Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Monday, May 31, 2010

A dry, sour, controversial book.

Mon 31 May 1742: About three I left Newcastle. I read over today the famous Dr. Pitcairn’s works. But I was utterly disappointed by that dry, sour, controversial book! We came in the evening to Boroughbridge, where to my great surprise the mistress of the house, though much of a gentlewoman, desired she and her family might join with us in prayer. They did so likewise between four and five in the morning. Perhaps even this seed may bring forth fruit

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Sunday in Savannah

At the first service on Sunday, May 30, 1736, were only five, at the second twenty-five. The next day I made Mr. Lascelles’s will; who, notwithstanding his great weakness, was quite revived when any mention was made of death or of eternity.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mr Hall

Sat 29 May 1742: I was informed that one Mr. Hall had been there about a year before, and had preached several times; but I could not learn that there was the least fruit of his labour. Nor could I find any that desired to hear him again, nor any that appeared to care for such matters.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Miracle before Dying

Fri 28 May 1736: I read the commendatory prayer by Mr. Germain, who lay at the point of death. He had lost his speech and his senses. His eyes were set, neither had he any discernible motion but the heaving of his breast. While we stood round him he stretched out his arms, rubbed his head, recovered his sight, speech, and understanding; and immediately sending for the bailiffs, settled the affairs of his family, and then lay down and died.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So much drunkenness, cursing and swearing

Thu 27 May 1742: We left Birstall, and on Friday 28 came to Newcastle upon Tyne. I read with great expectation, yesterday and today, Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates. I was utterly amazed at his want of judgment. How many of these things would Plato never have mentioned! But it may be well that we see the shades too of the brightest picture in all heathen antiquity.
We came to Newcastle about six, and after a short refreshment walked into the town. I was surprised: so much drunkenness, cursing and swearing (even from the mouths of little children), do I never remember to have seen and heard before, in so small a compass of time. Surely this place is ripe for him who ‘came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Ireland

Wed 26 May 1762: We took horse at four, to enjoy the cool of the morning. At seven the sun was warm enough: I verily think as warm as in Georgia. We could not have borne it, but the wind was in our face. However, in the afternoon we got well to Galway. There was a small society here, and (what is not common) all of them were young women. Between seven and eight I began preaching in the Court-House to a mixed multitude of Papists and Protestants, rich and poor, who appeared to be utterly astonished. At five in the morning I preached again, and spoke as plain as I possibly could. But to the far greater part it seemed to be only "as the sound of many waters."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giving offence by advising people to go to church and sacrament

Tue 25 May 1742: I set out early in the morning with John Taylor (since settled in London), and Wednesday 26, at eight or nine o’clock, reached Birstall, six miles beyond Wakefield.
John Nelson had wrote to me some time before; but at that time I had little thought of seeing him. Hearing he was at home, I sent for him to our inn; whence he immediately carried me to his house, and gave me an account of the strange manner wherein he had been led on, from the time of our parting at London.
He had full business there, and large wages. But from the time of his finding peace with God it was continually upon his mind that he must return (though he knew not why) to his native place. He did so about Christmas, in the year 1740. His relations and acquaintance soon began to inquire what he thought of this new faith; and whether he believed there was any such thing as a man’s knowing that his sins were forgiven. John told them point blank that this new faith, as they called it, was the old faith of the gospel; and that he himself was as sure his sins were forgiven as he could be of the shining of the sun. This was soon noised abroad. More and more came to inquire concerning these strange things. Some put him upon the proof of the great truths which such inquiries naturally led him to mention. And thus he was brought unawares to quote, explain, compare, and enforce several parts of Scripture. This he did at first sitting in his house, till the company increased so that the house could not contain them. Then he stood at the door, which he was commonly obliged to do in the evening, as soon as he came from work. God immediately set his seal to what was spoken, and several believed, and therefore declared that God was merciful also to their unrighteousness, and had forgiven all their sins.
Mr. Ingham hearing of this came to Birstall, inquired into the facts, talked with John himself, and examined him with the closest exactness, both touching his knowledge and spiritual experience. After which he encouraged him to proceed, and pressed him, as often as he had opportunity, to come to any of the places where himself had been, and speak to the people as God should enable him.
But he soon gave offence, both by his plainness of speech and by advising people to go to church and sacrament. Mr. Ingham reproved him; but finding him incorrigible, forbade any that were in his societies to hear him. But being persuaded this is the will of God concerning him, he continues to this hour working in the day, that he may be burdensome to no man, and in the evening ‘testifying the truth as it is in Jesus’.
I preached at noon on the top of Birstall Hill, to several hundreds of plain people; and spent the afternoon in talking severally with those who had tasted of the grace of God. All of these, I found, had been vehemently pressed not to ‘run about to church and sacrament’, and to keep their religion to themselves; to be still; not to talk about what they had experienced. At eight I preached on the side of Dewsbury Moor, about two miles from Birstall, and earnestly exhorted all who believed to wait upon God in his own ways, and to let their light shine before men.

