Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

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May 1 - Aug. 6, 1740: London,and then to Bristol

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May 1 - August 6, 1740

Thur., May 1st. I met S. Soan's band, full of love, and longing for the Lord's appearing. I conferred with more, who were lately justified. I visited a sick man, just sent forth out of the pit by the blood of the covenant.

Fri., May 2d. I prayed at Islington with Anne Gates, believing we had the petitions we asked. I then baptised a child and her. We all felt the descent of the Holy Ghost. Before, she was in the spirit of heaviness and bondage. The moment the water touched her, she declares she felt her load removed, and sensibly received forgiveness. Sorrow and sighing fled away. The Spirit bore witness with the water, and she longed to be with Christ. We gave glory to God, who so magnified his ordinance.

I began observing the weekly church-fast with a few at the Foundery. I rebuked one of the hands, who was fallen asleep. Instead of spending the Sunday in carnal ordinances, she passed it partly in idleness, partly in her common business. For what signified her endeavours to keep the commandments before she had faith.

I preached the Gospel at Wapping to the poor. Their groans and tears testified their inward affliction.

I received the following simple letter. Let our brethren of Fetterlane answer it.

"My Rev. Father in Christ,—My heart being now open before God, I write as in his presence.

"The first gift of faith I received after I had seen myself a lost sinner, bound with a thousand chains, and dropping into hell. Then I heard his voice, ' Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee; and could say, The Son of God loved me, and gave himself for me.' I thought I saw him at the right hand of his Father, making intercession for me. I went on in great joy for four months. Then pride crept in, and I thought the work was finished, when it was but just begun. There I rested, and in a little time fell into doubts and fears, whether my sins were really forgiven me, till I plunged myself into the depth of misery. I could not pray; neither had I any desire to do it, or to read, or hear the word. My soul was like the troubled sea. Then did I see my own evil heart, my cursed, devilish nature, and feel my helplessness, that I could not so much as think a good thought. My love was turned into hatred, passion, envy; and I felt a thousand hells my due, 'and cried out in bitter anguish of spirit, 'Save, Lord, or I perish.'

"In my last extremity, I saw my Saviour full of grace and truth for me; and heard his voice again whispering, 'peace, be still.' My peace returned, and greater sweetness of love than I ever knew before.

"Now my joy is calm and solid; my heart drawn out to the Lord continually. I know that my Redeemer liveth for me. He is my strength and my rock, and will carry on his work in my soul, to the day of redemption.

"Dear Sir, I have spoke the state of my heart, as before the Lord. I beg your prayers, that I may go on from strength to strength, from conquering to conquer, till death is swallowed up in victory.


Sat., May 3d. My spirit revived at the sight of the scoffers in the Foundery. I was directed to Heb. xii. 18: "For ye are not come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness," &e. God put strong words in my mouth, and in battles of shaking did he fight with them. The effect was both seen and heard: therefore would our still brethren say it had no effect at all.

Sun., May 4th. I dwelt on that word, "Thou art a God that hidest thyself, 0 God of Israel the Saviour;" and spoke, with much liberty and power, of the wilderness-state, and the means of grace.

After sermon I was accosted by Howel Harris, whom God sent to my assistance. He had first called on James Hutton, who directed him to go hear Viney preach. But he blundered to the Foundery. "His conscience in the Holy Ghost," he said, "bore witness to the truth I spoke, and he found his heart immediately knit to me." We took sweet counsel together, and went to the altar of God as friends.

In the evening I opened the book on, "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." He who sent was with me, in his promised power. The fire was kindled in many hearts. Ascribe unto the Lord the honour due unto his name.

I carried Howel to the bands. He spoke in simplicity concerning Satan's devices, and repeated the very words which the tempter has so often spoke to us by the mouth of our still brethren. All his arguments touching "false joy, animal spirits, presumption," &c., had been tried upon our brother, to make him let go his shield.

Mon., May 5th. I carried him to S. Anderson's, to whom he spoke in words which man's wisdom doth not teach. The Spirit of love and supplication was poured out. There was as in us all one soul.

We met the bands at five. I bear them witness that their love abounds yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement.

I preached from John iii. The Word made great havoc. They cried out on all sides, and fell down under it. I spoke afterwards to two or three of them. In the same hour God had made them sore, and bound them up; he had wounded, and his hands made them whole.

Tues., May 6th. In the hours of conference Eliz. Holmes informed me, she had been filled with the Spirit of love while we were praying at S. Anderson's. Cordelia Critchet, a Papist till convinced by us, appeared not far from the kingdom of heaven. I want time to take a particular account of them who are daily convinced of sin or of righteousness. Our brethren, I bless God, are mistaken in saying He no longer works by our hands.

I heard Howel Harris expound at Crouch's. He is indeed a son of thunder and of consolation.

God put it into our hearts to pray for the poor malefactors, passing to execution: and his Spirit made intercession. I am sure (how much more the rest of us!) that our prayer was heard, and answered, upon some of our dying brethren.

At eleven Cordelia Critchet came to let me know she received the atonement yesterday, while we were at prayers. The work, as far as I can yet discern, is real.

Another, who, after justification, had fallen into gross sin, informs me, God has again received him to his mercy in Christ Jesus. His deep humility and abundant love are good evidences for him.

Lucy Spring, who, on Monday night, fell into the pangs of the new birth, came to-day, full of peace and comfort.

