[From Rosser History of Wesleyan Methodism in IoM, 1848]
My last letter contained a pretty full and circumstantial account of the introduction, and establishment of Wesleyan Methodism in the Isle of Man, together with a statement of some of the persecutions which Mr. Crook and others had to endure. The hostility manifested in Douglas and its more immediate neighbourhood, appears to have been greater than in all the island besides. Some check, however, as I have already stated, was unexpectedly given to the opposition raised. This, perhaps, may be justly attributed, under God, to the influence, piety, and good sense of the governor's excellent lady, brought thus to bear upon the chief instrument at Douglas.
There were many instances, in addition to those already noticed, in which Mr. Crook and his friends were exposed to insult and injury, but still the Almighty interposed and made a way for their escape. On one occasion Mr. C. was preaching in the open air at Ballagarey, about five or six miles from Douglas, when some rude persons endeavoured to throw him down from the stones on which he had taken his stand : the attempt was observed by a gentleman of that place, grand-father of the present John Bridson esq., member of the house of keys, and a most consistent official member of the Wesleyan connexion, who very kindly desired Mr. Crook to remove a few yards and take his stand upon a piece of ground of which he was the proprietor; and assured him that none would venture to molest him there. He thankfully acted upon the suggestion, and finished his discourse without further interruption. I believe our present chapel at Ballagarey was erected not far from the spot on which he stood.
On another occasion, when Mr. Crook was going to preach in the open air, in the parish of Kirk Marown, near where our Crosby Chapel now stands, the minister, having observed some of his people proceeding towards the place, came running down the hill on which the church is situate, calling out at the top of his voice, " My flock! my flock ! where is it you are going?" His conduct encouraged some persons present to commence throwing sods and filth at the preacher, on which a man who had a small field just by desired him to take his stand there, and added, " let me see the man who will throw at you then."
Another time, when Mr. Crook had taken his stand near the same place, to address the people as they came from church, a poor woman came out of a cottage hard by, as full of fury, almost, as it was possible for her to be, and with a number of rotten eggs in her apron, which she began to throw at Mr. Crook, repeating a certain Manx phrase which expresses great vengeance. Several of the people kindly interposed, and compelled her to refrain. It called forth very general observation when sometime after she became a complete cripple, having lost the use both of her hands and feet.
It is a rather singular fact, that in several instances parties, not supposed to possess much pious feeling, were, nevertheless, induced to come forward as the champions of the preachers and their friends, and defend them from outrage and insult : strong, athletic individuals, whose appearance was calculated to impress the persecutors with awe and fear, and who, without inflicting any serious injury, occasionally dealt in a rather summary way with such as ventured to molest or interrupt them. In Baldwin a poor idiot, armed not with a common stick, but with a weapon more resembling a hedge-stake, was in the habit of placing himself near the preacher, and it was at the peril of any one to venture to molest him.
Thus it is evident, these were troublous times, and it was found necessary to act with great prudence and caution. It was not common to fix the time and place f meeting in some of the country parts of the island, but when the preacher visited any given place, and service was about to be held, the signal referred to in Mr. Crook s journal was hoisted, and the people flocked together and held their meetings before their persecutors could assemble, and unite in any well concerted plan of opposition.
But the time had now arrived for Mr. Crook to leave them again for his English appointment, which was the circuit called the Dales. Messrs. Wride, Empringham, and Seed, were the preachers appointed for Whitehaven, of which circuit the Isle of Man still formed a part. It is probable that they visited the island in turn, each remaining perhaps two or. three months together, and there is every reason to conclude that they laboured and carried on the work in the same spirit in which it had been begun ; and that God graciously crowned their efforts with success. Many were added to the Lord, and at the end of the year there were about five hundred members in society.
At the conference in 1777, the preachers appointed were Messrs John Fenwick, James Barry, Thomas Rutherford, and Robert Empringham, the latter of whom had laboured there the preceding year. Mr. Rutherford has left a rather particular and very interesting statement of his labours, &c., in the Isle of Man.
" At the conference in 1777, I was appointed to the Whitehaven circuit, which at that time included the Isle of Man. I visited my friends in Northumberland on my way thither, and preached to very large and attentive congregations. I spent a fortnight at Whitehaven where I found a simple, loving, happy people, with whom I could with pleasure have spent the whole year ; but that could not be. Therefore, Sep. 26, I sailed for the Isle of Man. The day was stormy and the sea rough : hence I was dreadfully sick all the way ; so that I thought I should have died through the mere violence and pain of retching. However, about five in the evening, we got into Douglas harbour. Having got ashore, and had a cup of tea, I was enabled to preach at seven oclock. The next night, just as I was concluding, a man came in with all the violence and fury of a fiend, and endeavoured to force his way through the people to pull me down ; but was prevented. After making a most horrible noise, and threatening terrible things, he left us to conclude in peace.
" The work was but in its infancy in the island at that time, though we had about five hundred in society. The bishop had set the clergy most violently against us : not one in all the island dared to give us the sacrament. I have no doubt but they would have driven us out of the island, but for the governor, who acted a most friendly part. However, many of the poor people, both in the towns and throughout the country, received the truth, and much good was done. In many places accommodations were but indifferent : but he who professes to be sent forth by Jesus Christ, to seek and save the souls which he hath purchased with his blood, tramples all these things under his feet.
" There are four towns in the island, and in three of them preaching was then established. We occasionally visited the fourth, but met with considerable opposition. The first time that I was to go thither, the only minister in the island that was friendly to us, sent for me and entreated me not to go, for, he said, he had it from good authority that the clergy and principal persons in the town and neighbourhood, had determined, that the first preacher who came, should be put in prison, and that they should thus try what could be done. I told him I was much obliged to him for his friendly counsel, but that as preaching was published, I should, please the Lord, certainly go, and the gentlemen might do as they pleased. I accordingly went and preached in peace, except that a few boys made some noise at the door ; and the next day, as I rode through the town, they shouted after me, and threw some sticks and stones, only one of which hit me, but it did me no harm. I preached at a place in the mountains, about three miles further, where preaching had never been before. There was no convenient place for me to sit in the house ; and as the day was fair, though cold, I walked in the fields. About sunset, I saw the people coming pouring down the mountains in all directions. This encouraged me. I thought 'here is an opportunity of doing good ; let me therefore strive to improve it. I preached in a barn to more than it could contain, with a good deal of fervour and enlargement, from these words ; And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how was I astonished and disappointed, when I found that the people who had invited me sold gin ! and that as soon as I dismissed the people, they immediately filled the house, drank, whistled, and sung ! I spoke to them, and endeavoured to shew them the evil of these things, and to disperse them ; but all in vain. They now told me, that they had not a bed for me, and sent me up into a garret among old lumber. A poor Scotch shepherd and his wife who had been at preaching, were the. only persons who seemed to feel for me ; but, unfortunately, they had only two beds, and had washed the clothes of one of them that day. I thanked them for their kindness, and wished them a good night. After some time, the man returned with a bundle of bed clothes on his back, which he had borrowed from a neighbour, and insisted on my going with him to his house, which was nearly two miles up the mountains. Accordingly, taking my saddle-bags on my back, we set off ; and at nearly eleven oclock we arrived at his homely cot, had a hospitable supper, the bed was made ready, and I never slept more comfortably in all my life. I told the people next morning where I had preached, that I could come no more : for I could not in conscience, bring the people together to drink and behave as they had done. A person who lived about a mile from that place, invited me to go to his house, which I did twice ; but he also began to sell gin, so that I was obliged to leave him also. However the work, some years after, spread through all those parts, and mightily prevailed. In many other parts of the island I laboured with comfort and success. In February I returned to Whitehaven, and at the conference held at Leeds, in 1778 I was appointed for Dublin."
After leaving Whitehaven and the Isle of Man, Mr. Rutherford continued to labour, with great acceptance and considerable success, in various circuits of the connection till within a short time of his death, which event took place in 1806 at the house of my late venerable mother-in-law, Mrs. Sarah Egan, who then resided at Greenwich, in Kent. In the conference account of this excellent man it is stated that, " after suffering much bodily affliction, with a submission and fortitude, which flowing from faith and love, were the savour of life to those who conversed with him, bore a testimony with his dying breath, to the truth and power of those doctrines which he had so long preached; declaring that they were then his support and comfort."
