Extracts From The Journal of the Rev. Francis Asbury, Bishop of The Methodist Episcopal Church, From August 7, 1771, to December 7, 1815 (New York: N. Bangs and T. Mason, For The Methodist Episcopal Church, 1821)
Preached at Martinsburg - afterward returned to Brother Bruce's: he is a lily among the thorns.
Preached to about one hundred and fifty serious people, and was blest in meeting class.
I preached to a few lifeless people at Stroud's. I find myself given to God in prayer, and am not peculiarly exercised; yet my spirits feel depression.
Had a rough ride over hills and dales to Guest's; Here brother Pigman met me, and gave an agreeable account of the work on the south branch of Patomac. I am kept in peace; and greatly pleased I am to get into the woods, where, although alone, I have blessed company, and sometimes think, Who so happy as myself?
We had twelve miles to R.'s, along a bushy, hilly road. A poor woman with a little horse, without a saddle, outwent us up and down the hills, and when she came to the place appointed, the Lord met with and blessed her soul.
I set out for the south branch of Patomac, a country of mountains and natural curiosities. Blessed be God for health and peace! The enemy strives against me; but I look to God from hour to hour. We found some difficulty in crossing Great-Capon River; three men very kindly carried us over in a canoe, and afterward rode our horses over the stream, without fee or reward; about five o'clock we reached W. R.'s; I laid me down to rest on a chest, and using my clothes for covering, slept pretty well - here I found need of patience.
Not being able to cross the South Branch, we had to bear away through the mountains, and to go up one of about two hundred yards elevation; in some places the breaks in the slate served for steps, in other parts of the ascent there were none; we at length reached the place appointed, and preached to about twenty, as I think, prayerless people, on Isaiah 1v. 6, 7. I hope some felt the word.
I preached at eleven o'clock to about two hundred people with a degree of freedom. I then rode to R. Williams's. On my way I had a vew of a hanging rock that appears like a castle wall, about three hundred feet high, and looks as if it had been built with square slate stones; at first glance a graveller would be ready to fear it would fall on him. I had about three hundred people; but there were so many wicked whiskey drinkers, who brought with them so much of the power of the devil, that I had but little satisfaction in preaching.
I rose at five o'clock, with a determination to live nearer to God. Here are a few believers groaning for full redemption, but many more are dying through controversy and for the want of urgent exhortation to purity of heart: it is hard for those to preach this doctrine who have not experimentally attained it, or who are not striving with all their hearts to possess it. From Williams's I crossed the South Branch and went to Patterson-Creek. I came to a Dutch settlement: the people love preaching, but do not understand class-meeting, because they are not enough conversant with the English tongue: and we cannot all do as J. Hagerty and H. Wydner, who speak both languages: could we get a Dutch preacher or two to travel with us, I am persuaded we should have a good work among the Dutch. I love these people - they are kind in their way. We have many trials and threatenings; but God is with us. I have lately been reading Fletcher's Checks, and they have been greatly blest to me: however he may be now treated, and his works held in light estimation, ages to come will bless God for his writings, as I have done for those of Baxter and other ancient divines.
I am now in a land of vallies and mountains, about ten or fifteen miles from the foot of the Alleghany; a mountain, that at this part of it, is two days' journey across; thither some of our preachers are going to seek the outcasts of the people. Blessed be God, I am kept in constant peace and love, and am not so subject to dejection as in times past.
My soul enjoyed great peace in family and private prayer. There is much talk about some of our preachers being taken up - I have no fears from that quarter.
I was led to wonder at myself when I considered the fatigue I went through - travelling in the rain; sleeping without beds, &c. - and in the midst of all I am kept in health: this confirms me in the persuasion that I am about the work I am called to, and the Lord gives me strength according to my day: so let thy work spread, blessed Jesus, and let not thy servants labour in vain!
We had hard work crossing the Fork-Mountain, being sometimes abliged to walk where it was too steep to ride. I was much blessed in speaking to about ninety Dutch folks, who appeared to feel the word. Here is a spring remarkable for its depth, and the quantity of water it discharges sufficient for a mill within two hundred yards from the source, which sometimes in freshets throws its mass of waters considerably above the ordinary level of the surface.
It does not appear that I do any great good; yet I am constantly happy and measurably holy: I bless the Lord for this.
