[from Rosser History of Wesleyan Methodism in the IoM, 1848]
I now proceed more immediately to the subject which first produced the idea of addressing you in these letters, that is the establishment and progress of Wesleyan Methodism in the Isle of Man - a subject in which I know you cannot but take a deep and lively interest, and one, the recollection of which henceforth must ever be associated with tender and pleasurable feelings on my part. This work, evidently of God, and which, through the divine blessing, has so astonishingly prevailed, and been productive of such glorious results, is generally considered to have commenced in the year 1775. This, you will remember, was about forty years after the Rev. John Wesley proceeded on his mission to Georgia, and six or seven and thirty after he entered upon that devoted course in England which led to the revival and spread of scriptural Christianity throughout nearly the whole of the British empire.
You, Sir, are aware of the holy zeal, the self-denial, the yearning pity, the constant activity, and the rapid success, with which he prosecuted his more abundant labour.
At the time referred to, he had been the instrument of effecting perhaps one of the greatest revolutions in religion and morals, whether regarded as to its nature or extent, which has taken place, under any thing like similar circumstances, since the apostolic age. The travelling preachers in connection with him at this period amounted to one hundred and fifty, and the members of his societies, to upwards of thirty-eight thousand, scattered through various parts of Great Britain, Ireland, and America ; and in addition to this a most powerful and beneficial influence had been exerted upon other Christian communities and upon the nation at large.
All this considered it may appear somewhat strange that no society had been formed, and no direct and vigorous effort made for that purpose in the Isle of Man. This may have arisen partly from the somewhat peculiar government under which the Island was placed, from the language used by most of the inhabitants being entirely different from the English, and from certain practices which extensively prevailed. It is now perhaps altogether impossible to state with certainty when the first Wesleyan influence reached the island, or by whom the seed was first sown; but as there were at that time various business transactions, and pretty frequent intercourse between England and the Isle of Man, it is not unreasonable to conclude that a degree of spiritual light may have have been thus indirectly conveyed.
The first direct effort of which I have been able to gain, any certain knowledge, appears to have been made in the year 1758. I learn from a manuscript now before me that in that year Mr. John Murlin, the weeping prophet, was in the island, and that he stayed in Ramsey about a week., He was then stationed at Whitehaven. His own published account is as follows : - " I embarked in July,1758, for Liverpool. But the captain deceived us, and: carried us to the Isle of Man. Here we stayed a week." The second evening I preached in a large barn. But on Sunday it would not contain the congregation so was obliged to preach abroad. The people in general, behaved well, and gave great attention. After I left them some of them sent to Whitehaven, desiring to have another preacher. But it was some years before another preacher went, there being so little probability of doing any considerable good, while the whole island was a nest of smugglers."
Now, Sir, if it be admitted as a fact that Mr. Murlin was not mistaken in the impression which he had received and which the latter part of his statement is immediately calculated to convey - if really true, as asserted by the Rev. R. B. Hone, that, notwithstanding all the exertions of which he speaks, "wickedness and impiety established themselves in the soil and gained continual strength" - that good bishop Wilson was so disappointed in his designs and hopes in reference to his flock as to be induced to look for his reward in heaven only, and that he found it necessary to speak as he did in his various charges, not only of the people but of some of his clergy, and to express himself in such affecting terms with regard to both their preaching and living - surely, if all this be correct, the case was one which required serious consideration and enlarged Christian exertion.
Yea, it must have appeared obvious to all who seriously contemplated the spiritual condition of the island, that it loudly called for the adoption of a somewhat different system, and for the application of an additional, I might say a more appropriate and powerful, instrumentality than had as yet been resorted to.
The case, as might well be supposed, attracted special attention, and at length it excited the sincere commiseration of a number of zealous Methodists in Liverpool. There were I believe at that time in the Liverpool circuit upwards of eight hundred members in society, most of whom were truly alive to God, and earnestly desirous of advancing the Redeemer's triumphs, and extending his honour and praise - anticipating in some degree the spirit of hallowed missionary zeal, which, in more recent years, has largely descended and rested upon our people at home, and, through the blessing of Almighty God, been productive of such wonderful and glorious results abroad. These pious persons in Liverpool applied themselves to the serious consideration of the case of the Manx people, and concluded to unite their influence and exertions in their behalf.
In looking round for a suitable agent to carry into effect this benevolent object, their choice fell upon Mr. John Crook, whose name in the Isle of Man is still " as ointment poured forth," and likely to descend with honour, and prove an occasion of joy and thanksgiving, to the latest generation of Wesleyan Methodists in the Isle of Man. You will allow me to remind you of the early history of this zealous, devoted, and faithful man.
John Crook, commonly spoken of as the apostle of the Isle of Man, was a native of Leigh in Lancashire, and was born A.D. 1742. His father who was a physician, at one time possessed considerable property in his native county, and was united to a woman of family and fortune; but, both falling under the influence of extravagant and dissipated habits, the property was soon in a great measure squandered away, and the parties being unhappy, the father was induced to go to sea and died in a short time after.
In childhood, and during the early part of his youth, Mr. Crook had the advantage of an education suitable to the rank and circumstances of his parents at the time of his birth. He acquired what is considered a fair English education, and made some proficiency in the languages and classical learning in general. But his prospects were soon clouded, and the altered, and unfavourable circumstances, in which he was afterwards placed, not only arrested his progress, but occasioned the loss, in a considerable degree, of the benefit of those advantages which he had early enjoyed. He endeavoured at a later period of life to recover his ground, but was never able to do so to his own satisfaction; yet he always exhibited proofs of the advantages derived from early instruction. Owing to the circumstances related above, Mr. Crook was reduced to a condition which but ill accorded with his hopes and expectations in the morning of life. He was put to a common and laborious business, and, as might have been looked for, feeling himself uncomfortable, and his employer neither understanding his character nor manifesting much sympathy and kindness, he was induced to leave his situation, and enlist as a common soldier. It pleased God, while he was in that condition, to awaken him to a sense of his guilt and danger: this took place under a sermon which he heard in the Methodist chapel at Limerick. He earnestly sought salvation through faith in the atonement and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and was enabled to testify of his pardoning mercy and renewing grace. It was soon apparent in his case that, "if any man be in Christ he is a new creature." He loved the Lord from an experimental knowledge that the Lord loved him, and he furnished clear and satisfactory evidence of this in his godly life, and holy conversation. During his residence in Ireland he became united to a woman of good sense and real piety, who proved "an help meet for him" as long as she lived. He continued steadfast in his religious experience and profession, and not only was he highly esteemed by his officers, and beloved by his fellow soldiers, but it pleased God to make him the instrument of converting several of the latter from the error of their ways. It is likely he would have remained in the army, at least for a much longer period, but for the following rather singular circumstance:- He had an uncle, by marriage, who resided in Liverpool, but who had no certain knowledge, either where he was or in what condition he was placed. It happened that he had business in Ireland, and while there was induced one day to attend on the parade. Being present at the time the roll was called he was no little surprised to hear the name of John Crook. He took the first opportunity of making himself known to his nephew, and, finding him wishful to be released from the army, very liberally paid a considerable sum for his discharge. The amount was much larger on account of his good character and excellent conduct than it would have been in a different case.
Mr. Crook now settled in Liverpool, and joined the society, of which he soon became a highly valuable, and very efficient leader. Under the constraining love of Christ he was led shortly after to engage in calling sinners to repentance : urging them to flee from the wrath to come, and to behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world". Such was the manifestation of his pious zeal, such the judicious and faithful employment of his superior talents, and such the proofs that the great Head of the church prospered his endeavours, that his religious friends were fully convinced that he ought to be entirely separated to a holy service, and that he should be employed in a more enlarged and responsible sphere of hallowed labour. And thus, Sir, had the Lord of the vineyard raised up, and qualified, a suitable instrument for commencing, and for some time carrying on, the work to be accomplished in the Isle of Man.
