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John Wesley

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1754-6: Retirement in Paddington; Wesley Slandered; Premonitions

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Chapter 10. Retirement in Paddington; Wesley Slandered; Premonitions; A Dream


Tuesday, January 1.—I returned once more to London.

On Wednesday, 2, I set out in the machine and the next afternoon came to Chippenham. Here I took a post chaise, in which I reached Bristol about eight in the evening.

Friday, 4.—I began drinking the water at the Hot Well, having a lodging at a small distance from it; and on Sunday, 6, I began writing Notes on the New Testament, a work which I should scarcely ever have attempted had I not been so ill as not to be able to travel or preach, and yet so well as to be able to read and write.

Monday, 7.—I went on now in a regular method, rising at my hour and writing from five to nine at night; except the time of riding, half an hour for each meal, and the hour between five and six in the evening.

Thursday, 31.—My wife desiring to pay the last office to her poor dying child, set out for London and came a few days before he went home, rejoicing and praising God.

Tuesday, March 19 (Bristol).—Having finished the rough draught, I began transcribing the Notes on the Gospels.

Tuesday, 26.—I preached for the first time, after an intermission of four months. What reason have I to praise God that He does not take the Word of His truth utterly out of my mouth!

Wesley Retires to Paddington

Monday, April 1.—We set out in the machine, and the next evening reached the Foundry.

Wednesday, 3.—I settled all the business I could and the next morning retired to Paddington. Here I spent some weeks in writing; only going to town on Saturday evenings, and leaving it again on Monday morning.

In my hours of walking I read Dr. Calamy's Abridgment of Mr. Baxter's Life. What a scene is opened here! In spite of all the prejudice of education, I could not but see that the poor Nonconformists had been used without either justice or mercy; and that many of the Protesant20 bishops of King Charles had neither more religion nor humanity than the popish Bishops of Queen Mary.

Monday, 29.—I preached at Sadler's Wells in what was formerly a playhouse. I am glad when it pleases God to take possession of what Satan esteemed his own ground. The place, though large, was extremely crowded; and deep attention sat on every face.

Wednesday, May 22.—Our conference began; and the spirit of peace and love was in the midst of us. Before we parted, we all willingly signed an agreement not to act independently of each other: so that the breach lately made has only united us more closely together than ever.

June 2.—(Being Whitsunday.) I preached at the Foundry, which I had not done before in the evening; still I have not recovered my whole voice or strength, perhaps I never may; but let me use what I have.

Persecuting the Methodists

Monday, September 9.—I preached at Charlton, a village six miles from Taunton, to a large congregation gathered from the towns and country for many miles round. All the farmers here had some time before entered into a joint engagement to turn all out of their service and give no work to any who went to hear a Methodist preacher. But there is no counsel against the Lord. One of the chief of them, Mr. G—, was not long after convinced of the truth and desired those very men to preach at his house. Many of the other confederates came to hear, whom their servants and laborers gladly followed. So the whole device of Satan fell to the ground; and the Word of God grew and prevailed.

Wednesday, October 2.—I walked to Sold Sarum, which, in spite of common sense, without house or inhabitants, still sends two Members to the Parliament. It is a large, round hill, encompassed with a broad ditch, which, it seems, has been of a considerable depth. At the top of it is a cornfield; in the midst of which is another round hill, about two hundred yards in diameter, encompassed with a wall and a deep ditch. Probably before the invention of cannon, this city was impregnable. Troy was; but now it is vanished away and nothing left but "the stones of emptiness."

Thursday, 3.—I rode to Reading and preached in the evening. Observing a warm man near the door (he was once of the society), I purposely bowed to him; but he made no return. During the first prayer he stood, but sat while we sang. In the sermon his countenance changed, and in a little while he turned his face to the wall. He stood at the second hymn and then kneeled down. As I came out he caught me by the hand and dismissed me with a hearty blessing.

Friday, 4.—I came to London. On Monday, 7, I retired to a little place near Hackney, formerly a seat of Bishop Bonner's (how are the times changed!) and still bearing his name. Here I was as in a college.

Twice a day we joined in prayer. The rest of the day (allowing about an hour for meals and another for walking before dinner and supper) I spent quietly in my study.