Shortly after Mr. Crooks removal from the island in 1776, the storm of persecution, which as I have shewn had been for a short season partially lulled, broke out again with increased violence, and for some time threatened to sweep Methodism from the face of the island. The very powerful and systematic opposition raised and carried on is referred to in Mr. Rutherfords account inserted above, and still more clearly stated in the Rev. Henry Moores Life of Mr. Wesley. Mr. Moores statement is as follows
" The preachers, however, did not long enjoy peace. Two or three ill-minded persons of some influence in the island, formed a plan of opposition, which, in such cases, is but too often successful. These persons, to give greater weight to their. opposition, so far prejudiced the mind of the bishop against these new comers, that he wrote a pastoral letter, directed to all the rectors, vicars, chaplains, and curates within the isle and diocese of Man.
" In this letter his lordship states the ground of his opposition thus ; Whereas we have been informed, that several unordained, unauthorised, and unqualified persons from other countries, have, for some time past, presumed to preach and teach publicly, and hold and maintain conventicles ; and have caused several weak persons to combine themselves together in a new society, and have private meetings assemblies, and congregations, contrary to the doctrines, government, rites and ceremonies of the established church, and the civil and ecclesiastical laws of the isle. We do, therefore, for the prevention of SCHISM and the re-establishment of the UNIFORMITY in religious worship which so long. hath subsisted among us, hereby desire and require each; and every of you, to be vigilant and use your utmost endeavours.. yours to dissuade your respective flocks from following, or being led and misguided by such incompetent teachers, &c &c , and after expatiating a little on this part of his charge he tells his clergy that if they could not prevail with the people by persuasion they must get a knowledge of names of such persons as attended at these unlawful meetings, as he calls them, and especially of such as enjoy any office or privilege by episcopal license, and present them to his rev. vicars-general, or to some of them. He then requires every one of his clergy, to repel any Methodist preacher from the sacrament, if he should offer himself at the table to receive it. He further directs, that this pastoral letter should be read, plenâ ecciesiâ, in full church, the next Sunday after the receipt thereof.
" The storm now became violent, and Methodism was threatened with a total shipwreck on the island. The preachers and people however weathered it out ; and in the end of May, 1777, Mr. Wesley paid them a visit, and was received in a very friendly manner by a few persons of respectability and influence."
The following is an extract from Mr. Wesleys journal relating to this visit
" Friday, 30 (May, 1777.)I went on to Whitehaven, where I found a little vessel waiting for me. After preaching in the evening I went on board about eight oclock, and before eight in the morning landed at Douglas, in the Isle of Man.
" Douglas exceedingly resembles Newlyn in Cornwall; both in its situation, form, and buildings ; only it is much larger, and has a few houses equal to most in Penzance. As soon as we landed, I was challenged by Mr. Booth, who had seen me in Ireland, and whose brother has been for many years a member of the society in Coolyclough. A chaise was provided to carry me to Castletown. I was greatly surprised at the country. All the way from Douglas to Castletown it is as pleasant and as well cultivated as most parts of England, with many gentlemens seats. Castletown a good deal resembles Galway ; only it is not so large. At six I preached near the castle, I believe, to all the inhabitants of the town. Two or three gay young women showed they knew nothing about religion ; all the rest were deeply serious. Afterwards I spent an hour very
agreeably at Mrs. Wood's, the widow of the late governor. I was much pressed to stay a little longer at Castletown; but my time was fixed.
" Sunday, June 1 . - At six I preached in our room ; aid, to my surprise, saw all the gentlewomen there. Young as well as old were Snow deeply affected, and would fain have had me stayed, were it but an hour or two ; but I was forced to hasten away, in order to be at Peel-town before the service began.
" Mr. Corbett' said, he would gladly have asked me to preach, but that the bishop had forbidden him ; who had
. also forbidden all his clergy, to admit any Methodist preacher to the Lord's slipper. But is any clergyman obliged, either in law or conscience, to obey such a prohibition? by no means. The will even of the king does not bind any English subject, unless it be seconded by an express law.
How much less the will of a bishop ? ' But did not you take an oath to obey him ?' No, nor any clergyman in the three kingdoms. This is a mere vulgar error. Shame that it should prevail almost universally.
* 'C As it rained, I retired after service into a large malt-house. Most of the congregation followed, and devoured the word. It being fair in the afternoon, the whole congregation stopped in the churchyard ; and the word of God was with power. It was a happy opportunity.
" Monday, 2.-The greater part of them were present at five in the morning. A more loving, simple-hearted people than this I never saw. And no wonder ; for they have but six papists, and no dissenters in the island. It is supposed to contain near thirty thousand people, remarkably courteous and humane. Ever since smuggling was suppresed, they diligently cultivate their land : and they have a large herring fishery so that the country improves daily
"The old castle at Peel (as well as the cathedral built within it) is only a heap of ruins. It was very large, and exceedingly strong, with many brass guns ; but they are now removed to England.
" I set out for Douglas in the one-horse Chaise, Mrs. Smith riding with me. ' In about an hour, in spite of all I could do, the headstrong horse ran the wheel against a large stone ! The chaise overset in a moment ; but we fell so gently , in smooth grass, that neither of us was hurt at all: In the evening I preached at Douglas to near,as large a congregation as that at Peel; but not near so serious. Before ten we went on board, and about twelve on Tuesday, 3, landed at Whitehaven."
Thus, with ever active and hallowed zeal, Mr. Wesley pursued his glorious career, which might well suggest the thought expressed in the following lines, from the pen of the late Rev. J. Creighton, A.B.
"The Cumberland hills and the mountains of Wales,
He frequently crossed in his way;
And bleak Caledonia's high rocks and deep vales,
And swift running torrent of Spey.
Hibernia too felt his fostering care,
As round it and round it he ran:
Each city, each village, each town had its share,
Nor did he forget little Man."
At the conference of 1778, the Isle of Man was entered on the minutes as a separate circuit, and the preachers appointed were John Crook and Robert Dall. The numbers returned at that conference as members of society in Whitehaven and the Isle of Man were nine hundred and thirty three; and it is probable that six hundred of the at least were in the island. The preachers laboured through the year with great diligence and fidelity and it pleased God greatly to prosper the efforts of his servants, notwithstanding the powerful opposition raised against them. At the ensuing conference the members of society in the island amounted to one thousand and fifty-one; being an increase for that year of more than four hundred. " So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." Mr Murlin, who visited the island in 1758, might well say, when writing on the subject in 1779, "We now see the fruit of our labours there, in the conversion of many sinners to God."
The preachers for 1779 were John Crook and Martin Rodda, and for 1780, John Crook and Thomas Readshaw ; so that Mr. Crook was permitted to labour three years successively, for the welfare of the people amongst whom he had previously manifested so much zeal and self-denial and to whom he was so devotedly attached. His efforts, in union with those of his colleagues, continued to be signally owned of God, and were crowned with astonishing success.," The writer of Mr. Crook's memoir observes :- "The Isle of Man was the first circuit in which his ministerial labours, were continued more than a year at one time. And by comparing the numbers which he found in society in that island when he came to it in 1778, with those which he left three years after, it will appear that he, in conjunction with his fellow-labourers, was eminently useful. The numbers returned in 1778 for Whitehaven and the Isle of Man, united, were nine hundred and thirty three ; and in 1781, the numbers in the island itself amounted to one thousand five hundred and ninety-seven, and those in the Whitehaven circuit to two hundred and ninety. What a blessed increase in those two circuits in so short a time! An, increase of upwards of nine hundred." .
In the spring of 1781 the island was favoured with another visit from Mr. Wesley. But the storm which was raging at the time of his former visit had in a great measure subsided, and now a different state of things prevailed. Mr. Moore remarks:-" Before Mr. Wesley's next visit, the bishop1 was dead. His successor2 was a man of very different spirit; and has proved a blessing to the island. When Mr. Wesley arrived all was peace." Mr. Wesley's account is as follows :-
"Wed. 30 (May, 1781.)-I embarked on board the packet-boat for the Isle of Man. We had a dead calm for many hours: however, we landed at Douglas on Friday morning. Both the preachers met me here, and gave me a comfortable account of the still increasing work of God.
"Before dinner, we took a walk in a garden near the town, wherein any of the inhabitants of it may walk. It is wonderfully Pleasant ; yet not so pleasant as the gardens of the Nunnery, (so it is called,) which are not far from it. These are delightfully laid out, and yield to few places of the size in England.
" At six I preached in the market-place, to a large congregation; all of whom, except a few children, and two or three giddy young women, were seriously attentive.
