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John Wesley

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1765-8: Justice for Methodists; Methodist Character; Instructions to Parents

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Chapter 14. Justice for Methodists; Methodist Character; Instructions to Parents; Wesley's Opinion of Mary Queen of Scots


Tuesday, January 1.—This week I wrote an answer to a warm letter, published in the London Magazine, the author whereof is much displeased that I presume to doubt of the modern astronomy. I cannot help it. Nay, the more I consider, the more my doubts increase so that, at present, I doubt whether any man on earth knows either the distance or magnitude, I will not say of a fixed star, but of Saturn, or Jupiter; yea, of the sun or moon.

Sunday, 20.—I employed all my leisure hours this week in revising my letters and papers. Abundance of them I committed to the flames. Perhaps some of the rest may see the light when I am gone.

Breakfast with Mr. Whitefield

Monday, October 21.—I went in the coach from Bristol to Salisbury, and on Thursday 24, came to London.

Monday, 28.—I breakfasted with Mr. Whitefield, who seemed to be an old, old man, being fairly worn out in his Master's service, though he has hardly seen fifty years; and yet it pleases God that I, who am now in my sixty-third year, find no disorder, no weakness, no decay, no difference from what I was at five-and-twenty; only that I have fewer teeth and more grey hairs.

Sunday, November 24.—I preached on those words in the lesson for the day, "The Lord our righteousness" [Jer. 23:6]. I said not one thing which I have not said at least fifty times within this twelvemonth. Yet it appeared to many entirely new, and they much importuned me to print my sermon, supposing it would stop the mouths of all gainsayers. Alas, for their simplicity! In spite of all I can print, say, or do, will not those who seek occasion of offense find occasion?

Tuesday, December 3.—I rode to Dover and found a little company more united together than they have been for many years. While several of them continued to rob the King, we seemed to be ploughing upon the sand; but since they have cut off the right hand, the Word of God sinks deep into their hearts.

Thursday, 5.—I rode back to Feversham. Here I was quickly informed that the mob and the magistrates had agreed together to drive Methodism, so called, out of the town. After preaching, I told them what we had been constrained to do by the magistrate at Rolvenden; who perhaps would have been richer, by some hundred pounds, had he never meddled with the Methodists; I concluded, "Since we have both God and the law on our side, if we can have peace by fair means, we had much rather; we should be exceedingly glad; but if not, we will have peace."

Wednesday, 18.—Riding through the Borough, all my mare's feet flew up, and she fell with my leg under her. A gentleman, stepping out, lifted me up and helped me into his shop. I was exceedingly sick but was presently relieved by a little hartshorn and water. After resting a few minutes, I took a coach; but when I was cold, found myself much worse, being bruised on my right arm, my breast, my knee, leg, and ankle, which swelled exceedingly. However, I went on to Shoreham, where by applying treacle twice a day, all the soreness was removed, and I recovered some strength so as to be able to walk a little on plain ground. The Word of God does at length bear fruit here also, and Mr. P. is comforted over all his trouble. Saturday, 21. Being not yet able to ride, I returned in a chariot to London.

Sunday, 22.—I was ill able to go through the service at West Street; but God provided for this also. Mr. Greaves, being just ordained, came straight to the chapel, and gave me the assistance I wanted.

Thursday, 26.—I should have been glad of a few days' rest, but it could not be at this busy season. However, being electrified morning and evening, my lameness mended, though but slowly.


Friday, January 31.—Mr- Whitefield called upon me. He breathes nothing but peace and love. Bigotry cannot stand before him but hides its head wherever he comes.

Two Deeds

Wednesday, February 5 (London).—One called upon me who had been cheated out of a large fortune and was now perishing for want of bread. I had a desire to clothe him and send him back to his own country, but was short of money. However, I appointed him to call again in an hour. He did so; but before he came, one from whom I expected nothing less, put twenty guineas into my hand; so I ordered him to be clothed from head to foot and sent him straight away to Dublin.

