Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

places mentioned

Jan. 1- Apr. 27, 1747: Yorkshire, Manchester and Bristol

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January 1- April 27, 1747

THURSDAY, January 1st, 1747. In the evening I preached at Acomb, near York, and exhorted the brethren with great freedom.

Fri., January 2d. I was comforted among our dear brethren and children in Epworth.

Sat., January 3d. I waited with Mr. Perronet upon the Curate, who did not refuse us the sacrament, as he had my brother.

Sun., January 4th. I preached at the Cross, as usual.

Tues., January 6th. I got to Grimsby by three, saluted by the shouting mob. At six I began speaking at the room; and the floods lifted up their voice. Several poor wild creatures, almost naked, ran about the room, striking down all they met. I gave myself to prayer, believing God knew how to deliver us. The uproar lasted near an hour; when I told the poor wretches that I shook off the dust of my feet against them. Several of them caught at me to drag me down; others interposed, and kept their companions off. I laid my hand on their Captain, and he sat down like a lamb at my feet the whole time. One struck at me, and J. Crawford received my blow, which left on his face the marks of the Lord Jesus. Another of the rebels cried out, "What, you dog, do you strike a Clergyman?" and fell upon his comrade. Immediately every man's hand was against his fellow; they fell to fighting and beating one another, till, in a few minutes, they had all driven one another out of the room. I then preached without molestation for half an hour, and walked into the next room. I stayed, reading the Scripture, while the rioters at the door cried they would come in, and take their leave of me. I ordered them to be admitted, and the poor drunken beasts were very civil, and very loving. One of the ringleaders, with a great club, swore he would conduct me to my lodgings. I followed him, and he led me through his fellows, to our brother Blow's. They threw but one stone afterwards, which broke the window; and departed.

Wed., January 7th. All was quiet at five. I met the Society, and expelled two disorderly walkers, by reason of whom the truth had been evil spoken of. Immediately the Lord returned to his people, and began reviving his work, which had been stopped among them some time.

At eight I preached again, no man opposing. I heard an excellent sermon at church, it being the national fast-day, on Heb. xi.: "By faith Noah, being warned of God," &c. I preached repentance the third time at the room, where many of the rioters stood bound by the restraining hand of God.

God never lets Satan shut the door in one place, but that it may be opened in another. The violence of our enemies at night drove us to preach in the neighbouring towns, where the seed fell into good ground.

Thur., January 8th. I preached at Grimsby in the morning, and strongly exhorted our Society to adorn the Gospel of Christ in all things. At parting, our friend the rabble saluted us with a few eggs and curses only.

At Hainton I set forth Jesus Christ before their eyes as crucified. My congregation was mostly Papists; but they all wept at hearing how Jesus loved them.

Fri., January 9th. I talked severally to the little Society, who are as sheep encompassed with wolves. Their Minister has repelled them from the sacrament, and laboured to stir up all the town against them. And they would have worried them to death, had not the great man of this place, a professed Papist, hindered these good Protestants from destroying their innocent brethren.

By three I came safe to Epworth; and was received by Edward Perronet and the brethren, as one alive from the dead.

Sun., January 11th. I declared, at the Cross, "Except the Lord had left us a very small remnant," &e. I preached there again, with greater enlargement, in the afternoon; and at night God comforted us on every side.

Mon., January 12th. At Sikehouse I preached Christ crucified. Many were comforted; one received the faith that justifies.

Wed., January 14th. I expounded that comfortable promise at Leeds, "On them that fear the Lord, the Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings."

Sat., January 17th. I met Miss B. in Leeds, whom the Lord convinced this week, the first time she heard the word; and on Thursday night, just as she was dropping into hell, received her into his everlasting arms. She appeared plainly justified. My spirit was much refreshed hereby, and my hands strengthened.

Sun., January ,18th. In the midst of my discourse, we all broke out into joy and singing. The same comfort we had at Birstal, and were constrained to own, at our love-feast, that He had kept the best wine to the last.

