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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A loving, simple people

Thur. 29 Sept 1743. I preached at the castle of Fonmon, to a loving, simple people. Friday 30, it being a fair, still evening, I preached in the castle yard at Cardiff; and the whole congregation, rich and poor, behaved as in the presence of God. Saturday, October 1. I preached at Caerphilly in the morning, Llantrisant at noon, and Cardiff at night.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

No time to lose

Tuesday 27 Sept 1743: We came to Mr. Gwynne’s at Garth. It brought fresh to my mind our first visit to Mr. Jones at Fonmon. How soon may the master of this great house too be called away into an everlasting habitation!
Having so little time to stay, I had none to lose. So the same afternoon, about four o’clock, I read prayers and preached to a small congregation on the ‘faith’ which ‘is counted’ to us ‘for righteousness’.
Very early in the morning I was obliged to set out in order to reach Cardiff before it was dark. I found a large congregation waiting there, to whom I explained Zech. 9:11: ‘By the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.’

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lessons in Evangelism

Mon. 26 Sept 1743. I had a great desire to speak plain to a young man who went with us over the New Passage. To that end I rode with him three miles out of my way, but I could fix nothing upon him. Just as we parted, walking over Caerleon bridge, he stumbled and was like to fall. I caught him, and began to speak of God’s care over us. Immediately the tears stood in his eyes, and he appeared to feel every word which was said; so I spoke, and spared not. The same I did to a poor man who led my horse over the bridge, to our landlord and his wife, and to one who occasionally came in. And they all expressed a surprising thankfulness.
About seven in the evening we reached Crickhowell, four miles beyond Abergavenny. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A quite serious and attentive congregation

Sun. 25 Sept 1743. I preached at Bristol in the morning, and at Kingswood in the afternoon on ‘Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and for ever’. A vast congregation in the evening were quite serious and attentive.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stop! say the Quakers

Thursday 22 Sept 1743: As we were riding through a village called Sticklepath, one stopped me in the street and asked abruptly, ‘Is not thy name John Wesley?’ Immediately two or three more came up and told me I must stop there. I did so, and before we had spoke many words our souls took acquaintance with each other. I found they were called Quakers; but that hurt not me, seeing the love of God was in their hearts.
In the evening I came to Exeter and preached in the Castle; and again at five in the morning to such a people as I have rarely seen, void both of anger, fear, and love.
We went by Axminster at the request of a few there that feared God, and had joined themselves together some years since. I exhorted them so to seek after the power as not to despise the form of godliness, and then rode on to Taunton, where we were gladly received by a little company of our brethren from Bristol.
I had designed to preach in the yard of our inn, but before I had named my text, having uttered only two words, ‘Jesus Christ’, a tradesman of the town (who it seems was mayor elect) made so much noise and uproar that we thought it best to give him the ground. But many of the people followed me up into a large room, where I preached unto them Jesus. The next evening, Saturday 24, we arrived safe at Bristol.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Large company of tinners [yes, tinners]

Wed. 21 Sept 1743. I was waked between three and four by a large company of tinners, who fearing they should be too late had gathered round the house and were singing and praising God. At five I preached once more, on ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ They all devoured the word. O may it be health to their soul and marrow unto their bones!
We rode to Launceston that day. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ten Thousand gather to hear Wesley

Tue. 20 Sept 1743. I concluded my preaching here by exhorting all who had ‘escaped the corruption that is in the world’ to ‘add to’ their ‘faith, courage, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity’. At eleven I spent some time with our brethren in prayer and commended them to the grace of God.
At Treswithian Downs I preached to two or three thousand people, on ‘the highway of the Lord, the way of holiness’. We reached Gwennap a little before six and found the plain covered from end to end. It was supposed there were ten thousand people, to whom I preached Christ our ‘wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption’. I could not conclude till it was so dark we could scarce see one another. And there was on all sides the deepest attention, none speaking, stirring, or scarce looking aside. Surely here, though in a temple not made with hands, was God ‘worshipped in the beauty of holiness’!
One of those who were present was Mr. P----, once a violent adversary. Before sermon began he whispered one of his acquaintance, ‘Captain, stand by me; don’t stir from me.’ He soon burst out into a flood of tears, and quickly after, sunk down. His friend caught him and prevented his falling to the ground. O may the Friend of sinners lift him up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The rabble had designed to make their general assault in the evening

Mon. 19 Sept 1743. We were informed the rabble had designed to make their general assault in the evening. But one of the aldermen came, at the request of the mayor, and stayed with us the whole time of the service. So that no man opened his mouth while I explained, ‘None is like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heavens unto thy help, and in his excellency upon the sky.’

