Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Danger of being intercepted, or killed by the French there

Wed 30 Jun 1736: I hoped a door was opened for going up immediately to the Choctaws, the least polished, i.e., the least corrupted, of all the Indian nations. But upon my informing Mr. Oglethorpe of our design, he objected, not only the danger of being intercepted, or killed by the French there; but much more the inexpediency of leaving Savannah destitute of a minister. These objections I related to our brethren in the evening, who were all of opinion, ‘We ought not to go yet.’

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A flood of cursing and bitterness

Tue 29 Jun 1742: I was desired to visit one in Newgate. As I was coming out, poor Benjamin Rutter stood in my way and poured out such a flood of cursing and bitterness as I scarce thought was to be found out of hell.
From Thursday, July 1, till Monday, I endeavoured to compose the little differences which had arisen. On Monday I rode to Cardiff and found much peace and love in the little society there. Tue. 6. I rode over to Fonmon and found Mrs. Jones thoroughly resigned to God, although feeling what it was to lose an husband, and such an husband, in the strength of his years!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Disputing had done much mischief

Mon 28 Jun 1742: I rode to Bristol. I soon found disputing had done much mischief here also. I preached on those words, ‘From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?’ Many were cut to the heart. A cry went forth; and great was the company of the mourners. But God did not leave them comfortless; some knew, in the same hour, that he had the words of eternal life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creek Indians

Sunday, June 27 1736: About twenty joined with us in Morning Prayer. An hour or two after, a large party of Creek Indians came, the expectation of whom deprived us of our place of public worship, in which they were to have their audience.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

People might know their sins were forgiven

Sat 26 Jun 1742: I was desired to call upon Mr. Walker, ‘the pillar of the church’ in these parts. As soon as I came in he fell upon me with might and main for saying people might know their sins were forgiven. And brought a great book to confute me at once. I asked if it was the Bible. And upon his answering, ‘No,’ inquired no farther, but laid it quietly down. This made him warmer still, upon which I held it best to shake him by the hand and take my leave.
I had appointed to preach in Stroud at noon. But about ten, observing it to rain faster and faster, I was afraid the poor people would not be able to come, many of whom lived some miles off. But in a quarter of an hour the rain ceased, and we had a fair, pleasant day; so that many were at the market-place while I applied the story of the Pharisee and publican, the hard rain in the morning having disengaged them from their work in the grounds. There would probably have been more disturbance, but that a drunken man began too soon, and was so senselessly impertinent that even his comrades were quite ashamed of him.
In the evening I preached on Minchinhampton Common. Many of Mr. Whitefield’s society were there, to whom, as well as to all the other sinners (without meddling with any of their opinions), I declared, in the name of the Great Physician, ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.’

Friday, June 25, 2010

Painswick

Fri 25 Jun 1742. I rode to Painswick, where in the evening I declared to all those who had been fighting and troubling one another, from the beginning hitherto, about rites and ceremonies, and modes of worship, and opinions, ‘The kingdom of God is not meats and drinks, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No more to tear each other in pieces

Thu 24 Jun 1742. I spent great part of the day in speaking with the members of the society, whom in the evening I earnestly besought no more to tear each other in pieces by disputing but to ‘follow after holiness’ and ‘provoke one another to love and to good works.’

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If you will speak only to those who are ‘willing to hear’

Wed 23 Jun 1736: I had a long conversation with Mr. - upon the nature of true religion. I then asked him why he did not endeavour to recommend it to all with whom he conversed. He said, ‘I did so once; and for some time I thought I had done much good by it. But I afterwards found they were never the better, and I myself was the worse. Therefore now, though I always strive to be inoffensive in my conversation, I don’t strive to make people religious, unless those that have a desire to be so, and are consequently willing to hear me. But I have not yet (I speak not of you or your brother) found one such person in America.’
‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!’ Mark the tendency of this accursed principle! If you will speak only to those who are ‘willing to hear’, see how many you will turn from the error of their ways! If therefore, striving to do good, you have done hurt, what then? So did St. Paul. So did the Lord of life. Even his word was ‘the savour of death’, as well as ‘the savour of life’. But shall you therefore strive no more? God forbid! Strive more humbly, more calmly, more cautiously. Do not strive as you did before—but strive, while the breath of God is in your nostrils!
Being to leave Frederica in the evening, I took the more notice of these words in the Lesson for the day: ‘Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation . . . ? They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, . . . and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’
About eleven at night we took boat. And on Saturday 26, about one in the afternoon, came to Savannah. O what do we want here, either for life or godliness! If suffering, God will send it in his time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I like nothing you do

