Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL FROM OCTOBER 27, 1743, TO NOVEMBER 17, 1746.
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(CONTINUED.) ———— Mon. DECEMBER 2. — The alarms still increased in London, on account of the nearer approach of the rebels. But how easy are all these things to them who can commit both soul and body to a merciful and faithful Creator!
About this time I received some farther accounts from the army; the substance of which was as follows: — “REV.SIR, October 10, 1745. “ I SHALL acquaint you with the Lord’s dealings with us, since April last.
We marched from Ghent to Allost on the 14th, where I met with two or three of our brethren in the fields, and we sung and prayed together, and were comforted. On the 15th I met a small company about three miles from the town, and the Lord filled our hearts with love and peace. On the 17th we marched to the camp near Brussels. On the 18th I met a small congregation on the side of a hill, and spoke from those words, ‘Let us go forth, therefore, to him without the camp, bearing his reproach.’ On the 28th I spoke from those words of Isaiah, ‘Thus saith the Lord concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.’ On the 29th we marched close to the enemy; and when I saw them in their camp, my bowels moved toward them in love and pity for their souls. We lay on our arms all night. In the morning, April 30, the cannon began to play, at half an hour after four; and the Lord took away all fear from me, so that I went into the field with joy. The balls flew on either hand, and men fell in abundance; but nothing touched me till about two o’clock: Then I received a ball through my left arm, and rejoiced so much the more. Soon after I received another into my right, which obliged me to quit the field. But I scarce knew whether I was on earth or in heaven: It was one of the sweetest days I ever enjoyed.
CLE—— TS” “Leare, near Antwerp, Oct. 21, 1745. “SINCE I wrote to you last I have gone through great trials. It was not the least that I have lost my dear brother Clements for a season, being shot through both the arms. To try me farther, J. Evans, and Bishop, were both killed in the battle, as was C. Greenwood, soon after. Two more who did speak boldly in the name of Jesus, are fallen into the world again. So I am left alone: But I know it is for my good. Seeing iniquity so much abound, and the love of many wax cold, adds wings to my devotion; and my faith grows daily as a plant by the waterside.” “April 30. — The Lord was pleased to try our little flock, and to show them his mighty power. Some days before, one of them, standing at his tent door, broke out into raptures of joy, knowing his departure was at hand; and was so filled with the love of God, that he danced before his comrades. In the battle, before he died, he openly declared, ‘I am going to rest from my labors in the bosom of Jesus.’ I believe nothing like this was ever heard of before, in the midst of so wicked an army as ours. Some were crying out in their wounds, ‘I am going to my Beloved;’ others, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!’ and many that were not wounded, crying to their Lord, to take them to himself. There was such boldness in the battle among this little despised flock, that it made the Officers, as well as common soldiers, amazed: And they acknowledge it to this day. As to my own part, I stood the fire of the enemy for above seven hours: Then my horse was shot under me, and I was exposed both to the enemy and our own horse. But that did not discourage me at all; for I knew the God of Jacob was with me. I had a long way to go, the balls flying on every side; and thousands lay bleeding, groaning, dying, and dead, on each hand.
Surely I was as in the fiery furnace; but it never singed one hair of my head. The hotter it grew the more strength was given me. I was full of joy and love, as much as I could well bear. Going on, I met one of our brethren, with a little dish in his hand, seeking for water. He smiled, and said he had got a sore wound in his leg. I asked, ‘Have you gotten Christ in your heart?’ He answered, ‘I have, and I have had him all the day. Blessed be God that I ever saw your face.’ — Lord, what am I, that I should be counted worthy to set my hand to the Gospel plough? Lord, humble me, and lay me in the dust!
J. H.” Sun . 8. — I took my leave of poor J. C., just embarking for Germany. I admire the justice of God! He who would never long be advised by any who treated him as a reasonable creature, is at length fallen among those who will make him as passive a tool as ever moved upon wire. Wed. 18. — Being the day of the National Fast, we met at four in the morning. I preached on Joel 2:12, etc. At nine our service in West Street began. At five I preached at the Foundery again, on, “The Lord sitteth above the water-floods.” Abundance of people were at West Street chapel, and at the Foundery, both morning and evening; as also (we understood) at every place of public worship, throughout London and Westminster. And such a solemnity and seriousness every where appeared as had not been lately seen in England.
We had within a short time given away some thousands of little tracts among the common people. And it pleased God hereby to provoke others to jealousy. Insomuch that the Lord Mayor had ordered a large quality of papers, dissuading from cursing and swearing, to be printed, and distributed to the Train-bands. And this day, “An Earnest Exhortation to Serious Repentance” was given at every church door, in or near London, to every person who came out; and one left at the house of every householder who was absent from church. I doubt not but God gave a blessing therewith. And perhaps then the sentence of desolation was recalled.
It was on this very day that the Duke’s army was so remarkably preserved in the midst of the ambuscades at Clifton-Moor. The rebels fired many volleys upon the King’s troops, from the hedges and walls, behind which they lay. And yet, from first to last, only ten or twelve men fell, the shot flying over their heads. Wed 25. — I tallied with a young man, who seemed to be under strong convictions: But, I fear, only seemed. I am surprised that, in so many years, this is the first hypocrite of the kind I have met with; the first who appeared to have deliberately put on the mask of religion, purely to serve a secular end. Fri . 27. — Having received a long letter from Mr. Hall, earnestly pressing my brother and me to renounce the Church of England, (for not complying with which advice he seen renounced us,) I wrote to him as follows: — “DEAR BROTHER, “Now you act the part of a friend. It has been long our desire, that you would speak freely. And we will do the same. What we know not yet, may God reveal to us! “You think, First, That we undertake to defend some things which are not defensible by the word of God. You; instance in three; on each of which we will explain ourselves as clearly as we can. “1. That the validity of our ministry depends on a succession supposed to be from the Apostles, and a commission derived from the Pope of Rome, and his successors or dependents. “We believe it would not be right for us to administer either Baptism or the Lord’s Supper, unless we had a commission so to do from those Bishops whom we apprehend to be in a succession from the Apostles.
And yet we allow these Bishops are the successors of those who were dependent on the Bishop of Rome. “But we would be glad to know, on what reasons you believe this to be inconsistent with the word of God? “2. That there is an outward priesthood, and consequently an outward sacrifice, ordained and offered by the Bishop of Rome, and his successors or dependents, in the Church of England, as Vicars and Vicegerents of Christ. “We believe there is, and always was, in every Christian Church, (whether dependent on the Bishop of Rome or not,) an outward priesthood, ordained by Jesus Christ, and an outward sacrifice offered therein, by men authorized to act as ambassadors of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. “On what grounds do you believe that Christ has abolished that priesthood or sacrifice? “3. That this Papal hierarchy and prelacy, which still continues in the Church of England, is of Apostolical institution, and authorized thereby, though not by the written word. “We believe that the threefold order of Ministers, (which you seem to mean by Papal hierarchy and prelacy,) is not only authorized by its Apostolical institution, but also by the written word. “Yet we are willing to hear and weigh whatever reasons induce you to believe to the contrary. “You think, Secondly, that we ourselves give up some things as indefensible, which are defended by the same law and authority that establishes the things above mentioned; such as are many of the laws, customs, and practices of the Ecclesiastical Courts. “We allow, 1. That those laws, customs, and practices are really indefensible. “2. That there are Acts of Parliament in defense of them; and also of the threefold order. “But will you show us how it follows, either,
(1.) That those things and these stand or fall together? Or,
(2.) That we cannot sincerely plead for the one, though we give up the other? “Do you not here quite overlook one circumstance, which might be a key to our whole behavior? namely, that we no more look upon these filthy abuses which adhere to our Church as part of the building, than we look upon any filth which may adhere to the walls of Westminster Abbey as a part of that structure. “You think, Thirdly, That there are other things which we defend and practice, in open contradiction to the orders of the Church of England.
