Our most recent family pic with only Andrew missing

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Danger of being intercepted, or killed by the French there

Wed 30 Jun 1736: I hoped a door was opened for going up immediately to the Choctaws, the least polished, i.e., the least corrupted, of all the Indian nations. But upon my informing Mr. Oglethorpe of our design, he objected, not only the danger of being intercepted, or killed by the French there; but much more the inexpediency of leaving Savannah destitute of a minister. These objections I related to our brethren in the evening, who were all of opinion, ‘We ought not to go yet.’

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A flood of cursing and bitterness

Tue 29 Jun 1742: I was desired to visit one in Newgate. As I was coming out, poor Benjamin Rutter stood in my way and poured out such a flood of cursing and bitterness as I scarce thought was to be found out of hell.
From Thursday, July 1, till Monday, I endeavoured to compose the little differences which had arisen. On Monday I rode to Cardiff and found much peace and love in the little society there. Tue. 6. I rode over to Fonmon and found Mrs. Jones thoroughly resigned to God, although feeling what it was to lose an husband, and such an husband, in the strength of his years!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Disputing had done much mischief

Mon 28 Jun 1742: I rode to Bristol. I soon found disputing had done much mischief here also. I preached on those words, ‘From that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?’ Many were cut to the heart. A cry went forth; and great was the company of the mourners. But God did not leave them comfortless; some knew, in the same hour, that he had the words of eternal life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Creek Indians

Sunday, June 27 1736: About twenty joined with us in Morning Prayer. An hour or two after, a large party of Creek Indians came, the expectation of whom deprived us of our place of public worship, in which they were to have their audience.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

President Nelson Mandela at my Ordination Conference

Cedric and Chris at Mandela Square, Johannesburg.

I was ordained on Sunday, 19 July, 1998. Two days before that our Conference was addressed by President Nelson Mandela. It was the eve of his 80th birthday, but unbeknownst to us all, except our Presiding Bishop Mvume Dandala, this day was also the eve of Madiba's marriage to Graca Machel. Our Presiding Bishop would excuse himself from the chair of Conference to officiate at the marriage on Saturday, and return for our ordination service on Sunday.

Address by President Nelson Mandela at the first Triennial Conference of the Methodist church of South Africa   Durban, 17 July 1998

Presiding Bishop Mvume Dandala;
Distinguished Guests;

