Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

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May 1 - Aug. 31, 1748: London, Wales and Ireland

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May 1 - August 31, 1748

Sun., May 1st. The cup of blessing was the communication of His blood, the bread broken of his body, to his disciples at the chapel.

Thur., May 5th. I baptized Ells. Cart in the river at Cowley; and she washed away all her sin and sorrow.

Tues., May 10th. I came to Bristol, bruised a little with a fall.

Fri., May 20th. At the watchnight I discoursed on Jacob wrestling with the Angel; and many were stirred up to lay hold on the Lord, like him.

Sun., May 22d. The whole multitude wept to hear how Jesus loved them, while I urged his passionate question, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?"

Thur. afternoon, May 26th. I set out for London, and on Saturday reached it. The first good news I heard from M. Boult, that our old friend Mrs. Sparrow is at last departed in the Lord.

Tues., May 31st. I attended her mortal part to the grave.

Sun., June 5th. I fulfilled my friend's last request, by preaching her funeral sermon, on Micah vii. 8: "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me."

I spoke as freely of her faults as virtues: her love of the world, and final victory over it. The hearers appeared deeply affected.

Fri., June 10th. I returned to Bristol.

Sun., June 12th. I preached to several thousands in the orchard, with great strength, both of body and spirit.

Thur., June 16th. I visited the brethren in Cardiff, Lanmase, Cowbridge, &c., and exhorted them to strengthen the things that remain.

Mon., June 20th. I returned with Kitty Jones to Bristol. Mr. Gwynne and Miss Sally were got there a little before me; till,

Sat., June 25th, I carried them to see my Christian friends, my principal ones especially at Kingswood.

Sun., June 26th. In the word, and sacrament, and lovefeast, the Lord made our souls as a watered garden.

Tues., June 28th. Quite spent with examining the classes, I was much revived in singing with Miss Burdock and Sally.

Thur., June 30th. I was comforted in all our trials by that blessed promise, "The third part I will bring through the fire."

I set out with Mr. Gwynne and his daughter, to visit the church in London. I preached at Bath with great liberty, and carried away our faithful sister Naylor.

Sat., July 2d. I lodged my fellow-travellers in the Foundery.

Sun., July 3d. I took the field, and was not sent a warfare on my own cost.

At the chapel I preached, "I reckon the suffering of the present time not worthy to be compared," &c. Both now and at night we had a great spirit of contrition among us.

Tues., July 5th. I carried my guests to Mrs. Blackwell and Dewal at Lewisham; and thence to my most worthy friend in Shoreham.

Fri., July 15th. My text at the watchnight was, "I say unto all, Watch." Great reverence we felt in the presence of our Lord.

Mon., July 18th. I baptized good old M. Pearce by immersion, at four in the morning.

Tues., July 19th. I rose at three, and called our friends. The Lord sent us a great deliverance, as a token for good. Mary Naylor had shut the door of their bed-chamber, and left the key in the inside. Sally wanted something out, which M. Naylor would have put her by; but, on Sally's still desiring it, she called the man to break open the door. He said, he would go see his horses, and come. She insisted upon his doing it just then, which he did; and they found the sheet on fire, through Molly's dropping the snuff of a candle. Had the man stayed, the whole Foundery might have been in a flame.

I set out at four with Mr. Gwynne and Sally. At eleven, in Windsor, my horse threw me with violence over his head. My companion fell upon me. The guardian angels bore us in their hands, so that neither was hurt. I saw the Castle and Palace, with insensibility. No sight, we trust, will satisfy us, but that of Moses from Mount Pisgah. By seven we came to treading; and I preached in great bodily weakness.

Wed., July 20th. My old desire of escaping out of life possessed me all day. By three we got to Oxford; walked about the Colleges; met a poor Servitor of St. John's, James Rouquet, who is not ashamed to confess Christ before men. I preached in the evening on, "Ye are my witnesses," and lodged with our old friend Mr. Evans.