And this you judge to be a just exception against the sincerity of our professions to adhere to it. “Compare what we profess with what we practice, and you will possibly be of another judgment. “We profess, 1. That we will obey all the laws of that Church, (such we allow the Rubrics to be, but not the customs of the Ecclesiastical Courts,) so far as we can with a safe conscience. “2. That we will obey, with the same restriction, the Bishops, as executors of those laws. But their bare will, distinct from those laws, we do not profess to obey at all. “Now point out, what is there in our practice which is an open contradiction to these professions? “Is field-preaching? Not at all. It is contrary to no law which we profess to obey. “The allowing Lay-Preachers? We are not clear that this is contrary to any such law. But if it is, this is one of the exempt cases; one wherein we cannot obey with in safe conscience. Therefore, be it right or wrong on other accounts, it is, however, no just exception against our sincerity. “The rules and directions given to our societies? which, you say, is a discipline utterly forbidden by the Bishops. “When and where did any Bishop forbid this? And if any did, By what law? We know not either the man who ever did forbid, or the law by which he could forbid it. “The allowing persons (for we require none) to communicate at the chapel, in contradiction (you think) to all those Rubrics which require all to attend always on their own parish-church and Pastor, and to receive only at his table? “Which Rubrics are those? We cannot find them. And till these are produced, all that is so frequently said of parochial unity, etc., is merely gratis dictum. Consequently, neither is this any just exception against the sincerity of any of our professions. “Dec. 30, 1745. J.W.” Wednesday, JANUARY 1, 1746. — I preached at four in the morning on, “I am the Almighty God: Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” We dined with poor John Webb, now thoroughly poisoned by Robert Barclay’s “Apology,” which he was sure would do him no hurt, till all his love to his brethren was swallowed up in dotage about questions and strife of words. Wed . 8. — I waited on Mr. B——e, Rector of ——, who had sent to me, as soon as he had read the “Farther Appeal.” He said, “Sir, all this is sad truth: But what can we do to help it?” I went afterwards to another Clergyman, who had likewise sent and desired to speak with me. How is this? I thought the publication of this tract would have enraged the world above measure: And on the contrary, it seems nothing ever was published which softened them so much! Mon. 13. — I had a visit from Mr. S., an honest, zealous Anabaptist Teacher. Finding he would dispute, I let him dispute, and holden him to the point till between eleven and twelve o’clock. By that time he was willing to take breath. Perhaps he may be less fond of dispute for the time to come. Mon. 20. — I set out for Bristol. On the road I read over Lord King’s Account of the Primitive Church. In spite of the vehement prejudice of my education, I was ready to believe that this was a fair and impartial draught; but if so, it would follow that Bishops and Presbyters are (essentially) of one order; and that originally every Christian congregation was a Church independent on all others! Tues. 21. — I read Bishop Butler’s “Discourse on Analogy;” a strong and well-wrote treatise; but, I am afraid, far too deep for their understanding to whom it is primarily addressed. Monday, FEBRUARY 3, and the following days, I visited several of the country societies. Mon. 10. — I preached at Paulton; on Thursday noon, at Shepton-Mallet; and at Oak-Hill in the evening. The next morning I walked (it being scarce possible to ride, because of the frost) to Coleford. Sun. 16. — I took my leave of Bristol and Kingswood; and Monday, 17, set out for Newcastle.
I preached near Thornbury about noon; and in the evening at Wall-Bridge, near Stroud. Tues. 18. — We pushed on through thick and thin, and with much difficulty got to Stanley. Thence, after an hour’s stop, we hastened on.
The brooks were so swollen with the late rains, that the common roads were impassable; but our guide, knowing the country, carried us round about through the fields, so that we escaped the dangerous waters, and soon after sunset came (wet and dirty enough) to Evesham. Wed . 19. — We rode to Birmingham, where many of our brethren from several parts met us in the evening. Thurs . 20. — We set out as soon as it was light. Before we came to Aldridge-Heath, the rain changed into snow, which the northerly wind drove full in our faces, and crusted us over from head to foot in less than an hour’s time. We inquired of one who lived at the entrance of the moors, which was our best way to Stafford. “Sir,” said he, “‘tis a thousand pound to a penny, that you do not come there today. Why, ‘tis four long miles to the far side of this common; and in a clear day, I am not sure to go right across it: And now all the roads are covered with snow; and it snows so, that you cannot see before you.” However, we went on, and I believe did not go ten yards out of the way till we came into Stafford.
In the evening we reached Roger Moss’s house. I preached on Romans 3:22, and joined a few together as a society. Friday, 21. We breakfasted at Bradbury-Green, whence we rode on to Marsden; and the next day, Saturday, 22, to Leeds. I preached at five. As we went home a great mob followed, and threw whatever came to hand. I was struck several times, once or twice in the face, but not hurt at all. I walked on to the Recorder’s, and told him the case. He promised to prevent the like for the time to come. Sun. 23. — I preached at eight without any interruption; in Birstal at one, and again at five. Monday, 24. I preached at Skircoat-Green, near Halifax, to a whole company of Quakers. The good man of the house, about four-score years old, had formerly been a Speaker among them. But from fear of man, he desisted, and so quenched the Spirit, that he was in darkness for near forty years; till hearing John Nelson declare the love of God in Christ, light again sprung up in his soul.
In the evening I preached to a quiet congregation at Bradford. Tuesday, 25.
Of the same spirit was the writer of the following letter: — “DEAR SIR, February 22, 1745. “YOU may remember to have seen me at Oxford once. Since then, by walking somewhat different from the ways of the world, I have incurred the displeasure of the world; and I have gone through many trials. My friends and nearest relations have done their utmost to separate me from God and his children; but, blessed be our dear Lord, all their attempts have hitherto been in vain. Of late they have seemed resolved on other measures; namely, to separate me from themselves; but, notwithstanding all their threats, I hope, by the power of God, to remain unshaken to the end. I would willingly suffer the loss of all things, rather than deny the Lord that bought me. And I am persuaded, that neither life nor death shall ever separate me from his love. “The sum of all my desires and hopes in this world, for many years, has been this: — To be regularly sent forth as an ambassador of Christ. I long to spend and be spent for the best of Masters; but I doubt my relations have disappointed me of this; for Oxford knows my place no more. “My uncle sees that nobody can do his business better, or perhaps so well as myself; but he can’t bear a Methodist in his house. He wants to have me of his own taste; but as I have been washed, I cannot, I dare not, I will not, by the grace of God, turn to my former wallowing in the mire. “Dear Sir, you see my case. There is nothing I so much long for, as to be employed in the Lord’s vineyard, though utterly unworthy: I should be glad to be advised and directed by you, what to do: I will do whatsoever you judge most proper toward the promoting our Savior’s interest. I am happy in his love, and “Your most obedient servant, “JOHN BOSWORTH.”
But there was no need for his taking thought for the morrow: For in a few weeks God took him to Himself. Sat. MARCH 1. — I visited the sick, who increased daily in every quarter of the town. It is supposed that two thousand of the soldiers only, have died since their encampment: The fever or flux sweeping them away by troops, in spite of all the Physicians could do. Wed. 5. — I preached at Whickham at noon; in the evening at Spen; the next day at Burnupfield; and on Saturday, 8, in the Square at Placey. A vehement storm began in the middle of the sermon, which was driven full upon us by the northeast wind; but the congregation regarded it not. Sunday, 9, was a day of solemn joy; yet, in the afternoon, I felt a great damp, occasioned by my neglecting to speak plainly to some who were deceiving their own souls. I do not wonder at the last words of St. Augustine and Archbishop Usher, “Lord, forgive me my sins of omission.”
I preached on Monday, at Horsley; on Tuesday, at Biddick; and on Wednesday, 12, at Sunderland, where I endeavored to bring the little society into some kind of order. In the afternoon, being at Mrs. Fenwick’s, and seeing a child there of ten or twelve years old, I asked, “Does your daughter know Christ, or know she has need of him?” She replied, with much concern, “I fear not: Nothing has ever affected her at all.”
Immediately that word came into my mind, “Before they call, I will answer.” I was going to say, “Come let us call upon God to show her she has need of a Savior;” but, before the words were pronounced, the child turned away her face, and began crying as if she would break her heart. I could get no word from her but, “My sins, my sins!” We then besought God to carry on his own work. Mon. 17. — I took my leave of Newcastle, and set out with Mr. Downes and Mr. Shepherd. But when we came to Smeton, Mr. Downes was so ill, that he could go no further. When Mr. Shepherd and I left Smeton, my horse was so exceeding lame that I was afraid I must have lain by too. We could not discern what it was that was amiss; and yet he would scarce set his foot to the ground. By riding thus seven miles, I was thoroughly tired, and my head ached more than it had done for some months. (What I here aver is the naked fact: Let every man account for it as he sees good.) I then thought, “Cannot God heal either man or beast, by any means, or without any?” Immediately my weariness and headache ceased, and my horse’s lameness in the same instant. Nor did he halt any more either that day or the next. A very odd accident this also! Tues. 18. — I rode to Pontefract; on Wednesday, to Epworth; and, on Thursday, by Barley-Hall, to Sheffield. I was glad of having an opportunity here of talking with a child I had heard of. She was convinced of sin some weeks before by the words of her elder brother, (about eight years of age,) dying as an hundred years old, in the full triumph of faith. I asked her abruptly, “Do you love God?” She said, “Yes, I do love him with all my heart.” I said, “Why do you love him?” She answered, “Because he has saved me.” I asked, “How has he saved you?” She replied, “He has taken away my sins.” I said, “How do you know that?”
