Picture of Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

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Sept. 17 - Nov. 5, 1756: Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester

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September 17 - November 5, 1756

FRIDAY, September 17th, 1756. At seven I left Bristol with John Downes, and came to Walbridge by two. In the evening several attended the word, and seemed stirred up to watch and pray. I spake to each of the little steady Society. Forty-three have kept together for years, under the care of our brother Watts. There are no disputes or disorders among them. I added a few words, exhorting them to continue steadfast in the communion of the Church of England. We were much refreshed, and parted in great love.

Sat., September 18th. I set out at six, and in three hours reached Cheltenham. The twelve miles thence to Evesham cost us near six hours; but we rode the short, that is, the Yale, way; and have taken our leave of it for ever. By four we got, weary enough, to Mr. Canning's. The preaching-room was full. I exhorted them to watch and pray always, that they might be counted worthy to escape all these things which shah come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Again at seven next morning, and at five in the evening, they received my saying, the Lord applying his own word, both to awaken and to confirm.

I went to church morning and afternoon, and, between the services, visited three or four of the Society, who had been disabled, by age and infirmity, from assembling with their brethren; and were therefore neglected, as not belonging to them. I wrote their names again in the Society-book, with Mr. Canning's family, and J. Watson's, who seemed all resolved to do the first works.

I did not forget to confirm the brethren in their calling; that is, to live and die in the Church of England.

Mon., September 20th. After commending them to God, and to the word of his grace, we rode with our loving guide, J. Watson, toward Birmingham. At Studley he left us, full of his former zeal, and resolved to carry fire among his neighbours of the village to which he is removed.

About two we got to Birmingham, and soon after heard at the door Mr. Ianson's voice. He brought life with him. As a watchman of Israel, I warned a numerous audience of the sword coming. The word seemed to sink into their hearts.

I had not time to meet the Society, but, in conversing with several, I conceived fresh hopes that they will at last become a settled people. Some, who had forsaken us, I received in again.

Tues., September 21st. The Lord gave us a parting blessing. Mr. Ianson's chaise kept pace with us to Ashley, where our brother Adams received us joyfully. The wild beasts here are tamed at least, if not converted. None molested while I pointed them to "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." We prayed earnestly for the conversion of these hardened sinners. I was comforted with the little company of twenty-one, who meet to build up each other. Great life and love was in the midst of them.

Wed., September 22d. I warned them of the impending judgments, and left them standing on the watch-tower. We passed a profitable hour at Donington-Park, with Mr. H. Hr. lanson attended us five or six miles on our way to Nottingham, which we reached by two. I spent the afternoon in taking down the names of the Society, and conversing with them. We rejoiced to meet once more after so long a separation. My subject, both at night and in the morning, was, "I will bring the third part through the fire." It was a time of solemn rejoicing. There had been, twelve months ago, a great revival and increase of the Society: but Satan was beginning again to sow his tares. My coming at this season will, I trust, be the means of preventing a division.

Thur., September 23d. It rained hard all night. John Downes's lame horse detained him at Nottingham, by which the poor people got another sermon. At seven I set out in the rain with a blind guide, who at last blundered out his way to Sheffield. Here also I delivered my own soul, and the people seemed awakened and alarmed. I spake plainly and lovingly to the Society of continuing in the Church; and, though many of them were Dissenters and Predestinarians, none were offended.

Fri., September 24th. I had left William Shent sick in Charles-street; but, to my great surprise, entering brother Green's at Rotherham this morning, the first person I set eyes on was William himself. The Sunday after I left him he had had another fit of his ague; yet on Monday morning he would needs mount his horse, and ride home-ward. He had only one visit from his ague on the road, and grew stronger and stronger by virtue of prayer, more than of physic.

When I was last here the Society were on the brink of a separation, through a party for Mr. Wh——- and Mr. Edwards. They proposed it to honest Mr. Cousins, whose opposing quashed it at that time. I then advised them to go to church. The weak and wavering were confirmed; three or four of the others offended, and said, "I made the church Christ." After preaching as awakening as I could, I plainly told the Society, that "there was no salvation out of the church;" that is, out of the mystical body of Christ, or the company of faithful people. When I had fully explained myself on this head, we were all of one mind and heart. They then suffered the word of exhortation, and were even glad when I said unto them, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."

Sat., September 25th. I encouraged them by that precious promise, "I will bring the third part through the fire;" and parted in great love. At eight I preached on the same subject at Barley-hall; and found there the never-failing blessing. I rode on with William Shent, who was threatened last night with the return of his fever. I was at a loss for a companion to York, when, in passing through Hunslet, one called after me. I turned, and saw Mr. Crook,19 who told me Dr. Cockburn was at his house, and had waited for me this week, to carry me to York. We lighted, and spent a delightful hour with the Doctor (my old schoolfellow) and him, both in their first love; both full of life, and zeal, and simplicity. Mr. Crook pressed me to assist him at the morning sacrament.

Sun., September 26th. At seven I preached to the people at Leeds, on, "Thy kingdom come." The disciples lifted up their heads. I walked with Dr. C——- to Hunslet. Mr. Crook insisted on my preaching; which I did again, from the sane words. His congregation seemed to make no opposition to the truth. There were hundreds of communicants, mostly of Mr. Crook's awakening.

We passed an hour and an half at his house, with the voice of joy and thanksgiving. Then he pressed me into the service again. His church, which holds nearly as many as our preaching-house, was filled from end to end. At his desire, I preached on those words, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Our Lord turned the curse into a blessing.

