« PreviousContinue »
forced him to stop at the first house. There I reproved a countryman for swearing, and gave a word of advice, which was kindly taken. We took refuge again at Seacroft, and enjoyed the last fair hour, which brought us to Leeds by two. I renewed my strength against preaching-time; after which I ? met the Leaders, and earnestly exhorted them to set a pattern to the flock.
“Oct. 5th. I preached in William Shent's shop. I breakfasted at Miss Norton's. There Mr. Edwards assured me, he had never desired any one of our children to leave us. Doubtless they did it of their own mere motion. No one ever dealt or took any pains with them about it. No one ever spoke against the Church, to unhinge them. T dropped into his mouth (as our first children into the Count's) 14 without his ever suspecting it! “ If he has robbed us of our children, I bless God to find !c,
?c, puis he has not robbed us of our peace and love. He several times expressed his readiness to preach in our societies. I only answered, the people could not trust him, that he would not do in every place as he had done in Leeds. I endeavoured to treat him with due respect and love, according to our rule : * If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men.' “I passed the day at Mr. Crook's, who told me his experi
I cannot doubt of his having known the pangs of the new birth. Our brethren question it, because he does not use all their phrases, and cannot follow all their violent counsels. I begged him to do nothing rashly; least of all, to go from his post, preaching everywhere like us.
"I drank tea at a sister's, who has been as the troubled sea ever since the separation; and as rough towards all, especially her husband, as Mr. Edwards is smooth. I laboured to quiet her; and she was sensible of the great advantage Satan had gained over her. Alas, for the man by whom the offence cometh !
“I walked to Hunslet with William Shent, and heard Mr. Crook expound in the church. I dined with him, and was provoked by his zeal. Returning, I found
at my lodgings, and threw away some words on one, wiser in his own eyes than seven men that can render a reason. He entirely justified Mr. Edwards : therefore I can have no con
fidence in him, that he will not do, were it in his power, as Mr. Edwards has done.
Henry Thornton came to spend an hour or two with us; and we sharpened each other's countenance. At six I met the Leaders, and inquired into the behaviour of each member
of the society. Upwards of forty Mr. Edwards has carried 119,4 off ; but not by desiring any to leave us !/ I carried them
with me to prayers, and wished them to follow my example, by carrying the whole society to church with them. I returned to the room, and explained the believer's privilege, 1 Peter i. 5: Kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.'
“ I had more talk with - who frankly confessed, if any of our societies should desire him to take charge of them, as a distinct body, he should not refuse them. I told him plainly, that the ground of all such designs was pride : but my words were spoken into the air.
“After church I set out in a storm for Seacroft ; and rode on to Aberford. My old friend Mr. Ingham was labouring in the vineyard; but I had the happiness to find Lady Margaret at home, and their son Ignatius. She informed me that his round takes in about four hundred miles; that he has six fellow-labourers; and one thousand souls in his societies, most of them converted. I sincerely rejoiced in his success. Ignatius would hardly be satisfied at my not preaching. We passed an hour and a half very profitably, and set out again. The rain met and drove us under a tree for shelter. We narrowly missed several heavy showers, and got safe back to Seacroft before night.
“Soon after our dearest brother Grimshaw found us, and brought a blessing with him. I preached from Luke xxi. 34: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares;' and farther enforced our Lord's warning in the society. I strongly exhorted them to continue steadfast in fellowship with each other, and the whole Church of England. Our hearts were comforted and knit together.
“Oct. 8th. We had another blessed hour with them, before we left this lively people. I continued till one in conference with my worthy friend and fellow-labourer : a man after my
own heart! whose love of the Church flows from his love of Christ. With such may my lot be cast in both worlds !
“We spent an hour in intercession for the Church and nation. I exhorted the many persons present to continue instant in this prayer, and mark the answer and the end !
“I rode with my faithful brother Grimshaw to Bramley, and preached in a large barn, (now a convenient chapel,) to a multitude of serious souls, who eagerly received our Lord's saying, 'Look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth near.' They all seemed broad awake, when I called again in the morning, 'Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.' Their spirit quickened mine. We had sweet fellowship together. I have no doubt they will be counted worthy to escape, and to stand before the Son of man.
