Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

I do not complain that God has not made me some fine thing, to be set up to be gazed at; but I can heartily bless Him that He has made me, just what I am, a creature capable of the enjoyment of Himself. If I go to the window and look out, I see the moon and stars ; I meditate awhile in the silence of the night, consider this world as a beautiful structure, and the work of an Almighty hand; then I sit down to work again, and think myself one of the happiest of beings

on it." *

The teaching which could lead to such happiness is not to be lightly regarded ; the missionary of such truth has justly won for himself a high name.

Southey, ii. p. 530.

CHAPTER XIII.

THE LAST

SCENES OF THE MISSION.

I have said enough of the tendency of Methodism. I return to trace the life of its founder in its later scenes.

The year 1774 found John Wesley, after ministerial labours of thirty-five years, after more than one generation had passed away, pursuing in his seventy-second year the same work with the same energy which he had shewn in his prime. Still he preaches twice or thrice a day, not unfrequently four times in a day,* in the open air, in all weathers, in meadows, streets, or hill-sides, to vast multitudes, or in churches which his voice fills, beginning at five in the morning, t and the evening finds him yet engaged. By horse or boat, in mud, sleet, or storm, he makes his way to his post. A walk of ten miles, in the midst of his day, is nothing to him. I Unchanged in his custom, he goes to bed at half past nine in the evening, $ rises at three in the morning when his journeys demand it, and, as his usual Tournal, iv. pp. 54, 135, 157, 270, 45, 134. + Ibid. p. 35. # Ibid. p. 36.

§ Ibid. p. 33.

*

year.*

practice, at four o'clock, in order to be ready to preach at five. He breaks off a ministerial tour, to travel post-haste from Congleton to Bristol, 140 miles, when railways were not, and to return, after two hours spent in Bristol, to resume his preaching in Cheshire. Many fall around him, younger and stronger men. Age grasps his cotemporaries and breaks them into decrepitude. He stands erect in his slight but sinewy frame, and looks forty years their junior. His recipe is to rise at four o'clock, to preach at five in the morning, and to travel (chiefly on horseback) 4,500 miles in the

“This being my birth-day, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering how this is, that I find just the same strength, as I did thirty years ago ? That my sight is evidently better now, and my nerves firmer than they were then ? That I have none of the infirmities of old age, and have lost several that I had in my youth." +

April 16, 1776:-1 preached about noon at Chowbent. As we were considering in the afternoon what we should do, the rain not suffering us to be abroad, one asked the vicar for the use of the Church, to which he readily consented. I began to read Prayers at half past five. The Church was so crowded, &c. April 17, After preaching at Bury about noon, I went on to Rochdale, and preached in the evening to a numerous congregation. April 18, I clambered over the horrid

* Journal, iv. p. 10. + Ibid. p. 22. # Ibid. p. 20.

[ocr errors]

mountains to Todmorden, and thence to Heptonstall on the brow of another mountain. Such a congregation scarce ever met in the Church before. In the evening I preached in the Croft. Oct. 13, 1778, I took a little tour into Oxfordshire, and preached in the evening at Wallingford.* Oct. 14. I went on to Oxford, and, having an hour to spare, walked to Christchurch, for which I cannot but still retain a peculiar affection. What lovely mansions are these. In the evening I preached at Finstock. How gladly could I spend a few weeks in this delightful solitude. But I must not rest yet, as long as God gives me strength to labour, I must use it. Oct. 13, I preached at Witney, &c. Oct. 16, I was desired to preach at Thame on my return to London.” This he did, visited the sick, and then preached in the evening at High Wycombe, and on Saturday returned to London. +

“At Witney we had a lovely congregation at five : about nine I preached at Oxford, in Newnham at one, and in the evening at Wallingford.” Next day, two sermons at Kingston Lodge and Ramsbury.

Here is a specimen of a week, 1-Sept. 1779. Monday, preached in the market-place at Carmarthen. Tuesday, nine miles off at Kidwelly at eight, at eleven in the church-yard of Llanelly, at six in Swansea. Wednesday, preached at five in Swansea, at eight in * Journal, iv. p. 131, 132.

+ Ibid. p. 54. Works, iv. p. 157.

Neath town-hall, in the afternoon in the Church, and at six in the town hall of Cowbridge: vast crowds, great heat, 'I was no more tired, when I had done, than when I rose in the morning.' Thursday, at Cowbridge, preached at five, again at eleven, in the evening in Llandaff. Friday, preached twice at Cardiff, then on to Newport, and on Saturday to Bristol. On Sunday preached and gave the sacrament to a vast crowd, and at five to a multitude in the

square

with a thermometer that day at 80°.

Again ; Aug. 1776,* I rode on horse-back to St. Agnes, where the rain constrained me to preach in the house. As we rode back to Redruth, it poured down in torrents, and found its way through all our clothes. I was tired when I came in, but, after sleeping a quarter of an hour, all my weariness was gone."

“Nov. 1778,+ at the end of Stroud I chose to walk up the hill, leaving the coach to follow me. But it was in no great haste; it did not overtake me till I had walked above five miles. I cared not if it had been ten; the more I walk, the sounder I sleep."

His life was one incessant whirl of movement and preaching. I Within half a year, the old man makes two circuits of Ireland, traverses Scotland from Berwick to Inverness, and each day of his circuit is one of travelling, and generally of preaching. In thirty-one days he preaches thirty-two sermons, while he works his * Journal iv. p. 79. # Ibid. p. 133. # Ibid. p. 125.

« VorigeDoorgaan »