REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY’S JOURNAL
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FROM SEPTEMBER 2, 1770, TO SEPTEMBER 12, 1773.
NUMBER JOURNAL FROM SEPTEMBER 2, 1770, TO SEPTEMBER 12, 1773. Sun . September 2.
— At five in the evening I preached in the natural amphitheater at Gwennap. The people covered a circle of near fourscore yards’ diameter, and could not be fewer than twenty thousand. Yet, upon inquiry, I found they could all hear distinctly, it being a calm, still evening. Mon. 3. — Between eight and nine, while I was preaching at Truro, we had only a few light showers; although, a few miles off, there was impetuous rain, with violent thunder and lightning. About noon I preached at Mevagissey, in a vacant space near the middle of the town, and strongly applied those words, “Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of’ Israel?” At six I stood at the head of the street, in St. Austle, and enforced, on a large and quiet congregation, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
After visiting Medros, Plymouth, and Collumpton, I came on Friday , 7, to Taunton. Presently after preaching, I took horse. The rain obliged us to make haste; but in a while the saddle came over his neck, and then turned under his belly. I had then only to throw myself off, or I must have fallen under him. I was a little bruised, but soon mounted again, and rode to Lympsham, and the next day to Bristol. Sun. 9. — My voice was weak when I preached at Princes-Street in the morning. It was stronger at two in the afternoon, while I was preaching under the sycamore tree in Kingswood; and strongest of all at five in the evening, when we assembled near King’s Square in Bristol. Tues. 11. — In the evening I preached at Frome; but not abroad, as I designed, because of the rain. The next evening I preached in the adjoining meadow, to as quiet a congregation as that in the House. Sun. 16. — The appointed Preacher not coming in time, I preached myself at five; at eight in Princes-Street, at two in Kingswood, and near King’s Square at five in the evening, Saturday , 15.
It was the day before, that I first observed a very uncommon concern in the children at Kingswood School, while I was explaining, and enforcing upon them, the first principles of religion. Tues. 18. — Most of them went to see the body of Francis Evans, one of our neighbors, who died two or three days before. About seven Mr. Hindmarsh met them all in the school, and gave an exhortation suited to the occasion. He then gave out that hymn, — And am I born to die, To lay this body down?
And must my trembling spirit fly Into a world unknown?
This increased their concern; so that it was with great difficulty they contained themselves till he began to pray. Then Al——r M——r, and R——d N——e, cried aloud for mercy; and quickly another and another, till all but two or three were constrained to do the same; and as long as he continued to pray, they continued the same loud and bitter cry. One of the maids, Elizabeth Nutt, was as deeply convinced as any of them. After prayer, Mr. H. said, “Those of you who are resolved to serve God may go and pray together.” Fifteen of them did so, and continued wrestling with God, with strong cries and tears, till about nine o’clock. Wed. 19. — At the morning prayer many of them cried out again, though not so violently. From this time their whole spirit and behavior were changed: They were all serious and loving to each other. The same seriousness and mildness continued on Thursday ; and they walked together, talking only of the things of God. On Friday evening their concern greatly increased, and caused them to break out again into strong cries. Saturday , 22. They seemed to lose none of their concern, and spent all their spare time in prayer. Sun. 23. — Fifteen of them gave me their names; being resolved, they said, to serve God. In the afternoon I gave them a strong exhortation, and afterward Mr. Rankin. Their very countenances were entirely changed.
They drank in every word. Tues. 25. — During the time of prayer in the evening, they were affected just as the Tuesday before. The two other maids were then present, and were both cut to the heart. Wed. 26. — “I rode,” says Mr. Rankin, “in the afternoon to Kingswood, and went up stairs, in order to retire a little. But when I came up, I heard one of the boys at prayer, in an adjoining room. I listened a while, and was exceedingly struck with many of his expressions. When he ceased I went in, and found two others with him. Just then three more came in. I went to prayer. The Lord seemed to rest upon them all, and pierced their hearts with deep conviction. The next morning I spent some time with all the children, and then desired those who were resolved to save their souls, to come up stairs with me. I went up, and nine of the children followed me, who said they were determined to ‘flee from the wrath to come.’ I exhorted them never to rest till they found peace with God; and then sung and prayed. The power of God came down in so wonderful a manner, that my voice was drowned by their cries. When I concluded, one of them broke out into prayer, in a manner that quite astonished me; and, during the whole day, a peculiar spirit of seriousness rested on all the children. “After spending some time in the school on Friday, I desired those I had spoke to the day before, to follow me; which they did, and one more. I pressed each of them severally, not to rest till he had a clear sense of the pardoning love of God. I then prayed, and the Lord poured out his Spirit as the day before; so that, in a few minutes, my voice could not be heard amidst their cries and groans.” “On Friday, 28,” says Mr. Hindmarsh, “when I came out into the ground, ten of the children quickly gathered round about me, earnestly asking, what they must do to be saved: Nor could I disengage myself from them, till the bell rang for dinner. All this time we observed, the children who were most affected learned faster and better than any of the rest. “In the evening, I explained to all the children the nature of the Lord’s Supper. I then met twelve of them apart, and spoke to each particularly. When I asked one of them, Simon Lloyd, ‘What do you want to make you happy?’ after a little pause, he answered, ‘God.’ We went to prayer. Presently a cry arose from one and another, till it ran through all, vehemently calling upon God, and refusing to be comforted without the knowledge and the love of God. “About half-hour after eight, I bade them good night, and sent them up to bed. But Lloyd, Brown, and Robert Hindmarsh slipped aside, when the rest went up, being resolved they would not sleep, nor rest, till God revealed himself to them. When they began to pray, some of the others heard them, and one and another stole down, some half dressed, some almost naked. They continued praying by turns near three quarters of an hour, in which time, first one, then a second, and before they concluded, two more found peace with God. I then went to them, and asked Bobby Hindmarsh, ‘Why did you slip aside?’ He said, ‘Simon Lloyd, and Jacky Brown, and I had agreed together, that we would not sleep till the Lord set us at liberty.’ After I had prayed with them, and praised God till about half-hour past nine, I desired them to go to bed. They did so; all but those three, who slipped away, and stayed with Richard Piercy, who was in deep agony of soul, and would by no means be persuaded to rise from his knees. The children above, hearing them pray, in a few minutes ran down again. They continued wrestling, with still increasing cries and tears, till three more found peace with God. About a quarter past ten, I went to them again, and observing some of them quite hoarse, insisted upon their going to bed, which all of them then did. But quickly one, and then another, stole out of bed, till, in a quarter of an hour, they were all at prayer again. And the concern among them was deeper than ever, as well as more general; there being but four of our five-and-twenty children, that did not appear to be cut to the heart. However, fearing they might hurt themselves, I sent one of our maids to persuade them to go up. But Jacky Brown catching hold of her, said, ‘O Betty, seek the salvation of your soul! Seek it in earnest! It is not too late: And it is not too soon.’
Immediately she fell upon her knees, and burst out into tears and strong cries. The two other maids hearing this, ran in, and were presently seized as violently as her. Jacky Brown then began praying for Betty, and continued in prayer near three quarters of an hour. By that time there was a general cry from all the maids, as well as the boys. This continued till past eleven. My wife, and I, and Mr. Keard, then went in, and fearing some of them might be hurt, with difficulty prevailed upon them to go to bed, and went up with them. “The maids continued below in much distress. We talked with them a little, and left them praying. But it was not above a quarter of an hour, before Betty broke out into thanksgiving. Going in, I asked her, ‘Now is the love of God free?’ She answered, ‘Free as air: Blessed be God, that ever I came under this roof!’ The other two remained on their knees, praying as in an agony. I desired them to go into their own room, and they did: Yet would not go to bed, but continued in prayer. “Saturday, 29, I was waked between four and five by the children vehemently crying to God. The maids went to them at five: And first one of the boys, then another, then one and another of the maids, earnestly poured out their souls before God, both for themselves and for the rest. They continued weeping and praying till nine o’clock, not thinking about meat or drink: Nay, Richard Piercy took no food all the day, but remained, in words or groans, calling upon God. “About nine, Diana went into her own room, and prayed, partly alone, partly with Betty. About ten, (as Betty was praying,) her strength was quite spent; and she sunk down as dead. She lay so for some minutes, while the other prayed on; but then suddenly started up, praising God with all her might, and rejoicing with joy unspeakable. “Mary hearing her voice, broke off her work, and ran in to her in haste. They all remained praying by turns till twelve, when she lay like one at the point to die. But there was not yet any answer to prayer, nor any deliverance. “About one, all the maids, and three of the boys, went upstairs, and began praying again. And now they found the Lord’s hand was not shortened. Between two and three, Mary likewise rejoiced with joy unspeakable. They all continued together till after four, praising the God of their salvation. Indeed they seemed to have forgotten all things here below, and to think of nothing but God and heaven. “In the evening, all the maids, and many of the boys, not having been used to so long and violent speaking, were worn out, as to bodily strength, and so hoarse that they were scarce able to speak:
But they were strong in the spirit, full of love, and of joy and peace in believing. Sunday, 30. Eight of the children, and the three maids, received the Lord’s Supper for the first time. And hitherto, they are all rejoicing in God, and walking worthy of the Gospel.”
All this time it was observed, that there was an uncommon revival of the work of God, in all the societies round about. That in Kingswood, within a few months, increased from an hundred and eighteen, to above three hundred members; and every day more and more were convinced of sin, and more and more enabled to rejoice in God their Savior. Mon . October 1, and the following days, I preached at many of the towns round Bristol, and found the congregations increasing in every place. Sunday , 7. My brother and I complied with the desire of many of our friends, and agreed to administer the Lord’s Supper every other Sunday at Bristol. We judged it best to have the entire Service, and so began at nine o’clock. After it was ended, I rode to Kingswood, gave an exhortation to the children, and preached to as many as the House would contain. A little before five, I began at the Square, and found no want of strength. At the conclusion of the Morning Service I was weak and weary, hardly able to speak. After preaching at Kingswood, I was better; and at night quite fresh and well. Mon. 8. — I preached at Pensford and Shepton-Mallet in my way to Wincanton, one of the dullest places in all the county. I preached on Death in the evening, and Hell in the morning. Tuesday , 9. It seemed, these were the very subjects they wanted. I never saw this careless people so much affected before.
I preached in Shaftesbury at noon, in Salisbury at night. Wednesday , 10. I preached at Fordingbridge, to a serious, well-behaved congregation: Only two young gentlewomen were at first inclined to mirth. But in the evening, two young women at Salisbury retained their mirth to the end; being greatly diverted with hearing of “the dead, small and great, standing before God!” Now what understanding have these pretty things? Have they as much as many children six years old? Thur. 11. — About eleven I preached at Winchester, to a genteel and yet serious congregation. I was a little tired before I came to Portsmouth, but the congregation soon made me forget my weariness. Indeed the people in general here are more noble than most in the south of England. They receive the word of God “with all readiness of mind,” and show civility, at least, to all that preach it. Fri. 12. — I walked round the Dock, much larger than any other in England. The late fire began in a place where no one comes, just at low water, and at a time when all were fast asleep. So that none can doubt its being done by design. It spread with such amazing violence, among tow, and cordage, and dry wood, that none could come near without the utmost danger. Nor was anything expected, but that the whole Dock: would be consumed, if not the town also. But this God would not permit. It stopped on one side, close to the Commissioner’s house; and just as it was seizing the town on the other side, the wind changed and drove it back.
Afterwards the fury of it was checked, by water, by sand, and by pulling down some buildings. And yet it was full five weeks before it was wholly put out. Saturday , 13. I set out at two, and in the afternoon came to the Foundry. Mon. 15. — I set out for Oxfordshire, and was thoroughly wet in my way to Wallingford. The congregation was large, and deeply serious. Tuesday , 16. I preached at Witney, in the new House, and again on Thursday morning. After service, many crowding with me into the House, I spent some time with them in prayer. It was a happy opportunity; and many praised God for the consolation they received.
We had afterwards a fair and pleasant ride to High-Wycomb. For many years we had little prospect of doing good here; but now the seed which had been so long dead, springs up into a plentiful harvest. Friday , 19. I conversed particularly with several who believe God has saved them from sin; and their lives, I find, are suitable thereto, and do in no wise dishonor their profession. Sat. 20. — I returned to London. So rainy a week I have seldom seen; yet we have not had one shower while we were abroad, except on Monday morning. Poor reasoners! who think: any instance of Providence too small to be observed or acknowledged! Mon. 22. — I took horse a little before five, in an exceeding thick fog; but it was gone by noon. The rain, which was suspended all day, began again when we came to Whittlebury; where, notwithstanding the rain and boisterous wind, the Room was filled, both in the evening and morning. On Tuesday noon I preached at Toncaster, and in the evening at Weedon. Here I heard a remarkable account: — An eminently profane man, two or three days ago, was swearing to his companions, that he should outlive forty of them. Instantly he began vomiting blood; and in ten minutes was stone-dead. Wed. 24. — I preached at Weedon at five, and about nine at Kislingbury, where I was obliged, by the largeness of the congregation, to stand in the open air. At first the sun on the side was full warm, as it was about noon at Horlston. Thence I rode to Northampton, where we had now a more commodious place to preach in, formerly used by the Presbyterians. The people heard with great attention; and many of them came at five in the morning. Thursday , 25. About ten I began at Brighton, where, likewise, the multitude of people constrained me to preach abroad. About two I preached at Haddon, to a far greater multitude, in a delightful meadow. Nor did I find any want of strength when I concluded the day by preaching and meeting the society at Northampton. On Friday I preached at Bedford; on Saturday noon at Hertford; and in the afternoon went on to London. Mon. 29. — I rode to Colchester; and on Tuesday to Norwich. Wednesday , 31. In applying those solemn words, “As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death,” my heart was enlarged, and my mouth opened both to convince and comfort. Surely, in spite of the marvelous ignorance which prevails among the generality of people in this city, and the uncommon stumbling-blocks which have been thrown in their way, the work of God will not only continue, but increase. Thur . November 1. — I rode to Yarmouth, — a dull, cold place: Yet this evening we had a remarkable blessing, as also the next evening. Lord, thy thoughts are not as our thoughts! Thou wilt work; and who shall hinder? Sun. 4. — At seven I met the society at Norwich, and administered the Lord’s Supper to about an hundred and fourscore persons. Monday , 5. I met the Leaders, and inquired into the state of the society. In all England I find no people like those of Norwich. They are eminently “unstable as water.” Out of two hundred, whom I left here last year, sixty-nine are gone already! What a blessing is knowledge when it is sanctified! What stability can be expected without it? For let their affections be ever so lively for the present, yet what hold can you have upon a people who neither know books, nor men; neither themselves, nor the Bible; neither natural nor spiritual things? Wed. 7. — I read and abridged an old treatise, on “the Origin of the Soul.”
I never before saw anything on the subject so satisfactory. I think he proves to a demonstration, that God has enabled man, as all other creatures, to propagate his whole species, consisting of soul and body. Thur. 8. — I set out for London. It rained almost all the day; and in the afternoon so impetuously, (the rain being driven upon us by a furious wind,) that it was with difficulty we reached Lakenheath. Here we found Mr. Evans just worn out, a picture of human nature in disgrace. He had not only no more strength than a little child, but no more understanding! Friday , 9. About ten I preached at Bury, and at Braintree in the evening.
Finding I was among stocks, I was obliged to strike with all my might; and I trust God did strike some of the flinty hearts. Sat. 10. — I returned to London, and had the melancholy news of Mr. Whitefield’s death confirmed by his executors, who desired me to preach his funeral sermon on Sunday, the 18th. In order to write this, I retired to Lewisham on Monday ; and on Sunday following, went to the chapel in Tottenham-Court-Road. An immense multitude was gathered together from all corners of the town. I was at first afraid that a great part of the congregation would not be able to hear; but it pleased God so to strengthen my voice, that even those at the door heard distinctly. It was an awful season: All were still as night: Most appeared to be deeply affected; and an impression was made on many, which one would hope will not speedily be effaced.
The time appointed for my beginning at the Tabernacle was half-hour after five: But it was quite filled at three; so I began at four. At first the noise was exceeding great; but it ceased when I began to speak; and my voice was again so strengthened that all who were within could hear, unless an accidental noise hindered here or there for a few moments. O that all may hear the voice of Him with whom are the issues of life and death; and who so loudly, by this unexpected stroke, calls all his children to love one another! Fri. 23. — Being desired by the Trustees of the Tabernacle at Greenwich to preach Mr. Whitefield’s funeral sermon there, I went over today for that purpose; but neither would this House contain the congregation.
Those who could not get in made some noise at first; but in a little while all were silent. Here, likewise, I trust God has given a blow to that bigotry which had prevailed for many years. Mon . December 3. — I took a little journey into Kent. In the evening I preached at Chatham, in the new House, which was sufficiently crowded with attentive hearers. Tuesday , 4. I preached at Canterbury. Wednesday , 5. We went to Dover, where, with some difficulty, we climbed to the top of Shakspeare’s Cliff. It is exceeding high, and commands a vast prospect both by sea and land; but it is nothing so terrible in itself as it is in his description. I preached to a very serious congregation in the evening as well as in the morning. The same, likewise, we observed at Canterbury; so that I hope to see good days here also. Friday , 7. I preached in Feversham at nine, and in the evening at Chatham. So we go through water and fire!
And all is well, so we are doing or suffering the will of our Lord! Wed. 19. — About noon I preached at Dorking. The hearers were many, and seemed all attention. About an hundred attended at Ryegate in the evening, and between twenty and thirty in the morning: Dull indeed as stones. But cannot God “out of these stones raise up children unto Abraham?” Tues. 25. — This was a day full of work; but, blessed be God, not tiresome work. I began in the Foundry at four: The Service at West-Street began at nine. In the afternoon I met the children at three, preached at five, and then had a comfortable season with the society. Mon. 31. — We concluded the year, at the chapel, with the voice of praise and thanksgiving. How many blessings has God poured upon us this year!
May the next be as this, and much more abundant! Tues . January 1, 1771. — A large congregation met at Spitalfields in the evening, in order to renew, with one heart and one voice, their covenant with God. This was not in vain; the Spirit of glory, and of God, as usual, rested upon them. Wednesday , 2. I preached in the evening, at Deptford, a kind of funeral sermon for Mr. Whitefield. In every place I wish to show all possible respect to the memory of that great and good man. Thur. 3. — I spent an hour and a half in beating the air, in reasoning with an infidel of the lowest class. He told me roundly, “I believe God is powerful, and the Creator of all things. But I am nothing obliged to him for creating me, since he did it only for his own pleasure. Neither can I believe that he is good; since he can remove all the evil in the world if he will: And, therefore, it is God’s fault, and no one’s else, that there is any evil in the universe.” I am afraid we could not deny this, if we allowed that God had “from all eternity, unchangeably determined everything, great and small, which comes to pass in time.” Mon. 7. — I had an hour’s conversation with that amiable young man, Mr. de C——, whose opinion has not yet spoiled his temper. But how long will he hold out against its baleful tendency? I fear, not to the end of the year. Tues. 15. — I dined at Mr. M——’s, an upright man, willing to know and to live the Gospel. I cannot but think he would be an eminent Christian if he were not rich. Sun. 20. — While I was opening and applying, at West-Street chapel, those comfortable words, “He knoweth whereof we are made; he remembereth that we are but dust,” it pleased God to speak to many hearts, and to fill them with strong consolation. Now let them “walk as children of the light,” and they shall no more come into darkness. Wed. 23. — For what cause I know not to this day, — set out for Newcastle, purposing “never to return.” Non eam reliqui: Non dimisi: Non revocabo. f52 Fri. 25. — I revised and transcribed my Will, declaring as simply, as plainly, and as briefly as I could, nothing more nor nothing else, but “what I would have done with the worldly goods which I leave behind me.” Sun. 27. — I buried the remains of Joan Turner, who spent all her last hours in rejoicing and praising God, and died full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, at three years and an half old. Thur . February 7. — I met with that ingenious tract, “A Dialogue between Moses and Lord Bolingbroke.” It contains many striking and beautiful thoughts; yet some things in it are not quite clear. It is not clear, that Moses includes in his account neither more nor less than the solar system. Probably he speaks, either solely of the creation of the Earth, and of other bodies as related thereto: Or of the Universe, the fixed stars, (mentioned Genesis 1:16,) including their satellites also. But be this as it may, is it well thus to run down all that differ from us? Dr. Pye is an ingenious man; but so is Dr. Robinson also. So are twenty more, although they understand Moses in a quite different manner. Thur. 14. — I went through both the upper and lower rooms of the London Workhouse. It contains about an hundred children, who are in as good order as any private family. And the whole house is as clean, from top to bottom, as any gentleman’s needs be. And why is not every workhouse in London, yea, through the kingdom, in the same order?
Purely for want either of sense, or of honesty and activity, in them that superintend it. Tues. 19. — I preached once more at Welling, to a larger congregation than I have seen there for many years. And many seemed to be uncommonly affected: Particularly one young gentlewoman, who had never heard any preaching of this kind before this evening. After struggling some time, she cried out aloud and could not be comforted; although her mother told her how good she was; nay, and had been all her life. Wed. 20. — We never, that I remember, before had such a congregation at Wapping, either of hearers or communicants; and very seldom such an outpouring of the Spirit. Saturday , 23. We had the greatest number of communicants at Snowsfields, that we have had since the chapel was built.
It seems as if God were about thoroughly to heal the wound which we received here in the house of our friends. Mon. 25. — I showed a friend, coming out of the country, the tombs in Westminster Abbey. The two with which I still think none of the others worthy to be compared, are that of Mrs. Nightingale, and that of the Admiral rising out of his tomb at the resurrection. But the vile flattery inscribed on many of them reminded me of that just reflection, — If on the sculptur’d marble you rely, Pity that worth like his should ever die.
