Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Speech Restored

Wed 31 Mar 1742: My brother set out for Oxford. In the evening I called upon Ann Calcut. She had been speechless for some time. But almost as soon as we began to pray God restored her speech. She then witnessed a good confession indeed. I expected to see her no more; but from that hour the fever left her, and in a few days she arose and walked, glorifying God.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This country is all on fire

Tue 30 Mar 1784: I preached in the new preaching-house at Henley Green, but this was far too small to hold the congregation. Indeed this country is all on fire, and the flame is still spreading from village to village. The preaching-house at Newcastle just held the congregation, many being kept away by the election, especially the gentry. But still the poor heard the gospel preached, and received it with all readiness of mind.

Can we survive on one type of food?

Tue Mar 30 1736: [In Savannah] Mr. Ingham, coming from Frederica, brought me letters pressing me to go thither. The next day Mr. Delamotte and I began to try whether life might not be as well sustained by one sort as by variety of food. We chose to make the experiment with bread; and were never more vigorous and healthy than while we tasted nothing else. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ who, whether they eat or drink, or whatever they do, have no end therein but to please God! To them all things are pure. Every creature is good to them, and nothing to be rejected. But let them who know and feel that they are not thus pure, use ever help and remove every hindrance; always remembering, ‘He that despiseth little things shall fall by little and little.’

Monday, March 29, 2010

Now let me redeem the time!

Mon 29 Mar 1762: I came to the New-Passage a little before nine. The rain and wind increased much while we were on the water: However, we were safe on shore at ten. I preached about twelve in the new Room at Chepstow. One of the congregation was a neighbouring Clergyman, who lived in the same staircase with me at Christ-Church, and was then far more serious than me. Blessed be God, who has looked upon me at last! Now let me redeem the time!
In the afternoon we had such a storm of hail as I scarce ever saw in my life. The roads likewise were so extremely bad that we did not reach Hereford till past eight. Having been well battered both by hail, rain, and wind, I got to bed as soon as I could, but was waked many times by the clattering of the curtains. In the morning I found the casement wide open; but I was never the worse. I took horse at six, with William Crane and Francis Walker. The wind was piercing cold, and we had many showers of snow and rain; but the worst was, part of the road was scarce passable; so that, at Church-Stretton, one of our horses lay down, and would go no farther. However, William Crane and I pushed on, and before seven reached Shrewsbury.
A large company quickly gathered together: Many of them were wild enough; but the far greater part were calm and attentive, and came again at five in the morning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

“Prepare yourself, for your end is nigh”

Sun 28 Mar 1736:[In Savannah] A servant of Mr. Bradley’s sent to desire to speak with me. Going to him, I found a young man, ill, but perfectly sensible. He desired the rest to go out, and then said, ‘On Thursday night, about eleven, being in bed, but broad awake, I heard one calling aloud, “Peter! Peter Wright!” And looking up, the room was as light as day, and I saw a man in very bright clothes stand by the bed, who said, “Prepare yourself, for your end is nigh”; and then immediately all was dark as before.’ I told him the advice was good, whencesoever it came. In a few days he recovered from his illness. His whole temper was changed, as well as his life; and so continued to be till after three or four weeks he relapsed, and died in peace.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Newcastle-under-Lyne

Sat 27 Mar 1790: I preached in the evening to a sensible and well- behaved congregation at Newcastle-under-Lyne. (Observe, that is the name of the river which runs above the town.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Perhaps my last Sermon

Fri 26 Mar 1790: I finished my sermon on the Wedding Garment; perhaps the last that I shall write. My eyes are now waxed dim; my natural force is abated. However, while I can, I would fain do a little for God before I drop into the dust.
In the evening I preached to a crowded audience at Salop, on, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace." But I was much ashamed for them. The moment I had done speaking, I suppose fifty of them were talking all at once; and no wonder they had neither sense nor good manners, for they were gentlefolks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Classes

Thu 25 Mar 1742: I appointed several earnest and sensible men to meet me, to whom I showed the great difficulty I had long found of knowing the people who desired to be under my care. After much discourse, they all agreed there could be no better way to come to a sure, thorough knowledge of each person, than to divide them into classes like those at Bristol, under the inspection of those in whom I could most confide. This was the origin of our classes at London, for which I can never sufficiently praise God; the unspeakable usefulness of the institution having ever since been more and more manifest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wapping

Wed 24 Mar 1742: I preached for the last time in the French chapel at Wapping, on, ‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.’

