The first critical and complete edition of Charles Wesley's manuscript journal in two volumes.
While remaining firmly committed to the Church of England, Charles Wesley shared in the founding of Methodism, a religious movement that has had far-reaching social and religious influence worldwide. These volumes of Charles Wesley's manuscript journal is the first complete edition. Included are all transcribed shorthand passages, words that Charles underlined, other forms of emphasis or peculiarities in Charles's script, word that Charles struck out. Any uncertain reading or transcription is indicated in the footnotes. In addition there is an annotated index of persons, places, and sermon texts in Volume II. Volume I is Wesley's manuscript journal from 1736 to 1741. Volume II is Wesley's manuscript journal from 1743 to 1756.
About the Author
Kenneth Newport BA, MA, MSt., DPhil (Oxon) is Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Research and Academic Development) and Professor of Christian Thought at Liverpool Hope University. Prior to coming to Hope, Kenneth taught at the University of Manchester, St Andrew’s University and in Hong Kong. He is a priest in the Church of England. Kenneth has published widely in a number of areas, and has a particular interest in early Methodism (especially the life, literature, theology and legacy of Charles Wesley) and in millennialism.
Dr. Steven Kimbrough, Jr., is a Research Fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition of the Duke Divinity School. He is also a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ, and an internationally known scholar and musician who has devoted years to the study of Charles Wesley's verse. He was a Consultant to the Hymnal Revision Committee of The United Methodist Church.
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The Manuscript Journal of the Reverend Charles Wesley, M.A.Volume 2
By S. T. Kimbrough, Jr.
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2007 The United Methodist Publishing House
All right reserved.
Chapter OneExtract of Journal
Sunday, January 2. I rode to Bexley, and discoursed in the church from Luke 1[:68], "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people." God gave me to speak in mild love, and some of the most rebellious began to melt into conviction.
Returned to town and expounded the barren fig tree [Luke 13:6-9] at the Foundery. Their hearts were bowed as the heart of one man.
Monday, January 3. Preached at Brentford, and stirred up the little Society to "look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith" [Heb. 12:2]. A young man came and fell down very innocently on his knees to ask my blessing, because, he said, I was his spiritual Father, faith having come by hearing me one of the last times I preached here.
Rode on to Eton, where I exhorted a few sincere souls to bear their Savior's cross and suffer patiently for his sake.
Wednesday evening, January 5. Came with George Baddiley to Bristol.
Friday, January 7. Visited sister Edgcomb, triumphing over death and waiting every moment for full redemption.
Saturday, January 8. Spoke with one who thinks she has already attained. I think not. The event will show.
Met Susanna Designe's band, with the three Quakers, and an extraordinary presence of God among them.
Sunday, January 9. Kept a Love-feast at Kingswood. As soon as we met the Spirit of prayer fell upon us, and we were filled with comfort.
Tuesday, January 11. Set out for London at three in the morning and reached it, God being my Helper, the next day.
Friday, January 14. Visited the condemned malefactors in Newgate and was locked in by the turnkey, not with them but in the yard. However, I stood upon a bench, and they climbed up to the windows of their cells, so that all could hear my exhortation and prayer.
The Lord was with us at our public intercession, from which I went to visit the sick. Was much refreshed by our dying brother Milbourne, whose whole cry was "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly" [Rev. 22:20].
At night was comforted with all the Society by an account of our sister Pike's departure in the Lord.
Saturday, January 15. Went to Newgate, and was refused admittance. One Townsend thrust me away, though I showed him the sheriff's order. I was let in by another keeper, the only one who has a spark of humanity, and preached through the grates. As before, a Romish priest was there, having free egress and regress. But a clergyman of the Church of England must not hope for the like favors.
Sunday, January 16. Communicated at St Paul's. In going up to the table I met one who had behaved very untowardly. He said, with the look of the publican, "I repent." My heart was filled with consolation and prayer for him. O that I might have the same joy in all who have grieved me by their backslidings.
Felt an unusual weight at our Love-feast till the death of our brother Milbourne revived me. A brother related that he had caught hold on him with his convulsed hands and said, "I have neither doubt nor fear, but my spirit rejoices continually in God my Savior. He has done more for my soul than tongue can utter." The like words he had said to me, whom he kissed and could hardly part with. Was sure, he declared, that his Lord would just then receive him. Even when speechless, he showed all the tokens of happiness and died like a lamb of Jesus' fold.
Monday, January 17. From three till nine at night continued reading the letters, rejoicing and praying and praising God.
Tuesday, January 18. Buried and spake of a happy brother. It was with us as heretofore, a funeral is one of our greatest festivals.
Saturday, January 22. Prayed with the malefactors and felt great pity for them, especially for a poor ignorant Papist.
