Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL FROM JANUARY 1, 1776, TO AUGUST 8, 1779.
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January 1, 1776. — About eighteen hundred of us met together in London, in order to renew our covenant with God; and it was, as usual, a very solemn opportunity. Tues. 2. — I set out for Bristol. Between London and Bristol, I read over that elegant trifle, “The Correspondence between Theodosius and Constantia.” I observed only one sentiment which I could not receive, that “youth is the only possible time for friendship; because every one has at first a natural store of sincerity and benevolence; but as in process of time men find every one to be false and self-interested, they conform to them more and more, till, in riper years, they have neither truth nor benevolence left.” Perhaps it may be so with all that know not God; but they that do, escape “the corruption that is in the world; “and increase both in sincerity and in benevolence, as they grow in the knowledge of Christ. Sat. 6. — I returned to London; and I returned just in time; for on Sunday, 7, the severe frost set in, accompanied with so deep a snow, as made even the high road impassable. For some days before the frost broke up, it was observed, by means of the thermometer, that the cold was several degrees more intense than that in the year 1741. But God then removed the cup from us, by a gentle, gradual thaw. Sun. 14. — As I was going to West-Street chapel, one of the chaise-springs suddenly snapped asunder; but the horses instantly stopping, I stepped out without the least inconvenience.
At all my vacant hours in this and the following week, I endeavored to finish the “Concise History of England.” I am sensible it must give offense, as in many parts I am quite singular; particularly with regard to those greatly injured characters, Richard III., and Mary Queen of Scots.
But I must speak as I think; although still waiting for, and willing to receive, better information. Sun. 28. — I was desired to preach a charity sermon in All-hallows church, Lombard-Street. In the year 1735, about forty years ago, I preached in this church, at the earnest request of the Churchwardens, to a numerous congregation, who came, like me, with an intent to hear Dr. Heylyn. This was the first time that, having no notes about me, I preached extempore. Wed . February 14. — I preached at Shoreham. How is the last become first! No society in the county grows so fast as this, either in grace or number. The chief instrument of this glorious work is Miss Perronet, a burning and a shining light. Fri. 23. — I looked over Mr. Bolt’s “Considerations on the Affairs of India.” Was there ever so melancholy a picture? How are the mighty fallen! The Great Mogul, Emperor of Hindostan, one of the mightiest Potentates on earth, is become a poor, little, impotent slave to a Company of Merchants! His large, flourishing empire is broken in pieces and covered with fraud, oppression, and misery! And we may call the myriads that have been murdered happy, in comparison of those that still groan under the iron yoke. Wilt not thou visit for these things, O Lord? Shall the fool still say in his heart, “There is no God?” Sun. 25. — I buried the remains of William Evans, one of the first members of our Society. He was an Israelite indeed, Open (if it could be) to a fault; always speaking the truth from his heart. Wednesday, 28. I looked over a volume of Lord Lyttelton’s Works. He is really a fine writer, both in verse and prose, though he believed the Bible; yea, and feared God!
In my scraps of time I likewise read over Miss Talbot’s Essays; equal to any thing of the kind I ever saw. She was a woman of admirable sense and piety, and a far better poet than the celebrated Mrs. Rowe. But here too Heaven its choicest gold by torture tried!
After suffering much, she died of a cancer in her breast. Fri . March 1. — As we cannot depend on having the Foundery long, we met to consult about building a new chapel. Our petition to the City for a piece of ground lies before their Committee; but when we shall get any farther, I know not: So I determined to begin my circuit as usual; but promised to return whenever I should receive notice that our petition was granted.
On Sunday evening I set out, and on Tuesday reached Bristol. In the way I read over Mr. Boehm’s Sermons, Chaplain to Prince George of Denmark, husband to Queen Anne. He was a person of very strong sense, and, in general, sound in his judgment. I remember hearing a very remarkable circumstance concerning him, from Mr. Fraser, then Chaplain to St. George’s Hospital. “One day,” said he, “I asked Mr. Boehm, with whom I was intimately acquainted, ‘Sir, when you are surrounded by various persons, listening to one, and dictating to another, does not that vast hurry of business hinder your communion with God?’ He replied, ‘I bless God, I have just then as full communion with him, as if I was kneeling alone at the altar.’” Wed. 6. — I went down to Taunton, and at three in the afternoon opened the new preaching-house. The people showed great eagerness to hear. Will they at length know the day of their visitation? Thursday, 7. I returned to Bristol; which I left on Monday, 11; and having visited Stroud, Painswick, and Tewkesbury, on Wednesday, 20, came to Worcester. Thursday, 21. I was much refreshed among this loving people; especially by the select society, the far greater part of whom could still witness that God had saved them from inward as well as outward sin. Sat. 23. — About noon I preached in the Town-Hall at Evesham, to a congregation of a very different kind. Few of them, I doubt, came from any other motive than to gratify their curiosity. However, they were deeply attentive; so that some of them, I trust, went away a little wiser than they came.
I had been informed that Mr. Weston, the Minister of Campden, was willing I should preach in his church; but, before I came, he had changed his mind. However, the Vicar of Pebworth was no weathercock; so I preached in his church, Sunday, 24, morning and evening; and, I believe, not in vain. Mon. 25. — I went on to Birmingham. I was surprised to hear that a good deal of platina was used there; but, upon inquiry, I found it was not the true platina, an original metal between gold and silver, (being in weight nearest to gold, even as eighteen to nineteen,) but a mere compound of brass and spelter. Tues. 27. — I preached at Dudley, in the midst of Antinomians and backsliders, on, “We beseech you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
In the evening I preached to our old flock at Wednesbury; and the old spirit was among them. Fri. 29. — About eight I preached to a very large congregation even at Wolverhampton; and at six in the evening, to a mixed multitude in the market-place at Newcastle-under-Lyne. All were quiet now; the gentleman who made a disturbance when I was here last having been soon after called to his account. Sun. 31. — I preached at Congleton. The Minister here having much disobliged his parishioners, most of the Gentry in the town came to the preaching, both at two in the afternoon, and in the evening; and it was an acceptable time: I believe very few, rich or poor, came in vain. Mon . April 1. — I went on to Macclesfield. That evening I preached in the House; but it being far too small, on Tuesday, 2, I preached on the Green, near Mr. Ryle’s door. There are no mockers here, and scarce an inattentive hearer. So mightily has the word of God prevailed! Wed. 3. — Having climbed over the mountains, I preached at the New-Mills, in Derbyshire. The people here are quite earnest and artless, there being no public worship in the town but at our chapel: So that they go straight forward, knowing nothing of various opinions, and minding nothing but to be Bible-Christians. Thur. 4. — I began an answer to that dangerous Tract, Dr. Price’s “Observations upon Liberty;” which, if practiced, would overturn all government, and bring in universal anarchy. On Easter-Day the preaching-house at Manchester contained the congregation pretty well at seven in the morning; but in the afternoon I was obliged to be abroad, thousands upon thousands flocking together. I stood in a convenient place, almost over against the Infirmary, and exhorted a listening multitude to “live unto Him who died for them and rose again.” Tues. 9. — I came to Chester, and had the satisfaction to find an earnest, loving, well-established people. Wed. 10. — In the evening, the House at Liverpool was well filled with people of all ranks. Fri. 12. — I visited one formerly a Captain, now a dying sinner. His eyes spoke the agony of his soul; his tongue having well-nigh forgot its office.
With great efforts he could but just say, “I want — Jesus Christ!” The next day he could not utter a word; but if he could not speak, God could hear. Mon. 15. About noon I preached in the new House at Wigan, to a very quiet and very dull congregation. But considering what the town was some years ago, wicked even to a proverb, we may well say, God hath done great things already. And we hope to see greater things than these. In the evening I was obliged to preach abroad at Bolton, though the air was cold, and the ground wet. Tuesday, 16. I preached about noon at Chowbent, once the roughest place in all the neighborhood. But there is not the least trace of it remaining: Such is the fruit of the genuine Gospel.
As we were considering in the afternoon what we should do, the rain not suffering us to be abroad, one asked the Vicar for the use of the church; to which he readily consented. I began reading Prayers at half-hour past five.
The church was so crowded, pews, alleys, and galleries, as I believe it had not been these hundred years; and God bore witness to his word. Wed. 17. — After preaching at Bury about noon, I went on to Rochdale, and preached in the evening to a numerous and deeply serious congregation. Thursday, 18. I clambered over the horrid mountains to Todmorden, and thence to Heptonstall, on the brow of another mountain.
Such a congregation scarce ever met in the church before. In the evening I preached in the Croft, adjoining to the new House at Halifax. Fri. 19. — I preached at Smith-House, for the sake of that lovely woman, Mrs. Holmes. It does me good to see her; such is her patience, or, rather, thankfulness, under almost continual pain. Sunday, 21. After strongly insisting at Daw-Green on family religion, which is still much wanting among us, I hastened to Birstal church, where we had a sound, practical sermon. At one I preached to many thousands at the foot of the hill, and to almost as many at Leeds in the evening. Mon. 22. — I had an agreeable conversation with that good man, Mr. O— —. O that he may be an instrument of removing the prejudices which have so long separated chief friends! Tues. 23. — I preached in the press-yard at Rothwell, and have seldom seen a congregation so moved. I then spoke severally to the class of children, and found every one of them rejoicing in the love of God. It is particularly remarkable, that this work of God among them is broke out all at once; they have all been justified, and one clearly sanctified, within these last six weeks. Wed. 24. — I went on to Otley, where the word of God has free course, and brings forth much fruit. This is chiefly owing to the spirit and behavior of those whom God has perfected in love. Their zeal stirs up many; and their steady and uniform conversation has a language almost irresistible. Friday, 26. I preached in the new chapel at Eccleshall, to a people just sprung out of the dust, exceeding artless and exceeding earnest; many of whom seemed to be already saved from sin. O, why do we not encourage all to expect this blessing every hour, from the moment they are justified! In the evening I preached at Bradford, on the Wise Man that builds his house upon a rock; that is, who builds his hope of heaven on no other foundation than doing these sayings contained in the Sermon on the Mount; although, in another sense, we build not upon his sayings, but his sufferings. Sat. 27. — I preached in the church at Bingley; perhaps not so filled before for these hundred years. Sunday, 28. The congregation at Haworth was far greater than the church could contain. For the sake of the poor parishioners, few of whom are even awakened to this day, I spoke as strongly as I possibly could upon these words, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
The church at Colne is, I think, at least twice as large as that at Haworth.
But it would not in any wise contain the congregation. I preached on, “I saw a great white throne coming down from heaven.” Deep attention sat on every face; and, I trust, God gave us his blessing. Mon. 29. — About two I preached at Padiham, in a broad street, to a huge congregation. I think the only inattentive persons were, the Minister and a kind of gentleman. I saw none inattentive at Clough in the evening. What has God wrought, since Mr. Grimshaw and I were seized near this place by a furious mob, and kept prisoners for some hours! The souls of him who headed that mob now gladly receive our saying. Tues. 30. — In the evening I preached in a kind of Square, at Colne, to a multitude of people, all drinking in the word. I scarce ever saw a congregation wherein men, women, and children stood in such a posture:
And this in the town wherein, thirty years ago no Methodist could show his head! The first that preached here was John Jane, who was innocently riding through the town, when the zealous mob pulled him off his horse, and put him in the stocks. He seized the opportunity, and vehemently exhorted them “to flee from the wrath to come.” Wed . May 1. — I set out early, and the next afternoon reached Whitehaven; and my chaise-horses were no worse for travelling near a hundred and ten miles in two days.
In travelling through Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland, I diligently made two inquiries: The first was, concerning the increase or decrease of the people; the second, concerning the increase or decrease of trade. As to the latter, it is, within these two last years, amazingly increased; in several branches in such a manner as has not been known in the memory of man: Such is the fruit of the entire civil and religious liberty which all England now enjoys!
One sign of this is the swarms of little children which we see in every place. Which, then, shall we most admire, the ignorance or confidence of those that affirm, population decreases in England? I doubt not but it increases full as fast here, as in any province of North America. Mon. 6. — After preaching at Cockermouth and Wigton, I went on to Carlisle, and preached to a very serious congregation. Here I saw a very extraordinary genius, a man blind from four years of age, who could wind worsted, weave flowered plush on an engine and loom of his own making; who wove his own name in plush, and made his own clothes, and his own tools of every sort. Some years ago, being shut up in the organ-loft at church, he felt every part of it, and afterwards made an organ for himself, which, judges say, is an exceeding good one. He then taught himself to play upon it psalm-tunes, anthems, voluntaries, or anything which he heard. I heard him play several tunes with great accuracy, and a complex voluntary: I suppose all Europe can hardly produce such another instance.
His name is Joseph Strong. But what is he the better for all this, if he is still “without God in the world?” Tues. 7. — I went on to Selkirk. The family came to prayer in the evening, after which the mistress of it said, “ Sir, my daughter Jenny would be very fond of having a little talk with you. She is a strange lass; she will not come down on the Lord’s day but to public worship, and spends all the rest of the day in her own chamber.” I desired she would come up; and found one that earnestly longed to be altogether a Christian. I satisfied her mother that she was not mad; and spent a little time in advice, exhortation, and prayer. Wed. 8. — We set out early, but found the air so keen, that before noon our hands bled as if cut with a knife. In the evening I preached at Edinburgh; and the next evening near the river-side in Glasgow. Fri. 10. — I went to Greenock. It being their fast-day before the sacrament, (ridiculously so called, for they do not fast at all, but take their three meals, just as on other days,) the congregation was larger than when I was here before, and remarkably attentive. The next day I returned to Glasgow, and on Sunday, 12, went in the morning to the high-kirk, (to show I was no bigot,) and in the afternoon to the Church of England chapel. The decency of behavior here surprises me more and more. I know nothing like it in these kingdoms, except among the Methodists. In the evening the congregation by the river-side was exceeding numerous; to whom I declared “the whole counsel of God.” Monday, 13. I returned to Edinburgh, and the next day went to Perth, where (it being supposed no house would contain the congregation) I preached at six on the South-Inch, though the wind was cold and boisterous. Many are the stumbling-blocks which have been laid in the way of this poor people. They are removed; but the effects of them still continue. Wed. 15. — I preached at Dundee, to nearly as large a congregation as that at Port-Glasgow. Thursday, 16. I attended an Ordination at Arbroath. The Service lasted about four hours; but it did not strike me. It was doubtless very grave; but I thought it was very dull. Fri. 17. — I reached Aberdeen in good time. Saturday, 18. I read over Dr. Johnson’s “Tour to the Western Isles.” It is a very curious book, wrote with admirable sense, and, I think, great fidelity; although, in some respects, he is thought to bear hard on the nation, which I am satisfied he never intended. Sunday, 19. I attended the Morning Service at the kirk, full as formal as any in England; and no way calculated either to awaken sinners, or to stir up the gift of God in believers. In the afternoon I heard a useful sermon in the English chapel; and was again delighted with the exquisite decency both of the Minister and the whole congregation. The Methodist congregations come the nearest to this; but even these do not come up to it. Our House was sufficiently crowded in the evening; but some of the hearers did not behave like those at the chapel. Mon. 20. — I preached about eleven at Old Meldrum, but could not reach Banff till near seven in the evening. I went directly to the Parade, and proclaimed, to a listening multitude, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
All behaved well but a few Gentry, whom I rebuked openly; and they stood corrected.
After preaching, Mrs. Gordon, the Admiral’s widow, invited me to supper. There I found five or six as agreeable women as I have seen in the kingdom; and l know not when I have spent two or three hours with greater satisfaction. In the morning I was going to preach in the assembly-room, when the Episcopal Minister sent and offered me the use of his chapel. It was quickly filled. After reading prayers, I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “What lack I yet?” and strongly applied them to those in particular who supposed themselves to be “rich and increased in goods, and lacked nothing.” I then set out for Keith.
Banff is one of the neatest and most elegant towns that I have seen, in Scotland. It is pleasantly situated on the side of a hill, sloping from the sea, though close to it; so that it is sufficiently sheltered from the sharpest winds. The streets are straight and broad. I believe it may be esteemed the fifth, if not the fourth, town in the kingdom. The county quite from Banff to Keith is the best peopled of any I have seen in Scotland. This is chiefly, if not entirely, owing to the late Earl of Findlater. He was indefatigable in doing good, took pains to procure industrious men from all parts, and to provide such little settlements for them as enabled them to live with comfort.
About noon I preached at the New-Mills, nine miles from Banff, to a large congregation of plain, simple people. As we rode in the afternoon the heat overcame me, so that I was weary and faint before we came to Keith; but I no sooner stood up in the market-place than I forgot my weariness; such were the seriousness and attention of the whole congregation, though as numerous as that at Banff. Mr. Gordon, the Minister of the parish, invited me to supper, and told me his kirk was at my service. A little society is formed here already; and is in a fair way of increasing. But they were just now in danger of losing their preaching-house, the owner being determined to sell it. I saw but one way to secure it for them, which was to buy it myself. So (who would have thought it?) I bought an estate, consisting of two houses, a yard, a garden, with three acres of good land. But he told me flat, “Sir, I will take no less for it than sixteen pounds ten shillings, to be paid, part now, part at Michaelmas, and the residue next May.”
Here Mr. Gordon showed me a great curiosity. Near the top of the opposite hill, a new town is built, containing, I suppose, a hundred houses, which is a town of beggars. This, he informed me, was the professed, regular occupation of all the inhabitants. Early in spring they all go out, and spread themselves over the kingdom; and in autumn they return, and do what is requisite for their wives and children. Wed. 22. — The wind turning north, we stepped at once from June to January. About one I preached at Inverury, to a plain, earnest, loving people, and before five came to Aberdeen. Thursday, 23. I read over Mr. Pennant’s “Journey through Scotland;” a lively as well as judicious writer.
Judicious, I mean, in most respects; but I cannot give up to all the Deists in Great Britain the existence of witchcraft, till I give up the credit of all history, sacred and profane. And at the present time, I have not only as strong, but stronger proof of this, from eye and ear witnesses, than I have of murder; so that I cannot rationally doubt of one any more than the other. Fri. 24. — I returned to Arbroath, and lodged at Provost Gray’s. So, for a time, we are in honor! I have hardly seen such another place in the three kingdoms, as this is at present. Hitherto there is no opposer at all, but every one seems to bid us God-speed! Saturday, 25. I preached at Westhaven (a town of fishermen) about noon; and at Dundee in the evening. Sunday, 26. I went to the new church, cheerful, lightsome and admirably well finished. A young gentleman preached such a sermon, both for sense and language, as I never heard in North-Britain before; and I was informed his life is as his preaching. At five we had an exceeding large congregation; and the people of Dundee, in general, behave better at public worship than any in the kingdom, except the Methodists, and those at the Episcopal chapels. In all other kirks the bulk of the people are bustling to and fro before the Minister has ended his prayer. In Dundee all are quiet, and none stir at all till he has pronounced the blessing. Mon . 27. — I paid a visit to St. Andrew’s, once the largest city in the kingdom. It was eight times as large as it is now; and a place of very great trade: But the sea rushing from the northeast, gradually destroyed the harbor and trade together: In consequence of which, whole streets (that were) are now meadows and gardens. Three broad, straight, handsome streets remain, all pointing at the old cathedral; which, by the ruins, appears to have been above three hundred feet long, and proportionally broad and high: So that it seems to have exceeded York Minster, and to have at least equaled any cathedral in England. Another church, afterwards used in its stead, bears date 1124. A steeple, standing near the cathedral, is thought to have stood thirteen hundred years.
What is left of St. Leonard’s College is only a heap of ruins. Two Colleges remain. One of them has a tolerable Square; but all the windows are broke, like those of a brothel. We were informed, the students do this before they leave the College. Where are their blessed Governors in the mean time? Are they all fast asleep? The other College is a mean building, but has a handsome library newly erected. In the two Colleges, we learned, were about seventy students; near the same number as at Old-Aberdeen. Those at New-Aberdeen are not more numerous: Neither those at Glasgow. In Edinburgh, I suppose there are a hundred. So four Universities contain three hundred and ten students! These all come to their several Colleges in November, and return home in May! So they may study five months in the year, and lounge all the rest! O where was the common sense of those who instituted such Colleges? In the English Colleges, every one may reside all the year, as all my pupils did: And I should have thought myself little better than a highwayman, if I had not lectured them everyday in the year, but Sundays.
We were so long detained at the Passage, that I only reached Edinburgh time enough to give notice of my preaching the next day. After preaching at Dunbar, Alnwick, and Morpeth, on Saturday, JUNE 1, I reached Newcastle. Mon. 3. — I visited Sunderland, where the society then contained three hundred and seventy-two members. Thursday, 6. I preached at Darlington and Barnard-Castle: On Friday, in Teesdale and Weardale. Here many rejoiced with joy unspeakable, and seemed determined never to rest till they had recovered that great salvation which they enjoyed some years ago. Saturday, 8. As we rode to Sheep-Hill, we saw and heard at a distance, much thunder, and rain, and lightning. The rain was before and behind, and on each side: But none fill upon us. About six, I preached at Sheep-Hill. It rained hard very near us; but not a drop came upon us. After eight, I reached Newcastle, thoroughly tired. But a night’s rest set me up again. On Monday and Tuesday I met the classes. I left three hundred and seventy-four in the society, and I found about four hundred: And I trust they are more established in the “faith that worketh by love.”