She answered, “He told me himself on Saturday, Thy sins are forgiven thee; and I believe him; and I pray to him without a book. I was afraid to die; but now I am not afraid to die; for if I die, I shall go to him.” Fri. 21. — I came to Nottingham. I had long doubted what it was which hindered the work of God here. But upon inquiry the case was plain. So many of the society were either triflers or disorderly walkers, that the blessing of God could not rest upon them; so I made short work, cutting off all such at a stroke, and leaving only that little handful who (as far as could be judged) were really in earnest to save their souls. Sat. 22. — I came to Wednesbury. The Antinomian Teachers had labored hard to destroy this poor people. Sunday, 23. I talked an hour with the chief of them, Stephen Timmins. I was in doubt whether pride had not made him mad. An uncommon wildness and fierceness in his air, his words, and the whole manner of his behavior, almost induced me to think God had for a season given him up into the hands of Satan.
In the evening I preached at Birmingham. Here another of their pillars, J— — W——d, came to me, and, looking over his shoulder, said, “Don’t think I want to be in your society; but if you are free to speak to me, you may.”
I will set down the conversation, dreadful as it was, in the very manner wherein it passed; that every serious person may see the true picture of Antinomianism full grown; and may know what these men mean by their favorite phrase, of being “perfect in Christ, not in themselves.” “Do you believe you have nothing to do with the Law of God?” “I have not: I am not under the Law: I live by faith.” “Have you, as living by faith, a right to every thing in the world?” “I have: All is mine, since Christ is mine.” “May you, then, take any thing you will any where? Suppose, out of a shop, without the consent or knowledge of the owner?” “I may, if I want it: For it is mine: Only I wish not give offense.” “Have you also a right to all the women in the world?” “Yes, if they consent.” “And is not that a sin?” “Yes, to him that thinks it is a sin: But not to those whose hearts are free. ” The same thing that wretch, Roger Ball, affirmed in Dublin. Surely these are the first-born children of Satan! Tues. 25. — I preached at Evesham: Wednesday, 26, about ten, at Stanley:
In the afternoon, at the Friars, in Gloucester. I preached at Wallbridge, near Stroud, in the evening; and on Thursday, 27, rode to Bristol. Thur. APRIL 3. — I spent an agreeable hour with our old fellow-laborer, Mr. Humphreys. I found him open and friendly, but rigorously tenacious of the Unconditional Decrees. O that opinions should separate chief friends! This is bigotry all over. Mon. 7. — I preached at Kingswood, on Isaiah 60, the seventeenth and following verses, and laid the first stone of the New House there. In the evening I rode (with Mr. Shepherd) to Bath, and Tuesday, the 8th, to Newbury. Here we met with several of the little society in Blewbury; some of whom were truly alive to God. What a proof is this, that God sends by whom he will send! Who hath begotten us these? David Jeffries! Wed. 9. — In the evening I preached at Brentford. Many were got together there who threatened great things. I went and took one or two of their chiefs by the hand, and desired them to come in. They did so, and were calm and silent. It was a season of great refreshment. The next morning we rode to London.
In the afternoon I buried the body of Ann Clowney, a poor woman, whom many could never think to be a believer, because she was a fool. (One of exceeding weak understanding, though not directly a natural.) But in the time of sickness and pain, none could deny the work of God. Neither did she die as a fool dieth. Tues. 22. — I rode with Mr. Piers to see one who called himself a prophet.
We were with him about an hour. But I could not at all think that he was sent of God: 1. Because he appeared to be full of himself, vain, heady, and opinionated. 2. Because he spoke with extreme bitterness, both of the King, and of all the Bishops, and all the Clergy. 3. Because he aimed at talking Latin, but could not; plainly showing, he understood not his own calling. Wed. 23. — At the earnest request of a friend, I visited Matthew Henderson, condemned for murdering his mistress. A real, deep work of God seemed to be already begun in his soul. Perhaps, by driving him too fast, Satan has driven him to God; to that repentance which shall never be repented of.
About this time I received a letter from John Nelson, whom I had left at Birmingham. Part of which was as follows: — “Birstal, April 22, 1746. “AFTER I left Wednesbury, I stayed two nights at Nottingham, and had large congregations. But while I was meeting the society the second night, there came a mob, raging as if they would pull the house to the ground. As soon as we had done meeting, the constable came and seized me, and said, I must go before the Mayor, for making a riot. So he took me by the arm, and led me through the streets, the mob accompanying us with curses and huzzas. God gave me, as we went, to speak very plain to the Constable, and to all that were near me; till one cried out, ‘Don’t carry him to the Mayor, for he is a friend to the Methodists, but to Alderman —.’ Upon this he turned, and led me to the Alderman’s. When we were brought in, he said, ‘Sir, I have brought you another Methodist Preacher.’ He asked my name, and then said, ‘I wonder you cannot stay at home; you see the mob won’t suffer you to preach in this town.’ I said, ‘I did not know this town was governed by the mob; most towns are governed by the Magistrates.’
He said, ‘What, do you expect us to take your parts, when you take the people from their work?’ I said, ‘Sir, you are wrong informed; we preach at five in the morning, and seven at night: And these are the hours when most people are in their beds in the morning, and at night, either at play or at the alehouse.’ Then he said, ‘I believe you are the cause of all the evil that is fallen upon the nation.’ I said, ‘What reason have you to believe so?
Can you prove that one Methodist in England did assist the rebels, with either men, money, or arms?’ He answered, ‘No; but it has been observed, that there has been always such a people, before any great evil fell on the land.’ I said, ‘It hath been as you say: But that people was not the cause of the evil, no more than we are at this time. But these mobbers, and swearers, and drunkards, and whoremongers, and extortioners, and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; these are the cause why God afflicteth both man and beast, — not we: We are sent to persuade them to break off their sins by repentance, that the heavy judgments of God may not consume such a people. And if there be not a general reformation, God will be avenged of such a nation as this.’ Then he said, ‘Do not preach here.’ But God opened my mouth, and I did not cease to set life and death before him. The Constable began to be uneasy, and said, ‘What must we do with him? ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I understand he is for leaving the town tomorrow; I think you must take him to your house.’ But he desired to be excused. Then the Justice said, ‘You may go where you came from.’ When I had gone a little way through the mob, he came to the door, and called, ‘Mr. Nelson, stop a little.’ Then he ordered the Constable to conduct me to the house he fetched me from, and take care that the mob did not hurt me. This seemed to be a great mortification to him; but he was obliged to do it. So he brought me to our brethren again; and left us to give thanks to God for all his mercies.” Sun. MAY 4. — We left London in the evening, and on Tuesday came to Bristol. Mon. 12. — I dined with a gentleman who is fully persuaded, that there is no such thing as either virtue or happiness upon earth: “Having found,” he said, “by repeated experiments, that, notwithstanding a thousand fair appearances, every man living was, at the bottom, wholly selfish, and truly miserable.” I should not wonder, if every rational Deist were of the same mind. Nay, they must, if consistent with themselves. For it is sure, all men are both miserable and selfish, whatever show they may make, who have not faith; even that “evidence of things not seen,” the very being whereof they question. Thur. 15. — I preached at Bath; and setting out at three the next morning, in the evening came to Blewbury.
In riding, I read Dr. H.’s “Lectures on the First Chapters of St. Matthew.”
I preached in the evening, on Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” and, setting out early in the morning, Saturday, 17, in the evening came to London. Mon. 19. — I saw an amazing instance of distress. A sensible young woman, (no Methodist,) constantly attending her church, had all her life long believed herself to be a right good Christian. And in this persuasion she continued during a violent fever, till the Physician told her brother, she must die; on which she cried out, “So my brother and you are going to heaven, and I am going to hell.” Her brother said, from that hour she was in the agony of despair, saying she was in hell already, she felt the flames; the devil had her soul and body, and was now tearing her in pieces. If she swallowed anything, she cried out she was swallowing fire and brimstone; and for twelve days she took nothing at all; for above twenty, nothing but water. She had no sleep, day or night; but lay cursing and blaspheming, tearing her clothes, and whatever she could reach, in pieces. The sins which lay heaviest upon her were, the having no knowledge or love of God; the not believing in Christ, and yet having persuaded herself and others, that she was a good Christian. She was quieter from the time we prayed with her first, and left off cursing and blaspheming. In a few days after she began to drink a little tea, though still remaining in settled despair; but afterwards God turned her heaviness into joy. Fri . 23. — I made over the houses in Bristol and Kingswood, and the next week, that at Newcastle, to seven Trustees, reserving only to my brother and myself the liberty of preaching and lodging there. Fri. 30. — I light upon a poor, pretty, fluttering thing, lately come from Ireland, and going to be a singer at the playhouse. She went in the evening to the chapel, and thence to the watch-night, and was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Her convictions continued strong for a few days; but then her old acquaintance found her, and we saw her no more. Sat. JUNE 7. — I asked Richard Langman and his wife, how they recovered from their German delusion. She said, “None could ever have delivered us from them but themselves; for there is no fence against their soft words.