“Returning to Leeds I met my brother Whitefield, and was much refreshed by the account of his abundant labours. I waited on him to our room, and gladly sat under his word. I preached myself at Rothwell. Their large house was full, though it was a harvest-day. I warned them of the impending storm with much freedom, and faith for the sincere; concluding with a warm exhortation to continue in the ship,
“Sunday, Oct. 10th. From Isaiah lxiv. 5, 'In those is continuance, and we shall be saved,' I earnestly pressed the duties of constant communicating ; of hearing, reading, practising the word; of fasting; of private, family, and public prayer. The society I advised to continue in fellowship, and never more give place to the sower of tares, the divider of the brethren. I spoke healingly of the breach; told them how to behave towards Mr. Skelton and the rest who have risen up to draw away disciples after them; and insisted on that apostolical precept, ‘Let all your things be done in charity.' I did not mention the author of the last division, being convinced he had left us for bread,
“The spirit of love and union was in the midst of us. I came to Birstal before noon. My congregation was less by a thousand or two through George Whitefield's preaching to-day at Haworth. Between four and five thousand were left
to receive my warning. After church we met again. Every soul seemed to hang on the word. Two such precious opportunities I have not enjoyed this many a day. It was the old time revived. A weighty spirit ran through the congregation; and they stood like men prepared to meet the Lord.
“Oct. 11th. After preaching at five to this solid people, I returned to Leeds, and spent an hour with the Leaders. They informed me that my late exhortations have stopped some who were on the point of going away to Mr. Edwards's society, and brought others back to the Church-ordinances. A woman in particular, after hearing me on Sunday morning, went to church, which she had long forsaken, and received a manifestation of Jesus Christ in the prayers. I earnestly pressed them to recommend to their brethren, both by advice and example, the neglected duties of family and public prayer, and to watch over the flock with all diligence.
Hearing that Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Grimshaw were returning to our watch-night, I waited for them at their lodgings, with zealous, humble, loving Mr. Crook. It rained so hard, that Mr. Whitefield was agreeably surprised at eight to find our house as full as it could cram. They forced me to preach first; which I did, from, 'I will bring the third part through the fire. My brother George seconded me in the words of our Lord, 'I say unto all, Watch. The prayers and hymns were all attended with a solemn power. Few, if any, I hope, went unawakened away.
“Oct. 12th. I took my leave of Leeds, in prayer at William Shent's. Some having ascribed the division to him, I examined that matter to the bottom, having talked largely with all parties, especially Miss Norton, and Mr. Edwards himself. Upon the whole, I am convinced that the ground of all was Miss Norton's hatred to William Shent. This induced her to draw away Mr. Edwards from us. He could not resist the temptation of a certain provision for his family. Interest blinded his eyes; so that the means to his end seemed right and honest to him, though base and treacherous to us. As for William Shent, I do not find he did more than every upright man would have done on the occasion. He watched to counteract them who were daily seducing our children. He gave early notice to my brother of their design, and
thereby drew all their resentment upon himself; as every honest Preacher will, qui cum ingeniis conflictatur ejusmodi. Since the separation (Mr. Edwards's friend informed me) he has behaved with such mildness and discretion as has kept the rest of the flock together, when violence, or harsh treatment, might have scattered them all.
“I preached in Wakefield, at ten, to a quieter audience than I have ever met with there.
“I took a friendly leave of Miss Norton, who assured me, some of our ablest Preachers were entirely in Mr. Edwards’s / interest. Nec nihil, nec omnia.
“I rode to Joseph Bennet's, near Dewsbury, and preached very awakening to a mixed, attentive congregation. My vehement exhortation to the society was on the usual subject: continuance in the word, and in prayers, family and public. I passed the evening with Jonas Ed. I would gladly part with five hundred Methodists, to be ordained and useful like him.
“Oct. 13th. The word at Birstal was clothed with power, both to awaken and to confirm. My principal concern is for the disciples, that their houses may be built on the rock, before the rains descend. I hear in most places the effect of the word; but I hearken after it less than formerly; and take little notice of those who say they receive comfort, or faith, or forgiveness. Let their fruits show. I preached at night, and rejoiced in steadfast hope of being brought through the fire.
“Oct. 14th. I baptized a Dissenter's child, and set out with faithful Titus Knight for Halifax. A mixed multitude listened to the word, When thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.' I have not found so great freedom in any place as this, where I expected least. I set out in hard rain for Bradford. My subject there was, O Lord, revive thy work. Many Dissenters were present, some of them, I believe, were reached ; for I spake in irresistible love, and warned them to flee from the wrath to come.
“Oct. 15th. After preaching I gathered into the fold a wandering sheep, whom John Whitford's pride and folly had scattered. Having lost her first love, she married an unconverted man; whereupon the society gave her up for lost. I