Sunday, September 18, 2011

'By grace ye are saved through faith.’

Sat. 17 Sept 1743. I preached at St. Just, and at the Land’s End, where in the morning, Sunday 18, I largely declared (what many shall witness in due time), ‘By grace ye are saved through faith.’
The congregation at St. Just was greatly increased, while I proclaimed to every convicted sinner, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’
About one I preached at Morvah on Romans 8:15, to the largest congregation I had seen in Cornwall. The society afterwards met, consisting of above an hundred members. Which of these will endure to the end?
At Zennor I preached on Isaiah the fifty-third, feeling no weariness at all, and concluded the day with our brethren at St. Ives, rejoicing and praising God.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I received but one blow on the side of the head

Fri. 16 Sept 1743. I preached to four or five hundred on St. Hilary Downs. And many seemed amazed. But I could find none as yet who had any deep or lasting conviction.
In the evening, as I was preaching at St. Ives, Satan began to fight for his kingdom. The mob of the town burst into the room, and created much disturbance; roaring and striking those that stood in their way as though Legion himself possessed them. I would fain have persuaded our people to stand still; but the zeal of some, and the fear of others, had no ears; so that finding the uproar increase, I went into the midst, and brought the head of the mob up with me to the desk. I received but one blow on the side of the head; after which we reasoned the case, till he grew milder and milder, and at length undertook to quiet his companions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"They were ready to tear both them and me to pieces."

Mon. 12 Sept 1743. I preached at one on Treswithian Downs, and in the evening at St. Ives. The dread of God fell upon us while I was speaking, so that I could hardly utter a word; but most of all in prayer, wherein I was so carried out as scarce ever before in my life.
I had had for some time a great desire to go and publish the love of God our Saviour, if it were but for one day, in the Isles of Scilly. And I had occasionally mentioned it to several. This evening three of our brethren came and offered to carry me thither, if I could procure the mayor’s boat, which (they said) was ‘the best sailor of any in the town’. I sent, and he lent it me immediately. So the next morning, Tuesday 13, John Nelson, Mr. Shepherd, and I, with three men and a pilot, sailed from St. Ives. It seemed strange to me to attempt going in a fisher boat fifteen leagues upon the main ocean, especially when the waves began to swell and hang over our heads. But I called to my companions, and we all joined together in singing lustily and with a good courage:
When passing through the watery deep,
I ask in faith his promised aid,
The waves an awful distance keep,
And shrink from my devoted head.
Fearless their violence I dare:
They cannot harm, for God is there.
About half an hour after one we landed on St. Mary’s, the chief of the inhabited islands.
We immediately waited upon the governor, with the usual present, viz., a newspaper. I desired him likewise to accept of an Earnest Appeal. The minister not being willing I should preach in the church, I preached at six in the streets to almost all the town, and many soldiers, sailors, and workmen, on, ‘Why will ye die, O house of Israel?’ It was a blessed time, so that I scarce knew how to conclude. After sermon I gave them some little books and hymns, which they were so eager to receive that they were ready to tear both them and me to pieces.
For what political reason such a number of workmen were gathered together and employed at so large an expense, to fortify a few barren rocks, which whosoever would take deserves to have them for his pains, I could not possibly devise; but a providential reason was easy to be discovered. God might call them together to hear the gospel, which perhaps otherwise they might never have thought of.
At five in the morning I preached again, on, ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.’ And between nine and ten, having talked with many in private and distributed both to them and others between two and three hundred hymns and little books, we left this barren, dreary place and set sail for St. Ives, though the wind was strong and blew directly in our teeth. Our pilot said we should have good luck if we reached the land; but he knew not him whom the wind and seas obey. Soon after three we were even with the Land’s End, and about nine we reached St. Ives.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

‘I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely.’

Sat. 10 Sept 1743. There were prayers at St. Just in the afternoon, which did not end till four. I then preached at the cross, to, I believe, a thousand people, who all behaved in a quiet and serious manner.
At six I preached in Sennen, near the Land’s End, and appointed the little congregation (consisting chiefly of old grey-headed men) to meet me again at five in the morning. But on Sunday 11 great part of them were got together between three and four o’clock. So between four and five we began praising God; and I largely explained and applied, ‘I will heal their backslidings; I will love them freely.’
We went afterwards down, as far as we could go safely, toward the point of the rocks at the Land’s End. It was an awful sight! But how will these melt away when God ariseth to judgment!—The sea between does indeed ‘boil like a pot’. ‘One would think the deep to be hoary.’ But ‘though they swell, yet can they not prevail; he hath set their bounds which they cannot pass.’
Between eight and nine I preached at St. Just, on the green plain near the town, to the largest congregation (I was informed) that ever had been seen in these parts. I cried out, with all the authority of love, ‘Why will ye die, O house of Israel?’ The people trembled and were still. I had not known such an hour before, in Cornwall.
Soon after one we had such another congregation, on the north side of the Morvah church. The Spirit of the Great King was in the midst. And I was filled both with matter and words, even more abundantly than at St. Just. ‘My strength will I ascribe unto thee.’
At Zennor I preached about five, and then hastened to St. Ives, where we concluded the day in praising God with joyful lips.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Well behaved people at Land's End

