Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL - FROM SEPTEMBER 4, 1782, TO JUNE 28, 1786.
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Wednesday , September 4 1782. — I preached in the market-house at Tiverton; Thursday, 5, at Halberton, Taunton, and South-Brent. Friday, 6.
About ten I preached at Shipham, a little town on the side of Mendiff, almost wholly inhabited by miners, who dig up lapis calaminaris. I was surprised to see such a congregation at so short a warning; and their deep and serious attention seemed to be a presage, that some of them will profit by what they hear. In the afternoon we went on to Bristol. Sun. 8. — My brother read Prayers, and I preached to a very uncommon congregation. But a far more numerous one met near King’s Square in the evening, on whom I strongly enforced, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Permit me to observe here, how you may distinguish a genuine small Field’s Bible from a spurious one: The genuine reads here, “Ye can serve God and mammon.” In the spurious, the “not” is supplied. Mon. 9. — About nine I preached at Paulton, where the flame is abated, but not quenched. The same is the case at Shepton-Mallet, where I preached in the evening. Tuesday, 10. I went on to the simple-hearted colliers, at Coleford, abundance of whom met at six in the evening, in a green meadow, which was delightfully gilded by the rays of the setting sun. Wednesday, 11. I preached to a large and serious congregation at the end of the preaching-house at Frome.
After preaching at Roade, Pensford, Trowbridge, and Freshford, on Friday, 13, I preached at Bath. Sunday, 15. I had a far greater number of communicants than usual. Both at this time, and in the afternoon and the evening service, we had no common blessing.
On Monday and Tuesday I preached at Chew-Magna, at Sutton, Stoke, and Clutton: In my way thither, I saw a famous monument of antiquity, at Stanton-Drew; supposed to have remained there between two and three thousand years. It was undoubtedly a Druid’s temple, consisting of a smaller and a larger circle of huge stones set on end, one would think by some power more than human. Indeed, such stones have been used for divine worship, nearly, if not quite, from the time of the flood. On the following days I preached at many other little places. Sun. 22. — After the service at Bristol, I hastened to Kingswood, and preached a funeral sermon on Jenny Hall; a lovely young woman, who died in full triumph, and desired a sermon might be preached on Revelation 7:13, and following verses.
On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday visited the classes; and was concerned to find, that, for these two last years, the society has been continually decreasing. Thursday, 26, and the following days, I visited the rest of the country societies. For a day or two I was not well, but I went on with my work till Sunday, when I preached morning and evening at the New Room, and in the afternoon in Temple church. Tues . October 1. — I read among the letters, in the evening, the striking account of Robert Roe’s death; a burning and a shining light while alive, but early numbered with the dead. Saturday, 5. I visited several that are yet in the body, but longing to depart and to be with Christ. But many have this year stepped before them. For forty years I do not know that so many have, in the space of one year, been removed to Abraham’s bosom. Sun. 6. — I preached in Temple church, between our own morning and evening service; and I now found how to speak here, so as to be heard by every one: Direct your voice to the middle of the pillar fronting the pulpit. Mon. 7. — I left Bristol with much satisfaction, firmly believing that God will revive his work there. I preached at the Devizes about eleven; and in the evening at Sarum; Tuesday, 8, at Winchester, and at Portsmouth-Common. Wednesday, 9. We took a ferry for the Isle of Wight. There was sea enough, which now and then washed over our boat.
However, in about an hour we landed safe, and walked on to Newport.
This place seems now ripe for the Gospel: Opposition is at an end. Only let our Preachers be men of faith and love, and they will see the fruit of their labors. Fri. 11. — I returned to Portsmouth; took chaise at two the next morning, and in the afternoon came to London. Mon. 14. — I went to Wallingford. The House was filled in the evening with much-affected hearers. Shall all our labor here be in vain? Lord, thou knowest! Tues. 15. — About noon I preached at Oxford. I have seen no such prospect here for many years. The congregation was large and still as night, although many gentlemen were among them. The next evening the House would not contain the congregation; yet all were quiet, even those that could not come in: And I believe God not only opened their understandings, but began a good work in some of their hearts. Wed. 16. — I preached at Witney, one of the liveliest places in the Circuit, where I always find my own soul refreshed.
I saw such a garden at Oxford as I verily believe all England cannot parallel. It is three-square; and, I conjecture, contains about an acre of ground: It is filled with fruit-trees of various sorts, and all excellent in their kinds. But it is odd beyond all description; superlatively whimsical. The owner has crowded together pictures, statues, urns, antiques of various kinds: For all which why should not Mr. Badcock’s name, as well as Mr. Roberts’s, be consigned to posterity? Thur. 17. — I preached at Thame; this evening and the next, at High-Wycomb; and on Saturday, returned to London. Mon. 21. — I preached at Tunbridge-Wells; Tuesday, 22, at Sevenoaks. Wednesday, 23. I visited the house of mourning at Shoreham, and read the strange account at first hand. Not long after his former wife died, Mr. H. paid his addresses to Miss B. He had been intimately acquainted with her for some years. By immense assiduity, and innumerable professions of the tenderest affection, he, by slow degrees, gained hers. The time of marriage was fixed: The ring was bought: The wedding clothes were sent to her. He came one Thursday , a few days before the wedding-day, and showed the most eager affection; so he did on Saturday. He came again on the Wednesday following, sat down very carelessly on a chair, and told her with great composure, that he did not love her at all, and therefore could not think of marrying her. He talked a full hour in the same strain, and then walked away!
Her brother sent a full account of this to Miss Perronet, who read it with perfect calmness, comforted her niece, and strongly exhorted her to continue steadfast in the faith. But the grief which did not outwardly appear, preyed the more upon her spirits, till, three or four days after, she felt a pain in her breast, lay down, and in four minutes died. One of the ventricles of her heart burst; so she literally died of a broken heart.
But Mr. H., meantime, has done nothing amiss. So both himself and his friends say! Fri. 25. — I returned to London, and was glad to find Mr. Edward Smyth and his family just come from Dublin. Sunday , 27. At ten I took coach; reached Norwich on Monday noon, and preached at six in the evening. I stayed there on Tuesday; and Wednesday , 30, went to Yarmouth, where were the largest congregations I had seen for many years. Thursday , 31. I went on to Lowestoft, which is, at present, far the most comfortable place in the whole circuit. Friday,NOVEMBER 1. Mr. Smyth and his wife gave us a strange account: — A little before they were married, her brother Samuel was about eight years old. One evening, as she was with Mr. Smyth, in one of the rows, at Yarmouth, both of them saw Samuel standing five or six yards off. She cried out, “Sammy, come hither; I want you;” but instantly he was gone. Just then he fell into the river. A large water-dog, which was on the bridge, directly leaped off, swam about and sought him, but could not find him. He then came out, and ran to his mother’s house howling; nor would he leave her till he was put out by force. Sat. 2. — About nine I preached at Cove, a village nine or ten miles from Lowestoft: The poor people presently filled the House, and seemed to devour every word. About one, I preached at London; and at Norwich in the evening. Sun. 3. — I administered the Lord’s Supper to about an hundred and forty communicants. I preached at half-past two, and again in the evening; after which I requested them to go away in silence, without any one speaking to another. They took my advice: They went away in profound silence so that no sound was heard but that of their feet.
Mon. 4. — At five in the morning the congregation was exceeding large.
That in the evening seemed so deeply affected, that I hope Norwich will again lift up its head. At nine we took coach; and before eleven, on Tuesday , 5, reached Colchester, In order to strengthen this poor feeble society, I stayed with them till Friday, preaching morning and evening, and visiting in the day as many as I could, sick or well. I divided the classes anew, which had been strangely and irregularly jumbled together; appointed Stewards; regulated temporal as well as spiritual things; and left them in a better way than they had been for several years. Monday , 11, and the following days, I visited the societies in and about London. Sun. 24. — I preached at St. Clement’s in the Strand, (the largest church I ever preached in at London, except, perhaps, St. Sepulchre’s,) to an immense congregation. I fully discharged my own soul, and afterwards took coach for Northamptonshire. On Monday, 25, I preached at Towcester; on Tuesday, at Whittlebury, so called; but the true name of the town is Whittle; on Wednesday, at Northampton; and on Thursday I returned to London. Friday, 29. I preached at Highgate, in the palace built in the last century by that wretched Duke of Lauderdale; now one of the most elegant boarding-houses in England. But, alas! it is not Publow! Mon . December 2. — I preached at St. Neot’s, in Huntingdonshire; Tuesday, 3, at Bugden about one; and in the evening at Huntingdon. Two Clergymen were there, with one of whom I had much serious conversation. Wednesday, 4. I preached with great enlargement of spirit, to my old congregation at Bedford. Thursday, 5. With some difficulty I crossed the country to Hinxworth, and preached to fifty or sixty plain people, who seemed very willing to learn. In the afternoon, it being impossible to drive a chaise straight round to Luton, I was obliged to go many miles about, and so did not reach it till after six o’clock; so I went direct to the preaching-house, and began without delay enforcing those solemn words, “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Fri. 6. — I could procure no other conveyance to St. Alban’s but in an open chaise; and hence, (the frost being very sharp,) I contracted a severe cold. Monday, 9. I had a better conveyance into Kent. In the evening I preached at Canterbury; on Tuesday at Dover; the next day at Canterbury again. On Thursday, 12, and on Friday morning, I preached at Chatham; and in the afternoon returned to London. Sat. 14. — I found the cold which I had contracted in the way to St. Alban’s exceedingly increased, having a deep and violent cough, which continued at intervals till spring. Mon. 16. — I retired to Hoxton for a few days. Thursday, 19. About eleven at night, a gun was fired at our chamber window, and at the same time a large stone thrown through it. (Probably in sport, by some that had been drinking.) I presently went to sleep again. Sat. 21. — I visited Mr. Maxfield, struck with a violent stroke of palsy.
I buried the remains of Thomas Forfit, a rich, and yet a generous man. He was unwearied in well doing; and in a good old age, without any pain or struggle, fell asleep. Tuesday, 31. We concluded the year with a solemn watch-night. Wed . January 1, 1783 . — May I begin to live today! Sunday, 5. We met to renew our covenant with God. We never meet on this occasion without a blessing; but I do not know that we had ever so large a congregation before. Fri. 10. — I paid one more visit to Mr. Perronet, now in his ninetieth year. I do not know so venerable a man. His understanding is little, if at all, impaired; and his heart seems to be all love. A little longer I hope he will remain here, to be a blessing to all that see and hear him. Sun. 19. — I preached at St. Thomas’s church in the afternoon, and at St. Swithin’s in the evening. The tide is now turned; so that I have more invitations to preach in churches than I can accept of. Sat . February 1. — I drank tea at Mr. A——’s, in the Maze-pond, Southwark; but both Mr. A—— and his wife informed me they were determined to quit the house as soon as possible, by reason of strange noises, which they heard day and night, but in the night chiefly, as if all the tables and chairs had been thrown up and down, in the rooms above and under them. Sun. 2. — Mr. Maxfield continuing ill, I preached this afternoon at his chapel. Prejudice seems now dying away: God grant it may never revive! Tuesday, 11. I buried the remains of Sarah Clay, many years a mother in Israel; the last of those holy women, who, being filled with love, forty years ago devoted themselves wholly to God, to spend and be spent in his service.
Her death was like her life, calm and easy. She was dressing herself when she dropped down and fell asleep. Mon. 17. — I had an opportunity of attending the Lecture of that excellent man, Dr. Conyers. He was quite an original; his matter was very good, his manner very bad; but it is enough that God owned him, both in the conviction and conversion of sinners. Thur. 20. — I went to Dorking; and in the afternoon took a walk through the lovely gardens of Lord Grimstone. His father-in-law, who laid them out, is some time since numbered with the dead; and his son-in-law, living elsewhere, has not so much as the beholding them with his eyes! Fri. 21. — At our yearly meeting for that purpose, we examined our yearly accounts, and found the money received (just answering the expense) was upwards of three thousand pounds a year; but that is nothing to me: What I receive of it yearly, is neither more nor less than thirty pounds.
Today Charles Greenwood went to rest. He had been a melancholy man all his days, full of doubts and fears, and continually writing bitter things against himself. When he was first taken ill, he said he should die, and was miserable through fear of death; but two days before he died, the clouds dispersed, and he was unspeakably happy, telling his friends, “God has revealed to me things which it is impossible for man to utter.” Just when he died, such glory filled the room, that it seemed to be a little heaven; none could grieve or shed a tear, but all present appeared to be partakers of his joy. Mon. 24. — I buried the remains of Captain Cheesement, one who, some years since, from a plentiful fortune, was by a train of losses utterly ruined; but two or three friends enabling him to begin trade again, the tide turned; he prospered greatly, and riches flowed in on every side. A few years ago he married one equally agreeable in her person and temper. So what had he to do but enjoy himself? Accordingly, he left off business, took a large, handsome house, and furnished it in a most elegant manner. A little while after, showing his rooms to a friend, he said, “All this will give small comfort in a dying hour.” A few days after, he was taken with a fever. I saw him twice: He was sensible, but could not speak. In spite of all means, he grew worse and worse, and in about twelve days died. So within a few days we lost two of our richest, and two of our holiest, members, — Sarah Clay, and good old George Hufflet, who had been, for many years, a burning and a shining light. He lay fourteen weeks praising God continually, and had then a triumphant entrance into his kingdom. Sun . March 2. — In the evening I took coach, and the next evening preached at Bath. Thursday, 6. I went on to Bristol, and found a family of love, so united as it had not been for some years. The next week I met the classes; and on Friday had a watch-night at Kingswood; but I was far from being well, the cold which I had caught in coming from Luton rather increasing than decreasing. Saturday, 15. I had a deep, tearing cough, and was exceeding heavy and weak. However, I made shift to preach at Weaver’s Hall, and to meet the penitents. Sunday, 16. I found myself considerably worse. However, I preached in the morning; but had such a fever in the afternoon, that I was obliged to take my bed.
I now knew not what to do, having fixed the next morning for beginning my journey to Ireland, and sent notice to Stroud, Gloucester, and various other places, of the days wherein I purposed to visit them. But Mr. Collins kindly undertook to supply my place at Stroud, and the other places, as far as Worcester.
Lying down in bed, I took part (being able to swallow no more) of a draught which was prepared for me. It gave me four or five and twenty stools, and a moderate vomit; after which I fell fast asleep. Monday, 17.
Mr. Collins set out. About six in the morning, finding myself perfectly easy, I set out in the afternoon, and overtook him at Stroud. But it was as much as I could do; for I was in a high fever, though without any pain.
After giving a short exhortation to the society, I was very glad to lie down.
My fever was exactly of the same kind with that I had in the north of Ireland. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I was just the same: The whole nervous system was violently agitated. Hence arose the cramp, with little intermission, from the time I lay down in bed till morning: Also a furious, tearing cough, usually recurring before each fit of the cramp. And yet I had no pain in my back, or head, or limbs, the cramp only excepted. But I had no strength at all, being scarce able to move, and much less to think. In this state I lay till Friday morning, when a violent fit of the cramp carried the fever quite away. Perceiving this, I took chaise without delay, and reached Worcester in the afternoon. Here I overtook Mr. Collins again, who had supplied all my appointments, and with a remarkable blessing to the people. But being much exhausted, I found rest was sweet. Saturday, 22. In the morning I gave a short exhortation, and then went on to Birmingham. Sun. 23. — Finding still some remains of the fever, with a load and tightness across my breast, and a continual tendency to the cramp, I procured a friend to electrify me thoroughly, both through the legs and the breast, several times in the day. God so blessed this, that I had no more fever or cramp, and no more load or tightness across my breast. In the evening I ventured to preach three quarters of an hour, and found no ill effect at all. Tues. 25. — In the afternoon I reached Hilton-Park, about six miles north of Wolverhampton. Here I found my old acquaintance, Miss Freeman, (whom I had known almost from a child,) with Sir Philip Gibbes’s lady, and his two amiable daughters, in a lovely recess. With these I spent this evening and the next day, both profitably and agreeably. Thur. 27. — I crossed over the country to Hinckley, and preached in the evening, in the neat, elegant preaching-house. So I did, morning and evening, on the three following days, to a serious, well-behaved people.
Here I met with Dr. Horne’s “Commentary on the Psalms:” I suppose the best that ever was wrote. Yet I could not comprehend his aggrandizing the Psalms, it seems even above the New Testament. And some of them he hardly makes anything of; the eighty-seventh in particular. Tues . April 1, etc. — I went through several of the societies till I reached Holyhead, on Friday, 11. We went on board without delay, and on Sunday morning, the 13th, landed at Dunleary; whence (not being able to procure a carriage) I walked on to Dublin.
Here I spent two or three weeks with much satisfaction, in my usual employments. Monday, 21. I spent an hour with Mr. Shelton; I think, full as extraordinary a man as Mr. Law; of full as rapid a genius; so that I had little to do but to hear; his words flowing as a river. Tues. 29. — Our little Conference began, and continued till Friday, MAY 2. All was peace and love; and I trust the same spirit will spread through the nation. Sat. 3. — I made a little excursion to a Nobleman’s seat, a few miles from Dublin. It may doubtless vie in elegance, if not in costliness, with any seat in Great Britain: But the miserable master of the whole has little satisfaction therein. God hath said, “Write this man childless:” For whom then does he heap up these things? He is himself growing old: — And must he leave this paradise? Then leave These happy shades, and mansions fit for gods?
Sun. 4. — There was an Ordination at St. Patrick’s. I admired the solemnity wherewith the Archbishop went through the Service. But the vacant faces of the ordained showed how little they were affected thereby.
In the evening multitudes met to renew their covenant with God. But here was no vacant face to be seen; for God was in the midst, and manifested himself to many; particularly to a daughter of Goodwilliam Pennington.
Mon. 5. — We prepared for going on board the packet; but as it delayed sailing, on Tuesday , 6, I waited on Lady Arabella Denny, at the Black Rock, four miles from Dublin. It is one of the pleasantest spots I ever saw.
The garden is everything in miniature. On one side is a grove, with serpentine walks; on the other, a little meadow and a green-house, with a study (which she calls her chapel) hanging over the sea. Between these is a broad walk, leading down almost to the edge of the water; along which run two narrow walks, commanding the quay, one above the other. But it cannot be long before this excellent lady will remove to a nobler paradise.
The unusually large congregation in the evening was plentifully watered with the dew of heaven. I found a particular concern for the children, many of whom willingly attended. Wed. 7. — The packet still delaying, I exhorted a large congregation, in the evening, to take care how they built their house upon the sand; and then cheerfully commended them to the grace of God. Thur. 8. — We rose at one, went down to the quay at two, and about four went on board the Hillsborough packet. About five the wind turned fair, and, between five and six in the evening, brought us to Holyhead. About seven we took coach, and the next evening met our friends at Chester. Mon . 12. — About eight I preached at Preston-in-the-Hill; about twelve, in Warlington, and in the evening, at Liverpool. Here the scandal of the cross seems to be ceased, and we are grown honorable men. Thursday, 15.
Mr. Bayley came very opportunely to assist me in the Morning Service.
Such a sight, I believe, was never seen at Manchester before. It was supposed there were thirteen or fourteen hundred communicants, among whom there was such a spirit as I have seldom found; and their whole behavior was such as adorned the Gospel. Tues. 20. — I met the select society, consisting of between forty and fifty members. Several of these were lately made partakers of the great salvation; as several were above twenty years ago. I believe there is no place but London, where we have so many souls so deeply devoted to God; and his hand is not shortened yet, but his work rapidly increases on every side.
About noon I preached at Stockport; and in the afternoon, in the new church at Macclesfield. This society seems as lively as even that at Manchester, and increases nearly as fast. Not a week passes wherein some are not justified, and some renewed in love. Wednesday, 21. I met a few of these, and found them indeed All praise, all meekness, and all love.
In the evening I exhorted them all to expect pardon or holiness today, not tomorrow. O let their love never grow cold! Fri. 23. — I set out for Derby; but the smith had so effectually lamed one of my horses, that many told me he would never be able to travel more. I thought, “Even this may be made matter of prayer;” and set out cheerfully. The horse, instead of growing worse and worse, went better and better; and in the afternoon (after I had preached at Leek by the way) brought me safe to Derby. Sat. 24. — Being desired to marry two of our friends at Buxton, two-and-thirty miles from Derby, I took chaise at three, and came thither about eight. I found notice had been given of my preaching in the church; and the Minister desired me to read Prayers. By this means I could not leave Buxton till eleven, nor reach Nottingham till after seven; whereas I was to have preached at six. But Mr. Brackenbury came to town just in time to supply my place. Sun. 25. — I had an easy day’s work, as Mr. Bayley assisted me, by reading Prayers, and delivering the wine at the Lord’s Table. Tues. 27. — I preached at Loughborough in the morning, and at Mountsorrel at one. While I was preaching, the rain, which was so wanted, began, and continued for eight-and-forty hours. In the evening I preached at Leicester, where I always feel much liberty, and yet see but little fruit.
After preaching at Northampton, Bedford, and Hinxworth, on Saturday, 31, I returned to London. Sun . June 1. — I was refreshed by the very sight of the congregation at the new chapel. Monday, 2, and the following days, I employed in settling my business, and preparing for my little excursion. Wednesday, 11. I took coach with Mr. Brackenbury, Broadbent, and Whitfield; and in the evening we reached Harwich. I went immediately to Dr. Jones, who received me in the most affectionate manner. About nine in the morning we sailed; and at nine on Friday, 13, landed at Helvoetsluys. Here we hired a coach for Briel, but were forced to hire a wagon also, to carry a box which one of us could have carried on his shoulders. At Briel we took a boat to Rotterdam.
We had not been long there, when Mr. Bennet, a bookseller, who had invited me to his house, called upon me. But as Mr. Loyal, the Minister of the Scotch congregation, had invited me, he gave up his claim, and went with us to Mr. Loyal’s. I found a friendly, sensible, hospitable, and, I am persuaded, a pious man. We took a walk together round the town, all as clean as a gentleman’s parlor. Many of the houses are as high as those in the main street at Edinburgh; and the canals, running through the chief streets, make them convenient, as well as pleasant; bringing the merchants’ goods up to their doors. Stately trees grow on all their banks. The whole town is encompassed with a double row of elms; so that one may walk all round it in the shade. Sat. 14. — I had much conversation with the two English Ministers, sensible, well-bred, serious men. These, as well as Mr. Loyal, were very willing I should preach in their churches; but they thought it would be best for me to preach in the Episcopal church. By our conversing freely together, many prejudices were removed, and all our hearts seemed to be united together.
In the evening we again took a walk round the town, and I observed, 1. Many of the houses are higher than most in Edinburgh. It is true they have not so many stories; but each story is far loftier. 2. The streets, the outside and inside of their houses in every part, doors, windows, well-staircases, furniture, even floors, are kept so nicely clean that you cannot find a speck of dirt. 3. There is such a grandeur and elegance in the fronts of the large houses, as I never saw elsewhere; and such a profusion of marble within, particularly in their lower floors and staircases, as I wonder other nations do not imitate. 4. The women and children (which I least of all expected) were in general the most beautiful I ever saw. They were surprisingly fair, and had an inexpressible air of innocence in their countenance. 5. This was wonderfully set off by their dress, which was simplex munditiis, plain and neat in the highest degree. 6. It has lately been observed, that growing vegetables greatly resist putridity; so there is an use in their numerous rows of trees which was not thought of at first.