Monday, May 24, 2010

One of the greatest natural wonders in Ireland

Mon 24 May 1762: I went with two friends, to see one of the greatest natural wonders in Ireland, Mount Eagle, vulgarly called Crow-Patrick. The foot of it is fourteen miles from Castlebar. There we left our horses, and procured a guide. It was just twelve when we alighted; the sun was burning hot, and we had not a breath of wind. Part of the ascent was a good deal steeper than an ordinary pair of stairs. About two we gained the top, which is an oval, grassy plain, about an hundred and fifty yards in length, and seventy or eighty in breadth. The upper part of the mountain much resembles the Peak of Teneriffe. I think it cannot rise much less than a mile perpendicular from the plain below. There is an immense prospect on one side toward the sea, and on the other over the land. But as most of it is waste and uncultivated, the prospect is not very pleasing.
At seven in the evening I preached at Newport, and at six in the morning. I then returned to Westport, and began reading Prayers at ten. After sermon I had a little conversation with Lord Westport, an extremely sensible man, and would gladly have stayed with him longer, but that I had promised to be at Castlebar; where, in the evening, I preached my farewell sermon to a numerous congregation.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Their example may bring others

Sun 23 May 1762: The chief family in the town made a part of our congregation. And whether they received any benefit thereby or no, their example may bring others who will receive it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

In Savannah, American Colony

Sat May 22 1736 [Savannah]: About four in the afternoon we entered upon Doboy Sound. The wind, which was right ahead, was so high when we were in the middle of it, and the sea so rough, being driven in at the inlet, that the boat was on the point of sinking every moment. But it pleased God to bring us safe to the other side in half an hour, and to Frederica the next morning. We had public prayers at nine, at which nineteen persons were present; and (I think) nine communicants.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Balcarrow church

Fri 21 May 1762: I preached at Balcarrow church at ten to a deeply serious congregation, and in the Court-House at Castlebar in the evening.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The poor, stupid sinners of Sligo.

Thu 20 May 1773: We had a large congregation of soldiers, as well as townsmen, at five in the morning. In the evening I preached in the market-house to such a congregation as has not been seen here for many years. Surely God is giving yet another call to the poor, stupid sinners of Sligo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God made the application

Wed 19 May 1784: I crossed over the pleasant and fertile county of Fife to Melville House, the grand and beautiful seat of Lord Leven. He was not at home, being gone to Edinburgh as the King’s Commissioner. But the Countess was with two of her daughters and both her sons-in-law. At their desire, I preached in the evening, on ‘It is appointed unto man once to die.’ And I believe God made the application.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cold, barren Sligo

Tue 18 May 1773: I went on to Tubbercarragh, and on Wednesday morning to Sligo. Here I expected little comfort, as having little expectation of doing any good; and the less, as some strollers were acting a play over the market-house where I was to preach. At seven I began in our own Room. Many of the soldiers, with some Officers, were present; and the whole congregation, rich and poor, were so remarkably serious, that I had a faint hope we shall see some fruit, even in cold, barren Sligo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

No, I am John Wesley himself

Mon 17 May 1742: I had designed this morning to set out for Bristol, but was unexpectedly prevented. In the afternoon I received a letter from Leicestershire, pressing me to come without delay, and pay the last office of friendship to one whose soul was on the wing for eternity. On Thursday 20 I set out. The next afternoon I stopped a little at Newport Pagnell, and then rode on till I overtook a serious man, with whom I immediately fell into conversation. He presently gave me to know what his opinions were; therefore I said nothing to contradict them. But that did not content him. He was quite uneasy to know whether I held the doctrine of the decrees as he did. But I told him over and over, ‘We had better keep to practical things, lest we should be angry at one another.’ And so we did for two miles, till he caught me unawares and dragged me into the dispute before I knew where I was. He then grew warmer and warmer, told me I was rotten at heart, and supposed I was one of John Wesley’s followers. I told him, ‘No; I am John Wesley himself.’ Upon which,
Improvisum aspris veluti qui sentibus anguem Pressit he would gladly have run away outright. But being the better mounted of the two I kept close to his side and endeavoured to show him his heart, till we came into the street of Northampton.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Sun 16 May 1762: I had observed to the society last week, that I had not seen one congregation ever in Ireland behave so ill at church as that at Athlone, laughing, talking, and staring about during the whole service. I had added, "This is your fault; for if you had attended the church, as you ought to have done, your presence and example would not have failed to influence the whole congregation." And so it appeared: I saw not one to-day either laughing, talking, or staring about; but a remarkable seriousness was spread from the one end of the church to the other.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Charter-School

