Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Strong thoughts on Christians who worry

Wed. 28 Dec 1737: Finding the unaccountable apprehensions of I know not what danger (the wind being small, and the sea smooth) which had been upon me several days, increase, I cried earnestly for help, and it pleased God as in a moment to restore peace to my soul.
Let me observe hereon, (1) that not one of these hours ought to pass out of my remembrance, till I attain another manner of spirit, a spirit equally willing to glorify God by life or by death; (2) that whoever is uneasy on any account (bodily pain alone excepted) carries in himself his own conviction that he is so far an unbeliever. Is he uneasy at the apprehension of death? Then he believeth not that ‘to die is gain’. At any of the events of life? Then he hath not a firm belief that ‘all things work together for his good’. And if he bring the matter more close, he will always find, beside the general want of faith, every particular uneasiness is evidently owing to the want of some particular Christian temper.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Wesley's flight from America 9

Mon. 26 Dec 1737: I began instructing a Negro lad in the principles of Christianity. The next day I resolved to break off living delicately, and return to my old simplicity of diet; and after I did so neither my stomach nor my head much complained of the motion of the ship.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lowest Point of Wesley's Ministry

End of December, 1737. John Wesley ends this year at quite possibly the lowest point in his ministry.....fleeing America with a warrant out for his arrest. If you haven't followed the Sophy Hopkey debacle, you can read the related posts at Sophy Hopkey Debacle.
It all started here:


Wed. 3 Aug 1737. We returned to Savannah. Sunday 7, I repelled Mrs. Williamson from the Holy Communion. And Monday 8, Mr. Recorder of Savannah issued out the warrant following:
Georgia, Savannah Ss.
To all Constables, Tithingmen, and others, whom these may concern:
You, and each of you, are hereby required to take the body of John Wesley......

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I took my leave of America 8

Thur. 22 Dec 1737. I took my leave of America (though, if it please God, not for ever), going on board the Samuel, Capt. Percy, Commander, with a young gentleman who had been a few months in Carolina, one of my parishioners of Savannah, and a Frenchman, late of Purrysburg, who was escaped thence with the skin of his teeth. Saturday 24, we sailed over Charleston bar, and about noon lost sight of land.
The next day the wind was fair, but high, as it was on Sunday 25, when the sea affected me more than it had done in the sixteen weeks of our passage to America. I was obliged to lie down the greatest part of the day, being easy only in that posture.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wesley preaches once more to this careless people 7

Sun. 18 Dec 1737 I was seized with a violent flux, which I felt came not before I wanted it. Yet I had strength enough given to preach once more to this careless people; and a few ‘believed our report’.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wesley parts from his American friends 6

Fri. 16 Dec 1735. I parted from the last of those friends who came with me to America, Mr. Charles Delamotte, from whom I had been but a few days separate since October 14, 1735.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wesley's Flight from Georgia continues (5)

Wed. 14 Dec 1737. Being desired to read public prayers, I was much refreshed with those glorious promises contained both in the seventy-second Psalm and in the First Lesson, the fortieth chapter of Isaiah. Yea, ‘they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, and mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint!’
In the afternoon, visiting a dying man, we found him still full of the freshest advices—and busy in settling the affairs of the Czarina, Prince Thamas, and the Ottoman Porte. How natural then is the thought:
Quae cura nitentes
Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos?
For if a soul quivering on the verge of life has still leisure for these impertinencies, one might almost believe the same dreams would continue, even in the sleep of death!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wesley's flight from Georgia 4

Wed. 7 Dec 1737. We walked to Beaufort; where Mr. Jones (the Minister of Beaufort), with whom I lodged during my short stay here, gave me a lively idea of the old English hospitality. On Thursday Mr. Delamotte came, with whom on Friday 9th I took boat for Charleston. After a slow passage by reason of contrary winds, and some conflict (our provisions falling short) with hunger as well as cold, we came thither early in the morning, on Tuesday the 13th. Here I expected trials of a different kind, and far more dangerous. For contempt and want are easy to be borne; but who can bear respect and abundance?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wesley's flight from Georgia 3

Sunday, December 4, 1737. God renewing our strength, we arose neither faint nor weary, and resolved to make one trial more to find a path to Port Royal. We steered due east; but finding neither path nor blaze, and the woods growing thicker and thicker, we judged it would be our best course to return, if we could, by the way we came. The day before, in the thickest part of the woods, I had broke many young trees, I knew not why, as we walked along; these we found a great help in several places where no path was to be seen; and between one and two God brought us safe to Benjamin Arieu’s house, the old man we left the day before.
In the evening I read French prayers to a numerous family, a mile from Arieu’s; one of whom undertook to guide us to Port Royal. In the morning we set out. About sunset we asked our guide if he knew where he was. Who frankly answered, ‘No.’ However, we pushed on till about seven we came to a plantation, and the next evening (after many difficulties and delays) we landed on Port Royal Island.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wesley flees through the swamp 2

Saturday, December 3, 1737. We came to Purrysburg early in the morning, and endeavoured to procure a guide for Port Royal. But none being to be had, we set out without one, an hour before sunrise. After walking two or three hours we met with an old man, who led us into a small path, near which was a line of ‘blazed’ trees (i.e., marked by cutting off part of the bark), by following which, he said, we might easily come to Port Royal in five or six hours.
We were four in all; one of whom intended to go for England with me, the other two to settle in Carolina. About eleven we came into a large swamp, where we wandered about until near two. We then found another ‘blaze’, and pursued it till it divided into two; one of these we followed through an almost impassable thicket, a mile beyond which it ended. We made through the thicket again, and traced the other ‘blaze’ till that ended too. It now grew toward sunset, so we sat down, faint and weary, having had no food all day except a gingerbread cake which I had taken in my pocket. A third of this we had divided among us at noon; another third we took now; the rest we reserved for the morning; but we had met with no water all the day. Thrusting a stick into the ground, and finding the end of it moist, two of our company fell a digging with their hands, and at about three feet depth found water. We thanked God, drank, and were refreshed. The night was sharp; however, there was no complaining among us, but after having commended ourselves to God, we lay down close together, and (I at least) slept till near six in the morning.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wesley's Reflections on Georgia (some very unkind)

Friday, December 2, 1737. During this time I had frequent opportunities of making many observations and inquiries concerning the real state of this province (which has been so variously misrepresented), the English settlements therein, and the Indians that have intercourse with them. These I minuted down from time to time; a small extract of which I have subjoined.