I doubted my strength, yet set out for Leeds. The room was excessively crowded, both within and without. I was very faint, as I mentioned my text,—" When these things begin to come to pass, then look up," &c. My little strength I increased by using it; and the word refreshed both soul and body. The hearers were variously affected. 0 that all may be found watching!

I could speak of nothing but love in the Society; for I felt nothing else. Great was our rejoicing over each other. Satan, I believe, has done his worst, and will get no farther advantage by exasperating their spirits against their departed brethren. They were unanimous to stay in the Church, because the Lord stays in it, and multiplies his witnesses therein, more than in any other Church in Christendom.

Mon., September 27th. I was surprised at the numbers that flocked to the early preaching, and eagerly received that saying of our Lord, "Behold, I come as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments."

I breakfasted with Miss Norton, and found nothing in my heart towards her but love. She was not so evil-affected towards her forsaken brethren as I expected. Nothing can ever bring such as her back, but the "charity which hopeth all things, beareth all things, endureth all things."

Several came to confer with me, particularly Benjamin S. I had great satisfaction with him. While we were drinking tea at a brother's, Mr. Edwards found me out. We talked freely and lovingly, till the time of preaching. I walked with him to the house. Mr. Crook was another of my hearers. My text was, "His blood be on us, and on our children." The power of the Lord was present more than yesterday. I went to the Church-prayers, with several who have been long dealt with to forsake them utterly. They will stand the firmer, I hope, for their shaking.

Tues., September 28th. I set out with the Doctor and William Shent for York. The rain brought back poor William's ague. I preached from Hab. iii. 2: "O Lord, revive thy work." The crowd made our room excessively hot; but that did not hinder their attention.

Wed., September 29th. Our Preacher stationed here had quite left off preaching in the morning. Many told me I could not get a congregation at five: but I found it otherwise. The room was almost full while I explained, "Being made free from sin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." I insisted largely on freedom from sin, as the lowest mark of faith, and the necessity of labouring after holiness. The hearers appeared much stirred up.

I spent the day in conferring with all comers. The Doctor's house was open to all, and his heart also; his whole desire being to spread the Gospel.

Thur., September 30th. My subject was John v. 14: "Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." I warned them against that sweet doctrine, "Once in grace, always in grace," but not in a controversial way; pointed out some of the infinite ways, whereby they might forfeit their pardon. I exhorted them to go to church, that they might be found of Jesus in the temple; and, above all, to pray always, that that word might be written on their hearts, "Go and sin no more."

The day was well spent in making up a difference which the sower of tares had occasioned among the principal members of the Society.

Between six and seven I got the Society together, with many out of the country, and for two hours showed them how they ought to walk. They gladly received instruction.

Fri., October 1st. I preached again to the awakened, and perceived the word take place. I breakfasted with T. Brook, who has once more left the brethren. I went with him to the minister which he constantly frequents. I met, at his house, Miss T——-, earneestly seeking salvation. The means of awakening her was Theron and Aspasio.

I heard that the young woman who cried out last night under convictions, was the same hour delivered into the glorious liberty of God's children.

I passed an hour at Mr. D.'s, and answered his candid objections. I had an opportunity of vindicating my old friend Benjamin Ingham. It is hard a man should be hanged for his looks, —for the appearance of Moravianism. Their spirit and practices he has as utterly renounced as we have: their manner and phrase cannot so soon be shaken off.

I found out Mercy Bell, and had sweet fellowship with her. I marvel not that the Friends (so fallen from their first simplicity) cannot receive her testimony.

We had a most triumphant watchnight. I began between seven and eight. The enemy did not like our employment, and stirred up his servants without to interrupt us; but our voices prevailed. We sung the "Hymns in a Tumult," with great calmness and consolation. Mr. Williamson's maid was deeply wounded. The shout of a King was in the midst of us; and the people thought it full early to part at eleven.

Sat., October 2d. The whole day was spent in singing, conference, and prayer. I attended the choir service. The people there were marvellously civil, and obliged me with the anthem I desired, Hab. iii., "a feast for a King," as Queen Anne called it. Mr. Williamson walked with me to his house in the face of the sun. I would have spared him; but he was quite above fear. A pious, sensible Dissenter clave to us all day, and accompanied us to the preaching. I discoursed on my favourite subject, "I will bring the third part through the fire." We glorified God in the fire, and rejoiced in hope of coming forth as gold.

Sun., October 3d. From five till near eight I talked closely with each of the Society; then, on Mr. W——n's request, preached on the ordinances from Isai. lxiv. 5: "In those is continuance, and we shall be saved." I dwelt longest on what had been most neglected, —family prayer, public prayer, and the sacrament. The Lord set to his seal, and confirmed the word with a double blessing. I dismissed them at nine. Our Preachers had often kept them till near ten, and thereby hindered their going to church.

I received the sacrament at the minster. It was a solemn passover. They were forced to consecrate twice, the congregation being doubled and trebled through my exhortations and example. Glory be to God alone! I found great faith to pray for him that consecrated; and heard afterwards that it was Mr. B.; one who had known the Methodists from their rise at Oxford, and was no enemy to them. I expect (if I hold out myself) to meet that soul in paradise.

I went to Mr. W——n's church. He read prayers as one that felt them, and then beckoned me. According to our private agreement, I stepped up into the pulpit, when no one expected it, and cried, to a full audience, "The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the Gospel." They were all attention. The word did not return void, but accomplished that for which it was sent. Neither is he that planted anything, neither is he that watereth.

