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Wesley in Wales

Monday, 15.—Upon a pressing invitation, some time since received, I set out for Wales. About four in the afternoon I preached on a little green at the foot of the Devauden (a high hill, two or three miles beyond Chepstow) to three or four hundred plain people on “Christ our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” After sermon, one who I trust is an old disciple of Christ, willingly received us into his house: whither many following, I showed them their need of a Saviour from these words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”  In the morning I described more fully the way to salvation—“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved”; and then, taking leave of my friendly host, before two came to Abergavenny.

I felt in myself a strong aversion to preaching here. However, I went to Mr. W--- (the person in whose ground Mr. Whitefield preached) to desire the use of it. He said, with all his heart—if the minister was not willing to let me have the use of the church: after whose refusal (for I wrote a line to him immediately), he invited me to his house. About a thousand people stood patiently (though the frost was sharp, it being after sunset) while, from Acts 28:22, I simply described the plain, old religion of the Church of England, which is now almost everywhere spoken against, under the new name of Methodism.

Friday, 19.—I preached in the morning at Newport on “What must I do to be saved?” to the most insensible, ill-behaved people I have ever seen in Wales. One ancient man, during a great part of the sermon, cursed and swore almost incessantly; and, toward the conclusion, took up a great stone, which he many times attempted to throw. But that he could not do.—Such the champions, such the arms against field-preaching!

At four I preached at the Shire Hall of Cardiff again, where many gentry, I found, were present. Such freedom of speech I have seldom had as was given me in explaining those words, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” At six almost the whole town (I was informed) came together, to whom I explained the six last beatitudes. But my heart was so enlarged I knew not how to give over, so that we continued three hours.

Saturday, 20.—I returned to Bristol. I have seen no part of England so pleasant for sixty or seventy miles together as those parts of Wales I have been in. And most of the inhabitants are indeed ripe for the gospel.

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