Are you a Christian?
REV. MR. JOHN WESLEY’S JOURNAL
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FROM MAY 14, 1768, TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1770.
NUMBER JOURNAL FROM MAY 14, 1768, TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1770. Saturday , May 14, 1768.
— I walked once more through Holyrood- House, a noble pile of building; but the greatest part of it left to itself, and so (like the Palace at Scone) swiftly running to ruin. The tapestry is dirty, and quite faded; the fine ceilings dropping down; and many of the pictures in the gallery torn or cut through. This was the work of good General Hawley’s soldiers, (like General, like men!) who, after running away from the Scots, at Falkirk, revenged themselves on the harmless canvass! Sun. 15. — At eight I preached in the High-School yard; and I believe not a few of the hearers were cut to the heart. Between twelve and one a far larger congregation assembled on the Castle-Hill; and I believe my voice commanded them all, while I opened and enforced those awful words, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” In the evening our House was sufficiently crowded, even with the rich and honorable. “Who hath warned” these “to flee from the wrath to come?” O may they at length awake and “arise from the dead!” Mon. 16. — I preached in the evening at Dunbar; near the shore, to an unusually large congregation. Tuesday , 17. I looked over Dr. Shaw’s Travels: Great part of them is very dull and unentertaining; but some remarks are extremely curious. I was a little surprised at one of them; namely, that the celebrated Mount Atlas is not higher than many of our English mountains, and nothing near so high as the Alps. But it was much farther from Rome: So travelers might make it as high as the moon; and few in Italy could contradict them. Wed. 18. — I came to poor dead Berwick. However, I found a few living souls even here. At seven I preached in the Town-Hall, to an exceeding serious, though not numerous, congregation. The next evening I preached in the market place at Alnwick. Friday , 20. I went on in reading that fine book, Bishop Butler’s “Analogy.” But I doubt it is too hard for most of those for whom it is chiefly intended. Freethinkers , so called, are seldom close thinkers . They will not be at the pains of reading such a book as this.
One that would profit them must dilute his sense, or they will neither swallow nor digest it. Sat. 21. — About noon I preached at Morpeth, and in the evening at Newcastle, in the old Custom-House, a large commodious room near the quay-side, the grand resort of publicans and sinners. Sunday , 22. I preached in the morning under the trees in Gateshead, to a large and serious multitude; and at two, on the Fell, to a much larger. But the largest of all attended at the Garth-Heads in the evening; and great part of them were not curious hearers, but well acquainted with the things of the kingdom of God. Wednesday , 25, and the two following days, being at Sunderland, I took down, from one who had feared God from her infancy, one of the strangest accounts I ever read; and yet I can find no pretense to disbelieve it. The well-known character of the person excludes all suspicion of fraud; and the nature of the circumstances themselves excludes the possibility of a delusion.
It is true there are several of them which I do not comprehend; but this is, with me, a very slender objection; For what is it which I do comprehend, even of the things I see daily? Truly not The smallest grain of sand, or spire of grass.
I know not how the one grows, or how the particles of the other cohere together. What pretense have I then to deny well-attested facts, because I cannot comprehend them?
It is true, likewise, that the English in general, and indeed most of the men of learning in Europe, have given up all accounts of witches and apparitions, as mere old wives’ fables. I am sorry for it; and I willingly take this opportunity of entering my solemn protest against this violent compliment which so many that believe the Bible pay to those who do not believe it. I owe them no such service. I take knowledge, these are at the bottom of the outcry which has been raised, and with such insolence spread throughout the nation, in direct opposition not only to the Bible, but to the suffrage of the wisest and best of men in all ages and nations.
They well know, (whether Christians know it, or not,) that the giving up witchcraft is, in effect, giving up the Bible; and they know, on the other hand, that if but one account of the intercourse of men with separate spirits be admitted, their whole castle in the air (Deism, Atheism, Materialism) falls to the ground. I know no reason, therefore, why we should suffer even this weapon to be wrested out of our hands. Indeed there are numerous arguments besides, which abundantly confute their vain imaginations. But we need not be hooted out of one: Neither reason nor religion require this.
No: Nor did I ever see a murder; yet I believe there is such a thing; yea, and that in one place or another murder is committed every day. Therefore I cannot, as a reasonable man, deny the fact; although I never saw it, and perhaps never may. The testimony of unexceptionable witnesses fully convinces me both of the one and the other.
But to set this aside, it has been confidently alleged, that many of these have seen their error, and have been clearly convinced that the supposed preternatural operation was the mere contrivance of artful men. The famous instance of this, which has been spread far and wide, was the drumming in Mr. Mompesson’s house at Tedworth; who, it was said, acknowledged it was all a trick, and that he had found out the whole contrivance. Not so: My eldest brother, then at Christ-Church, Oxon, inquired of Mr. Mompesson, his fellow-collegian, whether his father had acknowledged this or not. He answered, “The resort of gentlemen to my father’s house was so great, he could not bear the expense. He therefore took no pains to confute the report that he had found out the cheat; although he, and I, and all the family, knew the account which was published to be punctually true.”
This premised, I proceed to as remarkable a narrative as any that has fallen under my notice. The reader may believe it if he pleases; or may disbelieve it, without any offense to me. Meantime, let him not be offended if I believe it, till I see better reason to the contrary. I have added a few short remarks, which may make some passages a little more intelligible. 1. ELIZABETH HOBSON was born in Sunderland, in the year 1744. Her father dying when she was three or four years old, her uncle, Thomas Rea, a pious man, brought her up as his own daughter. She was serious from a child, and grew up in the fear of God. Yet she had deep and sharp convictions of sin, till she was about sixteen years of age, when she found peace with God, and from that time the whole tenor of her behavior was suitable to her profession.
The substance of what she said was as follows: — “2. From my childhood, when any of our neighbors died, whether men, women, or children, I used to see them, either just when they died, or a little before: And I was not frightened at all, it was so common. Indeed many times I did not then know they were dead. I saw many of them by day, many by night. Those that came when it was dark brought light with them. I observed all little children, and many grown persons, had a bright, glorious light round them. But many had a gloomy, dismal light, and a dusky cloud over them. “3. When I told my uncle this, he did not seem to be at all surprised at it; but at several times he said, ‘Be not afraid, only take care to fear and serve God. As long as he is on your side, none will be able to hurt you.’ At other times he said, (dropping a word now and then, but seldom answering me any questions about it,) ‘Evil spirits very seldom appear but between eleven at night and two in the morning: But after they have appeared to a person a year, they frequently come in the day-time. Whatever spirits, good or bad, come in the day, they come at sunrise, at noon, or at sunset.’ f16 “4. When I was between twelve and thirteen my uncle had a lodger, who was a very wicked man. One night I was sitting in my chamber about half-hour after ten, having by accident put out my candle, when he came in, all over in a flame. I cried out, ‘William, why do you come in so to fright me?’ He said nothing, but went away. I went after him into his room, but found he was fast asleep in bed. A day or two after, he fell ill, and, within the week, died in raging despair. “5. I was between fourteen and fifteen, when I went very early one morning to fetch up the kine. I had two fields to cross, into a low ground which was said to be haunted. Many persons had been frightened there, and I had myself often seen men and women (so many, at times, that they are out of count) go just by me, and vanish away. This morning, as I came toward it, I heard a confused noise, as of many people quarreling. But I did not mind it, and went on till I came near the gate. I then saw, on the other side, a young man dressed in purple, who said, ‘It is too early; go back from whence you came.
The Lord be with you, and bless you;’ and presently he was gone. “6. When I was about sixteen, my uncle fell ill, and grew worse and worse for three months. One day, having been sent out on an errand, I was coming home through a lane, when I saw him in the field, coming swiftly toward me. I ran to meet him; but he was gone. When I came home, I found him calling for me. As soon as I came to his bedside, he clasped his arms round my neck, and, bursting into tears, earnestly exhorted me to continue in the ways of God. He kept his hold, till he sunk down and died: And even then they could hardly unclasp his fingers. I would fain have died with him, and wished to be buried with him, dead or alive. “7. From that time I was crying from morning to night, and praying that I might see him. I grew weaker and weaker, till, one morning, about one o’clock, as I was lying crying, as usual, I heard some noise, and, rising up, saw him come to the bedside. He looked much displeased, shook his head at me, and in a minute or two went away. “8. About a week after, I took my bed, and grew worse and worse; till, in six or seven days, my life was despaired of. Then, about eleven at night, my uncle came in, looked well pleased, and sat down on the bedside. He came every night after, at the same time, and stayed till cock-crowing. I was exceeding glad, and kept my eyes fixed upon him all the time he stayed. If I wanted drink or any thing, though I did not speak or stir, he fetched it, and set it on the chair by the bedside.
Indeed I could not speak; many times I strove, but could not move my tongue. Every morning, when he went away, he waved his hand to me, and I heard delightful music, as if many persons were singing together. “9. In about six weeks, I grew better. I was then musing, one night, whether I did well in desiring he might come; and I was praying that God would do his own will, when he came in, and stood by the bedside. But he was not in his usual dress; he had on a white robe, which reached down to his feet. He looked quite pleased. About one, there stood by him a person in white, taller than him, and exceeding beautiful. He came with the singing as of many voices, and continued till near cock-crowing. Then my uncle smiled, and waved his hand toward me twice or thrice. They went away with inexpressibly sweet music, and I saw him no more. “10. In a year after this, a young man courted me, and in some months we agreed to be married. But he purposed to take another voyage first, and one evening went aboard his ship. About eleven o’clock, going out to look for my mother, I saw him standing at his mother’s door, with his hands in his pockets, and his hat pulled over his eyes. I went to him, and reached my hand to put up his hat; but he went swiftly by me, and I saw the wall, on the other side of the lane, part as he went through, and then immediately close after him. At ten the next morning he died. “11. A few days after, John Simpson, one of our neighbors, a man that truly feared God, and one with whom I was particularly acquainted, went to sea, as usual. He sailed out on a Tuesday. The Friday night following, between eleven and twelve o’clock, I heard one walking in my room; and every step sounded as if he was stepping in water. He then came to the bedside, in his sea-jacket, all wet, and stretched his hand over me. Three drops of water fell on my breast, and felt as cold as ice. I strove to wake his wife, who lay with me; but I could not, any more than if she was dead. Afterward I heard he was cast away that night. In less than a minute he went away: But he came to me every night, for six or seven nights following, between eleven and two.
Before he came, and when he went away, I always heard sweet music. Afterwards he came both day and night; every night about twelve, with the music at his coming and going, and every day at sunrise, noon, and sunset. He came, whatever company I was in; at church, in the preaching-house, at my class; and was always just before me, changing his posture as I changed mine. When I sat, he sat; when I kneeled, he kneeled; when I stood, he stood likewise. I would fain have spoke to him, but I could not; when I tried, my heart sunk within me. Meantime it affected me more and more, so that I lost both my stomach, my color, and my strength. This continued ten weeks, while I pined away, not daring to tell any one. At last, he came four or five nights without any music, and looked exceeding sad. On the fifth night he drew the curtains of the bed violently to and fro, still looking wishfully at me, and as one quite distressed. This he did two nights. On the third, I lay down, about eleven, on the side of the bed. I quickly saw him walking up and down the room. Being resolved to speak to him, but unwilling any should hear, I rose and went up into the garret. When I opened the door, I saw him walking toward me, and shrunk back; on which he stopped, and stood at a distance. I said, ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what is your business with me?’ He answered, ‘Betsy, God forgive you for keeping me so long from my rest. Have you forgot what you promised before I went to sea, — to look to my children, if I was drowned? You must stand to your word, or I cannot rest.’ I said, ‘I wish I was dead.’ He said, ‘Say not so; you have more to go through before then: And yet, if you knew as much as I do, you would not care how soon you died. You may bring the children on in their learning, while they live; they have but a short time.’ I said, ‘I will take all the care I can.’ He added, ‘Your brother has wrote for you, to come to Jamaica; but if you go, it will hurt your soul. You have also thoughts of altering your condition; but if you marry him you think of, it will draw you from God, and you will neither be happy here nor hereafter. Keep close to God, and go on in the way wherein you have been brought up.’ I asked, ‘How do you spend your time?’ He answered, ‘In songs of praise. But of this you will know more by and by; for where I am, you will surely be. I have lost much happiness by coming to you: And I should not have stayed so long without using other means to make you speak; but the Lord would not suffer me to fright you. Have you anything more to say? It draws near two, and after that I cannot stay. I shall only come to you twice more before the death of my two children. God bless you.’ Immediately I heard such singing, as if a thousand voices joined together. He then went down stairs, and I followed him to the first landing. He smiled, and I said, ‘I desire you will come back.’ He stood still till I came to him. I asked him one or two questions, which he immediately answered; but added, ‘I wish you had not called me back; for now I must take something from you.’ He paused a little, and said, ‘I think you can best part with the hearing of your left ear.’ He laid his hand upon it, and in the instant it was deaf as a stone; and it was several years before I recovered the least hearing of it. The cock crowed as he went out of the door, and then the music ceased. The eldest of his children died at about three years and an half, the younger before he was five years old.
He appeared before the death of each, but without speaking: After that I saw him no more. “12. A little before Michaelmas, 1763, my brother George, who was a good young man went to sea. The day after Michaelmas-day, about midnight, I saw him standing by my bedside surrounded with a glorious light, and looking earnestly at me. He was wet all over. That night the ship in which he sailed split upon a rock, and all the crew were drowned. “13. On April 9, 1767, about midnight, I was lying awake, and I saw my brother John standing by my bedside. Just at that time he died in Jamaica. “14. By his death I became entitled to an house in Sunderland, which was left us by my grandfather, John Hobson, an exceeding wicked man, who was drowned fourteen years ago. I employed an Attorney to recover it from my aunts, who kept possession of it. But finding more difficulty than I expected, in the beginning of December I gave it up.
Three or four nights after, as I rose from prayer, a little before eleven, I saw him standing at a small distance. I cried out, ‘Lord bless me! what brings you here?’ He answered, ‘You have given up the house: Mr. Parker advised you so to do f27 ; but if you do, I shall have no rest: f28 Indeed Mr. Dunn, whom you have hitherto employed, will do nothing for you. Go to Durham, employ an Attorney there, and it will be recovered.’ His voice was loud, and so hollow and deep, that every word went through me. His lips did not move at all, (nor his eyes,) but the sound seemed to rise out of the floor. When he had done speaking, he turned about, and walked out of the room. f32 “15. In January, as I was sitting on the bedside, a quarter before twelve he came in, stood before me, looked earnestly at me, then walked up and down and stood and looked again. This he did for half an hour, and thus he came every other night for about three weeks. All this time he seemed angry, and sometimes his look was quite horrid and furious. One night I was sitting up in bed crying, when he came and began to pull off the clothes. I strove to touch his hand, but could not; on which he shrunk back and smiled. f35 “16. The next night but one, about twelve, I was again sitting up and crying, when he came and stood at the bedside. As I was looking for an handkerchief, he walked to the table, took one up, brought and dropped it upon the bed. After this, he came three or four nights and pulled the clothes off, throwing them on the other side of the bed. “17. Two nights after, he came as I was sitting on the bedside, and, after walking to and fro, snatched the handkerchief from my neck. I fell into a swoon. When I came to myself he was standing just before me.
Presently he came close to me, dropped it on the bed, and went away. “18. Having had a long illness the year before, having taken much cold by his frequent palling off the clothes, and being worn out by these appearances, I was now mostly confined to my bed. The next night, soon after eleven, he came again: I asked, ‘In God’s name, why do you torment me thus? You know it is impossible for me to go to Durham now. But I have a fear that you are not happy, and beg to know whether you are, or not.’ He answered, after a little pause, ‘That is a bold question for you to ask. So far as you knew me to do amiss in my lifetime, do you take care to do better.’ I said, ‘It is a shocking affair to live and die after that manner.’ He replied, ‘It is no time for reflections now: What is done cannot be undone.’ I said, ‘It must be a great happiness to die in the Lord!’ He said, ‘Hold your tongue! Hold your tongue! At your peril, never mention such a word before me again!’ I was frightened, and strove to lift up my heart to God. He gave a shriek, and sunk down at three times, with a loud groan at each time.
Just as he disappeared, there was a large flash of fire, and I fainted away. “ 19. Three days after, I went to Durham, and put the affair into Mr. Hugill the Attorney’s hands. The next night, about one, he came in; but on my taking up the Bible, went away. A month after, he came about eleven. I said, ‘Lord bless me! What has brought you here again?’ He said, ‘Mr. Hugill has done nothing but write one letter: You must write or go to Durham again. It may be decided in a few days.’ I asked, ‘Why do not you go to my aunts, who keep me out of it?’ He answered, ‘I have no power to go to them: And they cannot bear it. If I could, I would go to them, were it only to warn them; for I doubt, where I am I shall get too many to bear me company.’ He added, ‘Take care: There is mischief laid in Peggy’s hands: She will strive to meet you coming from your class. I do not speak to hinder you from going to it, but that you may be cautious. Let some one go with you, and come back with you; though whether you will escape or no, I cannot tell.’ I said, ‘She can do no more than God will let her.’ He answered, ‘We have all too little to do with Him. Mention that word no more. As soon as this is decided, meet me at Boyldon-Hill, f42 between twelve and one at night.’ I said, ‘That is a lone place for a woman to go to at that time of night. I am willing to meet you at the Ballast-Hills, or in the churchyard.’ He said, ‘That will not do. But what are you afraid of?’ I answered, ‘I am not afraid of you, but of rude men.’ He said, ‘I will set you safe, both thither and back again.’ I asked, ‘May I not bring a Minister with me?’ He replied, ‘Are you thereabouts? I will not be seen by any but you. You have plagued me sore enough already. If you bring any with you, take what follows.’ “20. From this time he appeared every night, between eleven and two.
If I put out the fire and candle, in hopes I should not see him, it did not avail. For as soon as he came all the room was light, but with a dismal light, like that of flaming brimstone. But whenever I took up the Bible, or kneeled down, yea, or prayed in my heart, he was gone. “21. On Thursday, May 12, he came about eleven, as I was sitting by the fire. I asked, ‘In God’s name, what do you want?’ He said, ‘You must either go or write to Durham. I cannot stay from you till this is decided; and I cannot stay where I am.’ When he went away, I fell into a violent passion of crying, seeing no end of my trouble. In this agony I continued till after one, and then fell into a fit. About two, I came to myself, and saw standing, at the bedside, one in a white robe, which reached down to his feet. I cried, ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — ‘ He said ‘The Lord is with you, I am come to comfort you. What cause have you to complain and murmur thus?
Why do you mourn thus for your friends? Pray for them, and leave them to God. Arise and pray.’ I said, ‘I can pray none.’ He said, ‘But God will help you; only keep close to God. You are backward likewise in praying with others and afraid to receive the Lord’s Supper. Break through that backwardness and that fear. The Lord bless you, and be ever with you!’ As he went away, I heard many voices singing Hallelujah, with such melody as I never heard before. All my trouble was gone, and I wanted nothing but to fly away with them. “22. Sat. 28. — About twelve, my grandfather stood at the bedside. I said, ‘In God’s name, what do you want?’ He said, ‘You do not make an end of this thing: Get it decided as soon as possible. My coming is as uneasy to myself as it can be to you.’ Before he came, there was a strong smell of burning, and the room was full of smoke, which got into my eyes, and almost blinded me for some time after. “23. Wed. June 21. — About sunset, I was coming up stairs, at Mrs. Knot’s, and I saw him coming toward me out of the opposite room.
He went close by me on the stair-head. Before I saw him, I smelt a strong smell of burning, and so did Miss Hosmer. It got into my throat, and almost stifled me. I sat down, and fainted away. “24. On Friday, July 3, I was sitting at dinner, when I thought I heard one come along the passage. I looked about, and saw my aunt, Margaret Scot, of Newcastle, standing at my back. On Saturday I had a letter, informing me that she died on that day.” — Thus far Elizabeth Hobson.
