Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A preacher cursing the Methodists is struck down and dies
Tue. 23 Aug 1743. I came to Kingswood in the afternoon, and in the evening preached at Bristol. Wed. 24. I made it my business to inquire concerning the truth of a strange relation which had been given me. And I found there was no possibility of doubting it. The plain fact was this.
The Rev. Mr. Weston (I use the words of a gentleman of Bristol, whose manuscript lies by me) preached at two or three churches on these words, ‘Having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof’. After showing the different sorts of Dissenters from the Church of England, who (as he said) had only the form of godliness, he inveighed very much against the ‘novel sect’, the ‘upstart Methodists’ (as he termed them), which indeed he was accustomed to do, more or less, in almost all his sermons. ‘These are the men’, said he, ‘whom St. Paul foretold, who have the form, the outside show of holiness, but not the power; for they are ravening wolves, full of hypocrisy within.’ He then alleged many grievous things against them; but without all colour of truth; and warned his flock to ‘turn away from’ them, and not to bid them God speed, lest they should be partakers of their evil deeds.
Shortly after he was to preach at St. Nicholas Church. He had named the above-mentioned text twice, when he was suddenly seized with a rattling in his throat, attended with an hideous groaning. He fell backward against the door of the pulpit; burst it open, and would have fallen down the stairs but that some people caught him, and carried him away, as it seemed, dead, into the vestry. In two or three days he recovered his senses, and the Sunday following, died!
In the evening, the word of God was indeed quick and powerful. Afterwards I desired the men as well as women to meet. But I could not speak to them. The spirit of prayer was so poured upon us all that we could only speak to God.