Sun . March 3. — After preaching at the chapel morning and afternoon, in the evening I preached at Brentford, the next evening at Newbury, and on Tuesday at Bristol. Friday , 8. I went over to Kingswood, and found several of the boys still alive to God. Mon. 11. — I set out with John Pritchard, in a severe frost, and about two came to Stroud. Being desired to preach a funeral sermon for good old Mr. Arundel, I willingly complied, and enlarged on, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Tues. 12. — The frost changed into rain. About noon I preached at Tewkesbury; and at Worcester in the evening. Wednesday , 13. I had the pleasure of spending an hour at Kidderminster, with that good man, Mr. Fawcett. I reached Shrewsbury but a few minutes before the time of preaching. The mob were quieter than usual, as they were likewise the next night. Friday , 15. Being desired to give them a sermon at Wem, and finding no house would hold the congregation, I stood in Mr. Henshaw’s yard, where I opened and strongly applied those words, “The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” We were more at a loss what to do with the congregation at Whitchurch in the evening. At length we desired all that could, to squeeze into the House; the rest stood quietly without; and none, I believe, repented their labor; for God was eminently present. Sat. 16. — Between nine and ten, I began at Cardinmarsh. I have not seen the bulk of a congregation so melted down since I left London. In the evening we had a Sunday congregation at Chester; and many were filled with consolation.
Both on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday , all our congregations were uncommonly large; otherwise I should have regretted staying so long, while the weather was pleasant and the wind fair. Wednesday , 20. Having agreed with a Captain, who promised to sail immediately, we went down to Park-Gate; but, the wind turning, I preached in the evening to most of the Gentry of the town. I preached likewise, morning and evening, on Thursday . Friday , 22. I embarked on board the Kildare; abundantly the best and cleanest ship which I have sailed in for many years. But the wind failing, we could not cross the bar till about noon. Saturday , 23. About one, the wind being high, and the sea rough, I judged it was my best way to lie down and go to sleep. Meantime the ship went forty leagues in about twelve hours, and reached Dublin early on Sunday morning. Landing at the quay, I walked straight to the new Room, very well, (blessed be God,) and very hungry.
I immediately set myself to inquire into the state of the society in Dublin.
It was plain there had been a continual jar, for at least two years last past, which had stumbled the people, weakened the hands of the Preachers, and greatly hindered (the work of God). I wanted to know the ground of this; and, that I might do nothing rashly, determined to hear the parties, separately first, and then face to face. Having already talked with the Preachers, I talked this evening with the Leaders at large; and from the spirit which appeared in all, I had a good hope that all hindrances would be removed. On Wednesday evening I met the Leaders again, and gave them an opportunity of explaining themselves further; and on Friday I appointed an extraordinary meeting, at which some spoke with much warmth. But I tempered them on each side, so that they parted in peace. Sat. 30. — I preached at the new preaching house, near the barracks, about six in the evening. Many attended here who cannot, and many who will not, come to the other end of the town. So that I am persuaded the preaching here twice or thrice a week, will be much for the glory of God. Sun. 31. — The Leaders, Stewards, and Preachers, spoke their minds freely to each other. I now saw the whole evil might be removed, all parties being desirous of peace.
On Monday, Tuesday , and Wednesday , I visited the classes, and found a general faintness had run through the society. Yet for several days God has given a general blessing, and strengthened many of the feeble-minded. On Tuesday I preached again at the new House, and many were greatly comforted.
On Wednesday evening I read over to the Leaders the following paper: — 1. That it may be more easily discerned whether the members of our societies are working out their own salvation, they are divided into little companies, called classes. One person in each of these is styled the Leader:
It is his business,1. To see each person in his class once a week; to inquire how their souls prosper; to advise, reprove, comfort, or exhort them: 2. To receive what they are willing to give toward the expenses of the society: And, 3. To meet the Assistant and the Stewards once a week. 2. This is the whole and sole business of a Leader, or any number of Leaders. But it is common for the Assistant in any place when several Leaders are met together, to ask their advice, as to anything that concerns either the temporal or spiritual welfare of the society. This he may, or he may not do, as he sees best. I frequently do it in the larger societies; and on many occasions I have found, that in a multitude of counselors there is safety. 3. From this short view of the original design of Leaders, it is easy to answer the following questions: — Q. 1. What authority has a single Leader?
He has authority to meet his class, to receive their contributions, and to visit the sick in his class.
Q. 2. What authority have all the Leaders of a society met together?
They have authority to show their class-papers to the Assistant; to deliver the money they have received to the Stewards, and to bring in the names of the sick.
Q. 3. But have they not authority to restrain the Assistant, if they think he acts improperly?
No more than any member of the society has. After mildly speaking to him, they are to refer the thing to Mr. W.
Q. 4. Have they not authority to hinder a person from preaching?
None but the Assistant has this authority.
Q. 5. Have they not authority to displace a particular Leader?
Q. 6. Have they not authority to expel a particular member of the society?
No: The Assistant only can do this.
Q. 7. But have they not authority to regulate the temporal and spiritual affairs of the society?
Neither the one nor the other. Temporal affairs belong to the Stewards; spiritual to the Assistant.
No: The Assistant only can do this.
Q. 9 . Have they authority to receive the yearly subscription?
No: This also belongs to the Assistant. 4. Considering these things, can we wonder at the confusion which has been here for some years?
But here the Leaders, who are the lowest wheel but one, were got quite out of their place. They were got at the top of all, above the Stewards, the Preachers, yea, and above the Assistant himself. 5. To this, chiefly, I impute the gradual decay of the work of God in Dublin.
There has been a jar throughout the whole machine. Most of the wheels were hindered in their motion. The Stewards, the Preachers, the Assistant, all moved heavily. They felt all was not right. But if they saw where the fault lay, they had not strength to remedy it.
But it may be effectually remedied now. Without rehearsing former grievances, (which may all die and be forgotten,) for the time to come, let each wheel keep its own place. Let the Assistant, the Preachers, the Stewards, the Leaders, know and execute their several offices. Let none encroach upon another, but all move together in harmony and love. So shall the work of God flourish among you, perhaps as it never did before; while you all hold the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Dublin, March 29, 1771. Sat. 6. — I gave the sacrament at the Widows’ House, to four or five and twenty that are widows indeed; all poor enough, several sick or infirm, three bed-rid, one on the brink of eternity. But almost all know in whom they have believed, and walk worthy of their profession. Sun. 7. — I was agreeably surprised to see the largest congregation today which I have seen since I landed. The congregations used to be large for three or four days, and then gradually to decline; but they have now continually increased from first to last. This also is a token for good. Mon. 8. — As the weather continued extremely cold, I judged it best to visit the inland counties and the south of Ireland first. So today I rode to Edinderry; but was constrained by the keen north wind to preach within.
The case was the same at Tyrrel’s Pass, on Tuesday, 9, where I preached in the shell of the new House. Wednesday , 10. I preached in the Court-House at Molingar, to a serious and decent congregation. But they seemed quite unconcerned. Those who met in the Court-House at Longford in the evening were of quite another spirit. They drank in every word, while I explained, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Who can despair of doing good in any place? None in this kingdom seemed so barren as Longford; and that for many years. After near twenty years’ labor, we sought fruit, but found none. But on a sudden, the seed so long hid, is sprung up, and promises a plentiful harvest. Thur. 11. — I preached at Loughan and Athlone; Friday , 12, at Aghrim. Saturday , 13. I rode back to Athlone, where there is now no opposition either from rich or poor. The consequence of this is, there is no zeal, while the people “dwell at ease.” O what state upon earth is exempt from danger! When persecution arises, how many are offended! When it does not arise, how many grow cold and leave their “first love!” Some perish by the storm, but far more by the calm. “Lord, save, or we perish!” Sun. 14. — I designed to preach abroad; but the storm drove us into the House. This House was built and given, with the ground on which it stands, by a single gentleman. In Cork, one person, Mr. Thomas James, gave between three and four hundred pounds toward the preaching house.
Towards that in Dublin, Mr. Lunel gave four hundred. I know no such benefactors among the Methodists in England. Mon. 15. — I rode to Birr, through much hail and snow, driven in our face by a furious wind. So was the hail the next day, as we rode to Tullamore.
Here, likewise, I lamented the want of zeal. So the society here also is no larger than it was two years ago.
On the following days I preached at Coolylough, Mount-Mellick, and Portarlington. Monday , 22. I rode to Kilkenny. The new preaching house was just finished, — a neat and commodious building. But before we came to it in the evening, it was filled from end to end. So it was the next evening. On Wednesday , 24, I cheerfully commended them to the grace of God.
In the evening I knew not where to preach at Enniscorthy, the wind being very high and very cold. But I was in some measure sheltered by the side of an house; and the people standing close together, sheltered one another.
Only a few careless ones were blown away. Thur. 25. — Two of our brethren from Wexford earnestly entreated me to go thither. I preached in the market-house at ten o’clock. The congregation was very large, and very genteel; and yet no remarkably well-behaved as any I have seen in the kingdom.
By hard riding we reached Waterford before six, where the House tolerably well contained the congregation: So it does the first night I am here. Fri. 26. — I labored to calm the minds of some that had separated from their brethren; but it was labor lost. After two or three hours spent in fruitless altercation, I was thoroughly convinced that they would not, and ought not to be reunited to them. Sun. 28. — At eleven, and again in the afternoon, I went to the cathedral, where a young gentleman most valiantly encountered the “grievous wolves,” as he termed the Methodists. I never heard a man strike more wide of the mark. However, the shallow discourse did good; for it sent abundance of people, rich and poor to hear and judge for themselves. So that the court, at the top of which I stood, was filled from end to end. Mon. 29. — In the evening I preached in the market place at Clonmell, to a listening multitude. Some seemed inclined to disturb; but the serious, well-behaved Troopers kept them all in awe. Tues. 30. — I rode to Cork; and on Wednesday ,MAY 1, to Bandon: But the northeast wind forbade my preaching in the street. I was the less concerned at this, because my business now lay chiefly with the society.
Those who had been scattered I labored to gather up; those who were drowsy, to awaken; those that were dead, to quicken; and to unite all together in following after peace and holiness. Sun. 5. — I returned to Cork, and would fain have preached abroad; but the violent wind would not suffer it. Monday , 6. I spake severally to the members of the society. Two years ago they were reduced to about an hundred and ninety. They are now only an hundred and seventy; and yet the work of God deepens in those that remain. I found many growing in grace; many rejoicing in the pure love of God; and many more, who were earnestly panting after the whole mind that was in Christ. Sun. 12. — I assisted at the funeral of Susanna Pilson. She was one of the first members of this society, and continued firm in the hottest of the persecution. Upwards of twenty years she adorned the Gospel, steadily and uniformly walking with God. For great part of the time she was a living witness, that “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.” After a lingering illness, she calmly resigned her soul into the hands of her faithful Creator. Mon. 13. — We had an agreeable ride to Kilfinnan. I designed to preach under the Court-House; but was offered the use of the room above, where the Church Service has been for these two years, as the church lies in ruins. In a very short time we had a large and attentive congregation. If the parish Ministers were zealous for God, the Protestants in Ireland would soon out-number the Papists. Tues. 14. — I rode on to Limerick, and told the congregation plainly, “If, as is your manner, you attend three days, and then fall off, I can bestow my time better elsewhere. But if you continue to come, I will stay with you longer.” They took me at my word; and continued to increase both morning and evening, as long as I stayed in the city. Wed. 15. — A gentleman desired me to visit his daughter. I found a lovely, sensible woman, in the bloom of youth, scarce one-and-twenty, in the last stage of a consumption. From that time I visited her every day. In two or three days she was considerably better. But, as I expected, when the hot weather came on, the sweet flower withered away. Sat. 18. — I dined at Mr.——’s. Such another family I have not seen in the kingdom. He and Mrs.—— are in person, in understanding, and in temper, made for each other. And their ten children are in such order as I have not seen for many years; indeed, never since I left my father’s house.
May they never depart from the good way!
May 19. (Being Whit-sunday .) The ground in the island being wet, I preached in the evening, near the new Custom-House, on, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” I was not a little refreshed, observing so many who seemed to thirst for the living water. I preached there again the following evening, to nearly the same number of hearers. I should have thought it well worth while to have come to Limerick, were it only for these two evenings. Wed. 22. — After preaching at Balligarane, I rode to Ashkayton. There are no ruins, I believe, in the kingdom of Ireland to be compared to these. The old Earl of Desmond’s castle is very large, and has been exceeding strong.
Not far from this, and formerly communicating with it by a gallery, is his great hall or banqueting-room. The walls are still firm and entire; and these with the fine carvings of the window-frames, (all of polished marble,) give some idea of what it was once. Its last master lived like a Prince for many years, and rebelled over and over against Queen Elizabeth. After his last rebellion, his army being totally routed, he fled into the woods with two or three hundred men. But the pursuit was so hot, that these were soon scattered from him, and he crept alone into a small cabin. He was sitting there, when a soldier came in and struck him. He rose and said, “I am the Earl of Desmond.” The wretch, rejoicing that he had found so great a prize, cut off his head at once. Queen Elizabeth and King James allowed a pension to his relict for many years. I have seen a striking picture of her, in her widow’s weeds, said to be taken when she was an hundred and forty years old.
At a small distance from the castle stands the old Abbey, the finest ruin of the kind in the kingdom. Not only the walls of the church, and many of the apartments, but the whole cloisters, are entire. They are built of black marble exquisitely polished, and vaulted over with the same. So that they are as firm now as when they were built, perhaps seven or eight hundred years ago; and if not purposely destroyed (as most of the ancient buildings in Ireland have been,) may last these thousand years. But add these to the years they have stood already, and what is it to eternity? A moment! Fri. 24. — I spoke severally to the members of the society in Limerick. I have found no society in Ireland, number for number, so rooted and grounded in love. We observed this as a day of fasting and prayer, and were much comforted together. Sun. 26. — The rain obliged me to preach within, at five in the evening. It was a season of solemn joy and sorrow. I took horse immediately after preaching, and rode through continued rain to Snugborough, about fourteen Irish miles from Limerick. Mon. 27. — We pushed on through violent wind and rain, and reached Galway in the afternoon. About six I preached in the Court-House, by far the neatest which I have seen in the kingdom. Abundance of the soldiers, who were to march for Dublin the next day, willingly attended: And not a few of the townsfolk; but (what is rarely seen in Ireland) five or six men to one woman. I was enabled to speak exceeding close; and many were stunned, if not wounded. The next evening, the number of townsmen was doubled; among who were the Mayor, and several other people of fashion.
However, I reached Ballinrobe between twelve and one, and preached in the Court-House to forty or fifty hearers. Five miles short of Castlebar we took shelter for a while in a little cabin. The poor man brought us the best thing he had, a glass of rum. We talked a little with him and his wife, sung a hymn, and went to prayer; and then, the rain abating, rode cheerfully on to Castlebar. Thur. 30. — I preached about noon at Cappavica, four miles from Castlebar. It is a lone house; but the people soon flocked together. Every one seemed to be exceeding serious: Six-and-twenty appeared resolved to work out their own salvation, and help each other therein. Fri. 31. — Observing many fashionable people in the Court-House at Castlebar, I spoke with such closeness and pungency, as I cannot do but at some peculiar seasons. It is indeed the gift of God, and cannot be attained by all the efforts of nature and art united. Sat . June 1. — This is the twelfth day that we have had continued rain, together with March winds. I dined at Rabin, near Castlebar, one of the pleasantest seats in Connaught. It was an old castle, standing between two loughs, with a river behind, and a wood before. And the inhabitants Did like the scene appear; Serenely pleasant, calmly fair:
O that the God of love may add to these amiable qualities, all “the mind which was in Christ Jesus!” Sun. 2. — In the evening I expounded the Gospel for the day; the story of Dives and Lazarus. And now God opened both my mouth and the hearts of the hearers. His word seemed to take fast hold of them, even of the gay and rich, many of whom had wandered in among us. Mon. 3. — I rode to Sligo, and preached in our own Room, to an exceeding serious congregation, such as I have not seen here for many years. But the next evening, a young Officer, with several pretty gay things, behaved so ill, that I was obliged to reprove them. They took it well; but we could not recover the fervor which was before swiftly spreading through the people. Wed. 5. — I rode to Ballyshannon, and preached in the Assembly Room. I was acquainted with some of the chief persons in the town; but they were ashamed to own me. Only some of them sent their compliments to me, properly so called.
Hence, I rode to Manorhamilton, and in the evening preached in a pleasant meadow, to a very large congregation. But I found little life in the society. Thursday , 6. We came to Swadlingbar, and seemed to be got into another world. The people were all alive, full of faith and love, and panting after the whole image of God. The congregation in the evening refreshed me much, by their spirit, as well as their number: They made The hills and the dales With praises resound; singing with the spirit and with the understanding also. I have heard no such voices since we left Cork, nor seen so earnest a people since we left Limerick. Fri. 7. — About noon I preached at Tonnylommon, four miles short of Enniskillen, to just such another congregation, deeply athirst for the full salvations of God. In the afternoon we rode to Mr. A——’s at Sidare.
Some time since, one of his neighbors, being angry that his sister resolved to save her soul, by the advice, as he supposed, of Nancy A——, came one Sunday in the afternoon while they were at prayers, burst into the room, struck a woman in the face who would have stopped him, and with his loaded whip struck Naney A—— on the temple; so that she lay as dead for several hours. He designed, it seems, to make an end of her at once. And indeed she never has been well since.
Here a tent was set up on a green, grassy place, amidst abundance of people ripe for the Gospel. So I cried, in our Lord’s words, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” And it is not easy to express the thirst, the vehement desire, which appeared in a great part of the congregation. Sat. 8. — We set out for Ruskey, a little town near Macquire’s Bridge.
But before we had gone nine miles, we found a congregation waiting in the street at Lismolaw, where I know not who had given notice that I was to preach. I at first thought of riding on; but fearing it might hurt the poor people, I alighted, and preached immediately. They were all attention while I explained, “Ye are saved through faith.” About noon I preached at Ruskey.
In the evening we came to Augher. For several days we have been among some of the warmest Christians in the kingdom. All at once we came to a people cold as ice. Here was a lively people! But they have long grieved the Holy Spirit of God, and he seems to be departed from them. Knowing few would come to the House, I stood abroad, and had forty or fifty hearers, but unconcerned enough. Sunday , 9. About eight I had a few more, and about an hundred in the evening. I went to church at Clogher: The Dean is one of the best readers I have heard, and one of the most easy, natural Preachers: And the congregation was not only large, but remarkably well-behaved.
I seldom look at the old castle at Augher, without thinking of the famous Sir Phelim O’Neale. In the beginning of the Irish Rebellion, he called one night at Mr. Kennedy’s, an intimate acquaintance and foster-brother, (a very sacred relation among the Irish,) and said, “Rise, come away with me, that I may protect you, for fear some of my straggling parties should hurt you.” Mrs. Kennedy, being very near her time, said, “Nay, gossip, consider my condition, and do not take my husband from me.” He replied, “You fool, it is for his own good.” But soon after they were gone, Mrs. K. said, “My heart misgives me; whatever comes of it, I must follow them.”
So, as well as she could, she walked between her man-servant and her maid, an Irish girl. About sunrise they came near Augher castle, where Sir Phelim was standing with his men. Just by him was her husband, hanged on a tree. Sir Phelim, seeing her, sent and ordered the man and maid to stand from her. The man did so: The maid replied, “No; I will die with my mistress.” On this he ordered his men to fire. She fell, and two infants fell out of her. Such was the mercy of the Irish at that time! Such the spirit which their good Priests infused into them! Mon. 10. — I was surprised at the improvements made in this county within a few years. For above thirty miles, it is now cultivated like England, and sprinkled up and down with little new-built houses. A gentleman of Dermquin, desiring me to preach there, I began without delay, at the end of his house. It being the fair-day, there was a numerous congregation; but not so numerous as that at Mallilough, where I preached about noon. Between six and seven, after riding more than fifty Irish miles, I reached Derry, and preached on, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to men.” God spake by his word to many tempted souls, and comforted them over all their troubles.
Every morning and evening, on the following days, the congregations were larger than I ever remember; and several Clergymen were present every evening. Thursday , 13. I spoke severally to the members of the society. I found far more life among them than I expected. Near one half of the sixty (that was the number of those that remained) I judged to be real believers.
What a mischievous injustice it is to represent all this people as dead! It has weakened the hands of the Preachers much, and has greatly discouraged the people. The continually telling people they are dead, is the ready way to make them so. Fri. 14. — I looked over a volume of Mr. Skelton’s Works. He is a surprising writer. When there is occasion, he shows all the wit of Dr. Swift, joined with ten times his judgment; and with (what is far more) a deep fear of God, and a tender love to mankind. About noon I preached at the New-Buildings, two miles from Londonderry. The people, some time past, bore a near resemblance to the colliers of Kingswood. They were equally without God in the world, and eminent for all manner of wickedness: But old things are passed away, and they are eminent now for the fear of God, and the love of their neighbor. I preached there again on Sunday , 16, and administered the Lord’s Supper to the society. I think they were all in tears; but, with the greatest part, they were tears of joy and love. Mon. 17. — I met the singers for the last time. I joined them together two years ago; but, as the Preachers following took no care or thought about them, they of course flew asunder. And no wonder; for nothing will stand in the Methodist plan, unless the Preacher has his heart and his hand in it.