While I was here, I talked largely with a pious woman, whom I could not well understand. I could not doubt of her being quite sincere, nay, and much devoted to God: But she had fallen among some well-meaning enthusiasts, who taught her so to attend to the inward voice, as to quit the society, the preaching, the Lord’s Supper, and almost all outward means. I find no persons harder to deal with than these. One knows not how to advise them. They must not act contrary to their conscience, though it be an erroneous one. And who can convince them that it is erroneous? None but the Almighty. Mon. 17. — After preaching at Durham, I went on to Darlington. The society here, lately consisting of nine members, is now increased to above seventy; many of whom are warm in their first love. At the love-feast, many of these spoke their experience with all simplicity. Here will surely be a plentiful harvest, if tares do not grow up with the wheat. Wed. 19. — I preached to my old, loving congregation at Osmotherley; and visited, once more, poor Mr. Watson, just quivering over the grave.
Part of this week I read, as I traveled, a famous book, which I had not looked into for these fifty years. It was Lucian’s “Dialogues.” He has a good deal of humour, but wonderful little judgment. His great hero is Diogenes, the Cynic; just touch another brute as himself. Socrates (as one might expect) he reviles and ridicules with all his might. I think there is more sense in his “Timon,” than in all his other Dialogues put together:
And yet, even that ends poorly, in the dull jest of his breaking the heads of all that came near him. How amazing is it, that such a book as this should be put into the hands of school-boys! Mon . 24. — I went on to Scarborough. I think the preaching-house here is the most elegant of any square Room which we have in England; and we had as elegant a congregation: But they were as attentive as if they had been Kingswood colliers. Tues. 25. — I visited a poor backslider, who has given great occasion to the enemy to blaspheme. Some time since, he felt a pain in the soles of his feet, then in his legs, his knees, his thighs. Now it has reached his stomach, and begins to affect his head. No medicines have availed at all. I fear he has sinned a sin unto death; a sin which God has determined to punish by death. Fri. 28. — I am seventy-three years old, and far abler to preach than I was at three-and-twenty. What natural means has God used to produce so wonderful an effect? 1. Continual exercise and change of air, by traveling above four thousand miles in a year: 2. Constant rising at four: 3. The ability, if ever I want, to sleep immediately: 4. The never losing a night’s sleep in my life: 5. Two violent fevers, and two deep consumptions. These, it is true, were rough medicines; but they were of admirable service; causing my flesh to colue again, as the flesh of a little child.
May I add, lastly, evenness of temper? I feel and grieve; but, by the grace of God, I fret at nothing. But still “the help that is done upon earth, He doeth it himself.” And this he doeth in answer to many prayers. Mon . July 1. — I preached, about eleven, to a numerous and serious congregation at Pocklington. In my way from hence to Malton, Mr. C—— (a man of sense and veracity) gave me the following account: — His grandfather, Mr. H——, he said, about twenty years ago, ploughing up a field, two or three miles from Pocklington, turned up a large stone, under which he perceived there was a hollow. Digging on, he found at a small distance, a large, magnificent house. He cleared away the earth; and, going into it, found many spacious rooms. The floors of the lower story were of Mosaic work, exquisitely wrought. Mr. C—— himself counted sixteen stones within an inch square. Many flocked to see it, from various parts as long as it stood open: But after some days, Mr. P—— (he knew not why) ordered it to be covered again; and he would never after suffer any to open it, but ploughed the field all over. This is far more difficult to account for, than the subterraneous buildings at Herculaneum. History gives us an account of the time when, and the manner how, these were swallowed up.
The burning mountain is still assured, and the successive lavas that flowed from it still distinguishable. But history gives no account of this, nor of any burning mountains in our island. Neither do we read of any such earthquake in England, as was capable of working that effect. Tues. 2. — I went to York. The House was full enough in the evening, while I pointed the true and the false way of expounding those important words, “Ye are saved through faith.” Wednesday , 3. I preached about noon at Tadcaster, with an uncommon degree of freedom; which was attended with a remarkable blessing. A glorious work is dawning here, against which nothing can prevail; unless the ball of contention be thrown in among the plain people, by one or two that have lately embraced new opinions. In the evening I preached at York, on the fashionable religion, vulgarly called morality; and showed at large, from the accounts given of it by its ablest patrons, that it is neither better nor worse than Atheism. Thur. 4. — I met the select society, and was a little surprised to find, that, instead of growing in grace, scarce two of them retained the grace they had two years ago. All of them seemed to be sincere; and yet a faintness of spirit ran through them all.
In the evening I showed, to a still more crowded audience, the nature and necessity of Christian love: — AGAPE, vilely rendered charity, to confound poor English readers. The word was sharper than a two-edged sword, as many of the hearers felt. God grant the wound may not be healed, till he himself binds it up! Fri. 5. — About eleven I preached at Foggathorp, a lone house, a few miles from Howden. Abundance of people were gathered together, notwithstanding heavy rain; and they received the truth in the love thereof.
I preached at Swinfleet in the evening. These are the most sensible and gentlemanlike farmers that I have seen anywhere; and many of them are “rooted and grounded in love,” and have adorned the Gospel many years. Sat. 6. — I went on to Epworth, and found my old friend, Mr. Hutton, in the deepest melancholy. I judged it to be partly natural, partly diabolical; but I doubt not he will be saved, though as by fire. Tues. 9. — I preached at Brigg in the morning. All behaved well, but a few gentlemen, (so called,) who seemed to understand no more of the matter, than if I had been talking Greek.
I went thence to Horncastle and to Spilsby, with Mr. Br——. While he was at Cambridge, he was convinced of sin, though not by any outward means, and soon after justified. Coming to Hull, he met with one of our Preachers. By long and close conversation with him, he was clearly convinced it was his duty to join with the people called Methodists. At first, indeed, he staggered at Lay Preachers; but, after weighing the matter more deeply, he began preaching himself; and found a very remarkable blessing, both on his own soul, and on his labors.
After visiting a few more places in these parts, on Saturday, 13, it returned to Epworth. Sunday, 14. I preached in the morning at Gringley; about one, at Ouston; and at four, in Epworth market-place; where God “struck with the hammer of his word, and broke the hearts of stone.” We had afterwards a love-feast, at which a flame was soon kindled; which was greatly increased while Mr. Cundy related the manner how God perfected him in love: A testimony which is always attended with a peculiar blessing. Mon. 15. — I preached at Doncaster, in one of the most elegant Houses in England, and to one of the most elegant congregations. They seemed greatly astonished; and well they might; for I scarce ever spoke so strongly on, “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life.” Tuesday, 16. At Sheffield I talked at large with one whose case is very peculiar. She never loses a sense of the love of God; and yet is continually harassed by the devil, and constrained to utter words which her soul abhors; while her body feels as if it was in a burning flame. For this her father turned her out of doors; and she had no money, nor any friend to take her in. To cut her off from every human comfort, our wise Assistant turned her out of society. Yet in all this she murmured not, neither “charged God foolishly.” Wed. 17. — Having been desired, by one of Chesterfield, to give them a sermon in the way, I called there; but he did not come to own me. So, after resting awhile at another house, I stood at a small distance from the main street, and proclaimed salvation by faith to a serious congregation. After preaching at a few other places, on Thursday , 18, I preached at Nottingham; and, having no time to lose, took chaise at noon, and the next evening, Friday, 19, met the Committee at the Foundery. Wed. 24. — I read Mr. Jenyns’s admired tract, on the “Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion.” He is undoubtedly a fine writer; but whether he is a Christian, Deist, or Atheist, I cannot tell. If he is a Christian, he betrays his own cause by averring, that “all Scripture is not given by inspiration of God; but the writers of it were sometimes left to themselves, and consequently made some mistakes.” Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth. Sun. 28. — Perceiving the immense hurt which it had done, I spoke more strongly than ever I had done before, on the sin and danger of indulging “itching ears.” I trust, here at least, that plague will be stayed. Fri . August 2. — We made our first subscription toward building a new chapel; and at this, and the two following meetings, above a thousand pounds were cheerfully subscribed. Sun. 4. — Many of the Preachers being come to town, I enforced that solemn caution, in the Epistle for the day, “Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.” And God applied it to many hearts. In the afternoon I preached in Moorfields to thousands, on Acts 2:32, “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Tues. 6. — Our Conference began, and ended on Friday, 9, which we observed with fasting and prayer, as well for our own nation as for our brethren in America. In several Conferences, we have had great love and unity; but in this there was, over and above, such a general seriousness and solemnity of spirit as we scarcely have had before. Sunday, 11. About half an hour after four I set out; and at half an hour after eleven on Monday, came to Bristol.
I found Mr. Fletcher a little better, and proposed his taking a journey with me to Cornwall; nothing being so likely to restore his health, as a journey of four or five hundred miles; but his Physician would in nowise consent; so I gave up the point. Tues. 13. — I preached at Taunton, and afterwards went with Mr. Brown to Kingston. The large, old parsonage-house is pleasantly situated close to the church-yard, just fit for a contemplative man. Here I found a Clergyman, Dr. Coke, late Gentleman Commoner of Jesus College in Oxford, who came twenty miles on purpose. I had much conversation with him; and an union then began, which I trust shall never end. Wed. 14. — I preached at Tiverton; and on Thursday went on to Launceston. Here I found the plain reason why the work of God had gained no ground in this Circuit all the year. The Preachers had given up the Methodist testimony. Either they did not speak of Perfection at all, (the peculiar doctrine committed to our trust,) or they spoke of it only in general terms, without urging the believers to “go on unto perfection,” and to expect it every moment. And wherever this is not earnestly done, the work of God does not prosper. Fri. 16. — I was going to preach in the market-place at Camelford, where a few are still alive to God, when a violent storm drove us into the House; that is, as many as could squeeze in. The fire quickly kindled among them, and seemed to touch every heart. My text was, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” and God himself made the application. A flame was once more raised in this town: May it never more be put out!
In the evening I preached in Mr. Wood’s yard, at Port-Isaac, to most of the inhabitants of the town. The same spirit was here as at Camelford, and seemed to move upon every heart. And we had all a good hope, that the days of faintness and weariness are over, and that the work of God will revive and flourish. Sat . 17. — We found Mr. Hoskins, at Cubert, alive; but just tottering over the grave. I preached in the evening, on 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, probably the last sermon he will hear from me. I was afterwards inquiring, if that scandal of Cornwall, the plundering of wrecked vessels, still subsisted. He said, “As much as ever; only the Methodists will have nothing to do with it. But three months since a vessel was wrecked on the south coast, and the sinners presently seized on all the goods; and even broke in pieces a new coach which was on board, and carried every scrap of it away.” But is there no way to prevent this shameful breach of all the laws both of religion and humanity? Indeed there is. The Gentry of Cornwall may totally prevent it whenever they please. Let them only see that the laws be strictly executed upon the next plunderers; and after an example is made of ten of these, the next wreck will be unmolested. Nay, there is a milder way. Let them only agree together, to discharge any sinner or laborer that is concerned in the plundering of a wreck, and advertise his name, that no Cornish gentleman may employ him any more; and neither sinner nor laborer will any more be concerned in that bad work. Sun. 18. — The passage through the sands being bad for a chaise, I rode on horseback to St. Agnes, where the rain constrained me to preach in the House. As we rode back to Redruth, it poured down amain, and found its way through all our clothes. I was tired when I came in; but after sleeping a quarter of an hour all my weariness was gone. Mon. 19. — I joined together once more the select society, who are continually flying asunder, though they all acknowledge the loss they have sustained thereby. At eleven I met fifty or sixty children. How much depends upon these! All the hope of the rising generation. Tuesday, 20. In the evening I preached at Helstone, where prejudice is at an end; and all the town, except a few Gentry, willingly hear the word of salvation. Wed. 21. — I preached at Penzance in a gentleman’s balcony, which commanded the market-place, to a huge congregation, on, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” The word fell heavy, upon high and low, rich and poor. Such an opportunity I never had at Penzance before. Thur. 22. — I preached at six in the market-place at St. Just’s. Two or three well-dressed people walked by, stopped a little, and then went on.
So they did two or three times. Had it not been for shame, they might have heard that which is able to save their souls. Fri. 23. — The congregation, both morning and evening, was large; and great was our rejoicing in the Lord. Saturday, 24. In the evening I preached in a meadow at St. Ives, to one of the largest congregations I had seen in the county. Sunday, 26. I met the children; the most difficult part of our office.
About five in the evening I began preaching at Gwennap, to full twenty thousand persons. And they were so commodiously placed, in the calm, still evening, that every one heard distinctly. Tues. 27. — About noon I preached in the piazza, adjoining to the Coinage-Hall in Truro. I was enabled to speak exceeding plain, on, “Ye are saved through faith.” I doubt the Antinomians gnashed on me with their teeth; but I must declare “the whole counsel of God.” In the evening I preached in an open space at Mevagissey, to most of the inhabitants of the town; where I saw a very rare thing, — men swiftly increasing in substance, and yet not decreasing in holiness. Wed. 28. — The rains drove us into the House at St. Austle, where I think some of the stout-hearted trembled. The next evening I preached at Medros, and was pleased to see an old friend, with his wife, his two sons and two daughters. I believe God sent a message to their hearts, as they could not help showing by their tears. Sun . September 1. — I got to Plymouth church a little after the Service began. I admired the seriousness and decency of the congregation: None bowed or curtesied, or looked about them. And at the Lord’s Supper, although both the Ministers spoke so low in delivering the elements, that none who were not very near could hear a word they said, yet was the congregation as still as if no one had been in the church. I was likewise agreeably surprised at their number: When I was in the church in Hull, I think we had six communicants, beside those that came with me: Here I suppose were full three hundred.
Immediately after Service I went to the quay, and preached on those words in the Epistle for the day, “The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” I wondered at the exquisite stupidity of the hearers, particularly the soldiers; who seemed to understand no more of the matter than so many oxen. So I told them in very plain terms; and some of them were ashamed. Mon. 2. — In my way to Exeter, I read over an ingenious tract, containing some observations which I never saw before. In particular, that if corn sells for twice as much now as it did at the time of the Revolution, it is in effect no dearer than it was then, because we have now twice as much money; that if other things sell now for twice as much as they did then, corn ought to do so too; that though the price of an things increases as money increases, yet they are really no dearer than they were before; and, lastly, that to petition Parliament to alter these things, is to put them upon impossibilities, and can answer no end but that of inflaming the people against their Governors. Wed. 4. — I was desired to call at Ottery, a large town, eleven miles from Exeter. I preached in the market-house to abundance of people, who behaved with great decency. At five, I preached in the market-place at Axminster, to a still larger congregation. I have seldom heard people speak with more honesty and simplicity than many did at the love-feast which followed. I have not seen a more unpolished people than these; but love supplies all defects. It supplies all the essentials of good breeding, without the help of a dancing-master. Thur. 5. — I went on to Corfe-Castle, in the Isle of Purbeck. At six I preached in the yard adjoining to the preaching-house. It was a season both of conviction and consolation. Friday, 6. I preached at the new House in Melcomb, to as many as it would well contain. Saturday, 7. About noon I stood upon the Cross, at Bruton, and proclaimed “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Many seemed to be astonished; all were quiet; and a few deeply affected.
In the evening I preached at Shepton-Mallet; where the people in general appeared to be more serious, ever since the late terrible riot, in which two of them were killed. On Saturday I went on to Bristol. Mon. 9. — I began, what I had long intended, visiting the society from house to house, setting apart at least two hours in a day for that purpose.
I was surprised to find the simplicity with which one and all spoke, both of their temporal and spiritual state. Nor could I easily have known, by any other means, how great a work God has wrought among them. I found exceeding little to reprove; but much to praise God for. And I observed one thing which I did not expect: — In visiting all the families, without Lawford-Gate, by far the poorest about the city, I did not find so much as one person who was out of work.
Another circumstance I critically inquired into, What is the real number of the people? Dr. Price says, (doubtless to encourage our good friends, the French and Spaniards,) “The people of England are between four and five millions; supposing them to be four, or four and a half, on an average, in one house.” I found, in the families which I visited, about six in a house.
But one who has lately made a more general inquiry, informs me, there are, without Lawford-Gate, seven in a house. The same information I received, from one who has lately made the inquiry, concerning the inhabitants of Redcliff. Now, if at four in a house, we are four millions, must we not, at seven in a house, be seven millions?
But even this is far short of the truth; for a plain reason, the houses are miscomputed. To give one instance: — The houses without Lawford-Gate are computed to be a thousand. Now, at the sitting of the Justices, some years since, there were two hundred public-houses. Was then one house in five a public-house? No, surely; one in ten at the utmost. If so, there were two thousand houses; and, consequently, fourteen thousand persons. I believe, there are now full twenty thousand. And these are nothing near a quarter of the present inhabitants of Bristol. Wed. 11. — I preached about one at Bath; and about six, in a meadow, near the preaching-house, in Frome, besought a listening multitude “not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Thur. 12. — I spent about two hours in Mr. Hoare’s gardens, at Stourton.
I have seen the most celebrated gardens in England; but these far exceed them all: 1. In the situation; being laid out on the sloping sides of a semicircular mountain: 2. In the vast basin of water inclosed between them, covering, I suppose, sixty acres of ground: 3. In the delightful interchange of shady groves and sunny glades, curiously mixed together.
Above all, in the lovely grottoes, two of which excel everything of the kind which I ever saw; the fountain grotto, made entirely of rock-work, admirably well imitating nature; and the castle grotto, into which you enter unawares, beneath a heap of ruins. This is within totally built of roots of trees, wonderfully interwoven. On one side of it is a little hermitage, with a lamp, a chair, a table, and bones upon it.
Others were delighted with the temples, but I was not: 1. Because several of the statues about them were mean: 2. Because I cannot admire the images of devils; and we know the gods of the Heathens are but devils: 3. Because I defy all mankind to reconcile statues with nudities, either to common sense or common decency.
Returning from thence through Maiden-Bradley, we saw the clumsy house of the Duke of Somerset; and afterwards the grand and elegant one of Lord Weymouth, beautifully situated in a lovely park. Fri. 13. — I went on to Midsummer-Norton, where the Rector, being applied to, cheerfully granted me the use of his church, and himself made one of the congregation. I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” About two I preached in the new House, at Paulton, to a plain, simple, loving people; and spent the evening at Kingswood, endeavoring to remove some little offenses, which had arisen in the family. Wed. 18. — About one I preached at Bath, as usual, to a crowded audience; in the afternoon at Keynsham, where, at length, we see some fruit of our labors. Thursday, 19. Finding few would come to the Room at Pill, I preached in the market-place. Many attended, and I am persuaded, God cut some of them to the heart. About six I preached at Pensford, and spent the evening with the lovely family at Publow. Sat. 24. — I preached in the Paddock, at Bedminster. It is plain (notwithstanding what some affirm) that the time of field-preaching is not past, while the people flock to it from every quarter. Sun. 22. — After reading Prayers, preaching, and administering the sacrament, at Bristol, I hastened away to Kingswood, and preached under the trees to such a multitude as had not been lately seen there. I began in King’s Square a little before five, where the word of God was quick and powerful. And I was no more tired at night than when I rose in the morning. Such is the power of God!
After settling all things at Bristol and Kingswood, and visiting the rest of the societies in Somersetshire, Wiltshire, and Hants, I returned, in October, to London, with Mr. Fletcher. Sun . November 10. — I was desired to preach at St. Vedast’s church, Foster-Lane, which contained the congregation tolerably well. I preached on those words in the Gospel for the day, (how little regarded even by men that fear God!) “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Wed. 13. — I set out with Mr. Fletcher to Norwich. I took coach at twelve, slept till six, and then spent the time very agreeably, in conversation, singing, and reading. I read Mr. Bolt’s account of the affairs in the East Indies: I suppose much the best that is extant. But what a scene is here opened! What consummate villains, what devils incarnate, were the managers there! What utter strangers to justice, mercy, and truth; to every sentiment of humanity! I believe no heathen history contains a parallel. I remember none in all the annals of antiquity: Not even the divine Cato, or the virtuous Brutus, plundered the provinces committed to their charge with such merciless cruelty as the English have plundered the desolated provinces of Indostan.
When we came to Norwich, finding many of our friends had been shaken by the assertors of the Horrible Decree, I employed the three following mornings in sifting the question to the bottom. Many were confirmed thereby; and, I trust, will not again be removed from the genuine Gospel. Thur. 14. — I showed in the evening what the Gospel is, and what it is to preach the Gospel. The next evening, I explained, at large, the wrong and the right sense of, “Ye are saved by faith.” And many saw how miserably they had been abused by those vulgarly called Gospel Preachers. Sun. 17. — In the morning we had about a hundred and fifty communicants, and a remarkable blessing. In the afternoon and in the evening we were crowded enough. Monday, 18. We set out for Yarmouth.
Here I knew not where to preach; the Mayor refusing me the use of the Town-Hall. But the Chamberlain gave me the use of a larger building, formerly a church. In this a numerous congregation soon assembled, to whom I described the “sect which is everywhere spoken against.” I believe all that were attentive will be a little more candid for the time to come. Tues . 19. — I opened the new preaching-house at Lowestoft, — a new and lightsome building. It was thoroughly filled with deeply attentive hearers. Surely some of them will bear fruit unto perfection. Wednesday, 20. Mr. Fletcher preached in the morning, and I at two in the afternoon. It then blew a thorough storm, so that it was hard to walk or stand, the wind being ready to take us off our feet. It drove one of the boats, which were on the strand, from its moorings out to sea. Three men were in it, who looked for nothing every moment but to be swallowed up. But presently five stout men put off in another open boat, and, rowing for life, overtook them, and brought them safe to land. Thur. 21. — I preached at Beccles. A duller place I have seldom seen. The people of the town were neither pleased nor vexed, as “caring for none of these things.” Yet fifty or sixty came into the house, either to hear or see.
