Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL FROM JUNE 17, 1758, TO MAY 5, 1760.
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———— Saturday, JUNE 17. — I met Thomas Walsh once more in Limerick, alive, and but just alive. Three of the best Physicians in these parts have attended him, and all agree that it is a lost case; that by violent straining of his voice, added to frequent colds, he has contracted a pulmonary consumption, which is now in the last stage, and consequently beyond the reach of any human help. O what a man, to, be snatched away in the strength of his years! Surely Thy judgments are a great deep! Wed . 21. — Our little Conference began, at which fourteen Preachers were present. We settled all things here, which we judged would be of use to the Preachers or the societies, and consulted how to remove whatever might be an hindrance to the work of God. Fri. 23. — I rode over to Court Mattress, a colony of Germans, whose parents came out of the Palatinate, about fifty years ago. Twenty families of them settled here; twenty more at Killiheen, a mile off; fifty at Balligarane, about two miles eastward, and twenty at Pallas, four miles farther. Each family had a few acres of ground, on which they built as many little houses. They are since considerably increased in number of souls, though decreased in number of families. Having no Minister, they were become eminent for drunkenness, cursing, swearing, and an utter neglect of religion. But they are washed since they heard and received the truth which is able to save their souls. An oath is now rarely heard among them, or a drunkard seen in their borders. Court Mattress is built in the form of a square, in the middle of which they have placed a pretty large preaching-house: But it would not contain one half of the congregation; so I stood in a large yard. The wind kept off the rain while I was preaching.
As soon as I ended, it began. Sun. 25. — About six I preached in the island in a square, green enclosure, which was formerly Oliver Cromwell’s camp. I have not seen such a congregation since we left London. To how much better purpose is this ground employed than it was in the last century! Thur . 29. — I rode to Clare, and at six preached in the street to many poor Papists, and rich Protestants, almost all the gentry in the country being assembled together. Thence I went on to Ennis, and at ten the next morning had another genteel congregation in the Court House. In Ennis, many suppose there are not less than fifty Papists to one Protestant.
They would have been very ready to show their goodwill; but the sight of Mr. B—— kept them in awe. A report, however, was spread of some terrible things they were to do in the evening; and many were surprised to observe, that more than nine in ten of the congregation were Papists: But none spoke an unkind or uncivil word, either while I preached or after I had done.
How unspeakable is the advantage, in point of common sense, which middling people have over the rich! There is so much paint and affectation, so many unmeaning words and senseless customs among people of rank, as fully justify the remark made seventeen hundred years ago, Rarus enim ferme sensus communis in illa Fortuna. Sun. JULY 2. — I preached in the island near Limerick, both morning and evening, standing on the side of a large hollow, adjoining to the old camp.
The ground on the sides of it sloped upward, so that the people sat on the grass, row above row. Such an amphitheater I never saw before, in which thousands of hearers were so commodiously placed; and they seemed earnestly to attend to our Lord’s invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready!”
I did not then observe that I strained myself; but in the morning I was extremely hoarse. This increased all day, together with a load and stoppage in my breast. On Tuesday morning I began spitting blood, found a pain in my left side, a sensible decay of strength, and a deep wheezing cough, just the symptoms which I had some years since. I immediately applied a brimstone plaster to my side, and used a linctus of roasted lemon and honey. Wednesday , 5. My side was quite easy, and my hoarseness much abated: So in the evening 1 made shift to preach again, though not without difficulty. I had purposed preaching the next day at Shronill, about twenty-four English miles from Limerick; and at Clonmell, about the same distance from Shronill; but perceiving my strength would not suffice, and yielding to the advice of my friends, I rested another day. Thur . 6. — The news of Prince Berdinand’s victory had half turned the heads of most of the Protestants, till, they were brought to themselves by news of another kind, which ran through the city as in an instant. One who was well known therein, a great curser, and blasphemer, and eminently “without God in the world,” went a fishing a little way from his own door, and stood, with his angling rod on the edge of the water. Many were looking on when, his foot slipping, he fell forward and sunk. As help was at hand, he was soon drawn out; but it was too late; there were no remains of life; his soul was gone to give its account. Fri . 7. — I rode in a chaise to Charleville, and thence on an easy horse to Cork. James Massiot died in peace the morning before; so I was just in time to perform the last office for him. Sat . 8. — The congregation was large, but my voice was so weak that many could not hear. Sunday , 9. After the burial of James Massiot, I preached to a multitude of people, on, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord;” and the longer I spoke, the more my voice was strengthened. Tues . 11. — I rode with James Morgan to Bandon, and preached in the market-house to a listening multitude. Wednesday, 12. I read over the “Analysis of Lord Bolingbroke’s Works.” Surely never did any man so flatly contradict and so fully answer himself. Thursday , 13. About noon I preached m the Exchange at Kinsale. The townsfolks “care for none of these things.” But we had a large congregation of soldiers, many of whom are good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
In the evening I preached in the main street at Bandon. Having now need of all my voice, it was given me again; only with a little pain in my side, which ceased while I was speaking. Sat. 15. — I preached about noon at Innishannon, and returned to Bandon.
A fortnight since they laid the foundation of their preaching-house: This evening I preached in the shell of it; but it would not contain the congregation. Truly these are “swift to hear,” though not “slow to speak.” Sun. 16. — I preached again in the shell of the House at eight, and in the main street at six in the evening. Observing many of the French officers there, I could not but pray for them in particular. Some of them were deeply attentive. Perhaps it was not for nothing that God brought them into a strange land. Mon . 17. — I returned to Cork. Wednesday , 19. I began speaking severally to the members of the society. Many of them, I found, were truly alive to God. Old misunderstandings were removed. And I had the satisfaction of seeing them so united together as they had not been for many years. Fri. 21. — I met with a Tract which utterly confounded all my philosophy: I had long believed that microscopic animals were generated like all other animals, by parents of the same species; but Mr. Needham makes it highly probable that they constitute a peculiar class of animals, differing from all others in this, that they neither are generated or generate, nor subsist by food, in the ordinary way. Tues . 25. — In the evening I assisted the society in renewing their covenant with God. It was to many a season of great refreshment, and the fear of God was upon all. Sun. 30. — I began meeting the children in the afternoon. though with little hopes of doing them good. But I had not spoke long on our natural state before many of them were in tears, and five or six so affected that they could not refrain from crying aloud to God. When I began to pray, their cries increased, so that my voice was soon lost. I have seen no such work among children for eighteen or nineteen years. Mon. 31. — I finished the Glasgow “Abridgment of Mr. Hutchinson’s Works.” He was doubtless a man of uncommon understanding, and indefatigable application. Yet the more I consider it, the less can I subscribe to his system either of divinity or philosophy: As I am more and more convinced, that they have no foundation in Scripture or sound reason. Tues. AUGUST 1. — The Captain with whom we were to sail was in great haste to have our things on board; but I would not send them while the wind was against us. On Wednesday, he sent message after message: So in the evening we went down to the ship near Passage; but there was nothing ready or near ready for sailing. Hence I learned two or three rules, very needful for those who sail between England and Ireland: 1. Never pay till you set sail: 2. Go not on board till the Captain goes on board: 3. Send not your baggage on board till you go yourself. Thur . 3. — (I returned to Cork. On Saturday, 5, we were called on board in all haste: But the Captain being in no haste to sail, I preached at Cork again on Sunday, at five, and then returned to Passage. He now said he would fall down to Cove directly: So we took boat and went down thither; but no Captain appeared either this day or the next. So, that I might not lie idle, I went down to the beach, and began preaching to as wild, unpromising a congregation, as ever I saw in this kingdom. However, they performed more than they promised; for they grew more and more quiet and attentive; and some of them appeared to be deeply affected. Mon. 7. — Hearing nothing of our Captain yet, in the afternoon I went to the middle of the town. Abundance of people ran together; hut they were far too wild and noisy to admit of my giving out a psalm, or naming a text, in the usual way; so I fell abruptly upon as many as could hear, in a free and familiar manner. In a few minutes the whole body were quiet, and tolerably attentive. They were more and more serious, till I concluded with a hymn and a short prayer.
Immediately after preaching, I was sent for to a gentleman who was struck with the palsy. I found the house full of his friends and relations, to whom I spoke freely and largely. They seemed to be more than ordinarily affected. Perhaps for this also we were detained at Cove. Tues. 8. — I preached not far from the beach, to a very decent and serious congregation. Presently after, a vessel sailed by, bound for Wales. We went on board without delay, got out of the harbor by eleven, and by Wednesday noon were abreast of the Isle of Lundy. But we had not yet done our work; for the wind fell, and we did not get into the river till near sunset. Observing three or four sailors standing together, I began explaining to them the nature of religion. In a few minutes all within the ship came together; and without the ceremony of naming a text, I enlarged on, “The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” About eleven we landed at Penklawr, and in the morning rode to Swansea. Thur. 10. — We rode through a pleasant country to Pile. We were setting out from thence when a violent shower drove as into the house again, and constrained us to talk with two or three travelers. I believe our labor was not lost; for they appeared to be greatly affected. I preached at Cardiff in the evening and the next morning. We reached the New Passage about noon. But they did not tell us till half hour after five, that the boat would not pass that night. With much difficulty I procured a small boat to carry us over, leaving our horses behind. Landing soon after six, we walked on, and between nine and ten came to Bristol.
Here I met with a trial of another kind: But this also shall be for good. On the following days was our yearly Conference, begun and ended in perfect harmony. Thursday, 17. I went to the cathedral to hear Mr. Handel’s “Messiah.” I doubt if that congregation was ever so serious at a sermon as they were during this performance. In many parts, especially several of the choruses, it exceeded my expectation.
Having promised to take a little journey into Wales, on Monday, 21, I set out with Joseph Jones. We were in the boat before nine, but did not land our horses till a quarter before three. However, I reached Cardiff time enough to preach in the Room, though not in the Castle. Tues. 22. — I gathered up, as well as I could, the fragments of the society.
At six in the evening I preached in the Castle. Wednesday , 23. We rode to Fonmon. The behavior of Mr. Jones surprised me: It seemed as if he inherited the spirit of his father. I preached at seven to a deeply serious congregation, and to a good part of them at five in the morning. Thur . 24. — I wrote a second letter to Dr. Free, the warmest opponent I have had for many years. I leave him now to laugh, and scold, and witticise, and call names just as he pleases; for I have done. Fri . 20. — I rode to Cowbridge, and preached at three in the afternoon, in the new assembly room. I observed no trifler there, though there were several of the better rank. About six I preached in a green conrt at Lanmais, to a company of right, old, simple Christians. I could not get from them so soon as I designed; so that we did not reach Fonmon till near nine. Sat . 26. — One undertook to guide me the nearest way into the main road.
But in five or six miles he lost his way, so that for some time we wandered upon the mountains. About noon, however, we got into the road, and an hour and half after to Pile. Before we left it, I spoke a few words to the woman of the house. She seemed quite struck. How few words suffice, when God applies them to the heart!
I knew not where to go at Neath; but as we entered the town, a man fixed his eyes upon me, (though he had never seen me before,) and said, “Sir, that is the house where the Preachers put up their horses.” I had been there only a few minutes, when another came in and said, “Sir, Mrs. Morgan expects you. I will show you the way.” To Mr. Morgan’s we went, and were as cordially received as if she had known us twenty years.
It was market day; so I preached about five in the Room, a large, commodious place. I believe most that were present (several of whom were backsliders) felt that God was there. Sun. 27. — We reached Swansea at seven, and were met by one who conducted us to his house, and thence to a kind of castle, in which was a green court, surrounded by high old walls. A large congregation assembled soon, and behaved with the utmost decency. A very uncommon blessing was among them, as uses to be among them that are simple of heart.
The congregation was considerably more than doubled at five in the afternoon. Many gay and well dressed persons were among them; but they were as serious as the poorest. Peter Jacob, who was driven to us by contrary winds, was agreeably surprised at them. Mon . 28. — I scarce ever saw such a rain in Europe as we had for considerable part of this morning. In one of the main streets the water ran with a stream capable of turning a mill. However, having appointed to preach at noon, in Newton, about six miles from Swansea, I was determined not to break my word, though I supposed but few would attend: But I was mistaken; such a number of people came together as no house in the town could contain. A barn was soon prepared; and it pleased God to send a gracious rain upon their hearts.
After preaching at Swansea in the evening I met those who desired to join in a society, and explained to them the nature and design of it; with which they were quite unacquainted. Tues. 29. — I rode back to Neath, in order to put the society there (an unlicked mass) into some form. This on Saturday they had begged me to do; but they seemed now to have quite forgotten it. Mr. Evans, the Presbyterian Minister, had turned them upside down. They looked as if they had never seen me before; all but five or six, who were much ashamed of their brethren. Wed . 30. — I rode on to Margam. There used to be preaching here, till Lord Mansell, dying, without children, left the estate to Mr. Talbot. He forbad all his tenants to receive the Preachers, and so effectuatly put a stop to it. But he did not glory in it long. A few months after, God called him home.
At noon I preached again in the assembly room at Cowbridge: In the Castle, at Cardiff, in the evening. Thursday, 31. I talked with several of the people, and found the old spirit swiftly reviving. In the evening I preached in the Town Hall. Several eminent sinners were present: And God was present in an uncommon manner; as also at the meeting of the society. Fri. SEPTEMBER 1. — After a busy and comfortable day, I preached once more in the Castle. The word seemed to sink deep into the hearers, though many of them were of the genteeler sort. In the society we were much refreshed. Many followed me to Thomas Gl — ‘s house; where two or three were cut to the heart, particularly both his daughters, and cried to God with strong cries and tears. Sat. 2. — We rode to the New Passage, crossed over in half an hour, and about five came to Bristol. Sat . 9. — I wrote the account of an extraordinary monument of divine mercy, — Nathaniel Othen, who was shot for desertion at Dover Castle, in October, 1757. In the following week I met Mr. Fletcher, and the other Preachers that were in the house, and spent a considerable time in close conversation on the head of Christian Perfection. I afterwards wrote down the general propositions wherein we all agreed. Thur . 14. — I rode to Coleford, and was much refreshed among the simple, zealous colliers. Saturday, 16. In the evening I preached at Bradford, as also at five and eight on Sunday morning. At two, as soon as we were in the House at Freshford, it poured down with rain; so that, after as many as could had crowded in, the rest were constrained to go away.
But the rain ceased as soon as we took horse, and we had a pleasant ride to Bristol. Wed. 20. — I rode over to Bath; but the Room would ill contain the congregation: So I encouraged them in their design of taking a piece of ground, and building without delay. In the evening I preached at Shepton; and several of the rich and honorable took it into their mind to come. But they came too late; for the House was already thoroughly filled with the poor. Thursday , 21. As we rode homeward, we saw a sight indeed, — a woman in the extremity of pain, rotting away piece meal by the King’s evil, full of sores from head to foot, with several of her bones appearing through the skin, and continually praising God with tears of joy, for “dealing so mercifully” with her. Sun . 24. — The famous Roger Balls had planted himself in Stoke’s Croft before I came. However, as there was a large congregation, I did not think it right to leave them to him, but began as usual, and preached till near six o’clock, without paying any regard to him. Sun. OCTOBER 1. — I took my leave of the congregation and of the children in Kingswood; and God gave us a parting blessing. Monday , 2. I preached at Bradford, (noon and night,) and met the stewards of the Wiltshire and Somersetshire societies. In the evening I baptized a young woman, deeply convinced of sin. We all found the power of God was present to heal, and she herself felt what she had not words to express. Tues. 3. — One of Warminster who was at Bristol last week had desired me to call at his house. I did so this morning, and preached in his yard, to a numerous congregation of saints and sinners, rich and poor, Churchmen, Quakers, and Presbyterians, both of the old and new way. Some disturbance was expected, but there was none. The whole assembly behaved well; and instead of curses or stones, we had many blessings as we rode through the town for Salisbury. Wednesday , 4. I rested there. Thursday, 5. I rode by Redbridge and Fareham to Portsmouth; where at seven I preached in Mr. Whitefield’s Tabernacle to a small, serious congregation. Fri. 6. — I designed to go in a ferry to the Isle of Wight; but the watermen were so extravagant in their demands, that I changed my mind, and went in the hoy: And it was well I did; for the sea was so high, it would not have been easy for a small boat to keep above water. We landed at two, and walked on, five little miles, to Newport. The neighboring camp had filled the town with soldiers, the most abandoned wretches whom I ever yet saw. Their whole glorying was in cursing, swearing, drunkenness, and lewdness. How gracious is God, that he does not yet send these monsters to their own place!
At five I preached in the corn market, and at six in the morning. A few even of the soldiers attended. One of these, Benjamin Lawrence, walked with us to Wotton Bridge; where we intended to take boat. He was in St. Philip’s Fort during the whole siege, concerning which I asked him many questions. He said, 1. “Abundance of cattle was left in the fields, till the French (long expected) came and took them. 2. Abundance of wine was left in the town, even more than the French could use; and there was not enough in the Castle even for the sick men. 3. A large, strong, stone house was left standing, within a small distance of the Fort. Behind this the French often formed themselves, particularly before the last assault. 4. This might easily be accounted for. We had few Officers of any experience; and the Governor never came out of his house. 5. The French made two general assaults, and were repulsed; and many blown up by our mines. But the mines having never been looked after till just when we wanted them, most of them were utterly useless; so that only two, out of threescore, did any execution. 6. In their third assault (which they were very hardly persuaded to make) Captain——, who commanded the guard of an hundred men at the Sally Port, ran away before he was attacked; and his men, having none to command them, went after. I was left alone, till I retired also; and the French, having none to oppose them, came in. 7. In the morning our men were mad to drive them out, and would have done it in an hour; but that they were told the Fort was given up, and ordered to cease firing. 8. We had, at the approach of the enemy, three thousand eight hundred and thirty three effective men; and we had very near as many when we surrendered, with plenty of provision and ammunition.” O human justice! One great man is shot, and another is made a Lord!
We hired a small fisher boat at Wotton Bridge, there being scarce any wind. But it increased more and more when we were on the sea, which was seven miles over. Our cock boat danced on the waves, and must have sunk, if one large wave had come over her: But God suffered it not. We landed in two hours, and walked away to Gosport. Sun . 8. — The wind and rain drove us into the Tabernacle. In the afternoon I preached in the main street at Fareham. A wild multitude was present; yet a few only mocked: The greater part were soon deeply attentive. Mon. 9. — I set out for Sussex, and in the evening reached Rottingdean, a village four miles east of Brighthelmstone. The next day we rode over the Downs to Rye, lying on the top of a round fruitful hill. I preached at seven to a crowded audience, with great enlargement of spirit. Wed. 11. — I rode to Rolvenden, about ten miles from Rye, and preached at five to a large, serious congregation. A few drunkards stood in the road at some distance, and took some pains to divert their attention; but it was labor lost. Thur . 12. — It was a rainy morning, so that the House contained the congregation. Many of them were in tears, being deeply convinced that they were as yet “without God in the world.” About one I preached at Northjam. The House was stowed as full as possible, but still many were constrained to stand without, though it rained much. About five in the evening I preached again at Rye. Fri. 13. — In the evening we had a solemn season. After I had concluded my sermon, I read over the Rules of the Society in the open congregation.
The number of those who came at five in the morning showed that God had touched many hearts. On Saturday evening many were obliged to stand without, though the wind was high and extremely cold. Sun. 15. — After preaching at eight I rode again to Northjam, and preached in Mr. Stonestreet’s orchard, to far the largest congregation I have seen in Sussex. One of Rye, in our return thither, gave us a remarkable account: “Mr.——, one most eminent for profaneness, drunkenness, and all manner of wickedness, when you met the society on Thursday evening at your lodgings, was curious to listen at the window. The next day he surprised his company by crying out, ‘I am the greatest sinner on the whole earth.’
On Friday evening he was wounded more deeply still, and was at the preaching at five in the morning.” Surely thus far God has helped him; but, a thousand to one, he will “return as a dog to his vomit.” Mon . 16. — I rode to Canterbury. As we came into the city, a stone dew out of the pavement and struck my mare upon the leg with such violence that she dropped down at once. I kept my seat, till, in struggling to arise, she fell again and rolled over me. When she arose, I endeavored to rise too, but found I had no use of my right leg or thigh. But an honest barber came out, lifted me up, and hell led me into his shop. Feeling myself very sick, I desired a g ass of cold water, which instantly gave me ease. Tues. 17. — I found reason to rejoice over this little flock, now free from all divisions and offenses. And on Saturday I cheerfully returned to London, after an absence of near eight months.
Here I rested four days; and, on Wednesday , 25, went partly by coach, partly on horseback, to Malden. Friday, 27. I rode on, through an extremely pleasant and fruitful country, to Colchester. I have seen very few such towns in England. It lies on the ridge of an hill, with other hills on each side which run parallel with it, at a small distance. The two main streets, one running east and west, the other north and south, are quite straight, the whole length of the town, and full as broad as Cheapside.