When I met with you at your annual conference in Umtata in 1994, we were all
still celebrating the fresh victory of democracy. At that meeting we took stock
of the challenges ahead that we would face together. Our main priorities then
revolved around writing a constitution to protect the social, economic and
political rights of all South Africa's people.
As a nation we had survived an unfortunate period in the life of our country,
where the most terrible oppression was justified by some people on the basis of
their Christian faith. Other living faiths were denied an opportunity to
contribute on an equal footing to the life of our people.
Our new constitution has laid the foundations for a healthy inter-religious
relationship by guaranteeing the right to freedom of religion, in a society
where the oppression of one by another must forever be a thing of the past.
What South Africa needs now is not only good government and good laws. We
need people who are committed to making this the country of our dreams. And we
need religious people who live their faith.
Today I am 79 years and 364 days old. My live has been a long journey. I am
grateful for the learning during my early years which laid the foundations for
my life. I thank my mother and uncles who sent me to Sunday School and to the
Mission Schools where I was nurtured. Although youth is supposed to rebel
against a strict church, I look back fondly on the instruction I received at
Clarkebury and Healdtown. The values I was taught at these institutions have
served me well throughout my life.
These values were strengthened during our years of incarceration when this
church, along with other religious communities, cared for us. Not only did you
send chaplains to encourage us, but you also assisted us materially within your
means. You helped our families at a time when we could not help them ourselves.
Religious organisations also played a key role in exposing apartheid for what
it was - a fraud and a heresy. It was encouraging to hear of the God who did not
tolerate oppression, but who stood with the oppressed.
We will always salute the resolve of those who stood firm for justice and
righteousness. Many a religious community suffered because they stood for truth.
We must never let this happen to our nation again. Our task must be to
constantly remind ourselves of our history and of our vision for the future: to
build a democratic culture in which all have the freedom and opportunities to
improve our lives.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has played a crucial role in exposing
the evil that bedevilled our land for so long. Many our people are still bitter
and find it difficult to forgive. Just laws are not enough to lead our people to
new life. True reconciliation will come about when those who were divided
confront their past, join hands and overcome the legacy of poverty. In the same
way our freedom will only gain real meaning if it brings real improvements in
the lives of people.
As the government of a young democracy we have made considerable progress in
bringing basic facilities within reach of all people and we are proud of that
achievement. But we know it will take a long time to reverse the destructive
legacy of over three hundred years.
It will also require the combined efforts of all our people, some who must
share their knowledge and skills; some who must contribute by building schools
and hospitals and others who must be creative and participate in their own
upliftment. We need a culture of hard work, of learning, and of innovation.
People must become job creators rather than only job seekers. Our children must
be helped to make the best of their opportunities, even where facilities are not
Religious communities have a vital role to play in this regard. Just as you
took leading roles in the struggle against apartheid, so too you should be at
the forefront of helping to deliver a better life to all our people. Amongst
other things you are well placed to assist in building capacity within
communities for effective delivery of a better life.
This better life is not only about delivering jobs, houses, education and
health services. It is also about eliminating anything which threatens our
hard-won gains.
It is about making South Africa a safe place to live in. Crime is a menace
that disturbs any country. It hampers our efforts to build a society in which
everyone's rights are respected. While even one person feels insecure in our
land, we will not rest. Government is doing its best but we face huge obstacles
even from within our ranks. When we speak of crime we are also referring to the
corruption which is undermining our efforts to build a better life. What is most
distressing is that of those who plunder public resources for their own benefit
include former fighters for freedom as well as those from the former apartheid
Overcoming crime and corruption and our other problems in the field of
education, unemployment and poverty, requires every person to become part of the
solution instead of simply being a spectator. In our schools and our places of
worship, people should be encouraged to share in creating the atmosphere our
land needs. As religious leaders you are responsible for creating a climate of
honesty, responsibility and discipline. As a society we should all reject those
who steal bread from the mouths of little children or from the elderly or the
We count on the religious fraternity to help us restore the moral values and
the respect for each other that were destroyed by the inhumanity of apartheid.
Finally, please allow me to congratulate you on the mission stalls you are
displaying here. It is heart-warming to see the efforts my church is making to
touch the lives of our people, particularly the poor. This already is for us a
sign of what must be: all our people rolling up their sleeves so that all may
reap the fruits of their freedom.
I thank you!

Issued by: Office of The President      

People might know their sins were forgiven

Sat 26 Jun 1742: I was desired to call upon Mr. Walker, ‘the pillar of the church’ in these parts. As soon as I came in he fell upon me with might and main for saying people might know their sins were forgiven. And brought a great book to confute me at once. I asked if it was the Bible. And upon his answering, ‘No,’ inquired no farther, but laid it quietly down. This made him warmer still, upon which I held it best to shake him by the hand and take my leave.
I had appointed to preach in Stroud at noon. But about ten, observing it to rain faster and faster, I was afraid the poor people would not be able to come, many of whom lived some miles off. But in a quarter of an hour the rain ceased, and we had a fair, pleasant day; so that many were at the market-place while I applied the story of the Pharisee and publican, the hard rain in the morning having disengaged them from their work in the grounds. There would probably have been more disturbance, but that a drunken man began too soon, and was so senselessly impertinent that even his comrades were quite ashamed of him.
In the evening I preached on Minchinhampton Common. Many of Mr. Whitefield’s society were there, to whom, as well as to all the other sinners (without meddling with any of their opinions), I declared, in the name of the Great Physician, ‘I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely.’