On Sunday ,JULY 10, I received the following letter from a friend, to whom I had recommended her: — “Sunderland, July 6, 1768. “ I WROTE YOU word before, that Elizabeth Hobson was put into possession of the house. The same night her old visitant, who had not troubled her for some time, came again, and said, ‘You must meet me at Boyldon-Hill, on Thursday night, a little before twelve.
You will see many appearances, who will call you to come to them; but do not stir, neither give them any answer. A quarter after twelve, I shall come and call you; but still do not answer, nor stir.’
She said, ‘It is an hardship upon me for you to desire me to meet you there. Why cannot you take your leave now?’ He answered, ‘It is for your good that I desire it. I can take my leave of you now; but if I do, I must take something from you, which you would not like to part with.’ She said, ‘May not a few friends come with me?’ He said, ‘They may; but they must not be present when I come.’ “That night twelve of us met at Mr. Davison’s, and spent some time in prayer. God was with us of a truth. Then six of us went with her to the place, leaving the rest to pray for us. We came thither a little before twelve, and then stood at a small distance from her. It being a fine night, we kept her in our sight, and spent the time in prayer. She stood there till a few minutes after one.
When we saw her move, we went to meet her. She said, ‘Thank God, it is all over and done. I found everything as he told me. I saw many appearances, who called me to them; but I did not answer or stir. Then he came and called me at a distance; but I took no notice.
Soon after, he came up to me, and said, You are come well-fortified.’ He then gave her the reasons why he required her to meet him at that place, and why he could take his leave there, and not in the house, without taking something from her. But withal he charged her to tell this to no one; adding, ‘If you disclose this to any creature, I shall be under a necessity of troubling you as long as you live. If you do not, I shall never trouble you, nor see you any more, either in time or eternity.’ He then bid her farewell, waved his hand, and disappeared.” Tues. 31. — I made a little excursion into Weardale, and found a people ready prepared for the Lord. I had designed to preach abroad, but had scarce done singing, when a storm of rain drove us into the House. We had a blessed opportunity there, particularly for healing the backsliders. Wed . June 1. — I preached in Teesdale. The sun was scorching hot when I began, but was soon covered with clouds. Many of the Militia were present at Barnard-Castle in the evening, and behaved with decency. I was well pleased to lodge at a gentleman’s, an old school-fellow, half a mile from the town. What a dream are the fifty or sixty years that have slipped away since we were at the Charter-House! Thur. 2. — I preached, at noon, at a farmer’s house, near Brough, in Westmoreland. The sun was hot enough, but some shady trees covered both me and most of the congregation. A little bird perched on one of them, and sung without intermission, from the beginning of the service unto the end. Many of the people came from far; but I believe none of them regretted their labor.
And the society was one of the most lively which I have met with in England. Many of them do rejoice in the pure love of God, and many more are earnestly seeking it. Fri. 3. — I rode to Richmond, intending to preach near the house of one of our friends; but some of the chief of the town sent to desire me to preach in the market place. The Yorkshire Militia were all there, just returned from their exercise: And a more rude rabble-rout I never saw; without sense, decency, or good manners.
In running down one of the mountains yesterday, I had got a sprain in my thigh: It was rather worse today; but as I rode to Barnard-Castle, the sun shone so hot upon it, that, before I came to the town, it was quite well. In the evening the Commanding Officer gave orders there should be no exercise, that all the Durham Militia (what a contrast!) might be at liberty to attend the preaching. Accordingly, we had a little army of Officers as well as soldiers; and all behaved well. A large number of them were present at five in the morning. I have not found so deep and lively a work in any other part of the kingdom, as runs through the whole circuit, particularly in the vales that wind between these horrid mountains. I returned to Newcastle in the evening. Sun. 5. — I preached in the morning at Placey, to some of the most lively colliers in England; and about two at Hartley, to a still larger congregation; but to the largest of all, in the Castlegarth, at Newcastle. Tues. 7. — I went down by water to South-Shields, and preached at noon, to far more than could hear. We went, after dinner, to Tynemouth Castle, a magnificent heap of ruins. Within the walls are the remains of a very large church, which seems to have been of exquisite workmanship; and the stones are joined by so strong a cement, that, but for Cromwell’s cannon, they might have stood a thousand years. Mon. 13. — I left Newcastle, and in the residue of the month visited most of the societies in Yorkshire. Thursday ,JULY 14. I crossed over into Lincolnshire, and, after spending about ten days there, returned by Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield, and thence crossed over to Madeley.
On Tuesday , 19, I wrote the following letter: — “REV.AND DEAR SIR, Swinfleet, July 19, 1768. “ONE of Wintringham informed me yesterday, that you said, no sensible and well-meaning man could hear, and much less join, the Methodists; because they all acted under a lie , professing themselves members of the Church of England, while they licensed themselves as Dissenters. — You are a little misinformed. The greater part of the Methodist Preachers are not licensed at all; and several that are, are not licensed as Dissenters. I instance particularly in Thomas Adams and Thomas Brisco. When Thomas Adams desired a license, one of the Justices said, ‘Mr. Adams, are not you of the Church of England? Why then do you desire a license?’ He answered, ‘Sir, I am of the Church of England; yet I desire a license, that I may legally defend myself from the illegal violence of oppressive men.’ T. Brisco being asked the same question, in London, and the Justice adding, ‘We will not grant you a license,’ his Lawyer replied, ‘Gentlemen, you cannot refuse it:
The act is a mandatory act. You have no choice.’ One asked the Chairman, ‘Is this true?’ He shook his head, and said, ‘He is in the right.’ The objection, therefore, does not lie at all against the greater part of the Methodist Preachers; because they are either licensed in this form, or not licensed at all. “When others applied for a license, the Clerk or Justice said, ‘I will not license you, but as Protestant Dissenters.’ They replied, ‘We are of the Church; we are not Dissenters: But if you will call us so, we cannot help it.’ They did call them so in their certificates, but this did not make them so. They still call themselves members of the Church of England; and they believe themselves so to be.
Therefore neither do these act under a lie. They speak no more than they verily believe. Surely then, unless there are stronger objections than this, both well-meaning and sensible men may, in perfect consistence with their sense and sincerity, not only hear, but join the Methodists. “We are in truth so far from being enemies to the Church, that we are rather bigots to it. I dare not, like Mr. Venn, leave the parish church where I am, to go to an Independent meeting. I dare not advise others to go thither, rather than to church. I advise all, over whom I have any influence, steadily to keep to the Church.
Meantime, I advise them to see that the kingdom of God is within them; that their hearts be full of love to God and man; and to look upon all, of whatever opinion, who are like-minded, as their ‘brother, and sister, and mother.’ O, Sir, what art of men or devils is this, which makes you so studiously stand aloof from those who are thus minded? I cannot but say to you, as I did to Mr. Walker, (and I say it the more freely, because Quid mea refert? I am neither better nor worse, whether you hear or forbear,) ‘The Methodists do not want you; but you want them.’ You want the life, the spirit, the power which they have; not of themselves, but by the free grace of God: Else how could it be, (let me speak without reserve,) that so good a man, and so good a Preacher, should have so little fruit of his labor, — his unwearied labor, — for so many years? Have your parishioners the life of religion in their souls? Have they so much as the form of it? Are the people of Wintringham in general any better than those of Winterton, or Horton? Alas! Sir, what is it that hinders your reaping the fruit of so much pains and so many prayers? “Is it not possible this may be the very thing, your setting yourself against those whom God owns by the continual conviction and conversion of sinners? “I fear, as long as you in anywise oppose these, your rod will not blossom, neither will you see the desire of your soul, in the prosperity of the souls committed to your charge. “I pray God to give you a right judgment in all things, and am, dear Sir, “Your affectionate brother, “John Wesley.”
Sun. 31. — I preached for Mr. Fletcher in the morning, and in the evening at Shrewsbury. Mon . August 1. — I lodged at the Abbey in Cardiganshire; and on Wednesday morning reached Haverfordwest. Here abundance of people flocked together, and willingly “suffered the word of exhortation.” Indeed, a more quiet, humane, courteous people, I have scarce ever seen. But I fear, they were surfeited with preaching before we set foot in the town. Sat. 6. — I went to Pembroke. We were here several times before we had any place in Haverfordwest. But we have reason to fear lest the first become last. Sunday , 7. I took a good deal of pains to compose the little misunderstandings which have much obstructed the work of God. At ten I read Prayers, preached, and administered the sacrament to a serious congregation at St. Daniel’s; and the next morning left the people full of good desires, and in tolerable good humor with each other. Mon. 8. — I rode to Llanelly and preached to a small, earnest company, on, “Ye are saved through faith.” Thence we found a kind of a way to Oxwych, where I pressed the one thing needful, on a plain, simple people, right willing to hear, with great enlargement of heart. Tues. 9. — I took a full view of the castle, situate on the top of a steep hill, and commanding a various and extensive prospect, both by sea and land. The building itself is far thus loftiest which I have seen in Wales.
What a taste had they who removed from hence, to bury themselves in the hole at Margam!
When we came to Neath, I was a little surprised to hear I was to preach in the church; of which the Churchwardens had the disposal, the Minister being just dead. I began reading Prayers at six, but was greatly disgusted at the manner of singing. 1. Twelve or fourteen persons kept it to themselves, and quite shut out the congregation: 2. These repeated the same words, contrary to all sense and reason, six or eight or ten times over: 3. According to the shocking custom of modern music, different persons sung different words at one and the same moment; an intolerable insult on common sense, and utterly incompatible with any devotion. Wed. 10. — At five I had the pleasure of hearing the whole congregation at the room “sing with the spirit and the understanding also;” and again, at one in the afternoon, at Cowbridge, where I found uncommon liberty of speech, while I was explaining to many of the rich and gay, as well as to the poor, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
I did not reach Cardiff till after seven; where, finding the congregation waiting, I began immediately in the Town-Hall, strongly exhorting them not to “receive the grace of God in vain.” Fri. 12. — I preached at that lovely place, Llanbraddoch; Saturday , 13, about noon at Chepstow. Thence I hastened to the Passage, though every one told me I had time enough and to spare. I had so; for I waited six hours, the boat being just gone when we came. About nine we got over, and reached Bristol between eleven and twelve. Sun. 14. — Hearing my wife was dangerously ill, I took chaise immediately, and reached the Foundery before one in the morning. Finding the fever was turned, and the danger over, about two I set out again, and in the afternoon came (not at all tired) to Bristol.
Our Conference began on Tuesday , 16, and ended on Friday , 19. O what can we do for more laborers? We can only cry to “the Lord of the harvest.” Sun. 21. — Thousands of hearers, rich and poor, received the word, near the new Square, with the deepest attention. This is the way to shake the trembling gates of hell. Still I see nothing can do this so effectually as field-preaching. Mon. 22. — I rode through impetuous rain to Weston, a village near Bridgewater. A while ago the people here were lions; but now they are become lambs. Tuesday , 23. I saw a serious congregation at Taunton! And shall we have fruit here also? In the evening I preached to the poor backsliders at Collumpton, on, “Will the Lord be no more entreated?” Wed. 24. — I rode to Launceston, where both the seriousness and largeness of the congregation, evening and morning, gave us reason to hope, that all our labor here will not be in vain. Fri. 26. — I came to Camelford, where the society is once more shrunk from seventy to fourteen. I preached in the market place on, “O that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that make for thy peace! “Many were moved for the present; as they were the next day while I was applying those awful words, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” Sat. 27. — I went on to Port-Isaac, now the liveliest place in the circuit. I preached from a balcony in the middle of the town, a circumstance I could not but observe. Before I came to Port-Isaac the first time, one Richard Scantlebury invited me to lodge at his house; but when I came, seeing a large mob at my heels, he fairly shut the door upon me: Yet in this very house I now lodged; Richard Scantlebury being gone to his fathers, and the present proprietor, Richard Wood, counting it all joy to receive the servants of God.
About this time I wrote to a friend as follows: — “Dear Lawrence, “BY a various train of providences you have been led to the very place where God intended you should be. And you have reason to praise him, that he has not suffered your labor there to be in vain.
In a short time, how little will it signify, whether we had lived in the Summer Islands, or beneath The rage of Arctos and eternal frost!
How soon will this dream of life be at an end! And when we are once landed in eternity, it will be all one, whether we spent our time on earth in a palace, or had not where to lay our head. “You never learned, either from my conversation, or preaching, or writings, that ‘holiness consisted in a flow of joy.’ I constantly told you quite the contrary; I told you it was love; the love of God and our neighbor; the image of God stamped on the heart; the life of God in the soul of man; the mind that was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ also walked. If Mr. Maxfield, or you, took it to be any thing else, it was your own fault, not mine. And whenever you waked out of that dream, you ought not to have laid the blame of it upon me. It is true that joy is one part of ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ of the kingdom of God within us. But this is first ‘righteousness,’ then ‘peace,’ and ‘joy in the Holy Ghost.’ It is true, farther, that if you love God with ‘all your heart,’ you may ‘rejoice evermore.’ Nay, it is true still farther, that many serious, humble, sober-minded believers, who do feel the love of God sometimes, and do then rejoice in God their Savior, cannot be content with this; but pray continually, that he would enable them to love, and ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’ And no fact under heaven is more undeniable, than that God does answer this prayer; that he does, for the sake of his Son, and through the power of his Spirit, enable one and another so to do. It is also a plain fact, that this power does commonly overshadow them in an instant; and that from that time they enjoy that inward and outward holiness, to which they were utter strangers before. Possibly you might be mistaken in this; perhaps you thought you had received what you had not. But pray do not measure all men by yourself; do not imagine you are the universal standard. If you deceived yourself, (which yet I do not affirm,) you should not infer that all others do.
Many think they are justified, and are not; but we cannot infer, that none are justified. So neither, if many think they are ‘perfected in love,’ and are not, will it follow that none are so. Blessed be God, though we set an hundred enthusiasts aside, we are still ‘encompassed with a cloud of witnesses,’ who have testified, and do testify, in life and in death, that perfection which I have taught these forty years! This perfection cannot be a delusion, unless the Bible be a delusion too; I mean, ‘loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.’ I pin down all its opposers to this definition of it. No evasion! No shifting the question! Where is the delusion of this? Either you received this love, or you did not; if you did, dare you call it a delusion? You will not call it so for all the world. If you received any thing else, it does not at all affect the question. Be it as much a delusion as you please, it is nothing to them who have received quite another thing, namely, that deep communion with the Father and the Son, whereby they are enabled to give him their whole heart; to love every man as their own soul, and to walk as Christ also walked. “O Lawrence, if sister Coughlan and you ever did enjoy this, humble yourselves before God, for casting it away; if you did not, God grant you may!” Mon. 29. — I rode to St. Columb, intending to preach there; but finding no place that was tolerably convenient, I was going to take horse, when one offered me the use of his meadow, close to the town. A large congregation quickly assembled, to whom I explained the nature and pleasantness of religion. I have seldom seen a people behave so well the first time I have preached to them. Tues. 30. — Calling at St. Agnes, I found a large congregation waiting; so I preached without delay. At Redruth, likewise, I found the people gathered from all parts; and God gave a loud call to the backsliders. Indeed there was need; for T. Rankin left between three and four hundred members in the society, and I found an hundred and ten!
In the evening I preached in the meadow at St. Ives, to a very numerous and deeply serious congregation. Wednesday , 31. I met the children, a work which will exercise the talents of the most able Preachers in England. Thursday ,SEPTEMBER 1. The grass being wet, we could not stand in the meadow; but we found an open space, where I called a listening multitude to return to Him who “hath not forgotten to be gracious.” Fri. 2. — I preached at noon to an earnest company at Zennor, and in the evening to a far larger at St. Just. Here being informed that one of our sisters in the next parish, Morva, who entertained the Preachers formerly, was now decrepit, and had not heard a sermon for many years, I went on Saturday , 3, at noon, to Alice Daniel’s, and preached near the House, on, “They who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” I have always thought there is something venerable in persons worn out with age; especially when they retain their understanding, and walk in the ways of God. Sun. 4. — I went to Sancreet church, where I heard an excellent sermon.
Between one and two I confirmed it, by explaining that happy religion which our Lord describes in the Eight Beatitudes. About five in the evening I preached at Newlyn; about nine the next morning at Penzance.
Surely God will have a people even in this place, where we have so long seemed only to beat the air. At noon I preached in St. Hilary, and at St. John’s this and the next evening: I believe the most senseless then felt the word of God sharp as a two-edged sword. Wed. 7. — After the early preaching, the select society met; such a company of lively believers, full of faith and love, as I never found in this county before. This, and the three following days, I preached at as many places as I could, though I was at first in doubt, whether I could preach eight days together, mostly in the open air, three or four times a day. But my strength was as my work; I hardly felt any weariness, first or last. Sun. 11. — About nine I preached at St. Agnes, and again between one and two. At five I took my old stand at Gwennap, in the natural amphitheatre. I suppose no human voice could have commanded such an audience on plain ground: But the ground rising all round gave me such an advantage, that I believe all could hear distinctly. Mon. 12. — I preached about noon at Callistick, and in the evening at Kerley. It rained all the time; but that did not divert the attention of a large congregation. At noon, Tuesday , 13, I preached in Truro, and in the evening, at Mevagissey. It was a season of solemn joy: I have not often found the like. Surely God’s thoughts are not as our thoughts! Can any good be done at Mevagissey? Wed. 14. — After preaching at St. Austle and Medros, I rode over to Roach, and spent a comfortable evening with my old acquaintance, Mr. Furly. Thur. 15. — We had our Quarterly meeting at Medros; but it was not now as formerly, when the whole society was in a flame: “The love of many” is now “waxed cold.” Fri. 16. — I rode, through heavy rain, to Polperro. Here the room over which we were to lodge, being filled with pilchards and conger-eels, the perfume was too potent for me; so that I was not sorry when one of our friends invited me to lodge at her house. Soon after I began to preach, heavy rain began; yet none went away till the whole service was ended. Sat. 17. — When we came to Crimble-Passage, we were at a full stop. The boatmen told us the storm was so high, that it was not possible to pass:
However, at length we persuaded them to venture out; and we did not ship one sea till we got over. Sun. 18. — Our Room at the Dock contained the morning congregation tolerably well. Between one and two I began preaching on the quay in Plymouth. Notwithstanding the rain, abundance of people stood to hear.
But one silly man talked without ceasing, till I desired the people to open to the right and left, and let me look him in the face. They did so. He pulled off his hat, and quietly went away.
At five I preached in the Square at the Dock, to an exceeding large congregation; and the rain, though it prevented some from coming, did not cause any to go away. Monday , 19. In the evening, I preached in what is vulgarly called Mr. Whitefield’s Room. Afterwards I met the society in our own, and exhorted them to “stand fast in one mind and one judgment.”
