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poor state of health, determined to take his northern journey. October 10, he tells us, “ I set out for Newcastle, with my young companion and friend, E. Perronet, whose heart the Lord hath given me. His family has been kept from us so long by a mistaken notion, that we were against the Church.”—He visited the brethren in Staffordshire, and, on the 15th, preached at Tippen Green. After preaching in the evening, a friend invited him to sleep at his house, at no great distance from the place. Soon after they were sat down, the mob beset the house, and, beating at the door, demanded entrance. Mr. Wesley ordered the door to be set open, and the house was immediately filled. “ I sat still,” says he, “ in the midst of them for half an hour. I was a little concerned for E. Perronet, lest such rough treatment, at his first setting out, should daunt him. But he abounded in valour, and was for reasoning with the wild beasts, before they had spent any of their violence. He got a deal of abuse thereby, and not a little dirt, both of which he took very patiently, I had no design to preach ; but being called upon by so unexpected a congregation, I rose at last and read,
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory. While I reasoned with them of judgment to come, they grew calmer by little and little. I then spake to them, one by one, till the Lord had disarmed them all. One who stood out the longest, I held by the hand, and urged the love of Christ crucified, till, in spite of both bis natural and diabolical courage, he trembled like a leaf. I was constrained to break out into prayer for him. Our leopards were all become lambs, and very kind we all were at parting. Near midnight the house was clear and quiet. We gave thanks to God for our salvation, and slept in peace."Such were the conflicts, and such the victories frequently obtained in that day.
October 21. Mr. C. Wesley preached at Dewsbury, where John Nelson had gathered many stray sheep, and formed a Society. The Minister did not condemn them unheard, but talked with them, examined into the doctrine they had been taught, and its effects on their lives. When he found, that as many as had been affected by the preaching, were evidently reformed, and brought to Church and Sacrament, he testified his approbation of the work, and rejoiced that sinners were converted to God. Had all the ministers of the Established Church acted with the same candour, they would have served the Church better, and the work would have been much more extended than we have yet seen it.
October 25. They arrived at Newcastle, where Mr. E. Perronet was immediately taken ill of the small-pox, and had a very narrow escape for his life.- October 31, Mr. Wesley observes, “I rode to Wickham, where the Curate sent his love to me, with a message that he was glad of my coming, and obliged to me for endeavouring to do good among his people, for none wanted it more ; and he heartily wished me good luck in the name of the Lord. He came, with another clergyman, and staid both the preaching and the meeting of the Society."
Mr. C. Wesley continued his labours in and about Newcastle till the 27th of November, when he rode to Hexham, at the pressing request of Mr. Wardrobe, a Dissenting Minister, and others, 'He observes, “I walked directly to the market-place, and called sinners to repentance. A multitude of them stood staring at me, but all quiet. The Lord opened
my mouth, and they drew nearer and nearer ; stole off their hats and listened : None offered to interrupt, but one unfortunate Squire, who could get no one to second him. His servants and the constables hid themselves : One he found, and bid him go and take me down. The poor constable simply answered, “Sir, I cannot have the face to do it, for what harm does he do ? Several Papists attended, and the Church Minister, who had refused me his pulpit with indignation. However, he came to hear with his own ears : I wish all who hang us first, would, like him, try us afterwards.
“I walked back to Mr. Ord's, through the people, who acknowledged, • It is the truth, and none can speak against it.' A constable followed and told me, Sir Edward Blacket orders you to disperse the town, (depart, I suppose, he meant,) and not raise a disturbance here.'- I sent my respects to Sir Edward, and said, if he would give me leave, I would wait upon him and satisfy him. He soon returned with an answer, that Sir Edward would have nothing to say to me; but if I preached again and raised a disturbance, he would put the law in execution against me.'-I answered, that I was not conscious of breaking any law of God or man; but if I did, I was ready to suffer the penalty : That, as I had not given notice of preaching again at the Cross, I should not preach again at that place, nor cause a disturbance any where. I charged the constable, a trembling, submissive soul, to assure his worship, that I reverenced him for his office sake. The only place I could get to preach in was a cockpit, and I expected Satan would come and fight me on his own ground. Squire Roberts, the Justice's son, laboured hard to raise a mob, for which I was to be answerable ; but the very boys ran away from him, when the poor Squire would have persuaded them to go down to the cockpit and cry fire. I called, in words then first heard in that place, Repent and be converted, that your sins may
be blotted out.' God struck the hard rock, and the waters gushed out. Never have I seen a people more desirous of knowing the truth, at the first hearing. I passed the evening in conference with Mr. Wardrobe. Oh that all our Dissenting Ministers were like-minded, then would all dissensions cease for ever!"-See the true catholic spirit of this High Churchman!