Howel Harris, whom I carried to the still bands, delivered a full and noble testimony, that "he had been drawn to the sacrament while dead in sin, and received forgiveness there; afterwards the love of God was shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, then given him. From thence commenced the fight of faith. Fears, doubts, darkness returned; and he was brought through fire and water into a wealthy place."

His words were contradictory to all our still brethren have been teaching this half year. They were scandalised and confounded; the weak comforted. Much caviling followed. Howel, be sure, had no faith. Bray attempted to explain away what he said; Bell and Oxley to confute it: the latter compared him to Cain, when God lightened his burden, upon his complaining it was too heavy for him to bear. All agreed that he had not seen his heart; and because he had some strivings, had no faith. I invited them to hear more of him on Thursday evening.

Thur., May 8th. He declared his experience before our Society. O what a flame was kindled I Never man spake, in my hearing, as this man slake. What a nursing-father has God sent us? He has indeed learned of the good Shepherd to carry the lambs in his bosom. Such love, such power, such simplicity was irresistible. The lambs dropped down on all sides into their shepherd's arms. Those words broke out like thunder, "I now find a commission from God to invite all poor sinners, justified or unjustified, to his altar; and I would not for ten thousand worlds be the man that should keep any from it. There I first found

Him myself. That is the place of meeting." He went on in the power of the Most Highest. God called forth his witnesses. Several declared they had found Christ in the ordinances.

Poor Simpson stood by, hardening his heart. I suppose now he will call Howel, as he does my brother, "a subtle deceiver of the people." Scarce any from Fetter-lane were present: too good care had been taken to prevent them.

Fri., May 9th. I went to Islington, intending to baptise Bridget Armstead. Satan hindered, by his Churchwardens. But can any one forbid water? Not unless they can dry up the Thames.

In conference Mrs. Dupee informed me, she had received forgiveness last week while I was preaching it. Is His hand shortened at all, that he cannot save? Or, because we are weak, hath He no power to deliver

I met about one hundred of the Society to keep the fast. Christ owned His ordinance, and melted us into prayer, through his Spirit healing our infirmities.

I went to give the sacrament to a dying woman. I found her an old, subtle Pharisee. I could have no access in speaking, and betook myself to prayer. The sin-convincing Spirit came mightily upon her, so that she roared for the very disquietness of her heart. The strong man who had peaceably kept his palace for above seventy years, was now disturbed, tormented, bound, east out. She broke forth into strong cryings, and, soon after, into blessings and thanksgivings. As far as I can discern, she is quite delivered. We showed forth our Lord's death, and he was with us of a truth.

Sat., May 10th. I spoke closely to those who trusted to their faith of adherence, and insisted on that lowest mark of Christianity, forgiveness of sins.

My back was scarcely turned, when Oxley took his opportunity to draw away Howel Harris to deaf Bell's. I came time enough to break off their conference with my unwary friend. He now, without distrusting God, resolves to go nowhere without me. Two are better than one. Their word doth eat as a canker; especially Oxley's, whom we have cherished in our bosom. God help me to love him! I abhor both his principles and practices.

At Bowers's Society I found Bell, Bray, Hutton, Oxley, Holland, Ridley, and others of the same class. I withstood them to the face, and appealed to the God that answereth by fire, for the truth of my doctrine, that the ordinances bind all, both justified and unjustified. A woman testified, that the last time I expounded here, and bade them who had been confounded ask Jesus Christ alone whether they had faith, she did ask in our prayer, and immediately the love of God overflowed her heart.

I preached at the Foundery on 1 John it. 12: "I write unto you, little children," &c. Hence I showed the three particulars which difference a child from a young man. The young man is strong; the child weak: the young man hath overcome the wicked one; the child is overcoming him: in the young man the word of God abideth; that is, he hath the constant witness of the Spirit.

In the Society Howel spoke excellently of good works, searching the Scripture, and loving one another.

Sun., May 11th. I met the women Leaders for the first time; and, after a lively prayer, led them to the Lord's table at St. Paul's.

I went forth to Kennington-Common. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and I prophesied, "O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord." Truly there were very many in the open valley, and lo, they were very dry. But as I prophesied there was a noise, and, behold, a shaking, which we both saw and heard. Into some, I am confident, the breath came, and they lived.

Mon., May 12th. I employed three hours most profitably in conferring with the poor people; more of whom daily receive forgiveness, or the witness of the Spirit. Three or four were now set at liberty, in immediate answer to prayer.

I was with Miss Branford; who has been in darkness ever since her eyes were first opened (two years ago, at St. Helen's) to see her sins forgiven. In prayer, the love of God was now shed abroad in her heart, and she was translated into his marvellous light.

An aged gentlewoman here testified that she had long denied that article of her creed, "forgiveness of sins," but was yesterday experimentally convinced of it, under Mr. Hall's ministry. Others I meet with, who have passed from death unto life, in hearing our brother Whitefield. Our brethren of Fetter-lane deny the fact, that any soul has been justified by our ministry, since "no one gives what he has not himself."

Tues., May 13th. Sarah Redford, justified under the word last Sunday, Mary Barraby and Anne Broad, a few days ago, and others, were with me to-day, testifying the work of God in their souls.

Mrs. Ricard told me at S. Witham's, that in the depth of despair Christ had given her rest; but Satan came in with the still brethren, and gained such advantage over her, that she even denied the faith, and its Author. Our Lord again confirmed his love to her, through a worm, the very scorn of men, and outcast of the still ones.

I met the men Leaders at Bray's, and was surprised to find above twenty of the still brethren there; and more, to hear they constantly meet on Thursday and Sunday, while I am preaching at the Foundery. The reason is obvious.

