Monday, August 31, 2009

No more Methodists

Mon. 31 Aug 1752. I rode to Clonmel. A wide door was opened here a year ago. But one evening, just after sermon was ended, the room in which the preaching had been, fell. Two or three persons were hurt thereby, for which reason (could one desire a better?) the people of the town vowed that no Methodist should ever more preach in Clonmel.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Strange Story Indeed

Sunday 30 Aug 1767 One of Trevecca gave us a strange account. A young woman who served as dairymaid there was beloved by all the family. She was loving to everyone, never angry, never out of humour. That morning, she was much happier and had a fuller manifestation of the love of God than ever. As she was coming through the entry, a lad met her with a gun in his hand, which he did not know was charged. He presented it and said, ‘Nanny, I will shoot you.’ The gun went off and shot her through the heart. She fell on her face and, without any struggle or groan, immediately expired.
I preached at eight to a large and serious congregation, and on the Bulwarks at five. A multitude of people attended; and even the gentry seemed, for the present, ‘almost persuaded to be Christians’.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Miracle

Sat. 29 August 1778. I found a venerable old man at Cubert, pale, thin, and scarce half alive; however, he made shift to go in a chaise to the preaching, and, deaf as he was, to hear almost every word. He had such a night’s rest as he had not had for many months, and in the morning seemed hardly the same person. It may be God will give him a little longer life, for the good of many.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Proof that God Sent

Fri. 28 Aug 1778. The stewards of the societies met at St. Ives, a company of pious, sensible men. I rejoiced to find that peace and love prevailed through the whole circuit: those who styled themselves ‘my Lady’s Preachers’, [preachers of the Countess Huntingdon] who screamed, and railed, and threatened to swallow us up, are vanished away. I cannot learn that they have made one convert—a plain proof that God did not send them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The New Generation

Thursday 27 Aug 1778 I preached in the market-place at St. Just. Very few of our old society are now left; the far greater part of them are in Abraham’s bosom, but the new generation are of the same spirit, serious, earnest, devoted to God, and particularly remarkable for simplicity and Christian sincerity.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wesley the 'Distiller' and 'Traitor'

Wed 26 Aug 1741. I was informed of a remarkable conversation at which one of our sisters was present a day or two before; wherein a gentleman was assuring his friends that he himself was in Charles Square when a person told Mr. Wesley to his face that he (Mr. Wesley) had paid twenty pounds already, on being convicted for selling Geneva [a spirit distilled from grain and flavored with juniper berries] and that he now kept two popish priests in his house. This gave occasion to another to mention what he had himself heard at an eminent Dissenting teacher’s: That it was beyond dispute Mr. Wesley had large remittances from Spain in order to make a party among the poor, and that as soon as the Spaniards landed, he was to join them with twenty thousand men.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eminent Sinners

Tue 25 Aug 1752: I preached in the market-place at Kinsale. The next morning at eight I walked to the fort. On the hill above it we found a large, deep hollow, capable of containing two or three thousand people. On one side of this the soldiers soon cut a place with their swords for me to stand, where I was screened both from the wind and sun, while the congregation sat on the grass before me. Many eminent sinners were present, particularly of the army. And I believe God gave them a loud call to repentance.
In the evening I called sinners to repentance in the main street at Bandon. On Thursday and Friday the rain drove us into the market-house. Indeed, I hardly remember two dry days together since I landed in Ireland.

Ay, I told you he did not understand Latin!

Tue 25 Aug 1741: I explained at Chelsea the nature and necessity of the new birth. One (who, I afterwards heard, was a Dissenting teacher) asked me when I had done, ‘Quid est tibi nomen?’ And on my not answering, turned in triumph to his companions and said, ‘Ay, I told you he did not understand Latin!’

