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1746-8: Severe Weather; Ireland; Wesley's Protest against Lawlessness

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Chapter 7. Severe Weather; Ireland; Wesley's Protest against Lawlessness

Wesley and Faith-healing


Monday, March 17.—I took my leave of Newcastle and set out with Mr. Downes and Mr. Shepherd. But when we came to Smeton, Mr. Downes was so ill that he could go no further. When Mr. Shepherd and I left Smeton, my horse was so exceedingly lame that I was afraid I must have lain by too. We could not discern what it was that was amiss; and yet he would scarcely set his foot to the ground. By riding thus seven miles, I was thoroughly tired, and my head ached more than it had done for some months. (What I here aver is the naked fact: let every man account for it as he sees good.) I then thought, "Cannot God heal either man or beast, by any means, or without any?" Immediately my weariness and headache ceased, and my horse's lameness in the same instant. Nor did he halt any more either that day or the next. A very odd accident this also!

Friday, May 30 (Bristol).—I lit upon a poor, pretty, fluttering thing, lately come from Ireland and going to be a singer at the playhouse. She went in the evening to the chapel, and thence to the watch night, and was almost persuaded to be a Christian. Her convictions continued strong for a few days; but then her old acquaintance found her, and we saw her no more.

Sunday, July 6 (London).—After talking largely with both the men and women leaders, we agreed it would prevent great expense, as well of health as of time and of money, if the poorer people of our society could be persuaded to leave off drinking of tea. We resolved ourselves to begin and set the example. I expected some difficulty in breaking off a custom of six-and-twenty years' standing. And, accordingly, the three first days my head ached more or less all day long, and I was half asleep from morning till night. The third day, on Wednesday, in the afternoon, my memory failed almost entirely. In the evening I sought my remedy in prayer. On Thursday morning my headache was gone. My memory was as strong as ever. And I have found no inconvenience, but a sensible benefit in several respects, from that very day to this.

Thursday, 17.—I finished the little collection which I had made among my friends for a lending-stock: it did not amount to thirty pounds; which a few persons afterwards made up fifty. And by this inconsiderable sum, above two hundred and fifty persons were relieved in one year.

Wesley Encounters Severe Weather


Tuesday, February 10 (London).—My brother returned from the north, and I prepared to supply his place there. Sunday, 15. I was very weak and faint; but on Monday, 16, I rose soon after three, lively and strong, and found all my complaints were fled away like a dream.

I was wondering, the day before, at the mildness of the weather; such as seldom attends me in my journeys. But my wonder now ceased: the wind was turned full north and blew so exceedingly hard and keen that when we came to Hatfield, neither my companions nor I had much use of our hands or feet. After resting an hour, we bore up again through the wind and snow, which drove full in our faces. But this was only a squall. In Baldock Field the storm began in earnest. The large hail drove so vehemently in our faces that we could not see, nor hardly breathe. However, before two o'clock we reached Baldock where one met and conducted us safe to Potten.

About six I preached to a serious congregation. Tuesday, 17. We set out as soon as it was well light; but it was really hard work to get forward; for the frost would not well bear or break; and the untracked snow covering all the roads, we had much ado to keep our horses on their feet. Meantime the wind rose higher and higher till it was ready to overturn both man and beast. However, after a short bait at Bugden, we pushed on and were met in the middle of an open field with so violent a storm of rain and hail as we had not had before. It drove through our coats, great and small, boots, and everything, and yet froze as it fell, even upon our eye-brows; so that we had scarcely either strength or motion left when we came into our inn at Stilton.

We now gave up our hopes of reaching Grantham, the snow falling faster and faster. However, we took the advantage of a fair blast to set out and made the best of our way to Stamford Heath. But here a new difficulty arose, from the snow lying in large drifts. Sometimes horse and man were well-nigh swallowed up. Yet in less than an hour we were brought safe to Stamford. Being willing to get as far as we could, we made but a short stop here; and about sunset came, cold and weary, yet well, to a little town called Brig-casterton.