I bore my testimony for the ordinances and weak faith. Asked whether they did not hold, 1. That the means of grace are neither commands nor means: 2. That forgiveness is never given but together with the abiding witness of the Spirit. James Hutton would not have them give me any answer. I said, if they durst not avow their principles, I should take their silence for confession, and warn God's people against them.

Wed., May 14th. I talked with a woman to whom Jesus lately appeared, but immediately vanished out of her sight. Never did I see a soul more inconsolable. Esther Owen was with me, pierced, melted, overpowered with love.

At Blackheath I preached redemption in the blood of Jesus. He gave me power "to sound the unbelieving heart." A woman screamed out so loud that I could not be heard; and therefore had her removed, but not out of hearing. To the scoffers I spoke with much contention. Many were driven off, and others constrained to stay. I am sure the word did not return void.

I found Mr. Hall at Fetter-lane, asking them, whether they would try their spirits by the word, or the word by their spirits. I enforced the question, which they strove to evade. Rabbi Hutton forbade their answering me. I warned the few remaining brethren to beware of the leaven of stillness; showed them the delusion of those who had cast off the ordinances, and confined the faith to themselves only; I foretold the dreadful consequences of their enthusiasm; set the case of Gregor before their eyes; besought, entreated, conjured them not to renounce the means, or deny the Lord that bought them; read a letter from one who had been strongly tempted to leave off the sacrament, But, in receiving, powerfully convinced that her dissuader was the devil. Hodges, Hall, and Howel Harris confirmed my words. Others were hereby emboldened to bear their testimony to the divine ordinances. By the strength of the Lord we have stood between the living and the dead; and the plague, we trust, is stayed.

Poor James was all tergiversation. O how unlike himself; The honest, plain, undesigning Jacob, is now turned a subtle, close, ambiguous Loyola. Bell was more frank, and I therefore put him upon speaking. He expressly denied the sacrament to the unjustified; that is, in effect, to all but Molther, M. Eusters, and himself; for these three are all the church Christ has in England.

I mentioned Simpson's advice to M. Seaton, that if she would but leave off the sacrament, prayer, and reading the Scriptures, for one week, she should then find what she never found before in her life. He justified his advising her, and several others, to lay aside their Bibles, because he trusted in them. The rest abated somewhat of their stiffness, and much pressed me "to preach Christ the foundation ;" meaning, that I should not recommend the ordinances, but let them trample on them undisturbed. I did not say that I understood them.

Ascension-day, May 15th. I preached from Rom. viii. 33, 34. Great power accompanied the word; but greater still, while I exhorted the Society to wait for the promise of the Father. Many cried out in the birth-pangs. After a long and violent struggle, Eleanor Tubbs testified that God had now showed her her heart, and broke it in pieces, and bound it up.

Sarah Church informed me she had received forgiveness the night Mr. Simpson expounded at Rag-fair; not under his preaching, which was quite dead to her, but in singing an hymn which I gave out. So did Anne Roberts, after hearing the word, in the same carnal ordinance of singing.

Mary Shrievely, who has been groaning under the burden of sin from the time she first heard me preach, was last night relieved by the coming of Jesus, and now goes on her way rejoicing. Jane Bourn also informs me that she received forgiveness in the Society, and was sprinkled from her idols.

Fri., May 16th. Almost the whole Society met at one. A spirit of contrition ran through all. I received the following letter :—

"My Friend,—I hear there are divisions among you; for some say,' I am of Wesley ;' and others, 'I am of Molther;' but I say, I am of Christ; and what he bids me do, I will do, and not trust in any man.

"Here some will say, ' What Christ bids you do, is, to believe and be still.' True; but does he bid me do nothing else? He bids me let my light so shine before men, that they may see my good works, and glorify my Father which is in heaven.

"He likewise says, 'The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses's chair 'all therefore whatsoever they bid observe, that observe and do.' But how can I know what they bid me do, except I go to hear them

"Again: Christ bids me observe all things which he commands the Apostles; and with such He will be to the end of the world. But if I do not observe and do his commands, he will not be with me.

"He bids me 'do this in remembrance of Him.' Now, if any man can prove this is not a command, I will obey it no longer. ' But whosoever breaketh one of these least commandments, and teacheth men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven."

"As to stillness, our Saviour saith, 'The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force ;' and, 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate.' And St. Paul saith, 'Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.' And, 'God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.' Now these scriptures imply somewhat more than barely sitting still.

"Some deny that there are any means of grace: but I will be thankful for them; since it was in them I first heard you preach faith in Christ; and had I not been there, I might have been without faith unto this day.

"One told me, when you preached you had nature in your face. So will every one have, who speaks with zeal; but no matter for that, if he has but grace in his heart. My friend, there are many teachers, but few fathers; but you are my father, who begot me by the Gospel, and, I trust, many more.

"May the Lord lead you into all truth!"

Sat., May 17th. I expounded the chapter in course, Isaiah liii. One could not bear my enlarging on that, "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us All;" but often interrupted me with, "Stop his mouth." Alas! thought I, if meekness be the mark of the elect, I fear thou art still a reprobate.

I dined at Mr. Williams's. His wife had formerly found favour with God under the word; but Satan reasoned her out of it. After our praying, she said she had an answer in herself at every word. All doubt and unbelief fled away and she clearly saw her interest in the Saviour of all men.

