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6. What do you mean by that,” they asked. I answered, “ The soldiers took Jesus and stripped him, and put a scarlet robe upon him, and mocked him, as you have treated me, his servant, this day, for speaking his words. He indeed hath the greater condemnation who delivered me into your hands : but I pray God forgive you all.”—These words turned their countenance and behaviour toward me, and one of them laboured much from that time to find some way for me to be set at liberty.
During my three weeks' illness, many of the brethren and sisters from Newcastle, Biddick, and Painshee, came to see me ; and God was pleased at that time to give some the knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins, and to comfort all our hearts with his love. O may we ever keep his commandments, that we may continue in his love, even as he hath kept his Father's commandments, and continued in his love !
On Friday, July 27, John Graham, of Sunderland, came to me with an open letter in his hand, and said, “ Come, my friend, I have good news for thee. God hath heard the prayers of his people in thy behalf, and sent thee deliverance. Here, read this letter, which the major hath sent to the captain on thy account.” It was on this wise, « I have received an order from the Earl of S. to discharge John Nelson, who was prest from Birstal, in the West Riding of Yorkshire; therefore take his arms and clothing from him which he hath received, and let me know if he had
any pay since he came, and send him to me with a furlough. Accordingly I delivered all things I had belonging to them, to lieutenant M. who said, he was glad I was to be released, and wished me well wheresoever I went. furlough given me, and set out in the afternoon with some that were come from Newcastle to see me; and got there by seven.
All the society gave God thanks on my behalf as soon as they saw me; for they had knowledge of my deliverance before I had. Next morning I went to the major's quarters about nine. When I had waited about an hour, I was ordered to come at half an hour past eleven. I did so, and
I had a
waited another hour. Then the major called to me, and
will be sure to find him to-morrow morning. I told him, that would not do for me ; for my business was not to be done on the Sabbath.
Near six in the evening, I saw the major go along the street, and followed him to his lodgings : he said, “ I have an order from Lord S- to discharge you."
He sent for the adjutant, and ordered him to bring two printed discharges with him. He came, and three more of the officers with him, and filled up the discharge. When he had done, he said, I wish all the men in our regiment would behave as well as Mr. Nelson has done since he has been among us; it would be better for us and them too.” Then our licutenant said, “ Indeed, he has done much good since he came among us ; for we have not had one-third of the cursing and swearing in the regiment which we had before he came. And he has given me several private exhor. tations, and some of their books; and I thank him for them, and for his advice, for they are good.” Then the major said, “ I wish I had a regiment of such me'n as he is in all respects, save that one, his refusing to fight; I would not care what enemy I had to meet, or where my lot was cast." “ Sir, if
have no need to fear any thing else : for they that fear him depart from evil, and seek to do his will, and not their own ; they know that in his hand are the issues of life and death, Therefore they fear not him that can kill the bady only, but him who can destroy buth body and soul in hell. And every one that has this fear is truly wise : but he that dare commit sin, his wisdom is the foolishness of folly : for he is pulling destruction on his own head, and fitting himself for the fuel of hell-fire. But he that is wise unto salvation is bold as a lion, and is more noble than to contend for the honour which cometh of men; for having bread to eat, and raiment to put on, he knows that is all this world can afford him. He pities the great ones of the earth, who feed on husks, and can be content with the title of Right Honourable; while, by sin, they debase themselves even down to hell. But by these things the god of this world blinds their eyes, so that very few of them see the way to Heaven as it is pointed out in the word of God.
« Well,” said the major, “ if you be so scrupulous about fighting, what must we do?" I answered, “ It is your trade ; and if you had a better, it might be better for you." “ But somebody, (he replied,) must fight.” I said, “ If all men lived by faith in the Son of God, wars would be at an end."
“ That is true," he answered: “ if it were so, we should learn war no more.”
