a small canoe; our horses swimming by the side of it. We made a fire on the bank, and, not with standing the rain, slept quietly till the morning. Sat . Jan. 1, 1737. — Our provisions fell short, our journey being longer than we expected; but having a little barbecued bear’s flesh, (that is, dried in the sun,) we boiled it, and found it wholesome food. The next day we reached Darien, the settlement of the Scotch Highlanders: A sober, industrious, friendly, hospitable people; whose Minister, Mr. M’Leod, is a serious, resolute, and, I hope, a pious man.
On Monday evening we left Darien, and on Wednesday, the 5th, came to Frederica. Most here were, as we expected, cold and heartless: We found not one who retained his first love. O send forth thy light and thy truth, that they may guide them! Let them not yet follow their own imaginations! After having beaten the air in this unhappy place for twenty days, on January 26th I took my final leave of Frederica. It was not any apprehension of my own danger, though my life had been threatened many times, but an utter despair of doing good there, which made me content with the thought of seeing it no more.
In my passage home, having procured a celebrated book, (The Works of Nicholas Machiavel,) I set myself carefully to read and consider it. I began with a prejudice in his favor; having been informed, he had often been misunderstood, and greatly misrepresented. I weighed the sentiments that were less common; transcribed the passages wherein they were contained compared one passage with another, and endeavored to form a cool, impartial judgment. And my cool judgment is, that if all the other doctrines of devils which have been committed to writing since letters were in the world were collected together in one volume, it would fall short of this; and, that should a Prince form himself by this book, so calmly recommending hypocrisy, treachery, lying, robbery, oppression, adultery, whoredom, and murder of all kinds, Domitian or Nero would be an angel of light, compared to that man. Mon. 31 . — We came to Savannah. Tuesday, February 1, being the anniversary feast, on account of the first convoy’s landing in Georgia, we had a sermon and the holy communion. Thursday, 24. It was agreed Mr. Ingham should go for England, and endeavor to bring over, if it should please God, some of our friends to strengthen our hands in his work.
Saturday, 26. He left Savannah.
By Mr. Ingham I writ to Dr. Bray’s associates, who had sent a parochial library to Savannah. It is expected of the Ministers who receive these, to send an account to their benefactors of the method they use in catechizing the children and instructing the youth of their respective parishes. That part of the letter was as follows: — “Our general method is this: — A young gentleman, who came with me, teaches between thirty and forty children to read, write, and cast accounts. Before school in the morning, and after school in the afternoon, he catechizes the lowest class, and endeavors to fix something of what was said in their understandings as well as their memories. In the evening, he instructs the larger children. On Saturday, in the afternoon, I catechize them all. The same I do on Sunday, before the Evening Service. And in the church, immediately after the Second Lesson, a select number of them having repeated the Catechism, and been examined in some part of it, I endeavor to explain at large, and to enforce that part, both on them and the congregation. “Some time after the Evening Service, as many of my parishioners as desire it, meet at my house, (as they do also on Wednesday evening,) and spend about an hour in prayer, singing, and mutual exhortation. A smaller number (mostly those who design to communicate the next day) meet here on Saturday evening; and a few of these come to me on the other evenings, and pass half an hour in the same employment.” Fri . March 4. — I writ the Trustees for Georgia an account of our year’s expense, from March 1, 1736, to March 1, 1737; which, deducting extraordinary expenses, such as repairing the parsonage house, and journeys to Frederica, amounted, for Mr. Delamotte and me, to 44l . 4s . 4d .
From the directions I received from God this day, touching an affair of the greatest importance, I could not but observe, as I had done many times before, the entire mistake of those who assert, “God will not answer your prayer, unless your heart be wholly resigned to his will.” My heart was not wholly resigned to his will. Therefore, not daring to depend on my own judgment, I cried the more earnestly to Him to supply what was wanting in me. And I know, and am assured, He heard my voice, and did send forth his light and his truth. Thur . 24 . — A fire broke out in the house of Robert Hows, and in an hour burned it to the ground: A collection was made for him the next day, and the generality of the people showed a surprising willingness to give a little out of their little for the relief of a necessity greater than their own.
And a terrible one indeed he gave, in the relation following: — In 1733, David Jones, a saddler, a middle-aged man, who had for some time before lived at Nottingham, being at Bristol, met a person there, who, after giving him some account of Georgia, asked whether he would go thither; adding, his trade (that of a saddler) was an exceeding good trade there, upon which he might live creditably and comfortably. He objected his want of money to pay his passage and buy some tools, which he should have need of. The gentleman (Capt. W.) told him, he would supply him with that, and hire him a shop when he came to Georgia, wherein he might follow his business, and so repay him as it suited his convenience.
Accordingly to Georgia they went; where, soon after his arrival, his master (as he now styled himself) sold him to Mr. Lacy, who set him to work with the rest of his servants, in clearing land. He commonly appeared much more thoughtful than the rest, often stealing into the woods alone.
He was now sent to do some work on an island, three or four miles from Mr. Lacy’s great plantation. Thence he desired the other servants to return without him, saying he would stay and kill a deer. This was on Saturday.
On Monday they found him on the shore, with his gun by him, and the forepart of his head shot to pieces. In his pocket was a paper book; all the leaves thereof were fair, except one, on which ten or twelve verses were written; two of which were these: (which I transcribed thence from his own hand-writing:) Death could not a more sad retinue find; Sickness and pain before, and darkness all behind!
Sun . April 3, and everyday in this great and holy week, we had a sermon and the holy communion. Mon. 4 . — I began learning Spanish, in order to converse with my Jewish parishioners; some of whom seem nearer the mind that was in Christ than many of those who call him Lord. Tues. 12 . — Being determined, if possible, to put a stop to the proceedings of one in Carolina, who had married several of my parishioners without either banns or license, and declared, he would do so still, I set out in a sloop for Charlestown. I landed there on Thursday, and related the case to Mr. Garden, the Bishop of London’s Commissary, who assured me, he would take care no such irregularity should be committed for the future. Sun. 17 . — Mr. Garden (to whom I must ever acknowledge myself indebted for many kind and generous offices) desiring me to preach, I did so, on these words of the Epistle for the day: “Whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world.” To that plain account of the Christian state which these words naturally led me to give, a man of education and character seriously objected, (what is indeed a great truth,) “Why, if this be Christianity, a Christian must have more courage than Alexander the Great.” Tues. 19 . — We left Charlestown; but meeting with stormy and contrary winds, after losing our anchor, and beating out at sea all night, on Thursday, the 21st, we with some difficulty got back into Charlestown harbor. Fri. 22 . — It being the time of their annual Visitation, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Clergy of South Carolina; among whom, in the afternoon, there was such a conversation for several hours on “Christ our Righteousness” as I had not heard at any visitation in England, or hardly on any other occasion. Sat. 23 . — Mentioning, to Mr. Thompson, Minister of St. Bartholomew’s, near Ponpon, my being disappointed of a passage home by water, he offered me one of his horses, if I would go by land, which I gladly accepted of. He went with me twenty miles, and sent his servant to guide me the other twenty to his house. Finding a young Negro there, who seemed more sensible than the rest, I asked her how long she had been in Carolina: She said, two or three years; but that she was born in Barbados, and had lived there in a Minister’s family from a child. I asked whether she went to church there. She said, “Yes, every Sunday, — to carry my mistress’s children.” I asked, what she had learned at church. She said, “Nothing; I heard a deal, but did not understand it.” But what did your master teach you at home? “Nothing.” Nor your mistress? “No.” I asked, “But don’t you know, that your hands and feet, and this you call your body, will turn to dust in a little time? “She answered, “Yes.” “But there is something in you that will not turn to dust, and this is what they call your soul. Indeed, you cannot see your soul, though it is within you; as you cannot see the wind, though it is all about you. But if you had not a soul in you, you could no more see, or hear, or feel, than this table can.
