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John Wesley

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1757-9: "I do Indeed Live by Preaching"; Advice to Travelers; French Prisoners

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Chapter 11. "I do Indeed Live by Preaching"; Wesley's Advice to Travelers; Wesley and the French Prisoners


Tuesday, May 31.—I breakfasted at Dumfries and spent an hour with a poor backslider of London, who had been for some years settled there. We then rode through an uncommonly Pleasant country (so widely distant is common report from truth) to Thorny Hill, two or three miles from the Duke of Queensborough's seat; an ancient and noble pile of building, delightfully situated on the side of a pleasant and fruitful hill. But it gives no pleasure to its owner, for he does not even behold it with his eyes. Surely this is a sore evil under the sun; a man has all things and enjoys nothing.

We rode afterward partly over and partly between some of the finest mountains, I believe, in Europe; higher than most, if not than any, in England, and clothed with grass to the very top. Soon after four we came to Lead Hill, a little town at the foot of the mountains, wholly inhabited by miners.

In Glasgow Cathedral

Wednesday, June 1.—We rode on to Glasgow; a mile short of which we met Mr. Gillies, riding out to meet us.

In the evening the tent (so they call a covered pulpit) was Placed in the yard of the poorhouse, a very large and commodious Place. Fronting the pulpit was the infirmary, with most of their manner of baptizing. I believe this removed much prejudice.

Friday, 3.—At seven the congregation was increased, and earnest attention sat on every face. In the afternoon we walked to the college and saw the new library, with the collection of pictures. Many of them are by Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, and other eminent hands; but they have not room to place them to advantage, their whole building being very small.

Saturday, 4—l walked through all parts of the old cathedral, a very large and once beautiful structure; I think, more lofty than that at Canterbury and nearly the same length and breadth. We then went up the main steeple, which gave us a fine prospect both of the city and the adjacent country. A more fruitful and better cultivated plain is scarcely to be seen in England. Indeed nothing is wanting but more trade (which would, naturally bring more people), to make a great part of Scotland no way inferior to the best counties in England.

I was much pleased with the seriousness of the people in the evening; but still I prefer the English congregation. I cannot be reconciled to men sitting at prayer, or covering their heads while they are singing praise to God.

Wesley Sings a Scotch Psalm

Thursday, 9.—Today, Douglas, the play which has made so much noise, was put into my hands. I was astonished to find it is one of the finest tragedies I have ever read. What pity that a few lines were not left out, and that it was ever acted at Edinburgh!

Friday, 10.—I found myself much out of order, till the flux stopped at once, without any medicine. But being still weak, and the sun shining extremely hot, I was afraid I should not be able to go round by Kelso. Vain fear! God took care, for this also. The wind, which had been full east for several days, turned this morning full west and blew just in our face; about ten the clouds rose and kept us cool till we came to Kelso.

At six, William Coward and I went to the market house. We stayed some time, and neither man, woman, nor child came near us. At length I began singing a Scotch psalm, and fifteen or twenty people came within hearing, but with great circumspection, keeping their distance as though they knew not what might follow. But while I prayed, their number increased; so that in a few minutes there was a pretty large congregation. I suppose the chief men of the town were there; and I spared neither rich nor poor. I almost wondered at myself, it not being usual with me to use so keen and cutting expressions; and I believe many felt that, for all their form, they were but heathens still.

Monday, 13—l proclaimed the love of Christ to sinners, in the market place at Morpeth. Thence we rode to Placey. The society of colliers here may be a pattern to all the societies in England. No person ever misses his band or class; they have no jar of any kind among them but with one heart and one mind "provoke one another to love and to good works." After preaching I met the society in a room as warm as any in Georgia; this, with the scorching heat of the sun when we rode on, quite exhausted my strength. But after we came to Newcastle I soon recovered and preached with as much ease as in the morning.

Thursday, 16.—In the evening I preached at Sunderland. I then met the society and told them plainly that none could stay with us unless he would part with all sin; particularly, robbing the King, selling or buying run goods, which I could no more suffer than robbing on the highway. This I enforced on every member the next day. A few would not promise to refrain, so these I was forced to cut off. About two hundred and fifty were of a better mind.

Wednesday, 22.—In the evening and the following morning I preached at Chester-on-the-Strate. Observing some very fine, but not very modest, pictures in the parlor where we supped, I desired my companion, when the company was gone, to put them where they could do no hurt. He piled them on a heap in a corner of the room, and they have not appeared since.