I set out early in the morning, and in the evening preached at Tiverton. Thur. 22. — I rode to Axminster. The rain prevented my preaching abroad, though the Room would ill contain the congregation. Observing many there who seemed quite unawakened, I opened and strongly applied Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones. Lord, “breathe upon these slain, that they may live!” Fri. 23. — I rode across the country to Charlton, and found the congregation waiting. In the afternoon we went on to Lympsham; but not without some difficulty. The waters were out; so that it was no easy matter either to ride or walk. My horse got into a ditch over his back in water: Nor could I get to my lodgings the foot-way, till an honest man took me on his shoulders, and so waded through. Sat. 24. — I returned to Bristol. Tuesday , 27. I preached in Pensford at eight; in Shepton-Mallet at one; and at Wincanton in the evening, with far greater freedom than I used to find among that dead people. About one, Wednesday , 28, I preached at Stallbridge, to a large and seriously attentive congregation. Hence I went on to cold, uncomfortable Shaftesbury, and spoke exceeding strong words. All seriously attended; some seemed to understand, and a few to feel, what was spoken. Thur. 29. — I rode to Frome. The people here seem more alive than most I have seen in the circuit; and this is the more strange, because in this town only there is such a mixture of men of all opinions, — Anabaptists, Quakers, Presbyterians, Arians, Antinomians, Moravians, and what not. If any hold to the truth, in the midst of all these, surely the power must be of God. Friday , 30, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer; and it was a good day for many, who no sooner called, than God answered them in the joy of their heart. Sun . October 2. — I preached at Kingswood, upon, “Quench not the Spirit.” Possibly this people may now have ears to hear, and may despise prophesying no more. Hereby they have frequently quenched the Spirit, and destroyed his work in their hearts. Wed. 5. — I rode over to Maiden-Bradley, and preached at a little distance from the town, to as serious a congregation as I ever saw, many of whom were in tears. It is a wonder there should be room for the Gospel here, among so many Lords and gentlemen! But indeed they neither meddle nor make; and this is all we desire of them. Fri. 7. — I spent an hour, much to my satisfaction, with the children at Kingswood. There is reason to hope that the grace of God is still working among them. Some are still alive to God; and all behave in such a manner, that I have seen no other school-boys like them. Sun. 9. — I began examining the society in Kingswood, much increased both in grace and number, chiefly by means of those meetings for prayer which God still blesses greatly. On Monday and Tuesday I examined the society at Bristol, and found cause to rejoice over these also; although there is still an heaviness of spirit upon many, indeed on all who are not going on to perfection. Wed. 12. — In the evening I preached at Kingswood. I have not seen such a congregation there, on a week day, for above these twenty years. Nor have I seen such a congregation at Pill for many years, as was present on Thursday in the afternoon. It is possible, even on this barren soil, we may see a little fruit of much labor. Fri. 14. — I dined with Dr. Wrangel, one of the King of Sweden’s Chaplains, who has spent several years in Pennsylvania. His heart seemed to be greatly united to the American Christians; and he strongly pleaded for our sending some of our Preachers to help them, multitudes of whom are as sheep without a shepherd. Tuesday , 18. He preached at the new Room, to a crowded audience, and gave general satisfaction by the simplicity and life which accompanied his sound doctrine. Sat. 22. — I was much surprised in reading an “Essay on Music,” wrote by one who is a thorough master of the subject, to find that the music of the ancients was as simple as that of the Methodists; that their music wholly consisted of melody, or the arrangement of single notes; that what is now called harmony, singing in parts, the whole of counterpoint and fugues, is quite novel, being never known in the world till the popedom of Leo the Tenth. He farther observes, that as the singing different words by different persons at the very same time necessarily prevents attention to the sense, so it frequently destroys melody for the sake of harmony; meantime it destroys the very end of music, which is to affect the passions. Mon. 24. — I left Bristol, and went, by Bath and Bradford, to Salisbury. Wednesday , 26. At one I preached in Romsey, to a very quiet, unaffected audience; and in the evening at Winchester, to a company of as poor people as I have seen for many years. Thursday , 27. The scene was changed: At Portsmouth rich and poor flocked together from all parts.
Abundance of them came again at five in the morning. In the evening the House ill contained them; and never did I see any receive the word with greater earnestness. The next day I returned to London. Mon. 31. — I took horse at five, and just then found that my horse had scarce a shoe on his feet. However, I was obliged (not having a minute to spare) to ride on as far as Colney. There I procured one to shoe my horse all round, and lame him on both his fore-feet. However, he halted on to Hockley, where an honest and skillful smith so altered and removed the shoes, that he did not halt any more. But by this means we had lost so much time that the sun set before we reached Whittlebury-Forest. We had then wonderful road; some of the ridings (so called) being belly deep.
However, between six and seven we came safe to Whittlebury.
James Glasbrook was so wearied out, that he could scarce stir hand or foot; so I desired him to go to rest. I was weary enough myself, till I began to speak; but weariness then vanished away, and we all praised God with joyful lips. Tues . November 1 . — I preached at Weedon, and at five in the morning; about eleven at Towcester; and in the evening to many more than the House would hold at Northampton. Friday , 4. James Glasbrook (who had a fit of an ague at Whittlebury) undertook to conduct me to Bedford; but he was taken ill on the road. I preached there at seven, on, “Awake, thou that sleepest:” And never was more need; for a more sleepy audience I have not often seen. Sat. 5. — About noon I preached at Hertford, in the new Room, to a large and serious congregation. The Mayor’s usage of Mr. Colley for preaching in the market place, with Mr. Colley’s firm and calm behavior, was the means of convincing Mr. Andrews, who built this Room at his own expense. Mon. 7. — I set out for Oxfordshire; preached at Wycombe in The evening, and on Tuesday and Wednesday at Witney. On Thursday , in my return, I was desired to preach at Oxford. The Room was thoroughly filled, and not with curious, but deeply serious hearers. Many of these desired that our traveling Preachers would take them in their turn, with which I willingly complied.
In the evening I preached in the chapel at Henley, to a considerable number of serious people. One or two of the baser sort made some noise; but I reproved them, and, for once, they were ashamed. Fri. 11. — I returned to London. The next week I visited the classes, and at intervals read Mr. Boswell’s “Account of Corsica.” But what a scene is opened therein! How little did we know of that brave people! How much less were we acquainted with the character of their General, Pascal Paoli; as great a lover of his country as Epaminondas, and as great a General as Hannibal! Sat. 19. — I read Dr. Nowell’s answer to Mr. Hill, concerning the expulsion of the Students at Oxford. He has said all that could be said for that stretch of power, that instance of summum jus; and he says quite enough, to clear the Church of England from the charge of Predestination:
A doctrine which he proves to be utterly inconsistent with the Common Prayer, the Communion Service, the Office of Baptism, the Articles, the Homilies, and the other writings of those that compiled them. Mon. 28. — In the evening I preached in the barracks at Chatham. I spoke louder than I have done for years; yet the skirts of the congregation could not hear. Few of those that did hear, heard in vain; for God was in the midst of them. Tues. 29. — At noon I preached at Sittingbourne, to a deeply-attentive audience; and in the evening at Canterbury, in an House half filled, — a sight I do not often see. Wed. 30. — I rode to Dover, and came in just before a violent storm began.
It did not hinder the people. Many were obliged to go away after the House was filled. What a desire to hear runs through all the sea-port towns wherever we come! Surely God is besieging this nation, and attacking it at all the entrances! Thur . December 1. — The storm was ready to bear away both man and beast. But it abated about noon; so that, after preaching at Margate, I had a pleasant ride to Canterbury.
I made an odd observation here, which I recommend to all our Preachers.
The people of Canterbury have been so often reproved, (and frequently without a cause,) for being dead and cold, that it has utterly discouraged them, and made them cold as stones. How delicate a thing is it to reprove!
To do it well, requires more than human wisdom. Fri. 2. — Those who are called Mr. Whitefield’s society, at Chatham, offered me the use of their preaching-house, which I suppose is nearly four times as large as that at the barracks. In the morning I walked on, ordering my servant to overtake me with my carriage: And he did so; but not till I had walked seven or eight miles. Tues. 13. — Having heard an heavy charge brought against W—— Gó, a member of our society, I desired the parties concerned to meet me together. But this afternoon we could not get half through. At the second hearing I was convinced, 1. That he had spoken unkindly and unjustly: 2. That he had done wrong in leaving Mr. Dear at so short a warning:
But I was equally convinced, 3. That there had been no dishonesty on either side. Wed. 14. — I saw the Westminster scholars act the “Adelphi” of Terence; an entertainment not unworthy of a Christian. O how do these Heathens shame us! Their very comedies contain both excellent sense, the liveliest pictures of men and manners, and so fine strokes of genuine morality, as are seldom found in the writings of Christians.
Mon. 19. — I spent an hour with B——a I——n. If the account she gives is true, what blessed creatures are both those gentlemen and their wives that would use the most scurrilous language, yea, strike and drive out of their house, and that in a rainy night, a young gentlewoman, a stranger, far from home, for joining with the Methodists! Do these call themselves Christians? Nay, and Protestants? Call them Turks. Papist is too good a name. Tues. 20. — I went to Shoreham. Here I read Mr. Archdeacon Blackburne’s “Considerations on the Penal Laws against Papists.” In the Appendix, p. 198, to my no small surprise, I read these words, said to be wrote by a gentleman at Paris: “The Popish party boast much of the increase of the Methodists, and talk of that sect with rapture. How far the Methodists and Papists stand connected in principles I know not; but I believe, it is beyond a doubt, that they are in constant correspondence with each other.”
It seems this letter was published in the “St. James’s Chronicle.” But I never saw or heard of it, till these words were printed in the “Canterbury Journal,” as Mr. Blackburne’s own.
And he has nearly made them his own, by his faint note upon them, “I would willingly hope some doubt may be made of this.” Indeed he adds, “Mr. Whitefield took timely care to preclude all suspicions of his having any collections with Popery.” Yea, and Mr. Wesley much more, even as early as Aug. 31, 1738. Again, in my Journal, Aug. 27, 1739, I published the on]y letter which I ever wrote to a Popish Priest. And it is in proof of this proposition, (an extraordinary proof of my connections with Popery!) “No Romanist, as such, can expect to be saved, according to the terms of the Christian covenant.”
Many things to the same purpose occur in the “Journals,” and the “Appeals to Men of Reason and Religion;” over and above those whole treatises which I have published entirely upon the subject: — “A Word to a Protestant,” a “Roman Catechism,” and “The Advantages of the Members of the Church of England over the Members of the Church of Rome.”
In the latter end of the month I took some pains in reading over Dr. Young’s “Night Thoughts,” leaving out the indifferent lines, correcting many of the rest, and explaining the hard words, in order to make that noble work more useful to all, and more intelligible to ordinary readers. Sun . January 1, 1769. — We met, as usual, at Spitalfields chapel, to renew our covenant with God. And we never do this without a blessing.
Many were comforted, and many strengthened. Mon. 9. — I spent a comfortable and profitable hour with Mr. Whitefield, in calling to mind the former times, and the manner wherein God prepared us for a work which it had not then entered into our hearts to conceive. Tues. 17. — I rode to Chesham. Our own Room being neither so large, nor so convenient, Mr. Spooner, the Dissenting Minister, gave me the use of his meeting. There was a great number of hearers. They were very attentive; and I doubt that was all. Tues. 24. — I went (by land and water) to Sheerness. Our place here would by no means contain the congregation. A large number of them attended in the morning, and seemed just ripe for the blessing. It is an advantage to the people here that they are in a little corner of the land, shut up, as it were, from all the world; but not from the Gospel or Spirit of Christ. Thur. 26. — I returned to Chatham, and preached in the great Meeting, on, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Friday , 27. I returned to London. The same day Elizabeth Vandome went to rest.
A month or two ago, when she was first taken ill, she dictated the following letter: — “Dear And Rev. Sir, “WHEN I first heard the Gospel from you, I was convinced of sin, and nothing could satisfy me but a sense of pardoning love. For a month the garment of weeping was put upon me night and day; till one day, as I was repeating those words, I trust in Him that stands between The Father’s wrath and me; Jesus, thou great eternal mean, I look for all from thee!
I was struck down to the ground, and felt the arm of the Lord revealed in me: I knew that God was reconciled; I felt sanctification begun. The fight of faith ensued; and for three quarters of a year I was struggling with my own will. Sometimes I was in an agony; I was ready to weep my life away, fearing the sins I felt in my heart would never be done away. Yet I believed there was a rest for the people of God; a rest from all sin. One day, conversing with one about the things of God, he said, ‘You would have all things became new, before you believe. But that is not the way.
You must believe first.’ When he went away, the Spirit of prayer and supplication rested upon me. Yet I felt ‘bound down with twice ten thousand ties.’ However, I wrestled on, till the Lord broke in upon my soul like the sun in his glory. He loosed me at once from all my bonds, and I knew I loved him with all my heart. Jesus appeared with hair as white as wool, and garments down to his feet, and gave me to sit with him in heavenly places. And from that time (which is seven or eight and twenty years ago) I have felt no temper contrary to love. I have no desire contrary to the will of God. On this bed of sickness I have communion with the church triumphant. I know that Jesus is my brother now, And God is all my own.
When the tempter comes, my soul cleaves to Jesus, and I am kept in perfect peace. “I thought it my duty to leave this short account of the gracious dealings of God with my soul, as you was the instrument he was pleased to make use of, for the beginning and furthering of his work. O may the Lord strengthen you and your brother, and increase in you every fruit of his Spirit; and when you fail on earth, may we meet in heaven, and praise the great Three-One to all eternity!” “This account was written some time past, when she was sick in bed. But since then God raised her up, and enabled her still to be useful to others, though in great weakness of body. When she took to her bed again, about three weeks ago, she had a remarkable dream: — She thought she saw Mr. W., laboring with his might, to keep the people from falling into a deep pit, which very few of them perceived. The concern she was in awaked her in great emotion. On Tuesday evening last, she desired us to set her up in bed, to meet her class. Her voice faltered much. She earnestly exhorted them all to live near to God, and to keep close together; adding, ‘I shall soon join the church above.’ She spoke no more; all was silent rapture, till, on Friday morning, without sigh or groan, she resigned her spirit to God. “Lydia Vandome.” Such a living and dying witness of the perfect love of God, which she enjoyed for eight-and-twenty years, one would think sufficient to silence all the doubts and objections of reasonable and candid men. Sat. 28. — I began visiting the classes. In the intervals I looked over the Transactions of the Royal Society. Is not that a little too severe, — Turpe est difficles habere nugas? f50 If this be true, and if it had been well considered, would half of these Transactions have had a being? Nay, were men convinced of this, what would become of the greater part of all the philosophical experiments in Europe? Mon . February 6. — I spent an hour with venerable woman, near ninety years of age, who retains her health, her senses, her understanding, and even her memory, to a good degree. In the last century she belonged to my grandfather Annesley’s congregation, at whose house her father and she used to dine every Thursday; and whom she remembers to have frequently seen in his study, at the top of the house, with his window open, and without any fire, winter or summer. He lived seventy-seven years and would probably have lived longer, had he not began water drinking at seventy. Fri. 10. — I went to Deptford, on purpose to see honest William Brown, worn out with age and pain, and long confined to his bed, without the use of either hand or foot. But he has the use of his understanding and his tongue, and testifies that God does all things well; that he has no doubt or fear, but is cheerfully waiting till his change shall come. Mon. 13. — I rode to Colchester, and had the satisfaction of seeing such a congregation, both this evening and the following, as I never saw in that House before. Wednesday , 15. I rode to Bury, and found not only an attentive audience, but a little society athirst for God. Thursday , 16.
Supposing we had but five-and-forty miles to Yarmouth, I did not set out till near seven: But it proved threescore; likewise it rained all day, and part of the road was very bad. However, God strengthened both man and beast:
So we reached it before six in the evening.
As we were both thoroughly wet, I was a little afraid for my companion, who was much older than me, though he had not lived so many years. But neither of us was any worse. The congregation was the largest I ever saw at Yarmouth; and I spoke far more plainly (if not roughly) than ever I did before. But I doubt, if, after all the stumbling-blocks laid in their way, any thing will sink into their hearts. Fri. 17. — I abridged Dr. Watts’s pretty “Treatise on the Passions.” His hundred and seventy-seven pages will make an useful tract of four-and-twenty. Why do persons who treat the same subjects with me, write so much larger books? Of many reasons, is not this the chief, — We do not write with the same view? Their principal end is to get money; my only one , to do good. Sat. 18. — We rode to Norwich. Sunday , 19. At seven I administered the Lord’s Supper to about a hundred and seventy serious communicants. One person then found peace with God, and many were comforted. In the evening, finding the House would not contain one-third of the congregation, I was obliged to stand in the open air; a sight which has not been seen at Norwich for many years. Yet all the people were still, and deeply attentive, two or three wild Antinomians excepted. I preached on the Gospel for the day, — the Woman of Canaan. I believe God spake to many hearts; but who will obey his voice? Wed. 22. — I rode to Lakenheath, and had more hearers there than I had had for several years. I spoke exceeding plain in the evening; one fruit of which was, that the House was filled at five in the morning. Thence I returned to Bury, and found the same little lively company, whose spirit seemed to reach the whole congregation. I know not when I have observed such a constraining power as while I was enforcing, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.” Fri. 24. — I rode to Braintree. The sharp frost did not hinder many from attending; and all were serious and well-behaved. Saturday , 25. I went on to London. Mon. 27. — I had one more agreeable conversation with my old friend and fellow-laborer, George Whitefield. His soul appeared to be vigorous still, but his body was sinking apace; and, unless God interposes with his mighty hand, he must soon finish his labors. Thur . March 2. — I buried the remains of Michael Hayes, a good old soldier of Jesus Christ. He had lived above an hundred and four years, and mostly in vigorous health. His speech and understanding continued to the last; and as he lived, so he died, praising God. Sun. 5. — After preaching at Spitalfields in the morning, and at West-Street in the afternoon, I went to Brentford; on Monday , to Hungerford; and the next day to Bath. On the road, I read over Dr. Campbell’s excellent answer to David Hume’s insolent book against miracles; and Dr. Brown’s keen “Animadversions on the Characteristics of Lord Shaftesbury,” — another lively, half-thinking writer.
Let us despair of nothing. Wed. 8. — I preached at Bristol, and met the society. The next three days I examined them, as usual, one by one, and found some increase in number, with much increase in peace and love. Mon. 13. — I set out northward. We had fine weather for a while; then the wind rose, and the rain came down amain. We were thoroughly wet before we came to Stroud, but took no cold at all. At six the House was, as usual, quite filled, though the wind and rain kept many strangers away. The people appeared to be all alive, and ready to devour the word. Afterwards we had a love feast, at which many, both men and women, spoke, with all simplicity, what God had done for their souls. Tues. 14. — After preaching to a large congregation at five, we rode toward Tewkesbury: Notice having been given of my preaching about noon at a house a mile from the town. But we could not get to it; the floods were so high; so I intended to go straight to Worcester. But one informing me a congregation from all parts was waiting, we set out another way, and waded through the water. This congregation too seemed quite earnest; so that I did not regret my labor. But the going and coming was hard work, so that I was a little tired before we came to Worcester.
I began preaching about six in the riding-house. Abundance of people were deeply attentive. But toward the close, a large number of boys made a great noise. When we came out, men and boys joined together, in shouting and pushing to and fro. Many were frightened, but none hurt. Hitherto could Satan come, but no farther. Wed. 15. — My horse being lame, and part of the road very bad, I did not reach Mr. Lee’s, of Coton, till noon. The house is delightfully situated in his park, at the top of a fruitful hill. His Chaplain had just begun reading Prayers. Afterwards he desired me to give an exhortation. So I could not take horse till half-hour after one, when I had eighteen-twenty miles to ride on a lame horse. I came, however, to Shrewsbury between five and six, and preached to a large and quiet congregation. As we returned, the rabble were noisy enough; but they used only their tongues. So all was well. Thur. 16. — We rode, with a furious wind full in our face, to Chester. Friday , 17, and the next days, we had a refreshing season, with a loving people, and in a loving family. The congregations were not small in the mornings; in the evenings exceeding large. And all who attended, behaved as if they not only understood, but relished, the good word. Sun. 19. — Elizabeth Oldham called upon me. She told me, “Some time since my mother said, ‘Call my son to see me die.’ He asked, ‘Have you any fear of death?’ She said, ‘O no! That is gone long since. Perfect love casts out fear. Do not you see him? There he is, waiting to receive my soul!’ She then sang with a clear voice, Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
And ended her song and her life together. “Every round my husband took lately, being doubtful when he took horse whether he should not drop by the way, he carried a paper in his pocket, telling who he was, and whither he was going.
This day five weeks, being exceeding weak, he feared he should not be able to preach. But I said, ‘My dear, go into the pulpit, and the Lord will strengthen thee.’ And after he had spoke a few words the Lord did strengthen him. Neither did he speak in vain: Many were comforted; several justified. One of these said, ‘He is going to rest soon, and I shall go with him.’ He died in full triumph the next Lord’s Day; and she two hours after. “But a day or two before he died, I felt a kind of unwillingness to give him up. I was mourning before the Lord concerning this, when he said to my inmost soul, ‘Wilt thou not give him back to me, whom I have fitted for myself?’ I said, ‘Lord, I do, I do give him up.’ And immediately he changed for death. “On the Sunday following, I was saying to my little maid, (always a serious and dutiful child, three years and a half old,) ‘Hannah, dost thou love God?’ She eagerly answered, ‘Yes, mammy, I do.’
