Thurs., September 1st. I met the infant Society for the first time in an old play-house. Several were there from two in the morning. One received forgiveness in Jonathan Reeves's first prayer. Our Lord's presence consecrated the place. I explained the nature of Christian fellowship. God knit our hearts together in the desire of knowing Him.
The people are now ripe for the Gospel, which I therefore preached, from Isai. xxxv., to the poor hungry mourners. I heard that one received the atonement on Monday. Behold, a troop cometh! The angel is come down, the water is troubled, and many are just stepping into the pool.
I spoke with some, who told me they had wronged their neighbours in time past, and now their conscience will not let them rest, till they have made restitution. I bade them tell the persons injured, it was this preaching compelled them to do justice.
One poor wretch told me, before his wife, that he had lived in drunkenness, adultery, and all the works of the devil, for twenty-one years; had beat her every day of that time, and never had any remorse till he heard us; but now he goes constantly to church, behaves lovingly to his wife, abhors the thing that is evil, especially his old sins. This is one instance out of many.
An Alderman heard me tonight in a covered chair. I met part of the Society, who are fully convinced that, without present forgiveness, they cannot be saved.
I called on Mr. C., who told me he had had a great battle with his brethren, who confidently averred, "affidavit was made of that wicked brother of mine running away with another man's wife at Athlone." I rejoiced at the report, as a sign that the god of this world is alarmed for his kingdom in danger. How will he and his servants rage by and by! Hitherto they seem asleep: but the witnesses of Jesus are rising to rouse them.
Walking to the marsh, I overtook Mrs. N., who broke out into strong confession of the faith she received yesterday morning under the word. I marvel not that her daughter says "she is gone distracted." You might as well stop the tide as her testimony. She rides on the high places of the earth. She speaks in the plerophory of faith; she lives in the spirit of triumph. One of her expressions was, "I do not walk, but fly; and seem as if I could leap over the moon."
The marsh was covered with high and low, rich and poor. The Gospel had free course; not a word returned empty.
One followed and told me, "he had found the Lord in the word this morning."
I had much discourse with the young woman above-mentioned; and found she was in Christ before me; but her not using my expressions hindered my perceiving it.
Some of her words were, "From the time you spake to me of forgiveness, I have been praying for it day and night, in continual joy. I am inexpressibly happy. All my temptations are gone. I tread on all the power of the enemy.
"From twelve years old I have walked with God, and found him in all my ways, in every place, and business, and company. In all my words I find him prompting me. From my infancy he has been my guide and instructer. When I would have spoken to the Bishop or others, he checked me with that thought, ' I will bear all my burdens till the Lord himself delivers me.' Many things he has taught me to pray for, which I did not myself understand at the time of my asking, nor fully till the answers came.
"I have been urged with that question, ' Could you die for the Gospel of Jesus Christ' and when I would have put it by, it still followed me, and the Lord insisted upon my answer. While I have sat at work, it came into my mind, 'These fingers will never corrupt in the grave: I must die for the truth!' I replied, 'But how can it be, Lord We are all Christians. Who is there to persecute us now' This thought pursues me still, that I am to suffer for my Saviour; and I should grudge the dying in my bed."I never felt more powerful, piercing words: they brought their own evidence, and left me no room to doubt God's special love to this soul. They also confirmed my continual expectation of sufferings.
Sat., September 3d. My text was, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for my own sake." I felt, as it were, their spirits sink under the word of grace.
From six to eight I attend those that would speak with me. The first who accosted me was a poor soldier, with, "O, Sir, I have found the blessing!" I asked, "What blessing" "Why, the blessing you preach, --the forgiveness of my sins." "How do you know that'" "I am sure of it; I cannot doubt of it; I feel it in my heart." "When and how did you receive it " "Yesterday morning under the word. I strove, and strove hard, before I could lay hold on it. But at last I did venture upon Christ: I put on boldness, and did believe; and that moment all my sins were taken away, --as you would take the coat from my back. I went home rejoicing, and told my wife, and persuaded her to believe like me. She fell a- crying and praying for an hour together; and then she got it too. My mother is not far from it; only for fear of one sin she dares not venture."
His artless confession was confirmed by his wife, who has found the pearl at the same time with him. His brother found it last Sunday. Joyce Bally informs me, she received the blessing yesterday morning through the Spirit applying that word, "Ask, and it shall be given you."
I exhorted some of the Society, and found them all on full stretch after Christ.
Sun., September 4th. I expounded the prodigal son to thousands of listening sinners, many of whom, I am assured, are on their return, and will never rest, till they rest in the arms of their Father.
Mon., September 5th. More, I hear, are added to the church. Two at the sacrament yesterday; two in the Society. One overtook me going to the cathedral, and said, "I have found something in the preaching, and cannot but think it is forgiveness. All my sins sunk away from off me in a moment. I can do nothing but pray, and cry, ' Glory be to God !' I have such a confidence of his love as I never knew. I trample all sin and sorrow under my feet." I bade him watch and pray, and expect greater things than these.
Our old master the world begins to take it ill that so many desert and clean escape its pollutions. Innumerable stories are invented to stop the work, or rather repeated, for they are the same we have heard a thousand times, as well' as the primitive Christians,--" all manner of wickedness is acted in our Society, except the eating of little children." My advice to our people is, "Answer them not a word."
The Romish Priests go more secretly to work, deterring their flock by the penalty of a curse. Yet some venture to hear us by stealth.