I preached at four on St. John’s Green, at the side of an high old wall, (a place that seemed to be made on purpose,) to an extremely attentive audience; and again at eight in the morning, on Saturday, 28, and at four in the afternoon. In the hours between I took the opportunity of speaking to the members of the society. In three months here are joined together an hundred and twenty persons. A few of these know in whom they have believed, and many are sensible of their wants. Sun. 29. — At eight the congregation was very large; and I believe God made his word quick and powerful. At four in the afternoon we had a Moorfields congregation. Many of the baser sort stood at a distance; but they made no disturbance, knowing the Magistrates are determined to suffer no riot at Colchester. Mon. 30. — Though I was not quite recovered from the lameness occasioned by the fall of my horse, I made shift to ride to Norwich, where, on the following days, I had the satisfaction to observe that the society had not lessened, (as I had feared,) but rather increased, since I left them.
And there is a probability they will increase still, as they are far more established in grace. Fri. NOVEMBER 3. — James Wheatley called upon me, and offered me the Tabernacle. But whether to accept the offer, or not, I cannot tell: This must be maturely considered. I found all this week great liberty of spirit; and the congregations were large and attentive. It seems the time is come when our labor even at Norwich will not be in vain. Sun . 5. — We went to St. Peter’s church, the Lord’s Supper being administered there. I scarce ever remember to have seen a more beautiful parish church: The more so, because its beauty results not from foreign ornaments, but from the very form and structure of it. It is very large, and of an uncommon height, and the sides are almost all window; so that it has an awful and venerable look, and, at the same time, surprisingly cheerful. Mon . 6. — A large congregation attended, between four and five in the morning. I set out at six with much comfort, leaving a settled and well-united society. I preached at Kenninghall about ten, and at Lakenheath in the evening. After resting a day, on Wednesday, 8, went on an hard day’s journey to Bedford.
I had designed to spend two evenings here; but Mr. Parker informing me that Mr. Berridge desired I would come to him as soon as possible, I set out for Everton on Thursday , 9. I found Mr. B. just taking horse, with whom I rode on, and in the evening preached at Wrestlingworth, in a large church, well filled with serious hearers.
We lodged at Mr. Hickes’s, the Vicar, a witness of the faith which once he persecuted. The next morning I preached in his church again. In the middle of the sermon, a woman before me dropped down as dead, as one had done the night before. In a short time she came to herself, and remained deeply sensible of her want of Christ.
Hence we rode to Mr. Berridge’s at Everton. For many years he was seeking to be justified by his works: But a few months ago, he was thoroughly convinced, that “by grace” we “are saved through faith.”
Immediately he began to proclaim aloud the redemption that is in Jesus; and God confirmed his own word exactly as he did at Bristol, in the beginning, by working repentance and faith in the hearers, and with the same violent outward symptoms.
I preached at six in the evening and five in the morning, and some were struck, just as at Wrestlingworth. One of these was brought into the house, with whom we spent a considerable time in prayer. I then hastened forward, and a little before it was dark reached the Foundery. Sun. 26. — I was well pleased to have some conversation with Mrs. A— —t, lately come from Barbadoes. She gave me an account of her poor husband; (first a red hot Predestinarian, talking of God’s “blowing whole worlds to hell,” then a Quaker, now a Deist;) as also of the narrow escape which Mr. H. lately had: — “Ten Negroes broke into his house; one of whom was upon the point of cutting his throat, when E. R. knocked him down with a pewter pot; which put the rest into such confusion, that she had time to secure herself and her children, and Mr. H. to leap out of a balcony.” Wed. 29. — I rode to Wandsworth, and baptized two Negroes belonging to Mr. Gilbert, a gentleman lately come from Antigua. One of these is deeply convinced of sin; the other rejoices in God her Savior, and is the first African Christian I have known. But shall not our Lord, in due time, have these Heathens also “for his inheritance?” Mon. DECEMBER 4. — I was desired to step into the little church behind the Mansion House, commonly called St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. It is nothing grand; but neat and elegant beyond expression. So that I do not wonder at the speech of the famous Italian architect, who met Lord Burlington in Italy: “My Lord, go back and see St. Stephen’s in London.
We have not so fine a piece of architecture in Rome.” Fri . 8. — Poor Mr. Goudicheau called upon me, formerly a Romish Priest, now ready to perish for want of bread, though of an unblemished character. Can any one wonder that we have not many converts from the Church of Rome? Mon. 11. — Most of this week I spent in preparing materials for “A Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation;” or, a full, plain, and correct system of Natural Philosophy. Mon. 18. — I rode to Everton. The church was well filled soon after six in the evening. God gave me great liberty of speech, and applied his word to the hearts of the hearers; many of whom were not able to contain themselves, but cried aloud for mercy. Tues. 19. — I rode on to Lakenheath. How surprising a providence has been over this little village! Forty years ago a poor man lived here who walked with God, and was the means of awakening a few others. When these were nearly extinct, Charles Skelton came, awakened a few more, and forsook them. A year ago, one of Lakenheath, seeing me pass through Thetford, desired me to come and preach there. I did so; and occasionally mentioned to them Mr. Madan, then at Thetford. They went over, and invited him to Lakenheath, where, soon after, he preached in the church.
The Rector desired he would help him to a Curate: So now they have one that both preaches and lives the Gospel. Wed . 20. — I rode to Norwich. James Wheatley now repeated his offer of the Tabernacle. But I was in no haste. I wanted to consult my friends, and consider the thing thoroughly. One glaring objection to it was, “The congregation there will not hear me.” He replied, “Sir, you cannot tell that, unless you will make the trial.” I consented so to do, on Thursday , 21. But many declared, “No, he shall never come into that pulpit;” and planted themselves in the way to prevent it. Hitherto only could they go. I went up and preached to a large congregation, without any let or hindrance. I preached there again on Saturday evening; and again God stopped the mouths of the lions. Sunday , 24. I preached in the Tabernacle at eight, to a very serious congregation, and at the Foundery between four and five.
About six the Tabernacle was thoroughly filled, and mostly with quiet hearers. I saw none who behaved amiss, but two soldiers, who struck some that desired them to be silent. But they were seized and carried to the Commanding Officer, who ordered them to be soundly whipped. Mon. 25. — Our service began in the Foundery at four; in the Tabernacle at eight. God was now especially pleased to make bare his arm. There was a great cry among the people. Stony hearts were broke; many mourners comforted; many believers strengthened. Prejudice vanished away: A few only kept their fierceness till the afternoon. One of these, still vehemently angry, planted himself just over against me. But before I concluded, he cried out, “I am overcome! I am overcome!”
Having now weighed the matter thoroughly, I yielded to the importunity of our brethren. So in the evening the copy of the lease was perfected, which was executed the next morning. A whole train of providences so plainly concurred thereto, that all might clearly see the hand of God. Tues. 26. — I took my leave of Norwich for the present; about noon preached at Kenninghall; and in the evening came to Lakenheath. Being informed some of the Gentry in the town were very desirous to hear me preach if I would preach in the church, I sent them word, I had designed to be at Colchester the next day; but, as they desired it, I would delay my journey, and preach at ten the next morning. Wed. 27. — I was so much out of order that I knew not how I should get to church. Between nine and ten I was informed that some hot men in the parish would not consent to my preaching there. I saw the hand of God, and was thankful, having now a little more time to rest. In the afternoon the sun broke out through the fog, and we had a pleasant ride to Bury; but I was so extremely sick, soon after I came in, that I knew not how I should be able to preach. An hour’s sleep, however, refreshed me much; so that I found no want of strength in preaching. Indeed my disorder increased during the night: But while I was preaching in the morning, I felt myself well; and I found no more sickness or complaint of any kind. In the evening I reached Colchester. Fri. 29. — I found the society had decreased since L—— C—— went away; and yet they had handful as good Preachers. But that is not sufficient: By repeated experiments we learn, that though a man preach like an angel, he will neither collect, nor preserve a society which is collected, without visiting them from house to house.
Today I walked all over the famous Castle, perhaps the most ancient building in England. A considerable part of it is, without question, fourteen or fifteen hundred years old. It was mostly built with Roman bricks, each of which is about two inches thick, seven broad, and thirteen or fourteen long. Seat of ancient Kings, British and Roman, once dreaded far and near!
A little pomp, a little sway, A sun beam in a winter’s day, Is all the great and mighty have Between the cradle and the grave ! Sat . 30. — I returned to London, and received a pressing letter from Bristol; in consequence of which, I took horse on Monday morning, JANUARY 1, 1759, and came thither the next evening. After resting two days (only preaching morning and evening) I examined severally the members of the society. This was one great end of my coming down.
Another was, to provide for the poor. Accordingly, on Sunday, 7, I preached a sermon for them, to which God was pleased to give his blessing; so that the collection was a great deal more than double of what it used to be. Wed. 10. — Having finished my work at Bristol, I rode to Salisbury, and advised our brethren concerning the preaching-house which they are about to build. On Friday, 12, I went on to Whitchurch, and preached at one to a large and serious congregation. In the afternoon we rode to Basingstoke, where the people put me in mind of the wild beasts at Ephesus. Yet they were unusually attentive in the evening, although many of them could not hear. Saturday, 13. After preach into, to a small serious company, I went on to London. Sat. 27. — I began reading, with huge expectation, a Tract, wrote by a son in law of the great Bengelius, Mr. Oetinger, De Sensu Communi et Ratione. 24 But how was I disappointed! So obscure a writer I scarce ever saw before: I think he goes beyond Persius himself. When I had with huge labor read fifty or sixty pages, finding the sense did by no means make amends for the time and pains bestowed in searching it out, I took my leave of him for ever. Sat. FEBRUARY 3. — I spent an hour with one who, by the loss of his sight, his fortune, and his liberty, (for he has been a prisoner some time,) is likely to gain more than all the world can give. Tues. 6. — I took much pains to convince Mr. S——n that he was not the wisest man in the world; but I could not change the Ethiopian’s skin: Yet even this is not too hard for God. Fri . 9. — I felt suddenly as if a needle had been run into the side of my face. I supposed it would be well by the morning, but found it abundantly worse, the tonsil being come down, (as they term it,) and the side of my face much swelled. It grew worse all day, so that it was with great difficulty I preached at Snowsfields in the evening; but on Sunday, 11, it went away as unaccountably as it came. In the afternoon I called on E. H., in St. George’s Hospital. Many there had been greatly prejudiced against me; but it was now vanished away Her behavior had reconciled them quite; and all in the ward (sixty or seventy persons) seemed hardly to breathe all the time I was speaking and praying by her bedside. Tues . 13. — I preached at Deptford and Welling, and in the morning rode to Wandsworth. I preached, Wednesday and Thursday evening, in the town; in the mornings at Mr. Gilbert’s. Will this barren tree bear fruit at last? How long has God had patience with it! Fri. 16. — Being the Public Fast, I preached at five in Wandswrorth; at nine and three in the church at Spitalfields; and at half hour past eight in the Foundery. Every place of public worship was crowded on this, as on the two preceding fast days. And, it is plain, even outward humiliation has been a means of outward blessings. Fri . 23. — I saw a surprising spectacle: One who by a blow first lost her nose, then one eye, and then the other, with most of the roof of her mouth; and yet, instead of murmuring, acknowledges the love of God in all, and praises him continually. Tues. 27. — I walked with my brother and Mr. Maxfield to L—— H—— ’s. After breakfast, came in Mr. Whitefield, Madan, Romaine, Jones, Downing, and Venn, with some persons of quality, and a few others. Mr. Whitefield, I found, was to have administered the sacrament; but he insisted upon my doing it: After which, at the request of L—— H——, I preached on 1 Corinthians 13. O what are the greatest men, to the great God! As the small dust of the balance. Thur .MARCH 1. — I reached Everton about four in the afternoon; but Mr. Berridge did not expect me till the next day; so he thought it best I should preach in his house. The next evening the church was well filled; and my mouth was filled with arguments, which I trust God applied for the conviction of some, and the consolation of others. Sat. 3. — We had a mild, delightful day, and a pleasant ride to Colchester.
In the evening, and on Sunday morning, the House contained the congregation tolerably well; but in the afternoon I was obliged to go out; and I suppose we had on St. John’s Green five or six times as many as the Room would contain. Such is the advantage of field preaching. Mon . 5. — On examining the society I found, that out of the hundred and twenty six members I had left in October, we had lost only twelve; in the place of whom we have gained forty: And many of these, whom we left in sorrow and heaviness, are now rejoicing in God their Savior. Tues. 6. — I rode to Norwich. Wednesday, 7. I inquired into the state of affairs at the Tabernacle, and found the society, once consisting of many hundred members, was moldered into nothing. Of the fifteen or sixteen hundred subscribers, not twenty, not one, was left; but every one that pleased went into the galleries without any questions asked. So that everything was to be wrought out of the ore, or rather out of the cinders.
Surely whatever help is done here, God must do it himself.
In the evening I desired that those who were willing to join in a society would speak with me the next evening. About twenty did so; but the greater part of these appeared like frighted sheep: And no marvel, when they had been so long accustomed to hear all manner of evil of me. Fri. 9. — I preached morning and evening at the Foundery. How pleasing would it be to flesh and blood, to remain in this little quiet place, where we have at length weathered the storm! Nay, I am not to consult my own ease, but the advancing the kingdom of God.
On Saturday and Sunday about forty more gave in their names. On Sunday, in the afternoon, I met the society, after ordering the doors to be shut, which they had not been for two years before. Thirty or forty more spoke to me on Monday. I think two thirds of those I have yet seen have had a clear sense of God’s pardoning love. Doth he not “send by whom he will send?” Sun . 18. — I administered the Lord’s Supper to near two hundred communicants: So solemn a season I never remember to have known in the city of Norwich. As a considerable part of them were Dissenters, I desired every one to use what posture he judged best. Had I required them to kneel, probably half would have sat. Now all but one kneeled down.
Finding it was needful to see them once more at Colchester, I took horse between four and five in the morning. The frost was extremely sharp for some hours; it was then a fair, mild day. About two in the afternoon it began to rain; but we reached Colchester before we were wet through.
The Room was more than filled in the evening, so that many were obliged to go away. Wednesday , 21, I baptized seven adults, two of them by immersion; and in the evening (their own Ministers having cast them out for going to hear the Methodists) I administered the Lord’s Supper to them, and many others, whom their several Teachers had repelled for the same reason. Thur . 22. — Before we set out, the rough north wind fell, and we had a calm, sunshiny day. I preached in the Tabernacle at Norwich in the evening. Sun. 25. — I rode to Forncet, twelve miles from Norwich, w here also was a building of James Wheatley’s, which, without my desire, he had included in the lease. We found William Cudworth had preached there in the morning. It was exceeding good for my sense of honor to come just after him. The people looked as direful upon me, as if it had been Satan in person. However, they flocked from all parts, so that the Tabernacle would not near contain them. I preached about two: God bare witness to his truth, and many were cut to the heart. After preaching I found Mr. Cudworth sitting in the pulpit behind me, whom I quietly and silently passed by. About six I preached at the Tabernacle in Norwich, crowded with attentive hearers. Perhaps these too will be brought into order by and by: Hitherto there has been no King in Israel. Monday and Tuesday I spoke to as many of both societies, now united together, as had leisure and inclination to come. The whole number is about four hundred and twenty; of whom I do not think it improbable two hundred may continue together. Tues . 27. — I had an interview with Mr. Cudworth. I observed upon the whole, l. That his opinions are all his own, quite new; and his phrases as new as his opinions: 2. That all these opinions, yea, and phrases too, he affirms to be necessary to salvation; maintaining that all who do not receive them, worship another God: And, 3. That he is as incapable as a brute beast of being convinced even in the smallest point. Wed. 28. — I rode over to Forncet attain, and preached to a large congregation. Great part of them were now exceedingly softened: But some were still bitter as wormwood. In the evening we had another kind of congregation at the Foundery, by whom I was much comforted: But much more in meeting the bands, when all our hearts were melted down by the power of God. Thur. 29. — I divided the Norwich society into classes, without any distinction between them who had belonged to the Foundery or the Tabernacle. Sun. APRIL 1. — I met them all at six, requiring every one to show his ticket when he came in: A thing they had never heard of before. I likewise insisted on another strange regulation, That the men and women should sit apart. A third was made the same day. It had been a custom ever since the Tabernacle was built, to have the galleries full of spectators, while the Lord’s Supper was administered. This I judged highly improper; and therefore ordered none to be admitted, but those who desired to communicate. And I found far less difficulty than I expected, in bringing them to submit to this also.
The society now contained above five hundred and seventy members; an hundred and three of whom were in no society before, although many of them had found peace with God. I believe they would have increased to a thousand, if I could have stayed a fortnight longer. Which of these will hold fast their profession? The fowls of the air will devour some; the sun will scorch more; and others will be choked by the thorns springing up. I wonder we should ever expect that half of those who “hear the word with joy” will bring forth fruit unto perfection. Mon . 2. — I left Norwich, and about seven o’clock came to Cross Keys Wash. They would fain have persuaded us we could not pass: But finding we were resolved to try, our guide put forward, and brought us over in half an hour; so that about eight we reached Sutton, and found a quiet, civil house, with everything we wanted. Tues. 3. — We came to Fossdyke Wash, just time enough to pass. At three in the afternoon I preached at Boston. A rude multitude quickly ran together, to a paddock adjoining to the town. A more unawakened congregation I have not seen for some years. However, the far greater part were attentive; nor did any interrupt, or offer the least rudeness.
At seven I met the little society in the House; but they were the least part of the company. People crowded in from all sides; and I believe God touched most of their hearts. Wed. 4. — At six, finding the House would not contain one fourth of the congregation, I was constrained to stand in the street. Abundance of people assembled together, whom I exhorted to “repent and believe the Gospel.” The word of God fell heavy upon them, and, I trust, broke some of the stony hearts.
Hence we rode over the Fens, fifteen miles broad, and near thirty miles long, to Coningsby, where we found a numerous congregation, of a far different spirit. Scarce one of these but had tasted, more or less, “of the powers of the world to come.” After a comfortable opportunity here, we rode on to Horncastle. We were but roughly saluted at our entrance; and the mob increased more and more till six. I then began to preach in a yard near the market-place, to a large concourse of people. But their behavior quite disappointed us; for there was no tumult, no noise, but an earnest attention through the whole congregation. Thur . 5. — I preached again at seven to nearly the same congregation, and was again refreshed by the remarkable decency and seriousness of their behavior. At four in the afternoon I preached at Mareham on the hill, two miles from Horncastle. The number of people constrained me to preach without, and the rain, to shorten my sermon; though none went away.
Indeed I believe none were present who had not known some work of grace in their hearts. Fri . 6. — We rode over the Wolds (a chain of hills) to North Elkington, three miles from Louth. The congregation was large, notwithstanding the rain, which drove full in our face till we came to Grimsby. Sun. 8. — The House was pretty well filled at eight. At two I was obliged to go into the old church yard; where was such a concourse of people as had hardly ever, they said, been seen at Grimsby before. As many as the Room would well contain were present at the watch-night; and at seven in the morning. I then commended them to the grace of God. Mon . 9. — I preached in the evening at Laseby; the next afternoon at Ferry; (after riding through much water and continued rain;) and in the evening in the new House at Epworth. Fri. 13. — Having appointed to preach at Awkborough at one, I set out between seven and eight. I was in hopes of coming thither before church began; but I did not consider the Lincolnshire roads. With some difficulty we reached it before noon, and found there was no Service at the church. I preached in the church yard at one to a listening multitude; most of whom, I suppose, had never heard this kind of preaching before. Many of them were in tears, and pressed after me into the house where we met the society. I could not but hope that some of these will press into the kingdom of heaven.
Returning thence, I called on Mr. Romley, of Burton, one of my former parishioners, a lively, sensible man of eighty three years old, by whom I was much comforted. An hour or two after we took boat; but could not cross over. The violence of the stream, swollen by the late rains, bore us down in spite of all we could do. Having striven against it a considerable time, we were obliged to cast anchor. After waiting some time, we got near the shore, and were towed up to the place of landing. A toilsome day was followed by a comfortable night. At half hour after eight the House at Epworth was well filled; and most of the congregation stayed till the whole Service was concluded.
