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“ 13, Being now thoroughly weary of mankind, I pro
I cured a little house in a wood, at some miles distance from any town, and resolved to spend the remainder of my days by myself. Here I stayed about four years; till one afternoon, Mr. Sp. and the Count's son-in-law called upon me, we talked together till two in the morning. They acknowledged many things that had been wrong, promised they should be amended without delay, and 'persuaded me to join with them once more. But nothing was amended, so that after a few months, I was constrained to leave them again. I followed my business in Philadelphia, till I had earned money for my passage, and a year ago returned to London.”
Was there ever so melancholy an account ? ( what is human nature ! How low are they fallen, who were once burning and shining lights, spreading blessings wherever they came ! But what infatuation is it, which makes this very man attend their preaching still, and his wife ( though she believes most of what her husband says) to remain in close connexion with them ?
Sunday, March 15, 1752, While I was preaching at West-street in the afternoon, there was one of the most violent storms I remember. In the midst of the sermon great part of an house opposite to the Chapel was blown down. We heard a huge noise, but knew not the cause : so much the more did God speak to our hearts; and great was the rejoicing of many, in confidence of his protection. Between four and five I took horse, with my wife and daughter. The tiles were rattling from the houses on both sides. But they hurt not us. We reached Hayes about seven in the evening, and Oxford the next day.
Tuesday 17, The rain continued without intermission, till we came to Enstone. Soon after we set out from thence, it was succeeded by so vehement a wind, as on Broadway-bill often drove us clear out of the path, and was ready to carry away both horse and rider. But our strength was as our day; and before six in the evening, we came unhurt to Evesham.
I preached in the evening at the Town-hall, where several of the Clergy and gentry were present. Wednesday 28, I rode over with Mr. -to his house, which I had not seen for upwards of twenty years. The place I found ; but not the inhabitants, most of them were gone to their long home. I saw not one wbom I knew but Mr. —'s aunt ; who could not long forbear telling me, “How sorry she was, that I should leave all my friends, to lead this vagabond life.” Why indeed it is not pleasing to flesh and blood ; and I would not do it, if I did not believe there was another world. Our dispute did not continue long, and ended in much love. Mr. rode back with me to Eve- . sham : attended the preaching both at seven and at five in the morning, and walked with me from the room after ser mon; but it was some time before he could speak. He then broke out, “ I am to take care of two thousand souls, And I never yet knew how to take care of my own.
I left him full of conviction and good resolutions, How many days will they continue ?
Thursday 19, I rode to Birmingham, and from the behaviour of the people, both this and the following evening, found reason to hope, that some of the seed which has been sown here, will bear lasting fruit. Saturday 21, I rode to Wednesbury, where Mr. Vicar of had
appointed to meet me. I rejoiced to find so great a change. Since he has known the pardoning love of God, he has been swiftly going on from faith to faith, and growing not in knowledge only, but in love.
Sunday 22, After preaching at five, I returned to Birmingham. Many were much afraid of my preaching in the street, expecting I know not what mischief to be done. Vain fear! I saw not one person behave amiss, while I declared, There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.
At one I preached at Tipton-green, to a large congregation, though the wind was ready to cut us in two : and about five to a much larger at Wednesbury : where in spite
of all the wiles of Satan, and the cunning craftiness of men, the plain genuine Gospel runs and is glorified.
Wednesday 23, I spent an agreeable hour with Mr. Curate of W., an honest, upright man, I verily believe, and willing to know the whole counsel of God. In the evening I preached to a small, serious congregation at Billbrook. The storm of wind, snow, and hail, was ready for us in the morning almost as soon as we set out, and continued most part of the day. When we had heaths or commons to cross, it was not easy to sit a horse, especially as the wind was full in our teeth. However, we reached Poole (two miles from Nantwich ) in the evening, and found a congregation gathered from many miles round : several of whom sat up all night, for fear of losing the morning sermon.