1. Georgia lies in the 30th and 31st degree of north latitude. The air is generally clear, the rains being much shorter, as well as heavier, than in England. The dews are very great. Thunder and lightning are expected almost every day in May, June, July, and August. They are very terrible, especially to a stranger. During those months, from ten in the morning to four in the afternoon, the sun is extremely scorching. But the sea-breeze generally blows from ten till three or four. The winter is nearly of the same length as in England. But the midday sun is always warm, even when the mornings and evenings are very sharp, and the nights piercing cold.
2. The land is of four sorts, pine-barren, oak-land, swamp, and marsh. The pine-land is of far the greatest extent, especially near the sea-coasts. The soil of this is a dry, whitish sand, producing shrubs of several sorts, and between them a spiry, coarse grass, which cattle do not love to feed on. But here and there is a little of a better kind, especially in the savannahs (so they call the low, watery, meadows which are usually intermixed with pine-lands). It bears naturally two sorts of fruit, hurtleberries (much like those in England) and chincapin nuts—a dry, harsh nut, about the size of a small acorn. A laborious man may in one year clear and plant four or five acres of this land. It will produce the first year from two to four bushels of Indian corn, and from four to eight of Indian pease per acre. The second year it usually bears half as much; the third, less; the fourth, nothing.
3. Vines, mulberries, and peach trees it bears well. The white mulberry is not good to eat. The black is about the size of a blackberry, and has much the same flavour. In fresh pine-land Indian potatoes grow well (which are more luscious and larger than the Irish). And so do watermelons and sewee beans, about the size of our scarlet, to be shelled and eaten like Windsor beans.
4. Oak-land commonly lies in narrow streaks between pine-land and some swamp, creek, or river. The soil is a blackish sand, producing several kinds of oak (though none exactly like the English), bay, laurel, ash, walnut, sumac trees, gum trees (a sort of sycamore), dog trees (covered in spring with large white flowers), and many hickory trees, which bear a bad kind of walnut. In the moistest part of this land some persimmon trees grow (which bear a sort of yellow, clear, luscious plum), and a few mulberry and cherry trees. The common wild grapes are of two sorts, both red. The fox-grape grows two or three only on a stalk, is thick-skinned, large-stoned, of a harsh taste, and of the size of a small Kentish cherry. The cluster-grape is of a harsh taste too, and about the size of a white currant.
5. This land requires much labour to clear; but when it is cleared it will bear any grain, for three, four, or sometimes five years, without laying any manure upon it. An acre of it generally bears ten bushels of Indian corn, besides five of pease, in a year. So that this at present is justly esteemed the most valuable land in the province.
6. A swamp is any low, watery place which is covered with trees or canes. They are here of three sorts: cypress-, river-, and cane-swamps. Cypress-swamps are mostly large ponds, in and round which cypresses grow. Most river-swamps are overflown every tide by the river which runs through or near them. If they were drained they would produce good rice; as would the cane-swamps also, which in the meantime are the best feeding for all sorts of cattle.
7. The marshes are of two sorts: soft marsh, which is all a quagmire, and absolutely good for nothing; and hard marsh, which is a firm but barren sand, bearing only sour rushes. Marshes of both sorts abound on the sea islands, which are very numerous, and contain all sorts of land. And upon these chiefly, near creeks and runs of water, juniper trees and cedars grow.
8. Savannah stands on a flat ‘bluff’ (so they term any highland hanging over a creek or river) which rises forty-five feet perpendicular from the river, and commands it several miles both upward and downward. The soil is a white sand for above a mile in breadth, south-east, and north-westward. Beyond this, eastward, is a river-swamp; westward a small wood, in which was the old Indian town. On the other side of the river is a marshy island covered with large trees. South-west of the town is a large pine-barren, which extends backward to a branch of the Altamaha River.
9. St. Simons Island, having on the south-east the Gulf of Florida, on the other sides branches of the Altamaha, is about a hundred miles south of Savannah, and extends in length about twenty, in breadth from two to five miles. On the west side of it, on a low bluff, stands Frederica, having woods to the north and south; to the east, partly woods, partly savannahs, and partly marshes. The soil is mostly a blackish sand. There is not much pine-land on the island, the greatest part being oak-land, intermixed with many savannahs and old Spanish or Indian fields.
10. On the sea-point, about five miles south-east of the town, is the fort where the soldiers are stationed. But the storehouse in Frederica better deserves that name; being encompassed with regular ramparts of earth, and a palisaded ditch, and mounted with cannon, which entirely command the river.
11. About twenty miles north-west from St. Simons is Darien, the settlement of the Scotch Highlanders, a mile from Fort King George, which was built about seventeen, and abandoned about eleven years since. The town lies on the mainland, close to a branch of the Altamaha, on a bluff thirty feet above the river, having woods on all sides. The soil is a blackish sand. They built at first many scattered huts; but last spring (1736), expecting the Spaniards, they built themselves a large fort, and all retired within the walls of it.
12. Augusta, distant from Savannah one hundred and fifty miles, and five from old Savannah town, is designed to stand in an old Indian field, on a bluff, about thirty feet high. A small fort of wooden piles was built there in 1737, but no house was then built, nor any more ground cleared than Mr. Lacy and his men found so.
13. Old Ebenezer, where the Salzburgers settled at first, lies twenty-five miles west of Savannah. A small creek runs by the town down to the river, and many brooks run between the little hills: but the soil is a hungry, barren sand, and upon any sudden shower the brooks rise several feet perpendicular, and overflow whatever is near them. Since the Salzburgers removed, two English families have been placed there; but those too say that the land is good for nothing, and that the creek is of little use, it being by water twenty miles to the river, and the water generally so low in summer-time that a boat cannot come within six or seven miles of the town.
14. New Ebenezer, to which the Salzburgers removed in March 1736, lies six miles eastward from the old, on a high bluff near the Savannah River. Here are some tracts of fruitful land, though the greatest part of that adjoining to the town is pine-barren. The huts, sixty in number, are neatly and regularly built; the little piece of ground allotted to each for a garden is everywhere put to the best use, no spot being left unplanted. Nay, even one of the main streets, being one more than was as yet wanted, bore them this year a crop of Indian corn.
15. About ten miles east of this, on a creek, three miles from the river, was the village of Abercorn. Ten families settled here in 1733, but it is now without inhabitant. Four miles below the mouth of Abercorn Creek is Joseph’s Town, the settlement of two Scotch gentlemen. A mile below was Sir Francis Bathurst’s plantation. And a quarter of a mile from this, Walter Augustin’s settlement. But both these are left without inhabitant.
16. A mile below this is Captain Williams’s43 plantation; a mile from thence, Mrs. Matthew’s (late Musgrove), commonly known by the name of Cowpen; adjoining to which is the land belonging to Captain Watson, on which is an unfinished house, swiftly running to ruin. A mile from this is Irene, a house built for an Indian school in the year 1736. It stands on a small round hill, in a little piece of fruitful ground, given by the Indians to Mr. Ingham. The Indian town is within a furlong of it.
17. Five miles south-west of Savannah, on a small rise, stands the village of Highgate. It has pine-land on three sides, and a swamp on the fourth. Twelve families were placed here in 1733, nine whereof remain there. A mile eastward of this is Hampstead, settled with twelve families also, a little before Highgate, five of which are still remaining.
18. Six miles south-east of Savannah is Thunderbolt. Three families are settled here, near a small, ruinous fort. Four miles south of this is the Island of Skidaway, on the north-east point whereof ten families were placed in 1733–34 (a small fort was built here likewise), but nine of them are either dead or removed to other places. A small creek divides Skidaway from Tybee Island, on the south-east part of which, fronting on the inlet, the lighthouse is built. Ten families were settled here in 1734, but they are part dead, and part removed, so that the island is now again without any fixed inhabitant.
19. Twelve miles southward from Savannah (by land) is Mr. Houston’s plantation; and forty or fifty miles from him, up Ogeechee River, that where Mr. Sterling for some time lived. Fort Argyle stands twenty miles from this, on a high bluff, by the River Ogeechee. ’Tis a small, square, wooden fort, musket-proof. Ten freeholders were settled near it; but eight of them are gone, and the land they had cleared, lying waste, will in a few years be as it was before.
20. The southermost settlement in Georgia is Fort St. Andrews. It stands fifty miles south of Frederica, on the south-west side of Cumberland Island, upon a high neck of land, which commands the river both ways. The walls are of wood, filled up with earth, round which are a ditch and a palisade.
21. ’Tis hard to pick out any consistent account of the Georgian Indians from the contradictory relations of their traders. The following is extracted, partly from those wherein all, or the generality of them, agree, partly from the relations of such as have been occasionally amongst them, and have no interest in making them better or worse than they are.
22. Of the Georgian Indians in general it may be observed that they are not so properly nations as tribes or clans, who have wandered thither at different times, perhaps expelled [from] their native countries by stronger tribes; but how or when they cannot tell, being none of them able to give any rational account of themselves. They are inured to hardship of all kinds, and surprisingly patient of pain. But as they have no letters, so they have no religion, no laws, no civil government. Nor have they any kings or princes, properly speaking, their ‘micos’ or headmen having no power either to command or punish, no man obeying them any farther than he pleases. So that everyone doth what is right in his own eyes; and if it appears wrong to his neighbour the person aggrieved usually steals on the other unawares, and shoots him, scalps him, or cuts off his ears; having only two short rules of proceeding—to do what he will, and what he can.
23. They are likewise all, except (perhaps) the Choctaws, gluttons, drunkards, thieves, dissemblers, liars. They are implacable, unmerciful; murderers of fathers, murderers of mothers, murderers of their own children; it being a common thing for a son to shoot his father or mother because they are old and past labour; and for a woman either to procure abortion, or to throw her child into the next river, because she will go with her husband to the war. Indeed husbands, strictly speaking, they have none; for any man leaves his wife (so called) at pleasure, who frequently, in return, cuts the throats of all the children she has had by him. Whoredom they account no crime, and few instances appear of a young Indian woman’s refusing anyone. Nor have they any fixed punishment for adultery; only if the husband take his wife with another man he will do what he can to both, unless speedily pacified by the present of a gun or a blanket.
24. The Choctaws only have some appearance of an entire nation, possessing a large extent of land, eight or nine hundred miles west of Savannah, and many well-inhabited towns. They are said to have six thousand fighting men, united under one head. At present they are in league with the French, who have sent some priests among them, by whom (if one may credit the Choctaw traders) ten or twelve have been baptized.
25. Next to these, to the north-east, are the Chickasaws. Their country is flat, full of meadows, springs, and rivers. In their fields, though six or seven hundred miles from the sea, are found sea-shells in great numbers. They have about nine hundred fighting men, ten towns, and one ‘mico’ (at least) in every one. They are eminently gluttons, eating, drinking, and smoking all day, and almost every night. They are extreme indolent and lazy, except in war: then they are the most indefatigable and the most valiant of all the Indians. But they are equally cruel with the rest, torturing and burning all their prisoners, whether Indian or European.
26. East of them, in the latitude of 35º and 36º, about three or four hundred miles from Savannah, lie the Cherokees. Their country is very mountainous, fruitful, and pleasant. They have fifty-two towns, and above three thousand fighting men. In each town are three or more headmen, who keep up a sort of shadow of government, having power to set the rest to work, and to punish such as will not join in the common labour. They are civil to strangers, and will do anything for them, for pay, being always willing, for a small piece of money, to carry a message for fifty or sixty miles, and, if required, a heavy burden too. But they are equally cruel to prisoners with the Chickasaws, though not equally valiant. They are seldom intemperate in drinking, but when they can be so on free cost. Otherwise love of drink yields to covetousness, a vice scarce to be found in any Indian but a Cherokee.
27. The Yuchis have only one small town left (near two hundred miles from Savannah), and about forty fighting men. The Creeks have been many times on the point of cutting them off. They are indeed hated by most, and despised by all the other nations, as well for their cowardice as their superlative diligence in thieving, and for outlying all the Indians upon the continent.
28. The Creek Indians are about four hundred miles from Savannah. They are said to be bounded to the west by the Choctaws, to the north by the Chickasaws, to the east by the Cherokees, and to the south by the Altamaha River. They have many towns, a plain well watered country, and fifteen hundred fighting men. They have often three or four micos in a town; but without so much as the shadow of authority, only to give advice, which everyone is at liberty to take or leave. But age and reputation for valour and wisdom have given Chigilly, a mico of the Coweta Town, a more than ordinary influence over the nation—though not even the show of regal power. Yet neither age, wisdom, nor reputation can restrain him from drunkenness. Indeed all the Creeks, having been most conversant with white men, are most infected with insatiate love of drink, as well as other European vices. They are more exquisite dissemblers than the rest of their countrymen. They know not what friendship or gratitude means. They show no inclination to learn anything, but least of all Christianity, being full as opiniated of their own parts and wisdom as either modern Chinese or ancient Roman.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wesley flees America 1

