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I answered, “ I will not resist ; for if I have done any thing contrary to the law, I ought to suffer by the law. He said, I should suffer for what I had done: then he began to strike the people that crowded about us. As soon as he and his deputy could get thro' the multitude, they outran us: When I called, and said, “ Stay, gentlemen, for we cannot get thro' the people as fast as you can.” But the people crowded about us in such a manner, that we saw the constable no more. Afterwards we rode to Jonathan Holmes's. That night we had a blessed meeting ; and the Lord was much with us all the time I stayed in those parts.
Soon after, Mr. John Wesley came into Yorkshire again ; and the Lord blessed his coming to many souls. When he set out for Newcastle, he desired me to go to Grimsby, in Lincolnshire, and to spend a few days there, among some people that had once run well, but were turned out of the way, by one that had come down from Lon. don, who had got into the poor sinnership, and was made free from the righteous law of God, and from all ordinances and good works. He brought many of them into his own liberty, so that they sold their prayer-books, left off reading and praying, and followed the motions of their own minds, which they called the Lamb in their hearts. one or two remained under the law, as they called it, thai is, they still continued to read the Bible, and durst not leave off prayer, nor any other ordinance that Christ had appointed. These came to Epworth to seek the pure gospel; and when they heard Mr. Wesley, they said, his word was as sweet wine to a thirsty soul.
I set out with a great sense of my own weakness, and was ready to turn back : then I opened my Bible, where these words were written, “ I was afraid, and went and hid my talent in the ground.” I cried out, “ Lord, give me strength and understanding for the work, if thou hast. called me to it.” I opened my book again, on Isaiah xiv. 1. “ The Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will choose Israel, and set them in their own land, and the strangers shall be joined with them.” That night I came to Ep. worth, and preached to a large congregation.
Next morning, I and a man that belonged to Grimsby, and a boy about twelve years of age, set out on foot for Grimsby ; but night came upon us when we were five miles short of it, and there being no public-house near, we went to several farm houses to ask for lodging, but could get none. Then we went to a poor house, where I prevailed with the people to let the boy lie with two of their own boys ; and I said to the man, “ Let us go and seek a bed somewhere else, or a stable, to lie in." As we went on in the dark, we saw a light at a small distance, and we went over a field to it. I knocked at the door, and they bid us come in ; there were four men, three women, and two boys, sitting by the fire. As soon as I entered, I said, “ Peace be to this house ; " at which words the people started up as if I had thrown fire at them. I said, “We are two way-faring men, and if you will entertain us for a night we will satisfy you.” They got us a good supper, and made up a good bed. I talked to them about the way of salvation, and went to prayer with them; and they were so affected, that the master and the mistress talked to me two hours after we were in bed. The next morning, after breakfast, I went to pay the woman ; but she said her husband charged her to take nothing, but on the contrary, to give us some money to support us on the road; but I replied, “ Not one farthing will we have; and if you
will not take our money, I pray God reward you with everlasting consolation.
We then went where we had left the boy, and paid the people for him, and set out for Grimsby, which we reached by ten o'clock. The people soon heard that I come, and flocked to me directly ; when I prayed with them, and began to exhort : but many of them despised my words, saying, “ I was too legal for them.” I then took up my Bible, and said, “ Hear ye the word of the Lord !". So I read two or three verses, and bid them try themselves by that standard: then I read in another place, and said, “ If you will compare your consciences with these scriptures, you may see what state your souls are in.” One woman turned pale, and began to tremble, saying, “ I
clearly see we are deluded, and what we called the Lamb in our hearts, is nothing but the devil.” Then she cried out, " Alas! alas ! what must we do?” We went to prayer again, and God made the kingdom of Satan to shake once more in that place.
The second night a schoolmaster sent me word that he would give me leave to preach in his school, which would hold several hundred of people : but those that had fallen into the poor sinnership told me, if I did, they durst not go to hear me, for they should be mobbed; and I should be killed. I said, “ As the gentleman has made me the offer, I will accept it, and by the grace of God will preach, if there were as many devils in it as there are tiles on it.” Accordingly I went, and it was well filled from side to side, and the people behaved well ; I found great liberty in speaking, and when I had done, several cried out, « This is the
of salvation." When I came back to brother Blow's, those that had been shorn of their strength, confessed their fearfulness, and said, “ While we continued in the spirit in which we were converted, we were as bold as lions. Oh, what shall we do to recover our strength ?” I told them to humble themselves before the Lord with prayer and fasting, and he would snatch them out of the snare of the devil, and give them back their first love.
