Are you a Christian?
REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY’S JOURNAL
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FROM MAY 27, 1765, TO MAY 5, 1768.
NUMBER JOURNAL FROM MAY 27, 1765, TO MAY 5, 1768. Monday , May 27, 1765.
— I took my leave of Londonderry. Mr. Knox sent his servant to conduct me to Sligo, being now as affectionate as Mr. K. of Sligo was the first time I was there. Keeping a steady pace, we rode fifteen miles, so called, in four hours and a half, and came, at noon, to Ballymafay. Here we were shown into a room, where lay a young man, brought near death by a vomiting of blood. Perhaps we were brought into this room, at this time, to save a poor man’s life. As we were riding through the mountains, in the afternoon, we overtook one who was just come from Derry, and had heard me preach all the time I was there, both in the evening and the morning. I talked plainly both to her and her husband, and they expressed all possible thankfulness.
At five we reached Donegal, the county-town. What a wonderful set of county-towns are in this kingdom! Donegal and five more would not make up such a town as Islington. Some have twenty houses in them, Mayo three, and Leitrim, I think, not one. Is not this owing in part to the fickleness of the nation, who seldom like anything long, and so are continually seeking new habitations, as well as new fashions, and new trifles of every kind? Tues. 28. — We breakfasted at Ballyshannon, I believe the largest and pleasantest town in the county. Beyond it, a good-natured man overtook me, with whom I talked largely and closely. He seemed much affected: If it continues, well; if not I am clear of his blood.
About twelve we stopped at a little house; but a cloud of smoke soon drove us out of the first room into another, where the landlord lay with a grievously bruised and swelled leg. I directed him how to cure it, and thence took occasion to give him some farther advice. Several eagerly listened as well as himself. Perhaps some will remember it.
In the evening I took my usual stand in the market-house, at Sligo; but here how was the scene changed! I have seen nothing like this since my first entrance into the kingdom. Such a total want of good sense, of good manners, yea, of common decency, was shown by not a few of the hearers! It is good to visit Sligo after Londonderry: Honor and dishonor balance each other. Have we done nothing here yet? Then it is high time to begin, and try if something can be done now. In the two following days I spoke as strongly as I could; and my labor was not in vain. The congregation increased very considerably, and appeared to be of another spirit. They behaved better the second night than the first, and far better the third night than the second. Many of them, I believe, had a fresh call from God; and at the meeting of the society he was eminently present: So that, notwithstanding their decay, I could not but hope there would be a “blessing in the remnant.”
I expected one to meet me at Sligo; but none appearing, I set out alone at five in the morning,JUNE 1, purposing to ride the new road to Castlebar; but on second thoughts I rode straight on to Foxford. At the entrance of the town I met three gentlewomen. One of them turned and cried out, “Is not that Mr. Wesley?” I thought it odd, but rode on. At the other end of the town a gentleman met me, and, taking hold of my bridle, said, “Sir, I must beg you to turn back, and dine with me at the barracks. There is a lady whom you know, and who will be very glad to see you.” I went back, and found one whom I had wished to see, more than most persons in the nation, but scarce ever expected to see her more. It was Miss B——n, of Sligo; and I found Mrs. S——n (now a widow) just the same amiable woman that Miss B——n was. I spent an hour or two in close, serious conversation, admiring the good providence of God. So I could not go the new road, which misses Foxford, because God had work for me to do there.
About seven I preached at Castlebar, on “the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” I found another kind of people here than at Sligo, and was much refreshed among them. Sunday, 2. Most of the Gentry in the town being at the Courtyard in the evening, my text was, “We preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” I know not that ever I spake more plain, though I supposed many would be offended; but I was mistaken; high and low seemed to approve: Some, I hope, profited. Mon. 2. — I rode to Newport, and preached at one to the largest congregation I remember to have seen there; and on Tuesday evening I took a solemn leave of the congregation at Castlebar. Wed. 5. — At five I took horse with a friend who undertook to bear me company to Galway. We faced the sun all the day; but light clouds and a small breeze made the heat tolerable. After resting an hour at Hollymount, (where the gardens, water-works, and once-lovely walks, swiftly running to ruin, give a striking proof that “the fashion of this world passeth away,”) we rode on to Mr. Lambert’s, near Headford, (a plain, open, hospitable man,) and thence to Galway, one of the largest towns I have seen since I left Glasgow. Our Room being small, some of our well-meaning friends were earnest for my preaching in the Exchange.
Because I would not disoblige them, I began at seven; and was suffered to go on for a full quarter of an hour! The beasts of the people (just as I expected) then roaring louder and louder, I walked through them without any hindrance or affront, and returned quietly to my lodgings. A large retinue attended me to the door; but it was only to gape and stare; none taking the pains either to lift up an hand, or to say anything bad or good. Thur. 6. — I was brought on my way by Lieutenant Cook, who was in all the actions at Fort-William-Henry, at Louisbourg, Quebec, Martinico, and the Havannah; and gave a more distinct account of those eminent scenes of Providence than ever I heard before. Although he was so often in the front of the battle, both against Indians, French, and Spaniards, and in the hottest fire, both advancing and retreating, he never received one wound.
So true is the odd saying of King William, that “every bullet has its billet.”
Between five and six we reached Ennis, after a warm day, which much exhausted my strength; but it was soon repaired; and the serious well-behaved congregation (though many of them were people of fortune) made amends for the turbulent one at Galway. Such is the chequer-work of life! Fri. 7. — I rested at Ennis: And it was well I did; for even in the house the heat was scarce supportable. Saturday, 8. I rode to Limerick, and found the preaching-house just finished. I liked it the best of any in the kingdom; being neat, yea, elegant, yet not gaudy. Sunday, 9. In the evening I preached at Mardyke. The heat was violent, even at six; nevertheless there was a numerous congregation, both of Protestants and Papists. Some of the latter behaved with remarkable indecency, — talking and laughing as at a play. I turned and reproved them. They took it well, and neither laughed nor talked any more.
In the following week I spoke to each member of the society, and had much satisfaction among them. Concerning several of them, there is all reasonable proof that they have given God all their heart: Many others are groaning after full salvation; and all the rest are free from outward blame.
Why may not every Christian community come as far as this? Wed. 12. — In the evening I preached near Mardyke, On a smooth, grassy place, to, I think, the largest congregation which I ever saw in Limerick. A solemn awe seemed to sit on every face, while I declared, in strong words, “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him.” The next day the rain began; so that all the following days I was constrained to preach in the house. Fri. 14. About noon I preached at Ballygarane, to the small remains of the poor Palatines. As they could not get food and raiment here, with all their diligence and frugality, part are scattered up and down the kingdom, and part gone to America. I stand amazed! Have landlords no common sense, (whether they have common humanity or no,) that they will suffer such tenants as these to be starved away from them? In the evening I preached at Newmarket, to a larger congregation of Papists as well as Protestants, both in the evening and morning, than I remember to have seen there before. For the present, many were full of good resolutions; and “why should ye revolt any more?” Sunday , 16, was a Sabbath indeed. Both in the morning and afternoon many were filled with consolation. Few were absent at five, Monday, 17, when I cheerfully commended them to the grace of God.
Two or three of them were desirous to bear me company for a day’s journey. Before noon we were met by a violent shower, which drove us into a little cabin, where were a company of children with their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. They seemed much frightened; but one of our company, who spoke Irish, soon took away their fears. We then sang a hymn, and went to prayer. They gaped and stared abundantly; and when we went away, after giving them a small piece of money, followed us with a thousand blessings.
At seven I preached in the market-house at Kilfinnan. Well nigh all the town, Irish, English, and Germans, Protestants and Papists, presently gathered together. At first, most of the Papists stood aloof, and so did several of the genteeler people; but by degrees they drew in and mixed with the congregation; and I believe all of them felt that God was there.
Today I received from Prudence Nixon herself the strange account of her late husband: — In November last, on a Sunday evening, he was uncommonly fervent in prayer, and found such a desire as he never had before, “to depart, and to be with Christ.” In the night she awaked, and found him quite stiff, and without either sense or motion. Supposing him to be either dying or dead, she broke out into a vehement agony of prayer, and cried for half an hour together, “Lord Jesus! give me George! Take him not away.” Soon after he opened his eyes, and said earnestly, “You had better have let me go.” Presently he was raving mad, and began to curse and blaspheme in the most horrid manner. This he continued to do for several days, appearing to be under the full power of an unclean spirit. At the latter end of the week she cried out, “Lord, I am willing! I am willing he should go to thee.” Quickly his understanding returned, and he again rejoiced with joy unspeakable. He tenderly thanked her for giving him up to God, kissed her, lay down and died. Tues. 18. — The town seemed to be all alive a little after four o’clock: So, finding the congregation ready, I began a little before five. A cry soon arose of young and old, on the right hand and on the left; but in many it was not so much the voice of sorrow as of joy and triumph. A fair beginning this!
But who can tell what the end will be?
About nine we rode through Doneraile, one of the pleasantest towns in the kingdom: But a man came galloping after us, and said, “All the town begs you will stop and give them a sermon.” I turned back, and took my stand in the main street. Men, women, and children flocked from all sides. There was no disturbance of any kind, while I declared “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fair blossoms again! And who knows but some of these may bring forth fruit unto perfection?
In the evening I came to Cork; and at seven was surprised at the unusual largeness of the congregation. I had often been grieved at the smallness of the congregation here; and it could be no other, while we cooped ourselves up in the House. But now the alarm is sounded abroad, people flock from all quarters. So plain it is, that field preaching is the most effectual way of overturning Satan’s kingdom. Thur. 20. — At seven in the evening I stood in a vacant place near Blackpool, famous from time immemorial for all manner of wickedness, for riot in particular, and cried aloud, “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
Abundance of Papists gathered at a distance; but they drew nearer and nearer, till nine parts in ten mingled with the congregation, and were all attention. Surely this is the way to spread religion: To publish it in the face of the sun. Fri. 21. — I rode over to Bandon, and preached at seven in the main street. The congregation was exceeding large: So it was, in proportion, at five in the morning. Sunday, 23. I preached at eight near the upper market-house. Till now I did not observe that all I could say made any impression upon the hearers. But the power of God was now eminently present; and all seemed to be sensible of it. About five I began in George’s Street, at Cork, the opposite corner of the town from the new Room.
Many of the chief of the city were of the audience, Clergy as well as laity; and all but two or three were not only quiet, but serious and deeply attentive. What a change! Formerly we could not walk through this street but at the peril of our lives. Monday and Tuesday I spoke, one by one, to the members of the society.
They are now two hundred and ninety-five, — fifty or sixty more than they have been for some years. This is owing partly to the preaching abroad, partly to the meetings for prayer in several parts of the city.
These have been the means of awakening many gross sinners, of recovering many backsliders, of confirming many that were weak and wavering, and bringing many of all sorts to the public preaching. At seven I went once more to Blackpool, where the congregation was far larger than before.
Abundance of Papists stole in among them, a very few standing aloof. O what a day of God’s power is this! May he fulfill in us all His good pleasure! Fri. 28. — After giving our brethren a solemn caution, not to “love the world, nor the things of the world,” I left them with more satisfaction than ever; as there is reason to hope that they will be tossed to and fro no more, but steadily adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
About seven in the evening I began in the Exchange at Youghall. Four or five noisy men disturbed those that were near them, till I reproved them sharply. The whole congregation then behaved with the utmost decency. Sat. 29. — I preached at five in a Room that would contain four or five hundred people. But the word does not yet sink into their hearts: Many are pleased; but few convinced. In the evening I went to the Exchange again. The congregation was almost doubled, whom I exhorted to “ask for the old path, the good way, and to walk therein.” Afterwards I met the infant society, consisting of nineteen members; all of whom are full of good desires, and some know in whom they have believed. Sun. 30. — At eight the congregation was both larger and more affected than ever. I was glad to see a large and tolerably serious congregation in the church. It was once a spacious building; but more than half of it now (a common thing in Ireland!) lies in ruins. In the evening I preached to a multitude of people in the main street. A few Gentry soon walked away; but the bulk of the congregation were deeply attentive. What an harvest is ready for zealous laborers! When wilt thou thrust them out into thy harvest? Mon . July 1. — I rode to Waterford, and preached in a little court, on our “great High Priest that is passed into the heavens” for us. But I soon found I was got above most of my hearers: I should have spoke of death or judgment. On Tuesday evening I suited my discourse to my audience, which was considerably increased: But much more the next evening; and deep attention sat on almost every face. The Room was well filled on Thursday morning; and the poor people were so affectionate, that it was with difficulty we were able to break from them, amidst abundance of prayers and blessings.
At seven in the evening I preached in the Assemblyroom at Kilkenny, to many well-dressed, reputable people, some of whom attended again at five in the morning. In the evening the congregation was increased in seriousness as much as in number, while I enforced those awful words, “God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I never spoke plainer; yet I did not hear of any that were offended. What an alteration is there in this city within six or eight years! Sat. 6. — We rode to Portarlington. At seven I preached in the market-house to a numerous congregation. Near as many were present at eight in the morning. I had great liberty of speech; and the manner wherein they “suffered the word of exhortation” persuaded me it would not be in vain.
We came to Mount-Mellick before the church began, and were glad to find it was sacrament Sunday. In the evening I preached on one side of the market place, on our Lord’s lamentation over Jerusalem, to almost all the Protestants in the town, and not a few of the Papists. To these I made a particular application in the conclusion of my discourse. Indeed, I never found so great a concern for them as since I came last into the kingdom. Mon . 8 — I preached in the market place once more; and it was a solemn hour. I left many of the people much alive to God, and athirst for his whole image. I preached at Tullamore in the evening. At five in the morning the House was near full. While I was preaching on Tuesday evening in the market place we had several showers; but few went away.
Here, likewise, I was constrained to address myself to the Papists in particular, and to exhort them never to rest till they were partakers of the common salvation.
About eleven we were waked with a cry of “Fire,” which was at the next door but one. The flames shone so that one might see to pick up a pin, and the sparks flew on every side; so that it was much feared the neighboring houses would take fire, as several of them were thatched: But the violent vain, which fell an hour before, had made the thatch so wet that it could not catch quickly; and in less than two hours all the fire was quenched; so we slept the rest of the night in peace. Wed. 10. — I preached at Clara about noon, and in the evening at Athlone.
The two next evenings I preached in the market-house, for the sake of the Papists, who durst not come to the Room. Saturday, 13. I read Sir Richard Cox’s “History of Ireland.” I suppose it is accounted as authentic as any that is extant. But surely never was there the like in the habitable world!
Such a series of robberies, murders, and burning of houses, towns, and countries, did I never hear or read of before. I do not now wonder Ireland is thinly inhabited, but that it has any inhabitants at all! Probably it had been wholly desolate before now, had not the English come, and prevented the implacable wretches from going on till they had swept each other from the earth.
In the afternoon I rode to Aghrim, and preached about seven to a deeply serious congregation, most of whom were present again at eight in the morning. On Sunday, 14, about five, I began in my usual place at Athlone, on the Connaught side of the river. I believe the congregation (both of Protestants and Papists) was never so large before. Some were displeased at this; and several pieces of turf were thrown over the houses, with some stones; but neither one nor the other could in the least interrupt the attention of the people. Then a Popish miller (prompted by his betters, so called) got up to preach over against me; but some of his comrades throwing a little dirt in his face, he leaped down in haste to fight them.
This bred a fray, in which he was so roughly handled that he was glad to get off with only a bloody nose. Mon. 15. — I had the pleasure of meeting many of my friends from various parts at Coolylough. I preached at twelve under the shade of some spreading trees, and again at six in the evening. Tuesday, 16. I preached at Tyrrel’s Pass, with a peculiar blessing from God, though many persons of fortune were in the congregation. But the poor and the rich are his. Wed. 17. — I preached in the Grove at Edinderry. Many of the Quakers were there, (it being the time of their General Meeting,) and many of all sorts. I met here with the Journal of William Edmundson, one of their Preachers in the last century. If the original equaled the picture, (which I see no reason to doubt;) what an amiable man was this! His opinions I leave; but what a spirit was here! What faith, love, gentleness, long-suffering! Could mistake send such a man as this to hell? Not so. I am so far from believing this, that I scruple not to say, “Let my soul be with the soul of William Edmundson!” Thur. 18. — The wind in our face tempering the heat of the sun, we had a pleasant ride to Dublin. In the evening I began expounding the deepest part of the holy Scripture, namely, the first Epistle of St. John, by which, above all other, even inspired writings, I advise every young Preacher to form his style. Here are sublimity and simplicity together, the strongest sense and the plainest language! How can any one that would “speak as the oracles of God,” use harder words than are found here? Sun. 21. — Between eight and nine I began preaching in the Barrack-Square, to such a congregation as I never saw in Dublin before; and every one was as quiet as if we had been in the new Square at Bristol.
What a change since Mr. Whitefield, a few years ago, attempted to preach near this place! Mon. 22. — I rode to Donard, a little town in the county of Wicklow.
Here I met with more noise, and stupid, senseless impudence, than I have found since I left England; but the chief man of the town having handled one of the disturbers roughly, and another of them being knocked down, (not by a Methodist,) I concluded my discourse without any farther hindrance. Tues. 23. — I began, as usual, at five. About the middle of the sermon, the rain (which was exceedingly wanted) began, and drove us into our friend’s house; where I found his daughters, five sisters, all rejoicing in God their Savior. Hence I rode to Baltinglass. But I had scarce spoken five minutes when the rain drove us into the house here also. I had designed to preach at Carlow in the evening; but the difficulty was, where to find a place: Our House was too small, and there was little prospect of preaching quietly in the street. While we were considering, one of the chief persons in the town sent to desire I would preach in her court-yard. This I did to a multitude of people, rich and poor; and there was no disturbance at all; nor did I observe that any went away, though we had a sharp shower almost as soon as I began. Wed. 24. — I rode, in the hottest day I have felt this year, to Dublin. Thursday and Friday morning I spent in a conference with our Preachers.
In the afternoons I spoke to the members of the society. I left four hundred and forty, and find above five hundred; more than ever they were since my first landing in the kingdom. And they are not increased in number only, but many of them are rejoicing in the pure love of God; and many more refuse to be comforted till they can witness the same confession. Sun. 28. — I preached in the Barrack-Square, both morning and afternoon.
The morning congregation was far larger than last week; but this was doubled in the afternoon. At both times my heart was much enlarged towards them, and my voice so strengthened, that I suppose several thousands more might have distinctly heard every sentence. Mon. 29. — I was desired by some friends to take a ride to the Dargle, ten or twelve miles from Dublin; one of the greatest natural curiosities, they said, which the kingdom afforded. It far exceeded my expectation. You have a high and steep mountain, covered with stately wood, up the side of which a path is cut, and seats placed at small distances. A deep vale, through which a clear river runs, lies between this and another high mountain, whose sides are clothed with tall trees, row above row, from the river to the very top. Near the summit of the first mountain, you have an opening on the one hand which commands the fruitful counties of Kildare, Dublin, and Louth, as far, in a clear, sunshiny day, as the huge mountains of Newry; on the other hand is a fine landscape of meadows and fields, that terminates in a sea-prospect. Adding this to the rest, it exceeds anything which I have seen in Great Britain. And yet the eye is not satisfied with seeing! It never can, till we see God. Wed. 31. — At the earnest desire of a friend, I suffered Mr. Hunter to take my picture. I sat only once, from about ten o’clock, to half an hour after one; and in that time he began and ended the face; and with a most striking likeness. Fri . August 2. — One informed me that the Captain with whom I had agreed for my passage, was gone without me, but had taken my horse. I was content, believing all was for the best; but we soon heard he was only fallen down a few miles; so we took a boat and followed him: and about ten we went on board the Felicity bound for Whitehaven. In about an hour we set sail. Soon after the wind turned, and was against us most part of Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, I preached to our little congregation, thirteen in all, on, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” In a short time, the wind sprung up fair, but with intervals of calm; so that we did not reach Whitehaven quay till Tuesday , 6, between twelve and one in the morning.
After sleeping two or three hours, I hastened away, and in the afternoon came to Carlisle. Some friends waited for me here. We purposed setting out early in the morning; but one of our company being taken ill, we waited some hours; so that we did not reach Newcastle till about one on Thursday morning.
I scarce ever saw the people here so much alive to God; particularly those who believe they are saved from sin. I was ready to say, “It is good for me to be here;” but I must not build tabernacles. I am to be a wanderer on earth, and desire no rest till my spirit returns to God. Sun. 11. — I preached about seven at the Fell, to our honest, lively colliers; and about two in the afternoon in the Square at Hartley, eleven miles from Newcastle. Thence I hastened back to the Garth-heads, where was the largest congregation which has been there for many years.
Afterwards, several hundreds of us met at the Room, and solemnly renewed our covenant with God. About eight I was so tired, I could hardly stand; but after speaking another hour all my weariness was gone, and I was as lively and strong as at eight in the morning. Mon. 12. — I went to Sunderland. Here likewise is a people ready prepared for the Lord. Tuesday, 13. I purposed to preach abroad at Durham; but the rain hindered. As many as could hear behaved well; and many felt that God was there. At Yarm in the evening, one would have thought the whole congregation loved or feared God; so much thought appeared in all their faces; so much decency in their behavior. Wed. 14. — I preached in the evening at Leeds, and the next morning rode to Huddersfield. Mr. Venn having given notice on Sunday of my preaching, we had a numerous congregation. We had a warm ride from hence to Manchester; but as my day, so was my strength. Fri. 16. — I rode over to Chester, and preached to as many as the new house would well contain. We had likewise a numerous congregation on Saturday, morning as well as evening. How the grace of God concurs with his providence! A new House not only brings a new congregation, but likewise (what we have observed again and again) a new blessing from God. And no wonder, if every labor of love finds even a present reward. Sun. 18. — The House contained the morning congregation; but in the evening multitudes were constrained to go away. So does truth win its way against all opposition, if it be steadily declared with meekness of wisdom. Mon. 19. — I preached in Northwich at ten, and at Manchester in the evening. Our Conference began on Tuesday, 20, and ended on Friday, 23. Sunday, 25. Having been all the week greatly straitened for room, I preached at seven in the new Square. The congregation was exceeding large; yet generally and deeply attentive. About one I preached at Stockport on a Green at the south end of the town. It was sultry hot, but few regarded it; for God “sent a gracious rain upon his inheritance.”
At six in the evening I preached at Maxfield; and, setting out early in the morning, by long stages came to Birmingham, where a large congregation waited for me. I began immediately to apply those comfortable words, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” I soon forgot my weariness, and the heat of the place: God was there, and it was enough. On Tuesday, 27, I rode on to Stroud, and the next morning to Bristol. After resting three or four days, on Monday, SEPTEMBER 2, I set out for Cornwall, and preached that evening at Middlesey. Tuesday, 3. I rode to Tiverton, and in the evening preached near the east end of the town to a large and quiet audience. Wednesday, 4. I rode on to North-Tawton, a village where several of our Preachers had preached occasionally. About six I went to the door of our inn; but I had hardly ended the Psalm, when a Clergyman came, with two or three (by the courtesy of England called) gentlemen.