Friday, December 2, 1737. I proposed to set out for Carolina about noon, the tide then serving. But about ten the magistrates sent for me, and told me I must not go out of the province, for I had not answered the allegations laid against me. I replied, ‘I have appeared at six or seven courts successively in order to answer them. But I was not suffered so to do, when I desired it time after time.’ They then said, however, I must not go, unless I would give security to answer those allegations at their court. I asked, ‘What security?’ After consulting together about two hours the recorder showed me a kind of bond, engaging me, under a penalty of fifty pounds, to appear at their court when I should be required. He added, ‘But Mr. Williamson too has desired of us that you should give bail to answer his action.’ I then told him plainly, ‘Sir, you use me very ill, and so you do the Trustees. I will give neither any bond, nor any bail at all. You know your business, and I know mine.’
In the afternoon the magistrates published an order requiring all the officers and sentinels to prevent my going out of the province, and forbidding any person to assist me so to do. Being now only a prisoner at large, in a place where I knew by experience every day would give fresh opportunity to procure evidence of words I never said, and actions I never did, I saw clearly the hour was come for leaving this place; and as soon as evening prayers were over, about eight o’clock, the tide then serving, I shook off the dust of my feet, and left Georgia, after having preached the gospel (not as I ought, but as I was able) one year and nearly nine months.
During this time I had frequent opportunities of making many observations and inquiries concerning the real state of this province (which has been so variously misrepresented), the English settlements therein, and the Indians that have intercourse with them. These I minuted down from time to time; a small extract of which I have subjoined.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Discipline Problems

Sat 26 Nov 1757. I returned to London. Much confusion had been in my absence, occasioned by some imprudent words spoken by one who seemed to be strong in the faith.
Mon. 28. I heard all who were concerned face to face but was utterly unable to judge whether there was wilful sin, lying, on either side, or only human infirmity. For the present I leave it to the searcher of hearts, who will bring all things to light in due season.
Wed. 30. I had another long hearing of the same intricate cause. But with no more success: one side flatly affirmed, the other flatly denied. This is strange! But it is more strange that those who seem so strong in faith should have no union of spirit with each other.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Local Preacher steals the flock

Mon. 28 Nov 1785: I went to Canterbury; the chapel was more than filled. On Tuesday, I found at Dover also a considerable increase of the work of God. Wednesday 30, I went on to Margate. Some years since, we had a small society here. But a local preacher took them to himself: only two or three remained, who from time to time pressed our preachers to come again. And to remove the objection that ‘there was no place to preach in’, with the help of a few friends they built a convenient preaching-house. Thursday, I opened it in the evening. The congregation was large and perfectly well behaved. And I cannot but hope that, after all the stumbling-blocks, there will be a people here who will uniformly adorn the gospel of Christ. On Friday, I returned to London.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

God enabled me to speak strong words

Sun 27 Nov 1785. As soon as I had concluded my sermon at the New Chapel, I hastened away to preach at St. Luke’s, one of the largest parish churches in London. It was thoroughly filled, as it was seven years ago when I preached there before. God enabled me to speak strong words on the Epistle for the day. And I believe some felt that it was now high ‘time to awake out of sleep’.

Friday, November 25, 2011

No Methodist had preached in this town, so I thought it high time to begin

Fri 25 Nov 1774. I left them in much hope that they will continue in this earnest, simple love.
I set out between eight and nine in a one-horse chaise, the wind being high and cold enough. Much snow lay on the ground, and much fell as we crept along over the fen-banks. Honest Mr. Tubbs would needs walk and lead the horse through water and mud up to his mid leg, smiling and saying, ‘We fen-men do not mind a little dirt.’ When we had gone about four miles, the road would not admit of a chaise. So I borrowed an horse and rode forward. But not far, for all the grounds were under water. Here, therefore, I procured a boat, full twice as large as a kneading-trough. I was at one end and a boy at the other, who paddled me safe to Earith. There Miss L—— waited for me with another chaise, which brought me to St. Ives.
No Methodist, I was told, had preached in this town, so I thought it high time to begin; and about one, I preached to a very well-dressed and yet well-behaved congregation. Thence my new friend (how long will she be such?) carried me to Godmanchester near Huntington. A large barn was ready, in which Mr. Berridge and Mr. Venn used to preach. And though the weather was still severe, it was well filled with deeply attentive people. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wesley on Marriage and Deflowering of Women

Mon 14 Nov 1785. This week, I read over again and carefully considered Mr. Fry’s Tract upon marriage. I wonder it is not more known, as there is nothing on the head like it in the English tongue. I still think he has proved to a demonstration that no marriages are forbidden, either by the law of God or of England, but those of brothers and sisters, and those in the ascending and descending line. The contrary supposition seems to be built wholly in a misinterpretation of that expression in the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus, ‘Thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.’ But this, he clearly shows, does not mean to marry a woman, but to deflower her.

Congregation like stocks and stones

Sun 20 November 1785. I preached in Bethnal Green Church and spoke as plain as I possibly could on ‘Having the form of godliness, but denying the power of it’. And this I judged to be far more suitable to such a congregation than talking of ‘justification by faith’.
Having promised our friends at Winchester to come and open their preaching-house when it was ready, I set out on Thursday 24, and preached there in the evening to a numerous congregation. But I have not seen a people less affected: they seemed to be mere stocks and stones. However I have ‘cast my bread upon the water’. Possibly it may ‘be found again after many days’. On Friday evening, we went into the mail coach, and reached London at eight in the morning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deeply convinced of sin

Wed. 16 Nov 1757. We rode to Newmarket and the next day to Norwich, where I now found a prospect of doing good. The congregation daily increased and grew more and more serious. I spoke to many who were deeply convinced of sin, and some who were rejoicing in God and walking in the light of his countenance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When shall this witchcraft come to an end!

