Monday, February 28, 2011

Will the world end tonight

Mon 28 Feb 1763: Preaching in the evening at Spitalfields, on ‘Prepare to meet thy God,’ I largely showed the utter absurdity of the supposition that the world was to end that night. But notwithstanding all I could say, many were afraid to go to bed, and some wandered about in the fields, being persuaded that if the world did not end, at least London would be swallowed up by an earthquake. I went to bed at my usual time, and was fast asleep about ten o’clock.’

Sunday, February 27, 2011

God sends Wesley help

Sun 27 Feb 1757: After the service at Snowsfields, I found myself much weaker than usual and feared I should not be able to go through the work of the day, which is equal to preaching eight times. I therefore prayed that God would send me help, and, as soon as I had done preaching at West Street, a clergyman who was come to town for a few days came and offered me his service. So when I asked for strength, God gave me strength; when for help, he gave this also.
I had been long desired to see the little flock at Norwich. But this I could not decently do till I was able to rebuild part of the Foundery there, to which I was engaged by my lease. A sum sufficient for that end was now unexpectedly given me, by one of whom I, had no personal knowledge. So I set out Monday 28 and preached in Norwich on Tuesday evening, March 1.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Taught in the school of affliction

Sat 26 Feb 1743: I visited those that were sick. One of these had kept her room for many months, so that she had never heard the voice or seen the face of any preacher of ‘this way’. But God had taught her in the school of affliction. She gave a plain and distinct account of the manner wherein she had received a sense of her acceptance with God, more than a year before; and of a fuller manifestation of his love, of which she never after doubted for a moment.

Friday, February 25, 2011

None wickeder than me

Mon 28 Feb 1743: I preached again at Horsley and spoke severally with those of the society. The world now begins to take the alarm and to cast out their name as evil. After a very good woman (so called) had used abundance of arguments to hinder her neighbour from going near these people, she told her at length, ‘Why, none but the wickedest people upon earth go there.’ ‘Nay then’, replied she, ‘I will go immediately. For I am sure none upon earth is wickeder than me.’ Such be the event of all worldly wisdom!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Our income at last nearly answers our expenses

Thu 24 Feb 1780: I met the building committee, according to whose representation our income at last nearly answers our expenses. If so it will clear itself in a few years.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ice cold in a leaky carriage

Sun 27 Feb 1785: I preached in Stepney Church, one of the largest parish churches in England. Monday 28, the Diligence reached Salisbury about eight in the evening. About nine, we left it. So keen a frost I hardly ever felt before. And our carriage let in the air on all sides, so that we could hardly preserve life. However, soon after five on Tuesday evening we got to Exeter.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

“My body was in prison, but I was Christ’s freeman”

Tue 22 Feb 1757: I preached at Deptford. Even this wilderness does at length ‘blossom and bud as the rose’. Never was there such life in this little flock before nor such an increase in the number of hearers.
The following letter was wrote on Saturday 28:
Reverend and dear Sir,
When I was at Freshford, on January 30, in the morning, I scrupled singing those words,
Ye now afflicted are,
And hated for his name,
And in your bodies bear
The tokens of the Lamb.
I thought I was not afflicted or hated for the name of Christ. But this scruple was soon removed. For at Bradford, in the evening, I was pressed for a soldier and carried to an inn, where the gentlemen were. Mr. Pearce, hearing of it, came and offered bail for my appearance the next day. They said they would ‘take his word for ten thousand pound’; but not for me—I ‘must go to the round-house’, the little stone room on the side of the bridge. So thither I was conveyed by five soldiers. There I found nothing to sit on but a stone, and nothing to lie on but a little straw. But soon after, a friend sent me a chair, on which I sat all night. I had a double guard, twelve soldiers in all—two without, one in the door, and the rest within. I passed the night without sleep but not without rest; for, blessed be God, my peace was not broken for a moment. My body was in prison, but I was Christ’s freeman—my soul was at liberty. And, even there I found some work to do for God—I had fair opportunity of speaking to them who durst not leave me. And I hope it was not in vain.
In the morning, I had leave to go to a private house with only one soldier to guard me. About three in the afternoon I was carried before the commissioners, and part of the Act read which empowered them to take ‘such able-bodied men as followed no business and had no lawful or sufficient maintenance’. Then I said, ‘If these are the men you are to take, I am not a proper person. For I do follow a lawful calling, in partnership with my brother, and have also an estate.’ The Justice said, ‘If you will make oath of that, I think we must let you go.’ But the commissioners said, no man could swear for himself. I said, ‘Gentlemen, give me time and you shall have full proof.’ After a long debate, they took a fifty-pound bond for my appearance on that day three weeks. All the time I could bless God that he counted me worthy to suffer for his name’s sake.
The next day I set out for Cornwall. I tarried at home four days, and then, setting out with my brother James, came to Bradford last Saturday. On Monday in the afternoon I appeared before the commissioners, with the writings of my estate. When the Justice had perused them, and my brother had taken his oath, I was set at liberty. So the fierceness of man turns to God’s praise, and all this is for the furtherance of the gospel. I hope you will return God thanks for my deliverance out of the hands of unreasonable and wicked men.
William Hitchens