" Sat. 2.-I rode to Castletown, through a pleasant and (now) well-cultivated country. At six I preached in the market-place, to most of the inhabitants of the town, on the 'one thing is needful.' I believe the word carried conviction into the hearts of nearly all that heard it. Afterwards I walked to the house of one of our English friends. about two miles from the town. All the day I observed, wherever I was, one circumstance that surprised me:-In England we generally hear the birds singing, morning and evening; but here thrushes, and various other kinds of birds, were singing all day long. They did not intermit, even during the noon-day heat, where they had a few trees to shade them.
" June 3, (being Whit-Sunday.)-I preached in the market-place again, about nine, to a still larger congregation than before, on, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' How few of the genteel hearers could say so. About four in the afternoon, I preached at Barewle, on the mountains, to a larger congregation than that in the morning. The rain began soon after I began preaching ; but ceased in a few minutes. I preached on, 'They were all filled with the Holy Ghost;' and showed in what sense this belongs to us and to our children.
" Between six and seven I preached on the sea-shore at Peel, to the largest congregation I have seen in the island : even the society nearly filled the house. I soon found what spirit they were of. Hardly in England (unless perhaps at Bolton) have I found so plain, so earnest, so simple a people.
" Mond. 4.-We had such a congregation at five, as might have been expected on a Sunday evening. We then rode through and over the mountains to Beergarrow ; where I enforced, on an artless, loving congregation, ' If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.' A few miles from thence we came to Bishop's Court, where good bishop Wilson resided near three-score years. There is something venerable, though not magnificent, in the ancient palace ; and it is undoubtedly situated in one of the pleasantest spots in the whole
"At six in the evening I preached at Ballaugh ; but the preaching-house would not contain one half of the congregation ; of which the vicar, Mr. Gelling, with his wife, sister, and daughter, formed a part. He invited me to take breakfast with him in the morning,-, Tuesday 5; which I willingly did. He read family-prayers before breakfast, in a very serious manner. After 'spending a little time very agreeably', I went on to Kirk Andreas.
" Here also I was obliged to preach in the open air; the rain being suspended till I had done. In the forenoon we rode through a pleasant and fruitful country to Ramsey, about as large as Peel, and more regularly built. The rain was again suspended while I preached to well nigh all the town ; but I saw no inattentive hearers.
Wed. 6.-We had many of them again at five, and they were, all attention. This was the place where the preachers had little hope of doing good. I trust they will be happily disappointed.
"This morning we rode through the most woody, and far the pleasantest, part of the island ;-a range of fruitful land, lying at the foot of the mountains, from Ramsey, through Sulby, to Kirk Michael. Here we stopped to look at the plain tombstones of those two good men, bishop Wilson and bishop Hildesley ; whose remains are deposited, side by side, at the east end of the church. We had scarce reached Peel before the rain increased ; but here the preaching house contained all that could come. Afterwards Mr. Crook desired me to meet the singers. I was agreeably surprised. I have not heard better singing either at Bristol or London. Many, both men and women, have admirable voices; and they sing with good judgment. Who would have expected this in the Isle of Man ?
"Thurs. 7.-I met our little body of preachers. They were two-and-twenty in all. I never saw in England so many stout, well-looking preachers together. If their spirit be answerable to their look, I know not what can stand before them. In the afternoon I rode over to Dawby, preached to a very large and very serious congregation
"Friday 8.-having now visited the island round, east, south, north, and west, I was thoroughly convinced that we have no such circuit as this, either in England, Scotland, or Ireland. It is shut up from the world ; and, having little trade, is visited by scarce any strangers. Here are no papists, no dissenters of any kind, no Calvinists, no disputers. Here is no opposition, either from the governor, (a mild; humane man,) from the bishop, (a good man,) or from the bulk of the clergy. One or two of them did oppose for a time; but they seem now to understand better. So that we have now rather too little, than too much reproach ; the scandal of the cross being for the present, ceased. The. natives are a plain, artless, simple people ; unpolished, that is, unpolluted ; few of them are rich or genteel ; the far greater part, moderately poor ; and most of the strangers that settle among them are men that have seen affliction. The local preachers are men of faith and love, knit together in one mind and one judgment. They speak either Manx or English, and follow a regular plan, which the assistant gives them monthly.
" The isle is supposed to have thirty thousand inhabitants. Allowing half of them to be adults, and our societies to contain one or two and twenty hundred members, what a fair proportion is this I What has been seen like this, in any part either of Great Britain or Ireland?"
I am sure, my dear Sir, you will not be displeased with me for introducing here two or three little incidents, related to me by parties in whom I can place the greatest confidence, as having occurred in connexion with Mr. Wesley's visits to the Isle of Man. Mr. Wesley having been informed of a very poor aged man in Douglas. who was peculiarly hardened, and strongly opposed to almost every thing that was good, took an opportunity of calling upon and entering into conversation with him. he asked him how he managed to get a little bread amongst the people, seeing the times were so hard,. and manifested great sympathy with him; and before he left put half a crown into his hand. This circumstance affected the poor man in a very remarkable manner, producing a powerful, and equally favourable impression on his mind. There is reason to think the man derived more than temporal benefit from this friendly call.
One of our good old local preachers, who has now been nearly sixty-seven years on the plan, informed me that he well remembered Mr. Wesley visiting the island, and preaching in the open air at Barrule. He spoke with great feeling on the subject, and said, " He made me wonder: the horse seemed higher than he was, but he placed his foot in the stirrup, and got up like a little boy."
To a friend who asked him his opinion of sudden death, he replied, " Trusting in the mercy of God, I could as cheerfully step over the threshold of eternity as I could pass into an adjoining room to undress myself."
This last incident is in perfect accordance with the interesting anecdote recorded in the late Rev. Edmund Grindrod's sermon on the translation of Elijah ; which is as follows:" It is said, on good authority, that a lady once put this singular question to the Rev. John Wesley, 'How would you spend your time, in the interim, were you sure that you must die to-morrow night at ten o'clock ?' to whom he promptly replied, 'How, madam ? I would preach to-morrow morning at Gloucester, at five o'clock: I would preach at Tewkesbury, at twelve o'clock ; return and preach at Gloucester at six ; spend a cheerful, profitable hour with my friends after the labours of the day ; then I would retire,
'My body with my charge lay down,
And cease at once to work and live.'
Daniel Jackson and Jonathan Brown were the preachers appointed for the island at the conference of 1781, and the hand of the Lord was, indeed, "upon them for good .," so that, through their instrumentality, new converts, real believers, "were added to the Lord," When Mr. Wesley was in the island in the spring of. 1781, a pious female requested him to send them two suitable preachers at the following,g conference, " men," said she, " who can endure hardships and privations"." Well. sister," replied Mr. Wesley, " I will send you two men, who, if you give them anything to eat will thank you; and if you give them nothing to eat will thank you." Daniel Jackson and Jonathan Brown were the preachers sent. The preachers for 1782, where Jasper Robinson, Jonathan Brown, and Thomas Tattershall; and for 1783, Jasper Robinson, George Button, and Edward Burbeck. All these servants of the Lord were diligent and unwearied in planting and watering the good seed, and the Lord of the harvest was graciously pleased to give the increase. At the following conference, 1784, the number in Society amounted to two thousand one hundred and twentyone.
Mr. Jasper Robinson was a man eminently devoted to God ; constantly aspiring after a more perfect attainment of the mind which was in Christ Jesus ; and ardently longing to be " filled with all the fullness of God." I cannot deny myself the pleasure of inserting a few extracts from his journal, kept during his residence in the Isle of Man.
" In 1781, I was appointed for Barnard Castle, and in 1782, was sent to the Isle of Man, where I minuted down at times the occurrences of the day, an extract from which here follows.
"April 5,1783.-My mind was somewhat strengthened by reading Matt. xxi. 22. I All things whatsoever we ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.' Lord help me! I believe he does help me; for now I believe he has purified my heart by faith. I believe he has cast out all my enemies, and through believing, they may be kept out. Glory be to God, I feel my spirit meek and pleasant. I am nothing, and wholly depend upon God, and desire nothing but him.
'All my wants are lost in one,
Father, thy only will be done.