After I had named my text, I said, “There may be some truths which concern some men only; but this concerns all mankind.” The Minister cried out, “That is false doctrine, that is predestination.” Then the roar began, to second which they had brought an huntsman with his hounds:
But the dogs were wiser than the men; for they could not bring them to make any noise at all. One of the gentlemen supplied their place. He assured us he was such, or none would have suspected it; for his language was as base, foul, and porterly, as ever was heard at Billingsgate. Dog, rascal, puppy, and the like terms, adorned almost every sentence. Finding there was no probability of a quiet hearing, I left him the field, and withdrew to my lodging. Thur. 5. — We had a pleasant ride to Mill-House, where I preached at five to a deeply serious congregation. The next day at noon I preached in a field near Camelford, it being the fair day, on, “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” I preached within at Port-Isaac, because of the rain; but many were constrained to stand without. It was a glorious opportunity; God showering down his blessing on many souls. Sat. 7. — I rode to Cuthbert, (that is the true spelling,) and found Mr. Hoskins weak in body, but happy in God. He was just able to ride to the Church-Town in the evening, where a serious congregation soon assembled. Sunday, 8. About eight I preached at St. Agnes; at one, in the main street at Redruth; but a still larger congregation was at Gwennap in the evening, equal to any I have seen in Moorfields. Yet, I think, they all heard, while I enforced, “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
After preaching I returned to Redruth; where, hearing an exceeding strange story, I sent for the person herself, Grace Paddy, a well-bred, sensible young woman I can speak of her now without restraint, as she is safe in Abraham’s bosom. She said, “I was harmless, as I thought, but quite careless about religion, till about Christmas, when my brother was saying, ‘God has given to me all I want; I am as happy as I can live.’ This was about ten in the morning. The words went like an arrow to my heart. I went into my chamber and thought, ‘Why am not I so? O, I cannot be, because I am not convinced of sin.’ I cried out vehemently, ‘Lord, lay as much conviction upon me as my body can bear.’ Immediately I saw myself in such a light, that I roared for the disquietness of my heart. The maid running up, I said, ‘Call my brother.’ He came; rejoiced over me; said, ‘Christ is just ready to receive you; only believe!’ and went to prayer. In a short time all my trouble was gone, and I did believe all my sins were blotted out; but in the evening I was thoroughly convinced of the want of a deeper change. I felt the remains of sin in my heart; which I longed to have taken away. I longed to be saved from all sin, to be ‘cleansed from all unrighteousness.’ And at the time Mr. Rankin was preaching, this desire increased exceedingly. Afterwards, he met the society. During his last prayer I was quite overwhelmed with the power of God. I felt an inexpressible change in the very depth of my heart; and from that hour I Have felt no anger, no pride, no wrong temper of any kind; nothing contrary to the pure love of God, which I feel continually. I desire nothing but Christ; and I have Christ always reigning in my heart. I want nothing; He is my sufficient portion in time and in eternity.”
Such an instance I never knew before; such an instance I never read; a person convinced of sin, converted to God, and renewed in love, within twelve hours! Yet it is by no means incredible; seeing one day is with God as a thousand years. Mon. 9. — The Room would by no means contain the congregation at five in the morning. How is this town changed! Some years since a Methodist Preacher could not safely ride through it. Now, high and low, few excepted, say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
About one I preached at Porkellis; at six in Crowan. I admire the depth of grace in the generality of this people; so simple, so humble, so teachable, so serious, so utterly dead to the world! Tues. 10. — They filled the House at five. I preached in Breage at twelve, under a lovely shade of trees. About six I began at St. John’s near Helstone, once as furious a town as Redruth. Now almost all the Gentry of the town were present, and heard with the deepest attention. Wed. 11. — Perceiving my voice began to fail, I resolved to preach, for a while, but twice a day. In the evening I preached in a little ground at Newlyn, to a numerous congregation. None behaved amiss but a young gentleman who seemed to understand nothing of the matter. Thur. 12. — Coming to St. Just, I learned that John Bennets had died some hours before. He was a wise and a good man, who had been above twenty years as a father to that society. A little before his death he examined each of his children concerning their abiding in the faith. Being satisfied of this, he told them, “Now I have no doubt but we shall meet again at the right hand of our Lord.” He then cheerfully committed his soul to Him, and fell asleep.
On the numerous congregation in the evening I enforced those solemn words, “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.” Fri. 13. — I rode to St. Ives; and in the evening preached on the seashore; but though there was little wind, yet the noise of the waves prevented many from hearing. Saturday , 14. About noon I preached at the Hayle, a small arm of the sea, which runs up into the land, two or three miles from St. Ives, and makes a tolerable harbor. In the evening we procured a more convenient place at St. Ives, a meadow on the side of the hill, where the people stood before me, row above row, to a considerable distance. On Sunday, 15, we had nearly the same congregation at seven in the morning; to whom I explained, “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” At one I preached in Lelant, three miles from St. Ives; and at five in the same meadow, to a larger congregation than before.
Indeed the whole town seems moved; the truths we preach being so confirmed by the lives of the people. Mon. 16. — We had our Quarterly Meeting at Redruth; and it appeared, by the accounts from all parts, that the flame which was kindled the last year, though abated, is not extinguished. At six I began on the market-house steps, as usual, to a very numerous congregation; but I had not finished the hymn, when Mr. C. came and read the Act against riots. I said, “Mr. C., I did not expect this from you; I really thought you had more understanding.” He answered not, but stood like one astonished, neither moving hand nor foot. However, I removed two or three hundred yards, and quietly finished my discourse. Tues. 17. — I rode to Medros, near St. Austle, where we had the Quarterly Meeting for the eastern circuit. Here likewise we had an agreeable account of a still increasing work of God. This society has eighty-six members, and all rejoicing in the love of God. Fifty-five or fifty-six of these believe He has saved them from all sin; and their life no way contradicts their profession. But how many will endure to the end? Wed. 18. — I set out for Plymouth-Dock. In the way we called on one of our friends near Liskeard, and found his wife, once strong in faith, in the very depth of despair. I could not but admire the providence of God which sent us so seasonably thither. We cried strongly to God in her behalf, and left her not a little comforted.
Disputes had run so high, concerning a worthless man, that every one’s sword was set, as it were, against his brother. I showed them how Satan had desired to have them, that he might sift them as wheat; and afterwards told them there was but one way to take, — to pass an absolute act of oblivion; not to mention, on any pretense whatever, any thing that had been said or done on either side. They fully determined so to do. If they keep that resolution, God will return to them. Thur. 19. — I rode to Tiverton, and preached to a deeply serious congregation. Friday, 20. I preached at noon in Hillfarrance, near Taunton, where I had not been for fifteen years. Saturday, 21. I preached about noon at Shepton-Mallet, and then went on to Bristol. Wed. 25. — About one I preached at Paulton, under a large, shady tree.
My own soul, and I trust many others, were refreshed, while I was describing our fellowship with the Father and the Son.
After visiting the other neighboring places, on Saturday, 28, at noon, I preached at Bath: But I had only the poor to hear; there being service at the same time in Lady H.’s chapel. So I was just in my element. I have scarce ever found such liberty at Bath before. Monday , 30, and the two following days, I examined the society at Bristol, and was surprised to find fifty members fewer than I left in it last October. One reason is, Christian Perfection has been little insisted on; and wherever this is not done, be the Preachers ever so eloquent, there is little increase, either in the number or the grace of the hearers. Sat . October 5. — I spent some time with the children at Kingswood.
About this time, the oldest Preacher in our connection, Alexander Coats, rested from his labors. A little account of his death, one who was in the house sent me, in these words: — “Newcastle, October 7, 1765. “ I HAD an opportunity, the last evening, of seeing our dear, aged brother Coats. A few days before, he was sore tempted by the enemy; but near the close he had perfect peace. His faith was clear, and he found Christ precious, his portion, and his eternal all. I asked him, a little before he died, if he had ‘followed cunningly devised fables.’ He answered, ‘No, no, no.’ I then asked him whether he saw land. He said, ‘Yes, I do;’ and, after waiting a few moments at anchor, he put into the quiet harbor.” Wed. 9. — I read Mr. Jones’s ingenious “Essay On the Principles of Natural Philosophy.” He seems to have totally overthrown the Newtonian principles; but whether he can establish the Hutchinsonian is another question. Friday , 11, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer. Tuseday, 13. We met in the evening jointly to renew our covenant with God. It was, as usual, a time of remarkable blessing. Mon. 14. — In the evening I preached at Shaftesbury; and on Tuesday, at Wincanton. Riding homeward, we saw the pond in which a great man, a few weeks since, put an end to a wretched life. And is death more welcome than life, even to a man that wallows in gold and silver? Sun. 20. — I preached a funeral sermon at Kingswood, over the remains of Susanna Flook; who, a few days before, rose up and said, “I am dying,” and dropped down dead. So little security is there in youth or health! Be ye therefore likewise ready. Mon. 21. — I went in the coach to Salisbury, and on Thursday, 24, came to London. Monday, 28. I breakfasted with Mr. Whitefield, who seemed to be an old, old man, being fairly worn out in his Master’s service, though he has hardly seen fifty years: And yet it pleases God, that I, who am now in my sixty-third year, find no disorder, no weakness, no decay, no difference from what I was at five-and-twenty; only that I have fewer teeth, and more gray hairs. Thur . November 7. — A fire broke out near the corner of Leadenhall-Street, which (the wind being exceeding high) soon seized on both the corners of the street, and both the corners of Cornhill, and in a few hours destroyed above threescore houses. Yet no lives were lost. Even Mr. Rutland (at whose house it began) and his whole family were preserved; part escaping through the chamber window, part over the top of the house. Sun. 24. — I preached on those words in the Lesson for the day, “The Lord our righteousness.” I said not one thing which I have not said, at least, fifty times within this twelvemonth: Yet it appeared to many entirely new, who much importuned me to print my sermon, supposing it would stop the mouths of all gainsayers. Alas, for their simplicity! In spite of all I can print, say, or do, will not those who seek occasion of offense find occasion? Mon . December 2. — I went to Canterbury. I had received most tragical accounts, as if the society were all fallen from grace, if ever they had any. I determined to search this to the bottom. To this end I examined them, one by one; and was agreeably surprised to find them all (none excepted) upright and blameless in their behavior. Tues. 3. — I rode to Dover, and found a little company more united together than they have been for many years. Whilst several of them continued to rob the King, we seemed to be ploughing upon the sand; but since they have cut off the right hand, the word of God sinks deep into their hearts. Wed. 4. — I preached about noon at Sandwich, and in the evening at Margate. A few people here also join in helping each other to work out their salvation. But the Minister of the parish earnestly opposes them, and thinks he is doing God service! Thur. 5. — I rode back to Feversham. Here I was quickly informed that the mob and the Magistrates had agreed together to drive Methodism, so called, out of the town. After preaching, I told them what we had been constrained to do by the Magistrate at Rolvenden; who perhaps would have been richer, by some hundred pounds, had he never meddled with the Methodists; concluding, “Since we have both God and the law on our side, if we can have peace by fair means, we had much rather; we should be exceeding glad; but if not, we will have peace.” Sat. 7. — I returned to London. Wednesday , 11. I had much conversation with Mr. D——e, lately a Romish Priest. What wonder is it, that we have so many converts to Popery, and so few to Protestantism; when the former are sure to want nothing, and the latter almost sure to starve? Thur. 12. — I rode over to Leytonstone, and found one truly Christian family: That is, what that at Kingswood should be, and would, if it had such Governors. Friday, 13. I examined the children, one by one. Several of them did find the love of God. One enjoys it still, and continues to walk humbly and closely with God. Sun. 15. — I buried the remains of Henry Perronet, who had been a child of sorrow from his infancy. But from the time he was taken ill, his mind was more and more composed. The day and night before his death, he was praying continually; till, all fear being taken away, he cheerfully gave up his spirit to God. Wed. 18. — Riding through the Borough, all my mare’s feet flew up, and she fell with my leg under her. A gentleman, stepping out, lifted me up, and helped me into his shop. I was exceeding sick, but was presently relieved by a little hartshorn and water. After resting a few minutes, I took a coach; but when I was cold, found myself much worse; being bruised on my right arm, my breast, my knee, leg, and ankle, which swelled exceedingly. However, I went on to Shoreham; where, by applying treacle twice a day, all the soreness was removed, and I recovered some strength, so as to be able to walk a little on plain ground. The word of God does at length bear fruit here also, and Mr. P. is comforted over all his trouble. Saturday, 21. Being not yet able to ride, I returned in a chariot to London. Sun. 22. — I was ill able to go through the service at West Street; but God provided for this also. Mr. Greaves, being just ordained, came straight to the chapel, and gave me the assistance I wanted. Thur. 26. — I should have been glad of a few days’ rest, but it could not be at this busy season. However, being electrified morning and evening, my lameness mended, though but slowly. Wed . January 1, 1766. — A large congregation met in the Foundery at four o’clock, and ushered in the new year with the voice of praise and thanksgiving. In the evening we met, as usual, at the church in Spitalfields, to renew our covenant with God. This is always a refreshing season, at which some prisoners are set at liberty. Fri. 3. — Mr. B—— called upon me, now calm and in his right mind. God has repressed his furious, bitter zeal, by means of Mr. Whitefield. He (Mr. Whitefield) made the first breach among the Methodists: O that God may empower him to heal it! Sun. 5. — In the evening I went to Lewisham. Thursday, 9. I read Bishop Lowth’s “Answer” to Bishop W. If any thing human could be a cure for pride, surely such a medicine as this would! Mon. 13. — I went in the machine to Bury, and preached to a small, serious congregation. Tuesday, 14. The frozen road being exceeding rough, our machine broke down before day. However, it was patched up, so as to carry us to Budsdale; and in the evening I preached at Yarmouth. The work of God was increasing here, when poor B. W. was converted to Calvinism. Immediately he declared open war, tore the society in pieces, took all he could to himself, wholly quitted the Church, and raised such a scandal as will not soon be removed. Yet doubtless he who turned the young man’s head thinks he has done God service. Thur. 16. — I rode to Norwich, and preached at seven in a large place, called the Priory. The room, I suppose, was formerly the chapel: I like it the better on that account. After spending three days here more agreeably than I had done for many years, on Monday, 20, I left a society of an hundred and seventy members, regular, and well united together. In the evening the machine put up at the White Elm. On Tuesday morning I reached Colchester.
I found the society here slowly recovering from the mischief done by offense and disputing together. I had great liberty of speech, both morning and evening; and God seemed strongly to apply his word. Surely they will at length learn to bear one another’s burdens; then will “the desert rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” Fri. 24. — I returned to Lincoln. Tuesday, 28. Our brethren met together to consider our temporal affairs. One proposed that we should, in the first place, pay off the debt of the society, which was five hundred pounds.
Towards this an hundred and seventy were subscribed immediately. At a second meeting this was enlarged to three hundred and twenty. Surely God will supply the rest. Fri. 31. — Mr. Whitefield called upon me. He breathes nothing but peace and love. Bigotry cannot stand before him, but hides its head wherever he comes. Sun . February 2. — I dined with W. Welsh, the father of the late Society for Reformation of Manners. But that excellent design is at a full stop.
They have indeed convicted the wretch who, by willful perjury, carried the cause against them in Westminster-Hall; but they could never recover the expense of that suit. Lord, how long shall the ungodly triumph? Wed. 5. — One called upon me who had been cheated out of a large fortune, and was now perishing for want of bread. I had a desire to clothe him, and send him back to his own country; but was short of money.
However, I appointed him to call again in an hour. He did so; but before he came, one from whom I expected nothing less, put twenty guineas into my hand: So I ordered him to be clothed from head to foot, and sent him straight away to Dublin. Monday , 10, and the four following days, I wrote a catalogue of the society, now reduced from eight-and-twenty hundred to about two-and-twenty. Such is the fruit of George Bell’s enthusiasm, and Thomas Maxfield’s gratitude! Mon. 17. — I preached at Sundon; and many looked as if they understood something of what was said. Tuesday, 18. I went on to Bedford, and found James Glasbrook had just buried his wife; a woman of fine understanding, and an excellent spirit, snatched away in the dawn of her usefulness. What Thou doest, we know not now! We wonder and adore! The next day I rode over to Copel, where she died, and preached her funeral sermon. In the evening I preached at Bedford, and found God was there also: And Where Thy presence is display’d is heaven. Thur. 20. — I preached at Hertford, and in the evening at Leytonstone. Friday, 21. I preached at Oldford, near Bow. Part of the congregation were deeply serious; the other part wild and stupid enough. But the bridle was in their mouth, so that they made no noise; nay, and were, in a manner, attentive. Sun. 23. — In the evening I went to Lewisham, and finished the notes on the book of Job. About this time one of Henry Jackson’s daughters gave me the following letter from her sister: — “Newcastle, February 23, 1766. “ON Thursday, the 13th of this month, my honored father looked so beautiful and comely that we all wondered. At night, in his first sleep, he was taken very ill. On Friday morning I asked him what he could take. He answered, ‘I am to eat no more.’ His illness increased; but he was still calm and composed, and resigned to the will of God. Indeed I always beheld in him such faith, love, and divine resignation as I never saw in any other. On Sunday he said, ‘Now my soul is prepared, and made ready to meet the Lord.’
From this time he was filled with longing desires to depart and to be with Christ; crying out, ‘I cannot stay: I must go to my Beloved, to be with him for ever.’ Monday, 17. He said, ‘I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of glory, which the righteous Judge shall give me at that day.’ Tuesday, 18. After receiving the blessed sacrament, he declared to the Minister, ‘My anchor is cast within the veil, both sure and immovable.’ And as long as he had his speech, he preached Christ to every one that came to see him. Indeed his whole life, for many years, was but one dedication of his body and soul to God; praying continually, and being lost in praise and thanksgiving to his adorable Savior. In all the various dispensations of God’s providence towards him and his family, he was still magnifying and praising his holy name; always thankful, humble, loving, and obedient. Nothing was able to move him one moment, or put him out of temper; but he received every thing from the hand of God, with faith, patience, and resignation. Before his speech failed, he blessed all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren; and on Thursday morning, February 20, yielded up his soul to God, being ninety-nine years and five months old.” Sat . March 1. — I read Bishop Lowth’s ingenious Lectures De Poesi Hebraea, far more satisfactory than any thing or that subject which I ever saw before. He shows clearly, that the noblest poetry may subsist without being beholden either to rhyme or fixed measures. Thur. 6. — Our brethren met once more on account of the public debt.
And they did not part till more than the whole (which was six hundred and ten pounds) was subscribed. Sun. 9. — In the evening I went to Knightsbridge; and in the morning took the machine for Bristol, where I preached (as I had appointed) on Tuesday evening, and met the society. Wednesday, 12. I rode over to Kingswood; and, having told my whole mind to the Masters and servants, spoke to the children in a far stronger manner than ever I did before. I will kill or cure: I will have one or the other, — a Christian school, or none at all. Sun. 16. — I preached in Princes-Street at eight, on, “Awake, thou that sleepest;” and at the Square in the evening, to a listening multitude, on, “Come, Lord Jesus!” At Kingswood we had such a congregation at ten as has not been there for several years: And I had the satisfaction to find four of our children again rejoicing in the love of God. Mon. 17. — I rode to Stroud, the sun shining as in May. Seventeen such days in the beginning of March, I suppose, few men have known. But on Tuesday the weather entirely changed; and the piercing northeast wind, this and the two following days, was scarce supportable. At seven I preached in the Room at Painswick, and about ten came to Cheltenham.
Here I was in a strait; the House would not hold half the people; and the wind was keen enough. However, I thought this the less evil of the two, and so preached abroad, where we were tolerably sheltered. And I did not observe that any, rich or poor, went away till I concluded.
I reached Evesham about five in the evening, and preached about six with tolerable quiet. But as we returned, the mob, encouraged by the wretched Magistrate, were rude and noisy enough. Yet as they neither saluted us with stones, nor dirt, we were well contented. Wed. 19. — We called at a little inn, about sixteen miles from Evesham.
But as Duncan Wright and I had our hoods on, the good woman was frightened, and did not care to take us in: So we rode a mile or two farther to another house, where we came in season. After a little talk, the woman of the house said, “I fear it is not so well with me as it was once. Before I married, I used to kneel down in the cow-house, to pray to God for all I wanted. But now I am incumbered with worldly cares; and yet God has not forgotten me. Last winter, when my husband had lost the use of all his limbs, I prayed to God for him, and he was well.” This woman knew nothing about the Methodists; but God is nigh to all that call upon him.
In the evening I preached at Birmingham. Towards the close, the mob gathered: But they were restrained till I had concluded. Thur. 20. — It was as much as we could do to bear the cold before sunrise. However, we came well to Burton before eleven, where I preached to an exceeding serious congregation. In the evening I preached at Nottingham in the new House, thoroughly filled with serious hearers.
Indeed there is never any disturbance here. And there could be none anywhere, if the Magistrates were lovers of peace, and exerted themselves in the defense of it. Sun. 23. — I had thoughts of preaching in the market place; but the snow which fell in the night made it impracticable. In the morning the house contained the congregation; but in the evening many were constrained to go away. There seems to be now (what never was before) a general call to the town. Mon. 24. — We rode to Derby. I never saw this House full before; the people in general being profoundly careless. I endeavored to show them their picture, by enlarging on those words, “Gallio cared for none of these things.” Tues. 25. — At ten I preached in their new House at Creitch, about twelve miles from Derby, to a loving, simple-hearted people; many of whom felt what I spoke of fellowship with the Father and with the Son. Thence we rode on through several heavy showers of snow to Sheffield, where at six we had a numerous congregation. There has been much disturbance here this winter; but tonight all was peace. Thur. 27. — I preached in the morning at a little village near Eyam, in the High-Peak. The eagerness with which the poor people devoured the word made me amends for the cold ride over the snowy mountains. The same earnestness I observed in the congregation at Maxfield: And yet hardly a third part of those I formerly examined now retain the glorious liberty which they then enjoyed.
March 28. — (Being Good-Friday. ) As soon as we came from church, I began at Stockport, on, “We preach Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” At six in the evening I preached at Manchestcer; and on Saturday, and on Easter-Day In the evening I explained to the society the nature of the yearly subscription.
On this one sent me the following letter: — “GOOD SIR, March 31, 1766. “ I THOUGHT proper to send you a few lines concerning what you spoke of last night. How good it was that you, but us all together as one family; that each might do his utmost to help all his brethern! Had you spoke of this sooner, and opened your mind freely as you did yesterday, where I have given one shilling, I would have given one pound. My heart was rejoiced at the good news, so as my tongue cannot express. I was ready to cry out, with Zaccheus, ‘Lo, the half of my goods I give to the poor.’ I have sent you two guineas towards carrying on the work of the Lord.
And may the blessing of the Lord go with it; for I give it freely: I would rather it had been twoscore. W. N.”