Wesley's Prescriptions


Monday, April 7 (Wednesbury).—I was advised to take the Derbyshire road to Manchester. We waited at a house six miles beyond Lichfield. Observing a woman sitting in the kitchen, I asked, "Are you not well?" and found she had just been taken ill (being on her journey) with all the symptoms of an approaching pleurisy. She was glad to hear of an easy, cheap, and (almost) infallible remedy—a handful of nettles, boiled a few minutes and applied warm to the side. While I was speaking to her, an elderly man, pretty well dressed, came in. Upon inquiry, he told us he was traveling, as he could, toward his home near Hounslow, in hopes of agreeing with his creditors to whom he had surrendered his all. But how to get on he knew not, as he had no money and had caught a tertian ague. I hope a wise Providence directed this wanderer also, that he might have a remedy for both his maladies.

Monday, 14.—I rode by Manchester (where I preached about twelve) to Warrington. At six in the morning, Tuesday, 15, I preached to a large and serious congregation; and then went on to Liverpool, one of the neatest, best-built towns I have seen in England. I think it is fully twice as large as Chester; most of the streets are quite straight. Two thirds of the town, we were informed, have been added within these forty years. If it continues to increase in the same proportion, in forty years more it will nearly equal Bristol. The people in general are the most mild and courteous I ever saw in a seaport town; as indeed appears by their friendly behavior, not only to the Jews and Papists who live among them, but even to the Methodists (so called). The preaching-house is a little larger than that at Newcastle. It was thoroughly filled at seven in the evening; and the hearts of the whole congregation seemed to be moved before the Lord and before the presence of His power.

Wesley and the Sunshine

Thursday, 24.—We rode in less than four hours the eight miles (so called) to Newell Hay [from Bolton]. Just as I began to preach the sun broke out and shone exceedingly hot on the side of my head. I found that if it continued, I should not be able to speak long, and lifted up my heart to God. In a minute or two it was covered with clouds, which continued till the service was over. Let any who please, call this chance: I call it an answer to prayer.

Friday, 25.—About ten I preached near Todmorden. The people stood, row above row, on the side of the mountain. They were rough enough in outward appearance, but their hearts were as melting wax.

One can hardly conceive anything more delightful than the vale through which we rode from hence. The river ran through the green meadows on the right. The fruitful hills and woods rose on either hand.

At three in the afternoon I preached at Heptonstill, on the brow of the mountain. The rain began almost as soon as I began to speak. I prayed that, if God saw best, it might be stayed till I had delivered His Word. It was so, and then began again. But we had only a short stage to Ewood.

Tuesday, May 6.—Our conference began at Leeds. The point on which we desired all the preachers to speak their minds at large was whether we ought to separate from the church. Whatever was advanced on one side or the other was seriously and calmly considered; and on the third day we were all fully agreed in that general conclusion—that (whether it was lawful or not) it was no ways expedient.

Monday, 12.—We rode (my wife and I) to Northallerton.

Wednesday, 21.—I preached at Nafferton, near Horsley, about thirteen miles from Newcastle. We rode chiefly on the new western road, which lies on the old Roman wall. Some part of this is still to be seen, as are the remains of most of the towers, which were built a mile distant from each other, quite from sea to sea. But where are the men of renown who built them and who once made all the land tremble? Crumbled into dust! Gone hence, to be no more seen till the earth shall give up her dead!

June 2.—We rode to Thirsk, where I met the little society; and then went on to York. The people had been waiting for some time. So I began preaching without delay, and felt no want of strength, though the room was like an oven through the multitude of people.

Saturday, 7.—One of the residentiaries sent for Mr. Williamson, who had invited me to preach in his church, and told him, "Sir, I abhor persectuion; but if you let Mr. Wesley preach, it will be the worse for you." He desired it nevertheless; but I declined. Perhaps there is a providence in this also. God will not suffer my little remaining strength to be spent on those who will not hear me but in an honorable way.