Last evening I rode a mile and a half to see some of the greatest natural curiosities my eyes ever beheld - they were two caves, about two hundred yards from each other: their entrances were, as in similar cases, narrow and descending, gradually widening towards the interior, and opening into lofty chambers, supported, to appearance, by besaltic pillars: in one of these I sung,
"Still out of the deepest abyss,"
The sound was wonderful. There were stalactites resembling the pipes of an organ, which when our old guide, father Ellsworth, struck with a stick, emitted a melodious sound, with variations according to their size: walls, like our old churches; resemblances to the towers adjoining their belfries; and the natural gallery, which we ascended with difficulty - all to me was new, solemn, and awfully grand. There were parts which we did not explore - so deep, so damp, and near night. I cam away filled with wonder, with humble praise, and adoration.
In journeying through this mountainous district I have been greatly blessed, my soul enjoying constant peace. I find a few humble, happy souls in my course; and although present appearances are gloomy, I have no doubt but that there will be a glorious, Gospel-day in this and every other part of America.
There are but two men in the society at Lost-River able to bear arms; they were both drafted to go into the army; I have them what comfort I could, and prayed for them.
I got alone into a barn to read and pray. The people here appear unengaged: the preaching of unconditional election, and its usual attendant, Antinomianism, seems to have hardened their hearts.
More people attended preaching than I expected: I had some liberty in speaking but no great fervour, neither seemed there much effect produced. I retired to read and pray in the woods, the houses being small, and the families large.
For some days past my congregations have not been very large, which is in part owing to the harvest- home. I fasted from yesterday noon until four o'clock to-day; though much tempted, I have been blest. I have kept close to-day, and have read two hundred pages of Baxter's Saints' Rest; surely this is a most valuable book - a book I should like to read once a quarter.
We set out through the mountains for quarterly meeting. It was a very warm day, and part of our company stopped after thirty miles travelling; brother William Partridge and myself kept on until night overtook us in the mountain among rocks and woods, and dangers on all sides surrounding us: we concluded it most safe to secure our horses and quietly await the return of day; so we laid down and slept among the rocks, although much annoyed by the gnats...
Rode to the north Branch, crossed the Nobbly Mountain; at its foot we stopped, ate a little bread, drank fine water, prayed, and then went forward to Cressaps. I was pretty plain on Isaiah lv. 6, 7. Here Colonel Barrett met me, and conducted me two miles up the Alleghany: we were riding until near ten o'clock, the road was dreary, and the night was dark: I wanted rest and found it. We had nearly two hundred people to hear in this newly settled country - they were attentive; and I hope God will do something for them. After preaching on John vii. 17. we set out on our return: I was much fatigued, and it rained hard; my poor horse too, was so weak from the want of proper food, that he fell down with me twice; this hurt my feelings exceedingly - more than any circumstance I met with in all my journey beside.
Was rainy - however, it cleared away time enough to get to Williams's, on the south Branch. Brother Hagerty preached an excellent discourse on "Hoe would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth" - after which, I spoke about forty minutes on Prov. i. 23-25. I am not so pious as I want to be, I pray much, but I do not watch and pray enough: in the course of the labours of the day I purpose to do it more. Since Thursday we have rode sixty miles along incredibly bad roads, and our fare was not excellent. O what pay would induce a man to go through wet and dry, and fatigue and suffering, as we do? - souls are our hire.
We proceeded along to great and little Capon, over rough and stoney roads.
We went on through devious roads and arrived at Guess's - here I set on a scheme to prevent my horse from falling lame, that had yesterday lost a shoe; it was to bind round his foot a piece of the neck of a bull's hide - my contrivance answered the purpose well.
I preached at Stephen Harland's under the spreading trees, on David's charge to Solomon. Thence rode on to Boydstone's, where we staid one day, which afforded us the first leisure time since Monday morning, we have had to sit down and write. I am at times greatly concerned that there are no visible movings, and instantaneous conversions among the people.
Preached at Sheppard-Town, to about two hundred people: from thence, crossing the Patomac, came to Wood's.
After preaching at Shepherds-Town, I rode to Boyds-Town, and rested one day.
...From Sharpsburg I hastened on to Shepherdstown, where the Lord set home his word. Came to sister Boydstone's, one of the kindest women in Virginia; here all things were comfortable: I was sleepy, weary, and feeble, but my body and soul was refreshed: thanks be to God for every friend! I covenanted with God to be more in prayer; my soul is humbled before the Lord.
Lord, strengthen my resolution to be thine in heart more and more: make, and keep me always watching unto prayer!
I preached at Martinsburg to a hundred people or more, and was led out while I enlarged on "What is the Almighty that we should serve him" &c. Thence to Stroud's at seven o'clock, and spoke with great plainness; the people stared upon us; next morning we had all the workmen to prayer. The mother and two daughters appeared tender, and wept when we took our leave of them; who knows what God may do for them?