"I Do Indeed Live by Preaching!"

Thursday, July 28 (Sheffield).—I received a strange account from Edward Bennet's eldest daughter:

On Tuesday, the twelfth of this month, I told my husband in the morning, 'I desire you will not go into the water today, at least, not into the deep water, on the far side of the town; for I dreamed I saw you there out of your depth, and only your head came up just above the water.' He promised me he would not, and went to work.

Soon after four in the afternoon, being at John Hanson's (his partner's) house, I was on a sudden extremely sick, so that for some minutes I seemed just ready to expire. Then I was well in a moment. Just at that time, John Hanson, who was an excellent swimmer, persuaded my husband to go into the water on the far side of the town. He objected—the water was deep, and he could not swim; being much importuned to go in, he stood some time after he was undressed, and then kneeling down, prayed with an earnest and loud voice. When he rose from his knees, John, who was swimming, called him again and, treading the water, said, 'See, it is only breast-high.' He stepped in and sank. A man who was near, cutting fern, and who had observed him for some time, ran to the bank and saw his head come up just above the water. The second or third time he rose, he clasped his hands, and cried aloud, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Immediately he sank, and rose no more.

One might naturally inquire, What became of John Hanson? As soon as he saw his partner sink, he swam from him to the other side, put on his clothes, and went straight home.

About noon I preached at Woodseats; in the evening at Sheffield. I do indeed live by preaching!

How quiet is this country now, since the chief persecutors are no more seen! How many of them have been snatched away in an hour when they looked not for it! Some time since, a woman of Thorpe often swore she would wash her bands in the heart's blood of the next preacher that came. But before the next preacher came she was carried to her long home. A little before John Johnson settled at Wentwerth, a stout, healthy man who lived there told his neighbors, "After May Day we shall have nothing but praying and preaching but I will make noise enough to stop it." But before May Day he was silent in his grave. A servant of Lord R— was as bitter as he and told many lies purposely to make mischief; but before this was done, his mouth was stopped. He was drowned in one of the fishponds.

Wesley at Charterhouse

Monday, August 8 (London).—I took a walk in the Charterhouse. I wondered that all the squares and buildings, and especially the schoolboys, looked so little. But this is easily accounted for. I was little myself when I was at school and measured all about me by myself. Accordingly, the upper boys being then bigger than myself seemed to me very big and tall, quite contrary to what they appear now when I am taller and bigger than they. I question if this is not the real ground of the common imagination that our forefathers, and in general men in past ages, were much larger than now, an imagination current in the world eighteen hundred years ago. Whereas, in reality, men have been, at least ever since the deluge, very nearly the same as we find them now, both for stature and understanding.

Friday, September 7.—I rode to St. Agnes.

Sunday, 4—I. T. preached at five. I could scarcely have believed if I had not heard it that few men of learning write so correctly as an unlearned tinner speaks extempore. Mr. V. preached two such thundering sermons at church as I have scarcely heard these twenty years.

Monday, 5.—I rode on to Illogan, but not to the house where I used to preach; indeed his wife promised Mr. P., before he died, that she would always receive the preachers; but she soon changed her mind. God has just taken her only son, suddenly killed by a pit failing upon him; and on Tuesday last, a young, strong man, riding to his burial, dropped off his horse stone dead. The concurrence of these awful providences added considerably to our congregation.

Saturday, 10.—We rode to the Land's End. I know no natural curiosity like this. The vast ragged stones rise on every side, when you are near the point of land, with green turf between as level and smooth as if it were the effect of art. And the rocks which terminate the land are so torn by the sea that they appear like great heaps of ruins.

Sunday, 11.—I preached at St. Just at nine. At one, the congregation in Morva stood on a sloping ground, rank above rank, as in a theater. Many of them bewailed their want of God, and many tasted how gracious He is.

At five I preached in Newlyn, to a huge multitude; and one only seemed to be offended—a very good sort of woman, who took great pains to get away, crying aloud, "Nay, if going to church and sacrament will not put us to heaven, I know not what will."