The elms balance the canals, preventing the putrefaction which those otherwise might produce.
One little circumstance I observed, which I suppose is peculiar to Holland:
To most chamber-windows a looking-glass is placed on the outside of the sash, so as to show the whole street, with all the passengers. There is something very pleasing in these moving pictures. Are they found in no other country? Sun. 15. — The Episcopal church is not quite so large as the chapel in West-Street. It is very elegant both without and within. The Service began at half-past nine. Such a congregation had not often been there before. I preached on, “God created man in his own image.” The people seemed, “all but their attention, dead.” In the afternoon the church was so filled as (they informed me) it had not been for these fifty years. I preached on, “God hath given us eternal life; and this life is in his Son.” I believe God applied it to many hearts. Were it only for this hour, I am glad I came to Holland.
One thing which I peculiarly observed was this, and the same in all the churches in Holland: At coming in, no one looks on the right or the left hand, or bows or courtesies to any one; but all go straightforward to their seats, as if no other person was in the place. During the service none turns his head on either side, or looks at anything but his book or the Minister; and in going out, none takes notice of any one, but all go straight forward till they are in the open air.
After church an English gentleman invited me to his country-house, not half a mile from the town. I scarce ever saw so pretty a place. The garden before the house was in three partitions, each quite different from the others. The house lay between this and another garden, (nothing like any of the others,) from which you looked through a beautiful summer-house, washed by a small stream, into rich pastures filled with cattle. We sat under an arbor of stately trees, between the front and the back gardens.
In the evening I attended the service of the great Dutch church, as large as most of our cathedrals. The organ (like those in all the Dutch churches) was elegantly painted and gilded; and the tunes that were sung were very lively, and yet solemn. Mon. 16. — We set out in a track-skuit for the Hague. By the way we saw a curiosity: The gallows near the canal, surrounded with a knot of beautiful trees! So the dying man will have one pleasant prospect here, whatever befalls him hereafter! At eleven we came to Delft, a large, handsome town, where we spent an hour at a merchant’s house, who, as well as his wife, a very agreeable woman, seemed both to fear and to love God. Afterwards we saw the great church; I think nearly, if not quite, as long as York Minster. It is exceedingly light and elegant within, and every part is kept exquisitely clean. The tomb of William the First is much admired; particularly his statue, which has more life than one would think could be expressed in brass.
When we came to the Hague, though we had heard much of it, we were not disappointed. It is, indeed, beautiful beyond expression. Many of the houses are exceeding grand, and are finely intermixed with water and wood; yet not too close, but so as to be sufficiently ventilated by the air.
Being invited to tea by Madam de Vassenaar, (one of the first quality in the Hague,) I waited upon her in the afternoon. She received us with that easy openness and affability which is almost peculiar to Christians and persons of quality. Soon after came ten or twelve ladies more, who seemed to be of her own rank, (though dressed quite plain,) and two most agreeable gentlemen; one of whom, I afterwards understood, was a Colonel in the Prince’s Guards. After tea I expounded the three first verses of the thirteenth of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. Captain M. interpreted, sentence by sentence. I then prayed, and Colonel V. after me. I believe this hour was well employed. Tues. 17. — As we walked over the Place we saw the Swiss Guards at their exercise. They are a fine body of men, taller, I suppose, than any English regiment; and they all wear large whiskers, which they take care to keep as black as their boots. Afterwards we saw the gardens at the Old Palace, beautifully laid out, with a large piece of water in the middle, and a canal at each end: The open walks in it are pleasant, but the shady serpentine walks are far pleasanter.
We dined at Mrs. L——’s, in such a family as I have seldom seen. Her mother, upwards of seventy, seemed to be continually rejoicing in God her Savior: The daughter breathes the same spirit; and her grandchildren, three little girls and a boy, seem to be all love. I have not seen four such children together in all England. A gentleman coming in after dinner, I found a particular desire to pray for him. In a little while he melted into tears, as indeed did most of the company. Wednesday, 18. In the afternoon Madam de Vassenaar invited us to a meeting at a neighboring lady’s house. I expounded Galatians 6:14, and Mr. M. interpreted as before. Thur. 19. — We took boat at seven. Mrs. L. and one of her relations, being unwilling to part so soon, bore us company to Leyden; a large and populous town, but not so pleasant as Rotterdam. In the afternoon we went on to Haerlem, where a plain, good man and his wife received us in a most affectionate manner. At six we took boat again. As it was filled from end to end, I was afraid we should not have a very pleasant journey. After Mr. Ferguson had told the people who we were, we made a slight excuse, and sung an hymn. They were all attention. We then talked a little, by means of our interpreter, and desired that any of them who pleased would sing. Four persons did so; and sung well. After a while we sung again: So did one or two of them; and all our hearts were strangely knit together, so that when we came to Amsterdam they dismissed us with abundance of blessings. Fri. 20. — We breakfasted at Mr. Ferguson’s, near the heart of the city.
At eleven we drank coffee (the custom in Holland) at Mr. J——’s, a merchant, whose dining-room is covered, both walls and ceiling, with the most beautiful paintings. He and his lady walked with us in the afternoon to the Stadt-House; perhaps the grandest buildings of the kind in Europe.
At five in the evening we drank tea at another merchant’s, Mr. G——’s, where I had a long conversation with Mr. de H.; one of the most learned as well as popular Ministers in the city; and (I believe, what is far more important) he is truly alive to God. He spoke Latin well, and seemed to be one of a strong understanding, as well as of an excellent spirit. In returning to our inn, we called at a stationer’s; and though we spent but a few minutes, it was enough to convince us of his strong affection, even to strangers. What a change does the grace of God make in the heart! Shyness and stiffness are now no more! Sat. 21. — We breakfasted with a very extraordinary woman, who lamented that she could not talk to us but by an interpreter. However, she made us understand, that she had a little child some years since, three or four years old, that was praying continually: That one morning, having just dressed her, she said, “Will you go kiss your sister?” She said, “Yes, mamma; and I will kiss you too;” and threw her arms about her mother’s neck; who said, “My dear, where will you go now?” She said, “I will go to Jesus;” and died.
At eleven I spent an hour with a woman of large fortune, who appeared to be as much devoted to God as her. We were immediately as well acquainted with each other, as if we had known each other for many years.
But indeed an easy good-breeding (such as I never expected to see here) runs through all the gentler people of Amsterdam. And there is such a child-like simplicity in all that love God, as does honor to the religion they profess.
About two we called upon Mr. V——n, and immediately fell into close conversation. There seems to be in him a peculiar softness and sweetness of temper; and a peculiar liveliness in Mrs. V——n. Our loving dispute, concerning deliverance from sin, was concluded within an hour: And we parted, if that could be, better friends than we met. Afterwards we walked to Mr. J——’s house in the Plantations, a large tract of ground, laid out in shady walks. These lie within the city walls: But there are other walks, equally pleasant, without the gates. Indeed nothing is wanting but the power of religion, to make Amsterdam a paradise. Sun. 22. — I went to the new church, so called still, though four or five hundred years old. It is larger, higher, and better illuminated, than most of our cathedrals. The screen that divides the church from the choir is of polished brass, and shines like gold. I understood the Psalms that were sung, and the text well, and a little of the sermon; which Mr. de H. delivered with great earnestness. At two I began the Service at the English church, an elegant building, about the size of West-Street chapel. Only it has no galleries; nor have any of the churches in Holland. I preached on Isaiah 55:6,7; and I am persuaded many received the truth in the love thereof.
After service I spent another hour at Mr. V——’s. Mrs. V—— again asked me abundance of questions, concerning deliverance from sin; and seemed a good deal better satisfied, with regard to the great and precious promises. Thence we went to Mr. B., who had lately found peace with God. He was full of faith and love, and could hardly mention the goodness of God without tears. His wife appeared to be exactly of the same spirit, so that our hearts were soon knit together. From thence we went to another family, where a large company were assembled. But all seemed open to receive instructions, and desirous to be altogether Christians.
After dinner Mrs. J—— took me in a coach to the Mere, and thence round the country to Zeeburg. I never saw such a country before: I suppose there is no such summer country in Europe. From Amsterdam to Mere is all a train of the most delightful gardens. Turning upon the left, you then open upon the Texel, which spreads into a sea. Zeeburg itself is a little house built on the edge of it, which commands both a land and sea prospect. What is wanting to make the inhabitants happy, but the knowledge and love of God? Tues. 24. — We took a view of the new Workhouse, which stands on one side of the Plantations. It much resembles Shoreditch Workhouse: Only it is considerably larger. And the front of it is so richly ornamented, that it looks like a royal palace About four hundred are now in the house, which is to receive four hundred more: Just half as many as are in the Poor-house at Dublin, which now contains sixteen hundred. We saw many of the poor people, all at work, knitting, spinning, picking work, or weaving. And the women in one room were all sewing, either fine or plain work. Many of these had been women of the town: For this is a Bridewell and Workhouse in one. The head keeper was stalking to and fro, with a large silver-hilted sword by his side.
The bed-chambers were exceeding neat: The beds are better or worse as are those that use them. We saw both the men in one long room, and the women in another, at dinner. In both rooms they sung a Psalm and prayed, before and after dinner. I cannot but think the managers in Amsterdam wiser than those in Dublin: For certainly a little of the form of religion is better than none at all!
Afterwards we spent an hour at Mrs. V——’s, a very extraordinary woman. Both from her past and present experience, I can have no doubt but she is perfected in love. She said, “I was born at Surinam; and came from thence when I was about ten years old. But when I came hither, my guardian would not let me have my fortune, unless I would go back to Surinam. However, I got acquainted with some pious people, and made shift to live, till I was about sixteen: I then embarked for Surinam; but a storm drove us to the coast of England, where the ship was stranded. I was in great distress, fearing I had done wrong in leaving the pious people:
But just then God revealed himself to my soul. I was filled with joy unspeakable; and boldly assured the people, who despaired of life, that God would preserve them all. And so he did: We got on shore at Devon; but we lost all that we had. “After a time I returned to Amsterdam, and lived four years in service: Then I married. Seven years after, it pleased God to work a deeper work in my heart: Since then I have given myself wholly to Him. I desire nothing else. Jesus is my All. I am always pleased with his will: So I was, even when my husband died. I had not one discontented thought; I was still happy in God.” Wed. 25. — We took boat for Haerlem. The great church here is a noble structure, equaled by few cathedrals in England, either in length, breadth, or height: the organ is the largest I ever saw and is said to be the finest in Europe. Hence we went to Mr. Van Ka——’s, whose wife was convinced of sin and justified by reading Mr. Whitefield’s Sermons.
It adjoins to the town, and is cut out in many shady walks; with lovely vistas shooting out every way. The walk from the Hague to Scheveling is pleasant; those near Arnsterdam more so; but these exceed them all.
We returned in the afternoon to Amsterdam; and in the evening took leave of as many of our friends as we could. How entirely were we mistaken in the Hollanders, supposing them to be of a cold, phlegmatic, unfriendly temper! I have not met with a more warmly affectionate people in all Europe! No, not in Ireland! Thur. 26. — Our friends having largely provided us with wine and fruits for our little journey, we took boat in a lovely morning for Utrecht, with Mr. V——’s sister, who in the way gave us a striking account: “In that house,” said she (pointing to it as we went by,) “my husband and I lived; and that church adjoining to it was his church. Five years ago, we were sitting together, being in perfect health, when he dropped down, and in a quarter of an hour died: I lifted up my heart and said, ‘Lord, thou art my husband now;’ and found no will but his.” This was a trial worthy of a Christian: And she has ever since made her word good. We were scarce got to our inn at Utrecht, when Miss L—— came. I found her just such as I expected. She came on purpose from her father’s country-house, where all the family were. I observe of all the pious people in Holland, that, without any rule but the word of God, they dress as plain as Miss March did formerly, and Miss Johnson does now! And considering the vast disadvantage they are under, having no connection with each other, and being under no such discipline at all as we are, I wonder at the grace of God that is in them! Fri. 27. — I walked over to Mr. L——’s country-house, about three miles from the city. It is a lovely place, surrounded with delightful gardens, laid out with wonderful variety. Mr. L—— is of an easy genteel behavior, speaks Latin correctly, and is no stranger to philosophy. Mrs. L—— is the picture of friendliness and hospitality; and young Mr. L—— seems to be cast in the same mold. We spent a few hours very agreeably. Then Mr. L—— would send me back in his coach.
Being sick of inns, (our bill at Amsterdam alone amounting to near a hundred florins,) I willingly accepted of an invitation to lodge with the sons-in-law of James Oddie. Sat. 28. — We went over to Zeist, the settlement of the German Brethren.
It is a small village, finely situated, with woods on every side, and much resembles one of the large Colleges in Oxford. Here I met with my old friend Bishop Antone, whom I had not seen for near fifty years. He did not ask me to eat or drink; for it is not their custom, and there is an inn; but they were all very courteous; and we were welcome to buy any thing that we pleased at their shops! I cannot see how it is possible for this community to avoid growing immensely rich.
I have this day lived fourscore years; and, by the mercy of God, my eyes are not waxed dim: And what little strength of body or mind I had thirty years since, just the same I have now. God grant I may never live to be useless! Rather may I My body with my charge lay down, And cease at once to work and live.
Sun. 29. — At ten I began the service in the English church in Utrecht. I believe all the English in the city were present, and forty or fifty Hollanders. I preached on 1 Corinthians 13.; I think, as searchingly as ever in my life. Afterwards a merchant invited me to dinner: For six years he had been at death’s door by an asthma, and was extremely ill last night; but this morning, without any visible cause, he was well, and walked across the city to the church. He seemed to be deeply acquainted with religion, and made me promise, if I came to Utrecht again, to make his house my home.
In the evening a large company of us met at Miss L.’s, where I was desired to repeat the substance of my morning sermon. I did so: Mr. Toydemea (the Professor of Law in the University) interpreting it sentence by sentence. They then sung a Dutch hymn; and we an English one.
Afterwards Mr. Regglet, a venerable old man, spent some time in prayer, for the establishment of peace and love between the two nations.
Utrecht has much the look of an English town. The streets are broad, and have many noble houses. In quietness and stillness it much resembles Oxford. The country all round is like a garden: And the people I conversed with are not only civil and hospitable, but friendly and affectionate, even as those at Amsterdam. Mon. 30. — We hired a coach for Rotterdam, at half-a-crown per head.
We dined at Gouda, at M. Van Flooten’s, Minister of the town, who received us with all possible kindness. Before dinner we went into the church, famous for its painted windows; but we had not time to survey a tenth part of them: We could only observe, in general, that the colors were exceeding lively, and the figures exactly proportioned. In the evening we reached once more the hospitable house of Mr. Loyal, at Rotterdam. Tues . July 1. — I called on as many as I could of my friends, and we parted with much affection. We then hired a yacht, which brought us to Helvoetsluys, about eleven the next day. At two we went on board; but the wind turning against us, we did not reach Harwich till about nine on Friday morning. After a little rest we procured a carriage, and reached London about eleven at night.
I can by no means regret either the trouble or expense which attended this little journey. It opened me a way into, as it were, a new world; where the land, the buildings, the people, the customs, were all such as I had never seen before. But as those with whom I conversed were of the same spirit with my friends in England, I was as much at home in Utrecht and Amsterdam, as in Bristol and London. Sun. 6. — We rejoiced to meet once more with our English friends in the new chapel; who were refreshed with the account of the gracious work which God is working in Holland also. Wed. 9. — I spent a melancholy hour with Mr. M. and several others, who charged him with speaking grievous things of me, which he then knew to be utterly false. If he acknowledges his fault, I believe he will recover; if not, his sickness is unto death.
These four days, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, were as hot as the midsummer days in Jamaica. The summer heat in Jamaica usually raises the thermometer to about eighty degrees. The quicksilver in my thermometer now rose to eighty-two. Mon. 14. — I took a little journey into Oxfordshire, and found the good effects of the late storms. The thunder had been uncommonly dreadful; and the lightning had tore up a field near High-Wycomb, and turned the potatoes into ashes. In the evening I preached in the new preaching-house at Oxford, a lithesome, cheerful place, and well filled with rich and poor, scholars as well as townsmen. Tuesday , 15. Walking through the city, I observed it swiftly improving in everything but religion. Observing narrowly the Hall at Christ-Church, I was convinced it is both loftier and larger than that of the Stadt–House in Amsterdam. I observed also, the gardens and walks in Holland, although extremely pleasant, were not to be compared with St. John’s, or Trinity gardens; much less with the parks, Magdalen water-walks, etc., Christ-Church meadow, or the White-walk. Wed. 16. — I went on to Witney. There were uncommon thunder and lightning here last Thursday ; but nothing to that which were there on Friday night. About ten the storm was just overthrown; and both the bursts of thunder and lightning, or rather sheets of flame, were without intermission. Those that were asleep in the town were waked, and many thought the day of judgment was come. Men, women, and children, flocked out of their houses, and kneeled down together in the streets. With the flames, the grace of God came down also in a manner never known before; and as the impression was general, so it was lasting: It did not pass away with the storm; but the spirit of seriousness, with that of grace and supplication, continued. A prayer-meeting being appointed on Saturday evening, the people flocked together; so that the preaching-house was more than filled; and many were constrained to stand without the door and windows. On Sunday morning, before the usual time of Service, the church was quite filled. Such a sight was never seen in that church before. The Rector himself was greatly moved, and delivered a pressing, close sermon, with uncommon earnestness. When I came on Wednesday , the same seriousness remained on the generality of the people. I preached in the evening at Wood-Green, where a multitude flocked together, on the Son of man coming in his glory. The word fell heavy upon them, and many of their hearts were as melting wax. Thursday , 17. At five they were still so eager to hear, that the preaching-house would not near contain the congregation. After preaching, four-and-thirty persons desired admission into the society; every one of whom was (for the present, at least) under very serious impressions: And most of them, there is reason to hope, will bring forth fruit with patience. In the evening I preached to a lovely congregation, at Stroud; and on Tuesday afternoon came to Bristol. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I spent at Bath. Thursday, 24. I went with a few friends to Blase-Castle. The woods on the side of the hill, cut through various directions, are the pleasantest I ever saw, little inferior to the Leasowes; and, by the beautiful prospects, far superior to Stow gardens. Afterwards we took a view of Lord Clifford’s woods, at King’s Weston. They are amazingly beautiful: I have seen nothing equal to them in the west of England, and very few in any other parts. In the evening I read to the congregation an account of our brethren in Holland, and many Thanksgivings were rendered to God on their account. Tues. 29. — Our Conference began, at which two important points were considered: First, the case of Birstal House; and, Secondly, the state of Kingswood School. With regard to the former, our brethren earnestly desired that I would go to Birstal myself, believing this would be the most effectual way of bringing the Trustees to reason. With regard to the latter, we all agreed, that either the School should cease, or the Rules of it be punctually observed: Particularly, that the children should never play; and that a master should be always present with them. Tues . August 5. — Early in the morning I was seized with a most impetuous flux. In a few hours it was joined by a violent and almost continual cramp; first, in my feet, legs, thighs; then, in my side and my throat. The case being judged extreme, a grain and a half of opium was given me in three doses: This speedily stopped the cramp; but, at the same time, took away my speech, hearing, and power of motion; and locked me up from head to foot; so that I lay a mere log. I then sent for Dr. Drummond, who from that time attended me twice a day. For some days I was worse and worse; till, on Friday, I was removed to Mr. Castleman’s.
Still my head was not affected, and I had no pain, although in a continual fever. But I continued slowly to recover, so that I could read or write an hour or two at a time. On Wednesday, 13, I took a vomit, which almost shook me to pieces; but, however, did me good. Sunday, 17, and all the following week, my fever gradually abated; but I had a continual thirst, and little or no increase of strength: Nevertheless, being unwilling to be idle, on Saturday , 23, I spent an hour with the penitents; and, finding myself no worse, on Sunday, 24, I preached at the new Room, morning and afternoon. Finding my strength was now in some measure restored, I determined to delay no longer; but setting out on Monday , 25, reached Gloucester in the afternoon: In the evening I preached in the Town-Hall; I believe, not in vain. Tuesday , 26. I went on to Worcester, where many young people are just setting out in the ways of God. I joined fifteen of them this afternoon to the society; all of them, I believe, athirst for salvation. Wednesday , 27. I preached at Birmingham, and had a comfortable season. Thursday , 28. I paid another visit to the amiable family at Hilton-Hall. Friday , 29. About ten I preached for the first time at Stafford, to a large and deeply attentive congregation. It is now the day of small things here; but the grain of mustard-seed may grow up into a great tree.
Hence I rode to Congleton. I had received abundance of complaints against the Assistant of this Circuit, — James Rogers. Saturday , 30. I heard all the parties face to face, and encouraged them all to speak their whole mind. I was surprised; so much prejudice, anger, and bitterness, on so slight occasions, I never saw. However, after they had had it out, they were much softened, if not quite reconciled. Sunday , 31. I preached in the new church at Macclesfield, both morning and afternoon. I believe we had seven hundred communicants. Mon . September 1. — We clambered over the mountains to Buxton. In the afternoon I preached in Fairfield church, about half a mile from the town; it was thoroughly filled with serious and attentive hearers. Tuesday , 2. We went to Leeds, where I was glad to find several Preachers. Wed. 3. — I consulted the Preachers, how it was best to proceed with the Trustees of Birstal House, to prevail upon them to settle it on the Methodist plan. They all advised me to begin by preaching there.
Accordingly, I preached on Thursday evening, and met the society. I preached again in the morning. Friday , 5. About nine I met the nineteen Trustees; and, after exhorting them to peace and love, said, “All that I desire is, that this House may be settled on the Methodist plan; and the same clause may be inserted in your Deed which is inserted in the Deed of the new chapel in London; viz., ‘In case the doctrine or practice of any Preacher should, in the opinion of the major part of the Trustees, be not conformable to Mr. W——’s Sermons and Notes on the New Testament, on representing this, another Preacher shall be sent within three months.’” Five of the Trustees were willing to accept of our first proposals; the rest were not willing.
Although I could not obtain the end proposed; and, in that respect, had only my labor for my pains; yet I do not at all repent, of my journey: I have done my part; let others bear their own burden. Going back nearly the same way I came, on Saturday, 13, I reached Bristol. I had likewise good reward for my labor, in the recovery of my health, by a journey of five or six hundred miles.