Mon. 14 Nov 1757: I rode to Bedford and talked largely with Mr. ——, whom God had well-nigh set at liberty. But his feet are again in the net. He did not indeed deny, nor much extenuate, any of the things he had often related. But at length he told me in terms: ‘There are such things among the Brethren that I can never join them more. Yet I dare not speak against them and join any other people for fear of grieving the Saviour!’ O Lord, when shall this witchcraft come to an end! When wilt thou maintain thine own cause!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Power in the Lord's Table

Sun 13 Nov 1763: I found much of the power of God in preaching, but far more at the Lord’s table. At the same time one who had been wandering from God for many years, and would fain have been with us, but could not, found that the Spirit of God was not hindered, or confined to one place. He found out ——, the poor backslider, in his own house, and revealed Christ anew in his heart.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wesley Baptises

Tue 8 Nov 1774: I baptized two young women, one of whom found a deep sense of the presence of God in his ordinance; the other received a full assurance of his pardoning love and was filled with joy unspeakable.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Brilliant Methodist Preacher and Scientist

Friday 4 November 1774: In the afternoon, John Downes (who had preached with us many years) was saying, ‘I feel such a love to the people at West Street that I could be content to die with them. I do not find myself very well; but I must be with them this evening.’ He went thither and began preaching on ‘Come unto me, ye that are weary and heavy laden.’ After speaking ten or twelve minutes, he sunk down and spake no more till his spirit returned to God.
I suppose he was by nature full as great a genius as Sir Isaac Newton. I will mention but two or three instances of it. When he was at school, learning algebra, he came one day to his master and said, ‘Sir, I can prove this proposition a better way than it is proved in the book.’ His master thought it could not be but, upon trial, acknowledged it to be so. Sometime after, his father sent him to Newcastle with a clock which was to be mended. He observed the clock-maker’s tools and the manner how he took it in pieces and put it together again. And when he came home, first made himself tools and then made a clock, which went as true as any in the town. I suppose such strength of genius as this has scarce been known in Europe before.
Another proof of it was this. Thirty years ago, while I was shaving, he was whittling the top of a stick. I asked, ‘What are you doing?’ He answered, ‘I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copper plate.’ Accordingly, without any instruction, he first made himself tools and then engraved the plate. The second picture which he engraved was that which was prefixed to the Notes upon the New Testament. Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce.
For several months past, he had far deeper communion with God than ever he had had in his life. And for some days, he had been frequently saying, ‘I am so happy that I scarce know how to live; I enjoy such fellowship with God as I thought could not be had on this side heaven.’ And having now finished his course of fifty-two years, after a long conflict with pain, sickness, and poverty, he gloriously rested from his labours and entered into the joy of his Lord.

The Sophy Hopkey debacle drives Wesley from America

Thursday, 3 November 1737. I appeared again at the court holden on that day; and again at the court held Tuesday, November 22, on which day Mr. Causton desired to speak with me. He then read me some affidavits which had been made September 15 last past, in one of which it was affirmed that I then abused Mr. Causton in his own house, calling him liar, villain, and so on. It was now likewise repeated before several persons (which indeed I had forgot), that I had been reprimanded at the last court for an enemy to, and hinderer of, the public peace.
I again consulted my friends, who agreed with me that the time we looked for was now come. And the next morning [Nov. 23], calling on Mr. Causton, I told him I designed to set out for England immediately. I set up an advertisement in the great square to the same effect, and quietly prepared for my journey.

An Earthquake Averted

Wed 2 November 1763: I spent an agreeable hour with old, venerable Mr.——. How striking is a man of sense, learning, and piety, when he has well-nigh finished his course, and yet retains all his faculties unimpaired! His grey hairs are indeed ‘a crown of honour’.
In this neighbourhood I learned the particulars of a remarkable occurrence. On Friday, August 19, a gentleman who was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, walking with his friend near Brighthelmstone in Sussex, and looking south-west toward the sea, cried out, ‘God grant the wind may rise! Otherwise we shall have an earthquake quickly. Just so the clouds whirled to and fro, and so the sky looked, that day at Lisbon.’ Presently the wind did rise, and brought an impetuous storm of rain and large hail. Some of the hailstones were larger than hen-eggs. It moved in a line about four miles broad, making strange havoc, as it passed quite over the land till it fell into the river, not far from Sheerness. And wherever it passed it left an hot sulphurous stream, such as almost suffocated those it reached.

Monday, October 31, 2011

In Luton

Mon 31 Oct 1785: I set out for Northamptonshire and, in the afternoon, came to Luton. For many years, I had lodged at Mr. Cole’s in Luton, but he was now gone to his long home. The room prepared for me now was very large and very cold, and had no fireplace in it. After dinner, I called upon Mr. Hampson, the lawyer who had made Mr. Cole’s will. He gave me with the utmost courtesy all the information I wanted, and afterwards invited me to lodge at his house, which I willingly did. In the evening, the preaching-house was thoroughly filled. And we had a blessed season, both now and in the morning.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One who is false to God

Sun 30 Oct 1763: I returned to London.  I now, for the first time, spoke to the society freely concerning Mr. Maxfield, both with regard to his injustice in the affair of Snowsfields and his almost unparalleled ingratitude to me. But I never expect one that is false to God to be true to an human friend.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wesley leads in French and Italian

Saturday, October 29, 1737. Some of the French of Savannah were present at the prayers at Highgate. The next day I received a message from them all, that as I read prayers to the French of Highgate, who were but few, they hoped I would do the same to those of Savannah, where there was a large number who did not understand English. Sunday 30, I began so to do; and now I had full employment for that holy day. The first English prayers lasted from five till half an hour after six. The Italian (which I read to a few Vaudois) began at nine. The second service for the English (including the sermon and the Holy Communion) continued from half an hour past ten till about half an hour past twelve. The French service began at one. At two I catechized the children. About three began the English service. After this was ended I had the happiness of joining with as many as my largest room would hold in reading, prayer, and singing praise. And about six the service of the Moravians began; at which I was glad to be present, not as a teacher, but a learner.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A solemn fast

We observed Friday the 28th [Oct 1757] as a solemn fast. And from this time the work of God revived in Bristol. We were indeed brought very low. A society of nine hundred members was shrunk to little more than half the number. But God now began to turn our captivity and put a new song in our mouth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An amazing conversion and a sad death

Wed 26 Oct 1743: I enlarged upon those deep words, ‘Repent, and believe the gospel.’ When I had done a man stood forth in the midst, one who had exceedingly troubled his brethren, vehemently maintaining (for the plague had spread hither also) that they ought not to pray, to sing, to communicate, to search the Scriptures, or to trouble themselves about works, but only to believe and ‘be still’, and said with a loud voice, ‘Mr. Wesley! Let me speak a few words. Is it not said, “A certain man had two sons. And he said unto the younger, Go and work in my vineyard. And he answered, I will not; but afterwards he repented and went”? I am he. I said yesterday, “I will not go to hear him; I will have nothing to do with him.” But I repent. Here is my hand. By the grace of God, I will not leave you as long as I live.’
William Blow, Mrs. S., and I set out at six. During our whole journey to Newcastle I scarce observed her to laugh or even smile once. Nor did she ever complain of anything, or appear moved in the least with those trying circumstances which many times occurred in our way. A steady seriousness or sadness rather appeared in her whole behaviour and conversation, as became one that felt the burden of sin and was groaning after salvation. In the same spirit, by all I could observe or learn, she continued during her stay at Newcastle. Not long after her husband removed from thence, and wrote to her to follow him. She set out in a ship bound for Hull. A storm met them by the way. The ship sprung a leak. But though it was near the shore, on which many people flocked together, yet the sea ran so exceeding high that it was impossible to make any help. Mrs. S. was seen standing on the deck as the ship gradually sunk; and afterwards hanging by her hands on the ropes, till the masts likewise disappeared. Even then for some moments they could observe her, floating upon the waves, till her clothes, which buoyed her up, being thoroughly wet, she sunk–I trust into the ocean of God’s mercy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Miracles as School house burns down