Wesley Opposed by Mayor and Minister

Wednesday, 21.—After an hour with a few friends in Truro, I rode forward to Grampound, a mean, inconsiderable, dirty village. However, it is a borough town! Between twelve and one I began preaching in a meadow, to a numerous congregation. While we were singing, I observed a person in black on the far side of the meadow, who said, "'Come down; you have no business there." Some boys who were on a wall, taking it for granted that he spoke to them, got down in all haste. I went on, and he walked away. I afterward understood that he was the minister and the Mayor of Grampound. Soon after, two constables came and said, "Sir, the mayor says you shall not preach within his borough." I answered, "The mayor has no authority to hinder me. But it is a point not worth contesting." So I went about a musket-shot farther and left the borough to Mr. Mayor's disposal.

Thursday, 22.—I rode to Mevagissey, which lies on the south sea, just opposite to Port Isaac on the north. When I was here last, we had no place in the town; I could only preach about half a mile from it. But things are altered now: I preached just over the town, to almost all the inhabitants, and all were still as night. The next evening a drunken man made some noise behind me. But after a few words were spoken to him, he quietly listened to the rest of the discourse.

Saturday, 24—At half-hour after twelve I preached once more and took my leave of them. All the time I stayed the wind blew from the sea so that no boat could stir out. By this means all the fishermen (who are the chief part of the town) had opportunity of hearing.

At six I preached at St. Austle, a neat little town on the side of a fruitful hill.

Sunday, 25.—At two I preached in St. Stephen's, near a lone house, on the side of a barren mountain; but neither the house nor the court could contain the people; so we went into a meadow, where all might kneel (which they generally do in Cornwall), as well as stand and hear. And they did hear, and sing, and pray, as for life. I saw none careless or inattentive among them.

Fire at Kingswood School

Monday, October 24—l preached about noon at Bath, and in the evening at Escot, near Lavington.

Tuesday, 25.—In my return, a man met me near Hannam and told me the schoolhouse at Kingswood had 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, "Firel Murderl 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 rang 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 broken 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 consumed only a part of the partition, with a box of clothes, and a little damaged the roof and the floor beneath.

In Norfolk and Suffolk

Wednesday, November 23 (Norwich).—I was shown Dr. Taylor's new meetinghouse, perhaps the most elegant one in Europe. It is eight-square, built of the finest brick, with sixteen sash-windows below, as many above, and eight skylights in the dome, which, indeed, are purely ornamental. The inside is finished in the highest taste and is as clean as any nobleman's saloon. The communion table is fine mahogany; the very latches of the pew doors are polished brass. How can it be thought that the old, coarse gospel should find admission here?

Thursday, 24.—A man had spoken to me the last week as I was going through Thetford, and desired me to preach at Lakenheath, near Mildenhall, in Suffolk. I now purposed so to do and rode thither from Thetford. One Mr. Evans had lately built a large and convenient preaching house there, at his own expense. It was more than filled at six o'clock, many standing at the door. At five in the morning (as uncommon a thing as this was in those parts) the house was nearly filled again with earnest, loving, simple people. Several of them came in to Mr. E's house after- ward, stood a while, and then burst into tears. I promised to call upon them again and left them much comforted.


Wednesday, January 4.—I rode to Kingswood and rejoiced over the school, which is at length what I have so long wished it to be—a blessing to all that are therein, and an honor to the whole body of Methodists.

Another Ninety-mile Journey

Monday, March 6 (London).—I took horse about seven o'clock. The wind being east, I was pleasing myself that we should have it on our back; but in a quarter of an hour it shifted to the northwest and blew the rain full in our face; both increased so that when we came to Finchley Common it was hard work to sit our horses. The rain continued all the way to Dunstable, where we exchanged the main road for the fields; which, having been just ploughed, were deep enough. However, before three we came to Sundon.

Hence, on Thursday, 9, I rode to Bedford and found the sermon was not to be preached till Friday. Had I known this in time, I should never have thought of preaching it, having engaged to be at Epworth on Saturday.

Friday, 10.—The congregation at St. Paul's was very large and very attentive. The judge, immediately after the sermon, sent me an invitation to dine with him. But having no time, I was obliged to send my excuse and set out between one and two. The northeast wind was piercing cold and, blowing exactly in our faces, soon brought a heavy shower of snow, then of sleet, and afterward of hail. However, we reached Stilton at seven, about thirty miles from Bedford.