Friday, June 25, 2010

President Nelson Mandela addresses Methodist Conference 1994

Address by President Nelson Mandela to the Annual Conference of the Methodist Church

18 September 1994 

Presiding Bishop Stanley Mogoba, District Bishops, Distinguished Delegates, Dear Guests,
Allow me to express my profound gratitude for the invitation to be with you tonight. It is indeed a great honour for me to bring my personal greetings to one of the most significant Christian communities in our land.
My joy at being in this conference is multiplied many-fold by the fact that this is for me also a personal home-coming, both in the physical and spiritual sense. The environs of Umtata are not only my humble origins. It is here that my spiritual association with this great Church started. And I cannot over-emphasise the role that the Methodist Church has played in my own life.
Your Church has a proud record of commitment to the development of Africa`s sons and daughters in more areas than one. The great institutions of learning which spread from the Reverend William Shaw`s "Chain of Mission Stations" in this region shaped the minds and characters of generations of our people as well as many of our present leaders.
Although the dark night of apartheid sought to obliterate many of these institutions, the impact of their academic and moral teachings could not be trampled on. We who passed through them will not forget the excellent standards of teaching and the spiritual values which were imparted to us.
It is therefore heartening to learn that Methodism is returning to this great tradition with the rehabilitation of Healdtown, your new John Wesley School in Pinetown, the use of Indaleni for community development, the return to Kilnerton and the hundreds of pre-schools you have established. All these and other endeavours vividly demonstrate the fact that the religious community in our country is not only a spiritual and moral force. It is also an important social institution, contributing to the development and well-being of the people as a whole.
The sense of social responsibility that the religious community has always upheld found expression in your immense contribution to the efforts to rid our country of the scourge of racism and apartheid. When pronouncements and actions against the powers-that-be meant persecution and even death, you dared to stand up to the tyrants.
In the founding and evolution of the African National Congress, the religious community played a central role. We refer here to such leaders such as Calata, Mahabane and Maphikela as well as Abdullah Abduraman and Mahatma Gandhi.
Especially while political leaders were in prison and in exile, bodies like the South African Council of Churches and its member churches resisted racial bigotry and held out a vision of a different, transformed South Africa. Methodist leaders were prominent among the prophets who refused to bow to the false god of apartheid. Your ministers also visited us in prison and cared for our families. Some of you were banned. Your Presiding Bishop himself shared imprisonment with us for some years on Robben Island. This you did, not as outsiders to the cause of democracy, but as part of society and eminent prophets of the teachings of your faith.
It is fitting that this Conference is taking place in this particular Chamber, after the advent of democracy in our country. The Methodist Church was the only Church to be declared an illegal organisation under apartheid, and for ten long years you were forbidden to operate naat e Transkei bantustan. It is in this very Chamber that this banning order was promulgated.
One cannot over-emphasise the contribution that the religious community made particularly in ensuring that our transition achieves the desired result. The spirit of reconciliation and the goodwill within the nation can, to a great measure, be attributed to the moral and spiritual interventions of the religious community.
Now that a major part of the journey towards democracy has been traversed, new and more difficult tasks lie ahead of us. For, political democracy will be empty and meaningless, if the misery of the majority of the people is not addressed.
The Church, like all other institutions of civil society, must help all South Africans to rise to the challenge of freedom. As South Africa moves from resistance to reconstruction and from confrontation to reconciliation, the energy that was once dedicated to breaking apartheid must be harnessed to the task of building the nation.
Our Programme of Reconstruction and Development is designed to unite sound economics with true compassion and justice so that all the people of this land may share in its resources. But this programme cannot succeed unless people who have been repressed by years of subjugation are motivated to participate in building their future.
We are encouraged, that in the South African religious community, the Government of National Unity has an experienced, morally-upright and reliable partner. With its long history of involvement in development projects and widespread infrastructure, the Church is strategically placed to empower our people to take hold of their freedom and work together to transform their conditions. This should include paying particulr attention to millions of children and youth who need to be specially nurtured, so as to restore their dignity and afford them opportunities to make a constructive contribution to society.
The Church, with its message of forgiveness, has a special role to play in national reconciliation. After so much suffering and injustice, the instinct for revenge is a natural one. But the transition we are going through shows that those who suffered under apartheid are prepared to bury the past. At the same time, those who enjoyed the fruits of unjust privilege must be helped to find a new spirit of sharing. Your message and example can enable that to happen.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an important instrument, not only in dealing with past wrongs, but in freeing all of us to move with a clean conscience into the future.
The objective of this Commission is neither vengeance nor retribution. We have to forgive the past; but at the same time, ensure that the dignity of the victims is restored, and their plight properly addressed. We are confident that the conclusions that this Commission will come to, will contribute not only to reconciliation, but also to reconstruction and development.
In the end, reconciliation is a spiritual process, which requires more than just a legal framework. It has to happen in the hearts and minds of people. Indeed, no institution is better placed to assist this process than the thousands of religious congregations which gather every week all over the land and among all communities.
This will also form an important part of the process to cast the demon of crime and violence out of our social life. The Government is determined to use all the means in our power to cradicate this problem. However, this requires co-operation between communities and the security agencies. Again, the religious community has a central role to play in ensuring that this happens.
Mr Presiding Bishop,
South Africa now has a democratic government representative of, and accountable to, all the people. By your fearless commitment to truth and justice, the Methodist Church and other religious bodies helped realise this. But all governments, no matter how democratic, need constructive criticism and advice. I ask you to continue to play your prophetic role, always seeking to hold the nation and all its leaders to the highest standards of integrity and service.
One of the critical issues in this regard is the disparity, within society as a whole, between the lowest and the highest social echelons. To address this problem requires comprehensive measures to develop our human resources. It also demands bold action on the part of the leadership in the public sector, the private sector and organs of civil society, including religious institutions.
I am confident that, with the support of the Methodist Church and the religious fraternity as a whole, our nation will reach the mountain-tops of its collective desires.
I am mindful that the great hymn which is now part of our National Anthem was first sung long ago at the Ordination of a Methodist minister. I join you in that humble prayer: Nkosi Sikelela i`Afrika!
Sourced from ANC