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sailing to Holyhead

Tue 23 Mar 1773: We embarked again on board the Freemason, with six other cabin passengers, four gentlemen, and two gentlewomen, one of whom was daily afraid of falling in labour. This gave me several opportunities of talking closely and of praying with her and her companion. We did not come abreast of Holyhead till Thursday morning. We had then a strong gale, and a rolling sea. Most of the passengers were sick enough, but it did not affect me at all. In the evening the gentlemen desired I would pray with them; so we concluded the day in a solemn and comfortable manner.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Aground

Mon 22 Mar 1773: The Captain was in haste to get my chaise on board. About eleven we went on board ourselves: And before one, we ran on a sandbank. So, the ship being fast, we went ashore again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Furious Storm

Sun 21 Mar 1779: Just at the time of preaching at Bromwich Heath, began such a storm as that which ushered in the year. Yet as no house could contain the people, I was constrained to stand in the courtyard. For a moment I was afraid of the [roof] tiles falling on the people; but they regarded nothing but the Word. As I concluded, we had a furious shower of hail: hitherto could the prince of the power of the air go, but no farther.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We Can't Have This

18 Mar 1790: We went on to Stourport, which is now full twice as large as it was two years ago. The first chapel was built about three years ago, by the joint contributions of Arminians and Calvinists, agreeing that they should preach by turns. But in a short time the poor Arminians were locked out. On this one or two gentlemen built another, far larger and more commodious. But it was not large enough to contain them in the evening, to whom I explained that solemn passage in the Revelation, "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God." They seemed to be all serious and attentive as long as I was speaking; but the moment I ceased, fourscore or one hundred began talking all at once. I do not remember ever to have been present at such a scene before. This must be amended; otherwise (if I should live) I will see Stourport no more.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Driving a Bull into the Congregation

Fri 19 Mar 1742: I rode once more to Pensford, at the earnest request of several serious people. The place where they desired me to preach was a little green spot near the town. But I had no sooner begun than a great company of rabble, hired (as we afterwards found) for that purpose, came furiously upon us, bringing a bull which they had been baiting, and now strove to drive in among the people. But the beast was wiser than his drivers, and continually ran, either on one side of us or the other, while we quietly sang praise to God and prayed for about an hour. The poor wretches, finding themselves disappointed, at length seized upon the bull, now weak and tired, after having been so long torn and beaten both by dogs and men, and by main strength partly dragged and partly thrust him in among the people. When they had forced their way to the little table on which I stood, they strove several times to throw it down, by thrusting the helpless beast against it, who of himself stirred no more than a log of wood. I once or twice put aside his head with my hand, that the blood might not drop upon my clothes; intending to go on as soon as the hurry should be a little over. But the table falling down, some of our friends caught me in their arms and carried me right away on their shoulders; while the rabble wreaked their vengeance on the table, which they tore bit from bit. We went a little way off, where I finished my discourse without any noise or interruption.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

At Worcester

Thu 18 Mar 1779: Upon inquiry, I found there had been no morning preaching [at Worcester] since the Conference! So the people were of course weak and faint. At noon, I preached in Bewdley, in an open space at the head of the town, to a very numerous and quiet congregation. Here Mrs. Clark informed me, ‘This day twelvemonth I found peace with God; and the same day my son, till then utterly thoughtless, was convinced of sin. Some time after, he died, rejoicing in God and praising him with his latest breath.’