On Wednesday, 17, and the two following days, I visited several of the country societies; and found most of them, not only increasing in number, but in the knowledge and love of God. Fri. 26. — Observing the deep poverty of many of our brethren, I determined to do what I could for their relief. I spoke severally to some that were in good circumstances, and received about forty pounds. Next I inquired who were in the most pressing want, and visited them at their own houses. I was surprised to find no murmuring spirits among them, but many that were truly happy in God; and all of them appeared to be exceeding thankful for the scanty relief which they received. Sun. 28. — It being a fair day, I snatched the opportunity of preaching abroad to twice or thrice as many as the Room would have contained. Wednesday, OCTOBER 1. I preached at Bath, to such a congregation as I have not seen there of a long season. All my leisure hours this week I employed in visiting the remaining poor, and in begging for them. Having collected about fifty pounds more, I was enabled to relieve most of those that were in pressing distress. Mon. 6. — Leaving the society in a more prosperous way than it had been for several years, I preached in the Devizes about noon, and at Sarum in the evening. Captain Webb lately kindled a flame here, and it is not yet gone out. Several persons were still rejoicing in God; and the people in general were much quickened. Tuesday, 7. I found his preaching in the street at Winchester had been blessed greatly. Many were more or less convinced of sin, and several had found peace with God. I never saw the preaching-house so crowded before with serious and attentive hearers. So was that at Portsmouth also. Wednesday , 8. We took a ferry for the Isle of Wight. Before we were half over, the sea rose, and the water washed over us. However, we got safe to Watton-Bridge, and then walked on to Newport. There is much life among the people here; and they walk worthy of their profession., Thur. 9. — I went to Newtown, (two miles from Newport,) supposed to be the oldest town in the isle; but its glory is past! The church lies in ruins, and the town has scarce six houses remaining. However, the preaching-house was thoroughly filled; and the people appeared to be all of one rank; none rich and none extremely poor; but all were extremely serious and attentive. Fri . 10. — I crossed over to Southampton; and found two or three there also who feared and loved God. Then I went to Winchester, and had the pleasure of dining with Mr. Lowth, and supping with Mrs. Blackwell. Her six lovely children are in admirable order; it is a pleasure to see them. A Clergyman having offered me his church, I purposed beginning at five; but the key was not to be found; so I made a virtue of necessity, and preached near the Cross-Street; probably to double the congregation which would have been in the church.
Many of the Dutch prisoners remaining here, I paid them a short visit.
When they were brought hither first, one of them prayed with as many as desired it, and gave them a word of exhortation. Presently one found peace with God, and joined him in that labor of love. These increased, so that they have now five exhorters: Many are justified, and many more convinced of sin. About two hundred of them were met together when I came: They first sung a hymn in their own language; I then gave them a short exhortation in English, for which they were extremely thankful. Sat. 11. — Just at twelve (the same hour as at Bristol) I was taken exceeding ill, and so continued till three. I then took chaise, as I had appointed, and was better and better every stage, and quite well when I came to London. Mon . 13. — I preached at Wallingford. Tuesday , 14. I went on to Oxford, and found both the congregation and society increased in zeal as well as in number. Wednesday , 15. I came to Witney. The flame which was kindled here by that providential storm of thunder and lightning, is not extinguished; but has continued ever since, with no discernible intermission. The preaching-house is still too small for the congregation. Thursday, 16. I preached at High-Wycomb; and on Friday returned to London. Sun . 19. — I took the diligence for Norwich, and preached there the next evening, to more than the House would contain; and both this night and the following, we sensibly felt that God was in the midst of us. Wednesday , 22. I went to Yarmouth. Often this poor society had been well-nigh shattered in pieces; first, by Benjamin Worship, then a furious Calvinist, tearing away near half of them; next, by John Simpson turning Antinomian, and scattering most that were left. It has pleased God, contrary to all human probability, to raise a new society out of the dust; nay, and to give them courage to build a new preaching-house, which is well finished, and contains about five hundred persons. I opened it this evening; and as many as could get in, seemed to be deeply affected. Who knows but God is about to repair the waste places, and to gather a people that shall be scattered no more? Thur . 23. — We went to Lowestoft, where the people have stood firm from the beginning. Observing in the evening, that forty or fifty people were talking together, as soon as the service was over, (a miserable custom that prevails in most places of public worship, throughout England and Ireland,) I strongly warned the congregation against it; as I had done those at Norwich and Yarmouth. They received it in love; and the next evening, all went silently away. But this warning must be given again and again in every place, or it will not be effectual. Sat . 25. — I preached in Lowestoft at five; at eight to an earnest, lively people at Cove; and at one to a more numerous, but not more lively, congregation at London. The most numerous was that at Norwich in the evening, many of whom were truly alive to God. Sun . 26. — I gave the sacrament at seven; at nine I preached at Bear-Street, where I am in hopes considerable goodwill be done. The most serious congregation in our House we had at two; but the most numerous at six; though not above half of those that came could get in. Those that could hear, did not lose their labor; for God “satisfied the hungry with good things.” Mon . 27. — I talked at large with M. F. Such a case I have not known before. She has been in the society nearly from the beginning. She found peace with God five-and-thirty years ago; and the pure love of God a few years after. Above twenty years she has been a Class and a Band Leader, and of very eminent use. Ten months since she was accused of drunkenness, and of revealing the secret of her friend. Being informed of this, I wrote to Norwich, (as I then believed the charge,) that she must be no longer a Leader, either of a band or a class. The Preacher told her further, that, in his judgment, she was unfit to be a member of the society.
Upon this she gave up her ticket, together with the band and her class papers. Immediately all her friends (of whom she seemed to have a large number) forsook her at once. No one knew her, or spoke to her. She was as a dead thing out of mind!
On making a more particular inquiry, I found that Mrs. W—— (formerly a common woman) had revealed her own secret, to Dr. Hunt, and twenty people besides. So the first accusation vanished into air. As to the second, I verily believe, the drunkenness with which she was charged, was, in reality, the falling down in a fit. So we have thrown away one of the most useful Leaders we ever had, for these wonderful reasons! Wed . 29. — I crossed over to Lynn, and found things much better than I expected. The behavious of Mr. G——, which one would have imagined would have done much harm, had rather done good. People in general cried, “Let that bad man go, they will do better without him.” And the House was sufficiently crowded with serious hearers.NOVEMBER 1. I returned to London.
In the two following weeks I visited the classes both in London and the neighboring societies. Sunday , 16. Being much importuned, I preached in the evening at Mr. Maxfield’s chapel. But I dare not do so again, as it cannot contain one third of that congregation at the new chapel. Mon . 17. — I preached at Sevenoaks, and on Tuesday , 18, at Mount-Ephraim, near Tunbridge-Wells. Wednesday , 19, I came once more to the lovely family at Shoreham. A little longer that venerable old man is permitted to remain here, that the flock may not be scattered.
When I was at Sevenoaks I made an odd remark. In the year 1769, I weighed an hundred and twenty-two pounds. In 1783, I weighed not a pound more or less. I doubt whether such another instance is to be found in Great Britain. Mon . 24. — I preached at Canterbury, and again on Wednesday; on Tuesday , 25, at Dover; Thursday , 27, at Sheerness, where Mr. Fox read Prayers, and I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Fri . 28. — I returned to London. Tuesday ,DECEMBER 2. I married Mr. Rutherford and Miss Lydia Duplex. Wednesday , 3. I took a little journey into Hertfordshire; and having preached at Hinxworth, and Wrestlingworth, on Friday , 5, I preached at Barnet, and on Saturday , 6, returned to London.
I now inquired more carefully and particularly into the strange case of poor Mr. M. But the more I inquired, the worse the matter appeared to be. It was plain, by the evidence of many unexceptionable witnesses, that he had told innumerable lies; affirming, denying, and affirming again! And this man, who has lived above twenty years in a constant course of lying and slandering, tells you, he enjoys constant communion with God; and that nothing can make him happier, but heaven! Thur . 18. — I spent two hours with that great man, Dr. Johnson, who is sinking into the grave by a gentle decay. Wednesday , 24. While we were dining at Mr. Blunt’s, his servant-maid, ill of a sore throat, died. Saturday , 27. I dined at Mr. Awbrey’s, with Mr. Wynantz, son of the Dutch merchant at whose house I met with Peter Bohler and his brethren, forty-five years ago. Wed . 31. — We concluded the year at the new chapel, with the voice of praise and thanksgiving. Thur . January 1, 1784. — I retired for two or three days to Peckham. Sunday , 4. Though it rained violently, we had, I believe, upwards of eighteen hundred people, at the renewal of the Covenant: Many found an uncommon blessing therein. I am sure I did, for one. Tues . 6. — At noon I preached at Barking, and in the evening at Purfleet, to a people that were all alive. Wednesday , 7. I went on to Colchester; and on Friday , 9, returned to London. Mon . 12. — Desiring to help some that were in pressing want, but not having any money left, I believed it was not improper, in such a case, to desire help from God. A few hours after, one from whom I expected nothing less, put ten pounds into my hands. Wed . 21. — Being vehemently accused, by a well-meaning man, of very many things, particularly of covetousness and uncourteousness, I referred the matter to three of our brethren. Truly in these articles, “I know nothing by myself. But he that judgeth me is the Lord.” Sat . 24. — I began visiting the classes in the town and country. Sunday , 25. I preached in the afternoon in St. George’s, Southwark; a very large and commodious church. Thursday ,FEBRUARY 5. I went down to Nottingham, and preached a charity sermon for the General Hospital. The next day I returned to London. In the following week I visited the country societies. Saturday , 14. I desired all our Preachers to meet, and consider thoroughly the proposal of sending Missionaries to the East Indies. After the matter had been fully considered, we were unanimous in our judgment, that we have no call thither yet, no invitation, no providential opening of any kind. Thur . 19. — I spent an agreeable hour with the modern Hannibal, Pascal Paoli; probably the most accomplished General that is now in the world.
He is of a middle size, thin, well-shaped, genteel, and has something extremely striking in his countenance. How much happier is he now, with his moderate pension, than he was in the midst of his victories!
On Saturday , having a leisure hour, I made an end of that strange book, “Orlando Furioso.” Ariosto had doubtless an uncommon genius, and subsequent poets have been greatly indebted to him: Yet it is hard to say, which was the most out of his senses, the hero or the poet. He has not the least regard even to probability; his marvellous transcends all conception.
Astolpho’s shield and horn, and voyage to the moon, the lance that unhorses every one, the all-penetrating sword and I know not how many impenetrable helmets and coats of mail, — leaves transformed into ships, and into leaves again, — stones turned into horses, and again into stones, — are such monstrous fictions as never appeared in the world before, and, one would hope, never will again. O who, that is not himself out of his senses, can compare Ariosto with Tasso! Mon . March 1. — I went to Newbury, and preached in the evening to a large and deeply affected congregation. Tuesday , 2, and Wednesday , 3, I preached at Bath, and on Thursday , 4, went on to Bristol. Friday , 5. I talked at large with our Masters in Kingswood School, who are now just such as I wished for. At length the Rules of the House are punctually observed, and the children are all in good order. Sat . 6. — I spent a few melancholy minutes at Mr. Henderson’s with the lost Louisa. She is now in a far more deplorable case than ever. She used to be mild, though silly: But now she is quite furious. I doubt the poor machine cannot be repaired in this life.
The next week I visited the classes at Bristol. Friday , 12, being at Samuel Rayner’s, in Bradford, I was convinced of two vulgar errors; the one, that nightingales will not live in cages; the other that they only sing a month or two in the year. He has now three nightingales in cages; and they sing almost all day long, from November to August. Saturday , 13. About nine I preached at Trowbridge, where a large congregation quietly attended.
Returning to Bristol, I lodged once more at E—— J——’s, a genuine old Methodist. God has lately taken away her only brother, as well as her beloved sister. But she was still able to say, “It is the Lord: Let him do what seemeth him good.” Mon . 15. — Leaving Bristol after preaching at five, in the evening I preached at Stroud; where, to my surprise, I found the morning preaching was given up, as also in the neighboring places. If this be the case while I am alive, what must it be when I am gone? Give up this, and Methodism too will degenerate into a mere sect, only distinguished by some opinions and modes of worship. Tues. 16. — I preached in Painswick at noon, and at Gloucester in the evening. The Room was full at five in the morning, and both the Preachers and people promised to neglect the early preaching no more. Wednesday , 17. We went to Cheltenham, which I had not seen for many years. I preached at noon to half a house full of hearers, most of them cold and dead enough. I expected to find the same at Tewkesbury, but was agreeably disappointed. Not only the congregation was much larger, but I admired their teachableness. On my mentioning the impropriety of standing at prayer, and sitting while we were singing praise to God, they all took advice; kneeling while we prayed, and stood up while we sung Psalms. Thur . 18. — We crossed over to Bengeworth, where Mr. Cooper read Prayers, and I preached. Friday , 19. Being informed that my chaise could pass part of the way to Broadmarston, I went boldly for a while, and then stuck fast. I borrowed a horse, and went on. At five I preached in Pebworth church, and at five in the morning in our own chapel at Broadmarston. As we rode back to Bengeworth, the cold was so intense, that it had an effect I never felt before, — it made me downright sick.
However, I went on, and preached in the church at eleven, and in the evening at Worcester. Sunday , 21. I preached to a crowded audience, in St. Andrew’s church. The Vicar read Prayers, and afterwards told me I should be welcome to the use of his church, whenever I came to Worcester. Mon . 22. — In the evening I preached at Birmingham. Tuesday , 23. I preached in the church at Quinton, to a congregation gathered from all parts. Not many appeared to be unaffected; for the power of God was eminently present.
After preaching at various other places, on Saturday , 27, I went to Madeley; and, at Mr. Fletcher’s desire, revised his Letters to Dr. Priestley. I think there is hardly another man in England so fit to encounter him. Sunday , 28. Notwithstanding the severe weather, the church was more than filled. I preached on part of the Epistle; ( Hebrews 9:13, etc.;) in the afternoon, on “the grace of God that bringeth salvation;” and I believe God applied it to many hearts. Mon . 29. — I gave an exhortation at Sheriff-Hales, in my way to Stafford.
When I came thither, I found no notice had been given: So I had only a small company, in a deplorable hole, formerly a stable. Hence we went to Lane-End, a village two or three miles from Newcastle-under-Lyne. It was still piercingly cold; but the preaching-house would not hold a fourth part of the people. So I preached in the open air; the moon giving us clear light, though not much heat. The House was filled at five in the morning; and God again applied his word. Tues . 30. — I preached in the new preaching-house at Henley Green; but this was far too small to hold the congregation. Indeed, this country is all on fire, and the flame is still spreading from village to village. The preaching-house at Newcastle just holden the congregation, many being kept away by the election; especially the Gentry. But still the poor heard the Gospel preached, and received it with all readiness of mind. Wed . 31. — I reached Burslem, where we had the first society in the country; and it is still the largest, and the most in earnest. I was obliged to preach abroad. The House would but just contain the societies at the love-feast; at which many, both men and women, simply declared the wonderful works of God.
I did not find so lively a people at Congleton. Although the wounds made by prejudice were nearly healed, yet a faintness and deadness remained. I found the same sad effects of prejudice at Macclesfield: But there are so many here truly alive to God, that his work goes on still; only not in so rapid a manner as it might otherwise have done. Sun . April 4. — I preached at the new church, morning and evening, to a London congregation. Monday , 5. About noon I preached at Alpraham, to an unusually large congregation. I was surprised, when I came to Chester, to find that there also morning preaching was quite left off, for this worthy reason: “Because the people will not come, or, at least, not in the winter.”
If so, the Methodists are a fallen people. Here is proof They have “lost their first love;” and they never will or can recover it, till they “do the first works.”
As soon as I set foot in Georgia, I began preaching at five in the morning; and every communicant, that is, every serious person in the town, constantly attended throughout the year: I mean, came every morning, winter and summer, unless in the case of sickness. They did so till I left the province. In the year 1738, when God began his great work in England, I began preaching at the same hour, winter and summer, and never wanted a congregation. If they will not attend now, they have lost their zeal; and then, it cannot be denied, they are a fallen people.
And, in the mean time, we are laboring to secure the preaching-houses to the next generation! In the name of God, let us, if possible, secure the present generation from drawing back to perdition! Let all the Preachers that are still alive to God join together as one man, fast and pray, lift up their voice as a trumpet, be instant in season, out of season, to convince them they are fallen; and exhort them instantly to “repent, and do the first works:” This in particular, — rising in the morning, without which neither their souls nor bodies can long remain in health. Wed . 7. — I crossed over the water to Liverpool. Here I found a people much alive to God; one cause of which was, that they have preaching several mornings in a week, and prayer-meetings on the rest; all of which they are careful to attend. On Good-Friday ,APRIL 9, I went to Warrington. In the morning I read Prayers, preached, and administered the Lord’s Supper, to a serious congregation. I preached at five again, and believe few were present who did not feel that God was there of a truth. Sat . 10. — I preached to a huge congregation at Manchester, and to a far larger at ten in the morning, being Easter-Day . It was supposed there were near a thousand communicants. But hitherto the Lord has helped me in this respect also: I have found no congregation which my voice could not command. Mon . 12. — I found a lovely congregation at Stockport, much alive to God. So was that at Oldham the next day, which was not perceptibly lessened, though it blew a storm, and poured down with rain. Here a young woman, of unblamable character, (otherwise I should not have given her any credit,) gave me a remarkable account. She said, “I had totally lost the sight of my right eye, when I dreamed one night, that our Savior appeared to me; that I fell at his feet, and he laid his hand upon my right eye. Immediately I waked, and from that moment have seen as well with that eye as with the other.”
I applied, to a very large congregation, the case of the Rechabites. ( Jeremiah 35.) I asked, 1. Does it appear that these owed to Jonadab more than the Methodists owe to me? 2. Are they as observant of my advices (although both scriptural and rational; to instance only in dress and rising early) as the Rechabites were of his advices? (Of drinking no wine, and living in tents; which had neither Scripture nor reason to support them!)
I think every member of the society at Bolton does take my advice, with respect to other things, as well as with respect to dress and rising early; in consequence of which they are continually increasing in number as well as in grace. Fri . 16. — I preached about ten at Wingate, a village five or six miles from Bolton. I was constrained, by the multitude of people, to preach abroad, though it was exceeding cold, on, “All things are ready; come unto the marriage.” Truly the people were ready too. They drank in every word.
In the evening we had a very uncommon congregation at Wigan. Only one gentlewoman behaved “as she used to do at church;” (so several afterwards informed me;) talking all the time, though no one answered her! But the rest were deeply attentive; and, I trust, will not be forgetful hearers. I had designed to go from hence to Blackburn; but hearing that one of our society, near Preston, was at the point of death, I turned a little out of my way, to spend half an hour with her. I found Mrs. Nuttal, a lovely patient creature, praising God continually, though worn away with pining sickness and long continued pain. Having paid the last office of friendship here, I went to Preston, and preached to a serious congregation. In the evening I preached at Blackburn, where also the society is lively, and continually increasing. Sun . 18. — After preaching at five to a numerous congregation, (but not one rich or well-dressed person among them, either morning or evening!
Poor Blackburn!) I hastened on to Gisburn. The church was so full that a few were obliged to stand without the doors. The word was quick and powerful. So it was afterward at Settle. Sufficient for this day was the labor thereof. Mon . 19. — I went on to Ambleside; where, as I was sitting down to supper, I was informed, notice had been given of my preaching, and that the congregation was waiting. I would not disappoint them; but preached immediately on salvation by faith. Among them were a gentleman and his wife, who gave me a remarkable relation. She said she had often heard her mother relate, what an intimate acquaintance had told her, that her husband was concerned in the Rebellion of 1745. He was tried at Carlisle, and found guilty. The evening before he was to die, sitting and musing in her chair, she fell fast asleep. She dreamed, one came to her, and said, “Go to such a part of the wall, and among the loose stones you will find a key, which you must carry to your husband.” She waked; but, thinking it a common dream, paid no attention to it. Presently she fell asleep again, and dreamed the very same dream. She started up, put on her cloak and hat, and went to that part of the wall, and among the loose stones found a key.
Having, with some difficulty, procured admission into the gaol, she gave this to her husband. It opened the door of his cell, as well as the lock of the prison-door. So at midnight he escaped for life. Tues . 20. — We went to Whitehaven, where there is a fairer prospect than has been for many years. The society is united in love, not conformed to the world, but laboring to experience the full image of God, wherein they were created. The House was filled in the evening, and much more the next, when we had all the Church Ministers, and most of the Gentry in the town; but they behaved with as much decency as if they had been colliers. Thur . 22. — I preached in the market-house at Cockermouth. In our way thence, we had some of the heaviest rain I have seen in Europe. The Sessions being at Carlisle, I could not have the Court-House; but we had a good opportunity in our own House. Friday , 23. We traveled through a lovely country to Longtown, the last town in England; and one of the best built in it; for all the houses are new, from one end to the other. The road from hence to Langholm is delightfully pleasant, running mostly by the side of a clear river. But it was past seven before we reached Selkirk. Sat . 24. — We had frost in the morning, snow before seven, piercing winds all day long, and in the afternoon vehement hail; so that I did not wonder we had a small congregation at Edinburgh in the evening. Sun . 25. — I attended the Tolbooth kirk at eleven. The sermon was very sensible; but having no application, was no way likely to awaken drowsy hearers. About four I preached at Lady Maxwell’s, two or three miles from Edinburgh, and at six in our own House. For once it was thoroughly filled. I preached on, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” I am amazed at this people. Use the most cutting words, and apply them in the most pointed manner, still they hear , but feel no more than the seats they sit upon! Mon . 26. — I went to Glasgow, and preached in the evening to a very different congregation. Many attended in the morning, although the morning preaching had been long discontinued both here and at Edinburgh.
In the evening many were obliged to go away, the House not being able to contain them. Wednesday , 28. We found the same inconvenience, but those who could get in found a remarkable blessing. Thursday , 29. The House was thoroughly filled at four; and the hearts of the people were as melting wax. Afterwards I returned to Edinburgh, and in the evening the House was well filled. So that we must not say, “The people of Edinburgh love the word of God only on the Lord’s day.” Fri . 30. — We went to Perth; now but the shadow of what it was, though it begins to lift up its head. It is certainly the sweetest place in all North Britain, unless perhaps Dundee. I preached in the Tolbooth, to a large and well-behaved congregation. Many of them were present again at five in the morning,MAY 1. I then went to Dundee, through the Carse of Gowry, the fruitfullest valley in the kingdom. And I observe a spirit of improvement prevails in Dundee, and all the country round about it. Handsome houses spring up on every side. Trees are planted in abundance. Wastes and commons are continually turned into meadows and fruitful fields. There wants only a proportionable improvement in religion, and this will be one of the happiest countries in Europe.
But the next afternoon to one far more numerous; on whom I earnestly enforced, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” Many of them seemed almost persuaded to halt no longer: But God only knows the heart. Mon . 3. — I was agreeably surprised at the improvement of the land between Dundee and Arbroath. Our preaching-house at Arbroath was completely filled. I spoke exceeding plain on the difference of building upon the sand, and building upon the rock. Truly these “approve the things that are excellent,” whether they practice them or no.
I found this to be a genuine Methodist society: They are all thoroughly united to each other. They love and keep our Rules; they long and expect to be perfected in love: If they continue so to do, they will and must increase in number as well as in grace. Tues . 4. — I reached Aberdeen between four and five in the afternoon. Wednesday , 5. I found the morning preaching had been long discontinued:
Yet the bands and the select society were kept up. But many were faint and weak for want of morning preaching and prayer-meetings, of which I found scarce any traces in Scotland.
