JOURNAL FROM NOVEMBER 2, 1751, TO OCTOBER 28, 1754.
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————— Saturday, NOVEMBER 2, 1751. — Mr. Arvin, according to my desire, informed Mr. M——, that I was willing to give him twenty pounds a year, for assisting me once a week. He refused it with the utmost indignation, and from that time spoke all manner of evil. Mon. 11. — I rode to Rochester, and the next day to Canterbury, where I preached, morning and evening, in what was lately the French church. We had not any disturbance from first to last, the Court of King’s Bench having broke the spirits of the rioters. Sat . 16. — I set out early in a clear, calm morning, and in the afternoon came to London. Tues . 19. — I began writing a letter to the Comparer of the Papists and Methodists. Heavy work, such as I should never choose; but sometimes it must be done. Well might the Ancient say, “God made practical divinity necessary, the devil controversial.” But it is necessary: We must “resist the devil,” or he will not “flee from us.” Sat. DECEMBER. 21. — Being informed that Mr. K——, for some years zealously attached to the Brethren, had now burst his chain, I bad a desire to hear, from his own mouth, how he was delivered. So a day or two after I talked with him at large, and wrote down the substance of his account, that I might make no mistake. After a few days I called upon him; I read over to him what I had written, and desired him to tell me if I had misunderstood him in any thing. And this account alone may be abundantly sufficient to pull off the mask from those cruel and deceitful men. I do not speak this of all; but of them with whom he had to do. “1. I was,” said he, “one of the first members of the society at the Foundery; and continued there till William Oxlee, about the latter end of the year 1740, persuaded me to join the Brethren. It was not long before I was admitted to most of their Conferences; and my love for them increased more and more, till, in the year 1741, I went over to Herndyke. “2. Here I saw several things I did not approve, particularly the arbitrary power with which the Heads of the Church governed, and the vast respect they showed to the rich, while the poor were little regarded; but I forgot all this when I returned to England, and gave myself up to their disposal. “3. I was soon after employed to collect money for repairing the chapel in Fetter-Lane. The manner of the Brethren was, to write to each of those who were accustomed to hear the preaching, and desire them, if they found their hearts free, to send five or ten guineas. As many of these were not at all awakened, I thought this was quite wrong. So I told Mr. M——; but he answered me short, ‘That does not concern you.’ “4. I saw several other things which I could not approve; and I spoke of them, but without effect. Some months after, Mr. Sp—— told me, ‘My brother, we are going to settle an economy of children at Lamb’s Inn; and it is the Savior’s will, that you should go there, and be the Physician of the house.’ I thought it strange, for I did not understand physic: However, I did not dare to reason; so I went. “5. The management here gave me a great shock. Without any regard to the Rules laid down, R—— U—— and his wife, the Directors of the economy, behaved in the most haughty and tyrannical manner. Those who were set over the children had no gifts for the work, and some of them little care for their own souls. Several of the children were whipped without cause, and sometimes out of measure; by which ill management, one of mine was utterly ruined, and has had no fear of God ever since. As for me, I might give advice if I would; but none regarded it: And when I rose one night and covered the children, who had thrown the clothes off in their sleep, Mr. U—— sharply reproved me before the whole family; telling me I had done what I had no business to do; adding, that I was the most useless person in the whole house. I desired, that if so, I might return to London. With much difficulty they consented; and I made all haste back to my own house. “6. But I grew more and more uneasy at their management; which the Brethren perceiving, sent me to Yorkshire. When I had been there a few days, one of them told me, I was to go to Great Horton in the morning; it being made out to the Brethren, that I was to preach there. I was amazed, having never had one thought of preaching. Yet I did not dare to refuse; and from that time they employed me to preach, and to visit all the souls through that circuit. “7. At Holbeck we had an economy of young men. When I visited them, and examined them strictly, they declared to me so much of their Onanism, wh——ms, and other abominations, that I was utterly astonished. I was constrained to rebuke them sharply; for which, in a few days, I received a severe letter from Mr. Sp——, telling me I was destroying God’s dear children, instead of building them up; and that therefore I was neither to preach nor labor any more in Yorkshire. “8. In a little while I was sent for to London, to accompany Mrs. St—— into Germany; but the letter being delayed, although I rode post, she was gone before I came. Some time after, I was appointed a member of the Committee of Six, to whom an account was to be transmitted by all the Laborers, of all the steps which they took, either at home or abroad. “One of our fundamental rules was, not to run in debt above thirty pounds; therefore, when Mr. Sp—— brought in a bill of more than three hundred, I was exceedingly startled, and moved that the particulars of it might be given in, and that all our accounts might be clearly and fairly stated. Wencel Neuser, being present, (though not one of our members,) took me up for this very severely, telling me, they were servants of the Savior, and would give no account to men. “9. I was more and more uneasy at their way of proceeding, till one day, Mr. Sl—— came to me, and asked me, if I was willing to go to Bedford, for six or eight days. I told him I was; and in a day or two set out. But Mr. Br—— told me, ‘Brother K——, you must not expect to do much good here; for there is the hidden curse among the souls, which I believe arises chiefly from the practice of procuring ab——, which is so common among the women.’ Nevertheless I did find a great blessing during the two or three months that I labored there; but I could not stay, having a strong impression on my mind that I was to labor in Jamaica. “10. Upon my mentioning this to the Brethren, they said I should go thither as soon as possible; but it would be proper for me to go to Pennsylvania first, and spend a little time at Bethlehem. I believed they knew best; so, in the year 1744, I quitted my shop, left all my affairs unsettled, and sailed to Pennsylvania. “11. I had full employ at Bethlehem, being appointed General Preacher, and expected to bear a part in all the Conferences. But it was not long before I was troubled more than ever, seeing so much craft and subtlety, and withal so much pride stateliness, and tyranny, in those that governed the Church. One instance, out of very many, was this: — W. Harding, who came over some time before me, and was a stated Preacher, had spoken to them freely and warmly, of several things which he thought reprovable. Upon this he was put out of all his offices, and all the Brethren were forbid to speak to him. Being forsaken of all, he was more uneasy still; on which the Brethren said he was mad. As such he was confined, and food was brought to him once or twice a day, by two or three young men, who likewise many times beat him very severely. At length he watched his opportunity, and made his escape; but they followed after, and took him, and a wooden house was built for him, not a quarter of a mile from the town, about ten foot square, and very dark. I was walking along near the place when they were bringing him thither. His cries and entreaties might have pierced an heart of stone. He begged that he might clean shoes, fetch them water, cleave wood, or whatever they pleased in the open air But it availed not: He was shut up. About six weeks after, as they opened the door one day, in order to give him some meat, he rushed out, got by them, and made toward Philadelphia, with all the speed he could. Being close pursued, he ran to the river, (being an excellent swimmer,) leaped in, sunk, and rose no more. “12. I was then at New-York, whence I returned to Bethlehem, in January, 1746. But I had no rest in my spirit, till, after three weeks, I removed to Philadelphia. Here two of the Brethren and a widow woman lived in the Brethren’s house. I hired a room in it, and desired the widow, as I had not convenience myself, to boil me a little water in the morning for my tea.
Meantime all the Brethren in Philadelphia were charged not to converse with me. And not long after, the two Brethren wrote Mr. Sp—— word, that I lived in adultery with the widow. When I was informed of this, I went straight to Bethlehem, and told Mr. Sp—— the whole affair; who immediately wrote back to them in Philadelphia, that I had confessed the charge. “13. Being now thoroughly weary of mankind, I procured a little house, in a wood, at some miles distant from any town, and resolved to spend the remainder of my days by myself. Here I stayed about four years; till one afternoon, Mr. Sp—— and the Count’s son-in-law called upon me. We talked together till two in the morning. They acknowledged many things that had been wrong, promised they should be amended without delay, and persuaded me to join with them once more. But nothing was amended; so that, after a few months, I was constrained to leave them again. I followed my business in Philadelphia, till I had earned money for my passage, and a year ago returned to London.”
Was there ever so melancholy an account? O what is human nature! How low are they fallen, who were once burning and shining lights, spreading blessings wherever they came! But what infatuation is it which makes this very man attend their preaching still, and his wife (though she believes most of what her husband says) to remain in close connection with them! Sun. MARCH 15, 1752. — While I was preaching at West-Street in the afternoon, there was one of the most violent storms I ever remember. In the midst of the sermon great part of an house opposite to the chapel was blown down. We heard an huge noise, but knew not the cause; so much the more did God speak to our hearts: And great was the rejoicing of many in confidence of his protection. Between four and five I took horse, with my wife and daughter. The tiles were rattling from the houses on both sides; but they hurt not us. We reached Hayes about seven in the evening, and Oxford the next day. Tues. 17. — The rain continued without intermission, till we came to Enstone. Soon after we set out from there, it was succeeded by so vehement a wind, as On Broadway-Hill often drove us clear out of the path, and was ready to carry away both horse and rider. But our strength was as our day; and before six in the evening we came unhurt to Evesham.
I preached in the evening at the Town-Hall, where several of the Clergy and Gentry were present. Wednesday , 18. I rode over with Mr.—— to his house, which I had not seen for upwards of twenty years. The place I found, but not the inhabitants: Most of them were gone to their long home. I saw not one whom I knew, but Mr.——’s aunt; who could not long forbear telling me how sorry she was that I should leave all my friends, to lead this vagabond life. Why, indeed, it is not pleasing to flesh and blood; and I would not do it, if I did not believe there was another world. Our dispute did not continue long, and ended in much love. Mr.— — rode back with me to Evesham, attended the preaching both at seven, and at five in the morning, and walked with me from the Room after sermon; but it was some time before he could speak. He then broke out, “I am to take care of two thousand souls, and I never yet knew how to take care of my own!” I left him full of conviction and good resolutions. How many days will they continue? Thur . 19. — I rode to Birmingham, and, from the behavior of the people, both this and the following evening, found reason to hope that some of the seed which has been sown here will bear lasting fruit. Saturday , 21. I rode to Wednesbury, where Mr.——, Vicar of — had appointed to meet me. I rejoiced to find so great a change. Since he has known the pardoning love of God, he has been swiftly going on from faith to faith, and growing not in knowledge only, but in love. Sun . 22. — After preaching at five, I returned to Birmingham. Many were much afraid of my preaching in the street, expecting I know not what mischief to be done. Vain fear! I saw not one person behave amiss, while I declared, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”
At one I preached at Tipton-Green, to a large congregation, though the wind was ready to cut us in two; and about five, to a much larger, at Wednesbury; where, in spite of all the wiles of Satan, and the cunning craftiness of men, the plain genuine Gospel runs and is glorified. Mon. 23. — I spent an agreeable hour with Mr.——, Curate of W.; an honest, upright man, I verily believe, and willing to know the whole counsel of God. In the evening I preached to a small, serious congregation, at Bilbrook. The storm of wind, snow, and hail, was ready for us in the morning, almost as soon as we set out, and continued most part of the day. When we had heaths or commons to cross, it was not easy to sit an horse, especially as the wind was full in our teeth. However, we reached Poole (two miles from Nantwich) in the evening, and found a congregation gathered from many miles round; several of whom sat up all night, for fear of losing the morning sermon. Wed . 25. — Atter preaching at five and at nine, I rode on to Alpraham, where a large congregation of serious, sensible people attended, both at one and at seven in the evening. Thursday, 26. We rode on through wind and snow, and reached Manchester. At night I was grieved to hear, in all places, from my coming into Cheshire till now, that John Bennet was still speaking all manner of evil; averring, wherever he came, that Mr. W. preached nothing but Popery, denying justification by faith, and making nothing of Christ. Lord, lay not this sin to his charge!\parMARCH 27. — (Being Good Friday.) I went to the old church, where Mr. Clayton read Prayers; I think the most distinctly, solemnly, and gracefully, of any man I have ever heard; and the behavior of the whole congregation was serious and solemn in every part of the Service. But I was surprised to see such a change in the greater part of them, as soon as ever the sacrament was over. They were then bowing, curtesying, and talking to each other, just as if they were going from a play.
On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I spoke severally to each member of the society; and found reason, after the strictest search, to believe that there was not one disorderly walker therein. Tues. 31. — T. M—— gave me a full account of J. B——’s renouncing all connection with me; adding, “On the 30th of December last, after he had said many bitter things of you to the congregation at Bolton, he spread out his arms, and cried, ‘Popery! Popery! Popery! I have not been in connection with him these three years, neither will I be any more.’ And the same thing he said to all the Stewards, at the Quarterly Meeting on New-Year’s Day.” Fri. APRIL 3. — I rode to Bank-House, near Rochdale, where T. Mitchell gave me the following account: — “On Sunday, August 7, last, I preached at Wrangle, at five in the morning, as usual. About six two Constables came, and carried me to a public-house, where I was kept till near four in the afternoon. Then one of them said, he would go and ask the Minister, whether they might not let me go. Upon his return they brought me out to a large mob, who carried me, and threw me into a standing water; and as often as I tried to come out, they pitched me in again. At last some of them said, I should come out, and kept the others off, till I got up the bank. I found myself very happy all the time; for I knew I was in the Lord’s hand. I got back to the house where I lodged, and went to bed. But in less than an hour the mob came again, broke open the doors of the house and the chamber, and dragged me away with them. They carried me to a great pond, which was railed round, being ten or twelve foot deep. Then four men took me up by my legs and arms. I felt the flesh shrink a little at first; but it was soon over, and I did not care whether I lived or died; just as pleased the Lord.
They swung me backward and forward two or three times, and then threw me as far as they could into the water. The fall took away my senses, so that I felt nothing more. But some that did not care to have me drowned, when I came above water, catching hold of my clothes with a long pole pulled me out. I lay senseless for some time. When I came to myself, I saw many people about me: One of them helped me up and bade me go with him. He brought me to a little house, and put me to bed; but I had not laid long, before the mob came again, pulled me out of bed, and drove me before them, almost naked to the end of the parish, where they left me. I made shift to get on to a place three miles off, where I got to bed again, and slept in peace.” Sun . 5. — About one I preached at Birstal. Observing that several sat on the side of the opposite hill, I afterward desired one to measure the ground; and we found it was seven score yards from the place where I stood. Yet the people there heard perfectly well. I did not think any human voice could have reached so far.
Between four and five I preached in our new House, at Leeds. But it was so full, consequently so hot, and my voice was so damped by the breath of the people, that I suppose many could not hear. Wed . 8. — We rode to Heptonstal, a little town on the round top of a very high mountain, with a steep descent on every side. I preached in a vacant place, on the brow of the hill. A Captain who came from the Minister’s house, labored much to divert the attention of the people; but none regarded him at all. When we went away, he followed us long the hill. One tool him by the hand, and spoke a few words; On which he shook like a leaf, and said, he hoped this would be an happy day for him, and that he should think more than he had done in time past. Fri. 10. — I preached at Dewsbury, where the case of the Vicar and his Curate will not soon be forgotten. After a conversation I had with the Vicar, above three years ago, he was deeply serious, till he conversed again with rich and honorable men, who soon cured him of that distraction. Yet in a while he relapsed, and was more serious than ever, till he was taken ill.
The Physician made light of his illness, and said, he would do well enough, if they did but keep those Methodists from him. They did so: However, in a few days, he died, and, according to his own express order, was carried to the grave, at seven in the morning, by eight poor men, (whom he had named,) and buried on the north side of the church. The Curate who buried him, sickening the same week, insisted that the Methodists should not be kept from him. About ten days after, he died; and, according to his desire, was, about the same hour, carried also by eight poor men, and laid in a grave close to that of Mr. Robson. Sat. 11. — I preached at R——, once a place of furious riot and persecution; but quiet and calm, since the bitter Rector is gone to give an account of himself to God. Sun . 12. — I came to Wakefield, as the bells were ringing in, and went directly to Mr. W——, in the vestry. The behavior of the congregation surprised me. I saw none light, none careless or unaffected, while I enforced, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Hath not God the hearts of all men in his hand? Who would have expected to see me preaching in Wakefield church, to so attentive a congregation, a few years ago, when all the people were as roaring lions; and the honest man did not dare to let me preach in his yard, lest the mob should pull down his houses! Mon . 13. — In the evening I preached at Sheffield, in the shell of the new House. All is peace here now, since the trial at York, at which the Magistrates were sentenced to rebuild the House which the mob had pulled down. Surely the Magistrate has been the minister of God to us for good! Tues . 14. — I went to B——, whence the Vicar, Mr. Drake, had sent a messenger on purpose to desire he might see me. I found him in deep distress for the loss of his wife, mixed with strong desires after God.