Thur., July 21st. I gave the sacrament to Mrs. Neal (one who received the atonement in reading my sermon before the University,) and had sweet fellowship with our Lord and his members.

Fri., July 22d. At five I took horse with Mr. Gwynne, Sally, and M. Boult. We reached Cirencester before two. I preached in a yard from, "The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with songs," &c. I was pierced through with desires of complete redemption, which broke out in tears and words, that affected them in like manner. I could gladly have dropped the body in that hour.

Sat., July 23d. I set out at half-hour past four; rode four miles, when Mrs. Boult's horse, walking on tile plainest ground, fell, and broke her arm. We carried her to an inn just by, and sent J. Griffith back for a Surgeon. By seven we left her, her arm set, and her mind stayed on Christ, and came to Bristol in the cool of the evening.

Sun., July 24th. I rose from my boards at four. I carried Sally to Kingswood. I began the sacrament with fervent prayer and many tears, which almost hindered my reading the service. I broke out into prayer again and again. Our hearts were all as melting wax. I administered to our sisters Robertson and Nutter, sorely bruised by an overturn into a pit; yet they would not lose the sacrament.

I received letters from Cork, loudly calling me thither. My heart was at once made willing, and I had my commission. We joined in earnest prayer for success. I preached a third and a fourth time in the shell of our house, with supernatural strength.

Tues., July 26th. I dined at the Fish-ponds with faithful Felix Farley. At night I preached in the orchard to many serious souls. There was a coach with Mrs. Knight, Miss Cheyne, Mr. Edwin, and Sir William Bunbury. The latter challenged me for his old school-fellow, in the face of the sun, and was not ashamed to join heartily in our Hymns.

Wed., July 27th. They attended again, while I expounded the good Samaritan.

Thur., July 28th. I waited upon Miss Cheyne first, and then on Mrs. Knight, at the Wells. Both assented to the truth. The latter sent for her brother, my old friend Robinson, of Christ-Church. He called me to defend the lay-Preachers, and would fain have brought me to confess we sent them. I declared the matter of fact, that, when God had sent any one forth, and owned him by repeated conversions, then we durst not reject him. He talked with great candour, and remains of his old kindness for me.

Fri., July 29th. I preached over against the Assembly-room, to the most polite audience I have ever been honoured with. The ladies in their coaches were surprisingly patient, while I told them "one thing is needful." A servant who behaved rudely, Sir W. Bunbury seized, and delivered over to a Constable. Some young officers made a disturbance, whom I rebuked and silenced.

I ran with fresh strength to the shell of our room, and continued preaching, singing, rejoicing till midnight.

Sun., July 31st. I baptized a woman in Kingswood, and trembled at the descent of the Holy Ghost. All present were more or less sensible of it, especially the person baptized. We joined in the Lord's supper, and had his never-failing presence. So again at our first lovefeast in the new room. For two hours we were sensible of Christ in the midst.

Mon., August 1st. We set out at five for Garth; lodged at Abergavenny.

Tues., August 2d. In the afternoon Mrs. Gwynne received us with a cordial welcome.

Thur., August 4th. I rode with Sally to the Wells, and preached, in their Assembly-room, to the Gentry, Clergy, and others; inviting them to the superlative happiness of religion.

Sun., August 7th. Maesmynis church being too narrow, I preached in the church-yard the promised Spirit of grace and supplication. His comforts refreshed our souls, and more abundantly still in the sacrament that followed.

Mon., August 8th. Mr. Gwynne, with Miss Sally and Betsy, accompanied me as far as Llanidloes. I preached with great enlargement. The poor people received the word with tears of joy. I parted with tears from my dearest friends, and rode on with Mr. Philips to Machynlleth.

Tues., August 9th. From three in the morning till eight at night, I was on the road. I had sweet fellowship with my friends in prayer.

