Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL - FROM AUGUST 9, 1779, TO SEPTEMBER 3, 1782.
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Mon . August 9. — I set out for Wales, with my brother and his family. In the evening I preached at Oxford; the next, at Witney. Wednesday. We went on to Gloucester, where I preached with much satisfaction to a crowded audience. Thursday, 12. We went on to Monmouth, where the late storm is blown over. I preached at six in the evening, but did not observe one inattentive person then, any more than at five in the morning. Fri. 13. — As I was going down a steep pair of stairs, my foot slipped, and I fell down several steps. Falling on the edge of one of them, it broke the case of an Almanack, which was in my pocket, all to pieces. The edge of another stair met my right buckle, and snapped the steel chape of it in two; but I was not hurt. So doth our good Master give his angels charge over us! In the evening I preached at Brecknock; and, leaving my brother there, on Saturday, 14, went forward to Carmarthen.
This evening, and in the morning, Sunday, 16, the new preaching-house contained the congregation; but in the afternoon we had, I think, the largest congregation I ever saw in Wales. I preached on the Gospel for the day, the story of the Pharisee and the Publican; and I believe many were constrained to cry out, for the present, “God be merciful to me a sinner! “ Mon. 16. — In the evening I preached in the market-place again, to a very serious congregation; many of whom were in tears, and felt the word of God to be sharper than a two-edged sword. Tues. 17. — Having some steep mountains to climb, I took a pair of post-horses. About four miles from the town, one of them began to kick and flounce, without any visible cause, till he got one of his legs over the pole. Mr. Broadbent and I then came out of the chaise, and walked forward. While the drivers were setting the chaise right, the horses ran back almost to the town; so that we did not reach Llyngwair till between two and three o’clock. Mr. Bowen was not returned from a journey to Glasgow. However, I spent a very comfortable evening with Mrs. Bowen and the rest of the family. Wed. 18. — I preached about ten in Newport church; and then we went on to Haverfordwest. Here we had a very different congregation, both as to number and spirit; and we found the society striving together for the hope of the Gospel. Thursday, 19. We went over to Fracoon, one of the loveliest places in Great Britain. The house stands in a deep valley, surrounded with tall woods, and them with lofty mountains. But, as Admiral Vaughan was never married, this ancient family will soon come to an end. At two I preached in Newcastle church, and in the evening at Haverford. Fri. 20. — Many of us met at noon, and spent a solemn hour in intercession for our King and country. In the evening the House was thoroughly filled with people of all denominations. I believe they all felt that God was there, and that he was no respecter of persons. Sat. 21. — I went to Pembroke. Understanding that a large number of American prisoners were here, in the evening I took my stand over against the place where they were confined; so that they all could hear distinctly.
Many of them seemed much affected. O that God may set their souls at liberty! Sun. 22. — Mr. Rees, a neighboring Clergyman, assisting me, I began at St. Daniel’s between nine and ten. The congregation came from many miles round; and many of them were greatly refreshed. While we rode to Haverford after dinner, I think it was full as hot as it used to be in Georgia; till about five o’clock a violent shower exceedingly cooled the air; but it ceased in half an hour, and we had then such a congregation as was scarce ever seen here before; and though many of the Gentry were there, yet a solemn awe spread over the whole assembly. Mon. 23. — I came once more to Carmarthen. Finding the people here (as indeed in every place) under a deep consternation through the terrible reports which flew on every side, I cried aloud in the market-place, “Say ye unto the righteous, it shall be well with him.” God made it a word in season to them, and many were no longer afraid. Tues. 24. — Setting out immediately after preaching, about eight I preached at Kidwelly, about nine miles from Carmarthen, to a very civil and unaffected congregation. At eleven, though the sun was intensely hot, I stood at the end of the church-yard in Llanelly, and took occasion from a passing-bell strongly to enforce those words, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” About six I preached at Swansea to a large congregation, without feeling any weariness. Wed. 25. — I preached at five; and about eight in the Town-Hall at Neath.
In the afternoon I preached in the church near Bridge-End, to a larger congregation than I ever saw there before; and at six, in the Town-Hall at Cowbridge, much crowded, and hot enough. The heat made it a little more difficult to speak; but, by the mercy of God, I was no more tired when I had done, than when I rose in the morning. Thur . 26. — I preached at five, and again at eleven. I think this was the happiest time of all. The poor and the rich seemed to be equally affected.
O how are the times changed at Cowbridge, since the people compassed the house where I was, and poured in stones from every quarter! But my strength was then according to my day; and (blessed be God!) so it is still.
And will the rich also hear the words of eternal life? “With God all things are possible.” Fri. 27. — I preached at Cardiff about noon, and at six in the evening. We then went on to Newport; and setting out early in the morning, reached Bristol in the afternoon. Sunday, 29. I had a very large number of communicants. It was one of the hottest days I have known in England.
The thermometer rose to eighty degrees; — as high as it usually rises in Jamaica.
Being desired to visit a dying man on Kingsdown, I had no time but at two o’clock. The sun shone without a cloud; so that I had a warm journey. But I was well repaid; for the poor sinner found peace. At five I preached to an immense multitude in the Square; and God comforted many drooping souls. Mon. 30. — I set out for the west, and in the evening preached at Taunton, on, “Walk worthy of the Lord.” Tuesday, 31. After preaching at Collumpton about noon, in the evening I preached at Exeter, in a convenient Room, lately a school; I suppose formerly a chapel. It is both neat and solemn, and is believed to contain four or five hundred people.
Many were present again at five in the morning,SEPTEMBER 1, and found it a comfortable opportunity. Here a gentleman, just come from Plymouth, gave us a very remarkable account: — “For two days the combined fleets of France and Spain lay at the mouth of the harbor. They might have entered it with perfect ease. The wind was fair; there was no fleet to oppose them; and the island, which is the grand security of the place, being incapable of giving them any hindrance; for there was scarce any garrison, and the few men that were there had no wadding at all, and but two rounds of powder.” But had they not cannon? Yes, in abundance; but only two of them were mounted! Why then did they not go in, destroy the dock, and burn, or at least plunder, the town? I believe they could hardly tell themselves. — The plain reason was, the bridle of God was in their teeth; and he had said, “Hitherto shall ye come, and no farther.”
After preaching at Tiverton, Halberton, Taunton, and South-Brent in the way, on Saturday, 4, I returned to Bristol. Sun. 5. — Being willing to make the best of the fine weather, I preached at eight on the quay, on, “The Lord sitteth above the water-flood: And the Lord remaineth a King for ever.” At ten I began the service at Kingswood; and in the afternoon preached in the avenue, to a multitude of people. But we had five or six times as many at King’s Square; and great was our rejoicing in the Lord. Mon. 6. — I preached on David’s prayer, “Lord, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.” And how remarkably has he heard this prayer with regard to the French Ahithophels! Wed. 6. — I preached at Paulton, where the people are still all alive, and the society is still as one family; consequently it increases both in grace and number. At six I preached at Pensford, and spent a pleasant evening with the lovely family at Publow. Where is there such another? I cannot tell: I doubt, not in Great Britain or Ireland. Sun. 12. — I found it work enough to read Prayers, and preach, and administer the sacrament to several hundred people. But it was comfortable work; and I was no more tired at the end than at the beginning. Mon. 13. — I preached at Bath and Bradford; on Tuesday, at the end of the new House, in Frome. Wednesday, 15. I preached at Malcolm and Shaftesbury; Thursday, 16, at Shepton-Mallet. Here also, as well as at Paulton, (the two most unlikely places in the Circuit,) a spreading flame is kindled. I preached at Coleford in the evening. Among this plain, simple people, the power of God is always present. Sun. 19. — The rain would not suffer me to preach abroad. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday examined the society, and found a large number had been called home this year. A few are still tottering over the grave; but death hath lost its sting. Thur. 23. — I preached in the afternoon near the fish-ponds. The people here had been remarkably dead for many years; but since that saint of God, Bathsheba Hall, with her husband, came among them, a flame is broke out. The people flock together in troops, and are athirst for all the promises of God.
In the evening one sat behind me in the pulpit at Bristol, who was one of our first Masters at Kingswood. A little after he left the school, he likewise left the society. Riches then flowed in upon him; with which, having no relations, Mr. Spencer designed to do much good — after his death. “But God said unto him, Thou fool!” Two hours after, he died intestate, and left all his money to be scrambled for!
Reader! if you have not done it already, make your Will before you sleep! Fri. 24. — James Gerrish, jun., of Roade, near Frome, was for several years zealous for God: But he too grew rich, and grew lukewarm, till he was seized with a consumption. At the approach of death he was “horribly afraid;” he was “in the lowest darkness, and in the deep.” But “he cried unto God in his trouble,” and was “delivered out of his distress.”
He was filled with peace and joy unspeakable and so continued till he went to God. His father desired I would preach his funeral sermon; which I accordingly did this day, at Roade. I concluded the busy day with a comfortable watch-night at Kingswood. Mon. 27. I preached at Pill. On Wednesday opened the new chapel in Guinea-Street. Thursday, 30. I preached at Amesbury, on Communion with God, while deep awe sat on the face of all the people. Friday, OCTOBER 1. I took a solemn leave of the children at Kingswood. Several of them have been convinced of sin again and again; but they soon trifled their convictions away. Sun. 3. — I preached once more in the Square, to a multitude of people; and afterwards spent a solemn hour with the society, in renewing our covenant with God. Mon. 4. — I left Bristol, preached at the Devizes at eleven, and in the evening at Sarum. Tuesday, 5. I preached at Whitchurch, where many, even of the rich, attended, and behaved with much seriousness. Wednesday, 6.
At eleven I preached in Winchester, where there are four thousand five hundred French prisoners. I was glad to find they have plenty of wholesome food; and are treated, in all respects, with great humanity.
In the evening I preached at Portsmouth-Common. Thursday, 7. I took a view of the camp adjoining to the town, and wondered to find it as clean and neat as a gentleman’s garden. But there was no Chaplain. The English soldiers of this age have nothing to do with God! Fri. 8. — We took chaise, as usual, at two, and about eleven came to Cobham. Having a little leisure, I thought I could not employ it better than in taking a walk through the gardens. They are said to take up four hundred acres, and are admirably well laid out. They far exceed the celebrated gardens at Stow; and that in several respects: — 1. In situation; lying on a much higher hill, and having a finer prospect from the house. 2. In having a natural river, clear as crystal, running beneath and through them. 3. In the buildings therein; which are fewer indeed, but far more elegant; yea, and far better kept, being nicely clean, which is sadly wanting at Stow.
And, lastly, In the rock-work; to which nothing of the kind at Stow is to be compared.
This night I lodged in the new house at London. How many more nights have I to spend there? Mon. 11. — I began my little tour into Northamptonshire. In the evening I preached at Stony-Stratford; the next day at Honslip, and at Morton, a little mile from Buckingham. Wednesday, 13. Having so lately seen Stourhead and Cobham gardens, I was now desired to take a view of the much more celebrated gardens at Stow. The first thing I observed was the beautiful water which runs through the gardens, to the front of the house.
The tufts of trees, placed on each side of this, are wonderfully pleasant; and so are many of the walks and glades through the woods, which are disposed with a fine variety. The large pieces of water interspersed give a fresh beauty to the whole. Yet there are several things which must give disgust to any person of common sense: — 1. The buildings, called Temples, are most miserable, many of them both within and without. Sir John Vanbrugh’s is an ugly, clumsy lump, hardly fit for a gentleman’s stable. 2. The temples of Venus and Bacchus, though large, have nothing elegant in the structure; and the paintings in the former, representing a lewd story, are neither well designed nor executed. Those in the latter are quite faded, and most of the inscriptions vanished away. 3. The statues are full as coarse as the paintings, particularly those of Apollo and the Muses, whom a person, not otherwise informed, might take to be nine cook-maids. 4. Most of the water in the ponds is dirty, and thick as puddle. 5. It is childish affectation to call things here by Greek or Latin names, as Styx, and the Elysian Fields. 6. It was ominous for My Lord to entertain himself and his noble company in a grotto built on the bank of Styx; that is, on the brink of hell. 7. The river on which it stands is a black, filthy puddle, exactly resembling a common sewer. 8. One of the stateliest monuments is taken down, — the Egyptian Pyramid; and no wonder, considering the two inscriptions, which are still legible; the one, — Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens Uxor: Neque harum, quas colis, arborum Te praeter invisas cupressos, Ulla brevem dominum sequetur!
The other; — Lusisti satis, edisti satis, atque bibisti:
Tempus abire tibi est: Ne potum largius aequo Rideat, et pulset lasciva decengius aegas. f6 Upon the whole, I cannot but prefer Cobham gardens to those at Stow:
For, 1. The river at Cobham shames all the ponds at Stow. 2. There is nothing at Stow comparable to the walk near the wheel which runs up the side of a steep hill, quite grotesque and wild. 3. Nothing in Stow gardens is to be compared to the large temple, the pavilion, the antique temple, the grotto, or the building at the head of the garden; nor to the neatness which runs through the whole.
But there is nothing even at Cobham to be compared, 1. To the beautiful cross at the entrance of Stourhead gardens. 2. To the vast body of water. 3. The rock-work grotto. 4. The temple of the sun. 5. The hermitage.
Here too every thing is nicely clean, as well as in full preservation. Add to this, that all the gardens hang on the sides of a semicircular mountain. And there is nothing either at Cobham or Stow which can balance the advantage of such a situation.
On this and the two following evenings I preached at Whittlebury, Towcester, and Northampton. On Saturday I returned to London. Mon. 18. — I set out for Sussex; and after visiting the societies there, returned to London on Saturday, 23. I was in hopes, by bringing her with me, to save the life of Miss A., of Ewhurst, far gone in a consumption.
But she was too far gone: So that though that journey helped her for awhile, yet she quickly relapsed, and soon after died in peace. Sun. 21. — I preached a charity sermon in Shadwell church. I spoke with all possible plainness. And surely some, out of an immense multitude, will receive the truth, and bring forth fruit with patience. Mon. 25. — I set out for Norwich. Tuesday, 26. I went on to Yarmouth; on Wednesday to Lowestoft; on Friday to London. Saturday, 30. I came to Norwich again. Mon . November 1. — I crossed over to Lynn, and settled the little affairs there; on Wednesday, 3 went on to Colchester; and on Friday, to London. Saturday, 6. I began examining the society, which usually employs me eleven or twelve days. Sat. 13. — I had the pleasure of an hour’s conversation with Mr. G., one of the members of the first Congress in America. He unfolded a strange tale indeed! How has poor K. G. been betrayed on every side! But this is our comfort: There is One higher than they. And He will command all things to work together for good.
The following week I examined the rest of our society; but did not find such an increase as I expected. Nay, there was a considerable decrease, plainly owing to a senseless jealousy that had crept in between our Preachers; which had grieved the Holy Spirit of God, and greatly hindered his work. Mon. 22. — My brother and I set out for Bath, on a very extraordinary occasion. Some time since Mr. Smyth, a Clergyman, whose labors God had greatly blessed in the north of Ireland, brought his wife over to Bath, who had been for some time in a declining state of health. I desired him to preach every Sunday evening in our chapel, while he remained there. But as soon as I was gone, Mr. M’Nab, one of our Preachers, vehemently opposed that; affirming it was the common cause of all the Lay Preachers; that they were appointed by the Conference, not by me, and would not suffer the Clergy to ride over their heads; Mr. Smyth in particular, of whom he said all manner of evil. Others warmly defended him. Hence the society was torn in pieces, and thrown into the utmost confusion. Tues. 23. — I read to the society a paper which I wrote near twenty years ago on a like occasion. Herein I observed, that “the rules of our Preachers were fixed by me, before any Conference existed,” particularly the twelfth: “Above all, you are to preach when and where I appoint.” By obstinately opposing which rule, Mr. M’Nab has made all this uproar. In the morning, at a meeting of the Preachers, I informed Mr. M’Nab, that, as he did not agree to our fundamental rule, I could not receive him as one of our Preachers, till he was of another mind. Wed. 24. — I read the same paper to the society at Bristol, as I found the flame had spread thither also. A few at Bath separated from us on this account: But the rest were thoroughly satisfied. So on Friday, 26, I took coach again, and on Saturday reached London.
In this journey I read Dr. Warner’s History of Ireland, from its first settlement to the English Conquest; and, after calm deliberation, I make no scruple to pronounce it a mere senseless romance. I do not believe one leaf of it is true, from the beginning to the end. I totally reject the authorities on which he builds: I will not take Flagherty’s or Keating’s word for a farthing. I doubt not, Ireland was, before the Christian era, full as barbarous as Scotland or England. Indeed it appears from their own accounts, that the Irish in general were continually plundering and murdering each other from the earliest ages to that period: And so they were ever since, by the account of Dr. Warner himself, till they were restrained by the English. How then were they converted by St. Patrick?
Cousin-german to St. George! To what religion? Not to Christianity.