Fri 25 Jun 1742. I rode to Painswick, where in the evening I declared to all those who had been fighting and troubling one another, from the beginning hitherto, about rites and ceremonies, and modes of worship, and opinions, ‘The kingdom of God is not meats and drinks, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No more to tear each other in pieces

Thu 24 Jun 1742. I spent great part of the day in speaking with the members of the society, whom in the evening I earnestly besought no more to tear each other in pieces by disputing but to ‘follow after holiness’ and ‘provoke one another to love and to good works.’

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

If you will speak only to those who are ‘willing to hear’

Wed 23 Jun 1736: I had a long conversation with Mr. - upon the nature of true religion. I then asked him why he did not endeavour to recommend it to all with whom he conversed. He said, ‘I did so once; and for some time I thought I had done much good by it. But I afterwards found they were never the better, and I myself was the worse. Therefore now, though I always strive to be inoffensive in my conversation, I don’t strive to make people religious, unless those that have a desire to be so, and are consequently willing to hear me. But I have not yet (I speak not of you or your brother) found one such person in America.’
‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear!’ Mark the tendency of this accursed principle! If you will speak only to those who are ‘willing to hear’, see how many you will turn from the error of their ways! If therefore, striving to do good, you have done hurt, what then? So did St. Paul. So did the Lord of life. Even his word was ‘the savour of death’, as well as ‘the savour of life’. But shall you therefore strive no more? God forbid! Strive more humbly, more calmly, more cautiously. Do not strive as you did before—but strive, while the breath of God is in your nostrils!
Being to leave Frederica in the evening, I took the more notice of these words in the Lesson for the day: ‘Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation . . . ? They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, . . . and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’
About eleven at night we took boat. And on Saturday 26, about one in the afternoon, came to Savannah. O what do we want here, either for life or godliness! If suffering, God will send it in his time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I like nothing you do

