Are you a Christian?
REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY’S JOURNAL
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FROM DECEMBER 31, 1760 TO SEPTEMBER 12, 1773.
NUMBER JOURNAL FROM DECEMBER 31, 1760 TO OCTOBER 28,
[Editors Note: Due To A Publishers Errors In The Original Version Of This Volume, The Journal Section From May 6, To December 30, 1760 Is Omitted.]
pray do not talk of this any more, till you know the difference between meritorious and rewardable; otherwise your ignorance will cause you to blunder on without shame and without end. “In your eighth you throw out a hard word, which somebody has helped you to, Thaumaturg — what is it? — about Lay Preachers.
When you have answered the arguments in the ‘Farther Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion,’ I will say something more upon that head. “In the ninth you say something, no way material, about the houses at Bristol, Kingswood, and Newcastle; and, in the last, you give me a fair challenge to a ‘personal dispute.’ Not so; you have fallen upon me in public; and to the public I appeal. Let all men, not any single umpire, judge whether I have not refuted your charge, and cleared the people called Methodists from the foul aspersions which, without why or wherefore, you had thrown upon them. Let all my countrymen judge which of us have spoken the words of truth and soberness, which has reason on his side, and which has treated the other with a temper suitable to the Gospel. “If the general voice of mankind gives it against you, I hope you will be henceforth less flippant with your pen. I assure you, as little as you think of it, the Methodists are not such fools as you suppose. But their desire is to live peaceably with all men; and none desires this more than “John Wesley.” About the close of this year, I received a remarkable account from Ireland: — “WHEN Miss E—— was about fifteen, she frequently heard the preaching of the Methodists, so called; and though it made no deep impression, yet she retained a love for them ever after. About nineteen she was seized with a lingering illness. She then began to wrestle with God in prayer, that his love might be shed abroad in her heart. ‘Then,’ said she, ‘how freely could I give up all that is dear to me in this world!’ And from this very time she did not expect, nor indeed desire, to recover; but only to be cleansed from sin, and to go to Christ. “Some who visited her, said, ‘O Miss, you need not fear; your innocence will bring you to heaven.’ She earnestly replied, ‘Unless the merits of Christ plead for me, and his nature be imparted to me, I can never enter there.’ And she was incessantly breaking out into these and the like expressions, ‘O that I knew my sins were forgiven! O that I was born again! My one wish is, to know God, and be with him eternally.’ “She frequently sung or repeated that verse, O that he would himself impart, And fix his Eden in my heart, The sense of sin forgiven!
How would I then throw off my load, And walk delightfully with God, And follow Christ to heaven! “She had now an earnest desire to see some of the Methodists, and spoke to several, to ask some of those in Tullamore to visit her. At length her importunity prevailed, and James Kelly was sent for.
On his coming in, she said, ‘I am exceeding glad to see you. I have had a longing desire of it this month past. I believe the power of God is with you. If I had health and strength, there should not be a sermon preached, or a prayer put up, in your preachinghouse, but I would be there.’ “I told her, ‘I hope the Spirit of the Lord will be your present and eternal Comforter.’ She answered, ‘I can find no comfort in any thing but in God alone.’ While she spoke, her soul was melted down. The love of God was shed abroad in her heart, the tears ran down her cheeks, and she began to rejoice in God exceedingly. Her mother, seeing this, was fully convinced that there was more in religion than she had herself experienced; and began to pray, with many tears, that God would show her his salvation. This so affected me, that I could not refrain from tears myself; so we all wept, and prayed, and sang praise together. “On my going to her a second time, I found her truly alive to God. ‘O,’ she said, ‘how I have longed to see you, that we may be happy in God together! Come let us sing an hymn.’ I gave out, Of him that did salvation bring, I could for ever think and sing.
She sung all the time with exceeding joy. Afterwards she said, ‘This is a weary world; but I have almost done with it. O how I long to be gone! Some people tell me I may recover; but I do not thank them; I do not count them my friends.’ On my saying occasionally, ‘There is no satisfaction for sin, but that which Christ has made by his precious blood;’ she answered, ‘That is all the satisfaction I want; and I believe he both lived and died for me.’ “After this, she gave a strict charge that none should be admitted to see her but such as could speak for God; saying, ‘I do not love to have a word spoken, which is not to edification. O how unsuitable to me, are all things which do not tend to the glory of my God!’
On her spitting a large quantity of blood, one said, ‘You are in great pain.’ She answered, ‘I think little of it. My blessed Redeemer suffered greater pain for me.’ “When I stood up to go away, she said, ‘I now take my leave of you. Perhaps we may not meet again in this world; but I trust we shall meet in heaven. I am going to God. O may it be soon! I now feel an heaven in my soul.’ “The last time I came was on Sunday, December 14. Hearing she was extremely ill and wanted rest, we did not go up, but after a while began singing below. She immediately heard, sat up in bed, and insisted on our being brought into the room and singing there.
Many times she repeated these words, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!’ And this she continued to do till, on Wednesday, 17, she resigned her soul into the hands of her dear Redeemer.”
January 2, 1761. — I wrote the following letter: — “To the Editor of the London Chronicle. “Sir, “OF all the seats of woe on this side hell, few, I suppose, exceed or even equal Newgate. If any region of horror could exceed it a few years ago, Newgate in Bristol did; so great was the filth, the stench, the misery, and wickedness, which shocked all who had a spark o£ humanity left. How was I surprised then, when I was there a few weeks ago! 1. Every part of it, above stairs and below, even the pit, wherein the felons are confined at night, is as clean and sweet as a gentleman’s house; it being now a rule, that every prisoner wash and clean his apartment thoroughly twice a week. 2. Here is no fighting or brawling. If any thinks Himself ill used, the cause is immediately referred to the Keeper who hears the contending parties face to face, and decides the affair at once. 3. The usual grounds of quarreling are removed. For it is very rarely that any one cheats or wrongs another, as being sure, if anything of this kind is discovered, to be committed to a closer confinement. 4. Here is no drunkenness suffered, however advantageous it might be to the Keeper, as well as the tapster: 5. Nor any whoredom; the women prisoners being narrowly observed, and kept separate from the men: Nor is any woman of the town now admitted, no, not at any price. 6. All possible care is taken to prevent idleness: Those who are willing to work at their callings are provided with tools and materials, partly by the Keeper, who gives them credit at a very moderate profit, partly by the alms occasionally given, which are divided with the utmost prudence and impartiality. Accordingly, at this time, among others, a shoemaker, a tailor, a brazier, and a coachmaker are working at their several trades. 7. Only on the Lord’s day they neither work nor play, but dress themselves as clean as they can, to attend the public Service in the chapel, at which every person under the roof is present. None is excused unless sick; in which case he is provided, gratis , both with advice and medicines. 8. And in order to assist them in things of the greatest concern, (besides a sermon every Sunday and Thursday,) they have a large Bible chained on one side of the chapel, which any of the prisoners may read.
By the blessing of God on these regulations the prison now has a new face: Nothing offends either the eye or ear; and the whole has the appearance of a quiet, serious family. And does not the Keeper of Newgate deserve to be remembered full as well as the Man of Ross? May the Lord remember him in that day! Meantime, will no one follow his example? I am, Sir, “Your humble servant, “JOHN WESLEY.”
Mon. 5. — This week I wrote to the author of the “Westminster Journal” as follows: — “Sir, “ I HOPE YOU are a person of impartiality; if so, you will not insert what is urged on one side of a question only but likewise what is offered on the other. “Your correspondent is, doubtless, a man of sense; and he seems to write in a good humor: But he is extremely little acquainted with the persons of whom he undertakes to give an account. “There is ‘gone abroad,’ says he, ‘an ungoverned spirit of enthusiasm, propagated by knaves, and embraced by fools.’ Suffer me now to address the gentleman himself. Sir, you may call me both a knave and a fool: But prove me either the one or the other, if you can. ‘Why, you are an enthusiast.’ What do you mean by the term? A believer in Jesus Christ? An assertor of his equality with the Father, and of the entire Christian Revelation? Do you mean one who maintains the antiquated doctrines of the New Birth, and Justification by Faith? Then I am an enthusiast. But if you mean any thing else, either prove or retract the charge. “The enthusiasm which has lately gone abroad is faith which worketh by love. Does this ‘endanger government itself?’ Just the reverse. Fearing God, it honors the King. It teaches all men to be subject to the higher powers, not for wrath, but for conscience’ sake. “But, ‘no power in England ought to be independent of the supreme power.’ Most true; yet ‘the Romanists own the authority of a Pope, independent of civil government.’ They do, and thereby show their ignorance of the English constitution. ‘In Great Britain we have many Popes, for so I must call all who have the souls and bodies of their followers devoted to them.’Call them so, and welcome. But this does not touch me; nor Mr. Whitefield, Jones, or Romaine; nor any whom I am acquainted with: None of us have our followers thus devoted to us. Those who follow the advice we constantly give are devoted to God, not man. But ‘the Methodist proclaims he can bring into the field twenty-five thousand men.’
What Methodist? Where and when? Prove this fact, and I will allow you, I am a Turk. “‘But it is said they are all good subjects. Perhaps they are; because under a Protestant government they have all the indulgence they can wish for.’ And do you seriously wish for a Popish government to abridge them of that indulgence? ‘But has not a bad use been made of this? Has not the decency of religion been perverted?’ Not in the least: The decency of religion is never so well advanced, as by advancing inward and outward religion together. 2. ‘Have not the minds of the vulgar been darkened to a total neglect of their civil and social duties?’ Just the contrary: Thousands in London, as well as elsewhere, have been enlightened to understand, and prevailed on to practice, those duties, as they never did before. 3. ‘Has not the peace of many families been ruined?’ The lost peace of many families has been restored. In others, a furious opposition to true religion has occasioned division, as our Lord foretold it would. 4. ‘Have not the circumstances of many industrious tradesmen been hurt?” I believe not. I know no instance; but I know an hundred tradesmen in London who began to be industrious since they began to fear God, and their circumstances, low enough till then, are now easy and affluent. “I am almost ashamed to spend time upon these threadbare objections, which have been answered over and over. But if they are advanced again, they must be answered again, lest silence should pass for guilt. “‘But how can the government distinguish between tenderness of conscience, and schemes of interest?’ Nothing more easy. ‘They may withdraw the licenses of such.’ Sir, you have forgot the question. Before they withdraw them, they are to distinguish whether they are such or no. And how are they to do this? ‘O, it is very easy!’ So you leave them as wise as they were before. “But, ‘the Methodist who pretends to be of the Church of England in forms of worship, and differs from her in point of doctrine, is not, let his pretenses be what they will, a member of that Church.’
Alas, Sir! your friends will not thank you for this. You have broke their heads sadly. Is no man of the Church, let him pretend what he wills who differs from her in point of doctrine? Au! obsecro; cave dixeris! f1 I know not but you may stumble upon scandalum magnatum: But stay; you will bring them off quickly. ‘A truly good man may scruple signing and swearing to Articles, that his mind and reason cannot approve of.’ But is he a truly good man who does not scruple signing and swearing to Articles which he cannot approve of? However this doth not affect us; for we do not differ from our Church in point of doctrine: But all do who deny justification by faith; therefore, according to you, they are no members of the Church of England. “‘Methodist Preachers,’ you allow, ‘practice, sign, and swear whatever is required by law;’ a very large concession; ‘but the reserves they have are incommunicable and unintelligible.’ Favor us, Sir, with a little proof of this; till then I must plead, Not Guilty. In whatever I sign or swear to, I have no reserve at all. And I have again and again communicated my thoughts on most heads, to all mankind; I believe intelligibly; particularly in the ‘Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion.’ “But, ‘if Methodism, as its professors pretend, be a new discovery in religion:’ This is a grievous mistake; we pretend no such thing.
We aver it is the one old religion; as old as the Reformation, as old as Christianity, as old as Moses, as old as Adam. “‘They ought to discover the whole ingredients of which their nostrum is composed; and have it enrolled in the public register, to be perused by all the world.’ It is done. The whole ingredients of Methodism, so called, have been discovered in print over and over; and they are enrolled in a public register, the Bible, from which we extracted them at first. ‘Else they ought not to be tolerated.’ We allow it, and desire toleration on no other terms. ‘Nor should they be suffered to add or alter one grain different from what is so registered.’ Most certainly. We ought neither to add or diminish, nor alter whatever is written in that book. “I wish, Sir, before you write concerning the Methodists again, you would candidly read some of their writings. Common report is not a sure rule of judging: I should be unwilling to judge of you thereby. “To sum up the matter. The whole ingredients of our religion are, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance. Against these, I think, there is no law; and, therefore, I still apprehend they may be tolerated, at least in a Christian country. I am, Sir,” “Your sincere well-wisher, “John Wesley.”
Fri. 9. — I rode to Sundon, and preached in the evening; and the next evening at Bedford. Sunday, 11. I read Prayers and preached at Everton, both morning and afternoon. Monday, 12. I rode to Colchester; and, after spending two or three comfortable days, on Friday, 16, went on to Bury. I would gladly have stayed a day or two here, had it been only on account of the severity of the weather; but I had work to do elsewhere. So I took horse soon after preaching in the morning, Saturday, 17, though as bitter an one as most I have known. I never before felt so piercing a wind as that which met us in riding out of the gate at day-break. To think of looking up was a vain thing: I knew not whether I should not lose one of my eyes.
The wind affected it as if I had received a severe blow; so that I had no use of it for a time. To mend the matter, having a very imperfect direction, we soon got out of our way. However, we hobbled on, through miserable roads, till about three in the afternoon we got to Norwich. Sun. 18. — I met the Society in the morning, and many of them went with me to the cathedral. At two we had the largest congregation I ever saw at that hour. At five the House was well filled; and just as long as I was speaking, all were silent: But when I ceased, the floods lifted up their voice: One would have thought Bedlam was broke loose. And thus it always is; the custom began in the reign of King Log, and continued ever since. The next evening the same hubbub began again, not among the mob, but the ordinary hearers. I desired them to stop, and reasoned the case with them. The effect was far greater than one could expect. The whole congregation went as quietly and silently away as they use to do at the Foundery in London. Tues. 20. — I inquired concerning Yarmouth, a large and populous town, and as eminent, both for wickedness and ignorance, as even any sea-port in England. Some had endeavored to call them to repentance; but it was at the hazard of their lives. What could be done more? Why, last summer God sent thither the regiment in which Howell Harris was an officer. He preached every night, none daring to oppose him; and hereby a good seed was sown. Many were stirred up to seek God; and some of them now earnestly invited me to come over. I went this afternoon, and preached in the evening. The House was presently more than filled; and, instead of the tumult which was expected, all were as quiet as at London. Indeed the word of God was quick and powerful among them, as it was again at six in the morning. At eleven I preached my farewell sermon. I saw none that was not deeply affected. O fair blossoms! But how many of these will “bring forth fruit unto perfection?”
In the afternoon I rode back to Norwich, and took an account of the society there. I found the persons who professed to meet in class were about three hundred and thirty; but many of them were as bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke. Where or what will they be a year hence? Thur. 22. — We had our first watch-night at the Tabernacle; at which I could not but observe, though I preached the Law from the beginning of my sermon to the end, yet many were exceedingly comforted. So plain it is that God can send either terror or comfort to the heart, by whatever means it pleaseth him. Sunday , 25, was a day of solemn rejoicing. Both at eight, at eleven, at two, and at five, God was eminently present in the congregation; filling their hearts with love and their mouths with praise.
In some of the following days I visited the country societies. Friday, 30.
After preaching at the Foundery in the evening, I met the Bands as usual.
While a poor woman was speaking a few artless words out of the fullness of her heart, a fire kindled, and ran, as flame among the stubble, through the hearts of almost all that heard: So, when God is pleased to work, it matters not how weak, or how mean, the instrument. Sat. 31. — I spent an hour with one who was as hot as any of the lambs at the Tabernacle; but she is now a calm, reasonable woman. Indeed God has now breathed a spirit of love and peace into all that remain united together.
Those who are otherwise minded have left us. Sun . February 1. — Many were comforted and strengthened both at the Lord’s Supper, and at the evening service. I think all jealousies and misunderstandings are now vanished, and the whole society is well knit together. How long will they continue so, considering the unparalleled fickleness of the people in these parts? That God knows. However, he does work now, and we rejoice therein. Mon. 2. — I left them with a cheerful heart, and rode on to Lakenheath.
The congregation was large, but to this day there was no society. So, after preaching, I explained the nature of a society, and examined those who were willing to join together. Near half of them had known the love of God, and seemed alive to him. Tues. 3. — About noon I preached at Harston, five miles beyond Cambridge. Here Mr. Berridge’s labor has not been in vain. Several have found peace with God; and a more artless, loving people I have seldom seen. They were gathered from all parts. It pleased God to give a manifestation of his love to one woman in the midst of the sermon. She praised God aloud, and inflamed many hearts with love and thankfulness.
In the evening I preached at Melbourn, another small town, about four miles from Harston. Many from Harston walked thither, and from the neighboring villages; and surely God was in the midst of them, just as in our Bristol congregations at the beginning.
Hence we rode, on Ash-Wednesday, FEBRUARY 4, to Mr. Hicks, who showed me the way to his church, at Wrestlingworth; where I exhorted a large and serious congregation, from the Scripture appointed for the Epistle, to “rend their hearts, and not their garments, and turn unto the Lord their God.”
In the evening Mr. Berridge read Prayers, and I preached, at Everton. Few of them are now affected as at first, the greater part having found peace with God. But there is a gradual increasing of the work in the souls of many believers. Thur. 5. — I called at Barford, half-way to Bedford, and was agreeably surprised to meet J. C., from London, who came to Bedford the day before, and walked over with Mr. Parker. We had a far larger congregation than I expected; and all were deeply serious. I preached at Bedford in the evening, on Friday at Sundon, and on Saturday returned to London. Monday , 9, and the following days, I visited the classes. Friday, 13, being the General Fast-day, the chapel in West-Street, as well as the rest, was thoroughly filled with serious hearers. Surely God is well pleased with even these outward humiliations, as an acknowledgment that he is the Disposer of all events; and they give some check, if it be but for a time, to the floods of ungodliness. Besides, we cannot doubt but there are some good men in most of the congregations then assembled; and we know, “the effectual fervent prayer” even of one “righteous man availeth much.”
This week I published, in the “London Chronicle,” an answer to a Tract entitled, “A Caveat against the Methodists.” It is here subjoined: — “To the Editor of the London Chronicle. “SIR, February 19, 1761. “IS it not surprising that every person of understanding does not discern, at the very first view, that the Tract entitled, ‘A Caveat against the Methodists,’ is, in reality, a Caveat against the Protestants? Do not the arguments conclude, (if they conclude at all,) not against the Methodists only, but against the whole body of Protestants? The names, indeed, of Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Wesley are used; but this is mere finesse! Greater men are designed, and all along are wounded through our sides. “I was long in hopes of seeing an answer to this artful performance, from some one of more leisure, as well as abilities; and some whose name would have recommended his work: For that thought has something of truth in it! — O what a tuneful wonder seized the throng, When Marlbro’s conquering name alarm’d the foe!
However, who knows but reason, for once, may be stronger than prejudice? And many may forget my scarecrow name, and mind not who speaks, but what is spoken. I am pleading now, not for the Methodists only, but for the whole body of Protestants; first, for the Church of England; then for the Protestants of every denomination; in doing which I shall first give the substance of each Section of the Romish Tract:
Secondly, answer, and retort it upon the members of the Church of Rome.