Neither in his age, nor the following, had they the least savor of Christianity, either in their lives or their tempers. Sun. 28. — I preached a charity sermon at St. Peter’s, Cornhill. Monday, 29. I visited the societies in Kent, and returned on Saturday. Sunday , December 5. — In applying those words, “What could I have done for my vineyard which I have not done!” I found such an uncommon pouring out of the convincing Spirit, as we have not known for many years. In the evening the same Spirit enabled me strongly to exhort a numerous congregation, to “come boldly to the throne of grace;” and to “make all their requests known unto God with thanksgiving.” Tues. 7. — I preached in Redriff chapel, a cold, uncomfortable place, to a handful of people, who appeared to be just as much affected as the benches they sat upon. Thur. 9. — In speaking on those words, “Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die and not live,” I took occasion to exhort all who had not done it already, to settle their temporal affairs without delay. Let not any man who reads these words put it off a day longer! Mon. 13. — I retired to Lewisham, and settled the society–book.
Fifty-seven members of the society have died this year; and none of them “as a fool dieth.” An hundred and seventy have left the society. Such are the fruits of senseless prejudice. Sat. 25. — We began the service at the new chapel, as usual, at four in the morning. Afterwards I read prayers and preached and administered the Lord’s Supper at West-Street. In the afternoon I preached at the new chapel again; then met the society; and afterwards, the married men and women. But after this I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning. Wed. 29. — Mr. Hatton, lately come from America, gave us an account of his strange deliverance. He was Collector of the Customs for the eastern ports of Maryland, and zealous for King George. Therefore the rebels resolved to dispatch him; and a party was sent for that purpose under one Simpson, who owed him five hundred pounds. But first he sent him the following note: — “Sir, “WE are resolved to have you dead or alive. So we advise you to give yourself up, that you may give us no more trouble. “ I am, Sir, “Your obedient servant.”
Mr. Hatton not complying with this civil advice, a party of rifle-men were sent to take him. He was just going out, when a child told him they were at hand, and had only time to run and get into a hollow which was under the house. The maid clapped to the trap-door, and covered it over with flax.
They searched the house from top to bottom, opened all the closets, turned up the beds, and, finding nothing, went away. He was scarce come out, when another party beset the house, and came so quick, that he had but just time to get in again; and the maid, not having flax enough at hand, covered the door with foul linen. When these also had wearied themselves with searching, and went away, he put on his boots and great coat, took a gun and a rug, (it being a sharp frost,) and crept into a little marsh near the house. A third party came quickly, swearing he must be about the house, and they would have him if he was alive. Hearing this, he stole away with full speed, and lay down near the sea-shore, between two hillocks, covering himself with sea-weeds. They came so near that he heard one of them swear, “If I find him, I will hang him on the next tree.” Another answered, “I will not stay for that: I will shoot him the moment I see him.”
After some time, finding they were gone, he lifted up his head, and heard a shrill whistle from a man fifty or sixty yards off. He soon knew him to be a deserter from the rebel army. He asked Mr. H. what he designed to do; who answered, “Go in my boat to the English ships, which are four or five and twenty miles off.” But the rebels had found and burnt the boat. So, knowing their life was gone if they stayed till the morning, they got into a small canoe, (though liable to overset with a puff of wind,) and set off from shore. Having rowed two or three miles, they stopped at a little island, and made a fire, being almost perished with cold. But they were quickly alarmed, by a boat rowing toward the shore. Mr. Hatton, standing up, said, “We have a musket and a fuse. If you load one, as fast as I discharge the other, I will give a good account of them all.” He then stepped to the shore, and bade the rowers stop, and tell him who they were; declaring he would fire among them, if any man struck another stroke. Upon their answering, he found they were friends, being six more deserters from the rebel army. So they gladly came on shore, and brought provisions with them to those who before had neither meat nor drink.
After refreshing themselves, they all went into the boat, and cheerfully rowed to the English ships. Fri . 31 — We concluded the year at West-Street, with a solemn watch-night. Most of the congregation stayed till the beginning of the year, and cheerfully sang together, — Glory to God, and thanks, and praise, Who kindly lengthens out our days, etc.
Sun . January 2, 1780. — We had the largest congregation at the renewal of our covenant with God, which ever met upon the occasion; and we were thoroughly convinced, that God was not departed from us. He never will, unless we first depart from him. Tues. 18. — Receiving more and more accounts of the increase of Popery, I believed it my duty to write a letter concerning it, which was afterwards inserted in the public papers. Many were grievously offended; but I cannot help it: I must follow my own conscience. Sat. 22. — I spent an hour or two very agreeably in Sir Ashton Lever’s museum. It does not equal the British Museum in size; nor is it constructed on so large a plan; as it contains no manuscripts, no books, no antiquities, nor any remarkable works of art. But I believe, for natural curiosities, it is not excelled by any museum in Europe; and all the beasts, birds, reptiles, and insects, are admirably well ranged and preserved: So that if you saw many of them elsewhere, you would imagine they were alive! The hippopotamus, in particular, looks as fierce as if he was just coming out of the river; and the old lion appears as formidable now as when he was stalking in the Tower. Sun. 23. — In the evening I retired to Lewisham, to prepare matter (who would believe it?) for a Monthly Magazine. Friday, FEBRUARY 4, being the National Fast, I preached first at the new chapel, and then at St. Peter’s, Cornhill. What a difference in the congregation! Yet out of these stones God can raise up children to Abraham. Thur. 17. — I preached at Dorking, and could not but reflect, in this room I lodged the first time I saw poor Mr. Ireland: Emphatically poor! Poor beyond expression; — though he left fourscore thousand pounds behind him! Thur. 24. — I met the building Committee; according to whose representation, our income at last nearly answers our expenses. If so, it will clear itself in a few years. Mon. 28. — Taking the post-coach, I reached Newbury time enough to preach to a crowded audience. Tuesday, 29, and Wednesday, I preached at Bath, where brotherly love is now restored. Thursday, MARCH 2. I went into Bristol, and enjoyed much peace among a quiet, loving people. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I examined the society, and had reason to rejoice over them. Mon. 13. — I set out for the north, and in the evening preached at Stroud, where is a considerable increase of the work of God. Tuesday, 14. I preached in the church at Pitchcomb; but it would by no means contain the congregation. In the evening I preached at Tewkesbury, and on Wednesday, 15, at Worcester, to a very serious congregation. Thursday, 16, about noon I began preaching at Bewdley, in an open space at the head of the town. The wind was high and exceeding sharp; but no one seemed to regard it. In the middle of the sermon came a man beating a drum; but a gentleman of the town soon silenced him. Friday, 17. About noon I preached at Bengeworth church, to the largest congregation I ever saw there; and in Pebworth church about six, so a larger congregation than I had seen there before. I found uncommon liberty in applying those words, (perhaps a last warning to the great man of the parish, Mr. Martin,) “Whatsoever the hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Sat. 18. — I went on to Birmingham; and, Sunday, 19, preached at eight in the morning, and at half-past one in the afternoon; in the evening, at Wednesbury. Monday, 20. I reached Congleton, and preached to a lively congregation on our Lords words: “Lazarus, come forth!” Tuesday, 21. I preached in the new chapel at Macclesfield; Thursday, 23, at Stockport and Manchester.
On Good-Friday I preached, at seven, in Manchester; about one, in Oldham; and in Manchester, at six. Saturday, 25. I went on to Bolton, where the work of God is continually increasing. On Easter-Day I set out for Warrington. Mr. Harmer read Prayers both morning and afternoon. We had a large congregation in the morning; as many as the church could well contain in the afternoon; and more than it could contain in the evening. At last there is reason to hope, that God will have a steady people even in this wilderness.
The next evening, when a few of the society were met together, the power of God came mightily upon them. Some fell to the ground; some cried aloud for mercy; some rejoiced with joy unspeakable. Two or three found a clear sense of the love of God; one gay young woman, in particular, who was lately much prejudiced against this way, but is now filled with joy unspeakable. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I spent at Liverpool, being undetermined whether to proceed or not. At length I yielded to the advice of my friends, and deferred my journey to Ireland. So I preached at Northwich about noon, and in the evening at Alpraham, in the midst of all the old Methodists. We had a very different congregation at Nantwich in the evening. But as many as could get into the House, or near the door, behaved very seriously. Sat . April 1. — I returned to Chester, and found many alive to God, but scarce one that retained his pure love. Sunday , 2. I reached Warrington about ten. The chapel was well filled with serious hearers; and I believe God confirmed the word of his grace. Hastening back to Chester, I found a numerous congregation waiting, and immediately began, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Mon. 3. — I returned to Manchester; and, Tuesday, 4, strongly applied, “What could I have done more to my vineyard, that I have not done?” At present there are many here that “bring forth good grapes:” But many swiftly increase in goods; and I fear very few sufficiently watch and pray that they may not set their hearts upon them. Wed. 5. — I preached at Bolton; Thursday, 6, about noon, at Bury; and at Rochdale in the evening. Friday, 7. I went to Delph, a little village upon the mountains, where a remarkable work of God is just broke out. I was just set down, when the Minister sent me word, I was welcome to preach in his church. On hearing this, many people walked thither immediately, near a mile from the town; but in ten minutes he sent me word, his mind was changed. We knew not then what to do, till the Trustees of the Independent meeting offered us the use of their House. It was quickly filled, and truly God bore witness to his word. In the evening I preached at Huddersfield. Saturday, 8. About noon I opened the new House at Mirfield, and in the evening preached at Daw-Green. Sunday, 9. I went on to Birstal, and took my stand at the front of the House, though the northeast wind whistled round about. I preached again between four and five, pointing them to the Great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Mon. 10. — I preached in the prison at Whitelee; in the evening at Morley; and on Tuesday morning at Cross-Hall. The family here are much grown in grace since I saw them last. Most of them now enjoy the great salvation, and walk worthy of their vocation; and all around them “see their good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven.”
In the evening I preached to a very genteel congregation at Wakefield. Wednesday, 12. After preaching at Rothwell, I inquired what was become of that lovely class of little girls, most of them believers, whom I met here a few years since. I found those of them that had pious parents remain to this day: But all of them whose parents did not fear God are gone back into the world.
In the evening I preached in the new House at Leeds. Thursday, 13. I opened the new House at Hunslet. On Friday, I preached at Woodhouse. Sunday, 16. Our House at Leeds was full at eight; yet every one heard distinctly. In the afternoon I preached at the old church; but a considerable part of the people could not hear. Indeed the church is remarkably ill constructed. Had it been built with common sense, all that were in it, and even more, might have heard every word. Mon. 17. — I left Leeds in one of the roughest mornings I have ever seen.
We had rain, hail, snow, and wind, in abundance. About nine I preached at Bramley; between one and two at Pudsey. Afterwards I walked to Fulneck, the German settlement. Mr. Moore showed the house, chapel, hall, lodging rooms, the apartments of the widows, the single men, and single women. He showed us likewise the workshops of various kinds, with the shops for grocery, drapery, mercery, hardware, etc., with which, as well as with bread from their bakehouse, they furnish the adjacent country. I see not what but the mighty power of God can hinder them from acquiring millions; as they, 1. Buy all materials with ready money at the best hand: 2. Have above a hundred young men, above fifty young women, many widows, and above a hundred married persons; all of whom are employed from morning to night, without any intermission, in various kinds of manufactures, not for journeymen’s wages, but for no wages at all, save a little very plain food and raiment: As they have, 3. A quick sale for all their goods, and sell them all for ready money.
But can they lay up treasure on earth, and at the same time lay up treasure in heaven?
In the evening I preached at Bradford, where I was well pleased to find many, both men and women, who had never suffered any decay since they were perfected in love. Wednesday, 19. I went to Otley; but Mr. Ritchie was dead before I came. But he had first witnessed a good confession. One telling him, “You will be better soon;” he replied, “I cannot be better; for I have God in my heart. I am happy, happy, happy in his love.”
Mr. Wilson, the Vicar, after a little hesitation, consented that I should preach his funeral sermon: This I did today. The text he had chosen was, “To you that believe, he is precious.” Perhaps such a congregation had hardly been in Otley church before. Surely the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass! Sun. 23. — Mr. Richardson being unwilling that I should preach any more in Haworth church, Providence opened another: I preached in Bingley church, both morning and afternoon. This is considerably larger than the other. It rained hard in the morning: This hindered many; so that those who did come, got in pretty well in the forenoon; but in the afternoon very many were obliged to go away.
After preaching at several other places on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday, 26, I preached in Heptonstall church, well filled with serious hearers. In the evening I preached near Todmorden, in the heart of the mountains. One would wonder where all the people came from. Thursday, 27. I preached in Todmorden church, with great enlargement of heart. In the afternoon we went on to Blackburn. It seemed, the whole town was moved. But the question was, where to put the congregation. We could not stand abroad, because of the sun: So as many as could, squeezed into the preaching-house. All the chief men of the town were there. It seems as if the last will be first. Sun. 30. — We had a lovely congregation at Colne; but a much larger at one and at five. Many of them came ten or twelve miles; but I believe not in vain: God gave them a good reward for their labor. Mon . May 1. — We reached Grassington about ten. The multitude of people constrained me to preach abroad. It was fair all the time I was preaching; but afterwards rained much. At Pateley-Bridge, the Vicar offered me the use of his church. Though it was more than twice as large as our preaching-house, it was not near large enough to contain the congregation. How vast is the increase of the work of God! Particularly in the most rugged and uncultivated places! How does he “send the springs” of grace also “into the valleys, that run among the hills.” Tues. 2. — We came to Ripon, and observed a remarkable turn of Providence: The great hindrance of the work of God in this place has suddenly disappeared; and the poor people, being delivered from their fear, gladly flock together to hear His word. The new preaching-house was quickly more than filled. Surely some of them will not be forgetful hearers!
In the afternoon we travelled through a delightful country; the more so when contrasted with the horrid mountains. The immense ruins of Garvaix Abbey show what a stately pile it was once. Though we were at a lone house, a numerous congregation assembled in the evening; on whom I enforced, “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Wed. 3. — Judging it impracticable to pass the mountains in a carriage, I sent my chaise round, and took horse. At twelve I preached at Swaledale, to a loving people, increasing both in grace and number. Thence we crossed over another range of dreary mountains, and in the evening reached Barnard Castle. Not being yet inured to riding, I now felt something like weariness. But I forgot it in the lively congregation, and in the morning it was gone. Thur. 4. — About eight I preached to a serious congregation at Cuthbedson; and about one at Newbiggin, in Teesdale. We doubted how we should get over the next mountain, the famous Pikelow, after so long and heavy rains; but I scarce ever remember us getting over it so well. We found the people in Weardale, as usual, some of the liveliest in the kingdom; knowing nothing, and desiring to know nothing, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. Fri. 5. — Notice having been given, without my knowledge, of my preaching at Ninthead, all the lead-miners that could, got together; and I declared to them, “All things are ready.” After riding over another enormous mountain, I preached at Gamblesby (as I did about thirty years ago) to a large congregation of rich and poor. The chief man of the town was formerly a Local Preacher, but now keeps his carriage. Has he increased in holiness as well as in wealth? If not, he has made a poor exchange.
In the evening, a large upper room, designed for an assembly, was procured for me at Penrith; but several of the poor people were struck with a panic, for fear the room should fall. Finding there was no remedy, I went down into the court below, and preached in great peace to a multitude of well behaved people. The rain was suspended while I preached, but afterwards returned, and continued most of the night. Saturday, 6. I went on to Whitehaven; and, in the evening, exhorted all who knew in whom they had believed, to “walk worthy of the Lord in all well-pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Sun. 7. — I preached at eight, at two, and at five; but could not preach abroad because of the rain. We were in hopes of sailing for the Isle of Man the next morning, as a little vessel was waiting for us; but the wind then turned full against us. By this means I had an opportunity given me of meeting the select society. I was pleased to find, that none of them have lost the pure love of God, since they received it first. I was particularly pleased with a poor Negro. She seemed to be fuller of love than any of the rest. And not only her voice had an unusual sweetness, but her words were chosen and uttered with a peculiar propriety. I never heard, either in England or America, such a Negro speaker (man or woman) before. Tues. 9. — Finding no hopes of sailing, after preaching morning and evening, I went to Cockermouth. Wednesday, 10. At eight I preached in the Town-Hall; but to the poor only: The rich could not rise so soon. In the evening I preached in the Town-Hall at Carlisle; and from the number and seriousness of the hearers, I conceived a little hope, that even here some goodwill be done. Thur. 11. — I reached Newcastle; and on Friday, 12, went to Sunderland.
Many of our friends prosper in the world. I wish their souls may prosper also. Sunday, 14. I preached at Gateshead-Fell at two o’clock, and hoped to preach at the Garth-Heads at five; but the rain drove us into the House.
But all was well; for many found God was there. Mon. 15. — I set out for Scotland; and Tuesday, 16, came to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Such a congregation I have not seen there for many years. Perhaps the seed which has so long seemed to be sown in vain, may at length produce a good harvest. Wed. 17. — I went on to Dunbar. I have seldom seen such a congregation here before. Indeed some of them seemed at first disposed to mirth; but they were soon as serious as death. And truly the power of the Lord was present to heal those that were willing to come to the throne of grace. Thursday, 18. I read, with great expectation, Dr. Watts’s “Essay on Liberty;” but I was much disappointed. It is abstruse and metaphysical.
