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:
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.’