I took horse for Bandon, with my loving Lawyer, and his wife, who has lately received Christ, as her language and life declare.
On the road I made the following hymn, for the Roman Catholics in Ireland :-- "Shepherd of souls, the great, the good, Thy helpless sheep behold, Those other sheep dispersed abroad, Who are not of this fold. By Satan and his factors bound In ignorance and sin, Recall them through the Gospel sound, And bring the outcasts in. "Strangers, alas ! to thee and peace, They cannot find the way, But wander in the wilderness, And on the mountains stray. Why should they faint, unsaved, unsought, With sure relief so nigh Why should the souls, whom thou hast bought, For lack of knowledge die "Cast up, cast up an open road, The stumbling-block remove,-- The sin that keeps them back from God, And from thy pardoning love. The hinderer of thy word restrain, The Babylonish Beast, The men who sell poor souls for gain, Or curse whom thou hast bless'd; "Those blinded leaders of the Blind, Who frighten them from thee, And still bewitch the people's mind With hellish sorcery: Pierced with thy Spirit's two-edged sword, They shall no more deceive; Simon himself at thy great word Shall tremble and believe. "Who lead their followers down the way To everlasting death, Confound, convert, and pluck the prey Out of the lion's teeth. The simple men, of heart sincere, Who would receive thy word, Bring in, thy blessed word to hear, And own their bleeding Lord. "If thou wilt work a work of grace, Who shall the hinderer be Shall all the human hellish race, Detain thy own from thee Shall Satan keep, as lawful prize, A nation in his snare Hosts of the living God, arise, And try the force of prayer! "The prayer of faith hath raised the dead, The' infernal legions driven, The slaves from Satan's dungeon freed, And shut and open'd heaven. Our faith shall cleave the triple crown, Shall o'er the Beast prevail; And turn his kingdom upside down, And shake the gates of hell. "Come, then, the all-victorious Name, Jesus, whom demons flee, Redemption in thy blood proclaim, And life and liberty. Satan and all his hosts confound, Burst ope the dungeon door; Deliverance preach to spirits bound, And pardon to the poor. "These poor for whom we wrestle still, A blind, deluded crowd, Bring to the word, and wound and heal Through thy stoning blood. We will not let thee go, unless The captives thou retrieve; Now, Lord, with true repentance bless, And help them to believe. "To thee with boldness we look up, For all these sons of Rome; We ask in faith, and, lo, a troop, A troop of sinners come! As flocking doves to thee they fly, For refuge and for rest; They hasten to their windows nigh. And shelter in thy breast. "The things which we desired, we have; To sin and Satan sold, A nation call, like us, and save, And make us all one fold, One house, one body, and one vine, One church, through grace forgiven; By perfect love to angels join, And waft us all to heaven."
By ten we came to Bandon, a town of Protestants only. Several Papists from the neighbourhood attended me to the market-house. I stood on a scaffold, and called, to about a thousand wild, gaping people, "Behold the Lamb of God," &c. Four Ministers confessed it was the truth. All seemed hugely pleased, and rejoiced that I should preach again in the evening at the other end of the town.
The whole town was then gathered together, with many out of the country. My text was, "I send thee to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light." Three of the Ministers were present again, and the Provost, or Governor of the town, with many of the better sort, in the opposite houses. I was enabled to speak closely, both to Pharisees and publicans. Many of the latter wept.
Tues. morning, September 6th. Between four and five, I was surprised to find as numerous an audience as last night's. I breakfasted with the only family of Quakers in the town. They behaved with that love and zeal which we meet with in all the Friends, till their worldly-wise and envious brethren pervert them, and make their minds evil affected towards us. Two men from Kinsale came to press me thither. I expounded the prodigal son, but could not get through half of it. They drank in every word.
In the evening I began again with a sore throat, an heavy heart, and a feeble body. To them that have no might, God increaseth strength. For an hour and an half I strongly called the weeping prodigals to their heavenly Father. Many Romans were present, and others who had not been near a church for years.
Wed., September 7th. I spent an hour in the town-hall with some hundreds of them, in prayer and singing. They were impatient to have a Society, and to take the kingdom of heaven by violence. I commended them to the grace of God, and departed, laden with their blessings.
I rode to Kinsale with my trusty Lawyer, and at noon walked to the market-place. The windows were filled with spectators rather than hearers. Many wild-looking people stood with their hats on in the street. The boys were rude and noisy. Some well-dressed women stood behind me, and listened. My text was, "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, the lame," &c. I did most earnestly invite them all to the great supper. It was fallow ground; yet the word was not all lost. Several settled into serious attention. Others expressed their approbation: a few wept.
I was followed to my lodgings by a devout soldier, one of our Society in Dublin, who keeps his integrity. Some others called, and convinced me God hath not left himself without witness in this place.
In the evening the multitude so trod on one another, that it was some time before they could settle to hear. I received a blow with a stone on the side of my head, and called on the person to stand forth, and, if I had done him any wrong, to strike me again. This little circumstance increased their attention. I lifted up my voice like a trumpet, and showed the people their transgressions, and the way to be saved from them. They received my saying, and spake well of the truth. A sudden change was visible in their behaviour afterwards; for God had touched their hearts. Even the Romans owned "none could find fault with what the man said." Only one did most bitterly curse me, and all that should ever pray for me.
Thur., September 8th. The rain drove us to the market-house, a far more convenient place for preaching. I was surprised to find such a multitude in such weather. They sank down on every side into a just sense of their wants.