Wed., August 10th. I left Caernarvon at five. I found the boat just going off, full of unruly oxen. I waited an hour for its return, which I passed in earnest prayer for my friends. Near seven I landed in a strange, intricate country, where I could procure no guide, or direction, as often as I lost my way. At last Providence sent me one that understood English, and rode several miles out of his way, to put me in mine. I gave him some advice and books, both which he thankfully received.

I continued in the right road while it was impossible to get out of it, and no longer. I blundered on through the sands, especially some near the town, where, if the sea had been out, I should have ended all my journeys. I passed by several ships, and across the Channels, till my horse, without my care or counsel, brought me to Holyhead soon after two.

Here I heard, the boat went off at ten this morning. It was a trial of my patience, and I almost wished I had stayed with my friends, rather than wait here till Saturday, the soonest that any packet can go. The boats are all on the other side.

I quickly saw God's design. He has found me time for retirement, in which I can both write and pray for those who are to me as my own soul.

The hour of prayer I passed among the rocks, presenting my friends at the throne. Towards six I sunk to sleep, the body pressing down the soul; but still my fellowship with them was not interrupted. A few neighbours joined us at my private lodgings, in family prayer.

Thur., August 11th. I passed the day in my Prophet's chamber, or closet among the rocks. Only in the evening I walked up the mountain, and wandered in a wilderness of rocks with my inseparable friends.

Fri., August 12th, was another solid day, which I spent in retirement; only allowing half an hour, after public worship, for Mr. Ellis, the Minister, in provoking each other to love and good works.

Sat., August 13th. I took boat in a very rough sea, which washed us throughly, while toiling to come up with the vessel. At eleven we set sail. God sent us a wind out of his treasury, the fairest we could have, which by nine brought us smoothly and safely into Dublin-bay.

Sun., August 14th. At five I walked to the preaching-room, and gave them a welcome word of exhortation. Great was our rejoicing, and mutual faith, and fellowship in the Spirit.

I met them again, and my brother, at St. Patrick's. The number of communicants was much increased since my departure. I preached in our garden at two. The power of the Lord was present as at the beginning.

I met all the lively Society, to our mutual consolation: consolation which words cannot express.

Mr. Lunel could not be satisfied without my lodging under his roof. I mourned with him that mourned under Ezekiel's trial: "Son of man, behold, I take away the desire of thine eyes with a stroke." She died triumphant. He lost his Benjamin too; the child accompanying the mother to paradise.

Tues., August 16th. I reproved the slack, and encouraged the orderly walkers. Their prayers, I trust, will follow me to Cork.

Wed., August 17th. I set out in the hard rain. My horse, the roughest I ever rode, shook all the strength out of me before I got to Tyril's-pass. There our sister Fourer and the rest received me right gladly. I preached on the blood of sprinkling, and met the poor neglected Society. Our Preachers had all left them for Cork; where is now the widest door.

Thur., August 18th. I rode to Balliboy, where an hospitable Quaker received us with open arms. I broke through my great reluctance, and preached, in his house, the awning Lamb of God. He opened my mouth, and the hearers' hearts.

Fri., August l9th. It rained the whole day. The road one continued quagmire. I made an hard shift to reach Roscrea by ten. Some of the town caught me leaving it, and demanded their debt of the Gospel. A mixed crowd of Papists and Protestants filled the market-house. I called them (never with more authority) to Jesus Christ: then rode on in the rain, rejoicing with my dropping companion. By nine we hardly reached Cashel. Here we met with poor entertainment, having no way to dry our clothes. I put off my great coat, and got a little sleep.

Sat., August 20th. I rose cheerfully between two and three; put on my clothes, wet and weighty enough. We had some intervals of fair weather, and got, by seven in the evening, to Cork. I was wishing for rest at some private house, when Mr. Harrison, the printer, came, and invited me to his. I took a sweat, and rose at my usual time.

Sun., August 21st. At five I found a congregation of some thousands on the marsh, and spoke from Luke xxiv.46, 47: "Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer," &c. They devoured every word with an eagerness beyond description. I advised them all to go to their several places of worship, and went myself to Christ-church. It is the largest church in Cork, yet quite full. The communion kept us till near ten.