The pious and zealous friends at Liverpool, having as previously stated, fixed upon Mr. Crook to be employed in the mission to the Isle of Man. very considerately, to their everlasting honour be it spoken, as instruments in fulfilling God's wise and merciful purposes of providence and grace, furnished him with such things as were necessary for his outfit and voyage, and it is highly probable that for some time they bore the charge of the entire expense. May my God, in his rich mercy, remember this in behalf of their descendants and successors, and cause his blessing to abide upon their children and children's children, and upon the society of which they formed a part!
Early in the year 1775 Mr. Crook proceeded to the scene of his appointed labour, followed by the prayers of those who had taken so lively an interest in this holy enterprise, and immediately entered upon the discharge of his sacred duties. He embraced every opportunity of making known the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In barns, public rooms, private houses, and in the open air, he published the glad tidings of salvation, and earnestly entreated all who heard him to be reconciled to God. He was "instant in season, out of season ;" not waiting for opportunities, but making them ; and with great prudence, zeal, and fidelity, prosecuted the labours of his mission : earnestly pleading with men, and fervently praying to God. In the commencement of his noble career, excepting the case of a few individuals, he had to encounter comparatively little opposition : even the rich were for a time willing to bear, and the poor in general seriously " attended unto the things which were spoken." " It happened here," says the Rev. Henry Moore, in his Life of Mr. Wesley,"as in most places of Great Britain and Ireland, that the first preaching of the Methodists produced no commotions or riots among the common people. I am, indeed, fully convinced, that the lower orders of the people would never become riotous on account of religion, were they not excited to it, under false pretences, by persons who have some influence over them, and who endeavour to keep behind the scene."
Mr. Crook's journal published many years ago in the Methodist Magazine commences thus ;-"Douglas, March 1st, 1775.-I preached at half past six o'clock in the evening to a large and much crowded congregation. I preached an hour and a half, but the people were scarcely satisfied : they still wanted to hear more. O Lord, it is, indeed, a great and awful work to stand up between a living God and dead souls ! I am perplexed with one like Alexander the copper-smith, who greatly withstands my words : for he endeavours. to pull down what I am daily striving to build up. Having been brought up for a teacher in the kirk of Scotland, his word doth act as a canker. May the Lord turn his heart, and give him to experience the truth as it is in Jesus. But alas his general custom is to go into an ale-house, and there with his gay compeers, he, in his way, endeavours to invalidate what was delivered. His faithful votaries and adherents also, on their parts, assiduously spread their malevolent poison, to the counteracting of all my attempts. What grieves me most is, that. he should use his interest to hurt the souls of men. For my part, I thank God, he does not hurt me ; my chief concern is on account of others."
Mr. Crook had not been long in the island before he visited Castletown, where the people crowded to hear, and, for a season, most of the respectable persons in the neighbourhood formed part of his congregation.
Though possessed of superior talents, of an excellent understanding, and of various knowledge, he was modest almost to an extreme, and, on some occasions, he had a very painful apprehension of the highly responsible duty to which he was called, and of his own insufficiency to discharge it aright. Hence, he observes, " I am under the necessity of speaking as correctly as I am able; especially as the word has never been published here before by any Methodist. I find the work is abundantly more arduous than I at first conceived ; otherwise, I fancy I should not have taken it in hand; but the Almighty withheld the sight of its difficulty from me; perhaps it is well he did. The reason why I conform a little to the rich and great is, that the poor seem to have their eyes fixed on them, and swallow down their ideas and form their judgment accordingly. Indeed I am environed with auditors such as I am least fond of. May the good Lord help me to do all things agreeably to his holy will ; and may he bless my well meant endeavours!"
I must here acquaint you, my dear Sir, with an interesting and extraordinary event connected with one of his early visits to Castletown.
About the year 1772, two or three years before Mr. Crook's visit to the island, a person of the name of Gale or Gell, residing at Castletown, being, with several others, out in a boat, fishing, and having had what is called a good haul, proceeded at once to Ireland with their cargo. Gale remained on board the vessel while the others went to do the business on shore. During their absence he fell asleep, and dreamed that he was crossing the mountains in the Isle of Man, and was enveloped in a dense fog or thick mist, in which he lost his way and fell into a peat bog or turf-pit, from which he found it quite impossible to extricate himself. He was in great distress, when a gentleman appeared at the side of the pit, and kindly drew him out of his perilous situation and conducted him to a very fine mansion. He awoke under the influence of great emotion, but, in a short time falling asleep again the dream was repeated, which, of. course, produced a very powerful and deep impression on his mind. On the return of his companions he related what had occurred, which excited considerable alarm on their part, as they supposed it indicated danger and loss, and concluded that they should probably be wrecked on their return, and never reach their homes. They had, however, a safe and prosperous voyage, and it is likely the matter was soon forgotten by all but Gale. Soon after Mr. Crook arrived in the island it was announced for him to preach at Castletown. The matter occasioned considerable stir and much talk, and one would go, and another would go, to hear what he had, to say. Gale was much offended and strongly prejudiced against the preacher, being firmly opposed to every thing but the church; and did all in his power to prevent his own wife and others from going to hear. The time arrived and his wife was determined to go, and did so. When she was gone he became very uncomfortable, and found it quite impossible to rest. He was strongly inclined to follow his wife to hear the preacher ; but how could he, who had exerted himself so much to prevent others, go himself, and appear in the congregation! He struggled hard, but was at length induced to set out, and proceeding by a round about way, joined the skirts of the congregation. But how was he struck with wonder and astonishment when he looked up at the preacher and found him to be the very person he saw in his dream. The word reached his heart, he became truly converted to God, and was ever after a warm friend, and zealous promoter of early Methodism in Castletown.
Mr. Crook's journal proceeds as follows:-" Last evening after preaching, I published to preach at seven o'clock the night following. But when I came to the place it was all in an uproar, and the room. which we had taken, was not large enough to contain one fourth part of the congregation then assembled ; and what to do, neither I nor my friends could tell. Some English gentlemen desired me to go and stand upon some stairs facing the inn door and leading up to the room we had taken; but amidst such confusion it was perilous to attempt it. Howbeit, a gentleman from Norwich said he would stand by me and quiet the people, if I would venture myself. What grieved me more than all the rest, before I begun, was that the minister, who was chaplain to the governor, and master of the academy, came and said, 'I am come to hear what this new doctrine is, which the people run so much after, for we teach the good old way.' And he asked a friend of mine what sort of an education I had had, and whether I was regularly brought up for a minister or not. To which my friend replied, ' I am a stranger to the manner of his education, but if will please to ask him, I dare say, he will give you a civil answer.' However, he said nothing to me, nevertheless I was much intimidated and concerned, lest he should hurt the minds of the people, and render them evil affected towards the truth. But I had no time to delay, something must be determined on for it was eight o'clock, and the people still waiting in the street. Endeavouring therefore to cast my care upon God as well as I could, I said, 'I'll go and stand upon the stairs in the name of the Lord.' No sooner was my mind known than I had plenty of harbingers to prepare the way before me, and one held a lantern to give me light: the evening being serene, and the moon shining tho' shaded from us in general. When I had mounted the second step I observed behind me a large company of ladies (so called) strangely crowded, so that I could scarcely stand upon the step, though it was a broad one. Before me, in the street, was an amazing number of gentle and simple, wise and ignorant. At, first my speech faltered a little, but praised be God, I soon got the better of my fears, and the people sang lustily which gave me courage.
