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John Wesley

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1751-3: Wesley's Marriage; Cornwall Smugglers; Illness and Recovery

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Chapter 9. Wesley's Marriage; Dealings with Cornwall Smugglers; His Illness and Recovery


Wednesday, January 10.—Having received a pressing letter from Dr. Isham, then the rector of our college, to give my vote at the election for a Member of Parliament which was to be the next day, I set out early, in a severe frost and with the northwest wind full in my face. The roads were so slippery that it was scarcely possible for our horses to keep their feet; indeed one of them could not, but fell upon his head and cut it terribly. Nevertheless, about seven in the evening, God brought us safe to Oxford. A congregation was waiting for me at Mr. Evan's, whom I immediately addressed in those awful words, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Thursday, 31.—I went to the schools where the Convocation was met: but I did not find the decency and order which I expected. The gentleman for whom I came to vote was not elected, yet I did not repent of my coming; I owe much more than this to that generous, friendly man, who now rests from his labors.

I was much surprised wherever I went at the civility of the people—gentlemen as well as others. There was no pointing, no calling of names, as once; no, nor even laughter. What can this mean? Am I become a servant of men? Or is the scandal of the cross ceased?

Wesley Decides to Marry

Friday, February 1.—We set out for London in another bitter morning, having such a wind (now got to the east, and so in our face again) as I hardly ever remember. But by five in the evening we were under shelter at the Foundry. It being the night before appointed for a watch night, we continued praying and praising God as usual, till about twelve o'clock; and I found no inconvenience but a little faintness, which a few hours' sleep removed.

Saturday, 2.—Having received a full answer from Mr. P—, I was clearly convinced that I ought to marry. For many years I remained single because I believed I could be more useful in a single, than in a married state. And I praise God, who enabled me so to do. I now as fully believed, that in my present circumstances, I might be more useful in a married state; into which, upon this clear conviction, and by the advice of my friends, I entered a few days after.

Wednesday, 6.—I met the single men and showed them on how many accounts it was good for those who had received that gift from God, to remain "single for the kingdom of heaven's sake"; unless where a particular case might be an exception to the general rule.

Sunday, 10.—After preaching at five, I was hastening to take my leave of the congregation at Snowsfields, purposing to set out in the morning for the north; when on the middle of London Bridge, both my feet slipped on the ice, and I fell with great force, the bone of my ankle lighting on the top of a stone. However, I got on, with some help, to the chapel, being resolved not to disappoint the people. After preaching, I had my leg bound up by a surgeon and made a shift to walk to the Seven Dials. It was with much difficulty that I got up into the pulpit; but God then comforted many of our hearts.

I went back in a coach to Mr. B—s and from thence in a chair to the Foundry; but I was not able to preach, my sprain growing worse. I removed to Threadneedle Street; where I spent the remainder of the week, partly in prayer, reading, and conversation, partly in writing a Hebrew grammar, and Lessons for Children.

Sunday, 17.—I was carried to the Foundry and preached, kneeling (as I could not stand), on part of the Twenty-third Psalm; my heart was enlarged, and my mouth opened to declare the wonders of God's love.

Marriage and Preaching

Monday, 18, was the second day I had appointed for my journey; but I was disappointed again, not being yet able to set my foot to the ground. However, I preached (kneeling) on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

Sunday, 24.—I preached, morning and evening, at Spitalfields.

Monday, March 4.—Being tolerably able to ride, though not to walk, I set out for Bristol. I came thither on Wednesday, thoroughly tired, though in other respects better than when I set out.

Tuesday, 19.—Having finished the business for which I came to Bristol, I set out again for London; being desired by many to spend a few days there before I entered upon my northern journey. I came to London on Thursday and, having settled all affairs, left I again on Wednesday, 27. I cannot understand how a Methodist preacher can answer it to God to preach one sermon or travel one day less in a married than in a single state. In this respect surely, "it remaineth, that they who have wives be as though they had none."