But one or two of their sermons opened our eyes; particularly one, wherein the Preacher was describing, how the Virgin ‘fed the dear little Lamb with pap;’ and how, ‘when he grew bigger, she might send him of an errand, perhaps for a porringer of milk, which if he happened to let fall, he might work a miracle to mend the porringer.’” They were not then able to digest these things; but now they never turn their stomach at all.
In the afternoon, an old friend (now with the Moravians) labored much to convince me, that I could not continue in the Church of England, because I could not implicitly submit to her determinations; “for this,” he said, “was essentially necessary to the continuing in any Church.” Not to the continuing in any, but that of the Brethren; if it were, I could be a member of no church under heaven. For I must still insist on the right of private judgment. I dare call no man Rabbi. I cannot yield either implicit faith or obedience to any man or number of men under heaven. Fri. 13. — I was desired to visit a poor sinner, who had just made his fortune on board a privateer, and was preparing to enjoy it, when he was summoned of God, to arise and go hence. I found God had shown him terrible things, and had afterwards cut the work short in his soul. For he already knew in whom he had believed, and a few days after slept in peace. Mon. 16. — I had an hour’s conversation with Mr. Simpson, (not the same with him above-mentioned,) a man of a clear head and a loving heart.
But, O the abyss of the providence of God! I saw him some time after in a fever. Before this intermitted, the bark was poured in upon him. He was cured of his fever, and deprived of his senses; and has been confined ever since. Is it not the Methodists who have driven this man also distracted? Sat. 28. — I inquired more particularly of Mrs. Nowens, concerning her little son. She said, he appeared to have a continual fear of God, and an awful sense of his presence; that he frequently went to prayers by himself, and prayed for his father, and many others by name; that he had an exceeding great tenderness of conscience, being sensible of the least sin, and crying and refusing to be comforted, when he thought he had in any thing displeased God; that a few days since, he broke out into prayer aloud, and then said, “Mamma, I shall go to heaven soon, and be with the little angels. And you will go there too, and my papa; but you will not go so soon:” That the day before, he went to a little girl in the house and said, “Polly, you and I must go to prayers. Don’t mind your doll: Kneel down now: I must go to prayers: God bids me.” When the Holy Ghost teaches, is there any delay in learning? This child was then just three years old! A year or two after he died in peace. Wed .JULY 2. — I received the following letter from that amiable man who is now with God: — “Northampton, July 29, 1746. “REV.AND DEAR SIR, “ I AM truly glad that the long letter I last sent you was agreeable to you. I bless God that my prejudices against the writers of the Establishment were so early removed and conquered. And I greatly rejoice when I see in those whom, upon other accounts, I must highly esteem as the excellent of the earth, that their prejudices against their brethren of any denomination are likewise subsided, and that we are coming nearer to the harmony in which I hope we shall ever be one in Christ Jesus. “I have always esteemed it to be the truest act of friendship to use our mutual endeavors to render the character of each other as blameless and as valuable as possible. And I have never felt a more affectionate sense of my obligations, than when those worthy persons who have honored me with their affection and correspondence, have freely told me what they thought amiss in my temper and conduct. This, therefore, dear Sir, is an office which you might reasonably expect from me, if I had for some time enjoyed an intimate knowledge of you. But it has always been a maxim with me, not to believe any flying story, to the prejudice of those whom I had apparent reason, from what I knew of them, to esteem. And consequently, as I should never make this a foundation, you must be contented to wait longer, before you will be likely to receive that office of fraternal love which you ask from, “Rev and dear Sir, “Your obliged and affectionate brother and servant, “P.DODDRIDGE. “Your caution has suggested a thought to me, whether it be modest to call ourselves humble. If the expression means, a real readiness to serve in love, in any thing low, as washing the feet of another, I hope I can say, ‘I am your humble servant;’ but if it means one who is in all respects as humble as he could wish, God forbid I should arrogate so proud a title. In what can I say, I have already attained? Only I love my divine Master, and I would not have a thought in my heart that he should disapprove. I feel a sweetness in being assuredly in his gracious hand, which all the world cannot possibly afford, and which, I really think, would make me happier in a dark dungeon, than ten thousand worlds could make me without it.
And therefore I love every creature on earth that bears his image. And I do not except those who, through ignorance, rashness, or prejudice, have greatly injured me.” Sun. 6. — After talking largely with both the men and women Leaders, we agreed it would prevent great expense, as well of health as of time and of money, if the poorer people of our society could be persuaded to leave off drinking of tea. We resolved ourselves to begin and set the example. I expected some difficulty in breaking off a custom of six-and-twenty years’ standing. And, accordingly, the three first days, my head ached, more or less, all day long, and I was half asleep from morning to night. The third day, on Wednesday , in the afternoon, my memory failed, almost entirely.
In the evening I sought my remedy in prayer. On Thursday morning my headache was gone. My memory was as strong as ever. And I have found no inconvenience, but a sensible benefit in several respects, from that very day to this. Thur. 17. — I finished the little collection which I had made among my friends for a lending-stock: It did not amount to thirty pounds; which a few persons afterwards made up fifty. And by this inconsiderable sum, above two-hundred and fifty persons were relieved in one year. Mon. 21. — I set out for Salisbury, where, to my utter amazement, on Wednesday, 23, Mr. Hall desired me to preach. Was his motive only, to grace his own cause? Or rather, was this the last gasp of expiring love?
I did not reach Bristol till Friday, 25. On Sunday, 27, I preached at Baptist-Mills, to the largest congregation I had seen at that place, since I was there with Mr. Whitefield.
About this time I received a melancholy letter from abroad; part of which I have subjoined: — “Meerkerk, in Holland, July 29, 1746. “ I HAVE for some years endeavored to keep a conscience void of offense, toward God and toward man. And for above two years I have known that God, for Christ’s sake, had forgiven me all my sins. I lived in the full assurance of faith, which made me rejoice in all states. Wet or weary, cold or hungry, I could rejoice. And faith and love did increase so fast, that it was my soul’s delight to do good to them that hated me, to bless them that cursed me, and to call all those that were in a perishing condition, to accept of life and salvation. But, O! ‘how are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!’ April 6, 1746, I was overcome by a great temptation: It came as quick as lightning. I know not if I was well in my senses; but I fell.
I rose the same moment, and called upon my offended God; and so I have done ever since. But, notwithstanding, his Spirit has departed from me. I have wounded my conscience exceedingly. I am fallen into the spirit of bondage and fear; and I often cry out, Who shall tell me, if the strife In heaven or hell shall end?” Mon. AUGUST 4. — I received a letter from Yorkshire, part of which was in these words: — “ON Wednesday, July 16, I called on good old Mr. Clayton. He was exceeding weak, and seemed like one that had not long to continue here. I called again on Monday, 21, and found him very ill. He told me no one else should have been admitted; that he had much to say to me to tell you; and desired me to send his kind respects to you, and wished you prosperity in your pious undertakings. Finding he was not able to talk much, I took my leave, not thinking it would be the last time. But when I returned into these parts on Saturday last, I found he died that morning between two and three. On Monday last I went to his burial, and I was unexpectedly made mourner for my good old friend. I followed his corpse to the ground, where I saw it solemnly interred. Many of his parishioners dropped tears, he having been a father to the poor. He died very poor, though he had an estate of forty pounds a year, and a living of near three hundred, of which he has been Rector three-and-forty years.” Wed. 6. — I preached at Oak-Hill. How is this? I have not known so many persons earnestly mourning after God, of any society of this size in England, and so unblamable in their behavior: And yet not one person has found a sense of the pardoning love of God, from the first preaching here to this day!
