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spies, were so overwhelmed with the gracious presence of our blessed Saviour, that they are quite changed; and the accounts which are given of the overshadowings of the Holy Spirit in the ordinance seem to have a good effect on the people. Notwithstanding, some of our people are offended; yet not so many as I once expected. Upon a careful, and I think impartial, examination of the matter, the offended persons appear to me to be of the following descriptions. 1. A few, very few here, who are apt to be finding fault with the preachers on many occasions, and who appear to enjoy little of the spirit of religion : these are bitter as wormwood. One old gentleman (the only person who has left the society to my knowledge,) who has been a member forty years, has never been at the preaching since we ‘left the church.' He goes regularly to the church prayers, I believe, every day; and I fancy he means to go to heaven without us. Whether he expects to find us there at last, the Lord knows. 2. There are also some who are truly pious, and real friends to the preachers, who disapprove of our 'new plan,' and have been very uneasy. But these are in good temper, and give us no disturbance; and I feel persuaded, were not their minds biassed by a few priests with whom they are acquainted, and some lay persons who have high-church spirits, they would soon see better, as some have done already. Our congregations are larger considerably than ever I knew them to be. We have almost all our seats filled on Monday evenings; and, blessed be God, he is giving us souls for our hire.
“ The good vicar has lately served our cause ; though, poor soul, without design. He has preached three Lord's Days successively, to prove that all infants are regenerated, when baptized, and that there is no other regeneration. He informed his hearers last Sunday, that if they continued in the church, they would grow up from babes to young men, and from young men to fathers ; but,-if they left the church,
This has led the people here to think for themselves: the spirit of inquiry
forth; and, as a necessary consequence, people see how they have been imposed upon.
“ There is sad work at Birmingham. The Old Planners' pretend to be offended with the 'innovations. They have, therefore, separated from their brethren, and have
taken thirteen classes along with them, and have sent a printed circular letter, informing others that they mean to support those preachers, and those only, who abide exactly in the old way.' They have not done their work by halves, but have actually laid the foundation of a new connexion on the plan of old Methodism;' and moreover, have made Andrew Inglis the President of that connexion, by giving him a call to be their minister. He is now settled in the late •Jerusalem Temple,' and his family is gone to Birmingham. O blessed reformers, ye have made a glorious beginning!
“Our friends at Liverpool are at a stand: they scarcely know how to act. There are two parties which strongly oppose each other; but I hope Messrs. Pawson and Clarke, who are both of one judgment, and who seem to be exceedingly united, will be able to prevent a division.”
A week after the above letter was penned, Mr. E. met with the severest trial by which he had yet been exercised, and which was of eleven weeks' continuance. His own words will best explain its nature, and shew how he conducted himself under the mysterious dispensation.
“ Friday Oct. 11, Thorner.-A trial of a singular nature arose to-day. A young man, who was once my most intimate friend, is become my most implacable enemy. For years together, we met in band, we took sweet counsel together, and went to the house of the Lord in company. Yea, we were so closely united, that we were almost like the primitive Christians, who had all things common, mutually giving one another a share of whatever we had. Thus we continued to live in the closest habits of friendship, till, about two years after I began to travel, he fell from God. Since then, he has been so addicted to idleness, that though he had a very good business, he has been reduced to a state of the deepest poverty, and has been several times in prison for acts of injustice. About six months ago, my father's house at Manchester was robbed of some valuable articles and a little money. There were strong presumptive proofs that he was the thief: my brother therefore arrested him; but finding no sufficient evidence against him let it drop. Since then, he has been meditating vengeance. He came here to-day, and behaved like a fury. He then went to Seacroft, and represented me in the blackest
colours, entering into several houses, and telling abundance of lies, in order to represent me in as bad a light as possible, laying things to my charge of which I was entirely innocent. When I came to Seacroft this evening, oh! how my soul was distressed. The greatest part of the congregation had heard the report, and I know there are always in every place persons who are glad to find any thing wrong in preachers of the gospel. Report, say they, and we will report it.' Though my mind was greatly depressed, yet I was assisted to preach with a good deal of freedom. He threatens me with a law-suit. If the law requires a detail of particulars in a debt, it is impossible for him to produce it without forgery; for I never bought or borrowed any thing of him. But if this wicked man's oath will be taken in a court of justice, he may greatly injure me. O Lord, unto thee do I commit my cause.
“ Sat. 12.-My mind is exceedingly depressed on account of the present trial. It lies so much upon my mind, and the enemy harasses me so with representing what may be, in the most dreadful colours, that I can scarcely bear the burden of it.