The Room Was Like and Oven

Sunday, 8.—We were at the minster21 in the morning and at our parish church in the afternoon. The same gentleman preached at both; but though I saw him at the church, I did not know I had ever seen him before. In the morning he was all life and motion; in the afternoon he was as quiet as a post. At five in the evening, the rain constrained me to preach in the oven again. The patience of the congregation surprised me. They seemed not to feel the extreme heat or to be offended at the close application of those words, "thou art not far from the kingdom of God" [Mark 12:34].

Monday, 16.—I preached in the evening at Nottingham and on Thursday afternoon reached London. From a deep sense of the amazing work which God has of late years wrought in England, I preached in the evening on those words (Psalm 147:20), "He hath not dealt so with any nation"; no, not even with Scotland or New England. In both these God has indeed made bare His arm; yet not in so astonishing a manner as among us. This must appear to all who impartially consider 1) the numbers of persons on whom God has wrought; 2) the swiftness of His work in many, both convinced and truly converted in a few days; 3) the depth of it in most of these, changing the heart as well as the whole conversation; 4) the clearness of it, enabling them boldly to say, "Thou hast loved me; Thou hast given Thyself for me"; 5) the continuance of it.

Tuesday, 24 (London).—Observing in that valuable book, Mr. Gillies' Historical Collections, the custom of Christian congregations in all ages to set apart seasons of solemn thanksgivings, I was amazed and ashamed that we had never done this, after all the blessings we had received; and many to whom I mentioned it gladly agreed to set apart a day for that purpose.

"This Is No Mazed Man"

Sunday, August 31.—At five I preached in Gwennap to several thousands, but not one of them light or inattentive. After I had done, the storm arose and the rain poured down till about four in the morning; then the sky cleared, and many of them that feared God gladly assembled before Him.

Monday, September 1.—I preached at Penryn, to abundantly more than the house could contain.

Tuesday, 2.—We went to Falmouth. The town is not now what it was ten years since; all is quiet from one end to the other. I had thoughts of preaching on the hill near the church; but the violent wind made it impracticable, so I was obliged to stay in our own room. The people could hear in the yard likewise and the adjoining houses; and all were deeply attentive.

Wednesday, September 3.—After preaching again to a congregation who now appeared ready to devour every word, I walked up to Pendennis castle, finely situated on the high point of land which runs out between the bay and the harbor and commanding both. It might easily be made exceedingly strong; but our wooden castles are sufficient.

In the afternoon we rode to Helstone, once turbulent enough, but now quiet as Penryn. I preached at six, on a rising ground about a musket-shot from the town. Two drunken men strove to interrupt, but one soon walked away, and the other leaned on his horse's neck and fell fast asleep.

About noon, Friday, 5, I called on W. Row, in Breage, in my way to Newlyn. "Twelve years ago," he said, "I was going over Gulval Downs and I saw many people together. I asked what was the matter, and they told me a man was going to preach. I said, Nay, this is no mazed man.' You preached on God's raising the dry bones, and from that time I could never rest till God was pleased to breathe on me and raise my dead soul."

Slandering Wesley in the Pulpit

I had given no notice of preaching here; but seeing the poor people flock from every side, I could not send them empty away. So I preached at a small distance from the house and besought them to consider our "great High Priest, who is passed through into the heavens" [Heb. 4:14]; and none opened his mouth, for the lions of Breage too are now changed into lambs. That they were so fierce ten years ago is no wonder, since their wretched minister told them from the pulpit (seven years before I resigned my fellowship) that "John Wesley was expelled the College for a base child, and had been quite mazed ever since; that all the Methodists, at their private societies, put out the lights," and so on; with abundance more of the same kind. But a year or two since, it was observed, he grew thoughtful and melancholy; and, about nine months ago, he went into his own necessary house and hanged himself.

Saturday, 6.—In the evening I preached at St. Just. Except at Gwennap, I have seen no such congregation in Cornwall. The sun (nor could we contrive it otherwise) shone full in my face when I began the hymn; but just as I ended it, a cloud arose, which covered it till I had done preaching. Is anything too small for the providence of Him by whom our very hairs are numbered?