O that this may incite some more skillful advocate to supply my lack of service! “SECTION 1. “‘The Methodists’ (Protestants) ‘are not the people of God; they are not true Gospel Christians; nor is their new-raised society the true church of Christ, nor any part of it.’ (P. 3.) “‘This is demonstrated by the word of God, marking out the people of God, the true church of Christ, by such characters as cannot agree to the Methodists, or any other new-raised sect or community.’ (Ibid.) “‘The Old Testament is full of prophecies relating to the church:
And the New Testament makes glorious promises to it and gives glorious characters of it.’ (P. 4.) “‘Now all those prophecies, promises, and characters, point out a society founded by Christ himself, and by his commission propagated throughout the world, which should flourish till time should end, ever one, ever holy, ever orthodox; secured against error by the perpetual presence of Christ; ever directed by the Spirit of truth; having a perpetual succession of Pastors and Teachers, divinely appointed and divinely assisted: But no part of this character is applicable to any new raised sect, who have no succession from, or connection with, that one holy society; therefore no modern sect can be any part of the people of God.’ (P. 5.) “I answer, It is true, ‘all these promises, prophecies, and characters, point out a society founded by Christ himself, and by his commission propagated throughout the world, which should flourish till time should end:’ And such is the Catholic church, that is, the whole body of men, endued with faith working by love, dispersed over the whole earth, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. And this church is ‘ever one:’ In all ages and nations it is the one body of Christ. It is ‘ever holy;’ for no unholy man can possibly be a member of it. It is ‘ever orthodox;’ so is every holy man, in all things necessary to salvation: ‘Secured against error,’ in things essential, ‘by the perpetual presence of Christ; and ever directed by the Spirit of truth,’ in the truth that is after godliness.
This church has ‘a perpetual succession of Pastors and Teachers, divinely appointed, and divinely assisted.’ And there has never been wanting, in the Reformed Churches, such a succession of Pastors and Teachers; men both divinely appointed, and divinely assisted; for they convert sinners to God: A work none can do unless God himself doth appoint them thereto, and assist them therein; therefore every part of this character is applicable to them.
Their Teachers are the proper successors of those who have delivered down, through all generations, the faith once delivered to the saints; and their members have true spiritual communion with the ‘one holy’ society of true believers: Consequently, although they are not the whole ‘people of God,’ yet are they an undeniable part of his people. “On the contrary, the Church of Rome, in its present form, was not ‘founded by Christ himself.’ All the doctrines and practices wherein she differs from us, were not instituted by Christ, — they were unknown to the ancient church of Christ, — they are unscriptural, novel corruptions; neither is that Church ‘propagated throughout the world.’ Therefore, if either antiquity, or universality, be essential thereto, the Church of Rome cannot be ‘the true church of Christ.’ “Nor is the Church of Rome one; it is not in unity with itself; it is to this day torn with numberless divisions. And it is impossible it should be ‘the one church,’ unless a part can be the whole; seeing the Asiatic, the African, and the Muscovite Churches, (to name no more,) never were contained in it. “Neither is it holy: The generality of its members are no holier than Turks or Heathens. Yon need not go far for proof of this: Look at the Romanists in London or Dublin. Are these the holy, the only holy church? Just such holiness is in the bottomless pit. “Nor is it ‘secured against terror,’ either ‘by Christ’ or ‘his Spirit;’ witness Pope against Pope, Council against Council, contradicting, anathematizing, each other. The instances are too numerous to be recited. “Neither are the generality of her ‘Pastors and Teachers’ either ‘divinely appointed’ or ‘divinely assisted.’ If God had sent them, he would confirm the word of his messengers; but he does not; they convert no sinners to God; they convert many to their own opinion, but not to the knowledge or love of God. He that was a drunkard, is a drunkard still; he that was filthy, is filthy still; therefore neither are they ‘assisted’ by him; so they and their flocks wallow in sin together: Consequently, (whatever may be the case of some particular souls,) it must be said, if your own marks be true, the Roman Catholics in general are not ‘the people of God.’” It may be proper to add here the second section, which is all I had leisure to write, though it was not published till the following week: — “SECTION 2. “‘The Methodist’ (Protestant) ‘Teachers are not the true Ministers of Christ; nor are they called or sent by him.’ (P. 6.) “‘This appears from what has been already demonstrated. For if the Protestants are not the true people of Christ, their Ministers cannot be the true Ministers of Christ.’ (Ibid.) “Farther, ‘The true Ministers came down by succession from the Apostles. But the Protestant Teachers do not. Therefore they are not the true Ministers of Christ.’ (Ibid.) “‘All power in the church of Christ comes from him; so that whoever, without a commission from him, intrudes into the pastoral office, is a thief and a robber. Now, the commission can be conveyed but two ways; either immediately from God himself, as it was to the Apostles, or from men who have the authority handed down to them from the Apostles. “‘But this commission has not been conveyed to Protestant Preachers either of these ways. Not immediately from God himself; for how do they prove it? By what miracles? Neither by men deriving authority from the Apostles, through the channel of the Church. And they stand divided in communion from all Churches that have any pretensions to antiquity. Their doctrine of justification by faith alone, was anathematized at its first appearance, by the undoubted heirs of the Apostles, the Pastors of the Apostolic churches; consequently they are sent by no other but him who sent all the false prophets from the beginning.’ (Pp. 8, 9.) “I answer, ‘from what has been already demonstrated,’ that nothing will follow; for you have demonstrated just nothing. “Now for your ‘farther’ proof. ‘The true Ministers came down by succession from the Apostles.’ So do the Protestant Ministers, if the Romish do; the English in particular; as even one of yourselves, F. Courayer, has irrefragably proved. “‘All power in the church of Christ comes from him; either immediately from himself, or from men who have the authority handed down to them from the Apostles. But this commission has not been conveyed to the Protestant Preachers either of these ways: Not immediately; for by what miracles do they prove it?’ So said Cardinal Bellarmine long ago. Neither ‘by men deriving authority from the Apostles.’ Read F. Courayer, and know better.
Neither are the Protestants ‘divided from’ any ‘Churches’ who have true ‘pretensions to antiquity.’ But ‘their doctrine of justification by faith alone was anathematized, at its first appearance, by the undoubted heirs of the Apostles, the Pastors of the Apostolic church.’ By the Prelates at the Council of Trent it was; who thereby anathematized the Apostle Paul, to all intents and purposes. Here you throw off the mask; otherwise you might have passed for a Protestant a little longer. ‘Consequently they are sent by no other but him who sent all the false prophets from the beginning.’ Sir, we thank you. This is really a very modest assertion for the subject of a Protestant King. “But to turn the tables: I said, ‘If the Romish Bishops do.’ For this I absolutely deny. I deny that the Romish Bishops came down by uninterrupted succession from the Apostles. I never could see it proved; and, I am persuaded I never shall. But unless this is proved, your own Pastors, on your principles, are no Pastors at all. “But farther: It is a doctrine of your Church, that the intention of the administrator is essential to the validity of the sacraments which are administered by him. Now, are you assured of the intention of every Priest from whom you have received the Host?
If not, you do not know but what you received as the sacrament of the altar, was no sacrament at all. Are you assured of the intention of the Priest who baptized you? If not, perhaps you are not baptized at all. To come close to the point in hand: If you pass for a Priest, are you assured of the intention of the Bishop that ordained you? If not, you may happen to be no Priest, and so all your ministry is nothing worth: Nay, by the same rule, he may happen to be no Bishop. And who can tell how often this has been the case? But if there has been only one instance in a thousand years, what becomes of your uninterrupted succession? “This ad hominem. But I have a word more ad rem. Can a man teach what he does not know? Is it possible a man should teach others what he does not know himself? Certainly it is not. Can a Priest then teach his hearers the way to heaven, marked out in our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, if he does not know or understand the way himself? Nothing is more impossible. But how many of your Priests know nothing about it! What avails then their commission to teach what they cannot teach, because they know it not? Did God then send these men on a fool’s errand? send them to do what they cannot do? O say not so! And what will be the event of their attempting to teach they know not what? Why, ‘if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the pit.’” Sat. 21. — I spent some hours with Mr. L, and Mr. I’Anson, in order to prevent another Chancery suit. And though the matter could not then be fully adjusted, yet the suit did not go on. Tues. 24. — I retired to Lewisham, and transcribed the list of the society.
About an hundred and sixty I left out, to whom I can do no good at present. The number of those which now remain, is two thousand three hundred and seventy-five. Fri. 27. — At twelve I met about thirty persons who had experienced a deep work of God; and I appointed an hour for meeting them every week.
Whether they are saved from sin or no, they are certainly full of faith and love, and peculiarly helpful to my soul. Sun . March 1. — We had a happy love-feast at the chapel. Many of our brethren spoke plainly and artlessly what God had done for their souls. I think none were offended; but many were strengthened and comforted. Wed. 4. — I was scarce come into the room where a few believers were met together, when one began to tremble exceedingly, and soon after sunk to the floor. After a violent struggle, she burst out into prayer, which was quickly changed into praise. She then declared, “The Lamb of God has taken away all my sins.” She spoke many strong words to the same effect, rejoicing with joy unspeakable. Fri. 6. — I met again with those who believe God has delivered them from the root of bitterness. Their number increases daily. I know not if fifteen or sixteen have not received the blessing this week. Mon. 9. — I set out early, and about noon preached at High-Wycombe, where the dry bones began to shake again. In the afternoon I rode on to Oxford, and spent an agreeable evening with Mr. H. His openness and frankness of behavior were both pleasing and profitable. Such conversation I want: But I do not wonder it is offensive to men of nice ears. Tues. 10. — We rode to Evesham, where I found the poor shattered society almost sunk into nothing. And no wonder, since they have been almost without help, till Mr. Mather came. In the evening I preached in the Town Hall. Both at this time, and at five in the morning, God applied his word, and many found a desire to “strengthen the things that remained.” I designed to have rested on Wednesday, but finding that notice had been given of my preaching at Stanley, we got thither, through roads almost impassable, about noon, and found more people than the House could contain; so I stood in the yard, and proclaimed free salvation to a loving, simple people. Several were in tears, and all of them so thankful that I could not repent of my labor.
The congregation at Evesham in the evening was thrice as large as the night before. Indeed many of them did not design to hear, or to let any one else hear; but they were over-ruled, and behaved with tolerable decency, till the service was over: Then they roared amain; but I walked straight through them, and none offered the least rudeness. Thur. 12. — About one I preached at Redditch, to a deeply serious congregation; about seven, in the Room at Birmingham, now far too small for the congregation. Friday, 13. Many flocked together at five; and far more than the Room would contain in the evening. Perhaps the time is come for the Gospel to take root even in this barren soil. Sat. 14. — I rode to Wednesbury. Sunday, 15. I made a shift to preach within at eight in the morning; but in the afternoon I knew not what to do, having a pain in my side, and a sore throat. However, I resolved to speak as long as I could. I stood at one end of the House, and the people (supposed to be eight or ten thousand) in the field adjoining. I spoke from, “I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” When I had done speaking, my complaints were gone. At the love-feast in the evening, many, both men and women, spoke their experience in a manner which affected all that heard. One in particular said, “For seventeen or eighteen years I thought God had forgotten me. Neither I nor any under my roof could believe. But now, blessed be his name, he has taken me and all my house; and given me, and my wife, and our seven children, to rejoice together in God our Savior.” Mon. 16. — I intended to rest two or three days; but being pressed to visit Shrewsbury, and having no other time, I rode over today, though upon a miserable beast. When I came in, my head ached as well as my side.
I found the door of the place where I was to preach surrounded by a numerous mob. But they seemed met, only to stare. Yet part of them came in; almost all that did (a large number) behaved quietly and seriously. Tues. 17. — At five the congregation was large, and appeared not a little affected. The difficulty now was, how to get back. For I could not ride the horse on which I came. But this too was provided for. We met in the street with one who lent me his horse, which was so easy, that I grew better and better till I came to Wolverhampton. None had yet preached abroad in this furious town; but I was resolved, with God’s help, to make a trial, and ordered a table to be set in the inn-yard. Such a number of wild men I have seldom seen; but they gave me no disturbance, either while I preached, or when I afterwards walked through the midst of them.
About five I preached to a far larger congregation at Dudley, and all as quiet as at London. The scene is changed, since the dirt and stones of this town were flying about me on every side. Wed. 18. — By talking with several at Wednesbury, I found God is carrying on his work here as at London. We have ground to hope, one prisoner was set at full liberty under the sermon on Saturday morning; another under that on Saturday evening. One or more received remission of sins on Sunday; on Monday morning another, and on Wednesday yet another believed the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed him from all sin. In the evening I could scarce think but more than one heard Him say, “I will; be thou clean!” Indeed so wonderfully was He present till near midnight, as if He would have healed the whole congregation. Thur. 19. — After preaching at Bilbrook I rode on to Burslem, and preached at half-hour past five, in an open place on the top of the hill, to a large and attentive congregation; though it rained almost all the time, and the air was extremely cold. The next morning, (being Good-Friday,) I did not preach till eight. But even then, as well as in the evening, the cold considerably lessened the congregation. Such is human wisdom! So small are the things which divert mankind from what might be the means of their eternal salvation! Sat. 21. — About ten I preached at Biddulph, and about six at Congleton. Sunday, 22. About one I preached at Macclesfield, near the preaching-house. The congregation was large, though the wind was sharp.
But it was more than doubled after the evening service, while I opened and enforced the solemn declaration, “Him hath God exalted with his own right hand, to be a Prince and a Savior.” In the evening I rode on to Manchester. Mon. 23. — After preaching at five, I hastened forward, and reached Leeds about five in the evening, where I had desired all the Preachers in those parts to meet me; and an happy meeting we had both in the evening and morning. I afterwards inquired into the state of the societies in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. I find the work of God increases on every side; but particularly in Lincoleshire, where there has been no work like this, since the time I preached at Epworth on my father’s tomb.
In the afternoon I talked with several of those who believe they are saved from sin; and, after a close examination, I found reason to hope that fourteen of them were not deceived. In the evening I expounded the thirteenth chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, and exhorted all to weigh themselves in that balance, and see if they were not “found wanting.” Wed. 25. — I took horse early, breakfasted with Mr. Venn, and about four in the afternoon came to Stockport. Finding the congregation waiting, I preached immediately, and then rode on to Manchester; where I rested on Thursday. Friday, 27. I rode to Bridgefield, in the midst of the Derbyshire mountains, and cried to a large congregation, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” And they did indeed drink in the word, as the thirsty earth the showers. About six I preached at Stockport. Here I inquired after a young man, who was sometime since much in earnest for salvation. But it was not long before he grew quite cold, and left the society. Within a few months after, he left the world, and that by his own hand! The next day I returned to Manchester. Sun. 29. — We had an uncommon blessing, both morning and afternoon.
In the evening I met the believers, and strongly exhorted them to “go on unto perfection.” To many of them it seemed a new doctrine. However, they all received it in love; and a flame was kindled, which I trust neither men nor devils shall ever be able to quench. Tues. 31. — I rode to Altringham. We had four rooms, which opened into each other; but they would not near contain the congregation, so that many were obliged to stand without. I believe many were wounded, and some much comforted. Perhaps this town will not be quite so furious as it has been.
In the evening we had abundance of genteel people at Manchester, while I described faith as “the evidence of things not seen.” I left Manchester in the morning,APRIL 1, in a better condition than ever I knew it before; such is the shaking, not only among the dry bones, but likewise among the living souls.
When we came, the town seemed to be all in an uproar; yet when I began preaching, (in the open air, the House not being large enough to contain one quarter of the congregation,) none opposed, or made the least disturbance, the fear of God falling upon them. I think Tattenhall will be less bitter for the time to come. Well may Satan be angry with field-preaching! Fri. 3. — I preached, about one, at Mould, in Flintshire, and was again obliged to preach abroad, though the wind was exceeding rough. All were deeply attentive. I preached in the evening at Chester, and in the morning set out for Liverpool: I came thither (preaching at Warrington by the way) in the evening. The election seemed to have driven the common sort of people out of their senses. But on Sunday they were tolerably recovered, and the town looked like itself. I heard two useful sermons at our parish church: One upon, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness;” the other on, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” I pity those who “can learn nothing at church.” Mon. 13. — I left them at Liverpool, a little increased in number, but very considerably in strength; being now entirely united together in judgment, as well as in affection.
About noon, I preached to a serious congregation at Downham-Green, near Wigan; but to a far more serious one in the evening, at Bolton. I find few places like this; all disputes are forgot; and the Christians do indeed love one another. When I visited the classes, on Wednesday, 15, I did not find a disorderly walker among them; no, nor a trifler. They appeared to be, one and all, seriously seeking salvation. Thur. 16. — After preaching at noon, I rode to Lower-Darwen, near Blackburn, where a large congregation behaved with deep seriousness.
Leaving honest Mr. Grimshaw to preach in the morning, I set out early, and in the evening reached a little quiet house a few miles beyond Kendal, to which, I believe, we did not come in vain. The man of the house, having been long ill, was thankful for advice with regard to his bodily disorder.
And his guests appeared right willing to receive some advice with respect to their souls. Sat. 18. — We were soon lost on the mountains; but in an hour we found a cottage, and a good woman, who bade her son “take the galloway and guide them to the fell foot.” There we met a poor man just coming from a Doctor, who, I think, had quite mistaken his case. Perhaps his meeting us may save his life. He piloted us over the next mountain, the like to which I never beheld either in Wales or Germany. As we were climbing the third, a man overtook us, who was going the same road. So he accompanied us till we were in a plain, level way, which in three hours brought us to Whitehaven. Sun. 19. — I preached morning and evening at the Gins, to far more people than the house would have contained. At one I preached in the assembly-room at Workington. The whole congregation behaved well; though I could not perceive that the greater part of them understood any thing of the matter. Wed. 22. — About noon I preached at Branthwayte, and in the evening at Lorton. Who would imagine that Deism should find its way into the heart of these enormous mountains? Yet so it is. Yea, and one who once knew the love of God is a strenuous advocate for it. Sat. 25. — As the people at Whitehaven are usually full of zeal, right or wrong, I this evening showed them the nature of Christian zeal. Perhaps some of them may now distinguish the flame of love, from a fire kindled in hell. Sun. 26. — I preached in the morning at the Gins; in the Room at one; and about five at Cockermouth, on the steps of the market-house. Even the genteel hearers were decent; many of the rest seemed deeply affected. The people of the town have never been uncivil. Surely they will not always be unfruitful. Mon. 27. — I preached at eight in the market-place at Wigton. The congregation, when I began, consisted of one woman, two boys, and three or four little girls; but in a quarter of an hour we had most of the town. I was a good deal moved at the exquisite self-sufficiency which was visible to the countenance, air, and whole deportment of a considerable part of them. This constrained me to use a very uncommon plainness of speech.
They bore it well. Who knows but some may profit?
Before noon we came to Solway-Frith. The guide told us it was not passable; but I resolved to try, and got over well. Having lost ourselves but twice or thrice, in one of the most difficult roads I ever saw, we came to Moffat in the evening. Sunday, 28. We rode partly over the mountains, partly with mountains on either hand, between which was a clear, winding river, and about four in the afternoon reached Edinburgh.
Here I met Mr. Hopper, who had promised to preach in the evening, in a large Room, lately an episcopal meeting-house. Wednesday, 29. It being extremely cold, I preached in the same Room at seven. Some of the reputable hearers cried out in amaze, “Why, this is sound doctrine! Is this he of whom Mr. Wh—— used to talk so?” Talk as he will, I shall not retaliate.
I preached again in the evening, and the next day rode round by the Queen’s Ferry to Dundee; but, the wind being high, the boatmen could not, at least would not, pass. Nor could we pass the next day till between nine and ten. We then rode on through Montrose to Stonehaven. Here Mr. Memis met us; and on Saturday morning brought us to his house at Aberdeen.