What do you think will become of your soul when your body turns to dust?” “I don’t know.” “Why, it will go out of your body, and go up there, above the sky, and live always. God lives there. Do you know who God is?” “No.” “You cannot see Him, any more than you can see your own soul. It is He that made you and me, and all men and women, and all beasts and birds, and all the world. It is He that makes the sun shine, and rain fall, and corn and fruits to grow out of the ground. He makes all these for us. But why do you think He made us? What did He make you and me for?” “I can’t tell.” “He made you to live with himself above the sky. And so you will, in a little time, — if you are good. If you are good, when your body dies, your soul will go up, and want nothing, and have whatever you can desire. No one will beat or hurt you there. You will never be sick. You will never be sorry any more, nor afraid of anything. I can’t tell you, I don’t know how happy you will be; for you will be with God.”
The attention with which this poor creature listened to instruction is inexpressible. The next day she remembered all, readily answered every question; and said, she would ask Him that made her, to show her how to be good. Sun . 24 . — I preached twice at Ponpon chapel, on the thirteenth; chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. O how will even those men of Carolina, who come eight, ten or twelve miles to hear the Gospel, rise in judgment against those who hear it not, when it is preached at their own doors! Wed. 27 . — I came to Mr. Belinger’s plantation at Chulifinny, where the rain kept me till Friday. Here I met with an half Indian, (one that had an Indian mother and a Spanish father) and several Negroes, who were very desirous of instruction. One of them said, “When I was at Ashley-Ferry, I went to church every Sunday; but here we are buried in the woods.
Though if there was any church within five or six miles, I am so lame I cannot walk, but I would crawl thither.”
Mr. Belinger sent a Negro lad with me to Purrysburg, or, rather, to the poor remains of it. O how hath God stretched over this place “the lines of confusion, and the stones of emptiness!” Alas for those whose lives were here vilely cast away, through oppression, through divers plagues and troubles! O earth! how long wilt thou hide their blood? How long wilt thou cover thy slain?
This lad too I found both very desirous and very capable of instruction.
And perhaps one of the easiest and shortest ways to instruct the American Negroes in Christianity, would be, First, to inquire after and find out some of the most serious of the planters. Then, having inquired of them which of their slaves were best inclined and understood English, to go to them from plantation to plantation, staying as long as appeared necessary at each. Three or four gentlemen at Carolina I have been with, that would be sincerely glad of such an assistant, who might pursue his work with no more hindrances than must everywhere attend the preaching of the Gospel. Sat. 30 . — I came to Savannah, and found my little flock in a better state than I could have expected: God having been pleased greatly to bless the endeavors of my fellow-laborer, while I was absent from them. Wed . May 18. — I discovered the first convert to Deism that, I believe, has been made here. He was one that for some time had been zealously and exemplarily religious. But indulging himself in harmless company, he first made shipwreck of his zeal, and then of his faith. I have since found several others that have been attacked. They have, as yet, maintained their ground; but I doubt the devil’s apostles are too industrious to let them long halt between two opinions. Wed. 25. — I was sent for by one who had been several years of the Church of Rome; but was now deeply convinced, (as were several others,) by what I had occasionally preached, of the grievous errors that Church is in, and the great danger of continuing a member of it. Upon this occasion I could not but reflect on the many advises I had received, to beware of the increase of Popery; but not one, that I remember, to beware of the increase of infidelity. This was quite surprising when I considered, 1. That in every place where I have yet been, the number of the converts to Popery bore no proportion to the number of the converts to infidelity. 2. That as bad a religion as Popery is, no religion is still worse; a baptized infidel being always found, upon the trial, two-fold worse than even a bigoted Papist. 3. That as dangerous a state as a Papist is in, with regard to eternity, a Deist is in a yet more dangerous state, if he be not (without repentance) an assured heir of damnation.
And, lastly, That as hard as it is to recover a Papist, it is still harder to recover an infidel: I myself having known many Papists, but never one Deist, reconverted.
May 29. — Being Whit-Sunday , four of our scholars, after having been instructed daily for several weeks, were, at their earnest and repeated desire, admitted to the Lord’s table. I trust their zeal hath stirred up many to remember their Creator in the days of their youth, and to redeem the time, even in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation.
Indeed, about this time we observed the Spirit of God to move upon the minds of many of the children. They began more carefully to attend to the things that were spoken both at home and at church, and a remarkable seriousness appeared in their whole behavior and conversation. Who knows but some of them may “grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?”
June 25. — Mr. Causton, the store-keeper and chief magistrate of Savannah, was seized with a slow fever. I attended him everyday, (as I did any of my parishioners who were in any painful or dangerous illness,) and had a good hope, from the thankfulness he showed, that my labor was not in vain. Sun . July 3. — Immediately after the holy communion, I mentioned to Mrs. Williamson (Mr. Causton’s niece) some things which I thought reprovable in her behavior. At this she appeared extremely angry; said, she did not expect such usage from me; and at the turn of the street, through which we were walking home, went abruptly away. The next day Mrs. Causton endeavored to excuse her; told me she was exceedingly grieved for what had passed the day before, and desired me to tell her in writing what I disliked; which I accordingly did the day following.
But first, I sent Mr. Causton the following note: — “Sir, “To this hour you have shown yourself my friend; I ever have and ever shall acknowledge it. And it is my earnest desire, that He who hath hitherto given me this blessing, would continue it still.” “But this cannot be, unless you will allow me one request, which is not so easy an one as it appears: Do not condemn me for doing, in the execution of thy office, what I think it my duty to do. “If you can prevail upon yourself to allow me this, even when I act without respect of persons, I am persuaded there will never be, at least not long, any misunderstanding between us. For even those who seek it, shall, I trust, find no occasion against me, ‘except it be concerning the law of my God.’ “July 5, 1737.
I am,” etc. Wed. 6 . — Mr. Causton came to my house, with Mr. Bailiff Parker, and Mr. Recorder, and warmly asked, “How could you possibly think I should condemn you for executing any part of your office?” I said short, “Sir, what if I should think it the duty of my office to repel one of your family from the holy communion?” He replied, “If you repel me or my wife, I shall require a legal reason. But I shall trouble myself about none else. Let them look to themselves.” Sat . 9 . — Meeting with a Frenchman of New Orleans on the Mississippi, who had lived several months among the Chickasaws, he gave us a full and particular account of many things which had been variously related. And hence we could not but remark, what is the religion of nature, properly so called; or, that religion which flows from natural reason, unassisted by Revelation: And that even in those who have the knowledge of many truths; and who converse with their beloved ones day and night. But too plainly does it appear by the fruits, “that the gods of these Heathens too are but devils.”
The substance of his account was this: — “Some years past the Chicasaws and French were friends. The French were then mingled with the Nautchee Indians, whom they used as slaves; till the Nautchees made a general rising, and took many of the French prisoners. But soon after, a French army set upon them, killed many, and carried away the rest.
Among those that were killed were some Chicasaws, whose death the Chicasaw nation resented; and, soon after, as a French boat was going through their country, they fired into it, and killed all the men but two.
