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A Methodist Isaac Newton

Monday, 31, 3232     Correct and the following days, I visited the societies near London. Friday, November 4. In the afternoon John Downes (who had preached with us many years) was saying, "I feel such a love to the people at West Street that I could be content to die with them. I do not find myself very well; but I must be with them this evening." He went thither and began preaching, on "Come unto me, ye that are weary and heavy laden." After speaking ten or twelve minutes, he sank down and spake no more, till his spirit returned to God.

I suppose he was by nature fully as great a genius as Sir Isaac Newton. I will mention but two or three instances of it: When he was at school learning Algebra, he came one day to his master and said, "Sir, I can prove this proposition a better way than it is proved in the book." His master thought it could not be, but upon trial, acknowledged it to be so. Sometime after, his father sent him to Newcastle with a clock which was to be mended. He observed the clockmaker's tools and the manner how he took it in pieces and put it together again; when he came home, he first made himself tools, and then made a clock which went as true as any in the town. I suppose such strength of genius as this has scarcely been known in Europe before.

Another proof of it was this: Thirty years ago, while I was shaving, he was whittling the top of a stick. I asked, "What are you doing?" He answered, "I am taking your face, which I intend to engrave on a copperplate." Accordingly, without any instruction, he first made himself tools and then engraved the plate. The second picture which he engraved was that which was prefixed to the Notes upon the New Testament. Such another instance, I suppose, not all England, or perhaps Europe, can produce.

For several months past, he had far deeper communion with God than ever he had had in his life; and for some days he had been frequently saying, "I am so happy, that I scarcely know how to live. I enjoy such fellowship with God as I thought could not be had on this side heaven." And having now finished his course of fifty-two years, after a long conflict with pain, sickness, and poverty, he gloriously rested from his labors and entered into the joy of his Lord.

Sunday, 13.--After a day of much labor, at my usual time (half-hour past nine), I lay down to rest. I told my servants, "I must rise at three, the Norwich coach setting out at four." Hearing one of them knock, though sooner than I expected, I rose and dressed myself; but afterward looking at my watch I found it was but half-hour past ten. While I was considering what to do, I heard a confused sound of many voices below: and looking out at the window toward the yard, I saw it was as light as day. Meantime, many large flakes of fire were continually flying about the house; all the upper part of which was built of wood, which was nearly as dry as tinder. A large deal-yard, at a very small distance from us, was all in a light fire; from which the northwest wind drove the flames directly upon the Foundry; and there was no possibility of help, for no water could be found. Perceiving I could be of no use, I took my Diary and my papers and retired to a friend's house. I had no fear, committing the matter into God's hands and knowing He would do whatever was best. Immediately the wind turned about from northwest to southeast; and our pump supplied the engines with abundance of water; so that in a little more than two hours, all the danger was over.

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