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An Ideal Circuit

Wednesday, 6.--This morning we rode through the most woody, and far the pleasantest, part of the island-a range of fruitful land lying at the foot of the mountains, from Ramsay through Sulby to Kirkmichael. Here we stopped to look at the plain tombstones of those two good men, Bishop Wilson and Bishop Hildesley, whose remains are deposited, side by side, at the east end of the church. We had scarcely reached Peel before the rain increased; but here the preaching-house contained all that could come. Afterward, Mr. Crook desired me to meet the singers. I was agreeably surprised. I have not heard better singing either at Bristol or London. Many, both men and women, have admirable voices, and they sing with good judgment. Who would have expected this in the Isle of Man?

Thursday, 7.--I met our little body of preachers. They were two-and-twenty in all. I never saw in England so many stout, well-looking preachers together. If their spirit be answerable to their look, I know not what can stand before them. In the afternoon I rode over to Dawby, and preached to a very large and very serious congregation.

Friday, 8.--Having now visited the island round, east, south, north, and west, I was thoroughly convinced that we have no such circuit as this, either in England, Scotland, or Ireland. It is shut up from the world; and, having little trade, is visited by scarcely any strangers. Here are no Papists, no Dissenters of any kind, no Calvinists, no disputers. Here is no opposition, either from the Governor (a mild, humane man), from the bishop (a good man), or from the bulk of the clergy. One or two of them did oppose for a time; but they seem now to understand better. So that we have now rather too little, than too much reproach; the scandal of the cross being, for the present, ceased. The natives are a plain, artless, simple people; unpolished, that is, unpolluted; few of them are rich or genteel; the far greater part moderately poor; and most of the strangers that settle among them are men that have seen affliction. The local preachers are men of faith and love, knit together in one mind and one judgment. They speak either Manx or English, and follow a regular plan, which the assistant gives them monthly.

The isle is supposed to have thirty thousand inhabitants. Allowing half of them to be adults, and our societies to contain one or two and twenty hundred members, what a fair proportion is this! What has been seen like this, in any part either of Great Britain or Ireland?

Saturday, 9.--We would willingly have set sail; but the strong northeast wind prevented us. Monday, 11. It being moderate, we put to sea: but it soon died away into a calm; so I had time to read over and consider Dr. Johnson's Tour through Scotland. I had heard that he was severe upon the whole nation; but I could find nothing of it. He simply mentions (but without any bitterness) what he approved or disapproved. Many of the reflections are extremely judicious, some of them very affecting.

Tuesday, 12.--Having several passengers on board, I offered to give them a sermon, which they willingly accepted. And all behaved with the utmost decency, while I showed "His commandments are not grievous" [I John 5-3]. Soon after, a little breeze sprang up, which, early in the morning, brought us to Whitehaven.

Thursday, 28.--l preached at eleven in the main street at Selby, to a large and quiet congregation; and in the evening at Thorne. This day I entered my seventy-ninth year; and, by the grace of God, I feel no more of the infirmities of old age, than I did at twenty-nine. Friday, 29. I preached at Crowle and at Epworth. I have now preached thrice a day for seven days following; but it is just the same as if it had been but once.

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