Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They Lied for the Church

29&30 Nov 1762: I retired, to transcribe my answer to Bishop Warburton. My fragments of time I employed in reading, and carefully considering, the lives of Magdalen de Pazzi, and some other eminent Romish saints. I could not but observe, 1. That many things related therein are highly improbable. I fear the relators did not scruple lying for the Church, or for the credit of their Order: 2. That many of their reputed virtues were really no virtues at all; being no fruits of the love of God or man, and no part of the mind which was in Christ Jesus: 3. That many of their applauded actions were neither commendable nor imitable: 4. That what was really good, in their tempers or lives, was so deeply tinctured with enthusiasm, that most readers would be far more likely to receive hurt than good from these accounts of them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The very essence of true religion

Fri 26 to Mon 29 Nov 1784: I returned to London. Sunday 28, I preached a charity sermon at St. Paul’s, Covent Garden. It is the largest and the best constructed parish church that I have preached in for several years. Yet some hundreds were obliged to go away, not being able to get in. I strongly enforced the necessity of that humble, gentle, patient love, which is the very essence of true religion. Monday 29 in the evening, I preached at Hinxworth in Miss Harvey’s new house.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So dead a congregation have I scarce seen

Sun 28 Nov 1742: I preached both at five in the room, and at eight in the hospital, on ‘Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.’ We then walked over to Tanfield Lea, about seven miles from Newcastle. Here a large company of people were gathered together from all the country round about, to whom I expounded the former part of the fifth chapter to the Romans. But so dead, senseless, unaffected a congregation have I scarce seen, except at Whickham. Whether gospel or law, or English or Greek, seemed all one to them!
Yet the seed sown even here was not quite lost. For on Thursday morning, between four and five, John Brown, then of Tanfield Lea, was waked out of sleep by the voice that raiseth the dead. And ever since he has been full of love and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
At four I preached in the Hospital Square to the largest congregation I had seen since we left London, on Jesus Christ ‘our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption’.

Friday, November 26, 2010

St Patrick did not convert Ireland to Christianity

So on Friday 26, I took coach again and on Saturday reached London.
In this journey I read Dr. Warner’s History of Ireland, from its first settlement to the English conquest. And after calm deliberation, I make no scruple to pronounce it a mere senseless romance. I do not believe one leaf of it is true from the beginning to the end. I totally reject the authorities on which he builds: I will not take Flagherty’s or Keating’s word for a farthing. I doubt not, Ireland was, before the Christian era, full as barbarous as Scotland or England. Indeed it appears from their own accounts that the Irish in general were continually plundering and murdering each other from the earliest ages to that period. And so they were ever since, by the account of Dr. Warner himself, till they were restrained by the English. How then were they converted by St. Patrick (cousin-german to St. George!)? To what religion? Not to Christianity. Neither in his age nor the following had they the least savour of Christianity, either in their lives or their tempers.

Cold kept them from falling asleep while I preached

Fri 26 Nov 1742: Between twelve and one I preached in a convenient ground at Whickham, two or three miles from Newcastle. I spoke strong, rough words; but I did not perceive that any regarded what was spoken. The people indeed were exceeding quiet, and the cold kept them from falling asleep, till (before two) I left them, very well satisfied with the preacher and with themselves.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Roaring (? “Toronto Blessing”) as JW Preaches

Thu 25 Nov 1742: In the evening God was pleased to wound many more who were quiet and at ease. And I could not but observe that here the very best people, so called, were as deeply convinced as open sinners. Several of these were now constrained to roar aloud for the disquietness of their hearts; and these generally not young (as in most other places), but either middle-aged or well stricken in years.
I never saw a work of God, in any other place, so evenly and gradually carried on. It continually rises step by step. Not so much seems to be done at any one time as hath frequently been at Bristol or London; but something at every time. It is the same with particular souls. I saw none in that triumph of faith which has been so common in other places. But the believers go on, calm and steady. Let God do as seemeth him good.