It was on this day that, after the battle of Bergen, in Germany, “among the many wounded who were brought into Frankfort on the Maine, there was the Right Honorable George Charles Dykern, Baron, Lieutenant General of the Saxon troops, in the service of the King of France. He was born of an ancient and noble family in Silesia, on April 10, 1710, so that it was just on his birthday he received his wound. He was of equal abilities as a Minister in the closet, and a General in the field. In his younger years he had gone through a regular course of study in the University, and made great proficiency in Philosophy, especially in Mathematics. Afterwards he studied polemic divinity, till he reasoned himself into an infidel. During his illness he showed not the least desire of pious company or serious discourse, till the Surgeon let his valet de chambre know that he could not live long. The man then asked his master, whether he did not choose to be visited by a Clergyman. He answered with warmth, ‘I shall not trouble those gentlemen: I know well myself what to believe and do.’ His man, not discouraged, continued thus, ‘My Lord, have you ever found me wanting in my duty all the time I have been in your service?’ He answered, ‘No.’ ‘Then,’ replied he, ‘I will not be wanting now. The Surgeons count you past hopes of recovery; but every one is afraid to tell you so. You stand upon the brink of eternity. Pray, Sir, order a Clergyman to be called.’ He paused a little, but soon gave his hand to his servant, thanked him for his honesty, and ordered him to send for me. 25 When I came, the man told me plainly, the General was a professed infidel. I went in, and, after a short compliment, said, ‘I am told, my Lord, your life is near an end; therefore I presume, without any ceremony, to ask you one plain question: Is the state of your soul such, that you can entertain a solid hope of salvation?’
He answered, ‘Yes.’ ‘On what do you ground this hope?’ He replied, ‘I never committed any willful sin. I have been liable to frailties; but I trust in God’s mercy, and the merits of his Son, that he will have mercy upon me.’
These words he uttered very slowly, especially, ‘the merits of his Son.’ I made the following reply: ‘I am apt to believe you are not tainted with the grossest vices; but I fear you a little too presumptuously boast of never having committed willful sin. If you would be saved, you must acknowledge your being utterly corrupted by sin, and consequently deserving the curse of God and eternal damnation. As for your hoping for God’s mercy, through the merits of his Son, I beg leave to ask, Do you believe God has a Son; that his Son assumed our nature in order to be our Savior; that, in the execution of his office, he was humbled unto death, even the death upon the cross; and that hereby he has given an ample satisfaction for us, and recovered our title to heaven?’ He answered, ‘I cannot now avoid a more minute description of the true state of my soul.
Let me tell you, Doctor, I have some knowledge of philosophy, by which I have chosen for myself a way of salvation. I have always endeavored to live a sober life to the uttermost of my power, not doubting but the Being of all beings would then graciously accept me. In this way I stood in no need of Christ, and therefore did not believe on him. But if I take the Scriptures to be a divine revelation, this way of mine, I perceive, is not the right one; I must believe in Christ, and through him come to God.’ I replied, ‘You say, if you take the Scriptures to be a divine revelation!’ He fetched a deep sigh, and said, ‘O God, thou wilt make me say, Because I take the Scriptures to be thy word.’ I said, ‘There are grounds and reasons enough to demonstrate the divine origin of Christianity, as I could show from its most essential principles, were not the period of your life so short; but we need not now that diffusive method, faith being the gift of God. A poor sinner, tottering on the brink of eternity, has not time to inquire about grounds and reasons: Rather betake yourself to earnest prayer for faith, which if you do, I doubt not but God will give it you.’ I had no sooner spoken these words, but pulling off his cap, and lifting up his eyes and hands, he cried out, ‘O Almighty God, I am a poor cursed sinner, worthy of damnation; but, Lord Jesus, eternal Son of God, thou diedst for my sins also. It is through thee alone I can he saved. O give me faith, and strengthen that faith!’ Being extremely weak, he was obliged to stop here. A little after he asked, ‘Is faith enough for salvation?’ ‘Yes, Sir’ said I, ‘if it be living faith.’ ‘Methinks,’ said he, ‘it is so already; and it will be more so by and by: Let us pray for it.’ Perceiving he was very weak, to give him some rest I retired into the next room, but he soon sent to call me.
I found him praying, and Jesus was all he prayed for. I reminded him of some scriptures, treating of faith in Christ, and he was much delighted with them. Indeed, he was quite swallowed up by the grace of Jesus, and would hear of nothing but ‘Jesus Christ, and him crucified.’ He cried out, ‘I do not know how it is with me. I never in my life felt such a change. I have power to love Jesus, and to believe in him whom I so long rejected. O my Jesus, how merciful art thou to me!’ “About noon I stepped home; but he sent for me directly, so that I could scarce eat my dinner. We were both filled with joy, as partakers of the same grace which is in Jesus Christ; and that in such a manner as if we had been acquainted together for many years. Many Officers of the army came to see him continually, to all of whom he talked freely of Jesus, of the grace of the Father in him, and of the power of the Holy Ghost through him, wondering without ceasing at his having found Jesus, and at the happy change by which all things on this side eternity were become indifferent to him. “In the afternoon he desired to partake of the Lord’s Supper, which he received with a melting, praising, rejoicing heart. All the rest of the day he continued in the same state of soul. Toward evening he desired, that if his end should approach, I would come to him, which I promised; but he did not send for me till the next morning. I was told by his valet, that he slept well for some hours, and then, awaking, prayed for a considerable time, continually mentioning the name of our Lord, and his precious blood; and that he had desired several of the Officers to make his conversion known to his Court. (That of the King of Poland.) After some discourse, I asked, ‘Has your view of Christ and his redemption been neither altered nor obscured since yesterday?’ He answered, ‘Neither altered, nor obscured. I have no doubt, not even a remote one. It is just the same with me, as if I had always thus believed and never doubted: So gracious is the Lord Jesus to me a sinner.’ “This second day he was unwearied in prayer and exercises of faith.
Toward evening he sent for me in haste. When I came, I found him dying, and in a kind of delirium; so I could do no more than give him now and then a word of comfort. I prayed afterwards for him and those that were present, some of whom were of high birth and rank. I then, by imposition of hands as usual, gave him a blessing; which being done, he expired immediately. A Royal Prince who was there (Prince Xavier, of Saxony) could not forbear weeping. The rest of the Officers bewailed the loss of their General, yet praised God for having shown such mercy toward him. “I wrote an account of it without delay to his mother, and had an immediate answer. She was a lady of seventy two, of exemplary piety.
She praised God for his mercy; adding, that He had now answered the prayers which she had never ceased to offer on his behalf for eleven years.” Sun. 15. — (Being Easter-Day .) I preached at Epworth at eight, and then rode to Haxey church; where I was much refreshed by the decency and seriousness of the congregation. Between one and two I began preaching:
So large a congregation was never seen here before. About five I preached at the market-place in Epworth. I was drawing to a conclusion when the rain began; but it drove away only a few careless hearers: The bulk of the people did not stir till I concluded. Wed. 18. — I set out for Selby. We were in hopes the roads would now be passable: And they were tolerable, till we came near the town; but here the late flood had carried away the bank over which we were to ride, and left a great hole in its place. However, we made shift to lead our horses over a narrow path, where the water was fordable. The congregation at Selby obliged me to stand in the garden, though the Northwind was exceeding high. At seven in the evening I preached at York. Thur . 19. — I visited two prisoners in the Castle, which is, I suppose, the most commodious prison in Europe. Both of them seemed to be much convinced, and not far from the kingdom of God. At six I preached in the shell of the new House, to a numerous and serious audience. Fri. 20. — The master of the inn at Tadcaster offering us the use of his garden, I preached to a well behaved congregation; and about five found Mr. Grimshaw and many of our brethren at Leeds. Saturday , 21. At half hour past ten we reached Stainland chapel, near Elland. It is an handsome building, near the top of a mountain, and surrounded with mountains on all sides. It was filled from end to end. Mr. Grimshaw read Prayers, and I preached on part of the Second Lesson. In the room where I dressed myself were a young man and his sister, both ill of a fever. I know not that ever they heard the preaching; however, I desired we might go to prayers.
I preached at Manchester in the evening, where we had at length a quiet audience. Wretched Magistrates, who, by refusing to suppress, encouraged the rioters, had long occasioned continual tumults here: But some are now of a better spirit: And wherever Magistrates desire to preserve the peace, they have sufficient power to do it. Tues. 24. — I rode over to Maxfield. Abundance of people ran together, but wild as colts untamed. Their noise quite drowned my voice at first; but in a while they were tolerably quiet: And before I had done, all but four or five lubberly men seemed almost persuaded to be Christians. Sun . 29. — I rode to Stockport, designing to preach at one o’clock: But we were at a loss for a place. We fixed at length on a Green, near the town’s end; and we had a quiet and solemn opportunity.
In my return I called to see a girl about thirteen years of age. She had been in violent pain all over, with little intermission, for near twenty months.
After I had spoke a few words, she said, “When I saw you before, I did not know the Lord; but now I know him, and am known of him. I am his, and he is mine.” I asked, “Do you never repine at your pain?” She said, “No; I have not a murmuring thought: I am happy, always happy. I would not change this bed of affliction for the palace of King George.” I asked, “Are you not proud of this? Is pride taken out of your heart?” She answered “I do not know; but I feel no pride. I feel that God is all.” “But do you feel no fretfulness or peevishness?” “I cannot tell that I do. Pain sometimes makes me cry out when they stir me; but I do not fret at any thing.” “Do you find no self will?” “Not that I know. I desire nothing, but that the will of God be done.” “Do not you desire life or death?” “No; I leave all to Him. But, if it was his will, I should be glad to die. The world is full of danger: I should be glad to leave it, and to be with Christ.” — O why was she then not taken to Paradise? I fear she has now no religion at all! Mon . 30. — We had a numerous congregation at Acton Bridge, two or three miles from Northwich. Some large trees screened us both from the sun and wind. In the afternoon I rode on to Chester. It was well the wind was pretty high; for the sun shone as hot as it uses to do in the dog days. Wednesday, MAY 2. I rode over to Mould, in Flintshire, about twelve miles from Chester. The sun was very hot, and the wind very cold; but as the place they had chose for me was exposed both to the sun and the wind, the one balanced the other: And notwithstanding the Chester races, which had drawn the rich away, and the market day, which detained many of the poor, we had a multitude of people; the serious part of whom soon influenced the rest: So that all but two or three remained uncovered, and kneeled down as soon as I began to pray. Thur . 3. — We crossed over from Chester to Liverpool. The congregations here were exceeding large; but many of them seemed to be like wild asses’ colts. Yet God is able to make them wise unto salvation. Sun . 6. — I received much comfort at the old church in the morning, and at St. Thomas’s in the afternoon. It was as if both the sermons had been made for me. I pity those who can find no good at church. But how should they, if prejudice come between, an effectual bar to the grace of God? Wed . 9. — I rode to Downham Green, near Wigan, a town wicked to a proverb. We had a specimen of the manners of its inhabitants, in the behavior of a man that met us, and accosted us with such language as would have become an inhabitant of the bottomless pit. One would have thought, from their looks, that a good part of the congregations was of the same spirit: But in a short time the word of God prevailed, and all their fierceness melted away.
In the evening I preached at Bolton, and on Friday, 11, about nine, at lower Darwent, a small village near Blackburn. At Lancaster we were informed it was too late to cross the sands. However, we resolved to make the trial. We passed the seven mile sand without difficulty, and reached Fluckborough about sunset. Sat . 12. — Setting out early, we came to Bottle, about twenty four measured miles from Fluckborough, soon after eight, having crossed the Millam Sand, without either guide or difficulty. Here we were informed that we could not pass at Ravenglass before one or two o’clock; whereas, had we gone on, (as we afterward found,) we might have passed immediately. About eleven we were directed to a Ford, near Manchester Hall, which they said we might cross at noon. When we came thither, they told us we could not cross; so we sat still till about one: We then found we could have crossed at noon. However, we reached White haven before night. But I have taken my leave of the sand road. I believe it is ten measured miles shorter than the other: But there are four sands to pass, so far from each other, that it is scarce possible to pass them all in a day:
Especially as you have all the way to do with a generation of liars, who detain all strangers as long as they can, either for their own gain or their neighbors’. I can advise no stranger to go this way: He may go round by Kendal and Keswick, often in less time, always with less expense, and far less trial of his patience.
Reflecting today on the case of a poor woman who had continual pain in her stomach, I could not but remark the inexcusable negligence of most Physicians in cases of this nature. They prescribe drug upon drug, without knowing a jot of the matter concerning the root of the disorder. And without knowing this, they cannot cure, though they can murder, the patient. Whence came this woman’s pain? (which she would never have told, had she never been questioned about it:) From fretting for the death of her son. And what availed medicines, while that fretting continued Why then do not all Physicians consider how far bodily disorders are caused or influenced by the mind; and in those cases, which are utterly out of their sphere, call in the assistance of a Minister; as Ministers, when they find the mind disordered by the body, call in the assistance of a Physician? But why are these cases out of their sphere? Because they know hot God. It follows, no man can be a thorough Physician without being an experienced Christian. Tues . 15. — I rode over to Lorton, a little village at the foot of a high mountain. Many came from a considerable distance, and I believe did not repent of their labor; for they found God to be a God both of the hills and valleys, and no where more present than in the mountains of Cumberland. Thur . 17. — I inquired into a signal instance of Providence. When a coal pit runs far under the ground, it is customary here to build a partition wall, nearly from the shaft to within three or four yards of the end, in order to make the air circulate, which then moves down one side of the wall, turns at the end, and then moves briskly up on the other side. In a pit two miles from the town, which ran full four hundred yards under the ground, and had been long neglected, several parts of this wall were fallen down. Four men were sent down to repair it. They were about three hundred yards from the shaft, when the foul air took fire. In a moment it tore down the wall from end to end; and, burning on till it came to the shaft, it then burst and went off like a large cannon. The men instantly fell on their faces, or they would have been burned to death in a few moments. One of them, who once knew the love of God, (Andrew English,) began crying aloud for mercy. But in a very short time his breath was stopped. The other three crept on their hands and knees, till two got to the shaft and were drawn up; but one of them died in a few minutes. John M’Combe was drawn up next, burned from head to foot, but rejoicing and praising God. They then went down for Andrew, whom they found senseless: The very circumstance which saved his life. For, losing his senses, he lay flat on the ground, and the greatest part of the fire went over him; whereas, had he gone forward on his hands and knees, he would undoubtedly have been burned to death. But life or death was welcome; for God had restored the light of his countenance. Sat . 19. — One was showing us the improvements begun by Sir William Lowther. He had marked out places for new walks, and for tufts of trees, laid out a new plan for his gardens, begun to alter the house, and was preparing to make a little paradise round about it. But death came between. And how little loss was this, if it removed him to the paradise of God! Sun. 20. — I preached at eight in an open place at the Gins, a village on one side of the town. Many were there, who never did and never would come to the Room. O what a victory would Satan gain, if he could put an end to field preaching! But that, I trust, he never will: At least not till my head is laid.
After preaching again at two, I took my leave of Whitehaven, and rode to Cockermouth. At six I preached at the end of the market-house. High and low, rich and poor, attended; and by far the greater part of the audience seemed to be conscious that God was there. Mon . 21. — I preached at ten in the market-place at Wigton, and came to Solway Frith, just as the water was fordable. At some times it is so three hours in twelve; at other times, barely one.
After making a short bait at Rothwell, we came to Dumfries before six o’clock. Having time to spare, we took a walk in the church yard, one of the pleasantest places I ever saw. A single tomb I observed there, which was about an hundred and thirty years old; but the inscription was very hardly legible. Quandoguidem remanent ipsis quoque fata sepulchris!
So soon do even our sepulchres die! Strange, that men should be so careful about them! But are not many self condemned therein? They see the folly, while they run into it. So poor Mr. Prior, speaking of his own tomb, has those melancholy words, “For this last piece of human vanity, I bequeath five hundred pounds.” Tues . 22. — We rode through a pleasant country to Thorny Hill, near which is the grand seat of the Duke of Queensborough. How little did the late Duke imagine that his son would plough up his park, and let his house run to ruin! But let it go! In a little time the earth itself, and all the works of it, shall be burned up.
Hence we rode through and over huge mountains, green to the very top, to Lead Hills; a village containing five hundred families, who have had no Minister for these four years. So in Scotland, the poor have not the Gospel preached! Who shall answer for the blood of these men?
Early in the evening we came to Lesmahagow, a village not so large as Lead Hills. It has, however, two Ministers. Here also we walked down to the church yard, by the side of which a little clear river runs, near the foot of an high and steep mountain. The wood which covers this makes the walks that run on its sides pleasant beyond imagination. But what taste have the good people of the town for this? As much as the animals that graze on the river bank. Wed. 23. — We took horse soon after four, and did not stop before we came to Glasgow; having hardly seen a cloud in the sky since we set out from Whitehaven.
I preached at seven in the Poor-house; and at seven in the morning, Thursday , 24. But in the evening we were obliged to be abroad, and I used great plainness of speech. All suffered the word of exhortation; some seemed to be a little affected. Sat. 26. — I found the little society which I had joined here two years since had soon split in pieces. In the afternoon I met several of the members of the praying societies; and showed them what Christian fellowship was, and what need they had of it. About forty of them met me on Sunday, 27, in Mr. Gillies’s kirk, immediately after Evening Service. I left them determined to meet Mr. Gillies weekly, at the same time and place. If this be done, I shall try to see Glasgow again: If not, I can employ my time better.
At seven in the morning we had a numerous congregation, though small compared to that in the evening. Yet my voice was so strengthened, that I believe all could hear. I spoke very plain on, “Ye must be born again.”
Now I am clear of the blood of this people. I have delivered my own soul. Mon. 28. — I rode through Edinburgh to Musselburgh, and preached in the evening to a deeply attentive congregation. Wednesday , 30. I rode on to Dunbar, and at six in the evening preached in a large, open place. (As also the next day.) Both poor and rich quietly attended, though most of them shivering with cold; for the weather was so changed within a few days, that it seemed more like December than May.
Lodging with a sensible man, I inquired particularly into the present discipline of the Scotch parishes. In one parish it seems there are twelve ruling Elders; in another there are fourteen. And what are these? Men of great sense and deep experience? Neither one, nor the other. But they are the richest men in the parish. And are the richest, of course, the best and the wisest men? Does the Bible teach this? I fear not. What manner of Governors then will these be? Why, they are generally just as capable of governing a parish, as of commanding an army.
About this time the work of God exceedingly increased under the Rev. Mr. Berridge, near Everton. I cannot give a clearer view of this, than by transcribing part of the Journal of an eye witness: — “Sunday, May 20. Being with Mr. B——ll at Everton, I was much fatigued and did not rise. But Mr. B. did, and observed several fainting and crying out while Mr. B——e was preaching. Afterward, at church, I heard many cry out, especially children, whose agonies were amazing: One of the eldest, a girl ten or twelve years old, was full in my view, in violent contortions of body, and weeping aloud, I think incessantly during the whole Service. And several much younger children were in Mr. B——ll’s view, agonizing as this did. The church was equally crowded in the afternoon, the windows being filled within and without, and even the outside of the pulpit to the very top; so that Mr. B——e seemed almost stifled by their breath. Yet feeble and sickly as he is, he was continually strengthened, and his voice for the most part distinguishable, in the midst of all the outcries. I believe there were present three times more men than women, a great part of whom came from far; thirty of them having set out at two in the morning, from a place thirteen miles off. The text was, ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ When the power of religion began to be spoke of, the presence of God really filled the place. And while poor sinners felt the sentence of death in their souls, what sounds of distress did I hear! The greatest number of them who cried or fell, were men; but some women, and several children, felt the power of the same almighty Spirit, and seemed just sinking into hell. This occasioned a mixture of various sounds; some shrieking, some roaring aloud. The most general was a loud breathing, like that of people half strangled and gasping for life. And indeed almost all the cries were like those of human creatures dying in bitter anguish. Great numbers wept without any noise; others fell down as dead; some sinking in silence; some with extreme noise and violent agitation. I stood on the pew seat, as did a young man in the opposite pew, an able bodied, fresh, healthy countryman. But in a moment, while he seemed to think of nothing less, down he dropped, with a violence inconceivable. The adjoining pews seemed shook with his fall. I heard afterward the stamping of his feet, ready to break the boards, as he lay in strong convulsions, at the bottom of the pew. Among several that were struck down in the next pew, was a girl who was as violently seized as him. When he fell, B——ll and I felt our souls thrilled with a momentary dread; as when one man is killed by a cannon ball, another often feels the wind of it. “Among the children who felt the arrows of the Almighty, I saw a sturdy boy, about eight years old, who roared above his fellows, and seemed in his agony to struggle with the strength of a grown man. His face was red as scarlet; and almost all on whom God laid his hand, turned either very red, or almost black. When I returned, after a little walk, to Mr. B——e’s house, I found it full of people. He was fatigued, but said he would nevertheless give them a word of exhortation. I stayed in the next room, and saw the girl whom I had observed so particularly distressed in the church, lying on the floor as one dead; but without any ghastliness in her face. In a few minutes we were informed of a woman filled with peace and joy, who was crying out just before. She had come thirteen miles, and is the same person who dreamed Mr. B—— would come to her village on that very day whereon he did come, though without either knowing the place or the way to it. She was convinced at that time. Just as we heard of her deliverance, the girl on the floor began to stir. She was then set in a chair; and, after sighing awhile, suddenly rose up, rejoicing in God. Her face was covered with the most beautiful smile I ever saw. She frequently fell on her knees, but was generally running to and fro, speaking these and the like words, ‘O what can Jesus do for lost sinners! He has forgiven all my sins! I am in heaven! I am in heaven! O how he loves me! And how I love him!’ Meantime I saw a thin, pale girl, weeping with sorrow for herself, and joy for her companion. Quickly the smiles of Heaven came likewise on her, and her praises joined with those of the other. I also then laughed with extreme joy; so did Mr. B——ll; (who said it was more than he could well bear;) so did all who knew the Lord, and some of those who were waiting for salvation; till the cries of them who were struck with the arrows of conviction, were almost lost in the sounds of joy. “Two or three well dressed young women, who seemed careless before, now felt the power of God, and cried out with a loud and bitter cry. Mr. B—— about this time retired, and the Duke or M——, with Mr. A——ll, came in. They seemed inclined to make a disturbance, but were restrained, and in a short time quietly retired. We continued praising God with all our might; and his work went on as when Mr. B—— was exhorting. I had for some time observed a young woman all in tears; but now her countenance changed. The unspeakable joy appeared in her face, which quick as lightning was filled with smiles, and became of a crimson color. About the same time John Keeling, of Potton, fell into an agony: But he grew calm in about a quarter of an hour, though without a clear sense of pardon. “Immediately after, a stranger, well dressed, who stood facing me, fell backward to the wall; then forward on his knees, wringing his hands, and roaring like a bull. His face at first turned quite red, then almost black. He rose, and ran against the wall, till Mr. Keeling and another holden him. He screamed out, ‘O what shall I do, what shall I do? O for one drop of the blood of Christ!’ As he spoke, God set his soul at liberty: He knew his sins were blotted out; and the rapture he was in seemed too great for human nature to bear. He had come forty miles to hear Mr. B——, and was to leave him the next morning; which he did with a glad heart, telling all who came in his way, what God had done for his soul. “I observed about the time that Mr. Coe (that was his name) began to rejoice, a girl, eleven or twelve years old, exceeding poorly dressed, who appeared to be as deeply wounded, and as desirous of salvation, as any.
But I lost sight of her, till I heard the joyful sound of another born in Sion; and found, upon inquiry; it was her, the poor, disconsolate, gypsy looking child. And now did I see such a sight, as I do not expect again on this side eternity. The faces of the three justified children, and I think of all the believers present, did really shine: And such a beauty, such a look of extreme happiness, and at the same time of divine love and simplicity, did I never see in human faces till now. The newly justified eagerly embraced one another, weeping on each other’s necks for joy. Then they saluted all of their own sex, and besought both men and women to help them in praising God. “I have mentioned only one man, two women, and three children at this time justified in the house, but have perhaps omitted some. And it is probable, there was more than one justified at the church, though but one came to speak of it; for all are not equally free to glorify God in the midst of his people. I wish all who find the same salvation with Mr. Coe, were as ready to proclaim redeeming love! “Thursday, 24. Mr. B——ll and I went to hear Mr. Hicks, at Wrestlingworth, four miles from Everton. We discoursed with him first, and were glad to hear he had wholly given himself up to the glorious work of God, and that the power of the Highest fell upon his hearers as upon Mr. B——e’s. While he was preaching, fifteen or sixteen persons felt the arrows of the Lord, and dropped down. A few of these cried out with the utmost violence, and little intermission, for some hours: While the rest made no great noise, but continued struggling, as in the pangs of death. I observed, besides these, one little girl, deeply convinced, and a boy, nine or ten years old. Both these, and several others, when carried into the parsonage house, either lay as dead, or struggled with all their might. But in a short time their cries increased beyond measure, so that the loudest singing could scarce be heard. Some at last called on me to pray, which I did; and for a time all were calm. But the storm soon began again. Mr. H— —s then prayed, and afterward Mr. B——. But still, though some received consolation, others remained in deep sorrow of heart. “Upon the whole I remark, that few ancient people experience ally thing of this work of God; and scarce any of the rich. These generally show either an utter contempt of, or enmity to, it. Indeed so did Mr. H——s himself some time since: Having so deep an aversion to it, that he denied the sacrament to those of his parish who went to hear Mr. B——e.
Neither of these gentlemen have much eloquence, but seem rather weak in speech: The Lord hereby more clearly showing, that this is his own work.
It extends into Cambridgeshire, to within a mile of the University; and about as far into Huntingdonshire; but flourishes most of all in the eastern and northern parts of Bedfordshire. “There were three farmers, in three several villages, who violent; set themselves to oppose it: And for a time they kept many from going to hear. But all three died in about a month. One of them owned the hand of the Lord was upon him, and besought Him, in the bitterness of his soul, to prolong his life, vowing to hear Mr. B. himself. But the Lord would not be entreated. “The violent struggling of many in the above mentioned churches has broke several pews and benches. Yet it is common for people to remain unaffected there, and afterward drop down in their way home. Some have been found lying as dead in the road; others, in Mr. B——e’s garden; not being able to walk from the church to his house, though it is not two hundred yards. “I have since received a letter from Mr. B., an extract of which I send you: — “‘On Sunday night a man of Wybersley, a Nathanael indeed, was so filled with the love of God during Morning Prayer, that he dropped down, and lay as one dead for two hours. He had been so filled with love all the week before, that he was often for a time unable to work. “‘On Sunday night last as I was speaking in my house, there was a violent outcry. One soul was set at liberty. We sung near an hour, and the Lord released three more out of captivity. “‘On Monday night Mr. H——ks accompanied me to Meldred. On the way we called at a farmer’s house. After dinner I went into his yard, and seeing near an hundred and fifty people, I called for a table, and preached, for the first time, in the open air. Two persons were seized with strong convictions, fell down, and cried out most bitterly. We then went to Meldred, where I preached in a field, to about four thousand people. In the morning, at five, Mr. H——ks preached in the same field, to about a thousand. And now the presence of the Lord was wonderfully among us.
There was abundance of weeping and strong crying: And, I trust, beside many that were slightly wounded, near thirty received true heart felt conviction. At ten we returned, and called again at the farmer’s house.
Seeing about a dozen people in the brewhouse, I spoke a few words.
Immediately the farmer’s daughter dropped down in strong convictions.
Another also was miserably torn by Satan; but set at liberty before I had done prayer. At four I preached in my own house, and God gave the Spirit of adoption to another mourner. “‘On Monday last I went to Shelford, four miles from Cambridge, near twenty from Everton. The journey made me quite ill; being so weary with riding, that I was obliged to walk part of the way. When I came thither, a table was set for me on the Common; and, to my great surprise, I found near ten thousand people round it, among whom were many gownsmen from Cambridge. I was hardly able to stand on my feet, and extremely hoarse with a cold. When I lifted up my foot, to get on the table, an horrible dread overwhelmed me: But the moment I was fixed thereon, I seemed as unconcerned as a statue. I gave out my text, (Galatians 3:10, 11,) and made a pause, to think of something pretty to set off with; but the Lord so confounded me, (as indeed it was meet, for I was seeking not his glory, but my own,) that I was in a perfect labyrinth; and found, if I did not begin immediately, I must go down without speaking. So I broke out with the first word that occurred, not knowing whether I should be able to add any more. Then the Lord opened my mouth, enabling me to speak near an hour, without any kind of perplexity; and so loud, that every one might hear. The audience behaved with great decency. When sermon was over, I found myself so cool and easy, so cheerful in spirit, and wonderfully strengthened in body, I went into an house, and spoke again near an hour, to about two hundred people. In the morning I preached again to about a thousand. Mr. H——s engaged to preach in Orwell Field on Tuesday evening. I gave notice that I designed to preach on Monday night at Grandchester, a mile from Cambridge. “‘Mr. H——s and I have agreed to go into Hertfordshire; afterwards to separate, and go round the neighborhood, preaching in the fields, wherever a door is opened, three or four days in every week.’ Believe me “Your affectionate servant, “J. B.” Fri. JUNE 1. — The rain began when we took horse, and attended us all the way to Berwick. When I was tolerably dry, I sent to the Mayor, who readily granted the use of the Town Hall. Here I preached about seven to a drowsy congregation, on, “Why will Ye die, O house of Israel?” And again a little after seven in the morning, on, “I would thou wert either cold or hot.” In the evening I preached in the Court House at Alnwick, to a people quite of another spirit; having the power, as well as the form, of godliness, and panting after the whole image of God. JUNE 3. (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached at eight in the Court House; but it was much crowded, and exceeding hot. So in the afternoon I went to the Cross, and cried aloud, in the name of my Master, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” Mon . 4. — I preached in Placey Square at one, to an earnest, loving congregation; and inquired of one of them, James Gillies, concerning a report I had heard the day before. He informed me, that when he was a little child, he had just learned his Christ cross row: But this he soon forgot. Between twenty and thirty he was deeply convinced of sin; at which time, feeling a strong persuasion he could read, he went into a neighbor’s house, took up a Bible, and read distinctly; which he has done ever since.
After preaching, I rode on to Newcastle. Certainly if I did not believe there was another world, I should spend all my summers here; as I know no place in Great Britain comparable to it for pleasantness. But I seek another country, and therefore am content to be a wanderer upon earth. Wed . 6. — I preached at Gateshead Fell to a numerous congregation. In earnestness the colliers of Gateshead utterly shame the colliers of Kingswood; scarce thirty of whom think it worth while to hear the word of God on a week day, not even when I preach: And here the House will scarce contain the week day congregation of a Local Preacher. Sat . 9. — I rode to Sunderland, and preached in the shell of their House.
The people of this town likewise are hungry for the word, and receive it with all gladness. Sunday, 10. The House contained us at eight, but at one I was obliged to stand in the great street, and declare to an attentive multitude, “Ye must be born again.” In the evening I preached to some thousands at Newcastle, near the Keelmen’s Hospital; if haply God might bring back some of them who ran well many years ago. Wed. 13. — After preaching at the Fell, I rode to Chester. The congregation was deeply serious, both in the evening and at five in the morning. Thence we crossed the country to Newlands, where I was met by poor John Brown, who has refrained from preaching till he is fallen into deep despair. I preached on, “I will heal their backsliding:” But the word did not reach his heart.
I never saw near so large a congregation at Sheephill as we had at six in the evening. What is wanting in this whole country? Only more laborers. Sat . 16. — I rode to Widdrington, and preached at one to a congregation gathered from all parts. The Court House at Alnwick was pretty well filled in the evening; and in the morning, Sunday, 17, we had a sound, useful sermon at church, and a serious well behaved congregation. I preached in the market-place about five; and I trust God applied the word, “Ye must be born again.” Mon . 18. — Having an uneasy horse, I was tired enough when we came into Morpeth: But after resting awhile, I was strengthened to preach “Christ crucified” in the market-place, to such a congregation as was never seen there before: And a solemn awe seemed to sit on every face, Officers and gentlemen, as well as common people. After preaching at Placey in the evening, I rode back to Newcastle. Wed. 20. — I endeavored to compose the little differences which had much hurt the poor people at Gateshead Fell. O what zeal, what prudence and patience, are requisite to bear the manners of an untoward people, and to train them up in Christian discipline, till they come to the full stature of Christ! Thur. 21. — I preached at Nafferton at one. As I was riding thence, one stopped me on the road and said, “Sir, do not you remember, when you was at Prudhoe, two years since, you breakfasted at Thomas Newton’s? I am his sister. You looked upon me as you was going out, and said, ‘Be in earnest.’ I knew not then what earnestness meant, nor had any thought about it: But the words sunk into my heart, so that I could never rest any more, till I sought and found Christ.” Fri . 22. — I rode to S——k, and preached to my old congregation of colliers, on, “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” After preaching, a servant of Mr.—— came and said, “Sir, my master discharges you from preaching any more on his ground; not out of any disrespect to you, but he will stand by the Church.” “Simple master Shallow!” as Shakespeare has it: Wise master Rector, his counselor! Sat . 23. — I spoke to each of the society in Sunderland. Most of the robbers, commonly called smugglers, have left us; but more than twice the number of honest people are already come in their place: And if none had come, yet should I not dare to keep those who steal either from the King or subject. Sun . 24. — I preached in the street at eight; about one at South Shields, and at five in North Shields. The greatest part of them seemed to hear as for their lives. So are these lions also become lambs. O for zealous, active, faithful laborers! How white are the fields unto the harvest!
On Monday and Tuesday evening I preached abroad, near the Keelmen’s Hospital, to twice the people we should have had at the House. What marvel the devil does not love field preaching! Neither do I: I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, an handsome pulpit. But where is my zeal, if I do not trample all these under foot, in order to save one more soul? Thur. 28. — We had the general meeting of the stewards, by whom I found the societies in this Circuit still contain about eighteen hundred members. I hope not many of these will be choked by the thorns. Fri. 29. — About eleven I set out for Swalwell, in a fair, mild morning; but in half an hour the rain poured down, so that in a few minutes I was wet from head to foot; and when I came thither, where to preach I knew not, for the House would not contain a third of the people. Just then the Dissenting Minister sent to offer me the use of his meeting house. I went thither without delay: There was a large congregation, and a blessing in the midst of them. Sat . 30. — I preached in Winlington at noon. The sun was very hot, and shone full upon my head; but the wind was very high and very cold; so that the one tempered the other while I was declaring the grace of God to a well meaning multitude, who know little as yet, but are willing to know “the truth as it is in Jesus.” I preached at Sheephill in the evening, and returned to Newcastle as fresh as I was in the morning. Sun. JULY 1. — Between eight and nine I preached to a quiet multitude in Gateshead. At two I preached in the Fell, to the largest congregation which had ever been seen there; and in the evening, near the Keelmen’s Hospital, to full as many as my voice would reach. It was a season of love; and God caused the mountains to flow down at his presence.
While the society was gathering, I went to a young woman, who was some days since suddenly struck with what they called madness; and so it was, but a diabolical madness, as plainly appeared from numerous circumstances: However, after we had been at prayer, she fell asleep, and never raged or blasphemed after. Mon . 2. — I rode to Durham, and went at one to the meadow by the river-side, where I preached two years ago. The congregation was now larger by one half; but the sun was so scorching hot upon my head, that I was scarce able to speak. I paused a little, and desired God would provide us a covering, if it was for his glory. In a moment it was done; a cloud covered the sun, which troubled us no more. Ought voluntary humility to conceal these palpable proofs, that God still heareth the prayer?
Between two and three we took horse. The sun now shone again, and with so intense an heat, that I know not how we could have endured it, but that the wind came in our face, by the help of which we got pretty well to Hartlepool. I suppose we had all the town with us in the evening, either in the street or the adjoining houses. And God was pleased to touch the hearts of many, even among this dull, heavy, sleepy people. Tues . 3. — I wrote to Dr. Taylor as follows: — “REV.SIR, Hartlepool, July 3, 1759. “ I ESTEEM YOU as a person of uncommon sense and learning; but your doctrine I cannot esteem. And some time since I believed it my duty to speak my sentiments at large, concerning your doctrine of Original Sin.
When Mr. Newton, of Liverpool, mentioned this, and asked, whether you designed to answer, you said, you thought not; for it would only be a personal controversy between Jo. W——y and Jo. T——r. How gladly, if I durst, would I accept of this discharge from so unequal a contest! For I am thoroughly sensible, humanly speaking, it is formica contra leonem. How gladly, were it indeed no other than a personal controversy! But certainly it is not; it is a controversy de re, if ever there was one in the world. Indeed, concerning a thing of the highest importance; nay, all the things that concern our eternal peace. It is Christianity or Heathenism! For take away the scriptural doctrine of redemption, or justification, and that of the new birth, the beginning, of sanctification; or, which amounts to the same, explain them as you do, suitably to your doctrine of Original Sin; and what is Christianity better than Heathenism? Wherein (save in rectifying some of our notions) has the religion of St. Paul any pre eminence over that of Socrates or Epictetus? “This is therefore, to my apprehension, the least a personal controversy of any in the world. Your person and mine are out of the question. The point is, Are those things that have been believed for many ages throughout the Christian world, real solid truths; or Monkish dreams, and vain imaginations? “But farther, it is certain between you and me there need be no personal controversy at all. For we may agree to leave each other’s person and character absolutely untouched, while we sum up and answer the several arguments advanced, as plainly and closely as we can. “Either I or you mistake the whole of Christianity from the beginning to the end. Either my scheme or yours is as contrary to the scriptural as the Koran is. Is it mine or yours? Yours has gone through all England, and made numerous converts. I attack it from end to end: Let all England judge, whether it can be defended or not. “Earnestly praying that God may give you and me a right understanding in all things, I am, Reverend Sir, “Your servant for Christ’s sake, “J. W.” Wed. 4. — Mr. Jones preached at five, I at eight. Toward the close of the sermon, a queer, dirty, clumsy man, I suppose a country wit, took a great deal of pains to disturb the congregation. When I had done, fearing he might hurt those who were gathered about him, I desired two or three of our brethren to go to him, one after the other, and not say much themselves, but let him talk till he was weary. They did so, but without effect, as his fund of ribaldry seemed inexhaustible. W. A. then tried another way. He got into the circle close to him, and, listening a while, said, “That is pretty; pray say it over again.” “What! are you deaf?” “No; but for the entertainment of the people. Come; we are all attention.” After repeating this twice or thrice, the wag could not stand it; but, with two or three curses, walked clear off.
In the evening I began near Stockton market-place as usual. I had hardly finished the hymn, when I observed the people in great confusion, which was occasioned by a Lieutenant of a man of war, who had chosen that time to bring his press gang, and ordered them to take Joseph Jones and William Alwood. Joseph Jones telling him, “Sir, I belong to Mr. Wesley,” after a few words he let him go; as he did likewise William Alwood, after a few hours, understanding he was a licensed Preacher. He likewise seized upon a young man of the town; but the women rescued him by main strength.
They also broke the Lieutenant’s head; and so stoned both him and his men, that they ran away with all speed. Fri . 6. — I rode on to Yarm. The heat of the day was hardly to be born; but in the evening it was extremely pleasant; and the whole congregation were deeply serious. Sat . 7. — At one I was at Hutton Rudby, six miles south of Yarm, where they have just built a preaching-house; but it would not contain a fourth of the congregation; and what place to choose I could not tell, no shade being at hand, and the sun shining near as hot as it used to do in Georgia. Finding no other way, I stood in the street, near an house, which sheltered some of the people: The rest seemed not to know whether it was hot or cold, God so plenteously refreshed their souls. Much the same congregation was at Potto in the evening; and with the same blessing.
Having preached considerably longer, both at noon and night, than I am accustomed to do, I was so hoarse in the morning, Sunday , 8, that I knew not what I should do to go through the work of the day. However, I began it by preaching on the Green at Stokesley to a multitude of people. Thence I rode to Guisborough, at the foot of the mountains. The sun would have been insupportable, but that we had a strong wind full in our face, for the greatest part of the day. At twelve we had a lovely congregation, in a meadow near the town, who drank in every word that was spoken, as the thirsty earth the showers. The sixteen miles, so called, from hence to Robinhood’s Bay, took us between five and six hours riding; so that when I came thither I was quite exhausted. However, I went to the quay, where a large congregation was waiting; and all behaved well, but au honest tar, who was much disturbed at my saying, “No man is delivered from the fear of death, but he that fears God.” Tues. 10. — We took horse at half an hour past three, and rode over the huge mountains to Scarborough. I began to preach near the main street at seven. The congregation was large, and some of them wild enough; but in a short time all were quiet and still; nor did I hear one unkind word when I had done.
In the afternoon I rode to York, where I thought to rest a few days, being almost worn-out; but it was judged quite necessary I should go to Hull, lest the little flock should be discouraged: So, on Friday, 13, I set out early, and reached Pocklington between eight and nine. The last time I was here they rung the bells, in order to drown my voice. But he who then paid the ringers is run away; so I had a quiet and serious audience. I had a far finer congregation at Hull: So, for once, the rich have the Gospel preached!
At night Charles Delamotte called upon me, and seemed to be the same loving, simple man still. I should not repent my journey to Hull, were it only for this short interview. Sat . 14. — I preached at eight in Mr. Hilton’s yard, near the great street in Beverley; and was surprised to see so quiet and civil a congregation, where we expected nothing less. All the men were uncovered, and the whole audience was attentive, from beginning to end; nor did one person give us a rude word, while we rode from one end of the town to the other. This, with the large and earnest congregation at York in the evening, made me forget all my labor. Sun. 15. — I began reading to the society an account of the late work of God at Everton; but I could not get through. At first there were only silent tears on every side; but it was not long before several were unable to refrain from weeping aloud: And quickly a stout young man dropped down, and roared as in the agonies of death. I did not attempt to read any farther, but began wrestling with God in prayer. We continued herein till near nine o’clock. What a day of Jubilee was this! Tues. 17. — I left York, and, about noon, preached at Tadcaster. Distant thunder did not lessen the number, but increased the seriousness, of the congregation, who appeared entirely different from those I saw here two years ago.
At seven in the evening I preached to an immense congregation at the foot of a high mountain near Otley. Wednesday , 18. I rode on to Mr. Marshal’s, at Guiseley, the Capua of Yorkshire. Hic nemus, hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata. It is well God is here, or who could bear it?
Hence we rode to Keighley, where is a loving, earnest, well established people. Here many of our Preachers met me, and many of our brethren; and God was with us in all our assemblies. Fri. 20. — We went on to Colne, (formerly, I suppose, a Roman colony,) situate on the top of an high round hill, at the edge of Pendle Forest. I preached at eleven in an open space, not far from the main street; and I have seldom seen a more attentive or decently behaved congregation. How is the scene changed, since the drunken mob of this town used to be a terror to all the country!
We rode to Broad Clough in the afternoon, a lone house in the midst of the Lancashire mountains. The people came in from all quarters, and it was a season of great refreshment. Among the rest was Mr. M——r, who gave us an account of his late trials. I wonder the butcher (Doctor, so called) to whom he was committed, did not murder him: He took true pains so to do; but his chain did not reach so far. Sat . 21. — Mr. Grimshaw led us to Gawksham, another lone house, on the side of an enormous mountain. The congregation stood and sat, row above row, in the sylvan theatre. I believe nothing on the postdiluvian earth can be more pleasant than the road from hence, between huge steep mountains, clothed with wood to the top, and washed at the bottom by a clear, winding stream. At four I preached to a very large congregation at Heptonstall, and thence rode on to Haworth. Sun. 22. — At ten Mr. Milner read Prayers; but the church would not near contain the congregation: So, after Prayers, I stood on a scaffold close to the church, and the congregation in the church yard. The communicants alone filled the church. In the afternoon the congregation was nearly doubled; and yet most of these were not curious hearers, but men fearing God. Mon. 23. — I preached near Huddersfield, to the wildest congregation I have seen in Yorkshire: Yet they were restrained by an unseen hand; and I believe some felt the sharpness of his word. I preached at Halifax in the evening; but the preaching-house was like an oven. Tuesday, 24. The House was well filled at five. About seven in the evening I preached at Bradford, at the door of the House, as it could not contain one half of the congregation. Wednesday, 25. I tallied with most of those whom Edward Hales had torn from their brethren. Just as he was coming to widen the breach, it pleased God to take him to himself. The wanderers were now willing to return, and I received them again, I trust, for ever. Thur . 26. — I preached in Gildersome at noon, and at Morley in the evening. A flame is suddenly broke out here, where it was least of all expected; and it spreads wider and wider. When God will work, who is able to stay his hand? Sun . 29. — I preached about eight at Birstal. The congregation covered a great part of the field, and my voice was exceedingly strengthened, so that I believe all could hear. At one I enforced those solemn words on an immense multitude: “This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
I shall easily be excused for adding here a farther account of the work of God in and near Elverton: — “ON Monday , July 9, I set out, and on Wednesday noon reached Potton, where I rejoiced at the account given by John Keeling of himself and others. He was justified, it seems, on that memorable Sabbath, but had not a clear witness of it till ten days after; about which time his sister (who was, on that day, in great distress) was also set at liberty. I discoursed also with Ann Thorn, who told me of much heaviness following the visions with which she had been favored; but said she was at intervals visited still with such overpowering love and joy, especially at the Lord’s Supper, that she often lay in a trance for many hours. She is twenty one years old.
We were soon after called into the garden, where Patty Jenkins (one of the same age) was so overwhelmed with the love of God, that she sunk down, and appeared as one in a pleasant sleep, only with her eyes open; yet she had often just strength to utter, with a low voice, ejaculations of joy and praise; but no words coming up to what she felt, she frequently laughed while she saw his glory. This is quite unintelligible to many; for a stranger intermeddleth not with our joy. So it was to Mr. M——, who doubted whether God or the devil had filled her with love and praise. O the depth of human wisdom! Mr. R——, the mean time, was filled with a solemn awe. I no sooner sat down by her than the Spirit of God poured the same blessedness into my soul. Hers continued till the time we were to set out for Cockin Hatley. Then her strength was restored in a moment, and we walked together, sixteen in number, singing to the Lord as we went along. “Mr. Hicks preached an excellent sermon on the Strait Gate. The next morning, Thursday, 12, he gave me leave to take an extract from his Journal: But I had only time to write the occurrences of one morning, as follows: — “JUNE 6, 1759. — I spoke this morning at Orwell, on Isaiah 55:1. One who had been before convinced of sin, fell down in a kind of fit, and broke out, in great anguish of soul, calling on the Lord Jesus for salvation. He wrought, as in the agonies of death, and was quite bathed in sweat. He beat the chair against which he kneeled, as one whose soul drew nigh unto hell.
His countenance then cleared up at once: We hoped he would be presently set at liberty; but on a sudden he was more distressed than ever, being in the sharpest conflict. Every muscle of his body was in strong agitation, as if nature was just dissolving. I never saw any convulsion fit so violent. But in a moment God dispelled the cloud. His face was again covered with smiles, and he spake as seeing the Lord near him. He cried unto Him; and the Lord hearing pronounced him freely forgiven. At that instant he clapped his hands, and cried aloud, ‘Jesus is mine! He is my Savior!’ His soul was in peace; neither did he find the least bodily pain or soreness. I asked, ‘For what would you undergo this again?’ He said, ‘Not for all the world; but I would suffer more rather than be without Christ: Yea, for his sake, I would suffer all things.’ ‘An unwise man doth not consider this; a fool doth not understand it.’ “This morning, Ann Simpson, aged sixteen or seventeen, lay near an hour in the utmost distress, shrieking out, ‘Christ!’ ‘Christ!’ and no other word; her face all the time being violently distorted. I left her awhile, but could scarce sit down before I heard the voice of praise. I went, and found her heaviness turned into joy, even the joyful assurance that her sins were pardoned. She sprang by me to a young woman who lay in a kind of trance, and clasped her in her arms, breathing forth praise to God. I retired again, but had not been long seated ere she came in, running to me in a transport of praise. I asked her, why she cried out continually, ‘Christ!
Christ!’ She answered, ‘I thought myself at that time on a little island, and saw Satan in a hideous form, just ready to devour me, hell all round open to receive me, and myself ready to drop in; while no help appeared, nor any way to escape. But just as I was dropping in, the Lord appeared between me and the great gulf, and would not let me fall into it. As soon as I saw him, all my trouble was gone, and still the pain I felt before; and ever since I have been light and joyful, and filled with the love of God.’ “So far Mr. Hicks, who told me he was first convinced of sin, August 1st, 1758; and finding peace in about six weeks, first preached the Gospel on September 17th. From that time he was accounted a fool and a madman.
About two thousand souls seem to have been awakened by Mr. B. and him within this twelvemonth. “Fri. 13. — Mr. R——, as well as Mr. M——, was in doubt concerning the work of God here. But this morning they were both fully convinced, while Alice Miller, the little pale girl, justified May 20, who is in the sixteenth, and Molly Raymond, who is in the twelfth, year of her age, related their experience; their artless confidence confirming all their words.
We walked this forenoon to Tadlow, in Cambridgeshire, to hear Mr. B., but came too late for the sermon. However, the account we received of the wonderful works of God, in this and the neighboring places, was matter of great rejoicing to me, as are all manifestations of the world to come. “Sat. 14. — Mr. B., being ill, desired me to exhort a few people in his house, which the Lord enabled me to do with such ease and power, that I was quite amazed. The next morning, at seven, his servant, Caleb Price, spoke to about two hundred people. The Lord was wonderfully present, more than twenty persons feeling the arrows of conviction. Several fell to the ground; some of whom seemed dead; others, in the agonies of death, the violence of their bodily convulsions exceeding all description. There was also great crying and agonizing in prayer, mixed with deep and deadly groans on every side. “When sermon was ended, one brought good tidings to Mr. B. from Grandchester, that God had there broken down seventeen persons, last week, by the singing of hymns only; and that a child, seven years old, sees many visions, and astonishes the neighbors with her innocent, awful manner of declaring them. “While Mr. B. preached in the church, I stood with many in the church yard, to make room for those who came from far; therefore I saw little, but heard the agonizing of many, panting and gasping after eternal life. In the afternoon, Mr. B. was constrained, by the multitude of people, to come out of the church, and preach in his own close. Some of those who were here pricked to the heart, were affected in an astonishing manner. The first man I saw wounded would have dropped, but others, catching him in their arms, did, indeed, prop him up, but were so far from keeping him still, that he caused all of them to totter and tremble. His own shaking exceeded that of a cloth in the wind. It seemed as if the Lord came upon him like a giant, taking him by the neck, and shaking all his bones in pieces. One woman tore up the ground with her hands, filling them with dust and with the hard trodden grass, on which I saw her lie, with her hands clinched, as one dead, when the multitude dispersed. Another roared and screamed in a more dreadful agony than ever I heard before. I omitted the rejoicing of believers, because of their number, and the frequency thereof, though the manner was strange; some of them being quite overpowered with divine love, and only showing enough of natural life to let us know they were overwhelmed with joy and life eternal. Some continued long as if they were dead, but with a calm sweetness in their looks. I saw one who lay two or three hours in the open air, and being then carried into the house, continued insensible another hour, as if actually dead. The first sign of life she showed was a rapture of praise intermixed with a small joyous laughter. “Mon . 16. — Mr. B. this evening preached ill his house, where I observed Molly Raymond leaning all the while as if asleep; but an hour or two after she desired to speak with him. I wondered she was not gone home, and was concerned that so little a girl should have so far to go in the dark without company. Mr. B. told me, neither she nor the other justified children were afraid of any thing. “Tues . 17. — We walked toward Harlston, near which Mr. B. overtook us. He was greatly fatigued and dejected, and said, ‘I am now so weak, I must leave off field preaching.’ Nevertheless, he cast himself on the Lord, and stood up to preach, having near three thousand hearers. He was very weak at first, and scarce able to speak; but God soon performed his promise, imparting new strength to him, and causing him to speak with mighty power. A great shaking was among the dry bones. Incessant were the cries, groans, wringing of hands, and prayers of sinners, now first convinced of their deplorable state. After preaching, he was lively and strong, so that the closeness of a crowded room neither affected his breath, nor hindered his rejoicing over two children, one about eight, the other about six years old, who were crying aloud to God for mercy. “Not only Harlston, but Stapleford and Triplow, to which Mr. B. was now going, were places in which he had never preached the Gospel, and probably never would have done, had it not been for the thundering sermons made against him from their several pulpits. So does Satan frequently overshoot himself, and occasion the downfall of his own kingdom. “I had been very ill the preceding week: Wherefore, last night I had recourse to God in prayer; and this morning, instead of rising with difficulty at eight or nine, as I had usually done, I rose with ease at five; and instead of losing my strength in a mile or two, I walked eighteen without any weakness or weariness. “Wed. 18. — We called at the house where Mr. B. had been preaching in the morning, and found several there rejoicing in God, and several mourning after him. While I prayed with them, many crowded into the house, some of whom burst into a strange, involuntary laughter, so that my voice could scarce be heard; and when I strove to speak louder, a sudden hoarseness seized me. Then the laughter increased. I perceived it was Satan, and resolved to pray on. Immediately the Lord rebuked him, that laughter was at an end, and so was my hoarseness. A vehement wrestling with God ran through the whole company, whether sorrowful or rejoicing, till, beside the three young women of the house, one young man, and a girl about eleven years old, who had been counted one of the wickedest in Harlston, were exceedingly blessed with the consolations of God. “Among those under conviction was an elderly woman, who had been a scoffer at the Gospel, and a keen ridiculer of all that cried out; but she now cried louder than any present. Another I observed, who had known the Lord above five and twenty years. When Mr. B. first brought the Gospel to her ears, she was filled with gladness, knowing this was the same salvation which God had long ago brought to her heart. “We walked hence to the middle of Shelford Moor; and seeing no person but a young woman who kept sheep, the solitude invited us to stop and sing an hymn; the sound whereof reached her: She came up slowly, weeping as she came, and then stood by a brook of water over against us, with the tears running down her cheeks apace. We sang another hymn for this mourner in Sion, and wrestled for her with God in prayer. But he did not yet comfort her: And indeed I have observed of the people in general who hear Mr. B——, their convictions are not only deep and violent, but last a long time. Wherefore those that are offended at them who rejoice, should consider how terrible a cup they received first. Now they are all light; but they well remember the darkness and misery, the wormwood and the gall. “We met Mr. B. at Stapleford, five miles from Cambridge. His heart was particularly set on this people, because he was Curate here five or six years; but never preached a Gospel sermon among them till this evening.
About one thousand five hundred persons met in a close to hear him, great part of whom were laughers and mockers. The work of God, however, quickly began among them that were serious; while not a few endeavored to make sport, by mimicking the gestures of them that were wounded.
Both these, and those who rejoiced in God, gave great offense to some stern looking men, who vehemently demanded to have those wretches horse whipped out of the close. Need we wonder at this, when several of his Own people are unwilling to let God work in his own way? And well may Satan be enraged at the cries of the people, and the prayers they make in the bitterness of their souls; seeing we know these are the chief times at which Satan is cast out. “However, in a while many of the scoffers were weary and went away; the rest continued as insensible as before. I had long been walking round the multitude, feeling a jealousy for my God, and praying him to make the place of his feet glorious. My patience at last began to fail, and I prayed, ‘O King of Glory, break some of them in pieces; but let it be to the saving of their souls!’ I had but just spoke, when I heard a dreadful noise on the farther side of the congregation; and, turning thither, saw one Thomas Skinner coming, forward, the most horrible human figure I ever saw. His large wig and hair were coal black; his face distorted beyond all description: He roared incessantly, throwing and clapping his hands together with his whole force. Several were terrified, and hasted out of his way. I was glad to hear him, after a while, pray aloud. Not a few of the triflers grew serious, while his kindred and acquaintance were very unwilling to believe even their own eyes and ears. They would fain have got him away; but he fell to the earth, crying, ‘My burden! My burden! I cannot bear it!’ Some of his brother scoffers were calling for horse whips, till they saw him extended on his back at full length. They then said he was dead: And, indeed, the only sign of life was the working of his breast, and the distortions of his face, while the veins of his neck were swelled, as if ready to burst. He was just before the chief captain of Satan’s forces:
His agonized lasted some hours; then his body and soul were eased. “When Mr. B. had refreshed himself a little, he returned to the close, and bid the multitude take warning by Skinner, who still lay roaring and tormented on the ground. All the people were now deeply serious; and several hundreds, instead of going when Mr. B. dismissed them, stayed in Mr. Jennings’s yard. Many of these, especially men, were truly broken in heart. Mr. B. talked with as many as could come into the house; and seeing what numbers stood hungering without, sent me word to pray with them.
This was a grievous cross! I knew it was the Lord’s will; but felt such weakness of body and sinking of spirit, and was withal so hoarse, that I supposed few could hear out of some hundreds who stood before me.
However, I attempted, and in a moment the Lord poured upon me such a spirit of supplication, and gave me so clear, strong an utterance, that it seemed I was another man: A farther instance that the servants of God are not sent a warfare on their own charge. “No sooner had I finished, than we were called to see John Dennis, aged twenty years, who lay on a table. His body was stiff and motionless as a statue; his very neck seemed as if made of iron. He was looking steadfastly up to heaven, and praying aloud with a melodious voice. His words surprised Mr. B. as well as me; who said to the assembly, ‘You need no better preacher; none can tell you the truths of the Gospel more clearly.’
And, indeed, his prayer unfolded the whole Christian system with the greatest accuracy. When he came out of the fit, he was in perfect health; but declared he knew not a word of all he had spoken. His mother then informed us, he had had these fits for two years, at least once a day; but he never spoke in any fit till three weeks ago; ever since he prays in them as tonight, but is himself as ignorant of the matter, as if he had been dead all the time. “It was late when I went to lodge about half a mile off, where I found a young woman reading hymns, and the power of the Lord falling on the hearers; especially one young man, who cried aloud in such bitter anguish, that I soon desired we might join in prayer. This was the seventh time of my praying in public that day; and had I been faithful, I should probably have prayed seven more. “Thur. 19. — I returned to Mr. J——gs’s, who had set out at four in the morning, to hear Mr. B. at Grandchester. He came soon after me, but was scarce able to speak. I never saw a man sweat in such a manner; the large drops seeming fixed all over his face, just like beads of glass. The congregation at Grandchester this morning consisted of about one thousand persons, among whom the Lord was wonderfully present, convincing a far greater number now than even last night. Mr. J——gs was a mild, good natured Pharisee, who never had been awakened: But he was now thoroughly convinced of his lost estate, and stood for a time in utter despair, with his mouth wide open, his eyes staring, and full of huge dismay. When he found power to speak, he cried out, ‘I thought I had led a good life; I thought I was not so bad as others; but I am the vilest creature upon earth; I am dropping into hell! Now, now; this very moment!’ He then saw hell open to receive him, and Satan ready to cast him in; but it was not long before he saw the Lord Jesus, and knew he had accepted him. He then cried aloud in an unspeakable rapture, ‘I have got Christ! I have got Christ! ‘For two hours he was in the visions of God; then the joy, though not the peace, abated. “I had left Mr. J——gs but a little while, when I heard John Dennis loudly praising God. I no sooner kneeled by him than the consolations of God came upon me, so that I trembled and wept much. Nor was the Spirit poured out upon us alone; all in the house were partakers of it. J. D. was kneeling when his fit came We laid him on the ground, where he soon became stiff as last night, and prayed in like manner. Afterwards his body grew flexible by degrees, but was convulsed from head to foot. When he was quite recovered, he said he was quite resigned to the will of God, who gave him such strength in the inner man, that he did not find any of these things grievous, neither could ask to be delivered from them. “I walked from Stapleford with twenty persons, to hear Mr. B. at Triplow, and saw many other companies, some before, some behind, some on either hand, going the same way. This brought to my mind the words of Zechariah, ‘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.’ “Fifteen hundred or two thousand were assembled in the close at Tripiow.