“ November 28, at six, we assembled again in our chapel, the cockpit. I imagined myself in the Pantheon, or some Heathen Temple, and almost scrupled preaching there at first; but we found, the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.' His presence consecrated the place. Never have I found a greater sense of God, than while we were repeating his own prayer. I set before their eyes, Christ crucified. The rocks were melted, and gracious tears flowed. We knew not how to part. I distributed some books among them, which they received with the utmost eagerness ; begging me to come again, and to send our preachers to them.”-Does any one ask how Methodism has prospered? Behold the way!-December 18, he says, “I waked between three and four, in a temper of mind I have rarely felt on my birth-day. My joy and thankfulness continued the whole day, to my own astonishment.”—This observation is truly evangelical. He only, to whom there is no condemnation, being in Christ Jesus,' can bless the day when he was born!
Towards the end of December, Mr. C. Wesley quitted the North, and began to move southward. January 6, 1747, he came to Grimsby,
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where he was saluted by a shouting mob. In the evening he attempted to preach at the room, but the mob was so violent he could not proceed. At length one of the rioters aimed a severe blow at him, which a friend who stood near received. Another of them cried out, “What, you dog, do you strike a Clergyman ?" and then fell upon his comrade. Immediately every man's hand was against his fellow : They began fighting and beating one another, till, in a few minutes, the room was cleared of all disturbers; when Mr. C. Wesley preached for half an hour, without farther molestation. On the 9th, at Hainton, he talked separately with the members of the little Society, who were as sheep encompassed with wolves. The Minister of the place had repelled them from the Sacrament, and laboured to stir up the whole town against them. bable they would have been worried to death, but for the chief man of the place, a professed Papist, who hindered these good Protestants from destroying their innocent brethren.
Mr. C. Wesley returned to London, which he left on the 23d; and, on the 24th he reached the Devizes in his way to Bristol, in company with Mr. Minton. They soon perceived that the enemies of religion had taken the alarm, and were mustering their forces for the battle, They began by ringing the bells backwards, and running to and fro in the streets, as lions roaring for their prey. The Curate's mob went in quest of Mr. C. Wesley to several places, particularly to Mr. Philips's, where it was expected he would preach. They broke open and ransacked the house; but not finding him there, they marched off to a Mr. Rogers's, where he and several others, being met together, were praying and exhorting one another to continue steadfast in the faith, and through much tribulation to enter the kingdom. The zealous Curate, Mr. Innys, stood with the mob in the street, dancing for joy. “ This,” says Mr. C. Wesley, “is he, who declared in the pulpit, as well as from house to house, That he himself heard me preach blasphemy before the University, and tell my hearers,- If you do not receive the Holy Ghost while I breathe upon you, ye are ali damned! He had been about the town several days, stirring up the people, and canvassing the gentry for their vote and interest; but could not raise a mob while my brother was here: The hour of darkness was not then fully come.”
Mr. Innys, however, by assiduity, and falsehood boldly asserted as truth, now engaged some of the gentlemen of the town in his party, and prevailed with them to encourage the mob. While they beset the house, where Mr. C. Wesley and the company with him were assembled, he often heard his own name mentioned, with, “ Bring him out! Bring him out!" He observes, “ The little flock were less afraid than I expected; only one of our sisters .fainted away.”—It being now dark, the besiegers blocked up the door with a wagon, and set up lights, lest Mr. C. Wesley should escape. One of the company, however, got out unobserved, and with much entreaty prevailed on the Mayor to come down. He came with two constables, and threatened the rioters; but so gently, that no one regarded him. Having torn down the shutters of the shop, and broken the windows, it is wonderful they did not enter the house : But a secret hand seemed to restrain them. After a while, they hurried away to the inn, where the horses were put up, broke open the stabledoor, and turned out the beasts. “ In the mean time,” says Mr. C. Wesley, we were at a loşs what to do ; when God put it into the heart of our next-door neighbour, a Baptist, to take us through a passage into his own house, offer us his bed, and engage for our security. We accepted his kindness, and slept in peace.
“ February 25.-A day never to be forgotten! At seven o'clock, I walked quietly to Mrs. Philips's, and began preaching a little before the time appointed. For three quarters of an hour, I invited a few listening sinners to Christ. Soon after, Satan's whole army assaulted the house. We sat in a little ground-room, and ordered all the doors to be thrown open. They brought a hand-engine, and began to play into the house. We kept our seats, and they rushed into the passage ; just then, Mr. Borough, the constable, came, and seizing the spout of the engine, carried it off. They swore, if he did not deliver it, they would pull down the house. At that time, they might have taken us prisoners ; we were close to them, and none to interpose : But they hurried out to fetch the larger engine. In the mean time, we were advised to send for the Mayor ; but Mr. Mayor was gone out of town, in the sight of the people, which gave great encouragement to those who were already wrought up to a proper pitch by the Curate, and the gentlemen of the town; particularly Mr. Sutton and Mr. Willy, Dissenters, the two leading men. Mr. Sutton frequently came out to the mob, to keep up their spirits. He sent word to Mrs. Philips, that if she did not turn that fellow out to the mob, he would send them to drag him out. Mr. Willy passed by again and again, assuring the rioters, he would stand by them, and secure them from the law, do what they would.”