The French resolved on revenge; and orders were given for many Indians and several parties of white men to rendezvous on the 26th of March, 1736, near one of the Chicasaw towns. The first party, consisting of fifty men, came thither some days before the time. They staid there till the 24th, but none came to join them. On the 25th, they were attacked by two hundred Chicasaws. The French attempted to force their way through them. Five or six and twenty did so; the rest were taken prisoners. The prisoners were sent two or three to a town to be burned. Only the commanding officer and one or two more were put to death on the place of the engagement. “I,” said he, “and one more were saved by the warrior who took us. The manner of burning the rest was, holding lighted canes to their arms and legs, and several parts of their bodies, for some time, and then for a while taking them away. They likewise stuck burning pieces of wood into their flesh all round, in which condition they kept them from morning till evening. But they commonly beat them before they burn them. I saw the Priest that was with us carried to be burnt; and from head to foot he was as black as your coat with the blows which they had given him.” I asked him, what was their manner of life. He said, “They do nothing but eat, and drink, and smoke, from morning till night; and, in a manner, from night till morning. For they rise at any hour of the night when they wake, and after eating and drinking as much as they can, go to sleep again.” See “The Religion of Nature truly Delineated!” Sat. 23 . — Reflecting on the state I was now in, I could not but observe in a letter to a friend, “How to attain to the being crucified with Christ, I find not, being in a condition I neither desired nor expected in America, — in ease, and honor, and abundance. A strange school for him who has but one business, Gumnazein eauton prov eusebeian. ” f10 Wed. 27 . — I rejoiced to meet once more with that good soldier of Jesus Christ, August. Spangenberg, with whom, on Monday, August l, I began my long-intended journey to Ebenezer. In the way, I told him, the calm we had so long enjoyed was now drawing to an end; that I hoped he would shortly see I was not (as some had told him) a respecter of persons; but was determined (God being my helper) to behave indifferently to all, rich or poor, friends or enemies. I then asked his advice as to the difficulty I foresaw; and resolved, by God’s grace, to follow it.
In the evening, we came to New-Ebenezer, where the poor Saltzburghers are settled. The industry of this people is quite surprising. Their sixty huts are neatly and regularly built, and all the little spots of ground between them improved to the best advantage. One side of the town is a field of Indian corn; on the other are the plantations of several private persons; all which together one would scarce think it possible for a handful of people to have done in one year. Wed . Aug. 3. — We returned to Savannah. Sunday, 7, I repelled Mrs. Williamson from the holy communion. And Monday, 8, Mr. Recorder, of Savannah, issued out the warrant following: — Georgia. Savannah ss. “To all Constables, Tithingmen, and others, whom these may concern: “YOU, and each of you, are hereby required to take the body of John Wesley, Clerk: “And bring him before one of the bailiffs of the said town, to answer the complaint of William Williamson and Sophia his wife, for defaming the said Sophia, and refusing to administer to her the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, in a public congregation, without cause; by which the said William Williamson is damaged one thousand pounds sterling: And for so doing, this is your warrant, certifying what you are to do in the premises. Given under my hand and seal the 8th day of August, Anno Dom. 1737. THO.CHRISTIE.” Tues. 9 — Mr. Jones the Constable, served the warrant, and carried me before Mr. Bailiff Parker and Mr. Recorder. My answer to them was, that the giving or refusing the Lord’s Supper being a matter purely ecclesiastical, I could not acknowledge their power to interrogate me upon it. Mr. Parker told me, “However, you must appear at the next Court, holden for Savannah.” Mr. Williamson, who stood by, said, “Gentlemen, I desire Mr. Wesley may give bail for his appearance.” But Mr. Parker immediately replied, “Sir, Mr. Wesley’s word is sufficient.” Wed. 10 . — Mr. Causton (from a just regard, as his letter expressed it, to the friendship which had subsisted between us till this affair) required me to give the reasons in the Courthouse, why I repelled Mrs. Williamson from the holy communion. I answered, “I apprehend many ill consequences may arise from so doing: Let the cause be laid before the Trustees.” Thur. 11 . — Mr. Causton came to my house, and among many other sharp words, said, “Make an end of this matter: Thou hadst best. My niece to be used thus! I have drawn the sword, and I will never sheathe it till I have satisfaction.”
Soon after, he added, “Give the reasons of your repelling her before the whole congregation.” I answered, “Sir, if you insist upon it, I will; and so you may be pleased to tell her.” He said, “write to her, and tell her so yourself.” I said, “I will;” and after he went, I wrote as follows: — “To Mrs. Sophia Williamson. “AT Mr. Causton’s request, I write once more. The rules whereby I proceed are these: — “‘So many as intend to be partakers of the holy communion, shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before.’ This you did not do. And if any of these — have done any wrong to his neighbors, by word or deed, so that the congregation be thereby offended, the Curate — shall advertise him, that in any wise he presume not to come to the Lord’s table, until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented.’ “If you offer yourself at the Lord’s table on Sunday, I will advertise you, (as I have done more than once,) where you have done wrong. And when you have openly declared yourself to have truly repented, I will administer to you the mysteries of God. JOHN WESLEY, “August 11, 1737.” Mr. Delamotte carrying this, Mr. Causton said, among many other warm sayings, “I am the person that am inured. The affront is offered to me; and I will espouse the cause of my niece. I am ill-used; and I will have satisfaction, if it be to be had in the world.”
Which way this satisfaction was to be had, I did not yet conceive. But on Friday and Saturday it began to appear: — Mr. Causton declared to many persons, that “Mr. Wesley had repelled Sophy from the holy communion, purely out of revenge, because he had made proposals of marriage to her, which she rejected, and married Mr. Williamson.”
I could not but observe the gracious providence of God, in the course of the Lessons all this week. On Monday evening God spake to us in these words: — “Call to remembrance the former days, in which ye endured a great fight of afflictions: Partly whilst you were made a gazing stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. — Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward; for ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” ( Hebrews 10:32-36) The Evening Lesson on Tuesday was the eleventh of the Hebrews; in reading which I was more particularly encouraged by his example, who “chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” The Lesson on Wednesday began with these words: “Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, — and run with patience the race that is set before us: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ( Hebrews 12:1,2.)
In the Thursday Lesson were these comfortable words: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” ( Hebrews 13:5,6.)
The words of St. James, read on Friday, were, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:” And those on Saturday, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, — with respect of persons.” ( James 2:1.)
I was only afraid, lest those who were weak should “be turned out of the way;” at least so far as to forsake the public “assembling of themselves together.” But I feared where no fear was. God took care of this also. So that on Sunday, the 14th, more were present at the Morning Prayers than had been for some months before. Many of them observed those words in the first Lesson, “Set Naboth on high among the people; and set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him.” Tues. 16 . — Mrs. Williamson swore to and signed an affidavit, insinuating much more than it asserted; but asserting, That Mr. Wesley had many times proposed marriage to her; all which proposals she had rejected. Of this I desired a copy: Mr. Causton replied, “Sir, you may have one from any of the newspapers in America.”
On Thursday or Friday was delivered out a list of twenty-six men, who were to meet, as a Grand Jury, on Monday the 22d. But this list was called in the next day, and twenty-four names added to it. Of this Grand Jury, (forty-four of whom only met.) one was a Frenchman, who did not understand English; one a Paptist, one a professed infidel, three Baptists, sixteen or seventeen others Dissenters; and several others who had personal quarrels against me, and had openly vowed revenge.
To this Grand Jury, on Monday the 22d, Mr. Causton gave a long and earnest charge, “to beware of spiritual tyranny, and to oppose the new, illegal authority which was usurped over their consciences.” Then Mrs. Williamson’s affidavit was read: After which, Mr. Causton delivered to the Grand Jury a paper, entitled, — “A list of grievances, presented by the Grand Jury for Savannah this day of August, 1737.”