Every Preacher, therefore, should consider it is not his business to mind this or that thing only, but every thing. Tues. 18. — Cheerfully leaving Londonderry, I rode through the wild, dreary mountains, to Cookstown. Here the scene was changed. The house at which I alighted was filled with whisky-drinkers; and the whole town, it being the fair-day, was all hurry and confusion. However, about seven the tent was set up. The people flocked from all quarters; and, considering many of them were far from sober, behaved tolerably well. Wed. 19. — I preached at five and at twelve, to a lifeless company; and then rode, through a fruitful country, to Stewart-Town. A large congregation soon assembled in the Court-House, most of whom behaved with decency; though very few of them appeared to understand anything of the matter. Thur. 20. — We went on to Castle-Calfield. As we were walking in the afternoon, an horse that was feeding turned short, and struck me on the small of my back. Had he been but an inch or two nearer, I should not have traveled any farther. As it was, I was well again in a few days. In the evening I preached on the lovely Green, before the castle, to a serious and large congregation. This was the first summer day we have had this year; and this was only warm, not hot. Fri. 21. — About eleven we had a still larger congregation, near the castle in Charlemount; whom I exhorted to be “not slothful in business,” but “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” At seven in the evening I preached at Armagh, in Mr. Macgough’s avenue. The congregation was in an arbor, the wide-spread trees quite overshadowing them; while The setting sun adorned the coast, His beams entire, his fierceness lost.
Sat. 22. — I rode to Caladon, where, two years ago, Mr. C—— was ready to put me in his bosom. But he did not know me now. So I preached in the street, to an exceeding quiet congregation; and rode back in the evening. Is it strange that men, or the moon, should change? Sun. 23. — In the evening, such a multitude of people assembled, and stood so close together; that, though we were in open air, the heat was almost insupportable. Surely God will have a people in this place! The poor, at least, will receive the Gospel. Mon. 24. — I preached, about noon, at a village which takes its name from the Black Water in which the Irish Papists drowned so many Protestants, in 1641. In the evening I preached at Clanmain, to a very dull congregation.
It is well, if the first are not last! Tuesday , 25. I preached at Cock-Hill, in a delightful evening, under some shady trees. Many of the people were alive to God. Wednesday , 26. I preached at the Grange, to a still livelier and larger congregation: But I found the liveliest of all at Derry-Anvil. Six or seven of this little society still rejoice in the pure love of God. Thus has God his secret ones, in a little corner of the land, surrounded with bogs, and out of all road. Friday , 28. I preached in the street at Portadown, to a serious, well behaved congregation; and in the evening at Kilmararty, to the largest congregation I have seen since we left Armagh.
This day I entered the sixty-ninth year of my age. I am still a wonder to myself. My voice and strength are the same as at nine-and-twenty. This also hath God wrought. Sat. 29. — I preached at the end of the market-house in Tanderagee. Sunday , 30. At nine the people flocked from all parts; but much more at six in the evening, when we had a London congregation both for number and seriousness. Mon . July 1. — I preached at Killwarlin, where, a few weeks ago, Thomas Mott died in peace. In the evening I preached in the Linen-Hall, at Lisburn, to a numerous congregation. Tuesday , 2. I preached on the Green at Newtown; but the people had not the spirit of those at Lisburn. Wednesday , 3. At ten I preached to a small congregation, a mile from Belfast, and in the market place there at twelve. I never saw so large a congregation there before, nor one so remarkably stupid and ill-mannered:
I preached at Carrickfergus in the evening; and Thursday , 4, went on to Lurn, and preached at nine in the main street, to a very attentive congregation. Thence I rode to Glenarm. The preaching began here in an uncommon manner: — Some months since, John Smith, now with God, was pressed in spirit to go and preach there, though he knew no one in the town. Near it he overtook a young lady riding behind a servant; and on her saying it was a very wicked place, he asked, “Are there no good men there?” She said, “Yes; there is one, William Hunter.” He rode into the town, and inquired for William Hunter’s house. When he came to the door, a young woman was sweeping the house. He asked her name, and, being answered “Betty Hunter,” alighted, and said “Betty, take my horse to an inn, and tell every one you meet,’A gentleman at our house has good news to tell you, at seven o’clock.” At seven the house was well filled. John preached to them twice a day for nine days; but when he took his leave, he had only three pence: However, he asked the landlady, “What is to pay for my horse?” “Nothing, Sir,” said the woman: “A gentleman has paid all; and will do, if you stay a month.”
I preached near the market-house about noon, to a large number of decent hearers; but to a much larger, in the market-house at Ballymena, in the evening. Friday , 5. I rode to Ballinderry, and found an earnest, simple-hearted people. A great multitude here “received the word with all readiness of mind.” A specimen of the society, consisting of about fifty members, I had in the house where I dined; wherein a father and mother; with a son and five daughters, were all walking in the light of God’s countenance. Afterwards I prayed with an ancient woman; while a little girl, her grandchild, kneeling behind me, was all in tears, and said, “O grandmamma, have you no sins to cry for, as well as me?” Sat. 6. — After spending two hours very agreeably at Mayra, I rode to Drumbanahar, and preached to a serious congregation. That at Newry in the evening was much larger: At nine in the morning it was larger still; but nothing to that in the evening: Yet I think all heard, and most of them seemed much affected. Monday , 8. I cheerfully left Newry, and in the evening preached at Dublin.
Having rested a day, on Wednesday , 10, I went to Carlow, and preached in the Sessions-House, to a large, wild congregation. In the morning, I once more composed the differences of the poor, shattered society. About noon I preached in the street at Baltinglass; in the evening, to a lovely congregation at Donard. Friday , 12. I returned to Dublin, well satisfied with my little excursion.
Or Monday and Tuesday I revised the classes. The number of members in the society is shrunk from upwards of five hundred to beneath four hundred, in two years; but I trust they will now increase, as the offenses are removed, and brotherly love restored.
On Thursday and Friday we had our little Conference; a solemn and useful meeting. Sunday , 21. At the meeting of the society many were comforted; and all seemed determined to set out anew, and take the kingdom of heaven by violence. Monday , 22. In the evening I embarked on board the Nonpareil, for Parkgate, with a small, fair wind, so that the sea was smooth as a looking-glass. Tuesday , 23. As we went slowly on, the gentlemen (of whom we had many on board) desired me to give them a sermon. This I willingly did; and all were seriously attentive. We landed about seven on Wednesday , 24, and took chaise for Liverpool. Thursday , 25. I rode across the country to Whitchurch, and spent an agreeable evening with that lovely family. Friday , 26. I went on to Shrewsbury, where Mr. Fletcher met me. Sunday , 28. I preached at Madeley, morning and afternoon. The church could not near contain the congregation; but, the window near the pulpit being open, those without could hear as well as those within. Monday , 29. I went on to Worcester. Our brethren had chosen a place for me, in a broad street, not far from the cathedral, where there was room for thousands of people; and we soon had company enough, part serious, part like the wild ass’s colt; but in a while the serious part prevailed, and silenced, or drove away, the rabble, till we had a tolerable degree of quietness, and concluded in peace. Thur . August 1. — I rode to Cheltenham, and preached near the market-place, to a large and quiet congregation. Friday , 2. I went on to Kingswood. Sunday , 4. We had above six hundred and fifty communicants at Bristol. In the afternoon I preached in St. James’s, Barton, to an huge multitude; and all were still as night. Tues. 6. — We had more Preachers than usual at the Conference, in consequence of Mr. Shirley’s Circular Letter. At ten on Thursday morning he came, with nine or ten of his friends. We conversed freely for about two hours; and I believe they were satisfied that we were not so “dreadful heretics” as they imagined, but were tolerably sound in the faith. Mon. 12. — I set out for Wales, and after preaching, at Chepstow and Brecknock, on Wednesday , 14, came to the Hay. Here I met with Dr. Maclaine’s Translation of “Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History.” Certainly he is a very sensible translator of a very sensible writer; but I dare not affirm that either one or the other was acquainted with inward religion.
The translator mentions, without any blame, Mr. Shinstra’s “Letter against Fanaticism;” which, if the reasoning were just, would fix the charge of fanaticism on our Lord himself, and all his Apostles. In truth, I cannot but fear, Mr. Shinstra is in the same class with Dr. Conyers Middleton; and aims every blow, though he seems to look another way, at the fanatics who wrote the Bible.
The very thing which Mr. Shinstra calls fanaticism, is no other than heart-religion; in other words, “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” These must be felt , or they have no being. All, therefore, who condemn inward feelings in the gross, leave no place either for joy, peace, or love in religion; and consequently reduce it to a dry, dead carcass.
In the evening, I preached in the next, neat preaching house, to many more than it would contain. The next evening I was constrained to preach abroad. Friday , 16. I returned to Brecknock; and, after spending two comfortable days there, on Monday , 19, rode to Carmarthen. The rain obliged me to preach within. Tuesday , 20. I rode to Haverfordwest; and, in the evening, preached in St. Martin’s churchyard, to a numerous and deeply-attentive congregation. The next evening I strongly applied the story of Dives and Lazarus; and many were almost persuaded to be Christians.
I rode, on Thursday , 22, to Dala, a little village at the mouth of Milford-Haven. It seemed to me that our Preachers had bestowed here much pains to little purpose. The people, one and all, seemed as dead as stones, — perfectly quiet, and perfectly unconcerned. I told them just what I thought. It went as a sword to their hearts. They felt the truth, and wept bitterly. I know not where we have found more of the presence of God. Shall we at last have fruit here also? Fri. 23. — I preached at noon, to a lovely congregation of plain, artless people, at Houghton; and in the Town-Hall at Pembroke, in the evening, to many rich and elegant hearers. Sunday , 25. At ten I began the Service at St. Daniel’s. The church, as usual, would ill contain the congregation. In the afternoon I preached in Monk-Town church, (one of the three belonging to Pembroke,) a large, old, ruinous building. I suppose it has scarce had such a congregation in it during this century. Many of them were gay, genteel people: So I spake on the first elements of the Gospel. But I was still out of their depth. O how hard it is to be shallow enough for a polite audience! Mon. 26. — I rode to Llanelly, and at six read Prayers, and preached in another large church, almost as ruinous as that at Pembroke. The congregation was numerous; yet most of them seemed to understand what they heard. Tuesday , 27. We crept through a right Welsh road, and reached Oxwych between twelve and one. The congregation had waited for some time; so I began without delay. The road to Swansea was a little better; so I reached the town in time; and at six preached in the yard, as our Room would contain hardly a third of the people. Wednesday , 28. I called at Neath, on one of our friends; but, before I could sit down, was informed a congregation was waiting for me. This I had no thought of: However, I gave them a short sermon, and hastened on to Coy church, near Bridge-End. I preached as deliberately as possible, as great part of the audience were Welsh: And I believe, by this means, all of them could understand at least the substance of the discourse. About six I preached in the Town-Hall, at Cowbridge, to high and low, rich and poor; and the two next evenings in the Court-House at Cardiff, to a still larger congregation.
Afterwards we had a comfortable love-feast, which brought to our mind former days, when we praised God with Ann Jenkins, Arthur Price, and Thomas Glascott, before Thomas Prosser sowed the deadly tares among them. Sat. 31. — I returned to Bristol, and in part of the following week visited some of the neighboring societies. Friday ,SEPTEMBER 6. I spent an hour among our children at Kingswood. It is strange! How long shall we be constrained to weave Penelope’s web? What is become of the wonderful work of grace which God wrought in them last September? It is gone! It is lost! It is vanished away! There is scarce any trace of it remaining! Then we must begin again; and in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. Mon. 9. — I read over Dr. Cadogan’s ingenious treatise on Chronical Distempers. It is certainly true that “very few of them are properly hereditary;” that most of them spring either from indolence, or intemperance, or irregular passions. But why should he condemn wine toto genere , which is one of the noblest cordials in nature? Yet stranger, why should he condemn bread? Great whims belong to great men. Tues. 10. — I preached at Bath; Wednesday , 11, at Frome; Thursday , 12, at Keynsham. Here, too, the seed, which seemed lost for so many years, at length begins to spring up. After seeing so many instances of this kind, how can we despair of any people? Saturday , 14. I preached abroad at Bedminster. Many horsemen stopped, and had strange things brought to their ears: Perhaps some of whom, we may hear, by and by, were found of Him they sought not. Sun. 15. — At eight I preached on the quay; at five in St. James’s, Barton.
Many strangers stopped at both places. Surely this is casting our bread upon the waters! This week I visited the rest of the neighboring societies, and found them increasing both in grace and number. Thursday , 26. I preached once more at Bath, to an elegant congregation, on, “Knowledge puffeth up.” But, I trust, many of them can witness that “love edifieth;” builds us up both in holiness and happiness. Mon. 30. — I took leave of Bristol for the present; and, having preached at Pensford and Shepton-Mallet in the way, came to Shaftesbury; and preached to a numerous congregation, but wonderfully unconcerned. I scarce know a town in England where so much preaching has been to so very little purpose. Tues . October 1. — I went on to Salisbury. Wednesday , 2. I preached at Whitchurch; Thursday , 3, at Winchester. I now found time to take a view of the cathedral. Here the sight of that bad Cardinal’s tomb, whom the sculptor has placed in a posture of prayer, brought to my mind those fine lines of Shakspeare, which he put into the mouth of King Henry the Sixth: Lord Cardinal, If thou hast any hope of Heaven’s grace, Give us a sign. He dies, and makes no sign.
On Thursday and Friday evening I preached at Portsmouth Common. Saturday , 5. I set out at two. About ten some of our London friends met me at Cobham, with whom I took a walk in the neighboring gardens, inexpressibly pleasant, through the variety of hills and dales; and the admirable contrivance of the whole. Aud now, after spending his life in bringing it to perfection, the gray-headed owner advertises it to be sold! Is there anything under the sun that can satisfy a spirit made for God?
On Monday and Tuesday I preached at Whittlebury, Towcester, and Weedon; on Wedneaday , at Kislingbury, Harlston, and Northampton. Thursday , 10. I preached at Holmby-House, where poor King Charles was formerly lodged. It has been a noble pile of buildings, finely situated on an hill; but little is left except the kitchens, which, however, give a strong idea of its ancient grandeur. Friday , 11. In the evening I preached at Bedford; and on Saturday returned to London. Mon. 14. — In my way to Wallingford I read Dr. Hodge’s “Elihu.” It contains abundance of fine remarks worthy of a scholar, and of a Christian; but none of them prove his main proposition, that Elihu was the second person in the blessed Trinity. I preached at Wallingford in the evening, and at five in the morning. Many were moved; but who will endure to the end? Tues. 15. — I went on to Witney. I am surprised at the plainness and artlessness of this people. Who would imagine that they lived within ten, yea, or fifty miles of Oxford? Wednesday , 16. I preached at South-Lye.
Here it was that I preached my first sermon, six-and-forty years ago. One man was in my present audience who heard it. Most of the rest are gone to their long home. After preaching at Witney in the evening, I met the believers apart, and was greatly refreshed among them. So simple a people I scarce ever saw. They did “open the window in their breast;” and it was easy to discern that God was there, filling them “with joy and peace in believing.” Thur. 17. — About ten I preached at Oxford, in a Room well filled with deeply attentive hearers, on part of the Sermon on the Mount, the noblest compendium of religion which is to be found even in the oracles of God. In the evening I preached at High-Wycomb; the next at Chesham, where, our own Room being too small, that friendly man, Mr. Spooner, willingly gave me the use of his meeting-house. I found the little society much alive; many knowing in whom they had believed; several enjoying, and others thirsting after; the whole image of God. On Saturday I had a pleasant journey to London. Mon. 21. — As I drove to Chatham, I read Mr. Hoole’s fine translation of Tasso’s “Jerusalem Delivered;” allowed, I suppose by most judges of poetry to be not much inferior to the Aeneid. But I wonder Mr. Hoole was so imprudently faithful, as to present Protestants with all Tasso’s Popish fooleries. Those excrescences might have been pared off, without the least injury to the work. In the evening I preached to a crowded audience, ripe for all the promises of God. How good is it for fallen man to earn his food by the sweat of his brow! Every where we find the laboring part of mankind the readiest to receive the Gospel. Tues. 22. — I went down to Sheerness, and preached in the new Room.
But it would not near contain the congregation. I believe all that could hear found that God was there. Both morning and evening I warned them against being sick of opinions and strife of words; which has been the main hindrance of the work of God here from the beginning. Thur. 24. — I returned to Chatham, and on Friday to London. Saturday , 26. Mr. N—— gave me a melancholy account of his dismission from the Tabernacle. Surely affairs will not stand thus at the Foundery when my head is laid! If I thought they would, I would do just as I do now, — all the good I can while I live. Mon. 28. — I rode to Staplehurst, to Mr. Ch——’s, a pattern of love and patience. One eye is quite lost by his late illness. His reflection upon it was, “I bless God that I had one eye to give him; and if he calls for it, I am ready to give him the other.” I preached at six to a willing people, simply desiring to save their souls; and the next evening at Rye, to a far more numerous but not more earnest congregation. Wednesday , 30. I walked over to Winchelsea, said to have been once a large city, with abundance of trade and of inhabitants, the sea washing the foot of the hill on which it stands. The situation is exceeding bold, the hill being high and steep on all sides. But the town is shrunk almost into nothing, and the seven churches into half an one. I preached at eleven in the new Square, to a considerable number of serious people; and at Rye in the evening, where were many that are “not far from the kingdom of God.” Thursday , 31. I preached at Robertsbridge. As yet the whole town is willing to hear: And we may hope, after the stony and the thorny ground hearers are deducted, some will “bring forth fruit with patience.” Sat . November 2. — I returned to London. Monday , 4. I went in the stagecoach to Colchester, in which I met with two agreeable companions, whose hearts were quite open to instruction. Tuesday , 5. In our way to Bury we called at Felsham, near which is the seat of the late Mr. Reynolds. The house is, I think, the best contrived and the most beautiful I ever saw. It has four fronts, and five rooms on a floor, elegantly, though not sumptuously, furnished. At a small distance stands a delightful grove.
On every side of this, the poor, rich man, who had no hope beyond the grave, placed seats, to enjoy life as long as he could. But being resolved none of his family should be “put into the ground,” he built a structure in the midst of the grove, vaulted above and beneath, with niches for coffins, strong enough to stand for ages. In one of these he had soon the satisfaction of laying the remains of his only child; and, two years after, those of his wife. After two years more, in the year 1759, having eat, and drank, and forgotten God, for eighty-four years, he went himself to give an account of his stewardship.
In the evening I preached at Bury; and on Wednesday , 6, rode on, through heavy rain, to Lynn. The people “received the word with joy;” though few, as yet, had any “root in themselves.” Thursday , 7. I was desired by the prisoners to give them a word of exhortation. They received it with the utmost eagerness. Who knows but one or two may retain it? In the evening, those who could not get in were noisy at first; but in a while they went quietly away.
Here I received a particular account of a poor, desolate one, — Betty Fairbridge, formerly Hewerdine, of Whitby. For some time after she came to Lynn, she was cold and weary, quite choked with the cares of this world. But this time twelvemonth, when she saw me, though she was in a deep consumption, her spirit revived. She began again earnestly to seek God; and he healed her backsliding. But her bodily weakness increased: So much the more did her faith and love increase; till prayer was swallowed up in praise, and she went away with triumphant joy.
Lynn seems to be considerably larger than Yarmouth: I believe it stands on double the ground; and the houses in general are better built: Some of them are little palaces. The market place is a spacious and noble square, more beautiful than either that at Yarmouth or Norwich; and the people are quite of another turn, affable and humane. They have the openness and frankness common throughout the county; and they add to it good-nature and courtesy. Sat. 9. — I rode to Norwich. Sunday , 10. Our House was far too small in the evening. I suppose many hundreds went away. To as many as could hear, I described the “strait gate:” I believe God applied it to their hearts.
Every day I found more and more reason to hope, that we shall at length reap the fruit of that labor which we have bestowed on this people for so many years, as it seemed, almost in vain. In this hope I left them on Thursday , 14, and preached at Lakenheath in the evening with an uncommon blessing. Among them that attended at five in the morning, was poor A—— R——; the man who first invited me to this town, but has for a long time forgotten everything of the kind, seldom deigning even to hear the preaching. However, he felt it today, being in tears all the time that I was enforcing our Lord’s words, “He who setteth his hand to the plough, and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom of God.”
I came to Mr. Smitheman’s, at Braintree, just as he had buried his daughter. So on this occasion we had (what I never saw before) the House filled from end to end: I preached on, “The grass withereth; the flower fadeth; but the word of the Lord shall stand for ever.” Sun. 17. — I preached, both morning and afternoon, on the education of children. But, O! how few had ears to hear! Perhaps not ten mothers in the whole congregation. Fri. 22. — I went over to Barnet, and paid my last debt to that excellent man, Mr. John Shewell, by preaching his funeral sermon, from, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” All the time that I knew him, he was a pattern of seriousness, piety, patience, and beneficence. Thur. 28. — I went to Staines, where an House is just fitted up for preaching. But it would not contain one half of the people who flocked together from every side. Those that could not get in were noisy enough; those that could, were still as night. Fri. 29. — We viewed the improvements of that active and useful man, the late Duke of Cumberland. The most remarkable work is the triangular tower which he built on the edge of Windsor Park. It is surrounded with shrubberies and woods, having some straight, some serpentine, walks in them, and commands a beautiful prospect all three ways: A very extensive one to the southwest. In the lower part is an alcove, which must be extremely pleasant in a summer evening. There is a little circular projection at each corner, one of which is filled by a geometrical staircase: The other two contain little apartments, one of which is a study. I was agreeably surprised to find many of the books not only religious, but admirably well chosen. Perhaps the great man spent many hours here, with only Him that seeth in secret; and who can say how deep that change went, which was so discernible in the latter part of his life?