Tue 25 Oct 1757: In my return a man met me near Hanham and told me the school-house in Kingswood was burned down. I felt not one moment’s pain, knowing that God does all things well. When I came thither I received a fuller account. About eight on Monday evening, two or three boys went into the gallery, up two pair of stairs. One of them heard a strange crackling in the room above. Opening the staircase door, he was beat back by smoke, on which he cried out, ‘Fire, murder, fire!’ Mr. Baynes hearing this, ran immediately down and brought up a pail of water. But when he went into the room and saw the blaze, he had not presence of mind to go up to it but threw the water upon the floor. Meantime one of the boys rung the bell; another called John Maddern from the next house, who ran up, as did James Burges quickly after, and found the room all in a flame. The deal partitions took fire immediately, which spread to the roof of the house. Plenty of water was now brought, but they could not come nigh the place where it was wanted, the room being so filled with flame and smoke that none could go into it. At last a long ladder which lay in the garden was reared up against the wall of the house. But it was then observed that one of the sides of it was broke in two, and the other quite rotten. However John How (a young man who lived next door) ran up it with an axe in his hand. But he then found the ladder was so short that as he stood on the top of it he could but just lay one hand over the battlements. How he got over to the leads none can tell, but he did so and quickly broke through the roof, on which a vent being made, the smoke and flame issued out as from a furnace. Those who were at the foot of the stairs with water, being able to go no further, then went through the smoke to the door of the leads and poured it down through the tiling. By this means the fire was quickly quenched, having only consumed a part of the partition, with a box of clothes, and a little damaged the roof and the floor beneath.
It is amazing that so little hurt was done. For the fire, which began in the middle of the long room (none can imagine how, for no person had been there for several hours before) was so violent that it broke every pane of glass but two, in the window both at the east and west end. What was more amazing still was that it did not hurt either the beds (which when James Burges came in seemed all covered with flame) nor the deal partitions on the other side of the room, though it beat against them for a considerable time. What can we say to these things but that God had fixed the bounds which it could not pass?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Christian Perfection, the Second Change

Mon 24 Oct 1774: I set out for Northamptonshire and received a particular account of one that eminently adorned the gospel:
            1. Susannah Spencer was born at Whittlebury in the year 1742. When she was young, she contracted a very general acquaintance and was exceedingly beloved by them, having an agreeable person, a good understanding, and much sweetness of temper. And being modest and decent in her whole behaviour, she seemed, like others, to think she had religion enough.
            2. In 1760 Thomas Grover came down and preached several times at Whittlebury and at Towcester. She went to hear him but with a fixed resolution ‘not to be catched’, as she called it. But her resolution was vain. In a sermon she heard at Towcester, she was cut to the heart. Her convictions grew deeper and deeper from that time for about a year. She was then hearing him preach but felt her heart as hard as the nether millstone. Yet at the love-feast which followed, it was suddenly broke in pieces, and she was all melted into tears by those words applied to her inmost soul in an inexpressible manner:
                        My God is reconciled;
                                    His pard’ning voice I hear!
                        He owns me for his child;
                                    I can no longer fear.
            3. The day following, being exercised with strong temptation, she gave up her confidence. But the next night, wrestling with God in prayer, she received it again with double evidence. And though afterwards she frequently felt some doubts, yet it never continued long; but she had, in general, a clear abiding sense of the pardoning love of God.
            4. From that time, she walked steadily and closely with God and was a pattern to all around her. She was particularly exact in reproving sin and lost no opportunity of doing it. In her whole conversation she was remarkably lively, and yet gentle towards all men. Her natural temper indeed was passionate, but the grace of God left scarce any traces of it.
            5. From the very time of her justification, she clearly saw the necessity of being wholly sanctified and found an unspeakable hunger and thirst after the full image of God. And in the year 1772, God answered her desire. The second change was wrought in as strong and distinct a manner as the first had been. Yet she was apt to fall into unprofitable reasonings, by which her evidence was so clouded that she could not affirm she was saved from sin, though neither could she deny it. But her whole life bore witness to the work which God had wrought in her heart. She was as a mother in Israel, helping those that were weak, and tenderly concerned for all, while she sunk deeper into the love of God and found more and more of the mind that was in Christ.
            6. In the summer 1773, she took cold by lying in a damp bed. This threw her into a violent fever, which not only brought her very low but fixed a deep cough upon her lungs, which no medicine could remove. It quite wore her down, especially when there was added the loss of both her sisters and her mother, who were all taken away within a little time of each other. She had likewise a continual cross from her father and was at the same time tried by the falsehood of those friends in whom she confided, and whom she tenderly loved. The following year, 1774, she had a presage of her death, in consequence of which she was continually exhorting the young women, Betty Padbury in particular, to fill up her place when God should remove her from them.
            7. In the beginning of winter, I understood that, weak as she was, she had not proper nourishment, being unable to procure it for herself and having no one to procure it for her. So I took that charge upon myself. I worked with her in the day (for she would work as long as she could move her fingers), lay with her every night, and took care that she should want nothing which was convenient for her.
            8. For some time, her disorder seemed at a stand, growing neither better nor worse. But in spring, after she had taken a quantity of the bark, she was abundantly worse. Her cough continually increased, and her strength swiftly decayed, so that before Easter she was obliged to take to her bed. And having now a near prospect of death, she mightily rejoiced in the thought, earnestly longing for the welcome moment—only still with that reserve, ‘Not as I will, but as thou wilt.’
            9. Mr. Harper (the preacher) took several opportunities of asking her many questions. She answered them all with readiness and plainness, to his entire satisfaction. She told him abundance of temptations which she underwent from time to time, but still witnessed that the blood of Christ had cleansed her from all sin. She often said to us,
                        The race we all are running now!
                                    And if I first attain,
                        Ye too your willing heads shall bow;
                                    Ye shall the conquest gain!
            10. Commonly when I came into her room, I was not able to speak for a time. She would then say, ‘Why do not you speak? Why do not you encourage me? I shall love you better when we meet in heaven for the help you give me now.’
            11. In the last week or two, she was not able to speak many words at a time; but as she could, with her feeble, dying voice, she exhorted us to go forward. Yet one day, some of her former companions coming in, her spirit seemed to revive, and she spoke to them, to our great surprise, for near an hour together. They seemed deeply affected, and it was some time before the impression wore off.
            12. Her father now frequently came, sat by her bedside, and expressed tender affection, weeping much and saying he should now be quite alone and have no one left to whom he could speak. She spoke to him without reserve. He received every word and has never forgotten it since.
            13. A few days before she died, after we had been praying with her, we observed she was in tears and asked the reason. She said, ‘I feel my heart knit to you, in a manner I cannot express. And I was thinking if we love one another now, how will our love be enlarged when we meet in heaven! And the thought was too much for me to bear: it quite overcame me.’
            14. On Friday, she seemed to be just upon the wing; we thought she was going almost every moment. So she continued till Tuesday. We were unwilling to part with her but, seeing the pain she was in, could not wish it should continue and so gave her up to God. I sat up with her that night, and the next day, June 7, she fell asleep.