Wesley and His Barber

Thursday, April 11 (Bolton).—The barber who shaved me said, "Sir, I praise God on your behalf. When you were at Bolton last, I was one of the most eminent drunkards in all the town; but I came to listen at the window, and God struck me to the heart. I then earnestly prayed for power against drinking; and God gave me more than I asked: He took away the very desire of it. Yet I felt myself worse and worse, till on April 5 last, I could hold out no longer. I knew I must drop into hell that moment unless God appeared to save me: and He did appear. I knew He loved me and felt sweet peace. Yet I did not dare to say I had faith, till, yesterday was twelvemonth, God gave me faith; and His love has ever since filled my heart."

Monday, 22.—The rain stopped while I was preaching at the market place in Morpeth. We rode from thence to Alnwick, where (it being too wet to preach at the Cross) some of our friends procured the Town Hall. This, being very large, contained the people well; only the number of them made it extremely hot.

Tuesday, 23.—We rode on to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Wednesday, 24.—Mr. Hopper and I took horse between three and four and about seven came to Old Camus. Whether the country was good or bad we could not see, having a thick mist all the way. The Scotch towns are like none which I ever saw, either in England, Wales, or Ireland: there is such an air of antiquity in them all, and such a peculiar oddness in their manner of building. But we were most surprised at the entertainment we met with in every place, so far different from common report. We had all things good, cheap, in great abundance, and remarkably well-dressed. In the afternoon we rode by Preston Field and saw the place of battle and Colonel Gardiner's house. The Scotch here affirm that he fought on foot after he was dismounted and refused to take quarter. Be it as it may, he is now where "the wicked cease from troubling, and [where] the weary are at rest" [Job 3:17].

Wesley's Impressions of Scotland

We reached Musselburgh between four and five. I had no intention to preach in Scotland, nor did I imagine there were any that desired I should. But I was mistaken. Curiosity (if nothing else) brought abundance of people together in the evening. And whereas in the kirk (Mrs. G— informed me) there used to be laughing and talking and all the marks of the grossest inattention, it was far otherwise here: they remained as statues from the beginning of the sermon to the end.

Thursday, 25.—We rode to Edinburgh; one of the dirtiest cities I had ever seen, not excepting Colen [Cologne] in Germany.

We returned to Musselburgh to dinner, whither we were followed in the afternoon by a little party of gentlemen from Edinburgh. I know not why any should complain of the shyness of the Scots toward strangers. All I spoke with were as free and open with me as the people of Newcastle or Bristol; nor did any person move any dispute of any kind, or ask me any question concerning my opinion.

I preached again at six on "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found." I used great plainness of speech toward them, and they all received it in love; so that the prejudice which the devil had been several years planting was torn up by the roots in one hour. After the preaching, one of the bailies of the town, with one of the elders of the kirk, came to me and begged I would stay with them a while, if it were but two or three days; and they would fit up a far larger place than the school and prepare seats for the congregation. Had not my time been fixed, I should gladly have complied.

Wesley's Remarkable Vitality


Sunday, March 15 (London).—While I was preaching at West Street in the afternoon, there was one of the most violent storms I ever remember. In the midst of the sermon a great part of a house opposite to the chapel was blown down. We heard a huge noise but knew not the cause; so much the more did God speak to our hearts, and great was the rejoicing of many in confidence of His protection. Between four and five I took horse, with my wife and daughter. The tiles were rattling from the houses on both sides, but they hurt not us. We reached Hayes about seven in the evening, and Oxford the next day.

Thursday, April 16.—I walked over to Burnham. I had no thought of preaching there, doubting if my strength would allow of preaching always thrice a day, as I had done most days since I came from Evesham. But finding a house full of people, I could not refrain. Still the more I use my strength, the more I have. I am often much tired the first time I preach in a day; a little the second time; but after the third or fourth, I rarely feel either weakness or weariness.

