Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

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Sept. 2 - Dec. 31, 1746: The Midlands and the North-East

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September 2 - December 31, 1746

Tues., September 2d. I preached at Bath and Brentford, where some of our friends met, and conducted us to town.

Thur., September 4th. Here I heard that Mr. Green, a Clergyman whom my brother had sent for to assist us, was fallen off to the Antinomians.

Thur., September 11th. Poor T. W. came to beg something of me, on pretence of visiting his father, before the Bishop of London ordained him for a Missionary. I got Mr. Watkins to assist him, although his promises of repentance had little weight with me.

I talked with a man of the world, in great affliction for the loss of a favourite child. When on the point of committing sin, he had been warned of her death, as if a voice had said, "If you do this thing, I will take away your child." She died in the most triumphant manner, being perfected in the short space of nine years.

Tues., September 16th. I set out in a chaise with Mr. Edward Pertoner, Mr. Watkins, and others, for Shoreham. I preached in our way at Sevenoaks, where we were much threatened, but nothing hurt. At Shoreham, Mr. Green read prayers. As soon as I began preaching, the wild beasts began roaring, stamping, blaspheming, ringing the bells, and turning the church into a bear-garden. I spoke on for half an hour, though only the nearest could hear. The rioters followed us to Mr. Perronet's house, raging, threatening, and throwing stones. Charles Perronet hung over me, to intercept nay blows. They continued their uproar after we were housed. Our sisters from Sevenoaks feared to go home: but our Lord in some time scattered the beasts of the people, so that they escaped unhurt.

Fri., September 19th. An opposer desired to see me on his death-bed. Now his voice was changed, and he glad to hear, one might know our sins forgiven here; but feared he was too great a sinner to obtain it. I left him waiting for redemption, as a poor trembling publican or harlot.

Sun., September 21st. I heard Mr. Green preach rank Antinomianism. In the evening I cried, in the name of my Lord, "Look unto me, and be ye saved "—from sin, not in it. He owned his own word. To the bands I explained the nature of Christian perfection,—another name for Christian salvation. Mr. Green sat by and mocked.

Mon., September 22d. I carried him to Newington-green, where he appeared an Antinomian barefaced.

Tues., September 23d. He fairly told me, my brother and I preached another Gospel, and were therefore accursed.

Wed., September 24th. I prayed by our sister Lincoln, rejoicing, as was thought, in death. The fever had taken away her senses, but not her joy. Still her words were all prayer or praise.

Fri., September 26th. I met my brother at Uxbridge. I heard him at our chapel in the evening. He read us an account of another son of James Hitchins, just going to glory; which set us all on fire.

Sun., October 5th. We had the never-failing presence of our Lord at his table. I encouraged my companions in tribulation at the Foundery by the scriptural prospect of the new Jerusalem: added a few words, how they should observe the thanksgiving-day.

Tues., October 7th. I prayed with Edward Perronet, just on the point of receiving faith.

Thur., October 9th. The Foundery was filled at four in the morning. I spoke from these words, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" Our hearts were melted by the longsuffering love of God, whose power we felt disposing us to the true thanksgiving. It was a day of solemn rejoicing. O that from this moment all our rebellions against God might cease!

Fri., October 10th. I set out for Newcastle with my young companion and friend, Edward Perronet, whose hear the Lord hath given me. His family were kept from us so long by their mistaken notion, that we were against the Church. We lodged at Tetsworth. I could not rest for my vomiting and purging.

Sun., October 12th. At Quinton I preached repentance, from the strongest of all motives, "Turn ye unto the Lord, for he is gracious," &c. Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth spake, and both Preacher and people bowed down to the pardoning God.

In the evening my text at Evesham was, "His blood be upon us, and upon our children." We felt its softening power; and yet more at the Society, where Patty Keech and others were quite overpowered by it.

Mon., October 18th. I dined at Studley, where some poor drunkards, offended at our singing, endeavoured a while to silence us; but we fairly outsung them. Riding on, I had a narrow escape. A man discharged a gun just over my head, and shot a bird on the opposite hedge, which fell dead at my feet. The shot flew within a few inches of my face. One of our company told us, his father had been killed by such an accident.

I was much refreshed at Birmingham by my brother James Jones, and the rest of the children whom God hath given us.

