« AnteriorContinuar »
had preached to them another gospel. : They now told more they did not want the law or work-preaching any morogo but that they wanted to be fed; and that neither Mr. Wea ley nor I knew how to build up souls as well as Mr. Viney did. But I found that they were built up in an unholy faithazia for they said, To tell people that they must be holy in thiga world, was Mr. Wesley's error and mine, and we kept soulst in bondage, by preaching as we did. Some of them, int deed, shewed their liberty, by trampling under foot the lawn: of God and man.
When I saw such havock made among the flook by hisz soft words and fair speeches, my soul was distressed withim me, so that I could not eat my bread. I threw myself oxy the ground, and requested for death, saying, “Lord; whyei hast thou suffered me to come back to see this evil!
When I had preached, many stood like stocks or stones and others smiled at one another; so that my preaching was like a feather thrown against a rock, or as water spilt
upon the ground, except to a few strangers who were affected. r said, “Who is me! for my children flee from me, as if b had brought the plague among them!
I humbled myself before God, and begged for light thar I might know his will, and I opened the book on these words, Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentances and think not to say within yourselves. We have Abraham for our father; for I say unto you, that God is able, of these stones, to raise up children unto Abrahams and now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees therefore every tree which bringeth not forthe good fruit, is heme down, and cast into the fire.". I went out, and stood upon a table, and preached from these words: to a larger congres gation, who seemed to be as a people that never heard the gospel before, and there began to be a trembling amongatia them, when many fell to the ground, and cried out, “Lord, lave, or I perish!” Many came to me weeping, and said, • We have been deluded by the German songe O pray for us, that God may give us back that tender conscience which we have lost since you left us." Then: Mr. Viney went out of the congregation, hanged down his head, and
owned us no more. But
my soul revived again, for sinners were converted, and others restored to the simplicity of the gospel, who had been wise above what is writter : but some continue to this day in their happy sinnership. I met with one of them the other day, so drunk, that he could not keep the cart road. I asked him what he thought of himself now, if death were to seize him in that wretched condi. tion? He said, That he was not afraid to die, for he was as his Saviour would have him to be; and if he would have him to be holy, he would make him so; but he was a poor sinner, and he hoped to be so to eternity. He said, “ You and John Wesley are enemies to the Lamb; for you want people to be holy here. But the Lamb shall have the honour of saving me. I will not offer to save myself, like yon Pharisees." I cried out, « Lord, keep me from that delusion."
After some time I went to York, and found the seed sown in my captivity had sprung up, for nineteen had found peace with God, and twice as many were under convictions, though they had to one to instruct them in my absence. But the little books I left them, viz. the sermon on, Awake, thou that sleepest, and Salvation by Faith, and the Extract from the Homilies, and the Nature and Design of Christianity, had been of great use to them.” Oh, what good might be done, if these books were spread through the land !
Soon after, Mr. Wesley sent for me to London, and I found my soul blessed in speaking to the people, and many came to hear out of curiosity, when they leard it was the man that had been in prison; and several were convinced of the truth they heard.
When I was at London, I received a letter from Sune derland, wherein I was desired to go and preach there. Two. men, who had conversed with me when I was captive there, had found the Lord; and they said, That their souls panta ed for the salvation of their neighbours. So I see that" God leads the blind by a way they know not: for I thought all that I had said there was as water spilt on the ground; but the Lord confirpas his own word whicü we see little out.
ward appearance of it. O how wonderful are thy' works, O Lord what a great fire is kindled by a little spark in that place! Now I see that the wise man's adviče is good; where he saith, “ Sow thy seed in the morning; and in the evening withhold not thy hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, this or that.”
In my return from London, I preached at Nottinghamcross, to a large congregation; most of whom behaved very well, except a few who had prepared squibs to throw in my face ;; but three of them were burnt with the fire that they intended for me, and went away, and left me to finish my discourse quietly. When I had done, there came a ser. jeant to the cross to me, and fell down on his knees, and said, “ For the Lord's sake pray for me: for I came on purpose to pull you down; but the dread of God fell on me, (when I saw those burnt with the squibs that they intended to throw in your face,) and your words came as a sword to my heart; and I am convinced that you are God's
I never served either God or my king as I ought to do: but I hope I shall begin to lead a new life from this hour.” This being in the presence of all the people, it seemed to season what I had said to them. As I was preaching, one Stephen Dickson, and two more preachers, came and stood awhile. They then spoke aloud, and said,
Why hear ye him? For he is as legal and blind as the two Wesleys themselves.”
