Imágenes de páginas

of Him who spreads underneath you His everlasting arms! Lean upon Him with the whole weight of your soul! He is yours!-Lay hold upon Him!

[ocr errors]

'Away let grief and sighing flee;

Jesus hath died for thee, for thee.'

Mercy and peace shall not forsake you. Through every threatening cloud look up; and wait for happy days."

[ocr errors]

64. In this miserable condition I went to Shaftesbury to see my friends, and spent several days. When one and another came and asked me, what news, I told them, "Good news!-Christ died to save sinners." But it seemed to them as an idle tale: they "cared for none of these things." One day, being half asleep, I was, as it were, thunderstruck with an inward voice, saying, "What doest thou here? I cried to the Lord for mercy, and gave notice, that on the Sunday following, I would preach in a place at the end of the town, where four ways met. The town and villages round were soon alarmed; and at the time appointed, I believe there were three or four thousand people. My inward trouble seemed suspended. I got upon a wall about seven feet high, and began with prayer. I then gave out my text: "Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.' (Mal. iv. 1.) Surely I preached that sermon with the power of the Holy Spirit sent down for heaven. Twelve, if not fourteen, were then convinced of sin; some of whom are, I trust, long ago, safely lodged in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THe joined Faciein a are mere mes & Teet But de pectie THE 1 ui a house, mi mremei a time vi meeting a consuler if he means; but in that iny Iv den minnen mving won lady canst me that it made a zet Aber au Jen met and par i Dy, I v aken a pukke-house. I was seen žuč pergie: Immediate van remo s diem; ENĪ he ions puely became am ́s A messenger then came in, let me know that I must appear before the mayir and aldermen. I Ed x. The avi-det sold me they would not send me a Derhester ruci I wold work a mizade. I aid them. What is done already. Many swearers and drunkardis are bearme acher. God-fearing men." A lawyer said. « Well if you will take my advice, you shall not go to prison.” I replied. “I suppose you mean. E I will give over preaching: tu shas I dare not da” I was then, without any more ado, humed away to Dorchester.

65. My body was now in prison; but that had been a thing of little consequence, had not my scul remained in prison also,-in the dungeon of despair. The gaoler soon came, and fell into eonversation with me; but when I began to preach Jesus, as the only Saviour of sinners, he quickly let me to preach to my fellow-prisoners. Many of these, having no righteousness of their own to bring to God, were willing to hear of being saved by grace. So I preached to them several times while I was in prison, and they seemed greatly affected. Meantime, God raised up two Quakers at Shaftesbury, who becam bound for my appearance at the Quarter Sessions. I

had been in prison but eight days, when one of these came to fetch me out, and brought money to pay the prison-fees and all other expenses. Had I not been put into prison, it is likely some of these prisoners would never have heard the Gospel. I saw, therefore, that God did all things well. Being come back, I began preaching again; and God was present with the people. I soon received a letter from a gentleman at London, bidding me employ two counsellors and an attorney, and draw upon him for whatever money I wanted. I carried this letter to the postmaster, and asked him if he were willing to let me have money upon it: he said, "Yes, as much as you please." This was soon noised about the town: so the magistrates were glad to make up the matter. And the work of God so increased, that in a little time we had eighty in society.

66. During my great distress of mind, I went twice to Ireland as a travelling preacher; and in each passage over the sea, I was very near being cast away. October 27th, 1751, I preached at Mountmellick. The next morning, after I had travelled about two miles, suddenly my senses failed me. I was soon insensible where I was, and where I came from. I supported myself a considerable time by a gate in the road, as I did not know which way to go, nor what place to ask for. At length my understanding returned; and I began to weep. But what I passed through, I cannot express, so unspeakable was my anguish. But the tender mercy of God supported me therein, that my spirit might not fail before Him.

67. In the beginning of September, 1766, I was living at Shaftesbury, when Mr. Wesley passing through, in his way to Cornwall, I asked if it would

[blocks in formation]

be agreeable for me to be at his house in London a few days: he said, "Yes, as long as you please.” But before I set out, I received the following letter:"ST. IVES, CORNWALL, Sept. 16th, 1766.



"I THINK you have no need to go to London : God has, it seems, provided a place for you here. Mr. Hoskins wants a worn-out preacher to live with him, to take care of his family, and to pray with them morning and evening."


I went down. As soon as Mr. Hoskins saw me, he said, "You are welcome to stay here as long as you live." But no sooner did I fix there, than I was, if possible, ten times worse than before. vain I strove to make myself easy: the more I strove, the more miserable I was. Not that I wanted anything that this world can afford. But can this world satisfy a soul that was made for God? The distress of my mind soon became intolerable: it was a burden too heavy for me to bear. It seemed to me, that unless I got some relief, I must die in despair. One day I retired into the hall, fell on my face, and cried for mercy; but got no answer. I got up, and walked up and down the room, wringing my hands, and crying as if I should break my heart, begging of God, for Christ's sake, if there were any mercy for me, to help me: and, blessed be His name! all on a sudden, I felt such a change, through my soul. and body, as is past description. I was afraid I should alarm the whole house with the expressions of my joy. I had a full witness from the Spirit of God that I should not find that bondage any more. Nor have I ever found it to this day. Glory be to

God for all His mercies!

68. But, notwithstanding this wonderful change, I had not the faith which I had once. But I found a

very great alteration by reading the Scriptures. The promises opened to me more and more; and I expected to find some great thing wrought upon me all at once. But God's ways are not as our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts. He led me by a way I had not known. He greatly deepened His work in my soul, and drove out His enemies by little and little, till I could clearly say, "Thy will be done. The lion became a lamb; and I found the truth of that word by happy experience: "Thou wilt keep his soul in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee."

[ocr errors]

69. I now thought I would stay with Mr. Hoskins; for he was very kind to me. But I soon began to be so bound in spirit, that I could hardly pray in the family; nay, I could not ask a blessing on our food, without much hesitation and stammering. And all the comforts of life, which were then in great plenty, became altogether comfortless. Mr. Story being then in the round, I made my complaint to him. He desired me to take his place for a month, while he I went into the east of Cornwall. This I gladly undertook; and although, for the space of three weeks, my coat was not once dry upon my back, yet I was warmer within, and far more comfortable, than in the warm parlour.

70. When Mr. Story returned, I thought I would stay at Mr. Hoskins's a few days, and then travel. But the first night I was as restless as ever: so in the morning I took my leave, and in January, 1767, went into the east of Cornwall. I found it was good for me to be there: my faith increased daily. And, blessed be God! I found love, and peace, and joy in

« AnteriorContinuar »