The people of Loddon seemed in the evening of another spirit, resolved to “enter in at the strait gate.” Friday, 22, We had a solemn parting with our friends at Norwich; and on Saturday evening I brought Mr. Fletcher back to London, considerably better than when he set out. Fri. 29. — We considered the several plans which were offered for the new chapel. Having agreed upon one, we desired a Surveyor to draw out the particulars, with an estimate of the expense. We then ordered proposals to be drawn up for those who were willing to undertake any part of the building. Mon . December 2. — I set out for Bedford, in the diligence, and came thither at four in the afternoon. I found great freedom of speech in the evening, and perceived God was reviving his work in this people. Tues. 3. — I crossed over to St. Neot’s, and had an hour’s friendly conversation with Mr. V. O that all men would sit as loose to opinions as I do; that they would think and let think! I preached in the evening to a numerous congregation with much enlargement of spirit. Wednesday, 4. I preached at Godmanchester, and on Thursday returned to London.
In the way, I read over Mr. Gray’s Works, and his Life wrote by Mr. Mason. He is an admirable poet, not much inferior to either Prior or Pope; but he does not appear, upon the whole, to have been an amiable man. His picture, I apprehend, expresses his character; — sharp, sensible, ingenious; but, at the same time, proud, morose, envious, passionate, and resentful. I was quite shocked at the contempt with which he more than once speaks of Mr. Mason; one full as ingenious as himself, yea, full as good a poet; (as even “Elfrida” shows, as much as Mr. Gray despises, or affects to despise it;) and, over and above, possessed of that modesty and humanity, wherein Mr. Gray was so greatly deficient. Friday , 13, was the national fast. It was observed not only throughout the city, but (I was afterwards informed) throughout the nation, with the utmost solemnity. I shall not wonder if God should now interpose and send us prosperity, since, at length, we are not too proud to acknowledge “there is a God that judgeth the earth.” Mon. 16. — I preached at Canterbury; on Tuesday, at Dover; Wednesday, about eleven, at poor, dry, dead Sandwich. But I now found more hope for the poor people, than I had done for many years. In the evening I preached at Margate, to a very genteel, and yet very serious, congregation; and I believe (although it blew a storm) near a hundred were present in the morning. Thur. 19. — I had another truly comfortable opportunity at Canterbury.
God lifted up the hands that hung down, and gave many a strong hope that they should yet see good days, after all the days of darkness and heaviness. Friday, 20. I returned to London; and on Sunday, 22, buried the remains of Elizabeth Duchesne; a person eminently upright of heart, yet for many years a child of labor and sorrow. For near forty years she was zealous of good works, and at length shortened her days by laboring for the poor beyond her strength. But her end was peace. She now rests from her labors, and her works follow her. Tues. 31. — We concluded the year with solemn praise to God for continuing his great work in our land. It has never been intermitted one year or one month, since the year 1738; in which my brother and I began to preach that strange doctrine of salvation by faith. Wed . January 1, 1777. — We met, as usual, to renew our covenant with God. It was a solemn season, wherein many found his power present to heal, and were enabled to urge their way with strength renewed. Thur. 2. — I began expounding, in order, the book of Ecclesiastes. I never before had so clear a sight either of the meaning or the beauties of it.
Neither did I imagine that the several parts of it were in so exquisite a manner connected together; all tending to prove that grand truth, — that there is no happiness out of God. Wed. 8. — I looked over the manuscripts of that great and good man, Charles Perronet. I did not think he had so deep communion with God. I know exceeding few that equal him; and had he had an University education, there would have been few finer writers in England. Mon. 13. — I took the opportunity of spending an hour every morning with the Preachers, as I did with my pupils at Oxford. And we endeavored not only to increase each other’s knowledge, but “to provoke one another to love and to good works.” Wed. 15. — I began visiting those of our society who lived in Bethnal-Green hamlet. Many of them I found in such poverty as few can conceive without seeing it. O why do not all the rich that fear God constantly visit the poor? Can they spend part of their spare time better?
Such another scene I saw the next day, in visiting another part of the society. I have not found any such distress, no, not in the prison of Newgate. One poor man was just creeping out of his sickbed, to his ragged wife and three little children; who were more than half naked and the very picture of famine; when one bringing in a loaf of bread, they all ran, seized upon it, and tore it in pieces in an instant. Who would not rejoice that there is another world? Mon. 20. — Mrs. T. gave us a remarkable account: — On Saturday, the 11th instant, her little boy, a child of eminent piety, between five and six years old, gave up his spirit to God. She was saying to one in the house, “My son is gone to glory.” A youth standing by, cried out, “But I am going to hell.” He continued praying all Sunday and Monday; but in utter despair. On Tuesday he found a hope of mercy, which gradually increased.
The next morning he rejoiced with joy unspeakable, knowing his sins were blotted out; and soon after Henry Terry (the son of many tears to his poor mother) slept in peace. Tues. 21. — I dined at Mr. A.’s. A month or two ago he had a trial worthy of a Christian. He saw his little son (between four and five years old) crushed to death in a moment. But he did not murmur: He could say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.” Sun. 26. — I preached again at Allhallows church, morning and afternoon.
I found great liberty of spirit; and the congregation seemed to be much affected. How is this? Do I yet please men? Is the offense of the Cross ceased? It seems, after being scandalous near fifty years, I am at length growing into an honorable man! Thur. 30. — I had a visit from Mr. B——, grown an old, feeble, decrepit man; hardly able to face a puff of wind, or to creep up and down stairs!
Such is the fruit of cooping one’s self in a house, of sitting still day after day! Mon . February 3. — Hearing there was some disturbance at Bristol, occasioned by men whose tongues were set on fire against the Government, I went down in the diligence, and on Tuesday evening strongly enforced those solemn words, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to speak evil of no man.” I believe God applied his word, and convinced many that they had been out of their way.
Finding the repeated attempts to set fire to the city had occasioned a general consternation, on Wednesday, 5, I opened and applied those words to a crowded audience, “Is there any evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?” On Thursday I wrote “A calm Address to the Inhabitants of England.” May God bless this, as he did the former, to the quenching of that evil fire which is still among us! On Saturday I returned to London. Sat. 15. — At the third message, I took up my cross, and went to see Dr. Dodd, in the Compter. I was greatly surprised. He seemed, though deeply affected, yet thoroughly resigned to the will of God. Mrs. Dodd likewise behaved with the utmost propriety. I doubt not, God will bring good out of this evil. Tuesday, 18. I visited him again, and found him still in a desirable state of mind: calmly giving himself up to whatsoever God should determine concerning him. Wed. 19. — I was desired to see one that, after she had been filled with peace and joy in believing, was utterly distracted. I soon found it was a merely natural case; a temporary disorder common to women at that period of life. Tues. 25. — I spent an agreeable hour with Dr. C——s, a deeply serious man, who would fain reconcile the Arminians and Calvinists. Nay, but he must first change their hearts. Sun . March 2. — Being a warm sunshiny day, I preached in Moorfields, in the evening. There were thousands upon thousands; and all were still as night. Not only violence and rioting, but even scoffing at field-Preachers is now over.
Today I received from an eye-witness a particular account of a late remarkable occurrence. Captain Bell, a most amiable man, beloved of all that knew him, and just engaged to one which he tenderly loved, sailed from England last autumn. On September 20 he was hailed by the Hawke, a small sloop, Captain Arthur Crawford, Commander, who told him he came from Halifax, in His Majesty’s service, cruising for American privateers. Captain Bell invited him to breakfast, entertained him with all kindness, and made him some little presents: But on his cursing and swearing at the Americans, mildly reproved him, and he desisted. Mr. M’Aness, the Supercargo, seeing him walk round the ship, and diligently observe everything in it, told Captain Bell, “Be upon your guard, this is certainly an enemy!” But the Captain answered, “It cannot be; no man can act so base a part.”
Captain Crawford returned to his own ship, and sailing under the stern of the other, while Captain Bell and some others were standing on the quarter-deck, ordered his men to fire at him. They did so, and shot him in the belly, so that his bowels came out. But he did not fall. He ordered them to fire again: He fell; and while his men were carrying him away, Crawford took the vessel.
Captain Bell being convened into the cabin, sent and desired to speak with Captain Crawford: But he would not come. He then desired to speak with his own sailors, one by one. One of them saying, “Sir, you have been basely murdered,” he replied, “Love your enemies; pray for them that despitefully use you. What are our sufferings to those which our Lord endured for us?” He then desired the account which St. John gives of our Lord’s sufferings to be read to him. He desired his love to all that loved the Lord Jesus; particularly to her he was about to marry. Then bidding them all farewell, he died in peace, about two hours after he received the second shot.
But what did Captain Crawford do amiss? Have not the English also taken American ships by surprise? Yes; but not with such circumstances. For, 1. He hoisted no colors, nor ever summoned the ship to yield: 2. He fired on men who thought nothing of the matter, and pointed the men to Captain Bell in particular.
So it was a deliberate murder. Such is the mercy, such the gratitude, of American rebels! Mon. 10. — In the evening I preached at Reading. How many years were we beating the air at this town! Stretching out our hands to a people as stupid as oxen! But it is not so at present. That generation is passed away, and their children are of a more excellent spirit. After preaching at Newborne and Ramsbury in the way, on Wednesday, 12, I went on to Bristol. Sun. 16. — I preached at St. Werburgh’s, the first church I ever preached in at Bristol. I had desired my friends not to come thither, but to leave room for strangers. By this means the church was well filled, but not over much crowded; which gives occasion to them that seek occasion, as it is a real inconvenience to the parishioners. Fri. 21. — I preached at Bath. I often wonder at this, — Our chapel stands in the midst of all the sinners, and yet, going or coming to it, I never heard an immodest word, but prayers and blessings in abundance. Sun. 23. — I preached at St. Ewin’s church, but not upon Justification by Faith. I do not find this to be a profitable subject to an unawakened congregation. I explained here, and strongly applied, that awful word, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Mon. 24. — I left Bristol, and preaching at Ramsbury, Witney, Oxford, and High-Wycomb, in my way, on Thursday came to London; whence I cannot be long absent while the new chapel is building. Friday, 28. I received an affectionate message from a great man. — But I shall not wonder if the wind changes. Sun. 30. — Easter -day was a solemn and comfortable day, wherein God was remarkably present with his people. During the Octave I administered the Lord’s Supper every morning, after the example of the Primitive Church. Sunday, APRIL 6. I began a journey through some of our societies, to desire their assistance towards the expense of the new chapel. I preached at Birmingham on Monday, 7; in Congleton, on Tuesday; and on Wednesday went on to Macelesfield. The new church here is far the most elegant that I have seen in the kingdom. Mr. Simpson read Prayers, and I preached on the first verse of the Second Lesson, Hebrews 11: And I believe many felt their want of the faith there spoken of. The next evening I preached on Hebrews 12:14: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” I was enabled to make a close application, chiefly to those that expected to be saved by faith. I hope none of them will hereafter dream of going to heaven by any faith which does not produce holiness. Fri. 11. — I preached at Stockport about ten, and at Manchester in the evening. Monday, 14. I preached about noon at Warrington, and in the evening at Liverpool; where many large ships are now laid up in the docks, which had been employed for many years in buying or stealing poor Africans, and selling them in America for slaves. The men-butchers have now nothing to do at this laudable occupation. Since the American war broke out, there is no demand for human cattle. So the men of Africa, as well as Europe, may enjoy their native liberty. Wed. 16. — About noon I preached at Wigan; in the evening, at the new House in Bolton, crowded within and without, on the “wise man” who “built his house upon a rock.” Many here are following his example, and continually increasing both in the knowledge and love of God. Thur. 17. — I called upon Mr. Barker, at Little-Leigh, just tottering over the great gulf. Being straitened for time, I rode from thence to Chester. I had not for some years rode so far on horseback, but it did me no hurt.
After preaching, I took chaise, and came to Middlewich, a little before the Liverpool coach, in which I went on to London.
I have now finished Dr. Gell’s “Essay toward an Amendment of the last Translation of the Bible.” This part only takes in the Pentateuch; but many other texts are occasionally explained. Surely he was a man mighty in the Scriptures, and well acquainted with the work of God in the soul:
And he plainly shows that the Antinomians and Anti-Perfectionists were just the same then, as they are now. Monday , 21, was the day appointed for laying the foundation of the new chapel. The rain befriended us much, by keeping away thousands who purposed to be there. But there were still such multitudes, that it was with great difficulty I got through them to lay the first stone. Upon this was a plate of brass, (covered with another stone,) on which was engraved, “This was laid by Mr. John Wesley, onAPRIL 1, 1777.” Probably this will be seen no more, by any human eye; but will remain there, till the earth and the works thereof are burned up. Sun. 27. — The sun breaking out, I snatched the opportunity of preaching to many thousands in Moorfields. All were still as night, while I showed how “the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” Mon. 28. — At one I took coach, and on Wednesday evening preached at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I love our brethren in the southern counties; but still I find few among them that have the spirit of our northern societies. Saturday , May 3. I went to Sunderland, and strongly enforced, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” Mon. 5. — Having finished my business in these parts, I set my face southward again; and after preaching at Durham, about eleven went on to Darlington. I have not lately found so lively a work in any part of England as here. The society is constantly increasing, and seems to be all on fire for God. There is nothing among them but humble, simple love; no dispute, no jar of any kind. They exactly answer the description that David Brainerd gives of his Indian congregation. I particularly desired both the Preachers and Leaders to have an especial care over them, and, if possible, to prevent either the devil or his agents from poisoning their simplicity. Many of them already know, that “the blood of Jesus Christ” hath “cleansed them from all sin.” Wed. 7. — I went to Yarm. There I found a lovely young woman, in the last stage of a consumption; but such a one as I never read of, nor heard any Physician speak of, but Dr. Wilson. The seat of the ulcers is not in the lungs, but the wind-pipe. I never yet knew it cured. My housekeeper died of it last year. This young woman died in a few weeks. Thur. 8. — About eleven I preached at Osmotherley. I found my old friend Mr. Watson, who first brought me into this country, was just dead, after living a recluse life near fifty years. From one that attended him, I learned, that the sting of death was gone, and he calmly delivered up his soul to God. Fri . 9. — I went to Malton, hoping to meet Miss R——y there: But instead of her, I found a letter which informed me that she was on the brink of the grave; but added, “Surely my Lord will permit me to see you once more in the body.” I would not disappoint the congregation; but as soon as I had done preaching, set out, and about four in the morning came to Otley. I minutely inquired into the circumstances of her illness. She is dropped suddenly into the third stage of a consumption, having one or more ulcers in her lungs, spitting blood, having a continual pain in her breast, and a constant hectic fever, which disables her from either riding on horseback, or bearing the motion of a carriage. Meantime, she breathes nothing but praise and love. Short-lived flower, and ripe for a better soil! Sat. 10. — After travelling between ninety and a hundred miles, I came back to Malton; and, having rested an hour, went on to Scarborough, and preached in the evening. But the flux which I had had for a few days so increased, that at first I found it difficult to speak. Yet the longer I spoke the stronger I grew. Is not God a present help? Sun. 11. — I experienced a second time what one calls, febris ex insolatione. The day was cold; but the sun shone warm on my back, as I sat in the window. In less than half an hour I began to shiver, and soon after had a strong fit of an ague. I directly lay down between blankets, and drank largely of warm lemonade. In ten minutes the hot fit came on, and quickly after I fell asleep. Having slept half an hour, I rose up and preached. Afterwards I met the society; and I found no want of strength, but was just as well at the end as at the beginning. Mon. 12. — I preached at Bridlington; Tuesday, 13 in the morning at Beverley; and in the evening at Hull, on, “Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.” And yet, blessed be God, there are thousands walking in it now, who a few years since thought nothing about it. Wed. 14. — At eleven I preached at Pocklington, with an eye to the death of that lovely woman, Mrs. Cross. A gay young gentleman, with a young lady, stepped in, stayed five minutes, and went out again, with as easy an unconcern as if they had been listening to a ballad-singer. I mentioned to the congregation the deep folly and ignorance implied in such behavior.
These pretty fools never thought that for this very opportunity they are to give an account before men and angels!
In the evening I preached at York. I would gladly have rested the next day, feeling my breast much out of order. But notice having been given of my preaching at Tadcaster, I set out at nine in the morning. About ten the chaise broke down. I borrowed a horse; but as he was none of the easiest, in riding three miles I was so thoroughly electrified, that the pain in my breast was quite cured. I preached in the evening at York; on Friday took the diligence; and on Saturday afternoon came to London.
May 18. — (Being Whit-Sunday .) Our Service at the Foundery began as usual at four. I preached in West-Street chapel in the forenoon; and at the Foundery in the evening. In the afternoon I buried the body of Joseph Guildford, a holy man, and a useful Preacher. Surely never before did a man of so weak talents do so much good! He died, as he lived, in the full triumph of faith, vehemently rejoicing and praising God. Tues. 20. — I met the Committee for building, which indeed was my chief business at London. We consulted together on several articles, and were confidently persuaded, that He who had incited us to begin, would enable us to finish. Sat. 24. — My brother and I paid another visit to Dr. Dodd, and spent a melancholy and useful hour. He appears, so far as man can judge, to be a true, evangelical penitent.
To ease my journey, I went to Stevenage on Sunday evening. Monday, 26.
I went on to Witham-Common; and on Tuesday reached Sheffield. The next day I went to Leeds; and, after preaching in the evening, pushed on to Otley. Here I found E—— R—— weaker and happier than ever. Her life seemed spun out to the last thread. I spent half an hour with her, to Teach her, at once, and learn of her, to die.
I then rested two or three hours; and took chaise at two, on Thursday, 29, hoping to reach Whitehaven in the evening; but I could only get to Cockermouth. Friday, 30. I went on to Whitehaven, where I found a little vessel waiting for me. After preaching in the evening, I went on board about eight o’clock, and before eight in the morning landed at Douglas, in the Isle of Man.
Douglas exceedingly resembles Newlyn in Cornwall; both in its situation, form, and buildings; only it is much larger, and has a few houses equal to most in Penzance. As soon as we landed, I was challenged by Mr. Booth, who had seen me in Ireland, and whose brother has been for many years a member of the society in Coolylough. A chaise was provided to carry me to Castletown. I was greatly surprised at the country. All the way from Douglas to Castletown it is as pleasant and as well cultivated as most parts of England, with many gentlemen’s seats. Castletown a good deal resembles Galway; only it is not so large. At six I preached near the Castle, I believe, to all the inhabitants of the town. Two or three gay young women showed they knew nothing about religion; all the rest were deeply serious. Afterwards I spent an hour very agreeably at Mrs. Wood’s, the widow of the late Governor. I was much pressed to stay a little longer at Castletown; but my time was fixed. Sun . June 1. — At six I preached in our own Room; and, to my surprise, saw all the gentlewomen there. Young as well as old were now deeply affected, and would fain have had me stayed, were it but an hour or two; but I was forced to hasten away, in order to be at Peeltown before the Service began.
Mr. Corbett said, he would gladly have asked me to preach, but that the Bishop had forbidden him; who had also forbidden all his Clergy to admit any Methodist Preacher to the Lord’s Supper. But is any Clergyman obliged, either in law or conscience, to obey such a prohibition? By no means. The will even of the King does not bind any English subject, unless it be seconded by an express law. How much less the will of a Bishop? “But did not you take an oath to obey him?” No, nor any Clergyman in the three kingdoms. This is a mere vulgar error. Shame that it should prevail almost universally.
As it rained, I retired after Service into a large malt-house. Most of the congregation followed, and devoured the word. It being fair in the afternoon, the whole congregation stopped in the church-yard; and the word of God was with power. It was a happy opportunity. Mon. 2. — The greater part of them were present at five in the morning. A more loving, simple-hearted people than this I never saw. And no wonder; for they have but six Papists, and no Dissenters, in the island. It is supposed to contain near thirty thousand people, remarkably courteous and humane. Ever since smuggling was suppressed, they diligently cultivate their land: And they have a large herring fishery, so that the country improves daily.
In about an hour, in spite of all I could do, the headstrong horse ran the wheel against a large stone: The chaise overset in a moment; but we fell so gently on smooth grass, that neither of us was hurt at all. In the evening I preached at Douglas to near as large a congregation as that at Peel, but not near so serious. Before ten we went on board, and about twelve on Tuesday, 3, landed at Whitehaven. I preached at five in the afternoon; and hastening to Cockermouth, found a large congregation waiting in the Castle-yard. Between nine and ten I took chaise; and about ten on Wednesday , 4, reached Settle. In the evening I preached near the market-place, and all but two or three gentlefolks were seriously attentive. Thursday, 5. About noon I came to Otley, and found E—— R—— just alive, but all alive to God. In the evening it seemed as if the departing saint had dropped her mantle upon the congregation; such an awe was upon them, while I explained and applied, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Fri. 6. — I preached at Bradford, where a blessed work has increased ever since William Brammah was here. “Hath not God chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise?” Sun. 8. — About one I took my stand at Birstal: Thousands upon thousands filled the vale and the side of the hill; and all, I found, could hear. Such another multitude assembled near Huddersfield in the evening.
Many of these had never heard a Methodist Preacher before; yet they all behaved well. Mon. 9. — I spent one hour more at Otley. Spectaculum Deo dignum! I have not before seen so triumphant an instance of the power of faith.
Though in constant pain, she has no complaint: So does the glory of God overshadow her, and swallow up her will in his! She is indeed All praise, all meekness, and all love.
Wed. 11. — I had appointed to preach in the new preaching-house at Colne. Supposing it would be sufficiently crowded, I went a little before the time; so that the galleries were but half full when I came into the pulpit. Two minutes after, the whole left-hand gallery fell at once, with a hundred and fifty or two hundred persons. Considering the height, and the weight of people, one would have supposed many lives would have been lost. But I did not hear of one. Does not God give his angels charge over them that fear him? When the hurry was a little over, I went into the adjoining meadow, and quietly declared the whole counsel of God.