Dr. Cockburn carried me in his chair to Acomb. I lost my voice in the rain, and could not, without much straining, cry, "Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." A Clergyman and the gentry of the place were present. The rain dispersed us in half-an-hour. I attempted to meet the Society at York, but could not speak to be heard. We got thereby a longer evening at the hospitable Doctor's. Mr. W. and his family, &c., were helpers of our joy.

Mon., October 4th. I took my leave in the words of the Apostle, "The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us," &c. From hence I strongly pressed the obedience of faith. We parted in body only.

Through God's blessing on my week's stay among them, I hope, 1. Peace and love are restored; 2. They will recover their rising at five; 3. They are brought back again to church, and sacrament, and family prayer.

Dr. Cockburn and his lady attended me to Tadcaster, where I found both voice and strength to point many earnest souls to the ail-atoning Lamb. The gentry listened as well as the poor. Both dismissed me with blessings.

It rained as soon as we took home. We were quickly wet to the skin, the high wind driving the storm full in our faces. I was most concerned for poor William Shent, and forced him to stop at the first house. There I reproved a countryman for swearing, and gave a word of advice, which was kindly taken. We took refuge again at Seacroft; and enjoyed the last fair hour which brought us to Leeds by two.

I renewed my strength against preaching-time; after which I met the Leaders, and earnestly exhorted them to set a pattern to the flock.

Tues., October 5th. At five I preached in William Shent's shop. I breakfasted at Miss Norton's. There Mr. Edwards20 assured me he "had never desired any one of our children to leave us." Doubtless they did it of their own mere motion: no one ever dealt or took any pains with them about it. No one ever spoke against the Church to unhinge them. They dropped into his mouth, (as our first children into the Count's,) without his ever suspecting it.

If he has robbed us of our children, I bless God to find he has not robbed us of our peace and love. He several times expressed his readiness to preach in our Societies. I only answered, the people could not trust him, that he would not do in every place as he has done in Leeds.

I endeavoured to treat him with due respect and love, according to our rule, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."

I passed the day at Mr. Crook's, who told me his experience. I cannot doubt of his having known the pangs of the new birth. Our brethren question it, because he does not use all their phrases, and cannot follow all their violent counsels. I begged him to do nothing rashly; least of all, to go from his post, preaching everywhere like us.

I drank tea at a sister's, who has been as the troubled sea ever since the separation; and as rough towards all, especially her husband, as Mr. Edwards is smooth. I laboured to quiet her; and she was sensible of the great advantage

Satan had gained over her. Alas for the man by whom the offence cometh!

I walked to Hunslet with William Shent, and heard Mr. Crook expound in the church. I dined with him, and was provoked by his zeal. Returning, I found at my lodgings, and threw away some words on one, wiser in his own eyes than seven men that can render a reason. He entirely justified Mr. Edwards: therefore I can have no confidence in him, that he will not do, were it in his power, as Mr. Edwards has done.

Henry Thornton came to spend an hour or two with us, and we sharpened each other's countenance.

At six I met the Leaders, and inquired into the behaviour of each member of the Society. Upwards of forty Mr. Edwards has carried off; but not by desiring any to leave us. I carried them with me to prayers, and wished them to follow my example, by carrying the whole Society to church with them.

I returned to the room, and explained the believer's privilege, 1 Peter i.: "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."

Thur., October 7th. After a most tempestuous night, I preached to a few, whom the hurricane could not keep from the word.

I had more talk with ——, who frankly confessed, "if any of our Societies should desire him to take charge of them, as a distinct body, he should not refuse them." I told him plainly, that the ground of all such designs was pride: but my words were spoken into the sir.

After church I set out in a storm for Seacroft; and rode on to Aberford. My old friend Mr. Ingham was labouring in the vineyard; but I had the happiness to find Lady Margaret at home, and their son Ignatius. She informed me that his round takes in above four hundred miles; that he has six fe1Iow-labourers, and one thousand souls in his Societies, most of them converted. I sincerely rejoiced in his success. Ignatius would hardly be pacified at my not preaching. We passed an hour and an half very profitably, and set out again. The rain met and drove us to a tree for shelter. We narrowly missed several heavy showers, got safe back to Seacroft before night.

Soon after, our dearest brother Grimshaw found us, and brought a blessing with him. I preached from Luke xxi.: "Take heed to yourselves," &c.; and farther enforced our Lord's warning on the Society. I strongly exhorted to continue steadfast in fellowship with each other, and the whole Church of England. Our hearts were comforted and knit together.

Fri., October 8th. We had another blessed hour with them, before we left this lively people. I continued till one in conference with my worthy friend and fellow labourer, —a man after my own heart I whose love of the Church flows from his love of Christ. With such may my lot be cast in both worlds!

We spent an hour in intercession for the Church and nation. I exhorted the many persons present to continue instant in this prayer, and mark the answer and the end.

I rode with my faithful brother Grimshaw to Bramley. I preached in a large barn (now a convenient chapel) to a multitude of serious souls, who eagerly received our Lord's saying, "Look up, and lift up your heads," &c. They all seemed broad awake, when I called again in the morning, (Saturday, October 9th,) "Watch ye, therefore, and pray always," &c. Their spirit quickened mine. We had sweet fellowship together. I have no doubt but they will be counted worthy to escape, and to stand before the Son of man.

Returning to Leeds, I met my brother Whitefield, and was much refreshed by the account of his abundant labours. I waited on him to our room, and gladly sat under his word. I preached myself at Rothwell. Their large house was full, though it was an harvest-day. I warned them of the impending storm, with much freedom and faith for the sincere; concluding with a warm exhortation to continue in the ship.