Hence we went to Mr. Bateman’s house, the oddest I ever saw with my eyes. Every thing breathes antiquity; scarce a bedstead is to be seen that is not an hundred and fifty years old; and everything is quite out of the common way: He scorns to have any thing like his neighbors. For six hours, I suppose, these elegant oddities would much delight a curious man; but after six months they would probably give him no more pleasure than a collection of feathers. Mon . December 2. — I went down with several of our friends to Gravesend, where a building, designed for an assembly-room, was employed for a better purpose. It was quite crowded; yet abundance could not get in. After reading Prayers, I preached on part of the Second Lesson, Hebrews 8:9,10,11. The Room was pretty well filled at five in the morning. Fair blossoms! But what fruit will there be? Tues. 3. — I preached at Canterbury. Wednesday , 4. I rode to Ashford, one of the pleasantest towns in Kent. The preaching house, newly fitted up, was well filled with attentive hearers. Hence we hastened to Dover, where the house was quickly filled with serious, well-behaved people.
Here I found L—— H——’s Preachers had gleaned up most of those whom we had discarded. They call them “My Lady’s society,” and have my free leave to do them all the good they can. Thur. 5. — I preached at Sandwich about eleven, and at Canterbury in the evening. Friday , 6. Having preached to a small, but much-affected, company at Sittingbourne, I went on to Chatham. The huge congregation here devoured the word; yet I hope they digested it too. We were strangely kept from this place for many years: At length there is an open door. Sat. 7. — In my way home I finished the first volume of Mr. Hooke’s “Roman History.” On this I remark, 1. That it is immeasurably too long, containing a thousand passages not worth relating: 2. That he relates abundance of contradictory accounts, often without telling us which is best: 3. That he recites at large the senseless tales of Clelia swimming in the Tyber, Mucius Scaevola, and twenty more; and afterwards knocks them all on the head. What need then of reciting them? We want history; not romance, though compiled by Livy himself. Yet, 4. I admire him for doing justice to many great men, who have been generally misrepresented; Manlius Capitolinus, in particular, as well as the two Gracchi. So that, upon the whole, this is far the best history of Rome that I have seen.
I read today a circumstantial account of the late inundations in the north of England, occasioned by the sudden and violent overflowing of three rivers, the Tees, the Wear, and the Tyne. All these have their rise within a few miles of each other, in a mountain at the head of Teesdale and Weardale; on which there was nothing more than a little mizzling rain, till the very hour when the rivers rose, and poured down such an amazing quantity of water as utterly astonished the people of Sunderland, at the mouth of the Wear, overflowed all the lower part of Newcastle-upon-the-Tyne, and filled the main street of Yarm, upon the Tees, with water nine or ten feet deep. Such an overflowing of these rivers none ever saw before, nor have we an account of any such in history.
Rain was not the cause of this; for there was next to none at the head of these rivers. What was the cause we may learn from a letter wrote at this time, by a Clergyman in Carlisle: — “Nothing is so surprising as what lately happened at Solway-Moss, about ten miles north from Carlisle.
About four hundred acres of this Moss arose to such a height above the adjacent level, that at last it rolled forward like a torrent, and continued its course above a mile, sweeping along with it houses and trees, and every other thing in its way. It divided itself into islands of different extent, from one to ten feet in thickness. It is remarkable, that no river or brook runs either through or near the Moss.”
To what cause then can any thinking man impute this, but to an earthquake? And the same doubtless it was, which, about the same time, wrought in the bowels of that great mountain, whence those rivers rise, and discharged from thence that astonishing quantity of water. Sun. 8. — I read a little more of that strange book, Baron Swedenborg’s Theologia Caelestis . It surely contains many excellent things. Yet I cannot but think the fever he had twenty years ago, when he supposes he was “introduced into the society of angels,” really introduced him into the society of lunatics; but still there is something noble, even in his ravings: His mind has not yet lost All its original brightness, but appears Majestic, though in ruin.
Mon. 16. — I rode to Dorking, where were many people; but none were cut to the heart. Tuesday , 17. I went on to Ryegate-Place. In King Henry the Fourth’s time, this was an eminent monastery. At the dissolution of monasteries, it fell into the hands of the great spoiler, Henry the Eighth.
Queen Elizabeth, pleased with the situation, chose it for one of her palaces. The gentleman who possesses it now has entirely changed the form of it; pulling down whole piles of ancient building, and greatly altering what remains. Yet, after all that is taken away it still looks more like a palace than a private house. The staircase is of the same model with that at Hampton-Court: One would scarce know which is the original. The chimney-piece in the hall is probably one of the most curious pieces of woodwork now in the kingdom. But how long? How many of its once bustling inhabitants are already under the earth! And how little a time will it be before the house itself, yea, the earth, shall be burned up!
I preached in the evening to a small company, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” All seemed moved for the present. They saw that life is a dream: But how soon will they sleep again? Wednesday , 18. I preached to another kind of congregation at Shoreham. Here we are not ploughing upon the sand. Many have “received the seed upon good ground,” and do “bring forth fruit with patience.” Sat. 21. — I met an old friend, James Hutton, whom I had not seen for five-and-twenty years. I felt this made no difference; my heart was quite open; his seemed to be the same; and we conversed just as we did in 1738, when we met in Fetter-Lane. Monday , 23, and so all the following days, when I was not particularly engaged, I spent an hour in the morning with our Preachers, as I used to do with my pupils at Oxford. Wednesday , 25. I preached early at the Foundery; morning and afternoon, at the chapel. In returning thence at night, a coach ran full against my chaise, and broke one of the shafts and the traces in pieces. I was thankful that this was all; that neither man nor beast received the least hurt. Mon. 30. — At my brother’s request, I sat again for my picture. This melancholy employment always reminds me of that natural reflection, — Behold, what frailty we in man may see!
His shadow is less given to change than he.
Wed . January 1, 1772. — We met, as usual, in the evening, in order solemnly and explicitly to renew our covenant with God. Sunday , 5. I buried the remains of Elizabeth Hartland, an Israelite indeed! I know not that in thirty years she has ever dishonored her profession, either by word or deed. Some of her last words were, “I have fought the good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.” Tues. 14. — I spent an agreeable hour with Dr. S——, the oldest acquaintance I now have. He is the greatest genius in little things, that ever fell under my notice. Almost every thing about him is of his own invention, either in whole or in part. Even his fire-screen, his lamps of various sorts, his ink horn, his very save-all. I really believe, were he seriously to set about it, he could invent the best mouse-trap that ever was in the world. Thur. 16. — I set out for Luton. The snow lay so deep on the road, that it was not without much difficulty, and some danger, we at last reached the town. I was offered the use of the church: The frost was exceeding sharp, and the glass was taken out of the windows. However, for the sake of the people, I accepted the offer, though I might just as well have preached in the open air. I suppose four times as many people were present, as would have been at the Room: And about an hundred in the morning. So I did not repent of my journey through the snow. Fri. 17. — The usual road being blocked up with snow, we were obliged to take a byroad to Hertford. I found the poor children whom Mr. A. kept at school, were increased to about thirty boys, and thirty girls. I went in immediately to the girls. As soon as I began to speak, some of them burst into tears, and their emotion rose higher and higher; but it was kept within bounds till I began to pray. A cry then arose, which spread from one to another; till almost all cried aloud for mercy, and would not be comforted.
But how was the scene changed, when I went to the boys! They seemed as dead as stones, and scarce appeared to mind any thing that was said:
Nay, some of them could hardly refrain from laughter. However, I spoke on, and set before them the terrors of the Lord. Presently one was cut to the heart; soon after, another and another: And in ten minutes, the far greater part of them were little less affected than the girls had been. Except at Kingswood, I have seen no such work of God upon children for above thirty years. I spoke exceeding plain in the evening, on the narrow way that leadeth to life. But the men were widely different from the children: they were affected just as much as so many horses. Sat . February 1. — I found an increase of the work of God even in Southwark. Those who so furiously opposed us some years ago, as though they would have swallowed us up quick, are now crumbled into nothing. Only the old chapel subsists, as a dull, useless, dissenting meeting-house. Fri. 7. — I called on a friend at Hampton-Court, who went with me through the house. It struck me more than any thing of the kind I have seen in England; more than Blenheim House itself. One great difference is, every thing there appears designedly grand and splendid; here every thing is quite, as it were, natural, and one thinks it cannot be otherwise. If the expression may be allowed, there is a kind of stiffness runs through the one, and an easiness through the other. Of pictures I do not pretend to be a judge; but there is one, by Paul Rubens, which particularly struck me, both with the design and the execution of it. It is Zacharias and Elizabeth, with John the Baptist, two or three years old, coming to visit Mary, and our Lord sitting upon her knee. The passions are surprisingly expressed, even in the children; but I could not see either the decency or common sense of painting them stark naked: Nothing can defend or excuse this: It is shockingly absurd, even an Indian being the judge. I allow, a man who paints thus may have a good hand, but certainly cerebrum non habet. f53 Sun. 9. — I buried the remains of Heller Tanner. About thirty years he has adorned the Gospel: Diligent, patient, loving to every man, and zealous of good works. Mon. 10. — In going to Dorking, I read Mr. Jones’s ingenious tract, upon Clean and Unclean Beasts. He really seems to prove his point, to make it reasonably plain, that there is a deeper design in that part of the Levitical Law, than is commonly understood: That God had a view throughout, to the moral, rather than natural, qualities of the creatures which he pronounced unclean; and intended it as a standing warning to his people, against the fierceness, greediness, and other ill properties, which so eminently belonged to those beasts or birds that they were forbidden to eat or touch. Tues. 11. — I casually took a volume of what is called, “A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.” Sentimental! what is that? It is not English: He might as well say, Continental . It is not sense. It conveys no determinate idea; yet one fool makes many. And this nonsensical word (who would believe it?) is become a fashionable one! However, the book agrees full well with the title; for one is as queer as the other. For oddily uncouthness, and unlikeness to all the world beside, I suppose, the writer is without a rival. Wed. 12. — In returning, I read a very different book, published by an honest Quaker, on that execrable sum of all villainies, commonly called the Slave Trade. I read of nothing like it in the heathen world, whether ancient or modern: And it infinitely exceeds, in every instance of barbarity, whatever Christian slaves suffer in Mahometan countries. Fri. 14. — I began to execute a design, which had not, been in my thoughts, to print as accurate an edition of my Works, as a bookseller would do. Surely I ought to be as exact for God’s sake, as he would be for money. Mon. 17. — One gave me a very remarkable relation: — A gay young woman lately came up to London. Curiosity led her to hear a sermon, which cut her to the heart. One standing by, observed how she was affected, and took occasion to talk with her. She lamented that she should hear no more such sermons, as she was to go into the country the next day; but begged her new acquaintance to write to her there, which she promised to do. In the country her convictions so increased, that she resolved to put an end to her own life. With this design she was going upstairs, when her father called her, and gave her a letter from London. It was from her new acquaintance, who told her, “Christ is just ready to receive you: Now is the day of salvation.” She cried out, “It is, it is! Christ is mine!” and was filled with joy unspeakable. She begged her father to give her pen, ink, and paper, that she might answer her friend immediately.
She told her what God had done for her soul, and added, “We have no time to lose! The Lord is at hand! Now, even now, we are stepping into eternity.” She directed her letter, dropped down, and died. Fri. 21. — I met several of my friends, who had begun a subscription to prevent my riding on horseback; which I cannot do quite so well, since a hurt which I got some months ago. If they continue it, well; if not, I shall have strength according to my need. Tues. 25. — I had an interview with T. M——, who seemed much to desire a reunion. But he only seemed; for when we explained upon the head, I found he meant just nothing. Wed. 26. — I took my leave of that attainable woman, Mrs. Bl——. I doubt whether we shall meet again upon earth; but it is enough if we meet in Abraham’s bosom. Fri. 28. — I opened the new preaching house in Poplar: One might say, consecrated it. For the English law (not withstanding the vulgar error) does not require, nay, does not allow, any other consecration of churches, than by performing public service therein. Sun . March 1. — After the Evening Service, I went to Brentford. Monday , 2. I preached at Newbury; Tuesday , 3, about noon, at the Devizes. The furious prejudice which long reigned in this town is now vanished away; the persecutors, almost to a man, being gone to their account. In the evening I preached at Bristol; and, after having spent a few comfortable days there, on Monday , 9, set out for the north. In the evening I preached at Stroud. Here I had much conversation with one that, fifteen months ago, was clearly saved from sin; and immediately Satan was permitted to sift her as wheat. From that moment she was buffeted day and night, so that, through the agony of her mind, sleep wholly departed from her eyes, and it was supposed she must soon lose her senses. But, in the height of her distress, God spoke, and there was a great calm. All was peace and love; and, from that time, she has been unspeakably happy. Wed. 11. — About noon I preached, at Tewkesbury, a funeral sermon, for one who had been a pattern of all holiness, till she was snatched away in the bloom of youth. In the evening I preached in the new chapel at Worcester. It was thoroughly filled. For a time, the work of God was hindered here by a riotous mob: But the Mayor cut them short; and, ever since, we have been in perfect peace. Sat. 14. — I left Worcester. The frost was exceeding sharp, as it was last year, just at this time. I preached in Bengeworth, near Evesham, at eleven, and then took horse for Broadmarston. The northeast wind, uncommonly sharp, was exactly in our face: But what is the pleasure or pain of this life? — A moment, and it is gone! Sun. 15. — At six in the morning, and five in the evening, I preached in our own chapel; at eleven, in Quinton church; and between two and three, at Honeybourn. Monday , 16. As much snow had fallen in the night, it was with difficulty we reached Alcester, where I took chaise for Birmingham.
Here our brethren “walk in the fear of God,” and “the comfort of the Holy Ghost;” and God has at length made even the beasts of the people to be at peace with them. All were quiet in the evening; and at five in the morning, although so much snow had fallen, that it lay mid-leg deep in all the streets, yet the House was nearly filled. Tues. 17. — Partly in a chaise, partly on horseback, I made a shift to get to Bilbrook; and, after preaching, to Wolverhampton. Thursday , 19. I preached at Burton-upon-Trent; at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in the afternoon; and in the evening, to a lovely congregation, in the new House at Loughborough. Here is a fair prospect: The last society in the circuit is likely to be one of the first. They increase continually, and are athirst to be, not almost, but altogether, Christians. Fri. 20. — I rode to Markfield, through violent rain. The church, notwithstanding the severity of the weather, was pretty well filled; not with curious hearers, but with earnest people, who sought only to save their souls. Some such we found at Leicester also, in the evening, together with many who had little thought about it; to whom, therefore, I spoke in a quite different manner, exhorting them to “awake out of sleep.” I believe God applied his word; for the House, large as it is, was nearly filled at five in the morning; and all seemed willing to receive that important truth, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Sat. 21. — About noon I preached at Hoton; in the evening at Nottingham. Sunday , 22. While we were crossing Sawley-Ferry, it rained in good earnest; but it was quite fair all the time I was preaching at Donnington. In the evening I preached at Derby. Both the Room and the yard were crowded enough, and yet abundance went away. After preaching, the people hung at the doors, and could not be persuaded to go away. So at length I suffered them to come in with the society, and strongly exhorted them to worship God in spirit and in truth. Mon. 23. — An huge congregation was present at five, to whom I spoke with all possible plainness. About nine I reached Ashbourn, in the Peak; but the House would not hold a quarter of the people. So I stood in the market-place, and cried aloud, “Seek ye the Lord, while he may be Found.”
One or two walked to and fro, quite unconcerned; But none offered the least rudeness, and the bulk of the congregation drank in every word.
While I was dining at Leak, some gentlemen of the town sent to desire I would give them a sermon. As it seemed to be a providential call, I did not think it right to refuse. A large congregation quickly ran together, and were deeply attentive. We had a solemn congregation at Macclesfield in the evening, to whom I preached longer than usual. But I felt no more weariness when I had done, than I did at six in the morning. Wed. 25. — We went on to Congleton, where all is now peace and love.
None is none left to speak against the Methodists, except Mr. Sambach, the Curate. He earnestly labors to drive them from the church; but they will not leave it yet. They both love her Liturgy and her doctrine, and know not where to find better. Fri. 27. — I preached at Nantwich about noon, and then dragged through a miserable road, till, within two or three miles of Whitchurch, the chaise stuck fast, and all our strength could not get it a yard farther. So I took horse, and rode to the town. Saturday , 28. I rode on to Chester. Sun. 29. — There were abont forty persons in St. John’s church at the Morning Service. Our Room was pretty well filled in the morning, and crowded in the evening. Monday , 30. At one I preached in Warrington. I believe all the young gentlemen of the academy were there; to whom I stated and proved the use of reason, from those words of St. Paul, “In wickedness be ye children, but in understanding be ye men.”
I had very large and very serious congregations at Liverpool, morning and evening, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday ,APRIL 3. I set out for Wigan; but before we came to Ashton, I was glad to use my own feet, and leave the poor horses to drag the chaise as they could. I preached at Wigan about twelve, and in the evening at Bolton. How wonderfully has God wrought in this place! John Bennet, some years ago, reduced this society from sevenscore to twelve; and they are now risen to an hundred and seventy. Sun. 5. — I preached at eight to as many as the House would contain; but at noon I was obliged to stand in the street, and explain the one thing needful. I preached at Manchester in the evening; but the House was far too small: Crowds were obliged to go away. The speculative knowledge of the truth has ascended here from the least to the greatest. But how far short is this of experimental knowledge! Yet it is a step toward it not to be despised. Mon. 6. — In the afternoon I drank tea at Am. O. But how was I shocked!
The children that used to cling about me, and drink in every word, had been at a boarding school. There they had unlearned all religion, and even seriousness; and had learned pride, vanity, affectation, and whatever could guard them against the knowledge and love of God. Methodist parents, who would send your girls headlong to hell, send them to a fashionable boarding school! Tues. 7. — I went to New-Mills. Notwithstanding all the rain, the House was well filled; for nothing can hinder this lively, earnest people. Wednesday , 8. I returned to Manchester, and, in the evening, fully delivered my own soul. Thursday , 9. Mr. Bruce offering to accompany me into Scotland, I took him and Mr. E. too: And it was well I did; for Mr. E.’s horse quickly fell, and so disabled himself that I was obliged to leave him behind. God grant that he may not be left behind for ever! Friday , 10.
Having sent my chaise before, I rode to Ambleside. Thence, on Saturday , we went on comfortably, in hired chaises, to Whitehaven. Sun. 12. — At eight we had our usual congregation of plain, earnest people. But at five (who would imagine it?) we had well nigh all the Gentry of the town; and “the power of the Lord was present to heal them;” so that few, I believe, were unaffected. The same power was present at the meeting of the children. I never, in all my life, was so affected with any part of Solomon’s Song, as while one of the girls was repeating it. Mon. 13. — At five in the evening we had all the Gentry again, with several Clergymen; and again the Spirit applied the word. For the present even the rich seemed to be moved. As soon as I had delivered my message, I set out for Cockermouth. Tues. 14. — I set out for Carlisle. A great part of the road was miserably bad. However, we reached it in the afternoon, and found a small company of plain, loving people. The place where they had appointed me to preach was out of the gate; yet it was tolerably filled with attentive hearers.
Afterwards, inquiring for the Glasgow road, I found it was not much round to go by Edinburgh; so I chose that road, and went five miles forward this evening, to one of our friends’ houses. Here we had an hearty welcome sub lare parvulo , with sweet and quiet rest. Wed. 15. — Though it was a lone house, we had a large congregation at five in the morning. Afterwards we rode for upwards of twenty miles, through a most delightful country; the fruitful mountains rising on either hand, and the clear stream running beneath. In the afternoon we had a furious storm of rain and snow: However, we reached Selkirk safe. Here I observed a little piece of stateliness which was quite new to me: The maid came in, and said, “Sir, the Lord of the stable waits to know if he should feed your horses.” We call him ostler in England. After supper all the family seemed glad to join with us in prayer. Thur. 16. — We went on through the mountains, covered with snow, to Edinburgh. April 17. (Being Good-Friday .) I went to the Episcopal chapel, and was agreeably surprised:
Not; only the Prayers were read well, seriously, and distinctly, but the sermon, upon the sufferings of Christ, was sound and unexceptionable.
Above all, the behavior of the whole congregation, rich and poor, was solemn and serious. Sat. 18. — I set out for Glasgow. One would rather have imagined it was the middle of January than the middle of April. The snow covered the mountains on either hand, and the frost vas exceeding sharp; so I preached within, both this evening and on Sunday morning. But in the evening the multitude constrained me to stand in the street. My text was, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Hence I took occasion to fall upon their miserable bigotry for opinions and modes of worship. Many seemed to be of a little convinced; but how long will the impression continue? Mon. 20. — I went on to Greenock, a sea-port town, twenty miles west of Glasgow. It is built very much like Plymouth-Dock, and has a safe and spacious harbor. The trade and inhabitants, and consequently the houses, are increasing swiftly; and so is cursing, swearing, drunkenness, sabbath-breaking, and all manner of wickedness. Our Room is about thrice as large as that at Glasgow; but it would not near contain the congregation.
I spoke exceeding plain, and not without hope that we may see some fruit, even among this hard-hearted generation. Tues. 21. — The House was very full in the morning; and they showed an excellent spirit; for after I had spoke a few words on the head, every one stood up at the singing. In the afternoon I preached at Port-Glasgow, a large town, two miles east of Greenock. Many gay people were there, careless enough; but the greater part seemed to hear with understanding. In the evening I preached at Greenock; and God gave them a loud call, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. Wed. 22. — About eight I preached once more in the Masons’ Lodge, at Port-Glasgow. The House was crowded greatly; and I suppose all the Gentry of the town were a part of the congregation. Resolving not to shoot over their heads, as I had done the day before, I spoke strongly of death and judgment, heaven and hell. This they seemed to comprehend; and there was no more laughing among them, or talking with each other; but all were quietly and deeply attentive.
