Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL FROM JULY 20, 1749, TO OCTOBER 30, 1751.
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———— Thursday, JULY 20, 1749. — About ten at night we embarked for Bristol, in a small sloop. I soon fell asleep. When I awaked in the morning, we were many leagues from land, in a rough, pitching sea. Toward evening the wind turned more against us, so that we made little way. About ten we were got between the Bishop and his Clerks (the rocks so called) and the Welsh shore; the wind blew fresh from the south; so that the Captain, fearing we should be driven on the rocky coast, steered back again to sea.
On Saturday morning we made the Bishop and his Clerks again, and beat to and fro all the day. About eight in the evening it blew hard, and we had a rolling sea: Notwithstanding which, at four on Sunday morning, we were within sight of Minehead. The greatest part of the day we had a dead calm; but in the evening the wind sprung up, and carried us into Kingroad. On Monday morning we landed at the Quay in Bristol. Tues. 25. — I rode over to Kingswood, and inquired particularly into the state of our school there. I was concerned to find that several of the Rules had been habitually neglected: I judged it necessary, therefore, to lessen the family; suffering none to remain therein, who were not clearly satisfied with them, and determined to observe them all. Thur . 27. — I read Mr. Law “On the Spirit of Prayer.” There are many masterly strokes therein, and the whole is lively and entertaining; but it is another Gospel. For if God was never angry, (as this Tract asserts,) he could never be reconciled; and, consequently, the whole Christian doctrine of reconciliation by Christ falls to the ground at once. An excellent method of converting Deists, by giving up the very essence of Christianity! Sun. 30. — Mr. Grimshaw and Mr. B—— assisted my brother and me at Kingswood. How many there are that run well for a season! But “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
I received a letter about this time from Ireland, a part of which follows: — “DEAR SIR, Tyrrel’s Pass, July 24, MANY have found a sense of the pardoning love of God at Athlone since you left it; and the society in general are on the stretch for the kingdom of God. The Lord has kindled a fire in Aghrim likewise. The last time but one that I was there, several were struck with deep convictions, which continued till I came again. While I was meeting the society there, the Governess of Mr. S——’s children was struck to the ground, and in a short time filled with ‘peace and joy in the Ho]y Ghost.’ The next morning his Steward was cut to the heart, and fell upon his knees in the midst of the sermon; as did Mr. S—— himself, together with his wife, and great part of the congregation. The Steward went home full of peace and love. This has set the whole society on fire; so that now every one is crying out, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ “The same fire is kindled at Portarlington. I went there the next Sunday after you. One then found a sense of God’s learning love; and last Saturday in the society some cried out, and some fell to the ground, three of whom found peace to their souls. “I was at Mount Mellick likewise the next Sunday after you, and the power of God was present to heal. Two that were heavy laden, found rest that night. The next time we met, we scarce knew how to part. We continued singing and praying till five persons received a clear manifestation of the love of God. Another found the same blessing while I was preaching this morning. We spent some time afterwards at James Moss’s house, in praying with some that were under deep convictions; and two of them went home rejoicing in God their Savior. I was now informed of two more that were rejoicing in God; so that in Mount Mellick twelve persons, in all, have found the ‘peace that passeth all understanding,’ since you left that place. “I preached at Rahew likewise the week after you was there. The man of the house had fetched his mother from a considerable distance; she had never heard a Methodist Preacher before. She was soon cut to the heart, and cried out aloud. One behind her bid her fall upon her knees, which she presently did, and the whole house was as in one cry. I broke off my discourse, and began to pray, which I continued till I was so spent I could hardly speak. I went out to take a little breath, and came in again. She was crying out, ‘I am dropping, dropping into hell; its mouth is open, ready to swallow me up.’ I went to prayer again; and before we had done, God spoke peace to her soul. She was filled with joy unspeakable, and could but just say, ‘I am in a new world! I am in a new world!’ “From the whole, I cannot but observe two things: 1. What a blessing it is, when any who finds that peace, declares it openly before all the people, that we may break off and praise God. If this was always done, it would be good for many souls. The first that found it on Sunday evening, spoke before all; and we praised God. The moment she spoke, another, and then another, found peace; and each of them spoke aloud, and made the fire run through the whole congregation. I would observe, 2. The woman at Rahew had never before seen any one in the like trouble. Therefore she could not cry out because she had heard others do it; but because she could not help it; because she felt the word of God ‘sharper than a two-edged sword:’ And generally, the sharper the convictions are, the sooner they are over. “This is from your son in the Gospel, “J. R.” Tues. AUGUST 1. — I spent a solemn hour with our children at Kingswood. After having settled all things there and at Bristol, I returned to London, where I received a remarkable account from Cork. On August 19, twenty eight depositions were laid before the Grand Jury there, but they threw them all out; and at the same time made that memorable presentment, which is worthy to be preserved in the annals of Ireland, to all succeeding generations: — “We filled and present Charles Wesley to he a person of ill fame, a vagabond, and a common disturber of His Majesty’s peace: and we pray he may be transported. “We find and present James Williams, etc. “We find and present Robert Swindle, etc. “We find and present Jonathan Reeves, etc. “We find and present John Larwood, etc. “We find and present Joseph M’Auliff, etc. “We find and present Charles Skaron, etc. “We find and present William Tooker, etc. “We find and present Daniel Sullivan to be a person of ill fame, a vagabond, and a common disturber of His Majesty’s peace; and we pray he may be transported.”
Daniel Sullivan was an honest baker, who had lived in Cork many years, I suppose in as good fame as any of his trade in the city; but he had entertained my brother, and several other Methodists; nay, and suffered them to preach in his house. The other names (only most of them miserably mangled and murdered) were designed for the names of eight Preachers who had been there. Mon . 28. — I left London, and in the evening came to Great Potton. About six I went out into the market-place, and called to a confused multitude, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” Great things were threatened, but nothing done. We had a quiet and comfortable meeting, and there was reason to hope that the word of God sunk into the hearts of many. Tues. 29. — Having appointed some from Grimsby to meet us this evening at Lincoln, (which we supposed to be within a day’s ride,) we set out an hour before day, and rode, with only an hour or two’s intermission, till above an hour after sunset; but we could reach no farther than Cold Harbor, six miles short of Ancaster. The next morning we rode on to Lincoln, but could hear nothing of our guides; so we determined, after waiting several hours, to make the best of our way to Epworth; where, the next evening, I enforced those awful words, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
I had the satisfaction about this time of an agreeable letter from a gentleman in Ireland, part of which is subjoined: — “REVEREND SIR, “YOUR favor of the 15th instant, I received the 22d. I am more satisfied than ever that you aim at nothing but what has an immediate tendency to the glory of God, and the salvation of mankind. “I cannot help thinking that your design, considered in this light, (allowing even of some mistakes,) must be deemed very praiseworthy. As to myself, in particular, I must own it gives me infinite satisfaction to find that you have spoken to so good an effect in our town and neighborhood.
My church is more frequented than ever it was; and I have the pleasure of seeing a greater decency, and more of zeal and attention, than I could have dared to promise myself; which has also this effect upon me, — that I find myself better disposed than ever to distribute to those who attend my ministry, such food as may yield them comfort here and happiness hereafter. I heartily wish this may continue; and that the people may not cool. If so, we may hope to see wickedness generally decline, and virtue and godliness take place. I see this work of yours, through God’s blessing, thus successfully carried on, without any ill will or jealousy; and could wish that all the Clergy were, in that respect, of the same mind with me. “Your society here keeps up well; and is, I believe, considerably increased since you left it. I frequently attend the preaching; and though I am much reflected on for it, this does not in any wise discourage me. While I am conscious to myself that I do no harm, I am careless of what men can say of me. “Michael Poor, lately a Roman, who is now of your society, read his recantation on Sunday last. — Pray let us know when you or your brother intend for this kingdom and town: For be sure, none wish more sincerely to see and converse with you than I, who am sincerely, reverend and dear Sir, “Your very affectionate brother and servant. “August 29, 1749.” Fri. SEPTEMBER 1. — I spoke severally with the members of the society. Saturday , 2. I gathered up a few at Belton who did once run well, and seemed now resolved, no more to “forsake the assembling of” themselves “together.” Sun . 3. — At nine I preached at Misterton, to a very large and attentive congregation; between one and two, at Overthorp, near Haxey; and at Epworth, about five. In the intervals of preaching I spoke with the members of the society in each place; most of whom I found either already alive to God, or earnestly panting after him. Mon. 4. — We rode to Sykehouse; and on Tuesday, in the afternoon, reached Osmotherley. Wed . 6. — I reached Newcastle; and after resting a day, and preaching two evenings and two mornings, with such a blessing as we have not often found, on Friday set out to visit the northern societies. I began with that at Morpeth, where I preached at twelve, on one side of the market-place. It was feared the market would draw the people from the sermon; but it was just the contrary: They quitted their stalls, and there was no buying or selling till the sermon was concluded.
At Alnwick likewise I stood in the market-place in the evening, and exhorted a numerous congregation to be always ready for death, for judgment, for heaven. I felt what I spoke; as I believe did most that were present, both then and in the morning, while I besought them to “present” themselves, “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” Sat. 9. (I rode slowly forward to Berwick. I was myself much out of order; but I would not lose the opportunity of calling, in the evening, all that were “weary and heavy laden,” to Him who hath said, “I will give you rest.” Sun. 10. — I preached at eight, and at four in the afternoon; and in the hours between, spoke with the members of the society. I met them all at seven, and a glorious meeting it was. I forgot all my pain while we were praising God together; but after they were gone, I yielded to my friends, and determined to give myself a day’s rest. So I spent Monday, the 11th, in writing; only I could not refrain from meeting the society in the evening.
The next evening God enabled me to speak searching words to an earnestly attentive congregation. Wed . 13. — After preaching at five, I visited many, both of the sick and well: Particularly, Robert Sutty, the first instrument in God’s hand of awakening many in this place, who, till then, slept in sin. But O! how changed! He seemed stripped both of his gifts and graces, and forsaken both of God and man.
I had a delightful opportunity, in the evening, of describing and comforting the “broken in heart.” Thur. 14. — Immediately after preaching, I took horse, and rode in a rough, stormy day to Alnwick. But before noon, it cleared up; so that I stood once more in the market-place, and called all to “come boldly to the throne of grace.”
Hence I rode to Alemouth, and labored to awaken a stupid, drowsy people, by preaching, both in the evening and the next morning, in the most convincing manner I could. For the present, they seemed to be deeply affected: God grant it may continue! Fri . 15. — I offered “the redemption which is in Jesus,” to a more lively congregation at Widdrington. Sat. 16. — I preached in Morpeth at noon; in Plessy about five; and then rode on to Newcastle. Sun . 17. — I preached, morning and evening, in the Castle Garth; and, on Wednesday, 20, set out for the western societies. In the evening, at Hinely Hill, our hearts were all melted down in considering our great High Priest; who, though he is gone into the heavens, is still sensibly “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” A deep sense of his love constrained many to call upon him with “strong cries and tears;” and many others, though not in words, yet with groaning that could not be uttered. Thur . 21. — Moved by the pressing instances of Mr. Cownley, and convinced the providence of God called me thither, I left all my company, but Mr. Perronet, at Hinely Hill, and set out for Whitehaven. The next day I preached there in the market-place, to a multitude of people, on, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I saw they were moved, and resolved to improve the opportunity. So, after preaching, I desired those who determined to serve God, to meet me apart from the great congregation. To these I explained the design, nature, and use of Christian societies. Abundance were present again at five in the morning, though we had no room but the market-place. At three in the afternoon I preached at Hensingham, a large colliery, about a mile from the town. The eagerness of the people put me in mind of the early days at Kingswood. O why should we not be always what we were once? Why should any leave their first love? At six I preached again in Whitehaven, on, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden;” and at eight endeavored to could as many as desired it into a regular society. Sun. 24. — I began examining them one by one. At eight I preached at the Gins, another village, full of colliers, about half a mile from the town. The congregation was very large, and deeply attentive. Between one and two I preached again at Hensingham, to as many as my voice could command, on, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” Thence I hastened to church; and in the midst of the Service I felt a sudden stroke. Immediately a shivering ran through me, and in a few minutes I was in a fever. I thought of taking a vomit immediately, and going to bed. But when I came from church, hearing there was a vast congregation in the market-place, I could not send them empty away. And while I was speaking to them, God remembered me, and strengthened me both in soul and body.
Reflecting on the manner of God’s working here, I could not but make the following remark: — The work in Whitehaven resembles that at Athlone more than does any other which I have seen in England. It runs with a swift and a wide stream; but it does not go deep. A considerable part of the town seems moved, but extremely few are awake; and scarce three have found a sense of the pardoning love of God, from the time of the first preaching to this day. Mon . 25. — Mr. Cownley returned to Newcastle. Both at the morning and evening preaching many seemed greatly affected: as also on Tuesday morning: But it soon died away, and they did not feel “the power of God unto salvation.” Tues . 26. — Having appointed, before I left Hinely Hill, to preach there again on Wednesday evening, I set out about two in the afternoon, though extremely weak, having had a flux for some days. But God renewed my strength, so that I felt less pain and weariness every hour. I had a solemn and delightful ride to Keswick, having my mind stayed on God. Wed. 27. — I took horse at half an hour past three. There was no moon, or stars, but a thick mist; so that I could see neither road, nor any thing else; but I went as right as if it had been noon day. When I drew nigh Penruddock Moor, the mist vanished, the stars appeared, and the morning dawned; so I imagined all the danger was past; but when I was on the middle of the moor, the mist fell again on every side, and I quickly lost my way. I lifted up my heart. Immediately it cleared up, and I soon recovered the high road. On Alstone Moor I missed my way again; and what, I believe, no stranger has done lately, rode through all the bogs, without any stop, till I came to the vale, and thence to Hinely Hill.
A large congregation met in the evening. I expounded part of the twentieth chapter of the Revelation. But O what a time was this! It was as though we were already standing before the “great white throne.” God was no less present with us in prayer; when one just by me cried with a loud and bitter cry. I besought God to give us a token that all things should work together for good. He did so: He wrote pardon upon her heart; and we all rejoiced unto him with reverence. Thursday , 28, we set apart for fasting and prayer: John Brown and Mr. Hopper were with me. It was a day that ought not to be forgotten. We had all free access to the throne of grace; and a firm, undoubting confidence, that He in whom we believed would do all things well. Fri . 29. — I set out again for Whitehaven. The storm was exceeding high, and drove full in my face, so that it was not without difficulty I could sit my horse; particularly as I rode over the broad, bare backs of those enormous mountains which lay in my way. However, I kept on as I could, till I came to the brow of Hatside. So thick a fog then fell, that I was quickly out of all road, and knew not which way to turn. But I knew where help was to be found, in either great difficulties or small. The fog vanished in a moment, and I saw Gamblesby at a distance (the town to which I was going). I set out early on Saturday, the 30th, and in the afternoon reached Whitehaven.
About this time I was refreshed with a friendly letter from an excellent man, whom I had not heard from for several years: Part of it was as follows: — “Ebenezer, in Georgia, July 25, 1749. “REV.AND DEAR SIR, “THE sincere love to your worthy person and faithful performance of your holy office, which the Lord kindled in my heart, during your presence at Savannah, hath not been abated, but rather increased, since the providence of God called you from us, and showed you another field for the labor of your ministry. “You are pleased, in your last letter to Mr. Brown, of Savannah, to remember Ebenezer kindly; and desired to know what is the present state of our settlement. Though we have felt greatly the inconveniences of the long war, yet there are great alterations for the better in our town and plantations, since the time you was pleased to visit us. We have two large houses for public worship; one in town, the other in the middle of our plantations; two schools, in the same places; two corn mills; one pounding mill for rice, and one saw mill. In the first quantity of boards we sawed, we were cheated by an impostor, who undertook to ship them off to the West Indies. But we did not lose our courage, though we met with almost insuperable difficulties, till our circumstances were mended by the hand of the Almighty. We are still in the favor of the honorable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; as also of many good Christians in Germany; who love us, pray fervently for us, and contribute all in their power to promote our spiritual and temporal prosperity. “Through very hard labor, several of our people have left us, and are departed to a better country, in heaven; and the rest are weak and feeble in body, and not able to hold out long, unless relief is sent them by an embarkation of faithful servants from Germany. Besides widows and orphans, we have several that want assistance toward their maintenance; and this our good God hath sent us heretofore from Europe. “After my dear fellow laborer, Mr. Gronaw, died in peace, above three years ago, the Lord was pleased to send me another; who likewise exactly follows the footsteps of his Savior; to my great comfort, and the great benefit of our congregation. The Lord hath graciously joined us in mutual love and harmony in our congregations; and hath not permitted the Hernhuters, (falsely called Moravians,) nor other false Teachers, to creep in among us. We are hated by wicked people, which prevents their settling among us; though we love them sincerely, and would have as many settle among us as would keep such orders as Christianity and the laws of England require them to do. This is all I thought it necessary to acquaint you with, for the present; being, with due regard and cordial wishes for your prosperity in soul and body, reverend and dear Sir, “Yours most affectionately, “JOHN MARTIN BOLZIUS.”
What a truly Christian piety and simplicity breathe in these lines! And yet this very man, when I was at Savannah, did I refuse to admit to the Lord’s Table, because he was not baptized; that is, not baptized by a minister who had been episcopally ordained.
The Hernhuters, as he terms them, now published the following in the Daily Post: — “To the Author of the Daily Post. “SIR, “WHOSOEVER reckons that those persons in England who are usually called Moravians, and those who are called Methodists, are the same, he is mistaken. That they are not the same people is manifest enough, out of the declaration of Louis, late Bishop and Trustee of the Brethren’s Church, dated at London, March, 1743; which I here send you, as I find it printed in a Collection of original Papers of the Brethren, printed at Budingen, called the ‘Budingen Samlung.’ Vol. 3., page 852.”
The Methodists, so called, heartily thank brother Louis for his Declaration; as they count it no honor to be in any connection either with him or his Brethren.
But why is he ashamed of his name? The Count’s name is Ludwig, not Louis; no more than mine is Jean or Giovanni. Sun .OCTOBER 1. — I preached at the Gins about eight, to the usual congregation; and surely God was in the midst of them, breaking the hearts of stone. I was greatly comforted at church, not only from the Lessons, both morning and afternoon, and in the Lord’s Supper, but even in the Psalms which were sung both at Morning and Evening Service. At two I explained to an earnest congregation, at Hensingham, the “redemption that is in Jesus Christ;” and at five exhorted a large multitude at Whitehaven, with strong and pressing words, to examine whether they had sufficient grounds for calling either themselves or their neighbors Christians. Mon . 2. — The darkness and rain were little hindrance, either to me or the congregation, at five in the morning; (though we were all, as usual, in the open air;) while I was explaining and applying those words, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.” I preached in the evening, on, “Let us come boldly to the throne of race;” and then gave my parting exhortation to the society, now consisting of more than two hundred members. Just before I began preaching, I received a letter from Mr. Whitefield, desiring me to meet him at Leeds, on Wednesday evening; the very time at which I before purposed to be there. So we set out early on Tuesday , 3; one of our brethren, who was a Yorkshireman, undertaking to put us into the way. He rode a little and a little farther, till we came to Old Hutton, above fifty miles from Whitehaven. We were dropping wet, having had heavy rain for several hours; but we soon got into warm beds, and all was well. Wed . 4. — Our guide was resolved to go a little farther still; so we set out together, and rode on together to Leeds; though it was a long day’s journey, finding us full employ from five in the morning till nine at night. Thur . 5. — Mr. Whitefield preached at five in the morning. About five in the evening he preached at Birstal; and God gave him both strong and persuasive words; such as, I trust, sunk deep into many hearts. Fri . 6. — I preached at five, and then returned to my brother, whom I had left at Leeds. At noon we spent all hour with several of our Preachers, in exhortation and prayer. About one I preached to a crowded audience of high and low, rich and poor; but their number was abundantly enlarged at five; as was my strength both of soul and body. I cried aloud to them all, to look unto Jesus; and scarce knew when to leave off.
I then waited upon Mr. M. for an hour. O how could I delight in such an acquaintance! But the will of God be done! Let me “acquaint” myself “with Him,” and it is enough. Sat . 7. — I rode in the afternoon to Bramley, and preached to a large and quiet congregation. Great attention appeared in every face; but no shaking among the dry bones yet. Sun . 8. — I preached in Leeds at seven, and between one and two began preaching at Birstal; but my voice (though I think it had not been stronger for some years) would not reach two thirds of the congregation. I am afraid it was the same case at Leeds, when I preached at four; though I spoke with all the strength I had. Who would have expected such au inconveniency as this, after we had been twelve years employed in the work? Surely none will only ascribe the number of the hearers to the novelty of field preaching. Mon . 9. — Having promised to visit Newcastle again, I set out early, and came thither the next day. I was now satisfied that God had sent Mr. Whitefield thither in an acceptable time; many of those who had little thought of God before, still retaining the impressions they received from him. Wed. 11. — I rejoiced to find that God was still carrying on his work.
