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Press-gang Disturbs the Sermon

Saturday, 21.—I began expounding, a second time, our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. In the morning, Sunday, 22, as I was explaining, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” to about three thousand people, we had a fair opportunity of showing all men what manner of spirit we were of: for in the middle of the sermon the press-gang came and seized on one of the hearers (ye learned in the law, what becomes of Magna Charta, and of English liberty and property? Are not these mere sounds, while, on any pretense, there is such a thing as a press-gang suffered in the land?), all the rest standing still and none opening his mouth or lifting up his hand to resist them.

Monday, September 3 (London).—I talked largely with my mother, who told me that, till a short time since, she had scarcely heard such a thing mentioned as the having forgiveness of sins now, or God’s Spirit bearing witness with our spirit: much less did she imagine that this was the common privilege of all true believers. “Therefore,” said she, “I never durst ask for it myself. But two or three weeks ago, while my son Hall was pronouncing those words, in delivering the cup to me, ‘The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee,’ the words struck through my heart and I knew God for Christ’s sake had forgiven me all my sins.”

I asked whether her father (Dr. Annesley) had not the same faith and whether she had not heard him preach it to others.  She answered that he had had it himself; and had declared, a little before his death, that for more than forty years he had had no darkness, no fear, no doubt at all of his being “accepted in the Beloved.” But that, nevertheless, she did not remember to have heard him preach, no, not once, explicitly upon it: whence she supposed he also looked upon it as the peculiar blessing of a few, not as promised to all the people of God.

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