Monday, February 21, 2011

World will end on 28 Feb

Mon 21 Feb 1763: Observing the terror occasioned by that wonderful prophecy [the world will end on 28 Feb] to spread far and wide, I endeavoured to draw some good therefrom, by strongly exhorting the congregation at Wapping to ‘seek the Lord while he might be found.’ But at the same time I thought it incumbent upon me to declare (as indeed I had done from the hour I heard it) that ‘it must be false, if the Bible be true.’
The three next days I spent in the tedious work of transcribing the names of the society. I found about thirty of those who thought they were saved from sin had separated from their brethren. But above four hundred who witnessed the same confession seemed more united than ever.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Renouncing the Methodists

Sun 20 Feb 1785: I preached in Spitalfields Church in the morning and, in the afternoon, at St. Ethelburga’s and, in the evening, in the New Chapel. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I visited the residue of the sick and poor. Friday 25, I received letters from the preachers, stewards, and leaders at Plymouth Dock, informing me that William Moore had renounced the Methodists, hired a place to preach in, and drawn away about forty of our members to form a society for himself. They therefore begged I would come down as soon as possible to quench the kindling fire. I saw no time was to be lost and therefore immediately took places in the Exeter Diligence.

Remove those who don't walk in the gospel

Sun 20 Feb 1743: I went on in expounding the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. In the following week I diligently inquired who they were that did not walk according to the gospel. In consequence of which I was obliged to put away above fifty persons. There remained about eight hundred in the society.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A somewhat sarcastic John Wesley

Thu 17 Feb 1780: I preached at Dorking and could not but reflect, in this room I lodged the first time I saw poor Mr. Ireland—emphatically poor! Poor beyond expression—though he left four-score thousand pounds behind him!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do you read the Bible

Fri 18 Feb 1743: I rode forward for Newcastle. We inquired at Poppleton, a little town three miles beyond York, and hearing there was no other town near, thought it best to call there. A Bible lying in the window, my fellow-traveller asked the woman of the house if she read that book. She said, ‘Sir, I can’t read, the worse is my luck. But that great girl is a rare scholar. And yet she cares not if she never looks in a book. She minds nout but play.’ I began soon after to speak to our landlord, while the old woman drew closer and closer to me. The girl spun on. But all on a sudden she stopped her wheel, burst out into tears, and, with all that were in the house, so devoured our words that we scarce knew how to go away.
In the evening we came to Boroughbridge, and Saturday 19 to Newcastle.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Many delivered from doubts and fears

Thu 17 Feb 1763: Light from above broke into the heart of another hard-hearted sinner. At the same time many were delivered from doubts and fears, and ‘knew the things which were freely given them of God’. On Friday I returned to London.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wesley the ‘Medical Doctor’

Wed. 16 Feb 1757. Calling on a friend, I found him just seized with all the symptoms of a pleurisy. I advised him to apply a brimstone plaster, and in a few hours he was perfectly well. Now, to what end should this patient have taken a heap of drugs and lost twenty ounces of blood? ‘To what end? Why, to oblige the doctor and apothecary.’ Enough! Reason good!

Don’t claim Christ has set you free if you are still a servant of sin

Wed 16 Feb 1743: I reached Epworth. I was to preach at six. But the house not being able to contain half the congregation I went out and declared, ‘We love him, because he first loved us.’ In the morning, Thursday 17, I largely explained ‘the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’. And it was high time, for I soon found the spirit of delusion was gone abroad here also, and some began to boast that Christ had ‘made them free’ who were still the ‘servants of sin’. In the evening I preached on that bold assertion of St. John (indeed of all who have the true Spirit of adoption), ‘We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.’

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin

Tue 15 Feb 1763: I rode to Deptford and found the society there united in faith and love. During the sermon in the afternoon one poor mourner found peace with God. In the evening I preached at Welling, and on Thursday 17 rode on to Sevenoaks. Here I was grieved to find one who ‘did run well’ quite hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. But in the evening God looked upon him once more, and melted him into tears of love.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No wonder that the world returned their love by persecuting them in every country.