Sun., May 18all. I preached to near ten thousand at the Common, from 1 Cor. vi. 9, &c. The Lord was with us in his convincing power. I would give Him the glory.

Mon., May 19th. Our brethren complain, that we unjustly charge them with speaking against the ordinances. Yet they teach, that your using them before faith, necessarily keeps you out of it; and your using them after faith, necessarily makes you lose it. Particularly when you find comfort, by no means offer to pray, they say: if you pray then, you will forfeit it immediately.

Ridley is famous for saying, "You may as well go to hell in praying as in thieving." Mr. Browifs words are, "If we read, the devil reads with us; if we pray, he prays with us; if we go to church or sacrament he goes with us."

In the time of conference Mary Benham declared her faith, which she has lately received. Anne Judge found power to believe under the word last Monday; Thomas Boreman, while we were at prayers.

While I expounded the woman of Samaria, the word reached many hearts, particularly Mrs. Ash the Quaker's, a great enemy to crying out. However, she could not now forbear; for the love of Christ constrained her. Jesus had said, "I that speak unto thee am He I" Her sister appeared under strong convictions at the sight of her. 0 that the flame might spread throughout all the earth!

Tues., May 20th. Poor desperate John Dickenson received the word of reconciliation, Isaiah liv.: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee," &c. After having been long afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, in that hour he found rest to his soul.

At eleven, Eliz. Bird testified her having lately felt the atoning blood; as likewise Astrea Edzard and Thomas Haddock; all by the ministry of the word. Mary Wotlen, too, can set to her seal, that God is true. I found S. Sutherland strong in the Lord. Several others were present, whom I took knowledge of, that they have been with Jesus.

I went with Maxfield to Bray's, as a fool to the correction of the stocks. I laboured for peace: but only the Almighty can root out those cursed tares of pride, contempt, and self-sufficiency, with which our Moravianized brethren are overrun.

Wed., May 21st. I carried Bridget Armstead to Bloomsbury church, where the Minister baptised her. She had been bred a Quaker. I was one of the witnesses. We were all in great heaviness before; but perceived that Christ was with us always in his ordinances. The Spirit infallibly bears witness on this occasion. Our youngest sister assuredly knows that she is born of water and of the Spirit.

Thur., May 22d. I found our dear brother Ingham at M. West's. The holiday mob was very outrageous at the Foundery. God filled my mouth with threatenings and promises. Both, I believe, took place; for at last we got the victory, and the fiercest rioters were overawed into silence.

The day of Pentecost, May 25th. I discoursed on the first pouring out of the Spirit. (Acts ii.) He gave me utterance. Many felt his descent in an invisible power; and even trembled at his presence.

At the Common I again declared the Promise to many thousands. At the love-feast I was overwhelmed with the burden of our brethren, with such visible signs of dejection, that several, I was since informed, were in great hopes that I was now coming down in my pride, or unsettling, and coming into confusion. Indeed, my faith did well nigh fail me: for in spite of the seeming reconciliation which brother Ingham forces them into, it is impossible we should ever be of one mind, unless they were convinced of their abrogating the law of Christian ordinances, and taking away the children's bread.

Mon., May 20th. A woman from Islington complained to me, that she had brought Mr. Stonehouse to her mother, who lay a-dying, but waiting for redemption. Her Minister told her, "it signified nothing to pray either publicly or privately. Reading the Scriptures, or taking the sacrament, were equally useless. These outward things must all be laid aside. She had nothing to do but to be still." He refused to pray by her, and so left her.

The work of grace goes on in several that were with me to-day; and God still gives fresh seals to my ministry.

Tues., May 27th. I rejoiced to find no difference betwixt my brother Ingham and me. He has honestly withstood the deluded brethren; contradicted their favourite errors, and constrained them to be still. That blot he easily hit: "You say no man must speak of what he has not experienced: you, Oxley and Simpson, say, that one in Gospel-liberty can have no stirrings of sin." "Yes." "Are you in Gospel-liberty?", "No." "Then out of your own mouth I judge you: you speak of the things which you know not of." I expounded in Snowsfield, and met the bands at the Foundery. An extraordinary power overshadowed us. S. Hunting received the witn ess in herself; R.R.was even lost in love.

Wed., May 28th. At Blackheath I discoursed from Matt. XXl.: "He that falleth on this stone shall be broken," &c. There were a multitude of scoffers, but all forced to fly before the sword of the Spirit. I talked once more with our wild brethren, and laboured heartily for peace and union. But it cannot be, while they are so full of bitter, proud contempt of all except themselves.

Thur., May 29th. I expounded Isai. lvii., a chapter most contradictory to the doctrine of our brethren. I dined at friend Keen's, a Quaker and a Christian; and read George Whitefield's account of God's dealings with him. The love and esteem he expresses for me, filled me with confusion, and brought back my fear, lest, after having preached to others, I should be myself a cast-away. At Marybone the scoffers fulfilled the scripture I explained: "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." I addressed myself to one of them after another, and silenced them on whatever side I turned. Sometimes a stray coach would stop: but my doctrine did not suit them. Our Lord vouchsafed us much of his presence at the Society. We find him daily uncovering our hearts, casting down imaginations, and bringing every thought into captivity. The souls of many were smitten asunder as with a sword; and I am sure, if God wounds, he will bind up again.

Fri., May 30th. I had yet another conference, but could not convince our dear brother Simpson. He cannot allow there are more than four Christians in London, which are Molther, M. Eusters, Wheeler's maid, and Bell. Of the last he roundly affirms, that he is holier than Moses, the meekest of men; than Abraham, the friend of God; than David, the man after God's own heart; than Elijah and Enoch, who walked with God, and were translated. As to our father Abraham, he denies him to have had any right faith at all.

