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May God continue him humble and simple of heart! Then his sense and learning will do him good. But how great are the odds against him?
Saturday 22, I called upon one, who did run well for several years; but for a considerable time he had cast off the very form of religion. Yet his heart was not utterly hardened. He determined to set out once more. And since that time, he has been more confirmed. in walking suitably to the Gospel.
Friday 28, Mr. Meier, chaplain to one of the Hanoverian regiments, called and spent an hour with me. I am surprised at the seriousness of all the German ministers, with whom I have had occasion to converse: entirely different from that pertness and affectation of wit, which is too common in our own Country.
The following letter (which I received two or three months after) was dated on this day.
"Though you and I may differ in some little things, I have long loved you and your brother, and wished and prayed for your success, as zealous revivers of experimental Christianity. If I differ from you in temper and design, or in the essentials of religion, I am sure the error must lie on my side. Blessed be God for hearts to love one another.
“As I knew your correspondence must be very extensive, and your labours various and incessant, I intended to have kept my peculiar love for you secret, till we arrived where seas shall no more roll between us. But your late pious charity constrains me to give you the trouble of a letter. I am confident. God will attend it with his blessing, and render you useful at the distance of nearly 4000 miles.
"How great is the honour God has conferred upon you, in making you a restorer of declining religion? And after struggling through so much opposition, and standing almost single, with what pleasure must you behold so many raised up, zealous in the same cause, though perhaps not ranked under the same name, nor openly connected with you!
"I am endeavouring in my poor manner, to promote the
same cause in this part of our guilty globe. My success is not equal to my wishes; but it vastly surpasses both my deserts and my expectations. I have baptized nearly a hundred and fifty adult negroes, of whom about fifty are communicants. Unpolished as they are, I find some of them have the art to dissemble: but, blessed be God, the generality of them, as far as I can learn, are real Christians : and I have no doubt, but sundry of them are genuine children of Abraham. Among them, in the first place, and then among the poor white people, I have distributed the books you sent me.
"I desire you to communicate this to your brother, as equally intended for him. And let me and my congregation, particularly my poor negro converts, be favoured with your prayers. In return for which, I hope neither you nor your cause will be forgotten, by Reverend Sir,
"Your affectionate Fellow-labourer,
Hanover, in Virginia,
Sunday, February 6, the number of communicants at Spital-fields, made this Lord's-day a little more laborious than the former: but God added proportionably to my strength; so I felt no difference.
Thursday 10, At the request of the author, I took some pains in correcting an ingenious book, shortly to be published. But the more I consider them, the more I doubt of all systems of astronomy. I doubt whether we can certainly know, either the distance or magnitude of any star in the firmament. Else why do astronomers so immensely differ, even with regard to the distance of the sun from the
earth? Some affirming it to be only twelve, others ninety millions of miles!
About this time the following note was given into my hand at Wapping:
"John White, Master at Arms, aboard his Majesty's ship Tartar, now at Plymouth, desires to return Almighty God thanks, for himself and all the ship's company, for their preservation in four different engagements they have had with four privateers which they have taken: particularly the last, wherein the enemy first boarded them. They cleared the deck, boarded in their turn, and took the ship, thirty of the enemy being killed, and fifty more wounded. Only two of our crew were wounded, who, it is hoped, will recover."
Wednesday 16, Calling on a friend, I found him just seized with all the symptoms of a pleurisy. I advised him to apply a brimstone-plaister, and in a few hours he was perfectly well. Now, to what end, should this patient have taken a heap of drugs, and lost twenty ounces of blood? To what end? Why, to oblige the doctor and apothecary. Enough! Reason good!
Tuesday 22, I preached at Deptford. Even this wilderness does at length blossom and bud as the rose. Never was there such life in this little flock before, nor such an increase in the number of hearers.
The following letter was written on Saturday 28.
"Rev. and dear Sir,
"When I was at Freshford, on January 30, in the morning, I scrupled singing these words,
I thought I was not afflicted, or hated, for the name of Christ but this scruple was soon removed. For at Brad ford, in the evening, I was pressed for a soldier, and carried to an inn, where the gentlemen were. Mr. Pearse, hearing of it, came, and offered bail for my appearance the next
day. They said, 'They would take his word for ten thousand pounds: but not for me: I must go to the Roundhouse; the little Stone-Room on the side of the bridge. So thither I was conveyed by five soldiers. There I found nothing to sit on but a stone, and nothing to lie on but a little straw. But soon after, a friend sent me a chair, on which I sat all night. I had a double guard, twelve soldiers in all two without, one at the door, and the rest within. I passed the night without sleep, but not without rest; for, blessed be God, my peace was not broken a moment. My body was in prison, but I was Christ's freeman: my soul was at liberty; and even there I found some work to do for God: I had a fair opportunity of speaking to them who durst not leave me. And I hope it was not in vain.
"In the morning I had leave to go to a private house, with only one soldier to guard me. About three in the afternoon I was carried before the Commissioners, and part of the act read, which empowered them to take, 'Such able bodied men, as followed no business, and had no lawful or sufficient maintenance.' Then, I said, 'If these are the men you are to take, I am not a proper person. For I do follow a lawful calling in partnership with my brother, and have also an estate.' The Justice said, 'If you will make oath of that, I think we must let you go.' But the Commissioners said, 'No man could swear for himself.' I said, 'Gentlemen, give me time, and you shall have full proof.' After a long debate they took a fifty pound bond for my appearance on that day three weeks. All the time I could bless God that he counted me worthy to suffer for his name's sake.
"The next day I set out for Cornwall. I tarried at home four days, and then setting out with my brother James, came to Bradford last Saturday. On Monday, in the afternoon, I appeared before the Commissioners, with the writings of my estate. When the Justice had perused them, and my Brother had taken his oath, I was set at liberty. So the fierceness of man turns to God's praise, and all this is for
the furtherance of the Gospel. I hope you will return God thanks for my deliverance out of the hands of unreasonable and wicked men, WILLIAM HITCHENS." Sunday 27, After the service at Snows-fields, I found myself much weaker than usual, and feared I should not be able to go through the work of the day, which is equal to preaching eight times. I therefore prayed, that God would send me help: and as soon as I had done preaching at Weststreet, a Clergyman, who was come to town for a few days, came and offered me his service. So when I asked for strength, God gave me strength; when for help, he gave this also.
I had long desired to see the little flock at Norwich. But this I could not decently do, till I was able to rebuild part of the Foundery there, to which I was engaged by my lease. A sum sufficient for that end was now unexpectedly given me, by one of whom I had no personal knowledge. So I set out on Monday 28, and preached in Norwich on Tuesday evening. Mr. Walsh had been there twelve or fourteen days; and not without a blessing. After preaching I entered into contract with a Builder, and gave him part of the money in hand. On Wednesday and Thursday, I settled all our spiritual and temporal business, and on Friday and Saturday returned with Mr. Walsh to London.
Sunday 6, I had no help, and I wanted none; for God renewed my strength. But on Sunday 13, finding myself weak at Snows-fields, I prayed (if he saw good) that God would send me help at the Chapel: and I had it. A Clergyman whom I never saw before, came and offered me his assistance. And as soon as I had done preaching, Mr. Fletcher came, who had just then been ordained Priest, and hastened to the Chapel, on purpose to assist, as he supposed me to be alone.
Monday 14, I went with T. Walsh to Canterbury, where I preached in the evening with great enlargement of spirit : but with greater in the morning, being much refreshed at the sight of so large a number of soldiers. And is not God able