Thur., January 22d. I preached in a large house at Haworth, but not near large enough. I lodged at my dear brother Grimshaw's.

Fri., January 23d. I told my host, at parting, that he had feared where no fear was, there being no law either of God or man against his lending me his pulpit. He was much ashamed at having given place to his threatening enemies.

I set out to preach in what were called William Darney's Societies. I preached at different places, morning, noon, and night, with much freedom.

Sat., January 24th. I rode to Manchester; baptized a child of Thomas Taylor's, and our brother B. found a divine proof, that infant baptism is of God. At Davy-Hulme I had much conversation with our old friend John Boulton.

Sun., January 25th. I re-settled the poor shattered Society. One woman delighted me with her scrupulosity, telling me, "she would be of the Society if I would allow her to go to church: but the Germans used to forbid them." Through the blessing of God, I have brought back these wandering sheep to her pale. I preached at several places in or near the Peak.

Fri., January 30th. I preached at Sheffield, where the rioters threatened much, but did nothing.

Sat., January 31st. I made up an old quarrel between some of the Society, which had hung on them, like a mill-stone, for many months.

Sun., February 1st. I rode to Rotherham, where I had been stoned through the town, the first time of my passing it. I heard a curious sermon, of which I was the unworthy subject. The accuser of the brethren was very fierce indeed. I sat quite composed, till he had concluded; then walked up to the table, expecting to be repelled, as he had threatened. I prayed the Lord to turn his heart; and he was not suffered to pass me by.

From church I went to our brother Green's, and preached repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, from Isai. i. 16. Many of the principal people of the town were in a private room. The convincing Spirit went forth, and restrained the madness of the people. I departed in peace.

I warned the hardened sinners at Sheffield from those awful words, "Except the Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant," &c. He filled my mouth with judgments against this people, except they repent, which I trembled to utter. So did most who heard, particularly some of our fiercest persecutors. I found relief and satisfaction in having delivered my own soul, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

I repeated my warnings to the Society, and believe they will escape into the ark, before the flood comes.

I baptized my host's child, and we were sensible of the divine presence.

Mon., February 2d. I never met with worse way and weather than in riding to Penkridge. About eight at night I was taken down from my horse, and found the congregation just going. The Lord gave me strength from above, though I could neither stand nor go, and held me up to call lost sinners to Him. I rode the next day to Wednesbury.

Thur., February 5th. I baptized the child of a Dissenter, which their Minister refused to do, because the parents heard us.

I preached in Darlaston at the door of our brother Jones's house, which had been pulled down in the former riot. The persecutors in this place were some of the fiercest in Staffordshire. I saw the marks of their violence, and thereby knew our people's houses, as I rode through the town. Their windows were all stopped up, &c.

The word was a two-edged sword. The ringleader of the mob was struck down, and convinced of his lost estate. I preached again with double power. The Minister's wife I had some talk with afterwards. Her husband has been, in the hand of God, an instrument of quelling the mob. They have been all quiet since their Captain drowned himself.

Fri., February 6th. I put a woman out of the Society, for speaking disrespectfully of the Minister.

Sun., February 8th. At Wednesbury I expounded Acts ii. 42. The word was sent home to many hearts.

Tues., February 10th. God brought me safe to London.

Sun., February 15th. While I was preaching remission of sins, the power of God came down, and constrained many to confess it.

Tues., February 17th. I heard of our second house being pulled down at Sheffield; and sympathized with the sufferers. Every day this week our Lord has given testimony to the word of his grace.

Mon., February 23d. At four I set out with Mr. Meriton for Bristol.

Tues., February 24th. Between three and four in the afternoon I came to Mr. Clark's, at the Devizes.

I found his daughter there, our sister Taylor, (who has won him to Christ without the word,) and a sister from Bath. We soon perceived that our enemies had taken the alarm, and were mustering their forces for the battle. They began with ringing the bells backward, and running to and fro in the streets, as lions roaring for their prey. From the time my brother told me in London, "there was no such thing as raising a mob at the Devizes," I had a full expectation of what would follow; but saw my call, and walked with my brother Meriton, and M. Naylor, to an house where the Society used to meet.