Monday, April 7.—I preached at Warrington, about noon, to a large congregation, rich and poor, learned and unlearned. I never spoke more plainly; nor have I ever seen a congregation listen with more attention. Thence I rode to Liverpool and thoroughly regulated the society, which had great need of it. Wednesday, 9. I took much pains with a sensible woman who had taken several imprudent steps. But it was labor lost—neither argument nor persuasion made the least impression. Oh, what power less than almighty can convince a thoroughpaced enthusiast!

Thursday, 10.—I looked over the wonderful deed which was lately made here on which I observed 1) it takes up three large skins of parchment and so could not cost less than six guineas; whereas our own deed, transcribed by a friend, would not have cost six shillings; 2) it is verbose beyond all sense and reason, and withal so ambiguously worded that one passage only might find matter for a suit of ten or twelve years in Chancery; 3) it everywhere calls the house a meeting-house, a name which I particularly object to; 4) it leaves no power either to the assistant or me so much as to place or displace a steward; 5) neither I, nor all the Conference, have power to send the same preacher two years together. To crown all, 6) if a preacher is not appointed at the Conference, the trustees and the congregation are to choose one, by most votesl And can anyone wonder I dislike this deed, which tears the Methodist discipline up by the roots?

Is it not strange that any who have the least regard either for me or our discipline should scruple to alter this uncouth deed?

Wesley Covered with Mud

Tuesday, June 24.—Before eight we reached Dumfries and after a short bait pushed on in hopes of reaching Solway Frith before the sea came in. Designing to call at an inn by the frith side, we inquired the way and were directed to leave the main road and go straight to the house which we saw before us. In ten minutes Duncan Wright was embogged;27 however, the horse plunged on and got through. I was inclined to turn back; but Duncan telling me I needed only go a little to the left, I did so and sank at once to my horse's shoulders. He sprang up twice, and twice sank again, each time deeper than before. At the third plunge he threw me on one side, and we both made shift to scramble out. I was covered with fine, soft mud from my feet to the crown of my head; yet, blessed be God, not hurt at all. But we could not cross till between seven and eight o'clock. An honest man crossed with us, who went two miles out of his way to guide us over the sands to Skilburness, where we found a little, clean house, and passed a comfortable night.

Saturday, July 19.—I took a view of Beverley minster, such a parish church as has scarcely its fellow in England. It is a most beautiful as well as stately building, both within and without, and is kept more nicely clean than any cathedral which I have seen in the kingdom; but where will it be when the earth is burned up and the elements melt with fervent heat? About one I preached at Pocklington(though my strength was much exhausted), and in the evening at York.

Sunday, 27.—As Baildon church would not nearly contain the congregation, after the prayers were ended, I came out into the churchyard, both morning and afternoon. The wind was extremely high and blew in my face all the time; yet, I believe, all the people could hear. At Bradford there was so huge a multitude and the rain so damped my voice that many in the skirts of the congregation could not hear distinctly. They have just built a preaching-house, fifty-four feet square, the largest octagon we have in England; and it is the first of the kind where the roof is built with common sense, rising only a third of its breadth; yet it is as firm as any in England, nor does it at all hurt the walls. Why then does any roof rise higher? Only through want of skill, or want of honesty, in the builder.

Tuesday, 29.—In the evening I preached near the preaching-house at Paddiham and strongly insisted on communion with God as the only religion that would avail us. At the close of the sermon came Mr. M. His long, white beard showed that his present disorder was of some continuance. In all other respects, he was quite sensible; but he told me with much concern, "You can have no place in heaven without a beard! Therefore, I beg, let yours grow immediately."

Wesley Secures Justice for Methodists

Saturday, August 30.—We rode to Stallbridge, long the seat of war, by a senseless, insolent mob encouraged by their betters, so called to outrage their quiet neighbors. For what? Why, they were mad: they were Methodists. So, to bring them to their senses, they would beat their brains out. They broke their windows, leaving not one whole pane with glass, spoiled their goods, and assaulted their persons with dirt, rotten eggs, and stones whenever they appeared in the street. But no magistrate, though they applied to several, would show them either mercy or justice. At length they wrote to me. I ordered a lawyer to write to the rioters. He did so, but they set him at naught. We then moved the Court of King's bench. By various artifices, they got the trial put off, from one assizes to another, for eighteen months. But it fell so much the heavier on themselves, when they were found guilty; and, from that time, finding there is law for Methodists, they have suffered them to be at peace.