Here the good Curate (I was informed) had hired a silly man, with a few other drunken champions, to make a disturbance. Almost as soon as I began, they began screaming out a psalm; but our singing quickly swallowed up theirs. Soon after, their orator named a text, and (as they termed it) preached a sermon; his attendants mean time being busy (not in hearing him, but) in throwing stones and dirt at our brethren; those of them, I mean, who were obliged to stand at the door. When I had done preaching, I would have gone out to them; it being my rule, confirmed by long experience, always to look a mob in the face: But our people took me up, whether I would or no, and carried me into the house. The rabble melted away in a quarter of an hour, and we walked home in peace. Thur. 7. — That venerable old man, Mr. Tindal, called upon me once more. How strange is it, to find one of fourscore and ten, as humble and teachable as a little child! Sun. 10. — In the evening, having determined to spend a little time in Wales, I rode to S. Crocker’s, to be ready for the first passage in the morning. On Monday, 11, we came to the waterside, at half an hour after five; but we did not pass till near twelve, and then rode on to Abergavenny. Mr. Phillips afterwards met us on the road, and brought us to a friend’s house between nine and ten. Tues. 12. — I preached at Maesmennys church, and in the afternoon at Builth churchyard. The greatest part of the town was present there, as usual; and God gave us the usual blessing. Wed. 13. — I preached at Lanzufried. As soon as we came out of the church, a poor woman met us, whom Satan had bound in an uncommon manner for several years. She followed us to the house where our horses were, weeping, and rejoicing, and praising God. Two Clergymen were there, besides me, and the house was full of people: But she could not refrain from declaring before them all, what God had done for her soul.
And the words which came from the heart, went to the heart. I scarce ever heard such a Preacher before. All were in tears round about her, high and low; for there was no resisting the spirit by which she spoke.
The odd account she gave of herself was this: (Concerning which let every one judge as he pleases:) That near seven years since she affronted one of her neighbors, who thereupon went to Francis Morgan, (a man famous in those parts,) and gave him fourteen shillings to do his worst to her; that the next night, as soon as she was in bed, there was a sudden storm of thunder, lightning, and rain, in the midst of which she felt all her flesh shudder, and knew the devil was close to her; that at the same time a horse she had in the stable below, which used to be as quiet as a lamb, leaped to and fro, and sore in such a manner, that she was forced to rise and turn him out; that a tree which grew at the end of the house, was torn up by the roots; that from thenceforth she had no rest day or night, being not only in fear and horror of mind, but in the utmost torment of body, feeling as if her flesh was tearing off with burning pincers; that till this day, she had never had any respite or ease; but now she knew God had delivered her, and she believed he would still deliver her body and soul, and bruise Satan under her feet.
At three in the afternoon I preached at Builth, designing to go from thence to Carmarthen; but notice having been given, by a mistake, of my preaching at Leominster, in Herefordshire, I altered my design; and going to Lanzufried that night, the next day rode to Leominster.
At six in the evening, I began preaching on a tombstone, close to the south side of the church. The multitude roared on every side; but my voice soon prevailed, and more and more of the people were melted down, till they began ringing the bells; but neither thus did they gain their point, for my voice prevailed still. Then the organs began to play again. Mr. C., the Curate, went into the church and endeavored to stop them; but in vain. So I thought it best to remove to the corn-market. The whole congregation followed, to whom many more were joined, who would not have come to the church-yard. Here we had a quiet time; and I showed what that sect is, which is “every where spoken against.” I walked with a large train to our inn; but none, that I heard, gave us one ill word. A Quaker followed me in, and told me, “I was much displeased with thee, because of thy last ‘Appeal;’ but my displeasure is gone: I heard thee speak, and my heart clave to thee.” Fri. 15. — I preached at five to a large company of willing hearers. We breakfasted with a lovely old woman, worn-out with sickness and pain, but full of faith and love, and breathing nothing but prayer and thanksgiving.
About ten we came to Kington, three hours’ ride (which they call eight miles) from Leominster. I preached at one end of the town. The congregation divided itself into two parts. One half stood near, the other part remained a little way off, and loured defiance; but the bridle from above was in their mouth; so they made no disturbance at all.
At four we had another kind of congregation at Maesmennys; many who had drank largely of the grace of God. I examined them, “Do ye now believe?” And the word was as a two-edged sword. After taking a sweet leave of this loving people, we rode with honest John Price, of Mertha, to his house. We had four hours’ rain in the morning; but a fair; mild afternoon; in the close of which we came to Cardiff. Sun. 17. — I preached at Wenvo church, morning and afternoon; at five in the evening, in the Castle-yard at Cardiff, to the far largest congregation which I had ever seen in Wales. All stood uncovered and attentive; and, I trust, few went empty away. Mon. 18. — I rode with Mr. Hodges to Neath. Here I found twelve young men, whom I could almost envy. They lived together in one house, and continually gave away whatever they earned above the necessaries of life.
Most of them (they told me) were Predestinarians, but so little bigoted to their opinion, that they would not suffer a Predestinarian to preach among them, unless he would lay all controversy aside. And on these terms they gladly received those of the opposite opinion.
The multitude of people obliged me to preach in the street, on, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” One man would fain have interrupted, and had procured a drunken fiddler for his second; but finding none to join them, they were ashamed; so the gentleman stole away on one side, and the fiddler on the other. Tues. 19. — I preached again at five. Whatever prejudice remained, now vanished away as a dream; and our souls took acquaintance with each other, as having all drank into one spirit.
About ten I preached in my return at Margum, on, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.” There being many present who did not well understand English, one repeated to them in Welsh the substance of what I had said.
At one we came to Bridge-End, where I preached on a small Green, not far from the church, on, “Jesus Christ, made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” It being the time of the yearly revel, we had many strangers from all parts; but none behaved unseemly; none opened his mouth; for the fear of God was amongst them.
In the evening I preached at Fonmon Castle, on the fruits of the Spirit. I concluded the day with the little society there, rejoicing and praising God. Wed. 20. — I preached near Wilton, a little town about a mile from Cowbridge; and, on Thursday, at Lanmais, four miles from Fonmon, to a people of a simple, loving, childlike spirit. Fri. 22. — I returned to Cardiff, and spoke plain to those who were wise in their own eyes. This, however, was a matter of joy: They were willing to receive reproof. Otherwise I should have feared that, with regard to them, I had labored in vain. Sat. 23. — Returning to Bristol, I found poor C. G. there, proclaiming open war. He had preached at S—— G——’s once or twice; but I believe had done neither good nor harm. I invited him to lodge at our house; but he did not choose it. O poor head, and honest heart! Fri. 29. — I talked largely with S—— F——, and took from her the following account: — On Saturday, July 15, 1743, S—— T——, then about ten years and three quarters old, waked in perfect health. She had never had any fits of any kind, nor any considerable sickness. About six in the morning she was rising, and inwardly praying to God; when, on a sudden, she was seized with a violent trembling. Quickly after she lost her speech; in a few minutes her hearing; then her sight; and, at the same time, all sense and motion.
Her mother immediately sent for Mrs. Designe, to whom she then went to school. At the same time her father sent for Mr. Smith, Apothecary, who lived near. At first he proposed bleeding her immediately, and applying a large blister; but upon examining her farther, he said, “It signifies nothing, for the child is dead.”
About twelve o’clock she began to stir; then she opened her eyes, and gave the following account: — “As soon as I lost my senses, I was in a dismal place, full of briers, and pits, and ditches; stumbling up and down, and not knowing where to turn, or which way to get either forward or backward; and it was almost quite dark, there being but a little faint twilight, so that I could scarce see before me. I was crying, ready to break my heart; and a man came to me, and said, ‘Child, where are you going?’ I said, I could not tell. He said, ‘What do you want?’ I answered, ‘I want Christ to be my refuge.’ He said, ‘What is your name?’ And I told him: But I did not tell him S—— T——. I told him a name which I never heard before. He said, ‘You are the child for whom I am sent: You are to go with me.’ I saw it grew lighter as he spoke.