In the evening, when I began at Glasgow, the congregation being but small, I chose a subject fit for experienced Christians; but soon after, a heap of fine gay people came in: Yet I could not decently break off what I was about, though they gaped and stared abundantly. I could only give a short exhortation in the close, more suited to their capacity. Thursday , 23, was the fast before the Lord’s Supper. It was kept as a Sunday; no shops open, or business done. Three Ministers came to assist Mr. Gillies, with whom I had much conversation. They all seemed to be pious as well as sensible men. As it rained in the evening, I preached in the Grammar School, — a large, commodious room. I know not that ever I spoke more plain, nor perhaps with more effect. Fri. 24. — We had a large congregation at five; and many of the rich and gay among them. I was aware of them now; and they seemed to comprehend perfectly well what it is to be “ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” I set out at seven; in the evening I preached at Edinburgh, on, “My son, give me thy heart;” and after preaching in the morning, on Saturday , 25, set out for the north.
I reached Perth in the evening, and sent to the Provost to desire the use of the Guildhall; in which I preached, Sunday , 26, in the morning, and (it being very cold) in the evening. Afterwards I accepted of the Provost’s invitation to lodge at his house; and spent an agreeable evening with him and three Ministers, concluded with solemn prayer. Mon. 27. — I spent three or four hours in conversation with Dr. Oswald and Mr. Fraser, two as pious and sensible ministers as any I know in Scotland. From Methuen we went on to Dunkeld, once the capital of the Caledonian kingdom; now a small town, standing on the bank of the Tay, and at the foot of several rough, high mountains. The air was sharp, yet the multitude of people constrained me to preach abroad; and, I trust, not in vain; for great was the power of God in the midst of them. Tues. 28. — We walked through the Duke of Athol’s gardens, in which was one thing I never saw before, — a summer-house in the middle of a green-house, by means of which one might in the depth of winter enjoy the warmth of May, and sit surrounded with greens and flowers on every side.
In the evening I preached once more at Perth, to a large and serious congregation. Afterwards they did me an honor I never thought of, — presented me with the freedom of the city. The diploma ran thus: — MAGISTRATUUM illustris ordo et honorandus senatorum caetus inclytae civitatis Perthensis, in debiti amoris et affectuum tesseram erga Johannem W——y, immunitatibus praefatae civitatis, societatis etiam et fraternitatis aedilitiae privilegiis donarunt.
Aprilis die 28° anno Sal. 1772°. f55 I question whether any diploma from the city of London be more pompous, or expressed in better Latin.
In my way to Perth, I read over the first volume of Dr. Robertson’s “History of Charles the Fifth.” I know not when I have been so disappointed. It might as well be called the History of Alexander the Great. Here is a quarto volume of eight or ten shillings’ price, containing dry, verbose dissertations on feudal government, the substance of all which might be comprised in half a sheet of paper! But “Charles the Fifth!” Where is Charles the Fifth?
Leave off thy reflections, and give us thy tale! Wed. 29. — I went on to Brechin, and preached in the Town-Hall to a congregation of all sorts, Seceders, Glassites, Non-jurors, and what not? O what excuse have Ministers in Scotland for not declaring the whole counsel of God, where the bulk of the people not only endure, but love, plain dealing? Friday and Saturday . I rested at Aberdeen. Sunday ,MAY 3. I went in the morning to the English Church. Here, likewise, I could not but admire the exemplary decency of the congregation. This was the more remarkable, because so miserable a reader I never heard before. Listening with all attention, I understood but one single word, Balak , in the First Lesson; and one more, begat , was all I could possibly distinguish in the Second. Is there no man of spirit belonging to this congregation? Why is such a burlesque upon public worship suffered? Would it not be far better to pay this gentleman for doing nothing, than for doing mischief; for bringing a scandal upon religion?
About three I preached at the College kirk in the Old-Town, to a large congregation, rich and poor; at six in our own House, on the narrow way. I spoke exceeding plain, both this evening and the next; yet none were offended. That encouragement has every Preacher in this country, “by manifestation of the truth,” to “commend” himself “to every man’s conscience in the sight of God!” Tues. 5. — I read over in my journey Dr. Beattie’s ingenious “Inquiry after Truth.” He is a writer quite equal to his subject, and far above the match of all the minute philosophers, David Hume in particular; the most insolent despiser of truth and virtue that ever appeared in the world. And yet it seems some complain of this Doctor’s using him with too great severity! I cannot understand how that can be, unless he treated him with rudeness, (which he does not,) since he is an avowed enemy to God and man, and to all that is sacred and valuable upon earth.
In the evening I preached in the new House at Arbroath (properly Aberbrotheck). In this town there is a change indeed! It was wicked to a proverb; remarkable for sabbath-breaking, cursing, swearing, drunkenness, and a general contempt of religion. But it is not so now. Open wickedness disappears; no oaths are heard, no drunkenness seen in the streets. And many have not only ceased from evil, and learned to do well, but are witnesses of the inward kingdom of God, “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Wed. 6. — The Magistrates here also did me the honor of presenting me with the freedom of their corporation. I value it as a token of their respect, though I shall hardly make any further use of it. Thur. 7. — I took Thomas Cherry away with me; but it was too late; he will hardly recover. Let all observe, (that no more Preachers may murder themselves,) here is another martyr to screaming!
We had an huge congregation in the evening at Dundee, it being the fast-day before the sacrament. Never in my life did I speak more plain or close: Let God apply it as pleaseth him. Fri. 8. — I labored to reconcile those who (according to the custom of the place) where vehemently contending about nothing. Saturday , 9. I went to Edinburgh. Sun. 10. — I attended the Church of England Service in the morning, and that of the Kirk in the afternoon. Truly “no man having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new.” How dull and dry did the latter appear to me, who had been accustomed to the former! In the evening I endeavored to reach the hearts of a large congregation, by applying part of the Sermon on the Mount: And I am persuaded God applied it with power to many consciences. Mon. 11. — I spoke severally to the members of the society as closely as I could. Out of ninety (now united,) I scarce found ten of the original society; so indefatigable have the good Ministers been to root out the seed God had sown in their hearts. Tues. 12. — I preached at Ormiston, ten miles south of Edinburgh, to a large and deeply serious congregation. I dined at the Minister’s, a sensible man, who heartily bid us God-speed . But he soon changed his mind: Lord H——n informed him that he had received a letter from Ladv H——, assuring him that we were “dreadful heretics, to whom no countenance should be given.” It is pity! Should not the children of God leave the devil to do his own work? Wed. 13. — I preached at Leith, in the most horrid, dreary Room I have seen in the kingdom. But the next day I found; another kind of Room; airy, cheerful, and lightsome; which Mr. Parker undertook to fit up for the purpose, without any delay. Sun. 17. — I had appointed to preach at noon in the Lady’s Walk, at Leith; but being offered the use of the Episcopal chapel, I willingly accepted it, and both read Prayers and preached. Here also the behavior of the congregation did honor to our Church. Mon. 18. — Dr. Hamilton brought with him Dr. Monro and Dr. Gregory.
In the evening (the weather being still severe) I preached in the new House at Leith, to a lovely audience, on, “Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.” Many were present again at five in the morning. How long have we toiled here almost in vain! Yet I cannot but hope God will at length have a people even in this place. Wed. 20. — I took my leave of Edinburgh in the morning, by strongly enforcing the Apostle’s exhortation, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
I had designed to preach (as usual) at Provost Dixon’s, in Haddington, in the way to Dunbar. But the Provost, too, had received light from the “Circular Letter,” and durst not receive those heretics . So we went round by the Marquis of Tweedale’s seat, completely finished within and without. But he that took so much delight in it is gone to his long home, and has left it to one that has no taste or regard for it. So rolls the world away!
In the evening I preached at Dunbar. Thursday , 21. I went to the Bass, seven miles from it, which, in the horrid reign of Charles the Second, was the prison of those venerable men who suffered the loss of all things for a good conscience. It is a high rock surrounded by the sea, two or three miles in circumference, and about two miles from the shore. The strong east wind made the water so rough, that the boat could hardly live: And when we came to the only landing-place, (the other sides being quite perpendicular,) it was with much difficulty that we got up, climbing on our hands and knees. The castle, as one may judge by what remains, was utterly inaccessible. The walls of the chapel, and of the Governor’s house, are tolerably entire. The garden walls are still seen near the top of the rock, with the well in the midst of it. And round the walls there are spots of grass, that feed eighteen or twenty sheep. But the proper natives of the inland are Solund-geese, a bird about the size of a Muscovy duck, which breed by thousands, from generation to generation, on the sides of the rock. It is peculiar to these, that they lay but one egg, which they do not sit upon at all, but keep it under one foot, (as we saw with our eyes,) till it is hatched. How many prayers did the holy men confined here offer up, in that evil day! And how many thanksgivings should we return, for all the liberty, civil and religious, which we enjoy!
At our return, we walked over the ruins of Tantallon Castle, once the seat of the great Earls of Douglas. The front walls (it was four square) are still standing, and by their vast height and huge thickness, give us a little idea of what it once was. Such is human greatness! Fri. 22. — We took a view of the famous Roman camp, lying on a mountain, two or three miles from the town. It is encompassed with two broad and deep ditches, and is not easy of approach on any side. Here lay General Lesley with his army, while Cromwell was starving below. He had no way to escape; but the enthusiastic fury of the Scots delivered him.
When they marched into the valley to swallow him up, he mowed them down like grass. Sat. 23. — I went on to Alnwick, and preached in the Town-Hall. What a difference between an English and a Scotch congregation! These judge themselves rather than the Preacher; and their aim is, not only to know, but to love and obey. Mon. 25. — I preached in Morpeth at noon, and in the evening at New Castle. Wednesday , 27. I went on to Sunderland, and was surprised to find the society smaller than I left it. It is true, man are removed to other places, and many are removed to Abraham’s bosom: But still there must be want of zeal in those that remain, or this loss would have been more than supplied, out of the multitude of serious people who constantly attend the preaching. Sat. 30. — I met a company of the most lively children that I have seen for several years. One of them repeated her hymn with such propriety, that I did not observe one accent misplaced. Fair blossoms! And if they be duly attended, there may be good fruit! Sun. 31. — At eight I preached near the Market-place, to an immense congregation. That in Gateshead-Fell, at two, was still more numerous, but more attentive they could not be. About five, I preached in the Castle-garth at Newcastle, to the largest congregation of all, but not the most serious; there being not a few casual or curious hearers among them. Mon . June 1. — I began a little tour through the Dales. About nine, I preached at Kiphill; at one, at Wolsingham. Here we began to trace the revival of the work of God; and here began the horrid mountains we had to climb over. However, before six, we reached Barnard-Castle. I preached at the end of the preaching-house, to a large congregation of established Christians. At five in the morning, the House was near full of persons ripe for the height and depth of the Gospel. Tuesday , 2. We rode to New Orygan, in Teesdale. The people were deeply attentive; but, I think, not deeply affected. From the top of the next enormous mountain, we had a view of Weardale. It is a lovely prospect. The green gently-rising meadows and fields, on both sides of the little river, clear as crystal, were sprinkled over with innumerable little houses; three in four of which (if not nine in ten) are sprung up since the Methodists came hither. Since that time, the beasts are turned into men, and the wilderness into a fruitful field.
It being very cold, I judged it best to preach in the House, though many of the people could not get in. Just as I began to pray, a man began to scream, and that so loud, that my voice was quite drowned. I desired he would contain himself as far as he could; and he did so tolerably well. I then applied the account of the Woman of Canaan. The people devoured every word. Wed. 3. — I desired to speak with those who believed God had saved them from inward sin. I closely examined them, twenty in all, ten men, eight women, and two children. Of one man, and one or two women, I stood in doubt. The experience of the rest was clear; particularly that of the children, Margaret Spenser, aged fourteen, and Sally Blackburn, a year younger. But what a contrast was there between them! Sally Blackburn was all calmness; her look, her speech, her whole carriage was as sedate, as if she had lived threescore years. On the contrary, Peggy was all fire; her eye sparkled; her very features spoke; her whole face was all alive; and she looked as if she was just ready to take wing for heaven! Lord, let neither of these live to dishonor thee! Rather take them unspotted to thyself!
And indeed God confirmed his word. There was a cry on every side, but not like that last night. This did not damp, but quicken, the rest, especially that of the children; many of whom mourned for God, but none rejoiced with joy unspeakable. About twenty of them, steady and consistent, both in their testimony and behavior, desired to join with their elder brethren, in the great sacrifice of thanksgiving. A few were then also constrained to cry out; but the greater part enjoyed “the silent heaven of love.” Thur. 4. — At five I took my leave of this blessed people. I was a little surprised, in looking attentively upon them, to observe so many beautiful faces as I never saw before in one congregation; many of the children in particular, twelve or fourteen of whom (chiefly boys) sat full in my view.
But I allow, much more might be owing to grace than nature, to the heaven within, that shone outward.
Before I give a more particular account of this work of God, it may be well to look back to the very beginning of it. In this part of Weardale, the people in general are employed in the lead mines. In the year 1749, Mr. Hopper and John Brown came and preached among them. But it made no impression; none opposed, and none asked them to eat or drink. Mr. H., nevertheless, made them several visits in the ensuing spring and summer.
Towards autumn four found peace with God, and agreed to meet together.
At Christmas two of the Exhorters in Allandale determined to visit Weardale. Before they entered it, they kneeled down on the snow, and earnestly besought the Lord that he would incline some person, who was worthy, to receive them into his house. At the first house where they called, they were bid welcome, and they stayed there four days. Their word was with power, so that many were convinced, and some converted to God. One of these Exhorters was Jacob Rowell. They continued their visits, at intervals, all winter. In the beginning of summer, about twenty lively, steady people were joined together. From that time they gradually increased to thirty-five, and continued about that number for ten years.
There was then a remarkable revival among them, by means of Samuel Meggot; so that they increased to eighty; but, four years since, they were reduced to sixty-three. From that time they increased again, and were, in August, an hundred and twenty.
In two respects, this society has always been peculiarly remarkable: The one, they have been the most liberal in providing every thing needful for the Preachers: The other, they have been particularly careful with regard to marriage. They have in general married with each other; and that not for the sake of money, but virtue. Hence, having been yoke-fellows in grace before, they more easily bear the yoke of marriage, and assist each other in training up their children; and God has eminently blessed them therein. For in most of their families, the greatest part of the children above ten years old are converted to God. So that to several among them one may say, as St. Paul to Timothy, “The faith which dwelt first in thy grandmother, and thy mother, I am persuaded is in thee also.” It was observable too, that their Leaders were upright men, alive to God, and having an uncommon gift in prayer. This was increased by their continual exercise of it. The Preachers were there but once a fortnight. But though they had neither Preacher nor Exhorter, they met every night for singing and prayer.
Last summer the work of God revived, and gradually increased till the end of November. Then God began to make bare his arm in an extraordinary manner. Those who were strangers to God felt, as it were, a sword in their bones, constraining them to roar aloud. Those who knew God were filled with joy unspeakable, and were almost equally loud in praise and thanksgiving. The convictions that seized the unawakened were generally exceeding deep; so that their cries drowned every other voice, and no other means could be used than the speaking to the distressed, one by one, and encouraging them to lay hold on Christ. And this has not been in vain.
Many that were either on their knees, or prostrate on the ground, have suddenly started up, and their very countenance showed that the Comforter was come. Immediately these began to go about. From one to another of them that were still in distress, praising God, and exhorting them without delay to come to so gracious a Savior. Many, who to that hour appeared quite unconcerned, were thereby cut to the heart, and suddenly filled with such anguish of soul as extorted loud and bitter cries.
By such a succession of persons mourning and rejoicing, they have been frequently detained, so that they could not part till ten or eleven at night, nay, sometimes, not till four in the morning.
A farther account was drawn up by the Leaders: — “On Sunday afternoon, December 1, as William Hunter was preaching, the power of God fell on the congregation in a wonderful manner. Many, being cut to the heart, cried aloud for mercy, and ten were added to the society. On Tuesday evening we met again at six; but could not part till ten. In this time four found peace with God, and ran from one to another, exhorting them to believe in Christ. On Wednesday night many were deeply distressed, but none set at liberty. While we were meeting on Thursday, two were enabled to rejoice in God their Savior. On Saturday night we met at six, and three of us sung and prayed. But before the third had done, his voice could not be heard for the cries of the people. Seven of these soon arose, blessing and praising God, and went about encouraging others. Many hardened sinners were much affected thereby, and began to cry as loud as they had done; so that we had nothing to do, but to stand and see the wonderful work of God. And O how dreadful, yet pleasing, was the sight! All this time many were crying for mercy. Among these were four young men who remained on their knees five hours together. We endeavored to break up the meeting at ten, but the people would not go; so that we were constrained to continue till twelve: Near this time one was asked, what he thought of this. He answered, ‘I wish it be all real .’ He then turned to go home; but, after taking a few steps, began to cry aloud for mercy. He cried till his strength was quite gone, and then lay as one dead till about four o’clock in the morning; then God revealed his Son in his heart.
During this meeting eleven persons found peace with God. “On Sunday morning we met at the common hour, and three of us sung and prayed as usual, till our voice was drowned by the thanksgivings of the new converts, and the cries of convinced sinners. Among the rest an ancient woman was so struck, that she vehemently cried out, ‘Mercy! Mercy! O what a sinner am I! I was the first that received them into my house in Weardale, and have heard them almost these thirty years. O, pray for me ! Mercy, mercy!’ It was not long before she found mercy, and mightily rejoiced in God her Savior. And about the same time another mourner passed from death unto life. “We met again at two, and abundance of people came from various parts, being alarmed by some confused reports. We sung and prayed; and the power of God descended. A young man who had been deeply wounded in the morning, now found One mighty to heal. We then concluded; but many of the people came in again, and others stayed at the door. Among those who came in, was one who had been remarkably profligate. He cried for mercy with all his might; several crowded about to see him: And before we parted not only he, but five more were rejoicing and praising God together. We met again on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and by that time nine more found peace. “Mr. Rowell came on Thursday, stayed three days, and joined many new members. Three-and-thirty of these had found peace with God, as did five more in the week following. When Mr. Watson came, he joined many more, eleven of whom were justified.
At our meeting on Tuesday, eleven more were filled with the peace of God. Yet one young man seemed quite unconcerned. But suddenly the power of God fell upon him; he cried for two hours with all his might, and then the Lord set his soul at liberty. On Saturday a few met at Mr. Hunter’s room, who were athirst for full sanctification. For this they wrestled with God, till a young man found the blessing, as several others have done since. We have ever since continued our meetings, and God has continued his loving-kindness toward us. So that above an hundred and twenty are added to the society, above an hundred of whom are believers.”
I left John Fenwick on Friday , 5, to examine the society one by one. This he did on Friday and Saturday. The account of what ensued he gave in the following words: — “On Saturday evening God was present through the whole service, but especially toward the conclusion. Then one and another dropped down, till six lay on the ground together, roaring for the disquietude of their hearts. Observing many to be quite amazed at this, I besought them to stand still and see the salvation of God.
But the cry of the distressed soon drowned my voice; so I dismissed the congregation. About half of them went away. I continued praying with the rest when my voice could be heard; when it could not, I prayed without a voice, till after ten o’clock.
In this time, four of these poor mourners were clothed with the robes of praise. “The society now consists of an hundred and sixty-five members; of whom there are but twenty that have not found peace with God.
Such a work, it is true, in many respects, was that at Everton some years since; yet not in all, as will fully appear, if we consider a few more circumstances of this: — “Forty-three of these are children, thirty of whom are rejoicing in the love of God. The chief instrument God has used among these is Jane Salkeld, a schoolmistress, a young woman that is a pattern to all that believe. A few of her children are, Phebe Teatherstone, nine years and an half old, a child of uncommon understanding; Hannah Watson, ten years old, full of faith and love; Aaron Ridson, not eleven years old, but wise and stayed as a man; Sarah Smith, eight years and an half old, but as serious as a woman of fifty: Sarah Morris, fourteen years of age, is as a mother among them, always serious, always watching over the rest, and building them up in love. “Mention was made of four young men, who were affected on the second Wednesday in December. These, hearing of the roaring of the people, came out of mere curiosity. That evening six were wounded and fell to the ground, crying aloud for mercy. One of them, hearing the cry, rushed through the crowd to see what was the matter. He was no sooner got to the place, than he dropped down himself, and cried as loud as any. The other three pressing on, one after another, were struck just in the same manner. And indeed all of them were in such agonies, that many feared they were struck with death. But all the ten were fully delivered before the meeting concluded, which indeed was not till four in the morning. “Jane Collins had been an hearer for twenty years, but was not awakened, till at a prayer-meeting last winter she was cut to the heart. It being Sunday, the meeting should have ended at nine; but through her distress it continued till near twelve. She was then hardly persuaded to go home. In the evening she returned, but was dead as a stone. So she continued all night; but, the next day, God revealed his Son in her heart. “Edward Farles had been an hearer for many years, but was never convinced of sin. Hearing there was much roaring and crying at the prayer-meetings, he came to hear and see for himself. That evening many cried to God for mercy. He said he wished it was all real; and went away more prejudiced than before, especially against the roarers and criers, as he called them. But soon after he got home, he was struck to the ground, so distressed that he was convulsed all over. His family fearing that he would die, sent for some of the praying people. For some hours he seemed to be every moment on the point of expiring, in deep agony both of body and mind. He then lay as quite breathless; but, about four in the morning, God in a moment healed both soul and body. Ever since he has adorned the Gospel. “The rise of the late work was this: — William Hunter and John Watson, men not of large gifts, but zealous for Christian Perfection, by their warm conversation on the head, kindled a flame in some of the Leaders. These pressed others to seek after it; and for this end appointed meetings for prayer. The fire then spread wider and wider, till the whole society was in a flame.” Thus far John Fenwick.