The mob had reigned

Mon. 24. I rode to Bury. Here the mob had for some time reigned lords paramount. But a strange gentleman from London, who was present one evening, when they were in high spirits, took them in hand, and prosecuted the matter so effectually that they were quelled at once.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Get the lambs in order, and I will quickly tame the bears

Sun 23 Oct 1763: I met the society for the first time [at Norwich], immediately after the morning preaching. Afterwards I went to church, with a considerable number of the people, several of whom I suppose had not been within those walls for many years. I was glad to hear a plain, useful sermon, and especially for the sake of those who, if they had been offended at first, would hardly have come any more. In the evening God made bare his arm, and his word was sharp as a two-edged sword. Before I had concluded my sermon the mob made a little disturbance. But let us only get the lambs in order, and I will quickly tame the bears.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

JW miraculously saved from drowning

Sat 22 Oct 1743: I rode from Nottingham to Epworth, and on Monday set out for Grimsby. But at Ferry we were at a full stop; the boatmen telling us we could not pass the Trent. It was as much as our lives were worth to put from shore before the storm abated. We waited an hour. But being afraid it would do much hurt if I should disappoint the congregation at Grimsby, I asked the men if they did not think it possible to get to the other shore. They said they could not tell; but if we would venture our lives, they would venture theirs. So we put off, having six men, two women, and three horses in the boat. Many stood looking after us on the riverside; in the middle of which we were, when in an instant, the side of the boat was under water, and the horses and men rolling one over another. We expected the boat to sink every moment, but I did not doubt of being able to swim ashore. The boatmen were amazed as well as the rest, but they quickly recovered and rowed for life. And soon after our horses leaping overboard lightened the boat, and we all came unhurt to land.
They wondered what was the matter, I did not rise (for I lay along in the bottom of the boat); and I wondered too; till upon examination we found that a large iron crow, which the boatmen sometimes used, was (none knew how) run through the string of my boot, which pinned me down that I could not stir. So that if the boat had sunk, I should have been safe enough from swimming any further.
The same day, and as near as we could judge the same hour, the boat in which my brother was crossing the Severn, at the New Passage, was carried away by the wind, and in the utmost danger of splitting upon the rocks. But the same God, when all human hope was past, delivered them as well as us.
In the evening, the house at Grimsby not being able to contain one fourth of the congregation, I stood in the street and exhorted every prodigal to ‘arise and go to his father’. One or two endeavoured to interrupt; but they were soon stilled by their own companions. The next day, Tuesday 25, one in the town promised us the use of a large room. But he was prevailed upon to retract his promise before the hour of preaching came. I then designed going to the Cross; but the rain prevented; so that we were a little at a loss till we were offered a very convenient place by ‘a woman which was a sinner’. I there declared ‘him’ (about one o’clock) whom ‘God hath exalted, to give repentance and remission of sins’. And God so confirmed the word of his grace that I marvelled any one could withstand him.
However the prodigal held out till the evening, when I enlarged upon her sins and faith, who ‘washed’ our Lord’s ‘feet with tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head’. She was then utterly broken in pieces (as indeed, was well-nigh the whole congregation) and came after me to my lodging, crying out, ‘O sir! “What must I do to be saved?”’ Being now informed of her case, I said, ‘Escape for your life. Return instantly to you husband.’ She said, ‘But how can it be? Which way can I go? He is above an hundred miles off. I have just received a letter from him; and he is at Newcastle upon Tyne.’ I told her, ‘I am going for Newcastle in the morning. You may go with me. William Blow shall take you behind him.’ And so he did. Glory be to the Friend of sinners! He hath plucked one more brand out of the fire.—Thou poor sinner, thou hast received a prophet in the name of a prophet, and thou art found of him that sent him.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bone stuck in Wesley's Palate

Fri 21 Oct 1757: Being at dinner, in a moment I felt as if a small bone had stuck in the palate of my mouth. Nothing was to be seen, but the swelling and inflammation increased till toward evening (notwithstanding all means that could be used) and then spread to both the tonsils. In the morning I was rather worse than better, till about half an hour after eight. Then, as the disorder came in a moment, it went in a moment, and I was as well as ever.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Murder attempts on Wesley

Thur 20 Oct 1743: After preaching to a small, attentive congregation, I rode to Wednesbury. At twelve I preached in a ground near the middle of the town to a far larger congregation than was expected, on ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and for ever’. I believe everyone present felt the power of God. And no creature offered to molest us, either going or coming: but ‘the Lord fought for’ us, and we ‘held our peace’.
I was writing at Francis Ward’s in the afternoon when the cry arose that the mob had beset the house. We prayed that God would disperse them. And it was so: one went this way and another that; so that in half an hour not a man was left. I told our brethren, ‘Now is the time for us to go.’ But they pressed me exceedingly to stay. So that I might not offend them, I sat down, though I foresaw what would follow. Before five the mob surrounded the house again, in greater numbers than ever. The cry of one and all was, ‘Bring out the minister; we will have the minister.’ I desired one to take their captain by the hand, and bring him into the house. After a few sentences interchanged between us, the lion was become a lamb. I desired him to go and bring one or two more of the most angry of his companions. He brought in two, who were ready to swallow the ground with rage; but in two minutes they were as calm as he. I then bade them make way, that I might go out among the people. As soon as I was in the midst of them I called for a chair, and standing up asked, ‘What do any of you want with me?’ Some said, ‘We want you to go with us to the justice.’ I replied, ‘That I will with all my heart.’ I then spoke a few words, which God applied; so that they cried out with might and main, ‘The gentleman is an honest gentleman, and we will spill our blood in his defence.’ I asked, ‘Shall we go to the justice tonight or in the morning?’ Most of them cried, ‘Tonight, tonight.’ On which I went before, and two or three hundred followed, the rest returning whence they came.
The night came on before we had walked a mile, together with heavy rain. However on we went to Bentley Hall, two miles from Wednesbury. One or two ran before to tell Mr. Lane they had brought Mr. Wesley before his worship. Mr. Lane replied, ‘What have I to do with Mr. Wesley? Go and carry him back again.’ By this time the main body came up and began knocking at the door. A servant told them Mr. Lane was in bed. His son followed and asked what was the matter. One replied, ‘Why, an’t please you, they sing psalms all day; nay, and make folks rise at five in the morning. And what would your worship advise us to do?’ ‘To go home’, said Mr. Lane, ‘and be quiet.’
Here they were at a full stop, till one advised to go to Justice Persehouse at Walsall. All agreed to this. So we hastened on, and about seven came to his house. But Mr Persehouse likewise sent word that he was in bed. Now they were at a stand again; but at last they all thought it the wisest course to make the best of their way home. About fifty of them undertook to convey me. But we had not gone a hundred yards when the mob of Walsall came, pouring in like a flood, and bore down all before them. The Darlaston mob made what defence they could; but they were weary, as well as outnumbered. So that in a short time, many being knocked down, the rest ran away and left me in their hands.
To attempt speaking was vain, for the noise on every side was like the roaring of the sea. So they dragged me along till we came to the town; where, seeing the door of a large house open, I attempted to go in; but a man catching me by the pair pulled me back into the middle of the mob. They made no more stop till they had carried me through the main street from one end of the town to the other. I continued speaking all the time to those within hearing, feeling no pain or weariness. At the west end of the town, seeing a door half open, I made toward it, and would have gone in. But a gentleman in the shop would not suffer me, saying they would ‘pull the house down to the ground’. However, I stood at the door, and asked, ‘Are you willing to hear me speak?’ Many cried out, ‘No, no! Knock his brains out; down with him; kill him at once.’ Others said, ‘Nay, but we will hear him first.’ I began asking, ‘What evil have I done? Which of you all have I wronged in word or deed?’ And continued speaking for above a quarter of an hour, till my voice suddenly failed. Then the floods began to lift up their voice again, many crying out, ‘Bring him away, bring him away.’
In the meantime my strength and my voice returned, and I broke out aloud into prayer. And now the man who just before headed the mob turned and said, ‘Sir, I will spend my life for you. Follow me, and not one soul here shall touch a hair of your head.’ Two or three of his fellows confirmed his words and got close to me immediately. At the same time the gentleman in the shop cried out, ‘For shame, for shame, let him go.’ An honest butcher, who was a little farther off, said it was a shame they should do thus, and pulled back four or five, one after another, who were running on the most fiercely. The people then, as if it had been by common consent, fell back to the right and left, while those three or four men took me between them and carried me through them all. But on the bridge the mob rallied again. We therefore went on one side, over the mill dam, and thence through the meadows, till, a little before ten, God brought me safe to Wednesbury, having lost only one flap of my waistcoat and a little skin from one of my hands.
I never saw such a chain of providences before; so many convincing proofs that the hand of God is on every person and thing, overruling all as it seemeth him good.
The poor woman of Darlaston who had headed that mob and sworn that none should touch me, when she saw her fellows give way, ran into the thickest of the throng and knocked down three or four men, one after another. But many assaulting her at once, she was soon overpowered, and had probably been killed in a few minutes (three men keeping her down and beating her with all their might), had not a man called to one of them, ‘Hold, Tom, hold!’ ‘Who is there?’ said Tom. ‘What, honest Munchin? Nay then let her go.’ So they held their hand, and let her get up and crawl home as well as she could.
From the beginning to the end I found the same presence of mind as if I had been sitting in my own study. But I took no thought for one moment before another; only once it came into my mind that if they should throw me into the river it would spoil the papers that were in my pocket. For myself, I did not doubt but I should swim across, having but a thin coat and a light pair of boots.
The circumstances that follow I thought were particularly remarkable: (1) That many endeavoured to throw me down while we were going downhill on a slippery path to the town; as well judging, that if I was once on the ground, I should hardly rise any more. But I made no stumble at all, nor the least slip till I was entirely out of their hands. (2) That although many strove to lay hold on my collar or clothes, to pull me down, they could not fasten at all; only one got fast hold of the flap of my waistcoat, which was soon left in his hand. The other flap, in the pocket of which was a bank-note, was born but half off. (3) That a lusty man just behind struck at me several times with a large oaken stick; with which if he had struck me once on the back part of my head, it would have saved him all farther trouble. But every time the blow was turned aside, I know not how; for I could not move to the right hand or left. (4) That another came rushing through the press, and raising his arm to strike, on a sudden let it drop, and only stroked my head, saying, ‘What soft hair he has!’ (5) That I stopped exactly at the mayor’s door, as if I had known it (which the mob doubtless thought I did), and found him standing in the shop, which gave the first check to the madness of the people. (6) That the very first men whose hearts were turned were the heroes of the town, the captains of the rabble on all occasions, one of them having been a prize-fighter at the bear-garden. (7) That from first to last I heard none give a reviling word or call me by any opprobrious name whatever. But the cry of one and all was, ‘The preacher! The preacher! The parson! The minister!’ (8) That no creature, at least within my hearing, laid anything to my charge, either true or false; having in the hurry quite forgot to provide themselves with an accusation of any kind. And, lastly, that they were as utterly at a loss what they should do with me; none proposing any determinate thing, only, ‘Away with him; kill him at once!’
By how gentle degrees does God prepare us for his will! Two years ago a piece of a brick grazed my shoulders. It was a year after that the stone struck me between the eyes. Last month I received one blow, and this evening, two: one before we came into the town, and one after we were gone out. But both were as nothing, for though one man struck me on the breast with all his might, and the other on the mouth with such a force that the blood gushed out immediately, I felt no more pain from either of the blows than if they had touched me with a straw.
It ought not to be forgotten that when the rest of the society made all haste to escape for their lives, four only would not stir, William Sitch, Edward Slater, John Griffiths, and Joan Parks; these kept with me, resolving to live or die together. And none of them received one blow but William Sitch, who held me by the arm, from one end of the town to the other. He was then dragged away and knocked down; but he soon rose and got to me again. I afterwards asked him what he expected when the mob came upon us. He said, ‘To die for him who had died for us’; and he felt no hurry or fear, but calmly waited till God should require his soul of him.
I asked J. Parks if she was not afraid when they tore her away from me. She said, ‘No, no more than I am now. I could trust God for you as well as for myself. From the beginning I had a full persuasion that God would deliver you. I knew not how; but I left that to him, and was as sure as if it were already done.’ I asked if the report was true that she had fought for me. She said, ‘No; I knew God would fight for his children.’ And shall these souls perish at the last?
When I came back to Francis Ward’s I found many of our brethren waiting upon God. Many also whom I had never seen before came to rejoice with us. And the next morning, as I rode through the town in my way to Nottingham, everyone I met expressed such a cordial affection that I could scarce believe what I saw and heard.
I cannot close this head without inserting as great a curiosity in its kind, as I believe was ever yet seen in England; which had its birth within a very few days of this remarkable occurrence at Walsall:
Staffordshire
To all high-constables, petty-constables, and other of his Majesty’s peace-officers, within the said county, and particularly to the constable of Tipton (near Walsall):
Whereas we, his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, for the said county of Stafford, have received information that several disorderly persons, styling themselves Methodist preachers, go about raising routs and riots, to the great damage of his Majesty’s leige people, and against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King:
These are in his Majesty’s name to command you and every one of you, within your respective districts, to make diligent search after the said Methodist preachers, and to bring him or them before some of us his said Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, to be examined concerning their unlawful doings.
Given under our hands and seals, this 12th day of October, 1743.
J. Lane
W. Persehouse.
N.B. The very justices to whose houses I was carried, and who severally refused to see me!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ferment a little abated