She added, ‘I will go to God; I will go to God;’ leaned down, and died.” Tues. 21. — I went to Parkgate, and, about eleven, embarked on board the King George. We had mild weather and smooth water all day. The next day, the west wind blew fresh. Yet about five we were in Dublin Bay, where we procured a fishing-boat, which brought us to Dunleary. Here we took a chaise, and got to Dublin about eight o’clock.
On Thursday, Friday , and Saturday , I labored to allay the ferment which still remained in the society. I heard the Preachers face to face, once and again, and endeavored to remove their little misunderstandings. And they did come a little nearer to each other: But still a jealousy was left, without an entire removal of which there can be no cordial agreement.
March 26. — (Being Easter Day .) Many felt the power of the spirit, which raised Jesus from the dead. On Monday and Tuesday , I visited the classes, and the result of my closest observation was, 1. That out of five hundred members whom I left here, only four hundred and fifty remained: 2. That near half of the believers had suffered loss, and many quite given up their faith: 3. That the rest were more established then ever, and some swiftly growing in grace.
So that, considering the heavy storm they had gone through, if there was cause of humiliation on the one hand, there was, on the other, more abundant cause of thankfulness to Him who had saved so many when all the waves went over them. Thur. 30. — I was summoned to the Court of Conscience, by a poor creature who fed my horses three or four times while I was on board. For this service he demanded ten shillings. I gave him half-a-crown. When I informed the Court of this, he was sharply reproved: Let all beware of these land-sharks on one sea-coasts! — My scraps of time this week I employed in reading the account of Commodore Byron. I never before read of any who endured such hardships, and survived them. Sure no Novel in the world can be more affecting, or more surprising, than this history. Mon . April 3. — I took horse at four; and notwithstanding the northeast wind, came to Newry before five in the evening. It was so extremely cold, that the congregation in the market-house was but small. The next evening it was considerably increased. Wednesday , 5. I rode to Terryhugan, where the poor people had raised a tent (so called) to screen me from the north wind. I urged them, with much enlargement of heart, not to receive the grace of God in vain. Thence we rode to Lisburn. The wind was still piercing cold; yet it did not hinder a multitude of people from attending at the Linen-hall; an open Square so termed, as are all the Linen-halls in Ireland. Thur. 6. — I designed to preach at noon in the market-house at Belfast; but it was pre-engaged by a dancing master: So I stood in the street, which doubled the congregation; to whom I strongly declared, “All have sinned, and are come short of the glory of God.” But this many of them had no ears to hear, being faithful followers of Dr. Taylor.
This greatly increased the congregation; and most of them seemed to be deeply affected, rich as well as poor. Friday , 7. I preached at eleven, and, I believe, all the gentlemen in the town were present. So were all at Newton in the evening, while I enforced those solemn words, “God now commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.” Sat. 8. — I returned to Lisburn, where I was agreeably surprised by a visit from Mr. Higginson, Rector of Ballinderry. He said, “I was prejudiced in favor of the Moravians, settled in my parish, till the late affair. One of my parishioners, Mr. Campbell, died, leaving by will his fortune to his two daughters; and, in case of their death, a thousand pounds to the poor of the parish. His widow was extremely ill; notwithstanding which, some of the Brethren, to whom she was quite devoted, came in the depth of winter, and carried her by night several miles to their house. She died in a few days after she had made a will, wherein she made two of them executors; a third, guardian to the children; and in case of their death left the whole estate to the Brethren. They concealed her death six days. Meantime, two of them went to Dublin, and procured Letters of Administration, and of Guardianship. Soon after I was pressed to undertake the cause of the orphans. I went to Dublin, and laid the affair before the Lord Chancellor; who, after a full hearing, cancelled the second will, and ordered the first to stand.”
At my leisure minutes yesterday and today, I read Mr. Glanvill’s Sadducismus Triumphatus . But some of his relations I cannot receive; and much less his way of accounting for them. All his talk of “aerial and astral spirits,” I take to be stark nonsense. Indeed, supposing the facts true, I wonder a man of sense should attempt to account for them at all. For who can explain the things of the invisible world, but the inhabitants of it? Tues. 11. — I preached in the market-house in Tanderagee to one of the liveliest congregations in the kingdom. Thursday and Friday I preached at Dawson’s Grove and Kilmararty; and on Saturday , 15, rode to Derry-Anvil, a little village out of all road, surrounded with bogs, just like my old parish of Wroote, in Lincolnshire. The congregation, however, was exceeding large and exceeding lively. I talked largely with several of them who believe they are saved from sin, and found no cause to disbelieve them: And I met with many more in these parts who witness the same confession. Sun. 16. — At nine I preached in a meadow near Cock-Hill to a listening multitude. I suppose we should have had twice the number in the evening, but the rain prevented. The grass being wet, I stood in the highway, while many stood in the neighboring houses. And the word of God was as the rain upon the tender herb. Mon. 17. — In the evening, and twice on Tuesday , I preached to a genteel yet serious audience, in Mr. M’Gough’s avenue, at Armagh. But God only can reach the heart. Wednesday , 19. As it rained, I chose rather to preach in M’Gough’s yard. The rain increasing, we retired into one of his buildings. This was the first time that I preached in a stable; and I believe more good was done by this than all the other sermons I have preached at Armagh.
We took horse about ten, being desired to call at Kinnard, (ten or eleven miles out of the way,) where a little society had been lately formed, who were much alive to God. At the town-end, I was met by a messenger from Archdeacon C——e, who desired I would take a bed with him; and soon after by another, who told me, the Archdeacon desired I would alight at his door. I did so; and found an old friend whom I had not seen for four or five and thirty years. He received me with the most cordial affection; and, after a time, said, “We have been building a new church, which my neighbors expected me to open; but if you please to do it, it will be as well.” Hearing the bell, the people flocked together from all parts of the town, and “received the word with all readiness of mind.” I saw the hand of God was in this, for the strengthening of this loving people; several of whom believe that the blood of Christ has “cleansed” them “from all sin.”
Hence we rode through a pleasant country to Charlemount, where I preached to a very large and serious congregation, near the Fort, which has a ditch round it, with some face of a fortification; and probably (according to custom) costs the Government a thousand a year, for not three farthings’ service! Thur. 20. — I went on to Castle-Caulfield, and preached on the Green adjoining to the Castle, to a plain, serious people, who still retain all their earnestness and simplicity. Thence I rode to Cookstown; a town consisting of one street about a mile long, running directly through a bog. I preached to most of the inhabitants of the town; and so the next day, morning and evening. Many “received the word with gladness.” Perhaps they will not all be stony-ground hearers.
We were near five hours going fourteen miles, partly on horseback, partly on foot. We had, as usual, a full House at Londonderry in the evening, and again at eight on Sunday morning. In the afternoon we had a brilliant congregation. But such a sight gives me no great pleasure; as I have very little hope of doing them good: Only “with God all things are possible.”
Both this evening and the next I spoke exceeding plain to the members of the society. In no other place in Ireland has more pains been taken by the most able of our Preachers. And to how little purpose! Bands they have none: Four-and-forty persons in the society! The greater part of these heartless and cold. The audience in general dead as stones. However, we are to deliver our message; and let our Lord do as seemeth him good. Tues. 25. — I fixed again the meeting of the singers, and of the children; both which had been discontinued. Indeed, a general remissness had prevailed since the morning preaching was given up. No wonder: Wherever this is given up, the glory is departed from us. Wed. 26. — Being to preach at Brickfield, four or five (English) miles from Derry, I chose walking, to show these poor indolent creatures how to use their own feet. Finding the bulk of the hearers quite senseless, I spoke as strongly as I could, on, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” But I did not perceive they were at all affected. God only can raise the dead. Thur. 27. — I went to a village called the New-Buildings, about three miles from the city, and preached in a field near the town, to a civil, careless congregation. In the evening I preached in our Room, on, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth;” and now first I saw a prospect of doing good here: I mean since I came last. God did arise to maintain his own cause; and the stout-hearted trembled before him. Fri. 28. — I preached again at Brickfield; and God made some impression on the stony hearts: But much more at Derry in the evening. Here he spoke with his mighty voice; and I believe many were just on the brink of believing in the name of the Son of God. Sun. 30. — I preached to a very large congregation at the New-Buildings, who now were all attention. I preached in the evening at Derry; and, having taken a solemn leave of the society, rode to Brickfield, and slept in peace. Mon . May 1. — I rode to Augher. It being extremely hot, I came in faint and weary. Before I finished my sermon, my head turned giddy, and I could hardly stand. But I had a good night’s rest, and rose as well as when I left Dublin. Tues. 2. — I began preaching at Sydare, about half-hour after five; and it was a day of God’s power. The impression was general, if not universal:
None appeared to be unmoved. This constrained me to enlarge in prayer, as I have not done for some years; so that I did not dismiss the congregation till it was almost eight o’clock. Wed. 3. — About noon, I preached in the market place, at Enniskillen, once inhabited only by Protestants. But it has lost its glorying, having now at least five Papists to one Protestant. There was a large number of hearers, some civil, some rude, almost all totally unaffected. Thence I rode six or seven miles to Tonny-Lommon, where was a congregation of quite another kind. Great part of them knew in whom they had believed; all were deeply and steadily attentive; and many were thoroughly convinced of ill bred sin, and groaning for full redemption. Thur. 4. — I found near Swadlinbar, as artless, as earnest, and as loving a people as even at Tonny-Lommon. About six I preached at the town’s end, the very Papists appearing as attentive as the Protestants; and I doubt not thousands of these would soon be zealous Christians, were it not for their wretched Priests, who will not enter into the kingdom of God themselves, and diligently hinder those that would. Fri. 5. — I rode over the Black Mountains to Manorhamilton; so called from a poor wretch who settled here in the last century, and was famous for nothing else but hanging up all the Irish who fell into his hands. There was a general love to the Gospel here, till simple R. W. preached against the Clergy. It is strange every one does not see, 1. The sinfulness of railing at the Clergy; if they are blind leaders of the blind, then (says our Lord) “Let them alone:” 2. The foolishness of it. It never can do good; and has frequently done much harm.
At six I preached to a large congregation in the Sessions-House. All behaved well, but one young gentlewoman, who laughed almost incessantly. She knew there was nothing to laugh at; but she thought she laughed prettily. Sat. 6. — In the evening I preached near the market-house in Sligo, to a large and tolerably quiet congregation; but I soon found I was shooting over their heads, in talking of Salvation by Faith: So, at eight in the morning, Sunday , 7, I suited myself to their capacity, by preaching on, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” The effect was, that the evening congregation was such as I had not seen here for many years. Mon. 8. — I rode to Castlebar, and at seven preached in the Court House. Tuesday , 9. I dined at Sir C. B.’s, who asked me if it would be convenient for me to give them a sermon in his hall. We sent to the Court-House, and the people who were waiting there came up without delay. The family were in the parlor, the bulk of the congregation in the hall and the long passage. Wednesday , 10. I preached in the Court-House, on, “Put on the whole armor of God;” and taking horse early in the morning, Thursday , 11, rode to Galway.
About seven I preached in the Sessions-House, a large commodious place, where were hearers of every sort. All were silent and tolerably civil; some appeared to be a little affected. Many Officers, and a considerable number of genteel people, attended the next evening; and I am in hopes a few of them will not easily forget what they then heard. Sat. 13. — We rode to Limerick. This evening I preached in the Room; and at eight in the morning, Whit-Sunday , but was much scandalized at the smallness of the congregation. In the evening I preached in the Old-Camp, where the congregation was larger than it had been for several years. So it was likewise on Monday and Tuesday evening. But still I observed none wounded among them, nor any thing more than a calm, dull attention. Wed. 17. — I preached in Ballygarane at noon, and in the evening at Newmarket. One gentlewoman, violently prejudiced against this way , at first stood at a distance: Then she came a little nearer; afterwards sat down; and in a short time hid her face. She attended again in the morning, being much convinced of sin, particularly of despising the real word of God.
We observed Friday , 19, as a day of fasting and prayer, for a revival of his work. Many attended both at five, nine, and one, but abundance more at the watch-night. And then it was that God touched the hearts of the people, even of those that were “twice dead.” Sun. 21. — I was in hopes of taking the field in the afternoon, but the rain prevented. Yet I did not repent of the disappointment, so great was the power of God in the midst of us. I believe few were untouched; many were deeply wounded; many rejoiced with joy unspeakable. The same power was present the next morning and evening, both to wound and to heal. God employed his two-edged sword on every side, in a manner I had not seen here for many years. O how ready is He to answer every “prayer that goeth not out of feigned lips!” Tues. 23. — We had an evening congregation at five, and an exceeding solemn parting. At six in the evening I cried to a company a little above brutes, “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” This was at Kilfinnan. I lodged a mile from the town, among some that were alive to God. Wed. 24. — I had a cool, pleasant ride to Cork, where I soon heard how cold and careless the people were. I asked, “But are not the society at least alive?” “No; these are the coldest of all.” “What then? Are we to be careless, too? Nay, so much the more let us stir up the gift of God that is in us.” I began in the evening to speak exceeding plain, and I presently saw some fruit: The congregation at five in the morning was not much less than it was in the evening. Many saw their loss; God gave me again very sharp though loving words. I trust this also is a token for good, and Satan shall not long triumph over us. Thur. 25. — I rode to Bandon. Since I was here before, several have gone home rejoicing; but others are come in their place. So that the society contains just as many members as when I left it; and most of the believers seem much alive; particularly the young men, maidens, and children.
In the evening we were obliged to be in the House; but the next, Friday , 26, I stood in the main street, and cried to a numerous congregation, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man.”
Afterwards I visited one that a year or two ago was in high life, an eminent beauty, adored by her husband, admired and caressed by some of the first men in the nation. She was now without husband, without friend, without fortune, confined to her bed, in constant pain, and in black despair, believing herself forsaken of God, and possessed by a legion of devils! Yet I found great liberty in praying for her, and a strong hope that she will die in peace. Sun. 28. — I returned to Cork. The rain drove us into the House, which was once more thoroughly filled. I scarce ever spoke so plain as I did both this and the two following days; yet for many years the congregations had not been so large. Wednesday and Thursday I visited the classes.
Decreasing still! Seven years ago we had near four hundred members in this society; five years since, about three hundred members. Two years ago they were two hundred; now one hundred and ninety. On Thursday evening,JUNE 1, I preached at Blackpool, to such a congregation as I never saw there before. Friday , 2, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer. At five and at nine we found God was with us; but much more at one, and most of all at the watch-night, during the application of those awful words, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Sat. 3. — I preached at Blackpool again. Again multitudes of “publicans and sinners drew near,” and gladly heard that “there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Sunday , 4. The rain again prevented my preaching at the Barrack-Hill; but God was again present at the Room, and filled many souls with strong consolation. When I took my leave of the society, many were moved, fearing we should meet no more. If not, is it not enough that we shall meet again at the resurrection of the just? Mon. 5. — Having been much importuned to give them a day or two more, I rode to Limerick. Tuesday , 6. I looked over a considerable part of Mr. Turner’s “Remarkable Providences.” What pity is it that the author had not a little judgment as well as piety! What an heap of things has he huddled together, good, bad, and indifferent! But how fine a treatise might a man of sense collect out of it! After encouraging as many as I could, both in public and private, to “press on toward the mark,” on Thursday , 8, I once more took my leave of this loving people, and set out for Waterford.
We intended to dine at Tipperary, but were directed wrong. At length we stumbled on a little town, called Golding. And here I found poor Michael Weston, who rambled hither from Westminster, some months since, in quest of an estate. I clearly saw the providence of God, directing me hither before he was quite starved. Thence we rode to the Garter, near Clonmell; (where we had excellent entertainment;) and the next morning, over exceeding pleasant and well-cultivated mountains, to Waterford.
Never was the prospect more gloomy here than at present. Through the continual neglect of the Preachers, the congregation was reduced almost to nothing; and so was the society. Yet I found much liberty of speech in the evening, and a strong hope that God would revive his work.
I was invited to lodge at Mr. Scott’s, a considerable tradesman. I found a young gentlewoman there, a visitant, well-bred, sensible, good-humored; studious to oblige, and “lacking nothing” but the “one thing.” Saturday , 10.
The Room was quite filled in the morning. In the evening I preached in the court to thrice as many as the Room would contain; and all were not only quiet, but attentive. Sun. 11. — The congregation at eight was still larger. But not many seemed to be affected. In the evening the court was filled, and I believe God opened both the understanding and the hearts of many. Afterwards I met the society, and endeavored to lift up the hands that hung down. Light began to spring up. Misunderstandings vanished away, and the spirits of many revived. Mon. 12. — I labored to re-unite the poor, shattered society, and to remove the numberless offenses which had torn them in pieces. Tuesday , 13. In the evening God began to answer for himself. I scarce ever saw a more deep and general impression made on a congregation. At the meeting of the society, likewise, he refreshed us with “the multitude of peace.” Wed. 14. — I preached in the market-house at Passage, to as dull a congregation as I have seen. They would have been rude enough too, but that they stood in awe of Mr. Freestone, who gave one and another, when they did not regard his signs, a stroke on the head with his stick. By this means the whole multitude was tolerably quiet, and many seemed much affected.
A little before twelve I came to Old-Ross, and preached to a small, serious congregation. Thence we went on to Enniscorthy; but the difficulty was, where I should preach. It rained, but no House would contain the people.
We made the best shift we could, by stowing as many as possible in the House; the rest, as I stood near the door, were quiet without. It was an uncommon time, particularly with regard to those who had opposed the truth. One dropped down like a stone; many trembled and wept exceedingly. All declared, that such a work as this was never seen at Enniscorthy before. Thur. 15. — I began to preach a little before five, on, “The kingdom of God within us.” The hearts of the hearers, one and all, seemed to be as melting wax. Surely it was not for nothing that Satan fought so furiously to keep the Gospel from this place.
Indeed there has not been hotter persecution of late years any where in the kingdom than here. The mob, encouraged by their superiors, beat and abused whom they pleased, broke open their houses, and did just what they listed. A wretched Clergyman confirmed them therein, and applied to the Methodist Preachers 2 Timothy 3:6,7; the very text of that unhappy gentleman at Bristol, which he uttered, and dropped down in the pulpit. After he had painted them as black as devils, he added, “I have not time to finish now; next Sunday I will give you the rest.” But the next morning he was struck in a strange manner. He could not bear to be a moment alone. He cried out, “Those hobgoblins; do not you see them?
There, there! The room is full of them.” Having continued thus some days, he screamed out, “See that hobgoblin at the bed’s feet! O that roll, that roll which he holds up to me! All my sins are written therein!” Not long after, without showing the least sign of hope, he went to his account.
In the afternoon I came to Kilkenny, and in the evening preached in the Tholsel. A more civil and unawakened audience I know not when I have seen. The bulk of them appeared to be no more affected than if I had been talking Greek. However, many of them attended the next morning, and more than ever in the evening: And all behaved well but one gentleman, who took much pains to divert those that were near him. I fixed my eyes upon him; but he did not regard it. I was then obliged to speak to him; and he was silent. Sat. 17. — I finished “Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of Richard the Third.” What an amazing monster, both in body and mind, have our historians and poets painted him! And yet I think Mr. Walpole makes it more clear than one could expect at this distance of time, 1. That he was not only not remarkably deformed, but, on the contrary, remarkably handsome. 2. That his Queen, whom he entirely loved, died a natural death. 3. That his nephew, Edward the Fifth, did so too; there being no shadow of proof to the contrary. 4. That his other nephew, Richard, was the very person whom Henry the Seventh murdered, after constraining him to call himself Perkin Warbeck. 5. That the death of his brother, the Duke of Clarence, was the sole act, not of him, but Edward the Fourth. 6. That he had no hand at all in the murder of Henry the Sixth, any mare than of his son. And, lastly, That he was clear of all blame, as to the execution of Lord Hastings; as well as of Rivers, Gray, and Vaughan.
What a surprising thing is it, then, that all our historians should have so readily swallowed the account of that wretch who “killed, and also took possession” of the throne; and blundered on, one after another! Only it is to be observed, for fifty years no one could contradict that account, but at the peril of his head. Sun. 18. — As it rained, I preached morning and evening in the Tholsel, to a multitude of people. I spoke exceeding plain, and all received it in love.
