תמונות בעמוד

who were continually preaching up fasting, absti. nence, &c., to their congregations, and who wanted others to dine off cold dinners, or eat bread and cheese, &c., would themselves not even sup without roasted fowls, &c.

This I found to be fact, as I several times had occasion, after attending the preaching, to go into the kitchen behind the old Foundery (which at that time was Mr Wesley's preaching-house); there I saw women who had been kept from hearing the sermon, &c., they being employed in roasting fowls, and otherwise providing good suppers for the preachers.

A cart-load, lo, their stomachs steal,

Yet swear they cannot make a meal!" “ So," said I, “you lay burthens on other men's shoulders, but will not so much as touch them yourselves with one of your fingers.”

A ridiculous instance of the same nature happened also some years since at Taunton. One of Mr Wesley's preachers, whose name was Cotterell, assured his congregation from time to time, that every baker that baked meat on Sundays would be damned, and every person who partook of such meat would also be damned; on which a poor baker shut up his oven on Sundays; the consequence was, that he lost his customers, as such bakers as baked their victuals on Sunday had their custom on other days, so that the poor baker's family was nearly reduced to the workhouse; when one Sunday passing before the door where he knew the preacher was to dine, he was very much surprised to see a baked leg of pork carried into the house, and after a few minutes reflection, he rushed in, and found the pious preacher eating part of the baked leg of pork, on which he bid farewell to the Methodists, and again took care for his family.

It is perhaps worth remarking, that many poor hair-dressers in Mr Wesley's society are reduced to extreme poverty; they cannot get employment, as

they will not dress hair on Sundays; and I find that a poor milk-woman, who until the beginning of the year 1792, maintained her family in a decent manner, was lately frightened out of her understanding by a Methodist preacher; her crime was, the selling milk on Sundays. The poor wretch is now confined in Bedlam, and her five children are in a workhouse. But driving people mad they treat as a trifling affair. A few weeks since, a Methodist preacher in Grub street, in one of his discourses, made use of the following language to his auditory :-“You spread a report, I am informed, that my doctrine has such effect upon some that they run mad; but I should much rather send five thousand to Bedlam, than that one soul should be sent to hell.”

I at this time know a bookseller, who being a Methodist, is so conscientious as to have his hair dressed on the evening of every Saturday, and, to prevent its being discomposed in the night, he on those nights always sleeps in his elbow chair. Indeed some tell the story differently, and say, that his hair is dressed on Saturday morning, and by sleeping in his chair he saves the expense of dressing on Sundays; others say, that the first is the fact, and that he hinted at it in his shop-bills, in order that the public may know where to find a tradesman that had a very tender conscience.

I was one day called aside, and a hand-bill was given me; and thinking it to be a quack doctor's bill for some disease, I expressed my surprise at its being given to me in such a particular manner; but on reading it, I found it contained a particular account of the wonderful conversion of a John Biggs, when he was twenty-one years of age.

Mr Biggs says, that ever since that time he has had communion with God his Father every hour. He publishes this bill (he says) for the glory of God; but that the public might have an opportunity of dealing with this wonderful saint and perfectly holy man, he

put his address in capitals, “ John Biggs, No. 98 Strand.” I keep this bill as a curiosity:

The following note was some years since given to the clerk, for the clergyman at St Michael's church, Bristol :-“1, Mary Lockhart, return Almighty God my most hearty thanks for the benefits received in my soul, through the burning and shining lights, Mr Cennick and Mr Hall. I have not only received remission for my sins past, present, and to come, but am now entered into the rest (or made perfect) of the children of God.

Mary Lockhart.” I will now conclude this letter in the words of colonel Lambert, in the comedy of the Hypocrite :“I cannot see with temper, sir, so many religious mountebanks impose on the unwary multitude ; wretches, who make a trade of religion, and show no uncommon concern for the next world, only to raise their fortunes with greater security in this. I always respect piety and virtue ; but there are pretenders to religion, as well as to courage; and as the truly brave are not such as make much noise about their valour, so, I apprehend, the truly good seldom or never deal in much grimace. I can never pay the same regard to the mask that I do to the face.”

I am, dear friend, yours.


“ Good morrow to thee: How dost do ?
I only just call'd in, to shew
My love upon this blessed day,
As I by chance came by this way.

BUTLER'S Posth. Works. Let not your weak unknowing hand

Presume God's bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land,

On each you judge bis foe.”

Dear Friend, I had no sooner left Mr Wesley's society, and begun to talk a little more like a rational being, than I found that I had incurred the hatred of some, the pity of others, the envy of many, and the displeasure of all Mr Wesley's-old women!

.“ No seared conscience is so fell
As that which has been burnt with zeal ;
For Christian charity's as well,
A great impediment to zeal,
As zeal a pestilent disease,
To charity and peace.”

Butler's Remains. So that for a long time I was constantly teased with their impertinent nonsense.

I believe that never was a poor devil so plagued.

Superstition is dreadful in her wrath,
Her dire anathemas against you dart.”

HENRIA DE. Some as they passed by my door in their way to. the Foundery would only make a stop and lift up their hands, turn up the whites of their eyes, shake their heads, groan, and pass on. Many would call in and take me aside, and after making rueful faces, ad.

dress me with, “Oh, brother Lackington! I am very sorry to find that you who began in the spirit are now like to end in the flesh. Pray, brother, do remember Lot's wife.” Another would interrupt me in my business, to tell me, that “He that putteth his hand to the plough, and looketh back, is unfit for the kingdom.” Another had just called as he was pass. ing by to caution me against the bewitching snares of prosperity. Others again called to know if I was as happy then as I was when I constantly sought the Lord with my brethren, in prayer-meeting, in class, in band, &c. When I assured them that I was more happy, they in a very solemn manner assured me that I was under a very great delusion of the devil; and when I by chance happened to laugh at their enthusiastic rant, some have run out of my shop, declaring that they were afraid to stay under the same roof with me, lest the house should fall on their heads. Sometimes I have been accosted in such an alarming manner as though the house was on fire, with “ Oh! brother! brother ! you are fast asleep! and the flames of hell are taking hold of you ;" which reminds me of the following lines :

Were hell demolish'd now,
Another must be had for you ;
That providence were falsely nam'd,
If such a monster is not damn'd.”

Robertson's Miscellanies. A certain preacher assured me, in the presence of several gentlemen, that the devil would soon toss me about in the flames of hell with a pitchfork. This same eloquent mild preacher used occasionally to strip to his shirt to dodge the devil.

Mr E., a gentleman of my acquaintance, going through some alley, one Sunday, hearing a very uncommon noise, was led by curiosity to the house from whence it proceeded, and there he saw elevated, above an assembly of old women, &c., this tailor

« הקודםהמשך »