Hearing I was going to preach at Rotherham, he offered to go with me. He seemed to stagger at nothing; though as yet his understanding is not opened. O that he may not rest till it is! Wed. 15. — I rode on toward Epworth. But I was nigh shipwrecked in sight of the port. Attempting to ride over the common the nearest way, my mare was quickly imbogged. But being lively and strong, she made a shift to get out, and I was glad to go round by Torne Bank. Thur . 16. — I walked over to Burnham. I had no thought of preaching there, doubting if my strength would allow of preaching always thrice a day, as I had done most days since I came from Evesham. But finding an house full of people, I could not refrain. Still the more I use my strength, the more I have. I am often much tired the first time I preach in a day; a little the second time; but after the third or fourth, I rarely feel either weakness or weariness. Fri . 17. — I called on the gentleman who told me he was “sinner enough,” when I preached first at Epworth on my father’s tomb; and was agreeably surprised, to find him strong in faith, though exceeding weak in body. For some years, he told me, he had been rejoicing in God, without either doubt or fear; and was now waiting for the welcome hour when he should “depart and be with Christ.” Sat. 18. — I preached at Belton, and felt an uncommon degree of the presence of God, among an handful of poor, despised people. O how precious is the least of these in His sight, who bought them with his own blood! Sun . 19. — At eight I preached at Clayworth, where, a year ago, the mob carried all before them. But an honest Justice quelled them at once; so that they are now glad to be quiet, and mind their own business.
The congregation here was somewhat lessened by a burial at Belton, that of poor Mr. R——d P——ll; emphatically poor, though, while he lived, he possessed (not enjoyed) at least a thousand pounds a year. Mon . 20. — I rode by Hainton, to Coningsby. The next day I preached at Wrangle, where we expected some disturbance, but found none. The light punishment inflicted on the late rioters, (though their expense was not great, as they submitted before the trial,) has secured peace ever since.
Such a mercy it is, to execute the penalty of the law, on those who lying not regard its precepts! So many inconveniences to the innocent does it prevent, and so much sin in the guilty. Wed . 22. — I rode to Grimsby. The crowd was so great in the evening, that the Room was like an oven. The next night I preached at the end of the town, whither almost all the people, rich and poor, followed me; and I had a fair opportunity of closely applying that weighty question, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” Fri . 24. — We rode by a fine seat; the owner of which (not much above fourscore years old) says he desires only to live thirty years longer; ten to hunt, ten to get money, (having at present but twenty thousand pounds a year,) and ten years to repent. O that God may not say unto him, “Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee!”
When I landed at the quay in Hull, it was covered with people, inquiring, “Which is he? Which is he?” But they only stared and laughed; and we walked unmolested to Mr. A——’s house.
I was quite surprised at the miserable condition of the fortifications; far more ruinous and decayed than those at Newcastle, even before the rebellion. It is well there is no enemy near.
I went to Prayers at three in the old church, — a grand and venerable structure. Between five and six the coach called, and took me to Mighton-Car, about half a mile from the town. An huge multitude, rich and poor, horse and foot, with several coaches, were soon gathered together; to whom I cried with a loud voice, and a composed spirit, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Some thousands of the people seriously attended s but many behaved as if possessed by Moloch. Clods and stones flew about on every side; but they neither touched nor disturbed me. When I had finished my discourse, I went to take coach; but the coachman had driven clear away. We were at a loss, till a gentlewoman invited my wife and me to come into her coach.
She brought some inconveniences on herself thereby; not only as there were nine of us in the coach, three on each side, and three in the middle; but also as the mob closely attended us, throwing in at the windows (which we did not think it prudent to shut) whatever came next to hand.
The mob, who were increased to several thousands, when I stepped out of the coach into Mr. A——’s house, perceiving I was escaped out of their hands, revenged themselves on the windows with many showers of stones, which they poured in, even into the rooms four stories high. Mr. A—— walked through them to the Mayor’s house, who gave him fair words, but no assistance; probably not knowing that himself (the Mayor) might be compelled to make good all the damage which should be done. He then went in quest of Constables, and brought two with him about nine o’clock. With their help he so thoroughly dispersed the mob, that no two of them were left together. But they rallied about twelve, and gave one charge more, with oaths, and curses, and bricks, and stones. After this, all was calm, and I slept sound till near four in the morning.
About five, Saturday, 25, we took horse, and made to Pocklington. I was sorry, when I found it was the fair-day, that notice had been given of my preaching; especially when I heard there was no society, and scarce any one awakened in the town. The unusual bitterness of several who met us in the street, made the prospect still more unpromising. However, I went to see the room provided for preaching, but found it was not above five yards square. I then looked at a yard which was proposed; but one circumstance of this I did not like. It was plentifully furnished with stones: Artillery ready at hand for the devil’s drunken companions. Just then it began to rain; upon which a gentleman offered a large commodious barn. Thither I went without delay, and began preaching to a few, who increased continually. I have known no such time since we left London.
The man and his wife at whose house we dined, had been bitterly persecuted both by his and her mother. These were some of the first whose hearts were touched. Immediately after preaching they came up into the room where we were, and confessed, with many tears, how eagerly they had opposed the truth of God, and troubled their children for adhering to it. How wise are all the ways of God! Had it not been fair-day, these had not been here.
Yet some of our company had dreadful forebodings of what was to be at York. A worthy Justice of the Peace (doubtless to quiet the mob there) had just caused to be cried about the streets, stuck up in public places, and even thrown into many houses, part of the “Comparison between the Papists and Methodists.” Perhaps this might be the occasion of some bitter curses which were given us almost as soon as we entered the gates.
But the vain words of those Rabshakehs returned into their own bosoms. I began preaching at six. The chapel was filled with hearers, and with the presence of God. The opposers opened not their mouths. The mourners blessed God for the consolation. Sun. 26. — At seven God was with us as before, and his word brake the rocks in pieces. We left York about nine, as quietly as we came, and rode to Acomb. Mon. 27. — We reached Osmotherley. After preaching in the evening, I was desired to visit a person who had been an eminent scoffer at all religion; but was now, they said, “in a strange way.” I found her in a strange way indeed; either raving mad, or possessed of the devil. The woman herself affirmed that the devil had appeared to her the day before; and, after talking some time, leaped upon, and grievously tormented her ever since. We prayed with her. Her agonies ceased. She fell asleep, and awaked in the morning calm and easy. Tues. 28. — About noon we reached Stokesley, where I found none had ever yet preached abroad. Samuel Larwood had attempted it, but in vain:
And so had Mr. Roberts, some time after; but a Clergyman came at the head of a large mob, and obliged him to desist. About one, the person in whose house we were came in trembling, and told us what threatenings were breathed out. I answered, “Then there is no time to lose;” and went out immediately. I suppose the mob expected to hear us sing; but they were disappointed; for I began preaching without delay. By this means, missing their signal, they came, not in a body, but two or three at a time; and as fast as they came their minds were changed; so that all were quiet, from the beginning to the end.
It rained all the way we rode to Stockton; but was fair all the time I stood in the main street, and explained to a listening multitude, the joy that is in heaven “over one sinner that repenteth.” Tues . 29. — I preached at Durham to a quiet, stupid Congregation; and the next day went on to Newcastle.
On Friday and Saturday we enjoyed a little respite from labor, and were refreshed both in soul and body. Sun. MAY 3. — We had the best dressed congregation that ever I saw in this place. I spoke very plain; yet all were patient, and looked as if they understood what was said. Sat . 9. — I rode to Sunderland, where I found one of the liveliest societies in the north of England. This is the effect of their being so much “under the law,” as to scruple, one and all, the buying even milk on a Sunday. The House hardly contained the people at five the next morning. At eight and at twelve I preached in the street, none opposing or interrupting. About four I began at Newcastle, near the Keelmen’s Hospital. It was just as I expected. Many who had turned back from the holy commandment once delivered to them, flocked together, and seemed convinced that God was still ready to return, and leave a blessing behind him. Mon. 11. — After preaching at Morpeth in my way, though with little present effect, I rode on to Alnwick, and preached at the Cross, to a far more numerous and more serious congregation. Wed. 13.--I rode to Berwick; and, after preaching, desired all who had been of the society to meet me. I spoke to seventeen, who were thoroughly willing to unite again; and (what was remarkable) all of them still retained a sense of the pardoning love of God; although they were convinced they had suffered great loss by a famine of the word. Thur . 14. — At five the soldiers made a considerable part of the congregation. At noon they came again in troops. One of them, T—— W——, came last year from the Highlands, and went through Westmoreland to beat up for recruits. He had been earnestly warned, before he left Scotland, on no account to go near the Methodists. But in Kendal he lighted on two or three; from which time they were not one day asunder. It was not long before God clearly assured him of his pardoning love. A fortnight after, he was ordered to follow the regiment to Berwick; where he is continually exhorting his comrades to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ” And many already have listed under his banner. Fri . 15. — In the afternoon I preached at Alemouth. How plain an evidence have we here, that even our outward work, even the societies, are not of man’s building! With all our labor and skill, we cannot, in nine years’ time, form a society in this place; even though there is none that opposes, poor or rich; Nay, though the two richest men in the town, and the only gentlemen there, have done all which was in their power to further it. Sat . 16. — I rode on to the poor colliers at Placey. When we came hither first, John Lane, then nine or ten years old, was one of the first who found peace with God. From that hour he continued to walk day and night in the light of his countenance. I saw him last year, longing to be with Christ. But he was detained here a little longer, that he might witness “a good confession” in death, as well as in life. He praised God as long as he had breath, and was buried a day or two before I came. MAY 17. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached in the morning at Gateshead, to an huge congregation, on our Lord’s words, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” About five I began near the Keelmen’s Hospital; many thousands standing round, or sitting on the grass. The wind was high just before; but scarce a breath was felt, all the time we were assembled before God. I praised God for this also. Is it enthusiasm to see God in every benefit which we receive? Mon . 18. — I preached at Newlands, and endeavored to remove the offenses which had crept in among the simple people. In the evening I preached at Sheep-Hill. It rained all the time; but that little disturbed either the congregation or me. Tues . 19. — I preached at Whickham, before Mrs. Armstrong’s door. I was a little surprised at the account she gave of God’s late dealings with her. When her ancient husband, with whom she had lived from her youth, was, on account of a debt contracted by his son, hurried away, and thrown into Durham gaol, — which soon put an end to his life; when she was likely to lose all she had, and to be turned out of doors at fourscore years of age; still the Oracles of God, which she had loved from a child, were her delight and her counselors. But one day, when she put on her spectacles to read, she could not see a word. She was startled at first; but soon said, “It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good.” She laid her spectacles down, and casting her eye on the corner of the Bible, thought she could discern some letters. Taking up the book, she read as well as her daughter could; and from that hour, she could not only read without spectacles; but sew, or thread the finest needle, with the same ease as when she was thirty years of age. Wed . 20. — I preached at Biddick to a multitude of colliers, though it rained hard all the time. They seemed all, even some who had long drawn back, to be melted down as wax before the fire. So strong and general an influence on a congregation I do not remember to have seen for some years. Sun . 24. — The congregation at the Keelmen’s Hospital was far too large for my voice to command. I doubt not more than two-thirds could hear; but all were still, till I commended them to the grace of God. Mon. 25. — We rode to Durham, and thence, through very rough roads, and as rough weather, to Barnard-Castle. I was exceeding faint when we came in: However, the time being come, I went into the street, and would have preached but the mob was so numerous and so loud, that it was not possible for many to hear. Nevertheless, I spoke on, and those who were near listened with huge attention. To prevent this, some of the rabble fetched the engine, and threw a good deal of water on the congregation; but not a drop fell on me. After about three quarters of an hour, I returned into the house. Tues. 26. — At five the preaching-house would not contain one half of the congregation. Many stood at the door and windows; far more than could hear. When I come again, perhaps they will hear while they may.
We rode hence to Weardale. I had been out of order all night, and found myself now much weaker. However, I trusted in the Strong for strength, and began preaching to a numerous congregation: And I did not want strength, till I had finished my discourse; nor did the people want a blessing.
In the evening we came to Allandale, and found the poor society well-nigh shattered in pieces. Slackness and offense had eaten them up. When I came into the Room, I was just like one of them; having neither life nor strength, and being scarce able either to speak or to stand. But immediately we had a token for good. In a moment I was well. My voice and strength were entirely restored; and I cried aloud, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?”
The mountains a drain flowed down at His presence, and the rocks were once more broken in pieces. Wed. 27. — I preached at Clifton, near Penrith, to a civil people, who looked just as if I had been talking Greek. The next day we went on to Lorton; a little village, lying in a green, fruitful valley, surrounded by high mountains, the sides of which are covered with grass and woods, and the bottom watered by two small rivers. Here I found myself much out of order again. However, at six I preached to a very large and serious congregation. The Ministers of Lorton, and of the next parish, were among them, that they might hear and judge for themselves. Fri . 29. — I preached at noon to a very different congregation, in the Castle-yard, at Cockermouth. However, they behaved with decency; none interrupting or making any noise.
About five we reached Whitehaven. After a little rest, I went to the Room; but it was rather to be seen than heard. However, I spoke as I could for about half an hour, and then immediately went to bed. But I could not sleep, having a violent flux, with a fever, and continual pain in my stomach. Yet at twelve I fell into a doze, and from that time began to recover.
On Sunday, in the afternoon, I ventured to church; and in the evening preached as I was able. Mon .JUNE 1. — I examined the society, and praised God on their behalf. Tues. 2. — I rode to Seaton, a town of colliers, ten measured miles from Whitehaven. The poor people had prepared a kind of pulpit for me, covered at the top and on both sides, and had placed a cushion to kneel upon of the greenest turf in the country. But my voice was still so low, that I fear not half of those who were present could hear. Wed . 3. — I was able to preach again in the morning. One of our friends, who was master of a ship, purposing to set sail on Thursday , 4, for Dublin, I knew not but it would be well to go over with him, supposing the wind should turn fair. It did turn fair that very morning; but being suddenly called on board, he sailed without us. In about six hours the wind turned foul. So I suppose he came back the next morning.
In the afternoon we rode to Mr. Blencowe’s, about fifteen miles from Whitehaven. We took a walk in the evening to a little town called Drig, about a mile from his house, where I preached to a small company of plain, serious people. But I fear they understood very little of what they heard. Fri . 5. — I went on with Mr. Milner to Ulverstone. Here a very convenient place for preaching was offered. But few people had any desire to hear. So I went quietly back to my inn. Sat . 6. — We reached Chipping, and were immediately informed, that several there were consulting together how to hinder me from preaching.
Mr. Milner, hearing they were net at the next house, went thither, and brought them all with him, who were the Churchwardens and three or four persons more. I spent about a quarter of an hour with them, in call and friendly debate; and they went away much cooler than they came. Sun. 7. — Understanding some designed to go out of church when I went into the pulpit, I thought it would be better for them to go out sooner; and to read Prayers as well as preach. Such a congregation was present, as I believe was never seen there before; and a solemn awe seemed to rest on the whole congregation, from the beginning of the Service to the end.
I preached in the afternoon on the conclusion of the Second Lesson, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” The people were all attention. Surely there is no counsel or strength against the Lord. Mon . 8. — We rode to Rough-Lee; and found a large, serious, and quiet congregation. There have been no tumults since Mr. White was removed.
He was for some years a Popish Priest. Then he called himself a Protestant, and had the living of Colne. It was his manner first to hire, and then head the mob, when they and he were tolerably drunk. But he drank himself first into a gaol, and then into his grave.
In the evening I preached at Heptonstall. An Attorney, who happened to he in the town, endeavored to interrupt; relating some low, threadbare stories, with a very audible voice. But some of the people cut him short in the midst by carrying him quietly away. Tues . 9. — I preached at six to abundance of people near Ewood; and with an uncommon blessing. Hence we rode to Todmorden. The Minister was slowly recovering from a violent fit of a palsy, with which he was struck immediately after he had been preaching a virulent sermon against the Methodists.
I preached on the side of a mountain, to a large and earnest congregation, and then went on to Mellar-barn. I preached at six in the town; and I suppose all the inhabitants, young and old, were present. Nor have I often seen so large a congregation so universally and deeply affected.
