JOURNAL - FROM JUNE 29, 1786 TO OCTOBER 24, 1790.
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f14 Thur . June 29, 1786. — I took a cheerful leave of my affectionate friends at Epworth, leaving them much more alive than I found them. About one I preached at Thorne, now one of the liveliest places in the Circuit, to a numerous congregation; and in the evening at Doncaster. I know not that ever I saw this preaching-house filled before; and many of them seemed to feel, as well as hear. It may be, some will bring forth fruit with patience. Fri. 30. — I turned aside to Barnsley, formerly famous for all manner of wickedness. They were then ready to tear any Methodist Preacher in pieces. Now not a dog wagged his tongue. I preached near the market-place to a very large congregation; and I believe the word sunk into many hearts:
They seemed to drink in every word. Surely God will have a people in this place. Sat . July 1. — I went on to Bramley, about four miles from Sheffield, where a gentleman has built a neat preaching-house for the poor people, at his own expense. As the notice was short, I had no need to preach abroad.
The congregation was deeply serious, while I explained what it was to build upon a rock, and what to build upon the sand. In the evening 1 spoke very plain to a crowded audience at Sheffield, on, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep.” One of the hearers wrote me a nameless letter upon it. But he could remember nothing of the sermon but only, that “the rising early was good for the nerves!” Sun . 2. — I read Prayers, preached, and administered the sacrament to six or seven hundred hearers: It was a solemn season. I preached soon after five in the evening, on, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Afterwards I gave an account of the rise of Methodism, (that is, old scriptural Christianity,) to the whole congregation; as truth will bear the light, and loves to appear in the face of the sun. Mon . 3. — We had our Quarterly Meeting, followed by a love-feast, at which many spoke without reserve; and several of them admirably well; showing that with the fear of the Lord is understanding. Tues. 4. — I met the select society, most of them walking in glorious liberty. Afterwards I went to Wentworth-House, the splendid seat of the late Marquis of Rockingham. He lately had forty thousand a year in England, and fifteen or twenty thousand in Ireland. And what has he now?
The situation of the house is very fine. It commands a large and beautiful prospect. Before the house is an open view; behind, a few acres of wood; but not laid out with any taste. The green-houses are large; but I did not observe anything curious in them. The front of the house is large and magnificent, but not yet finished. The entrance is noble, the saloon exceeding grand, and so are several of the apartments. Few of the pictures are striking: I think none of them to be compared with some in Fonmon Castle. The most extraordinary thing I saw was the stables: A Square, fit for a royal palace, all built of fine stone, and near as large as the old Quadrangle at Christ-Church in Oxford. But for what use were these built?
To show that the owner had near three score thousand pounds a year! O how much treasure might he have laid up in heaven, with all this mammon of unrighteousness! About one I preached at Thorpe, to three or four times as many as the preaching-house would have contained; and in the evening to the well-instructed and well-behaved congregation at Sheffield.
O what has God wrought in this town! The leopard now lies down with the kid. Wed. 5. — Notice was given, without my knowledge, of my preaching at Belper, seven miles short of Derby. I was nothing glad of this, as it obliged me to quit the turnpike-road, to hobble over a miserable common. The people, gathered from all parts, were waiting. So I went immediately to the market-place; and, standing under a large tree, testified, “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The House at Derby was thoroughly filled in the evening. As many of the better sort (so called) were there, I explained, (what seemed to be more adapted to their circumstances and experience,) “This only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have found out many inventions.” Thur . 6. — In going to Ilston we were again entangled in miserable roads.
We got thither, however, about eleven. Though the church is large, it was sufficiently crowded. The Vicar read Prayers with great earnestness and propriety: I preached on, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness;” and the people seemed all ear. Surely goodwill be done in this place; though it is strongly opposed both by the Calvinists and Socinians.
We went on in a lovely afternoon, and through a lovely country, to Nottingham. I preached to a numerous and well-behaved congregation. I love this people: There is something wonderfully pleasing, both in their spirit and their behavior. Fri . 7. — The congregation at five was very large, and convinced me of the earnestness of the people. They are greatly increased in wealth and grace, and continue increasing daily. Saturday , 8. I walked through the General Hospital. I never saw one so well ordered. Neatness, decency, and common sense, shine through the whole. I do not wonder that many of the patients recover. I prayed with two of them. One of them, a notorious sinner, seemed to be cut to the heart. The case of the other was quite peculiar: Both her breasts have been cut off, and many pins taken out of them, as well as out of her flesh in various parts. “Twelve,” the Apothecary said, “were taken out of her yesterday, and five more today.”
And the physicians potently believe, she swallowed them all; though nobody can tell when or how! Which is the greater credulity? To believe this is purely natural? Or to ascribe it to preternatural agency?
In the evening many felt The’ o’erwhelming power of saving grace: and many more on Sunday , 9, when we had the largest number of communicants that ever were seen at this chapel, or perhaps at any church in Nottingham. I took a solemn leave of this affectionate congregation, at five in the morning, Monday , 10, not expecting to meet another such (unless at Birmingham) till I came to London.
About nine I preached at Mount-Sorrel; and though it was the fair-day, I saw not one drunken person in the congregation. It rained most of the way to Leicester, and some were afraid there would be no congregation. Vain fear! The House was extremely crowded with deeply attentive hearers, while I applied our Lord’s words to the Centurion, in effect spoken to us also, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” In the afternoon we went on to Hinckley. It rained all the evening: Yet we had more hearers than the House could contain; and hardly a trifler among them. A more serious, well-behaved people, I have seldom seen.
This evening (I believe before I had done preaching) a remarkable instance of divine justice appeared. A man in the street was grievously cursing another, and praying God “to blast his eyes.” At that instant he was struck blind: So (I suppose) he continues ever since. Tues . 11. — The poor, little flock at Coventry have at length procured a neat, convenient Room: Only it is far too small. As many of the people as could get in were all attention. How is the scene changed here also! I know not but now the Corporation, if it had been proposed, would have given the use of the Town-Hall to me rather than to the dancing-master! In the evening I went on to Birmingham, and found the usual spirit in the congregation. They are much alive to God, and consequently increasing in number as well as in grace. Wed . 12. — At noon I preached in the new chapel at Deritend. To build one here, was an act of mercy indeed; as the church would not contain a fifth, perhaps not a tenth, of the inhabitants. At six I preached in our chapel at Birmingham, and immediately after took coach to London. Thur . 13. — We reached the town at two, and settled all our business on this and the two following days. Sunday , 16. My heart was greatly enlarged in exhorting a very numerous congregation to “worship God in spirit and in truth.” And we had such a number of communicants as we have not had before, since the covenant-night. I suppose fifty, perhaps a hundred of them, never communicated before. In the afternoon I buried the remains of Thomas Parkinson, (who died suddenly two or three days before,) one of our first members, a man of an excellent spirit, and unblamable conversation. Monday , 17. After preaching at West-Street, where many were impressed with a deep sense of the presence of God, I took coach for Bristol. We had a delightful journey; but having the window at my side open while I slept, I lost my voice, so that I could scarce be heard across a room. But before Wednesday morning (by applying garlic as usual) it was instantly restored. Thur . 20. — I preached at the new Room, on, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” And the hearts of many, who had been vexed with needless scruples, were mightily refreshed. Fri. 21. — I walked over to Kingswood School, now one of the pleasantest spots in England. I found all things just according to my desire; the Rules being well observed, and the whole behavior of the children showing that they were now managed with the wisdom that cometh from above. Sun . 23. — I preached in the morning on those words in the Second Lesson, “Lazarus, come forth;” and I believe, many that were buried in sin heard the voice of the Son of God. In the evening I preached abroad on Matthew 5:20. In the middle of the sermon it began to rain; but not many went away. This put me in mind of that remarkable circumstance respecting the late Pope. On that solemn day when the Pope rides on horseback to St. Peter’s, a violent storm scattered his whole retinue. When it abated, His Holiness was missing; but they soon found him sitting quietly in the church. Being asked how he could ride through such a storm, he very calmly replied, “I am ready to go, not only through water, but through fire also, for my Lord’s sake.” Strange, that such a man should be suffered to sit two years in the Papal chair! Tues . 25. — Our Conference began: About eighty Preachers attended. We met everyday at six and nine in the morning, and at two in the afternoon.
On Tuesday and on Wednesday morning the characters of the Preachers were considered, whether already admitted or not. On Thursday in the afternoon we permitted any of the society to be present, and weighed what was said about separating from the Church: But we all determined to continue therein, without one dissenting voice; and I doubt not but this determination will stand, at least till I am removed into a better world. On Friday and Saturday most of our temporal business was settled. Sunday , 30. I preached in the Room morning and evening; and in the afternoon at Kingswood, where there is rather an increase than a decrease in the work of God. Mon . 31. — The Conference met again, and concluded on Tuesday morning. Great had been the expectations of many, that we should have had warm debates; but, by the mercy of God, we had none at all:
Everything was transacted with great calmness; and we parted, as we met, in peace and love. Tues . August 8. — At seven Mr. Brackenbury, Broadbent, and I, took coach for Harwich, which we reached about eight in the evening. Wednesday , 9. Between two and three in the afternoon we went on board the Besborough packet, one of the cleanest ships I ever saw, with one of the most obliging Captains. We had many gentlemen on board, whom I was agreeably surprised to find equally obliging. Thursday , 10. The wind continuing small, and the sea calm, they desired me to give them a sermon.
They were all attention. Who knows but some among them may retain the impressions they then received? Friday , 11. For some time we had a dead calm; so that we did not reach Helvoetsluys till the afternoon, nor Rotterdam till between ten and eleven at night. We found Mr. Loyal was not returned from a journey, which he had begun a week or two before; but Mrs. Loyal gave us a hearty welcome. Sat . 12. — Mr. Williams, Minister of the Episcopal church, and Mr. Scott, Minister of the Scotch church, both welcomed me to Holland; but their kindness involved me in an awkward difficulty: Mr. Scott had asked the consent of his Consistory, for me to preach in his church on Sunday afternoon; but Mr. Williams had given notice of my preaching in his church, both morning and afternoon; and neither of them being willing to give up his point, I would fain have compromised the matter; but each seemed to apprehend his honor concerned, and would not in anywise give up his point. I saw no possible way to satisfy both, but by prolonging my stay in Holland, in order to preach one Sunday, morning and afternoon in the Episcopal, and another in the Scotch church: And possibly God may have more work for me to do in Holland, than I am yet aware of.
Though Mr. Loyal, with whom I lodged when I was at Rotterdam before, was not in town, being gone with a friend to Paris, yet I was quite as at home, and went on in my work without any interruption. Sunday , 13. The Service began about ten. Mr. Williams read Prayers exceedingly well, and I preached on those words in the first Lesson, “how long halt ye between two opinions?” All the congregation gave a serious attention; but I fear they only heard , but did not feel: But many seemed to be much affected in the afternoon, while I opened and applied those words, “There hath no temptation taken you, but what is common to men.” In the evening, Mr. Scott called upon me, and informed me, that the Elders of his church would not desire me to stay in Holland on purpose to preach, but would dismiss my promise. I then determined to follow my first plan; and (God willing) to return to England in a fortnight. Mon . 14. — Taking boat at eight, we went at our ease through one of the pleasantest summer countries in Europe, and reached the Hague between twelve and one. Being determined to lodge at no more inns, I went with brother Ferguson to his own lodging, and passed a quiet and comfortable night. A few pious persons came to us in the evening; with whose spirits we quickly took acquaintance. I have not found any persons, since we crossed the sea, who seemed so much devoted to God. Tues . 15. — Making the experiment when we took boat, I found I could write as well in the boat as in my study: So from this hour I continued writing whenever I was on board. What mode of travelling is to be compared with this? About noon we called on Professor Roers, at Leyden, a very sensible and conversable man: As he spoke Latin very fluently, I could willingly have spent some hours with him; but I had appointed to be at Amsterdam in the evening. We came thither between seven and eight, and took up our abode with William Ferguson, who continued to lodge us all with tolerable convenience. Wed . 16. — I spent the day very quietly in writing, and visiting a few friends, who knew not how to be affectionate enough. In the evening I spoke to a little company at my own lodgings, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Thur . 17. — I breakfasted with a little company of truly pious people, and afterwards went to see the manner wherein the Deacons of Amsterdam relieve their poor weekly. I suppose there were two or three hundred poor, but the whole was transacted with the utmost stillness and decency.
Today likewise I visited more of my friends, who showed all possible affection. Friday , 18. We went to Haerlem, and spent an agreeable day with a few agreeable friends. We lodged at Mr. Vancampen’s, a florist, and were perfectly at home. Both Mr. and Mrs. Vancampen seemed deeply devoted to God, as much as any I have seen in Holland.
In the afternoon we met a little company in the town, who seemed to be truly alive to God: One Miss Rouquet in particular, whose least recommendation was, that she could speak both Dutch, French, and English. She spent the evening at Miss Falconberg’s, the chief gentlewoman in the town. Here we supped. The manner was particular:
No tablecloth was used, but plates, with knives and forks, and napkins, to each person, and fifteen or sixteen small ones; on which were bread, butter, cheese, slices of hung beef, cakes, pancakes, and fruit of various kinds. To these were added music upon an excellent organ, one of the sweetest tones I ever heard. Sat . 19. — We took a walk in Haerlem wood. So delightful a place I scarce ever saw before. I judged it to be about a mile broad, and two or three miles deep. This is divided into almost innumerable walks, some broad and some narrow, but diversified in a wonderful manner, and skirted with elegant houses on both sides. In the afternoon we returned to Amsterdam.
In the evening Mr. Shranten, a bookseller, (whose daughter had come with us in the boat to Amsterdam,) an Elder of the Holland’s church, invited us to supper, and desired me to expound a portion of Scripture, which I did with liberty of spirit. Afterward Mr. Brackenbury repeated to them in French the substance of what I had said. Sun . 20. — I expected to have preached in the English church, as I did before; but some of the Elders were unwilling: So I attended there as a hearer; and I heard as miserable a sermon as most I have heard in my life. It might have been preached either among Jews, Turks, or Heathens, without offending them at all. In the afternoon I expounded, to a company of serious Christians, our Lord’s account of building our house upon a rock.
Jonathan Ferguson interpreted sentence by sentence; and God applied it to the hearts of the hearers. Mon . 21. — I spent an hour with great satisfaction at Mr. Noltanu’s country-house. Such a couple as him and his wife, I never saw since I left London; and both their children appeared to be worthy of their parents, both as to person, understanding, and temper. Tues. 22. — I spent great part of the day at Mr. Vankennel’s country-house, having agreed with him to give me a private room to write in, before and after dinner. At ten, a very sensible Clergyman came in, with whom I conversed very largely, as he talked elegant Latin, and exceeding fluently, beyond any I have lately seen on the Continent.
Having seen all the friends I proposed to see, on Thursday , 24, I took my leave of this loving people, and the pleasant city of Amsterdam, very probably for ever; and, setting out at seven in the morning, between two and three in the afternoon came to Utrecht. Mr. Vanrocy, the gentleman who had engaged me to lodge, sent a coach to wait for me at my landing; and received me with the courtesy and cordiality of an old Yorkshire Methodist. Fri . 25. — I kept close to my work all the day. I dined at Mr. Loten’s, where was such variety of food as I never saw at any Nobleman’s table, either in England or Ireland. In the afternoon we took a view of a widow lady’s gardens in the suburbs of Utrecht. I believe, from the house to the end of the grand vista is about a mile. I think the gardens are not half as broad; but such exquisite beauty and symmetry I never saw before. In grandeur it is not to be named with a few places in England; but in elegance and variety, I verily believe it equals, if not exceeds, any place of the size in Europe.
And I know not but God might bless this poor way of preaching to the Dutch, as he did that to the Indians by David Brainerd. Sat . 26. — I had a long conversation with a gentleman whom almost all the religious world take for a madman. I do not know that I have found one of so deep experience since I left London. I have no doubt of his being perfected in love: He has a clear witness of it, and has had many years, without any interruption. I had now an opportunity of being thoroughly informed concerning the University of Utrecht. As the young gentlemen are scattered over this town, and live without the least control, they do anything, or nothing, as they please; and as they have no tutors, they have none to check them. Most of them lounge from morning to night, doing nothing, or doing worse. Well, bad as they are, Oxford and Cambridge are not Utrecht yet. Sun . 27. — I attended the Service at the English church; where about thirty persons were present. At five in the evening I believe I had eighty or ninety hearers; and I had much liberty of speech among them. I cannot doubt but some of them found the word of God to be sharper than a two-edged sword.
After Service I went once more to Mr. Loten’s. Both Mrs. Loten and he came to town on purpose to see me; otherwise, he could find little comfort there, during the present state of affairs. The Burghers have all agreed to depose their Burgomasters, and elect new ones in their stead; who are tomorrow to take an oath on a scaffold erected in the open market-place, not to the Prince of Orange, but to the city of Utrecht. To this end, they had displaced all the Prince’s Guards, and placed Burghers at all the gates.
It is thought the example will spread; and it will not be strange if all Holland should soon be a field of blood. Mon . 28. — We took boat at seven, being informed that at eight all the city-gates would be shut. In the evening we reached Rotterdam, and rejoiced to meet good Mr. Loyal once more. Here we rested on Tuesday . Wednesday , 30. We set out early, and went twelve miles in a coach, for which we had to pay six guilders and no more. We then crossed the river, which cost four stivers, and hired an open wagon for twenty-three stivers, which brought us to the other river in half an hour. At the Brill we hired another coach, which cost us four guilders. I set down these little things that others may not be cheated.
We found company enough in our inn at Helvoetsluys, genteel, good-natured, and sensible; but finding our conversation was not suited to their taste, we only dined with them on this and the following days. Both on this, Thursday , and Friday , the wind was quite contrary; but, otherwise, we could not have sailed, for it blew a storm; so I took the opportunity of writing a sermon for the Magazine. Sat . September 2. — The storm abating, we set sail about nine, though the wind was contrary; but in the afternoon it fell calm. The rolling of the ship made us sick. I myself was sick a few minutes; Mr. Broadbent, by times, for some hours; Mr. Brackenbury, (who did not expect to be at all,) almost from the beginning of the voyage to the end. Sun . 3. — When we had been twenty-four hours on board, we were scarce come a third of our way. I judged we should not get on unless I preached, which I therefore did, between two and three in the afternoon, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die;” and I believe all were accepted for the present. Afterwards, we had a fair wind for several hours; but it then fell dead calm again. This did not last long; for as soon as prayer was over, a fresh breeze sprung up, and brought us into the Bay. It being then dark, we cast anchor; and it was well! for at ten at night we had a violent storm.
I expected little rest; but I prayed, and God answered; so that I slept sound till my usual hour, four o’clock. The wind being again quite contrary, we were obliged to tack continually; but about nine were brought safe to Harwich. After resting about an hour, we took chaise, and about one came to Colchester; where, Mr. Brackenbury being exceeding weak, we thought it best to stay till the morning.
In the evening the House was thoroughly filled; and many received the truth in the love thereof; so that I did not at all regret my stopping here.
Setting out early in the morning, Tuesday , 5, I reached London before one o’clock, and transacted most of my business in the afternoon. In the evening I preached on Psalm 29:9,10; and the voice of the Lord was indeed with power. Wednesday , 6. I answered my letters; and on Thursday , 7, set out for Bristol.
In the evening I preached at Newbury. It rained and blew vehemently; yet the House was thoroughly filled; and I found uncommon liberty in pushing the inquiry, “Who of you are building on the sand, and who upon a rock?” Friday , 8. In the evening I preached at Bath, to a more numerous congregation than I expected; and more serious, for I do not find there were any careless or inattentive hearers. Saturday , 9. We had a good congregation at five; although the weather continued stormy. Afterward I searched to the bottom a story I had heard in part; and found it another tale of real woe: — Two of our society had lived together in uncommon harmony; when one who met in Band with E. F., to whom she had mentioned that she had found a temptation toward Dr. F., went and told her husband she was in love with him, and that she had it from her own mouth. The spirit of jealousy seized him in a moment, and utterly took away his reason; and some one telling him his wife was at Dr. F.’s, (on whom she had called that afternoon,) he took a great stick and ran away; and meeting her in the street, called out, “Strumpet, strumpet!” and struck her twice or thrice. He is now thoroughly convinced of her innocence; but the water cannot be gathered up again! He sticks there, “I do thoroughly forgive you; but I can never love you more.” Sun . 10. — Our service began at ten. Mr. Creighton (whose health is a little recovered by rest, and drinking the mineral waters) read Prayers and assisted at the sacrament. I preached on, “The children are brought to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” At half an hour past two we had a far larger congregation, and I think equally serious; on whom I enforced the exhortation, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden.” In the evening I opened and largely applied those words in the Gospel for the day, “Verily I say unto you, Many Prophets and Kings have desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things that ye hear, and have not heard them.” Mon . 11. — Leaving the society here well united together, I went on, and preached at Bristol in the evening; and on Tuesday , 12, retired to a friend’s house, where I went on with Mr. Fletcher’s Life without interruption; but on Wednesday , 13, I could not resist the desire of my friends, to preach at Temple church in the evening. I never saw it so full in an evening before, nor felt so much of the power of God there. Fri . 15. — I had much satisfaction in the evening at the chapel in Guinea-Street. It was thoroughly filled; and most of the people seemed much affected, while (from Hebrews 12:1) I described what I take to be the chief besetting sins of Bristol, — love of money, and love of ease.
Indeed God has already wrought a great deliverance for many of them; and we hope a far greater will ensue. Sun . 17. — I preached morning and evening at the Room; and in the afternoon at Kingswood, where the work of God seems to stand nearly at one stay; not sensibly increasing or decreasing. On Monday , Tuesday , and Wednesday , I met the classes at Bristol; and on the remaining days of the week transcribed the society, considerably increased since last year; and I hope in grace as well as in number. Sat . 23. — I read the general plan of Monsieur Gebalin’s vast work, designed to consist of twelve very large quarto volumes: eight of which are published: — “The Primitive World Analyzed, and compared with the Modern.” He is a man of strong understanding, boundless imagination, and amazing industry. I think his first volume is a beautiful castle in the air. I admire it; but I do not believe one word of it, because it is wholly built on the authority of Sanchoniathon, whom no one could ever yet prove to have had a being: And I fear he was a Deist: 1. Because he nowhere lays the least stress upon the Bible: 2. Because he supposes the original confusion of tongues to have been a merely natural event. Sunday , 24. God was eminently present with us at the morning service, as well as at Temple church in the afternoon, which I never saw so filled before; which is not at all strange, considering the spirit of the Vicar, and the indefatigable pains which he takes with rich and poor. At five I took the opportunity of a fair evening to preach once more near King’s Square; and once more I declared to a huge multitude the whole counsel of God. Mon . 25. — We took coach in the afternoon; and on Tuesday morning reached London. I now applied myself in earnest to the writing of Mr. Fletcher’s Life, having procured the best materials I could. To this I dedicated all the time I could spare, till November, from five in the morning till eight at night. These are my studying hours; I cannot write longer in a day without hurting my eyes. Sat . 3. — I went to bed at my usual time, half an hour past nine, and, to my own feeling, in perfect health. But just at twelve I was waked by an impetuous flux, which did not suffer me to rest many minutes together.
Finding it rather increased than decreased, though (what I never knew before) without its old companion, the cramp, I sent for Dr. Whitehead.
He came about four; and, by the blessing of God, in three hours I was as well as ever. Nor did I find the least weakness or faintness; but preached, morning and afternoon, and met the society in the evening, without any weariness. Of such a one I would boldly say, with the son of Sirach, “Honor the Physician, for God hath appointed him.” Mon . October 2. — I went to Chatham, and had much comfort with the loving, serious congregation in the evening, as well as at five in the morning. Tuesday , 3. We then ran down, with a fair, pleasant wind, to Sheerness. The preaching-house here is now finished, but by means never heard of. The building was undertaken a few months since, by a little handful of men, without any probable means of finishing it. But God so moved the hearts of the people in the Dock, that even those who did not pretend to any religion, carpenters, shipwrights, laborers, ran up, at all their vacant hours, and worked with all their might, without any pay. By this means a large square House was soon elegantly finished, both within and without; and it is the neatest building, next to the new chapel in London, of any in the south of England.
I preached in the evening, on, “Stand in the old paths,” to a lovely congregation; and then showed the society of how great importance it was, that their light should shine before men. And indeed it does shine: They are of one heart and of one mind, striving for the hope of the Gospel. I preached at Chatham on Thursday evening; and the next day, Friday , 6, returned to London. Tues . 10. — Having promised to preach in their new House, at Lynn, I thought it best to go while the good weather continued. I had ordered two places to be taken in the coach, which would have reached Lynn on Tuesday noon; but my messenger, mending my orders, took them in the diligence, which came in between nine and ten at night. By this means I lost one of three evenings, which I proposed to spend there.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday with much satisfaction, with a very loving and lively people, increasing in grace as well as in number, and adorning the doctrine of God our Savior. I had appointed to preach Mrs. Shewell’s funeral sermon, at Barnet, on Friday evening; and as we had only two light persons in the diligence, and no baggage, I hoped we should have come in time. But they were vain hopes: We did not reach Hoddesdon till after sunset. I then took a post-chaise; for the diligence went the other road. But as we had a rough by-road across the country, without either moon or stars, we could not reach the chapel till half an hour after seven. About half the congregation were gone away; an officious man having informed them I would not come. With the other half, which pretty well filled the house, we had a solemn opportunity.
So I have lived to see the large family at Hadley, two brothers and three sisters, all removed. So does “the earth drop its inhabitants, as the tree its leaves.” Mon . 16. — I went to Hinxworth, and preached in the evening to a more numerous congregation than I ever had seen there before. At length Miss Harvey sees some fruit of all the pains she has taken. Tuesday , 17. I met her poor children in the morning, twenty of whom she keeps at school in the village, as she is unwearied in doing good. In the evening I preached in Mr. Hicks’s church, at Wrestlingworth. I have not seen such a congregation there for many years: Neither have I found so much of the power of God. Surely all our labor here will not be in vain. Thur . 19. — I returned to London. In this journey I had a full sight of Lord Salisbury’s seat, at Hatfield. The park is delightful. Both the fronts of the house are very handsome, though antique. The hall, the assembly-room, and the gallery, are grand and beautiful. The chapel is extremely pretty; but the furniture in general (excepting the pictures, many of which are originals) is just such as I should expect in a gentleman’s house of five hundred a year. Sun . 22. — I preached at West-Street, morning and afternoon, and at Allhallows church in the evening. It was much crowded; and God gave us so remarkable a blessing, as I scarce ever found at that church. Tuesday , 24. I met the classes at Deptford, and was vehemently importuned to order the Sunday service in our Room at the same time with that of the church. It is easy to see that this would be a formal separation from the Church. We fixed both our morning and evening service, all over England, at such hours as not to interfere with the Church; with this very design, — that those of the Church, if they chose it, might attend both the one and the other. But to fix it at the same hour, is obliging them to separate either from the Church or us; and this I judge to be not only inexpedient, but totally unlawful for me to do. Wed . 25. — I went to Brentford, but had little comfort there. The society is almost dwindled to nothing. What have we gained by separating from the Church here? Is not this a good lesson for others? Thur . 26. — Mr. Holbrook carried us to Hampton Court, far the finest palace which the King of England has. The buildings are a little town; and nothing can be pleasanter than the park. But above all, the three fronts of the house, the staircase, and the furniture and pictures in the apartments, are worthy of a King, and not equaled by any in the kingdom, in some respects; not by Blenheim itself, which exceeds it only in its front, in tapestry, and in shockingly immodest pictures.
In the evening I preached to a large and serious congregation, at Wandsworth. I think it was about two in the morning that a dog began howling under our window, in a most uncommon manner. We could not stop him by any means. Just then William B——r died. Fri . 27. — I preached once more at Barnet, probably for the last time. Sunday , 29. After preaching at West-Street, I went directly to St. Giles’s; where I preached before I went abroad, two or three and fifty years ago.
And are they not passed as a watch in the night? My subject was the joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth: And truly God confirmed his word. Many seemed to be partakers of that joy; and a solemn awe sat on the whole congregation. Monday , 30, and the ensuing days, I visited the classes. I was careful to take an exact account of the society. I was surprised to find only a hundred and fifty-nine. I thought they had been double the number. I hope, by the assistance of God, within four months to see that none of these want either food or raiment. Fri . November 3. — Taking the advantage of a moonlight evening, I went down to the chapel at Rotherhithe. I never saw it so well filled before, nor with such serious and attentive hearers. Is anything too hard for God?
Shall this wilderness blossom and bud as the rose? Sun . 5. — I buried the remains of John Cowmeadow, another martyr to loud and long preaching. To save his life, if possible, when he was half dead, I took him to travel with me. But it was too late: He revived a little, but soon relapsed; and, after a few months, died in peace. He had the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and was of an exemplary behavior. Tues . 7. — I visited the classes, and found them much increased both in grace and number. The House was, as unusual, well filled in the evening, and many were refreshed and comforted. Thur . 9. — In the evening I preached at Stratford; and understanding I had many good sort of people to deal with, I endeavored to stir them up, by strongly showing what it is to build upon a rock; after showing them the various ways whereby the generality of good men (so called) usually build upon the sand. Sun . 12. — I preached, morning and afternoon, for the use of our little charity-school, where forty boys and twenty girls are trained up both for this world and the world to come. Mon . 13. — I retired, for a few days, to Highbury-Place, that I might go on in my work without interruption. I returned to town on Thursday , 16; and after preaching on 1 Timothy 6:20, had a comfortable meeting with the Bands. Their shyness is vanished away; and we have only one inconvenience, — we have not time to hear all those that are willing to speak. Sun . 26. — After officiating at West-Street morning and afternoon, I took coach at seven in the evening. We had a clear, pleasant night, and reached Norwich about eleven on Monday , 27. I found all things in peace, through the zeal and prudence of Jasper Robinson and his fellow-laborers. The congregation in the evening was nearly as large as it usually is on Sunday; and more than twice as large at six in the morning as it is accustomed to be. Tuesday , 28. About noon I preached at Cayster, a little town twenty miles east of Norwich, to a little, serious congregation; the greater part of them seemed to be ripe for a blessing. The House at Yarmouth was thoroughly filled in the evening, and many attended in the morning likewise. Once more the combatants here have laid down their arms, and solemnly promise to continue in peace and love. Wednesday and Thursday I spent comfortably at Lowestoft, among a quiet, loving people. Friday ,DECEMBER 1. I took a solemn leave of them at six. At nine I preached at North Cove, with much enlargement of Spirit; and about eleven at Beccles, to more than their preaching-house could contain; and all of them appeared as serious and attentive as the congregation at Yarmouth. In the evening there seemed to be a considerable shaking even among the dry bones at London; and such a company attended at Mr. Crisp’s in the morning, as I never saw there before. Sat . 2. — I returned to Harwich, and was much pleased in the evening with the largeness and seriousness of the congregation. Sunday , 3. I administered the Lord’s Supper at eight, and afterwards attended our parish church. Besides the little company that went with me, and the Clerk and Minister, I think we had five men and six women: And this is a Christian country!
Our House could in nowise contain the congregation, either in the afternoon or in the evening; and at both times, great was the power of God in the midst of them. I have not seen, for many years, such a prospect of doing good in this city. Mon . 4. — I was strongly importuned by our friends at Long-Stratton, to give them a sermon there. I heard of a young woman in that country who had uncommon fits, and of one that had lately preached; but I did not know that it was one and the same person. I found her in the very house to which I went, and went and talked with her at large. I was surprised.
Sarah Mallet, two or three and twenty years old, is of the same size that Jane Cooper was; and is, I think, full as much devoted to God, and of as strong an understanding. But she is not likely to live; having a species of consumption which I believe is never cured. Of the following relation, which she gave me, there are numberless witnesses: — Some years since it was strongly impressed upon her, that she ought to call sinners to repentance. This impression she vehemently resisted, believing herself quite unqualified, both by her sin, and her ignorance, till it was suggested, “If you do it not willingly, you shall do it whether you will or no.” She fell into a fit; and while utterly senseless, thought she was in the preaching-house in Lowestoft, where she prayed and preached for near an hour, to a numerous congregation. She then opened her eyes, and recovered her senses. In a year or two she had eighteen of these fits; in every one of which she imagined herself to be preaching in one or another congregation. She then cried out, “Lord, I will obey thee; I will call sinners to repentance.” She has done so occasionally from that time; and her fits returned no more.
I preached at one to as many as the House could contain, of people that seemed ready prepared for the Lord. In the evening the hearts of the whole congregation at Norwich seemed to be bowed as the heart of one man. I scarce ever saw them so moved. Surely God will revive his work in this place, and we shall not always find it so cold and comfortless as it has long been. Tues . 5. — In the afternoon I took coach again, and returned to London at eight on Wednesday morning. All the time I could save to the end of the week I spent in transcribing the society; a dull, but necessary, work, which I have taken upon myself once a year for near these fifty years. Wed . 13. — I retired to Peckham, where, the next evening, I preached to as many as the House would well contain, and found much liberty of spirit in enforcing upon them, the glorying only in the cross of Christ. Saturday , 16. I returned to London. Sun. 17. — We had, as usual, a very solemn and comfortable season at Spitalfields. Wednesday , 20. I retired to Highbury-Place; but how changed!
Where are the three amiable sisters? One is returned to her father; one deprived of her reason; and one in Abrah am’s bosom! Sat . 23. — By great importunity I was induced (having little hope of doing good) to visit two of the felons in Newgate, who lay under sentence of death. They appeared serious; but I can lay little stress on appearances of this kind. However, I wrote in their behalf to a great man; and perhaps it was in consequence of this that they had a reprieve. Sun . 24. — I was desired to preach at the Old Jewry. But the church was cold, and so was the congregation. We had a congregation of another kind the next day, Christmas-Day , at four in the morning, as well as five in the evening at the new chapel, and at West-Street chapel about noon. Sun . 31. — From those words of Isaiah to Hezekiah, “Set thy house in order,” I strongly exhorted all who had not done it already, to settle their temporal affairs without delay. It is a strange madness which still possesses many, that are in other respects men of understanding, who put this off from day to day, till death comes in an hour when they looked not for it. Mon . January 1, 1787. — We began the service at four in the morning, to an unusually large congregation. We had another comfortable opportunity at the new chapel at the usual hour, and a third in the evening at West-Street. Tuesday , 2. I went over to Deptford; but it seemed, I was got into a den of lions. Most of the leading men of the society were mad for separating from the Church. I endeavored to reason with them, but in vain; they had neither sense nor even good manners left. At length, after meeting the whole society, I told them, “If you are resolved, you may have your service in church-hours; but, remember, from that time you will see my face no more.” This struck deep; and from that hour I have heard no more of separating from the Church. Friday , 5, and in the vacant hours of the following days, I read Dr. Hunter’s Lectures. They are very lively and ingenious. The language is good, and the thoughts generally just. But they do not at all suit my taste.
I do not admire that florid way of writing. Good sense does not need to be so studiously adorned. I love St. John’s style, as well as matter. Sun . 7. — At the desire of many of our friends, we began that solemn work of renewing our covenant with God at three in the afternoon, two hours earlier than usual. Monday , 8, and the four following days, I went a begging for the poor. I hoped to be able to provide food and raiment for those of the society who were in pressing want, yet had no weekly allowance: These were about two hundred: But I was much disappointed. Six or seven, indeed, of our brethren gave ten pounds apiece. If forty or fifty had done this, I could have carried my design into execution. However, much good was done with two hundred pounds, and many sorrowful hearts made glad. Sun . 21. — I preached at St. Swithin’s church, to a numerous and serious congregation. Thursday , 25. I went to Dorking, and found a lively and well-established people. Saturday , 27. I began the heavy work of meeting the classes in London. Fri . February 2. — I endeavored to reconcile two of our brethren that were at variance; and one of them was very willing; but the other raged like a bear bereaved of her whelps. Sun . 4. — While I applied the parable of the Sower at the new chapel, God was with us of a truth. The stout-hearted trembled; as they did, likewise, in the evening, while I applied, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Wed . 7. — I preached at Brentford; and in the morning; Thursday evening at Lambeth. At both places I found many who promise not to be forgetful hearers, but doers of the word.
Being earnestly desired by our brethren at Newark, one hundred and twenty-four miles from London, to come and open their new House, I took the mail-coach, Friday , 9, in the evening, and reached Newark the next day about four in the afternoon. But having a great cold, and being so hoarse that I could not preach, I desired Mr. Mather to supply my place, till I had recovered my voice. Sun . 11. — Having partly recovered my voice, I preached in the new House at nine, — a lightsome, cheerful building, and gave notice of preaching at five in the afternoon. But it was not long before I received a message from the Mayor, to desire me to begin preaching a little later, that himself and several of the Aldermen might the more conveniently attend.