Perhaps some may bring forth fruit. Mon. 19. — In the evening I preached at Birr, and removed some misunderstandings which had crept into the society. Tues. 20. — I went on to Aghrim, and spoke as plain as possibly I could to a money-loving people, on, “God said unto him, Thou fool!” But I am afraid many of them are sermon-proof. Yet God has all power. And sometimes he sends, when and where it pleases him, Overwhelming showers of saving grace.
But I have never observed these to last long. And in all the intervals of them, he acts by his standing rule, “Unto him that hath,” and uses what he hath, “shall be given; and he shall have more abundantly: But from him that hath not,” uses it not, “shall be taken away even that he hath.” Wed. 21. — I went on to Athlone. Friday , 23. I rode to Abidarrig, to the Quarterly Meeting. Many of the people came from far; and God gave them a good reward for their labor. Saturday , 24. We returned to Athlone. Sunday , 25. In the afternoon I stood in Barrack-Street, and cried aloud to a mixed multitude, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” I never before saw so quiet a congregation on this side the water. There was not only no tumult, but no murmur to be heard, no smile to be seen on any face. Mon. 26. — About noon I preached on the Green, at Clara, to an exceeding serious congregation; and in the evening at Tullamore. Tuesday , 27. I found a little increase in the society: But there cannot be much without more field-preaching. Wherever this is intermitted, the work of God stands still, if it does not go back.
Today I wrote to a pious and sensible woman as follows: — “DEAR MADAM, Tullamore, 27th June, 1769. “WHEN I had the pleasure of conversing with you some years since, you had a regard both for me and the people called Methodists. If I am rightly informed, you are now of another mind.
May I ask, When did that change begin? Was it at your last journey to Dublin? Whenever it was, suffer me to ask, What were the reasons of it? I will tell you what I conjecture, and I do it in writing because I may not have an opportunity of talking with you; because I can write more freely than I could speak; because I can now say all I have to say at once; whereas, if we were talking together, I might probably forget some part; and because you may by this means have the better opportunity of calmly considering it. “I conjecture (to tell you just what rises in my heart) that this change was owing to several causes. Some admired and commended you as a person of uncommon sense and uncommon attainments in religion. Others told you at large, from time to time, all the real or supposed faults of the Methodists. In particular the jars which had lately been in Dublin, on account of Mr. Morgan and Olivers. This naturally tended to breed and increase pride on the one hand, and prejudice on the other. Riches increased; which not only led you, step by step, into more conformity to the world, but insensibly instilled self-importance, unwillingness to be contradicted, and an overbearing temper. And hence you was, of course, disgusted at those who did not yield to this temper, and blamed that conformity. Perhaps some of these professed or expected to be perfected in love; they at least believed Perfection. Now this you seemed to hate with a perfect hatred; and on that account disliked them the more. “Permit me to add a few words on each of these heads. And first, would it not be well, if you started back from every apperance of admiration, (which you know is deadly poison,) whether on account of your sense or piety? And if you utterly discountenanced all who directly or indirectly commended you to your face? Yea, and all who told you of the jars or faults of the Methodists, or indeed of any absent person? “Should you not earnestly strive and pray against thinking highly of your own understanding, or attainments in religion? Otherwise, this, by grieving the Holy Spirit, would expose you to still more prejudice; especially towards those who might seem to vie with you in religion, if not in understanding. “Can you be too sensible, how hardly they that have riches enter into the kingdom of heaven? Yea, or into the kingdom of an inward heaven? Into the whole spirit of the Gospel? How hard is it for these (whether you do or no) not to conform too much to the mold! How hard not to be a little overbearing, especially to inferiors! “Is it right to be disgusted at those who fear you conform too far, who do not sink down before you; nay, perhaps oppose your judgment, or blame your practice? “And with regard to Perfection. Have not they that hold it the same right to be angry with you for denying it, as you with them for affirming it? “But what is it you are angry at? What is it you object to? Let us understand the question before we dispute about it. “By Christian Perfection, I mean, 1. Loving God with all our heart. Do you object to this? I mean, 2. A heart and life all devoted to God. Do you desire less? I mean, 3. Regaining the whole image of God. What objection to this? I mean, 4. Having all the mind that was in Christ. Is this going too far? I mean, 5. Walking uniformly as Christ walked.
And this surely no Christian will object to. If any one means anything more, or anything else by Perfection, I have no concern with it. But if this is wrong, yet what need of this heat about it, this violence, I had almost said fury of opposition, carried so far as even not to lay out anything with this man, or that woman, who professes it? ‘Nay,’ says Mrs. ——, ‘I did not refrain from it for this only, but for their espousing Mr. Olivers’s cause against Mr. Morgan.’ Worse and worse! What! are people to starve, (at least for me,) unless they think as I think, or like whom I like? Alas, what religion, what humanity, what common sense is this? “But I have done. I have once for all taken upon myself a most unthankful office. I have spoken with all plainness and simplicity, and now leave the event to God. May He open your heart, that you may discern his holy, and acceptable, and perfect will; that you may have a right judgment in all things, and evermore rejoice in his holy comfort! I am, dear Madam, “Your affectionate servant, “John Wesley.”
Wed. 28. — I rode to Mount-Mellick, and, for the sake of some tender persons, preached in the new House. It was a solemn time; in consequence of which it was pretty well filled in the morning. A serious awe spread over the whole congregation; but more remarkably the next evening, while I was opening and applying the story of Dives and Lazarus. Friday , 30. I rode over to Montrath, a wild place as most in Ireland, and preached in the shell of a new House to many more than it would contain. All were quiet and attentive. In the middle of the sermon a young woman, who was a sinner, endeavored for a while to hide her tears, by creeping behind another, till in a few minutes her strength failed, and she sunk down to the ground. I was sorry they carried her away; otherwise, I think she would have soon lifted up her head with joy.
In the evening we had a love-feast at Mount-Mellick; and great was our rejoicing in the Lord. Many were filled with consolation, trusting he would soon “make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteousness.” Sat . July 1. — I found a far different face of things at Portarlington. The large society had once an hundred and thirty members; (an hundred and four I joined in three days;) it had now no more than twenty-four; and some of these had only a name to live. In the evening I applied particularly to the backsliders; but almost as soon as I began, a large company of Quality (as they called them) came, and embarrassed me not a little. I knew this was heathen Greek to them; but I could not then change my subject. However, I diluted my discourse as much as I could, that it might not be quite too strong for their digestion. Sun. 2. — I read Mrs. Rowe’s “Devout Exercises of the Heart.” It is far superior to anything of hers which I ever read, in style as well as in sense.
Her experience is plain, sound, and scriptural, no way whimsical or mystical; and her language is clear, strong, and simple, without any of that affected floridness which offends all who have a tolerable ear, or any judgment in good writing.
At nine we had a serious congregation, to whom I could speak of the deep things of God; and the new House held them tolerably well; but in the evening it was far too small; so l stood in a little ground adjoining to the House. Many tender ones sat within, but the bulk of the congregation stood in the meadow, and the gardens on each side. I have not seen, in all the world, a people so easy to be convinced or persuaded as the Irish.
What pity that these excellent propensities should not always be applied to the most excellent purposes! Mon. 3. — I rode to Coolylough, (where was the Quarterly Meeting,) and preached at eleven, and in the evening. While we were singing, I was surprised to see the horses from all parts of the ground gathering about us.
Is it true then that horses, as well as lions and tigers, have an ear for music? Wed. 5. — I went on to Tyrrel’s Pass. Thursday , 6. At eleven I preached in the Court-House, at Molingar, to a very genteel, and yet serious, audience. In the evening I preached at Tyrrel’s Pass again; and on Friday , 7, at Edinderry. Here I received from Joseph Fry a particular account of his late wife, an Israelite indeed. He said, “She was a strict attendant on all the means of grace, and a sincere lover of the people of God. She had a remarkably good understanding, and much knowledge of the things of God.
Though she was of all exceeding bashful temper, yet she was valiant for the truth; not sparing to speak very plain in defense of it, before persons of all conditions. Two years ago she began to lose her health, and grew worse and worse, till September 29th. On that day she was very restless.
Observing her to have an unusual color, I judged she could not continue long. She was sensible of it, and said, ‘Do not go from me; for my time is short. O it is an hard thing to die!’ After a while, she said, ‘Dear Jesus, shall it be so with me as with the wicked?’ I was deeply affected at seeing her in such a state; yet something told me, ‘All will be well.’ I exhorted her, with all my might, to lean on Jesus; and found myself unusually blessed in so doing; but still she did not seem to receive it, till I observed her jaw was fallen. I was then concerned more than ever, lest she should die without hope. I spoke with more vehemence, while she lay speechless, with her eyes up to heaven; but on a sudden, she got her lips together again, and said, with a loud voice, ‘Now my love, I experience what you have said. After all, my Jesus is mine. The devil is conquered; there, there you may see him going with shame.’ She then praised God so loud, that one might hear her in the street; and added, ‘Fine sport, my dear Joe! the devil is cast.’ After rejoicing in God some time, she closed her eyes; but in a little while she said, ‘O was it not very pretty when the wise virgins went out in white to meet their Lord? Yet what would their robes have signified, without his righteousness?’ and died.”
The next day I went on to Dublin, and found all things as quiet as I left them. Wednesday , 12. I rode through a lovely country to Ballymore, in the county of Wexford. Near twenty years ago, all this country was moved by the preaching of James Morris. Thousands flocked to hear; but one false step of his quite scattered them again. The House would not near contain the people; so I stood abroad, in a fair mild evening; and once more God has given them a loud call to turn unto Him, that they may save their souls alive. Thur. 13. — I rode on to Enniscorthy, and preached on, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Today I saw one of the most lively and sensible children that I have met with in the kingdom. That a miracle will it be if she saves her soul; if general admiration does not destroy her!
Hence I rode to Bunklody, a little, ugly, scattered town; but delightfully situated. I did not find that five persons in the town would come a bow-shot to hear. So I ordered a table to be set in the street; and a few slowly crept together: They were as quiet and seemed as much affected as the trees. Thence I rode on to Carlow. The Under-Sheriff had promised the use of the Town-Hall; but the High-Sheriff, coming to town, would not suffer it. I thank him: For, by this means, I was driven to the barrack-field, where were twice as many as the Hall could have contained; over and above many of the poor Papists, who durst not have come into it.
Afterwards I met the little society. I used to wonder they did not increase:
Now I should wonder if they did; so exquisitely bitter are the chief of them against the Church. I solemnly warned them against this evil; and some of them had ears to hear. Fri. 14. — At noon I preached in Baltinglass, to a handful of serious people; and in the evening at Donard, to a much more numerous, but not more serious, congregation. I could not but observe one pretty kind of a woman, with a child in her arms. She stood awhile, then walked to and fro; then stood, then walked again; and appeared to be as perfectly unconcerned as some pretty calves which stood behind her. Saturday , 15. I crossed the country to my old pupil, Mr. Morgan’s, and in the afternoon returned to Dublin.
All the following week we had a remarkable blessing, both at the Morning and evening Service. On Wednesday and Thursday we had our little Conference, at which most of the Preachers in the kingdom were present.
We agreed to set apart Friday , the 21st, for a day of fasting and prayer. At every meeting, particularly the last, our Lord refreshed us in an uncommon manner. About ten I was a little tired; but before it struck twelve, my weariness was all gone. It seemed to be the same with all the congregation; and prayer was swallowed up in praise. Sun. 23. — At nine I preached in the Royal Square at the Barracks, on the dead, small and great, standing before God. An huge multitude soon gathered together and listened with deep attention. Many of the soldiers were among them. By what means but field-preaching could we have reached these poor souls? Mon. 24. — After preaching in the evening, I went on board the packet, and the next afternoon landed at Holyhead. We reached Chester on Thursday morning. Here I finished Dr. Warner’s “History of the Irish Rebellion.” I never saw before so impartial an account of the transactions of those times. He really seems to be of no side; but to speak the naked truth of all, according to the best light he could procure. Fri. 28. — I rode to Manchester. As we were pretty well tired, our friends there insisted on my going on in a chaise; so in the morning, Saturday , 29, we set out. When we were on the brow of the hill above Ripponden, suddenly the saddle horse fell, with the driver under him; and both lay without motion. The shaft-horse then boggled and turned short toward the edge of the precipice; but presently the driver and horse rose up unhurt, and we went on safe to Leeds. Sun. 30. — Mr. Crook being out of order; I read Prayers and preached in Hunslet church, both morning and afternoon. At five I preached at Leeds; and on Monday , 31, prepared all things for the ensuing Conference. Tuesday ,AUGUST 1, it began; and a more loving one we ever had. On Thursday I mentioned the case of our brethren at New York, who had built the first Methodist preaching-house in America, and were in great want of money, but much more of Preachers. Two of our Preachers, Richard Boardman and Joseph Pillmoor, willingly offered themselves for the service; by whom we determined to send them fifty pounds, as a token of our brotherly love. Sat. 5. — In the evening I preached at Bradford, to an extremely crowded audience: The heat was hardly supportable. Such a day I had seldom, if ever, known in England. It was nearly as hot at four in the morning, Sunday , 6; but the rain began before five, and in three or four hours quite cooled the air. At one we had the usual eongregation on the side of Birstal-Hill; But it was nearly doubled at Leeds in the evening. Monday , 7.
I returned to Manchester; and On Tuesday , 8, went on to Shrewsbury. I preached at five; and soon after, receiving an invitation from Mr. Powis, at Berwick, I went over directly, gave a short exhortation, and returned to Salop. Wed. 9. — We reached Welshpool before nine, where notice had been given of my preaching, the Bailiff having granted the use of the Town-Hall.
But he had now changed his mind. So I rode on to Newtown, and at one we went to the market-house. But in a few minutes a poor wretch, exceeding drunk, came in cursing, and blaspheming, and striking all that stood in his way. His stick was soon taken form him; but the noise increasing, I removed to the Brynn, and quietly finished my discourse.
At six in the evening, I preached at the Tuffin; the next morning, at Llanidloes; and in the evening, at the Abbey. Friday , 11. I reached Carmarthen. The rain continuing, Mr. Peter Williams offered me his preaching-house, in which I enforced, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Saturday , 12. I preached at Haverfordwest. Sunday , 13. I went to St. Daniel’s, and, after reading Prayers, preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” The bigots of all sides seemed ashamed before God, and I trust will not soon forget this day. In the afternoon I read Prayers, and preached again. I then met the society in Pembroke. Once more their little jars are laid asleep: God grant they may rise up more! Mon. 14. — I preached in the Town-Hall, to almost all the Gentry in Pembroke; and I think, whatever they had before, they had then a clear call from God. Tuesday , 15. In the evening, although the wind was high, yet the largeness of the congregation obliged me to stand on the outside of the House at Haverfordwest. Wednesday , 16. I examined the members of the society, now the most lively one in Wales. Many of them are rejoicing in the love of God, and many groaning for full redemption.
Today I gave a second reading to that lively book, Mr. Newton’s Account of his own Experience. There is something very extraordinary therein; but one may account for it without a jot of Predestination. I doubt not but his, as men as Colonel Gardiner’s, conversion, was an answer to his mother’s prayers. Thur. 17. — At twelve I preached in the Castle at Carmarthen; in the evening at Llanelly. The behavior of Sir Thomas’s servants here (four or five of whom belong to the society) has removed all prejudice from him, as well as from most of the town. Indeed, they are a pattern to all of their rank, truly “adorning the doctrine of God our Savior.” Fri. 18. — I preached at eleven in Oxwych, and thence hastened to Swansea, where an effectual door is opened once more. The rain drove us into the room, which was as hot as an oven, being much crowded both within and without. Saturday , 19. About eight I preached at Neath; about three, in the church at Bridge-End; (where the rain doubled the congregation, by stopping the harvest-work;) and at seven, in the Assembly-room at Cowbridge, on, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” I was enabled to make a close and pointed application, I believe not without effect. Sun. 20. — I preached there again at eight, to a congregation who seemed to feel what was spoken. At eleven the Vicar read Prayers, and I preached on those words in the Lesson, “Gallio cared for none of these things.”
Most of the hearers seemed more awake than I expected; and a few appeared to be affected. In the evening I took my old stand on the steps of the Castle at Cardiff. Abundance of people were gathered together, it being a fair mild evening, on whom I enforced, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Tues. 22. — Mr. Davies read Prayers, and I preached in Caerphilly church, and in the evening at Llanbraddoch. Wednesday , 23. I went on to Trevecka. Here we found a concourse of people from all parts, come to celebrate the Countess of Huntingdon’s birthday, and the Anniversary of her School, which was opened on the twenty-fourth of August, last year. I preached, in the evening, to as many as her chapel could well contain; which is extremely neat, or rather, elegant; as is the dining-room, the school, and all the house. About nine Howell Harris desired me to give a short exhortation to his family. I did so; and then went back to my Lady’s, and laid me down in peace. Thur. 24. — I administered the Lord’s Supper to the family. At ten the Public Service began. Mr. Fletcher preached an exceeding lively sermon in the court, the chapel being far too small. After him, Mr. William Williams preached in Welsh, till between one and two o’clock. At two we dined.
Meantime, a large number of people had baskets of bread and meat carried to them in the court. At three I took my turn there, then Mr. Fletcher, and, about five, the congregation was dismissed. Between seven and eight the love-feast began, at which I believe many were comforted. In the evening several of us retired into the neighboring wood, which is exceeding pleasantly laid out in walks; one of which leads to a little mount, raised in the midst of a meadow, that commands a delightful prospect. This is Howell Harris’s work, who has likewise greatly enlarged and beautified his house; so that, with the gardens, orchards, walks, and pieces of water that surround it, it is a kind of little paradise. Fri. 25. — We rode through a lovely country to Chepstow. I had designed to go straight on, but yielded to the importunity of our friends to stay and preach in the evening. Meantime, I took a walk through Mr. Morris’s woods. There is scarce any thing like them in the kingdom. They stand on the top, and down the side, of a steep mountain, hanging in a semicircular form over the river. Through these woods abundance of serpentine walks are cut, wherein many seats and alcoves are placed; most of which command a surprising prospect of rocks and fields on the other side of the river. And must all these be burned up? What will become of us then if we set our hearts upon them? Sat. 26. — Resolving not to be too late now, as I was last year, I took horse at four; but being earnestly engaged in conversation, we missed our way, and came to the Passage just as the boat was gone. About three in the afternoon it passed again; and soon after six we reached Bristol. Sun. 27. — After preaching at Kingswood and Bristol, I rode to Cross, to lessen the next day’s journey. Monday , 28. I rode to Tiverton; on Tuesday , to Launceston, where I strongly applied, “Hath God forgotten to be gracious?” And I believe he answered for himself in the hearts of several backsliders.
Being informed it was between sixty and seventy miles to St. John’s, I sent my horse a few miles forward tonight. Wednesday , 30. I purposed taking horse at four, but the horse was not brought from the field: So I borrowed another, and rode on without delay to the house where my own waited for me. We had incessant rain, driven upon us by a furious wind.
However, I reached Bodmin about eight; where, at the request of one of our friends, I preached to a small, serious company, in the Town-Hall. The rain accompanied us most of the way to Truro. I knew not where to call, till a friend met me, and told me Mr. Painter had been very ill. So I rode directly to his house. While I was there, one of Redruth came in, who lent me a fresh horse, with which I reached St. John’s about five o’clock. I preached at six, and was much comforted among a loving, earnest people. Thur. 31. — I rode over to St. Just, but could not preach abroad, because of the violent wind. However, God spoke to many hearts, both this evening, and in the morning.SEPTEMBER 1. I now considered Dr. Erskine’s account of saving faith. He asserts, (if I comprehend him right,) “It is, in general, an assent to the word of God, in which there is a light, a glory, a brightness, which believers, and they only, perceive. In particular, it is an assent of the understanding to the Gospel method of salvation; in which there is an excellency and glory which only believers see. A supernatural conviction of this is faith.” But if this be his judgment, why does he quarrel with me? For how marvelously small is the difference between us!