Sat. 10 Sept 1743. There were prayers at St. Just in the afternoon, which did not end till four. I then preached at the cross, to, I believe, a thousand people, who all behaved in a quiet and serious manner.
At six I preached in Sennen, near the Land’s End, and appointed the little congregation (consisting chiefly of old grey-headed men) to meet me again at five in the morning. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

If but one heard, it was worth all the labour

Fri. 9 Sept 1743. I rode in quest of St. Hilary Downs, ten or twelve miles south-east of St. Ives. And the Downs I found, but no congregation, neither man, woman, nor child. But by that time I had put on my gown and cassock about an hundred gathered themselves together, whom I earnestly called ‘to repent and believe the gospel’. And if but one heard, it was worth all the labour.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dry Bones

Thursday 8 Sept 1743: I preached at Kenneggy Downs, five miles south of St. Ives, on ‘the resurrection of the dry bones’. There is not yet so much as a shaking among them, much less is there any breath in them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

JW stung on lip by wasp but preaches on

Tue 6 Sept 1785. I preached at Paulton and Coleford; Wednesday 7, in an open place near the road at Mells. Just as I began, a wasp, though unprovoked, stung me upon the lip. I was afraid it would swell so as to hinder my speaking, but it did not. I spoke distinctly, near two hours in all, and was no worse for it. In the evening, I preached with much satisfaction at Frome to a mixed multitude of rich and poor, and afterwards strongly exhorted them that had believed to ‘walk in love’ after the example of our great Master. On Thursday, I preached at Trowbridge, and on Friday at Bradford-on-Avon, where the work of God has much increased lately. Indeed it has increased this year through the whole circuit as it has not done for twenty years before. On Saturday evening, I preached at Bath. Sunday 11, Mr. Bradburn preached at seven, and Mr. Collins about two in the afternoon. I began the service at eleven and preached on part of the Epistle, Ephesians 3:14, etc. Both then and in the evening the word ‘distilled as the dew, and as the rain on the tender herb’.

Monday, September 5, 2011

After a long interval of deadness, God is again visiting this poor people

Sun. 4 Sept, 1774. The rain drove us into the house at St. Agnes. At one it was fair, so I preached in the street at Redruth. But the glorious congregation was assembled at five in the amphitheatre at Gwennap. They were judged to cover four-score yards, and yet those farthest off could hear.
Today I received the following note:
            The sermon you preached last Thursday evening was, by the grace of God, of great good to my soul. And when you prayed so earnestly for backsliders (of whom I am one), an arrow dipped in blood reached my heart. Ever since, I have been resolved never to rest till I find again the rest that remains for the people of God. I am, dear sir,
                                    A vile backslider,
                                    from the pure love of Jesus,
                                    and from the society at Gwennap.
Monday 5, I preached at Cubert, Tuesday 6, at Port Isaac. Wednesday 7, having preached at Camelford and Launceston, I did not think of preaching at Tavistock; but finding a congregation waiting, I began without delay. I had scarce half finished my discourse in the square at Plymouth Dock when the rain began. At first I did not regard it, but as it grew heavier and heavier, I thought it best to shorten my sermon.
It seems, after a long interval of deadness, God is again visiting this poor people. The society is nearly doubled within this year and is still continually increasing. And many are athirst for full salvation, particularly the young men. Friday 9, I set out early from the dock and the next afternoon reached Bristol.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"I will not separate from the Church" [of England]

Sun 4 Sept 1785. Finding a report had been spread abroad that I was just going to leave the Church, to satisfy those that were grieved concerning it, I openly declared in the evening that I had now no more thought of separating from the Church than I had forty years ago.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Stupid People