In the afternoon I sent to the Principal and Regent, to desire leave to preach in the College-Close. This was readily granted; but as it began to rain, I was desired to go into the Hall. I suppose this is full an hundred feet long, and seated all around. The congregation was large, notwithstanding the rain, and full as large at five in the morning. Sun . May 3. — I heard two useful sermons at the kirk, one; preached by the Principal of the College, the other by the Divinity Professor. A huge multitude afterwards gathered together in the College-Close; and all that could hear seemed to receive the truth in love. I then added about twenty to the little society. Fair blossoms! But how many of these will bring forth fruit? Mon. 4. — We had another large congregation at five. Before noon twenty more came to me, desiring to cast in their lot with us, and appearing to be cut to the heart.
About noon I took a walk to the King’s College, in Old Aberdeen. It has three sides of a square, handsomely built, not unlike Queen’s College in Oxford. Going up to see the Hall, we found a large company of ladies, with several gentlemen. They looked, and spoke to one another, after which one of the gentlemen took courage and came to me. He said, “We came last night to the College-Close, but could not hear, and should be extremely obliged if you would give us a short discourse here.” I knew not what God might have to do; and so began without delay, on, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” I believe the word was not lost: It fell as dew on the tender grass.
In the afternoon I was walking in the library of the Marischal College, when the Principal and the Divinity Professor came to me and the latter invited me to his lodgings, where I spent an hour very agreeably. In the evening, the eagerness of the people made them ready to trample each other under foot. It was some time before they were still enough to hear; but then they devoured every word. After preaching, Sir Archibald Grant (whom business had called to town) sent and desired to speak to me. I could not then, but promised to wait upon him, with God’s leave, in my return to Edinburgh. Tues. 5. I accepted the Principal’s invitation, and spent an hour with him at his house. I observed no stiffness at all, but the easy good breeding of a man of sense and learning. I suppose both he and all the Professors, with some of the Magistrates, attended in the evening. I set all the windows open; but the Hall, notwithstanding, was as hot as a bagnio. But this did not hinder either the attention of the people, or the blessing of God. Wed. 6. — We dined at Mr. Ogilvy’s, one of the Ministers, between whom the city is divided. A more open-hearted, friendly man, I know not that I ever saw. And indeed I have scarce seen such a set of Ministers in any town of Great Britain or Ireland.
At half-hour after six I stood in the College-Close, and proclaimed Christ crucified. My voice was so strengthened that all could hear; and all were earnestly attentive. I have now “cast” my “bread upon the waters:” May I “find it again after many days!” Thur. 7. — Leaving near ninety members in the Society, I rode over to Sir A. Grant’s, near Monymusk, about twenty miles northwest from Aberdeen. It lies in a fruitful and pleasant valley, much of which is owing to Sir Archibald’s improvements, who has ploughed up abundance of waste ground, and planted some millions of trees. His stately old house is surrounded by gardens, and rows of trees, with a clear river on one side.
And about a mile from his house he has laid out a small valley into walks and gardens, on one side of which the river runs. On each side rises a steep mountain; one rocky and bare, the other covered with trees, row above row, to the very top.
About six we went to the church. It was pretty well filled with such persons as we did not look for so near the Highlands. But if we were surprised at their appearance, we were much more so at their singing.
Thirty or forty sung an anthem after sermon, with such voices as well as judgment, that I doubt whether they could have been excelled at any cathedral in England. Fri. 8. — We rode to Glammis, about sixty-four measured miles; and on Saturday, 9, about sixty-six more, to Edinburgh. I was tired: However, I would not disappoint the congregation; and God gave me strength according to my day. Sun. 10. — I had designed to preach near the Infirmary; but some of the managers would not suffer it. So I preached in our Room, morning and evening, even to the rich and honorable. And I bear them witness, they will endure plain dealing, whether they profit by it or not. Mon. 11. — I took my leave of Edinburgh for the present. The situation of the city, on a hill shelving down on both sides, as well as to the east, with the stately castle upon a craggy rock on the west, is inexpressibly fine. And the main street, so broad and finely paved, with the lofty houses on either hand, (many of them seven or eight stories high,) is far beyond any in Great Britain. But how can it be suffered, that all manner of filth should still be thrown even into this street continually? Where are the Magistracy, the Gentry, the Nobility of the land? Have they no concern for the honor of their nation? How long shall the capital city of Scotland, yea, and the chief street of it, stink worse than a common-sewer? Will no lover of his country, or of decency and common sense, find a remedy for this?
Holyrood-House, at the entrance of Edinburgh, the ancient Palace of the Scottish Kings, is a noble structure. It was rebuilt and furnished by King Charles the Second. One side of it is a picture-gallery, wherein are pictures of all the Scottish Kings, and an original one of the celebrated Queen Mary: It is scarce possible for any who looks at this to think her such a monster as some have painted her; nor indeed for any who considers the circumstances of her death, equal to that of an ancient martyr.
I preached in the evening at Musselburgh, and at five in the morning. Then we rode on to Haddington, where (the rain driving me in) I preached between nine and ten in Provos’ Dickson’s parlor. About one I preached at North-Berwick, a pretty large town, close to the sea-shore; and at seven in the evening, (the rain continuing,) in the House at Dunbar. Wed. 13. — It being a fair, mild evening, I preached near the quay to most of the inhabitants of the town, and spoke full as plain as the evening before. Every one seemed to receive it in love; probably if there was regular preaching here, much good might be done. Thur. 14. — I set out early, and preached at noon on the Bowling-Green, at Berwick-upon-Tweed. In the evening I preached at Alnwick. Friday, 15.
Abundance of soldiers came in, on their way to Germany. Many of these attended the preaching, to whom I could not but make a particular application. And who knows, but what they have now heard may stand them in stead in a day of trial? Sat. 16. — One of our friends importuned me much to give them a sermon at Warksworth. And a post-chaise came for me to the door; in which I found one waiting for me, whom, in the bloom of youth, mere anguish of soul had brought to the gates of death. She told me the troubles which held her in on every side, from which she saw no way to escape. I told her, “The way lies straight before you. What you want is the pure love of God. I believe God will give it you shortly. Perhaps it is his good pleasure to make you, a poor bruised reed, the first witness here of that great salvation. Look for it just as you are, unfit, unworthy, unholy, by simple faith, every day, every hour.” She did feel the next day something she could not comprehend, and knew not what to call it. In one of the trials which used to sink her to the earth, she was all calm, all peace and love; enjoying so deep a communion with God, as nothing external could interrupt. Ah! thou child of affliction, of sorrow and pain, hath Jesus found out thee also? And he is able to find and bring back thy husband, as far as he is wandered out of the way.
A little above the town, on one side of the river, stands the remains of a magnificent castle. On the other side, toward the bottom of a steep hill, covered with wood, is an ancient chapel, with several apartments adjoining to it, hewn in the solid rock. The windows, the pillars, the communion-table, and several other parts are entire. But where are the inhabitants? Gathered to their fathers, some of them, I hope, in Abraham’s bosom, till rocks, and rivers, and mountains flee away, and the dead, small and great, stand before God! Sun. 17. — I preached at eight in Alnwick, and about one at Alemouth; a poor, barren place, where as yet there is no fruit of all the seed which has been sown. But there may be, since many are still willing to hear.
In the evening a multitude of people and a little army of soldiers were gathered in the market-place at Alnwick. In the morning they were to march for Germany. I hope some of them have put their armor on. Mon. 18. — At nine I preached to a large and serious congregation at Widrington. Thence we rode to Morpeth. As it was a rainy day, they expected me to preach in the Room. But observing a large covered place in the market-place, I went thither without delay. It was soon more than filled; and many, soldiers and others, stood on the outside, notwithstanding the rain. Why should we despair of doing good in any place, because we do not see present fruit? At five I preached to the honest, simple-hearted colliers at Placey, and before sunset reached Newcastle. Tuesday , 19, a day of rest. In the evening God was with us of a truth; and many felt their hearts burn with fervent desire of being renewed in the whole image of God. The same flame was kindled at Gateshead-Fell, while I was opening and applying those words, “Every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” Thur. 21. — I was much struck with a story told by Ephraim Syrus. I wonder it was never translated into English. It is as follows: — “My beloved brethren, I have a desire to relate to you what our brother Abraham did in his old age. This blessed man had a brother according to the flesh, who had an only child. When her father fell asleep she remained an orphan. Her friends brought her to him, being six years old. He ordered her to be placed in the outer cell: He himself abode in the inner. A little door was between them. He taught her the Psalm and the other Scriptures, and watched and sang with her. And as he lived an austere life, so did she, willingly profiting in every exercise, and laboring to excel in all virtues. The holy man often besought God for her with tears, that her heart might be fixed on God, and not entangled with the care of worldly things; for her father had left her much wealth, which by his advice she gave to the poor. And she entreated him, saying, ‘Pray for me, that I may be delivered from evil thoughts, and from all the wiles and snares of the devil.’ The blessed man rejoiced, seeing her good conversation, and forwardness, and tears; her lowliness, meekness, quietness of spirit, and earnest love to God. And for twenty years she thus exercised herself with him, as a fair lamb, a spotless dove. “When the twentieth year was fulfilled, the devil was mad against her, and lay in wait to get her into his net. There was a man, in name religious, but not in truth, who frequently came to consult Abraham. He saw the maid, and his heart burned within him. He lay in wait for her a whole year, till her heart was inflamed also:
And opening the door of her cell, she went out to him, and consented to his will. But no sooner had she committed wickedness, than she rent her clothes, smote her breast, and thought of putting an end to her own life; for she said in herself, ‘Now I am dead, and I have lost all my time and all my labor, and my austerity and my tears are perished, and I have destroyed my own soul, and I have brought sorrow upon the man of God, and am become a laughing-stock to the devil: Why do I live any longer? Ah me, what have I done! Ah me! from whence, how low am I fallen!
How shall I be hid? Where shall I go? Into what pit shall I cast myself? Where is the exhortation of the blessed man, Keep thy soul spotless for thy immortal Bridegroom? I dare no more look up to Heaven! I am lost both to God and men. I dare not approach that holy man, sinner as I am, and full of uncleanness. Were I to make such an attempt surely fire would come out of that door, and consume me. It is better for me to go where none knows me; for I am undone, and there is no salvation for me!’ And rising up, she went straight to another city, and became servant at an inn. “A little before this, Abraham saw a vision; — a dragon, great and terrible, rising out of his place; and, coming to his cell, he found a dove, and devoured it, and then returned to his place. The holy man, coming to himself, was much troubled, and wept bitterly, and said, ‘Thou, Lord, knowest all things; and thou only knowest what this vision meaneth.’ After two days he saw the same dragon again; and he came out of his place to the blessed man, and, laying his head under Abraham’s feet, burst asunder, and the dove was found alive in the dragon’s belly. “Coming to himself, he called once and again, saying, ‘Child, where art thou? Behold, here are two days that thou hast not opened thy mouth in the praise of God. Finding that none answered, and that she was not there, he perceived the vision related to her; and he groaned in spirit, and said, ‘O Savior of the world, bring back this lamb into thy fold, that my gray hairs come not down with sorrow to the grave! Lord, despise not my supplication; but send down thy hand, and take her out of the mouth of the dragon that hath devoured her!’ “After a season he heard where she was; and, having learned all things concerning her, he called one of his friends, and said to him, ‘Bring me an horse and the habit of a soldier:’ And having put it on, with a large cap on his head, he left his cell, and rode away.
Being come to the place, he alighted, and went in; and, after a time, said to the innkeeper, ‘Friend, I have heard thou hast a beautiful damsel here: Call her to me, that I may rejoice with her.’ Being called, she came. When the holy man saw her in her harlot’s attire, he was melting into tears; but he refrained himself, that she might not perceive it. After they sat down, she embraced him, and kissed his neck; and she smelled the smell of his cell, and called to mind past things; and, groaning deeply said, ‘Woe is me! What am I?’
The inn-keeper, being astonished, said, ‘Mary, thou hast now been with us two years, and I never heard thee groan before, or heard such a word from thee. What is come to thee?’ She answered, ‘Would I had died three years since; then I had been happy.’ “Immediately Abraham said to him, ‘Prepare us a supper, that we may rejoice together; for I am come from far for her sake.’ After supper she said to him, ‘Let us go into the chamber:’ And when they were come in, he saw a bed made ready; and he sat upon it, and said, ‘Make fast the door.’ She made it fast, and came to him.
Having taken hold of her, so that she could not run away, he took off his cap, and said to her, weeping, ‘My child, Mary, dost thou not know me? Am not I he that brought thee up? Mary, what is come to thee? Who hath destroyed thee, my daughter? Where are thy prayers and thy tears, thy watching and holy exercise? My child, when thou hadst sinned, why didst thou not tell me, that I might have humbled myself for thee? My daughter, why hast thou done this? Why hast thou forsaken thy father?’ She remained in his hands as a lifeless stone till he said to her with tears, ‘Dost thou not speak to me, my child, Mary? Dost thou not speak to me? Am I not come hither for thy sake? I have besought the Lord concerning thee.’ Till midnight he continued exhorting and comforting her. Then, coming a little to herself, she said to him weeping, ‘I cannot look at thee, for I am defiled with sin.’ The blessed man replied, ‘On me be thy sin; only come, let us go to our place.’ She said to him, ‘If it be possible for me to repent, and if God can accept my repentance, I come, and I fall down, and kiss thy steps, wetting them with my tears, that thou hast thus had compassion on me, a forlorn wretch, and art come hither to draw me out of the mire of sin.’ And laying her head at his feet, she wept bitterly all the night; saying, ‘What shall I render thee for all thy benefits?’ “Early in the morning he set her upon the horse, and went before her with great joy. And being come to his place, he put her in the inner cell; where she gladly resumed her former exercise, with sackcloth and ashes, and much humiliation, with mourning and watching, and ceaseless calling upon God: And the merciful Lord gave her a sign that he accepted her repentance, healing many that were sick, through her prayers. “Holy Abraham lived ten years after, beholding her good conversation, and blessing, and praising, and magnifying God.
Then, having lived seventy years, he slept in peace. Mary survived him thirty and five years, calling upon God night and day; in so much that all who passed by glorified God, who saveth them that were gone astray.”
Among the believers, who met in the evening, God had kindled a vehement desire of his full salvation. Inquiring how it was that, in all these parts, we hare scarce one living witness of this, I constantly received, from every person, one and the same answer: — “We see now, we sought it by our works; we thought it was to come gradually; we never expected to receive it in a moment, by faith, as we did justification.” What wonder is it then, that you have been fighting all these years as one that beateth the air? Fri. 22. — I earnestly exhorted all who were sensible of their wants, and athirst for holiness, to look unto Jesus, to come to him just as they were, and receive all his promises. And surely it will not be long before some of these also are fully saved by simple faith. Sat. 23. — I rode over to Placey. I was wet through, both going and coming; but I did not repent of my journey; such a number gathered together, a great part of whom could rejoice in God. These were quite ripe for all the great and precious promises, which they received with all gladness. Mon. 25. — I rode to Shields, and preached in an open place, to a listening multitude. Many of them followed me to South-Shields; where I preached in the evening to almost double the congregation. How ripe for the Gospel are these also! What is wanting but more laborers?
More! Why, is there not here (as in every parish in England) a particular Minister, who takes care of all their souls? There is one here who takes charge of all their souls; what care of them he takes, is another question.
It may be, he neither knows nor cares, whether they are going to heaven or hell. Does he ask man, woman, or child, any question about it, from one Christmas to the next? O, what account will such a Pastor give to the Great Shepherd in that day? Tues. 26. — I went on to Sunderland, and in the evening preached in the new House. The next evening I preached at Monkwearmouth. Thur. 28. — About noon I preached at Biddick; and the power of God was in the midst of his people; and more eminently at Sunderland in the evening. After preaching I met the believers, and exhorted them to “go on unto perfection.” It pleased God to apply the plain words which were spoken; so that all were athirst for him objections vanished away, and a flame was kindled almost in every heart. Sun. 31. — I preached again, both morning and evening, in Monkwearmouth church; but it would not near contain the people, many of whom were constrained to go away. After Evening Service I hastened to Newcastle, and exhorted a willing multitude to “stand in the ways and see,” and “ask for the old paths,” and “walk therein.”
In the week following I preached at many little places round Newcastle. Friday, JUNE 5. I went to Prudhoe, where there had been some jar in the society, occasioned by a few who had lately espoused, and warmly defended, a new opinion. I said not one word about it, but preached on, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Afterwards, perceiving their hearts were much softened, I met the society, and exhorted them to beware of bitter zeal; and to “walk in love, as Christ also loved us.” They were ashamed before God, and (for the present at least) their contentions were at an end.
In the evening I preached at Nafferton; and the next morning rode to Winlington, where I had appointed to be between twelve and one. They placed the stand exactly fronting the sun, which shone very warm and very bright; but almost as soon as I began, the clouds rose, and shadowed us till I concluded. I preached at Swalwell at five, to such a congregation as was never seen there before. Mon. 8. — I rode to Hexham, and preached, at noon, in an open place near the church. Some expected there would be much disturbance; but there was none at all. We rode thence over the mountains to Allandale, where I had not been for several years. After preaching and meeting the society, I took horse again, and, crossing another chain of mountains reached Weardale before eleven. Tues. 9. — I preached at nine, but was obliged to stand abroad, because of the multitude of people. The sun shone full in my face; but after having spent a short time in prayer, I regarded it not. I then met the society; and came just in time to prevent their all turning Dissenters, which they were on the point of doing, being quite disgusted at the Curate, whose life was no better than his doctrine.
At noon I preached in Teesdale. Most of the men are lead-miners, who awhile ago were turned out of their work for following “this way.” By this means many of them got into far better work; and some time after, their old master was glad to employ them again.
We had a long stage from hence to Swaldale, where I found an earnest, loving, simple people, whom I likewise exhorted not to leave the church, though they had not the best of Ministers. I then baptized a man and two women, who had been bred among the Anabaptists; and I believe all of them received such a blessing therein as they were not able to express. Wed. 10. — I took horse at half-hour past three, and reached Barnard-Castle soon after six. I preached at eight in a ground adjoining to the town. Are these the people that a few years ago were like roaring lions? They were now quiet as lambs; nor could several showers drive them away till I concluded. In the evening I preached at Brancepath, near Bishop-Auckland. Most of the congregation, though I stood in the streets were deeply attentive; only one, a kind of gentleman, seemed displeased; but he had none to second him. Fri. 12. — We had one of the most solemn watch-nights at Newcastle which we have had for several years. Saturday, 13. I rode once more to Sunderland, and preached as usual to a numerous congregation. Sunday, 14.
After Mr. G. had read Prayers, I spoke exceeding plain to as many as could crowd into the church. And out of so many that are called, will not some be chosen?
About three I preached at Gateshead-Fell; about five, at the Garth-Heads; at each place to a larger congregation than I ever saw there before. What a change is wrought in this whole country! And will it not be wrought in the whole kingdom? Mon. 15. — I rode to Durham, having appointed to preach there at noon.
The meadow, near the river side, was quite convenient, and the small rain neither disturbed me nor the congregation. In the afternoon I rode to Hartlepool; but I had much ado to preach: My strength was gone as well as my voice; and, indeed, they generally go together. Three days in a week I can preach thrice a day without hurting myself; but I had now far exceeded this, besides meeting classes and exhorting the societies. I was obliged to lie down good part of Tuesday: However, in the afternoon I preached at Cherington, and in the evening at Hartlepool again, though not without difficulty. Wednesday, 17. I rode to Stockton, where, a little before the time of preaching, my voice and strength were restored at once.