My lodging was not such as I should have chosen; but what Providence chooses, is always good. My bed was considerably under ground, the room serving both for a bed-chamber and a cellar. The closeness was more troublesome at first than the coolness: But I let in a little fresh air, by breaking a pane of paper (put by way of glass) in the window; and then slept sound till the morning. Fri . 12. — I rode to Bolton. So hot a day as this, I do not remember to have felt in England. The congregation seemed to forget the heat, though the Room was like an oven. For it was a comfortable hour: God refreshing many souls with the multitude of peace. Sat . 13. — The House was fuller this evening than the last, while I enforced that gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy-laden.” Sun . 14. — After preaching in the evening, I took occasion to tell the whole congregation, that there had been a mistake concerning the House, which J. B. imagined I had contrived to make my own property: But Mr. Grimshaw had now cleared it up; having assured Mr. B., 1. That I knew nothing of the deed relating to the House, till after it was made. 2. That I had no property in it still; only a clause was inserted, whereby Mr. G., my brother, and I, were empowered to appoint the Preachers therein. Mon . 15. — I had many little trials in this journey, of a kind I had not known before. I had borrowed a young, strong mare, when I set out from Manchester. But she fell lame before I got to Grimsby. I procured another, but was dismounted again between Newcastle and Berwick. At my return to Manchester, I took my own: But she had lamed herself in the pasture. I thought, nevertheless, to ride her four or five miles today; but she was gone out of the ground, and we could hear nothing of her. However, I comforted myself, that I had another at Manchester, which I had lately bought. But when I came thither, I found one had borrowed her too, and rode her away to Chester.
About noon I preached near Shackerley, at an old man’s house, who was groaning for redemption. We walked together a little way, after preaching:
And almost as soon as we parted, the power of God fell upon him, so that he hardly knew whether he was on earth or in heaven. From that hour he has been continually filled with peace and joy in believing.
At my return to Bolton, I wrote down a particular account of one that lately adorned the Gospel. It was as follows: — InAPRIL, 1746,CATHERINE WHITAKER went to Halifax, to hear John Nelson. She was before convinced of the truth by reading, and from that time grew more and more serious. The next year John H — called at our house. As he was going, he turned back, took her by the hand, and said, “You must believe, whether you can or no.” As soon as he was gone, she began crying to God, and ceased not, till she knew she did believe in Christ. She never afterward lost the sense of his love; nor could she rest, if she found the least cloud, till it was wholly removed, and the clear light shone again upon her soul.
In May, 1750, she removed to Bolton, and soon after appeared to be consumptive. But she did not spare herself on that account, still rising at five, four, or three in the morning, and continuing to teach her scholars, as usual, till about Christmas, 1751. From that time her bodily strength failed, though she did not keep her room till March. She was then afraid lest she should live to be a burden to her relations; but that fear soon vanished away, and she said, “Now I can leave it all to God. Let me die sooner or later, it is all one.” But she had still some struggle concerning her husband, before she was thoroughly willing to give him up.
She immediately joined with her, and sung on to the end of the hymn. The Thursday after, she looked round upon us, and said, “O how I love you all! I am all love. I love every soul God has made.” Her husband asked, “Are you happy?” She said, “O yes:
I cannot fear, I cannot doubt, I feel the sprinkled blood:
At breakfast she desired a little cold water; on receiving which, she looked up and said, “In a little while, I shall drink new wine in the kingdom of my Father.” About ten o’clock she broke out, — My God is reconciled, His pard’ning voice I hear, He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear.
One asking her how she did, she said, “I long to be with Him whom my soul loveth.” On Friday and Saturday, being extremely weak, she spake very little. On Sunday morning she said, “So the Lord hat brought us to another Sabbath. ‘Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.”’ She then partly sung, and partly repeated, that hymn, — O when shall I sweetly remove, O when shall I enter my rest!
Return to the Sion above, The mother of spirits distress’d!
She then said, “Who is in the house? O, I do not love the staying at home on a Sunday! Desire them all to go to church. When I was most diligent in going to church, I always found the greatest blessings.” At night she said, “Swelled legs! For a little time: There will be no swelled legs in heaven.”
About five on Monday morning, March 23, her husband asked, “Do you know me?” She said, “Yes, I do;” and putting her arm round his neck, quickly began to slumber. Waking soon after, she said, “I must make haste, and dress myself for the Bridegroom.” She then dozed afresh; but waking in a few minutes, said, “I am going to Christ;” and fell asleep. Sat. 20. — I rode to Chester, and preached at six, in the accustomed place, a little without the gates, near St. John’s church. One single man, a poor alehouse-keeper, seemed disgusted, spoke a harmless word, and ran away with all speed. All the rest behaved with the utmost seriousness, while I declared “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Sun. 21. — I preached, at seven, in a much larger house, which was just taken, near St. Martin’s church; as eminent a part of the town as Drury-Lane is in London; or as the Horse-Fair was in Bristol. At church Mr. L—— preached a strong, plain, useful sermon, upon the faith of Abraham. At one I began preaching again, on, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” But the house not containing half the congregation, I was obliged to stand at the door, on one side of a kind of square, large enough to contain ten or twelve thousand people. I had a few hours before spoken to the Captain of a vessel, with whom I proposed to sail for Dublin; and the wind being fair, I knew not whether I should stay to preach another sermon in Chester. I find it useful to be in such a state of suspense, wherein I know not what will be the next hour, but lean absolutely on His disposal, who knoweth and ruleth all things well.
At four I preached in the Square, to a much larger congregation, among whom were abundance of Gentry. One man screamed and hallooed as loud as he could; but none seconded or regarded him. The rest of the congregation were steadily serious, from the beginning to the end. Mon. 22. — We walked round the walls of the city, which are something more than a mile and three quarters in circumference. But there are many vacant spaces within the walls, many gardens, and a good deal of pasture ground: So that I believe Newcastle-upon-Tyne, within the walls, contains at least a third more houses than Chester.
The greatest convenience here is what they call “the Rows;” that is, covered galleries, which run through the main streets on each side, from east to west, and from north to south; by which means one may walk both clean and dry in any weather, from one end of the city to the other.
I preached, at six in the evening, in the Square, to a vast multitude, rich and poor. The far greater part, the Gentry in particular, were seriously and deeply attentive; though a few of the rabble, most of them drunk, labored much to make a disturbance. One might already perceive a great increase of earnestness in the generality of the hearers. So is God able to cut short his work, to wound or heal, in whatever time it pleaseth him. Tues. 23. — Having received letters which made me judge it necessary to be at Bristol as soon as possible, about ten I set out, dined at Birmingham the next day, and thence rode to Redditch. Thur. 25. — Finding the congregation waiting, I began preaching between three and four. I preached at Wallbridge, near Stroud, in the evening, and the next day, before noon, reached Kingswood. Wed .JULY 1. — Having finished my business at Bristol, I took horse again, and preached that evening at Evesham. Thur. 2. — I reached Bilbrook, and Chester. Friday, 3. I was saying in the morning to Mr. Parker, “Considering the good which has been done there already, I wonder the people of Chester are so quiet.” He answered, “You must not expect they will be so always.” Accordingly, one of the first things I heard after I came into the town was, that for two nights before the mob had been employed in pulling down the House where I had preached. I asked, “Were there no Magistrates in the city?” Several answered me, “We went to the Mayor after the first riot, and desired a warrant to bring the rioters before him; but he positively refused to grant any, or to take any informations about it.” So, being undisturbed, they assembled again the next night and finished their work. Sat . 4. — I preached in our Old Room. Sun . 5. — I stood, at seven in the morning, near the ruins of the House, and explained the principles and practice of that sect which is “every where spoken against.” I went afterwards to St. Martin’s church, which stands close to the place. The gentleman who officiated seemed to be extremely moved at several passages of the Second Lesson, Luke 17; particularly, “It is impossible but that offenses will come; but woe unto him through whom they come. It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
He began his sermon nearly in these words: “The last Lord’s day I preached on, ‘Doing as you would be done to,’ in hopes of preventing such proceedings as are contrary to all justice, mercy, and humanity. As I could not do that, I have chosen these words for your present consideration, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’” He concluded nearly thus: “I am sorry any such outrage should be committed, particularly in this parish, where I have been teaching so many years. And to how little purpose! I will remove, as soon as possibly I can, from a place where I can do so little good. O what an account have they to make, who have either occasioned or encouraged these proceedings! May God grant that they may repent in time! That they may know what spirit they are of! That they may, before it is too late, acknowledge and love the truth as it is in Jesus!”
I preached again in the same place at one and at four; and the whole congregation were quiet and serious. Mon. 6. — Finding no ship ready to sail, I determined to return to Whitehaven: So I took horse with my wife between nine and ten, and in the evening preached at Manchester. Tues . 7. — We rode to Bolton; on Wednesday, to Chipping; and on Friday, 10, reached Whitehaven. Sun. 12. — I took my old stand in the market-place, about seven in the morning, and proclaimed “the Lord God, gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” In the afternoon we had an awakening sermon at the new church, on, “One thing is needful.” At five I preached in the Room, on, “To fear the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil, is understanding.” Mon . 13. — I bespoke the cabin in a ship bound for Dublin, which only waited for a wind. About ten at night word was brought that she was ready to sail. We went down to the quay immediately; and found she had sailed out a quarter of an hour before, and was then off at sea. But as another ship had just weighed anchor, we went on board, and sailed without delay. Bat having contrary winds, it was Friday, 17, in the evening, before we reached Dublin.
The house here is nearly of the same size, and of the same form, with that at Newcastle. But having deep galleries on three sides, it will contain a larger number of people. Sun . 19. — I preached at five and eight, but not to so large a congregation as I expected. I was greatly shocked at the behavior of the congregation in St. Patrick’s church. But all their carelessness and indecency did not prevent my finding an uncommon blessing. Between five and six our House was nearly filled; but great part of the hearers seemed utterly unawakened. I marvel how it is, that after all our labor here, there should still be so little fruit. Mon . 20. — I learned the particulars of the late riot. Some weeks ago, a large mob assembled one evening, broke many of the windows, and had just broke into the house, when a guard of soldiers came. The chief rioters were apprehended and tried. But ten or eleven of the Jurymen, being Papists, frightened the twelfth, so that he did not contradict, when they brought in their fellows, “Not guilty.” Tues. 21. — I inquired into the state of the society, still consisting of about four hundred and twenty members; though many had been much shaken, chiefly by various opinions, which some even of our own Preachers had propagated. Thur . 23. — We went to see a friend a few miles from Dublin. Before dinner Mr. Cownley and I took a walk on the seashore. Being somewhat tired, we thought to return a shorter way, by climbing over the rocks. We found little difficulty at first, the ascent not being steep toward the bottom: But as we went higher, it grew steeper and steeper, till we would gladly have gone back if we could. But we could neither go nor look back; so that we had only this choice, — to get quite to the top, or to make one step to the bottom. The stones, likewise, on which we stood, or which we took hold of, frequently gave way, and tumbled; so that I know not whether we were ever in so much danger on the sea, as we were now on the shore. But in half an hour, I know not how, we got upon firm, even ground. Sun. 26. — I met one whom I had formerly seen at Bristol, heaping up money with both hands: And he has now all that the world can give. But he enjoys nothing; having such a continual lowness of spirits, as they call it, that his very life is a burden. He seems partly to understand his own case. May the great Physician heal his sickness! Mon . 27. — I preached in Edinderry at one, and at Closeland in the evening. Tuesday , 28. I preached at Portarlington, though I was extremely ill, and it was a pain to me to speak; but it was a comfortable pain. I could from my heart praise God for his fatherly visitation. Wed . 29. — I rode to Mount-Mellick, but was so hoarse and weak, that I could only preach in the House. Friday , 31. Being not well able to ride, I borrowed Mr. P——’s chair to Tullamore; and on Saturday reached Cooly-Lough, and met many of my friends from all parts. I now found my strength increasing daily: It must be as my day is. Sun. AUGUST 2. — I baptized Joseph English, (late a Quaker,) and two of his children. Abundance of people were at Tyrrel’s Pass in the evening; many more than the House could contain. At five in the morning, one who had tasted of the love of God, but had afterwards relapsed into his former sins, nay, and sunk into Deism, if not Atheism, was once more cut to the heart. At six in the evening I preached at Drumeree, where many now know in whom they have believed. Mr. Booker, the Minister of D——, met me here; the last man I should have expected. But it cannot last. The same person cannot long admire both John Wesley and John Taylor. Tues . 4. — I preached about noon at Street, to a civil, unconcerned congregation; and about six in the evening, at Abidarrig, a mile short of Kenagh. Many Romanists being present, I found much concern for them, and could not but address myself to them in particular; and exhort them wholly to rely on the one Mediator between God and man. Wed. 5. — We rode to Athlone. Thursday , 6. I preached in a large open place, near the House, to many of the rich, as well as poor. Sat . 8. — I called on a lively man, who is just married in the ninety-second year of his age. He served as an Officer both in King William’s and Queen Anne’s wars; and a year or two ago began to serve the Prince of Peace. He has all his faculties of body and mind entire, works in his garden some hours everyday, and praises God who has prolonged his life to so good a purpose. Sun . 9. — At eight we had the usual congregation in the market-house, and the usual blessing. Mr. G—— preached an excellent sermon at church, on the necessity of the religion of the heart. At five I preached on the Connaught side of the river, to abundance of Romanists as well as Protestants; all of whom seemed convinced that they ought not any longer to “halt between two opinions.”
Here I learned, from her husband, that Rose Longworth found peace with God in June, 1749. This she never lost, and often rejoiced with joy unspeakable. From that time she was always remarkably serious, and walked closely with God.
About Easter, 1751, she found a great decay of her bodily strength; but of this she never complained, being only concerned lest her soul should suffer loss. In July following, she was removed into the country, but still continued walking in the light. Toward the latter end of the month, apprehending her time was short, she desired to return to Athlone. On Saturday, the 21st, she returned, extremely weak, bat continually praising God; and all the following week expressing a strong “desire to depart, and be with Christ.”
Mr.—— administered the sacrament to her on Sunday. She could speak little, but said she had no doubt of her salvation. He was deeply affected, and said he believed her, but could scarce speak for tears. When she could not be heard, she had her eyes constantly fixed upward, and her lips moving. In the afternoon she fainted away. Coming to herself, she said, “Ah! I was disappointed; I thought I had escaped.” She then prayed for her husband, for her parents, for the society, the Church, and the whole world. Fainting again, and coming to herself, she cried out, “See my Redeemer! See my Redeemer! See how his blood streams! I see the Lamb in glory. I see the Lamb in glory. Fare ye well. God be with you. Fare ye well.” She then ceased to speak, and went to God. Mon. 10. — I preached at Aghrim, and found the people much alive to God. Tuesday, 11. I rode over to Mr. M——’s. How gracious has God been to this family! Three years ago, his youngest daughter, after she had received a clear sense of the love of God, was brought to the gates of death, and continues still just on the wing for eternity. His other daughter was suddenly struck last year; and after having witnessed a good confession to all that were round about her, went to God in the full triumph of faith. Some months since, Mr. M——’s brother began to decline; and two or three weeks ago, full of unutterable peace and joy, went to Him whom his soul loved. Wed. 12. — In the evening I preached at Birr. I scarce ever saw so large, so genteel, and so serious a congregation there before. The next evening I reached Limerick.
I spent Friday and Saturday in conference with our Preachers, and the next week spake with each of the members of the society; many of whom, I now found, were “rooted and grounded in love,” and “zealous of good works.” Fri. 21. — I rode through heavy rain to Shronill, and to Cork the next day. Sunday, 23. At eight the House would not near contain the congregation:
On Monday and Tuesday I carefully examined the society, put away those who did not walk according to the Gospel, and found about three hundred who still strive to have “a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward man.” Tues. 25. — I preached in the market-place at Kinsale. The next morning, at eight, I walked to the Fort. On the hill above it we found a large, deep hollow, capable of containing two or three thousand people. On one side of this, the soldiers soon cut a place with their swords for me to stand, where I was screened both from the wind and sun, while the congregation sat on the grass before me. Many eminent sinners were present, particularly of the army; and I believe God gave them a loud call to repentance.
On Thursday and Friday the rain drove us into the market-house. Indeed, I hardly remember two dry days together since I landed in Ireland. Saturday, 29. I returned to Cork, and spent a comfortable day; having a strong hope, that God will “lift up the hands that hang down.” Monday , 31. I rode to Clonmell. A wide door was opened here a year ago; but one evening, just after sermon was ended, the room in which the preaching had been, fell.
Two or three persons were hurt thereby; for which reason, (could one desire a better?) the people of the town vowed that no Methodists should ever more preach in Clonmell. Tues. SEPTEMBER 1. — I preached at Waterford. Only one poor man behaved amiss: His case is really to be pitied. Some time since he had strong desires to serve God, and had broke off his outward sins, when Mr.——, one of the Prebendaries, told him, he did very wrong to go after those fellows; and made him promise to hear them no more. He kept his word, and turned back, as a dog to his vomit, wallowing in sin, as he did before. But he does not go to the Methodists; so all is well: He may go to the devil and welcome. Wed. 2. — At eleven Mr. Walsh began preaching in Irish in the market-house. It being market-day, the people flocked from all sides:
Many of them seriously attended. A few of the rabble cursed and swore, but did not make a considerable interruption.
