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pence, makes two shillings and four pence per week, without retrenching one necessary meal. Now this two shillings and fourpence would buy as much meat as, made into broth, would nearly suffice for a small family. To be short, the expense for myself, meat, drink, clothes, and washing, is not twenty-eight pounds per annum, so that I have near twenty pounds to return to God in the poor. Now if every Christian family, while in health, would thus far deny themselves; would twice a week dine on the cheapest food, drink in general herb tea, faithfully calculate the money saved thereby, and give it to the poor over and above their usual donations; we should then hear no complaining in our streets, but the poor would eat and be satisfied. He that gathered much would have nothing over, and he that gathered little would have no lack. O how happy should we all be if this was the case with us! I mentioned this some time ago in a meeting at London, when a brother said, These are but little things.' As I went home I thought of his words: Little things!' Is the want of fire in frost and snow a little thing? Or the want of food in a distressed, helpless family? Gracious God! Feed me with food convenient for me. Give me not poverty, lest I steal, and take the name of my God in vain.'
'Dear Sir, I know what you feel for the poor, and I also sympathise with you. Here is a hard season coming on, and every thing very dear, thousands of poor souls, yea, Christians, dread the approaching calamities. O that God would stir up the hearts of all that believe themselves his children, to evidence it by showing mercy to the poor as God has shown them mercy y! Surely the real children of God will do it of themselves. For it is the natural fruit of a branch in Christ. I would not desire them to lose one meal in a week, but to use as cheap food, clothes, &c., as possible. And I think the poor themselves ought to be questioned, with regard to drinking tea and beer. For I cannot think it right for them to indulge themselves in those things which I refrain from to help them. My earnest prayers shall accompany yours, that God would give us all, in this our day, to know the things which belong unto our peace, and to acknowledge the blessings which are freely given to us of God!
Mon. 23. I went to Canterbury. Here I met with the Life of Mahomet, wrote, I suppose, by the Count de Boulanvillers. Whoever the author is, he is a very pert, shallow, self-conceited coxcomb, remarkable for nothing but his immense assurance and thorough contempt of Christianity. And the book is a dull ill-digested romance, supported by no authorities at all; whereas Dean Prideaux (a writer of ten times his sense) cites his authorities for every thing he advances.
In the afternoon I rode to Dover; but the gentleman I was to lodge with was gone a long journey. He went to bed well; but was dead in the morning; such a vapour is life! At six I preached, but the house would by no means contain the congregation. Most of the officers of the garrison were there. I have not found so much life here for some years. After preaching at Sandwich and Margate, and spending a comfortable day at Canterbury, on Saturday I returned to London.
Mon. 30. I took coach for Norwich, and in the evening came to Newmarket.
Tuesday, December 1. Being alone in the coach, I was considering several points of importance: and thus much appeared as clear as the day :
That a man may be saved, who cannot express himself properly concerning imputed righteousness. Therefore to do this is not necessary to salvation.
That a man may be saved who has not clear conceptions of it (yea, that never heard the phrase.) Therefore clear conceptions of it are not necessary to salvation; yea, it is not necessary to salvation to use the phrase at all.
That a pious Churchman who has not clear conceptions even of justification by faith, may be saved; therefore clear conceptions even of this are not necessary to salvation.
That a Mystic, who denies justification by faith, (Mr. Law, for instance,) may be saved. But if so, what becomes of "Articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiæ?" If so, is it not high time for us
'Projicere ampullas et sesquipedalia verba ;"'
And to return to the plain word, "He that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him!"
Every evening this week, I preached at Norwich to a
quiet, well-behaved congregation. Our friends, the mob, seem to have taken their leave, and so have triflers; all that remain seem to be deeply serious. But how easily are even these turned out of the way. One of our old members, about a year ago, left the Society, and never heard the preaching since, "Because Mr. Lincoln said, Mr. Wesley and all his followers would go to hell together!" However, on Tuesday night he ventured to the house once more, and God met him there, and revealed his Son in his heart.
Sat. 5. Believing it was my duty to search to the bottom some reports which I had heard concerning Mr. B—, I went to his old friend Mr. G―, an Israelite indeed, but worn almost to a skeleton. After I had explained to him the motives of my inquiry, he spoke without reserve. And if his account be true, that hot, sour man, does well to hold fast his opinion; for it is all the religion he has.