I reached Shepherd's Town with difficulty, and in pain. I was blest, and delivered my own soul. The people here are displeased with me because I do not send them brother Vasey. Riding through so much wet and damp weather has caused the inflammation of my foot, and I am afraid of being stopped: this is a great trial to me; Lord, give me a perfect resignation! We have had rain for eighteen days successively, and I have rode about two hundred miles in eight or nine days; a most trying time indeed...
We had a heavy ride to Morgan-Town: I was to have been there at four o'clock, but missing my way, I made it six.
We had a great day. When I had done preaching brother M. exhorted with life and power, and the power of God was felt among the people. I suppose there were nearly six hundred hearers present.
Rode to the springs (Bath) much tried in spirit. I gave myself to reading and prayer.
Preached at Bath.
Preached on Pet. iii. 9. to a large congregation, with but little liberty.
I began my lectures on the Prophecies by Bishop Newton, and had more hearers than I expected. The weather is very warm; many are sickly; and continued changes of comers and goers - all this leaves but little opportunity for prayer. I forbear reading on account of my eyes, lest I should not be able to read in public.
Had very few to hear, so I gave them up: every thing that is good is in low estimation at this place. I will return to my own studies: if the people are determined to go to hell, I am clear of their blood. My soul is clothed in sackcloth and covered with ashes before the Lord.
I enjoy some peace.
I feel a clam within, and the want of more life, and more love to God, and more patience with sinners. I read my Testament. Oh! What a weariness would life be without God, and love, and labour. The first two weeks of my time at Bath have been spent in carrying on the building of the new chapel, reading Newton on the Prophecies, visiting, bathing, &c. My soul has been under great trials, at times, but hitherto the Lord has helped.
O how sweet will labour, and Christian society, and the solitary woods be to me.
I have been under great exercises, but was divinely assisted in preaching on "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous," &c.
I preached on "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings," &c. It was a solemn time - my soul was stayed upon God. We had a melting sacrament and love-feast, and many spoke. The devil is angry, and so are his children: brother Whatcoat spoke at the steps, and it was with difficulty the people kept themselves within decent bounds of respect.
I gave them my farewell address at Bath, and had many hearers.
I set out in the rain, and came to the widow Stroud's, where I met with T. V. who made some acknowledgments for what he had said in the heat of his zeal at Philadelphia and at Bath.
I attended at a place where every one has liberty to preach; but it so happened that no one had an appointment there but myself - The Methodists would do well to withdraw from this as a preaching place in their circuit. I had a large congregation at Shepherds-Town, to whom I spoke on Luke iv. 18. I have had some trials and great consolations; and at times, it is Paradise Regained with me since I left Bath and the wicked there.
Crossed the high mountains, and came to H___'s in Green-Brier.
I enlarged on Gal. iii. 22. We then rode to M'Pherson's, a serious family on Sinking Creek, where I preached with some freedom. After crossing some considerable mountains, and preaching occasionally, on Friday we arrived at the Sweet-Springs: here I preached, and the people were very attentive.
July 5 and 6
I had large congregations at Rohoboth; I preached with some satisfaction.
Our troubles began; it being the day we set out for Clarksburg. Thirty miles brought us to W___'s, on the Great-Levels.
Reached M'Neal's, on the Little Levels, where almost the whole settlement came together, with whom I found freedom on Matt. xi. 28, 29, 30. Our brother Phoebus had to answer questions propounded to him until evening.
We rode to the Clover Lick, to a very remote and exposed house: here we found good lodgings for the place. The former tenant had made a small estate by keeping cattle, horses, &c. on the range, which is fertile and extensive.