The next time, several of the better rank of Romans came to hear for themselves, and a whole army of soldiers. All were profoundly silent as soon as I opened my mouth in the words of our dying Lord, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by " The love of Christ crucified bore down all before it.
A lady of the Romish Church would have me to her house. She assured me the Governor of the town, (called the Sovereign,) as soon as he heard of my Coming, had issued out orders that none should dare disturb me; that a gentleman, who offered to insult me, would have been torn to pieces by the Romans, had he not fled for it; and that the Catholics, in general, are my firm friends.
It is worth observing, that in Kinsale I am of every religion. The Presbyterians say I am a Presbyterian; the church-goers, that I am a Minister of theirs; and the Catholics are sure I am a good Catholic in my heart.
I returned to Cork. Here the witnesses increase, so that we lose count of them.
Fri., September 9th. I got the whole morning to myself, and my beloved friends in Wales. I had sweet fellowship with them in reading their letters, and saw them, as it were, all about me at the throne of grace.
Sat., September 10th. A man and his wife laid hold on me, and said, "We have followed you from Bandon to Kinsale and hither; and if we had not found you here, our hearts are so warm toward you, we would have followed you to Dublin, and all the world over." They so urged me to come once more to Bandon, that I could not refuse. Some from Middleton and Youghal pressed me to them also.
In conference, I met a gentlewoman, who has lately received forgiveness, when she was scarcely seeking it.
I preached, at the south prison, "What must I do to be Saved" and made a collection for the prisoners.
I prayed a second time with Sally Gwynne, a sincere mourner, just ready for the consolation.
I met the extraordinary young woman, strong in the Lord, impatient to sell all. I charged her to continue in her calling, and wait upon Him for direction.
Sun., September 11th. I heard a plain, useful sermon at St. Peter's, against judging. Such crowds at church and sacrament were never seen before; so immediately in the Gospel the power of God saving from sin. Multitudes, from their first hearing it, left off to do evil, and learnt to do well.
I was much refreshed by part of the Bishop of Exeter's late charge to his Clergy, --worthy to be written in letters of gold:-- "My brethren, I beg you will rise up with me against only moral preaching. We have been long attempting the reformation of the nation by discourses of this kind. With what success ~. Why, with none at all. On the contrary, we have very dexterously preached the people into downright infidelity. We must change our voice; we must preach Christ and him crucified. Nothing but the Gospel is, nothing will be found to be, the power of God unto salvation, besides. Let me, therefore, again and again request, may I not add, let me charge you, to preach Jesus, and salvation through his name; preach the Lord who bought us; preach redemption through his blood; preach the saying of the great High Priest, ' He that believeth shall be saved.' Preach repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ."
Mon., September 12th. I got to Bandon by eleven. My poor woman and her husband soon found me out, and carried me to their house in triumph. The neighbours flocked in, and we had indeed a feast of love. A prodigal came, who had been a monster of wickedness for many years; but is now returned to his Father. So are more of the town, who were wicked to a proverb.
I spake with a woman whom the word has wounded, and convinced that God is among the Protestants. She was bred a Protestant, but turned young to the Romans, and has continued with them these twenty years. She told me, she never could rightly believe that any man could forgive her her sins; but Jesus Christ has the power, she is persuaded, and therefore returns to those who preach forgiveness in His blood.
I invited above four thousand sinners to the great supper. God hath given them the hearing car. I went to Mrs. Jones's, a widow-gentlewoman, as teachable as a little child; determined to promote the work of God to the utmost of her power. All in the place seem like-minded, --except the Clergy. 0 why should they be the last to bring home their King
It grieved me to hear the poor encouragement given last Sunday to the crowds that flocked to church; which some of them had never troubled for years. We send them to church to hear ourselves railed at, and, what is far worse, the truth of God.
Tues., September 13th. We parted with many tears and mutual blessings. I rode on to Kinsale. Here, also, the Minister, Mr. P., instead of rejoicing to see so many publicans in the temple, entertained them with a railing accusation of me, as an impostor, incendiary, and messenger of Satan. Strange justice, that Mr. P. should be voted a friend of the Church, and I an enemy, who send hundreds into the Church, for him to drive them out again!
At noon I discoursed on the prodigal son. Many approved by silent tears. I could not dismiss them without a word of advice, how to behave toward their enemies, persecutors, and slanderers.
Thur., September 15th. After proclaiming liberty to the captives at Cork, I took horse for Middleton; preached there at noon to an attentive congregation, who pressed me much to come again.
I rode on to Youghal, a sea-port town, twenty Irish miles from Cork. I went forth to the strand. A wild multitude following, almost crowded me and one another to death. While I described our Lord's passion, the waves subsided, the noise ceased, and they earnestly listened to His last dying cries. The Minister (as well as people) testified his satisfaction, saying, as I am told, "These gentlemen have done a great deal of good. There is need enough of them in Youghal."
I lodged at Mr. Price's, a friendly Dissenter, who, with his family, received me cordially for my work's sake.
Fri., September 16th. The rain quickened our pace to Middleton. Here my audience was thrice as numerous as yesterday. The town-hall could not contain them. All listened to their own history in the prodigal, and begged hard for a continuance of the Gospel.
The power of the Lord was present in the Society at Cork. I marvel not that Satan so hates it. We never meet but some or other is plucked out of his teeth.
Riding, with the wind and rain in my face, has brought back my old companion the toothache. I feared it would hinder my taking leave of the people; but let my Lord look to that.