It was observed above, that this work greatly resembled that at Everton. It did in many respects, but not in all: To instance in some particulars: — It resembled that work,1. In its unexpected beginning. No such work had ever been seen before either at Everton or in Weardale, when it broke out in so astonishing a manner, equally unlooked for by the instruments and by the subjects of it. The latter resembled the former work,2. In the swiftness of its progress, I mean in the persons affected; many of whom were in one day, or even two or three hours, both convinced of sin, (without any previous awakening,) and converted to God. 3. In the number of persons both convinced and converted; which was greater in a few months, than it had been in Weardale from the first preaching there, or in Everton for a century. The work in Weardale resembled that at Everton, 4. In the outward symptoms which have attended it. In both, the sudden and violent emotions of mind, whether of fear or sorrow, of desire or joy, affected the whole bodily frame; insomuch that many trembled exceedingly, many fell to the ground, many were violently convulsed, perhaps all over, and many seemed to be in the agonies of death. And the far greater part, however otherswise affected, cried with a loud and bitter cry. To name but one circumstance more, there was a great resemblance, 5. In most of the instruments whom God employed. These were plain, artless men, simple of heart, but without any remarkable gifts; men who (almost literally) knew “nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
In these respects, the work of God in Weardale nearly resembled that at Everton; but in other respects they were widely different: For, 1. That was the first work of God, of the kind, which had ever been in those parts in the memory of man. This was only the revival of a work, which had continued for many years. Now these circumstances are common at the dawn of a work, but afterwards very uncommon. I do not remember to have seen the like anywhere in the three kingdoms, unless at the beginning of a work. 2. Although the former work was swift, the latter was far swifter. In general, persons were both awakened and justified in a far shorter time. 3. A far greater number were converted to God in Weardale, than about Everton; although the number of hearers, round about Everton, was abundantly greater than in Weardale. 4. Although the outward symptoms were the same, yet in Weardale there were none of the dreams, visions, and revelations, which abounded at Everton; and which, though at first they undoubtedly were from God, yet were afterwards fatally counterfeited by the devil, to the great discredit of the work of God. 5. There was a great difference in the instruments, whom God employed in one and in the other work. Not one of those in or near Everton had my experience in the guiding of souls. None of them were more than “babes in Christ,” if any of them so much. Whereas in Weardale, not only the three Preachers were, I believe, renewed in love, but most of the Leaders were deeply experienced in the work of God, accustomed to train up souls in his way, and not ignorant of Satan’s devices. And hence we may easily account for the grand difference between the former and the latter work; namely, that the one was so shallow, there scarce being any subjects rising above an infant state of grace; the other so deep, many, both men, women, and children, being what St. John terms “young men” in Christ. Yea, many children here have had far deeper experience, and more constant fellowship with God, than the oldest man or woman at Everton which I have seen or heard of. So that, upon the whole, we may affirm, such a work of God as this has not been seen before in the three kingdoms. Fri. 5. — Upon examination, I found the society at Newcastle, also, smaller than it was two years since. This I can impute to nothing but the want of visiting from house to house; without which the people will hardly increase, either in number or grace.
In the following week, I preached in many towns round Newcastle, and on Saturday went again to Sunderland. In the evening we mightily wrestled with God for an enlargement of his work. As we were concluding, an eminent backslider came strongly into my mind; and I broke out abruptly, “Lord, is Saul also among the Prophets? Is James Watson here? If he be, show thy power!” Down dropped James Watson like a stone, and began crying aloud for mercy. Here, Lord, let all his wand’rings end, And all his steps to thee-ward tend!
Mon. 15. — I left Newcastle. About noon I preached at Durham; in the evening, at Stockton; on Tuesday , at Yarm; Wednesday , at Thirsk; on Thursday , at Osmotherley, and Hutton-Rudby. Friday , 19. I preached in Stokesley at eight, and then crept over the Moors to Castleton. The congregation was gathered from many miles round, and was indeed swift to hear. It was with much difficulty that we got from hence to Whitby, between six and seven.
Here I found a lively society indeed: The chief reason of their liveliness was this: — Those who were renewed in love, (about forty in number,) continuing fervent in spirit, and zealous for God quickened the rest, and were a blessing to, all around them. Sat. 20. — It being a fair, mild evening, I preached on the smooth, green top of the hill, a little above the church. As soon as I began to preach, some poor men began ringing the bells: But it was lost labor; for all the people could hear, to the very skirts of the congregation. Sun. 21. — About noon I preached in the little Square, at Robin Hood’s Bay, to most of the inhabitants of the town; and in the evening at Scarborough, in the shell of the new House. Monday , 22. I went on to Bridlington. The Room, being far too small, I was desired to preach in the churchyard. On the ringing of the bells, I removes thence to the market-house, where we had more than double the congregation, the snowball gathering all the way we went. Tues. 23. — About eleven I preached at Driffeld. The sun was extremely hot; but I was tolerably screened by a shady tree. In the evening I preached at Beverley, and on Wednesday , 24, in the new House at Hull, extremely well finished, and, upon the whole, one of the prettiest preaching-houses in England. The next evening we were crowded enough.
Being informed that many Antinomians were present, I preached on, “God sent his own Son, — that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, walking; not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Fri. 26. — I went on to York. The next day I read over Mr. Else’s ingenious “Treatise on the Hydrocele.” He supposes the best cure is by a seton or a caustic; but I am not inclined to try either of them. I know a Physician that has a shorter cure than either one or the other. Mon. 29. — I preached, about ten, at Tadcaster, and in the evening at Pateley-Bridge. Tuesday , 30. Calling at a little inn on the Moors, I spoke a few words to an old man there, as my wife did to the woman of the house.
They both appeared to be deeply affected. Perhaps Providence sent us to this house for the sake of these two poor souls. In the evening, I preached in the new House at Otley, as neat as that at Hull; and the people appeared to be much alive; so that I was greatly comforted among them. Sat . July 4. — I rode to the Ewood, to S. Lockwood’s, formerly the wife of young Mr. Grimshaw, afterward married to Mr. Lockwood, and now again a young widow. Her sister was with her, the relict of Mr. Sutcliffe, whose case was very uncommon. He had for some time used the cold bath for a nervous disorder, and was advised to try the warm. Immediately he was seized with racking pains all over, and in two hours expired.
At one I preached at Heptonstall, to some thousands of people, who stood just before the preaching house, on a lovely Green, which rises, slope above slope, like artificial terraces. Hence we climbed up and down wonderful mountains to Keighley; where many, from various parts, were waiting for us. Sunday , 5. Not half the congregation at Haworth could get into the church in the morning, nor a third part in the afternoon. So I stood on a kind of pulpit, near the side of the church. Such a congregation was never seen there before; and I believe all heard distinctly. Mon. 6. — At noon I preached to a large congregation at Bingley, and at Bradford in the evening. From this comfortable place, on Wednesday , 8, I went to Halifax. My old friend, Titus Knight, offered me the use of his new meeting, larger than Dr. Taylor’s at Norwich, full as superb, (so he terms it in his poem,) and finishes with the utmost elegance. But I judged more people would attend in the open air: So I preached in the cow-market, to an huge multitude. Our House was well filled at five in the morning. At ten I preached in the new House at Thong; at two, in the market place at Huddersfield, to full as large a congregation as at Halifax.
But it has nothing to do either with good nature or good manners; for he is writing to an Arminian. I almost wonder at his passionate desire to measure swords with me. This is the third time he has fallen upon me without fear or wit. Tandem extorquebis ut vapules . Sun. 19. — I preached at Morley about nine, Birstal at one, and Leeds in the evening. Monday , 13. I preached in Ledstone church, and spoke as plain and close as I could: but it seemed to be Heathen Greek to the congregation. In the evening we had such another congregation at Doncaster. Tuesday , 14. I preached at Sheffield; Thursday , 16, at Hathenham; and Friday , 17, at Hatfield. Here, some time since, a Justice levied a fine on a Local Preacher, on pretense of the Conventicle Act. So did a Justice in Kent, three or four years ago; but it cost him some hundred pounds for his pains.
The next day I rested at Epworth. Monday , 20. About eight I preached at Brigg; a noisy, turbulent town, in which no Methodist had preached before. So it was supposed there would be much tumult; but there was none at all; for the fear of God fell upon the whole congregation. I preached in Tealby at one, and Horncastle in the evening; on Tuesday and Wednesday , at Trusthorpe, Louth, and Grimsby. Here I was informed of a good man, Thomas Capiter, dying in the full triumph of faith. He was, between twenty and-thirty years, a pillar and an ornament of the society; — a loss, one would think, not soon to be repaired: But what is too hard for God? Thur. 23. — I preached at Barrow, and at five on Friday ; about nine, at Awkborough; and at two, for the first time, in Messingham, under a wide-spread tree. One or two poor men, not very sober, made some noise for a time: but they soon walked away, and left me a numerous and attentive congregation. In the evening I preached at Owston; and, after a busy day, lay down and slept in peace.
In this journey I read a volume of the “Medical Essays,” lately published at London. I have read a thousand strange things, but none stranger than the account which is here given of three persons who were entirely cured of an confirmed dropsy; one, by drinking six quarts a day of cold water; the second, by drinking two or three gallons of new cider; the third, by drinking a gallon or two of small beer, and the same quantity of buttermilk.
Why, then, what are we doing, in keeping dropsical persons from small drink? The same as in keeping persons in the small-pox from air. Mon. 27. — I read Mr. Adams’s ingenious Comment on the former part of the Epistle to the Romans. I was surprised and grieved. How are the mighty fallen! It is the very quintessence of Antinomianism. I did wonder much, but I do not wonder now, that his rod does not blossom. Wed. 29. — I crossed over to Pomfret, (properly Pontefract,) and, about noon, opened the new preaching house there. The congregation was large, and still as night: Perhaps this is a token for good. Being straitened for time, I was obliged to ride hard to Swinfleet; and I had strength enough, though none to spare. Thur. 30. — I preached in the new House, at Thorne; Friday , 31, about nine at Doncaster. It was the first time I have observed any impression made upon this elegant people. After preaching at Horbury, Wakefield, and Birstal, on Sunday evening I preached at Leeds. On Tuesday ,AUGUST 4, our Conference began. Generally, during the time of Conference, as I was talking from morning to night, I had used to desire one of our brethren to preach in the morning. But having many things to say, I resolved, with God’s help, to preach, mornings as well as evenings. And I found no difference at all: I was no more tired than with my usual labor; that is, no more than if I had been sitting still in my study, from morning to night. Fri. 7. — We had a remarkable instance of God’s hearing prayer: — Last Friday, a poor mourner after Christ standing by the grave, at the burial of her husband, sunk down into her brother’s arms, having no strength left in her. He thought it was with grief; but it was indeed with joy; for just then God wrote pardon on her heart. Today she sunk again, as one dead, and continued so for some time. When she opened her eyes, she said, “Is not this heaven? Sure I cannot be upon earth still.” She was in heaven, though on earth. She was all love, having given God all her heart. I saw her; in the evening, witnessing that “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.” Sun. 9. — I preached at Rothwell, in Thorner church, and at Leeds; Monday , 10, at Cudworth and at Sheffield. Tuesday , 11. About eight I preached at Grindleford-Bridge. Before two we reached Longner. After we had dined, a poor woman came in, and another, and another, till we had seventeen or eighteen men and women, with whom we spent a little time very comfortably in prayer and praise. At the end of the town the chaise broke down. We had two-and-twenty miles to Burslem; so I took horse, and, making haste, came thither a little before preaching time. Wednesday , 12. I preached at Salop, and spake strong words, to the amazement of many notional believers. Thursday , 13. I preached at the Hay. Friday , 14.
About noon, at the request of my old friend Howell Harris, I preached at Trevecka, on the strait gate; and we found our hearts knit together as at the beginning. He said, “I have born with those pert, ignorant young men, vulgarly called students, till I cannot in conscience bear any longer. They preach bare-faced Reprobation, and so broad Antinomianism, that I have been constrained to oppose them to the face, even in the public congregation.” It is no wonder they should preach thus. What better can be expected from raw lads of little understanding, little learning, and no experience?
After spending a day or two very comfortably at Brecknock, on Monday , 17, I preached in the Castle at Carmarthen; and on Tuesday , 18, in the new House at Haverfordwest, far the neatest in Wales. There is a considerable increase in this society, and not in number only. After preaching on Wednesday evening, we had such a meeting as I have seldom known.
Almost every one spoke, as well as they could for tears, and with the utmost simplicity; and many of them appeared to know “the great salvation,” to love God with all their heart. Thur. 20. — I rode over to Mr. Bowen’s, at Llanguire; an agreeable place, and an agreeable family. Here I rejoiced to meet with Mr. Pugh, whose living is within a mile of Llanguire. In the evening he read Prayers at Newport, and preached to a deeply serious congregation. I trust his lot is cast for good among a people both desirous and capable of instruction. Friday , 21. I preached again about eight, and then rode back to Harford.
After dinner we hasted to the Passage; but the watermen were not in haste to fetch us over; so I sat down on a convenient stone, and finished the little tract I had in hand. However, I got to Pembroke in time, and preached in the Town-Hall, where we had a solemn and comfortable opportunity. Sun. 23. — The violent rain considerably lessened our congregation at St. Daniel’s. Afterwards, the wind was so extremely high, that I doubted if we could cross the passage; but it stood exactly in the right point, and we got to Harford just before the thunderstorm began. In the evening I took my leave of this loving people, and the next reached Llanelly. Tues. 25. — I went on to Swansea, and preached in the evening to a numerous congregation. I preached in Oldcastle church, near Bridge-End, about noon, on Wednesday , 26; and in the evening in the Assembly-room at Cowbridge, to an unusually serious congregation. Thursday , 27. I preached at Cardiff, in the Town-Hall, as also the following evening; about noon, in the little church at Carphilly. Saturday , 29. I went on to Bristol. Wed . September 2. — I preached at Bath. Our Room, though considerably enlarged, will not yet contain the congregation, which is still continually increasing. Fri. 4. — I went over to Kingswood, and spake largely to the children, as also on Saturday and Sunday . I found there had been a fresh revival of the work of God among them some months ago: But it was soon at an end, which I impute chiefly to their total neglect of private prayer. Without this, all the other means which they enjoyed could profit them nothing. Sun. 6. — I preached on the quay, at Kingswood, and near King’s Square.
In the following week I preached at Bath, Frome, Corsley, Bradford, and Keynsham; on Tuesday , 15, at Pensford. Thence I went to Publow, which is now what Leytonstone was once. Here is a family indeed. Such mistresses, and such a company of children, as, I believe, all England cannot parallel! Wednesday , 16. I spent an hour with them in exhortation and prayer, and was much comforted among them. I preached in Pensford at eight; Paulton about one; and Coleford in the evening. Fri. 18. — I preached very quietly at the Devizes. Scarce one of the old persecutors is alive. Very few of them lived out half their days: Many were snatched away in an hour when they looked not for it. Fri. 25. — I went over to Kingswood again, and had much satisfaction with the children. On Sunday I talked with the elder children one by one, advising, them as each had need; and it was easy to perceive that God is again working in many of their hearts. Wed. 30. — I began visiting the society from house to house, taking them from west to east. This will undoubtedly be an heavy cross, no way pleasing to flesh and blood. But I already saw how unspeakably useful it will be to many souls. Mon . October 5. — I left Bristol, and going round by Shaftesbury, Salisbury, Winchester, and Portsmouth, on Saturday , 10, reached London. Mon. 12. — I began my little tour through Northampton shire. Wednesday , 14. A book was given me to write on, “The works of Mr. Thomson,” of whose poetical abilities I had always had a very low opinion: But, looking into one: of his tragedies, “Edward and Eleonora,” I was agreeably surprised. The sentiments are just and noble; the diction strong, smooth, and elegant; and the plot conducted with the utmost art, and wrought off in a most surprising manner. It is quite his masterpiece, and I really think might vie with any modern performance of the kind. Fri. 16. — I went round to Bedford. I was sorry to hear from Alderman Parker, that his son-in-law, who succeeded him in the Mayoralty, had broke through all the regulations which he had made, tolerating all the tippling, sabbath-breaking, etc., which Mr. P. had totally suppressed!
Thus showing to all the world, that he was not “under the law” either of God or man! Mon. 19. — I began my tour through Oxfordshire. Tuesday , 20. In the evening I preached at Witney, to a crowded congregation, and, at present, one of the liveliest in the kingdom. Afterwards I met the society, much alive to God, and growing both in grace and number. Wed. 21. — I conversed freely with some of the most amiable Christians I know. In the morning I met the select society, one-and-twenty in number, all, (it seemed,) or all but one rejoicing in the pure love of God. It is no wonder, if the influence of these should extend to the whole society, or even the whole town. Thur. 22. — I found another society at High-Wycomb, almost as earnests that at Witney. A large congregation was present at five in the morning, many of whom were athirst for full salvation. I talked with twelve of them, who seemed to have experienced it. This is genuine Christianity! Friday , 23. I preached at Chesham, and on Saturday returned to London. Mon. 26. — At twelve I set out in the stage coach, and in the evening came to Norwich. Tuesday , 27. Finding abundance of people were out of work, and, consequently, in the utmost want, (such a general decay of trade having hardly been known in the memory of man,) I enforced, in the evening, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” For many years I have not seen so large a congregation here, in the mornings as well as evenings. One reason of which may be this: Thousands of people, who, when they had fullness of bread, never considered whether they had any souls or not, now they are in want begin to think of God. Thursday , 29. I took an exact account of the society, considerably increased within this year. And there is reason to believe that many of the members are now a little established, and will no longer be driven to and fro, as reeds shaken with the wind. Friday , 30. I went to London, ten miles from Norwich, where there has been preaching for a year or two. The preaching house, at one, was thoroughly filled with serious and attentive hearers. So was the House at Norwich in the evening.
From all these blossoms, will there not be some fruit? Sat. 31. — A young man of good sense, and an unblamable character, gave me a strange account of what (he said) had happened to himself, and three other persons in the same house. As I knew they all feared God, I thought the matter deserved a farther examination. So in the afternoon I talked largely with them all. The sum of their account was thus: — “Near two years ago, Martin S—— and William J—— saw, in a dream, two or three times repeated to each of them, a person who told them there was a large treasure hid in such a spot three miles from Norwich, consisting of money and plate, buried in a chest, between six and eight feet deep. They did not much regard this, till each of them, when they were broad awake, saw an elderly man and woman standing by their bedside, who told them the same thing, and bade them go and dig it up, between eight and twelve at night. Soon after, they went; but, being afraid, took a third man with them. They began digging at eight, and after they had dug six feet, saw the top of a coffer, or chest. But presently it sunk down into the earth; and there appeared over the place a large globe of bright fire, which, after some time, rose higher and higher, till it was quite out of sight. Not long after, the man and woman appeared again, and said, ‘You spoiled all by bringing that man with you.’
From this time, both they and Sarah and Mary J——, who live in the same house with them, have heard, several times in a week, delightful music, for a quarter of an hour at a time. They often hear it before those persons appear; often when they do not appear.”
They asked me whether they were good or bad spirits; but I could not resolve them. Sun . November 1. — I administered the Lord’s Supper, as usual, to the society; and had, at least, fifty more communicants than this time last year. In the evening many hundreds went away, not being able to squeeze into the Room. For those that were within, it was a blessed season: God watered them with the dew of heaven; and so likewise at five in the morning. Even to part in this manner is sweet. But how much sweeter will it be to meet before the throne! Mon. 2. — No coach setting out hence today, I was obliged to take chaises to Bury. I preached to a little cold company, On the thirteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. This love is the very thing they want; but they did not like to be told so. But I could not help that: I must declare just what I find in the Book. Tues. 3. — I went on to Colchester. The congregation in the evening was little smaller than that at Norwich. The next evening I took an exact account of the society, a little increased since last November. But most of them were hard beset with poverty. So indeed they were ever since I knew them; but they are now in greater want than ever, through scarcity of business. Few of our societies are rich; but I know none in the kingdom so deplorably poor as this. Saturday , 7. I returned in the coach, with very sensible and agreeable company, to London. Sun. 8. — In discoursing on Psalm 15:1, I was led to speak more strongly and explicitly than I had done for a long time before, on the universal love of God. Perhaps in times past, from an earnest desire of living peaceably with all men, we have not declared, in this respect, the whole counsel of God. But since Mr. Hill and his allies have cut us off from this hope, and proclaimed an inexpiable war, we see it is our calling to go straight forward, declaring to all mankind that Christ tasted death for all, to cleanse them from all sin. Mon. 9. — I began to expound (chiefly in the mornings, as I did some years ago) that compendium of all the Holy Scriptures, the first Epistle of St. John. Fri. 13. — I went to Barnet, and found a large congregation, though it was a rainy and dark evening. Saturday , 14. I saw, for the first time, the chapel at Snowsfields full: A presage, I hope, of a greater work there than has been since the deadly breach was made. Tues. 17. — One was relating a remarkable story, which I thought worthy to be remembered. Two years ago, a gentleman of large fortune in Kent dreamed that he was walking through the churchyard, and saw a new monument with the following inscription: — HERE LIES THE BODY OF SAMUEL SAVAGE, ESQ., DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON SEPTEMBER ——. 1772; AGED ——.
He told his friends in the morning, and was much affected: But the impression soon wore off. But on that day he did depart; and a stone was erected with that very inscription.
A gentlewoman present added a relation equally surprising, which she received from the person’s own mouth: — “Mrs. B——, when about fourteen years of age, being at a boarding school, a mile or two from her father’s, dreamed she was on the top of the church-steeple, when a man came up, and threw her down to the roof of the church. Yet she seemed not much hurt, till he came to her again, and threw her to the bottom. She thought she looked hard at him, and said, ‘Now you have hurt me sadly, but I shall hurt you worse;’ and waked. A week after, she was to go to her father’s. She set out early in the morning. At the entrance of a little wood, she stopped, and doubted whether she should not go round, instead of through it. But, knowing no reason, she went straight through till she came to the other side. Just as she was going over the style, a man pulled her back by the hair. She immediately knew it was the same man whom she had seen in her dream. She fell on her knees, and begged him, ‘For God’s sake, do not hurt me any more.’ He put his hands round her neck, and squeezed her so, that she instantly lost her senses. He then stripped her, carried her a little way, and threw her into a ditch. “Meantime, her father’s servant coming to the school, and hearing she was gone without him, walked back. Coming to the style, he heard several groans, and looking about, saw many drops of blood.
