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How Wesley Dealt with a Mob

Within two miles of Plymouth, one overtook and informed us that the night before all the Dock was in an uproar; and a constable, endeavoring to keep the peace, was beaten and much hurt. As we were entering the Dock, one met us and desired we would go the back way: “For,” said he, “there are thousands of people waiting about Mr. Hide’s door.” We rode up straight into the midst of them. They saluted us with three huzzas; after which I alighted, took several of them by the hand and began to talk with them. I would gladly have passed an hour among them; and believe, if I had, there had been an end of the riot. But the day being far spent (for it was past nine o’clock), I was persuaded to go in. The mob then recovered their spirits and fought valiantly with the doors and windows: but about ten they were weary and went every man to his own home.

Saturday, 27.—I preached at four and then spoke severally to part of the society. As yet I have found only one person among them who knew the love of God, before my brother came. No wonder the devil was so still; for his goods were in peace.

About six in the evening, I went to the place where I preached the last year. A little before we had ended the hymn, came the Lieutenant, a famous man, with his retinue of soldiers, drummers, and mob. When the drums ceased, a gentleman barber began to speak: but his voice was quickly drowned in the shouts of the multitude, who grew fiercer and fiercer as their numbers increased. After waiting about a quarter of an hour, perceiving the violence of the rabble still increasing, I walked down into the thickest of them and took the captain of the mob by the hand. He immediately said, “Sir, I will see you safe home. Sir, no man shall touch you. Gentlemen, stand off: give back. I will knock the first man down that touches him.” We walked on in great peace, my conductor every now and then stretching out his neck (he was a very tall man) and looking round to see if any behaved rudely, till we came to Mr. Hide’s door. We then parted in much love. I stayed in the street nearly half an hour after he was gone, talking with the people, who had now forgotten their anger and went away in high good humor.

Sunday, 28.—I preached at five, on the Common, to a well-behaved, earnest congregation: and at eight near the room on “Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found” [Isa. 55:6]. The congregation was much larger than before and equally serious and attentive. At ten I went to church. Mr. Barlow preached a useful sermon on “God be merciful to me a sinner” [Luke 18:13]; and a thundering one in the afternoon, on, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”[Mark 9:44].

Monday, 29.—I took horse between three and four and reached Perranwell, three miles beyond Truro, about six. I preached to a very large congregation at seven; and the word was as the rain on the tender herb.

Tuesday, 30.—We came to St. Ives before morning prayers, and walked to church without so much as one huzza. How strangely has one year changed the scene in Cornwall! This is now a peaceable, nay, honorable station. They give us good words almost in every place. What have we done that the world should be so civil to us?

Wednesday, July 1.—I spoke severally to all those who had votes in the ensuing election. I found them such as I desired. Not one would even eat or drink at the expense of him for whom he voted. Five guineas had been given to W. C., but he returned them immediately. T. M. positively refused to accept anything. And when he heard that his mother had received money privately, he could not rest till she gave him the three guineas, which he instantly sent back.

Thursday 2, was the day of election for Parliament men. It was begun and ended without any hurry at all. I had a large congregation in the evening, among whom two or three roared for the disquietness of their heart, as did many at the meeting which followed; particularly those who had lost their first love.

Thursday, August 13 (Dublin).—We walked in the afternoon to see two persons that were sick near Phoenix park.  That part of it which joins to the city is sprinkled up and down with trees, not unlike Hyde Park. But about a mile from the town is a thick grove of old, tall oaks; and in the center of this, a round, open green (from which are vistas of all four ways), with a handsome stone pillar in the midst, having a Phoenix on the top.

I continued preaching, morning and evening, to many more than the house would contain, and had more and more reason to hope they would not all be unfruitful hearers.

Sunday, September 27 (London).—I preached in Moorfields, morning and evening, and continued so to do till November. I know no church in London (that in West Street excepted) where there is so serious a congregation.

Monday, 28.—I talked with one who, a little time before, was so overwhelmed with affliction that she went out one night to put an end to it all by throwing herself into the New River. As she went by the Foundry (it being a watch night), she heard some people singing. She stopped and went in; she listened awhile, and God spoke to her heart. She had no more desire to put an end to her life, but to die to sin and to live to God.

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