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wicked man should thus torment me in the street and prison, and I was able to tie his head and heels together. I found an old man's bone in me; but the Lord lifted up a standard, when anger was coming in like a fluod, else I should have wrung his neck to the ground, and set my foot upon him; which would have brought a reproach upon the gospel, and wounded my own soul. But God is good to me, for he sbewed me the danger, and delivered me from it in a moment. Then could I look on him with pity, and pray for him from the ground of my heart. I
gave several books away in this town also ; which we left the next morning
I was much surprised at the good nature of the soldiers in all this march, for I believe twenty offered to carry the gun
for me, or any thing else I had. God, I found, supported me wonderfully in all these trials ; for I could travel fifteen or twenty miles fasting, as well as those who eat or drank two or three times by the way. Surely man doth not live by bread alone ; but the Lord is the strength of Israel ; the Defender of all them that put their trust in him. O God, be thou my guide unto death!
We got to Durham by nine on Monday ; but, in our way, we had a river to cross, and were obliged to wade through it. The day was very hot, so that I had sweat much, and caught cold immediately. I found myself much out of order when we got to Durham, and desired I might lie down a little. Corporal W-lay down with me, and fell asleep. At twelve I awoke suddenly, as if some man had called me, and said to the corporal, “ I must go to the market-place directly, for what I know not, neither which way to go to it.” 6. Nor 1,” said he ; “ but I will go with you, and we can inquire the way.” Accordingly we did ; and just as we got thither, my brother Westell was inquiring for me among the soldiers. « Well," said Mr. W-, * I never saw such a thing in all my
life, that you should thus awake, and come to meet your friend the minute he came to seek for you.”.
We were much comforted together. He told me that Mr. John Wesley would be at Durham soon after four ! o'clock. I gave God thanks for that news.
We went to a common about a mile from the town, and there we met Mr. Wesley. My heart rejoiced to see him, and great reason have I to give God thanks that I ever saw him, who was an instrument in God's hand of plucking me as a brand out of the fire. And I have found him God's messenger for my good ever since.
We came to the sign of the Angel, and had some conversation together. He exhorted me to watch and pray ; and did not doubt but my captivity would turn to the glory of God, and the furtherance of the gospel. At six I went to answer to my call, and Mr. Wesley went into the Minster.
Afterwards, I and Thomas Beard, my fellow-prisoner, met Mr. Wesley, and our brother Errington, and went with them to the inn, and stayed till nine. Mr. Wesley said, “ Brother Nelson, lose no time ; speak, and spare not : for God hath work for
you to do in every place where your lot is cast; and when you have fulfilled his good pleasure, he will break your bonds in sunder, and we shall rejoice together.” When we had prayed together, we commend ed each other to the grace of God, and so parted in body, but not in spirit.
Next morning the drum beat at one, and we were called up in the market-place, and caused to stand till three, and then marched off for Sunderland, which we reached by nine. When we were brought up into the town, I heard several of the inhabitants say one to another, “ This is the Methodist mentioned in the newspapers, for his look is not like other men's." Oh, my God, why am I and
fel lows become men that are wondered at !
While we stood, a landlord came to us, and said, “ Sir, I wish would quarter at my house, for I expect two, and shall be glad to have you for one, and whom you choose for a comrade." I chose corporal W-, and asked for a billet as the man desired, but could not get it; yet I believe we got the best quarters we could have in Sunderland. Thus I see, if we acknowledge God in all our ways, he will direct our paths,
When I went to exercise, many came to see me, and I fell into discourse with them ; but could get no hold of them; for they assented and consented to all I said, and were so full of what the world calls good manners, that all I spake was as if written on the sand, though I talked with them several days. Yet some, I trust, will be mindful of their everlasting welfare.
On Saturday night I was ordered to stand sentry on the Sunday following, but I desired I might stand another day,
for my guard. I believe ten men offered to stand for me, but all in vain ; for the ensign, who had shewed hatred against me all along, was the officer of the guard that day, and he protested he would make me do it myself. I asked, “ Sir, what have 1 done, that I cannot have the same liberty as another man?” He answered, “ You love the church too well, and I will keep you from it, and make them
my God, from all anger, or ill-will, for this man is set to prove
I went to the guard house, and many came to talk with me, but I did stand sentry till six on Monday morning. The ensign saying in the street, “ 1 should not go to church, because I loved it,” drew many of the people to me; and will turn, I am persuaded, to the furtherance of the gospel.
