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fure of vice or ungodliness. It gives no man of any rank or profession, the least license to sin. It makes no allowance to any person, for ungodliness of any kind. Not that all who follow after have attained this, either are already perfect. But however that be, they plead for no sin, either inward or outward. They condemn every kind and degree thereof, in themselves as well as in other men. Indeed most in themselves; it being their constant care, to bring those words home to their own case, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
13. Yet there is not found among them that bitter zeal, in points either of small or of great importance, that spirit of persecution, which has so often accompanied the spirit of reformation. It is an idle conceit, that the spirit of persecution is among the Papists only; it is wheresoever the Devil, that old murderer, works; and he still < worketh in all the children of disobedience.” Of consequence, all the children of disobedience, will, on a thousand different pretences, and in a thousand different ways, so far as God permits, persecute the children of God. But what is still more to be lamented is, that the children of God themselves, have so often used the same weapons and persecuted others, when the power was in their own hands.
Can we wholly excuse those venerable men, our great Reformers themselves, from this charge? I fear not, if we impartially read over any History of the Reformation. What wonder is it then, that when the tables were turned, Bishop Bonner or Gardiner should make reprisals! That they should measure to others (indeed “good measure, shaken together") what had before been measured to them ? Nor is it strange, when we consider the single case of Joan Boucher, that God should suffer those (otherwise) holy men, Archbishop Cranmer, Bishop Ridley, and Bishop Latimer, to drink of the same cup with her.
14. But can you find any tincture of this in the case before us? Do not all who have known the love of God, know “what spirit they are of ?" And that “the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them ?” Do they approve of the using any kind or degree of violence, on any accountor pretence whatsoever, in matters of religion? Do they not bold the right every man has to judge for himself, to be sacred and inviolable? Do they allow any method of bringing even those who are the farthest out of the way, who are in the grossest errors, to the knowledge of the truth, except the methods of reason and persuasion ? Of love, patience, gentleness, longsuffering? Is there any thing in their practice which is inconsistent with this their constant profession? Do they in fact hinder their own relations or dependants from worshipping God according to their own conscience? When they believe them to be in an error,
do they use force of any kind, in order to bring them out of it? Let the instances, if there are such, be produced. But if no such are to be found, then let all reasonable men who believe the Bible, own, that a work of God is wrought in our land : and such a work, (if we
survey in one view the extent of it, the swiftness with which it is spread, the depth of that Religion which was so swiftly diffused, and its purity from all corrupt mixtures,) as it must be acknowledged, cannot be easily paralleled, in all those concurrent circumstances, by any thing that is found in the English Annals, since Christianity was first planted in this island.
II. 1. And yet those," who can discern the face of the sky, cannot discern the signs of the times.” Yet those who are esteemed wise inen, do not know that God is now reviving his work upon earth, Indeed concerning some of these the reason is plain ; they know not, because they think not of it. Their thoughts are otherwise employed; their minds are taken up with things of quite a different nature. Or, perhaps they may think of it a little now and then, when they have nothing else to do; but not seriously, or deeply; not with any closeness or attention of thought. They are too much in haste to weigh the facts whereof we speak, and to draw the just inference therefrom: nor is the conviction which they may sometimes feel suffered to sink into their hearts; but things that have a larger share in their affections soon destroy the very traces of it.
2. True it is, that there are some who think more deeply, who are accustomed to consider things from the foundation, and to lay circumstances together, that they may judge of nothing before they have full evidence: and yet even some of these appear to be in doubt, concerning the present work. Now, supposing it to be a work of God, how can this be accounted for ? That they who so diligently inquire concerning it, do not know the time of their visitation? Perhaps because of the deeply-rooted prejudice which they brought with them to the inquiry, and which, still hanging on their minds, makes it scarce possible for them to form an impartial judgment. Perhaps, even a slight prepossession might occasion their stumbling on some of those rocks of offence, which, by the wise permission of God, always did and always will attend any revival of his work. Nay, it may be, their very caution was carried to excess. They would not judge before they had such evidence as the nature of the thing would not admit, or, at least, God did not see fit to give.
