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“I am John Wesley”

I took boat at about half an hour past five. Many of the mob waited at the end of the town, who, seeing me escaped out of their hands, could only revenge themselves with their tongues.  But a few of the fiercest ran along the shore, to receive me at my landing. I walked up the steep narrow passage from the sea, at the top of which the foremost man stood. I looked him in the face and said, “I wish you a good night.” He spake not nor moved hand or foot till I was on horseback. Then he said, “I wish you were in hell,” and turned back to his companions.

As soon as I came within sight of Tolcarn (in Wendron parish), where I was to preach in the evening, I was met by many, running as it were for their lives and begging me to go no further. I asked, “Why not?” They said, “The churchwardens and constables and all the heads of the parish are waiting for you at the top of the hill and are resolved to have you: they have a special warrant from the justices met at Helstone, who will stay there till you are brought.” I rode directly up the hill and observing four or five horsemen, well dressed, went straight to them and said, “Gentlemen, has any of you anything to say to me?__I am John Wesley.”

One of them appeared extremely angry at this, that I should presume to say I was “Mr. John Wesley.” And I know not how I might have fared for advancing so bold an assertion but that Mr. Collins, the minister of Redruth (accidently, 1313     This spelling is correct. as he said) came by. Upon his accosting me and saying he knew me at Oxford, my first antagonist was silent, and a dispute of another kind began: whether this preaching had done any good. I appealed to matter of fact. He allowed (after many words), “People are the better for the present”; but added, “To be sure, by and by they will be as bad, if not worse than ever.”

When he rode away, one of the riders said, “Sir, I would speak with you a little; let us ride to the gate.” We did so, and he said, “Sir, I will tell you the ground of this. All the gentlemen of these parts say that you have been a long time in France and Spain and are now sent hither by the Pretender; and that these societies are to join him.” Nay, surely “all the gentlemen in these parts” will not lie against their own conscience!

I rode hence to a friend’s house, some miles off, and found the sleep of a laboring man is sweet. I was informed there were many here also who had an earnest desire to hear “this preaching,” but they did not dare; Sir ___ V___n having solemnly declared, nay, and that in the face of the whole congregation as they were coming out of the church, “If any man of this parish dares hear these fellows, he shall not come to my Christmas feast!”

Saturday, 6.—I rode with Mr. Shepherd to Gwennap.  Here also we found the people in the utmost consternation. Word was brought that a great company of tinners, made drunk on purpose, were coming to do terrible things. I labored much to compose their minds, but fear had no ears; so that abundance of people went away. I preached to the rest on “Love your enemies.” The event showed this also was a false alarm, an artifice of the devil, to hinder men from hearing the Word of God.


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