I preached near the main street, without the least disturbance, to a large and attentive congregation. Thence we rode on to Axminster, but were thoroughly wet before we came thither. The rain obliged me to preach within at six; but at seven on Sunday morning, I cried in the market place, "The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel" [Mark 1:15].

In the evening I preached in the street at Ashburton. Many behaved with decency; but the rest, with such stupid rudeness as I have not seen, for a long time, in any part of England.

Monday, September 1.—I came to Plymouth Dock, where, after heavy storms, there is now a calm. The house, notwithstanding the new galleries, was extremely crowded in the evening. I strongly exhorted the backsliders to return to God; and I believe many received "the word of exhortation."

Tuesday, 7.—Being invited to preach in the Tabernacle at Plymouth, I began about two in the afternoon. In the evening I was offered the use of Mr. Whitefield's room at the dock; but, large as it is, it would not contain the congregation. At the close of the sermon, a large stone was thrown in at one of the windows, which came just behind me and fell at my feet, the best place that could have been found. So no one was hurt or frightened, not many knowing anything of the matter.

Gwennap's Famous Amphitheater

Sunday, 7.—At eight I preached in Mousehole, a large village southwest from Newlyn. Thence I went to Buryan church, and, as soon as the service was ended, preached near the churchyard to a numerous congregation. Just after I began, I saw a gentleman before me, shaking his whip and vehemently striving to say something. But he was abundantly too warm to say anything intelligibly. So, after walking a while to and fro, he wisely took horse and rode away.

Friday, 12.—I rode to St. Hilary and in the evening preached near the new house on "Awake, thou that steepest" [Eph. 5:14]. In returning to my lodging, it being dark, my horse was just stepping into a tinpit when an honest man caught him by the bridle and turned his head the other way.

Sunday, 14.—I preached in St. Agnes at eight. The congregation in Redruth, at one, was the largest I ever had seen there; but small, compared to that which assembled at five, in the natural amphitheater at Gwennap; far the finest I know in the kingdom. It is a round, green hollow, gently shelving down, about fifty feet deep; but I suppose it is two hundred across one way, and near three hundred the other. I believe there were fully twenty thousand people; and, the evening being calm, all could hear.

Monday, 15.—I preached at Cubert and next morning rode on to St. Columb. Being desired to break the ice here, I began preaching, without delay, in a gentleman's yard adjoining to the main street. I chose this, as neither too public nor too private. I fear the greater part of the audience understood full little of what they heard. However, they behaved with seriousness and good manners.

Hence I rode to Port Isaac, now one of the liveliest places in Cornwall. The weather being uncertain, I preached near the house. But there was no rain while I preached, except the gracious rain which God sent upon His inheritance.

Here Mr. Buckingham met me, who, for fear of offending the bishop, broke off all commerce with the Methodists. He had no sooner done this than the bishop rewarded him by turning him out of his curacy; had he continued to walk in Christian simplicity, he would probably have had it to this day.

Wednesday, 17.—I twice stopped a violent bleeding from a cut by applying a brier leaf. The room at Launceston would not nearly contain the congregation in the evening, to whom I strongly applied the case of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda: Many were much affected: but, oh, how few are willing to be made wholel

Wesley on a Country Life

Monday, November 3.—I rode to Brentford from London, where all was quiet, both in the congregation and the society. Tuesday, 4. I preached at Brentford, Battersea, Deptford and Welling, and examined the several societies. Wednesday, 5. I rode by Shoreham to Sevenoaks. In the little journeys which I have lately taken, have thought much on the huge encomiums which have been for many ages bestowed on a country life. How have all the learn world cried out,

O fortunate nimium, sua si bona norint,

But, after all, what a flat contradiction is this to universal experience! See that little house, under the wood, by the riverside! There is rural life in perfection. How happy then is the farmer that lives there? Let us take a detail of his happiness. He rises with, or before, the sun, calls his servants, looks to his swine and cows, then to his stables and barns. He sees to the ploughing and sowing his ground, in winter or in spring. In summer and autumn he hurries and sweats among his mowers and reapers. And where is his happiness in the meantime? Which of these employments do we envy? Or do we envy the delicate repast that succeeds, which the poet so languishes for?