On Thursday and Friday I preached at Halifax, Daw-Green, Horbury, and Wakefield. On Saturday I wrote “Thoughts upon God’s Sovereignty.” To a cool man, I think the whole matter will appear to rest on a single point: — As Creator, he could not but act according to his own sovereign will:
But as Governor he acts, not as a mere Sovereign, but according to justice and mercy. Mon. 16. — I met the class of children at Rothwell. This consisted last year of eleven young maidens. They are increased to twenty. I think, seventeen or eighteen of them are now rejoicing in the love of God. And their whole behavior is suitable thereto, adorning the doctrine of God our Savior.
Afterwards I went on to Rotherham, and was glad to find, that the society is not discouraged by the death of that good man, William Green, who had been as a father to them from the beginning. He never started either at labor or suffering; but went on calm and steady, trusting God with himself and his eight children, even while all the waves and storms went over him.
He died, as he lived, in the full assurance of faith, praising God with his latest breath. Tues. 17. — I preached in the market-place at Chesterfield, on, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Although the congregation was numerous, yet I did not observe any either trifling or inattentive hearers. In the evening I preached at Derby. It was supposed the people would be afraid to come, as part of the roof had lately fallen in. (Indeed it fell an hour before the congregation met: Otherwise many must have been hurt.)
There is something in the people of this town, which I cannot but much approve of; although most of our society are of the lower class, chiefly employed in the stocking-manufacture, yet there is generally an uncommon gentleness and sweetness in their temper, and something of elegance in their behavior, which, when added to solid, vital religion, make them an ornament to their profession. Thur. 19. — I did not reach Leicester till the congregation had waited some time: So I began immediately to enforce, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” I had designed not to call here at all, supposing it would be lost labor. But the behavior of the whole congregation convinced me that I had judged wrong. They filled the House at five in the morning, and seemed determined to “stir up the gift of God which was in them.” Saturday, 21. I returned to London. Wed. 25. — I saw Dr. Dodd for the last time. He was in exactly such a temper as I wished. He never at any time expressed the least murmuring or resentment at any one; but entirely and calmly gave himself up to the will of God. Such a prisoner I scarce ever saw before, much less such a condemned malefactor. I should think, none could converse with him without acknowledging that God is with him. Thur. 26. — I read the truly wonderful performance of Mr. Rowland Hill.
I stood amazed! Compared to him, Mr. Toplady himself is a very civil, fair-spoken gentleman! Friday, 27. I wrote an answer to it: “Not rendering railing for railing;” (I have not so learned Christ;) but “speaking the truth in love.” Sat. 28. — I have now completed my seventy-fourth year; and by the peculiar favor of God, I find my health and strength, and all my faculties of body and mind, just the same as they were at four-and-twenty. Mon. 30. — I set out for Northamptonshire, and preached in the evening at Stony Stratford. Mr. Canham had prepared a large and commodious place; but it would not contain the congregation. However, all without, as well as within, except one fine lady, were serious and attentive. Tues . July 1. — I preached in the evening at Marton, near Buckingham; the thunder, attended with heavy rain, was likely to rob us of our whole congregation. We cried to God. The thunder and rain ceased, and we had a fair sunshiny evening. A large number of people flocked together, some of whom came twelve or fourteen miles: And they did not lose their labor; for God accompanied his word with the demonstration of his Spirit. Wed. 2. — The House was more than filled at five, and chiefly with genteel young women; of whom (I learned) there is a large number in this village, remarkable both for sense and seriousness. After dinner we went on to Oxford, where also we had a very serious congregation. So all the seed sown here has not fallen either on stony or thorny ground.
In the afternoon I went to Witney; and, the evening being fair and mild, preached on Wood-Green, to a far larger congregation than the House could have contained. I spent the rest of the evening profitably and agreeably, with a few of the excellent ones of the earth. I was ready to say, “It is good for me to be here.” No! Go thou and preach the Gospel. Thur. 3. — I was much comforted at Stroud among an earnest, serious, loving people. Friday, 4. I preached in dull Gloucester at ten, and at six in the new House at Tewkesbury. Saturday, 5. I sent my chaise straight to Worcester, and myself took horse for Bengeworth: The church was tolerably filled. Afterwards I went down with Mr. Beale to his house; the same in which Mr. Benjamin Seward lived three or four and forty years ago. In the evening I preached in the little chapel at Broadmarston. Sun. 6. — I preached in Pebworth church morning and afternoon, and at Bengeworth in the evening. The church, large as it is, was well filled; and many, for the present, were much affected. I preached there once more at eight in the morning, and then rode on to Worcester. On Tuesday evening the Rector of the parish was at the preaching; a candid, sensible man. He seemed much surprised, having never dreamed before that there was such a thing as common sense among the Methodists! The society here, by patient continuance in well-doing, has quite overcome evil with good; even the beasts of the people are now tame, and open not their mouths against them. They profited much when the waves and storms went over them:
May they profit as much by the calm! Wed. 9. — I went through a delightful vale to Malvern-Wells, lying on the side of a high mountain, and commanding one of the finest prospects in the world; the whole vale of Evesham. Hitherto the roads were remarkably good; but they grew worse and worse till we came to Monmouth. Much disturbance was expected here; but we had none: All were deeply attentive.
About six in the evening, on Thursday, 10, I preached on the bulwarks at Brecon. Friday, 11. I called upon Mr. Gwynne, just recovering from a dangerous illness. But he is not recovered from the seriousness which it occasioned. May this be a lasting blessing! Sat. 12. — We dined at Llandeilo; after dinner we walked in Mr. Rees’s park, one of the pleasantest I ever saw; it is so finely watered by the winding river, running through and round the gently rising hills. Near one side of it, on the top of a high eminence, is the old Castle; a venerable pile, at least as old as William the Conqueror, and “majestic though in ruins.”
In the evening I preached to a large congregation in the market-place at Carmarthen. I was afterwards informed, the Mayor had sent two Constables to forbid my preaching there. But if he did, their hearts failed them, for they said not one word. Sun. 13. — We had a plain, useful sermon from the Vicar, though some said, “He did not preach the Gospel.” He preached what these men have great need to hear, lest they seek death in the error of their life.
In the evening I explained to a huge congregation, who it is that builds his house upon a rock. I believe many had ears to hear, even of the young and gay; to whom I made a particular application. Mon. 14. — I reached Llyngwair about noon. In the evening Mr. Pugh read Prayers, and I preached, at Newport. This is the only town in Wales which I had then observed to increase.
In riding along on the side of Newport-Bay, I observed on the ground a large quantity of turfs. These are found by removing the sand above the high-water mark, under which there is a continued bed of turf, with the roots of trees, leaves, nuts, and various kinds of vegetables. So that it is plain the sea is an intruder here, and now covers what was once dry land.
Such probably was the whole Bay a few centuries ago. Nay, it is not at all improbable, that formerly it was dry land from Aberystwith to St. David’s Point. Tues. 15. — Mr. Bowen carried me in his chaise to Cardigan. This is the second town I have seen in Wales, which is continually increasing both in buildings and in number of inhabitants. I preached at noon; five or six Clergymen being present, with a numerous congregation; and a more attentive one I have not seen: Many likewise appeared deeply affected. If our Preachers constantly attended here, I cannot think their labor would be in vain. Wed. 16. — About nine I preached again in Newport church, and found much liberty among that poor, simple people. We dined with Admiral Vaughan, at Tracoon; one of the most delightful spots that can be imagined. Thence we rode to Haverfordwest; but the heat and dust were as much as I could bear: I was faint for a while: But it was all gone as soon as I came into the congregation; and after preaching, and meeting the society, I was as fresh as at six in the morning.. Thur. 17. — I preached at Roach, and took a view of the old Castle, built on a steep rock. A gentleman wisely asked Mr. S——, “Pray is this natural or artificial?” He gravely replied, “Artificial, to be sure; I imported it from the north of Ireland.” Fri. 18. — The more I converse with the society at Haverford, the more I am united to them. Saturday, 19. About eleven I preached at Howton, two miles short of the Ferry. There was an uncommon blessing among the simple-hearted people. At Pembroke, in the evening, we had the most elegant congregation I have seen since we came into Wales. Some of them came in dancing, and laughing, as into a theater; but their mood was quickly changed, and in a few minutes they were as serious as my subject, — Death. I believe, if they do not take great care, they will remember it — for a week! Sun. 20. — The congregation at St. Daniel’s was more than the church could contain. After reading Prayers, I preached an hour, (an uncommon thing with me,) on, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord!”
Many were cut to the heart; and at the Lord’s Supper, many were wounded and many healed. Surely now, at least, if they do not harden their hearts, all these will know the day of their visitation. Mon. 21. — Having been much pressed to preach at Jatterson, a colliery, six or seven miles from Pembroke, I began soon after seven. The House was presently filled, and all the space about the doors and windows; and the poor people drank in every word. I had finished my sermon, when a gentleman, violently pressing in, bade the people get home and mind their business. As he used some bad words, my driver spake to him. He fiercely said, “Do you think I need to be taught by a chaise-boy?” The lad replying, “Really, Sir, I do think so,” the conversation ended.
In the evening I preached in the market-place at Carmarthen, to such another congregation as I had there before; and my heart was so enlarged towards them, that I continued preaching a full hour. Tuesday, 22. I preached at Llanelly about one, and at Swansea in the evening. Wed. 23. — I preached in Swansea at five; in Neath, between eight and nine; and about one, at Margam. In the road between this and Bridge-End, we had the heaviest rain I ever remember to have seen in Europe: And it saved John Prickard’s life; for presently man and beast were covered with a sheet of lightning; but as he was thoroughly wet, it did him no harm. In the evening I preached in Oldcastle church, near Bridge-End. Thur. 24. — I preached to a large and serious congregation, in the Town-Hall at Cowbridge. Friday, 25. About eleven I read Prayers, and preached in Lantwyt church, to a very numerous congregation. I have not seen either so large or so handsome a church since I left England. It was sixty yards long; but one end of it is now in ruins. I suppose it has been abundantly the most beautiful, as well as the most spacious, church in Wales.
In the evening I preached at Mrs. Jones’s house in Fontegary. For the present, even the genteel hearers seemed affected; and God is able to continue the impression. Sat. 26. — I breakfasted at Fonmon Castle, and found a melancholy pleasure in the remembrance of past times. About noon I preached at Penmark, and in the evening in that memorable old Castle at Cardiff. Sun. 27. — I preached in the Town-Hall; and again in the afternoon, to a crowded audience, after preaching in a little church at Caerphilly. In the evening I preached in Mr. M——’s hall at Llandaff; and God applied his word (I think) to every heart. Monday, 28. I preached at Newport, and in the evening reached Bristol. Wed. 30. — I spent an hour or two with Mr. Fletcher, restored to life in answer to many prayers. How many providential ends have been answered by his illness! And perhaps still greater will be answered by his recovery. Fri . August 1. — I desired as many as could to join together in fasting and prayer that God would restore the spirit of love and of a sound mind, to the poor deluded rebels in America. In the evening we had a watch-night at Kingswood; and I was agreeably surprised to observe that hardly any one went away till the whole service was concluded. Tues. 5. — Our yearly Conference began. I now particularly inquired (as that report had been spread far and wide) of every Assistant, “Have you reason to believe, from your own observation, that the Methodists are a fallen people? Is there a decay or an increase in the work of God where you have been? Are the societies in general more dead, or more alive to God, than they were some years ago?” The almost universal answer was, “If we must ‘know them by their fruits,’ there is no decay in the work of God, among the people in general. The societies are not dead to God: They are as much alive as they have been for many years. And we look on this report as a mere device of Satan, to make our hands hang down.” “But how can this question be decided?” You, and you, can judge no farther than you see. You cannot judge of one part by another; of the people of London, suppose, by those of Bristol. And none but myself has an opportunity of seeing them throughout the three kingdoms.
But to come to a short issue. In most places, the Methodists are still a poor, despised people, laboring under reproach, and many inconveniences; therefore, wherever the power of God is not, they decrease. By this, then, you may form a sure judgment. Do the Methodists in general decrease in number? Then they decrease in grace; they are a fallen, or, at least, a falling people. But they do not decrease in number; the continually increase:
Therefore they are not a fallen people.
The Conference concluded on Friday, as it began, in much love. But there was one jarring string: John Hilton told us, he must withdraw from our Connection, because he saw the Methodists were a fallen people. Some would have reasoned with him, but it was lost labor; so we let him go in peace. Mon. 11. — I returned to London. Thursday, 14. I drew up proposals for the “Arminian Magazine.” Friday, 15. The Committee for the building met, which is now ready for the roof. Hitherto God has helped us! Sun. 17. — In the calm, fair evening, I took the opportunity to preach in Moorfields. The congregation was at least as large as I ever saw there. As yet I do not see any sign of the decay of the work of God in England. Mon. 18. — I went down to Bristol again, and read in the way Dr. M’Bride’s “Practice of Physic.” Undoubtedly it is an ingenious book; yet it did not answer my expectation. Several things I could contradict from my own experience; e .g ., he says, “All fevers are attended with thirst and vigilia.” Nay, in two violent fevers I had no thirst at all, and slept rather more than when I was in health. Tues. 19. — I went forward to Taunton, with Dr. Coke, who, being dismissed from his Curacy, has bid adieu to his honorable name and determined to cast in his lot with us. In the evening I endeavored to guard all who love or fear God against that miserable bigotry which many of our mistaken brethren are advancing with all their might. Wed. 20. — I preached at Tiverton; Thursday, 21, at Launceston; Friday, 22, about ten, in Bodmin. Thence I went on to Cubert; and found that venerable old man, Mr. Hoskins, calmly waiting for his discharge from the body. Saturday, 23. At noon, I preached in Redruth; and in the evening, on the Cliff of St. Ives. In the following week I visited most of the western societies; and on Saturday, 30, had the Quarterly Meeting. I now inquired particularly, whether the societies were increasing or decreasing. I could not hear of a decrease in any; but several were swiftly increasing; particularly those of St. Just, Penzance, and Helstone. Sun. 31. — I preached in the morning at St. Agnes; in the evening to the huge congregation at Gwennap; larger (it was supposed) by fifteen hundred or two thousand, than ever it had been before. Sat . September 27. — Having abundance of letters from Dublin, informing me that the society there was in the utmost confusion, by reason of some of the chief members, whom the Preachers had thought it needful to exclude from the society; and finding all I could write was not sufficient to stop the growing evil; I saw but one way remaining, to go myself, and that as soon as possible. So the next day I took chaise with Mr. Goodwin, and made straight for Mr. Bowen’s, at Llyngwair, in Pembrokeshire; hoping to borrow his sloop, and so cross over to Dublin without delay. I came to Llyngwair on Tuesday, 30. The next day, OCTOBER 1, the Captain of a sloop at Fishgard, a small sea-port town, ten or twelve miles from Llyngwair, sent me word he would sail for Dublin in the evening; but he did not stir till about eight the next evening. We had a small, fair wind. From Fishgard to Dublin is about forty leagues. We had run ten or twelve, till, at about eight in the morning, Friday, 3 it fell dead calm. The swell was then such as I never felt before, except in the Bay of Biscay. Our little sloop, between twenty and thirty tons, rolled to and fro with a wonderful motion. About nine, the Captain, finding he could not get forward, would have returned, but he could make no way. About eleven I desired we might go to prayer. Quickly after the wind sprung up fair; but it increased, till, about eight at night, it blew a storm, and it was pitch dark: so that, having only the Captain and a boy on board, we had much ado to work the vessel. However, about ten, though we scarce know how, we got safe into Dublin Bay. Sat. 4. — Between seven and eight I landed at Ring’s End. Mr. M’Kenny met me, and carried me to his house. Our friends presently flocked from all quarters, and seemed equally surprised and pleased at seeing me. I moved no dispute, but desired a few of each side to meet me together at ten on Monday morning. In the evening, although on so short a warning, we had an exceeding large congregation; on whom (waiving all matter of contention) I strongly enforced those solemn words, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.” Sun. 5. — I was much comforted at St. Patrick’s, where an uncommon awe seemed to rest on the whole assembly. In the evening I preached on Ephesians 4:30, etc., being the conclusion of the Epistle for the day.
Nothing could be more seasonable, and I read it as a presage of good. Mon. 6. — At ten I met the contending parties; the Preachers on one hand, and the excluded members on the other: I heard them at large, and they pleaded their several causes with earnestness and calmness too. But four hours were too short to hear the whole cause; so we adjourned to the next day: Meantime, in order to judge in what state the society really was, I examined them myself; meeting part of them today, and the rest on Tuesday and Wednesday. Four-and-thirty persons, I found, had been put out of, or left, the society: But, notwithstanding, as there were last quarter four hundred and fifty-eight members, so there are just four hundred and fifty-eight still. At the desire of the members lately excluded, I now drew up the short state of the case; but I could in nowise pacify them: They were all civil, nay, it seemed, affectionate to me; but they could never forgive the Preachers that had expelled them: So that I could not desire them to return into the society; they could only remain friends at a distance. Thur. 9. — I was desired by some of our friends to clear up the point of Imputed Righteousness: I did so, by preaching on, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” In opening these words, I showed what that faith was, which was imputed to him for righteousness, viz., faith in God’s promise to give him the land of Canaan; faith in the promise that Sarah should conceive a son; and the faith whereby he offered up Isaac on the altar. But Christ is not in any of these instances the direct or immediate object of Abraham’s faith; whereas he is the direct, immediate object of that faith which is imputed to us for righteousness. Sat. 11. — I visited many, sick and well, and endeavored to confirm them in their love towards each other. I was more and more convinced that God had sent me at this time to heal the breach of his people. Sun. 12. — We had a lovely congregation in the morning, to whom I closely applied St. Peter’s words: “I exhort you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly desires which war against the soul.” To the mixed multitude in the evening, I applied our Lord’s words: “All things are ready; come unto the marriage.” I then took a solemn and affectionate leave of the society, and cheerfully commended them to the Great Shepherd; more in number, and, I am persuaded, more established in grace, than they had been for twenty years. Mon. 13. — In the morning we went on board; but the wind being right a-head, and blowing hard, we made but little way, till night; and the sea was so rough, that I could not sleep till midnight. Tuesday, 14. After beating up and down several hours more, the Captain thought best to run under the Carnarvonshire shore. About noon we put out to sea again, but the storm increased, and about four carried away our bowsprit, and tore one of the sails to tatters. But the damage was soon repaired; and before six, by the good providence of God, we landed at Holyhead.
Wanting to be in London as soon as possible, I took chaise at seven, and hastened to Bangor Ferry. But here we were at a full stop: They could not, or would not, carry us over till one the next day; and they then gave us only two miserable horses, although I had paid beforehand (fool as I was) for four. At Conway Ferry we were stopped again: So that with all the speed we could possibly make, even with a chaise and four, we traveled eight-and-twenty miles yesterday, and seventeen today. Thursday, in the afternoon, we reached Chester; Friday morning, Lichfield; and on Saturday morning, London. Mon. 20. — I went on to High-Wycomb; but good Mr. James having procured a drummer to beat his drum at the window of the preaching-house, I only prayed and sung by turns, from six to seven; and many of the people were much comforted. In the rest of the week I visited the societies at Oxford, Witney, Finstock, and Wallingford; and had reason to believe that many received the seed in honest and good hearts. Mon. 27. — I preached at Stony-Stratford. The congregation was large and attentive: So it always is; yet I fear they receive little good, for they need no repentance. Tuesday, I preached at Towcester; on Wednesday, at Whittlebury; and on Thursday, at Northampton; and some of even that heavy congregation seemed to feel, “The night cometh, when no man can work.” Mon . November 3. — I began visiting the classes in London, in which I was fully employed for seven or eight days; afterwards I visited those in the neighboring towns, and found reason to rejoice over them. Sun. 16. — I was desired to preach a charity sermon in St. Margaret’s church, Rood-Lane. In the morning I desired my friends not to come; in the afternoon it was crowded sufficiently, and I believe many of them felt the word of God sharper than any two-edged sword. Mon. 17. — I went to Norwich, and preached there in the evening. The House was far too small, the congregation being lately increased very considerably. But I place no dependence in this people; they wave to and fro, like the waves of the sea. Wed. 19. — I went over to Loddon, and preached at one to a much more settled congregation. In the evening I preached at Norwich, and afterwards administered the Lord’s Supper to the society; and I was almost persuaded, that they will no longer be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Thur. 20. — Abundance of people were present at five, and we had a solemn parting. I went to Lynn the same day; and Saturday, 22, taking chaise soon after twelve, reached London in the afternoon. Sun. 23. — I preached in Lewisham church for the benefit of the Humane Society, instituted for the sake of those who seem to be drowned, strangled, or killed by any sudden stroke. It is a glorious design; in consequence of which many have been recovered, that must otherwise have inevitably perished. Mon. 24. — I spent the afternoon at Mr. Blackwell’s with the B—— of——. His whole behavior was worthy of a Christian Bishop; easy, affable, courteous; and yet all his conversation spoke the dignity which was suitable to his character.