At five I went to the Court-House, and began preaching; but the mob was so numerous and noisy that few could hear. Perceiving the noise increase more and more, I walked through the midst of the mob to my lodgings.
They hallooed, and shouted, and cursed amain: Hitherto could they come but no further. Thur . 14. — (So we must call it now, seeing the New Style now takes place.) I rode to the bog of Boiree, where a great and effectual door is opened. On Friday evening we rode on to Goree, and the next day to Dublin. Sun . 17. — I made an end of Mr. V——’s “Essay on the Happiness of the Life to come.” I am glad it is wrote in French: Probably not many in Ireland will be at the pains of reading it. He is a lively, sensible writer; but I cannot believe his hypothesis, while I believe the Bible. Mon. 18. — We had our first watch-night in the new House; and it was a night that will not soon be forgotten. On Tuesday I rode to Portarlington, and the next day to Birr, through so violent a storm, that my strength was utterly exhausted, and how I should preach I knew not. But God soon renewed my strength: And on Thursday , 21, I arose lively and well; and in the afternoon, through continued rain, came, very wet, but not tired, to Limerick. Sat . 23. — We reached Cork. Sunday , 24. In the evening I proposed to the society the building a preaching-house. The next day ten persons subscribed an hundred pounds; another hundred was subscribed in three or four days, and a piece of ground taken. I saw a double providence now in our not sailing last week. If we had, probably this house had never been built; and it is most likely we should have been cast away. Above thirty ships, we were informed, have been lost on these coasts in the late storm. Sun. OCTOBER 1. — We had in the morning at St. Paul’s, a strong, close, practical sermon; and another at our own church in the afternoon, delivered in an earnest, affectionate manner. We had a solemn season likewise at the Room; so that this day was a day of joy and thanksgiving.
The wind being contrary still, on Monday, 2, I rode once more to Bandon.
But though I came unexpected, the House was too small to contain one half of the congregation; so I preached in the street, both this evening, and at five on Tuesday morning; the moon giving us as much light as we wanted, till the sun supplied her place. I then returned to Cork. On Friday , 6, the ship being under sail, we took boat, and came to Cove in the evening. All the inns being full, we lodged at a private house; but we found one inconvenience herein: We had nothing to eat; for our provisions were on board, and there was nothing to be bought in the town; neither flesh, nor fish, nor butter, nor cheese. At length we procured some eggs and bread, and were well contented. Sun . 8. — We were called early by the pilot, and told we must rise and go on board. We did so, and found a large number of passengers: But the wind turning, most of them went on shore. At eleven I preached to those that were let. About six it blew a storm: But we were anchored in a safe harbor; so it neither hurt nor disturbed us. Mon . 9. — Finding there was no probability of sailing soon, we went up to Mr. P——’s, near Passage. I preached there in the street about four, to most of the inhabitants of the town. They behaved very quietly; but very few seemed either convinced or affected. Tues. 10. — We had another violent storm: It made Mr. P——’s house rock to and fro, though it was a new, strong house, and covered on all sides with hills, as well as with trees. We afterwards heard, that several ships were lost on the coast. Only one got into the harbor, but grievously shattered, her rigging torn in pieces, and her main-mast gone by the board. Wed . 11. — I rode to Cork once more, and was very fully employed all the day. The next morning we returned to Cove, and about noon got out of the harbor. We immediately found the effects of the late storm, the sea still boiling like a pot. The moon set about eight, but the Northern Lights abundantly supplied her place. Soon after, God smoothed the face of the deep, and gave us a small, fair wind. Fri. 13. — I read over Pascal’s “Thoughts.” What could possibly induce such a creature as Voltaire to give such an author as this a good word; unless it was, that he once wrote a satire? And so his being a satirist might atone even for his being a Christian. Sat . 14. — About seven we sailed into Kingroad, and happily concluded our little voyage. I now rested a week at Bristol and Kingswood, preaching only morning and evening. Sun. 22. — Having heard grievous complaints of the society in Kingswood, as if there were many disorderly walkers therein, I made a particular inquiry; and I found there was one member who drank too much in January or February last. But I could not find one who at this time lived in any outward sin whatever. When shall we be aware of the accuser of the brethren? How long shall we be ignorant of his devices; and suffer him, by these loose, indeterminate accusations, to make our minds evil-affected toward each other? Wed. 25. — I rode to Wick, and rejoiced over a people who have run well from the beginning. The person at whose house I preached, was supposed to be at the point of death. But ease or pain, life or death, was welcome to her. She desired indeed “to depart, and to be with Christ;” but it was with perfect resignation; her will being swallowed up in the will of Him whom her soul loved. Thur . 26. — The remains of Elizabeth Man being brought to the Room, I preached on, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” How plain an instance is here of grace so changing the heart, as to leave no trace of the natural temper! I remember her fretful, peevish, murmuring, discontented with every thing. But for more than a year before she died, God laid the axe to the root of the tree; all her peevishness and fretfulness were gone; she was always content, always thankful. She was not only constant in prayer, and in all the ordinances of God, but abundant in praise and thanksgiving. Often her soul was so filled with love and praise, that her body was quite overpowered. On Sunday morning she said, “I am struck with death.” Her pains were violent all the day; but they interrupted not her prayer and praise, and exhortation to those about her; till, about three in the morning, having finished her work, she was set at liberty. Sunday , 29, was an useful day to my soul. I found more than once trouble and heaviness; but I called upon the name of the Lord; and he gave me a clear, full approbation of his way, and a calm, thankful acquiescence in his will.
If I have any strength at all, (and I have none but what I have received,) it is in forgiving injuries: And on this very side am I assaulted, more frequently than on any other. Yet leave me not here one hour to myself, or I shall betray myself and Thee! Mon. 30. — I rode to Salisbury, and in the two following days examined severally the members of the society; and on Thursday, left them determined to stand in the good old way, in all the ordinances and commandments of God.
In the evening I endeavored to reunite the little scattered flock at Winterburn. Fri. NOVEMBER 3. — I rode to Reading; and on Saturday , to London. Mon . 6. — A remarkable note was given me in the evening: It ran in these words: — “James Thompson, sailor on board the George and Mary, a Sunderland collier, bound for Middleburgh, in September last, met with a gale of wind, which wrecked her on the Baynard Sands, off the coast of Zealand. Here every soul perished, save himself, who was for three days and three nights floating on a piece of the wreck, with another man dead by his side, in which time the poor sufferer had lost his senses. At length he was taken up by the Dolphin Packet, and escaped safe to laud. He is now willing to return hearty thanks to God, and to proclaim his deliverance to the world, that all who hear it may ‘praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men.”’ In the remaining part of this, and in the following month, I prepared the rest of the books for the “Christian Library;” a work by which I have lost above two hundred pounds. Perhaps the next generation may know the value of it. Mon. JANUARY 1, 1753. — A large congregation met at four; and praised Him with joyful hearts and lips, who had given us to see another year. Tues. 2. — I breakfasted at Ephraim Bedder’s. How strangely diversified is the scene of his life! How often had he been, both outwardly and inwardly, in the deep! But at length God has lifted up his head. Thur . 4. — I visited one on the borders of eternity, who did not know his interest in Christ. O how melancholy is it, to leave all below; unless we have an earnest of a better inheritance! How can any reasonable man bear the thoughts of death, till he has a prospect beyond the grave? Sun . 7. — I breakfasted with M—— Y——, an uncommon monument of mercy. For a long time he was “turned back as a dog to his vomit,” and wallowed in all manner of wickedness. Yet his wife could never give him up, nor could he ever escape from the hell within, till she said to him one day, “Go upstairs, and ask of God; and you know not but he may yet bless you.” He went, but with a dull, heavy heart, and stayed about two hours. When he came down, she stared upon him, and said, “What is the matter now? What is come to you? You do not look as you did.” He answered, “No; for I have found the Lord.” And from that hour he has endeavored to walk worthy of God who has again called him” to his kingdom and glory.” Mon . 15. — We had our first watch-night at Snowsfields. Scarce any went away till between twelve and one. How is it, that never any one, in England or Ireland, has been hurt for all these years in going to all parts at the dead of night? Are not the hairs of our head all numbered? Sat . 20. — I advised one who had been troubled many years with a stubborn paralytic disorder, to try a new remedy. Accordingly, she was electrified, and found immediate help. By the same means I have known two persons cured of an inveterate pain in the stomach; and another of a pain in his side, which he had had ever since he was a child. Nevertheless, who can wonder that many gentlemen of the Faculty, as well as their good friends, the Apothecaries, decry a medicine so shockingly cheap and easy, as much as they do quicksilver and tar-water? Sun . 28. — A solemn awe spread over the whole congregation, while I was explaining at West-Street the parable of the Ten Virgins: More especially those who knew they had not “oil in their lamps.” Sat. FEBRUARY 3. — I visited one in the Marshalsea Prison; a nursery of all manner of wickedness. O shame to man, that there should be such a place, such a picture of hell upon earth! And shame to those who bear the name of Christ, that there should need any prison at all in Christendom! Thur . 8. — A proposal was made for devolving all temporal business, books and all, entirely on the Stewards; so that I might have no care upon me (in London at least) but that of the souls committed to my charge. O when shall it once be! From this day? In me mora non erit ulla. In the afternoon I visited many of the sick; but such scenes, who could see unmoved? There are none such to be found in a Pagan country. If any of the Indians in Georgia were sick, (which indeed exceeding rarely happened, till they learned gluttony and drunkenness from the Christians,) those that were near him gave him whatever he wanted. O who will convert the English into honest Heathens!
On Friday and Saturday , I visited as many more as I could. I found some in their cells under ground; others in their garrets, half-starved both with cold and hunger, added to weakness and pain. But I found not one of them unemployed, who was able to crawl about the room. So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, “They are poor, only because they are idle.” If you saw these things with your own eyes, could you lay out money in ornaments or superfluities? Sun. 11. — I preached at Hayes. Here we have a fair instance of overcoming evil with good. All but the Gentry of the parish patiently hear the truth. Many approve of; and some experience it. Thur . 15. — I visited Mr. S——, slowly recovering from a severe illness.
He expressed much love, and did not doubt, he said, inasmuch as I meant well, but that God would convince me of my great sin in writing books; seeing men ought to read no book but the Bible. I judged it quite needless to enter into a dispute with a Sea Captain, seventy-five years old.
This day Mr. Stuart was released. For two or three years he had been “instant in season, out of season, doing the work of an Evangelist, and making full proof of his ministry.” Three or four weeks ago he fell ill of a fever, and was for a while in heaviness of soul. Last week all his doubts and fears vanished; and as he grew weaker in body, he grew stronger in faith. This morning he expressed an hope full of immortality, and in the afternoon went to God. Sat . 17. — From Dr. Franklin’s Letters I learned,1. That electrical fire (or ether) is a species of fire, infinitely finer than any other yet known. 2. That it is discussed, and in nearly equal proportions, through almost all substances. 3. That as long as it is thus diffused, it has no discernible effect. 4. That if any quantity of it be collected together, whether by art or nature, it then becomes visible in the form of fire, and inexpressibly powerful. 5. That it is essentially different from the light of the sun; for it pervades a thousand bodies which light cannot penetrate, and yet cannot penetrate glass, which light pervades so freely. 6. That lightning is no other than electrical fire, collected by one or more clouds. 7. That all the effects of lightning may be performed by the artificial electric fire. 8. That any thing pointed, as a spire or tree, attracts the lightning, just as a needle does the electrical fire. 9. That the electrical fire, discharged on a rat or a fowl, will kill it instantly:
In like manner the lightning which will kill a man in a moment, will not hurt him, if he thoroughly wet. What an amazing scene is here opened for after-ages to improve upon! Wed . 21. — I visited more of the poor sick. The industry of many of them surprised me. Several who were ill able to walk, were nevertheless at work; some without any fire, (bitterly cold as it was,) and some, I doubt, without any food; yet not without that “meat which endureth to everlasting life.” Mon . 26. — I set out in the machine for Bristol; and on Tuesday evening preached at Bath. Wed . 28. — We rode to Bristol. I now looked over Mr. Prince’s “Christian History.” What an amazing difference is there in the manner wherein God has carried on his work in England and in America! There, above an hundred of the established Clergy, men of age and experience, and of the greatest note for sense and learning in those parts, are zealously engaged in the work. Here almost the whole body of the aged, experienced, learned Clergy, are zealously engaged against it; and few, but a handful of raw young men, engaged in it, without name, learning, or eminent sense. And yet by that large number of honorable men, the work seldom flourished above six months at a time, and then followed a lamentable and general decay, before the next revival of it; whereas that which God hath wrought by these despised instruments, has continually increased for fifteen years together; and at whatever time it has declined in any one place, bas more eminently flourished in others. Mon. MARCH 5. — I called on Mr. Farley, and saw a plain confutation of that vulgar error, that consumptions are not catching: He caught the consumption from his son, whereby he soon followed him to the grave. Wed . 14. — I preached at Frome, a dry, barren, uncomfortable place. The congregation at Shaftesbury in the evening were of a more excellent spirit. Thur . 15. — I met the stewards of the neighboring societies at Bearfield, and was much refreshed among them. Fri . 16. — I returned to Bristol; and on Monday , 19, set out with my wife for the north. I preached in the evening at Wallbridge, near Stroud. The house being too small, many stood without; but neither before nor after preaching, (much less while I was speaking,) did I hear the sound of any voice; no, nor of any foot; in so deep a silence did they both come, hear, and go away. Tues . 20. — I preached in the Town-Hall at Evesham. At the upper end of the room a large body of people were still and attentive. Meantime, at the lower end, many were walking to and fro, laughing and talking, as if they had been in Westminster Abbey. Wed . 21. — After dinner, abundance of rabble gathered near the Town-Hall, having procured an engine, which they exercised on all that came in their way. So I gave them the ground, and preached at our own Room in great quietness. Thur . 22. — I rode to Birmingham. A few poor wretches, I found, had occasioned fresh disturbance here. The chief was Sarah B——, with whom I talked at large. Sat . 24. — She said, “I am in heaven in the spirit; but I can speak in the flesh. I am not that which appears, but that which disappears. I always pray, and yet I never pray: For what can I pray for? I have all.” I asked, “Do not you pray for sinners?” She said, “No; I know no sinners but one.
I know but two in the world: God is one, and the devil is the other.” I asked, “Did not Adam sin of old; and do not adulterers and murderers sin now?” She replied, “No; Adam never sinned; and no man sins now: It is only the devil.” “And will no man ever be damned?” “No man ever will.” “Nor the devil?” “I am not sure; but I believe not.” “Do you receive the sacrament?” “No; I do not want it.” “Is the word of God your rule?” “Yes; the Word made flesh; but not the letter. I am in the spirit.” Sun . 25. — Upon inquiry, I found these wild enthusiasts were six in all, — four men and two women. They had first run into the height of Antinomianism, and then were given up to the spirit of pride and blasphemy.
We reached Bilbrook in the evening, and a little before six, on Monday, 26, Poole, near Nantwich. I was pretty much tired, but soon recovered my strength, and explained to a serious people, “I determined not to know anything but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Tues . 27. — We rode to Chester, where we found the scene quite changed since I vas here before. There is no talk of pulling down houses. The present Mayor, being a man of courage as well as honesty, will suffer no riot of any kind; so that there is peace through all the city. Wed . 28. — The House was full of serious hearers at five. In the evening some gay young men made a little disturbance, and a large mob was gathered about the door; but in a short time, they dispersed of themselves.
However, we thought it best to acquaint the Mayor with what had passed; on which he ordered the city Crier to go down the next evening, and proclaim, that all riots should be severely punished; and promised, if need were, to come down himself, and read the Act of Parliament. But it needed not: After his mind was known, none was so hardy as to make a disturbance.
I did not expect the mob at Nantwich (whither I was now much pressed to go) would be so quiet as that at Chester. We were saluted with curses and hard names, as soon as we entered the town. But from the time I alighted from my horse, I heard no one give us an ill word; and I had as quiet and attentive an audience as we used to have at Bristol, while I exhorted the “wicked to forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” Sat . 31. — I preached at Boothbank, where I met Mr. C——, late gardener to the Earl of W——. Surely it cannot be! Is it possible the Earl should turn off an honest, diligent, well-tried servant, who had been in the family above fifty years, for no other fault than hearing the Methodists?
In the evening I preached at Manchester, and on Monday, APRIL 2, at Davy-Hulme. Here I found (what I had never heard of in England) a whole clan of infidel peasants. A neighboring alehouse-keeper drinks, and laughs, and argues into Deism, all the ploughmen and dairymen he can light on.