3. All this is very casy to conceive. But it may at first appear surprising, to find men of renown, men supposed to be endowed with knowledge, and with abilities of every kind, flatly, openly, peremptorily denying that there has been any unusual work of God at all! Yea, a late eminent writer goes farther yet, accounts it an instance of downright enthusiasm, to imagine, that there is an extraordinary work now wrought upon the earth.*
No, be does not deny this, but he denies it to be the work of God.” This is palpably trifling : for the work under consideration, is of such a nature (namely, the conversion of men from all manner of sin, to holiness of heart and life) that if it be at any time wrought at all, it must be the work of God: seeing it is God alone, and not any child of man, who is able to destroy the works of the Devil.
It avails not to say,
* Observations, Part III.
Yet neither is this difficult to be accounted for, if we consider Chings more closely : for the same prejudice which keeps some in doubt, may easily be conceived so to influence others, as to make them wholly deny the work of God. And this it may do in several ways: it may either bring them to question the facts related, and hinder their endeavouring to be more fully informed: or prevent their drawing the inferences from those facts, as they would otherwise see to be plain and undeniable. Yea, and it will give ten-fold weight to the effences which must come so as to over-balance all evidence whatsoever.
4. This also may account for the behaviour of those, who not content to suspend their judgment, or to deny the work of God, go farther still, even to the length of contrarlicting and blaspheming. Nay, some of these have expressed a deeper abhorrence, and shown a stronger enmity against this, than they were ever known to do against Popery, Infidelity, or any Heresy whatsoever. Some have persecuted the instruments whom it pleased God to use herein, only not to the death; and others have treated in the same manner, all those whom they termed their followers. A few instances of this it may be proper to mention, out of very many which might be recited.
5. On the 20th of June, 1743, a great multitude of people gathered together, chietly from Walsal, Darlaston, and Bilston, in Wednesbury Church-yard, Staffordshire. They went from thence (after by sounding a horn they had gathered their whole company together) to Mr. Eaton's house, in the middle of the. town, who was at that time Constable. He went to the door with his Constable's staff, and began reading the Act of Parliament against Riots; but the stones flew so thick about his head, that he was forced to leave off reading and retire. They broke all his windows, the door of his house, and a large clock in pieces. They went then to above fourscore other houses, in many of which there were not three panes of glass left.
5. About Whitsuntide, 1743, a mob arose at Darlaston, (near Wednesbury) and broke all the windows (beside spoiling many of their goods) of Joshua Constable, John Cotterel, Thomas Butler, Thomas Wilkinson, Aaron Longmore, William Powell, Ann Evans, Walter Carter, Samuel Carter, and Thomas Wilks.
Edward Martin, Ann Low, Joan Fletcher, Edward Horton, Mumford Wilks, Joshua Yardly, and Robert Deacon, had all their windows broken twice.
James Foster, Widow Hires, and Jonathan Jones, had their windows broken, and money extorted to save their houses. James Foster and Joice Wood had their windows broken, and their goods broken and spoiled. Joseph Spittle had his windows broken, his house broken open, some goods spoiled and some taken away. Wiltiam Wood, had his windows broken twice, and himself was compelled to go along with the rabble.
Elizabeth Lingham, a widow with five children, had her goods spoiled, her spinning wheel (the support of her family) broken; and her Parish Allowance reduced from 2s, and 6d. to 1s. and 6d. a week,
Valentine Ambersley had his windows broken twice, and his wife, big with child, beaten with clubs.
George Wynn had his windows and goods broken, and to save his house, was forced to give them drink.
Thomas Day had his windows and goods broken, and was forced to remove from the town.
Joseph Stubbs had his windows broken twice, and his wife so frightened, that she miscarried.
7. On June 20, 1743, John Baker, at the head of a large mob, came to the house of Jonas Turner, at West-Bromwich near Wednesbury, and asked him, “whether he would keep from these men that went preachnig about, and go to the Church ?" He answered, “I do go to the Church. But I never see any
there.” Presently one Daniel Oniens with a great club, broke great part of the window at one blow. Others laid hold of him, and dragged him about sixty yards, before he could get loose from them. Afterwards they broke all his windows, and threw into his house abundance of stones his goods.
