« PreviousContinue »
chiefly by means of Joseph G. Many of the children likewise are serious and well-behaved, and some of them seem to be awakened.
Sun. 17. I commended them to the grace of God, and rode to Cockermouth. I had designed to preach near the Market-house, but the rain constrained us to go into the house, where I explained (out of the First Lesson,) "Let me die the death of the righteous." In the evening I preached at Coldbeck, in the mountains, to an exceeding serious congregation.
Mon. 18. Taking horse at four, I reached Solway-Frith before eight, and finding a guide ready, crossed without delay, dined at Dumfries, and then went on to Drumlanric.
Tues. 19. I rode, through heavy rain, to Glasgow. On Thursday and Friday, I spoke to most of the members of the Society. I doubt we have few Societies in Scotland like this: the greater part of those I saw, not only have found peace with God, but continue to walk in the light of his countenance. Indeed that wise and good man, Mr. G―, has been of great service to them; encouraging them, by all possible means, to abide in the grace of God.
Sat. 23. I rode over the mountains to Perth. I had received magnificent accounts of the work of God in this place; so that I expected to find a numerous and lively Society. Instead of this, I found not above two believers, and scarce five awakened persons in it. ing I had all to begin, I spoke exceeding plain in the evening, to about a hundred persons, at the Room; but, knowing this was doing nothing, on Sunday, the 24th, I preached, about eight, at the end of Watergate. A multitude of people were soon assembled, to whom I cried aloud, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near." All were deeply attentive, and I had a little hope that some were profited.
At the Old Kirk we had useful sermons, both in the morning and at five in the afternoon. Immediately after service, I preached, on, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." The congregation was so exceeding large, that I doubt many could not hear. After preaching, I explained the nature of a Methodist Society; adding, that I should not look
on any persons at Perth as such, unless they spoke to me before I left the city. Four men and four women did speak to me, two of whom I think were believers; and one or two more seemed just awakening, and darkly feeling after God. In truth, the kingdom of God, among these, is as yet but as a grain of mustard-seed.
Mon. 25. Mr. Fr, Minister of a neighbouring parish, desired us to breakfast with him. I found him a serious, benevolent, sensible man, not bigoted to any opinions. I did not reach Brechin till it was too late to preach.
Tues. 26. I came to Aberdeen. Here I found a Society truly alive, knit together in peace and love. The congregations were large both morning and evening, and, as usual, deeply attentive. But a company of strolling players, who have at length found place here also, stole away the gay part of the hearers. Poor Scotland! poor Aberdeen! this only was wanting to make them as completely irreligious as England.
Fri. 29. I read over an extremely sensible book, but one that surprised me much. It is, "An Inquiry into the Proofs of the Charges commonly advanced against Mary Queen of Scotland." By means of original papers, he has made it more clear than one would imagine it possible at this distance, 1. That she was altogether innocent of the murder of Lord Darnley, and no way privy to it; 2. That she married Lord Bothwell (then near seventy years old, herself but four and twenty) from the pressing instance of the nobility in a body, who at the same time assured her, he was innocent of the king's murder; 3. That Murray, Morton, and Lethington themselves, contrived that murder, in order to charge it upon her, as well as forged those vile letters and sonnets, which they palmed upon the world for hers.
But how then can we account for the quite contrary story, which has been almost universally received? Most easily it was penned and published in French, English, and Latin (by Queen Elizabeth's order) by George Buchanan, who was secretary to Lord Murray, and in Queen Elizabeth's pay. So he was sure to throw dirt enough; nor was she at liberty to answer for herself. But what then was Queen Elizabeth? as just and as merciful as Nero, and as good a Christian as Mahomet. Sun. May the 1st, I preached, at seven, in the New
Room; in the afternoon at the College-Kirk in Old Aberdeen. At six, knowing our house could not contain the congregation, I preached in the Castle-Gate on the paved stones. A large number of people were all attention; but there were many rude, stupid creatures round about them, who knew as little of reason as of religion : I never saw such brutes in Scotland before. One of them threw a potatoe, which fell on my arm. I turned to them, and some were ashamed.