We had to cross the Alleghany mountain again, at a bad passage. Our course lay over mountains and through valleys, and the mud and mire was such as might scarcely be expected in December. We came to an old, forsaken habitation in Tygers-Valley: here our horses grazed about, while we boiled our meat: midnight brought us up at Jones's, after riding forty, or perhaps, fifty miles. The old man, our host, was kind enough to wake us up at four o'clock in the morning. We journeyed on through devious lonely wilds, where no food might be found, except what grew in the woods, or was carried with us. We met with two women who were going to see their friends, and to attend the quarterly meeting at Clarksburg. Near midnight we stopped at A___'s, who hissed his dogs at us: but the women were determined to get to quarterly meeting, so we went in. Our supper was tea. Brothers Phoebus and Cook took to the woods; old ___ gave up his bed to the women. I lay along the floor on a few deer skins with the fleas. That night our poor horses got no corn; and next morning they had to swim across the Monongahela: after a twenty miles' ride we came to Clarksburg, and man and beast were so outdone that it took us ten hours to accomplish it. I lodged with Col. Jackson. Our meeting was held in a long close room belonging to the Baptists: our use of the house it seems gave offence. There attended about seven hundred people, to whom I preached with freedom; and I believe the Lord's power reached the hearts of some. After administering the sacrament, I was well satisfied to take my leave. We rode thirty miles to Father Haymond's, after three o'clock, Sunday afternoon, and made it nearly eleven before we came in; about midnight we went to rest, and rose at five o'clock next morning. My mind has been severely tried under the great fatigue endured both by myself and my horse. O, how glad should I be of a plan, clean plank to lie on, as preferable to most of the beds; and where the beds are in a bad state, the floors are worse. The gnats are almost as troublesome here, as the moschetoes in the low-lands of the sea-board. This country will require much work to make it tolerable. The people are, many of them, of the boldest cast of adventurers, and with some the decencies of civilized society are scarcely regarded, two instances of which I myself witnessed. The great landholders who are industrious will soon show the effects of the aristocracy of wealth, by lording it over their poorer neighbours, and by securing to themselves all the offices of profit or honour: on the one hand savage warfare teaches them to be cruel; and on the other, the preaching of Antinomians poisons them withe error in doctrine: good moralists they are not, and good Christians they cannot be, unless they are better taught.
I had a lifeless, disorderly people to hear me at Morgantown, to whom I preached on "I will hear what God the Lord will speak." It is matter of grief to behold the excesses, particularly in drinking, which abound here. I preached at a new chapel near Colonel Martin's, and felt much life, love, and power. Rode to the widow R___'s, and refreshed with a morsel to eat: thence to M. Harden's, where, though we had an earth floor, we had good beds and table entertainment.
Rode forty miles to quarterly meeting at Doddridge's; where we had a melting season.
From twelve o'clock to-day we rode forty miles - my soul in sweet peace.
Reached Barratt's where we had a little rest and peace. We had left our horses at Old Town on the other side of the river, but I thought it best to have them brought over, and so it was; for that night there were two stolen. On Monday we rested; on Tuesday rode down to Capon; and on Wednesday visited Bath. I took lodgings at brother Williams's, was well fixed, and found the waters to be of service to me.
Preached at Bath. I received heavy tidings from the college - both our teachers have left; one for incompetency, and the other to pursue riches and honours: had they cost us nothing, the mistake we made in employing them might be the less regretted. I have read one volume of Church History, by Mosheim, containing an account of the state of ecclesiastical matters in Germany, and the different churches.
I attempted to preach at Bath, on the lame and the blind: the discourse was very lame; and it may be, I left my hearers as I found them - blind.
I am now closely engaged in reading, writing, and prayer - my soul enjoys much of God. We have great rains, and are obliged to keep close house; but we have a little of almost every thing to improve the mind - the languages, divinity, grammar, history, and belles-lettres: my great desire is to improve in the best things.
Preached at Bath on Isaiah lxiii. 1. with little liberty and poor attendance. But we have some stir among the poor people in the country.
We left Bath, and on the Saturday and Sunday following attended a quarterly meeting. I felt enlargement on Peter's case, and also in the love-feast.
Came to Bath. I took lodgings with our Virginia friends, Adams and Summers.
My soul has communion with God, even here. When I behold the conduct of the people who attend the springs, particularly the gentry, I am led to thank God that I was not born to riches; I rather bless God, that I am not in hell, and that I cannot partake of pleasure with sinners. I have read much, and spoke but little since I came here. The water has been powerful in its operation. I have been in great pain, and my studies are interrupted.
I left Bath; which was much sooner than I expected.
God was powerfully present at Hendrick's, where there were twelve or fifteen hundred people: many professed to be converted to God - Glory be to his name! My body enjoys better health; and blessed be God! My soul is wholly kept above sin: yet I blame myself for not being more watchful unto prayer; and I sometimes use unnecessary words. We made a tour through Berkeley circuit, where I had some freedom; and where we found not a little living affection in the congregations.
We had alarming words at Winchester, from Ezek. xxxiii. 11. I feel the worth of souls, and their disobedience gives me sorrow of heart. Oh Jehovah! Work for thine own glory!
Our quarterly meeting began in the woods near Shepherd's-Town: we had about seven hundred people: I felt energy and life in preaching, and power attended the word. Brother Willis spoke, and the Lord wrought powerfully.
