« PreviousContinue »
round, from time to time, to all parts things that had been done !” &c. &c. of his crowded and attentive audience, He ended by announcing that a colexhibiting a tall and well-proportion- lection would be made immediately ; ed person, and a tolerably expressive, and, having passionately implored them though not very refined, countenance. to "give liberally," sat down, “ only He seemed about fifty-eight or sixty entreating his friends to make way in years old. His voice was loud and all directions for the collectors.” sonorons : his manner had all the con- Instantly there was a jingling sound fidence and self-possession derived as of silver and copper dropping into from evidently a long familiarity with plates all over the chapel. A decently such scenes. I listened to him at- dressed servant-girl stood next to me; tentively for about ten minutes, and I she had, apparently, devoured every feel compelled to say that I could des word that had fallen from the preacher, tect nothing but very common place and seemed now exhausted with exdeclamation. Two words really would citement and the fatigue of standing aptly describe all I heard-boisterous so long. With one end of her pocketvolubility, He gave a marvellous handkerchief she wiped the perspiraaccount of their doings at Leeds, Įtion from her face, and out of the think it was, where they were con- other, which was twisted up, she took stantly opening very large chapels, or a shilling and gaye it, poor soul, to enlarging their old ones, both of the collector when he came past, with whieh were immediately filled with a look of such earnest satisfaction ! regular hearers; that there were Though the bulk of the congregation ** blessed scenes" going on there-on -especially those surrounding heran average thirty or forty souls seemed to consist of the humbler classes, “ converted” weekly; that at their there was a considerable proportion of last “ quarter-day they had up: silver in the plate. As soon as this was wards of a thousand people over, some notices were read of meettrial," i, e. who had become proba- ings, sermons, &c. for the week-a tionary members of their society ; hymn was given out, which they bethat he had been lately there, and gan to sing with prodigious heartiness, had had a " blessed season" of it. and I left the chapel. There was a love-feast,* at which The next place I entered was a there was a
very abundant outpour- building not far off—the Scotch church, ing of the Spirit," --souls, in all direc- new, spacious, and handsome, but not tions, crying out, “ What shall I do to very well filled.
The minister was be saved ?" « Oh, my friends," ex- young, but modest and intelligent. claimed the preacher, with an excited He was expounding some obscure porair, “ it did my heart good, I as- tions of Job, and with considerablo sure you ; it was Pentecost, in- force, ingenuity, and judgment, not deed!" These statements were evi- failing to give whatever he uttered a dently received by his hearers with the stringent practical application. He deepest interest, testified by preva. was evidently a well-educated man. lent but half-suppressed exclamations His language was select and accurate, of “ Amen! thank the Lord !” which, and his reasoning sound ; he afforded though they had a somewhat singu- to my mind a very pleasing contrast lar effect, yet were not carried to an to the preacher whom I had just been indecorous extent, Then he spoke, hearing. Loose, noisy, and inflammain a vehement manuer, of the “ pe- tory appeals to overstrained feelings rishing heathen,” millions and millions (I have heard several of the Wesleyan of whom were at that moment bow- preachers who are not liable to such ing down to idols, and dying, and observations), too often degenerating going to
“ And would they into downright clap-trap, appear to not come forward that night, and aid?" me far less calculated to advance the &c. &c. " How much remained to interests of real religion than sober be done, notwithstanding the glorious and rational expositions of Scripture,
This is a favourite ordinance with the Wesleyanş. Lave-feasts are very large meetings, consisting of the whole society, who are admitted by tickets, There are buns and water sent round to all present, and every que is at liberty, both man and Foman, to rise and state their religious feelings.
of the principles of Christianity, and with the words, “ You've no call
ginable! The group nearest me con“ Then, sir, if you're curious about sisted of some twenty or thirty, sursuch things, you had better go a little rounding about half-a-dozen people higher up the hill, and hear the peo- who were on their knees, with whom ple at Mr Aitkin's chapel ; they're most of them were praying, uttering still going on; and you'll say, sir, horrid groans and ejaculations-someyou never heard or saw such things in times wringing, at other times clap
ping their hands. They were “as. • Indeed! what do they call them- sisting souls in the agonies of the new selves ?"
