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“Let Them Convert the Scolds”

Wednesday, 9.—I rode over to a neighboring town to wait upon a justice of peace, a man of candor and understanding; before whom (I was informed) their angry neighbors had carried a whole wagonload of these new heretics. But when he asked what they had done, there was a deep silence; for that was a point their conductors had forgotten. At length one said, "Why they pretended to be better than other people; and besides, they prayed from morning to night.” Mr. S. asked, “But have they done nothing besides?” “Yes, sir,” said an old man, “an’t 55     correct spelling please your worship, they have convarted 66     correct spelling my wife. Till she went among them, she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb.” “Carry them back, carry them back,” replied the justice, “and let them convert all the scolds in the town.”

Saturday, 12.—I preached on the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith. While I was speaking, several dropped down as dead and among the rest such a cry was heard of sinners groaning for the righteousness of faith as almost drowned my voice. But many of these soon lifted up their heads with joy and broke out into thanksgiving, being assured they now had the desire of their soul—the forgiveness of their sins.

I observed a gentleman there who was remarkable for not pretending to be of any religion at all. I was informed he had not been at public worship of any kind for upwards of thirty years. Seeing him stand as motionless as a statue, I asked him abruptly, “Sir, are you a sinner?” He replied, with a deep and broken voice, “Sinner enough”; and he continued staring upward till his wife and a servant or two, who were all in tears, put him into his chaise and carried him home.

Sunday, 13.—At seven I preached at Haxey on “What must I do to be saved?” Thence I went to Wroote, of which (as well as Epworth) my father was rector for several years. Mr. Whitelamb offering me the church, I preached in the morning on “Ask, and it shall be given you”; in the afternoon, on the difference between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith. But the church could not contain the people, many of whom came from far and, I trust, not in vain.

At six I preached for the last time in Epworth churchyard (planning to leave the town the next morning) to a vast multitude gathered together from all parts, on the beginning of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. I continued among them for nearly three hours, and yet we scarcely knew how to part. Oh, let none think his labor of love is lost because the fruit does not immediately appear! Nearly forty years did my father labor here, but he saw little fruit of all his labor. I took some pains among this people too, and my strength also seemed spent in vain; but now the fruit appeared. There were scarcely any in the town on whom either my father or I had taken any pains formerly but the seed, sown so long since, now sprang up, bringing forth repentance and remission of sins.

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