Sat 15 May: We went on to Castlebar. Entering the town, I was struck with the sight of the Charter-School;—no gate to the court-yard, a large chasm in the wall, heaps of rubbish before the house-door, broken windows in abundance; the whole a picture of slothfulness, nastiness, and desolation! I did not dream there were any inhabitants, till, the next day, I saw about forty boys and girls walking from church. As I was just behind them, I could not but observe, 1. That there was neither Master nor Mistress, though, it seems, they were both well: 2. That both boys and girls were completely dirty: 3. That none of them seemed to have any garters on, their stockings hanging about their heels: 4. That in the heels, even of many of the girls' stockings, were holes larger than a crown-piece. I gave a plain account of these things to the Trustees of the Charter-School in Dublin: Whether they are altered or no, I cannot tell.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

But which of them are Christians

Thu 13 And Fri 14 May 1773: We went on, through a most dreary country, to Galway; where, at the late survey, there were twenty thousand Papists, and five hundred Protestants. But which of them are Christians, have the mind that was in Christ, and walk as he walked? And without this, how little does it avail, whether they are called Protestants or Papists! At six I preached in the Court-House, to a large congregation, who all behaved well. Friday, 14. In the evening I preached at Ballinrobe.

Blind leader of the blind

Thu 13 May 1762: I was in hopes even the Papists here had at length a shepherd who cared for their souls. He was stricter than any of his predecessors, and was esteemed a man of piety as well as learning. Accordingly, he had given them strict orders not to work on the Lord's day; but I found he allowed them to play as much as they pleased, at cards in particular; nay, and averred it was their duty so to do, to refresh both their bodies and minds. Alas, for the blind leader of the blind! Has not he the greater sin?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Before Bishops and Archbishops

Wed 12 May 1742: I waited on the Archbishop of Canterbury with Mr. Whitefield, and again on Friday; as also on the Bishop of London. I trust if we should be called to appear before princes we should not be ashamed.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One of the pleasantest countries I have seen

Tue 11 May 1784: Notwithstanding the long discontinuance of morning preaching, we had a large congregation at five. I breakfasted at the first house I was invited to at Inverness, where good Mr. M’Kenzie then lived. His three daughters live in it now, one of whom inherits all the spirit of her father. In the afternoon, we took a walk over the bridge into one of the pleasantest countries I have seen. It runs along by the side of the clear river and is well cultivated and well wooded. And here first we heard abundance of birds, welcoming the return of spring. The congregation was larger this evening than the last, and great part of them attended in the morning. We had then a solemn parting, as we could hardly expect to meet again in the present world.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Travelling with George Whitfield

Mon 10 May 1784: I set out for Inverness. I had sent Mr. M’Allum before, on George Whitfield’s horse, to give notice of my coming. Hereby I was obliged to take both George and Mrs. M’Allum with me in my chaise. To ease the horses, we walked forward from Nairn, ordering Richard to follow us, as soon as they fed. He did so, but there were two roads. So as we took one, and he the other, we walked about twelve miles and a half of the way, through heavy rain. We then found Richard waiting for us at a little ale-house, and drove on to Inverness. But, blessed be God, I was no more tired, then when I set out from Nairn. I preached at seven to a far larger congregation than I had seen here since I preached in the Kirk. And surely the labour was not in vain, for God sent a message to many hearts.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Preaching or Lecturing

Sun 9 May 1784: I preached to a small company at noon, on ‘his commandments are not grievous’. As I was concluding, Colonel Grant and his Lady came in, for whose sake I began again and ‘lectured’, as they call it, on the former part of the 15th chapter of St. Luke. We had a larger company in the afternoon, to whom I preached on ‘judgment to come’. And this subject seemed to affect them most.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The River Spey