Rest was now the more sweet, because both our horses were lame. However, resolving to reach Epworth at the time appointed, I set out in a post chaise between four and five in the morning; but the frost made it so bad driving that my companion came with the lame horses into Stamford as soon as I. The next stage I went on horseback; but I was then obliged to leave my mare and take another post chaise. I came to Bawtry about six. Some from Epworth had come to meet me, but were gone half an hour before I came. I knew no chaise could go the rest of the road, so it remained only to hire horses and a guide.

We set out about seven, but I soon found my guide knew no more of the way than I. However, we got pretty well to Idlestop, about four miles from Bawtry, where we had just light to discern the river at our side and the country covered with water. I had heard that one Richard Wright lived thereabouts who knew the road over the moor perfectly well. Hearing one speak (for we could not see him), I called "Who is there?" He answered, "Richard Wright." I soon agreed with him, and he quickly mounted his horse and rode boldly forward. Tne northeast wind blew full in our faces; and I heard them say, "It is very cold!" But neither my face, nor hands, nor feet were cold till between nine and ten when we came to Epworth; after traveling more than ninety miles, I was little more tired than when I rose in the morning.

Wesley's Advice to Travelers

Tuesday, August 1.—The captain with whom we were to sail was in great haste to have our things on board; but I would not send them while the wind was against us. On Wednesday he sent message after message, so in the evening we went down to the ship, near Passage; but there was nothing ready, or near ready for sailing. Hence I learned two or three rules very needful for those who sail between England and Ireland: 1) never pay till you set sail; 2) go not on board till the captain goes on board; 3) send not your baggage on board till you go yourself.

Thursday, 17—l went to the Bristol cathedral to hear Mr. Handel's Messiah. I doubt if that congregation was ever so serious at a sermon as they were during this performance. In many parts, especially several of the choruses, it exceeded my expectation.

Monday, October 16.—I rode to Canterbury. As we came into the city, a stone flew-out of the pavement and struck my mare upon the leg with such violence that she dropped down at once. I kept my seat till, in struggling to arise, she fell again and rolled over me. When she rose I endeavored to rise too but found I had no use of my right leg or thigh. But an honest barber came out, lifted me up, and helped me into his shop. Feeling myself very sick, I desired a glass of cold water, which instantly gave me ease.

Friday, 27—I rode on through an extremely pleasant and fruitful country, to Colchester. I have seen very few such towns in England. It lies on the ridge of a hill, with other hills on each side which run parallel with it at a small distance. The two main streets, one running east and west, the other north and south, are quite straight the whole length of the town and fully as broad as Cheapside.

I preached at four on St. John's Green, at the side of a high old wall (a place that seemed to be made on purpose), to an extremely attentive audience; and again at eight in the morning, on Saturday, 28, and at four in the afternoon. In the hours between I took the opportunity of speaking to the members of the society. In three months here are joined together a hundred and twenty persons. A few of these know in whom they have believed, and many are sensible of their wants.

Wesley at Norwich and Colchester

Sunday, November 5 (Norwich).—We went to St. Peter's Church, the Lord's supper being administered there. I scarcely ever remember to have seen a more beautiful parish church: the more so, because its beauty results not from foreign ornaments, but from the very form and structure of it. It is very large and of an uncommon height, and the sides are almost all window; so that it has an awful and venerable look and, at the same time, surprisingly cheerful.

Monday, December 4—I was desired to step into the little church behind the Mansion House, commonly called St. Stephen's, Walbrook. It is nothing grand, but neat and elegant beyond expression. So that I do not wonder at the speech of the famous Italian architect who met Lord Burlington in Italy: "My Lord, go back and see St. Stephen's in London. We have not so fine a piece of architecture in Rome."

Friday, 29.—Today I walked all over the famous castle (Colchester), perhaps the most ancient building in England. A considerable part of it is, without question, fourteen or fifteen hundred years old. It was mostly built with Roman bricks, each of which is about two inches thick, seven broad, and thirteen or fourteen long. Seat of ancient kings, British and Roman, once dreaded far and near! But what are they now? Is not "a living dog better than a dead lion"? And what is it wherein they prided themselves, as do the present great ones of the earth?

A little pomp, a little sway,
A sunbeam in a winter's clay,
Is all the great and mighty have
Between the cradle and the gravel


Sunday, May 6.—I received much comfort at the old church (Liverpool) in the morning and at St. Thomas's in the afternoon. It was as if both the sermons had been made for me. I pity those who can find no good at church. But how should they if prejudice come between, an effectual bar to the grace of God?