Wednesday, 18.—Our servant came up and said, "Sir, there is no traveling today. Such a quantity of snow has fallen in the night that the roads are quite filled up." I told him, "At least we can walk twenty miles a day, with our horses in our hands." So in the name of God we set out. The northeast wind was piercing as a sword and had driven the snow into such uneven heaps that the main road was impassable. However, we kept on, afoot or on horseback, till we came to the White Lion at Grantham.

Some from Grimsby had appointed to meet us here; but not hearing anything of them (for they were at another house, by mistake), after an hour's rest we set out straight for Epworth. On the road we overtook a clergyman and his servant; but the toothache quite shut my mouth. We reached Newark about five.

Preaching to the Lead Miners

Tuesday, March 24.—I rode to Blanchland, about twenty miles from Newcastle. The rough mountains round about were still white with snow. In the midst of them is a small winding valley, through which the Derwent runs. On the edge of this the little town stands, which is indeed little more than a heap of ruins. There seems to have been a large cathedral church, by the vast walls which still remain. I stood in the churchyard, under one side of the building, upon a large tombstone, round which, while I was at prayers, all the congregation kneeled down on the grass. They were gathered out of the lead mines from all parts; many from Allandale, six miles off. A row of little children sat under the opposite wall, all quiet and still. The whole congregation drank in every word with such earnestness in their looks I could not but hope that God will make this wilderness sing for joy.

Wednesday, June 24.—We rode (from Bristol) to Beercrocomb, hoping to reach Tavistock the next day. So we set out at three. The rain began at four. We reached Colestock, dripping wet, before seven. The rain ceased while we were in the house, but began when we took horse and attended us all the way to Exeter. While we stayed here to dry our clothes, I took the opportunity of writing "A Word to a Freeholder." Soon after three we set out: but it was near eight before we could reach Oakhampton.

Friday, 26.—We came to Tavistock before noon; but it being market-day, I did not preach till five in the evening. The rain began almost as soon as we began singing and drove many out of the field. After preaching (leaving Mr. Swindells there) I went on for Plymouth Dock.

How Wesley Dealt with a Mob

Within two miles of Plymouth, one overtook and informed us that the night before all the Dock was in an uproar; and a constable, endeavoring to keep the peace, was beaten and much hurt. As we were entering the Dock, one met us and desired we would go the back way: "For," said he, "there are thousands of people waiting about Mr. Hide's door." We rode up straight into the midst of them. They saluted us with three huzzas; after which I alighted, took several of them by the hand and began to talk with them. I would gladly have passed an hour among them; and believe, if I had, there had been an end of the riot. But the day being far spent (for it was past nine o'clock), I was persuaded to go in. The mob then recovered their spirits and fought valiantly with the doors and windows: but about ten they were weary and went every man to his own home.

Saturday, 27.—I preached at four and then spoke severally to part of the society. As yet I have found only one person among them who knew the love of God, before my brother came. No wonder the devil was so still; for his goods were in peace.

About six in the evening, I went to the place where I preached the last year. A little before we had ended the hymn, came the Lieutenant, a famous man, with his retinue of soldiers, drummers, and mob. When the drums ceased, a gentleman barber began to speak: but his voice was quickly drowned in the shouts of the multitude, who grew fiercer and fiercer as their numbers increased. After waiting about a quarter of an hour, perceiving the violence of the rabble still increasing, I walked down into the thickest of them and took the captain of the mob by the hand. He immediately said, "Sir, I will see you safe home. Sir, no man shall touch you. Gentlemen, stand off: give back. I will knock the first man down that touches him." We walked on in great peace, my conductor every now and then stretching out his neck (he was a very tall man) and looking round to see if any behaved rudely, till we came to Mr. Hide's door. We then parted in much love. I stayed in the street nearly half an hour after he was gone, talking with the people, who had now forgotten their anger and went away in high good humor.

