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A Sermon and a Riot

Tuesday, April 1 (Bristol).—While I was expounding the former part of the twenty-third chapter of the Acts (how wonderfully suited to the occasion! though not by my choice), the floods began to lift up their voice. some or other of the children on Belial had labored to disturb us several nights before: but now it seemed as if all the host of the aliens had come together with one consent. Not only the court and the alleys, but all the street, upwards and downwards, was filled with people, shouting, cursing and swearing, and ready to swallow the ground with fierceness and rage. The mayor sent order that they should disperse. But they set him at nought. The chief constable came next in person, who was, till then, sufficiently prejudiced against us. But they insulted him also in so gross a manner as I believe fully opened his eyes. At length the mayor sent several of his officers who took the ringleaders into custody and did not go till all the rest were dispersed. Surely he hath been to us “the minister of God for good.”

Wednesday, 2.—The rioters were brought up to the court, the quarter sessions being held that day. They began to excuse themselves by saying many things of me. But the mayor cut them all short, saying, “What Mr. Wesley is, is nothing to you.  I will keep the peace; I will have no rioting in this city.”

Calling at Newgate in the afternoon, I was informed that the poor wretches under sentence of death were earnestly desirous to speak with me; but that it could not be, Alderman Beecher having just then sent an express order that they should not. I cite Alderman Beecher to answer for these souls at the judgment seat of Christ.

Sunday, September 14 (London).—As I returned home in the evening, I had no sooner stepped out of the coach than the mob, who were gathered in great numbers about my door, quite closed me in. I rejoiced and blessed God, knowing this was the time I had long been looking for, and immediately spake to those that were next me of “righteousness, and judgment to come.” At first not many heard, the noise round about us being exceedingly great.  But the silence spread farther and farther till I had a quiet, attentive congregation; and when I left them, they all showed much love and dismissed me with many blessings.

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