Surely he wrote it either when he was very young, or very old. In the evening I endeavored to preach to the hearts of a large congregation at Edinburgh. We have cast much “bread upon the waters” here. Shall we not “find it again,” at least “after many days?” Fri. 19. — I preached at Joppa, a settlement of colliers, three miles from Edinburgh. Some months ago, as some of them were cursing and swearing, one of our Local Preachers going by, reproved them. One of them followed after him, and begged he would give them a sermon. He did so several times. Afterwards the Travelling Preachers went, and a few quickly agreed to meet together. Some of these now know in whom they have believed, and walk worthy of their profession. Sat. 20. — I took one more walk through Holyrood House, the mansion of ancient Kings. But how melancholy an appearance does it make now! The stately rooms are dirty as stables; the colors of the tapestry are quite faded; several of the pictures are cut and defaced. The roof of the royal chapel is fallen in; and the bones of James the Fifth, and the once beautiful Lord Darnley, are scattered about like those of sheep or oxen. Such is human greatness! Is not “a living dog better than a dead lion?” Sun. 21. — The rain hindered me from preaching at noon upon the Castle-Hill. In the evening the House was well filled, and I was enabled to speak strong words. But I am not a Preacher for the people of Edinburgh.
Hugh Saunderson and Michael Fenwick are more to their taste. Tues. 23. — A gentleman took me to see Roslyn Castle, eight miles from Edinburgh. It is now all in ruins, only a small dwelling house is built on one part of it. The situation of it is exceeding fine, on the side of a steep mountain, hanging over a river, from which another mountain rises, equally steep, and clothed with wood. At a little distance is the chapel, which is in perfect preservation, both within and without. I should never have thought it had belonged to any one less than a sovereign Prince! the inside being far more elegantly wrought with variety of Scripture histories in stone-work, than I believe can be found again in Scotland; perhaps not in all England.
Hence we went to Dunbar. Wednesday, 24. In the afternoon I went through the lovely garden of a gentleman in the town, who has laid out walks hanging over the sea, and winding among the rocks. One of them leads to the Castle, wherein that poor injured woman, Mary Queen of Scots, was confined. But time has well-nigh devoured it: Only a few ruinous walls are now standing. Thur. 25. — We went on to Berwick. Friday, 26. In returning to Alnwick we spent an hour at H., an ancient monastery. Part of it the Duke of Northumberland has repaired, furnished it in a plain manner, and surrounded it with a little garden. An old inscription bears date 1404, when part of it was built by the fourth Earl of Northumberland. How many generations have had their day since that time, and then passed away like a dream! We had a happy season at Alnwick with a large and deeply attentive congregation. Sat. 27. — At noon I preached in the Town-Hall at Morpeth; and God applied his word to many hearts. In the afternoon I preached to the loving colliers at Placey, and then went on to Newcastle. Sun. 28. — Between eight and nine in the morning I preached at Gateshead-Fell, on Fellowship with God; a subject which not a few of them understand by heart-felt experience. The congregation at Sheephill about noon was far too large for any House to contain. Such was the power of God that I almost wondered any could help believing. At five I preached at the Garth-Heads, to a still more numerous congregation; but there were few among them who remembered my first preaching near that place in the Keelman’s Hospital. For what reason the wise managers of that place forbade my preaching there any more, I am yet still to learn. Wed. 31. — Taking my leave of this affectionate people, I went to Mr. Parker’s, at Shincliff, near Durham. The congregation being far too large to get into the House, I stood near his door. It seemed as if the whole village were ready to receive the truth in the love thereof. Perhaps their earnestness may provoke the people of Durham to jealousy.
In the afternoon we took a view of the Castle at Durham, the residence of the Bishop. The situation is wonderfully fine, surrounded by the river, and commanding all the country; and many of the apartments are large and stately; but the furniture is mean beyond imagination! I know not where I have seen such in a gentleman’s house, or a man of five hundred a year, except that of the Lord-Lieutenant in Dublin. In the largest chambers, the tapestry is quite faced; beside that, it is coarse and ill-judged. Take but one instance: — In Jacob’s vision you see, on the one side, a little paltry ladder, and an angel climbing it, in the attitude of a chimney-sweeper; and on the other side Jacob staring at him, from under a large silver-laced hat! Thur . June 1. — About ten I preached at Aycliff, a large village, twelve miles from Durham; all the inhabitants whereof seem now as full of goodwill, as they were once of prejudice.
I preached at Darlington in the evening. It is good to be here; the liveliness of the people animates all that come near them. On Friday evening, we had a love-feast, at which many were greatly comforted, by hearing such artless, simple accounts of the mighty works of God. Sun. 3. — At noon I preached to a large congregation at Northallerton.
The sun shone full in my face when I began; but it was soon overcast; and I believe this day, if never before, God gave a general call to this careless people. In the evening I preached at Thirsk. When I was here last, a few young women behaved foolishly; but all were deeply serious now, and seemed to feel that God was there. Sun. 4. — The service began about ten at Staveley, near Boroughbridge.
Mr. Hartley, the Rector, read Prayers. But the church would scarce contain half the congregation; so that I was obliged to stand upon a tombstone, both morning and afternoon. In the evening I preached at Boroughbridge, to a numerous congregation; and all were attentive, except a few soldiers, who seemed to understand nothing of the matter. Mon. 5. — About noon I preached at Tockwith, and then went on to York. I was surprised to find a general faintness here; one proof of which was, that the morning preaching was given up. Tuesday, 6, was the Quarterly Meeting, the most numerous I ever saw. At two was the love-feast, at which several instances of the mighty power of God were repeated; by which it appears that his work is still increasing in several parts of the Circuit.
An arch news-writer published a paragraph today, probably designed for wit, concerning the large pension which the famous Wesley received for defending the King. This so impressed the congregation in the evening, that scores were obliged to go away. And God applied that word to many hearts, “I will not destroy the city for ten’s sake!” Wed. 7. — I preached at Pocklington and Swinfleet. Thursday, 8. I preached on the Green at Thorne, to a listening multitude. Only two or three were much diverted at the thought of seeing the dead, small and great, standing before God! Fri. 9. — About noon I preached at Crowle; and in the evening at Epworth, on, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Saturday, 10.
In the evening I preached at Owstone; and, passing the Trent early in the morning, on Sunday, 11, preached at Kirton, about eight, to a very large and very serious congregation. Only before me stood one, something like a gentleman, with his hat on even at prayer. I could scarce help telling him a story: — In Jamaica, a Negro passing by the Governor, pulled off his hat; so did the Governor; at which one expressing his surprise, he said, “Sir, I should be ashamed if a Negro had more good manners than the Governor of Jamaica.”
About two I preached at Gainsborough, and again at five, to a very numerous congregation. We had then a love-feast, and one of the most lively which I have known for many years. Many spoke, and with great fervor, as well as simplicity; so that most who heard blessed God for the consolation. Mon. 12. — About eleven I preached at Newton-upon-Trent, to a large and very genteel congregation. Thence we went to Newark: But our friends were divided as to the place where I should preach. At length they found a convenient place, covered on three sides, and on the fourth open to the street. It contained two or three thousand people well, who appeared to hear as for life. Only one big man, exceeding drunk, was very noisy and turbulent, till his wife (fortissima Tyndaridarum! seized him by the collar, gave him two or three hearty boxes on the ear, and dragged him away like a calf. But, at length, he got out of her hands, crept in among the people, and stood as quiet as a lamb. Tues. 13. — I accepted of an invitation from a gentleman at Lincoln, in which I had not set my foot for upwards of fifty years. At six in the evening I preached in the Castle-yard, to a large and attentive congregation.
They were all as quiet as if I had been at Bristol. Will God have a people here also? Wed. 14. — I preached again at ten in the morning. In the middle of the sermon a violent storm began; on which Mr. Wood, the keeper, opened the door of the Court-House, which contained the whole of the congregation. I have great hope some of these will have their fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life.
Heavy rain drove us into the House at Horncastle in the evening. Thursday, 15. I preached at Raithby. Two of Mr. Brackenbury’s brothers spent the evening with us. Friday, 16. We went on to Boston, the largest town in the county, except Lincoln. From the top of the steeple (which I suppose is by far the highest tower in the kingdom) we had a view not only of all the town, but of all the adjacent country. Formerly this town was in the fens; but the fens are vanished away: Great part of them is turned into pasture, and part into arable land. At six the House contained the congregation, all of whom behaved in the most decent manner. How different from those wild beasts with whom Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Mather had to do! Saturday, 17. The House was pretty well filled in the morning, and many were much affected. A gentleman who was there invited me to dinner, and offered me the use of his paddock; but the wind was so exceeding high, that I could not preach abroad, as I did when I was here before, just six-and-twenty years ago; and Mr. Thompson, a friendly Anabaptist, offering me the use of his large meeting-house, I willingly accepted the offer. I preached to most of the chief persons in the town, on 1 Corinthians 13:1–3; and many of them seemed utterly amazed.” Open their eyes, O Lord, that they sleep not in death!” Sun. 18. — I gave them a parting discourse at seven; and after adding a few members to the little society, and exhorting them to cleave close to each other, I left them with a comfortable hope that they would not be scattered any more.
About noon I preached in the market-place at Wainfleet, once a large sea-port town, till the harbor was blocked up by sand. The congregation behaved exceeding well. We now passed into Marshland, a fruitful and pleasant part of the county. Such is Langham-Row in particular, the abode of honest George Robinson and his fourteen children. Although it was a lone house, yet such a multitude of people flocked together, that I was obliged to preach abroad. It blew a storm, and we had several showers of rain; but no one went away. I do not wonder that this society is the largest, as well as the liveliest, in these parts of Lincolnshire. Mon. 19. — I preached at Louth, where the people used to be rough enough; but now were serious and calmly attentive. Such a change in a whole town, I have seldom known in the compass of one year. Tues. 20. — After preaching at Tealby, I went on to Grimsby, where I am still more at home than at any place in the east of Lincolnshire; though scarce any of our first members remain: They are all safe lodged in Abraham’s bosom. But here is still a loving people, though a little disturbed by the Calvinists, who seize on every halting soul as their own lawful prey. Wed. 21. — I preached at Scotter, to a lovely, simple-hearted people; and at Epworth in the evening. Thur. 22. — I preached once more at Crowle, to a numerous and deeply serious congregation. Every one thought, “Can any good come out of Crowle?” But God’s thoughts were not as our thoughts. There is now such a work of God in this, as is in few of the places round about it. Sat. 24. — I preached about noon at Belton. There was the dawn of a blessed work here; but “My Lady’s Preachers,” so called, breaking in, set every one’s sword against his brother. Some of them revive a little; but I doubt whether they will ever recover their first love. Sun. 25. — Sir William Anderson, the Rector, having sent an express order to his Curate, he did not dare to gainsay. So at ten I began reading Prayers to such a congregation as I apprehend hardly ever assembled in this church before. I preached on Luke 8:18, part of the Second Lesson. Not a breath was heard; all was still “as summer’s noontide air;” and I believe our Lord then sowed seed in many hearts, which will bring forth fruit to perfection.
After dinner I preached at Westwood-side. The high wind was a little troublesome; but the people regarded it not. We concluded the day with one of the most solemn love-feasts I have known for many years. Mon. 26. — Finningley church was well filled in the evening; and many seemed much affected. Tuesday, 27. I preached at Doncaster about noon, and to a larger congregation at Rotherham in the evening. Wednesday, 28. I went to Sheffield: But the House was not ready; so I preached in the Square.
I can hardly think I am entered this day into the seventy-eighth year of my age. By the blessing of God, I am just the same as when I entered the twenty-eighth. This hath God wrought, chiefly by my constant exercise, my rising early, and preaching morning and evening. Tues. 29. — I was desired to preach at Worksop; but when I came, they had not fixed on any place. At length they chose a lamentable one, full of dirt and dust, but without the least shelter from the scorching sun. This few could bear: So we had only a small company of as stupid people as ever I saw. In the evening I preached in the old House at Sheffield; but the heat was scarce supportable. I took my leave of it at five in the morning, and in the evening preached in the new House, thoroughly filled with rich and poor; to whom I declared, “We preach Christ crucified:” And He bore witness to his word in a very uncommon manner. Saturday, JULY 1. I preached once more at Rotherham. Sunday, 2. At eight I preached at Sheffield. There was afterwards such a number of communicants as was never seen at the old church before. I preached again at five; but very many were constrained to go away. We concluded our work by visiting some that were weak in body, but strong in faith, desiring nothing but to do and suffer the will of God. Monday, 3, and Tuesday, 4, I preached at Derby; Wednesday, 5, at a church eight miles from it. In the afternoon, as I was going through Stapleford, in my way to Nottingham, I was stopped by some who begged me to look into their new preaching-house. Many following me, the House was soon filled; and we spent half an hour together, to our mutual comfort.
In the evening I preached at Nottingham. Wednesday, 5. I preached in Loughborough about eleven, and in the evening at Leicester. I know not how it is that I constantly find such liberty of spirit in this place. Thur. 6. — The Room at five, according to custom, was filled from end to end. I have not spent a whole day in Leicester for these fifty-two years:
Surely I shall before I die. This night we spent in Northampton; then went on to London. Sun. 9. — We had a full congregation at the new chapel, and found God had not forgotten to be gracious. In the following days I read over, with a few of our Preachers, the large Minutes of the Conference, and considered all the articles, one by one, to see whether any should be omitted or altered. Sunday , 16, was a day of much refreshment and strong consolation to many, who are persuaded that God will revive his work, and bind up the waste places. Monday, 17. My brother and I set out for Bath. I preached at Reading in the evening. On Tuesday evening I preached at Rainsbury-Park. On Wednesday, we reached Bath.
A year ago, there was such an awakening here as never had been from the beginning; and, in consequence of it, a swift and large increase of the society. Just then Mr. M’Nab, quarreling with Mr. Smyth, threw wildfire among the people, and occasioned anger, jealousies, judging each other, backbiting and tale-bearing without end; and, in spite of all the pains which have been taken, the wound is not healed to this day.
Both my brother and I now talked to as many as we could, and endeavored to calm and soften their spirits; and on Friday and Saturday I spoke severally to all the members of the society that could attend. On Friday evening, both in the preaching, and at the meeting of the society, the power of God was again present to heal; as also on Saturday, both morning and evening: And a few are added to the society. Sun . 23. — I preached (after reading Prayers) at ten, at half-hour past two, and in the evening. Very many heard; I hope some felt what was spoken. We have sown: O may God give the increase! Mon. 24. — I went on to Bristol. While I was at Bath, I narrowly observed and considered the celebrated Cartoons; the three first in particular. What a poor designer was one of the finest painters in the world! 1. Here are two men in a boat; each of them more than half as long as the boat itself. 2. Our Lord, saying to Peter, “Feed my sheep,” points to three or four sheep standing by him. 3. While Peter and John heal the lame man, two naked boys stand by them. For what?
O pity that so fine a painter should be utterly without common sense!
In the evening I saw one of the greatest curiosities in the vegetable creation, — the Nightly Cereus. About four in the afternoon, the dry stem began to swell; about six, it gradually opened; and about eight, it was in its full glory. I think the inner part of this flower, which was snow-white, was about five inches diameter; the yellow rays which surrounded it, I judged, were in diameter nine or ten inches. About twelve it began to droop, being covered with a cold sweat; at four it died away.
The people at Bath were still upon my mind: So on Thursday, 27, I went over again; and God was with us of a truth, whenever we assembled together. Surely God is healing the breaches of this poor, shattered people. Sun. 30. — Forty or fifty of our Preachers being come, we had a solemn opportunity in the morning. We had the most numerous congregation in the afternoon which has been seen here for many years. And will not the Lord be glorified in our reformation, rather than our destruction? Tues . August 1. — Our Conference began. We have been always, hitherto, straitened for time. It was now resolved, “For the future we allow nine or ten days for each Conference; that every thing, relative to the carrying on the work of God, may be maturely considered.” Fri. 4. — I preached on a convenient piece of ground, at one end of Radcliff-Parade. Great part of the immense congregation had never heard this kind of preaching before; yet they were deeply attentive, while I opened and applied chose awful words, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” Sun. 6. — We had the largest numbers of communicants that had ever met at the new Room; and the largest congregation at five, that had ever met near King’s Square. Wednesday, 9. We concluded the Conference in much peace and love. Fri. 11. — The sultry heat continuing, I would not coop myself up in the chapel, but preached again near Radcliff–Parade, with much comfort and peace. Mon. 14. — For fear of the violent heat, we set out for Cornwall very early in the morning. But we feared where no fear was; for that very day the heat was at an end, and a mild rain began; which, at intervals, followed us almost to the Land’s End.