The Curate's mob had been in quest of me at several places, particularly Mrs. Philips's, where I was expected to preach. They broke open and ransacked her house; but not finding me, marched away to our brother Rogers's, where we were praying and exhorting one another to continue in the faith, and through much tribulation enter the kingdom.

The chief gentleman of the town headed the mob; and the zealous Curate, Mr. Innys, stood with them in the street the whole time, dancing for joy. This is he who declared in the pulpit, as well as from house to house, that he himself heard me preach blasphemy before the University, and tell them, "If you do not receive the Holy Ghost while I breathe upon you, ye are all damned."

He had gone about several days, stirring up the people, and canvassing the gentry for their vote and interest; but could not raise a mob while my brother was here. The hour of darkness was not then fully come.

While his friends were assaulting us, I thought of their ancient brethren, whom we read of Gen. xix. 4: "Before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, cornpassed the house about, both young and old, all the people from every quarter. And they called upon Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men that came unto thee this night ? bring them out unto us." My own name I heard frequently repeated, with, "Bring him out, bring him out!" Their design was first to throw me into the horse-pond. They continued raging and threatening for the first hour; and pressed hard upon us to break the door. The windows they did break to pieces, and tore down the shutters of the shop. The little flock were less afraid than I expected. Only one of our sisters fainted away: but beneath were the everlasting arms.

Our besiegers had now blocked up the door with a waggon, and set up lights, lest I should escape. Yet a brother got out unobserved, and, with much entreaty, prevailed upon the Mayor to come down. He came with two Constables, one a faithful brother, the other s persecutor, and threatened the rioters, but so softly, that none regarded him. It was the Lord who for the present rebuked the madness of the people. They hurried away from us to the inn, where our horses were; broke open the stable-door, and turned out the beasts, which were found some hours after in a pond, up to their chin in water.

We were at a loss meantime what to do, when God put it into the heart of our next-door neighbour, a Baptist, to take us through a passage into his own house, offer us his bed, and engage for our security. We accepted his kindness, and slept in peace.

Wed., February 25th. A day never to be forgotten! At seven I walked quietly to Mrs. Philips's; began preaching a little before the time appointed, and for three quarters of an hour invited a few listening sinners to Christ. Then the boys with their bells, like the devil's infantry, began; and soon after, his whole army assaulted the house to bring us forth. We sat in a little ground-room, and ordered all the doors to be thrown open. They brought an hand-engine, and began to play into the house. We kept our seats, and they rushed into the passage. Just then Mr. Borough, the Constable, came, seized upon the spout of the engine, and carried it off in spite of them all. They swore, if he did not deliver it, they would pull down the house. At that time they might have taken us prisoners, for we were in their sight, close to them, and none to interpose; but they hurried out to fetch the larger engine.

Meantime we were advised to send to Mr. Mayor; but Mr. Mayor was gone out of town in the sight of the people. This was great encouragement to those who were already wrought up to a proper pitch by the painstaking Curate, and gentlemen of the town, particularly Mr. Sutton and Mr. Willy, the two leading men, Dissenters.

Mr. Sutton lived next door, and frequently came out to the mob, to keep up their spirits. Mr. Innys was there too, and quite happy on the occasion. Mr. Sutton sent word to Mrs. Philips, "that if she did not turn that fellow out to the mob, he would send them to drag him out." Mr. Willy passed by again and again, assuring the rioters he would stand by them, and secure them from the law, do what they would.

They now began playing the larger engine, which broke the windows, flooded the rooms, and spoiled the goods. We were withdrawn to a small upper-room, in the back part of the house, seeing no way to escape their violence. They seemed under the full power of the old murderer. Our brother who keeps the Society they laid hold on first, dragged him away, and threw him into the horse-pond, and broke his back, as was reported. But another of the Society ran in resolutely among them, and rescued him out of their hands, by little less than a miracle. His wife fell into fits again.