Mon. 2. I set out early from Aberdeen, and about noon preached in Brechin. After sermon, the Provost desired to see me, and said, Sir, my son had epileptic fits from his infancy. Dr. Ogylvie prescribed for him many times, and at length told me he could do no more. I desired Mr. Blair last Monday to speak to you. On Tuesday morning my son said to his mother, he had just been dreaming that his fits were gone, and he was perfectly well. Soon after I gave him the drops you advised. He is perfectly well, and has not had one fit since." In the evening I preached to a large congregation at Dundee. They heard attentively, but seemed to feel nothing. The next evening I spoke more strongly, and to their hearts, rather than their understanding; and I believe a few felt the word of God sharp as a two-edged sword.
Thur. 5. We rode through the pleasant and fruitful Carse of Gowry, a plain fifteen or sixteen miles long, between the river Tay and the mountains, very thick inhabited, to Perth. In the afternoon we walked over to the royal palace at Scone. It is a large old house, delightfully situated, but swiftly running to ruin. Yet there are a few good pictures, and some fine tapestry left, in what they call the Queen's and the King's chambers. And what is far more curious, there is a bed and a set of hangings, in the once-royal apartment, which was wrought by poor Queen Mary, while she was imprisoned in the Castle of Lochlevin. It is some of the finest needle-work I ever saw, and plainly shows both her exquisite skill and unwearied industry.
About this time a remarkable work of God broke out among the children at Kingswood School. One of the masters sent me a short account of it, as follows:
"Rev. AND DEAR SIR,
April 27, 1768.
"On Wednesday, the 20th, God broke in upon our
boys in a surprising manner. A serious concern has been observable in some of them for some time past. But that night, while they were in their private apartments, the power of God came upon them, even like a mighty rushing wind, which made them cry aloud for mercy. Last night, I hope, will never be forgotten, when about twenty were in the utmost distress. But God quickly spoke peace to two of them, J- Glt, and TM- -e. A greater display of his love I never saw; they indeed rejoice with joy unspeakable. For my own. part, I have not often felt the like power. We have no need to exhort them to pray; for that spirit runs through the whole school; so that this house may well be called, a house of prayer. While I am writing, the cries of the boys from their several apartments are sounding in my ears. There are many still lying at the pool, who wait every moment to be put in. They are come to this, 'Lord, I will not, I cannot rest without thy love.' Since I began to write, eight more are set at liberty, and now rejoice in God their Saviour. The names of these are John Coward, John Lion, John Maddern, John Boddily, John Thurgar, Charles Brown, William Higham, and Robert Hindmarsh. Their age is from eight to fourteen. There are but few who withstand the work, nor is it likely they should do it long; for the prayers of those that believe in Christ seem to carry all before them. Among the colliers likewise the work of God increases greatly two of the colliers' boys were justified this week. The number added to the Society since the Conference is a hundred and thirty.
"I had sealed my letter, but have opened it to inform you, that two more of our children have found peace. Several others are under deep conviction. Some of our
friends from Bristol are here, who are thunderstruck. This is the day we have wished for so long, the day you have had in view, which has made you go through so much opposition, for the good of these poor children. "JAMES HINDMARSH."
A few days after, one wrote thus :
"I cannot help congratulating you on the happy situation of your family here. The power of God continues to work with almost irresistible force; and there is good reason to hope it will not be withdrawn, till
every soul is converted to God. I have had frequent opportunities of conversing alone with the boys, and find the work has taken deep root in many hearts. The house rings with praise and prayer, and the whole behaviour of the children strongly speaks for God. The number of the new-born is increased since you received your last information. I have been a witness of part; but the whole exceeds all that language can paint."
Another writes, May the 18th :
The work of God still goes on at Kingswood. Of the hundred and thirty Members who have been added to the Society since the last Conference, the greater part have received justifying faith, and are still rejoicing in God their Saviour; and (what is the most remarkable) I do not know of one backslider in the place. The outpouring of the Spirit on the children in the school has been exceeding great. I believe there is not one among them who has not been affected, more or less. Twelve of them have found peace with God; and some in a very remarkable manner. These have no doubt of the favour of God than of their own existence. And the Lord is still with them, though not so powerfully as he was two or three weeks since."