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horse and ass flesh, barley bread, stinking butter, &c., and when he found that his eating such things gave offence to his neighbours, he left off eating ass flesh, and only lived on vegetables, as the common sort of food by their dearness hurt his conscience.
A few years since I saw in a field not seven miles from China-hall, Mr Taylor, a ship-carpenter, of Deptford, tossing up his bible in the air.' This he. often repeated, and raved at a strange rate. Amongst other things, (pointing to a building at some distance) “ That,” said he, is the devil's house, and it shall not stand three days longer !” On the third day after this I saw with surprise an account in one of the public papers of that very building having been set on fire, and burnt to the ground ; and thus the poor itinerant disciples of Thespis lost the whole of their wardrobe and scenery.
This religious maniac soon after preached very often in Smithfield and Moorfields; but he did not wholly depend on the operations of the Holy Spirit, as at last he seldom began to preach until he was nearly drunk, or filled with another kind of spirit, and then he was a “very powerful preacher indeed.”
“ Great were his looks, his eyes with hollow stare
ORLANDO FURIOSO. But the good man happening several times to exert himself rather too much, had nearly tumbled head. long out of his portable pulpit ; these accidents the mob uncharitably ascribed to the liquor that he had drank, and with mud, stones, dead cats, &c., drove him off every time he came, until at last our preacher took his leave of them with saying, “that he perceived that it was in vain to attempt their conversion, as he saw that God had given them over to the hardness of their hearts.”
I must inform you that this devout, zealous preacher lived many years before this, and some years after, with a very holy sister, and begot sons and daughters without being brought into bondage, by submitting to the carnal ordinance of marriage. I have been lately informed, that his enthusiasm and superstition at last entirely deprived him of the small remains of reason, and that he died in a private mad-house.
But although this holy man deserted them, yet other spiritual knights-errant were not wanting, so that a little time before the heaps of stones which lay for years in Moorfields were removed, for the purpose of building on the spot, I have seen five or six in a day preaching their initiation sermons from those elevated situations, until they could collect a sufficient sum of money to purchase pulpits. Some of these excellent preachers received the whole of their divine education, and took up their degrees, in Moorfields, and in due time, after having given ample and satisfactory proofs of being properly qualified, have been admitted to professorships in the noble college situated on the south side of those fields, generally known by the name of Bedlam. You must know, sir, that many of the lazy part of the community set up stalls in Moorfields to buy and sell apples, old iron, &c., several of these having heard such edifying discourses frequently repeated as they sat at their stalls, and observing the success which those kind of preachers met with, boldly resolved to make trial of their spiritual gifts on the heaps of stones, and have now totally abandoned their stalls, and are gone fortlı as ambassadors of heaven.
- Thus poor Crispin, crazy for the praise
Ask'd why for preaching he deserts his stall,
Busby's Age of Genius. One of those who cannot read, lately informed me that he had quitted all temporal concerns for the good of
poor ignorant sinners. John Turpin, a waiter of an inn at Dartmouth, some time late in 1791, made free with some of his master's plate, and was whipped at the tail of a cart round the town, after which he went to Totnes, about twelve miles from Dartmouth, and commenced Methodist preacher; and a few months after he had the assurance to return to Dartmouth to proclaim his conversion, and to preach what he was pleased to call the gospel, and in that capacity he soon collected together as great a number of people round his pulpit as before he had done round his cart, and among others he made a convert of the clerk of the parish, who entertained him in his house at free cost. "Soine time this spring (1792) as he was one Sunday morning going towards the church with the clerk, he pretended to be seized on a sudden with griping pains, and told the clerk that he must go back, on which the old fool of a clerk gave him the key of his house, and also a key of the closet where he kept some brandy, and advised him to go and take a glass. On the old man's return from church, he missed a watch, and on farther search he missed another watch, and upwards of twenty guineas in gold. And as the preacher was not to be found, he hired horses, and with a constable set off in pursuit of this heavenlyminded rascal, and about fifteen miles from Dartmouth they took him with the whole of the property on him.
At Exeter assizes, in March, he was tried, found guilty, and condemned to be hung ; but was reprieved, and is since sent to Botany Bay, where perhaps he may have address enough to get himself made chaplain to Barrington. · As on his trial he told the judge
that, if he would send him to Botany Bay, he would do much towards the glory of God, in sending one among the abandoned transports, who could call them to repentance, and bring them to Christ, the friend of the chief of sinners.
But before I take my leave of the subject, I will in few words inform you how the preachers were governed and supported. Mr Wesley every year ordered the major part of his travelling preachers in Great Britain and Ireland, which were upwards of two hundred in number, to meet together, one year at London, the next year at Bristol, and the following at Manchester ; this meeting he called a conference. At these conferences the business of the whole society was transacted, new preachers admitted, and some turned off, or silenced; complaints heard, differences adjusted, &c. Mr Wesley having divided Great Britain into circuits, at those conferences he appointed the preachers to every circuit for the following year; and, as he well knew the general want of abilities among his preachers, he limited their time of preaching in one circuit to a year, and so in some measure made up the want of abilities by variety; most of those circuits had three or four preachers every year, and in many country places they had but one sermon a-week from the travelling preachers, so that each preacher preached about twelve sermons in the year (sometimes it may be twenty) at each place. In every circuit one of the preachers was called the assistant ; to him the various contributions were paid, and of him might be had any of Mr Wesley's publications. He also admitted new members, or turned out any who were judged unworthy of bearing the high appellation of a Methodist.
Each itinerant preacher had a horse found him, which, with himself, is maintained by some brother or sister wherever they go, as the preachers do not put up at any inn, and yet they have as regular stages to -call at as the coaches have, they having made converts
at convenient distances in most parts of Great Britain and Ireland.
Each travelling preacher was then allowed twelve pounds a-year to find himself clothes, pay turnpikes, &c., besides what they could get privately out of the old women's pockets. But, besides those circuitpreachers, there “ were in the year 1790, in Europe and America, thirteen or fourteen hundred” of local holders-forth, who do not preach out of their own neighbourhood, and those in general are the most ignorant of all.
Many of the circuit-preachers only travel until they can marry a rich widow, or some ignorant young convert with money, which has often been the cause of great unhappiness in many respectable families. The following poetical description of the Methodist preach. ers is so much to my purpose that I must insert it :
Every mechanic will commence
“ The bricklay'r throws his trowel by,