April 9.-I have been kept without sin in my heart this day. I grow more and more confident, that God has cleansed my heart from all unrighteousness. As I was riding yesterday a thought passed through my mind, why I was not sanctified before ? And it appeared it was because I would not believe ; and if I would not, then it is plain I might if I would. Is not this the case with many ? Instead of simply believing, they are looking out for some extraordinary thing formed in their own imagination. This, I believe, has been the case with me for twenty years past. Many times in the course of these years, God gave me reason to believe it ; but instead of believing he had done it, I thought now I was in such a way that I could not well miss it ; and Naaman like, I expected God would lay his hand very powerfully upon me, and manifest himself in such an extraordinary manner, that my soul would be immediately swallowed up in a holy flame of love. But finding not what I expected, I soon flagged in my pursuit, and any evil corruption returned again to my heart. And though in general I had power over all sin, inward and outward, and peace with God, and still sought after a clean heart ; yet I often thought, that according to his word he was willing to give it to others, but had some particular exceptions against me.
" I thought I strove more for it in every good word and work, than many others that received it, and yet the more I strove, the harder it seemed to be attained ; yea, I frequently thought, the more I sought God, the more he withdrew from me. Upon which, I used to fall into such weakness of mind, that I could scarcely conceive anything at all of God or of Christ. At other times, when I was earnest for purity, there would appear such a huge bar, or such a huge something, that it was impossible for me to get any farther. Then I thought I might be contented with what I had got : and resting here, I used to enjoy a tolerable degree of peace ; though envy, lust, and barrenness, frequently harassed me within. But 01 how contrary to my expectation hath God dealt with me!
" Two days before I received it, I was telling a brother, I could not see that I have grown in grace for twenty years past; because when I would sail forward in the divine life, there arose up always such a sand-bank, that my poor vessel could not make any way. But as I was reading the fore-mentioned passage, 'All things whatsoever we ask in prayer, believing-" ye shall receive,' I thought I would once more pray for sanctification ; because it is God's will, according to His word. And I thought I would depend upon him, as I would upon the faithfulness of a friend; and should be as much disappointed in my expectation, if he were not as good as his word, as if I were deceived by a man. I soon found my soul sunk down into a kind of nothingness before God, and presently was persuaded that no sin remained in my heart, and that through believing I might ever keep it out. I thought, if this is the way to be sanctified, any one that has grace may believe to be sanctified, if he will ; for none, can be more weak in faith than myself, and yet I have no doubt but my heart is purified.
" Thus, contrary to my former expectation of being something extraordinary when sanctified, I am emptied of self, and sink into an unfeigned nothingness, that Christ may be my all in all. I can only admire the goodness of God, respecting the manner in which he has been pleased to bestow this blessing upon me. For, had he given it in my own way, that is, in rapturous joy, perhaps, upon those transports subsiding, I should have immediately thought that all was gone; and then have fallen into unbelief. But now, if I am ever so low, or ever so elevated, I continue believing in the Lord, who is my aim and end. I desire nothing, I seek nothing but God. He is my refuge- my rest, my portion, and my all.
O how wonderful his ways !
All in love begin and end,
Whom his mercy means to raise,
Must his justice bids descend.'
" April 12.-This day I find the Lord very gracious. Upon a trial that used to make me very hasty in spirit, I found not the least shadow of it in my heart. The state of my soul at present cannot be better expressed than by this verse.
Let the waves around thee rise,
Let the tempest threat the skies,
Calm thou ever art within,
All unruffled, all serene;
Thy sure anchor cannot fail,
Enter'd now within the vail.'
"April 14.-1 find the refreshing springs of grace purifying my heart more and more. Blessed be God, the Father Of mercies; he is my God, my portion, my all. This night I found him very gracious to me in preaching-
"April 16.-1 am more and more clear that my heart is entirely changed. The word of God, the Spirit of God, and my soul's experience agree together. This morning I was elevated in my mind ; but I see it dangerous, and that I have need to watch a~against it. My soul chooses Christ above ecstatic joy or transport, before every thing that tends to alienate my mind from him, yea, above all gifts without him; for, was it possible to be in heaven without him, I had rather be on earth with him.
"April 17.-The Lord is still gracious. Satan tempts, but I get the
victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday 25.-1 have been in such a heavy state this day, that it renders me very unprofitable : but blessed be God, I find, whether heavy or alert, weak or strong, he that believeth shall be saved. So that I still hope my heart is clean, though sometimes I am hardly sure.
"April 26 to 29.-My state is pretty even with some particular spiritual satisfaction. Blessed be God, I have reason to judge the root of sin is out of my heart; because when I am tempted, nothing within takes hold of it. I find it easier to keep sin out than conquer it when in.
" May 12.-I hope the Lord is establishing my heart in grace more and more. This morning, I have had glorious conceptions of the blessed Trinity. So that my soul can say 'O God, thou art my God: glory be to thee, O thou Most High.'
" May 17.-Blessed be God, I am kept in peace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Happy is the man that has the God of Jacob for his help; whose hope is in the Lord his God.
"October 17.-For three days past I have been much encouraged to hope for all the fulness of God. The promise as well as command, is 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart ;' and I hope I shall not rest short of' it. O my God, give me power now, and continue it to my life's end for Jesus Christ's sake!
'The promise is sure
To the helpless and poor,
Their souls and their bodies thou surely canst cure.'
October 30.-Thou blessest me much, O my God; but I shall never be satisfied until I awake up after thy likeness.
"December 10.-The blood of Jesus cleanseth from any sin. Blessed be the Lord for this!
'Tis all my hope and all my plea,
That Jesu's blood was shed for me.'
January 7, 1784.-Glory be to God in the highest! The latter part of the old year ended, as the new year begins, well. I overcome all sin by the blood of the Lamb. For these three or four weeks past I have walked in blessed liberty through believing. Lord increase my faith; for there is nothing like living by faith.
" April 2.-I was waked this morning by a loud voice sounding in my ears, 'Say unto Zion, thy God reigneth.'
It was repeated very sharply, 'Tell Zion, thy God reigneth.' Lord help me so to do. I have several times had such solemn views of Zion's prosperity, that I am in hopes the gospel will bear all before it, in this island.
"April 19.-Ah ! what is this life to him that is born to die ? I wonder that Methodists will have anything to do with the pleasures, fashions, or riches of this world. How few cry out in their counting houses,
'In all times of our wealth, good Lord deliver us.'
" In July I left the Isle of Man, in a very prosperous way, and was appointed for Whitehaven."
Mr. Robinson, after removing from the Isle of Man, persevered in the zealous and faithful discharge of duty, and in the rich and growing enjoyment of the "fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ," till the latter end of the year 1797, When he finished his work and earthly course at Horncastle, in Lincolnshire, sincerely regretted by a sorrowing people, and a large circle of affectionate friend's. One of his colleagues writes:-" I have gone to many to learn how to live, but I went to Mr. Robinson to learn how to live and to die. He expressed himself infinitely thankful that he had only his bodily affliction to endure, and heartily praised God for all his mercies ; especially for the strong confidence he had in his Redeemer, and the blessed prospect, through faith in his name, of a glorious immortality."
The late venerable J. Pawson wrote of him as follows:-
He was of a meek and quiet spirit, and remarkably humble, patient, and teachable ; yet truly zealous and. active. His whole heart was in the work; and he was in very deed a man of one business. And at all times he discovered himself to be a faithful advocate for a present, free, and full salvation. He followed after till he attained this glorious liberty, and lived and died in the enjoyment of it."
The conference account of this excellent man is equally interesting and satisfactory. " Jasper Robinson,'an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.' He was a travelling preacher three and twenty years, during which, his unaffected simplicity of manners, his steady and upright conduct, his mild and gentle spirit, never failed to gain him the affectionate regard of all the pious people who knew him. His whole heart was in the work of God, and many will praise the Lord for his labours. He was remarkably patient in suffering and entirely resigned to the will of his heavenly father. His memory will long be precious to the people among whom he laboured. He lived and died a happy witness of the full salvation of God. He fell asleep in Jesus, December 6, 1797, aged seventy-three years."
Such, my dear Sir, was the minister intrusted with the societies, and work of God, in this island, by the conference of 1782 and 1783. I may add, Mr. Robinson was happy in his colleagues. During his first year, he was associated with Mr. Jonathan Brown, who had been in the circuit the preceding year, and was a man of a kindred spirit. They laboured together in perfect harmony, and with great success. A letter written from the Island, at this period, by Mr. Brown to Mr. Wesley, will, I am sure, be esteemed interesting, and not irrelevant, in a history of Methodism in the Isle of Man.
"Douglas, Isle of Man, June 7, 1783.