Having been many times desired, for near forty years, to publish a Magazine, I at length complied; and now began to collect materials for it. If it once begin, I incline to think it will not end but with my life. Mon . December 1. — I spent some hours, both morning and afternoon, in visiting the sick at the west end of the town; but I could not see them all. Wednesday, 3. I visited as many as I could on the northeast part of the town. I spent the evening at Newington, with Mr. Fletcher, almost miraculously recovering from his consumption; and on Thursday, 4, he set out with Mr. Ireland for the south of France. Tues. 9. — I visited the chief societies in Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, and returned by Hertford; where (for once) I saw a quiet and serious congregation. We had a larger congregation at Barnet, in the evening, than ever; and a greater number of communicants. Will this poor, barren wilderness at length blossom and bud as the rose? Sat . 13 — Being strongly urged to lay the first stone of the House which was going to be built at Bath, on Sunday, 14, after preaching at West-street chapel in the morning, and at St. Paul’s, Shadwell, in the afternoon, I went to Brentford. I preached at six; and, taking chaise at twelve, on Monday, 15, easily reached Bath in the afternoon. Tuesday, 16. I paid a short visit to Bristol; preached in the evening and morning following, Wednesday, 17; and at one laid the foundation of the new chapel at Bath. The wind was piercing cold; yet scarce any of the congregation went away before the end of the sermon. After preaching at the Room in the evening, I took chaise, and the next afternoon reached London.
Just at this time there was a combination among many of the post-chaise drivers on the Bath road, especially those that drove in the night, to deliver their passengers into each other’s hands. One driver stopped at the spot they had appointed, where another waited to attack the chaise. In consequence of this, many were robbed; but I had a good Protector still. I have traveled all roads, by day and by night, for these forty years, and never was interrupted yet. Thur. 25. — I buried the remains of Mr. Bespham, many years Master of a man-of-war. From the time he received the truth in love, he was a pattern to all that believe. His faith was full of mercy and good fruits: His works shall praise him in the gates. Sat. 27. — A few days since, my Assistant, Mr. Baynes, by far the strongest person in our family, was taken ill of a fever. He was immediately attended both by an Apothecary and a Physician; but their labor was in vain: This morning God called him into the world of spirits. I had no desire to part with him; but God knew what was best both for him and me. Wed. 31. — We concluded the old year, and began the new, with prayer and thanksgiving. Four or five of the Local Preachers assisted me. I was agreeably surprised; their manner of praying being so artless and unlabored, and yet rational and scriptural, both as to sense and expression. Thur . January 1, 1778. — We had a very solemn opportunity of renewing our covenant with God. Tuesday, 6. I spent an agreeable and a profitable hour with three German gentlemen, two of them Lutheran Ministers, and the third, Professor of Divinity at Leipsig. I admired both their good sense, seriousness, and good breeding. How few of our Clergy exceed or equal them! Mon. 19. — I went over to Tunbridge-Wells, and preached in the large Dissenting meeting, to a numerous congregation; and deep attention sat on every face. Tuesday, 20. I went on, through miserable roads, to Robertsbridge; where an unusually large congregation was waiting. Thence we went on to Rye, where the House was sufficiently crowded, as usual.
How large a society would be here, could we but spare them in one thing!
Mr. Holman’s widow being extremely desirous I should lodge at Carborough, two miles from Rye, I ordered my chaise to take me up at the preaching-house immediately after the service. She had sent a servant to show me the way; which was a road dirty and slippery enough, cast up between two impassable marshes. The man waited a while, and then went home, leaving us to guide ourselves. Many rough journeys I have had; but such a one as this I never had before. It was one of the darkest nights I ever saw: It blew a storm, and yet poured down with rain. The descent, in going out of the town, was near as steep as the ridge of a house. As soon as we had passed it, the driver, being a stranger, knew not which way to turn. Joseph Bradford, whom I had taken into the chaise, perceiving how things were, immediately got out and walked at the head of the horses, (who could not possibly keep their eyes open, the rain so violently beating in their faces,) through rain, wind, mud, and water; till, in less than an hour, he brought us safe to Carborough. Wed. 21. — I went back to Shoreham. Mr. P., though in his eighty-fifth year, is still able to go through the whole Sunday Service. How merciful is God to the poor people of Shoreham! And many of them are not insensible of it. Mon . February 2. — I had the satisfaction of spending an hour with that real patriot, Lord——. What an unheard-of thing it is, that even in a Court, he should retain all his sincerity! He is, indeed, (what I doubt Secretary Craggs never was,) Statesman, yet friend to truth.
Perhaps no Prince in Europe, besides King George, is served by two of the honestest, and two of the most sensible, men in his kingdom.
This week I visited the society, and found a surprising difference in their worldly circumstances. Five or six years ago, one in three, among the lower ranks of people, was out of employment; and the case was supposed to be nearly the same through all London and Westminster. I did not now, after all the tragical outcries of want of trade that fill the nation, find one in ten out of business; nay, scarce one in twenty, even in Spitalfields. Sun. 15. — I buried the remains of Richard Burke, a faithful laborer in our Lord’s vineyard: A more unblamable character I have hardly known. In all the years that he has labored with us, I do not remember that he ever gave me occasion to find fault with him in any thing. He was a man of unwearied diligence and patience, and “his works do follow him.” Tues. 17. — I wrote “A Serious Address to the Inhabitants of England,” with regard to the present state of the nation, — so strangely misrepresented both by ignorant and designing men, — to remove, if possible, the apprehensions which have been so diligently spread, as if it were on the brink of ruin. Thur. 26. — I committed to the earth the remains of George Parsons. He has left very few like him; so zealously, so humbly, so unreservedly devoted to God. For some time his profiting has appeared to all men. He ripened apace for eternity. He was as a flame of fire, wherever he went; losing no occasion of speaking or working for God. So he finished his course in the midst of his years, and was quickly removed into the garner. Friday , 27, was the day appointed for the national fast; and it was observed with due solemnity. All shops were shut up; all was quiet in the streets; all places of public worship were crowded; no food was served up in the King’s house till five o’clock in the evening. Thus far, at least, we acknowledge God may direct our paths. Sun . March 1. — I preached at Brentford in the evening; Monday, 2, at Newbury; and the next evening at Bath. Wednesday, 4, I went on to Bristol. I found the panic had spread hither also, as if the nation were on the brink of ruin. Strange that those who love God should be so frightened at shadows! I can compare this only to the alarm which spread through the nation in King William’s time, that on that very night the Irish Papists were to cut the throats of all the Protestants in England. Mon. 9. — On this and the following days I visited the society, and found a good increase. This year I myself (which I have seldom done) chose the Preachers for Bristol; and these were plain men; and likely to do more good than has been done in one year, for these twenty years. Fri. 13. — I spent an hour with the children at Kingswood, many of whom are truly desirous to save their souls. Mon. 16. — I took a cheerful leave of our friends at Bristol, and set out once more for Ireland. After visiting Stroud, Gloucester, and Tewkesbury, on Wednesday, 18, I went over to Bewdley, and preached about noon at the upper end of the town, to most of the inhabitants of it. Thur. 19. — I preached to a large congregation, in the church at Bengeworth, and spent a little time very agreeably with the Rector, — a pious, candid, sensible man. In the evening I preached at Pebworth church; but I seemed out of my element. A long anthem was sung; but I suppose none beside the singers could understand one word of it. Is not that “praying in an unknown tongue?” I could no more bear it in any church of mine, than Latin prayers. Fri. 20. — I preached at Birmingham. Saturday, 21. Calling at Wolverhampton, I was informed that, some time since, a large, old house was taken, three or four miles from the town, which receives all the children that come, sometimes above four hundred at once. They are taught, gratis, reading, writing, and Popery; and, when at age, bound out apprentices.
In the evening I preached in the shell of the new House, at Newcastle-under-Lyne; and thence hastened forward, through Burslem, Congleton, Macclesfield, and Stockport, to Manchester. I found it needful here also, to guard honest Englishmen against the vast terror which had spread far and wide. I had designed going from hence to Chester, in order to embark at Parkgate; but a letter from Mr. Wagner informing me that a packet was ready to sail from Liverpool, I sent my horses forward, and followed them in the morning. But before I came thither, the wind turned west: So I was content. Sun. 22. — I was much refreshed by two plain, useful sermons, at St. Thomas’s church; as well as by the serious and decent behavior of the whole congregation. In the evening I exhorted all of our society who had been bred up in the Church, to continue therein. Tues. 31. — We went on board the Duke of Leinster, and fell down the river with a small side-wind: But in the morning, after a dead calm, a contrary wind arose, and blew exceeding hard. Wednesday, 1. The sea was rough enough. However, I went to sleep about my usual time, and in the morning found myself in Dublin Bay; and about seven we landed at the quay.
I was soon informed, that one of our friends, a strong, lively, healthy man, Mr. Ham, had died the day before. From the time he was taken ill, he was a mere self-condemned sinner, deeply convinced of his unfaithfulness to God, and declaring, I give up ev’ry plea beside, Lord, I am damn’d; but thou hast died. “When my wife dies,” said he, “let her be carried to the Room. She has been an honor to her profession. But I will not; I am not worthy; I have been no credit to you.” He continued full of self-condemnation, till, after a week’s illness, his spirit returned to God.
I daily conversed with many of the society, and had the satisfaction to find them both more united together, and more alive to God, than they had been for some years. Saturday . I began meeting the classes, and was agreeably surprised. I had heard, that near a hundred persons had left the society: On strict inquiry, I found about forty were wanting; the present number being about four hundred and sixty; and therefore were more loving and unanimous than I ever knew them before. Sun. 5. — Meeting the society in the evening, I largely explained the reasons of the late separation, and strongly exhorted all our brethren not to “render railing for railing.” Tues. 7. — I set out for the country, and reached Tyrrel’s Pass. It being a mild evening, I preached to a numerous congregation. The next evening it was larger still; and the power of the Lord was present to heal. Thur. 9. — Between eight and nine I preached in the Court-House at Mullingar, to a more serious congregation than I ever saw there before. In the evening I preached in the Court-House at Longford, to a far more numerous, and equally serious, congregation. Fri. 10. — About eleven I preached at Abydarrig; and before one set out for Athlone. The sun shone as hot as it uses to do at midsummer. We had a comfortable time, both this evening and the next day; all being peace and harmony. Sunday, 12. God spake in his word, both to wound and to heal.
One young woman came to me just after service, who then first rejoiced in God her Savior. Mon. 13. — About noon I preached at Ballinasloe to a large congregation; some of whom seemed to be much affected; so did many at Aghrim in the evening. Tuesday, 14. I went on to Eyre-Court. The wind was now piercing cold, so that I could not preach abroad: And there was no need; for the Minister not only lent me his church, but offered me a bed at his house; but I was obliged to go forward. At six in the evening I preached at Birr, to a congregation of deeply attentive hearers. Wed. 15. — I met many of my old friends at Coolylough, and had a numerous congregation in the evening. Thursday, 16. I preached in the riding-house in Tullamore. The Commanding Officer ordered all the soldiers to be present, and attended himself, with the rest of the Officers, while I explained, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”
April 17. — (Being Good-Friday.) I preached at Tullamore in the morning, and Mount-Mellick in the evening. Saturday, 18. I preached at Portarlington in the evening; and about eight in the morning to a very genteel, yet attentive, audience, on, “Acquaint thyself now with him, and be at peace.” I returned to Mount-Mellick before the church began, at which I would always be present, if possible. I would fain have preached abroad in the afternoon, but the weather would not permit; so we made all the room we could in the House, and had a solemn and comfortable meeting. Mon. 20. — Mr. Jenkins, the Vicar of Maryborough, read Prayers, and I preached on, “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” The congregation was far larger than when I was here before, and abundantly more attentive. Several Clergymen were present, and several gentlemen; but they were as serious as the poor. Tues . 21. — We found the election for Parliament-men had put all Kilkenny in an uproar. In consequence of this, we had a small, dead congregation. But another cause of this was, the bitter and perpetual quarrels between the chief members of the society. I talked largely with the contending parties, and they promised better behavior for the time to come. Wed. 22. — I went on to Clonmell, where, our Room being small, and the weather unfavorable for preaching abroad, we procured the largest room in the town, which was in the Quakers’ workhouse. I had scarce sat down when a young man came and said, “My father and mother send their kind respects, and would be glad of thy company this evening.” His mother (now Mrs. Dudley) was my old acquaintance, Molly Stokes. I went at four, and spent an hour very agreeably. But much company coming in, Mr. Dudley desired I would call again in the morning. I then told him what his wife was reported to say to me: He answered me, it was an utter mistake; that she had never spoke a disrespectful word concerning me. Thur. 23. — Several of our brethren from Cork met at Rathcormic. I was glad to find Mr. Rankin with them, just arrived from America. When we came to Cork, the congregation was waiting; so I began without delay. Sun. 26. — I earnestly exhorted a numerous congregation at eight, to “abstain from fleshly desires;” — a necessary lesson in every place, and no where more so than in Cork. At St. Peter’s church I saw a pleasing sight, the Independent Companies, raised by private persons associating together, without any expense to the Government. They exercised everyday; and, if they answer no other end, at least keep the Papists in order; who were exceedingly alert, ever since the army was removed to America. Mon. 27. — In going to Bandon, I read Abbe Raynal’s “History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the Indies.” I would be glad to propose a few queries. I ask, 1. Is not this “Philosophical History” (so called) in many parts profoundly dull; exactly fitted to spread a pleasing slumber over the eyes of the gentle reader? 2. Are there not several passages quite obscure? Is this the fault of the author or the translator? 3. Are there not several assertions which are false in fact? Such as that of the healthiness of Batavia, one of the unhealthiest places in the known world. 4. Do not many of his assertions so border upon the marvellous, that none but a disciple of Voltaire could swallow them? As the account of milk-white men, with no hair, red eyes, and the understanding of a monkey. 5. Is not Raynal one of the bitterest enemies of the Christian Revelations, that ever set pen to paper? Far more determined, and less decent, than Voltaire himself? As, where he so keenly inveighs against that horrid superstition, the depriving men of their natural liberty of whoredom! Does he not take every opportunity of wounding Christianity through the sides of superstition or enthusiasm? Is not the whole labored panegyrie on the Chinese and the Peruvians, a blow at the root of Christianity; insinuating all along, that there are no Christians in the world so virtuous as these Heathens? Prove this fact, and it undeniably follows that Christianity is not of God. But who can prove it? Not all the baptized or unbaptized Infidels in the world.
From what authentic history of China is that account taken? From none that is extant; it is pure romance, flowing from the Abbe’s fruitful brain. And from what authentic history of Peru is the account of the Peruvians taken? I suppose from that pretty novel of Marmontel, probably wrote with the same design. 6. Is not Raynal one of the most bitter enemies of Monarchy that ever set pen to paper? With what acrimony does he personally inveigh against it, as absolutely, necessarily, essentially subversive, not only of liberty, but of all national industry, all virtue, all happiness! And who can deny it? Who? The Abbe himself? He totally confutes his own favorite hypothesis: For was not Atabalipe a Monarch? Yea, a far more absolute one than the King of France? And yet was not Peru industrious, virtuous, and happy under this very Monarch?
So the Abbe peremptorily affirms, as it were on purpose to confute himself. And is not the Emperor of China, at this day, as absolute a Monarch as any in Europe? And yet who so industrious, according to Raynal, who so virtuous, so happy, as his subjects? So that he must totally give up either his argument against Christianity, or that against Monarchy. If the Peruvians were, and the Chinese are, the most industrious, virtuous, and happy men, then Monarchy is no way inconsistent with the industry, virtue, and happiness of a people. But if the Peruvians were, in these respects, and the Chinese are, no better than other men, (which is the very truth,) then the argument against Christianity falls to the ground.
From the largeness and the seriousness of the congregations here, I should have imagined the work of God was much increased; but, upon inquiry, I found just the contrary: Near one third of those were wanting whom I left in the society three years ago. Yet those who remained seemed much in earnest. In the evening God clothed his word with power; few appeared to be unaffected; and I was sorry I could not spend a little more time, where the fields were so white to the harvest. Wed. 29. — I returned to Cork, and met the classes. O when will even the Methodists learn not to exaggerate? After all the pompous accounts I had had of the vast increase of the society, it is not increased at all; nay, it is a little smaller than it was three years ago: And yet many of the members are alive to God. But the smiling world hangs heavy upon them. Sun . May 3. — I was a little surprised at a message from the Gentlemen of the Aghrim Society, (a company of Volunteers so called,) that, if I had no objection, they would attend at the new Room in the evening. They did so, with another Independent Company, who were just raised: (The True Blues:) A body of so personable men I never saw together before. The gentlemen in scarlet filled the side gallery; those in blue the front gallery:
But both galleries would not contain them all: Some were constrained to stand below. All behaved admirably well, though I spoke exceeding plain on, “We preach Christ crucified.” No laughing, no talking; all seemed to hear as for life. Surely this is a token for good. Mon. 4. — I went to Kilfinnan, in the neighborhood of which there is a considerable revival of the work of God. The rain continuing, I preached in a large empty house; and again at five in the morning. Probably I shall see that no more in the present world. We then went on, through abundance of rain, to Limerick.
I felt in the evening the spirit of the congregation, the same as many years ago; but in one circumstance I observed a considerable change: I used to have large congregations at my first coming to Limerick; but from the first day they gradually decreased. It was not so now; but poor and rich, Protestants and Papists, flocked together, from the beginning to the end.
Had they a presage, that they should see my face no more? Thur. 7. — I preached once more to the loving, earnest, simple-hearted people of Newmarket. Two months ago, good Philip Geier fell asleep, one of the Palatines that came over and settled in Ireland, between sixty and seventy years ago. He was a father both to this and the other German societies, loving and cherishing them as his own children. He retained all his faculties to the last, and after two days’ illness went to God. Fri. 8. — Finding the poor people at Balligarane, whom I had not seen these five years, were very desirous to see me once more, I went over in the morning. Although the notice was exceeding short, yet a large number attended. Sat. 9. — I wrote a “Compassionate Address to the Inhabitants of Ireland.” Through which, as well as through England, the mock patriots had labored to spread the alarm, as though we were all on the very brink of destruction. Sun. 10. — I examined the society, and have not known them for many years so much alive to God; and I do not remember to have ever found them so loving before: Indeed the whole city seemed to breathe the same spirit. At three in the afternoon I preached my farewell-sermon, on Corinthians 13:13; and setting out immediately, reached Snegborough before eight o’clock. Tues. 12. — Setting out early, I intended to lodge at Clare-Galway; but we found there was no lodging to be had. However, they told us there was a good inn at Shreuil, not many miles farther: And there we found a house; but it afforded no food either for man or beast; so we were obliged to push on for Ballinrobe, which we reached about eleven o’clock. We came this day sixty-eight (English) miles: A good day’s work for a pair of horses. Wed. 13. — I preached in the evening to a large congregation, but most of them dead as stones. The next morning I crossed over to Holly-Mount, and preached to more than the House would contain. In the afternoon we came to Castlebar, and had a lively congregation in the evening. Here we found the same spirit as at Limerick, and solemnly rejoiced in God our Savior. Sun. 17. — Although the weather was rough and boisterous, the people flocked at nine from all quarters, Papists and Protestants; and God sent down a gracious rain, especially upon the backsliders. In the evening the Court-House was exceedingly crowded, and the fire of love ran from heart to heart. One eminent backslider, who had drank in iniquity like water, was utterly broken in pieces, and resolved to cut off the right hand at once, and to be altogether a Christian.
When we came into the house, I told them, “God has more work to do in this family.” Two of John Carr’s sons, and four of his daughters, were present. I prayed for them in faith: They were all soon in tears; their hearts were broken, and I left them mere sinners. Mon. 18. — There were two roads to Sligo, one of which was several miles shorter, but had some sloughs in it. However, having a good guide, we chose this. Two sloughs we got over well. On our approaching the third, seven or eight countrymen presently ran to help us. One of them carried me over on his shoulders; others got the horses through; and some carried the chaise. We then thought the difficulty was past; but in half an hour we came to another slough: Being helped over it, I walked on, leaving Mr. Delap, John Carr, Joseph Bradford, and Jesse Bugden, with the chaise, which was stuck fast in the slough. As none of them thought of unharnessing the horses, the traces were soon broke: At length they fastened ropes to the chaise, and to the stronger horse; and the horse pulling, and the men thrusting at once, they thrust it through the slough to the firm land. In an hour or two after we all met at Ballinacurrah.
While I was walking, a poor man overtook me, who appeared to be in deep distress: He said, he owed his landlord twenty shillings rent, for which he had turned him and his family out of doors; and that he had been down with his relations to beg their help, but they would do nothing. Upon my giving him a guinea, he would needs kneel down in the road to pray for me; and then cried out, “O, I shall have a house! I shall have a house over my head!” So perhaps God answered that poor man’s prayer, by the sticking fast of the chaise in the slough! Tues. 19. — In the evening I preached at Sligo, in the old Court-House, an exceeding spacious building: I know not that ever I saw so large a congregation here before; nor (considering their number) so well behaved.
Upon inquiry, I found, there had been for some time a real revival of religion here. The congregations have considerably increased, and the society is nearly doubled. We had in the evening a larger congregation than before, among whom were most of the Gentry of the town: And all but one or two young gentlemen (so called) were remarkably serious and attentive.
I now received an intelligible account of the famous massacre at Sligo. A little before the Revolution, one Mr. Morris, a Popish gentleman, invited all the chief Protestants to an entertainment; at the close of which, on a signal given, the men he had prepared fell upon them, and left not one of them alive. As soon as King William prevailed, he quitted Sligo. But venturing thither about twenty years after, supposing no one then knew him, he was discovered, and used according to his deserts. Thur. 21. — I went on to Peter Taylor’s, near Swadlingbar. At six I preached in a large room in the town, designed for an assembly; where rich as well as poor behaved with the utmost decency. Fri. 22. — We went through a lovely country to Belturbet; once populous, now greatly decayed. At eleven I preached in the Armory, a noble room, to a very large and very serious congregation. At six I preached in the Court-House at Cavan, to a larger congregation than at Belturbet. Sat. 23. — I was desired to preach once more at Coote-Hill, which I had not seen for many years. The use of the Presbyterian meeting-house being procured, I had a very extraordinary congregation. To many Church-people were added Seceders, Arians, Moravians, and what not:
However, I went straight forward, insisting that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.”