Mon. 14 Feb 1774. In my way to Dorking, I gave another reading to the Life of Anna Maria Schurman—perhaps a woman of the strongest understanding that the world ever saw. And she was likewise deeply devoted to God. So was also Antoinette Bourignon, nearly her equal in sense, though not in learning, and equally devoted to God. In many things, there was a surprising resemblance between them, particularly in severity of temper, leading them to separate from all the world, whom they seemed to give up to the devil without remorse. Only with this difference. Madam Bourignon believed there were absolutely no children of God but her and her three or four associates—Anna Schurman believed there were almost none but her and her little community. No wonder that the world returned their love by persecuting them in every country.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Single women, consider, prize, and improve the advantages you enjoy

Sun 13 Feb 1785: I met the single women and exhorted them to consider, to prize, and to improve the advantages they enjoyed. On the following days, I visited many of our poor to see with my own eyes what their wants were and how they might be effectually relieved?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We haven't lost anyone...yet.

Sat 12 Feb 1763: I visited the classes at Snowsfields, where I was told many would go away. But the time is not come. As yet we have lost none—though some are held as by a single hair.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"I renounce John and Charles Wesley"

Fri 11 Feb 1743: I called on poor Joseph Hodges, who after so long withstanding all the wiles of the enemy has been at last induced, by his fatal regard for Mr. Hall, to renounce my brother and me in form. But he had perfectly learned the exercise of his arms. He was so happy, so poor a sinner, that to produce either Scripture or reason against him was mere beating the air.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How far away is the sun?

Thur. 10 Feb 1757 At the request of the author I took some pains in correcting an ingenious book, shortly to be published. But the more I consider them, the more I doubt of all systems of astronomy. I doubt whether we can certainly know either the distance or magnitude of any star in the firmament. Else why do astronomers so immensely differ, even with regard to the distance of the sun from the earth? Some affirming it to be only three, others ninety, millions of miles!
About this time the following note was given into my hand at Wapping:
John White, master at arms, aboard his Majesty’s ship Tartar, now at Plymouth, desires to return Almighty God thanks for himself and all the ship’s company, for their preservation in four different engagements they have had with four privateers which they have taken, particularly the last, wherein the enemy first boarded them. They cleared the deck, boarded in their turn, and took the ship, thirty of the enemy being killed, and fifty more wounded. Only two of our crew were wounded, who, it is hoped, will recover.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gentlewomen (so called)

Thursday, 10 February 1774. I was desired by that affectionate man, Mr. Pentycross, to give him a sermon at Chelsea. Every corner of the room was thoroughly crowded, and all but two or three gentlewomen (so called) were deeply serious while I strongly enforced, ‘Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life.’

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I was happily disappointed

Thur. 10 Feb 1763. I rode to Brentford, expecting to find disagreeable work there also. But I was happily disappointed. Not one seemed inclined to leave the society, and some were added to it. And the congregation was not only quiet, but more deeply attentive than is usual in this place.
Hence I rode on Friday 11 to Shoreham, and buried the remains of Mrs. Perronet, who after a long, distressing illness, on Saturday the 5th instant fell asleep.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What well spoken folk

Sunday, 6 February 1785. We had a love-feast. I could not but observe the manner wherein several of them spoke one after another; not only the matter, but the language—the accent, the tone of voice—wherewith illiterate persons, men and women, young and old, spoke, were such as a scholar need not be ashamed of. ‘Who teacheth like him!’

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Lord’s day a little more laborious than the former

Sunday, 6 February 1757. The number of communicants at Spitalfields made this Lord’s day a little more laborious than the former. But God added proportionably to my strength. So I felt no difference.

Friday, February 4, 2011

National Fast

Friday, February the 4th, 1780, being the National Fast, I preached first at the New Chapel and then at St. Peter’s, Cornhill. What a difference in the congregation! Yet out of these stones God can raise up children to Abraham.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So rough a charity sermon was scarce ever heard

[from Sun 6] I preached in the morning, on ‘While we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men,’ and in the afternoon, on ‘By manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God’. So rough a charity sermon was scarce ever heard. But God gave it his blessing, insomuch that fifty pounds were contributed toward finishing the house at Newcastle.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My brother and I go visiting

Wednesday, 2 February 1743. My brother and I began visiting the society together, which employed us from six in the morning every day till near six in the evening.