"March 29th. - This day a desire seemed to prevail among many, that I should come and stay with them ; but I remember to whom 'hosanna, hosanna,' was said,. but shortly another cry of a different nature was uttered, 'crucify, crucify him.' This makes me set very light by human praise. One thing is very observable wherever I come, and I find the scripture verified therein, namely, that the rich and gay, seldom embrace or countenance the gospel long together ; nay, many of them not at all. When I came to Douglas first many of these seemed as if they would flee the wrath to come ; but they soon grew weary of plain dealing.
April 1st.- I was strangely led this evening to speak on a subject I had not before considered; but, all glory to God! he graciously assisted me, and that in a wonderful manner: and after the sermon the head governor's servant came to desire I would take a bed with him whilst I staid in town; I accepted the invitation and had not been long in his house before I received a complimental note from a widow lady, requesting the favour of my company to breakfast next morning. Fame seems here to sound her trumpet. Blessed be God, I can say with Philo : 'Fame if it shine, my frailties keep me cool.' O God help we, for my real desire is to be "meek and lowly in heart" In reference to the kind lady who asked him to breakfast he writes :-" I found her a sensible, conversable gentlewoman, and one who espouses the cause of God in a degree ; which is more than we can well expect from the rich of this world. God softened her heart while I conversed with her, and she, in effect, forgot all compliment which I was glad to find.
-" This evening we had the largest congregation which had ever assembled since I landed in the island ; and blessed be God, he assisted me in addressing them. I had two ministers to hear me, the lieutenant-governor, himself, his lady, and all the family, together with the rest of the chief people in Castletown, and upon the whole not many short of a thousand souls. One of the ministers, who had come in his gown and band, heard attentively and behaved like a Christian. Indeed as far as I can learn he is one. The other stood at some distance with his hat on.
" Douglas, June 2nd. - This evening I went down to the bridge-house, and gave an exhortation, but few having yet assembled. But while I was addressing the people an amazing contrast appeared in two persons. An old gentleman, very lame, came and sat down near me and was very soon in tears. Another who had come with him, I suppose to assist him in walking, stood aloof near the door, with his. hat on, mocking all the time. I occasionally mentioned in my discourse, that there always had been mockers,, and that the consequence of continuing such would be bad, but I never gave him a personal rebuke. After I had done speaking, and was about to give out the hymn, I thus addressed him:-'Would it not be better that you should come in and behave reverently ?' Upon which he swore he would come in, and immediately stepped as near me as he possibly could. He began cursing me, and saying, 'What did you prate about scoffers for?' In all my life I never saw a man in a greater rage. He threatened that he would use me ill wherever he found me, and would get a mob who should if he did not ; adding, that all I said was nonsense, and that they were only a parcel of fools who heard me. Upon which the old gentleman arose, and asked what he thought of him; and told him, he was not much obliged to him for the compliment he had passed upon him ; 'for,' said he, 'I have been much edified since I have come within the hearing of what the gentleman has said.' And being unable to bear the sight of so much confusion, he endeavoured, after speaking a little more to the other gentleman to no purpose, to walk out of the room. On the other hand, the unhappy creature who had been the cause of all this confusion, swore, if he could get at me what he would do. I attempted to enquire of him the cause of all this bad usage, but it was impossible for me to get in a word, he was so furious. He said he would come again the next evening, and in the meantime he would leave us ; but yet before he would go he would give us his benediction. Then lifting up his hands, he prayed for 'God's curse, and his own curse to fall upon us altogether for a pack of fools ;' and so withdrew." This enraged individual does not appear to have offered any further molestation, but reference will be made again to his unhappy case.
Notwithstanding the occasional opposition which was manifested, and the various discouragements which were presented, this zealous and faithful servant of the Lord Jesus firmly persevered in his hallowed course. And indeed, it is admitted on all hands that the moral condition of the people at this period was such as to require his utmost efforts to do them good. That condition was one, than which few have ever called more powerfully for fervent prayer, and prompt, vigorous, and persevering Christian exertion. Follies of almost every kind, and wickedness of almost every character were practised, and it is to be feared, were attended with very little remorse or shame. The people in general had scarcely any regard to God, and there were few indeed who really cared for their souls. The preaching and practice of many of the clergy, though there were some of an opposite character, tended rather to keep the inhabitants in a state of ignorance, and to confirm them in their dangerous course, than to lead them "unto the knowledge of the truth." A friend still living, and who well remembers the time referred to, speaking with regard to those parts of the island with which he was best acquainted, observes :-" The state of the people before Methodism was introduced, was, as to all true religion, very low. They met at church for the transaction of some worldly business, and no one seemed to have any concern for spiritual things." Another states that, " when Mr. Crook came, there was hardly such a thing as any minister in the island preaching Christ Jesus the Lord, or as salvation through the Redeemer proclaimed in the pulpits. No reference to the blood of Christ cleansing from sin." I think however there might be two or three exceptions at the period in question ; but it is too manifest that the inhabitants in general were spiritually dead, and the bones "were very dry." One of the clergymen, took occasion, two Sabbaths in succession, to declare to his congregation, that to preach the knowledge of remission of sins was blasphemy.
I think, Sir, you will be gratified with a few additional extracts from the interesting journal of Mr. Crook.
"June. 5, 1775. - This evening Mr. W. returned from Douglas, and told me that, since I left them, all those who had been so warm for religion were become as careless as before. And he further added, that he did not know whether any thing would be done at all in the way of supporting a gospel ministry, with much more equally discouraging. It is not possible for me to express the anguish of mind I felt, when I heard his words. I retired into a walk in, his garden, and there I made my moan to God in secret, and with cries poured out my complaint before him. I cried unto him till I was scarcely able to speak, till my spirit was as if dried up within me, and my moisture became like the drought of summer. I said, O Lord God, if thou lay not to thine hand, in vain do I labour. If thou help not, the wicked will triumph, and say 'there, there so would we have it.' Thou knowest that my end is thy glory, and the spiritual good of this people. O Lord, as thou hast helped me numberless times when I cried unto thee, so do thou now help me.
-" This morning a little before I came from Douglas, my old opponent happening to be standing in the street near my lodgings, began to curse me in a shocking manner ; and swore that he would throw rotten eggs at me, if I attempted to preach there again. And no sooner was I come hither. than I received intelligence of another person in Castletown, who throws out strange menaces what he will do when I come to preach here again, so that I seem to be surrounded with difficulties and trials: but thou, O Lord! hast delivered, and I trust wilt deliver me. Do thou hear and answer for thy name's sake.
"June 8. - This morning when I went to the market cross to preach, I found scarcely any people at the place, but however, news of my preaching flying pretty quick, which is frequently the case here, I soon had a congregation and began addressing them. Mr. C. (a clergyman) was there, making his remarks, and, most of the time, talking to a few of his friends, not, as I suppose, much in my favour. We had the deputy-governor to hear for a little while, but he never joined the congregation, but continued walking to and fro at a little distance, and then went off. What he will say to our proceedings I know not ; I have only to pray that God may graciously tear me, a poor, weak creature, and that he may vouchsafe to grant, that what I want in abilities, he would graciously supply by an extraordinary communication of his spirit.