Tue 22 Jun 1736: Observing much coldness in Mr. Horton’s behaviour, I asked him the reason of it. He answered, ‘I like nothing you do. All your sermons are satires on particular persons. Therefore I will never hear you more. And all the people are of my mind. For we won’t hear ourselves abused.
‘Beside[s], they say they are Protestants. But as for you, they can’t tell what religion you are of. They never heard of such a religion before. They don’t know what to make of it. And then, your private behaviour—All the quarrels that have been here since you came have been ‘long of you. Indeed there is neither man nor woman in the town who minds a word you say. And so you may preach long enough; but nobody will come to hear you.’
He was too warm for hearing an answer. So I had nothing to do but to thank him for his openness, and walk away.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I see little fruit

Sun 20 Jun 1742: I read prayers at Ockbrook and preached on Acts 17:27: ‘Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.’ At six in the evening I preached at Melbourne. There were many hearers. But I see little fruit.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Don't profane the day

Sat 19 Jun 1736: Mr. Oglethorpe returned from the south, and gave orders on Sunday the 20th that none should profane the day (as was usual before) by fishing or fowling upon it. In the afternoon sermon I summed up what I had seen or heard at Frederica inconsistent with Christianity, and consequently with the prosperity of the place. The event was as it ought: some of the hearers were profited, and the rest deeply offended.
This day, at half an hour past ten, God heard the prayer of his servant, and Mr. Lascelles, according to his desire, was ‘dissolved that he might be with Christ’.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Donington Park

Fri 18 June 1742. I left Sheffield, and after preaching at Ripley, by the way, hastened on to Donington Park. But Miss Cowper, I found, was gone to rest, having finished her course near three weeks before.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No swearing

Thur 17 Jun 1736: An officer of the man-of-war, walking just behind me with two or three of his acquaintance, cursed and swore exceedingly, by upon my reproving him seemed much moved, and gave me many thanks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Constant meeting

Wed 16 June 1736. Another little company of us met—Mr. Reed, Davison, Walker, Delamotte, and myself. We sung, read a little of Mr. Law, and then conversed. Wednesdays and Fridays were the days we fixed for constant meeting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There must be follow up

Tue 15 June 1742: He came [see yesterday]. I found he had occasionally exhorted multitudes of people in various parts. But after that he had taken no thought about them. So that the greater part were fallen asleep again.
In the evening I preached on the inward kingdom of God; in the morning, Wednesday 16, on the spirit of fear and the spirit of adoption.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking for David Taylor

Mon 14 June 1742: Having a great desire to see David Taylor, whom God had made an instrument of good to many souls, I rode to Sheffield; but not finding him there, I was minded to go forward immediately. However, the importunity of the people constrained me to stay, and preach both in the evening and in the morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A busy day preaching

Sun 13 June 1742: At seven I preached at Haxey, on ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Thence I went to Wroot, of which (as well as Epworth) my father was rector for several years. Mr. Whitelamb offering me the church, I preached in the morning, on ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’; in the afternoon on the difference between ‘the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith’. But the church could not contain the people; many of whom came from far. And, I trust, not in vain.
At six I preached for the last time in Epworth churchyard (being to leave the town the next morning), to a vast multitude gathered together from all parts, on the beginning of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. I continued among them for near three hours; and yet we scarce knew how to part. O let none think his labour of love is lost because the fruit does not immediately appear. Near forty years did my father labour here. But he saw little fruit of all his labour. I took some pains among this people too, and my strength also seemed spent in vain. But now the fruit appeared. There were scarce any in the town on whom either my father or I had taken any pains formerly but the seed sown so long since now sprung up, bringing forth repentance and remission of sins.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I will rather not converse with you at all