The next evening it began to rain just as I began to preach; but it was suspended till the service was over: It then rained again till eight in the morning. Fri. 19. — It was hard work to ride eight miles (so called) in two hours and a half; the rain beating upon us, and the by-road being exceeding slippery. But we forgot all this when we came to the Grange; so greatly was God present with his people. Thence we rode to Darlington. Here we were under a difficulty again: Not half the people could come in, and the rain forbade my preaching without. But at one (the hour of preaching) the rain stopped, and did not begin again till past two; so the people stood very conveniently in the yard; and many did not care to go away. When I went in, they crowded to the door and windows, and stayed till I took horse. At seven I preached at Yarm, and desired one of our brethren to take my place in the morning. Sat . 20 — At noon I applied those words, “Now abide faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.”
This evening also it rained at Hutton-Rudby, till seven, the hour of preaching: But God heard the prayer; and from the time I began we had only some scattering drops. After sermon the society alone filled the new preaching-house; so mightily has the word of God prevailed since Alexander Mather labored here. Sun. 21. — I preached to a larger congregation than in the evening, on, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!” I then rode to Osmotherley, where the Minister read Prayers seriously, and preached an useful sermon. After service I began in the church-yard: I believe many were wounded and many comforted. After dinner I called on Mr. Adams, who first invited me to Osmotherley. He was reading the strange account of the two Missionaries who have lately made such a figure — in the newspapers. I suppose the whole account is just such another gross imposition upon the public as the man’s gathering the people together to see him go into the quart bottle. “Men seven hundred years old!” And why not seven yards high? He that can believe it, let him believe it.
At five I preached at Potto, a mile from Hutton. When I began I was extremely weak; but God renewed my strength, and so applied his word, that it seemed as if every one must believe it. But the Scripture cannot be broken: Some seed will still fall “by the way side,” and some “on stony ground.” Mon. 22. — I spoke, one by one, to the society at Hutton-Rudby. They were about eighty in number; of whom near seventy were believers, and sixteen (probably) renewed in love. Here were two Bands of children, one of boys, and one of girls, most of whom were walking in the light. Four of those who seemed to be saved from sin were of one family; and all of them walked holy and unblamable, adorning the doctrine of God their Savior.
At eleven I preached once more, though in great weakness of body, and met the Stewards of all the societies. I then rode to Stokesley, and, having examined the little society, went on for Guisborough. The sun was burning hot; but, in a quarter of an hour, a cloud interposed, and he troubled us no more. I was desired by a gentleman of the town to preach in the market-place; and there a table was placed for me, but it was in a bad neighborhood; for there was so vehement a stench of stinking fish, as was ready to suffocate me, and the people roared like the waves of the sea; but the voice of the Lord was mightier; and in a few minutes the whole multitude was still, and seriously attended while I proclaimed “Jesus Christ, made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” Tues. 23. — I began about five, near the same place, and had a great part of the same audience; yet they were not the same. The change might easily be read in their countenance. When we took horse, and just faced the sun, it was hard work for man and beast; but about eight the wind shifted, and blowing in our face, kept us cool till we came to Whitby.
In the evening I preached on the top of the hill, to which you ascend by an hundred ninety and one steps. The congregation was exceeding large, and ninety-nine in an hundred were attentive. When I began, the sun shone full in my face; but he was soon clouded, and shone no more till I had done.
After meeting the society, I talked with a sensible woman whose experience seemed peculiar. She said: “A few days before Easter last, I was deeply convinced of sin; and in Easter week, I knew my sins were forgiven, and was filled with ‘joy and peace in believing.’ But in about eighteen days I was convinced in a dream of the necessity of a higher salvation; and I mourned day and night, in agony of desire to be thoroughly sanctified; till on the twenty-third day after my justification, I found a total change, together with a clear witness that the blood of Jesus had cleansed me from all unrighteousness.” Wed. 24. — I walked round the old Abbey, which, both with regard to its size, (being, I judge, an hundred yards long,) and the workmanship of it, is one of the finest, if not the finest, ruin in the kingdom. Hence we rode to Robin Hood’s Bay, where I preached at six in the Lower-Street, near the quay. In the midst of the sermon a large cat, frightened out of a chamber, leaped down upon a woman’s head, and ran over the heads or shoulders of many more; but none of them moved or cried out, any more than if it had been a butterfly. Thur. 25. — I had a pleasant ride to Scarborough, the wind tempering the heat of the sun. I had designed to preach abroad in the evening; but the thunder, lightning, and rain prevented: However, I stood on a balcony, and several hundreds of people stood below; and, notwithstanding the heavy rain, would not stir till I concluded. Fri. 26. — I rode to Hull, and had there also the comfort of finding some witnesses of the great salvation. I was constrained to leave them early in the morning on Saturday, 27. At seven I preached in Beverley; about one in Pocklington; and at York in the evening, to the far gentlest audience I have had since I left Edinburgh. Mon. 29. — I met the classes, and found many therein who were much alive to God: But many others were utterly dead; which sufficiently accounts for the society’s not increasing. Wed . July 1. — The stewards met from the societies in the country. In the evening we all wrestled with God for the revival of his work. Many found their hearts much enlarged herein, and had confidence he would answer the prayer. Thur. 2. — I set out early for North-Cave, twenty computed miles from York. I preached there at nine to a deeply serious congregation, and was much refreshed. At two I preached to such another congregation at Thorpe, and concluded the day by preaching and meeting the society at Pocklington. Fri. 3. — We returned to York, where I was desired to call upon a poor prisoner in the Castle. I had formerly occasion to take notice of an hideous monster, called, a Chancery Bill; I now saw the fellow to it, called, a Declaration. The plain fact was this: Some time since a man who lived near Yarm assisted others in running some brandy. His share was worth near four pounds. After he had wholly left off that bad work and was following his own business, that of a weaver, he was arrested and sent to York gaol; and not long after, comes down a Declaration, “that Jac. Wh—— had landed a vessel laded with brandy and Geneva, at the port of London, and sold them there, whereby he was indebted to His Majesty five hundred and seventy-seven pounds and upwards.” And to tell this worthy story, the Lawyer takes up thirteen or fourteen sheets of treble stamped paper.
O England, England! will this reproach never be rolled away from thee? Is there any thing like this to be found, either among Papists, Turks, or Heathens? In the name of truth, justice, mercy, and common sense, I ask, 1. Why do men lie for lying sake? Is it only to keep their hands in?
What a monstrous contempt of truth does this show or rather hatred to it! 2. Where is the justice of swelling four pounds into five hundred and seventy-seven? 3. Where is the common sense of taking up fourteen sheets to tell a story that may be told in ten lines? 4. Where is the mercy of thus grinding the face of the poor? thus sucking the blood of a poor, beggared prisoner?
Would not this be execrable villany, if the paper and writing together were only six-pence a sheet, when they have stripped him already of his little all, and not left him fourteen groats in the world? Sun. 5. — Believing one hindrance of the work of God in York, was the neglect of field-preaching, I preached this morning at eight in an open place, near the city walls. Abundance of people ran together, most of whom were deeply attentive. One or two only were angry and threw a few stones; but it was labor lost; for none regarded them. Mon. 6. — I rode to Tadcaster, and preached within, the rain not suffering us to be abroad as I intended. In the evening I preached at Otley, and afterwards talked with many of the society. There is reason to believe that ten or twelve of these are filled with the love of God. I found one or two more the next day at Fewston, a few miles north of Otley, (where I preached at noon,) whom God had raised up to witness the same good confession. And, indeed, the whole congregation seemed just ripe for receiving all the promises. Wed. 8. — I rode to Knaresborough, where it was expected we should not meet with so friendly a reception. But the Lord is King. Our own House being too small, I preached in the assembly-room. Most of the people looked wild enough when they came in; but they were tame before they went out; and behaved as decently and seriously as the congregation at Otley.
Indeed, the mob never was so furious here, as they were formerly at Otley; where the good Magistrate directed, “Do what you will to them, so you break no bones.” But may not a man cut his neighbor’s throat without breaking his bones?
The remaining part of this week I preached at Guiseley, Bingley, and Keighley. Sunday, 12. I had appointed to be at Haworth; but the church would not near contain the people who came from all sides: However, Mr. Grimshaw had provided for this by fixing a scaffold on the outside of one of the windows through which I went after Prayers, and the people likewise all went out into the church-yard. The afternoon congregation was larger still. What has God wrought in the midst of those rough mountains! Mon. 13. — At five I preached on the manner of waiting for “perfect love;” the rather to satisfy Mr. Grimshaw, whom many had labored to puzzle and perplex about it. So once more their bad labor was lost, and we were more united both in heart and judgment than ever.
About five I preached at Paddiham, another place eminent for all manner of wickedness. The multitude of people obliged me to stand in the yard of the preaching-house. Over against me, at a little distance, sat some of the most impudent women I ever saw: Yet I am not sure that God did not reach their hearts; for They roar’d, and would have blush’d, if capable of shame.
In the morning I preached at Bentley-Wood-Green, On, “Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Mr. G. afterwards told me, that this perfection he firmly believed and daily prayed for, namely, the love of God and man producing all those fruits which are described in our Lord’s Sermon upon the mount.
Soon after five I preached at Heptonstall. The society here had been greatly hurt by two Leaders getting into new opinions. One of them fell upon me directly, for “denying the righteousness of Christ.” On this we discoursed about an hour. The issue was, one of them was quite convinced; and the other (to my no small satisfaction) desired me to put a new Leader in his place. Wed. 15. — About seven I preached at Ewood, and about noon at Halifax.
New opinions had done harm here also; but at this time all was quiet. I rode over to Bradford in the afternoon, where I found an Anabaptist Teacher had perplexed and unsettled the minds of several; but they are now less ignorant of Satan’s devices. Fri. 17. — I rode to Birstal, and was much comforted to find many of our first children in this county who are not yet weary of the good old way.
May they continue therein unto the day of the Lord Jesus! Sat. 18. — At one I preached at South-Royd. The good people had placed the stand so that the sun, which was very hot, shone upon my head, and the wind, which was very cold, blew in my neck; but it was all one: I was on my Master’s business; and great was our rejoicing in Him. Sun. 19. — I preached in Birstal Room at eight. At one we had thousands, the greatest part of whom were persons “fearing God and working righteousness.” I rode thence to Leeds, in order to preach a funeral sermon for Mary Shent, who, after many severe conflicts, died in great peace. It was one of the largest congregations which has been seen at Leeds; to whom I spoke very plain from part of the Gospel for the day, “Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward.”
I hastened back to the love-feast at Birstal. It was the first of the kind which had been there. Many were surprised when I told them, “The very design of a love-feast is a free and familiar conversation, in which every man, yea, and woman, has liberty to speak whatever may be to the glory of God.” Several then did speak, and not in vain: The flame ran from heart to heart, especially while one was declaring, with all simplicity, the manner wherein God, during the morning sermon, (on those words, “I will, be thou clean,”) had set her soul at full liberty. Two men also spoke to the same effect; and two others who had found peace with God. We then joyfully poured out our souls before God, and praised him for his marvelous works. Mon. 20. — I came to a full explanation with that good man Mr. V——.
Lord, if I must dispute, let it be with the children of the devil! Let me be at peace with thy children!
On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I preached at the neighboring towns. Friday, 24. In speaking from those words “In many things we offend all,” I observed, 1. As long as we live, our soul is connected with the body: 2. As long as it is thus connected, it cannot think but by the help of bodily organs: 3. As long as these organs are imperfect, we are liable to mistakes, both speculative and practical 4. Yea, and a mistake may occasion my loving a good man less than I ought; which is a defective, that is, a wrong temper: 5. For all these we need the atoning blood, as indeed for every defect or omission. Therefore, 6. All men have need to say daily, “Forgive us our trespasses.”
About one I preached at Bramley, where Jonas Rushford, about fourteen years old, gave me the following relation: — “ABOUT this time last year I was desired by two of our neighbors, to go with them to Mr. Crowther’s at Skipton, who would not speak to them, about a man that had been missing twenty days, but bid them bring a boy twelve or thirteen years old. When we came in, he stood reading a book. He put me into a bed, with a looking-glass in my hand, and covered me all over. Then he asked me whom I had a mind to see; and I said, ‘My mother.’ I presently saw her with a lock of wool in her hand, standing just in the place, and the clothes she was in, as she told me afterwards. Then he bid me look again for the man that was missing, who was one of our neighbors. And I looked and saw him riding towards Idle, but he was very drunk; and he stopped at the alehouse and drank two pints more, and he pulled out a guinea to change. Two men stood by, a big man and a little man; and they went on before him, and got two hedgestakes; and when he came up, on Windle-Common, at the top of the hill, they pulled him off his horse, and killed him, and threw him into a coal-pit. And I saw it all as plain as if I was close to them. And if I saw the men, I should know them again. “We went back to Bradford that night; and the next day I went with our neighbors and showed them the spot where he was killed, and the pit he was thrown into; and a man went down and brought him up. And it was as I had told them; his handkerchief was tied about his mouth, and fastened behind his neck.”
From Bramley I rode to Kippax. Mr. Venn came a little after we were gone into the church. Mr. Romaine read prayers. I preached on, “Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” O why should they who agree in this great point, fall out about smaller things? Sat. 25. — About one, I preached at Seacroft, and found several who believed God had saved them from sin. In the evening I talked with twelve or fourteen of these particularly; but I found not one who presumed to say that he did not need the atoning blood: Nor could I hear of any more than two persons that ever spoke in this manner; and these were soon after, for that reason, expelled out of Otley society. Sun. 26. — I preached at seven on, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou caust make me clean.” And O what a flame did God kindle! Many were “on fire, to be dissolved in love.”
About one I preached to the usual congregation at Birstal. What a work is God working here also! Six in one class have, within this week, found peace with God; two this morning in meeting the class. While I was praying on Sunday evening that God would give us a token for good, James Eastwood was set at full liberty; as were William Wilson and Elizabeth his wife before, and Martha his daughter; with Agnes Gooddel, on the Wednesday after. To these were added, Joseph Newsam, and Richard Hellewell, sixteen years of age. So that the oldest of our believers now cry out, “We never saw it before on this fashion!” Mon. 27. — I preached at Staincross about eleven; about five, at Barley-Hall; the next morning, at Sheffield. In the afternoon I rode on to Matlock-Bath. The valley which reaches from the town to the bath is pleasant beyond expression. In the bottom of this runs a little river, close to which a mountain rises, almost perpendicular, to an enormous height, part covered with green, part with ragged and naked rocks. On the other side, the mountain rises gradually with tufts of trees here and there. The brow on both sides is fringed with trees, which seem to answer each other.
Many of our fiends were come from various parts. At six I preached standing under the hollow of a rock, on one side of a small plain; on the other side of which was a tall mountain. There were many well-dressed hearers, this being the high season; and all of them behaved well. But as I walked back, a gentleman-like man asked me, “Why do you talk thus of faith? Stuff, nonsense!” Upon inquiry, I found he was an eminent Deist.
What, has the plague crept into the Peak of Derbyshire? Wed. 29. — I preached at five near the Bath; in Woodseats at two; and in the evening, at the end of the House in Sheffield, to thrice as many people as it would have contained. Thursday and Friday, I preached at Rotherham, in the shell of the new House, which is an octagon. Pity our Houses, where the ground will admit of it, should be built in any other form. The congregation was larger than ever; the society well united, and much alive to God. Sat . August 1. — I rode to Clayworth, and, after preaching, labored all I could to reconcile two brothers, who had long been quarreling about their inheritance; but it was labor lost. Indeed the reason of the thing was clear; but passion is ever too hard for reason.
Hence I went on to Misterton; and, both in the evening; and morning, spoke to a lifeless, money-getting people, in a sharper manner than ever I did before; and (I heard afterward) with good effect. Sun. 2. — I had the satisfaction of hearing Mr. Madan preach an excellent sermon at Haxey. At two I preached at Westwood-Side, to the largest congregation I ever saw in the Isle of Axholme; and to nearly the same at Epworth-Cross, as soon as the Church Service was ended. After spending two days here, on Wednesday, 5, I preached about nine at Ferry, and then rode on to Gainsborough. I preached in the old hall to a mixed multitude, part civil, part rude as bears. We rode home through heavy rain, joined with much thunder and lightning, part of which was just over our heads.
But “the Lord sitteth above the water floods.” So we came safe, only very wet, to Epworth. Thur. 6. — I preached about nine at Hatfield Woodhouse; and about one at Sykehouse, to far the largest congregation which has been seen there for many years. Boast who will, that Methodism (the revival of true religion) is just coming to nothing: We know better things, and are thankful to God for its continual increase. Sat. 8. — I preached at Winterton to such a congregation as I suppose never met there before. From thence we rode on to Barrow, where the mob was in readiness to receive us; but their hearts failed; so they gave only two or three huzzas, and let us pass by unmolested.
As soon as I came out to preach, we had another huzza; but as more and more of the angry ones came within hearing, they lost all their fierceness, and sunk into calmness and attention. So I concluded my discourse with quietness and satisfaction. In the evening I preached at Grimsby, where I spent Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, 11. I preached at two in Lorborongh; in the evening at Elkington. The next morning we rode to Horncastle, where Satan’s children had threatened terrible things; but they could go no farther than to give one feeble shout as we entered into the town. As the House would not contain the congregation, I preached on the outside of it; and there was no disturbance. Indeed a silly, pert man spoke twice or thrice, but none regarded him.
About one I preached at Sibsey, on the edge of the Fens. There were a few wild colts here also; but all the rest (and they were not a few) were serious and deeply attentive. So were most of the congregation even at Boston, though much astonished, as not being used to field-preaching. Thur. 13. — I took a walk through the town. I think it is not much smaller than Leeds; but, in general, it is far better built. The church is indeed a fine building. It is larger, loftier, nay, and rather more lightsome, than even St. Peter’s at Norwich; and the steeple is, I suppose, the highest tower in England, nor less remarkable for the architecture than the height. The congregation in the evening was far more numerous than the day before; and I trust God fixed the arrows of conviction in not a few of their hearts.
We went forward, after preaching at a friend’s house, about nine miles from Boston. Friday, 14. We rode to Billingford; and on Saturday, to Norwich. After spending a few days here, and a few more at Yarmouth and Colchester, on Saturday, 22, I returned to London.
I found the work of God swiftly increasing here. The congregations, in every place, were larger than they had been for several years. Many were from day to day convinced of sin. Many found peace with God. Many backsliders were healed, yea, filled with joy unspeakable. And many believers entered into such a rest, as it had not before entered into their hearts to conceive. Meantime, the enemy was not wanting in his endeavors to sow tares among the good seed. I saw this clearly, but durst not use violence, lest, in plucking up the tares, I should root up the wheat also. Tues . September 1. — Our Conference began, and ended on Saturday.
After spending a fortnight more in London, and guarding both the Preachers and people against running into extremes on the one hand or the other, on Sunday, 20, at night, I took the machine, and on Monday, 21, came to Bristol.
Here likewise I had the satisfaction to observe a considerable increase of the work of God. The congregations were exceeding large, and the people hungering and thirsting after righteousness; and every day afforded us fresh instances of persons convinced of sin, or converted to God. So that it seems God was pleased to pour out his Spirit this year, on every part both of England and Ireland; perhaps in a manner we had never seen before; certainly not for twenty years. O what pity, that so many, even of the children of God, did not know the day of their visitation! Sun . October 4. — I preached at Kingswood, morning and afternoon, but not, as I designed, under the sycamore-tree, because of the rain. In the ensuing week I visited the societies in Somersetshire. Sunday, 11. I observed God is reviving his work in Kingswood: The society, which had much decreased, being now increased again to near three hundred members; many of whom are now athirst for full redemption, which for some years they had almost forgot. Tues. 13. — I preached at Newgate; at Kingswood in the afternoon; and in the evening at North-Common. Here a people are sprung up, as it were, out of the earth; most of them employed in the neighboring brass-works.
