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Wesley Secures Justice for Methodists

Saturday, August 30.--We rode to Stallbridge, long the seat of war, by a senseless, insolent mob encouraged by their betters, so called to outrage their quiet neighbors. For what? Why, they were mad: they were Methodists. So, to bring them to their senses, they would beat their brains out. They broke their windows, leaving not one whole pane with glass, spoiled their goods, and assaulted their persons with dirt, rotten eggs, and stones whenever they appeared in the street. But no magistrate, though they applied to several, would show them either mercy or justice. At length they wrote to me. I ordered a lawyer to write to the rioters. He did so, but they set him at naught. We then moved the Court of King's bench. By various artifices, they got the trial put off, from one assizes to another, for eighteen months. But it fell so much the heavier on themselves, when they were found guilty; and, from that time, finding there is law for Methodists, they have suffered them to be at peace.

I preached near the main street, without the least disturbance, to a large and attentive congregation. Thence we rode on to Axminster, but were thoroughly wet before we came thither. The rain obliged me to preach within at six; but at seven on Sunday morning, I cried in the market place, "The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel" [Mark 1:15].

In the evening I preached in the street at Ashburton. Many behaved with decency; but the rest, with such stupid rudeness as I have not seen, for a long time, in any part of England.

Monday, September 1.--I came to Plymouth Dock, where, after heavy storms, there is now a calm. The house, notwithstanding the new galleries, was extremely crowded in the evening. I strongly exhorted the backsliders to return to God; and I believe many received "the word of exhortation."

Tuesday, 7.--Being invited to preach in the Tabernacle at Plymouth, I began about two in the afternoon. In the evening I was offered the use of Mr. Whitefield's room at the dock; but, large as it is, it would not contain the congregation. At the close of the sermon, a large stone was thrown in at one of the windows, which came just behind me and fell at my feet, the best place that could have been found. So no one was hurt or frightened, not many knowing anything of the matter.

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