birth," as they termed it; that is, perThey arn't the regular Metho- sons who were seeking to be converted, dists—they're a bad sort of Metho- I went nearer, and beheld a decentlydists—Jumpers, or Ranters, or some- dressed middle-aged woman kneeling thing of that sort. They're a most beside one of the would-be neophytes horrid nuisance, sir, in the neighbour- —a young man-tossing herself about hood, and I wish the law would put in all directions, lifting up and down them down, as it's just put down Mr her arms in a frantic manner, and vioMuspratt's chimney. They're scream- lently striking the form before which ing and roaring, and singing and pray- she knelt; at one time praying, at ing, at almost all hours of the day and another
shouting into his ear—" Benight-Sundays as well as week-days! lieve ! Believe, man ! believe !-Oh, I've often heard them from our gar- come to Jesus! come to Him-don't den. We have not beard them this wait! Don't delay a moment! Doesn't evening—but that may be because the thee see Him? Here He is—He's i' th' wind's the other way!"
midst of us—He's waiting for thee! I went off immediately. A strange Take him by the hand, blessed Lord! and melancholy sight presented itself- O Lord Jesus, oh, dear Lord, thou a scene that almost beggars descrip- must save this lad!—Come along, lad! tion. The service in the chapel had He's awaiting for thee! Oh, Jesus, been over some time, and most of the why do thy chariot wheels delay ? lights were extinguished; but there Pluck him like a brand from the were a number of people clustering burning." round a side door, which led, I found, Oh-0-0-oh, Lord Jesus!"heainto a large room beneath the chapel. vily groaned the subject of her pray. I was entering with as quiet and deco. rous an air as it was possible to assume, " Why don't you believe? Why when I was very rudely repulsed don't you believe?" she exclaimed, veby a coarse, sour-visaged janitor, hemently, literally slapping him on
the back: who, his face hid in his groans and contortions between his arms, bis body sprawling and writh- two tormentors. “ Wrestle, wrestle! ing about on the floor and against the Jesus loves a good wrestier ; He loves form, seemed making direful efforts to be beat; He'll love thee all the to second those of her beside him better for this good fight? Don't ye sighing and groaning in a most dis- see Him? Pray, man; now's the time ! mal manner.
Now's the accepted time, now's the “ Oh, glory! glory! glory!". day of salvation—now, now, or never ! suddenly shouted from the central Don't thee feel it, thinkest thou ?" group—who, at the bidding of a man The man, I suppose, answered in the in black, who took evidently the lead affirmative ; for the woman on the in what was going on, burst out a other side, in a still wilder manner, singing most vehemently, and in an shouted suddenly, “ Oh, thank thee, extravagantly high key, “ Praise God, Jesus! Thank thee! Thank thee! Í from whom all blessings flow.” Some knew thou wouldn't be long-glory! lifted their hands rapidly up and down glory!". The man in black now rose with an air of irrepressible ecstasy up, and left them, to assist some one -others actually shook hands with else in distress with his ghostly counone another, as if in joyful congratula- sel! My eye then fell upon a young tion and gratitude. Some screamed man and woman, kneeling a little forth the words at the tip-top of their on my left hand,- the former a voices, their eyes closed violently, sailor, apparently about twenty years their heads directed upwards, and old, the latter a little older, and very their hands elevated and clasped to- good-looking, who had but the mogether. I really expected to see them ment before separated themselves from fall down in a tit, They sung the last the central group above spoken of, and two lines over and over, and over continued praying together. I conagain, with the most ungovernable im- fess I looked at them somewhat suspetuosity and excitement. In the mean- piciously; for I had noticed the fellow while one of the people, whose happy a little before standing staring at the case had been the occasion of all this young woman with a most equivocal ecstasy, rose from her knees;
He whisperwere sunken, her face was red, and ed something in her ear, as the poor covered with tears and perspiration, creature—misguided enthusiast!-- was and she was sobbing violently. I joining passionately in the singing, expected her every moment to go into and she instantly ceased, took hold hysterics. While I was listening to of him by the arm, and led him to the and looking at this strange scene form near me, where I saw them both with feelings of mingled pity, disgust, kneel down. He seemed to take it and indignation, a man, dressed in a coolly; the young woman began, as very long black coat which reached it were, to belabour him with her to his knees, and in a white silk hand. prayers, and groans, and exhortations, kerchief, made his way from the centre leaning close over him, placing her of the throng, singing as he went to hands on his back from time to the form where were the couple first time. She had really a pretty face, described. He immediately kneeled but it was quite distorted with exdown beside them with a kind of fa- citement. After few minutes miliar business-like air !