This the majority of the Grand Jury altered in some particulars, and on Thursday,SEPTEMBER 1, delivered it again to the Court, under the form of two presentments, containing ten bills, which were then read to the people. Herein they asserted, upon oath, “That John Wesley, Clerk, had broken the laws of the realm, contrary to the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his crown and dignity. “1. By speaking and writing to Mrs. Williamson, against her husband’s consent. “2. By repelling her from the holy communion. “3. By not declaring his adherence to the Church of England. “4. By dividing the Morning Service on Sundays. “5. By refusing to baptize Mr. Parker’s child, otherwise than by dipping, except the parents would certify it was weak, and not able to bear it. “6. By repelling William Gough from the holy communion. “7. By refusing to read the Burial Service over the body of Nathaniel Polhill. “8. By calling himself Ordinary of Savannah. “9. By refusing to receive William Aglionby as a godfather, only because he was not a communicant. “10. By refusing Jacob Matthews for the same reason: And baptizing an Indian trader’s child with only two sponsors.” (This, I own, was wrong; for I ought, at all hazards, to have refused baptizing it till he had procured a third.) Fri. 2 . — Was the third Court at which I appeared since my being carried before Mr. P. and the Recorder.
On the next Court-day I appeared again; as also at the two courts following: But could not be heard, because (the Judge said) Mr. Williamson was gone out of town.
The sense of the minority of the Grand Jurors themselves (for they were by no means unanimous) concerning these presentments, may appear from the following paper, which they transmitted to the Trustees: — “To the Honorable the Trustees for Georgia. “WHEREAS two presentments have been made, the one of August 23, the other of August 31, by the Grand Jury for the town and county of Savannah, in Georgia, against John Wesley, Clerk. “We, whose names are underwritten, being members of the said Grand Jury, do humbly beg leave to signify our dislike of the said presentments; being, by many and divers circumstances, thoroughly persuaded in ourselves, that the whole charge against Mr. Wesley is an artifice of Mr. Causton’s designed rather to blacken the character of Mr. Wesley, than to free the colony from religious tyranny, as he was pleased, in his Charge to us, to term it.
But as these circumstances will be too tedious to trouble your Honors with, we shall only beg leave to give the reasons of our dissent from the particular bills. “With regard to the First bill, we do not apprehend that Mr. Wesley acted against any law, by writing or speaking to Mr. Williamson, since it does not appear to us, that the said Mr. Wesley has either spoke in private, or wrote to the said Mrs. Williamson, since March 12, (the day of her marriage,) except one letter of July the 5th, which he wrote at the request of her uncle, as a Pastor, to exhort and reprove her. “The Second we do not apprehend to be a true bill; because we humbly conceive Mr. Wesley did not assume to himself any authority contrary to law: For we understand, ‘Every person intending to communicate, should signify his name to the Curate, at least some time the day before;’ which Mrs. Williamson did not do; although Mr. Wesley had often, in full congregation, declared, he did insist on a compliance with that Rubric, and had before repelled divers persons for non-compliance therewith. “The Third we do not think a true bill; because several of us have been his hearers, when he has declared his adherence to the Church of England, in a stronger manner than by a formal declaration; by explaining and defending the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, the Thirty-nine Articles, the whole Book of Common-Prayer, and the Homilies of the said Church; and because we think a formal declaration is not required, but from those who have received institution and induction. “The fact alleged in the Fourth bill we cannot apprehend to be contrary to any law in being. “The Fifth we do not think a true bill; because we conceive Mr. Wesley is justified by the Rubric, viz., ‘If they’ (the parents) ‘certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it.’ Intimating (as we humbly suppose) it shall not suffice, if they do not certify. “The Sixth cannot be a true bill; because the said William Gough, being one of our members, was surprise to hear himself named, without his knowledge or privity; and did publicly declare, it was no grievance to him, because the said John Wesley had given him reasons with which he was satisfied. “The Seventh we do not apprehend to be a true bill; for Nathaniel Polhill was an Anabaptist, and desired in his lifetime, that he might not be interred with the Office of the Church of England. And farther, we have good reason to believe, that Mr. Wesley was at Frederica, or on his return thence, when Polhill was buried. “As to the Eighth bill we are in doubt, as not well knowing the meaning of the word ‘Ordinary.’ But for the Ninth and Tenth, we think Mr. Wesley is sufficiently justified by the Canons of the Church, which forbid ‘any person to be admitted godfather or godmother to any child, before the said person has received the holy communion;’ whereas William Aglionby and Jacob Matthews had never certified Mr. Wesley that they had received it.”
This was signed by twelve of the Grand Jurors, of whom three were Constables, and six more Tithingmen; who, consequently, would have made a majority, had the Jury consisted, as it regularly should have done, of only fifteen members, viz., the four Constables and eleven Tithingmen. Fri . Sept. 30. — Having ended the Homilies, I began reading Dr. Rogers’s eight sermons to the congregation: Hoping they might be a timely antidote against the poison of infidelity which was now with great industry propagated among us.
October 7. — I consulted my friends, whether God did not call me to return to England? The reason for which I left it had now no force; there being no possibility, as yet, of instructing the Indians; neither had I, as yet, found or heard of any Indians on the continent of America who had the least desire of being instructed. And as to Savannah, having never engaged myself, either by word or letter, to stay there a day longer than I should judge convenient, nor ever taken charge of the people any otherwise than as in my passage to the Heathens, I looked upon myself to be fully discharged therefrom, by the vacating of that design. Besides, there was a probability of doing more service to that unhappy people, in England, than I could do in Georgia, by representing, without fear or favor to the Trustees, the real state the colony was in. After deeply considering these things, they were unanimous, “That I ought to go; but not yet.” So I laid the thoughts of it aside for the present: Being persuaded, that when the time was come, God would “make the way plain before my face.” Sun. 15 . — Being at Highgate, a village five miles from Savannah, consisting of (all but one) French families, who, I found, knew but little of the English tongue, I offered to read prayers there in French every Saturday in the afternoon. They embraced the offer gladly. On Saturday, the 22d, I read prayers in German likewise, to the German villagers of Homestead; and so continued to do, once a week. We began the Service (to that Highgate and Hampstead) with singing a psalm. Then I read and explained a chapter in the French or German Testament, and concluded with prayers and another psalm. Sat. 29 . — Some of the French of Savannah were present at the prayers at Highgate. The next day I received a message from them all, “That as I read prayers to the French at Highgate, who were but few, they hoped I would do the same to those of Savannah, where there was a large number who did not understand English.” Sunday, 30th, I began so to do; and now I had full employment for that holy day. The first English prayers lasted from five till half an hour past six. The Italian (which I read to a few Vaudois) began at nine. The second service for the English (including the sermon and the holy communion) continued from half an hour past ten, till about half an hour past twelve. The French service began at one. At two I catechized the children. About three began the English service. After this was ended, I had the happiness of joining with as many as my largest room would hold, in reading, prayer, and singing praise. And about six, the service of the Moravians, so called, began: At which I was glad to be present, not as a teacher, but a learner. Thur . Nov. 3. — I appeared again at the Court, holden on that day; and again at the Court holden Tuesday, November 22d. On which day Mr. Causton desired to speak with me. He then read me some affidavits which had been made September 15th last past; in one of which it was affirmed, that I then abused Mr. Causton in his own house, calling him liar, villain, and so on. It was now likewise repeated before several persons, which indeed I had forgot, that I had been reprimanded at the last Court for an enemy to, and hindered of, the public peace.
I again consulted my friends, who agreed with me, that the time we looked for was now come. And the next morning, calling on Mr. Causton, I told him, I designed to set on for England immediately. I set up an advertisement in the Great Square to the same effect, and quietly prepared for my journey. Fri . Dec. 2. — I proposed to set out for Carolina about noon, the tide then serving. But about ten, the Magistrates sent for me, and told me, I must not go out of the province; for I had not answered the allegations laid against me. I replied, “I have appeared at six or seven Courts successively, in order to answer them. But I was not suffered so to do, when I desired it time after time.” Then they said, however, I must not go, unless I would give security to answer those allegations at their Court. I asked, “What security?” After consulting together about two hours, the Recorder showed me a kind of bond, engaging me, under a penalty of fifty pounds, to appear at their Court when I should be required. He added, “But Mr. Williamson too has desired of us, that you should give bail to answer his action.” I then told him plainly, “Sir, you use me very ill, and so you do the Trustees. I will give neither any bond, nor any bail at all. You know your business, and I know mine.”