Sunday, 28.—I preached at five, on the Common, to a well-behaved, earnest congregation: and at eight near the room on "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found" [Isa. 55:6]. The congregation was much larger than before and equally serious and attentive. At ten I went to church. Mr. Barlow preached a useful sermon on "God be merciful to me a sinner" [Luke 18:13]; and a thundering one in the afternoon, on, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched"[Mark 9:44].

Monday, 29.—I took horse between three and four and reached Perranwell, three miles beyond Truro, about six. I preached to a very large congregation at seven; and the word was as the rain on the tender herb.

Tuesday, 30.—We came to St. Ives before morning prayers, and walked to church without so much as one huzza. How strangely has one year changed the scene in Cornwall! This is now a peaceable, nay, honorable station. They give us good words almost in every place. What have we done that the world should be so civil to us?

Wednesday, July 1.—I spoke severally to all those who had votes in the ensuing election. I found them such as I desired. Not one would even eat or drink at the expense of him for whom he voted. Five guineas had been given to W. C., but he returned them immediately. T. M. positively refused to accept anything. And when he heard that his mother had received money privately, he could not rest till she gave him the three guineas, which he instantly sent back.

Thursday 2, was the day of election for Parliament men. It was begun and ended without any hurry at all. I had a large congregation in the evening, among whom two or three roared for the disquietness of their heart, as did many at the meeting which followed; particularly those who had lost their first love.

Thursday, August 13 (Dublin).—We walked in the afternoon to see two persons that were sick near Phoenix park. That part of it which joins to the city is sprinkled up and down with trees, not unlike Hyde Park. But about a mile from the town is a thick grove of old, tall oaks; and in the center of this, a round, open green (from which are vistas of all four ways), with a handsome stone pillar in the midst, having a Phoenix on the top.

I continued preaching, morning and evening, to many more than the house would contain, and had more and more reason to hope they would not all be unfruitful hearers.

Sunday, September 27 (London).—I preached in Moorfields, morning and evening, and continued so to do till November. I know no church in London (that in West Street excepted) where there is so serious a congregation.

Monday, 28.—I talked with one who, a little time before, was so overwhelmed with affliction that she went out one night to put an end to it all by throwing herself into the New River. As she went by the Foundry (it being a watch night), she heard some people singing. She stopped and went in; she listened awhile, and God spoke to her heart. She had no more desire to put an end to her life, but to die to sin and to live to God.

The Bargemen and their Clubs

Monday, November 2.—I preached at Windsor at noon and in the afternoon rode to Reading. Mr. J. R. had just sent his brother word that he had hired a mob to pull down his preaching house that night. In the evening Mr. S. Richards overtook a large company of bargemen walking toward it, whom he immediately accosted and asked if they would go with him and hear a good sermon; telling them, "I will make room for you, if you were as many more." They said they would go with all their hearts. "But neighbors," said, he, "would it not be as well to leave those clubs behind you? Perhaps some of the women may be frightened at them." They threw them all away and walked quietly with him to the house where he set them in a pew.

In the conclusion of my sermon, one of them who used to be their captain, being a head taller that15 his fellows, rose up and looking round the congregation, said, "The gentleman says nothing but what is good; I say so; and there is not a man here that shall dare to say otherwise."

Remarkable Accident to Wesley


Thursday, January 28.—I set out for Deverel Longbridge. About ten o'clock we were met by a loaded wagon, in a deep, hollow way. There was a narrow path between the road and the bank: I stepped into this, and John Trembath followed me. When the wagon came near, my horse began to rear and to attempt climbing up the bank. This frightened the horse which was close behind and made him prance and throw his head to and fro, till the bit of the bridle caught hold of the cape of my great coat and pulled me backwards off my horse. I fell as exactly on the path, between the wagon and the bank, as if one had taken me in his arms and laid me down there. Both our horses stood stock still, one just behind me, the other before; so, by the blessing of God, I rose unhurt, mounted again, and rode on.

Saturday, February 6.—I preached at eight in the morning at Bath and in the evening at Coleford. The colliers of this place were "darkness" indeed; but now they are "light in the Lord."