The Sands of Ravenglass

Saturday, 12.—Setting out early we came to Bottle about twenty-four measured miles from Fluckborough, soon after eight, having crossed the Millam Sand without either guide or difficulty. Here we were informed that we could not pass at Ravenglass before one or two o'clock; whereas, had we gone on (as we afterwards found), we might have passed immediately. About eleven we were directed to a ford near Manchester Hall, which they said we might cross at noon. When we came thither, they told us we could not cross; so we sat still till about one. We then found we could have crossed at noon. However, we reached Whitehaven before night. But I have taken my leave of the sand road. I believe it is ten measured miles shorter than the other. But there are four sands to pass, so far from each other that it is scarcely possible to pass them all in a day; especially as you have all the way to do with a generation of liars who detain all strangers as long as they can, either for their own gain or their neighbors'. I can advise no stranger to go this way; he may go round by Kendal and Keswick, often in less time, always with less expense and far less trial of his patience.

Useless Doctors

Reflecting today on the case of a poor woman who had continual pain in her stomach, I could not but remark the inexcusable negligence of most physicians in cases of this nature. They prescribe drug upon drug without knowing a jot of the matter concerning the root of the disorder. And without knowing this, they cannot cure, though they can murder, the patient. Whence came this woman's pain? (which she would never have told, had she never been questioned about it) from fretting for the death of her son. And what availed medicines while that fretting continued? Why then do not all physicians consider how far bodily disorders are caused or influenced by the mind, and in those cases, which are utterly out of their sphere, call in the assistance of a minister; as ministers, when they find the mind disordered by the body, call in the assistance of a physician? But why are these cases out of their sphere? Because they know not God. It follows, no man can be a thorough physician without being an experienced Christian.

Thursday, 17.—I inquired into a signal instance of Providence. When a coalpit runs far under the ground it is customary here to build a partition wall, nearly from the shaft to within three or four yards of the end, in order to make the air circulate; it then moves down one side of the wall, turns at the end, and then moves briskly up on the other side. In a pit two miles from the town, which ran full four hundred yards under the ground and had been long neglected, several parts of this wall were fallen down. Four men were sent down to repair it. They were about three hundred yards from the shaft, when the foul air took fire. In a moment it tore down the wall from end to end; and, burning on till it came to the shaft, it then burst and went off like a large cannon.

Fire in a Coalpit

The men instantly fell on their faces, or they would have been burned to death in a few moments. One of them, who once knew the love of God (Andrew English), began crying aloud for mercy. But in a very short time his breath was stopped. The other three crept on their hands and knees, till two got to the shaft and were drawn up; but one of them died in a few minutes. John McCombe was drawn up next, burned from head to foot, but rejoicing and praising God. They then went down for Andrew, whom they found senseless, the very circumstance which saved his life. For, losing his senses, he lay flat on the ground, and the greatest part of the fire went over him; whereas, had he gone forward on his hands and knees, he would undoubtedly have been burned to death. But life or death was welcome; for God had restored the light of His countenance.

Monday, 21.—I preached at ten in the market place at Wigton and came to Solway Frith, just as the water was fordable. At some times it is so three hours in twelve; at other times, barely one.

After making a short bait at Rothwell, we came to Dumfries before six o'clock. Having time to spare, we took a walk in the churchyard, one of the pleasantest places I ever saw. A single tomb I observed there, which was about a hundred and thirty years old; but the inscription was hardly legible. So soon do even our sepulchers die! Strange that men should be so careful about them! But are not many self-condemned therein? They see the folly, while they run into it. So poor Mr. Prior, speaking of his own tomb, has those melancholy words, "For this last piece of human vanity, I bequeath five hundred pounds."

Tuesday, 22.—We rode through a pleasant country to Thorny Hill, near which is the grand seat of the Duke of Queensborough. How little did the late duke imagine that his son would plough up his park and let his house run to ruin! But let it go! In a little time the earth itself, and all the works of it, shall be burned up.

Hence we rode through and over huge mountains, green to the very top, to Lead Hills; this village contains five hundred families who have had no minister for these four years. So in Scotland, the poor have not the gospel preached! Who shall answer for the blood of these men?