Only change the word assent for conviction , (which certainly better answers St. Paul’s word, ELENCHOS,) and do we not come within an hair’s breadth of each other? I do not quarrel with the definition of faith in general, — “a supernatural assent to the word of God;” though I think “a supernatural conviction of the truths contained in the word of God” is clearer. I allow, too, that the Holy Spirit enables us to perceive a peculiar light and glory in the word of God, and particularly in the Gospel method of salvation: But I doubt whether saving faith be, properly, an assent to this light and glory. Is it not rather, an assent (if we retain the word) to the truths which God has revealed; or, more particularly, a divine conviction that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself?”
The congregation at St. Ives in the evening was the largest I have seen since I came to Cornwall; and it was a solemn assembly. We had another happy opportunity at the meeting of the society. Saturday , 2. Our Quarterly Meeting was at Redruth. In the evening I preached to eleven or twelve hundred people; but there was no trifler, much less mocker, among them.
They heard as for eternity. Sun. 3. — We had a very large congregation, and an useful sermon, at church. Between one and two I preached to some thousands in the main street; but to abundantly more at five, in our amphitheater at Gwennap; and they were so commodiously placed, row above row, that I believe all could hear. Mon. 4. — About noon I preached in the Lower-Street, at St. Austle, to a very numerous and very serious congregation; but at Medros, where was once the liveliest society in Cornwall, I found but a few, and most of those faint and weary. Tuesday , 5. I rode on to Plymouth-Dock, and preached on, “Love is the bond of perfectness.” What pity that any thing short of this should usurp the name of religion!
But how was I mistaken! How far has Homer’s latter poem the pre-eminence over the former! It is not indeed, without its blemishes; among which, perhaps, one might reckon his making Ulysses swim nine days and nine nights without sustenance; the incredible manner of his escape from Polyphemus, (unless the goat was as strong as an ox,) and the introducing Minerva at every turn, without any dignus vindice nodus. f51 But his numerous beauties make large amends for these. Was ever man so happy in his descriptions, so exact and consistent in his characters, and so natural in telling a story? He likewise continually inserts the finest strokes of morality; (which I cannot find in Virgil;) on all occasions recommending the fear of God, with justice, mercy, and truth. In this only he is inconsistent with himself: He makes his hero say, — Wisdom never lies; And, Him, on whate’er pretense, that lies can tell, My soul abhors him as the gates of hell.
Meantime, he himself, on the slightest pretense, tells deliberate lies over and over; nay, and is highly commended for so doing, even by the Goddess of Wisdom! Wed. 6. — I rode to Collumpton; and on Thursday rested at Tiverton. Friday , 8. I preached about nine at Taunton, and then rode on to Bridgewater, where the preaching had been discontinued for some years. It was supposed there would be much disturbance; but there was none at all.
This afternoon I went to the top of Brent-Hill: I know not, I ever before saw such a prospect. Westward, one may see to the mouth of the Bristol Channel; and the three other ways, as far as the eye can reach. And most of the land which you see is well cultivated, well wooded, and well watered: So that the globe of earth, in its present condition, can hardly afford a more pleasing scene. Saturday , 9. I returned to Bristol. Fri. 12. — I inquired into the state of Kingswood School. The grievance now is the number of children. Instead of thirty, (as I desired,) we have near fifty; whereby our masters are burdened. And it is scarce possible to keep them in so exact order as we might do a smaller number. However, this still comes nearer a Christian school, than any I know in the kingdom. Sun. 17. — I preached to a serious congregation in Princes-Street, many of whom came from the ships on the river, and gaped and stared as if they had never heard a sermon before. In the afternoon, I preached near the new Square, on “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” I was in hopes this would remove rather than increase prejudice; but I was much mistaken. One of the hearers soon after told his friend, “Mr. W. is as dark and blind as ever.” Tues. 19. — Between twelve and one, I preached at Freshford; and on White’s Hill, near Bradford, in the evening. By this means many had an opportunity of hearing, who would not have come to the Room. I had designed to preach there again the next evening; but a gentleman in the town desired me to preach at his door. The beasts of the people were tolerably quiet till I had nearly finished my sermon. They then lifted up their voice, especially one, called a gentleman, who had filled his pocket with rotten eggs: But, a young man coming unawares, clapped his hands on each side, and mashed them all at once. In an instant he was perfume all over; though it was not so sweet as balsam. Fri. 22. — I saw poor Mrs. —— at Bristol, on the very brink of despair. I prayed for her in faith, and, not many days after, found her sweetly rejoicing in God her Savior. Saturday , 23. I rode to Pill, and preached in the street, (the only way to do much good there,) to a more numerous and more attentive congregation than I have seen there for many years. Thur . October 5. — I had the satisfaction to find, that two of our brethren, with whom I had taken much pains, had at length put an end to their Chancery suit, and closed their debate by a reference. Sun. 8. — I permitted all of Mr. Whitefield’s society that desired it, to be present at our love-feast. I suppose there were a thousand of us in all. And we were not sent empty away. Mon. 9. — I preached at Bristol, Pensford, Shepton Mallet; and in the evening at Wincanton. The people here had just as much feeling as the benches on which they sat. Tuesday , 10. I preached in Shaftesbury at noon; and in the evening at Salisbury. Here I was as in a new world. The congregation was alive, and much more the society. How pleasing would it be, to be always with such! But this is not our calling. Wed. 11. — I preached in Romsey, at noon: In the evening, at Winchester. Thursday , 12. I preached at Fareham about one; and at Portsmouth Common in the evening. Friday , 13. I very narrowly missed meeting the great Pascal Paoli. He landed in the dock but a very few minutes after I left the water side. Surely He who hath been with him from his youth up, hath not sent him into England for nothing. Lord, show him what is thy will concerning him, and give him a kingdom that cannot be moved! Sat. 14. — Setting out at two in the morning, I came to London in the afternoon. Sunday , 15. My brother and I had such a congregation at Spitalfields, as has not been there since the covenant-night. The Foundery was equally crowded in the evening: Is God about to work here, as he did some years ago? If so, having learned experience by the things we have suffered, I trust we shall not quench the Spirit as we did before. Mon. 16. — I began my journey into Oxfordshire, and in the evening preached at Henley. A great part of the congregation was perfectly void both of sense and modesty. But at this time they were unusually quiet, as I did not take them out of their depth, in opening and applying those words, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Tues. 17. — We went to Wallingford, a town I never saw before, though I lived so many years at Oxford. How white are the fields here unto the harvest! The whole town seemed flocking together, rich and poor, in the evening, and received the word with joy. But who will endure to the end?
Abundance of people came again at five in the morning, and were ready to devour the word. How pleasant it is to see the dawn of a work of grace!
But we must not lay too much stress upon it. Abundance of blossoms!
But when the sun is up, how many of these will wither away!
Having appointed to preach in Oxford at ten, I was under some difficulty.
I did not like to preach in the dissenting meeting house; and I did not see how to avoid it. But the proprietors cut the knot for me, by locking up the doors. So I preached in James Mears’s garden: And to such a congregation as I had not had in Oxford since I preached in St. Mary’s church.
Thence we went on to Witney, where we have now a large and commodious House. It was well filled in the evening; and (whoever else did) I found it good to be there; especially at the meeting of the society:
The Spirit of glory and of Christ was among them.
I had designed to spend another day here; but two of our friends, who were come on purpose from Broadmarston, importuned me much to go thither. So I set out with them on Thursday , and came to Broadmarston in the afternoon. The lovely family, and the congregation from all parts, made me full amends for my labor. Great was our glorying in the Lord. Many felt the two-edged sword, and many were filled with consolation. Fri. 20. — I had appointed to be in Oxford at eight. So I took horse at two, and took chaises from Shipston, which brought me thither at my time. After spending an hour quite agreeably with a few young, serious students, I set out for Ipstone, near Stoken-church. But I was obliged, when we came to the bye-road, to quit my chaise, and go as I could, part on horseback, part on foot. The congregation had waited for me some time:
So I began immediately, on, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: For this is the whole of man.” In the evening I preached to a lively congregation at High Wycombe, and on Saturday reached London. Mon. 23. — I rode to Towcester, and preached to a heavy, unawakened people, on what they did not seem at all to think of, namely, that they were to die. I believe it suited them: They appeared to be more affected than with any discourse I had ever preached. Tuesday , 24. I preached at Alston, in a large malt-room, where one side of my head was very warm, through the crowd of people, the other, very cold, having an open window at my ear. Between six and seven I preached at Northampton; and it was an awful season.
This evening there was such an Aurora Borealis as I never saw before: The colors, both the white, the flame-color; and the scarlet, were so exceeding strong and beautiful. But they were awful too: So that abundance of people were frightened into many good resolutions. Wed. 25. — At ten, I was forced to preach abroad at Brighton, by reason of the great concourse of people; and at Haddon, about one. I believe at both places, God applied his word to their hearts. Thursday , 26. About nine, I preached at Harpole, to a thirsty multitude; at one, to near the same number at Weedon; in the evening, at Whittlebury. Friday , 27, about noon, we had a serious congregation at Cranfield, and at Bedford in the evening. Saturday , 28. I preached about one at Hertford, and at Snowsfields in the evening: And after preaching three times a day for three days, and four times a day for two more, I found no more hoarseness or weariness than when I set out from London. Mon. 30. — I set out with a little company of our friends, and the next day came to Norwich. At six I preached in the shell of the new House, crowded enough both within and without. Thur . November 2. — We went to Yarmouth, a cold, dead, uncomfortable place. Friday , 3. I labored to gather up the fragments of the poor society, shattered to pieces by Presbyterians, Anabaptists, and disputers of all kinds; especially by one unhappy man, who had arisen among ourselves.
In the evening I strongly exhorted them to “repent and do the first works.” Sat. 4. — We returned to Norwich. In coming to Yarmouth, I had called upon a young woman, alive to God, but exceeding ill. She died before I came back. This afternoon I was desired to bury her. I took the opportunity of preaching at five in the burying-ground, to a multitude of people, who were all attention, as though they had already seen “the dead standing before God.” Monday , 6, and the following days, I visited as many of the people, sick and well, as I possibly could; and on Friday , 10, leaving them more united than they had been for many years, I took coach again, and the next afternoon came to London.
In the coach, going and coming, I read several volumes of Mr. Guthrie’s ingenious “History of Scotland:” I suppose, as impartial an one as any to be found, and as much to be depended upon. I never read any writer before who gave me so much light into the real character of that odd mixture, King James the First; nor into that of Mary Queen of Scots, so totally misrepresented by Buchanan, Queen Elizabeth’s pensioner, and her other hireling writers; and not much less, by Dr. Robertson. Them he effectually exposes, showing how grossly they contradict matter of fact, and one another. He likewise points out the many and great mistakes of Dr. R., such as seem to imply either great inattention or great partiality. Upon the whole, that much-injured Queen appears to have been far the greatest woman of that age, exquisitely beautiful in her person, of a fine address, of a deep, unaffected piety, and of a stronger understanding even in youth than Queen Elizabeth had at threescore. And probably the despair wherein Queen Elizabeth died, was owing to her death, rather than that of Lord Essex. Fri. 17. — I preached at a chapel near St. John-Street, built on the very spot of ground whereon, many hundred years ago, Pardon church stood. In this and the following week I visited the society in London, containing now scarce nineteen hundred members. So has God cut us short since the wound received by a false friend, from which we are now slowly recovering. Sat. 25. — I went down to Mr. Perronet’s, just recovering from a long illness. In the evening I preached in the House, and at seven in the morning. On Sunday , 26, Mr. P. designed to read prayers at ten; but we thought it not safe for him to go out: So I read Prayers, and then applied, “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Many who had constantly appealed to this text, found themselves short in every particular.
I read Prayers in the afternoon, having been informed that it was not usual to preach. But observing a numerous congregation, quite unwilling to go away, I went into the pulpit, and showed them the nature and the pleasantness of true religion. At five I preached in the Room. I trust our Lord has touched many hearts this day. Thur. 30. — I preached at Wandsworth. For many years the people here were the most dead, but are now the most alive, of any about London. Friday ,DECEMBER 1. I preached at Barnet, which was last year what Wandsworth is now. Monday , 4. I went to Chatham. Mr. Whitefield’s people (so called) refusing me the use of their Room, I preached in the barracks to a listening multitude, and our hearts were sweetly enlarged and knit together. One of their society, grieved at the bigotry of his brethren, invited me to preach in his house in the morning, which I did (the barracks not being open) to as many as it could well contain. Tuesday , 5. I went to Sheerness, and preached in the old play-house, filled from end to end. So it was the next night. Our own Room contained us in the mornings. I was much comforted among the poor people, which, in the midst of disputers, keep straight on, following after peace and holiness. Thur. 7. — I returned to Chatham, and the next day to London, leaving an earnest people at peace with each other, and with all the world. Mon. 11. — Riding an uneasy horse, I was much tired before I reached Staplehurst. But the serious, earnest congregation soon made me forget my weariness, and I was not a little helped by the spirit of Mr. C., breathing nothing but faith and love. I was again heartily tired, when I came to Mr. Holman, near Rye. Judging most of the congregation here to be unawakened, I preached on the story of Dives and Lazarus. God gave me to speak strong words, so that I trust some were pricked to the heart. Wednesday , 13. I preached at Ewhurst, (it being the Quarterly Meeting,) both at noon and in the evening. Thursday , 14. We rode through heavy rain to Newbounds, where Mr. I’Anson and his family gladly received us; and I never saw the house so filled before, as it was in the evening. Friday , 15.
I preached at Sevenoaks, and on Saturday returned to London.
Being desirous to finish my winter journeys before Christmas, on Monday , 18, I set out for Canterbury. Friday , 22. I preached at Sittingbourne and Chatham, and on Saturday , came to London. Mon. 25. — (Being Christmas-Day .) We had such a congregation at four, as I have not seen for many years. And from morning to evening we had abundant proof that God is visiting and redeeming his people. Tues. 26. — I read the letters from our Preachers in America, informing us that God had begun a glorious work there; that both in New York and Philadelphia multitudes flock to hear, and behave with the deepest seriousness; and that the society in each place already contains above an hundred members. Friday , 29, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer, partly on account of the confused state of public affairs, partly as preparatory to the solemn engagement which we were about to renew. Mon . January 1, 1770. — About eighteen hundred of us met together: It was a most solemn season. As we did openly “avouch the Lord to be our God, so did He avouch us to be his people.” Wed. 17. — In a little journey, which I took into Bedfordshire, I finished Dr. Burnet’s “Theory of the Earth.” He is doubtless one of the first-rate writers, both as to sense and style; his language is remarkably clear, unaffected, nervous, and elegant. And as to this theory, none can deny that it is ingenious, and consistent with itself. And it is highly probable, 1. That the earth arose out of the chaos in some such manner as he describes: 2. That the antediluvian earth was without high or abrupt mountains, and without sea, being one uniform crust, enclosing the great abyss: 3. That the flood was caused by the breaking of this crust, and its sinking into the abyss of waters: And, 4. That the present state of the earth, both internal and external, shows it to be the ruins of the former earth. This is the substance of his two former books, and thus far I can go with him.
I have no objection to the substance of his third book upon the General Conflagration, but think it one of the noblest tracts which is extant in our language. And I do not much object to the fourth, concerning the new heavens and the new earth. The substance of it is highly probable. Tues. 30. — One informed me that Mrs. Kitely, at Lambeth, not expected to live many hours, had a great desire to see me before she died. I went as quick as possible; but when I came she seemed senseless, as well as speechless. I regarded not this, but spoke to her immediately; and immediately both her understanding and her speech returned, to testify an hope full of immortality. Having had her desire, she fell asleep, two days before her husband, — A perfect pattern of true womanhood.
A good wife, a good parent, a good mistress; and “her works shall praise her in the gates.” How suitable was her death to her life! After many years spent in doing good, she redeemed a poor, friendless youth out of prison, took the gaol-distemper, and died. Sat . February 3, and at my leisure moments on several of the following days, I read with much expectation, a celebrated book, — Rousseau upon Education. But how was I disappointed! Sure a more consummate coxcomb never saw the sun! How amazingly full of himself! Whatever he speaks he pronounces as an oracle. But many of his oracles are as palpably false, as that “young children never love old people.” No! Do they never love grandfathers and grandmothers? Frequently more than they do their own parents. Indeed they love all that love them, and that with more warmth and sincerity than when they come to riper years.
But I object to his temper more than to his judgment: He is a mere misanthrope; a cynic all over. So indeed is his brother-infidel, Voltaire; and well nigh as great a coxcomb. But he hides both his doggedness and vanity a little better; wheleas here it stares us in the face continually.
As to his book, it is whimsical to the last degree; grounded neither upon reason nor experience. To cite particular passages would be endless; but any one may observe concerning the whole, the advices which are good are trite and common, only disguised under new expressions. And those which are new, which are really his own, are lighter than vanity itself. Such discoveries I always expect from those who are too wise to believe their Bibles. Thur. 8. — I went to Wandsworth. What a proof have we here, that God’s “thoughts are not as our thoughts!” Every one thought no good could be done here; we had tried for above twenty years. Very few would even give us the hearing; and the few that did, seemed little the better for it. But all on a sudden, crowds flock to hear; many are cut to the heart; many filled with peace and joy in believing; many long for the whole image of God. In the evening, though it was a sharp frost, the Room was as hot as a stove. And they drank in the word with all greediness; as also at five in the morning, while I applied, “Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean!” Tues. 13. — I read, with all the attention I was master of, Mr. Hutchinson’s Life, and Mr. Spearman’s Index to his Works. And I was more convinced than ever, 1. That he had not the least conception, much less experience, of inward religion: 2. That an ingenious man may prove just what he pleases, by well devised scriptural etymologies; especially if he be in the fashion, if he affects to read the Hebrew without vowels. And, 3. That his whole hypothesis, philosophical and theological, is unsupported by any solid proof. Fri. 23. — I was desired to hear Mr. Leoui sing at the Jewish synagogue. I never before saw a Jewish congregation behave so decently. Indeed the place itself is so solemn, that it might strike an awe upon those who have any thought of God. Wed. 28. — I sat down to read and seriously consider some of the writings of Baron Swedenborg. I began with huge prejudice in his favor, knowing him to be a pious man, one of a strong understanding, of much learning, and one who thoroughly believed himself. But I could not hold out long.
But his waking dreams are so wild, so far remote both from Scripture and common sense, that one might as easily swallow the stories of “Tom Thumb,” or “Jack the Giant-Killer.” Mon . March 5. — I came to Newbury, where I had been much importuned to preach. But where? The Dissenters would not permit me to preach in their meeting house. Some were then desirous to hire the old playhouse; but the good Mayor would not suffer it to be so profaned! So I made use of a workshop, — a large, commodious place. But it would by no means contain the congregation. All that could hear behaved well; and I was in hopes God would have a people in this place aiso. The next evening I preached at Bristol, and spent the rest of the week there. Monday , 12. I went to Stroud, where the House was filled as usual. Tuesday , 13. I went by Painswick and Gloucester to Tewkesbury. Wednesday , 14. I preached in the new Room, which is just finished, at Upon; and thence rode on to Worcester, where I preached in a large, old, awkward place, to a crowded and much-affected audience. Afterwards I met the society of about an hundred members, all of one heart and one mind; so lovingly and closely united together, that I have scarce seen the like in the kingdom. Thur. 15. — I met the select society. How swiftly has God deepened his work in these! I have seen very few, either in Bristol or London, who are more clear in their experience. The account all whom I had time to examine gave, was scriptural and rational: And, suppose they spoke true, they are witnesses of the Perfection which I preach. Yet, that they may fall therefrom I know; but that they must , I utterly deny.
After preaching at Evesham about noon, we rode through a furious shower of snow, driven full in our faces, to Broadmarston. The very uncommon severity of the weather somewhat lessened the congregation in the evening.
