Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Discipline Problems

Sat 26 Nov 1757. I returned to London. Much confusion had been in my absence, occasioned by some imprudent words spoken by one who seemed to be strong in the faith.
Mon. 28. I heard all who were concerned face to face but was utterly unable to judge whether there was wilful sin, lying, on either side, or only human infirmity. For the present I leave it to the searcher of hearts, who will bring all things to light in due season.
Wed. 30. I had another long hearing of the same intricate cause. But with no more success: one side flatly affirmed, the other flatly denied. This is strange! But it is more strange that those who seem so strong in faith should have no union of spirit with each other.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Local Preacher steals the flock

Mon. 28 Nov 1785: I went to Canterbury; the chapel was more than filled. On Tuesday, I found at Dover also a considerable increase of the work of God. Wednesday 30, I went on to Margate. Some years since, we had a small society here. But a local preacher took them to himself: only two or three remained, who from time to time pressed our preachers to come again. And to remove the objection that ‘there was no place to preach in’, with the help of a few friends they built a convenient preaching-house. Thursday, I opened it in the evening. The congregation was large and perfectly well behaved. And I cannot but hope that, after all the stumbling-blocks, there will be a people here who will uniformly adorn the gospel of Christ. On Friday, I returned to London.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

God enabled me to speak strong words

Sun 27 Nov 1785. As soon as I had concluded my sermon at the New Chapel, I hastened away to preach at St. Luke’s, one of the largest parish churches in London. It was thoroughly filled, as it was seven years ago when I preached there before. God enabled me to speak strong words on the Epistle for the day. And I believe some felt that it was now high ‘time to awake out of sleep’.

Friday, November 25, 2011

No Methodist had preached in this town, so I thought it high time to begin

Fri 25 Nov 1774. I left them in much hope that they will continue in this earnest, simple love.
I set out between eight and nine in a one-horse chaise, the wind being high and cold enough. Much snow lay on the ground, and much fell as we crept along over the fen-banks. Honest Mr. Tubbs would needs walk and lead the horse through water and mud up to his mid leg, smiling and saying, ‘We fen-men do not mind a little dirt.’ When we had gone about four miles, the road would not admit of a chaise. So I borrowed an horse and rode forward. But not far, for all the grounds were under water. Here, therefore, I procured a boat, full twice as large as a kneading-trough. I was at one end and a boy at the other, who paddled me safe to Earith. There Miss L—— waited for me with another chaise, which brought me to St. Ives.
No Methodist, I was told, had preached in this town, so I thought it high time to begin; and about one, I preached to a very well-dressed and yet well-behaved congregation. Thence my new friend (how long will she be such?) carried me to Godmanchester near Huntington. A large barn was ready, in which Mr. Berridge and Mr. Venn used to preach. And though the weather was still severe, it was well filled with deeply attentive people. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wesley on Marriage and Deflowering of Women

Mon 14 Nov 1785. This week, I read over again and carefully considered Mr. Fry’s Tract upon marriage. I wonder it is not more known, as there is nothing on the head like it in the English tongue. I still think he has proved to a demonstration that no marriages are forbidden, either by the law of God or of England, but those of brothers and sisters, and those in the ascending and descending line. The contrary supposition seems to be built wholly in a misinterpretation of that expression in the eighteenth chapter of Leviticus, ‘Thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.’ But this, he clearly shows, does not mean to marry a woman, but to deflower her.

Congregation like stocks and stones

Sun 20 November 1785. I preached in Bethnal Green Church and spoke as plain as I possibly could on ‘Having the form of godliness, but denying the power of it’. And this I judged to be far more suitable to such a congregation than talking of ‘justification by faith’.
Having promised our friends at Winchester to come and open their preaching-house when it was ready, I set out on Thursday 24, and preached there in the evening to a numerous congregation. But I have not seen a people less affected: they seemed to be mere stocks and stones. However I have ‘cast my bread upon the water’. Possibly it may ‘be found again after many days’. On Friday evening, we went into the mail coach, and reached London at eight in the morning.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Deeply convinced of sin

Wed. 16 Nov 1757. We rode to Newmarket and the next day to Norwich, where I now found a prospect of doing good. The congregation daily increased and grew more and more serious. I spoke to many who were deeply convinced of sin, and some who were rejoicing in God and walking in the light of his countenance.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When shall this witchcraft come to an end!

