THE EXTENT OF THE WORK IN MR. WESLEY'S DAY.
"HERE I stood and looked back on the late occurrences. Before Thomas Walsh left England, God began that great work which has continued ever since without any considerable intermission. During the whole time, many have been convinced of sin, many justified, and many backsliders healed. But the peculiar work of this season has been, what St. Paul calls 'the perfecting of the saints.' Many persons in London, in Bristol, in York, and in various parts, both in England and Ireland, have experienced so deep and universal a change, as it had not before entered into their hearts to conceive, After a deep conviction of inbred sin, of their total fall from God, they have been so filled with faith and love (and generally in a moment), that sin vanished, and they found from that time, no pride, anger, desire, or unbelief. They could rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. Now, whether we call this the destruction or suspension of sin, it is a glorious work of God. Such a work as, considering both the depth and extent of it, we never saw in these kingdoms before . . . . The next evening they met again; and the Lord was again present to heal the broken in heart. One received remission of sins; and three more believed God had cleansed them from all sin. And it is observable, these are all poor, illiterate creatures, of all others most incapable of counterfeiting, and most unlikely to attempt it." — Journal, March, 1760.
"Here began (at Otley) that glorious work of sanctification which had been nearly at a stand for twenty years; but which now, from time to time, spread, first through various parts of Yorkshire, afterwards in London, then through most parts of England, next through Dublin, Limerick, and all the southwest of Ireland. And wherever the work of sanctification increased, the whole work of God increased in all its branches." — Works, vol. vii. p. 376.
"I met again with those who believe God has delivered them from the root of bitterness. Their number increases daily. I know not if fifteen or sixteen have not received the blessing this week." — Journal, March, 1761.
"By talking with several at Wednesbury, I found God is carrying on His work here as at London. We have ground to hope, one prisoner was set at full liberty under the sermon on Saturday morning; another under that on Saturday evening. One or more received remission of sins on Sunday; on Monday morning another, and on Wednesday yet another believed the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed him from all sin. In the evening I could scarce think but more than one heard Him say, "I will. be thou clean!" Indeed, so wonderfully was He present till near midnight, as if He would have healed the whole congregation." — Journal, March, 1761.
"I rode on to Chester. Never was the society in such a state before. Their jars and contentions were at an end; and I found nothing but peace and love among them. About twelve of them believed they were saved from sin; and their lives did not contradict their profession. Most of the rest were strongly athirst for God, and looking for Him continually." — Journal, Aug., 1762.
"There is a glorious work going on at Limerick. Twelve or fourteen have a clear sense of being renewed; several have been justified this week; and on Sunday night, at the meeting of the society, there was such a cry as I scarce ever heard." — Journal, July, 1762.
"The work here (Dublin), is such as I never expected to see. Some are justified or sanctified, almost every day. This week three or four were justified, and as many, if not more, renewed in love. The people are all on fire. Such a day as last Sunday, I never saw. While I was at prayer in the society, the power of the Lord overshadowed us, and some cried out, 'Lord, I can believe!'"
"And in these two days and a half, four persons gave thanks for a sense of God's pardoning mercy; and seven (among whom were a mother and her daughter), for being perfected in love."
"Upon farther examination. I found three or four and forty, in Dublin, who seemed to enjoy the pure love of God. At least forty of these had been set at liberty, within four months. Some others, who had received the same blessing, were removed out of the city. The same, if not a larger number, had found remission of sins. Nor was the hand of the Lord shortened yet. He still wrought as swiftly as ever."
"The work of God increases every day. There is hardly a day but some are justified, or sanctified, or both. On Thursday, three came and told me that the blood of Jesus Christ had cleansed them from all sin. One of them told me she had been justified seven years, and had been five years convinced of the necessity of sanctification. But this easy conviction availed not. A fortnight since, she was seized with so keen a conviction, as gave her no rest, till God had sanctified her, and witnessed it to her heart." — Journal, July, 1762.
"In some respects, the work of God in this place (Dublin); was more remarkable than even that in London. 1. It is far greater, in proportion to the time, and to the number of people. That society had above seven-and-twenty hundred members; this, not a fifth part of the number. Six months after the flame broke out there, we had about thirty witnesses of the great salvation. In Dublin, there were above forty, in less than four months. 2. The work was more pure. In all this time, while they were mildly and tenderly treated, there were none of them headstrong or unadvisable none that were wiser than their teachers; none who dreamed of being immortal or infallible, or incapable of temptation; in short, no whimsical or enthusiastic persons. All were calm and sober-minded." — Journal, July, 1762.
"The fire catches all that comes near. An old soldier, in his return from Germany to the north of Ireland, fell in one night with these wrestling Jacobs, to his great astonishment. As he was going to Germany, in the beginning of the war, the Lord healed him in Dublin; and, in spite of all the distresses of a severe campaign, he walked in the light continually. On his return through London, he was convinced of the necessity of full sanctification; and soon after he came hither, his heart was broken in pieces, while he was with a little company who meet daily for prayer. One evening, as they were going away, he stopped them, and begged they would not go till God had blessed him. They kneeled down again, and did not cease wrestling with God" till he had a witness that he was saved from all sin." — Works, vol. vii. p. 379, 1762.
"I now stood and looked back on the past year; a year of uncommon trials, and uncommon blessings. Abundance have been convinced of sin; very many have found peace with God; and in London only, I believe, full two hundred have been brought into glorious liberty. And yet I have had more care and trouble in six months, than in several years preceding. What the end will be, I know not; but it is enough that God knoweth." — Journal, Dec., 1762.