We took a view of these the next day; and one thing I learned here, the propriety of that expression, Revelation 1:15: “His feet were as fine brass, burning in a furnace.” The brightness of this cannot easily be conceived: I have seen nothing like it but clear white lightning. Mon. 19. — I desired all those to meet me, who believed they were saved from sin. There were seventeen or eighteen. I examined them severally, as exactly as I could; and I could not find any thing in their tempers (supposing they spoke true) any way contrary to their profession. Wed. 21. — I was desired by the condemned prisoners to give them one sermon more. And on Thursday, Patrick Ward, who was to die on that day, sent to request I would administer the sacrament to him. He was one-and-twenty years of age, and had scarce ever had a serious thought, till he shot the man who went to take away his gun. From that instant he felt a turn within, and never swore an oath more. His whole behavior in prison was serious and composed: He read, prayed, and wept much; especially after one of his fellow-prisoners had found peace with God. His hope gradually increased till this day, and was much strengthened at the Lord’s Supper; but still he complained, “I am not afraid, but I am not desirous, to die. I do not find that warmth in my heart. I am not sure my sins are forgiven.” He went into the cart, about twelve, in calmness, but mixed with sadness. But in a quarter of an hour while he was wrestling with God in prayer, (not seeming to know that any one was near him,) “The Holy Ghost,” said he, “came upon me, and I knew that Christ was mine.” From that moment his whole deportment breathed a peace and joy beyond all utterance, till, after having spent about ten minutes in private prayer, he gave the sign. Sun. 25. — I took a comfortable leave of Kingswood, leaving both the society and School in a flourishing state; and the next morning, of Bristol, leaving the society larger than it had been for many years. Now, let zeal as well as “brotherly love continue,” and it will not decrease any more.
Having traveled slowly through the intermediate societies, on Saturday, 31, I came to London. Sun . November 1. — I found the same spirit which I left here, both in the morning and evening service. Monday, 2, at five, I began a course of sermons on Christian Perfection. At seven I began meeting the classes. Tuesday, 10. I found the society at Deptford more alive than ever; a sure consequence of which is their increasing in number. Thursday, 12. I rode to Brentford. Here likewise God is at work;, and sinners are converted to him. Saturday, 14. I spent an hour with a little company near Grosvenor Square. For many years this has been the darkest, driest spot, of all in or near London. But God has now watered the barren wilderness, and it is become a fruitful field. Mon. 16. — I retired to Lewisham, having many things to write. Friday, 20. I spent an hour at St. George’s Hospital. The behavior of two or three patients there had done unspeakable good. Deep prejudice was torn up by the roots, and much goodwill to the truth had succeeded it. O what may not a single believer do, who seeks nothing but the glory of God? Mon. 23. — I went to Canterbury. The congregations were larger than I ever remember; and many found a deeper work of God in their hearts than ever they had known before. Thursday, 26. I was desired to read part of Bishop Pontopidan’s “Natural History of Norway.” I soon found he was a man of sense, yet credulous to an extreme; and therefore I was the less surprised when I came to his craken and sea-serpent. Of the former (an animal a mile round, to which a poor whale is no more than a gudgeon) he gives no proof, or shadow of proof; nothing but vague, uncertain hearsays. “Two sailors,” he says, “made oath of seeing part of the latter, seven or eight folds of his back. But I did not talk with them myself; so I can lay little stress on their evidence.” They might be weak men; they might be frightened; yea, they were, by their own confession: Or they might be men of no conscience: On any of which suppositions their testimony is nothing worth. Sat. 28. — We returned to London. Sunday, 29. We had a comfortable lovefeast, at which several declared the blessings they had found lately.
We need not be careful by what name to call them, while the thing is beyond dispute. Many have, and many do daily experience an unspeakable change. After being deeply convinced of inbred sin, particularly of pride, anger, self-will, and unbelief, in a moment they feel all faith and love; no pride, no self-will, or anger: And from that moment they have continual fellowship with God, always rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks. Whoever ascribes such a change to the devil, I ascribe it to the Spirit of God: And I say, let whoever feels it wrought, cry to God that it may continue; which it will, if he walks closely with God; otherwise it will not.
Preaching at Deptford, Welling, and Sevenoaks, in my way, on Thursday, DECEMBER 3, I came to Shoreham. There I read the celebrated “Life of St. Katherine, of Genoa.” Mr. Lesley calls one a devil of a saint: I am sure this was a fool of a saint; that is, if it was not the folly of her historian, who has aggrandized her into a mere idiot. Indeed we seldom find a saint of God’s making sainted by the Bishop of Rome. I preached at five to a still, serious company; and the next day returned to London. Mon. 7. — I rode to Colchester, and had the satisfaction to find many of our brethren much alive to God. After confirming them, as I could, in the ways of God, on Thursday I returned home. Sunday , 13, was a comfortable day, wherein several prisoners were set at liberty. Saturday, 19. I visited many near Oxford Market and Grosvenor-Square, and found God was still enlarging his work. More and more were convinced, converted to God, and built up, day by day; and that, notwithstanding the weakness of the instruments by whom God was pleased to work. Mon. 21. — I retired again to Lewisham, and wrote “Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection.” Had the cautions given herein been observed, how much scandal had been prevented! And why were they not? Because my own familiar friend was even now forming a party against me. Fri. 25. — We began, as usual, at four. A few days since, one who lived in known sin, finding heavy conviction, broke away, and ran out, she knew not whither. She met one who offered her a shilling a week to come and take care of her child. She went gladly. The woman’s husband, hearing her stir between three and four, began cursing and swearing bitterly. His wife said, “I wish thou wouldst go with her, and see if any thing will do thee good.” He did so. In the first hymn God broke his heart; and he was in tears all the rest of the service. How soon did God recompense this poor woman for taking the stranger in! Sat. 26. — I made a particular inquiry into the case of Mary Special, a young woman then in Tottenham-Court-Road. She said, “Four years since I found much pain in my breasts, and afterwards hard lumps. Four months ago my left breast broke, and kept running continually. Growing worse and worse, after some time I was recommended to St. George’s Hospital. I was let blood many times, and took hemlock thrice a day: But I was no better; the pain and the lumps were the same, and both my breasts were quite hard, and black as soot; when, yesterday se’nnight, I went to Mr. Owen’s, where there was a meeting for prayer. Mr. Bell saw me, and asked, ‘Have you faith to be healed?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He prayed for me, and in a moment all my pain was gone. But the next day I felt a little pain again; I clapped my hands on my breasts, and cried out, ‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole.’ It was gone; and from that hour I have had no pain, no soreness, no lumps, or swelling; but both my breasts were perfectly well, and have been so ever since.”
Now here are plain facts: 1. She was ill: 2. She is well: 3. She became so in a moment.
Which of these can with any modesty be denied? Tues. 29. — In order to remove some misunderstandings, I desired all parties concerned to meet me. They did so; all but T—— M——d, who flatly refused to come. Is this only the first step toward a separation?
O may we conclude our lives in the same manner, blessing and praising God! Fri . January 1, 1762. — We had, I believe, pretty near two thousand of the society at Spitalfields in the evening; where Mr. Berridge, Maxfieid, and Colley, assisted me. And we found God was in the midst, while we devoted ourselves to him in the most solemn and explicit manner. Sat. 2. — I set out for Everton, in order to supply Mr. Berridge’s church in his absence. In my way I preached at Rood-Farm, five-and-forty miles from London. Afterwards, the moon shining bright, we had a pleasant ride to Everton. Sun. 3. — I read Prayers and preached, morning and evening, to a numerous and lively congregation. I found the people in general were more settled than when I was here before; but they were in danger of running from east to west. Instead of thinking, as many then did, that none can possibly have true faith but those that have trances or visions, they were now ready to think that whoever had any thing of this kind had no faith. Mon. 4. — After preaching to a large congregation at Wrestlingworth, we rode on to Harston. I never preached a whole sermon by moonlight before.
However, it was a solemn season; a season of holy mourning to some; to others, of joy unspeakable. Tues. 5. — I preached in Harston at nine, and about eleven at Wiltstow, three miles farther, to a people just ripe for, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.” In the afternoon we set out for Stoke, on the edge of Suffolk. As we rode through Haverhill, we were saluted with one huzza, the mob of that town having no kindness for Methodists. But all was quiet at Stoke; for Sir H—— A—— will suffer no disturbance there.
The congregation came from many miles round, and God was in the midst of them. Their hearty prayers went up on every side; and many felt the answer to them. Wed. 6. — The largeness of the congregation at five showed they were not forgetful hearers. I preached longer than I am accustomed to do; but still they were not satisfied. Many crowded after me into the dwelling-house.
After speaking a few words, I went to prayer. A cry began, and soon spread through the whole company; so that my voice was lost. Two seemed to be distressed above all the rest. We continued wrestling with God, till one of them had a good hope, and the other was “filled with joy and peace in believing.”
In the afternoon it blew a storm, by the favor of which we came into Haverhill, quite unmolested. But, notwithstanding wind and rain, the people crowded so fast into the preachinghouse, that I judged it best to begin half an hour before the time; by which means it contained the greater part of them. Although they that could not come in made a little noise, it was a solemn and an happy season. Thur. 7. — Abundance of them came again at five, and drank in every word. Here also many followed me into the house, and hardly knew how to part. At nine I preached at Steeple-Bumstead, three miles from Haverhill, to a considerably larger congregation; and all were serious.
Hence we rode tor Barkway, four miles from Royston. The preaching-place was exceeding large; yet it was well filled, and the people were wedged in as close as possible: And many of them found that God was there, to their unspeakable comfort.
Hence we rode to Barley, where I preached at one. A middle-aged woman dropped down at my side, and cried aloud for mercy. It was not long before God put a new song in her mouth. At six in the evening I preached at Melbourn. Here too God both wounded and healed. I laid hold, after preaching, on a poor backslider who quickly melted into tears, and determined to return once more to Him from whom she had deeply revolted.
Here I talked at large with one who thinks he is renewed in love. Perhaps he is; but his understanding is so small, his experience so peculiar, and his expressions so uncouth, that I doubt very few will receive his testimony. Sat. 9. — I rode to Potton. What has God wrought here since I saw this town twenty years ago! I could not then find a living Christian therein; but wild beasts in abundance. Now here are many who know in whom they have believed; and no one gives us an uncivil word! I preached at six to a very numerous and serious congregation. What have we to do to despair of any person or people? Sun. 10. — I preached at six in the morning to nearly the same congregation. I read Prayers and preached, morning and afternoon, at Everton, and gave the sacrament to a large number of communicants. At four we took horse, and reached Grandchester a little before seven. Finding a little company met together, I spent half an hour with them exceedingly comfortably; and, through the blessing of God, I was no more tired when I went to bed than when I arose in the morning. Mon. 11. — The house was thoroughly filled at five, and that with serious and sensible hearers. I was sorry I had no more time at this place; especially as it was so near. Cambridge, from whence many gentlemen used to come when any Clergyman preached. But my work was fixed; so I took horse soon after preaching,, and rode to a village called Botsamlode, seven miles from Cambridge. Here a large congregation was soon assembled; and I had no sooner named my text, “When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both,” than a murmur ran through the whole people, and many of them were in tears. This concern increased as I went on; so that none appeared to be unmoved. One just by me cried with a bitter cry; but in a short time she shouted for joy. So did several others; so that it was not easy to tell whether more were wounded or comforted.
Hence we rode to Lakenheath, and passed a comfortable night. Tuesday, 12. Just as we set out, the storm, which had been very high all night, brought on impetuous rain. It was a good providence, 1. That we had now firm, sandy road, not clay and miry fields, as yesterday; 2. That the wind was behind us; otherwise I believe it would have been impossible to go on. It was often ready to bear away man and beast:
However, in the afternoon we came safe to Norwich. Wed. 13. — We rested from our labor. How can they who never labor taste the sweetness of rest? Friday, 15. I preached at Yarmouth. Saturday, 16. I transcribed the society at Norwich; but two hundred of them I made no account of, as they met no class. About four hundred remained; half of whom appeared to be in earnest. Tues. 19. — I rode to Bury, and was glad to find a little, serious company still. But there cannot be much done here, till we preach abroad, or at least in the heart of the town. We are now quite at one end; and people will not come from the other till they have first “tasted the good word.” Thur. 21. — I rode to Colchester, and found a quiet, loving, regular society. After spending a day with them, on Saturday, 23, I cheerfully returned to London. Wed. 27. — I had a striking proof that God can teach by whom he will teach. A man full of words, but not of understanding, convinced me of what I could never see before, that anima est ex traduce; that all the souls of his posterity, as well as their bodies, were in our first parent. Fri . February 5. — I met at noon, as usual, those who believe they are saved from sin, and warned them of the enthusiasm which was breaking in, by means of two or three weak though good men, who, from a misconstrued text in the Revelation, inferred that they should not die.
After preaching at Deptford, Welling, and Sevenoaks, on Tuesday and Wednesday I rode on to Sir Thomas I’Anson’s, near Tunbridge, and, between six and seven, preached in his large parlour, which opens likewise into the hall. The plain people were all attention. If the seed be watered, surely there will be some fruit. Sun. 14. — I buried the remains of Thomas Salmon, a good and useful man. What was peculiar in his experience was, he did not know when he was justified; but he did know when he was renewed in love, that work being wrought in a most distinct manner. After this he continued about a year in constant love, joy, and peace; then, after an illness of a few days, he cheerfully went to God. Monday , 15, and the following days, I spent in transcribing the list of the society. It never came up before to two thousand four hundred: Now it contains above two thousand seven hundred members. Sun. 28. — We had a peculiar blessing at Spitalfields while I was enforcing, “Now is the day of salvation.” Indeed there is always a blessing when we cut off all delay and come to God now by simple faith. Fri . March 5. — I had a long conversation with Joseph Rule, commonly called the White Quaker. He appeared to be a calm, loving, sensible man, and much devoted to God. Mon. 8. — I retired to Lewisham, to answer Dr. Horne’s ingenious “Sermon on Justification by Works.” O that I might dispute with no man!
But if I must dispute, let it be with men of sense. Thur. 11. — I buried the remains of Mary Ramsey, a true daughter to affliction, worn out by a cancer in her breast, with a variety of other disorders. To these was added, for a time, great darkness of mind; the body pressing down the soul. Yet she did not murmur or repine, much less charge God foolishly. It was not long before he restored the light of his countenance; and shortly after she fell asleep. Fri. 12. — The National Fast was observed all over London with great solemnity. Surely God is well pleased even with this acknowledgment that He governs the world; and even the outward humiliation of a nation may be rewarded with outward blessings. Mon. 15. — I left London, though not without regret, and went slowly through the societies to Bristol. Saturday, 27. I heard a large account of the children near Lawford’s Gate, which has made so much noise here. The facts are too glaring to be denied. But how are they to be accounted for?
By natural or supernatural agency? Contend who list about this. Mon. 29. — I came to the New-Passage a little before nine. The rain and wind increased much while we were on the water: However, we were safe on shore at ten. I preached about twelve in the new room at Chepstow.
One of the congregation was a neighboring Clergyman, who lived in the same staircase with me at Christ Church, and was then far more serious than me. Blessed be God, who has looked upon me at last! Now let me redeem the time!
In the afternoon we had such a storm of hail as I scarce ever saw in my life. The roads likewise were so extremely bad that we did not reach Hereford till past eight. Having been well battered both by hail, rain, and wind, I got to bed as soon as I could, but was waked many times by the clattering of the curtains. In the morning I found the casement wide open; but I was never the worse. I took horse at six, with William Crane and Francis Walker. The wind was piercing cold, and we had many showers of snow and rain; but the worst was, part of the road was scarce passable; so that, at Church-Stretton, one of our horses lay down, and would go no farther. However, William Crane and I pushed on and before seven reached Shrewsbury.
A large company quickly gathered together: Many of them were wild enough; but the far greater part were calm and attentive, and came again at five in the morning. Wed. 31. — Having been invited to preach at Wem, Mrs. Glynne desired she might take me thither in a post-chaise; but in little more than an hour we were fast enough: However, the horses pulled till the traces broke. I should then have walked on had I been alone, though the mud was deep, and the snow drove impetuously; but I could not leave my friend; so I waited patiently till the man had made shift to mend the traces; and the horses pulled amain; so that with much ado, not long after the time appointed, I came to Wem.
I came: But the person who invited me was gone; gone out of town at four in the morning; and I could find no one who seemed either to expect or desire my company. I inquired after the place where Mr. Mather preached; but it was filled with hemp. It remained only to go into the market-house: But neither any man, woman, nor child cared to follow us; the north wind roared so loud on every side, and poured in from every quarter. However, before I had done singing, two or three crept in, and after them, two or three hundred; and the power of God was so present among them, that I believe many forgot the storm.
The wind grew still higher m the afternoon, so that It was difficult to sit our horses; and it blew full in our face, but could not prevent our reaching Chester in the evening. Though the warning was short, the room was full; and full of serious, earnest hearers, many of whom expressed a longing desire of the whole salvation of God.
Here I rested on Thursday. Friday, APRIL 2. I rode to Parkgate, and found several ships; but the wind was contrary. I preached at five in the small House they have just built; and the hearers were remarkably serious. I gave notice of preaching at five in the morning. But at half-hour after four one brought us word that the wind was come fair, and Captain Jordan would sail in less than an hour. We were soon in the ship, wherein we found about threescore passengers. The sun shone bright, the wind was moderate, the sea smooth, and we wanted nothing but room to stir ourselves; the cabin being filled with hops, so that we could not get into it but by climbing over them on our hands and knees. In the afternoon we were abreast of Holyhead. But the scene was quickly changed: The wind rose higher and higher, and by seven o’clock blew a storm. The sea broke over us continually, and sometimes covered the ship, which both pitched and rolled in an uncommon manner. So I was informed; for, being a little sick, I lay down at six, and slept, with little intermission, till near six in the morning. We were then near Dublin Bay, where we went into a boat, which carried us to Dunleary. There we met with a chaise just ready, in which we went to Dublin.
I found much liberty of spirit in the evening while I was enforcing, “Now is the day of salvation.” The congregation was uncommonly large in the morning, and seemed to be much alive. Many children, I find, are “brought to the birth:” And shall there not be strength to bring forth?
It was at this time that Mr. Grimshaw fell asleep. He was born September 3, 1708, at Brindle, six miles south of Preston, in Lancashire, and educated at the schools of Blackburn and Heskin, in the same county. Even then the thoughts of death and judgment made some impression upon him. At eighteen he was admitted at Christ’s College, in Cambridge. Here bad example so carried him away, that for more than two years he seemed utterly to have lost all sense of seriousness; which did not revive till the day he was ordained Deacon, in the year 1731. On that day he was much affected with the sense of the importance of the ministerial office; and this was increased by his conversing with some at Rochdale, who met once a week to read, and sing, and pray. But on his removal to Todmorden soon after, he quite dropped his pious acquaintance, conformed to the world, followed all its diversions, and contented himself with “doing his duty” on Sundays.
But about the year 1734, he began to think seriously again. He left off all his diversions; he began to catechise the young people, to preach the absolute necessity of a devout life, and to visit his people, not in order to be merry with them as before, but to press them to seek the salvation of their souls.