Mon. 7. I went on to Yarmouth, and found confusion worse confounded." Not only BW-'s Society was come to nothing, but ours seemed to be swiftly following. They had almost all left the church again, being full of prejudice against the Clergy and against one another. However, as two or three retained their humble, simple love, I doubted not but there would be a blessing in the remnant. My first business was to reconcile them to each other; and this was effectually done by hearing the contending parties, first separately, and afterwards face to face. It remained to reconcile them to the Church, and this was done partly by arguments, partly by persuasion.
Fri. 11. We set out at three in the morning, but did not reach Bury till past seven in the evening. The people being ready, I began preaching immediately. Many seemed really desirous to save their souls. The next day we went on to London.
Sun. 13. I was desired to preach a funeral sermon for William Osgood. He came to London near thirty years ago, and from nothing increased more and more, till he was worth several thousand pounds. He was a good man, and died in peace. Nevertheless, I believe his money was a great clog to him, and kept him in a poor, low state all his days, making no such advance as he might have done either in holiness or happiness.
To-day I found a little soreness on the edge of my
tongue, which the next day spread to my gums, then to my lips, which inflamed, swelled, and, the skin bursting, bled considerably. Afterward the roof of my mouth was extremely sore, so that I could chew nothing. To this was added a continual spitting. I knew a little rest would cure all. But this was not to be had, for I had appointed to be at Sheerness on Wednesday, the 16th. Accordingly, I took horse between five and six, and came thither between five and six in the evening. At half an hour after six I began reading prayers, (the Governor of the Fort having given me the use of the chapel,) and afterwards preached, though not without difficulty, to a large and serious congregation. The next evening it was considerably increased, so that the chapel was as hot as an oven. In coming out, the air being exceeding sharp, quite took away my voice, so that I knew not how I should be able the next day to read prayers or preach to so large a congregation. But in the afternoon the good Governor cut the knot, sending word, "I must preach in the chapel no more. A room being offered which held full as many people as I was able to preach to, we had a comfortable hour, and many seemed resolved to seek the Lord while he may be found."
Examining the Society, consisting of four or five and thirty members, I had the comfort to find many of them knew in whom they had believed; and all of them seemed really desirous to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour.
Such a town as many of these live in, is scarce to be found again in England. In the Dock adjoining to the Fort, there are six old men of war. These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty, or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows, and each of these contains a family. In one of them where we called, a man and his wife, and six little children lived; and yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean, sweeter than most sailing ships I have been in.
Sat. 19. I returned to London.
Sat. 26. I visited poor Mrs. H. whose wild husband has very near murdered her, by vehemently affirming, “It was revealed to him that she should die before such a day." Indeed the day is passed; but her weak, nervous constitution is so deeply shocked by it, that she still keeps her bed, and perhaps will feel it all the days of her life.
Saturday, January 2, 1768. I called on a poor man in the Marshalsea, whose case appeared to be uncommon. is by birth a Dutchman, a chemist by profession. but half employed at home, he was advised to come to London, where he doubted not of having full employment. He was recommended to a countryman of his to lodge, who after six weeks arrested him for much more than he owed, and hurried him away to prison; having a wife near her time, without money, friend, or a word of English to speak. I wrote the case to Mr. T who immedi
ately gave fifteen pounds, by means of which, with a little addition, he was set at liberty, and put in a way of living. But I never saw him since; and reason good; for he could now live without me.
Mon. 4. At my leisure hours this week, I read Dr. Priestley's ingenious book on Electricity. He seems to have accurately collected and well digested all that is known on that curious subject. But how little is that all! Indeed the use of it we know; at least in some good degree. We know it is a thousand medicines in one; in particular, that it is the most efficacious medicine in nervous disorders of every kind, which has ever yet been discovered; but if we aim at theory, we know nothing. We are soon
"Lost and bewilder'd in the fruitless search."
Mon. 11. This week I spent my scraps of time in reading Mr. Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland. It would transcend belief, but that the vouchers are too authentic to admit of any exception. O what a blessed Governor was that good natured man, so called, King Charles the Second! Bloody Queen Mary was a lamb, a mere dove, in comparison of him!
Monday, 25th, and the following days, in the intervals of more important work, I carefully read the Pleadings at Edinburgh in the famous Dougias case. So intricate a one I never heard, or never read of before. I cannot but believe the birth was real; but the objections are so numerous and so strongly urged, I cannot at all wonder that many should believe otherwise.
Monday, February 8. I met with a surprising Poem, entitled, Choheleth; or, The Preacher. It is a paraphrase in tolerable verse on the book of Ecclesiastes. I really think the author of it (a Turkey merchant) understands