In the evening I talked largely with the Preachers, and showed them the hurt it did both to them and the people, for any one Preacher to stay six or eight weeks together in one place. Neither can he find matter for preaching every morning and evening, nor will the people come to hear him. Hence he grows cold by lying in bed, and so do the people. Whereas, if he never stays more than a fortnight together in one place, he may find matter enough, and the people will gladly hear him. They immediately drew up such a plan for this Circuit, which they determined to pursue. Thur . 6. — We had the largest congregation at five which I have seen since I came into the kingdom. We set out immediately after preaching, and reached Old-Meldrum about ten. A servant of Lady Banff’s was waiting for us there, who desired I would take post-horses to Fort-Glen. In two hours we reached an inn, which, the servant told us, was four little miles from her house. So we made the best of our way, and got thither in exactly three hours. All the family received us with the most cordial affection. At seven I preached to a small congregation, all of whom were seriously attentive, and some, I believe, deeply affected. Fri . 7. — I took a walk round about the town. I know not when I have seen so pleasant a place. One part of the house is an ancient castle, situated on the top of a little hill. At a small distance runs a clear river, with a beautiful wood on its banks. Close to it is a shady walk to the right, and another on the left hand. On two sides of the house there is abundance of wood: On the other, a wide prospect over fields and meadows. About ten I preached again with much liberty of spirit, on, “Love never faileth.”
I preached about seven to the poor of this world: Not a silk coat was seen among them: And to the greatest part of them at five in the morning. And I did not at all regret my labor. Sat . 8. — We reached the banks of the Spey. I suppose there are few such rivers in Europe. The rapidity of it exceeds even that of the Rhine: And it was now much swelled with melting snow. However, we made shift to get over before ten; and about twelve reached Elgin. Here I was received by a daughter of good Mr. Plenderleith, late of Edinburgh; with whom having spent an agreeable hour, I hastened toward Forres: But we were soon at full stop again; the river Findhorn also was so swollen, that we were afraid the ford was not passable. However, having a good guide, we passed it without much difficulty. I found Sir Lodowick Grant almost worn-out.
Never was a visit more seasonable. By free and friendly conversation his spirits were so raised, that I am in hopes it will lengthen his life. Sun . 9. — I preached to a small company at noon, on, “His commandments are not grievous.” As I was concluding, Colonel Grant and his lady came in: For whose sake I began again, and lectured, as they call it, on the former part of the <421501> fifteenth chapter of St. Luke. We had a larger company in the afternoon, to whom I preached on “judgment to come.”
And this subject seemed to affect them most. Mon . 10. — I set out for Inverness. I had sent Mr. M’Allum before, on George Whitfield’s horse, to give notice of my coming. Hereby I was obliged to take both George and Mrs. M’Allum with me in my chaise. To ease the horses, we walked forward from Nairn, ordering Richard to follow us, as soon as they were fed: He did so, but there were two roads. So, as we took one, and he the other, we walked about twelve miles and a half of the way, through heavy rain. We then found Richard waiting for us at a little ale-house, and drove on to Inverness. But, blessed be God, I was no more tired than when I set out from Nairn. I preached at seven to a far larger congregation than I had seen here since I preached in the kirk. And surely the labor was not in vain: For God sent a message to many hearts. Tues . 11. — Notwithstanding the long discontinuance of morning preaching, we had a large congregation at five. I breakfasted at the first house I was invited to at Inverness, where good Mr. M’Kenzie then lived.
His three daughters live in it now; one of whom inherits all the spirit of her father. In the afternoon we took a walk over the bridge, into one of the pleasantest countries I have seen. It runs along by the side of the clear river, and is well-cultivated and well-wooded. And here first we heard abundance of birds, welcoming the return of spring. The congregation was larger this evening than the last: And great part of them attended in the morning. We had then a solemn parting, as we could hardly expect to meet again in the present world. Wed . 12. — I dined once more at Sir Lodowick Grant’s, whom likewise I scarce expect to see any more. His lady is lately gone to rest, and he seems to be swiftly following her. A church being offered me at Elgin, in the evening I had a multitude of hearers, whom I strongly exhorted to “seek the Lord while he may be found.” Thursday , 13. We took a view of the poor remains of the once-magnificent cathedral. By what ruins are left, the workmanship appears to have been exquisitely fine. What barbarians must they have been, who hastened the destruction of this beautiful pile, by taking the lead off the roof!
The church was again well filled in the evening, by those who seemed to feel much more than the night before. In consequence, the morning congregation was more than doubled; and deep attention sat on every face.
I do not despair of good being done even here, provided the Preachers be “sons of thunder.” Fri . 14. — We saw, at a distance, the Duke of Gordon’s new house, six hundred and fifty feet in front. Well might the Indian ask, “ Are you white men no bigger than we red men? Then why do you build such lofty houses?” The country between this and Banff is well cultivated, and extremely pleasant. About two I read Prayers and preached in the Episcopal chapel at Banff, one of the neatest towns in the kingdom. About ten I preached in Lady Banff’s dining-room, at Fort Glen, to a very serious, though genteel, congregation; and afterwards spent a most agreeable evening with the lovely family. Sat . 15. — We set out early, and dined at Aberdeen. On the road I read Ewen Cameron’s Translation of Fingal. I think he has proved the authenticity of it beyond all reasonable contradiction: But what a poet was Ossian! Little inferior to either Homer or Virgil; in some respects superior to both. And what an hero was Fingal! Far more humane than Hector himself, whom we cannot excuse for murdering one that lay upon the ground; and with whom Achilles, or even pious Aeneas, is not worthy to be named. But who is this excellent translator, Ewen Cameron? Is not his other name Hugh Blair? Sun . 16. — I went to Newburgh, a small fishing-town, fifteen miles north of Aberdeen. Here is at present, according to its bigness, the liveliest society in the kingdom. I preached here in a kind of Square, to a multitude of people; and the whole congregation appeared to be moved, and ready prepared for the Lord.
At two in the afternoon Mr. Black read Prayers, and I preached, in Trinity chapel. It was crowded with people of all denominations. I preached from 1 Corinthians 13:1,2,3, in utter defiance of their common saying, “He is a good man, though he has bad tempers.” Nay, if he has bad tempers, he is no more a good man than the devil is a good angel. At five I preached in our own chapel, exceeding crowded, on the form and power of godliness. I am now clear of these people, and can cheerfully commend them to God. Mon . 17. — I reached Arbroath, and inquired into that odd event which occurred there in the latter end of the last war. The famous Captain Fell came one afternoon to the side of the town, and sent three men on shore, threatening to lay the town in ashes, unless they sent him thirty thousand pounds. That not being done, he began firing on the town the next day, and continued it till night. But, perceiving the country was alarmed, he sailed away the next day, having left some hundred cannon-balls behind him; but not having hurt man, woman, or child, or anything else, save one old barn-door. Tues . 18. — I preached at Dundee. Wednesday , 19. I crossed over the pleasant and fertile county of Fife, to Melval House, the grand and beautiful seat of Lord Leven. He was not at home, being gone to Edinburgh, as the King’s Commissioner; but the Countess was, with two of her daughters, and both her sons-in-law. At their desire I preached in the evening, on, “It is appointed unto man once to die;” and I believe God made the application. Thursday , 20. It blew a storm: Nevertheless, with some difficulty, we crossed the Queen’s Ferry. Friday , 21. I examined the society, and found about sixty members left. Many of these were truly alive to God: So our labor here is not quite in vain. Saturday , 22. I had some close conversation with L. M., who appeared to be clearly saved from sin, although exceedingly depressed by the tottering tenement of clay. About noon I spent an hour with her poor scholars; forty of whom she has provided with a serious master, who takes pains to instruct them in the principles of religion, as well as in reading and writing. A famous actress, just come down from London, (which, for the honor of Scotland, is just during the sitting of the Assembly,) stole away a great part of our congregation tonight. How much wiser are these Scots than their forefathers! Sun . 23. — I went in the morning to the Tolbooth kirk; in the afternoon, to the old Episcopal chapel. But they have lost their glorying; they talked, the moment Service was done, as if they had been in London. In the evening the Octagon was well filled; and I applied, with all possible plainness, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Mon . 24. — I preached at Dunbar. Tuesday , 25. I spent an hour with Mr. and Mrs. F., a woman every way accomplished. Neither of them had ever yet heard a sermon out of the kirk; but they ventured that evening; and I am in hope they did not hear in vain. Wednesday , 26. We went on to Berwick-upon-Tweed. The congregation in the Town-Hall was very numerous. So it was likewise at five in the morning. Thursday , 27. We traveled through a delightful country to Kelso. Here the two Seceding Ministers have taken true pains to frighten the people from hearing us, by retailing all the ribaldry of Mr. Cudworth, Toplady, and Rowland Hill.
But God has called one of them to his account already, and in a fearful manner. As no house could contain the congregation, I preached in the church-yard; and a more decent behavious I have scarce ever seen.
Afterwards we walked to the Duke of Roxburgh’s seat, about half a mile from the town, finely situated on a rising ground, near the ruins of Roxburgh Castle. It has a noble Castle; the front and the offices round, make it look like a little town. Most of the apartments within are finished in an elegant, but not in a costly, manner. I doubt whether two of Mr. Lascelles’s rooms at Harewood House, did not cost more in furnishing, than twenty of these. But the Duke’s house is far larger, containing no less than forty bed-chambers. But it is not near finished yet, nor probably will be till the owner is no more seen. Fri . 28. — I entered into England once more, and in the evening preached in the Town-Hall, at Alnwick. Saturday , 29. I should have preached in the Town-Hall, at Morpeth; but it was pre-engaged by a company of strolling players. So we retired into our own preaching-house. In the afternoon I went on to Newcastle.
May 30. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) The rain obliged us to be in the Orphan-House, both morning and evening; but in the afternoon I was forced to preach abroad at the Fell, by the multitudes that flocked together; partly moved by the death of William Bell and his wife, one so soon after the other. Tues . June 1. — About nine I preached to a large number of the poor people at Howden Pans; at noon, in North-Shields; and in the evening, at Newcastle; where I had now great satisfaction, the congregation, both morning and evening, being larger than they had been for many years, and the society being much alive, and in great peace and harmony. Friday , 4. I went over to Sunderland, and found the work of God here also in a prosperous state. Saturday , 5. I saw as many of the people, sick or well, as I could, and was much comforted among them. Sunday , 6. I preached at eight in the Room; at eleven in Monk-Wearmouth church. I purposed preaching abroad at Newcastle in the evening, but the weather would not permit: So I preached in the House, on, “This is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” Mon . 7. — About noon I preached at Anham; and in the evening in the Town-Hall at Hartlepool, where I had not been for sixteen years. Tues . 8. — I came to Stockton-upon-Tees. Here I found an uncommon work of God among the children. Many of them from six to fourteen were under serious impressions, and earnestly desirous to save their souls.
There were upwards of sixty who constantly came to be examined, and appeared to be greatly awakened. I preached at noon, on, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand;” and the people seemed to feel every word. As soon as I came down from the desk, I was enclosed by a body of children; one of whom, and another, sunk down upon their knees, until they were all kneeling: So I kneeled down myself, and began praying for them.
Abundance of people ran back into the House. The fire kindled, and ran from heart to heart, till few, if any, were unaffected. Is not this a new thing in the earth? God begins his work in children. Thus it has been also in Cornwall, Manchester, and Epworth. Thus the flame spreads to those of riper years; till at length they all know him, and praise him from the least unto the greatest. Wed . 9. — I went to Barnard-Castle. Here I was informed, that my old school-fellow, Mr. Fielding, and his wife, were gone to rest. His son, not choosing to live there, had let his lovely house to a stranger: So in a little time his very name and memory will be lost! Thur . 10. — After preaching at five, I took horse for the Dales, and about eight preached at Cutherston. Here I had the pleasure of seeing some of our brethren, who had been long at variance, cordially reconciled. Hence we rode through rain and wind to Newbiggen in Teesdale. Being but a poor horseman, and having a rough horse, I had just strength for my journey, and none to spare; but after resting awhile. I preached without any weariness.
Having then procured an easier horse, I rode over the great mountain into Weardale. But I found not my old host: Good Stephen Watson was removed to Abraham’s bosom. So was that mother in Israel, Jane Nattres; (before Salkeld;) the great instrument of that amazing work among the children. But God is with them still: Most of the Leaders and many of the people are much alive to God; as we found in the evening, when we had such a shower of grace as I have seldom known. Fri . 11. — About ten, riding through a village called Middleton, I was desired to preach there. So I began in the street without delay. A large number of people came together, and received the word with gladness.
Afterwards we rode at leisure to Barnard-Castle; and on Saturday , 12, to Darlington. Sun . 13. — We had a sound, useful sermon at Church. At eight I preached in our own Room, designing to preach abroad in the afternoon; but the rain prevented. Monday , 14. About noon I preached at Northallerton; and, I believe, God touched many hearts: As also at Thirsk, where I preached in the evening to an attentive congregation. Tues . 15. — I preached once more to my old friends at Osmotherley.
About noon I preached at Potto; and in the evening at Hutton-Rudby, where we had a glorious opportunity: Some great persons who were present seemed to be struck, and almost persuaded to be Christians. Wednesday , 16. I preached in Stokesley about eight; in Guisborough at noon; and in the evening at Whitby.
The morning congregation filled the House. Indeed the society here may be a pattern to all in England. They despise all ornaments but good works, together with a meek and quiet spirit. I did not see a ruffle, no, nor a fashionable cap, among them; though many of them are in easy circumstances. I preached at the market-place in the evening, where were at least thrice as many as the House could contain. Sat . 19. — I met such a select society as I have not seen since I left London. They were about forty, of whom I did not find one who had not a clear witness of being saved from inbred sin. Several of them had lost it for a season, but could never rest till they had recovered it. And every one of them seemed now to walk in the full light of God’s countenance.
About one I preached to another congregation of plain people at Robin Hood’s Bay. Here was the first society in all these parts, several years before there was any in Whitby. But their continual jars with each other prevented their increase either in grace or number. At present they seem to be all at peace: So I hope we shall now have joy over them.
In the evening I preached to a large congregation at Scarborough. Sunday , 20. The new Vicar showed plainly, why he refused those who desired the liberty for me to preach in his church. A keener sermon I never heard. So all I have done to persuade the people to attend the church is overturned at once! And all who preach thus, will drive the Methodists from the church, in spite of all that I can do. I preached in the evening, on 1 Corinthians 13:1,2,3; and God mightily confirmed his word, applying it to the hearts of many of the hearers. Mon . 21. — The rain drove us into the House at Bridlington. Tuesday , 22.
We stopped at a little town, where Mr. Osbaldeston lately lived, a gentleman of large fortune, whose lady was as gay and fashionable as any; but suddenly she ran from east to west; she parted with all her clothes, dressed like a servant, and scarce allowed herself the necessaries of life.
But who can convince her that she is going too far? I fear, nothing less than Omnipotence.
About one I preached to a large and remarkably serious congregation at Beverley; about six, at Hull. Afterwards, I met the society, and strongly exhorted them to “press on to the prize of their high calling.” Thursday , 24. I preached about one at Pocklington; and in the evening at York, where I enforced, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Friday , 25. Many were in tears, and a fire seemed to run through the whole congregation, while I opened that scripture, “They shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” Such another opportunity we had in the evening, while I was explaining the words of our Lord to the Centurion, “Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” Sat . 26. — About two I preached at Thorne, and inquired what fruit remained of the great work of God there. Some, I found, had drawn back to their sins; but many holden fast what they received. Hence I rode to Epworth, which I still love beyond most places in the world. In the evening I besought all them that had been so highly favored, “not to receive the grace of God in vain.” Sun . 27. — I preached at Misterton, at eight; and at Overthorpe about one. At four I took my stand in Epworth market-place, and preached on those words in the Gospel for the day, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance.” It seemed as if very few, if any, of the sinners then present were unmoved. Mon . 28. — I inquired into the state of the work of God which was so remarkable two years ago. It is not yet at an end; but there has been a grievous decay, owing to several causes: 1. The Preachers that followed Thomas Tattershall were neither so zealous nor so diligent as he had been. 2. The two Leaders to whom the young men and lads were committed, went up and down to preach, and so left them in a great measure to themselves; or, rather, to the world and the devil. 3. The two women who were the most useful of all others, forsook them; the one leaving town, and the other leaving God. 4. The factories which employed so many of the children failed, so that all of them were scattered abroad. 5. The meetings of the children by the Preachers were discontinued; so their love soon grew cold; and as they rose into men and women, foolish desires entered, and destroyed all the grace they had left.
Nevertheless great part of them stood firm, especially the young maidens, and still adorn their profession. This day I met the children myself, and found some of them still alive to God. And I do not doubt, but if the Preachers are zealous and active, they will recover most of those that have been scattered.
Today I entered on my eighty-second year, and found myself just as strong to labor, and as fit for any exercise of body or mind, as I was forty years ago. I do not impute this to second causes, but to the Sovereign Lord of all. It is He who bids the sun of life stand still, so long as it pleaseth him.
I am as strong at eighty-one, as I was at twenty-one; but abundantly more healthy, being a stranger to the head-ache, tooth-ache, and other bodily disorders which attended me in my youth. We can only say, “The Lord reigneth!” While we live, let us live to him.
In the afternoon I went to Gainsborough, and willingly accepted the offer of Mr. Dean’s chapel. The audience was large, and seemed much affected:
Possibly some good may be done even at Gainsborough! Tuesday , 29. I preached in the street at Scotter, to a large and deeply attentive congregation. It was a solemn and comfortable season. In the evening I read Prayers and preached in Owstone church; and again in the morning. Wednesday , 30. In the evening I preached at Epworth. In the residue of the week, I preached morning and evening in several of the neighboring towns. Sun . July 4. — I read prayers and preached in Owstone church, so filled as probably it never was before; and believe every one, awakened or unawakened, felt that God was there. The congregation in the afternoon, at Epworth market-place, was thought to be larger than ever it was before; and great was the Holy One of Israel in the midst of them. Mon . 5. — At twelve I preached in the elegant House at Doncaster, for once pretty well filled; and spoke more strongly, indeed more roughly, than I am accustomed to do. It was sultry hot (as it has been once or twice before) while we went to Rotherham, where I preached abroad to a larger congregation, both of rich and poor, than even at Epworth; and earnestly enforced on those who are called believers, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Tues . 6. — I joined again the select society, which was fallen in pieces; and prayed them to be wiser for the time to come. I breakfasted at that amiable old man’s, Mr. Sparrow; elder brother to his twin-soul whom I knew at Westminster. Thence I went on to Sheffield, where the society is increased to near some hundred members. How swiftly does the work of God spread among those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow! Wed . 7. — It was supposed there were a thousand persons present at five in the morning. A young gentlewoman was with us at breakfast, who was mourning and refused to be comforted. We prayed for her in faith, and in a few hours she was enabled to rejoice in God her Savior. In the afternoon the heat was scarce supportable, and it seemed to increase every hour; but between two and three in the morning, Thursday , 8, came a violent storm, followed by uncommon thunder, and a flood of rain, which continued about three hours; this entirely cooled the air, and, ceasing just as we set out, left us a pleasant journey to Wakefield.
I recommended to the congregation here, (and afterwards many other places,) the example of the people in Holland, (at least, wherever I have been,) who never talk in a place of public worship, either before or after the service. They took my advice. None courtesied, or bowed, or spoke to any one; but went out in as decent a manner, and in as deep silence, as any I saw at Rotterdam or Utrecht. Fri . 9. — I preached at Huddersfield in the morning; at Longwood House, at noon; and in the evening, at Halifax. Sunday , 11. I preached in the morning at Greetland-House; at one, and in the evening, at Halifax. The House would in nowise contain the people; yet the wind was so high, that I could not preach abroad. Mon . 12. — Mr. Sutcliffe read Prayers, and I preached at Heptonstall, where many poor souls were refreshed. Between one and two I preached in Todmorden church; and, at five, in our own preaching-house, boldly situated on the steep ascent of a tall mountain. Tues . 13. — I went to Burnley, a place which had been tried for many years, but without effect. It seems, the time was now come. High and low, rich and poor, now flocked together from all quarters; and all were eager to hear, except one man, who was the Town-crier. He began to bawl amain, till his wife ran to him, and literally stopped his noise: She seized him with one hand, and clapped the other upon his mouth, so that he could not get out one word. God then began a work, which, I am persuaded, will not soon come to an end. Wednesday , 14. I preached at Colne. Thursday , 15. I retired to Otley, and rested two days. Sunday , 18. I preached, morning and afternoon, in Bingley church; but it would not near contain the congregation. Before Service I stepped into the Sunday-school, which contains two hundred and forty children, taught every Sunday by several masters; and superintended by the Curate. So, many children in one parish are restrained from open sin, and taught a little good manners, at least, as well as to read the Bible. I find these schools springing up wherever I go.
Perhaps God may have a deeper end therein, than men are aware of. Who knows but some of these schools may become nurseries for Christians? Tues . 20. — Though it rained all day, in the morning we had a good congregation at five. Wednesday , 21. I met the society, and found but one or two of the original members, most of them being gone to Abraham’s bosom. I was a little surprised to find that only two or three of the rest had stood fast in the glorious liberty. But, indeed, most of them recovered their loss four years ago. Thur . 22. — Although it rained, yet I met the congregation in the morning, and most of them were athirst for full salvation. Friday , 23. Abundance of people were present at five in the morning, and such a company of children as I have hardly seen in England. Sat . 24. — In the evening I went to Hanging-Heaton, a little village near Dewsbury. Some months since, an uncommon work of God broke out here; — the whole town was in a flame. There are now about two hundred in the society, and very few that do not know God. I was obliged to preach abroad, by the multitude that flocked together; and many of them found that God was there, to their unspeakable comfort. Sun . 25. — I preached to several thousands at Birstal, and to, at least, as many at Leeds. Tuesday , 27. Our Conference began; at which four of our brethren, after long debate, (in which Mr. Fletcher took much pains,) acknowledged their fault, and all that was past was forgotten. Thursday , 29, being the public Thanksgiving Day, as there was not room for us in the old church, I read Prayers, as well as preached, at our Room. I admired the whole Service for the day. The Prayers, Scriptures, and every part of it, pointed at one thing: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” Having five Clergymen to assist me, we administered the Lord’s Supper, as was supposed, to sixteen or seventeen hundred persons. Sun . August 1. — We were fifteen Clergymen at the old church. Tues . 3. — Our Conference concluded in much love, to the great disappointment of all. This evening I went as far as Halifax, and the next day to Manchester. Thursday , 5. We set out early, but, being obliged to go round about, could not reach Shrewsbury till half-past seven. I began preaching immediately, in memory of good John Appleton, lately called away, on, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Friday , 6. I preached at Birmingham; and on Saturday , 7, at Worcester. Sun . 8. — I preached in the afternoon in St. Andrew’s church, and was agreeably surprised to observe the congregation deeply attentive, while I applied the story of Dives and Lazarus. Mon . 9. — I rode over Malvern-Hills, which affords one of the finest prospects in the kingdom, to Ledbury; then, through miserable roads, to Ross. I preached in the evening at Monmouth, to a very quiet and civil congregation. Tumults were now at an end, as I lodged at the house of a gentleman whom none cared to oppose; and even in the morning we had a large congregation, both of rich and poor. Tues . 10. — I took a walk to what is called the Bowling-Green House, not a mile from the town. I have hardly seen such a place before. A gravel walk leads through the most beautiful meadows, surrounded on all sides by fruitful hills, to a gently-rising ground, on the top of which is a smooth Green, on which the Gentry of the town frequently spend the evening in dancing. From hence spread various walks, bordered with flowers; one of which leads down to the river, on the back of which runs another walk whose artless shades are not penetrated by the sun. These are full as beautiful in their kind, as even the hanging-woods at Brecknock. Wednesday , 11. It was with some difficulty that I broke from this affectionate people, and went on, through a most lovely country, to Brecon. Thur. 12. — I found the little flock were in great peace, and increasing in number as well as in strength. I preached in the Town-Hall. I never saw such a congregation in Brecknock before; no, not even when I preached abroad. And I scarce ever found the power of God so present. It seemed as if every one must know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. Fri . 13. — We went on to Carmarthen. After preaching, I advised all the audience to copy after the decent behaviors of the Hollanders, in and after public worship. They all took my advice; none opened their lips till they came into the open air. Saturday , 14, was the hottest day we have had this summer. We reached Tenby soon after one. After dinner we took a walk through the town. I think there is not such a town in England. It is the Killmallock of Great Britain. Two-thirds of the ancient town are either in ruins, or vanished away. In the evening I preached in the street, to a large congregation of rich and poor, all quiet and attentive. I cannot but think, salvation is at length come to this town also. I preached again in the morning, Sunday , 15, and the word seemed to sink into the hearts of the hearers. Thence we went by Pembroke to St. Daniel’s. It was a comfortable season. We had such another at Pembroke in the evening. Many mourned after God, and many rejoiced with joy unspeakable. Mon . 16. — I preached at Haverfordwest. Tuesday , 17. We rode over to Roach, eight miles from Haverford. The new preaching-house was pretty well filled; and I was glad to find that a little ride did me no harm. Wednesday , 18. I went to Admiral Vaughan’s, at Tracoon, one of the pleasantest seats in Great Britain. The house is embosomed in lofty woods, and does not appear till you drop down upon it. The Admiral governs his family, as he did in his ship, with the utmost punctuality. The bell rings, and all attend without delay; whether at meals, or at morning and evening prayer. I preached at seven, on Philippians 3:8; and spent the evening in serious conversation. Thur. 19. — I went on to Mr. Bowen’s at Llyngwair; another most agreeable place; but more so because of the company, — Mr. and Mrs. Bowen, his brother, and six of their eleven children, two of whom are lately come from the University. Friday , 20. About eight I preached in the church at Newport, and spoke strong words, if haply some might awake out of sleep. Thence we went to Haverfordwest; it being the day when the Bishop holden his visitation. As I was returning in the afternoon from visiting some of the poor people, a carriage in the street obliged me to walk very near a Clergyman, who made me a low bow: I did the same to him; though I did not then know the Bishop; who has indeed won the hearts of the people in general by his courteous and obliging behavious. Sun . 22. — I heard a good sermon in the church at Carmarthen, (being the Assize sermon,) on, “There is no power but of God.” In the evening I preached in the market-place, to, I think, the largest congregation I ever saw in Wales. Thursday , 26. On the road I read over Voltaire’s Memoirs of himself. Certainly never was a more consummate coxcomb! But even his character is less horrid than that of his royal hero! Surely so unnatural a brute never disgraced a throne before! Cedite , Romani Catamiti! Cedite , Graii! A monster that made it a fixed rule to let no woman and no Priest enter his palace; that not only gloried in the constant practice of Sodomy himself, but made it free for all his subjects! What a pity that his father had not beheaded him in his youth, and saved him from all this sin and shame!