Sat 8 May 1784: We reached the banks of the Spey. I suppose, there are few such rivers in Europe. The rapidity of it exceeds even that of the Rhine, and it was now much swelled with melting snow. However we made shift to get over before ten and, about twelve, reached Elgin. Here I was received by a daughter of good Mr. Plenderleath, late of Edinburgh; with whom, having spent an agreeable hour, I hastened toward Forres. But we were soon at full stop again, the river Findhorn also was so swollen, that we were afraid the ford was not passable. However, having a good guide, we passed it without much difficulty. I found Sir Lodowick Grant almost worn out. Never was a visit more seasonable. By free and friendly conversation his spirits were so raised, that I am in hopes it will lengthen his life.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Fri 7 May 1784: I took a walk round about the town. I know not when I have seen so pleasant a place. One part of the house is an ancient castle, situated on the top of a little hill. At a small distance runs a clear river with a beautiful wood on its banks. Close to it is a shady walk to the right, and another on the left hand. On two sides up the house there is abundance of wood; on the other, a wide prospect over fields and meadows. About ten, I preached again with much liberty of spirit, on ‘Love never faileth.’ About two, I left this charming place and made for Keith. But I know not how we could have got thither had not Lady Banff sent me forward through that miserable road with four stout horses.
I preached about seven to the poor of this world. Not a silk coat was seen among them; and to the greatest part of them at five in the morning. And I did not at all regret my labour.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Thu 6 May 1784: We had the largest congregation at five which I have seen since I came into the ‘kingdom’[Scotland]. We set out immediately after preaching and reached Oldmeldrum about ten. A servant of Lady Banff’s was waiting for us there, who desired I would take post-horses to Forglen. In two hours, we reached an inn which, the servant told us, was four little miles from her house. So we made the best of our way and got thither in exactly three hours. All the family received us with the most cordial affection. At seven, I preached to a small congregation, all of whom were seriously attentive, and some, I believe, deeply affected.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't stay in one place too long

Wed 5 May 1784: In Aberdeen I found the morning-preaching had been long discontinued; yet the bands and the select society were kept up. But many were faint and weak for want of morning-preaching and prayer-meetings, of which I found scarce any traces in Scotland.
In the evening, I talked largely with the preachers and showed them the hurt it did both to them and the people for any one preacher to stay six or eight weeks together in one place. Neither can he find matter for preaching every morning and evening, nor will the people come to hear him. Hence he grows cold by lying in bed, and so do the people. Whereas if he never stays more than a fortnight together in one place, he may find matter enough, and the people will gladly hear him. They immediately drew up such a plan for this circuit, which they determined to pursue.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Now her eyes are open

[This is from Sat]Sat May 1 1742. One called whom I had often advised ‘not to hear them that preach smooth things’. But she could not believe there was any danger therein, ‘seeing we were all’ (she said) ‘children of God’. The effects of it which now appeared in her were these: (1) She was grown above measure wise in her own eyes. She knew everything as well as any could tell her, and needed not to be ‘taught of man’. (2) She utterly despised all her brethren, saying they were all in the dark; they knew not what faith meant. (3) She despised her teachers as much, if not more than them, saying they knew nothing of the gospel; they preached nothing but the law, and brought all into bondage who minded what they said. ‘Indeed’, said she, ‘after I had heard Mr. Sp[angenberg] I was amazed; for I never since heard you preach one good sermon. And I said to my husband, “My dear, did Mr. Wesley always preach so?” And he said, “Yes, my dear; but your eyes were not opened.”’

Monday, May 3, 2010

More important than Oatmeal

Mon 3 May 1762: In the evening a company of players began acting in the upper part of the market-house, just as we began singing in the lower. The case of these is remarkable. The Presbyterians for a long time had their public worship here; but when the strollers came to town, they were turned out; and from that time had no public worship at all. On Tuesday evening the lower part too was occupied by buyers and sellers of oatmeal; but as soon as I began, the people quitted their sacks, and listened to business of greater importance.
On the following days I preached at Carrick-on-Shannon, Drumersnave, Cleg-Hill, Longford, and Abidarrig.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Sun 2 May 1779: Dr. Kershaw, the vicar of Leeds, desired me to assist him at the sacrament. It was a solemn season. We were ten clergymen and seven or eight hundred communicants. Mr. Atkinson desired me to preach in the afternoon. Such a congregation had been seldom seen there. But I preached to a much larger in our own house at five, and I found no want of strength.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Of no importance

Sat May 1 1779: I looked over the first volume of Mr. Bryant’s Ancient Mythology.He seems to be a person of immense reading and indefatigable industry. But I have two objections to the whole work: (1) that his discoveries, being built chiefly on etymologies, carry no certainty in them; (2) that were they ever so certain, they are of no consequence. For instance, whether Chiron was a man or a mountain, and whether the Cyclops were giants or watch-towers, are points of no manner of importance, either to me or any man living.