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Wesley Visits the Bass Rock

Wednesday, 20.--In the evening I preached at Dunbar. Thursday, 21. I went to the Bass, seven miles from it, which, in the horrid reign of Charles the Second, was the prison of those venerable men who suffered the loss of all things for a good conscience. It is a high rock surrounded by the sea, two or three miles in circumference, and about two miles from the shore. The strong east wind made the water so rough that the boat could hardly live; and when we came to the only landing-place (the other sides being quite perpendicular), it was with much difficulty that we got up, climbing on our hands and knees. The castle, as one may judge by what remains, was utterly inaccessible. The walls of the chapel and of the Governor's house are tolerably entire. The garden walls are still seen near the top of the rock, with the well in the midst of it. And round the walls there are spots of grass that feed eighteen or twenty sheep.

But the proper natives of the island are Solund geese, a bird about the size of a Muscovy duck, which breed by thousands, from generation to generation, on the sides of the rock. It is peculiar to these that they lay but one egg, which they do not sit upon at all, but keep it under one foot (as we saw with our eyes), till it is hatched.

How many prayers did the holy men confined here offer up, in that evil day! And how many thanksgivings should we return, for all the liberty, civil and religious, which we enjoy!

At our return, we walked over the ruins of Tantallon Castle, once the seat of the great Earls of Douglas. The front walls (it was foursquare) are still standing, and by their vast height and huge thickness give us a little idea of what it once was. Such is human greatness!

Friday, 22.--We took a view of the famous Roman camp, lying on a mountain two or three miles from the town. It is encompassed with two broad and deep ditches and is not easy of approach on any side. Here lay General Lesley with his army, while Cromwell was starving below. He had no way to escape; but the enthusiastic fury of the Scots delivered him. When they marched into the valley to swallow him up, he mowed them down like grass.

Saturday, 23.--l went on to Alnwick and preached in the town hall. What a difference between an English and a Scotch congregation! These judge themselves rather than the preacher; and their aim is not only to know but to love and obey.

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