Tues . April 1. — On a close examination, out of more than fifty persons, who, two or three years ago, were filled with the love of God, I did not find above a third part who had not suffered loss. But almost all were deeply sensible of their loss, and earnestly groaning for what they once enjoyed. Wed. 2. — We rode through heavy rain to Chester. Friday, 4. I visited a poor woman, who has been ill eight years, and is not yet weary or faint in her mind. An heavy-laden sinner desired to receive the sacrament with her, and found rest to her soul; and from that hour increased every day in the knowledge and love of God. Mon. 7. — I preached at Warrington, about noon, to a large congregation, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. I never spoke more plain; for have I ever seen a congregation listen with more attention. Thence I rode to Liverpool, and thoroughly regulated the society, which had great need of it. Wednesday , 9. I took much pains with a sensible woman who had taken several imprudent steps. But it was labor lost, — neither argument nor persuasion made the least impression. O, what power less than almighty call convince a thorough-paced enthusiast! Thur. 10. — I looked over the wonderful Deed which was lately made here: On which I observed, 1. It takes up three large skins of parchment, and so could not cost less than six guineas; whereas our own Deed, transcribed by a friend, would not have cost six shillings. 2. It is verbose beyond all sense and reason; and withal so ambiguously worded, that one passage only might find matter for a suit of ten or twelve years in Chancery. 3. It everywhere calls the house a Meeting-House, a name which I particularly object to. 4. It leaves no power either to the Assistant or me, so much as to place or displace a Steward. 5. Neither I, nor all the Conference, have power to send the same Preacher two years together. To crown all, 6. If a Preacher is not appointed at the Conference, the Trustees and the congregation are to choose one by most votes! And can any one wonder I dislike this Deed, which tears the Methodist discipline up by the roots?
Is it not strange, that any who have the least regard either for me or our discipline, should scruple to alter this uncouth Deed? Fri. 11. — I preached near Wigan to a large number of serious, well-behaved people, mixed with a few as stupidly insolent creatures as I ever saw. Finding them proof both against reason and persuasion, at length I rebuked them sharply. This they understood, and quickly retired. So I concluded in peace. Sat. 12. — I was desired to preach at Brinsley, three or four miles from Wigan. The sun shone hot, but I had some shelter; and the artless people drank in every word. About six I began in the street at Bolton. The wind was then high, and cold enough; but I soon forgot it, and so did most of the people, being almost as thirsty as those at Brinsley. When I began on Sunday , in the afternoon, the wind was exceeding sharp; but it fell in a few moments, and we had a mild, agreeable summer evening. Mon. 14. — I preached at Middleton, six miles from Manchester. A sharp shower of hail began in the middle of the sermon; but scarce any went away. Tuesday , 15. We rode to Chapel-en-le-Frith. We had a rough salutation in riding through the town; at the end of which a multitude of people being gathered together in a convenient meadow, I preached on, “By grace are ye saved through faith.” God spoke in his word. It was an acceptable time, and few went empty away.
In riding over the dreary mountains of the High-Peak we met with several storms: But we were no worse when we came to Rotherham, where I preached in the evening. The spirit of the congregation was able to enliven the dullest Preacher. Indeed it was good to be here. Wednesday , 16. About two in the afternoon, I had another kind of congregation at Doncaster, wild and stupid enough. Yet all were tolerably civil, many attentive, and some affected. Thence we hasted to Epworth. Here I took knowledge of the same spirit as at Rotherham. What a blessing is it, to be with those who are alive to God! But how few duly value this blessing! Fri . 18. — I set out for the eastern part of Lincolnshire, and after preaching at Awkborough and Barrow in the way, came the next day to our old friends at Grimsby. It put me in mind of Purrysburg, in Georgia. It was one of the largest towns in the county: It is no bigger than a middling village, containing a small number of half-starved inhabitants, without any trade, either foreign or domestic. But this they have; they love the Gospel, hardly six families excepted. And a large proportion of them have found “it is the power of God unto salvation.” Mon. 21. — Between nine and ten I began preaching in an open place at Louth. The mob here used to be exceeding boisterous; but none now opened his mouth. How easily, when it seems him good, does God “still the madness of the people!”
Hence we rode to Trusthorpe in the Marsh, where a multitude of plain, simple-hearted people assembled. When I met the society after preaching, abundance of them crowded in; many of whom, while we were wrestling with God in prayer, cried out with a loud and bitter cry. But it was not long before some of them rejoiced with joy unspeakable. Tues. 22. — I preached to a congregation of a very different kind at Horncastle. John Hill has done more mischief here than a man of far greater talents can do good. By that unhappy division of the society, he has opened the mouths of all the gainsayers; and, to complete the scandal, he and six-and-twenty more have been dipped! “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel!” Wed. 23. — I preached at five; in Torrington at nine; and about two at Scotter, where the poor people now enjoy great quietness, by means of Sir N. H. About six I preached at Ferry. I do not choose to preach above twice or thrice in a day; but when I am called to do more, it is all one: I find strength according to my need. Thur. 24. — I rode to Epworth, and the next day, through heavy rain, to Swinfleet. I supposed, as the rain kept many from coming, the preaching house would contain the congregation; but it would not. However, as the door and windows were open, I believe, most of them could hear; and the eagerness with which they heard made me hope they were not forgetful hearers. Sun. 27. — I rode over to Misterton, and visited a young woman, who a year or two since was struck first with deep melancholy, and soon after with utter distraction. We were quickly convinced whence her disorder came. Let Physicians do all they will or can; yet it will be found in the end, that “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
After preaching I hasted away to Haxey, and came thither before the church began. The Curate preached a very harmless sermon against the Methodists. Between one and two I preached at Westwood-side, on, “Behold, now is the day of salvation!” And it seemed as if all had ears to hear. About four I began in the market place at Epworth, on, “He beheld the city, and wept over it.” And such a call I think the inhabitants of this town have scarce ever had before. Mon. 28. — I preached at Thorne. Although a great part of the congregation had never heard one preach under a tree before, yet they behaved extremely well. Before we came to York, I was thoroughly tired; but my strength quickly returned; so that, after preaching to a large congregation, and meeting the society, I was fresher than when I began. Tues. 29. — I preached at noon in the new House at Thirsk, almost equal to that at Yarm: And why not quite, seeing they held the model before their eyes, and had nothing to do but to copy after it? Is it not an amazing weakness, that when they have the most beautiful pattern before them, all builders will affect to mend something? So the je ne scai quoi is lost, and the second building scarce ever equals tne first.
I preached at Yarm in the evening, and the next at Newcastle. I know not to what it is owing, that I have felt more weariness this spring than I had done before for many years; unless to my fall at Christmas, which perhaps weakened the springs of my whole machine more than I was sensible of. Thur . May 1. — I enjoyed a little rest. I do not find the least change in this respect. I love quietness and silence as well as ever; but if I am called into noise and tumult, all is well. Sun. 4. — The rain constrained me to preach in the Room, both in the morning and evening. But it was fair at two while I preached abroad at the Fell, where the Room could not contain one half of the congregation. Tues. 6. — I rode to Sunderland. On Wednesday and Thursday evening, I preached in Monkwearmouth church. Saturday , 10. I spent an agreeable hour at a Quaker’s, a man of large substance. His spirit put me in mind of Thomas Keene. May thy last end be like his! Sun. 11. — The weather not permitting me to preach abroad, I preached in the Room, morning and evening, and about eleven in Monkwearmouth church. In the evening some hundreds of us solemnly renewed our covenant with God, and he answered many in the joy of their hearts. Monday , 12. After preaching at South-Shields about noon, and at North-Shields in the evening, I returned to Newcastle. In the following days I preached at as many of the neighboring places as I could; and on Monday , 19, set out northward. About two I preached to the honest colliers at Placey, and in the evening at Morpeth. Tuesday , 20. About noon I preached at Felton. There were many hearers, though the wind was extremely sharp; and most of them were attentive; but very few seemed to understand anything of the matter. I preached at Alnwick in the evening. Wednesday, 21. We spent an hour in the Castle and the gardens, which the Duke is enlarging and improving daily, and turning into a little paradise.
What pity, that he must leave all these, and die like a common man! Thur. 22. — At eleven I preached in the street at Belford, fifteen miles beyond Alnwick. The hearers were seriously attentive, and a few seemed to understand what was spoken. Between six and seven I preached in the Town-hall at Berwick. I had an uncommon liberty in speaking, and a solemn awe sat on the faces of all the hearers. Is God again visiting this poor, barren place? Fri. 23. — When I came to Old-Camus, I found notice had been given of my preaching about a mile off. So I took horse without delay, and rode to Coppersmith, where the congregation was waiting. I spoke as plain as I possibly could; but very few appeared to be at all affected. It seems to be with them, as with most in the north: They know everything, and feel nothing.
I had designed to preach abroad at Dunbar in the evening; but the rain drove us into the House. It was for good. I now had a full stroke at their hearts, and I think some felt themselves sinners. Sat. 24. — In the afternoon, notice having been given a week before, I went to the Room at Preston-Pans. And I had it all to myself; neither man, woman, nor child, offered to look me in the face: So I ordered a chair to be placed in the street. Then forty or fifty crept together; but they were mere stocks and stones; no more concerned than if I had talked Greek. In the evening I preached in the new Room at Edinburgh, a large and commodious building. Mon. 26. — I spent some hours at the meeting of the National Assembly.
I am very far from being of Mr. Whitefield’s mind, who greatly commends the solemnity of this meeting. I have seen few less solemn: I was extremely shocked at the behavior of many of the members. Had any Preacher behaved so at our Conference, he would have had no more place among us. Wed. 28. — I preached at Leith, and spoke exceeding plain. A few received the truth in the love thereof. Sun . June 1. — Many of the Ministers were present at seven, with a large and serious congregation. In the afternoon I heard a thundering sermon in the new kirk, occasioned by Mr. Jardin’s (a Minister) dropping down dead in the Assembly a day or two before. I preached in the evening on “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come!” A few, I trust, closed with the invitation. Mon. 2. — I came to Dundee, wet enough. But it cleared up in the evening, so that I preached abroad to a large congregation, many of whom attended in the morning. Tuesday , 3. The congregation was still larger in the evening, but on Wednesday the rain kept us in the house. Thursday , 5.
It being fair, we had a more numerous congregation than ever; to whom, after preaching, I took occasion to repeat most of the plausible objections which had been made to us in Scotland. I then showed our reasons for the things which had been objected to us, and all seemed to be thoroughly satisfied.
The sum of what I spoke was this: — “I love plain-dealing. Do not you? I will use it now. Bear with me. “I hang out no false colors; but show you all I am, all I intend, all I do. “I am a member of the Church of England: But I love good men of every Church. “My ground is the Bible. Yea, I am a Bible-bigot. I follow it in all things, both great and small. “Therefore, 1. I always use a short private prayer, when I attend the public service of God. Do not you? Why do you not? Is not this according to the Bible? “2. I stand whenever I sing the praise of God in public. Does not the Bible give you plain precedents for this? “3. I always kneel before the Lord my Maker, when I pray in public. “4. I generally in public use the Lord’s Prayer, because Christ has taught me, when I pray, to say, —— “I advise every Preacher connected with me, whether in England or Scotland, herein to tread in my steps.” Fri . 6 — We went on to Aberdeen, about seventy measured miles. The congregation in the evening was larger than the usual one at Edinburgh.
And the number of those who attended in the morning showed they were not all curious hearers. Sun. 8. — Knowing no reason why we should make God’s day the shortest of the seven, I desired Joseph Thompson to preach at five. At eight I preached myself. In the afternoon I heard a strong, close sermon, at Old-Aberdeen; and afterward preached in the College kirk, to a very genteel, and yet serious congregation. I then opened and enforced the way ot holiness, at New-Aberdeen, on a numerous congregation. Monday , 9. I kept a watch-night, and explained to abundance of genteel people, “One thing is needful;” a great number of whom would not go away, till after the noon of night. Tues. 10. — I rode over to Sir Archibald Grant’s. The church was pretty well filled, and I spoke exceeding plain; yet the hearers did not appear to be any more affected than the stone walls. Wed. 11. — I returned to Aberdeen, where many of the people were much alive to God. With these our labor has not been in vain; and they are worth all the pains we have taken in Scotland. Fri. 13. — We reached Brechin a little before twelve. Quickly after, I began preaching in the fish market, on the “one thing needful.” It being the fair-day, the town was full of strangers, and perhaps some of them were found of Him they sought not. I preached in the evening at Dundee, with greater liberty than ever before. Saturday , 14. It rained from the moment we set out, till (about one) we came to Kinghorn. Finding the boat was not to move till four o’clock, I purposed to hire a pinnace; but the wind springing up fair, I went into the large boat. Quickly it fell calm again, so that we did not get over till past seven. Sun. 15. — Our Room was very warm in the afternoon, through the multitude of people; a great number of whom were people of fashion, with many Ministers. I spoke to them with the utmost plainness, and, I believe, not in vain; for we had such a congregation at five in the morning as I never saw at Edinburgh before. It is scarce possible to speak too plain in England; but it is scarce possible to speak plain enough in Scotland. And if you do not, you lose all your labor, you plough upon the sand. Mon. 16. — I took a view of one of the greatest natural curiosities in the kingdom; what is called Arthur’s Seat; a small, rocky eminence, six or seven yards across, on the top of an exceeding high mountain, not far from Edinburgh. The prospect from the top of the Castle is large, but it is nothing, in comparison of this. In the evening, we had another Sunday’s congregation, who seemed more affected than the day before. Tuesday , 17.
It rained much, yet abundance of people came; and again God made bare his arm. I can now leave Edinburgh with comfort; for I have fully delivered my own soul. Wed. 18. — I set out for Glasgow. In the afternoon the rain poured down, so that we were glad to take shelter in a little house, where I soon began to talk with our host’s daughter, eighteen or nineteen years old. But, to my surprise, I found her as ignorant of the nature of religion as an Hottentot.
And many such I have found in Scotland; able to read, nay, and repeat the Catechism, but wholly unacquainted with true religion, yea, and all genuine morality. This evening we were in the House; but the next I preached abroad to many more than the House could contain. On Friday the number was greatly increased, but much more on Saturday . I then enlarged upon communion with God, as the only real, scriptural religion. And I believe many felt, that, with all their orthodox, they had no religion still.
What a difference there is between the society here, and that at Dundee!
There are about sixty members there, and scarce more than six scriptural believers. Here are seventy-four members, and near thirty among them lively, zealous believers; one of whom was justified thirty years ago, and another of them two-and-forty: And several of them have been for many years rejoicing in God their Savior. Sun. 22. — At seven I was obliged to preach abroad, and the word sunk deep into the hearers. I almost wondered at myself for speaking so plain, and wondered how they could bear it. It is the Lord’s doing! In the afternoon Mr. Gillies was unusually close and convincing. At five I preached on, “O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that make for thy peace!” I almost despaired of making the whole congregation hear; but by their behavior it seems they did. In the close I enlarged upon their prejudices, and explained myself with regard to most of them. Shame, concern, and a mixture of various passions, were painted on most faces; and I perceived the Scots, if you touch but the right key, receive as lively impressions as the English. Mon. 23. — We rode in a mild, cool day, to Thorny-Hill, about sixty (measured) miles from Glasgow. Here I met with Mr. Knox’s “History ot the Church of Scotland;” and could any man wonder, if the members of it were more fierce, sour, and bitter of spirit, than some of them are? For what a pattern have they before them! I know it is commonly said, “The work to be done needed such a spirit.” Not so: The work of God does not, cannot need the work of the devil to forward it. And a calm, even spirit goes through rough work far better than a furious one. Although, therefore, God did use, at the time of the Reformation, some sour, over-bearing, passionate men, yet he did not use them because they were such, but notwithstanding they were so. And there is no doubt, He would have used them much more, had they been of an humbler and milder spirit. Tues. 24. — Before eight we reached Dumfries, and after a short bait pushed on in hopes of reaching Solway-Frith, before the sea was come in.
Designing to call at an inn by the Frith side, we inquired the way, and were directed to leave the main road, and go straight to the house which we saw before us. In ten minutes Duncan Wright was embogged: However, the horse plunged on, and got through. I was inclined to turn back; but Duncan telling me I needed only go a little to the left, I did so, and sunk at once to my horse’s shoulders. He sprung up twice, and twice sunk again, each time deeper than before. At the third plunge he threw me on one side, and we both made shift to scramble out. I was covered with fine, soft mud, from my feet to the crown of my head; yet, blessed be God, not hurt at all.
But we could not cross till between seven and eight o’clock. An honest man crossed with us, who went two miles out of his way to guide us over the sands to Skilburness; where we found a little clean house, and passed a comfortable night. Wed. 25. — We rode on to Whitehaven. Here I spent the rest of the week. Sunday , 29. I appointed the children to meet me; and desired Mr. Atlay to meet them for the time to come. At one, Robert Williams preached in the market place, to some thousands of people, all quiet and attentive. About five I preached near the town to a willing multitude, many of whom seemed to be cut to the heart. Mon. 30. — About two we reached Penrith. Two of our friends guided us thence to Appleby, a county-town worthy of Ireland, containing, at least, five-and-twenty houses. I was desired to preach here; but, being very wet, I chose to ride on to Arthur Johnson’s, near Brough.
I would willingly have preached, (though we had rode upwards of seventy miles,) but it was a lone house, and there was not time to gather a congregation. Tuesday, JULY 1. The neighbors soon came together, to whom I preached at seven, and then rode on to Barnard-Castle and met the Stewards of the societies, greatly increased since I was here before. At six I preached in an open space, adjoining to the preaching-house. As the militia were in town, the far greater part of them attended, with a large congregation from town and county. It rained most of the time I was speaking; but, I believe; hardly six persons went away. At the love-feast which followed, several spoke their experience with all simplicity. One poor mourner was set at liberty, and many greatly comforted. Wed. 2. — About noon I preached in Teesdale, and in Weardale at six in the evening. Here a poor woman was brought to us, who had been disordered several years, and was now raving mad. She cursed and blasphemed in a terrible manner, and could not stand or sit still for a moment. However, her husband constrained her to come to the place where I was going to preach; and he held her there by main strength, although she shrieked in the most dreadful manner; but in a quarter of an hour she left off shrieking, and sat motionless and silent, till she began crying to God, which she continued to do, almost without intermission, till we left her. Thur. 3. — We rode through a pleasant vale to Wolsingham, where I began singing near the middle of the town. A few soon gathered together, and their number increased all the time I was preaching. Only one young man behaved amiss, striving to divert them that were near him; but they would not be diverted: So that after a while he grew serious too.
In the evening we came once more to Newcastle. On Saturday I rode to Sunderland; and at eight the next morning preached at the east end of the town, to a huge multitude, the greater part of whom had little thought of God or devil. Thence we returned to Gateshead-Fell, where was a multitude of another kind, ripe for the whole Gospel. Here, therefore, as well as at the Garth-Heads about five, I enlarged on those solemn words, “Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Mon. 7. — I rode to Durham, and preached about noon on our Lord’s lamentation over Jerusalem. In the evening, the rain hindering me from preaching, in the street, at Hartlepool, I had a large congregation in the assembly room. Many of them were present again in the morning, and seemed “almost persuaded to be Christians.” Tues. 8. — While I was preaching at Stockton, a drunken man made some disturbance. I turned and spoke strongly to him. He stood reproved, and listened with much attention. Wednesday, 9. We had our Quarterly Meeting at Yarm. The societies in this Circuit increase; that is, among the poor; for the rich, generally speaking, “care for none of these things.” Thur. 10. — About two in the afternoon, I preached at Potto, and in the evening at Hutton-Rudby. Here is the largest society in these parts, and the most alive to God. After spending some time with them all, I met those apart who believe they are saved from sin. I was agreeably surprised. I think not above two, out of sixteen or seventeen whom I examined, have lost the direct witness of that salvation ever since they experienced it. Fri. 11. — I preached at five, on the spies who “brought up an evil report” on the good land. I breakfasted at ——’s, and met with a very remarkable family. He himself, his wife, and three of his daughters, are a pattern to all round about them. About nine I preached in the new House at Stokesley; but it would by no means contain the congregation. I came to Guisborough a little before twelve, and found notice had been given of my preaching there; so, having no time to lose, I began without delay, in the street where I alighted. I had a serious congregation in a few minutes, and did not at all repent of my labor. After riding on to Whitby, and preaching at seven, I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning. Sun. 13. — I preached at seven in the Room; at one in the main street on the other side the water. A vast multitude quickly ran together, and were deeply attentive. At five I preached in the new market place to a still larger congregation. A great number of them attended at five in the morning, and we had a solemn parting.
About one I preached in the little Square at Robin Hood’s Bay, and rode on to Scarborough. We were met near the town by a furious thundershower, but it was quickly over; and a fair evening following, I preached in the garden to a tolerably serious congregation. Tues. 15. — I had much conversation with Mr. C., whom some had again taken true pains to prejudice. I think he is once more set right, but fear it will not continue long. It rained hard at six, but was fair at seven. Just as I ended my sermon the rain began again. Wed. 16. — About ten I reached Middleton, near Pickering. The church was pretty well filled. I preached on part of the Second Lesson, John 4; particularly the twenty-fourth verse; and all the congregation seemed earnest to know how they might worship God “in spirit and in truth.”
In the evening most of the congregation at Malton were of another kind; but a whole troop of the Oxford Blues, who stood together and were deeply serious, kept them in awe: So that all behaved decently, and many of the soldiers were present again in the morning. Thur. 17. — In the way to Beverley, I called upon Sir Charles Hotham, and spent a comfortable hour. I preached before the time appointed at Hull; by which means the Room was but moderately filled. It was near full at five in the morning; at noon I believe few were unaffected. When we took horse in the afternoon, it was quite calm, and the sun was extremely scorching; but the wind soon rose, and brought on the clouds; so we had a pleasant ride to Beverley. I preached at six in an House as warm as an oven; and the people were tolerably attentive. Who knows but we may find again, after many days, the bread we are now casting upon the waters? Sat. 19. — I took a view of Beverley Minster, such a parish church as has scarce its fellow in England. It is a most beautiful as well as stately building, both within and without, and is kept more nicely clean than any cathedral which I have seen in the kingdom; but where will it be when the earth is burned up, and the elements melt with fervent heat? About one I preached at Pocklington, (though my strength was much exhausted,) and in the evening at York. Sun. 20. — After preaching at eight, I went to St. Savior-gate church.
Towards the close of the Prayers the Rector sent the sexton to tell me the pulpit was at my service. I preached on the conclusion of the Gospel for the day, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” I did not see one person laugh or smile, though we had an elegant congregation. Wed. 23. — I went on to Tadcaster. Here Mr. Ingham had once a far larger society than ours; but it is now shrunk into nothing; ours, meantime, is continually increasing. In the evening rich and poor flocked together, to whom I explained, “We know that we are of God;” namely, “by the Spirit which he hath given us;” by the witness of the Spirit, and by the fruit confirming that witness. Thur. 24. — I preached at Pateley-Bridge. Such a congregation, both for number and seriousness, I have not seen since we left Newcastle. As it rained, I desired the men to put on their hats; but in two or three minutes they pulled them off again, and seemed to mind nothing but how they might “know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Fri. 25. — We rode to Skipton in Craven. I designed to preach in the market place; but the rain prevented. So I stood near Mr. Garforth’s house, where many were under shelter; but many remained without, seeming not to think whether it rained or not. Will all these be barren and unfruitful? Sat. 26. — I preached at Addingham about nine, and at Guiseley in the evening. Sunday , 27. As Baildon church would not near contain the congregation, after the Prayers were ended I came out into the church-yard, both morning and afternoon. The wind was extremely high, and blew in my face all the time; yet, I believe, all the people could hear.