I might as well have preached in Greek

Thu 25 Nov 1784: I desired the people would sit below in the morning, supposing not many would be present. But I was much mistaken. Notwithstanding the darkness and rain, the house was filled both above and below. And never did I see the people who appeared more ready prepared for the Lord. Returning through Brackley, I was informed that notice had been given of my preaching there at nine in the town-hall. So I began without delay. The congregation was large and attentive, but seemed to understand me no more than if I had been talking Greek. But the society seemed alive to God and striving to enter in at the strait gate.
In the evening, I preached at poor, dead Towcester. But is not God able to raise the dead? There was a considerable shaking among the dry bones. And who knows but these dry bones may live?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Local Preachers Rebel against JW and Appeal to Conference

Mon 22 Nov 1779: My brother and I set out for Bath, on a very extraordinary occasion. Some time since, Mr. Smyth, a clergyman whose labours God had greatly blessed in the north of Ireland, brought his wife over to Bath, who had been for some time in a declining state of health. I desired him to preach every Sunday evening in our chapel, while he remained there. But as soon as I was gone Mr. McNab, one of our preachers, vehemently opposed that; affirming it was the common cause of all the lay preachers; that they were appointed by the Conference, not by me, and would not suffer the clergy to ride over their heads—Mr. Smyth in particular, of whom he said all manner of evil. Others warmly defended him. Hence the society was torn in pieces and thrown into the utmost confusion. On Tuesday 23, I read to the society a paper which I wrote near twenty years ago on a like occasion. Herein I observed that ‘the rules of our preachers were fixed by me, before any Conference existed’, particularly the twelfth: ‘Above all, you are to preach when and where I appoint.’ By obstinately opposing which rule Mr. McNab has made all this uproar. In the morning, at a meeting of the preachers, I informed Mr. McNab that as he did not agree to our fundamental rule, I could not receive him as one of our preachers till he was of another mind. On Wednesday 24, I read the same paper to the society at Bristol, as I found the flame had spread thither also. A few at Bath separated from us on this account; but the rest were thoroughly satisfied.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

“Toronto Blessing” when JW preaches

Tue 23 Nov 1742: There seemed in the evening to be a deeper work in many souls than I had observed before. Many trembled exceedingly; six or seven (both men and women) dropped down as dead. Some cried unto God out of the deep; others would have cried, but their voice was lost. And some have found that the Lord is ‘gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin’.

Why did I come to America

Tue 23 Nov 1736: Mr. Oglethorpe sailed for England, leaving Mr. Ingham, Mr. Delamotte, and me at Savannah, but with less prospect of preaching to the Indians than we had the first day we set foot in America. Whenever I mentioned it, it was immediately replied, ‘You can’t leave Savannah without a minister.’ To this indeed my plain answer was, ‘I know not that I am under any obligation to the contrary. I never promised to stay here one month. I openly declared both before, at, and ever since my coming hither, that I neither would nor could take charge of the English any longer than till I could go among the Indians.’ If it was said, ‘But did not the Trustees of Georgia appoint you to be minister of Savannah?’ I replied, ‘They did; but it was not done by my solicitation: it was done without either my desire or knowledge. Therefore I cannot conceive that appointment to lay me under any obligation of continuing there any longer than till a door is opened to the heathens. And this I expressly declared at the time I consented to accept of that appointment.’ But though I had no other obligation not to leave Savannah now, yet that of love I could not break through; I could not resist the importunate request of the more serious parishioners to watch over their souls yet a little longer, till someone came who might supply my place. And this I the more willingly did because the time was not come to preach the gospel of peace to the heathens, all their nations being in a ferment; and Paustoobee and Mingo Mattaw having told me, in terms, in my own house, ‘Now our enemies are all about us, and we can do nothing but fight; but if the beloved ones should ever give us to be at peace, then we would hear the Great Word.’

Monday, November 22, 2010

John Wesley the Doctor

Mon 22 Nov 1784: I preached at Northampton and, on Tuesday 23, at Whittlebury. Here my servant was seized with a fever, attended with eruptions all over, as big as peppercorns. I took knowledge of the ‘prickly heat’, as we called it in Georgia, termed by Dr. Heburden, the ‘nettle rash’, and assured him he would be well in four and twenty hours. He was so, and drove us on to Banbury, where, on Wednesday 24, I met with a hearty welcome from Mr. George, formerly a member of the London society. The Presbyterian minister offering me the use of his meeting, I willingly accepted his offer. It was, I believe, capable of containing near as many people as the chapel at West Street. But it would not near contain the congregation. And God uttered his voice, yea, and that a mighty voice; neither the sorrow nor the joy which was felt that night will quickly be forgotten.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Preaching in Room and Hospital

Sun 21 Nov 1742: After preaching in the room at five, I began preaching about eight at the hospital. It rained all the time; but that did not disturb either me or the congregation, while I explained, ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.’