Newcastle as a Summer Resort

Monday, June 4.—After preaching (at Alnwick), I rode on to Newcastle. Certainly if I did not believe there was another world, I should spend all my summers here; I know no place in Great Britain comparable to it for pleasantness. But I seek another country and therefore am content to be a wanderer upon the earth.

Thursday, 21.-I preached at Nafferton at one. As I was riding thence, one stopped me on the road and said, "Sir, do you not remember, when you were at Prudhoe two years since and you breakfasted at Thomas Newton's? I am his sister. You looked upon me as you were going out, and said, 'Be in earnest.' I knew not then what earnestness meant, nor had any thought about it; but the words sank into my heart so that I could never rest any more till I sought and found Christ."

Wesley Likes a Soft Cushion

Friday, 22.—I rode to S—k and preached to my old congregation of colliers on "Why will ye die, O house of Israel?" After preaching, a servant of Mr. — came and said, "Sir, my master discharges you from preaching any more on his ground; not out of any disrespect to you, but he will stand by the Church." "Simple master Shallowl" as Shakespeare has it: wise, wise master rector, his counselor!

Saturday, 23.—I spoke to each of the society in Sunderland. Most of the robbers, commonly called smugglers, have left us; but more than twice the number of honest people are already come in their place. And if none had come, yet should I not dare to keep those who steal hither from the King or subject.

On Monday and Tuesday evening I preached abroad, near the Keelman's Hospital, to twice the people we should have had at the house. What marvel the devil does not love field preaching? Neither do I. I love a commodious room, a soft cushion, a handsome pulpit. But where is my zeal if I do not trample all these under foot in order to save one more soul?

Wednesday, July 4 (Hartlepool).—Mr. Jones preached at five, I at eight. Toward the close of the sermon, a queer, dirty, clumsy man, I suppose a country wit, took a deal of pains to disturb the congregation. When I had done, fearing he might hurt those who were gathered about him, I desired two or three of our brethren to go to him, one after the other, and not say much themselves but let him talk till he was weary. They did so, but without effect, as his fund of ribaldry seemed inexhaustible. W. A. then tried another way. He got into the circle close to him and listening a while said, "This is pretty; pray say it over again." "What! are you deaf?" "No; but for the entertainment of the people. Come; we are all attention." After repeating this twice or thrice, the wag could not stand it; but, with two or three curses, walked clear off.

Defeating the Press-gang

In the evening I began near Stockton market place as usual. I had hardly finished the hymn when I observed the people, in great confusion; this was occasioned by a lieutenant of a man-of-war who had chosen that time to bring his press-gang and ordered them to take Joseph Jones and William Alwood. Joseph Jones told him, "Sir, I belong to Mr. Wesley." After a few words, he let him go; as he did likewise William Alwood, after a few hours, understanding he was a licensed preacher. He likewise seized upon a young man of the town, but the women rescued him by main strength. They also broke the lieutenant's head and so stoned both him and his men that they ran away with all speed.

Friday, August 3.—I preached at Gainsborough in Sir Nevil Hickman's great hall. It is fully as large as the Weaver's Hall in Bristol. At two it was filled with a rude, wild multitude (a few of a better spirit excepted). Yet all but two or three gentlemen were attentive, while I enforced our Lord's words, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" I was walking back through a gaping, staring crowd when Sir Nevil came and thanked me for my sermon, to the no small amazement of his neighbors, who shrank back as if they had seen a ghost.

Extraordinary Trances

Monday, 6 (Everton).—I talked largely with Ann Thorn and two others, who had been several times in trances. What they all agreed in was 1) that when they went away, as they termed it, it was always at the time they were fullest of the love of God; 2) that it came upon them in a moment, without any previous notice and took away all their senses and strength; 3) that there were some exceptions, but in general, from that moment, they were in another world, knowing nothing of what was done or said by all that were round about them.

About five in the afternoon I heard them singing hymns. Soon after, Mr. B. came up and told me Alice Miller (fifteen years old) had fallen into a trance. I went down immediately and found her sitting on a stool and leaning against the wall, with her eyes open and fixed upward. I made a motion as if going to strike, but they continued immovable. Her face showed an unspeakable mixture of reverence and love, while silent tears stole down her cheeks. Her lips were a little open, and sometimes moved; but not enough to cause any sound.

