I cannot but mention an odd circumstance here. I had read her a paper in June last year, containing a short account of what had passed in my own soul, till within a few days of that time. She greatly approved it, and said she heartily blessed God, who had brought me to so just a way of thinking. While I was in Germany a copy of that paper was sent (without my knowledge) to one of my relations. He sent an account of it to my mother, whom I now found under strange fears concerning me, being convinced "by an account taken from one of my own papers that I had greatly erred from the faith." I could not conceive what paper that should be; but, on inquiry, found it was the same I had read her myself. How hard is it to form a true judgment of any person or thing from the account of a prejudiced relater! yea, though he be ever so honest a man: for he who gave this relations was one of unquestionable veracity. And yet by his sincere account of a writing which lay before his eyes, was the truth so totally disguised that my mother knew not the paper she had heard from end to end, nor I that I had myself written.
Thursday, 14. -- I went with Mr. Whitefield to Blackheath, where were, I believe, twelve or fourteen thousand people. He a little surprised me by desiring me to preach in his stead; which I did (though nature recoiled) on my favorite subject, "Jesus Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
I was greatly moved with compassion for the rich that were there, to whom I made a particular application. Some of them seemed to attend, while others drove away their coaches from so uncouth a preacher.
Sunday, 17. -- I preached at seven in Upper Moorefields to (I believe) six or seven thousand people, on, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters."
At five I preached on Kennington Common to about fifteen thousand people on those words, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth' [Isa.45:22].
Monday, 18. -- I left London early in the morning and the next evening reached Bristol and preached (as I had appointed, if God should permit) to a numerous congregation. My text now also was "look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth" [Isa.45:22]. Howell Harris called upon me an hour or two after. He said he had been much dissuaded from either hearing or seeing me by many who said all manner of evil of me. "But," said he, "as soon as I heard you preach, I quickly found what spirit you were of. And before you had done, I was so overpowered with joy and love that I had much ado to walk home."
Sunday, 24. -- As I was riding to Rose Green, in a smooth, plain part of the road, my horse suddenly pitched upon his head, and rolled over and over. I received no other hurt than a little bruise on one side; which for the present I felt not, but preached without pain to six or seven thousand people on that important direction, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" [see I Cor.10:31].