Both in the morning and evening the hearts of many burned within them, while they were assembled in his name; and they felt his word to be “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Fri . 13. — At the meeting of the Select Society, such a flame broke out as was never there before. We felt such a love to each other as we could not express; such a spirit of supplication, and such a glad acquiescence in all the providences of God, and confidence that He would withhold from us no good thing. Sun . 15. — The rain constrained me to preach in the house both morning and afternoon; but I could not repine; for God was there, and spoke peace to many hearts. Mon . 16. — I preached at four, to a large congregation, and rode to Sandbutton that night. Two or three miles short of it we overtook a man, whom a woman, riding behind him, stayed upon his horse. On my saying, “We ought to thank God it is a fair night;” “O Sir,” said the man, “so we ought; and I thank him for every thing. I thank him that I am alive; and that the bull which tossed me today only broke two or three of my ribs; for he might have broke my neck.” Tues. 17. — In the afternoon we came to Leeds. I preached on, “I am the Resurrection and the Life;” afterwards spent a solemn hour with the society, and commended them to the grace of God. Wed. 18. — I rode, at the desire of John Bennet, to Rochdale, in Lancashire. As soon as ever we entered the town, we found the streets lined on both sides with multitudes of people, shouting, cursing, blaspheming, and gnashing upon us with their teeth. Perceiving it would not be practicable to preach abroad, I went into a large room, open to the street, and called aloud, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” The word of God prevailed over the fierceness of man. None opposed or interrupted; and there was a very remarkable change in the behavior of the people, as we afterwards went through the town.
We came to Bolton about five in the evening. We had no sooner entered the main street, than we perceived the lions at Rochdale were lambs in comparison of those at Bolton. Such rage and bitterness I scarce ever saw before, in any creatures that bore the form of men. They followed us in full cry to the house where we went; and as soon as we were gone in, took possession of all the avenues to it, and filled the street from one end to the other. After some time the waves did not roar quite so loud. Mr. P—— thought he might then venture out. They immediately closed in, threw him down, and rolled him in the mire; so that when he scrambled from there, and got into the house again, one could scarce tell what or who he was.
When the first stone came among us through the window, I expected a shower to follow; and the rather, because they had now procured a bell to call their whole forces together. But they did not design to carry on the attack at a distance: Presently one ran up and told us the mob had burst into the house: He added, that they had got J—— B—— in the midst of them. They had; and he laid hold on the opportunity to tell them of “the terrors of the Lord.” Meantime D—— T—— engaged another part of them with smoother and softer words. Believing the time was now come, I walked down into the thickest of them. They had now filled all the rooms below. I called for a chair. The winds were hushed, and all was calm and still. My heart was filled with love, my eyes with tears, and my mouth with arguments. They were amazed, they were ashamed, they were melted down, they devoured every word. What a turn was this! O how did God change the counsel of the old Ahithophel into foolishness; and bring all the drunkards, swearers, Sabbath breakers, and mere sinners in the place, to hear of his plenteous redemption! Thur . 19. — Abundantly more than the house could contain were present at five in the morning, to whom I was constrained to speak a good deal longer than I am accustomed to do. Perceiving they still wanted to hear, I promised to preach again at nine, in a meadow near the town. Thither they flocked from every sisle; and I called aloud, “All things are ready; come unto the marriage.” O how have a few hours changed the scene! We could now walk through every street of the town, and none molested or opened his mouth, unless to thank or blesses.
At one I preached at Shackerley, four miles from Bolton, and thence rode on to Davy Hulme. Here I received a letter from Richard Cawley, of Alpraham, with an invitation from the Minister of Actou. After preaching in the morning at Davy Hulme, and about ten at Boothbank, in the afternoon, Friday, 20, I rode on, and, between four and five, came to Alpraham. A large congregation was waiting for me, whom I immediately called to seek God “while he may be found.” Many came again at five in the morning, and seemed just ready not only to “repent,” but also “believe the Gospel.” Sat. 21. — By conversing with several here, I found we were not now among publicans and sinners, but among those who, a while ago, supposed they needed no repentance. Many of them had been long “exercising themselves unto godliness,” in much the same manner as we did at Oxford; but they were not thoroughly willing to renounce their own, and accept “the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
A gentleman, who had several years before heard me preach at Bath, sending to invite me to dinner, I had three or four hours’ serious conversation with him. O, who maketh me to differ? Every objection he made to the Christian System has passed through my mind also: But God did not suffer them to rest there, or to remove me from the hope of the Gospel.
I was not surprised when word was brought, that the Vicar of Acton had not the courage to stand to his word: Neither was I troubled. I love indeed to preach in a church: But God can work wherever it pleaseth him. Sun . 22. — I preached at seven in Richard Cawley’s house; and, about one, at Little Acton. We then rode on to Woor; and the next afternoon came, wet and weary enough, to Wednesbury. I hoped for a few hours’ rest here; but it was a vain hope; for notice had been given that I would preach at Bilbrook in the evening; so I had seven or eight miles to ride back. I preached about six, and again in the morning.
On Tuesday , 24, about noon, we came to Dudley. At one I went to the market-place, and proclaimed the name of the Lord to an huge, unwieldy, noisy multitude; the greater part of whom seemed in no wise to know “wherefore they were come together.” I continued speaking about half an hour, and many grew serious and attentive, till some of Satan’s servants pressed in, raging and blaspheming, and throwing whatever came to hand. I then retired to the house from which I came. The multitude poured after, and covered over with dirt many that were near me; but I had only a few specks. I preached in Wednesbury at four, to a nobler people, and was greatly comforted among them: So I was likewise in the morning, Wednesday , 25. How does a praying congregation strengthen the Preacher!
After preaching again at one, I rode to Birmingham. This had been long a dry uncomfortable place; so I expected little good here: But I was happily disappointed. Such a congregation I never saw there before: Not a scoffer, not a trifler, not an inattentive person (so far as I could discern) among them; and seldom have I known so deep, solemn a sense of the power, and presence, and love of God. The same blessing we had at the meeting of the society; and again at the morning preaching. Will then God at length cause even this barren wilderness to blossom and bud as the rose? Thur . 26. — We came to know between nine and ten, a furious, turbulent place from the beginning. I began preaching directly in the yard of the inn, to a few gaping, staring people, before the mob could assemble. They increased apace, and were tolerably attentive. In the afternoon we rode to Evesham, where I preached in the evening and morning, and then went forward to Stanley. The congregation was larger than could have been expected, upon a few hours’ warning; and they all appeared both glad to hear, and willing to embrace, the word of reconciliation. In the evening I preached at Wall Bridge, near Stroud; and the next day, Saturday, 28, reached Bristol. Sun. 29. — I preached both at Kingswood and Bristol, on, “Ye have need of patience.” It was more particularly at Bristol that God refreshed my soul, and applied what I spoke to my own heart. .Mon . 30. — I retired to Kingswood, to write part of the volume of Sermons, which I had promised to publish this winter. Wed. NOVEMBER 8. — I preached in Bath at noon, and at Seend in the evening. On Thursday evening, the 9th, at Reading; and on Friday in London.
Here I found an excellent letter from a friend abroad, part of which I add in his own words; being unable so to translate them, as not to lose great part of the spirit of the original: —\parCHARISSIME FRATER, GRATIA, pax, et multifariae Spiritus Sancti consolationes tibi tuaeque societati sint, et multiplicentur a Deo nostro per Servatorem nostrum.
Amen. Tuas gratissimas Ratcormucki datas accepi, et ew illis summo cum gaudio grandem in variis Angliae et Hiberniae partibus januam vobis apertam esse intellexi, dum multi adversarii evangelicae doctrinse sese opponerent.
Literas tuas ad D. Perronet datas ( A Plain Account, etc.) non quidem legi, sed devoravi. Omniaque adeo mihi arriserunt, ut vix me cohibere possim, quin Londinum devolem, veniam et videam societatis tuae ordinationes.
Sed catenis variis quasi vinctus, nolens volens hic adstrictus sum.
Quamprimum tamen literas illas vertam et typis mandabo, una cum tractatulo illo, The Character of a Methodist. — Forte, si non multos, aliquos excitabit Clericos aut Laicos, ad vestigia evangelica integrius premenda. — Admodum mihi placet, te nec sectae alicui, nec dogmatibus specificis sectarum adhaerere, nec patronum eorum agere, sed cuique libertatem relinquere de iis credendi quid velit, modo vere in Deum Filiumque ejus dilectum credat, Deum ex toto corde amet, a peccatis abstineat, et vitam vocatione evanyelica dignam ducat. Mi Jane, dilectissime frater, rogo, precor, et obtestor per viscera misericordiarum Dei et Filii sui, ut ipsissimam hanc vitam insistas, ac premere pergas, nec polemicis te immisceas. Certa solummodo bonum illud fidei purae, integrae, evangelicae certamen, nec ullos hostes praeter carnem corruptam, ejusque desideria mundana, debelles. Cane pejus et angui fugias dogmata multiplicare, et de non necessariis disputare, quae bina Satanae stratagemata fuere quibus ecclesiam ab integritate et simplicitate evangelica sensim aberrare fecit.
Doleo vehementer, te tot tamque gravibus et multifariis negotiis esse obrutum. Quam libenter pro tenuitate med te, tuosque levare, gravissimaque illa onera ferre vellem, novit Omniscius. Is, precor ardenter, fulciat, sustentet, et animum vobis addat, ut Satanae ejusque asseclarum regnum magis magisque indies destruatur, et Dei ejusque Filii regnum erigatur, dimanet et penetret omnes animos, illorum imprimis quorum mentem mundi dominus occaecavit.
Hisce votis te demando Deo, verboque ejus gratiae, qui te sociosque tuos aedificent et haereditatem possidendam dent in omnibus sanctis. Vale, mi Jane, frater amicissime, et me amare perge. Tui ex animo amantissimus, JOHANNES DE KOKER.
Dabam Rotterodami, 10 Oct. 1749. I was fully determined to take another journey to Rotterdam, on purpose to see this worthy man.
But death had swifter wings than love:
Before I could get thither he was gathered to his fathers. Sun. 12. — Many complaints were made to me of a general deadness among the people of London, at the very time that those in most other parts of England were so remarkably alive to God. It was chiefly owing to a few persons who were continually laboring to spread offenses among them. But it was not long before the plague was stayed: Some of these incendiaries separating from us; others being convinced that they had been doing the work of the devil, in the name of the Lord. Thur . 16. — I buried the remains of Martha Somerset, late a mother in Israel: One who never left her first love, never abated in zeal, never was weary of well doing, from the hour she first found redemption in Christ, till her spirit returned to God. Mon . 20. — I rode to Mr. Perronet’s, at Shoreham, that I might be at leisure to write. Sat. DECEMBER 2. — After preaching in the morning, I rode to Bexley, and preached about eleven. At three in the afternoon I began at Deptford, and found a more than ordinary blessing: But a still greater at Snowsfields, where it seemed as if all would just then “know the Lord, from the least even to the greatest.” Sun . 3. — I preached, as usual, at five, at ten, and at five in the evening; besides meeting the Leaders, the Bands, the Preachers, and our own family. But I felt no faintness or weariness either of body or mind. Blessed be my strong Helper! Mon . 4. — I retired to Lewisham. On Saturday , 9, I read the surprising “Extract of Mr. Brainerd’s Journal.” Surely then God hath once more “given to the Gentiles repentance unto life!” Yet amidst so great matter of joy I could not but grieve at this: That even so good a man as Mr. Brainerd should be “wise above that is written;” in condemning what the Scripture nowhere condemns; in prescribing to God the way wherein He should work; and (in effect) applauding himself, and magnifying his own work, above that which God wrought in Scotland, or among the English in New England: Whereas, in truth, the work among the Indians, great as it was, was not to be compared to that at Cambuslang, Kilsyth, or Northampton. Mon . 11. — I retired to Newington once more, and on Saturday , 16, finished my Sermons. Monday , 18. I rode to Leigh, in Essex, and spoke in as awakening a manner as I could. Wednesday, 20. I left the little flock in peace and love, and cheerfully returned to London. Sun. 24. — I saw an uncommon instance both of the justice and mercy of God. — Abraham Jones, a serious, thinking man, about fifty years of age, was one of the first members of the society in London, and an early witness of the power of God to forgive sins. He then stood as a pillar for several years, and was a blessing to all that were round about him; till, growing wise in his own eyes, he saw this and the other person wrong, and was almost continually offended. He then grew colder and colder; till, at length, in order to renew his friendship with the world, he went (which he had refused to do for many years) to a parish feast, and stayed there till midnight. Returning home perfectly sober, just by his own door, he fell down and broke his leg. When the Surgeon came, he found the bone so shattered in pieces that it could not be set. Then it was, when he perceived he could not live, that the terrors of the Lord again came about him. I found him in great darkness of soul, owning the just hand of God. We prayed for him, in full confidence that God would return. And He did in part reveal himself again: He had many gleams of hope and love; till, in two or three days, his soul was required of him.
So awful a providence was immediately known to all the society, and contributed not a little to the awakening them that slept, and stirring up those that were faint in their mind. Mon. 25. — We had a solemn meeting at four. Indeed God was greatly with us during this whole season, in all our assemblies, to lift up them that had fallen, and to comfort the weak hearted. Wed . 27. — I saw the two Germans whom God has so eminently blessed in their labor of love to his ancient people. Great numbers of Jews, in Poland, Muscovy, Prussia, and various parts of Germany, have been brought, by their unwearied endeavors, to search the Scriptures, “whether these things were so.” And above six hundred of them have given proof that they have a saving knowledge of God, and of “Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.” Sun . 31. — I buried the remains of Abraham Jones, which gave me an opportunity of strongly exhorting all who had set their hands to the plough never to look back. Mon. JANUARY 1,1750. — A large congregation met at four o’clock, and began the year of Jubilee in a better manner than they at Rome are accustomed to do. On several days this week I called upon many who had left their “first love,” but they none of them justified themselves: One and all pleaded “Guilty before God.” Therefore there is reason to hope that He will return, and will abundantly pardon. Thur . 11. — I read, to my no small amazement, the account given by Monsieur Montgeron, both of his own conversion, and of the other miracles wrought at the tomb of Abbe Paris. I had always looked upon the whole affair as a mere legend, as I suppose most Protestants do; but I see no possible way to deny these facts, without invalidating all human testimony. I may full as reasonably deny there is such a person as Mr. Montgeron, or such a city as Paris, in the world. Indeed, in many of these instances I see great superstition as well as strong faith. But the “times of ignorance God” does “wink at” still; and bless the faith, notwithstanding the superstition.
If it be said, “But will not the admitting these miracles establish Popery?”
Just the reverse. Abbe Paris lived and died in open opposition to the grossest errors of Popery; and in particular to that diabolical Bull Unigenitus, which destroys the very foundations of Christianity. Sun . 14. — I read Prayers and preached at Snowsfields, to a crowded congregation, at seven in the morning. I then hastened to the chapel in West Street; and, after the service there, to Knightsbridge, where I had promised to preach in the afternoon, for the benefit of the poor children.
The little church was quite full before I came. Knowing it to be the greatest charity to awaken those that sleep in sin, I preached on, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Fri . 19. — In the evening I read Prayers at the chapel in West Street, and Mr. Whitefield preached a plain, affectionate discourse. Sunday , 21. He read Prayers, and I preached: So, by the blessing of God, one more stumbling block is removed. Mon . 22. — I prayed in the morning at the Foundery, and Howell Harris preached: A powerful orator, both by nature and grace; but he owes nothing to art or education. Wed. 24. — I was desired to call on one that was sick, though I had small hopes of doing him any good; he had been so harmless a man for ninety years: Yet he was not out of God’s reach. He was quickly convinced that his own righteousness could not recommend him to God. I could then pray for him in confidence of being heard. A few days after he died in peace. Sun. 28. — I read Prayers, and Mr. Whitefield preached. How wise is God in giving different talents to different Preachers! Even the little improprieties both of his language and manner were a means of profiting many, who would not have been touched by a more correct discourse, or a more calm and regular manner of speaking. Mon . 29. — I rode to Canterbury. The congregation in the evening was deeply serious, and most of them present again at five in the morning. I hope God will again have much people in this place, who will worship him with more knowledge, and as much earnestness, as their forefathers did the Virgin Mary, or even St. Thomas a Becket. Tues. 30. — I designed to preach abroad in the evening, the House being far too small for the congregation; but the rain and wind would not suffer it. Wednesday, 31. I examined the society, one by one. Some, I found, could already rejoice in God, and all seemed to be hungering after it. Fri. FEBRUARY 2. — I preached in the evening at Shoreham; and Saturday , 3, returned to London. Sun . 4. — I preached at Hayes. What a change is here within a year or two! Instead of the parishioners going out of church, the people come now from many miles round. The church was filled in the afternoon likewise; and all behaved well but the singers, whom I therefore reproved before the congregation; and some of them were ashamed. Mon . 5. — I rode to Mrs. C——, at St. Ann’s, near Chertsey. It was her design that I should preach in the evening in her summer house, a large eight squareroom, which was supported by a frame of wood. This was quickly filled: But as it was not intended to bear such a weight, the main beam beneath split in sunder. This I did not then know; but finding the room too small, I went out and stood in the gallery before it. The people then came out too, went down, and stood below, without any hurry or confusion. Thur . 8. — It was about a quarter after twelve, that the earthquake began at the skirts of the town. It began in the southeast, went through Southwark, under the river, and then from one end of London to the other.
It was observed at Westminster and Grosvenor Square a quarter before one. (Perhaps, if we allow for the difference of the clocks, about a quarter of an hour after it began in Southwark.) There were three distinct shakes, or wavings to and fro, attended with an hoarse, rumbling noise, like thunder. How gently does God deal with this nation! O that our repentance may prevent heavier marks of his displeasure! Fri . 9. — We had a comfortable watch-night at the chapel. About eleven o’clock it came into my mind, that this was the very day and hour in which, forty years ago, I was taken out of the flames. I stopped, and gave a short account of that wonderful providence. The voice of praise and thanksgiving went up on high, and great was our rejoicing before the Lord.
On Monday , 12, I had designed to set out for Bristol: But I could not go yet, there was such a flame kindled in London. However, I rode to Brentford, and preached as I had appointed; and then went on to Chertsey. Word had been industriously spread about the town, that I would not come that night. However, many came to see whether I would or no; to whom I offered “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Wed . 14. — The watch-night at the Foundery seemed the shortest I had ever known. Indeed, we knew not how the hours stole away, while prayer was lost in praise and thanksgiving. Fri . 16. — We had a solemn fastday, meeting, as before, at five, seven, ten, and one. Many of the rich were at the chapel in the evening. “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Sat . 17. — After preaching at Snowsfields, I went into a friend’s house. A poor sinner indeed followed me, one who was broken in pieces by the convincing Spirit, and uttered such cries as pierced the hearts of all that heard. We poured out our souls before God in prayer, and light sprung up ill her heart. Sun . 18. — Today, likewise, wherever we assembled together, God caused his power to be known; but particularly at the lovefeast. The honest simplicity with which several spoke, in declaring the manner of God’s dealings with them, set the hearts of others on fire. And the flame spread more and more, till, having stayed near an hour longer than usual, we were constrained to part. Mon . 19. — I preached at Windsor about one, and at St. Ann’s in the evening. The congregation was large, and extremely still and attentive, a very few persons excepted. Tues . 20. — Mr. M—— had given notice, without my knowledge, that I would preach at Hayes on Tuesday. I was afraid few would trouble themselves to hear: But I was deceived; for there was a large congregation.
Surely some of these will at length understand “the things which belong unto their peace.” Wed . 21. — I preached in the old French church, in Gray Eagle Street, Spitalfields. It was extremely full, and many of the hearers were greatly moved: But who will endure to the end? Thur . 22. — Having been sent for several times, I went to see a young woman in Bedlam. But I had not talked with her long, before one gave me to know, that none of these Preachers were to come there. So we are forbid to go to Newgate, for fear of making them wicked; and to Bedlam, for fear of driving them mad! Tues. 27. — I at length forced myself from London. We dined a little beyond Colnbrook, spoke plain to all in the house, and left them full of thankfulness, and of good resolutions.
I preached at Reading in the evening; and in the morning, Wednesday , 28, took horse, with the north wind fill in our face. It was piercingly cold, so that I could scarce feel whether I had any hands or feet, when I came to Blewbury. After speaking severally to the members of the society, I preached to a large congregation. In the evening I met my brother at Oxford, and preached to a small, serious company. Thur. MARCH 1. — In riding to Cirencester I read Dr. Bates’s Elenchus Motuum nuperorum in Anglia. His Latin is not much inferior to Caesar’s, whom he seems studiously to imitate; and his thoughts are generally just; only that he has no more mercy on the Puritans, than upon Cromwell.
I dined at an house beyond Farringdon, where both the man and his wife appeared thankful for instruction. I preached at Cirencester in the evening, to a large, but not serious congregation. Friday , 2. I left this uncomfortable place, and in the afternoon came to Bristol.
Many miserable comforters were with me soon, complaining, one after another, of the want of lively Preachers, the hurt the Germans had done to some, and R—— W—— to others; and the almost universal coldness, heaviness, and deadness among the people.
I knew but one that could help; so we called upon God, to arise and maintain his own cause. And this evening we had a token for good; for his word was as a two-edged sword. Sun . 4. — I desired John W—— to preach at five; and I no longer wondered at the deadness of his hearers. I preached at Kingswood at eight, and God spoke to many hearts: Yea, and to a few even at Connam. But the greatest blessing was in the evening at Bristol, when we were all convinced, God had not “forgotten to be gracious.” Tues . 6. — I began writing a short French Grammar. We observed Wednesday , 7, as a day of fasting and prayer. I preached at five on, “Repent, and do the first works.” The time from seven to nine, from ten to twelve, and from one to three, we spent in prayer, and at our last meeting especially found that God was in the midst of us. Thur . 8. — I desired all the Preachers that were in Bristol to meet me at four in the afternoon; and so everyday while I was in town. In the evening God rent the rocks again. I wondered at the words he gave me to speak.