We walked together, till we came to a stile. He went over, and bid me stay a little. I stayed about half a quarter of an hour, and then I observed his clothes. They reached down to his feet, and were shining, and white as snow. “Then he came back, and kneeled down and prayed. You never heard such a prayer in your life. Afterward he said, ‘Come with me.’ I went over the stile, and it was quite light. He brought me through a narrow lane, into a vast broad road, and told me, ‘This leads to hell; but be not afraid; you are not to stay there.’ At the end of that road a man stood, clothed like the other, in white, shining clothes, which reached down to the ground. None could pass in or out, without his knowledge; but he had not the key. The man that was with me carried the key, and unlocked the door, and we went in together. “For a little way we walked straight forward; then, turning to the left hand, we went down a very high, steep hill. I could scarce bear the stench and smoke of brimstone. I saw a vast many people, that seemed to be chained down, crying and gnashing their teeth. The man told me, the sins they delighted in once, they are tormented with now. I saw a vast number who stood up cursing and blaspheming God, and spitting at each other:
And many were making balls of fire, and throwing them at one another. I saw many others who had cups of fire, out of which they were drinking down flames: And others, who holden cards of fire in their hands, and seemed to be playing with them. “We stayed here, I thought, about half an hour. Then my guide said, ‘Come; I will show you now a glorious place.’ I walked with him, till we came into a narrow road, in which we could hardly walk abreast. This brought us into a great broad place; and I saw the gate of heaven, which stood wide open; but it was so bright, I could not look at it long. We went straight in, and walked through a large place, where I saw saints and angels; and through another large place where were abundance more. They were all of one height and stature; and when one prayed, they all prayed; when one sung, they all sung. And they all sung alike, with a smooth, even voice, not one higher or lower than another. “We went through this into a third place. There I saw God sitting upon his throne. It was a throne of light, brighter than the sun. I could not fix my eyes upon it. I saw three, but all as one. Our Savior holden a pen in his hand. A great book lay at his right side; another at his left; and a third partly behind him. In the first he set down the prayers and good works of his people; in the second he set down all the curses, and all the evil works of the wicked. I saw that He discerns the whole earth at a glance; and He discerns the whole heavens. At once He beholds earth and heaven with one look. “Then our Lord took the first book in his hand, and went and said, ‘Father, behold the prayers and the works of my people.’ And He holden up his hands, and prayed, and interceded to his Father for us. I never heard any voice like that; but I cannot tell how to explain it. And his Father said, ‘Son, I forgive thy people; not for their sake, but thine.’ Then our Lord wrote it down in the third book, and returned to his throne, rejoicing with the host of heaven. “It seemed to me, as if I stayed here several months; but I never slept all the while. And there was no night: And I saw no sky or sun, but clear light every where. “Then we went back to a large door, which my guide opened; and we walked into pleasant gardens, by brooks and fountains. As we walked, I said I did not see my brother here. (Who died some time before.) He said, ‘Child, thou canst not know thy brother yet, because thy breath remains in thy body. Thy spirit is to return to the earth. Thou must watch and pray; and when thy breath leaves thy body, thou shalt come again hither, and be joined to these, and know every one as before.’ I said, ‘When is that to be?’ He said, ‘I know not, nor any angel in heaven; but God alone.’ “Then he took me into another pleasant garden, where were all manner of fruits. He told me, ‘This garden bears fruit always.’ Here I saw a glorious place, which had large gold letters writ over the door. He bid me read; and I read, ‘This is a fountain for sin and uncleanness for my people. At what time so ever they will return, they shall be cleansed from all their idols.’
The door stood open, and I looked in, and I saw, as it were, a great cistern full of water, white as milk. We seemed to walk up and down in this garden for some weeks, and he told me what every thing meant. I never wanted to eat or drink, nor felt any weariness. “While we were walking, he said, ‘Sing.’ I said, ‘What shall I sing?’ And he said, ‘Sing praises unto the King of the place.’ I sung several verses. Then he said, ‘I must go.’ I would have fain gone with him; but he said, ‘Your time is not yet: You have more work to do upon the earth.’ Immediately he was gone; and I came to myself, and began to speak.”
Her mother told me farther, “As soon as ever she recovered her speech, she gave me just the same account; adding, ‘I have learned the finest hymn you ever heard in your life.’ She then sang three verses, the most solid, awful words which I have ever heard. She continued speaking many awful words, with many sighs and tears, till, about three in the afternoon, she fell into a slumber, which continued till seven. She then took the same things to Mrs. Designe; after which she was silent, till about five in the morning. “She received remission of sins when she was nine years old, and was very watchful from that time. Since this trance she has continued in faith and love, but has been very sickly and weak in body.” Mon. SEPTEMBER 1. — I rode with T. Butts to Middlesey, and preached to a small earnest congregation. We set out early in the morning, and were thoroughly wet by noon. In the evening we reached Sticklepath. Wed. 3. — About one we came to Plymouth. After dinner I walked down to Herbert Jenkins, and with him to the Dock. In the way we overtook Mr. Mignon, then a pattern to all that believed. Herbert preached a plain, honest sermon; but the congregation was greatly displeased; and many went away as soon as he began, having come on purpose to hear me. Thur. 4. — Abundance of people from Plymouth were at the room by half-hour after four. I was much refreshed in applying those words to them, “The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing;” and many of us found our hearts knit together in that love which never faileth.
As many as the room could well contain followed me to Mr. Hide’s, and importuned me much to call again, in my return from Cornwall. We dined at Looe, (a town near half as large as Islington, which sends only four Burgesses to the Parliament,) called at Grampound in the afternoon, and just at seven reached Gwennap. The congregation waiting, I began without delay, and found no faintness or weariness, while I expounded, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Fri. 5. — I inquired concerning John Trembath’s late illness. It was a second relapse into the spotted fever; in the height of which they gave him sack, cold milk, and apples, plums, as much as he could swallow. I can see no way to account for his recovery, but that he had not then finished his work. In the evening I preached at St. Ives. Sat. 6. — I rode to Trewellard, in the parish of St. Just. I found no society in Cornwall so lively as this: Yet a few of them I was obliged to reprove for negligence in meeting, which is always the forerunner of greater evils.
I preached in the evening the Green-Court, which was well filled with earnest hearers. I thought the house would have contained the congregation at five, (Sunday, 7, ) but it would not. At eight I preached to a large congregation at Morva, and rode on to Zennor before the Church Service began. As soon as it was ended, I began near the church-yard (and surely never was it more wanted) to expound, “Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” I preached at St. Ives about five, to a more understanding people, on, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”
On Monday, 8, I wrote the following letter to Mr.——: — “MY DEAR BROTHER, “ON Tuesday last I light upon a letter of yours in Devonshire, which I understand has been a great traveler. I think it is the part of brotherly love to mention to you some points therein, wherein I doubt whether you are not a little mistaken: If I mistake, you will set me right. You say, “‘1. First, as to stillness: The thing meant hereby is, that man cannot attain to salvation by his own wisdom, strength, righteousness, goodness, merits, or works; that therefore, when he applies to God for it, he is to cast away all dependence upon everything of his own, and trusting only to the mercy of God, through the merits of Christ, in true poverty of spirit, to resign himself up to the will of God, and thus quietly wait for his salvation.’ I conceive this to be the first mistake. I have nothing to object to this stillness. I never did oppose this in word or deed. But this is not ‘the thing meant thereby,’ either by Molther, or the Moravians, or the English Brethren, at the time that I (and you at Mr. Bowers’s) opposed them. “‘2. That the Brethren teach, that people who are seeking after salvation, are all the while to sit still and do nothing, — that they are not to read, hear, or pray, — is altogether false.’ This I apprehend to be a second mistake. Whatever the Brethren do now, they did teach thus, and that explicitly, in the years 1739 and 1740. In particular, Mr. Brown, Mr. Bowers, Mr. Bell, Mr. Bray, and Mr. Simpson, then with the Moravians.
Many of their words I heard with my own ears: Many more I received from those who did so. And Mr. Molther himself, on December 31, 1739, said to me, in many and plain words, that the way to attain faith is, ‘to be still; that is, “‘Not to use (what we term) the means of grace; “‘Not to go to church; “‘Not to communicate; “‘Not to fast; “‘Not to use so much private prayer; “‘Not to read the Scriptures; “‘Not to do temporal good, and “‘Not to attempt to do spiritual good.’ “These things I myself heard him speak; as I am ready to give upon oath whenever required. You ought not, therefore, to say, ‘This is altogether false,’ on the bare denial of Mr. Molther or any other. “‘3. Some of Fetter-lane society, when the difference broke out, spoke and acted very imprudently. But then to lay the blame on the Moravian Church, as if it were their fault, is quite wrong.’ I think so too; and have said so in my answer to Mr. Church, published some time before you sent your letter. If, therefore, you imagine that I lay the blame on the Moravian Church, you are under a mistake here also; or if you think I ‘lay the fault of one man upon a whole community.’ “‘4. As to the English that really were to blame, they confessed their faults, and asked Mr. W.’s pardon. And some of them, if I mistake not, did it with tears.’ I really think you do mistake again. I remember no such thing. Fifty persons, and more, spoke bitter things concerning me. One or two asked my pardon for so doing, but in so slight and cursory a manner, that I do not so much as know who were the men; neither the time or place where it was done; so far were they from doing it with tears, or with any solemnity or earnestness at all. As for the rest, if they were ever convinced or ashamed at all, it is a secret to me to this day. “‘5. Therefore to publish things which ought to have been buried in eternal oblivion, is what I do not like.’ This whole matter of asking pardon you seem to mistake, as Count Z. did before. I wish you would consider the answer I gave him: — ‘They asked my pardon for using me ill. I replied, that was superfluous: I was not angry with them; but I was afraid of two things: 1. That there was error in their doctrine. 2. That there was sin (allowed) in their practice.’ This was then, and is at this day, the one question between them and me. Now, this cannot be buried in oblivion.