In the afternoon, the Magistrates published an order, requiring all the officers and sentinels to prevent my going out of the province; and forbidding any person to assist me so to do. Being now only a prisoner at large, in a place where I knew by experience, everyday would give fresh opportunity to procure evidence of words I never said, and actions I never did, I saw clearly the hour was come for leaving this place: And as soon as Evening Prayers were over, about eight o’clock, the tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my feet, and left Georgia, after having preached the Gospel there (not as I ought, but as I was able) one year, and nearly nine months.
During this time I had frequent opportunities of making many observations and inquiries concerning the real state of this province, (which has been so variously represented,) the English settlements therein, and the Indians that have intercourse with them. These I minuted down from time to time; a small extract of which I have subjoined. 1. Georgia lies in the 30th and 31st degree of north latitude. The air is generally clear, the rains being much shorter, as well as heavier, than in England. The dews are very great.
Thunder and lightning are expected almost everyday in May, June, July, and August. They are very terrible, especially to a stranger. During those months, from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon, the sun is extremely scorching. But the sea breeze generally blows from ten till three or four. The winter is nearly of the same length as in England. But the mid day sun is always warm even when the mornings and evenings are very sharp, and the nights piercing cold. 2. The land is of four sorts, — pine-barren, oak-land, swamp, and marsh.
The pine-land is of far the greatest extent, especially near the sea-coasts.
The soil of this is a dry, whitish and, producing shrubs of several sorts, and between them a spiry, coarse grass, which cattle do not love to feed on. But here and there is a little of a better kind, especially in the savannahs. (So they call the low, watery meadows, which are usually intermixed with pine-lands.) It bears naturally two sorts of fruit, — hurtle-berries, (much like those in England,) and Chincopin-nuts; a dry, harsh nut, about the size of a small acorn. A laborious man may, in one year, clear and plant four or five acres of this land: It will produce, the first year, from two to four bushels of Indian corn, and from four to eight of Indian peas, per acre. The second year it usually bears half as much; the third, less; the fourth, nothing. 3. Vines, mulberries, and peach-trees it bears well. The white mulberry is not good to eat. The black is about the size of a blackberry, and has much the same flavor. In fresh pine-land, Indian potatoes grow well; (which are more luscious and larger than the Irish;) and so do water-melons and sewee-beans, about the size of our scarlet, but to be shelled and eaten like Windsor beans. 4. Oak-land commonly lies in narrow streaks between pine land and some swamp, creek, or river. The soil is a blackish sand, producing several kinds of oak, (though none exactly like the English,) bay, laurel, ash, walnut, sumac-trees, gum-trees, (a sort of sycamore,) dog trees, (covered in spring with large white flowers,) and many hickory trees, which bear a bad kind of walnut. In the moistest part of this land some porsimmon-trees grow, (which bear a sort of yellow, clear, luscious plum,) and a few mulberry and cherry trees. The common wild grapes are of two sorts, — both red: The fox-grape grows two or three only on a stalk, is thick-skinned, large-stoned, of a harsh taste, and of the size of a small Kentish cherry.
The cluster-grape is of a harsh taste too, and about the size of a white currant. 5. This land requires much labor to clear; but when it is cleared, it will bear any grain, for three, four, or sometimes five years, without laying any manure upon it. An acre of it generally bears ten bushels of Indian corn, besides five of peas, in a year. So that this at present is justly esteemed the most valuable land in the province. 6. A swamp is, any low, watery place, which is covered with trees or canes. They are here of three sorts, cypress, river, and cane swamps.
Cypress-swamps are mostly large ponds, in and round which cypresses grow. Most river swamps are overflown every tide, by the river which runs through or near them. If they were drained, they would produce good rice; as would the cane-swamps also; which in the mean time are the best feeding for all sorts of cattle. 7. The marshes are of two sorts; soft marsh, which is all a quagmire, and absolutely good for nothing; and hard marsh, which is a firm, but barren sand, bearing only sour rushes. Marshes of both sorts abound on the sea islands, which are very numerous, and contain all sorts of land. And upon these chiefly, near creeks and runs of water, juniper-trees and cedars grow. 8. Savannah stands on a flat bluff, (so they term any high land hanging over a creek or river,) which rises forty-five feet perpendicular from the river, and commands it several miles both upward and downward. The soil is a white sand for above a mile in breadth, southeast and northwest. Beyond this, eastward, is a river-swamp; westward a small wood, in which was the old Indian town. On the other side of the river is a marshy island, covered with large trees. Southwest of the town is a large pine barren, which extends backward to a branch of the Alatamahaw river. 9. St. Simon’s Island, having on the southeast the Gulf of Florida, on the other sides, branches of the Alatamahaw, is about one hundred miles south of Savannah, and extends in length about twenty, in breadth from two to five miles. On the west side of it, on a low bluff, stands Frederica, having woods to the north and south; to the east, partly woods, partly savannahs, and partly marshes. The soil is mostly a blackish sand. There is not much pine-land on the island; the greatest part being oak land, intermixed with many savannas, and old Spanish or Indian fields. 10. On the sea-point, about five miles southeast of the town, is the fort where the soldiers are stationed. But the storehouse in Frederica better deserves that name; being encompassed with regular ramparts of earth, and a palisaded ditch, and mounted with cannon, which entirely command the river. 11. About twenty miles northwest from St. Simon’s is Darien, the settlement of the Scotch Highlanders, a mile from Fort King George, which was built about seventeen and abandoned about eleven years since. The town lies on the main land, close to a branch of the Alatamahaw, on a bluff about thirty feet above the river, having woods on all sides. The soil is a blackish sand. They built at first many scattered huts; but last spring, (1736,) expecting the Spaniards, they built themselves a large fort, and all retired within the walls of it. 12. Augusta, distant from Savannah one hundred and fifty miles, and five from old Savannah Town, is designed to stand in an old Indian field, on a bluff, about thirty feet high. A small fort of wooden piles was built there in 1737; but no house was then built, nor any more ground cleared, than Mr. Lacy and his men found so. 13. Old-Ebenezer, where the Saltzburghers settled at first, lies twenty-five miles west of Savannah. A small creek runs by the town, down to the river, and many brooks run between the little hills: But the soil is a hungry, barren sand; and upon any sudden shower, the brooks rise several feet perpendicular, and overflow whatever is near them. Since the Saltzllurghers removed, two English families have been placed there: But these too say, that the land is good for nothing; and that the creek is of little use; it being by water twenty miles to the river; and the water generally so low in summer-time, that a boat cannot come within six or seven miles of the town. 14. New-Ebenezer, to which the Saltzburghers removed in March, 1736, lies six miles eastward from the old, on a high bluff, near the Savannah river. Here are some tracts of fruitful land, though the greatest part of that adjoining to the town is pine barren. The huts, sixty in number, are neatly and regularly built; the little piece of ground allotted to each for a garden is every where put to the best use, no spot being left unplanted. Nay, even one of the main streets, being one more than was as yet wanted, bore them this year a crop of Indian corn. 15. About ten miles east of this, on a creek, three miles from the river, was the village of Abercorn. Ten families settled here in 1733; but it is now without inhabitant. Four miles below the mouth of Abercorn-Creek is Joseph’s Town, the settlement of two Scotch gentlemen. A mile below was Sir Francis Bathurst’s plantation: And a quarter of a mile from this, Walter Augustine’s settlement. But both these are left without inhabitant. 16. A mile below this is Captain Williams’s plantation: A mile from thence, Mrs. Matthew’s, (late Musgrove,) commonly known by the name of the Cowpen: Adjoining to which is the land belonging to Captain Watson; on which is an unfinished house, swiftly running to ruin. A mile from this is Irene, a house built for an Indian school, in the year 1736. It stands on a small, round hill, in a little piece of fruitful ground, given by the Indians to Mr. Ingham. The Indian town is within a furlong of it. 17. Five miles southwest of Savannah, on a small rise, stands the village of Highgate. It has pine-land on three sides, and a swamp on the fourth.