After dinner we went on to Clones, finely situated on the top of a hill, in the midst of a fruitful and well-cultivated country; and the people seemed as sprightly as the place. I preached in the Green-Fort near the town, to abundance of people, but no trillers. Sunday, 24. I preached there again at nine, to a still larger congregation; but the far largest of all was in the evening; the people coming in from all parts of the country.
There is something very peculiar in this people: They are more plain, open, and earnest, than most I have seen in the kingdom. Indeed, some of our Irish societies, those in Athlone, Limerick, Castlebar, and Clones, have much of the spirit of our old Yorkshire societies. Mon. 25. — I went through a pleasant country to Aughalan. A very large congregation was soon assembled; and the rich seemed to be as attentive as the poor. So they were also in the evening at Sidare. Tues. 26. — We went on to Loghean. Wednesday, 27. I received a very remarkable account from Mrs. Brown, a gentlewoman in the neighborhood.
She said, “Six years ago my daughter Jane, then seventeen years old, was struck raving mad; she would strike any one she could, particularly her father; she cursed and swore horribly; she never slept; and let her hands be bound ever so fast over night, they were loose in the morning. The best Physicians were consulted, and all means used; but to no purpose. On Thursday , December 28, last, she violently struck her father on the breast; the next day, Friday , 29, she was perfectly well, without using any means at all; and she has continued ever since, not only in her senses, but full of faith and love.” Thur. 28. — Between nine and ten I preached at a village called Magharacolton, to a large and serious congregation; and in the evening, at Londonderry. Considering the largeness and seriousness of the congregations, I wonder no more good is done here. Mon . June 1. — I went over to the New-Buildings, and took my honorable post in the Mill. Deep attention sat on every face. So it usually does, when the poor have the Gospel preached. I preached at Londonderry in the evening, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” How happy would many of those be, if they had but thoroughly learned this lesson! Wed. 3. — I took an account of the present society, a little smaller than it was three years ago. Thursday, 4. I took my leave of this affectionate people, and about eleven preached at New-Town, Limavaddy. In the afternoon I went on to Kilrea, and was cordially received by Mr. Haughton, once a Traveling Preacher, now a Magistrate, and Rector of a parish. But the church wherein it was at first proposed I should preach, is, as I found, a mere heap of ruins: So I preached in the new meeting-house; a very large and commodious building. Abundance of people flocked together; some of them seemed not a little affected; and all were seriously attentive: Surely some will bring forth good fruit. Fri. 5. — We went on to Coleraine. As the barracks here are empty, we hired one wing, which, by laying several rooms into one, supplied us with a spacious preaching-house; but it would not contain a third of the congregation; but standing at the door, I had them all before me in the barrack-square. Sat. 6. — I was desired to take a ride to the celebrated Giant’s Causeway.
It lies eleven English miles from Coleraine. When we came to the edge of the precipice, three or four poor boys were ready to hold our horses, and show us the way down. It being dead low water, we could go any where, and see every thing to the best advantage. It is doubtless the effect of subterraneous fire. This manifestly appears from many of the stones which composed the pillars that are now fallen down: These evidently bear the mark of fire, being burnt black on one or the other surface. It appears likewise from the numerous pumice-stones scattered among the pillars: Just such pillars and pumices are found in every country which is, or ever was, subject to volcanoes.
In the evening I saw a pleasing sight. A few days ago a young gentlewoman, without the knowledge of her relations, entered into the society: She was informed this evening that her sister was speaking to me upon the same account. As soon as we came into the room, she ran to her sister, fell upon her neck, wept over her, and could just say, “O sister, sister!” before she sunk down upon her knees to praise God. Her sister could hardly bear it; she was in tears too, and so were all in the room. Such are the first fruits at Coleraine. May there be a suitable harvest! Sun. 7. — I breakfasted with Mr. Boyd, the twin-soul, for humility and love, with Mr. Sh——, of Staplehurst. I read Prayers for him, and administered the sacrament to such a number of communicants as I suppose never met there before. A little before the time of preaching, the rain ceased, and we had a wonderful congregation in the barrack-yard in the evening. Many of them were present at five in the morning, when I left them full of love and good desires. About nine I preached in the Town-Hall at Ballimannely; about twelve, at another little town; and in the evening, at Ballymena. Tues. 9. — We rode through a small village, wherein was a little society.
One desiring me to step into a house there, it was filled presently; and the poor people were all ear, while I gave a short exhortation, and spent a few minutes in prayer. In the evening, as the Town-Hall at Carrickfergus could not contain the congregation, I preached in the market-house, on, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man.” The people in general appeared to be more serious, and the society more earnest, than they had been for many years.
Thence we went to Belfast, the largest town in Ulster, said to contain thirty thousand souls. The streets are well laid out; are broad, straight, and well-built. The poor-house stands on an eminence, fronting the main street, and having a beautiful prospect on every side over the whole country: The old men, the old women, the male and the female children, are all employed according, to their strength; and all their apartments are airy, sweet, and clean, equal to any thing of the kind I have seen in England.
I preached in the evening on one side of the new church, to far the largest congregation I have seen in Ireland; but I doubt the bulk of them were nearly concerned in my text, “And Gallio cared for none of these things.” Thur. 11. — About nine I preached to five or six hundred people in the old church at Newtown, Clannibois. The sight of these vast buildings and large gardens running to decay, through the extinction of the family that lately owned them, (so successful was the scheme of those wretches who purposely educated poor Mr. C——, the last of the family, in such a manner as to insure his not living long, and his dying without issue,) always makes me pensive; but still our comfort is, “There is a God that judgeth in the earth.”
About twelve I preached at Kirkhubly: Thence we went to Port-a-ferry, and found a ready passage to Strangford. I stood on the point of a rock, which projected into a large circular cavity, that contained in the hollow, and round the edge of it, all the multitude who flocked together. I spoke longer than I used to do; and was no more weary when I had done, than I was at six in the morning. After service we went to Downpatrick, where I slept in peace. Fri. 12. — I walked through the town; I suppose one of the most ancient in Ulster. I was informed, it was once abundantly larger than it is now; consisting of the Irish town, then inhabited by none but Roman Catholics; and the English town, encompassed with a wall, and a deep ditch filled with water. At the head of the English town stands the Abbey, on a hill which commands all the country. It is a noble ruin, and is far the largest building that I have seen in the kingdom. Adjoining to it is one of the most beautiful groves which I ever beholden with my eyes: It covers the sloping side of the hill, and has vistas cut through it every way. In the middle of it is a circular space, twenty or thirty yards in diameter. I would have preached there, but the rain drove into the House as many as could crowd together. Sat. 13. — I took my stand in the middle of the Grove; the people standing before me on the gradually rising ground, which formed a beautiful theater: The sun just glimmered through the trees, but did not hinder me at all. It was a glorious opportunity: The whole congregation seemed to drink into one spirit. Sun. 14. — I preached at Dunsford in the morning. In the evening the congregation in the Grove exceeded even that at Belfast; and I verily believe all of them were almost persuaded to be Christians. Mon. 15. — I left Downpatrick with much satisfaction; and in the evening preached in the Linen-Hall at Lisburn, to near as large a congregation as that in the Grove; but not near so much affected. Afterwards I went to my old lodging at Derry-Aghy, one of the pleasantest spots in the kingdom; and I could relish it now! How does God bring us down to the gates of death, and bring us up again! Tues. 16. — I preached at eight to a lively congregation, under the venerable old yew, supposed to have flourished in the reign of King James, if not of Queen Elizabeth. Wed. 17. — At eleven our brethren flocked to Lisburn from all parts, whom I strongly exhorted, in the Apostle’s words, to “walk worthy of the Lord.” At the love-feast which followed, we were greatly comforted; many of the country people declaring with all simplicity, and yet with great propriety both of sentiment and expression, what God had done for their souls. Thur. 18. — I preached at Ballinderry, (in my way to Lurgan,) where many flocked together, though at a very short warning. We had four or five times as many in the evening at Lurgan; but some of them wild as colts untamed. However, they all listened to that great truth, “Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.” Fri. 19. — I preached about noon to a serious company at Derry-Anvil; and then went on to Cockhill. I preached here at the bottom of the garden; the table was placed under a tree, and most of the people sat on the grass before it; and every thing seemed to concur with the exhortation, “Acquaint thyself now with him, and be at peace.” Sat. 20. — I travelled through a delightful country to Charlemont, where Captain Tottenham was the Commanding Officer. We lodged with him in the castle, which stands on an eminence, and commands the country on all sides. A tent was set up in the castle-yard, where all the soldiers were drawn up at eleven, with abundance of people from many miles round, who were all attention. In the evening their number was considerably enlarged; but still all heard as for life. Sun. 21. — I preached at nine in the avenue at Armagh, to a large and serious congregation. It was increased four-fold at six in the evening; but many were there who behaved as if they had been in a bear-garden. Mon. 22. — I took a walk to the Primate’s; and went through the house, and all the improvements. The house is neat and handsome, but not magnificent; and is elegantly, but not splendidly, furnished. The domain is beautifully laid out in meadow ground, sprinkled with trees; on one side of which is a long hill covered with a shrubbery, cut into serpentine walks.
On each side of the shrubbery is a straight walk, commanding a beautiful prospect. Since this Primate came, the town wears another face: He has repaired and beautified the cathedral, built a row of neat houses for the Choral-Vicars, erected a public Library and an Infirmary, procured the Free-School to be rebuilt of the size of a little College and a new-built horse-barrack, together with a considerable number of convenient and handsome houses; so that Armagh is at length rising out of its ruins into a large and populous city. So much good may any man of a large fortune do, if he lays it out to the best advantage! Tues. 23. — I went on to Tanderagee, one of the pleasantest towns in Ireland. As it was a fair, calm evening, I had designed to preach in the avenue to the Castle; but being desired to preach in the court-yard, I took my place under a tall spreading tree, in the midst of a numerous congregation, who were still as night. There could not be devised a more pleasing scene: The clear sky, the setting sun, the surrounding woods, the plain, unaffected people, were just suitable to the subject, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Wed. 24. — For exactly two months, we have had only two days without rain. In the evening I preached in the same lovely place. I dined, supped, and lodged at Dr. Lesley’s, the Rector; a well-bred, sensible, and I believe a pious man. We had family prayers before supper, which he read with admirable propriety and devotion; and I know not that I have spent a more agreeable evening since I came into the kingdom. Thur. 25. — I walked round Dr. Lesley’s domain: A pleasanter spot I never saw. It lies on the top of a fruitful hill, at a small distance from the town; and commands the whole view of a lovely country, east, west, north, and south; and it is laid out with the finest taste imaginable. The ground I took for a park I found was an orchard, tufted with fruit-trees and flowering-shrubs; and surrounded with a close, shady walk. I spent another hour with the amiable family this morning; and it was an hour I shall not soon forget: But it will never return! For one, if not more, of that lovely company, are since removed to Abraham’s bosom. In the evening I preached to a large congregation at Newry; and on Saturday morning returned to Dublin.
I had now just finished Xenophon’s KUROU PAIDEIA; some parts of which I think are exceeding dull, particularly his numerous speeches, and above all the tedious dialogue between Cyrus and Cambyses. But what a beautiful picture does he draw of Cyrus! What an understanding! and what tempers! Did ever a Heathen come up to this? Not since the world began.
Few, exceeding few, even of the best instructed Christians have attained so unblamable a character. Sun. 28. — I am this day seventy-five years old; and I do not find myself, blessed be God, any weaker than I was at five-and-twenty. This also hath God wrought!
All this week I visited as many as I could, and endeavored to confirm their love to each other; and I have not known the society for many years so united as it is now. Sat . July 4. — A remarkable piece was put into my hands; the “Life of Mr. Morsay:” And I saw no reason to alter the judgment which I had formed of him forty years ago. He was a man of uncommon understanding, and greatly devoted to God. But he was a consummate enthusiast. Not the word of God, but his own imaginations, which he took for divine inspirations, were the sole rule both of his words and actions. Hence arose his marvellous instability, taking such huge strides backwards and forwards; hence his frequent darkness of soul: For when he departed from God’s word, God departed from him. Upon the whole, I do not know that ever I read a more dangerous writer; one who so wonderfully blends together truth and falsehood; solid piety, and wild enthusiasm. Tues. 7. — Our little Conference began, at which about twenty Preachers were present. On Wednesday we heard one of our friends at large, upon the duty of leaving the Church; but after a full discussion of the point, we all remained firm in our judgment, — that it is our duty not to leave the Church, wherein God has blessed us, and does bless us still. Sun. 12. — After I had several times explained the nature of it, we solemnly renewed our covenant with God. It was a time never to be forgotten; God poured down upon the assembly “the spirit of grace and supplication;” especially in singing that verse of the concluding hymn, — To us the covenant blood apply, Which takes our sins away; And register our names on high, And keep us to that day.
This afternoon, Mr. Delap, one of our Preachers, walking through the city, met a crowd of people running from a mad dog, who had bit several persons: He walked on, took up a large stone, struck the dog on the head, and knocked him down; he then leaped upon him, and dispatched him; while the people crowded round, and gave him abundance of thanks. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I visited many of those who had left the society; but I found them so deeply prejudiced, that, till their hearts are changed, I could not advise them to return to it. Thur. 16. — I went with a few friends to Lord Charlemont’s, two or three miles from Dublin. It is one of the pleasantest places I have ever seen: The water, trees, and lawns, are so elegantly intermixed with each other; having a serpentine walk running through a thick wood on one side, and an open prospect both of land and sea on the other. In the thickest part of the wood is the Hermitage, a small room, dark and gloomy enough. The Gothic temple, at the head of a fine piece of water, which is encompassed with stately trees, is delightful indeed. But the most elegant of all the buildings is not finished: The shell of it is surprisingly beautiful, and the rooms well contrived both for use and ornament. But what is all this unless God is here? Unless he is known, loved, and enjoyed? Not only vanity, unable to give happiness, but vexation of spirit. Sun. 19. — In the evening I went on board the Prince of Orange; but, the wind failing, we soon struck upon a sandbank. We got clear of it about five in the morning, and set sail. All the day before there had been a strong northeast wind; this had raised the sea to an uncommon degree, which affected me full as much as a storm. However, lying down at four in the afternoon, I fell asleep, and slept most of the time till four in the morning.
About six we landed on Liverpool quay, and all my sickness was over. Tues. 21. — We had, as usual, a very numerous and very serious congregation. Wednesday, 22. I went on to Bolton. The new House here is the most beautiful in the country. It was well filled in the evening; and I believe many of the audience tasted largely of the powers of the world to come, while I enlarged upon our Lord’s words, “Neither can they die any more; for they are equal to angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Fri. 24. — I preached at Bury and Rochdale, and the next evening at Halifax. Sunday, 26. The House was tolerably well filled at eight.
Understanding there was great need of it, I preached on, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” I spoke with all plainness, and yet did not hear that any one was offended.
At one I preached on those words in the Gospel for the day, “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Such a time I have not known for some years: The House was extremely crowded; but I believe there was not only no inattentive but no unaffected hearer. In the evening I preached at Bradford, to such a congregation as I have not seen since I left London. Sat . August 1. — I was desired to take a view of Mr. Busfield’s improvements near Bingley. His house stands on the top of a hill clothed with wood, opposite to another which is covered with tall oaks. Between the hills runs the river. On the top, at the bottom, through the midst, and along the side of his woods, he has made partly straight, partly serpentine, walks; some of which command a lovely prospect. He is continually making new improvements: But will not that thought frequently intrude, — Must I then leave thee, Paradise? Then leave These happy shades and mansions fit for Gods?
Sun. 2. — At one I preached at the foot of Birstal-hill, to the largest congregation that ever was seen there. It was supposed there were twelve or fourteen thousand; but there were some thousands more at Leeds: I think it was the largest congregation that I have seen for many years, except that at Gwennap, in Cornwall. Tues. 4. — Our Conference began: So large a number of Preachers never met at a Conference before. I preached, morning and evening, till Thursday night: Then my voice began to fail; so I desired two of our Preachers to supply my place the next day. On Saturday the Conference ended. Sun. 9. — I preached at eight in the market-place at Dewsbury, to some thousands of serious people; as Mr. Pawley would not permit me to preach in the church, because it would give offense!
After visiting Bradford and Halifax, I struck across to Manchester and Stockport; and went on by moderate journeys to London. Having soon finished my business there, on Monday, 17, Dr. Coke, my brother, and I, took coach for Bristol; and early on Thursday, 20, I set out for Cornwall. I preached at Taunton that evening; Friday, 21, at Exon; and on Saturday reached the Dock. Sun. 23. — At seven I preached in our Room, and at one on the quay, at Plymouth. The common people behaved well; but I was shocked at the stupidity and ill-breeding of several Officers, who kept walking and talking together all the time with the most perfect unconcern. We had no such Gallios in the evening at the Dock, though the congregation was four times as large. Surely this is an understanding people: May their love be equal to their knowledge! Mon. 24. — In the way to Medros, Mr. Furz gave me a strange relation, which was afterwards confirmed by eye and ear witnesses: — In July, 1748, Martin Hoskins, of Sithney, being in a violent passion, was struck raving mad, and obliged to be chained down to the floor. Charles Sk—— went to see him. He cried out, “Who art thou? Hast thou faith? No; thou art afraid.” Charles felt an inexpressible shock, and was raving mad himself. He continued so for several days, till some agreed to keep a day of fasting and prayer. His lunacy then ended as suddenly as it began. But what was peculiarly remarkable was, while he was ill, Martin was quite well: As soon as he was well, Martin was as ill as ever.
Thence I went on to Redruth, Helstone, and Penzance. On Thursday, 27, in the evening I preached in the market-place, at St. Just. Very few of our old society are now left: The far greater part of them are in Abraham’s bosom. But the new generation are of the same spirit; serious, earnest, devoted to God; and particularly remarkable for simplicity and Christian sincerity. Fri . 28. — The Stewards of the societies met at St. Ives, — a company of pious, sensible men. I rejoiced to find that peace and love prevailed through the whole Circuit. Those who styled themselves My Lady’s Preachers, who screamed, and railed, and threatened to swallow us up, are vanished away. I cannot learn that they have made one convert; a plain proof that God did not send them.
One was mentioning today a wonderful oration, which Mr. Rowland H. had lately made. I thought Mr. Toplady had not left behind him his fellow; but see! — ——Primo avulso, non deficit alter Aureus, et simili frondescit virga metallo. f5 Sat. 29. — I found the venerable old man at Cubert pale, thin, and scarce half alive. However, he made shift to go in a chaise to the preaching, and, deaf as he was, to hear almost every word. He had such a night’s rest as he had not had for many months, and in the morning seemed hardly the same person. It may be God will give him a little longer life, for the good of many. Sun. 30. — About five I preached in the amphitheater at Gwennap, it was believed, to four-and-twenty thousand. Afterwards I spent a solemn hour with the society, and slept in peace. Mon. 31. — About eleven I preached to a large and serious congregation, near the Town-Hall, in Bodmin; and about six in the evening at Launceston; a town as little troubled with religion as most in Cornwall. Tues . September 1. — I went to Tiverton. I was musing here on what I heard a good man say long since, — “Once in seven years I burn all my sermons; for it is a shame if I cannot write better sermons now than I could seven years ago.” Whatever others can do, I really cannot. I cannot write a better sermon on the Good Steward, than I did seven years ago: I cannot write a better on the Great Assize, than I did twenty years ago: I cannot write a better on the Use of Money, than I did near thirty years ago: Nay, I know not that I can write a better on the Circumcision of the Heart, than I did five-and-forty years ago. Perhaps, indeed I may have read five or six hundred books more than I had then, and may know a little more History, or Natural Philosophy, than I did; but I am not sensible that this has made any essential addition to my knowledge in Divinity. Forty years ago I knew and preached every Christian doctrine which I preach now. Thur. 3. — About noon I preached at Cathanger, about eight miles from Taunton. It was an exceeding large house, built (as the inscription over the gate testifies) in the year 1555, by Sergeant Walsh, who had then eight thousand pounds a year; perhaps more than equal to twenty thousand now. But the once famous family is now forgotten; the estate is mouldered almost into nothing; and three quarters of the magnificent buildings lie level with the dust. I preached in the great hall, like that of Lincoln College, to a very serious congregation. In the evening I preached at South-Petherton, once a place of renown, and the capital of a Saxon kingdom; as is vouched by a palace of King Ina still remaining, and a very large and ancient church.
I suppose the last blow given to it was by Judge Jefferies, who, after Monmouth’s rebellion, hanged so many of the inhabitants, and drove so many away, that it is never likely to lift up its head again. Fri. 4. — I spent some time in the evening, and an hour in the morning, with the lovely children at Publow. Such another company of them I never saw, since Miss Bosanquet removed from Leytonstone. Sat. 5. — I returned to Bristol. Sunday, 6. At eight I preached near the Drawbridge; at two near Kingswood school, under the tree which I planted for the use of the next generation; and at five, near King’s square, to a very numerous and exceeding serious congregation. Mon. 7. — In my way to Bath I read a pamphlet which surprised me exceedingly. For many years I had heard the King severely blamed for giving all places of trust and profit to Scotchmen: And this was so positively and continually affirmed, that I had no doubt of it. To put the matter beyond all possible dispute, the writer appeals to the Court Kalendar of the present year, which contains the names of all those that hold places under the King. And hereby it appears, that of four hundred and fifty odd places, just eight are possessed by Scotchmen; and of the hundred and fifty-one places in the Royal Household, four are possessed by Scots, and no more.
