Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saved by a Hare

Sun. 31 July 1774. The church could not contain the congregation, either morning or afternoon. But in the evening, I preached to a still larger congregation at Broseley, and equally attentive. I now learned the particulars of a remarkable story, which I had heard imperfectly before. . . . Sometime since, one of the colliers here, coming home at night, dropped into a coal-pit twenty-four yards deep. He called aloud for help, but none heard all that night and all the following day. The second night, being weak and faint, he fell asleep and dreamed that his wife, who had been some time dead, came to him and greatly comforted him. In the morning, a gentleman going a-hunting, an hare started up just before the hounds, ran straight to the mouth of the pit and was gone, no man could tell how. The hunters searched all round the pit till they heard a voice from the bottom. They quickly procured proper help and drew up the man unhurt.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Colliers, who drank in every word

Sat. 30 July 1774. I went on to Madeley and in the evening preached under a sycamore tree in Madeley Wood to a large congregation, good part of them colliers, who drank in every word. Surely never were places more alike than Madeley Wood, Gateshead Fell, and Kingswood!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Quaker invites JW to dinner

Wed. 27 Jul 1774. About one, we reached Leek in Staffordshire. I could not imagine who the Quaker should be that had sent me word he expected me to dinner and was agreeably surprised to find that it was my old friend Joshua Strangman, of Mountmellick in Ireland, whom I had not seen for many years. I found he was the same man still, of the same open, friendly, amiable temper. And everything about him was (not costly or fine but) surprisingly neat and elegant. It began to rain soon after we came in, but the rain stayed while I was preaching; and it seemed the whole town, rich and poor, were gathered together and listened while I explained, ‘God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ I preached at Burslem in the evening, and, on Thursday 28 in the afternoon, came to Shrewsbury.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Conference without contention or altercation

Tuesday 26 July 1785 (Ireland):, our Conference began, at which about seventy preachers were present, whom I had invited by name. One consequence of this was that we had no contention or altercation at all, but everything proposed was calmly considered and determined as we judged would be most for the glory of God.

Monday, July 25, 2011

You can lose your salvation

Mon. 25 Jul 1774. I went on to Sheffield and on Tuesday met the select society. But it was reduced from sixty to twenty, and but half of these retained all that they once received. What a grievous error to think those that are saved from sin cannot lose what they have gained! It is a miracle if they do not, seeing all earth and hell are so enraged against them! While, meantime, so very few even of the children of God skilfully endeavour to strengthen their hands.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Only one person inattentive

Sun 24 July 1774: On Friday and Saturday, I made a little excursion into Yorkshire and on Sunday 24, I preached at eight at Gringley on the Hill to an huge congregation, among whom I could observe but one person that was inattentive. Here I received an invitation from Mr. Harvey to give him a sermon at Finningley. I came thither a little before the service began, and the church was filled but not crowded. Between three and four, I returned to Epworth. The congregation there was large last Sunday, but it was nearly doubled now, and never had we from the beginning a more solemn and affectionate parting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In Ireland

Sun. 17 July 1785 (Ireland). I preached both morning and evening on the education of children. I now spoke chiefly to the parents, informing them that I designed to speak to the children at five the next morning. Monday 18 at five, not only the morning chapel was well filled, but many stood in the large Chapel. I trust they did not come in vain. The rest of the week, I was fully employed in writing for the Magazine and preparing for the Conference. Sunday 24, I preached at West Street, morning and afternoon, when both the largeness and earnestness of the congregation gave me a comfortable hope of a blessing at the ensuing Conference.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rejoiced greatly together in ‘him who justifieth the ungodly'

Wed. 20 Jul 1743. I preached at Birstall and Hightown. After I had visited all the societies in these parts and preached at as many of the little towns as I could, on Monday 25, I rode to Barley Hall. Many from Sheffield were there. We rejoiced greatly together in ‘him who justifieth the ungodly’. On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I preached at Nottingham; on Wednesday evening at Markfield. Friday 28 we rode to Newport Pagnell, and Saturday 29 to London.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A feeble, decrepit an old man

Tues. 19 July 1774. I preached at Louth about noon, and at Grimsby in the evening. At ten, on Wednesday 20, I preached at Winterton. None of the hearers was more attentive than an old acquaintance of my father’s, Mr. George Stovin, formerly a justice of the peace near Epworth, now as teachable as a little child and determined to know nothing save Christ crucified. About two, I preached in an open place at Scotter, and in the evening at Owston. One of my audience here was Mr. Pindar, a contemporary of mine at Oxford. But any that observed so feeble, decrepit an old man, tottering over the grave, would imagine there was a difference of forty rather than two years between us!

Peace while so many were making themselves ready for battle.

Tuesday 19 July 1763: Finding it was not expedient to leave London during the ferment which still continued by reason of Mr. Maxfield’s separation from us, I determined not to remove from it before the Conference. This began on Tuesday, July 19, and ended on Saturday 23. And it was a great blessing that we had peace among ourselves, while so many were making themselves ready for battle.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Preaching to a wild, unbroken herd

Mon. 18 July 1774. I reached Brigg before eight and, by the request of the chief persons in the town, preached at nine in the market-place to a large and attentive congregation. Hence I went on to Tealby and preached near the church to a multitude of plain, serious country people. Very different from the wild, unbroken herd to whom I preached at Horncastle in the evening.