"June 10. - This evening we had a large congregation of all sorts of people. A number of clergyman had been assembled this day at Castletown, as is customary once a quarter by way of a visitation, and as they had stayed very late, they came flocking to hear me. They all stood aloof, except Mr. Gelling, who attended strictly the last time I was here. He stood dressed in his canonical robes among the poor, with his hat off, and seemed to be very serious all the time. I was not very well pleased to see such a number dressed in black cloth so near me ; but what could I do ? I had begun, and must go forward. I therefore looked unto the Lord, and, indeed, he did help me : glory be to his name. I am by no means fond of having either clergymen, or gentlemen about me, since I know right well, if we endeavour to please them, the poor will have little benefit, and if we pay no regard to them, they will be offended. But I think it the best way to be on the safe side, that is, to preach in such a manner as, if possible, to benefit the poor ; for it is to these that the gospel is preached with most success.
"June 14.-This evening I preached at Peeltown to a larger congregation than I could reasonably have expected on such short notice. We had the minister there and some of the heads of the town, but, I am sorry to say that some of those, who ought to be rulers, did not appear to learned the excellent lesson of governing themselves. In the midst of their career, I spoke as plainly respecting such conduct as I could ; upon which they seemed to be ashamed of their behaviour. The minister acted like a man who feared God: for he stayed, and diligently attended the whole time; and as for the poor, they behaved very well."
Mr. Crook now concluded to visit Ramsey, having proclaimed the truth in each of the other principal towns of the island. His first entry in reference to this place is as follows
"June 16.-Having come to Ramsey, I called at the first inn I found there, and sent a bell-man about to inform the inhabitants of my intention respecting preaching. At the time appointed, I went to a square place near our quarters. Our landlord, a Scotchman, knows the truth well ; that he practises it, I will not say. However he made an attempt to get me his brew-house yard to preach in, which he takes from a gentlewoman ; but she, having the privilege of putting her swine therein, desired to be excused from giving any permission, fearing, she said, lest the swine should disturb us : but the truth, I believe, was otherwise. So I got upon a piece of earth which I found, and faced a considerable number of people, who came to see what was to be done. But when I wanted them to help me to sing, they all stood gaping and looking one at another. It is lifeless work to worship among such professors of religion as they are ; as dead respecting spiritual religion as most people I ever saw. It is in the power of God, I know, to rake these dry bones live ; but there must be a particular exertion of divine power, I think, before it can be effected. However I spoke very plainly to them, and it seemed as if the word alarmed them a little. They began to look at me seriously, and when we had to sing, the tongue of the dumb seemed to be loosened. I dismissed them, having first given out preaching for five o'clock in the morning.
June 17.-After a good night's rest, I rose and went to my chapel, and there I found one old Scotchman ; but that was all. So I waited some time, and when about half-hour and when about half a-dozen had come together, I began to sing, and they helped me pretty well. However, by and by, we had a congregation nearly as large as that of last evening. About the middle of the discourse there came a few gentlemen and ladies ; but whilst they stayed, they behaved so indecently, I was under the necessity of reproving them, after which they soon walked off. The poor people all over the island behave, generally speaking much better than the rich.
"After a very toilsome journey, having had to dismount, and walk up one of the most steep bills I ever saw a road upon, and one nearly a mile in lengtlh I arrived safe in Douglas, but much fatigued.
"June 18.-In the morning, at five o'clock, my congregation consisted of myself and Mr. K. (Kayll), so we Prayed together, and came away. in the evening, I went at our usual hour, and I think we had six or seven with myself ; so I began to faint in my mind, and doubt concerning my success. Many a tear it hath cost me ; and I fear it is not the last time I shall have to stand and weep over these dry bones. I do bless God, I speak to them as plainly as I can; but I see clearly that unless God give his word a sort of peculiar energy, it will never reach this people."
These were certainly discouraging appearances, and Mr. Crook felt their depressing tendency, but be still applied himself, though with a heavy heart and a sorrowful spirit, to the great work which he had undertaken.
" June 22.-I went down. this evening into the town, after a day of heaviness and trouble,, to see so little good done, and so few come to hear the word preached. O my soul ! how greatly are they deceived in me, who think I have turned preacher for what I can get. How little do they know how dearly I buy being found in the work of. the ministry! If a necessity were not laid on would never speak in God's name again. But, I believe, woe will be to me if I preach not the gospel! One thing, however, has staggered my faith here, and that is, if I really am called of God to preach his word, why doth it not prosper? O may the good Lord shew me what he would have me do, and preserve me from walking in any forbidden path!
"June 25.-Seeing my congregation greatly increased every night this week, and having been speaking very much against trusting to our own works, in point of justification, and occasionally mentioning the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, in order to shew the people that I did not, in these things, go beyond the bounds of the church, I read to them, this evening, the homily on salvation and all seemed to give great attention."
Mr. Crook had now been nearly half a year in the island, labouring with all his might, and with much prayer and many tears, but apparently little teal good had as yet resulted from his efforts. It is true some had shown him "no little kindness," and many had professed warm affection, and, hitherto, nothing like very extensive, determined, and combined opposition met him in his course, though occasionally insulted and abused by a few individuals; still there was but slight evidence that sinners were really awakened to a sense of their danger, made the subjects of "a desire to flee from the wrath to come, and be saved from their sins," and constrained to enquire, "what must I do to be saved." But now a brighter day began to dawn, and there were indications that this man of God would not be left to say, " I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought." He had deeply felt his own entire inability to secure the great object of his mission, and had devoutly acknowledged that divine power alone could accomplish the work, nay, that a particular exertion of that power was in this case indispensably necessary ; and under the influence of these convictions he had poured out his soul in humble, agonizing persevering prayer: the answer to which, though for a short time delayed, was not denied. " God was intreated," and his blessing was bestowed. Mr. Crook, beginning to see some real fruit of his labour, thanked God and took courage."
"Peel-town, June 28.-- This day Mr. L., the bishop's chaplain, dined with me, and seemed very friendly. He said that be had been informed that we insisted on faith only and paid no regard to works at all. Upon which I took occasion to inform him of the truth ; which, when he heard, he was better satisfied.
"Friday, July 7.-This evening I preached at Bally-sally to a large and attentive congregation, who seemed to feel the influence of the word spoken. They were all poor people.
"July 12.-This day I was among some of our poor friends, and was as happy with them as I could well be, considering the soreness of my mind. If the Lord did not graciously mix myrrh with my wormwood and gall, I know not how I should survive. ' Glory, honour, and blessing, and praise, be unto him who sitteth upon the throne, and. unto the Lamb for ever, and ever.'
"Lord's day, July 30.-Having arrived at Douglas at eight in the morning, I found that only very few were assembled to hear, for they had all supposed I should not come, because of yesterday's rain. But as one of them had come near five miles, I would not send him away ; so we sung. and joined in prayer, and I gave an exhortation. This evening we had rather a large congregation; but some of them behaved very indifferently. In this place, a few individuals excepted, they are quite asleep in their sins, and let me strive all I can, I do not see the smallest probability of their awakening. After I had done preaching, I spoke of the little encouragement I had had in Douglas ; that none had been more lavish in their promises, and none less consistent with them than they ; that they were not disposed even to come to hear, as in other places, and that some, when they happened to come, did not behave well. I told them I would be with them on Monday se'ennight, if the Lord would permit ; but I thought I might spend the Sabbath better, than in a place where the people behaved as the Douglas people had done.
"July 31.-This day I came to Castletown, and found that twelve people had come to meet in class last Sabbath, according to appointment. Oh my God! give me, not only success, but a thankful heart, and then I shall praise thee.
" Peel-town, August 9.-This evening, at seven, we had a very large congregation; and I spoke with very great plainness, insomuch that it appeared to me as if the deaf heard. After preaching I was informed that, since I was here before, there has been a little contest among the inhabitants concerning me. A person had pasted up, on the public quay, a libel against me, which he termed, 'A Christian admonition to the good people of Peel-town, to warn them to he on their guard against the imposition of hypocritical field-preachers, lately crept in to subvert and make a division in the church now established among us.' "
It seems some other person, with whom Mr. Crook and his friends were unacquainted, took up this subject, and answered as follows :-
"To all Christians who desire to be such in sincerity.
