Lorenzo Dow.

The dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete online

. (page 110 of 126)
Online LibraryLorenzo DowThe dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete → online text (page 110 of 126)
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the more effectually commune with their God
and their own souls, shall we therefore find
fault 1 Let us take heed how we oppose our-
selves against the workings of the spirit of
truth !

"Again, by turning to Nehemiah viii. chap-
ter, beginning at the 13th verse. From the
sequel it would seem that by some means the
children of Israel had lost sight of a peculiar
ceremony commanded in the law of Moses.
But when the old custom of reading the law in
the ears of the people was revived by Nehe-
miah, it was noticed afresh, that they were
commanded on the occasion of a certain feast
to dwell in booths for seven days. And im-
mediately the people went forth, and brought
olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle
branches, and palm branches, &c, and made
themselves booths, every one upon the roof of
his house, and in their courts, and in the
courts of the house of God, and in the street
of the water gate, &c.

" This ceremony was instituted in remem-
brance of the journey through the wilderness,
and was particularly calculated to make im-
pressions favorable to devotion, on the minds
of the people.

"They had long been in a state of captiv-
ity, and Jerusalem, their beloved city, and the
Temple were nearly destroyed, when it enter-
ed the heart of Nehemiah to repair them.
And when they had executed their work, he
instituted the old custom of reading the law,
&c. The people had been brought by adver-
sity to feel that their transgressions had been
the cause of their calamities. They were of
course disposed to indulge in repentance.
Their consciences were very much quickened,
and they wished to be obedient to the whole
law. They therefore built them booths and
sat under them, and reflected on the miracu-
lous deliverances which their fathers had re-



ceived when in the wilderness. They felt the
weight of their own sins; they even imagined
themselves to be in the same situation, .-Han-
gers and pilgrims dwelling in booths. They
lost sight of the bustle and commerce of the
city, even while they remained in it, and re-
newed their covenant to love and serve the
Lord.

"The blessed effects of Camp-Meetings were
discovered as if by accident. But the discove-
ry being made, those who were deeply inter-
ested in repairing the walls and temple of the
spiritual city of our God, repeated the meet-
ings with the happiest consequence. Here
the people, by the similarity of their situation
at once feel that this world is a wilderness,
and that all are spiritual travellers. They
lose sight of the world, and give a loose to
reflection. By reflection they are brought to
a sense of their sins, and by the help of the
ministers and the exhortations of rejoicing
converts, they are encouraged to fly speedily
to the out-stretched arm of mercy. Being
deeply impressed with a sense of the impor-
tance of the subject, they cease not day nor
night to cry mightily to God, till they ob-
tain power from on high to believe in the
power of Jesus to save to the uttermost all
them that are ready to perish.

"I shall conclude with observing, tliat.it is
not at all uncommon for persons to make up
their minds on hearing of an intended Camp-
Meeting, and to come forward with the ex-
press intention and full expectation of obtain-
ing religion. So that the extraordinary effects
of these meetings produce the most solemn re-
flections and important resolutions in the
minds of the people when at home. This
consideration ought to do away objections
raised against the shortness of the work. And
it is to be hoped, that all those who wish to
be benefited by the meetings, will turn a deaf
ear to opposition of this kind, when they con-
sider that the highest possible expectation is
warranted by the word of God. Our Lord
himself declared to the penitent thief, Luke
xxiii. chapter, 43d verse, To-day shalt thou
be with me, &c. — Again, Corinth, vi. chapter,
2d verse, ' Behold, now is the accepted time ;
behold, now is the day of salvation.' Again,
Acts xvi. chapter, and from 31st to 34th ver-
ses, inclusive. We find that the Jailor was
convinced and enabled to believe, all in the
same hour of the night. We might also add,
thai three thousand were made to know the
Lord on the one notable day, the day of Pen-
tecost. And Saul of Tarsus was converted
within the term of three days Take courage
then, ye who desire to escape from the wrath
to come. The sweet word of deliverance is,
"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved."



HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE METHODISTS.



BY HUGH BOURNE



FROM THE FIRST 'AMERICAN EDITION,



PART FIRST,



CHAPTER I.

ACCOUNT OF H. AND J. BOURNE.