At this period also he began himself to pray in secret four times a day; and the God of all graces, who prepares his heart to pray, soon gave the answer to his prayer; not, indeed, as he expected: Not in joy or peace; but by bringing upon him very strong and painful convictions of his own guilt, and helplessness, and misery; by discovering to him what he did not suspect before, that his heart was deceitful and desperately wicked; and, what was more afflicting still, that all his duties and labors could not procure him pardon, or gain him a title to eternal life. In this trouble he continued more than three years, not acquainting any one with the distress he suffered, till one day, (in 1742,) being in the utmost agony of mind, there was clearly represented to him, Jesus Christ pleading for him with God the Father, and gaining a free pardon for him. In that moment all his fears vanished away, and he was filled with joy unspeakable. “I was now,” says he, “willing to renounce myself, and to embrace Christ for my all in all. O what light and comfort did I enjoy in my own soul, and what a taste of the pardoning love of God!”
All this time he was an entire stranger to the people called Methodists, whom afterwards he thought it his duty to countenance, and to labor with them in his neighborhood. He was an entire stranger also to all their writings, till he came to Haworth, May 26, of this year. And the good effects of his preaching soon became visible: Many of his flock were brought into deep concern for salvation, were in a little time after filled with peace and joy through believing; and (as in ancient times) the whole congregation have been often seen in tears on account of their provocations against God, and under a sense of his goodness in yet sparing them.
His lively manner of representing the truths of God could not fail of being much talked of, and bringing many hundreds out of curiosity to Haworth church; who received so much benefit by what they heard, that, when the novelty was long over, the church continued to be full of people, many of whom came from far, and this for twenty years together.
Mr. Grimshaw was now too happy himself, in the knowledge of Christ, to rest satisfied without taking every method he thought likely to spread the knowledge of his God and Savior. And as the very indigent constantly made their want of better clothes to appear in, an excuse for not going to church in the day-time, he contrived, for them chiefly, a lecture on Sunday evenings; though he had preached twice in the day before. God was pleased to give great success to these attempts, which animated him still more to spend and be spent for Christ. So the next year he began a method, which was continued by him for ever after, of preaching in each of the four hamlets he had under his care three times every month. By this means the old and infirm, who could not attend the church, had the truth of God brought to their houses; and many, who were so profane as to make the distance from the house of God a reason for scarce ever coming to it, were allured to hear. By this time the great labor with which he instructed his own people, the holiness of his conversation, and the benefit which very many from the neighboring parishes had obtained by attending his ministry, concurred to bring upon him many earnest entreaties to come to their houses, who lived in neighboring parishes, and expound the word of God to souls as ignorant as they had been themselves. This request he did not dare to refuse: So that while he provided abundantly for his own flock, he annually found opportunity of preaching near three hundred times to congregations in other parts.
And for a course of fifteen years, or upwards, he used to preach every week, fifteen, twenty, and sometimes thirty times, beside visiting the sick, and other occasional duties of his function. It is not easy to ascribe such unwearied diligence, chiefly among the poor, to any motive but the real one. He thought he would never keep silence, while he could speak to the honor of that God who had done so much for his soul. And while he saw sinners perishing for lack of knowledge, and no one breaking to them the bread of life, he was constrained, notwithstanding the reluctance he felt within, to give up his name to still greater reproach, as well as all his time and strength, to the work of the ministry.
During this intense application to what was the delight of his heart, God was exceeding favorable to him. In sixteen years he was only once suspended from his labor by sickness; though he dared all weathers, upon the bleak mountains, and used his body with less compassion than a merciful man would use his beast. His soul at various times enjoyed large manifestations of God’s love; and he drank deep into his Spirit. His cup ran over; and at some seasons his faith was so strong, and his hope so abundant, that higher degrees of spiritual delight would have overpowered his mortal frame.
In this manner Mr. Grimshaw employed all his powers and talents, even to his last illness; and his labors were not in vain in the Lord. He saw an effectual change take place in many of his flock; and a restraint from the commission of sin brought upon the parish in general. He saw the name of Jesus exalted, and many souls happy in the knowledge of him, and walking as became the Gospel. Happy he was himself, in being kept by the power of God, unblamable in his conversation: Happy in being beloved, in several of the last years of his life, by every one in his parish; who, whether they would be persuaded by him to forsake the evil of their ways, or no, had no doubt that Mr. Grimshaw was their cordial friend. Hence, at his departure a general concern was visible through his parish. Hence his body was interred with what is more ennobling than all the pomp of a royal funeral:
For he was followed to the grave by a great multitude, with affectionate sighs, and many tears; who cannot still hear his much-loved name, without weeping for the guide of their souls, to whom each of them was dear as children to their father.
His behavior, throughout his last sickness, was of a piece with the last twenty years of his life: From the very first attack of his fever, he welcomed its approach. His intimate knowledge of Christ abolished all the reluctance nature feels to a dissolution; and, triumphing in Him, who is the resurrection and the life, he departed, April the 7th, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-first of his eminent usefulness.
It may not be unacceptable to subjoin here one of his plain, rough letters, to the society in London: — Haworth, January 9, 1760. “My Dear Brethren, “GRACE, mercy, and peace, be to you from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus. It is well with four sorts of people, that you have had, or now have, to do with. It is well with those of you in Christ who are gone to God: It is well with those of you in Christ who are not gone to God: It is well with those who earnestly long to be in Christ, that they may go to God: It is well with those who neither desire to be in Christ, nor to go to God. And it is only bad with such who, being out of Christ, are gone to the devil. These it is best to let alone, and say no more about them. “But, to be sure, it is well with the other four. It is well with those of you who, being in Christ, are gone to God. You Ministers and members of Christ have no more doubt or pain about them. They are now, and for ever, out of the reach of the world, flesh, and devil. They are gone ‘where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest.’ They are sweetly reposed in Abraham’s bosom. They dwell in His presence who hath redeemed them; where ‘there is fullness of joy, and pleasures for ever more.’
They are waiting the joyful morning of the resurrection, when their vile bodies shall be made like unto his glorious body, shall be re-united to their souls, shall receive the joyful sentence, and inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. “It is well also with those of you who are in Christ, though not gone to God. You live next door to them. Heaven is begun with you too. The kingdom of God is within you. You feel it. This is a kingdom of righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is begun in grace, and shall terminate in glory. Yea, it is ‘Christ within you, the hope of glory.’ Christ the rock, the foundation, laid in your hearts. Hope in the middle, and glory at the top. Christ, hope, glory; Christ, hope, glory. You are washed in the blood of the Lamb, justified, sanctified, and shall shortly be glorified. Yea, your lives are already ‘hid with Christ in God.’ You have your conversation already in heaven. Already you ‘sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.’ What heavenly sentences are these! What can come nearer Paradise? Bless the Lord, O ye happy souls, and let all that is within you bless his holy name. Sing unto the Lord so long as you live, and praise your God while you have your being.
And how long will that be? Through the endless ages of a glorious eternity. “O my dear brothers and sisters, this is my hope, and this is my purpose. But to whom and to what are we indebted for all this, and infinitely more than all the tongues and hearts of men or angels can tell or conceive? To our Redeemer only, and to his merits. Christ within us is Jesus to us. We were poor, lost, helpless sinners, ‘aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,’ and ‘children of wrath;’ but Jesus lived, and Jesus died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to the enjoyment of it. “And what does all this require at our hands? Why, infinitely more than we can render him to all eternity. However, let us praise and glorify God in the best manner, and with the best member that we have. Let us do it constantly, cordially, cheerfully, so long as we live; and then, no doubt, we shall do it in heaven for ever. “Keep close, I beseech you, to every means of grace. Strive to walk in all the ordinances and commandments of God blameless, ‘giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure: Add to your faith virtue; to virtue knowledge; to knowledge temperance; to temperance patience; to patience godliness; to godliness brotherly kindness; to brotherly kindness charity.’ — For ‘if these things,’ says St. Peter, ‘be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Thus you will give the best token of your thankfulness to him for what he hath done for your souls; and you shall, not long hence, in heaven sing his praise with your happy brethren, gone thither before you. “It is well, likewise, with all those of you who do truly desire to be in Christ, that you may go to God. Surely he owns you; your desires are from him; you shall enjoy his favor. By and by you shall have peace with him through our Lord Jesus Christ. Go forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed ye by the Shepherd’s tents.
Be constant in every means of grace. He will he found of them that diligently seek him. ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.’ Though your sins be never so many, never so monstrous, all shall be forgiven. He will have mercy upon you, and will abundantly pardon. For where sin hath abounded, grace doth much more abound. He who hath begun this good work in you will accomplish it to your eternal good, and his eternal glory. Therefore, doubt not, fear not. A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. The deeper is your sorrow, the nearer is your joy. Your extremity is God’s opportunity. It is usually darkest before day-break. You shall shortly find pardon, peace, and plenteous redemption, and at last rejoice in the common and glorious salvation of his saints. “And, lastly, it is well for you, who neither truly desire to be in Christ, nor to go to God; for it is well for you that you are out of hell: It is well your day of grace is not utterly past. Behold, now is your accepted time; behold, now is the day of your salvation! O that you may employ the remainder of it in working out your salvation with fear and trembling! Now is faith to be had, saving faith; now you may be washed from all your sins in the Redeemer’s blood, justified, sanctified, and prepared for heaven.
Take, I beseech you, the time while the time is: You have now the means of grace to use; the ordinances of God to enjoy; his word to read and hear; his Ministers to instruct you; and his members to converse with. You know not what a day may bring forth: You may die suddenly. As death leaves you, judgment will find you:
And if you die as you are, out of Christ, void of true faith, unregenerate, unsanctified, snares, fire and brimstone, storm and tempest, God will rain upon you, ( Psalm 6:6,) as your eternal, intolerable portion to drink. “Suffer me, therefore, thus far, one and all of you. God’s glory and your everlasting welfare is all I aim at. What I look for in return from you is, I confess, much more than I deserve, — your prayers.
However, I spoke as I could till, before twelve, (it being a watch-night,) I could speak near as well as ever.
On Easter Day we had uncommon congregations, as indeed we have had all the week: And I observed a more stayed and solid behavior in most, than is usual in this kingdom. Monday and Tuesday I was employed in visiting the classes; and I was much comforted among them: There was such an hunger and thirst in all who had tasted of the grace of God after a full renewal in his image. Sun. 18. — As often as I have been here I never saw the House thoroughly filled before: And the multitude did not come together in vain. I think many will remember this day. Mon. 19. — I left Dublin; and I could look back with satisfaction on the days I had spent therein. I had reason to believe that God had been at work in a very uncommon manner. Many of those who once contradicted and blasphemed were now convinced of “the truth as it is in Jesus:” Many who had long revolted from God had returned to him with full purpose of heart. Several mourners had found peace with God, and some believe he has saved them from all sin: many more are all on fire for this salvation; and a spirit of love runs through the whole people.
I came in the evening to Newry, where I found a far different face of things. Offenses had broke the society in pieces, only two-and-thirty being left of near an hundred. But God has a few names left here also. Let these stand firm, and God will maintain his own cause. Wed. 21. — I rode to Carrickfergus. The violent rain kept away the delicate and curious hearers. For the sake of these I delayed the morning preaching till a quarter before nine: But it was too early still for a great part of the town, who could not possibly rise before ten. I added a few members to the society, and left them in peace and love.
Where to preach in Belfast I did not know. It was too wet to preach abroad; and a dancing-master was busily employed in the upper part of the market-house; till at twelve the sovereign put him out, by holding his court there. While he was above, I began below, to a very serious and attentive audience. But they were all poor; the rich of Belfast “cared for none of these things.”
After dinner we rode to Newtown, and found another poor, shattered society, reduced from fifty to eighteen members, and most of those cold enough. In the evening 1 preached to a large congregation in the market-house, on, “I will heal their backsliding.” God fulfilled his word:
Many were healed, and many more deeply wounded. I had full employment among them the next day; and on Saturday, 24, I left between thirty and forty members, full of desire, and hope, and earnest resolutions, not to be almost, but altogether, Christians.
About ten I preached at Comber, and then rode to Lisburn, where, in the evening, I had many rich and genteel hearers. Sunday, 25. The congregation was larger in the morning than the evening before, and many appeared to be deeply wounded. O may none heal their wound slightly! But far the largest congregation of all met in the evening; and yet I saw not a scoffer, no, nor trifler, among them. Mon. 26. — In the evening I preached to a large congregation in the market-house at Lurgan. I now embraced the opportunity which I had long desired, of talking with Mr. Miller, the contriver of that statue which was in Lurgan when I was there before. It was the figure of an old man, standing in a case, with a curtain drawn before him, over against a clock which stood on the other side of the room. Every time the clock struck, he opened the door with one hand drew back the curtain with the other, turned his head, as if looking round on the company, and then said, with a clear, loud, articulate voice, “Past one, two, three,” and so on. But so many came to see this (the like of which all allowed was not to be seen in Europe) that Mr. Miller was in danger of being ruined, not having time to attend his own business; so, as none offered to purchase it, or to reward him for his pains, he took the whole machine in pieces: Nor has he any thought of ever making anything of the kind again. Tues. 27. — I preached in Lurgan at five; In Terryhugan at ten; and at two in the market-house at Rich-Hill. I have rarely seen so serious a congregation at a new place. At six I preached in the new preaching-house at Claumain, the largest in the north of Ireland; and the people were all alive, being stirred up by Mr. Ryan, once an attorney, but now living upon his own estate. Wed. 28. — The rain kept off the curious hearers, so that we had few in the evening but earnest souls; after sermon we had a love-feast. It was a wonderful time. God poured out his Spirit abundantly. Many were filled with consolation, particularly two who had come from Lisburn, (three-and twenty Irish miles,) one a lifeless backslider, the other a girl of sixteen, who had been sometime slightly convinced of sin. God restored him to the light of discountenance, and gave her a clear evidence of his love; and indeed in so uncommon a manner, that it seemed her soul was all love. One of our brethren was constrained openly to declare, he believed God had wrought this change in him. I trust he will not lightly cast away the gift which God has given him. In the morning I left them rejoicing and praising God, and rode to Monaghan.
The commotions in Munster having now alarmed all Ireland, we had hardly alighted, when some wise persons informed the Provost there were three strange sort of men come to the King’s Arms. So the Provost with his officers came without delay, to secure the north from so imminent a danger. I was just come out, when I was required to return into the house.
The Provost asked me many questions, and perhaps the affair might have turned serious, had I not had two letters with me, which I had lately received; one from the Bishop to Londonderry, the other from the Earl of Moira. Upon reading these, he excused himself for the trouble he had given, and wished me a good journey.
Between six and seven I preached at Coot-Hill, and in the morning rode on to Enniskillen; the situation of which is both pleasant and strong, as it is surrounded by a deep and broad river; but fortifications it has none; no, nor so much as an old Castle. The inhabitants glory that they have no Papist in the town.
After riding round, and round, we came in the evening to a lone house called Carrick-a-Beg. It lay in the midst of horrid mountains; and had no very promising appearance. However, it afforded corn for our horses, and potatoes for ourselves. So we made an hearty supper, called in as many as pleased of the family to prayers, and, though we had no fastening either for our door or our windows, slept in peace. Sat . May 1. — We took horse at five. The northeast wind would have suited the first of January; and we had soaking rain on the black mountains. However, before noon we came well to Sligo.
None in Sligo, when I was there last, professed so much love to me as Mr. Knox’s family. They would willingly have had me with them morning, noon, and night, and omitted no possible mark of affection. But what a change! Mrs. K—— went into the country the day before I came; her brother and his wife set out for Dublin, at the same time; he himself, and the rest of his family, saw me, that is, at church, because they could not help it; But wonder’d at the strange man’s face, As one they ne’er had known.
Abundance of the Dragoons were there; so were many of the Officers, who behaved with uncommon seriousness. Mon. 3. — In the evening a company of players began acting in the upper part of the market-house, just as we began singing in the lower. The case of these is remarkable. The Presbyterians for a long time had their public worship here; but when the strollers came to town, they were turned out; and from that time had no public worship at all. On Tuesday evening the lower part too was occupied by buyers and sellers of oatmeal; but as soon as I began, the people quitted their sacks, and listened to business of greater importance.
On the following days I preached at Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumersnave, Cleg-Hill, Longfold, and Abidarrig. Saturday, 8. Calling on a friend in our way, we had not sat down before several of the neighbors, Papists as well as Protestants, came in, supposing I was to preach. I was not willing to disappoint them: And they all listened with deep attention.
Hence I rode to Athlone. I intended on Sunday, 9, to preach abroad as usual; but the sharp wind made it impracticable, and obliged me to keep in the House. The congregations, however, were large, both morning and evening; and I found a little fruit of my labor. Thur. 13. — I was in hopes even the Papists here had at length a shepherd who cared for their souls. He was stricter than any of his predecessors, and was esteemed a man of piety as well as learning. Accordingly, he had given them strict orders not to work on the Lord’s day; but I found he allowed them to play as much as they pleased, at cards in particular; nay, and averred it was their duty so to do, to refresh both their bodies and minds. Alas, for the blind leader of the blind! Has not he the greater sin? Sun. 16. — I had observed to the society last week, that I had not seen one congregation ever in Ireland behave so ill at church as that at Athlone, laughing, talking, and staring about during the whole service. I had added, “This is your fault; for if you had attended the church, as you ought to have done, your presence and example would not have failed to influence the whole congregation.” And so it appeared: I say not one today either laughing, talking, or staring about; but a remarkable seriousness was spread from the one end of the church to the other. Mon. 17. — I preached at Ahaskra to all the Protestants in or near the town. But their Priests would not suffer the Papists to come. What could a Magistrate do in this case? Doubtless he might tell the Priest, “Sir, as you enjoy liberty of conscience, you shall allow it to others. You are not persecuted yourself: You shall not persecute them.” Tues. 18. — I preached at Ballinasloe about ten in the morning, and in the evening at Aghrim. Thursday, 20. I rode on to Hollymount. The sun was extremely hot, so that I was much exhausted. But after a little rest, I preached in the church-yard without any weariness. Fri. 21. — I preached at Balcarrow church at ten to a deeply serious congregation, and in the Court-House at Castlebar in the evening. Sunday, 23. The chief family in the town made a part of our congregation. And whether they received any benefit thereby or no, their example may bring others who will receive it. Mon. 24. — I went with two friends, to see one of the greatest natural wonders in Ireland, — Mount-Eagle, vulgarly called Crow-Patrick. The foot of it is fourteen miles from Castlebar. There we left our horses, and procured a guide. It was just twelve when we alighted; the sun was burning hot, and we had not a breath of wind. Part of the ascent was a good deal steeper than an ordinary pair of stairs. About two we gained the top, which is an oval, grassy plain, about an hundred and fifty yards in length, and seventy or eighty in breadth. The upper part of the mountain much resembles the Peak of Teneriffe. I think it cannot rise much less than a mile perpendicular from the plain below. There is an immense prospect on one side toward the sea, and on the other over the land. But as most of it is waste and uncultivated, the prospect is not very pleasing.
