Friday, December 31, 2010

Watch-Night Sevices

Fri 31 Dec 1756: We had a solemn watch-night and ushered in the new year with the voice of praise and thanksgiving.

Fri 31 Dec 1779: We concluded the year at West Street with a solemn watch-night. Most of the congregation stayed till the beginning of the year and cheerfully sang together:
Glory to God, and thanks, and praise,
Who kindly lengthens out our days, etc.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

JW explores why some fall down, others cry out, etc

Thu 30 Dec 1742: I carefully examined those who had lately cried out in the congregation. Some of these, I found, could give no account at all how or wherefore they had done so, only that of a sudden they dropped down they knew not how; and what they afterwards said or did they knew not. Others could just remember they were in fear; but could not tell what they were in fear of. Several said they were afraid of the devil, and this was all they knew. But a few gave a more intelligible account of the piercing sense they then had of their sins, both inward and outward, which were set in array against them round about; of the dread they were in of the wrath of God and the punishment they had deserved, into which they seemed to be just falling, without any way to escape. One of them told me: ‘I was as if I was just falling down, from the highest place I had ever seen. I thought the devil was pushing me off, and that God had forsaken me.’ Another said, ‘I felt the very fire of hell already kindled in my breast; and all my body was in as much pain as if I had been in a burning fiery furnace.’ What wisdom is that which rebuketh these, that ‘they should hold their peace’? Nay, let such an one cry after Jesus of Nazareth, till he saith, ‘Thy faith hath made thee whole!’
At eleven I preached my farewell sermon in the Hospital Square. I never saw such a congregation there before; nor did I ever speak so searchingly. I could not conclude till one, and then both men, women, and children hung upon me, so that I knew not which way to disengage myself. After some time I got to the gate and took horse; but even then ‘a muckle woman’ (as one called her in great anger) kept her hold and ran by the horse’s side, through thick and thin, down to Sandgate. Jonathan Reeves rode with me. We reached Darlington that night, and Boroughbridge the next day.
What encouragement have we to speak for God! At our inn we met an ancient man, who seemed by his conversation never to have thought whether he had any soul or no. Before we set out I spoke a few words concerning his cursing and idle conversation. The man appeared quite broken in pieces. The tears started into his eyes. And he acknowledged (with abundance of thanks to me) his own guilt and the goodness of God.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

American Rebels

Wed 29 Dec 1779: Mr. Hatton, lately come from America, gave us an account of his strange deliverance. He was Collector of the Customs for the eastern ports of Maryland and zealous for King George. Therefore the rebels resolved to dispatch him, and a party was sent for that purpose under one Simpson, who owed him five hundred pounds. But first he sent him the following note:
We are resolved to have you dead or alive. So we advise you to give yourself up, that you may give us no more trouble.
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant.
Mr. Hatton not complying with this civil advice, a party of riflemen was sent to take him. He was just going out when a child told him they were at hand and had only time to run and get into a hollow which was under the house. The maid clapped to the trap-door and covered it over with flax. They searched the house from top to bottom, opened all the closets, turned up the beds, and finding nothing, went away. He was scarce come out when another party beset the house and came so quick that he had but just time to get in again. And the maid, not having flax enough at hand, covered the door with foul linen. When these also had wearied themselves with searching and went away, he put on his boots and great-coat, took a gun and a rug (it being a sharp frost) and crept into a little marsh near the house. A third party came quickly, swearing he must be about the house, and they would have him if he was alive. Hearing this, he stole away with full speed and lay down near the sea-shore between two hillocks, covering himself with seaweeds. They came so near that he heard one of them swear, ‘If I find him, I will hang him on the next tree.’ Another answered, ‘I will not stay for that; I will shoot him the moment I see him.’
After some time, finding they were gone, he lifted up his head and heard a shrill whistle from a man fifty or sixty yards off. He soon knew him to be a deserter from the rebel army. He asked Mr. Hatton what he designed to do, who answered, ‘Go in my boat to the English ships, which are four or five and twenty mile off.’ But the rebels had found and burned the boat. So knowing their life was gone if they stayed till the morning, they got into a small canoe (though liable to overset with a puff of wind), and set off from shore. Having rowed two or three miles, they stopped at a little island and made a fire, being almost perished with cold. But they were quickly alarmed by a boat rowing toward the shore. Mr. Hatton standing up said, ‘We have a musket and a fusee. If you load one as fast as I discharge the other, I will give a good account of them all.’ He then stepped to the shore and bade the rowers stop and tell him who they were, declaring he would fire among them if any man struck another stroke. Upon their answering, he found they were friends, being six more deserters from the rebel army. So they gladly came on shore and brought provisions with them, to those who before had neither meat nor drink. After refreshing themselves, they all went into the boat and cheerfully rowed to the English ships.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stunned, as if cut in the head.