They have just built a preaching-house, fifty-four feet square, the largest octagon we have in England; and it is the first of the kind where the roof is built with common sense, rising only a third of its breadth; yet it is as firm as any in England; nor does it at all hurt the walls. Why then does any roof rise higher? Only through want of skill, or want of honesty, in the builder. Tues. 29. — I preached at Colne. And here I found one whom I had sent for some years ago. She lives two miles from Colne, and is of an unblamable behavior. Her name is Ann A——n. She is now in the twenty-sixth year of her age. The account she gives is as follows: — “I cannot now remember the particulars which I told Mr. Grimshaw from time to time; but I well remember, that from the time I was about four years old, after I was in bed I used to see several persons walking up and down the room. They all used to come very near the bed, and look upon me, but say nothing. Some of them looked very sad, and some looked very cheerful; some seemed pleased, others very angry; and these frayed me sore; especially a man and a woman of our own parish, who seemed fighting, and died soon after. None of them spake to me but a lad about sixteen, who, a week before, died of the small-pox. I said to him, ‘You are dead! How did you get out of the other place?’ He said, ‘Easily enough.’ I said, ‘Nay, I think if I was there, I should not get out so easily.’ He looked exceeding angry. I was frightened, and began to pray, and he vanished away. If it was ever so dark when any of them appeared, there was light all round them. This continued till I was sixteen or seventeen; but it frightened me more and more; and I was troubled because people talked about me; and many told me I was a witch. This made me cry earnestly to God to take it away from me. In a week or two it was all at an end; and I have seen nothing since.”
In the evening I preached near the preaching house at Paddiham, and strongly insisted on communion with God, as the only religion that would avail us. At the close of the sermon came Mr. M. His long, white beard showed that his present disorder was of some continuance. In all other respects he was quite sensible; but he told me, with much concern, “You can have no place in heaven without — a beard! Therefore, I beg, let yours grow immediately.” Wed. 30. — I rode to Rosendale; which, notwithstanding its name, is little else than a chain of mountains. The rain in the evening obliged me to preach in the new House, near a village called New-Church. As many as could, crowded in, and many more stood at the door; but many were constrained to go away. Thursday , 31. I preached at Bacup, and then rode on to Heptonstall. The tall mountain on which it stands is quite steep and abrupt, only where the roads are made; and the deep valleys that surround it, as well as the sides of the mountains beyond, are well clothed with grass, corn, and trees. I preached with great enlargement of heart, on, “Now is the day of salvation.” The renegade Methodists, first turning Calvinists, then Anabaptists, made much confusion here for a season; but as they now have taken themselves away, the poor people are in peace again. Fri . August 1. — I rode to Ewood. The last time I was here, young Mr. Grimshaw received us in the same hearty manner as his father used to do; but he too is now gone into eternity! So in a few years the family is extinct! I preached at one in a meadow near the House to a numerous congregation; and we sang with one heart, Let sickness blast and death devour, If heaven will recompense our pains:
In the evening I preached at Halifax. When I began, the sun was intensely hot; but quickly the clouds covered him. Sun. 3. — When the Prayers at Haworth were ended, I preached from a little scaffold on the south side of the church, on those words in the Gospel, “O that thou hadst known the things that belong into thy peace!”
The communicants alone (a sight which has not been seen since Mr. Grimshaw’s death) filled the church. In the afternoon the congregation was supposed to be the largest which had ever been there; but strength was given me in proportion; so that I believe all could hear. Mon. 4. — At one I preached at Bingley, but with an heavy heart, finding so many of the Methodists here, as well as at Haworth, perverted by the Anabaptists. I see clearer and clearer, none will keep to us unless they keep to the church. Whoever separate from the church, will separate from the Methodists. In the afternoon I went to Otley; but the town seemed to be run mad. Such noise, hurry, drunkenness, rioting, confusion, I know not when I have met with before. It was their feast-day! A feast of Bacchus, or Venus, or Belial? O shame to a Christian country! However, both the small and great rabble were so engaged, that they had no leisure to molest us; so that I preached to a large congregation under the hill with perfect quietness. Tues. 5. — I rode to Bradford. Wednesday, 6. I preached at one in Great-Gomersal; in the evening at Dewsbury. The congregation was as large as at Bradford, and as attentive; although a few years since the people of Daw-Green were as eminently savage and irreligious, as even the colliers of Kingswood. Thur. 7. — We had as hot a day as most I have known in Georgia.
However, about noon I rode to Horbury; but it was impracticable to preach abroad. So we retired into the new House; but this too was as hot as an oven. Some of the people behaved exceeding ill at first; but it was soon over. In a few minutes the whole congregation was as serious and attentive as that at Daw-Green. Fri. 8. — I rode over to Huddersfield. The church, though large, was exceeding hot, through the multitude of people; on whom I enforced St. Paul’s words, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How we should have rode back, I know not; but that the wind, which was in our face as we came, was again in our face as we returned. At Bristol we found many of our brethren from various parts.
One of them was mentioning a remarkable case: — David Prince, of Thorner, near Leeds, had been stone-blind for many years, and was without God in the world till past fourscore. At about eighty-one he received remission of sins, and from that hour he never lost the sense of it.
When he was asked how he did, his answer was, “Happier and happier.”
In the eighty-fifth year of his age his spirit returned to God. Sun. 10. — After Mr. Eastwood had read Prayers, I came out into the churchyard, and preached to four times as many as the church could contain, on, “Are not Abana and Pharpar better than all the waters of Israel?” About one I preached at Daw-Green. I judged the congregation, closely wedged together, to extend forty yards one way, and about an hundred the other. Now, suppose five to stand in a yard square, they would amount to twenty thousand people. I began preaching at Leeds, between five and six, to just such another congregation. This was the hardest day’s work I have had since I left London; being obliged to speak, at each place, from the beginning to the end, to the utmost extent of my voice. But my strength was as my day. Tues. 12. — Our Conference began, and ended on Friday evening. An happier Conference we never had, nor a more profitable one. It was both begun and ended in love, and with a solemn sense of the presence of God. Sun. 17. — After preaching in Leeds at seven, I rode to Birstal, and heard a sound useful sermon, on, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden.” At one I preached to an immense multitude, on, “Come, Lord Jesus!” I then set out for Rotherham; but the next day I turned off from the road I had designed to take, and, going on to Leicester that night, on Wednesday, reached London.
It was at the earnest request of ——, whose heart God has turned again, without any expectation of mine, that I came hither so suddenly: And if no other good result from it but our firm union with Mr. Whitefield, it is an abundant recompence for my labor. My brother and I conferred with him every day; and, let the honorable men do what they please, we resolved, by the grace of God, to go on, hand in hand, through honor and dishonor. Sun. 24. — The chapel was sufficiently crowded, both morning and afternoon, and God was eminently present. In the evening I went to Brentford, and saw a remarkable monument of mercy, — a man who, in the full career of sin, was so hurt by a fall, that there was no hope of his life. But, after deep repentance, God broke in upon his soul, and gave him a better hope; so that he is now little concerned about life or death, but praises God all the day long. Monday , 25. We set out early from Brentford, and reached Bath on Tuesday , in the afternoon.
Many were not a little surprised in the evening, at seeing me in the Countess of H.’s chapel. The congregation was not only large, but serious; and I fully delivered my own soul. So I am in no concern, whether I preach there again, or no. I have no choice concerning it. Wed. 27. — I rode to Bristol, and the next day delivered the management of Kingswood house to stewards on whom I could depend. So I have cast an heavy load off my shoulders. Blessed be God for able and faithful men, who will do his work without any temporal reward! Fri. 29. — In my way to Cornwall, I preached at Shepton-Mallet at nine, in Wincanton at one. I was thoroughly tired before we came to Shaftesbury: However, at six I preached in the new House, filled within and without, to the no small astonishment, it seemed, of most of the hearers. But it was a time of consolation, as well as conviction. I trust many will experience both in this House. Sat. 30. — We rode to Stallbridge, long the seat of war, by a senseless, insolent mob, encouraged by their betters, so called, to outrage their quiet neighbors. For what? Why, they were mad: They were Methodists. So, to bring them to their senses, they would beat their brains out. They broke their windows, leaving not one whole pane of glass, spoiled their goods, and assaulted their persons with dirt, and rotten eggs, and stones, whenever they appeared in the street. But no Magistrate, though they applied to several, would show them either mercy or justice. At length they wrote to me. I ordered a lawyer to write to the rioters. He did so; but they set him at nought. We then moved the Court of King’s Bench. By various artifices, they got the trial put off, from one Assizes to another, for eighteen months. But it fell so much the heavier on themselves, when they were found guilty; and, from that time, finding there is law for Methodists, they have suffered them to be at peace.
I preached near the main street, without the least disturbance, to a large and attentive congregation. Thence we rode on to Axminster, but were thoroughly wet before we came thither. The rain obliged me to preach within at six; but at seven on Sunday morning, I cried in the market place, “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel.”
In the evening I preached in the street at Ashburton. Many behaved with decency; but the rest, with such stupid rudeness as I have not seen, for a long time, in any part of England. Mon . September 1. — I came to Plymouth-Dock, where, after heavy storms, there is now a calm. The House, notwithstanding the new galleries, was extremely crowded in the evening. I strongly exhorted the backsliders to return to God; and I believe many received “the word of exhortation.” Tues. 2. — Being invited to preach in the Tabernacle at Plymouth, I began about two in the afternoon. In the evening I was offered the use of Mr. Whitefield’s Room at the Dock; but, large as it is, it would not contain the congregation. At the close of the sermon, a large stone was thrown in at one of the windows, which came just behind me, and fell at my feet, the best place that could have been found. So no one was either hurt or frightened, not many knowing anything of the matter. Wed. 3. — I rode to Medros, where there was, last year, the most lively society in Cornwall. But they are decreased, both in number and strength; many who were then strong in the Lord, being now weak and faint.
However, we had a deeply serious congregation in the evening, and a remarkable blessing at the meeting of the society. Thur. 4. — At noon I preached in Truro. I was in hopes, when Mr. Walker died, the enmity in those who were called his people would have died also. But it is not so: They still look upon us as rank heretics, and will have no fellowship with us. In the evening I preached at Penryn, in the main street, at the door of one of the chief gentlemen in the town. I never saw such a congregation here before; and all seemed to hear as for life. Fri. 5. — I preached near Helstone, to an exceeding large and serious congregation. What a surprising change is wrought here also, within a few years, where a Methodist Preacher could hardly go through the street without a shower of stones! Sat. 6. — At one I began preaching in a meadow adjoining to Penzance.
The whole congregation behaved well. The old bitterness is gone, and perhaps, had it not been market-day, I might have had a quiet hearing in the market place. In the evening I preached at Newlyn. Small rain fell all the time; but none went away. Sun. 7. — At eight I preached in Mousehole, a large village southwest from Newlyn. Thence I went to Buryan church, and, as soon as the service was ended, preached near the church-yard, to a numerous congregation.
Just after I began, I saw a gentleman before me, shaking his whip, and vehemently striving to say something. But he was abundantly too warm to say any thing intelligibly. So, after walking a while to and fro, he wisely took horse and rode away.
The multitude of people at St. Just constrained me to preach abroad, though it rained the whole time. But this did not discourage the congregation, who not only stayed till I had concluded, but were not in haste to go away then; many still hovering about the place. Tues. 9. — In riding to St. Ives, I called on one with whom I used to lodge, two or three and twenty years ago, Alice Daniel, at Rosemargay. Her sons are all gone from her; and she has but one daughter left, who is always ill.
Her husband is dead; and she can no longer read her Bible, for she is stone-blind. Yet she murmurs at nothing, but cheerfully waits till her appointed time shall come. How many of these jewels may lie hid, up and down; forgotten of men, but precious in the sight of God!
In the evening I preached at St. Ives, a little above the town, to the largest congregation I ever saw there. Indeed nearly the whole town seems convinced of the truth; yea, and almost persuaded to be Christians. Wed. 10. — I preached at Lelant about one, but the rain drove us into the House; and at St. Ives, all I could do was to preach to as many as the House would hold, and a few at the door. But the next evening I stood in the meadow again, and enforced those solemn words, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Fri. 12. — I rode to St. Hilary, and in the evening preached near the new House, on, “Awake, thou that sleepest.” In returning to my lodging, it being dark, my horse was just stepping into a tin-pit, when an honest man caught him by the bridle, and turned his head the other way. Sat. 13. — I preached at noon in the new House at Crowan, it being a very stormy day. But I knew not what to do at Redruth, in the evening: The House was far too small, and the wind was exceeding high, and brought on frequent and heavy showers. However, I chose the most convenient part of the street; and we had but one short shower till I concluded. Sun. 14. — I preached in St. Agnes at eight. The congregation in Redruth, at one, was the largest I ever had seen there; but small, compared to that which assembled at five, in the natural amphitheater at Gwennap; far the finest I know in the kingdom. It is a round, green hollow, gently shelving down, about fifty feet deep; but I suppose it is two hundred across one way, and near three hundred the other. I believe there were full twenty thousand people; and, the evening being calm, all could hear. Mon. 15. — I preached at Cubert, and next morning rode on to St. Columb. Being desired to break the ice here, I began preaching, without delay, in a gentleman’s yard adjoining to the main street. I chose this, as neither too public nor too private. I fear the greater part of the audience understood full little of what they heard. However, they behaved with seriousness and good manners.
Hence I rode to Port-Isaac, now one of the liveliest places in Cornwall.
Here Mr. Buckingham met me, who, for fear of offending the Bishop, broke off all commerce with the Methodists. He had no sooner done this, than the Bishop rewarded him by turning him out of his curacy; which, had he continued to walk in Christian simplicity, he would probably have had to this day. Wed. 17. — I twice stopped a violent bleeding from a cut, by applying a brier-leaf. The Room at Launceston would not near contain the congregation in the evening, to whom I strongly applied the case of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda. Many were much affected; but O, how few are willing to be made whole! Thur. 18. — I rode to Collumpton, preached at six, and then went on to Tiverton. Friday , 19, came a messenger from Jo. Magor, dangerously ill at Sidmouth, four or five and twenty miles off, to tell me he could not die in peace till he had seen me. So the next morning, after preaching, I set out, spent an hour with him, by which he was exceedingly refreshed, and returned to Tiverton time enough to rest a little before the evening preaching. Sun. 21. — I preached, morning and evening, in the market house, and at one in an open place at Bampton. Monday , 22. I preached in the street at Culmstock, to almost all the inhabitants of the town. A little before six in the evening I preached at Mr. Jones’s door, in Middlesey. Many of the hearers did once run well; some of whom resolve to set out anew. Tuesday , 23. At eleven I preached to a large and serious congregation at Lymsham-Green. When I concluded, a Clergyman began to entertain the people with a dispute concerning Lay-Preachers. In the instant began a violent shower; so they left him to himself. But it was fair again in the afternoon, and we had a pleasant ride to Bristol. Sun. 28. — I preached in Princes-Street at eight, in Kingswood at two, and at five near the new Square. The last especially was an acceptable time; particularly while I was explaining, “Neither can they die any more; but are the children of God, being children of the resurrection.”
In the following days I preached at Pensford, Paulton, Coleford, Buckland, Frome, Beckington, Freshford, and Bradford. Sunday ,OCTOBER 5. At eight I administered the sacrament at Lady H.’s chapel in Bath. At eleven I preached there on those words in the Gospel for the day, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” The word was quick and powerful; and I trust many, even of the rich and great, felt themselves sinners before God.
Several evenings this week I preached at Bristol on the Education of Children. Some answered all by that poor lame, miserable shift, “O, he has no children of his own!” But many, of a nobler spirit, owned the truth, and pleaded guilty before God. Thur. 9. — I waited on the good old Bishop of Londonderry, and spent two or three hours in useful conversation. In the evening I preached again at my Lady’s chapel to another numerous congregation. Who knows but a few among this gay multitude may “work out their salvation with fear and trembling?” Fri. 10. — I took a ride to Cheltenham. It being too cold to preach abroad, at six I preached in the chapel, and fully declared the whole counsel of God. Afterwards I examined the little society; and found the greater part of them lively believers, and quite free from the bigotry which is common among Churchmen, and still more among Dissenters. The next day, after preaching at five and at eight in Gloucester I had a pleasant ride to Bristol. Sun. 12. — I took my leave of Princes-Street for this season. We had such a congregation at Kingswood at ten as I have scarce seen there for these twenty years; and at two I was obliged to preach abroad. Sunday , 19. I preached once more in the Square; and in the morning, Monday , 20, left Bristol, with a firm hope that both here and at Kingswood things will now be conducted to the glory of God and the honor of true religion. In the evening I preached an healing sermon at Bath, on Colossians 3:9. The next day I went on to Salisbury, and preached in as rousing a manner as I could, on, “One thing is needful.” Thursday , 23. I preached at Romsey:
The next day, at Winchester, Whitchurch, and Basingstoke, where many attended at five on Saturday morning. In the afternoon I came to London. Sun. 26. — I preached at West-Street in the morning to a crowded audience, and in the evening at the Foundery. How pleasing would it be to play between Bristol and London, and preach always to such congregations as these! But what account then should I give of my stewardship when I can “be no longer steward?” Mon. 27. — I rode to Wycombe. The Room was much crowded, and yet could not contain the congregation. In the morning, too, they flocked together in such a manner as had not been seen here before. In the evening I preached at Whitney, (where a little company stand fast together,) and thrice the next day, endeavoring to lay “line upon line, and precept upon precept.” Thur. 30. — At one I preached in Wattleton, and thence rode with some difficulty, the wind being exceeding high, over the mountain to Wycombe.
The congregation was as before, both for number and earnestness. So, at length we see the fruit of our labor. Fri. 31. — At my return to London, I found it needful to hasten to Leytonstone; but I came too late. Miss Lewen died the day before, after an illness of five days. Some hours before, she witnessed that good confession, — Nature’s last agony is o’er, And cruel sin subsists no more.
Awhile after, she cried out earnestly, “Do you not see him? There he is!
Glory! glory! glory! I shall be with him for ever, — for ever, — for ever!”
So died Margaret Lewen! a pattern to all young women of fortune in England: A real Bible Christian. So she “rests from her labors, and her works do follow her.” Sat . November 1 . — “God, who hath knit together his elect in one communion and fellowship,” gave us a solemn season at West-Street (as usual) in praising him for all his Saints. On this day in particular, I commonly find the truth of these words: — The Church triumphant in his love, Their mighty joys we know; They praise the Lamb in hymns above, And we in hymns below.
Mon. 3. — I rode to Brentford, where all was quiet, both in the congregation and the society. Tuesday , 4. I preached at Brentford, Battersea, Deptford, and Welling, and examined the several societies. Wednesday , 5. I rode by Shoreham to Sevenoaks. In the little journeys which I have lately taken, I have thought much on the huge encomiums which have been for many ages bestowed on a country life . How have all the learned world cried out, O fortunati nimium, sua si bona norint Agricola! But, after all, what a flat contradiction is this to universal experience! See that little house, under the wood, by the river side! There is rural life in perfection. How happy then is the farmer that lives there! Let us take a detail of his happiness. He rises with, or before, the sun, calls his servants, looks to his swine and cows, then to his stables and barns. He sees to the ploughing and sowing his ground, in winter or in spring. In summer and autumn he hurries and sweats among his mowers and reapers. And where is his happiness in the mean time? Which of these employments do we envy? Or do we envy the delicate repast that succeeds, which the poet so languishes for? — O quando faba, Pythagorae cognata, simulque Uncta satis pingui ponentur oluscula lardo! “O the happiness of eating beans well greased with fat bacon!
Nay, and cabbage too!” — Was Horace in his senses when he talked thus, or the servile herd of his imitators? Our eyes and ears may convince us there is not a less happy body of men in all England than the country farmers. In general, their life is supremely dull; and it is usually unhappy too. For of all people in the kingdom, they are most discontented; seldom satisfied either with God or man. Mon. 10. — I set out early for Northampton. But before we came to Luton, James Glasbrook met me, and informed me that he had given notice of my preaching every day, at one place or another, in Bedfordshire. Upon reflection, we thought it best for Mr. Blackwell to go to Northampton, and for me to keep the appointments which had been made. So I preached in Luton at two, and in the evening at Sundon. Tuesday , 11. I preached, between one and two, at a village called Milbrook, to a company of plain, serious people; and in the evening at Wotton-Pillidge, where several have already found this word to be “the power of God unto salvation.” Wednesday , 12. I preached at two in Lidlington, to another company of plain country people. Thence we crossed over to Copel, where is at present the most lively of all the little societies in Bedfordshire. Thursday , 13. I rode to Bedford, and in the evening spoke with more plainness, I may indeed say roughness, than ever I did before, if haply God might rouse some of these drowsy people. Friday , 14. I preached at Luton; and on Saturday I returned to London. Sun. 16. — I strongly inculcated family religion, the grand desideratum among the Methodists. Many were ashamed before God, and at length adopted Joshua’s resolution, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Thur. 27. — I conversed with a young Clergyman full of good resolutions.
But I judge it impossible they can hold; for he has not the least conception of his own weakness. Sun. 30. — I preached on the Education of Children, wherein we are so shamefully wanting. Many were now deeply convinced of this. I hope they will not all stifle that conviction. Mon . December 8. — I went to Canterbury, and on Wednesday , 10, to Dover. At all the sea-ports we have a multitude of hearers. Is not this a token for good to the nation? Surely mercy “embraces us on every side.”
Will it not likewise go through the land? Thur. 11. — I preached at Dover, Sandwich, Ramsgate, and Margate; on Friday , at Canterbury. I have not seen this society so at unity among themselves for many years. Saturday , 13. I left them with much satisfaction, and cheerfully returned to London. Sat. 20. — I spent an hour with ——; just of the same spirit as she was twenty years ago. So hitherto all the bad labor of my small friends is lost. Mon. 29. — At five in the morning I again began a course of sermons on Christian Perfection; if haply that thirst after it might return which was so general a few years ago. Since that time, how deeply have we grieved the Holy Spirit of God! Yet two or three have lately received his pure love; and a few more are brought to the birth. Thur . January 1, 1767. — The whole society met in the evening in Spitalfields church, and solemnly renewed their covenant with God. Sunday , 4. I buried the remains of Mary Clarke, (formerly Gardiner,) who, having been much hurt in the late contests, was, during a lingering illness, first thoroughly convinced of her fall from God, and afterward thoroughly restored. She then vehemently exhorted all not to stray from the fold; and died rejoicing in the full salvation of God. Sun. 11. — I made a push for the lending-stock; speaking more strongly than ever I had done before. The effect was, that it was raised from about fifty, to one hundred and twenty pounds. Tues. 20. I buried the remains of Ann Wheeler, who, while she was hearing the preaching in Moorfields, four or five and twenty years ago, was struck in the forehead with a stone, being then big with child. The daughter with whom she then went, retains the mark of the stone in her forehead to this day. Wed. 21. — I had a conversation with an ingenious man who proved to a demonstration, that it was the duty of every man that could, to be “clothed in purple and fine linen,” and to “fare sumptuously every day;” and that he would do abundantly more good hereby than he could do by “feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.” O the depth of human understanding! What may not a man believe if he will?