That error and sin have spread too far already; and it was my part, after private reproof had been tried again and again to no purpose, to give public warning thereof to all the world, that, if possible, they might spread no farther. “‘6. Mr. W. is partial throughout his Journal.’ I want to know the particular instances. ‘In what he mentions of me, he does not represent our conversation rightly.’ Then it is the fault of my memory. But be so kind as to point out the particulars that are not rightly represented. ‘He has done the cause of our Savior more mischief, than any one else could have done.’
Tell me how? unless you mean the Antinomian cause, by the case of our Savior. ‘I have several times gone to Mr. W. to explain matters, and to desire him to be reconciled.’ Several times! When, and where? You surprise me much! Either my memory or yours fails strangely. ‘In truth, it is he that has stood out.’ Alas, my brother! What an assertion is this? Did not I come three years ago (before that Journal was published) in all haste, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and my brother, in five days, from the Land’s-End, to a supposed conference in London? Was this standing out?
But with what effect? Why, Mr. Spangenberg had just left London. None besides had any power to confer with us. And to cut us off from any such expectation, James Hutton said, they had orders, not to confer at all, unless the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Bishop of London, were present. “There cannot be under heaven a greater mistake than this, that I ever did stand out, or that I do so now. There has not been one day for these seven years last past, wherein my soul has not longed for union. And they have grossly abused your honest credulity, whoever have made you believe the contrary. “‘7. Since Mr. Wesleys have published such stuff and inconsistencies, I cannot agree with them.’ My brother, make some of those inconsistencies appear, and it will be an act of solid friendship. But, ‘time will manifest matters, and what is of God will stand, and what is of man will come to nought.’ Most true; and according to this sure rule, it has already appeared, whose work is of God; both at Bradford, at Horton, and in several towns not far from your own neighborhood. “8. The account you give of the Moravians in general, is the very same I had given before; viz., That next to those of our own Church, ‘who have the faith and love which is among them, without those errors either of judgment or practice, the body of the Moravian Church, however mistaken some of them are, are in the main, of all whom I have seen, the best Christians in the world.’ In the same tract I sum up my latest judgment concerning them in these terms: ‘I believe they love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, and have a measure of the mind that was in him. And I am in great earnest when I declare once more, that I have a deep, abiding conviction, by how many degrees the good which is among them over-balances the evil, (I speak of the simple and artless part of their congregations. As for the Teachers in their Church, it is my solemn belief, (I speak it with grief and reluctance) that they are no better than a kind of Protestant Jesuits] and that I cannot speak of them but with tender affection, were it only for the benefits I have received from them; and thank at this hour, I desire union with them (were those stumbling blocks once put away, which have hitherto made that desire ineffectual) above all things under heaven.’) “9. In what respects the Brethren are Antinomians, in what sense they lean to Quietism, I have spoken at large. If they can refute the charge, I shall rejoice more than if I had gained great spoils. “My brother, I heartily wish both you and them the genuine open Gospel simplicity; that you may always use that artless plainness of speech in which you once excelled; and that, by manifestation of the truth, you may commend yourself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. I am, “Your affectionate brother, “J. W.” Tues. 9. — I preached at Crowan. The night came upon us while I was speaking; but none offered to go away. Wednesday, 10. I preached at Porkellis, in Wendron, to many more than the house could contain . W—— T——, of Sithney, rode with me to Gwennap, a constant companion of Mr. N——’s, so long as he would join with him in riot and drunkenness.
But with his drunkenness ended Mr. N——’s friendship.
When he heard that one John O——n, a tinner, was preaching, he went on purpose to make sport. But the word of God struck him to the earth. Yet he struggled in the toils; sometimes wanting to go again; sometimes resolving never to go any more. But one day, calling at his sister’s, he took up a little girl, (about four years old,) and said, “They tell me you can sing hymns. Come, sing me an hymn.” She began immediately, My soul, don’t delay, Christ calls thee away:
No mortal doth know What he can bestow:
What peace, love, and comfort: — Go after him, go!
He started up at once, and went to the preaching. And the same night he found peace to his soul. Thur. 11. — E—— T—— (W—— T——’s sister) rode with me to Camborn. When she heard her brother was perverted, she went over to Sithney, on purpose to reclaim him. But finding neither fairwords, nor hard names, nor oaths, nor curses, nor blows could prevail, she went away, renouncing him and all that belonged to him, and fully resolved to see him no more.
Six weeks after she met him at Redruth, and desired him to step into an house. When they were sat down, she burst into tears, and said, “Brother, follow those men, in God’s name. And send me word when any of them preaches in your house, and I will come and hear him.”
He asked, “How is this? How came you to be so changed?” She replied, “A fortnight ago, I dreamed, a man stood by me, and said, ‘Do not speak evil of these men; for they are the servants of God.’ I said, ‘What, are you one of them? I defy you all. I will keep to my church.’ He said, ‘And when you are at church, how are your thoughts employed? or even at the Lord’s table?’ And he went on, telling me all that was in my heart; and every word went through me; and I looked up, and saw him very bright and glorious; and I knew it was our Savior; and I fell down at his feet; and then I waked.”
The week after she went to Sithney, where Mr. M—— was preaching, and saying, “Is there any of you that has shut your doors against the messengers of God? How, if our Lord shut the door of mercy against you?” She cried out, “It is I,” and dropped down. Nor had she any rest till God made her a witness of the faith which once she persecuted. Sat. 13. — I took my leave of our brethren of St. Ives, and between one and two in the afternoon began preaching before Mr. Probis’s house, at Bray, on the promise which is given to them that believe. Many were there who had been vehement opposers; but from this time they opposed no more.
At six I preached at Sithney. Before I had done, the night came on; but the moon shone bright upon us. I intended, after preaching, to meet the society; but it was hardly practicable; the poor people so eagerly crowding in upon us: So I met them all together, and exhorted them not to leave their first love. Sun. 14. — For the sake of those who came from far, I delayed preaching till eight o’clock. Many of Helstone were there, and most of those who in time past had signalized themselves by making riots. But the fear of God was upon them; they all stood uncovered, and calmly attended from the beginning to the end.
About one I began preaching near Porkellis to a much larger congregation; and, about half an hour after four, at Gwennap, to an immense multitude of people, on, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I was at first afraid my voice would not reach them all; but without cause, for it was so strengthened, that I believe thousands more might have heard every word.
In the close of my sermon, I read them the account of Thomas Hitchens’s death; and the hearts of many burned within them, so that they could not conceal their desire to go to him, and to be with Christ. At six we took horse; and about nine (having bright moonshine) reached St. Columb. Mon. 16. — A guide, meeting us at Camelford, conducted us to St. Mary Week. Mr. Bennet overtook us on the road, and Mr. Thompson came in soon after; having lost his way, and so picked up Mr. Meyrick and Butts, who were wandering they knew not where. It was the time of the yearly revel, which obliged me to speak very plain. Thence we rode to Laneast, where was a much larger congregation, and of quite another spirit. Tues. 16. — I rode to Plymouth-Dock, and preached in the evening, and the next morning at five. A little after ten I began preaching in a meadow near Tavistock. In the afternoon we called at Sticklepath; and, about nine at night, came weary enough to Exeter. Thur . 18. — About one I preached at Beercrocomb. About five we reached Bridgewater. We expected much tumult here, the great vulgar stirring up the small. But we were disappointed. The very week before our coming, the Grand Jury had found the bill against the rioters, who had so often assaulted Mary Lockyer’s house. This, and the awe of God, which fell upon them, kept the whole congregation quiet and serious.
Before I preached, my strength was quite exhausted, and I was exceeding feverish through mere fatigue. But in riding to Middlesey I revived; and in the morning, Friday, 19, I rose quite well: “My strength will I ascribe unto thee.”
After a long morning’s ride we came to Mr. Star’s at Waywick. Mr. S., a neighboring gentleman, who not long since hired a mob to make a disturbance, coming in, Mrs. Star detained him till the time of preaching.
He seemed struck much more than the congregation. In the evening we came to Bristol. Mon. 22. — At eleven I preached at Paulton; about two at Oakhill; and in the evening at Coleford. Tues . 23. — I went on to Rood, where the mob threatened loud. I determined, however, to look them in the face; and at twelve I cried, to the largest congregation by far which I had ever seen in these parts, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” The despisers stood as men astonished, and neither spoke nor stirred till I had concluded my sermon.