Sunday, 7.—Last year, a strange letter, written at Penzance, was inserted in the public papers. Today I spoke to the two persons who occasioned that letter. They are of St. Just parish, sensible men, and no Methodists. The name of the one is James Tregeer, of the other, Thomas Sackerly. I received the account from James, two or three hours before Thomas came; but there was no material difference. In July was twelvemonth, they both said, as they were walking from St. Just church town toward Sancreet, Thomas, happening to look up, cried out, "James, look, look! What is that in the sky?" The first appearance, as James expressed it, was three columns of horsemen, swiftly pressing on as in a fight, from southwest to northeast, a broad streak of sky being between each column. Sometimes they seemed to run thick together, then to thin their ranks. Afterward they saw a large fleet of three-mast ships, in full sail toward the Lizard Point. This continued above a quarter of an hour; then, all disappearing, they went on their way. The meaning of this, if it was real (which I do not affirm), time only can show.

Extraordinary Coincidence

Saturday, 13.—I preached once more at St. Just, on the first stone of their new society house. In the evening as we rode to Camborne, John Pearce, of Redruth, was mentioning a remarkable incident: While he lived at Helstone, as their class was meeting one evening, one of them cried, with an uncommon tone, "We will not stay here: we will go to —," a house, which was in a quite different part of the town. They all rose immediately and went, though neither they nor she knew why. Presently, after they were gone, a spark fell into a barrel of gunpowder, which was in the next room, and blew up the house. So did God preserve those who trusted in Him and prevent the blasphemy of the multitude.

Monday, 15.—We walked an hour near the seashore [at Cubert], among those amazing caverns, which are fully as surprising as Pool's Hole, or any other in the Peak of Derbyshire. Some part of the rock in these natural vaults glitters as bright and ruddy as gold; part is a fine sky-blue; part green; part enameled, exactly like mother-of-pearl; and a great part, especially near the Holy Well (which bubbles up on the top of a rock and is famous for curing either scorbutic or scrofulous disorders), is crusted over, wherever the water runs, with a hard, white coat like alabaster.

Tuesday, 23.—We walked up to Glastonbury Tower, which a gentleman is now repairing. It is the steeple of a church, the foundation of which is still discernible. On the west of the tower there are niches for images; one of which, as big as the life, is still entire. The hill on which it stands is extremely steep and of an uncommon height, so that it commands the country on all sides, as well as the Bristol Channel. I was weary enough when we came to Bristol; but I preached till all my complaints were gone; and I had now a little leisure to sit still and finish the Notes on the New Testament.

Wednesday, November 5.—Mr. Whitefield called upon me. Disputings are now no more; we love one another and join hand in hand to promote the cause of our common Master.

Macbeth and Thunder at Drury Lane

Monday, 17.—As we were walking toward Wapping, the rain poured down with such violence that we were obliged to take shelter till it abated. We then held on to Gravel Lane, in many parts of which the waters were like a river. However, we got on pretty well till the rain put out the candle in our lantern. We then were obliged to wade through all, till we came to the chapel yard. Just as we entered it, a little streak of lightening appeared in the southwest. There was likewise a small clap of thunder and a vehement burst of rain, which rushed so plentifully through our shattered tiles that the vestry was all in a float. Soon after I began reading prayers, the lightning flamed all round it, and the thunder rolled just over our heads. When it grew louder and louder, perceiving many of the strangers to be much affrighted, I broke off the prayers after the collect, "Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord," and began applying, "The Lord sitteth above the waterflood; the Lord remaineth a king forever" [see Ps. 29:10]. Presently the lightning, thunder, and rain ceased, and we had a remarkably calm evening.

It was observed that exactly at this hour they were acting Macbeth in Drury Lane, and just as the mock thunder began, the Lord began to thunder out of heaven. For a while it put them to a stand; but they soon took courage and went on. Otherwise it might have been suspected that the fear of God had crept into the very theater!

Friday, December 12.—As I was returning from Zoar, I came as well as usual to Moorfields; but there my strength entirely failed, and such a faintness and weariness seized me that it was with difficulty I got home. I could not but think how happy it would be (suppose we were ready for the Bridegroom) to sink down and steal away at once, without any of the hurry and pomp of dying! Yet it is happier still to glorify God in our death, as well as our life.