When I got home, I found the people in a prosperous way: and the greatest part of them quite delivered from the Antinomian principles that they had fallen into during my captivity; and the Lord had increased them in grace and number. To him be the glory given.
Soon after, I went to Newcastle, and laboured there about three months, and had an opportunity to visit Sun
derland. I preached upon the cross to the greatest part of the town, who behaved well, and stood all the time, tho' the snow was eight or nine inches deep. I went there as often as I could; and God visited many with his salvation there, and at Painshee, and Biddick, who blessed God that I had been sent among them. They said that they would pray for our minister, who was the cause of my coming, for they were more beholden to him than to me; and let him intend what he would, they had reason to bless God on his behalf. So it is evident, God hath his
in the whirl avind, and his path in the great waters.
On my return to Leeds, I found that the Lord had greatly blessed the labour of Jonathan Reeves and John
Bennett, several being converted by their preaching both there and at Birstal.
I was afterwards ordered to Bristol. In my way I called at Nottingham; and as I was preaching, a mob came into the house, and made a noise as if they had been in a
cock-pit, so that my voice could not be heard for some vtime. When they were silent, I began to speak, ånd one
of them came behind me, and filled my mouth with dirt out of the channel. I never felt myself so-near being choaked in all my life: but when I had gotten the dirt out, I spoke again. The ringleader of them turned about, and said, “Let him alone, for he is right, and we are wrong; kand if any one of you touch him, I will knock
down. He guarded me to my lodgings, and bare many blows for
He desired me to pray for him, that he might not Test till he had found peace with God, for he was sure he fought against the truth; but by grace he would do so ng more.
I found peace at Wednesbury; and several who had been persecutors, were converted, and were content to bear the reproach of the gospel. Oh, what a good God have we to deal with! It is plain, whoever turn at his reproof, he will pour out his Spirit upon them, and receive them into his family, after all they have done to provoke him.
I found peace at all the places in my way to Bristol, and my soul was refreshed among the people in that city. Here, and in parts of Summersetshire and Wiltshire, I spent four 'months. Several were awakened at Poulton, Colford, Oak. dey, Shepton-Mallet, Road, and Bearfield; so God dath work, and notre can hinder. Though the instrument be ever so weak, if he command it, a worm shall shake the earth.
While I was in these parts, the rebels entered our land, and many trembled for fear of the approaching calamities, that were expected at their coming, and attended the word and prayer, though they used not to attend before: but after the Lord had put his hook into the rebels' jaws, and turned them back by the way they came, many were as careless about their souls as ever.
A little before I left Bristol, I received a letter from Mr. Charles Wesley, containing only the following words, “My brother, you must watch and pray, labour and suffer.. My spirit is with you. You will shortly be warted in Yorkshire. Farewell.” Indeed, God hath made him a true prophet to me. For I see as much need to watch and pray as ever I did; and I believe I shall, as long as I am in this howling wilderness; and to exert all my strength in labouring to persuade sinners to fiee from the wrath to come; for I see myself a debtor to all men.
I remember, about eight months before I was pressed for a soldier, Mr. C. Wesley was preaching near my house, in the open street, and said in his preaching, “ Before ! shall come to preach here again, the devil will be permitted to cast some of you into prison, but it shall turn to the glory of God, and to the furtherance of the gospel.” I little thought then that the cloud would burst on my head. But when it did, his words were a support to me in my trials.
When 1 left Bristol, I met with many sufferings; at al. most every place where I came to preach, mobs were raised, as if they were determined to kill me, and all God's children, in a kind of thanksgiving, because the rebels were conquered. Oh, what stupid creatures are men in their carnal state!
When I got to Nottingham, I preached to a peaceable congregation. About half an hour after I had done, as I and fout. r five more were sitting by the fire, the consta. ble, with a mob at his heels, came rushing into the house, and said, “Where is the preacher ?" I said, “I am he, Sir." He replied,
You must go with me before clie mayor. I said, “ Where is your warrant:" Fle replied,