After preaching at South-Brent, Taunton, and Collumpton, on Wednesday, 16, we came to Exeter. It is still a day of small things here, for want of a convenient preaching-house. Thursday, 17. I went on to Plymouth. Here I expected little comfort. A large preaching-house was built; but who was to pay for it? I preached in it at six, at five in the morning, and on Friday evening; and, from the number and spirit of the hearers, could not but hope that goodwill be done here also. Sat. 19. — I snatched the opportunity of a fair evening, to preach in the Square at Plymouth-Dock. Sunday, 20. At seven in the morning, and at five in the evening, I preached at the Dock; in the afternoon in Plymouth House. It was crowded sufficiently. After preaching I made a collection for the House, which amounted to above five-and-twenty pounds. When I had done, Mr. Jane said, “This is not all. We must have a weekly collection both here and at the Dock. Let as many as can subscribe sixpence a week for one year. I will subscribe five shillings a week. And let this be reserved for the payment of the debt.” It was done: And by this simple method, the most pressing debts were soon paid. Mon. 21. — I preached to a large and quiet congregation in the main street at St. Austle. Tuesday, 22. I preached at Mevagissey; in the evening at Helstone. Wednesday, 23. I went on to Penzance. It is now a pleasure to be here; the little flock being united together in love. I preached at a little distance from the preaching-house. A company of soldiers were in town; whom, toward the close of the sermon, the good Officer ordered to march through the congregation. But as they readily opened and closed again, it made very little disturbance. Thur. 24. — I preached near the preaching-house at St. Just. God applied his word with power: More especially at the meeting of the society, when all our hearts were as melting wax. Friday, 25. I preached in the market-place at St. Ives, to most of the inhabitants of the town. Here is no opposer now. Rich and poor see, and very many feel, the truth.
I now looked over a volume of Mr. K——’s Essays. He is a lively writer, of middling understanding. But I cannot admire his style at all. It is prim, affected, and highly Frenchified. I object to the beginning so many sentences with participles. This does well in French, but not in English. I cannot admire his judgment in many particulars. To instance in one or two:
He depresses Cowley beyond all reason; who was far from being a mean poet. Full as unreasonably does he depress modern eloquence. I believe I have heard speakers at Oxford, to say nothing of Westminster, who were not inferior to either Demosthenes or Cicero. Sat. 26. — We had our Quarterly Meeting at Redruth, where all was love and harmony. Sunday, 27. It was supposed, twenty thousand people were assembled at the amphitheater in Gwennap. And yet all, I was informed, could hear distinctly, in the fair, calm evening. Mon. 28. — I preached at Wadebridge and Port-Isaac; Tuesday, 29, at Camelford and Launceston. Hence we hastened toward Bristol, by way of Wells; where (the weather being intensely hot, so that we could not well bear the Room) I preached on the shady side of the market-place, on, “By grace are ye saved, through faith.” As I was concluding, a Sargeant of Militia brought a drum. But he was a little too late. I pronounced the blessing, and quietly walked away. I know not that ever I felt it hotter in Georgia than it was here this afternoon. Sun . September 3. — I preached three times at Bath; and, I believe, not without a blessing. Wednesday, 6. I preached at Paulton. The flame, kindled last year, still continues to burn here: And, (what is strange,) though so many have set their hand to the plough, there are none that look back. In all the number, I do not find so much as one backslider. Thur. 7. — I spent an hour with the children, the most efficient part of our work. About noon I preached to a large and serious congregation at Chew-Magna; in the evening, to a still more serious company at Stoke; where Mr. Griffin is calmly waiting for the call that summons him to Abraham’s bosom. Mon. 11. — As I drew near Bath, I wondered what had drawn such a multitude of people together, till I learnt, that one of the members for the city had given an ox to be roasted whole. But their sport was sadly interrupted by heavy rain, which sent them home faster than they came; many of whom dropped in at our chapel, where I suppose they never had been before. Tues. 12. — At the invitation of that excellent woman, Mrs. Turner, I preached about noon in her chapel in Trowbridge. As most of the hearers were Dissenters, I did not expect to do much good. However, I have done my duty: God will look to the event. Thur. 14. — I read Prayers and preached in Clutton church: But it was with great difficulty, because of my hoarseness; which so increased, that in four-and-twenty hours I could scarce speak at all. At night I used my never-failing remedy, bruised garlick applied to the soles of the feet. This cured my hoarseness in six hours: In one hour it cured my lumbago, the pain in the small of my back, which I had had ever since I came from Cornwall. Wed. 20. — I preached in the market-place at Pill, to the most stupid congregation I have lately seen. Thursday, 21. I married Mr. Horton and Miss Durbin. May they be patterns to all around them! Sunday, 24. I preached in Temple church, the most beautiful and the most ancient in Bristol. Sun . October 1. — I preached, as usual, morning and evening at the Room. About two I preached a funeral sermon at Kingswood, for that blessed saint, Bathsheba Hall, a pattern for many years of zealously doing and patiently suffering the will of God. In the evening about seven hundred of us joined in solemnly renewing our covenant with God. Mon. 2. — After preaching at the Devizes, I went onto Sarum. Tuesday, 3. I walked over to Wilton, and preached to a very serious congregation in the new preaching-house. I found at Sarum the fruit of Captain Webb’s preaching: Some were awakened, and one perfected in love. Yet I was a little surprised at the remark of some of our eldest brethren that they had never heard Perfection preached before. Wed. 4. — The preaching-house at Whitchurch, though much enlarged, could not contain the congregation in the evening. Some genteel people were inclined to smile at first; but their mirth was quickly over. The awe of God fell upon the whole congregation, and many “rejoiced unto him with reverence.” Saturday, 7. I returned from Portsmouth to London. Mon. 16. — I went to Tunbridge-Wells, and preached to a serious congregation, on Revelation 20:12. Tuesday, 17. I came back to Sevenoaks, and in the afternoon walked over to the Duke of Dorset’s seat.
The park is the pleasantest I ever saw; the trees are so elegantly disposed.
The house, which is at least two hundred years old, is immensely large. It consists of two squares, considerably bigger than the two Quadrangles in Lincoln College. I believe we were shown above thirty rooms, beside the hall, the chapels, and three galleries. The pictures are innumerable; I think, four times as many in the Castle at Blenheim. Into one of the galleries opens the King’s bed-chamber, ornamented above all the rest. The bed-curtains are cloth-of-gold; and so richly wrought, that it requires some strength to draw them. The tables, the chairs, the frames of the looking-glasses, are all plated over with silver. The tapestry, representing the whole history of Nebuchadnezzar, is as fresh as if newly woven. But the bed-curtains are exceeding dirty, and look more like copper than gold.
The silver on the tables, chairs, and glass, looks as dull as lead. And, to complete all, King Nebuchadnezzar among the beasts, together with his eagle’s claws, has a large crown upon his head, and is clothed in scarlet and gold. Mon. 23. — I visited, for a few days, the societies in Northamptonshire. Monday, 30. I went to High-Wycomb, where the new preaching-house was well filled in the evening. Tuesday, 31. We had such a congregation at noon in Oxford as I never saw there before; and, what I regarded more than their number, was their seriousness: Even the young gentlemen behaved well; nor could I observe one smiling countenance, although I closely applied these words, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Sun . November 5. — I preached at the new chapel, on Luke 9:55: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of;” and showed, that, supposing the Papists to be heretics, schismatics, wicked men, enemies to us, and to our Church and nation; yet we ought not to persecute, to kill, hurt, or grieve them, but barely to prevent their doing hurt.
In the ensuing week I finished visiting the classes, and had the satisfaction to find that the society is considerably increased, both in number and strength, since the Conference. Mon. 20. — I went on to Chatham, and finding the society groaning under a large debt, advised them to open a weekly subscription. The same advice I gave to the society at Sheerness. This advice they all cheerfully followed, and with good effect. On Friday, 24, we agreed to follow the same example at London; and in one year we paid off one thousand four hundred pounds. Mon. 27. — I went to Bedford, and preached in the evening. Tuesday, 28.
I preached at St. Neot’s. Wednesday, 29. At ten I preached in Godmanchester; and about six in the new House at Huntingdon. I have seldom seen a new congregation behave with such seriousness. Thursday, 30. I came to Luton, and found that child of sorrow and pain, Mrs. Cole, was gone to rest. For many years she had not known an hour’s ease; but she died in full, joyous peace. And how little does she regret all that is past, now the days of her mourning are ended! Mon . December 4. — I visited the eastern societies in Kent, and on Friday returned to London. Sunday, 10. I began reading and explaining to the society, the large Minutes of the Conference. I desire to do all things openly and above-board. I would have all the world, and especially all of our society, see not only all the steps we take, but the reasons why we take them. Sat. 16. — Having a second message from Lord George Gordon, earnestly desiring to see me, I wrote a line to Lord Stormont, who, on Monday, 18, sent me a warrant to see him. On Tuesday, 19, I spent an hour with him, at his apartment in the Tower. Our conversation turned upon Popery and religion. He seemed to be well acquainted with the Bible; and had abundance of other books, enough to furnish a study. I was agreeably surprised to find he did not complain of any person or thing; and cannot but hope, his confinement will take a right turn, and prove a lasting blessing to him. Fri. 22. — At the desire of some of my friends, I accompanied them to the British Museum. What an immense field is here for curiosity to range in!
One large room is filled from top to bottom with things brought from Otaheite; two or three more with things dug out of the ruins of Herculaneum! Seven huge apartments are filled with curious books; five with manuscripts; two with fossils of all sorts, and the rest with various animals. But what account will a man give to the Judge of quick and dead for a life spent in collecting all these? Sun. 24. — Desiring to make the most of this solemn day, I preached early in the morning, at the new chapel; at ten and four 1 preached at West-Street; and in the evening met the society at each end of the town. Fri. 29. — I saw the indictment of the grand Jury against Lord George Gordon. I stood aghast! What a shocking insult upon truth and common sense! But it is the usual form. The more is the shame. Why will not the Parliament remove this scandal from our nation? Sat. 30. — Waking between one and two in the morning, I observed a bright light shine upon the chapel. I easily concluded there was a fire near; probably in the adjoining timber yard. If so, I knew it would soon lay us in ashes. I first called all the family to prayer; then going out, we found the fire about an hundred yards off, and had broke out while the wind was south. But a sailor cried out, “Avast! Avast! the wind is turned in a moment!” So it did to the west, while we were at prayer, and so drove the flame from us. We then thankfully returned, and I rested well the residue of the night. Sun. 31. — We renewed our covenant with God. We had the largest company that I ever remember; perhaps two hundred more than we had last year. And we had the greatest blessing. Several received either a sense of the pardoning love of God, or power to love him with all their heart. Mon . January 1, 1781. — We began, as usual, the service at four, praising Him who, maugre all our enemies, had brought us safe to the beginning of another year. Sun. 7. — Much of the power of God rested on the congregation, while I was declaring how “the Son of God was manifested, to destroy the works of the devil.” Sun. 14. — I preached at St. John’s, Wapping. Although the church was extremely crowded, yet there was not the least noise or disorder, while I besought them all, by the mercies of God, to present themselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Thur. 18. — Hearing Mr. Holmes was extremely weak, I went down to Burling, and found him very near worn-out, just tottering over the grave.
However; he would creep with me to the church, which was well filled, though the night was exceeding dark. I preached on, “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” The congregation appeared to be quite stunned. In the morning I returned to London. Tues. 23. — I went to Dorking, and buried the remains of Mrs. Attersal; a lovely woman, snatched away in the bloom of youth. I trust it will be a blessing to many, and to her husband in particular. Thur. 25. — I spent an agreeable hour at a concert of my nephews. But I was a little out of my element among Lords and Ladies. I love plain music and plain company best. Mon . February 12. — I went to Norwich. The House was extremely crowded in the evening, and the whole congregation appeared to be wounded; consequently, many attended in the morning. Tuesday, 13. I was desired to preach that evening, on, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Even the Calvinists were satisfied for the present; and readily acknowledged that we did not ascribe our salvation to our own works, but to the grace of God. Wed. 14. — To awaken, if possible, the careless ones at Loddon, at two in the afternoon, I opened and enforced those awful words, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” In the evening, I applied those gracious words, “All things are ready; come unto the marriage.”
After spending Thursday and Friday with the affectionate people at Lowestoft, on Saturday I returned to Norwich. Here I found about fifty missing out of the two hundred and sixteen whom I left in the society a year ago. Such fickleness I have not found any where else in the kingdom; no, nor even in Ireland. Sun. 18. — The chapel was full enough, both in the afternoon and the evening. I declared to them the whole counsel of God, and on Monday returned to London. Wednesday , 21, being the National Fast, I preached in the new chapel in the morning, and at West-Street in the afternoon. At this, as well as the two last Public Fasts, all places of public worship were crowded: All shops were shut up; all was quiet in the streets, and seriousness seemed to spread through the whole city. And one may hope even this outward acknowledgment of God is in a measure acceptable to him. Sun. 25. — My brother, Mr. Richardson, and Mr. Buckingham being ill, I went through the Service at Spitalfields alone. The congregation was much larger than usual; but my strength was as my day, both here, the new chapel, and afterwards at St. Antholin’s church: The Service lasted till near nine; but I was no more tired than at nine in the morning. Fri . March 2. — We had our General Quarterly Meeting, and found the money subscribed this year for the payment of the public debt was between fourteen and fifteen hundred pounds. Sun. 4. — At eight in the evening I took coach for Bristol, with Mr. Rankin and two other friends. We drove with two horses as far as Reading.
Two more were then added, with a postilion, who knowing little of his business, instead of going forward, turned quite round on a sloping ground, so that we expected the coach to overturn every moment. So it must have done, but that the coachman instantly leaped off, and with some other men holden it up, till we got out at the opposite door. The coach was then soon set right, and we went on without let or hindrance.
After spending two or three days at Bath, on Thursday, 8, I went forward to Bristol. On Monday, 12, and the following days, I visited the society; but was surprised to find no greater increase, considering what Preachers they had had. Sun. 18. — I preached morning and evening at the Room; in the afternoon at Temple church. The congregation here is remarkably well-behaved; indeed so are the parishioners in general. And no wonder, since they have had such a succession of Rectors as few parishes in England have had. The present incumbent truly fears God. So did his predecessor, Mr. Catcott, who was indeed as eminent for piety as most Clergymen in England. He succeeded his father, a man of the same spirit, who I suppose succeeded Mr. Arthur Bedford; a person greatly esteemed, fifty or sixty years ago, for piety as well as learning. Mon. 19. — For several years the severe weather has begun the very day I set out from Bristol. But the mild weather now continued seven or eight days longer. This evening I preached at Stroud; Tuesday, 20, at Stroud, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, and Worcester. Wednesday, 21. At noon I preached in Bewdley; and at Worcester in the evening. Thursday, 22. I preached in Bengeworth church, and had some conversation with that amiable man, Mr. B. I preached in the evening at Pebworth church, on those words in the Lesson, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Sat. 24. — I was invited to preach at Quinton, five miles from Birmingham. I preached there at noon in the open air, to a serious and attentive congregation. Some of them appeared to be very deeply affected.
Who knows but it may continue? In the evening I had another comfortable opportunity with our friends at Birmingham. Sun. 25. — I preached at Birmingham, Dudley, and Wednesbury. Monday, 26. I preached at noon in Mr. Barker’s large parlor, at Congreve, near Penkridge. Many stood in the next room, and many in the garden, near the windows: And I believe all could hear. I brought strange things to the ears of those that had been used to softer doctrines. And I believe not in vain. They seemed to receive the truth in the love thereof In the evening I preached at Newcastle-under-Lyne. Mr. Scott and two or three of his Preachers were present. They have lately begun to preach both here and at Burslem. If they would go and break up fresh ground, we should rejoice; but we cannot commend them for breaking in upon our labors, after we have born the burden and heat of the day. Tues. 27. — I went a little out of my way in order to open the new preaching-house at Shrewsbury. I did not so much wonder at the largeness, as at the seriousness, of the congregation. So still and deeply attentive a congregation I did not expect to see here. How apt are we to forget that important truth that “all things are possible with God!” Wed. 28. — I returned to Burslem. How is the whole face of this country changed in about twenty years! Since the potteries were introduced, inhabitants have continually flowed in from every side. Hence the wilderness is literally become a fruitful field. Houses, villages, towns have sprung up. And the country is not more improved than the people. The word of God has had free course among them. Sinners are daily awakened and converted to God; and believers grow in the knowledge of Christ. In the evening the House was filled with people, and with the presence of God. This constrained me to extend the service a good deal longer than I am accustomed to do. Likewise at the meeting of the society, many were filled with strong consolation.