I do not know whether I ever saw a human face look so beautiful; sometimes it was covered with a smile, as from joy, mixing with love and reverence; but the tears fell still though not so fast. Her pulse was quite regular. In about half an hour I observed her countenance change into the form of fear, pity, and distress; then she burst into a flood of tears and cried out, "Dear Lord; they will be damned! They will all be damnedl" But in about five minutes her smiles returned, and only love and joy appeared in her face.

About half an hour after six, I observed distress take place again; and soon after she wept bitterly and cried out, "Dear Lord, they will go to hell! The world will go to hell!" Soon after, she said, "Cry aloud! Spare not!" And in a few moments her look was composed again and spoke a mixture of reverence, joy, and love. Then she said aloud, "Give God the glory." About seven her senses returned. I asked, "Where have you been?"—"I have been with my Saviour." "In heaven, or on earth?"—"I cannot tell; but I was in glory." "Why then did you cry?"—"Not for myself, but for the world; for I saw they were on the brink of hell." "Whom did you desire to give the glory to God?"—"Ministers that cry aloud to the world; else they will be proud; and then God will leave them, and they will lose their own souls."

Wesley Rides Twenty-four Hundred Miles in Seven Months

Tuesday, 7.—After preaching at four (because of the harvest) I took horse and rode easily to London. Indeed I wanted a little rest; having ridden, in seven months, about four-and-twenty hundred miles.

Monday, 13—l took a little ride to Croydon, one of the seats of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Was it one of these who ordered, many years ago (for the characters are of old standing), that dreadful inscription to be placed just over the communion table? "And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts, and one shall take you away with it" [Mal. 2-1-3].

The Archbishop's palace is an ancient, venerable pile, and the gardens are extremely pleasant. The late Archbishop had improved them at a large expense; but continual illness prevented his enjoying them; till, after four years' constant pain, he was called away—one may hope to the garden of God.

I dined at Mr. B.'s, in Epsom, whose house and gardens lie in what was once a chalkpit. It is the most elegant spot I ever saw with my eyes, everything within doors and without being finished in the most exquisite taste. Surely nothing on earth can be more delightful. Oh, what will the possessor feel when he cries out,

Must I then leave thee, paradise? then leave
These happy shades, and mansions fit for gods?

Thursday, 30—l preached at the Tabernacle in Norwich to a large, rude, noisy congregation. I took knowledge, what manner of teachers they had been accustomed to and determined to mend them or end them. Accordingly, the next evening after sermon I reminded them of two things: the one, that it was not decent to begin talking aloud as soon as service was ended, and hurrying to and fro, as in a bear garden. The other, that it was a bad custom to gather in knots just after sermon and turn a place of worship into a coffee house. I therefore desired that none would talk under that roof, but go quietly and silently away. And on Sunday, September 2, I had the pleasure to observe that all went as quietly away as if he had been accustomed to it for many years.

Sunday, September 9.—I met the society at seven and told them in plain terms that they were the most ignorant, self-conceited, self-willed, fickle, untractable, disorderly, disjointed society that I knew in the three kingdoms. And God applied it to their hearts so that many were profited; but I do not find that one was offended.

Field-preaching Expedient

Friday 14.—I returned to London. Saturday, 15. Having left orders for the immediate repairing of West Street Chapel, I went to see what they had done and saw cause to praise God for this also. The main timbers were so rotten that in many places one might thrust his fingers into them. So that probably, had we delayed till spring, the whole building must have fallen to the ground.

Monday, 17.—I went to Canterbury. Two hundred soldiers, I suppose, and a whole row of officers attended in the evening. Their number was increased the next evening, and all behaved as men fearing God. Wednesday, 19, I preached at Dover, in the new room which is just finished. Here also the hearers increase, some of whom are convinced and others comforted daily. Thursday, 20. I strongly applied at Canterbury to the soldiers in particular, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" [I John 5:12]. The next day, in my return to London, I read Mr. Huygens's Conjectures on the Planetary World. He surprised me. I think he clearly proves that the moon is not habitable: that there are neither rivers nor mountains on her spotty globe; that there is no sea, no water on her surface, nor any atmosphere; and hence he very rationally infers that "neither are any of the secondary planets inhabited." And who can prove that the primary are? I know the earth is. Of the rest I know nothing.

Sunday, 23.—A vast majority of the immense congregation in Moorfields were deeply serious. One such hour might convince any impartial man of the expediency of field-preaching. What building, except St. Paul's Church, would contain such a congregation? And if it would, what human voice could have reached them there? By repeated observations I find I can command thrice the number in the open air that I can under a roof. And who can say the time for field-preaching is over while 1) greater numbers than ever attend; 2) the converting, as well as convincing, power of God is eminently present with them?

