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deemer, but they simply urged him to attend their religious ordinances and to live a moral life. Many said that he was mad; and others, that some demon had taken possession of him; but there was none to point him to 'the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.'
In the spring of 1758, Cootehill was first visited by a Methodist Preacher; his name was Thomas Kead, a man whose heart was full of love to Christ and love for souls.* He took his stand in the street, and, having sung a hymn and prayed, announced his text: 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.' Amongst those who gathered around the stranger was John Smith, who drank in every word. The sermon just met his case. He thought that the whole discourse was aimed at himself; it seemed to him as if the Preacher knew both his heart and life, so fully and truthfully did he describe his state and feelings. And when the Evangelist held forth the Lord Jesus as the only and allsufficient Saviour, and proclaimed through Him forgiveness of sins to all that believe, the soul of the poor penitent was filled with wonder. He thought, And yet there can be no doubt about this. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," even the "chief" of sinners. He "tasted death for every man;" He says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The veil of unbelief was removed; the love of Christ burst upon his ravished vision,
driving away all guilt and fear, and filling his soul with light, love and joy. He could no more doubt his acceptance with God through Christ than he could his existence. The Gospel messenger spent nearly the whole of the remainder of the day with the young convert, giving him suitable instruction.
John Smith was now a new mana wonder to himself, to his family, and to all who knew him. The old temptations returned, but in all he was more than conqueror through Him Who loved him. With a heart overfraught with gratitude, he eagerly seized every opportunity of telling others what a Saviour he had found. Good impressions were made on the minds of many when, a short time after Smith's conversion, Mr. Wesley first visited Cootehill (May 22nd, 1758), and 'preached at seven in an open place near the street' (Journal), the congregation was 'tolerably serious.' And when again, on the following morning at six o'clock, the venerated founder of Methodism proclaimed the glad tidings of salvation, there were still more hearers, who seemed to feel as well as hear.'
On this occasion, Mr. Wesley was accompanied by Mr. Robert Swindells, and their visit led to the formation of a Methodist Society in the town, composed of a few persons, all in humble circumstances, who, as the result of the labours of Thomas Kead, John Smith and Mr. Wesley, had a desire to flee from the wrath to come,' and 'to be saved from their sins.' Of this little company John Smith was in a short time appointed the Leader. True, their Leader was but recently converted, like themselves, and unskilled in the word of righteousness;
Of this devoted Evangelist there are only a few brief glimpses in Irish Methodistic history. He was a native of Ireland. He began to travel as a Preacher of the Gospel in 1750. In 1752 he was present in Limerick at the first Methodist Conference held in Ireland; at which time he was a married man, reference being made to a grant voted to his wife. He laboured in Dublin in 1762, assisting Mr. Wesley, at Watch-night Services, in April and July; and died in that city, in the full triumph of faith.
but faith, perseverance in prayer, and the diligent study of the Word of God soon supplied all that was lacking.
If, however, these poor people by becoming Methodists enjoyed privileges unspeakably precious to them, they also exposed themselves to bitter persecution. Members of the different Churches in the town soon began to oppose the little band, cavilling at their opinions, questioning the sincerity of their professions, mocking them in their presence, and slandering them in their absence. Their malice, however, was chiefly directed against John Smith, not only as the most zealous of the Methodists, but especially as one on whose behalf numerous and remarkable deliverances were wrought. Hence he was called a demoniac, and charged, like his blessed Master, with being in league with the devil. But they did not confine themselves to malicious statements, they proceeded to use physical violence. They collected mobs, surrounded the place of meeting, seized the worshippers, knocked them down, beat, and even dragged them through cess-pools and sewers. Still John Smith steadily and faithfully did his duty, never offering the slightest resistance, but rejoicing that he was counted worthy to suffer' for Christ's Name.