But he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
Today God gave the people of London a second warning; of which my brother wrote as follows: — “This morning, a quarter after five, we had another shock of an earthquake, far more violent than that of February 8. I was just repeating my text, when it shook the Foundery so violently, that we all expected it to fall upon our heads. A great cry followed from the women and the children. I immediately cried out, ‘Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, and the hills be carried into the midst of the sea: For the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.’ He filled my heart with faith, and my mouth with words, shaking their souls as well as their bodies.”
The earth moved westward, then east, then westward again, through all London and Westminster. It was a strong and jarring motion, attended with a rumbling noise, like that of distant thunder. Many houses were much shaken, and some chimneys thrown down, but without any farther hurt. Sat. 10. — I talked at large with the Masters of Kingswood School, concerning the children and the management. They all agreed, that one of the boys studiously labored to corrupt the rest. I would not suffer him to stay any longer under the roof, but sent him home that very hour. Sun. 11. — I began visiting the society at Kingswood, strangely continuing without either increase or decrease. On the following days I visited that at Bristol. What cause have we to be humbled over this people! Last year more than an hundred members were added: This year near an hundred are lost. Such a decay has not been in this society before, ever since it began to meet together.
I should willingly have spent more time at Bristol; finding more and more proofs that God was reviving his work; but that the accounts I received from Ireland made me think it my duty to be there as soon as possible: So, on Monday , 19, I set out with Christopher Hopper for the New Passage.
Nevertheless we crossed in less than two hours, and reached Cardiff before night; where I preached at seven, and found much refreshment. Tues. 20. — Expecting to preach at Aberdarc, sixteen Welsh miles from Cardiff, I rode thither over the mountains. But we found no notice had been given: So, after resting an hour, we set out for Brecknock. The rain did not intermit at all, till we came within sight of it. Twice my horse fell down, and threw me over his head; but without any hurt, either to man or beast. Wed. 21. — We rode to Builth, where we found notice had been given, that Howell Harris would preach at noon. By this means a large congregation was assembled; but Howell did not come: So, at their request, I preached.
Between four and five Mr. Philips set out with us for Royader. I was much out of order in the morning: However, I holden out to Llanidloes, and then lay down. After an hour’s sleep I was much better, and rode on to Machynlleth.
About an hour and an half before we came to Dolgelly, the heavy rain began. We were on the brow of the hill, so we took all that came, our horses being able to go but half a footpace. But we had amends made us at our inn: John Lewis, and all his house, gladly joined with us in prayer; and all we spoke to, appeared willing to hear and to receive the truth in love. Fri. 23. — Before we looked out, we heard the roaring of the wind, and the beating of the rain. We took horse at five. It rained incessantly all the way we rode. And when we came on the great mountain, four miles from the town, (by which time I was wet from my neck to my waist,) it was with great difficulty I could avoid being born over my mare’s head, the wind being ready to carry us all away: Nevertheless, about ten we came safe to Dannabull, praising Him who saves both man and beast.
Our horses being well tired, and ourselves thoroughly wet, we rested the remainder of the day; the rather, because several of the family understood English, — an uncommon thing in these parts. We spoke closely to these; and they appeared much affected, particularly when we all joined in prayer. Sat. 24. — We set out at five, and at six came to the sands. But the tide was in, so that we could not pass: So I sat down in a little cottage for three or four hours, and translated Aldrich’s “Logic.” About ten we passed, and before five came to Baldon Ferry, and found the boat ready for us: But the boatmen desired us to stay awhile, saying, the wind was too high, and the tide too strong. The secret was, they stayed for more passengers; and it was well they did: For while we were walking to and fro, Mr. Jenkin Morgan came; at whose house, near halfway between the Ferry and Holyhead, I had lodged three years before. The night soon came on; but our guide, knowing all the country, brought us safe to his own door. Sun . 25. — I preached at Howell Thomas’s, in Trefollwin parish, to a small, earnest congregation. As many did not understand, one of the brethren repeated the substance of the sermon in Welsh. In the afternoon I went to William Pritchard’s, though much against my will, as there was none there to interpret, and I was afraid very few of my hearers could understand English. But I was mistaken: The congregation was larger than I had ever seen in Anglesey. A considerable number of them understood English tolerably well; and the looks, sighs, and gestures of those that did not, showed that God was speaking to their hearts. It was a glorious opportunity: The whole congregation seemed to be melted down: So little do we know the extent of God’s power. If he will work, what shall hinder him?
The wind being contrary, I accepted of the invitation of an honest Exciseman, (Mr. Holloway,) to stay at his house till it should change. Here I was in a little, quiet, solitary spot, (mazime animo exoptatum meo!) where no human voice was heard, but those of the family. On Tuesday I desired Mr. Hopper to ride over to Holyhead, and inquire concerning our passage. He brought word, that we might probably pass in a day or two:
So on Wednesday we both went thither. Here we overtook John Jane, who had set out on foot from Bristol, with three shillings in his pocket. Six nights out of the seven since he set out, he had been entertained by utter strangers. He went by us we could not tell how, and reached Holyhead on Sunday with one penny left.
By him we sent back our horses to Mr. Morgan’s. I had a large congregation in the evening. It almost grieved me, I could give them but one sermon, now they were at length willing to hear. About eleven we were called to go on board, the wind being quite fair: And so it continued till we were just out of the harbor. It then turned west, and blew a storm. There was neither moon nor stars, but rain and wind enough; so that I was soon tired of staying on deck. But we met another storm below: For who should be there, but the famous Mr. Gr——, of Carnarvonshire, — a clumsy, overgrown, hard faced man; whose countenance I could only compare to that (which I saw in Drury Lane thirty years ago) of one of the ruffians in “Macbeth.” I was going to lie down, when he tumbled in, and poured out such a volley of ribaldry, obscenity, and blasphemy, every second or third word being an oath, as was scarce ever heard at Billingsgate. Finding there was no room for me to speak, I retired into my cabin, and left him to Mr. Hopper. Soon after, one or two of his own company interposed, and carried him back to his cabin. Thur . 29. — we wrought our way four or five leagues toward Ireland; but were driven back in the afternoon to the very mouth of the harbor:
Nevertheless, the wind shifting one or two points, we ventured out again; and by midnight we were got about half seas over; but the wind then turning full against us, and blowing hard, we were driven back again, and were glad, about nine, to get into the bay once more.
In the evening I was surprised to see, instead of some pool, plain people, a room full of men daubed with gold and silver. That I might not go out of their depth, I began expounding the story of Dives and Lazarus. It was more applicable than I was aware; several of them (as I afterwards learned) being eminently wicked men. I delivered my own soul; but they could in nowise bear it. One and another walked away, murmuring sorely. Four stayed till I drew to a close: They then put on their hats, and began talking to one another. I mildly reproved them; on which they rose up and went away, raining and blaspheming. I had then a comfortable hour with a company of plain, honest Welshmen.
In the night there was a vehement storm. Blessed be God that we were safe on shore! Saturday , 31. I determined to wait one week longer, and if we could not sail then, to go and wait for a ship at Bristol. At seven in the evening, just as I was going down to preach, I heard a huge noise, and took knowledge of the rabble of gentlemen. They had now strengthened themselves with drink and numbers, and placed Captain Gr—— (as they called him) at their head. He soon burst open both the outward and inner door, struck old Robert Griffith, our landlord, several times, kicked his wife, and, with twenty full mouthed oaths and curses, demanded, “Where is the Parson?” Robert Griffith came up, and desired me to go into another room, where he locked me in. The Captain followed him quickly, broke open one or two doors, and got on a chair, to look on the top of a bed: But his foot slipping, (as he was not a man made for climbing,) he fell down backward all his length. He rose leisurely, turned about, and, with his troop, walked away.
I then went down to a small company of the poor people, and spent half an hour with them in prayer. About nine, as we were preparing to go to bed, the house has beset again. The Captain burst in first. Robert Griffith’s daughter was standing in the passage with a pail of water, with which (whether with design or in her fright, I know not) she covered him from head to foot. He cried as well as he could, “Murder! Murder!” and stood very still for some moments. In the mean time Robert Griffith stepped by him, and locked the door. Finding himself alone, he began to change his voice, and cry, “Let me out! Let me out!” Upon his giving his word and honor, that none of the rest should come in, they opened the door, and all went away together. Sun .APRIL 1. — We designed to set out early for Mr. Holloway’s; but the rain kept us till eight o’clock. We then set out, having one of Holyhead for our guide, reached a church six or seven miles off, about eleven, (where we stopped till the Service was ended,) and went on to William Pritchard’s, near Llanerellymadd. I had appointed to preach there at four. I found the same spirit as before among this loving, simple people. Many of our hearts burned within us; and I felt what I spoke, “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
Many who were come from the town earnestly pressed me to go and preach there, assuring me it was the general desire of the inhabitants. I felt a strong aversion to it, but would not refuse, not knowing what God might have to do. So I went: But we were scarce set down, when the “sons of Belial,” from all parts, gathered together, and compassed the house. I could just understand their oaths and curses, which were broad English, and sounded on every side. The rest of their language was lost upon me, as mine was upon them. Our friends would have had me stay within; but I judged it best to look them in the face while it was open day. So I bade them open the door, and Mr. Hopper and I walked straight through the midst of them. Having procured a guide, we then went on without hindrance, to our retreat, at Mr. Holloway’s. Surely this journey will he for good; for hitherto we have had continual storms, both by sea and land. Tues . 3. — Mr. William Jones, of Trefollwin, called and told us an Exhorter was preaching a little way off. We went and found him on the Common, standing on a little rock, in the midst of an attentive congregation. After he had done, I preached, and then returned to my study at Langefnye. Thur . 5. — I read over great part of Gerard’s Meditationes Sacrae; — a book recommended to me in the strongest terms. But alas! how was I disappointed! They have some masterly strokes, but are in general trite and flat, the thoughts being as poor as the Latin. It is well every class of writers has a class of readers, or they would never have come to a second impression.
About noon I preached two miles west of Llanerellymadd at noon, and in the evening, about a quarter of a mile further. Not one scoffer is found in these congregations; but whoever hears, hears for his life. Fri . 6. — I preached near Llanerellymadd at noon, and at Trefollwin in the evening. Observing at night the wind was changed, I rode to Holyhead early in the morning. It ship was just ready to sail; so we went on board, and in the evening landed at Dublin. Sun . 8. — I preached morning, afternoon, and evening, and then exhorted the society to stand fast in the good old Bibleway; and not move from it, to the right hand or to the left.
He began to recover from that time. Perhaps for this also was I sent. Mon . 9. — I found, upon inquiry, many things had been represented to me worse than they really were. But it is well; if they had not been so represented, I should scarce have come over this year. Tues. 10. — I learned the real case of Roger Ball. He first deceived Mr. L—— and W—— T——; who quickly agreed, that so valuable a man must be employed immediately. So he was invited to preach to our congregation, and received as one of our family. But it soon appeared what manner of man he was, full of guile, and of the most abominable errors; one of which was, that a believer had a right to all women. I marvel he has turned only three persons out of the way. Wed. 11. — I found some of the fruits of his labors. One of the Leaders told me frankly, he had left off communicating for some time; for St. Paul said, “Touch not, taste not, handle not.” And all seemed to approve of dropping the preaching on Tuesday and Thursday, seeing “the dear Lamb is the only Teacher.” Thu r. 12. — I breakfasted with one of the society, and found she had a lodger I little thought of. It was the famous Mrs. Pilkington, who soon made an excuse for following me up stairs. I talked with her seriously about an hour we then sung “Happy Magdalene.” She appeared to be exceedingly struck; how long the impression may last, God knows.
We dined at Mr. P——’s. A young married woman was there, who was lately a zealous Papist, and had converted several Protestant heretics to the Romish faith: But setting on some of the Methodists, they converted her; at least, convinced her of the great truths of the Gospel. Immediately her relations, her husband in particular, renounced her. But she was moved by none of these things; desiring nothing on earth, but to experience the faith which once she persecuted.
In the evening I was sent for by one who had reasoned himself out of all his Christianity; and was now in doubt, whether the soul would survive the body. Surely even speculative faith is the gift of God; nor, without him, can we hold even this fast. Sat. 14. — J—— R—— came from Cork, and brought us a farther account of what had been transacted there. From the beginning of February to the end of it, King Nicholas had reigned: How he still used his power, may appear from two or three instances:
WILLIAM JEWELL, clothier; of Shannon Church Lane, deposes: — That Nicholas Butler, with a riotous mob, several times assaulted this deponent’s house: That particularly on February 23d, he came thither with a large mob: That several of the rioters entered the house, and swore, the first who resisted, they would blow his brains out: That the deponent’s wife, endeavoring to stop them, was assaulted and beaten by the said Butler; who then ordered his men to break the windows; which they did, with stones of a considerable weight. MARY PHILIPS, of St. Peter’s Church Lane, deposes: — That on February 26, about seven in the evening, N. B. came to her house with a large mob, and asked where her husband was: That as soon as she appeared, he first abused her in the grossest terms, and they struck her on the head, so that it stunned her; and she verily believes, had not some within thrust to, and fastened, the door, she should have been murdered on the spot. ELIZABETH GARDELET, wife of Joseph Gardelet, Corporal in Colonel Pawlet’s regiment, Captain Charlton’s company, deposes: — That on February 28, as she was going out of her lodgings, being big with child, she was met by Butler and his mob: That Butler, without any manner of provocation, immediately fell upon her, striking her with both his fists on the side of her head, which beat her head against the wall: That she endeavored to escape from him; but he pursued her, and struck her several times in the face: That she ran into the schoolyard for shelter; but he followed, caught hold of her, saying, “You whore, you stand on consecrated ground;” and threw her with such force across the lane, that she was driven against the opposite wall: That when she had recovered herself a little, she made the best of the way to her lodging; but he still pursued her, and overtook her, as she was going up the stairs: That he struck her with his fist on the stomach, which stroke knocked her down backward: That, falling with the small of her back on the edge of one of the stairs, she was not able to rise again: That her pains immediately came upon her, and about two in the morning, she miscarried.
These, with several more depositions to the same effect, were, at the Lent Assizes, laid before the Grand Jury: Yet they did not find any of these Bills! But they found one against Daniel Sullivan, (no Preacher, but an hearer of Mr. Wesley,) who, when Butler and his mob were discharging a shower of stones upon him, put them all in bodily fear by discharging a pistol, without any ball, over their heads. If any man wrote this story to England in a quite different manner, and fixed it on a young Methodist Preacher, let him be ashamed.
Several of the persons presented as vagabonds in autumn, appeared at these Assizes. But none appearing against them, they were acquitted, with honor to themselves, and shame to their persecutors; who, by bringing the matter to a judicial determination, plainly showed, “There is law even for Methodists;” and gave His Majesty’s Judge a fair occasion to declare the utter illegality of all riots, and the inexcusableness of tolerating (much more causing) them on any pretense whatsoever. APRIL 15. — (Being Easter-Day.) I preached, morning and evening; but my voice was so weak, it could scarce be heard. Wed . 18. — One who, upon her turning to God, had been turned out of doors, and disowned by all her relations, (very good Protestants,) was received into the “house of God, not made with hands.” We rejoiced over her in the evening with exceeding joy. Happy they who lose all, and gain Christ! Thur . 19. — I rode with J—— R—— through a heavy rain to Edinderry.
The congregation was much larger than I expected; and both in the evening and the morning, we praised God with joyful lips. Fri . 20. — I rode to Portarlington, on a very bad horse, and was glad of a little rest. Sunday , 22. I preached at eight; at Closeland, about two; and between five and six, at Portarlington, to almost all the Gentry in the town, on, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” Monday , 23. I preached at Closeland again; and, the next morning, spoke severally with the members of the society, increased both in number and in the grace of God. Wed . 25. — I died at Mr. K——’s, who had lived utterly without God, for about seventy years: But God had now made both him and most of his household “partakers of like precious faith.” When I first came into the house, he was in an agony of pain, from an hurt of about forty five years’ standing. I advised to apply hot nettles. The pain presently ceased, and he rose and praised God. Thur . 26. — I examined the class of children, many of whom are rejoicing in God. I they sought after some of the sheep that were lost, and left all I spoke with determined to return. About noon I read the Letters, and in the afternoon rode cheerfully to Mount Mellick. I found the society here much increased in grace, and yet lessened in number: A case which I scarce remember to have met with before, in all England and Ireland. SUN. 29. — I preached at eight, at two, and at five; when some of our most vehement opposers were present, and, by their seriousness and attention, gave us reason to hope they will oppose no more. Mon . 30. — I baptized a man and woman, (late Quakers,) as I had done another the night before. Afterwards I visited the sick. The first we went to had been a Papist, but was cast out for hearing us. While we were at prayer she cried bitterly after God, refusing to be comforted; nor did she cease till He revealed his Son in her heart; which she could not but declare to all that were in the house.
About one I administered the Lord’s Supper to a sick person, with a few of our brethren and sisters. Being straitened for time, I used no extemporary prayer at all; yet the power of God was so unusually present, during the whole time, that several knew not how to contain themselves, being quite overwhelmed with joy and love.
Thence we rode to Tullamore. It being the fair day, many were tolerably drunk. When I began to preach, they made a little disturbance for a while; but the bulk of the audience were deeply attentive. Tues .MAY 1. — I found many of the first were become last, being returned “as a dog to the vomit.” In the evening my hoarseness (contracted in Dublin) was so increased, that I doubt few of the congregation could hear. In meeting the society, I reproved them sharply for their luke warmness and covetousness. In that hour the spirit of contrition came down, and all of them seemed broken in pieces. At the same time my voice was restored in a moment, so that I could once more sing praise to God. Wed . 2. — I rode to Tyrrel’s Pass, and found more than double the congregation which I had there last year. The next day, when I spoke to those of the society severally, I had still greater cause to rejoice; finding a great part of them walking in the light, and praising God all the day long. Fri . 4. — I preached about noon at Cooly Lough, and about six in the market-house at Athlone. Sun . 6. — I addressed myself, in the morning, to the backsliders, from, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” At one, to the unawakened, from, “What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” In the evening I preached to a far larger congregation, on the Connaught side of the river. In the midst of the sermon a man, with a fine curvetting horse, drew off a large part of the audience. I paused a little, and then raising my voice, said, “If there are any more of you who think it is of more concern to see a dancing horse, than to hear the Gospel of Christ, pray go after them.” They took the reproof: The greater part came back directly, and gave double attention. Mon. 7. — When I met the society in the evening, one who had been always afraid of exposing herself, was struck so that she could not help crying out aloud, being in strong agonies both of soul and body. Indeed her case was quite peculiar. She felt no fear of hell, but an inexpressible sense of the sufferings of Christ, accompanied with sharp bodily pain, as if she had literally suffered with him. We continued in prayer till twelve o’clock, and left her patiently waiting for salvation. Tues . 8. — I dined at Mr. T——’s. Two other Clergymen were present, and Mr. H——, Member of Parliament for the county. We soon fell upon Justification and Inspiration; and after a free conversation, seemed nearly of one mind. Thur. 10. — I read the letters. A famous drunkard and swearer stood as long as he could, and then fell down upon his knees before the whole congregation. All appeared to be much moved. It was with difficulty I broke from them about noon, and rode to Ahaskra; where I preached in the evening, to an exceeding serious congregation, on, “Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found.” Fri. 11. — I talked largely with the two Miss M——’s. The elder, I found, had once known the love of God, but not kept it long, and seemed to be now earnestly mourning after it. The younger had never left her first love; and in the midst of great bodily weakness, had no fear of death, but “a desire to depart, and to be with Christ.” Sat . 12. — I rode to Mr. Simpson’s, near Oatfield; and in the evening preached at Aghrim, to a well meaning, sleepy people. Sun . 13. — I strove to shake some of them out of sleep, by preaching as sharply as I could. We had such a congregation at church as (it was said) had not been seen there for twenty years before. After church I preached to abundance of Papists as well as Protestants; and now they seemed to be a little more awake.
About five in the afternoon I preached at Ahaskra, to a congregation gathered from all parts. O what a harvest might be in Ireland, did not the poor Protestants hate Christianity worse than either Popery or Heathenism! Mon. 14. — I rode to Birr. The number of people that assembled here in the evening, and at five in the morning, and their serious attention, gave me some hope that there will more good be done even in this place. Wed . 16. — At eleven I preached in the Assembly room at Nenagh, and in the evening at Limerick. Thur . 17. — The church was full at five; and one may truly say, it was full of the presence of God. The evening was cold and blustering, so that I was obliged to preach, though there was by no means room for the congregation. I afterward told the society freely and plainly of their faults.
They received it as became men fearing God. Fri . 18. — I dined at Killmallock, once a flourishing city, now a vast heap of ruins. In the afternoon we called at Killdorrery. A Clergyman was there a little before us, who would talk with me, whether I would or no. After an hour’s conversation, we parted in love. But our stay here made it so late before we reached Rathcormuck, that I could not well preach that evening. Saturday, 19. I preached about eleven; and in the afternoon rode on to Cork. About nine in the evening I came to Alderman Pembrock’s. Sun . 20. — Understanding the usual place of preaching would by no means contain those who desired to hear, about eight I went to Hammond’s Marsh. The congregation was large and deeply attentive. A few of the rabble gathered at a distance; but by little and little they drew near, and mixed with the congregation: So that I have seldom seen a more quiet and orderly assembly at any church in England or Ireland.
