Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

places mentioned

Jan: 15 - Apr. 29, 1748: Ireland, Wales and meeting future wife

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January 15 - April 29, 1748

FRIDAY, January 15th, 1748. I heard more good news from the country, whither we had sent some of our Preachers. At Tyril's-pass and the neighbouring towns there seems to be a great awakening.

Wed., January 20th. Charles Perronet had, without my knowledge, told the Society last night that he intended to go and ask Mr. Cennick if he had any farther pretensions to the house; and if not, he would take it himself for the Society.

Mr. Hauby brought us glad tidings from the country, which made me eager to go with him.

Thur., January 21st. I reproved the Society, who were all melted into tears, especially when I spake of leaving them.

Fri., January 22d. I was troubled to hear one of our children was carried away by the lies of the still brethren. I prayed for her in faith, and was relieved immediately. At night the spirit of contrition fell mightily upon us.

Sat., January 23d. The answer of prayer returned. I met Mrs. M., who humbled herself, asked pardon of God and us, and seemed quite recovered.

Sun., January 24th. I preached Christ crucified at the barn, from, "They shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and mourn." This scripture was then fulfilled in many.

Tues., January 26th. I met the Society, with the great power and blessing of God in the midst.

Fri., January 29th. I administered the sacrament to an aged woman at Sophy Evans's. It was a solemn season of love.

Fri., February 5th. Mr. Cennick called on me. I asked if he had any hopes of the house. He answered, No. He believed the Trustees would never let it them again. Then, I said, I would; or he should preach in it whenever he pleased. He acknowledged my kindness, and that I had acted fairly throughout this affair.

Sun., February 7th. I expounded wrestling Jacob. Many wept and made supplication to the Angel. I parted from them with regret, though for a few days only; and on

Mon. morning, February 8th, took horse for Tyril's-pass. We overtook a lad whistling one of our tunes. He was a constant hearer, though a Roman, and joined with us in several hymns which he had by heart. Near seven we got, half choked with the fog, to Mr. Force's. The town immediately took the alarm, and crowded in after us. I discoursed on, "A certain man had two sons," &c. These are the publicans that enter before the Pharisees. Never have I spoke to more hungry souls. They devoured every word. Some expressed their satisfaction in a way peculiar to them, and whistled for joy. Few such feasts have I had since I left England. It refreshed my body more than meat or drink.

God has begun a great work here. The people of Tyril's-pass were wicked to a proverb; swearers, drunkards, Sabbath-breakers, thieves, &c., from time immemorial. But now the scene is entirely changed. Not an oath is heard, or a drunkard seen, among them. Aperto vivitur horto. They are turned from darkness to light. Near one hundred are joined in Society, and following hard after the pardoning God.

Tues., February 9th. I rode to Mr. Jonathan Hanby's at Temple-Macqueteer, seven miles from Tyril's-pass, and pointed several of his poor neighbours to the Lamb of God.

Wed., February 10th. At eight I took horse for Athlone. We were seven in company, and rode mostly abreast. Some overtook us, running in great haste, and one horse-man, riding full speed. We suspected nothing, and rode on singing, till within half a mile of the town. Mr. Samuel Handy and Jonathan Healey happened to be foremost, three or four yards out of the line, though I had led the company till then. We were mounting a little hill, when three or four men appeared st the top, and bade us go back. We thought them in jest, till the stones flew. J. Healey was knocked off his horse with s stone, fell backward, and lay without sense or motion. Mr. Handy, setting spurs to his horse, charged through the enemy, and immediately turned upon them again. There were only five or six ruffians on the spot; but we saw many gathering to us from all sides.

I observed the man who had knocked down J. Healey striking him on the face with his club; cried to him to stop, which drew him upon me, and probably saved our brother's life, whom another blow might have dispatched. They had gathered against our coming great heaps of stones, one of which was sufficient to beat out our brains. How we escaped them, God only knows, and our guardian angels. I had no apprehension of their hurting me, even when one struck me on the back with a large stone, which took away my breath.

One struck Mr. Force on the head; at whom Mr. Handy made a full blow. He turned and escaped part, yet it knocked him down, and for the present disabled him. As often as we returned we were driven off by showers of stones. Some were for returning home; but I asked if we should leave our brother in the hands of his murderers.

