Ewhurst - Thomas Rankin (1761)

Sevenoaks, in Kent, was the first place I preached at. I had paid a very particular attention to the manner of Mr Wesley, as also of Mr Maxfield, when preaching in London. I took notice of the pointed and close applications they made to the consciences of the people. As I had them for a pattern, I endeavoured to tread in their steps. I enforced, as well as I could, a free, full, and present salvation. The Lord soon set to His seal, so that some were stirred up to expect pardon, and others deliverance from the remains of the carnal mind. The goodness of God was manifested in a peculiar manner, with respect to my own soul; for I had not been a week in the Circuit, before I had such a discovery of my call to preach, as confirmed all my former experience. The preaching had not been above three years in this little Circuit, and one preacher supplied the whole. I therefore attended to the discipline of the societies, as well as preaching to them; and as all the societies were but small, I always met them, by speaking to every member after I had done preaching. This I did the first time I went around the Circuit, and I soon saw the salutary effects thereof. I knew the state of every member: and this enabled me to address them in public and private accordingly. It pleased God first to visit some in Sevenoaks with a sense of pardon, as also of the virtue of the all-cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. When I mentioned this as I went around the Circuit, the flame broke out in such a manner as was never seen or felt among them before.

At my third or fourth visit, upwards of twenty found peace with God, and several others were enabled to testify that the blood of Christ had cleansed them from all sin. Now it was that I saw the arm of the Lord made bare, and the fruit of my labours, when God had prepared my soul, by many temptations and many blessings, to bear the same. O the wisdom and goodness of God in His dealings with His creatures!

Every day someone or another was brought to the knowledge of God; others filled with His pure love, and several awakened to a sense of their lost and undone state. In one of those meetings at Ewehurst Cross, it pleased God to visit Mr Richardson, who was then curate of the parish. A few months after, he came to London, and laboured as a clergyman in connexion with Mr Wesley, and was a burning and a shining light, till called to his eternal reward. That memorable day, when the Lord visited M. Richardson's soul, was such a one as I had never seen. From twelve to twenty persons in the two little societies of Northiam and Ewehurst were brought to the knowledge of God. I was engaged almost the whole of the day in praying and speaking to the people. I was so filled with the love of God, that I scarcely slept the whole night; and yet I got up in the morning as a giant refreshed with wine.

Thomas Jackson, The Early Methodist Preachers, Volume 5, 173-4.

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