Between five and six I preached at Bearfield; the next evening at Blewberry. While I was afterwards meeting the society, one grievous backslider, who had been for some time as in the belly of hell, was struck to the earth, and roared aloud. He ceased not till God restored the pearl he had lost. — Does not our God “abundantly pardon?” Thur. 25. — I came to Wycombe. It being the day on which the Mayor was chosen, abundance of rabble, full of strong drink, came to the preaching on purpose to disturb. But they soon fell out among themselves; so that I finished my sermon in tolerable quiet. Fri. 26. — Mr. B. went to the Mayor, and said, “Sir, I come to inform against a common swearer. I believe he swore an hundred oaths last night; but I marked down only twenty.” “Sir,” said the Mayor, “you do very right in bringing him to justice. What is his name?” He replied, “R—— D——.” “R—— D——!” answered the Mayor; “why, that is my son!” — “Yes, Sir,” said Mr. B., “so I understand.” — “Nay, Sir,” said he, “I have nothing to say in his defense. If he breaks the law, he must take what follows.” Sat. OCTOBER 4. — My brother and I took up our cross, and talked largely with Mr. G. But he still insisted, 1. That there was no repentance at all, antecedent to saving faith: 2. That naked faith alone was the only condition of everlasting salvation:
And, 3. That no works need be preached at all, neither were necessary either before or after faith.
We took horse at nine, and soon after one came to Sevenoaks. After refreshing ourselves a little, we went to an open place near the Free-School, where I declared, to a large, wild company, “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” They grew calmer and calmer till I had done, and then went quietly away. As we returned, a poor Shimei came to meet us, bitterly cursing and blaspheming.
The congregation seemed to understand just nothing of the matter. But God can give them understanding in his time. Thur. 9. — The day of Public Thanksgiving for the victory at Culloden was to us a day of solemn joy. Sat. 11. — I had the pleasure of spending an hour with Mr. P. He said, “I rejoiced greatly when the Count came over, hoping now I should understand the truth of the matter; and I went to hear him, full of expectation. His text was, ‘Neither do I condemn thee.’ He began, ‘The Savior says, I came not to destroy the Law: But the fact is contrary; for he does destroy it. It is plain, the Law condemned this woman, but the Savior does not condemn her. Again, the Law commands to keep the Sabbath holy; but the Savior did not keep it holy. Nay, God himself does not keep the Law. For the Law says, Put away all lying. But God said, Nineveh shall be destroyed; yet Nineveh was not destroyed.’ The whole sermon was of the same thread. I understood him well, and do not desire to hear him any more.” Sat. 25. — I buried the body of George Adams, a child about twelve years old. He is the first of the children brought up at our school, whom God has called to himself. From the time God manifested his love to him, he was eminently of a meek and quiet spirit. And as he lived, so he died in sweet peace. Sat. NOVEMBER 1. — I dined at J—— E——’s. Is not this a brand plucked out of the burning? Has there been one in our memory that so signalized himself as an enemy to all serious, inward religion? But it is past. He was going out on pleasure as usual; his foot slipped, and, as he was falling, a thought came, “What if, instead of falling to the earth, thou hadst now died and fallen into hell?” He heard and acknowledged the voice of God, and began to seek his face. Wed. 12. — In the evening, at the chapel, my teeth pained me much. In coming home, Mr. Spear gave me an account of the rupture he had had for some years, which, after the most eminent Physicians had declared it incurable, was perfectly cured in a moment. I prayed with submission to the will of God. My pain ceased, and returned no more. Sun. 16. — I was desired to pray with one in despair. I had never seen her before, but soon found she was a sensible woman, and well acquainted with the theory of religion; yet when I spoke to her some of the principles of Christianity, she cried out, as if she had never heard them before, “Hear! He says, I may be saved! He says, God loves me ! Christ died for me ! And that I may live with him in heaven! O then, what is this world?
What is life, what is pain? I do not care for it. Let me die; let me suffer any thing here, so I may but live with Christ in heaven.”
About this time I received a remarkable account from Grimsby, in Lincolnshire: — “William Blow, John Melton, and Thomas Wilkinson, were going, on Friday last, in a boat on the sea near Grimsby. John Melton could swim exceeding well, but William Blow not at all. When they were about half a league from the shore, they were both beat overboard. John Melton sunk to the bottom like a stone. William Blow sunk and rose several times, and was in the water near a quarter of an hour before Thomas Wilkinson could get near him. At last he saw his hand above the water. He then struck down his boat-hook at a venture, and caught him by the flap of his coat, and pulled him to the boatside. He was quite sensible, and said, ‘Tommy, I am afraid you can’t get me in.’ — ‘Nay, then,’ said Thomas, ‘we will sink together, for I will not let thee go.’ At last he did get him in, and brought him safe to land. “We asked, how he could keep in the water so long, and not be drowned:
He said, God gave him that thought, to keep his mouth shut, and when he was almost choked, he gave a spring up, and got a little breath. I asked him, how he felt himself when he was under water; if he was not afraid of death? He answered, No; his soul was lifted up unto the Lord, and he freely resigned himself into his hands.”
I received, likewise, from several of our brethren abroad, an account of the deliverance God had lately wrought for them: — “REV.SIR, Bush of Brabant. “ I HAVE long had a desire to write, but had not an opportunity till we came to our winter-quarters. When we came over, we thought we should have had brother Haime with us, as formerly; but we were disappointed.
We were about three weeks upon our march, and endured a great deal through the heat of the weather, and for want of water. At Villear camp, we lay so near the enemy, and were forced to mount so many guards, that we had hardly any time to ourselves, nor had John Haime time to meet with us. We left this camp in twelve or fourteen days’ time, and wherever we marched, we had the French always in our view; only a few days, when we were marching through woods, and over high mountains. Coming back; to Maestricht, at some camps we have lain so near the enemy, that their sentries and ours have taken snuff with one another; having then no orders to fire at or hurt each other. But the day we came off, we found it otherwise; for at eleven o’clock the night before, orders came for us to be ready to turn out an hour before day, which was the 30th of September.
At day-break, orders came to our regiment, and Colonel Graham’s, to advance about a mile and a half toward the French. We were placed in a little parlor, and Graham’s regiment in another, to the right of us. We lay open to the French; only we cut down the hedge breast-high, and filled it up with loose earth. Thus we waited for the enemy several hours, who came first with their right wing upon the Dutch, that were upon our left.
They engaged in our sight, and fired briskly upon each other, cannon and small shot for two hours. Then the Dutch, being overpowered, gave way, and the French advanced upon us, and marched a party over the ditch, on the left of Graham’s, and fell in upon them; notwithstanding our continual firing, both with our small-arms and four pieces of cannon. So when the French had got past us, our regiment retreated, or we should have been surrounded. In our retreat, we faced about twice, and fired on the enemy, and so came off with little loss; though they fired after us with large cannon-shot; I believe four-and-twenty pounders. “We lost one brother of Graham’s regiment, and two of ours, — Andrew Paxton, shot dead in our retreat, and Mark Bend, who was wounded, and left on the field. The Lord gave us all on that day an extraordinary courage, and a word to speak to our comrades, as we advanced toward the enemy, to tell them how happy they were that had made their peace with God.
We likewise spoke to one another while the cannon were firing, and we could all rely on God, all resign ourselves to his will. “A few of us meet here twice a day; and, thanks be to God, his grace is still sufficient for us. We desire all our brethren to praise God on our behalf. And we desire all your prayers, that the Lord may give us to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. I remain “Your loving brother, S. S.” “October 17.
Nearly the same account we received a few days before, in a letter from the camp near Maestricht. Part of this ran as follows: — “EVER since the 22d of July, our army and the French have lain so close, and marched so close together, that we have expected them to come upon us almost every night, and have had, for many nights, strict orders not to take off our accountants, but to be ready to turn out at a minute’s warning.
And almost everyday, some of our out-guards have had skirmishes with them. On September 29, at night, Prince Charles had intelligence, that they designed to fall upon us with all their force. So we had orders to be ready, and at break of day our regiment and Graham’s were ordered to march in the front of the army, with two Hessian, two Hanoverian, and a part of the Dutch. We marched a mile forward into little parks and orchards, a village being between us and our army: In this posture we remained about three hours, while their right wing was engaged with the Dutch, the cannon playing everywhere all this time. But we were all endued with strength and courage from God, so that the fear of death was taken away from us. And when the French came upon us, and overpowered us, we were troubled at our regiment’s giving way, and would have stood our ground, and called to the rest of the regiment, to stop and face the enemy, but to no purpose. In the retreat we were broke; yet after we had retreated about a mile, we rallied twice, and fired again. When we came where we thought the army was, they were all gone. So we marched good part of the night; and the next day, about four o’clock, we came to this camp. We left our brother Mark Bend in the field; whether he be alive or dead we cannot tell; but the last of our brothers that spoke to him, after he was wounded, found him quite resigned to the will of God. We that he has spared a little longer, desire you to return thanks to God for all his mercies to us.”