We rode back to the field of battle, which our enemies had quitted, the Protestants beginning to rise upon them. It seems, the Papists had laid their scheme for murdering us at the instigation of their Priest, Father Ferril, who had sounded an alarm last Sunday, and raised his crusade against us. The man who wounded J. Healey was the Priest's servant, and rode his master's horse. He was just going to finish the work with his knife, swearing desperately that he would cut him up, when a poor woman from her hut came to his assistance, and swore as stoutly that he should not cut him up. The man half killed her with a blow of J. Healey's whip, yet she hindered him till more help came. One Jameson, a Protestant, ran in with a pitchfork, and stuck the Clerk into the shoulder. The bone stopped it. The man made a second push at him, which was broke by Mr. Handy, returned to save his enemy's life. The hedges were all lined with Papists, who kept the field till they saw the Dragoons coming out of Athlone. Then they took to their heels, and Mr. Handy after them. In the midst of the bog they seized the Priest's servant, carried him prisoner to Athlone, and charged the High Constable with him, who quickly let him go. A Protestant met and beat him unmercifully; but he escaped at last, and fled for his life, sorely wounded.

We found J. Healey in his blood at the hut, whither the woman and her husband had carried him. He recovered his senses at hearing my voice. We got him to Athlone, had him blooded, and his wounds dressed. The Surgeon would take nothing for his pains.

The people of the town expressed great indignation at our treatment. The soldiers flocked about us. They had been ordered by their officers to meet and guard us into town. But we came before our time; which prevented them, and our enemies likewise, or we should have found an army of Romans ready to receive us. The country, it seems, knew beforehand of the design; for the Papists made no secret of it. But by the providence of God none of us, or our enemies, lost their lives.

I walked down to the market-house, which was filled by a third of the congregation. I removed to a window in a ruined house, which commanded the marketplace. The gentlemen, with the Minister, and above two thousand hearers, gave diligent heed while I strongly invited them to buy wine and milk without money and without price. The congregation waited on us to our inn, and many of them out of town with our trusty soldiers. But first the Minister and Collector came to see us, and inquire after our wounded man; got us to leave information, and promised us justice. The Minister acknowledged it was the doctrine of our own Church, accepted some of our books, and bade us God speed.

We marched very slowly for the sake of our patient, till we came to the field of battle. It was stained with blood abundantly. We halted, and sang a song of triumph and praise to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we sent back our guard, and went on our way rejoicing to Moat.

I proclaimed in the street the faithful saying, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. A few stones were cast, and a drum beat to entertain the ladies. In spite of the genteel devil, some impression was made on the vulgar, as their tears testified.

We rode through the noisy ones to Mr. Handy's. The voice of joy and thanksgiving was heard in his dwelling; and we magnified the God by whom we escape death.

Among my hearers was the mother of my host, who, after a moral life of near eighty years, is now convinced of unbelief, and quietly waiting for the salvation of God.

Thur., February 11th. At Tyril's-pass, our barn was filled at night with high and low, rich and poor, whose curiosity brought them from all parts. I showed them their case and their Physician, in the wounded traveller and good Samaritan. They listened for two hours, and seemed to feel the weight of the word. Counsellor Low followed us home, and had much serious discourse with us.

Fri., February 12th. I spent the morning in conference with the strangers. One, a sensible Roman, seemed satisfied with my answers to his objections; and not far from the kingdom of heaven. Another, who has been a notorious sinner, but a man of reading, went away convinced, and longing to be converted. The Counsellor, we heard, had sat up the whole night searching the Scriptures, if these things be so.

At Mr. Samuel Handy's I invited many to the great supper. Two hours passed unperceived, before I could give over.

Sat., February 13th. A poor publican was drowned in tears, who constantly attends the word of grace, on which all his hopes depend. I preached at Tullamore, on, "O, Israel, thou hast destroyed," &c. They received both the legal and Gospel saying as the truth of God. Many of the soldiers from Dublin followed us into the house, for further instruction; to whom I again declared, "The poor have the Gospel preached unto them." It was a time of refreshing, like one of the former days.

