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Wesley on His Father’s Tombstone

Saturday, June 5.—It being many years since I had been in Epworth before, I went to an inn in the middle of the town, not knowing whether there were any left in it now who would not be ashamed of my acquaintance. But an old servant of my father’s, with two or three poor women, presently found me out. I asked her, “Do you know any in Epworth who are in earnest to be saved?” She answered, “I am, by the grace of God; and I know I am saved through faith.” I asked, “Have you then the peace of God? Do you know that He has forgiven your sins?” She replied, “ I thank God I know it well. And many here can say the same thing.”

Sunday, 6.—A little before the service began, I went to Mr. Romley, the curate, and offered to assist him either by preaching or reading prayers. But he did not care to accept of my assistance. The church was exceedingly full in the afternoon, a rumor being spread that I was to preach. But the sermon on “Quench not the Spirit” [I Thess. 5:19] was not suitable to the expectation of many of the hearers. Mr. Romley told them one of the most dangerous ways of quenching the Spirit was by enthusiasm; and enlarged on the character of an enthusiast in a very florid and oratorical manner. After sermon John Taylor stood in the churchyard and gave notice as the people were coming out, “Mr. Wesley, not being permitted to preach in the church, designs to preach here at six o’clock.”

Accordingly at six I came and found such a congregation as I believe Epworth never saw before. I stood near the east end of the church, upon my father’s tombstone, and cried, “The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” [Rom. 14:17].

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