"REV. AND DEAR SIR.,
" Through abundant mercy, the work still goes on among the poor people here. We had a little addition the last quarter, and out hearers do not appear to be weary of hearing of a precious Christ therefore I hope the Lord will not stay his hand among them. The preachers here in general are pious, and lovers of discipline; and will, I believe, respect the English that are so too. Many of the old members are in earnest for all the mind which was in Jesus. About three days ago, one told me that, in her band, she was much drawn o,it in prayer for the cessation of indwelling sin, and in a very little time she by faith obtained the blessing ; and the Spirit witnessed that her heart was cleansed from all unrighteousness.
" I lately met a friend on the road ; we sat down to relate to each other the dealings of God with our souls: and he told me that for twenty-one years he had been a lover of the meek and lowly Jesus : but in general there had been such a sand-bank before him. that he thought he gained little ground. The evening coming on we parted, and soon after, I received the following lines from him :--
" ' Glory be to God most high, I believe he bath removed the sandbank from my soul; so that now I hope, Jesus being my pilot, to sail into the haven of eternal happiness. Blessed be my faithful God, I have no doubt but lie has purified my heart by faith: I am emptied, I believe, of envy and wrath, desire and pride. One act of simple faith has done more than twenty-one years' striving in prayer without it.'
"I believed the report, and could congratulate the happy man on his deliverance. My soul longed to launch out into the deep, that I might share in the same salvation. In a second letter he writes thus, ' I believe that sin has ceased; yet I find I must keep watching that it do not enter in again. The just shall live by faith : and he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not, while he keeps believing in Jesus.' O that thousands, and tens of thousands might witness the good confession before men and angels !
" A woman, a member of our society, has continued to fast and pray for the rebellious, for the space of eleven days, without either eating bread, or drinking water, and all the while was neither hungry nor faint. I desired her on the eleventh day to take a little food, which she did. " I greatly wondered at the goodness of the Almighty, in supporting her for so long a time ; but what is it that the Lord cannot do ? Blessed be his holy name for ever!
I am, Rev. and dear Sir,
Your very affectionate son in the gospel,
During Mr. Robinson's second year in the Isle of Man, he had for one of his colleagues, Mr. Edward Burbeck, in reference to whose death, I dare say you will remember, there is a rather singular relation in one of the volumes of our Magazine. When Mr. Burbeck left the island, in the year 1785, he was appointed for the Dales circuit, and at the end of that year was removed to Inverness, having Mr. Joshua Keighley for one of his colleagues. I will venture to transcribe, and insert, the somewhat extraordinary account, drawn up by Mr. James Gray and dated, Inverness, May 4, 1814.
"The Bristol conference, for 1786, appointed Messrs. Joshua Keighey and Edward Burbeck to labour in the Inverness circuit. They met at Aberdeen, and set off for their circuit together. When approaching within two miles of Keith, on that High hill which overlooks it, in the dusk of the evening, about sun-set, they beheld, about twenty yards from them, a dark shade like a screen drawn right across the road ; they took courage, and rode up to it, which divided and opened like a two-leaf gate, and as they passed through, all audible voice said, 'You may pass on to your circuit, but shall never return to England.' 'This prediction was actually accomplished in the death of these two holy men of God in the course of the year. They slept at Keith that night, and next noon arrived at Elgin, where I then lived: I called at their lodgings, found Mr. Keighey reading, and Mr. Burbeck had gone to bed, having, rested none last night, owing to the thoughts of the vision and voice. Mr. Keighley then told me solemnly and seriously what I have related above. They continued to fulfill the duties of their ministry until the end of July, about the time of the sitting of conference; when Mr. Keighley was seized with a brain fever and died on the eighth day. Mr. Burbeck came four days after from Inverness, and lodged with me, until he received his appointment from conference ; he seemed anxious to get out of the circuit, if possible, to defeat the prediction ; in pursuing his journey to o Keith he was taken ill, four miles before he reached that village, and was carried thither sick of a fever, and died on the ninth day. Mr. Keighley was possessed with powerful natural talents, piety, and zeal for the souls of men. Mr. Burbeck's constitution was nervous ; but a more pious, sincere, upright minister the church of Christ is seldom blessed with."
The conference account of these two valuable young ministers of the Lord Jesus., who in life were lovely and useful, and in death scarcely divided, is simply as follows :-
" Joshua Keighley, who was a young man deeply devoted to God, and greatly beloved by all that knew him. He was
'About the marriage state to prove,
But death had swifter wings than love.'
Edward Burbeck, who from a child was eminent for uprightness, industry, and the fear of God. He was qualified for eminent service in his Lord's vineyard, but was taken just in the dawn of his usefulness."
At the conference of 1785, the number of members in society, in the Isle of Man, amounted to two thousand four hundred and twenty-two, and four preachers were appointed to labour there the ensuing year ; one of whom was the late Mr. John Ogilvie, who had then travelled three years, and to whom Mr. Wesley wrote the following letter a few days after the conference closed-
London, August 7, 1785.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
" As long as you are yourself earnestly aspiring after a full deliverance from all sin, and a renewal in the whole image of God God will prosper you in your labour; especially if you constantly and strongly exhort all believers to expect full sanctification now, by simple faith. And never be weary of well doing. ' In due time you shall reap if you faint not.'I am,Your affectionate brother,,"JOHN WESLEY."
Soon after Mr. Ogilvie's appointment to the island, he was. visited with a fit of illness, but, through the blessing of God, his health was shortly restored. Mr. Wesley, having been made acquainted with the circumstance, kindly wrote to him as follows.-
" London, February 21, 1786.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
"You see God orders all things well. You have reason to thank him both for your sickness and your recovery. But whether sick or in health, if you keep in his way, you are to prepare your soul for temptations. For how shall we conquer if we do not fight? Go on, then, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ . Fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life! Salvation is nigh. Seek, desire nothing else."I am'Your affectionate brother," JOHN WESLEY."
At the ensuing, conference Mr. Crook was again appointed for the island, with Messrs. Ogilvie, J. Crowther, and J. Ramshaw, for his colleagues, but, notwithstanding his superior ability for the work, the respect and affection with which he was generally regarded in the island, and the great success which had previously crowned his labours, this year was distinguished by a very serious falling off in point of numbers the return at the following conference shewing a decrease of more than three hundred members. A few days before the meeting of conference, which was held at Manchester, Mr Wesley wrote the following letter to Mr. Ogilvie..-
Near Manchester, July 21, 1787
"MY DEAR BROTHER,
As there are so few preachers on the isle, I think Mr. Crook's judgment is right. It will not be expedient for you to quit your station for the present. The work of God would very probably suffer Mr. Crook and you should be absent at the same time. I believe may be contrived for you to labour the ensuing year in some part of Yorkshire. Be zealous ! Be active for GodI am,Your affectionate brother," JOHN WESLEY.
"Mr. Crook was reappointed to the Isle of Man, but with only two colleagues instead of three. The Lord graciously encouraged them in their labours by some degree of returning prosperity, and, at the end of the year, they had all increase to the society of one hundred and forty-six : the entire number being,- two thousand two hundred and sixty two.
With regard to the variation in the numbers at this period, I am inclined to think that the apparent decrease was not so much in reality as in appearance ; and that it arose from a cause which has occasionally operated, more or less, even to the present time. Owing to the peculiar circumstances of this island--the inhabitants in the country parts using chiefly the Manx language ; and being thinly scattered through the mountain districts ; and few of them possessing much of this world's goods, they have a strong reluctance to meet the preacher at the regular quarterly visitation. The preachers have uniformly regretted this circumstance, but have generally submitted in such cases to write the tickets and entrust them to the care of the leaders : some preachers, however, especially on first going into the island, have positively refused to act upon this plan, and have returned only those classes, the members of which have been willing to meet them for the renewal of their tickets ; and this has sometimes occasioned a very serious apparent decrease.
It is not improbable but that Mr. Crook on his return to the island, after an absence of five years, thought it specially became him to discontinue the prevailing practice, which, he could not but perceive, directly militated against the people's spiritual interest, and also against those financial arrangements necessary to the maintenance and extension of the work of God. But admitting this to have been the case, the result makes it quite manifest that even Mr. Crook's influence was not sufficient fully to weigh against the peculiar circumstances of the Isle of Man.