Tuesday, 23.—I was in the robe-chamber, adjoining the House of Lords, when the King put on his robes. His brow was much furrowed with age and quite clouded with care. And is this all the world can give even to a king? All the grandeur it can afford? A blanket of ermine round his shoulders, so heavy and cumbersome he can scarcely move under it! A huge heap of borrowed hair, with a few plates of gold and glittering stones upon his head! Alas, what a bauble is human greatness! And even this will not endure.

At Dover Castle


Monday, January 26.—I rode to Canterbury and preached in the evening to such a congregation as I never saw there before, in which were abundance of the soldiers and not a few of their officers.

Wednesday, 28.—I preached about noon at Dover to a very serious but small congregation. We afterwards walked up to the castle, on the top of a mountain. It is an amazingly fine situation; and from hence we had a clear view of that vast piece of the cliff which a few days ago divided from the rest and fell down upon the beach.

Friday, 30.—In returning to London, I read the life of the late Tsar, Peter the Great. Undoubtedly he was a soldier, a general, and a statesman, scarcely inferior to any. But why was he called a Christian? What has Christianity to do either with deep dissimulation or savage cruelty?

Friday, February 6.—The fast-day was a glorious day, such as London has scarcely seen since the Restoration. Every church in the city was more than full, and a solemn seriousness sat on every face. Surely God heareth the prayer, and there will yet be a lengthening of our tranquillity.

Preaching to a Press-gang

Monday, 23.—I paid another visit to Canterbury, but came in too late to preach.

Tuesday, 24.—Abundance of soldiers and many officers came to the preaching. And surely the fear and the love of God will prepare them either for death or victory.

Wednesday, 25.—I dined with Colonel —, who said, "No men fight like those who fear God; I had rather command five hundred such, than any regiment in his Majesty's army."

Thursday, March 11.—I rode to Pill and preached to a large and attentive congregation. A great part of them were seafaring men. In the middle of my discourse, a press-gang landed from a man-of-war and came up to the place; but after they had listened a while, they went quietly by and molested nobody.

Monday, 15.—I rode to the Old Passage; but finding we could not pass, we went on to Purton; which we reached about four in the afternoon. But we were no nearer still; for the boatmen lived on the other side, and the wind was so high we could not possibly make them hear. However, we determined to wait awhile, and in a quarter of an hour they came of their own accord. We reached Coleford before seven and found a plain, loving people, who received the Word of God with all gladness.

Friday, 19.—I rode over to Howell Harris at Trevecka, though not knowing how to get any further. But he helped us out of our difficulties, offering to send one with us who would show us the way and bring our horses back; so I then determined to go on to Holyhead, after spending a day or two at Brecknock.

Saturday, 20.—It being the day appointed for the justices and commissioners to meet, the town was extremely full, and curiosity (if no better motive) brought most of the gentlemen to the preaching. Such another opportunity could not have been of speaking to all the rich and great of the county; they all appeared to be serious and attentive. Perhaps one or two may lay it to heart.

Monday, 22.—It continued fair till we came to Builth, where I preached to the usual congregation. Mr. Phillips then guided us to Royader, about fourteen English miles. It snowed hard behind us and on both sides, but not at all where we were.

Tuesday, 23.—When we took horse, there was nothing to be seen but a waste of white; the snow covered both hills and vales. As we could see no path, it was not without much difficulty, as well as danger, that we went on. But between seven and eight the sun broke out and the snow began to melt, so we thought all our difficulty was over; about nine, the snow fell faster than ever. In an hour it changed into hail, which, as we rode over the mountains, drove violently in our face. About twelve this turned into hard rain, followed by an impetuous wind. However, we pushed on through all and before sunset came to Dolgelly.

Waiting for the Ferry

Here we found everything we wanted except sleep, of which we were deprived by a company of drunken sea captains, who kept possession of the room beneath us till between two and three in the morning. We did not take horse till after six and then we could make no great speed, the frost being exceedingly sharp and much ice in the road. Hence we were not able to reach Tannabull till between eleven and twelve. An honest Welshman here gave us to know (though he spoke no English) that he was just going over the sands. So we hastened on with him and by that means came in good time to Carnarvon.