Sat. 31. — From the words of our blessed Lord, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,” I largely showed that God never deserts any man, unless he first deserts God; and that, abstracting from the bodily disorders on the one hand, and violent temptation on the other, every believer may be happy as well as holy, and walk in the light all the days of his life. Thur . February 5. — I heard a melancholy relation: — One who had run well for many years, a year or two ago took violent offense at a person she thought had used her ill. A week or two since she was taken ill. But as her illness increased, so did her anger. She often cried out, “I cannot forgive! I will not forgive!” and intermixed horrid shrieks, till she died. Tues. 10. — I baptized a young woman who had been educated among the Anabaptists. God bore witness to his ordinance, and gave her such a blessing as she could not find words to express. Thur. 12. — I preached at Leytonstone. O what an house of God is here!
Not only for decency and order, but for the life and power of religion! I am afraid there are very few such to be found in all the King’s dominions. Sun. 15. — I buried the remains of Richard Morris, who had been in the society twenty years, and was a right honest man, but never convinced of sin till death began to look him in the face: And then he rather saw than felt his need of Christ. Yet when he called upon him, even in his dull way, he was soon assured of his love, and continued praising and rejoicing till his spirit returned to God. Mon. 16. — I rode to Colchester; and found more life there than for several years. Why should we despair of seeing good done in any place!
How soon can God turn the wilderness into a fruitful field! Wednesday , 18. I preached at Herringswell, and the next day came to Norwich. Here I spent a few days much to my satisfaction, finding the people far more settled than ever. Monday , 23. I rode to Yarmouth, and found the society, after the example of Mr. W——p, had entirely left the Church. I judged it needful to speak largely upon that head. They stood reproved, and resolved, one and all, to go to it again. Tues. 24. — I was desired to ride over to Lowestoft. The House would not contain one-fourth of the people; so that I was obliged to preach in the open air; and all behaved with great seriousness. Wed. 25. — I took a list of the present society in Norwich, consisting of one hundred and sixty members. But I have far more comfort in it now than when it consisted of six hundred. These know what they are about; and the greater part are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Thur. 26. — I set out for London. A good part of the day we had furious wind and rain full in our faces: However, we pushed on to Lakenheath.
On Ash-Wednesday ,MARCH 4, I dined at a friend’s with Mr. Whitefield, still breathing nothing but love. Thursday , 5. I at length obliged Dr. D. by entering into the lists with him. The letter I wrote (though not published till two or three weeks after.) was as follows: — “To the Editor of Lloyd’s Evening Post. “Sir, “MANY times the publisher of the ‘Christian Magazine’ has attacked me without fear or wit; and hereby he has convinced his impartial readers of one thing at least, — that (as the vulgar say) his fingers itch to be at me; that he has a passionate desire to measure swords with me. But I have other work upon my hands: I can employ the short remainder of my life to better purpose. “The occasion of his late attack is this: — Five or six and thirty years ago, I much admired the character of a perfect Christian drawn by Clemens Alexandrinus. Five or six and twenty years ago, a thought came into my mind, of drawing such a character myself, only in a more scriptural manner, and mostly in the very words of Scripture: This I entitled, ‘The Character of a Methodist,’ believing that curiosity would incite more persons to read it, and also that some prejudice might thereby be removed from candid men. But that none might imagine I intended a panegyric either on myself or my friends, I guarded against this in the very title page, saying, both in the name of myself and them, ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.’ To the same effect I speak in the conclusion, ‘These are the principles and practices of our sect; these are the marks of a true Methodist;’ i. e. , a true Christian, as I immediately after explain myself: ‘By these alone do those who are in derision so called desire to be distinguished from other men.’ (P. 11.) ‘By these marks do we labor to distinguish ourselves from those whose minds or lives are not according to the Gospel of Christ.’ (P. 12.) “Upon this Rusticulus, or Dr. Dodd, says, ‘A Methodist, according to Mr. Wesley, is one who is perfect, and sinneth not in thought, word, or deed.’ “Sir, have me excused. This is not ‘according to Mr. Wesley.’ I have told all the world I am not perfect; and yet you allow me to be a Methodist. I tell you flat, I have not attained the character I draw. Will you pin it upon me in spite of my teeth? “‘But Mr. Wesley says, the other Methodists have.’ I say no such thing. What I say, after having given a scriptural account of a perfect Christian, is this: — ‘By these marks the Methodists desire to be distinguished from other men: By these we labor to distinguish ourselves.’ And do not you yourself desire and labor after the very same thing? “But you insist, ‘Mr. Wesley affirms the Methodists’ (i. e. , all Methodists) ‘to be perfectly holy and righteous.’ Where do I affirm this? Not in the Tract before us. In the front of this I affirm just the contrary; and that I affirm it any where else is more than I know. Be pleased, Sir, to point out the place: Till this is done, all you add (bitterly enough) is mere brutum fulmen; and the Methodists (so called) may still declare, (without any impeachment of their sincerity,) that they do not come to the holy table ‘trusting in their own righteousness, but in God’s manifold and great mercies.’ I am, Sir, “Yours, etc., “John Wesley.”
Sun. 8. — In the evening I left London, and reached Bath on Tuesday , in the afternoon, time enough to wait on that venerable man, the Bishop of Londonderry. After spending an agreeable and a profitable hour with him, my brother read Prayers, and I preached at Lady H.’s chapel. I know not when I have seen a more serious or more deeply attentive congregation. Is it possible? Can the Gospel have place where Satan’s throne is? Thursday , 12, and the two following days, I examined the society in Bristol. Still I find the greatest part to be in peace and love, and none blamable as to their outward conversation; but life, power, and “struggling into God,” are wanting: Few are agonizing to be altogether Christians. Mon. 16. — Finding no ship which could take over me and my horses, I set out, with Thomas Dancer, for Liverpool. Wednesday , 18. I reached Wednesbury, but with difficulty; for my horse, which I left in October, to rest for six months, had been rode all the winter, and was now galled, jaded, and worn to skin and bones. Thur. 19. — Pushing through the rain and violent wind, we came in the evening to Nantwich. But I knew not where to go, till a good woman in the street asked me, if Mr. Wesley was come; and conducted me to the place where the people were waiting. Many were noisy at first, because they could not get in: But when they did, all was silent. Fri. 20. — I rode on through more storms to Liverpool: But here too I found no ship to carry my horses; so, Monday , 23, I set out for Portpatrick. This day we rode but about forty miles; the next to Kendal, where I preached at six, and spent a comfortable evening at Sergeant Southwell’s. Wednesday , 25. The rain, which began yesterday noon, continued till noon today, without intermission: But though driven against us by a strong wind, it was nothing so troublesome as the piercing cold, while we afterwards rode between the snowy mountains, the road also being covered with snow. However, after a short bait at Keswick, we reached Cockermouth in the afternoon.
The mare T. Dancer rode being now quite lame, I left him to cross over at Whitehaven; and Mr. Atlay, who came just in time offered to accompany me to Portpatrick. Thursday , 26. We rode through miserable roads to Solway-Frith: But the guides were so deeply engaged in a cock-fight, that none could be procured to show us over. We procured one, however, between three and four: But there was more sea than we expected; so that, notwithstanding all I could do, my legs and the skirts of my coat were in the water. The motion of the waves made me a little giddy; but it had a stranger effect on Mr. Atlay: He lost his sight, and was just dropping off his horse, when one of our fellow-travelers caught hold of him. We rode on nine or ten miles, and lodged at a village called Ruthwell. Friday , 27. We rode by Dumfries and the Bridge of Orr, over the Military-Way, to Gatehouse-of-Fleet: But the house was filled with so noisy company, that we expected little rest. Before eleven, however, I fell asleep, and heard nothing more till between three and four in the morning. Sat. 28. — We rode to Portpatrick. Sunday , 29. The packet-boat was ready in the morning, but waited for the mail, hour after hour, till past three in the afternoon. Hereby we avoided a violent storm, and had only what they called a fresh breeze; however, this breeze drove us to Donaghadee (thirty miles) in about three hours. Mon. 30. — I rode to Newtown; and in the evening preached in the market house, to a large number of serious hearers. The society, I found, had been shattered in pieces, but were uniting again. To these I spoke more particularly in the morning. It may be they will yet have ears to hear. Tues. 31. — After meeting the society at Belfast, I rode on to Lisburn. At six I preached in the Linen-Hall, (a small Square so called,) as also the two following evenings. We had many people of fashion there, and the congregation increased continually. Friday ,APRIL 3. At the end of Dromore I met Robert Williams, who showed me the way to Newry. A little after six I went to the market house; but when I began I had only four hearers. A good number assembled before I had done, only none of the Gentry; they were hindered by a business of more importance, — dressing for the assembly! Sun. 5. — I was in hopes of reaching Tanderagee before the church began; but it was farther off than we expected. At five in the evening we had the largest congregation I had seen in Ulster; and I believe many found much of the presence of God, but still more at the meeting of the society. Monday , 6. The congregation was surprisingly large this morning, and still larger every morning and evening. Wednesday , 8. I preached at noon to our old society at Terryhugan, the mother-church of all these parts. Thursday , 9.
The House would not contain the people at Tanderagee, even at five in the morning; so I went to the market house where God gave us a solemn and affectionate parting.
I was not glad to hear that some of the Seceders had settled in these parts also. Those of them who have yet fallen in my way are more uncharitable than the Papists themselves. I never yet met a Papist who avowed the principle of murdering heretics: But a Seceding Minister being asked, “Would not you, if it was in your power, cut the throats of all the Methodists?” replied directly, “Why, did not Samuel hew Agag in pieces before the Lord?” I have not yet met a Papist in this kingdom, who would tell me to my face, all but themselves must be damned. But I have seen Seceders enough, who make no scruple to affirm, none but themselves could be saved. And this is the natural consequence of their doctrine: For as they hold, 1. That we are saved by faith alone;. 2. That faith is, the holding such and such opinions; it follows, all who do not hold those opinions have no faith, and, therefore, cannot be saved.
About noon I preached near Dawson’s Grove, to a large and serious congregation; but to a far larger in the evening at Kilmaraty. I do not wonder the Gospel runs so swiftly in these parts. The people in general have the finest natural tempers which I ever knew; they have the softness and courtesy of the Irish, with the seriousness of the Scots, and the openness of the English. Fri. 10. — At one I preached at Portadown, a place not troubled with any kind of religion. I stood in the street and cried, “Now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” The people gathered from all sides, and when I prayed, kneeled down upon the stones, rich and poor, all round me. In the evening I preached again at Kilmaraty. At five in the morning the House was well filled; and a little after six I cheerfully commended them to the grace of God. Sat. 11. — About three I preached at a village called The Grange. The people came from several miles round, and seemed to hear with the spirit, and with the understanding also. At six I preached near Cock-Hill; where at nine in the morning, Sunday , 12, we had a congregation from all parts.
But this was more than doubled at five in the evening. All were serious, and, according to the custom of the country, when I went to prayer, immediately kneeled, though it was in the high road. I believe not a few were deeply wounded. O may none heal the wound slightly! Mon. 13. — I preached at Mount-Roe, a gentleman’s seat, about three miles from Cock-Hill; Tuesday , 14, at Clanmain. This, I believe, was, two years since, the only society in these parts. Think there are now one or two and twenty, within the compass of ten miles. Wed. 15. — I rode to Armagh. Half an hour before the time of preaching, an officer came, and said, “Sir, the Sovereign (or Mayor) orders me to inform you, you shall not preach in his town.” In order to make the trial, I walked to the market house at six. I had just begun when the Sovereign came. I was informed his name was Harcourt. He was talking very loud, and tolerably fast, when a gentleman came and said, “Sir, if you are not allowed to preach here, you are welcome to preach in Mr. M’Gough’s avenue.” Mr. M’Gough, one of the chief merchants in the town, himself showed us the way. I suppose thrice as many people flocked together there, as would have heard me in the market house. So did the wise providence of God draw good out of evil. And his word had indeed free course. Thur. 16. — About one I preached to a large congregation at Dungannon, in the county of Tyrone; and in the evening, before the gate of the great old house, at Castle-Caulfield. The society here, the first-fruits of this county, seemed to be all alive. Early in the morning I took horse, and got to Londonderry just at seven, where the congregation was waiting for me.
My voice was weak; but I think most of them could hear; and some, I trust, heard the voice of God. Sat. 18. — I found we were still honorable men here, some of eminence in the city being both “hearers” and “doers of the word.” I employed Monday , Tuesday , and part of Wednedsay , in speaking severally to the members of the society, and was glad to find the greater part of them had tasted that the Lord is gracious. Saturday , 25. I rode to Mr. Knox’s farm, and preached to a little company, on, “By grace are ye saved through faith.” I spoke exceeding plain to them at Derry in the evening, on, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” And more plain, if possible both morning and evening, on Sunday , 26. Surely this is an understanding people. But it is only love that edifies. Mon. 27. — I rode to Augher, and preached at six in the Castle-yard, to a large and deeply-serious congregation. Tuesday , 28. I preached near Athenacly, after riding through one of the finest countries in the kingdom. Wednesday , 29. A little beyond Swadlingbar I found a lively congregation of plain country-people, as simple and artless as if they had lived upon the Welsh mountains. So has God “chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.” Thur. 30. — Some of the chief persons in the town desiring I would give them a sermon there, I went thither in the morning. A large room was offered; but it was quickly so full, and so hot, that I was obliged to go out into the street. I had hardly named my text, before a poor Papist, at a small distance from me, began blowing a horn. But a gentleman stepping up, snatched his horn away, and without ceremony knocked him down. In the evening I preached in the country again, to a still larger congregation:
But, to my surprise, the gates of the grand avenue were painted blue, green, and yellow, like a child’s rattle. Surely the owner has never seen the pretty bauble; but will no one inform him of it? In the evening I preached in the market house at Sligo, to a larger congregation, as well as better behaved, than when I was here before. The next evening was exceeding cold and blustering. However, the Provost refusing me the use of the Court-House, abundance of people stood with me in the street, and most of them behaved well. Sunday , 3. I preached, morning and evening in the market house; and had much hope, both from the number and behavior of the hearers, that, even here, our labor will not be in vain. Mon. 4. — We rode to Castlebar, thirty old Irish, about fifty-six English, miles. Between six and seven I began preaching in the Court-House; but few of the rich were there. Many of these dare not hear me above once:
And “the power of the Lord was present to heal:” But how many rejected his “counsel against themselves?” Wed. 6. — I rode to Newport, and preached in the evening, and at six in the morning. Rich and poor behaved extremely well, and seemed “almost persuaded” to be Christians. In the evening I took my leave of the congregation at Castlebar, by speaking from those words, “Come, Lord Jesus!” But who will abide his coming in the clouds? Those who are partakers of his holiness. Fri. 8. — We rode to Galway, — above fifty English miles. It rained almost every step of the way. I preached at Ballinrobe in the Court-House between eight and nine, and at Galway about six. Colonel E——, and all his family, were there. Perhaps a word might reach their hearts. Sat. 9. — I rode to Ennis, but found the preaching had been discontinued, and the society was vanished away. So having no business there, I left it in the morning, preached at Clare about eight, and in the evening at Limerick.
The continued rain kept me from preaching abroad this week; and I was scandalized at the smallness of the congregation in the House; I am afraid my glorying, touching many of these societies, is at an end. Almost throughout the province of Ulster I found the work of God increasing; and not a little in Connaught, particularly at Sligo, Castlebar, and Galway. But in Munster, a land flowing with milk and honey, how widely is the case altered! At Ennis, the God of this world has wholly prevailed; at Clare there is but a spark left; and at Limerick itself, I find only the remembrance of the fire which was kindled two years ago. And yet one of the two Preachers who was here last was almost universally admired! But, alas! how little does this avail! “He is the best Physician,” said a sensible man, “not who talks best, or who writes best, but who performs the most cures.” Sun. 17. — The weather being fair, I took my stand in the Old-Camp, and had, I believe, as many hearers as all the preceding week put together.
There was a solemn awe throughout the congregation, and I began to hope, God would revive his work. Monday , 18. I spoke to the members of the society severally; most of them appeared to be honest and upright. But a general faintness seemed to have spread among them; there was no zeal, no vigor of grace. Thur. 21. — I preached about noon at Ballygarane, to what is left of the poor Palatines. Many are gone to America; many scattered up and down in various parts of the kingdom. Every where they are patterns of industry and frugality. In the evening I preached at Newmarket. Sunday , 24. The Old-Camp would ill contain the congregation, closely wedged in together.
Afterwards we had a solemn hour at the meeting of the society; in which God caused many of the bones which had been broken to rejoice. So they are set upon their feet once again. Now let them run with patience the race set before them. Mon. 25. — I rode to Shronill, and preached at twelve to the largest congregation I have ever seen there. Thence we crossed the country to Kilfinnan. I had hardly begun to speak, when a young person, a kind of a gentleman, came, and took great pains to make a disturbance. Mr. Dancer mildly desired him to desist; but was answered with a volley of oaths and a blow. One of the town then encountered him, and beat him well. But the noise preventing my being heard, I retired a few hundred yards, with the serious part of the congregation, and quietly finished my discourse. Tues. 26. — I went on to Cork, and on Thursday , 28, to Bandon. This evening I preached in the House; the next, in the main street: But the wind was so high and so cold, that none either could or would bear it but those who really desired to save their souls. I judged the House would hold these: So the next evening I preached within; and when the benches were removed, it held the greatest part of the congregation: And those who could not get in heard tolerably well, either at the doors or windows. Sunday , 31. We had most of them again at seven; and I took my leave of them with much satisfaction, after having strongly enforced, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
I would fain have preached abroad at Cork in the evening, but the wind and rain would not permit. Two years ago I left above three hundred in the society; I find an hundred and eighty-seven. What has occasioned so considerable a reduction? I believe the real cause is this: — Between two and three years ago, when the society was nearly as low as it is now, Thomas Taylor and William Pennington came to Cork. They were zealous men, and sound Preachers; full of activity, and strict in discipline, without respect of persons. They set up meetings for prayer in several places, and preached abroad at both ends of the city. Hearers swiftly increased; the society increased; so did the number both of the convinced and the converted. I came when the flame was at the height, and preached abroad, in the heart of the city, on the south side of it, near the barracks, and several times in Blackpool, which lies on the north side of it. More and more were stirred up, and there was a greater awakening here than in any part of the kingdom.
But misunderstandings crept in between the Leaders, and between some of them and the Preachers. And these increased seven-fold, when one of the Leaders was expelled the society; some believing him faulty, some not, and neither side having patience with the other. Hence a flame of anger succeeded the flame of love, and many were destroyed by it. At the same time some of our brethren learned a new opinion, and warmly propagated it. This heat was almost as destructive as the former; and the effect of both was, the Spirit of God was grieved; his blessing was withheld, and of course the flock was scattered. When they are convinced of their sin, and humbled before him, then, and not before, he will return. Wed . June 3. — As it was fair, though the wind was high and extremely sharp, I preached in an open place at Blackpool, to a large number of quiet hearers. On the three following evenings the wind and rain confined us in the House, much against my will; as those who wanted us most could not or would not come thither.
June 7. — (Being Whit-Sunday. ) The weather turning fair, between four and five in the afternoon I began preaching in George’s Street, to such a congregation as that in the Old-Camp at Limerick. A solemn awe sat on the faces of the whole assembly while I explained, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” Surely some of them found the promise fulfilled, and did drink of the living water! Mon. 8. — I rode to Youghall. When I was here two years ago, a flame was kindled among the people: But it was gone out. And I could not wonder at it; for they have scarce had any preaching since. I purposed staying only a night; but, observing the member and deep attention of the congregation, I stayed another day, and on Tuesday , 9, preached in the Exchange again. The hearers were much increased, and all but a few gentlemen, so called, behaved with great seriousness. Wednesday , 10. After preaching to a multitude of people, I took horse, and in the evening of a very hot day reached Waterford.
Here I found a small, poor, dead society, and but an handful of even dull, careless hearers. However, I preached in the yard, and found more life among them than I expected. In the morning I spoke to the several members of the society, some of whom seemed much devoted to God. I desired Mr. Morgan to preach at noon. God gave him acceptable words; and the whole congregation, rich and poor, appeared to be greatly moved.
They seemed to be still more affected in the evening. What pity, that this should pass away like a cloud! Fri. 12. — We rode to Kilkenny. The sun was exceeding hot; but did not incommode us much, as we had the wind in our face all the way. The congregation at the Town-Hall in the evening was large and tolerably serious; a few of the Gentry excepted, who seemed neither to understand, nor care for any of these things. We had great part of them at five in the morning. At noon, when Mr. Morgan preached, I expected to have seen the largest company of all; but I was mistaken: The ladies could not rise so soon; at least they could not huddle on their clothes fit to be seen. In the evening I spoke exceeding plain, both to the rich and poor: And a few, at least, received the truth in love. But who will endure to the end? Sun. 14. — In the evening I preached at Birr, to a wilder congregation than I ever saw at Kilkenny. However, as I stood near the barracks, the number of soldiers that attended kept them so far in awe, that they durst only laugh and make a little noise, till the whole body of the Papists ran away together. The rest were then tolerably attentive, and grew more and more serious till I concluded. Mon. 15. — I rode through a pleasant and well-cultivated country to Aghrim. For many years I have not seen so large a congregation here, and so remarkably well-behaved. At the prayer, both before and after sermon, all of them kneeled upon the grass. A few of the poor Papists only remained standing, at a distance from the rest of the people. These would come in droves at every place, if the Priests, as well as the King, would grant liberty of conscience.
At the desire of the good old widow, Mrs. M——, I went with Mr. S—— to C——. Lord and Lady M—— were there before us; to whom I was probably A not-expected, much-unwelcome guest.
But whatsoever it was to them, it was a heavy afternoon to me; as I had no place to retire to, and so was obliged to be in genteel company, for two or three hours together. O what a dull thing is life without religion! I do not wonder that time hangs heavy upon the hands of all who know not God, unless they are perpetually drunk with noise and hurry of one kind or another. Wed. 17. — We came to Athlone. Here the scene was changed. I was among those that both feared and loved God; but to this day they have not recovered the loss which they sustained, when they left off going to church. It is true they have long been convinced of their mistake: Yet the fruit of it still remains; so that there are very few who retain that vigor of spirit which they before enjoyed.