There is reason to believe that, at this period, many hundreds of the inhabitants had been truly converted to God, a noble band of highly acceptable and laborious local preachers had been raised up to assist in carrying on this glorious work, and several chapels had been erected in various parts of the island: namely, Peel, Kirk Lonan, Kirk Andreas, Douglas, &c. It is highly probable that Peel old chapel. was the first, and that it was erected in the year 1777, about two years after Methodism had been introduced. That at Kirk Lonan was built in or about the year 1780. The conveyance of the piece of land, on which the present chapel stands, bears date 8th of May, 1780. This conveyance was made by William Cowin to William Crow, his heirs &c., " to have and to hold, possess and peaceably enjoy, the premises aforesaid, to build a preaching-house for the people called Methodists," &c. The house and premises were conveyed to certain trustees, and properly settled on 1 December, 1787. Since that time the chapel has been rebuilt and enlarged, and many have had reason to thank God for this house of prayer. The conveyance of the land for Douglas chapel is dated 1786 signed and delivered by Margaret Witten, of the first part, and Matthias Corran, Wm. Cain, Danl. Cain, Thomas Cain, James Kayll, John Quane, and Paul Corran, on the second part, in the presence of John Ogylvie and John Gualter. The chapel was built shortly after, and in some years had to be enlarged; but again becoming too small for the increasing congregation, the adjoining premises in Thomas street were purchased in June, 1815, and the present very commodious chapel erected in the course of the following year. The old chapel and premises are still in the possession of the trustees and furnish excellent school accommodation.
Some time after Methodism had been introduced into the Parish of Kirk Lonan, Thomas Quark, who was parish clerk, was induced to go and hear for himself; the word was made the power of God to his salvation, and he became a zealous and faithful member of the society. That Thomas Quark, the parish clerk, should go to hear the swaddlers, and become a member of the society, was more than some of the farmers and a few other persons in the parish could well bear, and the church-wardens were induced to complain to the bishop, stating the offence in all its enormity, and no doubt expecting that summary proceedings would be taken, and punishment speedily inflicted; but the good man only replied that, for his part, he thought every means of grace little enough; and, for the present, their hostility was disappointed and discouraged. After a while, the clerk ventured to invite the preachers to lodge at his house, but this was an offence which neither the charity nor the patience of some in the parish could endure. As many as sixteen, including the church-wardens, agreed to proceed in a body to Bishop's Court, and to urge their complaint against the clerk. On the appointed morning, they set off on horseback, having a long journey by way of Sulby. They called upon Thomas Quark, but he desired them to proceed, and said he would meet them there. As soon as they were gone, Thomas made the best of his way on foot over the mountains, and reached Bishop's Court some time before his accusers arrived. When they drew near, they were surprised and grieved to see the bishop and the clerk walking side by side in the grounds, and one of them exclaimed, "we are off for it to-day boys." The clerk took the opportunity of stating his case to bishop Cregan, and informed his lordship that one reason why he had taken the preachers in to lodge, in addition to affording them accommodation, was that he might have a better opportunity of knowing them, and of gathering from themselves whether the doctrines which they taught were really the same as the doctrines of the church of England ; and that he found they were the very same, only they opened the scriptures and made them plainer to the ignorant and unlearned. When his accusers came up, and had stated their grievance, particularly calling his lordships notice to the fact that the clerk had taken the preachers to lodge at his house, the bishop, after listening to their statement, mildly replied, " well they are his lodgers, and if he were to take heathens in to lodge, I have no right to tell him that he must turn them out."
The opposition now in a great measure ceased, and many of the farmers and others, not only began to attend the preaching, but soon after became members of the society.
At that time, the people were accustomed to place great dependence upon the sacraments of the church, and they were very anxious to know from the clerk, what views the preachers entertained on these subjects. Thomas Quark mentioned this to the preachers, and they generally devoted the morning, when they were at Lonan, to walking out in the fields and on the roads, that they might talk on these things with as many as came in their way, and invite them to come to the clerks that they might converse together more at length. Thomas Quark continued a consistent member of society, and was the parish clerk and school master for sixty-two years. He has been dead rather more than twenty years.
I have been informed Mr. Wesley visited Lonan, and that Dr. Coke preached there on two occasions.
There is a highly interesting account in the Arminian Magazine for 1788, of a little boy who died in Douglas, which was probably written by Mr. Crook, and is the earliest of the kind, which has come under my notice, in connexion with the Isle of Man. I venture to insert it here.
"Douglas, Feb. 4, 1788.
" William Quayle was born in Douglas, iii the Isle of Man, October 2 1, 1778. He seemed to have had the fear of God from his infancy, which produced in him a holy zeal for the glory of God. This he manifested in his frequently reproving sinners, especially his mother: telling her, that she ought not to say such bad words as she frequently did which, since she has been deprived of him, has caused her much sorrow of heart, on account of her not paying greater attention to his holy and gentle reproofs. He used also to tell her often that God would be angry with her if she did not amend ; and also reproved the wicked children that were playing in the streets.
"As soon as he was about three years old, he began to pray every night before he went to bed ; which he would never do but on his bare knees.
"He was also very tender hearted ; for if his mother chastised any of his little brothers, he would frequently weep over them on account of their folly and suffering. In short, he spent a life (short as it was) to the glory of God : always serious, and never heard to speak a bad word ; but if through any accident or inattention he had done amiss, he would fall down on his knees and ask pardon immediately.
" He hated the practice of his neighbours children, because they would not walk in the fear of the Lord ; and although he was as a sparrow upon the house top, yet he kept up a steady determination to please God, which was evinced in all his conversation.
" In September, 1787, he was seized with his last sickness, which continued about a fortnight. While he was ill, he possessed his soul in patience. He never expressed the least desire for life ; but rather wished to be removed to his heavenly fathers house : for he said, I would rather die than live.
" When his father used to express his hope that he would recover, he always replied, I would rather die than stay here. Though a child, he never complained of pain or sickness ; but was patient, and always resigned to the will of God.
" A few minutes before he died he cried out, father ! father! mother ! mother ! O my heaven ! my heaven ! He then sung a hymn, and desired his mother to turn him in bed, and instantly fell asleep in the arms of his dear Redeemer, Sep. 24, and in the ninth year of his age"
At the conference of 1788, Mr. George Holder was appointed as Mr. Crooks successor, with two colleagues, and was reappointed, with Mr. Jonathan Brown as one of his helpers, at the conference of 1789. Mr. Holder was specially suited to the Isle of Man appointment, and Mr. Jonathan Brown had previously laboured in the island with great acceptance and success, and was much beloved by the people. The work prospered in the hands of these men of God, and many were gathered into the fold of Christ.
In a letter which Mr. Holder addressed to Mr. Wesley, when he had been in the island a few months, he intimated that he had not been able to find the number of members which had been returned at the previous conference ; to which Mr. Wesley replied thus : " London, February 28, 1789.
" My DEAR BROTHER,
"You say, the last quarter, when we compared our plans with the minutes of conference, we wanted a considerable number of peoples whom Mr. Crook had given in to you. I cannot understand this. Cannot Mr. Crook cast up a plain account ? and surely, neither he nor you, nor any preacher, would willingly give in a false account.
There is something very remarkable in the relation which you give of the life and death of Mr. Charles Lace. Right precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. And every assistant should take all possible care to procure the best accounts of them that can be had. These accounts are frequently means of awakening men of the world, as well as of encouraging the children of God. In every place, the subscribers to the Magazines will fall off, unless great care be taken. You have need of great diligence as well in this as in all other parts of your office.
" I am, dear George,
" Your affectionate friend and brother,
" JOHN WESLEY."
Whatever the facts of the case, here referred to, might be, it is evident the deficiency was soon more than made up ; for, in the course of the year, hundreds were added to the number returned at the previous conference.
Mr. Holder, full of joy and gratitude, informed Mr. Wesley of the prosperity which the Lord had graciously vouchsafed, and took the opportunity of pressing him again to visit the Isle of Man. The following is Mr. Wesleys answer.
"Dublin, June 24, 1789.
"My DEAR GEORGE,
" You send me an agreeable account of the work of God in the Isle. If He will work, who shall stay his hand ? 1 should be glad of an opportunity of seeing my friends that are with you once more; but I cannot reasonably expect it. In my last voyage, the sea affected me more than ever it did before in my life ; so that I perceive my voyages draw toward an end. Brother Smith may bring all the accounts to the conference, and will be stationed in England the next year.