Forasmuch as some evil designing person, at the instigation of others, as wicked as himself, hath, some days ago, set up a scandalous libel, inveighing, in a calumnious manner, against field-preaching, but more particularly against one Crook, a Methodist, and the doctrines he preaches --Be it known to you all, beloved brethren, who are studious to attain salvation through the merits of a crucified Redeemer, that, this Methodist has hitherto preached the Christian doctrine in all its purity, and in all respects agreeable to the articles of the church of England, which his malicious enemy would falsely insinuate he deviates from. Let not zealots and partisans imagine that any house built with hands is essential to true worship : for an unerring voice once said, Ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father, but the true worshippers shall worship him in spirit and in truth. And this may be done with an upright heart in a field, as well as in any other place, for the omnipotent God is equally present in all places.-By a real friend and promoter of the progress of the gospel,"
As this well-timed answer seemed all that was necessary, Mr. Crook appears to have taken no further notice of the attack, but to have gone on, with renewed zeal and confidence, in his glorious work. He writes :-
"August 10.-After preaching in the morning to another large congregation, I took my leave of the people, and resolved to preach once more to the inhabitants of Ramsey. But in the way I was induced to preach in a country place called Cronk-Sharry, -,where one of the family of the house at which I called, went out and hoisted a white handkerchief , as a flag for the inhabitants to repair to. When I saw this, Isaiah's words, chap. xi., ver. 10, came to my mind, 'There shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign to the people,' &c., which caused me to rejoice in spirit. After some time the people came over the mountains in such numbers as to form a large congregation and I hope they did not come in vain.
" August 20.-When I was passing through Bally-sally, which is two miles from Castletown, I saw a company of people assembled, and enquiring on what occasion they were collected together, I was told that it was on account of the death of a man, who being drunk last night, and fallen from his horse and fractured his skull, so that he died between three and four o'clock this morning. One woman added, It is-, who abused you in such a manner in Douglas." I asked, with some consternation, 'Is he at the place still ?
They replied, 'No, Sir, he is taken away'. However, I immediately hastened to the place where they told me he had fallen, and found he was not yet carried off. All things, however, were ready for his being removed, and immediately on my coming to the place, his body was taken away. His poor wife was there, and one of his children, to behold whom was indeed a melancholy sight! But oh! the most melancholy thing of all remains with himself."
It is highly to the credit of Mr. Crook, and says much both for his judgment and piety, that, on this most melancholy occasion, he indulged no hasty, injudicious, and uncharitable reflections, either in reference to the providence of God, or the unhappy individual himself.
" August 22.-This day I went to pay a visit, by desire, to the Rev. Mr. Henry Corlet ; and after dinner, we had some amicable conversation. He assured me that while I continued to proceed in the manner I did, he would always give me the right hand of fellowship. When we were about to part, he desired me, when I came that way, to be sure to make free at a brother's house.
"Peel, Lord's day, August 27.-This afternoon attending divine service at the church, when the congregation was dismissed, the minister shook hands with me, as I passed him in his desk, and asked me when I should begin to preach? I answered, 'immediately.' So he and some of the quality came together, and upon the whole, we had four or five hundred hearers. The Lord also assisted me, and we parted in peace. After preaching, I met our class ; and found, blessed be God, that they are doing well.
August 29.-I this day received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Gelling which I shall here subjoin
'Malew, August 21, 1775.
'I received your kind letter the other day. As to your doctrine, there was no occasion to have given any account thereof to me. You speak not in a corner, therefore, everyone may hear and judge for himself, whether he hears any thing repugnant to the divine oracles. Wishing you success in your pious labours, that you may be instrumental in turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
I am, your humble servant, and well-wisher,
Mr. Crook hid hitherto laboured merely in the character and capacity of a local preacher, but at the thirty-second annual conference, held in Leeds, early in August, 1775, he was entered on trial, and appointed as one of the preachers for what. was then known in Methodism as Lincolnshire West. He appears to have left the Isle of Man in September, probably on a visit to his friends in Liverpool, but returned to it again, and remained about a week, before he proceeded to his new appointment. These movements are referred to in his journal.
"Aug. 31. -This evening I first mentioned to the people the call I had to return to England, on which a sudden gloom was spread over the faces of the whole congregation., Some of them indeed burst out into tears. Surely God will not leave them without a faithful labourer.
"Castletown, Sep. 2.-In the evening I was sitting in the governor's kitchen, when one of my constant hearers came, with her eyes full of tears, and gave this account of herself - ' I was struck with this palsy in my youth, and I was wont to have hard thoughts of God, because I supposed I was afflicted more than any person. And when the young people used to come about me, I fretted much because I could not be as they were. However, when you came, I went to hear you among other people, but at that time nothing touched me ; only I thought the hymns were pretty. I determined however to bear you again. I then saw myself in a miserable light indeed; but since that time God has filled my heart with his love, so that I am happy as I can be.' I said, 'Then you know that God for Christ's sake, hath pardoned your sins.' She said, I Yes, I thank God, I do, and I could not rest till I told you of it. But oh! What shall we do now you are going away?' At which words she wept most bitterly. I answered, 'I hope God will send you a preacher after his own heart.'
"Sab., Sep. 3.-This morning we had a heart-breaking season, for many of the people wept all the time. And when I had concluded I could scarcely get myself torn away from them. Oh how does the love of God cement people's hearts together!
"Sep. 4.-I came to Cronk-Sharry, and there I met some friends from Peel. Oh! how shall I bear to part with them? There I preached to a people. whose hearts were ready to break with sorrow. We came together this evening with great comfort and joy ; and when we had gone about a mile and a half, we were met by a large party more; and oh! what a meeting we had for consolation. We then walked together the rest of the way, very happy in mutual love, until we came to Peel-town, where we sung a verse of a hymn, joined in prayer, and then departed with our hearts full enough
" Peel-town, Sep. 5.-This evening I went down into the town at the usual hour, in order to preach. But it rained very fast, and we could by no means stand out of doors, so I sent some of our friends to enquire for some sort of a building in which we might assemble. An upper room was obtained which had been a factory, where we found abundance of people collected. We got some candles, and begun to join in singing and prayer. But we had not been thus engaged long before one of the beams of the floor gave way. The people standing as near to me as they possibly could, caused the weight to be greater on that one beam that supported us, which broke and down we came! But it pleased God that the beam rested upon the top of a hogshead, which broke the force of the fall. As we were falling a general terror seized the whole assembly; but blessed be God, I believed, and trusted, with a mind perfectly serene, that God would take care of us. and that not one of our bones should be broken. I accordingly cried out to those around me. 'fear not; you shall all be safe: you shall not be hurt.' But few paid any attention to my words for the present. Howbeit, blessed be God, so it was, for the Lord marvellously preserved us. Another factory was soon procured for us to worship in; but the people were not willing to go into the upper part, lest this should fall also, so we remained in the lower room, and blessed be God he was with us."
Between the last and the following date his visit to Liverpool took place.
"Oct. 10.-On my way to Peel-town, I found many of the poor, simple, loving people, waiting for me, three miles from the town; and as we proceeded the road was lined with them. We went on rejoicing and singing until we came to the town."
It is probable that the earliest Wesleyan society in the island, was that which was formed at Peel, in the year 1775. The first class in that town was led, it is said, by John Gawn, and it met in a summer-louse, belonging to Mr. Morrison. The summer-house is still standing in a garden a little out of the town. John Gawn, who led the class, became one of the earliest local preachers.