Much good has been done already in this place. Outward wickedness has disappeared, outward religion succeeded. Swearing is seldom heard in the streets; the churches and altars are crowded to the astonishment of our adversaries. Yet some of our Clergy and all the Catholic Priests take wretched pains to hinder their people from hearing us.

At five I took the field again; but such a sight I have rarely seen! Thousands and thousands had been waiting some hours, Protestants and Papists, high and low. The Lord endued my soul, and body also, with much strength to enforce the faithful saying, "that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." I cried after them for an hour, to the utmost extent of my voice, yet without hoarseness or weariness. The Lord, I believe, hath much people in this city. Two hundred are already joined in a Society.

Mon., August 22d. The congregation was on the marsh before me, near three thousand loving, listening, unawakened souls, whom I urged to repent, that their sins might be blotted out.

At present we pass through honour and good report. The chief persons of the town favour us. No wonder then that the common people are quiet. We pass and repass the streets, pursued by their blessings only. The same favourable inclination is all round the country. Wherever we go, they receive us as angels of God. Were this to last, I would escape for my life to America.

Many are turned from their outward sins, and, if they went no farther, the saints of the world would like them well enough. When the power of godliness, the forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, is preached, many will fall off. But as yet the work is very superficial. Not one justified person have I yet found.

Passing by the marsh at five, I saw hundreds waiting there for the word; and was told it was their custom from the beginning; and that last Sunday many were there from one in the morning.

I declared, with divine assistance, "One thing is needful." The sin-convincing Spirit was present. He struck the hard rock, and the waters gushed out. The assizes brought many strangers. I did not spare them, and they bore my plainness of speech. Several of the better sort, particularly two Justices, thanked and wished me success.

Tues., August 23d. I laboured to convince my hearers of unbelief. More and more are awakening out of sleep. In the evening near a dozen Clergymen attended. I would all our brethren would do us the same justice of hearing before they judge us.

Wed., August 24th. By a Clergyman's advice, I went to wait on the Bishop. He was not at his palace. The house-keeper begged a few words with me. She trembled exceedingly, and struggled to speak; and at last told me her whole life. From twelve years old she had had violent conflicts with the old murderer. She seemed a chosen vessel, one who, like Obadiah, had served God from her youth. I told her what she wanted, even faith and forgiveness. She received my saying with all readiness of mind; begged me to let her have the prayer I used for her; wept and rejoiced; and sent me away with many thanks and blessings.

In the evening I expounded blind Bartimeus, to as genteel an audience as I have ever seen. Several Ministers of all denominations, the Governor's lady, and many strangers attended out of various motives. The word did not return void. Some of the Clergy acknowledged it was the truth.

I designed to have met about two hundred who have given in their names for the Society, but such multitudes thronged into the play-house, that it occasioned great confusion. I perceived it was impracticable, as yet, to have a regular Society.

Thur., August 25th. Here is indeed an open door, such as was never set before me till now. Even at Newcastle the awakening was not so general. The congregation last Sunday was computed above ten thousand. As yet there is no open opposition, though the people have had the word two months. Nay, it is not impossible but their love may last two months longer, before any number of them rise to tear us in pieces.

I met a neighbouring Justice, and had much serious conversation with him. He seems to have a great kindness for religion, and determined to use all his interest to promote it. For an hour and an half I continued calling the poor blind beggars to Jesus. They begin to cry after him on every side; and we must expect to be rebuked for it.

Fri., August 26th. I spake severally with the candidates for a Society. All seem awakened; none justified: but who hath despised the day of small things? This is, I doubt not, the seed of a glorious church.

I waited on the Bishop at Riverstown, and was received with great affability by himself and family. After dinner I rode back to Cork. I drank tea with some well-disposed Quakers, and borrowed a volume of their dying sayings: a standing testimony that the life and power of God was with them at the beginning; as it might again, were they humble enough to confess their want.