Sun., October 10th. From Isel. Ixiv. 8, "In those is continuance, and we shall be saved," I earnestly pressed the duties of constant communicating, of hearing, reading, practising the word, of fasting, of private, family, and public prayer. The Society I advised to continue in fellowship, and never more give place to the sower of tares, the divider of the brethren. I spoke healingly of the breach; told them how to behave toward Hr. Skelton,21 (Charles Skelton was another of the Methodist Preachers, who at this time formed an Independent church out of the Methodist Societies, of which he became the Pastor. He settled in Southwark.—EDIT.) and the rest who have rose up to draw away disciples after them; and insisted on that apostolical precept, "Let all your things be done in charity." I did not mention the author of the late division, being convinced he left us for bread.

The Spirit of love and union was in the midst of us. I came to Birstal before noon. My congregation was less by a thousand or two, through George Whitefield's preaching to-day at Haworth. Between four and five thousand were left to receive my warning from Luke xxi. After church we met again. Every soul seemed to hang on the word. Two such precious opportunities I have not enjoyed this many much for a day. It was the old time revived. A weighty spirit ran through the congregation; and they stood like men prepared to meet the Lord.

Mon., October 11th. After preaching at five to this solid people, I returned to Leeds, and spent an hour with the Leaders. They informed me that my late exhortations have stopped some who were on the point of going over to Mr. Edwards's Society, and brought others back to the Church-ordinances. A woman, in particular, after hearing me on Sunday morning, went to church, which she had long forsaken, and received a manifestation of Jesus Christ in the prayers. I earnestly pressed them to recommend to their brethren, both by advice and example, the neglected duties of family and public prayer; and to watch over the flock with all diligence.

Hearing Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Grimshaw were returning to our watchnight, I waited for them at their lodgings, with zealous, humble, loving Mr. Crook. It rained so hard, that Mr. Whitefield was agreeably surprised at eight to find our house as full as it could cram. They forced me to preach first; which I did from Zech. xiii.: "The third part I will bring through the fire." My brother George seconded me in the words of our Lord: "I say unto all, Watch." The prayers and hymns were all attended with a solemn power. Few, if any, I hope, went unawakened away.

Tues., October 12th. I took my leave of Leeds in prayer at William Shent's. Some having ascribed the division to him, I examined that matter to the bottom, having talked largely with all parties, especially Miss Norton and Mr. Edwards himself. Upon the whole, I am convinced that the ground of all was, Miss Norton's hatred to William Shent. This induced her to draw away Mr. Edwards from us. He could not resist the temptation of a certain provision for his family. Interest blinded his eyes, so that the means to his end seemed right and honest to him, though base and treacherous to us. As for William Shent, I do not find he did more than every upright man would have done on the occasion. He watched to counteract them who were daily seducing our children. He gave early notice to my brother of their design, and thereby drew all their resentment upon himself; as every honest Preacher will qui cum ingeniis conflictatur ejusmodi. Since the separation (Mr. Edwards's friend informed me) he has behaved with such mildness and discretion, as has kept the rest of the flock together, when violence or harsh treatment might have scattered them all.

I preached in Wakefield at ten, to a quieter audience than I have ever met with there.

I took a friendly leave of Miss Norton, who assured me some of our ablest Preachers were entirely in Mr. Edwards's interest. Nec nihil, nec omnia.

I rode to Joseph Bennet's, near Dewsbury, and preached very awakeningly to a mixed, attentive congregation. My vehement exhortation to the Society was on the usual subject, "Continuance in the word," and in prayers, family and public. I passed the evening with Jonas E—d. I would gladly part with five hundred Methodists, to be ordained, and useful like him.

Wed., October 13th. The word at Birstal was clothed with power, both to awaken and to confirm. My principal concern is for the disciples, that their houses may be built on the rock, before the rains descend. I hear in most places the effect of the word; but I hearken after it less than formerly, and take little notice of those who say they receive comfort, or faith, or forgiveness. Let their fruits show.

I preached at night, and rejoiced in steadfast hope of being brought through the fire.

Thur., October 14th. I baptized & Dissenter's child, and set out with faithful Titus Knight for Halifax. A mixed multitude listened to the word: "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." I have not found so great freedom in any place as this, where I expected least.

I set out in hard rain for Bradford. My subject there was Hab. iii. 2: "0 Lord, revive thy work," &c. Many Dissenters were present: some of them, I believe, were reached; for I spake in irresistible love, and warned them to flee from the wrath to come.

Fri., October 15th. After preaching, I gathered into the fold a wandering sheep, whom J. Wh—d's pride and folly had scattered. Having lost her first love, she married an unconverted man; whereupon the Society gave her up for lost. I rejoiced to find her miserable in prosperity, and restless to recover her only happiness.

I found comfort in the first lesson at church. (Wisdom v.) I could be glad to attend the public prayer constantly, for my own, as well as for example's, sake.

The preaching-house was filled with those that came from far. Our Lord did not send them empty away. A girl of fourteen (who had walked from Birstal) told me, she seemed carried under the word, as out of the body. What to call the manifestation of the Spirit then given her, time and temptation will show.

Near two hours more we rejoiced at a primitive love-feast.

Sat., October 16th. I breakfasted again with my lost sheep that is found, for whose sake chiefly I believe myself sent to Bradford. Last night at the love-feast she recovered her shield. I took my leave of the brethren in that proraise, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." I rode with faithful Thomas Colbeck to Keighley. I found at four a large, handsome room well filled. I did my office as a watchman, and delivered my own soul. Mr. Grimshaw assisted at the Society. I recommended family-religion with all my might. For near an hour and an half the cloud stayed on the assembly.