"Lord's day, Oct. 12.-We had a blessed season this morning; and in the evening, the spirit of the Lord was, in an eminent degree, poured upon the people. O what mourning there was for their sins, which, they saw, had, been the cause of Christ's sufferings! They sorrowed as for an only son, as for the loss of their first-born! They did surely look on him whom they had pierced, and mourn.' The congregation was great, and the cry was general, so that towards the last, my voice could by no means be heard. it, was indeed a gracious opportunity. But I had now to part with the people whom I dearly loved, and to whom my heart clave with the most tender affection. I left just fifty-three in society."
When Mr. Crook received an appointment to an English station at the conference of 1775, the Isle of Man was placed under the care of the preachers at Whitehaven, and considered as forming part of that circuit. The preachers were expected to visit it in turn, and each to remain a month. Mr. John Mason was the superintendent, or, as then designated, the assistant, and evidently paid particular attention to the little flock, and also to the general work, in the island part of his circuit.
Mr. Mason, as you, Sir, will no doubt remember, was a man of high character, various attainments, and extensive usefulness in his sacred calling. He continued to labour as a regular travelling preacher till the year 1797, when he retired as a supernumerary, but in that capacity devoted his remaining strength to the holy service in which he had long delighted till April 1810, when his happy spirit entered into the kingdom of God. He was a man of great modesty and of genuine and deep humility. In a short account of himself which he sent to Mr. Wesley, in the year 1780, he merely observes in reference to his labours, " It is of, little use to say in what parts of England, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, I have laboured; or how many persons have been convinced of sin, or converted to God ; or how many have been added to the societies, in the circuits wherein I have laboured. Let it suffice, that this, and all I am, will be fully known in that great day." His efforts in the Isle of Man were not in vain. He succeeded in forming a small society in Douglas, and also at Sulby, Ballaugh, &c. Mr. Crook had previously done this, not only at Peel, but at Castletown, and a few other places.
It is, intimated by Mr. M'Donald, in his memoir of Mr. Crook, published in the Methodist Magazine that he continued to labour in his English station, in conjunction with two others, till removed by the conference of 1776, and yet it is evident from the extracts from his journal that he was in the Isle of Man for some months before the conference of that year. This circumstance is neither explained nor specially alluded to in the memoir to which I have referred. The following statement may serve to throw some light on the subject. The friends of Mr. Crook in the Isle of Man, as might be well supposed to be the case, were deeply affected at the idea of his removal from them, and after the close of the conference at which his appointment to an English circuit was made, they wrote a pressing letter to Mr. Wesley, strongly urging his continuance with them a little longer. Mr. Wesley, addressing a letter to Mr. Alexander Hume, Peeltown, Isle of Man, replied as follows
"Bristol, September 22, 1775.
"MY DEAR BROTHER,
I rejoice to hear that God has made Mr. Crooks labour of love profitable to some of you, and cannot blame you for desiring to have him with you a little longer, I will write to Mr. Mason, the assistant at Whitehaven, that Mr. Crook, is coming to be a third preacher in that circuit. The three preachers may then visit the isle, month by month; so that you will have Mr. Crook, one month in three. They will all teach you that religion is holy tempers and holy lives ; and that the sum of all is love.I am, your affectionate brother,JOHN. WESLEY."
Some delay appears to have taken place in carrying the above arrangement into effect, and there was also a deviation from the plan at first proposed. It is highly probable that for some months Mr. Crook continued to labour in his English circuit, and that when he left it in the spring, he associated with the preachers at Whitehaven, he received at once to the island and remained there till after the ensuing conference. This, Sir, I think, will appear to you as having been the case when you consider the following extracts.
" May 27, 1776.--I arrived in the packet at Douglas, and found that Mr. Mason had collected a society chiefly of those old friends who were wont to come and converse with me in the evening after preaching. On the 31st, I set out for Castletown, and found the little society in a comfortable way. This day, as the members of one of the classes were meeting in Peel-town, the spirit of the Lord was poured out upon divers of them, even the spirit of adoption, whereby they did, indeed, believingly and affectionately cry, Abba, Father. Their cries and rejoicings were so loud that they were heard by the people in the street, many of whom were gathered together on the occasion.
"Monday, June 4.-I set out for Peel. At Baroole, a great company met me from Peel, to whom, and many of the inhabitants about Baroole, I preached in a field near Mr. C.'s and we had a precious season. One person was so struck under the word, that he fell down as if he had been shot, and many more were much affected. We then set off for Peel, where I found the town, all in an uproar about the extraordinary emotions on the people's minds, and their cries, expressive of sorrow or joy in their meetings, some reprobating, some abetting and others standing neuter; but the eyes of all were upon me, to hear what I should say to it. I had talked largely with some of our brethren the night before, and so was the better prepared in my mind what to say. But I feared much that when these, things should cone to the bishop's ears, I should have work which accordingly happened some time after.
"Tuesday, June 5.-The town's people and many of those in the country round about, having been fully informed that I was come, a large congregation assembled in the evening, to whom I preached on the green, on Acts, ii, 38, 39. The new converts were glad and rejoiced ; others, who stood in doubt, were encouraged to hope ; but some mocked, and, perhaps, even blasphemed. Many attended in the old factory, whilst I continued in town ; but there was cavilling without end; however, believers grew and were multiplied. We had almost continually some justified under the word, and at the class-meetings.
" The week following, I took a journey to Sulby and Ballaugh, and found Mr. Mason had raised a society in each place. My brethren had laboured faithfully whilst I was absent in England, and I hope, I can say, I seconded their labours with all my might. Frequently they found, as I had done, that they had to labour hard, and fare hard ; but love is a wonderful principle 'many waters cannot quench it.' Tidings of what the Lord had done among the people of Peel had reached Sulby, and the enquiries there and in Ballaugh were considerable. I endeavoured to inform the people, both by preaching and private conversation what these things meant, and that justification, peace with God, and joy in the Holy Ghost, were the common privileges of all Christian believers. Now, indeed, I stood in need of all the little knowledge I had. And my acquaintance with the common prayer book and the book of homilies, stood me in some stead; for, I often found people, and those not a few, who would be convinced by arguments brought from these, who were proof against all I could produce from the word of God. Others required these kinds of proofs by way of collateral evidence ; otherwise, they would call in question my method of applying the holy scriptures. But when the one kind of argument was brought to corroborate the other, many of them could not find what to object. The minister of Sulby came, but I did not hear that he made any opposition.
"After I had been in these parts a few days, I retired to Peel, and, like Nehemiah's workmen, I was under the necessity of having the trowel in the one hand to build with and the sword in the other, to cut up, and cut off the fallacious arguments and insinuations which were brought forward and objected in great abundance. In truth, I had my hands full of work between the feeble-minded, the unruly, the upright in heart, who are still very ignorant ; and the various kinds of enemies from without. But God, all glory to his name, gave me strength according to my day.
"In a few days I set off for Douglas. Here the spirit of persecution was begun in a small degree. A minister, who apprehended that we taught the doctrine of absolute election and reprobation, as he afterwards owned, set his scholars to sing a ballad through the streets against the Methodists. If they had gone no further than this, (though it was not pleasant,) it might have been more easily borne, and have done no great harm. But they did not long stop there, for the next time I came, they proceeded further, as will be shewn in the sequel. I ever found some of a turbulent spirit in Douglas, more so than in all other parts of the island put together. I preached here three or four days, but not without some molestation; yet the alarm was not at its height. The members of the little class, however, continued to cleave, to each other, though some began to grow weary and faint in their minds.
