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Wesley at Northampton and Nottingham

Monday, June 8.—I set out from Enfield Chace for Leicestershire. In the evening we came to Northampton, and the next afternoon to Mr. Ellis’s at Markfield, five or six miles beyond Leicester.

For these two days I had made an experiment which I had been so often and earnestly pressed to do—speaking to none concerning the things of God unless my heart was free to it. And what was the event? Why, 1.) that I spoke to none at all for fourscore miles together; no, not even to him that traveled with me in the chaise, unless a few words at first setting out; 2.) that I had no cross either to bear or to take up, and commonly, in an hour or two, fell fast asleep; 3.) that I had much respect shown me wherever I came, everyone behaving to me as to a civil, good-natured gentleman. Oh, how pleasing is all this to flesh and blood! Need ye “compass sea and land” to make “proselytes” to this?

Sunday, 14.—I rode to Nottingham and at eight preached at the market place, to an immense multitude of people on “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” [John 5:25]. I saw only one or two who behaved lightly, whom I immediately spoke to; and they stood reproved.  Yet, soon after, a man behind me began aloud to contradict and blaspheme; but upon my turning to him, he stepped behind a pillar and in a few minutes disappeared.

In the afternoon we returned to Markfield. The church was so excessively hot (being crowded in every corner), that I could not, without difficulty, read the evening service. Being afterward informed that abundance of people were still without who could not possibly get into the church, I went out to them and explained that great promise of our Lord, “I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely” [Hos. 14:4]. In the evening I expounded in the church on her who “loved much, because she had much forgiven.”

Monday, 15.—I set out for London, and read over in the way that celebrated book, Martin Luther’s comment on the Epistle to the Galatians. I was utterly ashamed. How have I esteemed this book, only because I heard it so commended by others; or, at best, because I had read some excellent sentences occasionally quoted from it! But what shall I say, now I judge for myself? now I see with my own eyes? Why, not only that the author makes nothing out, clears up not one considerable difficulty; that he is quite shallow in his remarks on many passages, and muddy and confused almost on all; but that he is deeply tinctured with mysticism throughout and hence often dangerously wrong.

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