Potton - John Berridge (1759)

"On Monday, July 9th, 1759, I set out, and on Wednesday noon reached Potton, when I rejoiced at the account given by John Keeling of himself and others. He was justified, it seems, on that memorable Sabbath, but had not a clear witness of it till ten days after; about which time, his sister, (who was on that day in great distress,) was also set at liberty. I discoursed also with Ann Thorn, who told me of much heaviness following the visions with which she had been favoured; but said she was at intervals visited still with such overpowering love and joy, especially at the Lord's supper that she often lay in a trance for many hours. She is twenty-one years old. We were soon after called into the garden, when Patty Jenkins (one of the same age was so overwhelmed with the love of God, that she sunk down, and appeared as one in a pleasant sleep, only with her eyes open; yet she had often just strength enough to utter, with a low voice, ejaculations of joy and praise; but no words coining up to what she felt, she frequently laughed while she saw his glory. This is quite unintelligible to many; for a stranger meddleth not with our joy. So it was to Mr, M,, who doubted whether God or the Devil had filled her with love and praise. O the depth of human wisdom! Mr R in the meantime was filled with a solemn awe. I no sooner sat down by her than the Spirit of God poured the same blessedness into my soul Hers continued till the time we were to set out for Cockayne Hatley. Then her strength was restored in a moment, and we walked together, sixteen in number, singing to the Lord as we went along. ? About two thousand souls seem to have been awakened within this twelve months.

"While Mr B. preached in the church, I stood with many in the church-yard, to make room for those who came from far; therefore I saw little, but heard the agonizing of many, panting and gasping for eternal life. In the afternoon Mr B. was constrained, by the multitude of people, to come out of the church, and preach in his own close. Some of those who were here pricked to the heart, were affected in an astonishing manner. The first man I saw wounded would have dropped, but others catching him in their arms, did indeed prop him up, but were so far from keeping him still, that he caused all of them to totter and tremble. His own shaking exceeded that of a cloth in the wind. It seemed as if the Lord came upon him like a giant, taking him by the neck, and shaking all his bones in pieces. One woman tore up the ground with her hands, filling them with dust, and with the hard trodden grass, on which I saw her lie, with her hands clenched, as one dead, when the multitude dispersed. Another roared and screamed in a more dreadful agony than ever I heard before. I omitted the rejoicing of believers because of their number and the frequency thereof, though the manner was strange; some of them being quite overpowered with divine love, and only showing enough of natural life to let us know they were overwhelmed with joy and life eternal. Some continued long as if they were dead, but with a calm sweetness in their looks. I saw one who lay two or three hours in the open air, and being then carried into the house, continued insensible another hour, as if actually dead. The first signs of life she shown was a rapture of praise, intermixed with a small joyous laughter.?

For more on John Berridge, go to 'St Mary's Church Everton' on this website.

The works of ... John Berridge, with an enlarged memoir of his life [ed.] by R. Whittingham, p52-4.


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