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When to sit and when to stand

Wed 17 March 1784: We went to Cheltenham, which I had not seen for many years. I preached at noon to half a houseful of hearers, most of them cold and dead enough. I expected to find the same at Tewksbury but was agreeably disappointed. Not only the congregation was much larger, but I admired their teachableness. On my mentioning the impropriety of standing at prayer and sitting while we were singing praise to God, they all took advice, kneeling while we prayed and stood up while we sung Psalms.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Christian Perfection

Tue 16 Mar 1773: Worcester. Here I inquired concerning the "Intelligence sent Mr. Hill from Worcester," (as he says in his warm book,) "of the shocking behaviour of some that professed to be perfect." It was supposed, that intelligence came from Mr. Skinner, a dear lover of me and all connected with me. The truth is, one of the society, after having left it, behaved extremely ill; but none who professed to love God with all their heart have done any thing contrary to that profession.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Wesley's Big Fear

Mon 15 Mar 1784: Leaving Bristol after preaching at five, in the evening I preached at Stroud, where to my surprise, I found the morning preaching was given up, as also in the neighbouring places. If this be the case while I am alive, what must it be when I am gone? Give up this, and Methodism too will degenerate into a mere sect, only distinguished by some opinions and modes of worship.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Strangers' Society

Sun Mar 14 1790 was a comfortable day. In the morning I met the Strangers' Society, instituted wholly for the relief, not of our society, but for poor, sick, friendless strangers. I do not know that I ever heard or read of such an institution till within a few years ago. So this also is one of the fruits of Methodism.

Which of these will endure to the end?

Sun March 14 1736 [Savannah]: Having before given notice of my design to do so every Sunday and holiday, according to the rules of our Church, I administered the Holy Communion to eighteen persons. Which of these will endure to the end?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A genuine old Methodist

Sat 13 Mar 1784: About nine, I preached at Trowbridge, where a large congregation attended. Returning to Bristol, I lodged once more at E.J.’s, a genuine old Methodist. God has lately taken away her only brother, as well as her beloved sister. But she was still able to say, ‘It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.’

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two vulgar errors

Fri 12 March 1784: Being at Samuel Rayner’s in Bradford-on-Avon, I was convinced of two vulgar errors: the one, that nightingales will not live in cages; the other, that they only sing a month or two in the year. He has now three nightingales in cages, and they sing almost all day long, from November to August

National Prayer and Fasting

Fri 12 Mar 1762: The National Fast was observed all over London with great solemnity. Surely God is well pleased even with this acknowledgment that He governs the world; and even the outward humiliation of a nation may be rewarded with outward blessings.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A true daughter of affliction

Thur 11 March 1762: I buried the remains of Mary Ramsey, a true daughter of affliction, worn out by a cancer in her breast, with a variety of other disorders. To these was added, for a time, great darkness of mind; the body pressing down the soul. Yet she did not murmur or repine, much less charge God foolishly. It was not long before he restored the light of his countenance; and shortly after she fell asleep.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The plain case is, she is tormented by an evil spirit

Wed 10 Mar 1742: I was with a gentlewoman whose distemper has puzzled the most eminent physicians for many years; it being such as they could neither give any rational account of nor find any remedy for. The plain case is, she is tormented by an evil spirit, following her day and night. Yea, try all your drugs over and over; but at length it will plainly appear that ‘this kind goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting.’

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

If I must dispute, let it be with men of sense

Mon 8 Mar 1762: I retired to Lewisham, to answer Dr. Horne’s ingenious "Sermon on Justification by Works." O that I might dispute with no man! But if I must dispute, let it be with men of sense.

Monday, March 8, 2010

‘He will soon be well; he is ready for the Bridegroom.’

Mon Mar 8 1736: This evening one of the Moravians, who had been long ill of a consumption, found himself much worse. On my mentioning it to Bishop Nitschmann he smiled and said, ‘He will soon be well; he is ready for the Bridegroom.’