Tuesday, 9.—I met about sixty of the society in Bristol to consult about enlarging the room; and indeed securing it, for there was no small danger of its falling upon our heads. In two or three days, two hundred and thirty pounds were subscribed. We immediately procured experienced builders to make an estimate of the expense; and I appointed five stewards (besides those of the society) to superintend the work.

Friday, 12.—After preaching at Oakhill about noon, I rode to Shepton and found them all under a strange consternation. A mob, they said, was hired, prepared, and made sufficiently drunk, in order to do all manner of mischief. I began preaching between four and five; none hindered or interrupted at all. We had a blessed opportunity, and the hearts of many were exceedingly comforted. I wondered what was become of the mob. But we were quickly informed: they mistook the place, imagining I should alight (as I used to do) at William Stone's house, and had summoned, by drum, all their forces together to meet me at my coming: but Mr. Swindells innocently carrying me to the other end of the town, they did not find their mistake till I had done preaching: so that the hindering this, which was one of their designs, was utterly disappointed.

However, they attended us from the preaching house to William Stone's, throwing dirt, stones, and clods in abundance; but they could not hurt us. Only Mr. Swindells had a little dirt on his coat, and I a few specks on my hat.

A Shower of Stones

After we were gong into the house, they began throwing great stones, in order to break the door. But perceiving this would require some time, they dropped that design for the present. They first broke all the tiles on the penthouse over the door and then poured in a shower of stones at the windows. One of their captains, in his great zeal, had followed us into the house and was now shut in with us. He did not like this and would fain have got out; but it was not possible; so he kept as close to me as he could, thinking himself safe when he was near me: but, staying a little behind—when I went up two pair of stairs and stood close on one side, where we were a little sheltered—a large stone struck him on the forehead, and the blood spouted out like a stream. He cried out, "O sir, are we to die tonight? What must I do? What must I do?" I said, "Pray to God. He is able to deliver you from all danger." He took my advice and began praying in such a manner as he had scarcely done ever since he was born.

Mr. Swindells and I then went to prayer; after which I told him, "We must not stay here; we must go down immediately." He said, "Sir, we cannot stir; you see how the stones fly about." I walked straight through the room and down the stairs; and not a stone came in, till we were at the bottom. The mob had just broken open the door when we came into the lower room; and exactly while they burst in at one door, we walked out at the other. Nor did one man take any notice of us, though we were within five yards of each other.

A Horrible Proposition

They filled the house at once and proposed setting it on fire. But one of them, happening to remember that his own house was next, with much ado persuaded them not to do it. Hearing one of them cry out, "They are gone over the grounds," I thought the advice was good; so we went over the grounds to the farther end of the town where Abraham Jenkins waited and undertook to guide us to Oakhill.

I was riding on in Shepton Lane, it being now quite dark, when he cried out, "Come down: come down from the bank." I did as I was bidden; but the bank being high, and the side very nearly perpendicular, I came down all at once, my horse and I tumbling one over another. But we both rose unhurt.

Saturday, April 9.—I preached in Connaught, a few miles from Athlone. Many heard; but, I doubt, felt nothing.

The Shannon comes within a mile of the house where I preached. I think there is not such another river in Europe: it is here ten or twelve miles over, though scarcely thirty miles from its fountain-head. There are many islands in it, once well inhabited, but now mostly desolate. In almost every one is the ruins of a church: in one, the remains of no less than seven. I fear God hath still a controversy with this land, because it is defiled with blood.

Incidents in Ireland

Sunday, 10 (Easter day).—Never was such a congregation seen before at the sacrament in Athlone. I preached at three. Abundance of Papists flocked to hear; so that the priest, seeing his command did not avail, came in person at six and drove them away before him like a flock of sheep.

Tuesday, 12.—I rode to Clara, where I was quickly informed that there was to begin in an hour's time a famous cockfight, to which almost all the country was coming from every side. Hoping to engage some part of them in a better employ, I began preaching in the street, as soon as possible. One or two hundred stopped, and listened a while, and pulled off their hats, and forgot their diversion.