At seven in the evening I preached at Newport, and at six in the morning. I then returned to Westport, and began reading Prayers at ten. After sermon I had a little conversation with Lord Westport, an extremely sensible man, and would gladly have stayed with him longer, but that I had promised to be at Castlebar; where, in the evening, I preached my farewell sermon to a numerous congregation. Wed. 26. — We took horse at four, to enjoy the cool of the morning. At seven the sun was warm enough: I verily think as warm as in Georgia. We could not have born it, but the wind was in our face. However, in the afternoon we got well to Galway. There was a small society here, and (what is not common) all of them were young women. Between seven and eight I began preaching in the Court-House to a mixed multitude of Papists and Protestants, rich and poor, who appeared to be utterly astonished. At five in the morning I preached again, and spoke as plain as I possibly could. But to the far greater part it seemed to be only “as the sound of many waters.” Thur. 27. — We had another Georgian day; but having the wind again full in our face, after riding about fifty English miles, we got well to Ennis in the afternoon. Many being ready to make a disturbance at the Court-House, I left them to themselves, and preached over against Mr. Bindon’s house, in great quietness. Fri. 28. — I was informed, that a few days before, two of Mr. B——’s maids went to bathe (as the women here frequently do) in the river near his house. The water was not above a yard deep; but there was a deep hole at a little distance. As one of them dashed water at the other, the, endeavoring to avoid it, slipped into the hole, and the first striving to help her slipped in too: Nor was either of them seen any more, till their bodies floated upon the water. Yet after some hours, one of them was brought to life. But the other could not be recovered.
The violent heat, which had continued for eight days, was now at an end, the wind turning north. So on Saturday, 29, we had a pleasant ride to Limerick. Sunday, 30. I preached in the old camp. The pleasantness of the place, the calmness of the evening, and the convenient distance from the town, all conspired to draw the people together, who flocked from every quarter. Many Officers, as well as abundance of soldiers, were among them, and behaved with the utmost decency. I preached the following evenings at the same place, and that in great measure for the sake of the soldiers, it being within a musket-shot of the place where they were exercising. Nay, two evenings an Officer ordered a large body to exercise on the very spot. But the moment I began they laid down their arms, and joined the rest of the congregation. Fri . June 4. — I preached at noon in Balligarane, to a large congregation, chiefly of Palatines. And so at Newmarket in the evening, and the morning following. These have quite a different look from the natives of the country, as well as a different temper. They are a serious, thinking people.
And their diligence turns all their land into a garden. Mon. 7. — I met a large number of children, just as much acquainted with God, and with the things of God, as “a wild ass’s colt,” and just as much concerned about them. And yet who can believe that these pretty little creatures have “the wrath of God abiding on them?”
Numberless crowds ran together about this time, to see the execution of the poor deserter. And I believe some of them retained serious impressions for near four-and-twenty hours! But it was not so with the soldiers:
Although they walked one by one, close to the bleeding, maugled carase, most of them were as merry within six hours, as if they had only seen a puppet-show. Tues. 8. — I visited the classes, and wondered to find no witness of the great salvation. Surely the flame which is kindled in Dublin will not stop there. The next evening God did indeed kindle it here; a cry went up on every side; and the lively believers seemed all on fire to be “cleansed from all unrighteousness.”
On Friday and Saturday I had much conversation with a very noted person. But I found none in town who expected that any good could be done to such a sinner as him! Such a sinner? Why, were we not all such?
We were dead in sin. And is he more than dead? Sun. 13. — Being informed I had shot over the heads of the soldiers, who did not “understand any thing but hell and damnation,” I took my leave of them this evening by strongly applying the story of Dives and Lazarus:
They seemed to understand this; and all but two or three boy-officers behaved as men fearing God. Mon. 14. — I rode to Cork. Here I procured an exact account of the late commotions. About the beginning of December last, a few men met by night near Nenagh, in the county of Limerick, and threw down the fences of some commons, which had been lately inclosed. Near the same time others met in the county of Tipperary, of Waterford, and of Cork. As no one offered to suppress or hinder them they increased in number continually, and called themselves Whiteboys, wearing white cockades, and white linen frocks. In February there were five or six parties of them, two or three hundred men in each, who moved up and down, chiefly in the night; but for what end did not appear. Only they leveled a few fences, dug up some grounds, and hamstrung some cattle, perhaps fifty or sixty in all. One body of them came into Cloheen, of about five hundred foot, and two hundred horse. They moved as exactly as regular troops, and appeared to be thoroughly disciplined. They now sent letters to several gentlemen, threatening to pull down their houses. They compelled every one they met to take an oath to be true to Queen Sive (whatever that meant) and the Whiteboys; not to reveal their secrets; and to join them when called upon. It was supposed, eight or ten thousand were now actually risen, many of them well armed; and that a far greater number were ready to rise whenever they should be called upon. Those who refused to swear, they threatened to bury alive. Two or three they did bury up to the neck, and left them; where they must quickly have perished, had they not been found in time by some traveling by. At length, toward Easter, a body of troops, chiefly light horse, were sent against them. Many were apprehended and committed to gaol; the rest of them disappeared. This is the plain, naked fact, which has been so variously represented. Thur. 17. — I rode about thirty English miles, through a pleasant and well-cultivated country, to Youghall. It is finely situated on the side of an hill, so as to command a wide seaprospect. I preached in the evening at the Exchange. Abundance of people attended; as did the far greater part of them at five o’clock in the morning. I returned to Cork on Friday. Sunday, 20. At the desire of Captain Taylor, I went to Passage, and preached to many of the town’s people, and as many of the sailors as could attend. On Monday and Tuesday I visited the classes, and observed what was very uncommon; in two years there was neither any increase nor any decrease in this society. Two hundred and thirty-three members I left, and two hundred and thirty-three I find. Thur. 24. — I rode to Kinsale, and preached in the Exchange to a considerable number of attentive hearers. In the afternoon I rode to Bandon, and found the society much lessened, and dead enough. Yet the congregation in the main street was remarkably large, as well as deeply attentive. So it was on Friday. Saturday, 26. I visited the classes, and exhorted them to “be zealous and repent.” The word sunk into their hearts; so that when we met in the evening, they did not seem to be the same persons. They appeared to breathe quite another spirit, every one stirring up his neighbor. I know not when I have seen so deep and general an impression made in so short a time. Sun. 27. — I returned to Cork, and in the afternoon preached on the Barrack-Hill. The congregation was such as I had not seen at Cork for at least twelve years. One soldier made some noise; but the Commanding Officer soon ordered him into custody. The top of the walls being covered with soldiers, made a solemn appearance. Let this preaching be continued, and the work of God will quickly revive at Cork.
On Monday and Tuesday the congregation at the house was far larger than on any week-day before. And there was much life among the people, which perhaps was increased by the epidemic disorder. This generally attacked first the head; afterward the throat and the breast. Mr. Jones, who had been drooping for some time, was seized with this three weeks since. While I was at Youghall, he sent for a Physician, who applied a blister to his head. In two or three days a second Physician was called in; who told his relations he was better and better. Returning from Bandon, and observing what was prescribed, I could not help saying, “When a fever neither intermits, nor remits, the bark is no better than poison.” At hearing this, the Doctors were much displeased, and declared again he was a great deal better. On Wednesday morning, a little before two, his spirit returned to God.
So died honest Thomas Jones, secundum artem! A man whom God raised from nothing, by a blessing on his unwearied diligence, to a plentiful fortune. Yet when riches increased on every side, he did not set his heart upon them. Some years since he retired from business, but was still fully employed in building and in doing good. His natural temper was rough, and so was his speech, which occasioned him many trials. But notwithstanding this, he was generous and compassionate, and never weary of well-doing.
From the beginning of his illness he was continually in prayer; for some time with much fear and distress. But I saw no signs of this after I came from Bandon: I believe his fears were then all scattered; and he waited with calm, though earnest, desire for the salvation of God. Wed. 30. I rode to Limerick. I had promised to come again, if our brethren found a convenient place to build a preaching-house. One now offered, proper in all respects. Saturday , July 3. I met the society, and inquired what each was willing to subscribe: A considerable sum was subscribed immediately. Sunday , 4, was a day of solemn joy, equal to any I had seen in Dublin. At the love-feast in the evening, it appeared that God had now visited Limerick also. Five persons desired to return thanks to God, for a clear sense of his pardoning love: Several others, for an increase of faith, and for deliverance from doubts and fears. And two gave a plain, simple account, of the manner wherein God had cleansed their hearts, so that they now felt no anger, pride, or self-will; but continual love, and prayer, and praise. Mon. 5. — I rode to Clonmell; and preached in the evening, near the barrack-gate, to a wild, staring multitude, many of whom would have been rude enough, but they stood in awe of the soldiers. Tues. 6. — I rode to Carrick-on-Suir. Having been informed there was one family here also, wherein both the man and his wife feared God, I immediately sent to the house: The woman presently came, from whom I learned, that her husband died the Saturday before, and left her with nothing but four little children, and an unshaken confidence in God. Her words, her look, her whole carriage, were of a piece, and showed the dignity of Christian sorrow. I could not but admire, that God should send me just at such a time! And her tears were turned into tears of joy.
In the evening I preached at Waterford, in a court adjoining to the main street. Wednesday, 7. Four of the Whiteboys, lately condemned for breaking open houses, were executed. They were all, notwithstanding the absolution of their Priest; ready to die for fear of death. Two or three of them laid fast hold on the ladder, and could not be persuaded to let it go.
One in particular gave such violent shrieks, as might be heard near a mile off. O what but love can cast out the fear of death! And how inexpressibly miserable is that bondage!
On this, and the two following days, God remembered poor Waterford also. Several backsliders were healed; many awoke out of sleep; and some mightily rejoiced in God their Savior. Sat. 10. — We rode to Kilkenny, one of the pleasantest and the most ancient cities in the kingdom; and not inferior to any at all in wickedness, or in hatred to this way. I was therefore glad of a permission to preach in the Town Hall; where a small, serious company attended in the evening. Sunday, 11. I went to the cathedral; one of the best built which I have seen in Ireland. The pillars are all of black marble; but the late Bishop ordered them to be white-washed! Indeed, marble is so plentiful near this town, that the very streets are paved with it.
At six in the evening I began preaching in the old Bowlinggreen, near the Castle. Abundance of people, Protestants and Papists, gathered from all parts. They were very still during the former part of the sermon; then the Papists ran together, set up a shout, and would have gone further, but they were restrained, they knew not how. I turned to them, and said, “Be silent; or be gone!” Their noise ceased, and we heard them no more: So I resumed, and went on with my discourse, and concluded without interruption.
When I came out of the Green, they gathered again, and gnashed upon me with their teeth: One cried out, “O what is Kilkenny come to!” But they could go no farther. Only two or three large stones were thrown; but none was hurt, save he that threw them: For, as he was going to throw again, one seized him by the neck, and gave him a kick and a cuff, which spoiled his diversion. Mon. 12. — I went to Dunmore-Cave, three or four miles from Kilkenny.
It is full as remarkable as Poole’s Hole, or any other in the Peak. The opening is round, parallel to the horizon, and seventy or eighty yards across. In the midst of this, there is a kind of arch, twenty or thirty feet high. By this you enter into the first cave, nearly round, and forty or fifty feet in diameter. It is encompassed with spar stones, just like those on the sides of Poole’s Hole. On one side of the cave is a narrow passage, which goes under the rock two or three hundred yards; on the other, an hollow, which no one has ever been able to find an end of. I suppose this hole too, as well as many others, was formed by the waters of the deluge, retreating into the great abyss, with which probably it communicates. Tues. 13. — I rode to Birr. About forty persons attended in the evening, and half as many in the morning. I saw there was but one way to do any good. So in the evening I preached abroad. I had then hundreds of hearers, and God himself spoke to many a cold heart. The next morning at five the Room was full, and light sprung out of darkness; so that many poor withered souls began to revive, and rejoice again in God their Savior. Thur. 15. — I took my old standing in the market-place at Mountmellick; but the next evening the rain drove us into the market-house. Afterward we had a joyful love-feast. Indeed hitherto God has been pleased to mark all our way with blessings. Sat. 17. — I went on to poor dead Portarlington. And no wonder it should be so, while the Preachers coop themselves up in a room with twenty or thirty hearers. I went straight to the market-place, and cried aloud, “Hearken! Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” God made his word quick and powerful, and sharp as a two-edged sword. Abundantly more than the Room could contain were present at five in the morning. At eight I began in the market-place again, on, “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?”
Solemn attention sat on every face, and God repeated his call to many hearts.
In the evening I preached in the market-place at Tullamore. Monday, 19.
Most of the houses shook; and yet no hurt was done in the whole town:
But some good was done; for at five o’clock the preaching-house was quite filled; and the inward voice of the Lord was mighty in operation. This also was “a glorious voice.” Tues. 20. — We had our Quarterly Meeting at Cooly-Lough. On Wednesday, I preached at Clara; Thursday, 22, at Tyrrel’s Pass; and on Friday went on to Edinderry. Here I found some who had been long laboring in the fire, and toiling to work themselves into holiness. To show them a more excellent way, I preached on Romans 10:6,7,8. They found this was the very thing they wanted; and at the meeting of the society, God confirmed the word of his grace in so powerful a manner, that many wondered how they could help believing. Sat. 24. — I rode to Dublin, and found the flame not only continuing, but increasing. The congregation used to be small on Saturday night; but it was as large now as formerly on Sunday. Monday, 26. At five in the morning the congregation was larger than it used to be in the evening. And in these two days and a half, four persons gave thanks for a sense of God’s pardoning mercy; and seven, (among whom were a mother and her daughter,) for being perfected in love.
The person by whom chiefly it pleased God to work this wonderful work, was John Manners, a plain man, of middling sense, and not eloquent, but rather rude in speech; one who had never before been remarkably useful, but seemed to be raised up for this single work. And as soon as it was done, he fell into a consumption, languished a while, and died.
I now found he had not at all exceeded the truth, in the accounts he had sent me from time to time. In one of his first letters, after I left the town, he says: “The work here is such as I never expected to see. Some are justified or sanctified, almost every day. This week three or four were justified, and as many, if not more, renewed in love. The people are all on fire. Such a day as last Sunday I never saw. While I was at prayer in the society, the power of the Lord overshadowed us, and some cried out, ‘Lord, I can believe!’ The cry soon became general, with strong prayers.
Twice I attempted to sing; but my voice could not be heard. I then desired them to restrain themselves, and in stillness and composure to wait for the blessing: On which all but two or three, who could not refrain, came into a solemn silence. I prayed again, and the softening power of grace was felt in many hearts. Our congregations increase much, and I have no doubt but we shall see greater things than these.”
Four days after, he writes: “The work of God increases every day. There is hardly a day but some are justified, or sanctified, or both. On Thursday three came and told me that the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed them from all sin. One of them told me she had been justified seven years, and had been five years convinced of the necessity of sanctification. But this easy conviction availed not. A fortnight since she was seized with so keen a conviction, as gave her no rest till God had sanctified her, and witnessed it to her heart.”
Three days after, (May 11,) he writes thus: “God still continues his marvelous lovingkindness to us. On Sunday last Dor. King entered into the rest. She had been seeking it for some time; but her convictions and desires grew stronger and stronger, as the hour approached. Awhile ago she told me she grew worse and worse, and her inward conflicts were greater than ever: But on the Lord’s day she felt an entire change, while these words were spoke to her heart, ‘Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.’ She now walks in sweet peace, and rejoices ever more. Her father received the blessing a few days before her, and is exceeding happy. “The fire catches all that come near. An old soldier, in his return from Germany to the north of Ireland, fell in one night with these wrestling Jacobs, to his great astonishment. He was justified seventeen years ago, but afterward fell from it for five years. As he was going to Germany, in the beginning of the war, the Lord healed him in Dublin; and in spite of all the distresses of a severe campaign, he walked in the light continually. On his return through London, he was convinced of the necessity of sanctification; and soon after he came hither, his heart was broken in pieces, while he was with a little company who meet daily for prayer. One evening as they were going away, he stopped them, and begged they would not go till the Lord had blessed him. They kneeled down again, and did not cease wrestling with God, till he had a witness that he was saved from all sin. “The case of Mr. Timmins is no less remarkable. He had been a notorious sinner. He was deeply wounded two months since. Ten days ago, on a Friday, God spake peace to his soul. The Sunday following, after a violent struggle, he sunk down as dead. He was cold as clay. After about ten minutes he came to himself, and cried, ‘A new heart, a new heart!’ He said he felt himself in an instant entirely emptied of sin, and filled with God. Brother Barry, likewise, had been justified but a few days, before God gave him purity of heart.”
May 15, he writes: “God still makes me a messenger of good tidings. His work goes on. Our last night’s meeting was remarkable for the presence and power of God, while several were relating what he had done. One said, ‘All that day in which God delivered me, I felt the blessing just at hand, but could not open my heart to receive it. I was fast shut up, till, under the sermon in the evening, I felt God open my heart, remove the bar of unbelief, and give me power to receive the blessing freely.’ “There are now three places in the city, wherein as many as have opportunity assemble day and night, to pour out their souls before God, for the continuance and enlargement of his work.” “May 29. — Since my last account, many have been sanctified, and several justified. One of the former is William Moor. He was a long time struggling for the blessing; and one night he was resolved not to go to bed without it. He continued wrestling with God for two hours; when he felt a glorious change, and the Spirit of God witnessing that the work was done. “We begin now to meet with opposition from every quarter. Some say this is rank enthusiasm; others, that it is either a cheat, or mere pride; others, that it is a new thing, and that they can find no such thing in the Bible.” “June 3. — The Lord increases his work, in proportion to the opposition it meets with. Between Monday morning and Tuesday night, I have had eight bills of thanksgiving; for two justified, three renewed in love, and three backsliders healed.” “June 15. — There is no end of the mercies of God. Three days of this week are gone, in which God has justified five sinners. On Sunday, in the afternoon, I preached at three in the Barrack-Square; and a more solemn time I have not seen; the hearers were as many as my voice could reach, and all remarkably attentive. “In the evening a cry ran through the society, and four were justified that night. Two of these, Alexander Tate and his wife, were but lately joined. The power of God first seized her, and constrained her to cry aloud, till she heard the still small voice. He continued calling upon God, and would not cease before God answered him also in the joy in his heart.” “Saturday , June 19. — We have had eight this week, whose sins are blotted out, and two more have entered into that rest. One of them says, she has enjoyed the love of God nine years; but felt as great a difference between that state, and the state she is now in, as if her soul was taken into heaven!” “June 26. — Last week eleven were justified, or sanctified, and this week eleven more; eight of whom received remission of sins, and three a clean heart: And a troop are waiting for the moving of the water. Among them whom the power of God has seized lately, are two eminent sinners, each of whom lived with a woman to whom he was never married. One of them already rejoices in God; the other mourns and will not be comforted: But the women are gone:
They put away the accursed thing immediately. “I had much fear about the children, lest our labor should be lost upon them; but I find we shall reap if we faint not. Margaret Roper, about eight years old, has been thoughtful for some time.
The other day, while they were at family prayer, she burst into tears and wept bitterly. They asked, what was the matter. She said she was a great sinner, and durst not pray. They bade her go to bed. She no sooner came into the chamber, than she began crying, and clapping her hands, so that they heard her across the street; but God soon bound up her broken heart. Being asked how she felt herself, she said, ‘Ten times better. Now I can love God. I wish you would sit up and sing with me all night.’ She has been happy ever since, and as serious as one of forty.” “July 3. — Our joy is now quite full. The flame rises higher and higher. Since Saturday last, eight sinners more are freely justified, and two more renewed in love. Our House was once large enough; now it is scarce able to contain us: And we have not many in the society, who are not either wrestling with God for his love, or rejoicing therein.”
Thus far the account of John Manners, quite unadorned, but plain and sensible.
Upon farther examination I found three or four and forty in Dublin, who seemed to enjoy the pure love of God: At least forty of these had been set at liberty within four months. Some others, who had received the same blessing, were removed out of the city. The same, if not a larger number, had found remission of sins. Nor was the hand of the Lord shortened yet:
He still wrought as swiftly as ever.