I preached at Newport. I hardly know such another place; the people hear, and hear, and are as much moved as the benches they sit upon. I spoke as strong as I possibly could, on, “Awake, thou that sleepest;” and I judged, from the number who attended at five in the morning, that it was not all lost labor. Sat . 28. — Being informed the boat would pass at eight, we hastened to the New-Passage: But we were time enough; for it did not set out till past six in the evening. However, we got into the boat about seven, and before nine reached Bristol. Tues . 31. — Dr. Coke, Mr. Whatcoat, and Mr. Vasey, came down from London, in order to embark for America. Wed . September 1. — Being now clear in my own mind, I took a step which I had long weighed in my mind, and appointed Mr. Whatcoat and Mr. Vasey to go and serve the desolate sheep in America. Thursday , 2. I added to them three more; which, I verily believe, will be much to the glory of God. Friday , 3. I preached at Guinea-Street; and the word of God was with power; in consequence of which there was a large congregation at five in the morning, although they had not been accustomed before to any service at that hour. Saturday , 4. In the evening I preached at Bath. Sunday , 5. I read Prayers, preached, and administered the sacrament, to a large congregation; but it was larger in the afternoon, and largest of all in the evening, when I opened and applied, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” And many were laid in the balance and found wanting, even of those who had often appealed to this very rule. Wed . 8. — I preached at Kendalshire, where I do not remember to have been for near forty years. On the two following days, I preached at Chelton and Coleford. After preaching to an earnest congregation at Coleford, I met the society. They contained themselves pretty well during the exhortation; but when I began to pray, the flame broke out. Many cried aloud, many sunk to the ground, many trembled exceedingly; but all seemed to be quite athirst for God, and penetrated by the presence of his power. Sun . 12. — Dr. Coke read Prayers, and I preached, in the new Room.
Afterward I hastened to Kingswood, and preached under the shade of that double row of trees which I planted about forty years ago. How little did any one then think that they would answer such an intention! The sun shone as hot as it used to do even in Georgia; but his rays could not pierce our canopy; and our Lord, meantime, shone upon many souls, and refreshed them that were weary. Mon . 13. — I visited one that was confined to her bed, and in much pain, yet unspeakably happy, rejoicing ever more, praying without ceasing, and in everything giving thanks; yea, and testifying that she had enjoyed the same happiness, without any intermission, for two-and-twenty years. Tues . 14. — I preached at Bath and Bradford; Wednesday , 15, at Trowbridge and Frome. Thursday , 16. I went to Ditchet, a village near Castle-Carey, where I found a friendly, hospitable family. I preached in the evening to a numerous and earnest congregation. Friday , 17. The House would not contain half the people. Hence we passed through a delightful country to the Nunnery, a mere elegant trifle, near King Alfred’s Tower; a lofty, triangular building, standing in the height of the country, on the very spot (as is supposed) where he drew up his army against the Danes. About eleven I preached at Castle-Carey, to a quiet and attentive multitude. In the evening I preached at Shepton-Mallet, where the people at length know the day of their visitation. Saturday , 18. I preached in the neat, cheerful church at Midsummer-Norton. Monday , 20, Tuesday , and Wednesday , I met the classes; but found no increase in the society. No wonder, for discipline had been quite neglected; and without this, little good can be done among the Methodists. Thursday , 23. I preached at Paulton about one; and at Pensford in the evening. The gentlemen at Chew-Magna having sent me word I was welcome to preach in the church, I went thither the next morning; but they now sent me word they had changed their minds; so I preached in our own preaching-house, on, “If we let him alone, all men will believe on him.” Thur . 30. — I had a long conversation with John M’Geary, one of our American Preachers, just come to England. He gave a pleasing account of the work of God there continually increasing, and vehemently importuned me to pay one more visit to America before I die. Nay, I shall pay no more visits to new worlds, till I go to the world of spirits. Sat . October 2. — It pleased God once more to pour out his Spirit on the family at Kingswood. Many of the children were much afflicted. I talked particularly with some who desired to partake of the Lord’s Supper. They did so the next morning. Afterwards I spent a little time with all the children; and easily observed an uncommon awe resting upon them all. In the evening we renewed our covenant with God in the new Room at Bristol. It was supposed we had a thousand communicants; and I believe none went empty away. Mon . 4. — I set out for London. About eleven I preached at the Devizes; and in the evening at Sarum. A grievous stumbling-block was lately thrown in the way of this poor people. A young gentlewoman, after being deeply convinced of sin, found peace with God in a glorious manner. She was unspeakably happy; but, not long after, suddenly fell into black despair, and afterwards into melancholy madness, wherein she continued about two years. Here was an occasion of offense for them that sought occasion, which they took care to improve. Wed . 6. — About eleven I preached at Winchester; and in the evening at Portsmouth-Common. Those who could not get in, at first made a little noise; but in a short time all was quiet. Thursday , 7. I crossed over to the Isle of Wight. In the afternoon I preached at Newtown, once the largest town in the Isle; but now not having six houses together. In the evening all the Ministers, and most of the Gentry at Newport, attended the preaching. Who hath warned them to flee from the wrath to come? O may many “bring forth fruit with patience!” Friday , 8. We returned to Portsmouth Common; and Saturday , 9, to London. Mon . 18. — I set out for Oxfordshire; and in the evening preached at Wallingford. Tuesday , 19. I spent an hour at Lord Harcourt’s seat, near Newnham; one of the pleasantest spots I have seen. It stands on a gently-rising hill, and commands a most delightful prospect. The rooms are not so grand as some, but elegant in the highest degree. So is also the front of the house, and what is called the flower-garden; a small inclosure, surrounded by lofty trees, and filled with all the beauties that nature and art can give.
The House at Oxford was thoroughly filled; and students as well as townsmen were deeply serious. Thursday , 21. I preached at Witney, on, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” We had a large congregation at five in the morning; at twelve I met the children, and was pleased to find that the impression which was made on them by the storm last year, is not yet worn-out; and the whole society, still double to what it was, appears to be much in earnest.
After preaching in the evening, I met the select society, and found many of them who for several years have lost nothing of what they had received, but do still love God with all their heart; and, in consequence, “rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks.” Friday , 22. I preached at High-Wycomb about noon; and in the after noon went on to London. Sun . 24. — I preached at Shadwell church, which was exceedingly crowded with rich and poor, who all seemed to receive the truth in love. In the evening I took coach, and the next evening preached at Norwich.
Afterwards I advised the people to go away in silence; and they did so:
Neither man nor woman spoke till they were out of the House. The following days I visited the other societies in the Circuit; and on Tuesday , NOVEMBER 2, returned to London. Fri. 5. — We had a solemn watch-night. Saturday , 6. I was an hour or two in conversation with that truly great man, Pascal Paoli; who is a tall, well-made, graceful man, about sixty years of age; but he does not look to be above forty. He appears to have a real regard for the public good, and much of the fear of God. He has a strong understanding, and seemed to be acquainted with every branch of polite literature. On my saying he had met with much the same treatment with that of an ancient lover of his country, Hannibal, he immediately answered, “But I have never yet met with a King of Bithynia.” Mon . 8. — This week I visited the societies near London; a very heavy, but necessary, work. Thursday 18. I visited two persons in Newgate, who were under sentence of death. They seemed to be in an excellent temper, calmly resigned to the will of God. But how much stress can be reasonably laid on such impressions, it is hard to say: So often have I known them vanish away as soon as ever the expectation of death was removed. Sat 20. — At three in the morning two or three men broke into our house, through the kitchen-window. Thence they came up into the parlor, and broke open Mr. Moore’s bureau, where they found two or three pounds:
The night before I had prevented his leaving there seventy pounds, which he had just received. They next broke open the cupboard, and took away some silver spoons. Just at this time the alarm, which Mr. Moore, by mistake, had set for half past three, (instead of four,) went off, as it usually did, with a thundering noise. At this the thieves ran away with all speed; though their work was not half done; and the whole damage which we sustained scarce amounted to six pounds. Mon . 22. — I preached at Northampton; and on Tuesday , 23, at Whittlebury. Here my servant was seized with a fever, attended with eruptions all over, as big as pepper-corns. I took knowledge of the Prickly-heat, as we called it in Georgia, termed by Dr. Heberden, the Nettle-rash, and assured him he would be well in four-and-twenty hours.
He was so; and drove us on to Banbury; where, on Wednesday , 29, I met with a hearty welcome from Mr. George, formerly a member of the London society. The Presbyterian Minister offering me the use of his meeting, I willingly accepted his offer. It was, I believe, capable of containing near as many people as the chapel at West-Street; but it would not near contain the congregation: And God uttered his voice, yea, and that a mighty voice; neither the sorrow nor the joy which was felt that night will quickly be forgotten. Thur . 25. — I desired the people would sit below in the morning, Supposing not many would be present; but I was much mistaken; notwithstanding the darkness and rain, the House was filled both above and below; and never did I see a people who appeared more ready prepared for the Lord. Returning through Brackley, I was informed that notice had been given of my preaching there at nine in the Town-Hall: So I began without delay. The congregation was large and attentive, but seemed to understand me no more than if I had been talking Greek; but the society seemed alive to God, and striving to enter in at the strait gate.
And who knows but these dry bones may live? Fri . 26. — I returned to London. Sunday , 28. I preached a charity sermon at St. Paul’s, Covent-Garden. It is the largest and the best-constructed parish church that I have preached in for several years; yet some hundreds were obliged to go away, not being able to get in. I strongly enforced the necessity of that humble, gentle, patient love, which is the very essence of true religion. Monday , 29. In the evening I preached at Hinxworth, in Miss Harvey’s new House. Tuesday , 30. I visited my old friends at Bedford; but found Mr. Hill was gone to rest, and Mr. Parker was just quivering on the verge of life. However, I rejoiced to find him clearly possessed of that perfect love which he had so long opposed. Wed . December 1. — I preached at St. Neot’s, to the largest congregation I ever saw here; and I know not that ever I knew them so affected; it seemed as if God touched all their hearts. Thursday , 2. I preached about noon at Bugden; and in the evening to a crowded congregation at Binlington. I wondered that I saw nothing here of a young Clergyman, who last year professed much love and esteem; but I soon heard that his eyes were opened to see the decrees . So he knows me no more. Fri . 3. — Partly riding, and partly walking, through wind and rain, and water and dirt, we got at last to Luton, where I found a large congregation; and we greatly rejoiced in God our Savior. Saturday , 4. I went on to London. Mon . 6. — I went to Tunbridge-Wells, but not without difficulty; part of the road being made scarce passable, through the abundance of rain. I preached in the large Presbyterian meeting-house; but the violent rain thinned the congregation. Yet on Tuesday , 7, we set out in a lovely morning; but in about an hour, just as a pack of hounds came on in full cry, a furious storm of hail met them in the teeth, and utterly silenced them. It soon turned to snow; which so covered the road, that we could scarce get on, though we walked good part of the way; so that we could not get to Robertsbridge till after the time appointed. The snow likewise so retarded us in our journey to Rye, that we were above an hour in the night.
However, the House was well filled with serious hearers; so that I did not repent of my labor. Wed. 8. — With great difficulty, with two pair of good horses, we got on fifteen miles in five hours; but we could not reach Sevenoaks till the congregation had been long waiting. Thursday , 9. Going on to Shoreham, we found that venerable man, Mr. Perronet, ninety-one years of age, calmly waiting for the conclusion of a good warfare. His bodily strength is gone, but his understanding is little impaired; and he appears to have more love than ever. After preaching to an earnest congregation in the evening, and to great part of them in the morning, I returned to London. Monday , 13, and the two days following, I preached at Canterbury, Dover, and Sittingbourne. Thursday , 16. I went to Sheerness; where Mr. Fox read Prayers, and I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” I hardly ever spoke stronger words may God make the application! I never before found this society in such a state as they were now; being all, in general, athirst for God, and increasing in number as well as in grace. Friday , 17. I preached at Chatham, where likewise I found only peace and love; and on Saturday , 18, cheerfully returned to London. Mon . 20. — I went to Hinxworth, where I had the satisfaction of meeting Mr. Simeon, Fellow of King’s College, in Cambridge. He has spent some time with Mr. Fletcher, at Madeley; two kindred souls; much resembling each other, both in fervor of spirit, and in the earnestness of their address.
I preached in the evening on Galatians 6:14. Tuesday , 21. I spent a little time with the children at Miss Harvey’s school, whom she likewise carefully instructs herself. After dinner we set out for Wrestlingworth; and having a skillful guide, who rode before the chaise, and picked out the best way, we drove four miles in only three hours. Wednesday , 22. I returned to London, and concluded my journeys for the present year. Sat . 25. — We met, as usual, in the new chapel, at four: At ten, and in the afternoon, I preached in West-Street; and afterwards spent a comfortable hour in meeting the society. Sun . 26. — I preached the condemned criminals’ sermon in Newgate.
Forty-seven were under sentence of death. While they were coming in, there was something very awful in the clink of their chains. But no sound was heard, either from them or the crowded audience after the text was named “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, that need not repentance.” The power of the Lord was eminently present, and most of the prisoners were in tears. A few days after, twenty of them died at once, five of whom died in peace. I could not but greatly approve of the spirit and behavior of Mr. Villette, the Ordinary; and I rejoiced to hear, that it was the same on all similar occasions. Fri . 31. — We had a solemn watch-night, and ushered in the new year with the voice of praise and thanksgiving. Sat . January 1, 1785. — Whether this be the last or no, may it be the best year of my life! Sunday , 2. A larger number of people were present this evening at the renewal of our covenant with God, than was ever seen before on the occasion. Tues . 4. — At this season we usually distribute coals and bread among the poor of the society. But I now considered, they wanted clothes, as well as food. So on this, and the four following days, I walked through the town, and begged two hundred pounds, in order to clothe them that needed it most. But it was hard work, as most of the streets were filled with melting snow, which often lay ankle deep; so that my feet were steeped in snow-water nearly from morning till evening: I holden it out pretty well till Saturday evening; but I was laid up with a violent flux, which increased every hour, till, at six in the morning, Dr. Whitehead called upon me. His first draught made me quite easy; and three or four more perfected the cure. If he lives some years, I expect he will be one of the most eminent Physicians in Europe.
I supposed my journeys this winter had been over; but I could not decline one more. Monday , 17. I set out for poor Colchester, to encourage the little flock. They had exceeding little of this world’s goods, but most of them had a better portion. Tuesday , 18. I went on to Mistleythorn, a village near Manningtree. Some time since, one of the shipwrights of Deptford-yard, being sent hither to superintend the building of some men-of-war, began to read sermons on a Sunday evening in his own house. Afterwards he exhorted them a little, and then formed a little society. Some time after, he begged one of our Preachers to come over and help them. I now found a lively society, and one of the most elegant congregations I had seen for many years. Yet they seemed as willing to be instructed, as if they had lived in Kingswood. Wednesday , 19. I returned to Colchester; and on Thursday , 20, preached to a lovely congregation at Purfleet, and the next morning returned to London. Sun . 23. — I preached morning and afternoon at West Street, and in the evening in the chapel at Knightsbridge: I think, it will be the last time; for I know not that I have ever seen a worse-behaved congregation. Tues . 25. — I spent two or three hours in the House of Lords. I had frequently heard that this was the most venerable assembly in England.
But how was I disappointed! What is a Lord, but a sinner, born to die! Sun . 30. — From those words, “Righteous art thou, O Lord, and true are thy judgments,” I endeavored to point out those sins which were the chief cause of that awful transaction we commemorate this day. I believe the chief sin which brought the King to the block, was his persecuting the real Christians. Hereby he drove them into the hands of designing men, which issued in his own destruction. Sun . February 6. — We had a love-feast. I could not but observe the manner wherein several of them spoke one after another. Not only the matter, but the language, the accent, the tone of voice, wherewith illiterate persons, men and women, young and old, spoke, were such as a scholar need not be ashamed of. Who teacheth like Him? Sun . 13. — I met the single women, and exhorted them to consider, to prize, and to improve, the advantages they enjoyed. On the following days, I visited many of our poor, to see with my own eyes what their wants were, and how they might be effectually relieved. Sun . 20. — I preached in Spitalfields church in the morning, and in the afternoon at St. Ethelburg’s, and in the evening at the new chapel. On Monday , Tuesday , and Wednesday , I visited the residue of the sick and poor. Friday , 25. I received letters from the Preachers, Stewards, and Leaders at Plymouth-Dock, informing me, that William Moore had renounced the Methodists, hired a place to preach in, and drawn away about forty of our members, to form a society for himself. They therefore begged I would come down as soon as possible, to quench the kindling fire.
I saw no time was to be lost, and therefore immediately took places in the Exeter diligence. Sun . 27. — I preached in Stepney church, one of the largest parish churches in England. Monday , 28. The diligence reached Sarum about eight in the evening. About nine we left it. So keen a frost, I hardly ever felt before: And our carriage let in the air on all sides, so that we hardly could preserve life. However, soon after five on Tuesday evening, we got to Exeter. Wednesday ,MARCH 2. We went on to Plymouth-Dock; and found all that we had heard, confirmed. But I verily believe, we are better without William Moore, than with him; as his heart is not right with God.
To quiet the minds of many well-meaning persons, I preached on those comfortable words, “Even the hairs of your head are all numbered;” and in the morning, on, “Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.” Thursday , 3. In the evening I read to the whole congregation a plain state of the case, with regard to the Deed of Declaration, which William Moore had so wonderfully misrepresented:
And I believe they were all fully satisfied. Fri . 4. — I took a walk through the Royal Hospital for sick and wounded sailors. I never saw any thing of the kind so complete: every part is so convenient, and so admirably neat. But there is nothing superfluous, and nothing purely ornamental, either within or without. There seems to be nothing wanting, but a man full of faith and zeal, to watch over the souls of the poor patients, and teach them to improve their affliction.
What a blessed proof of this has there been here, since I was in the town before!
Preaching at the Dock in the evening, I besought all serious people not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God;” but to “put away all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking.” I exhorted them, in particular, not to talk about Mr. Moore at all, but to give him up to God. Sun . 6. — I preached at the Dock at seven. Between one and two I began at Plymouth; and as many as could get in seemed to be deeply affected, with the application of those words, “Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”
In the afternoon I accepted of an invitation from Dr. Gench, the Physician of the Hospital; and passed an agreeable hour with a man of sense, and, it seems, of considerable learning. At five I preached in the shell of the new House, on the form and power of godliness. In the evening I met the society once more, confirmed in the truth more than ever, and more determined to walk in the good old way wherein they had continued from the beginning. Mon . 7. — We had a pleasant journey to Exeter; and on Tuesday , to Bath.
But the coach did not come in soon enough for me to preach in the evening: Nevertheless, we had a large congregation in the morning. Wednesday , 9. This society too is much improved since I was here last.
Many stumbling blocks are removed out of the way, and brotherly love is increased. Thur. 10. — After spending a day or two at Bristol, on Saturday , 12, I returned to Bath, and preached to a numerous congregation. Great part of them were present again at six in the morning. Sunday , 20. I went over to Kingswood, and preached the funeral sermon of Ann Noble, an old member of the society; who, having adorned the Gospel above forty years, died in the full triumph of faith. Mon . 21. — I set out early, and dined at Stroud. The death of Mr. Willis, snatched away in the midst of his years, but a few days before, brought abundance of people to the preaching-house; and most of them were deeply serious; so that we had a very solemn hour. Tuesday , 22. I preached in Painswick at noon, and at six in the Court-House at Gloucester. A multitude of people flocked together, many of whom were of the better sort; and most of them appeared to be, for the present, almost persuaded to be Christians. Wednesday , 23. About eleven I preached at Tewkesbury, and in the evening at Worcester. Thursday , 24. I breakfasted at Mrs. Price’s, a Quaker, who keeps a Boarding-School. I was much pleased with her children, so elegantly plain in their behavior, as well as apparel. I was led, I know not how, to speak to them largely; then to pray; and we were all much comforted. The society is in great peace, and striving together for the hope of the Gospel. I have not seen greater earnestness and simplicity in any society, since we left London.
I was now considering how strangely the grain of mustard-seed, planted about fifty years ago, has grown up. It has spread through all Great Britain and Ireland; the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Man; then to America, from the Leeward Islands, through the whole continent, into Canada and Newfoundland. And the societies in all these parts, walk by one rule, knowing religion is holy tempers; and striving to worship God, not in form only, but likewise “in spirit and in truth.”