At seven I preached in the new House, which Mr. S. has built entirely at his own expense. The congregation was, as usual, both large and serious. I rested the four following days, only preaching morning and evening. Sunday , 21. We had a solemn meeting of the society at five. After preaching at eight I would willingly have gone to church, but was informed there had been no Service for near two years, and would be none for a year or two longer, the inside of the church wanting to be repaired: In the evening I preached in the barracks. I know not that ever I saw such a congregation at Athlone before; rich and poor, Protestants and Papists, gathered together from every side; and deep attention sat on all, while I explained that solemn declaration, (part of the Gospel for the day,) “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”
It was about this time that a remarkable passage happened at Macclesfield, in Cheshire. One Ellen Stanyers, a young woman of that town, very religious in her own way, but quite a stranger to the Scripture-way of salvation, had her work from one of the shops in the town. A young man belonging to the same shop fell in love with her. Fearing lest her refusing him would disoblige her master, she gave him encouragement, and afterwards, though she never intended it, promised to marry him. One day, as she was sitting at her work, this sin was brought to her remembrance, and lay so exceeding heavy upon her mind that she was utterly distressed.
She took her work, and carried it to her master, telling him, she had destroyed her soul with it. At the same time she told the young man, she was resolved never to have him. He came to her and said, “If you do not keep your word, I will hang myself at your door; and then I will come and take you away with me to the devil.” She was so frightened she fell into black despair. Her father carried her to a Clergyman, and afterwards to another, who seemed to pity her case, but knew not how to comfort her.
Willing to try every way, he ordered one to read to her Burkitt upon the New Testament, till she cried, “Take it away; I cannot bear it!” and attempted to run away: But her father held her; and, when she struggled, beat her, and told her she should hear it, whether she would or no. She grew worse and worse; could neither eat, drink, nor sleep; and pined away to a mere skeleton. She wandered about, as one distracted, in the fields and lanes, seeking rest, but finding none. She was exceedingly tempted to destroy herself; but that thought came into her mind, “If I do, I shall leap into hell immediately. I must go thither; but I will keep out of it as long as I can.” She was wandering about one day, when a person met her, and advised her to hear the Methodists. Although she hated them, yet she was willing to do anything for ease, and so one evening came to the preaching.
After the service was over, she desired to speak to the Preacher, Mr. Pawson; but she talked quite wildly. However, he encouraged her to come to the Savior of sinners, and cry to him for deliverance. “The next day” (so Mr. P. continues the account) “about twelve of us met together, and prayed with her. I found great freedom, and a full confidence that God would deliver her. After prayer, she said, ‘I never felt my heart pray before. I felt my heart go along with the Preacher’s words; they have done me good at my heart. My despair is all gone, I have a hope that I shall be saved.’ The next morning two or three prayed with her again. She spent all the day with one or another of the Methodists, and did not go home till night. Her father then asked, ‘Nelly, where have you been all this time?’
She answered, ‘I have been among the Methodists.’ ‘The Methodists!’ said he, ‘have you got any good there?’ She replied, ‘Yes, I bless God I have. I now hope I shall be saved.’ ‘Well,’ said he, ‘I care not where you go, if you only get relief.’ She then went to bed, but could not sleep. While she was meditating on what she had heard, those words were brought to her mind, ‘Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no Physician there?’ With the words the Lord spoke peace to her soul; and in one and the same moment all pain and sorrow fled away, and she was entirely healed, both body and mind. Early in the morning she came to the house of one of our friends, and, clapping her hands together, cried out in an ecstasy of joy, ‘O my Jesus,: my Jesus, my Jesus! What is it that he has done for me? I feel he has forgiven all my sins.’ Taking up an hymn-book, she opened it on those words: — I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me!
She was quite transported, being overwhelmed with peace and joy unspeakable. At the same time she was restored to the full use of her reason, and in a little while was strong and healthy as ever. She immediately desired to be admitted into the society, and for about a year enjoyed unspeakable happiness. She then received a call from her Beloved, and died full of faith and love.” Tues. 23. — About one I preached in the market-place at Clara. I admired the seriousness of the whole congregation. Indeed, one or two gentlemen appeared quite unconcerned; but the presence of the greater gentlemen kept them within bounds: So they were as quiet as if they had been — at the play-house.
This and the following evening I preached in the market-place at Tullamore. Thursday , 25. I was desired to look at the monument lately erected for the Earl of Charleville. It observes, that he was the last of his family, the great Moores of Croghan. But how little did riches profit either him, who died in the strength of his years, or his heir, who was literally overwhelmed by them; being so full of care, that sleep departed from him, and he was restless day and night, till, after a few months, life itself was a burden, and an untimely death closed the scene!
In the evening I preached at Mount-Mellick, near the market house. The congregation was exceeding large; and God made his word “quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword.” Fri. 26. — Finding some of the most earnest persons in the society were deeply prejudiced against each other, I desired them to come face to face, and labored much to remove their prejudice. I used both argument and persuasion; but it was all in vain. Perceiving that reasoning profited nothing, we betook ourselves to prayer. On a sudden the mighty power of God broke in upon them. The angry ones on both sides burst into tears, and fell on each other’s necks. All anger and prejudice vanished away, and they were as cordially united as ever. Sat. 27. — The congregation in the market house at Portarlington was widely different from that at Mount-Mellick. I endeavored to suit my subject to my audience, preaching from, “Gallio cared for none of these things;” but some of them were quite above conviction. So, finding that they had neither sense nor good manners, (of religion I did not suspect them,) the next day I adjourned to the shell of our new House, in which I preached morning and evening. And here the greatest part of the congregation, both Papists and Protestants, behaved with decency. Mon. 29. — We took horse about a quarter past three, and before eight reached Coolylough. At twelve I preached in the shady walk; afterwards we had the Quarterly Meeting. I found no reason to complain of any of the societies, only they want more life and zeal. Tues. 30. — I observed more good manners at Tyrrel’s Pass, in rich as well as poor, than at Portarlington. Wednesday ,JULY 1. A friend carried me to Belvidere, a seat built on the side of a clear lake, with walks and gardens adjoining, so curiously laid out as to exceed even the late Earl of Charleville’s. One would scarce think it possible to have such a variety of beauties in so small a compass. But How soon, alas! will these “upbraid Their transitory master dead!” We went on to Molingar, where for many years no Methodist Preacher could appear. The Sessions-House here was used as a guard-house. I sent to the Commanding Officer, and desired leave to preach there. This he not only gave, but came himself. So did many of the soldiers, as well as the townsmen. In the evening, notwithstanding the cold and blustering winds, I was obliged to preach abroad at Tyrrel’s Pass. But the rain on the two following evenings drove us into the House at Edinderry. Saturday, 4.
Having now finished my circuit, I went on cheerfully to Dublin. Sun. 5. — Our House was thoroughly filled, a sight which I have seldom seen. Friday , 10, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer. It was at our last meeting that we found the answer of our prayers. It seemed as if the windows of heaven were opened; the Spirit of grace and supplication was poured out. Many were filled with consolation; and many who had grown weary resolved to set out anew. Tues. 14. — A poor backslider, whom I found ten days ago dying in black despair, told me, “Now I am not afraid to die. I see Jesus just before me, and his face is all glory.” Instances of this kind do by no means prove that a saint cannot fall, even for ever; but only that God is “pitiful, and of tender mercy, not willing any should perish.” Thur. 16. — About ten I reached Donard, seven or eight and twenty English miles from Dublin. Standing under some shady trees, I enforced upon a serious congregation, “All things are ready; come unto the marriage.” From hence I rode on to Baltinglass, and preached on “By grace are ye saved through faith.” It was sultry hot as we rode to Carlow; so that I was weary and faint when we came in: But I soon recovered, and at seven preached in the Sessions-House, to a numerous congregation. But the greater part of them were like blocks, and some like wild asses’ colts. I was constrained to reprove them sharply. They received it well, and behaved with more decency. Fri. 17. — We lost our way in setting out of the town. It rained most of the day: However, this was far better than sultry heat. In the evening we returned to Dublin.
If it is genuine, if it is really extant (as many assure me it is) in the Erse language, it is an amazing proof of a genius in those barbarous times, little inferior to Homer or Virgil! Mon. 20. — A friend showed me the apartments in the Castle, the residence of the Lord-Lieutenant. The Duke of Bedford made a noble addition to the lodgings, which are now both grand and convenient. But the furniture surprised me not a little: It is by no means equal to the building.
In England, many gentlemen of five hundred a year would be utterly ashamed of it. Tues. 21. — I received an account of a young woman, the substance of which was as follows: — “KATHERINE MURRAY was born February 2, 1729, at Carrick-on-Suir. She feared God from a child, and abstained from lying and speaking bad words. When about thirteen, she stole some twigs of gooseberry-bushes from a neighbor, and planted them in her father’s garden. Immediately she felt she had sinned, knew she deserved hell, and feared it would be her portion. She began praying three times a day; but, notwithstanding, her sin followed her every where. Day and night it was before her, till, after some time, that conviction gradually wore off. “In the year 1749, her sister heard the Methodists, so called. She was soon convinced of sin, joined the society, and advised her to do so too. But hearing one named that was in it, she was filled with disdain: ‘What! meet with such a man as that!’ Yet not long after, she was convinced that the sins of her own heart, pride and passion in particularly were as abominable in the sight of God, as the sins of that man or any other. This conviction was exceeding sharp. She could no longer despise any, but only cry out, day and night, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ “In February she went to hear Mr. Reeves. He preached on part of the hundred-and-third Psalm. She was now more deeply than ever convinced of heart sin, of unbelief in particular; and had such a sight of the excellency of faith, that she determined to seek it with all her heart. “In the May following, she was sitting in her room, lamenting her state, and crying to God for mercy, when suddenly she had a sight of our Lord, from the manger to the cross. But it did not bring comfort; on the contrary, it so heightened her distress, that she cried aloud, and alarmed the family; nor could she refrain till her strength failed, and she fainted away. Often her sleep departed from her; her food was tasteless, and she mingled her drink with weeping; being resolved never to rest, till she found rest in Him whom alone her soul desired. “It was not long before the Lord looked upon her. As she was in prayer, she had a clear representation of our blessed Lord as crowned with thorns, and clothed with the purple robe. In a moment her soul rested on him, and she knew he had taken away her sins. Distress was gone; the love of God flowed into her heart, and she could rejoice in God her Savior. Her soul was so ravished with his love, that she could not hold her peace, but cried out to all she knew, ‘You may know your sins forgiven, if you will come unto Jesus.’ “Yet a while after, she dressed herself as fine as ever she could, and went to worship God, as she expressed it, ‘proud as a devil.’ Upon the spot God convinced her of her folly, of her pride and vanity.
She was stripped of all her comfort, yea, and brought to doubt the reality of all she had before experienced. The devil then labored to persuade her that she had sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost; and pushed it so, that she thought her life would fail, and she should instantly drop into the pit. But the Lord did not leave her long in the snare; he appeared again, to the joy of her soul. Her confidence was more strong than ever, and the fear of God more deeply rooted in her heart. She abhorred all sin, that in particular which had occasioned her distress; of which, indeed, she had a peculiar detestation to her last hours. “God now made her heart strong; she walked seven years in the clear light of his countenance, never feeling a moment’s doubt of his favor, but having the uninterrupted witness of his Spirit. It was her meat and drink to do his will: His word, read or preached, was her delight, and all his ways were pleasant to her. She said, she never came from a sermon unimproved; often so refreshed as to forget weariness or pain. And she was truly diligent ‘in business,’ as well as ‘fervent in spirit.’ “And now she thought she should never be removed, God had made her hill so strong. But soon after this, she was present when her sister was ill-used by her husband. She gave way to the temptation, fell into a passion, and again lost all her happiness. Yet not long; she continued instant in prayer, till God again healed her backsliding. “But from this time, as her temptations were more violent, so she had a keener sense of the remains of sin. Though she enjoyed a constant sense of the favor of God, yet she had also much fear, lest inbred sin should prevail over her, and make her bring a scandal upon the Gospel. She spent whole days in prayer, that God would not suffer her to be tempted above that she was able, and that with every temptation he would make a way for her to escape. And she was heard, so that her whole conversation adorned the doctrine of God her Savior. “Yet she suffered much reproach, not only from the children of the world, but also from the children of God. These wounds sunk deep into her soul, and often made her weep before the Lord. Sometimes she felt resentment for a short time, of which darkness was the sure consequence; but if at any time she lost the consciousness of pardon, it almost took away her life; nor could she rest satisfied a moment, till she regained the light of his countenance. She always judged it was the privilege of every believer, constantly to ‘walk in the light;’ and that nothing but sin could rob any, who had true faith, of their confidence in a pardoning God. “She was tried from within and without for about five years, yet kept from all known sin. In the year 1761, it pleased God to show her more clearly than ever, under a sermon preached by John Johnson, the absolute necessity of being saved from all sin, and perfected in love. And now her constant cry was, ‘Lord, take full possession of my heart, and reign there without a rival!’ Nor was this at all hindered by her disorders, the gravel and colic, which about this time began to be very violent. “In the year 1762, she believed God did hear her prayer; that her soul was entirely filled with love, and all unholy tempers destroyed; and for several months she rejoiced evermore, prayed without ceasing, and in everything gave thanks. Her happiness had no intermission, day or night; yea, and increased while her disorder increased exceedingly. “But in the beginning of the year 1763, when some unkind things were whispered about concerning her, she gave way to the temptation, and felt again a degree of anger in her heart. This soon occasioned a doubt, whether she was not deceived before in thinking she was saved from sin. But she said, ‘Whether I was or no, I am sure I may be ; and I am determined now to seek it from the Lord.’ “From this time her disorders gradually increased. Whenever I was in town, I visited her from time to time, and always found her, whatever her pains were, resigned to the will of God; having a clear sense of his favor, and a strong confidence that he would finish his work in her soul. “So soon as I came to town, January, 1767, she sent for me. I found her confined to her bed, and frequently in such racking pain, that it was thought she could not live many minutes; but she said, ‘My pain is nothing; the presence of the Lord bears me up above it all. I have not a murmuring thought; neither the shadow of a doubt.
My way to glory is plain before me.’ I asked if she was not afraid of having great sufferings before the soul and body were parted.
She said, ‘Not in the least. I expect to have sharp pain just before I depart;’ (which was so;) ‘but I do not concern myself about what I shall suffer. It is all at the disposal of the Lord.’ “Two days after, I went again to see her. She said, ‘My happiness is much increased. For a day and a night my pains have been exquisite; yet in the midst of all, my heart did dance and sing. The Lord so smiles upon me, I cannot express it in words.’ February 6.
She sent for me again. I found her in a rapture of love, singing and praising God; so that I was constrained to say, ‘O Lord, thou hast highly favored me, in permitting me to see such a Christian!’ I cannot attempt to describe how she then appeared; it was with such a smile as I never saw before. Most of the preceding day she had spent in singing praise to God, and telling of his goodness to all that came near her; her soul, she said, being so happy, that she could not be silent. “When I spoke to her of death, she said, ‘It is not death to me; it is only sleep; death is my friend! Death is welcome: Its sting is gone!
I shall soon be with my Lord! O that I could sing on to all eternity!
My work of praise is begun, and shall never end.’ I asked, ‘Do you find the greatest inclination to prayer or praise?’ She said, ‘O praise! praise! I am full of love; and I cannot doubt but I shall love and praise him to all eternity.’ I then asked her concerning her former profession, of being saved from sin. She said, ‘Sir, I have it now ! I have it now ! and more abundantly. My soul is so full of love, that my body is almost overpowered. It will be but a little while, and we shall meet in glory.’ “Mon. 9. I visited her again, and found her singing as well as her weak body would permit. I asked, ‘Are you as happy now, as when I saw you last?’ She said, ‘Yes, I am; I have not the shadow of a doubt. I had many conflicts with a wicked heart; but those are all over now; the Lord has finished his work.’ She conversed now like one on Pisgah’s top, in sight of the new Jerusalem; often saying, ‘My work is begun, which shall never end; I shall praise him to all eternity.’ “She was asked, ‘Can you wait the Lord’s leisure to release you?’
She said, ‘Yes, yes; as long as he pleases. My pain is gone; this also he has done for me; and why should I not wait patiently?’ But it was not long before her pains returned with redoubled violence; and sometimes a groan was extorted from her; but not the least complaint. Yea, she often broke out in a rapture of love, crying, ‘I cannot express the happiness I feel.’ “Fri. 13. After dozing a little, she awaked in a transport, saying, ‘O! you cannot conceive the joy I feel. You know but in part; but when that which is perfect is come, you shall know even as you are known.’ She spoke with regard to some glorious views which she then had of her dear Redeemer. “During her last pains, which were the sharpest of all, the devil made his last effort. She was in a violent struggle about half an hour. Then she stretched out her hands, and said, ‘Glory to Jesus!
O love Jesus! love Jesus! He is a glorious Jesus! He has now made me fit for himself! When the harvest is ripe, the sickle is put in.’
She asked for a little wine-and-water; but she could not swallow it.
She said, ‘I have long been drinking wine-and-water here; now I shall drink wine in my Father’s kingdom.’ She lay still about a quarter of an hour, and then breathed her soul into the hands of her Redeemer.”
On Wednesday and Thursday , we had our little Conference at Dublin. Friday we observed as a day of fasting and prayer; and concluded it with the most solemn watch-night that I ever remember in this kingdom. I was much tired between seven and eight o’clock, but less and less so as the service went on; and at the conclusion, a little after twelve, I was fresher than at six in the morning. Sunday , 26, was a comfortable day indeed; but the conclusion of it tried my strength, as I was speaking, with scarce any intermission, from a little after five till between nine and ten. Mon. 27. — Having a severe cold, I was in hopes of riding it away; so I took horse a little after four, and reached Newry in the evening. But my voice was still so weak, that I doubt if many of the congregation in the market house could hear me; and my cough was so violent at night, I could hardly sleep a quarter of an hour together. However, I preached at five in the morning, without much difficulty. Wednesday , 29. I hasted on to Donaghadee, but found all the packet-boats were on the other side. So I agreed with the Captain of a small vessel, and went on board about two o’clock; but it was so late when we landed, (after a passage of five hours,) that we could only reach Stranraer that night. Thur. 30. — We rode through a country swiftly improving to Ayr, and passed a quiet and comfortable night. Friday , 31. Before two we reached Glasgow. In the evening I preached, and again at five in the morning. Saturday ,AUGUST 1. As both my horse and myself were a little tired, I took the stage coach to Edinburgh.
Before I left Glasgow I heard so strange an account, that I desired to hear it from the person himself. He was a sexton, and yet for many years had little troubled himself about religion. I set down his words, and leave every man to form his own judgment upon them: — “Sixteen weeks ago, I was walking, an hour before sunset, behind the high-kirk; and, looking on one side, I saw one close to me, who looked in my face, and asked me how I did. I answered, ‘Pretty well.’ He said ‘You have had many troubles; but how have you improved them?’ He then told me all that ever I did; yea, and the thoughts that had been in my heart; adding, ‘Be ready for my second coming;’ And he was gone I knew not how. I trembled all over, and had no strength in me; but sunk down to the ground. From that time I groaned continually under the load of sin, till at the Lord’s Supper it was all taken away.” Sun. 2. — I was sorry to find both the society and the congregations smaller than when I was here last. I impute this chiefly to the manner of preaching which has been generally used. The people have been told, frequently and strongly, of their coldness, deadness, heaviness and littleness of faith but very rarely of any thing that would move thankfulness. Hereby many were driven away and those that remained were kept cold and dead.
I encouraged them strongly at eight in the morning; and about noon preached upon the Castle-Hill, on, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” The sun shone exceeding hot upon my head; but all was well; for God was in the midst of us. In the evening I preached on Luke 20:34, etc., and many were comforted; especially while I was enlarging on those deep words, “Neither can they die any more, but are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Mon. 3. — I visited as many as I could, sick and well, and endeavored to confirm them. In the evening I preached at seven, and again at nine. We concluded about twelve. One then came to me with an unexpected message. A gentleman in the west of Scotland was a serious, sensible man, but violently attached both to the doctrine and discipline of the Kirk. His eldest daughter dreamed, some months since, that she was poisoned, and must die in an hour. She waked in the utmost consternation, which issued in a deep conviction of sin. Soon after she had an earnest desire to see me, though not perceiving any possibility of it. But business calling Mr. H— — to Edinburgh, he brought her with him, three days before I came. On Sunday morning he heard the preaching for the first time, and afterwards omitted no opportunity. He now sent his daughter to beg I would come, if possible, to the west; and to desire that I, or any of our Preachers, would make his house our home. Tues. 4. — I rode to Dunbar, and endeavored, if possible to rouse some of the sleepers, by strongly, yea, roughly enforcing those words, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” And this I must say for the Scots in general, I know no men like them for bearing plain dealing.
On Thursday I reached Newcastle. Saturday , 8. At the request of Mr. Whitaker, of New-England, I preached and afterwards made a collection for the Indian schools in America. A large sum of money is now collected; but will money convert Heathens? Find Preachers of David Brainerd’s spirit, and nothing can stand before them; but without this, what will gold or silver do? No more than lead or iron. They have indeed sent thousands to hell; but never yet brought a soul to heaven. Sun. 9. — I preached about ten in Mr. Goodday’s church at Monk-Wearmouth. About two I preached to a willing multitude at Gateshead-Fell; and at five, near the Garth-Heads at Newcastle. Mon. 10. — I labored to set some right, who have much grace, but little understanding; and I prevailed on all but one who appeared indeed to be the twin-soul of poor George Bell. Tues. 11. — I came to a friendly conclusion (blessed be God!) with Mr. L.
He agreed to pay the legacies on the second of November; and we relinquished the residue of the estate. So the harpy Lawyers are happily disappointed; and the design of the dying saint in some measure answered. Wed. 12. — I took coach. The next day we reached Grantham, and London about seven on Friday evening; having run, that day, an hundred and ten miles. On the road I read over Seller’s “History of Palmyra,” and Norden’s “Travels into Egypt and Abyssinia;” two as dry and unsatisfying books as ever I read in my life. Sun. 16. — I hoped to have preached in the fields; but the rain prevented.
However, one of our brethren preached there at seven, to thousands upon thousands; and there was not the least shadow of interruption. How long will these halcyon days continue? Tues. 18. — I met in Conference with our Assistants and a select number of Preachers. To these were added, on Thursday and Friday , Mr. Whitefield, Howell Harris, and many Stewards and Local Preachers. Love and harmony reigned from the beginning to the end; but we have all need of more love and holiness; and, in order thereto, of crying continually, “Lord, increase our faith!”