These severe trials were overruled by Providence for good. None joined the little band but such as were thoroughly in earnest and ready to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and the members of the Society were drawn still more closely together. Owing to the Divine blessing on the faithful labours of these devoted people, their meekness under provocation, and the integrity of their lives, several persons of a higher social position joined the Society, and others began to attend the public services, by whose influence open persecution was brought to an end. John Smith seized every opportunity
of reproving sin and calling sinners. to repentance. He spared none, whatever their position, who violated the law of God in his presence; for this he received not a few severe beatings. He spent at least six hours in every twenty-four in private prayer and reading the Bible; this was the means by which he obtained and retained his marvellous spiritual power. He did not look to the Holy Spirit to supply that knowledge which can only be obtained by study, or to give skill in its use, which is only the result of faithful practice. Wesley's Hymns, The Pilgrim's Progress, The Holy War, The Practice of Piety, and The Saints' Everlasting Rest were his favourite books. These were made subservient to the great conflict with sin and Satan, of which he never lost sight. He sometimes termed them his small arms,' and the Bible his 'artillery.' He was most skilful in the use of the latter; he could sustain each statement that he made, and repel every objection, by a prompt appeal to the written
On February 21st, 1760, a remarkable and well-authenticated incident occurred. John Smith had been engaged in prayer in a barn, from which he quickly returned home, greatly agitated, saying to his wife as he entered: Mary, the French have just landed in the North.' This was repeated, and it soon spread over the town, giving rise to considerable talk. One of the local authorities, having heard the report, sent for 'the seer,' and reprimanded him for disturbing. the public tranquillity by exciting a needless alarm. He was asked how he could know that such an event had taken place, the town being distant from any Northern port. John Smith replied that he was sure his statement was correct, and he was willing to remain in custody till the fact should be ascertained. A few hours after this interview intelligence arrived
that the French Admiral, Thurot, had landed, at Carrickfergus, a body of soldiers, commanded by General Cavignac, who had taken possession of the town.
This time, when the terror of invasion filled the minds of the people, was regarded by John Smith as a favourable opportunity for calling them to flee to Christ for refuge; he hastened from house to house, warning the inmates of the danger of eternal death. No doubt the feeling excited in the town by the confirmation of his singular statement with regard to the French landing greatly added to his influence. So deep and general was the impression made by his labours, that when Mr. Wesley paid his second visit to Cootehill (May 13th, 1760), and preached in the Market-house, nearly all the Protestants in the town were present. (Journal.) More important good, however, than a mere interest in religious services resulted from the fervent efforts of John Smith; great numbers were converted to God. Encouraged by these successes, he continued for some years earnestly and faithfully to work for Christ in his own neighbourhood. Some who then professed to receive spiritual good filled important and useful positions in the Church. Thirty years after John Smith had passed home, some of the most devoted members of the Society at Cootehill referred to him as the instrument of their conversion.
But a more extensive sphere of usefulness opened to John Smith, for which he was specially adapted. Mr. Wesley, having recognized in him a pecular fitness for evangelistic work, and having ascertained that a large district of country, embracing_the counties of Monaghan, Cavan, Fermanagh and Tyrone, was in a state of spiritual destitution, wrote, about the autumn of 1766, appointing him to work in this vast field as a Methodist Preacher. John Smith, regarding this
communication as a call from God, gave up business, and entered heartily
into the work.
He commenced his labours in this new capacity in Fermanagh. In April, 1762, Mr. Wesley had passed through the county, en route from Cootehill to Sligo; but it does not appear that Methodism had gained any footing in this district. The first place visited by John Smith was Tonyloman, about five miles south of Enniskillen. During the first service which he held there, or at its close, one of the hearers cried out, This is a messenger of God, and his doctrine is the doctrine of heaven. I once felt the pardoning love of God, and, blessed be His Name! He has recalled the wandering sheep.' The speaker was William Price, familiarly called 'Uncle Will'; his history deserves special notice. When a young man he enlisted in the Enniskillen Dragoons, went with his regiment to Flanders, and fought at the battles of Dettingen and Fontenoy. He was brought to experience the power of religion through the zealous exertions of John Haime. On one occasion when the regiment was drawn up and the cannon began to play upon them, the words of the Psalmist were suggested to the mind of Price: A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee'; and filled his soul with love and peace. He escaped unhurt; and in 1748, at the end of the war, returned to Fermanagh, where he endeavoured to lead his friends to a saving knowledge of the truth; but his words appeared to them as idle tales: Discouraged by lack of success, and being without one pious acquaintance, his love grew cold; but the forceful preaching of John Smith revived the faith and fervour of former days. The old soldier prevailed on Thomas Price-who appears to have been his son, with whom he lived-to invite the Preacher to his house, and
used his best exertions to collect his friends and neighbours to hear him. Only a few attended at first, amongst whom were two sons of a cousin of William Price, named Nehemiah and John Price, who thus received their earliest religious impressions. The former describes John Smith as 'a plain, blunt man, of undaunted courage, fervent zeal and great diligence. He always had a word for saints as well as sinners. He had a powerful gift of prayer, and God crowned his labours with signal success.'*
John Smith continued to visit Tonyloman as he had opportunity, preaching to increasing congregations. His fearless and fervent proclamation of the truth, accompanied by the power of the Holy Ghost, reached the hearts of the people, many of whom were greatly convulsed and prostrated in body, as well as deeply agitated in mind: some fell suddenly to the ground, as if struck by lightning, praying and groaning for mercy. Frequently the devoted Evangelist had to cease preaching, unable to proceed on account of the cries for salvation, and then he had recourse to prayer, pleading mightily on behalf of the penitents, until prayer was turned into praise. It was not unusual for twenty or thirty to be converted during one service. As the result of these labours a Society was formed, which became a centre of gracious influence to the surrounding country. The leader of this first Class was old William Price, and among its first members were at least four young men, who afterwards proved useful Methodist Preachers-Nehemiah and John Price, Robert Armstrong and John Mayly.