Sat., September 17th. After a restless night of pain, I rose to confer with those that desired it. A woman testified that the Lord had spoke peace to her trembling soul at the sacrament; --Thomas Warburton, that faith came by hearing; and now he hates all sin with a perfect hatred, and could spend his whole life in prayer.
Stephen Williams witnessed that, "Last night I found my heart burdened and bursting in your prayer; but I repeated after you, till my speech was swallowed up. Then I felt myself as it were fainting, falling back, and sinking into destruction; when on a sudden I was lifted up, my heart was lightened, my burden gone, and I saw all my sins at once, so black, so many, but all taken away. I am now afraid of neither death, devil, nor hell. I am happier than I can tell you. I know God has for Christ's sake forgiven me."
Two others, in whom I found a real work of grace begun, were Papists till they heard the Gospel; but are now reconciled to file church, even the true, invisible church, or communion of saints, with whom is forgiveness of sins. A few of these lost sheep we pick up, but seldom speak of it, lest our own good Protestants should stir up the Papists to tear us in pieces.
At Mr. Rolt's, a pious Dissenter, I heard of the extreme bitterness of his two Ministers, who make it their business from house to house to set their people against the truth, and threaten all that hear us with excommunication. So far beyond the Papists are these moderate men advanced in persecution.
Sun., September 18th. I rose, as I lay down, in pain, which confined me the whole day. I prayed God to suspend it, if it was his will I should speak an useful word at parting with his people. I went to meet them at five, for a few minutes. The marsh was quite covered. Above ten thousand, as was supposed, stood fixed in deep attention. Not a breath was heard among them all. I faintly read my text, Acts it. 42: "And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." They observed my weakness, and prayed me strong. I urged them to walk as the first followers of Christ. My words sunk into their hearts, and melted them into tears. For two hours we wept and rejoiced together; commended each other again and again to God.
I mentioned with honour the behaviour of our own Clergy; not one of whom has publicly spoke the least word against us. I had told them before, and now I told them again, that persecution will arise because of the word. Great confidence and love the Lord gave me for them; and we parted most triumphantly, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving.
Mon., September 19th. I rose at two, refreshed as with wine, and set out with Robert Swindells. My pain was kept off by the prayer of those I left behind. I reached Cashel by night. Our host, a serious Roman, and his neighbour, an hearty, loving Quaker, made us forget our journey.
Tues., September 20th. I reached T----- by nine. I met several Clergy, who were attending the Archbishop, come to confirm. I preached at my inn-door. The people behaved better at the end than the beginning.
I found the twelve miles to Roscrea good six hours' riding; the rain attending us all the way. At five we came to Mr. White's, sated with travelling; but I had not time to rest, the people demanding me. My knees and eyes failed me, so that I could neither stand nor see. I leaned on a door, and called, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by" The word was not weak, like me.
Wed., September 21st. By four we got to Mountmelick. I preached in the market-house to a crowd of poor, convinced sinners; could mention nothing but pure promises. They received the word as souls gasping for God.
Thur., September 22d. I took in thirty new members. I rode to B----, at the pressing instance of a Clergyman, who met, carried me home, and, after fairly proposing his objections, and attending to my answers, allowed me to speak with great closeness and particular application.
By four we came to Mr. Jackson's, in Birr. I preached "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." The power of the Highest overshadowed us. One gentlewoman sunk down at Jesus's feet. Most seemed affected.
Fri., September 23d. I talked with my host's brother, a publican indeed! a monster of wickedness lately, but now so changed, that all the town is alarmed by it. At five I preached in a barn of Mr. Wade's, near Aghrim; seldom with greater power I left a young woman in the pangs of regeneration.
Sat., September 24th. By one the Lord brought us safe to our beloved brethren in Athlone. No Father Ferril, or his volunteers, withstood our entrance. The door is wide opened, at the expense of one life indeed, if not more; for the first news I heard was, that the poor big-bellied woman who covered J. Healey from his enemy, is lately dead of the blows she then received.
I preached in the market-house, and met the Society in a barn, which a well-disposed Roman lends us, to the great dissatisfaction of his fellows. Our poor lambs were all in tears, mourning after Jesus.
Sun., September 25th. I examined each of the Society, who make upward of two hundred. A soldier followed, and told me, that "while I was talking to them, an horrible dread overwhelmed him; he knew I was a servant of God; saw himself as called to the bar; felt the burden of all his sins; shook, every bone of him, and trembled exceedingly, for fear of God's judgment." I could not hinder his falling down again and again at my feet, under such piercing apprehensions of God, the righteous Judge, it made me envy his condition.
I accepted of an invitation from the Rev. Mr. T., and comforted the mourners at the market-house, by all the precious promises of the Gospel, summed up in Isai. XXXV.
I dined with Mr. R., a gentleman of the Romish persuasion till he heard my brother; since which, both he and his house, with several others, are come over to the Church of England, and, what is far better, to the power of godliness.
In the evening preaching the great blessing came. The cries of the wounded spirits cannot be described. The place rang with loud calls for "mercy, mercy!" I concluded, and began again, and again; then sung, and prayed, and sung, not knowing how to give over.
Mon., September 26th. I took my leave in those solemn words, which reached their hearts: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God," &c. At three I came safe to our dear friends at Tyril's-Pass. It should not be forgot, that the condemned soldier told me at parting, that the Lord had absolved him.