spent in this manner she rose, ex“ Come, friend! The Lord says he's horting him to go on praying". ready for thee, too! He's waiting to and hurried back to the group she put a wedding garment on thee! Here had quitted. He, too, immediately He is! Look, man, for thyself! He's afterwards rose, and walked past me, going all about this room, looking still eyeing the young woman who whom He shall save-look at Him"- had left him. Seeing that I was, evi
“Oh, Lord! oh, Jesus!-oh-0-0!" dently, merely a curious strangercried the youth.
and, I suppose, giving credit to my “Ay, pray thus, and He must come ; appearance as that of a mere man of He can't help himself; He loves it! the world come to see the sport—he Come! thou must believe now! The actually thrust bis tongue into his devil will have thee this night if thou cheek, and winked his eye at me as doesn't!--there-that's it! that's it!" he passed! Of course, I took no noas the wretched fellow redoubled his tice of him further than returning
his impudent look pretty sternly. He is here. He's waiting to save you ?" made his way into the group to which said the first man. « Come, come,” the young woman had returned and he took hold of my hand, as if he probably with most improper motives. would lead me to a form, where I was I subsequently learned that things of to kneel down, and he beside methis sort had several times taken place Heaven save the mark ! -low scoundrels, like the one I had “ Really, sir," said I, civilly but observed, coming in, pretending to be resolutely, “I shall feel particularly in earnest, and then taking advantage obliged if you will not trouble yourof the foolish and excited females self on my account. I assure you I who may attend
them to insult am nót accustomed to such familiari. them : at least I was subsequently ties-I–I cannot allow it, sir,” forci. told as much. There were several bly removing my hand from his. He persons, who seemed to be leading seemed for a moment abaslied, but ones, who from time to time came he returned to the charge. up to people standing about, and "Ah, friend, this haughty air won't whom they soon persuaded to kneel do in the Day of Judgment. You'll down with them, when similar scenes find that a gentleman may be damned, to those I have been describing en- for all his airs !" sued. I observed two or three of “Forgive me," said I, calmly and their people eyeing me, as I stood even respectfully," I trust I have not aloof leaning against the wall, and ventured to show any “airs,' as you watching their proceedings with in. call them”. tense and melancholy interest—look. “ There, down on your knees," ing as if they longed to do by me as he interrupted, resuming his confithey were doing by others : but, to dence. protect myself from any of their ab- I shook my head, and smiled, somesurd and offensive importunities, ļ what bitterly, perhiaps. looked as stern and repulsive as I “ What is the name of this church?" possibly could—and for a time suc- I enquired, turning round to the ceeded in gaining my object. At friend on my right; but I forget his length, however, two men, dressed in answer. The other asked me to what long black coats, with white neck- church “I fancied" I belonged. I told handkerchiefs--of very coarse vulgar him to the Church of England. features and appearance-came up to
“ That's not the church of Christ," me boldly, and the dreaded struggle said the confident friend on my left. began.
“ His is a mystical church; and we “Well," said one of them, placing are of it. This is His church". a huge red hand upon my shoulder “ Then he has got a noisy church in a confident, familiar syle-1 in- of it,” said I. stantly dislodged his hand—“art thou, “ Friend, you come to mock; you friend, come to see Jesus, and get thy should remain to pray.” soul saved ? Down on thy knees; no “You are wrong, sir ; I came to time to be lost!--Come".
look on seriously, to see if such things “ Yes, sir, you need salvation !” really". said the other, in a tone and manner
« Come, come, down on your of forced confidence, with a manifestand you shall soon feel and know that sheepishness in his countenance, and this is indeed the day of salvation. evidently abashed by my manner. You can't do without it.” Again he
“ Who is the minister of this place?" put his rude hand on my shoulder. I enquired, as drily and frigidly as pos- Really, sir, you will compel me sible, thinking thus to parry their to leave the room." attack.