Sat., May 31st. I took sweet counsel with Benjamin lngham, and Howel Harris. A threefold cord cannot easily be broken.

I heard that the Foundery was lately presented at Hicks's Hall, for a seditious assembly. Sir John Gunson interposed, and objected, that no persons were named in the presentment. Upon this they presented Charles Wesley, Clerk, J. Hutton, bookseller, Timothy Lewis, printer, and Howel Harris, alias the Welsh Apostle. But our friend Sir John quashed the whole.

Sun., June 1st. I was much refreshed in spirit among the women bands. They have rest, and walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and are edified.

Mon., June 2d. I preached up the ordinances, as they call it, from Isai. lviii.; but first with the Prophet I preached them down. Telchig, Ingham, &c., were present, which made me use greater plainness, that they might set me right, if I mistook.

I talked with several in whom the work of conversions effectually begun; particularly Mary Russel, convinced and deeply wounded by my last discourse at Kennington; Mary Peck, whom God showed her heart in singing; Sarah Redford, to whom faith lately came by hearing; and Mary Litchfield, who, by all I can yet discern, was justified the last time I preached at Blackheath.

I preached on Job xxiii. 8, I would hope, to the comfort of many, whose hearts God is directing into the love of Christ, and into the patient waiting for him.

Tues., June 3d. I met with Amos Comenius's moving exhortation of the Bohemian churches to the Church of England. 0 that we might see, at least in this our day! Who knows but our eyes may behold "the last surviving Bishop of the Church of England!"

Wed., June 4th. I preached at Marybone on, "What must I do to be saved?" The opposers had threatened me hard; but all they now could do was to curse and swear. I only invited them to Christ. But I am more and more persuaded, that the law has its use, and Moses must bring us to Christ. The promises to the un-wakened are pearls before swine. First the hammer must bleak the rocks; then we may preach Christ crucified.

Thur., June 5th. My brother returned from Bristol.

Fri., June 6th. I spoke with Billah Aspernel, who had lately been with me in the depth of mourning. A still brother had been troubling her, and deterring from the word and sacrament. Last night it pleased our Lord to lift up her head above all her enemies. He spoke to her in the word, and she had joy again, and her joy shall no man take from her.

Martin Chow and Margaret Martin at the same time found the power of the Lord present to heal them; as did Eleanor Gambel the Thursday before.

I went with my brother, and Howel Harris, and J. Purdy, to see Molther, at Islington. I wished George Stonehouse joy of his good bargain; and left him to justify to my brother the selling of his living. I half persuaded a Dissenter out of her faith of adherence.

I explained the progress of grace by our Lord's comparison of the grain of mustard-seed, and the little leaven.

Sat., June 7th. I recommended the woman of Canaan as a pattern of triumphant importunity. It is plain she had not heard of the doctrine of stillness.

Mon., June 9th. I dined at Mr. Wild's, in Islington, and rejoiced over a few unperverted souls. The shepherd, alas, is smitten, and the sheep are scattered; but not all. God has left himself a very small remnant.

Tues., June 10th. I rode with Maxfield to Bexley, and was greatly comforted with my brother Piers. The weak stand when the strong fall. In spite of all the still ones, he had held fast the truth, neither forsaking the ordinances, nor denying his weak faith.

I went thence to Blendon: no longer Blendon to me. They could hardly force themselves to be barely civil. I took an hasty leave, and with an heavy heart, weighed down by their ingratitude, returned to Bexley. Here I preached the Gospel to a little flock, among whom the grievous wolves are not entered.

Wed., June 11th. I was constrained to bear my testimony for the last time at Blendon. Maxfield accompanied me. I desired to speak with Mrs. Delamotte alone. She did not well know how to refuse, and walked with me into the hall. I began, "Three years ago God sent me to call you from the form to the power of godliness. I told you what true religion was, a new birth, a participation of the divine nature. The way to this I did not know myself till a year after. Then I showed it to you, preaching Jesus Christ, and faith in his blood. You know how you treated me; God soon after called you to a living faith by my ministry. Then you received me as an angel of God. Where is now the blessedness you spake of? Whence is this change this jealousy, and fear, and coldness? Why are you thus impatient to hear me speak?" She offered several times to leave me; said, "She did not know what I meant; did not want to dispute," &c. "I do not come to dispute: why are you afraid of me? What have I done? You gave as a reason for not seeing me in town, that you did not care to be unsettled. Once I unsettled you through the strength of the Almighty, stirred you up from your lees, took you off your own works, and grounded you upon Christ. Other foundation than this can no man lay. I only desire to settle you more firmly upon Him, to warn you against the danger of being removed from the hope of the Gospel. Our brethren, whom now you follow, are making a schism in the church: follow them not in this." She would not bear any more, but hurried into the parlour. When I came in, Betty left it; but afterwards returned. She has not been at the sacrament for several months. I warned them against casting off the ordinances, which were divine commands, binding all, whether justified or unjustified.

They continually interrupted me, asking why I talked to them. I answered, "Because I durst not forbear, but must deliver my own soul." Betty said she had received great benefit from Molther, and should therefore hear none but him. I told her, I had nothing to say against her hearing him, unless when he spoke against the ordinances.