Was a high day - one thousand or fifteen hundred people attended; sinners began to mock, and many cried aloud; and so it went. I was wonderfully led out on Psalm cxlv. 8-12; and spoke, first and last, nearly three hours. O, how the wicked contradicted and opposed!
We had a tedious, tiresome journey over hills and mountains to Pott's Creek. After a melting season at brother C___'s, we came to brother W___'s, where we were informed of the dath of dear brother John Tunnell.
Brother Tunnell's corpse was brought to Dew's chapel. I preached his funeral - my text, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We were much blessed, and the power of God was eminently present. It is fourteen years since brother Tunnell first knew the Lord; and he has spoken about thirteen years, and travelled through eight of the thirteen States: few men, as public ministers, were better known or more beloved. He was a simple-hearted, artless, childlike man: for his opportunities, he was a man of good learning; had a large fund of Scripture knowledge, was a good historian, a sensible, improving preacher, a most affectionate friend, and a great saint; he had been wasting and declining in strength and health for eight years past, and for the last twelve months sinking into a consumption. I am humbled. O, let my soul be admonished to be more devoted to God!
The morning was rainy. About noon I set out for the Sweet-Springs, and preached on 1 Cor. i. 23-29. A few of the gentry were kind enough to come and hear - and some were enraptured with the sermon; for - it was very like the subject. The three following days I rested, and was very unwell. I had no place to preach, but under the trees, and preaching here seems unseasonable with the people except on Sundays.
Rode to Rohoboth, where brother W___ preached, and brother A___ and myself spoke after him, and the people appeared somewhat affected.
We had twenty miles to Green-Brier court-house: here some sat as critics and judges. We had to ride thirty-one miles without food for man or horse, and to call at three houses before we could get water fit to drink - all this may serve to try our faith our patience.
Some very pointed things were delivered relative to parents and children from Gen. xviii. 19. After being in public exercises from ten till two o'clock, we rode in the afternoon twenty miles to the little levels of Green-Brier. On my way I pre-meditated the sending of a preacher to a newly settled place in the Kenhaway county.
We had a warm sermon at M'Neal's, at which many were highly offended; but I trust their false peace is broken. There are many bears in this part of the country; not long since, a child in this neighbourhood was killed by one.
Rode to Drinnon's, whose wife was killed, and his son taken prisoner by the Indians.
I believe I never before travelled such a path as I this day rode over the mountains to reach Mr. Nelson's, in Tyger-Valley.
I preached at Wilson's. Here many careless people do not hear a sermon more than once in one or two years; this one of them told me; and that he and his wife had not been to preaching since I was here on my last visit. I endeavoured to apply "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
My horse lost a shoe on a bad raod, and next day on the mountains dropped two more; so I rode my old baggage horse along a most dreary, grown-up path to brother C___'s.
Attended quarterly meeting at Morgan-Town: I spoke on superstition, idolatry, unconditional election and reprobation, Antinomianism, Universalism, and Deism.
Preached on Matt. xxv. 31. to the end, brother W___ also gave us a sermon; and a Presbyterian minister two - so here we had it in abundance.
Preached at B___'s; and the next day at H___'s.
We came to Russell's old place, at Seven Mile Ford; and next day set out for Greenbrier, and reached C___'s. My spirits were too lively and disposed to gayety, which indulged, perhaps too far, made me feel mean before the Lord.
Rode to Hogg's; and next day to M___'s; forty miles each day: the roads were better than I expected.
Rode twenty miles. My weary body feels the want of rest; but my heart rejoiced to meet with the brethren who were waiting for me. I am more than ever convinced of the need and propriety of annual conferences, and of greater changes among the preachers. I am sensible the western parts have suffered by my absence; I lament this, and deplore my loss of strict communion with God, occasioned by the necessity I am under of constant riding; change of place; company, and sometimes disagreeable company; loss of sleep, and the difficulties of clambering over rocks and mountains and journeying at the rate of seven or eight hundred miles per month, and sometimes forty or fifty miles a day - these have been a part of my labours, and make no small share of my hinderances.
I crossed the Kanhaway at Paris's ferry. Here I conversed with a man who informed me a brother preacher had called there, and, as he said, was peevish: the dear man was just at death's door, and though his exercises and bodily infirmities may have pressed him sore, and excited expressions of discontent, he was, nevertheless, a meek and holy servant of God. My informant also mentioned another, who had been a member, and who would swear horribly and drink to excess: it is proper I notice, that I did not receive these accounts from a professor of religion. I though within myself - See how we are watched: ah! we little think oftentimes how narrowly our conduct, our tempers, are observed by the world; and poor sinners still less imagine how strictly we watch them, and how well this habit of observation, and the intimate knowledge we gain of our own hearts, makes us competent judges of their cases, and enables us so justly and so powerfully to condemn their wickedness.