Here we passed a quiet and comfortable night, and took horse about six in the morning. Supposing, after we had ridden nearly an hour, that a little house on the other side was the ferry-house, we went down to the water and called amain; but we could not procure any answer. In the meantime it began to rain hard, though the wind was extremely high. Finding none would come over, we went to a little church which stood near, for shelter.

We had waited about an hour when a woman and girl came into the churchyard, whom I did not mind, supposing they could speak no English. They were following a sheep, which ran close to us. I then asked, "Is not this Baldon Ferry?" The girl answered, "Baldon Ferry! No. The ferry is two miles further." So we might have called long enough. When we came to Baldon the wid fell, the sky cleared up, the boat came over without delay and soon landed us in Anglesey. On our way to Holyhead, one met and informed us that the packet had sailed the night before. I said, "Perhaps it may carry me for all that." So we pushed on and came thither in the afternoon. The packet did sail the night before and got more than half sea over. But the wind turning against them and blowing hard, they were glad to get back this afternoon.

I scarcely ever remember so violent a storm as blew all the night long. The wind continued contrary the next day.

Irish Honesty

Monday, 29.—We left the harbor about twelve, having six or seven officers and abundance of passengers on board. The wind was full west, and there was great probability of a stormy night. So it was judged best to put back; but one gentleman making a motion to try a little longer, in a short time brought all over to his opinion. So they agreed to go out and "look for a wind."

The wind continued westerly all the night. Nevertheless, in the morning we were within two leagues of Ireland! Between nine and ten I landed at Howth and walked on for Dublin. The congregation in the evening was such as I never saw here before. I hope this also is a token for good.

Wednesday, 21.—In conversing with many, I was surprised to find that all Ireland is in perfect safety. None here has any more apprehension of an invasion than of being swallowed up in the sea, everyone being absolutely assured that the French dare not attempt any such thing.

Thursday, April 1.—I bought one or two books at Mr. Smith's, on the Blind Quay. I wanted change for a guinea, but he could not give it; so I borrowed some silver of my companion. The next evening a young gentleman came from Mr. Smith's to tell me I had left a guinea on his counter. Such an instance of honesty I have rarely met with, either in Bristol or London.

A Remarkable Premonition Fulfilled

Wednesday, 28.—I rode to Tullamore, where one of the society, Edward Willis, gave me a very surprising account of himself, he said:

When I was about twenty years old, I went to Waterford for business. After a few weeks I resolved to leave it and packed up my things, in order to set out the next morning. This was Sunday, but my landlord pressed me much not to go till the next day. In the afternoon we walked out together and went into the river. After a while, leaving him near the shore, I struck out into the deep. I soon heard a cry and, turning, saw him rising and sinking in the channel of the river. I swam back with all speed and, seeing him sink again, dived down after him. When I was near the bottom, he clasped his arm round my neck and held me so fast that I could not rise.

Seeing death before me, all my sins came into my mind and I faintly called for mercy. In a while my senses went away and I thought I was in a place full of light and glory, with abundance of people. While I was thus, he who held me died, and I floated up to the top of the water. I then immediately came to myself and swam to the shore, where several stood who had seen us sink and said they never knew such a deliverance before; for I had been under water full twenty minutes. It made me more serious for two or three months. Then I returned to all my sins.

But in the midst of all, I had a voice following me everywhere, When an able minister of the gospel comes, it will be well with thee!' Some years after I entered into the army; our troop lay at Phillipstown, when Mr. W. came. I was much affected by his preaching, but not so as to leave my sins. The voice followed me still, and when Mr. J. W. came, before I saw him I had an unspeakable conviction that he was the man I looked for. Soon after I found peace with God, and it was well with me indeed.

Preaching in a Loft

Monday, May 10.—I went forward to Clonmell, the pleasantest town, beyond all comparison, which I have yet seen in Ireland. It has four broad, straight streets of well-built houses, which cross each other in the center of the town. Close to the walls, on the south side, runs a broad, clear river. Beyond this rises a green and fruitful mountain, and hangs over the town. The vale runs many miles both east and west, and is well cultivated throughout.