March 25. — (Being Good-Friday.) I hastened to reach Birmingham before the Church Service began. A sharper frost I never knew: But indeed our House was hot enough in the evening; and I have not seen a more earnest people. Such an advantage it is to be fully employed. In every place we find laboring men most susceptible of religion. Such a blessing results from that curse, “In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread.” Sat . 26. — I had designed to rest; but notice had been given of my preaching at Quinton at noon. As the House would not hold the people, I was constrained, cold as it was, to preach abroad; and they all seemed to feel that solemn question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? “ In the evening my heart was enlarged in such a manner as I have seldom known; so that I detained the congregation considerably longer than I am accustomed to; and all the people seemed determined to “glorify God with their body and their spirit.”
March 27. — (Being Easter-day.) I preached at seven, on, “The Lord is risen indeed,” with an uncommon degree of freedom; and then met the Local Preachers, several of whom seemed to have caught the fashionable disease, — desire of independency. They were at first very warm; but at length agreed to act by the Rules laid down in the Minutes of the Conference.
The weather now changed. Small rain fell some hours, and then turned into snow. This made it very dirty: However, the poor people got through, and filled Darlaston church. Hence I returned to Wednesbury; but could not preach abroad, the ground being covered with snow. As many as could crowded into the House. A love-feast followed, at which many plain people spoke without reserve. The artless propriety with which they spoke must be truly astonishing to all who do not consider that promise, “They shall be all taught of God.” Mon . 28. — I preached a kind of funeral sermon on Sarah Wood, one of the first members of the society. For above fifty years she adorned the Gospel, being a pattern of all holiness. She was confined to her bed for several months. Being asked if time did not hang upon her hands, she answered, “No; the Bible is my delight.” “How can that be,” said her friend, “when you cannot see?” “Very well,” said she; “for the Lord brings it to my remembrance.” So, without doubt or fear, she delivered up her soul to her merciful and faithful Creator.
About eleven I preached at Wolverhampton, and spent the afternoon with the amiable family at Hilton-Park. Tuesday , 29. At noon I preached in the Room at Stafford, to a deeply affected congregation. This was the more strange, because there are few towns in England less infected with religion than Stafford. In the evening I preached at Newcastle, to a very serious and much affected congregation. Wednesday , 30. We found a difficulty at Lane-End. Even at noon the House contained not a third of the congregation. The wind was piercing cold; nevertheless, I preached abroad, and God warmed our hearts. In the evening I was greatly comforted among our brethren at Burslem, well established in grace; and such another congregation I met with, Thursday , 31, at Congleton. Fri . April 1 . — I came to Macclesfield, where Mr. Simpson had given notice of my preaching in his church. Here I fully delivered my own soul; and on Saturday , 2, went on to Manchester. Sunday , 3. Our brethren flocking in from all parts, the House, large as it is, could not contain them.
It was supposed we had twelve hundred communicants. Monday , 4. I preached to our old, loving congregation at Bolton. Tuesday , 5. At noon I preached at Wingate, in the open air. The congregation were quite ripe for all the Gospel blessings, devouring every word. In the evening I preached at Wigan. I never before saw this preaching-house full; but it was more than full tonight, and with deeply attentive hearers. Wednesday , 6. I preached at Liverpool; but I found no ship there ready to sail. So, Thursday , 7, (after preaching at Warrington in the way,) I hastened to Chester. Neither was there any ship at Parkgate ready to sail; so, Friday , 8, we took coach, and reached Holyhead between four and five on Saturday in the afternoon. Between nine and ten we went on board the Clermont packet: But it was a dead calm till past ten on Sunday , 10, when the company desired me to give them a sermon. After sermon I prayed that God would give us a full and speedy passage. While I was speaking the wind sprung up; and in twelve hours brought us to Dublin Bay. Does not our Lord still hear the prayer? I found such a resting place at our own house, as I never found in Ireland before: and two such Preachers, with two such wives, I know not where to find again. In the evening, and so every evening beside, we had Sunday evening congregations; and in the morning they were larger, by a third part, than those I had when I was here last.
On Tuesday , and the three following days, I examined the society. I never found it in such a state before; many of them rejoiced in God their Savior, and were as plain in their apparel, both men and women, as those in Bristol and London. Many, I verily believe, love God with all their hearts; and the number of these increase daily. The number of the whole society is seven hundred and forty-seven. Above three hundred of these have been added in a few months; — a new and unexpected thing! In various places, indeed, we have frequently felt The o’erwhelming power of saving grace; which acted almost irresistibly. But such a shower of grace never continued long; and afterwards men might resist the Holy Ghost as before.
When the general ferment subsides, every one that partook of it has his trial for life; and the higher the flood, the lower will be the ebb; yea, the more swiftly it rose, the more swiftly it falls: So that if we see this here, we should not be discouraged. We should only use all diligence to encourage as many as possible to press forward, in spite of all the refluent tide. Now, especially, we should warn one another not to grow weary or faint in our mind; if haply we may see such another prodigy as the late one at Paulton, near Bath, where there was a very swift work of God; and yet, a year after, out of an hundred converted, there was not one backslider!
The number of children that are clearly converted to God is particularly remarkable. Thirteen or fourteen little maidens, in one class, are rejoicing in God their Savior; and are as serious and stayed in their whole behavior, as if they were thirty or forty years old. I have much hopes, that half of them will be steadfast in the grace of God which they now enjoy. Sun. 17. — We had such a number of communicants at the cathedral as was scarce ever seen there before. In the evening many were cut to the heart; and, I believe, not a few comforted. A love-feast followed; at which many spoke what God had done for their souls, with all plainness and simplicity. Mon . 18. — I went through a delightful country to Prosperous; a little town, begun five years ago by Captain Brooke, just returned from the East Indies. Here he introduced every branch of the cotton manufactory, on a most extensive plan. He built two rows of commodious houses, with all convenient appurtenances; and he now employs about two thousand men, women, and children, on the spot, beside near the same number in other places.
They had a very large Room, but not near large enough for the congregation. All that got in seemed much affected, as they did likewise at five in the morning. About fifty of them are already joined in a society.
Fair blossoms! But what will the fruit be?
A remarkable circumstance, we were informed, occurred near this place, about three weeks before: — A poor woman, who owed her landlord fourteen pounds, scraped seven together, which she brought him. But he absolutely refused to take less than the whole, yet detained her in talk till evening. She then set out on a car. When she was within a mile of home, she overtook a soldier, who said he was exceedingly tired, and earnestly entreated her to let him ride with her on the car, to which she at length consented. When they came to her house, finding there was no town within two miles, he begged he might sit by the fire-side till morning. She told him she durst not suffer it, as hers was a lone house, and there was none in it but herself and her girl: But at last she agreed he should lie in the girl’s bed, and she and the girl would lie together. At midnight, two men, who had blackened their faces, broke into the house, and demanded her money. She said, “Then let me go into the next room and fetch it.” Going in, she said to the soldier, “You have requited me well for my kindness, by bringing your comrades to rob my house.” He asked, “Where are they?”
She said, “In the next room.” He started up, and ran thither. The men ran away with all speed. He fired after them, and shot one dead; who, being examined, appeared to be her landlord! So that a soldier was sent to protect an innocent woman, and punish an hardened villain! Tues . 19. — I preached at ten to an uncommonly large and serious congregation at Edinderry. In the evening I preached at Tyrrel’s Pass, where a small, dead society is all that now remains. Such another I found at Coolylough, on Wednesday , 20. Thursday , 21. Going to Athlone, I found the scene entirely changed; there has not been for many years so much life in the society. Many of the old dead members are quickened again. Many are added to them; and there is no jar of any kind among them; they provoke one another only to love and to good works. Fri . 22. — It is just seven years since I was here before; and I find little change in many, only that they are more dead to the world, and, consequently, more alive to God; and for a few that have left them, God has given them double, that are either alive to God, or athirst for him. Sun . 24. — In the afternoon I preached at the east end of the market-house. I scarce ever saw so numerous a congregation at Athlone; and all were attentive: Not a word was heard, and scarce any motion was to be seen. I trust the seed now sown will not wither away, but grow up into everlasting life! Mon . 25. — Being desired to preach at Ballinasloe, in my way to Aghrim, I stood, about eleven, in the shade of a large house, and preached to a numerous congregation of Papists and Protestants, equally attentive, on, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” As I entered Aghrim, the Rector, who was waiting at his gate, welcomed me into the country; and desired me to use his church, both now, and whenever I pleased: I preached there at six.
It was thoroughly filled with well-behaved hearers. But the society here, as well as that at Tyrrel’s Pass, is well-nigh shrunk into nothing! Such is the baleful influence of riches! The same effect we find in every place. The more men increase in goods, (very few excepted,) the more they decrease in grace. Tues . 26. — I went on to Eyre-Court. Here, also, the Minister gave me the use of his church; but the people seemed to understand little of the matter.
As I had not this privilege at Birr, I went to the Square, where the owner of a large house invited me to preach before it. The congregation was exceeding large; but many of them wild as colts untamed. However, the far greater part of them were seriously attentive. I am in hopes the work of God will revive here also; the rather, because he has fully restored one of the most eminent backsliders in the kingdom.
When I came to Tullamore, the Minister was willing that I should preach in the church; where both the soldiers and all the Officers attended, and our Great Captain was present also. Thur . 28. — I supposed the house at Portarlington would have more than contained the congregation; but it would scarce contain a third part of them. So I removed to the market-house, and preached on the general judgment. The word was quick and powerful, so that very few appeared to be unaffected.
In the evening I preached in the church at Mount-Mellick. Perhaps such a congregation was never there before. But the greater part of them seemed to be of Gallio’s mind, to care for none of these things. Fri . 29. — I preached in our own House at Kilkenny, to just such another congregation. But those that attended in the morning were of a nobler spirit, and I found uncommon liberty among them. Sat . 30. — I preached at Waterford in the Court-House, one of the largest in the kingdom. A multitude of people quickly ran together, which occasioned some tumult at first; but it was quickly over, and all were deeply attentive. Surely God will have much people in this city. Sun . May 1. — At eight I preached in the Court-House to a larger congregation than before. At eleven I went to the cathedral, one of the most elegant churches in Ireland. The whole Service was performed with the utmost solemnity. After Service, the senior Prebend, Dr. Fall, invited me to dinner; and desired, when I came again, I would take a bed at his house. I doubt that will never be!
At four I preached at the head of the Mall, to a Moorfields congregation, all quiet and attentive. Monday , 2. The congregation at five in the morning was larger than that on Saturday evening; and all of them appeared to have (for the present, at least) a real concern for their salvation. O that it may not pass away as the morning dew!
I took a solemn farewell of this affectionate people, concluding with those awful words: — Now on the brink of death we stand; And if I pass before, You all may safe escape to land, And hail me on the shore.
Tues . 3. — We set out for Dungarvan-Ferry; but in spite of all the speed we could make, the road was so horrible, that we could not reach Youghall before six in the evening At seven, the Court-House was filled from end to end: And such was the attention of all, high and low, that I hope many of them will bring forth fruit to perfection. Wed . 4. — At five in the morning the Court-House was thoroughly filled.
So in the evening I preached in the Mall, where the congregation was much the same as the last at Waterford; only that they were in general Protestants, as are most in the town; who are also some of the most courteous and quiet people in the kingdom. Thur . 5. — Before I came half way to Cork, I was met by about thirty horsemen. We dined at Middleton, and then rode on through a pleasant, well-cultivated country to Cork. In the evening, many in the crowded congregation were much comforted. Fri . 6. — I made an exact inquiry into the state of the society. I found the number was about four hundred, many of whom were greatly in earnest.
Many children, chiefly girls, were indisputably justified; some of them were likewise sanctified, and were patterns of all holiness.
But how shall we keep up the flame that is now kindled, not only in Cork, but in many parts of the nation? Not by sitting still; but by stirring up the gift of God that is in them; by uninterrupted watchfulness; by warning every one and exhorting every one; by besieging the throne with all the powers of prayer; and, after all, some will, and some will not, improve the grace which they have received. Therefore there must be a falling away.
We are not to be discouraged at this; but to do all that in us lies today, leaving the morrow to God. Sat. 7. — On this day that venerable saint, Mr. Perronet, desired his granddaughter, Miss Briggs, who attended him day and night, to go out into the garden, and take a little air. He was reading, and hearing her read, the three last chapters of Isaiah. When she returned, he was in a kind of ecstasy; the tears running down his cheeks, from a deep sense of the glorious things which were shortly to come to pass. He continued unspeakably happy that day, and on Sunday was, if possible, happier still. And indeed heaven seemed to be as it were opened to all that were round about him. When he was in bed, she went into his room to see if anything was wanting; and as she stood at the feet of the bed, he smiled, and broke out, “God bless thee, my dear child, and all that belong to thee!
Yea, He will bless thee!” Which he earnestly repeated many times, till she left the room. When she went in, the next morning, Monday, 9, his spirit was returned to God!
So ended the holy and happy life of Mr. Vincent Perronet, in the ninety-second year of his age. I follow hard after him in years, being now in the eighty-second year of my age. O that I may follow him in holiness; and that my last end may be like his! Sun . 8. — In the afternoon I stood in the vacant space near the preaching-house, capable of containing many thousands. An immense number assembled: There was no disturbance: The days of tumult here are over; and God has now of a long season made our enemies to be at peace with us. Mon . 9. — About noon I preached at Kinsale, in the old Bowling-green, which lies on the top of the hill, and commands a large prospect, both by sea and land. All behaved well, but a few Officers, who walked up and down, and talked together during the whole service. The poor in Ireland in general are well-behaved: All the ill-breeding is among well-dressed people.
Such a transaction occurred here last week, as has not occurred this century. A soldier, walking over the bridge, met a countryman, and taking a fancy to his stick, strove to wrench it from him: His companion knocked the soldier down. News of this being carried to the barracks, a whole troop of soldiers marched down, and, without any provocation, fell upon the countrymen coming into the town, pursued them into the houses where they fled for shelter, and hacked and hewed them without mercy: Two-and forty were wounded, several maimed, and two killed upon the spot. Wed . 11. — I returned from Bandon to Cork; and after endeavoring to confirm those that were much alive to God, on Friday , 13, with some difficulty, I broke loose from my affectionate friends, and in two long stages reached Kilfinnan. It being too stormy to preach abroad, I preached in the Assembly-Room: All the hearers were serious and well-behaved. I trust some will bring forth fruit with patience.
Afterwards I took a survey of the Danish mount near the town; the first I have seen, surrounded with a triple ditch; but it is not either so high or so large as that near Dundee. Is it not strange, that the Irish, as well as the Scots, should so soon have driven out those merciless robbers who defied all the strength of England for so long a time? Saturday , 14. I found a far greater curiosity, a large Druidical temple. I judged by my eye, that it was not less than a hundred yards in diameter; and it was, if I remember right, full as entire as Stonehenge, or that at Stanton-Drew. How our ancestors could bring or even heave these enormous stones, what modern can comprehend?
In the evening we found many of our old friends at Limerick were removed to Abraham’s bosom.MAY 15. (Being Whit-Sunday.) The Service at the cathedral began at eleven, and lasted till three. It concluded a little sooner, by my assisting at the Lord’s Supper, at the request of the Clergymen.
Between five and six, I took my stand near the Custom-House, amidst an innumerable multitude of people; but they were Wild as the untaught Indian’s brood.
They made such a wonderful noise, that I judged it best to give them the ground, and retire to our own House. Monday , 16. I restored the select society, which had been quite neglected. In the evening I earnestly exhorted all our brethren to set out again in the good old way; and to run with patience the race that is set before them. Tues . 17. — In my way to Gort, I was met by some of our brethren of Killchrist, a village eight miles beyond it, giving me an invitation from Colonel Pearse, to lodge at his house. He sent me to Killchrist in one of his own carriages. There I found a large number of plain people, to whom I preached in the yard. Thence I returned to the Colonel’s; but the house being full of genteel company, I was as out of my element; there being no room to talk upon the only subject which deserves the attention of a rational creature. Wed . 18. — Learning that a little girl had sat up all night, and then walked two miles to see me, I took her into the chaise; and was surprised to find her continually rejoicing in God. The person with whom the Preachers lodge, informed me, that she has been two years possessed of his pure love. We breakfasted at Athenry, once a populous city. But now seges est ubi Troja fuit. In the afternoon, we went on to Ballinrobe.
Having heard a remarkable account of the Charter-School here, I resolved to see it with my own eyes. I went thither about five in the afternoon, but found no master or mistress. Seven or eight boys, and nine or ten girls, (the rest being rambling abroad,) dirty and ragged enough, were left to the care of a girl half the head taller than the rest. She led us through the house. I observed first the school-room, not much bigger than a small closet.
Twenty children could not be taught there at once, with any convenience.
When we came into the bedchamber, I inquired, “How many children now lodge in the house?” and was answered, “Fourteen or fifteen boys, and nineteen girls.” For these boys, there were three beds, and five for the nineteen girls. For food I was informed, the master was allowed a penny-farthing a day for each! Thus they are clothed, lodged, and fed. But what are they taught? As far as I could learn, just nothing! Of these things I informed the Commissioners for these schools in Dublin. But I do not hear of any alteration. If this be a sample of the Irish Charter-Schools, what good can we expect from them?
In my way from Limerick hither, I read and carefully considered Major Valance’s Irish Grammar, allowed to be the best extant. And supposing him to give a true account of the Irish language, it is not only beyond all comparison worse than any ancient language I know anything of; but below English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or any other modern language. The difficulty of reading it is intolerable, occasioned chiefly by the insufferable number of mute letters, both of vowels and consonants; the like of which is not to be found in any language under heaven. The number of pronouns, and the irregular formation of the verbs, is equally insufferable. But nothing is so insufferable as their poetry; the whole construction of which is so trifling and childish; and yet requires more pains to write, than either the modern rhyme, or the ancient attention to long and short syllables. Friday , 20. I went on to Castlebar. Here I generally find a welcome reception. Almost all the inhabitants here love us well, and believe the Methodists are good men. Sat . 21. — Mr. Browne of Relins, about three miles from Castlebar, invited us to his house. It is one of the pleasantest places I have seen in the kingdom: But it was not so pleasant as when I was there first. For his lovely wife, and an amiable daughter, are both gone into a better country.
May 22. — (Being Trinity-Sunday .) I preached in the morning on, “There are three that bear record in heaven.” The congregation at church were remarkably well-behaved; and the Rector preached a sound, useful sermon.
At five I preached to an exceeding numerous congregation, and afterwards administered the sacrament to the society. Two Clergymen were with us, the Curate of Castlebar, and the Curate of a neighboring parish; one of whom already enjoys the peace of God, and the other was earnestly seeking it. Mon . 23. — After a long day’s journey, I preached in the new Court-House at Sligo, to far the worst congregation that I have seen since I came into the kingdom. Some (miscalled Gentry) laughed and talked without fear or shame, till I openly reproved them: And the rabble were equally rude near the door. In the morning I preached in our own preaching-house, chiefly for the sake of Mrs. Simpson, a mother in Israel, who has been long confined to her room. Walking, about noon, I was catched in a heavy shower, and contracted a severe cold. However, I preached in the evening to a far civiller congregation than the night before.
So I think my labor here was not quite in vain. Wed . 25. — I preached about ten in the Court-House at Manorhamilton; and then rode over the Black-Mountain, now clothed with green, and through a delightful road, to Mount-Florence. Here I observed the party-colored gates (as they were some years since) to be painted plain red. The wind was high and piercing cold; yet the multitude of people obliged me to preach in the open air. Thursday , 26. I preached in the Assembly-Room at Swadlingbar; but not without difficulty; my cold being so increased, that I could not sing, nor speak, but just in one key.
Feeling myself much as I was eleven years ago, and not knowing how short my time of working might be, I resolved to do a little while I could:
About ten I preached at Killeshandra, to a multitude of people. But my voice was now so strengthened, that every one could hear. In the evening, there being no house at Killmore that could contain half the congregation, I was obliged again to preach abroad. There were several sharp showers; but none went away: For it pleased the Lord to send there with gracious rain on the souls of them that feared him. Sat . 28. — At five, though I had not quite recovered my voice, I judged it best to speak as I could. So I preached in Mr. Creighton’s barn, and at seven in the ball-room at Cavan. I had designed to go straight from hence to Clones; but a friend sending me word, that Mr. Sanderson was willing I should preach in his church at Ballyhays, I altered my purpose, and went thither. Abundance of people were waiting for me: But Mr. Sanderson having changed his mind, I preached in the inn-yard, to a very well-behaved congregation of rich as well as poor. Hence I went on to Clones, where I found such a society, as I had hardly seen in Ireland, making it a point of conscience to conform to all our Rules, great and small. The new preaching-house was exceeding neat, but far too small to contain the congregation. The first time I preached today was with difficulty; the second and third with less; the fourth with none at all. Sun . 29. — The Morning Service, so called, began between twelve and one. At five, the storm was so high, that I could not preach in the market-place, as I first designed. At length we pitched upon a sloping meadow near the town, where we were perfectly sheltered by the hill. I suppose the congregation would have filled the House at Dublin, more than twice over. We had several showers; but the people regarded them not, being wholly taken up with better things. Mon . 30. — We went on to Caladon. A convenient preaching-house is just built here; which (after the forms were removed) just contained the congregation. The power of God was very unusually present among them.
When we came to Armagh on Tuesday , the wind was extremely high, and the air as cold as it used to be in December. However, we had no place that could contain the congregation, but Mr. M’Gough’s avenue. And here the people, crowding close together, did not seem to regard either cold or wind. Tuesday , 31. We took a walk to the Primate’s palace, and had a full view of the house. It is elegant in the highest degree, and yet not splendid; and it is furnished throughout in a handsome, though not in a costly, manner. Since I was here before, he has added an obelisk a hundred feet high; and dairy-house, with many other conveniences; and a chapel, never yet used. But we were informed, he designs to do many things more! How well then may it be said to him, Tu secanda marmora Locas sub ipsum funus, et sepulchri Immemor struis domos! f12 At eleven I preached in the avenue again. It rained all the time; yet the congregation was large and attentive. Afterwards a decent woman, whom I never saw either before or since, desired to speak with me; and said, “I met you at Caladon. I had then a violent pain in my head for four weeks; but was fully persuaded I should be well, if you would lay your hand on my cheek; which I begged you to do. From that moment I have been perfectly well.” If so, give God the glory. In the evening the rain drove us into the market-house, where we were a little disturbed by two or three drunken men; but all the rest (numerous congregation) behaved with deep seriousness. Wed . June 1. — I took my leave of my coeval, Mr. M’Gough, whom I scarce expect to see again in this world. About ten I preached in Blackwater-Town, in Mr. Roe’s yard, to a large and elegant congregation; and in the evening to a larger still, at the side of the Fort at Charlemount.
Mrs. T. was an unspeakable blessing to this town, while Mr. T. was stationed there; and the revival of religion, which began then, has been increasing ever since.