Sun., October 17th. We had no room to spare at six in the morning, while I commended them to God, and to the word of his grace. I preached a second time at Haworth, (Mr. Grimshaw reading prayers,) from Psalm xlvi. 8: "O come hither, and behold the works of the Lord, what destruction he hath brought on the earth. He maketh wars to cease in all the world," &c. My mouth was opened to declare the approaching judgments, and the glory which shall follow, when the Lord is exalted in all the earth. The church, which had been lately enlarged, could scarce contain the congregation; who seemed all to tremble at the threatenings, or rejoice in the promises, of God.

We had a blessed number of communicants, and the Master of the feast in the midst. I prayed and exhorted afterwards. Our hearts were lifted up to meet Him in his glorious kingdom.

After an hour's interval we met again, as many as the church-walls could contain; but twice the number stood without, till the prayers were over. Then I mounted a scaffold, and, lifting up my eyes, saw the fields white unto harvest. We had prayed for a fair day, and had the petitions we asked. The church-yard, which will hold thousands, was quite covered. God gave me a voice to reach them all. I warned them of those fixings which shall come to pass, and warmly pressed them to private, family, and public prayer; enlarged on the glorious consequences there-of, even deliverance from the last plagues, and standing before the Son of man. I concluded, and began again; for it was an accepted time. I do not remember when my mouth has been more opened, or my heart more enlarged.

A young Preacher of Mr. Ingham's came to spend the evening with me at Mr. Grimshaw's. I found great love for him, and wished all our sons in the Gospel were equally modest and discreet.

Mon., October 18th. He accompanied us to Heptonstal; where I preached at ten on Isal. lxiv. 5: "In those is continuance, and we shall be saved." I was very faint when I began: the more plainly did it appear that the power was not of man, but of God. I warned them of the wiles of the devil, whereby he would draw them away from the Church, and the other means of grace. I spake as the oracles of God, and God gave testimony, bowing the hearts of all present, except a few bigoted Baptists. We went on our way rejoicing to Ewood.

There the hard rain cut short my discourse from Ezek. ix. Mr. Allen could not leave us yet; but rode with us next morning (Tuesday, October 19th) as far as Gawksholm. I stood on a scaffold at the foot of a high mountain, having all the people in front, and called, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." The word was as a two-edged sword. I knew not then, that several Baptists were present, a carnal, cavilling, contentious sect, always watching to steal away our children, and make them as dead as themselves. Mr. Allen informed me that they have carried off no less than fifty out of one Society, and that several Baptist meetings are wholly made out of old Methodists. I talked largely with Mr. Grimshaw, how to remedy the evil. We agreed, 1. That nothing can save the Methodists from falling a prey to every seducer but close walking with God, in all the commandments and ordinances, especially the word and prayer, private, family, and public; 2. That the Preachers should be allowed more time in every place, to visit from house to house, after Mr. Baxter's manner; 3. That a small treatise be written, to ground and preserve them against seducers, and lodged in every family.

We came to Bolton with the night. Above forty of this poor shattered people still keep together. Many of those without flocked to the word. In great bodily weakness I warned them to fly to the city of refuge; tried to calm the spirits of our children; and we were comforted together through hope of our Lord's appearing.

Wed., October 20th. I talked kindly to poor J. Whitford, who seemed quite sick of his separate congregation, so headstrong and untractable; so like their humble slave and teacher! His principles as well as spirit have cut off his retreat:

Vestigia nulla retrorsum,

when once a Methodist Preacher has abused both ours and our children's confidence, by setting up for himself. This he could never think of, till the salt had lost its savour.

The ram quickened our pace to Manchester. I took up my lodgings at Mr. Philips's. My subject at night was, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up." Many Arian and Socinian Dissenters were present, and gnashed upon me with their teeth, while I preached the coming of Jesus Christ, the one eternal self-existing God, to take vengeance on them, and on all his enemies, who would not have him to reign over them.

Thur., October 21st. I finished my discourse to our Lord's disciples. I parted with my right hand, my brother and bosom-friend, Grimshaw. I breakfasted at Mrs. F.'s, and rejoiced to find that, though she had left us, she had not utterly forsaken God. Her soul has suffered loss; yet her good desires remain. Here my old friend J. Bolton found me out, and confirmed his love to me.

From church I went to dine with our sister Rider, still waiting for the Consolation of Israel. I drank tea with Dr. Byrom, and was hard put to it to defend my brother's book against Mr. Law. We got at last to a better subject, and parted, not without a blessing.

At night I discoursed on Titus ii 11. I spoke close and home on practical faith and relative duties; but more closely still to the Society.

It seems the famous Mr. Roger Ball is now among them, picking up their pence and their persons. They were smit with admiration of so fine a man, (Thomas Williams himself was nothing to him,) and invited him to settle with them. Another new Preacher they have also got, a young Baptist, who is gathering himself & meeting out of them, like the Baptist teachers who have borrowed so many of Mr. Grimshaw's children. Our Society in Manchester was upward of two hundred; but their itching ears have reduced them to half the number.

To these I showed the melancholy state of the members of the Established Church, who are the most unprincipled and ignorant of all that are called Protestants; and therefore exposed to every seducer who thinks it worth his while to turn them Dissenters, Moravians, or Papists. I told them, "Of all the members of the Church of England the poor Methodists are most exposed, because serious, and therefore worth stealing; and of all the Methodists those of Manchester are in the greatest danger, because the most unsettled and unadvisable." I challenged them to show me one Methodist who had ever prospered by turning Dissenter. I asked, what would become of them when my brother should die; whether they would not then be scattered, and broken into twenty sects, old and new. To prevent this, I advised them, 1. To get grace, or the love and power of God, which alone could keep and stablish their hearts; 2. To continue in all the means of obtaining this, especially the word, and prayer of all kinds; to read the Scriptures daily; to go constantly to church and sacrament.