Sat June 12 1736: Being with one who was very desirous to converse with me, ‘but not upon religion’, I spoke to this effect: ‘Suppose you was going to a country where everyone spoke Latin and understood no other language, neither would converse with any that did not understand it; suppose one was sent to stay here a short time, on purpose to teach it you; suppose that person, pleased with your company, should spend his time in trifling with you, and teach you nothing of what he came for—would that be well done? Yet this is our case. You are going to a country where everyone speaks the love of God. The citizens of heaven understand no other language. They converse with none who do not understand it. Indeed none such are admitted there. I am sent from God to teach you this. A few days are allotted us for that purpose. Would it then be well done in me, because I was pleased with your company, to spend this short time in trifling, and teach you nothing of what I came for? God forbid! I will rather not converse with you at all. Of the two extremes this is the best.’

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great indeed was the shaking among them

Fri 11 June 1742: I visited the sick and those who desired but were not able to come to me. At six I preached at Upperthorpe near Haxey (a little village about two miles from Epworth), on that comfortable Scripture, ‘When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.’ I preached at Epworth about eight on Ezekiel’s vision of the resurrection of the dry bones. And great indeed was the shaking among them. Lamentation and great mourning were heard, God bowing their hearts, so that on every side, as with one accord, they lift up their voice and wept aloud. Surely he who sent his Spirit to breathe upon them will hear their cry and will help them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

At Frederica and Savannah

Thu 10 June 1736: We began to execute at Frederica what we had before agreed to do at Savannah. Our design was on Sundays in the afternoon, and every evening after public service, to spend some time with the most serious of the communicants in singing, reading, and conversation. This evening we had only Mark Hird. But on Sunday Mr. Hird and two more desired to be admitted. After a psalm and a little conversation I read Mr. Law’s Christian Perfection and concluded with another psalm.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"They have convarted my wife."

Wed 9 June 1742: I rode over to a neighbouring town to wait upon a justice of peace, a man of candour and understanding; before whom (I was informed) their angry neighbours had carried a whole waggon-load of these new heretics. But when he asked what they had done, there was a deep silence; for that was a point their conductors had forgot. At length one said, ‘Why, they pretended to be better than other people. And besides, they prayed from morning to night.’ Mr. Stovin asked, ‘But have they done nothing besides?’ ‘Yes, sir’, said an old man, ‘an’t please your worship, they have convarted my wife. Till she went among them she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb.’ ‘Carry them back, carry them back’, replied the justice, ‘and let them convert all the scolds in the town.’
I went from hence to Belton to Henry Foster’s, a young man who did once run well, but now said he saw the devil in every corner of the church, and in the face of everyone who had been there. But he was easily brought to a better mind. I preached under a shady oak, on, ‘The Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins.’ At Epworth, in the evening, I explained the story of the Pharisee and the publican. And I believe many began in that hour to cry out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What must I do to be saved?

Tue 8 June 1742: I walked to Hibaldstow (about twelve miles from Epworth) to see my brother and sister. The minister of Owston (two miles from Epworth) having sent me word I was welcome to preach in his church, I called there in my return; but his mind being changed I went to another place in the town and there explained, ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.’ At eight I largely enforced at Epworth the great truth (so little understood in what is called a Christian country), ‘Unto him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.’ I went thence to the place where the little society met, which was sufficiently thronged both within and without. Here I found some from Hainton (a town twenty miles off) who informed us that God had begun a work there also, and constrained several to cry out in the bitterness of their soul, What must I do to be saved?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Do you still desire to die?

Mon 7 June 1736: Finding him weaker [see yesterday for more info] I asked, ‘Do you still desire to die?’ He said, ‘Yes; but I dare not pray for it, for fear I should displease my heavenly Father. His will be done. Let him work his will, in my life, or in my death.’