“ But there is one thing," said he, “I desire to know; tell me, do you make your sermons ready before you go to preach, or do you speak off hand ?” “I do not study what to say, but speak as the Spirit of God enables me.? “ Well,"? said he, “ I cannot tell what you mean by the Spirit of God.” The more is the pity, (I answered,) that you should have lived so long in the world, and know nothing of God yet. For we do not know God but by his own Spirit given unto us ; and till we have received that Spirit, we are without God in the world ; and no man can have this gift, and not know it; for thus saith the Lord Jesus, " At that day. ye shall know that I am in my
in me, and I in you.” So that if God be true, we must know that Christ is in us, or we are none of his : for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. But if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. He is no Christian, no more than a Turk or Pagan is, unless he has the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, to raise him in this world from the death of sin.
Here one of the captains spoke. “ You said, one day, , . If we have not the Spirit of God, we are dead while we
“ Did I so ?” “ Yes, you did.” 66 Then I will prove it, both from the doctrine of the Church of England, of which I profess myself a member, and from the word of God,” God gave me to speak plainly from both
for about twenty minutes, none contradicting me, but they both stood as dumb men.
Then the major said, “ Here is such a discharge for you, as I never gave before, but once ;” and put it into my hand. I told them, “ I have now delivered my own soul, and am pure from the blood of you all; for I have not spared either poor or rich, since I came among you, but have set life and death before you all, as you came in my way. I have declared unto you, that the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God; and, contrarywise, the blessed state of them that repent, and obey the gospel of Christ our Saviour. And I
God to give you all to understand the things which belong to your cverlasting peace, and bless you in turning every one of you from your iniquities. Then shall we meet another day to part no more.' The major said, “ I wish you well wherever you go. For I believe you Methodists are a well-meaning people ;” and so said they all. I gave them a book, and took my leave of them.
I went to the room, and preached that night, and had several of the soldiers to hear me, who gave attention to what I said: then I took my leave of them; but some of them wept, and desired me to pray for them, and said, * We are glad you are set at liberty, but sorry to part with you.” I commended them to God, and to the word of his grace, and trust they will mind the exhortation, and become soldiers of Jesus Christ.
On the 28th day of July, 1744, I was set at liberty to go wheresoever I thought was most for God's glory, who has delivered me from my bonds. For he hath done the work, and to him the glory is due. What am I, that he should care for me! But he is a God that heareth prayer. And the cries of his people inclined him to take my cause in hand. Praise the Lord, O my soul, who has kept thee in all thy trials, and hath not suffered thee to faint in sore temptation !
Now I find the words true which Mr. John Wesley wrote me at York.
“ Well, my brother, is the God whom you serve able to deliver you and do you find him
faithful to his word? Is his grace still sufficient for you? I doubt it not. He will not suffer
weary or faint in
your mind. But he had work for you to do, which you knew not of, and thus his counsel was to be fulfilled ! o lose no time! Who knows how many souls God may by this means deliver into your hands. Shall not all these things be for the furtherance of the gospel ? And is not the time coming when we shall cry out together, “ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us?"
On the 29th of July, 1744, the day after I was released from my captivity, I preached at the room in Newcastle ; and the power of the Lord was present ; several more were converted that week, and my own soul refreshed amongst them.
The week after, I set out for home; and brother Tinck. ler assisted me with a horse as far as Ferry-Hill, when we .commended each other to the grace of God, and I set out
The day after, I met brother Ash and two more near Boroughbridge, coming to meet me with my mare. We stopped, and sang praise together unto God, who had broken my bonds, and preserved them in many dangers.
It was given out for me to preach at Leeds that night and I preached in an open yard, to a large company of rich and poor, that did not attend our preaching before, I. was sent for a soldier. Thus we see that what the enemies of the Lord Jesus do to hinder his gospel, helps to enlarge his kingdom. So it is, that he turns the fierceness of men, to his praise, and the remainder of it he restrains. For not, one in Leeds opened his mouth against me, but hundreds said they were glad to see me at liberty again.
When I got home, I found my wife and children well, and we praised God together. But when I came to converse with the people, my soul was distressed within me, for those that had shewed me great love before I went, by their behaviour, and countenance now seemed to wish I had not come back; for Mr. Viney, who had been with the Moravians, had got among them in my absence, and