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never have thought it of him !” Shall we not have more and more cause to say,
“ Names, and sects, and parties fall
Thou, O Christ, art all in all.” Friday 30, I walked to the Infirmary.
It is finely situated on the top of the hill: and is the best ordered of any place of the kind I have seen in England. Nor did I ever see so much seriousness in a hospital before ; none were laughing or talking lightly : many were reading the Bible. And when I talked to and prayed with one, the whole ward listened with deep attention.
Monday, June 1, I left Newcastle, and came to Durham, just as Jacob Rowell had done preaching, or rather, attempting to preach, for the mob was so noisy, that he was constrained to break off. I reached Osmotherly in the evening, and found a large congregation waiting. I preached immediately, God renewing my strength, and comforting
Here I enquired of eye and ear-witnesses, concerning what lately occurred in the neighbourbood. On Thursday last, March 25, being the week before Easter, many persons observed a great noise, near a ridge of mountains in Yorkshire, called Black-hamilton. It was observed chiefly in the South-west side of the mountain, about a mile from the course where the Hamilton races are run; near a ridge of rocks, commonly called Whitson-cliffs, or Whitson-whitemare, two miles from Sutton, about five from Thirsk.
The same noise was heard on Wednesday by all who went that way. On Thursday, about seven in the morning, Edward Abbot, weaver, and Adam Bosomworth, bleacher, both of Sutton, riding under Whitson-cliffs, heard a roaring (so they termed it) like many cannons, or loud and rolling thunder. It seemed to come from the cliffs, looking up to which, they saw a large body of stone, four or five yards broad, split and fly off from the very top of the rocks. They thought it strange, bụt rode on. Between ten and eleven, a larger piece of the rock, about fifteen yards thick,
thirty high, and between sixty and seventy broad, was torn off and thrown into the valley.
About seven in the evening, one who was riding by, obe served the ground to shake exceedingly, and soon after, several large stones or rocks of some tons weight each, rose out of the ground. Others were thrown on one side, others turned upside down, and many rolled over and over. Being a little surprised, and not very curious, he hasted on
On Friday and Saturday the ground continued to shake, and the rocks to roll over one another. The earth also clave asunder in very many places, and continued so to do till Sunday morning.
Being at Osmotherly, seven miles from the cliffs, on Monday, June 1, and finding Edward Abbott there, I desired him the next morning to shew me the way thither. I walked, crept, and climbed round and oyer great part of the ruins. I could not perceive by any sign, that there was ever any cavity in the rock at all; but one part of the solid stone is cleft from the rest, in a perpendicular line, and smooth as if cut with instruments. Nor is it barely thrown down, but split into many hundred pieces, some of which lie four or five hundred yards from the main rock.
The ground nearest the cliff, is not raised, but sunk considerably beneath the level. But at some distance it is raised in a ridge of eight or ten yards high, twelve or fifteen broad, and nearly a hundred long. Adjoining to this lies an oval piece of ground, thirty or forty yards in diameter, which has been removed whole as it is, from beneath the cliff, without the least fissure, with all its load of rocks, some of which were as large as the hull of a small ship. At a little distance is a second piece of ground, forty or fifty yards across, which has been also transplanted entire, with rocks of various sizes upon it, and a tree growing out of one of them. By the removal of one or both of these, I suppose the hollow near the cliff was made.
All around them lay stones and rocks, great and small, some on the surface of the earth, some half sunk into it, some almost covered, in a variety of positions. Between these the ground was cleft asunder, in a thousand places. Some of the apertures were nearly closed again, some gaping as at first. Between thirty and forty acres of land, as is commonly supposed, (though some reckon above sixty) are in this condition.
On the skirts of these, I observed in abundance of places, the green turf, (for it was pasture land ) as it were, pared off, two or three inches thick, and wrapped round, like sheets of lead. A little farther it was not cleft or broken at all, but raised in ridges, five or six feet long, exactly resembling the graves in a Church-yard. Of these there is a vast number.
That part of the cliff from which the rest is torn, lies so high, and is now of so bright a colour, that it is plainly visible to all the country round, even at the distance of several miles. We saw it distinctly not only from the street in Thirsk, but for five or six miles, as we rode towards, York. So we did likewise, in the great North road, between Sand-hutton and North-allerton.
