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my brother. But he may find himself mistaken. It is too gross to pass even at Norwich. The Clergy, I hear, declare they are satisfied of Mr. John Wesley's unexceptionable character; and the generality of the people are much displeased at the nonsensical tale.
“July 31st. I expounded Isaiah xxxi. 1, 2, to a quiet, attentive congregation, who constantly attend, about two hundred of them, and seem more and more to know their wants. At night I laid the axe to the root, and showed them their actual and original corruption. The strong man was disturbed in his palace, and roared on every side. My strength increased with the opposition. A gentleman on horseback gnashed upon me with his teeth; but my voice prevailed; and they retreated to their stronghold, the alehouse. There with difficulty they procured some butchers to appear in their quarrel; yet they had no commission to approach, till I had done. Then, in the last hymn, they made up to the table with great fury. The foremost often lifted up his stick, to strike me, being within his reach: but he was not permitted. I stayed to pray for them, and walked quietly to my lodgings. Poor Rabshakeh muttered something about the Bishop of Exeter; but did not accept of my invitation to Mr. Edwards's. I am persuaded more good has been done to-night than by any of my former discourses. The concern and love of the people for me are much increased by my supposed danger. We joined together in praise and thanksgiving, as usual; and I slept in peace.
“August 1st. My morning congregation made me ample amends for last night's tumult: so serious, so affected with the word of truth. When I gave notice of preaching in the evening, I did not know what a riotous day it is. Yet after prayer, I went forth, to keep my word, and see if the Lord had any work for me.
The hill was covered with drunkards and rioters : but we saw the hand of God turning them aside, and keeping them at a distance. My subject was, 'What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?' The congregation looked like sheep in the midst of wolves : but the wolves had a bridle in their mouths, and could not hurt or disturb the serious. Satan must rage, for his kingdom suffers loss. Many followed me home, with whom I spent some time in prayer. By the time that the
streets are too hot to hold us, we hope our house will be ready.
August 2d. I spoke comfortably to the sincere, from Matt. v. 3, &c. : ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,' &c. A gentleman faced me, while I brought all the threatenings of God's word to bear upon him. He often changed colour, in spite of all his diabolical resolution. The poor people were not ashamed to show their concern. They felt the word, if he did not; and were melted down through his obduracy.
“I am at a loss for a church, 'Squire Dhaving sent his servant to forbid my preaching any more under his wall. I thought of removing my pulpit to Mr. Edwards's door ; but Providence ordered it otherwise, by sending such violent rain to-day, as flooded all the street around us, and filled it up with mire.
“It being fair-day, we had a large company of drunkards to wait upon us at seven. I stood under a window of the Bell. Satan quickly sent me two of his drunken champions, who did all in their power to interrupt me.
Their heads were just as high as mine; and one laid his mouth to my ear, and talked almost the whole time. I was forced, in
my own defence, to speak as loud and as fast as I could. And they had no power to disturb me, while I applied the most blessed promise, Isaiah xxxv. 10: The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with songs unto Zion.' Many experienced the power of the Gospel, preached with much contention. The wild beasts of the people were quite tame while I pressed through the midst of them.
August 3d. I preached Christ, the way, the truth, and the life, with great enlargement; the spirit of the people assisting me. They seem a people prepared of the Lord. He was with us this morning of a truth.
“August 4th. I met the society at five, with some new members, or rather candidates; for such I esteem them all. I exhorted them to walk unblamable in all the commandments and ordinances. We had sweet fellowship in singing and prayer. At seven I expounded blind Bartimeus; and the Lord bowed their hearts who heard. We never had so large a morning congregation, or so serious. Surely God hath much people in this city.
“I breakfasted at Mrs. Overton's, on whose ground Mr. Wheatley's first Tabernacle was built. She has offered herself as a candidate of society, having stayed in the other till sin forced her out. They are above measure displeased with her. She regards it not, but follows on to know the Lord.
“I communicated at the cathedral. An elderly Clergyman pointed me, at the table, to where the Ministers were. The number of communicants begins to increase; a sign we do not make a separation, as a zealous advocate of the Church charged me, in going home. I endeavoured to set him right; and he was in a good measure appeased.
“Poor James has given them cause for suspicion. He too came to the cathedral at first, as my opponent told me, and pretended to bring others, till he had got so much hold of them, as to take them all from it, and turn them Dissenters. How has he increased our difficulties ! But the power and blessing of God can set all right.