Wednesday, 2.—I rode to Grimsby. The crowd was so great in the evening that the room was like an oven. The next night I preached at the end of the town, whither almost all the people, rich and poor, followed me; and I had a fair opportunity of closely applying that weighty question, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" [Luke 13:23]

Friday, 24.—We rode by a fine seat; the owner of which (not much above fourscore years old) says he desires only to live thirty years longer: ten to hunt, ten to get money (having at present but twenty thousand pounds a year), and ten years to repent. Oh, that God may not say unto him, "Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee!" [Luke 12:20]

When I landed at the quay in Hull, it was covered with people inquiring, "Which is he? Which is he?" But they only stared and laughed; and we walked unmolested to Mr. A—s house.

I was quite surprised at the miserable condition of the fortifications; far more ruinous and decayed than those at Newcastle, even before the rebellion. It is well there is no enemy near.

A Crowded Coach

I went to prayers at three in the old church—a grand and venerable structure. Between five and six the coach called and took me to Mighton Car, about half a mile from the town. A huge multitude, rich and poor, horse and foot, with several coaches, were soon gathered together; to whom I cried with a loud voice and a composed spirit, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Some thousands of the people seriously attended; but many behaved as if possessed by Moloch. Clods and stones flew about on every side; but they neither touched nor disturbed me.

When I had finished my discourse, I went to take coach, but the coachman had driven clear away. We were at a loss, till a gentlewoman invited my wife and me to come into her coach. She brought some inconveniences on herself thereby; not only as there were nine of us in the coach, three on each side, and three in the middle; but also as the mob closely attended us, throwing in at the windows (which we did not think it prudent to shut) whatever came next to hand. But a large gentlewoman who sat in my lap screened me, so that nothing came near me.

Wesley Sleeps in a Cellar

Monday, May 25.—We rode to Durham and thence, through very rough roads and as rough weather, to Barnard Castle. I was exceedingly faint when we came in. However the time being come, I went into the street and would have preached; but the mob was so numerous and so loud that it was not possible for many to hear. Nevertheless, I spoke on, and those who were near listened with huge attention. To prevent this, some of the rabble fetched the engine and threw a good deal of water on the congregation; but not a drop fell on me. After about three quarters of an hour, I returned into the house.

Tuesday, June 9.—My lodging was not such as I should have chosen; but what Providence chooses is always good. My bed was considerably under ground, the room serving both for a bedchamber and a cellar. The closeness was more troublesome at first than the coolness; but I let in a little fresh air by breaking a pane of paper (put by way of glass) in the window, and then slept soundly till the morning.

Monday, 15.—I had many little trials in this journey, of a kind I had not known before. I had borrowed a young, strong mare when I set out from Manchester. But she fell lame before I got to Grimsby. I procured another but was dismounted again between Newcastle and Berwick. At my return to Manchester, I took my own; but she had lamed herself in the pasture. I thought, nevertheless, to ride her four or five miles today; but she was gone out of the ground, and could hear nothing of her. However, I comforted myself that I had another at Manchester, which I had lately bought. But when I came thither, I found one had borrowed her too and ridden her away to Chester.

Saturday, 20.—I rode to Chester and preached at six in the accustomed place, a little without the gates, near St. John's church. One single man, a poor alehousekeeper, seemed disgusted, spoke a harmless word, and ran away with all speed. All the rest behaved with the utmost seriousness while I declared "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Round Chester Walls

Monday, 22.—We walked round the walls of the city, which are something more than a mile and three quarters in circumference. But there are many vacant spaces within the walls, many gardens, and a good deal of pasture ground; I believe Newcastle-upon-Tyne, within the walls, contains at least a third more houses than Chester.

The greatest convenience here is what they call "the Rows"; that is covered galleries which run through the main streets on each side, from east to west and from north to south; by which means one may walk both clean and dry in any weather, from one end of the city to the other.

I preached at six in the evening in the square to a vast multitude, rich and poor. The far greater part, the gentry in particular, were seriously and deeply attentive; though a few of the rabble, most of them drunk, labored much to make a disturbance. One might already perceive a great increase of earnestness in the generality of the hearers.