Sun., February 14th. At Philip's-town I expounded the prodigal son. About forty dragoons joined me in singing and conference, both before and after. These are all turned from darkness to light, that they may receive forgiveness.

Mon., February 15th. I visited several at Tyril's-pass, particularly Mrs. Wade, aged ninety-five, who counts all things but loss, so she may win Christ, and be found in him, not having her own righteousness. She has continued in the temple for near a hundred years, and in fasting every Friday. How does this shame the young professors, who say they have faith, yet live in a total neglect of Christ's ordinance! She looks every moment for the seal of her pardon, that she may depart in peace.

The next I saw was a venerable couple indeed; the man ninety-six, the woman ninety-eight. He had rejoiced to hear of the great change wrought in the town; and said, if he could but see us lifting up our hands in prayer for him, he doubted not but the Lord would give him the blessing. Till within these two years, he has worked at his loom. He was in all the actions of the last century,- at the siege of Londonderry, Limerick, &c.; the greatest Tory-hunter in the country; full of days and scars. His wife retains her senses and understanding. She wept for joy while we prayed over them, and commended them to the pardoning grace of God.

Tues., February 16th. I came to Dublin, half dead with the rain and snow.

Sun., February 21st. We had much of our Lord's presence in the word, while the poor blind beggars cried after him on every side. At night, the good Samaritan looked upon us. One testified that her wounds were then bound up.

Mon., February 22d. I visited a poor wretch in Newgate, who is to be burnt next week for coining. The proof against her was not very full; but her life and character cast her. She had lived in all manner of wickedness, and narrowly escaped death before for killing her son-in-law. Justice has now overtaken her, and she cries she is lost for ever. I could not well discern whence her sorrow flowed; but found hope for her in prayer.

Tues., February 23d. She was much the same, but vehemently desired our people's prayers, and told me, had she continued hearing the word, she had never come into that misery; but her neighbours had laughed her out of it, and now God had left her to herself.

At the barn I expounded the woman with the bloody issue; and many seemed not only to press, but to touch Him. Their cries pierced the clouds. Three testified that they were healed of their plague. A greater blessing followed us in the Society. Glory be to God who so wonderfully revives his work among us. I trust many shall yet he added to the Church, before we part.

Wed., February 24th. At night we were all melted into tears by our dying Lord's expostulation, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" and long continued mourning in sight of his cross.

Thur., February 25th. We had wrestled in prayer for the poor criminal, and to-day I plainly saw the answer returned. Her heart was broken in pieces; she had nothing to plead or Pay; and ail her concern was for her soul. She received the word of reconciliation as the thirsty land doth the dew of heaven; and resolved to spend her last breath in crying after the Friend of sinners.

On Fri. and Sat., February 26th and 27th, I was again with the woman: near twenty of the poor wretches pressed in after me. Her tears and lamentations reached both their hearts and mine.

I met with one who has lately received the atonement, and is continually exercised by the contradiction of poor sinners, even her own daughters. They abuse and persecute her, not refraining even from blows; for "they have nothing to do with works or the law."

Sun., February 28th. I expounded Isai. xxxv., and the word was with power, as at the beginning. Many cried under it, and one woman, "I have found forgiveness this moment!" I spake with her afterwards at our sister Baker's, and she told me, she was just before quite sunk down in sorrow, when a light was darted into her heart. "It set me a trembling," she added; "and, soon after, a joy came, such as I never felt before. I am quite another creature: I am so light, I cannot express it." Her testimony is the more remarkable, because she can neither write nor read.

I did not wonder, while passing Newgate, that one struck me on my head with a stone. I preached at two and six at the barn. The great blessing came at last. My subject was, the woman washing our Saviour's feet; and never was He more sensibly present with us. A woman could not forbear declaring openly that her faith had saved her.

Mon., February 29th. I received fresh comfort by a letter from a Dissenter, testifying that she had found again, under the word, the peace which she had lost for many years. Every day we hear of more children born; which reconciles us to the contrary wind, though it keeps my brother from us.