"Having-spent a few days here, and encouraged the little flock all I could, I went over to Castletown. Here the people were far more peaceable, as the lieutenant-governor would not suffer any persecution for conscience' sake. The little flock, I found, were prospering, Although, I believe, if the preachers could!d have been more frequently with them, they would have prospered more. Those who had been my hearers from the beginning, used frequently to attend, the rich excepted. And many good times, blessed be God, we had together. I very frequently preached at the governor's gate, and had generally large congregations. The little flock became still more alive, by having the word ministered to them four or five days together.
" From Castletown I set out for Peel, and on my way preached at Baroole, where I found a people longing for the salvation of God. Many were groaning for redemption in the blood of Christ, and there were some adversaries. I stood on a stone wall, and preached to a listening multitude who all gave heed to the things spoken.
"After preaching next morning, I went forward to Peel, where, after my arrival, I found a few somewhat shaken in their minds, and saw it needful to endeavour to remove the many obstacles which were thrown in the way of the simple hearted, and to encourage such as, thro' timidity, were ready to give up their confidence, and to relinquish the blessings which they had received.
" About this time, I walked over with a few friends to the Borane in Dawby ; and in the afternoon I preached to a large and very attentive congregation, from Isaiah, lxi, 1. And surely the Lord enabled me so to deliver my message, and gave it such efficacy that a good many dated the beginning of a good work on their minds from that time ; and I hope to meet some of them in paradise.
" I now judged it to be my duty to send two men on the Sabbath days to Douglas and Castletown, to help the weaker brethren by prayer and exhortation. - One of them, however, soon grew weary in his mind, and left us entirely. J-E- of Peel now began to give a word of exhortation occasionally, both in the Manks and English language, and has since been very useful in the island. After some time, others arose, who have all been also useful, especially by speaking in Manks."
No sooner did the Lord begin to work, and to visit the people with his salvation, than Satan began to rage, and to stir up his agents to a most determined and vigorous opposition. The powers of darkness were specially at work and many who were under their influence could hardly be restrained from the greatest violence, and not a few loudly contradicted and blasphemed. A great outcry was raised against the swaddlers, as the preachers were then designated, and they were often dangerously entreated, and almost every where met with the most scurrilous abuse. Mud, rotten eggs, stones, &c., were thrown at them without the least mercy or regard, and these devoted servants of the Lord Jesus and of mankind, "of whom the world was not worthy," were often covered with dirt and filth. Many who heard them seemed almost torn with rage and would interrupt them with all sorts of questions and observations, several of them frequently exclaiming, " Ta breg ayns dty veeal"-It's a lie in thy mouth-allowed to be one of the most insulting and offensive sayings in the language. J. E. (John Ellison) referred to in Mr. Crook's account as having begun to give a word of exhortation, was perhaps the first local preacher in the island. He continued to act in that capacity for about sixty years, and in his latter days was in the habit of visiting the different Places and remaining a few weeks at each. He was always welcomed and kindly entertained by his friends, and was made a blessing to the souls of the people. It is now about ten or twelve years since he entered into rest, having eminently seen the salvation of the Lord. It seems he was the leader of the first class formed in Douglas. He began with two members, and was in the habit of walking every week from his residence in the neighbourbood of Peel, a distance of about eleven miles, for the purpose of meeting this little company of Christian people ; the number in a short time increased to eight, including Mr. and Mrs. Moore of Kirk St. Ann, and Mrs. Mylrea, mother of T. Mylrea, at the present time a local preacher in the Douglas circuit. He continued to perform this duty till one of the members was appointed to the charge. On one occasion, after meeting his class, he was riding to Baldwin, in the parish of Kirk Braddan, for the purpose of preaching to the people, but feeling very weary, and withal very sorrowful, he sat down in the corner of a field and fell asleep. In a little time he was awoke by a big, gruff-looking man, who asked him who he was and where he was going ? Feeling rather fearful, he answered somewhat evasively, " I am a son of Adam." On being further interrogated he made the same reply, and proceeded to ask the man who he was and where he was going? He said he understood that one of the swaddlers was going to preach, and that he was looking out for him, and would kill him, if he could meet with him, for corrupting the church. J. E. said if he would go to the place he would go with him. He concluded to do so, and they walked together. As they drew near to the crowd, already collected, while crossing a small field, they could hear the people say " there he comes, there he is." J. E.'s companion looked round and said, "where is he? where is he ?" but J. E. stepped before him, got into the midst of the assembly, and commenced the service. The man, greatly enraged said, "O if I had but known, I would have given him a blow on the ear, and then he would have been dead and nobody would have known any thing about it."
It was under these circumstances, my dear Sir, that this goodly vine was planted in the Isle of Man, and in the midst of which, through the blessing of God, it took deep root, and began to bring forth clusters of good fruit. Sometime after Methodism had had been introduced into Peel, John Ellison removed to Dawby and succeeded in getting several houses opened for prayer and exhortation in that neighbourhood, and in a few years a chapel was erected there. But I now resume Mr. Crook's very interesting account.
" The blessed work continued to go on and increase, but there were many adversaries. Some of our young friends, who had more zeal than knowledge, could hardly be restrained from giving the adversaries advantage against the good cause in which we were engaged by their imprudent conduct, and this was sometimes a source of grief to me; and I had to labour all in my power to prevent the effects thereof. The more God comforted his church, so much more did the gainsayers rage, speaking all manner of evil, sometimes against the subjects of the work of God, and sometimes against me. I had nights of rejoicings and nights of sorrowing, and those contrary passions of joy and sorrow, hope and fear, frequently took sleep from mine eyes. I had now upon me the care of all the societies in the island ; if God had not been peculiarly helpful to me I must have sunk under the burden.
"After a few days, I set out for Douglas, but indeed it was with fear and trembling. That scripture occurred to my mind, 'If they persecute you in one city, flee to, another;' but that other, 'the hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep,' prevented my shunning the cross, and I determined to go in the name of the Lord. When I arrived at Mr. K.'s, I soon learned that it was likely to be an uncomfortable place, and it was not long before I found this by experience. For as I walked in the streets, men shouted at me, and the schoolboys wherever they saw me, fixing brickbats, stones, dirt, potatoes, and such like things, at me, with vehemence. We had the use of an upper room to preach in, and when we were assembled in it one evening, to worship God, we were attacked by a large rabble of men and boys. A little door, which served for a window, as it opened on hinges, and which we had at first opened for light, we were soon obliged to shut, as the men threw large pieces of limestone into the room ; and if the poor people within had not taken good heed, some of them could have. got their brains dashed out. The door below was locked. and the men wanted to come in, but Mr. K's, so,. and one or two more went down to prevent mischief. When we shut the window above, they soon broke it with, stones. However, I endeavoured to preach on as well as I could ; but I had not much composure. After sermon, we sung a hymn, and prayed for ourselves and our enemies, and then broke up our meeting. When I came out, and our friends around me, the mob rushed on us with great violence, and just at the end of Mr. K.'s house I received some dirt which they threw at me. I turned about to face, and to speak to them, but they had no ears to hear, and there was a noise as at the taking of a city by storm. When Mr. G. A., (Mr. George Adams,) a man not in the society, saw that I was likely to be very ill-treated by them, he humanely came between me and the mob, and took me kindly by the arm and brought me away. May he find mercy in that day!
