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Preaching to the Lead Miners

Tuesday, March 24.—I rode to Blanchland, about twenty miles from Newcastle. The rough mountains round about were still white with snow. In the midst of them is a small winding valley, through which the Derwent runs. On the edge of this the little town stands, which is indeed little more than a heap of ruins. There seems to have been a large cathedral church, by the vast walls which still remain. I stood in the churchyard, under one side of the building, upon a large tombstone, round which, while I was at prayers, all the congregation kneeled down on the grass. They were gathered out of the lead mines from all parts; many from Allandale, six miles off. A row of little children sat under the opposite wall, all quiet and still. The whole congregation drank in every word with such earnestness in their looks I could not but hope that God will make this wilderness sing for joy.

Wednesday, June 24.—We rode (from Bristol) to Beercrocomb, hoping to reach Tavistock the next day. So we set out at three. The rain began at four. We reached Colestock, dripping wet, before seven. The rain ceased while we were in the house, but began when we took horse and attended us all the way to Exeter.  While we stayed here to dry our clothes, I took the opportunity of writing “A Word to a Freeholder.” Soon after three we set out: but it was near eight before we could reach Oakhampton.

Friday, 26.—We came to Tavistock before noon; but it being market-day, I did not preach till five in the evening. The rain began almost as soon as we began singing and drove many out of the field. After preaching (leaving Mr. Swindells there) I went on for Plymouth Dock.

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