Tuesday, August 25.—I preached in the market place at Kinsale. The next morning, at eight, I walked to the fort. On the hill above it we found a large, deep hollow, capable of containing two or three thousand people. On one side of this, the soldiers soon cut a place with their swords for me to stand, where I was screened both from the wind and sun, while the congregation sat on the grass before me. Many eminent sinners were present, particularly of the army; and I believe God gave them a loud call to repentance.

Saturday, September 23.—We reached Cork. Sunday, 24. In the evening I proposed to the society the building a preaching-house. The next day ten persons subscribed a hundred pounds; another hundred was subscribed in three or four days, and a piece of ground taken. I saw a double providence now in our not sailing last week. If we had, probably this house had never been built, and it is most likely we should have been cast away. Above thirty ships, we were informed, have been lost on these coasts in the late storm.

The wind being contrary still, on Monday, October 2, I rode once more to Bandon. But though I came unexpectedly, the house was too small to contain one half of the congregation; so I preached in the street, both this evening and at five on Tuesday morning; the moon gave us as much light as we wanted till the sun supplied her place. I then returned to Cork. On Friday, 6, the ship being under sail, we took boat and came to Cove in the evening. All the inns being full, we lodged at a private house; but we found one inconvenience herein: we had nothing to eat, for our provisions were on board and there was nothing to be bought in the town; neither flesh, nor fish, nor butter, nor cheese. At length we procured some eggs and bread, and were well contented.

A Boiling Sea

Sunday, 8.—We were called early by the pilot and told we must rise and go on board. We did so and found a large number of passengers: but the wind turning, most of them went on shore. At eleven I preached to those that were left. About six it blew a storm; but we were anchored in a safe harbor, so it neither hurt nor disturbed us.

Monday, 9.—Finding there was no probability of sailing soon, we went up to Mr. P—s, near Passage. I preached there in the street about four to most of the inhabitants of the town. They behaved very quietly, but very few seemed either convinced or affected.

Tuesday, 10.—We had another violent storm; it made Mr. P—s house rock to and fro, though it was a new, strong house, and covered on all sides with hills, as well as with trees. We afterward heard that several ships were lost on the coast. Only one got into the harbor, but grievously shattered, her rigging torn in pieces, and her mainmast gone by the board.

Wednesday, 1..—I rode to Cork once more and was very fully employed all the day. The next morning we returned to Cove and about noon got out of the harbor. We immediately found the effects of the late storm, the sea still boiling like a pot. The moon set about eight, but the northern lights abundantly supplied her place. Soon after, God smoothed the face of the deep and gave us a small, fair wind.

Friday, 13.—I read over Pascal's Thoughts. What could possibly induce such a creature as Voltaire to give such an author as this a good word, unless it was that he once wrote a satire? And so his being a satirist might atone even for his being a Christian.

Saturday, 14.—About seven we sailed into Kingroad and happily concluded our little voyage. I now rested a week at Bristol and Kingswood, preaching only morning and evening.

Wesley's Forgiveness

Sunday, 24, was a useful day to my soul. I found more than once trouble and heaviness; but I called upon the name of the Lord; and He gave me a clear, full approbation of His way, and a calm, thankful acquiescence in His will.

I cannot but stand amazed at the goodness of God. Others are most assaulted on the weak side of their soul; but with me it is quite otherwise; if I have any strength at all (and I have none but what I have received), it is in forgiving injuries; and on this very side am I assaulted more frequently than on any other. Yet leave me not here one hour to myself, or I shall betray myself and Thee!

In the remaining part of this (November) and in the following month, I prepared the rest of the books for the "Christian Library"; a work by which I have lost about two hundred pounds. Perhaps the next generation may know now the value of it.


Saturday, January 20.—I advised one who had been troubled many years with a stubborn paralytic disorder to try a new remedy. Accordingly, she was electrified and found immediate help. By the same means I have known two persons cured of an inveterate pain in the stomach; and another of a pain in his side which he had had ever since he was a child. Nevertheless, who can wonder that many gentlemen of the faculty, as well as their good friends, the apothecaries, decry a medicine so shockingly cheap and easy, as much as they do quick-silver and tar-water?

