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A Mob at Wednesbury

Thursday, Oct. 20.—After preaching to a small, attentive congregation (at Birmingham), I rode to Wednesbury. At twelve I preached in a ground near the middle of the town, to a far larger congregation than was expected, on “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever” [Heb. 13:8]. I believe everyone present felt the power of God: and no creature offered to molest us, either going or coming; but the Lord fought for us, and we held our peace.

I was writing at Francis Ward’s, in the afternoon, when the cry arose that the mob had beset the house. We prayed that God would disperse them; and it was so: one went this way, and another that; so that, in half an hour, not a man was left. I told our brethren, “Now is the time for us to go”; but they pressed me exceedingly to stay. So, that I might not offend them, I sat down; though I foresaw what would follow. Before five the mob surrounded the house again in greater numbers than ever. The cry of one and all was “Bring out the minister; we will have the minister.”

I desired one to take their captain by the hand and bring him into the house. After a few sentences interchanged between us, the lion became a lamb. I desired him to go and bring one or two more of the most angry of his companions. He brought in two who were ready to swallow the ground with rage; but in two minutes they were as calm as he. I then bade them make way that I might go out among the people.

As soon as I was in the midst of them, I called for a chair; and standing up, asked, “What do any of you want with me?” Some said, “We want you to go with us to the justice.” I replied, “That I will, with all my heart.” I then spoke a few words, which God applied; so that they cried out, with might and main, “The gentleman is an honest gentleman, and we will spill our blood in his defense.” I asked, “Shall we go to the justice tonight, or in the morning?” Most of them cried, “Tonight, tonight”; on which I went before, and two or three hundred followed; the rest returning whence they came.

The night came on before we had walked a mile, together with heavy rain. However, on we went to Bentley Hall, two miles from Wednesbury. One or two ran before to tell Mr. Lane they had brought Mr. Wesley before his worship. Mr. Lane replied, “What have I to do with Mr. Wesley? Go and carry him back again.” By this time the main body came up and began knocking at the door. A servant told them Mr. Lane was in bed. His son followed and asked what was the matter. One replied, “Why, an’t 1010     Correct to the text. please you, they sing psalms all day; nay, and make folks rise at five in the morning. And what would your worship advise us to do?” “To go home,” said Mr. Lane, “and be quiet.”

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