"I met the society after dinner, and strongly exhorted them to bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
I was in great heaviness till five; and then invited a huge multitude to the great supper, and gave an historical account of the Methodists. Some thought our congregation larger than any before. More serious they surely were. A few ragged drunkards stood at a distance, but were not suffered to make a noise till I had done. Then they lifted up their voice, which made me begin again. I exhorted, sung, prayed, and exhorted again. It was a glorious opportunity. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory.
“Our house was crowded afterwards. For an hour, I spoke, sang, prayed, after God.' A fair prospect we have of a flourishing society, such as shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Every soul present, I am persuaded, felt the nearness of our Lord.
“August 5th. That scripture was fulfilled, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. We knew not how to part; though we never part now without a blessing. Five more gave in their names as candidates for the society. Last night a poor backslider came to me, with tears of sincere repentance. He had run well ; been a Leader in London ; but forsaken the fountain
of living water. The Lord has sent after the one lost sheep. I have a strong hope that he will rise again, to fall no more.
“To-day I heard that as soon as I had named my subject yesterday morning, blind Bartimeus, some went away, crying that they had heard enough of him from Wheatley. Poor James had attempted that history, and made lame work of it, and of many others; which straitens me much. I cannot yet preach from my favourite texts, because he has. He has, as much as in him lay, poisoned the fountain, debased the language of God, hardened the people's hearts, palled their spiritual appetite, and made them even loathe religion, and all that belongs to it. What mountains are these in their way to Christ! They can never flow down, but at His presence.
“I dined at Lakenham, and returned with Mrs. Galatin to Norwich. Mrs. Overton, a sincere follower after Christ, drank tea with us. We had hardly time for a prayer before we went forth. A gentleman had been with me yesterday, desiring me to vindicate him from the aspersion of disturbing me in preaching. For his satisfaction I preached, contrary to my design, on the hill. The rioters were there in great numbers. I called them to repentance; but they stopped their ears, and ran upon me, casting dirt and stones, &c. I stood it for three quarters of an hour; but it was fighting with beasts. None of us were hurt by their violence, but several frightened. The poor women had the worst of it. The lewd sons of Belial are furnished with weapons enough from the Tabernacle, and talk as inspired by their father. Our people were a good deal discouraged, fearing it will grow worse and worse. (We have a Butler here also, a ringleader of the rioters.*) I endeavoured to hearten them, and exhorted them to greater diligence in prayer. Prayer is our only refuge; and if our hands be steady, Israel shall prevail.
August 7th. I preached from, ‘He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?' At seven, God, in answer to our continual prayer, opened the door, in spite of all the powers of darkness. Preaching to these people is indeed threshing the mountains ; yet several of them show great hungering for the word.
• The allusion is to Butler, the ballad-singer at Cork, whose riotous proceedings have been already described.
" August 8th. Our morning hour is always peaceable, and attended with the blessing of the Gospel. The house is filled with the sincere; and the half-awakened listen without.
"I preached a little after six this evening, according to my notice in the morning, and so disappointed most of the riot
One drunkard was sent to molest us; but the bridle was in his as well as his master's mouth. Many felt the meaning of those awful words: Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.' We afterwards returned thanks in the house, and earnestly prayed for the course of the Gospel; as we always do, both before and after preaching.
“August 9th. I rose after four. At five the Lord was mightily with us, to confirm his word, “He shall save his people from their sins. Mrs. Br., Mrs. Galatin, with our brother and sister Edwards, joined me in praise and prayer till near seven : a custom we hope, with God's blessing, to continue.
“At six a tumultuous crowd surrounded me, while I cried aloud, 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts,' &c. Satan visibly laboured in his children to hinder the Gospel; which yet they could not hinder. A poor harlot shrieked out for the first quarter of an hour incessantly. I could hear no word but Wheatley. I turned towards her, but she did not care to show her face,) and pressed her to enter the kingdom with her sister harlots. We heard no more of her. Her allies stood motionless till I dismissed them.
“A huge, black, grisly man followed me into the house, whom I took for a collier. He told me he was a tinker, T. Boult by name ; had been in all Mr. Wheatley's riots, and fought for him forty times; that, understanding I should settle here, he came to offer me his service, and would henceforward fight for me.
I thanked him for his non-necessary kindness; gave him a word of advice, and a book; and he went away hugely satisfied. I hear it was he that drove off the noisy harlot. We joined, as usual, in giving God the glory of his overruling providence.