Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Permission to Preach granted, then taken away

Wed 16 Dec 1767: Accordingly, I took horse between five and six, and came to Sheerness between five and six in the evening. At half an hour after six, I began reading prayers (the governor of the fort having given me the use of the chapel) and afterwards preached, though not without difficulty, to a large and serious congregation. The next evening, it was considerably increased, so that the chapel was as hot as an oven. In coming out, the air, being exceeding sharp, quite took away my voice, so that I knew not how I should be able the next day to read prayers or preach to so large a congregation. But in the afternoon, the good governor cut the knot, sending word I ‘must preach in the chapel no more’. A room being offered which held full as many people as I was able to preach to, we had a comfortable hour, and many seemed resolved to ‘seek the Lord while he may be found’.
Examining the society, consisting of four or five and thirty members, I had the comfort to find many of them knew in whom they had believed. And all of them seemed really desirous to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour.
Such a town as many of these live in is scarce to be found again in England. In the dock adjoining to the fort there are six old men-of-war. These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty, or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows, and each of these contains a family. In one of them where we called, a man and his wife and six little children lived. And yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean, sweeter than most sailing-ships I have been in.

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