Tues., September 27th. I found much life in applying those words, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." I took horse for Dublin. Young Mr. Wade accompanied me three or four miles. His mother died last week in peace. He is swiftly following her, through the last stage of a consumption; has not yet attained, but knows he shall not depart till his eyes have seen His salvation. I commended him to the Lord Jesus, and appointed to meet him in paradise. I rode on alone, yet not alone. My noon-hour of prayer refreshed my spirit. My absent friends were never less absent. I came before night to Dublin.
Wed., September 28th. I breakfasted with M. Folliard, whom I left mourning, and found rejoicing in Christ her Saviour. The Society is in a flourishing condition. From twelve to one as usual, in our garden, with my Christian friends. They never fail to meet me at the throne, in my retirement.
Fri., September 30th. At night our Lord pierced many hearts with his dying cries. Two received faith; many a deeper sense of his love.
Sat., October 1st. It was the first time of my meeting the bands. The Lord was with us, and we rejoiced unto him with reverence.
Sun., October 2d. One received the blessing under the word. As soon as the Society was met, the fire was kindled. Three or four testified the grace of our Lord, which they then first experienced. A poor revolter, who, like Demas, had forsaken us, stealing in this evening, found mercy unexpected. His servant at the same time felt her sins forgiven, and gave God the glory. So did two or three more. Eight or nine confessed their faith openly. All present rejoiced either in hope or in possession of their Saviour.
Fri., October 7th. I met at Mr. Lunell's an old Dutch Quaker, who seemed to have deep experience of the things of God. At two Mr. Lampe and his wife called, and were overjoyed to see me. I cannot yet give up my hope, that they are designed for better things than feeding swine; that is, entertaining the gay world.
Sat., October 8th. The wind brought in a packet-boat, then sunk away into a dead calm. However, we attempted at night to get out to sea: the particulars I sent to a friend:-- "Holyhead, October 10th.
"My very dear Brother,--I did not tell you at parting, that I never had a stronger apprehension of evil near. On Saturday evening, half-hour past eight, I entered the small. We were two hours getting to the vessel. There was not then water to cross the bar; so we took our rest till eleven on Sunday morning. Then God sent us a fair wind, and we sailed smoothly before it five knots an hour. All things promised a speedy, prosperous passage; yet still I found the burden upon my heart, usual in times of extreme danger.
"Towards evening the wind freshened upon us, and we had full enough of it. I was called to account for a bit of cake I had eat in the morning, and thrown into violent exercise. Up or down, cabin or deck, made no difference. Yet in the midst of it I perceived a distinct and heavier concern for I knew not what.
"It was now pitch-dark, and no small tempest lay upon us. The Captain had ordered in all the sails. I kept mostly upon deck till half-hour past eight; when upon my inquiry he told me, he expected to be in the harbour by nine. I answered, we would compound for ten. While we were talking, the mainsail, as I take it, got loose, and flew overboard as if it would drag us all after it; the small boat at the same time, for want of fastening, fell out of its place. The Master called, ' All hands upon deck,' and thrust me down into the cabin. Within a minute we heard a cry above, ' We have lost the mast!' A passenger ran up, and brought us worse news, that it was not the mast, but the poor Master himself, whom I had scarcely left, when the boat, as they supposed, struck him overboard. From that moment he was seen and heard no more. My soul was bowed before the Lord. I knelt down, and commended the departing spirit to His mercy in Christ Jesus. I adored His distinguishing goodness. ' The one shall be taken, and the other left.' I thought of those lines of Young :-- ' No warning given! unceremonious death! A sudden rush from life's meridian joys, A plunge opaque beyond conjecture ! '
"The sailors were so confounded they knew not what they did. The decks were strewed with sails, boat, &c.; the wind shifting about; the compass they could not get at; nor the helm for some time. We were just on the shore, and the vessel drove where or how they knew not. One of our cabin-passengers ran to the helm, gave orders as Captain fill they had righted the ship. But I ascribe it to our invisible Pilot, that we got safe to the harbour soon after ten. The storm was so high, we doubted whether any boat would venture to fetch us. At last one answered, and came. I thought it safer to lie in the vessel, but one calling, ' Mr. Wesley, you must come,' I followed, and by eleven found out my old lodgings at Robert Grifiith's."
Mon., October 10th. I blessed God that I did not stay in the vessel last night. A more tempestuous one I do not remember. I wrote a thanksgiving hymn :-- "All thanks to the Lord, Who rules with a word The' untractable sea, And limits its rage by his steadfast decree: Whose providence binds Or releases the winds, And compels them again At his beck to put on the invisible chain. "Even now he hath heard Our cry, and appear'd On the face of the deep, And commanded the tempest its distance to keep: His piloting hand Hath brought us to land, And, no longer distress'd, We are joyful again in the haven to rest. "O that all men would raise His tribute of praise, His goodness declare, And thankfully sing of his fatherly care! With rapture approve His dealings of love, And the wonders proclaim, Perform'd by the virtue of Jesus's name! "Through Jesus alone He delivers his own, And a token doth send That his love shall direct us, and save to the end: With joy we embrace The pledge of his grace, In a moment out fly These storms of affliction, and land in the sky."