In the afternoon, a report being spread abroad that the Mayor designed to hinder my preaching on the Marsh in the evening, I desired Mr. Skelton and Mr. Jones to wait upon him, and inquire concerning it. Mr. Skelton asked, if my preaching there would be disagreeable to him; adding, “Sir, if it would, Mr. Wesley will not do it.” He replied warmly, “Sir, I’ll have no mobbing.” Mr. Skelton replied, “Sir, there was none this morning.” He answered, “There was. Are there not churches and meeting-houses enough? I will have no more mobs and riots.” Mr. Skelton replied, “Sir, neither Mr. Wesley nor they that heard him made either mobs or riots.”
He answered plain, “I will have no more preaching; and if Mr. Wesley attempts to preach, I am prepared for him.”
I began preaching in our own house soon after five. Mr. Mayor meantime was walking in the ‘Change, and giving orders to the town drummers and to his Sergeants, — doubtless to go down and keep the peace! They accordingly came down to the House, with an innumerable mob attending them. They continued drumming, and I continued preaching, till I had finished my discourse. When I came out, the mob immediately closed me in. Observing one of the Sergeants standing by, I desired him to keep the King’s peace; but he replied, “Sir, I have no orders to do that.” As soon as I came into the street, the rabble threw whatever came to hand; but all went by me, or flew over my head; nor do I remember that one thing touched me. I walked on straight through the midst of the rabble, looking every man before me in the face; and they opened on the right and left, till I came near Dant’s Bridge. A large party had taken possession of this, one of whom was bawling out, “Now, hey for the Romans!” When I came up, they likewise shrunk back, and I walked through them to Mr. Jenkins’s house; but a Papist stood just within the door, and endeavored to hinder my going in; till one of the mob (I suppose aiming at me, but missing) knocked her down flat. I then went in, and God restrained the wild beasts, so that not one attempted to follow me.
But many of the congregation were more roughly handled, particularly Mr. Jones, who was covered with dirt, and escaped with his life almost by miracle. The main body of the mob then went to the House, brought out all the seats and benches, tore up the floor, the door, the frames of the windows, and whatever of wool work remained; part of which they carried off for their own use, and the rest they burnt in the open street.
Finding there was no probability of their dispersing, I sent to Alderman Pembrock, who immediately desired Mr. Alderman Windthrop, his nephew, to go down to Mr. Jenkins, with whom I walked up the street, none giving me an unkind or disrespectful word. Mon . 21. — I rode on to Bandon. From three in the afternoon till past seven, the mob of Cork marched in grand procession, and then burnt me in effigy near Dant’s Bridge.
While they were so busily employed, Mr. Haughton took the opportunity of going down to Hammond’s Marsh. He called at a friend’s house there, where the good woman, in great care, locked him in; but observing many people were met, he threw up the sash, and preached to them out of the window. Many seemed deeply affected even of those who had been persecutors before; and they all quietly retired to their several homes before the mob was at leisure to attend them. Tues . 22. — The mob and drummers were moving again, between three and four in the morning. The same evening they came down to the Marsh, but stood at a distance from Mr. Stockdale’s house, till the drums beat, and the Mayor’s Sergeant beckoned to them, on which they drew up, and began the attack. The Mayor, being sent for, came with a party of soldiers, and said to the mob, “Lads, once, twice, thrice, I bid you go home: Now I have done.” He then went back, taking the soldiers with him; on which the mob, pursuant to their instructions, went on and broke all the glass and most of the window frames in pieces. Wed . 23. — The mob was still patrolling the streets, abusing all that were called Methodists, and threatening to murder them and pull down their houses, if they did not leave this way. Thur . 24. — They again assaulted Mr. Stockdale’s house, broke down the boards he had nailed up against the windows, destroyed what little remained of the windowframes and shutters, and damaged a considerable part of his goods. Fri . 25. — One Roger O’Ferrall fixed up an advertisement at the public Exchange, that he was ready to head any mob, in order to pull down any house that should dare to harbor a swaddler. (A name given to Mr. Cennick first, by a Popish Priest, who heard him speak of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes, and probably did not know the expression was in the Bible, a book he was not much acquainted with.)
All this time God gave us great peace at Bandon, notwithstanding the unwearied labors, both public and private, of good Dr. B——, to stir up the people. But Saturday , 26, many were under great apprehensions of what was to be done in the evening. I began preaching in the main street at the usual hour, but to more than twice the usual congregation. After I had spoke about a quarter of an hour, a Clergyman, who had planted himself near me, with a very large stick in his hand, according to agreement, opened the scene. (Indeed his friends assured me he was in drink, or he would not have done it.) But, before he had uttered many words, two or three resolute women, by main strength, pulled him into a house; and, after expostulating a little, sent him away through the garden. But here he fell violently on her that conducted him, not in anger, but love; (such as it was;) so that she was constrained to repel force by force, and cuff him soundly before he would let her go.
The next champion that appeared was one Mr. M——, a young gentleman of the town. He was attended by two others, with pistols in their hands.
But his triumph too was but short; some of the people quickly bore him away, though with much gentleness and civility.
The third came on with greater fury; but he was encountered by a butcher of the town, (not one of the Methodists,) who used him as he would an ox, bestowing one or two hearty blows upon his head. This cooled his courage, especially as none took his part. So I quietly finished my discourse. Sun . 27. — I wrote to the Mayor of Cork, as follows: — “MR.MAYOR, “AN hour ago I received ‘A Letter to Mr. Butler,’ just reprinted at Cork.
The publishers assert, ‘it was brought down from Dublin, to be distributed among the society; but Mr. Wesley called in as many as he could.’ Both these assertions are absolutely false. I read some lines of that letter when I was in Dublin; but never read it over before this morning. Who the author of it is I know not; but this I know, I never called in one, neither concerned myself about it; much less brought any down to distribute among the society. “Yet I cannot but return my hearty thanks to the gentlemen who have distributed them through the town. I believe it will do more good than they are sensible of. For though I dislike its condemning the Magistrates and Clergy in general; (several of whom were not concerned in the late proceedings;) yet I think the reasoning is strong and clear; and that the facts referred to therein are not at all misrepresented, will sufficiently appear in due time. “I fear God and honor the King. I earnestly desire to be at peace with all men: I have not willingly given any offense, either to the Magistrates, the Clergy, or any of the inhabitants of the city of Cork; neither do I desire any thing of them, but to be treated (I will not say as a Clergyman, a Gentleman, or a Christian, but) with such justice and humanity as are due to a Jew, a Turk, or a Pagan. I am, Sir, “Your obedient servant, “JOHN WESLEY.”
At eight we had such a glorious shower as usually follows a calm. After church I began preaching again, on, “The Scripture hath concluded all under sin.” In the evening a large multitude flocked together: I believe such a congregation was never before seen in Bandon; and the fear of God was in the midst. A solemn awe seemed to run through the whole multitude, while I enlarged on, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Mon . 28. — I rode to Kinsale, one of the pleasantest towns which I have seen in Ireland. At seven I preached at the Exchange, to a few Gentry, many poor people, and abundance of soldiers. All behaved like men that feared God. After sermon came one from Cork, and informed us Mr. W— — had preached both morning and afternoon under the wall of the barracks; that the town drummers came; but the soldiers assaulted them if they went to beat there they would be all cut in pieces; that then the Mayor came himself, at the head of his mob, but could make no considerable disturbance; that he went and talked to the Commanding Officer, but with so little success, that the Colonel came out and declared to the mob, they must make no riot there. Here is a turn of affairs worthy of God! Doth He not rule in heaven and earth? Tues . 29. — I inquired concerning Richard Hutchinson, of whom I had heard many speak. His mother informed me, “It was about August last, being then above four years old, that he began to talk much of God, and to ask abundance of questions concerning him. From that time he never played nor laughed, but was as serious as one of threescore. He constantly reproved any that cursed or swore, or spoke indecently in his hearing, and frequently mourned over his brother, who was two or three years older, saying, ‘I fear my brother will go to hell; for he does not love God.’ About Christmas I cut off his hair; on which he said, ‘You cut off my hair, because you are afraid I shall have the small-pox; but I am not afraid; I am not afraid to die; for I love God.’ About three weeks ago he sent for all of the society whom he knew, saving he must take his leave of them; which he did, speaking to them, one by one, in the most tender and affectionate manner. Four days after he fell ill of the small-pox, and was light headed almost as soon as he was taken: But all his incoherent sentences were either exhortation, or pieces of hymns, or prayer. The worse he was, the more earnest he was to die, saying, ‘I must go home; I will go home.’ One said, ‘You are at home.’ He earnestly replied, ‘No; this is not my home; I will go to heaven.’ On the tenth day of his illness he raised himself up, and said, ‘Let me go; let me go to my Father; I will go home: Now, now I will go to my Father.’ After which he lay down and died.” Wed . 30. — I rode to Cork. By talking with Captain——, I found there was no depending on the good offices of the Colonel. He had told the Captain with great openness, “If Mr. Wesley preached in the barracks, and the mob were to come and break the windows, I might have a long bill from the Barrackmaster.” Break the widows! Nay, it is well if they had not broken the bones of all the soldiers.
A little before five I walked towards the barracks. The boys quickly gathered, and were more and more turbulent. But in a moment all was quiet. This, I afterwards found, was owing to Mr. W——, who snatched a stick out of a man’s hand, and brandished it over his head, on which the whole troop valiantly ran away.
When we came over the South Bridge, a large mob gathered; but before they were well formed we reached the barrackgate; at a small distance from which I stood and cried, “Let the wicked forsake his way.” The congregation of serious people was large; the mob stood about a hundred yards off. I was a little surprised to observe, that almost all the soldiers kept together in a body near the gate, and knew not but the report might be true, that, on a signal given they were all to retire into the barracks; but they never stirred until I had done. As we walked away, one or two of them followed us. Their numbers increased, until we had seven or eight before, and a whole troop of them behind; between whom I walked, through an immense mob, to Alderman Pembrock’s door. Thur . 31. — I rode to Rathcormuck. There being a great burying in the afternoon, to which people came from all parts, Mr. Lloyd read part of the Burial Service in the church; after which I preached on, “The end of all things is at hand.” I was exceedingly shocked at (what I had only heard of before) the Irish howl which followed. It was not a song, as I supposed, but a dismal, inarticulate yell, set up at the grave by four shrill voiced women, who (we understood) were hired for that purpose. But I saw not one that shed a tear; for that, it seems, was not in their bargain. Fri. JUNE 1. — I rode over the mountains to Shronill, and found an handful of serious, loving people. I preached in the evening and morning, Saturday , 2; and then went on to Limerick. Sunday , 3. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) Our Morning Service began, as usual, at four o’clock. In the evening I preached at Mardyke, to four or five times as many as our church would have contained; and my voice would now command them all: It was weak till I went to Cork; but in the midst of the drumming it was restored, and has never failed me since. Mon . 4. — I rode to Newmarket, a village near the Shannon, eight miles, as they call it, from Limerick. I found the spirit of the people while I was preaching, but much more in examining the society four or five times I was stopped short, and could not go on, being not able to speak; particularly when I was talking with a child, about nine years old, whose words astonished all that heard. The same spirit we found in prayer; so that my voice was well-nigh lost among the various cries of the people. Tues. 5. — I returned to Limerick. In examining the society here, I could not but take particular notice of about sixty of the Highland Regiment of soldiers, — men fit to appear before Princes. Their zeal, “according to knowledge,” has stirred up many; and they still speak for God, and are not ashamed. Wed . 13. — I rode to Shronill again; and in the morning, Thursday, 14, to Clonmell. After an hour’s rest we set forward, but were obliged to stop in the afternoon, sooner than we designed, by my horse’s having a shoe loose. The poor man, at whose house we called, was not only patient of exhortation, but exceeding thankful for it. We afterwards missed our way; so that it was near eight o’clock before we got over the Ferry, a mile short of Waterford.
At the Ferry was a lad who asked my name. When he heard it, he cried out, “O, Sir, you have no business here; you have nothing to do at Waterford. Butler has been gathering mobs there all this week; and they set upon us so, that we cannot walk the streets. But if you will stay at that little house, I will go and bring B. M’Culloch to you.”
We stayed some time, and then thought it best to go a little on our way toward Portarlington. But the ferryman would not come over: So that, after waiting till we were weary, we made our way through some grounds, and over the mountain, into the Carrick road; and went on, about five miles, to a village where we found a quiet house. Sufficient for this day was the labor thereof. We were on horseback, with but an hour or two’s intermission, from five in the morning, till within a quarter of eleven at night. Fri . 15. — About two in the morning I heard people making a great noise, and calling me by my name. They were some of our friends from Waterford, who informed us, that, upon the lad’s coming in, sixteen or eighteen of them came out, to conduct me into the town. Not finding me, they returned; but the mob met them by the way, and pelted them with dirt and stones to their own doors.
We set out at four, and reached Kilkenny, about twenty five old Irish miles, about noon. This is by far the most pleasant, as well as most fruitful country which I have seen in all Ireland. Our way after dinner lay by Dunmore, the seat of the late Duke of Ormond. We rode through the Park for about two miles, by the side of which the river runs. I never saw either in England, Holland, or Germany, so delightful a place. The walks, each consisting of four rows of ashes, the tufts of trees sprinkled up and down, interspersed with the smoothest and greenest lawns, are beautiful beyond description. And what hath the owner thereof, the Earl o Arran?
Not even the beholding it with his eyes.
My horse tired in the afternoon; so I left him behind, and borrowed that of my companion. I came to Aymo about eleven, and would very willingly have passed the rest of the night there; but the good woman of the inn was not minded that I should. For some time she would not answer: At last she opened the door just wide enough to let out four dogs upon me. So I rode on to Ballybrittas, expecting a rough salute here too, from a large dog which used to be in the yard. But he never stirred, till the hostler waked and came out. About twelve I laid me down. I think this was the longest day’s journey I ever rode; being fifty old Irish, that is, about ninety English miles. Sat . 16. — I rested, and transcribed the “Letter to Mr. Baily.” Sun . 17. — I preached about nine in the market-place at Portarlington; again at one; and immediately after the Evening Service. The Earl of D—— , and several other persons of distinction, listened a while; but it was not to their taste. Tues . 19. — I rode over to Dublin, and found all things there in a more prosperous state than ever before. Thur . 21. — I returned to Closeland, and preached in the evening to a little, earnest company. O who should drag me into a great city, if I did not know there is another world! How gladly could I spend the remainder of a busy life in solitude and retirement! Fri . 22. — We had a watch-night at Portarlington. I began before the usual time: But it was not easy to leave off; so great was our rejoicing in the Lord. Sat. 28. — I heard, face to face, two that were deeply prejudiced against each other, Mrs. E——, and Mrs. M——. But the longer they talked, the warmer they grew; till, in about three hours, they were almost distracted.
One who came in as a witness, was as hot as either. I perceived there was no remedy but prayer. So a few of us wrestled with God for above two hours. When we rose, Mrs. M—— ran and fell on the other’s neck. Anger and revenge were vanished away, and melted down into love. One only, M——t B——, continued still in bitter angry of soul. We besought God in her behalf; and did not let him go, till she also was set at liberty. Sun. 24. — There being no English Service, I went to the French church. I have sometimes thought Mr. Whitefield’s action was violent: But he is a mere post to Mr. Calliard.
In the evening I preached at Mount-Mellick, where were two from Roscrea, to show me the way thither. One of them gave us so strange a relation, that I thought it worth while to set it down, as nearly as might be, in his own words. The strangest part of it rests not on his testimony alone, but on that of many of his neighbors; none of whom could have any manner of temptation to affirm either more or less than they saw with their eyes: — “My son, John Dudley, was born at Roscrea, in the year 1726. He was serious from a child, tender of conscience, and greatly fearing God. When he was at school, he did not play like other children; but spent his whole time in learning. About eighteen I took him home, and employed him in husbandry; and he grew more and more serious. On February 4, 1747, just as I was laid down in bed, he cried out, ‘My dear father, I am ready to be choked.’ I ran, and took him in my arms; and in about a minute he recovered. “The next morning he cried out just as before; and continued ill about two minutes. From this time he gave himself wholly to prayer; laying aside all worldly business. “Saturday , February 7. He did not appear to have any bodily distemper, but desired to make his will. I said, ‘My dear child, I do not see any signs of death upon you.’ He seemed concerned, and said, ‘You don’t believe me; but you will soon see what I say is true.’
About noon, some neighbors condoling with me, on the loss of my wife, who died a few days before, when he saw me weep, he laid his hand upon my knee, and said, ‘My dear father, do not offend God. Your late wife is a bright saint in heaven.’ “Before ten we went to bed. About twelve he came to my chamber door, and said, ‘My dear honored father, I hope you are not displeased with me for disturbing you at this time of night; but I could not go into my bed till I brought you these glad tidings: I was this morning before the throne of grace, and I pleaded innocence; but my heavenly Father answered, that would not do; on which I applied to our blessed Redeemer, and now he hath, by his precious blood and his intercession, procured my pardon; and my heavenly Father hath sealed it. Everlasting praise is to his holy name. “‘I presumed to ask, how it was with my deceased mothers and sisters; on which they all six appeared exceeding glorious: But my last deceased mother was brightest of them all; fifty times brighter than the sun. I entreat I may be buried by her.’ “Sunday, 8. — I went early in the morning to his chamber, and found him at prayer, which was his constant employment. He asked if he should go with me to church. I said, I thought he had better read and meditate at home. As soon as I was gone, he began exhorting the servants and his younger brother. He then went into his chamber, where he continued upon his knees till I came home, crying to God with many tears, and sweating much, through the agony of his spirit. “When we were set down to dinner, I desired him to eat. He said, ‘I have no appetite; but to please you, I will.’ He then eat two little bits; and, as soon as thanks were given, went to his chamber. He continued there in prayer about an hour, and then came out, and said, with a cheerful voice and countenance, ‘I never knew the Holy Ghost until now: Now I am illuminated with him. Blessed be my great Creator!’ He returned to prayer, and continued therein till he came to family duty. In this he joined with an audible voice; and, commending us to God, retired to his room: let he did not sleep, but continued in prayer all night and all the next day. “Tuesday, 10. — About three in the morning he put off all his clothes, even his shirt, and laid them in order on the bed, and his Prayer-Book in the window; then, having opened two doors, he came to the outward door.
I called, ‘where are you going?’ He said, ‘I am going out of doors.’ I said, ‘you need not go at this time of night.’ He replied, ‘I must go.’ I said, ‘Then make haste in again.’ To which he gave no answer; but unlocking the door, and pulling it leisurely after him, said, ‘My dear father, farewell for ever.’ “As soon as the day dawned, finding he was not returned, I went with several of my neighbors to seek him. We found his track at a stile near the house, and fronted it as close as we could; but it was not possible to follow him step by step, for he had gone to and fro above three miles, through shrubs, and thick quickset hedges, and over deep ditches full of water. One mile of the three was all a bog, full of sloughs, and drains, and trenches, and deep holes, with hardly one foot of firm ground between them. Eighteen or twenty of us being together, about nine o’clock found him by the side of a lake. He was lying on the grass, stretched out at length, with his face upward: His right hand was lifted up toward heaven, his left stretched upon his body: His eyes were closed, and he had a sweet, pleasant, smiling countenance. What surprised us most was, that he had no hurt or scratch from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot; nor one speck of dirt on any part of his body, no more than if it had been just washed. On Thursday he was buried as he desired, just by my wife, whom he survived fourteen days.” Tues . 26. — I had gone through Montrath, (in the way to Roscrea,) when some met me on the bridge, and earnestly pressed me to preach; so I went into an empty house, (the rain and the wind preventing my going to the market-place,) and immediately began to declare “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The house was presently filled: The rest of the audience stood at the doors and windows. I saw not one person, man, woman, or child, who behaved either rudely or carelessly.
I preached in the market-place, at Roscrea, between six and seven in the evening. Several gentlemen and several Clergymen were present, and all behaved well. Thur . 28. — I preached in the street at Birr, a little beyond the bridge: By this means the congregation was four times larger than usual, in which were abundance of Romans. Fri . 29. — As I went through Frankfort many people gathered together, chiefly Romans, and desired me to preach. I did so, in the middle of the town. They gave a calm, stupid attention; but I did not perceive that any of them were affected otherwise than with amazement.
I came to Tullamore, as it fell out, on a second fair-day; and had, of course, abundance of new hearers. I found far more earnestness in the people now than when I was here before. Why should we ever be discouraged by the want of present success? Who knows what a day may bring forth?
In the evening I preached at Athlone, to many Officers, and an uncommon number of soldiers, who were gathered together from every part, waiting for a review. Mrs. T—— desired me to lodge at her house. About twelve I heard a huge noise. Presently the street door was broke open; next the door of Mrs. T’s chamber; then that of the room in which I lay. I went to the door; on which Mr. T—— shrunk back, walked down stairs, and wreaked his vengeance on his mother’s windows. Some honest gentlemen of the town had set him on, and filled him with wine for the purpose. Mon. JULY 2. — I preached in the evening, on Revelation 20. I had none to assist me, nor any respite; and I needed none. It was such a night as I have seldom known: The stout-hearted trembled on every side, particularly the troopers, late at Philip’s-Town, who did once run well. One of them sunk down to the ground as a stone; others could hardly stand; and the same spirit of solemn, deep humiliation seemed to run through the whole assembly. Tues. 3. — In spite of the indolence of some, and the cowardice of others, I preached in the evening on the Connaught side of the river. I then met the society; but when I would have dismissed them, none seemed willing to go. We were standing and looking at each other, when a trooper stepped out into the middle of the Room, and said, “I must speak. I was Saul: I persecuted the children of God. I joined with you in Philip’s-Town; but I fell back, and hated God and all his ways. I hated you in particular, and, a day or two ago, said all manner of evil of you. I was going to a woman last night, when one of my comrades met and asked me if I would go to the watch-night. Out of curiosity I came; but for half the sermon, I minded nothing that was said. Then God struck me to the heart, so that I could not stand, hut dropped down to the ground. I slept none last night, and came to you in the morning; but I could not speak. I went from you to a few of our brethren, and they prayed with me till my burden dropped off. And now, by the grace of God, we will part no more. I am ready to go with you all over the world.”