We gave ourselves unto prayer, believing the Lord would deliver us, how or when we saw not, nor any possible way of escaping. Therefore we stood still to see the salvation of God.

As soon as the mob had emptied the engine, they ran to fill it again, keeping strict watch on all sides lest we should escape. One advised us to attempt it through the garden of a persecutor, and I put on my coat on purpose, but could not think it the Lord's way of bringing us forth. I laid aside the design, and saw a troop of our enemies coming up the very way we should have gone.

Every now and then some or other of our friends would venture to us, but rather weakened our hands, so that we were forced to stop our ears, and look up. Among the rest, the Mayor's maid came, and told us her mistress was in tears about me, and begged me to disguise myself in women's clothes, and try to make my escape. Her heart had been turned towards us by the conversion of her son. Just on the brink of ruin, God laid his hand on the poor prodigal, and, instead of running away to sea, he entered into the Society, to the great joy and surprise of his parents.

The rioters without continued playing their engine, which diverted them for some time: but their number and fierceness still increased, and the gentlemen plied them with pitchers of ale, as much as they would drink. Mr. Meriton hid his money and watch, that it might do good to somebody, he said; for as to the mob, they should have nothing of him but his carcass.

They were now on the point of breaking in, when Mr. Borough thought of reading the Proclamation. He did so, at the hazard of his life. In less than the hour, of above a thousand wild beasts, none were left but the guard. They retreated, as we suppose, by the advice of the old serpent, who sat observing us at an opposite house, in the shape of a Lawyer. We had now stood siege for about three hours, and none but the invisible hand could have kept them one moment from tearing us in pieces.

Our Constable had applied to Mr. Street, the only Justice in town, who would not act. We found there was no help in man, which drove us closer to the Lord, and we prayed by his Spirit, with little intermission, the whole day.

Our enemies, at their return, made their main assault at the back-door, swearing horribly they would have me, if it cost them their lives. Many seeming accidents concurred to delay their breaking in. The man of the house came home, and, instead of turning me out, as they expected, took part with us, and stemmed the tide for some time.

Then they got a notion that I had made my escape; and ran down to the inn, and played the engine there. They forced the inn-keeper to turn out our horses, which he immediately sent to Mr. Clark's. This drew the rabble and their engine thither; but the resolute old man charged and presented his gun, till they retreated.

Upon their re-visiting us, Mr. Meriton was for surrendering ourselves before the night came on, which, he said, would make them more audacious; and that there might be witness of whatever they did by daylight. But I persuaded him to wait, till the Lord should point out the way.

Now we stood in jeopardy every moment. Such threatenings, curses, and blasphemies I have never heard. They seemed kept out by a continued miracle. I remembered the Roman Senators sitting in the forum when the Gauls broke in upon them, but thought there was a fitter posture for Christians, and told my companion they should take us off our knees.

We were kept from all hurry and discomposure of spirit, by a divine power resting upon us. We prayed and conversed as freely as if we had been in the midst of our brethren; and had great confidence that the Lord would either deliver us from the danger, or in it. One of my companions (M. N.) cried out, "It must be so; God will deliver us: if God is true, we are safe."

I told my friend Meriton,-et hoec olim meminisse juvabit, that our most distant friends were praying for us; and our deliverance would soon occasion many thanksgivings unto God. In the height of the storm, when we were just falling into the hands of the drunken, enraged multitude, he was so little disturbed, that he fell fast asleep.

They were now close to us, on every side, and over our heads, untiling the roof. I was diverted by a little girl, who called to me, through the door, "Mr. Wesley! Mr. Wesley! creep under the bed; they will kill you; they are pulling down the house." Our sister Taylor's faith was just failing, when a ruffian cried out, "Here they are, behind the curtain!" At this time we fully expected their appearance, and retired to the furthermost corner of the room, and I said, "This is the crisis." In that moment Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm. We heard not a breath without, and wondered what was come to them. The silence lasted for three quarters of an hour, before any one came near us; and we continued in mutual exhortation and prayer, and looking for deliverance.