The week after, Mr. M. came. He had heard what the ensign had done, and came to me, and asked me how I did ; and said, “ I am informed Mr. A-hindered you from going to church ; but I will assure you, you shall not be hindered again as long as you are with us.” I have found something of good in this man ever since I knew him. He will hear reason, and seems to make a conscience both of his words and actions. I was near an hour in his chamber, and he asked me of the principal points of our doctrine. I made them as plain to him as I could, and he heard me with great candour, and said, he had no fault at all to find with it. He told me, “ The first time that ever I saw you, I saw you were no vagrant, but it would be a scandal to all who were concerned in sending or receiving such an one ; for the act of parliament does not reach such
as you. But the rest of the officers said they could not help it, for you were delivered to us as a soldier by the justices, and they are the rogues.” “ No, Sir," I answered, “ the justices are in no fault, for I was never before one of them yet.” He said, “Who sent you, then?” I replied, “ The commissioners." “What had they against you ?” “ The accusation against me, by the constable’s deputy, was, · He preaches to the people ;' and he also confessed that he knew no other evil of me.' « Well, but the Act of Toleration clears you from that being a crime. What, had you no man to speak for you” “ Yes, several were ready, but none were suffered to do it; neither were the papers regard. ed, which my honest neighbours and gentlemen sent on my behalf; for one of the commissioners was the parson parish, and he was the evidence against me, and they said, they would hear no other.”
“ Nay," said Mr. My" it is no wonder they treated you so, if the priest was concerned ; for they have been at the head of all persecutions for religion, which has been since the world began. I see them so wicked, that I do not mind religion at all. But this is my religion : I believe there is one God, and that Christ his Son died for the world : I strive to do honestly to all men, and to do a good turn to the meanest, if I can; and I think my religion is better than theirs, who preach one thing and do another ; for I have seen so much of them, that I assure you I would hear you as soon as any in the land.”
He said, he should like to read some of our books; so I made him a present of An earnest Appeal, The Character of a Methodist, and the sermon, Awake thou that sleepest.
He has since told me, that he has read them, and likes them well.
This day he procured me a furlough to Newcastle, for seven days; and I found I did not go up without the Lord; for my soul, and those of the people, were refreshed with the love of God. Several of the soldiers, came to hear me preach, and gave great attention to the things which were spoken. I found great freedom to speak to the children, whom God had called out of the evil world, to serve him in
this place. Watch over them, O my God, for good, and be thou their guide unto death!
On Tuesday my time was out to go back. I preached at Painshee in the afternoon, to an attentive congregation, and got to Sunderland by seven at night. This week I received a letter from Mr. Charles Wesley, that the E. of S. had assured the Lady Huntingdon, that I should be set at liberty in a few days. I said, " The Lord hath not forgotten to be gracious, for he hath taken my cause in hand, and it shall turn to his glory; for he alone hath done the work, when all human means seemed to fail.” My enemies cried, “ We have made his bonds strong, and none can deliver him out of our snare ; for we have put it out of the officers' power to discharge him for any price.” Lord, I beseech thee open their eyes, and let them see the snare which Satan hath made for their souls, and escape by speedy repentance, and faith in thy blood.
This week I was much out of health by the surfeit I got in marching, but found present ease by being blooded. The week following I was sent for by the captain to the store house ; and he insisted on my going, though I was so ill. When I came there, he and three more officers came and asked me how I did ?” I told them, and they said, “ Here is a good coat to keep you from the cold, that you may recover your health.” I said, “ I have coats enough, if that will do: I need none of yours." They said, they would make me wear it, and all other clothing belonging to a soldier.” I answered, “ You may array me as a man of war, but I shall never fight." They asked me, " What is your reason?” My answer was, “ I cannot see any thing in this world worth fighting for. I want neither its riches nor honours, but the honour that cometh from God only. I regard neither its smiles nor its frowns, and have no business in it, but to get well out of it.”
Then they ordered the sergeant to pull off my coat, and put a red one on me. When he had done it, they turned me round, and rejoiced over me. I said, “ You see the scripture cannot be broken, where it saith,. If they do this in the green tree, what will they do in the dry?'”