In the road to and from Charlemount, I had a good deal of conversation with that amiable woman, Mrs. R. God has indeed dealt very mercifully with her; and her soul is at present much alive. I have great hopes that she, and all her lovely family, will be patterns to all that are round about them. Thur . 2. — I went to Mr. Caulfield’s, the Rector of Killeman, three miles from Charlemount. His house is agreeably situated, at the head of a beautiful avenue, in which I preached to a very numerous congregation; most of whom seemed to be deeply affected. I sent my horses on to Mr. Cook’s town, ten Irish miles; Mr. Caulfield sending me thither, Friday , 3, with a pair of his. At ten I preached there, and then hastened forward: But I could not reach Londonderry before seven. We then found (notwithstanding they had but short notice) a congregation gathered from all parts.
The society here has not been so well established, for many years, as it is now. What is principally wanting, is, zeal for God, and entire self-devotion to him. Sun . 5. — At eight I strongly applied the latter part of the thirteenth chapter to the Romans. We had a very decent congregation at church, but not so many communicants as I expected. At six our Room was thoroughly filled with as serious hearers as ever I saw. Monday , 6. We had a numerous congregation, in the morning, of rich as well as poor. But who is able effectually to warn these to flee from the wrath to come?
At eleven I preached in an open place at Newtown, sixteen miles from Londonderry. In the evening we had, at Coleraine, a larger congregation than at Clones itself; and they seemed a more intelligent people than most I have met with. Indeed, the whole town is different from all that I have seen. There is no hurry or noise, but all quiet and still, both by day and by night; so that no wonder so many here receive the Gospel of peace, and “bring forth fruit unto perfection.” Tues . 7. — I accepted the offer of the Presbyterian meeting; and preached there at noon, and at six in the evening. Wednesday , 8. After preaching in the morning, I left many of the loving people in tears, and went on to Ballymoney; where I preached in the Court-House, to a very civil, and a very dull, congregation. From hence we went to Ballymena. In the afternoon I walked over to Gracehill, the Moravian settlement. Beside many little houses for them that are married, they have three large buildings; (on the same plan with that at Fulneck;) having the chapel in the middle, the house for the single men on the left hand, that for the single women on the right. We spent one or two agreeable hours in seeing the several rooms. Nothing can exceed the neatness of the rooms, or the courtesy of the inhabitants: But if they have most courtesy, we have more love. We do not suffer a stranger, especially a Christian brother, to visit us, without asking him either “to bite or sup.” “But it is their way.” I am sorry to say, so it is. When I called on Bishop Antone, in Holland, an old acquaintance, whom I had not seen for six-and-forty years, till both he and I were grown gray-headed, he did not ask me so much as to wet my lips. Is not this a shameful way? A way, contrary not only to Christianity, but to common humanity? Is it not a way that a Jew, a Mahometan, yea, an honest Heathen, would be ashamed of?
Having now finished an ingenious book, Le Vrayer’s “Animadversions on the Ancient Historians,” I thought a few passages worth transcribing, as containing some uncommon remarks. He says more for the veracity of Herodotus than ever I saw before; and convinces me that his authority is more to be relied on than that of Polybius; who, “contrary to the truth of history, makes Scipio an example of continence, in giving up the fair captive to the Spanish Prince; whereas, in fact, he never would, nor did, restore her to her husband.” “There is not a more incredible relation in all the Roman History, than that Clelia, and all the Roman virgins who were hostages to the Hetrurians, swam over the river Tiber to Rome. Surely they would scarce have dared to look upon so rapid a river, much less to plunge into it; especially when there was no necessity, for the peace was then almost concluded. “Some writers affirm, and it is earnestly believed, that Belisarius was reduced to beggary. But it is a mere fable: on the contrary, the Emperor Justinian heaped titles and honors upon him to the last; although he recalled him out of Italy, after he had been defeated there by the French. Procopius, who wrote largely concerning him, says not one word of his being reduced to poverty.” Thur . 9. — Between nine and ten I preached in the Court-House at Antrim, to a large staring congregation. Thence we went on to Belfast, through miserable roads. O where is common sense! At six I preached in the Linen-Hall, to a large congregation, admirably well behaved. I often wonder that, among so civil a people, we can do but little good. Friday , 10.
We came to Downpatrick; where, the preaching-house being too small, we repaired, as usual, to the Grove; a most lovely plain, very near the venerable ruins of the cathedral. The congregation was as large as that at Belfast, but abundantly more awakened. The people in general were remarkably affectionate. They filled the large preaching-house at five in the morning; and we seemed to be as closely united with them as with one of our old societies in England.
About eleven on Saturday , I preached in the Linen-Hall, at Ballinahinch, to a numerous congregation. The country, from hence to Lisburn, is wonderfully pleasant and fruitful. At six I preached in the Presbyterian meeting, a large and commodious building; and I was now with the most lively society that I have seen for many days; owing chiefly to the good providence of God bringing sister Johnson hither. She came indeed in an acceptable time; for J—— W—— and his wife, who for many years had been pillars, had left the society. They had one child, a son, about nineteen years old, of whom they were fond enough; by a fall from his horse he was killed in a moment, leaving his parents inconsolable; just then she came to Lisburn, and visited them. God opened her mouth, both in exhortation and prayer. They saw and acknowledged his hand. She was enabled to give up her child to God; he cried out, “Surely God has sent an angel from heaven to comfort us!” Both of them joined the society; and are more in earnest for salvation than they have been for many years. Sun. 12. — We had a solemn opportunity in the morning. In the afternoon, as no building could contain the people, I stood abroad and proclaimed, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.” The hearers (allowing five persons to a square yard) were seven or eight thousand.
At eleven I preached in the church-yard at Lurgan. The sun shone extremely hot; but we were sheltered from it, partly by the church, and partly by the spreading trees. In the afternoon I went on to Tanderagee, one of the pleasantest towns in Ireland, surrounded by woods and fruitful hills, with a clear river running between them. At six I stood in the Grove, where the tall elms shaded both me and the numerous congregation. Several gentlemen and several Clergymen were among them, and all behaved with serious attention.
I lodged at the Rev. Dr. L——’s, where my time seemed exceeding short. Wednesday , 15. The scene changed from a palace to a cottage at Derry-Anvil, a small village surrounded by a bog; but inhabited by lively Christians. About eleven I preached in a shady orchard, to an exceeding large congregation; and in the evening to a still larger at the Grange, a small village on the top of a hill. Many showers went to the right and the left while I was preaching, but only a few drops fell upon us. Thursday , 16.
About eight I preached at Rich-Hill, where there were many backsliders, on, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” In the afternoon I came to Newry, where I never before had any tolerable place to preach in; but the Presbyterians now offered me the use of their large and handsome meeting-house: Perhaps it never was filled before. I believe the occasion required me to speak very plain, which I did from Elijah’s question, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” And I applied it to the conscience of each person, rich and poor, with all possible plainness. Fri. 17. — Many of our friends from Dublin gave us the meeting at Drogheda; a large, handsome town, which seemed to me to be little inferior to Waterford. After much opposition, a small society is formed here. I preached in the Sessions House, a large commodious room, which was quickly filled with rich and poor. The Mayor himself and several of the Aldermen took care that none should make any disturbance. God gave us an exceeding solemn season. After sermon I gave a short account of the rise of Methodism. I believe all were so satisfied, that there will scarce be any more persecution of the Methodists at Drogheda. Sat . 18. — Having visited all the places I proposed, I came back to Dublin just as well as I set out, my strength having been as my day. Sun . 19. — I exhorted a crowded audience to “bring forth fruits meet for repentance;” and afterwards pressed the exhortation on our own society. Monday , 20. I visited one ill of a violent fever, and calmly triumphing over sickness, and pain and death. In the evening I received a letter from a Physician, whom, the next morning, I carried to see her. He thoroughly understood her case; and from the day she followed his prescription she began to recover. I feared very many of the society would be lost before my return; but I found only three: So that seven hundred and thirty-seven of them remained. Wed . 22. — I went with twelve or fourteen of our friends on the canal to Prosperous. It is a most elegant way of travelling, little inferior to that of the track-skuits in Holland. We had fifty or sixty persons in the boat, many of whom desired me to give them a sermon. I did so; and they were all attention. In the evening I preached at Prosperous, to a numerous congregation, on the general judgment. After preaching at five in the morning, Thursday , 23, I took boat with a larger company than before; who, about eleven, desired me to preach; for which they appeared to be exceeding thankful. Tues. 28. — By the good providence of God, I finished the eighty-second year of my age. Is anything too hard for God? It is now eleven years since I have felt any such thing as weariness: Many times I speak till my voice fails, and I can speak no longer: Frequently I walk till my strength fails, and I can walk no farther; yet even then I feel no sensation of weariness; but am perfectly easy from head to foot. I dare not impute this to natural causes: It is the will of God. Fri . July 1. — Most of our Traveling Preachers met to confer together on the things of God. We began and ended in much peace and love; being all resolved not to “do the work of the Lord so lightly.” Sunday , 3. We had a larger congregation than ever at St. Patrick’s, where many of our brethren found such a blessing, that they will not easily be so prejudiced against the Church as they were in time past. Wed . 6. — We concluded our Conference. I remember few such Conferences, either in England or Ireland: So perfectly unanimous were all the Preachers, and so determined to give themselves up to God. Sun . 10. — I went on board the Prince of Wales, one of the neatest ships I ever was in. We left the work of God increasing in every part of the kingdom, more than it has done for many years. About two in the morning we sailed out of Dublin-Bay, and came into Holyhead-Bay before one in the afternoon on Monday , 11. That evening we went on to Gwendy; Tuesday , 12, to Kimmel, one of the pleasantest inns in Wales; surrounded with gardens and stately woods, which their late proprietor must see no more. Wednesday , 13. We reached Chester. After preaching there between five and six in the evening, I stepped into the stage-coach, which was just setting out; and, travelling day and night, was brought safe to London on Thursday , 14, in the afternoon. Sun . 17. — I preached both morning and evening, on the education of children. I now spoke chiefly to the parents, informing them that I designed to speak to the children at five the next morning. Monday , 18. At five not only the morning chapel was well filled, but many stood in the large chapel: I trust they did not come in vain. The rest of the week I was fully employed in writing for the Magazine, and preparing for the Conference. Sunday , 24. I preached at West-Street, morning and afternoon; when both the largeness and earnestness of the congregation gave me a comfortable hope of a blessing at the ensuing Conference. Tuesday , 26.
Our Conference began; at which about seventy Preachers were present, whom I had invited by name. One consequence of this was, that we had no contention or altercation at all; but everything proposed was calmly considered, and determined as we judged would be most for the glory of God. Mon . August 1. — Having, with a few select friends, weighed the matter thoroughly, I yielded to their judgment, and set apart three of our well-tried Preachers, John Pawson, Thomas Hanby, and Joseph Taylor, to minister in Scotland; and I trust God will bless their ministrations, and show that he has sent them. Wednesday , 3. Our peaceful Conference ended, the God of power having presided over all our consultations. Sun . 7. — After preaching in the morning at West-Street, and in the afternoon at the new chapel, I took a solemn leave of the society; and on Monday , 8, went in the diligence to Portsmouth-Common. Here I found a lively, and, consequently, an increasing, society. Tuesday , 9. I crossed over to the Isle of Wight. Here also the work of God prospers: We had a comfortable time at Newport, where is a very teachable, though uncommonly elegant, congregation. Wednesday , 10. We took a walk to the poor remains of Carisbrook Castle. It seems to have been once exceeding strong, standing on a steep ascent. But even what little of it is left is now swiftly running to ruin. The window, indeed, through which King Charles attempted to make his escape, is still in being; and brought to my mind that whole train of occurrences, wherein the hand of God was so eminently seen. Thur . 11. — About noon I preached in a little court in the town of Portsmouth. The people were all attention: So there was a much larger congregation in the evening, in St. George’s Square. Surely, after all the stumbling-blocks which have been thrown in the way, God will have many souls in this place. Fri . 12. — I preached at Winchester; and on Saturday , 13, went on to Salisbury. As Captain Webb had just been there, I endeavored to avail myself of the fire which he seldom fails to kindle. The congregation in the evening was very large, and seemed to be deeply affected: So they did again at eight on Sunday morning; but I believe the greatest blessing was in the evening; particularly during the prayer, wherein God was pleased to move many in an uncommon manner. Mon . 15. — I preached in Shaftesbury at nine, to such a congregation as I had not seen there before. I was glad to see among them the gentleman who, thirty years ago, sent his Officer to discharge me from preaching in his borough. About two I preached at Castle-Carey, to as many as could well hear; and I believe there were very few who did not feel that God was with us.
In the evening I preached at Shepton-Mallet, but the House would not near contain the congregation. For many years this society was remarkably dead; but it is now one of the liveliest in England. Tues . 16. — We went on to Taunton, where I expected little good. But I was agreeably disappointed: The House was thoroughly filled. A solemn awe sat upon the whole congregation, and God spoke to their hearts. The House was nearly filled at five in the morning, — a sight never seen here before. Wednesday , 17. Collumpton House was more than filled, many being constrained to go away; and I found uncommon liberty of speech here, as well as at Exeter in the evening. Thur . 18. — I had a pleasant journey to Plymouth-Dock, the rain having but just laid the dust. The late separation here seems to have done little hurt. A few turbulent men have left us, but men of a more quiet spirit are continually added in their stead: So that on the whole we are gainers by our loss. Such is the wisdom of God! Fri . 19. — In the evening I preached in the new House at Plymouth. This also was well filled. Sunday , 21. I preached at the Dock at seven, and the House contained us pretty well; but in the evening, it was thought, as many went away as got in. After preaching, I gave them a plain account of the beginning and progress of that great work of God, vulgarly called Methodism. Mon . 22. — I took a cheerful leave of our brethren at the Dock, leaving them well united together; and on the following days preached at Liskeard, St. Austle, Sticker, (a new place near it,) Helstone, Marazion, and Penzance. Thursday , 25. About nine I preached at Mousehole, where there is now one of the liveliest societies in Cornwall. Hence we went to the Land’s End, in order to which we clambered down the rocks, to the very edge of the water; and I cannot think but the sea has gained some hundred yards since I was here forty years ago. In the evening I preached at St. Just, where are still many of our eldest brethren, although many are gone to Abraham’s bosom. Fri . 26. — In the evening I preached in the market-place at St. Ives, to almost the whole town. This was the first place in Cornwall where we preached, and where Satan fought fiercely for his kingdom; but now all is peace. I found old John Nance had rested from his labors. Some months since, sitting behind the Preacher, in the pulpit, he sunk down, was carried out, and fell asleep! Sat . 27. — About nine I preached at the copper-works, near the Hayle, in the new preaching-house. I suppose such another is not in England, nor in Europe, nor in the world. It is round, and all the walls are brass; that is, brazen slugs. It seems nothing can destroy this, till heaven and earth pass away.
At two the Stewards of all the societies met at Redruth. There is nothing but peace and love among them, and among the societies from whence they came; and yet no great increase!
At our love-feast in the evening, several of our friends declared how God had saved them from inbred sin, with such exactness, both of sentiment and language, as clearly showed they were taught of God! Sun . 28. — At half-past eight I preached at St. Agnes, to the largest congregation I ever saw there. Between one and two I preached in the street at Redruth, to thousands upon thousands; and my strength was as my need: Yet I was afraid, lest I should not be able to make all those hear that assembled in the evening. But, though it was supposed there were two or three thousand more than ever were there before, yet they heard (I was afterwards informed) to the very skirts of the congregation, while I applied those solemn words, “One thing is needful.” Wed . 31. — I preached at Launceston;SEPTEMBER 1, in the market-place at Tiverton; and on Friday , 2, opened the little preaching-house at Wellington. At noon I preached in an ancient, venerable building, once belonging to a Lord Chief Justice. It is oddly called Cat-Hanger. Having a stupid people to deal with, I spoke exceeding plain; and I think many of them, even Somersetshire farmers, felt as well as heard. Thence we went on to Ditchet. The people here are all attentive; so that I had nothing to do but apply the promises. The society is continually increasing, and more and more of the hearers are convinced and justified. What is the strangest thing, is, there is no opposer in the town, but rich and poor all acknowledge the work of God. Saturday , 3. In the afternoon the good providence of God brought us once more well to Bristol. Sun . 4. — Finding a report had been spread abroad, that I was just going to leave the Church; to satisfy those that were grieved concerning it, I openly declared in the evening, that I had now no more thought of separating from the Church than I had forty years ago. Tues . 6. — I preached at Paulton and Coleford; Wednesday , 7, in an open place near the road, at Mells. Just as I began, a wasp, though unprovoked, stung me upon the lip. I was afraid it would swell, so as to hinder my speaking; but it did not. I spoke distinctly, near two hours in all; and was no worse for it. In the evening I preached with much satisfaction at Frome, to a mixed multitude of rich and poor; and afterwards strongly exhorted them that had believed to walk in love, after the example of our Great Master. On Thursday I preached at Trowbridge; and on Friday at Bradford, where the work of God has much increased lately; indeed, it has increased this year through the whole Circuit, as it has not done for twenty years before. On Saturday evening I preached at Bath. Sun . 11. — Mr. Bradburn preached at seven, and Mr. Collins about two in the afternoon. I began the service at eleven, and preached on part of the Epistle, Ephesians 3:14, etc. Both then and in the evening the word “distilled as the dew, and as the rain on the tender herb.” Tues . 13. — I preached at Stoke; and in the evening at Pensford; where, I fear, after all the pains we have taken, the generality of the people know just as much of religion as the Hottentots. Wednesday , 14. I preached in the evening in the old Temple Church, on Psalm 74:12. In the old translation it runs, “The help that is done upon the earth, God doeth it himself.” A glorious and important truth! In the new, “Working salvation in the midst of the earth.” What a wonderful emendation! Many such emendations there are in this translation: One would think King James had made them himself. Thur . 15. — I went over to Hannam once more, and saw poor disconsolate Louisa, still wrapping herself up naked in her blanket, and not caring to speak to anyone. The late pretty tale of her being the Emperor’s daughter is doubtless a mere catch-penny: And her four-and-twenty examinations are as credible as Mahomet’s journey through seventy thousand heavens. Sun . 18. — I read Prayers and preached at the new Room in the morning; at two under the sycamore in Kingswood; and at five near King’s Square in Bristol. In the following week I visited the classes, and was amazed to find there is no increase in the society, considering what able and diligent Preachers they have had the last year. Tues . 27. — I visited the little flock at Amesbury, humble, simple, and much devoted to God. Friday , 30. About eleven I preached in the church at Midsummer-Norton, to a numerous congregation. The Curate, Mr. Sims, read Prayers for me, and read them admirably well. About five I began at Ditchet, where it rained almost all the time I preached; but this did not much lessen the congregation: Indeed all of this town, hardly one excepted, seem to have a liking to the truth. Saturday ,OCTOBER 1. I preached at Shepton to a crowded audience. In the evening I preached at the Weavers’ Hall to such a congregation as I had not seen there for many years. Sunday , 2. After reading Prayers and preaching, I administered the sacrament to many hundred communicants. We then solemnly renewed our covenant with God; and while we solemnly avouched him to be our God, I believe many felt with holy, humble joy, that he avouched us to be his people: At four we went into the mail-coach: At twelve, it being exceeding dark, the wheel of a wagon touched ours, and the coach was over in a moment; but just on the spot were some rails which stopped it, so that it did not fall to the ground; so that it was easily set right again, without any hurt to man or beast. About seven we reached Hyde-Park Corner, and the new chapel at eight. Tuesday , 4. I made a little excursion into Hertfordshire; and on Friday , 7, returned to London. Mon . 10. — Setting out for Oxfordshire, I preached at Wallingford in the evening, and at five in the morning. I preached in Oxford at noon; and in the evening at Witney, where the power of God uses to be eminently present. Thursday , 13. Returning to Oxford, I once more surveyed many of the gardens and delightful walks. What is wanting but the love of God, to make this place an earthly paradise? I preached in the evening to a very serious audience; as also the next evening at High-Wycomb. In all this Circuit the work of God appears both to widen and to deepen. Sat . 15. — I returned to London. Sunday , 16. At nine in the evening I set out for Norwich. Tuesday , 18, and the following days, I visited Yarmouth, and the other parts of the Circuit. Sat . 22. — I returned to Norwich; and in the evening spoke home to an uncommonly large congregation; telling them, “Of all the people I have seen in the kingdom, for between forty and fifty years, you have been the most fickle, and yet the most stubborn.” However, our labor has not been lost, for many have died in peace; and God is able to say to the residue of these dry bones, “Live!” Sun . 23. — I administered the Lord’s Supper to about a hundred and sixty communicants. Tues . 25. — I crossed over to Lynn, which has been, of a long season, a cold and comfortless place. But the scene is now entirely changed: Two young, zealous, active Preachers, strongly urging the people to expect a full and present salvation, have enlivened both the society and the congregation. But the difficulty was, how to get to London. No coach set out till Friday morning, nor got in before Saturday night. So I took a postchaise after preaching, and reached Downham between ten and eleven:
But here we were informed, that, in so dark a night, we could not travel over Ely roads, which run between two banks, across which are many bridges, where the coachman must drive to an inch; but we knew in whom we trusted, and pushed forward, till about one on Thursday we reached London. Mon . 31. — I set out for Northamptonshire, and in the afternoon came to Luton. For many years I had lodged at Mr. Cole’s in Luton; but he was now gone to his long home. The room prepared for me now was very large and very cold, and had no fire-place in it. After dinner I called upon Mr. Hampson, the Lawyer who had made Mr. Cole’s will. He gave me, with the utmost courtesy, all the information I wanted; and afterwards invited me to lodge at his house, which I willingly did. In the evening the preaching-house was thoroughly filled; and we had a blessed season, both now and in the morning. Tues . November 1. — When I came to Northampton, the new Presbyterian meeting-house was offered me, twice as large as our own.
The congregation was numerous and deeply attentive. Many attended again in the morning; I trust, not without a blessing. Wednesday , 2. I preached at Whittlebury. Thursday , 3. I met with Peru’s “Treatise upon the Gravel and Stone.” I had long supposed that there could not be in nature any such thing as a lithontriptic, a medicine that could dissolve the stone, without dissolving the bladder; but I am now convinced; there is no arguing against matter of fact; the facts here alleged are too recent to be denied, and too clear to be evaded: Therefore I cannot but earnestly advise every one that has this dreadful distemper, to try without delay, if he can afford it, this sovereign remedy. Fri . 4. — I returned to London. Sunday , 6. I preached a funeral sermon for that great and good man, Mr. Fletcher; and most of the congregation felt that God was in the midst of them. In the afternoon I buried the remains of Judith Perry, a lovely young woman, snatched away at eighteen; but she was ripe for the Bridegroom, and went to meet him in the full triumph of faith. Sunday , 13. I preached at Shoreditch church. The congregation was very numerous, and the collection unusually large. Mon . 14. — This week I read over again, and carefully considered, Mr. Fry’s tract upon Marriage. I wonder it is not more known, as there is nothing on the head like it in the English tongue. I still think he has proved to a demonstration, that no marriages are forbidden, either by the law of God or of England, but those of brothers and sisters, and those in the ascending and descending line. The contrary supposition seems to be built wholly in a misinterpretation of that expression in Leviticus 18, “Thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.” But this, he clearly shows, does not mean to marry a woman, but to deflower her. Sun . 20. — I preached in Bethnal-Green church, and spoke as plain as I possibly could, on “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” And this I judged to be far more suitable to such a congregation, than talking of justification by faith.
Having promised our friends at Winchester to come and open their preaching-house when it was ready, I set out on Thursday , 24, and preached there in the evening to a numerous congregation; but I have not seen a people less affected: They seemed to be mere stocks and stones.