If ever we felt faith, it was now. Our souls hung upon that arm which divided the sea. I often told my companions, "Now God is at work for us: he is contriving our escape. He can turn these leopards into lambs; can command the Heathen to bring his children on their shoulders, and make our fiercest enemies the instruments of our deliverance."

In about an hour after the last general assault, the answer of faith came, and God made bare his arm. Soon after three, Mr. Clark knocked at the door, and brought with him the persecuting Constable. He said, "Sir, if you will promise never to preach here again, the gentlemen and I will engage to bring you safe out of town." My answer was, "I shall promise no such thing." "But will you not tell me you have no intention of returning hither?" "Not till you are better disposed to receive me; for, in obedience to my Master, if you persecute me in one city, I will flee to another: but, setting aside my office, I will not give up my birthright, as an Englishman, of visiting what part I please of His Majesty's dominions." "Sir, we expect no such premise, that you will never come here again; only tell me that it is not your present intention, that I may tell the gentlemen, who will then secure your quiet departure." I answered, "I cannot come now, because I must return to London a week hence: but OBSERVE, I make no promise of not preaching here when the door is opened; and don't you say that I do."

He went away with this answer, and we betook ourselves again to prayer and thanksgiving. We perceived it was the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in our eyes. Our adversaries' hearts were turned. Even Mr. Sutton and Willy laboured to take off the mob, and quench the fire themselves had kindled. Whether pity for us, or fear for themselves, wrought strongest, God knoweth. Probably the latter; for the mob were wrought up to such a pitch of fury, that their masters dreaded the consequence, and therefore went about appeasing the multitude, and charging them not to touch us in our departure.

I knew full well it was not in their power to lay the devil they had raised, and none but the Almighty could engage for our security. We had hoped to make our escape in the dead of the night, if the house was not pulled down first; and had therefore sent our horses toward Seen, intending to walk after them; but now we sent for them Back, and recovered them before they were got out of the town.

While the Constable was gathering his posse, we got our things from Mr. Clark's, and prepared to go forth. The whole multitude were .without, expecting us. Now our Constable's heart began to fail, and he told us he much doubted if the mob could be restrained; for that thirty or more of the most desperate were gone down the street, and waited at the end of the town for our passing: he should therefore advise us to hide ourselves in some other house, and get off by night. Mr. Meriton's counsel was, to escape by the back-door, while the mob were waiting for us at the fore-door. I asked counsel of the Lord, and met with that word, "Jesus said unto her, Said I not unto thee, if thou wouldest believe thou shouldest see the glory of God?" After reading this, I went forth as easy as Luther to the Council.

We were saluted with a general shout. The man whom M. Naylor had hired to ride before her, was, as we now perceived, one of the rioters. This hopeful guide was to conduct us out of the reach of his fellows. Mr. Meriton and I took horse in the face of our enemies, who began clamouring against us, and I answering them, when the Constable begged me to forbear. The gentlemen were dispersed among the mob to bridle them.

We rode a slow pace up the street, the whole multitude pouring along on both sides, and attending us with loud acclamations. Such fierceness and diabolical malice I have not seen in human faces. They ran up to our horses, as if they would swallow us; but did not know which was Wesley. We felt great peace and acquiescence in the honour done us; while the whole town were spectators of our march.