The congregation at Tullamore in the evening was larger than ever before, and deep attention sat on every face. Toward the latter end of the sermon, there began a violent storm of hail. I desired the people to cover their heads; but the greater part of them would not; nor did anyone go away till I concluded my discourse.

Friday, 15.—I rode to Edinderry. Abundance of people were quickly gathered together. Having been disturbed in the night by Mr. Swindells, who lay with me and had a kind of apoplectic fit, I was not at all well about noon when I began to preach, in a large walk, on one side of the town; the sun shone hot upon my head, which had been aching all the day; but I forgot this before I had spoken long; and when I had finished my discourse, I left all my weariness and pain behind and rode on in perfect health to Dublin.

Saturday, 23.—I read, some hours, an extremely dull book, Sir James Ware's Antiquities of Ireland. By the vast number of ruins which are seen in all parts, I had always suspected what he sows at large, namely, that in ancient times it was more populous, tenfold, than it is now; many that were large cities being now ruinous heaps; many shrunk into inconsiderable villages.

I visited one in the afternoon who was ill of a fever, and lay in a very close room. While I was near him, I found myself not well. After my return home, I felt my stomach out of order. But I imagined it was not worth any notice and would pass off before the morning.

Wesley Lives on Apple-tea

Sunday, 24.—I preached at Skinner's Alley at five; and on Oxmantown Green at eight. I was weak in body, but was greatly revived by the seriousness and earnestness of the congregation. Resolving to improve the opportunity, I gave notice of preaching there again in the afternoon; which I did to a congregation much more numerous and equally attentive. As I came home I was glad to lie down, having a quinsy attended with a fever. However, when the society met, I made a shift to creep in among them. Immediately my voice was restored. I spoke without pain for nearly an hour together. And great was our rejoicing over each other; knowing that God would order all things well.

Monday, 25.—Finding my fever greatly increased, I judged it would be best to keep my bed and to live awhile on apples and apple-tea. On Tuesday I was quite well and should have preached but that Dr. Rutty (who had been with me twice) insisted on my resting for a time.

I read today what is accounted the most correct history of St. Patrick that is extant; and, on the maturest consideration, I was much inclined to believe that St. Patrick and St. George were of one family. The whole story smells strong of romance.

A Determined Preacher

Thursday, 28, was the day fixed for my going into the country: but all about me began to cry out, "Sure, you will not go today? See how the rain pours down!" I told them, "I must keep my word, if possible." But before five, the man of whom I had bespoken a horse sent word that his horse should not go out in such a day. I sent one who brought him to a better mind. So about six I took horse. About nine I called at Killcock.

Between one and two we came to Kinnegad. My strength was now pretty well exhausted; so that when we mounted again, after resting an hour, it was as much as I could do to sit my horse. We had nearly eleven Irish (measured) miles to ride, which are equal to fourteen English. I got over them pretty well in three hours, and by six reached Tyrrel's Pass.

At seven I recovered my strength so as to preach and meet the society, which began now to be at a stand with regard to number, but not with regard to the grace of God.

Friday, 29.—I rode to Temple Maqueteer and thence toward Athlone. We came at least an hour before we were expected. Nevertheless we were met by many of our brethren. The first I saw, about two miles from the town, were a dozen little boys running with all their might, some bare-headed, some bare-footed and bare-legged: so they had their desire of speaking to me first, the others being still behind.

Zealous Protestants

Tuesday, May 3.—I rode to Birr, twenty miles from Athlone and, the key of the session house not being to be found, declared "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" in the street, to a dull, rude, senseless multitude. Many laughed the greater part of the time. Some went away just in the middle of a sentence. And yet when one cried out (a Carmelite friar, clerk to the priest), "You lie! You lie!" the zealous Protestants cried out, "Knock him down"; and it was not sooner said than done. I saw some bustle, but knew not what was the matter, till the whole was over.