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ministry at Savannah Begins

Sun Mar 7 1736: I entered upon my ministry at Savannah, by preaching on the Epistle for the day, being the thirteenth of the First of Corinthians. In the Second Lesson, Luke 18, was our Lord’s prediction of the treatment which he himself (and consequently his followers) was to meet with from the world; and his gracious promise to those who are content nudi nudum Christum sequi: ‘Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house or friends or brethren or wife or children for the kingdom of God’s sake, which shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come everlasting life.’
Yet notwithstanding these plain declarations of our Lord, notwithstanding my own repeated experience, notwithstanding the experience of all the sincere followers of Christ whom I have ever talked with, read, or heard of; nay, and the reason of the thing, evincing to a demonstration that all who love not the light must hate him who is continually labouring to pour it in upon them; I do here bear witness against myself that when I saw the number of people crowding into the church, the deep attention with which they received the Word, and the seriousness that afterwards sat on all their faces, I could scarce refrain from giving the lie to experience and reason and Scripture all together. I could hardly believe that the greater, the far greater part of this attentive, serious people, would hereafter trample under foot that Word, and say all manner of evil falsely of him that spake it. O who can believe what their heart abhors? Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! Let us love thy cross! Then shall we believe. ‘If we suffer with thee, we shall also reign with thee!’

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Savannah, American Colony

Sat Mar 6 1736: I had a long conversation with John Regnier, the son of a gentleman who, being driven out of France on account of his religion, settled at Vevey in Switzerland, and practised physic there. His father died while he was a child. Some years after he told his mother he was desirous to leave Switzerland, and to retire into some other country, where he might be free from the temptations which he could not avoid there. When her consent was at length obtained he agreed with a master of a vessel, with whom he went to Holland by land, thence to England, and from England to Pennsylvania. He was provided with money, books, and drugs, intending to follow his father’s profession. But no sooner was he come to Philadelphia than the captain, who had borrowed his money before, instead of repaying it, demanded the full pay for his passage, and under that pretence seized on all his effects. He then left him in a strange country, where he could not speak to be understood, without necessaries, money, or friends. In this condition he thought it best to sell himself for a servant, which he accordingly did, for seven years. When about five were expired he fell sick of a lingering illness, which made him useless to his master; who, after it had continued half a year, would not keep him any longer, but turned him out to shift for himself. He first tried to mend shoes, but soon after joined himself to some French Protestants, and learned to make buttons. He then went and lived with an Anabaptist; but soon after hearing an account of the Moravians in Georgia, walked from Pennsylvania thither, where he found the rest which he had so long sought in vain.

"The poor machine cannot be repaired in this life"

Sat 6 Mar 1784: I spent a few melancholy minutes at Mr. Henderson’s with the lost Louisa. She is now in a far more deplorable case than ever. She used to be mild, though silly, but now she is quite furious. I doubt the poor machine cannot be repaired in this life.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Doctrine of Assurance

Fri 5 Mar 1742: I talked with one who used frequently to say, ‘I pray God I may never have this new faith. I desire that I may not know my sins forgiven, till I come to die.’ But as she was some weeks since reading the Bible at home, the clear light broke in upon her soul. She knew all her sins were blotted out and cried aloud, ‘My Lord and my God.’
In the evening I expounded, ‘This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.’ We afterwards admitted several new members into the society, and were greatly comforted together.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

‘Be not righteous overmuch’

Thur 4 Mar 1742: About noon I preached at Llanishen, and was afterward much refreshed in meeting the little, earnest society. I preached at Cardiff at seven, on ‘Be not righteous overmuch,’ to a larger congregation than before; and then exhorted the society to fear only the being over-wicked, or the falling short of the full image of God.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Celebrated Museum"

Wed Mar 3 1773: I was invited to see Mr. Cox's celebrated museum. I cannot say, my expectation was disappointed; for I expected nothing, and I found nothing but a heap of pretty, glittering trifles, prepared at an immense expense: For what end? To please the fancy of fine ladies and pretty gentlemen.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