Hugh and James Bourne, sons of Joseph
and Ellen Bourne, were born at Fordhays, in
the parish of Stoke upon Trent, in the county
of Stafford. H. Bourne was born in the be-
ginning of April, 1772: and J. Bourne about
the middle of February, 1781. Their mother
was notable for industry, and was pious ac-
cording to the light she had. She taught
nearly the whole of her numerous family to
read: and endeavored to train them up in the
fear of the Lord. Her trials in life were great
and various, yet she had some comforts. Her
eldest daughter, Mary, died happy in the Lord,
at about twelve years of age; and while she
lived, two of her sons became preachers of the
gospel. She died triumphing in the Lord, and
crying, " Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly,"
on Thursday, August 7, 1817, at the age of
eighty or eighty-one years.

H. Bourne, through his mother's pious care,
was early impressed with a sense of Divine
things, and in childhood was deeply convinced
of sin, and passed through much sorrow.

In the year 1788, his parents removed to
Bemersley farm, in the parish of Norton in the
Moors, in the county of Stafford, where his
mother finished her course, and where his
father is still living, at the advanced age of
eighty-eight years.

In the year 1799, H. Bourne become ac-
quainted with the nature of justification by
faith, that is, the justification of the ungodly
by faith: and with the doctrine of the remis-
sion of sins; and of being born again. A pi-



ous person at Burslem lent his mother a vol-
ume consisting of various religious publications
bound up together. It had a sermon on the
Trinity, by Mr. Wesley, which was exceed-
ingly useful to H. Bourne, especially the first
part of it which says,

" Whatsoever the generality of people may
think, it is certain that opinion is not religion;
no, not right opinion, assent to one or to ten
thousand truths. There is a wide difference
between them : even right opinion is as distant
from religion as the east is from the west.
Persons may be quite right in their opinions,
and yet have no religion at all. And, on the
other hand, persons may be truly religious
who hold many wrong opinions."

Mr. W. proceeds to illustrate this by a
variety of examples, and then says, '-1101100
we cannot but infer that there are ten thou-
sand mistakes, which may consist with real
religion ; with regard to which every can-
did, considerate man, will think and let
think."

These remarks enabled H. Bourne to distin-
guish what was religion, and what was not
religion. And while reading Mr. Fletcher's
letters on the Spiritual Manifestation of the
Son of God, he realized the blessing therein
described; he obtained the knowledge of sal-
vation by the remission of sins, and was filled
with all" joy and peace through believing.
The fruits of it were power over sin, and
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
And the fruits abiding confirmed it to him, that
the work was of the Lord.

This took place in his father's house, in the
spring of the year 1799. and at midsummer he
joined the old Methodist Connexion • and in



266



HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE METHODISTS.



a short time his mother joined ; and towards
the latter end of the year 1800, James Bourne,
his youngest brother, was brought into the
way of religion, and joined also.



CHAPTER II.

"Work of religion at Harresehead.— A day's praying
spoken of.— Chapel built, and the design hindered. — Ac-
count of camp meetings in the Methodist Magazines.—
Second revival, or increase of religion at Harresehead. —
Revival ceases. — A day's meeting spoken of — L. Dow's
labors, and visit to Harresehead. Norton camp meeting
resolved on. — Mow first camp meeting held on Sunday,
May 31, 1807.

In the year 1801, and for some time after,
H. Bourne was much employed at and near
Harresehead, about three miles distant from
Bemersley. Harresehead had no means of
grace, and the inhabitants, chiefly colliers, ap-
peared to he entirely destitute of religion, and
much addicted to ungodliness; it was indeed
reckoned a profane neighborhood above most
others.

H. Bourne endeavored to promote religion
there, and on the 24th and 25th of December,
1801, he prevailed with a collier, Daniel Shu-
botham, of Harresehead, fully to set out for
Heaven. Nearly at the same time another
collier, Matthias Bayley, was, by other means,
brought in the way to heaven.* These men
weie very earnest, and there was soon a con-
siderable awakening ; and a work of religion,
usually called a revival, took place. Prayer
meetings were established, a number were
turned to righteousness: and there was a great
reformation in the neighborhood.