Monday, August 24, 2009

Strange Indeed

Mon 24 Aug 1778
In the way to Methrose, Mr. Furz gave me a strange relation, which was afterwards confirmed by eye- and ear-witnesses:
In July 1748, Martin Hoskins, of Sithney, being in a violent passion, was struck raving mad and obliged to be chained down to the floor. Charles Sk—— went to see him. He cried out, ‘Who art thou? Hast thou faith? No! Thou art afraid.’ Charles felt an inexpressible shock and was raving mad himself. He continued so for several days, till some agreed to keep a day of fasting and prayer. His lunacy then ended as suddenly as it began; but what was peculiarly remarkable was, while he was ill, Martin was quite well, as soon as he was well, Martin was as ill as ever.
Thence I went on to Redruth, Helston, and Penzance.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Preaching to 25 000

Sun 23 Aug 1789: I preached there again in the morning, and in the evening at the amphitheatre; I suppose, for the last time; for my voice cannot now command the still increasing multitude. It was supposed they were now more than five-and-twenty thousand. I think it scarce possible that all should hear.

Stupidity and Ill Breeding

Sun 23 Aug 1778: At seven, I preached in our room and, at one, on the quay at Plymouth. The common people behaved well; but I was shocked at the stupidity and ill-breeding of several officers, who kept walking and talking together all the time, with the most perfect unconcern. We had no such Gallios in the evening at the Dock, though the congregation was four times as large. Surely this is an understanding people; may their love be equal to their knowledge.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On the Work in London

Saturday 22 Aug 1761: I returned to London. I found the work of God swiftly increasing here. The congregations, in every place, were larger than they had been for several years. Many were from day to day convinced of sin. Many found peace with God. Many backsliders were healed, yea, filled with joy unspeakable. And many believers entered into such a rest, as it had not before entered into their hearts to conceive. Meantime, the enemy was not wanting in his endeavours to sow tares among the good seed. I saw this clearly, but durst not use violence, lest, in plucking up the tares, I should root up the wheat also.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On Dublin

Fri 21 Aug 1747: I was desired to see the town and the college[in Dublin]. The town has scarce any public building except the Parliament House which is at all remarkable. The churches are poor and mean, both within and without. St. Stephen’s Green might be made a beautiful place, being abundantly larger than Lincoln’s Inn Square. But the houses round about it (besides that some are low and bad) are quite irregular and unlike each other. And little care is taken of the green itself, which is as rough and uneven as a common.The college contains two little quadrangles, and one about as large as that of New College in Oxford. There is likewise a bowling-green, a small garden, and a little park, and a new-built handsome library. I expected we should have sailed on Saturday 22, but no packet-boat was come in. In order to make the best of our time I preached this day at noon, as well as in the evening. It was not for nothing that our passage was delayed. Who knows what a day may bring forth?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beware False Prophets

Thur 20 Aug 1741: A clergyman having sent me word that if I would preach in the evening on the text he named he would come to hear me, I preached on that text, Mt. 24:26. And strongly enforced the caution of our Lord to ‘beware of false prophets’, i.e., all preachers who do not speak as the oracles of God.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Predestination

Wed 19 Aug 1741: The Scripture which came in turn to be expounded was the ninth chapter to the Romans. I was even constrained to speak an hour longer than usual, and am persuaded most, if not all who were present, saw that this chapter has no more to do with personal, irrespective predestination than the ninth of Genesis.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Starving Masses and the Ways of God

Tuesday Aug 18 1789: We went on to Truro, where I had appointed to preach at twelve o’clock; but here an unforeseen hinderance occurred. I could not get through the main street to our preaching-house. It was quite blocked up with soldiers to the east, and numberless tinners to the west; a huge multitude of whom, being nearly starved, were come to beg or demand an increase of their wages; without which they could not live. So we were obliged to retire to the other end of the town, where I preached under the Coinage-Hall, to twice as many people, rich and poor, as the preaching-house would have contained; and many of them would not have come thither at all. How wise are all the ways of God!
In the afternoon, as we could not pass by the common road, we procured leave to drive round by some fields, and got to Falmouth in good time. The last time I was here, above forty years ago, I was taken prisoner by an immense mob, gaping and roaring like lions: But how is the tide turned! High and low now lined the street, from one end of the town to the other, out of stark love and kindness, gaping and staring as if the King were going by. In the evening I preached on the smooth top of the hill, at a small distance from the sea, to the largest congregation I have ever seen in Cornwall, except in or near Redruth. And such a time I have not known before, since I returned from Ireland. God moved wonderfully on the hearts of the people, who all seem to know the day of their visitation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still in Ireland