O quindo faba, Pythagorm cognate, simulque
Uncta satis pingui ponentur oluscula lardo!

"Oh, the happiness of eating beans well greased with fat bacon! Nay, and cabbage, tool"—Was Horace in his senses when he talked thus, or the servile herd of his imitators? Our eyes and ears may convince us there is not a less happy body of men in all England than the country farmers. In general their life is supremely dull; and it is usually unhappy too. For of all people in the kingdom they are most discontented, seldom satisfied either with God or man.

Wesley and the Character of a Methodist


Thursday, March 5.—I at length obliged Dr. D. by entering into the lists with him. The letter I wrote (though not published till two or three weeks after) was as follows:

To the Editor of Lloyd's Evening Post.

Sir,—Many times the publisher of the Christian Magazine has attacked me without fear or wit; and hereby he has convinced his impartial readers of one thing at least—that (as the vulgar say) his fingers itch to be at me; that he has a passionate desire to measure swords with me. But I have other work upon my hands: I can employ the short remainder of my life to better purpose.

The occasion of his late attack is this: Five or six and thirty years ago, I much admired the character of a perfect Christian drawn by Clemens Alexandrinus. Five or six and twenty years ago, a thought came into my mind of drawing such a character myself, only in a more scriptural manner and mostly in the very words of Scripture: this I entitled, 'The Character of a Methodist,' believing that curiosity would incite more persons to read it, and also that some prejudice might thereby be removed from candid men. But that none might imagine I intended a panegyric either on myself or my friends, I guarded against this in the very title page, saying both in the name of myself and them, 'Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.' To the same effect I speak in the conclusion, 'These are the same principles and practices of our sect; these are the marks of a true Methodist'; that is, a true Christian, as I immediately after explain myself: 'by these alone do those who are in derision so called desire to be distinguished from other men.' (P. ii.) 'By these marks do we labor to distinguish ourselves from those whose minds or lives are not according to the gospel of Christ.' (P. 12.)

Upon this Rusticulus, or Dr. Dodd, says, 'A Methodist, according to Mr. Wesley, is one who is perfect, and sinneth not in thought, word, or deed.'

Sir, have me excused. This is not 'according to Mr. Wesley.' I have told all the world I am not perfect; and yet you allow me to be a Methodist. I tell you flatly, I have not attained the character I draw. Will you pin it upon me in spite of my teeth?

But Mr. Wesley says, the other Methodists have.' I say no such thing. What I say, after having given a scriptural account of a perfect Christian, is this: 'By these marks the Methodists desire to be distinguished from other men; by these we labor to distinguish ourselves.' And do not you yourself desire and labor after the very same thing?

But you insist, 'Mr. Wesley affirms the Methodists (that is, all Methodists) to be perfectly holy and righteous.' Where do I affirm this? Not in the tract before us. In the front of this I affirm just the contrary; and that I affirm it anywhere else is more than I know. Be pleased, Sir, to point out the place: till this is done, all you add (bitterly enough) is mere brutum fulmen; and the Methodists (so called) may still declare (without any impeachment of their sincerity) that they do not come to the holy table 'trusting in their own righteousness, but in God's manifold and great mercies.' I am, Sir,


John Wesley.

The Sexton's Strange Apparition

Saturday, August 1.—Before I left Glasgow I heard so strange an account that I desired to hear it from the person himself. He was a sexton and yet for many years had little troubled himself about religion. I set down his words and leave every man to form his own judgment upon them: "Sixteen weeks ago, I was walking, an hour before sunset, behind the high kirk; and, looking on one side, I saw one close to me who looked in my face and asked me how I did. I answered, 'Pretty well.' He said, 'You have had many troubles; but how have you improved them?' He then told me all that ever I did; yea, and the thoughts that had been in my heart; adding, 'Be ready for my second coming'; and he was gone I knew not how. I trembled all over, and had no strength in me; but sank down to the ground. From that time I groaned continually under the load of sin, till at the Lord's supper it was all taken away."