Tues., October 14th. I rejoiced once more with our brethren at Wednesbury, who have rest at present, and walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. The Lord was with us as in the former days. Late at night came our brother Swindels, to conduct us to the Cheshire Societies.

Wed., October l5th. I preached at Tipton-green the necessity of taking Christ's yoke upon us. The few remaining Antinomians were present; but they only mocked at God's word and messenger.

I baptized a Dissenter's child. I went forth, and proclaimed my Master in the street. All were deeply attentive. How is the leopard laid down with the kid! It was past eight when we came to Penkridge, at the invitation of a brother. He comforted my heart on the way, by informing me that his father, aged seventy, and a great opposer lately, had come last night to the preaching, and returned to his house justified.

We were hardly set down when the sons of Belial beset the house, and beat at the door. I ordered it to be set open, andimmediately they filled the house. I sat still in the midst of them for half an hour. Edward Perronet I was a little concerned for, lest such rough treatment at his first setting out should daunt him; but he abounded in valour, and was for reasoning with the wild beasts, before they had spent any of their violence. He got a deal of abuse thereby, and not a little dirt, both which he took very patiently.

I had no design to preach, but, being called upon by so unexpected a congregation, I rose at last, and read the first words I met: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he Bit upon the throne of his glory." While I reasoned with them of judgment to come, they grew calmer by little and little. I then spake to them one by one, till the Lord had disarmed them all. One who stood out the longest I held by the hand, and urged with the love of Christ crucified, till, in spite of both his natural and diabolical courage, he trembled like a leaf. I was constrained to break out into earnest prayer for him; and surely the Lord heard and answered. Our leopards were all become lambs; and very kind we were at parting. Near midnight the house was clear and quiet. We gave thanks to the God of our salvation, and slept in peace.

Thur., October 16th. I rose much refreshed at four, and preached to an house-full of listening souls. I rode to Congleton, and preached in a yard, and prayed with the little Society, who seem on the brink of the pool. One impotent sinner, past seventy, was healed, and witnessed it the same hour.

Fri., October 17th. I directed a quiet multitude at the Cross to "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." Satan had sent one Smith to this place before me, who Begged their charity, and railed at the Clergy, Yet the poor people heard me gladly. Two Ministers were of my audience.

Sat., October 18th. At Woodley I invited the weary to Christ; and on Sunday morning, October 19th, discoursed on, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out."

Mon., October 20th. I saluted our friends at Birstal.

Tues., October 21st. ! preached at Dewsbury, where John Nelson had gathered many stray sheep. The Minister did not condemn them unheard, but talked with the persons wrought upon, and narrowly examined into the doctrine taught them, and its effect on their lives. When he found that as many as had been affected by the preaching were evidently reformed, and brought to church and sacrament, he testified his approbation of the work, and rejoiced that sinners were converted unto God.

At Leeds I called a lamb-like multitude to repentance. Many at the Society were unable to suppress their concern; others, who had more power over themselves, were no less deeply affected.

Wed., October 22d. I preached in a yard at Keighley, on, "God so loved the world." Here, also, is the promise of a plentiful harvest. I went on to Haworth; called on Mr. Grimshaw, a faithful Minister of Christ, and found him and his wife ill of a fever. She had been a great opposer, but lately convinced. His soul was full of triumphant love. I wished mine in its place. We prayed, believing that the Lord would raise him up again, for the service of his church.

I read prayers, and expounded Isai. xxxv. All listened, many wept, some received comfort. I returned, and exhorted the steady Society at Keighley. I lay at a public-house, and I slept, in spite of the serenaders, who entertained my fellow-traveller till the morning.

Thur., October 23d. I set out with Edward Perronet, and reached Newcastle by Saturday noon.

Sun., October 26th. My companion was taken ill of a fever. We prayed for him in strong faith, nothing doubting. Monday and Tuesday he grew worse and worse. On Wednesday the small-pox appeared: a favourable sort. Yet on Thursday evening we were much alarmed, by the great pain and danger he was in. We had recourse to our never-failing remedy, and received a most remarkable, immediate answer to our prayer. The great means of his recovery was the prayer of faith.

