I find likewise some decay in my memory, with regard to names and things lately past; but not at all with regard to what I have read or heard twenty, forty, or sixty years ago, neither do I find any decay in my hearing, smell, taste, or appetite (though I want but a third part of the food I did once); nor do I feel any such thing as weariness, either in traveling or preaching. I am not conscious of any decay in writing sermons which I do as readily, and I believe as correctly, as ever.
To what cause can I impute this, that I am as I am? First, doubtless, to the power of God, fitting me for the work to which I am called, as long as He pleases to continue me therein; and, next, subordinately to this, to the prayers of His children.
May we not impute it as inferior means,
1. To my constant exercise and change of air?
2. To my never having lost a night's sleep, sick or well, at land or at sea, since I was born?
3. To my having slept at command so that whenever I feel myself almost worn out I call it and it comes, day or night?
4. To my having constantly, for about sixty years, risen at four in the morning?
5. To my constant preaching at five in the morning, for above fifty years?
6. To my having had so little pain in my life; and so little sorrow, or anxious care?
Even now, though I find pain daily in my eye, or temple, or arm; yet it is never violent and seldom lasts many minutes at a time.
Whether or not this is sent to give me warning that I am shortly to quit this tabernacle, I do not know; but be it one way or the. other, I have only to say,
My remnant of days
I spend to His praise
Who died the whole world to redeem:
Be they many or few,
My days are His due,
And they all are devoted to Him!
I preached in the morning on Psalm 90:12; in the evening on Acts 13:40, 41; I endeavored to improve the hours between to the best advantage.
Sunday, 29. -- At eight I preached at Misterton, as usual; about one to a numerous congregation at Newby, near Haxey; and about four at my old stand in Epworth market place, to the great congregation.
Sunday, July 6. -- I came to Epworth before the church service began and was glad to observe the seriousness with which Mr. Gibson read prayers and preached a plain, useful sermon. But I was sorry to see scarcely twenty communicants, half of whom came on my account. I was informed likewise that scarcely fifty persons used to attend the Sunday service. What can be done to remedy this sore evil?
"What Is to Be Done?" I fain would prevent the members here from leaving the Church; but I cannot do it. As Mr. C. is not a pious man, but rather an enemy to piety who frequently preaches against the truth and those that hold and love it, I cannot with all my influence persuade them either to hear him or to attend the sacrament administered by him. If I cannot carry this point even while I live, who then can do it when I die? And the case of Epworth is the case of every church where the minister neither loves nor preaches the gospel. The Methodists will not attend his ministrations. What then is to be done?
At four I preached in the market place on Romans 6:23 and vehemently exhorted the listening multitude to choose the better part.
Monday, 7. -- Having taken leave of this affectionate people, probably for the last time, I went over to Finningley; I preached at eleven on that verse in the second lesson, Luke 19:47. After dinner we walked over Mr. H.'s domain, the like of which I never saw in so small a compass. It contains a rabbit-warren, deer, swans, pheasants in abundance, besides a fishpond and an elegant garden. Variety indeed! But is there no danger that such a multitude of things should divert the mind from the "one thing needful"?