Saturday, November 20, 2010

JW’s House Broken-into

Sat 20 Nov 1784: At three in the morning, two or three men broke into our house through the kitchen window. Thence they came up into the parlour and broke open Mr. More’s bureau, where they found two or three pounds. The night before, I had prevented his leaving there seventy pounds, which he had just received. They next broke open the cupboard and took away some silver spoons. Just at this time the alarm, which Mr. Moore by mistake had set for half past three (instead of four) went off, as it usually did, with a thundering noise. At this, the thieves ran away with all speed, though their work was not half done, and the whole damage which we sustained scarce amounted to six pounds.

Friday, November 19, 2010

God takes their sight away

Fri 19 Nov 1742: I found the first witness of this good confession. Margaret H—— (O how fallen since then!) told me that the night before her sight (an odd circumstance) and her strength were taken away at once. At the same time the love of God so overflowed her soul that she could not speak or move.
James R—— also gave me an account today that in going home the day before he lost his sight in a moment, and was forced to catch hold of some rails for fear of falling. He continues under strong conviction, longing for the salvation of God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The different manner wherein God is pleased to work

Thu 18 Nov 1742: I could not but observe the different manner wherein God is pleased to work in different places. The grace of God flows here [Newcastle] with a wider stream than it did at first either in Bristol or Kingswood. But it does not sink so deep as it did there. Few are thoroughly convinced of sin, and scarce any can witness that the Lamb of God has taken away their sins.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

They lived like believers

Wed 17 Nov 1762: I rode on to Sevenoaks. But it was with much difficulty; for it was a sharp frost, and our horses could very hardly keep their feet. Here, likewise, I found several who believed that God had cleansed them from all sin; and all of them (except perhaps one) lived so that one might believe them.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How the Americans have betrayed King George

Sat 13 to Sat 20 Nov 1779: I had the pleasure of an hour’s conversation with Mr. Galloway, one of the members of the first Congress in America. He unfolded a strange tale indeed! How has poor King George been betrayed on every side! But this is our comfort: there is One higher than they. And He will command all things to work together for good.
The following week I examined the rest of our society, but did not find such an increase as I expected. Nay, there was a considerable decrease, plainly owing to a senseless jealousy that had crept in between our preachers, which had grieved the Holy Spirit of God and greatly hindered his work.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reprove those who walk disorderly

Mon 15 Nov 1742: I began at five expounding the Acts of the Apostles. In the afternoon (and every afternoon this week) I spoke severally with the members of the society. On Tuesday evening I began the Epistle to the Romans. After sermon the society met. I reproved some among them who walked disorderly; and earnestly besought them all to beware lest, by reason of their sins, the way of truth should be evil spoken of.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hail stops for JW to Preach

Sun 14 Nov 1742: I began preaching at five o’clock (a thing never heard of before in these parts), on, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ And the victorious sweetness of the grace of God was present with his word. At ten we went to All Saints’, where was such a number of communicants as I have scarce seen but at Bristol or London. At four I preached in the square of the Keelman’s Hospital, on, ‘By grace ye are saved, through faith.’ It rained and hailed hard, both before and after; but there were only some scattering drops while I preached, which frightened away a few careless hearers. I met the society at six, and exhorted all who had ‘set their hand to the plough’ not to ‘look back’.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Wild Society

Sat 13 Nov 1742: I reached Newcastle. My brother had been here for some weeks before and was but just returned to London. At eight I met the wild, staring, loving society. But not them alone, as I had designed. For we could not persuade the strangers to leave us. So that we only spent about an hour in prayer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dogmatical

Fri 12 Nov 1756: I read over Leusden’s dissertation in defence of the Hebrew points, and was fully convinced there is at least as much to be said on this as on the other side of the question. But how is it that men are so positive on both sides, while demonstration is to be had on neither? Certainly to be peremptory and dogmatical can never be so inexcusable as in a point so doubtful as this!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Poor, loving, simple-hearted people

9-12 Nov 1773: I preached at Bury; and on Wednesday, at Colchester, where I spent a day or two with much satisfaction, among a poor, loving, simple-hearted people. I returned to London on Friday, and was fully employed in visiting the classes from that time to Saturday, 20.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We will leave the church