Twelve families were placed here in 1733; nine whereof remain there. A mile eastward of this is Homestead, settled with twelve families also, a little before highest; five of which are still remaining. 18. Six miles southeast of Savannah is Thunderbolt: Three families are settled here, near a small ruinous fort. Four miles south of this is the island of Skidoway: On the northeast point whereof ten families were placed in 1734; (a small fort was built here likewise;) but nine of them are either dead, or removed to other places. A small creek divides Skidoway from Tybee-Island, on the southeast part of which, fronting the inlet, the lighthouse is built. Ten families were settled here in 1734; but they are part dead, and part removed, so that the island is now again without any fixed inhabitant. 19. Twelve miles southward from Savannah (by land) is Mr. Houstoun’s plantation: And forty or fifty miles from him, up Ogeechy river, that where Mr. Sterling for some time lived. Fort Argyle stands twenty miles from this on a high bluff, by the river Ogeechy. It is a small, square, wooden fort, musket proof. Ten freeholders were settled near it; but eight of them are gone, and the land they had cleared, lying waste, will, in a few years, be as it was before. 20. The southernmost settlement in Georgia is Fort St. Andrew. It stands fifty miles south of Frederica, on the southwest side of Cumberland Island, upon a high neck of land, which commands the river both ways.
The walls are of wood, filled up with earth, round which are a ditch and palisade. 21. It is hard to pick out any consistent account of the Georgian Indians from the contradictory relations of their traders. The following is extracted, partly from those wherein all, or the generality of them, agree; partly from the relations of such as have been occasionally amongst them, and have no interest in making them better or worse than they are. 22. Of the Georgian Indians in general it may be observed, that they are not so properly nations, as tribes or clans, who have wandered thither at different times; perhaps expelled their native countries by stronger tribes; but how or when they cannot tell, being none of them able to give any rational account of themselves. They are inured to hardships of all kinds, and surprisingly patient of pain. But as they have no letters, so they have no religion, no laws, no civil government. Nor have they any kings or princes, properly speaking; their meekos, or headmen, having no power either to command or punish, no man obeying them any farther than he pleases. So that every one doeth what is right in his own eyes; and if it appears wrong to his neighbor, the person aggrieved usually steals on the other unawares, and shoots him, scalps him, or cuts off his ears: Having only two short rules of proceeding, — to do what he will, and what he can. 23. They are likewise all, except, perhaps, the Choctaws, gluttons, drunkards, thieves, dissemblers, liars. They are implacable, unmerciful; murderers of fathers, murderers of mothers, murderers of their own children: It being a common thing for a son to shoot his father or mother because they are old and past labor; and for a woman either to procure abortion, or to throw her child into the next river, because she will go with her husband to the war. Indeed, husbands, strictly speaking, they have none; for any man leaves his wife (so called) at pleasure, who frequently, in return, cuts the throats of all the children she has had by him.
Whoredom they account no crime, and few instances appear of a young Indian woman’s refusing any one. Nor have they any fixed punishment for adultery; only, if the husband take his wife with another man, he will do what he can to both, unless speedily pacified by the present of a gun or a blanket. 24. The Choctaws only have some appearance of an entire nation, possessing a large extent of land, eight or nine hundred miles west of Savannah, and many well-inhabited towns. They are said to have six thousand fighting men, united under one head. At present they are in league with the French, who have sent some Priests among them; by whom (if one may credit the Choctaw traders) ten or twelve have been baptized. 25. Next to these, to the northeast, are the Chicasaws. Their country is flat, full of meadows, springs, and rivers. In their fields, though six or seven hundred miles from the sea, are found sea-shells in great numbers.
They have about nine hundred fighting men, ten towns, and one meeko, at least, in every one. They are eminently gluttons, eating, drinking, and smoking all day, and almost all night. They are extremely indolent and lazy, except in war; then they are the most indefatigable, and the most valiant of all the Indians: But they are equally cruel with the rest, torturing and burning all their prisoners, whether Indian or European. 26. East of them, in the latitude of 35° and 36° (about three or four hundred miles from Savannah, lie the Cherokees. Their country is very mountainous, fruitful, and pleasant. They have fifty-two towns, and above three thousand fighting men. In each town are three or more headmen, who keep up a sort of shadow of government, having power to set the rest to work, and to punish such as will not join in the common labor. They are civil to strangers, and will do any thing for them, for pay; being always willing, for a small piece of money, to carry a message for fifty or sixty miles, and, if required, a heavy burden too: But they are equally cruel to prisoners with the Chicasaws, though not equally valiant.
They are seldom intemperate in drinking, but when they can be so in free-cost. Otherwise, love of drink yields to covetousness: A vice scarcely to be found in any Indian but a Cherikee. 27. The Uchees have only one small town left, (near two hundred miles from Savannah,) and about forty fighting men. The Creeks have been many times on the point of cutting them off. They are indeed hated by most, and despised by all the Other nations as well for their cowardice, as their superlative diligence in thieving, and for out-lying all the Indians upon the continent. 28. The Creek Indians are about four hundred miles from Savannah. They are said to be bounded on the west by the Choctaws, to the north by the Chicasaws, to the east by the Cherikees, and to the south by the Alatamahaw river. They have many towns, a plain, well-watered country, and fifteen hundred fighting men. They have often three or four meekos in a town; but without so much as the shadow of authority, only to give advice, which every one is at liberty to take or leave. But age and reputation for valor and wisdom have given Chicali, a meeko of the Coweta-Town, a more than ordinary influence over the nation; though not even the show of regal power. Yet neither age, wisdom, nor reputation, can restrain him from drunkenness. Indeed all the Creeks, having been most conversant with white men, are most infected with insatiate love of drink, as well as other European vices. They are more exquisite dissemblers than the rest of their countrymen. They know not what friendship or gratitude means. They show no inclination to learn any thing; but least of all, Christianity; being full as opinionated of their own parts and wisdom, as either modern Chinese, or ancient Romans. Sat . Dec. 3. — We came to Purrysburg early in the morning, and endeavored to procure a guide to Port-Royal. But none being to he had, we set out without one, an hour before sunrise. After walking two or three hours, we met with an old man, who led us into a small path, near which was a line of blazed trees, (that is, marked by cutting off part of the bark,) by following which, he said, we might easily come to Port Royal in five or six hours.
We were four in all; one of whom intended to go to England with me; the other two to settle in Carolina. About eleven we came into a large swamp, where we wandered about till near two. We then found another blaze, and pursued it, till it divided into two: One of these we followed through an almost impassable thicket, a mile beyond which it ended. We made through the thicket again, and traced the other blaze till that ended too. It now grew toward sunset; so we sat down, faint and weary, having had no food all day, except a gingerbread cake, which I had taken in my pocket. A third of this we had divided among us at noon; another third we took now; the rest we reserved for the morning; but we had met with no water all the day. Thrusting a stick into the ground, and finding the end of it moist, two of our company fell a digging with their hands, and, at about three feet depth, found water. We thanked God, drank, and were refreshed. The night was sharp; however, there was no complaining among us; but after having commended ourselves to God, we lay down close together, and (I at least) slept till near six in the morning. Sun. 4 . — God renewing our strength, we arose neither faint nor weary, and resolved to make one trial more to find out a path to Port-Royal. We steered due east; but finding neither path nor blaze, and the woods growing thicker and thicker, we judged it would be our best course to return, if we could, by the way we came. The day before, in the thickest part of the woods, I had broke many young trees, I knew not why, as we walked along: These we found a great help in several places, where no path was to be seen; and between one and two God brought us safe to Benjamin Arieu’s house, the old man we left the day before.
