Edited by Robert V. Rakestraw (5/ 24 /2016)
“We came to Bolton about five in the evening. [It was Oct. 18, 1749, in England.] We had no sooner entered the main street than we perceived [that] the lions at Rochdale [where we had just preached] were lambs in comparison of those at Bolton. Such rage and bitterness I scarce ever saw before in any creatures that bore the form of men. They followed us in full cry to the house where we went, and as soon as we were gone in, took possession of all the avenues to it and filled the street from one end to the other. After some time the waves did not roar quite so loud. Mr. P. thought he might then venture out.
Wesley called for a chair.
They immediately closed in, threw him down, and rolled him in the mire, so that when he scrambled from them, and got into the house again, one could scarce tell what or who he was. When the first stone came among us through the window, I expected a shower to follow,…because they had now procured a bell to call their whole forces together. But they did not design to carry on the attack at a distance. Presently one ran up and told us the mob had burst into the house. He added that they had got JB in the midst of them. They had, and he laid hold on the opportunity to tell them of ‘the terrors of the Lord.’ Meantime DT engaged another part of them with smoother and softer words. Believing the time was now come, I walked down into the thickest of them. They had now filled all the rooms below. I called for a chair. The winds were hushed and all was calm and still. My heart was filled with love, my eyes with tears, and my mouth with arguments. They were amazed, they were ashamed, they were melted down, they devoured every word. What a turn was this! O how did God change the counsel of the old Ahithophel into foolishness, and bring all the drunkards, swearers, Sabbath-breakers, and mere sinners in the place, to hear of his plenteous redemption!”
From An Extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley’s Journal, Vol. II, in The Works of John Wesley, Third Ed., Vol. II (Baker, 1979 reprint of 1872 ed. issued by Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, London, pp. 163-64). The above quotation may be found, along with other articles and essays, on Dr. Rakestraw’s website, gracequestministries.org., where you may also order his books GraceQuest and Heart Cries. You may write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org