Tue 22 Jun 1736: Observing much coldness in Mr. Horton’s behaviour, I asked him the reason of it. He answered, ‘I like nothing you do. All your sermons are satires on particular persons. Therefore I will never hear you more. And all the people are of my mind. For we won’t hear ourselves abused.
‘Beside[s], they say they are Protestants. But as for you, they can’t tell what religion you are of. They never heard of such a religion before. They don’t know what to make of it. And then, your private behaviour—All the quarrels that have been here since you came have been ‘long of you. Indeed there is neither man nor woman in the town who minds a word you say. And so you may preach long enough; but nobody will come to hear you.’
He was too warm for hearing an answer. So I had nothing to do but to thank him for his openness, and walk away.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I see little fruit

Sun 20 Jun 1742: I read prayers at Ockbrook and preached on Acts 17:27: ‘Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.’ At six in the evening I preached at Melbourne. There were many hearers. But I see little fruit.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Don't profane the day

Sat 19 Jun 1736: Mr. Oglethorpe returned from the south, and gave orders on Sunday the 20th that none should profane the day (as was usual before) by fishing or fowling upon it. In the afternoon sermon I summed up what I had seen or heard at Frederica inconsistent with Christianity, and consequently with the prosperity of the place. The event was as it ought: some of the hearers were profited, and the rest deeply offended.
This day, at half an hour past ten, God heard the prayer of his servant, and Mr. Lascelles, according to his desire, was ‘dissolved that he might be with Christ’.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Donington Park

Fri 18 June 1742. I left Sheffield, and after preaching at Ripley, by the way, hastened on to Donington Park. But Miss Cowper, I found, was gone to rest, having finished her course near three weeks before.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No swearing

Thur 17 Jun 1736: An officer of the man-of-war, walking just behind me with two or three of his acquaintance, cursed and swore exceedingly, by upon my reproving him seemed much moved, and gave me many thanks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Constant meeting

Wed 16 June 1736. Another little company of us met—Mr. Reed, Davison, Walker, Delamotte, and myself. We sung, read a little of Mr. Law, and then conversed. Wednesdays and Fridays were the days we fixed for constant meeting.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

There must be follow up

Tue 15 June 1742: He came [see yesterday]. I found he had occasionally exhorted multitudes of people in various parts. But after that he had taken no thought about them. So that the greater part were fallen asleep again.
In the evening I preached on the inward kingdom of God; in the morning, Wednesday 16, on the spirit of fear and the spirit of adoption.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Looking for David Taylor

Mon 14 June 1742: Having a great desire to see David Taylor, whom God had made an instrument of good to many souls, I rode to Sheffield; but not finding him there, I was minded to go forward immediately. However, the importunity of the people constrained me to stay, and preach both in the evening and in the morning.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A busy day preaching

Sun 13 June 1742: At seven I preached at Haxey, on ‘What must I do to be saved?’ Thence I went to Wroot, of which (as well as Epworth) my father was rector for several years. Mr. Whitelamb offering me the church, I preached in the morning, on ‘Ask, and it shall be given you’; in the afternoon on the difference between ‘the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith’. But the church could not contain the people; many of whom came from far. And, I trust, not in vain.
At six I preached for the last time in Epworth churchyard (being to leave the town the next morning), to a vast multitude gathered together from all parts, on the beginning of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. I continued among them for near three hours; and yet we scarce knew how to part. O let none think his labour of love is lost because the fruit does not immediately appear. Near forty years did my father labour here. But he saw little fruit of all his labour. I took some pains among this people too, and my strength also seemed spent in vain. But now the fruit appeared. There were scarce any in the town on whom either my father or I had taken any pains formerly but the seed sown so long since now sprung up, bringing forth repentance and remission of sins.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I will rather not converse with you at all

Sat June 12 1736: Being with one who was very desirous to converse with me, ‘but not upon religion’, I spoke to this effect: ‘Suppose you was going to a country where everyone spoke Latin and understood no other language, neither would converse with any that did not understand it; suppose one was sent to stay here a short time, on purpose to teach it you; suppose that person, pleased with your company, should spend his time in trifling with you, and teach you nothing of what he came for—would that be well done? Yet this is our case. You are going to a country where everyone speaks the love of God. The citizens of heaven understand no other language. They converse with none who do not understand it. Indeed none such are admitted there. I am sent from God to teach you this. A few days are allotted us for that purpose. Would it then be well done in me, because I was pleased with your company, to spend this short time in trifling, and teach you nothing of what I came for? God forbid! I will rather not converse with you at all. Of the two extremes this is the best.’