Saturday, February 3.—I visited one in the Marshalsea prison, a nursery of all manner of wickedness. Oh, shame to man that there should be such a place, such a picture of hell, upon earth! And shame to those who bear the name of Christ that there should need any prison at all in Christendom!

Thursday, 8.—A proposal was made for devolving19 all temporal business, books and all, entirely on the stewards; so that I might have no care upon me (in London at least) but that of the souls committed to my charge. Oh, when shall it once be! From this day?

In the afternoon I visited many of the sick; but such scenes, who could see unmoved? There are none such to be found in a pagan country. If any of the Indians in Georgia were sick (which indeed exceeding rarely happened till they learned gluttony and drunkenness from the Christians), those that were near him gave him whatever he wanted. Oh, who will convert the English into honest heathens!

On Friday and Saturday I visited as many more as I could. I found some in their cells under ground; others in their garrets, half starved both with cold and hunger, added to weakness and pain. But I found not one of the unemployed who was able to crawl about the room. So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, "They are poor only because they are idle." If you saw these things with your own eyes, could you lay out money in ornaments or superfluities?

Thursday, 15.—I visited Mr. S—, slowly recovering from a severe illness. He expressed much love, and did not doubt, he said, inasmuch as I meant well, but that God would convince me of my great sin in writing books; seeing men ought to read no book but the Bible. I judged it quite needless to enter into a dispute with a sea captain, seventy-five years old.

Friday, March 16.—I returned to Bristol; and on Monday, 19, set out with my wife for the north.

Saturday, 31.—I preached at Boothbank, where I met Mr. C—, late gardener to the Earl of W—. Surely it cannot be! Is it possible the earl should turn off an honest, diligent, well-tried servant, who had been in the family above fifty years, for no other fault than hearing the Methodists?

Sunday, April 15.—I preached in the afternoon at Cockermouth to well nigh all the inhabitants of the town. Intending to go from thence into Scotland, I inquired concerning the road and was informed I could not pass the arm of the sea which parts the two kingdoms unless I was at Bonas, about thirty miles from Cockermouth, soon after five in the morning. At first I thought of taking an hour or two's sleep and setting out at eleven or twelve. But upon further consideration, we chose to take our journey first and rest afterward. So we took horse about seven and, having a calm, moonshiny night, reached Bonas before one. After two or three hours' sleep, we set out again, without any faintness or drowsiness.

The Pay of Preaching

Our landlord, as he was guiding us over the Frith, very innocently asked how much a year we got by preaching thus. This gave me an opportunity of explaining to him that kind of gain which he seemed utterly a stranger to. He appeared to be quite amazed and spake not one word, good or bad, till he took his leave.

Presently after he went, my mare stuck fast in a quagmire, which was in the midst of the high road. But we could well excuse this; for the road all along, for nearly fifty miles after, was such as I never saw any natural road, either in England or Ireland; nay, far better, notwithstanding the continued rain, than the turnpike road between London and Canterbury.

We dined at Dumfries, a clean, well-built town, having two of the most elegant churches (one at each end of the town) that I have seen. We reached Thorny Hill in the evening. What miserable accounts pass current in England of the inns in Scotland! Yet here, as well as wherever we called in our whole journey, we had not only everything we wanted, but everything readily and in good order, and as clean as I ever desire.

Tuesday, 17.—We set out about four and rode over several high, but extremely pleasant, mountains to Lead Hill. This was a village of miners, resembling Placey, near Newcastle. We dined at a village called Lesmahaggy, and about eight in the evening reached Glasgow. A gentleman who had overtaken us on the road sent one with us to Mr. Gillies's house.