Wed 19 Oct 1763: I returned to Norwich and found the ferment a little abated. I was much pleased with the leaders in the evening, a company of steady, lively, zealous persons—and indeed with most of the society with whom I have conversed, none of whom seem to have lost ground since I was here last.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Was ever a man so deluded?

Tue 18 Oct 1763: I read over that surprising book, The Life of Mr. William Lilly. If he believed himself, as he really seems to have done, was ever man so deluded? Persuaded that Hermeli, the queen of the Fairies, Micol Regina Pygmaeorum and their fellows, were good angels! How amazing is this! And is it not still more amazing that some of the greatest and most sensible men in the nation should not only not scruple to employ him, but be his fast friends upon all occasions?

Well-dressed and well-bred

Tue 18 Oct 1757: I preached to a very different congregation at Bradford, well-dressed and well-bred, and yet of the very same spirit, hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Zealous Colliers

Mon 17 Oct 1757: About two I preached at Paulton, but no house could contain us. So that I was forced to stand in the open air, though the wind was very high and very cold. Thence we rode to the honest colliers at Coleford. These have the zeal which their brethren at Kingswood want, in consequence of which they are the most numerous, as well as the most lively society in Somersetshire.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Go on or go back

Sun 16 Oct 1757: I began visiting the classes at Kingswood, steady but not zealous. It is impossible they should stand here long—they must go on, or go back.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We paid our debt

Sat 15 Oct 1743: The leaders brought in what had been contributed in their several classes toward the public debt. And we found it was sufficient to discharge it, which was therefore done without delay.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wesley leads in French and German

Saturday, October 15, 1737. Being at Highgate, a village five miles from Savannah, consisting of (all but one) French families, who, I found, knew but little of the English tongue, I offered to read prayers there in French, every Saturday in the afternoon. They embraced the offer gladly. On Saturday the 22nd I read prayers in German likewise to the German villagers of Hampstead, and so continued to do, once a week. We began the service (both at Highgate and Hampstead) with singing a psalm. Then I read and explained a chapter in the French or German Testament, and concluded with prayers and another psalm.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A very troublesome society

Tue 11 Oct 1763: I rode through miserable roads to Cambridge, and thence to Lakenheath. The next day I reached Norwich, and found much of the presence of God in the congregation, both this evening and the next day. On Friday evening I read to them all the rules of the society, adding, ‘Those who are resolved to keep these rules may continue with us, and those only.’ I then related what I had done since I came to Norwich first, and what I would do for the time to come: particularly, that I would immediately put a stop to preaching in the time of church service. I added: ‘For many years I have had more trouble with this society than with half the societies in England put together. With God’s help I will try you one year longer. And I hope you will bring forth better fruit.’

Monday, October 10, 2011

I applied boiled nettles

Mon 10 Oct 1757: I rose at my usual hour. But the soreness and swelling of my face, occasioned by my taking cold on Saturday, made it impracticable for me to preach. In the evening I applied boiled nettles. They took away the pain in a moment and the swelling in a few hours.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pleasant ride to Bristol

Sat 8 Oct 1757: We had heavy rain for some miles. Then it cleared up, and we had a pleasant ride to Bristol.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wesley considers leaving America

October the 7th, 1737. I consulted my friends whether God did not call me to return to England. The reason for which I left it had now no force, there being no possibility as yet of instructing the Indians; neither had I as yet found or heard of any Indians on the continent of America who had the least desire of being instructed. And as to Savannah, having never engaged myself, either by word or letter, to stay there a day longer than I should judge convenient, nor ever taken charge of the people any otherwise than as in my passage to the heathens, I looked upon myself to be fully discharged therefrom by the vacating of that design. Besides, there was a probability of doing more service to that unhappy people in England than I could do in Georgia, by representing without fear or favour to the Trustees the real state the colony was in. After deeply considering these things they were unanimous that ‘I ought to go; but not yet.’ So I laid the thoughts of it aside for the present, being persuaded that when the time was come, God would ‘make the way plain before my face’.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The poor rabble were quiet as lambs

Tue 4 Oct 1757: Between twelve and one I reached North Molton and finding the congregation ready began immediately. There have been great tumults here since I saw them before. But God has now rebuked the storm. When the gentry would neither head nor pay the mob any more, the poor rabble were quiet as lambs.
We rode on to Tiverton in the afternoon. On the three following days I saw as many of the societies as I could.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Examining and purging the society

Mon. 3 Oct, 1743. I returned to Bristol, and employed several days in examining and purging the society, which still consisted (after many were put away) of more than seven hundred persons. The next week I examined the society in Kingswood, in which I found but a few things to reprove.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A deeply attentive people

Sun 2 Oct 1757: I rode to Week St. Mary. A large congregation was gathered there, many of whom came seven or eight miles. The house stands in the midst of orchards and meadows, surrounded by gently rising hills. I preached on the side of a meadow newly mown, to a deeply attentive people.