But no mob rises against him; and reason good: Satan is not divided against himself. Wed . 4. — I made an end of examining the society at Manchester; among whom were seventeen of the Dragoons. It is remarkable, that these were in the same regiment with John Haime, in Flanders; but they utterly despised both him and his Master, till they removed to Manchester: Here it was that one and another dropped in, he scarce knew why, to hear the preaching. And they now are a pattern of seriousness, zeal, and all holy conversation. Thur . 5. — I rode to Bolton, and found the society just double to what it was when I was here last; and they are increased in grace no less than in number, walking closely with God, lovingly and circumspectly with one another, and wisely toward those that are without. Sat . 7. — I rode to Chipping. Sunday , 8. As soon as we came into the aisle of the church from the vestry, a man (since dead) thrust himself between Mr. Milner and me, and said, “You shall not go into the pulpit.” I told him, “I am only going into the desk.” He said, “But you shall not go there neither;” and pushed me back by main strength. Eight or ten noisy men joined with him quickly, and set themselves in battle array. Fearing some might take fire on the other side, I desired Mr. Milner to begin the Service.
After Prayers (for he had no sermon with him) great part of the congregation followed us to the vicarage. They came thither again after the Evening Service; and God made them large amends for their little disappointment in the morning. Mon . 9. — Mr. Milner rode with us to Kendal. I preached there in a large, convenient room, (the weather not allowing me to preach abroad,) where Mr. Ingham’s society used to meet. I was a little disgusted at their manner of coming in and sitting down, without any pretense to any previous prayer or ejaculation; as well as at their sitting during the hymn, which indeed not one (though they knew the tune) sung with me. But it was far otherwise after sermon: For God spake in his word. At the second hymn every person stood up, and most of them sang very audibly: And the greatest part of the society followed us to our inn; nor did they leave us till we went to rest. Tues. 10. — We breakfasted at Ambleside, where our landlord appeared quite open to conviction. We spoke plainly to him, prayed with, and left him full of desire and thankfulness. Soon after, we lost our way in a vehement shower of snow; but recovered it in about an hour, and got over the mountains safe. The woman of the house where we dined, seemed to be one that feared God greatly: Yet when I spake of being saved by faith, she appeared to be utterly astonished. About six, after several heavy showers, we came, moderately weary, to Whitehaven. Wed. 11. — Upon examining the society, I found that “the love of many” was “waxed cold.” Nevertheless, I found a considerable number who appeared to be growing in grace. But surely here, above any other Palace in England, “God hat chosen the poor of this world.” In comparison of these, the society at Newcastle are a rich and elegant people. It is enough that they are “rich in faith,” and in the “labor of love.” Sat. 14. — As we rode to Clifton, John Hampson and I could not but observe a little circumstance. A black hail cloud was driven full upon us, by a strong northeast wind; till, being just over us, it parted asunder, and fell on the right and left, leaving us untouched. We observed it the more, because three several storms, one after another, went by in the same manner. Sun . 15. — I preached in the afternoon at Cockermouth, to well-nigh all the inhabitants of the town. Intending to go from thence into Scotland, I inquired concerning the road, and was informed I could not pass the arm of the sea which parts the two kingdoms, unless I was at Bonas, about thirty miles from Cockermouth, soon after five in the morning. At first I thought of taking an hour or two’s sleep, and setting out at eleven or twelve. But, upon farther consideration, we chose to take our journey first, and rest afterward. So we took horse about seven, and having a calm, moonshiny night, reached Bonas before one. After two or three hours’ sleep, we set out again without any faintness or drowsiness.
Our landlord, as he was guiding us over the Frith, very innocently asked, how much a year we got by preaching thus. This gave me an opportunity of explaining to him that kind of gain which he seemed utterly a stranger to. He appeared to be quite amazed; and spake not one word, good or bad, till he took his leave.
Presently after he went, my mare stuck fast in a quagmire, which was in the midst of the high road. But we could well excuse this; for the road all along, for near fifty miles after, was such as I never saw any natural road either in England or Ireland: Nay, far better, notwithstanding the continued rain, than the turnpike road between London and Canterbury.
We dined at Dumfries, a clean, well built town, having two of the most elegant churches (one at each end of the town) that I have seen. We reached Thorny Hill in the evening. What miserable accounts pass current in England of the inns in Scotland! Yet here, as well as wherever we called in our whole journey, we had not only everything we wanted, but everything readily and in good order, and as clean as I ever desire. Tues. 17. — We set out about four, and rode over several high, but extremely pleasant, mountains, to Lead Hill; a village of miners, resembling Placey, near Newcastle. We dined at a village called Lesmahaggy, and about eight in the evening reached Glasgow. A gentleman who had overtaken us on the road, sent one with us to Mr. Gillies’s house. Wed. 18. — I walked over the city, which I take to be as large as Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The University (like that of Dublin) is only one College, consisting of two small squares; I think not larger, nor at all handsomer, than those of Lincoln College, in Oxford. The habit of the students gave me surprise. They wear scarlet gowns, reaching only to their knees. Most I saw were very dirty, some very ragged, and all of very coarse cloth. The high church is a fine building. The outside is equal to that of most cathedrals in England; but it is miserably defaced within; having no form, beauty, or symmetry left.
At seven in the evening Mr. G. began the Service, at his own (the College) church. It was so full before I came, that I could not get in without a good deal of difficulty. After singing and prayer, he explained a part of the Catechism; which he strongly and affectionately applied. After sermon he prayed and sung again, and concluded with the blessing.
He then gave out, one after another, four hymns; which about a dozen young men sung. He had before desired those who were so minded, to go away; but scarce any stirred till all was ended. Thur . 19. — At seven I preached about a quarter of a mile from the town; but it was an extremely rough and blustering morning; and few people came either at the time or place of my preaching: The natural consequence of which was, that I had but a small congregation. About four in the afternoon, a tent, as they term it, was prepared; a kind of moving pulpit, covered with canvas at the top, behind, and on the sides. In this I preached near the place where I was in the morning, to near six times as many people as before; and I am persuaded what was spoken came to some of their hearts, “not in word only, but in power.” Fri . 20. — I had designed to preach at the same place; but the rain made it impracticable. So Mr. G. desired me to preach in his church; where I began between seven and eight. Surely with God nothing is impossible! Who would have believed, five and twenty years ago, either that the Minister would have desired it, or that I should have consented to preach in a Scotch Kirk?
We had a far larger congregation, at four in the afternoon, than the church could have contained. At seven Mr. G. preached another plain, home, affectionate sermon. Has not God still a favor for this city? It was long eminent for serious religion; and he is able to repair what is now decayed, and to build up the waste places. Sat . 21. — I had designed to ride to Edinburgh; but, at the desire of many, I deferred my journey till Monday. Here was now an open and effectual door, and not many adversaries. I could hear of none but a poor Seceder; who went up and down, and took much pains. But he did not see much fruit of his labor: The people would come and hear for themselves, both in the morning, when I explained, (without touching the controversy,) “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” and in the afternoon, when I enforced, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.” Sun. 22 — It rained much: Nevertheless, upwards (I suppose) of a thousand people stayed with all willingness, while I explained and applied, “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” I was desired to preach afterwards at the prison; which I did about nine o’clock. All the felons, as well as debtors, behaved with such reverence as I never saw at any prison in England. It may be, some, even of these sinners, will occasion joy in heaven.
The behavior of the people at church, both morning and afternoon, was beyond anything I ever saw, but in our congregations. None bowed or courtesied to each other, either before or after the Service; from the beginning to the end of which, none talked, or looked at any but the Minister. Surely much of the power of godliness was here, when there is so much of the form still.
The meadow, where I stood in the afternoon, was filled from side to side. I spoke as closely as ever in my life. Many of the students, and many of the soldiers, were there; and I bear them witness, they could hear “sound doctrine.” Mon. 23. — I had a great desire to go round by Kilsyth, in order to see that venerable man, Mr. Robe, who was everyday expecting, (what his soul longed for) “to depart and be with Christ.” But the continual rains had made it impracticable for us to add so many miles to our day’s journey; so we rode on, straight by the Kirk of Shots; reached Edinburgh by five in the afternoon; lodged at Tranent; and on Tuesday , 24, came to Berwick in good time; where I preached on the Bowling Green at six. The wind was extremely sharp, and we had several showers while I was speaking: But I believe scarce five persons went away. Wed. 25. — We came to Alnwick on the day whereon those who have gone through their apprenticeship are made free of the corporation. Sixteen or seventeen, we were informed, were to receive their freedom this day:
And, in order thereto, (such is the unparalleled wisdom of the present corporation, as well as of their forefathers,) to walk through a great bog, (purposely preserved for the occasion; otherwise it might have been drained long ago,) which takes up some of them to the neck, and many of them to the breast. Thur . 26. — I spoke severally to those of the society, and found they had been harassed above measure, by a few violent Predestinarians, who had at length separated themselves from us. It was well they saved me the trouble; for I can have no connection with those who will be contentious.
These I reject, not for their opinion, but for their sin; for their unchristian temper, and unchristian practice; for being haters of reproof, haters of peace, haters of their brethren, and, consequently, of God. Sat. 28. — I returned to Newcastle. Sunday , 29. I preached at Sunderland at eight and at twelve. As we were riding back, the wind was exceeding high: But as we entered Newcastle, a shower began, which laid the wind, and then gave place to clear sunshine. I was extremely weary when we came in, having preached four times on Saturday. But my strength soon returned, so that the whole congregation, near the Keelmen’s Hospital, could distinctly hear the entire sermon. And great was the Lord in the midst of us. Thur .MAY 3. — I preached at Gateshead-Fell, to many more than the House would contain. The Society here was increased when I met them last, from nine or ten to sixty members. They are now double the number; and, I trust, will ere long overtake their brethren in Kingswood. Fri. 4. — We had the first General Quarterly meeting of all the stewards round Newcastle, in order thoroughly to understand both the spiritual and temporal state of every society. Mon. 7. — After preaching in Durham at noon, I rode on to Stockton, and took my usual stand in the High-Street, about six in the evening. Tues . 8. — I rode to Robinhood’s Bay, near Whitby. The town is very remarkably situated: It stands close to the sea, and is in great part built on craggy and steep rocks, some of which rise perpendicular from the water.
And yet the land, both on the North, South, and West, is fruitful, and well cultivated. I stood on a little rising near the quay, in a warm, still evening, and exhorted a multitude of people, from all parts, to “seek the Lord, while he may be found.” They were all attention; and most of them met me again at half an hour after four in the morning. I could gladly have spent some days here; but my stages were fixed: So, on Wednesday, 9, I rode on to York.
The greatest inconvenience arose from the number of people; by reason of which the Room (though unusually high) felt as hot as an oven. Fri . 11. — I rode over to Rufforth, and preached at one to an earnest congregation. A young man, remarkably serious and well behaved, and rejoicing in his first love, who set out but a few minutes before me, was thrown by his horse, and (as it is termed) broke his neck. Just at the instant, a person going by, who understood the case, took hold of him, and pulled it into its place. O mystery of Providence! Why did not this man die, when he was full of humble, holy love? Why did he live, to “turn from the holy commandment” which was then written in his heart? Sat. 12. — I observed a remarkable change in the behavior of almost all I met. The very rabble were grown civil, scarce any one now speaking a rude or an angry word. Sun . 13. — I began preaching at seven, and God applied it to the hearts of the hearers. Tears and groans were on every side, among high and low.
God, as it were, bowed the heavens and came down. The flame of love went before him; the rocks were broken in pieces, and the mountains flowed down at his presence.
I had designed to set out for Lincolnshire this morning. But finding that a day of God’s power was come, I sent one thither in my place; and after preaching (as I had appointed) at Stamford-Bridge, and at Pocklington, returned to York in the evening. Let us work together with Him, when, and where, and as He pleases!
Every night, while I stayed, many of the rich and honorable crowded in among us. And is not “God able, even of these stones, to raise up children to Abraham?” Sat . 19. — I preached at Pocklington again, and rode on to Whitgift-Ferry.
It rained a great part of the way; and just as we got to the water, a furious shower began, which continued above half an hour, while we were striving to get John Haime’s horse into the boat. But we were forced, after all, to leave him behind. We set out from Whitgift soon after four; but the violent rain which attended us till after seven made the road so dirty and slippery, that our horses could hardly keep their feet; so that it was nine before we reached Epworth. Sun. 20. — We had, as usual, most of the inhabitants of the town at the Cross in the afternoon. I called afterwards on Mr. M — and his wife, a venerable pair, calmly hastening into eternity. If those in Paradise know what passes on earth, I doubt not but my father is rejoicing and praising God; who has, in his own manner and time accomplished what he had so often attempted in vain. Mon. 21. — I rode to Sykehouse, and preached about noon, and then went on for Leeds. In the afternoon we called at an house where a company of rough, butcherly men, exceeding drunk, were cursing and swearing at an unusual rate. I spoke to them, in spite of German prudence, and they were not only patient, but exceeding thankful. Tues . 22. — Most of our Preachers met, and conversed freely together; as we did, morning and afternoon, to the end of the week; when our Conference ended with the same blessing as it began: God giving us all to be not only of one heart, but of one judgment.
This week I read over Mr. Rimius’s “Candid Narrative.” It informed me of nothing new. I still think several of the inconsiderable members of that community are upright. But I fear their governors “wax worse and worse, having their conscience seared as with an hot iron.” Sun. 27. — I was afraid many of the congregation at Birstal would not be able to hear. But my fear was needless; for my voice was so strengthened, that even those who sat in John Nelson’s windows, an hundred yards off, could (as they afterwards told me) distinctly hear every word. Tues . 29. — I preached at Keighley, where the loving spirit and exemplary behavior of one young man, has been a means of convincing almost all the town, except those of his own household. Wed . 30. — I rode to Haworth, where Mr. Grimshaw read Prayers, and I preached to a crowded congregation. But having preached ten or eleven times in three days, besides meeting the societies, my voice began to fail.
Not that I was hoarse at all; but I had not strength to speak. However, it was restored at Heptonstall in the afternoon, so that the whole congregation could hear. When shall we learn to take thought only for the present hour? Is it not enough, that God gives help when we want it? Thur . 31. — I rode through a delightful vale to General. Wood, near Todmorden. The sun was burning hot; but they set up a little tent for me, resembling that I had at Glasgow. The people stood or sat on the grass round about. The afternoon was the hottest I ever remember in England: So that by the time we came to Bolton, I was fit for nothing but to lie down.
However, in the evening my strength was renewed, and we rejoiced together in God our Savior. Sat. JUNE 2. — Hardly snowing how to give credit to an odd story which I had heard, that one of our Preachers was accustomed to preach in his sleep, I inquired more particularly concerning it, and received the following account: — “On Friday, May 25, about one in the morning, being then fast asleep, he began to speak. There were present, in two or three minutes, William, Mary, Amelia Shent, John Haime, John Hampson, Joseph Jones, Thomas Mitchell, and Ann Foghill. “He first exhorted the congregation to ‘sing with the spirit and the understanding also,’ and gave them directions how to do it. He then gave out that hymn, line by line, — Come, holy Spirit, heavenly Dove, With all thy quick’ning powers; pitching the tune, and singing it to the end. He added an exhortation to take heed how they heard: Then he named his text, 1 John v:19, ‘We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.’ He divided his discourse into six parts; undertaking to show, 1. That all true believers are of God: 2. That they know they are of God: 3. That the world lieth in wickedness: 4. That every individual who is of the world, is in this condition: 5. The dreadful end of such: He, 6, closed with an exhortation to those who were of God, and those who were of the world. “After he had gone through two or three heads, he broke off, and began to speak to a Clergyman, who came in and interrupted him. He disputed with him for some time, leaving him space to propose his objections, and then answering them one by one. Afterwards he desired the congregation, now the disturber was gone, to return thanks to God; and so gave out and sung, Praise God, from whom pure blessings flow! “When he had done preaching, he desired the society to meet; to whom he first gave out an hymn, as before, and then exhorted them to love one another; 1. Because they had one Creator, Preserver, and Father; 2. Because they had all one Redeemer; 3. Because they had all one Sanctifier; 4. Because they were walking in one way of holiness; and 5. Because they were all going to one heaven. “Having sung a parting verse, he said, (as shaking each by the hand,) ‘Good night, brother; good night, sister.’ This lasted till about a quarter after two, he being fast asleep all the time. In the morning he knew nothing of all this; having, as he apprehended, slept from night to morning, without dreaming at all.” By what principles of philosophy can we account for this? Mon . 4. — I rode from Manchester to Chelmorton in the Peak, where I preached in a little meadow, and reached Sheffield in the evening. Tues . 5. — I rode over to Jonathan Booth’s, at Woodseats, whose daughter had been ill in a very uncommon manner. The account her parents gave of it was as follows: — About the middle of December, 1752,ELIZABETH BOOTH, junior, near ten years old, began to complain of a pain in her breast, which continued three days: On the fourth day, in a moment, without any provocation, she began to be in a vehement rage, reviling her mother, and throwing at the maid what came next to hand. This fit continued near an hour; then in an instant she was quite calm. The next morning she fell into a fit of another kind, — being stretched out, and stiff as a dead carcass: Thus she lay about an hour.