In the evening I read French prayers to a numerous family, a mile from Arieu’s; one of whom undertook to guide us to Port-Royal. In the morning we set out. About sunset, we asked our guide if he knew where he was; who frankly answered, No. However, we pushed on till, about seven, we came to a plantation, and the next evening (after many difficulties and delays) we landed on Port-Royal Island. Wed. 7 . — We walked to Beaufort; where Mr. Jones, (the Minister of Beaufort,) with whom I lodged during my short stay here, gave me a lively idea of the old English hospitality. On Thursday Mr. Delamotte came; with whom, on Friday, the 9th, I took boat for Charles-Town. After a slow passage, by reason of contrary words, and some conflict (our provisions falling short) with hunger as well as cold, we came thither early in the morning, on Tuesday, the 13th. Here I expected trials of a different kind, and far more dangerous. For contempt and want are easy to be born:
But who can bear respect and abundance? Wed . 14 . — Being desired to read public prayers, I was much refreshed with those glorious promises, contained both in the seventy-second Psalm, and in the First Lesson, the fortieth chapter of Isaiah. Yea, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”
In the afternoon, visiting a dying man, we found him still full of the freshest advises; and busy in settling the affairs of the Czarina, Prince Thamas, and the Ottoman Porte. How natural then is the thought, — Quae cura nitentis Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos. f11 For if a soul quivering on the verge of life has still leisure for these impertinencies, one might almost believe the same dreams would continue even in the sleep of death! Fri. 16 . — I parted from the last of those friends who came with me into America, Mr. Charles Delamotte, from whom I had been but a few days separate since Oct. 14, 1735. Sun. 18. — I was seized with a violent flux, which I felt came not before I wanted it. Yet I had strength enough given to preach once more to this careless people; and a few “believed our report.” Thur . 22 . — I took my leave of America, (though, if it please God, not for ever,) going on board the Samuel, Captain Percy, with a young gentleman who had been a few months in Carolina, one of my parishioners of Savannah, and a Frenchman, late of Purrysburg, who was escaped thence with the skin of his teeth. Sat. 24 . — We sailed over Charles-Town bar, and about noon lost sight of land.
The next day the wind was fair, but high, as it was on Sunday, 25, when the sea affected me more than it had done in the sixteen weeks of our passage to America. I was obliged to lie down the greatest part of the day, being easy only in that posture. Mon. 26 . — I began instructing a Negro lad in the principles of Christianity. The next day I resolved to break off living delicately, and return to my old simplicity of diet; and after I did so, neither my stomach nor my head much complained of the motion of the ship. Wed. 28 . — Finding the unaccountable apprehensions of I know not what danger, (the wind being small, and the sea smooth,) which had been upon me several days, increase, I cried earnestly for help; and it pleased God, as in a moment, to restore peace to my soul.
Let me observe hereon, 1. That not one of these hours ought to pass out of my remembrance, till I attain another manner of spirit, a spirit equally willing to glorify God by life or by death. 2. That whoever is uneasy on any account (bodily pain alone excepted) carries in himself his own conviction, that he is so far an unbeliever. Is he uneasy at the apprehension of death? Then he believeth not, that “to die is gain.” At any of the events of life? Then he hath not a firm belief, that “all things work together for” his “good.”
And if he bring the matter more close, he will always find, beside the general want of faith, every particular uneasiness is evidently owing to the want of some particular Christian temper. Sun . Jan. 1, 1738. — All in the ship (except the Captain and steersman) were present both at the Morning and Evening Service, and appeared as deeply attentive, as even the poor people of Frederica did, while the word of God was new to their ears. And it may be, one or two among these likewise may “bring forth fruit with patience.” Mon. 2 . — Being sorrowful and very heavy, (though I could give no particular reason for it,) and utterly unwilling to speak close to any of my little flock, (about twenty persons,) I was in doubt whether my neglect of them was not one cause of my own heaviness. In the evening, therefore, I began instructing the cabin-boy; after which I was much easier.
I went several times the following days, with a design to speak to the sailors, but could not. I mean, I was quite averse from speaking; I could not see how to make an occasion, and it seemed quite absurd to speak without. Is not this what men commonly mean by, “I could not speak?”
And is this a sufficient cause of silence, or no? Is it a prohibition from the Good Spirit? or a temptation from nature, or the evil one? Fri. 6 . — I ended the “Abridgment of Mr. de Renty’s Life.” O that such a life should be related by such an historian! who, by inserting all, if not more than all, the weak things that holy man ever said or did, by his commendation of almost every action or word which either deserved or needed it not, and by his injudicious manner of relating many others which were indeed highly commendable, has cast the shade of superstition and folly over one of the brightest patterns of heavenly wisdom. Sat. 7 . — I began to read and explain some passages of the Bible to the young Negro. The next morning, another Negro who was on board desired to be a hearer too. From them I went to the poor Frenchman, who, understanding no English, had none else in the ship with whom he could converse. And from this time, I read and explained to him a chapter in the Testament every morning. Sun. 8 . — In the fullness of my heart, I wrote the following words: — “By the most infallible of proofs, inward feeling, I am convinced, “1. Of unbelief; having no such faith in Christ as will prevent my heart from being troubled; which it could not be, if I believed in God, and rightly believed also in him: “2. Of pride, throughout my life past; inasmuch as I thought I had what I find I have not: “3. Of gross irrecollection; inasmuch as in a storm I cry to God every moment; in a calm, not: “4. Of levity and luxuriancy of spirit, recurring whenever the pressure is taken off, and appearing by my speaking words not tending to edify; but most by my manner of speaking of my enemies. “Lord, save, or I perish! Save me, “1. By such a faith as implies peace in life and in death: “2. By such humility, as may till my heart from this hour for ever, with a piercing uninterrupted sense, Nihil est quod hactenus feci; f12 having evidently built without a foundation: “3. By such a recollection as may cry to thee every moment, especially when all is calm: Give me faith, or I die; give me a lowly spirit; otherwise, mihi non sit suave vivere. f13 “4. By steadiness, seriousness, x sobriety of spirit; avoiding, as fire, every word that tendeth not to edifying; and clever speaking of any who oppose me, or sin against God, without all my own sins set in array before my face.”
This morning, after explaining these words of St. Paul, “I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,” I exhorted my fellow-travelers with all my might, to comply with the apostle’s direction. But “leaving them afterwards to themselves,” the seriousness they showed at first soon vanished away.
On Monday, 9, and the following days, I reflected much on that vain desire, which had pursued me for so many years, of being in solitude, in order to be a Christian. I have now, thought I, solitude enough. But am I, therefore, the nearer being a Christian? Not if Jesus Christ be the model of Christianity. I doubt, indeed, I am much nearer that mystery of Satan, which some writers affect to call by that name. So near, that I had probably sunk wholly into it, had not the great mercy of God just now thrown me upon reading St. Cyprian’s works. “O my soul come not thou into their secret!” Stand thou in the good old paths. Fri. 13 . — We had a thorough storm, which obliged us to but all close; the sea breaking over the ship continually. I was at first afraid; but cried to God, and was strengthened. Before ten, I lay down: I bless God, without fear. About midnight we were awakened by a contused noise of seas and wind and men’s voices, the like to which I had never heard before. The sound of the sea breaking, over and against the sides of the ship, I could compare to nothing but large cannon, or America thunder. The rebounding, starting, quivering motion of the ship much resembled what is said of earthquakes. The Captain was upon deck in an instant. But his men could not hear what he said. It blew a proper hurricane; which beginning at southwest, then went west, northwest, north, and, in a quarter of an hour, round by the east to the southwest point again. At the same time the sea running (as they term it) mountain-high, and that from many different points at once, the ship would not obey the helm; nor indeed could the steersman, through the violent rain, see the compass. So he was forced to let her run before the wind, and in half an hour the stress of the storm was over.