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great indeed was the shaking among them

Fri 11 June 1742: I visited the sick and those who desired but were not able to come to me. At six I preached at Upperthorpe near Haxey (a little village about two miles from Epworth), on that comfortable Scripture, ‘When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both.’ I preached at Epworth about eight on Ezekiel’s vision of the resurrection of the dry bones. And great indeed was the shaking among them. Lamentation and great mourning were heard, God bowing their hearts, so that on every side, as with one accord, they lift up their voice and wept aloud. Surely he who sent his Spirit to breathe upon them will hear their cry and will help them.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

At Frederica and Savannah

Thu 10 June 1736: We began to execute at Frederica what we had before agreed to do at Savannah. Our design was on Sundays in the afternoon, and every evening after public service, to spend some time with the most serious of the communicants in singing, reading, and conversation. This evening we had only Mark Hird. But on Sunday Mr. Hird and two more desired to be admitted. After a psalm and a little conversation I read Mr. Law’s Christian Perfection and concluded with another psalm.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"They have convarted my wife."

Wed 9 June 1742: I rode over to a neighbouring town to wait upon a justice of peace, a man of candour and understanding; before whom (I was informed) their angry neighbours had carried a whole waggon-load of these new heretics. But when he asked what they had done, there was a deep silence; for that was a point their conductors had forgot. At length one said, ‘Why, they pretended to be better than other people. And besides, they prayed from morning to night.’ Mr. Stovin asked, ‘But have they done nothing besides?’ ‘Yes, sir’, said an old man, ‘an’t please your worship, they have convarted my wife. Till she went among them she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb.’ ‘Carry them back, carry them back’, replied the justice, ‘and let them convert all the scolds in the town.’
I went from hence to Belton to Henry Foster’s, a young man who did once run well, but now said he saw the devil in every corner of the church, and in the face of everyone who had been there. But he was easily brought to a better mind. I preached under a shady oak, on, ‘The Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins.’ At Epworth, in the evening, I explained the story of the Pharisee and the publican. And I believe many began in that hour to cry out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What must I do to be saved?

Tue 8 June 1742: I walked to Hibaldstow (about twelve miles from Epworth) to see my brother and sister. The minister of Owston (two miles from Epworth) having sent me word I was welcome to preach in his church, I called there in my return; but his mind being changed I went to another place in the town and there explained, ‘Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins.’ At eight I largely enforced at Epworth the great truth (so little understood in what is called a Christian country), ‘Unto him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.’ I went thence to the place where the little society met, which was sufficiently thronged both within and without. Here I found some from Hainton (a town twenty miles off) who informed us that God had begun a work there also, and constrained several to cry out in the bitterness of their soul, What must I do to be saved?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Do you still desire to die?

Mon 7 June 1736: Finding him weaker [see yesterday for more info] I asked, ‘Do you still desire to die?’ He said, ‘Yes; but I dare not pray for it, for fear I should displease my heavenly Father. His will be done. Let him work his will, in my life, or in my death.’

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ready to die

Sun 6 June 1736: Calling on Mr. Lascelles, and asking how he did, ‘My departure (said he) I hope is at hand.’ I asked, ‘Are you troubled at that?’ He replied, ‘Oh no; to depart and to be with Christ is far better. I desire no more of this bad world. My hope and my joy and my love is there.’ The next time I saw him he said, ‘I desire nothing more than for God to forgive my many and great sins. I would be humble. I would be the humblest creature living. My heart is humble and broken for my sins. Tell me, teach me, what shall I do to please God? I would fain do whatever is his will.’ I said, ‘It is his will you should suffer.’ He answered, ‘Then I will suffer. I will gladly suffer whatever pleases him.’

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quietists and mystics

Sat 5 June 1742: I rode for Epworth. Before we came thither I made an end of Madam Guyon’s Short Method of Prayer and Les Torrents Spirituelles. Ah, my brethren; I can answer your riddle, now I have ploughed with your heifer. The very words I have so often heard some of you use are not your own, no more than they are God’s. They are only retailed from this poor quietist, and that with the utmost faithfulness. O that ye knew how much God is wiser than man! Then would you drop quietists and mystics together, and at all hazards keep to the plain, practical, written Word of God.
It being many years since I had been in Epworth before, I went to an inn in the middle of the town, not knowing whether there were any left in it now who would not be ashamed of my acquaintance. But an old servant of my father’s, with two or three poor women, presently found me out. I asked her, ‘Do you know any in Epworth who are in earnest to be saved?’ She answered, ‘I am, by the grace of God; and I know I am saved through faith.’ I asked, ‘Have you then the peace of God? Do you know that he has forgiven your sins?’ She replied, ‘I thank God, I know it well. And many here can say the same thing.’

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sublime nonsense; inimitable bombast

Fri 4 June 1742: At noon I preached at Birstall once more. All the hearers were deeply attentive; whom I now confidently and cheerfully committed to ‘the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls’.
Hence I rode to Beeston. Here I met once more with the works of a celebrated author, of whom many great men cannot speak without rapture, and the strongest expressions of admiration. I mean Jacob Boehme. The book I now opened was his Mysterium Magnum, or the exposition of Genesis. Being conscious of my ignorance, I earnestly besought God to enlighten my understanding. I seriously considered what I read, and endeavoured to weigh it in the balance of the sanctuary. And what can I say concerning the part I read? I can and must say thus much (and that with as full evidence as I can say that two and two make four): it is most sublime nonsense; inimitable bombast; fustian not to be paralleled! All of a piece with his inspired interpretation of the word ‘tetragrammaton’, on which (mistaking it for the unutterable name itself, whereas it means only a word consisting of four letters) he comments with exquisite gravity and solemnity, telling you the meaning of every syllable of it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A few words which a woman had inadvertently spoken had set almost all the town in a flame

Thu 3 June 1736: Being Ascension Day, we had the Holy Communion, but only Mr. Hird’s family joined with us in it. One reason why there were no more was because a few words which a woman had inadvertently spoken had set almost all the town in a flame. Alas! How shall a city stand that is thus divided against itself! Where there is no brotherly love, no meekness, no forbearing or forgiving one another; but envy, malice, revenge, suspicion, anger, clamour, bitterness, evil-speaking, without end! Abundant proof that there can be no true love of man unless it be built on the love of God.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ought not a minister of Christ to do three things

Wed 2 June 1742: I was invited to Mrs. Holmes’s, near Halifax; where I preached at noon on ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ Thence I rode to Dr. Legh’s, the Vicar of Halifax, a candid inquirer after truth. I called again upon Mrs. Holmes in my return, when her sister a little surprised me by asking, ‘Ought not a minister of Christ to do three things: first to preach his law, in order to convince of sin; then to offer free pardon through faith in his blood, to all convinced sinners; and in the third place to preach his law again, as a rule for those that believe? I think if anyone does otherwise he is no true minister of Christ. He divides what God has joined, and cannot be said to preach the whole gospel.’

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Paradise

Tue June 1 1736: After praying with him I was surprised to find one of the most controverted questions in divinity, disinterested love, decided at once by a poor, old man without education or learning, or any instructor but the Spirit of God. I asked him what he thought of paradise—to which he had said he was going. He said, ‘To be sure, it is a fine place. But I don’t mind that. I don’t care what place I am in. Let God put me where he will, or do with me what he will, so I may but set forth his honour and glory.’