All who were there seemed prepared for that awful subject, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Sat. 17. — We rode, in another bitter day, with the wind and snow just in our face, to Birmingham. In the evening the people were wedged in as close as possible; yet many were obliged to go away. We had just the same congregation in the morning. Sunday , 18. At half-hour after one I was to preach at Bromwich-Heath; but the House would scarce contain a fourth part of the congregation. So I made a virtue of necessity, and preached in a ground where there was room for all that came: And I believe God kindled a fire in many frozen hearts.
In the evening I preached in the House at Wednesbury a funeral sermon for Elizabeth Longmore; I think, the first witness of Christian Perfection whom God raised up in these parts. I gave some account of her experience many years ago. From that time her whole life was answerable to her profession, every way holy and unblamable. Frequently she had not bread to eat; but that did not hinder her “rejoicing evermore.” She had close trials from her poor, apostate husband, in the midst of sharp pain, and pining sickness. But she was superior to all; still seeing her Father’s hand, and “in every thing giving thanks.” Her death was suitable to her life. No cloud could arise, To darken the skies, Or hide for a moment her Lord from her eyes.
All was noon-day. She praised God with every breath till he took her to himself. Mon. 19. — I rode to Craidley. Here also the multitude of people obliged me to stand abroad, although the north wind whistled round my head.
About one I took the field again at Stourbridge. Many of the hearers were wild as colts untamed; but the bridle was in their mouths. At six I began at Dudley. The air was as cold as I had almost ever felt. But I trust God warmed many hearts. Wed. 21. — I took my leave of Wednesbury at five; preached about ten at Bilstone; about one, at Bilbrook; and about five in the evening, at Wolverhampton. Many here were wild and stupid enough: however, the greater part were deeply attentive.
I now procured an account of two remarkable children, which I think ought not to be buried in oblivion: — “About three weeks before Christmas, 1768, William Cooper, at Walsal, in Staffordshire, then nine years old, was convinced of sin, and would frequently say he should go to hell, and the devil would fetch him. Sometimes he cried out, ‘I hate him.’ Being asked, ‘Whom?’ he answered, with great vehemence, ‘God.’ This terrified his mother, who, not knowing what was the matter with the child, strove to keep it secret. “But in about a fortnight, it pleased God to reveal to him his pardoning love. His mouth was then filled with praise, declaring to all what God had done for his soul. “A few days after Billy was awakened, God was pleased to convince his sister Lucy, then eleven years old. He soon put a song of praise into her mouth also, so that they mightily rejoiced together in God their Savior. At the same time they were both heavily afflicted in their bodies. But so much the more was the power of God manifested, causing them to continue in the triumph of faith, throughout their sharpest pains. “On December 30, one of their sisters coming to see them, Billy told her he had been very ill. ‘But,’ said he, ‘I do not mean in my body, but in my soul: I felt my sins so heavy, that I thought I should go to hell; and I saw the devil ready to drag me away. Nay, for a week, I thought myself just in the flames of hell. The sins that troubled me most were, telling lies, and quarreling with my sister. I saw, if God did not forgive me, I was lost: And I knew quarreling was as great a sin in Lucy as in me; and if she did not get a pardon, and feel the love of Jesus, she could not go to heaven.’ “Lucy said, ‘When I heard Mr. A. describe two sorts of people, one sort washed in the blood of Christ, and the other not, I found I was not; and therefore, if I died so, must go to hell.’ Being asked what sin lay most on her conscience, she replied, ‘Taking his name in vain, by repeating my prayers when I did not think of God.’ “When Billy was confessing that he had loved money, Lucy said, ‘And so did I; and was angry if I had not as much as Billy. I loved money more than God, and he might justly have sent me to hell for it.’ “When Billy was asked how he knew his sins were forgiven, he answered, ‘Christ told me so. I had a great struggle in my heart with the devil and sin, till it pleased Jesus to come into my soul. I now feel his love in my heart, and he tells me he has forgiven my sins.’ “Being asked how he did, he replied, ‘Happy in Jesus: Jesus is sweet to my soul.’ ‘Do you choose to live, or die?’ He answered, ‘Neither. I hope, if I live, I shall praise God; and if I die, I am sure I shall go to him; for he has forgiven my sins, and given me his love.’ “One asked Lucy, how long she had been in the triumph of faith.
She answered, ‘Only this week: Before I had much to do with Satan; but now Jesus has conquered him for me.’ While she was speaking, feeling great pain of body, she said, ‘O I want more of these pains, more of these pains, to bring me nearer to Jesus!’ “One speaking of knowing the voice of Christ, she said, ‘The voice of Christ is a strange voice to them who do not know their sins forgiven: But I know it; for he has pardoned all my sins, and given me his love. And O what a mercy that such a hell-deserving wretch as me, as me , should be made to taste of his love!’ “Billy had frequent fits. When he found one coming, he, with a smile, laid down his head, saying, ‘O sweet love!’ or, ‘O sweet Jesus!’ And as soon as he came to himself, being, asked how he did, he would reply, ‘I am happy in the love of Christ.’ “When a gentleman said, ‘My dear, you could praise God more, if it were not for those ugly fits,’ he replied, ‘Sir, they are not ugly; for my dear Jesus sent them; and he has given me patience to bear them; and he bore more for my sins.’ “One night, a gentleman and his wife came to see them; and the gentlewoman, looking on Lucy, said, ‘She looks as if nothing was the matter with her; she is so pleasant with her eyes.’ She replied, ‘I have enough to make me look so; for I am full of the love of God.’ While she spoke, her eyes sparkled exceedingly, and the tears flowed down her cheeks. At this Billy smiled, but could not speak; having been speechless for more than an hour. It seemed he was just going into eternity; but the Lord revived him a little; and as soon as he could speak, he desired to be held up in bed, and looked at the gentleman, who asked him how he did. He answered, ‘I am happy in Christ, and I hope you are.’ He said, ‘I hope I can say I am.’ Billy replied, ‘Has Christ pardoned your sins?’ He said, ‘I hope he has.’ ‘Sir,’ said Billy, ‘hope will not do; for I had this hope, and yet if I had died then, I should surely have gone to hell.
But he has forgiven me all my sins, and given me a taste of his love.
If you have this love, you will know it, and be sure of it; but you cannot know it without the power of God. You may read as many books about Christ as you please;’ (he was a great reader;) ‘but if you read all your life, this will only be in your head, and that head will perish: So that, if you have not the love of God in your heart, you will go to hell. But I hope you will not: I will pray to God for you, that he may give you his love.’ “Another, coming to see them, inquired how they were. Billy said, ‘Happier and happier in Christ: Are you so?’ He said, ‘No: I am not so happy as you.’ ‘Why,’ said Billy, ‘what is the matter? I am afraid you do not pray to Christ; for I am sure he is willing to make you happy.’ “One who sat by seemed struck with the discourse, but did not speak. Billy, observing her, said, ‘And you do not pray as you ought: For if you had the love of Christ in your heart, you would not look down so. I wish you and every one had it.’ One said, ‘My dear, would not you give it then, if you might?’ He answered, ‘No; for that would be to take Christ’s work out of his hands.’ “Many who heard what great things God had done for them, said, ‘It will not be so with you always. If you should live to come into the world again, he would leave you in the dark.’ They answered, ‘We do not think so; for our Jesus has promised that he will never leave us.’ “A young woman, who had told them so before, speaking in this manner a second time, Billy said to her, ‘Miss, are you assured of your interest in Christ?’ She answered, ‘I hope I am in Christ; but assurance is no way essential.’ He replied, ‘But if you have his love, you will be sure you have it: You will know it in your heart. I am afraid your hope is only in your head. Do you never quarrel with any body?’ She said, ‘No.’ ‘But,’ says he, ‘you quarrel with God’s word: For he has promised me, none shall pluck me out of his hand; and you say, the world will: So you make God a story-teller.’ At this she went away displeased. “There were few came to see them, when either of them was able to speak, but they inquired into the state of their souls; and, without fear, told them the danger of dying without an assurance of the love of God. “One coming to see them, was talked to very closely by Billy, till she could bear no more. She turned to Lucy, and said, ‘You were always good children, and never told stories.’ ‘Yes, Madam,’ said Lucy, ‘but I did, when I was afraid of being beat; and when I said my prayers; for I did not think of God; and I called him, My Father, when I was a child of wrath: And as to praying, I could not pray till it pleased him by his Spirit to show me my sins. And he showed me, we might say as many prayers as we would, and go to church or meeting; yet all this, if we had not Christ for our foundation, would not do.’ “When they were asked, if they were afraid to die, they always answered, ‘No; for what can death do? He can only lay his cold hand upon our bodies.’ “One told Lucy, ‘Now you may live as you please, since you are sure of going to heaven.’ She replied, ‘No, I would not sin against my dear Savior if you would give me this room full of gold.’ “On the Monday before he died, Billy repeated that hymn with the most triumphant joy, — Come, let us join our cheerful songs With angels round the throne!
Afterwards he repeated the Lord’s Prayer. The last words he spoke intelligibly were, ‘how pleasant is it to be with Christ, for ever and ever, — for ever and ever! Amen! Amen! Amen!’ “While he lay speechless, there came into the room some who he feared knew not God. He seemed much affected, wept and moaned much, waved his hand, and put it on his sister’s mouth; intimating, as she supposed, that she should speak to them. On Wednesday evening, February 1, his happy spirit returned to God.” She died soon after.
In the following days I went on slowly, through Staffordshire and Cheshire, to Manchester. In this journey, as well as in many others, I observed a mistake that almost universally prevails; and I desire all travelers to take good notice of it, which may save them both from trouble and danger. Near thirty years ago, I was thinking, “How is it that no horse ever stumbles while I am reading?” (History, poetry, and philosophy I commonly read on horseback, having other employment at other times.)
No account can possibly be given but this: Because then I throw the reins on his neck. I then set myself to observe; and I aver, that in riding above an hundred thousand miles, I scarce ever remember any horse (except two, that would fall head over heels any way) to fall, or make a considerable stumble, while I rode with a slack rein. To fancy, therefore, that a tight rein prevents stumbling is a capital blunder. I have repeated the trial more frequently than most men in the kingdom can do. A slack rein will prevent stumbling, if any thing will. But in some horses nothing can. Thur. 29. — I preached in the new preaching-house at Rochdale, and on Saturday , 31, at Chester. Tuesday ,APRIL 3. I went on to Liverpool. On Wednesday and Thursday I read Mr. Sellon’s answer to Elisha Coles’s book on God’s Sovereignty, so plausibly written, that it is no wonder so many are deceived thereby. Fri. 6. — I preached in Wigan at noon, and in the evening at Bolton. Sunday , 8. After preaching at eight and one, I hastened on to James Edmundson’s, preached to a few serious people, and gave directions to his poor sick daughter, which it is possible may save her life. Monday , 9. I rode on to Ambleside; on Tuesday , to Whitehaven.
Here I found a faintness had spread through all. No wonder, since there had been no morning preaching for some months. Yet, every morning I was here, the congregations were as large as they had been for many years. Thursday , 12. I met such a company of children as I have not found within an hundred miles. Several of them appeared to be convinced of sin; five rejoicing in God their Savior: And, upon inquiry, I found their whole behavior was suitable to their profession.
April 13. — (Being Good-Friday .) Notice having been given, through mistake, of my preaching at Carlisle, I was obliged to set out from Whitehaven, immediately after the morning preaching. I preached in Cockermouth at one, and then rode on to Carlisle. It was here the day of small things; the society consisting but of fifteen members. I preached at six; and as many as could hear, behaved with the utmost seriousness.
Afterwards I walked to Houghton, a village two miles from Carlisle, and on an hard, clean bed, slept in peace. Sat. 14. — I preached at five to most of the village, though on so short a warning; and at eight in Carlisle. Leaving Mr. Rankin to preach in the evening, I rode on to Longtown; where, finding no better place to screen us from the wind, I stood in a large, broad entry, with a room on either hand.
April 15. — (Being Easter-Day .) Joseph Guilford preached at five. At eight I preached in a little Square; but at one I was desired to preach in the market place, where was a far more numerous congregation. Afterwards we took horse, and before eight reached an admirable inn at Dumfries. Mon. 16. — We had a fair morning till we began to climb up Enterkine, one of the highest mountains in the west of Scotland. We then got into a Scotch mist, and were dropping wet, before we came to the Lead-Hills. In the evening we reached Lesmahagoe, and Glasgow on Tuesday , where I spent two days with much satisfaction. I had designed to go straight from hence to Perth; but being desired to take Edinburgh in my way, I rode thither on Friday , and endeavored to confirm those whom many had strove to turn out of the way. What pity is it that the children of God should so zealously do the devil’s work! How is it that they are still ignorant of Satan’s devices? Lord, what is man? Sat. 21. — Pushing through violent wind and rain, we came to Perth in the afternoon. This evening the Tolbooth contained the congregation, and at eight in the morning. The stormy wind would not suffer me to preach abroad in the evening; so we retired into the Court-House, as many as could, and had a solemn and comfortable hour. Monday , 23. I walked over to Scone, and took another view of that palace of ancient men of renown, long since moldered into common dust. The buildings too are now decaying apace. So passes the dream of human greatness! Tues. 24. — I spent a few agreeable hours with Dr. O—— an upright, friendly, sensible man. Such, likewise, I found Mr. Black, the senior Minister at Perth, who, soon after, went to Abraham’s bosom. Wed. 25. — Taking horse at five, we rode to Dunkeld, the first considerable town in the Highlands. We were agreeably surprised: A pleasanter situation cannot be easily imagined. Afterwards we went some miles on a smooth, delightful road, hanging over the river Tay; and then went on, winding through the mountains, to the Castle of Blair. The mountains, for the next twenty miles, were much higher, and covered with snow. In the evening we came to Dalwhinny, the dearest inn I have met with in North-Britain. In the morning we were informed, so much snow had fallen in the night, that we could get no farther. And, indeed, three young women, attempting to cross the mountain to Blair, were swallowed up in the snow. However, we resolved, with God’s help, to go as far as we could. But about noon we were at a full stop: The snow, driving together on the top of the mountain, had quite blocked up the road. We dismounted, and, striking out of the road warily, sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, with many stumbles, but no hurt, we got on to Dalmagarry, and before sunset, to Inverness.
Benjamin and William Chappel, who had been here three months, were waiting for a vessel to return to London. They had met a few people every night to sing and pray together; and their behavior, suitable to their profession, had removed much prejudice. Fri. 27. — I breakfasted with the senior Minister, Mr. M’Kenzie, a pious and friendly man. At six in the evening, I began preaching in the church, and with very uncommon liberty of spirit. At seven in the morning I preached in the library, a large commodious room; but it would not contain the congregation: Many were constrained to go away. Afterwards I rode over to Fort-George, a very regular fortification, capable of containing four thousand men. As I was just taking horse, the Commanding Officer sent word, I was welcome to preach. But it was a little too late: I had then but just time to ride back to Inverness. Sun. 29. — At seven, the benches being removed, the library contained us tolerably well; and, I am persuaded, God shook the hearts of many outside Christians. I preached in the church at five in the afternoon. Mr. Helton designed to preach abroad at seven; but the Ministers desired he would preach in the church, which he did, to a large and attentive congregation.
Many followed us from the church to our lodgings, with whom I spent some time in prayer, and then advised them, as many as could, to meet together, and spend an hour every evening in prayer and useful conversation. Mon. 30. — We set out in a fine morning. A little before we reached Nairn, we were met by a messenger from the Minister, Mr. Dunbar; who desired, I would breakfast with him, and give them a sermon in his church.
Afterwards we hastened to Elgin, through a pleasant and well-cultivated country. When we set out from hence, the rain began, and poured down till we came to the Spey, the most impetuous river I ever saw. Finding the large boat was in no haste to move, I stepped into a small one, just going off. It whirled us over the stream almost in a minute. I waited at the inn at Fochabers, (dark and dirty enough in all reason,) till our friends overtook me with the horses. The outside of the inn at Keith was of the same hue, and promised us no great things. But we were agreeably disappointed. We found plenty of every thing, and so dried ourselves at leisure. Tues . May 1. — I rode on to Aberdeen, and spent the rest of the week there. It fell out well, for the weather was uncommon: We had storms of snow or rain every day. And it seems the weather was the same as far as London. So general a storm has scarce been in the memory of man. Sun. 6. — I preached in the College Kirk, at Old-Aberdeen, to a very serious (though mostly genteel) congregation. In the evening I preached at our own Room, and early in the morning took my leave of this loving people. We came to Montrose about noon. I had designed to preach there; but found no notice had been given. However, I went down to the Green, and sung a hymn. People presently flocked from all parts, and God gave me great freedom of speech; so that I hope we did not meet in vain.
At seven in the evening I preached at Arbroath (properly Aberbrothwick).
The whole town seems moved: The congregation was the largest I have seen since we left Inverness: And the society, though but of nine months’ standing, is the largest in the kingdom, next that of Aberdeen. Tues. 8. — I took a view of the small remains of the Abbey. I know nothing like it in all North-Britain. I paced it, and found it an hundred yards long. The breadth is proportionable. Part of the west end, which is still standing, shows it was full as high as Westminster Abbey. The south end of the cross-aisle likewise is standing, near the top of which is a large circular window. The zealous Reformers, they told us, burnt this down.
God deliver us from reforming mobs!
I have seen no town in Scotland which increases so fast, or which is built with so much common sense, as this. Two entire new streets, and part of a third, have been built within these two years. They run parallel with each other, and have a row of gardens between them. So that every house has a garden; and thus both health and convenience are consulted. Wed. 9. — I rode on to Dundee. The ministers here, particularly Mr. Small, are bitter enough: Notwithstanding which, the society is well established, and the congregation exceeding large. I dealt very plainly with them at six, and still more so the next evening: Yet none appeared to be offended. Friday , 11. I went forward to Edinburgh. Saturday , 12. I received but a melancholy account of the state of things here. The congregations were nearly as usual; but the society which, when I was here before, consisted of above an hundred and sixty members, was now shrunk to about fifty. Such is the fruit of a single Preacher’s staying a whole year in one place! together with the labors of good Mr. Townshend. Sun. 13. — At seven I preached in the chapel taken by Lady Glenorchy, which stands at a great distance from ours, in the most honorable part of the city. Between twelve and one I preached in the High-School yard, it being too stormy to preach on the Castle-Hill. A little before six I preached in our chapel, crowded above and below; but I doubt, with little effect: Exceeding few seemed to feel what they heard. Mon. 14. — After ten years inquiry, I have learned what are the Highlands of Scotland. Some told me, “The Highlands begin when you cross the Tay;” others, “when you cross the North Esk;” and others, “when you cross the river Spey:” But all of them missed the mark. For the truth of the matter is, the Highlands are bounded by no river at all, but by Carns, or heaps of stones laid in a row, southwest and northeast, from sea to sea.
These formerly divided the kingdom of the Picts from that of the Caledonians, which included all the country north of the Carns; several whereof are still remaining. It takes in Argyleshire, most of Perthshire, Murrayshire, with all the northwest counties. This is called the Highlands, because a considerable part of it (though not the whole) is mountainous.
But it is not more mountainous than North-Wales, nor than many parts of England and Ireland: Nor do I believe it has any mountain higher than Snowdon hill, or the Skiddaw in Cumberland. Talking Erse, therefore, is not the thing that distinguishes these from the Lowlands. Neither is this or that river; both the Tay, the Esk, and the Spey running through the Highlands, not south of them. Thur. 17. — At five in the morning I took a solemn leave of our friends at Edinburgh. About eight I preached at Musselburgh, and found some hope, there will be a blessing in the remnant. In the evening I preached in the new House at Dunbar, the cheerfullest in the kingdom. Friday , 18. We rode over to the Earl of Haddington’s seat, finely situated between two woods.