September 1, 1785, in the market-place at Tiverton; and on Friday 2, opened the little preaching-house at Wellington. At noon, I preached in an ancient, venerable building once belonging to a Lord Chief Justice. It is oddly called Cathanger. Having a stupid people to deal with, I spoke exceeding plain. And I think many of them, even Somersetshire farmers, felt as well as heard. Thence we went on to Ditcheat. The people here are all attentive, so that I had nothing to do but apply the promises. The society is continually increasing, and more and more of the hearers are convinced and justified. What is the strangest thing is, there is no opposer in the town, but rich and poor all acknowledge the work of God. Saturday 3 in the afternoon, the good providence of God brought us once more well to Bristol.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wesley has some defenders in Court

Fri. 2 Sept 1737: Was the third court at which I appeared since my being carried before Mr. Parker and the Recorder.
I now moved for an immediate hearing on the first bill [read the charges against Wesley here ], being the only one of a civil nature, but it was refused. I made the same motion in the afternoon, but was put off till the next court-day.

On the next court-day I appeared again, as also at the two courts following, but could not be heard, ‘because (the Judge said) Mr. Williamson was gone out of town’.

The sense of the minority of the grand jurors themselves (for they were by no means unanimous) concerning these presentments, may appear from the following paper, which they transmitted to the Trustees.

To the Honourable the Trustees for Georgia.

Whereas two presentments have been made, the one of August 23, the other of August 31, by the grand jury of Savannah in Georgia, against John Wesley, Clerk.

We whose names are underwritten, being members of the said grand jury, do humbly beg leave to signify our dislike of the said presentments; being by many and divers circumstances thoroughly persuaded in ourselves that the whole charge against Mr. Wesley is an artifice of Mr. Causton’s, designed rather to blacken the character of Mr. Wesley than to free the colony from religious tyranny, as he was pleased in his charge to us to term it. But as these circumstances will be too tedious to trouble your honours with, we shall only beg leave to give the reasons of our dissent from the particular bills.

With regard to the first bill, we do not apprehend that Mr. Wesley acted against any law by writing or speaking to Mrs. Williamson, since it does not appear to us that the said Mr. Wesley has either spoke in private or wrote to the said Mrs. Williamson, since March 12, except one letter of July the 5th, which he wrote at the request of her aunt, as a pastor, to exhort and reprove her.

The second we do not apprehend to be a true bill, because we humbly conceive Mr. Wesley did not assume to himself any authority contrary to law. For we understand every person intending to communicate should ‘signify his name to the Curate at least some time the day before’, which Mrs. Williamson did not do; although Mr. Wesley had often in full congregation declared he did insist on a compliance with that rubric, and had before repelled divers persons for noncompliance therewith.

The third we do not think a true bill, because several of us have been his hearers when he has declared his adherence to the Church of England, in a stronger manner than by a formal declaration; by explaining and defending the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds, the Thirty-nine Articles, the whole Book of Common Prayer, and the Homilies of the said Church; and because we think a formal declaration is not required but from those who have received institution and induction.

The fact alleged in the fourth bill we cannot apprehend to be contrary to any law in being.

The fifth we do not think a true bill, because we conceive Mr. Wesley is justified by the rubric, viz., ‘If they (the parents) certify that the child is weak, it shall suffice to pour water upon it’—intimating (as we humbly suppose) it shall not suffice if they do not certify.

The sixth cannot be a true bill, because the said William Gough, being one of our members, was surprised to hear himself named without his knowledge or privity; and did publicly declare it was no grievance to him, because the said John Wesley had given him reasons with which he was satisfied.

The seventh we do not apprehend to be a true bill, for Nathanael Polhill was an Anabaptist, and desired in his lifetime that he might not be interred with the office of the Church of England. And farther, we have good reason to believe that Mr. Wesley was at Frederica, or on his return thence, when Polhill was buried.

As to the eighth bill we are in doubt, as not well knowing the meaning of the word ‘Ordinary’. But for the ninth and tenth we think Mr. Wesley is sufficiently justified by the Canons of the Church, which forbid ‘any person to be admitted godfather or godmother to any child before the said person has received the Holy Communion’; whereas William Aglionby and Jacob Matthews had never certified Mr. Wesley that they had received it.

This was signed by twelve of the grand jurors, of whom three were constables, and six more tithingmen; who consequently would have made a majority had the jury consisted, as it regularly should have done, of only fifteen members, viz., the four constables and eleven tithingmen.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An earnest, stupid attention in the hearers

Thursday, September 1, 1748. We had a day of peace. Fri. 2. I preached at Morvah, about eight miles west of St. Ives, on the north sea. My text was, ‘The land of Zabulon and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea. . . . The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.’
I observed an earnest, stupid attention in the hearers, many of whom appeared to have good desires, but I did not find one who was convinced of sin, much less who knew the pardoning love of God.