About four in the afternoon they came to the house of Widow Turner of West-Bromwich. They threw in the bricks and stones so fast, that she was forced to open the door and run out among them. One of her daughters cried out, “My mother will be killed!" On which they fell to throwing stones at her. She ran into a neighbour's house, but before she could shut the door, they broke the bottom off with a brick end. They followed her other daughter with stones, and one with a great stake. She ran into another house, much frightened, expecting to be murdered. The Widow asked, “ How can you come and abuse us thus?” On which, one came with a large club, and swore, “if she spoke another word, he would knock her on the head, and bury her in the ditch.” Then he went and broke all the glass that was left. The same they did to many of the neighbouring houses.
8. On the 19th of June, James Yeoman, of Walsal, saw Mary Bird in her father's house at Wednesbury, and swore, “by G- you are there now: but we will kill you to-morrow." Accordingly he
with a mob the next day; and after they had broken all the windows, he took up a stone, and said, “now by G, I will kill you." He threw it and struck her on the side of the head. The blood gushed out, and she dropped down immediately.
The same day, they came to John Turner's house, and after they had broken all the windows, casements, and ceiling, one of them cried out, “ I suppose now you will go to your dear Jesus's wounds and see them opened for you.” Another of them took Mr. Hands, of Wednesbury, by the throat, swore he would be the death of him, gave him a great swing round, and threw him upon the ground. As soon as he rose, one Equal Baker gave him a blow on the eye, and knocked him down again. In about half an hour the mob came to his house, and broke all the windows, except about twenty panes. The kitchen windows they cleared, lead, bars, and all, broke the window-posts, and threw them•into the house. The shop was shut up (he being an Apothecary :) but they quickly broke it open, broke all the pots and bottles in pieces, and destroyed all his medicines. They broke also the shelves and drawers in the shop to pieces, and many of his household goods.
In the latter end of June, John Griffiths, of Wednesbury, and Francis Ware, went to Mr. D. Justice of the Peace. They told him the condition they and their neighbours were in, their houses broken and their goods spoiled. He replied, “I suppose you follow these Parsons that come about. I will neither meddle nor make."
9. On January 13, 1743-4, the mob rose again at Darlaston, broke all the windows of all who followed this way, (except two or three who bought themselves off) broke open several houses, and took what they liked, the people belonging to them being fled for their lives. About the same time the Reverend Mr. E- came to Darlaston ; and meeting some others at Thomas Forshew's, they drew up a writing, and Nicholas Winspur, the Crier of the town, gave public notice, “that all the people of the Society must come to Mr. Forshew's and sign it; or else their houses would be pulled down immediately.” It was to this effect, “that they would never read, or sing, or pray together, or hear these Parsons any more.” Several signed this through fear. They made every one who did, lay down a penny-To make the mob drink.
About Candlemas, the wife of Joshua Constable, of Darlaston, was going to Wednesbury, when a mob met her in the road, threw her down several times, and abused her in a manner too horrible to write. A warrant was procured for some of these. But one of them only was carried before Mr. G-, who came back and told his companions, that the Justice said, “that they might go honie about their business.” On this the mob rose again, came to Joshua's house, and destroyed all the goods therein. They likewise broke and spoiled all his shop tools, threw the tiles off the roof of the house, and pulled down one room, the joist of which they carried away with them. All his gun-locks they took away; they tore in pieces all his wife's linen, cut the bed and bedstead, so that it was good for nothing, and tore her Bible and Common-prayer Book all to pieces. She and her husband retired to another house. But one telling the mob they were there, they swore, “ They would tear it down immediately, if the man let them stay any longer." So they went out into the frost and snow, not knowing where to lay their heads.
10. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, 1743-4, Henry Old came to John Griffith's house, saying, “if he did not leave following this way, he had a hundred men at his command, who should come and pull his house down.” Soon, after he brought some with him; but the neighbours gave him money, and sent him away for that time.
Monday, Feb. 6, between seven and eight at night, came part of the same company. Hearing them afar off, John and his wife fastened the door, and left the house. Some of the neighbours going in soon after found them destroying all they could. Two chairs and several bundles of linen were laid upon the fire. After they had