The words were as fire: They kindled a flame which spread through the congregation. We praised God with one heart and one voice. I then a second time pronounced the blessing; but the people stood without motion as before, till a Dragoon stepped from his fellows, and said, “I was a Pharisee from my youth, having a strict form of godliness; and yet I always wanted something: But I knew not what; till something within me pushed me on, I could not tell why, to hear you. I have done so, since you came hither. I immediately saw what I wanted was faith, and the love of God; and he supplied my wants here last night. Now I can rejoice in God my Savior.” Wed. 4. — I preached at Aghrim. Thursday , 5. I rode to Castlegar, and found Miss B — unwillingly recovering from her fever; having a desire rather to quit the house of earth, and go to Him whom her soul loved. Her sister now breathed the same spirit, doubt and fear being fled away.
I preached at Ahaskra in the evening. Great part of the congregation were Papists; some of whom, in the morning, Friday, 6, were under strong convictions. I returned to Athlone in the afternoon, and Saturday , 7, set out for Longford.
Calling at Kenagh in the way, I unexpectedly found a large congregation waiting for me; to whom I declared Jesus Christ, our “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
About seven I preached at Longford, in the middle of the town. It rained all the time; but none regarded it. I was a little interrupted by a poor, drunken Papist, who spoke a few drooling words. I entreated the people to let him alone; but I could not prevail. One pulled him by the ears, another by the hair, till he was dragged away, and all was quiet.
At nine I preached to a much larger congregation, and the word was sharper than ever. Four or five could not bear it, but went away. Some would have gone away, but could not; for the hand of the Lord pressed them to the earth. O fair beginning! But what will the end be?
I preached again at Kenagh in my return, to a simple, loving people. Mr. M——, a gentleman, late of Moat, bore me company to and from Longford. Two years ago he was strongly prejudiced; and when Mr. W— — preached at Moat, his son was in the mob which drummed him out of the town. Yet he could not but inquire of one and another, till one desired him to read “The Almost Christian.” In the midst of it he cried out, “I am the man;” and from that time was convinced more and more. He had met her at Birr, and again at Ahaskra; whence he rode with me to Athlone and to Longford. During the second sermon at Kenagh, he felt a great change; yet durst not say his sins were forgiven. But in riding thence to Athlone the cloud vanished away; and he could boldly say, “My Lord and my God.” Mon . 9. — I preached in the evening at Tyrrel’s Pass, and at five in the morning, Tuesday, 10. Thence we rode to Drumeree, sixteen Irish miles to the north of Tyrrel’s Pass. In our way we stopped an hour at Mullingar.
The sovereign of the town came to the inn, and expressed much desire that I should preach. But I had little hopes of doing good by preaching in a place where I could preach but once, and where noble but me could be suffered to preach at all. We came to Mr. N — ‘s about two. Many fine people came from various parts in the evening, and were perfectly civil and unconcerned; so what was said to them was written on the sand. Wed. 11. — It was not so with the morning congregation. There were few dry eyes among them. Some would have sunk to the ground, had not others supported them; and none seemed more affected than Mrs. N—— herself. There was the same spirit in the evening. Many cried out aloud, and all received the word with the deepest attention. Thur . 12. — The congregation at five was larger than that on Tuesday evening; and surely God gave to many both “the hearing ear and the understanding heart.” Fri . 13. — I preached once more at Portarlington, and afterwards reproved this society likewise, for the miserable covetousness of some, and lukewarmness of others. It may be, they will be zealous, and “repent, and do the first works.” Sat . 14. — I returned to Dublin, and on Sunday , 15, preached on Oxmantown-Green, to such a congregation as I never saw in Dublin, nor often in Ireland before. Abundance of soldiers were of the number. Such another congregation I had there between two and three in the afternoon, notwithstanding the violent heat of the sun; and all were attentive. In the evening I preached in the garden, at Dolphin’s Barn; and neither here did I observe, in the numerous congregation, any that appeared careless or inattentive. Tues . 17. — I read the letters in our garden, to near twice as many people as were there on Sunday evening. Thur . 19. — I met the class of soldiers: Nineteen are resolved to “fight the good fight of faith;” eleven or twelve of whom already rejoice in God through Christ, by whom they have received the atonement.
When the society met, some sinners, whom I knew not, were convicted in their own consciences, so that they could not refrain from confessing their faults in the face of all their brethren. One of these I had but just received in: Another I had declared to be excluded; but he pleaded so earnestly to be tried a little longer, that there was no refusing; and we wrestled with God on his behalf, that sin might no more have dominion over him. Fri . 20. — The delay of the Captain with whom I was to sail gave us an opportunity of spending a joyful night together; and likewise of preaching once more, On Sunday, 22, upon Oxmantown-Green. We went on board immediately after, and set sail about ten, with a small fair wind. In the afternoon it failed, and the tide being against us, we were obliged to come to an anchor. Mon. 23. — The wind shifting to the south, and blowing hard, in the afternoon the Captain seemed under some concern. There was all reason to expect a stormy night; and he despaired of getting into the Bristol Channel; and knew the danger of beating about, when it was pitch dark, among these rocks and sands. It was much on my mind, “They cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distress.” I knew not why we should not cry to Him as well as they. Immediately the wind came fair, and blew so fresh, that in less than two hours we came into the Bristol Channel.
But the danger was not over. About eleven I was waked by a huge, confused noise, and found we were in a vehement squall of wind, thunder, and rain, which brought the sailors to their wit’s end; they could not see across the ship, only just while the lightning was glaring in their eyes. This made them fear running foul, either of the Welsh sands on the one hand, or the rocky shore of Lundy on the other. So they took in the sails, and let us drive. The motion then was wonderful. It blew a storm; and, the wind being contrary to the tide, the sea ran mountain-high. The ship had no goods, and little ballast on board; so that it rolled as if it would overset every moment. It was intensely dark, and neither the Captain nor any man else knew where we were; only that we were tossing in a bad, narrow channel, full of shoals, and rocks, and sands. But does not God hear the prayer? Mr. Hopper and I believed it our duty to make the trial again; and in a very few moments the wind was small, the sea fell, and the clouds dispersed; so we put up a little sail, and went on quietly and slowly, till the morning dawned. About nine in the evening we reached the Pill, where I took horse, and rode on to Bristol. Wed. 25. — I found the comfort of being among those whose hearts are established in grace. Thur. 26. — I walked over to Kingswood, and found our family there lessened considerably. I wonder how I am withholden from dropping the whole design; so many difficulties have continually attended it: Yet if this counsel is of God, it shall stand; and all hindrances shall turn into blessings. Sun. 29. — At seven I preached at Point’s Pool, an open place, a little without Lawford’s Gate, just in the midst of the butchers, and all the rebel-rout, that neither fear God nor reverence man. But I believe some of them found it good to be there. How does God surround this city on all sides! Yet still not many wise, not many rich, not many noble are called. Mon . 30. — I set out for Shaftesbury. The rain began when we set out, which a strong wind drove full in our faces. It did not stop for five hours, so that I was well drenched to the very soles of my feet; so I was very willing to stop at Shepton-Mallet. The next morning we came to Shaftesbury.
The rain made it impracticable to preach abroad in the evening; otherwise the threatenings of great and small would not have hindered. I suppose the House contained four or five hundred people: It was soon filled from end to end. The chief opposers of John Haime were there; but none stirred, none spoke, none smiled: Many were in tears; and many others were filled with joy unspeakable. Wed. AUGUST 1. — At five in the morning the Room was nearly full. I was constrained to continue my discourse considerably longer than usual.
Several of those who had been the bitterest persecutors were there.
Perhaps they will be doers as well as “hearers of the word.”
Hence we rode to Beercrocomb; and the next day, Thursday, 2, to Collumpton. I preached in a little meadow near the town, soon after six in the evening: About the middle of my discourse, hard rain began; but few of the congregation stirred. I then spent an hour with the society, and not without a blessing. Fri . 3. — Being informed, many at Tiverton desired to hear me, I rode over about noon. But I could find none there who had any concern about the matter, except one poor man, who received me gladly. I went straight to the market-place, where abundance of people quickly gathered together; and not one interrupted, or spoke, or smiled. Surely goodwill be done in this place.
The congregation at Collumpton in the evening was far larger than before.
At four in the morning we took horse; at ten the rain began, and ceased no more till we came to Plymouth-Dock at seven in the evening. Sun . 5. — I preached at eight; but though the warning was so short, the Room could not contain the congregation. At five in the evening I preached in a much larger Room, the Tabernacle in Plymouth; but neither could this contain the numbers who flocked from all parts. And I was surprised at the decency of their behavior. They were as still as one of our London congregations. Mon . 6. — I rode to St. Mewan, and found a large congregation (notwithstanding the rain) waiting for me. As I came out, a huge man ran full against me. I thought it was by accident, till he did it a second time, and began to curse and swear; on which I turned a little out of the path. He pressed vehemently after me through the crowd, and planted himself close by my side. Toward the close of the sermon, his countenance changed; and in a while he slipped off his hat. When I had concluded, he squeezed me earnestly by the hand, and went away as quiet as a lamb. Tues . 7. — I went to St. Ewe. There was much struggling here at first: But the two gentlemen who occasioned it are now removed, — one to London, the other into eternity. Wed . 8. — We rode to Penryn. Many of the Gentry were present in the evening: And some of them I permitted to stay when I met the society.
They seemed much moved. It may last more than a night; for “with God all things are possible.” Thur . 9. — I preached at Gwennap, and on Friday . On Saturday noon at Bezore, near Truro; in the evening, and on Sunday morning, in Redruth.
Mr. Collins preached an exceeding useful sermon at church, upon the General Judgment. At one I preached in the street, to thrice as many as the Room would have contained. I afterwards visited a poor old woman, a mile or two from the town: Her trials had been uncommon; inexpressible agonies of mind, joined with al sorts of bodily pain, not, it seemed, from any natural cause, but the direct operation of Satan. Her joys were now as uncommon; she had little time to sleep; having, for several months last past, seen, as it were, the unclouded face of God, and praised him day and night. Mon . 13. — At noon I preached at Stithians, and in the evening at Sithney; Tuesday , 14, about noon, in Wendron; at Bray about six in the evening. Wed. 15. — By reflecting on an odd book which I had read in this journey, “The General Delusion of Christians with regard to Prophecy,” I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected, 1. That the Montanists, in the second and third centuries, were real, scriptural Christians; and, 2. That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn, was not only that faith and holiness were well-nigh lost; but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture.
About noon I preached at Breage; in the evening in Crowan. On this and the following days I read over, with all the impartiality I could, the “Free and Candid Disquisitions.” It is, doubtless, an exceedingly well wrote book; yet something in it I cannot commend. The Author (for the representing himself as many, and so speaking all along in the plural number, I take to be only a pious fraud, used to make himself appear more considerable) is far too great a flatterer for me, dealing in panegyric beyond all measure. But, in truth, he is not much guilty of this with regard to the Common Prayer. About one objection in ten appears to have weight, and one in five has plausibility. But surely the bulk of his satire, though keen, is by no means just: And even allowing all the blemishes to be real, which he has so carefully and skillfully collected and recited, what ground have we to hope, that if we gave up this we should profit by the exchange?
Who would supply us with a Liturgy less exceptionable than that which we had before? Fri . 17. — I preached at Ludgvan at noon, and at Newlyn in the evening.
Through all Cornwall I find the societies have suffered great loss from want of discipline. Wisely said the ancients, “The soul and body make a man; the Spirit and discipline make a Christian.” Sat . 18. — I rode to St. Just, where there is still the largest society in Cornwall: And so great a proportion of believers I have not found in all the nation beside. Five-and-forty persons I have observed, as they came in turn, and every one walking in the light of God’s countenance. Sun . 19. — I preached at eight to a great multitude: Such another we had in Morva at one; and again at Zennor after the evening Service; whence we rode to St. Ives, and concluded the day with thanksgiving. Tues. 22. — We had a Quarterly Meeting; at which were present the Stewards of all the Cornish societies. We had now the first watch-night which had been in Cornwall: And “great was the Holy One of Israel in the midst of us.” Thur . 23. — Having first sent to the Mayor, to inquire if it would be offensive to him, I preached in the evening, not far from the market-place.
There was a vast concourse of people, very few of the adult inhabitants of the town being wanting. I had gone through two-thirds of my discourse, to which the whole audience was deeply attentive, when Mr. S—— sent his man to ride his horse to and fro through the midst of the congregation.
Some of the chief men in the town bade me go on; and said, no man should hinder me: But I judged it better to retire to the Room. High and low, rich and poor, followed me; and soon filled, not only the Room itself, but all the space near the doors and windows. God gave me, as it were, “a sharp threshing instrument, having teeth;” so that the stout-hearted trembled before Him. O the wisdom of God, in permitting Satan to drive all these people together into a place where nothing diverted their attention, but his word had its full force upon their hearts! Fri . 24. — I preached in Camborn at noon, to the largest congregation I had ever seen there; and at St. Agnes in the evening, to a multitude not of curious hearers, but of men that had “tasted of the good word.” Sat. 25. — John Haime, John Trembath, and I called at Mrs. Morgan’s, at Mitchell, who readily told me, and that over and over again, that she never saw or knew any harm by me, but I am not sure, that she has not said just the contrary to others. If so, she, not I, must give account for it to God.
In the evening I preached at Port-Isaac in the street, the House not being able to contain the people. Sun. 26. — I preached at St. Gennis morning and afternoon; but, I fear, with little effect. Thence we hastened to Camelford, where I preached in the main street; the rain pouring down all the time: But that neither drove the congregation away, nor hindered the blessing of God. Many were in tears, and some could not help crying aloud, both during the preaching, and the meeting of the society. Mon . 27. — I preached at Trewalder about noon, on, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Many were dissolved into gracious tears, and many filled with strong consolation.
In the evening Mr. Bennet (now full of days, and by swift steps removing into eternity) read Prayers in Tresmere church, and I preached on, our “great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God.” Tues. 28. — He desired me to preach in his church at Tamerton; but when we came, we found no notice had been given, and the key of the church was a mile off; so I preached in a large room adjoining to it. In the evening I preached in Laneast church, to a large and attentive congregation. What can destroy the work of God in these parts, but zeal for, and contending about, opinions?
About eight I preached at St. Stephen’s, near Launceston, and then rode to the Dock; where I preached to such a congregation as I had not seen there for several years. The night overtook us soon after we had begun; but the moon gave us all the light we wanted. One poor man at first bawled out for the church; but he soon went away ashamed. All the rest seemed to be such as really desired to worship God “in spirit and in truth.” Thur. 30. — The House would not contain them at five, much less at noon, when the number was more than doubled. I preached in the evening at Plymouth. Multitudes were present; but no scoffer, no inattentive person: The time for this is past, till God shall see good to let Satan loose again. Fri. 31. — Setting out early, we reached Collumpton in the evening; but as I was not expected, the congregation was small. Sun. SEPTEMBER 2. — I rode to Tiverton. At eight I preached to twice as many people as were present when I was here before; but even this congregation was doubled at one and at five. The meadow was then full from side to side, and many stood in the gardens and orchards round. It rained in the day several times; but not a drop fell while I was preaching.
Here is an open door indeed! May no man be able to shut it! Mon . 3. — About noon I preached at Hillfarrance, three miles from Taunton. Three or four boors would have been rude if they durst; but the odds against them was too great. At five I preached in Bridgewater to a well-behaved company, and then rode on to Middlesey.
We rode from hence to Shaftesbury, where I preached, between six and seven, to a serious and quiet congregation. We had another happy opportunity at five in the morning, when abundance of people were present. I preached, at noon, in the most riotous part of the town, just where four ways met; but none made any noise, or spoke one word, while I called “the wicked to forsake his way.” As we walked back, one or two foul-mouthed women spoke unseemly; but none regarded, or answered them a word.
Soon after I was sat down, a Constable came, and said, “Sir, the Mayor discharges you from preaching in this borough any more.” I replied, “While King George gives me leave to preach, I shall not ask leave of the Mayor of Shaftesbury.” Thur . 6. — I rode to Salisbury, and preached about noon, (a strange turn of Providence!) in the chapel which formerly was Mr. Hall’s. One poor woman labored much to interrupt; but, (how it was I know not,) with all her endeavors, she could not get out one word. At length she set up a dismal, inarticulate yell, and went away in all haste.
Here I had the following account from one of our Preachers: — “John Jane was never well after walking from Epworth to Hainton, on an exceeding hot day, which threw him into a fever. But he was in great peace and love, even to those who greatly wanted love to him. He was some time at Alice Shadforth’s house, with whom he daily talked of the things of God. He was never without the love of God, spent much time in private prayer, and joined likewise with her in prayer several times in a day. On Friday, August 24, growing, as she thought, stronger in body, he sat in the evening by the fireside: About six he fetched a deep sigh, and never spoke more. He was alive till the same hour on Saturday; at which, without any struggle, or any sign of pain, with a smile on his face, he passed away. His last words were, ‘I find the love of God in Christ Jesus.’ “All his clothes, linen and woolen, stockings, hat, and wig, are not thought sufficient to answer his funeral expenses, which amount to one pound seventeen shillings and three pence. All the money he had was one shilling and four pence.” Enough for any unmarried Preacher of the Gospel to leave to his Executors. Sun . 9. — I called on poor Mrs. H——, whose husband had just engaged in a new branch of business, when God took him “from the evil to come.”
I am persuaded, had he continued in his simplicity, he would have been alive to this day. How different from this was the case of John Hague! one who never left his first love, never was weary or faint, but daily grew in grace, and was still on the full stretch for God. When such an instrument is snatched away in the strength of his years, what can all the wisdom of man say, but, “How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Sat . 15. — I read over a short “Narrative of Count Z—— ‘s Life, written by himself.” Was there ever such a Proteus under the sun as this Lord Freydeck, Domine de Thurstain, etc., etc.? For he has almost as many names as he has faces or shapes. O when will he learn (with all his learning) “simplicity and godly sincerity?” When will he be an upright follower of the Lamb, so that no guile may be found in his mouth? Mon . 17. — My brother set out for the north; but returned the next day, much out of order. How little do we know the counsels of God! But we know they are all wise and gracious. Tues . 19. — When I came home in the evening, I found my brother abundantly worse. He had had no sleep for several nights; and expected none, unless from opiates. I went down to our brethren below, and we made our request known to God. When I went up again, he was in a sound sleep, which continued till the morning. Fri . 21. — We had a watch-night at Spitalfields. I often wonder at the peculiar providence of God on these occasions. I do not know that in so many years one person has ever been hurt, either in London, Bristol, or Dublin, in going so late in the night to and from all parts of the town. Sun . 23. — My brother being not yet able to assist, I had more employment today than I expected. In the morning I read prayers, preached, and administered the sacrament to a large congregation in Spitalfields. The service at West-Street continued from nine till one. At five I called the sinners in Moorfields to repentance. And, when I had finished my work found more liveliness and strength than I did at six in the morning. Mon. 24. — I left London, and, the next morning, called at what is styled the Half-way House. Quickly after, as a young man was riding by the door, both horse and man tumbled over each other. As soon as he got up, he began cursing his horse. I spoke a few words, and he was calm. He told me, he did fear God once; but for some time past he had cared for nothing.
I reached Kingswood in the evening; and the next day selected passages of Milton for the eldest children to transcribe and repeat weekly. Thur. 27. — I went into the School, and heard half the children their lessons, and then selected passages of the “Moral and Sacred Poems.” Friday , 28. I heard the other half of the children. Saturday, 29. I was with them from four to five in the morning. I spent most of the day in revising Kennet’s “Antiquities,” and marking what was worth reading in the school. Wed. OCTOBER 3. — I revised, for the use of the children, Archbishop Potter’s “Grecian Antiquities;” a dry, dull, heavy book. Thursday, 4. I revised Mr. Lewis’s “Hebrew Antiquities;” something more entertaining than the other, and abundantly more instructive. Sat . 6. — I nearly finished the abridgment of Dr. Cave’s “Primitive Christianity;” a book wrote with as much learning, and as little judgment, as any I remember to have read in my whole life; serving the ancient Christians just as Xenophon did Socrates; relating every weak thing they ever said or did. Wed. 10. — I dined at P—— S—— ‘s, who, with his wife and daughter, are wonderful monuments of God’s mercy. They were convinced of the truth when I first preached at Bristol; and Mrs. Sk—— was a living witness of it: Yet Satan was afterwards suffered to sift her as wheat; it seems, to take possession of her body. He tormented her many years in an unheard of manner; but God has now set her at full liberty. Thur . 11. — I prepared a short “History of England,” for the use of the children; and on Friday and Saturday a short “Roman History,” as an introduction to the Latin Historians. Mon . 15. — I read over Mr. Holmes’s “Latin Grammar;” and extracted from it what was needful to perfect our own. Sat. 20. — I found it absolutely necessary, openly and explicitly to warn all that feared God to beware of the German wolves, (falsely called Moravians,) and keep close to the great Shepherd of their souls. Tues . 23. — Riding through Holt, I called on the Minister, Mr. L —, one of the most zealous adversaries we have in England. I found a calm, sensible, venerable old man; and spent above an hour in friendly altercation. Thence I rode to Milkstram, where the number of people obliged me to preach abroad, notwithstanding the keen north wind. And the steady attention of the hearers made amends for the rigor of the season. Wed . 24. — I set out for London. In the morning, Friday, 26, Mrs. C — called upon me. I think it my bounded duty to declare the heads of our conversation: — “My son,” she said, “declared in my hearing, and before the whole congregation at Tetherton, that when he went to Germany he still judged it would be best for him to live a single life; that the Brethren there said to him one day, ‘Brother C——, it is the will of the Lamb you should marry.’ He replied, ‘I don’t believe it is.’ They said, ‘Yes, it is; and that you should marry’ such a person: (Naming the sister of J—— H—— ‘s wife.) He then said, ‘I like her very well.’ On which they said, ‘No, it is not his will you should marry her; but Jane Briant.’ He answered, ‘I can’t believe it is.’ So he left them, and walked out in the fields. There he thought, ‘I must be simple; it may be the will of the Lamb.’ So the next day he married her.”