The house is exceeding large and pleasant, commanding a wide prospect both ways; and the Earl is cutting walks through the woods, smoothing the ground, and much enlarging and beautifying his garden. Yet he is to die! In the evening I trust God broke some of the stony hearts of Dunbar. A little increase here is in the society likewise; and all the members walk unblamably. Sat. 19. — At noon I preached in the Town-Hall at Berwick. Coming to Alnwick in the afternoon, I found that wise and good man, William Coward, had been buried two or three days before. I judged it right to do honor to his memory, by preaching a kind of funeral sermon, on, “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Sun. 20. — At seven I preached in the House; at four and at seven in the market place; but the multitude was so great, that I doubt many could not hear. I then met the society, and we seemed to breathe the same spirit with him that was just entered into the joy of his Lord. Mon. 21. — I preached at Morpeth and at Newcastle. On Wednesday , 23, I went over to Sunderland. Saturday , 26. We went by water to North-Biddick. The preaching here had been discontinued for many years, as it seemed to be sowing upon the sand; but at length we found the fruit of our labor. Many are both convinced and converted to God. In returning, as we were four large boats in company, we made The mountains and vales his praises rebound.
So is even the water-language now changed!
Sun. 27. — At eight I preached near the Cross in Sunderland, to such an assembly as was never seen there before. But I believe that at Gateshead-Fell was still larger; as was that at the Castle-Garth, in Newcastle. Monday , 28. I began again the meeting of the children, which had been neglected for some months; and we had a token for good: Two or three were cut to the heart; and many seemed much affected.
On Tuesday , 29, and the following days, I took a little circuit through Weardale, Teesdale, and Swaledale. The ten days following I spent in and near Newcastle. Monday ,JUNE 11. I took a cheerful leave of that loving people; about noon preached at Durham; and in the evening, before Mr. Watson’s door, to a numerous congregation at Stockton. Tuesday , 12. At five I preached in the new House, strangely raised, when the case appeared quite desperate, by God’s touching the heart of a man of substance, who bought the ground and built it without delay. I preached at Norton at noon, and afterwards met those who can “rejoice evermore,” and “pray without ceasing.” We had another comfortable opportunity at Yarm in the evening, where I found a greater number of those who believe God has enabled them to love him with all their heart and soul. Wed. 13. — I preached at Halsey, ten miles from Yarm, and in the evening at Thirsk. Thursday , 14. About two, at Potto; and in the evening at Hutton. Here, as well as elsewhere, those who believe they are saved from sin undergo many trials from their brethren. But so much the more will “the God of all grace, after” they “have suffered a while, stablish, strengthen, and settle” them. Fri. 15. — I was agreeably surprised to find the whole road from Thirsk to Stokesley, which used to be extremely bad, better than most turnpikes.
The gentlemen had exerted themselves, and raised money enough to mend it effectually. So they have done for several hundred miles in Scotland, and throughout all Connaught in Ireland; and so they undoubtedly might do throughout all England, without saddling the poor people with the vile imposition of turnpikes for ever.
In the afternoon we came to Whitby. Having preached thrice a day for five days, I was willing to preach in the House; but notice had been given of my preaching in the market place; so I began at six, to a large congregation, most of them deeply attentive. Sat. 16. — I found our Preacher, James Brownfield, had just set up for himself. The reasons he gave for leaving the Methodists were, 1. That they went to church. 2. That they held Perfection.
I earnestly desired our society to leave him to God, and say nothing about him, good or bad. In the afternoon I looked over Dr. Priestley’s “English Grammar.” I wonder he would publish it after Bishop Lowth’s. Sun. 17. — I met the select society, consisting of sixty-five members. I believe all of these were saved from sin; most of them are still in glorious liberty. Many of them spake with admirable simplicity; and their words were like fire. Immediately the flame kindled, and spread from heart to heart. At eight I preached; at nine, met the children, most of whom had known the love of God; and several of them were able still to rejoice in God their Savior. Almost as soon as I began to speak, God spoke to their hearts, and they were ill able to contain themselves. I observed one little maid in particular, who heaved and strove for some time, till at length she was constrained to yield, and break out into strong cries and tears.
Between one and two I met the Bands, being near two thirds of the society. Their openess was quite surprising, as well as the spirit with which they spoke. One plain woman cried, and spoke, and cried again, so that they were in tears on every side. I suppose, if I could have stayed so long, some or other would have spoke till night.
At five I preached in the market place again, to a far larger congregation than before. One love-feast took up the next two hours, at which many were filled with solemn joy. Afterwards I met a few of the children again, all of whom had tasted that the Lord is gracious. I asked her that cried so violently in the morning what was the matter with her. She said, “I was so overwhelmed with the power and love of God that I could not hide it.”
When I questioned her farther, she said, “A quarter of a year ago, one Saturday night, I was quite convinced I was a sinner, and afraid of dropping into hell; but on Sunday I felt the pardoning love of God; yet I had many doubts till Monday evening, when they were all taken away in a moment. After this, I saw and I felt the wickedness of my heart, and longed to be delivered from it; and on Sunday I was delivered, and had as clear a witness of this, as of my justification. But I was sometimes off my watch; then it was not so clear; and people commended me, till, by little and little, I lost it. Indeed I still feel the love of God, but not as I did before.” Mon. 18. — I preached at Robin Hood’s Bay about noon; at Scarborough in the evening. Wednesday , 20. I rode to Burlington, and preached on the quay, to many plain and many genteel people. I preached at Hull in the evening; and the next at Beverley. Friday , 22. I went on to York, where there is now more life among the people than has been for several years.
We found much of the presence of God this evening, and much more the next. One young man was in a violent agony, and could not refrain from crying aloud. Several continued with him in prayer till ten o’clock. He was then filled with joy unspeakable. Sun. 24. — I met the select society at six, and had the pleasure to find that some who had lost the great blessing for months or years, had recovered it with large increase. At eight I preached to a people ready prepared for the Lord. At nine I met the children. At five, by taking out the benches, we made room for the greatest part of the congregation.
Afterwards I spent an hour with the society, and so concluded the busy, happy day. Mon. 25. — I preached in Tadcaster at noon, and at Pateley-Bridge in the evening. It rained, as usual, all the time; but the congregation stood as still as the trees; and God did satisfy the hungry with good things, many of whom have given him all their heart. Tues. 26. — It rained all the time I was preaching at Otley, to a numerous congregation; and they drank in the words of life, just as the thirsting earth the showers. The next evening I preached in the House at Yeadon, the rain not suffering us to stand abroad. Thur. 28. — I rode to Mr. Sutcliffe’s at Hoohole; a lovely valley, encompassed with high mountains. I stood on the smooth grass before his house, (which stands on a gently rising ground,) and all the people on the slope before me. It was a glorious opportunity. I trust many “came boldly to the throne,” and found “grace to help in time of need.”
I can hardly believe that I am this day entered into the sixty-eighth year of my age. How marvelous are the ways of God! How has he kept me even from a child! From ten to thirteen or fourteen, I had little but bread to eat, and not great plenty of that. I believe this was so far from hurting me, that it laid the foundation of lasting health. When I grew up, in consequence of reading Dr. Cheyne, I chose to eat sparingly, and drink water. This was another great means of continuing my health, till I was about seven and-twenty. I then began spitting of blood, which continued several years.
A warm climate cured this. I was afterwards brought to the brink of death by a fever; but it left me healthier than before. Eleven years after, I was in the third stage of a consumption; in three months it pleased God to remove this also. Since that time I have known neither pain nor sickness, and am now healthier than I was forty years ago. This hath God wrought!
On Friday and Saturday I preached at Heptonstall, Colne, and Keighley. Sunday ,JULY 1. Being much concerned for the poor parishioners of Haworth, who hear and hear, and are no more affected than stones, I spoke to them in the most cutting manner I could. May God apply it to their hearts!
On Monday and Tuesday I preached at Bingley and Bradford; and Wednesday , 4, rode to Halifax. Here I had an opportunity of inquiring thoroughly into a very extraordinary case. On January 26, 1760, a young woman of two-and-twenty, felt, in the evening, an uncommon coldness at her feet. Presently after she was seized with convulsions. The disorder from that time attended her, more or less, every day, in spite of all the medicines which were administered by the most skillful Physicians. One of her fits began a little before we went in. At first she fell back in her chair, seemingly senseless, and wrought (like one strangled) in her breast and throat. In two or three minutes she sprung up, turned round many times, then dropped down, and began beating her head against the stone floor. Quickly she started up, leaped right upwards many times; then ran to and to with an hundred odd gesticulations. She beat herself on the head, tore her hair, and attempted to run into the fire. Being put into a chair, she spoke a good deal, but not articulately. She was convulsed again from head to foot; and afterwards said wildly, “Where am I? Who are these? I want my father. I will go to my father.” In about an hour she came to her senses.
I should have imagined the Physicians would have supposed all this to be counterfeit. But it seems one and all thought that could not be, as she could have no motive to feign, since she gained nothing thereby, living upon the fruit of her own and her father’s labor. And many of the circumstances could not be accounted for, upon that supposition. Such were her tears, her foaming at the mouth, her tearing her hair, striking herself, and beating her head against the stones; her strong convulsions; and what none can well conceive unless he saw it, the change of her countenance, which was horrid and dreadful, yea, diabolical, as long as the fits were upon her, but was remarkably pretty and agreeable, as soon as she came to herself.
When old Dr. A——r was asked, what her disorder was he answered, “It is what formerly they would have called being bewitched.” And why should they not call it so now? Because the infidels have hooted witchcraft out of the world; and the complaisant Christians, in large numbers, have joined with them in the cry. I do not so much wonder at this, — that many of these should herein talk like infidels. But I have sometimes been inclined to wonder at the pert, saucy, indecent manner wherein some of those trample upon men far wiser than themselves; at their speaking so dogmatically against what not only the whole world, heathen and Christian, believed in past ages, but thousands, learned as well as unlearned, firmly believe at this day. I instance in Dr. Smollett and Mr. Guthrie, whose manner of speaking concerning witchcraft must be extremely offensive to every sensible man, who cannot give up his Bible. Thur. 5. — I preached at six at Daw Green, near Dewsbury. All things contributed to make it a refreshing season; the gently-declining sun, the stillness of the evening, the beauty of the meadows and fields, through which The smooth clear “river drew its sinuous train;” the opposite hills and woods, and the earnestness of the people, covering the top of the hill on which we stood; and, above all, the day-spring from on high, the consolation of the Holy One! Sat. 7. — I rode to Miss Bosanquet’s. Her family is still a pattern, and a general blessing to the country. Sunday , 8. I preached at Whitechapel, Birstal, and Leeds, at each to as many as my voice could reach. Monday , 9.
About noon I preached at Woodhouse, a village near Leeds, where a flame is suddenly broke out. Few days pass without fresh displays of the grace of God, converting sinners to himself; and a spirit of childlike, simple love runs through the whole body of the people. Tuesday , 10. I rode to Harewood, and preached to a large congregation of the same spirit with that at Woodhouse. Here, too, the word of God runs swiftly; many are convinced, and many converted to God. Wed. 11. — I rode to Doncaster, and preached at noon in the new House, one of the neatest in England. It was sufficiently crowded, and (what is more strange) with serious and attentive hearers. What was more unlikely, some years since, than that such an House or such a congregation should be seen here! In the evening I preached at Finningley. The church was filled; but I fear few felt the word. Thur. 12. — I preached at Epworth. Friday , 13. We rode through heavy rain to Newton-upon-Trent. The weather clearing up, I preached before the House to an earnest congregation. A people more loving, more artless, or more athirst for God, I have seldom seen. Taking horse about eleven, we rode, broiling in the sun, through Lincoln to Horncastle. Our brethren desiring me to preach in the market place, I cried to an unbroken multitude, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The power of God was upon them, and they all calmly attended, till I commended them to God.
This was the first day that I have been weary (the violent heat drinking up my spirits) since I set out from London. Saturday , 14. In another sultry day we rode to Louth, formerly another den of lions. At first great part of the congregation seemed to “care for none of these things.” But God made them care; the Lord looked down from heaven, and “his arrows went abroad.” I have seldom seen persons more sensibly struck. They gathered closer and closer together, till there was not one inattentive hearer, and hardly one unaffected. In riding hence the heat was as intense as ever; so that I was again tired before we reached Grimsby. But I soon recovered, and preached to a congregation to good old Methodists, on, Daniel in the Den of Lions. Sun. 15. — I preached at eight, and again at two, and they hastened away to Barrow. The people here much resembled those at Horncastle. So I would not take them out of their depth, but explained and enforced these solemn words, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Monday , 16. At nine I preached in Awkborough, to a people of quite another kind. So I spoke to them directly of “Christ Crucified,” and the salvation which is through him. About noon I preached to a people of the same spirit at Amcoats. In the evening, the House at Swinfleet not being able to contain a third of the congregation, I preached on a smooth, green place, sheltered from the wind, on Hebrews 7:25. Many rejoiced to hear of being “saved to the uttermost,” the very thing which their souls longed after. Tues. 17. — I preached in the market place at Thorne: All were quiet, and tolerably attentive. Wed. 18. — About noon I preached at Crowle. This is the place, the former Rector of which, contemporary with my father, ordered those words to be inscribed upon his tomb-stone: — HERE LIES THE BODY OF SOLOMON ASHBURN, FORTY YEARS RECTOR OF THIS PARISH. “All the day long have I stretched out my hands Unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts, And let them follow their own imaginations.” They did follow them for many years; but at length God hath visited them. Friday and Saturday I spent at Epworth. Sunday , 22. About eight I preached at Misterton; at one about half a mile from Haxey church; and at five on Epworth Cross, to the largest congregation in Lincolnshire, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Mon. 23. — I preached at Doncaster and Rotherham; on Tuesday and Wednesday at Sheffield. On Wednesday evening my heart was so enlarged, that I knew not how to leave off. Do some say, “I preach longer than usual when I am barren?” It is quite the contrary with me. I never exceed, but when I am full of matter; and still I consider it may not be with my audience as with me. So that it is strange if I exceed my time above a quarter of an hour.
On Thursday and Friday I preached at Creitch, Derby, Burton-upon-Trent, and Ashby. Saturday , 28. I rode to Castle-Donnington; but hay-making had emptied the town, till a violent shower brought all the hay-makers home, who received the good word with gladness.
At seven I preached in Nottingham; Sunday , 29, at Sanjaker, where God was eminently present. At five in the evening I went to the market place in Nottingham. Thousands upon thousands flocked together; and all were still as night, while I opened and applied, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” We closed the day with a love-feast, during which four mourners found peace with God; two of them could not avoid declaring it in the presence of all their brethren. Mon. 30. — I preached at Bingham, ten miles from Nottingham. I really admired the exquisite stupidity of the people. They gaped and stared while I was speaking of death and judgment, as if they had never heard of such things before. And they were not helped by two surly, ill-mannered Clergymen, who seemed to be just as wise as themselves. The congregation at Houghton in the evening was more noble, behaving with the utmost decency. Tues. 31. — At nine I preached in the market place at Loughborough, to almost as large a congregation as at Nottingham, and equally attentive.
Thence I rode to Markfield. Notwithstanding the harvest, the church was quickly filled. And great was our rejoicing in our great High Priest, through whom we “came boldly to the throne of grace.” In the evening I preached in the Castle-yard at Leicester, to a multitude of awakened and unawakened. One feeble attempt was made to disturb them; a man was sent to cry fresh salmon at a little distance; but he might as well have spared the pains, for none took the least notice of him. Wed . August 1. — I rode to Northampton. It being still extremely hot, I determined not to be cooped up, but took my stand on the side of the Common, and cried aloud to a large multitude of rich and poor, “Acquaint thyself now with him, and be at peace.” Thur. 2. — Some friends from London met us at St. Alban’s. Before dinner we took a walk in the Abbey, one of the most ancient buildings in the kingdom, near a thousand years old; and one of the largest, being five hundred and sixty feet in length, (considerably more than Westminster Abbey,) and broad and high in proportion. Near the east end is the tomb and vault of good Duke Humphrey. Some now living remember since his body was entire. But after the coffin was opened, so many were curious to taste the liquor in which it was preserved, that in a little time the corpse was left bare, and then soon moldered away. A few bones are now all that remain. How little is the spirit concerned at this! Sunday , 5, and for five or six days this week, the heat was as great as I remember in Georgia. Tuesday , 7. Our Conference began, and ended on Friday , 10. On Sunday evening I set out in the machine, and the next evening preached at Bristol. Saturday , 18. I gave a solemn warning to a large congregation on Redcliff-Hill, from those awful words, “The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” Surely it will; unless a general repentance prevent a general visitation. Mon. 20. — I rode to Charlton. The violent heat continuing, I preached in the evening under a tree to a congregation who were all attention. Tuesday , 21. I rode on to Tiverton, and thence through Launceston, Camelford, Port-Isaac, Cubert, St. Agnes, and Redruth, to St. Ives. Here God has made all our enemies to be at peace with us, so that I might have preached in any part of the town. But I rather chose a meadow, where such as would might sit down, either on the grass or on the hedges, — so the Cornish term their broad stone walls, which are usually covered with grass. Here I enforced, “Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole of man.” Sun. 26. — Being desired to preach in the town, for the sake of some who could not come up the hill, I began near the market place, at eight, on, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” We had an useful sermon at church, and another in the afternoon, delivered in a strong and earnest manner. At five I preached again. Well nigh all the town were present, and thousands from all parts of the country; to whom I explained, “The Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” Mon. 27. — I was surprised to find, that the select society had been wholly neglected. I got a few of them together; but did not find so much as one, who had not given up his confidence. At nine I renewed the meeting of the children, which had also been given up for a long season. But so dead a company have I seldom seen. I found scarce one spark of even the fear of God among them.
To the evening I preached before the House at St. Just, on, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” It was a glorious hour. The same spirit breathed upon us, at the meeting of the society. At such a season, who does not feel that nothing is too hard for God?
On Tuesday and Wednesday I preached at Newlyn, Goldsithney and St. John’s. Thursday , 30. I rode to Falmouth; and preached at two in the afternoon near the church, to a greater number of people than I ever saw there before; except the mob, five-and-twenty years ago. I preached at Penryn in the evening; Friday noon in Crowan; in the evening at Treworgey, near Redruth.
Here I met with an ingenious book, the late Lord Lyttleton’s “Dialogues of the Dead.” A great part of it I could heartily subscribe to, though not to every word. I believe Madam Guion was in several mistakes, speculative and practical too: Yet I would no more dare to call her, than her friend, Archbishop Fenelon, “a distracted enthusiast.” She was undoubtedly a woman of a very uncommon understanding, and of excellent piety. Nor was she any more “a lunatic,” than she was an heretic.
Another of this lively writer’s assertions is, “Martin has spawned a strange brood of fellows, called Methodists, Moravians, Hutchinsonians, who are madder than Jack was in his worst days.” I would ask any one who knows what good breeding means, is this language for a nobleman or a porter? But let the language be as it may, is the sentiment just? To say nothing of the Methodists, (although some of them too are not quite out of their senses,) could his Lordship show me in England many more sensible men than Mr. Gambold and Mr. Okely? And yet both of these were called Moravians. Or could he point out many men of stronger and deeper understanding than Dr. Horne and Mr. William Jones? (if he could pardon them for believing the Trinity!) And yet both of those are Hutchinsonians.
What pity is it, that so ingenious a man, like many others gone before him, should pass so peremptory a sentence in a cause which he does not understand! Indeed, how could he understand it? How much has he read upon the question? What sensible Methodist, Moravian, or Hutchinsonian did he ever calmly converse with? What does he know of them, but; from the caricaturas drawn by Bishop Lavington, or Bishop Warburton? And did he ever give himself the trouble of reading the answers to those warm, lively men? Why should a good-natured and a thinking man thus condemn whole bodies of men by the lump? In this I can neither read the gentleman, the scholar, nor the Christian.
Since the writing of this, Lord Lyttleton is no more; he is mingled with common dust. But as his book survives, there still needs an answer to the unjust reflections contained therein. Sat . September 1. — I took a walk to the top of that celebrated hill, Carn-Brae. Here are many monuments of remote antiquity, scarce to be found in any other part of Europe: Druid altars of enormous size, being only huge rocks, strangely suspended one upon the other; and rockbasins, hollowed on the surface of the rock, it is supposed, to contain the holy water. It is probable these are at least co-evil with Pompey’s Theatre, if not with the Pyramids of Egypt. And what are they the better for this? Of what consequence is it either to the dead or the living, whether they have withstood the wastes of time for three thousand, or three hundred years?