Among those brought to the knowledge of God about this time in the adjacent country was Mr. Hugh Drennan, of Skea-a man of strong
understanding and sound judgment, and well known to the venerable father of Methodism, with whom he corresponded, and by whom he was highly esteemed. Hugh Drennan discharged the duties of Leader and Circuit-steward faithfully, wielding considerable influence in the neighbourhood, in the promotion of the kingdom of Christ, for more than fifty years. †
But of those who in this neighbourhood were brought under the influence of Methodism at this early period the most noteworthy was Daniel Bradshaw, Esq. He was a lineal descendant of the pious Bedell, Bishop of Kilmore, and in 1765, when about twenty years of age, purchased, and made his residence at Violet Hill, where he was on friendly terms with the noble family of Cole. Here he became acquainted with the Methodists; and through the Divine blessing on their efforts became anxious about his soul. Lord Mountflorence, afterwards Earl of Enniskillen, observing the change in his spirit, determined to draw him away from association with those who had caused this, as he thought, unnecessary seriousness; and with this object invited him to an entertainment at his house, to which Mr. Bradshaw went very reluctantly. But as soon as the frivolous amusements of the evening began, he slipped away, went to the usual preaching service, and before it concluded was enabled to believe with the heart unto righteousness. He immediately joined the Society, was soon appointed a Class Leader, and opened his house for the preaching of the Gospel. In time that neighbourhood presented a changed appearance, new Classes were formed, and the once Sabbath-breaking country became a land of prayer and praise. Lord Mountflorence and his family, seeing
• Primitive Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, 1827, p. 56. ↑ Irish Evangelist, 1860, pp. 105-6.
the great moral transformation in the people, became favourable to Methodism, and his descendants have continued so to the present day. Mr.
Bradshaw also during a long life gave clear and strong evidence of his deep love for God and sincere attachment to the Society.*
(To be continued.)
BIBLE HYGIENE; † OR, PREVENTION BETTER THAN CURE: BY THE REV. B. G. WILKINSON.
A BOOK on Bible Hygiene will have some attraction for readers, if only on the ground of novelty. It deals with a subject which has not hitherto received much attention. Several small pamphlets on the sanitary legislation of the Old Testament have been published, but this subject has generally been treated as one of curious research rather than of practical value. In some works on sanitary science indirect reference is made to the teaching of Scripture, but it has been left to the anonymous author of this book to gather up and present in a systematic form the numerous precepts in the Word of God concerning the preservation of health; and, in so doing, he has rendered a signal service alike to the cause of sanitary science and religion. The scientific teaching of the Old Testament has latterly been subjected to very close examination, and not very kindly criticism. It cannot be said that so far much good has resulted from the earnest controversies of theologians and scientific men over certain parts of the sacred text. Many Christian people have been led in consequence to regard science with suspicion, and to fancy that in some way or other it is mixed up with infidelity and atheism; and some scientific men have conceived a low regard for the Scriptures, and underestimated the value of their teaching on moral and
religious questions, because they do not agree with their own scientific hypotheses. These results are much to be deplored. In the real progress of science all of us are of course interested. It has done so much for us physically and socially, that before we indulge in denunciation of science, truly so called, we should remember how many of our daily comforts and enjoyments are the direct gift of science. In the progress of religion also we are all interested. The blessings it has conferred on the human race, in spite of the many perversions to which it is subject, are incalculable; and surely no man of sense Iwould wish to see its influence and authority destroyed. Let us hope that this bitter feeling of opposition may subside.
This desirable result will be helped a little by remembering that the Bible is not primarily a scientific book. It does not profess to be a manual of geology, botany, astronomy or physiology. Inci
dentally it alludes to all these subjects, but only incidentally. Considering the earnest manner in which men are investigating Nature and endeavouring to learn her secrets, it is not at all remarkable that their labours should sometimes lead to discoveries which seem for a time to look in the direction of conclusions hard to reconcile with the words of Scripture; but
*Primitive Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, 1852, pp. 317-19; and Irish Evangelist, 1861, p. 138.
† Bible Hygiene; or, Health Hints. By a Physician. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 1879.