I make more allowance for this poor shattered Society, because they have been sadly neglected, if not abused, by our Preachers. The Leaders desired me not to let come among them again; for he did them more harm than good, by talking in his witty way against the Church and Clergy. As for poor ——, he could not advise them to go to church, for he never went himself; but some informed me, that he advised them not to go. When we set the wolf to keep the sheep, no wonder that the sheep are scattered.

Our brother Johnson tells me, since he sent the people back to church, two have received forgiveness in tile prayers there; and two more in the sermon of a Church Minister. There are now three sound preachers in these parts. If they continue steadfast, they may undo the great evil which the unsound Preachers have done, and confirm our children in their calling.

I cannot leave them in so unsettled a condition; and therefore intend, with God's leave, to spend another week among them. I talked with the Leaders, and earnestly pressed them to set an example to the flock, by walking in all the commandments and ordinances.

I wrote my thoughts to my brother as follows :—

"Mr. Walker's letter deserves to be seriously considered. One only thing occurs to me now, which might prevent in great measure the mischiefs which will probably ensue after our death; and that is, greater, much greater deliberation and care in admitting Preachers. Consider seriously, if we have not been too easy and too hasty in this matter. Let us pray God to show us, if this has not been the principal cause, why so many of our Preachers have lamentably miscarried. Ought any new Preacher to be received before we know that he is grounded, not only in the doctrines we teach, but in the discipline also, and particularly in the communion of the Church of England? Ought we not to try what he can answer a Baptist, a Quaker, a Papist, as well as a Predestinarian or Moravian? If we do not insist on that storgh for our desolate mother as a pre-requisite, yet should we not be well assured that the candidate is no enemy to the Church

"Is it not our duty to stop J. C., and such like, from railing and laughing at the Church? Should we not now, at least, shut the stable-door. The short remains of my life are devoted to this very thing, to follow our sons (as C. P. told me we should you) with buckets of water, to quench the flame of strife and division, which they have or may kindle."

Fri., October 22d. After preaching I talked with several of the Society, particularly a young woman, who seemed quite overwhelmed with the love of Christ, which she received yesterday in private prayer. I went to St. Anne's prayers, and thence to the room. We began our first hour of intercession. Many more than I expected were present. I gave an exhortation, showing the end of our meeting every Friday, as Englishmen and members of the Church of England, to deprecate the national judgments, and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I have rarely known so solemn an assembly. They were pleased to hear, that we design to continue meeting every week.

I went thence to seek that which was lost, poor H. O. He made me very happy by his misery, and restlessness to return. Once more, I trust, there will be joy in heaven over him.

I began in the evening to expound the whole armour of God, Eph. vi. After I had done, the famous Mr. Ball lifted up his voice; and a magnificent voice it was. I bade our people depart in peace, which they did. The enemy roared some time in the midst of the room, (not congregation,) threatening me, for scandalizing him, and depriving his family of their bread. I believe he is defrauded of his prey through my coming in in ipso temporis articulo, when he promised himself a good provision out of our Society. No wonder Satan rages at his disappointment.

I met the Society in calm love. There was no farther need of my mentioning Satan's apostle; for he has sufficiently showed himself. The snare is thereby broken, and the simple souls delivered. I lovingly exhorted them to stand fast in one mind and one spirit, in the old paths or ways of God's appointing. Henceforth they will not believe every spirit. The Lord stablish their hearts with grace!

Experience convinces me more and more, that the Methodists can never prosper, or even stand their ground, unless they continue steadfast in the ordinances. The Society here used to be scattered on the Lord's day in the fields, or sleeping in their houses. This invited all the beasts of the forest to devour them. Suffice the time that is past. We are not ignorant now of Satan's devices.

Sat., October 23d. I proceeded to expound the whole armour of God. We were a little too early for Mr. Ball and his friends, two of whom last night had laid violent hands on me. One was a sister of ours fill her curiosity betrayed her into the hands of Mr. Ball.

I breakfasted at brother Barlow's, and rejoiced in the remembrance of his blessed sister, now in glory. For seven years she adorned the Gospel in all things.

I took horse with brother Philips for Hatfield, which we reached by one. The sun shone all day without a cloud, to the great comfort of the poor husbandmen. I found at Hatfield just such a family as was once at Fonmon-castle. The master indeed was absent, but had left word that his church and house expected me.

I preached at seven to an house-full of the parishioners, on, "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out," &c. I did not spare them. They bore my plain speaking. The awakened were much comforted.

The voice of joy and thanksgiving is in the habitations of the righteous. I thought I was got back to Mr. Jones's castle. We continued our triumph two hours longer, and could hardly part at last, and not without grudging our bodies their necessary rest.

Sun., October 24th. I spent from seven to eight in advising and praying with the sincere, whom Mr. B—— has divided into classes like ours. I read prayers at ten, and preached the one thing needful. The Lord filled my mouth with awakening words. I never spake more convincingly. All seemed to feel the sharp two-edged sword.

The church was fuller than was ever known in a morning; but in the afternoon it was crowded every corner of it. I tasted the good word while reading it. Indeed the Scripture comes with double weight to me in a church. If any pity me for my bigotry, I pity them for their blind prejudice, which robs them of so many blessings.