Friday, September 25.—I was desired to preach at Freshford; but the people durst not come to the house because of the smallpox, of which Joseph Allen, "an Israelite indeed," had died the day before. So they placed a table near the churchyard. But I had no sooner begun to speak than the bells began to ring, by the procurement of a neighboring gentleman. However, it was labor lost; for my voice prevailed, and the people heard me distinctly. Nay, a person extremely deaf, who had not been able to hear a sermon for several years, told his neighbors, with great joy that he had heard and understood all, from the beginning to the end.

Queer Houses at Sheerness

Monday, November 23.—I went to Canterbury. Here I met with the Life of Mahomet, written, I suppose, by the Count de Boulanvilliers. Whoever the author is, he is a very pert, shallow, self-conceited coxcomb, remarkable for nothing but his immense assurance and thorough contempt of Christianity. And the book is a dull, ill-digested romance, supported by no authorities at all; whereas Dean Prideaux (a writer of ten times his sense) cites his authorities for everything he advances.

In the afternoon I rode to Dover; but the gentleman I was to lodge with was gone a long journey. He went to bed well, but dead in the morning: such a vapor is life! At six I preached, but the house would by no means contain the congregation. Most of the officers of the garrison were there. I have not found so much life here for some years.

Sunday, December 13.—Today I found a little soreness on the edge of my tongue, which the next day spread to my gums, then to my lips, which inflamed, swelled, and, the skin bursting, bled considerably. Afterward, the roof of my mouth was extremely sore so that I could chew nothing. To this was added a continual spitting. I knew a little rest would cure all. But this was not to be had; for I had appointed to be at Sheerness on Wednesday, the sixteenth. Accordingly, I took horse between five and six and came thither between five and six in the evening.

At half an hour after six, I began reading prayers (the governor of the fort having given me the use of the chapel), and afterward preached, though not without difficulty, to a large and serious congregation. The next evening it was considerably increased, so that the chapel was as hot as an oven. In coming out, the air, being exceedingly sharp, quite took away my voice, so that I knew not how I should be able the next day to read prayers or preach to so large a congregation. But in the afternoon the governor cut the knot, sending word that I must preach in the chapel no more. A room being offered, which held full as many people as I was able to preach to, we had a comfortable hour; and many seemed resolved to "seek the Lord while he may be found."

Such a town as many of these live in is scarcely to be found again in England. In the dock adjoining the fort there are six old men-of-war. These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty, or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows; and each of these contains a family. In one of them, where we called, a man and his wife, and six little children lived. And yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean; sweeter than most sailing ships I have been in. Saturday, 19. I returned to London.

Wesley in the Marshalsea Prison


Saturday, January 2.—I called on a poor man in the Marshalsea, whose case appeared to be uncommon. He is by birth a Dutchman, a chemist by profession. Being but half-employed at home, he was advised to come to London, where he doubted not of having full employment. He was recommended to a countryman of his to lodge, who after six weeks arrested him for much more than he owed, and hurried him away to prison, having a wife near her time, without money, friend, or a word of English to speak. I wrote the case to Mr. T—, who immediately gave fifteen pounds; by means of which, with a little addition, he was set at liberty and put in a way of living. But I never saw him since, and for good reason: for he could now live without me.

Monday, 4.—At my leisure hours this week, I read Dr. Priestley's ingenious book on electricity. He seems to have accurately collected and well digested all that is known on that curious subject. But how little is that all! Indeed the use of it we know; at least, in some good degree. We know it is a thousand medicines in one: in particular, that it is the most efficacious medicine in nervous disorders of every kind which has ever yet been discovered. But if we aim at theory, we know nothing. We are soon

Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search.

Monday, 11.—This week I spent my scraps of time in reading Mr. Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland. It would transcend belief but that the vouchers are too authentic to admit of any exception. Oh, what a blessed Governor was that good-natured man, so called, King Charles the Second! Bloody Queen Mary was a lamb, a mere dove, in comparison to him!