Ought not this to be echoed through the three kingdoms, to show the regard to truth these wretches have, who are constantly endeavoring to inflame the nation against their Sovereign, as well as their fellow-subjects? Tues. 8. — In the evening I stood on one side of the market-place at Frome, and declared to a very numerous congregation, “His commandments are not grievous.” They stood as quiet as those at Bristol, a very few excepted; most of whom were, by the courtesy of England, called Gentlemen. How much inferior to the keelmen and colliers!
On Wednesday and Thursday I made a little excursion into Dorsetshire, and on Saturday returned to Bristol. Sunday, 13. We had a comfortable opportunity at the Room in the morning, as well as at the Square in the afternoon; where the congregation was considerably larger than the Sunday before: But on Sunday, 20, it was larger still. Now let the winter come: We have made our full use of the Michaelmas summer.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, on meeting the classes, I carefully examined whether there was any truth in the assertion, that above a hundred in our society were concerned in unlawful distilling. The result was, that I found two persons, and no more, that were concerned therein.
I now procured a copy of part of Mr. Fletcher’s late Letter to Mr. Ireland; which I think it my duty to publish, as a full answer to the lying accounts which have been published concerning that bad man: — “Mr. Voltaire, finding himself ill, sent for Dr. Fronchin, first Physician to the Duke of Orleans, one of his converts to infidelity, and said to him, ‘Sir, I desire you will save my life. I will give you half my fortune, if you will lengthen out my days only six months. If not, I shall go to the devil, and carry you with me.’” Thur. 24. — I read Prayers and preached in Midsummer-Norton church.
Thence I went to Bradford, on a sultry hot day, such as were several days this month; and preached on the seed that fell among thorns. God strongly applied his word. Tues. 29. — I preached at Almsbury, to a large number of plain people, who seemed just ripe for the Gospel. We observed Friday, OCTOBER 2, as a day of fasting and prayer, for our King and nation. We met, as usual, at five, at nine, at one, and in the evening. At each time, I believe, some found that God was with us; but more especially in the concluding service. Sat. 3. — Visiting one at the poor-house, I was much moved to see such a company of poor, maimed, halt, and blind, who seemed to have no one caring for their souls. So I appointed to be there the next day; and at two o’clock had all that could get out of bed, young and old, in the great hall.
My heart was greatly enlarged toward them, and many blessed God for the consolation. Monday, I went with my brother to the Devizes, and preached in a large, commodious room. This and the following evening we preached at Sarum. Wednesday, 7. We went on to Winchester. I had thoughts of preaching abroad, if haply any thing might awaken a careless, self-conceited people.
But the rain would not permit: And it made the road so heavy that we could not reach Portsmouth-Common till near six. Thur. 8. — One of our friends, whom I have known several years, Mrs. Sarah M——d, and on whose veracity I could depend, was mentioning some uncommon circumstances. I desired her to relate them at large, which she readily did as follows: — “Six or seven years ago, a servant of my husband’s died of the small-pox. A few days after, as I was walking into the town, I met him in his common everyday clothes, running towards me. In about a minute he disappeared. “Mr. Heth, a Surgeon and Apothecary, died in March, 1756. On the 14th of April following, I was walking with two other women in the High-Street, about day-break, and we all three saw him, dressed as he usually was, in a scarlet surtout, a bushy wig, and a very small hat. He was standing and leaning against a post, with his chin resting on his hands. As we came towards him, (for we were not frighted at all,) he walked towards us, and went by us. We looked steadily after him, and saw him till he turned into the market-house. “Not long after this, Mr. Sm—— died. Ten or twelve days after, as I was walking near his house, about eleven o’clock, in a bright, sunshiny day, I saw him standing at his chamber window, and looking full upon me; but it was with the most horrid countenance that I ever saw. As I walked on, I could not keep my eyes off him, till he withdrew from the window, though I was so terrified with his ghastly look, that I was ready to drop down.” Fri. 9. — I returned to London, and Sunday, 11, buried the remains of Eleanor Lee. I believe she received the great promise of God, entire sanctification, fifteen or sixteen years ago, and that she never lost it for an hour. I conversed intimately with her ever since, and never saw her do any action, little or great, nor heard her speak any word, which I could reprove.
Thou wast indeed “a mother in Israel!” Tues . 13. — I took a little tour into Oxfordshire, and preached in the evening at Wallingford. Wednesday, 14. I went on to Oxford, and, having an hour to spare, walked to Christ-Church, for which I cannot but still retain a peculiar affection. What lovely mansions are these! What is wanting to make the inhabitants of them happy? That, without which, no rational creature can be happy, — the experimental knowledge of God. In the evening I preached at Finstock, to a congregation gathered from many miles round. How gladly could I spend a few weeks in this delightful solitude! But I must not rest yet. As long as God gives me strength to labor, I am to use it. Thursday, 15. I preached at Witney. Since Nancy B. has been detained here, the work of God has greatly revived. Mysterious Providence! That one capable of being so extremely useful, should be thus shut up in a corner! Fri. 16. — I was desired to preach at Thame, on my return to London. I came thither a little after ten. The mob had been so troublesome there, that it was a doubt with the Preachers, whether the place should not be given up. However, I thought it might not be amiss, before this was done, to make one trial myself. But I found it impracticable to preach abroad, the wind being so exceeding sharp. I went therefore into a large building, formerly used by the Presbyterians. It was quickly filled, and more than filled, many being obliged to stand without. Yet there was no breath of noise; the whole congregation seemed to be “all but their attention dead.”
Immediately after, a strange scene occurred. I was desired to visit one who had been eminently pious, but had now been confined to her bed for several months, and was utterly unable to raise herself up. She desired us to pray, that the chain might be broken. A few of us prayed in faith.
Presently she rose up, dressed herself, came down stairs, and I believe had not any farther complaint. In the evening I preached at High-Wycomb, and on Saturday returned to London. Mon. 19. — About noon I reached Mr. Fary’s near Little Brickhill. I designed to preach in the House; but the number of people obliged me to preach abroad, in spite of the keen east winds. Tuesday, 20. I preached about noon at Hanslip, and in the evening at Moreton, near Buckingham. Wednesday, 21. I preached about noon at Silston, (properly Silverstone,) and then walked with a company of our friends to Whittlebury. This is the flower of all our societies in the Circuit, both for zeal and simplicity. Thursday, 22. I preached at Towcester; on Friday, at Northampton; and on Saturday, returned to London. Mon. 26. — I set out in the diligence to Godmanchester, hoping to be there by six in the evening. But we did not come till past eight: So, most of the people being gone, I only gave a short exhortation. At five in the morning we had a large congregation, but a much larger in the evening. Wednesday, 28. About noon I preached at St. Neot’s, and afterwards visited a lovely young woman, who appeared to be in the last stage of a consumption, and was feebly gasping after God. She seemed to be just ripe for the Gospel, which she drank in with all her soul. God speedily brought her to the blood of sprinkling, and a few days after she died in peace.
I preached in the evening at Bedford and the next day, Thursday, 29, at Luton. We had a miserable preaching-house here: But Mr. Cole has now fitted up a very neat and commodious Room, which was thoroughly filled with well behaved and deeply attentive hearers. How long did we seem to be ploughing the sand here! But it seems there will be some fruit at last. Fri. 30. — I preached at noon to fifty or sixty dull creatures, at poor, desolate Hertford; and they heard with something like seriousness. In the afternoon I went on to London. Sunday , November 1 , was the day appointed for opening the new chapel in the City-Road. It is perfectly neat, but not fine; and contains far more people than the Foundery: I believe, together with the morning chapel, as many as the Tabernacle. Many were afraid that the multitudes, crowding from all parts, would have occasioned much disturbance. But they were happily disappointed: There was none at all: All was quietness, decency, and order. I preached on part of Solomon’s Prayer at the Dedication of the Temple; and both in the morning and afternoon, (when I preached on the hundred forty and four thousand standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion,) God was eminently present in the midst of the congregation. Mon. 2. — I went to Chatham, and preached in the evening to a lively, loving congregation. Tuesday, 3. I went by water to Sheerness. Our Room being far too small for the people that attended, I sent to the Governor to desire (what had been allowed me before) the use of the chapel. He refused me, (uncivilly enough,) affecting to doubt whether I was in orders! So I preached to as many as it would contain in our own Room. Wed. 4. — I took a view of the old church at Minster, once a spacious and elegant building. It stands pleasantly on the top of a hill, and commands all the country round. We went from thence to Queensborough, which contains above fifty houses, and sends two members to Parliament. Surely the whole Isle of Sheppy is now but a shadow of what it was once. Thur . 5. — I returned to Chatham, and on the following morning set out in the stage-coach for London. At the end of Stroud, I chose to walk up the hill, leaving the coach to follow me. But it was in no great haste: It did not overtake me till I had walked above five miles. I cared not if it had been ten: The more I walk, the sounder I sleep. Sun. 15. — Having promised to preach in the evening at St. Antholine’s church, I had desired one to have a coach ready at the door, when the service at the new chapel was ended. But he had forgot; so that, after preaching and meeting the society, I was obliged to walk as fast as I could to the church. The people were so wedged together, that it was with difficulty I got in. The church was extremely hot; but this I soon forgot; for it pleased God to send a gracious rain upon his inheritance. Thur. 26. — I fulfilled the dying request of Ann Thwayte, by burying her remains, and preaching her funeral sermon. In all the changes of those about her, she stood steadfast, doing and suffering the will of God: She was a woman of faith and prayer; in life and death adorning the doctrine of God her Savior. Sun. 29. — I was desired to preach a charity sermon in St. Luke’s church, Old-Street. I doubt whether it was ever so crowded before; and the fear of God seemed to possess the whole audience. In the afternoon I preached at the new chapel; and at seven, in St. Margaret’s, Rood-Lane; full as much crowded as St. Luke’s. Is then the scandal of the Cross ceased? Tues . December 1. — I went to Rye. Here, as in many other places, those who begin to flee from the wrath to come are continually “received to doubtful disputations;” puzzled and perplexed with intricate questions concerning absolute and unconditional decrees! Lord, how long wilt thou suffer this? How long shall these well-meaning zealots destroy the dawning work of grace, and strangle the children in the birth? Wed. 2. — In the evening I preached at Robertsbridge, and spoke with all possible plainness, both for the sake of threescore children, and of a large congregation of serious, attentive people. Thur. 3. — Many at Sevenoaks seemed deeply affected, while I was applying those words, “Do ye now believe?” Especially while I was reminding them of the deep work which God wrought among them twelve or fourteen years ago. Friday, going on to Shoreham, I found Mr. P. once more brought back from the gates of death; undoubtedly for the sake of his little flock; who avail themselves of his being spared too, and continually increase not only in number, but in the knowledge and love of God. Sun. 6. — I buried the remains of Merchant West, snatched away in the midst of his years. From a child he had the fear of God, and was serious and unblamable in his behavior. When he was a journeyman, he was reverenced by all who wrought in the shop with him; he was a pattern of diligence in all things, spiritual and temporal. During a long and severe illness, his patience was unshaken, till he joyfully resigned his spirit to God. Mon. 7. — I took a little journey to Canterbury and Dover, and was much comforted among a loving, earnest people. Friday, 11. I preached at Lambeth, in the chapel newly prepared by Mr. Edwards, whose wife has seventy-five boarders. Miss Owen, at Publow, takes only twenty, thinking she cannot do her duty to any more. Fri. 18. — I called upon Colonel Gallatin. But what a change is here: The fine gentleman, the soldier, is clean gone, sunk into a feeble, decrepit old man; not able to rise off his seat, and hardly able to speak. Sun. 20. — I buried what was mortal of honest Silas Told. For many years he attended the malefactors in Newgate, without fee or reward; and I suppose no man for this hundred years has been so successful in that melancholy office. God had given him peculiar talents for it; and be had amazing success therein. The greatest part of those whom he attended died in peace, and many of them in the triumph of faith. Fri. 25. — (Being Christmas-Day. ) Our service began at four, as usual, in the new chapel. I expected Mr. Richardson to read Prayers at West-Street chapel, but he did not come; so I read Prayers myself, and preached, and administered the sacrament to several hundred people. In the afternoon I preached at the new chapel, thoroughly filled in every corner; and in the evening at St. Sepulchre’s, one of the largest parish churches in London. It was warm enough, being sufficiently filled; yet I felt no weakness or weariness, but was stronger after I had preached my fourth sermon, than I was after the first. Thur. 31. — We concluded the old year with a solemn watch-night, and began the new with praise and thanksgiving. We had a violent storm at night. The roaring of the wind was like loud thunder. It kept me awake half an hour; I then slept in peace. Fri . January 1, 1779. — At length we have a House capable of containing the whole society. We met there this evening to renew our covenant with God; and we never met on that solemn occasion without a peculiar blessing. Tues . 12. — I dined and drank tea with four German Ministers. I could not but admire the wisdom of those that appointed them. They seem to consider not only the essential points, their sense and piety, but even those smaller things, the good breeding, the address, yea, the persons of those they send into foreign countries. Sun. 24. — I visited a young woman in such terrible fits as I scarce ever saw before; and she was hardly out of one, when she fell into another; so that it seemed she must soon lose her reason, if not her life. But Dr. Wilson, in one or two days’ time, restored her to perfect health. Mon . February 8. — Finding many serious persons were much discouraged by prophets of evil, confidently foretelling very heavy calamities, which were coming upon our nation, I endeavored to lift up their hands, by opening and applying those comfortable words: ( Psalm 43:5, 6:) “Why art thou so heavy, O my soul? And why art thou so disquieted within me? O put thy trust in God; for I will yet give him thanks, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.” Wednesday , 10, was a National Fast. So solemn a one I never saw before.
From one end of the city to the other, there was scarce any one seen in the streets. All places of public worship were crowded in an uncommon degree; and an unusual awe sat on most faces. I preached on the words of God to Abraham, interceding for Sodom, “I will not destroy the city for his sake.” Mon. 15. — I went to Norwich in the stage-coach, with two very disagreeable companions, called a gentleman and gentlewoman, but equally ignorant, insolent, lewd, and profane. Wed. 17. — I went to Yarmouth, and preached to a large and serious congregation. Thursday, 18. I preached at Lowestoft, where is a great awakening, especially among youth and children; several of whom, between twelve and sixteen years of age, are a pattern to all about them. Friday, 19. I preached at Loddon, and afterwards talked with a girl sixteen years of age. She was justified two months since, and has not yet lost the sight of God’s countenance for a moment; but has been enabled to rejoice evermore, and to pray without ceasing. But being surrounded with relations who neither loved nor feared God, they were pressing upon her continually, till by little and little she sunk back into the world, and had neither the power nor form of religion left. Sun. 21. — I returned to Norwich, and took an exact account of the society. I wish all our Preachers would be accurate in their accounts, and rather speak under than above the truth. I had heard again and again of the increase of the society. And what is the naked truth? Why, I left in it two hundred and two members; and I find one hundred and seventy-nine! Sunday, 21. At twelve I took coach, and in the morning reached London. Sun. 28. — Immediately after preaching at Spitalfields, I hasted away to St. Peter’s, Cornhill, and declared to a crowded congregation, “God hath given us his Holy Spirit.” At four I preached in the new chapel, for the benefit of the Reformation Society. This also I trust will be a means of uniting together the hearts of the children of God of various denominations. Mon . March 1. — I went to Bristol. Thursday, 4. I went over to Paulton, and preached at noon to the liveliest people in all the Circuit. This people are now just of the same spirit as those of Bristol were forty years ago. Thur. 11. — I opened the new chapel at Bath. It is about half as large as that at London, and built nearly upon the same model. After reading Prayers, I preached on, “We preach Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” I believe God sent his word home to many hearts. We concluded the service with the Lord’s Supper. Mon. 15. — I began my tour through England and Scotland; the lovely weather continuing, such as the oldest man alive has not seen before, for January, February, and half of March. In the evening I preached at Stroud, the next morning at Gloucester, designing to preach in Stanley at two, and at Tewkesbury in the evening; but the Minister of Gratton (near Stanley) sending me word, I was welcome to the use of his church, I ordered notice to be given, that the service would begin there at six o’clock. Stanley chapel was thoroughly filled at two. It is eighteen years since I was there before; so that many of those whom I saw here then, were now gray-headed; and many were gone to Abraham’s bosom. May we follow them as they did Christ!
I was preparing to go to Gratton, when one brought me word from Mr. Roberts, that he had changed his mind; so I preached in Mr. Stephen’s orchard, to far more than his church would have contained. And it was no inconvenience either to me or them, as it was a mild, still evening. Wed. 17. — I preached at Tewkesbury about noon, and at Worcester in the evening. Thursday, 18. Upon inquiry, I found there had been no morning preaching since the Conference! So the people were of course weak and faint. At noon I preached in Bewdley, in an open space, at the head of the town, to a very numerous and quiet congregation. Here Mrs. C—— informed me, “This day twelvemonth I found peace with God; and the same day my son, till then utterly thoughtless, was convinced of sin.
Some time after, he died, rejoicing in God, and praising him with his latest breath.” Fri. 19. — I preached in Bengeworth church about noon, and about six in Pebworth church. Saturday, 20. I went on to Birmingham. Sunday, 21.
Just at the time of preaching, at Bromwich-Heath, began such a storm as that which ushered in the year. Yet as no house could contain the people, I was constrained to stand in the court-yard. For a moment I was afraid of the tiles falling on the people; but they regarded nothing but the word. As I concluded, we had a furious shower of hail: Hitherto could the prince of the power of the air go; but no farther.
After preaching at Wednesbury, Darlaston, Dudley, and Wolverhampton, on Wednesday, 24, I went on to Madeley. In the way I finished a celebrated “Essay on Taste.” And is this the treatise that gained the premium? It is lively and pretty; but neither deep nor strong. Scarce any of the terms are accurately defined: Indeed, defining is not this author’s talent. He has not by any means a clear apprehension; and it is through this capital defect, that he jumbles together true and false propositions, in every chapter and in every page.
To this Essay three extracts are subjoined. The first is much to the purpose. The second is a superficial, empty thing. Is this a specimen of the great M. D’Alembert? But I was most surprised at the third. What! is this extracted from the famous Montesquieu? It has neither strength, nor clearness, nor justness of thought! And is this the writer so admired all over Europe? He is no more to be compared to Lord Forbes, or Dr. Beattie, than a mouse to an elephant. Thur. 25. — I preached in the new House which Mr. Fletcher has built in Madeley wood. The people here exactly resemble those at Kingswood; only they are more simple and teachable. But for want of discipline, the immense pains which he has taken with them has not done the good which might have been expected.
I preached at Shrewsbury in the evening, and on Friday, 26, about noon, in the assembly-room at Broseley. It was well we were in the shade; for the sun shone as hot as it usually does at Midsummer. We walked from thence to Coalbrook-Dale, and took a view of the bridge which is shortly to be thrown over the Severn. It is one arch, a hundred feet broad, fifty-two high, and eighteen wide; all of cast-iron, weighing many hundred tons. I doubt whether the Colossus at Rhodes weighed much more. Sat. 27. — I preached at Newcastle-under-Lyne; Sunday, 28, at Burslem, morning and afternoon. Monday, 29. I went on to our loving brethren at Congleton, and preached on the nature of Christian zeal. A measure of this they have already; but they want much more. Tuesday, 30, and the next day, I preached at Macclesfield. The hearts of many were enlarged; and the society I found was increasing both in number and strength. Thur . April 1. — About one, I preached at New-Mills, in Derbyshire. A commodious preaching-house, lately built, has proved a blessing to the whole country. They flock together from every quarter, and are thankful both to God and man. In the evening I preached at Stockport, where I received a strange account of poor William Hamilton, who left us to join the Quakers, and is as miserable as he can live, afraid to see any man lest he should kill him. O what a poor exchange has this unhappy man made! Fri . 2 — About one I opened the new chapel at Davyhulme.APRIL 4, (being Easter-Day,) was a solemn festival. In the afternoon I preached at Oldham, to such a congregation as I have not seen since I was in the Cornish amphitheater. And all, beside a few giddy children, were seriously attentive. Mon. 5. — I preached at Northwich. I used to go on from hence to Little-Leigh; but since Mr. Barker is gone hence, that place knows us no more. I cannot but wonder at the infatuation of men that really love and fear God, and yet leave great part of, if not all, their substance to men that neither love nor fear him! Surely if I did little good with my money while I lived, I would, at least, do good with it when I could live no longer. Tues. 6. — I went to Mr. S——’s at Nantwich, a nephew of Mr. Matthew S——; who was, fifty years ago, one of our little company at Oxford, and was then both in person, in natural temper, and in piety, one of the loveliest young men I knew. Mr. Joseph S—— was then unborne, and was for many years without God in the world. But he is now as zealous in the works of God, as he was once in the works of the devil.
While I preached it was a season of strong consolation; but one young gentlewoman refused to be comforted. She followed me into Mr. S——’s all in tears; but would neither touch meat nor drink. After I had spent a little time in prayer, she broke out into prayer herself; and she did not cease, till God turned her sorrow into joy unspeakable.
After preaching at Alpraham and Chester, on Wednesday I went on to Warrington. The proprietor of the new chapel had sent me word, that I was welcome to preach in it; but he had now altered his mind: So I preached in our own; and I saw not one inattentive hearer.
