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Wesley at Birmingham, Walsal, and Derby

Wednesday, March 21.--We had an exceedingly large congregation at Birmingham, in what was formerly the playhouse. Happy would it be if all the playhouses in the kingdom were converted to so good a use. After service the mob gathered and threw some dirt and stones at those who were going out. But it is probable they will soon be calmed, as some of them are in gaol already. A few endeavored to make a disturbance the next evening during the preaching, but it was lost labor; the congregation would not be diverted from taking earnest heed to the things that were spoken.

Friday, 23.--l rode to Dudley, formerly a den of lions but now as quiet as Bristol. They had just finished their preaching-house, which was thoroughly filled. I saw no trifler, but many in tears.

Monday, 26.--I was desired to preach at Walsal. James Jones was alarmed at the motion, apprehending there would be much disturbance. However, I determined to make the trial. Coming into the house, I met with a token for good. A woman was telling her neighbor why she came: "I had a desire," said she, "to hear this man; yet I durst not, because I heard so much ill of him; but this morning I dreamed I was praying earnestly, and I heard a voice, saying, 'See the eighth verse of the first chapter of St. John.' I waked and got my Bible, and read, 'He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.' I got up, and came away with all my heart."

The house not being capable of containing the people, about seven I began preaching abroad; and there was no opposer, no, nor a trifler to be seen. All present were earnestly attentive. How is Walsal changed! How has God either tamed the wild beasts or chained them up!

Tuesday, 27.--We rode to Derby. Mr. Dobinson believed it would be best for me to preach in the market place, as there seemed to be a general inclination in the town, even among people of fashion, to hear me. He had mentioned it to the mayor, who said he did not apprehend there would be the least disturbance; but if there should be anything of the kind, he would take care to suppress it. A multitude of people were gathered at five and were pretty quiet till I had named my text. Then "the beasts of the people" lifted up their voice, hallooing and shouting on every side. Finding it impossible to be heard, I walked softly away. An innumerable retinue followed me; but only a few pebble stones were thrown, and no one hurt at all. Most of the rabble followed quite to Mr. D--'s house; but it seems, without any malice prepense; 2626     Correct to the text. for they stood stock-still about an hour and then quietly went away.

Saturday, 31 (Rotherham).--An odd circumstance occurred during the morning preaching. It was well that only serious persons were present. An ass walked gravely in at the gate, came up to the door of the house, lifted up his head, and stood stock-still, in a posture of deep attention. Might not "the dumb beast reprove" many who have far less decency and not much more understanding?

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