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Fri. 16. I walked round the ruins of the Abbey, formerly one of the largest in the kingdom. The walls of it are standing, and three sides of the cloisters are entire; but you can scarce tread, either within or without, unless you will step upon sculls or human bones, which are every where scattered up and down, as dung upon the earth. Surely no other nation, Christian or Heathen, would endure this !
In the evening, the congregation was a little disturbed by two or three giddy officers. I spoke to them, and they stopped; but they soon recovered their spirits and behaved as they used to do at church !
Sun. 18. I preached at nine to a large congregation, who all seemed to hear with understanding. At five in the evening they were not less attentive, though abundantly more numerous.
On Monday we met, for the last time, between four and five. Many were deeply affected, and all received the word with all readiness of mind." But which of these will“ bring forth fruit with patience?” God only knoweth.
Monday 19. We rode to Castlebar, where I preached in the evening. I was particularly concerned for the poor backsliders. It seems as if most of us said in our hearts, “ If they have a mind to go to hell, let them go." Not so : rather let us pluck the “ brands,” willing or unwilling, out of the burning!”
Thur. 22. I rode to Newport, and preached at seven in the evening. I suppose all the Protestants in the town were present, and many of the Papists, notwithstanding the prohibition and bitter curses of their Priests. So has God spread the line from sea to sea, from Dublin on the east, to this place on the western ocean.
May the 25th, being Whitsunday, Mr. Elison desired me to assist him at the Lord's Supper.
Tues. 27. There was a remarkable trial here: a Swedish ship being leaky, put into our harbours; the Irish, according to custom, ran to plunder her; a neighbouring gentleman hindered them, and for so doing demanded a fourth part of her cargo; and this, they said, the law allows. But where, meantime, is the law of God?
To hear this cause, all the gentlemen of the country were come to Castlebar. It was to be heard in the courthouse, where I preached; so they met an hour sooner,
and heard the sermon first. Who knows but even some of these may be found of Him they sought not?
Wed. 28. I rode to Hollymount, and the next day to Aghrim, where were a people alive to God. I told them plainly, what things they wanted still. And surely God will supply all their wants.
Trinity-Sunday, June 1. I preached, about nine, in the market-house at Athlone, on, “ There are three that bear record in heaven,-and these three are one. Afterwards, at the Minister's desire, I read prayers in the church, and in the evening preached on the Connaught side of the river, on, “ Ye must be born again." Both Papists and Protestants attended, and some seemed cut to the heart. Tues.
3. I met the Classes, and was agreeably surprised to find that bitterness against the church, with which many were infected when I was here before, was now entirely over; yet the deadness it had occasioned remained, and I doubt it will not soon be removed.
Fri. 6. I preached in the evening at Ahaskra, where the bulk of the congregation were Papists; yet the decency of their behaviour was such as might have made many Protestants ashamed.
Sun. 8. I rode over to Aghrim again. Understanding the Rector had none to assist in the service, I offered to read prayers for him, which he willingly accepted. Immediately after the church service, I preached to a numerous congregation, and returned to Athlone, soon enough to speak once more to a large concourse of all ranks and religions; but great part of them were as bullocks unaccustomed to the yoke, neither taught of God
Mon. 9. About one I preached at Abidarrig, and then rode on to Longford. The town was so thronged by reason of the approaching fair, that we had much ado to pass; but this increased the evening congregation much, among whom was Dr. Hort, then Rector of the parish, a learned, sensible, pious man, and a pattern both for clergy and laity.
Tues. 10. I rode to Drumersnave, a village delightfully situated : almost the whole town, Protestants and Papists, were present at the sermon in the evening; and a great part of them in the morning : but O how few of them will bear fruit to perfection !
At noon William Ley, James Glassbrook, and I rode to
Carrick-upon-Shannon. In less than an hour, an Esquire and Justice of the Peace, came down with a drum and what mob he could gather. I went into the garden with the congregation, while he was making a speech to his followers in the street. He then attacked William Ley, (who stood at the door,) being armed with a halbert and long sword, and ran at him with the halbert, but missing his thrust, he then struck at him, and broke it short upon his wrist. Having made his way through the house to the other door, he was at full stop; James Glassbrook held it fast on the other side. While he was endeavouring to force it open, one told him, I was preaching in the garden; on this he quitted the door in haste, ran round the house, and with part of his retinue climbed over the wall into the garden; and with a whole volley of oaths and curses declared, “ You shall not preach here to-day.” I told him,“ Sir, I do not intend it; for I have preached already.” This made him ready to tear the ground. Finding he was not to be reasoned with, I went into the house. Soon after he revenged himself on James Glassbrook, (by breaking the truncheon of his halbert on his arm,) and on my hat, which he beat and kicked most valiantly; but a gentleman rescued it out of his hands, and we rode quietly out of the town.