She added, “I had four children; but three of them are lost. They take no more notice of me than if I was dead. John never came to see me all the time I was in London; and when I went to him, two men came and stood by us all the time, to hear every word we said. “I thought to have spent all my life in his house at Tetherton; and so I sent all my goods thither to furnish the house, to the value of thirty or forty pounds; but as soon as John was gone to Germany, Mr. H —, one of their Preachers, came and told me, he had taken the house, (which was a lie,) and I must go out of that room. It was the last week in January. I asked, where I must go. He said, I might go where I would; but I should not stay there. So I went out; and between crying and the cold, (for there was no fireplace where I now was,) in three days I was stone blind. “Some time after I told P—— S——, I wanted my goods. He said, I should not have them. I said, then I would fetch a warrant. But at last John gave me ten pounds; and that, I find, is all I am to have.” Fri. NOVEMBER 2. — I began taking an account of all in the society that were in want: But I was soon discouraged; their numbers so increasing upon me, particularly about Moorfields, that I saw no possibility of relieving them all, unless the Lord should, as it were, make windows in heaven. Sat . 17. — I made an end of that very odd tract, “A Creed founded on Common Sense.” The main of it I admire as very ingenious; but still I cannot believe, either, 1. That the Ten Commandments were not designed for a complete rule of life and manners; or, 2. That the Old Testament was never understood till 1700 years after Christ. Mon . 19. — I met with an uncommon instance of distress. A poor woman, whose husband was at sea, as she was stepping out of her own door, saw a man whipped along the street. Being seven months gone with child, she went up stairs and fell in labor immediately. Having none to help her, there she remained, till she was constrained to rise, and go down for some food.
This immediately threw her into a high fever. A young woman calling there, by mere accident, as it is termed, found her and the child just alive, gave her all the money she had, (which was between eight and nine shillings,) and from that time duly attended her everyday. Thur 22. — I read the curious “Journal of Mr. S——,” President of the Council in Georgia; full as trifling and dull, and about as true, as that of Mr. Adams, President of the Prophets. Wed. 28. — I finished the following letter to au old friend, whose spirit and life once adorned the Gospel: — “DEAR SIR, Cookham, Nov. 27, 1750.” “SEVERAL times I have designed to speak to you at large, concerning some things which have given me uneasiness: And more than once I have begun to speak, but your good humor quite disarmed me; so that I could not prevail upon myself to give you pain, even to remove a greater evil. But I cannot delay any longer, and therefore take this way (as less liable to disappointment) of laying before you, with all freedom and unreserved, the naked sentiments of my heart. “To seem to admire the Moravians much. I love them, but cannot admire them; (although I did once, perhaps more than you do now;) and that for the following reasons: — “First. I do not admire the names they assume to themselves. They commonly style themselves, ‘The Brethren,’ or, ‘The Moravian Church.’
Now, the former of these, ‘The Brethren,’ either implies, that they are the only Christians in the world, (as they were who were so styled in the days of the Apostles,) or at least, that they are the best Christians in the world, and therefore deserve to be emphatically so called. But is not even this a very high encomium upon themselves? I should therefore more admire a more modest appellation. “‘But why should they not call themselves the Moravian Church?’
Because they are not the Moravian Church; no more (at the utmost) than a part is the whole; than the Romish Church is the Church of Christ. A congregation assembled in St. Paul’s might, with greater propriety, style themselves the Church of England. Yea, with far greater: 1. Because these are all Englishmen born; 2. Because they have been baptized as members of the Church of England; and, 3. Because, as far as they know, they adhere both to her doctrine and discipline. Whereas, 1. Not a tenth part of Count Zinzendorf’s Brethren are so much as Moravian born; not two thousand out of twenty thousand:
Quaere, if two hundred adults? if fifty men? 2. Not one-tenth of them were baptized as members of the Moravian Church, (perhaps not one, till they left Moravia,) but as members of the Romish Church. 3. They do not adhere either to the doctrines or discipline of the Moravian Church. They have many doctrines which that Church never holden, and an entirely new scheme of discipline. 4. The true Moravian Church of which this is a very small part, if it be any part at all, is still subsisting; not in England or Germany, but in Polish Prussia. Therefore I cannot admire their assuming this name to themselves; I cannot reconcile its either with modesty or sincerity. “If you say, ‘But the Parliament has allowed it;’ I answer, I am sorry for it. The putting so palpable a cheat upon so august an assembly, with regard to a notorious matter of fact, I conceive does not redound to their own, any more than to the honor of our nation. “If you add, ‘But you yourself once styled them thus:’ — I grant I did; but I did it in ignorance. I took it you their word; and I now freely and openly testify my mistake. “Secondly. I do not admire their doctrine in the particulars that follow: — “1. That we are to do nothing in order to salvation, but barely to believe. “2. That there is but one duty now, but one command, — to believe in Christ. “3. That Christ has taken away all other commands and duties, having wholly abolished the Law. “(The sermon Count Zinzendorf preached at Fetter-Lane, on John 8:11, places this in a strong light. He roundly began, ‘Christ says, I come not to destroy the Law: But He did destroy the Law. The Law condemned this woman to death: But He did not condemn her. And God himself does not keep the Law. The Law forbids lying: But God said, Forty days and Nineveh shall he destroyed; yet Nineveh was not destroyed.’) “4. That there is no such thing as degrees in faith, or weak faith; since he has no faith, who has any doubt or fear. “(How to reconcile this, with what I heard the Count assert at large, ‘that a man may have justifying faith, and not know it,’ I cannot tell.) “5. That we are sanctified wholly, the moment we are justified; and are neither more nor less holy, to the day of our death. “6. That a believer has no holiness in himself at all; all his holiness being imputed, not inherent. “7. That a man may feel a peace that passeth all understanding, may rejoice with joy full of glory, and have the love of God, and of all mankind, with dominion over all sin; and yet all this may be only nature, animal spirits, or the force of imagination. “8. That if a man regards prayer, or searching the Scriptures, or communicating, as matter of duty; if he judges himself obliged to do these things, or is troubled when he neglects them; he is in bondage, he is under the Law, he has no faith; but is still seeking salvation by works. “9. That, therefore, till we believe, we ought to be still; that is, not to pray, search the Scriptures, or communicate. “10. That their Church cannot err, and of consequence ought to be implicitly believed and obeyed. “Thirdly. I approve many things in their practice; yet even this I cannot admire in the following instances: — “1. I do not admire their conforming to the world, by useless, trifling conversation: By suffering sin upon their brother, without reproving even that which is gross and open: By levity in the general tenor of their behavior; not walking as under the eye of the great God: And, lastly, by joining in the most trifling diversions, in order to do good. “2. I do not admire their close, dark, reserved behavior, particularly toward strangers. The spirit of secrecy is the spirit of their community, often leading even into guile and dissimulation. One may observe in them much cunning, much art, much evasion, and disguise. They often appear to be what they are not, and not to be what they are. They so study to become all things to all men, as to take the color and shape of any that are near them: Directly contrary to that openness, frankness, and plainness of speech, so manifest in the Apostles and Primitive Christians. “3. I do not admire their confining their beneficence to the narrow bounds of their own society. This seems the more liable to exception, as they boast of possessing so immense riches. In his late book the Count particularly mentions, how many hundred thousand florins a single member of their Church has lately expended; and how many hundred thousand crowns of yearly rent, the Nobility and Gentry only of his society enjoy in one single country. Meantime do they, all put together, expend one hundred thousand, yea, one thousand, or one hundred, in feeding the hungry, or clothing the naked, of any society but their own? “4. I do not admire the manner wherein they treat their opponents. I cannot reconcile it either to love, humility, or sincerity. Is utter contempt, or settled disdain, consistent with love or humility? And can it consist with sincerity, to deny any charge which they know in their conscience is true? To say, those quotations are unjust, which are literally copied from their own books? To affirm, their doctrines are misrepresented, when their own sense is given in their own words? To cry, ‘Poor man! He is quite dark! He is utterly blind! He knows nothing of our doctrines!’ though they cannot point out one mistake this blind man has made, or confute one assertion he has advanced? “Fourthly. I least of all admire the effects their doctrine has had on some who have lately begun to hear them. “For, 1. It has utterly destroyed their faith, their inward ‘evidence of things not seen;’ the deep conviction they once had, that the Lamb of God had taken away their sins. Those who before had the witness in themselves of redemption in the blood of Christ, who had the Spirit of God clearly witnessing with their spirit, that they were the children of God, after hearing these but a few times, began to doubt; then reasoned themselves into utter darkness; and in a while, affirmed, First, that they had no faith now, (which was true), and soon after, that they never had any. And this was not the accidental but natural effect of that doctrine, — that there are no degrees in faith, and that none has any faith who is liable at any time to any degree of doubt or fear; as well as of that dark, unintelligible, unscriptural manner wherein they affect to speak of it. “I expect you will answer, ‘Nay, they are the most plain, simple Preachers of any in the whole world. Simplicity is their peculiar excellence.’ I grant one sort of simplicity is; a single specimen whereof may suffice: — One of their eminent Preachers, describing, at Fetter-Lane, ‘the childhood of the Lamb,’ observed, that ‘his mother might send him out one morning for an half penny worth of milk; that, making haste back, he might fall and break the porringer; and that he might work a miracle to make it whole again, and gather up the milk into it.’ Now, can you really admire this kind of simplicity? or think it does honor to ‘God manifest in the flesh?’ “2. This preaching has destroyed the love of God in many souls; which was the natural aspect of destroying their faith, as well as of teaching them to grieve the Holy Spirit of God by ascribing his gift to imagination and animal spirits; and of perplexing them with senseless, unscriptural cautions against the selfish love of God; in which it is not easy to say whether nonsense or blasphemy be the chief ingredient. “3. This preaching has greatly impaired, if not destroyed, the love of their neighbor in many souls. They no longer burn with love to all mankind, with desire to do good to all. They are straitened in their own bowels; their love is confined to narrower and narrower bounds; till, at length, they have no desire or thought of doing good to any but those of their own community. If a man was before a zealous member of our Church, groaning for the prosperity of our Zion, it is past; all that zeal is at an end; he regards the Church of England no more than the Church of Rome: His tears no longer fall, his prayers no longer ascend, that God may shine upon her desolations. The friends that were once as his own soul, are now no more to him than other men. All the bands of that formerly endeared affection are as threads of tow that have touched the fire. Even the ties of filial tenderness are dissolved: The child regards not his own parent; he no longer regards the womb that bare or the paps that gave him suck. Recent instances of this also are not wanting. I will particularize, if required. Yea, the son leaves his aged father, the daughter her mother, in want of the necessaries of life. I know the persons; I have myself relieved them more than once; for that was ‘corban’ whereby they should have been profited. “4. These humble Preachers utterly destroy the humility of their hearers, who are quickly wiser than all their former Teachers; not because they ‘keep thy commandments,’ (as the poor man under the Law said,) but because they allow no commandments at all. In a few days they are ‘wiser in their own eyes, than seven men that can render a reason.’ ‘Render a reason! Ay, there it is. Your carnal reason destroys you. You are for reason: I am for faith.’ I am for both: For faith to perfect my reason, that by the Spirit of God not putting out the eyes of my understanding, but enlightening them more and more, I may ‘be ready to give’ a clear scriptural ‘answer to every man that asketh’ me ‘a reason of the hope that is in’ me. “5. This preaching destroys true, genuine simplicity. Let a plain, open hearted man, who hates controversy, and loves the religion of the heart, go but a few times to Fetter-Lane, and he begins to dispute with every man he meets; he draws the sword and throws away the scabbard; and if he happens to be hard pressed, by Scripture or reason, he has as many turns and fetches as a Jesuit; so that it is out of the power of a common man even to understand, much more to confute him. “6. Lastly, I have known a short attendance on this preaching destroy both gratitude, justice, mercy, and truth. Take one only, but a terrible proof of this: — One, whom you know, was remarkably exact in keeping his word: He is now (after hearing them but a few months) as remarkable for breaking it; being infinitely more afraid of a legal than of a lying spirit! more jealous of the works of the Law than of the works of the devil! He was cutting off every possible expense, in order to do justice to all men:
List’ning attentive to the wretch’s cry, The groan low-murmur’d, and the whisper’d sigh:
But the bowels of his compassion are now shut up: He has been in works too long already; so now, to prove his faith, he lets the poor brother starve, for whom Christ died! If he loved any one under the sun more than his own soul, it was the instrument by whom God had raised him from the dead: He assisted him to the utmost of his power; he would defend him even before Princes: But he is now unconcerned whether he sinks or swims: He troubles not himself about it. Indeed he gives him — good words; that is, before his face; but behind his back he can himself rail at him by the hour, and vehemently maintain, not that he is mistaken in a few smaller points, but that he ‘preaches another God, not Jesus Christ.’ “Art thou the man? If you are not, go and hear the Germans again next Sunday.” Fri . 30. — I rode through a violent storm to Windsor, and preached to a little serious congregation. About one I preached at Brentford, and gathered up the poor remains of the shattered society. How firm did these stand in the midst of storms! But the sun shone, and they melted away. Mon. DECEMBER 3. — I rode to Canterbury, and preached on Revelation 20. A few turbulent people made a little noise, as I found it was their custom to do. Perceiving more of them were gathered the next night, I turned and spoke to them at large. They appeared to be not a little confounded, and went away as quiet as lambs. Wed . 5. — I walked over the cathedral, and surveyed the monuments of the ancient men of renown. One would think such a sight should strike an utter damp upon human vanity. What are the great, the fair, the valiant now? The matchless warrior, — the puissant monarch? — An heap of dust is all remains of thee! ‘Tis all thou art and all the proud shall be. Mon. 10. — I rode to Leigh, in Essex, where I found a little company seeking God; and endeavored to encourage them in “provoking one another to love and good works.” Mon. 17. — I set upon cleansing Augeas’s stable; upon purging that huge work, Mr. Fox’s “Acts and Monuments,” from all the trash which that honest, injudicious writer has heaped together, and mingled with those venerable records, which are worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance. Sun . 23. — I buried the body of Elizabeth Bamfield, a young woman of two-and-twenty; who, the Tuesday before, rose up from breakfast, dropped down, and spoke no more. But she was ready for the Bridegroom. “Blessed are they whom, when He cometh, He shall find watching.” Tues .JANUARY 1, 1751. — About this time I received a remarkable letter; part of which ran as follows: — “When George Whitefield first preached on Kennington-Common, curiosity drew me to hear him frequently. I admired his zeal in calling sinners to repentance, but did not see myself to be one of that number; having had a religious education, even in spiritual religion, such as was not to be found in other societies. “As soon as the Foundery was taken, I went thither constantly, morning as well as evening. But I had no desire of being acquainted with any of the society, much less of joining therein; being strongly resolved never to turn my back on the profession I was educated in. “The next year I furnished myself with the books which John and Charles Wesley had printed. I compared them with Robert Barclay’s ‘Apology,’ and with the Bible; and of many things I was convinced: But what they said of Justification I could not comprehend; and I did not much concern myself about it, being but slightly convinced of sin. “It was my custom to rise some hours before the family, and spend that time in reading. One Sunday morning I was just going to open my Bible, when a voice (whether inward or outward I cannot tell) seemed to say very loud, ‘God, for Christ’s sake, hat forgiven thee.’ I started up, took the candle and searched all about, to see if any one was near; but there was none. I then sat down, with such peace and joy in my soul as cannot be described. While I vas musing what it could mean, I heard it again, saying, ‘Go in peace, thy sins are forgiven thee.’ I trembled exceedingly, not with fear, but such an emotion as I cannot express. Yet I got up the second time, and opened the door, to see if it was any human voice. Soon after it was repeated the third time, still louder; which drove me on my knees to prayer, being, overwhelmed with the love of God, and, for the time, utterly incapable of doubt or fear. “I now saw the New Testament in a different light than I had ever done before. All the day I was comforted with promises from it, either read or brought to my mind. Yet the thought, ‘May not all this be a delusion?’ frequently darted into me; but it as often drove me to prayer; upon which all doubt presently vanished away. “I was immediately changed in my dress, conversation, and whole deportment; which brought on me the ridicule of all my acquaintance: But nothing moved me. I wondered what the Cross meant; for whatever appeared to be the will of God, I ran cheerfully to do, without a moment’s hesitation. I felt no temptation to anger, pride, or any other evil. Though often provoked, I was not ruffled in the least. God seemed to reign in my heart alone. He was all my desire, all my hope: And this light lasted about three months, without any cloud at all. “But after this it pleased God to remove all at once the veil which, till then, covered my heart; though I do not remember that any disobedience preceded; for I feared sin more than death or hell. Yet in a moment such a scene was opened to me, that if I had not felt the hand of God underneath me, I should certainly have gone distracted. The infernal regions were represented to my view, day and night. At the same time I saw what I was by nature, and what I had deserved from God for all my sins. O how did Satan then strive to tear away my shield; and what a burden of sin did I feel! It is impossible to describe it. If I looked from God a moment, I was full of horror. I often feared I should lose my senses; but had no thought of death, nor fear concerning it. Yet hell appeared to me without a covering, and I seemed surrounded with devils, sleeping and waking. But I still holden this fast, ‘Thou hast forgiven me, O my God; and I will not let thee go.’ “All this time I constantly attended the preaching; and, having a strong desire to know whether friend Wesleys lived the Gospel, as well as preached it, I got acquainted with one who lived at the Foundery. I frequently sat and worked with her, and made all possible inquiries into the most minute circumstances of their behavior. This afterwards proved a great blessing to me; for when I heard any idle report, (and I heard not a few,) I could answer peremptorily, ‘I know the contrary.’ “Their preaching now took deeper hold of me than ever, and searched every corner of my heart. I saw I had nothing to bring to God, and was indeed vile in my own eyes. When my friends sometimes told me, how good I had been, their words were as sharp swords. I found I had nothing to trust in, but the atoning blood. But this trust kept my soul in constant peace. “Thus I went on a considerable time, before I admitted any serious reflections concerning the ordinances; which indeed I did not care to think of at all, till one day reading in the third chapter of St. John’s Gospel, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God:’ The words struck me to the heart; I began to read over again, with all attention, what was written on both sides of the question.
But this gave me no satisfaction; so I tried another way, giving myself up to earnest prayer, that God would guide me by his word and Spirit, into all that he required of me. “However, these thoughts died away, and I was quite easy about it, till one Sunday, at Devonshire-Square meeting, it was brought to my mind in such a manner, that I believe the seat shook under me. I then plainly saw it was my duty, and determined to delay no longer: For that purpose I went to Cowley two or three days after. But all the night before it was to be done, I was in deep distress. I spent all the hours in weeping and prayer; and yet, as the morning drew on, my trouble increased, with strong terror, as if I was just going to execution. But I remained fixed in my purpose:
And as soon as I was baptized, all the clouds dispersed, and I rejoiced more than ever in God my Savior.” Wed. 16. — I received another letter from a friend, on a subject of general concern: — “VERY DEAR SIR, “WHEN I have deeply mused on ages past, and on the revival of primitive Christianity in the present age, I have often queried, whether ever before our time there arose in any one place, and in the same instant, a visible Christian society, and a visible antichristian one. No doubt God had wise ends in permitting the Unitas Fratrum to appear, just as the people of God began to unite together. But we cannot fathom his designs. Yet we know all shall work together for his people’s good. “Perhaps it required more grace to withstand this contagion, than would have enabled us to die for Christ; and very probably we should have been now a very different people from what we are, had we only had our own countrymen to cope with: We should then have only set the plain Gospel of Christ against what was palpably another Gospel, and the mind and life of Christ in opposition to that of those who are vulgarity termed Christians. And I verily believe, we should have been far higher in Christianity than most of us are at this day. “But this subtle poison has more or less infected almost all, from the highest to the lowest, among us. We would put Gospel heads on bodies ready to indulge every unholy temper. Although, (glory be to God,) as a society, we stand at least as clear of joining with the Beast as ally other; yet we have not purged out all his leaven; the Antinomian spirit is not yet cast out. “All our preaching at first was pointed at the heart, and almost all our private conversation. ‘Do you feel the love of God in your heart? Does his Spirit reign there? Do you walk in the Spirit? Is that mind in you which was in Christ?’ were frequent questions among us. But while these Preachers to the heart were going on gloriously in the work of Christ, the false Apostles stepped in, laughed at all heart work, and laughed many of us out of our spiritual senses: For, according to them, we were neither to see, hear, feel, nor taste the powers of the world to come; but to rest contented with what was done for us seventeen hundred years ago. ‘The dear Lamb,’ said they, ‘has done all for us: We have nothing to do, but to believe.’ Here was a stroke at the whole work of God in the heart! And ever since this German spirit hat wrought among us, and caused many to rest in a barren, notional faith, void of that inward power of God unto salvation.” Sun. 27. — I preached a charity sermon at Spitalfields, for the use of our poor children. The church was extremely crowded; but not many rich, not many eugeneis , “well-born,” were there. It was enough that there were many of the people of God, and their Lord in the midst of them. Wed. 30. — Having received a pressing letter from Dr. Isham, then the Rector of our College, to give my vote at the election for a Member of Parliament, which was to be the next day, I set out early, in a severe frost, with the northwest wind full in my face. The roads were so slippery, that it was scarce possible for our horses to keep their feet: Indeed one of them could not; but fell upon his head, and cut it terribly. Nevertheless, about seven in the evening, God brought us safe to Oxford. A congregation was waiting for me at Mr. Evans’s, whom I immediately addressed in those awful words, “What is a man profited, is he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Thur . 31. — I went to the schools, where the Convocation was met: But I did not find the decency and order which I expected. The gentleman for whom I came to vote, was not elected: Yet I did not repent of my coming; I owe much more than this to that generous, friendly man, who now rests from his labors.