Tue 28 Dec 1742: I preached in an open place at Swalwell, two or three miles from Newcastle. The wind was high and extremely sharp; but I saw none go away till I went. Yet I observed none that seemed to be much convinced; only stunned, as if cut in the head.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Furious storm… peace of God

Mon 27 Dec 1742: I rode to Horsley. The house being too small, I was obliged again to preach in the open air. But so furious a storm have I seldom known. The wind drove upon us like a torrent, coming by turns from east, west, north, and south. The straw and thatch flew round our heads, so that one would have imagined it could not be long before the house must follow; but scarce anyone stirred, much less went away, till I dismissed them with the peace of God.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Forty-seven under sentence of death

Sun 26 Dec 1784: I preached the condemned criminals sermon in Newgate. Forty-seven were under sentence of death. While they were coming in, there was something very awful in the clink of their chains. But no sound was heard, either from them or the crowded audience, after the text was named: ‘There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repententh, more than over ninety and nine just persons, that need not repentance.’ The power of the Lord was eminently present, and most of the prisoners were in tears. A few days after, twenty of them died at once, five of whom died in peace. I could not but greatly approve of the spirit and behaviour of Mr. Villette, the Ordinary. And I rejoiced to hear that it was the same on all similar occasions.

Gluttony… drunkenness… dancing and card-playing

Sun 26 Dec 1742: From those words, ‘Sing we merrily unto God our strength; make a cheerful noise unto the God of Jacob,’ I took occasion to show the usual way of keeping these days holy in honour of the birth of our Lord; namely, by an extraordinary degree of gluttony and drunkenness; by heathen, and worse than heathen, diversions (with their constant attendants, passion and strife, cursing, swearing, and blasphemy); and by dancing and card-playing, equally conducive to the glory of God. I then described the right way of keeping a day holy to the Lord: by extraordinary prayer, public and private; by thanksgiving; by hearing, reading, and meditating on his Word, and by talking of all his wondrous works.

Forty-seven under sentence of death

Sun 26 Dec 1784: I preached the condemned criminals sermon in Newgate. Forty-seven were under sentence of death. While they were coming in, there was something very awful in the clink of their chains. But no sound was heard, either from them or the crowded audience, after the text was named: ‘There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repententh, more than over ninety and nine just persons, that need not repentance.’ The power of the Lord was eminently present, and most of the prisoners were in tears. A few days after, twenty of them died at once, five of whom died in peace. I could not but greatly approve of the spirit and behaviour of Mr. Villette, the Ordinary. And I rejoiced to hear that it was the same on all similar occasions.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three Christmas's

Sat 25 Dec 1784: We met as usual, in the New Chapel at four; at ten and in the afternoon I preached in West Street, and afterwards spent a comfortable hour in meeting the society.

Sat 25 Dec 1779: We began the service at the New Chapel, as usual, at four in the morning. Afterwards I read prayers and preached and administered the Lord’s Supper at West Street; in the afternoon, I preached at the New Chapel again, then met the society, and afterwards the married men and women; but after this I was no more tired than when I rose in the morning.

Sat 25 Dec 1773: Today and on the following days, we had many happy opportunities of celebrating the solemn Feast-days, according to the design of their institution. We concluded the year with a Fast-day, closed with a solemn watch-night.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Wonderful Christmas Gift: Life

Sat 25 Dec 1742: The physician told me he could do no more: Mr. Meyrick could not live over the night. I went up and found them all crying about him, his legs being cold and (as it seemed) dead already. We all kneeled down and called upon God with strong cries and tears. He opened his eyes, and called for me. And from that hour he continued to recover his strength, till he was restored to perfect health. I wait to hear who will either disprove this fact or philosophically account for it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

This is called Faith

Thu 23 Dec 1742: It being computed that such a house as was proposed could not be finished under seven hundred pounds, many were positive it would never be finished at all; others, that I should not live to see it covered. I was of another mind, nothing doubting but as it was begun for God’s sake, he would provide what was needful for the finishing it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Concluded my journeys for the present year.