Mon. 17 Aug 1747. I began examining the society, which I finished the next day. It contained about two hundred and fourscore members, many of whom appeared to be strong in faith. The people in general are of a more teachable spirit than in most parts of England. But on that very account they must be watched over with the more care, being equally susceptible of good or ill impressions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Field Preaching and the Rain

Sun 16 Aug1767. I hoped to preach in the fields, but the rain prevented. However, one of our brethren preached there at seven to thousands upon thousands, and there was not the least shadow of interruption. How long will these halcyon days continue!

Sunday Services

Sunday 16 Aug 1789 . In the morning, I believe, we had not less than six hundred communicants; but they were all admirably well-behaved, as if they indeed discerned the Lord's body. But when I preached in the afternoon, the House would not hold half the congregation. I chose the space adjoining the south side of the House, capable of containing some thousands of people. Besides, some hundreds sat on the ridge of the rock which ran along at my left hand. I preached on part of the Gospel for the day, "He beheld the city, and wept over it;" and it seemed as if every one felt,
His heart is made of tenderness;
His bowels melt with love.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Still in Ireland

Sat 15 Aug 1747. I stayed at home and spoke to all that came. But I found scarce any Irish among them. At least ninety-nine in an hundred of the native Irish remain in the religion of their forefathers. The Protestants, whether in Dublin or elsewhere, are almost all transplanted lately from England. Nor is it any wonder that those who are born Papists generally live and die such, when the Protestants can find no better ways to convert them than penal laws and Acts of Parliament.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shocked in Ireland

Fri 14 Aug 1747. I procured a genuine account of the great Irish massacre in 1641. Surely never was there such a transaction before from the beginning of the world! More than two hundred thousand men, women, and children butchered within a few months in cool blood, and with such circumstances of cruelty as make one’s blood run cold! ’Tis well if God has not a controversy with that nation, on this very account, to this day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Enjoying Boston

1761 Thur 13 Aug.I took a walk through the town (Boston in England). I think it is not much smaller than Leeds; but, in general, it is far better built. The church is indeed a fine building. It is larger, loftier, nay, and rather more lightsome, than even St. Peter's at Norwich; and the steeple is, I suppose, the highest tower in England, nor less remarkable for the architecture than the height. The congregation in the evening was far more numerous than the day before; and I trust God fixed the arrows of conviction in not a few of their hearts.
We went forward, after preaching at a friend’s house, about nine miles from Boston.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Reading Wesley

1767 Wed 12 Aug. I took coach. The next day we reached Grantham, and London about seven on Friday evening, having run that day an hundred and ten miles. On the road, I read over Seller’s History of Palmyra and Norden’s Travels into Egypt and Abyssinia—two as dry and unsatisfying books as ever I read in my life.

Women Abuse

1741 Wed 12 Aug. I visited one whom God is purifying in the fire in answer to the prayers of his wife, whom he was just going to beat (which he frequently did) when God smote him in a moment, so that his hand dropped, and he fell down upon the ground, having no more strength than a newborn child. He has been confined to his bed ever since, but rejoices in hope of the glory of God.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Ireland

1747 Tue, 11 Aug. I waited on the archbishop at Newbridge, ten miles from Dublin. I had the favour of conversing with him two or three hours, in which I answered abundance of objections. In the evening I returned to Mr. Lunell’s. John Trembath preached at Marlborough Street, to a large congregation both of laity and clergy, who behaved with much decency.

Preaching Regardless of Distractions

1761 Tuesday, 11 Aug. I preached at two in Lorborough; in the evening at Elkington. The next morning we rode to Horncastle, where Satan’s children had threatened terrible things; but they could go no farther than to give one feeble shout as we entered into the town. As the House would not contain the congregation, I preached on the outside of it; and there was no disturbance. Indeed a silly, pert man spoke twice or thrice, but none regarded him.
About one I preached at Sibsey, on the edge of the Fens. There were a few wild colts here also; but all the rest (and they were not a few) were serious and deeply attentive. So were most of the congregation even at Boston, though much astonished, as not being used to field-preaching.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Much Grace but Little Understanding

1767 Mon.10 Aug. I laboured to set some right who have much grace but little understanding. And I prevailed on all but one, who appeared indeed to be the twin-soul of poor George Bell.