They all came at half an hour past five, and as many people as could possibly squeeze in; and God opened my mouth to speak strong words, and the hearts of many to receive them. Surely God will have a people in this place, that will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Mon . 12. — There being no places to be had in the York coach, Mr. Broadbent and I went across the country to Hinckley. I now inquired concerning the poor wretch who, when I was here last, while he was praying to God to damn his eyes, was in the instant struck blind. So, it seems, he continued for some time. But as soon as he recovered his sight, he was just as profane as before. Although it rained, and the people had no notice till we came, yet the preaching-house was quickly filled; and many, I believe, were filled with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Tues . 13. — Leaving the society here much alive to God, I went on to Coventry. Here finding places vacant in the Liverpool mail-coach, we set out in the evening, and reached London the next morning, Wednesday , 14. Thursday , 15. I preached at Deptford, and was agreeably surprised to find the threatening storm blown over, and all our brethren in peace and love with each other. From hence, on Friday , 16, I went to Rotherhithe, which used to be one of the most uncomfortable places in England. But it was far otherwise now. Many of the people seemed much alive to God; and his presence was manifested in the congregation, in a very uncommon manner. Sat . 17. — I went on in reading that odd book, entitled, “A Chinese Fragment.” As to the Chinese themselves, I believe they are almost as religious , but nothing near so honest, as the Turks; so that I account the contrasting them with the Christians, to be a mere pious fraud. Du Halde’s word I will not take for a straw; but there are many and just remarks in the treatise, to which few impartial men would have any objection, in whatever form they were proposed. Sun . 18. — The power of God was, as usual, eminently present during the service at Spitalfields. In the evening I met the single women of the society, and advised them to make full use of the advantages they enjoy:
Fri . 23. — I met our family, and was pleased to find that we are a family of love. There is not at present one jarring string, but we all hold the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Sun . 25. — After taking a solemn leave of our friends, both at West-Street and the new chapel, I took the mail-coach, and the next evening reached Exeter, a little after ten o’clock. Tuesday , 27. We went on to Plymouth-Dock. The large, new House, far the best in the west of England, was well filled though on so short a warning; and they seemed cordially to receive the exhortation, “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.”
I had the satisfaction to find the society here in a more flourishing state than ever. Notwithstanding all the pains that have been taken, and all the art that has been used, to tear them asunder, they cleave close together; and consequently increase in number as well as in strength. Wed . 28. — We went over to Plymouth, and found the society doubled since I was here before; and they are both more loving than they were then, and more earnest to save their souls. It rained most of the afternoon.
However, we had a crowded congregation in the evening; and all of them seemed to feel that God was in the midst of them; for his word was sharper than a two-edged sword. In consequence of this, a large number attended at five on Thursday morning,MARCH 1. Surely this is a time of love for poor Plymouth also. O that they may know the day of their visitation!
In the evening I preached again at the Dock; and again the power of God was present to heal. The people seemed to be all struck, while I opened and strongly applied the parable of the Sower; especially while I was warning them to beware of “the cares of the world, and the desires of other things.” Fri . 2. — I was desired to go over to Torpoint, a village on the Cornish side of the water. We were attended by a large company from the Dock, and a great multitude from all quarters. I suppose a great part of these had never heard this sort of preaching before: They now heard with inexpressible attention; and I believe not in vain. God opened, as it were, the windows of heaven, and sent a gracious rain upon his inheritance. I am in hopes, a plentiful harvest will spring from the seed which was sown this hour.
In the afternoon I went over to Plymouth, and drank tea at Mr. Hawker’s, the Minister of the new church. He seems to be a man of an excellent spirit, and is a pattern to all the Clergy round about. It rained all the evening; but that did not hinder the House from being thoroughly filled with people that heard as for life. This congregation likewise seemed to be, “all but their attention, dead.” The like has hardly been seen here before.
What! is God about to work in Plymouth also? Sat . 3. — Many attended at five in the morning, although it rained sharply. It likewise blew a storm. So it did all the day, as well as in the evening. The House was then crowded indeed; yet there was attention still as night. But God uttered his voice; yea, and that a mighty voice, inasmuch that the stout-hearted trembled; and it seemed as if he would send none empty away; but of these, too, though many were called, I fear few were chosen. Sun . 4. — I began the service at half an hour past nine, and concluded it before one. I suppose such a number of communicants were never seen before at Plymouth-Dock; but there was no disorder or hurry at all. There was more difficulty in the evening: The throng was so great that it was impossible for me to get through them to the pulpit; so at length they made shift to lift me over the seats. Again God spoke in his word, I believe to all that could get in; but some could not, and were constrained to go away. Mon . 5. — The House was well filled again, both above and below; and after a solemn parting, we took coach at six, leaving such a flame behind us as was never kindled here before. God grant it may never be put out!
We reached Exeter between two and three. In the evening I preached on, “By grace are ye saved through faith,” to as many as could possibly squeeze into the Room. It was a glorious opportunity. God uttered his voice, and that a mighty one. It seemed to break the rocks in pieces, to make the stout-hearted tremble. I know not that I ever saw such an impression made on the people of Exeter before. Wed . 7. — It rained much while we were at Plymouth, and at the Dock, and most of the way from the Dock to Exeter; but we had lovely weather today, and came into Bath early in the evening. So crowded a House I had not seen here for many years. I fully delivered my own soul, by strongly enforcing those awful words, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” I believe the word sunk deep into many hearts. The next evening we had another large congregation equally serious. Thursday , 8. I went on to Bristol; and the same afternoon Mrs. Fletcher came thither from Madeley.
The congregation in the evening was exceeding large. I took knowledge what spirit they were of. Indeed the work of God has much increased in Bristol since I was here last, especially among the young men, many of whom are a pattern to all the society. Fri . 9. — I went over to Kingswood, and found the school in a better state than I expected, considering the want of a second master, which they had for some time labored under. Sat . 10. — I had the pleasure of an hour’s conversation with Mrs. Fletcher. She appears to be swiftly growing in grace, and ripening for a better world. I encouraged her to do all the good she could during her short stay in Bristol. Accordingly she met, in the following week, as many of the classes as her time and strength would permit; and her words were as fire, conveying both light and heat to the hearts of all that heard her. Sun . 11. — We had a solemn season at the Room, both in the morning and evening; and also in the afternoon at Kingswood, where the work of God revives as well as at Bristol. I strongly warned the people of Bristol of their indolence, through which the Preacher had twelve, ten, or five hearers in a morning; and advised them to shake it off. Many of them did so; and I suppose we had three hundred on Monday morning, one hundred and fifty on Saturday, and between two and three hundred every morning of the week besides. Monday , 12, and on the four days following, I met the society. They were considerably increased both in grace and number. In the evening we had a Sunday’s congregation, and a very uncommon pouring out of the Spirit. If this continues, the society in Bristol will soon vie with that in Dublin. On Thursday , 15, we had such another shower of grace. Many were wounded, and many healed. Yesterday that blessed saint, Sarah Bulgin, went to rest in the full triumph of faith. Sunday , 18. I preached her funeral sermon to a listening multitude, and had such a number of communicants as was never seen together at Bristol Room before. In the evening we had a love-feast, at which Mrs. Fletcher simply declared her present experience. I know no one that is so changed for the better in a few years, even in her manner of speaking. It is now smooth, easy, and natural, even when the sense is deep and strong. Mon . 19. — I left Bristol with much satisfaction, expecting to hear of a plentiful harvest there; and in the evening preached at Stroud. The House was unusually filled, both with people and with the power of God. Tuesday; 20. We had a large congregation at five. Afterwards I met the select society, many of them enjoying the pure love of God, and constantly walking in the light of his countenance. We then visited one that was always sick and in pain, and always rejoicing in God. Another man we found nearly in the same condition, — always afflicted, and always happy. Mrs. Wathen, a few doors from them, left by a most affectionate husband with six children, is a pattern to all about her. I walked from hence through one of the loveliest valleys I ever saw, running, with a clear stream in the midst of it, between two lofty and fruitful mountains, sprinkled all over with little white houses. Between eleven and twelve I reached Cirencester; and, no larger place being to be procured, I preached at one in our own Room, to as many as could hear, either in or near it. And the labor was not lost: They all drunk in the word, as the thirsty earth the showers.
In the evening I preached to a multitude of people, in the Tolbooth, at Gloucester. High and low, rich and poor, behaved well. I trust a good blessing is coming to Gloucester also. Wed . 21. — We had a numerous congregation at six, on whom I strongly enforced the great salvation. About eleven I had the satisfaction of spending an hour with the Bishop; a sensible, candid, and, I hope, pious man. The palace in which he lives (once the Priory) is a venerable place, quite retired and elegant, though not splendid; the chapel, in particular, fitted up by good Bishop Benson. The hall is noble; as are also two or three of the bedchambers. But how soon must all these change their possessor!
Finding prejudice was now laid asleep, the tide running the contrary way, our friends thought it time to prepare for building their preaching-house; and a hundred pounds are already subscribed. In the evening I preached to a larger congregation than ever; but all was still as night: And once more in the morning, on, “Whosoever doeth the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Thur . 22. — About noon I preached at Tewkesbury, to the largest congregation I have seen there for many years; and in the evening, to our lovely and loving people, at Worcester; — plain, old, genuine Methodists. Fri . 23. — Notice having been given, though without my knowledge, I went over to Stourport, a small, new-built village, almost equally distant from Bewdley and from Kidderminster. I had seen Mr. Heath before, a middle-aged Clergyman, who is going over to Cokesbury-College, and is, I believe, thoroughly qualified to preside there. I met his wife and two daughters here, who are quite willing to bear him company; and I think their tempers and manners, so “winning soft, so amiably mild,” will do him honor wherever they come.
At noon, abundance of people being gathered together from all parts, I preached on Isaiah 53:6,7. We have not had such an opportunity since we left Bristol. The stout-hearted trembled; and every one seemed almost persuaded to be a Christian. The congregation at Worcester, in the evening, seemed to be of the same spirit; and God spoke to every heart. Sat . 24. — I went on to Birmingham: But my hoarseness increased; so that I was afraid the people would not hear me in the evening. But they did, though the congregation was uncommonly large. Sunday , 25. Having promised to read Prayers and administer the sacrament, I knew not how I should do. But as we were going to the House, Mr. Heath, just come to town, overtook us. So he read Prayers, and assisted me in delivering the sacrament to seven or eight hundred communicants.
In the evening the House at Birmingham, as it was rainy, contained half (I suppose) of those that would willingly have come in. Those that could get in found it an acceptable time; and we all praised God with joyful lips. Mon . 26. — I spent an agreeable hour with the select society. Most of them still enjoy the pure love of God, and the rest are earnestly panting after it. I preached in the evening (at the request of a friend) on Corinthians 5:19, etc. Many seemed to receive the word with all readiness, and I trust will bring forth fruit with patience. Tues . 27. — I went on to Wednesbury. As it rained great part of the afternoon, most of the congregation could get into the House; and I took knowledge of the ancient spirit, although most of our first hearers are gone to rest. Wed . 28. — About ten Mr. Horne (from Madeley) read Prayers in the church, at Darlaston; and I preached on those words of Ruth, in the First Lesson, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God shall be my God.”
In the evening I opened the new House at Wolverhampton, nearly as large as that at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It would not near contain the people, though they were wedged together as close as possible. I believe such a congregation was never seen in Wolverhampton before; not only so serious, but so well behaved. I hope this is a token for good. Thur . 29. — About twelve I preached at Lane-End. It being too cold to stand abroad, the greater part of the earnest congregation squeezed into the preaching-house. Here we entered into the country which seems to be all on fire, — that which borders on Burslem on every side: Preachers and people provoking one another to love and good works, in such a manner as was never seen before. In the evening I preached at Burslem. Observing the people flocking together, I began half an hour before the appointed time.
But, notwithstanding this, the House would not contain one half of the congregation: So, while I was preaching in the House to all that could get in, John Broadbent preached in a yard to the rest. The love-feast followed; but such a one as I have not known for many years. While the two or three first spoke, the power of God so fell upon all that were present, some praying, and others giving thanks, that their voices could scarce be heard:
And two or three were speaking at a time, till I gently advised them to speak one at a time; and they did so, with amazing energy. Some of them had found peace a year ago, some within a month or a week, some within a day or two; and one of them, a potter’s boy, told us, “At the prayer-meeting I found myself dropping into hell; and I cried to the Lord, and he showed me he loved me. But Satan came immediately, and offered me a bag of money, as long as my arm; but I said, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’” Several also testified that the blood of Christ had cleansed them from all sin. Two declared, after bitter cries, that they knew their sins were just then blotted out by the blood of the Lamb; and I doubt not but it will be found, upon inquiry, that several more were either justified or sanctified. Indeed there has been, for some time, such an outpouring of the Spirit here, as has not been in any other part of the kingdom; particularly in the meetings for prayer. Fifteen or twenty have been justified in a day.
Some of them had been the most notorious, abandoned sinners, in all the country; and people flock into the society on every side; six, eight, or ten, in an evening. Fri . 30. — I had appointed to preach at five in the morning; but soon after four I was saluted by a concert of music, both vocal and instrumental, at our gate, making the air ring with a hymn to the tune of Judas Maccabeus:
It was a good prelude. So I began almost half an hour before five; yet the house was crowded both above and below. I strongly, but very tenderly, enforced that caution, “Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.” And is not God able to make them stand? Yea, and he will do it, if they walk humbly with God.
In the evening I preached at Congleton to a serious and well-established people. Here I found my coeval, Mr.——, two months (I think) younger than me, just as a lamp going out for want of oil, gently sliding into a better world: He sleeps always, only waking now and then just long enough to say, “I am happy.” Sat . 31. — I went on to Macclesfield, and found a people still alive to God, in spite of swiftly increasing riches. If they continue so, it will be the only instance I have known, in above half a century. I warned them in the strongest terms I could, and believe some of them had ears to hear. Sun . April 1. — Fearing nothing so much as lest a people so much at ease should settle upon their lees, I preached at the new church, in the most awakening manner I could, on Rev. 20:11: “I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it,” etc. I then hastened to Manchester; and endeavored to convince a crowded congregation of the full spiritual meaning of those important words, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.” Mon . 2. — About noon I preached at Stockport, and in the evening at Manchester; where I fully delivered my own soul, both then, and the next day. Wednesday , 4. I went to Chester, and preached in the evening on Hebrews 3:12. Finding there was no packet at Parkgate, I immediately took places in the mail-coach for Holyhead. The porter called us at two in the morning, on Thursday , but came again in half an hour, to inform us the coach was full; so they returned my money, and at four I took a post-chaise. We overtook the coach at Conway; and, crossing the ferry with the passengers, went forward without delay. So we came to Holyhead an hour before them, and went on board the Le Despenser between eleven and twelve o’clock. At one we left the harbor; and at two the next day came into Dublin-Bay. On the road and in the ship I read Mr. Blackwell’s “Sacred Classics Illustrated and Defended.” I think he fully proves his point, that there are no expressions in the New Testament which are not found in the best and purest Greek authors. In the evening we had a Sunday’s congregation, and a blessing from on high: I then retired to my lodgings which were at Arthur Keene’s, about half a mile out of town; a pleasant, healthy spot, where were peace and love, and plenty of all things.
April 8. — (Being Easter-Day.) I preached in Bethesda, Dr. Smyth’s new chapel. It is very neat, but not gay; and I believe will hold about as many people as West-Street chapel. Mr. Smyth read Prayers, and gave out the hymns, which were sung by fifteen or twenty fine singers; the rest of the congregation listening with much attention, and as much devotion, as they would have done to an opera. But is this Christian worship? Or ought it ever to be suffered in a Christian church? It was thought we had between seven and eight hundred communicants; and indeed the power of God was in the midst of them. Our own Room in the evening was well filled with people, and with the presence of God. Afterward we had a love-feast, which I suppose might have continued till midnight, if all had spoken that were ready to speak.
On Monday and Tuesday I preached again at Bethesda, and God touched several hearts, even of the rich and great: So that (for the time at least) they were “almost persuaded to be Christians.” It seems as if the good Providence of God had prepared this place, for those rich and honorable sinners, who will not deign to receive any message from God but in a genteel way. Wed . 11. — By conversing with many of our friends, I found they were still increasing in grace as well as in number. The society now contains upwards of a thousand members; so that it has outrun all in England, but that of London. After this amazing flow, we must expect an ebb: It will be well if only two hundred of these fall away. On Thursday and Friday the congregations were still uncommonly large, and seemed to feel all that was spoken. Sat . 14. — Even at the Gravel-Walk, where the congregation used to be small enough, the House was crowded in the evening; although the soldiers (seventy or eighty of whom are in the society) could not attend, it being the hour of their roll-calling. Sun . 15. — I preached first at the new Room, and afterwards at Bethesda:
Many fair blossoms we see here also; and surely some fruit will follow! In the evening our House could not contain the congregation, though they squeezed together as close as possible. I believe few of them heard in vain:
Such attention sat on every face, as I seldom see even in Bristol or London. Mon . 16. — I set out early, and preached at Prosperous about ten, to a numerous congregation; and although I had come ten miles out of my way, I did not regret my labor. In the evening we came to Philipstown, which we had forsaken for near forty years; yet at length there is a prospect of good. A little society is formed; and some troopers, who are part of it, keep all the town in awe. The congregation was as quiet as that in Dublin, both in the evening and at seven in the morning. Here is seed sown once more; and God is able to give a plentiful harvest. Tues . 17. — I crossed over to my old friends at Tyrrel’s Pass. It was supposed the House would hold the congregation in the evening, but it would hardly contain a fourth part of them: So I preached in the yard, not only to Protestants, but (I was informed) most of the Papists in the town; and we found God was no respecter of persons. Wednesday , 18. The House was well filled in the morning, and we had a comfortable season; as also at Coolylough in the evening, where God spoke to many hearts. Thursday , 19. About noon I preached at Kenagh, to a numerous congregation: For many years we seemed to be beating the air here; but a few months since, God so blessed the preaching of poor John Bredin, just tottering over the grave, that we have now a lively society, swiftly increasing both in grace and number. We went hence to Longford, where a multitude of people soon assembled in the Town-Hall. I found much liberty of speech, and I have seldom seen a congregation more affected. I observed one genteel woman, who kept her eyes fixed, from the beginning to the end; and was agreeably surprised, when she called upon me, to find one of my old flock at Castlebar. Once more she has set her hand to the plough: may she never look back! Fri . 20. — I went to Athlone, and preached in the evening to a congregation of deeper experience than any I had seen since I left Dublin.
Yet the next day I thought it expedient to press upon them the advice of the Apostle, “Let him that assuredly standeth” (so it should be rendered) “take heed lest he fall.” Sun. 22. — I opened and applied that glorious text, “The help that is done upon earth, he doeth it himself.” Is it not strange that this text, Psalm 74:12, is vanished out of the new translation of the Psalms? I found the work of God much increased here; and it is a favorable circumstance, that of the three Ministers in the town two are our fast friends, and the third no enemy. The wind driving us into the House at six, we were crowded sufficiently. Afterwards I administered the sacrament to the society; and not without a remarkable blessing. Mon . 23. — Having taken leave of our affectionate friends at Athlone, I went on to Balinasloe; but here we were at a loss; the usual preaching-place would not contain half the people; and the wind was so high, and so extremely cold, that they could not stand abroad. However, we made the best shift we could with two rooms, together with the passage and staircase. I strongly explained what it is to build upon the sand; and all that could hear seemed to receive the word gladly: Some, I hope, will bring forth fruit with patience.
The church at Aghrim was so filled in the evening as it scarce ever was before. I believe God enabled me to find the way to the hearts both of Protestants and Roman Catholics. I never saw so general an impression made on the people of this town before. In the morning, Tuesday , 24, the preaching-house was well filled; and I exhorted them in St. John’s words, “Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which ye have gained, but that ye receive a full reward.”
There has been lately a great shaking among the dry bones here. The congregations are much increased, and hear with deep attention; and several members have been added to the society. I would fain have preached in the Square, as I did before; but the wind and rain did not permit; so as many as could, crowded into the preaching-house. I preached on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;” a subject which, it seemed, suited the hearers; many of whom are hindered chiefly by evil shame from being altogether Christians. Wed . 25. — I once more visited my old friends at Tullamore. Have all the balloons in Europe done so much good as can counterbalance the harm which one of them did here a year or two ago? It took fire in its flight, and dropped it down on one and another of the thatched houses so fast that it was not possible to quench it till most of the town was burned down. I preached in the assembly-room, to a large congregation, a few of whom are still alive to God. In the morning, for the sake of good old Matthew Moore, who is not likely to hear me again, I preached in his parlor, to as many as that and the other rooms would contain, on, ( Luke 20:34, etc.,) “They neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: For they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Thur . 26. — About noon I preached at Portarlington, not in the noisy market-place, but in our own House, thoroughly filled with attentive hearers. In the evening I preached in the church at Mount-Mellick, larger than either that at Eyre-Court or Aghrim; and the whole congregation behaved well: I have seen few such since I left Dublin. Friday , 27. We went to Kilkenny, nine-and-twenty Irish miles from Mount-Mellick.
Religion was here at a low ebb, and scarce any society left, when God sent three troops of horse, several of whom are full of faith and love. Since they came, the work of God has revived. I never saw the House so filled since it was built; and the power of God seemed to rest upon the congregation, as if he would still have a people in this place. Sat . 28. — I preached in the morning to about a hundred people at Kilkenny, on the general judgment. They seemed to feel what was spoken.
We reached Carlow before noon; and were much refreshed with the hearty affection of our brethren, who had not forgotten me, though I had not visited them for near sixteen years. In the evening I preached at the assembly-room, to a large and tolerably serious congregation. They seemed more serious in the morning, Sunday , 29, when I spoke in a manner more suited to their capacities, in largely explaining and strongly enforcing our Lord’s words, “One thing is needful.” The church is far the neatest (though not fine) of any I have seen since we left Dublin. The Rector came after Service, and spent near an hour with us in friendly conversation. In the evening I would have preached in the open air; but the wind was too cold and too high: So I applied the thirteenth of the Corinthians in the assembly room, to the most affected congregation I have seen at Carlow:
And here is a plentiful harvest; the rather, because several of the troopers quartered here are much alive to God, and “adorn in all things the doctrine of God our Savior.” Mon . 30. — We went over high and steep mountains, interspersed with lovely valleys, to Bunklody; now called Newtown-Barry, one of the pleasantest towns which I have seen in the kingdom. Here we rejoiced to meet Mrs. Cookman, with sister (Henry) Moore, and Miss Acton from Dublin, who came on purpose, and willingly accompanied us to Waterford, and thence to Clonmell. I preached in the assembly-room here also; but to a congregation very little awakened. But how soon can our Lord say to any of these, “Lazarus, come forth!”
About noon we reached Enniscorthy. Here likewise the use of the assembly-room was promised; but a Clergyman (whose father died in black despair, crying out the room was full of devils) caused that promise to be retracted: So I stood in a large yard; and, though it blew a storm, we had an exceeding large congregation, three or perhaps four times as many as the assembly-room would have contained. I preached on, “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him.” To avoid the ferry, we went the mountain-way, and about five came to Wexford.
Were ever assembly-rooms put to better use? That in Wexford, wherein I preached, was one of the largest I ever saw; and high and low, rich and poor, flocked together; and it seemed as if many of them were ripe for the Gospel. I expect there will be a good harvest in this place. Tues . May 1. — Setting out early in the morning, between nine and ten I preached in the church at Old-Ross, to a large company of as plain country-people as ever I saw in Yorkshire. We reached Waterford between two and three. At six I preached in the Court-House, to an immense congregation, while a file of musketeers, ordered by the Mayor, paraded at the door. Two or three hundred attended in the morning, and gladly received the whole truth. In the evening the congregation was larger than before, and equally attentive. Thursday , 3. I took my leave of this earnest, loving people, and went on through a delightful country to Clonmell. At six I preached in the Court-House. I was much surprised. I know not when I have seen so well-dressed and ill-behaved a congregation; but I was told it was the same way that they behaved at church. Pity then they do not turn Papists. The Church of England needs no such members: They are no honor to it. Fri . 4. With great difficulty we got over a most horrid road to Capperquin; but that from thence to Tallagh (eight miles) was exceeding pleasant. The remaining ten miles were very tolerable; so that we reached Youghall in good time. The Court-House was thoroughly filled at six, and above half filled at five in the morning. Saturday , 5: We went on to Cork. The latter was pleasant beyond description. At a very small distance on the left hand, the river “rolled its sinuous train;” beyond which were shady trees, covering a steep hill, and rising row above row. On the right we had another sloping mountain, tufted over with trees, sometimes forming one green, even wall, sometimes scattered up and down. Between these appeared several beautiful seats, some of them fit for Noblemen.
At six in the evening the preaching-house would ill contain the congregation; and many of the rich and honorable were among them! Who hath warned these to flee from the wrath to come? Sun . 6. — We had an evening congregation at seven, whom I warned to order their conversation aright. At three in the afternoon I preached on the road to a numerous congregation; but many of them, especially the genteeler sort, were rude as colts untamed. We stowed the people together in the evening as close at it was possible; but still many were constrained to go away, finding no place even at the door. Monday , 7. The congregation at five in the morning was little inferior to that we used to see on Sunday evening. This time also we had many of the gay and honorable, who seem, at present, almost persuaded to be Christians. O what shoals of half-awakened sinners will be broad awake when it is too late! On Tuesday likewise the congregations were exceeding large, and deep attention sat on every face. Wed . 9. — We went to Bandon. Here also there has been a remarkable work of God; and yet not without many backsliders. It was therefore my chief business here to strengthen the weak, and recall the wanderers: So in the evening I preached in the assembly-room, (which was offered me by the Provost,) on, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” and God applied his word. I believe there was a general melting among the people, and many purposed to return to God. But the Room was exceeding hot, and extremely crowded; and yet would not near contain the congregation. Thursday , 10. The preaching-house was filled at five in the morning; and again I applied directly to backsliders, and found a strong hope that “the times of refreshing” will soon “ come from the presence of the Lord.”
At noon we took a walk to Castle-Barnard. Mr. Barnard has given it a beautiful front, nearly resembling that of Lord Mansfield’s house at Caen-Wood, and opened part of his lovely park to the house, which, I think, has now as beautiful a situation as Rockingham-House, in Yorkshire. Mr. Barnard much resembles, in person and air, the late Sir George Saville. Though he is far the richest person in these parts, he keeps no race-horses, or hounds; but loves his wife and home, and spends his time and fortune in improving his estate, and employing the poor.
In the evening, finding no building would contain the congregation, I stood in the main street, and testified, to a listening multitude, “This is not your rest.” I then administered the Lord’s Supper to the society; and God gave us a remarkable blessing. Fri . 11. — I took an affectionate leave of our friends at five. I left them full of good desires and resolutions. Calling on one that was ill at Innishannon, word was quickly brought me, that the people were flocking together to the preaching-house. It was soon filled from end to end; and I preached to them “Jesus Christ, made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” About noon I preached in the Court-House at Kinsale, to a very large congregation. But how different from that which I had in the bowling-green, two years ago! That was one of the most indecent, ill-mannered congregations that ever I saw in Ireland. This was as eminently well-behaved; the sovereign and many genteel persons being among them. It was no wonder to see the congregation at Cork in the evening equally well-behaved. So they always are; the chief of the city being no longer bitter enemies, but cordial friends. Sat . 12. — A gentleman invited me to breakfast, with my old antagonist, Father O’Leary. I was not at all displeased at being disappointed. He is not the stiff, queer man that I expected; but of an easy, genteel carriage, and seems not to be wanting either in sense or learning. In the afternoon, by appointment, I waited on the Mayor, — an upright, sensible man, who is diligently employed, from morning to night, in doing all the good he can.
He has already prevailed upon the Corporation to make it a fixed rule, that the two hundred a year, which was spent in two entertainments, should for the future be employed in relieving indigent freemen, with their wives and children. He has carefully regulated the House of Industry, and has instituted a Humane Society for the relief of persons seemingly drowned; and he is unwearied in removing abuses of every kind. When will our English Mayors copy after the Mayor of Cork? He led me through the Mayoralty-House, — a very noble and beautiful structure. The dining-room and the ball-room are magnificent, and shame the Mansion House in London by their situation; commanding the whole river, the fruitful hills on every side, and the meadows running between them. He was then so good as to walk with me quite through the city to the House of Industry, and to go with me through all the apartments; which are quite sweet and commodious. An hundred and ninety-two poor are now lodged therein; and the master (a pious man, and a member of our society) watches over them, reads with them, and prays with them, as if they were his own children. Sun . 13. — We had a very comfortable opportunity at eight in Cork. At three Mr. Broadbent preached on the parade. At five (as we removed the benches, and stowed the people close together) the Room contained most of the people; and I took a solemn leave of them, after closely applying our Lord’s question, “Do ye now believe?” Mon . 14. — We went to Kilfinnan, about twenty Irish miles (so I compute) from Mallow. I preached in the Court-House, about seven, to a large and serious audience; and again at five in the morning, Tuesday , 15.
We then went on, through a delightful country, to Limerick. Here were always an affectionate people; but I never found them so much so as now.
It was too cold in the evening to stand abroad; so we squeezed as many as possible into the preaching-house. I preached on, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” Many here once experienced this; but few, if any, retain it now! Wed . 16. — The congregation at five filled the House almost as well as it was filled in the evening. Finding a remarkable deadness, I inquired what were the reasons of it; and found, 1. There had been, for several months, a deep misunderstanding between the Preachers and the chief of the society. Hence, on the one hand, the Preachers had little life or spirit to preach; and, on the other, the congregation dwindled away. 2. Many had left off meeting their bands, and many others seldom met their classes. 3. Prayer-meetings were entirely given up. What wonder if all the people were grown dead as stones?
In the evening I endeavored to re-awaken those that were settling upon their lees, by strongly applying those solemn words, “The first shall be last, and the last first; for many are called, but few are chosen.” In the morning, Thursday , 17, I endeavored to stir them up once more to hunger and thirst after righteousness, after the whole image of God, without which they will still remain Cold, languid, weary, heartless, dead.
After morning service I met the Stewards and Leaders, and inquired into the rise of the late misunderstanding. I found the matter itself was nothing; but want of patience on both sides had swelled the mole-hill into a mountain. O how patient, how meek, how gentle toward all men ought a Preacher, especially a Methodist, to be!
In the afternoon I walked through all the parts of the Workhouse, called, in Ireland, the House of Industry. It is pleasantly situated on a rising ground near the river; and, I believe, would contain about three hundred persons. (That at Dublin contains six hundred.) At present there are about eighty persons there, the contributions falling short. The apartments are large, airy, and sweet; and the poor (most of whom are employed) seem contented.
Every time I preached I found more and more hope that God will revive his work in this city. I know he will, if the prayer-meetings are restored; these are never without fruit. Fri . 18. — I set out early in the morning, and reached Castlebay about four in the afternoon. I had much conversation with Mrs. Persse, a woman of many sorrows. But when she has been tried, she shall come forth as gold.
In the evening I preached at Killchrist, about four miles from Castlebay.
The number of the people constrained me to stand in the open air, though the wind was high and cold. They were all attentive and serious, except one young gentleman, who would fain have laughed, if he could. But his sport was quickly spoiled; and before the sermon was half over, he was as serious as his neighbors. Sat . 19. — In two hours and a half we came to Athenry, the rival of Killmallock, once a flourishing city, now a heap of ruins: But even these are now covered with earth. It was built by King John, as well as the other; and seems, by its walls, to have been one of the largest cities in the kingdom. Being wrong directed when we left this, we got almost to Galway, going about six miles out of our way to Cahir-Morress. However, I reached Ballinrobe in time to preach to a large and well-behaved (although genteel) congregation. I preached again at eight in the morning, Sunday , 20, and then hastened on to Castlebar. We went straight to church. I preached at five in our new House; I think, larger than that at Limerick, and thoroughly filled with as attentive a congregation as any I have seen in the kingdom. Mon . 21. — Little misunderstandings between themselves have continually hindered the work of God in this society. This morning I heard the contending parties face to face, and once more made them friends. A numerous congregation listened with all attention, in the evening, to that important word of our Lord, “Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” Tuesday , 22. One of the men confined for murder, earnestly importuned me to visit him. I did so; but he seemed as dead as a stone. And I did not wonder; for such an action, performed in cool blood, I never heard of before. Mr. M’Donnel, who had his leg wounded by one shot, and both his arms broke by another, was sitting on the ground, when this wretch came and presented a blunderbuss. He begged only five minutes to say his prayers. Andrew swore, “No, not one;” and instantly shot him through the heart! This whole transaction, from the beginning to the end, containing such a series of calm, deliberate murder, perpetrated with so shocking circumstances, is hardly to be paralleled in history. Some time since a shrewd man said, “This country will never be in quiet, till one of these men has murdered the other, and then is hanged for it.” Wed . 23. — Leaving our little society in peace and love, we went by Swineford to Sligo. At six I preached in the new Court-House, a very spacious and commodious building, to a more numerous and more attentive congregation than I have seen here for many years. A large congregation was present again at five in the morning, Thursday , 24; so that I am not without hope, the work of God may at length revive here also. I had purposed going straight from hence to Annadale; but notice had been given of my preaching at Manorhamilton. It is true, this was five or six miles out of my way, and abundantly worse road. However, I would not disappoint the poor people; although by this means Mr. Slack’s dinner was delayed till near six o’clock. I preached at seven to a very serious congregation, and passed a comfortable evening. Fri . 25. — I had a day of rest in this lively family, only preaching morning and evening. Saturday , 26. I preached at Ballyconnel about eleven: In the afternoon I took a walk in the Bishop of Kilmore’s garden. The house is finely situated; has two fronts, and is fit for a nobleman. We then went into the church-yard, and saw the venerable tomb, a plain flat stone, inscribed, Depositum Gulielmi Bedel , quondam Episcopi Kilmorensis: f15 Over whom even the rebel army sung, Requiescat in pace ultimus Anglorum . “ Let the last of the Englishmen rest in peace.” At seven I preached to a large congregation. It blew a storm, but most of the congregation were covered by a kind of shed raised for the purpose; and not a few were greatly comforted. Sun . 27. — I preached in Cavan at seven, and then hastened forward to Clones, leaving Mr. Broadbent to preach at Ballyhays; which he did with good effect. But I needed not to have been in such haste; for the Church Service did not begin till twelve. Such a number of communicants, I suppose, was never seen at this church before. The Service ended about half past three. The question then was, where I should preach. The furious wind and violent rain made it impracticable to preach (where I intended) at the head of the market-place; but I made shift to stand on one side of it in a door-way, where I was pretty well sheltered: Although the poor people were exposed to heavy rain during the whole sermon, none of them seemed to regard it; and God did indeed send a gracious rain upon their souls, so that many rejoiced with joy unspeakable. Mon . 28. — Having all the parties together, I inquired into an odd affair which occurred here a few months ago. F. B., Leader of the class of single women, and always hitherto of an unblemished character, was accused of immodesty by Mr. A——, in whose house she had lived for several years.
I found this accusation to be totally groundless. 2. John Carr, one of our oldest members, with a few others, spent an hour in reading and prayer, while a Local Preacher was reading a sermon at the Room; this was represented to the Assistant as done in a spirit of opposition, and as an intention of leaving the society; (a thing which never entered into their thoughts;) and he was urged to read them out of the society. Accordingly, he read out fourteen at once: I could not find, upon the strictest inquiry, that they had been guilty of any fault but meeting together that evening; so I willingly received them all again, requiring only one condition of the contenders on both sides, to say not one word of anything that was past.
The spirit of peace and love gloriously descended on them all, at the evening preaching, while I was explaining the “fruit of the Spirit.” They were again filled with consolation at the Lord’s Supper; and again in the morning, while Mr. Broadbent applied, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith the Lord.” Tues . 29. — The old murderer is restrained from hurting me; but, it seems, he has power over my horses. One of them I was obliged to leave in Dublin, and afterwards another, having bought two to supply their places; the third soon got an ugly swelling in his shoulder, so that we doubted whether we could go on; and a boy at Clones, riding (I suppose galloping) the fourth over stones, the horse fell and nearly lamed himself However, we went on softly to Aughalun, and found such a congregation as I had not seen before in the kingdom. The tent, that is, a covered pulpit, was placed at the foot of a green, sloping mountain, on the side of which the huge multitude sat (as their manner is) row above row. While l was explaining, “God has given unto us his Holy Spirit,” he was indeed poured out in a wonderful manner. Tears of joy, and cries were heard on every side, only so far suppressed as not to drown my voice. I cannot but hope, that many will have cause to bless God for that hour to all eternity.
I preached at Lisbelaw, another little village, about six in the evening. The small rain continued all the time; but that did not hinder the people from mightily rejoicing in Him who causes “the earth to bring forth at once,” and “a nation” to be “born in a day.” Wed . 30. — A large room, designed for an assembly-room, was filled in the morning; and the poor people appeared to be quite ripe for the highest doctrine of the Gospel; so I exhorted them, leaving the first principles, to “go on unto perfection.” About eleven I preached in the market-house at Enniskillen, formerly a den of lions; but the lions are become lambs. They flocked together from every part, and were all attention. Before I had half done, God made bare his arm, and the mountains flowed down at his presence. Many were cut to the heart, and many rejoiced with joy unspeakable: Surely the last shall be first; and poor Enniskillen shall lift up its head above many of the places where the Gospel has been long preached.