My text was Lam. i. 12: "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold," &c. The love of Christ crucified melted many hearts. I addressed myself by turns to the unawakened, the sincere, and the backsliders. For an hour God enabled me to speak with convincing and comforting power. After the Psalm I began again, and recapitulated the whole. Why does God always accompany the word with a double blessing when preached in the church? Is it a sign that he is leaving or that he is returning to it ~ I have never been more assisted since I left Bristol, than in this church, and Mr. Crook's, and Mr. Williamson's. Those of the Methodist Preachers who have faith and patience, may, by and by, have all the churches in England opened to them. I got another blessed, lively hour with the Society. Then my whole stock of strength was exhausted.

Mon., October 25th. From six to seven I warned and exhorted them with many tears, tasting the bitterness of life, and the various evils we are still to be brought through. By eleven I returned to Manchester.

Here I rejoiced to hear of the great good Mr. Whitefield has done in our Societies. He preached as universally as my brother. He warned them everywhere against apostasy; and strongly insisted on the necessity of holiness after justification, illustrating it with this comparison: "What good would the King's pardon do a poor malefactor dying of a fever? So, notwithstanding you have received forgiveness, unless the disease of your nature be healed by holiness, ye can never be saved." He beat down the separating spirit, highly commended the prayers and services of our Church, charged our people to meet their bands and classes constantly, and never to leave the Methodists, or God would leave them. In a word: he did his utmost to strengthen our hands, and deserves the thanks of all the churches, for his abundant labour of love.

I consulted the Leaders what could be done for this unstable people. Richard Barlow and the rest ascribed their fickleness to their neglect of the means, particularly going to church; "and when we advised them to it, they would answer us, ' The Preachers do not advise us to go, neither do they go themselves.'" Nay, some spoke against it, even those we most confided in. My brother and I must wink very hard not to see the hearts of such men.

Tues., October 26th. My former friend Mr. Clayton read prayers at the old church, with great solemnity.

I spent the day in writing letters at sister Fanshaw's, whom I have received again into the fold. She had never left us in heart; but the cares of the world interrupted her outward fellowship. She seems now resolved to live and die with the poor afflicted people of God.

I made up a quarrel of many months' standing between two sisters. The occasion of it was absolutely nothing. Such is the subtlety of our adversary!

After preaching I examined three of the most wavering classes, and persuaded all, except the Dissenters, to go back to church and sacrament. The treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. Even before our departure the grievous wolves are entered in, not sparing the flock. How much more, after our departure, will men arise of ourselves, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them!

Wed., October 27th. I preached from Rom. vi. 22: "But now being made free from sin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." The Lord confirmed his word with a double blessing.

I went, with G. Haughton, to the old church, as usual. I preached at six; then met, and lovingly reproved, Society. I talked with more of the classes, and could find only two who would not take advice. Amalek had smote the hindmost: so I let Amalek take them, at least while they prefer Mr. Ball to all the Methodists. The rest, a few Dissenters excepted, determined to live and die with us in the communion of the Church of England.

Thur., October 28th. Mr. Fanshaw dragged his feeble body to the early preaching. After all his wanderings and back-slidings, we have received him again, as we trust, forever.

I preached at noon near Davy-Hulme, with great enlargement, to a simple-hearted people, who made me some amends for my long exercise at Manchester.

I passed the remainder of the day with some Manchester friends, who are not of the Society. The unsteadiness of our children has kept many from venturing among us.

I began our watchnight exactly at seven, and concluded a quarter before eleven. Hereby we had more time with less inconvenience; and the whole congregation stayed from first to last. I expounded the ten virgins. The solemn power of God rested upon us. It was one of tile happiest nights I have known.

I was constrained to write the following letters:-


"Manchester, October 29th.

"I COULD not leave this poor shattered Society so soon as I proposed. They have not had fair play from our treacherous sons in the Gospel; but have been scattered by them as sheep upon the mountains. I have once more persuaded them to go to church and sacrament, and stay to carry them thither the next Lord's day.

"Nothing but grace can keep our children, after our departure, from running into a thousand sects, a thousand errors. Grace, exercised, kept up, and increased in the use of all the means, especially family and public prayer, and sacrament, will keep them steady. Let us labour, while we continue here, to ground and build them up in the Scriptures, and all the ordinances. Teach them to handle well the sword of the Spirit, and the shield of faith. Should I live to see you again, I trust you will assure me, there is not a member of all your Societies but reads the Scripture daily, uses private prayer, joins in family and public worship, and communicates constantly. ' In those is continuance, and we shall be saved.'"


"GRACE and peace be multiplied! I thank my God, on your behalf, for the grace which is given unto you, by which ye stand fast in one mind and in one spirit. My Master, I am persuaded, sent me unto you at this time to confirm your souls in the present truth, in your calling, in the old paths of Gospel-ordinances. 0 that ye may be a pattern to the flock for your unanimity and love! 0 that ye may continue steadfast in the word, and in fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, (private, family, and public,) till we all meet around the great white throne!

"'I knew beforehand that the Sanballats and Tobiahs would be grieved when they heard there was a man come to seek the welfare of the Church of England. I expected they would pervert my words, as if I should say, ' The Church could save you.' So, indeed, you and they thought, till I and my brethren taught you better, and sent you in and through all the means to Jesus Christ. But let not their slanders move you. Continue in the old ship. Jesus hath a favour for our Church; and is wonderfully visiting and reviving his work in her. It shall be shortly said, 'Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her.' (Isai. lxvi. 10, &c.)