At half-hour past nine I took horse with my host, in a perfect hurricane. We were wet through in less than ten minutes; but I rode on, thankful that I was not at sea. By one I reached the Bull's Head; paid off my extorting guide, and trusted Providence to conduct me over the Welsh mountains. I rode near three miles before my genius for wandering prevailed. Then I got out of the way to Baladon-Ferry, but was met by a Welsh child, andright again. Near five I entered the boat with a Clergyman, and others, who crowded our small, crazy vessel. The water was exceeding rough, our horses frightened, weto overset every moment. The Minister acknowledged he was never in the like danger. We were half drowned in the boat. I sat at the bottom with him and a woman, who stuck very close to me, so that my swimming would not have helped me. But the Lord was my support, and I cried out to my brother Clergyman, "Fear not. Christum et forturnas vehis ! The hairs of our head are all numbered. Our Father sits at the helm."
Our trial lasted near half an hour. Then we landed, wet and weary, in the dark night. The Minister was my guide to Caernarvon; and by the way entertained me with the praises of a lay-Preacher he had lately heard, and talked with. He could say nothing against his preaching, but heartily wished him ordained. His name, he told me, was Howel Harris. He carried me to his own inn, and at last found me out, which increased our intimacy.
Tues., October 11th. I set out at break of day; missed my way as soon as I could, but quickly recovered it. I rode on with a cheerful heart in the bright, sunshiny day, to a small village three miles beyond Tan-y-Bwlch. From three to nine I enjoyed myself in solitude.
Wed., October 12th. I set out at six; got to Dolgelly by nine. I took a guide for the first hour, and then came by myself triumphantly to Machynlleth. Here I got another guide, who soon led me out of all way. We wandered over the mountains at random, and I was quiteto the thought of taking up my lodging there. But Providence sent us directors again and again, when we most wanted them. We rode down such precipices, that one false step would have put an end to all our journeys; yet the Lord brought us through all, and by seven we rejoiced to find ourselves in Llanidloes.
Thur., October 13th. Soon after five I set out in the dark with a brother, who by eight delivered me over to Mr. Edwards, Curate of Rhayader. He could get no horse for love or money, and therefore waited on me on foot to Garth. I met our dearest friends there by twelve, in the name of the Lord, and rejoiced and gave thanks for his innumerable mercies. At seven I preached with life and faith, and at ten rested from my labours.
Fri., October 14th. I rested the whole day, only riding out for an hour, to pray by a sick, helpless publican. I preached morning and evening to the family; I hope not in vain: but I miss my Cork congregation.
Sat., October l5th. Mr. Williams read prayers at Llansaintfraid; I preached from Matt. xi.: "Come unto me, all that are weary," &c. We were all in tears after Him, who promises us rest. An happier time have I not known, no, not at Cork, or Bandon. I returned with the night to Garth.
Sun., October 16th. I preached there at eight, and in Maesmynis church at eleven. It was a solemn season of love; and yet more so at the sacrament. At Builth I published the end of Christ's coming; namely, "that they might have life." I preached a fourth time, at Garth, and set the terrors of the Lord in array against the unawakened.
Mon., October 17th. I rode with Mr. Gwynne to Builth, and, preaching there at noon, returned to our little church at Garth.
Tues., October 18th. I rode to Maesmynis with most of the family, and enforced those triumphant words of the departing Apostle, "I have fought a good fight," &c. Great consolation was thereby administered to us. Forty sincere souls, whom the storm could not discourage, joined in receiving the Lord's supper. It was a passover much to be remembered. All were melted down in prayer. We were not unmindful of our absent brethren, or of those that travel by water. The church about us was rocked by the tempest; but we had a calm within. O that it might last till we all arrive at the haven ! I preached the third time at Builth, and once more at Garth.
Wed., October 19th. I preached again in Llsnsaintfraid church, and took leave of our family in the evening.
Thur., October 20th. I set out with brother Philips in the dark and rain. We had not rode a quarter of a mile before I was struck through with pain as with a dart. Whether it was the rheumatism in my shoulder, or what else, I know not; but it took away my breath in an instant, and stopped my progress. I lay some time on my horse, unable to bear the least motion; but determined not to turn back till I fell off. In a few minutes I could bear a foot-pace, and then a small trot. As the rain increased my pain decreased. I was quickly wet to the skin; but some fair blasts dried me again, and in five hours I got well to Bwlch.
After an hour's rest I took horse again, and came swiftly to Usk, before five. We went early to bed; rose at three the next morning.
Fri., October 21st. We set out soon after five, and by eight were brought safe to the New Passage; were from ten to twelve crossing, and came to Bristol between oneand two.
I called on Mrs. Vigor, uncertain if she was escaped out of the body. I found her (or rather her shadow) still in the vale, and was much comforted by her calm desire of dissolution. She has no doubt of God's finishing his work in her soul before he calls her hence; but he has, I am persuaded, more work for her to do.
I passed the afternoon among my friends, who are much alive unto God. I called on a listening audience, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost ;" and we did rejoice with all the angels in heaven, over our younger brethren in Ireland.
Sat., October 22d. I rode over to our children in Kingswood, and was much comforted by their simplicity and love. At night the Leaders brought me a good report of thein general. They walk as becometh the Gospel.
Sun., October 23d. Our Lord met us at his own table, and our souls lay low and happy at his feet.
In the Society the Lord comforted us on every side. It was like one of the former days. We were brought a large step on our journey to Sion.
Mon., October 24th. I met the select band for the first time. The cloud overshadowed us, and we all said, "It is good to be here."
I rode to Coleford under a great burden. What would I not have given to escape preaching but as soon as I opened my mouth the skies poured down righteousness.the Society we seemed all rapt up. A cloud of witnesses arose. Five or six received forgiveness, and testified it. We rejoiced with joy unutterable. My body wasspent. Mr. Philips did not much commend our accommodations. Our chamber looked very ghastly, scarce affording a Prophet's furniture: our bed had but one thin quilt to cover us.