"I was informed of the flame which had broken out at Bolton. One writing to Mr. Furz, described a little of it in the following words: 'Glory be to God, He is doing wonders among us! Since you left us there have been seven (if not more) justified, and six sanctified, at one meeting. Two of these were, I think, justified and sanctified in less than three days. O what a meeting was our last class-meeting! In three minutes, or less, God, quite unexpectedly, convinced an old opposer of the truth, and wounded many."' — Journal, April, 1762.
"Last night His power was present indeed; and another was assured that God, who had before forgiven his sins, had now cleansed him from all unrighteousness. There are now ten women and thirteen men who witness the same confession; and their lives agree thereto. Eight have lately received the remission of their sins; and many are on the full stretch for God, and just ready to step into the pool.' Hence it appears, that, in proportion to the time, which was only three or four weeks, and the number of hearers (not one half, if a third part), the work of God was greater in Limerick than even in Dublin itself" — Journal, July, 1762.
"Many years ago my brother frequently said, 'Your day of Pentecost is not fully come; but I doubt not it will: and you will then hear of persons sanctified, as frequently as you do now of persons justified.' Any unprejudiced reader may observe, that it was now fully come. And accordingly we did hear of persons sanctified, in London, and most other parts of England, and in Dublin, and many other parts of Ireland, as frequently as of persons justified; although instances of the latter were far move frequent than they had been for twenty years before." — Journal, Oct., 1762.
"March 30, 1764. — I met those in Sheffield who believed God had 'redeemed them from all their sins.' They were about sixty in number. I could not learn that any among them walked unworthy of their profession. Many watched over them for evil; but they overcame evil with good. I found nothing of self-conceit, stubbornness, impatience of contradiction, or enthusiasm, among them. They had learned better of Him that was meek and lowly of heart, and 'adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour.'" — Works, vol. vii. p. 386.
"In the afternoons I spoke to the members of the society (at Dublin). I left four hundred and forty, and find above five hundred; more than ever they were since my first landing in the kingdom. And they are not increased in number only, but many of them are rejoicing in the pure love of God; and many more refuse to be comforted till they can witness the same confession." — Journal, July, 1765.
"I rode to Medros, near St. Austle, where we had the quarterly meeting for the eastern circuit. Here likewise we had an agreeable account of a still increasing work of God. This society has eighty-six members, and all rejoicing in the love of God. Fifty-five or fifty-six of these believe He has saved them from all sin; and their life no way contradicts their profession. But how many will endure to the end? " — Journal, Sept., 1765.
"The evening congregation in Swaledale was far larger, and equally attentive: and the society was one of the most lively which I have met with in England. Many of them do rejoice in the pure love of God, and many more are earnestly seeking it." — Journal, July, 1788.
"They are now only a hundred and seventy (at Cork); and yet the work of God deepens in those that remain. I found many growing in grace; many rejoicing in the pure love of God; and many more, who were earnestly panting after the whole mind that was in Christ." —Journal, May, 1771.
"After preaching on Wednesday evening (at Carmarthen), we had such a meeting as I have seldom known. Almost every one spoke, as well as they could for tears, and with the utmost simplicity; and many of them appeared to know 'the great salvation,' to love God with all their heart." — Journal, Aug., 1772.
"I found another society at High-Wycomb, almost as earnest as that at Witney. A large congregation was present at five in the morning, many of whom were athirst for full salvation. I talked with twelve of them, who seemed to have experienced it. This is genuine Christianity!" — Journal, Oct., 1772.
"We had a larger congregation at the renewal of the covenant than we have had for many years: and I do not know that ever we had a greater blessing. Afterwards many desired to return thanks, either for a sense of pardon, for full salvation, or for a fresh manifestation of His grace, healing all their backslidings." — Journal, Feb., 1775.
"At noon I preached in Tewkesbury, now the liveliest place in the circuit. Many here have been lately convinced of sin, and many converted to God. Some have been made partakers of the great salvation, and their love and zeal have stirred up others. So that the flame now spreads wider and wider. 0, let none be able to quench it!" —Journal, March, 1775.
"The work of God prospers among us here: I never saw anything equal to it. The last time I was at St. Just, the leaders gave me an account of seventy persons who had found either pardon or perfect love, within the last fortnight: and the night and morning I was there, twenty more were delivered."' — Journal, April, 1782.
"I met the select society (at Manchester), consisting of between forty and fifty members. Several of these were lately made partakers of the great salvation; as several were above twenty years ago. I believe there is no place but London, where we have so many souls so deeply devoted to God; and His hand is not shortened yet, but His work rapidly increases on every side." — Journal, May, 1783.
"On Tuesday, and the three following days, I examined the society (at Dublin). I never found it in such a state before; many of them rejoiced in God their Saviour, and were as plain in their apparel, both men and women, as those in Bristol and London. Many, I verily believe, love God with all their hearts; and the number of these increase daily. The number of the whole society is seven hundred and forty-seven." — Journal, April, 1785.
"I was obliged in the evening to preach abroad. Afterward we had a lovefeast (at Darlington); at which many plain people spoke the height and depth of Christian experience, in the most plain and artless manner."' — Journal, June, 1786.
"Several also testified that the blood of Christ had cleansed them from all sin (at Burslem). Two declared, after bitter cries, that they knew their sins were just then blotted out by the blood of the Lamb; and I doubt not but it will be found, upon inquiry, that several more were either justified or sanctified." — Journal, March, 1787.
"The work of God has much increased here lately (at Weardale). Many have been convinced of sin, many justified; some perfected in love, and many added to the society." — Journal, June, 1788.
"All the remains of the Palatine families came hither from Balligarane, Court-Mattris, and Ratheal; in all which places an uncommon flame has lately broke out, such as was never seen before. Many in every place have been deeply convinced, many converted to God, and some perfected in love. Some societies are doubled in number, some increased six or even ten fold." — Journal, May, 1789.