MR. WESLEY'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

[Today, 2 March is the anniversary of John Wesley's death. Thanks to Kaye Hammett Evans for reminding me.]
MR. WESLEY'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
In the name of God, Amen.
I, JOHN WESLEY, Clerk, some time Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, revoking all others, appoint this to be my last Will and Testament.
I give all my books, now on sale, and the copies of them, (only subject to a rent-charge of eighty-five pounds a year, to the widow and children of my brother,) to my faithful friends, John Horton, Merchant; George Wolff, Merchant; and William Marriott, Stock-Broker, all of London, in trust, for the general Fund of the Methodist Conference, in carrying on the work of God, by Itinerant Preachers; on condition that they permit the following Committee, Thomas Coke, James Creighton, Peard Dickenson, Thomas Rankin, George Whitfield, and the London Assistant, for the time being, still to superintend the printing-press, and to employ Hannah Paramore and George Paramore, as heretofore; unless four of the Committee judge a change to be needful.
I give the books, furniture, and whatever else belongs to me in the three houses at Kingswood, in trust, to Thomas Coke, Alexander Mather, and Henry Moore, to be still employed in teaching and maintaining the children of poor Travelling Preachers.
I give to Thomas Coke, Doctor John Whitehead, and Henry Moore, all the books which are in my study and bedchamber at London, and in my studies elsewhere, in trust, for the use of the Preachers who shall labour there from time to time.
I give the coins, and whatever else is found in the drawer of my bureau at London, to my dear grand-daughters, Mary and Jane Smith.
I give all my manuscripts to Thomas Coke, Doctor Whitehead, and Henry Moore, to be burned or published as they see good. I give whatever money remains in my bureau and pockets, at my decease, to be equally divided between Thomas Briscoe, William Collins, John Easton, and Isaac Brown.
I desire my gowns, cassocks, sashes, and bands, may remain in the chapel for the use of the Clergymen attending there.
I desire the London Assistant, for the time being, to divide the rest of my wearing apparel between those four of the Travelling Preachers that want it most; only my pelisse I give to the Rev. Mr. Creighton; my watch to my friend Joseph Bradford; my gold seal to Elizabeth Ritchie.
I give my chaise and horses to James Ward and Charles Wheeler, in trust, to be sold, and the money to be divided, one half to Hannah Abbott, and the other to the members of the select society.
Out of the first money which arises from the sale of books, I bequeath to my dear sister, Martha Hall, (if alive,) forty pounds; to Mr. Creighton aforesaid, forty pounds; and to the Rev. Mr. Heath, sixty pounds.
And whereas I am empowered, by a late Deed, to name the persons who are to preach in the new chapel, at London, (the Clergymen for a continuance,) and by another Deed, to name a Committee for appointing Preachers, in the new chapel, at Bath, I do hereby appoint John Richardson, Thomas Coke, James Creighton, Peard Dickenson, Clerks; Alexander Mather, William Thompson, Henry Moore, Andrew Blair, John Valton, Joseph Bradford, James Rogers, and William Myles, to preach in the new chapel at London, and to be the Committee for appointing Preachers in the new chapel at Bath.
I likewise appoint Henry Brooke, Painter; Arthur Keene, Gent.; and William Whitestone, Stationer, all of Dublin, to receive the annuity of five pounds, (English,) left to Kingswood School, by the late Roger Shiel, Esq.
I give six pounds to be divided among the six poor men, named by the Assistant, who shall carry my body to the grave; for I particularly desire there may be no hearse, no coach, no escutcheon, no pomp, except the tears of them that loved me, and are following me to Abraham’s bosom. I solemnly adjure my Executors, in the name of God, punctually to observe this.
Lastly, I give to each of those Travelling Preachers who shall remain in the Connexion six months after my decease, as a little token of my love, the eight volumes of sermons.
I appoint John Horton, George Wolff, and William Marriott, aforesaid, to be Executors of this my last Will and Testament; for which trouble they will receive no recompence till the resurrection of the just.
Witness my hand and seal, the 20th day of February, 1789.18
JOHN WESLEY. (Seal.)