Tues., October 25th. I rode to Paulton, where my horse cast me to the ground with such violence, as if I had been shot out of an engine. I lay breathless for some time.set me on the horse, and led me to Bristol; got a Surgeon to dress my arm and hand, which were much bruised, and my foot crushed.
Wed., October 26th. I woke with a stiff neck and aching bones, which did not interrupt my business, public or private. I preached at night with enlargement of heart.
Thur., October 27th. I preached at five with some pain in my breast, which wears off more and more.
Wed., November 2d. At sister Perrin's the Spirit helped our infirmities in mighty prayer, and filled us with divine confidence. I had then no doubt, even of my own.
Fri., November 4th. I imparted my design to Mrs. Vigor, who advised me with all the kindness and freedom of a Christian friend.
Mon, November 7th. I had tender sympathy with a sick, absent friend, Mrs. B. L., and much of the divine presence in praying for her.
Thur., November 10th. I expounded Isai. xxxv. at the Foundery, and lost all my burdens among my brethren.
Fri., November 11th. My brother and I having promised each other, (as soon as he came from Georgia,)that we would neither of us marry, or take any step towards it, without the other's knowledge and consent, today I fairly and fully communicated every thought of my heart. He had proposed three persons to me, S. P., M. W., and S. G.; and entirely approved my choice of the last. We consulted together about every particular, and were of one heart and mind in all things.
Sat., November 12th. I waited on Dr. Cockbum, who paid me 50, part of the legacy which my old friend Mrs. Sparrow left me.
Mon., November 14th. I rejoiced over our sister Peters, whose spirit was on the wing for paradise.
Wed., November 16th. At the hour of intercession the Lord looked upon us, and we lay a long time at his feet weeping.
Mon., November 21st. I set out with Mr. Waller for Bristol; and on Wednesday met our Lord there, in the midst of his disciples.
Fri., November 25th. I visited our sister Amos, supposed to be near death. Her joy was so great, the earthen vessel could scarce contain it. Her love and thanks and b`lessings on me lifted up my hands and heart. I offered up myself, with my absent friends, in fervent, faithful prayer.
Mon., November 28th. I rode to Cardiff.
Tues., November 29th. Mr. James overtook us at Fonmon. Both At Cardiff and here, I was much assisted in preaching.
Thur., December lst. I rose at two, and, after prayer, set out with Mr. James. The moors were almost impassable; yet we got to Brecon soon after three.
Fri., December 2d. By nine I found them at Garth, singing, and was most affectionately received by all, especially Mrs. Gwynne.
I advised with Sally how to proceed. Her judgment was, that I should write to her mother.
While the family was at dinner, I got some of my flock together, Miss Betsy, Molly Leyson, B. Williams, and faithful Grace Bowen, with whom I spent a comfortable in prayer. In the evening I pressed upon them, with much freedom, that blessed advice, "Acquaint thyself now with God, and be at peace."
Sun., December 4th. I rode with Sally and Betsy to Maesmynis. Our Lord administered strong consolation to our souls by the word and sacrament. At Builth, also, we were all melted into tears. I preached at Garth with the same blessing. I took farther counsel with Sally, quite above all guile or reserve. I was afraid of making the proposal. The door of prayer was always open.
Mon., December 5th. I spake with Miss Becky, who heartily engaged in the cause, and at night communicated it to her mother, whose answer was, "she would rather givechild to Mr. Wesley than to any man in England." She afterwards spoke to me with great friendliness above all suspicion of underhand dealing; (the appearance ofI was most afraid of;) said, she had no manner of objection but "want of fortune." I proposed 100 a year. She answered, her daughter could expect no more.
Wed., December 7th. I preached twice a day, and never with more liberty.
Thur., December 8th. I was a little tried by the brutishness of my friend Philips, who got my advocate, M--n, over to his side. But their buffetings did me no great harm. Mr. Gwynne leaving the whole to his wife, I talked the matter fully over, and left it wholly with her to determine. She behaved in the most obliging manner, and promised her, if I could answer for 100 a year.
Fri., December 9th. I prayed and wept over my dear Miss Becky, in great pain. She begged me not to leave them tomorrow.
Sat., December 10th. Mr. Philips called me, whom I mildly put by. I preached the next day, with great utterance and emotion. I talked once more with Mrs. Gwynne, entirely open and friendly. She promised to tell me if any new objection arose, and confessed, "I had acted like a gentleman in all things."
Mon., December 12th. I took a cheerful leave, and set out with Harry and Mr. Philips, somewhat milder. His only concern now was for the people. Them, also, I told him, my brother and I had taken into the account, and I had taken no one step without my brother's express advice and direction. We lodged at Usk.
Tues., December 13th. I rejoiced with my Christian friends in Bristol.
Thur., December 15th. I preached at Bath, in my way to London.
Fri., December 16th. Soon after four I set out with Mr. Jones, in thick darkness and hard rain. We had only one shower; but it lasted from morning till night. By halfhour past eight we got, in sad plight, to Calne; left it within an hour, as wet as we came to it, sore against my companion's will, who did not understand me when I told him, "I never slack my pace for way or weather." In a quarter of an hour we were wet from head to foot, the rain driving in our faces. On the Downs the storm took my horse off his legs, and blew me from his back. Never have I had such a combat with the wind. It was labour indeed to bear up against it. "No foot of earth unfought the tempest gave."