I preached at Rehoboth on Isai. lv. 12. there was no great move: brothers H___ and C___ both spoke after me.
My mind and body feel dull and heavy, but still my soul drinks deeper into God. We rode about one hundred and sixty miles from the Rich Valley to Greenbrier conference; talking too much, and praying too little, caused me to feel barrenness of soul. We had a hope that not less then [sic] ten souls were converted during the conference: at preaching, I myself having a violent headach, retired; the Lord was with them at the sacrament; after which, the doors being opened, many came in and the meeting continued untill nearly sunset.
We had a most solemn ordination on Thursday morning. Afterward we rode through Greenbrier by the town, on to brother W___'s, a distance of thirty-six miles. My headach still continuing, brother Hope Hull preached, and I retired to rest.
We rode twenty-six miles to the Little Levels. O what a solitary country is this! We have now one hundred and twenty miles before us, fifty of which is a wilderness: there is a guard at two houses on our route; but I do not feat: nature is spent with labour; I would not live always - hail! happy death: nothing but holiness, perfect love, and then glory for me!
My body is much wearied; my bowels being much disordered, the water, the milk, and the bread, are like physic to me. We now thought it necessary to be moving; it was dreary work as we rode along the dreary path to D___'s; one of my companions, as well as myself, was unwell. From D___'s we had still forty miles to go, over hills and mountains: this, I think equalled, if not exceeded, any road I had ever travelled: we at length reached Tygers Valley. We stopped at Capt. S___'s, where there were several families crowded together, for fear of the Indians. The upper end of the valley has been depopulated, one family has been destroyed since I was last here. The Captain's wife was decent, kind, and sensible. Thence we went on to W___'s, where I got some fowl soup; thence a few miles to ____, where the woman of the house was kind and attentive but a still, a mill, a store, causes much company, and some not of the most agreeable kind.
We hasted to O___'s in the Cove, where we met with a most kind and affectionate reception. But O the flies for the horses, and the gnats for the men! And no food, nor even good water to be had. I slept well, although forced, ever and anon, to stir a little.
We had a dreary path, over desperate hills, for fifty miles; no food for man or beast, which caused both to begin to fail very sensibly: my bowels continued to be disordered, and had I not procured a little wine, I suppose I should have failed altogether.
Rod to Bath. Here I had the opportunity of writing to all the connected preachers in the district.
In the evening I preached with some assistance on Luke xix. 10.
I attended quarterly meeting at the widow Flint's. Here I had the first sight of Mr. Hammett's and brother Thos. Morrell's attacks on each other - or rather Mr. Hammett's against the Methodists, and brother Morrell's reply. Had brother M. known more, he would have replied better. Mr. H.'s quotation of a clause in my confidential letter to brother S_____d, is not altogether just. He has also misquoted the caution, leaving out the word "District," which, when retained, shows it to have been American, and to have been directed against American apostates and impostors.
We had a living love-feast, although the house was crowded, and warm, almost past sufferance.
I had a sweet opening at the quarterly meeting, on Ephes. ii. 12. I met the preachers, leaders, and stewards, and they resolved to enter more fully into the spirit of discipline. Next day I preached on "My Spirit shall not always strive with man."
Came to Rehoboth, in the sinks of Green-Briar; where we held our conference. I was greatly comforted at the sight of brothers B. J. and Ellis Cox. We had peace in our conference, and were happy in our cabin. I learn that mischief is begun in the lower parts of Virginia; J. O'Kelly, and some of the local preachers, are the promoters and encouragers of divisions among the brethren.
We passed the Sweet Springs, and crossed a rough mountain to brother Drew's, on Pott's creek. I wrote many letters to the south district of Virginia, to confirm the souls of the people, and guard them against the division that is attempted among them...
We rode to Bath, that seat of sin: here we continued to rest ourselves: my public work was a sermon on the Sabbath. A number of our society from various parts being here, I have an opportunity of receiving and answering many letters. I am afraid I shall spend nine or ten days here to little purpose; I employ myself in reading a Kempis, and the Bible: I also have an opportunity of going alone into the silent grove, and of viewing the continent, and examining my own heart. I hope for some relief from my rheumatic complaint which has so oppressed me for six months past. The people here are so gay and idle, that I doubt there being much good done among them. The troubles of the east and west meet me as I pass.