Will I have strength to preach 4 times?

Sun. 2 Oct 1743. Fearing my strength would not suffice for preaching more than four times in the day, I only spent half an hour in prayer with the society in the morning. At seven, and in the evening, I preached in the Castle, at eleven in Wenvoe church; and in the afternoon in Porthkerry church, on, ‘Repent ye, and believe the gospel.’

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wesley and a case of demonic possession

Saturday, October 1, 1763: I returned to London, and found our house in ruins, great part of it being taken down, in order to a thorough repair. But as much remained as I wanted—six foot square suffices me by day or by night.
I now received a very strange account from a man of sense, as well as integrity:
I asked M. S. many questions before she would give me any answer. At length, after much persuasion, she said: ‘On old Michaelmas Day was three years I was sitting by myself at my father’s, with a Bible before me, and one whom I took to be my uncle came into the room and sat down by me. He talked to me some time till, not liking his discourse, I looked more carefully at him. He was dressed like my uncle; but I observed one of his feet was just like that of an ox. Then I was much frighted, and he began torturing me sadly, and told me he would torture me ten times more if I would not swear to kill my father, which at last I did. He said he would come again, on that day four years, between half hour past two and three o’clock.
            ‘I have several times since strove to write this down; but when I did, the use of my hand was taken from me. I strove to speak it; but whenever I did my speech was taken from me. And I am afraid I shall be tormented a deal more for what I have spoken now.’
            Presently she fell into such a fit as was dreadful to look upon. One would have thought she would be torn in pieces. Several persons could scarce hold her; till after a time she sunk down as dead.
            From that Michaelmas Day she was continually tormented with the thought of killing her father; as likewise of killing herself, which she often attempted, but was as often hindered. Once she attempted to cut her own throat; once to throw herself into Rosamond’s Pond; several times to strangle herself, which once or twice was with much difficulty prevented.
            Her brother, fearing lest she should at last succeed in her attempt, and finding her fits come more frequently, got a straight waistcoat made for her, such as they use at Bedlam. It was made of strong ticking, with two straps on the shoulders, to fasten her down to the bed—one across her breast, another across her middle, and another across her knees. One likewise was buckled on each leg, and fastened to the side of the bed. The arms of the waistcoat drew over her fingers, and fastened like a purse. In a few minutes after she was thus secured, her brother, coming to the bed, found she was gone. After some time he found she was up the chimney, so high that he could scarce touch her feet. When Mary Loftis called her she came down, having her hands as fast as ever.
            The night after, I fastened her arms to her body with new straps over and above the rest. She looked at me and laughed; then gave her hands a slight turn, and all the fastenings were off.
            In the morning Mr. Sparks came. On our telling him this he said, ‘But I will take upon me to fasten her so that she shall not get loose.’ Accordingly he sent for some girth-web, with which he fastened her arms to her sides, first above her elbows round her body, then below her elbows; then he put it round each wrist and braced them down to each side of the bedstead: after this she was quiet a night and a day. Then all this was off like the rest.
            After this we did not tie her down any more, only watched over her night and day. I asked the physician that attended her whether it was a natural disorder. He said, ‘Partly natural, partly diabolical.’ We then judged there was no remedy but prayer, which was made for her, or with her, continually; though while any were praying with her she was tormented more than ever.
            The Friday before Michaelmas Day last, Mr. W. came to see her. He asked, Do you know me? She said, ‘No, you all appear to me like blackamoors.’ But do not you know my voice? ‘No, I know no one’s voice, except Molly Loftis.’ Do you pray God to help you? ‘No, I can’t pray. God will never help me. I belong to the devil; and he will have me. He will take me, body and soul, on Monday.’ Would you have me pray for you? ‘No indeed. For when people pray, he torments me worse than ever.’ In her fits she was first convulsed all over, seeming in an agony of pain, and screaming terribly. Then she began cursing, swearing, and blaspheming in the most horrid manner. Then she burst into vehement fits of laughter; then sunk down as dead. All this time she was quite senseless; then she fetched a deep sigh, and recovered her sense and understanding—but was so weak that she could not speak to be heard, unless you put your ear almost close to her mouth.
            When Mr. W. began praying she began screaming, so that a mob quickly gathered about the house. However, he prayed on, till the convulsions and screaming ceased, and she came to her senses much sooner than usual. What most surprised us was that she continued in her senses, and soon after began to pray herself.
            On Sunday evening Mr. W. came again, asked her many questions, pressed her to call upon God for power to believe, and then prayed with her. She then began to pray again, and continued in her senses longer than she had done for a month before; but still insisted, the devil would come the next day between two and three, and take her away.
            She begged me to sit up with her that night, which I willingly did. About four in the morning she burst out into a flood of tears, crying, ‘What shall I do, what shall I do? I cannot stand this day. This day I shall be lost.’ I went to prayer with her, and exhorted her to pray for faith, and her agony ceased.
            About half hour after ten, ten of us came together, as we had agreed the day before. I said, ‘Is there any among you who does not believe that God is able and willing to deliver this soul?’ They answered with one voice, ‘We believe he both can and will deliver her this day.’ I then fastened her down to the bed on both sides, and set two on each side to hold her if need were. We began laying her before the Lord, and claiming his promise on her behalf. Immediately Satan raged vehemently. He caused her to roar in an uncommon manner, then to shriek, so that it went through our heads, then to bark like a dog. Then her face was distorted to an amazing degree, her mouth being drawn from ear to ear, and her eyes turned opposite ways, and starting as if they would start out of her head. Presently her throat was so convulsed that she appeared to be quite strangled. Then the convulsions were in her bowels, and her body swelled, as if ready to burst. At other times she was stiff from head to foot, as an iron bar, being at the same time wholly deprived of her senses, and motion, not even breathing at all. Soon after her body was so writhed, one would have thought all her bones must be dislocated.
            We continued in prayer, one after another, till about twelve o’clock. One then said, ‘I must go: I can stay no longer.’ Another and another said the same, till we were upon the point of breaking up. I said, ‘What is this? Will you all give place to the devil? Are you still ignorant of Satan’s devices? Shall we leave this poor soul in his hands?’ Presently the cloud vanished away. We all saw the snare, and resolved to wrestle with God till we had the petition we asked of him. We began singing an hymn, and quickly found his Spirit was in the midst of us. But the more earnestly we prayed, the more violently the enemy raged. It was with great difficulty that four of us could hold her down; frequently we thought she would have been torn out of our arms. By her looks and motions we judged she saw him in a visible shape. She laid fast hold on Molly Loftis and me with inexpressible eagerness; and soon burst into a flood of tears, crying, ‘Lord, save, or I perish. I will believe. Lord, give me power to believe, help my unbelief.’ Afterwards she lay quiet for about fifteen minutes. I then asked, ‘Do you now believe Christ will save you? And have you a desire to pray to him?’ She answered, ‘I have a little desire, but I want power to believe.’ We bid her keep asking for the power, and looking unto Jesus. I then gave out an hymn, and she earnestly sung with us those words:
O Sun of Righteousness, arise
            With healing in thy wing!
To my diseased, my fainting soul,
            Life and salvation bring.
                                   
            I now looked at my watch and told her: ‘It is half hour past two. This is the time when the devil said he would come for you.’ But, blessed be God, instead of a tormentor he sent a comforter. Jesus appeared to her soul, and rebuked the enemy, though still some fear remained. But at three it was all gone, and she mightily rejoiced in the God of her salvation. It was a glorious sight. Her fierce countenance was changed, and she looked innocent as a child. And we all partook of the blessing. For Jesus filled our souls with a love which no tongue can express. We then offered up our joint praises to God for his unspeakable mercies, and left her full of faith and love and joy in God her Saviour.