About noon the next day it ceased. But first I had resolved, God being my helper, not only to preach it to all, but to apply the word of God to every single soul in the ship; and if but one, yea, if not one of them will hear, I know “my labor is not in vain.”
I no sooner executed this resolution, than my spirit revived; so that from this, day I had no more of that fearfulness and heaviness, which before almost continually weighed me down. I am sensible one who thinks the being in orco, as they phrase it, an indispensable preparative for being a Christian, would say, I had better have continued in that state; and that this unseasonable relief was a curse, not a blessing. Nay, but who art thou, O man, who, in favor of a wretched hypothesis, thus blasphemest the good gift of God? Hath not He himself said, “This also is the gift of God, if a man have power to rejoice in his labor?” Yea, God setteth His own seal to his weak endeavors, while He thus “answereth him in the joy of his heart.” Tues. 24 . — We spoke with two ships, outward-bound, from whom we had the welcome news, of our wanting but one hundred and sixty leagues of the Land’s-end. My mind was now full of thought; part of which I writ down as follows: — “I went to America, to convert the Indians; but O! who shall convert me? who, what is he that will deliver me from this evil heart of unbelief? I have a fair summer religion. I can talk well; nay, and believe myself, while no danger is near: But let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled.
Nor can I say, ‘To die is gain!’ I have a sin of fear, that when I’ve spun My last thread, I shall perish on the shore! “I think, verily, if the Gospel be true, I am safe: For I not only have given, and do give, all my goods to feed the poor; I not only give my body to be burned, drowned, or whatever God shall appoint for me; but I follow after charity, (though not as I ought, yet as I can,) if haply I may attain it. I now believe the Gospel is true. ‘I show my faith by my works,’ by staking my all upon it. I would do so again and again a thousand times, if the choice were still to make. Whoever sees me, sees I would be a Christian.
Therefore ‘are my ways not like other men’s ways.’ Therefore I have been, I am, I am content to be, ‘a by-word, a proverb of reproach.’ But in a storm I think, ‘What if the Gospel be not true? Then thou art of all men most foolish. For what hast thou given thy goods, thy ease, thy friends, thy reputation, thy country, thy life? For what art thou wandering over the face of the earth?’ — A dream, ‘a cunningly-devised fable!’ O! who will deliver me from this fear of death? What shall I do? Where shall I flee from it? Should I fight against it by thinking, or by not thinking of it? A wise man advised me some time since, ‘Be still, and go on.’ Perhaps this is best, to look upon it as my cross; when it comes, to let it humble me, and quicken all my good resolutions, especially that of praying without ceasing; and at other times, to take no thought about it, but quietly to go on ‘in the work of the Lord.’” We went on with a small, fair wind, till Thursday in the afternoon; and then sounding, found a whitish sand at seventy five fathom: But having had no observation for several days, the Captain began to be uneasy, fearing we might either get unawares into the Bristol Channel, or strike in the night on the rocks of Scilly. Sat. 28 . — Was another cloudy day; but about ten in the morning (the wind continuing southerly) the clouds began to fly just contrary to the wind, and, to the surprise of us all, sunk down under the sun, so that at noon we had an exact observation; and by this we found we were as well as we could desire, about eleven leagues south of Scilly. Sun. 29 . — We saw English land once more; which, about noon, appeared to be the Lizard-point. We ran by it with a fair wind; and at noon, the next day, made the west end of the Isle of Wight.
Here the wind turned against us, and in the evening blew fresh, so that we expected (the tide being likewise strong against us) to be driven some leagues backward in the night: But in the morning, to our great surprise, we saw Beachy-head just before us, and found we had gone forwards near forty miles.
Toward evening was a calm; but in the night a strong north wind brought us safe into the Downs. The day before, Mr. Whitefield had sailed out, neither of us then knowing any thing of the other. At four in the morning we took boat, and in half an hour landed at Deal: It being Wednesday, February 1, the anniversary festival in Georgia for Mr. Oglethorpe’s landing there.
It is now two years and almost four months since I left my native country, in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity: But what have I learned myself in the mean time? Why, (what I the least of all suspected,) that I who went to America to convert others, was never myself converted to God. “I am not mad,” though I thus speak; but “I speak the words of truth and soberness;” if haply some of those who still dream may awake, and see, that as I am, so are they.
Are they read in philosophy? So was I. In ancient or modern tongues? So was I also. Are they versed in the science of divinity? I too have studied it many years. Can they talk fluently upon spiritual things? The very same could I do. Are they plenteous in alms? Behold, I gave all my goods to feed the poor. Do they give of their labor as well as of their substance? I have labored more abundantly than they all. Are they willing to suffer for their brethren? I have thrown up my friends, reputation, ease, country; I have put my life in my hand, wandering into strange lands; I have given my body to be devoured by the deep, parched up with heat, consumed by toil and weariness, or whatsoever God should please to bring upon me.
But does all this (be it more or less, it matters not) make me acceptable to God? Does all I ever did or can know, say, give, do, or suffer, justify me in his sight? Yea, or the constant use of all the means of grace? (Which, nevertheless, is meet, right, and our bounden duty.) Or that I know nothing of myself; that I am, as touching outward, moral righteousness blameless? Or (to come closer yet) the having a rational conviction of all the truths of Christianity? Does all this give me a claim to the holy, heavenly, divine character of a Christian? By no means. If the Oracles of God are true, if we are still to abide by “the law and the testimony;” all these things, though, when ennobled by faith in Christ, they are holy and just and good, yet without it are “dung and dross,” meet only to be purged away by “the fire that never shall be quenched.”
This, then, have I learned in the ends of the earth — That I “am fallen short of the glory of God:” That my whole heart is “altogether corrupt and abominable;” and, consequently, my whole life; (seeing it cannot be, that an “evil tree” should “bring forth good fruit:”) That “alienated” as I am from the life of God,” I am “a child of wrath”, an heir of hell: That my own works, my own sufferings, my own righteousness, are so far from reconciling me to an offended God, so far from making any atonement for the least of those sins, which “are more in number than the hairs of my head,” that the most specious of them need an atonement themselves, or they cannot abide his righteous Judgment; that “having the sentence of death” in my heart, and having nothing in or of myself to plead, I have no hope, but that of being justified freely, “through the redemption that is in Jesus:” I have no hope, but that if I seek I shall find Christ, and “be found in him not having my own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” ( Philippians 3:9.)
If it be said, that I have faith, (for many such things have I heard, from many miserable comforters,) I answer, So have the devils, — a sort of faith; but still they are strangers to the covenant of promise. So the apostles had even at Cana in Galilee, when Jesus first “manifested forth his glory;” even then they, in a sort, “believed on him;” but they had not then “the faith that overcometh the world.” The faith I want is, “a sure trust and confidence in God, that, through the merits of Christ, my sins are forgiven, and I reconciled to the favor of God.” I want that faith which St. Paul recommends to all the world, especially in his Epistle to the Romans:
That faith which enables every one that hath it to cry out, “I live not; but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I want that faith which none can have without knowing that he hath it; (though many imagine they have it, who have it not;) for whosoever hath it, is “freed from sin, the” whole “body of sin is destroyed” in him: He is freed from fear, “having, peace with God through Christ, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.”
And he is freed from doubt, “having the love of God shed abroad in his heart, through the Holy Ghost which is given unto him;” which “Spirit itself beareth witness with his spirit, that he is a child of God.”