" I am, dear George,
" Your affectionate friend and brother,
Just about this time Mr. Jonathan Brown, also, wrote to Mr. Wesley on the same cheering subject ; namely, the great success with which the Lord had been pleased to crown the labours of his servants in the Isle of Man. Mr. Wesley wrote an interesting reply, but his letter is without a date. It must, however, have been written about this time, and under the circumstances referred to above. The letter is as follows :
" Dear Jonathan,
" You send us welcome news of the prosperity of the work of God in the Isle. A year ago, I was afraid that our members would scarce ever again amount to four and twenty hundred : so they rise now above our hope. I trust now it will be your business thoroughly to purge the floor. Purge out all the unworthy members, and strongly exhort the rest to go on to perfection. Get as many as possible to meet in band.
" I am, with love to your wife,
" Your affectionate friend and brother,
" JOHN WESLEY."
A few months before Mr. Holder left the island, having, it is probable, written to Mr. Wesley on the subject, he received the following letter, which, as you will perceive, was written little more than nine months before the death of the writer.
"Aberdeen, May 24, 1790.
" Dear George,
" I have no objection to your being in an English circuit next year, as brother Brown is staying another in the island ; which I suppose may be supplied by three preachers this year, as it was the last.
When the wit told the world of my being in the water at Portsmouth, I was three or four hundred miles from it. Be zealous for God, and you will see the fruit of your labour.
" I am, dear George,
" Your affectionate friend and brother,
" JOHN WESLEY."
Mr. Holder left the island, accordingly, and Mr. Jonathan Brown was appointed the superintendent at the conference of 1790, which, you, Sir, very well know, was the last before Mr. Wesleys death.
Jonathan Brown was a man evidently prepared of God, for the duty to which he was called, and, though for some time greatly perplexed as to his call to the sacred work, he laboured with great diligence and fervent prayer ; and the Lord granted him many seals to his ministry, who will, no doubt, be his " crown of rejoicing, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming."
In addition to his labours in the Isle of Man, he spent several years in Ireland, where he was, especially on one occasion, exposed to imminent danger, but the Lord delivered him, and made him the instrument of salvation to hundreds of the people. After leaving the Isle of Man in the year 1791, he was faithfully engaged, and, in some instances, most astonishingly successful, in various parts of the kingdom, but chiefly in the north of England, till the year 1817, when he was obliged to retire from the regular work, but survived, gradually sinking under the infirmities of age, till August 1825, when his happy spirit departed " to be with Christ." A few months before his death he observed, " the life which I live in the flesh is a life of faith in the Son of God. Glory be to God for the atonement of Christ ! What should I do now were it not for the atonement ?" A few days before his death, he referred to having received a clear sense of Gods forgiving mercy, when about twenty-two years of age : one said, "were you happy at that time ? "to which he answered, with great emphasis, "~ ! very happy, very happy." A friend saying, "you was taken out by Mr. Wesley," he replied, with tears running down his cheeks, "yes ; I bless God that I ever saw that man; I may say, I never saw such another man." "Your friendship," said one, "will be renewed in heaven." He answered " I hope so ; I wish to see all the good men I have known here ; but above all, I wish to see the Lord." I will con-elude this brief statement with the conference account of this excellent man.
"Jonathan Brown ; who was born near Stanhope, in Weardale, about the year 1750, and died in Hull, August 2, 1825. In the seventeenth year of his age, he was convinced of sin ; but it was not until he had sought the Lord for nearly five years, that he obtained the knowledge of Gods pardoning mercy. In the year, 1778, he was employed by the Rev. John Wesley, as an itinerant preacher in his connexion ; and he continued to labour in the field of ministerial usefulness, in various circuits both in England and Ireland, for thirty-eight years, when the infirmities of age constrained him to desist from travelling. . His disposition was even ; his manners were unassuming ; and his words few. He cultivated a deeply devotional spirit ; and served God with fastings and prayers, night and day. Divine simplicity, habitual seriousness, pathetic exhortation, and powerful appeals to the. consciences of his hearers, and fervent prayers for their salvation, were the most distinguishing features of his character as a minister : and to win souls to Christ was his only object. Although his preaching was not adorned with the enticing words of mans wisdom, it was most signally owned of God in the conversion of sinners from the error of their way, in almost every circuit where he laboured. He suffered much in his last affliction ; but his end was peace. In age and feebleness extreme, he gloried in the meritorious sacrifice and atonement of his God and Saviour ; and, only Jesus ! were the last words he was heard to articulate."
Having now arrived at the period which marked the termination of the venerable Wesley s hallowed and useful course, I am sure you will allow me the gratification and advantage of dwelling for a moment on the closing scene of his singularly active and devoted life. He continued to labour as you, Sir, will no doubt remember, till within a very short period of his death. His last public discourse was delivered only seven days before that event took place, from those impressive. words, "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found."
The following extract is from the latter part of Miss Ritchies account of the close of this great and good mans life, as appended to Dr. Whiteheads funeral discourse on the occasion.
. "In the afternoon," (of the day before his death) "he said, I will get up. While his things were getting ready, he broke out in a manner which, considering his extreme weakness, astonished us all, in those blessed words,
" Ill praise my Maker while Ive breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers :
My days of praise shall neer be past, ..
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures. .
Happy the man whose hopes rely
On Israels God ; he made the sky,
And earth, and seas with all their train;
His truth for ever stands secure,
He saves the oppressd he feeds the poor,
And none shall find his promise vain.
"When we got him into his chair, we saw him change for death : but he, regardless of his dying frame, said with a weak voice, Lord, thou givest strength to those that can speak, and to those that cannot : speak, Lord, to all our hearts, and let them know that thou loosest tongues. He then sung,
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Who sweetly all agree.
Here his voice failed him, after gasping for breath, he said Now we have done. We were obliged to lay him down on the bed from which he rose no more ; but after lying still, and sleeping a little, he called me to him, and said, C Betsy, you Mr. B, &c. pray and praise. We knelt down, and truly our hearts were filled with a sense of the divine presence. A little after he added, Let me be buried in nothing but what is woollen, and let my corpse be carried in my coffin into the chapel. Then, as if done with all below, he again begged we would pray and praise. We called up several friends that were in the house, and all kneeled down. Mr. Broadbent( prayed, at which time Mr. Wesleys fervour of spirit was visible to every one present ; but in particular parts of the prayer his whole soul seemed to be engaged in a manner, which evidently shewed how ardently he longed for the full accomplishment of our united desires. One thing we could not but remark ; that when Mr. B. was praying in a very expressive manner, that if God was about to take away our father and our bead to his eternal rest, he would be pleased to continue and increase his blessing upon the doctrine and discipline which he had long made his aged servant the means of propagating, and establishing in the world ; such a degree of fervour accompanied his loud Amen, as was every way expressive of his souls being engaged in the answer of our petition. On rising from our knees, he took Mr. B. s hand, drew him near, and with the utmost placidness saluted him, and said, farewell, farewell, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, Mr. Horton, &c., &c., drew near the bed-side, and he took the same affectionate leave of them all.
" The next pleasing awful scene was the great exertion he made in order to make Mr. B. understand that he fervently desired, a sermon he had written on the love of God should be scattered abroad and given away to every body. Something else he wished to say, but finding we could not understand what he said, he paused a little, and then with all the remaining strength he had, cried out, the best of all God is with us ; and then, as if to assert the faithfulness of our promise-keeping Jehovah, and comfort the hearts of his weeping friends, lifting up his dying arms in token of Victory, and raising his feeble voice with a holy triumph not to be expressed, again repeated the heart-reviving words, ' the best of all is, God is with us. Some time after, giving him something to wet his parched lips, he said, it will not do, we must take the consequence ; never mind the poor carcase. A little time after this, seeing Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rankin stand by his bed side, he asked, who are these ? (his sight now almost gone preventing him from distinctly knowing his most intimate friends, except in a peculiar light, or by their voice,) being informed who they were, Mr. Rogers then said, Sir, we are come to rejoice with you ; you are going to receive your crown. It is the Lords doing, he replied, and marvellous in our eyes. On being told Mrs. Wesley was come, he said, He giveth his servants rest. He thanked her as she pressed his hand, and affectionately endeavoured to kiss her. On wetting his lips he said, We thank thee, O Lord, for these and all thy mercies : bless the church and king : grant us truth and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord for ever and ever! At another time, He causeth his servants to lie down in peace. Then pausing a little, he cried, The clouds drop fatness ! and soon after, The Lord is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge ! He then called us to prayer. Mr. Broadbent was again the mouth of our full hearts, and though Mr. WESLEY was greatly exhausted by these exertions, he appeared still more fervent in spirit. These exertions were however too much for his feeble frame, and most of the night following, though he often attempted to repeat the psalm before mentioned, he could only get out,
Ill praise.-Ill praise !'