Mon. 14 Nov 1757: I rode to Bedford and talked largely with Mr. ——, whom God had well-nigh set at liberty. But his feet are again in the net. He did not indeed deny, nor much extenuate, any of the things he had often related. But at length he told me in terms: ‘There are such things among the Brethren that I can never join them more. Yet I dare not speak against them and join any other people for fear of grieving the Saviour!’ O Lord, when shall this witchcraft come to an end! When wilt thou maintain thine own cause!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Power in the Lord's Table

Sun 13 Nov 1763: I found much of the power of God in preaching, but far more at the Lord’s table. At the same time one who had been wandering from God for many years, and would fain have been with us, but could not, found that the Spirit of God was not hindered, or confined to one place. He found out ——, the poor backslider, in his own house, and revealed Christ anew in his heart.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wesley Baptises

Tue 8 Nov 1774: I baptized two young women, one of whom found a deep sense of the presence of God in his ordinance; the other received a full assurance of his pardoning love and was filled with joy unspeakable.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Brilliant Methodist Preacher and Scientist

Friday 4 November 1774: In the afternoon, John Downes (who had preached with us many years) was saying, ‘I feel such a love to the people at West Street that I could be content to die with them. I do not find myself very well; but I must be with them this evening.’ He went thither and began preaching on ‘Come unto me, ye that are weary and heavy laden.’ After speaking ten or twelve minutes, he sunk down and spake no more till his spirit returned to God.
I suppose he was by nature full as great a genius as Sir Isaac Newton. I will mention but two or three instances of it. When he was at school, learning algebra, he came one day to his master and said, ‘Sir, I can prove this proposition a better way than it is proved in the book.’ His master thought it could not be but, upon trial, acknowledged it to be so. Sometime after, his father sent him to Newcastle with a clock which was to be mended. He observed the clock-maker’s tools and the manner how he took it in pieces and put it together again. And when he came home, first made himself tools and then made a clock, which went as true as any in the town. I suppose such strength of genius as this has scarce been known in Europe before.
Another proof of it was this. Thirty years ago, while I was shaving, he was whittling the top of a stick. I asked, ‘What are you doing?’ He answered, ‘I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copper plate.’ Accordingly, without any instruction, he first made himself tools and then engraved the plate. The second picture which he engraved was that which was prefixed to the Notes upon the New Testament. Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce.
For several months past, he had far deeper communion with God than ever he had had in his life. And for some days, he had been frequently saying, ‘I am so happy that I scarce know how to live; I enjoy such fellowship with God as I thought could not be had on this side heaven.’ And having now finished his course of fifty-two years, after a long conflict with pain, sickness, and poverty, he gloriously rested from his labours and entered into the joy of his Lord.

The Sophy Hopkey debacle drives Wesley from America

Thursday, 3 November 1737. I appeared again at the court holden on that day; and again at the court held Tuesday, November 22, on which day Mr. Causton desired to speak with me. He then read me some affidavits which had been made September 15 last past, in one of which it was affirmed that I then abused Mr. Causton in his own house, calling him liar, villain, and so on. It was now likewise repeated before several persons (which indeed I had forgot), that I had been reprimanded at the last court for an enemy to, and hinderer of, the public peace.
I again consulted my friends, who agreed with me that the time we looked for was now come. And the next morning [Nov. 23], calling on Mr. Causton, I told him I designed to set out for England immediately. I set up an advertisement in the great square to the same effect, and quietly prepared for my journey.

An Earthquake Averted

Wed 2 November 1763: I spent an agreeable hour with old, venerable Mr.——. How striking is a man of sense, learning, and piety, when he has well-nigh finished his course, and yet retains all his faculties unimpaired! His grey hairs are indeed ‘a crown of honour’.
In this neighbourhood I learned the particulars of a remarkable occurrence. On Friday, August 19, a gentleman who was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, walking with his friend near Brighthelmstone in Sussex, and looking south-west toward the sea, cried out, ‘God grant the wind may rise! Otherwise we shall have an earthquake quickly. Just so the clouds whirled to and fro, and so the sky looked, that day at Lisbon.’ Presently the wind did rise, and brought an impetuous storm of rain and large hail. Some of the hailstones were larger than hen-eggs. It moved in a line about four miles broad, making strange havoc, as it passed quite over the land till it fell into the river, not far from Sheerness. And wherever it passed it left an hot sulphurous stream, such as almost suffocated those it reached.