But how may we account for this phenomenon ? Was it effected by a merely natural cause? If so, that cause must either have been fire, water, or air. It could not be fire; for then some mark of it must have appeared, either at the time, or after it. But no such mark does appear, nor ever did : not so much as the least smoke, either when the first or second rock was removed, or in the whole space between Tuesday and Sunday.
It could not be water; for no water issued out, when the one or the other rock was torn off. Nor had there been any rains some time before. It was in that part of the country a remarkably dry season. Neither was there any cavity in that part of the rock, wherein a sufficient quantity of water might have lodged. On the contrary, it was one, single, solid mass, which was evenly and smoothly cleft in sunder.
, There remains no other natural cause assignable, but imprisoned air. I say, imprisoned: for as to the fashionable opinion, that the exterior air is the grand agent in earth
quakes, it is so senseless, unmechanical, unphilosophical a dream, as deserves not to be named, but to be exploded. But it is hard to conceive, how even imprisoned air could produce such an effect. It might indeed shake, tear, raise, or sink the earth : but how could it cleave a solid rock? Here was not room for a quantity of it, sufficient to do any thing of this nature; at least unless it had been suddenly and violently expanded by fire, which was not the case.
Could a small quantity of air, without that violent expansion, have torn so large a body of rock from the rest, to which it adhered in one solid mass ? Could it have shivered this into pieces, and scattered several of those pieces, some hundreds of yards round? Could it have transported those promontories of earth, with their incumbent load, and set them down, unbroken, unchanged at a distance ? Truly I am not so great a volunteer in faith, as to be able to believe this: he that supposes this, must suppose air to be not only a very strong, (which we allow) but a very wise agent ; while it bore its charge with so great caution, as not to hurt or dislocate any part of it.
What then could be the cause ? What indeed, but God, who arose to shake terribly the earth : who purposely chose such a place, where there is so great a concourse of nobility and gentry every year; and wrought in such a manner, that many might see it and fear, that all who travel one of the most frequented roads in England, might see it, almost whether they would or not, for many miles together. It must likewise for many years, maugre all the art of man, and be a visible monument of his power. All that ground being now so incumbered with rocks and stones, that it cannot be either ploughed or grazed. Nor will it serve any use, but to say to all that see it, Who can stand before this great God?
Hence we rode to Thirsk, where I met the little Society, and then rode on to York. The people had been waiting for some time. So I began preaching without delay, and felt no want of strength, though the room was like an oven, through the multitude of people.
Friday 6, I read Dr. Sharp's elaborate Tracts on the
Rubricks and Canons. He justly observes, with regard to all these, 1, That our governors have power to dispense with our observance of them; 2, That a tacit dispensation is of the same force with an explicit dispensation : 3, That their continued connivance at what they cannot but know, is a tacit dispensation. I think this is true. But if it be, he has himself answered his own charge against the Methodists ( so called.) For suppose the canons did forbid fieldpreaching, as expressly as playing at cards. and frequenting taverns, yet we have the very same plea for the former, as any Clergyman has for the latter. All our governors, the King, the Archbishop, and Bishops, connive at the one, as well as the other.
Saturday 7, One of the residentaries sent for Mr. Wil. liamson, who had invited me to preach in his Church, and told him, “ Sir, I abhor persecution : but if you let Mr. Wesley preach, it will be the worse for you.” He desired it nevertheless : but I declined. Perhaps there is a providence in this also. God will not suffer my little remaining strength to be spent on those who will not hear me, but in an honourable way.
Sunday 8, We were at the Minster in the morning, and at our parish Church in the afternoon. The same gentleman preached at both : but, though I saw him at the Church, I did not know I had ever seen him before. In the morning he was all life and motion : in the afternoon he was as quiet as a post. At five in the evening the rain constrained me to preach in the oven again. The patience of the congregation surprised me. They seemed not to feel the extreme heat: nor to be offended at the close application of those words, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.
Monday 9, I took my leave of the richest Society, number for number, which we have in England. I hope this place will not prove ( as Cork has for some time done ) the Capua of our Preachers. When I came to Epworth, the congregation was waiting. So I went immediately to the Cross : and great was our glorying in the Lord.