In the evening we rode to Balliboy. There being no house that could contain the congregation, I preached here also in the street. I was afraid, in a new place, there would be but few in the morning; but there was a considerable number, and such a blessing as I had scarcely found since I landed in Ireland.

Sunday, 15 (Dublin).—Finding my strength greatly restored, I preached at five and at eight on Oxmantown Green. I expected to sail as soon as I had done; but the captain's putting it off (as their manner is) gave me an opportunity of declaring the gospel of peace to a still larger congregation in the evening. One of them, after listening some time, cried out, shaking his head, "Ay, he is a Jesuit; that's plain." To which a popish priest who happened to be near replied aloud, "No, he is not; I would to God he was."

Monday, 16.—Observing a large congregation in the evening and many strangers among them, I preached more roughly than ever I had done in Dublin on those awful words, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" [Mark 8:37]

Wednesday, 18.—We took ship. The wind was small in the afternoon, but exceedingly high toward night. About eight I laid me down on the quarterdeck. I was soon wet from head to foot, but I took no cold at all. About four in the morning we landed at Holyhead and in the evening reached Carnarvon.

Friday, August 12.—In riding to Newcastle, I finished the tenth Iliad of Homer. What an amazing genius had this man! To write with such strength of thought and beauty of expression when he had none to go before him! And what a vein of piety runs through his whole work, in spite of his pagan prejudices! Yet one cannot but observe such improprieties intermixed as are shocking to the last degree.

Wesley Protests Against Lawlessness

Thursday, 25.—I rode with Mr. Grimshaw to Roughlee. At half-hour after twelve I began to preach. I had about half finished my discourse when the mob came pouring down the hill like a torrent. After exchanging a few words with their captain, to prevent any contest I went with him as he required. When we came to Barrowford, two miles off, the whole army drew up in battle array before the house into which I was carried with two or three of my friends. After I had been detained above an hour, their captain went out, and I followed him and desired him to conduct me whence I came. He said he would; but the mob soon followed after; at which he was so enraged that he must needs turn back to fight them, and so left me alone.

A further account is contained in the following letter, which I wrote the next morning—

Widdop, Aug. 26, 1748

Sir,—Yesterday between twelve and one o'clock, while I was speaking to some quiet people without any noise or tumult, a drunken rabble came with clubs and staves, in a tumultuous and riotous manner, the captain of whom, Richard B., by name, said he was a deputy-constable and that he was come to bring me to you. I went with him; but I had scarcely gone ten yards when a man of his company struck me with his fist in the face with all his might; quickly after, another threw his stick at my head: I then made a little stand; but another of your champions, cursing and swearing in the most shocking manner and flourishing his club over his head, cried out, Bring him away!'

With such convoy I walked to Barrowford, where they informed me you were, their drummer going before to draw all the rabble together from all quarters.

When your deputy had brought me into the house, he permitted Mr. Grimshaw, the minister of Haworth, Mr. Colbeck, of Keighley, and one more, to be with me, promising that none should hurt them. Soon after you and your friends came in and required me to promise I would come to Roughlee no more. I told you I would sooner cut off my hand than make any such promise; neither would I promise that none of my friends should come. After abundance of rambling discourse (for I could keep none of you long to any one point), from about one o'clock till between three and four (in which one of you frankly said, No; we will not be like Gamaliel, we will proceed like the Jews'), you seemed a little satisfied with my saying, I will not preach at Roughlee at this time.' You then undertook to quiet the mob to whom you went and spoke a few rods, and their noise immediately ceased. I then walked out with you at the back door.

Beaten by the Mob

I should have mentioned that I had several times before desired you to let me go, but in vain; and that when I attempted to go with Richard B., the mob immediately followed, with oaths, curses, and stones; that one of them beat me down to the ground; and when I rose again, the whole body came about me like lions and forced me back into the house.