Sat., August 27th. I had much discourse with Mr. C., a sensible, pious Clergyman, one after my own heart in his love to our desolate mother. He is clear in the doctrine of faith. He gave me a delightful account of the Bishop. Yet I do not find it good for me to be countenanced by my superiors. It is a snare and burden to my soul. All day long I was bowed down by my late conversation, and stripped of every good desire, especially of preaching. Some- times our waiting on great men may do good, or prevent evil. But how dangerous the experiment! How apt to weaken our hands, and betray us into an undue deference and respect of persons! The Lord send to them by whom He will send; but hide me still in disgrace or obscurity.

I was set upon in the street by a Romish Priest, for words which, he was told, one of our Preachers spoke against him. I tried to undeceive him; but he was too loud, and too fond of showing his learning, (as far as Latin went,) to hear reason. However, we parted without coming to blows.

Sun., August 28th. From the early sacrament I went to Mr. H., an honest attorney; and with him to Passage, five miles from Cork. There Justice P. received us, and used all his authority with others to do the same. He sent word to the Romish Priest, "that, if he forbade his people hearing me, he would shut up his mass-house, and send him to jail for one year at least." Several of the poor Romans ventured to come after the Justice had assured them he would himself take off the curse their Priest had laid upon them. I exhorted all alike to repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ; and staked my own salvation upon it, that he who believes, whether Papist or Protestant, shall be saved.

I hastened back to the marsh. On seeing the multitudes, I thought on that of Prior, "Then, (baseness of mankind!) then of all these Whom my dilated eye with labour sees,"

how few will own God's messengers when the stream turns! Now they all received me with inexpressible eagerness. I discoursed on the good Samaritan, and took occasion to vindicate the Methodists from that foulest slander, —that they rail against the Clergy. I enlarged on the respect due to them; prayed particularly for the Bishop; and laid it on their consciences to make mention of them in all their prayers.

I had appointed part of the Society to meet me in a private house; but the people so crowded in, there was no room for me. Their love at present as effectually prevents our assembling, as their hatred will by and by.

Tues., August 30th. Mr. Stockdale drove me to Rathcormuck. Mr. Lloyd, the Minister, offered me his church; but agreed with me that I had better preach out, or I should lose all the Papists. They flocked with the Protestants to the markethouse, where I strongly urged them to repentance and the obedience of faith. The great man of the place and his lady employ all their authority to promote true vital Christianity. The Romish Priest is so intimidated, that he dares not forbid his people hearing us. Were every Magistrate in Ireland like this, what a multitude of poor Catholics might be turned from darkness to light!

Wed., August 31st. In conference, I found one who had received forgiveness in the sacrament. Two or three more have been justified under the word. Another last Monday.

I passed an useful hour with Mr. C. He rejoiced at my having preached in his parish last Sunday. If our brethren were like-minded, how might their hands be strengthened by us! But we must have patience, as he observed, till the thing speaks itself, and, the mist of prejudice being removed, they see clearly that all our desire is the salvation of souls, and the establishment of the Church of England.

I talked with a poor innocent girl, who constantly hears the word, but in great fear of the Priest. I hope in a little time she will be bold to judge for herself, and save her own soul, without asking any man's leave.

I invited many sinners at the marsh to Him who has promised them the rest of pardon, holiness, heaven. They seem to taste the good word. One told me, after it, that, from the time I spake to her at the palace, she had expected the blessing every moment; and was sure, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that she should have it. "I seem," said she, "to be laying hold on Christ continually. I am so light, so happy, as I never was before. I waked, two nights ago, in such rapture of joy, that I thought, ' Surely this is the peace they preach.' It has continued ever since. My eyes are opened. I see all things in a new light. I rejoice always." Is not this the language of faith, the cry of a new-born soul? I prayed over her that the Lord might confirm it; and was greatly comforted with her consolations.

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

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