Fri., October 31st. I rode to Wickham, where the Curate sent his love to me, with a message, that "he was glad of my coming, and obliged to me for endeavouring to do good among his people, for none wanted it more; and he heartily wished me good luck in the name of the Lord." He came with another Clergyman, and stayed both preaching and Society. I discoursed on Matt. xi. 5.

It was the exemplary behaviour of our Society, with the deaths of two or three, which convinced the Ministers that this new sect, everywhere spoken against, is no other than the sect of the Nazarenes, or real Christians.

Sun., November 2d. I preached in the street, close to the Popish chapel, from Isal. i. 9: "Except the Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom," &e. I put them in mind of their late consternation, and deliverance, in answer to the mourning, praying few. God gave weight to my words, which therefore sunk into their hearts. Many in this place, I am persuaded, will thank Him with their lives, and not be terrified when the scourge returns.

Mon., November 3d. Prayer has been made to God without ceasing for my young man, and God hath showed he heard. To-day the small-pox turned, and he is better than we could hope in so short a time. It is the Lord's doing, who has given him to his church. Whether he has not also received the sense of pardon in his sickness, let his life, rather than my words, witness.

Tues., November 4th. I preached at Biddicks, on, "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?" and the numerous congregation were dissolved in tears. At one I spoke from those words, "Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see," &c. Again my voice was drowned in the general sorrow. We poured out a prayer while His chastening was upon us, and all lay at His feet weeping. At night many followed th9 example of the importunate widow.

Thur., November 6th. God broke us to pieces with the hammer of his word, Jer. xxxi., and the room was filled with strong cries and prayers, that pierced the clouds.

Fri, November 7th. I preached at Plessy, St Swalwell, and at Wickham, where I got an hour's useful conversation with the two Ministers.

Sun., November 9th. I was very sensible of the hard frost in riding to Burnup-Field; but did not feel it while calling a crowd of sinners to repentance. At my return, I found Edward Perronet rejoicing in the love of God.

Wed., November 12th. I preached on, "Let us come boldly to the throne of grace;" and the Lord fulfilled the words. I cannot describe what our souls felt while we sat down with Christ in heavenly places.

Thur., November 13th. I expounded at Newlings. Here, also, J. Brown has gathered a flock, and suffered greatly for their sake.

Mon., November 17th. At Biddicks I preached on, "They all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." The least begin to know Him: when will it spread to the greatest too

Wed., November 19th. I had much serious talk with the friendly Dr. F. Such a Physician is truly the gift of God. He seems resolved with his house to serve the Lord.

Sun., November 23d. At night I could not preach, through the usual uproar; but only exhort the Society, to which I admitted the backsliders.

Mon., November 24th. They were greatly moved under the morning word. We observed the day as a day of humiliation. I had a solemn hour of prayer with the mourners. God did not manifest himself so much in joy and comfort, as in power and firmness (which he put into our hearts) against sin.

Wed., November 26th. All seemed overwhelmed with the power of His love. For an hour or two I quite forgot myself, and those that burden me.

Thur., November 27th. I rode to Hexham, at the pressing instance of Mr. Wardrobe, a Dissenting Minister, and others. I walked straight to the market-place, and began calling sinners to repentance. A multitude of them stood staring at me, but all quiet. The Lord opened my mouth, and they drew nearer and nearer, stole off their hats, and listened. None offered to interrupt, but one unfortunate Squire, who could get none to second him. His servants and the Constables hid themselves. One he did find, and bade him go take me down. The poor Constable simply answered, "Sir, I cannot have the face to do it; for what harm does he do?" Several Papists attended, and the church Minister, who had refused me his pulpit with indignation. However, he came to hear with his own ears; and I wish all who hang us first, would, like him, try us afterward.

I walked back to Mr. Ord's, through the people, who acknowledged, "It is the truth, and none can speak against it." A Constable followed, and told me, "Sir Edward Blacket orders you to dispose the town," (depart, I suppose, he meant,) "and not raise a disturbance there." I sent my respects to Sir Edward, and said, if he would give me leave, I would wait upon him, and satisfy him. He soon returned with an answer, that Sir Edward would have nothing to say to me; but if I preached again, and raised a disturbance, he would put the law in execution against me. I replied, I was not conscious of my breaking any law of God or man; but if I did, I was ready to suffer the penalty; that as I had not given notice of preaching again at the Cross, I should not preach again at that place, or cause disturbance anywhere. I charged the Constable, a trembling, submissive soul, to assure his Worship I reverenced him for his office' sake.