I sent a brother to the condemned woman, who told him, she had been visited by a Romish Priest. On his bidding her pray to the Virgin Mary, she answered, "I have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The Ordinary was also with her for the first time, and she told him the reason of the hope that was in her.

I heard, from the keeper, that a reprieve was come down, and a pardon expected; feared it might stop the work of God in her, and was agreeably surprised to find her full of fear and trouble at the news. "O," said she to me, "I am afraid, if my life be spared, that I shall fall from God. I know He would have mercy on me if I die now." In discoursing farther, 'I perceived very comfortable signs. Some of her words were, "Two days ago I found such a change, as I cannot describe. My heart is so lightened, my trouble and grief quite gone. And in the night, when I pray to my Saviour, I feel such a strange comfort and confidence as cannot be expressed. Surely God has forgiven me my sins." I believed it, but took no notice, till the work should prove itself; only exhorted her to watch and pray, lest she should fall from those good beginnings.

Tues., March lst. I met the woman, released from her chains, both soul and body. She threw herself at my feet, and cried, "O, Sir, under God, you have saved my soul.

I have found mercy, when I looked for judgment. I am saved by a miracle of mercy."

In the evening I preached on that most important word, "It is finished:" and God set to his seal. One received forgivenees, A man and a woman testified that they had found it at the last preaching. The power of the Lord was wonderfully in the Society. I asked, "Who touched him?" not doubting but some had then received their cure. One, and another, and another witnessed a good confession. Our sister Blamires declared, with great struggling, that she then found power to believe; and blessed the day that ever she say my face. Other spake in the same manner; and last, Thomas Barnes told me, he had recovered his pardon while I was repeating, "There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," &c. The number of the witnesses this night was nine.

Wed., March 2d. At Mrs. Gilmore's, a serious Dissenter, I met three others of the same communion, who had been lately justified under the word.

Sat., March 5th. I showed the poor felons in Newgate what they must do to be saved. One man I have often observed much affected by the word, and extremely officious to wait upon me. This was the executioner, who is half converted by the woman, and shows the most profound reverence for her. I gave him several of our books, which he has read over and over. By profession he is a Papist.

Sun., March 6th. I do not remember when we have had a greater blessing than we had this evening in the Society. Near twenty declared the manifestation of the Spirit then vouchsafed them.

Mon, March 7th. I spoke with eleven of them who had received a clear sense of pardon. Another went to his house justified, when I discoursed on wrestling Jacob.

Tues., March 8th. My brother landed, and met the Society; God confirming the word of His messenger.

Wed., March 9th. I passed a comfortable hour in conference with some others, who have lately stepped into the pool. One was begotten again this evening by the word of His power, Isai. liii.

Thur., March 10th. Three more received their cure.

Fri., March 11th. My text in the morning was, "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come." After great strugglings, one was constrained to cry out, "He is come! He is come! I have him, I have him now, in my heart." A stranger, who stood with his hat on upon the stairs, with all the marks of carelessness, cried out, in great astonishment, "Lord bless me! what is this ?" and ran away as if the avenger was at his heels.

Another testified her having lately found favour, who was, some days since, a grievous sinner,—a common harlot. But she is washed! God grant she may hold out!

Sun., March 13th. In our garden I once more invited them to the great supper. Many tears were shed at parting; yet was it a blessed mourning, because we expect to meet again at the great white throne.

Mon., March 14th. The wind turning full against us, gave me an opportunity of preaching again in Ship-street. I heard that our sister Preston was yesterday delivered of her burden in singing. This evening M. Gilmore received the love of God shed abroad in her heart. A month ago she was a warm opposer, but, venturing out of curiosity to hear me, the Lord applied his word, and stripped her all at once of her self-righteousness, faith of adherence, and good works. She mourned after Him, till now that Jesus has received her among his witnesses.

Sun., March 20th. After a week's confinement through the toothache, at two this day I entered the packet-boat with J. Haughton.

Mon., March 21st. By three we landed at the Head. I passed the night in great pain.