Monday, February 8.—I met with a surprising poem, entitled, Choheleth; or, the Preacher. It is a paraphrase, in tolerable verse, on the Book of Ecclesiastes. I really think the author of it (a Turkey Merchant) understands both the difficult expressions and the connection of the whole better than any other either ancient or modern writer whom I have seen. He was at Lisbon during the great earthquake, just then sitting in his nightgown and slippers. Before he could dress himself, part of the house he was in fell and blocked him up. By this means his life was saved, for all who had run out were dashed in pieces by the falling houses.

Wesley Travels North

Monday, March 14.—I set out on my northern journey, and preached at Stroud in the evening. Tuesday, 15. About noon I preached at Painswick and in the evening at Gloucester. The mob here was for a considerable time both noisy and mischievous. But an honest magistrate, taking the matter in hand, quickly tamed the beasts of the people. So may any magistrate, if he will; so that wherever a mob continues any time, all they do is to be imputed not so much to the rabble as to the justices.

Wednesday, 16.—About nine I preached at Cheltenham—a quiet, comfortable place; though it would not have been so, if either the rector or the Anabaptist minister could have prevented it. Both these have blown the trumpet with their might; but the people had no ears to hear. In the afternoon I preached at Upton and then rode on to Worcester. But the difficulty was where to preach. No room was large enough to contain the people, and it was too cold for them to stand abroad. At length we went to a friend's, near the town whose barn was larger than many churches. Here a numerous congregation soon assembled, and again at five and at ten in the morning. Nothing is wanting here but a commodious house; and will not God provide this also?

Friday, 18.—The vicar of Pebworth had given notice in the church on Sunday that I was to preach there on Friday. But the squire of the parish said, "It is contrary to the canons (wise squire!) and it shall not be." So I preached about a mile from it, at Broadmarston, by the side of Mr. Eden's house. The congregation was exceedingly large and remarkably attentive. In the morning, the chapel (so it anciently was) was well filled at five. The simplicity and earnestness of the people promise a glorious harvest.

Saturday, 19.—We rode to Birmingham. The tumults which subsisted here so many years are now wholly suppressed by a resolute magistrate. After preaching, I was pleased to see a venerable monument of antiquity, George Bridgins, in the one hundred and seventh year of his age. He can still walk to the preaching and retains his senses and understanding tolerably well. But what a dream will even a life of a hundred years appear to him the moment he awakes in eternity!

Preaching in a North Wind

Sunday, 20.—About one I preached on West Bromwich heath; in the evening, near the preaching-house in Wednesbury. The north wind cut like a razor; but the congregation, and I as well, had something else to think of.

Tuesday, 22.—I read over a small book, Poems, by Miss Whately, a farmer's daughter. She had little advantage from education, but an astonishing genius. Some of her elegies I think quite equal to Mr. Gray's. If she had had proper helps for a few years, I question whether she would not have excelled any female poet that ever yet appeared in England.

Wednesday, 30.—I rode to a little town called New Mills, in the High Peak of Derbyshire. I preached at noon in their large new chapel, which (in consideration that preaching-houses have need of air) has a casement in every window, three inches square! That is the custom of the country!

Wesley Instructs Parents

In the evening and the following morning I brought strange things to the ears of many in Manchester, concerning the government of their families and the education of their children. But some still made that very silly answer, "Oh, he has no children of his own!" Neither had St. Paul, nor (that we know) any of the apostles. What then? Were they therefore unable to instruct parents? Not so. They were able to instruct everyone that had a soul to be saved.

Wednesday, April 6.—About eleven I preached at Wigan in a place near the middle of the town which I suppose was formerly a playhouse. It was very full and very warm. Most of the congregation were wild as wild might be; yet none made the least disturbance. Afterward, as I walked down the street, they stared sufficiently; but none said an uncivil word.

In the evening we had a huge congregation at Liverpool; but some pretty, gay, fluttering things did not behave with so much good manners as the mob at Wigan. The congregations in general were quite well behaved, as well as large, both morning and evening; and I found the society both more numerous and more lively than ever it was before.

Monday, 11.—I rode to Bolton; on Wednesday, to Kendal. Seceders and mongrel Methodists have so surfeited the people here that there is small prospect of doing good; however, I once more "cast" my "bread upon the waters" and left the event to God.

