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Wesley and Impositions
Sunday, 21.--I rode to Osmotherley, where the minister read prayers seriously and preached a useful sermon. After service I began in the churchyard: I believe many were wounded and many comforted. After dinner I called on Mr. Adams, who first invited me to Osmotherley. He was reading the strange account of the two missionaries who have lately made such a figure in the newspapers. I suppose the whole account is just such another gross imposition upon the public as the man's gathering the people together to see him go into the quart bottle. "Men seven hundred years old!" And why not seven yards high? He that can believe it, let him believe it.
Monday, 22.--I spoke, one by one, to the society at Hutton Rudby. At eleven I preached once more, though in great weakness of body, and met the stewards of all the societies. I then rode to Stokesley and, having examined the little society, went on for Guisborough. The sun was burning hot; but in a quarter of an hour a cloud interposed, and he troubled us no more. I was desired by a gentleman of the town to preach in the market place; and there a table was placed for me, but it was in a bad neighborhood; for there was so vehement a stench of stinking fish as was ready to suffocate me, and the people roared like the waves of the sea. But the voice of the Lord was mightier, and in a few minutes the whole multitude was still and seriously attended while I proclaimed "Jesus Christ, made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" [1 Cor. 1:30].
Tuesday, 23.--I began about five, near the same place, and had a great part of the same audience; yet they were not the same. The change might easily be read in their countenance. When we took horse and just faced the sun, it was hard work for man and beast; but about eight the wind shifted, and blowing in our face, kept us cool till we came to Whitby.
In the evening I preached on the top of the hill, to which you ascend by a hundred ninety-one steps. The congregation was exceedingly large, and ninety-nine in a hundred were attentive. When I began, the sun shone full in my face; but he soon clouded and shone no more till I had done.
Wednesday, 24.--l walked round the old Abbey, which, both with regard to its size (being, I judge, a hundred yards long) and the workmanship of it, is one of the finest, if not the finest, ruin in the kingdom. Hence we rode to Robin Hood's Bay, where I preached at six in the Lower Street, near the quay. In the midst of the sermon a large cat, frightened out of a chamber, leaped down upon a woman's head, and ran over the heads or shoulders of many more; but none of them moved or cried out any more than if it had been a butterfly.
Thursday, 25.--I had a pleasant ride to Scarborough, the wind tempering the heat of the sun. I had designed to preach abroad in the evening; but the thunder, lightning, and rain prevented. However, I stood on a balcony, and several hundreds of people stood below; and, notwithstanding the heavy rain, would not stir till I concluded.
Friday, July 3.--We returned to York, where I was desired to call upon a poor prisoner in the castle. I had formerly occasion to take notice of a hideous monster, called a chancery bill; I now saw the fellow to it, called a declaration. The plain fact was this: some time since a man who lived near Yarm assisted others in running some brandy. His share was nearly four pounds. After he had wholly left off that bad work and was following his own business, that of a weaver, he was arrested and sent to York gaol; and, not long after, comes down a declaration, "that Jac. Wh--- had landed a vessel laded with brandy and Geneva, at the port of London, and sold them there, whereby he was indebted to his Majesty five hundred and seventy-seven pounds and upwards." And to tell this worthy story, the lawyer takes up thirteen or fourteen sheets of treble stamped paper.
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