In the afternoon she was suddenly seized with violent involuntary laughter; and she had some or other of these fits several times a day, for about a month. In the intervals of them she was in great heaviness of soul, and continually crying for mercy; till one Saturday, as she lay stretched out on the bed, she broke out, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Her faith and love increased from that time; but so did the violence of her fits also. And often while she was rejoicing and praising God, she would cry out, “O Lord!” and, losing her senses at once, lie as dead, or laugh violently, or rave and blaspheme.
Often she attempted to tear the Bible, cursing it in the bitterest manner; and many times she uttered oaths and blasphemies, too horrid to be repeated. Next to the Bible, her greatest rage was against the Methodists, — Mr. W. in particular. She frequently told us where he was, and what he was then doing; adding, “He will be here soon;” and at another time, “Now he is galloping down the lane, and two men with him.” In the intervals of her fits she was unusually stupid, and moped, as if void of common understanding; and yet sometimes broke out into vehement prayer. to the amazement of all that heard.
Sometimes she would strip herself stark naked, and run up and down the house, screaming and crying, “Save me! Save me! He will tear me in pieces.” At other times she cried out, “He is tearing off my breasts; he is pouring melted lead down my throat. Now I suffer what the Martyrs suffered; but I have not the Martyrs’ faith.”
She frequently spoke as if she was another person, saying to her father, “This girl is not thine, but mine. I have got possession of her, and I will keep her;” with many expressions of the same kind.
She often seemed to be in a trance, and said she saw many visions; sometimes of heaven or hell, or judgment; sometimes of things which she said would shortly come to pass.
In the beginning of March, Mrs. G. came over to Rotherham, who herself gave me the following account: — “Soon after I came in, she fell into a raging fit, blaspheming and cursing her father and me. She added, ‘It was I that made Green’s horse so bad the other day: (Which had been taken ill in a most unaccountable manner, as soon as he was put into the stable:) I did it that thou mightest have the preaching no more; and I had almost persuaded thee to it. It was I that made thee bad last night.’ I was then taken in an unusual way. All the time she spoke she was violently convulsed, and appeared to be in strong agony. After about a quarter of an hour she brake out into prayer, and then came to herself; only still dull and heavy.”
John Thorpe, of Rotherham, had often a desire to pray for her in the congregation; but he was as often hindered, by a strong and sudden impression on his mind that she was dead. When he came to Woodseats, and began to mention what a desire he had had, the girl, being then in a raging fit, cried out, “I have made a fool of Thorpe!” and burst out into a loud laughter.
In the beginning of May all these symptoms ceased; and she continues in health both of soul and body. Wed . 6. — It being still sultry hot, I preached under a shady tree at Barley-Hall; and in an open place at Rotherham in the evening. On Friday, 8, we reached Nottingham. Mr. S. met us here, and gave us a pleasing account of his congregation at S, — continually increasing, and growing more earnest and more scandalous everyday. At Nottingham also God is greatly reviving his work, and pouring water upon the dry ground.
In the afternoon I rode to Markfield, where I carefully read over Mr. Stinstra’s Tract upon Fanaticism. He is doubtless a well meaning man, but deeply ignorant of the subject he treats of; and his arguments are of no force at all; for they prove abundantly too much. They utterly overthrow many of the grand arguments for Christianity; and every man may, on those principles, prove the Apostles to have been fanatics to a man. ¾ Being Whit-Sunday.) The church contained the congregation tolerably well. After dinner, a gentleman who came from Leicester, eight miles off, invited me thither. About eight I preached there, in a place near the walls, called the Butt-Close. The people came running together from all parts, high and low, rich and poor; and their behavior surprised me; they were so serious and attentive, not one off bring any interruption. Mon. 11. — We rode to Woburn. Tuesday , 12, promised to be an exceeding hot day; but the clouds rose as soon as we set out, and continued till we were near Market-Street. The sun was then burning hot; so that how my fellow travelers would get forward, I knew not. But God knew. As soon as we set out a cloud arose and covered us again. The wind then came about and blew in our faces, so that we had a tolerable cool ride to London.
I found the town much alarmed with Mr. Rimius’s Narrative, and Mr. Whitefield’s Letter to Count Z. It seems, indeed, that God is hastening to bring to light those hidden works of darkness. Tues . 19. — Mr. Wh—— showed me the letters he had lately received from the Count, Coffart, P. Bohler, and James Hutton. I was amazed.
Either furious anger or settled contempt breathed in every one of them.
Were they ashamed after all the abominations they had committed? No, they were not ashamed: They turned the tables upon Mr. Wh—— . C— — protested before God, he had never made Lynde any offer at all. The C—— blustered, like himself, and roundly averred, he could say something if he would. J. H. said flat, “You have more than diabolical impudence: I believe the devil himself has not so much.” Sun . 24. — Mr. Walsh preached at Short’s Gardens in Irish. Abundance of his countrymen flocked to hear, and some were cut to the heart. How many means does God use, to bring poor wanderers back to himself! Sun. JULY 1. — He preached in Irish in Moorfields. The congregation was exceeding large, and behaved seriously; though probably many of them came purely to hear what manner of language it was. For the sake of these he preached afterwards in English, if by any means he might gain some. Tues . 3. — I rode over to Mr. K——’s, at Taddington, “an Israelite indeed.” Dr. Hales sent after dinner to desire our company, and showed us several experiments. How well do philosophy and religion agree in a man of sound understanding! Sun. 8. — After preaching at the chapel, morning and afternoon, I took horse with Mr. P——. We had designed to ride only two or three hours, in order to shorten the next day’s journey. But a young man, who overtook us near Kingston, induced us to chanter our purpose. So we only rested about half au hour at Cobham; and, leaving it between nine and ten, rode on softly in a calm, moonshiny night, and about twelve came to Godalming.
I was surprised to find so little fruit here, after so much preaching. That accursed itch of disputing had well-nigh destroyed all the seed which had been sown. And this “vain jangling” they called “contending for the faith.”
I doubt the whole faith of these poor wretches is but an opinion.
After a little rest, we took a walk round the town, which is regularly fortified; and is, I suppose, the only regular fortification in Great Britain or Ireland. Gosport, Portsmouth, and the Common, (which is now all turned into streets,) may probably contain half as many people as Bristol; and so civil a people I never saw before in any seaport town in England.
Not one scoffer did I see, nor one trifler. In the morning, Tuesday, 10, I went on board at Hoy; and in three hours landed at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight; as far exceeding the Isle of Anglesey, both in pleasantness and fruitfulness, as that exceeds the rocks of Scilly.
We rode straight to Newport, the chief town in the Isle, and found a little society in tolerable order. Several of them had found peace with God. One informed me it was about eight years ago since she first knew her interest in Christ, by means of one who called there in his way to Pennsylvania; but having none to speak to, or advise with, she was long tormented with doubts and fears. After some years, she received a fresh manifestation of his love, and could not doubt or fear any more. She is now (and has been long) confined to her bed, and consuming away with pining sickness: But all is good to her; for she has learned in every thing to give thanks.
At half an hour after six, I preached in the market-place, to a numerous congregation: But. they were not so serious as those at Portsmouth. Many children made much noise, and many grown persons were talking aloud, almost all the time I was preaching. It was quite otherwise at five in the morning. There was a large congregation again; and every person therein seemed to know this was the word whereby God would judge them in the last day.
In the afternoon, I walked to Carisbrook-Castle; or rather, the poor remains of it. It stands upon a solid rock on the top of an hill, and commands a beautiful prospect. There is a well in it, cut quite through the rock, said to be seventy two yards deep; and another in the citadel, near an hundred. They drew up the water by an ass, which they assured us was sixty years old. But all the stately apartments lie in ruins. Only just enough of them is left, to show the chamber where poor King Charles was confined, and the window through which he attempted to escape.
In the evening the congregation at Newport was more numerous and more serious than the night before. Only one drunken man made a little disturbance. But the Mayor ordered him to be taken away. Thur. 12. — We set out early from Newport, and crossed over from Cowes to Southampton. In the afternoon we came to Salisbury; and on Saturday, rode on to Shaftesbury.
I preached in the new House in the evening; on Sunday afternoon at Deverel Long-Bridge; and on Monday , 16, before noon, praised God with our brethren at Bristol. Tues . 17. — At their earnest desire, I preached to the poor colliers confined in Newgate on account of the late riot. They would not hear the Gospel while they were at liberty. God grant they may profit by it now! Wed . 18. — We set out for the West; and on Friday , 20, came to Plymouth-Dock. I found much hurt had been done here by the bitter zeal of two or three bigots for their opinion. Two years ago they promised in the most solemn manner to let all controversy alone; but quickly after the fire broke out anew, and has been devouring ever since. Sat. 21. — I endeavored to convince them that they were destroying, not promoting, the work of God; and on Sunday, when I spake to the society one by one, they seemed once more aware of Satan’s devices. Mon. 23. — I rode to Launceston, and had the first general meeting of the stewards, for the eastern part of Cornwall, In the evening I preached in perfect peace; a great blessing, if it be not bought too dear; if the world does not begin to love us, because we love the world. Tues . 24. — In the road to Carmelford, I was taken with such a bleeding at the nose as I have not had since my return from Georgia. For a mile or two it increased more and more, and then at once stopped of itself; so I rode on comfortably, (though the day was extremely hot,) and reached St. Agnes in the evening.
On Wednesday , 25, the Stewards met at St. Ives, from the western part of Cornwall. The next day I began examining the society; but I was soon obliged to stop short. I found an accursed thing among them; well-nigh one and all bought or sold unaccustomed goods. I therefore delayed speaking to any more till I had met them all together. This I did in the evening, and told them plain, either they must put this abomination away, or they would see my face no more. Friday , 27. They severally promised so to do. So I trust this plague is stayed. Sat . 28. — After preaching to the little flock at Zennor, we rode on to St. Just; and found such a congregation at six in the evening as we used to have ten years since. I did not find any society in the county so much alive to God as this. Fifty or threescore have been added to it lately; and many children filled with peace and joy in believing. Sun. 29. — I preached at eight to a still larger congregation; and in Morva at one, to near the same number. Many backsliders were among them; to whom I cried, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” Few of the congregation were unmoved; and when we wrestled with God in prayer, we had a strong hope he would not cast them off for ever.
About five I began preaching at Newlyn, on part of the Gospel for the day, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” In the morning I waked between two and three. I had had a looseness for several days.
On Sunday it increased every hour; but I was resolved, with God’s help, to preach where I had appointed. I had now, with the flux, a continual headache, violent vomitings, and, several times in an hour, the cramp in my feet or legs; sometimes in both legs and both thighs together. But God enabled me to be thoroughly content, and thankfully resigned to him. I desired one to preach in my place in Ludgvan at noon, and at Helstone in the evening; and another on Tuesday noon, at Porkellis; promising, if I was able, to meet them in the evening. Tues . 31. — After living a day and an half on claret and water, I found myself so easy, that I thought I could ride to Crowan. I found no inconvenience the first hour; but in the second my disorder returned.
However, I rode on, being unwilling to disappoint the congregation, and preached on, “Be careful for nothing.” I then rode straight, as fast as I conveniently could, to Mr. Harris’s in Camborn. Wed. AUGUST 1. — At half an hour after two in the morning, my disorder came with more violence than ever. The cramp likewise returned; sometimes in my feet or hand, sometimes in my thighs, my side, or my throat. I had also a continual sickness, and a sensation of fullness at my stomach, as if it were ready to burst. I took a vomit; but it hardly wrought at all: Nor did any thing I took make any alteration. Thus I continued all day, and all the following night; yet this I could not but particularly observe, — I had no headache, no colic, nor any pain, (only the cramp,) from first to last. Thur . 2. — Perceiving I gained no ground, but rather grew weaker and weaker, my stomach being drawn downward, so that I could not stand, nor lie, but on my right side, I sent to Redruth for Mr. Carter, who came without delay. Here again I saw the gracious providence of God, in casting me on so sensible and skillful a man. He advised me to persist in the same regimen I was in, and prescribed no physic, except a small dose of rhubarb.
But even this (as I expected it would) was thrown up again immediately.
I was now well satisfied; having had the best advice which could be procured; though my disorder continued much as before. But about five in the afternoon it ceased at once, without any visible cause. The cramp also was gone, my stomach was easy, and I laid down and slept till six in the morning. Fri . 3. — I began to recover my strength, so that I could sit up near two hours together. And from this time, I felt no inconvenience; only that I could not talk, nor stand long without resting. Sun . 5. — In the afternoon I rode to Redruth, and preached to a large congregation in an open part of the street. My voice was low; but, the day being calm, I believe all could hear: And after I had done, I felt myself considerably stronger than when I begun. Mon. 6. — I preached in Gwennap at five, and afterwards saw a strange sight, — a man that is old and rich, and yet not covetous. In the evening I preached at Penryn, and found my strength so restored, that I could speak loud enough to be heard by a numerous congregation; and thrice the next day, at Penryn, Bezore, (near Truro,) and St. Ewe. Wed . 8. — We were invited to Mevagissey, a small town on the south sea.
As soon as we entered the town, many ran together, crying, “See, the Methodees are come.” But they only gaped and stared; so that we returned unmolested to the house I was to preach at, a mile from the town. Many serious people were waiting for us, but most of them deeply ignorant.
While I was showing them the first principles of Christianity, many of the rabble from the town came up. They looked as fierce as lions; but in a few minutes changed their countenance, and stood still. Toward the close, some began to laugh and talk, who grew more boisterous after I had concluded.
But I walked straight through the midst of them, and took horse without any interruption.
On Thursday , 9, I rode to Port-Isaac, and the next day to Trewalder. The little society here meet every night and morning, with a Preacher or without; and whoever comes among them quickly feels what spirit they are of. Sat. 11. — The rain stopped at twelve, and gave me an opportunity of preaching in the market-place at Camelford. I saw only one person in the congregation who was not deeply serious. That one (which I was sorry to hear) was the Curate of the Parish.
Almost as soon as we set out, we were met by such a shower of rain as I never saw before in Europe. But it did us no hurt: We came very well, though very wet, to St. Gennis. Sun . 12. — I never saw so many people in this church; nor did I ever before speak so plainly to them. They hear; but when will they feel? O what can man do toward raising either dead bodies, or dead souls! Mon . 13. — The rain attended us all the way to Launceston. I preached at noon, but was not dry till the evening. Yet I did not catch any cold at all.
What can hurt, without leave from God? Tues . 14. — I willingly accepted the offer of preaching in the House lately built for Mr. Whitefield, at Plymouth-Dock. Thus it behoveth us to trample on bigotry and party zeal. Ought not all who love God to love one another? Thur . 16. — I rode to Collumpton, but could not reach it till it was too late to preach. Sun . 19. — I preached thrice at Tiverton, rode to Middlesey the next day, and on Tuesday to Bristol. Fri . 24. — I endeavored once more to bring Kingswood School into order.
Surely the importance of this design is apparent, even from the difficulties that attend it. I have spent more money, and time, and care, on this, than almost any design I ever had: And still it exercises all the patience I have.
But it is worth all the labor. Mon . 27. — I came early to the New-Passage; but the wind shifting, obliged me to wait near six hours. When we were almost over, it shifted again; so that we could not land till between six and seven. Tues . 28. — I reached Cardiff. Finding I had all here to begin anew, I set out as at first, by preaching in the Castleyard, on, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” I afterwards met what was once a society; and in the morning spoke severally to a few who were still desirous to join together, and build up, not devour, one another.
I preached in the evening at Fonmon; and on Thursday, 30, spake to many at Cardiff, who were resolved to set out once more in the Bible way, and strengthen each other’s hands in God. Fri . 31. — We had a pleasant ride, and a ready passage; so that we reached Bristol in the afternoon. I preached in the evening over the remains of Mary Henley, a good soldier of Jesus Christ, who died rejoicing in his love the same day I set out for Cardiff. Mon. SEPTEMBER 3. — I began visiting the little societies in Somersetshire and Wiltshire. This evening I preached at Shepton-Mallet, and found much life among the poor, plain people. It was not so at Oakhill, the next day, where many once alive have drawn back to perdition. But at Coleford, in the evening, I found many living souls, though joined with some who did not adorn the Gospel. Wed . 5. — I rode over to Kingswood, a little town near Wotton-under- Edge. Some weeks since W—— S—— was invited to preach at Wotton; which he did once, in great peace. But the next time he went, the mob was so turbulent, that he could not finish his sermon: Upon which one desired him to come to Kingswood; which he did; and many people heard him gladly. Soon after I came in, a multitude of people was gathered from all parts. A large congregation was there at five in the morning, and a larger than ever in the evening. The next morning I accepted of Mr. B——’s offer; and, after reading Prayers, preached at the church. All the people expressed huge goodwill; but none appeared to be deeply affected.