In some respects the work of God in this place was more remarkable than even that in London. 1. It is far greater, in proportion to the time, and to the number of people. That society had above seven-and-twenty hundred members; this not a fifth part of the number. Six months after the flame broke out there, we had about thirty witnesses of the great salvation. In Dublin there were above forty in less than four months. 2. The world was more pure. In all this time, while they were mildly and tenderly treated, there were none of them headstrong or inadvisable; none that were wiser than their Teachers; none who dreamed of being immortal or infallible, or incapable of temptation; in short, no whimsical or enthusiastic persons: All were calm and sober-minded.
I know several of these were, in process of time, moved from their steadfastness. I am nothing surprised at this: It was no more than might be expected: I rather wonder that more were not moved. Nor does this, in any degree, alter my judgment concerning the great work which God then wrought. Tues. 27. — I received a comfortable letter from Edinderry: “When you came hither, Satan had gained such an advantage over us, that few, even of the society, would read your sermons, saying, they were nothing but the Law; but God has now taught us better.
His power fell upon us first in the preaching, but abundantly more when the society met. At that time many who were in heaviness were filled with consolation; and two of the old believers were constrained to declare they believed God had cleansed them from all sin.” Wed. 28. — I received farther accounts from Limerick; one letter ran thus: — “July 20, 1762. “THERE is a glorious work going on at Limerick. Twelve or fourteen have a clear sense of being renewed; several have been justified this week; and on Sunday night, at the meeting of the society, there was such a cry as I scarce ever heard before, such confession of sins, such pleading with the Lord, and such a spirit of prayer, as if the Lord himself had been visibly present among us. Some received remission of sins, and several were just brought to the birth. All were in floods of tears: They trembled, they cried, they prayed, they roared aloud; all of them lying on the ground. I began to sing; yet they could not rise, but sang as they lay along.
When we concluded, some of them could not go away, but stayed in the House all night: And, blessed be our Lord, they all hitherto walk worthy of their calling.”
Another writes: — “ I WILL just tell you, the Lord has made your last visit to us a great blessing. Such times were never before in Limerick. The fire which broke out before you left us, is now spreading on every side.
A third letter, dated July 25, says: — “BLESSED be God, his word runs swiftly. Last night his power was present indeed; and another was assured that God, who had before forgiven his sins, had now cleansed him from all unrighteousness. There are now ten women and thirteen men who witness the same confession; and their lives agree thereto. Eight have lately received the remission of their sins; and many are on the full stretch for God, and just ready to step into the pool.” — Hence it appears, that, in proportion to the time, which was only three or four weeks, and the number of hearers, (not one half, if a third part,) the work of God was greater in Limerick than even in Dublin itself. Thur. 29. — I was informed of a remarkable instance of divine mercy. An harmless, unawakened young woman came to one of the meetings for prayer in Dublin. While they were praying, she felt herself a sinner, and began crying aloud for mercy. And when they rose to go away, she cried with a bitter cry, “What, must I go without Christ?” They began praying again; and in a short time she was as loud in praising God for his pardoning mercy.
No less remarkable was the case of Alexander Tate. He and his wife were present, where a few were met for prayer. Her sorrow was soon turned into joy. Her husband, who was before little awakened, was just then cut to the heart, and felt the wrath of God abiding on him: Nor did he cease crying to God, till his prayers and tears were swallowed up in thanksgiving. So here are two instances of persons both convinced and converted in the same hour. Sat. 31. — Although I never before felt such an union of heart with the people of Dublin, yet believing my present work in Ireland was ended, I cheerfully commended them to God, and embarked on board the Dorset for Parkgate. We weighed anchor at eight in the evening. Between nine and ten on Sunday morning, the Captain asked me if I would not go to prayers with them. All who were able to creep out were willingly present. After prayers I preached on Proverbs 3:17. We had scarce any wind when I began; but while I was preaching it sprung up, and brought us to Parkgate between six and seven. Mon . August 2. — I rode on to Chester. Never was the society in such a state before. Their jars and contentions were at an end; and I found nothing but peace and love among them. About twelve of them believed they were saved from sin; and their lives did not contradict their profession. Most of the rest were strongly athirst for God, and looking for him continually. Tues. 3. — I was desired to preach at Northwich; and one had stuck up notices in all parts of the town. But what place had they for me to preach in? Only a little room which would hold about fifty people. Between twelve and one they gathered from all parts, noisy and rude enough. I could not stand in the yard without just facing the sun; so I stood at the casement, that those without might hear, that is, if they had a mind to it.
But a great part of them had no such intention: They came only either for sport or mischief. However, they were pretty quiet till I had done. Our friends would then have persuaded me to stay till the mob was dispersed; but, as they grew louder and louder, I judged it best to walk immediately through the midst of them. Many things were thrown, but nothing touched me, till I took horse and rode to Manchester.
Here I received letters from Congleton, in Cheshire, and Burslem, in Staffordshire. Part of the former ran thus:— “August 1, 1762. “THE work of God for some time stood still here; but at the love-feast, on the 21st of March last, (glory for ever be to God!) there was an outpouring of his Spirit among us. Five persons were assured of their acceptance with God, of whom, by his free grace, I was one; four believed he had not only forgiven their sins, but likewise cleansed them from all unrighteousness. Many more have since found him gracious and merciful: Nor is his hand yet stayed at all.”
Part of the other is as follows: — “BEFORE Mr. Furz came into these parts we were biting and devouring one another; and many who once had known God, were ‘in their works denying him.’ The society in general was cold and dead; and only two were converted to God in a whole year. But, glory be to God, the case is now altered. Those grievances are removed. The power of God is present with us; and the fire of his love is kindled among us. We are very weak; but, blessed be God, we are all alive. Many are crying out in the bitterness of their souls, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ Sometimes we have had two, at other times six or seven, justified in one week; others find the very remains of sin destroyed, and wait to be filled ‘with all the fullness of God.’” Wed. 4. — I rode to Liverpool, where also was such a work of God as had never been known there before. We had a surprising congregation in the evening, and, as it seemed, all athirst for God. This, I found, had begun here likewise in the latter end of March; and from that time it had continually increased, till a little before I came: Nine were justified in one hour. The next morning I spoke severally with those who believed they were sanctified. They were fifty-one in all: Twenty-one men, twenty-one widows, or married women, and nine young women or children. In one of these the change was wrought three weeks after she was justified; in three, seven days after it; in one, five days; and in Sus. Lutwich, aged fourteen, two days only. I asked Hannah Blakeley, aged eleven, “What do you want now?” She said, with amazing energy, the tears running down her cheeks, “Nothing in this world, nothing but more of my Jesus.” How often “out of the mouth of babes and sucklings” dost thou “perfect praise!” Fri. 6. — I was informed of the flame which had broken out at Bolton.
One writing to Mr. Furz, described a little of it in the following words: — “Glory be to God, he is doing wonders among us! Since you left us there have been seven (if not more) justified, and six sanctified, at one meeting.
Two of these were, I think, justified and sanctified in less than three days.
O what a meeting was our last class-meeting! In three minutes, or less, God, quite unexpectedly, convinced an old opposer of the truth, and wounded many. I never felt the abiding presence of God so exceeding powerful before.”
I preached at Macclesfield in the evening to a people ready prepared for the Lord. An impetuous shower began just as we came into the town; but it did us no hurt. Inquiring how the revival here began, I received the following account: — In March last, after a long season of dryness and barrenness, one Monday night John Oldham preached. When he had done, and was going away, a man fell down and cried aloud for mercy. In a short time, so did several others. He came back, and wrestled with God in prayer for them. About twelve he retired, leaving some of the brethren, who resolved to wrestle on till they had an answer of peace. They continued in prayer till six in the morning; and nine prisoners were set at liberty.
They met again the next night; and six or seven more were filled with peace and joy in believing: So were one or two more every night till the Monday following, when there was another general shower of grace; and many believed that the blood of Christ had cleansed them from all sin.
I spoke to these (forty in all) one by one. Some of them said they received that blessing ten days, some seven, some four, some three days, after they found peace with God; and two of them the next day. What marvel, since one day is with God as a thousand years?
The case of Ann Hooly was peculiar. She had often declared, “The Methodists’ God shall not be my God. I will sooner go to hell than I will go to heaven in their way.” She was standing in the street with two young women, when John Oldham, passing by, spoke to one and the other, and went on. She burst into tears, and said, “What! am I so great a sinner, that he won’t speak to me?” About twelve he was sent for in haste. He found her in deep distress; but continued in prayer till all her trouble was gone, and her spirit rejoiced in God her Savior. Yet three nights after she was in much distress again, crying, “I have a wicked heart, and I cannot rest till God takes it away.” He did so in a few hours. Ever since she has been a pattern to all the young people in the town. She was thirteen years old. In about a year, her spirit returned to God. Sat. 7. — I made one more trial at Northwich, preaching in Mr. Page’s yard. Abundance of people flocked together; nor did any one oppose, or make the least disturbance. And when I afterward rode quite through the town, I had not one uncivil word.
In the evening I spoke with those at Manchester who believed God had cleansed their hearts. They were sixty-three in number; to about sixty of whom I could not find there was any reasonable objection. Mon. 9. — I preached at Elland and Birstal in my way to Leeds, where our Conference began on Tuesday morning; and we had great reason to praise God for his gracious presence from the beginning to the end. Sun. 15. — I preached about one at Birstal, and in the morning and evening at Leeds. I then rode about eighteen miles. On Monday morning I preached at Sheffield, and in the evening came to Derby. I had sent word that I did not intend to preach; but, after I had rested awhile in my chamber, coming down and finding the house full of people, I spoke to them half an hour in a familiar manner, and then spent some time in prayer. I believe God touched some of their hearts; indeed it seemed none were unmoved. Tues. 17. — We rode to Northampton, the next day to Sundon, and on Thursday, 19, to London. Friday, 20. As I expected, the sower of tares had not been idle during my five months’ absence; but I believe great part of his work was undone in one hour, when we met at West-Street. I pointed out to those who had more heat than light, the snares which they had well nigh fallen into. And hitherto they were of an humble teachable spirit. So for the present the snare was broken. Sat , 21. — My brother and I had a long conversation with Mr. Maxfield, and freely told him whatever we disliked. In some things we found he had been blamed without cause; others he promised to alter; so we were thoroughly satisfied with the conversation, believing all misunderstandings were now removed. Mon. 23. — I set out, and on Tuesday reached Bristol. After spending two days there, on Friday, 27, I set out for the west; and having preached at Shepton and Middlesey in the way, came on Saturday to Exeter. When I began the service there, the congregation (beside ourselves) were two women, and one man. Before I had done, the Room was about half full.
This comes of omitting field-preaching. Sun. 29. — I preached at eight on Southernay-Green, to an extremely quiet congregation. At the cathedral we had an useful sermon, and the whole service was performed with great seriousness and decency. Such an organ I never saw or heard before, so large, beautiful, and so finely toned; and the music of “Glory be to God in the highest,” I think exceeded the Messiah itself. I was well pleased to partake of the Lord’s Supper with my old opponent, Bishop Lavington. O may we sit down together in the kingdom of our Father!
At five I went to Southernay-Green again, and found a multitude of people; but a lewd, profane, drunken vagabond had so stirred up many of the baser sort, that there was much noise, hurry, and confusion. While I was preaching, several things were thrown, and much pains taken to overturn the table; and after I concluded, many endeavored to throw me down, but I walked through the midst and left them. Mon. 30. — We rode to Plymouth-Dock. Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 1. I came about two to Poleperro, a little village four hours’ ride from Plymouth-Passage, surrounded with huge mountains. However, abundance of people had found the way thither. And so had Satan too; for an old grayheaded sinner was bitterly cursing all the Methodists just as we came into the town. However, God gave his blessing, both to us and the congregation.
In the evening I preached at Medros; the next evening in St. Austle; and on Friday, 3, at Mevagissey. Saturday, 4. After preaching in Grampound, I rode on to Truro. I almost expected there would be some disturbance, as it was market-day, and I stood in the street at a small distance from the market. But all was quiet. Indeed both persecution and popular tumult seem to be forgotten in Cornwall. Sun. 5. — As I was enforcing, in the same place, those solemn words, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” a poor man began to make some tumult; but many cried out, “Constables, take him away.” They did so, and the hurry was over. At one I preached in the main street at Redruth, where rich and poor were equally attentive. The wind was so high at five, that I could not stand in the usual place at Gwennap. But at a small distance was a hollow capable of containing many thousand people. I stood on one side of this amphitheater toward the top, with the people beneath and on all sides, and enlarged on those words in the Gospel for the day, ( Luke 10:23, 24,) “Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see, and which hear the things that ye hear.” Mon. 6. — I preached at Penryn; Tuesday, 7, at Porkellis about one o’clock. Thence I rode on to Mullion, near the Lizard-Point. A man who was a sinner gladly received us; for he knew God had received him; having been deeply convinced of sin the last time I preached near Helstone, and not long after filled with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
A flame was kindled almost as soon as I began to speak, which increased more and more, all the time I was preaching, as well as during the meeting of the society. How tender are the hearts of this people! Such is the advantage of true Christian simplicity! Wed. 8. — The congregation at St. John’s, near Helstone, was thrice as large as when I was there before. The next day I preached at Crowan at noon, and at Penhale (in Breage) in the evening. Friday, 10. I preached on St. Hilary-Downs, to a congregation gathered from all parts. Abundance of them were athirst for God: And he did not deceive their hope. The cry of the mourners went up before him, and he sent down an answer of peace. Sat. 11. — I preached at one on the cliff, near Penzance, and in the evening at Newlyn. Sunday, 12. At eight God was in the midst, and many hearts were broken in pieces. Between one and two I preached at Sancreet, where I never was before. Abundance of strangers came from every side; and I believe not many went empty away. Hence we rode to St. Just, where I spent two comfortable nights, the congregations being very large, evening and morning. Tuesday, 14. I preached in Lelant about one, and, in the evening, near the Quay at St. Ives. Two or three pretty butterflies came, and looked, and smiled, and went away; but all the rest of the numerous congregation behaved with the utmost seriousness. Wed. 15. — We had our Quarterly Meeting. The next day I appointed the children to meet. I expected twenty, but I suppose we had fourscore; all of them wanting, many desiring, instruction.
The more I converse with the believers in Cornwall, the more I am convinced that they have sustained great loss for want of hearing the doctrine of Christian Perfection clearly and strongly enforced. I see, wherever this is not done, the believers grow dead and cold. Nor can this be prevented, but by keeping up in them an hourly expectation of being perfected in love. I say an hourly expectation; for to expect it at death, or some time hence, is much the same as not expecting it at all. Fri. 17. — At one I preached in Illogan; at six near Redruth, at a gentleman’s house, in a large court, shaded with trees. It was so calm that hardly a leaf moved. Saturday, 18. I preached once more in the street at Redruth, and in St. Agnes in the evening. I preached again at eight in the morning, and afterwards heard an excellent sermon at church, preached by the Rector, Mr. Walker, elder brother to the late Mr. Walker of Truro. He likewise gave notice of his design to preach, in the afternoon, a funeral sermon for Mr. Phelps, his late Curate, a man eminently humble, serious, and zealous for God. He was snatched away by a fever three weeks since, as was his predecessor, Mr. Vowler, three or four years before; another upright, zealous servant of God, and indefatigable in his labor. How strange a providence is this! Who can account for it? Did the God of love take them away, that they might not, out of zeal for him, continue to oppose their fellow-laborers in the Gospel?
Mr. Walker gave him his due praise, in a strong and pathetic sermon, well wrote and well pronounced; concluding with, “God grant me, (and I believe you will all join in the petition,) like him to live, like him to die.”
Just as the Service was ended, it began to rain. The wind also was exceeding high; this created some difficulty. No house could contain the people, neither could I preach, as before, on the top of the hill. I therefore made a halt at the bottom. The congregation gathered round me in a few minutes. We were tolerably sheltered from the wind, and the rain ceased till I had done. I particularly advised all that feared God to confirm their love to each other, and to provoke each other, not to doubtful disputations, but to love, and to good works.
The night came on soon after we were on horseback, and we had eight miles to ride. In about half an hour; it was so dark, I could not see my hand, and it rained incessantly. However, a little after eight, God brought us safe to Cubert. I preached at the Church-town the next day; and on Tuesday, 21, rode on to Port-Isaac. Here the stewards of the eastern Circuit met. What a change is wrought in one year’s time! That detestable practice of cheating the King is no more found in our societies. And since that accursed thing has been put away, the work of God has everywhere increased. This society, in particular, is more than doubled: And they are all alive to God. Friday, 24. About two I preached at Trewalder, and found God was there also; but more abundantly at Camelford, in the evening, as well as at five on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, the rain intermitting, I preached in the market-place; and it was a solemn season. Sun. 26. — After preaching at eight I left Camelford, now one of the liveliest places in Cornwall. About noon I preached at Trewint. It was fifteen years since I preached there before. Hence I rode to Launceston, to a people as dead as those at Camelford were once. Yet how soon may these also be quickened, by the voice that raiseth the dead! Mon. 27. — I rode to Mary-Week. It was a kind of fair-day; and the people were come far and near for wrestling and other diversions. But they found a better way of employing their time; for young and old flocked to church from all quarters. The next day I preached at Mill-House; on Wednesday, at Collumpton; and on Thursday, 30, in the market-house at Tiverton.
About midnight I was waked by loud thunder, which continued about a quarter of an hour at Tiverton. In other places, we were afterwards informed, it continued great part of the night. Yet by comparing various accounts, I found the main shock was at the same time for near an hundred miles. So it seems there was a train of clouds for at least that space, which, by an electrical touch, were all discharged at once. Fri . October 1. — I preached at Taunton and Shepton-Mallet, and on Saturday, 2, rode on to Bristol. In the two following weeks I visited as many as I could of the societies in the country, as well as regulated those of Bristol and Kingswood. Sat. 16. — Being informed that James Oddie, coming to Bristol, was stopped at Newport by a pleuritic fever, I went to him directly: He recovered from that hour, and in two or three days followed me to Bristol.
The next week I went to many of the societies in Somersetshire. Monday, 25. I preached at one, in the shell of the new House at Shepton-Mallet. In digging the foundation they found a quarry of stone, which was more than sufficient for the House. Thence I rode to Wincanton. The rain prevented my preaching abroad; so I willingly accepted the offer of a large meeting-house, where I preached to a crowded audience, with much satisfaction; and again at seven in the morning.
Abundance of rain fell in the night; so that in the morning we were blocked up; the river which runs by the side of the town not being fordable. At length we made a shift to lead our horses over the foot-bridge. I preached at Coleford about noon, and at Bristol in the evening. Thur. 28. — One who had adorned the Gospel in life and in death, having desired that I should preach her funeral sermon, I went with a few friends to the house, and sang before the body to the Room. I did this the rather, to show my approbation of that solemn custom, and to encourage others to follow it. As we walked, our company swiftly increased, so that we had a very numerous congregation at the Room. And who can tell, but some of these may bless God for it to all eternity?
Many years ago my brother frequently said, “Your day of Pentecost is not fully come; but I doubt not it will: and you will then hear of persons sanctified, as frequently as you do now of persons justified.” Any unprejudiced reader may observe, that it was now fully come. And accordingly we did hear of persons sanctified, in London, and most other parts of England, and in Dublin, and many other parts of Ireland, as frequently as of persons justified; although instances of the latter were far more frequent than they had been for twenty years before. That many of these did not retain the gift of God, is no proof that it was not given them.
That many do retain it to this day, is matter of praise and thanksgiving.
And many of them are gone to Him whom they loved, praising him with their latest breath; just in the spirit of Ann Steed, the first witness in Bristol of the great salvation; who, being worn out with sickness and racking pain, after she had commended to God all that were round her, lifted up her eyes, cried aloud, “Glory Hallelujah!” and died.