The only place I could get to preach in was a cock-pit, and expected Satan would come and fight me on his own ground. Squire Roberts, the Justice's son, laboured hard to raise a mob; (for whose riot I was to answer;) but with a strong hand did our Lord hold down him that is in the world. The very boys ran away from him, when the poor Squire persuaded them to go down to the cock-pit, and cry, "Fire!"

I called, (in words then first heard in that place,) "Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" God struck the hard rock, and the waters gushed out. Never have I seen a people more desirous at the first hearing.

I passed the evening in conference with Mr. Wardrobe. O that all our Dissenting brethren were like-minded! Then would all dissensions cease for ever.

Fri., November 28th. At six we assembled again in our chapel, the cock-pit. I imagined myself in the Pantheon, or some heathen temple, and almost scrupled preaching there at first; but we found "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." His presence consecrated the place. Never have I seen greater awe, or sense of God, than while we were repeating his own prayer. I set before their eyes Christ crucified, and crying from the cross, "Is it nothing to you?" The rocks were melted into gracious tears. We knew not how to part. I distributed some books among them, which they received with the utmost eagerness; begged me to come again, and to send our Preachers to them.

Sun., November 30th. I went out into the streets of Newcastle, and called the poor, the lame, the halt, the blind, with that precious promise, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." They had no feeling of the sharp frost, while the love of Christ warmed their hearts.

I took my leave of the weeping flock at Burnup in that of Jude, "Now to Him that is able to keep you from falling," &c. Nothing can be more comfortable than our parting, except our last meeting to part no more.

I preached before the usual time at Newcastle; yet the mob paid their usual attendance, our Lord still permitting them to try us.

Fri., December 5th. At Righton I preached, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Many hungry souls listened with inexpressible eagerness. I was greatly enlarged, and knew not when to end.

Sat., December 6th. I visited one of our sick children, Phebe Crosier, and received her blessing and prayers.

Sun., December 7th. Many from the country increased our joy at the lovefeast. We were carried out in mighty prayer for the Church and nation.

Sun., December 14th. I had two or three hours' close conversation with the two Ministers at Wickham. At noon I preached in Swalwell to many, now quiet, serious hearers. Here, indeed, our Lord hath at last got himself the victory.

Tues., December 16th. I preached the Gospel to the poor at Spen, their spirit bearing me up. Next morning we had a double blessing, and diligently poured out our souls before the Lord.

Thur., December 18th. I waked between three and four, in a temper I have rarely felt on my birth-day. My joy and thankfulness continued the whole day, to my own astonishment. I rode to Hexham. I preached at the Cross, "Repentance towards God, and faith in Jesus Christ." All opposition was kept down, and the Lord was with us of a truth.

At four I attempted to preach in the cock-pit. Satan resented it, and sent, as his champions to maintain his cause, the two butlers of the two Justices. They brought their cocks, and set them a fighting. I gave them the ground, and walked straight to the Cross, where was four times as many as the other place could hold. Our enemies followed, and strove all the ways permitted them to annoy us. Neither their fire-works nor their water-works could stop the course of the Gospel. I lifted up my voice like a trumpet, and many had ears to hear.

Fri., December 19th. I took my leave of the dear people at the cock-pit. I called on Mr._____ at Wickham, whose countenance was changed. He had been with the Bishop, who forbade his conversing with me. I marvel the prohibition did not come sooner.

Sat., December 27th. I rode in Bitter weather to Pelton. I talked with each of the Society; and found nothing to reprove among them.

Sun., December 28th. I hastened through the snow to Gateshead; and preached out to many, who promise fair for making hardy soldiers of Christ.

Mon., December 29th. I left these poor languid souls, among whom God has been humbling me these many days. He vouchsafed us a blessing at parting. I rode with Edward Pertoner and J. Crawford, to Biddicks: preached at night and next morning. The Lord gave us a token by which to remember each other.

Tues. noon. I preached and distributed books to a few starved souls at Ferry-hill.

Wed., December 31st. By three I came to Osmotherly. Mr. Adams carried us to his house, and then to his chapel, where I read prayers and preached repentance and remission of sin in the name of Jesus Christ.

Charles Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. Charles Wesley (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1849)

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