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on the text, “I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me, that the converted sailor felt moved to take upon himself that amazing work among the wretched criminals of Newgate and other prisons that gained him the noble title of the Good Samaritan of London. For thirty years he worked day and night among the most miserable and degraded of mankind, and when Wesley buried him he entered in his journal this uncommon eulogy: “I buried all that was mortal of honest Silas Told. For many years he attended the malefactors in Newgate, without fee or reward, and I suppose no man for this hundred years has been so successful in that melancholy office."
The displays of divine power in the Foundry in early times, and at the open-air services in Moorfields, near-by, almost exceed belief at the present day. Twenty thousand people was an ordinary Moorfields congregation for Whitefield and Wesley. The singing could be heard two miles away, and the voice of Whitefield, when at his best, fully a mile. Around him coaches, wagons, scaffolds, and other contrivances by the hundred were let to those of means who were anxious to hear the great preacher. One memorable Easter service in this place was the grand occasion of his life as a field-preacher. It was the custom in the holiday season to erect booths in Moorfields for all sorts of mountebanks, players, and puppet shows; and from early morn till late at night the place was filled with thousands of the lower sort of people. Whitefield determined to make one of these festive seasons a grand Gospel field-day. On Whitmonday, at six in the morning, attended by a large band of praying people, he ventured out among the multitudes gaping for their usual diversions. His text was well suited for the occasion: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” In the early still morning all was hushed and solemn. The people gazed with awe upon the impassioned preacher; they wept and were stung with deep conviction. He ventured out again at noon, when the fields were filled with motley crowds, and the shows were in full blast. As soon as they saw him mount the stand the people left the Merry Andrews and crowded by thousands around him. In the evening he renewed the battle, and then came the real tug of war. When he had mounted the pulpit twenty or thirty thousand flocked around him. He soon became a target for rude fellows. Dirt, dead cats, stones, decayed vegetables, rotten eggs, were hurled at him. A brawny showman, mounted on the shoulders of a comrade, tried to slash him with a heavy whip. A recruiting sergeant forced his way through the dense crowd near the stand furiously beating a drum. But preacher and hearers held their ground. The little boys and girls that stood near him served as pages to pass up the notes for prayer that the people handed in; "and though,” says Whitefield,“ they were pelted with eggs and dirt thrown at me, never once gave way, but on the contrary every time I was struck turned up their little weeping eyes and seemed to wish they could receive the blows for me.” They fought the battle against the rabble for three solid hours, preaching, praying, singing, and exhorting the whole time. They then drew off their forces to the Tabernacle, where Whitefield drew from his pocket a thousand notes from convicted sinners asking their prayers. As the substantial fruits of this day's work three hundred were taken into the Church in one day, nearly all of the lower classes, “ brands plucked from the burning.”
The power which attended the sermons of Wesley, delivered usually in calm but fervid tones, was amazing. In a moment men and women would drop down without any strength and cry out with violent pain. “Some said they felt as if a sword was running through them; others as if a great weight lay upon them, and would crush them into the earth; others felt a choking sensation and could scarcely breathe; others as if their hearts were swelling in them ready to burst; others as if their whole body was tearing all to pieces.” Of these strange scenes Wesley says: “These symptoms I can no more ascribe to natural causes than to the Spirit of God. I can make no doubt but it was Satan tearing them as they were coming to Christ; and hence proceeded those grievous cries whereby he might design both to discredit the work of God and affright people from hearing that word whereby their souls might be saved.” A scene of this sort occurred in the Foundry while Wesley was expounding the 12th of Acts. A young man rushed into the room cursing and swearing vehemently. The disturbance was great and the intruder had to be put out by force. But Wesley called to them, “Let him come in that our Lord may
bid his chains fall off.” He returned at the close of the sermon, confessed himself to be a disguised smuggler on his
way to his unlawful work, and vowed that he would seek God. Wesley certainly believed the devil to be a terrible personality. The places of early Methodism were not only marked by wonderful revival scenes, but also by stern and unrelenting discipline on incorrigible offenders against Society rules. Look at this record : “ Sixty-four were expelled : two for cursing and swearing; two for habitual Sabbath-breaking; seventeen for drunkenness; two for retailing spirituous liquors; three for quarreling and brawling ; one for beating his wife; three for habitual Sabbath-breaking; four for railing and evil speaking; nine-and-twenty for lightness and carelessness; and one for idleness and laziness.” If we should begin to thin out in these days on such lines, especially the two last named, what a vast reduction we should have in the numbers of modern Methodism!