Wed 22 Dec 1784: I returned to London and concluded my journeys for the present year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four miles in only three hours

Tue 21 Dec 1784: I spent a little time with the children at Miss Harvey’s school, whom she likewise carefully instructs herself. After dinner we set out for Wrestlingworth, and, having a skillful guide who rode before the chaise and picked out the best way, we drove four miles in only three hours. Wednesday 22, I returned to London and concluded my journeys for the present year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

True scriptural religion at Cambridge

Mon 20 Dec 1784: I went to Hinxworth, where I had the satisfaction of meeting Mr. Simeon, Fellow of King’s College in Cambridge. He has spent some time with Mr. Fletcher at Madeley—two kindred souls, much resembling each other, both in fervour of spirit and in the earnestness of their address. He gave me the pleasing information that there are three parish churches in Cambridge wherein true scriptural religion is preached, and several young gentlemen who are happy partakers of it.
I preached in the evening on Gal. 6:14.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Filled with joy unspeakable

Sun 19 Dec 1742: I cried to all who felt themselves lost, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved’; and in the afternoon, ‘Ho! everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.’ At that hour one who was bitterly mourning after Christ (Mary Emerson) was filled with joy unspeakable.

Friday, December 17, 2010

JW’s scathing remarks regarding Captain Cook’s Voyages

Fri 17 Dec 1773: Meeting with a celebrated book, a volume of Captain Cook's Voyages, I sat down to read it with huge expectation
--But how was I disappointed! I observed, 1. Things absolutely incredible: "A nation without any curiosity;" and, what is stranger still, (I fear related with no good design,) "without any sense of shame! Men and women coupling together in the face of the sun, and in the sight of scores of people! Men whose skin, cheeks, and lips are white as milk." Hume or Voltaire might believe this; but I cannot. I observed, 2. Things absolutely impossible. To instance in one, for a specimen. A native of Otaheite is said to understand the language of an island eleven hundred degrees [query, miles] distant from it in latitude; besides I know not how many hundreds in longitude! So that I cannot but rank this narrative with that of Robinson Crusoe; and account Tupia to be, in several respects, akin to his man Friday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I hardly ever spoke stronger words

Thu 16 Dec 1784: I went to Sheerness, where Mr. Fox read prayers and I preached on those words in the second Lesson, ‘If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?’ I hardly ever spoke stronger words. May God make the application! I never before found this society in such a state as they were now, being all in general athirst for God and increasing in number as well as in grace. Friday 17, I preached at Chatham, where likewise I found only peace and love; and, on Saturday 18, cheerfully returned to London.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“Doctor” Wesley’s silly advice

Wed 15 Dec 1742: I preached at Horsley upon Tyne, eight (computed) miles from Newcastle. It was about two in the afternoon. The house not containing the people, we stood in the open air in spite of the frost. I preached again in the evening, and in the morning. We then chose to walk home, having each of us catched a violent cold by riding the day before. Mine gradually wore off. But Mr. Meyrick’s increased, so that on Friday he took his bed. I advised him to bleed, but he imagined he should be well without it in a few days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

170 leave the Society

Mon 13 Dec 1779: I retired to Lewisham and settled the society book. Fifty-seven members of the society have died this year, and none of them ‘as a fool dieth’. An hundred and seventy have left the society. Such are the fruits of senseless prejudice [from @Cedric Poole: this “prejudice” refers to a problem with the local preachers who objected to JW giving his brother Charles preference when making preaching appointments].

Monday, December 13, 2010

Freezing Cold

Mon 13 Dec 1742: I removed into a lodging adjoining to the ground where we were preparing to build. But the violent frost obliged us to delay the work. I never felt so intense cold before. In a room where a constant fire was kept, though my desk was fixed within a yard of the chimney, I could not write for a quarter of an hour together without my hands being quite benumbed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Powerful preaching on the Parable of the Sower

Sun 12 Dec1742: I expounded at five the former part of the parable of the sower. At eight I preached in the Square on, ‘I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep.’ The effect of what had been spoken in the morning now evidently appeared. For one could not observe any in the congregation to stir hand or foot. When the sermon was done, they divided to the right and left, none offering to go till I was past. And then they walked quietly and silently away, lest Satan should catch the seed out of their hearts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saved by the Third passer-by

I returned to London, Friday, 10 Dec 1773, with Captain Hinderson, of Chatham, who informed us, "Being off the Kentish coast, on Wednesday morning last, I found my ship had been so damaged by the storm, which still continued, that she could not long keep above water; so we got into the boat, twelve in all, though with little hope of making the shore. A ship passing by, we made all the signals we could; but they took no notice. A second passed near: We made signals and called; but they would not stay for us. A third put out their boat, took us up, and set us safe on shore."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shah Nadir, commonly called Kouli Khan

Fri 10 Dec 1756: In my fragments of time in the following week I read Mr. Hanway’s accurate history of Shah Nadir, commonly called Kouli Khan—a scourge of God indeed! A prodigy of valour and conduct, but an unparalleled monster of rapine and cruelty. Alexander the Great, yea Nero or Domitian, was an innocent in comparison of him.