The only unpolished part of the audience were a few gentlemen on horseback. They were much offended at the cries of those in conviction, but much more at the rejoicing of others, even to laughter: But they were not able to look them in the face for half a minute together. I looked after Service at every ring which the people made about those that fell under the word. Here and there was a place with only one, but there were generally two or three together; and on one spot no less than seven who lay on the ground as if slain in battle. I soon followed Mr. B. to the house, and found both it and the orchard filled with serious people; to whom he spake till his strength failed, and then, seeing them unwilling to depart, desired me to dismiss them with a prayer. I felt great reluctance; but so mightily, when I began, came the Spirit upon me, that I found no want of utterance, while I was praying with about two hundred persons. I thought they had then gone away, but perceived, an hour after, most of them were still in the house or orchard; sighs and groans, prayers, tears, and joyful praise, being intermixed on every side. “Fri. 20. — I was wakeful before five; but, conferring with flesh and blood, I slept again. Mr. B. sent for me at seven; but I was then so weak, I could not go till the people were dispersed. Three times more persons were struck with convictions this morning, than had been last night. Mr. B. had prayed with them till near fainting, who then sent for me to come:
And who knows what God might have done even by me, if I had not been indulging my vile body? I was glad to see a woman, supposed the chief sinner in the town, now rolling on the earth, screaming and roaring in strong convictions. The man of the house informed us of her having had nine or ten children by whoredom; and that, being at last married, her husband was more angry with her for hearing the word, than he would probably have been for committing adultery. Nor was her Minister displeased that she never came to church, but mightily strove to prevent both her and all the sinners of his parish from going to hear the Gospel. I observed also a beggar girl, seven or eight years old, who had scarce any clothes but a ragged piece of old rug. She too had felt the word of God as a two-edged sword, and mourned to be covered with Christ’s righteousness. “From Triplow I walked to Orwell, and thence to Everton, in weakness of body and heaviness of spirit. Mr. B. was preaching when I came in. Here God again refreshed my soul. I shook from head to foot, while tears of joy ran down my face, and my distress was at an end. “Sat. 21. — I was troubled for some of our brethren, who began to doubt whether this was a work of God or of the devil; John Keeling in particular, who, instead of his frank, lively zeal, and happiness in God, was now filled with gloomy discontent, and grown dark, sullen, and reserved. As we were walking together, he told me it was his resolution to keep himself to himself; to let them who struggled so struggle as they would, and leave all those to themselves whom Satan cast into visions or trances, till Satan brought them out again. ‘But,’ he added, ‘I am so uneasy, I don’t know what to do; and most of our people begin to shun one another.’ The snare was now broken. He saw the delusion he had been in, and I trust will hereafter shun the troublers of Israel. “Sun . 22. — The church was quite filled, and hundreds were without. And now the arrows of God flew abroad. The inexpressible groans, the lamenting, praying, roaring, were so loud, almost without intermission, that we who stood without could scarce help thinking all in the church were cut to the heart. But, upon inquiry, we found about two hundred persons, chiefly men, cried aloud for mercy; but many more were affected, perhaps as deeply, though in a calmer way. “I rejoiced to see many from Cambridgeshire; particularly John Dennis, Thomas Skinner, and the sorrowful young woman with whom we had prayed on Shelford Moor. Now too came good news from several parts, especially Grandchester; where ten more persons were cut to the heart in singing hymns among themselves; and the little child before mentioned continues to astonish all the neighborhood. A noted Physician came some time ago, and closely examined her. The result was, he confessed it was no distemper of mind, but the hand of God. “I sought for Thomas Skinner after Morning Service, and found him, with many more, singing hymns under a tree. When they stopped, I asked, ‘How do you find your mind now?’ Instead of speaking, he looked upon me with great steadiness, fetched a deep sigh, burst out into tears and prayers, and, throwing himself along on the ground, fell into more and more agony, till he roared aloud. I told him how great a sinner I had been; but the more I spoke, the more was he distressed. Wherefore John Dennis and I went to prayer for him; but his deliverance was not yet. Make him, O Lord, a greater champion for thy truth than ever he was against it! “Mr. B. preached in his close this afternoon, though in great bodily weakness: But when he is weakest, God so strengthens him, that it is surprising to what a distance his voice reaches. I have heard Mr. Whitefield speak as loud, but not with such a continued, strong, unbroken tenor. “Mon. 23. — Mr. Keeling and I walked to Bedford. I was relating there how God had plucked such a brand as me out of the burning; but my voice was quickly stopped by rejoicing; and I have often found, that nothing I can say makes so much impression on myself or others, as thus repeating my own conversion. “The first time I saw Mr. B. was June 2, 1758. But I scarce thought of him again till June 7, as I was walking up to Luton Down. There an awful sense of God’s presence fell upon me, and my voice grew louder and louder, in proportion to the joy of my soul, with a strong impulse to pray for the success of Mr. B.’s labors: And such a foresight did the Lord give me of what he was bringing to pass through his ministry, that I was quite overwhelmed for near an hour; till my voice was lost, and only tears remained. And O, how graciously has the God of truth accomplished all those things! With what delight hast Thou since caused me to walk round the walls of thy Sion, to mark well her bulwarks, and count the towers there of!” Wed AUGUST 1. — A few of us spoke freely and largely to a brother who had been “overtaken in a fault,” and endeavored to “restore him in the spirit of meekness:” And we were much comforted over him; having great hope that God would restore his usefulness, as well as his strength. Thur . 2. — I rode to Sheffield, and preached at one to a large and quiet congregation. I was afterward desired to visit Mr. Dodge, Curate of the new church. I found him on the brink of eternity, rejoicing in God his Savior. Thence I went on to Rotherham, and talked with five men and six women (as I had done with many others before in various places) who believe they are saved from sin. And this fact I believe, that they “rejoice ever more, pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks.” I believe they feel nothing but love now: What they will do, I leave to God. Fri . 3. — I preached at Gainsborough, in Sir Nevil Hickman’s great hall. It is full as large as the Weaver’s Hall, in Bristol. At two it was filled with a rude, wild multitude (a few of a better spirit excepted). Yet all but two or three gentlemen were attentive, while I enforced our Lord’s words, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” I was walking back through a gaping, staring crowd, when Sir Nevil came and thanked me for my sermon, to the no small amazement of his neighbors, who shrunk back as if they had seen a ghost. Thence I rode to North Scarle, the last village in Lincolnshire, ten miles short of Newark.
Here a great multitude assembled from various parts, most of them wholly unacquainted with the ways of God; indeed to such a degree, that though I spoke as plain as I could, on the first principles of religion, yet it seemed very many understood me no more, than if I was talking Greek. O what a condition is the bulk of Reformed Christians in to this day! Sat . 4. — As we took horse, the rain began, and accompanied us till we alighted in the evening. Sunday , 5, Between eight and nine I reached Everton, faint and weary enough. During the Prayers, as also during the sermon, and the administration of the sacrament, a few persons cried aloud; but it was not from sorrow or fear, but love and joy. The same I observed in several parts of the Afternoon Service. In the evening I preached in Mr. Hicks’ church. Two or three persons fell to the ground, and were extremely convulsed; but none cried out. One or two were filled with strong consolation. Mon . 6. — I talked largely with Ann Thorn, and two others, who had been several times in trances. What they all agreed in was, 1. That when they went away, as they termed it, it was always at the time they were fullest of the love of God: 2. That it came upon them in a moment, without any previous notice, and took away all their senses and strength: 3. That there were some exceptions; but in general, from that moment, they were in another world, knowing nothings of what was done or said, by all that were round about them.
About five in the afternoon I heard them singing hymns. Soon after, Mr. B. came up, and told me, Alice Miller (fifteen years old) was fallen into a trance. I went down immediately, and found her sitting on a stool, and leaning against the wall, with her eyes open and fixed upward. I made a motion as if going to strike; but they continued immovable. Her face showed an unspeakable mixture of reverence and love, while silent tears stole down her cheeks. Her lips were a little open, and sometimes moved, but not enough to cause any sound. I do not know whether I ever saw an human face look so beautiful: Sometimes it was covered with a smile, as from joy, mixing with love and reverence; but the tears fell still) though not so fast. Her pulse was quite regular. In about half an hour I observed her countenance change into the form of fear, pity, and distress; then she burst into a flood of tears, and cried out, “Dear Lord; they will be damned! They will all be damned!” But in about five minutes her smiles returned, and only love and joy appeared in her face. About half an hour after six I observed distress take place again; and soon after she wept bitterly, and cried out, “Dear Lord, they will go to hell! The world will go to hell!”
Soon after, she said, “Cry aloud! Spare not!” And in a few moments her look was composed again, and spoke a mixture of reverence, joy, and love.
Then she said aloud, “Give God the glory.” About seven her senses returned. I asked, “Where have you been?” — “I have been with my Savior.” “In heaven, or on earth?” — “I cannot tell; but I was in glory.” “Why then did you cry?” — “Not for myself, but for the world; for I saw they were on the brink of hell.” “Whom did you desire to give the glory to God?” — “Ministers that cry aloud to the world: Else they will be proud; and then God will leave them, and they will lose their own souls.”
I preached at eight on, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God.” The whole congregation was earnestly attentive; but not above one or two cried out; and I did not observe any that fainted away, either then or in the morning. I have generally observed more or less of these outward symptoms to attend the beginning of a general work of God: So it was in New England, Scotland, Holland, Ireland, and many parts of England; but after a time they gradually decrease, and the work goes on more quietly and silently. Those whom it pleases God; to employ in his work, ought to be quite passive in this respect: They should choose nothing, but leave entirely to him all the circumstances of his own work. Tues . 7. — After preaching at four (because of the harvest) I took horse, and rode easily to London. Indeed I wanted a little rest; having rode, in seven months, above four and twenty hundred miles. Wed . 8. — Our Conference began, the time of which was almost entirely employed in examining whether the spirit and lives of our Preachers were suitable to their profession. On Saturday, in the afternoon, we concluded.
Great was the unanimity and love that reigned among us; and if there were any who hoped or feared the contrary, they were happily disappointed. Sun. 12. — I was afraid to look forward to the work of the day, knowing my strength was not sufficient for it: But God looked to that; for though I was exceeding weak at Snowsfields in the morning, I was stronger at noon; and after preaching in the afternoon in the fields, and meeting the society, I felt no weakness at all. Mon . 13. — I took a little ride to Croydon, one of the seats of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Was it one of these who ordered, many years ago, (for the characters are of old standing,) that dreadful inscription to be placed just over the communion table? “And now, ye Priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord, I will even send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings: Yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, and one shall take you away with it.”
The Archbishop’s palace is an ancient, venerable pile, and the gardens are extremely pleasant. The late Archbishop had improved them at a large expense; but continual illness prevented his enjoying them; till, after four years’ constant pain, he was called away, — one may hope to the garden of God.
I dined at Mr. B.’s, in Epsom, whose house and gardens lie in what was once a chalk pit. It is the most elegant spot I ever saw with my eyes; every thing, within doors and without, being finished in the most exquisite taste. Surely nothing on earth can be more delightful: O what will the possessor feel, when he cries out, Must I then leave thee, Paradise? Then leave These happy shades, and mansions fit for gods? Fri . 17. — I spent an hour pleasantly and profitably at — ‘s. How gracious is God, who still preserves him unconsumed in fire! How plain, that with God all things are possible! He can draw the sting either of wealth or death. Sun . 19. — I preached in the afternoon to an huge multitude in the fields, on, “Now God commandeth all men every where to repent.” Monday, 27.
I rode to Bedford; and, about six, preached on St. Peter’s Green. None of the numerous congregation stood with their heads covered except the Germans. Blessed be God, that I have not so learned Christ! If they know no better, I cannot help it. Tues. 28. — I rode on to Mr. Berridge’s, at Everton; and in the evening went to the church, but unusually heavy, and hardly expecting to do any good there. I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “We know that we are of God.” One sunk down, and another, and another. Some cried aloud in agony of prayer. I would willingly have spent some time in prayer with them; but my voice failed, so that I was obliged to conclude the service, leaving many in the church, crying and praying, but unable either to walk or stand. One young man, and one young woman, were brought with difficulty to Mr. B.’s house, and continued there in violent agonies, both of body and soul. When I came into the room, the woman lay quiet, wrestling with God in silent prayer. But even the bodily convulsions of the young man were amazing: The heavings of his breast were beyond description; I suppose, equal to the throes of a woman in travail. We called upon God, to relieve his soul and body: And both were perfectly healed. He rejoiced in God with joy unspeakable, and felt no pain, or weakness, or weariness. Presently after, the woman also was delivered, and arose, rejoicing in God her Savior. Wed. 29. — I rode to Lakenheath, and spoke exceeding plain to an honest drowsy people. Thursday, 30. I preached at the Tabernacle in Norwich, to a large, rude, noisy congregation. I took knowledge what manner of Teachers they had been accustomed to, and determined to mend them or end them. Accordingly, the next evening, after sermon, I reminded them of two things: The one, that it was not decent to begin talking aloud as soon as service was ended; and hurrying to and fro, as in a bear garden. The other, that it was a bad custom to gather into knots just after sermon, and turn a place of worship into a coffee house. I therefore desired, that none would talk under that roof, but go quietly and silently away. And on Sunday, SEPTEMBER 2, I had the pleasure to observe, that all went as quietly away, as if they had been accustomed to it for many years. Mon. 3. — I met the society at five, and explained the nature and use of meeting in a class. Upon inquiry, I found we have now about five hundred members. But an hundred and fifty of these do not pretend to meet at all.
Of those, therefore, I make no account. They hang on but a single thread. Tues. 4. — I walked to Kemnal, nine miles from Norwich, and preached at one o’clock. The ringleader of the mob came with his horn, as usual, before I began, but one quickly catched and threw away his horn; and in a few minutes he was deserted by all his companions; who were seriously and deeply attentive to the great truth, “By grace ye are saved through faith.” Sun . 9. — I met the society at seven; and told them in plain terms, that they were the most ignorant, self conceited, self willed, fickle, untractable, disorderly, disjointed society, that I knew in the three kingdoms. And God applied it to their hearts: So that many were profited; but I do not find, that one was offended.
At ten we had another happy opportunity, and many stubborn hearts were melted down. Just at two the great congregation met, and the power of God was again present to heal: Though not so eminently as at five, while I was describing “the peace that passeth all understudying.” After preaching, I was desired to spend an hour with some whom I supposed to be of our own society. But I soon found my mistake: — Sensim medios delapsus in hostes. One in particular warmly told me, she could not like mine or Mr. Murlin’s doctrine: It always threw her into heaviness. But in dear Mr. Cudworth’s she could find comfort. I desired we might pray. God quickly answered for himself: Her heart was broke in pieces. She was filled with love, and grief, and shame; but could only tell it by her eyes and her tears.
About this time I received a remarkable letter from abroad; an extract of which follows: — “Berlin, August 26, 1759. “GOD has again wrought publicly in this place, in the presence of many thousand people. A soldier of the King’s Guard was sentenced to be hanged for desertion and theft. He was a wretch abandoned to all manner of wickedness. General K — was much concerned for his soul. He earnestly desired me to take the charge of it, though we saw no prospect of success. I visited him the day he was condemned, being Thursday. He seemed quite careless and unconcerned. I endeavored to convince him of sin; but did not perceive any effect. I begged of him not to deceive his own soul, but to consider the condition he was in. On Friday this began to sink into his heart, and on Saturday much more. Perceiving this, I much insisted on those words: ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ The effect was astonishing. He laid hold of them by faith, and not only his burden was gone, but he had such experience of the love of Christ as it is impossible to describe: His peace, triumph, and joy increased every hour, till the night before his execution; and indeed were never more observable than when he was brought out of prison. In his way to the place of execution he praised God for dragging him, as it were, with chains to heaven. ‘What!’ said he, ‘will God, after all my hellish actions, give me eternal life into the bargain?’
The efficacy of the blood and death of Christ being made known to him by the Holy Ghost, he spoke of nothing but his wedding day, which was to be this 13th of August. Every one that looked upon him was struck.
Officers and all were moved. Being entered into the ring, I once more prayed with him, and gave him the last blessing. But the very instant he was to be turned off, Colonel H. called out, ‘Pardon!’ I was thunderstruck, and Mittelstadt protested, it was to him like a ball shot through his body.
He fainted away for some time. Being recovered, his first words were, ‘Why was I not rather hanged, or even crucified, than pardoned? Why am I thus stopped in my course? I should now have been with Christ!’ I was myself more afraid of him now than ever. But the grace of God was strong in his soul. And ever since it has continued the same. Yesterday I was informed by one who went on purpose to inquire, that his whole employ during his confinement (which is to continue six months) is reading, praying, and comforting himself with the blood of Christ.” Mon. 10. — We took horse at half hour after four. Before eight it was as warm as it is usually at Midsummer. And from ten we had the sun in our face all the way to Colchester. But we had the wind in our face too, or the heat would have been insupportable. I was in a fever from the moment I came into the house. But it did not hinder me from preaching on the Green, and afterwards meeting the society. I then lay down as soon as possible, but could not sleep a quarter of an hour, till between two and three in the morning. I do not know that I have lost a night’s sleep before, sick or well, since I was six years old. But it is all one: God is able to give strength, either with sleep or without it. I rose at my usual time, and preached at five, without any faintness or drowsiness. Thur . 13. — We set out between four and five, and rode to Dunmow, about four and twenty miles. But here we were at a full stop. None could direct us any farther. So we were to cross the country as well as we could.
But whenever we were at a loss (eight or ten times) we met someone to help us out. So about half an hour past one we were come within sixteen miles of Sundon.
An honest blunderer then undertook to direct us a nearer way. By his help we wandered up and down, till our sixteen miles grew into six and twenty.
However, we got to Sundon before seven, where a considerable number of people soon met; to whom I explained (what they seemed to know very little of) “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fri . 14. — I returned to London. Saturday, 15. Having left orders for the immediate repairing of West street chapel, I went to see what they had done, and saw cause to praise God for this also. The main timbers were so rotten, that in many places one might thrust his fingers into them. So that probably, had we delayed till spring, the whole building must have fallen to the ground. Mon. 17. — I went to Canterbury. Two hundred soldiers, I suppose, and a whole row of Officers, attended in the evening. Their number was increased the next evening, and all behaved as men fearing God. Wednesday , 19. I preached at Dover, in the new Room, which is just finished. Here also the hearers increase, some of whom are convinced, and others comforted daily. Thursday , 20. I strongly applied at Canterbury, to the soldiers in particular, “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” The next day, in my return to London, I read Mr. Huygens’s “Conjectures on the Planetary World.” He surprised me. I think he clearly proves that the moon is not habitable: That there are neither Rivers nor mountains on her spotty globe :
That there is no sea, no water on her surface, nor any atmosphere: And hence he very rationally infers, that “neither are any of the secondary planets inhabited.” And who can prove that the primary are? I know the earth is. Of the rest I know nothing. Sun. 23. — A vast majority of the immense congregation in Moorfields were deeply serious. One such hour might convince any impartial man of the expediency of field preaching. What building, except St. Paul’s church, would contain such a congregation? And if it would, what human voice could have reached them there? By repeated observations I find I can command thrice the number in the open air, that I can under a roof. And who can say the time for field preaching is over, while, 1. Greater numbers than ever attend: 2. The converting, as well as convincing, power of God is eminently present with them? Mon . 24. — I preached about eight at Brentford; and in the evening at Basingstoke, to a people slow of heart and dull of understanding. Tuesday , 25. I preached in the new House at Whitchurch; and at Salisbury in the evening. The new Room there is, I think, the most complete in England. It strikes every one of any taste that sees it; not with any single part, but an inexpressible something in the whole.
The militia from Hampshire being in town, a large number of them were at the preaching. But it was as music to an horse; such brutish behavior have I seldom seen. The next evening they behaved, if possible, worse than before. However, many of them, I believe, were struck; for they came again in the morning, and then appeared to be of quite another spirit, earnestly attending to what was spoken. Thursday, 27. I had appointed to preach at seven in the evening at Bradford. But when I came, I found Mr. Hart was to preach at six. So I delayed till the Church Service was ended; that there might not appear (at least on my part) even the shadow of opposition between us. Fri. 28. — I reached Bristol. Sunday, 30. The weather being fair and calm, I preached in the new Square, for the sake of many people who do not choose to come to the Room. My text was, “him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” I believe many found desires of coming to him O that they may be brought to good effect! Mon. OCTOBER 1. — All my leisure time during my stay at Bristol, I employed in finishing the fourth volume of “Discourses;” probably the last which I shall publish. Monday , 15. I walked up to Knowle, a mile from Bristol, to see the French prisoners. Above eleven hundred of them, we were informed, were confined in that little place without any thing to lie on but a little dirty straw, or any thing to cover them but a few foul thin rags, either by day or night, so that they died like rotten sheep. I was much affected, and preached in the evening on, (Exodus 23:9,) “Thou shalt not oppress a stranger; for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Eighteen pounds were contributed immediately, which were made up four and twenty the next day. With this I’ve bought linen and woolen cloth, which were made up into shirts, waistcoats, and breeches. Some dozen of stockings were added; all which were carefully distributed, where there was the greatest want. Presently after, the Corporation of Bristol sent a large quantity of mattresses and blankets. And it was not long before contributions were set on foot at London, and in various parts of the kingdom; so that I believe from this time they were pretty well provided with all the necessaries of life. Mon. 22. — I left Bristol, and having preached at Shepton, Coleford, Frome, and Salisbury in my way, on Thursday , 25, determined to try if I could do any good at Andover. The congregation at ten in the morning was small; in the evening their number was increased, and I think some of them went away crying out, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” Fri. 26. — I rode to Basingstoke. I was extremely tired when I came in, but much less so after preaching. I then sent to inquire if there was a vacant place in any of the coaches which were going to London the next day; but they were all full; and I had promised to send back my mare to Bristol. The only way that remained was, to take Joseph Jones’s horse, and let him ride behind one of the coaches. So I ordered the horse to be brought soon after four in the morning, and was waiting for the coach, when a post chaise drove by. I rode close after it, though it was so dark, I could not see my horse’s head; but I could hear, which was enough. About day-break, it drove away; but then I could see the road. It rained without intermission, from the time I took horse, till I came to the Foundery; so that I was wet through a great part of the day. But it did me no hurt at all. Sun. 28. — I found the ancient spirit in the congregation, both at Spitalfields and the Foundery. Tuesday, 30. I preached at Deptford, and rejoiced to find an increasing work there also. Wednesday and Thursday I spent in revising and perfecting a “Treatise on Electricity.” Friday, NOVEMBER 2. I spent an hour with that miracle of mercy, Miss ——; a clear proof that God can, even without external means, preserve a bush in the midst of the fire. Sun . 4. — As I was applying those words, “They neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more; for they are equal to angels;” the power of God fell upon the congregation in a very uncommon manner. How seasonable! O how does God sweeten whatever cross we bear for his sake! Mon . 12. — I talked with J—— D——, a gentleman’s coachman, an uncommon monument of mercy. Last year he was a violent persecutor of the truth, and of his wife for the sake of it. But the second or third time he heard for himself, he was thoroughly convinced. Soon after he entered into the society, and in six weeks found peace with God. Yet his natural tempers quickly revived, which made him restless after a thorough change.