Having finished my work at London for the present, on Monday , 24, I rode to Wycombe, and preached in the evening to a numerous and deeply-attentive congregation. Tues. 25. — I read Mr. Crantz’s “Account of the Mission into Greenland.” Although I make much allowance for the liberty which I know the Brethren take, in their accounts of one another, yet I do not see any reason to doubt that some of the Heathens have been converted. But what pity that so affecting an account should be disgraced with those vile, doggerel verses; just calculated to make the whole performance stink in the nostrils of all sensible men! In the evening the multitude that flocked together obliged me to preach abroad. I saw but three or four that seemed unaffected; and those, I suppose, were footmen; a race of men who are commonly lost to all sense of shame, as well as of good and evil. Wed. 26. — I rode to Ipstone-Hall, near Stoken church, and preached about ten o’clock; and, in the evening, at Whitney. The next evening I preached on Wood-Green, near the town, to an huge congregation, on, “Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found; call ye upon him, while he is near.” Scarce any were light or unattentive. Surely some will bring forth fruit unto perfection. Fri. 28. — I preached at Stow-in-the-Wold about ten, to a very dull, quiet congregation; and in the evening to almost such another, at Gloucester. Saturday , 29. We rode to Brecknock. Sunday , 30. One of Trevecka gave us a strange account: — A young woman, who served as dairy-maid there, was beloved by all the family. She was loving to every one, never angry, never out of humor. That morning she was much happier, and had a fuller manifestation of the love of God than ever. As she was coming through the entry, a lad met her with a gun in his hand, which he did not know was charged. He presented it, and said, “Nanny, I will shoot you.” The gun went off, and shot her through the heart. She fell on her face, and, without any struggle or groan, immediately expired.
I preached at eight to a large and serious congregation, and on the Bulwarks at five. A multitude of people attended; and even the Gentry seemed, for the present, almost persuaded to be Christians. Mon. 31. — I rode to Carmarthen, and, a little before six, went down to the Green. The congregation was near as large as that at Brecknock, but nothing so gay; being almost all poor or middling people. To these, therefore, I directly preached the Gospel. They heard it with greediness; and though I was faint and weary when I began, I was soon as a giant refreshed with wine. Tues . September 1. — I rode on to Pembroke, and, this and the next evening, preached in the main street, to far more than the House could have contained. In the mornings we were within. Wednesday , 2. Upon inquiry, I found the work of God in Pembrokeshire had been exceedingly hindered, chiefly by Mr. Davies’s Preachers, who had continually inveighed against ours, and thereby frightened abundance of people from hearing, or coming near them. This had sometimes provoked them to retort, which always made a bad matter worse. The advice, therefore, which I gave them was, 1. Let all the people sacredly abstain from backbiting, tale-bearing, evil-speaking: 2. Let all our Preachers abstain from returning railing for railing, either in public or in private; as well as from disputing: 3. Let them never preach controversy, but plain, practical, and experimental religion. Thur. 3. — About noon I preached at Lamphy, a village two miles from Pembroke. The rain a little lessened the congregation, but did not hinder the blessing. God was eminently present, to comfort the mourners; as likewise at Pembroke in the evening. Sat. 5. — I rode to Haverfordwest, but knew not what to do, because of the rain. However, at six I was constrained, by the number of people, to stand abroad, near the Castle; and the whole congregation as quietly attended as if we had been in a cathedral. Sun. 6. — I had a large and earnest congregation at six. About ten I began the Service at St. Daniel’s, a little church about half a mile from Pembroke, which, till lately, lay in ruins. It was thoroughly filled, during the Prayers and sermon, and a considerable number gladly partook of the Lord’s Supper. Afterwards I rode back to Haverford, and, notwithstanding the rain, stood in the same place as before, and applied, “O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace!” Mon. 7. — I rode to Carmarthen, and preached on the Green, on, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” In the afternoons, finding none that could direct us to Oxwych, we were obliged to ride round by Swansea. The next morning we came to Oxwych, and found George Story there, who had come to Swansea the day before, in his way to Cork. Hearing I was near, he came over just in season to preach to the congregation who waited for me. At noon I preached to, I suppose, all the inhabitants of the town, and then rode to Neath.
I had designed to preach abroad, but the rain would not permit. The preaching house was much crowded, and the power of God was in the midst of the congregation. Prejudice sunk down before it; and the innumerable lies which most of them had heard of me vanished into air.
The same power rested upon them early in the morning. The bigots on all sides were ashamed, and felt that, in Christ Jesus, nothing avails but the “faith that worketh by love.” Wed. 9. — About twelve I preached to a large and serious congregation in the assembly room at Cowbridge; and in the evening, in the Court-House at Cardiff; where, both this and the following evening, we had most of the Gentry in the town; and, both the mornings, the hearers were more than for many years. Who knows but, even in this desolate town, God may build up the waste places? Fri. 11. — I rode to Llanbraddoch, a single house, delightfully situated near the top of an high mountain; and in the evening preached to a serious company of plain Welshmen with uncommon enlargement of heart. Saturday , 12. Setting out early, I reached Chepstow before noon, and preached at a friend’s door, to a civil, unconcerned congregation. We came to the Old Passage, (being told we had time to spare,) a few minutes after the boat was gone off. Finding they would not pass again that day, I left my horses behind; and, crossing over in a small boat, got to Bristol soon enough to preach in the evening.
The following week I visited most of the Somersetshire societies. Sunday , 20, (as the Sunday before,) I preached in Princes-Street at eight; about two under the sycamore-tree at Kingswood; and at five in the new Square, to a larger congregation than, I think, was ever there before. Monday , 21. I preached at Pensford, Paulton, and Coleford; on Tuesday noon, at Midsummer-Norton; (so called, I suppose because formerly it was accessible at no other time of the year;) and in the evening, at Coleford again, where we had a comfortable love-feast, at which many spoke their experience with all simplicity. Wed. 23. — About noon I preached at Buckland, and in the evening at Frome: But the House was too small, so that many were constrained to go away. So the next evening I preached in a meadow, where a multitude, of all denominations, attended. It seems that God is at length giving a more general call to this town also; the people whereof seemed before, in every sense, to be “rich and increased in goods, and having need of nothing.” Fri. 25. — I was desired to preach at Freshford; but the people durst not come to the House, because of the smallpox, of which Joseph Allen, “an Israelite indeed,” had died the day before. So they placed a table near the church-yard. But I had no sooner begun to speak, than the bells began to ring, by the procurement of a neighboring gentleman. However, it was labor lost; for my voice prevailed, and the people heard me distinctly:
Nay, a person extremely deaf, who had not been able to hear a sermon for several years, told his neighbors, with great joy, that he had heard and understood all, from the beginning to the end.
I preached at Bristol in the evening, on 2 Corinthians 4:17, a text which had been chosen by William New, a little before God called him hence. He labored under a deep asthma for several years, and for seven or eight months was confined to his bed; where he was, from time to time, visited by a friend, who wrote the following account: — “He was one of the first Methodists in Bristol, and always walked as became the Gospel. By the sweat of his brow he maintained a large family, leaving six children behind him. When he was no longer able to walk, he did not discontinue his labor; and, after he kept his room, he used to cut out glass, (being a glazier,) to enable his eldest son, a child about fourteen, to do something toward the support of his family. Yea, when he kept his bed, he was not idle; but still gave him what assistance he could. “He was formerly fond of company and diversions; but, as soon as God called him, left them all, having a nobler diversion, — visiting the sick and afflicted, in which he spent all his leisure hours. He was diligent in the use of all the means of grace; very rarely, during his health, missing the morning preaching at five, though he lived above a mile from the Room. “About a year ago, he took his leave of the society; telling them, that it was with great pleasure he had joined and continued with them; that it was in this despised place the Lord first manifested himself to his soul; that no tongue could tell what he had since enjoyed under that roof; that the same Jesus had enabled him to hold on thus far, and he hoped to be with him soon; adding, ‘I do not expect to see you any more here, but have no doubt of meeting you in glory.’ “During the last twenty days of his life, he took no other sustenance than, now and then, a teaspoon full of wine, or of balm-tea. About fourteen days before his death, his tongue turned black, with large chops in it, through the heat of his stomach; and his lips were drawn two or three inches apart, so that it was difficult for him to speak. In this condition he lay waiting for his discharge, saying, sometimes, ‘I am, as it were, two persons: The body is in torturing pain; the soul is in sweet peace.’ He frequently said, ‘I long to be gone! Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly!’ When I asked, ‘Do you desire to see’ such a person? He said, ‘I desire to see none but Jesus. To him I leave my dear wife and children: I have no care about them.’ “The next day Satan violently assaulted his faith; but instantly our Lord appeared in all his glory, and he was filled with love and joy unspeakable, and said, ‘Call my friend, and let him see a dying Christian. O what do I feel! I see my Lord has overcome for me. I am his: Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!’
He desired them that were present to sing; and began, Jesus, lover of my soul!
He then desired the text for his funeral sermon might be 1 Corinthians 4:17. “The next time I saw him, having desired him to make signs rather than speak, which was painful to him, he said, ‘Here is a sign’ (pushing out his feet, and holding, up his hands,) ‘a dying Christian, full of love and joy! A crown, a never fading crown awaits me; I am going to everlasting habitations.’ He then desired us to sing, and quickly added, ‘He is come! He is come! I want to be gone: Farewell to you all!’ When he could no longer speak, he continued smiling, clapping his hands, and discovering an ecstasy of joy in every motion. “After a while his speech returned, and he said, ‘Today is Friday:
Tomorrow I expect to go.’ One said, ‘Poor Mr. New!’ He said, ‘It is rich New: Though poor in myself, I am rich in Christ.’ “I saw him on Saturday in the same spirit, praising God with every breath. He appeared quite transported, pointing upwards, and turning his fingers round his head, alluding to the crown prepared for him. I said, ‘Your Lord has kept the best wine unto the last.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ said he; ‘it is in my soul.’ When I took my leave he pressed my hand, pointed upward, and again clapped his hands.
Afterward he spoke little, till he cried out, ‘The chariot, the chariot of Israel!’ and died.” Sat. 26. — I was informed, between twelve and one, that Mrs. B. was dying. Judging I had no time to lose, about one I left Bristol, and about seven on Sunday morning came to London. Learning there that she was better, I stayed to preach and administer the sacrament at the chapel, and then hastened on, and spent a solemn and profitable hour at Lewisham. I preached again at West-street chapel in the afternoon, and made a collection for the poor, as I had done in the morning. Soon after I took chaise again, and on Monday , about noon, came to Bristol. Wed. 30. — I preached to a large and very serious congregation on Redcliff-Hill. This is the way to overturn Satan’s kingdom. In field-preaching, more than any other means, God is found of them that sought him not. By this, death, heaven, and hell, come to the ears, if not the hearts, of them that “care for none of these things.” Friday , October 2, and some days in the following week, I visited the other societies round Bristol. Sunday , 11. I preached at eight in Princes-Street, and, a little before five, near the new Square; where, notwithstanding the keenness of the wind, the congregation was exceeding large. I permitted all of Mr. Whitefield’s society that pleased, to be present at the love-feast that followed. I hope we shall “not know war any more,” unless with the world, the flesh and the devil. Mon. 12. — I preached at Bradford; on Tuesday , at Salisbury; on Wednesday , about one, at Romsey; whence I rode to Southampton; and, the wind being so high that I could not well preach abroad, I sent a line to the Mayor, requesting leave to preach in the Town-Hall. In an hour he sent me word, I might; but in an hour more he retracted. Poor Mayor of Southampton! So I preached in a small room, and did not repent my labor. Thur. 15. — About noon I preached at Fareham, then went on to Portsmouth Common. I sent to desire the use of the Tabernacle, but was answered, Not unless I would preach the Perseverance of the Saints. At six I preached in our own Room, which was sufficiently crowded both within and without. Resolving there should be room for all that would come, I preached the next afternoon on the side of the Common; and the whole congregation was as quiet as that in the Square at Bristol. Saturday , 17. I set out early, and in the evening came to London. Tues. 20. — I went to Colchester, and spent three days very agreeably, among a quiet and loving people. All their little misunderstandings are now at an end. Yet they had not the life which they had once: A loss of this kind is not easily recovered. Saturday , 24. I returned to London. Mon. 26. — I began my little tour through Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire. I preached at Whittlebury in the evening. Tuesday , 27. I rode to Weedon, where, the use of the church being refused, I accepted the offer of the Presbyterian meeting house, and preached to a crowded audience. Wednesday , 28. About two in the afternoon I preached at Towcester, where, though many could not get in, yet all were quiet. Hence we rode to Northampton, where, in the evening, (our own Room being far too small,) I preached in the riding school to a large and deeply-serious congregation.
After service, I was challenged by one that was my parishioner at Epworth, near forty years ago. I drank tea at her house the next afternoon with her daughter-in-law from London, very big with child, and greatly afraid that she should die in labor. When we went to prayers, I enlarged in prayer for her in particular. Within five minutes after we went away her pangs began, and soon after she was delivered of a fine boy. Friday , 30. I rode across the country to Bedford, and preached in the evening to a civil, heavy congregation. Saturday , 31. After preaching at Luton in the way, I returned to London. Sun . November 1. — Being All-Saints’ Day, (a festival I dearly love,) I could not but observe the admirable propriety with which the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the day are suited to each other. As I was to set out for Kent in the morning, Mr. B. invited me to spend the evening with him at Lewisham. Soon after we took horse, we found one of our horses lame. On inquiry, it appeared that five nails were driven into the quick: So we were at a full stop. But Mr. B. supplying us with another horse, we rode on, through heavy rain, to Staplehurst. In the evening I met with a young Clergyman, who seemed to have no desire, but to save his own soul and those that heard him. I advised him to expect crosses and persecution.
But he was sure his Rector would stand by him. Vain hope, that the children of the world should long stand by the children of God! Soon after, his Rector told him, unless he kept away from this people he must leave his curacy. Tues. 3. — I rode to Rye, and preached in the evening. A poor prodigal, who was cut to the heart the first time I was there, was one of the audience; but exceeding drunk. He dined with us the next day; but was still so muddled, that I could make no impression on him. He was almost persuaded to be a Christian; but I doubt is now farther off than ever. In the evening I dealt once more exceeding plain with him and his fellow sinners.
If they now perish in their iniquity, their blood is on their own head. Thursday , 5. About noon I preached at Norjam. I was surprised, at one, to hear the Tower guns so plain at above fifty miles’ distance. In the afternoon we rode through miserable roads to the pleasant village of Ewhurst, where I found the most lively congregation that I have met with in the county. Saturday , 7. I called at the house of mourning at Shoreham, where I found Mr. P. sorrowing, like a Christian, for his youngest son, the staff of his age, the fourth that has been snatched from him in the bloom of youth. After spending a profitable hour here, I rode forward to London. Sun. 8. — I buried the remains of that excellent young man, Benjamin Colley. He did “rejoice evermore,” and “pray without ceasing;” and I believe his backsliding cost him his life. From the time he missed his way, by means of Mr. Maxfield, he went heavily all his days. God, indeed, restored his peace, but left him to be buffeted of Satan in an uncommon manner: And his trials did not end but with his life. However, some of his last words were, “Tell all the society, tell all the world, I die without doubt or fear.” Thur. 12. — I occasionally looked into a book which I had long thrown by, as not worth reading, entitled, “Thoughts on God and Nature.” But how agreeably was I surprised! It contains a treasure of ancient learning, delivered in clear and strong language; and is, indeed, a masterpiece in its kind, a thunderbolt to Lord Bolingbroke, and all his admirers. Sun. 15. — I buried the remains of Rebecca Mills. She found peace with God many years since, and about five years ago was entirely changed, and enabled to give her whole soul to God. From that hour she never found any decay, but loved and served him with her whole heart. Pain and sickness, and various trials, succeeded almost without any intermission:
The attainableness o£ this great salvation is put beyond all reasonable doubt by the testimony of one such (were there but one) living and dying witness. Fri. 20. — I preached to the condemned felons in Newgate, on, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” All of them were struck, and melted into tears: Who knows but some of them may “reap in joy?”
In the evening I preached at Leytonstone. How good would it be for me to be here, not twice in a year, but in a month! So it appears to me: But God is wiser than man. When it is really best, will he not bring it to pass?
About this time I received two or three remarkable letters; extracts from which I here subjoin: — “Reverend Sir, “LATELY I was requested to read Mr. Marshall’s ‘Gospel-Mystery of Sanctification.’ It was represented to me as the most excellent piece ever published on that subject. I have read it, and, lest I should be mistaken, submit to you the following short remarks: — “It must be acknowledged, he is, on the one hand, copious in showing the impracticability of real, genuine holiness, or of doing any works acceptable to God, till we ‘repent and believe the Gospel.’ On the other hand, he shows the deadly consequences of that faith which sets aside our obligations to observe God’s holy Law. “I rejoice, likewise, to find him showing how well able a believer is to keep this Law; and proving that this faith implies a divine assurance of our belonging to Christ; but most of all, to observe him speaking so excellently of the growth of a believer in holiness. ‘We are always,’ says he, ‘to resist the devil, to quench all his fiery darts, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God. We are to be built up in Christ, until we come to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. ’ “But how does this agree with his asserting, ‘our natural state doth remain, in a measure, with all its corrupt principles and practices, as long as we live in the present world? You may as well wash a Blackamoor white, as purge the flesh from its evil lusts. It will lust against the Spirit in the best saints upon earth.’ How then am I to come ‘to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ?’ Is there a reconciliation between the ‘fullness of Christ ‘ in a believer, and all his ‘corrupt principles and practices?’ Is it thus, that the strong man armed is to be cast out, with the spoiling of his goods? Does he tell me, I am to quench all ‘the fiery darts of the devil;’ and in the same breath that I ‘may as well wash, a Blackamoor white;’ that I ‘can do all things through Christ strengthening me;’ and yet, that the flesh shall never be purged from its evil lusts; no, not in the best saints on earth, so long as they live in the present world? What a wonderful communion is here between light and darkness! What strange fellowship between Christ and Belial! “What can we infer from hence, but that Mr. Marshall’s book, containing so much poison mixed with food, is an exceeding dangerous one, and not fit to be recommended to any but experienced Christians?”
The following letter is of a very different kind: — “Sir, “ I WAS yesterday led to hear what God would say to me by your mouth. You exhorted us to ‘strive to enter in at the strait gate.’ I am willing so to do. But I find one chief part of my striving must be, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to instruct the ignorant, to visit the sick and such as are in prison, bound in misery and iron. “But if you purge out all who scorn such practices, or at least are not found in them, how many will remain in your society? I fear scarce enough to carry your body to the grave! Alas, how many, even among those who are called believers, have plenty of all the necessaries of life, and yet complain of poverty! How many have houses and lands, or bags of money, and yet cannot find in their hearts to spare now and then to God’s poor a little piece of gold!
How many have linen in plenty, with three or four suits of clothes, and can see the poor go naked! They will change them away for painted clay, or let the moths devour them, before they will give them to cover the nakedness of their poor brethren, many of whose souls are clothed with glorious robes, though their bodies are covered with rags. Pray, Sir, tell these, you cannot believe they are Christians, unless they imitate Christ in doing good to all men, and hate covetousness, which is idolatry.”
I do tell them so: And I tell them it will be more tolerable in the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than for them. I tell them, the Methodists that do not fulfill all righteousness will have the hottest place in the lake of fire!
To awaken, if possible, these sleepers, I add one extract more: — “Reverend And Dear Sir, “SOME time ago I acquainted you how graciously the Lord had dealt with me, in delivering me out of all my troubles. For some time past I have been amazed at my speech, memory, and understanding, in all which I was remarkably defective. I have had power to explain the Scriptures to my friends that meet here, in a manner that astonished me. But I immediately saw from whence these blessings came, and with an overflow of love and joy, worshipped the great Fountain of all goodness. I never was so sensible of my unprofitableness, never so abhorred myself as I do now. And yet I feel no condemnation, nor any withdrawing of my Redeemer’s love. He is my shield and buckler, my God and my all.
Glory be to God and the Lamb for ever! Praise him for me, and praise him for ever! Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. “Since the Lord has not only been gracious to my soul, but has entrusted me with a share of this world’s good, I am under an equal obligation to be faithful, in this as in the other gifts of God. Now especially, when help is so much wanted, I ought to be the more careful. Suffer me, Sir, to speak freely of myself: I have about forty-seven pounds a year. As to my disbursements, for apparel, I buy the most lasting and, in general, the plainest I can. I buy no furniture but what is necessary and cheap. I make my own fire, and get my own breakfast and supper. I pay six-pence to one of our friends for my dinner. I drink herb tea, and thereby save at least a shilling a week. I seldom drink tea in an afternoon, but up at six, on bread and cheese, with milk and water; so I save at least eight-pence by dropping tea in the afternoon. I fasted much till my health was greatly impaired. Then I used abstinence on Wednesdays, Fridays, and other fast-days, till I was obliged to leave this off too; but not till I was quite indifferent as to what I eat. So I determined, if I cannot retrench a meal, I can retrench the expense of a meal twice a week, as on other fast-days; using potatoes, milk, or some other cheap thing. Thus I have four-pence per dinner twice a week, which, with the one shilling and eightpence, makes two shillings and four-pence per week, without retrenching one necessary meal. Now this two shillings and four-pence would buy as much meat as, made into broth, would nearly suffice for a small family. To be short, the expense for myself, — meat, drink, clothes, and washing, is not twenty-eight pounds per annum; so that I have near twenty pounds to return to God in the poor. Now, if every Christian family, while in health, would thus far deny themselves, would twice a week dine on the cheapest food, drink in general herb-tea, faithfully calculate the money saved thereby, and give it to the poor over and above their usual donations, we should then hear no complaining in our streets, but the poor would eat and be satisfied. He that gathered much would have nothing over, and he that gathered little would have no lack. O how happy should we all be, if this was the case with us! I mentioned this some time ago in a meeting at London, when a brother said, ‘These are but little things.’ As I went home, I thought of his words: ‘Little things! ‘Is the want of fire, in frost and snow, a little thing? Or the want of food, in a distressed, helpless family? Gracious God! ‘Feed me with food convenient for me! Give me not poverty; lest I steal, and take the name of my God in vain!’ “Dear Sir, I know what you feel for the poor, and I also sympathize with you. Here is a hard season coming on, and everything very dear; thousands of poor souls, yea, Christians, dread the approaching calamities. O that God would stir up the hearts of all that believe themselves his children, to evidence it by showing mercy to the poor, as God has shown them mercy! Surely the real children of God will do it of themselves; for it is the natural fruit of a branch in Christ. I would not desire them to lose one meal in a week, but to use as cheap food, clothes, etc., as possible. And I think the poor themselves ought to be questioned, with regard to drinking tea and beer. For I cannot think it right for them to indulge themselves in those things which I refrain from, to help them. My earnest prayers shall accompany yours, that God would give us all, in this our day, to know the things which belong unto our peace, and to acknowledge the blessings which are freely given to us of God!” Mon. 23. — I went to Canterbury. Here I met with the Life of Mahomet, wrote, I suppose, by the Count de Boulanvilliers. Whoever the author is, he is a very pert, shallow, self-conceited coxcomb, remarkable for nothing but his immense assurance and thorough contempt of Christianity. And the book is a dull, ill-digested romance, supported by no authorities at all:
Whereas Dean Prideaux (a writer of ten times his sense) cites his authorities for everything he advances.