Signed, sealed, and delivered, by the said Testator, as and for his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us,
WILLIAM CLULOW,
ELIZABETH CLULOW.
Should there be any part of my personal estate undisposed of by this my last Will, I give the same unto my two nieces, E. Ellison, and S. Collet, equally.
JOHN WESLEY.
WILLIAM CLULOW,
ELIZABETH CLULOW.

In Savannah, American Colony

Sun 29 Feb 1736: Hearing Mr. Oglethorpe did not come any more to Savannah before he went to Frederica, I was obliged to go down to the ship again (Mr. Spangenberg following me thither), and receive his orders and instructions on several heads. From him we went to public prayers; after which we were refreshed by several letters from England. Upon which I could not but observe how careful our Lord is to repay whatever we give up on his account. When I left England I was chiefly afraid of two things: one, that I should never again have so many faithful friends as I left there; the other, that the spark of love which began to kindle in their hearts would cool and die away. But who knoweth the mercy and power of God! From ten friends I am awhile secluded, and he hath opened me a door into the whole Moravian church. And as to the very persons I left behind, his Spirit is gone forth so much the more, teaching them not to trust in man, but ‘in him that raiseth the dead’, ‘and calleth the things that are not, as though they were’.
About four, having taken leave of Mr. Spangenberg, who was the next morning to set out for Pennsylvania, I returned to Savannah.

Journals we'll be following from March 2010

Because of leap years, the journals that match the current year (day and date) changes each year. From 1 March I will be following JW's journals in which the 1 March was a Monday, i.e. 1736, 1742, 1762, 1773, 1779, 1784 & 1790. This should be quite interesting because 1736 marks his somewhat messy and disasterous work in America, while 1790 is his last journal.

"Five causes why a man should drink"

Sun, Mon & Tue 28 Feb-2 Mar 1748: In the evening I read prayers at our inn, and preached to a large and serious audience. I did the same on Monday and Tuesday evening. Perhaps our stay here may not be in vain.
I never knew men make such poor, lame excuses as these captains did for not sailing. It put me in mind of the epigram:
"There are, if rightly I methink,
Five causes why a man should drink;"
which, with a little alteration, would just suit them:
"There are, unless my memory fail,
Five causes why we should not sail.
The fog is thick; the wind is high;
It rains; or may do by and by:
Or – any other reason why."

Monday, March 1, 2010

By what authority am I suspended from preaching?

Sun 28 Feb and Mon 1 Mar 1742: In the evening I set out for Wales. I lay that night about six miles from Bristol, and preached in the morning, March 1, to a few of the neighbours. We then hastened to the passage; but the boat was gone, half an hour before the usual time. So I was obliged to wait till five in the afternoon. We then set out with a fair breeze. But when we were nearly half over the river the wind entirely failed. The boat could not bear up against the ebbing tide, but was driven down among the rocks, on one of which we made shift to scrabble up, whence about seven we got to land.
That night I went forward about five miles, and the next morning came to Cardiff. There I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jones of Fonmon, still pressing on into all the fullness of God. I rode with him to Wenvoe. The church was thoroughly filled, while I explained the former part of the Second Lesson, concerning the barren fig tree; and the power of the Lord was present, both to wound and to heal.
I explained in the evening at Fonmon, though in weakness and pain, how ‘Jesus saveth us from our sins.’ The next morning at eight I preached at Bonvilston, a little town four miles from Fonmon. Thence I rode to Llantrisant and sent to the minister to desire the use of his church. His answer was, he should have been very willing; but the bishop had forbidden him. By what law? I am not legally convict, either of heresy or any other crime. By what authority then am I suspended from preaching? By barefaced arbitrary power.
Another clergyman immediately offered me his church. But it being too far off I preached in a large room, spent a little time with the society in prayer and exhortation, and then took horse for Cardiff.