I was much surprised wherever I went, at the civility of the people, — gentlemen as well as others. There was no pointing, no calling of names, as once; no, nor even laughter. What can this mean? Am I become a servant of men? Or is the scandal of the Cross ceased? Fri .FEBRUARY 1. — We set out for London in another bitter morning, having such a wind (now got to the east, and so in our face again) as I hardly ever remember. But by five in the evening we were under shelter at the Foundery. It being the night before appointed for a watch-night, we continued praying and praising God as usual, till about twelve o’clock; and I found no inconvenience, but a little faintness, which a few hours’ sleep removed. Sat . 2. — Having received a full answer from Mr. P——, I was clearly convinced that I ought to marry. For many years I remained single, because I believed I could be more useful in a single, than in a married state. And I praise God, who enabled me so to do. I now as fully believed, that in my present circumstances, I might be more useful in a married state; into which, upon this clear conviction, and by the advice of my friends, I entered a few days after. Wed . 6. — I met the single men, and showed them on how many accounts it was good for those who had received that gift from God, to remain “single for the kingdom of heaven’s sake;” unless where a particular case might be an exception to the general rule. Sun. 10. — After preaching at five, I was hastening to take my leave of the congregation at Snowsfields, purposing to set out in the morning for the north; when, on the middle of London-Bridge, both my feet slipped on the ice, and I fell with great force, the bone of my ankle lighting on the top of a stone. However, I got on, with some help, to the chapel, being resolved not to disappoint the people. After preaching, I had my leg bound up by a Surgeon, and made a shift to walk to the Seven-Dials. It was with much difficulty that I got up into the pulpit; but God then comforted many of our hearts.
I went back in a coach to Mr. B——’s, and from thence in a chair to the Foundery; but I was not able to preach, my sprain growing worse. I removed to Threadneedle-Street; where I spent the remainder of the week, partly in prayer, reading, and conversation, partly in writing an “Hebrew Grammar,” and “Lessons for Children.” Sun. 17. — I was carried to the Foundery, and preached, kneeling, (as I could not stand,) on part of the twenty-third Psalm; my heart being enlarged, and my mouth opened to declare the wonders of God’s love. Monday , 18, was the second day I had appointed for my journey; but I was disappointed again, not being yet able to set my foot to the ground.
However, I preached (kneeling) on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. Sun . 24. — I preached, morning and evening, at Spitalfields, where many who had been wandering from God for several years, seemed, at length, to have fresh desires of returning to him. How is it that we are so ready to despair of one another? For want of the “love” that “hopeth all things.” Mon. MARCH 4. — Being tolerably able to ride, though not to walk, I set out for Bristol. I came thither on Wednesday, thoroughly tired; though, in other respects, better than when I set out. Thur . 7. — I learned that poor Mr. Hall is now a settled Deist. Now let those triumph who separated chief friends. Surely his blood is on their head. Sat . 9. — Many of our Preachers came from various parts. My spirit was much bowed down among them, fearing some of them were perverted from the simplicity of the Gospel. But I was revived at the sight of John H—— , John N——, and those who came with them in the evening; knowing they holden the truth as it is in Jesus, and did not hold it in unrighteousness. Mon. 11. — Our Conference began; and the more we conversed, the more brotherly love increased. The same spirit we found on Tuesday and Wednesday. I expected to have heard many objections to our first doctrines; but none appeared to have any: We seemed to be all of one mind, as well as one heart. Fri. 15. — I mentioned whatever I thought was amiss, or wanting, in any of our brethren. It was received in a right spirit, with much love, and serious, earnest attention; and, I trust, not one went from the Conference discontented; but rather, blessing God for the consolation. Tues . 19. — Having finished the business for which I came to Bristol, I set out again for London; being desired by many to spend a few days there before I entered upon my northern journey. I came to London on Thursday, and, having settled all affairs, left it again on Wednesday , 27. I cannot understand, how a Methodist Preacher can answer it to God, to preach one sermon, or travel one day less, in a married, than in a single state. In this respect surely, “it remaineth, that they who have wives be as though they had none.”
On Wednesday I rode with John Haime to Tetsworth; on Thursday, went on to Evesham. One from thence met us on Broadway-Hill.
I was soon informed that Mr. Keech was buried the night before. His widow and daughter were sorrowing; but not as without hope; neither did they refrain from the preaching one day. So let my surviving friends sorrow for me.
I was to have preached in the Town-Hall; but a company of players had taken possession of it first. Our own Room could not contain the congregation; but to as many as could crowd into it, I applied, “What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Fri . 29. — I rested at Evesham. Saturday , 30. I rode to Birmingham, and found God in the midst of the congregation. Sunday , 31. I earnestly warned the society against idle disputes and vain janglings; and afterwards preached on, “If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.” The hearts of many were melted within them; so that neither they nor I could refrain from tears. But they were chiefly tears of joy, from a lively sense of the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.
At one I was obliged to preach abroad, the Room not being able to contain half the congregation. O how is the scene changed here! The last time I preached at Birmingham the stones flew on every side. If any disturbance were made now, the disturber would be in more danger than the Preacher.
At five in the evening I preached at Wednesbury, to a still larger congregation; but no mocker or trifler appeared among them. How many of the last shall be first! Mon. APRIL 1. — I rode to Dudley. The dismal screaming wherewith we were welcomed into the town, gave us reason to expect the same kind of reception as I had when I was there before. I began preaching immediately in a yard not far from the main street. Some at first seemed inclined to interrupt; but when they had heard a little, they grew more attentive, and stayed very quietly to the end; though it rained great part of the time.
I had desired John Haime to preach at Wednesbury; but when I came, he had but just begun the hymn: So I had an opportunity, which I did not expect, of speaking again to that willing people. What a work would have been in all these parts, if it had not been for doubtful disputations! If the Predestinarians had not thrown back those who began to run well, partly into the world, partly to the Baptists, and partly into endless disputes concerning the secret counsels of God! While we carried our lives in our hands, none of these came near; the waves ran too high for them; but when all was calm, they poured in on every side, and bereaved us of our children. Out of these they formed one society here, one at Dudley, and another at Birmingham. Many indeed, though torn from us, would not stay with them, but broke out into the wildest enthusiasm. But still they were all called Methodists; and so all their drunkenness and blasphemies (not imputed to a believer) were imputed to us. Tues . 2. — I preached at Darlaston, late a den of lions: But most of the fiercest of them God has called away by a train of amazing strokes; and those that remain are now as lambs. I preached in the evening at Wednesbury; where, notwithstanding the rain, every man, woman, and child, stayed to the end. I gave them all an earnest caution not to lean on broken reeds, on opinions of any kind: And even the Predestinarians received it in love, and told me it was highly seasonable. Wed . 3. — I made an end of visiting the classes, miserably shattered by the sowers of strange doctrines. At one I preached at Tipton-Green, where the Baptists also have been making havoc of the flock; which constrained me, in speaking on those words, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,” to spend near ten minutes in controversy; which is more than I had done in public for many months (perhaps years) before. Thur . 4. — We took horse about four. The snow fell without intermission, which the north wind drove full in our faces. After resting awhile at Bilbrook, Newport, and Whitchurch, and riding some miles out of our way, we overtook some people going to the preaching at Alpraham, who guided us straight to the House. William Hitchins had not begun; so I took his place, and felt no weakness or weariness while I declared, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.”\parAPRIL 5. — (Being Good Friday.) I preached at eight, and then walked to Bunbury church. I preached again at one, and in the evening at Poole, near Nantwich, to another deeply serious congregation. The next evening we reached Manchester. APRIL 7. — (Being Easter-Day.) After preaching, I went to the new church, and found an uncommon blessing, at a time when I least of all expected it; namely, while the Organist was playing a voluntary! We had a happy hour in the evening; many hearts being melted down in one flame of holy love. Wed. 10. — I rode to Shackerley. Being now in the very midst of Mr. Taylor’s disciples, I enlarged much more than I am accustomed to do, on the doctrine of Original Sin; and determined, if God should give me a few years’ life, publicly to answer his new gospel.
By the huge noise which was in the street, as we entered Bolton, I conjectured Satan would try his strength once more; but God suffered him not. The mob soon was vanished away, and I had both a numerous and a quiet congregation. Thur. 11. — The barber who shaved me said, “Sir, I praise God on your behalf. When you was at Bolton last, I was one of the most eminent drunkards in all the town; but I came to listen at the window, and God struck me to the heart. I then earnestly prayed for power against drinking; and God gave me more than I asked: He took away the very desire of it.
Yet I felt myself worse and worse, till, on the 5th of April last, I could hold out no longer. I knew I must drop into hell that moment unless God appeared to save me: And he did appear. I knew he loved me; and felt sweet peace. Yet I did not dare to say I had faith, till yesterday was twelvemonth, God gave me faith; and his love has ever since filled my heart.”
Hence I rode with Mr. Milner to Ribchester, where some Clergymen had appointed to meet him; with whom we spent one or two hours in serious and useful conversation.
Between five and six we reached the vicarage at Chipping; where a few serious people soon assembled. The next day we rode to Ambleside; and, on Saturday , 13, over more than Welsh mountains, to Whitehaven. Sun . 14. — I heard two useful sermons at church, on, “Fear not them that can kill the body.” I preached at eight, on, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” and between one and two, at the market-place, on, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” A few stones were thrown at first; but the bulk of the congregation was deeply serious; as well as in the evening, when I preached on, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?”
In meeting the classes the two next days, I observed one remarkable circumstance: Without an absolute necessity, none of this society ever miss their class. Among near two hundred and forty persons, I met one single exception, and no more. Wed. 17. — I rode to Clifton, six miles from Whitehaven. It was supposed few would come in the middle of the afternoon; but, on the contrary, there were abundantly more than any house could contain; so that, notwithstanding the keen northeast wind, I was obliged to preach in the street. Several of the poor people came after me to Cockermouth, where I stood at the end of the market-house, ten or twelve steps above the bulk of the congregation, and proclaimed “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
A large and serious congregation attended again at five on Thursday morning. We then rode to Gambles by, where I preached in the schoolhouse to as many serious people as it could contain; and on Friday , 19, crept on, through miserable roads, till we came to Hinely-Hill.
Early in the morning we scaled the snowy mountains, and rode by the once delightful seat of the late Lord Derwentwater; now neglected, desolate, and swiftly running to ruin. In the afternoon we brought Mr. Milner safe to the Orphan-House at Newcastle. Sun . 21. — The rain obliged me to preach in the House both morning and afternoon. The spirit of the people refreshed me much, as it almost always does. I wish all our societies were like-minded; as loving, simple, and zealous of good works. Mon. 22. — The rain stopped while I was preaching at the market-place in Morpeth. We rode from thence to Alnwick, where (it being too wet to preach at the Cross) some of our friends procured the Town-Hall. This, being very large, contained the people well; only the number of them made it extremely hot. Tues. 23. — We rode on to Berwick-upon-Tweed. At six in the evening a young man was buried, cut off in the strength of his years, who was to have inherited a considerable fortune. Almost the whole town attended the funeral. I went directly from the church-yard to the grave, and had full as many attendants as the corpse; among whom were abundance of fine, gay things, and many soldiers. Wed . 24. — Mr. Hopper and I took horse between three and four, and about seven came to Old-Camus. Whether the country was good or bad we could not see, having a thick mist all the way. The Scotch towns are like none which I ever saw, either in England, Wales, or Ireland: There is such an air of antiquity in them all, and such a peculiar oddness in their manner of building. But we were most surprised at the entertainment we met with in every place, so far different from common report. We had all things good, cheap, in great abundance, and remarkably well-dressed. In the afternoon we rode by Preston-Field, and saw the place of battle, and Colonel Gardiner’s house. The Scotch here affirm, that he fought on foot after he was dismounted, and refused to take quarter. Be it as it may, he is now “where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest.”
We reached Musselburgh between four and five. I had no intention to preach in Scotland; nor did I imagine there were any that desired I should.
But I was mistaken. Curiosity (if nothing else) brought abundance of people together in the evening. And whereas in the kirk (Mrs. G—— informed me) there used to be laughing and talking, and all the marks of the grossest inattention: But it was far otherwise here: They remained as statues from the beginning of the sermon to the end. Thur . 25. — We rode to Edinburgh; one of the dirtiest cities I had ever seen, not excepting Colen in Germany.
We returned to Musselburgh to dinner, whither we were followed in the afternoon by a little party of gentlemen from Edinburgh. I know not why any should complain of the shyness of the Scots toward strangers. All I spoke with were as free and open with me as the people of Newcastle or Bristol; nor did any person move any dispute of any kind, or ask me any question concerning my opinion.
I preached again at six, on, “Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found.” I used great plainness of speech toward them; and they all received it in love: So that the prejudice which the devil had been several years planting was torn up by the roots in one hour. After preaching, one of the Bailies of the town, with one of the Elders of the Kirk, came to me, and begged I would stay with them a while, if it were but two or three days, and they would fit up a far larger place than the school, and prepare seats for the congregation. Had not my time been fixed, I should gladly have complied.
All I could now do was, to give them a promise that Mr. Hopper would come back the next week, and spend a few days with them. Fri . 26. — I rode back to Berwick. The congregation was large, though the air was piercingly cold: As it was the next evening, while I preached at Alnwick Cross; where, on Sunday , 28, I preached at eight and at one.
Afterwards I rode to Alemouth, where I had found the largest congregation I have seen in all Northumberland. I preached at Widdrington in the evening; at Plessy, Monday , 29, about noon; and at Newcastle in the evening. Sat. MAY 4. — I rode to Sheep-Hill, in a rough, tempestuous day; and, after preaching and settling the society, to Sunderland. I found many here much alive to God, and was greatly comforted among them. Sun . 5. — I met the society at five, preached at eight, and then rode to Painsher. Just as the congregation came out of the church, I began. We had some heavy showers; but none went away. I reached Newcastle before five; but the storm would not suffer me to preach abroad. As many as possibly could, crowded in; but many were obliged to stand without, while I enforced, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Mon . 6. — I met a few people at Durham, in my way, and then rode on to Stockton. Some angry people set up a dismal scream, as we entered the town; but they could go no farther. By means of a plain, rough Exhorter, who lived in the town, the society was more than doubled since I was here before; and most of them were rejoicing greatly: Only poor R—— M—— still went on heavily, being unequally yoked with one who was a bitter enemy to all spiritual religion. I preached in the main street, near the market-place. When I had done, R—— M——’s wife followed me into the house. I desired we might go to prayer. God broke her heart in pieces; and she determined to go on hand in hand with her husband. Tues . 7. — I preached at Acomb, near York. The next day I rode on to Epworth; and on Thursday preached at Hainton about noon, and at Coningsby in the evening. The wind was as the piercing of a sword; but the congregation regarded it not. Fri. 10. — We rode to Lorborough. The Minister’s son, and two more, made a little disturbance for a while: However, I permitted them to be present when I met the society. They seemed utterly astonished, and I believe will not lightly speak evil of us again.
It rained incessantly as we rode to Grimsby, where I preached to a mixed congregation, some of whom (the greater part) were exceeding serious, and some exceeding drunk. The society I found was much alive to God. Sat. 11. — We returned to Epworth, to a poor, dead, senseless people: At which I did not wonder, when I was informed, 1. That some of our Preachers there had diligently gleaned up and retailed all the evil they could hear of me: 2. That some of them had quite laid aside our hymns, as well as the doctrine they formerly preached: 3. That one of them had frequently spoke against our Rules, and the others quite neglected them. Nothing, therefore but the mighty power of God could have kept the people so well as they were. Sun . 12. — After preaching at five, I rode to Misterton. The congregation was the largest I have seen in these parts. Thence I returned to Overthorpe, where I did not observe one trifling or careless hearer. I came to Epworth just in time for the afternoon Service; and, after church, walked down straight to the Cross. The northeast wind was strong and keen; yet the bulk of the congregation did not regard it. Mon. 13. — I learned the particulars of Mr. R——’s case, of which I had heard but a confused account before. “In November last he was desired to baptize a child of John Varley’s. It was observed, his voice which had been lost several years, was entirely restored. He read the Office with great emotion and many tears, so as to astonish the whole congregation.
But going home from church, he behaved in so strange a manner, that it was thought necessary to confine him. During the first week of his confinement, he was for constraining every one that came near him to kneel down and pray; and frequently cried out, ‘You will be lost, you will be damned, unless you know your sins are forgiven.’ Upon this Mr. — roundly averred that the Methodists had turned his head. After seven or eight days he grew much worse, though still with intervals of reason; and in about a fortnight, by a judgment mixed with mercy, God took him to himself.” Tues . 14. — The waters were greatly out in the road, so that the York coach was overturned just before us; the bridge it should have gone over being under water: Yet no passenger was hurt, only dropping wet, being all thrown into the river. We were to pass the same river a few miles off; and which way to do it we knew not. But just as we came to the place, we overtook two gentlemen who had hired a guide. So we followed them as close as we could, and crossed it without difficulty.
I preached about five at Leeds, in the walls of the New House. Wednesday , 15. We had a little Conference with about thirty Preachers. I particularly inquired concerning their grace, and gifts, and fruit; and found reason to doubt of one only. Tues. 16. — I rode to Wakefield; but we had no place, except the street, which could contain the congregation; and the noise and tumult there were so great, that I knew not whether I could preach at all: But I spake a few words, and the waves were still. Many appeared deeply attentive. I believe God has taken hold of some of their hearts, and that they will not easily break loose from him. Fri . 17. — I preached in the New House at Birstal, already too small for even a week-day’s congregation. After a few days more spent among the neighboring societies, I returned, by easy journeys, to London. Fri. JUNE 1. — I wrote as follows to the Rector and Fellows of our College: — EGO Johannes Wesley, Collegii Lincolniensis in Academia Oxoniensi Socius, quisquid mihi juris est in praedicta Societate, ejusdem Rectori et Sociis sponte ac libere resigno: Illis universis et singulis perpetuam pacem ac omnimodam in Christo felicitatem exoptans. A few days after I went down to Bristol, where I procured a particular account of one that went to rest some months before. Part of it was as follows: — “Elizabeth Walcam was born in March, 1733. From her infancy she was mild and affable. When she was about six years old, she was much in private prayer; and often called her brother and sister to join with her. If she was in any trifling and laughing company, she seldom went farther than a little smile. In the whole course of her life she was remarkably dutiful to her parents, and loving to all; mostly in an even frame of spirit; slow to anger, and soon pacified; tender-hearted to all that were distressed, and a lover of all that was good. “From the time she joined the society, she was a true lover of her Ministers and her brethren; not suffering any to speak evil of them, particularly of her Ministers: And, if her innocent answers did not stop them, she left their company. “In the beginning of December last she was indisposed; and on Saturday, 8, took her room. In the afternoon she broke out, ‘When shall I see my Jesus? I want to know that He has taken away my sins.’ After a while she cried, ‘He does love me. I know Jesus loves me. My father! He is my Father and my God.’ “Yet on the Wednesday following she was in deep distress. I found her, says one who then visited her, crying out, ‘O that I was washed in the blood of the Lamb! Pray for me, that I may know my sins are forgiven.’ I prayed with her several times, and stayed all night. She did not sleep at all; her pain of body, as well as mind, being exceeding great. She was almost continually in prayer, crying for mercy, till I went away about eight in the morning. “About nine in the evening I came again. She was still in violent pain, but did not seem to regard this in comparison of her soul. Her continual cry was, ‘I do not know Christ: I want an interest in Christ. O that I might know Him! O that He would forgive my sins; that He would wash me whiter than snow!’ She had never any ease but while we were at prayer, with which she was never satisfied; but holden me, and would not let me rise from my knees, sometimes for an hour together. I was praying with her about twelve o’clock, when she called out, ‘Help me to praise the Lord. I feel my sins are forgiven. I am washed and made whiter than snow.’ She spent the remainder of the night in praise and prayer. About eight in the morning I went home. “On Sunday evening I found her much weaker in body, but her soul was full of life and vigor. When I came in, she said, ‘I am exceeding glad you are come. Now let us rejoice together. We shall meet together in heaven. I am washed in the blood of the Lamb: I know God is my Father. I know my name is written in heaven: There we shall all rejoice together.’ She was never satisfied with giving thanks; not suffering me to rise from my knees, but holding me by my hands when I wanted to rise. “About eight Mrs. W—— came in, and told us Mr. C—— W—— was come to town. She then broke out into prayer for him, for Mr. J—— W— —, and for the society. Afterward she prayed for the Q——rs, that God would deliver them from all darkness of mind, covetousness, pride, and the love of the world. She continued praying till near twelve o’clock, speaking with a clear, strong voice; although whenever she ceased speaking, she seemed just dying away. About twelve she cried out, ‘Lord, forgive me!