8-12 Nov 1762: I began visiting the classes; in many of which we had hot spirits to deal with. Some were vehement for, some against, the meetings for prayer, which were in several parts of the town. I said little, being afraid of taking any step which I might afterwards repent of. One I heard of on Friday, and five on Saturday, who, if I did not act as they thought best, would leave the society. I cannot help it. I must still be guided by my own conscience.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let’s electrocute some people (never mind what the doctors say)

Tue 9 Nov 1756: Having procured an apparatus on purpose, I ordered several persons to be electrified, who were ill of various disorders, some of whom found an immediate, some a gradual cure. From this time I appointed, first some hours in every week and afterward some hours in every day, wherein any that desired it might try the virtue of this surprising medicine. Two or three years after, our patients were so numerous that we were obliged to divide them; so part were electrified in Southwark, part at the Foundery, others near St. Paul’s, and the rest near the Seven Dials. The same method we have taken ever since. And to this day, while hundreds, perhaps thousands, have received unspeakable good, I have not known one man, woman, or child, who has received any hurt thereby. So that when I hear any talk of the danger of being electrified (especially if they are medical men who talk so), I cannot but impute it to great want either of sense or honesty.

Monday, November 8, 2010

On death row

Mon 8 Nov 1784: This week, I visited the societies near London, a very heavy but necessary work. Thursday 18, I visited two persons in Newgate who were under sentence of death. They seemed to be in an excellent temper, calmly resigned to the will of God. But how much stress can be reasonably laid on such impressions it is hard to say. So often have I known them vanish away as soon as ever the expectation of death was removed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hebrews

Sun 7 Nov 1742: I concluded the Epistle to the Hebrews, that strong barrier against the too prevailing imagination that the privileges of Christian believers are to be measured by those of the Jews. Not so: that Christians are under ‘a better covenant’, established upon better promises; that although ‘the law made nothing perfect’, made none perfect either in holiness or happiness, yet ‘the bringing in of a better hope did, by which we’ now ‘draw nigh unto God’—this is the great truth continually inculcated herein, and running through this whole Epistle.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pascal Paoli

Sat 6 Nov 1784: I was an hour or two in conversation with that truly great man, Pascal Paoli, who is a tall, well-made, graceful man, about sixty years of age, but he does not look to be above forty. He appears to have a real regard for the public good, and much of the fear of God. He has a strong understanding and seemed to be acquainted with every branch of polite literature. On my saying, ‘He had met with much the same treatment with that of an ancient lover of his country, Hannibal,’ he immediately answered, ‘But I have never yet met with a King of Bithynia.’

Friday, November 5, 2010

I saw her, but in her coffin

6 Nov 1762: In the way to London I read "The Death of Abel." That manner of writing, in prose run mad, I cordially dislike: Yet, with all that disadvantage, it is excellent in its kind; as much above most modern poems, as it is below "Paradise Lost."
I had hopes of seeing a friend at Lewisham in my way; and so I did; but it was in her coffin. It is well, since she finished her course with joy. In due time I shall see her in glory.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I have better work to do

5-8 Nov 1773: I preached at noon to the warm congregation at Loddon, and in the evening to the cold one at Yarmouth. I know there is nothing too hard for God; else I should go thither no more. Monday, 8. I found the society at Lakenheath was entirely vanished away. I joined them together once more, and they seriously promised to keep together. If they do, I shall endeavour to see them again; if not, I have better work.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

‘Prophets’ desired to speak with me

Wed 3 Nov 1742: Two of those who are called ‘prophets’ desired to speak with me. They told me they were sent from God with a message to me, which was that very shortly I should be ‘borned’ again. One of them added that they would stay in the house till it was done, unless I turned them out. I answered gravely, ‘I will not turn you out,’ and showed them down into the society room. It was tolerably cold, and they had neither meat nor drink. However, there they sat from morning to evening. They then went quietly away, and I have heard nothing from them since.

Calvinism had torn the society in pieces

Mon – Wed 1-3 Nov 1773: I set out for Norfolk, and came to Lynn while the congregation was waiting for me. Here was once a prospect of doing much good; but it was almost vanished away. Calvinism, breaking in upon them, had torn the infant society in pieces. I did all I could to heal the breach, both in public and private; and, having recovered a few, I left them all in peace, and went on to Norwich on Wednesday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints’ Day

Mon 1 Nov 1756: Was a day of triumphant joy, as All Saints’ Day generally is. How superstitious are they who scruple giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints!