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Talks with Bohler
I asked P. Bohler again whether I ought not to refrain from teaching others. He said, “No; do not hide in the earth the talent God hath given you.” Accordingly, on Tuesday, 25, I spoke clearly and fully at Blendon to Mr. Delamotte’s family of the nature and fruits of faith. Mr. Broughton and my brother were there. Mr. Broughton’s great objection was he could never think that I had not faith, who had done and suffered such things. My brother was very angry and told me I did not know what mischief I had done by talking thus. And, indeed, it did please God then to kindle a fire, which I trust shall never be extinguished.
On Wednesday, 26, the day fixed for my return to Oxford, I once more waited on the trustees for Georgia; but, being straitened for time, was obliged to leave the papers for them, which I had designed to give into their own hands. One of these was the instrument whereby they had appointed me minister of Savannah; which, having no more place in those parts, I thought it not right to keep any longer.
P. Bohler walked with me a few miles and exhorted me not to stop short of the grace of God. At Gerard’s Cross I plainly declared to those whom God gave into my hands the faith as it is in Jesus: as I did next day to a young man I overtook on the road and in the evening to our friends at Oxford. A strange doctrine, which some who did not care to contradict yet knew not what to make of; but one or two, who were thoroughly bruised by sin, willingly heard and received it gladly.
In the day or two following, I was much confirmed in the “truth that is after godliness” by hearing the experiences of Mr. Hutchins, of Pembroke College, and Mrs. Fox: two living witnesses that God can (at least, if He does not always) give that faith whereof cometh salvation in a moment, as lightning falling from heaven.
Monday, May 1.—The return of my brother’s illness obliged me again to hasten to London. In the evening I found him at James Hutton’s, better as to his health than I expected; but strongly averse to what he called “the new faith.”
This evening our little society began, which afterward met in Fetter Lane.
Wednesday, 3.—My brother had a long and particular conversation with Peter Bohler. And it now pleased God to open his eyes so that he also saw clearly what was the nature of that one true living faith, whereby alone, “through grace, we are saved.”
Thursday, 4.—Peter Bohler left London in order to embark for Carolina. Oh, what a work hath God begun since his coming into England! Such a one as shall never come to an end till heaven and earth pass away.
Sunday, 7.—I preached at St. Lawrence’s in the morning, and afterward at St. Katherine Cree’s Church. I was enabled to speak strong words at both; and was therefore the less surprised at being informed that I was not to preach any more in either of those churches.
Sunday, 14.—I preached in the morning at St. Ann’s, Aldersgate; and in the afternoon at the Savoy Chapel, free salvation by faith in the blood of Christ. I was quickly apprised that at St. Ann’s, likewise, I am to preach no more.
Friday, 19.—My brother had a second return of his pleurisy. A few of us spent Saturday night in prayer. The next day, being Whitsunday, after hearing Dr. Heylyn preach a truly Christian sermon (on “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” “And so,” said he, “may all you be, if it is not your own fault”), and assisting him at the holy communion (his curate being taken ill in the church), I received the surprising news that my brother had found rest to his soul. His bodily strength returned also from that hour. “Who is so great a God as our God?”
I preached at St. John’s, Wapping at three and at St. Bennett’s, Paul’s Wharf, in the evening. At these churches, likewise, I am to preach no more. at St. Antholin’s I preached on the Thursday following.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart.
Wednesday, May 24.—I think it was about five this morning that I opened my Testament on those words, “There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature” [II Peter 1:4]. Just as I went out, I opened it again on those words, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” [Mark 12:34]. In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s. The anthem was, “Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. Oh, let Thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If Thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? For there is mercy with Thee; therefore shalt Thou be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.”
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