Tues., March 22d. I took horse for our brother Jones's. It was a bright, sunshiny morning; the wind moderate, and in our backs. I came to my guide's by nine, and rode by three to Baladan-ferry, sending J. Haughton forward to Chester. The wind was now higher, and more a-head of us, blowing full in my swollen face. We overfilled the small old boat, so that Crepuit sub pondere cymba Futilis, et multam accepit rimosa paludem.

We flew on the wings of the wind, till we got to the channel. There the motion was so violent, that my young horse began prancing, and striving to take the water. I held him with the little strength I had; but an oar lying between us, I had no firm footing, and could not command him at arms length. It's unruliness frightened the other horse, who began kicking, and struck our brother down. I saw the danger, that, if my horse got his foot over the boat, it must overset, and had no strength to hinder it. It came into my mind, "Hath God brought me through the sea to be drowned here ?" I looked up, and in that moment the horse stood still, and continued so till we reached the shore.

I went early to bed at Caernarvon, and got a little rest.

Wed., March 23d. I was overruled, by brother Jones, not to set out till past seven. The continual rain and sharp wind were full in my teeth. I rode all day in great misery, and had a restless, painful night at Tan-y-Bwlch.

Thur., March 24th. I resolved to push for Garth, finding my strength would never hold out for three more days' riding. At five I set out in hard rain, which continued all day. We went through perils of waters. I was quite gone when we came at night to a little village. There was no fire in the poor hut. A brother supplied us with some, nailed up our window, and helped us to bed. I had no more rest than the night before.

Fri., March 25th. I took horse again at five, the rain attending us still. At eight I was comforted by the sight of Mr. Philips, at Llanidloes. The weather grew more severe. The violent wind drove the hard rain full in our faces. I rode till I could ride no more; walked the last hour; and by five dropped down at Garth. All ran to nurse me. I got a little refreshment, and at seven made a feeble attempt to preach. They quickly put me to bed. I had a terrible night, worse than ever.

Sat., March 26th, and the five following days, I was exercised with strong pain, notwithstanding all the means used to remove it. My short intervals were filled up with conference, prayer, and singing.

Sun., April 3d. Through the divine blessing on tile tender care of my friends, I recovered so much strength that I read prayers, and gave the sacrament to the family.

Mon., April 4th. Mrs. Gwynne carried me out in her chair; and I found my strength sensibly return.

Tues., April 6th. She drove me to Builth. I took horse at three. Mr. Gwynne and Miss Sally accompanied me the first hour. Then I rode on alone, weary, but supported. My accommodations at my inn were none of the best. I lay restless till midnight, expecting to return, as I had promised in case of a relapse. But toward the morning I dropped asleep, and woke much refreshed at five.

Sat., April 9th. In the evening, with God's evident help, I came safe to the Foundery.

Easter-day, April 10th. I joined with my brethren on this and the seven following days, to show forth the Lord's death; and he never once sent us empty away.

I dined at Counsellot Glanvil's, a brand lately plucked out of the fire.

Thur., April 14th. I met another poor publican, Colonel G., who has just now entered the kingdom, and is brimfull of his first love.

Sat., April 16th. I gave the sacrament to our sister King, inexpressibly happy at the approach of death.

Tues., April 19th. I had communicated my embryo intentions to my brother while in Ireland, which he neither opposed, nor much encouraged. It was then a distant first thought, not likely ever to come to a proposal; as I had not given the least hint, either to Miss Gwynne or the family. Today I rode over to Shoreham, and told Mr. Perronet all my heart. I have always had a fear, but no thought, of marrying, for many years past, even from my first preaching the Gospel. But within this twelvemonth that thought has forced itself in, "How know I, whether it be best for me to marry, or no?" Certainly better now than later: and if not now, what security that I shall not then? It should be now, or not at all.

Mr. Perronet encouraged me to pray, and wait for a providential opening. I expressed the various searchings of my heart in many hymns on the important occasion.

Fri., April 22d. Mrs. Colvil was at the chapel. I discoursed on the Pharisee and publican. The divine power and blessing made the word effectual, and broke down all before it.

Wed., April 27th. My text was, "There be many that say, Who will show us good?" &c. The Lord was mightily present in his awakening power.

Fri., April 29th. Mrs. Rich carried me to Dr. Pepusch, whose music entertained us much, and his conversation more.

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

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