Upon their again and again bidding me silence, I asked, "Do you, therefore, at this time, in the presence of Jesus Christ, acquit, release, and discharge me from any farther care, concern, or regard for your souls? Do you desire I would never more speak unto you in His name?" Betty frankly answered," Yes." Mrs. Delamotte assented by her silence. "Then here," said. I, "I take my leave of you, till we meet at the judgment-seat." With these words I rendered up my charge to God.

Then said I," after leaving them, "I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God." Surely this is enough to wean and make me cease from man. With Blendon I give up all expectation of gratitude upon earth. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, even friendship itself."

I rode on softly to Eltham, cast out by my dearest friends. I pray God it may not be laid to theirs, or their seducers', charge! Pity and grief for them was uppermost in my heart; and these were much relieved by the scripture that first offered: "And Paul went down, and fell on him, and, embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves, for his life is in him."

I returned to be exercised by our still brethren's contradiction. My brother proposed new-modelling the bands, and setting by themselves those few who were still for the ordinances. Great clamour was raised by this proposal. The noisy still-ones well knew that they had carried their point, by wearying out the sincere once, scattered among them, one or two in a band of disputers, who had harassed and sawn them asunder; so that a remnant is scarcely left. They grudged us even this remnant, which would soon be all their own, unless immediately rescued out of their hands. Benjamin Ingham seconded us; and obtained that the names should be called over, and as many as were aggrieved put into new bands.

We gathered up our wreck,-raros nantes in gurgite vasto: for nine out of ten are swallowed up in the dead sea of stillness. O, why was not this done six months ago? How fatal was our delay and false moderation! "Let them a1one, and they will soon be weary, and come to themselves of course," said one,—-unus qui nobis cunctando restiteut rem! I tremble at the consequence. Will they submit themselves to every ordinance of man, who refuse subjection to the ordinances of God? I told them plainly I SHOULD ONLY CONTINUE WITH THEM S0 LONG AS THEY CONTINUED IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. My every word was grievous to them. I am a thorn in their sides, and they cannot bear me.

They modestly denied that we had any but hearsay proof of their denying the ordinances. I asked them all and every one, particularly Bray, Bell, &e., whether they would now acknowledge them to be commands or duties; whether they sinned in omitting them; whether they did not leave it to every man's fancy to use them or not; whether they did not exclude all from the Lord's table, excepting those whom they called believers. These questions I put too close to be evaded; though better dodgers never came out of the school of Loyola. Honest Bell and some others spoke out, and insisted upon their antichristian liberty. The rest put by their stillness, and delivered me over to Satan for a blasphemer, a very Saul, (for to him they compare me,) out of blind zeal persecuting the church of Christ.

Thur., June 12th. The power of the Lord was present in his word, both to wound and heal. The adversary roared in the midst of the congregation; for to him, and not to the God of order, do I impute those horrible outcries which almost drowned my voice, and kept back the glad tidings from sinners.

Fri., June 13th. At Wapping some so disturbed us by their outcries, that my preaching was vain. Those who cried, "Away with them," I rebuked; but wish for the sake of all, and myself also, that, if it be the will of God, this stumbling-block may be removed.

At the time of intercession, we were carried out for all mankind, especially for our own Church and nation, and the little flock which God is gathering. I prayed believing, that Satan might not destroy his work, as in the last age, by that spirit of rebellion and enthusiasm which is so visible in our deluded brethren.

Mon., June 16th. M. Sparrow carried me to Eltham, where I called to many, in King John's chapel, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." It was indeed a solemn assembly. We found God had formerly recorded his name there, and that was one place of meeting Him. Several of the assembly-ladies heard me patiently, while I showed them they were in no wise better than the harlots and publicans.

Tues., June 17th. I had an extraordinary meeting of the Society, now increased from twelve to three hundred, most of them justified; and took my leave of them with hearty prayer.

Wed., June 18th. I set out at two for Oxford, with brother Maxfield, and a nephew I was going to prentice at Bristol. We stopped half-an-hour at brother Hodge's; lost our way through Kensington; baited an hour at Gerard's-cross. Three miles short of Wycombe, several people met, and asked us if we had seen an highwayman, who had shot a man on the road, not an hour ago. In a mile's riding, we found the poor man weltering in his blood. The Minister of Wycombe informed us, that he was a little behind, and heard the highwayman threaten to shoot him, if he did not deliver his money that instant. He answered, "You shall have all the money I have; but it is not much ;" and the other, without any more words, shot him through the head.

I could not but observe the particular providence of God over us. Had we not delayed in the morning, had we not called on Hodges, had we not stopped at Gerard's-cross, we had just met the murderer.

Thur., June 19th. Hearing he was apprehended at a farrier's, his horse having cast a shoe, I went this morning to tell him, Christ died to save murderers; but his heart was harder than the nether millstone.

By noon we came to Oxford. I called on M. Ford, and found her shut up. She besought me not to speak in the Society, not to make disturbances and divisions, &c. I told her, I spoke no other words than I had from the beginning; whence then her unusual apprehensions? Mr. Simpson's presence accounted for it. Wherever he comes, his first business is to supplant us, which he does by insinuating himself, under the appearance of our friend.

To the Society I described the stillness of the first Christians; (Acts ii. 42 ;) who continued in the Apostles' doctrine, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Fri., June 20th. At the desire of some Baptists in Maimsbury, I expounded Rom. vii.; but not at all to their satisfaction. They could not see any higher state of perfection than what is there described.