I 'layer meetings were usually held at the
house of John Hall, of Harresehead; his wife
being a member of the Methodist Society at
Mow, about a mile and a half distant ; and
where there was preaching usually once a
fortnight, and had been for some years. With
this revival at Harresehead, a very great strict-
ness grew up among the people, and none
were willingly allowed to exercise in public,
who were not correct in their conduct, and
diligent in the duties of their callings. And
on week day evenings, the prayer meetings
were seldom held very long, that they might
not interfere with other duties.

This was not always agreeable to every
one, for at the close of a very lively meeting,
some would frequently be saying, they should
have liked it to have continued longer. On one
of these occasions, when several were speak-
ing in this manner, D. Shubotham said, " You
shall have a meeting upon Mow some Sunday,
and have a whole day's praying, and then

* These two have since died happy in the Lord.



you'll be satisfied." This speech was quite
new and unexpected, and struck the people
with a degree of surprise.

A few nights after on a similar occasion he
used the same words ; and the people began
to take it up. The thing seemed suitable, as
it held out a prospect of having a fair course
of praying, without any restraint.

Their design of having " A day's praying, 1 '
was, however, frustrated in the following man-
ner. H. Bourne prevailed with them to join
the Old Methodist Society, and the same year,
1802, he built a chapel at Harresehead, in a
great measure at his own expense; and
preaching was appointed in it for ten and two,
every Sunday. This was overdoing it. The
work had been raised up chiefly by means of
pious conversation and prayer meetings; and so
very much preaching at such a place, and under
such circumstances, seemed not to have a good
effect ; it seemed to hinder the exertions of the
people. And the preachers, in general, were
unfavorable to the day's praying upon Mow.
H. Bourne was grieved with this; he thought
the people should not have been hindered of
their day's meeting. And the revival soon
made a pause. But those who had been
brought in, stood very firm.

About this time the Methodist Magazines
began to be circulated at Harresehead. They
contained accounts of a great work of religion
in America, carried on chiefly by means of
camp meetings, usually held in the open air,
with various exercises, for several days to-
gether. Through the constant reading of
these, the day"s meeting upon Mow was fre-
I quently brought up in conversation, and it
began to be called a camp meeting.

At Michaelmas, 1804, another revival or
increase of religion arose at Harresehead, by
the following means. There were then living
at and near Stockton, a number of poor, hut
very pious people, who were members of the
Old Methodist connexion, and were called
revivalists. And a pious person, J. Clark
of Congleton, engaged a number of them, (at
a considerable expense to himself.) to attend
the Michaelmas lovefeast, at the old Methodist
chapel at Congleton ; ami sent an invitation
to the pious people at Harresehead to meel
them there. At the lovefeast they made a va-
riety of remarks on a free, full, and present
salvation, to be obtained by faith, and held by
faith ; and they spoke much of being sanctified
wholly. When the love feast was closed they
held a meeting in J. Clark's house, at which
H. Bourne and the Harresehead people were
present. This meeting was lively: they
prayed with some who were seeking pardon,
and others who were seeking to be sanctified
wholly. And the Lord crowned their labors
with success, and made them a means of bring-



HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE METHODISTS.



2G7



ing H. Bourne and the Harresehead people
more fully into the law of faith, and by this
means the design of J. Clark was accom-
plished.

The next evening, Monday, H. Bourne was
at the class meeting in Harresehead chapel;
there was an extraordinary outpouring of the
Spirit ; and a very great quickening ran speed-
ily throughout the society. The word was
like fire among dry stubble : the work broke
out in all directions; and numbers were con-
verted to GoJ. The strictness already estab-
lished, gave great stability to the revival;
and, in a short time, there was a reviving in
almost every part of the circuit, and many
were added to the Lord.

At Tunstall the revival made its first effec-
tual appearance in the class led by Mr. James
Steele, and it grew powerful. A number were
converted to GoJ, who proved very firm in the
cause of religion, among whom were William
Clowes, James Nixon, and William Monis.
And between these people and H. and J.
Bourne an intimacy grew up : and in particu-
lar between H. Bourne and William Clowes.