Lay Preachers and Field Preaching

1747 Mon Aug 10. I met the society at five, and at six preached on ‘Repent and believe the gospel.’ The room, large as it was, would not contain the people who all seemed to taste the good word.
Between eight and nine I went to Mr. R(the curate of St. Mary’s) he professed abundance of goodwill, commended my sermon in strong terms, and begged he might see me again the next morning. But at the same time he expressed the most rooted prejudice against lay preachers or preaching out of a church, and said the Archbishop of Dublin was resolved to suffer no such irregularities in his diocese.
I went to our brethren, that we might pour out our souls before God. I then went straight to wait upon the Archbishop myself. But he was gone out of town.
In the afternoon a gentleman desired to speak with me. He was troubled that it was not with him as in times past, when at the age of fourteen the power of God came mightily upon him, constraining him to rise out of bed to pour out his prayers and tears from an heart overflowed with love and joy in the Holy Ghost. For some months he scarce knew whether he was in the body, continually walking and talking with God. He has now an abiding peace, but cannot rest till the love of God again fills his heart.
Between six and seven I went to Marlborough Street. The house wherein we then preached was originally designed for a Lutheran church, and will contain about four hundred people. But four or five times the number may stand in the yard. Many of the rich were there, and many ministers of every denomination. I preached on ‘The Scripture hath concluded all under sin,’ and spoke closely and strongly. But none at all seemed to be offended. If my brother or I could have been here for a few months, I question if there might not have been a larger society here than even in London itself.

No! to Fieldpreaching

1747 Mon. 10 Aug. I met the society at five, and at six preached on ‘Repent and believe the gospel.’ The room, large as it was, would not contain the people who all seemed to taste the good word.
Between eight and nine I went to Mr. R(the curate of St. Mary’s) he professed abundance of goodwill, commended my sermon in strong terms, and begged he might see me again the next morning. But at the same time he expressed the most rooted prejudice against lay preachers or preaching out of a church, and said the Archbishop of Dublin was resolved to suffer no such irregularities in his diocese.
I went to our brethren, that we might pour out our souls before God. I then went straight to wait upon the Archbishop myself. But he was gone out of town.
In the afternoon a gentleman desired to speak with me. He was troubled that it was not with him as in times past, when at the age of fourteen the power of God came mightily upon him, constraining him to rise out of bed to pour out his prayers and tears from an heart overflowed with love and joy in the Holy Ghost. For some months he scarce knew whether he was in the body, continually walking and talking with God. He has now an abiding peace, but cannot rest till the love of God again fills his heart.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not Permitted to Preach

1778 Sun. 9. I preached at eight in the market-place at Dewsbury to some thousands of serious people, as Mr. Powley would not permit me to preach in the church ‘because it would give offence’!
After visiting Bradford and Halifax, I struck across to Manchester and Stockport, and went on by moderate journeys to London.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Money or the Gospel

1767 Saturday Aug 8, At the request of Mr. Whitaker of New England, I preached and afterwards made a collection for the Indian schools in America. A large sum of money is now collected, but will money convert heathens? Find preachers of David Brainerd’s spirit, and nothing can stand before them. But without this, what will gold or silver do? No more than lead or iron. They have indeed sent thousands to hell but never yet brought a soul to heaven.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blessed Indeed

1741 Fri. 7 Aug. The body of our sister Muncy being brought to Short’s Gardens, I preached on those words, ‘Write! From henceforth, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Even so, saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.’ From thence we went with it to the grave, in St. Giles’s Churchyard, where I performed the last office, in the presence of such an innumerable multitude of people as I never saw gathered together before. O what a sight will it be when God saith to the grave, ‘Give back!’ And all the dead, small and great, shall stand before him!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Methodism on the Rise