" On Wednesday morning, we found the closing scene drew near. Mr. Bradford, his faithful friend and most affectionate son, prayed with him, and the last word ~ he was heard to articulate was, Farewell ! A few minutes before ten, while Miss Wesley, Mr. Horlon, Mr. Brakenbury, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, Dr. Whitehead, Mr. Broadbent, Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Bradford, and E. R. were kneeling around his bed, according to his often expressed desire, without a lingering groan, this man of God gathered up his feet in the presence of his brethren ! We felt what is inexpressible. The ineffable sweetness that filled our hearts as our beloved pastor, father; and friend entered his masters joy, for a few moments blunted the edge of our painful feelings on this truely glorious, melancholy occasion."
" Adieu thrice happy spirit ! strung for thee,
Their golden harps in softest symphony, ~
The radiant orders of the skies employ,
And fill the heavens with strains of echoing joy!
Thy children too,they gladly meet thee there,
And shouts of transport load the ambient air.
Thee the blest instrument they jointly own,
But breathe their praise primeval to the throne.
Nor less thy powers the grateful theme conjoin,
And give the all of praise to grace divine."
The Isle of Man continued to be favoured with the labours of three travelling preachers from the death of Mr. Wesley, in the year 1791, to the time that two circuits were formed, which took place at the conference of 1798. The preachers appointed, during the seven years between the death of Mr. Wesley and the division of the island into two circuits, were Messrs Ogilvie, Barritt, W. Franklin, W. Fenwick, W. Martin, J. Phillips, Holder, J. Simpson, Hutchinson, Harris, Cummins, H. Harrison, and Moses. In 1 791 the number in society in the island amounted to two thousand five hundred, and at the conference of 1 797 it had increased to two thousand seven hundred and fifty. Messrs. Harrison, Cummins, and Moses were the preachers appointed for that year, but Alexander Cummins retired from the work. Mr. Crook was appointed for Charlemont, in Ireland, but there is good reason to conclude that he spent several months of the year in the Isle of Man. This might arise, ~ in some degree, from a partial failure of his health, associated with a painful domestic bereavement which he had recently endured, and partly from the loss which the circuit had sustained in the retirement of one of its preachers. But whatever might be the occasion, I learn from an entry, for that year, in an old circuit book, that the preachers present at the quarterly meeting were "Messrs. Harrison and Moses (J. Crook on a visit) ." From the manner in which "1797," and the words, "Sept. 2~1th. Dec. (held Jan. 1)," are written, before the names of the preachers present, it is difficult to determine to which of the quarters the entry, as to the presence of the preachers, applies. At the close of the statement of the September quarterly accounts there is the following record : " I believe the above account is right.
" J. CROOK."
The same is done at the close of the statements for December, and March following. The account for March contains this item ;" To Mr. H.s and Crooks letter bill 35. 3d. and 6s. 6W.," and the account for June, the follow-" Medicine for J. C. 7s. The accounts for at least two of the quarters seem to have been entered in Mr. Crooks handwriting.
It is plain, however, that Mr. Crook was again in Ireland before the meeting of the Irish conference, early in July, and acted as secretary on the occasion ; Dr. Coke being the president for that year.
As the June quarterly meeting in 1 798 was the last in which the island formed but one circuit, perhaps, Sir, you will not consider the insertion here of a list of the various places, with the amount received from each, either uninteresting or out of place.
In the course of the year, between the conference of 1797 and that of 1 798, a very astonishing revival took place in the Isle of Man, and hundreds, yea thousands, were awakened to a sense of their guilt and danger, and induced to unite themselves to the people of God. An extraordinary influence for a time accompanied almost every service, and the Holy Spirit powerfully wrought upon many, without the immediate use of the ordinary means of grace. Very many received the word with joy, and promised to "bring forth fruit with patience."
Among the fruits of this gracious visitation, I venture to notice more particularly the case of William MGraa, a native of Cumberland. It seems he had been the subject of divine impressions from early life, and had already become a member of the Methodist society, but, like too many others, rested without a consciousness of the favour of God and the enjoyment of his love. It happened that he was in the Isle of Man in February, 1798, and attended on the 22nd of that month at the Methodist chapel in Douglas. The text on the occasion was, "The end of all things is at hand." "During the sermon it was powerfully impressed. upon his mind, that probably the end of the strivings of Gods Spirit with his soul was at hand. He was much affected, and greatly alarmed at the thought. He made a solemn vow to the Lord, that if he would only manifest his pardoning love to his soul at that time, he would instantly declare aloud in the midst of the congregation. The Lord gracious . took him at his word, and filled him with joy unspeakable and full of glory ! To use his own language on the occasion,
I felt (says he) so much of the power of God that it shook my whole frame. Then could he testify aloud, O Lord, I will praise thee ; though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me."
William MGraa continued "walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost ;" was remarkably circumspect in his conduct, and very zealous in the cause of God.
It is said that being at Douglas on some festive occasion, when a great number of people were collected together in a public part of the town, he and another individual as zealous as himself, pressed into the midst of the throng, earnestly entreating them to flee from the wrath to come, and then, falling down upon their knees, devoutly besought the Lord to have mercy on them ! He lived only a few years after, but was faithful to death, and finished his course with triumphant joy.
Methodism, at this period, seemed to bear down all before it, and it appeared as if the powers of darkness for a time gave way. Many agents were actively employed in extending the work, and " the word of the Lord" had "free course," and was "glorified." What good bishop Wilson wrote in reference to another case is not inapplicable here. " Instances may be given of heathens in the darkest corners of the earth, who have, even at this day, been awakened and converted, by the blessing of God upon the labours and conversation of some very moderately learned, but pious persons. These honest and well-meaning Christians, by their good examples and patience in explaining the great truths of the gospel, have engaged men of very brutish passions, and such as before were supposed to be of an unconquerable ignorance, not only to acknowledge the true God, and his Son our Lord Jesus Christ ; but also to join with them in endeavouring to convince and convert others. And how this grain of mustard seed may grow, and increase, and spread, God only knows."
You, Sir, I know, will cheerfully admit that when real good is accomplished, wheresoever, or by whomsoever it may be effected, there is increasing cause of joy and thanks-giving among all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and are concerned for the welfare of the souls of men. Then it is, that the merciful purposes of a God of love are in some measure fulfilled, and his church on earth is strengthened and increased.
"They, and they only," says bishop Wilson, "are true Christians, who, not only believe the truths, but also obey the laws of the Christian religion." And again, that excellent prelate speaking of the true church says," which is the society of all Christian people throughout the world." On the same subject he further writes
" Whenever we name or speak of the catholic church, we mean by those words, the whole multitude of Christians, throughout the world, that profess the common faith, and enjoy the administration of the word and sacraments. All these people, wherever they live, or by what name soever they call them-selves, make up together that one body of Christ, which we call the catholic church." I will trouble you with only one more extract on this subject, taken from the good bishops Instructions for the Indians, and then I will conclude this letter, which I fear you will begin to think already too long.
" When, therefore, you see men pay a greatregard to God and his laws, honouring his holy name, and his word, and every thing belonging to him ; when you see them just and kind, and merciiful and not given to revenge, but ready to forgive, and give, and love, as becomes the followers of Christ ; when you see them temperate and chaste, modest and humble and dealing with others as they themselves would be dealt with you will have reason to take these for good Christians, if you are convinced that they do these things out of love and obedience to God, and as the fruit of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, if you see among those that call themselves Christians, such as make no conscience of their ways, but lead careless, idle, useless, or disorderly lives ; exceeding fond of the world, and its vanities ; and striving to be rich and great, at any rate ; if you see any that live in adultery or fornication, or that are drunkards, spendthrifts, covetous, or oppressors; if you see parents unconcerned for their childrens eternal welfarehusbands and wives forgetting or breaking their marriage vows ; masters and servants acting in the course of their behaviour, as if they were insensible that they have a master in heaven ; if you see men in power regardless of the honour of that God, whose representatives they are ; you may be sure, that these, and such as these, are CHRISTIANS WITHOUT CHRISTIANITY, and will be liable to a most severe judgment, for their opposing the gracious designs of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ."
I remain, dear Sir,
With grateful remembrance,
+ Rev H Corlet
1 Dr. Richmond.
2 Bishop Mason.