After preaching at Congleton, Macclesfield, and Stockport, in my way, on Friday, 30, I opened the new chapel at Manchester; about the size of that in London. The whole congregation behaved with the utmost seriousness. I trust much goodwill be done in this place. Sun . April 1. — I began reading Prayers at ten o’clock. Our country friends flocked in from all sides. At the Communion was such a sight as I am persuaded was never seen at Manchester before: Eleven or twelve hundred communicants at once; and all of them fearing God. Tues. 3. — 1 took a solemn leave of our affectionate friends here, and went on to Bolton. The society here are true, original Methodists. They are not conformed to the world, either in its maxims, its spirit, or its fashions; but are simple followers of the Lamb: Consequently they increase both in grace and number. Wed. 4. — I went over to Wigan, and preached a funeral sermon for Betty Brown, one of the first members of this society; one of whom, John Layland, gave me the following artless account of her: — “She met with us in a class about twenty years, even to the Sunday before her death, which was on Friday, March 2. Going to market that day in good health, she returned (as she often did) without her husband, ate her supper, and went to bed. About midnight, he came, and found her body; but the spirit was fled! Her love for God, for his cause, and for her brethren and sisters, was truly remarkable. So was her pity for backsliders. At home and abroad she was continually intent on one thing. We cannot forget her tears and prayers, which we doubt not the Lord hath heard. “A little before her death, sitting with my sisters, she seemed in deep thought, and broke out, ‘I will go to God!’ One of them being surprised, said, ‘Pray, Betty, what do you mean?’ She only replied, ‘I will go to God.’ So that, if I think right, she was the beloved of God, the delight of his children, a dread to wicked men, and a torment to devils.” Thur. 5. — I went to Chester. The House was well filled with deeply attentive hearers. I perceived God had exceedingly blessed the labors of Jonathan Hern and William Boothby. The congregations were much larger than they used to be. The society was increased; and they were not only agreed among themselves, but in peace with all round about them. Fri. 6. — I went to Alpraham, and preached the funeral sermon of good old sister Cawley. She has been indeed a mother in Israel; a pattern of all good works. Saturday, 7. At noon, I preached at Preston-on-the-Hill; and in the evening at Warlington. Sunday, 8. The service was at the usual hours. I came just in time to put a stop to a bad custom; which was creeping in here: A few men, who had fine voices, sang a Psalm which no one knew, in a tune fit for an opera, wherein three, four, or five persons, sung different words at the same time! What an insult upon common sense! What a burlesque upon public worship! No custom can excuse such a mixture of profaneness and absurdity. Mon. 9. — Desiring to be in Ireland as soon as possible, I hastened to Liverpool, and found a ship ready to sail; but the wind was contrary, till on Thursday morning, the Captain came in haste, and told us, the wind was come quite fair. So Mr. Floyd, Snowden, Joseph Bradford, and I, with two of our sisters, went on board. But scarce were we out at sea, when the wind turned quite foul, and rose higher and higher. In an hour I was so affected, as I had not been for forty years before. For two days I could not swallow the quantity of a pea of any thing solid, and very little of any liquid. I was bruised and sore from head to foot, and ill able to turn me on the bed. All Friday, the storm increasing, the sea of consequence was rougher and rougher. Early on Saturday morning, the hatches were closed, which, together with the violent motion, made our horses so turbulent, that I was afraid we must have killed them, lest they should damage the ship. Mrs. S. now crept to me, threw her arms over me, and said, “O Sir, we will die together!” We had by this time three feet water in the hold, though it was an exceeding light vessel. Meantime we were furiously driving on a lee-shore; and when the Captain cried, “Helm a lee,” she would not obey the helm. I called our brethren to prayers; and we found free access to the throne of grace. Soon after we got, I know not how, into Holyhead harbor, after being sufficiently buffeted by the winds and waves, for two days and two nights.
I now considered in what place I could spend a few days to the greatest advantage. I soon thought of the Isle of Man, and those parts of Wales which I could not well see in my ordinary course. I judged it would be best to begin with the latter. So, after a day or two’s rest, on Wednesday, 18, I set out for Brecon, purposing to take Whitchurch (where I had not been for many years) and Shrewsbury in my way. At noon I preached in Whitchurch, to a numerous and very serious audience; in the evening at Shrewsbury; where, seeing the earnestness of the people, I agreed to stay another day.
Not knowing the best way from hence to Brecon, I thought well to go round by Worcester. I took Broseley in my way, and thereby had a view of the iron bridge over the Severn: I suppose the first and the only one in Europe. It will not soon be imitated.
In the evening I preached at Broseley; and on Saturday , 21, went on to Worcester. I found one of our Preachers, Joseph Cole, there; but unable to preach through his ague. So that I could not have come more opportunely. Sunday, 22. I preached at seven in our own Room. At three the Service began at St. Andrew’s. As no notice had been given of my preaching there, only as we walked along the street, it was supposed the congregation would be small; but it was far otherwise. High and low, rich and poor, flocked together from all parts of the city; and truly God spoke in his word; so that I believe most of them were almost persuaded to be Christians. Were it only for this hour alone, the pains of coming to Worcester would have been well bestowed. Mon. 23. — Being informed it was fifty miles to Brecknock, we set out early: But, on trial, we found they were computed miles. However, taking fresh horses at the Hay, I just reached it in time, finding a large company waiting. Wednesday, 25. I set out for Carmarthen. But Joseph Bradford was so ill, that, after going six miles, I left him at a friend’s house, and went only myself. I came in good time to Carmarthen, and enforced those solemn words on a serious congregation, “Now he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Thur. 26. — I went on to Pembroke, and in the evening preached in the Town-Hall. Friday, 27. I preached at Jefferson, seven miles from Pembroke, to a large congregation of honest colliers. In the evening I preached in Pembroke Town-Hall again, to an elegant congregation; and afterwards met the society, reduced to a fourth part of its ancient number.
But as they are now all in peace and love with each other, I trust they will increase again. Saturday, 28. We had, in the evening, the most solemn opportunity which I have had since we came into Wales: And the society seemed all alive, and resolved to be altogether Christians. Sun. 29. — At seven I preached in the Room, on, “Lazarus, come forth;” and about ten, began at St. Daniel’s. The church was filled as usual; and the Second Lesson gave me a suitable text, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” I applied the words as closely as possible; and I doubt not, some were more than almost persuaded. In the evening I preached at Haverfordwest, to the liveliest congregation I have seen in Wales. Mon. 30. — I met about fifty children; such a company as I have not seen for many years. Miss Warren loves them, and they love her. She has taken true pains with them, and her labor has not been in vain. Several of them are much awakened; and the behavior of all is so composed, that they are a pattern to the whole congregation. Tues . May 1. — I rode to St. David’s, seventeen measured miles from Haverford. I was surprised to find all the land, for the last nine or ten miles, so fruitful and well cultivated. What a difference is there between the westernmost parts of England, and the westernmost parts of Wales!
The former (the west of Cornwall) so barren and wild; the latter, so fruitful and well improved. But the town itself is a melancholy spectacle. I saw but one tolerable good house in it. The rest were miserable huts indeed. I do not remember so mean a town even in Ireland. The cathedral has been a large and stately fabric, far superior to any other in Wales. But a great part of it is fallen down already; and the rest is hastening into ruin:
One blessed fruit (among many) of Bishops residing at a distance from their See. Here are the tombs and effigies of many ancient worthies: Owen Tudor in particular. But the zealous Cromwellians broke off their noses, hands, and feet; and defaced them as mach as possible. But what had the Tudors done to them? Why, they were progenitors of Kings. Thur. 3. — About ten I preached at Spittal, a large village about six miles from Haverford. Thence we went to Tracoon, and spent a few hours in that lovely retirement, buried from all the world, in the depth of woods and mountains. Friday, 4. About eleven I preached in Newport church, and again at four in the evening. Saturday, 5. I returned to Haverford. Sun. 6. — I preached in St. Thomas’s church, on, “We preach Christ crucified.” It was a stumbling-block to some of the hearers. So the Scripture is fulfilled. But I had amends when I met the society in the evening. Mon. 7. — About ten I preached near the market-place in Nerbeth, a large town ten miles east from Haverford. Abundance of people flocked together. And they were all still as night. In the evening I preached to an equally attentive congregation at Carmarthen. Tues. 8. — I had a large congregation at Llanelly and at Swansea. Some months since, there were abundance of hearers at Neath: But, on a sudden, one lying tongue set the society on fire, till almost half of them were scattered away. But as all, offended, or not offended, were at the Town-Hall, I took the opportunity of strongly enforcing the Apostle’s words, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” I believe God sealed his word on many hearts; and we shall have better days at Neath.
About three I preached in the church near Bridge-End, and at six in the Town-Hall at Cowbridge. Thursday, 10. I preached in our Room about ten, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” May God deliver us from this evil disease, which eats out all the heart of religion! In the evening I preached in the Town-Hall, at Cardiff: But the congregation was almost wholly new. The far greater part of the old society, Ann Jenkins, Thomas Glascot, Arthur Price, Jane Haswell, Nancy Newell, and a long train, are gone hence, and are no more seen. And how few are followers of them, as they were of Christ! Mon. 14. — Before I reached Monmouth, one met and informed me, that Mr. C., a Justice of the Peace, one of the greatest men in the town, desired I would take a bed at his house. Of consequence, all the rabble of the town were as quiet as lambs; and we had a comfortable opportunity both night and morning. Surely this is the Lord’s doing! Tues. 15. — We went through miserable roads to Worcester. Wednesday, 16. About ten I preached in the large meeting at Kidderminster, to a numerous congregation. With much difficulty we reached Salop in the evening, and found the people waiting. There has been no tumult since the new House was built. So far God has helped us. Thur. 17. — I preached at Whitchurch and Nantwich; Friday, 18, at eleven, in the chapel near Northwich; and in the evening at Manchester. Sunday, 20. I found much enlargement in applying to a numerous congregation the lovely account given by St. James of “pure religion and undefiled.” In the afternoon, I preached a funeral sermon for Mary Charlton, an Israelite indeed. From the hour that she first knew the pardoning love of God, she never lost sight of it for a moment. Eleven years ago, she believed that God had cleansed her from all sin; and she showed that she had not believed in vain, by her holy and unblamable conversation. Mon. 21. — I went over to Warrington, and preached in the evening.
Fearing many of the congregation rested in a false peace, I endeavored to undeceive them, by closely applying those words, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Tuesday, 22. About eleven, I preached at Chowbent, and in the evening at Bolton; where the people seemed to be on the wing, just ready to take their flight to heaven. Wed. 23. — Having appointed to preach at Blackburn, I was desired to take Kabb in my way. But such a road sure no carriage ever went before. I was glad to quit it, and use my own feet. About twelve I found a large number of plain, artless people, just fit for the Gospel. So I applied our Lord’s words, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” In the evening I preached in the new House at Blackburn. Thur. 24. — I went on to Preston, where the old prejudice seems to be quite forgotten. The little society has fitted up a large and convenient House, where I preached to a candid audience. Every one seemed to be considerably affected: I hope in some the impression will continue. Fri. 20. — We went on to Ambleside; and on, Saturday, to Whitehaven. Sunday, 27. I preached, morning and evening, in the House; in the afternoon, in the market-place. But abundance of people went away, not being able to bear the intense heat of the sun. Wed. 30. — I embarked on board the packet-boat for the Isle of Man. We had a dead calm for many hours: However, we landed at Douglas on Friday morning. Both the Preachers met me here, and gave me a comfortable account of the still increasing work of God.
Before dinner, we took a walk in a garden near the town, wherein any of the inhabitants of it may walk. It is wonderfully pleasant; yet not so pleasant as the gardens of the Nunnery, (so it is still called,) which are not far from it. These are delightfully laid out, and yield to few places of the size in England.
At six I preached in the market-place, to a large congregation; all of whom, except a few children, and two or three giddy young women, were seriously attentive. Sat . June 2. — I rode to Castleton, through a pleasant and (now) well-cultivated country. At six I preached in the market-place, to most of the inhabitants of the town, on, “One thing is needful.” I believe the word carried conviction into the hearts of nearly all that heard it. Afterwards I walked to the house of one of our English friends, about two miles from the town. All the day I observed, wherever I was, one circumstance that surprised me: — In England we generally hear the birds singing morning and evening; but here thrushes, and various other kinds of birds, were singing all day long. They did not intermit, even during the noon-day heat, where they had a few trees to shade them.
June 3. — (Being Whit-Sunday.) I preached in the market-place again about nine, to a still larger congregation than before, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” How few of the genteel hearers could say so!
About four in the afternoon, I preached at Barewle, on the mountains, to a larger congregation than that in the morning. The rain began soon after I began preaching; but ceased in a few minutes. I preached on, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost;” and showed in what sense this belongs to us and to our children.
Between six and seven I preached on the sea-shore at Peel, to the largest congregation I have seen in the island: Even the society nearly filled the House. I soon found what spirit they were of. Hardly in England (unless perhaps at Bolton) have I found so plain, so earnest, so simple a people. Mon . 4. — We had such a congregation at five, as might have been expected on a Sunday evening. We then rode through and over the mountains to Beergarrow; where I enforced, on an artless, loving congregation, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” A few miles from thence, we came to Bishop’s Court, where good Bishop Wilson resided near threescore years. There is something venerable, though not magnificent, in the ancient palace; and it is undoubtedly situated in one of the pleasantest spots of the whole island.
At six in the evening I preached at Balleugh; but the preaching-house would not contain one half of the congregation; of which the Vicar, Mr. Gilling, with his wife, sister, and daughter, were a part. He invited me to take a breakfast with him in the morning, Tuesday, 5; which I willingly did. He read family-prayers before breakfast, in a very serious manner.
After spending a little time very agreeably, I went on to Kirk-Andrews.
Here also I was obliged to preach in the open air; the rain being suspended till I had done. In the afternoon we rode through a pleasant and fruitful country, to Ramsay, about as large as Peel, and more regularly built. The rain was again suspended while I preached to well-nigh all the town; but I saw no inattentive hearers. Wed. 6. — We had many of them again at five, and they were all attention.
This was the place where the Preachers had little hope of doing good. I trust they will be happily disappointed.
This morning we rode through the most woody, and far the pleasantest, part of the island; — a range of fruitful land, lying at the foot of the mountains, from Ramsay, through Sulby, to Kirkmichael. Here we stopped to look at the plain tomb-stones of those two good men, Bishop Wilson and Bishop Hildesley; whose remains are deposited, side by side, at the east end of the church. We had scarce reached Peel before the rain increased; but here the preaching-house contained all that could come.
Afterwards, Mr. Crook desired me to meet the singers. I was agreeably surprised. I have not heard better singing either at Bristol or Lincoln.
Many, both men and women, have admirable voices; and they sing with good judgment. Who would have expected this in the Isle of Man? Thur. 7. — I met our little body of Preachers. They were two-and-twenty in all. I never saw in England so many stout, well-looking Preachers together. If their spirit be answerable to their look, I know not what can stand before them. In the afternoon I rode over to Dawby, and preached to a very large and very serious congregation. Fri. 8. — Having now visited the island round, east, south, north, and west, I was thoroughly convinced that we have no such Circuit as this, either in England, Scotland, or Ireland. It is shut up from the world; and, having little trade, is visited by scarce any strangers. Here are no Papists, no Dissenters of any kind, no Calvinists, no disputers. Here is no opposition, either from, the Governor, (a mild humane man,) from the Bishop, (a good man,) or from the bulk of the Clergy. One or two of them did oppose for a time; but they seem now to understand better. So that we have now rather too little, than too much, reproach; the scandal of the cross being, for the present, ceased. The natives are a plain, artless, simple people; unpolished, that is, unpolluted; few of them are rich or genteel; the far greater part, moderately poor; and most of the strangers that settle among them are men that have seen affliction. The local Preachers are men of faith and love, knit together in one mind and one judgment. They speak either Manx or English, and follow a regular plan, which the Assistant gives them monthly.
The isle is supposed to have thirty thousand inhabitants. Allowing half of them to be adults, and our societies to contain one or two and twenty hundred members, what a fair proportion is this! What has been seen like this, in any part either of Great Britain or Ireland? Sat. 9. — We would willingly have set sail; but the strong northeast wind prevented us. Monday, 11. It being moderate, we put to sea: But it soon died away into a calm; so I had time to read over and consider Dr. Johnson’s “Tour through Scotland.” I had heard that he was severe upon the whole nation; but I could find nothing of it. He simply mentions (but without any bitterness) what he approved or disapproved; and many of the reflections are extremely judicious; some of them very affecting. Tues. 12. — The calm continuing, I read over Mr. Pennant’s “Tour through Scotland.” How amazingly different from Dr. Johnson’s! He is doubtless a man both of sense and learning. Why has he then bad English in almost every page? No man should be above writing correctly.
Having several passengers on board, I offered to give them a sermon; which they willingly accepted. And all behaved with the utmost decency, while I showed, “His commandments are not grievous.” Soon after, a little breeze sprung up, which, early in the morning, brought us to Whitehaven. Thur. 14. — I had a design to preach at noon in the Town-Hall at Cockermouth; but Mr. Lothian offering me his meeting-house, which was far more convenient, I willingly accepted his offer. By this means I had a much more numerous audience; most of whom behaved well.
At seven I preached at Mr. Whyte’s, in Ballantyne; a little village four miles from Cockermouth. Many assembled here who had hardly seen or heard a Methodist before. I believe some of them did not hear in vain.