The centers from which the great evangelists thundered against sin were, for Wesley, the Foundry; for Whitefield, Tottenham Chapel, and for Lady Huntingdon, besides her West End residence, her Spafield's Chapel among poor watchmakers and other artisans. Tottenham Chapel stands yet, though somewhat modernized. It was called in derision « Whitefield's soul-trap.” Hundreds were turned away on Sunday mornings for want even of standing room. People of rank and of every profession crowded to hear the wonderful preacher. Even Hume, the infidel, could not withstand the desire to hear him. To a friend who asked his opinion of Whitefield he said: “Sir, he is the most ingenious preacher I ever heard. It is worth while to go twenty miles to hear him.” He then actually repeated the following passage from one of his grand perorations : “After a solemn pause, Mr. Whitefield thus addressed his numerous auditory: “The attendant angel is just about to leave the threshold and ascend to heaven. And shall he ascend and not bear with him the news of one sinner among all this multitude reclaimed from the error of his ways!' To give the greater effect to this exclamation, he stamped with his foot, lifted his hands and eyes to heaven, and with gushing tears cried aloud, stop, Gabriel ! stop, Gabriel ! ere you enter the sacred portals, and yet carry
with you the news of one sinner converted to God!' He then, in the most simple but energetic language, described what he called a Saviour's dying love to sinful man, so that almost the whole assembly melted into tears. This address was accompanied with such animated yet natural action that it surpassed any thing I ever saw or heard in any other preacher.”
But, unhappily for the cold, infidel philosopher, he heard and received all only as the word of man. Even the play-actors went to hear this master of eloquence and to study his tones and action. The Tabernacle is there still; the great city has stretched to and far beyond it, covering all the once vacant fields; but the memories can never die. Alone one day I walked through its aisles, ascended the pulpit whence the thunder-bolts of truth were hurled amid the cowering thousands that packed the spacious house from door to pulpitstairs and all the wide galleries. I went into the vestry where in marble and from canvass the full round face of the great revivalist looks upon you ; sat in his spacious arm-chair, and sought to catch somewhat of the seraphic spirit that bore him triumphantly across oceans and continents as a mighty herald of the everlasting kingdom. Surely the bones of Whitefield ought to rest near or beneath the Tabernacle, as do those of his great compeer near City Road Chapel. But it is well that his dust rests in the soil of the New World, for he was as much the apostle of America as he was of England. From New England to Georgia he swept as a flame of celestial brightness, kindling holy fires which are destined to burn on forever. The man who preached 18,000 sermons, more than ten a week, for the thirty-four years of his ministerial life, who ten times crossed the stormy North Atlantic in slow sailing-vessels, who so impressed the infidel Hume that he thought it worth a man's while to go twenty miles to hear him preach, who so stirred such a nature as Franklin's by his appeals for his orphan house as to empty his pockets of the last coin when the philosopher had predetermined not to give a copper-such a inan can never perish out of the heart of God's people.
From the London throne of Whitefield I went to the humble chapel where that holy woman, Lady Huntingdon, scattered the richest blessings among the wretched poor of the great city. Just as I reached the door of a house next to the quaint-looking chapel an elderly man of benignant face was coming out. On telling him my mission he courteously informed me that he was the minister in charge, and at once conducted me to his parlor. We sat and talked of the countess and her work in the very room in which she had held counsel with the leaders of the Calvinistic branch of Methodism. The chapel is a circular building, and the arrangement of every thing is very nearly as the countess had it in her day. A private passage led from the dwelling into the chapel by which she always entered, and there may still be seen the large square pew occupied by her ladyship and her special guests. “ The countess died here," said the minister, and not at her costly West End residence; would you like to see the room in which she died? follow me and I will show it you. We passed out of the parlor into a narrow passage; he opened a door on the right, and we entered a small room not more than twelve feet square. “Here," he said, "that noble woman ended her great life-work in her eighty-fourth year. Truly the death scene in that little room, amid its squalid surroundings, was sublime. Weary and worn the saintly woman awaited the word of release. When a blood vessel broke, as soon as speech returned, she said: “I am well, all is well-well forever, Wherever I turn my eyes I see nothing but victory. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. My soul is filled with glory. I am in the eleinent of heaven itself. I am encircled in the arms of love and mercy. I long to be at home.” Just before the golden gates opened she exclaimed : “I shall
go my Father this night; and the last words were, “My work is done, I have nothing to do but to go to my Father.” Such were the words that had filled the little one-windowed room from which the soul of this “elect lady” ascended to a mansion not made with hands.
But of all places in London to which the thoughts and affections of Methodists turn, City Road Chapel, its preacher's homes, and the little burying-ground in the rear of the chapel, are the most noted. Here Wesley established his head-quarters when compelled to give up the lease of the Foundry. The place and its surroundings are historic. Directly opposite is Bunhill Fields, made sacred by the dust of thousands of heroic Non-conformists. There lie the remains of Bunyan, Isaac