The rioters “now therefore began playing the larger engine ; which broke the windows, flooded the rooms, and spoiled the goods. We were withdrawn to a small upper room, in the back part of the house ; seeing no way to escape their violence, as they seemed under the fulí power
of the old murderer. They first laid hold on the man who kept the society-house, dragged him away, and threw him into the horsepond. We gave ourselves unto prayer, believing the Lord would deliver us ; how, or when, we saw not; nor any possible way of escaping: We therefore stood still, to see the salvation of God. Every now and then, some or other of our friends would venture to us ; but they rather weakened our hands, so that we were forced to stop our ears, and look up. Among the rest, the Mayor's maid came, and told us, her mistress was in tears about me ; and begged me to disguise myself in women's clothes, and try to make my escape.
Her heart had been turned towards us by the conversion of her son, just on the brink of ruin. God laid his hand on the poor prodigal, and instead of running to sea, he entered the Society.—The rioters, without, continued playing their engine, which diverted them for some time; but their number and fierceness still increased, and the gentlemen supplied them with pitchers of ale, as much as they would drink. They were now on the point of breaking in, when Mr. Borough thought of reading the Proclamation: He did so, at the hazard of his life. In less than the hour, of above a thousand wild beasts, none were left, but the guard, our constable, who had applied to Mr. Street, the only Justice in the town; but he would not act. We found there was no help in man, which drove us closer to the Lord; and we prayed, with little intermission, the whole day.”
The mob, however, rallied again, and Mr. C. Wesley observes, “Our enemies, at their return, made their main assault at the back door, swearing horribly, they would have me, if it cost them their lives. Many seeming accidents occurred to prevent their breaking in. The man of the house came home, and, instead of turning me out as they expected, took part with us, and stemmed the tide for some time. They now got a notion, that I had made my escape ; and ran down to the inn, and played the engine there. They forced the inn-keeper to turn out our horses, which he immediately sent to Mr. Clark's ; which drew the rabble and their engine thither. But the resolute old man charged and presented his gun, till they retreated. Upon their revisiting us, we stood in jeopardy every moment. Such threatenings, curses, and blasphemies, I have never heard. They seemed kept out by a continual miracle. I remembered the Roman Senators, sitting in the Forum, when the Gauls broke in upon them; but thought there was a fitter posture for Christians, and told my companion they should take us off our knees. We were kept from all hurry and discomposure of spirit
, by a Divine Power resting upon us. We prayed and conversed as freely, as if we had been in the midst of our brethren ; and had great confidence that the Lord would either deliver us from the danger, or in it. In the height of the storm, just when we were falling into the hands of the drunken enraged multitude, Mr. Minton was so little disturbed that he fell fast asleep.
6. They were now close to us on every side, and over our heads untiling the roof. A ruffian cried out, . Here they are, behind the curtain.' At this time we fully expected their appearance, and retired to the farthermost corner of the room; and I said, "THIS IS THE CRISIS !' In that moment, Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. We heard not a breath without, and wondered what was become of them. The silence lasted for three quarters of an hour, before any one came near us ; and we continued in mutual exhortation and prayer, looking for deliverance. I often told my companions, • Now God is at work for us: He is contriving our escape : He can turn these leopards into lambs; can command the heathen to bring his children on their shoulders, and make our fiercest enemies the instruments of our deliverance.' About three o'clock, Mr. Clark knocked at the door, and brought with him the persecuting constable. He said, “Sir, if you will promise never to preach here again, the gentlemen and I will engage to bring you safe out of town.'-My answer was, • I shall promise no such thing: Setting aside my office, I will not give up my birthright as an Englishman, of visiting what place I please of his Majesty's dominions.'
Sir,' said the constable, we expect no such promise, that you will never come here again : Only tell me, that it is not your present intention, that I may tell the gentlemen, who will then secure your quiet departure.'-I answered, I cannot come again immediately, because I must return to London a week hence. But, observe, I make no promise of not preaching here ; and do not you say, that I do.'
“ He went away with this answer, and we betook ourselves to prayer and thanksgiving. We perceived it was the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in our eyes.
The hearts of our adversaries were turned. Whether pity for us, or fear for themselves, wrought strongest, God knoweth ; probably the latter : for the mob were wrought up to such a pitch of fury, that their masters dreaded the consequence, and therefore went about appeasing the multitude, and charging them not to touch us in our departure.