At half an hour after twelve I preached in the street, at Wickwar, about four miles from Kingswood; where there has been a small society for some years; many of whom can rejoice in God. The rest of the audience gave a civil attention, and seemed little pleased or displeased at the matter. Mon. 10. — I preached to the condemned malefactors in Newgate; but I could make little impression upon them. I then took horse for Paulton, where I called on Stephen Plummer, once of our society, but now a zealous Quaker. He was much pleased with my calling, and came to hear me preach. Being straitened for time, I concluded sooner than usual; but as soon as I had done, Stephen began. After I had listened half an hour, finding he was no nearer the end, I rose up to go away. His sister then begged him to leave off; on which he flew into a violent rage, and roared louder and louder, till an honest man took him in his arms, and gently carried him away.
What a wise providence was it, that this poor young man turned Quaker, some years before he ran mad! So the honor of turning his brain now rests upon them, which otherwise must have fallen upon the Methodists.
I preached at six in the evening at Buckland, about two miles from Frome, in a meadow of Mr. Emblen’s, a wonderful monument of the grace of God; who, from the day he received peace, (being then acquainted with no Methodist,) has continually walked in the light of God’s countenance. The Curate had provided a mob, with horns, and other things convenient, to prevent the congregation’s hearing me. But the better half of the mob soon left their fellows, and listened with great attention. The rest did no harm:
So that we had a comfortable opportunity; and another at five in the morning. Tues . 11. — I rode once more to New-Kingswood. The hearers were more numerous than ever. As I did not expect to see them soon again, I used once more all possible plainness of speech; and their behavior seemed to show that the word of God found its way into their hearts. Fri . 14. — I read with great attention the Chevalier Ramsay’s “Philosophical Principles of Religion.” He undertakes to solve all the difficulties in the Christian Revelations, allowing him only a few postulate: — 1. That human souls all existed, and personally sinned in Paradise. 2. That the souls of brutes are fallen angels. 3. That pain is the only possible means whereby God himself can cure sin: And, 4. That he will, in the end, by the pains of purgatory, purify and restore all men and all devils. — Amazing work this! Mon. 17. — I began visiting the societies in Wiltshire, and found much cause to praise God on their behalf. Thur. 27. — I was desired by Lady F. to visit her daughter, ill of a consumption. I found much pity, both for the parent and the child, pining away in the bloom of youth, and yet not without joy; as she was already much convinced of sin, and seemed to be on the very brink of deliverance. I saw her once more on Saturday , 29, and left her patiently waiting for God.
Not long after, my brother spent some time with her in prayer, and was constrained, to the surprise of all that were present, to ask of God again and again, that he would perfect his work in her soul, and take her to himself. Almost as soon as he had done, she stretched out her hands, said, “Come, Lord Jesus,” and died. Mon. OCTOBER 1. — I rode to Salisbury, and the next day to a village in the New Forest, eight miles wide of Southampton; where I preached, in the evening, to a well meaning, serious congregation. Wednesday , 3. We rode to Southampton; thence crossed over to Cowes, and reached Newport before eleven.
At five in the afternoon, I went to the market-place. The congregation was large, and deeply attentive. It was near the same at six in the evening; and all seemed to drink in the exhortation, to “present themselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.”
A little before noon we set out for Shorhill, a village six miles south from Newport. I never saw a more fruitful, or a more pleasant country, than the inland part of this island. About one I preached at Shorhill, to (I suppose) all the poor and middling people of the town. I believe some of the rich also designed to come; but something of more importance — a dinner — came between.
At five I preached again at Newport, to most of the town, and many who came from the neighboring villages. Surely, if there was any here to preach the word of God with power, a multitude would soon be obedient to the faith. Fri . 5. — After preaching at six, I left this humane, loving people, rode to Cowes, and crossed over to Portsmouth. Here I found another kind of people, who had disputed themselves out of the power, and well-nigh the form, of religion. However, I labored (and not altogether in vain) to soften and compose their jarring spirits, both this evening and the next day. On Sunday noon I preached in the street at Fareham. Many gave great attention, but seemed neither to feel nor understand any thing. At five I began on Portsmouth-Common. I admired not so much the immense number of people, as the uncommon decency of behavior which ran thorough the whole congregation. After sermon I explained to them, at large, the nature and design of our societies; and desired that if any of them were willing to join therein, they would call on me, either that evening or in the morning. I made no account of that shadow of a society which was before, without classes, without order, or rules; having never seen, read, or heard the printed Rules; which ought to have been given them at their very first meeting. Mon . 8. — I rode to Godalming, and the next day to London. After resting there five days, on Monday, 15, I rode to Bedford. The melancholy account which I received here was as follows: — 1.IN the year 1739, Mr. J. and W. D. came to Bedford. By them I was convinced that I was in a state of damnation, though I was out hardly unblamable. Some of the Germans came down in 1741, and engaged, 1. To draw no one from the Church. 2. To hold a meeting on Sunday nights for us that were of the Church. On these conditions I joined with them.
But in the beginning of 1742, they dropped the Sunday night preaching, and required us to attend their meeting at the same hour that we used to go to church. I was much troubled at this, and wrote to Mr. John Wesley, entreating him to come down and help us. 2. When the Brethren learned this, they gave me abundance of fair words, and persuaded me to write again, and desire Mr. W. not to come. I was then made servant at the love feast. I still received the sacrament at the church once a year; but I regarded the Church less and less: And being continually taught that works signified nothing, and that we could not do them without trusting in them, I, in a while, left off all works of charity, as well as reading the Bible and private prayer. 3. Their first church was settled here in the beginning of the year 1744. On the 18th of February I was received into the congregation at London, and likewise into the Helpers’ Conference. In 1746, Achenwelder, the Chief Laborer; insisted on my putting myself out of the corporation. I was in much doubt whether it was right so to do: But he commanded, and I obeyed. The next year he went to London, and, at his return to Bedford, spoke to this effect: — “My brethren, we have received new orders. In London, Yorkshire, and all other places, no person is to go out of the town, without the leave of the Chief Laborer. So it must be here: Observe, no one must go out of the town, no, not a mile, without leave from me.” 4. In spring, 1750, they began building the chapel, for which they collected near two hundred pounds, and borrowed eight hundred more; for which eight of the English brethren were engaged. Two of the English were bound for an hundred more; but none of the ten have any security at all. They promised, indeed, to lodge the writings of the House in their hands; but it was never done. 5. About this time a relation left me two houses, near that wherein the single men lived. The Brethren advised me to rebuild them, and add another, for a marriage plan, promising to let me have whatever ground I wanted behind the houses. This promise they renewed over and over.
About Michaelmas I began, and followed their direction in the whole building: But the night before I began, I went to Antone, the Chief Laborer, and told him, “The workmen were ready: If I am to have ground, I will go on; but not else.” He said, “Go on: You shall have ground.” Soon after, he set out the ground; for which I was to give eight pounds: But just as the houses were finished, Antone and Slicht sent for me, and told me they had received a letter from London, and I must have no ground, neither would they use the houses for a marriage plan. They were too near the single men; some of whom might perhaps see a woman sometimes in the yard.
I did as they desired. We then made several agreements, one after another; but they would stand to none of them. I offered them to lose thirty pounds, nay, at last fifty, out of my pocket; but in vain: So at this day I have but three pounds a year rent in all, out of which the land tax is to be paid. 6. It is a general observation in Bedford, that the Brethren are the worst paymasters in the town: They contract debts, and take no care or thought about discharging them. I have too much proof of this in my own case; for many of them are in my debt, and never come near me. 7. Most of the English who are with them, that are of any trade, now trade for the Savior; that is, they work for the Germans, who take all the profits, and use them as their journeymen. As such they punctually give in their accounts and cash; and if they want a coat, or any thing, ask it of the Brethren.
Mr. — traded for, and lent money to, the Savior, till he was absolutely ruined. After he had sunk above seven hundred pounds, he begged to have forty or fifty repaid; but in vain. But, at length, by vehement importunity, he procured eighteen pounds. 8. Mr. Rimius has said nothing to what might have been said, concerning their marriage economy. I know an hundred times more than he has written: But the particulars are too shocking to relate. I believe no such things were ever practiced before; no, not among the most barbarous Heathens. 9. A fortnight before Christmas last, a young man of their congregation, having married my daughter, without having first obtained the leave of their Head Laborer, one of the Laborers came to my house, and read to me nearly these words: — We, the elders of the congregation of the Brethren, declare to you, W—— P——, M—— P——, your wife, E——, C——, and E——, your daughter, are utterly cut off from all church communion, from all fellowship and connection whatsoever, with the Brethren, and that for ever and ever."
In the evening I met the little society, just escaped with the skin of their teeth. From the account which each of these likewise gave, it appeared clear to a demonstration: 1. That their Elders usurped a more absolute authority over the conscience, than the Bishop of Rome himself does: 2. That to gain and secure this, they use a continued train of guile, fraud, and falsehood of every kind: 3. That they scrape their votaries to the bone as to their worldly substance, leaving little to any, to some nothing, or less than nothing: 4. That still they are so infatuated as to believe that theirs is the only true Church upon earth. Tues . 16. — I preached on St. Peter’s Green at seven in the morning, and at five in the evening. It is amazing that any congregation should be found here, considering what stumbling blocks have been thrown in their way.
Above fourteen years ago, Mr. Rogers, then Curate of St. Paul’s, preached the pure Gospel with general acceptance. A great awakening began, and continually increased, till the poor weathercock turned Baptist; he then preached the absolute decrees with all his might; but in a while the wind changed again, and he turned and sunk into the German whirlpool. How many souls has this unhappy man to answer for! Fri . 19. — I returned to London. Saturday, 20. I found myself out of order, but believed it would go off. On Sunday, 21, I was considerably worse, but could not think of sparing myself on that day. Mon. 22. — I rose extremely sick; yet I determined, if it were possible, to keep my word, and accordingly set out soon after four for Canterbury. At Welling, I was obliged to stop; after resting an hour, I was much better; but soon after I took horse, my sickness returned, and accompanied me to Brompton, near Chatham. In the evening I preached to a serious congregation, and at five in the morning. We came to Canterbury about one, when I was presently seized with the cold fit of an ague. About twelve I fell fast asleep, and waked well at seven in the morning. Wed. 24. — I preached in the evening without any inconvenience, and at five in the morning. But about nine, I began shivering again. After the hot fit, I lay in a profuse sweat till eight. I then gradually cooled till I fell fast asleep, and rested sweetly till the morning. Fri. 26. — Being determined to use that interval of health, I procured a chaise, and reached Brompton in the evening. I spoke, as I was able, in the evening; and God bore witness to the word of his grace. Sat. 27. — I came to London; having received no hurt, but rather benefit, by the journey. Thur. NOVEMBER 1. — I began visiting the classes, though I found, by the loss of my voice, that my bodily strength was not so far recovered as I before imagined. Sat . 3. — I read over Andrew Fry’s reasons for leaving the Brethren. Most of what he says, I knew before; yet I cannot speak of them in the manner which he does: I pity them too much to be bitter against them. Sun . 4. — I rode to Hayes, because I had promised, though I was much out of order. It was with the utmost difficulty that I read Prayers, and preached, and administered the sacrament. I went through the Evening Service with more ease; but at night my strength quite failed. I should have taken some rhubarb the next day, but I had no time; having classes to meet from morning to night. Thur . 8. — In the night my disorder returned more violent than it had been since I left Cornwall. I should have taken some ipecacuanha in the morning, but had no time to spare; my business being fixed for every hour, till four in the afternoon; and by that time all my complaints were gone, so that I needed only a little food and rest. Mon . 12. — I set out in a chaise for Leigh, having delayed my journey as long as I could. I preached at seven, but was extremely cold all the time, the wind coming strong from a door behind, and another on one side; so that my feet felt just as if I had stood in cold water. Tues . 13. — The chamber wherein I sat, though with a large fire, was much colder than the garden; so that I could not keep myself tolerably warm, even when I was close to the chimney. As we rode home on Wednesday , 14, the wind was high and piercing cold, and blew just in our face, so that the open chaise was no defense, but my feet were quite chilled. When I came home, I had a settled pain in my left breast, a violent cough, and a slow fever; but in a day or two, by following Dr. Fothergill’s prescriptions, I found much alteration for the better; and on Sunday, 18, I preached at Spitalfields, and administered the sacrament to a large congregation. Mon . 19. — I retired to Shoreham, and gained strength continually; till about eleven at night, on Wednesday , 21, I was obliged by the cramp to leap out of bed, and continue, for some time, walking up and down the room, though it was a sharp frost. My cough now returned with greater violence, and that by day as well as by night. Sat . 24. — I rode home, and was pretty well till night; but my cough was then worse than ever. My fever returned at the same time, together with the pain in my left breast; so that I should probably have stayed at home on Sunday, 25, had it not been advertised in the public papers, that I would preach a charity sermon at the chapel, both morning and afternoon.
My cough did not interrupt me while I preached in the morning; but it was extremely troublesome while I administered the sacrament. In the afternoon I consulted my friends, whether I should attempt to preach again or no. They thought I should, as it had been advertised. I did so; but very few could hear. My fever increased much while I was preaching: However, I ventured to meet the society; and for near an hour my voice and strength were restored, so that I felt neither pain nor weakness. Mon . 26. — Dr. F—— told me plain, I must not stay in town a day longer; adding, “If any thing does thee good, it must be the country air, with rest, asses’ milk, and riding daily.” So (not being able to sit an horse) about noon I took coach for Lewisham.
WHO DIED OF A CONSUMPTION IN THE FIFTY FIRST YEAR OF HIS AGE, NOT LEAVING, AFTER HIS DEBTS ARE PAID, TEN POUNDS BEHIND
PRAYING, GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME, AN UNPROFITABLE
SERVANT! (He ordered that this, if any, inscription should be placed on his tombstone.) Wed. 28. — I found no change for the better, the medicines which had helped me before, now taking no effect. About noon (the time that some of our brethren in London had set apart for joining in prayer) a thought came into my mind to make an experiment. So I ordered some stone brimstone to be powdered, mixed with the white of an egg, and spread on brown paper which I applied to my side. The pain ceased in five minutes, the fever in half an hour; and from this hour I began to recover strength. The next day I was able to ride, which I continued to do everyday till January 1. Nor did the weather hinder me once; it being always tolerably fair (however it was before) between twelve and one o’clock. Fri. DECEMBER 14. — Having finished all the books which I designed to insert in the “Christian Library,” I broke through the Doctor’s order, not to write, and began transcribing a Journal for the press; and in the evening I went to prayers with the family, without finding any inconvenience. Thur . 20. — I felt a gradual increase of strength, till I took a decoction of the bark, which I do not find (such is the peculiarity of my constitution) will agree with me in any form whatever. This immediately threw me into a purging, which brought me down again in a few days, and quite disappointed me in my design of going out on Christmas-Day . Tues. JANUARY 1, 1754. — I returned once more to London.
On Wednesday , 2, I set out in the machine, and the next afternoon came to Chippenham. Here I took a post chaise, in which I reached Bristol about eight in the evening. Fri. 4. — I began drinking the water at the Hot-Well, having a lodging at a small distance from it; and on Sunday , 6, I began writing Notes on the New Testament; a work which I should scarce ever have attempted, had I not been so ill as not to be able to travel or preach, and yet so well as to be able to read and write. Mon . 7. — I went on now in a regular method, rising at my hour, and writing from five to nine at night; except the time of riding, half an hour for each meal, and the hour between five and six in the evening. Sun . 13. — I went in a coach to Bristol, and gave a short exhortation to the society. Mon. 14. — In the evening one or two of our neighbors desired to join in our family prayers; a few more soon made the same request, so that I had a little congregation every night. After a few nights I began to add a short exhortation, so preparing myself for a larger congregation. Sat . 19. — Mr. Bruce came with Mr. Milner, who had been for some time melancholy, even to madness; but by proper application to his mind, as well as body, the disorder sensibly abated in a short time. Thur. 31. — My wife, desiring to pay the last office to her poor dying child, set out for London, and came a few days before he went home, rejoicing and praising God. Sun. FEBRUARY 3. — I went in a chaise to Kingswood, and administered the sacrament to a small congregation. I expected Mr. M—— to assist; but he slipped away, and hid himself till I had done. Wed. 13. — I was sent for by one of my neighbors, dying of a consumption. She seemed full of good desires: But who does not, when death stands at the door? Wed. 27. — My brother came down from London, and we spent several days together, in comparing the translation of the Evangelists with the original, and reading Dr. Heylyn’s “Lectures,” and Dr. Doddridge’s “Family Expositor.” Sun. MARCH 10. — I took my leave of the Hot-Well, and removed to Bristol. Tues . 19. — Having finished the rough draught, I began transcribing the Notes on the Gospels. Tues . 26. — I preached for the first time, after an intermission of four months. What reason have I to praise God, that he does not take the word of his truth utterly out of my mouth! Sat. 30. — I took my leave of a venerable monument of divine mercy, Colonel T — d; who, after wandering from God fourscore years, has at length found the way of peace, and is continually panting after God. Mon. APRIL 1. — We set out in the machine, and the next evening reached the Foundery. Wednesday , 3. I settled all the business I could, and the next morning retired to Paddington. Here I spent some weeks in writing; only going to town on Saturday evenings, and leaving it again on Monday morning.