I preached again the next morning, and set out for Ep. worth. In my way I stopt at Ferry, where I preached at four in the afternoon, and got into Epworth by seven that evening.
When I came there, such a large company were gathered together, that I could not get into the house, nor yet one third of the people, though it was dark, and snowed. However, I desired them to hand me out a chair ; so I stood up in the snow, and preached, and they behaved as well as ever I knew a congregation in my life; and it ap-peared that God blessed his word to many souls that night.
When I returned home, I found God had opened the mouth of Jonathan Reeves, and blessed his word to numbers at Birstal; and we laboured together for some time, till I returned into Mr. Bennett's circuit.
I went into the Peak to preach at Monyash, when a Clergyman, with a great company of men that worked in the lead grooves, all being in liquor, came in just as I began to give out the hymn : as soon as we began to sing, he began to halloo and shout, as if he were hunting with a pack of hounds, and so continued all the time we sang. When I began to pray, he attempted to overturn the chair that I stood on, but he could not, although he struck so violently with his foot, that he broke one of the arms of the chair quite off. When I began to preach, he called on his companions to pull me down; but they replied, “ No, Sir, the man says nothing but the truth. Pray, hold your peace, and let us hear what he has to say." He then came to me himself, took me by the collar of my shirt, and pulled me down ; then he tore down my coat cuffs, and attempted to tear it down the back ; then took me by the collar, and shook me. I said, “ Sir, you and I must shortly appear at the bar of God, to give an account of this night's work." He replied, “ What! must you
appear before God's bar together?” I said, “ As sure as we look one another in the face now. He let go my throat, took my Bible out of my hand, and turning it over and over, said, “ It is a right Bible ; and if you preach by the Spirit of God, let me hear you preach from this text :" , which was, “ Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men in the city." I got up and began to preach from this text, and when any one offered to make a noise, the groovers said, “ Hold your peace, or we will make you, and let us hear what he will make of the par. son's text.” As I went on, the parson said, “ That is right; that is true.” After a while, he looked round and saw many in tear3 : then he looked at me, and went away, leaving me to finish my discourse in peace. All the rest of the circuit 1 had peaceable meetings, and the Lord kept still adding to the number of his children,
At my return home, I began to preach in the open street, at brother Shent's door, in Leeds, and great com
panies flocked to hear me. The first time I stood up in the street, I was struck on the head with an egg and two potatoes; but that neither hindered me from speaking, nor them from hearing. I heard that several serious people, as soon as I had done, went to an old Clergyman, to ask his advice about the doctrine I had preached, and told him as m of my sermon as they could. He answered, he hoped no one had disturbed me from preaching that doctrine ; they told him some had thrown potatoes at me, and spoiled my wig and coat with a rotten egg: he said, he would rather lose his arm than throw at any man for preaching such doctrine ; for that was the marrow of the gospel. Many lost their prejudice by his word, and embraced the truth with joy ; so that I preached in the streets at Leeds, every other Sunday morning, with very little disturbance.
After some time I went into Lincolnshire again ; and the congregation was so large at Grimsby, that I was obliged to stand upon a table at brother Blow's back.door for several days together.
As I was preaching, the minister and three men came to play at quoits, as near the people as they could get ; but with all their playing and shouting they could not draw any one from hearing.
Some friends, from Tetney and Cleart horps, prevailed with me to go to a shepherd's house near the sea-coast. There was a large company gathered together in that desert, and I opened my book on Gal. i. 3. 6 Grace be unto you, and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." I felt much of the Lord's presence, and the power of God was so great among us, that the people fell flat on their faces, or kneeled down on their knees, so that there was not one left standing, and their cry was so great, that my voice could not be h-ard: then I fell upon my knees, and called upon the Lord to heal the bones at were broken ;. and I believe many will praise God for that meeting to all eternity. F2