After preaching to several of the intermediate Societies in the way, on Saturday, 14, I came to Tyrrell's Pass, and found several of our friends who were come from various parts.
Sun. 15. I preached at eight, and at twelve, (there being no service at the church.) A heap of fine gay people came in their post-chaises to the evening preaching. spoke very plain, but the words seemed to fly over them : Gallio cared for none of these things.”
Mon. 16. I preached in the evening, in the long shady walk at Edinderry, to such a congregation as had not been seen there for many years. And God gave an edge to his word, both this evening and the next morning : He can work even among these dry bones.
Wed. 18. I designed to preach in the market-house at Portarlington, but it was pre-engaged for a ball; so I preached and with much comfort, in our own room, as also at five in the morning. I preached at ten for the sake of the gentry; but it was too early, they could not rise so soon.
In the afternoon, I rode to Mountmelick. The rain was suspended in the evening, while I exhorted a large congregation to “walk in the old paths.” Many Papists appeared to be quite astonished; some of them were almost persuaded to walk therein. The next evening I preached in the market-place, for the sake of the rich who could hear there, without impeachment to their honour; and some were deeply affected. Surely the thorns will not choke all the good seed !
Sat. 21. The congregation at Tullamore was near as large as at Mountmelick. At eight in the morning, Sunday, 22, it was much increased, but much more at one; and I have reason to believe, that God at this time touched several careless hearts. I rode from thence to Coolylough, and found a congregation gathered from twenty miles round. It rained when I began to preach, but none offered to go away; and God did indeed a gracious rain upon his inheritance," and comforted the souls of his servants.
Mon. 23. Being the quarterly meeting, the Stewards from all the country Societies were present; a company of settled, sensible men. Nothing is wanting in this kingdom, but zealous, active Preachers, tenacious of order, and exact discipline.
Tues. 24. I took horse early, and at ten preached at Cloughan, about 24 miles from Coolylough. We afterwards rode through Longford, but did not stop, as the day was cool and pleasant. About two we were unawares encompassed with a multitude of Papists, coming out of their mass-house. One of them knowing me soon alarmed the rest, who set up a hideous roar, and drew up in battlearray; but we galloped through them, and went on to Drumersnave, where I preached in the evening; and the next day, Wednesday, 25, rode on to Sligo.
Never did I see a fairer prospect of good here: but blossoms are not fruit. As large, if not a larger congregation than before, was at the market-place in the evening. I was exceeding weary, having rode an extremely dull horse; but I soon forgot my weariness, seeing so many, young and old, rich and poor, receiving the word with all gladness.
Thur. 26. I preached at five in a large commodious room, which has been procured since I was here last. I breakfasted at Mr. A—'s, and dined at Mr. K-'s; but
two such families I have seldom seen: they had feared God for many years, and served him in the best manner they knew : nothing was wanting but that they should hear the “
more excellent way,” which they then embraced with all their heart.
Fri. 27. Our morning congregation was doubled. Mr. D— did not fail to be there, though it seemed strange to him at first, when mention was made of preaching at five in the morning. In the evening we had a still larger congregation; and, I believe, God applied his word : some trembled, others wept. Surely some of these shall know there is balm in Gilead."
Sat. 28. At five the congregation was larger than ever it had been at that hour. After breakfast I rode out with Mr. K- and Mr. D-, who, hearing I was ill-mounted, desired me to make use of one of his horses, during my stay in Ireland.
In the evening (it being market-day, so that the markethouse was full of people) I wrote a line to the Colonel, who readily gave me the liberty of preaching in the barrack-yard; he came likewise to hear himself, as did several of the officers. It was a solemn conclusion of the happiest birthday which I have known for many years.
Sun. 29. We had a solemn meeting of the Society at five. At eight I preached again in the barrack-yard, and I did not observe a trifler there; they all seemed to hear as for life. To-day I saw an odd instance of the force of example: when we were at church in the morning, scarce any one either sung or stood at the psalms, so that I was almost alone therein; but in the afternoon, almost every one stood up; and most of them sung, or endeavoured so to do. After service, I went directly to the market-house, and enforced those solemn words, " What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
Mr. D— had left us at six in the morning, in order to serve his cure; but about ten at night he came back, and was with me soon after four, importuning me to stay another day; but as my journeys were fixed, I could not do that without disappointing several congregations. Now was the general call for the town of Sligo, and many did receive the word with joy;" but the greatest part