Northiam (1758)

The next day we rode over the Downs to Rye, lying on the top of a round fruitful hill. I preached at seven to a crowded audience, with great enlargement of spirit. Wed. October 11. — I rode to Rolvenden, about ten miles from Rye, and preached at five to a large, serious congregation. A few drunkards stood in the road at some distance and took some pains to divert their attention, but it was labour lost. Thur, 12th. — It was a rainy morning so that the House contained the congregation. Many of them were in tears, being deeply convinced that they were as yet “without God in the world.” About one I preached at Northiam. The House was stowed as full as possible, but still many were constrained to stand without, though it rained much. About five in the evening I preached again at Rye. Fri. 13. — In the evening we had a solemn season. After I had concluded my sermon, I read over the Rules of the Society in the open congregation.

The number of those who came at five in the morning showed that God had touched many hearts. On Saturday evening many were obliged to stand without, though the wind was high and extremely cold. Sun. 15. — After preaching at eight I rode again to Northiam and preached in Mr Stonestreet’s orchard, so far the largest congregation I have seen in Sussex. One of Rye, in our return thither, gave us a remarkable account: “Mr.——, one most eminent for profaneness, drunkenness, and all manner of wickedness, when you met the society on Thursday evening at your lodgings, was curious to listen at the window. The next day he surprised his company by crying out, ‘I am the greatest sinner on the whole earth.’

John Wesley's Journal 9-12th October 1758.

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