After riding two or three hundred yards, I looked back, and saw Mr. Meriton on the ground in the midst of the mob, and two bulldogs upon him. One was first let loose, which leaped at his horse's nose; but the horse with his foot beat him down. The other fastened on his nose, and hung there, till Mr. Meriton, with the but-end of his whip,

felled him to the ground. Then the first dog, recovering, flew at the horse's breast, and fastened there. The beast reared up, and Mr. Meriton slid gently off. The dog kept his hold, till the flesh tore off. Then some men took off the dogs, others cried, "Let them alone :" but neither beast nor man had any farther commission to hurt. I stopped the horse, and delivered him to my friend. He re-mounted with great composure, and we rode on leisurely as before, till out of sight. Then we mended our pace, and in an hour came to Seen, having rode three miles about, and by seven to Wrexal. The news of our danger was got thither before us, but we brought the welcome tidings of our own deliverance.

Now we saw the hand of Providence in suffering them to turn out our horses, that is, to send them to us against we wanted them. Again, how plainly were we overruled to send our horses down the town, which blinded the rioters without our designing it, and drew off their engines and them, leaving us a free passage at the other end of the town;

We joined in hearty praises to our Deliverer, singing the hymn,— "Worship, and thanks, and blessing," &e.

(See Redemption Hymns.)

Thur., February 26th. I preached at Bath, and we rejoiced like men that take the spoil. We continued our triumph at Bristol, and reaped the fruit of our labours and sufferings.

Sun., March 1st. In riding to Kingswood, Satan had another thrust at me. We were singing the thanksgiving for our deliverance, when our coach overturned. All six were hurt, but none dangerously. The voice of joy and thanksgiving was heard among our beloved colliers, both in the word and sacrament.

Fri., March 6th. I took horse at four, and on Saturday afternoon came safe to the Foundery.

Wed., March 11th. I spake with one who once walked in simple faith; but the Antinomian tempter has prevailed. Now he expressly renounces us, "who seek to be justified by works."

Fri., March 13th. Mr. M., a young Clergyman, was at our watchnight: one who seems inclined to think and judge for himself.

Fri., March 20th. I found, by the increase of my audience this morning, that my sharp rebuke of the Society last night had not been lost.

Sun., March 22d. In the evening we rejoiced as in the day when we came up out of the land of Egypt.

Tues., March 24th. I preached at Shoreham, without molestation. These wild beasts also are tamed; and will, many of them, I doubt not, receive the truth they persecuted.

Wed., March 25th. I stopped one who had crept in among our Helpers, without either discretion or veracity.

Thur., March 26th. I was walking to J. Ellison's, when a gentleman ran out of his house, and exceedingly pressed me to step in, and dine with him. Although pre-engaged,

I could hardly deny him, as the person was no other than Mr. Daniel Garnanlt.

Fri., March 27th. God gave us his blessing, both in the word and sacrament.

Sun., April 12th. I invited many to come in, upon that promise, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

Mon., April 13th. I met Mr. Bateman at our sister Witham's. My heart rejoiced and ached for him. What has he to go through, before he has made full proof of his ministry!

Thur., April 16th. He was with me at night in the desk. My text was, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice together," &c. Great was our rejoicing before the Lord.

Good-Friday, April 17th. We had sweet fellowship with Him in his sufferings; and many cried after Him, being deeply wounded by his dying love.

Easter-day, April 19th. The Lord gave us, under the word, to know the power of his resurrection; but in the sacrament he carried us quite above ourselves and all earthly things.

I went forth to an huge, unruly multitude in the fields: the Lord stilled them by the word of his power, and comforted me among the faithful.

Mon., April 20th. I preached again in the fields, to a solemn assembly.

Tues., April 21st. I was, with Sarah Perrin, in perils by water. Her calmness would not suffer me to fear.

Wed., April 22d. I received an unexpected invitation through H. Edwyn; but, by Mr. Erskine's and Sarah Perrin's advice, deferred accepting it.

Mon., April 27th. That I might abstain from all appearance of evil, particularly of pride and resentment, I took up my cross, and went in Mrs. Rich's coach to Chelsea. I passed an hour or two at Lampe's, before I waited upon one who was once my friend. The first that greeted me was faithful Mrs. M., with her old professions; next, Mrs. E.; and last, that person; at whose desire I sang, prayed, dined, exhorted, talked of the times, and took my leave.

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

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