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A Rough Voyage
Thursday, 20.--About ten at night we embarked [from Dublin] for Bristol, in a small sloop. I soon fell asleep. When I awakened in the morning, we were many leagues from land, in a rough, pitching sea. Toward evening the wind turned more against us, so that we made little way. About ten we were got between the Bishop and his Clerks (the rocks so called) and the Welsh shore; the wind blew fresh from the south, so that the captain, fearing we should be driven on the rocky coast steered back again to sea. On Saturday morning we made the Bishop and his Clerks again, and beat to and fro all the day. About eight in the evening it blew hard, and we had a rolling sea; notwithstanding which, at four on Sunday morning, we were within sight of Minehead. The greatest part of the day we had a dead calm, but in the evening the wind sprang up and carried us into Kingroad. On Monday morning we landed at the quay in Bristol.
Tuesday, 25.--I rode over to Kingswood and inquired particularly into the state of our school there. I was concerned to find that several of the rules had been habitually neglected. I judged it necessary, therefore, to lessen the family, suffering none to remain therein who were not clearly satisfied with them and determined to observe them all.
Wednesday, September 6.--I reached Newcastle; and after resting a day, and preaching two evenings and two mornings, with such a blessing as we have not often found, on Friday set out to visit the northern societies. I began with that at Morpeth, where I preached at twelve, on one side of the market place. It was feared the market would draw the people from the sermon; but it was just the contrary: they quitted their stalls, and there was no buying or selling till the sermon was concluded.
At Alnwick likewise I stood in the market place in the evening and exhorted a numerous congregation to be always ready for death, for judgment, for heaven. I felt what I spoke; as I believe did most that were present, both then and in the morning, while I besought them to present themselves, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God."
Saturday, 9.--I rode slowly forward to Berwick. I was myself much out of order; but I would not lose the opportunity of calling, in the evening, all that were "weary and heavy-laden" to Him who hath said, "I will give you rest."
Tuesday, 26.--I had a solemn and delightful ride to Keswick, having my mind stayed on God.
Wednesday, 27.--I took horse at half an hour past three. There was no moon, or stars, but a thick mist, so that I could see neither road nor anything else; but I went as right as if it had been noon-day. When I drew nigh Penruddock Moor, the mist vanished, the stars appeared, and the morning dawned; so I imagined all the danger was past. But when I was on the middle of the moor, the mist felt again on every side and I quickly lost my way. I lifted up my heart. Immediately it cleared up and I soon recovered the high road. On Alstone Moor I missed my way again, and what, I believe, no stranger has done lately, rode through all the bogs, without any stop, till I came to the vale, and thence to Hinely Hill.
A large congregation met in the evening. I expounded part of the twentieth chapter of the Revelation. But oh, what a time was this! It was as though we were already standing before the ‘great white throne.’ God was no less present with us in prayer, when one just by me cried with a loud and bitter cry. I be-sought God to give us a token that all things should work together for good. He did so: He wrote pardon upon her heart, and we all rejoiced unto Him with reverence.
Wednesday, October 18.--I rode, at the desire of John Bennet, to Rochdale, in Lancashire. As soon as ever we entered the town, we found the streets lined on both sides with multitudes of people, shouting, cursing, blaspheming, and gnashing upon us with their teeth. Perceiving it would not be practicable to preach abroad, I went into a large room, open to the street, and called aloud, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts." The Word of God prevailed over the fierceness of man. None opposed or interrupted; and there was a very remarkable change in the behavior of the people, as we afterward went through the town.
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