In my hours of walking I read Dr. Calamy’s “Abridgment of Mr. Baxter’s Life.” What a scene is opened here! In spite of all the prejudice of education, I could not but see that the poor Nonconformists had been used without either justice or mercy; and that many of the Protestant Bishops of King Charles had neither more religion, nor humanity, than the Popish Bishops of Queen Mary. Sun. 21. — Mr. Skelton told me, “Sir, I intend, on Friday next, to go down to Bury, and settle there.” Finding he was fully determined, I said nothing against it. So we parted civilly. Mon. 29. — I preached at Sadler’s-Wells, in what was formerly a play house. I am glad when it pleases God to take possession of what Satan esteemed his own ground. The place, though large, was extremely crowded; and deep attention sat on every face. Tues. 30. — I rode to S — , with one to whom a large estate is fallen, by her uncle’s dying without a will. It is a miracle if it does not drown her soul in everlasting perdition. Sun .MAY 12. — I labored to convince Mr. Green that he had not done well, in confuting (as he termed it) the sermon I had preached the Sunday before in the morning, from the same pulpit in the afternoon: But he was absolutely above conviction. I then asked, “Will you meet me half way? I will never preach publicly against you: Will not you against me?” But he disclaimed any such agreement; and walked away, as one who did not design to come any more. He told all he met, I had put him away. Indeed not I: But I adore the providence of God. He has put himself away; nor shall I desire him to come again, till he has a more sound judgment, or a more teachable spirit. Mon. 13. — I began explaining, to the morning congregation, Bolton’s “Directions for Comfortable Walking with God.” I wish all our Preachers, both in England and Ireland, would herein follow an example; and frequently read in public, and enforce select portions of the “Christian Library.” Wed . 22. — Our Conference began; and the spirit of peace and love was in the midst of us. Before we parted, we all willingly signed an agreement, not to act independently on each other: So that the breach lately made has only united us more closely together than ever. Sun . 26. — I rode to Hillingdon, and preached to a very genteel congregation, who behaved with abundantly more decency and seriousness than I expected. This is the church to which many of Mr. M — ‘s parishioners have gone, ever since he preached salvation by faith. And how has God overtaken them; who by the long illness of the Curate, has brought Mr. M — to preach at this very place!\parJUNE 2. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached at the Foundery; which I had not done before in the evening. Still I have not recovered my whole voice or strength: Perhaps I never may: But let me use what I have. Tues . 11. — I rode to Cookham. The next evening I preached in a magnificent apartment, to a suitable congregation. How seldom is the Gospel heard in a palace! But what is too hard for God? Mon . 17. — I took another ride to Sundon, and on the road read “Strada de Bello Belgico;” an historian scarce inferior in any respect either to Livy or Tacitus. As to his religion, I should rather compare him to the former: For Tacitus was no friend either to superstition or cruelty. Thur . 20. — We spent some hours at Rest, a seat of the late Duke of Kent; who was forty years laying out and improving the gardens, which I cannot but prefer even before Lord Cobham’s. But how little did the place answer its name! How little rest did its miserable master enjoy! Thou, O God, hast made our heart for thyself; and it cannot rest, till it resteth in thee. Wed. 26. — I read one of the prettiest trifles which perhaps is extant in the English tongue, — Mr. Hay, “On Deformity.” Surely such a writer deserves a better subject. Sat. JULY 6. — I spent two hours in the gardens at Kensington. They are just fit for a King; far more grand than pleasant: And yet nothing so grand as many parts of the Peak in Derbyshire. Mon. 8. — I set out with my brother, and on Wednesday, 10, reached Lakenham, near Norwich. Here we had a full account of that wretched man, James Wheatley, for whom, I fear, it had been good if he had not been born. All Norwich was in an uproar concerning him; so that it did not appear we could have any place there. However, on Sunday , 14, at seven in the morning, my brother took his stand in the street. A multitude of people quickly gathered together, and were tolerably quiet, all things considered. I would willingly have taken his place in the evening, but had neither voice nor strength. However, on Thursday, 18, being a little recovered from the illness which had attended me for several days, after my brother had done, I spoke to the congregation for a few minutes; and promised to see them again, if God should restore my strength, at the first opportunity. Fri . 19. — I rode to Newmarket, and the next day to Bedford. Sunday , 21.
I preached near St. Peter’s Green; having never preached abroad since I was there before. Monday , 22. I returned to London. Mon. AUGUST 5. — I set out for Canterbury. On the way I read Mr. Baxter’s “History of the Councils.” It is utterly astonishing, and would be wholly incredible, but that his vouchers are beyond all exception. What a company of execrable wretches have they been, (one cannot justly give them a milder title,) who have almost in every age, since St. Cyprian, taken upon them to govern the Church! How has one Council been perpetually cursing another; and delivering all over to Satan, whether predecessors or contemporaries, who did not implicitly receive their determinations, though generally trifling, sometimes false, and frequently unintelligible or self contradictory! Surely Mahometanism was let loose to reform the Christians! I know not but Constantinople has gained by the change. Tues . 6. — I was much out of order: However, I preached in the evening; but could do nothing the next day. On Thursday I hastened back to London, and came pretty well to the Foundery. I consulted Dr. F. the next morning, who advised me to return to the Hot-Well without delay. Sun. 11. — I buried the body of Mary Doxsey, long a pattern of patience and gentleness. Monday , 12. I set out in the machine; and on Tuesday night (taking horses at Bath) came to Bristol. Wed . 14. — I took a lodging at the New Hot-Well, where I was free both from noise and hurry; and had an opportunity of drinking the water late in the evening, and early in the morning. But my course of physic was near being cut short the next day, by a large stone which was hung up as the weight of a jack. I applied to my head cloths dipped in cold water, which presently stopped the bleeding, and so abated the swelling, that in a few hours I found no farther inconvenience. Sat. 31. — After preaching at Weaver’s Hall, one of the audience, a Clergyman, (who had then a parish near Bridgewater, but is now, I trust, in Abraham’s bosom,) desired to have some conversation with me, and spoke without reserve. His experience was of a peculiar kind, much resembling that of Gregory Lopez. But he soon determined to seek Christ for the time to come, not in a desert, but in the congregation of his people. Mon. SEPTEMBER 2. — I set out for the West. About eleven, one stopped me on the road, and earnestly desired me to turn aside, and pray with one who was near death. I found her worn away to a skeleton, and rotting in pieces with the King’s evil. But her greatest trouble seemed to be, that she was not so alive to God as formerly. After prayer, her mind was more composed; and she could trust God both with her soul and body.
At noon I met the little, loving society at Shepton; and in the evening preached at Middlesey. My work today was full enough for my strength. Tues. 3. — We rode easily to Taunton. After we had rested a while, one desired me to step to his father, who was dying of a consumption. He had been always a very honest, moral man; but now found, this was not the one thing needful, and appeared earnestly desirous of knowing Christ, and the power of his resurrection.
A little before twelve we set out from Taunton. The sun shone exceeding hot, so that I was almost worn-out when we called at the house of a friend on Maiden-Down. But after a little rest, my strength returned; and I went on, not much tired, to Tiverton. Wed . 4. — We took horse early, and rode to Oakhampton. Our landlord here informed us, he was upwards of ninety; yet had not lost either his sight, hearing, or teeth. Nor had he found that for which he was born.
Indeed, he did not seem to have any more thought about it, than a child of six years old.
We could not but observe, that although the sky appeared continually between the clouds, which drove to and fro, yet the sun scarce shone upon us for six minutes together, from six in the morning to six in the evening.
Soon after six I preached at Launceston, and met the society. Thur . 5. — At noon I preached at the Town-Hall to a very wild, yet civil congregation. At two, the stewards, not only from the upper part of Cornwall, but several from the western societies, met. At six I preached in the Town-Hall, again; and for the sake of this hour only, (had no other end been answered,) I should have thought all the labor of my journey well bestowed. Fri . 6. — I rode to Plymouth-Dock, and preached in the Room lately built.
But though it was three or four times as large as the old, it would not contain the congregation. Is the time come, when even this barren soil shall bring forth “fruits of righteousness?” Sat . 7. — I set out at three, reached Collumpton by six in the evening, and, after half an hour’s rest, was enabled to preach in the little meadow, without any faintness or weariness. Sun . 8. — In the evening I preached at Tiverton, in the garden which adjoins to the preaching-house. It was a refreshing season. Mon . 9. — I preached at Charlton, a village six miles from Taunton, to a large congregation gathered from the towns and country for many miles round. All the farmers here had some time before entered into a joint engagement to turn all out of their service, and give no work to any, who went to hear a Methodist Preacher. But there is no counsel against the Lord. One of the chief of them, Mr. G—— , was not long after convinced of the truth, and desired those very men to preach at his house. Many of the other confederates came to hear, whom their servants and laborers gladly followed. So the whole device of Satan fell to the ground; and the word of God grew and prevailed. Tues. 10. — I rode to Dr. Robertson’s, at Pitcomb; and after spending a few agreeable and useful hours in that delightful recess, went forward, about four miles, to Westcomb. I preached on a green place in the town about eight in the morning, to a deeply attentive congregation; and came in the afternoon to Bristol, at least as well as when I set out. Tues. 17. — I rode to Trowbridge, where one who found peace with God while he was a soldier in Flanders, and has been much prospered in business since his discharge, has built a preaching-house at his own expense. He had a great desire that I should be the first who preached in it; but before I had finished the hymn, it was so crowded, and consequently so hot, that I was obliged to go out and stand at the door: There was a multitude of hearers, rich and poor. O that they may not all hear in vain! Fri. 27. — I thought I had strength enough to keep a watch-night, which I had not done before for eleven months. But though I broke off at eleven, I almost lost my voice; and the next evening at Weaver’s Hall it entirely failed, so that I had much difficulty to conclude my sermon. Mon . 30. — I preached at Coleford, our other Kingswood, where also the lions are become lambs. On Tuesday we went on to Salisbury. Wed. OCTOBER 2. — I walked to Old Sarum, which, in spite of common sense, without house or inhabitant, still sends two members to the Parliament. It is a large, round hill, encompassed with a broad ditch, which, it seems, has been of a considerable depth. At the top of it is a cornfield; in the midst of which is another round hill, about two hundred yards in diameter, encompassed with a wall, and a deep ditch. Probably before the invention of cannon, this city was impregnable. Troy was; but now it is vanished away, and nothing left but “the stones of emptiness.” Thur. 3. — I rode to Reading, and preached in the evening. Observing a warm man near the door, (which was once of the society,) I purposely bowed to him; but he made no return. During the first prayer he stood, but sat while we sung. In the sermon his countenance changed, and in a little while he turned his face to the wall. He stood at the second hymn, and then kneeled down. As I came out he caught me by the hand, and dismissed me with a hearty blessing. Fri . 4. — I came to London. On Monday, 7, I retired to a little place near Hackney, formerly a seat of Bishop Bonner’s, (how are the times changed!) and still bearing his name. Here I was as in a College.
Twice a day we joined in prayer. The rest of the day, (allowing about an hour for meals, and another for walking before dinner and supper,) I spent quietly in my study. Sat . 12. — I administered the sacrament to R—— A——. Some years ago, he found peace with God, and was freed at once, without any human means, from a distemper naturally incurable. But after three years, on his falling back into the world, it returned more violent than ever; and will probably now be cured no more but by the universal remedy, — death. Sat . 26. — Mr. Gilbert Tennent, of New-England, called upon me, and informed me of his design, now ready to be executed, of founding an American College for Protestants of every denomination: An admirable design, if it will bring Protestants of every denomination to bear with one another. Mon . 28. — I delivered my own soul, by one more conversation with Sir; the substance of which I wrote to him the next day in the following letter: — “SIR, October 28, 1754. “WHETHER I see you any more in this life or no, I rejoice that I have seen you this once; and that God enabled you to bear with patience, what I spoke in the simplicity of my heart. “The substance of what I took the liberty to mention to you this morning was, You are on the borders of the grave, as well as I: Shortly we must both appear before God. When it seemed to me, some months since, that my life was near an end, I was troubled that I had not dealt plainly with you. This you will permit me to do now, without any reserve, in the fear and in the presence of God. “I reverence you for your office as a Magistrate; I believe you to be an honest, upright man; I love you for having protected an innocent people from their cruel and lawless oppressors. But so much the more am I obliged to say, (though I judge not; God is the judge,) I fear you are covetous; that you love the world: And if you do, as sure as the word of God is true, you are not in a state of salvation. “The substance of your answer was, ‘That many people exhort others to charity from self interest; that men of fortune must mind their fortune; that you cannot go about to look for poor people; that when you have seen them yourself, and relieved them, they were scarce ever satisfied; that many make an ill use of what you give them; that you cannot trust the account people give of themselves by letters; that, nevertheless, you do give to private persons, by the hands of Colonel Hudson and others; that you have also given to several hospitals an hundred pounds at a time; but that you must support your family; that the Lowther family has continued above four hundred years; that you are for great things, — for public charities, and for saving the nation from ruin; and that others may think as they please, but this is your way of thinking, and has been for many years.’ “To this I replied: ‘1. Sir, I have no self interest in this matter; I consult your interest, not my own; I want nothing from you; I desire nothing from you; I expect nothing from you: But I am concerned for your immortal spirit to which must so soon launch into eternity. 2. It is true, men of fortune must mind their fortune; but they must not love the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him . 3. It is true, likewise, you cannot go about to look for poor people; but you may be sufficiently informed of them by those that can. 4. And if some of these are never satisfied, this is no reason for not relieving others. 5. Suppose, too, that some make an ill use of what you give, the loss falls on their own head; you will not lose your reward for their fault: What you laid out, God will pay you again. 6. Yet certainly you do well to have all the assurance you can, that those to whom you give, are likely to make a good use of it; and therefore to expect a stronger recommendation of them than their own, whether by letter or otherwise. 7. I rejoice that you have given to many by so worthy a man as Colonel Hudson, whose word is certainly a sufficient recommendation. 8. I rejoice likewise that you have given some hundreds of pounds to the Hospitals, and wish it had been ten thousand. 9. To the support of the family I did not object; but begged leave to ask, whether this could not be done, without giving ten thousand a year to one who had as much already? And whether you could answer this to God, in the day wherein he shall judge the world? 10. I likewise granted, that the family had continued above four hundred years; but observed, meantime, that God regarded it not a jot the more for this; and that four hundred or one thousand years are but a moment, compared to eternity. 11. I observed likewise that great things may be done, and little things not left undone. 12. And that if this, or any other way of thinking be according to Scripture, then it is sound and good; whereas, if it be contrary to Scripture, it is not good, and the longer we are in it, so much the worse.’ “Upon the whole, I must once more earnestly entreat you to consider yourself, and God, and eternity. As to yourself, you are not the proprietor of any thing; no, not of one shilling in the world. You are only a steward of what another entrusts you with, to be laid out, not according to your will, but his. And what would you think of your steward, if he laid out what is called your money, according to his own will and pleasure? 2. Is not God the sole proprietor of all things? And are not you to give an account to him for every part of his goods? And O how dreadful an account, if you have expended any part of them not according to his will, but your own? 3. Is not death at hand? And are not you and I just stepping into eternity? Are we not just going to appear in the presence of God; and that naked of all worldly goods? Will you then rejoice in the money you have left behind you? Or in that you have given to support a family, as it is called, that is, in truth, to support the pride, and vanity, and luxury, which you have yourself despised all your life long? O, Sir, I beseech you, for the sake of God, for the sake of your own immortal soul, examine yourself, whether you do not love money? If so, you cannot love God. And if we die without the fear of God, what remains? Only to be banished from him for ever and ever! I am, with true respect, Sir, “Your servant, for Christ’s sake.”