Wednesday and Thursday, January 26[–27]. Reproved them for their late negligence, and on Saturday, January 29, saw my words had not been lost. They seemed humbled and awakened to a sense of their condition. Their lightness had been occasioned by that poor creature, the Ordinary, who is worse than no minister at all. Six times they were forced to wake him before he got through the prayers. He might just as well read them in Latin. His life and actions are worse than ever his words.
Tuesday, February 1. Again [Mr] Townsend refused me admittance, telling me I had forged my order from the sheriff. Another let me in with Mr Piers and Bray. Scarce were we entered the cells when the power of God fell upon us, first as a Spirit of contrition, then of strong faith and power to exhort and pray.
At night I expounded Daniel 9, and the Spirit of God burst in upon us like a flood. Surely the Lord will bring again Zion. The commandment is gone forth, and our Jerusalem shall be built.
Friday, February 4. Spent in examining the classes. Before we parted, the Spirit of supplication was wonderfully poured out. We asked in faith for some who still lay at the pool, and they received immediately knowledge of salvation by the remission of their sins.
Saturday, February 5. One among the classes told my brother she had a constant sense of forgiveness and he let her pass. I could not help proving her farther, and then the justified sinner appeared full of the gall of bitterness. Said again and again of a sister present, "I do not love her, I hate her," etc. I assured her, if an angel from heaven told me she was justified, I would not believe him, for she was a murderer as such. We prayed for her and she was convinced of unbelief. I fear we have many such believers among us.
Sunday, February 6. Met a second time the clerk of St Luke's. In our first conference he was thoroughly convinced and has now experienced the truth. For three days together, he tells me, he has been ready to faint away through love to all mankind.
Friday, February 11. Three received forgiveness today, while we were praying among the classes.
Saturday, February 12. Showed my old order at Newgate, which was refused. Then a new one sent me by the other sheriff. Coming out, the keeper desired to see it again, and took it away from me. I wrote to the sheriff who sent me another.
Sunday, February 13. When I came to Newgate, the first question was as I expected, "Where is your order?" I produced my new one, which so surprised them, that they durst not refuse me admittance.
Found the poor souls turned out of the way by Mr Broughton. He told them there was no knowing our sins forgiven and if any could expect it, not such wretches as they, but the good people who had done so and so. As for his part, he had it not himself. Therefore, it was plain they could not receive it. I spoke strong words to one of them, which the Lord applied, and prayed in fervent faith. Heard the Ordinary read, prayed and preached. Then spoke with them all together in the chapel. All but one were brought back to the truth.
The God of this world was angry and sent the head jailer to ask me how I came hither. "I wonder, Sir," said I, "that you should ask me that question, when you have my order in your pocket. You did not do well in taking it away, and then forbidding my entrance. You have trampled upon the sheriff's authority." He answered, "If the sheriff suffers you to come here, he shall keep the jail himself." I talked to him until he was much softened. But let the world smile or frown, my work goes on. This was written to a bosom friend:
Rather than live in all earthly comfort, I would choose just now to be cast into the sea with a millstone about my neck—but for the fear of something after death. All this day my heart has been rising in expostulation with God, have I not left all to follow him? Have I not chosen for near twenty hours to be miserable for want of him, rather than happy in the possession of all things else? For his sake I have suffered reproach, denied myself the gratification of my senses, appetites, and passion, took up my cross to suffer temptation, been afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted, suffered so many things in vain, and at last to perish eternally! Who can forbear asking, wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? O that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! His judgments are as a great deep, I am lost in them. O that I could think no more!
Tuesday, February 22. Weary, and through various dangers, the Lord brought me this morning to Bath.
Wednesday, February 23. Preached morning and night at the Society. In the evening at the lodgings of a sick friend, to several of the rich. They heard me patiently while I showed, "They that be whole have no need of a physician, but they that be sick" [Matt. 9:12].
Thursday, February 24. Met Mrs Carr, a daughter of affliction, and found in prayer for her that the Lifter up of her head is near.
Sunday, February 27. Gave the Sacrament to our colliers. The love of Christ was shed abroad in many of their hearts.
Expounded the Pool of Bethesda [John 5:1-15] at Bath. Mr Carr, and the rest of the gentry, were very attentive.
Tuesday, May 17. Set out for the north with Mr Gurney. In the evening walked from our Brother Wynn's to Painswick. Stood in the street and invited sinners to the gospel-feast in, "Come, for all things are now ready" [Luke 14:17]. Some, even of these dead souls, received the word with joy.
Wednesday, May 18. Admitted a dozen new members into the Society, who brought a blessing with them. Walked to Stroud and delivered my message at the marketplace to a quiet audience. Made up a difference between two of the brethren, and carried them with me to Evesham.
Here the storm of persecution is a little blown over. He that letteth at present is a Quaker. The mayor likewise keeps off the song of violence.
Thursday, May 19. Read prayers in Quinton church, and exhorted several wild, staring people to repent and believe the gospel [Mark 1:15]. I could not refuse their pressing invitation to preach again. God gave me great plainness of speech. Some of the fiercest opposers were brought over. Mrs Taylor was fully convinced of unbelief.