I preached at five in a large loft, capable of containing five or six hundred people. But it was not full, many being afraid of its falling, as another did some years before; by which several of the hearers were much hurt, and one so bruised that she died in a few days.

Tuesday, 11.—I was at a loss where to preach, the person who owned the loft refusing to let me preach there, or even in the yard below. And the commanding officer being asked for the use of the barrack-yard, answered, it was not a proper place. "Not," said he, "that I have any objection to Mr. Wesley. I will hear him if he preaches under the gallows." It remained to preach in the street, and by this means the congregation was more than doubled. Both the officers and soldiers gave great attention, till a poor man, special drunk, came marching down the street, attended by a popish mob, with a club in one hand and a large cleaver in the other, grievously cursing and blaspheming, and swearing he would cut off the preacher's head. It was with difficulty that I restrained the troopers, especially them that were not of the society.

When he came nearer, the mayor stepped out of the congregation and strove, by good words, to make him quiet; but he could not prevail. He went into his house and returned with is white wand. At the same time he sent for two constables, who presently came with their staves. He charged them not to strike the man unless he struck first; but this he did immediately, as soon as they came within his reach, and wounded one of them in the wrist. On this, the other knocked him down, which he did three times before he would submit. The mayor then walked before, the constables on either hand, and conducted him to the gaol.

A Terrible Dream

Thursday, June 3.—I received a remarkable letter from a clergyman, whom I had been a day or two before. Part of it ran thus:

"I had the following account from the gentlewoman herself, a person of piety and veracity. She is now the wife of Mr. J— B—, silversmith, in Cork.

About thirty years ago, I was addressed by way of marriage by Mr. Richard Mercier, then a volunteer in the army. The young gentleman was quartered at that time in Charleville, where my father lived, who approved of his addresses and directed me to look upon him as my future husband. When the regiment left the town, he promised to return in two months and marry me. From Charleville he went to Dublin; thence to his father's, and from thence to England; where, his father having bought him a Cornetcy of horse, he purchased many ornaments for the wedding; returning to Ireland, he let us know that he would be at our house in Charleville in a few days.

On this the family was busied to prepare for his reception and the ensuing marriage; when one night, my sister Molly and I being asleep in our bed, I was awakened by the sudden opening of the side-curtain and, starting up, saw Mr. Mercier standing by the bedside. He was wrapped up in a loose sheet, and had a napkin folded like a nightcap on his head. He looked at me very earnestly and, lifting up the napkin, which much shaded his face, showed me the left side of his head, all bloody and covered with his brains. The room meantime was quite light. My terror was excessive, which was still increased by his stooping over the bed and embracing me in his arms. My cries alarmed the whole family, who came crowding into the room.

Upon their entrance, he gently withdrew his arms, and ascended, as it were, through the ceiling. I continued for some time in strong fits. When I could speak, I told them what I had seen. One of them, a day or two after, going to the postmaster for letters, found him reading the newspapers, in which was an account that Cornet Mercier's going into Christ Church belfry, in Dublin, just after the bells had been ringing; he was standing under the bells when one of them, which was turned bottom upwards, suddenly turned again, struck one side of his head, and killed him on the spot. On further inquiry, we found he was struck on the left side of his head.

Sunday, July 4.—In the morning we rode through Tuam, a neat little town, scarcely half so large as Islington; nor is the cathedral half so large as Islington church. The old church at Kilconnel, two miles from Aghrim, is abundantly larger. If one may judge by the vast ruins that remain (over all which we walked in the afternoon), it was a far more stately pile of building than any that is now standing in Ireland. Adjoining it are the ruins of a large monastery; many of the cells and apartments are pretty entire. At the west end of the church lie abundance of skulls, piled one upon another, with innumerable bones round about, scattered as dung upon the earth. O sin, what has thou done!

The Delights of North Wales

Friday, August 6.—On this and the next day I finished my business in Ireland, so as to be ready to sail at an hour's warning.

Sunday, 8.—We were to sail, the wind being fair; but as we were going aboard, it turned full east. I find it of great use to be in suspense: it is an excellent means of breaking our will. May we be ready either to stay longer on this shore or to launch into eternity!