After this, I saw Mr. Whyte no more. God soon called him into a better world. Friday, 15. In the evening I preached in the Town-Hall, at Carlisle; and on Saturday, 16, reached Newcastle. Sun. 17. — In the morning I preached at the Ballast-Hills; in the afternoon, at Gateshead; and at five, at the Garth-Heads. Today I heard a remark at All-Saints’ church, which I never read or heard before, in confirmation of that assertion of Abraham, “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets:” — “The thing has been tried. One did rise from the dead, in the sight of a multitude of people. The namesake of this Lazarus rose from the dead. The very Pharisees could not deny it. Yet who of them that believed not Moses and the Prophets was thereby persuaded to repent?” Wed. 20. — I went over to Sunderland; and preached evening and morning to a lovely congregation. Thursday, 21. I read Prayers and preached in Monkwearmouth church; and Friday, 22, returned to Newcastle. Sat. 23. — I went over to Hexham, and preached in the market-place to a numerous congregation, on, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” None were rude or uncivil in any respect; and very few were inattentive. Sunday, 24. I preached in the morning, at Gateshead-Fell; about noon, at a village called Greenside, ten miles west of Newcastle, to the largest congregation I have seen in the north; many of whom were Roman Catholics. In the evening I preached once more at the Garth-Heads, (some thought to the largest congregation that had ever been there,) on those words in the Service, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”
After preaching at many places in the way, on Wednesday , 27, I preached at York. Many of our friends met me here, to that in the evening the House would ill contain the congregation. And I know not when I have found such a spirit among them; they seemed to be all hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Thur. 28. — I preached at eleven in the main street at Selby, to a large and quiet congregation; and in the evening at Thorne. This day I entered my seventy-ninth year; and, by the grace of God, I feel no more of the infirmities of old age, than I did at twenty-nine. Friday , 29. I preached at Crowle and at Epworth. I have now preached thrice a day for seven days following; but it is just the same as if it had been but once. Sat. 30. — I went over to Owstone, and found the whole town was moved. One of the chief men of the town had been just buried, and his wife a few days before. In a course of nature they might have lived many years, being only middle-aged. He had known the love of God, but had choked the good seed by hastening to be rich. But Providence disappointed all his schemes; and it was thought he died of a broken heart.
I took that opportunity of enforcing, “Whatsoever the hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Sun . July 1. — I preached, as usual, at Misterton, at Overthorpe, and at Epworth. Monday, 2. I preached at Scotter about eight; at Brigg, at noon; and in the evening, in the old church-yard, at Grimsby, to almost all the people of the town, on, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” The late proof of it is in the glorious death of Robert Wilkinson; and the behavior of his widow, So firm, yet soft, so strong, yet so resigned, I believe, will hardly be forgotten by any that were witnesses of it. Tues. 3. — I preached at Claythorp, three miles from Grimsby. Here, likewise, there has been an outpouring of the Spirit. I was reminded here of what I saw at Cardiff, almost forty years ago. I could not go into any of the little houses, but presently it was filled with people; and I was constrained to pray with them in every house, or they would not be satisfied. Several of these are clearly renewed in love, and give a plain, scriptural account of their experience; and there is scarce a house in the village, wherein there is not one or more earnestly athirst for salvation. Wed. 4. — I called upon an honest man, and, I hope, took him out of the hands of an egregious quack; who was pouring in medicines upon him, for what he called “wind in the nerves!” In the evening I preached at Louth, now as quiet as Grimsby. When shall we learn “to despair of none?” Thur. 5. — I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Brackenbury again, though still exceeding weak. His chapel was thoroughly filled in the evening; I trust, with sincere hearers. Fri. 6. — I crossed over to Langham-Row; where the high wind would not suffer me to preach abroad. But the House tolerably contained the congregation; most of whom attended again at five in the morning.
Today I finished the second volume of Dr. Robertson’s “History of America.” His language is always clear and strong, and frequently elegant; and I suppose his history is preferable to any history of America which has appeared in the English tongue. But I cannot admire, First, His intolerable prolixity in this history, as well as his “History of Charles the Fifth.” He promises eight books of the History of America, and fills four of them with critical dissertations. True, the dissertations are sensible, but they have lost their way; they are not history: And they are swelled beyond proportion; doubtless, for the benefit of the author and the bookseller, rather than the reader. I cannot admire, Secondly, A Christian Divine writing a history, with so very little of Christianity in it. Nay, he seems studiously to avoid saying any thing which might imply that he believes the Bible. I can still less admire, Thirdly, His speaking so honorably of a professed Infidel; yea, and referring to his masterpiece of Infidelity, “Sketches of the History of Man;” as artful, as unfair, as disingenuous a book, as even Toland’s “Nazarenus.” Least of all can I admire, Fourthly, His copying after Dr. Hawkesworth, (who once professed better things,) in totally excluding the Creator from governing the world. Was it not enough, never to mention the Providence of God, where there was the fairest occasion, without saying expressly, “The fortune of Certiz,” or “chance,” did thus or thus? So far as fortune or chance governs the world, God has no place in it.
The poor American, though not pretending to be a Christian knew better than this. When the Indian was asked, “Why do you think the beloved ones take care of you?” he answered, “When I was in the battle, the bullet went on this side, and on that side; and this man died, and that man died; and I am alive! So I know, the beloved ones take care of me.”
It is true, the doctrine of a particular Providence (and any but a particular Providence is no Providence at all) is absolutely out of fashion in England:
And a prudent author might write this to gain the favor of his gentle readers. Yet I will not say, this is real prudence; because he may lose hereby more than he gains; as the majority, even of Britons, to this day, retain some sort of respect for the Bible.
If it was worth while to mention a little thing, after things of so much greater importance, I would add, I was surprised that so sensible a writer, in enumerating so many reasons, why it is so much colder in the southern hemisphere than it is in the northern; why it is colder, for instance, at forty degrees south, than at fifty north latitude; should forget the main, the primary reason, namely, the greater distance of the sun! For is it not well known, that the sun (to speak with the vulgar) is longer on the north side the line than the south? that he is longer in the six northern signs than the southern, so that there is a difference (says Gravesande) of nine days?
Now, if the northern hemisphere be obverted to the sun longer than the southern, does not this necessarily imply that the northern hemisphere will be warmer than the southern? And is not this the primary reason of its being so? Sat. 7. — I designed to go from hence to Boston; but a message from Mr. Pugh, desiring me to preach in his church on Sunday, made me alter my design. So, procuring a guide, I set out for Rauceby. We rode through Tattershall, where there are large remains of a stately castle; and there was in the chancel of the old church, the finest painted glass (so it was esteemed) in England; but the prudent owner, considering it brought him in nothing by staying there, lately sold it for a round sum of money.
Here I met with such a ferry as I never saw before. The boat was managed by an honest countryman who knew just nothing of the matter, and a young woman equally skillful. However, though the river was fifty yards broad, we got over it in an hour and a half. We then went on through the fens in a marvellous road, sometimes tracked, and sometimes not, till about six we came to Rauceby, and found the people gathered from all parts. I preached on those words in the Second Lesson, “There is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: But Christ is all and in all.” Sun. 8. — The congregation was still larger. Hence I rode over to Welby, and preached in Mr. Dodwell’s church in the afternoon and in the evening, to a numerous and serious congregation. Monday, 9. I preached at Grantham in the open air; (for no house would contain the congregation,) and none made the least disturbance, any more than at Newark, (where I preached in the evening,) or in the Castle-yard at Lincoln, on Tuesday, 10. Wednesday, 11. I preached at Newton-upon-Trent, and Gainsborough.
After visiting many other societies, I crossed over into the West-Riding of Yorkshire. Monday, 23. I preached at Yeadon, to a large congregation. I had heard, the people there were remarkably dead: If so, they were now remarkably quickened; for I know not when I have seen a whole congregation so moved. Tuesday, 24. We had fifty or sixty children at five; and as many or more in the evening; and more affectionate ones I never saw. For the present at least God has touched their hearts. On Wednesday and Thursday I preached at Bradford and Halifax; on Friday, at Greetland chapel, and Haddersfield. After preaching I retired to Longwood-House, one of the pleasantest spots in the county. Saturday, 28. I preached at Longwood-House, at Mirfield, and at Daw-Green. Sunday, 29. I preached at eight before the House. I expected to preach at one, as usual, under the hill at Birstal; but after the Church Service was ended, the Clerk exclaimed with a loud voice, “The Rev. Mr. Wesley is to preach here in the afternoon.” So I desired Mr. Pawson to preach at one. The church began at half-hour past two; and I spoke exceeding plain to such a congregation as I never met there before. In the evening I preached at Bradford to thousands upon thousands, on, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Mon. 30. — I crossed over to Tadcaster at noon; and in the evening to York. Hence I took a little circuit through Malton, Scarborough, Beverley, Hull, and Pocklington, and came to York again. Sun . August 5. — At the old church in Leeds we had eighteen Clergymen, and about eleven hundred communicants. I preached there at three: The church was thoroughly filled; and I believe most could hear, while I explained the “new covenant,” which God has now made with the Israel of God. Mon. 6. — I desired Mr. Fletcher, Dr. Coke, and four more of our brethren, to meet every evening, that we might consult together on any difficulty that occurred. On Tuesday our Conference began, at which were present about seventy Preachers whom I had severally invited to come and assist me with their advice, in carrying on the great work of God. Wednesday , 8. I desired Mr. Fletcher to preach. I do not wonder he should be so popular; not only because he preaches with all his might, but because the power of God attends both his preaching and prayer. On Monday and Tuesday we finished the remaining business of the Conference, and ended it with solemn prayer and thanksgiving. Wed. 15. — I went to Sheffield. In the afternoon I took a view of the chapel lately built by the Duke of Norfolk: One may safely say, there is none like it in the three kingdoms; nor, I suppose, in the world. It is a stone building, an octagon, about eighty feet diameter. A cupola, which is at a great height, gives some, but not much, light. A little more is given by four small windows, which are under the galleries. The pulpit is movable:
After preaching in the evening to a crowded audience, and exhorting the society to brotherly love, I took chaise with Dr. Coke; and, travelling day and night, the next evening came to London. We observed Friday , 17, as a fast-day, and concluded it with a solemn watch-night. Having finished my business in town for the present, on Sunday , 19, at eight in the evening, I took coach with my new fellow-traveler, George Whitfield; and on Monday evening preached at Bath. Tuesday , 21. I went on to Bristol; and after resting a day, on Thursday , 23, set out for Cornwall.
Finding, after breakfast, that I was within a mile of my old friend, G. Só, I walked over, and spent an hour with him. He is all-original still, like no man in the world, either in sentiments or any thing about him. But perhaps if I had his immense fortune, I might be as great an oddity as he.
About six in the evening I preached at Taunton, to a numerous congregation. I found the letters concerning Popery had much abated prejudice here. Friday, 24. I preached at Collumpton about noon, and at Exeter in the evening. Saturday, 25. I preached in the Square at Plymouth-Dock, to a quieter congregation than usual. Sunday, 26.
Between one and two, I began in the new House in Plymouth. The large congregation was all attention; and there seemed reason to hope that even here we shall find some fruit of our labor. In the evening I preached again in the Square, on the story of the Pharisee and Publican, to such a congregation, for number and seriousness together, as I never saw there before. Mon. 27. — I was desired to preach at Trenuth at noon, a little way (they said) out of the road. The little way proved six or seven miles, through a road ready to break our wheels in pieces. However, I just reached St. Austle time enough to preach; and God greatly comforted the hearts of his people. Tues. 28. — Between nine and ten we had such a storm of rain, as I do not remember to have seen in Europe before. It seemed ready to beat in the windows of the chaise, and in three minutes drenched our horsemen from head to foot. We reached Truro, however, at the appointed time. I have not for many years seen a congregation so universally affected. One would have imagined, every one that was present had a desire to save his soul.
In the evening I preached in the High-street at Helstone. I scarce know a town in the whole county which is so totally changed; not a spark of that bitter enmity to the Methodists, in which the people here for many years gloried above their follows.
Going through Marazion, I was told that a large congregation was waiting:
In the evening I preached in the market-place at Penzance. I designed afterwards to meet the society; but the people were so eager to hear all they could, that they quickly filled the House from end to end. This is another of the towns wherein the whole stream of the people is turned, as it were, from east to west.
We had a happy season, both at St. Just on Thursday evening, and in the market-place at St. Ives on Friday. Saturday, SEPTEMBER 1. I made an end of that curious book, Dr. Parson’s “Remains of Japhet.” The very ingenious author has struck much light into some of the darkest parts of ancient history; and although I cannot entirely subscribe to every proposition which he advances, yet I apprehend he has sufficiently proved the main of his hypothesis; namely, — 1. That, after the flood, Shem and his descendants peopled the greatest parts of Asia. 2. That Ham and his children peopled Africa. 3. That Europe was peopled by the two sons of Japhet, Gomer and Magog; the southern and southwestern by Gomer and his children; and the north and the northwestern by the children of Magog. 4. That the former were called Gomerians, Cimmerians, Cimbrians, and afterwards Celtiae, Galatae, and Gauls; the latter were called by the general name of Scythians, Scuiti, Scots. 5. That the Gomerians spread swiftly through the north of Europe, as far as the Cimbrian Chersonesus, (including Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and divers other countries,) and then into Ireland, where they multiplied very early into a considerable nation. 6 . That some ages after, another part of them who had first settled in Spain, sailed to Ireland, under Milea, or Milesius; and, conquering the first inhabitants, took possession of the land. 7. That about the same time the Gomerians came to Ireland, the Magogians, or Scythians, came to Britain; so early that both still spoke the same language, and well understood each other. 8. That the Irish, spoke by the Gomerians, and the Welsh, spoke by the Magogians, are one and the same language, expressed by the same seventeen letters, which were long after brought by a Gomerian Prince into Greece. 9. That all the languages of Europe, Greek and Latin in particular, are derived from this. 10. That the antediluvian language, spoken by all till after the flood, and then continued in the family of Shem, was Hebrew; and from this (the Hebrew) tongue many of the Eastern languages are derived.
The foregoing particulars this fine writer has made highly probable. And these may be admitted, though we do not agree to his vehement panegyric on the Irish language; much less, receive all the stories told by the Irish Poets, or Chroniclers, as genuine, authentic history.
At eleven I preached in Camborn Church-town; and I believe the hearts of all the people were bowed down before the Lord. After the Quarterly Meeting in Redruth, I preached in the market-place, on the first principle, “Ye are saved through faith.” It is also the last point; and it connects the first point of religion with the last. Sun. 2. — About five in the evening I preached at Gwennap. I believe two or three and twenty thousand were present; and I believe God enabled me so to speak, that even those who stood farthest off could hear distinctly. I think this is my ne plus ultra. I shall scarce see a larger congregation, till we meet in the air.
After preaching at Bodmin, Launceston, Tiverton, and Halberton, on Wednesday, 5, about noon, I preached at Taunton. I believe it my duty to relate here what some will esteem a most notable instance of enthusiasm.
Be it so or not, I aver the plain fact. In an hour after we left Taunton, one of the chaise-horses was on a sudden so lame, that he could hardly set his foot to the ground. It being impossible to procure any human help, I knew of no remedy but prayer. Immediately the lameness was gone, and he went just as he did before. In the evening I preached at South-Brent; and the next day went on to Bristol. Fri. 7. — I went over to Kingswood, and made a particular inquiry into the management of the school. I found some of, the Rules had not been observed at all; particularly that of rising in the morning. Surely Satan has a peculiar spite at this school! What trouble has it cost me for above these thirty years! I can plan; but who will execute? I know not; God help me! Sun. 9. — In the calm, sunshiny evening I preached near King’s Square. I know nothing more solemn than such a congregation, praising God with one heart and one voice. Surely they who talk of the indecency of field-preaching never saw such a sight as this. Mon. 10. — I preached at Paulton and Shepton-Mallet to a lively, increasing people in each place. Tuesday, 11. I found the same cause of rejoicing at Coleford; and the next evening at Frome. Thursday, 13. I preached at Roade and at Bradford. Friday, 14. After an interval of thirty years, I preached again in Trowbridge. About two I preached near the church in Freshford; and then spent a day or two at Bath.
On Monday, 17, I preached at Chew-Magna and Stoke; on Tuesday, at Clutton and Pensford. But Pensford is now a dull, dreary place, the flower of the congregation being gone. Thur. 20. — I went over to Mangots-Field, a place famous for all manner of wickedness, and the only one in the neighborhood of Kingswood which we had totally neglected. But, on a sudden, light is sprung up even in this thick darkness. Many inquire what they must do to be saved. Many of these have broke off outward sin, and are earnestly calling for all inward Savior. I preached in the main street, to almost all the inhabitants of the town, on, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Fri. 21. — I preached at Thornbury, where I had not been before for near forty years. It seems as if good might at length be done here also; as an entire new generation is now come up, in the room of the dry, stupid stocks that were there before.
On Monday, 24, and the following days, I met the classes at Bristol, and was not a little surprised to find that the society is still decreasing.
Certainly we have all need to stir up the gift of God that is in us, and with all possible care to “strengthen the things that remain.” Thur. 27. — I preached at Bath and Bradford; and on Friday, at Trowbridge. How long did we toil here and take nothing! At length, it seems, the answer of many prayers is come. Friday, 28. About noon I preached at Keynsham; and not without hopes of doing good even here.