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ready to die

Sun 6 June 1736: Calling on Mr. Lascelles, and asking how he did, ‘My departure (said he) I hope is at hand.’ I asked, ‘Are you troubled at that?’ He replied, ‘Oh no; to depart and to be with Christ is far better. I desire no more of this bad world. My hope and my joy and my love is there.’ The next time I saw him he said, ‘I desire nothing more than for God to forgive my many and great sins. I would be humble. I would be the humblest creature living. My heart is humble and broken for my sins. Tell me, teach me, what shall I do to please God? I would fain do whatever is his will.’ I said, ‘It is his will you should suffer.’ He answered, ‘Then I will suffer. I will gladly suffer whatever pleases him.’

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quietists and mystics

Sat 5 June 1742: I rode for Epworth. Before we came thither I made an end of Madam Guyon’s Short Method of Prayer and Les Torrents Spirituelles. Ah, my brethren; I can answer your riddle, now I have ploughed with your heifer. The very words I have so often heard some of you use are not your own, no more than they are God’s. They are only retailed from this poor quietist, and that with the utmost faithfulness. O that ye knew how much God is wiser than man! Then would you drop quietists and mystics together, and at all hazards keep to the plain, practical, written Word of God.
It being many years since I had been in Epworth before, I went to an inn in the middle of the town, not knowing whether there were any left in it now who would not be ashamed of my acquaintance. But an old servant of my father’s, with two or three poor women, presently found me out. I asked her, ‘Do you know any in Epworth who are in earnest to be saved?’ She answered, ‘I am, by the grace of God; and I know I am saved through faith.’ I asked, ‘Have you then the peace of God? Do you know that he has forgiven your sins?’ She replied, ‘I thank God, I know it well. And many here can say the same thing.’

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sublime nonsense; inimitable bombast

Fri 4 June 1742: At noon I preached at Birstall once more. All the hearers were deeply attentive; whom I now confidently and cheerfully committed to ‘the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls’.
Hence I rode to Beeston. Here I met once more with the works of a celebrated author, of whom many great men cannot speak without rapture, and the strongest expressions of admiration. I mean Jacob Boehme. The book I now opened was his Mysterium Magnum, or the exposition of Genesis. Being conscious of my ignorance, I earnestly besought God to enlighten my understanding. I seriously considered what I read, and endeavoured to weigh it in the balance of the sanctuary. And what can I say concerning the part I read? I can and must say thus much (and that with as full evidence as I can say that two and two make four): it is most sublime nonsense; inimitable bombast; fustian not to be paralleled! All of a piece with his inspired interpretation of the word ‘tetragrammaton’, on which (mistaking it for the unutterable name itself, whereas it means only a word consisting of four letters) he comments with exquisite gravity and solemnity, telling you the meaning of every syllable of it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A few words which a woman had inadvertently spoken had set almost all the town in a flame

Thu 3 June 1736: Being Ascension Day, we had the Holy Communion, but only Mr. Hird’s family joined with us in it. One reason why there were no more was because a few words which a woman had inadvertently spoken had set almost all the town in a flame. Alas! How shall a city stand that is thus divided against itself! Where there is no brotherly love, no meekness, no forbearing or forgiving one another; but envy, malice, revenge, suspicion, anger, clamour, bitterness, evil-speaking, without end! Abundant proof that there can be no true love of man unless it be built on the love of God.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ought not a minister of Christ to do three things

Wed 2 June 1742: I was invited to Mrs. Holmes’s, near Halifax; where I preached at noon on ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Thence I rode to Dr. Legh’s, the Vicar of Halifax, a candid inquirer after truth. I called again upon Mrs. Holmes in my return, when her sister a little surprised me by asking, ‘Ought not a minister of Christ to do three things: first to preach his law, in order to convince of sin; then to offer free pardon through faith in his blood, to all convinced sinners; and in the third place to preach his law again, as a rule for those that believe? I think if anyone does otherwise he is no true minister of Christ. He divides what God has joined, and cannot be said to preach the whole gospel.’

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Paradise

Tue June 1 1736: After praying with him I was surprised to find one of the most controverted questions in divinity, disinterested love, decided at once by a poor, old man without education or learning, or any instructor but the Spirit of God. I asked him what he thought of paradise—to which he had said he was going. He said, ‘To be sure, it is a fine place. But I don’t mind that. I don’t care what place I am in. Let God put me where he will, or do with me what he will, so I may but set forth his honour and glory.’