In the evening I preached to another numerous congregation, at Sidare, a large house at the foot of the mountains. One would wonder whence all the people came: They seemed to spring out of the earth. Here also there were once many bitter persecutors; but they are vanished away like smoke.
Several of them, indeed, came to a fearful end, and their neighbors took warning by them. Thur. 31. — We traveled through a pleasant, well-cultivated country to Omagh, the shire town of Tyrone. It being market-day, a multitude of people presently flocked together to a tent, as they call it, on the side of the Green. At first they were innocently noisy; (this being a new thing at Omagh;) but they were soon still as night: I suited my subject to their experience, preaching on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” God applied it to their hearts. Not a smile was to be seen; but all seemed to feel the solemn truth.
Although we were at a lone house ten miles from any town, and although the weather was both rainy and stormy, we had a large congregation in the evening, and afterwards a comfortable love-feast. I do not wonder the work of God spreads in these parts; the spirit and behavior of Mr. Boyle and his wife, continually employed in doing good, have an amazing influence on all their neighborhood. Some time ago she went to his uncle’s at Killrail, who has four daughters grown up. They began conversing in the evening; they prayed, and sung, and talked and prayed again, till about seven in the morning. By that time all four of them found a clear sense of pardon; and two believed they were saved from all sin.
Mr. Boyle had spoke to Dr. Wilson, the Rector of a neighboring town, concerning my preaching in the church; who wrote to the Bishop, and received a letter in answer, giving a full and free consent. The Doctor desired me to breakfast with him. Meantime one of his parishioners, a warm Seceder, took away the key of the church. So I preached in a neighboring orchard: I believe, not in vain. The Rector and his wife were in the front of the congregation.
Afterward we took a view of Lord Abercorn’s place. The house has a lovely situation; and the front of it is as elegant as any I have seen either in Great Britain or Ireland. The grounds are delightful indeed, perhaps equal to any in the kingdom.
About five in the evening I preached at Killrail. No house would contain the congregation; so I preached in the open air. The wind was piercing cold; but the people regarded it not. Afterward I administered the Lord’s Supper to about a hundred of them, and then slept in peace. Sat . June 2. — It was with difficulty we reached Strabane; my new horse quite failing. I had no thought of preaching there, till word was sent, that the Town-Hall was at my service: I then went to it without delay; and had a genteel, yet serious, congregation. In the afternoon my horse failed again; but one of the Preachers tried his; and he drew, as if he had been bred to it.
Our House at Londonderry not being ready, I preached at six in the Town-Hall, a beautiful and spacious room, to a deeply serious congregation. Sunday , 3. It was more numerous in the morning, and equally serious; so was the great congregation in the evening. Surely we shall see more fruit in this city; but first we shall have need of patience. Mon . 4. — Mr. Broadbent preached at five, and I at eleven, and he in the evening. He did the same on Tuesday , 5. At noon we took a walk in the Bishop’s garden, and saw his delightful summer-house; a room fifty feet long, finished wish the utmost elegance; and situated on the point of a hill that commands the river and all the country: But his Lordship has utterly forsaken it; for it is no longer new. Wed . 6. — I took leave of my dear friends at Londonderry, and drove to Newtown Limavaddy. I had no design to preach there; but while we were at breakfast, the people were gathered so fast, that I could not deny them:
The House was soon filled from end to end. I explained to them the fellowship believers have with God. Thence I went on to Coleraine, and preached at six (as I did two years ago) in the barrack-yard. The wind was high and sharp enough; but the people here are good old soldiers. Many attended at five in the morning, and a huge congregation about six in the evening; most of whom, I believe, tasted the good word; for God was with us of a truth. Friday , 8. I could willingly have stayed a little longer with this steady, affectionate people; but I broke from them between six and seven; and went forward, as well as the heavy rain and a tired horse would permit. About two we reached Ballymena, where we have a small and poor, but well-established, society. The Presbyterian Minister offering his meeting house, I willingly accepted his offer; and explained to a large congregation, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.”
And I believe his word fell on many “as the rain, and as the dew upon the tender herb.” Sat . 9. — We went through a lovely country to Antrim. Here likewise the Presbyterian Minister offered me the use of a large and commodious House. The Bible in the pulpit lying open, I chose, for the subject of my discourse, the words which first met my eye; namely, “When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.” The greatest part of the country from hence to Belfast is likewise exceeding pleasant. At six I preached in the Linen-Hall, to a numerous and seriously attentive congregation. A gentleman invited me to lodge at his house, and showed me the new Presbyterian meeting-house. It is nearly seventy-two feet by fifty, and is far the most beautiful of any I have seen in Ireland; but I doubt whether it equals Dr. Taylor’s, in Norwich. That is the most elegant I ever saw.
I preached at ten in the Linen-Hall, to double the congregation that attended in the evening; and the power of God came wonderfully upon them, melting their hearts, and breaking the rocks in pieces. In the afternoon I preached in the Linen-Hall at Lisburn, to a still more numerous congregation; I think the largest that I have seen since we left England: And all, excepting a few giddy children, behaved as men that heard for life. Mon . 11. — It being the Quarterly Meeting, I preached at eleven in the Presbyterian meeting-house; a large and handsome building, freely offered both by the Minister and his Elders; and it then contained the congregation. But in the evening the multitude of people constrained me to return to my old stand in the Linen-Hall: And I have hardly had so solemn an opportunity since we came into the kingdom. Tues . 12. — We came through a most beautiful country to Downpatrick; a much larger town than I imagined; I think not much inferior to Sligo. The evening was uncommonly mild and bright, there not being a cloud in the sky. The tall firs shaded us on every side, and the fruitful fields were spread all around. The people were, I think, half as many more as were at Lisburn even on Sunday evening; on whom I enforced those important words, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” Wed . 13. — Being informed we had only six-and-twenty miles to go, we did not set out till between six and seven. The country was uncommonly pleasant, running between two high ridges of mountains. But it was up hill and down, all the way; so that we did not reach Rathfriland till near noon.
Mr. Barber, the Presbyterian Minister, (a princely personage, I believe six feet and a half high,) offering me his new spacious preaching-house, the congregation quickly gathered together. I began without delay to open and enforce, “Now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I took chaise the instant I had done; but the road being still up hill and down, we were two hours going what they called six miles. I then quitted the chaise, and rode forward. But even then four miles, so called, took an hour and a half riding; so that I did not reach Dr. Lesley’s, at Tanderagee, till half an hour past four. About six I stood upon the steps, at Mr. Godly’s door, and preached on, “This is not your rest,” to a larger congregation, by a third, than even that at Downpatrick. I scarce remember to have seen a larger, unless in London, Yorkshire, or Cornwall. Thur . 14. — Mr. Broadbent and I walked round Dr. Lesley’s domain. I have not seen anything of the size in England that is equal to it. The house stands in the midst of a fruitful hill, which is part beneath, and part above it. In approaching it, you see no walls, nothing but green trees and shrubs of various kinds. Enter the court-yard and gate, and you still see no stone walls; but on either hand, The verdurous wall of Paradise upsprings; and that summer and winter; consisting wholly of ever-greens, that bloom all the year round. On the upper side of the house, the gently rising hill yields the loveliest scene that can be conceived; such a mixture of shady walks, and lawns sprinkled with trees; at the top of which is a natural rock, under which you may sit and command a most beautiful and extensive prospect: And all this variety has arisen from a rough, furzy heath, by the industry of Dr. Lesley, in thirty years.
I expected the congregation would not be so large this evening as it was the last; but it was far larger, and, if possible, more attentive. I have scarce ever seen a more pleasing sight. We were covered round with tall, shady trees; only an opening on one side afforded a view of the wide-extended country. The people were as motionless as the trees; for the power of God was upon them; and I believe few of them will forget that hour, till their spirits return to God. Fri . 15. — About eight I preached at Rich-Hill, to a deeply serious congregation. At eleven I preached in the Castle-yard, at Charlemount, to a large congregation, gathered from all parts; it being the Quarterly Meeting.
Immediately followed the love-feast. But the preaching-house would not contain one half of the people: So we borrowed the Green in the Fort, and let the people through the wicket, one by one. They then sat down on the grass, being full as private as in the House; and many spoke their experience quite freely. But the rain obliged us to break off our meeting sooner than we intended. It began in the evening, before I had finished the hymn, but stopped in two or three minutes, and left us a fair and tolerably pleasant evening. Sat . 16. — I went on to Dungannon; but the town seemed to be in an uproar. One would have thought Bedlam had broke loose. The cause was this: — A cock-fight was at hand. A gentleman asked the Presbyterian Minister for the use of his meeting-house; but he gave a reason for his denial, viz., that Mr. Hall, one of the society, had said he had played at cards all night; (which, it seems, was true;) and therefore he could not allow him to come into his meeting-house. So we removed all the benches out of our own; and it contained most of the congregation. I preached there again in the evening, and then holden a love-feast; at which many were greatly comforted. Sun . 17. — We knew not what to do at Armagh: The rain would not suffer us to preach in the avenue; and our House would not contain half of the congregation, many of whom came from far. The best shift we could make was to squeeze into the House as many as possible, and keep both the windows and doors open; by which means many more could hear.
In the evening the Seceders (who would think it?) freely gave me the use of their large meeting-house. It was filled from end to end: But a wise young gentleman observed, that I had quite mistook my subject; my sermon being calculated for the vulgar, not for gentlefolks.
I permitted as many as our House would contain to stay at the meeting of the society; and gave them a plain account of the Methodists, both as to their rise, principles, and practice. Mon . 18. — Many seemed not a little moved, while I enforced the words of Eliphaz, (it seems, the eldest and most honorable of Job’s three friends,) “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.” Afterwards we took a view of the Primate’s lodge and chapel, elegant in the highest degree; and of the domain surrounding them, which is laid out and planted in the most beautiful manner. And what hath the owner thereof? Not so much as the beholding thereof with his eyes. Probably he will behold it no more. He is fully taken up in building a large seat near Dublin, at above eighty years of age! Tu secanda marmora Locas sub ipsum funus, et sepulchri Immemor struis domos! f16 In the evening I preached once more in Mr. M’Gough’s avenue, and a listening multitude seriously attended. Surely there will he a harvest here also by and by, although hitherto we see but little fruit. Tues. 19. — We went on through horrible roads to Newry. I wonder any should be so stupid as to prefer the Irish roads to the English. The huge unbroken stones, of which they are generally made, are enough to break any carriage in pieces. No, there is nothing equal to good English gravel, both for horses, carriages, and travelers.
In the evening I preached to a numerous congregation in the large meeting-house. I believe many felt the edge of the word sharper than a two-edged sword: One consequence of which was, that our new Room would not contain the congregation even at five in the morning, but many were constrained to stand without. Between nine and ten I preached in the market-house at Dundalk. We expected a tumult; but there was none at all:
A very large congregation of rich and poor behaved with the utmost decency, while I enforced, “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.” At six in the evening I preached in the Court-House at Drogheda to a crowded congregation, on, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Even in this turbulent town, all were quiet, and seemed to feel that God was there. Thur . 21. — Several of our friends from Dublin met us at the Man-of-War, with whom we went on to Swords; a town famous from time immemorial for all manner of wickedness. However, finding a congregation waiting, I began without delay; and all were still as night: So salvation is come to the sinners of Swords also. In the afternoon it pleased God to bring us safe to Dublin, when we had been absent a little above two months. Fri . 22. — I began visiting the classes, which employed me to the Thursday following. We found it necessary to exclude one hundred and twelve members; there remained eleven hundred and thirty-six. Sun . 24. — At seven I preached in the Room; at eleven the Service began at Bethesda. I found uncommon liberty there, even among the rich and great. I think some of them felt our Lord present, both to wound and to heal. In the evening I preached at the new Room, and it was just as much as I could do without weariness. Tues . 26. — We were agreeably surprised with the arrival of Dr. Coke, who came from Philadelphia nine-and-twenty days, and gave us a pleasing account of the work of God in America. Thursday , 28. I had the pleasure of a conversation with Mr. Howard, I think one of the greatest men in Europe. Nothing but the mighty power of God can enable him to go through his difficult and dangerous employments. But what can hurt us, if God is on our side? Sat. 30. — I desired all our Preachers to meet me, and consider the state of our brethren in America, who have been terribly frightened at their own shadow, as if the English Preachers were just going to enslave them. I believe that fear is now over, and they are more aware of Satan’s devices. Sun . July 1 — At seven I strongly exhorted a large congregation, not to be conformed either to the wisdom, spirit, or fashions of this world, if ever they desired to be transformed in the spirit of their mind, according to the perfect and acceptable will of God. In the evening I opened and applied those awful words, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Tues . 3. — A few friends took me to Merino, a seat of Lord Charlemount’s, four miles from Dublin. It contains a lovely mixture of wood, water, and lawns, on which are several kinds of foreign sheep, with great plenty of peacocks; but I could not hear any singing — birds of any kind. I a little wondered at this, till I afterwards recollected, that I had not heard any singing-bird, not even a lark, a thrush, or a blackbird, within some miles of Dublin. In the evening I strongly enforced those awful words, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” upon a numerous congregation; who had ears to hear, and hearts to receive the whole Gospel. Wed . 4. — I spent an hour at the New-Dargle, a gentleman’s seat four or five miles from Dublin. I have not seen so beautiful a place in the kingdom.
It equals the Leasowes in Warwickshire; and it greatly exceeds them in situation; all the walks lying on the side of a mountain, which commands all Dublin bay, as well as an extensive and finely-variegated land-prospect.
A little river runs through it, which occasions two cascades, at a small distance from each other. Although many places may exceed this in grandeur, I believe none can exceed it in beauty. Afterwards I saw the Parliament-House. The House of Lords far exceeded that at Westminster; and the Lord-Lieutenant’s throne as far exceeded that miserable throne (so-called) of the King in the English House of Lords. The House of Commons is a noble room indeed. It is an octagon, wainscoted round with Irish oak, which shames all mahogany, and galleried all round for the convenience of the ladies. The Speaker’s chair is far more grand than the throne of the Lord Lieutenant. But what surprised me above all, were the kitchens of the House, and the large apparatus for good eating. Tables were placed from one end of a large hall to the other; which, it seems, while the Parliament sits, are daily covered with meat at four or five o’clock, for the accommodation of the members. Alas, poor Ireland! Who shall teach thy very senators wisdom? War is ceased; Sed saevior armis, Luxuria incubuit! f17 Thur . 5. — Most of our Preachers came to town. Friday , 6. Our Conference began; and ended as usual on Tuesday , 10. We had no jarring string, but all, from the beginning to the end, was love and harmony. Sun . 8. — I preached at our Room at seven. At eleven the Service began at Bethesda. The congregation was exceeding large. I preached on part of the Second Lesson, Luke 20:34; and many had a large taste of the powers of the world to come. At the love-feast in the evening, many spoke freely, who were deeply experienced in the ways of God. Indeed they have fairly profited in the divine life. I have rarely heard such a conversation even in England. On Tuesday evening likewise, many spoke with equal fire, tempered with meekness of wisdom. Wed . 11. — At five I took an affectionate leave of this loving people; and, having finished all my business here, in the afternoon I went down with my friends, having taken the whole ship, and went on board the Prince of Wales, one of the Parkgate packets. At seven we sailed with a fair, moderate wind. Between nine and ten I lay down, as usual, and slept till near four, when I was waked by an uncommon noise, and found the ship lay beating upon a large rock, about a league from Holyhead. The Captain, who had not long lain down, leaped up; and, running upon the deck, when he saw how the ship lay, cried out, “Your lives may be saved, but I am undone!” Yet no sailor swore, and no woman cried out. We immediately went to prayer; and presently the ship, I know not how, shot off the rock, and pursued her way, without any more damage, than the wounding a few of her outside planks. About three in the afternoon we came safe to Parkgate; and in the evening went on to Chester. Fri . 13. — I spent a quiet day; and in the evening enforced to a crowded audience the parable of the Sower. I know not that ever I had so large a congregation. Sun . 15. — I preached at the new church in the morning, on Matthew 5:20; in the afternoon, on 1 Corinthians 15:55; Mr. Broadbent in the Room at eight in the morning, and between five and six in the evening. Mon . 16. — The House was well filled at five in the morning-. At noon I took a view of Mr. Ryle’s silk-mill, which keeps two hundred and fifty children in perpetual employment. In the evening I preached on Mark 3:35; and we had a comfortable opportunity. Tuesday , 17. About noon I preached in the new chapel at Bullocksmithy; and in the evening at Stockport. Being informed that the people in general were dead and cold, I strongly applied, “Now it is high time to awake out of sleep.” God was pleased to speak in his word, and that with a mighty voice; but still more powerfully at five in the morning, Wednesday , 18, while I was enforcing that promise, “The Lord whom ye seek will suddenly come to his temple.” I then retired to a little house of Mr. Brocklehurst’s, two miles beyond Manchester. Here Adam Oldham lived! O what did riches profit him! How strange the Providence which put me in his place!
The rest of this week I spent in writing. On Saturday , 21, I returned to Manchester. Sunday , 22. Our service began at ten. Notwithstanding the severe cold which has continued many days, the House was well filled; but my work was easy, as Dr. Coke assisted me. As many as could, crowded in the evening; but many were obliged to go away. Afterwards I spent a comfortable hour with the society. Mon . 23. — I preached morning and afternoon. In the evening I met the Bands, and admired their liveliness and simplicity. After preaching on Tuesday morning I retired again to Bruton. Thursday , 26. About noon I preached in the new preaching-house, to as many as it would well contain, on Isaiah 55:5,6. Today I read upon the road a very agreeable book, Mr. Dobb’s “Universal History.” It gave me a clearer view of ancient times than ever I had before; but I still doubt of many famous incidents, which have passed current for many ages. To instance in one: — I cannot believe there was ever such a nation as the Amazons in the world. The whole affair of the Argonauts I judge to be equally fabulous; as Mr. Bryant has shown many parts of ancient history to be: And no wonder, considering how allegories and poetic fables have been mistaken for real histories.
After preaching at Rochdale, I was agreeably surprised by a young woman that called upon me. Several years, a girl thirteen or fourteen years old was remarkable for piety; but a year or two after, when I called upon her with great expectation, she had not the least savor of it left. She came on purpose to inform me that God had restored her; and she was now determined to live and die to Him. God grant she may! She will either be an abandoned apostate, or a shining Christian. Fri . 27. — The House was well filled at five. I have not seen so large a morning congregation, in proportion to the size of the town, since I returned to England. I was invited to breakfast at Bury, by Mr. Peel, a calico-printer; who, a few years ago, began with five hundred pounds, and is now supposed to have gained fifty thousand pounds. O what a miracle if he lose not his soul!
Thence we went on to Bolton. Here are eight hundred poor children taught in our Sunday-schools, by about eighty masters, who receive no pay but what they are to receive from their Great Master. About a hundred of them (part boys and part girls) are taught to sing; and they sang so true, that, all singing together, there seemed to be but one voice. The House was thoroughly filled, while I explained and applied the first commandment.
What is all morality or religion without this? A mere castle in the air. In the evening, many of the children still hovering round the House, I desired forty or fifty to come in and sing, Vital spark of heavenly flame.
Although some of them were silent, not being able to sing for tears, yet the harmony was such as I believe could not be equaled in the King’s chapel. Sun . August 5. — In the morning I met the select society; a lovely company of humble, simple Christians. Several of them appeared to have sound and deep experience of the things of God, and to stand steadfast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made them free. The House was at ten full and warm enough. Mr. Horne read Prayers, and read them well. I preached on those words in the First Lesson, “How long halt ye between two opinions? “and was enabled to press the question home on the consciences of the hearers. We had five Clergymen, (although three only could officiate,) and twelve or thirteen hundred communicants; and the Master of the feast was in the midst of us, as many found to their unspeakable comfort. After preaching in the evening, I took a solemn leave of the affectionate society. Here, at least, it undeniably appears that we have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. Mon . 6. — Having taken the whole coach for Birmingham, we set out at twelve o’clock, expecting to be there, as usual, about five in the evening; but having six persons within, and eight without, the coach could not bear the burden, but broke down before three in the morning: But having patched it together, as well as we could, we went on to Congleton, and got another. But in an hour or two this broke also; and one of the horses was so thoroughly tired, that he could hardly set one foot before the other.
After all these hindrances, we got to Birmingham just at seven. Finding a large congregation waiting, I stepped out of the coach into the House, and began preaching without delay; and such was the goodness of God, that I found no more weariness when I had done than if I had rested all the day.
Here I took a tender leave of Mrs. Heath and her lovely daughters, about to embark with Mr. Heath for America; whom I hardly expect to see any more till we meet in Abraham’s bosom. Tues . 7. — Setting out a little before five, we reached Worcester between ten and eleven: Resting till half-past twelve, and taking fresh horses at Tewkesbury, we reached Gloucester before five o’clock. About seven I preached to a numerous congregation in the new House, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ;” and strongly applied the words to those whom they concerned. This night was one of the hottest I ever felt in Europe. Wed. 8. — We set out at two; and, from the time it was light, rode through one of the pleasantest countries I ever saw. Before five we came to Rodbury-Place; but we were far too early for so genteel a family. Before we reached Malmsbury, one of my horses fell lame; so I sent my own chaise and horses directly to Bristol, and took post-chaises the rest of the day.
About half-hour after four we came to Salisbury, designing to go straight forward to Southampton; but, to our great surprise, there was not a post-chaise to be hired in the town.
After waiting some time, we were informed that notice had been given of my preaching in the evening. I then saw the providential reason why we could not leave Sarum. The House was full enough in the evening, and great was the power of God in the midst of them. Thur. 9. — Desiring to be at Southampton as soon as possible, we took chaise at four in the morning, and (making but a short stay at Romsey) came thither between eight and nine. We found two sloops nearly ready to sail. The Captain of one promised to sail the next morning; so we sat down content. At seven in the evening I preached in Mr. Fay’s school-room, to a small, but deeply serious, congregation, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” I believe some of these will not be forgetful hearers, but will bring forth fruit with patience. Fri . 10. — At six I preached to nearly the same number, on Hebrews 4:14. In the afternoon I went with a gentleman (Mr. Taylor) to hear the famous musician that plays upon the glasses. By my appearing there, (as I had foreseen,) an heap of Gentry attended in the evening; and I believe several of them, as well as Mr. T. himself, did not come in vain. Sat . 11. — We went on board the Queen, a small sloop, and sailed eight or nine leagues with a tolerable wind. But it then grew foul, and blew a storm; so that we were all glad to put in at Yarmouth harbor. About six Dr. Coke preached in the market-house, to a quiet and tolerably attentive congregation. The storm continuing, at eight in the morning, Sunday , 12, I preached to a much larger congregation. I had uncommon liberty of speech, and I believe some of them felt that God was there. At eleven we went to church. There was a tolerable congregation, and all remarkably well-behaved. The Minister read Prayers very seriously, and preached on, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” At four I preached again, on Luke 19:42, (part of the Second Lesson in the morning,) “If thou hadst known, even thou,” etc. The market-house was now more than filled; and not a few seemed to hear as for life. In the evening Dr. Coke preached again. We have now delivered our own souls at Yarmouth, and trust God will suffer us to go on to Guernsey. Mon . 13. — We set out from Yarmouth with a fair wind; but it soon turned against us, and blew so hard that in the afternoon we were glad to put in at Swanage. I found we had still a little society here. I had not seen them for thirteen years, and had no thought of seeing them now; but God does all things well. In the evening I preached in the Presbyterian meeting-house, not often, I believe, so well filled; and afterwards passed half an hour very agreeably with the Minister, in the parsonage-house, which he rents; a neat retired house, with a delightful garden. Thence we adjourned to the house of our old brother Collins, and between eight and nine went on board. Tues . 14. — Sailing on, with a fair wind, we fully expected to reach Guernsey in the afternoon; but the wind turning contrary, and blowing hard, we found it would be impossible. We then judged it best to put in at the Isle of Alderney; but we were very near being shipwrecked in the bay.
When we were in the middle of the rocks, with the sea rippling all round us, the wind totally failed. Had this continued, we must have struck upon one or other of the rocks: So we went to prayer, and the wind sprung up instantly. About sunset we landed; and, though we had five beds in the same room, slept in peace.
It happened (to speak in the vulgar phrase) that three or four who sailed with us from England, a gentleman with his wife and sister, were near relations of the Governor. He came to us this morning, and, when I went into the room, behaved with the utmost courtesy. This little circumstance may remove prejudice, and make a more open way for the Gospel.
Soon after we set sail, and, after a very pleasant passage, through little islands on either hand, we came to the venerable Castle, standing on a rock, about a quarter of a mile from Guernsey. The isle itself makes a beautiful appearance, spreading as a crescent to the right and left; about seven miles long, and five broad; part high land, and part low. The town itself is boldly situated, rising higher and higher from the water. The first thing I observed in it was, very narrow streets, and exceeding high houses. But we quickly went on to Mr. De Jersey’s, hardly a mile from the town. Here I found a most cordial welcome, both from the master of the house, and all his family. I preached at seven in a large room, to as deeply serious a congregation as I ever saw, on, “Jesus Christ, of God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Thur . 16. — I had a very serious congregation at five, in a large room of Mr. De Jersey’s house. His gardens and orchards are of a vast extent, and wonderfully pleasant; and I know no Nobleman in Great Britain that has such variety of the most excellent fruit; which he is every year increasing, either from France, or other parts of the Continent. What quantity of fruit he has, you may conjecture from one sort only: — This summer he gathered fifty pounds of strawberries daily, for six weeks together.
In the evening I preached at the other end of the town, in our own preaching-house. So many people squeezed in, (though not near all who came,) that it was as hot as a stove. But this none seemed to regard; for the word of God was sharper than a two-edged sword. Fri . 17. — I waited upon the Governor, and spent half an hour very agreeably. In the afternoon we took a walk upon the pier, the largest and finest I ever saw. The town is swiftly increasing; new houses starting up on every side.
In the evening I did not attempt to go into the House, but stood near it, in the yard surrounded with tall, shady trees, and proclaimed to a large congregation, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” I believe many were cut to the heart this hour, and some not a little comforted. Sat . 18. — Dr. Coke and I dined at the Governor’s. I was well pleased to find other company. We conversed seriously, for upwards of an hour, with a sensible, well-bred, agreeable man. In the evening I preached to the largest congregation I have seen here, on Jeremiah 8:22; and they were all attention. Surely God will have a people in this place. Sun . 19. — Joseph Bradford preached at six in the morning, at Mont-Plaisir les Terres, to a numerous congregation. I preached at half an hour past eight, and the House contained the congregation. At ten I went to the French church, where there was a large and well-behaved congregation. At five we had the largest congregation of all; of whom I took a solemn and affectionate leave, as it is probable I may not see them any more till we meet in Abraham’s bosom. Mon . 20. — We embarked between three and four in the morning, in a very small, inconvenient sloop, and not a swift sailor; so that we were seven hours in sailing what is called seven leagues. About eleven we landed at St. Helier, and went straight to Mr. Brackenbury’s house. It stands very pleasantly, near the end of the town; and has a large convenient garden, with a lovely range of fruitful hills, which rise at a small distance from it. I preached in the evening to an exceeding serious congregation, on Matthew 3. And almost as many were present at five in the morning; whom I exhorted to go on to perfection; which many of them, Mr. Clarke informs me, are earnestly endeavoring to do. Tuesday , 21. We took a walk to one of our friends in the country. Near his house stood what they call the College. It is a free school, designed to train up children for the University; exceeding finely situated, in a quiet recess, surrounded by tall woods. Not far from it stands, on the top of a high hill, (I suppose a Roman mount,) an old chapel, believed to be the first Christian church which was built in the island. From hence we had a view of the whole island, the pleasantest I ever saw; as far superior to the Isle of Wight as that is to the Isle of Man. The little hills, almost covered with large trees, are inexpressibly beautiful: It seems they are to be equalled in the Isle of Guernsey. In the evening I was obliged to preach abroad, on, “Now is the day of salvation.” I think a blessing seldom fails to attend that subject. Wed . 22. — In the evening, the Room not containing the people, I was obliged to stand in the yard. I preached on Romans 3:22, 23; and spoke exceeding plain: Even the Gentry heard with deep attention. How little things does God turn to his own glory! Probably many of these flock together, because I have lived so many years. And perhaps even this may be the means of their living for ever! Thur . 23. — I rode to St. Mary’s, five or six miles from St. Helier, through shady, pleasant lanes. None at the house could speak English, but I had interpreters enough. In the evening our large Room was thoroughly filled: I preached on, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.” Mr. Brackenbury interpreted sentence by sentence; and God owned his word, though delivered in so awkward a manner; but especially in prayer: I prayed in English, and Mr. B. in French.
The houses here are exactly like those in the interior part of Wales, equal to the best farmers’ houses in Lincolnshire; and the people in general are far better behaved than our country farmers in England. Fri . 24. — I returned to St. Helier. The high wind in the evening prevented my preaching abroad. However, on more than the House would contain, I enforced those awful words, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” I believe the word fell heavy on all that heard; and many wished to die the death of the righteous. Sat . 25. — Having now leisure, I finished a sermon on discerning the “Signs of the Times.” This morning I had a particular conversation (as I had once or twice before) with Jeannie Bisson of this town; such a young woman as I have hardly seen elsewhere. She seems to be wholly devoted to God, and to have constant communion with him. She has a clear and strong understanding; and I cannot perceive the least tincture of enthusiasm. I am afraid she will not live long. I am amazed at the grace of God which is in her: I think she is far beyond Madame Guion, in deep communion with God; and I doubt whether I have found her fellow in England. Precious as my time is, it would have been worth my while to come to Jersey, had it been only to see this prodigy of grace.
In the evening God was with us in a very uncommon manner, while I opened and enforced those comprehensive words, “We preach Christ crucified.” I know not when we have had such an opportunity; it seemed as if every soul present would have found the salvation of God! Sun . 26. — Dr. Coke preached at five, and I at nine o’clock. Afterwards I heard the English Service at church; but the congregation was nothing near so large as ours at five in the morning. We had a French sermon in our Room at three. Afterwards I met the society; many of whom came from the country, and had no English; so Mr. Brackenbury interpreted for me again: Afterwards we both prayed. Many of the people seemed greatly affected. Between five and six I began preaching in the yard; but before I had finished my sermon, it poured down with rain; so I was obliged to conclude abruptly. Mon . 27. — Captain Cabot, the master of a Guernsey sloop, called upon us early in the morning, and told us, if we chose to go that way, he would set out between five and six. But the wind being quite contrary we judged it best to wait a little longer. In the evening, being appointed to preach at seven, I was obliged to preach within. We were extremely crowded; but the power of God was so manifested while I declared, “We preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” that we soon forgot the heat, and were glad of being detained a little longer than we intended.
I thought when I left Southampton, to have been there again as this day; but God’s thoughts were not as my thoughts. Here we are shut up in Jersey; for how long we cannot tell. But it is all well; for thou, Lord, hast done it. It is my part to improve the time, as it is not likely I shall ever have another opportunity of visiting these islands. Tues . 28. — Being still detained by contrary winds, I preached at six in the evening to a larger congregation than ever, in the assembly-room. It conveniently contains five or six hundred people. Most of the Gentry were present; and I believe felt that God was there in an uncommon degree. Being still detained, I preached there again the next evening, to a larger congregation than ever. I now judged, I had fully delivered my own soul: And in the morning, the wind serving for Guernsey, and not for Southampton, I returned thither not unwillingly; since it was not by my choice, but by the clear providence of God; for in the afternoon I was offered the use of the assembly-room; a spacious chamber in the market-place, which would contain at least thrice as many as our former Room. I willingly accepted the offer, and preached at six to such a congregation as I had not seen here before; and the word seemed to sink deep into their hearts. I trust it will not return empty. Wed . 29. — I designed to have followed the blow in the morning; but I had quite lost my voice. However, it was restored in the evening; and I believe all in the assembly-room (more than the last evening) heard distinctly, while I explained and applied, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” In the morning, Thursday , 30, I took a solemn leave of the society. We set out about nine, and reached St. Peter’s in the afternoon.
Good is the will of the Lord. I trust he has something more for us to do here also. After preaching to a larger congregation than was expected on so short a notice, on, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” I returned to Mont-Plaisir, to stay just as long as it should please God. I preached there in the morning, Friday , 31, to a congregation serious as death. Afterwards I looked over Archbishop Usher’s Letters; and was surprised to find that great man was fully convinced, 1. That the Septuagint translation continually adds to, takes from, and changes, the Hebrew text at pleasure: 2. That this could not possibly be owing to mistake, but must have been done by design: 3. That the original translation of it was lost long ago; and what has ever since gone under that name is a spurious copy, abounding with omissions, additions, and alterations of the Hebrew text; yet not such as any way destroy the foundation.
I designed to preach abroad in the evening, but the furious wind drove us into the House. However, our labor was not lost; for many felt the sharpness of the two-edged sword, while I was expounding Galatians 6:14. Sat . September 1. — This day twelvemonth I was detained in Holland by contrary winds. All is well, so we are doing and suffering the will of our Lord. In the evening the storm driving us into the House again, I strongly exhorted a very genteel audience (such as I have rarely seen in England) to “ask for the old paths, and walk therein.” Sun . 2. — Being still pent up by the northeast wind, Dr. Coke preached at six in the morning to a deeply affected congregation. I preached at eight, on Romans 8:33. At one, Mr. Vivian, a Local Preacher, preached in French, the language of the island. At five, as the House would not contain half the congregation, I preached in a tolerably sheltered place, on the “joy there is in heaven over one sinner that repenteth;” and both high and low seemed to hear it gladly. I then designed to meet the society, but could not.
I was in hopes of sailing in the morning, Monday , 3; but the storm so increased, that it was judged impracticable. The congregation in the evening increased everyday; so I trust we were detained for good purpose. They appeared to be more and more affected; so that I believe we were not detained for nothing. Tues . 4. — The storm continued, so that we could not stir. I took a walk today, through what is called the New-Ground, where the Gentry are accustomed to walk in the evening. Both the upper ground, which is as level as a bowling-green, and the lower, which is planted with rows of trees, are wonderfully beautiful. In the evening I fully delivered my own soul, by showing what it is to build upon a rock. But still we could not sail; the wind being quite contrary, as well as exceeding high. It was the same on Wednesday . In the afternoon we drank tea at a friend’s, who was mentioning a Captain just come from France, that proposed to sail in the morning for Penzance; for which the wind would serve, though not for Southampton. In this we plainly saw the hand of God; so we agreed with him immediately; and in the morning, Thursday , 6, went on board with a fair, moderate wind; but we had but just entered the ship when the wind died away. We cried to God for help, and it presently sprung up, exactly fair, and did not cease till it brought us into Penzance bay.
We appeared to our friends here, as men risen from the dead. Great was their rejoicing over us; and great was the power of God in the midst of the congregation, while I explained and applied those words, “Whosoever doeth the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Sat . 8. — Dr. Coke preached at six to as many as the preaching-house would contain. At ten I was obliged to take the field, by the multitude of people that flocked together. I found a very uncommon liberty of speech among them; and cannot doubt but the work of God will flourish in this place. In the evening I preached at St. Ives, (but, it being the market-day, I could not stand, as usual, in the market-place,) in a very convenient field at the end of the town, to a very numerous congregation: I need scarce add, and very serious; for such are all the congregations in the county of Cornwall. Sun . 9. — About nine I preached at the Copper-works, three or four miles from St. Ives, to a large congregation gathered from all parts; I believe, “with the demonstration of the Spirit.” I then met the society in the preaching-house; which is unlike any other in England, both as to its form and materials. It is exactly round, and composed wholly of brazen slags; which, I suppose, will last as long as the earth. Between one and two I began in the market-place at Redruth, to the largest congregation I ever saw there; they not only filled all the windows, but sat on the tops of the houses. About five I began in the pit at Gwennap. I suppose we had a thousand more than ever were there before: But it was all one; my voice was strengthened accordingly, so that every one could hear distinctly. Mon . 10. — I had a large congregation at five, and a peculiar blessing.
Thence I went to Mr. Mill’s, the Rector of Kenwyn, half a mile from Truro; a house fit for a Nobleman; and the most beautifully situated of any I have seen in the county. At noon I preached in the preaching-house at Truro. It was well filled with deeply attentive hearers. Thence we went on through a swiftly improving country to St. Austle; and preached in the new House, though not quite finished, to a crowded audience, who seemed all sensible that God was there. The old House was well filled at five in the morning, Tuesday , 11. I did not design to preach at Liskeard, but finding a few people gathered together, I gave them a short discourse; and then went on to Torpoint, where several of our brethren from the Dock were waiting for us; so we crossed over without loss of time, to an earnest affectionate people. The House would ill contain the congregation in the evening, and a joyful meeting it was. Wed . 12. — We went over to Mount Edgecomb, and walked through all the improvements. The situation is fine indeed. The lofty hill, nearly surrounded by the sea, and sufficiently adorned with trees, but not crowded, is uncommonly pleasant; but it did not strike me like Lord Harcourt’s seat at Newnham. And are all these things to be burned up?
