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The Colliers of Kingswood

“Many last winter used tauntingly to say of Mr. Whitefield, ‘If he will convert heathens, why does he not go to the colliers of Kingswood?’ In spring he did so. And as there were thousands who resorted to no place of public worship, he went after them into their own wilderness, ‘to seek and save that which was lost.’ When he was called away others went into ‘the highways and hedges, to compel them to come in.’ And, by the grace of God, their labor was not in vain. The scene is already changed. Kingswood does not now, as a year ago, resound with cursing and blasphemy. It is no more filled with drunkenness and uncleanness and the idle diversions that naturally lead thereto. It is no longer full of wars and fightings, of clamor and bitterness, of wrath and envyings. Peace and love are there. Great numbers of the people are mild, gentle, and easy to be entreated. They ‘do not cry, neither strive’; and hardly is their ‘voice heard in the streets’; or, indeed, in their own wood; unless when they are at their usual evening diversion—singing praise unto God their Saviour.

“That their children too might know the things which make for their peace, it was some time since proposed to build a house in Kingswood; and after many foreseen and unforeseen difficulties, in June last the foundation was laid. The ground made choice of was in the middle of the wood, between the London and Bath roads, not far from that called Two Mile Hill, about three measured miles from Bristol.

“Here a large room was begun for the school, having four small rooms at either end for the schoolmasters (and, perhaps, if it should please God, some poor children) to lodge in. Two persons are ready to teach, so soon as the house is fit to receive them, the shell of which is nearly finished; so that it is hoped the whole will be completed in spring or early in the summer.

“It is true, although the masters require no pay, yet this undertaking is attended with great expense.”

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