We rode forty miles to Indian-Creek, about fifteen miles above the mouth. We had no place to dine until we arrived at father C___'s, about six o'clock. If I could have regular food and sleep, I could stand the fatigue I have to go through much better; but this is impossible under some circumstances. To sleep four hours, and ride forty miles without food or fire is hard: but we had water enough in the rivers and creeks. I shall had rode nearly one thousand miles on the western waters before I leave them; I have been on the waters of Nolachucky, to the mouth of Clinch; on the north, middle, and south branches of Holstein; on New-River, Green Briar, and by the head springs of Monongahela. If I were able I should go from Charleston (S. C.) a direct course, five hundred miles, to Nolachucky; thence two hundred and fifty miles to Cumberland; thence one hundred to Kentucky; thence one hundred miles through that state, and two hundred to Saltsburg; thence two hundred to Green Briar; thence two hundred to Red-Stone, and three hundred to Baltimore. Ah! if I were young again! I was happy to have a comfortable night's sleep, after a hard day's ride, and but little rest the night before. I have now a little time to refit, recollect, and write. Here forts and savages once had a being, but now peace and improvement.
I rode to Rehoboth chapel in the sinks of Green Briar, where we held conference with a few preachers. Here I delivered two discourses. Thursday crossed Green Briar River, and had to pass along a crooked and dangerous path to Benton's. My mind is in peace.
I felt myself very heavy: my mind unprepared for the congregation at Gilboa meeting-house, and could not preach with any satisfaction. After meeting the society, I came away much clouded. We came off from brother C___'s about four o'clock, aiming at the Little Levels; but darkness came on, and we had to climb and blunder over the point of a mountain, in descending which my feet were so squeezed that the blood was ready to gush out of the pores: I could hardly help weeping out my sorrow: at length we came to brother H___'s, where the kindness of the family was a cordial, and we went to rest about ten o'clock, and all was well.
I was very warm in body and mind at M'Neale's. In the afternoon (contrary to my sentiment and practice on the Lord's day) we took our departure, purposing to reach Morgantown on Wednesday evening, in order to attend an appointment made for me on Thursday, the second of June. We reached my old friend Drinnon's, who received us gladly, and entertained us kindly. Next day (Monday) we opened our campaign through the mountains, following a path I had thought never to travel again. Frequently we were in danger of being plucked off our horses by the boughs of the trees under which we had to ride. About seven o'clock, after crossing six mountains and many rocky creeks and fords of Elk and Monongahela Rivers, we made the Valley of Distress, called by the natives Tyger's Valley. We had a comfortable lodging at Mr. White's; and here I must acknowledge the kindness and decency of the family, and their readiness to duty, sacred and civil. Thence we hastened on at the rate of forty-two miles a day. We had to ride four miles in the night, and went supperless to the Punchins, where we slept a little on hard lines.
After encountering many difficulties, known only to God and ourselves, we came to Morgantown. I doubt whether I shall ever request any person to come and meet me at the levels of Green Briar, or to accompany me across these mountains again, as brother D. Hitt has now done. Oh! how chequered is life! How thankful ought I to be that I am here safe, with life and limbs, in peace and plenty, at kind brother S___'s.
We rode twenty-eight miles to Charlestown. We had a very rocky, uneven rode. We stopped at Key's ferry, and were kindly entertained. Friday at eleven o'clock we held a meeting in Charlestown, and then rode on eighteen miles to Millborough.
At Charlestown I preached under the shady oaks to perhaps fifteen hundred people, upon Hebr. x. 39, it was a gracious season: truth had its dominion in some minds. We administered the sacrament. I ordained to the office of deacons, John M'Pherson, and Thomas Littleton. I rode home with John Davenport.
At Charlestown I preached from 2 Cor. vi. 1.; some souls felt the energy of the word. We dined at brother Englishe's, and rode on to John Davenport's to lodge.
We rode ten miles to John Beck's, near West-Liberty. I preached on Act iii. 26.; one soul who had been convicted at our quarterly meeting, professed to find peace with God, and shouted glory! with a loud voice. On Tuesday I preached near this place to a crowd, at John Spaugh's. I came with Rezin Pomfry down the great hill, to the Ohio. Wednesday brought us to Charlestown, the capital of Brook county, situated at the mouth of Buffalo, eighty miles from Pittsburgh. We found the Ohio so low, that the boat of Colonel Lewis, who is going to explore the Mississippi, would not float over the flats.