I preached at Liverpool in the evening, and the next day; at Wigan on Friday; on Saturday and Sunday at Bolton. Monday, 12. I preached at Bury about one; and in the evening at Rochdale. Now was the day of visitation for this town. The people were all on fire: Never was such a flame kindled here before; chiefly by the prayer-meetings scattered through the town. Tuesday, 13. I preached at nine to a crowded audience in the new House at Bacup; at one in the shell of the house at Padiham, where there is at length a prospect of peace, after abundance of disturbance, caused by one who neither fears God nor reverences man. In the evening I preached at Colne; but the people were still in such a panic, that few durst go into the left-hand gallery. Wednesday, 14. After a delightful ride through the mountains, I preached first in Todmorden, and then in Heptonstall church. I afterwards lodged at the Ewood, which I still love for good Mr. Grimshaw’s sake. Thur. 15. — I went to Halifax, where a little thing had lately occasioned great disturbance. An angel blowing a trumpet was placed on the sounding-board over the pulpit. Many were vehemently against this; others as vehemently for it: But a total end was soon put to the contest; for the angel vanished away. The congregations, morning and evening, were very large; and the work of God seems to increase, in depth as well as extent. Sun. 18. — In the morning I preached in Haworth church; but in the afternoon I could not. Thousands upon thousands were gathered together, so that I was obliged to stand in the church-yard. And I believe all that stood still were able to hear distinctly. Mon. 19. — I preached in Bingley church to a numerous congregation. I dined with Mr. Busfield, in his little paradise; but it can give no happiness unless God is there. Thence I went to Otley. Here also the work of God increases; particularly with regard to sanctification. And I think every one who has experienced it, retains a clear witness of what God has wrought. Thur. 22. — I was a little surprised at a passage in Dr. Smollet’s “History of England,” vol. xv., pp. 121, 122: — “Imposture and fanaticism still hang upon the skirts of religion.
Weak minds were seduced by the delusions of a superstition, styled Methodism, raised upon the affectation of superior sanctity, and pretensions to divine illumination. Many thousands were infected with this enthusiasm by the endeavors of a few obscure Preachers, such as Whitefield, and the two Wesleys, who found means to lay the whole kingdom under contribution.”
Poor Dr. Smollet! Thus to transmit to all succeeding generations a whole heap of notorious falsehoods! “Imposture and fanaticism!” Neither one nor the other had any share in the late revival of scriptural religion, which is no other than the love of God and man, gratitude to our Creator, and goodwill to our fellow-creatures. Is this delusion and superstition? No, it is real wisdom; it is solid virtue. Does this fanaticism “hang upon the skirts of religion?”
Nay, it is the very essence of it. Does the Doctor call this enthusiasm?
Why? Because he knows nothing about it. Who told him that these “obscure Preachers” made “pretensions to divine illumination?” How often has that silly calumny been refuted to the satisfaction of all candid men? However, they “found means to lay the whole kingdom under contribution.” So does this frontless man, blind and bold, stumble on without the least shadow of truth!
In travelling this week I looked over Baron Swedenborg’s “Account of Heaven and Hell.” He was a man of piety, of a strong understanding, and most lively imagination; but he had a violent fever when he was five-and-fifty years old, which quite overturned his understanding. Nor did he ever recover it; but it continued “majestic, though in ruins.” From that time he was exactly in the state of that gentleman at Argos, — Qui se credebat miros audire tragaedos, In vacuo laetus sessor plausorque theatro. Who wondrous tragedies was wont to hear, Sitting alone in the empty theater.
Of this work in particular I must observe, that the doctrine contained therein is not only quite unproved, quite precarious from beginning to end, as depending entirely on the assertion of a single brain-sick man; but that, in many instances, it is contradictory to Scripture, to reason, and to itself.
But, over and above this, it contains many sentiments that are essentially and dangerously wrong. Such is that concerning the Trinity; for he roundly affirms God to be only one person, who was crucified: So that he revives and openly asserts the long-exploded heresy of the Sabellians and Patripassians; yea, and that of the Anthropomorphites; affirming that God constantly appears in heaven in the from of a man. And the worst is, he flatly affirms, “None can go to heaven, who believes three persons in the Godhead:” Which is more than the most violent Arian or Socinian ever affirmed before.
Add to this, that his ideas of heaven are low, grovelling, just suiting a Mahometan paradise; and his account of it has a natural tendency to sink our conceptions, both of the glory of heaven, and of the inhabitants of it; whom he describes as far inferior both in holiness and happiness to Gregory Lopez, or Monsieur De Renty. And his account of hell leaves nothing terrible in it; for, first, he quenches the unquenchable fire. He assures us there is no fire there; only he allows that the governor of it, the devil, sometimes orders the spirits that behave ill to be “laid on a bed of hot ashes.” And, secondly, he informs you, that all the damned enjoy their favorite pleasures. He that delights in filth is to have his filth; yea, and his harlot too! Now, how dreadful a tendency must this have in such an age and nation as this! I wish those pious men, Mr. Clowes and Clotworthy, would calmly consider these things, before they usher into the world any more of this madman’s dreams. Mon. 26. — I preached at Huddersfield, where there is a great revival of the work of God. Many have found peace with God: Sometimes sixteen, eighteen, yea, twenty in one day. So that the deadly wound they suffered, when their Predestinarian brethren left them, is now fully healed; and they are not only more lively, but more in number, than ever they were before. Tues. 27. — I saw a melancholy sight indeed! One that ten years ago was clearly perfected in love; but was worried by Mr.——, day and night, threaping him down he was in a delusion, that at length it drove him stark mad. And so he continues to this day. Observe! it was not Perfection drove this man mad, but the incessant teasing him with doubtful disputations. Wed. 28. — I had promised to preach at six in the morning, to the poor prisoners at Whiteley. Though the ground was covered with snow, so many people flocked together, that I was constrained to preach in the court of the prison. The snow continued to fall, and the north wind to whistle round us; but I trust God warmed many hearts.
I preached at Wakefield in the evening; Thursday, 29, at Rothwell and Leeds; and on Friday noon, at Harewood. In the afternoon we walked to Mr. Lascelles’s house. It is finely situated on a little eminence, commanding a most delightful prospect of hill and dale, and wood and water. It is built of a fine white stone, with two grand and beautiful fronts.
I was not much struck with anything within. There is too much sameness in all the great houses I have seen in England; two rows of large, square rooms, with costly beds, glasses, chairs, and tables. But here is a profusion of wealth; every pane of glass, we were informed, cost six-and-twenty shillings. One looking-glass cost five hundred pounds, and one bed, six hundred. The whole floor was just on the plan of Montague House; now the British Museum. The grounds round the house are pleasant indeed, particularly the walks on the river-side, and through the woods. But what has the owner there of, save the beholding them with his eyes? Sat . May 1. — I looked over the first volume of Mr. Bryant’s “Ancient Mythology.” He seems to be a person of immense reading, and indefatigable industry. But I have two objections to the whole work: 1. That his discoveries, being built chiefly on etymologies, carry no certainty in them. 2. That were they ever so certain, they are of no consequence. For instance, Whether Chiron was a man or a mountain, — and whether the Cyclops were giants or watch-towers, — are points of no manner of importance, either to me or any man living. Sun. 2. — Dr. Kershaw, the Vicar of Leeds, desired me to assist him at the sacrament. It was a solemn season. We were ten Clergymen, and seven or eight hundred communicants. Mr. Atkinson desired me to preach in the afternoon. Such a congregation had been seldom seen there; but I preached to a much larger in our own House at five; and I found no want of strength. Fri. 7. — After having visited the intermediate societies, I came to Darlington, and found some of the liveliest people in the north of England.
All but one or two of the society are justified; great part of them partakers of the great salvation; and all of them seem to retain their first simplicity, and to be as teachable as little children. Sun. 9. — I preached in the market-place; and all the congregation behaved well, but a party of the Queen’s Dragoons. Monday, 10. I preached at Barnard-Castle; and saw a quite different behavior in the Durham Militia; the handsomest body of soldiers I ever saw, except in Ireland. The next evening they all came, both Officers and soldiers, and were a pattern to the whole congregation. In my journey to Brough, (where I preached at noon,) I read over a volume of Dr. Blair’s Sermons. He is an elegant, but not a deep, writer; much resembling, but not equaling, Mr. Seed. I do not remember that any day in January, February, or March, was near so cold as this. Wed. 12. — After preaching at Cuthburton and in Teesdale, I went a little out of my way, to see one of the wonders of nature. The river Tees rushes down between two rocks, and falls sixty feet perpendicular into a basin of water, sixty feet deep. In the evening I preached to the lovely congregation in Weardale, and the next day went on to Newcastle. Sun. 16. — I preached at Gateshead-Fell in the morning; and in the new House, near Sheephill, at noon. Here the work of God greatly revives; many are lately convinced of sin, and many enabled, from day to day, to rejoice in God their Savior. Mon. 17. — About noon I preached at Shields, and in the evening at Sunderland. Tuesday, 18. I read Prayers and preached in Monkwearmouth church; and Thursday, 20, returned to Newcastle. Sunday, 23. In the morning I preached at Ballast-Hills; about two, at the Fell; about five, at the Garth-Heads. The congregation was double to that at the Fell; and I trust God gave us a double blessing. Mon. 24. — I preached at five in the Orphan-House; about nine, at Placey; at noon, in the market-house, at Morpeth. Many soldiers, who were marching through the town, came in; and the power of the Lord was present to heal. In the evening I preached in the Court-House, at Alnwick, and at night was no more tired than in the morning. Tues. 25. — We walked through the Castle. Two of the rooms are more elegant than even those at Harewood-House. But it is not a profusion of ornaments, (they are exceeding plain and simple,) it is not an abundance of gold and silver, but a je ne scai quoi, that strikes every person of taste.
In the evening I preached in the Town-Hall, at Berwick. Many Officers, as well as soldiers, were there; and the whole congregation seemed much affected. Shall we see fruit at Berwick also? Wed. 26. — We had such a congregation at Dunbar as I have not seen there for many years. Thursday, 27. I went on to Edinburgh. I was agreeably surprised at the singing in the evening. I have not heard such female voices, so strong and clear, anywhere in England. Fri. 28. — I went to Glasgow, and preached in the House; but the next evening, by the river-side. Sunday, 30. At seven I spoke exceeding strong words, in applying the parable of the Sower. In the afternoon I went to the English chapel. But how was I surprised! Such decency have I seldom seen even at West-Street, or the new Room in Bristol. 1. All, both men and women, were dressed plain: I did not see one high head: 2. No one took notice of any one, at coming in; but, after a short ejaculation, sat quite still: 3. None spoke to any one during the Service, nor looked either on one side or the other: 4. All stood, every man, woman, and child, while the Psalms were sung: 5. Instead of an unmeaning voluntary, was an anthem, and one of the simplest and sweetest I ever heard: 6. The Prayers, preceding a sound, useful sermon were seriously and devoutly read: 7. After service, none bowed, or courtesied, or spoke, but went quietly and silently away.
After church, I preached again by the river-side, to a huge multitude of serious people: I believe, full as many more as we had the Sunday before, at Newcastle. Surely we shall not lose all our labor here. Mon. 31. — I returned to Edinburgh; and,JUNE 1, set out on my northern journey. In the evening I preached at Dundee. The congregation was, as usual, very large and deeply attentive. But that was all. I did not perceive that any one was affected at all. I admire this people: So decent, so serious, and so perfectly unconcerned. Wed. 2. — We went on to Arbroath, where was near as large a congregation as at Dundee, but nothing so serious. The poor Glassites here, pleading for a merely notional faith, greatly hinder either the beginning or the progress of any real work of God. Thursday, 3. I preached at Aberdeen, to a people that can feel as well as hear. Friday, 4. I set out for Inverness, and about eight preached at Inverury, to a considerable number of plain country people, just like those we see in Yorkshire. My spirit was much refreshed among them, observing several of them in tears.
Before we came to Strathbogie, (now new-named Huntley,) Mr. Brackenbury was much fatigued. So I desired him to go into the chaise, and rode forward to Keith.
Mr. Gordon, the Minister, invited us to drink tea at his house. In the evening I went to the market-place. Four children, after they had stood a while to consider, ventured to come near me; then a few men and women crept forward; till we had upwards of a hundred. At nine on Sunday, 6, I suppose they were doubled; and some of them seemed a little affected. I dined at Mr. Gordon’s, who behaved in the most courteous, yea, and affectionate, manner. At three I preached in the kirk, one of the largest I have seen in the kingdom, but very ruinous. It was thoroughly filled, and God was there in an uncommon manner. He sent forth his voice, yea, and that a mighty voice; so that I believe many of the stout-hearted trembled.
In the evening I preached once more in the market-place, on those awful words, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Mon. 7. — I came to Grange-Green, near Forres, about twelve o’clock.
But I found the house had changed its master since I was here before, nine years ago. Mr. Grant (who then lived here in his brother’s house) was now Sir Lodowick Grant; having succeeded to the title and estate of Sir Alexander, dying without issue. But his mind was not changed with his fortune. He received me with cordial affection, and insisted on my sending for Mrs. Smith and her little girl, whom I had left at Forres. We were all here as at home, in one of the most healthy and most pleasant situations in the kingdom; and I had the satisfaction to observe my daughter sensibly recovering her strength, almost every hour. In the evening all the family were called in to prayers; to whom I first expounded a portion of Scripture. Thus ended this comfortable day. So has God provided for us in a strange land! Tues. 8. — I found another hearty welcome from Mr. Dunbar, the Minister of Nairn. A little after ten I preached in his kirk, which was full from end to end. I have seldom seen a Scotch congregation so sensibly affected. Indeed it seemed that God smote the rocks, and brake the hearts of stone in pieces.
In the afternoon I reached Inverness, but found a new face of things there.
Good Mr. Mackenzie had been for some years removed to Abraham’s bosom. Mr. Fraser, his colleague, a pious man of the old stamp, was likewise gone to rest. The three present Ministers are of another kind; so that I have no more place in the kirk; and the wind and rain would not permit me to preach on the Green. However, our House was large, though gloomy enough. Being now informed, (which I did not suspect before,) that the town was uncommonly given to drunkenness, I used the utmost plainness of speech; and I believe not without effect. I then spent some time with the society, increased from twelve to between fifty and sixty:
Many of these knew in whom they had believed; and many were going on to perfection: So that all the pains which have been taken to stop the work of God here, have hitherto been in vain. Wed. 9. — We had another rainy day, so that I was again driven into the House; and again I delivered my own soul, to a larger congregation than before. In the morning we had an affectionate parting, perhaps to meet no more. I am glad, however, that I have made three journeys to Inverness. It has not been lost labor.
Between ten and eleven I began preaching at Nairn. The House was pretty well filled again; and many more of the Gentry were there, than were present on Tuesday . It pleased God to give me again liberty of speech, in opening and applying those words, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
About two we reached Sir Lodowick Grant’s. In the evening we had a very serious congregation. Afterwards I spent an hour very agreeably with the family, and two or three neighboring gentlemen. Fri. 11. — We did not stop at Keith, but went on to Strathbogie. Here we were in a clean, convenient house, and had everything we wanted. All the family very willingly joined us in prayer. We then slept in peace. Sat . 12. — About one I preached at Inverury, to a larger congregation than before, and was again refreshed with the simplicity and earnestness of the plain country-people. In the evening, I preached at Aberdeen. Sunday, 13.
I spoke as closely as I could, both morning and evening, and made a pointed application to the hearts of all that were present. I am convinced this is the only way whereby we can do any good in Scotland. This very day I heard many excellent truths delivered in the kirk. But as there was no application, it was likely to do as much good as the singing of a lark. I wonder the pious Ministers in Scotland are not sensible of this. They cannot but see, that no sinners are convinced of sin, none converted to God, by this way of preaching. How strange is it then, that neither reason nor experience teaches them to take a better way! Mon. 14. — I preached again at Arbroath; Tuesday, 15, at Dundee; and Wednesday, 16, at Edinburgh. Thursday, 17. I examined the society. In five years I found five members had been gained! Ninety-nine being increased to a hundred and four. What then have our Preachers been doing all this time? 1. They have preached four evenings in the week, and on Sunday morning; the other mornings they have fairly given up. 2. They have taken great care not to speak too plain, lest they should give offense. 3. When Mr. Brackenbury preached the old Methodist doctrine, one of them said, “You must not preach such doctrine here.
On Friday and Saturday, I preached with all possible plainness; and some appeared to be much stirred up. On Sunday, 20, I preached at eight, and at half an hour past twelve; and God gave us a parting blessing.
I was in hopes of preaching abroad at Dunbar in the evening, but the rain would not permit. Monday, 21. I preached in the Court-House at Alnwick; and finding the people were greatly alarmed, with the news of the French and Spanish fleets, I opened and applied, “Say ye to the righteous, it shall be well with him.” I believe many laid hold of the promise, and were not a little comforted. Tues. 22. — Finding the panic had spread to Newcastle, I strongly enforced those words, “The Lord sitteth above the waterfloods; the Lord reigneth a King for ever.” Wednesday, 23. I rested here. Lovely place, and lovely company! But I believe there is another world: Therefore, I must “arise and go hence!” Thur. 24. — I preached at Stockton-upon-Tees at noon, and at Yarm in the evening. Friday, 25. At two in the afternoon I preached to a lovely congregation, at Potto, and to such another at Hutton-Rudby. I was afterwards agreeably surprised in examining the select society. Many of them have been members thereof for near twenty years. And not one of them has lost the pure love of God ever since they first received it. Sat. 26. — After preaching at Stokesley and Guisborough, I went on to our loving, earnest brethren at Whitby; just of the same spirit with those at Darlington, in the opposite point of the Circuit. Sun. 27. — I preached at eight in the Room, and at five in the market-place, to a huge congregation. They were deeply attentive; but no more affected than the stones they stood upon. Mon. 28. — I preached in the new preaching-house, at Robin Hood’s Bay, and then went on to Scarborough. Tuesday, 29, I spent agreeably and profitably with my old friends; and in my way to Bridlington, Wednesday, 30, took a view of Flamborough-Head. It is an huge rock, rising perpendicular from the sea to an immense height, which gives shelter to an innumerable multitude of sea-fowl of various kinds. I preached in the evening at Bridlington, and afterwards heard a very uncommon instance of paternal affection: — A gentleman of the town had a favorite daughter, whom he set up in a milliner’s shop. Some time after she had a concern for her soul, and believed it her duty to enter into the society. Upon this her good father forbad her his house; demanding all the money he had laid out; and required her instantly to sell all her goods, in order to make the payment!
In this journey I looked over the “History of Whitby,” in which are many curious things. Among others, there is an account of St. Ninian, a Monk of Whitby Abbey, long before the Conquest. Here is also an account of the father of the Percy family: He came over with William the Conqueror, and took his name from a town in Normandy. So the pretty tale of piercing the eye of the Scotch King proves to be mere invention! Thur . July 1. — This was the first of eighteen or twenty days full as hot as any I remember in Georgia; and yet the season is remarkably healthy. I preached in Beverley at soon, and at Hull in the evening. Saturday, 3. I reached Grimsby, and found a little trial. In this, and many other parts of the kingdom, those striplings, who call themselves Lady Huntingdon’s Preachers, have greatly hindered the work of God. They have neither sense, courage, nor grace, to go and beat up the devil’s quarters, in any place where Christ has not been named; but wherever we have entered as by storm, and gathered a few souls, often at the peril of our lives, they creep in, and, by doubtful disputations, set every one’s sword against his brother. One of these has just crept into Grimsby, and is striving to divide the poor little flock; but I hope his labor will be in vain, and they will still hold “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Sun. 4. — I had designed to preach abroad at Louth; but the rain drove us into the House. In the evening I expounded, and strongly applied, the story of Dives and Lazarus. The whole congregation, except a few poor gentlemen, behaved with decency. Mon. 5. — I preached about eleven, at Langham-Row, to a congregation gathered from many miles round, on, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts!” As a great part of them were athirst for perfect love, they drank in every word. In the afternoon we went to Raithby. It is a small village on the top of a hill. The shell of Mr. Brackenbury’s house was just finished, near which he has built a little chapel. It was quickly filled with deeply serious hearers. I was much comforted among them, and could not but observe, while the landlord and his tenants were standing together, how Love, like death, makes all distinctions void.
Tues. 6. — After an absence of near twenty years, I once more visited poor Coningsby, and preached at eleven in their new preaching-house, to a plain, simple people. In the evening I took my usual stand in the market-place at Horncastle. The wild men were more quiet than usual; I suppose, because they saw Mr. Brackenbury standing by me; whom they knew to be in Commission for the Peace, for this part of the county. Wed. 7. — I preached at Sturton and Gainsborough; and Thursday, 8, at Scotter, where the poor people walk “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.” In the evening I preached at Ouston; and on Friday, 9, went on to Epworth. How true is this trite remark, — Nescio qua natale solum dulcedine cunetos Ducit, et immemores non sinet esse sua!
The natal soil to all how strangely sweet!
The place where first he breathed who can forget!
In the evening I took my usual stand in the market-place; but had far more than the usual congregation. Saturday, 10. Taking a solitary walk in the churchyard, I felt the truth of, “One generation goeth, and another cometh.” See how the earth drops its inhabitants as the tree drops its leaves! Sun. 11. — About eight I preached at Misterton; and about one at Overthorpe. But good Alice Shadford was not there. She was long “a mother in Israel,” a burning and shining light, an unexceptionable instance of perfect love. After spending near a hundred years on earth, she was some months since transplanted to paradise.
O that they may no more harden their hearts, lest God should swear, “They shall not enter into my rest!” Mon. 12. — I preached at Crowle; and afterwards searched the church-yard, to find the tomb of Mr. Ashbourn. We could find nothing of it there. At length we found a large flat stone in the church; but the inscription was utterly illegible, the letters being filled up with dust.
However, we made a shift to pick it out; and then read as follows: — HERE LIES THE BODY OF