Since Miss Owen has removed from Publow, Miss Bishop has set up a school here; and it is worthy to be called a Christian school. It is what the school at Publow was! Sat. 29. — I spent an hour with Mr. Henderson at Hannam, and particularly inquired into his whole method; and I am persuaded there is not such another house for lunatics in the three kingdoms. He has a peculiar art of governing his patients; not by fear, but by love. The consequence is, many of them speedily recover, and love him ever after. Thur . October 4. — I was importuned to preach the condemned sermon at Bristol. I did so, though with little hope of doing good; the criminals being eminently impenitent. Yet they were, for the present, melted into tears; and they were not out of God’s reach. Sun. 7. — I took my leave of the congregation in the new Square, in a calm, delightful evening. Monday, 8. I preached at the Devizes about eleven; at Sarum in the evening. Tues. 9. — I preached at Winchester, where I went with great expectation to see that celebrated painting in the cathedral, the raising of Lazarus. But I was disappointed. I observed, 1. There was such a huddle of figures, that, had I not been told, I should not ever have guessed what they meant. 2. The colors in general were far too glaring, such as neither Christ nor his followers ever wore. When will painters have common sense? Wed. 10. — I opened the new preaching-house just finished at Newport in the Isle of Wight. After preaching, I explained the nature of a Methodist society; of which few had before the least conception. Friday, 12. I came to London, and was informed that my wife died on Monday. This evening she was buried, though I was not informed of it till a day or two after. Mon. 15. — I set out for Oxfordshire, and spent five days with much satisfaction among the societies. I found no offenses among them at all, but they appeared to walk in love. On Friday, 19, I returned to London. Sun. 21. — About ten at night we set out for Norwich, and came thither about noon on Monday. Finding the people loving and peaceable, I spent a day or two with much satisfaction; and on Wednesday, went on to Yarmouth. There is a prospect of good here also, the two grand hinderers having taken themselves away. At Lowestoft I found much life and much love. On Friday I preached at London, and on Saturday returned to Norwich. Sun. 28. — I preached at Bear-Street to a large congregation, most of whom had never seen my face before. At half an hour after two, and at five, I preached to our usual congregation; and the next morning commended them to the grace of God. Mon. 29. — I went to Fakenham, and in the evening preached in the Room, built by Miss Franklin, now Mrs. Parker. I believe most of the town were present. Tuesday, 30. I went to Wells, a considerable sea-port, twelve miles from Fakenham, where also Miss Franklin had opened a door, by preaching abroad, though at the peril of her life. She was followed by a young woman of the town, with whom I talked largely, and found her very sensible, and much devoted to God. From her I learnt that till the Methodists came, they had none but female Teachers in this country; and that there were six of these within ten or twelve miles, all of whom were members of the Church of England. I preached about ten in a small, neat preaching-house; and all but two or three were very attentive. Here are a few who appear to be in great earnest. And if so, they will surely increase.
At two in the afternoon I preached at Walsingham, a place famous for many generations. Afterwards I walked over what is left of the famous Abbey, the east end of which is still standing. We then went to the Friary; the cloisters and chapel whereof are almost entire. Had there been a grain of virtue or public spirit in Henry the Eighth, these noble buildings need not have run to ruin. Wed. 31. — I went to Lynn, and preached in the evening to a very genteel congregation. I spoke more strongly than I am accustomed to do, and hope they were not all sermon-proof. Friday, NOVEMBER 2. I returned to London. Mon. 5. — I began visiting the classes, and found a considerable increase in the society. This I impute chiefly to a small company of young persons, who have kept a prayer-meeting at five every morning. In the following week I visited most of the country societies, and found them increasing rather than decreasing. Sunday, 18. I preached at St. John’s, Wapping; and God was present both to wound and heal. Monday, 19. Travelling all night, I breakfasted at Towcester, and preached there in the evening and the following morning. Tuesday, 20. We had a pleasant walk to Whittlebury.
This is still the loveliest congregation, as well as the liveliest society, in the Circuit. Thursday, 22. We had a large congregation at Northampton. On Friday I returned to London. Mon. 26. — I took a little tour through Sussex; and Wednesday, 28, I preached at Tunbridge-Wells, in the large Presbyterian meeting-house, to a well-dressed audience, and yet deeply serious. On Thursday I preached at Sevenoaks. Friday, 30. I went on to Shoreham, to see the venerable old man. He is in his eighty-ninth year, and has nearly lost his sight: But he has not lost his understanding, nor even his memory; and is full of faith and love. On Saturday I returned to London. Sunday , December 2. — I preached at St. Swithin’s church in the evening. About eight I took coach, and reached St. Neot’s in the morning. I preached in the evening to a larger congregation than I ever saw there before. Tuesday, 4. About nine I preached for the first time at Bugden, and in the evening at Huntingdon. Wednesday, 5. I was at Bedford. On Thursday, 6, our House at Luton was thoroughly filled; and I believe the people felt as well as heard, those words, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” On Saturday I was in London. Mon. 10. — I went to Canterbury, and preached in the evening on, “Casting all your care upon Him.” It was a word in season. Tuesday, 11.
Finding abundance of people troubled, as though England were on the brink of destruction, I applied those comfortable words, “I will not destroy the city for ten’s sake.” Wednesday, 12. I preached at Chatham, and the next day returned to London. Friday , 21, we observed all over England as a day of fasting and prayer:
And surely God will be entreated for a sinful nation! Friday, 28. By reading in Thurloe’s Memoirs the original papers of the treaty at Uxbridge, agnovi fatum Carthaginis! I saw it was then flatly impossible for the King to escape destruction. For the Parliament were resolved to accept no terms, unless he would, 1. Give up all his friends to beggary or death; and, 2. Require all the three kingdoms to swear to the Solemn League and Covenant. He had no other choice. Who then can blame him for breaking off that treaty? Tuesday , January 1, 1782 . — I began the service at four in West-Street chapel, and again at ten. In the evening many of us at the new chapel rejoiced in God our Savior. Sun. 6. — A larger company than ever before met together to renew their covenant with God; and the dread of God, in all eminent degree, fell upon the whole congregation. Mon. 14. — Being informed, that, through the ill conduct of the Preachers, things were in much disorder at Colchester, I went down, hoping to “strengthen the things which remained, that were ready to die.” I found that part of the Class-Leaders were dead, and the rest had left the society; the Bands were totally dissolved; morning preaching was given up; and hardly any, except on Sunday, attended the evening preaching. This evening, however, we had a very large congregation, to whom I proclaimed “the terrors of the Lord.” I then told them, I would immediately restore the morning preaching: And the next morning I suppose an hundred attended. In the day-time I visited as many as I possibly could, in all quarters of the town. I then inquired, who were proper and willing to meet in Band; and who were fittest for Leaders either of bands or classes. The congregation this evening was larger than the last; and many again put their hands to the plough. O may the Lord confirm the fresh desires he has given, that they may no more look back! Fri . March 1. — We had a very solemn and comfortable watch-night at West-Street. Sunday, 3. I took coach, and the next evening had a watch-night at Bath. Tuesday and Wednesday. After meeting the classes, I visited as many as I could, chiefly of the sick and poor. Thursday, 7. I preached about eleven at Keynsham, and in the evening at Bristol. Friday, 8, and most of the following days, I visited Mr. C——n, just hovering between life and death. What a blessing may this illness be! On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I visited the classes, and found a little increase. Friday, 15. I opened the new House at Freatford. In the afternoon I called at Mr. Henderson’s, at Hannam, and spent some time with poor, disconsolate Louisa. Such a sight, in the space of fourteen years, I never saw before! Pale and wan, worn with sorrow, beaten with wind and rain, having been so long exposed to all weathers, with her hair rough and frizzled, and only a blanket wrapped round her, native beauty gleamed through all. Her features were small and finely turned; her eyes had a peculiar sweetness; her arms and fingers were delicately shaped, and her voice soft and agreeable. But her understanding was in ruins. She appeared partly insane, partly silly and childish. She would answer no question concerning herself, only that her name was Louisa. She seemed to take no notice of any person or thing, and seldom spoke above a word or two at a time. Mr. Henderson has restored her health, and she loves him much. She is in a small room by herself, and wants nothing that is proper for her.
Some time since a gentleman called, who said he came two hundred miles on purpose to inquire after her. When he saw her face, he trembled exceedingly; but all he said was, “She was born in Germany, and is not now four-and twenty years old “ In the evening I preached at Kingswood School, and afterwards met the Bands. The colliers spoke without any reserve. I was greatly surprised:
Not only the matter of what they spoke was rational and scriptural, but the language, yea, and the manner, were exactly proper. Who teacheth like Him? Mon. 18. — I left our friends at Bristol with satisfaction; having been much refreshed among them. In the evening and the next day, I preached at Stroud; Wednesday, 20, at Gloucester, Tewkesbury, and Worcester. Fri. 22. — About two in the morning we had such a storm as I never remember. Before it began, our chamber-door clattered to and fro exceedingly: So it sounded to us; although, in fact, it did not move at all. I then distinctly heard the door open, and, having a light, rose and went to it; but it was fast shut. Meantime the window was wide open: I shut it, and went to sleep again. So deep a snow fell in the night, that we were afraid the roads would be impassable. However, we set out in the afternoon, and made shift to get to Kidderminster. We had a large congregation in the evening, though it was intensely cold; and another at seven in the morning, Saturday, 23; and all of them were deeply serious. It was with a good deal of difficulty we got to Bridgenorth, much of the road being blocked up with snow. In the afternoon we had another kind of difficulty: The roads were so rough and so deep, that we were in danger, every now and then, of leaving our wheels behind us. But, by adding two horses to my own, at length we got safe to Madeley.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher complained, that, after all the pains they had taken, they could not prevail on the people to join in society, no nor even to meet in a class. Resolving to try, I preached to a crowded audience, on, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” I followed the blow in the afternoon, by strongly applying those words, “Awake, thou that sleepest;” and then enforcing the necessity of Christian fellowship on all who desired either to awake or keep awake. I then desired those that were willing to join together for this purpose, to call upon Mr. Fletcher and me after Service. Ninety-four or ninety-five persons did so; about as many men as women. We explained to them the nature of a Christian society, and they willingly joined therein. Mon. 25. — I spent an agreeable hour at the Boarding-School in Sheriff-Hales. I believe the Misses Yeomans are well qualified for their office. Several of the children are under strong drawings. We then went on to Newcastle-under-Lyne. (This is the name of a little river which runs near the town.) Tuesday, 26. I found many at Burslem, too, under sad apprehensions of the public danger: So I applied to these also those comfortable words, “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” Thur. 28. — Coming to Congleton, I found the Calvinists were just breaking in, and striving to make havoc of the flock. Is this brotherly love?
Is this doing as we would be done to? No more than robbing on the highway. But if it is decreed, they cannot help it: So we cannot blame them.
March 29. — (Being Good-Friday.) I came to Macclesfield just time enough to assist Mr. Simpson in the laborious service of the day. I preached for him morning and afternoon; and we administered the sacrament to about thirteen hundred persons. While we were administering, I heard a low, soft, solemn sound, just like that of an Aeolian harp. It continued five or six minutes, and so affected many, that they could not refrain from tears. It then gradually died away. Strange that no other organist (that I know) should think of this. In the evening, I preached at our Room. Here was that harmony which art cannot imitate. Sat. 30. — As our friends at Leek, thirteen miles from Macclesfield, would take no denial, I went over, and preached about noon to a lovely congregation. God bore witness to his word in an uncommon manner, so that I could not think much of my labor.
March 31. — (Being Easter-Day.) I preached in the church, morning and evening, where we had about eight hundred communicants. In the evening, we had a love-feast; and such an one as I had not seen for many years.
Sixteen or eighteen persons gave a clear, scriptural testimony of being renewed in love. And many others told what God had done for their souls, with inimitable simplicity. Mon . April 1. — We set out in the morning for Chapel-en–le-Firth. But such a journey I have seldom had, unless in the middle of January. Wind, snow, and rain we had in abundance, and roads almost impassable.
However, at last we got to the town, and had a good walk from thence to the chapel, through the driving snow, about half a mile. But I soon forgot my labor, finding a large congregation that were all athirst for God. Tues. 2. — About ten I preached at New-Mills, to as simple a people as those at Chapel. Perceiving they had suffered much by not having the doctrine of Perfection clearly explained, and strongly pressed upon them, I preached expressly on the head; and spoke to the same effect in meeting the society. The spirits of many greatly revived; and they are now “going on unto perfection.” I found it needful to press the same thing at Stockport in the evening. Thursday, 4. I preached at noon in the new preaching-house at Ashton, to as many as the House would hold. The inscription over the door is, “Can any good come out of Nazareth? Come and see.” In the evening I preached at Manchester. Fri. 5. — About one I preached at Oldham; and was surprised to see all the street lined with little children; and such children as I never saw till now. Before preaching they only ran round me and before me; but after it, a whole troop, boys and girls, closed me in, and would not be content till I shook each of them by the hand. Being then asked to visit a dying woman, I no sooner entered the room, than both she and her companions were in such an emotion as I have seldom seen. Some laughed; some cried; all were so transported, that they could hardly speak. O how much better is it to go to the poor, than to the rich; and to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting!
About this time I had a remarkable letter. Part of it was as follows: — “THE work of God prospers among us here: I never saw anything equal to it. The last time I was at St. Just, the Leaders gave me an account of seventy persons who had found either pardon or perfect love, within the last fortnight: And the night and morning I was there, twenty more were delivered. One-and-twenty, likewise, were then added to the society; most of whom have found peace with God. “Christopher Watkins.”
Sat. 13. — I preached at St. Helen’s, a small, but populous town, ten or twelve miles from Liverpool, in Joseph Harris’s house; who is removed hither from Kingswood, to take care of the copper-works. Surely God has brought him hither for good. The people seem to be quite ripe for the Gospel.
I was waked at half-past two this morning, as was Mr. Broadbent also, by a very loud noise, like a vast crack of thunder, accompanied with a flash of bright light. It made the whole room shake, and all the tables and chairs therein jar. But (what is strange) none in the house, or in the town, heard it, beside us. Mon. 15. — I saw an uncommon sight, — the preaching-house at Wigan filled, yea, crowded! Perhaps God will cause fruit to spring up even in this desolate place.
I had now leisure to transcribe a letter, wrote last May, from Amherst, in Nova-Scotia, by a young man whose father, some years since, went thither with his whole family: — “IN the year 1779. I saw, if I would go to heaven, I must lead a new life. But I did not know I wanted an inward change, or see the deplorable state I was in by nature, till I was at a prayer-meeting, holden at Mr. Oxley’s. While they were praying, my heart began to throb within me, my eyes gushed out with tears, and I cried aloud for mercy; as did most that were in the room, about fourteen in number. One, indeed, could not hold from laughing, when we began to cry out; but it was not long before he cried as loud as any.
In a few moments, it pleased God to fill Mrs. Oxley with joy unspeakable. After this, we went, almost every night, to Mr. Oxley’s, to sing and pray. Going thence one night, and seeing the Northern Lights, I thought, ‘What, if the Day of Judgment be coming?’ I threw myself down on the ground, and cried to the Lord for mercy. On Sunday, Mr. Wells, an old Methodist, came to Amherst, and gave us an exhortation; in which he said, ‘Sin and repent, sin and repent, till you repent in the bottomless pit.’ The words went like a dagger to my heart; and I continued mourning after God for five weeks and four days, till our monthly meeting. I was then strongly tempted to put an end to my life; but God enabled me to resist the temptation. Two days after, an old Methodist, after praying with me, said, ‘I think you will get the blessing before morning.’ About two hours after, while we were singing a hymn, it pleased God to reveal his Son in my heart. Since that time, I have had many blessed days, and many happy nights. “One Sunday night, after my brother Dicky and I were gone to bed, I asked him, ‘Can you believe?’ He answered, ‘No.’ I exhorted him to wrestle hard with God, and got up to pray with him. But he was unbelieving still: So I went to sleep again. Yet, not being satisfied, after talking largely to him, I got up again, and began praying for him; being fully persuaded that God would set his soul at liberty. And so he did: He pardoned all his sins, and bade him ‘go in peace.’ “It being now between twelve and one, I waked my brothers, John and Thomas, and told them the glad tidings. They got up. We went to prayer; and when we rose from our knees, Tommy declared, ‘God has blotted out all my sins.’ I then went to my father and mother, (who were both seeking salvation,) and told them the joyful news. My father said, ‘Willy, pray for us.’ I did; and earnestly exhorted him to wrestle with God for himself. So he did; and it was not long before God set his soul also at liberty. The next morning, it pleased Him to show my sister Sally his pardoning love. Blessed be his name for all his benefits! “Not long after, Mr. Oxley’s son came to our house, and lay with me, and complained of his hardness of heart. After I had talked with him a little while, the Lord laid his hand upon him in a wonderful manner, so that he rolled up and down, and roared as in the agonies of death. But between one and two in the morning, he likeness could rejoice in God his Savior. These are a few of the wonderful works of God among us: But he is also working on the hearts of the inhabitants in general. “William Black, Jun.”