Both the horses laid down and died

Mon. 18 July 1743. I set out from Newcastle with John Downes of Horsley. We were four hours riding to Ferryhill, about twenty measured miles. After resting there an hour we rode softly on, and at two o’clock came to Darlington. I thought my horse was not well. He thought the same of his; though they were both young, and very well the day before. We ordered the hostler to fetch a farrier, which he did without delay. But before the men could determine what was the matter, both the horses laid down and died.
I hired a horse to Sandhutton and rode on, desiring John Downes to follow me. Thence I rode to Boroughbridge on Tuesday morning, and then walked on to Leeds.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My favourite congregation

Sun. 17 Jul 1743. I preached (as I had done the Wednesday before) to my favourite congregation at Plessey, on ‘Him hath God exalted with his own right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour.’ I then joined a little company of them together, who desire ‘repentance and remission of sins’.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The sun shining in my face was a little troublesome

Sat. 16 July 1774. I went to Epworth and preached in the market-place to a numerous and quiet congregation. Sunday 17, about eight, I preached at Misterton. The sun shining in my face was a little troublesome at first but was soon covered with clouds. We had an useful sermon at Haxey church. About one, I preached at Upperthorpe; and between four and five, the rain being stayed, I began in Epworth market-place. Such a congregation never met there before. And they did not meet in vain.

Friday, July 15, 2011

God ‘has a few names’

Thur. 14 July 1774. About nine, I preached at Wakefield, and in the evening at Doncaster. Here also God ‘has a few names’. On Friday 15, about eleven, I preached at Thorpe, and in the evening at Rotherham to a people who both understand and love the gospel.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Convinced by strong but artless words

Thur. 14 Jul 1743. I preached at the Lower Spen, seven or eight (northern) miles from Newcastle. John Brown had been obliged to remove hither from Tanfield Lea (I believe by the peculiar providence of God). By his rough and strong, though artless words, many of his neighbours had been much convinced, and began to search the Scriptures as they never had done before; so that they did not seem at all surprised when I declared, ‘He that believeth, hath everlasting life.’

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Perfectly Unanimous Conference

Friday, July 1, 1785. Most of our travelling preachers met, to confer together on the things of God. We began and ended in much peace and love, being all resolved not to ‘do the work of the Lord so lightly’. Sunday 3, we had a larger congregation than ever at St. Patrick’s, where many of our brethren found such a blessing that they will not easily be so prejudiced against the Church as they were in time past. Wed. 6. We concluded our Conference. I remember few such conferences, either in England or Ireland: so perfectly unanimous were all the preachers and so determined to give themselves up to God.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wesley and the ‘hundred forty and four thousand, standing with the Lamb on mount Zion’.

Tuesday 12 July 1774: was the Quarterly Meeting. It was a busy and yet a comfortable day. Many were refreshed both at the love-feast and while I was describing the ‘hundred forty and four thousand, standing with the Lamb on mount Zion’. Who is ambitious to be of that number?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Preaching to " the crowds of poor wretches"

Sun. 10 July 1743: I preached at eight on Chowdean Fell, on ‘Why will ye die, O house of Israel?’ Ever since I came to Newcastle the first time, my spirit had been moved within me at the crowds of poor wretches who were every Sunday in the afternoon sauntering to and fro, on the Sandhill. I resolved, if possible, to find them a better employ, and as soon as the service at All Saints was over, walked straight from the church to the Sandhill and gave out a verse of a psalm. In a few minutes I had company enough, thousands upon thousands crowding together. But the prince of this world fought with all his might, lest his kingdom should be overthrown. Indeed the very mob of Newcastle, in the height of their rudeness, have commonly some humanity left. I scarce observed that they threw anything at all; neither did I receive the least personal hurt. But they continued thrusting one another to and fro, and making such a noise that my voice could not be heard; so that after spending near an hour in singing and prayer, I thought it best to adjourn to our own house.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

JW records the slaughter of Chickasaw Indians

Sat. 9 July 1737: Meeting with a Frenchman of New Orleans on the Mississippi, who had lived several months among the Chickasaws, he gave us a full and particular account of many things which had been variously related. And hence we could not but remark what is the religion of nature, properly so called, or that religion which flows from natural reason, unassisted by revelation. And that, even in those who have the knowledge of many truths, and who converse with their beloved ones day and night. But too plainly does it appear by the fruits that ‘the gods of these heathens too are but devils’.
The substance of his account was this:
Some years past the Chickasaws and French were friends. The French were then mingled with the Natchez Indians, whom they used as slaves, till the Natchez made a general rising and took many of the French prisoners. But soon after a French army set upon them, killed many, and carried away the rest. Among those that were killed were some Chickasaws, whose death the Chickasaw nation resented; and soon after, as a French boat was going through their country, they fired into it, and killed all the men but two. The French resolved on revenge, and orders were given for many Indians and several parties of white men to rendezvous on the 26th of March, 1736, near one of the Chickasaw towns. The first party, consisting of fifty men, came thither some days before the time. They stayed there till the 24th, but none came to join them. On the 25th they were attacked by two hundred Chickasaws. The French attempted to force their way through them. Five or six and twenty did so; the rest were taken prisoners. The prisoners were sent two or three to a town to be burned. Only the commanding officer and one or two more were put to death on the place of the engagement.
I (said he) and one more were saved by the warrior who took us. The manner of burning the rest was, holding lighted canes to their arms and legs and several parts of their bodies for some time, and then for a while taking them away. They likewise stuck burning pieces of wood into their flesh all round, in which condition they kept them from morning till evening. But they commonly beat them before they burn them. I saw the priest that was with us carried to be burned; and from head to foot he was as black as your coat with the blows which they had given him.
I asked him, ‘What was their manner of life?’ He said, ‘They do nothing but eat and drink and smoke from morning till night, and in a manner from night till morning. For they rise at any hour of the night when they wake, and after eating and drinking as much as they can, go to sleep again.’