Wesley in Glasgow

Wednesday, 18.—I walked over the city, which I take to be as large as Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The University (like that of Dublin) is only one College, consisting of two small squares; I think not larger, nor at all handsomer, than those of Lincoln College, in Oxford. The hatit of the students gave me surprise. They wear scarlet gowns, reaching only to their knees. Most I saw were very dirty, some very ragged, and all of very coarse cloth. The high church is a fine building. The outside is equal to that of most cathedrals in England; but it is miserably defaced within, having no form, beauty, or symmetry left.

At seven in the evening Mr. G. began the service at his own (the College) church. It was so full before I came that I could not get in without a good deal of difficulty.

Thursday, 19.—At seven I preached about a quarter of a mile from the town; but it was an extremely rough and blustering morning; and few people came either at the time or place of my preaching: the natural consequence of which was that I had but a small congregation. About four in the afternoon, a tent, as they term it, was prepared; a kind of moving pulpit, covered with canvas at the top, behind, and on the sides. In this I preached near the place where I was in the morning, to nearly six times as many people as before; and I am persuaded what was spoken came to some of their hearts, "not in word only, but in power."

Friday, 20.—I had designed to preach at the same place; but the rain made it impracticable. Mr. G. desired me to preach in his church, so I began between seven and eight. Surely with God nothing is impossible! Who would have believed five-and-twenty years ago either that the minister would have desired it or that I should have consented to preach in a Scotch kirk?

Apprenticeship Customs

Wednesday, 25.—We came to Alnwich on the day whereon those who have gone through their apprenticeship are made free of the corporation. Sixteen or seventeen, we were informed, were to receive their freedom this day. In order thereto (such is the unparalleled wisdom of the present corporation, as well as of their forefathers), they were to walk through a great bog (purposely preserved for the occasion; otherwise it might have been drained long ago), which takes up some of them to the neck, and many of them to the breast.

Tuesday, May 8.—I rode [from Stockton] to Robinhood's Bay, near Whitby. The town is very remarkably situated: it stands close to the sea and is in great part built on craggy and steep rocks, some of which rise perpendicularly from the water. And yet the land, both on the north, south, and west, is fruitful and well cultivated. I stood on a little rising near the quay, in a warm, still evening, and exhorted a multitude of people from all parts to "seek the Lord, while he may be found." They were all attention; and most of them met me again at half an hour after four in the morning. I could gladly have spent some days here; but my stages were fixed: so, on Wednesday, 9, I rode to York.

Sunday, July 8 (London).—After preaching at the chapel, morning and afternoon, I took horse with Mr. P—. We had designed to ride only two or three hours, in order to shorten the next day's journey. But a young man, who overtook us near Kingston, induced us to change our purpose. So we only rested about half an hour at Cobham; and leaving it between nine and ten, rode on softly in a calm, moonshiny night, and about twelve came to Godalming. We took horse again at half an hour past four and reached Portsmouth about one.

After a little rest, we took a walk around the town, which is regularly fortified; it is, I suppose, the only regular fortification in Great Britain or Ireland. Gosport, Portsmouth, and the Common (which is now all turned into streets) may probably contain half as many people as Bristol, and so civil a people I never saw before in any seaport town in England.

I preached at half an hour after six, in an open part of the Common adjoining to the new church. The congregation was large and well behaved; not one scoffer did I see, nor one trifler. In the morning, Tuesday, 10, I went on board a hoy and in three hours landed at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight; as far exceeding the Isle of Anglesey, both in pleasantness and fruitfulness, as that exceeds the rocks of Scilly.

We rode straight to Newport, the chief town in the isle, and found a little society in tolerable order. Several of them had found peace with God.

At half n hour after six I preached in the market place, to a numerous congregation; but they were not so serious as those at Portsmouth. Many children made much noise, and many grown persons were talking aloud almost all the time I was preaching. It was quite otherwise at five in the morning. There was a large congregation again; and every person therein seemed to know this was the Word whereby God would judge them in the last day.

