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quarter of an hour, perceiving the violence of the rabble still increasing, I walked down into the thickest of them, and took the captain of the mob by the hand. He immediately said, 'Sir, I will see you safe home, no man shall touch you. Gentlemen, stand off, go back, I will knock the first man down that touches him."

So Wesley quaintly adds,“We walked on in great peace, and at the hotel-door parted in much love. I stayed in the street near half an hour after he was gone, talking with the people, who had now forgotten their anger.”

The most absurd reports were circulated to keep up the excitement. The Methodists were allies of the Pretender, in league with the French, in the pay of Spain. Wesley was a Papist, a Jesuit, an emissary of the Pope, of the Pretender. But whatever was the watchword of the outcry, Wesley went on his way calmly, and neither attacks nor threats, neither mobs nor magistrates, turned him from his purpose. Nor could ridicule or annoyances disturb him. When Nash tried to interrupt him at Bath, he silenced him with a polite rebuke. The ballad-singers, who were sent to interrupt him in the street, he defeated, by telling his congregation to join in a hymn. The crowds, who pressed after him to stare, and called out, “ Which is he,” he put out by stopping and saying, “I am he," and they moved off. At St. Ives a jester tried to ridicule him. Wesley addressed him pointedly, and the man

slunk away. In the great gardens near Whitechapel, he was addressing a large multitude, a herd of cows was driven in among the audience, showers of stones were then hurled, one of which struck Wesley between the eyes, and drew blood; but, heedless of pain, he went on with his sermon, and subdued to interest and attention the multitude.*

His composure under danger shewed itself in a quiet humour. At Epworth, they said the mob was coming to pull the house down over their ears.

“ I told them, then our only way was to make the best use of it while it was standing; so I began expounding the tenth chapter of St. Matthew."

In Bolton, as Wesley preached from some steps of a house, the mob tried to throw him down; then they began to throw stones, but the stones, as Wesley remarks, struck the persons who were bawling at his ear, and he continued his discourse.

In Hull, he was pelted in the field, pelted in the coach as he came back, pelted in the house where he lodged, and the windows were smashed up to the highest story. The constables at last quelled the riot, which had so little effect upon Wesley that he slept as soundly as usual.

* Journal i. 373.

CHAPTER III.

THE REFORM.

WHATEVER Wesley's design was, there was evidence of its success. If he bore hardships and ran risks, he produced great effects. Wherever he went, he excited interest. When he preached, crowds collected to hear him: audiences of one thousand and fifteen hundred were small.

He preached to five or six thousand, to ten and fifteen thousand auditors. Near Newcastle, the hill-side swarmed from its top to its base. At Minehead, the population deserted the town, and gathered to hear him on the shore. In Moorfields, seven thousand people were collected to hear him, and at one time ten thousand.* On Kennington Common, the audience was computed to be fifteen thousand; on another occasion twenty thousand.

At Gwenap, the hills were crowded; on one occasion there were computed to be thirty-two thousand present. At St. Ives, the beach swarmed with auditors. Even

* Journal i. 193, 211, 14, &c.

the hill of the Devauden had its hundreds, and to Heptonstall Bank, Leeds poured forth a congregation which hung on his lips with “serious and earnest attention.” At Newcastle, he drew to the Sandhill a vast multitude; and into the valley of the Derwent, by the ruins of Blanchland, the lead-miners poured, from distances of many miles, to “ drink in his every word.” At Morpeth, in the market-place, Wesley's sermon was a stronger attraction than the business of the day. His side of the market was crowded; the stalls were empty ; buyer and seller thronged to hear him. In Bolton, the throng was boisterous; but still and attentive in Birmingham. Gateshead-Fell poured out its colliers. In Sunderland, a house could not contain the audience. In Alnwick, Wesley had to remove from the court-house to the market-cross. When churches were open to him, they were beset for hours, and even a five o'clock early service found multitudes gathered to hear him.

The places where Wesley preached, often added to the effect of his sermons; at times he stood on commons and

squares, the resort of numbers; at other times on hill-sides, or quiet nooks, where the picturesque scenery set off, as in a frame, the preacher and his 'audience. Now, under the summer sky, he preached beneath sycamore-trees, which, planted in old times, afford in England so deep a shade. At Gwenap, his favourite place was a natural amphitheatre, where he stood on the top of a wall as a pulpit, the people ranged in

rows on the low hills in front. Here “in the calm still evening, with the setting sun behind, and an innumerable multitude before, behind, and on either hand,” he preached, and this, he says, was a magnificent spectacle

-the sound of ten thousand voices, singing praises in harmony, gave forth a glorious music. At St. Ives his pulpit was a fragment of rock, ten feet in length, from which the ground descended in a slope to the sea; there, with the waves giving out their low deep undertone, the clear voice of the preacher passed shrill through the multitude, and there he preached on successive evenings, sometimes in storms, at other times in the stillness of the summer twilight.

In Exeter, he preached in the moat, now converted into a public garden, then thronged with attentive multitudes. Near Newcastle, at Blanchland, he chose a tomb-stone in the yard of a ruined Cathedral, and, standing by the ruins, while the hills were white with snow, sheltered by the walls, he preached to the people who sat round or knelt on the grass that waved on the tombs. At another place he selected the side of a mountain, partly clothed with noble trees, with a beautiful stream below, to fill each pause with its gentle music. Even near Leeds, he found a place of picturesque beauty; “ an oval spot of ground, surrounded with spreading trees, scooped out, as it wereto form a theatre for the audience.

Weather did not deter him, and often supplied inter

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