What shall I do to be saved?’ I was astonished to hear her voice so changed; and asked, ‘My dear, what is it distresses you?’ She answered, ‘I feel anger toward Peggy.’ (That was the maid’s name.) ‘Lord, forgive me!
Lord, lay not this sin to my charge!’ We went to prayer together; and, after a time, she said, ‘Help me to bless and thank the Lord. I find sweet refreshments from Him. He is reconciled again.’ And from that hour she found no more darkness. “She then began praying for her parents, her sisters, and brother; adding, ‘Do pray, that God would restrain him from the evils of this world. I have been restrained from a child. I never could play, as other children did.’
Towards morning she dozed a little; but all the intervals she spent in praise and thanksgiving, still speaking with as clear and strong a voice as if she had been in health. “One day as she was praising God, one desired her brother to take pattern by her. She immediately answered, ‘Not by me; take pattern by Jesus, — take pattern by Jesus!’ “About twelve at night, as I came into the room, she said, ‘My heart is blessed of the Lord; and by the strength of the living God I speak. Come, let us go to prayer; let us praise the living God once more in this world; the Lord ever.’ Here her breath failed. But soon after, she sung with us, Come, let us join our cheerful songs; adding, ‘I am more afraid to live than to die; but whether I live or die, I will praise the Lord.’ “On Sunday morning she said, ‘Jesus loves me; he has been always with me; he is a merciful God; he is indeed. I shall go to glory, to glory. Come, O Lord Jesus, and make my passage easy to eternal glory! I long to be with Jesus. I could grasp him!’ (stretching out her arms!) ‘O give me an easy passage! — We shall soon meet again, to sing praises unto the Lord for ever.’ “At another time she said, ‘Let others do what they will, we will praise the Lord. I am happy, I am easy; if he raises me or not, I shall praise the Lord.’ “She said to her father, ‘I asked to drink of the bitter cup; but I knew not what I asked. But yet, if it is an hundred times more, I desire to drink it all.’ “As she grew weaker, she was seized with strong convulsions, which followed close one upon another. But the moment the fit ceased, she always began to speak, praying and praising God; nor was her understanding, or even her memory, either disordered or weakened thereby: Nay, her understanding remained even during the fit; so that she heard and knew all that was spoken near her; and when she recovered her speech, repeated as there was occasion, and remarked upon it. “When Mr. C—— W—— and two others came to pray with her, she was exceeding low. After they were gone, she said, ‘My spirit joins with them:
They are the people of God; I know they are. How sweet they look!
Don’t they look different from other people? Come, mother, let us praise God: I am always better after prayer. O for a thousand tongues to sing my dear Redeemer’s praise! O how great is my rejoicing! I shall be whiter than the driven snow.’ “Soon after, she said, ‘I am refreshed; indeed I am. We shall see him on his great white throne. There we shall see him face to face. My dear Jesus!
Praise Jesus: Why don’t you praise Jesus? Praise my God: He is making intercession for me; He is: The Lord loves me; I know he does.’ “To her mother she said, ‘What a blessed thing it is, that you have brought up a child for the Lord!’ “She continued praying and praising God till the 25th, when her breath was so short, that she could say nothing but ‘Jesus.’ This she uttered continually as she could, till, about six in the evening, she resigned her spirit, without any sigh or groan, or alteration in her countenance, which had the same sweetness as when she was living. She lived on earth sixteen years, nine months, and eighteen days.” Fri. 22. — I drew up a short account of the case of Kingswood School. 1. The School began on Midsummer day, 1748. The first Schoolmasters were J—— J——, T—— R——, W—— S——, R—— M——, W—— S——, and A—— G——. The Rules were printed; and notwithstanding the strictness of them, in two or three months we had twenty-eight scholars: So that the family, including M—— D——, the housekeeper, R—— T——, our man, and four maid-servants, consisted of forty persons. 2. From the very beginning I met with all sorts of discouragements.
Cavillers and prophets of evil were on every side. An hundred objections were made both to the whole design, and every particular branch of it; especially by those from whom I had reason to expect better things:
Notwithstanding which, through God’s help, I went on; wrote an English, a Latin, a Greek, a Hebrew, and a French Grammar, and printed Praelectiones Pueriles, with many other books for the use of the School; and God gave a manifest blessing. Some of the wildest children were struck with deep conviction; all appeared to have good desires; and two or three began to taste the love of God. 3. Yet I soon observed several things which I did not like. The maids divided into two parties. R—— T—— studiously blew up the coals, by constant whispering and tale-bearing. M—— D—— did not supply the defects of other servants, being chiefly taken up with thoughts of another kind. And hence the children were not properly attended, nor were things done with due care and exactness. 4. The Masters should have corrected these irregularities; but they added to them. T—— R—— was so rough and disobliging, that the children were little profited by him. A—— G—— was honest and diligent; but his person and manner made him contemptible to the children. R—— M—— was grave and weighty in his behavior, and did much good, till W—— S— — set the children against him; and, instead of restraining them from play, played with them himself. J—— J—— and W—— S—— were weighed down by the rest, who neither observed the Rules in the school nor out of it. 5. The continual breach of that rule, “Never to let the children work, but in the presence of a Master,” occasioned their growing wilder and wilder, till all their religious impressions were worn off; and the sooner, as four or five of the larger boys were very uncommonly wicked. 6. When I came down in September, 1750, and found the scholars reduced to eighteen, I determined to purge the house thoroughly. Two more of the children (one of them exquisitely wicked) I sent home without delay. M— — D——, T—— R——, R—— M——, and three of the maids were gone away already: R — T —,W—— S——,and A—— G—— went after; so that only two Masters, Mr. J—— and S——, remained with Mrs. Hardwick, one maid, and sixteen scholars. 7. I now hoped the time was come for God to revive his work: But we were not low enough yet. So first J—— J——, and then W—— S——, grew weary; the Rules were neglected again; and in the following winter, Mr. Page died, and five more scholars went away. What weakened the hands of the Masters still more, was the bitter evil-speaking, of some who continually endeavored either to drive away the children that remained, or to prevent others from coming. 8. There are now two Masters, the housekeeper maid, and eleven children.
I believe all in the house are at length of one mind; and trust God will bless us in the latter end, more than in the beginning. Mon. JULY 8. — I wrote an account of that wonderful self-deceiver; and hypocrite, James Wh——. O what a scandal has his obstinate wickedness brought on the Gospel! And what a curse on his own head! 1. IN the beginning of June, Richard Pearce, of Bradford, wrote to my brother at Bristol, desiring that he would narrowly inquire into the behavior of Mr. James Wh——: And not long after, Mrs. Silby, of Bradford, related some strange particulars: In order to be thoroughly informed of which, my brother rode over to Bradford; and, on Wednesday, June 12, talked himself with Mary B——, Jane W——, Elizabeth L——, Mary S——, Mary F——, Ann W——, and Mary D——. The same accounts which they had before given to Mrs. Silby, they now gave to my brother and her together; and afterwards, to Sarah Perin and Mary Naylor, without varying in any one circumstance. 2. My brother wrote down what they said, and at his return to Bristol, read it to James Wh——, who consented to come face to face with them; and on Tuesday, 25, my brother and I rode with him to Bearfield. Mary B—— and Mary D—— were there, and repeated before him what they had said to my brother. He called at one or two trifling circumstances, but allowed the substance of what they said to be true. 3. After deeply weighing the matter, I read the following paper before I gave it into his hands: — “June 25, 1751. “BECAUSE you have wrought folly in Israel, grieved the Holy Spirit of God, betrayed your own soul into temptation and sin, and the souls of many others, whom you ought, even at the peril of your own life, to have guarded against all sin; because you have given occasion to the enemies of God, whenever they shall know these things, to blaspheme the ways and truth of God: “We can in no wise receive you as a fellow-laborer, till we see clear proofs of your real and deep repentance. Of this you have given us no proof yet.
You have not so much as named one single person, in all England or Ireland, with whom you have behaved ill, except those we knew before. “The least and lowest proof of such repentance which we can receive, is this: That till our next Conference, (which we hope will be in October,) you abstain both from preaching, and from practicing physic. If you do not, we are clear; we cannot answer for the consequences “JOHN WESLEY. “CHARLES WESLEY.” 4. Wednesday, 26, I desired him to meet me at Farleywick, with the other women, at eight in the morning. All the five women came, and gave my wife the same account which they had before given to my brother: But Mr. Wh—— did not come till after they were all gone. 5. On Thursday and Friday my brother and I spared no pains to persuade him to retire for a season; but it was labor lost. He professed himself, indeed, and we would fain have thought him, penitent; but I could not find any good proof that he was so. Nay, I saw strong proof that he was not: — 1. Because he never owned one tittle but what he knew we could prove. 2. Because he always extenuated what he could not deny. 3. Because he as constantly accused others as excused himself; saying, many had been guilty of little imprudences as well as he. 4. Because, in doing this, he told several palpable untruths, which he well knew so to be. 6. Yet still we spared him, hoping God would give him repentance. But finding, after some weeks, that he continued going from house to house, justifying himself, and condemning my brother and me for misrepresenting him, on Monday , July 22, I rode to Bearfield again, and put myself to the pain of writing down from the mouths of these seven women, as near as I could in their own words, the accounts which I judged to be most material.
I would now refer it to any impartial judge, whether we have shown too much severity; whether we have not rather leaned to the other extreme, and shown too much lenity to so stubborn an offender.
Even when I returned to London soon after, I declined, as much as possible, mentioning any of these things; having still a distant hope, that Almighty Love might at length bring him to true repentance.
Some who came up from Lincolnshire in the beginning of August, occasioned my writing the following letter: — “REV.SIR, London, August 15, 1751. “1. I TAKE the liberty to inform you, that a poor man, late of your parish, was with me some time since, as were two others a few days ago, who live in or near Wrangle. If what they affirmed was true, you was very nearly concerned in some late transactions there. The short was this: That a riotous mob, at several times, particularly on the 7th of July, and the 4th of this month, violently assaulted a company of quiet people, struck many of them, beat down others, and dragged some away, whom, after abusing them in various ways, they threw into drains, or other deep waters, to the endangering of their lives. That, not content with this, they broke open a house, dragged a poor man out of bed, and drove him out of the house naked; and also greatly damaged the goods; at the same time threatening to give them all the same or worse usage, if they did not desist from that worship of God which they believed to be right and good. “2. The poor sufferers, I am informed, applied for redress, to a neighboring Justice of the Peace. But they could have none. So far from it, that the Justice himself told them, the treatment was good enough for them; and that if they went on, (in worshipping God according to their own conscience,) the mob should use them so again. “3. I allow, some of those people might behave with passion or ill-manners. But if they did, was there any proportion at all between the fault and the punishment? Or, whatever punishment was due, does the law direct, that a riotous mob should be the inflicters of it? “4. I allow also, that this gentleman supposed the doctrines of the Methodists (so called) to be extremely bad. But is he assured of this? Has he read their writings? If not, why does he pass sentence before he hears the evidence? If he has, and thinks them wrong, yet is this a method of confuting to be used in a Christian — a Protestant country? Particularly in England, where every man may think for himself, as he must give an account for himself to God? “5. The sum of our doctrine, with regard to inward religion, (so far as I understand it,) is comprised in two points: The loving God with all our hearts, and the loving our neighbor as ourselves. And with regard to outward religion, in two more: The doing all to the glory of God; and the doing to all what we would desire in like circumstances should be done to us. I believe no one will easily confute this by Scripture and sound reason; or prove that we preach or hold any other doctrine as necessary to salvation. “6. I thought it my duty Sir, though a stranger to you, to say thus much, and to request two things of you: 1. That the damage these poor people have sustained may be repaired; and, next, that they may, for the time to come, be allowed to enjoy the privilege of Englishmen, — to serve God according to the dictates of their own conscience. On these conditions they are heartily willing to forget all that is past. “Wishing you all happiness, spiritual and temporal, I remain, Reverend Sir, “Your affectionate brother and servant.”
Mr. B—— was not so wise as to take my advice. So the sufferers applied to the Court of King’s Bench; and after it had cost him a large sum, he was glad to let them worship God in their own way. Sat. 17. — Calling on a gentleman in the city, whom I had not seen for some time, I was surprised to find him thin and pale, and with all the marks of an approaching consumption. I asked whether he did not think a journey would do him more good than a heap of medicines; and whether he would set out with my wife and me for Cornwall, on Monday: To which he willingly assented.
On Monday evening I preached at Reading. Mr. B—— overtook us on Tuesday morning, with whom we had an agreeable ride to Newbury, and thence to Andover. Leaving him there, I rode on, through heavy rain, to Salisbury; and preached in the evening to an attentive congregation. Wed . 21. — We joined companies again, till Mr. B—— went to Shaftesbury. I overtook him there the next morning, and we rode on together to Yeovil. Here I struck off, to visit the societies in Devonshire, and Mr. B—— went straight forward to the Land’s-End, whence he returned in perfect health.
I now found more and more proofs that the poor wretch whom we had lately disowned, was continually laboring to poison our other Preachers.
And with some of them he did not lose his labor; the deep prejudices they then received having utterly drank up their blood and spirits; so that we were obliged, sooner or later, to part with them also.
We reached Beercrocombe in the evening, and Collumpton the next day, Friday , 23. I preached in the little meadow at the end of New-Street, and observed one circumstance which I had not seen elsewhere. The people did not come close to me, but stood in an half-moon, some yards off, leaving a considerable space in the midst. The very children behaved with remarkable seriousness. I saw but one, a girl of three or four years old, who ran about as in play, till another, not much bigger, reproved her, and constrained her to stand still. Here I rested the next day. Sun. 25. — I heard at church, by way of sermon, part of “Papists and Methodists Compared.” But it did not lessen the congregation at one: On whom I enforced, (what they were somewhat more concerned in,) “What shall it profit a man” to “gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
I then rode over to Tiverton, and preached in the market-house, filled with attentive hearers. So it was on Monday likewise. Tues. 27. — We rode to Uffculm, about eight miles from Tiverton, and preached in the market-place to a larger congregation than one would think the town could have afforded. Wednesday, 28. It being the time of their yearly meeting at the school, abundance of gentlemen came to town. Yet I preached in the market-house undisturbed; and afterwards met the society in peace. Thur . 29. — There was a sermon preached at the old church, before the Trustees of the school. At half an hour past twelve the Morning Service began: But such insufferable noise and confusion I never saw before in a place of worship: No, not even in a Jewish synagogue. The Clergy set the example; laughing and talking during great part both of the Prayers and sermon.
A young gentlewoman, who was with us where we dined, hastened away to prepare for the ball. But before she was half dressed, she was struck, and came down in a flood of tears. Nevertheless, she broke through, and in a few hours danced away all her convictions.
Toward the close of the sermon in the evening, a rabble of gentlemen’s servants gathered together, and endeavored to make a disturbance: But it was mere lost labor. Fri . 30. — I inquired into the particulars of the last fire here. It began on June 4, about six in the evening. Four engines were brought immediately; and water in abundance ran through the middle of the street:
Notwithstanding, it seized four houses instantly, spread across the street, and ran on both sides, right against the wind, till it had burnt all the engines, and made all help impossible. When most of the people had given up all hopes, it stopped all on a sudden: On one side of the street, by blowing up the market-house; on the other, none could tell how: Having first left about three hundred families without a place where to lay their heads.
I preached at six, on those words in the Morning Lesson, “We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: For, as concerning this sect, we know everywhere it is spoken against.” A drunken man made a little noise, but a Clergyman present desired the Town-Clerk to stop him; which he did immediately. Then the mob of footmen began, having procured an horn, and greatly increased their numbers. But a party of the townsmen undertook them, and scoured the streets of them in a few minutes. To revenge themselves, they laid hold on a poor chimney-sweeper they met, though no Maccabee, (as the common people call us here,) carried him away in triumph, and (we heard) half murdered him, before he got out of their hands. Sat . 31. — We rode to Launceston. The mob gathered immediately, and attended us to the Room. They made much noise while I was preaching, and threw all kind of things at the people as they came out; but no one was hurt. Sun. SEPTEMBER 1. — At the desire of many I went at eight into the main street. A large congregation of serious people quickly gathered together.
Soon after a mob of boys and gentlemen gathered on the other side of the street: They grew more and more noisy; till, finding I could not be heard there, I went to the Room, and quietly finished my discourse.
I preached again as soon as we came out of church, and then hasted to Tresmere. Mr. T—— not being come, I read Prayers myself, and found an uncommon blessing therein: I preached on Luke 20:23,24, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see,” etc.: And great was our rejoicing in the Lord. We were filled with consolation. We sang praises lustily and with a good courage; till, (is a manner I never remember before,) A solemn reverence check’d our songs, And praise sat silent on our tongues.
We were well buffeted both with wind and rain, in riding from thence to J—— T——’s, where the congregation was waiting for me. And we had another season of solemn joy in the Lord. Mon. 2. — We rode to Camelford. In the way I read Mr. Glanvill’s “Relations of Witchcraft.” I wish the facts had had a more judicious relater: One who would not have given a fair pretense for denying the whole, by his awkward manner of accounting for some of the circumstances. Wed . 4. — We called in the afternoon on Mr. H——, in Camborn parish. Sat. 7. — I rode in a stormy afternoon to St. Just. But the rain would not let me preach abroad, either that evening, or on Sunday morning. About noon I made shift to stand on the lee-side of an house in Morva, and preach Christ to a listening multitude. I began at Newlyn about five.
On Monday and Tuesday I preached in Ludgvan, Sithney, Crowan, and Illogan. Wednesday, 11. At noon I preached in Redruth; and in the evening in Gwennap. It blew hard, and rained almost without ceasing: But the congregation stood as if it had been a fair summer’s evening. Thur . 12. — We rode to Penryn. Here I light upon the works of that odd writer, William Dell. From his whole manner, one may learn, that he was not very patient of reproof or contradiction: So that it is no wonder there is generally so much error mixed with the great truths which he delivers. Fri . 13. — I preached at St. Mewan; Saturday , 14, at St. Lawrence, near Bodmin; a little, ugly, dirty, village, eminent for nothing but an Hospital for lepers, founded and endowed by Queen Anne. But I found God was there, even before I opened my mouth, to a small, loving congregation; one of whom had been sensible of his acceptance with God for above six-and-fifty years.
I preached at St. Clear in the afternoon, about two miles from Liskeard; and the next morning a mile nearer the town. Hence I went on to Plymouth-Dock; where I preached in the evening, to a large congregation:
And on Monda y evening to a much larger; with great plainness of speech. Tues . 17. — Being greatly importuned to spend a few more days in Cornwall, I rode back to Launceston. After preaching there about noon; in the evening at St. Gennis; and the next morning at Cubert; we went on, and reached St. Ives in the afternoon, on Thursday , 19. Fri . 20. — I read, with great prejudice in their favor, some of Mr. Erskine’s Sermons; particularly those which I had heard much commended, entitled, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life.” But how was I disappointed! I not only found many things odd and unscriptural, but some that were dangerously false; and the leaven of Antinomianism spread from end to end.
On Saturday and Sunday I preached at St. Just, Morva, and Zennor. Monday , 23. We had a general meeting of the Stewards, and a solemn watch-night. After the Service was over I rode to Camborn; and in the evening, Tuesday , 24, reached St. Clear. The house would not contain one half of the people; so I stood in the porch, that all, both within and without, might hear. Many from Liskeard were present; and a solemn awe was upon the whole assembly. Wed . 25. — After preaching about noon at Plymouth-Dock, we went on to Mr. V——’s at C——. The next evening we reached Tiverton, where a large number of serious people were waiting for me. The sons of Belial were likewise gathered in great numbers, with a drummer at their head.
When I began speaking, they began drumming and shouting:
I would have walked home without delay; but our brethren constrained me to step into an house. One of the merchants of the town quickly followed me, with a Constable, and one or two servants, who took me between them, carried me through all the mob, and brought me safe to my own lodgings. Fri . 27. — In the evening I preached at Beercrocombe; and Saturday , 28, came to Bristol. Sun . 29. — I had much comfort among the children in Kingswood, finding several of them that really feared God. Tues. OCTOBER 1. — This week I had an opportunity of speaking to most of the members of the society in Bristol, who are now as calm and well-united together, as if James Wh — had never been. Wed . 16. — We had a solemn watch-night at Kingswood. John How, one of our nearest neighbors, a strong, health man, went home soon after twelve; said, “My feet are cold;” and spoke no more. He lay quietly down, and, without any struggle, was dead before one. Thur . 17. — I preached at Bath, and the next day at Salisbury. Sat . 19. — We rode leisurely on to Basingstoke; and came, about two hours after sunset, to Bramsel. Sun . 20. — Farmer N——, who had begged me to come that way, upon the Minister’s offering me the use of his church, informing me, that his mind was changed, I rode over to Reading, preached at one and at five; and on Monday, 21, rode forward to London. Wed . 30. — After preaching at West-Street chapel in the evening, I walked to Lambeth, to see Miss Sm——, who had for several days expressed an earnest desire to see either my brother or me. When I came, her sister told me, her senses were gone, and that she had not spoke for several hours.