While you and I went out at one door, Mr. Grimshaw and Mr. Colbeck went out at the other. The mob immediately closed them in, tossing them to and fro with the utmost violence, threw Mr. Grimshaw down, and loaded them both with dirt and mire of every kind; not one of your friends offering to call off your bloodhounds from the pursuit.

The other quiet, harmless people, who followed me at a distance to see what the end would be, they treated still worse; not only by the connivance, but by the express order, of your deputy. They made them run for their lives, amidst showers of dirt and stones, without any regard to age or sex. Some of them they trampled in the mire and dragged by their hair, particularly Mr. Mackford, who came with me from Newcastle. Many they beat with their clubs without mercy. One they forced to leap down (or they would have thrown him headlong) from a rock, ten or twelve feet high, into the river. And when he crawled out, wet and bruised, they swore they would throw him in again, which they were hardly persuaded not to do. All this time you sat well pleased close to the place, not attempting in the least to hinder them.

And all this time you were talking of justice and law! Alas, Sir, suppose we were Dissenters (which I deny), suppose we were Jews or Turks, are we not to have the benefit of the laws of our country? Proceed against us by the law, if you can or dare; but not by lawless violence; not by making a drunken, cursing, swearing riotous mob both judge, jury, and executioner. This is flat rebellion against God and the King, as you may possibly find out to your cost.

Defending Field Preaching

Between four and five we set out from Roughlee. But observing several parties of men upon the hills and suspecting their design, we put on and passed the lane they were making for before they came. One of our brothers, not riding so fast, was intercepted by them. They immediately knocked him down, and how it was that he got from among them he knew not.

Before seven we reached Widdop. The news of what had passed at Barrowford made us all friends. The person in whose house Mr. B. preached, sent and begged I would preach there; which I did at eight, to such a congregation as none could have expected on so short a warning. He invited us also to lodge at his house, and all jealousies vanished away.

Sunday, 28.—I was invited by Mr. U., the minister of Goodshaw, to preach in his church. I began reading prayers at seven; but perceiving the church would scarcely contain half of the congregation, after prayers I went out, and standing on the churchyard wall, in a place shaded from the sun, explained and enforced those words in the second lesson, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian" [Acts 26:38].

I wonder at those who still talk so loud of the indecency of field-preaching. The highest indecency is in St. Paul's Church, when a considerable part of the congregation are asleep, or talking, or looking about, not minding a word the preacher says. On the other hand, there is the highest decency in a churchyard or field, when the whole congregation behave and look as if they saw the Judge of all and heard Him speaking from heaven.

Three Remarkable Shots with Stones

At one I went to the Cross in Bolton. There was a vast number of people, but many of them utterly wild. As soon as I began speaking, they began thrusting to and fro, endeavoring to throw me down from the steps on which I stood. They did so once or twice; but I went up again and continued my discourse. They then began to throw stones; at the same time some got upon the Cross behind me to push me down; on which I could not but observe how God overrules even the minutest circumstances. One man was bawling just at my ear, when a stone struck him on the cheek and he was still. A second was forcing his way down to me till another stone hit him on the forehead; it bounded back, the blood ran down, and he came no farther. The third, being close to me stretched out his hand, and in the instant a sharp stone came upon the joints of his fingers. He shook his hand and was very quiet till I concluded my discourse and went away.

Saturday, October 22.—I spent an hour in observing the various works of God in the Physic Garden at Chelsea. It would be a noble improvement of the design if some able and industrious person were to make a full and accurate inquiry into the use and virtues of all these plants: without this, what end does the heaping them thus together answer, but the gratifying an idle curiosity?

Monday, November 21.—I set out for Leigh, in Essex. It had rained hard in the former part of the night and was succeeded by a sharp frost, so that most of the road was like glass; and the northeast wind set just in our face. However, we reached Leigh by four in the afternoon. Here was once a deep open harbor; but the sands have long since blocked it up and reduced a once flourishing town to a small ruinous village. I preached to most of the inhabitants of the place in the evening; to many in the morning, and then rode back to London.

15 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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