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Queer Houses at Sheerness

 Monday, November 23.--I went to Canterbury. Here I met with the Life of Mahomet, written, I suppose, by the Count de Boulanvilliers. Whoever the author is, he is a very pert, shallow, self-conceited coxcomb, remarkable for nothing but his immense assurance and thorough contempt of Christianity. And the book is a dull, ill-digested romance, supported by no authorities at all; whereas Dean Prideaux (a writer of ten times his sense) cites his authorities for everything he advances.

In the afternoon I rode to Dover; but the gentleman I was to lodge with was gone a long journey. He went to bed well, but dead in the morning: such a vapor is life! At six I preached, but the house would by no means contain the congregation. Most of the officers of the garrison were there. I have not found so much life here for some years.

Sunday, December 13.--Today I found a little soreness on the edge of my tongue, which the next day spread to my gums, then to my lips, which inflamed, swelled, and, the skin bursting, bled considerably. Afterward, the roof of my mouth was extremely sore so that I could chew nothing. To this was added a continual spitting. I knew a little rest would cure all. But this was not to be had; for I had appointed to be at Sheerness on Wednesday, the sixteenth. Accordingly, I took horse between five and six and came thither between five and six in the evening.

At half an hour after six, I began reading prayers (the governor of the fort having given me the use of the chapel), and afterward preached, though not without difficulty, to a large and serious congregation. The next evening it was considerably increased, so that the chapel was as hot as an oven. In coming out, the air, being exceedingly sharp, quite took away my voice, so that I knew not how I should be able the next day to read prayers or preach to so large a congregation. But in the afternoon the governor cut the knot, sending word that I must preach in the chapel no more. A room being offered, which held full as many people as I was able to preach to, we had a comfortable hour; and many seemed resolved to "seek the Lord while he may be found."

Such a town as many of these live in is scarcely to be found again in England. In the dock adjoining the fort there are six old men-of-war. These are divided into small tenements, forty, fifty, or sixty in a ship, with little chimneys and windows; and each of these contains a family. In one of them, where we called, a man and his wife, and six little children lived. And yet all the ship was sweet and tolerably clean; sweeter than most sailing ships I have been in. Saturday, 19. I returned to London.

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