On Tuesday evening I preached my farewell sermon. Mr. Walsh did the same in the morning. We then walked to the quay. But it was still a doubt whether we were to sail or no, Sir T. P. having sent word to the captain of the packet that if the wind were fair, he would go over; and it was his custom to keep the whole ship to himself. But the wind coming to the east, he would not go; so about noon we went on board. In two or three hours we reached the mouth of the harbor. It then fell calm. We had five cabin-passengers beside Mr. Walsh, Haughton, Morgan, and me. They were all civil and tolerably serious; the sailors likewise behaved uncommonly well.

Thursday, 12.—About eight we began singing on the quarter-deck and soon drew all our fellow passengers, as well as the captain, with the greatest part of his men. I afterward gave an exhortation. We then spent some time in prayer. They all kneeled down with us; nor did their seriousness wear off all the day. About nine we landed at Holyhead, after a pleasant passage of twenty-three hours.

Friday, 13.—Having hired horses for Chester, we set out about seven. Before one we reached Bangor, the situation of which is delightful beyond expression. Here we saw a large and handsome cathedral, but no trace of the good old monks of Bangor so many hundreds of whom fell a sacrifice at once to cruelty and revenge. The country from hence to Penmaen-Mawr is far pleasanter than any garden. Mountains of every shape and size, vales clothed with grass or corn, woods and smaller tufts of trees, were continually varying on the one hand, as was the sea prospect on the other.

Penmaen-Mawr itself rises almost perpendicular to an enormous height from the sea. The road runs along the side of it, so far above the beach that one could not venture to look down except that there is a wall built all along, about four feet high. Meantime, the ragged cliff hangs over one's head as if it would fall every moment. An hour after we had left this awful place, we came to the ancient town of Conway. It is walled round, and the walls are in tolerably good repair. The castle is the noblest ruin I ever saw. It is four-square and has four large round towers, one at each corner, the inside of which have been stately apartments. One side of the castle is a large church, the windows and arches of which have been curiously wrought. An arm of the sea runs round two sides of the hill on which the castle stands—once the delight of kings, now overgrown with thorns and inhabited by doleful birds only.

Wesley's Debt of f 1236

Wednesday, 25.—We rode on to Bristol.

Thursday, 26.—About fifty of us being met, the Rules of the Society were read over and carefully considered one by one; but we did not find any that could be spared. So we all agreed to abide by them all and to recommend them with our might.

We then largely considered the necessity of keeping in the church and using the clergy with tenderness, and there was no dissenting voice. God made us all of one mind and judgment.

Friday, 27.—The Rules of the Bands were read over and considered, one by one; which rules, after some verbal alterations, we all agreed to observe and enforce.

Saturday, 28.—My brother and I closed the conference by a solemn declaration of our purpose never to separate from the church, and all our brethren concurred therein.

Monday, September 6.—I set out in the machine, and on Tuesday evening came to London.

Wednesday and Thursday, I settled my temporal business. It is now about eighteen years since I began writing and printing books; and how much in that time have I gained by printing? Why, on summing up my accounts, I found that on March 1, 1756 (the day I left London last), I had gained by printing and preaching together a debt of twelve hundred and thirty-six pounds.

Sunday, October 10.—I preached to a huge multitude in Moorfields on "Why will ye die, O house of Israel?" It is field-preaching which does the execution still; for usefulness there is none comparable to it.

Wesley on Electricity as a Cure

Tuesday, November 9.—Having procured an apparatus on purpose, I ordered several persons to be electrified who were ill of various disorders; some of whom found an immediate, some a gradual, cure. From this time I appointed, first some hours in every week and afterward an hour in every day, wherein any that desired it might try the virture of this surprising medicine. Two or three years after, our patients were so numerous that we were obliged to divide them: so part were electrified in Southwark, part at the Foundry, others near St. Paul's, and the rest near the Seven Dials. The same method we have taken ever since; and to this day, while hundreds, perhaps thousands, have received unspeakable good, I have not known one man, woman, or child, who has received any hurt thereby: so that when I hear any talk of the danger of being electrified (especially if they are medical men who talk so), I cannot but impute it to great want either of sense or honesty.

20 Incorrect in the text.

21 Correct to the text.

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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