Your breast cancer will not kill you before you are saved

Fri 10 Dec 1756: A person who was dying of a cancer in her breast and deeply convinced of sin, sent a post-chaise in which I went to her at Epsom. I left her on Saturday morning, in strong hope, she should not go hence till her eyes had seen his salvation.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Settle your affairs TODAY (in 2010), says JW

Thu 9 Dec 1779: In speaking on those words, ‘Set thy house in order; for thou shalt die and not live,’ I took occasion to exhort all who had not done it already, to settle their temporal affairs without delay. Let not any man who reads these words put it off a day longer!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who should preach to Whom?

Wed 8 Dec 1762: I had a second opportunity of hearing George Bell. I believe part of what he said was from God, (this was my reflection at that time,) part from an heated imagination. But as he did not scream, and there was nothing dangerously wrong, I did not yet see cause to hinder him.
All this time I observed a few of our brethren were diligently propagating that principle, that none can teach those who are renewed in love, unless he be in the state himself. I saw the tendency of this; but I saw that violent remedies would not avail.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

People and Benches Equally Affected

Tue 7 Dec 1779: I preached in Rotherhithe Chapel, a cold, uncomfortable place, to an handful of people, who appeared to be just as much affected as the benches they sat upon.

The LORD provides the Land

Tue 7 Dec 1742: I was so ill in the morning that I was obliged to send Mr. Williams to the Room. He afterward went to Mr. Stephenson, a merchant in the town, who had a passage through the ground we intended to buy. I was willing to purchase that passage. Mr. Stephenson told him, ‘Sir, I don’t want money. But if Mr. Wesley wants ground he may have a piece of my garden, adjoining to the place you mention. I am at a word. For forty pounds he shall have sixteen yards in breadth, and thirty in length.’
Wed. 8. Mr. Stephenson and I signed an article, and I took possession of the ground. But I could not fairly go back from my agreement with Mr. Riddell. So I entered on his ground at the same time. The whole is about forty yards in length; in the middle of which we determined to build the house, leaving room for a small courtyard before and a little garden behind the building.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How little I know of the book of Revelation

Mon 6 Dec 1762: and the following days, I corrected the notes upon the Revelation. O, how little do we know of this deep book! At least, how little do I know! I can barely conjecture, not affirm any one point concerning that part of it which is yet unfulfilled.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An uncommon pouring out of the convincing Spirit

Sun 5 Dec 1779: In applying those words, ‘What could I have done for my vineyard which I have not done?’ I found such an uncommon pouring out of the convincing Spirit, as we have not known for many years. In the evening the same Spirit enabled me strongly to exhort a numerous congregation, to ‘Come boldly to the throne of grace’ and to ‘make all their requests known unto God with thanksgiving.’

Sanctification: Instantaneous AND Gradual

Sun 5 Dec 1756: To take away one ground of contention from many well-meaning people, in preaching on, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard-seed," I endeavoured to show at large, in what sense sanctification is gradual, and in what sense it is instantaneous: And (for the present, at least) many were delivered from vain reasonings and disputings.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

They may be what they profess, but I wait for farther evidence.

Sat 4 Dec 1762: At the desire of Mr. Maxfield, and the seeming desire of themselves, I baptized two foreigners, (one of them in a Turkish habit,) who professed themselves to have been Turks. On this I then remarked, "They may be what they profess, but I wait for farther evidence. Their story is extremely plausible; it may be true, or it may not."

Genuine instance of enthusiasm

Sat 4 Dec 1742: I was both surprised and grieved at a genuine instance of enthusiasm. John Brown, of Tanfield Lea, who had received a sense of the love of God a few days before, came riding through the town, hollowing and shouting, and driving all the people before him, telling them God had told him he should be a king, and should tread all his enemies under his feet. I sent him home immediately to his work, and advised him to cry day and night to God that he might be lowly in heart, lest Satan should again get an advantage over him.
Today a gentleman called and offered me a piece of ground. On Monday an article was drawn, wherein he agreed to put me into possession on Thursday, upon payment of thirty pounds.

Friday, December 3, 2010

We greatly rejoiced in God our Saviour

Fri 3 Dec 1784: Partly riding and partly walking through wind and rain and water and dirt, we got at last to Luton, where I found a large congregation, and we greatly rejoiced in God our Saviour. Saturday 4, I went on to London.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What Happened to this Young Clergyman

Thu 2 Dec 1784: I preached about noon at Buckden and, in the evening, to a crowded congregation at Huntingdon. I wondered that I saw nothing here of a young clergyman who last year professed much love and esteem. But I soon heard, his eyes were opened to see the Decrees. So he knows me no more!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kept at Newcastle, whether I liked it or not

Wednesday, December 1 1742. We had several places offered on which to build a room for the society. But none was such as we wanted. And perhaps there was a providence in our not finding any as yet. For by this means I was kept at Newcastle, whether I would or no.