At noon I preached at Plymouth. The House was crowded enough, and a solemn awe sat on all the people; as likewise in the evening at Plymouth Dock. There is an excellent spirit in this people; and such general peace and unanimity as never was before. Thur . 13. — We set out early, and dined at Exeter. In the evening we had a crowded congregation, that drank in every word. This society likewise increases both in number and strength. Friday , 14. We took the mail-coach, and in the afternoon came to Bath. Considering the uncertain notice which had been given, we had a larger congregation than was expected; and many found it a comfortable season, particularly those that were in heaviness. Sat . 15. — With the assistance of two of my friends, I answered abundance of letters. In the evening we had an uncommon congregation, on whom I strongly enforced the first principles, (which indeed never can be too much enforced,) “By grace are ye saved through faith.” Sun . 16. — I read Prayers at ten, and preached with a peculiar blessing; and administered the Lord’s Supper to an unusual number of deeply serious communicants. At half past two I began again. The chapel was more than filled. Many could not get in; and it was the same case at six in the evening. At both times I preached considerably longer than I usually do. Surely the time is come, when God will cause his power to be known here also. Mon . 17. — Leaving this society in a better state than it has been in for many years, I went to Bristol, where my brother has been for some weeks.
By the way I preached at Wintanburn, on the foundation of a new preaching-house. There was much rain before I began, and a violent wind all the time I was preaching; yet some of these I trust did come to the marriage. I had now two or three days to answer my letters. Every evening our Room was well filled with deeply attentive hearers. Fri . 21. — I spent the evening at the School, and was much pleased with the management of it. Sun . 23. — In the morning my brother read Prayers, and I preached. In the afternoon I preached in Temple church, to a very large and serious congregation. My brother desired to preach in the evening: So by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
On Monday and the following days I visited the country societies; and had the satisfaction to find most of them growing in grace, and not decreasing in number. Thur . 27. — About noon I preached at Castle-Carey. How are the times changed! The first of our Preachers that came hither, the zealous mob threw into the horse-pond: Now high and low earnestly listen to the word that is able to save their souls. In the evening I preached at Ditcheat. Friday , 28. I preached at Ditcheat again, at Shepton-Mallet; and at Pensford to such a congregation as I have not seen there for many years; and on Saturday returned to Bristol. Sun . 30. — I read Prayers, and my brother preached. I preached in the avenue at Kingswood about two; and at five near King’s Square; probably the last time this year that I shall preach in the open air. Monday , October 1, and the three following days, I spoke to the society one by one, and was much refreshed; as the love of many was not grown cold, and their number considerably increased. Fri . 5. — I preached at noon in Keynsham; and the power of God was present in an uncommon degree: So it was when I met the children at Miss Bishop’s, and afterwards those at Mr. Simpson’s. I verily think, the spirit and behavior of these two sets of children gradually affect the whole place; which now retains scarce anything of the brutality and savageness for which it was eminent some years ago. In the evening we had a watch-night at Kingswood. The weather was exceeding rough: Yet the House was filled; and few went away till after the noon of night. Sun . 7. — I preached morning and evening, and took a solemn leave of the affectionate people. Monday , 8. Having taken the whole mail-coach on Saturday , I went to it on Monday between three and four; and found, to my great surprise, it was filled with other passengers; and the clerk faced me down, I had taken the coach for Sunday: But some of our friends speaking strong words, they thought good to provide us another coach; only it did not reach town quite so soon. I was, however, soon enough to meet a large congregation on Tuesday evening, and praise the Lord together. Wed . 10. — I retired, and spent the rest of the week in answering letters, and preparing matter for the Magazine. Sun . 14. — I preached in West-Street chapel morning and afternoon; and at St. Swithin’s church in the evening. Monday , 15. I began a little tour through Oxfordshire. I preached at Wallingford in the evening, with much enlargement of heart. Mr. Pentycross called upon me in the morning. Tuesday , 16. Calvinism and bitterness are fied away together, and we willingly gave each other the right hand of fellowship. About one I preached at Oxford, to a very quiet, deeply serious congregation. The House at Witney would nothing near contain the people in the evening: It was well filled at five on Wednesday morning. I dearly love this people; they are so simple of heart, and so much alive to God. After dinner we returned to Oxford. Half an hour before the hour of preaching, a heavy rain began; by this means the House was filled, and not overfilled. I found great liberty of speech in enforcing the first and great commandment; and could not but hope there will be a great work of God here, notwithstanding all the wisdom of the world. Thur 18. — We went on to High-Wycomb. The work of God is so considerably increased here, that although three galleries are added to the preaching-house, it would scarce contain the people. Even at five in the morning, Friday , 19, it was thoroughly filled. Never before was there so fair a prospect of doing good at this place. I dined in London. Sun . 21. — I preached in the morning at Spitalfields, with the usual success; in the afternoon at the new chapel, on the remarkable answer of Balaam to Balak’s question. ( Micah 6:8.) How clear light had Balaam at that time! But he soon turned back, and “loved darkness rather than light.” Mon . 22. — I went to Canterbury, and preached in the evening on the first and great commandment; in the morning, Tuesday , 23, on the second. We then went on to Dover. In the evening I strongly applied the parable of the Sower to a crowded audience. Wednesday , 24. I spoke equally plain in the morning. About noon (after an intermission of fifteen years) I preached at Sandwich, to more than the House contained, on Luke 9:62. God applied his word to many hearts, so that I have at length a hope for Sandwich also. In the evening I preached at Margate. The word was quick and powerful. So it was likewise, in the morning, Thursday , 25. A good work has been wrought here since I was here before. Here is now a lively, loving society, who adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
In returning to Canterbury, I called upon Mr. Kingsford, a man of substance as well as piety. He informed me, “Seven years ago, I so entirely lost the use of my ankles and knees, that I could no more stand than a new-born child. Indeed, I could not lie in bed without a pillow laid between my legs, one of them being unable to bear the weight of the other.
I could not move from place to place, but on two crutches. All the advice I had profited me nothing. In this state I continued above six years. Last year I went on business to London, then to Bristol and Bath. At Bath I sent for a Physician; but before he came, as I sat reading the Bible, I thought, ‘Asa sought to the Physicians, and not to God; but God can do more for me than any Physician.’ Soon after I heard a noise in the street; and, rising up, found I could stand. Being much surprised, I walked several times about the room; then I walked into the Square, and afterwards on the Bristol road: And from that time I have been perfectly well, having as full a use of all my limbs as I had seven years ago.”
We had a comfortable opportunity in the evening, and early in the morning; and I left Canterbury, Friday , 26, with a strong hope that the work of God will flourish here, as it has not done for many years. In the evening I preached to a lovely congregation at Chatham; and on Saturday returned to London. Mon . 29. — I looked over all the manuscripts which I had collected for the Magazine, destroyed what I did not think worth publishing, and corrected the rest. Tuesday , 30. I went down to Miss Harvey’s at Hinxworth, in Hertfordshire. Mr. Simeon, from Cambridge, met me there; who breathes the very spirit of Mr. Fletcher. The chapel was quite crowded in the evening. I preached on that inexhaustible text, and with much liberty of spirit, “By grace are ye saved through faith.” In the morning, Wednesday , 31, I preached on the Woman of Canaan; and in the afternoon went over to Mr. Hick’s, at Wrestlingworth, through such roads as no chaise could pass: So we had the pleasure of riding in a farmer’s cart. It was such a motion as I never felt before: But, to make amends, the church was so filled as I never had seen it; and I was enabled to speak with unusual plainness. Surely some received the truth in the love thereof! Thur . November 1. — I gave a fair reading to Dr. Gerard’s “Essay on Taste.” I should have wondered, but that I had read his “Plan of Education;” wherein he advises to read Logic last . Such an advice could never have been given but by one that knew nothing about it. Indeed, he has hardly a clear idea of anything. Hence it was natural for him to produce this strange performance, wherein he talks prettily, but quite wide of the mark, stumbling at first setting out; for genius is no more invention, than it is sense or memory. Fri . 2. — I set out early, and about noon preached at Barnet, to a small, serious congregation. I then went on to London. Sat. 3. — I had a long conversation with Mr. Clulow, on that execrable Act, called the Conventicle Act. After consulting the Act of Toleration, with that of the fourteenth of Queen Anne, we were both clearly convinced, that it was the safest way to license all our chapels, and all our Travelling Preachers, not as Dissenters, but simply “Preachers of the Gospel;” and that no Justice, or Bench of Justices, has any authority to refuse licensing either the House or the Preachers. Sun . 4. — The congregation at the new chapel was far larger than usual; and the number of communicants was so great, that I was obliged to consecrate thrice. Monday , 5. In my way to Dorking, I read Mr. Duff’s “Essay on Genius.” It is, beyond all comparison, deeper and more judicious than Dr. G.’s Essay on that subject. If the Doctor had seen it, (which one can hardly doubt,) it is a wonder he would publish his Essay.
Yet I cannot approve of his method. Why does he not first define his term, that we may know what he is talking about? I doubt, because his own idea of it was not clear; for genius is not imagination, any more than it is invention. If we mean by it a quality of the soul, it is, in its widest acceptation, an extraordinary capacity, either for some particular art or science, or for all; for whatever may be undertaken. So Euclid had a genius for mathematics; Tully, for oratory: Aristotle and Lord Bacon had an universal genius, applicable to everything.
The congregation was, as usual, large and serious. But there is no increase in the society. So that we have profited nothing by having our service in the church-hours, which some imagined would have done wonders. I do not know that it has done more good anywhere in England; in Scotland I believe it has. Tues . 6. — I preached about noon at Mitcham. We preached here many years ago for some time; but despairing of doing any good there, totally left the place. A year or two ago a spark fell upon it, which is now kindled into a flame. So that the work of God is more lively here, than in any society near London. I found more life than I expected, in the evening, among the poor people at Wandsworth, who have been long swallowed up in the cares of this world. But as they have a little more business, so they have more ease for their souls; and seem determined to recover the ground they had lost. Fri . 9. — A friend offering to bear my expenses, I set out in the evening, and on Saturday , 10, dined at Nottingham. The preaching-house (one of the most elegant in England) was pretty well filled in the evening. Sunday , 11. At ten we had a lovely congregation; and a very numerous one in the afternoon. But, I believe, the House would hardly contain one half of those that came to it. I preached a charity sermon for the Infirmary, which was the design of my coming. This is not a County Infirmary, but is open to all England; yea, to all the world; and everything about it is so neat, so convenient, and so well ordered, that I have seen none like it in the three kingdoms. Monday , 12. In the afternoon we took coach again, and on Tuesday returned to London. Thur . 15. — Even at Poplar I found a remarkable revival of the work of God. I never saw the preaching-house so filled before; and the power of the Lord seemed to rest on many of the hearers. Sun . 18. — We had, as usual, a large congregation and a comfortable opportunity at Spitalfields. Monday , 19. I began the unpleasing work of visiting the classes. I still continue to do this in London and Bristol, as well as in Cork and Dublin. With the other societies, their respective Assistants supply my lack of service. Sun . 25. — I preached two charity sermons at West-Street, in behalf of our poor children. Herein I endeavored to warn them, and all that bring them up, against that English sin, ungodliness; that reproach of our nation, wherein we excel all the inhabitants of the earth. Thur . 29. — I preached at Mr. Edwards’s, in Lambeth. How wonderfully does God fit people for their work! Here Mrs. Edwards, a person of no extraordinary natural abilities, teaches near a hundred children, and keeps them in as good, if not better, order, than most school-mistresses in the kingdom! Fri . 30. — I met the Committee, to consider the state of our temporal circumstances. We are still running backward. Some way must be found to make our income answer our expenses. Sat . December 1. — I saw an uncommon instance of distress; a gentlewoman who used to keep her coach, shut up with her four children in a dark dirty room, (her husband being imprisoned for debt,) without almost any of the necessaries of life. No wonder if she had chose strangling rather than life. Sun . 2. — I was pressed in spirit to warn our people, in strong terms, of the Laodicean spirit which had crept in among them. They received the reproof; and many began to stir up the gift of God that is in them, which immediately appeared from the very great increase of the morning congregations. Tues . 4. — I retired to Rainham, to prepare another edition of the New Testament for the press. Wednesday , 5. I preached at Purfleet, to a deeply serious congregation, many of whom walk in the light of God’s countenance. Thursday , 6. I preached to a large congregation at Rainham. I trust some goodwill be done here also. Fri . 7. — I returned to London, and again considered what was to be done in our present temporal circumstances. After much consultation, they desired me, 1. To appoint a few of our brethren to divide the town between them, and desire our brethren that were able to assist in this exigence: 2. That a collection should be made in all our preaching-houses for the same purpose. Above three hundred pounds were raised by these means, whereby the whole difficulty was removed. Sun . 9. — I went down at half-hour past five, but found no Preacher in the chapel, though we had three or four in the house: So I preached myself.
Afterwards, inquiring why none of my family attended the morning preaching, they said, it was because they sat up too late. I resolved to put a stop to this; and therefore ordered, that, 1. Every one under my roof should go to bed at nine; that, 2. Every one might attend the morning preaching: And so they have done ever since. Mon . 10. — I was desired to see the celebrated wax-work at the Museum in Spring-Gardens: It exhibits most of the crowned heads in Europe, and shows their characters in their countenance. Sense and majesty appear in the King of Spain; dullness and sottishness in the King of France; infernal subtlety in the late King of Prussia; (as well as in the skeleton Voltaire;) calmness and humanity in the Emperor, and King of Portugal; exquisite stupidity in the Prince of Orange; and amazing coarseness, with everything that is unamiable, in the Czarina.
In the evening I preached at Peckham to a more awakened congregation than ever I observed there before. Thur . 13. — I preached in the evening at Miss Teulon’s, in Highgate. I never saw such a congregation there before. Will there then be good done here at last? Well; nothing is too hard for God! Sun . 16. — After preaching at Spitalfields, I hastened to St. John’s, Clerkenwell, and preached a charity sermon for the Finsbury Dispensary; as I would gladly countenance every institution of the kind. Tues . 18. — I retired to Newington, and hid myself for almost three days. Friday , 21. The Committee proposed to me, 1. That families of men and women should sit together in both chapels: 2. That every one who took a pew should have it as his own: Thus overthrowing, at one blow, the discipline which I have been establishing for fifty years! Sat . 22. — I yielded to the importunity of a painter, and sat an hour and a half, in all, for my picture. I think it was the best that ever was taken; but what is the picture of a man above fourscore? Mon . 24. — We had another meeting of the Committee; who after a calm and loving consultation, judged it best,1. That the men and women should sit separate still; and, 2. That none should claim any pew as his own, either in the new chapel, or in West-Street. [N.B. A part of Mr. Wesley’s Journal which should come in there, is lost or mislaid, and cannot be found.] February 25, 1788. — I took a solemn leave of the congregation at West-Street, by applying once more what I had enforced fifty years before, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.” At the following meeting the presence of God, in a marvellous manner, filled the place. The next evening we had a very numerous congregation at the new chapel, to which I declared the whole counsel of God. I seemed now to have finished my work in London. If I see it again, well; if not, I pray God to raise up others, that will be more faithful and more successful in his work! Thur . 28. — I set out in the mail-coach, and the next morning came to Bath. Here I found a pleasing prospect: The congregations are larger than ever. The society is, at length, at unity in itself; and, consequently, increases both in grace and number. Sat . March 1. — (Being Leap-year.) I considered, What difference do I find by an increase of years? I find, 1. Less activity; I walk slower, particularly up-hill: 2. My memory is not so quick: 3. I cannot read so well by candle-light. But I bless God, that all my other powers of body and mind remain just as they were. Sun . 2. — I preached at eleven, at half an hour past two, and at half-hour past five. The first congregation was large, and so was the second; but the third was far the largest, filling every corner of the House. And the power of God seemed to increase with the number of the people; insomuch that in the evening, while I was applying, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” the glory of the Lord seemed to overshadow the congregation in an uncommon manner: And I trust the impression then made upon rich and poor will not soon wear off. Mon . 3. — I went on to Bristol, and having two or three quiet days, finished my sermon upon Conscience. On Tuesday I gave notice of my design to preach on Thursday evening, upon (what is now the general topic) Slavery. In consequence of this, on Thursday , the House from end to end was filled with high and low, rich and poor. I preached on that ancient prophecy, “God shall enlarge Japhet. And he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” About the middle of the discourse, while there was on every side attention still as night, a vehement noise arose, none could tell why, and shot like lightning through the whole congregation. The terror and confusion were inexpressible. You might have imagined it was a city taken by storm. The people rushed upon each other with the utmost violence; the benches were broke in pieces; and nine-tenths of the congregation appeared to be struck with the same panic.
In about six minutes the storm ceased, almost as suddenly as it rose; and, all being calm, I went on without the least interruption.
It was the strangest incident of the kind I ever remember; and I believe none can account for it, without supposing some preternatural influence.
Satan fought, lest his kingdom should be delivered up. We set Friday apart as a day of fasting and prayer, that God would remember those poor outcasts of men; and (what seems impossible with men, considering the wealth and power of their oppressors) make a way for them to escape, and break their chains in sunder. Fri . 7. — I went over to Kingswood School, and found everything there in excellent order. Sunday , 9. I preached at the Room, morning and afternoon, (Mr. Collins reading Prayers,) and about two at the School; though the House would very ill contain the congregation. Monday , 10, and the three following days, I visited the classes; which contained (after many added, and many lost or removed) a little more than nine hundred members. I wonder that, with such Preachers, there is so little increase. Dublin has outrun Bristol already: So will Manchester, Sheffleld, and even Birmingham soon, unless they stir themselves up before the Lord. Wed. 12. — I preached in the evening at a new place, in Little George-Street, the poorest part of the city; and great was our rejoicing in the Lord among this willing people. Sat . 15 — In the evening, having no other time, I preached once more in Temple church. I had no thought of meddling with the controversy which has lately pestered this city; till I read those words in the Second Lesson which threw me full upon it, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” I then thought it my duty to speak clearly and strongly upon that head. Sun . 16. — I was invited by the Mayor, Mr. Edger, to preach in his chapel, and afterwards to dine with him at the Mansion-House. Most of the Aldermen were at church, and a multitude of high and low; to whom I explained and applied that awful passage of Scripture, — the history of Dives and Lazarus. Mon . 17. — I began my northern journey, in a mild, lovely morning. In the evening I preached to so crowded an audience at Stroud, as I have not seen there for some years. Tuesday , 18. I preached in Painswick at ten. Here also we wanted room for the audience; and all were still as night. At six in the evening I began at Gloucester. Here it seems the scandal of the cross (such is the will of God) is ceased. High and low, rich and poor, flock together, and seem to devour the word. I preached on building upon a rock, and spoke with all plainness. Many, I believe, were cut to the heart; for it was a day of the Lord’s power. Wed. 19. — About noon I preached at Tewkesbury, where also, notwithstanding the market, the House was over-filled; and the people were deeply attentive.
The work of God goes on steadily here. More and more are continually convinced, and converted to God: But the preaching-house is far too small; so that many who came could not get in. We went to Worcester in the afternoon, where also the House is far too small for the congregation. The Methodists here have by well-doing utterly put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; so that they are now abundantly more in danger by honor than by dishonor. Thursday , 20. I went to Stourport. Twenty years ago there was but one house here; now there are two or three streets; and, as the trade swiftly increases, it will probably grow into a considerable town.
A few years since Mr. Cowell largely contributed to the building of a preaching-house here, in which both Calvinists and Arminians might preach: But when it was finished, the Arminian Preachers were totally excluded. Rather than go to law, Mr. Cowell built another House, both larger and more convenient. I preached there at noon to a large congregation, but to a much larger in the evening. Several Clergymen were present, and were as attentive as any of the people. Probably there will be a deep work of God at this place. Sat . 22. — I breakfasted at Mr. Lister’s, in Kidderminster, with a few very serious and pious friends. In the evening we had a Sunday congregation at Birmingham.
Here there is a glorious increase of the work of God. The society is risen to above eight hundred; so that it is at present inferior to none in England, except those in London and Bristol. Sun . 23. — We were greatly straitened for room, many being obliged to go away. But I believe all that could squeeze in found it good to be there; for, both in the morning and afternoon, the power of God was present to heal.
And so indeed it was on the two following days; particularly on Tuesday evening, while I explained, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” Wed . 26. — I went on to Wednesbury, the mother-society of Staffordshire. But few of the old standers are left: I think but three, out of three hundred and fifteen. However, a new generation is sprung up, though hardly equal to the former. Thur . 27. — About noon I preached at Dudley, and with much liberty of spirit; but with far more at Wolverhampton in the evening; the new House being sufficiently crowded. What a den of lions was this town for many years! But now, it seems, the last will be first. Friday , 28. We came to our dear friends at Madeley. Mrs. Fletcher’s health is surprisingly mended; and one might take her nephew for a believer of seven years’ standing; he seems so well established in the faith of the Gospel. The congregation was surprisingly large in the evening; and great was their solemn joy, while I applied, “When Christ who is our life shall appear, then hall ye also appear with him in glory.” Sat . 29. — Having no other time, I went over to Salop, and spent an afternoon very agreeably. The Room was so crowded in the evening as I never saw it before; perhaps the more, by reason of two poor wretches who were executed in the afternoon. It was given me to speak strong words, such as made the stout-hearted tremble. Surely there is now, if there never was before, a day of salvation to this town also. Sun . 30. — I returned to Madeley; but we were distressed by the large concourse of people. It was too cold to stand abroad; and the church could in nowise contain the congregation. But we could not help it: So as many as could got in; the rest stood without, or went away. The epistle led me to preach on the “Three that bear record in heaven,” which proved seasonable for Mrs. Fletcher. In the afternoon, I preached on, “This is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” Mon . 31. — About noon I preached at Stafford, to a large and serious congregation; and about six in the evening, at Lane-End. Our chapel not being able to contain one-third of the congregation, they stood at the front of Mr. Myat’s house, where they could all hear perfectly; and though the wind was high, and extremely cold, none seemed to regard it.
Mr. Myat was mentioning a little circumstance which I think worth relating, for its oddness: — He had two cats with kitten at once; one of which was the mother of the other, and kittened three weeks before her.
But she would not suffer one of her kittens to suck at all, till it was almost starved. The younger cat seeing this, took the kitten and suckled it till she kittened herself; and afterwards suckled it with her own kittens. Who can account for this? Tues . April 1. — We went on to Burslem, where the work of God still prospers exceedingly. Sinners — men, women, and children — are still convinced and converted to God everyday; and there are exceeding few that draw back, as they are much united in affection, and watch over each other in love.
In the evening, before the time of preaching came, the preaching-house was more than filled. Finding it could not contain one half of the people, I ordered a table to be placed in the yard; where they stood very patiently, though the wind was very high and very cold. Afterwards I spent a comfortable hour with the society, who completely filled the House. Wed . 2. — This morning I finished Mr. Weston’s ingenious “Dissertations on the Wonders of Antiquity;” particularly the Darkness at our Lord’s death, and the Pool of Bethesda, And I quite agree with him, that the chief reason why these and many other miracles were not even mentioned by the heathen Historians is, their utter contempt of the Christians, and their being so accustomed to the “lying wonders” which were so common in the heathen world; whence they naturally supposed all the Christian miracles to be of the same sort.
In the evening I preached to a crowded congregation at Newcastle; and God was in the midst of them. Thursday , 3. I crossed over to Leek, where for many years we seemed to be ploughing upon the sand; but, at length, the fruit appears. Their new House would very hardly contain the congregation, although it blew a storm, so that many of the women could hardly bear up against the wind. In the evening I preached at Congleton.
Part of the congregation were the Minister and the Mayor, with several Aldermen: But they seemed astonished while I opened and strongly applied, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Fri . 4. — We had another violent storm in going to Macclesfield. But there all is calm; their little feuds are removed, and the work of God steadily goes on. Sunday , 6. The new church was half filled in the morning, but thoroughly in the afternoon; and great was our rejoicing in the Lord, both then and at six in the evening.
I took a solemn leave of them at five in the morning, Monday , 7, and with a deal of difficulty got to New-Mills; the roads over the mountains being scarce passable; but the earnestness of the congregation made amends for the difficulty of the journey. They are all athirst for God. Wednesday , 9.
At noon I preached in the chapel at Bullocksmithy; one of the most famous villages in the county for all manner of wickedness. But there is a change for the better already, and a fair prospect of a much greater. In the evening, as well as on the next, the House at Stockport was thoroughly filled with people ready prepared for the Lord, and adorning the doctrine of God our Savior. Thur . 10. — About noon I preached at Ashton, to a loving and lively people, and thence went on to Oldham. But what could be done here? I suppose the children alone would have filled the preaching-house from end to end. We kept the door locked till a little before the appointed time.
Then I went in, and to as many as the House would hold, explained “the rest” that “remaineth for the people of God;” and indeed they had ears to hear. Afterward, leaving one to preach again, after an hour’s respite I went on to Manchester. Fri . 11. — The House was well filled in the evening. I explained and enforced the words of St. James, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” I did not hear that any were offended; for the bulk of these are an understanding people. Sat . 12. — I took a view of the public library, preferable to most in England. It is annexed to the Blue-Coat School, wherein fourscore children are provided with all things; and all by the munificence of one man, who expressly forbade any one to add thereto. Sun . 13. — Mr. Simpson assisting, we dealt very well with a crowded congregation. I suppose we had about a thousand communicants; and surely God was among them: And so He was in the evening, while I applied, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Mon . 14. — At noon I preached at Northwich, to such a congregation as scarce ever was seen there before; and had a good hope that, after all the storms, goodwill be done here also. In the evening I preached to the affectionate congregation at Chester, who want nothing but more life and fire. Tuesday , 15. I was desired to preach upon the Trinity. The chapel was sufficiently crowded; and surely God answered for himself to all candid hearers. Wed . 16. — I preached about eleven at Warrington, (a cold, uncomfortable place,) and in the evening at Liverpool. The House was extremely crowded, and I found great liberty of spirit; but still more the next evening, while I was opening and applying the parable of the Sower. How much seed has been sown in this town! And, blessed be God, all is not lost.
Some has brought forth thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold. Fri . 18. — Notice having been given at Wigan of my preaching a sermon for the Sunday-schools, the people flocked from all quarters in such a manner as never was seen before. I spoke with all possible plainness on, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel;” and it seemed to sink deep into the hearts of the hearers. Surely “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Sat . 19. — We went on to Bolton, where I preached in the evening in one of the most elegant Houses in the kingdom, and to one of the liveliest congregations. And this I must avow, there is not such a set of singers in any of the Methodist congregations in the three kingdoms. There cannot be; for we have near a hundred such trebles, boys and girls, selected out of our Sunday-schools, and accurately taught, as are not found together in any chapel, cathedral, or music-room within the four seas Besides, the spirit with which they all sing, and the beauty of many of them, so suits the melody, that I defy any to exceed it; except the singing of angels in our Father’s house. Sun . 20. — At eight, and at one, the House was thoroughly filled. About three, I met between nine hundred and a thousand of the children belonging to our Sunday-schools. I never saw such a sight before. They were all exactly clean, as well as plain, in their apparel. All were serious and well behaved. Many, both boys and girls, had as beautiful faces as, I believe, England or Europe can afford. When they all sung together, and none of them out of tune, the melody was beyond that of any theatre; and, what is best of all, many of them truly fear God, and some rejoice in his salvation.
These are a pattern to all the town. Their usual diversion is to visit the poor that are sick, (sometimes six, or eight, or ten together,) to exhort, comfort, and pray with them. Frequently ten or more of them get together to sing and pray by themselves; sometimes thirty or forty; and are so earnestly engaged, alternately singing, praying, and crying, that they know not how to part. You children that hear this, why should not you go and do likewise? Is not God here as well as at Bolton? Let God arise and maintain his own cause, even “out of the mouths of babes and sucklings!” Mon . 21. — I went on, through miserable roads, to Blackburn; where, notwithstanding the continued rain, the new preaching-house was thoroughly filled with serious, well-behaved people. Tuesday , 22. Through equally good roads we got on to Padiham. I preached at eleven to as quiet a congregation, though not so lively, as that at Bolton. From hence we went in the afternoon, through still more wonderful roads, to Haslingden. They were sufficient to lame any horses, and shake any carriage in pieces. — N.B. I will never attempt to travel these roads again, till they are effectually mended!
A gentleman, no way connected with us, has built us a neat preaching-house here, desiring only three percent for what he has laid out, (about eight hundred pounds,) provided the seats let for so much, of which there is little doubt. It was well filled in the evening with serious people, lying in the midst of many societies. Wednesday , 23. We hobbled on to Bury, through roads equally deplorable; but we met a lively congregation, which made us forget our labor. In the evening I preached to another lively congregation at Rochdale. Formerly we had much trouble here: But it is past; and they now hold the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Thur . 24. — About ten we began the Service in the church at Todmorden, crowded sufficiently. I found uncommon liberty among these poor mountaineers. We had a pleasant road from hence to Burnley, where a multitude of people were waiting; but we had no house that could contain them. Just then the rain ceased: So we went into the inn-yard, which contained them well; and it was an acceptable season, as indeed it was both the times before when I preached at Bury. Fri . 25. — In the evening I preached at Colne. This is the fifth rainy day we have had. However, the House was pretty well filled; and I strongly exhorted them that had left their first love, to remember from whence they had fallen, to repent, and to do their first works. Sun . 27. — I preached at Haworth church in the morning, crowded sufficiently; as was Bingley church in the afternoon: But as very many could not get in, Mr. Wrigley preached to them in the street; so that they did not come in vain. In the evening we went on to Halifax. Mon . 28. — The House in the evening was thoroughly filled with hearers that devoured the word. Tuesday , 29. I was desired to preach in the church at Sowerby, four miles from Halifax. It stands on the brow of a high and steep mountain. Rich and poor flocked together to it; whom I exhorted to acquaint themselves with God, and be at peace. I found much liberty of spirit among them; and still more at Halifax in the evening, when it seemed as if the windows of heaven were opened; as also at five in the morning, when I took a solemn leave of this affectionate people. Wed . 30. — About eleven the service began at Honley. After the Curate had read Prayers to a large and serious congregation, I preached, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” I believe many felt as well as heard the word. About six I preached at Huddersfield; where our brethren are now all at peace and unity with each other. In the evening I went to our quiet and delightful retreat at Longwood-House. Thur . May 1. — The congregation at five was exceeding large, coming from many miles round; but that at Shelly, a lone place, six or seven miles from Huddersfield, where I was constrained to preach in the open air at nine, was six or seven times larger; indeed, the largest I have seen since I left Manchester; and the power of God was eminently present, both to wound and to heal. I believe the congregation at Wakefield in the evening was larger even than this; and the verdure of the trees, the smoothness of the meadow, the calmness of the evening, and the stillness of the whole congregation, made it a delightful sight. Fri . 2. — I went on to Bradford. I feared the jars which had been here would have lessened the congregation; but it was as large as ever I remember it on a week-day; and as deeply attentive as ever. A large number attended again at five in the morning. In the afternoon I spent some hours with the Trustees of Eccleshill House; but I might as well have talked to so many posts. In the evening we had a lovely congregation again, to whom I explained the former part of Revelation 14. These had ears to hear; and many of them rejoiced with joy full of glory. Sun . 4. — It was not without extreme difficulty that we could get into the church; but it was worth all the labor. I strongly applied those words in the Epistle for the day, “The end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” It seemed as if the whole congregation was moved. I believe that hour will not soon be forgotten.
The concourse of people at Birstal, about four, was greater than ever was seen there before; and the wind being very high, it was feared not half of them would be able to hear: But God was better to them than their fears.
Afterwards we found that all could hear distinctly; so, if they hear no more, I am clear of their blood. I have declared to them the whole counsel of God. Mon . 5. — About nine I preached to the loving people at Morley, on Peter 1:3, and then went forward to Leeds; where (Mr. Hey having sent me word that it was not convenient for him to receive me) Mr. Floyd, and every one in his house, received me with all gladness. We had a full House in the evening. I explained and applied James 2:22, which I suppose was never more needful to be insisted upon than it is this day. Tues . 6. — About eleven I accepted the invitation of Mr. Stone, a truly pious and active man, and preached in his church at Rawdon, ten miles from Leeds, to a very serious congregation, on Mark 1:15: “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.”
In the evening I preached at Otley to a lovely congregation, and at five in the morning. At four in the afternoon I preached at Pateley-Bridge; and setting out at four on Friday morning, reached Kendal that evening, (sixty-one miles,) and Whitehaven at five on Saturday , 10.
The congregation in the evening rejoiced much, as they had not seen me for four years but scarce any of the old standers are left: Two-and-forty years have swept them away. Let us who are left live today. “Now is the day of salvation.”
May 11. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) In the morning, while those words were applied, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” his power was eminently present in the congregation; but much more in the evening. At noon Joseph Bradford preached in the market-place to a numerous congregation; and I am not without hope, that poor Whitehaven will lift up its head again. Mon . 12. — About eight I began preaching in the market-house at Cockermouth. I was surprised to find several of those that are called the best of the town there; and they were one and all serious and attentive: So we had a solemn parting. Hence we went on to Carlisle. I never found this society so well united before. The preaching-house, begun three or four years ago, is now completely finished. It is neat, lightsome, and cheerful; but it was very ill able to contain the congregation. Several Ministers were there; and so was the power of God, in an uncommon degree. All that were under the roof seemed to be moved more or less; and so they were in the morning, Tuesday , 13, when I besought them to present themselves a living sacrifice to God.
Today we went on through lovely roads to Dumfries. Indeed all the roads are wonderfully mended since I last travelled this way. Dumfries is beautifully situated; but as to wood and water, and gently-rising hills etc., is, I think, the neatest, as well as the most civilized, town that I have seen in the kingdom. Robert Dall soon found me out. He has behaved exceeding well, and done much good here; but he is a bold man: He has begun building a preaching-house, larger than any in Scotland, except those in Glasgow and Edinburgh! In the evening I preached abroad in a convenient street, on one side of the town. Rich and poor attended from every quarter, of whatever denomination; and every one seemed to hear for life.
Surely the Scots are the best hearers in Europe! Wed . 14. — At five I was importuned to preach in the preaching-house; but such a one I never saw before. It had no windows at all: So that although the sun shone bright, we could see nothing without candles. But I believe our Lord shone on many hearts, while I was applying those words, “I will, be thou clean.” I breakfasted with poor Mr. Ashton, many years ago a member of our society in London; but far happier now in his little cottage, than ever he was in his prosperity.
When I was in Scotland first, even at a Nobleman’s table, we had only flesh meat of one kind, but no vegetables of any kind; but now they are as plentiful here as in England. Near Dumfries there are five very large public gardens, which furnish the town with greens and fruit in abundance.
The congregation in the evening was nearly double to that we had the last; and, if it was possible, more attentive. Indeed one or two gentlemen, so called, laughed at first; but they quickly disappeared; and all were still while I explained the worship of God in spirit and in truth. Two of the Clergy followed me to my lodging, and gave me a pressing invitation to their houses. Several others intended, it seems, to do the same; but having a long journey before me, I left Dumfries earlier in the morning than they expected. We set out on Thursday , 15, at four; and reached Glasgow, Friday , 16, before noon. Much of the country, as we came, is now well improved; and the wilderness become a fruitful field.
Our new preaching-house will, I believe, contain about as many as the chapel at Bath. But O the difference! It has the pulpit on one side; and has exactly the look of a Presbyterian meeting-house. It is the very sister of our House at Brentford. Perhaps an omen of what will be when I am gone.
I preached at seven to a tolerably large congregation, and to many of them at five in the morning. At six in the evening they were increased fourfold; but still I could not find the way to their hearts. Sun . 18. — I preached at eleven on the parable of the Sower; at half-past two on Psalm 50:23; and in the evening on, “Now abideth faith, hope, love; these three.” I subjoined a short account of Methodism, particularly insisting on the circumstances, — There is no other religious society under heaven which requires nothing of men in order to their admission in to it, but a desire to save their souls. Look all round you, you can not be admitted into the Church, or society of the Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Quakers, or any others, unless you hold the same opinions with them, and adhere to the same mode of worship.
The Methodists alone do not insist on your holding this or that opinion; but they think and let think. Neither do they impose any particular mode of worship; but you may continue to worship in your former manner, be it what it may. Now, I do not know any other religious society, either ancient or modern, wherein such liberty of conscience is now allowed, or has been allowed, since the age of the Apostles. Here is our glorying; and a glorying peculiar to us. What society shares it with us? Mon . 19. — I went to Edinburgh, and preached to a much larger congregation than I used to see here on a week-day. I still find a frankness and openness in the people of Edinburgh, which I find in few other parts of the kingdom. I spent two days among them with much satisfaction; and I was not at all disappointed, in finding no such increase, either in the congregation or the society, as many expected from their leaving the Kirk. Thur . 22. — The House at Dalkeith being far too small even at eight in the morning, to contain the congregation, I preached in a garden, on, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found:” And from the eager attention of the people, I could not but hope, that some of them would receive the truth in love. In the evening I preached in the House at Dunbar, tolerably well filled, on Job 22:2, 3; I believe with The spirit of convincing speech: But much more, at five in the morning, Friday , 23. And will God manifest his power among these dry bones also? Immediately after preaching we set out. How is the face of this country changed in a few years! It was, twenty years ago, dreary enough; but is now as a pleasant garden. But what is most remarkable, is the bridge which connects the two mountains, the Peas, together; one of the noblest works in Great Britain; unless you would except the bridge at Edinburgh, which lies directly across the Cowgate: So that one street (a thing not heard of before) runs under another.
About noon we came to Berwick-upon-Tweed; but the town being all in a hurry, on occasion of the fair, so that I could not conveniently preach in the market-house, I was glad that Mr. Atcheson, the Presbyterian Minister, offered me the use of his chapel. It was a large commodious place. Several of his hearers attended; to whom I spoke exceeding plain, in the evening, on 1 Corinthians 12:3; and in the morning, on Isaiah 59:1-3. Sat . 24. — About one we reached Alnwick. I was a little surprised at the new preaching-house, (in which I preached in the evening,) exactly resembling the meeting-house we hire at Brentford. Had they no eyes? Or had they never seen any English House? But the scarecrow must now stand without remedy. Sun . 25. — This was the day on which all the Nonjuring congregations in Scotland began, by common agreement, to pray in all their public worship for King George and his family. I preached at nine, at two, and at half-past five; the last time on the Gospel for the day, (the history of Dives and Lazarus,) with much enlargement of spirit. After preaching at five in the morning, on Matthew 26, and taking a solemn leave of the congregation, I went on to Morpeth; but was informed the Town-Hall was totally engaged; the lower part, by a company of players; the upper, by a dancing-master. However, the latter did scruple the having his right: So I preached to the largest congregation I ever saw there. And our Lord seemed to Dart into all the melting power Of love, and make the mountains flow.
It was indeed a wonderful season, such as we had scarce had before since we left Bristol. In the evening I preached at Newcastle, to such a congregation as was never there before unless on a Sunday; and indeed all the congregations, morning and evening, were such as had not been before since the House was built. Surely this is the accepted time for Newcastle.
Perhaps I may see it no more!
At noon I preached in the lower House, to a very crowded congregation; and I believe most of them felt that God was there; for it was as a season of great refreshment. So it was at the upper House in the evening. I doubt not but God will be glorified in both, provided the people in each agree to provoke one another only to love, and to good works. Sat . 31. — At five I preached in the lower House to a numerous congregation: I believe the greater part of whom had no thought of salvation, till they heard the preaching at this place. Were it only for the sake of these, I do not regret all the trouble I have had on occasion of this building.
At nine I preached in South-Shields to a large and serious congregation, ready prepared for the Gospel; in the evening at Sunderland, to an experienced people, many of whom are rooted and grounded in love. Sun . June 1. — I willingly accepted of Mr. Hampson’s invitation, and preached in his church morning and afternoon. I suppose it was hardly ever so filled before. And the power of God was present to heal. It was doubted whether all could hear. In order to try, Joseph Bradford stood in the farthest corner; and he could hear every word. I preached in our chapel at six; but abundance of people could not get in. I was sorry I did not preach abroad, while so many were athirst for the word. Mon . 2. — About noon I preached at Cockermouth. I had never such a season there before: The glory of the Lord seemed to fill the House, and the people trembled before him. We had such another opportunity at Sunderland in the evening: Surely God will be glorified in this place! Tues . 3. — I returned to Newcastle, and preached in the evening on the “rest” that “remaineth for the people of God:” And a few have believed our report, and are eager to enter into it. Thur . 5. — Desiring to pay one more visit to the loving society in Weardale, I set out early, and drove through wonderful roads to Wolsingham; a town near the entrance of the vale. I could not preach abroad, because of the storm; and the House would not near contain the people. However, as many crowded in as could: The rest got near the door or windows; and surely the willing mind was accepted.
In the evening, the wind being still very high, I was obliged to preach within, in Weardale also; and it was a time of uncommon blessing. Friday , 6. Going out of my room, I missed a step, and fell forward, so that the edge of one of the stairs came a quarter of an inch above my right eye, exactly upon my eyelid. I put a little white paper upon it, which immediately stopped the bleeding, and preached without any inconvenience. The work of God has much increased here lately. Many have been convinced of sin, many justified; some perfected in love, and many added to the society. Fri . 6. — We returned to Stanhope, formerly the seat of several great families, now an inconsiderable village. It is eminent for nothing in this age, but a very uncommon degree of wickedness. I preached at five, in what I understood was once the market-place, to an exceedingly numerous congregation. I preached on Isaiah 55:6,7; and, if ever, with the demonstration of the Spirit. The people were all bowed down together, as the heart of one man. Surely God will have a people in this place! Sat . 7. — Our brethren thought the preaching-house would contain the congregation at five in the morning. It was a large upper room: But before I began to speak, it was exceedingly crowded; and the main beam that supported it giving way, the floor began to sink. Some crying out, “The room is falling!” one man leaped out of the window; the rest slowly and quietly went out, without the least hurry or confusion; so that nothing was hurt except a poor dog that was under the window. I then preached in the open air, to twice or thrice as many as the room would have contained, who were all attention. O how white are these fields to the harvest!
About twelve, I preached to a lovely congregation at Burnupfield, on, “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.” I have found nothing like it since I left London; such was The’ o’erwhelming power of grace divine!
I know not that ever I felt such self-abasement before; and the whole congregation seemed almost equally moved. And so they were at Newcastle in the evening, while I explained and strongly applied, “I am the All-sufficient God: Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” Sun . 8. — I preached at the Ballast-Hills, about half an hour after eight. I think the congregation was nearly double to that I had here two years ago; and they increased in earnestness as much as in number. About two I preached at Gateshead-Fell, to I suppose twice as many as were at the Ballast-Hills, on the joy that is in heaven “over one sinner that repenteth.”
In the evening I preached near the Keelmen’s Hospital, within sight of the place where I preached the first Sunday I was at Newcastle; and I think to the largest congregation which I have seen at Newcastle since that time.
The Second Lesson for the Evening Service supplied me with a text, <470601> Corinthians 6:1: “We then, as workers,” etc. The people appeared to devour the word, and I did not spare them. I was then ready to say, “Now I am clear from the blood of these men.” No, I dare not! I judge not my own self! He that judgeth me is the Lord. Mon . 9. — I preached at Durham about eleven, to more than the House could contain even in this polite and elegant city, we now want a larger chapel. In the evening I preached near our preaching-house, to a large multitude; I think, as numerous as that at Gateshead-Fell. Many of the Durham Militia, with several of their officers, were there: And all of them seemed to receive the word, “not as the word of man; but, as it is indeed, the word of God.” Tues . 10. — We went through one of the pleasantest countries I ever saw, to Darlington. Before I left Newcastle, I was desired to read a strange account of a young woman, late of Darlington. But I told the person who brought it, “I can form no judgment till I talk with Margaret Barlow herself.” This morning she came to me, and again in the afternoon; and I asked her abundance of questions. I was soon convinced, that she was not only sincere, but deep in grace; and therefore incapable of deceit. I was convinced, likewise, that she had frequent intercourse with a spirit that appeared in the form of an angel. I know not how to judge of the rest. Her account was: — “For above a year, I have seen this angel, whose face is exceeding beautiful; her raiment,” so she speaks, “white as snow, and glistering like silver; her voice unspeakably soft and musical. She tells me many things before they come to pass. She foretold, I should be ill at such a time, in such a manner, and well at such an hour; and it was so exactly.
She has said, such a person shall die at such a time; and he did so. Above two months ago, she told me, your brother was dead; (I did not know you had a brother;) and that he was in heaven. And some time since she told me, you will die in less than a year. But what she has most earnestly and frequently told me, is, that God will in a short time be avenged of obstinate sinners, and will destroy them with fire from heaven.” Whether this will be so or no, I cannot tell; but when we were alone, there was a wonderful power in her words; and, as the Indian said to David Brainerd, “They did good to my heart.”
It is above a year since this girl was first visited in this manner, being then between fourteen and fifteen years old. But she was then quite a womanish girl, and of unblamable behavior.
Much good has already resulted from this odd event; and is likely to ensue; provided those who believe, and those who disbelieve, her report, have but patience with each other.
We had a love-feast in the evening, at which several spoke deep experience in a plain, artless manner; and many were greatly comforted, and stirred up more intensely to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Wed . 11. — About noon I preached at Stockton; but the House would not contain the congregation; nor indeed at Yarm, in the evening. Here I heard what was quite new to me, namely, that it is now the custom, in all good company, to give obscene healths, even though Clergymen be present; one of whom, lately refusing to drink such a health, was put out of the room; and one of the forwardest, in this worthy company, was a Bishop’s steward. Thur . 12. — Between one and two we had a larger congregation at Potto than I ever saw there before. At Hutton-Rudby, in the evening, I spoke strongly to the backsliders; and I think not in vain.
At eight I preached to a lovely congregation, at Stokesley, with much liberty of spirit; and at eleven, in Guisborough, to one far larger, and equally attentive. In the evening I preached at Whitby, in the new House, thoroughly filled above and below; though it contains twice as many as the old one; and although the unfinished galleries, having as yet no fronts, were frightful to look upon. It is the most curious House we have in England.
You go up to it by about forty steps; and have then before you a lofty front, I judge, near fifty feet high, and fifty-four feet broad. So much gainers have we been by the loss of the former House. Beside that it stood at one end of the town, and in the very sink of it, where people of any fashion were ashamed to be seen. Sat . 14. — At five in the morning we had a large congregation; but it was more than doubled in the evening; and at both times I could not but observe the uncommon earnestness of the people. Sunday , 15. The House was well filled at seven. For the sake of the country people, who flocked from all sides, I preached again at half an hour past one, on, “The end of all things is at hand: Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” After preaching at five, on the education of children, I made a collection for Kingswood School; the rather, that I might have an opportunity of refuting that poor, threadbare slander, of my “getting so much money.” We concluded our service with a comfortable love-feast. Mon . 16. — From the plain people at Whitby I went on to the elegant congregation at Scarborough. I was surprised at their flocking together in such numbers, — many more than the House could contain; and I strongly enforced, “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” Tues . 17. — Desiring Joseph Bradford to preach at five, I did not preach till three. I then urged on a very genteel congregation, “One thing is needful;” and surely the power of the Lord was present to heal them, in a manner I have not often found; and again in the evening, while I enforced, “He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him.” Wed . 18. — I designed to preach in the street, at Bridlington; but the wind and dust would not suffer it. So as many as could pressed into the House; but near as many were constrained to go away. I preached on Revelation 20:12; and, I believe, not in vain. Thur . 19. — I went about forty miles out of my way, to see my old friends at Malton; and particularly old Mr. Wilson, at whose house I first lodged there. Between eleven and twelve I began preaching on, “It is appointed unto men once to die:” And God applied his word, one would almost have thought, to every one under the roof. It was a glorious opportunity. The people were gathered from many miles round, and I think few repented of their labor. As soon as the service was over, I hasted away, and reached Beverley (twenty-eight miles) in good time. The House here, though greatly enlarged, was well filled with high and low, rich and poor; and (it being the day of the Archdeacon’s visitation) many of the Clergy were there. I rejoiced in this, as it might be a means of removing prejudice from many sincere minds. Fri . 20. — I went on to Hull; and in the evening explained and applied those remarkable words of our Lord, “Whosoever doeth the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” The new preaching-house here is nearly as large as the new chapel in London. It is well built, and elegantly finished; handsome, but not gaudy. Saturday , 21. We had a large congregational five; larger than even that at Birmingham; which exceeded all the morning congregations I had then seen. Sunday , 22. Mr. Clark, the Vicar, inviting me to preach in the High Church, I explained (what occurred in the Service of the day) what it is to build our house upon the rock; and applied it as strongly as I could. I dined at the Vicarage with Mr. Clark; a friendly, sensible man; and, I believe, truly fearing God. And such, by the peculiar providence of God, are all the three stated Ministers in Hull. He said he never saw the church so full before. However, it was still fuller in the afternoon; when, at the desire of Mr. Clark, I preached on St. James’s beautiful account of the wisdom which is from above. At six in the evening I preached in our own House, to as many as could get in, (but abundance of people went away,) on Galatians 6:14. Mon . 23. — About eight we reached Mr. Stillingfleet’s, at Hotham; one of the pleasantest places I have seen. At nine he read prayers, and I preached to a large and serious congregation. At eleven I preached, with much enlargement of heart, in the new chapel, at Market-Weighton; and at half an hour after one, in Pocklington: But the House was like an oven.
Between six and seven I began at York, on Romans 13:12. The word was as fire; and all that heard it seemed to feel the power thereof. Tues . 24. — Having no other opportunity, I went over to Thirsk, and preached in the evening on 1 Peter 1:24. All the congregation were serious, but two young gentlewomen, who laughed and talked incessantly, till I turned and spoke expressly to them. They then seemed to be ashamed. Wed . 25. — Believing the little flock there wanted encouragement, I took Ripon in my way to York, and gave them a strong discourse on the story of Dives and Lazarus. Many strangers seemed greatly astonished; and I believe they will not soon forget what they heard; for God applied it to their hearts: As he did also the parable of the Sower at York, I will hope, to most of the congregation. Thur . 26. — The Vicar of Selby having sent me word that I was welcome to preach in his church, I went that way. But before I came he had changed his mind: So I preached in our own chapel; and not without a blessing. In the evening I preached at Thorne to a larger congregation than ever I saw in the House before. Friday , 27. At nine I preached in the church, at Swinfleet, filled from end to end. About eleven I preached at Crowle, to a large congregation; and I am now in hope that there will be a good harvest here also, seeing the almost perpetual jars are now at an end. Thence I came once more (perhaps for the last time) to Epworth; where, by the prudence and diligence of T. Tattershall, the people have now forgot their feuds, and are at unity with each other. Sat . 28. — I this day enter on my eighty-fifth year And what cause have I to praise God, as for a thousand spiritual blessings, so for bodily blessings also! How little have I suffered yet by “the rush of numerous years!” It is true, I am not so agile as I was in times past. I do not run or walk so fast as I did; my sight is a little decayed; my left eye is grown dim, and hardly serves me to read; I have daily some pain in the ball of my right eye, as also in my right temple, (occasioned by a blow received some months since,) and in my right shoulder and arm, which I impute partly to a sprain, and partly to the rheumatism. I find likewise some decay in my memory, with regard to names and things lately passed; but not at all with regard to what I have read or heard, twenty, forty, or sixty years ago; neither do I find any decay in my hearing, smell, taste, or appetite; (though I want but a third part of the food I did once;) nor do I feel any such thing as weariness, either in traveling or preaching: And I am not conscious of any decay in writing sermons; which I do as readily, and I believe as correctly, as ever.
To what cause can I impute this, that I am as I am? First, doubtless, to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which I am called, as long as He pleases to continue me therein; and, next, subordinately to this, to the prayers of his children.
May we not impute it, as inferior means, 1. To my constant exercise and change of air? 2. To my never having lost a night’s sleep, sick or well, at land or at sea, since I was born? 3. To my having sleep at command; so that whenever I feel myself almost worn-out, I call it, and it comes, day or night? 4. To my having constantly, for above sixty years, risen at four in the morning? 5. To my constant preaching at five in the morning, for above fifty years? 6. To my having had so little pain in my life; and so little sorrow, or anxious care?
Whether or not this is sent to give me warning that I am shortly to quit this tabernacle, I do not know; but be it one way or the other, I have only to say, My remnant of days I spend to his praise Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few, My days are his due, And they all are devoted to Him!
I preached in the morning on Psalm 90:12; in the evening on Acts 13:40,41; and endeavored to improve the hours between to the best advantage. Sun . 29. — At eight I preached at Misterton, as usual; about one to a numerous congregation at Newby, near Haxey; and about four at my old stand in Epworth market-place, to the great congregation. Here there used to be a few mockers; but there were none now: All appeared serious as death, while I applied those solemn words, “When the breath of man goeth forth,” etc. We concluded with a love-feast, at which many declared, with an excellent spirit, the wonderful works of God. Mon . 30. — About eight I preached in Scotter; and found it good to be there. About eleven I preached in Scowby, two miles from Brigg, to a very numerous and serious congregation. In the afternoon, going just by that curious building, Mr. Pelham’s Mausoleum, I alighted, and took a view of it within and without. The like, I suppose, is not to be found in England. It is exactly round, fifty-two feet in diameter, and will be sixty-five feet high.
The lower part contains, I believe, near a hundred places for the bodies of the Pelham family. (O what a comfort to the departed spirits, that their carcasses shall rot above ground!) Over this is to be a chapel. It is computed the whole building will cost sixty thousand pounds.
About five we came to Grimsby; and, the Vicar reading Prayers, I preached on the Psalm for the day, “He healeth them that are broken in heart, and giveth medicine to heal their sickness.” I think the church is near as large as that at Hull; and it has not been so well filled in the memory of man before. All were seriously attentive; many received the word with joy; and some doubtless will bring forth fruit to perfection. Tues . July 1. — The Vicar again read Prayers at eleven; and I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” I spoke as plain as possibly I could; but God only can speak to the heart.
The gentleman at whose house I was to lodge coming from Louth to meet me, his headstrong horse crushed his leg against a gate, with such force, that both the bones were broke and came through his boot. The horse stood by him till some countrymen came, put him into a cart, and brought him home. It is doubtful whether he will recover; but death is no terror to him.
I preached in Louth at six, in the preaching-house; but perhaps I had better have been in the market-place. At five in the morning the Room was filled; and I spoke, as doubting whether I should see them any more. At eleven I preached at that lovely spot, Langham-Row. Although Mr. Robinson has made the chapel twice as large as it was, yet it would hardly contain the congregation; and most of these are in earnest to save their souls; as well as himself, and his wife, and his sixteen children. Thur. 3. — I was going to preach at Alford, near the end of the town; but the Gentry sent and desired me to preach in the market-place; which I accordingly did, to a large and attentive congregation, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.”
Thence we went to Raithby; an earthly paradise! How gladly would I rest here a few days: But it is not my place! I am to be a wanderer upon earth.
Only let me find rest in a better world!
At six I preached in the church to such a congregation as I never saw here before; but I do not wonder if all the country should flock in hither, to a palace in the midst of a paradise. Fri . 4. — I set out early from Raithby, and at eight preached in Horncastle. My design was, to have preached seriously; for which purpose I chose that text, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved;” but I was turned, I knew not how, quite the other way, and could preach scarce anything but consolation. I believe this was the very thing which the people wanted; although I knew it not.
We reached Lincoln about twelve. A very numerous congregation of rich and poor were quickly assembled. I preached below hill, in Mrs. Fisher’s yard; a large and commodious place. From the quietness of the people one might have imagined that we were in London or Bristol. Indeed the dread of the Lord was on every side; and surely his power was present to heal.
In the evening I preached in our new House at Gainsborough, which was crowded sufficiently. I spoke strong words, on, “Now is the accepted time;” which seemed to sink deep into the hearts of the hearers. Saturday , 5. In the evening I preached at Owstone, to such a congregation, both for number and seriousness, as I hardly ever saw here before. Afterwards I took a view of what was lately the glory of the town, — the great mansion-house built by the late Mr. Pinder’s father, when I was a little child. His grandson has left it desolate and without inhabitant, has taken away all the pictures and furniture, blocked up the windows, and cut down the fine rows of trees which formed the avenue! So fleets the comedy of life away.
Sun . 6. — At eight we had such another congregation as that in the evening; to which I expounded that comfortable scripture, the former part of Revelation 14. I came to Epworth before the church Service began; and was glad to observe the seriousness with which Mr. Gibson read Prayers, and preached a plain useful sermon; but was sorry to see scarce twenty communicants, half of whom came on my account. I was informed likewise, that scarce fifty persons used to attend the Sunday service. What can be done to remedy this sore evil?
I fain would prevent the members here from leaving the church; but I cannot do it. As Mr. G. is not a pious man, but rather an enemy to piety, who frequently preaches against the truth, and those that hold and love it, I cannot with all my influence persuade them either to hear him, or to attend the sacrament administered by him. If I cannot carry this point even while I live, who then can do it when I die? And the case of Epworth is the case of every church, where the Minister neither loves nor preaches the Gospel. The Methodists will not attend his ministrations. What then is to be done?
At four I preached in the market-place, on Romans 6:23: and vehemently exhorted the listening multitude to choose the better part. Mon . 7. — Having taken leave of this affectionate people, probably for the last time, I went over to Finningley; and preached at eleven, on that verse in the Second Lesson, Luke 19:42. After dinner we walked over Mr. H.’s domain, the like to which I never saw in so small a compass. It contains a rabbit-warren, deer, swans, pheasants in abundance, besides a fish-pond and an elegant garden. Variety indeed! But is there no danger that such a multitude of things should divert the mind from the “one thing needful?”
In the evening I preached at Doncaster. I never before saw this House so filled, much less crowded; and it was, in a manner I never knew before, filled with the presence of God, while I earnestly enforced that advice, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” One fruit of this was, that the congregation at five in the morning was larger than it ever was before in the evening; and God again made bare his arm, and uttered his voice, yea, and that a mighty voice. Surely those who now heard will be without excuse, if they do not know the day of their visitation!
We were much distressed at Rotherham for want of room, the rain driving us into the House. However, we stowed in it as many as we possibly could; and God bore witness to his word. Wednesday , 9. After dining with that lovely old man, Mr. Sparrow, I went on to Sheffield. The House was much crowded, though one of the largest in England; but all could hear distinctly. In the morning, Thursday , 10, at five we had an evening congregation; and the people seemed to devour the word. Here and at Hull are the two largest morning congregations which I have seen in the kingdom. Fri . 11. — We set out early for Derby. About nine, within about a mile of the Peacock, suddenly the axletree of my chaise snapped asunder, and the carriage overturned. The horses stood still till Jenny Smith and I crept out at the fore-windows. The broken glass cut one of my gloves a little, but did us no other damage. I soon procured another chaise, and went on to Derby, where I preached in the evening; and at five in the morning on Saturday , 12; and then went on to Nottingham. Sun . 13. — I began the service at ten; but I knew not how I should get to the end, being almost exhausted when I had finished my sermon; when Mr. Dodwell came, who, though very weak through the ague, assisted me in administering the Lord’s supper to a very large number of communicants.
After preaching in the evening, I made a collection for Kingswood School.
Today I had just as much work as I could do. Mon . 14. — The mail-coach being full, I crossed over to Newark, and had the satisfaction of seeing in the evening, not only a numerous, but likewise a serious and deeply attentive congregation. Wed . 16. — I consulted with a few friends concerning the state of things; which was better than I expected. The society is increased, and the ordinary hearers in all parts of the town not diminished. Meantime there is reason to hope the work of God goes on, though by slow degrees. On the following days I looked over my books and papers, and set them in order as far as I could. Saturday , 19. I spent an hour in Chesterfield-Street, with my widowed sister and her children. They all seemed inclined to make the right use of the late providential dispensation. Sun . 20. — Both in the morning and evening I preached at the new chapel, crowded sufficiently, on Hebrews 5:12: “Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.” Monday , 21.
I retired to Highbury-Place, and spent the residue of the week in answering letters, revising papers, and preparing for the Conference. Sun . 27. — In the morning I preached at West-Street; and in the afternoon in Bethnal-Green church, on part of the Gospel for the day; our Lord’s lamentation over Jerusalem. I believe the word did not fall to the ground. I preached at the new chapel every evening during the Conference, which continued nine days, beginning on Tuesday ,JULY 29, and ending on Wednesday ,AUGUST 6: And we found the time little enough; being obliged to pass over many things very briefly, which deserved a fuller consideration. Sun . 3. — I preached at the new chapel, so filled as it scarce ever was before, both morning and evening. Monday , 4. At five we had a good evening congregation; and I believe many felt the power of the word; or, rather, of God, speaking therein.
One of the most important points considered at this Conference, was that of leaving the Church. The sum of a long conversation was, 1. That, in a course of fifty years, we had neither premeditately nor willingly varied from it in one article either of doctrine or discipline. 2. That we were not yet conscious of varying from it in any point of doctrine. 3. That we have in a course of years, out of necessity, not choice, slowly and warily varied in some points of discipline, by preaching in the fields, by extemporary prayer, by employing Lay Preachers, by forming and regulating societies, and by holding yearly Conferences.
But we did none of these things till we were convinced we could no longer omit them, but at the peril of our souls. Wed . 6. — Our Conference ended, as it began, in great peace. We kept this day as a fast, meeting at five, nine, and one, for prayer; and concluding the day with a solemn watch-night.
The three following days I retired, revised my papers, and finished all the work I had to do in London. Sunday , 10. I was engaged in a very unpleasing work, the discharge of an old servant. She had been my housekeeper at West-Street for many years, and was one of the best housekeepers I had had there; but her husband was so notorious a drunkard, that I could not keep them in the house any longer. She received her dismissing in an excellent spirit, praying God to bless us all.
I preached in the morning at West-Street to a large congregation; but to a far larger at the new chapel in the evening. It seems the people in general do not expect that I shall remain among them a great while after my brother; and that, therefore, they are willing to hear while they can. In the evening we set out in the mail-coach, and early in the morning got to Portsmouth.
They have lately built a neat preaching-house in the town, something larger than that at Deptford. It is well situated near the midst of the town, and has three well-constructed galleries. I preached at noon to a large and well-behaved audience, and to a much larger in the evening. I believe the word took place in many souls. All went away still as night. Tues . 12. — Joseph Bradford preached at five in the morning. 1 preached in the new House about six in the evening, and guarded them against that deadly Antinomianism which has so often choked the good seed here. In the evening I preached at our House on the common. Afterwards, meeting the society, I took a solemn leave of them, which I hope they will remember if they see me no more. Wed . 13. — We crossed over to Sarum, where I preached in the evening, with much enlargement of heart. Thursday , 14. Setting out about three, we came to Gloucester early in the afternoon. I spoke very plain, both in the evening and the morning. Friday, 15. We went on to Monmouth; but Mr. G—— has done with us; so I lodged with my old friend, Mr. Johnson; and instead of that lovely young woman, S—— B——, who is removed to Cowbridge, met with her younger sister, who more than supplies her place. She is a jewel indeed; full of faith and love, and zealous of good works.
I preached both in the evening and the next morning with the demonstration of the Spirit; and all the congregation, rich and poor, appeared to be sensible of it. Saturday , 16. We had an easy journey to Brecon, where I preached in the evening. Sunday , 17. I preached in the Room at eight, on the fruit of the Spirit. In the evening I preached in the spacious Town-Hall, so filled as it had never been before. I think there is a little company here that are truly alive to God. Monday 18. I went on to Carmarthen, and preached at six, on 2 Corinthians 5:19; and again at five in the morning, Tuesday , 19, when the Room was well filled. A servant of Mr. Bowen’s came early in the morning to show us the way to Llyngwair:
And it was well he did; for I do not know that we could otherwise have found our way thither. We met (as I expected) with a hearty welcome. At five I preached in Newport church, to a large congregation, and with a greater prospect of doing good than ever I had before. We passed an agreeable evening at Llyngwair. Wednesday , 20. I went to Tracoon, one of the most venerable seats in Great Britain. The good old house is buried in woods and mountains, having no resemblance to any place I have seen. It is just suited to the good old Admiral, with his four maiden sisters; the youngest of whom, I suppose, has lived more than seventy years. I preached at twelve, and in the afternoon went on to Haverfordwest. The Room was filled sufficiently, and I could not but believe God will build up the waste places. Thur . 21. — The Room was well filled at five. Finding there had been no discipline here for some time, I determined to begin at the foundation, and settle everything. So I first visited and regulated the classes, then restored the bands, which had been totally neglected, and then gave directions for meeting the Leaders both of bands and classes. After preaching in the evening, I met the society, and gave them a warm exhortation, — to set out anew. I trust they will; and all the present Preachers, I am persuaded, will neglect nothing. Fri . 22. — I went to Pembroke. Here, likewise, not one thing, but everything, had been neglected. No Stewards, no bands, half of the preaching-places dropped; all the people cold, heartless, dead! I spoke earnestly in the evening; and the word was as fire. Surely, some fruit will follow! Sun . 24. — We had a lovely congregation at St. Daniel’s, and a remarkable blessing. In the afternoon I returned to Haverfordwest, and preached in a large open space near the great church, to such a congregation as I have not seen in Wales for many years. I explained and applied the parable of the Sower, and God clothed his word with power. I know not whether I have had such an opportunity before, since I left London. Mon . 25. — I spent another night at Carmarthen very agreeably. Tuesday , 26. I preached in Kidwelly at nine; between twelve and one at Llanelly, to all the Gentry in the town; and in the evening to a multitude of people at Swansea. Wednesday , 27. Far more than the Room would contain attended at five in the morning. About eight I preached in our new preaching-house at Neath; and in the afternoon reached Fontegary, and found Mrs. Jones, with several of her children about her, on the margin of the grave; worn-out with that dreadful disease, — a cancer. She uttered no complaint, but was all patience and resignation, showing the dignity of a Christian, in weakness, and pain, and death. I preached on, “It is appointed unto men once to die;” and I believe all present felt the awful truth.
I had intended to go on to Cowbridge the next day; but, being much importuned to give one day more to a dying friend, I yielded, and desired another Preacher to go and supply my place. In the evening I preached on <19E603> Psalm 146:3,4. The scene before us greatly confirmed the word. Friday , 29. That they might not be offended, I went to Cowbridge. In half an hour’s notice, we had a large congregation in the Town-Hall, to whom I showed the nature and pleasantness of religion, from Proverbs 3:17. I returned to Fontegary, took my last leave of the dying saint, and then went on to Cardiff. In the evening I preached (probably for the last time) to a very genteel congregation in the Town-Hall. Saturday , 30. I returned to Bristol. Sun . 31. — Mr. Collins came very opportunely, to assist me at the morning service. Otherwise, I should have been distressed; for such a number of communicants I never saw here before. I would fain have preached abroad; but the ground was too wet. So I preached within, on, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Wed . September 3. — I made a little beginning of some account of my brother’s life. Perhaps I may not live to finish it. Then let it fall into some better hands! Thur . 4. — I had the satisfaction of spending an hour with that excellent woman, Lady——: Not quite so honorable, but full as much devoted to God, and as useful, as even Lady Betty Hastings. What is too hard for God? We see even this is possible with God, to raise a Lady and a saint in one person! Fri . 5. — We had a solemn watch-night at Kingswood. The school is now in just such a state as I wish. Mr. M’Geary has three pious and able Assistants, out of those that were brought up in it; and I doubt not it will supply a sufficiency of Masters for the time to come. Sat . 6. — I walked over to Mr. Henderson’s, at Hannam, and thence to Bristol. But my friends, more kind than wise, would scarce suffer it. It seemed so sad a thing to walk five or six miles! I am ashamed, that a Methodist Preacher, in tolerable health, should make any difficulty of this. Sun . 7. — Having none to assist me, I found it hard work to read Prayers, preach, and administer the sacrament to such a number of people. The moment I had done, I hastened to Kingswood; having but just time to take a little dinner before I began preaching to a large congregation, before the preaching-house. Returning to Bristol, I preached at five in Carolina Court, to an immense number of people, on Romans 8:33,34. Tues . 9. — I saw the large church at Midsummer-Norton thoroughly filled with serious hearers. The Room at Shepton-Mallet, though greatly enlarged, could in nowise contain the congregation. At five in the morning Wednesday , 10, it was thoroughly filled. At Coleford, in the evening, I was obliged to preach. Thursday , 11 We had a lovely congregation at Frome, both in the evening and at five in the morning. At length this wilderness, too, as it has long appeared to be, begins to blossom and bud as the rose.
About two o’clock, Friday , 12, I preached in the preaching-house yard, at Trowbridge, where, notwithstanding the harvest, we had an unusually large congregation, who listened with deep attention; in the evening at Bradford, to as many as the House would contain. But I did not find good Mrs. Ballard there. After long straggling with a deep nervous disorder, which for a time depressed the mind as well as the body, the cloud removed; her load fell off, and her spirit joyfully returned to God. Sat . 13. — I found the society at Bath in a more flourishing state than it had been for many years; and the congregation in the evening was unusually large, and, as usual, seriously attentive. Sun . 14. — We had twice as many communicants as I ever remember here.
Just before service Mr. Shepherd came, and offered me his service. It could not have been more seasonable. I had much liberty of spirit the first time I preached today; but greater at half-hour past two, and the greatest of all in the evening; when I vehemently enforced those awful words, “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Mon . 15. — I returned to Bristol, and on the four following days was sufficiently employed in meeting the classes. At each end of the town, the society increases greatly. It does not decrease in any part. Glory be to God! Fri . 19. — Being pressed to preach to the poor people in George-Street, and knowing the House would not contain half the congregation in the evening, I began at five; by which means we had room for all that could attend at so early an hour. O what an advantage have the poor over the rich! These are not wise in their own eyes, but all receive with meekness the ingrafted word which is able to save their souls. Sat . 20. — I met the Trustees for the new Room; who were all willing to add a codicil to the Deed of Trust, in order to ascertain to the Conference (after me) the sole right of appointing the Preachers in it. Sun . 21. — I preached morning and afternoon at the Room; and at three in Temple church; so filled as I never saw it before. In the evening I spent an hour in fixing the places of the several classes, at the society; a thing necessary to be done, although it is certain some will be not a little displeased. Tues . 23. — An end was put to the long contest between Dr. Coke and Mr. Durbin, by the Doctor’s acknowledging that the words he had wrote were too keen; and that he was sorry he had given Mr. D. so much uneasiness. Wed . 24. — I took a walk in Miss Goldney’s garden at Clifton. Nothing can be more pleasant. But what is most remarkable is, the long terrace-walk, commanding a most beautiful prospect, and the grotto, the largest and most beautiful in its kind that I ever saw. It is admirably well laid out, and decorated with a surprising variety of shells and glittering fossils; the procuring and placing of which (we were informed) took the late Mr. Goldney above twenty years. And he has left it all! Fri . 26. — We had a fast-day, which was concluded with a solemn watch-night. At the close of this we sung, Ye virgin soul, Arise! accompanied by the Gloucestershire band of music. Such a concert was never heard in that House before, and perhaps never will be again. Sat . 27. — Two or three friends took me to Blaise-Castle, about five miles from Bristol. Mr. F——, a person of exquisite taste, built it some years ago on the top of a hill, which commands such a prospect all four ways as nothing in England excels. Thence we went to Lord Clifford’s seat, at King’s Weston. His house, one of the most beautiful I ever saw, stands on a little eminence in his park, and fronts all four ways. The prospect is fine every way, commanding both the land and the water; and the rooms are very elegantly furnished, particularly with excellent pictures. And must the owner leave all these beautiful things? Will Death have no more respect for a Lord than for a beggar? Sun . 28. — I set out in the mail-coach. Tuesday , 30. Having for the present settled my business at London, in the evening I took coach for Lynn; and came thither about noon on Wednesday ,OCTOBER 1. I spent all the time with much satisfaction, as I never found them so much alive before. On Friday , 3, I set out for Norwich, in the coach oddly called the Expedition. Going through Dereham about noon, I was desired to preach, which I willingly did on Isaiah 37:3; and in the evening, to a huge congregation at Norwich, on the parable of the Sower. Sunday , 5, was a comfortable day, especially at seven in the morning, when I administered the Lord’s Supper; and at two in the afternoon and six in the evening, when I preached to very serious congregations. Monday , 6. I preached at Loddon, North-Cove, and Lowestoft. When I came into the town, it blew a storm; and many cried out, “So it always does when he comes.” But it fell as suddenly as it rose; for God heard the prayer. Wed . 8. — I preached at Caston about noon, and at Yarmouth in the evening. Thursday , 9. I returned to Norwich; and, after preaching in the afternoon, took coach for London. Fri . 10. — I appointed a Committee for auditing my accounts, and superintending the business of the Book-room; which, I doubt not, will be managed in a very different manner from what it has been hitherto. Sun . 12. — I preached in the morning at the new chapel; in the afternoon, at West-Street. Monday , 13. I went to Wallingford, and preached to a serious and, it seemed, much-affected audience. Tuesday , 14. I preached at Witney, which I generally find a very comfortable place. I think much of the impression which was made on the people here, at the time of the great storm, remains still. Wednesday , 15. I preached at Oxford, on Genesis 1:27. We wanted only a larger Room. Many young gentlemen were there, and behaved well. I hope some of them did not come in vain. Thursday , 16. We went on to High-Wycomb. Mr. Murlin’s settling here has been of great use. Here is now a steady and understanding people; to whom I preached, as usual, evening and morning, with a good deal of satisfaction. Friday , 17. We returned to London. Sun . 19. — We had, as usual, a comfortable time at Spitalfieds. Monday , 20. I set out for Northamptonshire. In the evening I preached to the lovely congregation at Whittlebury, standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free. Wednesday , 22. I made one more trial of poor Towcester, if haply God might yet breathe on the dry bones, by opening and strongly applying these words, “I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” In the evening, and on Thursday mornings I preached at Northampton, in the new Presbyterian meeting-house, a large and elegant building, I think not without effect; and then returned to London. Tues . 28. — I took the stage-coach for Rye; which promised to be there by six in the evening: But the coachman lingered so, that in the afternoon I found they did not intend to be there till near eight: So at Hawkhurst I took a post-chaise, which, with much ado, reached it soon after six. Being informed the service was begun, I did not stay to eat or drink, but went directly to the preaching-house, which was sufficiently crowded; and, as soon as I could get through the people, I began with solemn prayer; and then explained and applied that glorious truth, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” We had another happy opportunity at five in the morning. Knowing there was no depending on the coach, I took chaise; and by that means came early to Sevenoaks; where, in the evening, I found uncommon liberty of spirit in exhorting the audience to worship God in spirit and in truth. Sat . November 1. — (Being All-Saints’ Day.) I preached at Snowsfields, on Revelation 14:1; a comfortable subject; and I always find this a comfortable day. Monday , 3. I began visiting the classes; a work which usually takes up about a fortnight. Sunday , 9. I preached at West-Street, and found uncommon liberty in enforcing that caution, “Quench not the Spirit.” On Wednesday , 12, and the following days, I visited the country societies; some of which, that of Mitcham in particular, are swiftly increasing in the grace of God. Mon . 17. — I set out for Hertfordshire. In the evening I preached at Hinxworth, to a deeply serious congregation; the next evening, in the church at Wrestlingworth, to the largest congregation I have seen there these twenty years. Wednesday , 19. I crossed over to Bedford; but where to lodge I did not know: But one met me in the street, and said Mr.—— desired I would go straight to his house. I did so, and found myself in a palace; the best house by far in the town; where I was entertained not only with the utmost courtesy, but, I believe, with sincere affection. Our Room was much crowded in the evening, and pretty well filled in the morning; and as all disputes are at an end, there is great reason to hope that the work of God will increase here also. Thur . 20. — We had a lovely congregation at St. Neot’s, who seemed ripe for the promises; so I preached on our Lord’s words to the leper: “I will; be thou clean.” Friday , 21. About noon I preached at Huntingdon, and in the evening at Godmanchester. Still it is the day of small things here; but a few are still fighting the good fight of faith. Mon . 24. — I went to Canterbury. As all the Preachers are in earnest, God has blessed them through the whole Circuit. This evening we had a large and deeply serious congregation, and not a few of them in the morning. Tuesday , 25. Though it blew a storm, and was piercing cold, we were sufficiently crowded at Dover; where the work of God is very lively, and continually increasing. Wednesday , 26. Our Room at Sandwich being small, both the Dissenting Ministers sent to offer me the use of their chapels. I willingly accepted one of them, which was far larger than ours, and very commodious. I believe God spoke to many hearts. In the evening we had another storm, with much snow and sleet: However, our House at Margate was well filled; and I was much comforted by the earnestness of the congregation. Fri . 28. — A little preaching-house being just built at St. Peter’s, (two miles from Margate,) notice had been given, without my knowledge, of my preaching there in the morning. It was utterly inconvenient, on many accounts; the wind was piercing cold, and the ground covered with snow.
However, I would not disappoint the congregation; so I preached at nine and hastened to Canterbury, where the House was, as usual, well filled; and God gave us his blessing. Tues . December 2. — I went to Chatham, and preached in the evening, on, “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Wednesday , 3. I went to Sheerness, where the society is considerably increased since I was here before. Thursday , 4. At noon, I preached at Faversham, where, after a long winter, the seed seems to be springing up. The congregation was very large, and deeply attentive. In the evening I preached in the new House at Brompton.
I had not preached there between thirty and forty years; and there is now a fair prospect here also. Friday , 5. I returned to London. Mon . 8. — I had the pleasure of meeting an old friend, who gave me a pleasing account of the glorious death of his mother, which had made so deep an impression upon him that he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Wednesday , 10, and the following days, I corrected my brother’s posthumous poems; being short Psalms, (some few excepted,) [hymns] on the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. They make five volumes in quarto, containing eighteen or nineteen hundred pages.
They were finished April 25, 1765.
The revival finished, April 24, 1774.
A second revival finished, January 26, 1777.
A third revival finished, February 20, 1780.
A fourth revival finished.
A fifth revival finished.
A sixth revival finished.
A seventh revival finished.
The last revival finished, May, 1787.
Many of these are little, if any, inferior to his former poems, having the same justness and strength of thought, with the same beauty of expression; yea, the same keenness of wit on proper occasions, as bright and piercing as ever. Mon . 15. — In the evening I preached at Miss Teulon’s school in Highgate. I think it was the coldest night I ever remember. The house we were in stood on the edge of the hill, and the east wind set full in the window. I counted eleven twelve, one, and was then obliged to dress, the cramp growing more and more violent. But in the morning, not only the cramp was gone, but likewise the lameness which used to follow it.
About this time I was reflecting on the gentle steps whereby age steals upon us. Take only one instance. Four years ago my sight was as good as it was at five-and-twenty. I then began to observe that I did not see things quite so clear with my left eye as with my right; all objects appeared a little browner to that eye. I began next to find some difficulty in reading a small print by candle-light. A year after, I found it in reading such a print by day-light. In winter, 1786, I could not well read our four-shilling hymn-book, unless with a large candle; the next year I could not read letters, if wrote with a small or bad hand. Last winter a pearl appeared on my left eye, the sight of which grew exceeding dim. The right eye seems unaltered; only I am a great deal nearer sighted than ever I was. Thus are “those that look out at the windows darkened;” one of the marks of old age. But I bless God, “the grasshopper is” not “a burden.” I am still capable of travelling; and my memory is much the same as ever it was; and so, I think, is my understanding.
This week I dedicated to the reading over my brother’s works. They are short poems on the Psalms, the four Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. Some are bad; some mean; some most excellently good: They give the true sense of Scripture, always in good English, generally in good verse; many of them are equal to most, if not to any, he ever wrote; but some still savor of that poisonous mysticism, with which we were both not a little tainted before we went to America. This gave a gloomy cast, first to his mind, and then to many of his verses: This made him frequently describe religion as a melancholy thing: This so often sounded in his ears, “To the desert;” and strongly persuaded in favor of solitude. Thur. 25. — (Being Christmas-Day.) We began the service, as usual, at four in the new chapel. Notwithstanding the severe frost which had now lasted a month, the congregation was uncommonly large. I preached here again in the evening; about eleven, in the chapel at West-Street. This was a comfortable day, as were also the two following. Sun . 28. — I preached at Allhallows church, on those words in the Service, “His commandments are not grievous.” The congregation was exceeding large, and seemed to taste the good word. Tues . 30. — The frost continued severe; yet the congregation was uncommonly large in the evening, and God warmed many hearts. Wed . 31. — A numerous company concluded the old year with a very solemn watch-night. Hitherto God hath helped us, and we neither see nor feel any of those terrible judgments which it was said God would pour out upon the nation about the conclusion of the year.
For near seventy years I have observed, that before any war or public calamity, England abounds with prophets, who confidently foretell many terrible things. They generally believe themselves, but are carried away by a vain imagination. And they are seldom undeceived, even by the failure of their predictions; but still believe they will be fulfilled some time or other. Thur . January 1, 1789. — If this is to be the last year of my life, according to some of those prophecies, I hope it will be the best. I am not careful about it, but heartily receive the advice of the angel in Milton, — How well is thine: How long permit to Heaven. Sun . 4. — Although the extreme severity of the weather kept many tender people away; yet we had a large congregation in the evening to renew their covenant with God; and we always find, when we avouch Him to be our God, he avouches us to be his people. Mon . 5. — At the earnest desire of Mrs. T——, I once more sat for my picture. Mr. Romney is a painter indeed. He struck off an exact likeness at once; and did more in one hour than Sir Joshua did in ten. Tuesday , 6. I retired to Highbury Place, and on Thursday , 8, to Peckham. Here, in the evening, I preached to a very serious congregation, although many of them were of the better rank. But rich and poor seemed equally determined to work out their own salvation. Fri . 9. — I left no money to any one in my Will, because I had none. But now considering, that, whenever I am removed, money will soon arise by sale of books, I added a few legacies by a codicil, to be paid as soon as may be. But I would fain do a little good while I live; for who can tell what will come after him? Sun . 11. — I again warned the congregation, as strongly as I could, against conformity to the world. But who will [take the warning]? If hardly one in ten, yet is my record with the Most High. Tues . 13. — I spent a day or two with my good old friends at Newington. Thursday , 15. I retired to Camberwell, and carried on my Journal, probably as far as I shall live to write it. On Thursday I preached once more at Peckham; and did not withhold from them that had ears to hear, the whole counsel of God. Fri . 16. — I looked over the finest picture of atheistical religion that ever I saw, in the account that Captain Wilson gives of Thule, King of Pelew.
But how utterly needless is either the knowledge [or the grace] of God, (consequently, how idle a book is the Bible,) if a man be all-accomplished, that has no more knowledge of God than a horse, and no more of his grace than a sparrow! Tues . 20. — I retired in order to finish my year’s accounts. If possible, I must be a better economist; for instead of having anything before hand, I am now considerably in debt; but this I do not like. I would fain settle even my accounts before I die. Sun . 25. — Much of the power of God was in the congregation, both morning and afternoon; as also on Monday evening; which gave me a good hope that God will carry on his own work. At the earnest importunity of our friends, on Wednesday , 28, I went to open the new preaching-house at Rye. It is a noble building, much loftier than most of our Houses, and finely situated at the head of the town. It was thoroughly filled. Such a congregation I never saw at Rye before; and their behavior was as remarkable as their number; which, added to the peaceable, loving spirit they are now in, gives reason to hope there will be such a work here as has not been heretofore. Thur . 29. — I went over to Winchelsea; once a large, flourishing city; but ever since it was burnt by the Danes, a little, inconsiderable town, though finely situated on the top of a range of hills. The new preaching-house was well filled with decent, serious hearers, who seemed to receive the truth in the love of it. I returned to Rye in the afternoon; and in the evening preached to another large and serious congregation. Friday , 30. We made our way through miserable roads to Sevenoaks, where the congregation, both evening and morning, was uncommonly large. So (whether I see them again or not) I cheerfully commended them to God, and the next morning returned to London. Sun . February 1. — We had an exceeding solemn season, both morning and evening. It seemed indeed as if the skies poured down righteousness on all that lifted up their hearts to God. Monday , 2, and the following days, I spent in meeting the classes. Friday , 6, being the Quarterly Day for meeting the Local Preachers, between twenty and thirty of them met at West-Street, and opened their hearts to each other. Taking the opportunity of having them all together, at the watch-night, I strongly insisted on St. Paul’s advice to Timothy, “Keep that which is committed to thy trust;” particularly the doctrine of Christian Perfection, which God has peculiarly entrusted to the Methodists. Wed . 11. — I went to Brentford, and found the society still alive, and increasing both in strength and number. Thursday , 12. I preached once more at Chelsea, where there is at length a fair and promising prospect. Friday , 13. I took a view of that noble building, Chelsea College, and all the parts of it. It is designed to lodge five hundred old soldiers, who are furnished with all things needful for life and godliness. Sunday , 15. We had the usual blessing at Spitalfields. Monday , 16. I went to Dorking. I scarce find any society in England like this. Year after year, it seems at one stay, neither increasing nor decreasing; only if one or two die, one or two are quickly added to fill up the number. Tues . 17. — I examined the society at Deptford, and preached there in the evening. Wednesday , 18. I retired into the country to finish my writings. Sunday , 22. God was eminently present with us at West-Street chapel, both in the morning and evening. Tuesday , 24. Mr. W—— called upon me, and we had an agreeable and useful conversation. What a blessing is it to Mr. P. to have such a friend as this! In the evening I expounded part of the Second Lesson, Ephesians 3. Wednesday , 25, was the day which I had ordered all our brethren in Great Britain and Ireland to observe with fasting and prayer, for the recovery of His Majesty’s health: But we had the satisfaction to hear, that before we asked (unless in private) He answered; insomuch that the time intended for humiliation, turned into a time of thanksgiving; and both at five, at nine, at one, and in the evening, we were most employed in praises. Sunday , March 1, was a solemn day indeed. The new chapel was sufficiently crowded both morning and afternoon; and few that expected a parting blessing, were disappointed of their hope. At seven in the evening I took the mail-coach; and having three of our brethren, we spent a comfortable night, partly in sound sleep, and partly in singing praise to God. It will now quickly be seen whether they who prophesied some time since, that I should not outlive this month, be sent of God or not. One way or the other, it is my care to be always ready. Mon . 2. — At Bath the evening congregation was such as we used to have on Sunday evening; and I have seldom seen a larger here. In the morning, a young gentleman, who had heard me the evening before, desired to speak to me. He seemed greatly affected, and was almost persuaded to be a Christian. In the afternoon he sent his carriage, and would needs have me see his lady, though she had lain in but two or three days. Whether they turn back or no, they both seem now not far from the kingdom of God. Wed . 4. — I went on to Bristol, where we had a crowded congregation both this evening and the next. Sunday , 8. In the evening I preached in Temple church to a large congregation. It was an acceptable time, especially to the mourners in Zion.
Mr. Baddiley read Prayers for me, but could not stay to assist me at the Lord’s Supper. However, my strength was as my day. Monday , 9, and the following days, I visited the classes, which do not decrease either in grace or number. Tuesday , 10. I had the pleasure of an hour’s conversation with Mr.——, whom I had hardly seen for several years. On all these evenings God was eminently present in the congregation. On Thursday , 12, the grand day of rejoicing for His Majesty’s recovery, I preached on part of King Hezekiah’s thanksgiving for his recovery; and indeed it was a season of solemn joy; particularly when I applied those words, “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” Fri. 13. — I spent some time with poor Richard Henderson, deeply affected with the loss of his only son; who, with as great talents as most men in England, had lived two-and-thirty years, and done just nothing. Saturday , 14. In the evening I preached in Temple church; perhaps for the last time, Good Mr. Easterbrook was suddenly taken ill the next day.
Well, whatever is, is best. Sunday , 15. Having Mr. Baddiley to assist me in the morning, I preached at Kingswood in the afternoon; and in the evening, at the Room. We concluded the day with a solemn and comfortable love-feast. Mon . 16. — We set out early, and dined at Stroud, where I had proof that either people or Preachers, or both, had left their first love. I strongly exhorted them to remember from whence they were fallen, and do the first works. God applied his word, and I suppose two hundred were present at five in the morning. Tuesday , 17. Many were present at Gloucester in the evening; but they seemed to be little affected. Wednesday , 18. I preached in Tewkesbury at noon. The Room was crowded, and all seemed to feel what they heard. I was informed that one who, two or three years ago, had carried all his family to America, in quest of golden mountains, had crept back again, being utterly beggared, and forced to leave his family behind him. In the evening the House at Worcester was thoroughly filled with a deeply affected congregation; but we were in great want of more room. In due time God will give us this also. Fri. 20. — We went on to Birmingham, still increasing on every side.
Hearing the cry of want of business, even in this as well as most other trading towns in England, I considered what the meaning of it should be; and the case seems plainly this: Two or three years ago, business poured into Birmingham, and consequently more hands were wanting; but when business returned into its usual channel, they were wanted no longer.
These men therefore certainly wanted business, and spread the cry over the town. The same must be the case at Manchester, Liverpool, and all other towns where there is an extraordinary trade for a time: It must subside again; and then arises the cry of want of business. Sat . 21. — I had a day of rest, only preaching morning and evening. Sunday , 22, was appointed for my opening the House at the east end of the town. It would have been crowded above measure, but that the friendly rain interposed; so that we had only a moderate congregation. It was otherwise in the evening, when heaps upon heaps were obliged to go away. How white are these fields unto the harvest! Monday , 23. The congregation at Dudley pretty well filled the new House, where I preached as I did at London fifty years ago. Thence we hastened to Madeley, where I found Mrs. Fletcher better than she had been for many years; and young Mr. Fletcher much alive to God, and swiftly growing up into the spirit of his uncle. I preached in the evening, after Mr. Horne had read Prayers, to a deeply serious congregation; and again at nine in the morning, Tuesday , 24, in the preaching-house she has lately fitted up. Going on to Shrewsbury, at six I preached in the preaching-house, on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
Several of the Gentry and several Clergymen were there; and, I believe, not in vain. I had purposed to set out early in the morning, but was persuaded to stay another day, there being now a fairer prospect in Salop than had been before. I preached morning and evening. I have cast my bread upon the waters, and hope it will be found again, at least after many days. Thur . 26. — We set out early, and, taking post-horses at Clowrust, reached Conway between eight and nine o’clock; having traveled seventy-eight miles that day; twenty-eight more than from Chester to Conway. Fri . 27. — We went on to Holyhead; and at eight in the evening went on board the Claremont packet. The wind stood fair three or four hours: It then turned against us, and blew hard. I do not remember I was ever so sick at sea before; but this was little to the cramp which holden most of the night with little intermission. All Saturday we were beating to and fro, and gaining little ground; and I was so ill, throughout the day, as to be fit for nothing; but I slept well in the night, and about eight in the morning, Sunday , 29, came safe to Dublin quay.
I went straight up to the new Room. We had a numerous congregation, and as serious as if we had been at West-Street. I preached on the sickness and recovery of King Hezekiah and King George; and great was our rejoicing. I really took knowledge of the change which God has wrought in this congregation within a few years. A great part of them were light and airy; now almost all appear as serious as death. Monday , 30. I began preaching at five in the morning; and the congregation, both then and the following mornings, was far larger in proportion than those at London. Meantime, I had letter upon letter concerning the Sunday service; but I could not give any answer till I had made a full inquiry both into the occasion and the effects of it. The occasion was this: — About two years ago it was complained, that few of our society attended the church on Sunday; most of them either sitting at home, or going on Sunday morning to some Dissenting meeting. Hereby many of them were hurt, and inclined to separate from the Church. To prevent this, it was proposed to have service at the Room; which I consented to, on condition that they would attend St. Patrick’s every first Sunday in the month. The effect was, 1. That they went no more to the meetings. 2. That three times more went to St. Patrick’s (perhaps six times) in six or twelve months, than had done for ten or twenty years before.
Observe! This is done not to prepare for , but to prevent , a separation from the Church.
On the mornings of this and the following week I expounded the thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians: Such a compendium of true religion as none but the Author of it can give. The evening congregations were exceeding large, as well as deeply attentive. Friday ,APRIL 3. I preached at Bethesda; and with much liberty of spirit. Saturday , 4. I preached in Gravel-Walk House, so filled as I never saw it before; and they all seemed to hear as for life. It was a comfortable night. Sun . 5. — I preached in the new Room at seven. At eleven I went to the cathedral. I desired those of our society who did not go to their parish churches, would go with me to St. Patrick’s. Many of them did so. It was said, the number of communicants was about five hundred; more than went there in the whole year before the Methodists were known in Ireland. Mon . 6. — Today, and for some days following, I was so overborn with letters, that I had hardly time to do anything but to read and answer them. Wednesday , 8. I visited and administered the sacrament to our poor widows; four-and twenty of whom are tolerably provided for in our Widows’ House. The forwardness and stubbornness of some of these was, for a time, a grievous trial to the rest; but this is past: They are all now of a better spirit, and adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Thur . 9. — In the evening I met, for the second time, the bands. I admired them much: They are more open than those either in London or Bristol; and I think here is a greater number of those that are now clearly perfected in love, than I now find even in London itself.
April 10. — (Being Good Friday.) I accepted of the pressing invitation of Mr. Smyth, and preached at Bethesda both morning and evening; in the morning on the New Covenant, as it is now given to the Israel of God; and in the evening on Hebrews 9:13,14, “If the blood of bulls,” etc. At both times we had a brilliant congregation, among whom were Honorable and Right Honorable persons: But I felt they were all given into my hands; for God was in the midst. What a mercy it is, what a marvellous condescension in God, to provide such places as Bethesda, and Lady Huntingdon’s chapels, for these delicate hearers, who could not bear sound doctrine if it were not set off with these pretty trifles!
April 12. — (Being Easter-Day.) We had a solemn assembly indeed; many hundred communicants in the morning; and in the afternoon far more hearers than our Room would contain; though it is now considerably enlarged. Afterwards I met the society, and explained to them at large the original design of the Methodists, viz., not to be a distinct party, but to stir up all parties, Christians or Heathens, to worship God in spirit and in truth; but the Church of England in particular; to which they belonged from the beginning. With this view, I have uniformly gone on for fifty years, never varying from the doctrine of the Church at all; nor from her discipline, of choice, but of necessity: So, in a course of years, necessity was laid upon me, (as I have proved elsewhere,) 1. To preach in the open air. 2. To pray extempore. 3. To form societies. 4. To accept of the assistance of Lay Preachers:
And, in a few other instances, to use such means as occurred, to prevent or remove evils that we either felt or feared.
We set out early on Monday , 13, and about twelve reached Clonard; five-and-twenty Irish miles from Dublin. Three or four times as many as the house could contain met together at five o’clock. The power of God was remarkably present; when divers were cut to the heart; and perhaps none more so than the master of the house. We had another good opportunity at seven in the morning, Tuesday , 14, which we closed with a serious, pointed conversation, and then went on to Tyrrel’s Pass.
Though the wind was piercing cold, the multitude of people obliged me to preach abroad in the evening; after which I gave them all a plain account of the design of Methodism; namely, not to separate from the Church, but to unite together all the children of God that were scattered abroad. Wed . 15. — About ten I preached to a small congregation in the Court-House, in Molingar. We had a far different congregation, both as to number and spirit, in Longford Court-House in the evening. It was a beautiful sight. Great part of them came again at seven in the morning, and seemed to relish those words, “He that doeth the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Thur . 16. — Heavy rain came on in the evening; yet the preaching-house at Kenagh would not contain the people. Friday , 17. I came to my old friends at Athlone; but, to my surprise, I found them heaps upon heaps. I hastened to hear the contending parties face to face; and was amazed to find how much matter a little fire kindles. Some of the Leaders had causelessly taken offense at the Assistant. He called on Mr. R., and warned him against imbibing the same prejudice; telling him if he did he must beware of the consequence; meaning thereby the mischief it would do among the people. Misunderstanding this word, he grew very angry.
Others took part with him, and the society was in an uproar. I talked with him till I was tired; but in vain: One might as well have talked to the north wind. So I gave him up to God, and only endeavored to quench the flame among the people. Saturday , 18, was a day of peace. Sunday , 19. The Commanding Officer sending to offer me the use of any part of the barracks, I preached at five in the riding-house, a very spacious building, to a multitude of people, on, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” I think the word did not fall to the ground. Monday , 20. I preached about eleven at B——; and at six in the church at Aghrim. It was much fuller than when I preached here before; and many Papists were there; who, as the Minister informed me, had attended the church ever since I was there before. Tuesday , 21. About ten I preached in Eyre-Court church, so filled as, I suppose, it never was before; and many of the hearers seemed to feel the word. Thence we went on to Birr. How is the scene changed here! One of the dullest places in Ireland is become one of the liveliest! But I could not preach abroad in the evening, by reason of the rain; so we made all the room we could in the Room and in the yard; and a most solemn opportunity we had. Wed . 22. — About noon I preached in the beautiful new courthouse, at Tullamore. Deep attention sat on the rich as well as the poor; as it did likewise at Coolylough in the evening. Thursday , 23, being the Thanksgiving Day for the recovery of His Majesty’s health, I preached in the Court-House, at Portarlington, as soon as the Church Service ended.
The congregation was exceeding well dressed, but exceeding careless and ill-behaved. At six I preached in the church at Mount-Mellick, exceedingly crowded with hearers of quite another kind: They were all attention; and in the morning filled the preaching-house. Friday , 24. The church at Maryborough was far larger, and one of the most elegant that I have seen in the kingdom. It was thoroughly filled in the evening, although many of the hearers looked as if they had not been in a church before. But in half an hour they were serious as death; and in the morning, Saturday , 25, the lower part of the church was well filled. Surely many will remember that day. In the evening I preached in our preaching-house at Carlow; where, that I might not overshoot the congregation, I preached on, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Sun . 26. — I preached in the morning, and at five in the evening. The people were very civil, and many of them attentive; but I think the time of Carlow is not yet come. Monday , 27. I reached Enniscorthy about noon; and presently after, as it had continued to rain, I preached in the place prepared for me, which was a large, though not very elegant, cow-house.
However, God vas there; as likewise in the assembly-room, at Wexford, where I preached to a large congregation in the evening. Tues . 28. — About noon we reached the ferry, on the west side of which Mrs. Deaves was waiting. She pressed me much to go with her in the chaise, and, at least, to dine at her house; saying Mr. Deaves was willing to settle the House in any way that I desired! The same thing he said to me himself; so I hoped all things would end well. In the evening I preached to a numerous congregation, on Mark 3:35. The God of peace and love was in the midst of us, and seemed to affect the whole assembly. Wed . 29. — We had a large congregation in the morning. At breakfast and at tea, on these two days, I met all the society; (eight or ten excepted;) and we greatly confirmed our love to each other. In the evening I preached to a larger congregation than before, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Afterwards I strongly exhorted them all to rehearse no past grievances; and only to provoke one another to love and good works. Fri . May 1. — We went to Capoquin. The rain preventing my preaching abroad, I accepted of a very large room which was offered me in the barracks. As we went up the street, we had a very numerous retinue, hallooing and shouting with all their might: But the sentinel keeping out the mob, we had a quiet congregation within. A Popish gentleman inviting me to lodge at his house, I spent a comfortable evening. Sun . 3. — The House was sufficiently filled with people, as well as with the power of God. Monday , 4. So it was again at five, when I endeavored to quench the fire which some had labored to kindle among the poor, quiet people, about separating from the Church. In the evening I preached on Luke 8:24; and the word was as fire; it pierced to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. Tuesday , 5. Being not very well in the morning, I desired Joseph Bradford to preach. In the evening I preached on, “Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” Many, I believe, are earnestly purposed so to do. May God give them the power! Wednesday , 6. I preached on that remarkable prophecy, Genesis 9:27, which is so eminently fulfilled at this day, wherein God does “seize the servile progeny of Ham.” Thursday , 7. I went to Bandon, and finished the Life of Baron Trenck; the strangest I ever read. Was there ever such a fiend incarnate as the late King of Prussia? To inflict such unheard-of torments for so many years, for no fault! Good had it been for him, if he had never been born. Yet, what a wretch was Trenck himself! He made not the least scruple of adultery and murder; and does not appear to have had a jot more religion than an inhabitant of Otaheite! I think, therefore, this is a most dangerous book; I wish none that cares for his soul would read a page of it.
In the evening I preached in the new preaching-house, twice or thrice as large as the old. It was well filled both this evening and the next; but I did not find the same life in this people as in those at Cork. But God is able to cause all grace to abound here also. Saturday , 9. I returned to Cork, and earnestly enforced, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Sun . 10. — After preaching, I administered the Lord’s Supper to about four hundred and fifty communicants. I was enabled to speak with power in the evening to more than the House could contain, and afterwards to the society. May God write it on all their hearts! I am now clear of their blood. Mon . 11. — At half an hour after two we reached Kilkenny; and at six I preached on, “One thing is needful.” A few seemed to understand what I meant; as also at five in the morning, when I expounded, “There is neither work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Tuesday , 12. I felt myself a good deal out of order. However, I pushed on to Limerick, where the Rev. Mr. Ingram (one of the Chaplains of the cathedral) gladly received me: So did Mrs. Ingram, and all the lovely family; where I wanted nothing which the kingdom could afford. At six the House would not contain the congregation. I preached on, “There is one God;” and it seemed as if all under the roof were sensible of his presence. Wed . 13. — I was not well able to preach in the morning; so Joseph Bradford took my place. But about eleven I preached myself at Pallas, about twelve miles from Limerick. All the remains of the Palatine families came hither from Balligarane, Court-Mattris, and Ratheal; in all which places an uncommon flame has lately broke out, such as was never seen before. Many in every place have been deeply convinced, many converted to God, and some perfected in love. Some societies are doubled in number, some increased six or even ten fold. All the neighboring Gentry were likewise gathered together; so that no House could contain them, but I was obliged to stand abroad. The people, as it were, swallowed every word: and great was our rejoicing in the Lord. Thur . 14. — I preached in the morning on Revelation 2:4,5; in the evening on Luke 4:18. All the congregation were, for the present, much affected: With many, I trust, the impression will continue. Fri . 15. — We set out at five; and between three and four reached Castlebay. In the evening I preached at Killchrist, to so large a congregation that I was obliged to preach abroad, though it rained all the time. As I had not been well for some days, this did me no good; but I holden up till Saturday , 16, when we came to Ballinrobe, and then gave up, and let another preach. After a very uneasy night, on Saturday , 17, I went on to Castlebar, and, finding myself much better, preached in the evening to a lovely congregation. But I was obliged to let Joseph Bradford preach in the morning, on Monday , 18. Being stronger in the evening, I preached again, and met the earnest society, increasing both in number and grace. Tuesday , 19. Retiring to a friend’s house about a mile from the town, I took a full account of the late wonderful affair of Mr. F——d.
Mr. George Robert F——d, at his first settling near Castlebar, about the year 1776, made himself very popular; but, meantime his pride was excessive; affirming that, being the head of the Desmond family, he was the premier Nobleman of Ireland. Therefore he expected that all the country should submit to him: Hence he fell into disputes with his father; and by turns with his brother; and kept his neighbors in perpetual alarm.
In 1779, when volunteering began, he raised a Company, which was wholly subject to him. Soon after he engaged Patrick Randal M’Donald, a relation, as a Captain in his Company; but not long after, a dispute arose between them, relative to the driving of some cattle. Mr. M’D., being informed that Mr. F. intended violence to him, placed some men near his own house; and ordered them, if he approached the house, to fire. Mr. F. approaching, one of them did fire; which killed his horse, and wounded him in the knee and leg. On this he prosecuted Mr. M’D. at the following Assizes; but, after a full hearing, he was acquitted.
Another matter of contention soon ensued: Mr. M’D., being an Attorney, was employed against Mr. F., and carried the suit. This inflamed Mr. F. beyond measure, of which Mr. M’D. was frequently informed. This continued, however, to the close of the year 1785; when Mr. M’D., being at Castlebar one nights a blunderbuss, charged with eight or nine bullets and slugs, was discharged through the window of the room where he used to sit. Immediately after Christmas, the witness, Mr. R. G., was sitting in Mr. M.’s cellar, bottling some wine, when he heard a very uncommon sound of a musket, and a loud shriek following it. Going out, the first thing he saw was Mr. M’D., wounded in the leg. On his cry, three men ran out of the little house of Mr. F., whence the gun had been fired from a hole through the wall, which had been made on purpose.
He then took a lodging in Castlebar; but on the 20th of February, 1786, accompanied by Mr. G., Mr. H., and M., went to his house in the country. They had been but a while there, when they found it surrounded by many armed men; on which Mr. M’D.’s friends made their escape to a neighboring village. Meantime they broke into his house; and, not finding him, broke into several houses. At length they came to the house where he was, and fired several balls through the doors and windows: Then they broke in, and made M’Donald, Gallagher, and Hipson, prisoners; and one Fulton said he had a warrant against them. They desired he would bring them before Sir Neal O’Donuel, a Magistrate, then within five miles; but, instead of this, they were tied, and dragged to F.’s house, in Turlogh, where they continued all night. Tuesday , February 21. About six they were marched out with a large company, under pretense of carrying them before a Magistrate. Gallagher and Hipson were tied together, M’Donald being suffered to ride, because of his wound; a ruffian holding his bridle. When they got about half a mile from Turlogh, a shot was fired from the rear, which wounded one of the ruffians; F——d contriving it so, that they might cry a rescue; on hearing of which they were ordered instantly to despatch the prisoners.
Immediately several shots were fired at the prisoners. Hipson was shot dead, and Gallagher wounded: M’Donald had both his arms broke; but his horse took fright, and broke from the ruffian: Gallagher had crept a little way, but they soon found him. Some were for despatching him instantly; but others moved to carry him to Mr. F——d’s. At his house he was kept prisoner all the night. Wednesday , 22. The news coming to Castlebar, Mr. Ellison, the Magistrate, went up with a large party of the army to Turlogh. They rushed in, but, after searching all the house, could not find F.; till two young men went into a room where was a large trunk, on touching the hasp of which, he jumped up like a harlequin, fell upon his knees, and begged they would not kill him. He was then carried out, and committed to Castlebar gaol, where he remained till the June following. He was found guilty on June 6th, and executed the 12th.
After drinking a bottle of port, he went out of prison with the air of one going to a ball. He gave a spring off the ladder, which snapped the rope in two. He fell down, but instantly leaped up. All his courage was gone, and none could die more penitent. Sun . 17. — Having been a good deal out of order for some days, I had thoughts of returning straight to London: But I judged it best to try a little longer; so I set out for Castlebar. In a moment I felt an entire change; only I felt a little feverish. But this did not hinder my preaching in the evening, nor God from giving us an uncommon blessing. The same attended us on the following evening; but more eminently on Tuesday , both morning and evening; as well as in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, in which two Clergymen desired to partake with us. Wed . 20 — We set out between three and four, and in just twelve hours reached Sligo. There I met S. Pennington once more, with her lovely daughter and son-in-law. I never before saw such a congregation in Sligo, so numerous, and so serious. Does there yet another day of visitation appear even for this desolate place? Thur . 21. — I was constrained, by the earnestness of the people, to preach at five, though with much difficulty; my tongue literally cleaving to the roof of my mouth, through extreme dryness. Between nine and ten I was agreeably surprised at Manorhamilton, where I expected little good.
But the power of God fell upon the congregation in a very uncommon degree; so that scarce any one was unaffected. We then hobbled on, through wonderful roads, to Annadale; where we soon forgot all the labors of the day, for which the amiable family, and the earnest congregation, made us large amends. Fri . 22. — We went on to Ballyconnel, where I was nothing glad that the rain drove us into our melancholy House. However, we had a comfortable meeting; and I believe many found their desires increased of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Saturday , 23. Between ten and eleven I preached at Killeshandra, in a pleasant meadow, to a large and attentive congregation, though we had a few light showers of rain. Hence we went through a most beautiful country, equal to any in England, to Killmore.
After dining at Mr. Creighton’s, we took a walk to see the remains of the venerable Castle where Bishop Bedell was confined. It stands in a fine lake, being built exactly round, with walls nine feet thick. It is remarkably high, but has been for many years without inhabitant; one side of it being beaten down by Oliver Cromwell. A very large congregation, from all parts, assembled in the evening; to whom I proclaimed, “Jesus Christ, made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Sun. 24. — At seven I preached in the Town-Hall at Cavan, to a very large and well-behaved congregation. As I went through Ballyhays, the poor people flocked round me on every side, and would not be contented, till I came out of the chaise, and spent some time with them in prayer. I expected, being a fair morning, to see a huge congregation at Clones; but while we were at church, the rain came on: So all I could do in the evening was, to let Joseph Bradford preach to as many as the House would contain, and to administer the Lord’s Supper to our own society. Mon . 25. — I preached to a multitude of people in the Old Camp, on, “All things are ready; come ye to the marriage.” The congregation seemed ready to receive every word. I hardly saw, since I left Cork, such congregations, either for number or seriousness, as is this at Clones. Tues . 26. — The rain prevented my preaching abroad at Brooksborough, although the congregation was exceeding large. Part of them were sheltered by a spacious turf-house, and the rest little regarded the rain; for the Lord watered us, in an uncommon degree, with the dew of his blessing: And a more affectionate family than Mr. M’Carty’s, I have not found in the kingdom. This appeared more particularly in the morning, Wednesday , 27.
When we were talking together, one and another fell upon their knees all round me, and most of them burst out into tears and earnest cries, the like of which I have seldom heard; so that we scarce knew how to part. At noon I preached to an unwieldy multitude, in the market-house at Enniskillen; and, I am persuaded, not in vain: God was there of a truth. I concluded the day by preaching at Sidare, to the old, steady congregation. Thur. 28. — I went on to Kirlish-Lodge, through storms of wind and rain; yet we had a large congregation of serious people; though divers came from far. In the morning, Friday , 29, we spent an hour at Lord Abercorn’s seat, three miles from Newtownstewart. The house is elegant in the highest degree, both within and without. It stands on a little eminence over a fine river, in a most beautiful park: But the owner has not so much as the beholding it with his eyes; spending all his time in England.
Between Newtown and Moyle we had such rain as I never saw in Europe before. In two minutes the horsemen were drenched from head to foot. We dined at the Rector’s, Dr. Wilson, a man of very uncommon learning, particularly in the Oriental tongues. At six he took me in his coach to the Castle-yard, where a numerous congregation soon assembled. Almost as soon as I began to preach, the rain began. Observing the people begin to scatter, I prayed aloud, that God would “stay the bottles of heaven.” He did so: The people returned; and we had a comfortable, refreshing shower of heart-reviving love. Sat . 30. — I took a view of the improvements round the house, which are wonderfully pleasant. I have seen few comparable to them in the kingdom, except Dr. Lesley’s at Tanderagee.
May 31. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached at Londonderry at ten, (two hours before the Church Service began,) on, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.”
I found an agreeable prospect here: A neat, convenient preaching-house just finished; a society increasing and well united together; and the whole city prejudiced in favor of it. On Monday and Tuesday , the congregations were uncommonly large, though we bad rain everyday, particularly on Tuesday evening, when the hearts of the people seemed to be as melting wax; and likewise at five on Wednesday morning. I preached on, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord:” A good farewell to Londonderry. Wed . June 3. — A quarter of an hour after I set out, the axletree of my chaise snapped in two. In about half an hour I procured another chaise, and in three hours reached Newtown Limavaddy. Finding a congregation was waiting for me in the preaching-house, I went to them without delay.
We went hence, through miserable roads, to Coleraine; but the company there made amends for them. We met with a right English society, in spirit, in carriage, and even in dress; but I was concerned to find John Stephens, a lovely young Preacher, in a deep consumption; from which, I judge, nothing can recover him, unless perhaps a total butter-milk diet. In the evening the large meeting-house which was offered me was well filled, though the rain was heavy. Thur. 4. — I was fully employed in answering a heap of letters. In the evening, the rain continuing, (as it has done almost everyday since we set out from Dublin,) I was glad to accept of the meeting again, which was fuller than the evening before. Friday , 5. We went a few miles out of our way, to call at a small village, where abundance of people flocked to the church, and appeared to be quite ripe for the Gospel: So I preached on, “Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.” Thence we hastened on to Ballymena, where the rain did us no harm by driving us into the meeting-house; where a large congregation cheerfully heard the word that is able to save their souls. Sat . 6. — The largest meeting-house I have been in was that which I preached in at Antrim; and the people behaved exceeding well; the children as well as the rest. In the evening I was at the new chapel at Lisburn, the largest and best-finished in the north of Ireland. Sunday , 7. It was well filled at nine. We went to church a little before twelve, where the singing was admirably good; the Clerk who teaches them to sing, having been formerly a Leader in our society. The day continuing stormy, I could not preach in the street, but we were glad to retreat into the Linen-Hall. Here was such a congregation as I have not seen since I came into the kingdom; but some things, called gentlemen, were walking to and fro, and talking during the greatest part of the sermon. If these had been poor men, probably they would have had common sense. The meeting of the society which followed, at which we permitted many others to be present, was exceeding solemn. The power of God fell upon many. I observed one gentlewoman in particular, that wept and trembled exceedingly. I did not wonder, therefore, that the Room was filled at five; and that we had a parting blessing. Mon . 8. — We went on to Belfast. I had at first thought of preaching in the Linen-Hall; but the weather being felt uncertain, I went to the heads of the large meeting-house, to desire the use of it, which they granted in the most obliging manner. It is the completest place of public worship I have ever seen. It is of an oval form; as I judge by my eye, a hundred feet long, and seventy or eighty broad. It is very lofty, and has two rows of large windows; so that it is as light as our new chapel in London: And the rows of pillars, with every other part, are so finely proportioned, that it is beautiful in the highest degree.
The House was so crowded both within and without, (and indeed with some of the most respectable persons in the town,) that it was with the utmost difficulty I got in; but I then found I went not up without the Lord. Great was my liberty of speech among them; great was our glorying in the Lord: So that I gave notice, contrary to my first design, of my in tending to preach there again in the morning; but soon after, the sexton sent me word, it must not be; for the crowds had damaged the house, and some of them had broke off and carried away the silver which was on the Bible in the pulpit: So I desired one of our Preachers to preach in our little House, and left Belfast early in the morning. Tues . 9. — About eight I came once more to Newtown, where I had not been for eleven years, and preached at nine to a multitude of people, in the Presbyterian meeting-house. All of them seemed to be not a little affected.
God grant the impression may continue! From hence we had a pleasant ride to Portaferry, a pretty large sea-port town, and one of the quietest I ever saw, either in England, Scotland, or Ireland. Here likewise I preached in a large meeting-house, to a serious and well-behaved congregation, on, “Stand ye in the old paths;” and many seemed determined to “walk therein.” Wed . 10. — We had twice or thrice as many people in the morning as our House would have contained. We had then a lovely passage to Strangford; but the question was, where to preach. I was inclined to preach in the open air, as I did eleven years ago, till the Vicar called upon me, and, after a little friendly conversation, asked me if I would not preach in the chapel.
As we walked together through the street, the people gathered from every quarter: So that the church was over filled; many being constrained to stand without the door; and greatly was the mighty power of God displayed in the midst of them.
We came to Downpatrick before one. In the afternoon we viewed the venerable ruins of the Abbey. Great men have talked of rebuilding it for many years; but none moves a hand towards it. At six I preached to a numerous congregation in the Grove, on, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” Afterwards I met the society, now well established, and still increasing both in number and strength. Thursday , 11. I preached in Rathfriland about noon; and before two, set out for Tanderagee: But in about half an hour, the iron part of my fore-axletree broke; so I walked forward with two of our brethren, which was easier than riding either of their horses. But before we came to Loch-Brickland, my strength was so exhausted, I was glad to stop at a little inn, and send to Bannbridge, about two miles off, for a post-chaise. It came soon after six o’clock, and I set out immediately. I had gone about a mile, when Mrs. Lesley met me with her chaise, (who set out as soon as ever she heard that my chaise was broke down,) and took me with her to Tanderagee. A multitude of people were waiting; (twice as many as were in the Green at Downpatrick;) when, finding no want of strength, I earnestly proclaimed, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” Such a congregation I have not seen since I came into the kingdom; neither such a pleasing place, shaded with tall, spreading trees, near which ran a clear river: And all the people listened with quiet and deep attention, [when invited] to “drink of the water of life freely.” Fri . 12. — I had a day of rest in the same delightful grove; and preached on, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.” Saturday , 13. I had another quiet day to answer my letters and revise my papers. I think the evening congregation was the largest we have seen in the kingdom; and they all seemed to feel the application of these words, which God applied with uncommon power, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Sun . 14. — I preached to near as large a congregation at nine, on, “Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous.” After preaching in the evening, I lodged at Killiman, and preached at seven in the morning at Mr. Caulfield’s door. In the evening I preached in the Castle-yard at Dungannon, on, “There is one God,” with the demonstration of the Spirit. It is a lovely place, and contained a huge congregation. Tuesday , 16. I preached in the street at Blackwater-Town, on 1 Corinthians 10:13. The word sunk deep into many hearts; for the power of God was in the midst of the congregation.
In the evening I preached once more to a multitude of people, in Mr. M’Gough’s avenue; to whom I paid probably the last visit, as he is just tottering over the grave. Wed . 17. — I went on to Newry, and preached once more in the Presbyterian meeting-house, well filled with rich and poor. It was a blessed season; as it was nearly at five in the morning. Thursday , 18.
About ten I began in the market-place at Dundalk: The congregation was large, and exceeding quiet. They were tolerably quiet at Drogheda in the evening, and deeply attentive at six in the morning. Friday , 19. About eleven I preached in the street at Swords; and in the afternoon reached Dublin. Sun . 21. — I preached and administered the Lord’s Supper; in the conclusion of which The’ o’erwhelming power of grace divine overshadowed the congregation. On Monday , Tuesday , and Wednesday , I visited the classes; now containing a little above a thousand members, after I had excluded about a hundred. Thursday , 25. I went on to Mrs. Tighe’s, at Rosanna, near Wicklow, an exceeding pleasant seat, deeply embosomed in woods on every side. In the evening I preached in the great hall, to about a hundred very genteel persons. I believe most of them felt as well as heard; some perhaps may bring forth fruit. Fri . 26. — After spending a quiet day, I went in the afternoon to Wicklow, and preached in the Court-House to a large congregation, civil, though unawakened enough: Yet a few appeared to be deeply attentive; and I hope will “seek the Lord while he may be found.” Sat . 27. — We returned to Dublin by the Glen of the Downs, much resembling that which lies north above Keswick-Water. All this country is remarkably fruitful and pleasant, having, in many parts, a fine sea, as well as land, prospect. Sun . 28. — In the conclusion of the morning service we had a remarkable blessing; and the same in the evening, moving the whole congregation as the heart of one man.
This day I enter on my eighty-sixth year. I now find I grow old: 1. My sight is decayed; so that I cannot read a small print, unless in a strong light: 2. My strength is decayed; so that I walk much slower than I did some years since: 3. My memory of names, whether of persons or places, is decayed; till I stop a little to recollect them.
What I should be afraid of, is, if I took thought for the morrow, that my body should weigh down my mind; and create either stubbornness, by the decrease of my understanding; or peevishness, by the increase of bodily infirmities: But Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord my God. Fri . July 3. — Our little Conference began in Dublin, and ended Tuesday , 7. On this I observe, 1. I never had between forty and fifty such Preachers together in Ireland before; all of them, we had reason to hope, alive to God, and earnestly devoted to his service: 2. I never saw such a number of Preachers before, so unanimous in all points, particularly as to leaving the Church; which none of them had the least thought of. It is no wonder, that there has been this year so large an increase of the society. Sun . 5. — I desired as many as chose it of our society, to go to St. Patrick’s, being the first Sunday in the month. The Dean preached a serious, useful sermon; and we had such a company of communicants as, I suppose, had scarce been seen there together for above a hundred years.
Our House would not contain them that came in the evening; many of whom being little awakened, I preached on, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” On Monday and Tuesday we settled the rest of our business; and on Wednesday morning we parted in the same love that we met.
I had much satisfaction in this Conference; in which, conversing with between forty and fifty Travelling Preachers, I found such a body of men as I hardly believed could have been found together in Ireland; men of so sound experience, so deep piety, and so strong understanding. I am convinced, they are no way inferior to the English Conference, except it be in number. Friday , 10, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer, chiefly for the increase of the work of God. This was concluded with a very solemn watch-night, wherein the hearts of many were greatly comforted. Sun . 12. — At seven I preached in Marlborough-Street, where (though it rained all the morning) we had a full congregation of serious people. We met at the new Room at half-hour past nine; and truly God was with us.
We had never so many communicants before; but as my day, so was my strength. About two we left Dublin, and hastened down to the ship; the Princess Royal, of Parkgate; the neatest and most elegant packet I ever saw. But the wind failing, we did not get out of the bay till about twelve.
We had exceeding agreeable company; and I slept as well as if I had been in my own bed. Monday , 13. The sea being smooth, I shut myself up in my chaise, and read over the life of the famous Mr. George F——, one of the most extraordinary men (if we may call him a man) that has lived for many centuries. I never heard before of so cool, deliberate, relentless a murderer!
And yet from the breaking of the rope at his execution, which gave him two hours of vehement prayer, there is room to hope he found mercy at last.
In the evening we sang a hymn upon deck, which soon drew all the company about us. I then, without any delay, began preaching on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” I believe all were a little affected for the present. We were then constrained to slacken sail, and to lie by for some hours, not having water to pass the bar: However, we landed between four and five in the morning, Tuesday , 14; and, after resting an hour, I went to Chester. I lodged at T. Briscoe’s; a lovely family indeed; just such another as Miss B.’s, at Keynsham. The children, indeed, are not quite so genteel, but full as much awakened; and, I think, the most loving I ever saw. The House was thoroughly filled in the evening, (it being the fair-time,) as well as the following. Thursday , 16. When I took my leave of the family, they came all in tears. It is long since I saw the like. About noon I preached to a large and much-affected congregation at Northwich. A flame is lately broke out here, such as never was seen here before. In the evening I preached at Manchester. Saturday , 18. I consulted Dr. Easton, finding my thirst and fever much increased. His medicine immediately took place; and I was so much better in the morning, Sunday , 19, that I preached, and, with Dr. Coke’s assistance, administered the sacrament to eleven or twelve hundred communicants. I preached again in the evening; but it was too much for me, and brought back my fever. Monday , 20. I went on to Halifax, where, in the evening, I preached to a noble congregation; and afterwards spent near another hour in exhorting the society. Tuesday , 21. I hid myself at Otley, and prepared for the Conference. Friday , 24. I preached to a lovely congregation, on Ephesians 4:14. Saturday , 25. I preached in Dewsbury, in the evening, on Revelation 14:1-4. It rained all the time. I and several more people were wet to the skin. I lodged in Joseph Taylor’s house, at Gomersal, who labors for peace, and would fain reconcile Christ and Belial.
In this journey I employed some part of my leisure time in reading Mr. Forster’s “Voyage round the World.” In many parts of this, one would think he was almost persuaded to be a Christian. But how is it, then, that he says, (vol. 1., p. 136,) “We listened to our boat’s crew, who recited a number of dull stories, intermixed with hearty curses, oaths, and indecent expressions, etc., (obscenity,) but seldom without real humor?” Now, what need of mentioning these “hearty curses and oaths,” with such profound indifference, if it were not to screen himself from the imputation of believing the Bible? Sun . 26. — I preached at noon in Birstal House, to as lively a congregation as ever was seen there; and at five preached on the education of children. Mon . 27. — Being not well able to preach in the morning, through the heat and dryness of my mouth, in the evening I preached on 1 Timothy 6:20. Tuesday , 28. The Conference began: About a hundred Preachers were present, and never was our Master more eminently present with us. The case of separation from the Church was largely considered, and we were all unanimous against it. Saturday ,AUGUST 1. We considered the case of Dewsbury House, which the self-elected Trustees have robbed us of. The point they contended for was this, — that they should have a right of rejecting any Preachers they disapproved of. But this, we saw, would destroy itinerancy. So they chose J. A. for a Preacher, who adopted W. E. for his Curate. Nothing remained but to build another preaching-house, toward which we subscribed two hundred and six pounds on the spot. Sun . 2. — Knowing the church would not contain half of our congregation added to its own, we began at our Room, at half an hour past nine. After preaching, with the assistance of three other Clergymen, I administered the sacrament to fifteen or sixteen hundred persons; I hope, all desirous to be inward Christians. Tuesday 4. Having before preached to the people at large, I now spoke directly to the Preachers, on, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;” and, I am persuaded, God applied his word to many of their hearts. Wed . 5. — About noon we left Leeds; and that evening went to Newark, about seventy miles. Thursday , 6. We set out early, and between four and five reached Hinxworth. I was now pretty well inclined to rest; but a congregation soon getting together, I would not disappoint them, but preached on, “We love him because he first loved us;” and after preaching, and travelling fourscore miles, I was no more tired than when I set out in the morning. Fri . 7. — We reached London between one and two; and found great reason to praise the Gracious Power, which had preserved us by sea and by land, in all known and unknown dangers, unto the present hour. Sat . 8. — I settled all my temporal business, and, in particular, chose a new person to prepare the Arminian Magazine; being obliged, however unwillingly, to drop Mr. O——, for only these two reasons: 1. The errata are insufferable; I have born them for these twelve years, but can bear them no longer. 2 Several pieces are inserted without my knowledge, both in prose and verse.
I must try whether these things cannot be amended for the short residue of my life. Sun . 9. — The new chapel was sufficiently crowded, both in the morning and at four in the afternoon. At seven we set out, and about noon, on Monday , 10, reached Bristol. Finding all things here in a flourishing state, I set out for the west early on Tuesday morning, and had an exceeding pleasant journey to Taunton; where we had a full and serious congregation in the evening. Wednesday , 12. I had no thought of preaching at Collumpton, though we were to pass through it; but I yielded to importunity, and preached at one to a numerous audience. Thence we went on to Exeter, where the people were in high expectation of seeing the King, who appointed to be there the next day: However, a pretty large congregation assembled; to which I preached at six o’clock. We set out at three, on Thursday , 13, and reached Plymouth between one and two in the afternoon. I preached to a large audience in the evening; and although the day was extremely hot, yet I found myself better yesterday and today, than I have been for some months. Fri . 14. — In the afternoon I went on to the Dock, having previously determined not to say or hear anything of their late senseless quarrel; wherein I could not but blame both sides, and knew not which to blame most. So I spent this and the next day in peace, and answered all my letters. Sunday , 16. In the morning, I believe, we had not less than six hundred communicants; but they were all admirably well behaved, as if they indeed discerned the Lord’s body. But when I preached in the afternoon, the House would not hold half the congregation. I chose the space adjoining the south side of the House, capable of containing some thousands of people. Besides, some hundreds sat on the ridge of the rock which ran along at my left hand. I preached on part of the Gospel for the day, “He beholden the city, and wept over it;” and it seemed as if every one felt, His heart is made of tenderness; His bowels melt with love.
Mon . 17. — Setting out at three, we easily reached our friends at St. Austle by dinner-time. But I knew not where to preach, the street being so dirty, and the preaching-house so small. At length we determined to squeeze as many as we could into the preaching-house; and truly God was there. Tuesday , 18. We went on to Truro, where I had appointed to preach at twelve o’clock; but here an unforeseen hindrance occurred. I could not get through the main street to our preaching-house. It was quite blocked up with soldiers to the east, and numberless tinners to the west; a huge multitude of whom, being nearly starved, were come to beg or demand an increase of their wages; without which they could not live. So we were obliged to retire to the other end of the town, where I preached under the Coinage Hall, to twice as many people, rich and poor, as the preaching-house would have contained; and many of them would not have come thither at all. How wise are all the ways of God!
In the afternoon, as we could not pass by the common road, we procured leave to drive round by some fields, and got to Falmouth in good time. The last time I was here, above forty years ago, I was taken prisoner by an immense mob, gaping and roaring like lions: But how is the tide turned!
High and low now lined the street, from one end of the town to the other, out of stark love and kindness, gaping and staring as if the King were going by. In the evening I preached on the smooth top of the hill, at a small distance from the sea, to the largest congregation I have ever seen in Cornwall, except in or near Redruth. And such a time I have not known before, since I returned from Ireland. God moved wonderfully on the hearts of the people, who all seem to know the day of their visitation. Wed . 19. — I preached at noon in the High-Street in Helstone, to the largest and most serious congregation which I ever remember to have seen there. Thursday , 20. I went on to St. Just, and preached in the evening to a lovely congregation, many of whom have not left their first love. Friday , 21. About eleven I preached at Newlyn, and in the evening at Penzance; at both places I was obliged to preach abroad. Saturday , 22. I crossed over to Redruth, and at six preached to a huge multitude, as usual, from the steps of the market-house. The word seemed to sink deep into every heart. I know not that ever I spent such a week in Cornwall before. Sun . 23. — I preached there again in the morning, and in the evening at the amphitheater; I suppose, for the last time; for my voice cannot now command the still increasing multitude. It was supposed they were now more than five-and-twenty thousand. I think it scarce possible that all should hear. Mon . 24. — Calling at Marazion, in my way to Penzance, where I had promised to preach once more, the House was filled in a few minutes, so that I could not refrain from preaching a short sermon; and God was there of a truth. We had a rainy afternoon; so I was obliged to preach in the new preaching-house, considerably the largest, and, in many respects, far the best, in Cornwall. Tues . 25. — I went to St. Ives, and preached, as usual, on one side of the market-place. Well nigh all the town attended, and with all possible seriousness. Surely forty years’ labor has not been in vain here. Wed . 26. — I returned to Redruth, and applied to the great congregation, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” I then met the society, and explained at large the rise and nature of Methodism; and still aver, I have never read or heard of, either in ancient or modern history, any other church which builds on so broad a foundation as the Methodists do; which requires of its members no conformity either in opinions or modes of worship, but barely this one thing, to fear God, and work righteousness. Thur . 27. — We set out early, and reached Truro soon after five. I preached at six, to a House full of serious people, on, “Awake, thou that sleepest.” The congregation seemed to be awake. Thence we hasted forward to Port Isaac. I preached in the evening, in an open part of the town, to almost all the inhabitants of it. How changed [since the time] when he that invited me durst not take me in, for fear his house should be pulled down! Fri . 28. — I preached at nine in our new House at Camelford, thoroughly filled, though at a short warning; and at six in the evening, in the new House at Launceston; still too small for the congregation, who seemed exceeding lively. So there is a fair prospect in Cornwall, from Launceston to the Land’s End. Saturday , 29. Going through Tavistock, a poor man asked me to preach. I began in about a quarter of an hour, the preaching-house being filled directly; but with so poor a congregation as I have not seen before, for twice seven years. In the evening I preached at Plymouth-Dock, to a very different congregation, but equally serious. Sun . 30. — Our service began at ten. The rain prevented the chapel being too much crowded. In the evening I preached at Plymouth, on the words in the First Lesson, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” It was an awful season. Afterwards I spent a comfortable evening with a few of our serious brethren. The jars both here and at the Dock seem now to be over, and the contending parties are willing to live in peace. Mon . 31. — We set out at three, in a lovely morning, and reached Exeter between twelve and one. Here the scene was much changed: Many of the people were scattered, and the rest faint and dead enough. The preaching-house was swiftly running to ruin, the rain running through the roof into it amain; and five or six tenants living in the house were noisy enough, having none to control them. We called earnestly upon God to arise, and maintain his own cause: He did so in the evening congregation, (which was much larger than usual,) while I strongly enforced the parable of the Sower; and the dread of God seemed to rest on the whole congregation. Tues . September 1. — We went through a delightful country to Tiverton.
In the evening, the Independent Minister offering the use of his meeting-house, far larger than ours, I willingly accepted his offer. The congregation was far the largest I have seen in Tiverton for many years. I preached on Mark 3:25; and it seemed all had ears to hear. Wed . 2. — I preached at Halberton. I spoke here before in the open air; but the rain prevented it now. So as many as could, conveniently, got into the House. When we set out, one of my horses was quite lame; so that it was with great difficulty I could get to Taunton. In the evening, we had such a congregation, as, I suppose, was never in that House before. Surely the ancient work will some time revive, and the prayers of that blessed man, Joseph Alleine, be answered. Thur . 3. — Being obliged to take post-horses at Taunton, we went on to Castle-Carey. Here we found a little company of lively Christians. We found such another, Friday , 4, at Ditcheat; but the rain drove us into the House, where as many as could squeeze in seemed to be much affected. In the evening I preached at Shepton, where the flame, kindled some time since, is not yet extinguished. The next day we went on to Bristol. Sun . 6. — I read prayers and preached, and administered the sacrament to many hundred communicants. I preached in the evening as usual; and spent a little more time with the society than I commonly do: But it was more than I could well do: Yet in four and-twenty hours I was as well as usual. The fair brought abundance of strangers to the preaching on Monday , Tuesday , and Wednesday . Thursday , 10. I went over to Thornbury, where we preached near fifty years, and hardly saw any fruit; but whom can we despair of? Now at length it seems that God’s time is come. A few men of substance in the town have built a neat and commodious preaching-house. It was filled within and without with serious hearers; and they did not hear in vain. Fri . 11. — I went over to Kingswood: Sweet recess! where everything is now just as I wish. But Man was not born in shades to lie!
Let us work now; we shall rest by and by. Saturday , 12. I spent some time with the children; all of whom behaved well; several are much awakened, and a few rejoicing in the favor of God. Sun . 13. — As Mr. Baddiley assisted me in the morning, I took the opportunity of preaching at Kingswood in the afternoon, and abroad in the evening; and was abundantly better in the evening than in the morning. Monday , 14. I spent an agreeable hour with Mr. Ireland and Mr. Romaine, at Brislington. I could willingly spend some time here; but I have none to spare. Tuesday , 15. In the evening I preached at Pensford, to an uncommon congregation, and with an uncommon blessing. Wednesday , 16.
I went on to Midsummer-Norton. I never saw the church so full before. I preached on that verse in one of the Psalms for the day, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Many, I believe, found the promise true. In the evening I preached to our honest, earnest colliers, at Coleford; most of whom attended again at five in the morning. Thursday , 17. I preached at Frome, to a much larger audience, and with much of the presence of God. Friday , 18. At noon I preached at Trowbridge, in an open place, to a multitude of people; and in the evening, to our old, steady congregation at Bradford; but many of them are gone into a better world. Scarce any of the rich and honorable are left; but it is enough that the Gospel is preached to the poor. Saturday , 19. At Bath the scene is changed again. Here we have the rich and honorable in abundance; and yet abundance of them came even in a stormy night, and seemed as attentive as colliers. Sun . 20. — I know not that ever I had so large a number of communicants before; after I had applied strongly, “Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” In the afternoon I applied full as strongly, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and in the evening returned to Bristol.
On Monday , 21, and the three following days, I visited the classes at Bristol. Friday , 25. I spent an hour at Clare-Hill with Mr. Henderson; I believe the best Physician for lunatics in England: But he could not save the life of his only son, who was probably taken to bring his father to God. Sun . 27. — I preached at the new Room morning and evening, and in the afternoon at Temple church; but it was full as much as I could do. I doubt I must not hereafter attempt to preach more than twice a day. Monday , 28.
I strongly enforced the caution of St. Paul, “Be not conformed to this world;” but who can enforce it enough? For what destruction does this conformity bring upon the children of God! Tuesday , 29. Being much importuned, I went to Churchill, about twelve miles west of Bristol. The rain was heavy; yet many of the poor people made their way through it; so that the church (they said) has scarce ever been so filled before. After the Service many stayed in the church, because of the rain: So I spent some time with them in singing and prayer; and our hearts were much comforted together. Thur . 1. — I went over to Bath, and preached once more to a very large congregation, on 1 Peter 1:14. Friday , 2. We had a solemn watch-night at Kingswood, and most of the people stayed to the end. Sunday , 4. I purposed preaching abroad once more in the afternoon; but just before five the rain began; so I could only enforce in the Room those solemn words, in the first Lesson for the day, “Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways,” etc. Mon . 5. — We set out at four, and, hiring post-horses, reached Mr. Whitchurch’s, at Sarum, before dinner. In the evening the House was crowded extremely, and the voice of God was heard among them; especially in the meeting of the society, to whom I delivered my own soul once for all. Tuesday , 6. About nine I spoke full as plain at Winchester, I think, to the largest congregation I have seen there; and it seemed the most serious; on that awful subject, Mark 9:44. The audience at Portsmouth-Common, in the evening, were of another kind; to whom, therefore, I spake in quite another manner, from Ephesians 3:14, etc. Wednesday , 7. About one I preached to another very serious congregation in the town; whom, therefore, I exhorted to leave the first principles, and go on to perfection. Thursday , 8. I set out early, and in the afternoon we were brought to London.
I am now as well, by the good providence of God, as I am likely to be while I live. My sight is so decayed that I cannot well read by candle-light; but I can write as well as ever: And my strength is much lessened, so that I cannot easily preach above twice a day. But, I bless God, my memory is not much decayed; and my understanding is as clear as it has been these fifty years. Sun . 11. — I preached at West-Street morning and afternoon, and then buried the remains of Dorothy Hundlebee, who, after an exemplary life, went to God in the full triumph of faith. Tuesday , 13. I preached partly upon the subject at the new chapel; and strongly exhorted the congregation to be followers of her as she was of Christ. In the evening 1 went in the mail-coach to Barton-Mills, and thence in a chaise to Lynn. Wed . 14. — The heavy rain prevented tender people from attending in the evening. Sunday , 25. In the morning I preached at West-Street, on Matthew 22:11: “He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment;” and showed that this has no manner of respect, either to the Lord’s Supper, or the righteousness of Christ; but that it means neither more nor less than holiness. At three I preached to a crowded audience at Allhallows church, on Matthew 6:8. At both places I believe God strongly applied his word to many hearts. Mon . 26. — I set out early, dined at Wallingford, just fifty miles from the new chapel, and preached in the evening to far more people than the preaching-house could contain. It was a day of God’s power; and I believe most of the stout-hearted trembled at his word. Tues . 27. — I went on to Witney. Here I found a lively people, many of whom were hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Of what use to a whole community may one person be, even a woman, that is full of faith and love! The Lord strengthen thy heart, and fully prepare thee for every good word and work! Thur . 29. — I returned to Oxford; and as notice had been given, though without my knowledge, of my preaching at noon, I did so, on, “There is one God,” to a very serious congregation; but in the evening such a multitude of people pressed in, that they hindered one another from hearing. I know not when we have had so noisy a congregation; so that by their eagerness to hear, they defeated their own purpose. Fri . 30. — In my way to Wycomb, I spent an hour at Mr. Smith’s, in Cudsdem. He has ten children, from eighteen to a year or two old; but all under government: So that I met the very picture of my father’s family.
What a wretched steward was he, who influenced Lord H—— to put away such a tenant! In the evening the House at High-Wycomb, though full, was still as night. Saturday , 31. We came safe and well to London. Sun . November 1. — Being All-Saints’ Day , a day that I peculiarly love, I preached on Revelation 7:1; and we rejoiced with solemn joy. Monday , 2. Miss H. met me at Hatfield, and took me on to Hinxworth. I never saw that preaching-house so full as it was this evening; and the people now begin not only to understand, but to relish, what they hear. Tuesday , 3.
We went over to Wrestlingworth, where likewise the church was fuller than ever before. I spoke exceeding closely the next evening at Hinxworth, which the people are now able to bear; and at length that excellent woman that has so tenderly cared for them sees some fruit of her labor. Mon . 9. — I returned to London; and the four following days I employed in visiting the classes. Sunday , 15. We had, as usual, a large congregation, and a solemn opportunity, at Spitalfields; and another at Shoreditch church; where I preached a charity sermon, after the Prayers had been read in such a manner as I never heard before. At five I preached at the new chapel, and met the society; but it was too much for me. Mon . 16. — After an intermission of many weeks, through the dryness of my mouth, I resolved to try if I could not preach at five in the morning; and did so with not much difficulty; and I now hope to hold on a little longer. Wednesday , 18. I found much life in the society at Brentford: So little cause have we to despair of any people, though for the present ever so dead! Thursday , 19. I preached to a large congregation at Lambeth. On Friday and Saturday , I answered my letters. Sun. 22. — We had large congregations and a comfortable opportunity, both morning and evening, at West-Street chapel. Monday , 23. I set out for Northamptonshire; and in the evening preached at Whittlebury; but the House would ill contain the congregation, which were all serious as death.
So they were the next evening. Wednesday , 25. The Dissenting Minister at Towcester offering me the use of his meeting-house, it was well filled; and I believe our Lord was in the midst. Thence we went on to Northampton, where I spent two evenings with very great satisfaction; although the great man who was so affected at Bath last year was, as I expected he would, ashamed to see me. Friday , 27. We had a pleasant journey to London. Sun . 29. — I preached at the new chapel in the morning, on, “Love is the fulfilling of the law;” and in the evening, on, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another:” And each time God was eminently present. Monday , 30. I went to Deptford, and found the society in peace; but nearly at one stay. I endeavored to stir up both them and the congregation, in the evening, to go on to perfection. Tuesday ,DECEMBER 1. I called on Mr. Dornford, and found he kept his bed, being ill of a stubborn ague; but it came no more. At noon I preached in the new preaching-house at Mitcham; and examined the little earnest society, almost all rejoicing in the love of God. I then retired to the lovely family at Balham.
Here I had leisure on Tuesday, Wednesday , and Thursday , to consider thoroughly the account of the Pelew Islands. It is ingenious; but I esteem it a dangerous book, which I cannot believe, if I believe the Bible; for the direct tendency of it is to show, that the Bible is quite needless; since if men may be as virtuous without revelation as with it, then it is quite superfluous; then the fable of Jesus Christ, and that of Mahomet, are equally valuable. I do not say that Mr. Keate, much less Captain Wilson, designed to inculcate this consequence; but it necessarily follows, if you believe the premises. I cannot believe there is such a Heathen on earth as Abba Thulle; much less such a heathen nation as are here painted.
But what do you think of Prince Lee Boo? I think he was a good-natured, sensible young man, who came to England with Captain Wilson, and had learned his lesson well; but was just as much a Prince, as Tomo Chachi was a King. Mon . December 7. — I went to Chatham, and preached, as usual, to far more than the House could contain: And it is no wonder, considering that the spirit and behavior of the people confirm the doctrine they hear. Tuesday , 8. We took a walk in the dock-yard. In the evening I preached in the elegant House at Brompton; but it is already far too small. The people flock in on every side, to hear peacefully the Gospel. Thur. 10. — I returned to London, and preached at the new chapel. Sun . 13. — Feeling much concern for poor backsliders, I endeavored to explain and apply the concluding words of the parable of the Prodigal Son: “This thy brother was dead, and is alive again: He was lost, and is found;” and in the evening those of Hosea 8:11. Mon . 14. — I went to Cauterbury, and preached in the evening, on, “There is one God.” The House would in nowise contain the congregation, in which were several Clergymen. It pleased God to give me uncommon liberty of spirit; as also at Dover the next evening, where the new House, large as it is, was far too small, so that many could not get in. Wednesday , 16. Being quite hoarse, I could neither sing nor speak: However, I determined to show myself, at least, where I had appointed to preach.
Coming to Sandwich about noon, and finding the congregation was waiting, I trusted in God, and began to speak: The more I spoke, the more my voice was strengthened; so that in a few minutes I think all could hear; and many, I believe, took knowledge that what they heard was not the word of man but of God.
I preached again at Margate in the evening, till my voice was near as clear as before I begun. The Spirit of God was with us of a truth. Thur . 17. — I returned to Canterbury, and spent half an hour with my old friend Mr. Perronet, the last of the six sons, and nearly worn-out, and just tottering over the grave. In the evening we had another numerous congregation, and all deeply serious. Friday , 18. We returned to London. Mon . 21. — I went to Sevenoaks, where the work of God has been at a stand for many years. It was a rainy night; notwithstanding which, the chapel was crowded from end to end: God seemed to rest in an uncommon degree upon the whole congregation. I was still more surprised to see the House filled in a very dark, rainy morning; a sight which has not been for many years. Surely God is about to give this poor, dead people yet another gracious visitation. Fri . 25. — (Being Christmas-Day.) We began the service in the new chapel at four o’clock, as usual; where I preached again in the evening, after having officiated in West-Street at the common hour. Saturday , 26.
We had a very uncommon congregation in the evening, with a very uncommon blessing. Sunday , 27. I preached in St. Luke’s, our parish church, in the afternoon, to a very numerous congregation, on, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come.” So are the tables turned, that I have now more invitations to preach in churches than I can accept of. Mon . 28. — I retired to Peckham; and at leisure hours read part of a very pretty trifle, — the Life of Mrs. Bellamy. Surely never did any, since John Dryden, study more To make vice pleasing, and damnation shine, than this lively and elegant writer. She has a fine imagination; a strong understanding; an easy style, improved by much reading; a fine, benevolent temper; and every qualification that could consist with a total ignorance of God. But God was not in all her thoughts. Abundance of anecdotes she inserts, which may be true or false. One of them, concerning Mr. Garrick, is curious. She says, “When he was taking ship for England, a lady presented him with a parcel, which she desired him not to open till he was at sea. When he did he found Wesley’s Hymns, which he immediately threw overboard.” I cannot believe it. I think Mr. G. had more sense. He knew my brother well; and he knew him to be not only far superior in learning, but in poetry, to Mr. Thomson, and all his theatrical writers put together: None of them can equal him, either in strong, nervous sense, or purity and elegance of language. The musical compositions of his sons are not more excellent than the poetical ones of their father.
In the evening I preached to a crowded congregation, some of whom seemed a good deal affected. Thursday , 31. I preached at the new chapel; but, to avoid the cramp, went to bed at ten o’clock. I was well served. I know not that I ever before felt so much of it in one night. Fri . January 1, 1790. — I am now an old man, decayed from head to foot. My eyes are dim; my right hand shakes much; my mouth is hot and dry every morning; I have a lingering fever almost everyday; my motion is weak and slow. However, blessed be God, I do not slack my labor: I can preach and write still. Sat . 2. — I preached at Snowsfields, to the largest congregation I have seen there this year, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Sunday , 3.
I suppose near two thousand met at the new chapel to renew their covenant with God; a scriptural means of grace which is now almost everywhere forgotten except among the Methodists. Tues . 5. — I paid a visit to my old friend Mark Davis; and in the evening I preached to a small audience at Leytonstone. Wednesday , 6. I preached to a larger and more awakened congregation at Stratford. Tuesday , 12. I retired to Highbury-Place to answer my letters. Sunday , 17. I buried Mrs. Dornford, (a good woman,) and preached her funeral sermon. In the afternoon, I preached in Great St. Helen’s, to a large congregation. It is, I believe, fifty years since I preached there before. What has God wrought since that time! Thur . 21. — I paid a visit to an eminent sister, of whom every one despaired. She resolved to set out once more. May God uphold her with his right hand! Sunday , 24. We had a love-feast for all the society, at which many spoke their experience with much simplicity. Monday , 25. I went to Dorking; and labored to awaken a harmless, honest, drowsy people, who for many years have seemed to stand stock-still, neither increasing nor decreasing. Fri . 29. — We had our general Quarterly Meeting, whereby it appeared, that the society received and expended about three thousand pounds a year; but our expense still exceeded our income. Saturday , 30. I began meeting the classes, which took up this day and all the next week. Sun . February 7. — I preached the funeral sermon of that saint of God, Robert Windsor, many years a burning and a shining light. He was born a few months after me; was a prudent, serious, diligent man, full of mercy and good fruits; without partiality, and without hypocrisy. He seemed on the brink of death some months ago; but was suddenly raised up again; praised God without ceasing a few days; and then laid down, and died. Wed . 10. — We found much of the presence of God in the chapel at Brentford, where the congregation was exceeding large. So it was the next evening at Lambeth, though perhaps not so much alive. Saturday , 13. The meeting of the penitents in the evening was exceeding solemn; as indeed it generally is. Sunday , 14. I preached a sermon to the children at West-Street chapel. They flocked together from every quarter; and truly God was in the midst of them, applying those words, “Come, ye little children, hearken unto me; and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Tues . 16. — I retired to Balham for a few days, in order to finish my sermons, and put all my little things in order. Thur . 18. — I preached once more at poor Wandsworth. The House was more crowded than it has been for several years; and I could not but hope that God will once more build up the waste places. Friday , 19. I preached to a large audience at Chelsea; and examined the little society, who do not decrease; but rather grow in grace, and strengthen each other’s hands. Sun. 21. — I preached to the children at the new chapel; and I believe not in vain. Monday , 22. We had a comfortable opportunity at West-Street; and another on Tuesday evening at the new chapel, where we had also a solemn meeting of the Leaders. I submitted to importunity, and once more sat for my picture. I could scarce believe myself; — the picture of one in his eighty-seventh year! Wed . 24. — I preached once more at Wapping, to a crowded audience; and the next evening at the new chapel, thoroughly filled. Friday , 26. I preached at Rotherhithe, where also there is lately a remarkable revival of the work of God. Saturday , 27. I dined at Mr. Baker’s, one of the Sheriffs of London; a plain man, who still lives in an inn-yard! In the evening I had such a congregation at Snowsfields, as has not been seen there before for many years. Afterwards I met the penitents for the last time. They quite filled the Room; and God was in the midst of them. Sun . 28. — We have not had such a congregation at the new chapel since the renewal of the covenant; nor such a blessing: The hearts of the people were like melting wax. Most of them were in tears; and I trust they will not soon forget the exhortation which was then given them.
In the afternoon I preached at West-Street chapel, on Ephesians 5:1,2.
The chapel would not near contain the congregation. All that could squeeze in seemed much affected; and it was with difficulty I broke through and took chaise for Brentford; where I came before six o’clock.
The congregation here also was by far the largest I ever saw here; so that, it seems, our labor even here will not be in vain. Mon . March 1. — I left Brentford early in the morning, and in the evening preached at Newbury. The congregation was large, and most of them attentive; but a few were wild as colts untamed. We had none such at Bath the following evening, but all were serious as death. Indeed, the work of God seems to flourish here, deepening as well as widening. Wednesday , 3.
I took a view of the new buildings. There are at present none like them in England. They have not only added a second Crescent, with two beautiful rows of houses, near Ludstown, but a whole town on the other side of the city, which is swiftly increasing everyday. And must all these fine buildings be burned up? Yea, — Earth and heaven destroy’d, Nor left even one in the mighty void! Thur . 4. — I went on to Bristol, where I found a people ready prepared for the Lord. The Preachers are in earnest, the fruit of which plainly appears in the congregations. Friday , 5. Hearing Mr. W——, of Bolton, was dying, I went over, and spent an hour with him. His spirit was much comforted, and in a few days he was nearly as well as ever. Saturday , 6. I preached in the evening at Temple church. Mr. Basterbrook has lately been very ill; but God has again lifted up his head to be a father to the poor a little longer. Sunday , 7. I preached at the Room morning and evening; and about two in the afternoon at Kingswood. Just as I concluded my sermon in the Room, a lady came in her carriage in all haste; and, finding the sermon was over, earnestly desired to stay at the society.
Afterwards she importuned me much to call on her at the Hot Wells, where her husband, Governor Johnstone, died two years ago. On Monday , Tuesday , Wednesday , and Thursday , she came to the preaching, and seemed to be much affected. On Friday evening I was at Kingswood, and preached to such a congregation, as I have not seen there on a week-day for forty years, unless it was at a watch-night. Saturday , 13. I spent two hours with her at Granby-House, and answered all her questions. She appeared quite willing to know the truth, and to be altogether a Christian; and vehemently desired, if our lives were prolonged, that I would visit her in London. But if we should live, would she then be willing to see me? If she is, it would be a miracle indeed.
This week I visited the classes in Bristol. I wonder we do not increase in number, although many are convinced, many justified, and a few perfected in love. I can impute the want of increase to nothing but want of self-denial. Without this, indeed, whatever other helps they have, no believers can go forward. Sunday , 14, was a comfortable day. In the morning I met the Strangers’ Society, instituted wholly for the relief, not of our society, but for poor, sick, friendless strangers. I do not know that I ever heard or read of such an institution till within a few years ago. So this also is one of the fruits of Methodism. Mon . 15. — I set out early, and dined at Stroud; but in the evening we knew not what to do. The preaching-house was far too small to contain the congregation; so that several hundreds (it was supposed) were obliged to go away. But the power of God remained with us; and great was our rejoicing in him. Tues . 16. — At noon I preached at Painswick, to as many as the House would contain: In the evening, at Gloucester, we had a large multitude; but many of them would neither hear nor let others hear. Indeed, they that sat in the galleries could hear well; but very few of them that were below. Wed . 17. — In the way to Tewkesbury, at the earnest desire of Samuel Vernon, I called on him and his five daughters, (all grown up,) who are lately joined to that society; all of whom are now in great earnest, and bid fair to adorn the Gospel of God our Savior. I preached at Tewkesbury about twelve; but here also the House would not contain the congregation.
We went on to Worcester in the afternoon, and found much comfort among a well-established people. They have no jars now, but all hold the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Thursday , 18. We went on to Stourport, which is now full twice as large as it was two years ago. The first chapel was built about three years ago, by the joint contributions of Arminians and Calvinists, agreeing that they should preach by turns. But in a short time the poor Arminians were locked out. On this one or two gentlemen built another, far larger and more commodious. But it was not large enough to contain them in the evening, to whom I explained that solemn passage in the Revelation, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” They seemed to be all serious and attentive as long as I was speaking; but the moment I ceased, fourscore or one hundred began talking all at once. I do not remember ever to have been present at such a scene before. This must be amended; otherwise (if I should live) I will see Stourport no more. Fri . 19. — About eleven, coming to Quinton, I found a congregation waiting for me. So, that I might not disappoint them, I preached immediately, on, “We love him, because he first loved us;” and then went on to Birmingham, which I think is thrice as large as when I saw it fifty years ago.
The congregation in the evening were well squeezed together, and most of them got in. The behavior of the rich and poor is such, as does honor to their profession; so decent, so serious, so devout, from the beginning to the end! It was the same the next evening. Sunday , 21. The Prayers began at the new House about half an hour after ten. It is a little larger than the new House at Brompton, and admirably well constructed. But several hundreds, I suppose, could not get in. I think all who did, found that God was there. The great House likewise in the evening was utterly insufficient to contain the congregation. But God is able to supply this want also; and his time is best. Mon . 22. — I went on to our old friends at Wednesbury, where the work of God greatly revives. Business has exceedingly decreased, and most of them have left the town. So much the more have the poor grown in grace, and laid up treasure in heaven. But we were at a great loss in the evening. I could not preach abroad after sunset, and the House would not near contain the people. However, as many as possibly could squeezed in; and their labor was not in vain. Tues . 23. — About one I preached in the new House at Dudley; one of the neatest in England. It was a profitable season, where two persons, they informed me, found peace with God. We had a pleasant ride to Wolverhampton. This evening the rain began, and continued about twenty hours, after more than four-and-twenty weeks of fair weather; such a winter as I never saw before.
A melancholy event fell out the day before: — The mistress of the house adjoining boiling some varnish, it boiled over, and took fire, which seized on her, and burnt her so that her life is despaired of.
The rain a little lessened our congregation, so that the House contained us tolerably well; and many, even of the genteel hearers, seemed almost persuaded not to halt between two opinions. Wed . 24. — We rode to Madeley through a pleasant rain, which did not hinder the church from being thoroughly filled; and, I believe, all who had spiritual discernment perceived that it was filled with the presence of God. Thursday , 25. At nine I preached to a select congregation, on the deep things of God; and in the evening, on, “He is able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God through him.” Friday , 26. I finished my sermon on the Wedding Garment; perhaps the last that I shall write. My eyes are now waxed dim; my natural force is abated. However, while I can, I would fain do a little for God before I drop into the dust.
In the evening I preached to a crowded audience at Salop, on, “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.” But I was much ashamed for them. The moment I had done speaking, I suppose fifty of them were talking all at once; and no wonder they had neither sense nor good manners, — for they were gentlefolks! Sat . 27. — I preached in the evening to a sensible and well-behaved congregation at Newcastle-under-Lyne. (Observe, that is the name of the river which runs above the town.) Sunday , 28. I preached soon after one in Mr. Myat’s yard, at Lane-End: The House would not have contained a quarter of the people. At Burslem also I was obliged to preach abroad, such were the multitudes of the people. Surely the people of this place were highly favored. Mercy embraced them on every side. Mon . 29. — At nine I preached in the new chapel, at Tunstal; the most elegant I have seen since I left Bath. My text was, “Let us go on unto perfection;” and the people seemed to devour the word.
In the evening I preached at Congleton. The Minister, the Mayor, and all the heads of the town, were present; so, that I might not overshoot them, I preached on Psalm 90:12: And, I believe, God applied it to their hearts. Tues . 30. — I went on to Macclesfield, and preached to a crowded audience, both this and the following night. On Thursday morning one of my horses died. I judged it best to leave the other till I could procure another, and took post-chaises to Stockport. A large congregation was ready at six in the evening. In the morning, on Good-Friday , we went on to Oldham. The new House would in nowise contain the congregation; but I preached to as many as it would contain, on 1 Corinthians 6:19; and at Manchester in the evening, Saturday ,APRIL 3, on Hebrews 4:14.
April 4. — (Being Easter-Day.) I think we had about one thousand six hundred communicants. I preached, both morning and evening, without weariness; and in the evening lay down in peace. Mon . 5. — Calling at Altringham, I was desired to speak a few words to the people in the new chapel; but almost as soon as I got thither, the House was filled; and soon after, more than filled. So I preached on l Peter 1:3; and many praised God with joyful lips. About twelve I preached in the chapel at Northwich, to a large and very lively congregation, and, in the evening, met once more with our old affectionate friends at Chester. I have never seen this chapel more crowded than tonight; but still it could not near contain the congregation. Both this and the following evening, I was greatly assisted to declare the power of Christ’s resurrection; and to exhort all that were risen with him to set their affections on the things above.
Here I met with one of the most extraordinary phenomena that I ever saw, or heard of: — Mr. Sellers has in his yard a large Newfoundland dog, and an old raven. These have fallen deeply in love with each other, and never desire to be apart. The bird has learned the bark of the dog, so that few can distinguish them. She is inconsolable when he goes out; and, if he stays out a day or two, she will get up all the bones and scraps she can, and hoard them up for him till he comes back. Wed . 7. — About eleven I preached at Warrington. The chapel was well filled with serious hearers; but the great congregation was at Liverpool. If those without were added to those within, I believe it would have exceeded even that at Manchester; and surely the power of God was present with them also. Thur . 8. — Such another congregation we had on Thursday , among whom were many that had never been there before. They seemed utterly amazed when I explained, “Now faith is the evidence of things unseen.” I believe many were then convinced; but, alas, how soon will that conviction die away! Fri . 9. — We went to Wigan, for many years proverbially called, wicked Wigan: But it is not now what it was: The inhabitants in general have taken a softer mold. The House in the evening was more than filled; and all that could get in seemed to be greatly affected, while I strongly applied our Lord’s words, “I will; be thou clean.” Saturday , 10. I crossed over to Northwich, and again found the wisdom of judging nothing before the time.
The removal, which I used to ascribe to caprice, I find was the effect of necessity. A wretched man, who had persuaded his father-in-law to give the staff out of his own hands, now abridges him of half his five hundred a year; and has the conscience to take fifty pounds a year out of the remainder, for the board of his son, apprenticed to him. In the evening I preached in the lovely House at Bolton, to one of the loveliest congregations in England; who, by patient continuance in well-doing, have turned scorn and hatred into general esteem and goodwill. [Part of the manuscript having been lost , causes a chasm here.] Mon . May 24. — We set out at four, and reached Forglen about noon. The face of the country is much changed for the better since I was here before.
But I found poor Lady B. (one of the most amiable women in the kingdom) exceeding ill; and I doubt whether she will be much better till she removes to her own country. I spent a very agreeable afternoon with the lovely family, and preached to a serious congregation in the evening. Tuesday , 25. We returned to Aberdeen; and I took a solemn farewell of a crowded audience. If I should be permitted to see them again, well; if not, I have delivered my own soul. Wed . 26. — Taking the midland road, we spent an hour at Lawrence-Kirk; which, from an inconsiderable village, is, by the care and power of Lord Gordon, soon sprung up into a pleasant, neat, and flourishing town. His Lordship has also erected a little library here, adjoining to a handsome and well-furnished inn. The country from hence to Brechin is as pleasant as a garden: Happy would Scotland be, if it had many such gentlemen and noblemen. In the evening I began preaching at Brechin, in the Freeman’s Lodge; but I was so faint and ill, that I was obliged to shorten my discourse. Thursday , 27. We went on through Forfar (now a handsome and almost a new town) and Cupar to Auchterarder. Here we expected poor accommodations, but were agreeably disappointed. Food, beds, and everything else, were as neat and clean as at Aberdeen or Edinburgh. Friday , 28. We traveled through a delightful country, by Stirling and Kilsythe, to Glasgow. The congregation was miserably small; verifying what I had often heard before, that the Scots dearly love the word of the Lord — on the Lord’s day. If I live to come again, I will take care to spend only the Lord’s day at Glasgow. Mon . 31. — We set out at two, and came to Moffat soon after three in the afternoon. Taking fresh horses, we reached Dumfries between six and seven, and found the congregation waiting: So, after a few minutes, I preached on Mark 3:35: “Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Tues . June 1. — Mr. Mather had a good congregation at five. In the day I conversed with many of the people; a candid, humane, well-behaved people; unlike most that I have found in Scotland. In the evening the House was filled; and truly God preached to their hearts. Surely God will have a considerable people here. Wed . 2. — We set out early, and reached Carlisle about noon. The work a little increases here: A small handful of people stand firm; and those that opposed are broken to pieces. Our House would not near contain the congregation; and the word of God was with power. Thursday , 3. We rode to Hexham, through one of the pleasantest countries that I have lately seen. The road lay (from Haisle) on the side of a fruitful mountain, shaded with trees, and sloping down to a clear river; which ran between ours and another fruitful mountain, well wooded and improved. At Hexham they have lately built a convenient preaching-house; but it is too small already.
Here is a loving people, much alive to God, and consequently increasing daily. Friday , 4. We reached Newcastle. In this and Kingswood house, were I to do my own will, I should choose to spend the short remainder of my days. But it cannot be; this is not my rest. This and the next evening we had a numerous congregation; and the people seemed much alive. Sun . 6. — I was invited to preach in Lemsley church, on the side of Gateshead-Fell; but some hours after, the Minister changed his mind. So I preached in our own preaching-house, which contained the greater part of the congregation tolerably well; among whom were Sir Henry Lyddal and his Lady, with a great number of his servants. The chapel was hot as a stove; but neither high nor low seemed to regard it: For God was there!
The Orphan-House was equally crowded in the evening; but the rain would not suffer me to preach abroad. Mon . 7. — I transcribed the Stations of the Preachers. Tuesday , 8. I wrote a form for settling the preaching-houses, without any superfluous words, which shall be used for the time to come, verbatim, for all the Houses to which I contribute anything. I will no more encourage that villainous tautology of lawyers which is the scandal of our nation. In the evening I preached to the children of our Sunday-school; six or seven hundred of whom were present. N.B. None of our masters or mistresses teach for pay: They seek a reward that man cannot give. Wed . 9. — Having dispatched all the business I had to do here, in the evening I took a solemn leave of this lovely people; perhaps never to see them more in this life; and set out early in the morning, Thursday , 10.
About noon I preached at Wolsingham, in a House thoroughly filled, on Isaiah 35:8; and in the evening in Weardale, which hardly contained the congregation. The same spirit was still in the congregation, that has been for many years; and many felt, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear. Fri . 11. — About seven I preached at Stanhope; but no House would contain the congregation. So I stood in a broad place near the church; and enforced, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” In going through Wolsingham, we called at Mr. W.’s, who was in low circumstances till a few years ago, when many thousands were heaped upon him unawares; and yet he seems to walk unhurt in fire! What is too hard for God?
Hence we went on to Durham. Here likewise I was obliged to preach in the open air, to a multitude of people, all of whom were serious and attentive. Saturday , 12. We went through a lovely country to Sunderland, where I preached in the evening to a numerous congregation. Sunday , 13. In the morning I preached a charity sermon in Monkwearmouth church, for the Sunday-school; which has already cleared the streets of all the children that used to play there on a Sunday from morning to evening. I preached at five near the Pens, to several thousands of people. Here, it is plain, our labor has not been in vain. Mon . 14. — In the evening I preached to as many as the Town-Hall would contain at Hartlepool. Tuesday , 15. I received a farther account of Mrs. B., from two that had lived with her a year and a quarter; and was thoroughly convinced, that she is a woman of strong sense, and a lively imagination; but that she is given up to a strong delusion, (whether natural or diabolical I know not,) to believe a lie. One proof may suffice: Some time since, she told the community, as from God, that the day of judgment would begin that evening. But how could she come off when the event did not answer?
Easily enough. “Moses,” said she, “could not see the face of God, till he had fasted forty days and forty nights. We must all do the same.” So for three weeks they took no sustenance, but three gills of water per day; and three weeks more, they took each three gills of water-gruel per day. What a mercy that half of them did not die in making the experiment l About noon I preached abroad to a large congregation, and in the afternoon went on to Stockton. The congregation was at least double to that at Hartlepool, all of whom seemed to feel that God was there. Wednesday , 16. I preached in the main street at Yarm, to a dull, attentive people. Thursday , 17.
About noon I preached at Potto, to a deeply serious congregation; and to another such in the evening at Hutton-Rudby. Twenty years this society was a pattern to all the country for seriousness and deep devotion. I think seventeen of them were perfected in love; but only three of them remain, and most of the rest are either removed, or grown cold and dead. Fri. 18. — I preached at Stokesley in the morning; and then went on to Whitby. It was very providential, that part of the adjoining mountain fell down, and demolished our old preaching-house, with many houses besides; by which means we have one of the most beautiful chapels in Great Britain, finely situated on the steep side of the mountain. At six it was pretty well filled with such a congregation of plain, earnest people, as is not often seen. I conversed with many of them the next day, who were much alive to God. Sunday , 20. The House contained us at seven tolerably well. The church likewise was well filled. But in the evening we were much straitened for room; but as many as could hear, stood on the pavement without. In all England I have not seen a more affectionate people than those at Whitby. Mon . 21. — Being importuned by our friends at Malton to call there, (it being but about thirty miles out of the way,) I set out early, to prevent the heat of the day. Calling at Pickering, some of the society soon found me out, with whom I went to the preaching-house; which was full enough in a few minutes’ time. So was the House at Malton, in the evening; where I found the society more loving and limited together than they had been for many years. Tues . 22. — I crossed over to Scarborough. The congregation in the evening was unusually small, being not yet recovered from the blessed fruits of the election. This was the hottest day we have had this year: And about one in the afternoon, the thunder, which had long lain at a distance, came near, with thick flashes of lightning, and impetuous rain: The thunder continued in one roll for an hour and a quarter. I never heard the like before, since my return from America. Thursday , 24. The Dissenting Minister offering me the use of his chapel in Bridlington, twice as large as our own, (the wind being too high for me to stand abroad,) I willingly accepted his offer. Friday , 25. About noon I preached at Beverley, to a serious, well-behaved congregation; and in the evening to one equally serious, and far more numerous, at Hull. Saturday , 26, was a day of satisfaction. I preached at seven in the morning, and at six in the evening, to as many as our House could contain; the ground being too wet for the congregation to stand abroad. Monday , 28. This day I enter into my eighty-eighth year. For above eighty-six years, I found none of the infirmities of old age; my eyes did not wax dim, neither was my natural strength abated: But last August I found almost a sudden change. My eyes were so dim, that no glasses would help me. My strength likewise now quite forsook me; and probably will not return in this world. But I feel no pain from head to foot; only it seems nature is exhausted; and, humanly speaking, will sink more and more, till The weary springs of life stand still at last.
Tues . 29. — I crossed over through Epworth to Owstone, and passed a comfortable day with many of the Preachers. This, which was one of the last societies in the Circuit, is now become first in grace, as well as number. The new preaching-house not being able to contain one-half of the congregation, I preached abroad in the calm, mild evening; and I believe God applied his word to many hearts. Thur . July 1. — I went to Lincoln. After dinner we took a walk in and round the Minster; which I really think is more elegant than that at York, in various parts of the structure, as well as in its admirable situation. The new House was thoroughly filled in the evening, and with hearers uncommonly serious. There seems to be a remarkable difference between the people of Lincoln and those of York. They have not so much fire and vigor of spirit; but far more mildness and gentleness; by means of which, if they had the same outward helps, they would probably excel their neighbors.
Some miles short of Lincoln, our post-boy stopped at an inn on the road, to give his horses a little water. As soon as we went in, the innkeeper burst into tears, as did his wife; wringing her hands, and weeping bitterly. “What!” he said, “are you come into my house! My father is John Lester, of Epworth.” I found both he and his wife had been of our society, till they left them. We spent some time in prayer together; and I trust not in vain. Fri . 2. — About eleven I preached at Newton; but the preaching-house would not contain half the congregation. No rain fell during the time of preaching; but it rained both before and after. I was struck with the preaching-house at Gainsborough, (one of the handsomest towns in Lincolnshire,) so neat, so elegant! just taking up one side of a small, neat Square. I found uncommon liberty of speech, and received it as a token for good. Surely this poor society, which has been so miserably depressed, will again lift up its head! Saturday , 3. I reached Epworth; and, after preaching in the evening, met the society; and reminded them of what they were some years ago, and what they are now; scarce retaining the shadow of their former zeal and activity in all the ways of God. Sun . 4. — I went over to Misterton, where likewise the work of God was exceedingly decayed. The House being far too small to contain the multitude of people, I stood under a spreading tree; and strongly exhorted them to “strengthen the things that remained,” which were “ready to die.”
Thence I hastened back to Epworth; but I could not reach it till the Church Service was begun. It was observed Mr. Gibson read the Prayers with unusual solemnity; and I believe he was not displeased to see five times as many at church, and ten times as many at the Lord’s table, as usual. As soon as the Afternoon Service ended, I began the market-place to press that awful question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” on such a congregation as was never seen at Epworth before. Fri . August 27. — I returned to Bristol. In the evening, and at the watch-night, the House was sufficiently filled. Finding the account of Mrs. Scudamore’s life and death (an excellent woman, though mistaken in this point) has revived in some the imagination of the expiatory nature of sufferings, and hence their absolute necessity to salvation, I discussed the subject at large; and showed that both these notions had their rise in Popery; and that neither the one nor the other of them had any foundation in Scripture. Sun . 29. — Mr. Baddiley being gone to the north, and Mr. Collins being engaged elsewhere, I had none to assist in the service, and could not read the Prayers myself; so I was obliged to shorten the service, which brought the Prayers, sermon, and Lord’s supper, within the compass of three hours. 1 preached in the afternoon near King’s Square; and the hearts of the people bowed down before the Lord. Mon . 30. — About noon I preached at Castle-Carey. Since I was here God has taken to himself that amiable woman, Mrs. Clark; who, to a fine person and a good understanding, joined a very uncommon degree of deep religion. This inclined me to apply earnestly Ecclesiastes 9:10; and all the people seemed to feel it. Afterwards, I called on her deeply afflicted husband, who spent some hours with us the next day. I hope he will no longer sorrow as one without hope, but will trust to meet her in a better place. In the evening I preached in the new house at Ditcheat. It would not hold the congregation; but many could hear at the windows, which they seemed right willing to do. A flame appears to be kindled here already.
God grant it may continue and increase! Tuesday , 31. William Kingston, the man born without arms, came to see me of his own accord. Some time since he received a clear sense of the favor of God; but after some months he was persuaded by some of his old companions to join in a favorite diversion, whereby he lost sight of God, and gave up all he had gained: But God now touched his heart again, and he is once more in earnest to save his soul. He is of a middling height and size, has a pleasing look and voice, and an easy, agreeable behavior. At breakfast he shook off his shoes, which are made on purpose, took the tea-cup between his toes, and the toast with his other foot. He likewise writes a fair hand, and does most things with his feet which we do with our hands. About noon I preached to a lovely congregation at Shepton Mallet; and in the evening at Pensford.
The House was crowded with earnest hearers, and I trust the word did not fall to the ground. Wed . September 1. — I returned to Bristol; and, it being the first day of the fair, I spoke strongly from the words of Solomon, “Buy the truth, and sell it not.” In the two following days, I corrected and abridged the account of that excellent woman, Mrs. Scudamore; a burning and shining light, till the Mystics persuaded her to put her light under a bushel: So that for above two years she renounced all conversation with even her pious friends! How does this agree with Scripture? “All my delight is in the saints that are on the earth, and with them that excel in virtue!” How far was the experience of Jane Cooper, or Elizabeth Harper, preferable to that of such a solitary! Sat . 4. — I went on to Bath, and preached in the evening to a serious, but small congregation, for want of notice. Sunday , 5. At ten we had a numerous congregation, and more communicants than ever I saw here before. This day I cut off that vile custom, I know not when or how it began, of preaching three times a day by the same Preacher, to the same congregation; enough to weary out both the bodies and minds of the speaker, as well as his hearers. Surely God is returning to this society!
They are now in earnest to make their calling and election sure. Mon . 6. — This evening the congregation was almost as large as it was the night before; and the power of God was mightily present: And so it was on Tuesday and Wednesday evening at Bristol. Thursday , 9. I read over the experience of Joseph Humphrys; the first Lay Preacher that assisted me in England, in the year 1738. From his own mouth I learn, that he was perfected in love, and so continued for at least a twelvemonth. Afterwards he turned Calvinist, and joined Mr. Whitefield, and published an invective against my brother and me in the newspaper. In a while he renounced Mr. Whitefield, and was ordained a Presbyterian Minister. At last he received Episcopal ordination. He then scoffed at inward religion; and when reminded of his own experience, replied, “That was one of the foolish things which I wrote in the time of my madness!” Fri . 10. — I preached to a large congregation at Chew-Stoke, nine miles from Bristol on those words in the Second Lesson, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden;” and in the evening at Mrs. Griffith’s house. Sun . 12. — I intended to preach abroad; but the weather would not permit. Monday , 13, and the three following days, I met the classes of the society, which contains nine hundred and forty-four members. Still I complain of false musters. It was told in London that this society contained above a thousand members; and yet it falls so far short of a thousand. There is altogether a fault in this matter. Thur . 16. — I was desired to see a monster properly speaking. He was as large as the largest lion in the tower; but covered with rough hair, of a brown color; has the head of a swine, and feet like a mole. It is plain to me, it was begotten between a bear and a wild boar. He lives on fruit and bread, chiefly the latter. The keeper handles him as he pleases, putting his hand in his mouth, and taking hold of his tongue; but he has a horrible roar, between that of a lion and of a bull.
At the same time I saw a pelican. Is it not strange that we have no true account or picture of this bird? It is one of the most beautiful in nature; being indeed a large swan, almost twice as big as a tame one; snow-white and elegantly shaped. Only its neck is three quarters of a yard long, and capable of being so distended as to contain two gallons of liquid or solid.
She builds her nest in some wood, not far from a river; from which she daily brings a quantity of fish to her young: This she carries in her neck, (the only pouch which she has,) and then divides it among her young; and hence is fabricated the idle tale of her feeding them with her blood. Fri . 17. — I went over to Thornbury, and preached at noon to a very lame and deeply serious congregation. In the evening we had a solemn watch-night at Kingswood. Saturday , 18. I called upon Mr. Easterbrook, ill of a disorder which no Physician understands, and which it seems God alone can cure. He is a pattern to all Bristol, and indeed to all England; having beside his other incessant labors, which never were intermitted, preached in every house in his parish! It was while he was preaching in his own church, that he was suddenly struck with a violent pain in his breast.
This confounds all the Physicians, and none of their medicines alter it. Sun . 19. — Mr. Collins assisted me in the morning, so I had an easy day’s work. Monday, 20, and the next day, I read over the King of Sweden’s tract, upon the Balance of Power in Europe. If it be really his, he is certainly one of the most sensible, as well as one of the bravest, Princes in Europe; and if his account be true, what a woman is the Czarina! But still God is over all! Wed . 22. — I preached once more in Temple church, on, “All things are possible to him that believeth.” Sat . 25. — Mr. Hay, the Presbyterian Minister of Lewensmead meeting, came to desire me to let him have the use of our preaching-house on Sundays, at those hours when we did not use it ourselves, (near ten in the morning and two in the afternoon,) while his House was re-building. To this I willingly consented, and he preached an excellent sermon there the next day at two. I preached at five in the morning to more than the House would well contain. Mon . 27. — I left Bristol; about eleven I preached in the Devizes; and in the evening at Sarum. I do not know that ever I saw the House so crowded before, with high and low, rich and poor: So that I hope we shall again see fruit here also. Wed . 29. — About noon I preached at Winton. The congregation was larger than usual, and, what was stranger still, seemed not a little affected!
How long have we cast our bread upon the waters here! And shall we find it again after many days? In the evening I preached to a crowded and deeply attentive congregation at Portsmouth-Common. Thursday , 30. It being a lovely morning, we went in a ferry, through Cowes harbor, to Newport; one of the pleasantest, neatest, and most elegant towns in the King’s dominions. Both the nights I preached here, the preaching-house would by no means contain the congregation. I was likewise well pleased with the poor, plain, artless society. Here, at least, we have not lost our labor. Friday ,OCTOBER 1. We purposed to return to Portsmouth, (about twenty miles,) it being a calm sunshiny morning, in the ferry; but a friend offering us a kind of hoy, we willingly accepted his offer. It was well he did; for as soon as we were out of the harbor, the wind rose, and the sea raged horribly. The ferry would soon have been swallowed up. The waves washed over us on both sides. Having no decks, we were well soaked from head to foot; but, before noon, we got safe to Portsmouth. Sat . 2. — Setting out, as usual, at two, we came to Cobham between ten and eleven; and found a party of our friends from London ready to receive us. We walked an hour in the gardens; but the innkeeper informed us, strangers were not admitted, unless on Tuesday and Friday. However, hearing Mr. Hopkins was at home, I sent in my name, and desired that favor; which was immediately granted. We spent an hour very agreeably in those lovely walks; but still the eye was not satisfied with seeing. An immortal spirit can be satisfied with nothing but seeing God. In the afternoon we went on to London. Sunday , 3, was indeed a comfortable day. I preached at the new chapel, morning and evening, with great enlargement of spirit. At the love-feast which followed, great was our rejoicing; many declared what God had done for their souls; and many were filled with consolation.
Having answered my letters, and finished my other little business for the present, on Tuesday , 5, I went to Rye. Though the warning was short, the congregation was exceeding large, and behaved with remarkable seriousness. While our people mixed with the Calvinists here, we were always perplexed, and gained no ground; but since they kept to themselves, they have continually increased in grace as well as in number. I was now informed how signally God had overtaken that wretch who murdered Mr. Haddock some years since. Being lately overtaken by Captain Bray in one of the King’s cutters, he made a desperate resistance; and even when boarded, fought still, and drew a pistol at Captain Bray; who then hewed him in pieces with his cutlass. Thur . 7. — I went over to that poor skeleton of ancient Winchelsea. It is beautifully situated on the top of a steep hill, and was regularly built in broad streets, crossing each other, and encompassing a very large Square; in the midst of which was a large church, now in ruins. I stood under a large tree, on the side of it, and called to most of the inhabitants of the town, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent, and believe the Gospel.”
It seemed as if all that heard were, for the present, almost persuaded to be Christians.
Here an eminently pious woman, Mrs. Jones, at whose house I stopped, gave me a very strange account: — Many years since she was much hurt in lying-in. She had various Physicians, but still grew worse and worse; till, perceiving herself to be no better, she left them off. She had a continual pain in her groin, with such a prolapsis uteri , as soon confined her to her bed: There she lay two months, helpless and hopeless; till a thought came one day into her mind, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole! Be it according to thy will!” Immediately the pain and the disorder ceased.
Feeling herself well, she rose, and dressed herself. Her husband coming in, and seeing her in tears, asked, “Are those tears of sorrow or joy?” She said, “Of joy!” on which they wept together. From that hour she felt no pain, but enjoyed perfect health. I think our Lord never wrought a plainer miracle, even in the days of his flesh.
In the evening I preached once more at Rye; and the word did not fall to the ground. In the morning we left this loving, well-limited people, and dined at Sevenoaks. After dinner, we spent an hour in the Duke of Dorset’s house. I could not but observe some change for the worse here.
The silk covers are removed from several of the pictures, particularly that of Count Ugolino and his sons; and it is placed in a worse light; so that I could hardly discern the little boy that, when he saw his father gnawing his own arm for anguish, cried out, “Papa, if you are hungry, do not eat your own arm, but mine.” The preaching-house was filled in the evening with people, and with the presence of God. Sat . 9. — We returned to London. Monday , 11. I went on to Colchester, and still found matter of humiliation. The society was lessened, and cold enough; preaching again was discontinued, and the spirit of Methodism quite gone, both from the Preachers and the people. Yet we had a wonderful congregation in the evening, rich and poor, Clergy and laity. So we had likewise on Tuesday evening. So that I trust God will at length build up the waste places. Wed . 13. — We set out early, but found no horses at Cobdock; so that we were obliged to go round by Ipswich, and wait there half an hour.
Nevertheless, we got to Norwich between two and three. In the way we read Captain Carrel’s Travels, admirably well wrote, and giving, I believe, a just account of the interior parts of North-America. Here is no gay account of the Islands of Pelew, or Lapita, but a plain relation of matter of fact. Surely eastern and western savages are much alike; and some good might be found in the east as well as the west. But to see nature in perfection, either at Pelew, or elsewhere, we need only look on the savages at Fort-William Henry, butchering, in cold blood so many hundreds of helpless, unresisting men, in the very spirit of the old murderer.
In the evening I preached at Norwich; but the House would in no wise contain the congregation. How wonderfully is the tide turned! I am become an honorable man at Norwich. God has at length made our enemies to be at peace with us; and scarce any but Antinomians open their mouth against us. Thur . 14. — I went to Yarmouth; and, at length, found a society in peace, and much united together. In the evening the congregation was too large to get into the preaching-house; yet they were far less noisy than usual. After supper a little company went to prayer, and the power of God fell upon us; especially when a young woman broke out into prayer, to the surprise and comfort of us all. Friday , 15. I went to Lowestoft, to a steady, loving, well-united society. The more strange it is, that they neither increase nor decrease in number. Saturday , 16. I preached at London about one; and at six in Norwich. Sunday , 17. At seven I administered the Lord’s Supper to about one hundred and fifty persons, near twice as many as we had last year. I take knowledge that the last year’s Preachers were in earnest. Afterwards we went to our own parish church; although there was no sermon here, nor at any of the thirty-six churches in the town, save the cathedral and St. Peter’s. I preached at two. When I had done, Mr. Horne called upon me, who preached at the cathedral in the morning; an agreeable man, both in temper and person; and, I believe, much alive to God. At half an hour after five I preached again, to as many as the House would contain; and even those that could not get in stayed more quiet and silent than ever I saw them before. Indeed they all seemed to know that God was there; and I have no doubt but he will revive his work here also. Mon . 18. — No coach going out for Lynn today, I was obliged to take a post-chaise. But at Dereham no horses were to be had; so we were obliged to take the same horses to Swaffham. A congregation was ready here, that filled the House, and seemed quite ready to receive instruction. But here neither could we procure any post-horses; so that we were obliged to take a single-horse chaise. The wind, with mizzling rain, came full in our faces; and we had nothing to screen us from it; so that I was thoroughly chilled from head to foot before I came to Lynn. But I soon forgot this little inconvenience; for which the earnestness of the congregation made me large amends. Tues . 19. — In the evening all the Clergymen in the town, except one who was lame, were present at the preaching. They are all prejudiced in favor of the Methodists; as indeed are most of the townsmen; who give a fair proof by contributing so much to our Sunday-schools; so that there is near twenty pounds in hand. Wednesday , 20. I had appointed to preach at Diss; a town near Scoleton; but the difficulty was, where I could preach.
The Minister was willing I should preach in the church, but feared offending the Bishop, who, going up to London, was within a few miles of the town. But a gentleman asking the Bishop whether he had any objection to it, was answered, “None at all.” I think this church is one of the largest in this county. I suppose it has not been so filled these hundred years.
This evening and the next I preached at Bury, to a deeply attentive congregation, many of whom know in whom they have believed. So that here we have not lost all our labor. Friday , 22. We returned to London. Sun . 24. — I explained, to a numerous congregation in Spitalfields church, “the whole armor of God.” St. Paul’s, Shadwell, was still more crowded in the afternoon, while I enforced that important truth, “One thing is needful;” and I hope many, even then, resolved to choose the better part.