"Blessed be God, ye see your calling. Let nothing hinder your going constantly to church and sacrament. Read the Scriptures daily in your families, and let there be a church in every house. The word is able to build you up; and if ye watch and pray always, ye shall be counted worthy to stand before the Son of man.

"Watch ye, therefore, stand fast in the faith, quit yourselves like men, be strong: let all your things be done in love. I rejoice in hope of presenting you all in that day. Look up, for your eternal redemption draweth near."

As the people here leave work at twelve, we pitched upon that hour for our intercession. Many flocked to the house of mourning; and again the Lord was in the midst of us, making soft our hearts, and helping our infirmity to pray. We never want faith in praying for King George, and the Church of England.

I recovered another straggler; as I do every day. The enemy has had a particular grudge to this Society. His first messenger to them was a still sister, who abounded in visions and revelations. She came to them as in the name of the Lord, and forbade them to pray, sing, or go to church. Her extravagance at last opened their eyes, and delivered them from the snare of mysticism. Then the Quakers, the predestinarians, the dippers, desired to have them to sift them like wheat. They were afterwards thrust sore at by Mr. Bennet, Williams, Whcatley, Cudworth, Whitford, Ball. It is a miracle that two of them are left together; yet, I am persuaded, the third part will be brought through the fire.

I examined more of the Society. Most of them have known the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: several received it at church; one in the Litany, another in the Lord's Prayer. With that word, "Thy kingdom come," Christ came into his heart. To many he has been made known in the breaking of bread.

Sat., October 30th. I dined with my candid friend and censor Dr. Byrom. I stood close to Mr. Clayton in church,(as all the week past,) but not a look would he cast towards me;

"So stiff was his parochial pride,"

and so faithfully did he keep his covenant with his eyes, not to look upon an old friend when called a Methodist.

Sun., October 31st. I spake from five to seven with the rest of the classes. I left out Richard Glover, with his second wife, whom he has married, contrary to my advice, when his first was scarce cold in her grave. This scandalous practice, seldom named among the Heathen, should never be tolerated among Christians. I refused tickets to James and Eliz. Ridgworth, till they should have enough of Mr. Ball. All the others were willing to follow my advice, and go constantly to church and sacrament. The Dissenters I sent to their respective meetings.

At seven I found freedom to explain and enforce Isai. lxiv. 5: "In those is continuance, and we shall be saved." It struck eight before I had got half through my subject.

I breakfasted with a wanderer, and brought him back to his brethren. We were all at the old church; heard a good sermon from Mr. Clayton on constant prayer; and joined to commemorate our dying Lord. Mr. M——-, the senior Chaplain, sent for me up to the table, to administer first to me, with the other Clergy. I know not when I have received a greater blessing. The addition of fourscore communicants made them consecrate twice or thrice. A few of our Dissenting brethren communicated with us, and confessed to me afterwards, that the Lord met them at his table. It was a passover much to be remembered. We renewed our solemn covenant with God, and received fresh strength to run the race set before us.

I dined at Adam Oldham's. The first was become last; but is now, I hope, becoming first again. I re-admitted both him and his wife into the Society, with several others, who were fallen off.

From the new church I walked to our crowded room; and once more preached up the ordinances. Now the long-delayed blessing came: the skies as it were poured down righteousness. The words I spoke were not my own; therefore they made their way into many hearts.

I received double power to exhort the Society, (now upwards of one hundred and fifty members,) and believed for them that they will henceforth walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.

Mon., November 1st. I met about a score of the Dissenters at four, and administered the Lord's supper, to the great consolation of us all.

I took my leave in the promise we wait for, "I will bring the third part through the fire;" and left a blessing behind me. Mr. Philips attended me as far as Stone. The heavens smiled upon us all day.

Tues., November 2d. I took horse at seven, and came safe by two to my old friend Francis Ward, in Wednesbury.

At night I enforced the divine counsel, Isai. xxvi. 20: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity."

I found much freedom of love among my oldest children, and they readily received my warnings; which I repeated the next morning (Wednesday, November 3d) from Psalm xlvi. I employed the morning in visiting the sick and shut up. Three or four stragglers I gathered in. I comforted our sister Spittle, left with five small children by her husband, who was lately killed in a coal-pit, by the earth falling in. No death could be sudden to him. John Eaton was killed by falling into a pit. His daughter Edge told me, she was warned by a repeated dream of his death; and begged him in vain not to go out that morning.

While I was talking with her, a woman came in, and accosted me in such a bold, violent manner, that I told her I did not like her spirit. This raised and called it forth. She quickly showed herself a Nicolaitan, by her boisterous, shocking Antinomian assurance. I told her she was a false witness for God; to which she horribly answered, "If I am a liar, God himself is a liar." I shut up the discourse with, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

I was much assisted, both at one and at seven, to warn many listening souls of the flood coming. There was great life in the Society. All the first, I am confident, shall not become last.

Thur., November 4th. I left that promise upon their hearts, "I will bring the third part through the fire;" and took horse with James Jones. I encouraged the remnant at Birmingham with the same words; and rode on to Worcester.

About a score I had left here some years ago; twelve of whom are fallen off to the Quakers, seeking the living among the dead. I described the last times to between forty and fifty at our sister Blackmore's; and it was a solemn time of refreshing.

Fri., November 5th. I set out before day with faithful John Domford. We lodged at Cambridge inn; and, by eleven on Saturday morning, November 6th, God brought me safe to my friends in Bristol.


19 The Curate of Hunslet.

20 Mr. Edwards left the Methodist ministry, and formed an Independent church in Leeds, of which he became the Pastor.

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

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