Hastened back to Evesham and enforced the comprehensive promise, "Whatsoever you shall ask in my name, that will I do" [John 14:13]. Our Lord himself applied his own words.
The Society walk as becometh the gospel. One only person I reproved; not suffering her any longer, notwithstanding her great gifts, to speak in the church or usurp authority over the men.
Friday, May 20. Got once more to our dear colliers of Wednesbury. Here the seed has taken root and many are added to the church. A Society of above 300 are seeking full redemption in the all-cleansing blood. The enemy rages exceedingly and preaches against them. A few have returned railing for railing, but the generality have behaved as the followers of Christ Jesus.
Preached in a garden in the first words I met, 1 Cor. 2:1, "And I, brethren, when I came unto you," etc. While I spake of his sufferings he looked upon us, and made us look upon him and mourn. Many wept, as one that mourneth for his first-born. Exhorted and instructed the Society very lively. Surely among these prophets I have not run or laboured in vain.
Saturday, May 21. At five commended the Woman of Canaan [Matt. 15:22-28] as an example of prevalent importunity. A young man, who had been generally vexed by the devil, was now set at liberty. Spent the morning in conference with several who have received the atonement under my brother, and saw a piece of ground given us by a Dissenter to build a preaching-house upon, and consecrated it with a hymn.
Walked with many of the brethren to Walsall and were received with the old complaint, "Behold, they that turn the world upside down are come here also" [Acts 17:6]. Walked through the town amidst the noisy greetings of our enemies and stood on the steps of the market-house. A host of men was laid against us. The floods lifted up their voice and raged horribly. I opened the book on the first-presented words, Acts 20:24, "But none of these things move me. Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to justify the gospel of the grace of God."
The street was full of fierce Ephesian beasts (the principal man setting them on), who roared and shouted, and threw stones incessantly. Many struck without hurting me. I besought them in calm love to be reconciled to God in Christ. While I was departing, a stream of ruffians was suffered to bear me from the steps. I rose, and having given the blessing was brought down again. So the third time, when we had returned, thanks to the God of our salvation. I then, from the steps, bade them depart in peace, and walked quietly back through the thickest rioters. They mocked us, but had no commission to touch an hair of our heads.
Sunday, May 22. Preached to between one and two thousand peaceable people at Birmingham. Heard a miserable sermon to disprove the promise of the Father, by confining it to the Apostles. After the Sacrament, I called on many, "Repent, and be converted [...] for the promise is unto you." And several gentlemen stood in the crowd with signs of deep attention.
Preached on the same words at Wednesbury, and the Spirit proved them with his own demonstration.
Monday, May 23. Took my leave in those words, Acts 14:22, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven." With many tears and blessings they sent me away, commended to the graces of God.
Preached at Melbourne to several, who seemed ready for it.
Tuesday, May 24. Again I preached the gospel to the poor at Coleorton, who heard it with great eagerness.
Rode to Donington and asked, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" [Acts 19:2].
At two I proclaimed the Savior of all men [1 Tim. 4:9-10] at Nottingham Cross; and in the evening, at their request, expounded to Mr [John] How's Society.
Wednesday, May 25. At the Cross again, pressed all to receive that faithful saying. There was no breath of opposition, but a storm must follow this calm. One gave me a kind caution, for which I sincerely thanked him: "Mr Rogers did run well, and preached the truth as you do here, but what a sad end has he made of it! Take care you don't leave the church like him!"
In the afternoon I came to the flock in Sheffield, who are as sheep in the midst of wolves, the ministers having so stirred up the people that they are ready to tear them in pieces. Most of them have passed through the fire of stillness, which came to try them as soon as they tasted the grace of the Lord.
At six went to the Society house next door to our brother [Edward] Bennet's. Hell from beneath was moved to oppose us. As soon as I was in the desk with David Taylor, the floods began to lift up their voice. An officer (Ensign Garden) contradicted and blasphemed. I took no notice of him, and sang on. The stones flew thick hitting the desk and people. To save them and the house I gave notice I should preach out, and look the enemy in the face.
The whole army of aliens followed me. The Captain laid hold on me and began reviling. I gave him for answer A Word in Season, or Advice to a Soldier, then prayed, particularly for His Majesty King George, and preached the gospel with much contention. The stones often struck me in the face. After sermon, I prayed for sinners as servants of their master, the devil, upon which Captain ran at me with great fury, threatening revenge for my abusing, as he called it, "The king his master." He forced his way through the brethren, drew his sword, and presented it to my breast. My breast was immediately steeled. I threw it open, and fixing mine eye on his, smiled in his face, and calmly said, "I fear God and honor the king." His countenance fell in a moment, he fetched a deep sigh, put up his sword, and quietly left the place.
Excerpted from The Manuscript Journal of the Reverend Charles Wesley, M.A. by S. T. Kimbrough, Jr. Copyright © 2007 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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