Thursday, 14.—I rode on, through continued rain, to Ambleside. It cleared up before we came to Keswick, and we set out thence in a fair day; but on the mountains the storm met us again and beat on us so impetuously that our horses could scarcely turn their faces against it. However, we made shift to reach Cockermouth; but there was no room for preaching, the town being in an uproar through the election for members of Parliament; so, after drying ourselves, we thought it best to go on to Whitehaven.

Wesley and Mary Queen of Scots

Tuesday, 26.—I came to Aberdeen. Here I found a society truly alive, knit together in peace and love. The congregations were large both morning and evening, and, as usual, deeply attentive. But a company of strolling players, who have at length found place here also, stole away the gay part of the hearers. Poor Scotland! Poor Aberdeen! This only was wanting to make them as completely irreligious as England.

Friday, 29.—I read over an extremely sensible book, but one that surprised me much; it is An inquiry into the Proofs of the Charges commonly advanced against Mary Queen of Scots. By means of original papers, he has made it more clear than one would imagine it possible at this distance: 1) that she was altogether innocent of the murder of Lord Darnley, and no way privy to it; 2) that she married Lord Bothwell (then nearly seventy years old, herself but four-and-twenty) from the pressing instance of the nobility in a body, who at the same time assured her he was innocent of the King's murder; 3) that Murray, Morton, and Lethington themselves contrived that murder in order to charge it upon her, as well as forged those vile letters and sonnets which, they palmed upon the world for hers.

"But how then can we account for the quite contrary story, which has been almost universally received?" Most easily. It was penned and published in French, English, and Latin (by Queen Elizabeth's order) by George Buchanan, who was secretary to Lord Murray, and in Queen Elizabeth's pay; so he was sure to throw dirt enough. Nor was she at liberty to answer for herself. "But what then was Queen Elizabeth?" As just and merciful as Nero and as good a Christian as Mohammed.

Sunday, May 1.—I preached at seven in the new room; in the afternoon at the College kirk, in Old Aberdeen. At six, knowing our house could not contain the congregation, I preached in the castle gate, on the paved stones. A large number of people were all attention; but there were many rude, stupid creatures round about them who knew as little of reason as of religion; I never saw such brutes in Scotland before. One of them threw a potato, which fell on my arm; I turned to them, and some were ashamed.

Wesley at Scoon and Holyrood

Monday, 2.—I set out early from Aberdeen and about noon preached in Brechin. After sermon, the provost desired to see me and said, "Sir, my son had epileptic fits from his infancy; Dr. Ogylvie prescribed for him many times and at length told me he could do no more. I desired Mr. Blair last Monday to speak to you. On Tuesday morning my son said to his mother that he had just been dreaming that his fits were gone and he was perfectly well. Soon after I gave him the drops you advised; he is perfectly well and has not had one fit since.

Thursday, 5.—We rode through the pleasant and fruitful Carse of Gowry, a plain, fifteen or sixteen miles long, between the river Tay and the mountains, very thickly inhabited, to Perth. In the afternoon we walked over to the royal palace at Scoon. It is a large old house, delightfully situated, but swiftly running to ruin. Yet there are a few good pictures and some fine tapestry left, in what they call the Queen's and the King's chambers. And what is far more curious, there is a bed and a set of hangings in the (once) royal apartment, which was wrought by poor Queen Mary while she was imprisoned in the Castle of Lochlevin. It is some of the finest needlework I have ever seen, and plainly shows both her exquisite skill and unwearied industry.

Saturday, 14.—I walked once more through Holyrood House, a noble pile of building; but the greatest part of it left to itself and so (like the palace at Scone) swiftly running to ruin. The tapestry is dirty and quite faded; the fine ceilings dropping down; many of the pictures in the gallery are torn or cut through. This was the work of good General Hawley's soldiers (like General, like men!), who, after running away from the Scots at Falkirk, revenged themselves on the harmless canvasl

Sunday, 15.—At eight I preached in the High School yard, and I believe not a few of the hearers were cut to the heart. Between twelve and one a far larger congregation assembled on the Castle Hill. I believe my voice commanded them all while I opened and enforced those awful words, "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God" [Rev. 20:12]. In the evening our house was sufficiently crowded, even with the rich and honorable. "Who hath warned" these "to flee from the wrath to come?" [Matt. 3:7]. Oh, may they at length awake and "arise from the dead!"

