Sunday, January 24, 2010

Overcome by the Power of God

Mon 25 Jan 1742: While I was explaining at Long Lane, ‘He that committeth sin is of the devil,’ his servants were above measure enraged: they not only made all possible noise (although, as I had desired before, no man stirred from his place or answered them a word), but violently thrust many persons to and fro, struck others, and brake down part of the house. At length they began throwing large stones upon the house, which, forcing their way wherever they came, fell down together with the tiles among the people, so that they were in danger of their lives. I then told them, ‘You must not go on thus. I am ordered by the magistrate, who is in this respect to us the minister of God, to inform him of those who break the laws of God and the king. And I must do it, if you persist herein, otherwise I am a partaker of your sin.’ When I ceased speaking they were more outrageous than before. Upon this I said, ‘Let three or four calm men take hold of the foremost and charge a constable with him, that the law may take its course.’ They did so, and brought him into the house, cursing and blaspheming in a dreadful manner. I desired five or six to go with him to Justice Copeland, to whom they nakedly related the fact. The Justice immediately bound him over to the next Sessions at Guildford.
I observed, when the man was brought into the house, that many of his companions were loudly crying out, ‘Richard Smith! Richard Smith!’ Who, as it afterward appeared, was one of their stoutest champions. But Richard Smith answered not; he was fallen into the hands of One higher than they. God had struck him to the heart, as also a woman, who was speaking words not fit to be repeated and throwing whatever came to hand, whom he overtook in the very act. She came into the house with Richard Smith, fell upon her knees before us all, and strongly exhorted him never to turn back, never to forget the mercy which God had now shown to his soul. From this time we had never any considerable interruption or disturbance at Long Lane, although we withdrew our prosecution, upon the offender’s submission and promise of better behaviour

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