Wednesday 25, After preaching at five and at nine, I rode on to Alprabam, where a large congregation of serious, sensible people attended, both at one, and at seven in the evening. Thursday 26, we rode on, through wind and snow, and reached Manchester. At night I was grieved to
I hear in all places, from my coming into Cheshire till now, that John Bennet was still speaking all manner of evil : averring wherever he came, “ That Mr. W. preached nothing but Popery, denying justification by faith, and making nothing of Christ.” Lord, lay not this sin to his charge!
March 27, being Good-Friday, I went to the old Church where Mr. Clayton read prayers, I think the most distinctly, solemnly, and graciously of any man I have ever heard. And the behaviour of the whole congregation was serious and solemn in every part of the Service. But I was surprised to see such a change in the greater part of them, as soon as ever the sacrament was over. They were then bowing, curtsying, and talking to each other, just as if they were going from a play.
On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I spoke severally to each member of the Society, and found reason, after the strictest search, to believe, that there was not one disorderly walker therein.
Tuesday 31, T.
Mgave me a full account of J. B-__'s renouncing all connexion with me : adding, “On the 30th of December last, after he had said many bitter things of you, to the congregation at Bolton, le spread out his arms and cried, Popery! Popery! Popery! I have not been in connexion with him these three years, neither will, I be any more. And the same thing he said to all the Stewards, at the Quarterly-meeting on New-year's-day.”
Friday, April 3, I rode to Bank-house, near Rochdale, where T. Mitchel gave me the following account:
“ On Sunday, August 7, last, I preached at Rangdale, at five in the morning, as usual. About six, two Constables came, and carried me to a public-house, where I was kept till near four in the afternoon. Then one of them said, he would go and ask the Minister, whether they might not let me go ? Upon his return they brought me out to a large mob, which carried me, and threw me into a standing water, and as often as I tried to come out, they pitched me in again. At last some of them said, I should come out, and kept the others off, till I got up the bank. 'I found myself very happy all the time; for I knew I was in the Lord's hand. I got back to the house where I lodged, and went to bed. But in less than an hour the mob came again, broke open the doors of the house and the chamber, and dragged me away with them. They carried me to a great pond, which was railed round, being ten or twelve feet deep. Then four men took me up by my legs and arms. I felt the flesh shrink a little at first. But it was soon over, and I did not care, whether I lived or died; just as pleased the Lord. They swung me backward and forward two or three times, and then threw me as far as they could into the water. The fall took away my senses, so that I felt nothing more. But some that did not care to have me drowned, when I came above water, catching hold of my clothes with a long pole, pulled me out. I lay senseless for some time. When I came to myself, I saw many people about me;
one of them helped me up, and bade me go with him. He brought
me to a little house, and put me to bed, but I had not lain long, before the mob came again, pulled me out of bed, and drove me before them, almost naked, to the end of the parish, wbere they left me. I made shift to get on to a place three miles off, where I got to bed again, and slept
Sunday 5, About one I preached at Birstal : observing that several sat on the side of the opposite hill, I afterward desired one to measure the ground ; and we found it was sevenscore yards from the place where I stood. Yet the people there heard perfectly well; I did not think any human voice could have reached so far.
Between four and five I preached in our new house at Leeds. But it was so full, and consequently so hot, beside which, my voice was so damped by the breath of the people, that I suppose many could not hear.
Wednesday 8, We rode to Heptonstal, a little town on the round top of a very high mountain, with a steep descent on every side. I preached in a vacant place, on the brow of the hill. A Captain who came from the Minister's house, laboured much to divert the attention of the people. But none regarded him at all. When we went away, he followed us down the hill. One took him by the hand, and spoke a few words ; on which he shook like a leaf, and said, “ He hoped this would be a happy time for him, and that he should think more than he had done in time past."
Friday 10, I preached at Dewsbury, where the case of the Vicar and his Curate will not soon be forgotten. After a conversation I had with the Vicar, above three years ago, he was deeply serious, till he conversed again with rich and honourable men, who soon cured him of that distraction. Yet, in a while, he relapsed, and was more serious than ever, till he was taken ill. The Physician made light of his illness, and said, “He would do well enough, if they did but keep those Methodists from him.” They did so : how. ever, in a few days he died, and according to his own express order, was carried to the grave at seven in the morning by eight poor men, (whom he had named) and buried on