In the afternoon I walked to Carisbrook castle, or rather, the poor remains of it. It stands upon a solid rock on the top of a hill and commands a beautiful prospect. There is a well in it, cut quite through the rock, said to be seventy-two yards deep; and another in the citadel, nearly a hundred. They drew up the water by an ass, which they assured us was sixty years old. But all the stately apartments lie in ruins. Only just enough of them is left to show the chamber where poor King Charles was confined and the window through which he attempted to escape.

Cornish Smugglers

On Wednesday, 25, the stewards met at St. Ives, from the western part of Cornwall. The next day I began examining the society, but I was soon obliged to stop short. I found an accursed thing among them; well-night one and all bought or sold uncustomed goods. I therefore delayed speaking to any more till I had met them all together. This I did in the evening and told them plainly either they must put this abomination away or they would see my face no more. Friday, 27. They severally promised so to do. So I trust this plague is stayed.

Monday, November 12.—I set out in a chaise for Leigh, having delayed my journey as long as I could. I preached at seven, but was extremely cold all the time, the wind coming strong from a door behind and another on one side; so that my feet felt just as if I had stood in cold water.

Tuesday, 13.—The chamber wherein I sat, though with a large fire, was much colder than the garden; so that I could not keep myself tolerably warm, even when I was close to the chimney. As we rode home on Wednesday, 14, the wind was high and piercing cold, and blew just in our face so that the open chaise was no defense, but my feet were quite chilled. When I came home, I had a settled pain in my left breast, a violent cough, and a slow fever; but in a day or two, by following Dr. Fothergill's prescriptions; I found much alteration for the better; and on Sunday, 18, I preached at Spitalfields and administered the sacrament to a large congregation.

Wesley Writes His Epitaph

Monday, 19.—I retired to Shoreham and gained strength continually; till about eleven at night, on Wednesday, 21, I was obliged by the cramp to leap out of bed and continue, for some time, walking up and down the room, though it was a sharp frost. My cough now returned with greater violence and that by day as well as by night.

Saturday, 24.—I rode home as was pretty well till night; but my cough was then worse than ever. My fever returned at the same time, together with the pain in my left breast; so that I should probably have stayed at home on Sunday, 25, had it not been advertised in the public papers that I would preach a charity sermon at the chapel, both morning and afternoon. My cough did not interrupt me while I preached in the morning; but it was extremely troublesome while I administered the sacrament. In the afternoon I consulted my friends whether I should attempt to preach again or no. They thought I should, as it had been advertised. I did so; but very few could hear. My fever increased much while I was preaching; however, I ventured to meet the society, and for nearly an hour my voice and strength were restored so that I felt neither pain nor weakness.

Monday, 26.—Dr. F.— told me plainly that I must not stay in town a day longer; adding, "If anything does thee good, it must be the country air, with rest, asses' milk, and riding daily." So (not being able to sit a horse) about noon I took coach for Lewisham.

In the evening (not knowing how it might please God to dispose of me), to prevent vile panegyric, I wrote as follows:

Here lieth the Body









He ordered that this, if any, inscription should be placed on his tombstone.

Wesley His Own Doctor

Wednesday, 28.—I found no change for the better, the medicines which had helped me before now taking no effect. About noon (the time that some of our brethren in London had set apart for joining in prayer) a thought came into my mind to make an experiment. So I ordered some stone brimstone to be powdered, mixed with the white of an egg, and spread on brown paper, which I applied to my side. The pain ceased in five minutes, the fever in half an hour; and from this hour I began to recover strength. The next day I was able to ride, which I continued to do every day till January 1. Nor did the weather hinder me once; it being always tolerably fair (however it was before) between twelve and one o'clock.

Friday, December 14.—Having finished all the books which I designed to insert in the "Christian Library," I broke through the doctor's order not to write and began transcribing a journal for the press; and in the evening I went to prayers with the family, without finding any inconvenience.

Thursday, 20.—I felt a gradual increase of strength till I took a decoction of the bark, which I do not find (such is the peculiarity of my constitution) will agree with me in any form whatever. This immediately threw me into a purging, which brought me down again a few days and quite disappointed me in my design of going out on Christmas Day.

19 Correct.

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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