“ But you mustn't--you must get “Mr Aitkin, sir," replied tho last- your carnal heart changed,” he conmentioned man.
tinued, impudently. “ Wḥat is the name of the body of - You drive me away." Christians who worship here?" I con- “ No, noI want you to fall on tinued, with a very polite, but distant your knees.”. air.
I quitted the room, to get rid of his “ This is the church of Christ--the pestilent importunities, with feelings mystical body of Christ, who have no which I cannot describe— feelings of other head; we are his people, and He mingled pity, indignation, astonish
ment, contempt. I protest that I have was our own fault, &c. Lo! just as “set down naught in malice," in writ- we were counting over the change we ing the above, but have given as sober had received we heard a sound-we and faithful an account of what took cast our eye on the huge train—alas ! place as I know how to give of any the monster was moving-and while thing; and if you, dear Christopher, the thing was moving we hastily got or any one to whom you may show into our appointed place-smack went this long letter, should think that I the door, and in a moment we were must have coloured and overcharged under the tunnel, in whose gloom and this description, all I say is, get any silence we had leisure to recover from friend at Liverpool, on whom you can our flurry, curse our folly, and make rely, to go to Mr Aitkin's church in good resolutions ! Mount Pleasant, and then tell you The morning was much finer than whether he can corroborate or contra- that on which we had come to Liverdiet my statements—whether he could pool; and it was pleasant enough to not add to them.
be rattling rapidly along amid the From what I could discover I sus- cheering sunshine, instead of having pect Mr Aitkin's flock must be a kind our former melancholy accompaniof off-shot from the Wesleyan Me- ments of wind, hail, snow, rain, fog, and thodists, who, however, never go so sleet. We reached Birmingham by a far as I þave been describing, though quarter past eleven, having started I have once or twice, some fifteen or from the tunnel at Liverpool at about twenty years ago, witnessed scenes in twenty minutes to seven-a far qnicktheir chapels not very far inferior to er journey than our former one. Certhe one in question. I believe, how- tainly, railroad travelling is delightful, ever, that the leading members of that both from the advantages afforded by extensive and very respectable per- its surprising rapidity, and the consuasion now discountenance such wild, venience-not to say the luxury-of irrational, indecorous, and even im- its accommodations. You have as pious proceedings; and when they much room as you can wish for: no shall have got rid of a few other pe, ill-bred or ill-natured, or disproporculiarities of feeling, and of discipline, tionately-sized fellow-passenger can and prejudices, may it not be hoped that annoy you by encroaching on the lithis excellent section of Christians will mits set apart for you: the vehicle in return into our Established Church? which you travel is airy and com
I returned to my lodgings about half- modious—you are at an amply suffipast nine, and, after giving Q. an ac- cient distance from your opposite count of what I had just been witness- neighbours; and, really, what a thing ing, retired to my bedroom, where I it will be ere long to be able to calcufound every thing packed up in readi- Jate confidently upon a journey to and ness for our early start in the morningfrom London and Liverpool, în right I slept soundly, and rose at five, called pleasant style, and in six or eight by Q.’s vigilant servant. Despite, hours! This will be, indeed, an aphowever, all our precautions, we proximation, at least, towards “ the escaped only with the skin of our annihilation” of “ time and space." teeth, being once more TOO LATE. Our About half past eleven o'clock-after fiy rattled down Mount Pleasant as takipg a biscuit and a glass of winefast as it could well go, but it struck we got into the coach. Alas, how six-sad sound to our too negligent
“Cabin'd, cribbed, confined, bound in " ears !-as we drove into the railway station-yard, and we knew that they we instantly felt ourselves ! scarce started punctually ; while we had yet room to shift the position of even a to get our luggage out and pụt in, to limb without almost apologizing to pay the residue of our fare, and to get one's neighbours for incommoding our tickets. We were in an agony of them! As this was the day of opennervousness. Our luggage would get ing the railroad, I soon found that a wrongly placed, then we had to get great struggle was to be made by our change for a ten-pound note; then coachman to see whether he could not we had to shout out to the people to get into town “ before the steamers." say that we were ready, while those He was a capital whip, and at the same within the office were saying that it time a cautious and safe one, and we