In spring this restlessness so increased, that he was crying to God day and night, till on Sunday, May 27, he was utterly broken in pieces, and ready to cast away the hope of it. But just as he received the bread in the Lord’s Supper, the love of God filled his heart; and from that moment he had no doubt, but has continued always rejoicing, always praying, and praising God. Sat. 17. — I spent an hour agreeably and profitably with Lady G—— H——, and Sir C—— H——. It is well a few of the rich and noble are called. O that God would increase their number! But I should rejoice, (were it the will of God,) if it were done by the ministry of others. If I might choose, I should still (as I have done hitherto) preach the Gospel to the poor. Mon . 19. — I spent an hour with Mr. B., who has escaped from Guadaloupe, as with the skin of his teeth. He informed me that all the water they had in the voyage, stunk intolerably; that the biscuit was full of maggots; and the beef mere carrion; so that none could bear to stand near a cask when it was opened. What wonder that the poor men died in troops!
Who shall answer for their blood? Thur . 22. — I took horse between six and seven, in one of the coldest mornings I ever remember. We reached St. Alban’s without much difficulty; but then the roads were all covered with snow. However, there was a beaten path, though slippery enough, till we turned into the by road to Sundon. What we could have done there I cannot tell, for the snow lay deeper and deeper, had not a wagon gone awhile before us, and marked the way for six miles, to Mr. Cole’s gate. Fri . 23. — The roads were so extremely slippery, it was with much difficulty we reached Bedford. We had a pretty large congregation; but the stench from the swine under the Room was scarce supportable. Was ever a preaching place over a hog sty before? Surely they love the Gospel, who come to hear it in such a place. Sat. 24. — We rode to Everton; Mr. Berridge being gone to preach before the University at Cambridge. Many people came to his house in the evening, and it was a season of great refreshment. Sun. 25. — I was a little afraid my strength would not suffice for reading Prayers and preaching, and administering the Lord’s Supper alone, to a large number of communicants; but all was well. Mr. Hicks began his own Service early, and came before I had ended my sermon. So we finished the whole before two, and I had time to breathe before the Evening Service.
In the afternoon God was eminently present with us, though rather to comfort than convince. But I observed a remarkable difference since I was here before, as to the manner of the work. None now were in trances, none cried out, none fell down or were convulsed: Only some trembled exceedingly, a low murmur was heard, and many were refreshed with the multitude of peace.
The danger was, to regard extraordinary circumstances too much, such as outcries, convulsions, visions, trances; as if these were essential to the inward work, so that it could not go on without them. Perhaps the danger is, to regard them too little, to condemn them altogether; to imagine they had nothing of God in them, and were an hindrance to his work. Whereas the truth is, 1. God suddenly and strongly convinced many that they were lost sinners; the natural consequence whereof were sudden outcries and strong bodily convulsions: 2. To strengthen and encourage them that believed, and to make his work more apparent, he favored several of them with divine dreams, others with trances and visions: 3. In some of these instances, after a time, nature mixed with grace: 4. Satan likewise mimicked this work of God, in order to discredit the whole work: And yet it is not wise to give up this part, any more than to give up the whole.
Let us even suppose that in some few cases there was a mixture of dissimulation; that persons pretended to see or feel what they did not, and imitated the cries or convulsive motions of those who were really overpowered by the Spirit of God: Yet even this should not make us either deny or undervalue the real work of the Spirit. The shadow is no disparagement of the substance, nor the counterfeit of the real diamond.
We may further suppose, that Satan will make these visions an occasion of pride: But what can be inferred from hence? Nothing, but that we should guard against it; that we should diligently exhort all to be little in their own eyes, knowing that nothing avails with God but humble love. But still, to slight or censure visions in general, would be both irrational and unchristian. Mon . 26. — In the evening I preached in Mr. Hicks’ church, at Wrestlingworth, and at ten the next morning. The people were deeply attentive, but none were so affected as when I was here last. In the evening Mr. B. returned from preaching before the University. In the midst of the sermon, he informed me, one person cried out aloud, but was silent in a few moments. Several dropped down, but made no noise; and the whole congregation, young and old, behaved with seriousness. God is strong as well as wise: Who knows what work he may have to do here also? Wed . 28. — I returned to London; and on Thursday , 29, the day appointed for the General Thanksgiving, I preached again in the chapel near the Seven Dials, both morning and afternoon. I believe the oldest man in England has not seen a thanksgiving day so observed before. It had the solemnity of the General Fast. All the shops were shut up: The people in the streets appeared, one and all, with an air of seriousness: The Prayers, Lessons, and whole Public Service were admirably suited to the occasion. The prayer for our enemies, in particular, was extremely striking: Perhaps it is the first instance of the kind in Europe. There was no noise, hurry, bonfires, fireworks in the evening; and no public diversions. This is indeed a Christian holiday, a “rejoicing unto the Lord.” The next day came the news that Sir Edward Hawke had dispersed the French fleet. Sun. DECEMBER 9. — I had, for the first time, a love, feast for the whole society. Wednesday , 12. I began reading over the Greek Testament and the Notes, with my brother and several others; carefully comparing the translation with the original, and correcting or enlarging the notes as we saw occasion.
The same day I spent part of the afternoon in the British Museum. There is a large library, a great number of curious manuscripts, many uncommon monuments of antiquity, and the whole collection of shells, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, etc., which the indefatigable Sir Hans Sloane, with such vast expense and labor, procured in a life of fourscore years. Fri . 14. — I was at a Christian wedding, to which were invited only two or three relations, and five Clergymen, who spent part of the afternoon in a manner suitable to the solemn occasion. Wed . 19. — I was desired to read over a Chancery Bill. The occasion of it was this: — A. B. tells C. D. that one who owed him thirty pounds wanted to borrow thirty more; and asked whether he thought the eighth part of such a ship, then at sea, was sufficient security. He said he thought it was. On this A. B. lent the money. The ship came home: But, through various accidents, the eighth part yielded only twenty pounds. A. B. on this commenced a suit, to make C. D. pay him the residue of his money.
This worthy story is told in no less than an hundred and ten sheets of paper! C. D. answers, he advised to the best of his judgment; not foreseeing those accidents whereby the share which cost two hundred pounds yielded no more than twenty. This answer brought on fifteen sheets of exceptions, all which a quarter of a sheet might have contained. I desired the plaintiff and defendant to meet me the next day; both of whom were willing to stand to arbitration: And they readily agreed that C. D. should pay half his own costs, and A. B. the rest of the expense. Fri . 21. — I inquired into the particulars of a very remarkable story: — A ship, laden with wheat, and having no other ballast, about one in the morning on Sunday, November 18, the wind blowing hard, shifted her cargo, and in half an hour sunk. Mr. Austin, the Mate, leaped off her side, as she sunk; and, being an excellent swimmer, kept above water till he saw something floating toward him, which proved to be the capstern of the ship. He got upon it; and, although washed off several times, yet still recovered his seat, and floated all day and all the following night. But on Monday morning he was quite exhausted, and faint almost to death, with thirst; having,, swallowed abundance of salt water. In this extremity he saw some apples floating toward him. He took up three, ate them, and was much strengthened. About noon Admiral Saunders’ fleet came in sight; one of whose ships saw, and took him up. He could not stand; but being blooded, and put into a warm bed, and fed with small broth, a spoonful or two at a time, he recovered strength apace, and in a few days was as well as ever. Sat. 22. — I went to Colchester, and on Sunday , 23, preached in the shell of the new House. It is twelve square, and is the best building, of the size, for the voice, that I know in England. Monday, 24. We did not set out till after seven, intending to ride about forty miles. But coming to Schole Inn before three, we pushed on, and before seven came safe to Norwich. Thur. 27. — I began visiting the society, and found the greater part much changed from what they were a year ago. They are indeed fewer in number, but are now of a teachable spirit, willing to be advised, or even reproved: And if two hundred of this spirit remain, they are worth all our labor. Tues. JANUARY 1, 1760. — We began the Service at four in the morning. A great number attended, and God was in the midst, strengthening and refreshing their souls. Thursday , 3. In the evening, while I was enforcing those awful words of the Prophet, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved,” a young woman, who had contained herself as long as she could, sunk down and cried aloud. I found this was a new thing in Norwich. The women about her got water and hartshorn in abundance: But all would not do. When the Service was ended, I asked her, “What do you want?” She immediately replied, “Nothing but Christ.” And indeed what Physician, beside Him, is able to heal that sickness? Fri. 4. — I preached about one at Forncet, to a much milder people than I left there; and in the evening at Kenninghall, where the Antinomians had labored hard in the devil’s service. Yet all are not lost; a few are still left, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Saturday, 5. I preached in the evening at Colchester; and on Sunday , 6, rode to Langham, (seven miles from thence,) in such a day as I have seldom known; the Northeast wind was so exceeding keen, and drove the sleet full in our face: But this did not discourage the people, who flocked from all quarters. And those who took such pains to come were not sent empty away. Mon. 7. — I returned to London, and finished, on the road, the celebrated “Telemachus.” Certainly it is wrote with admirable sense. But is it without fault? Is there not abundantly too much machinery? Are not the gods (such as they are) continually introduced without why or wherefore?
Would not twelve books have contained all the matter much better than four and twenty? Sun . 13. — I preached again in West street chapel, now enlarged, and thoroughly repaired. When I took this, eighteen years ago, I little thought the world would have born us till now. But the right hand of the Lord hath the preeminence; therefore we endure unto this day. Wed. 16. — One came to me, as she said, with a message from the Lord, to tell me, I was laying up treasures on earth, taking my ease, and minding only my eating and drinking. I told her, God knew me better; and if he had sent her, he would have sent her with a more proper message. Fri. 18. — I desired those who believed they were saved from sin (sixteen or seventeen in number) to meet me at noon; to whom I gave such cautions and instructions as I judged needful. Nor did any of these pretend to be above man’s teaching, but received it with all thankfulness. Thur. 24. — I rode to Brentford, where, after a stop of ten or twelve years, the work of God is broke out afresh. I preached in a large place newly fitted up. It was supposed, there would be much disturbance, as a considerable number of rude, boisterous people were gathered together for that purpose. But God over ruled, and they all calmly and silently attended to his word. Surely the “times and seasons” of sending his word effectually to any place, “God hath reserved in his own power.” Mon. 28. — I began visiting the classes in London, and that with more exactness than ever before. After going through them, I found the society now contained about three and twenty hundred and fifty members; few of whom we could discern to be triflers, and none, we hope, live in any willful sin. Tues. FEBRUARY 5. — I baptized a gentlewoman at the Foundery; and the peace she immediately found was a fresh proof, that the outward sign, duly received, is always accompanied with the inward grace. Tuesday, 12.
After preaching at Deptford, I rode on to Welling, where I received (what few expected) an exceeding comfortable account of the death of Mr. Mason, of Bexley. For many years he seemed to be utterly senseless; neither justified, nor even convinced of sin. But in his last sickness, the God that heareth prayer broke in upon his soul: And the nearer death came, the more did he rejoice, to the astonishment of all that saw him. Sat. 16. — I spent an hour in the evening with a little company at Mr.— —’s. I have not known so solemn an hour for a long season, nor so profitable to my own soul. Mysterious Providence! Why am I cut off from those opportunities, which of all others I most want? Especially considering the benefit I might impart, as well as that which I might receive; seeing they stand in as much need of light as I do of heat.
About this time we had a remarkable account from Yorkshire: — “On Friday, 13, about thirty persons were met together at Otley, (a town about twelve miles from Leeds,) about eight o’clock in the evening, in order (as usual) to pray, sing hymns, and provoke one another to love and good works. After prayer was ended, when they proceeded to speak of the several states of their souls, some with deep sighs and groans complained of the burden they felt for the remains of indwelling sin; seeing in a clearer light than ever before, the necessity of a deliverance from it. “When they had spent the usual time together, a few went to their own houses; but the rest remained upon their knees, groaning for the great and precious promises of God. One being desired to pray, he no sooner began to lift up his voice to God, than the Holy Ghost made intercession in all that were present, with groanings that could not be uttered. At length the travail of their souls burst out into loud and ardent cries. They had no doubt of the favor of God; but they could not rest, while there was any thing in them contrary to his nature. One cried out, in an exceeding great agony, ‘Lord, deliver me from my sinful nature!’ then a second, a third, and fourth. And while the person who prayed first, was calling upon God in those words, ‘Thou God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, hear us for the sake of thy Son Jesus!’ one was heard to say, ‘Blessed be the Lord God for ever, for he hath cleansed my heart! Praise the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, praise his holy name!’ Another said, ‘I hold thee with a trembling hand, but will not let thee go;’ and in a little time cried out, ‘Praise the Lord with me; for he hath cleansed my heart from sin!’
Another cried, ‘I am hanging over the pit of hell by a slender thread;’ a second, with loud and dismal shrieks, ‘I am in hell: O save me, save me!’ while a third said, with a far different voice, ‘Blessed be the Lord, for he hath pardoned all my sins!’ Thus they continued for the space of two hours; some praising and magnifying God, some crying to him for pardon or purity of heart, with the greatest agony of spirit. Before they parted, three believed God had fulfilled his word, and ‘cleansed them from all unrighteousness.’ “The next evening they met again; and the Lord was again present to heal the broken in heart. One received remission of sins; and three more believed God had cleansed them from all sin. And it is observable, these are all poor, illiterate creatures, of all others most incapable of counterfeiting, and most unlikely to attempt it. But ‘ when’ his ‘ word goeth forth, it giveth light and understanding to the simple.’” Fri. 29. — A great number of us waited upon God, at five, at nine, and at one, with fasting and prayer; and at six in the evening we met at the church in Spitalfields to renew our covenant with God. It was a blessed time: The windows of heaven were open, and the skies poured down righteousness. Mon. MARCH 3. — I left London. It rained great part of the day, but so gently, that we were not wet through, when, about seven, we came to Towcester. One person we found here whose soul God keeps alive, though he has scarce any in the town to converse with. Perhaps he is an earnest of a people that shall be born here, and “counted to the Lord for a generation.” Tues . 4. — We came to Birmingham, where I rejoined several who had been long separated from their brethren; and left upwards of fifty resolved to stand together in the good old path.
In the evening I preached in the new House at Wednesbury. Few congregations exceed this either in number or seriousness. At five in the morning the congregation far exceeded the morning congregation at the Foundery. Indeed, hunger after the word has been from the beginning the distinguishing mark of this people. Thur. 6. — I talked largely with M—— S——, and Elizabeth Longmore:
The substance of what M—— S—— said, was as follows: — “I was born April 8, 1736. My father died when I was between four and five; my mother, when I was about eleven years old. I had little thought about religion, and seldom so much as went to church. But I had even then many troubles, which made me sometimes think of God, and cry to him for help. When I was about seventeen, I was asked one Sunday to go and see a pit, which was on fire and blazed out. It was near the house where Mr. James Jones was then preaching. I was standing near the house, when my brother persuaded me to go in: I liked what I heard; but it was above a year before I knew myself to be a lost sinner. For three weeks I was in deep distress, which made me cry to God day and night. I had comfort once or twice, but I checked it, being afraid of deceiving myself; till, as Mr. Johnson was preaching one morning at five o’clock, in Darlaston, my soul was so filled with the love of God, that I had much ado to help crying out.
I could only say, ‘Why me, Lord; why me?’ When I came home I was exceeding weak, having also a great pain in my head: But all was sweet: I did not wish it to be otherwise. I was happy in God all the day long; and so I was for several days. From this time I never committed any known sin, nor ever lost the love of God; though I found abundance of temptations, and many severe struggles. Yet I was more than conqueror over all, and found them easier and easier. “About Christmas, 1758, I was deeply convinced there was a greater salvation than I had attained. The more I saw of this, and the more I prayed for it, the happier I was. And my desires and hopes were continually increasing for above a year. “On January 30, 1760, Mr. Fugill talked with one who thought she had received that blessing. As she spoke, my heart burned within me, and my desire was enlarged beyond expression. I said to him, ‘O Sir, when shall I be able to say as she says?’ He answered, ‘Perhaps tonight.’ I said, ‘Nay, I am not earnest enough.’ He replied, ‘That thought may keep you from it.’ I felt God was able and willing to give it then, and was unspeakably happy. In the evening, as he was preaching, my heart was full, and more and more so, till I could contain no more. I wanted only to be alone, that I might pour out my soul before God; and when I came home I could do nothing but praise and give him thanks. From that moment I have felt nothing but love in my heart; no sin of any kind. And I trust I shall never any more offend God. I never find any cloud between God and me: I walk in the light continually. I do ‘rejoice ever more,’ and ‘pray without ceasing.’ I have no desire but to do and suffer the will of God: I aim at nothing but to please him. I am careful for nothing, but in all things make my requests known to him with thanksgiving. And I have a continual witness in myself, that whatever I do, I do it to his glory.”
Elizabeth Longmore said, “I was born in 1730. My mother died in childhood of me; my father, when I was a year or two old. So I was brought up by the parish, and taught nothing, not so much as to read.
About eleven years old I was put; out parish apprentice, to a man and woman who used me very harshly. I wanted much to learn to read; but they would not spare the time. I was about fourteen when I heard Mr. J.
W. preach at the Cross in Wednesbury. I immediately believed it was the right way, and begun to be very uneasy. I often wished I had died with my father or mother, fearing I should never be saved. But my convictions wore away by degrees; though still I could not rest. About twenty I was married. My husband had sometimes heard the preaching, but not lately.
Soon after he began again, going with me constantly. I was now more and more convinced that I was a guilty, undone sinner. I cried to God day and night, laying down my work many times in a day. On Holy Thursday, 1756, I was sadly afraid of going to the sacrament. However, I broke through and went. At the Lord’s table I found such a love as I cannot express. As soon as I came back, I went up into my chamber, and kneeled down to prayer. In praying I heard a voice, saying, ‘Go in peace; thy sins are forgiven thee.’ My soul sunk into nothing before God, and was filled with humble love. I loved God and all mankind, and thought no temptation could ever shake me more. But in a few days, being low and weak in body, I found hard thoughts of God. Yet I could not give up my confidence that my sins were forgiven. Nor do I know that I ever committed any willful sin after I was justified. About a year and half ago Mr. Fugill came. One evening, while he was preaching, I was convinced that my heart was still desperately wicked, and needed to be wholly renewed. This made me sometimes afraid to die, lest I should be called before that change was wrought. But I had still hope at the bottom, and never could doubt but that God was my God. In the mean while, my desire to be wholly renewed increased continually; and I was everyday and every hour praying for it, whatever I was about. When my hopes prevailed, I was happy; when my fears, I was quite cast down. Being convinced how little I loved God, I was grieved and ashamed before him. “On Friday, January 25, I took no food till the afternoon, though I had a child at my breast. I was much tempted to think I should never attain, and was quite uneasy. But the next morning my uneasiness was gone, and I calmly waited for what I believed God would soon give. In the evening I went to the preaching with a full expectation that he would meet me there.
And so he did. As soon as Mr. Fugill began to speak, I felt my soul was all love. I was so stayed on God as I never felt before, and knew that I loved him with all my heart. When I came home I could ask for nothing; I could only give thanks. And the witness, that God had saved me from all my sins, grew clearer every hour. On Wednesday this was stronger than ever. I have never since found my heart wander from God. When I have business to do, I just take a thought and do it; and it is gone, and my heart is with the Lord. I often in a day bow my knee to God; but my heart prays continually. He is never out of my thoughts: I see him always; although most at preaching and in my band and class. But I do not only see him; I feel him too, so as I cannot express. And the more I see and feel of God, the more I feel I am nothing. When I sleep, I sleep as in the arms of Jesus; and when I wake, my soul is full of praise, and it is as if all the angels were in the room round about me praising God. I never find any heaviness or coldness; and when I must go among the people of the world, God is as much with me as before, and I long for them, so as no tongue can tell. I am careful of every word I speak, and every look, and every thought. I search my heart again and again; and I can find nothing but love there. Indeed, I know if God left me a moment, I should fall. But I trust he will never leave me nor forsake me.”
I observe the spirit and experience of these two run exactly parallel.
Constant communion with God the Father and the Son fills their hearts with humble love. Now this is what I always did, and do now, mean by perfection. And this I believe many have attained, on the same evidence that I believe many are justified. May God increase their number a thousand fold! Fri. 7. — I rode over to Dudley, formerly a den of lions. I was constrained to preach abroad. But no one opened his mouth, unless to pray or praise God. I believe the steady behavior of the society has made an impression on most of the town. Sat. 8. — I was surprised at coming into Wolverhampton, which is what Dudley was, to find the people so still; many gaping and staring, but none speaking an uncivil word. “Ay,” said a well meaning man, “we shall not find them so civil by and by.” I wish these croakers would learn to hold their peace. I desire to hear no prophets of evil. What do they do but weaken the hands both of Preachers and people, and transfuse their own cowardice into others?