He traced them to the ditch, whence the groans came. He lifted her up, not knowing her at all, as her face was covered with blood, carried her to a neighboring house, and, running to the village, quickly brought a Surgeon. She was just alive; but her throat was much hurt, so that she could not speak at all. “Just then a young man of the village was missing. Search being made, he was apprehended in an alehouse two miles off. He had all her clothes with him in a bag, which, he said, he found. It was three months before she was able to go abroad. He was arraigned at the Assizes. She knew him perfectly, and swore to the man. He was condemned, and soon after executed.” Mon. 23. — I opened the new House at Dorking, and was much comforted both this and the following evening. In returning to London, I read over Belisarius. The historical part is both affecting and instructive.
But his tedious detail of the duties of a King might very well be spared. Wed . December 2. — I preached at the new preaching-house, in the parish of Bromley. In speaking severally to the members of the society, I was surprised at the openness and artlessness of the people. Such I should never have expected to find within ten miles of London. Mon. 7. — I went to Canterbury, and on Tuesday to Dover, The raw, pert young men that lately came hither, (vulgarly, though very improperly, called students,) though they have left no stone unturned, have not been able to tear away one single member from our society. I preached here two evenings and two mornings, to a large and much affected congregation. Thur. 10. — I preached at Margate about one, and at Canterbury in the evening. Friday , 11. Passing through Sittingbourne, I found a congregation ready; so I gave them a short discourse, and went on to Chatham.
In this journey I read over Sir John Dalrymple’s “Memoirs of the Revolution.” He appears to be a man of strong understanding; and the book is wrote with great accuracy of language, (allowing for a few Scotticisms,) and intermixed with very sensible rejections. But I observe, 1. He believes just as much of the Bible as David Hume did. Hence he perpetually ascribes to enthusiasm whatever good men did from a strong conviction of duty. 2. He cordially believes that idle tale which King James published, concerning Father Huddleston’s giving King Charles extreme unction.
My eldest brother asked Lady Oglethorpe concerning this. “Sir,” said she, “I never left the room from the moment the King was taken ill till the breath went out of his body; and I aver, that neither Father Huddleston nor any Priest came into the room till his death.” 3. He much labors to excuse that monster of cruelty, Graham, of Claverhouse, afterwards, as a reward for his execrable villainies, created Lord Dundee. Such wanton barbarities were scarce ever heard of, as he practiced toward men, women, and children. Sir John himself says enough, in telling us his behavior to his own troops. “He had but one punishment for all faults, — death: And for a very moderate fault he would ride up to a young gentleman, and, without any trial or ceremony, shoot him through the head.” 4. He is not rightly informed concerning the manner of his death. I learned in Scotland, that the current tradition is this: — At the battle of Gallycrankie, being armed in steel from head to foot, he was brandishing this sword over his head, and swearing a broad oath, that before the sun went down, he would not leave an Englishman alive.
Just then a musket-ball struck him under the arm, at the joints of his armor. Is it enthusiasm to say, Thus the hand of God rewarded him according to his works? Mon. 14. — I read prayers and preached to a crowded congregation at Gravesend. The stream here spreads wide, but it is not deep. Many are drawn, but none converted, or even awakened. Such is the general method of God’s providence: Where all approve, few profit. Thur. 17. — In my way to Luton I read Mr. Hutcheson’s “Essay on the Passions.” He is a beautiful writer; but his scheme cannot stand, unless the Bible falls. I know both from Scripture, reason, and experience, that his picture of man is not drawn from the life. It is not true, that no man is capable of malice, or delight in giving pain; much less, that every man is virtuous, and remains so as long as he lives; nor does the Scripture allow that any action is good, which is done without any design to please God. Fri. 18. — I preached at Hertford. Last year there was a fair prospect there. But the servants of God quarreled among themselves, till they destroyed the whole work. So that not only the society is no more, but even the preaching, is discontinued. And hence those who had no religion before are now more hardened than ever. A more stupid and senseless mob I never saw, than that which flocked together in the evening. Yet they softened by degrees, so that at last all were quiet, and, as it were, attentive. Mon. 21. — I visited the sick in various parts of the town, but was surprised that they were so few. I hardly remember so healthy a winter in London. So wisely does God order all things that the poor may not utterly be destroyed by hunger and sickness together. Sun. 27. — I dined with one who, in the midst of plenty, is completely miserable, through “the spirit of bondage,” and, in particular, through the fear of death. This came upon him not by any outward means, but the immediate touch of God’s Spirit. It will be well if he does not shake it off till he receives “the Spirit of adoption.” Thur. 31. — Being greatly embarrassed by the necessities of the poor, we spread all our wants before God in solemn prayer; believing that he would sooner “make windows in heaven” than suffer his truth to fail. Fri . January 1, 1773. — We (as usual) solemnly renewed our covenant with God. Monday , 4. I began revising my letters and papers. One of them was wrote above an hundred and fifty years ago, (in 1619,) I suppose by my grandfather’s father, to her he was to marry in a few days. Several were wrote by my brothers and me when at school, many while we were at the University; abundantly testifying (if it be worth knowing) what was our aim from our youth up. Thur. 7. — I called where a child was dying of the smallpox, and rescued her from death and the Doctors, who were giving her saffron, etc., to drive them out! Can any one be so ignorant still?
We observed Friday , the 8th, as a day of fasting and prayer, on account of the general want of trade and scarcity of provisions. The next week I made an end of revising my letters; and from those I had both wrote and received, I could not but make one remark, — that for above these forty years, of all the friends who were once the most closely united; and afterwards separated from me, every one had separated himself! He left me, not I him. And from both mine and their own letters, the steps whereby they did this are clear and undeniable. Mon. 18. — In my scraps of time this week, I read over “An Account of the European Settlements in America.” But some part of it I cannot receive; I mean, touching the manners of the native Americans: If it be true, that “they all nearly resemble each other,” then, from the knowledge I have of not a few American nations, I must judge a great part of that account to be pure, absolute, romance; and I suspect it to have been transcribed from some papers which I myself read before I embarked for America. Thur. 28. — I buried the remains of poor E. T., of whom, ever since she died , her husband speaks as a most excellent woman, and a most affectionate wife! I have known many such instances: Many couples, who while they lived together spoke of each other as mere sinners; but as soon as either was dead, the survivor spake of the deceased as the best creature in the world. Tues . February 2. — Captain Webb preached at the Foundery. I admire the wisdom of God, in still raising up various Preachers, according to the various tastes of men. The Captain is all life and fire: Therefore, although he is not deep or regular, yet many who would not hear a better Preacher flock together to hear him. And many are convinced under his preaching; some justified; a few built up in love. Thur. 4. — I had much conversation with T. M. He said, his printing that wretched book against me, was owing to the pleasing instances of Mr. Wh. and Lady H. I cannot tell how to believe it; but if it was, they might have been better employed.
On Monday , 15, and the following days, I took a little journey into Surrey.
On the road I read Bonavici’s history of the late war in Italy. I think the late revolution at Genoa, which he recites at large, is altogether as strange as that of Massaniello at Naples. That an unarmed rabble, without any head, should drive a disciplined army, under an experienced General, who were in possession of the arms, the forts, and the whole city, not only out of the city and forts, but out of the whole territory of Genoa, is a plain proof that God rules in all the kingdoms of the earth, and executes his will by whomsoever it pleaseth him. Wed. 24. — A very remarkable paragraph was published in one of the Edinburgh Papers: — “We learn from the Rosses, in the county of Donegal, in Ireland, that a Danish man-of-war, called the North Crown, commanded by the Baron D’Ulfeld, arrived off those islands, from a voyage of discovery towards the Pole. They sailed from Bornholme, in Norway, the 1st of June, 1769, with stores for eighteen months, and some able astronomers, landscape-painters, and every apparatus suitable to the design; and steering N. by E. half E., for thirty-seven days, with a fair wind and open sea, discovered a large rocky island, which having doubled, they proceeded W. N. W., till the 17th of September, where they found themselves in a strong current, between two high lands, seemingly about ten leagues distant, which carried them at a prodigious rate for three days, when, to their great joy, they saw the main land of America, that lies between the most westerly part of the settlements on Hudson’s River and California. Here they anchored, in a fine cove, and found abundance of wild deer and buffaloes, with which they victualled; and sailing southward, in three months got into the Pacific Ocean, and returned by the Straits of Le Maine and the West India Islands. They have brought many curiosities, particularly a prodigious bird, called a contor, or contose, above six feet in height, of the eagle kind, whose wings, expanded, measure twenty-two feet four inches. After bartering some skins with the country people, for meal, rum, and other necessaries, they sailed for Bremen, to wait the thaw, previous to their return to Copenhagen. “February 24, 1773.”
If this account is true, one would hope not only the King of Denmark will avail himself of so important a discovery. Wed . March 3. — I was invited to see Mr. Cox’s celebrated museum. I cannot say, my expectation was disappointed; for I expected nothing, and I found nothing but a heap of pretty, glittering trifles, prepared at an immense expense: For what end? To please the fancy of fine ladies and pretty gentlemen. Sun. 7. — In the evening I set out for Bristol, and after spending a few days there, on Monday , 15, went to Stroud, and on Tuesday , 16, to Worcester. Here I inquired concerning the “intelligence sent Mr. Hill from Worcester,” (as he says in his warm book,) “of the shocking behavior of some that professed to be perfect.” It was supposed, that intelligence came from Mr. Skinner, a dear lover of me and all connected with me. The truth is, one of the society, after having left it, behaved extremely ill; but none who professed to love God with all their heart have done any thing contrary to that profession.
I came to Liverpool on Saturday , 20. Monday , 22. The Captain was in haste to get my chaise on board. About eleven we went on board ourselves: And before one, we ran on a sandbank. So, the ship being fast, we went ashore again. Tuesday , 23. We embarked again on board the Freemason, with six other cabin passengers, four gentlemen, and two gentlewomen, one of whom was daily afraid of falling in labor. This gave me several opportunities of talking closely and of praying with her and her companion. We did not come abreast of Holyhead till Thursday morning,.
We had then a strong gale, and a rolling sea. Most of the passengers were sick enough, but it did not affect me at all. In the evening the gentlemen desired I would pray with them; so we concluded the day in a solemn and comfortable manner. Fri. 26. — We landed at Dunleary, and hired a coach to Dublin. Saturday , 27. I buried the remains of Richard Walsh. For several months, he had been quite disordered; but for some time before his death, his senses returned, and he cried rejoicing and praising God.
On Monday and Tuesday I examined the society, a little lessened, but now well united together. I was a little surprised to find the Commissioners of the Customs would not permit my chaise to be landed, because, they said, the Captain of a packet-boat had no right to bring over goods. Poor pretense! However, I was more obliged to them than I then knew; for had it come on shore, it would have been utterly spoiled. Mon . April 5. — Having hired such a chaise as I could, I drove to Edinderry. Tuesday , 6. I went on to Tyrrel’s Pass. Thursday , 8. I preached in the Court-House at Molingar in the morning, and in that at Longford in the evening, and again at eight in the morning, (being Good-Friday ,) and then went on to Athlone.
I believe all the Officers, with a whole army of soldiers, were present in the evening: So were most of them the next. I would fain have preached abroad On Easter Day , but the rain would not permit. However, the whole congregation in the House behaved with so remarkable a seriousness, that it was good to be there; and I could not be sorry, that we were driven into it. Mon. 12. — I preached at Ballinasloe and Aghrim. Tuesday , 13. As I went into Eyre-Court, the street was full of people, who gave us a loud huzza when we passed through the market-place. I preached in the open air, to a multitude of people, all civil, and most of them serious. A great awakening has been in this town lately; and many of the most notorious and profligate sinners are entirely changed, and are happy witnesses of the gospel salvation.
I preached at Birr in the evening; Wednesday , 14, at Ferbatin and Coolylough; Thursday , 15, in the church at Clare, one of the neatest I have seen in the kingdom; in the evening I preached at Tullamore. I believe all the troopers were present; none of whom was more affected than one who had been a sinner far above his fellows. He was present again at five in the morning, and seemed fully resolved to forsake all sin. Fri. 16. — In the evening, and at ten on Saturday , I preached at Portarlington. On Saturday evening at Mount-Mellick, and on Sunday , 18, at nine, and again at twelve, to an artless, earnest, serious people. In the afternoon I went on to Montrath. The rain constrained me to preach in the house; and God was present, both to wound and to heal. Mon. 19. — In the evening I preached in the new House at Kilkenny, to a numerous congregation, almost as genteel and full as unawakened as that at Portarlington. The next evening it was considerably larger, and many seemed to be deeply affected. Even at this fountain-head of wickedness, I trust, God will always have a seed to serve him. Wed. 21. — Some applied to the Quakers at Enniscorthy, for the use of their meeting-house. They refused: So I stood at Hugh M’Laughlin’s door, and both those within and without could hear. I was in doubt which way to take from hence, one of my chaise-horses being much tired; till a gentleman of Ballyrane, near Wexford, told me, if I would preach at his house the next evening, he would meet me on the road with a fresh horse.
So I complied, though it was some miles out of the way. Accordingly, he met us on Thursday , 22, six or seven miles from Enniscorthy. But we found his mare would not draw at all: So we were forced to go on as we could. I preached in the evening at Ballyrane, to a deeply serious congregation. Early in the morning we set out, and, at two in the afternoon, came to Ballibac-Ferry.
A troop of sailors ran down to the shore, to see the chaise put into the boat. I was walking at a small distance, when I heard them cry out, “Avast! Avast! The coach is overset into the river.” I thought, “However, it is well my bags are on shore; so my papers are not spoiled.” In less than an hour they fished up the chaise, and got it safe into the boat. As it would not hold us all, I got in myself, leaving the horses to come after. At half-hour after three I came to Passage. Finding no post-chaise could be had, and having no time to spare, I walked on (six or seven miles) to Waterford, and began preaching without delay, on, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Sat. 24. — I had much satisfaction, both morning and evening, in the number and seriousness of the congregation. Sunday , 25. Word being brought me that the Mayor was willing I should preach in the Bowling-Green, I went thither in the evening. An huge multitude was quickly gathered together. I preached on, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Some attempted to disturb, but without success; the bulk of the congregation being deeply attentive. But as I was drawing to a conclusion, some of the Papists set on their work in earnest. They knocked down John Christian, with two or three more, who endeavored to quiet them; and then began to roar like the waves of the sea: But hitherto could they come, and no farther. Some gentlemen, who stood near me, rushed into the midst of them; and, after bestowing some heavy blows, seized the ringleader, and delivered him to the Constable; and one of them undertook to conduct me home. So few received any hurt, but the rioters themselves; which, I trust, will make them more peaceable for the time to come. Mon. 26. — I went on to Cloheen; Tuesday , to Cork; Wednesday , to Bandon. The wind being boisterous, I preached in the House, well filled with serious hearers. Even the fashionable ones, who were not a few, were uncommonly attentive. So they were the next evening. Such congregations had not been seen in Bandon for twenty years; and the society was near doubled within a twelvemonth. So had God blessed the labors of William Collins! — Another proof that, at present, a prophet is not without honor, even in his own country. Fri. 30. — We had a solemn watch-night at Cork. I believe the confidence of many was shaken, while I was enforcing, “Though I had all faith, so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.” An hard saying! but yet absolutely necessary to be insisted on, particularly among the people called Methodists. Otherwise, how many of them will build on the sand, on an unloving, unholy faith! Tues . May 4. — I left Cork with much satisfaction, having seen the fruit of my labor. In the afternoon we had a quick succession of piercing wind, rain, hail, and snow; and in a short time after, loud thunder, with a few flashes of lighting. We lodged at Charleville; and on Wednesday , 5, after an easy ride, dined at Limerick.
Here I found, as in time past, a settled, serious people, but in danger of sinking into formality. Thursday , 6. I hired a post-chaise for Balligarane, the man promising to go two miles and a half an hour: But he could not perform it. In about five hours he could not drive quite twelve miles. I then took horse, and, after riding two miles, came just at the time I had appointed. In the evening I preached at Newmarket. Papists and Protestants flocked together from every side; and, for the time, they appeared to be greatly affected: But who will endure to the end? Fri. 7. — I returned to Limerick, but could not preach abroad, because of the severe weather. Monday , 10. After the morning preaching, I met the select society. All of these once experienced salvation from sin: Some enjoy it still; but the greater part are, more or less, shorn of their strength; not without hope of recovering it. Tues. 11. — The north wind was so high and sharp, that it was thought best I should preach within. But, had I known what a congregation was assembled in the barracks, I should have preached there at all events. I am afraid Satan made us consult our own ease more than the glory of God. Wed. 12. — I took my leave of this affectionate people, and in the evening preached at Clare. What a contrast between Clare and Limerick! — A little ruinous town; no inn that could afford us either meat, or drink, or comfortable lodging; no society, and next to no congregation, till the soldiers came. After preaching, I spent an agreeable hour with the Commanding Officer; and, having procured a tolerable lodging in the barracks, slept in peace. Thur. 13. — We went on, through a most dreary country, to Galway; where, at the late survey, there were twenty thousand Papists, and five hundred Protestants. But which of them are Christians, have the mind that was in Christ and walk as he walked? And without this, how little does it avail, whether they are called Protestants or Papists! At six I preached in the Court-House, to a large congregation, who all behaved well. Friday , 14.
In the evening I preached at Ballinrobe; and on Saturday went on to Castlebar. Entering the town, I was struck with the sight of the Charter-School; — no gate to the courtyard, a large chasm in the wall, heaps of rubbish before the house-door, broken windows in abundance; the whole a picture of slothfulness, nastiness, and desolation! I did not dream there were any inhabitants, till, the next day, I saw about forty boys and girls walking from church. As I was just behind them, I could not but observe, 1. That there was neither Master nor Mistress, though, it seems, they were both well: 2. That both boys and girls were completely dirty: 3. That none of them seemed to have any garters on, their stockings hanging about their heels: 4. That in the heels, even of many of the girls’ stockings, were holes larger than a crown-piece. I gave a plain account of these things to the Trustees of the Charter-School in Dublin: Whether they are altered or no, I cannot tell. Sun. 16. — I preached in the Grand-Jury room, morning and evening, to a lovely congregation, whose hearts seemed to be as melting wax. Monday , 17. I spent a comfortable afternoon with the amiable family at Rehins. I know not that I could bear many such days: Strong cordials must not be taken too often. Tuesday , 18. I went on to Tubbercarragh, and on Wednesday morning to Sligo. Here I expected little comfort, as having little expectation of doing any good; and the less, as some strollers were acting a play over the market-house where I was to preach. At seven I began in our own Room. Many of the soldiers, with some Officers, were present; and the whole congregation, rich and poor, were so remarkably serious, that I had a faint hope we shall see some fruit, even in cold, barren Sligo. Thur. 20. — We had a large congregation of soldiers, as well as townsmen, at five in the morning. In the evening I preached in the market-house to such a congregation as has not been seen here for many years. Surely God is giving yet another call to the poor, stupid sinners of Sligo. Fri. 21. — I went on to Manorhamilton, and preached to a large and serious congregation. Saturday , 22. In our way to Swadlingbar, the hinder axle-tree of the chaise broke in two. I borrowed an horse, and rode on till we overtook one of our friends who was a coach maker. By his help the damage was repaired, and things made, at least, as good as they were before.
In the evening we had a large congregation of (mostly) experienced Christians, and a larger at eight in the morning on Sunday ; but the grand concourse was in the evening; when the hearts of the people were as wax melting before the fire, and I trust many received the stamp of love. Mon. 24. — About noon I preached to just such another congregation at Tonnylommon. Afterwards I talked with four men and eight women, who believe they are saved from sin. Their words were in wisdom as well as in power: I think none who heard them could doubt of their testimony.
One of my horses having a shoe loose, I borrowed Mr. Watson’s horse, and left him with the chaise. When we came near Enniskillen, I desired two only to ride with me, and the rest of our friends to keep at a distance.
Some masons were at work on the first bridge, who gave us some coarse words. We had abundance more as we rode through the town; but many soldiers being in the street, and taking knowledge of me in a respectful manner, the mob shrunk back. An hour after, Mr. Watson came in the chaise. Before he came to the bridge, many ran together, and began to throw whatever came next to hand. The bridge itself they had blocked up with large stones, so that a carriage could not pass; but an old man cried out, “Is this the way you use strangers?” and rolled away the stones. The mob quickly rewarded him by plastering him over with mortar from head to foot. They then fell upon the carriage, which they cut with stones in several places, and well nigh covered with dirt and mortar. From one end of the town to the other, the stones flew thick about the coachman’s head.
Some of them were two or three pounds’ weight, which they threw with all their might. If but one of them had struck Him, it would have effectually prevented him from driving any farther; and then, doubtless, they would have given an account of the chaise and horses.
I preached at Sydore in the evening and morning, and then set out for Roosky. The road lay not far from Enniskillen. When we came pretty near the town, both men and women saluted us, first with bad words, and then with dirt and stones. My horses soon left them behind; but not till they had broke one of the windows, the glass of which came pouring in upon me; but did me no further hurt.
About an hour after, John Smith came to Enniskillen. The masons on the bridge preparing for battle, he was afraid his horse would leap with him into the river; and therefore chose to alight. Immediately they poured in upon him a whole shower of dirt and stones. However, he made his way through the town, though pretty much daubed and bruised.