However, I have cast my bread upon the water: Possibly it may be found again after many days. On Friday evening we went into the mail-coach, and reached London at eight in the morning. Sun . 27. — As soon as I had concluded my sermon at the new chapel, I hastened away to preach at St. Luke’s, one of the largest parish churches in London. It was thoroughly filled, as it was seven years ago, when I preached there before. God enabled me to speak strong words on the epistle for the day; and I believe some felt that it was now high “time to awake out of sleep.” Mon . 28. — I went to Canterbury: The chapel was more than filled. On Tuesday I found at Dover also a considerable increase of the work of God. Wednesday , 30. I went on to Margate. Some years since we had a small society here; but a Local Preacher took them to himself: Only two or three remained, who from time to time pressed our Preachers to come again; and, to remove the objection, that there was no place to preach in, with the help of a few friends they built a convenient preaching-house. Thursday , I opened it in the evening; the congregation was large, and perfectly well behaved; and I cannot but hope, that, after all the stumbling-blocks, there will be a people here, who will uniformly adorn the Gospel of Christ. On Friday I returned to London. Monday , December 5, and so the whole week, I spent every hour I could spare, in the unpleasing but necessary work of going through the town, and begging for the poor men who had been employed in finishing the new chapel. It is true, I am not obliged to do this; but if I do it not, nobody else will. Sun . 11. — I strongly enforced St. James’s beautiful description of “the wisdom from above.” How hard is it to fix, even on serious hearers, a lasting sense of the nature of true religion! Let it be right opinions, right modes of worship, or anything, rather than right tempers! Thur . 22. — I preached at Highgate. Considering how magnificent a place this is, I do not wonder so little good has been done here. For what has religion to do with palaces? Sun . 25. — (Being Chrirstmas-Day .) I preached at the new chapel early in the morning, and in the evening; about eleven at West-Street. Monday , 26.
This week I endeavored to point out all the errata in the eight volumes of the Arminian Magazine. This must be done by me: Otherwise several passages therein will be unintelligible. Sun . January 1, 1786. — We began that solemn service, the renewing of our covenant with God, not in the evening as heretofore, but at three in the afternoon, as more convenient for the generality of people. And God was with us of a truth. Mon . 9. — At leisure hours this week, I read the Life of Sir William Penn, a wise and good man. But I was much surprised at what he relates concerning his first wife; who lived, I suppose, fifty years, and said a little before her death, “I bless God, I never did anything wrong in my life!”
Was she then ever convinced of sin? And if not, could she be saved on any other footing than a Heathen? Tues . 24. — I was desired to go and hear the King deliver his speech in the House of Lords. But how agreeably was I surprised! He pronounced every word with exact propriety. I much doubt whether there be any other King in Europe, that is so just and natural a speaker. Tues . 31. — I had a more particular account of Joseph Lee than ever I had before. When I went first to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I chose him, being a man full of faith and love, to be one of the Leaders, Steward of the society, and Caterer for our family. He discharged his trust with the utmost ability and integrity. He walked humbly and closely with God; and was a pattern to all the town, as well as to all the society. But after some time, he was persuaded to quit Newcastle, and settle at Nottingham. There he fell among Antinomians, and, trusting in his own strength, gradually sucked in their opinion, grew less and less strict; and lost first the power, and then the very form, of religion. After he had lived some years openly and avowedly without God in the world, while he was one evening quite merry with his jovial companions, one of them said, “Why, Mr. Lee, you was once very godly; you was one of those mad Methodists!” He answered not a word, but leaned his arm on the table, and died. Sun . February 5. — In the morning, while I was applying at the new chapel that solemn declaration, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear;” he did indeed speak aloud in his word, so that the stout-hearted trembled. I broke out into prayer: The power of God came mightily upon us, and there was a general cry. But the voice of two persons prevailed over all the rest; one praying, and the other shrieking as in the agonies of death. God relieved the former in a few minutes; the other, not till evening.
This week, in travelling, I read over Dr. Stuart’s History of Scotland. He is a writer indeed! as far above Dr. Robertson, as Dr. Robertson is above Oldmixon. He proves beyond all possibility of doubt, that the charges against Queen Mary were totally groundless; that she was betrayed basely by her own servants, from the beginning to the end; and that she was not only one of the best Princesses then in Europe, but one of the most blameless, yea, and the most pious women! Mon . 13. — I went to Mitcham, and found a little company just started up, who were all on fire for God. The house being too small, I preached at the front of a house adjoining to the road; where the earnestness of the people made amends for the keenness of the north wind. Sun . 19. — I preached in Horsleydown church, where (to my no small surprise) no man, woman, or child, seemed to know me either by face or by name! But before I had done, many of the numerous congregation knew that God was there of a truth. Mon . 20. — I paid my last visit to that saint of God, Ann Sharland, dying of a cancer in her breast, in continual pain; but triumphing over pain and death. Sun . 26. — I took a solemn leave of the congregation at the new chapel, at West-Street, and at Brentford. Monday , 27. We went on to Newbury, with little interruption from the snow; and I had a comfortable opportunity, with a large and serious congregation. But I have not passed such a night for these forty years, my lodging-room being just as cold as the outward air. I could not sleep at all till three in the morning. I rose at four, and set out at five. But the snow which fell in the night lay so deep, it was with much difficulty we reached Chippenham. Taking fresh horses there, we pushed on to Bath; and found a larger congregation than could well be expected. Wed . March 1. — I had appointed to preach in Trowbridge at noon. But we could not get thither till half an hour after. I then preached without delay; and in the evenings Bristol, on, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Afterwards I visited one who could say with Mr. De Renty, “I bear with me an experimental verity, and a plenitude of the presence of the ever-blessed Trinity.” In the afternoon I went over to Kingswood, and found the school in excellent order. Sunday , 5. I read Prayers and preached, and administered the sacrament to about five hundred communicants. At three I preached in Temple church; at five in the new Room. On Friday , I baptized a young Negro, who appeared to be deeply serious and much affected; as indeed did the whole congregation. Saturday , 11. I rode over to Churchill, about twelve miles from Bristol; where Dr. Barry read Prayers, and I preached to a serious congregation. Mon . 13. — I left Bristol, taking Mr. Bradburn with me; as I judged a change of place and of objects would be a means of calming his mind, deeply affected with the loss of a beloved wife. In the evening I preached at Stroud; Tuesday , 14, at noon in Painswick, with uncommon liberty; and in the evening at Gloucester. I preached in the old church (now vanished away) belonging to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital; which I think was very considerably larger than the new chapel in London. Wed . 15. — Much snow fell in the night, and quite blocked up the road.
Yet with some difficulty we got through to Tewkesbury, where I preached at noon. Abundance of snow likewise fell in the afternoon; but we pushed through it to Worcester. Thursday , 16. It was not without some difficulty, that we made our way through the snow to Bewdley. Prejudice is here now vanished away. The life of Mr. Clark turned the tide; and, much more, his glorious death. I preached about noon; and at Worcester in the evening; where we had an uncommon blessing while I was enforcing, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Fri . 17. — At eleven I preached at Bengeworth; and again at six in the evening: I believe, not without effect. Saturday , 18. I went on straight to Birmingham. Sunday , 19. A large congregation attended in the morning. At ten I went to St. Mary’s, where the Curate preached an admirable sermon.
At five the preaching-house would not near contain the congregation.
Afterwards I administered the Lord’s Supper to about five hundred communicants. Mon . 20. — I met the select society; most of whom are clearly perfected in love. Tuesday , 21. At three in the afternoon I preached at Quinton, in the new preaching-house; and in the evening at Birmingham. Today I read Dr. Withering’s “Treatise on Foxglove.” He says it frequently cures epilepsies, palsies, insanity, consumptions, and several other diseases. Sunday , 26. The church, as usual, was far too small to contain the congregation.
I preached on Revelation 14:1-7; and exhorted the congregation to cherish that divine ambition, of being found “faultless before God.” We had another large congregation in the afternoon; and all serious as death. I spent the evening at a neighboring gentleman’s house, in close conversation from the beginning to the end. Tues . 28. — After calling at Sheriff-Hales, and giving them a short exhortation, I hastened to Stafford, and found the congregation waiting. I strongly enforced upon them, “The kingdom of God is at hand;” and then went on to Lane-End. It was past seven, and the wind was piercing cold.
I forgot to mention that, the evening before, Madeley church was thoroughly filled; and God reserved the great blessing for the last. We had a glorious opportunity. He poured the dew of his blessing on many souls; and caused many mourners to rejoice with joy unspeakable. Wed . 29. — We came to our old, steady friends at Burslem; but he with whom I used to lodge is no more seen. He trusted the Americans with all his substance; and they cheated him out of all: So he came home and died; leaving an amiable widow, and six or seven children.
Cold as it was, the multitude of people constrained me to preach abroad; but I believe none went away. I preached on, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” We have scarce seen such a time since we came from London. The place seemed to be filled with his glory.
After visiting Newcastle and Congleton, on Saturday ,APRIL 1, I came to Macclesfield. Here again I had the satisfaction to find a people much alive to God. Sunday , 2. We had a large and serious congregation at the new church, both morning and afternoon. The organ is one of the finest-toned I ever heard; and the congregation singing with it make a sweet harmony. Monday , 3. About eleven I preached to a crowded congregation in the new House near Chapel-en-le-Frith. Many of these lively people came from among the mountains, and strongly reminded me of those fine verses wherein Dr. Burton paraphrases those plain words, “The hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and so are the stony rocks for the conies:”— Te, domine, intonsi montes, te saxa loquentur Summa Deum, dum amat juya pendulus hircus, Saxorumque colit latebrosa cuniculus antra.
It is chiefly among these enormous mountains that so many have been awakened, justified, and soon after perfected in love; but even while they are full of love, Satan strives to push many of them to extravagance. This appears in several instances: — 1. Frequently three or four, yea, ten or twelve, pray aloud all together. 2. Some of them, perhaps many, scream all together as loud as they possibly can. 3. Some of them use improper, yea, indecent, expressions in prayer. 4. Several drop down as dead; and are as stiff as a corpse; but in a while they start up, and cry, “Glory! glory!” perhaps twenty times together. Just so do the French Prophets, and very lately the Jumpers in Wales, bring the real work into contempt.
Yet whenever we reprove them, it should be in the most mild and gentle manner possible. Tues . 4. — In the evening I preached to a lovely congregation at Stockport. Friday , 7. I went on, as swiftly as I could, through Manchester, Wigan, and Bolton.APRIL 16. (Being Easter-Day.) I crossed over to Warrington; where, having read Prayers, preached, and administered the Lord’s Supper, I hastened back to Bolton. The House was crowded the more, because of five hundred and fifty children, who are taught in our Sunday-Schools:
Such an army of them got about me when I came out of the chapel, that I could scarce disengage myself from them. Mon . 17. — I went on to Blackburn, which was sufficiently crowded; it being the fair-day. No House would contain the people; so I stood abroad, and expounded that awful scripture, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” All were still as night, unless when they sung; then their voices were as the sound of many waters. Tues . 18. — I preached at Padiham, Burnley, Southfield, and Colne. Thursday , 20. I went to Otley, and found God was there, both in the evening, and morning service. Friday 21. I preached at Yeadon; where the work of God is rapidly going forward. Such a company of loving children I have nowhere seen, but at Oldham, near Manchester. Sunday , 23. I preached in Haworth church in the morning; and Bingley church in the afternoon; but as there were many hundreds that could not get in, Mr. Atmore preached abroad at the same time. In the evening I preached to an huge multitude at Bradford. Surely the people of this town are highly favored, having both a Vicar and a Curate that preach the truth. Mon . 24. — I preached at Halifax; Tuesday , 25, at ten in Heptonstall church; (the ugliest I know;) and in the afternoon at Todmorden church.
Thur . 27. — I preached at Greetland at ten; and at Huddersfield in the evening. Friday , 28. I preached at Longwood-House; the owners of which are a blessing to all the poor, both in spirituals and temporals. Saturday , 29. The wind drove us in the evening into the Cloth-Hall, in Gildersome; where I expounded and applied, “The things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal.” Sun . 30. — I preached in the new House at Dewsbury, as I had intended.
I could not preach abroad at Birstal at noon, because of the boisterous wind. I got some shelter from it at Wakefield, while I applied those words in one of the Psalm for the day, “He healeth them that are broken in heart, and giveth medicine to heal their sickness.” On Monday ,MAY 1, and Tuesday , I preached at Leeds; on Wednesday , at the church at Horsforth, with a remarkable blessing. Thursday , 4. Preaching at Tadcaster in the way, in the evening I preached at York. Sunday , 7. In the morning I preached at St. Savior’s church, thoroughly filled with serious hearers; and in the afternoon at St. Margaret’s, which was over-filled; many being constrained to go away. We had a love-feast in the evening, at which many artlessly testified what God had done for their souls. I have not for many years known this society in so prosperous a condition. This is undoubtedly owing, first, to the exact discipline which has for some time been observed among them; and, next, to the strongly and continually exhorting the believers to “go on unto perfection.” Mon . 8. — I preached about one in the new House at Easingwold, and in the evening at Thirsk. Tuesday , 9. I went on to Richmond. I alighted, according to his own desire, at Archdeacon Blackburne’s house. How lively and active was he some years ago! I find he is two years younger than me; but he is now a mere old man, being both blind, and deaf, and lame. Who maketh thee to differ? He durst not ask me to preach in his church, “for fear somebody should be offended.” So I preached at the head of the street, to a numerous congregation; all of whom stood as still, (although it rained all the time,) and behaved as well, as if we had been in the church. Wed . 10. — I rode through a lovely country to Barnard-Castle, and found much life in the congregation. Thursday , 11. About noon we came to Appleby, the county-town of Cumberland. A very large room being provided, I preached with much liberty, and then cheerfully went on to Penrith.
In my way hither, I looked over Lord Bacon’s “Ten Centuries of Experiments.” Many of them are extremely curious; and many may be highly useful. Afterwards I read Dr. Anderson’s “Account of the Hebrides.” How accurate and sensible a writer! But how clearly does he show, that, through the ill-judged salt [duty], the herring-fishery there, which might be of great advantage, is so effectually destroyed, that the King’s revenue therefrom is annihilated; yea, that it generally, at least frequently, turns out some thousand pounds worse than nothing! Fri . 12. — I preached at Carlisle; and Saturday , 13, after a long day’s journey, at Glasgow. After spending three days here fully employed, on Wednesday , 17, we went on to Edinburgh. Here likewise I had much and pleasant work. On Friday , 19, I went forward to Dundee; and on Saturday , 20, to Arbroath; where I spent the Lord’s Day in the Lord’s work. Mon . 22. — Having a long day’s journey before us, we set out, at half-hour past three: So we came early to Aberdeen. Wednesday , 24. We had an exceeding solemn parting, as I reminded them that we could hardly expect to see each other’s face any more, till we met in Abraham’s bosom. Thur . 25. — We set out early; but when we came to Bervie, the inn was full; there was no room for man or beast; so we were constrained to go a double stage, to Montrose. But the storm was so high, we could not pass for several hours. However, we reached Arbroath soon after six; and a large congregation was deeply attentive, while I applied, “To him that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even what he assuredly hath.”
The storm was still so high, that, unless we set out at night, we could not pass till nine in the morning. So we went on board at eleven. The wind was then so strong, that the boat could scarce keep above water. However, our great Pilot brought us safe to land between one and two in the morning. Saturday , 27. About three we came to the New Inn, and rested till between six and seven. Thence, going gently on to Kinghorn, we had a pleasant passage to Leith. After preaching, I walked to my lovely lodging at Coates, and found rest was sweet. Sun . 28. — I preached first at our own House, and at noon on the Castle-Hill. I never saw such a congregation there before. But the chair was placed just opposite to the sun: But I soon forgot it, while I expounded those words, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” In the evening the whole audience seemed to feel, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Tues . 30. — I had the happiness of conversing with the Earl of H—— and his Lady, at Dunbar. I could not but observe both the easiness of his behavior, (such as we find in all the Scottish Nobility,) and the fineness of his appearance, greatly set off by a milk-white head of hair. Wednesday , 31. I took a view of the stupendous bridge, about ten miles from Dunbar; which is thrown over the deep glen that runs between the two mountains, commonly called the Peas. I doubt whether Louis the Fourteenth ever raised such a bridge as this.
In the evening I preached at Berwich-upon-Tweed; Thursday ,JUNE 1, at Aluwick. Friday , 2. I was desired to lay the first stone of the preaching-house there. A very large congregation attending, we spent some time on the spot, in solemn prayer, and singing praise to God. About noon I preached in the Town-Hall at Morpeth; in the evening, at Newcastle.
How different is the spirit of this congregation to that of most of those I have seen lately!
June 4. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached at eight to an amazing congregation, at the Ballast-Hills; but it was doubled by that at the Fell in the afternoon. But it was supposed that at the Garth-Heads, in the evening, was as large as both together.
On Monday and Tuesday the congregation was larger than I ever remember. Wednesday , 7. At five we had a solemn parting. About noon I preached at North-Shields, in a tent erected near the town, to a very numerous congregation. In the evening I preached at Sunderland. About eleven on Friday I preached in the church at Monkwearmouth, on those words in the Second Lesson, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Friday , 9. I preached at Durham about eleven, and in the evening at Hartlepool. I preached in the Town-Hall, where many appeared to be very deeply affected. Surely the seed will spring up at last even here, where we seemed so long to be ploughing on the sand. Sat . 10. — I went to Darlington. Since I was here last, Mr.—— died, and left many thousand pounds to an idle spendthrift, but not one groat to the poor. O unwise steward of the mammon of unrighteousness! How much better for him had he died a beggar! Sun . 11. — I was obliged in the evening to preach abroad. Afterward we had a love-feast; at which many plain people spoke the height and depth of Christian experience, in the most plain and artless manner. Mon . 12. — We found still, at Stockton, much fruit of S. Brisco’s labors among the children. I preached here at noon, and at Yarm in the evening. Tuesday , 13. The preaching-house at Hutton-Rudby was well filled at nine. When I came to Guisborough, where I had no thought of preaching, I found the congregation waiting: So I began without delay; and it was a time of love. We had a warm ride in the afternoon to Whitby; where it has pleased God fully to make up the removal of William Ripley, who was for many years a burning and a shining light. In the evening the House was well filled with people, and with the power of God; and, after preaching four times, I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning. Thur . 15. — I found the work of God at Scarborough more lively than it had been for many years. Friday , 16. In the evening I preached at Bridlington-quay, to a numerous congregation. Saturday , 17. I found Mr. Parker at Beverley, in a palace. The gentleman that owned it being gone abroad, it was let at a moderate rent. I preached here at twelve; about four at Newlands; and at seven in Hull. Sunday , 18. I was invited by the Vicar to preach in the High Church, one of the largest parish churches in England. I preached on the Gospel for the day, — the story of Dives and Lazarus. Being invited to preach in the afternoon, the church was, if possible, more crowded than before; and I pressed home the Prophet’s words, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” Who would have expected, a few years since, to see me preaching in the High Church at Hull? I had appointed to preach at Swinfleet; so I went as far as Beverley this evening, and on Monday , 19, set out early; but being vehemently importuned to go round by Malton, I did so, and preached there at nine. Thence I hastened to Pocklington; and, finding the people ready, stepped out of the chaise, and preached without delay. We reached Swinfleet between six and seven, having gone, in all, seventy-six miles. A numerous congregation was assembled under the shade of tall trees. Sufficient for this day was the labor thereof: But still I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning. Tues . 20. — I preached in Crowle at noon; and in the evening at Epworth. Wed . 21. — I preached at Scotter at nine; and at one in Brigg, in an open part of the town. All were still as night; the very boys and girls standing as quiet as their parents: Indeed, it seemed that the hearts of all were as melting wax before the Lord. In the evening, the people flocking together on every side, I was constrained to preach in the market-place at Grimsby; where every one behaved well, except the Calvinist Preacher. Thur. 22. — In the evening I preached at Louth. I never saw this people affected before. Friday , 23. At nine I preached at Tealby, where many of the people felt that God was with them in an uncommon manner.
Having now given a second reading to “Fingal,” rendered into heroic verse, I was thoroughly convinced it is one of the finest Epic Poems in the English language. Many of the lines are worthy of Mr. Pope; many of the incidents are deeply pathetic; and the character of Fingal exceeds any in Homer, yea, and Virgil too. No such speech comes out of his mouth as, Sum pius Aeneas, fama super aethera notus: f13 No such thing in his conduct as the whole affair of Dido is in the Trojan Hero. Meantime, who is Ewen Cameron? Is it not Doctor Blair? And is not one great part of this publication to aggrandize the character of the old Highlanders, as brave, hospitable, generous men?
In the evening I preached to a large congregation at Gainsborough, in Sir Nevil Hickman’s yard. But Sir Nevil is no more, and has left no son; so the very name of that ancient family is lost! And how changed is the house since I was young, and good Sir Willoughby Hickman lived here! One of the towers is said to have been built in the reign of King Stephen, above six hundred years ago. But it matters not; yet a little while, and the earth itself, with all the works of it, will be burned up. Sat . 24. — I preached at New Inn; afterwards at Newark, — one of the most elegant towns in England; and in the evening at Retford, on, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Sun . 25. — I preached at Misterton. I was grieved to see so small a congregation at Haxey church. It was not so when Mr. Harle lived here. O what a curse in this poor land are pluralities and non-residence! But these are evils that God alone can cure.
About one I preached at Overthorpe, where the spreading trees sheltered both me and the congregation. But we had a far larger at Epworth, between four and five in the afternoon. Surely God will visit this place yet again, and lift up them that are fallen. Mon . 26. — I read Prayers and preached in Owstone church, thoroughly filled with attentive hearers; and again at nine in the morning. Tuesday , 27.
At one in the afternoon I preached at Belton. While I was preaching, three little children, the eldest six years old, the youngest two and a half, whom their mother had left at dinner, straggled out, and got to the side of a well, which was near the house. The youngest, leaning over, fell in: The others striving to pull it out, the board gave way; in consequence of which, they all fell in together. The young one fell under the bucket, and stirred no more; the others holden for a while by the side of the well, and then sunk into the water, where it was supposed they lay half an hour. One coming to tell me, I advised, immediately to rub them with salt, and to breathe strongly into their mouths. They did so, but the young one was past help; the others in two or three hours were as well as ever. Wed . 28. — I entered into the eighty-third year of my age. I am a wonder to myself. It is now twelve years since I have felt any such sensation as weariness. I am never tired, (such is the goodness of God!) either with writing, preaching, or travelling. One natural cause undoubtedly is, my continual exercise and change of air. How the latter contributes to health I know not; but certainly it does.
This morning, Abigail Pilsworth, aged fourteen, was born into the world of spirits. I talked with her the evening before, and found her ready for the Bridegroom. A few hours after, she quietly fell asleep. When we went into the room where her remains lay, we were surprised. A more beautiful corpse I never saw: We all sung, Ah, lovely appearance of death!
What sight upon earth is so fair?
Not all the gay pageants that breathe Can with a dead body compare!
All the company were in tears; and in all, except her mother, who sorrowed, (but not as one without hope,) they were tears of joy. “O Death, where is thy sting.” LONDON , Jan . 20, 1789.