Thur. 6 Aug 1761.I preached about nine at Hatfield Woodhouse; and about one at Sykehouse, to far the largest congregation which has been seen there for many years. Boast who will, that Methodism (the revival of true religion) is just coming to nothing: We know better things, and are thankful to God for its continual increase.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wesley overcome by beauty of nature

Wed 5 Aug 1747. Taking horse early in the morning, we rode over the rough mountains of Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire into Merionethshire. In the evening I was surprised with one of the finest prospects, in its kind, that ever I saw in my life. We rode in a green vale, shaded with rows of trees, which made an arbour for several miles. The river laboured along on our right hand, through broken rocks of every size, shape, and colour. On the other side of the river the mountain rose to an immense height, almost perpendicular. And yet the tall, straight oaks stood, rank above rank, from the bottom to the very top; only here and there, where the mountain was not so steep, were interposed pastures or fields of corn. At a distance, as far as the eye could reach, as it were by way of contrast,
A mountain huge upreared
Its broad, bare back,
with vast, rugged rocks hanging over its brow, that seemed to nod, portending ruin.

Protected from rude crowds and bad weather.

Wed 5 August 1761. I preached about nine at Ferry, and then rode on to Gainsborough. I preached in the old hall to a mixed multitude, part civil, part rude as bears. We rode through heavy rain, joined with much thunder and lightning, part of which was just over our heads.But 'the Lord sitteth above the water clouds.' So we came safe, only very wet, to Epworth.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Read 'Conference' below before this

There were more than a large number of preachers present, as Thomas Taylor recalls in his diary: Aug. 5. Today we permitted all sorts to come into the Conference, so that we had a large company. The forenoon was occupied in speaking upon preaching-houses. In the afternoon, the sending of missionaries to Africa was considered. The call seems doubtful. Afterwards the committee met, and we were an hour and a half in speaking what might have been done in five minutes. We are vastly tedious, and have many long speeches to little purpose

Conference 1778

Tue. 4 Aug 1778. Our Conference began; so large a number of preachers never met at a Conference before. I preached morning and evening till Thursday night; then my voice began to fail, so I desired two of our preachers to supply my place the next day. On Saturday, the Conference ended.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Go to those who need you most

Mon. 3 August, 1767. I visited as many as I could, sick and well, and endeavoured to confirm them. In the evening, I preached at seven and again at nine. We concluded about twelve. One then came to me with an unexpected message. A gentleman in the west of Scotland was a serious, sensible man, but violently attached both to the doctrine and discipline of the Kirk. His eldest daughter dreamed some months since that she was poisoned and must die in an hour. She waked in the utmost consternation, which issued in a deep conviction of sin. Soon after, she had an earnest desire to see me, though not perceiving any possibility of it. But business calling Mr. H—— to Edinburgh, he brought her with him, three days before I came. On Sunday morning, he heard the preaching for the first time and afterwards omitted no opportunity. He now sent his daughter to beg I would come if possible to the west, and to desire that I or any of our preachers would make his house our home.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How not to Preach

Sun. 2 Aug 1767. I was sorry to find both the society and the congregations smaller than when I was here last. I impute this chiefly to the manner of preaching which has been generally used. The people have been told frequently and strongly of their coldness, deadness, heaviness, and littleness of faith, but very rarely of anything that would move thankfulness. Hereby many were driven away, and those that remained were kept cold and dead.
I encouraged them strongly at eight in the morning, and about noon preached upon the Castle Hill, on ‘There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.’ The sun shone exceeding hot upon my head, but all was well, for God was in the midst of us. In the evening, I preached on Luke 20:34, etc., and many were comforted, especially while I was enlarging on those deep words, ‘Neither can they die any more, but are equal to the angels and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.’

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday, 1 August , 1741. Good Works

Saturday, August 1. I had a long conversation with Mr. Ingham. We both agreed that none shall finally be saved who have not, as they had opportunity, done all good works; and that if a justified person does not do good as he has opportunity, he will lose the grace he has received, and if he ‘repent’ not ‘and do the former works’,will perish eternally. But with regard to the unjustified (if I understand him), we wholly disagreed. He believed it is not the will of God that they should wait for faith in doing good. I believe this is the will of God, and that they will never find him unless they seek him in this way.