In the afternoon I rode to Dover; but the gentleman I was to lodge with was gone a long journey. He went to bed well, but was dead in the morning: Such a vapor is life! At six I preached; but the House would by no means contain the congregation. Most of the officers of the garrison were there. I have not found so much life here for some years. After preaching at Sandwich and Margate, and spending a comfortable day at Canterbury, on Saturday I returned to London. Mon. 30. — I took coach for Norwich, and in the evening came to Newmarket. Tuesday ,DECEMBER 1. Being alone in the coach, I was considering several points of importance. And thus much appeared clear as the day: — That a man may be saved, who cannot express himself properly concerning Imputed Righteousness. Therefore, to do this is not necessary to salvation:
That a man may be saved, who has not clear conceptions of it. (Yea, that never heard the phrase.) Therefore, clear conceptions of it are not necessary to salvation: Yea, it is not necessary to salvation to use the phrase at all:
That a Mystic, who denies Justification by Faith, (Mr. Law, for instance,) may be saved. But if so, what becomes of articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae? If so, is it not high time for us Projicere ampullas et sesquipedalia verba; f14 and to return to the plain word, “He that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him?”
Every evening this week I preached at Norwich, to a quiet well-behaved congregation. Our friends, the mob, seem to have taken their leave; and so have triflers: All that remain seem to be deeply serious. But how easily are even these turned out of the way! One of our old members, about a year ago, left the society, and never heard the preaching since, because Mr. Lincoln said, “Mr. Wesley and all his followers would go to hell together!”
However, on Tuesday night he ventured to the House once more; and God met him there, and revealed his Son in his heart. Sat. 5. — Believing it was my duty to search to the bottom some reports which I had heard concerning Mr. B——, I went to his old friend Mr. G— —, an Israelite indeed, but worn almost to a skeleton. After I had explained to him the motives of my inquiry, he spoke without reserve; and, if his account be true, that hot, sour man does well to hold fast his opinion, for it is all the religion he has. Mon. 7. — I went on to Yarmouth, and found confusion worse confounded. Not only B—— W——’s society was come to nothing, but ours seemed to be swiftly following. They had almost all left the Church again, being full of prejudice against the Clergy, and against one another.
However, as two or three retained their humble, simple love, I doubted not but there would be a blessing in the remnant. My first business was to reconcile them to each other; and this was effectually done by hearing the contending parties, first separately, and afterwards face to face. It remained to reconcile them to the Church; and this was done partly by arguments, partly by persuasion. Fri. 11. — We set out at three in the morning, but did not reach Bury till past seven in the evening. The people being ready, I began preaching immediately. Many seemed really desirous to save their souls. The next day we went on to London. Sun. 13. — I was desired to preach a funeral sermon for William Osgood.
He came to London near thirty years ago, and, from nothing, increased more and more, till he was worth several thousand pounds. He was a good man, and died in peace. Nevertheless, I believe his money was a great clog to him, and kept him in a poor, low state all his days, making no such advance as he might have done, either in holiness or happiness.
Today I found a little soreness on the edge of my tongue, which the next day spread to my gums, then to my lips, which inflamed, swelled, and, the skin bursting, bled considerably. Afterward, the roof of my mouth was extremely sore, so that I could chew nothing. To this was added a continual spitting. I knew a little rest would cure all. But this was not to be had; for I had appointed to be at Sheerness on Wednesday , the 16th.
Accordingly, I took horse between five and six, and came thither between five and six in the evening. At half an hour after six, I began reading Prayers, (the Governor of the fort having given me the use of the chapel,) and afterwards preached, though not without difficulty, to a large and serious congregation. The next evening it was considerably increased, so that the chapel was as hot as an oven. In coming out, the air, being exceeding sharp, quite took away my voice, so that I knew not how I should be able the next day to read Prayers or preach to so large a congregation. But in the afternoon the good Governor cut the knot, sending word, I must preach in the chapel no more. A room being offered, which held full as many people as I was able to preach to, we had a comfortable hour; and many seemed resolved to “seek the Lord while he may be found.”
Examining the society, consisting of four or five and thirty members, I had the comfort to find many of them knew in whom they had believed. And all of them seemed really desirous to adorn the doctrine of God their Savior.
Such a town as many of these live in, is scarce to be found again in England. In the dock adjoining to the fort there are six old men-of-war.
These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty, or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows; and each of these contains a family. In one of them, where we called, a man and his wife and six little children lived. And yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean; sweeter than most sailing ships I have been in. Saturday 19. I returned to London. Sat. 26. — I visited poor Mrs. H., whose wild husband has very near murdered her, by vehemently affirming, it was revealed to him that she should die before such a day. Indeed the day is past; but her weak, nervous constitution is so deeply shocked by it, that she still keeps her bed, and perhaps will feel it all the days of her life. Sat . January 2, 1768. — I called on a poor man in the Marshalsea, whose case appeared to be uncommon. He is by birth a Dutchman, a Chemist by profession. Being but half employed at home, he was advised to come to London, where he doubted not of having full employment. He was recommended to a countryman of his to lodge, who after six weeks arrested him for much more than he owed, and hurried him away to prison, having a wife near her time, without money, friend, or a word of English to speak. I wrote the case to Mr. T——, who immediately gave fifteen pounds; by means of which, with a little addition, he was set at liberty, and put in a way of living. But I never saw him since: And reason good; for he could now live without me. Mon. 4. — At my Leisure hours this week, I read Dr. Priestley’s ingenious book on Electricity. He seems to have accurately collected and well digested all that is known on that curious subject. But how little is that all! Indeed the use of it we know; at least, in some good degree. We know it is a thousand medicines in one: In particular, that it is the most efficacious medicine, in nervous disorders of every kind, which has ever yet been discovered. But if we aim at theory, we know nothing. We are soon Lost and bewilder’d in the fruitless search.
Mon. 11. — This week I spent my scraps of time in reading Mr. Wodrow’s “History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland.” It would transcend belief, but that the vouchers are too authentic to admit of any exception. O what a blessed Governor was that good-natured man, so called, King Charles the Second! Bloody Queen Mary was a lamb, a mere dove, in comparison of him! Monday , 25, and the following days, in the intervals of more important work, I carefully read the pleadings at Edinburgh, in the famous Douglas cause. So intricate a one I never heard, I never read of before. I cannot but believe the birth was real. But the objections are so numerous, and so strongly urged, I cannot at all wonder that many should believe otherwise. Mon . February 8. — I met with a surprising poem, entitled, “Choheleth; or, the Preacher.” It is a paraphrase, in tolerable verse, on the Book of Ecclesiastes. I really think the author of it (a Turkey Merchant) understands both the difficult expressions, and the connection of the whole, better than any other, either ancient or modern, writer whom I have seen. He was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, just then sitting in his night-gown and slippers. Before he could dress himself, part of the house he was in fell, and blocked him up. By this means his life was saved; for all who had run out were dashed in pieces by the falling houses. Thur. 18. — Having been importunately pressed thereto, I rode (through a keen east wind) to Chatham. About six in the evening I preached at the barracks, in what they call the church. It is a large room, in which the Chaplain reads Prayers, and preaches now and then. It was soon as hot as an oven, through the multitude of people; some hundreds of whom were soldiers: And they were “all ear,” as Mr. Boston says, scarce allowing themselves to breathe. Even between five and six the next morning the Room was warm enough. I suppose upwards of two hundred soldiers were a part of the audience. Many of these are already warring a good warfare, knowing in whom they have believed. Tues. 23. — I rode to Shoreham, and preached at five in Mr. P.’s house; but the next day I preached in the church, being St. Matthias’s Day. I then rode back to a large Room, which is taken in Redriff, above three miles from London Bridge. Although the people were strangely squeezed together, yet they appeared to be all attention. Not a cough was to be heard. I strongly exhorted them to “call upon the Lord while he is near.”
And when I had concluded, no one offered to move, but every one stood still in his place, till I had passed through them. Fri. 26. — I translated from the French one of the most useful tracts I ever saw, for those who desire to be “fervent in spirit.” How little does God regard men’s opinions! What a multitude of wrong opinions are embraced by all the members of the Church of Rome! Yet how highly favored have many of them been! Mon. 29. — I dined at Mr. M——’s. His strangeness is now gone. He has drank of my cup. Reproach has at length found out him also. Afterwards I spent an hour at Mr. G——’s. I can trust myself about once a year in this warm sunshine; but not much oftener, or I should melt away. Sun . March 6. — In the evening I went to Brentford, and on Tuesday , 8, I reached Bristol, where I did not find any decay in the work of God, though it did not go on so vigorously as at Kingswood. Here the meetings for prayer had been exceedingly blessed; some were convinced or converted almost daily; and near seventy new members had been added to the society in about three months’ time. The school likewise is in a flourishing condition. Several of the children continue serious; and all of them are in better order than they have been for some years. Mon. 14. — I set out on my northern journey, and preached at Stroud in the evening. Tuesday , 15. About noon I preached at Painswick, and in the evening at Gloucester. The mob here was for a considerable time both noisy and mischievous. But an honest Magistrate, taking the matter in hand, quickly tamed the beasts of the people. So may any Magistrate, if he will; so that wherever a mob continues any time, all they do is to be imputed not so much to the rabble as to the Justices. Wed. 16. — About nine I preached at Cheltenham, — a quiet, comfortable place; though it would not have been so, if either the Rector or the Anabaptist Minister could have prevented it. Both these have blown the trumpet with their might; but the people had no ears to hear. In the afternoon I preached at Upton, and then rode on to Worcester. But the difficulty was, where to preach. No room was large enough to contain the people; and it was too cold for them to stand abroad. At length we went to a friend’s, near the town, whose barn was larger than many churches. Here a numerous congregation soon assembled; and again at five, and at ten in the morning. Nothing is wanting here but a commodious House: And will not God provide this also?
In the afternoon we rode to Evesham. As all was hurry and confusion on account of the election, I was glad Mr. D. asked me to preach in his church, where we had a large and exceeding quiet congregation. How long a winter has been at this place! Will not the spring at length return? Fri. 18. — The Vicar of Pebworth had given notice in the church on Sunday, that I was to preach there on Friday. But the Squire of the parish said, “It is contrary to the Canons,” (wise Squire!) “and it shall not be.” So I preached about a mile from it, at Broadmarston, by the side of Mr. Eden’s house. The congregation was exceeding large, and remarkably attentive. In the morning, the chapel (so it anciently was) was well filled at five. The simplicity and earnestness of the people promise a glorious harvest. Sat. 19. — We rode to Birmingham. The tumults which subsisted here so many years are now wholly suppressed by a resolute Magistrate. After preaching, I was pleased to see a venerable monument of antiquity, George Bridgins, in the one hundred and seventh year of his age. He can still walk to the preaching, and retains his senses and understanding tolerably well.
But what a dream will even a life of a hundred years appear to him, the moment he awakes in eternity! Sun. 20. — About one I preached on West-Bromwich Heath; in the evening, near the preaching house in Wednesbury. The north wind cut like a razor; but the congregation, as well as me, had something else to think of. Tues. 22. — I read over a small book, “Poems, by Miss Whateley,” a farmer’s daughter. She had little advantage from education, but an astonishing genius. Some of her Elegies I think quite equal to Mr. Gray’s.
If she had had proper helps for a few years, I question whether she would not have excelled any female poet that ever yet appeared in England. Wed. 23. — After preaching at several other places, I rode on to Wolverhampton. Here too all was quiet; only those who could not get into the House made a little noise for a time: And some hundreds attended me to my lodging; but it was with no other intent than to stare. Thur. 24. — I rode to Newcastle-under-Line, (a river so called,) one of the prettiest towns in England. Many here already know themselves: Not a few know Christ. The largeness of the congregation constrained me, though it was very cold, to preach in the open air, on, “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” I scarce ever saw a more attentive or better-behaved congregation. Fri. 25. — I turned aside a little to Burslem, and preached in the new House. That at Congleton is about the same size, but better contrived, and better finished. We had any elegant congregation at Congleton, yet earnestly attentive. It seems, the behavior of the society in this town has convinced all the people in it but the Curate, who still refuses to give the sacrament to any that will not promise to hear these Preachers no more. Sat. 26. — We rode to Macclesfield. Sunday , 27. At eleven one of the Ministers preached a useful sermon, as did the other in the afternoon. At five in the evening we had thousands upon thousands; and all were serious, while I enforced, “Now is the day of salvation.” Mon. 28. — I met the Stewards of the several societies at Manchester.
The times of outward distress are now over: God has given us plenty of all things. It remains only, to, give ourselves up to Him who “giveth us all things richly to enjoy.” Tues. 29. — I preached in Stockport at noon, and Manchester in the evening. Wednesday , 30. I rode to a little town called New-Mills, in the High Peak of Derbyshire. I preached at noon in their large new chapel, which (in consideration that preaching-houses have need of air) has a casement in every window, three inches square! That is the custom of the country!
In the evening and the following morning I brought strange things to the ears of many in Manchester, concerning the government of their families, and the education of their children. But some still made that very silly answer, “O, he has no children of his own!” Neither had St. Paul, nor (that we know) any of the Apostles. What then? Were they, therefore, unable to instruct parents? Not so. They were able to instruct every one that had a soul to be saved. Sat . April 2. — I preached at Little-Leigh, and in the evening at Chester.
At eight in the morning, Easter-Day I took my old stand, in the little Square, at St. Martin’s Ash. The people were as quiet as in the House.
While I stayed here I corrected Miss Gilbert’s Journal, — a masterpiece in its kind. What a prodigy of a child! Soon ripe, and soon gone! Tues. 5. — About noon I preached at Warrington; I am afraid, not to the taste of some of my hearers, as my subject led me to speak strongly and explicitly on the Godhead of Christ. But that I cannot help; for on this I must insist as the foundation of all our hope. Wed. 6. — About eleven I preached at Wigan, in a place near the middle of the town, which I suppose was formerly a play-house. It was very full and very warm. Most of the congregation were wild as wild might be; yet none made the least disturbance. Afterwards, as I walked down the street, they stared sufficiently; but none said an uncivil word.
In the evening we had an huge congregation at Liverpool: But some pretty, gay, fluttering things did not behave with so much good manners as the mob at Wigan. The congregations in general were quite well-behaved, as well as large, both morning and evening; and I found the society both more numerous and more lively than ever it was before. Sun. 10. — I rode to Prescot, eight miles from Liverpool, and came thither just as the church began. The Vicar preached an excellent sermon, on, “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” After Service, many followed me to a vacant place, where we were tolerably sheltered from the cold wind. Fifty or sixty of our Liverpool friends also were there, who had walked over; and God made it both a solemn and a comfortable opportunity to many souls. Mon. 11. — I rode to Bolton; on Wednesday , to Kendal. Seceders and mongrel Methodists have so surfeited the people here, that there is small prospect of doing good; however, I once more “cast” my “bread upon the waters,” and left the event to God. Thur. 14. — I rode on, through continued rain, to Ambleside. It cleared up before we came to Keswick, and we set out thence in a fair day; but on the mountains the storm met us again, which beat on us so impetuously, that our horses could scarce turn their faces against it. However, we made shift to reach Cockermouth; but there was no room for preaching, the town being in an uproar through the election for Members of Parliament; so, after drying ourselves, we thought it best to go on to Whitehaven.
I found the society here more alive to God than it had been for several years; and God has chosen the weak to make them strong: The change has been wrought chiefly by means of Joseph G. Many of the children likewise are serious and well-behaved; and some of them seem to be awakened. Sun. 17. — I commended them to the grace of God, and rode to Cockermouth. I had designed to preach near the market house, but the rain constrained us to go into the House, where I explained, (out of the First Lesson,) “Let me die the death of the righteous.” In the evening I preached at Coldbeck, in the mountains, to an exceeding serious congregation. Monday , 18. Taking horse at four, I reached Solway-Frith before eight, and, finding a guide ready, crossed without delay, dined at Dumfries, and then went on to Drumlanrig. Tues. 19. — I rode through heavy rain to Glasgow. On Thursday and Friday I spoke to most of the members of the society. I doubt we have few societies in Scotland like this: The greater part of those I saw, not only have found peace with God, but continue to walk in the light of his countenance. Indeed that wise and good man, Mr. G——, has been of great service to them; encouraging them, by all possible means, to abide in the grace of God. Sat. 23. — I rode over the mountains to Perth. I had received magnificent accounts of the work of God in this place; so that I expected to find a numerous and lively society. Instead of this, I found not above two believers, and scarce five awakened persons in it. Finding I had all to begin, I spoke exceeding plain in the evening to about a hundred persons, at the Room; but, knowing this was doing nothing, on Sunday , 24, I preached about eight at the end of Watergate. A multitude of people were soon assembled, to whom I cried aloud, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” All were deeply attentive; and I had a little hope that some were profited.
At the old kirk we had useful sermons, both in the morning and at five in the afternoon. Immediately after Service I preached on, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The congregation was so exceeding large, that I doubt many could not hear. After preaching, I explained the nature of a Methodist society; adding, that I should not look on any persons at Perth as such, unless they spoke to me before I left the city. Four men and four women did speak to me; two of whom I think were believers; and one or two more seemed just awakening, all darkly feeling after God. In truth, the kingdom of God, among these, is as yet but as a grain of mustard-seed. Mon. 25. — Mr. Fr——, Minister of a neighboring parish, desired us to breakfast with him. I found him a serious, benevolent, sensible man; not bigoted to any opinions. I did not reach Brechin till it was too late to preach. Tuesday , 26. I came to Aberdeen. Here I found a society truly alive, knit together in peace and love. The congregations were large both morning and evening, and, as usual, deeply attentive. But a company of strolling players, who have at length found place here also, stole away the gay part of the hearers. Poor Scotland! Poor Aberdeen! This only was wanting to make them as completely irreligious as England. Fri. 29. — I read over an extremely sensible book, but one that surprised me much: It is “An Inquiry into the Proofs of the Charges commonly advanced against Mary, Queen of Scotland.” By means of original papers, he has made more clear than one would imagine it possible at this distance, 1. That she was altogether innocent of the murder of Lord Darnley, and no way privy to it: 2. That she married Lord Bothwell (then near seventy years old, herself but four-and twenty) from the pressing instance of the Nobility in a body, who at the same time assured her, he was innocent of the King’s murder: 3. That Murray, Morton, and Lethington, themselves contrived that murder, in order to charge it upon her; as well as forged those vile letters and sonnets which they palmed upon the world for hers. “But how then can we account for the quite contrary story, which has been almost universally received?” Most easily. It was penned and published in French, English, and Latin, (by Queen Elizabeth’s order,) by George Buchanan, who was Secretary to Lord Murray, and in Queen Elizabeth’s pay; so he was sure to throw dirt enough.
Nor was she at liberty to answer for herself. “But what then was Queen Elizabeth?” As just and merciful as Nero, and as good a Christian as Mahomet. Sun . May 1. — I preached at seven in the new Room; in the afternoon at the College kirk, in Old-Aberdeen. At six, knowing our House could not contain the congregation, I preached in the Castle-gate, on the paved stones. A large number of people were all attention; but there were many rude, stupid creatures round about them, who knew as little of reason as of religion: I never saw such brutes in Scotland before. One of them threw a potato, which fell on my arm: I turned to them; and some were ashamed. Mon. 2. — I set out early from Aberdeen, and about noon preached in Brechin. After sermon, the Provost desired to see me, and said, “Sir, my son had epileptic fits from his infancy: Dr. Ogylvie prescribed for him many times, and at length told me, he could do no more. I desired Mr. Blair last Monday to speak to you . On Tuesday morning my son said to his mother, he had just been dreaming that his fits were gone, and he was perfectly well. Soon after I gave him the drops you advised: He is perfectly well, and has not had one fit since.” In the evening I preached to a large congregation at Dundee. They heard attentively, but seemed to feel nothing. The next evening I spoke more strongly, and to their hearts rather than their understanding; and I believe a few felt the word of God sharp as a two-edged sword. Thur. 5. — We rode through the pleasant and fruitful Carse of Gowry, a plain, fifteen or sixteen miles long, between the river Tay and the mountains, very thick inhabited, to Perth. In the afternoon we walked over to the Royal Palace at Scoon. It is a large old house, delightfully situated, but swiftly running to ruin. Yet there are a few good pictures, and some fine tapestry left, in what they call the Queen’s and the King’s chambers.
And what is far more curious, there is a bed and a set of hangings, in the (once) royal apartment, which was wrought by poor Queen Mary, while she was imprisoned in the castle of Lochlevin. It is some of the finest needlework I ever saw, and plainly shows both her exquisite skill and unwearied industry.
About this time a remarkable work of God broke out among the children at Kingswood School. One of the Masters sent me a short account of it as follows: — “REV.AND DEAR SIR, April 27, 1768. “ON Wednesday, the 20th, God broke in upon our boys in a surprising manner. A serious concern has been observable in some of them for some time past; but that night, while they were in their private apartments, the power of God came upon them, even like a mighty, rushing wind, which made them cry aloud for mercy. Last night, I hope, will never be forgotten, when about twenty were in the utmost distress. But God quickly spoke peace to two of them, J—— Gl——t, and T—— M——e. A greater display of his love I never saw; they indeed rejoice with joy unspeakable. For my own part, I have not often felt the like power. We have no need to exhort them to pray, for that spirit runs through the whole school; so that this house may well be called, ‘an house of prayer.’ While I am writing, the cries of the boys, from their several apartments, are sounding in my ears. There are many still lying at the pool, who wait every moment to be put in. They are come to this, ‘Lord, I will not, I cannot, rest without thy love.’ Since I began to write, eight more are set at liberty, and now rejoice in God their Savior.
The names of these are John Coward, John Lion, John Maddern, John Boddily, John Thurgar, Charles Brown, William Higham, and Robert Hindmarsh. Their age is from eight to fourteen. There are but few who withstand the work; nor is it likely they should do it long; for the prayers of those that believe in Christ seem to carry all before them. Among the colliers likewise the work of God increases greatly; two of the colliers’ boys were justified this week.
The number added to the society since the Conference is an hundred and thirty. “I had sealed my letter, but have opened it to inform you, that two more of our children have found peace. Several others are under deep conviction. Some of our friends from Bristol are here, who are thunderstruck. This is the day we have wished for so long; the day you have had in view, which has made you go through so much opposition for the good of these poor children. “James Hindmarsh.” A few days after, one wrote thus: — “ I CANNOT help congratulating you on the happy situation of your family here. The power of God continues to work with almost irresistible force; and there is good reason to hope it will not be withdrawn, till every soul is converted to God. I have had frequent opportunities of conversing alone with the boys, and find the work has taken deep root in many hearts. The house rings with praise and prayer, and the whole behavior of the children strongly speaks for God. The number of the newborn is increased since you received your last information. I have been a witness of part; but the whole exceeds all that language can paint.”
Another writes,MAY 18: — “THE work of God still goes on at Kingswood. Of the hundred and thirty members who have been added to the society since the last Conference, the greater part have received justifying faith, and are still rejoicing in God their Savior; and (what is the most remarkable) I do not know of one backslider in the place. The outpouring of the Spirit on the children in the school has been exceeding great. I believe there is not one among them who has not been affected more or less. Twelve of them have found peace with God, and some in a very remarkable manner. These have no more doubt of the favor of God than of their own existence: And the Lord is still with them, though not so powerfully as he was two or three weeks since.”