At Roosky, Mr. Macburney, one of our Preachers, gave me the following account: — On Thursday , March 4, he went to Mr. Perry’s, a quarter of a mile from Achalun, a village six or seven miles from Enniskillen. In the evening he was singing an hymn, when a large mob beset the house. Six of these rushed in, armed with clubs, and immediately fell upon the people; but many of them joining together thrust them out, and shut and fastened the door. On this they broke every pane of glass in the windows, and threw in a large quantity of stones. They then broke into the house, through a weak part of the wall, and hauling out both men and women, beat them without mercy. Soon after, they dragged out Mr. Macburney, whom M—— N—— instantly knocked down. They continued beating him on the head and breast, while he lay senseless on the ground. Yet, after a while, coming a little to himself, he got up; but not being quite sensible, staggered, and fell again. Then one of them set his foot upon his face, swearing he would tread the Holy Ghost out of him. Another ran his stick into his mouth. As soon as he could speak, he said, “May God forgive you! I do.” They then set him on his horse, and M—— N—— got up behind, and forced him to gallop down the rocky mountain to the town.
There they kept him, till a gentleman took him out of their hands, and entertained and lodged him in the most hospitable manner. But his bruises, on the head and breast in particular, would not suffer him to sleep; and ever since he has felt such inward pain and weakness, that it is a wonder he is still alive.
One of those that was much abused was Mr. Mitchell, who lives about a mile from the town. On Saturday the mob came to his house, about eight in the evening, swearing they would have his father’s heart’s blood. They threw many large stones at the windows, and broke a great hole in the door. Through this hole, Mr. Mitchell, seeing no other remedy, fired twice with small shot. At the second shot, they ran away with all speed, no man looking behind him.
Mr. Perry and Mitchell applying to Mr. Irwin, of Green-Hill, he granted warrants for six of the rioters; and the next week for fifteen more; but the Constable would not take them; and the next week, at the Assizes held in Enniskillen, the Grand-Jury threw out all the bills! Therefore, it is to these honorable gentlemen I am obliged for all the insults and outrage I met with.
But, meantime, where is liberty, civil or religious? Does it exist in Achalun or Enniskillen? Wed. 26. — We set out at half-hour past two, and reached Omagh a little before eleven. Finding I could not reach Ding-Bridge by two o’clock in the chaise, I rode forward with all the speed I could; but the horse dropping a shoe, I was so retarded that I did not reach the place till between three and four. I found the Minister and the people waiting; but the church would not near contain them; so I preached near it to a mixed multitude of rich and poor, Churchmen, Papists, and Presbyterians. I was a little weary and faint when I came, the sun having shone exceeding hot; but the number and behavior of the congregation made me forget my own weariness.
Having a good horse, I rode to the place where I was to lodge (two miles off) in about an hour. After tea, they told me another congregation was waiting; so I began preaching without delay; and warned them of the madness which was spreading among them, namely, leaving the church.
Most of them, I believe, will take the advice; I hope all that are of our society. The family here put me in mind of that at Rehins: They breathe the same spirit. Thur. 27. — I went on to Londonderry. Friday , 28. I was invited to see the Bishop’s palace, (a grand and beautiful structure,) and his garden, newly laid, and exceeding pleasant. Here I innocently gave some offense to the gardener, by mentioning the English of a Greek word. But he set us right, warmly assuring us that the English name of the flower is not Crane’s bill, but Geranium! Sat. 29. — We walked out to one of the pleasantest spots which I have seen in the kingdom. It is a garden laid out on the steep side of an hill; one shady walk of which, in particular, commands all the vale and the hill beyond. The owner finished his walks, — and died.
In the evening I preached to a serious, artless congregation, at Fahun, seven miles west from Derry. On Whit-Sunday ,MAY 30, I dined at Mr. S.’s, a sensible, friendly man; where were five Clergymen besides me; all of whom attended the preaching every evening. One would have imagined, from this friendliness of the Clergy, joined with the good will both of the Bishop and Dean, the society would increase swiftly. But, in fact, it does not increase at all; it stands just as it was two years ago: So little does the favor of man advance the work of God! Mon. 31. — At noon I preached at Muff, a town five miles northeast of Derry. In returning, the wind being in our back, and the sun in our face, it was intensely hot. But what signifies either pain or pleasure, that passes away like a dream? Tues . June 1. — I preached at the New-Buildings, and spent an hour with the society. I found them as lively as ever, and more exactly regular than any society in these parts. Wed. 2. — I took my leave of this pleasant city, and agreeable people.
When we came to the foot of the mountain beyond Dungevan, my horses did not choose to draw me any farther; so I walked on seven or eight miles, and ordered them to follow me to Cookstown. Thur. 3. — At noon I preached to a large congregation on the Green, at Castle-Caulfield, and in the evening near the barracks at Charlemount. Friday , 4. We went on to Armagh. The evening congregation in the avenue was very large, and exceeding serious; rich and poor kneeling down on the grass when I went to prayer. Sat. 5. — I walked over the fine improvements which the Primate has made near his lodge. The ground is hardly two miles round; but it is laid out to the best advantage. Part is garden, part meadow, part planted with shrubs or trees of various kinds. The house is built of fine white stone, and is fit for a nobleman. He intends to carry away a bog which lies behind it, and have a large piece of water in its place. He intends also to improve the town greatly, and to execute many other grand designs; I doubt too many even for a Primate of Ireland, that is above seventy years old!
June 6. — (Being Trinity-Sunday .) At nine I explained the great text of St. John to an exceeding large congregation. We had at church an anthem, which I know not that I have heard these fifty years, “Praise the Lord, O my soul;” and sung in a manner that would not have disgraced any of our English Cathedrals. The congregation in the evening was the largest I have seen in Ulster; and I believe, for the present, all were convinced that nothing will avail, without humble, gentle, patient love.
On Monday, Tuesday , and Wednesday , I preached at Hamilton’s Bahn, Clanmain, Legall, the Grange, and Cockhill. Thursday , 10. I rode to Derry-Anvil; (where are) some of the liveliest Christians I have seen in the kingdom. Eight of them I examined closely, who testified that they had never lost the witness, nor felt any decay, since the hour they were perfected in love.
On Friday and Saturday I preached at Portadown, Killmararty, Dawson’s Grove, and Tanderagee. Sunday , 13. I preached at nine with great enlargement of heart. At half-hour past eleven the Church Service began.
The Curate read Prayers exceeding well, and the Rector preached with uncommon earnestness. But what I most admired was, 1. The cleanness of the church, equal to any I have seen in England. 2. The serious behavior of the whole congregation. And, 3. The excellent singing by forty or fifty voices, half men and half women. I have heard nothing like it in any church since I came into the kingdom.
The Rector inviting me to dinner, I spent an agreeable hour with him and his Curate. The congregation at six was exceeding numerous, and exceeding serious. We concluded the day with the societies, gathered from all parts:
And great was our rejoicing. Many were filled with consolation, and many feeble hands were strengthened. Mon. 14. — After preaching at Lurgan, I inquired of Mr. Miller, whether he had any thoughts of perfecting his speaking statue, which had so long lain by. He said he had altered his design; that he intended, if he had life and health, to make two, which would not only speak, but sing hymns alternately with an articulate voice; that he had made a trial, and it answered well. But he could not tell when he should finish it, as he had much business of other kinds, and could only give his leisure hours to this.
I preached in the evening at Lisburn. All the time I could spare here was taken up by poor patients. I generally asked, “What remedies have you used?” and was not a little surprised. What has fashion to do with physic?
Why, (in Ireland, at least,) almost as much as with head-dress. Blisters, for anything or nothing, were all the fashion when I was in Ireland last. Now the grand fashionable medicine for twenty diseases two would imagine it? is mercury sublimate! Why is it not an halter, or a pistol? They would cure a little more speedily. Tues. 15. — I went to dreary Newtown. This place always makes me pensive. Even in Ireland I hardly see anywhere such heaps of ruins as here; and they are considerably increased since I was here before. What a shadow is human greatness!
When I came to Belfast, I learned the real cause of the late insurrections in this neighborhood. Lord Donegal, the proprietor of almost the whole country, came hither to give his tenants new leases. But when they came, they found two merchants of the town had taken their farms over their heads; so that multitudes of them, with their wives and children, were turned out to the wide world. It is no wonder that, as their lives were now bitter to them, they should fly out as they did. It is rather a wonder that they did not go much farther. And if they had, who would have been most in fault? Those who were without home, without money, without food for themselves and families? Or those who drove them to this extremity?
In the evening I preached to a numerous congregation in the new market-house, but trifling enough. Yet by degrees they sunk into seriousness. The greater part of them came again in the morning; and their behavior was then remarkably decent. Thur. 17. — There was a lovely congregation at the Shire-Hall in Carrickfergus, very large and very serious. Nor was it much smaller at five in the morning. I added several to the society, and could not but hope that there was seed sown here that will never be rooted up. Fri. 18. — I went to Ballymena, and read a strange tract, that professes to discover “the inmost recesses of Freemasonry;” said to be “translated from the French original, lately published at Berlin.” I incline to think it is a genuine account. Only if it be, I wonder the author is suffered to live. If it be, what an amazing banter upon all mankind is Freemasonry! And what a secret is it which so many concur to keep! From what motive? Through fear, — or shame to own it?
In the evening the Minister offered me the use of the church. I feared it would not contain the people, who ran together so eagerly, that it was with difficulty I could get to the door. But after we had stowed them close together, almost all could get in. I dealt exceeding plainly with them, and they had ears to hear. Sat. 19. — I declared to a loving people at Ballinderry, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Many of them experienced this; and many felt their wants; several children in particular. In the evening I preached at Lisburn, and on the two following days. Monday , 21. I met a gentleman, who looked hard, and asked me if I did not know him. Indeed I did not, though I had been at his house some years ago, in Londonderry. Mr. Samson was then one of the Ministers there, — a lively, sensible man; very fat, and of a fresh, ruddy complexion. But he was now, after a long and severe melancholy, so thin, pale, and wan, that I did not recollect one feature of his face. I spent an hour with him very agreeably. He did not show the least touch of wildness, but calm, rational seriousness; so that I could not but believe, it is good for him that he has seen affliction. Wed. 23. — I preached at Drumbanahur and Newry. Thursday , 24. Some friends from Dublin met us at Drogheda. In the evening we walked to see the place where King William passed the Boyne. It was almost a desperate attempt, considering the depth of the river, and the steepness of the banks; but God was on his side. Near the place all handsome obelisk is erected, with an inscription, giving a brief account of that memorable action. Fri. 25. — I went on to Dublin. I left three hundred and seventy-eight members in the society, and found four hundred and twelve, many of whom were truly alive to God. Saturday ,JULY 3. I sent to the Commanding Officer, to desire leave to preach in the barracks; but he replied, he would have no innovations. No: Whoredom, drunkenness, cursing and swearing, for ever! Mon. 5. — About eleven we crossed Dublin bar, and were at Hoy-Lake the next afternoon. This was the first night I ever lay awake in my life, though I was at ease in body and mind. I believe few can say this: In seventy years I never lost one night’s sleep!
In my passage I read Dr. Leland’s “History of Ireland:” — A fine writer, but unreasonably partial. I can easily believe that the Irish were originally Tartars or Scythians, though calling at Spain in their way; but not that they were a jot less barbarous than their descendants in Scotland; or that ever they were a civilized nation, till they were civilized by the English; much less, that Ireland was, in the seventh or eighth century, the grand seat of learning; that it had many famous Colleges, in one of which only, Armagh, there were seven thousand students. All this, with St. Patrick’s converting thirty thousand at one sermon, I rank with the history of “Bel and the Dragon.”
I went by moderate stages, from Liverpool to Madeley; where I arrived on Friday , 9. The next morning we went to see the effects of the late earthquake: Such it undoubtedly was. On Monday , 27, at four in the morning, a rumbling noise was heard, accompanied with sudden gusts of wind, and wavings of the ground. Presently the earthquake followed, which only shook the farmer’s house, and removed it entire about a yard; but carried the barn about fifteen yards, and then swallowed it up in a vast chasm; tore the ground into numberless chasms, large and small; in the large, threw up mounts, fifteen or twenty feet high; carried an hedge, with two oaks, above forty feet, and left them in their natural position. It then moved under the bed of the river; which, making more resistance, received a ruder shock, being shattered in pieces, and heaved up about thirty feet from its foundations. By throwing this, and many oaks, into its channel, the Seven was quite stopped up, and constrained to flow backward till, with incredible fury, it wrought itself new channel. Such a scene of desolation I never saw. Will none tremble when God thus terribly shakes the earth?
In the evening I preached under a spreading oak, in Madeley-Wood; Sunday , 11, morning and afternoon, in the church. In the evening I preached to the largest congregation of all, near the market-house, at Broseley. I came back just by the famous well; but it burns no more. It ceased from the time a coal-pit was sunk near it, which drew off the sulfurous vapor. Mon. 12. — I preached at Wolverhampton and Birmingham. In my journey from Liverpool, I read Dr. Byrom’s Poems. He has all the wit and humor of Dr. Swift, together with much more learning, a deep and strong understanding, and, above all, a serious vein of piety. A few things in him I particularly remarked: 1. The first is concerning the patron of England; and I think there can be no reasonable doubt of the truth of his conjecture, that Georgius is a mistake for Gregorius; that the real patron of England is St. Gregory; (who sent Austin, the Monk, to convert England;) and that St. George (whom no one knows) came in by a mere blunder: 2. His criticisms on Homer and Horace seem to be well grounded. Very probably the cuneV, mentioned by Homer; were not dogs, but attendants; and without doubt ourhaV means, not mules, but the outguards of the camp.
It seems, that ode in Horace ought to be read, — Sume, Mæcenas, cyathos amici Sospitis. Cantum et vigiles lucernas Perfer in lucem.
In the Art of Poetry he would read, Unumque prematur in annum.
Lib. 1. Ode 9. For Campus et areæ, Read Cantus et aleæ.
Lib. 3. Ode 29. For Tum me biremis praesidio scaphæ aura feret:
Read Cum me — Aura ferat.
Lib. 3. Ode 23. Read Thure placaris, et horna.
Fruge Lares, avidasque Parcas. And Lib. 1. Ode. 20. Read Vile potabo.
A few things in the second volume are taken from Jacob Behmen; to whom I object, not only that he is obscure; (although even this is an inexcusable fault in a writer on practical religion;) not only that his whole hypothesis is unproved, wholly unsupported either by Scripture or reason; but that the ingenious madman over and over contradicts Christian experience, reason, Scripture, and himself.
But, setting these things aside, we have some of the finest sentiments that ever appeared in the English tongue; some of the noblest truths, expressed with the utmost energy of language, and the strongest colors of poetry: So that, upon the whole, I trust this publication will much advance the cause of God, and of true religion. Tues. 13. — I preached at Wednesbury; Wednesday , 14, at Dudley and Birmingham. Thursday , 15. I went on to Witney, and had the satisfaction to find that the work of God was still increasing. In the evening I preached at the east end of the town, to a numerous and attentive congregation. In the morning I met the select society, full of faith and love; although the greater part of them are young, some little more than children. At six I preached at the west end of the town, near Mr. Bolton’s door. After preaching, I had a pleasant journey to Wheatley, and the next day to London.
In this journey I read over that strange book, “The Life of Sextus Quintus;” an hog-driver at first, then a Monk, a Priest, a Bishop, a Cardinal, a Pope. He was certainly as great a genius, in his way, as any that ever lived. He did great things, and designed far greater; but death prevented the execution. And he had many excellent qualities; but was full as far from being a Christian, as Henry VIII., or Oliver Cromwell. Wed. 21. — We had our Quarterly Meeting at London; at which I was surprised to find, that our income does not yet answer our expense. We were again near two hundred pounds bad. My private account I find still worse. I have labored as much as many writers; and all my labor has gained me, in seventy years, a debt of five or six hundred pounds. Sunday , 25, was a day of strong consolation, particularly at Spitalfields.
At five I preached in Moorfields, to (it was supposed) the largest congregation that ever assembled there. But my voice was so strengthened, that those who were farthest off could hear perfectly well. So the season for field-preaching is not yet over. It cannot, while so many are in their sins and in their blood. Tues . August 3 . — Our Conference began. I preached mornings as well as evenings; and it was all one. I found myself just as strong as if I had preached but once a day. Sun. 8. — At night I set out in the machine, and on Monday reached Bristol. In the way I looked over Mr.——’s Dissertations. I was surprised to find him a thorough convert of Mr. Stonehouse’s, both as to the pre-existence of souls, and the non-eternity of hell. But he is far more merciful than Mr. Stonehouse. He allows it to last (not five millions, but) only thirty thousand years!
It would he excusable, if these menders of the Bible would offer their hypotheses modestly. But one cannot excuse them when they not only obtrude their novel scheme with the utmost confidence, but even ridicule that scriptural one which always was, and is now, held by men of the greatest learning and piety in the world. Hereby they promote the cause of infidelity more effectually than either Hume or Voltaire. Thur. 12. — I set out for Cornwall; and the next day we came to Collumpton. For five or six days, I think, the weather has been as hot as it is in Georgia. After preaching, I went on to Exeter with Ralph Mather, then an humble, scriptural Christian. Saturday , 14. I went on to Plymouth-Dock, and in the evening preached in the Square. Sunday , 15.
As I could not sleep (an uncommon thing, with me) till near two in the morning, my companion was afraid I should not be able to go through the labor of the day; but I knew I did not go a warfare at my own cost. At seven I preached in Mr. Kinsman’s preaching house, on, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate;” and I think many received the truth in the love thereof.
Between one and two I preached in the Tabernacle at Plymouth; and in the evening declared in the Square, to a multitude of people, the nature of that love, without which all we say, know, believe, do, and suffer, profits nothing. Mon. 16. — In the evening I preached at St. Austle; Tuesday , 17, in the Coinage-Hall at Truro; at six, in the main street at Helstone. How changed is this town, since a Methodist Preacher could not ride through it without hazard of his life! Wed. 18. — I preached in the Town-Hall in Penzance. It was soon filled from end to end; and it was filled with the power of God. One would have thought every soul must have bowed down before Him. In the evening I preached at St. Just; Friday , 20, in Penzance and Marazion; and in the evening in the market place at St. Ives, to the largest congregation I have yet seen in Cornwall. Sat. 21. — I preached in Illogan and at Redruth; Sunday , 22, in St. Agnes Church-town, at eight; about one at Redruth; and at five, in the amphitheater at Gwennap. The people both filled it, and covered the ground round about, to a considerable distance. So that, supposing the space to be four-score yards square, and to contain five persons in a square yard, there must be above two-and-thirty thousand people; the largest assembly I ever preached to. Yet I found, upon inquiry, all could hear, even to the skirts of the congregation! Perhaps the first time that a man of seventy had been heard by thirty thousand persons at once!
Hence I went by Cubert, Port-Isaac, Camelford, and Launceston, to Tiverton. Saturday , 28. I returned to Bristol. Fri . September 3. — I went over to Kingswood, and inquired into the ground of many heavy charges, which had been confidently advanced against the management there. One article was true, and no more. And this fault is now amended.
I waited a few days before I set down what has lately occurred among the children here. From the time God visited them last, several of them retained a measure of the fear of God. But they grew colder and colder, till Ralph Mather met them in the latter end of August. Several then resolved to meet in class again, and appeared to have good desires. On Saturday , September 4, he talked with three of them, about four in the afternoon.
These freely confessed their besetting sins, and appeared to be greatly humbled. At five all the children met in the school. During an exhortation then given, first one, then two or three were much affected. Afterwards two more were taken apart, who were soon deeply distressed; and one of them, (James Whitestone,) in less than half an hour, found a clear sense of the love of God. Near seven, they came down (to) the boys in the school; and Mr. Mather asked, “Which of you will serve God?” They all seemed to be thunderstruck, and ten or twelve fell down upon their knees. Mr. Mather prayed, and then James Whitestone. Immediately one and another cried out; which brought in the other boys, who seemed struck more and more, till about thirty were kneeling and praying at once. Before half-hour past nine, ten of them knew that they were accepted in the Beloved.
Several more were brought to the birth; and all the children, but three or four, were affected more or less. Sun. 5. — I examined sixteen of them who desired to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Nine or ten had a clear sense of the pardoning love of God.
The others were fully determined never to rest till they could witness the same confession.
Eighteen of the children from that time met in three Bands, besides twelve who met in trial Band. These were remarkable for their love to each other, as well as for steady seriousness. They met every day; beside which, all the children met in class.
Those who found peace were James Whitestone, Alexander Mather, Matthew Lowes, William Snowdon, John Keil, Charles Farr, John Hamilton, Benjamin Harris, and Edward Keil. Mon. 6. After Mr. Mather had preached at Pensford, he met the children there. Presently the spirit of contrition fell upon them, and then the Spirit of grace and of supplication, till the greater part of them were crying together for mercy, with a loud and bitter cry: And all Miss Owen’s children, but one, (two-and-twenty in number,) were exceedingly comforted. Fri. 10. — I went over to Kingswood, and inquired into the present state of the children. I found part of them had walked closely with God; part had not, and were in heaviness. Hearing in the evening that they were got to prayer by themselves in the school, I went down; but, not being willing to disturb them, stood at the window. Two or three had gone in first; then more and more, till above thirty were gathered together. Such a sight I never saw before nor since. Three or four stood and stared, as if affrighted.
The rest were all on their knees, pouring out their souls before God, in a manner not easy to be described. Sometimes one, sometimes more, prayed aloud; sometimes a cry went up from them all; till five or six of them, who were in doubts before, saw the clear light of God’s countenance. Sun. 12. — Four of Miss Owen’s children desired leave to partake of the Lord’s Supper. I talked with them severally, and found they were all still rejoicing in the love of God. And they confirmed the account, that there was only one of their whole number who was unaffected on Monday: But all the rest could then say with confidence, “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” I suppose such a visitation of children has not been known in England these hundred years. In so marvelous a manner, “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings” God has “perfected praise!”