Mon. 22. — I preached, about eleven, in Todmorden church, thoroughly filled with attentive hearers; in the afternoon, in Heptonstall church; and at the Ewood in the evening. Wednesday, 24. The flood, caused by the violent rains, shut me up at Longwood-House. But on Thursday the rain turned to snow: So on Friday I got to Halifax; where Mr. Floyd lay in a high fever, almost dead for want of sleep. This was prevented by the violent pain in one of his feet, which was much swelled, and so sore, it could not be touched. We joined in prayer that God would fulfill his word, and give his beloved sleep. Presently the swelling, the soreness, the pain, were gone; and he had a good night’s rest. Sat. 27. — As we rode to Keighley, the northeast wind was scarce supportable; the frost being exceeding sharp, and all the mountains covered with snow. Sunday, 28. Bingley church was hot, but the heat was very supportable, both in the morning and afternoon. Monday, 29. I preached at Skipton-in-Craven, at Grassington, and at Pateley-Bridge. Tuesday, 30. I found Miss Ritchie, at Otley, still hovering between life and death. Thursday, MAY 2. I met the select society; all but two retaining the pure love of God, which some of them received near thirty years ago. On Saturday evening I preached to an earnest congregation at Yeadon. The same congregation was present in the morning, together with an army of little children; full as numerous, and almost as loving, as those that surrounded us at Oldham. Sun. 5. — One of my horses having been so thoroughly lamed at Otley, that he died in three or four days, I purchased another: But as it was his way to stand still when he pleased, I set out as soon as possible. When we had gone three miles, the chaise stuck fast. I walked for about a mile, and then borrowed a horse, which brought me to Birstal before the Prayers were ended. I preached on those words in the Gospel, “Do ye now believe?” which gave me an opportunity of speaking strong words, both to believers and unbelievers. In the evening I preached at Leeds, on St. James’s beautiful description of pure religion and undefiled: “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Thur. 9. — I preached at Wakefield in the evening. Such attention sat on every face, that it seemed as if every one in the congregation was on the brink of believing. Friday, 10. I preached at Sheffield; Saturday, 11, about noon, at Doncaster; and in the evening at Epworth. I found the accounts I had received of the work of God here, were not at all exaggerated. Here is a little country town, containing a little more than eight or nine hundred grown people; and there has been such a work among them, as we have not seen in so short a time either at Leeds, Bristol, or London. Sun. 12. — About eight I preached at Misterton; about one at Overthorpe. Many of the Epworth children were there, and their spirit spread to all around them. But the huge congregation was in the market-place at Epworth, and the Lord in the midst of them. The love-feast which followed exceeded all. I never knew such a one here before. As soon as one had done speaking, another began. Several of them were children; but they spoke with the wisdom of the aged, though with the fire of youth. So out of the mouth of babes and sucklings did God perfect praise. Mon. 13. — I preached at Thorne. Never did I see such a congregation here before. The flame of Epworth hath spread hither also: In seven weeks fifty persons have found peace with God. Tues. 14. — Some years ago four factories for spinning and weaving were set up at Epworth. In these a large number of young women, and boys and girls, were employed. The whole conversation of these was profane and loose to the last degree. But some of these stumbling in at the prayer-meeting were suddenly cut to the heart. These never rested till they had gained their companions. The whole scene was changed. In three of the factories, no more lewdness or profaneness were found; for God had put a new song in their mouth, and blasphemies were turned to praise. Those three I visited today, and found religion had taken deep root in them. No trifling word was heard among them, and they watch over each other in love. I found it exceeding good to be there, and we rejoiced together in the God of our salvation. Wed. 15. — I set out for the other side of Lincolnshire. Thursday, 16. I preached in the new house at Barrow. I was well pleased to meet with my old fellow-traveler, Charles Delamotte, here. He gave me an invitation to lodge at his house, which I willingly accepted of. He seemed to be just the same as when we lodged together, five-and-forty years ago. Only he complained of the infirmities of old age, which, through the mercy of God, I know nothing of.
Hence I went by Hull, Beverley, Bridlington; and then hastened to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I preached on Sunday, 26. Monday, 27. I set out for Scotland, and Wednesday, 29, reached Dunbar. The weather was exceeding rough and stormy. Yet we had a large and serious congregation. Thursday, 30. Finding the grounds were so flooded, that the common roads were not passable, we provided a guide to lead us a few miles round, by which means we came safe to Edinburgh. Fri. 31. — As I lodged with Lady Maxwell at Saughton-Hall, (a good old mansion-house, three miles from Edinburgh,) she desired me to give a short discourse to a few of her poor neighbors. I did so, at four in the afternoon, on the story of Dives and Lazarus. About seven I preached in our House at Edinburgh, and fully delivered my own soul. Saturday, JUNE l. I spent a little time with forty poor children, whom Lady Maxwell keeps at school.
They are swiftly brought forward in reading and writing, and learn the principles of religion. But I observe in them all the ambitiosa paupertas. f9 Be they ever so poor, they must have a scrap of finery. Many of them have not a shoe to their foot: But the girl in rags is not without her ruffles. Sun. 2. — Mr. Collins intended to have preached on the Castle-hill, at twelve o’clock: But the dull Minister kept us in the kirk till past one. At six the House was well filled: And I did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. I almost wonder at myself. I seldom speak anywhere so roughly as in Scotland. And yet most of the people hear and hear, and are just what they were before. Mon. 3. — I went on to Dundee. The congregation was large and attentive, as usual. But I found no increase, either of the society, or of the work of God. Tuesday, 4. The House at Arbroath was well filled with serious and attentive hearers. Only one or two pretty flutterers seemed inclined to laugh, if any would have encouraged them. Wednesday, 5. We set out early, but did not reach Aberdeen till between five and six in the evening.
The congregations were large both morning and evening, and many of them much alive to God. Friday, 7. We received a pleasing account of the work of God in the north. The flame begins to kindle even at poor, dull Keith:
But much more at a little town near Fraserburgh: And most of all at Newburgh, a small fishing town, fifteen miles from Aberdeen, where the society swiftly increases: And not only men and women, but a considerable number of children, are either rejoicing in God or panting after him. Sun. 8. — I walked with a friend to Mr. Lesley’s seat, less than a mile from the city. It is one of the pleasantest places of the kind I ever saw, either in Britain or Ireland. He has laid his gardens out on the side of a hill, which gives a fine prospect both of sea and land: And the variety is beyond what could be expected within so small a compass. But still Valeat possessor oportet, Si comportatis rebue bene cogitat uti.
Unless a man have peace within, he can enjoy none of the things that are round about him. Sun. 9. — We had a lovely congregation in the morning, many of whom were athirst for full salvation. In the evening God sent forth his voice, yea, and that a mighty voice. I think few of the congregation were unmoved:
And we never had a more solemn parting. Mon. 10. — We went to Arbroath; Tuesday, 11, to Dundee; and Wednesday, 12, to Edinburgh. We had such congregations both that evening and the next, as had not been only a week-day for many years:
Some fruit of our labors here we have had already. Perhaps this is a token that we shall have more. Fri. 14. — We travelled through a pleasant country to Kelso, where we were cordially received by Dr. Douglas. I spoke strong words in the evening, concerning judgment to come: And some seemed to awake out of sleep. But how shall they keep awake, unless they “that fear the Lord speak often one to another?” Sat. 15. — As I was coming down stairs, the carpet slipped from under my feet, which, I know not how, turned me round, and pitched me back, with my head foremost, for six or seven stairs. It was impossible to recover myself till I came to the bottom. My head rebounded once or twice, from the edge of the stone stairs. But it felt to me exactly as if I had fallen on a cushion or a pillow. Dr. Douglas ran out, sufficiently affrighted.
But he needed not. For I rose as well as ever; halving received no damage, but the loss of a little skin from one or two of my fingers. Doth not God give his angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways?
In the evening, and on Sunday, 16, I preached at Alnwick. Monday, 17. I preached at Rothbury in the Forest; formerly a nest of banditti; now as quiet a place as any in the county. About one I preached at Saugh-House, a lone house, twelve miles from Rothbury. Though it was sultry hot, the people flocked from all sides: And it was a season of refreshment to many.
In the evening I went to Hexham, and preached near the old Priory, to an immense multitude. Very many were present again in the morning, and seemed to drink in every word that was spoken. Tues. 18. — After preaching about one at Prudhoe, I went to Newcastle. Wednesday , 19, and the following days, I examined the society. I found them increased in grace, though not in number. I think four in five, at least, were alive to God. To quicken them more, I divided all the classes anew, according to their places of abode. Another thing I observed, the congregations were larger, morning and evening, than any I have seen these twenty years. Sun. 23. — I preached about eight at Gateshead-Fell; about noon at Burnup-Field; and at the Garth-Heads in the evening. My strength was as my day. I was no more tired at night, than when I rose in the morning.
Mon. 24. — I came to Darlington just in time; for a great stumbling-block had lately occurred. But my coming gave the people a newer thing to talk of. So I trust the new thing will soon be forgotten. Wed. 26. — I preached at Thirsk; Thursday, 27, at York. Friday, 28. I entered into my eightieth year; but, blessed be God, my time is not “labor and sorrow.” I find no more pain or bodily infirmities than at five-and-twenty. This I still impute, 1. To the power of God, fitting me for what he calls me to. 2. To my still travelling four or five thousand miles a year. 3. To my sleeping, night or day, whenever I want it. 4. To my rising at a set hour. And, 5. To my constant preaching, particularly in the morning. Saturday , 29. I went on to Leeds, and, after preaching, met the select society, consisting of about sixty members; most of whom can testify, that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” Mon . July 1. — Coming to Sheffield, just at the time of the Quarterly Meeting, I preached on Acts 9:31: “Then had the churches rest —, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” This is eminently fulfilled in all these parts; at Sheffield in particular. Tues. 2. — I found a serious, as well as a numerous, congregation at Nottingham. Thursday, 4. I preached at Derby. I trust the work of God will now prosper here also. All the jars of our brethren are at an end, and they strive together for the hope of the Gospel. Sat. 6. — I came to Birmingham, and preached once more in the old dreary preaching-house. Sun. 7. — I opened the new House at eight, and it contained the people well: But not in the evening; many were then constrained to go away. In the middle of the sermon, a huge noise was heard, caused by the breaking of a bench on which some people stood. None of them was hurt; yet it occasioned a general panic at first: But in a few minutes all was quiet. Wed. 10. — I read Prayers and preached in the church at Darlaston, and in the evening returned to Birmingham. Friday , 12. I walked through Mr. Bolton’s curious works. He has carried every thing which he takes in hand to a high degree of perfection, and employs in the house about five hundred men, women, and children. His gardens, running along the side of a hill, are delightful indeed; having a large piece of water at the bottom, in which are two well-wooded islands. If faith and love dwell here, then there may be happiness too. Otherwise all these beautiful things are as unsatisfactory as straws and feathers. Sat. 13. — I spent an hour in Hagley-Park; I suppose inferior to few, if any, in England. But we were straitened for time. To take a proper view of it, would require five or six hours. Afterwards I went to the Leasowes, a farm so called, four or five miles from Hagley. I never was so surprised. I have seen nothing in all England to be compared with it. It is beautiful and elegant all over. There is nothing grand, nothing costly; no temples, so called; no statues; (except two or three, which had better have been spared;) but such walks, such shades, such hills and dales, such lawns, such artless cascades, such waving woods, with water intermixed, as exceed all imagination! On the upper side, from the openings of a shady walk, is a most beautiful and extensive prospect. And all this is comprised in the compass of three miles! I doubt if it be exceeded by any thing in Europe.
The father of Mr. Shenstone was a gentleman-farmer, who bred him at the University, and left him a small estate. This he wholly laid out in improving the Leasowes, living in hopes of great preferment, grounded on the promises of many rich and great friends. But nothing was performed, till he died at forty-eight; probably of a broken heart! Sun. 14. — I heard a sermon in the old church, at Birmingham, which the Preacher uttered with great vehemence against these “harebrained, itinerant enthusiasts.” But he totally missed his mark; having not the least conception of the persons whom he undertook to describe. Mon. 15. — Leaving Birmingham early in the morning, I preached at nine in a large school-room at Coventry. About noon I preached to a multitude of people, in the brick-yard, at Bedworth. A few of them seemed to be much affected. In the evening I preached at Hinckley, one of the civilest towns I have seen. Wed. 17. — I went on to Leicester; Thursday, 18, to Northampton; and Friday, 19, to Hinxworth, in Hertfordshire. Adjoining to Miss Harvey’s house is a pleasant garden; and she has made a shady walk round the neighboring meadows. How gladly could I repose awhile here! But repose is not for me in this world. In the evening many of the villagers flocked together, so that her great hall was well filled. I would fain hope, some of them received the seed in good ground, and will bring forth fruit with patience. Sat. 20. — We reached London. All the following week the congregations were uncommonly large. Wednesday, 24. My brother and I paid our last visit to Lewisham, and spent a few pensive hours with the relict of our good friend, Mr. Blackwell. We took one more walk round the garden and meadow, which he took so much pains to improve. Upwards of forty years this has been my place of retirement, when I could spare two or three days from London. In that time, first Mrs. Sparrow went to rest; then Mrs. Dewall; then good Mrs. Blackwell; now Mr. Blackwell himself.
Who can tell how soon we may follow them? Mon. 29. — I preached at West-Street, on the ministry of angels; and many were greatly refreshed in considering the office of those spirits that continually attend on the heirs of salvation. Friday , August 2, we observed as a day of fasting and prayer for a blessing on the ensuing Conference; and I believe God clothed his word with power in an uncommon manner throughout the week; so that, were it only on this account the Preachers, who came from all parts, found their labor was not in vain. Tues. 13. — Being obliged to leave London a little sooner than I intended, I concluded the Conference today; and desired all our brethren to observe it as a day of solemn thanksgiving. At three in the afternoon I took coach.
About one on Wednesday morning we were informed that three highwaymen were on the road before us, and had robbed all the coaches that had passed, some of them within an hour or two. I felt no uneasiness on the account, knowing that God would take care of us. And he did so; for, before we came to the spot, all the highwaymen were taken; so we went on unmolested, and early in the afternoon came safe to Bristol. Thur. 15. — I set out for the west; preached at Taunton in the evening; Friday noon, at Collumpton; and in the evening, at Exeter. Here poor Hugh Saunderson has pitched his standard, and declared open war. Part of the society have joined him; the rest go on their way quietly, to make their calling and election sure. Sun. 18. — I was much pleased with the decent behavior of the whole congregation at the cathedral; as also with the solemn music at the post-communion, one of the finest compositions I ever heard. The Bishop inviting me to dinner, I could not but observe, 1. The lovely situation of the palace, covered with trees, and as rural and retired as if it was quite in the country. 2. The plainness of the furniture, not costly or showy, but just fit for a Christian Bishop. 3. The dinner, sufficient, but not redundant; plain and good, but not delicate. 4. The propriety of the company, — five Clergymen and four of the Aldermen; and, 5. The genuine, unaffected courtesy of the Bishop, who, I hope, will be a blessing to his whole diocese.
We set out early in the morning, Monday, 19, and in the afternoon came to Plymouth. I preached in the evening, and at five and twelve on Tuesday, purposing to preach in the Square at the Dock in the evening; but the rain prevented. However, I did so on Wednesday evening. A little before I concluded, the Commanding Officer came into the Square with his regiment; but he immediately stopped the drums, and drew up all his men in order on the high side of the Square. They were all still as night; nor did any of them stir, till I had pronounced the blessing. Thur. 22. — I preached at St. Austle; Friday, 23, at Truro, and in the street at Helstone. Saturday, 24. I preached in Marazion, at eleven; in the evening, at Penzance. Sun. 25. — We prayed that God would “stay the bottles of heaven;” and he heard our prayer. I preached at Mousehole about nine, to a large congregation; to a larger at Buryan, about two: But that at St. Just in the evening exceeded both of them put together. After visiting the other societies, I came to the Redruth on Saturday, 31. I preached there in the evening, and at noon on Sunday, SEPTEMBER 1. Afterwards I expanded the Parable of the Sower at Gwennap, to how many thousands I know not.
But all (I was informed) could hear distinctly. “This is the Lord’s doing.” Mon. 2. — I went on to Port-Isaac. Tuesday, 3. I preached in the street at Camelford. Being informed here, that my old friend, Mr. Thompson, Rector of St. Gennis, was near death, and had expressed a particular desire to see me, I judged no time was to be lost. So, borrowing the best horse I could find, I set out, and rode as fast as I could. On the way, I met with a white-headed old man, who caught me by the hand, and said, “Sir, do you not know me?” I answered, “No.” He said, “My father, my father! I am poor John Trembath.” I desired him to speak to me in the evening at Launceston; which he did. He was for some time reduced to extreme poverty, so as to hedge and ditch for bread; but in his distress he cried to God, who sent him an answer of peace. He likewise enabled him to cure a gentleman that was desperately ill, and afterward several others; so that he grew into reputation, and gained a competent livelihood. “And now,” said he, “I want for nothing; I am happier than ever I was in my life.”
I found Mr. Thompson just alive, but quite sensible. It seemed to me as if none in the house but himself was very glad to see me. He had many doubts concerning his final state, and rather feared, than desired, to die; so that my whole business was to comfort him, and to increase and confirm his confidence in God. He desired me to administer the Lord’s Supper, which I willingly did; and I left him much happier than I found him, calmly waiting till his change should come. NEWINGTON, January 19, 1786.