At Charlestown I preached in Brook court-house, on Joshua xxiv. 19. We came to Nicholas Pomfrey's to lodge in the evening. On Saturday we crossed at Pomfrey's ferry, and attended West-Wheeling quarterly meeting at Hopewell chapel. I ordained brother Wrenshall to the office of deacon, and then came to the stand, and preached on the Sabbath day on 1 Peter v. 10. We had love-feast and sacrament. There was a cry raised very soon, and it was with difficulty I could keep the thread of my discourse whilst they were singing and shouting upon the top of the hill. At candle light the cry began again, and continued until the break of day on Monday morning: it was judged there were twenty souls converted to God. I came away, keeping up Indian Short-Creek to Isaac Meek's, ten miles; on this stream are some of as fine lands as any in America.
We came to Morrison's tavern, twenty miles, our route laying along upon the branches of Short Creek, Wheeling, and Stillwater - the land still fertile...
We had showers to brother Reynold's: we passed through Sharpsburg, and lodged at Sheppard-Town. I was informed of a camp-meeting, held near Charlestown, Jefferson county, at which between sixty and seventy souls professed to be converted to God: the meeting held nine days. On Thursday I started, and next day breakfasted with Mrs. Gough at Bath. I found Mr. Lyell here; his mind deeply engaged with his new design; he was very attentive to me. After resting three hours, I came away to William Dimett's.
We forded Patowmac about a mile above the south forks, and called in to see mother Pool. We came on to Capon, and lodged at Mr. Largeat's.
...At Charlestown my Sabbath day's subject was 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20. We lodged with Mr. Key. On Monday we reached Fredericktown; on Tuesday Joshua Jones's, Sam's Creek: and on Wednesday 10, came into Baltimore.
We set out and came to the Old Fort; crossed the Monongahela, and lodged with Dr. Wheeler, he and his lady are Londoners; and Oh, how kind they were! How did the salvation of the souls of these kind friends rest upon me! The Doctor's mother had been in band society with Mr. Wesley. From six in the morning to seven in the evening of Thursday, we made about forty miles, over some rough roads and desperate hills: we wished to redeem time, that we might refit at John Beck's, near West Liberty; so we ate not on the route, though we fed the horses twice. I had had pain of a rheumatic kind for some days.
Marked letters to transcribe, read, took medicine, and nursed myself. On Saturday I preached in Beck's new house on Philip. ii. 12, 13. On the Sabbath I preached in an excellent stone meeting-house, at Short-Creek, to about one thousand souls, from 2 Cor. iii. 7, 8. We crossed over into the state of Ohio on Monday; and I gave them a sermon in the court-house at St. Clairsville.
At Bethel chapel, Short-Creek, I gave them a sermon. I spoke in great weakness.
I preached in the court-house at Wheeling. I have great pain. At Colonel Zane's, where I lodged, the aged people were kind indeed...
...We crossed into Virginia and preached at Brook county court-house on the evening of Thursday. Our lodging was the stationed preacher's, William Sandinin. My brethren were kind enough to make appointments for me, at least to publish in the public prints more than I had designed: I might murmur at this, and perhaps I do; well, elders must be better and do more than other men - granted. I can truly say my life is like a daily death. God is my refuge and my reward. I preached on Saturday at Beck's.
At Short-Creek chapel my subject was 1 Thess. iv. 3. I contemplate two chapels; one of forty feet square, and the other of fifty feet; the first in Charleston, Alexander Wells to give the lot; and the other in Wheeling, the ground to be bestowed for its erection by Colonel Zane. Our appointment for Monday was in Wheeling court-house; I spoke with light, and life, and power. The following day, (Tuesday) brother Boehm spoke at St. Clairsville.
Saturday, I hear of a camp-meeting at Little Kenhaway, and must needs go there. After toiling through bad roads, and accidents at the ferry to detain us, we are here this Saturday night at nine o'clock, safe at the house of the brother of Wilson Lee. Lord, prepare me by thy grace for the patient endurance of hunger, heat, labour, the clownishness of ignorant piety, the impudence of the inpious, unreasonable preachers, and more unreasonable heretics and heresy!
I preached at the camp twice. Souls were converted, and we hope much good was done. We ordained John Holmes an elder. Monday, came away. At B. Wolf's, we gave them Dutch and English sermons. Tuesday, preached at the Point-Wood's court-house, to a large congregation. We lodged at Mr. Browning's, on the other side of the river. On Wednesday I preached in a school-house on a bluff opposite Blannerhassett's island. Colonel Putnam, son of the renowned General of that name, invited me to the house of Waldo, grandson of the old chief: I had a very interesting interview with several revolutionary officers, emigrants to this country, from good old Massachusetts. Thursday, we took our departure from the banks of the beautiful river, (the Ohio,) beautiful indeed!