Sat., June 21st. Such an unaccountable heaviness came over me on the road, that I was forced to light and lie down for a quarter of an hour. I rose refreshed with this little sleep, and rode forward till we met a poor old man of eighty: was enabled to preach the Gospel to his heart. We left him looking up to Jesus, and went on praising God.

My first greeting in Kingswood was by one of our colliers' daughters. I then rejoiced with William Hooper and Hannah Cennick. In the evening at the Malt-room I addressed myself to those in the wilderness. O what simplicity is in this childlike people! A spirit of contrition and love ran through them. Here the seed has fallen upon good ground.

Sun., June 22d. I went to learn Christ among our colliers, and drank into their spirit. We rejoiced for the consolation. 0 that our London brethren would come to school to Kingswood! These are what they pretend to be. God knows their poverty; but they are rich; and daily entering into rest, without being first brought into conclusion. They do not hold it necessary to deny the weak faith, in order to get the strong. Their soul truly waiteth still upon God, in the way of his ordinances. Ye many masters, come learn Christ of these outcasts; for know, except ye be converted, and become like these little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

I met several of those whom I had baptized, and found them grown in grace. Some thousands waited for me at Rose-green, to whom I expounded Ezek. xvi. And surely the Lord passed by, and said to some in their blood," Live." I concluded the day at the men's love-feast. Peace, unity, and love are here. We did not forget our poor distracted brethren that were, till the Moravians came.

How ought I to rejoice at my deliverance out of their hands and spirit! My soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. Abii, erupi, evasi. And did I not love the lambs of Christ, indeed, the grievous wolves, I would see your face no more.

I am no longer a debtor of the Gospel to you. Me ye have fairly discharged; but if you reject my testimony, others receive it gladly, and say, "Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

Tues., June 24th. I preached Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, to one thousand little children at Kingswood. At the room I proceeded in St. John. Some were present who fancy themselves elect, and therefore sink back into their old tempers. Without meddling in the dispute, I rebuked them sharply, yet in much love. I read my Journal to the bands, as an antidote to stillness.

Thur., June 26th. I saw Mrs. T_____ under the buffetings of Satan, to whom she is plainly delivered over, for her pride and envy. O that she may learn hence not to blaspheme, or mimic the Spirit of God, with her imaginary experiences!

In my farther exposition of Ezek. xvi., the secrets of many hearts were revealed. When some cried out, I bade the people be quiet, that Satan might lose his end. Those noisy souls I believed sincere; but he tormented them to make them confound the work, and hinder the word of God. Immediately, as if his device was discovered, the enemy withdrew, and the outcries ceased.

Sat., June 28th. I met the bands in Kingswood, and reproved Hannah Barrow before them all. She would not be convinced of her pride; but was sure she had the witness of the Spirit, and the seal, and what not. I tremble to think what will be the end.

Sun., June 29th. I found the spirit of the colliers before I began to speak. Then my mouth was opened to declare the promise of sanctification, in Ezekiel. I gave the sacrament to about eighty colliers; exhorted the last-baptized; met the men-Leaders; preached to the usual congregation at Rose-green; and returned without strength to the Horsefair.

When I am weak, then I am strong; and was never more enlarged, nor I think so much, as in speaking from that scripture: "Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." Many in that hour found heaven begun upon earth.

Mon., June 30th. I spent a week at Oxford to little purpose but that of obedience to man for the Lord's sake. In the Hall I read my two lectures on Psalm cxxx., preaching repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ. But learned Gallio cared for none of these things.

Yet even in this place God did not leave himself without witnesses. He began to call them forth; but where are they now? all scattered by those refiners on Christianity who make the cross of none effect, and forbid men to remember God in his ways. Therefore, when I came in the name of the Lord Jesus, there was no man; when I called them to Him, there was none to answer; or at most a score, out of the multitude which Mr. Viney found.

Sun., July 6th. I preached at Stanton-Harcourt in the morning, at Southleigh in the afternoon; then expounded blind Bartimeus at Mr. G.'s. The next evening I discoursed on the good Samaritan.

Tues., July 8th. I came to Maimsbury with Mr. Robson; and the next day to Bristol. I met the Lord among his people. Brother Robson said, "It is good for me to be here;" and that the half had not been told him of God's goodness to this little flock.

Fri., July 11th. This morning he preached on Lazarus raised, with the demonstration of the Spirit. I carried him to Kingswood: he was in love with our colliers.

Sat., July 12th. I passed the afternoon with them. They grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be among them, and not perceive the divine presence.

Sun., July 13th. I gave the sacrament to above seventy of them, different from those who received the last time. I preached at Rose green on the fall of man. (Gen. iii.) I dare not depart from the work, while God so strengthens me therein. We walked over the waste to the school, singing and rejoicing. It was their love-feast. Two hundred were assembled in the Spirit of Jesus. Never have I seen and felt such a congregation of faithful souls. I question whether Hernhuth can now afford the like.

Tues., July 15th. To the colliers I described, what many of them have experienced, religion, a participation of the divine nature. At Bristol I pressed the example of the primitive Christians, (Acts it.,) and tasted something of their spirit.

Wed., July 16th. I was convincing the natural man of sin, when a poor sinner cried out vehemently, "What do you mean by looking at me, and directing yourself to me, and telling me I shall be damned?" I did then address myself to him; but he hurried away with the utmost precipitation.

At the time of intercession, the Spirit greatly helped our infirmities. We began with particulars; but at last were enlarged in prayer for all mankind. I dissuaded one who was strongly tempted to leave the fellowship. The devil knows what he does: Divide et impera , will carry the world before him.