Wesley's Old Schoolfellow

Wednesday, June 1.—Many of the militia were present at Barnard Castle in the evening and behaved with decency. I was well pleased to lodge at a gentleman's, an old schoolfellow, half a mile from the town. What a dream are the fifty or sixty years that have slipped away since we were at the Charterhouse!

Thursday, 2.—I preached at noon at a farmer's house, near Brough in Westmoreland. The sun was hot enough, but some shady trees covered both me and most of the congregation. A little bird perched on one of them and sang, without intermission, from the beginning of the service unto the end. Many of the people came from far, but I believe none of them regretted their labor.

Friday, 3.—In running down one of the mountains yesterday, I got a sprain in my thigh. It was worse today, but as I rode to Barnard Castle, the sun shone so hot upon it that before I came to the town it was quite well. In the evening the commanding officer gave orders there should be no exercise that all the Durham militia (what a contrast!) might be at liberty to attend the preaching. Accordingly, we had a little army of officers as well as soldiers, and all behaved well. A large number of them were present at five in the morning.

Tuesday, 7.—I went down by water to South Shields and preached at noon to far more than could hear. We went, after dinner, to Tynemouth Castle, a magnificent heap of ruins. Within the walls are the remains of a very large church, which seems to have been of exquisite workmanship. The stones are joined by so strong a cement that, but for Cromwell's cannon, they might have stood a thousand years.

Wesley's Wife Ill

Sunday, August 14.—Hearing my wife was dangerously ill, I took chaise immediately and reached the Foundry before one in the morning. Finding the fever was turned and the danger over, about two I set out again, and in the afternoon came (not at all tired) to Bristol.

Wednesday, September 7 (Penzance).—After the early preaching, the elect society met; such a company of lively believers, full of faith and love, I never found in this county before. This, and the three following days, I preached at as many places as I could, though I was at first in doubt whether I could preach eight days together, mostly in the open air, three or four times a day. But my strength was as my work; I hardly felt any weariness, first or last.

Sunday, 11.—About nine I preached at St. Agnes and again between one and two. At first I took my old stand at Gwennap, in the natural amphitheater. I suppose no human voice could have commanded such an audience on plain ground; but the ground rising all around gave me such an advantage that I believe all could hear distinctly.

Monday, 12.—I preached about noon at Callistick and in the evening at Kerley. It rained all the time; but that did not divert the attention of a large congregation. At noon, Tuesday, 13, I preached in Truro and in the evening at Mevagissey. It was a season of solemn joy; I have not often found the like. Surely God's thoughts are not as our thoughts! Can any good be done at Mevagissey?

Friday, 16.—I rode, through heavy rain to Polperro. Here the room over which we were to lodge being filled with pilchards and conger-eels, the perfume was too potent for me; I was not sorry when one of our friends invited me to lodge at her house. Soon after I began to preach, heavy rain began; yet none went away till the whole service was ended.

Saturday, 17.—When we came to Crimble Passage, we were at a full stop. The boatmen told us the storm was so high that it was not possible to pass; however, at length we persuaded them to venture out, and we did not ship one sea till we got over.

Sunday, 18.—Our room at the Dock contained the morning congregation tolerably well. Between one and two I began preaching on the quay in Plymouth. Notwithstanding the rain, abundance of people stood to hear. But one silly man talked without ceasing, till I desired the people to open to the right and left, and let me look him in the face. They did so. He pulled off his hat and quietly went away.

Wesley and Seaport Towns

Wednesday, November 30.—I rode to Dover and came in just before a violent storm began. It did not hinder the people. Many were obliged to go away after the house was filled. What a desire to hear runs through all the seaport towns wherever we come! Surely God is besieging this nation and attacking it at all the entrances!

Wednesday, December 14.—I saw the Westminster scholars act the Adelphi of Terence, an entertainment not unworthy of a Christian. Oh, how do these heathens shame us! Their very comedies contain both excellent sense, the liveliest pictures of men and manner, and so fine strokes of genuine morality as are seldom found in the writings of Christians.

27 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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