“ Mon. 14.-I preached twice to-day with great freedom, yet was more distressed than ever about the awkward affair before mentioned. I fear that his oath alone will be sufficient to make good his charge ; in which case I fear he will swear any thing, and do me much injury. I feel only for the cause of God, lest that should suffer. O Lord, I am oppressed : undertake thou for me. At night my mind was quite delivered from anxiety, and I laid me down in great peace.
“ Tues. 15.—Conversing with a friend this morning on this disagreeable business, he seemed to think the man's oath would procure a copy of a writ; and that if I put in an appearance against it, and gained a verdict in my favour in a court of justice, it might cost me £100, besides all the trouble and anxiety which would attend it. Therefore, he would advise me, of the two evils to choose the less; and, if he still persist in his demands, to make an agreement with him. My only objection to this is, the appearance it has of acknowledging the debt, while I owe him nothing: and yet, I fear he would swear, and
procure others to swear any thing in a court of justice
My mind was much distressed till towards evening, when I was happily delivered from it, and enabled to preach at Wetherby with much liberty from 1 Thes. i.5. I was much comforted after preaching, and felt a degree of confidence that the Lord would undertake for me, and manage the present painful business for his glory and my good. My only fear is, lest the cause of God should suffer. O Lord, arise, help me and deliver me for thine honour.
“ Wed. 16.—My mind has been so painfully exercised all day with my present trial, that I could think of little else; yet I was assisted to preach in the evening with more than common freedom. I cannot but admire the goodness of God in this. For, in general, though my mind has been greatly oppressed at other times, I have enjoyed an almost entire deliverance from it when preaching
“Thurs. 17.—Blessed with a considerable degree of the divine presence this morning and a freedom from the burden I have groaned under for several days. In my way from Ribston to Thorner, much drawn out in prayer that the Lord would take the matter into his own hands, and make it work together for good. I believe the devil wishes to hinder my usefulness; but, through the grace of God, I will double my diligence. When I came to Thorner, I found that this fallen man had stopped at several houses at the end of the town, and had forged the blackest lies, in order to represent me in the worst light possible; and these are circulating through the town. This brought on the trial afresh. By the advice of my friends, I vindicated myself from the pulpit after preaching this evening. I preached from Psalm cix. 4, which I judged suitable to the occasion. Hereby, I found my mind perfectly delivered from all anxiety, assured that the Lord will preserve me from evil. The poet's words came to my mind :
' Lord, I adore thy gracious will,
My Father's goodness see;
As kind rebukes from thee.'
“ Sat. 26.-Wakefield. I am now here on a visit, in
the room where my friend Reece and I have taken sweet counsel and worshipped together, the remembrance of which brings my mind into a serious spiritual frame. This has been a week of much inward exercise. The trial I mentioned last week has been renewed. I am now threatened by an attorney's letter with an action if I do not immediately pay a pretended debt, of which I know nothing, and am expecting to be accosted by a bailiff with a writ daily. O Lord, arise to my help, and let not the wicked triumph.
• There are two things which I have been led to inquire: 1. What Christian temper the Lord calls me to exercise on this occasion ?-And 2. What improvement I may make of the present trial ? It appears to me, that I am called to exercise meekness and gentleness towards him who injures me, and confidence in God as the God of providence. I am not conscious that I have given way for a moment to any thing contrary to this; but have prayed much for my enemy; yet my spirits have been greatly depressed at times.
I have already experienced, in some degree, a sanctified use of it. I see more of the uncertainty of all worldly friendships and enjoyments, and the necessity of making God my all. It has also led me to a serious examination of my inward and outward conduct, and has occasioned many resolutions to live to God, and lay myself out to do good as I have never
lone before. Oh! if my God will deliver me from wicked and unreasonable men, through his grace, I'll put forth all my strength in his work, and I believe he will deliver me speedily. About nine o'clock to-night I was quite delivered from all anxiety, and filled with the divine presence.
“Sun, 27.-Preached at Wakefield in the morning with a good degree of freedom. After preaching, my mind was unusually drawn out after God. O how I longed to be and to do what the Lord would have me. About ten o'clock this morning, a powerful and painful temptation embarrassed my mind for some time. It was this :—That I never was soundly converted to this day. Indeed a view of my imperfection discouraged me; yet I cannot doubt but the Lord has begun a good work in me. Much profited by reading the 37th Psalm with Henry's Notes. As part of it exactly suits my present circum