Many times it stopped me as if caught in a man's arms. Once it blew me over a bank, and drove me several yards out of the road before I could turn. For a mile and an half I struggled on, till my strength was quite spent. There was little life in either me or my companion when we came to Hungerford. We dried ourselves, and I scarcely persuaded him to go on to Newbury. There I was forced to leave him, and push forward to Woolhampton by seven.
Sat., December 17th. I took horse at four, by starlight. Such cheerfulness of heart, such a sense of joy and thankfulness, I have seldom known. For five hours I quite forgot my body. T. Hardwick met me at Maidenhead, with a post-chaise, and carried me to Brentford, when my last reserve of strength was gone. By four I found my brother at the Foundery, and rejoiced his heart with the account of my prosperous journey.
He had advised me to make the experiment directly, by going to Garth, and talking with Min. Gwynne. Her negative (or his, or Sally's) I should have received as an absolute prohibition from God. But hitherto it seems as if the way was opened by particular Providence.
Mon., December 19th. So my wise and worthy friend [The Rev. Vincent Perronet. EDIT.] at Shoreham thought, when I communicated to him the late transactions. As to my own judgment, I set it entirely out of the question, being afraid of nothing so much as of trusting my own heart.
Wed., December 21st. I talked with Mr. Blackwell, who very freely and kindly promised to assist in the subscription of 100 a year. I thought it better to be obliged for a maintenance to ten or a dozen friends, than to five hundred or five thousand of the people.
In the morning I discoursed on Thomas's confession, "My Lord, and my God;" and in the evening on the divine testimony, "This is my beloved Son," &c. Greatand power accompanied and applied the word.
Fri., December 23d. I visited our brother White, who has again found mercy on his death-bed, which is to him a triumphal chariot.
Christmas-day. We rejoiced in the glad tidings, "To us is born a Saviour;" and yet more in the sacrament were filled with all peace and joy in believing.
Tues., December 27th. One received the pardoning love of God under the word this morning.
Fri., December 30th. I met Mr. Blackwell with my brother, who proposes 100 a year to be paid me out of the books.
Sat., December 31st. The more I pray, the more assured I am, God will not suffer the blind to go out of his way. He was with us at his own table, in solemn power. My ministrations were never more lively, never more blessed to my own and the people's souls.
I married T. Hardwick and Sally Witham. We were all in tears before the Lord. I rejoiced to hear of our brother White's translation. I described it in the following hymn:-- "O what a soul-transporting sight Mine eyes to-day hate seen, A spectacle of strange delight To angels end to men! Nor human language can express, Nor tongue of angels paint, The vast mysterious happiness Of a departing saint! "See there, ye misbelieving race, The wisdom from above! Behold in that pale, smiling face The power of Him we love. How calmly through the mortal vale He walks with Christ his guide, And treads down all the powers of hell, And owns the Crucified! "Where is the King of terrors where The pomp of deadly pain A child of God his frowns can dare, And all his darts disdain: 'The King of fears,' he gently cries, ' Can never frighten me, Who grasp through death the glorious prize Of immortality. "`The life which in my spirit dwells He never can destroy; And all the pain my body feels Is swallow'd up in joy. Jesus doth all my burdens bear: And gladly I commend The objects of my latest care To my eternal Friend. "`Whate'er ye ask, whate'er ye want, My Lord shall richly give: The blessing of a dying saint On all your souls I leave. Come, follow to that happy place, Our Master's joy to see; For O! in one short moment's space, Ye all shall rest with me. "`Rejoice, my friends, I go before, To meet my happy doom, And tell them on the heavenly shore, Ye all are hastening home. For me my Father's chariot waits, I see the flaming steeds, And lo! the everlasting gates Lift up their pearly heads ! "`The blessed messenger is sent, To lead me to the throne, Above that starry firmament, Above that glimmering sun. The angel beckons me away, To fairer worlds on high: And let me now the call obey, And lay me down, and die. "`At this thrice welcome time of grace, When God for me was born, Made ready for his kind embrace, My spirit shall return. To-day I shall with rapture see The Child to mortals given, And kiss the' incarnate Deity, And keep the feast in heaven. "`Even now the earnest he reveals Of my eternal rest, The' immeasurable comfort swells This weak, transported breast: My body fails, my soul wants air, And gasps for its remove, So much of heaven I cannot bear I am too full of love.' "`Thrice happy soul! by special grace So highly favour'd here, To sound in death the Saviour's praise, And breathe the Comforter: On earth to' enjoy the blissful sight To dying Stephen given, And see the Lord enthroned in light, And see his opening heaven. "That heavenly bliss, when language failst His every look displays And every smile divinely tells The raptures of the place: The glory, while he lays it down; Shines through the sinking clay, And lo! without a parting groan, The soul ascends away! "Without a groan the Christian dies! But not without a word: On me, on me, he loudly cries, To meet our common Lord. He calls me by my worthless name My soul he beckons home; And lo! in Jesu's hands I am, And lo! I gladly come! "Witness my undissembled tears, If here I wish to stay, Or rather to shake off my fears, And corruptible clay: Witness the Searcher of my heart, Whose absence I bemoan, And pine and languish to depart, And struggle to be gone. "Lord, if thou didst indeed inspire Thy servant's dying breast, And fill him with thine own desire, That I with thee might rest; Thine own desire in me fulfil, And perfect love dispense, And freely my backslidings heal, And now transport me hence."