Wesley Clothes French Prisoners

Monday, October 1 (Bristol).—All my leisure time, during my stay at Bristol, I employed in finishing the fourth volume of "Discourses"; probably the last which I shall publish.

Monday, 15—l walked up to Knowle, a mile from Bristol, to see the French prisoners. About eleven hundred of them, we are informed, were confined in that little place, without anything to lie on but a little dirty straw, or anything to cover them but a few foul thin rags, either by day or night, so that they died like rotten sheep. I was much affected and preached in the evening on (Exodus 23:9), "Thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." Eighteen pounds were contributed immediately, which were made up four-and-twenty the next day. With this we bought linen and woolen cloth, which were made up into shirts, waistcoats, and breeches. Some dozen of stockings were added; all which were carefully distributed where there was the greatest want. Soon after, the Corporation of Bristol sent a large quantity of mattresses and blankets. And it was not long before contributions were set on foot at London and in various parts of the kingdom; so that I believe from this time they were pretty well provided with all the necessaries of life.

The Truth about Trances

Saturday, November 17 (London).—I spent an hour agreeably and profitably with Lady G— H—, and Sir C— H—. It is well a few of the rich and noble are called. Oh, that God would increase their number! But I should rejoice (were it the will of God), if it were done by the ministry of others. If I might choose, I should still (as I have done hitherto) preach the gospel to the poor.

Friday, 23.—The roads were so extremely slippery that it was with much difficulty we reached Bedford. We had a pretty large congregation; but the stench from the swine under the room was scarcely supportable. Was ever a preaching place over a hogsty before? Surely they love the gospel who come to hear it in such a place.

Sunday, 25—In the afternoon God was eminently present with us, though rather to comfort than convince. But I observed a remarkable difference, since I was here (Everton) before, as to the manner of the work. None now were in trances, none cried out, none fell down or were convulsed; only some trembled exceedingly, a low murmur was heard, and many were refreshed with the multitude of peace.

The danger was to regard extraordinary circumstances too much, such as outcries, convulsions, visions, trances; as if these were essential to the inward work, so that it could not go on without them. Perhaps the danger is, to regard them too little; to condemn them altogether; to imagine they had nothing of God in them, and were a hindrance to his work. Whereas the truth is 1) God suddenly and strongly convinced many that they were lost sinners; the natural consequence whereof were sudden outcries and strong bodily convulsions; 2) to strengthen and encourage them that believed, and to make His work more apparent, He favored several of them with divine dreams, others with trances and visions; 3) in some of these instances, after a time, nature mixed with grace; 4) Satan likewise mimicked this work of God in order to discredit the whole work; and yet it is not wise to give up this part any more than to give up the whole. At first, it was, doubtless, wholly from God. It is partly so at this day; and He will enable us to discern how far, in every case, the work is pure and where it mixes or degenerates.

Wednesday, 28.—I returned to London; on Thursday, 29, the day appointed for the general thanksgiving, I preached again in the chapel near the Seven Dials, both morning and afternoon. I believed the oldest man in England has not seen a thanksgiving day so observed before. It had the solemnity of the general fast. All the shops were shut up; the people in the streets appeared, one and all, with an air of seriousness; the prayers, lessons, and whole public service were admirably suited to the occasion. The prayer for our enemies, in particular, was extremely striking; perhaps it is the first instance of the kind in Europe. There was no noise, hurry, bonfires, fireworks in the evening, and no public diversions. This is indeed a Christian holiday, a "rejoicing unto the Lord." The next day came the news that Sir Edward Hawke had dispersed the French fleet.

Sunday, December 9.—I had, for the first time, a love-feast for the whole society. Wednesday, 12. I began reading over the Greek Testament and the notes, with my brother and several others; carefully comparing the translation with the original and correcting or enlarging the notes as we saw occasion.

The same day I spent part of the afternoon in the British Museum. There is a large library, a great number of curious manuscripts, many uncommon monuments of antiquity, and the whole collection of shells, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, and so forth, which the indefatigable Sir Hans Sloane, with such vast expense and labor, procured in a life of fourscore years.

John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000) Conversion to HTML and placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall, 2009.

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