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Wesley's Terrible Ride

Sunday, 5.--About eight I preached at Ormiston, twelve miles from Edinburgh. The house being small, I stood in the street and proclaimed "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." The congregation behaved with the utmost decency. So did that on the Castle Hill in Edinburgh at noon; though I strongly insisted, that God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" [Acts 17:30]. In the evening the house was thoroughly filled, and many seemed deeply affected. I do not wonder that Satan, had it been in his power, would have had me otherwise employed this day.

Monday, 20.--About nine I set out from Sunderland for Horsley, with Mr. Hopper and Mr. Smith. I took Mrs. Smith and her two little girls in the chaise with me. About two miles from the town, just on the brow of the hill, on a sudden both the horses set out, without any visible cause, and flew down the hill like an arrow out of a bow. In a minute John fell off the coachbox. The horses then went on full speed, sometimes to the edge of the ditch on the right, sometimes on the left. A cart came up against them: they avoided it as exactly as if the man had been on the box. A narrow bridge was at the foot of the hill. They went directly over the middle of it. They ran up the next hill with the same speed, many persons meeting us, but getting out of the way. Near the top of the hill was a gate which led into a farmer's yard. It stood open. They turned short and ran through it, without touching the gate on one side or the post on the other.

I thought, "However, the gate which is on the other side of the yard and is shut, will stop them": but they rushed through it as if it had been a cobweb and galloped on through the cornfield. The little girls cried out, "Grandpapa, save us!" I told them, "Nothing will hurt you; do not be afraid"; feeling no more fear or care (blessed be God!) than if I had been sitting in my study. The horses ran on till they came to the edge of a steep precipice. Just then Mr. Smith, who could not overtake us before, galloped in between. They stopped in a moment. Had they gone on ever so little, he and we must have gone down together!

I am persuaded both evil and good angels had a large share in this transaction: how large we do not know now, but we shall know hereafter.

Tuesday, 28.--This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering how is it that I find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago? That my sight is considerably better now and my nerves firmer than they were then? That I have none of the infirmities of old age and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is the good pleasure of God who doeth whatsoever pleaseth Him. The chief means are: 1) my constantly rising at four, for about fifty years; 2) my generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world; 3) my never traveling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles in a year.

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