While I was meeting the bands, my mouth was opened to rebuke, reprove, exhort, in words not my own. All trembled before the presence of God. I was forced to cut off a rotten member; but I felt such love and pity at the time, as humbled me into the dust. It was as if one criminal was made to execute another. We betook ourselves to fervent prayer for him, and the Society. The Spirit was poured out; and we returned unto the Lord in weeping, and mourning, and praying.

Thur., July 17th. I admitted near thirty new members into the Society.

Sun., July 20th. Our poor colliers being repelled from the Lord's table, by most of the Bristol Ministers, I exhorted them, notwithstanding, to continue daily with one accord in the temple; where the wickedest administrator can neither spoil the prayers, nor poison the sacrament. These poor sinners have ears to hear.

Wed., July 23d. I talked with Mrs. T—, who justifies God, and the wisdom of his children, taking shame to herself, and confessing that spiritual pride was the sole occasion of her fall.

In the bands I reproved one who was fallen asleep again, and yet horribly confident she was in a good way, and should go to heaven if she died that moment. I tried the weapons of our warfare upon her strong-holds, and pulled them down, to the conviction of all but herself. At last she raged and tore like a mad woman; this child of God, with her full assurance of faith! I showed the rest, through her, the deceitfulness of the heart, and the blinding power of Satan.

Thur., July 24th. I went to see her, lest Satan should get irrecoverable advantage over her. She was more mode-rate, but still in the false assurance of unbelief, in the spirit of self-delusion. What an exertion of omnipotence does such a soul require to re-awaken it!

At night I took occasion, from Acts vii., to discourse on the sin of resisting the Holy Ghost. It sent the word home to many souls.

Sun., July 27th. I heard a miserable sermon at Temple church, recommending religion as the most likely way to raise a fortune. After it, proclamation was made, "that all should depart who were not of the parish." While the shepherd was driving away the lambs, I stayed, suspecting nothing, till the Clerk came to me, and said, "Mr. Beacher bids you go away, for he will not give you the sacrament." I went to the vestry-door, and mildly desired Mr. Beacher to admit me. He asked, "Are you of this parish?" I answered, "Sir, you see I am a Clergyman." Dropping his first pretence, he charged me with rebellion in expounding the Scriptures without authority; and said in express words, "I repel you from the sacrament." I replied, "I cite you to answer this before Jesus Christ at the day of judgment." This enraged him above measure. He called out, "Here, take away this man!" The Constables were ordered to attend, I suppose lest the furious soldiers should take the sacrament by force: but I saved them the trouble of taking away this man, and quietly retired.

I preached the Gospel in Kingswood with double power, from Isai. xl.: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God." Before sermon, I declared our brother Cennick's entire agreement with me in the belief of universal redemption; and he confirmed my saying with an hymn of his own. Never did I find my spirit more knit to him.

At Rose-green, though my bodily strength was gone, I was carried out beyond myself in speaking of God's free-grace to sinners.

Mon., July 28th. I spoke searchingly on those words of our Lord: "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come," &c.

Tues., July 29th. One, pestered with the predestinarians, desired me to expound Rom. ix. I did, through Christ strengthening me, in an extraordinary manner. The poor creature Wildboar contradicted and blasphemed, and even called for damnation upon his own soul, if Christ died for all, and if God was willing that all men should be saved. The power of the Lord was present so much the more. Many believed with their heart, and made confession with their mouth, of Jesus Christ the Saviour of all men. I have not known a more triumphant night since I knew Bristol.

Sun., August 3d. I preached Jesus Christ to the colliers from lsai. lxiii.: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?' Great power was in the midst. Many wept. I myself was much affected. At Rose-green my text was, "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness." It rained hard: but that did not interrupt their attention. I was comforted at the women's love-feast.

Tues., August 5th. I talked sharply to Jenny Dechumps, a girl of twelve years old; who now confessed that her fits and cryings out (above thirty of them) were all reigned, that Mr. Wesley might take notice of her.

Wed., August 6th. In great heaviness I spoke to the women-bands, as taking my farewell: sang the hymn which begins,—

"While sickness shakes the house of clay,
And, sapp'd by pain's continued course,
My nature hastens to decay,
And waits the fever's friendly force."

After speaking a few faint words to the brethren, I was immediately taken with a shivering; and then the fewer came. The next morning I was bled, and carried by M. Hooper to her house. There I looked into the Bible, and met with, "The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing, thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness." My pain and disease increased for ten days; so that there was no hope of my life: but then Jesus touched my hand, and rebuked the fever, and it left me. I had no apprehension of death myself It was reported I was dead, and published in the papers: but God had not finished (O that he had effectually begun I) his work in me: therefore he held my soul in life; and made all things work together for my recovery.

Dr. Middleton, an utter stranger to me, God raised up, and sent to my assistance. He refused taking any fees, and told the Apothecary he would pay for my physic, if I could not. He attended me constantly, as the divine blessing did his prescriptions; so that in less than a fortnight the danger was over.

For the next fortnight I recovered slowly, but had little use of my legs, and none of my head. One of our comers, taken ill of the same fever since me, has died in full triumph of faith.

When I was just able to stand, my brother came from London. We rode out most days in Mr. Wane's, or an hired, chariot, comparing our dense temptations and deliverances.

I found myself, after this gracious visitation, more desirous and able to pray; more afraid of sin, more earnestly longing for deliverance, and the ruiness of Christian salvation.

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

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