" The little flock here, however, continued in union with each other, notwithstanding they had so many discouragements : but indeed the persecution was not so much levelled against them as me. To drive me from the place, I believe, was the intention of him who abetted this persecution. Yet I charitably hope, had he known our principles and doctrines, he would never have treated, nor caused us to have been treated in such a manner. When I arrived in Peel, I found the little flock generally rejoicing, and walking in the comforts of the Holy Ghost. The minister behaved in a very candid and friendly manner towards me. I and the people constantly attended the church service on the Sabbath days, and I strictly urged this wherever I went, that the people who considered themselves as belonging to the church, should be careful to attend it better than they had done heretofore, in order that they might not give any occasion of offence. The communicants in Peel were now risen to three hundred ; and I rather think that some of the unbelieving part of the parish were offended, because there were constantly so many at the sacrament ; and this, it seems, was one fault which the Methodists had committed. Howbeit, the minister over-ruled in this case.
"After a few days I visited Ballaugh. One evening, after preaching while I was meeting the society there, the power of the Lord was peculiarly present among us. We prayed fervently for a blessing, and he delivered, I think, five from the burden of sin. A person who had been much tempted against the work of God, was made to feel the arrows of the Almighty sticking fast in her conscience, and before we ended our meeting, which was not long before day, she received a sense of pardon and was overwhelmed with the love of God and filled with unutterable joy.
"After spending some time at Peel, where large congregations from all parts attended, I set out once more for Douglas, with an aching heart. I came thither, July 11, and feared, indeed, to enter the town, but did not dare to neglect what I conceived to be my duty, let the consequence be what it might. I, therefore, cast myself upon the care of the Lord, and went forth in his name. The salutations I met with were such as I had received before. But I had the happiness of finding the little flock united to each other in love. The difficulty now was to find a place for me to preach in, Mr. S. not being willing to have his house abused as it had been any more by the mob. However, one of our society took us into his house, and we went up into a back room. But we had no sooner begun to worship God, than the street was filled with people, some of whom went to the back side of the house, and threw stones towards the place where we were assembled. Mr. B. attended here and saw their conduct. The mob was now enraged more than before, and threatened vehemently what they would do, if they could catch me, they also insulted some of the hearers. It was the opinion of most, that if they could have caught me, they would, in their rage, have taken away my life. Our friends would not suffer me to go out of doors, which, when some of the enraged multitude learned, they threatened that they would come at night, and pull down, or burn the house, or they would have me. Our friends in whose house we were, had not been long in the way, and I feared very much, lest they should suffer the spoiling of their goods and other losses. My prayer to the God of my life was that he would preserve me, and the poor people who were likely to suffer the loss of all things. About 12 or 1 o'clock, I and the family being in bed, some persons came and struck at the window vehemently, and made the glass jingle. I cannot describe the terror my mind was in, lest these unhappy people should be permitted to execute their threats. God, however, restrained them ; for they ran away and we heard them no more. I was afraid to say any thing to the people of the house, hoping they were asleep, and they in like manner, supposing that I was asleep, did not speak to me ; and so we lay still until the morning; and, blessed be God, we received no harm.
"I thought it my duty, about this time, to apply to the Governor, in Castletown, for that liberty of conscience to which all his majesty's subjects are entitled. The lieutenant-governor, Dawson, on hearing what I had to say on the subject, kindly answered, 'No man shall be molested for using liberty of conscience in religious worship. I will do every man justice, but more especially the ministers of the gospel. I pray go to my clerk, and let him prepare to examine into this matter,' and do you, Sir, get the names of the most active offenders in this business, and I will have them brought hither, and see that justice be done you myself.' But just when we were likely to have had something done, the head governor came into the isle, and the process, for a time, was stopped. However, I was determined to apply to him as soon as I could. In the course of a few days, I waited upon him, and he received me in a friendly manner. With his permission I gave him a particular account of my grievances, as set forth in my. letter to him. He replied 'The b-p and I are upon good terms, and I do not choose to quarrel with him; but if I see him, I will speak to him on the subject.' I said, 'Sir, I have sent an account of these transactions to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley, who is now at London.' He replied, You have done well; and if Mr. Wesley remember any thing analagous to this, he can direct you and if not, he is near the seat of power.' I thanked his, excellency,and withdrew."
It seems that Mr.' Crook's account, forwarded to Mr. Wesley, as appears from his conversation with the governor, contained a particular statement as to the parties and proceedings by which he and his friends were suffering so much annoyance, and subjected to so much danger and loss. Mr. Wesley's reply is replete with wisdom, piety, forbearance, and Christian charity: every way worthy so great and good a man. You will, I think, Sir, be gratified to see it inserted at length.
London, August 10, 1776.
My DEAR BROTHER,
By all means stay in the island till the storm be ended: In your patience possess your soul. Beware of despising your opponents! Beware of anger and resentment! Return not evil for evil, or railing for railing. I advise you to keep, with a few serious people, a day of fasting and prayer. God hath the hearts of all men in his hands, and he turneth them as the rivers of water. Neither Dr. M- nor the b--p himself is out of his reach. Be fervent in prayer, that God would arise and maintain his own cause. And assuredly he will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; but will, with every temptation, make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
" Violent methods of redress are not to be used, till all other methods fail. I know pretty well the mind of lord Mansfield, and of one that is greater than he. But if I appealed to them, it would bring much expense and inconvenience on Dr. M-- and others. I would not willingly do this: I love my neighbour as myself. Possibly they may think better, and allow that liberty of conscience which belongs to every partaker of human nature : and more especially to every one of his majesty's subjects in his British dominions. To live peaceably with all men, is the earnest desire of
Your affectionate brother,
This most excellent and appropriate counsel was not lost upon Mr. Crook and his friends. They proceeded immediately to act in accordance with the direction given.
" We held," says Mr. Crook, " a fast day as Mr. Wesley desired; and surely it was a day much to be remembered. I was then in Peel-town. We met at five in the morning, and we had that day two public prayer meetings and two sermons ; we also went twice to church, it being on a Lord's day that we held the fast, for the sake of the fishermen, who could not attend so well on any other. At our 'one o'clock meeting, an old woman, who could never lay hold on the promise before. was so overwhelmed with divine love, that she was not able to stand. Indeed, many were so filled with joy that they could scarce tell whether they were in the body or out of the body. It was, indeed, a most remarkable day."
The Lord graciously regarded the supplications of his people, and interposed in their behalf. The individual who had been the chief instrument in raising the persecution in Douglas, received a cheek in his proceedings from a quarter from which, it is probable, it was least expected.
"About this time," observes Mr. Crook, "the minister had to dine with the governor and his lady at deemster Moore's, when a conversation took place about the Methodists, in which the governor told the minister roundly, that he would suffer no one to be persecuted for his religion, adding, I Sir, I bear the sword here.' His lady said, 'Sir, the Methodists preach in London, Edinburgh, and throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and do you think to hinder them here ?' The minister went home, and desired the scholars to desist from pursuing us any farther. But though the storm was now fallen, the waves, like those of the sea, continued turbulent, and for many years afterwards there was more disturbance in Douglas, by many degrees, than in all the island together. I would fain hope that the minister, who was most active in raising up this persecution, did repent of his conduct ere he was removed hence."
Thus, Sir, I have endeavoured to lay before you, in this letter, the introduction and establishment of Methodism ill the Isle of Man. I feel glad that as Mr. Crook was the chief instrument in effecting this great work, so also has he been the principal narrator in this communication, It has been justly observed that "his history is closely connected with that of Methodism in the Isle of Man." This blessed revival of scriptural Christianity had now been the means, in the band of God, of producing a real and glorious change in the condition, and hearts and lives of many in various parts of the island, and there was the cheering prospect of increasing success. It is probable that at this period, August, 1776, there were from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and sixty members in society; most of whom were truly converted to God, and ardently longing for the conversion of all around.
But I must again conclude, and beg you to believe me,