But this prophet of evil was a false prophet too. For neither while I was preaching, nor after I had done, did any one offer the least rudeness whatsoever: And we rode as quietly out of the town, as we could have done out of London or Bristol.
Hence we went on to Burslem, near Newcastle under Line, a scattered town, on the top of a hill, inhabited almost entirely by potters; a multitude of whom assembled at five in the evening. Deep attention sat on every face, though as yet accompanied with deep ignorance. But if the heart be toward God, he will, in due time, enlighten the understanding. Sun. 9. — I preached at eight to near double the number, though scarce half as many as came at five in the evening. Some of these seemed quite innocent of thought. Five or six were laughing and talking till I had near done; and one of them threw a clod of earth, which struck me on the side of the head. But it neither disturbed me nor the congregation. Mon. 10. — About nine I preached at Biddulph, about eight miles north of Burslem. The earnestness of the whole congregation well rewarded me for my labor. Hence we had an extremely pleasant walk, three or four miles, to Congleton. Here we were accosted in a very different manner, almost as soon as we entered the town, which caused some of our brethren to apprehend we should have rough treatment before we got out of it. That I left to God. They had procured the use of a meadow adjoining to the preaching-house, in a window, of which they had fixed a kind of scaffold.
About seven in the evening I preached at Stockport, where more and more hear the word of God and keep it. In the morning we took horse at five, but could find none to tell us which was the road to Leeds; so we rode on to Mottram. Following the directions we received there we rode up a mountain, and our path ended. We made toward a large house, and the gentleman sent a servant who pointed out the way we were to take. But soon after it divided; and an honest man bidding us keep to the right, (meaning the left,) we did so, till we came to the top of another high mountain, among several old stone quarries. Here that road ended.
However, we went straight forward, till we came to the brow. With great difficulty we led our horses down, and rode up a path on the opposite mountain. But at the top this likewise ended. Still we thought it best to push forward. But my horse was quickly embogged. After he had thrown me on one side, and scrambled out himself, we endeavored to walk down the mountain; but such a walk I never had before, for steepness, and bogs, and large stones intermixed. That we got to the bottom without hurt either to man or beast, was little less than a miracle. But we were still at a loss, till we met a sensible man, who directed us to Saddleworth. In our inn here we found one who had frequently heard me preach at Builth, in Brecknockshire, I fear to little purpose; for on my speaking a few words, he ran a way in haste. But the whole family seemed to fear God. So we did not repent of our clambering up and down the mountains.
At six we reached Leeds, sufficiently tired: But I forgot it as soon as I began to preach; and the spirit of the congregation comforted us over all our labor. Wed . 12. — Having desired that as many as could of the neighboring towns, who believed they were saved from sin, would meet me, I spent the greatest part of this day in examining them one by one. The testimony of some I could not receive; but concerning the far greatest part, it is plain, (unless they could be supposed to tell willful and deliberate lies,) 1. That they feel no inward sin; and to the best of their knowledge commit no outward sin: 2. That they see and love God every moment, and pray, rejoice, give thanks ever more: 3. That they have constantly as clear a witness from God of sanctification as they have of justification.
Now in this I do rejoice, and will rejoice, call it what you please; and I would to God thousands had experienced thus much: Let them afterward experience as much more as God pleases. Thur. 13. — We rode over the mountains, through furious wind and rain, which was ready to overthrow both man and beast. However, in the afternoon we came well to Manchester. On Friday, the 14th, being the National Fast day, we had service at five, at seven, and at five in the evening; but I did not observe here anything of that solemnity with which the Public Fasts are observed in London. I was much out of order on Saturday, and not well on Sunday. However, having appointed to preach in Stockport at noon, 1 determined not to break my word. As it rained, our friends provided a post chaise. When we were gone half a mile one of the horses began to kick and rear, and would go no further; so we got out, and walked on: But another driver brought the chaise after, and carried me to Stockport. A large congregation was waiting, and received the word with all readiness of mind. For some years the seed seemed to be here sown in vain; but at length it yields a good increase.
On the following days I preached in several neighboring towns, and on Wednesday evening at Liverpool. Thursday, 20. I had a good deal of conversation with Mr. N——n. His case is very peculiar. Our Church requires that Clergymen should be men of learning, and, to this end, have an University education. But how many have an University education, and yet no learning at all? Yet these men are ordained! Meantime, one of eminent learning, as well as unblamable behavior, cannot be ordained because he was not at the University! What a mere farce is this! Who would believe that any Christian Bishop would stoop to so poor an evasion? Mon. 24. — About noon I preached at Warrington. Many of “the beasts of the people” were present; hut the bridle from above was in their teeth, so that they made not the least disturbance. At seven in the evening I preached at Chester; but I was scarce able to open my eyes. They were much inflamed before I set out; and the inflammation was much increased by riding forty miles with a strong and cold wind exactly in my face: But in the evening I applied the eye water made with Lapis Calaminaris, which removed the disorder before morning. Tues . 25. — I rode to Mould, in Flintshire. The wind was often ready to bear away both man and horse: But the earnest, serious congregation rewarded us for our trouble. Wednesday, 26. About nine I preached at Little Lee, a mile or two from Northwich. Many of the congregation scarce ever heard a Methodist before: But I trust they did not hear in vain. Thur. 27. — I rode to Liverpool in order to embark for Dublin. We were desired to be on board by nine on Saturday morning: But the wind falling, and a fog coming on, we gained a little more time; so we had one more solemn opportunity in the evening. Sunday , 30. The fog was gone, and the wind fair. We took ship about nine, and got under sail at noon, having only eight cabin passengers, seven of whom were our own company; so we prayed, and sung, and conversed, at our own discretion. But a poor woman whom we permitted to come into the cabin gave us some uneasiness She had been tapped for the dropsy in the infirmary but two days before. When I spoke to her concerning her soul, she gave but little answer, appearing to be serious and willing to hear, but totally uninstructed. She would eat nothing, but willingly accepted a dish or two of tea, and two or three glasses of wine. The next morning she was extremely restless, continually moving from place to place, till the Captain put a bed for her in the forecastle, on which she lay down about eight o’clock. A little after, she grew light headed, and began shrieking dreadfully. This she continued to do till about noon, and then died. At night, the Captain and all the sailors being present, we committed her body to the deep. On Tuesday noon,APRIL 1, we landed safe at Dublin.
I never saw more numerous or more serious congregations in Ireland than we had all this week. On Easter-Day, APRIL 6, I introduced our English custom, beginning the service at four in the morning. Mon . 7. — I began speaking severally to the members of the society, and was well pleased to find so great a number of them much alive to God.
One consequence of this is, that the society is larger than it has been for several years: And no wonder, for where the real power of God is) it naturally spreads wider and wider. Thur . 10. — I was sitting with a friend when poor Mr. Cook came in. His eyes, his look, his hair standing Like quills upon the fretful porcupine, his tattered gown, his whole person, as well as his speech, immediately betrayed him: But he is quite an original, and has so much vivacity, with touches of strong sense, that I do not wonder the gentlemen of the College, as he told me, had given him an apartment there. What a noble fabric lies here in ruins what pity that when he first found himself a sinner, he had not one to speak to that understood his case, and could teach him the only method of cure! Sun. 13. — At three in the afternoon, I preached in the Barrack Square; another kind of place than Ormondtown Green. No mob must show their heads here; for the soldiers would give them no quarter. Tues . 15. — I preached there again; but on Thursday, it being a rainy day, an offer was made me of the riding-house; a very large commodious building, designed by Lord Chesterfield for a church, but never used as such till now. A troop of soldiers was exercising there when I came; but this was clear gains; for the Officers forbade any of them to go away before the sermon was ended. Fri . 18. — I went with Miss F—— to see the French prisoner sent from Carrickfergus. They were surprised at hearing as good French spoke in Dublin as they could have heard in Paris, and still more at being exhorted to heart religion, to the “faith that worketh by love.” Sun. 20. — I appointed those of the society who desired to renew their covenant with God, which I had several times before explained, to meet me in the evening; and, I believe, of the five hundred and twelve members, hardly twelve were wanting. Mon . 21. — In riding to Rosmead, I read Sir John Davis’” Historical Relations concerning Ireland.” None who reads these can wonder, that, fruitful as it is, it was always so thinly inhabited; for he makes it plain, 1. That murder was never capital among the native Irish; the murderer only paid a small fine to the Chief of his Sept. 2. When the English settled here, still the Irish had no benefit of the English laws. They could not so much as sue an Englishman. So the English beat, plundered, yea, murdered them, at pleasure. Hence, 3. Arose continual wars between them, for three hundred and fifty years together; and hereby both the English and Irish natives were kept few, as well as poor. 4. When they were multiplied during a peace of forty years, from 1600 to 1641, the general massacre, with the ensuing war, again thinned their numbers; not so few as a million of men, women, and children, being destroyed in four years time. 5. Great numbers have ever since, year by year, left the land merely for want of employment. 6. The Gentry are continually driving away hundreds, yea, thousands, of them that remain, by throwing such quantities of arable land into pasture, which leaves them neither business nor food.
This it is that now dispeoples many parts of Ireland, of Connaught in particular, which, it is supposed, has scarce half the inhabitants at this day which it had fourscore years ago. Wed . 23. — I rode to Newry, and preached at seven in the evening to a numerous congregation. Sunday , 27. We had a useful sermon at church; but they told me few attended the Prayers in the afternoon: However, I resolved to set them the example, and the church was as full as in the forenoon. Of what importance is every step we take, seeing so many are ready to follow us! Mon. 28. — I rode to Rathfriland, seven Irish miles from Newry, a small town built on the top of a mountain, surrounded first by a deep valley, and at a small distance by higher mountains. The Presbyterian Minister had wrote to the Popish Priest, to keep his people from hearing. But they would not be kept: Protestants and Papists flocked together to the meadow where I preached, and sat on the grass, still as night, while I exhorted them to “repent, and believe the Gospel.” The same attention appeared in the whole congregation at Terryhugan in the evening, where I spent a comfortable night in the Prophet’s chamber, nine feet long, seven broad, and six high. The ceiling, floor, and walls were all of the same marble, vulgarly called clay. Thur. MAY 1. — I rode to Moira. Soon after twelve, standing on a tomb stone, near the church, I called a considerable number of people, to “know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” We were just opposite to the Earl of Moira’s house, the best finished of any I have seen in Ireland. It stands on a hill, with a large avenue in front, bounded by the church on the opposite hill. The other three sides are covered by orchards, gardens, and woods, in which are walks of various kinds.
General Flaubert, who commanded the French troops at Carrickfergus, was just gone from Lord Moira’s. Major Brajelon was now there, a man of a fine person and extremely graceful behavior. Both these affirmed, that the French were all picked men out of the King’s Guards: That their commission was, to land either at Londonderry or Carrickfergus, while Monsieur Conflans landed in the South: And if they did not do this within three months, to return directly to France. Fri . 2. — In the evening, and morning and evening on Saturday , I preached at Lisburn. The people here (as Mr. Boston said) are “all ear:” But who can find a way to their heart? Sun . 4. — After preaching to a large congregation at seven, I hastened to Cumber, in order to be at church in time. As soon as Service was ended, I began; and four in five of the people behaved well. About six in the evening I preached at Newtown, where there is usually the largest congregation in Ulster. But what avails “the hearing ear,” without the “understanding heart?” Mon. 5. — After preaching in the market-place at Belfast, to a people who care for none of these things, we rode on, with a furious East wind right in our face to Carrickfergus, where I willingly accepted of an invitation from a merchant in the town, Mr. Cobham, to lodge at his house: The rather, when I understood, that Mr. Cavenac, the French Lieutenant General, was still there. I now received a very particular account of what had been lately transacted here. Mrs. Cobham said, “My daughter came running in, and said, ‘Mamma, there are three Indiamen come into the bay, and I suppose my brothers are come in them.’ (Who had been in the East Indies for some time.) An hour after she came in again, and cried, ‘O mamma, they say they are Frenchmen; and they are landing; and their guns glitter in the sun.”’ Mr. Cavenac informed me, that Mr. Thurot had received a thousand men out of the King’s Guards, with orders to land in the North of Ireland, at the same time that Monsieur Conflans landed in the South: That a storm drove him up to Bergen, in Norway, from whence he could not get out, till his ships were much damaged, and his provisions consumed; nor could he there procure a supply at any price: That another storm drove him to degrees north latitude; from whence he did not get back to Carrick Bay till all on board were almost famished, having only an ounce of bread per man daily: That they then landed merely to procure provisions. I asked, “Is it true, that you had a design to burn the town?” He cried out, “Jesu, Maria!
After they had landed, (Mrs. Cobham and others informed me,) they divided into two bodies. One of these marched up to the east gate, the other to the North. Twelve soldiers and a Corporal were there on the wall, who fired upon them when they came near. Immediately General Flaubert fell, having his leg broke by a musket ball. The next in command, a young Marquis, then led them on. When the English had fired four rounds, having no more ammunition, they retired, and the French entered the town, and at the market-place met those who had come in at the east gate. When they had joined, they marched up to the castle, (though the English there, who were an hundred and sixty two in number, kept a constant fire,) the gate of which was not barred, so that the Marquis thrust it open and went in. Just then he was shot dead. Mr. Cavenac immediately took his place, and drew up his men again. The English then desired a parley, and articled to furnish them with provisions in six hours. But they could not perform it, there being little in the town. On this Mr. Cavenac sent for Mr. Cobham, and desired him to go up to Belfast and procure them, leaving his wife with the General, as an hostage for his return. But the poor Frenchmen could not stay for this. At the time prefixed, they began to serve themselves with meat and drink; having been in such want, that they were glad to eat raw oats to sustain nature. They accordingly took all the food they could find, with some linen and wearing apparel. But they neither hurt nor affronted man, woman, or child, nor did any mischief for mischief’s sake; though they were sufficiently provoked; for many of the inhabitants affronted them without fear or wit, cursed them to their face, and even took up pokers, or other things to strike them.
While Mrs. Cobham was with the General, a little plain dressed man came in, to whom they all showed a particular respect. It struck into her mind, Is not this Mr. Thurot? Which was soon confirmed. She said to him, “Sir, you seem much fatigued. Will you step to my house and refresh yourself? “He readily accepted the offer. She prepared a little veal, of which he ate moderately, and drank three glasses of small warm punch; after which he told her, “I have not taken any food before, nor slept, for eight and forty hours.” She asked, “Sir, will you please to take a little rest now?”
Observing he started, she added, “I will answer, life for life, that none shall hurt you under my roof” He said, “Madam, I believe you: I accept the offer.” He desired that two of his men might lie on the floor by the bed side, slept about six hours, and then, returning her many thanks, went aboard his ship.
Five days he was kept in the bay by contrary winds. When he sailed, he took the Mayor of Carrick, and another gentleman, as hostages for the delivery of the French prisoners. The next morning, as he was walking the deck, he frequently started, without any visible cause, stepped short, and said, “I shall die today.” A while after he said, to one of the English, “Sir I see three ships: Pray take my glass, and tell me freely what you think they are.” He looked some time, and said, “I think they are English; and I guess they are about forty gun ships.” He called his Officers, and said, “Our ships are too foul to fight at a distance: we must board them.”
Accordingly, when they came up, after a short fire, he ran up close to Captain Elliot; and Captain Scordeck, with his four and twenty hussars, immediately leaped on board. Almost instantly, nine of them lay dead; on which he was so enraged, that he rushed forward with his sabre among the English, who seized his arms and carried him away. Meantime, his men that were left retired into their own ship. Thurot seeing this, cried out, “Why should we throw away the lives of the poor men?” and ordered to strike the colors. A man going up to do this was shot dead; as was likewise a second; and before a third could do it, Mr. Thurot himself was shot through the heart. So fell a brave man; giving yet another proof, that “there is no counsel or strength against the Lord.” ——————— FOOTNOTES 1. From things alleged and proved. —EDIT. 2. It was as then. 3. About this I feel myself no longer at sea, but am safe in harbor. —\parEDIT. 4. The narrow cave a cold retreat affords, And beasts and men screens with one common shade. 5. Pulls down, builds up, and changes square things into round —EDIT. 6. “DEAREST BROTHER, “GRACE, peace, and the various consolations of the Holy Spirit be on you and your society! And may these blessings be multiplied by our God through our Savior! “I have received your very gratifying letter, dated from Rathcormuck; and from it I learn, with the greatest joy, that a wide door has been opened to you in different parts of England and Ireland, while many adversaries placed themselves in opposition to the doctrine of the Gospel. “I have not merely read, but I have devoured, your letter addressed to Mr. Perronet, entitled, A Plain Account!, etc. Every thing in it afforded me so much delight, that I could scarcely refrain from flying away to London, for the purpose of beholding the constitution and order of your society. But as if bound by various chains, whether willingly or unwillingly, I am confined to this place. Yet I will, as speedily as possible, translate and publish that letter, as well as the brief tract, called The Character of a Methodist. Perhaps if this little pamphlet do not excite many persons, it will at least excite some among both the Clergy and Laity, to walk with greater integrity in the way of the Gospel! “I am also wonderfully pleased, that you connect yourself with no sect; neither adhering to the special dogmas of sects, nor acting as their patron; but that you leave every one at liberty to believe whatever he chooses about them, provided he have a true faith in God and his beloved Son, love God with all his heart, abstain from sin, and lead a life worthy of the Gospel vocation. My most dearly beloved brother John, I request, pray, and beseech you by the bowels of mercies of God and his Son, that you continue in the very same course of life, and proceed onward in it and that you abstain from intermeddling with polemics. Only fight that good fight of pure, sincere, and evangelical faith; and subdue no other enemies than the corrupt flesh and its worldly desires. Avoid, more than you would a rabid dog or a venomous serpent, the multiplying of dogmas, and disputations about things unnecessary: These have been the two stratagems of Satan by which he has caused the church, insensibly and by degrees, to err from evangelical simplicity and purity. “I lament much that you are overwhelmed by so many and such weighty and multifarious affairs. He who knows all things knows how gladly, according to my small capacity, I would relieve you and those who labor with you, and would bear those very heavy burdens I ardently beseech him to support and sustain you, and to infuse vigor into your minds, that the kingdom of Satan and of his emissaries may everyday be destroyed yet more and more, and that the kingdom of God and of his Son may be erected in all hearts, and that it may penetrate and spread through them, especially the hearts of those whose minds the God of this world hath blinded. “With these good wishes I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, that they may build you up, and give you the possession of the inheritance among all them who are sanctified. Farewell, my most friendly brother John, and cease not to love me, who am “Yours heartily and most affectionately, “Rotterdam, Oct. 10, 1749.JOHN DE KOKER.”
The preceding is an attempt to translate the Latin letter in the text. —\parEDIT. 7. Retreat, most heartily desired by me. —EDIT. 8. The subjoined is a translation of Mr. Wesley’s Latin resignation of his fellowship: — “I, John Wesley, Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, do hereby spontaneously and freely resign whatever rights I possess in the aforesaid Society, to the Rector and Fellows of the same: Wishing to all and each of them perpetual peace and every species of felicity in Christ.” —EDIT. 9. In me shall no delay occur. —EDIT. 10. This is a beautiful paraphrase on that verse in the one hundred and fourth Psalm: “The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats, and so are the stony rocks for the conies.” 11. Death will deprive thee of thy borrowed hair. 12. You must leave behind you these grounds, this house, and your charming wife, with your numerous and handsome progeny, the endearing offspring of their beloved mother! And of all those trees which you are planting, none, except the loathed cypress, will follow you, their short lived owner, to the tomb. —EDIT. 13. The sounds stuck fast in his throat. —EDIT. 14 . Such was the expensive stateliness of the man. — EDIT. 15. Men, that, in size of body, are like those whom the earth now produces. —EDIT. 16. Such as are the men of these our days. —EDIT. 17. How much have my expectations been disappointed! —EDIT. 18. I am in perfect safety. —EDIT. 19. The moments fly away, and are all computed in the grand account. —\parEDIT. 20. A vacuum diffused through different parts of the universe. —EDIT. 21. Under a lowly roof a poor man may have more real enjoyment of life, than even monarchs and their friends. —EDIT. 22. Genuine children. —EDIT. 23. For in such an elevated condition of life, common sense is generally very rare. —EDIT. 24. On Common Sense and Reason. —EDIT. 25. Dr. Fresenius, Senior of the Clergy at Frankfort. 26. For even tombs themselves are doomed to accidents, age, and decay. —EDIT. 27. An ant opposed to a lion. —EDIT. 28. In this delightful place are shady woods, cool fountains, and smooth and pleasant meadows. —EDIT. 29. I had imperceptibly fallen into the midst of enemies. —EDIT.