Early in the year 1806, owing, as it was
thought, to some steps taken by the under
travelling preacher, the revival at Harrei ehead
made a pause, which was cause of grief to
many, and the more so as upwards of twelve
months elapsed without a single conversion
taking place. During this interval, many
wished the day's meeting upon Mow to be
held hoping it would be a means to increase
or revive religion.

They conceived that the first proposal of a
day's meeting was providential. And, as the
Methodist Magazines showed that camp meet-
ings had been a means of a great increase or
revival of religion in America, they thought
there was reason to hope they would be use-
ful in England. Again it was observed that
an expectation of such a meeting had been
raised, had spread largely, and had been kept
alive for some years; and this was thought to
indicate a call of providence.

One of the colliers, Thomas Cotton,* who
had been brought to the Lord in the revival,
and was become a useful local preacher, was
very strenuous for it. But D. Shubotham was
reluctant, on account of preaching being ap-
pointed at ten and two in the chapel.

About this time, there was a revival at Con-
gleton, and another at Macclesfield, under the
ministry of LORENZO DOW, a native of
America. This man spoke largely of the
camp meetings, both in public and private, and
printed several tracts on the subject. These
things, in addition to the Methodisl Magazines,
filled the country with camp meeting conver-



♦ T. Cotton has since died happy in the Lord.



sations. And the desires to see a camp meet-
ing were raised very high.

About the beginning of April, 1807, L. D.
spoke at Harresehead chapel. Here H. Bourne
heard him for the first time; and here too he
spoke largely of the camp meetings; observing
that, occasionally, something of a pentecostal
power attended them; and that for a consider-
able time, in America, as much good had been
done, and as man} souls brought to God, at
the cam]) meetings, as at all the other meetings
put togethej .

The next morning, II. and J. Bourne heard
him preach his farewell sermon at Congleton,
being mi the point of returning to America.
Before beset off, il. Bourne purchased from
him a pamphlet containing some account how
the camp meetings were held: and another
en i led, "A Defence of Camp Meetings, by
the Rev. S. K. Jennings, A. M "

H. Bourne, on reading these, resolved on a
camp meeting to be held in August, at Norton
in the Moors, to counteract the bad effect of
the wake or annual parish feast. The society
at that place had lor some years, uniformly
suffere 1 a loss of members at the times of the
wakes, chiefly by the young people being
drawn into vanity : and he judged a camp
meeting wouid be the only means to engage
their attention, and prevent their being so
drawn away. There was a number of earnest
pious people, at and about Norton ; and he
thought to engage the assistance of some of
the pious praying laborers from Harresehead,
and pay them wages for loss of time ; and he
expected also the assistance of two or three
preachers : and with all these means, he con-
ceived there was a prospect of holding a meet-
i:i_ r tor a few days, at the beginning of the
week, until the heat of the wake should be
gone past.

In a few days after this he went to Har-
resehead to attend the class, and confer with
the people about the matter. He laid open
before them the plan and design of the pro-
posed Norton camp meeting. It fully met
their approbation, and a number of them en-
gaged to give their assistance.

They themselves, had formed a design to
hold a camp meeting, and it was now thought
right to bring it to a conclusion. The preach-
ers' plan was examined, and it being found
that Thomas Cotton was the preacher appoint-
ed in Harresehead chapel for Sunday. May
31, 1807, that day was lived upon for the
camp meeting, and published accordingly.
And, in the mean time, prayer and supplica-
tion were made unto the Lord without ceasing,
to bless and prosper the camp meetings.

The camp meeting was published to begin
at six o'clock in the morning, if the weather
proved fine ; but for no camp meeting to be



263



HISTORY OF THE PRIMITIVE METHODISTS.



expected if it was rainy. And very early in
the morning, there fell so much rain that the
Harresehead peoplegave up all further thought
of the meeting, and both they and H. Bourne
concluded there would be no meeting. But it
proved to be the Lord's will that there certain-
ly should be a camp meeting. And, under
his divine influence, many pious people came
in from distant places ; and about six o'clock,
they begun the meeting, and carried it on for
a considerable time, before the Harresehead
people came to the ground.

It was held on the Cheshire side of Mow,
in a field belong to pious old Joseph Pointon
the old class leader.* The first preaching
stand was only a few yards from the bound-
ary line which parts the two countries, and
which runs nearly along the ridge of the
mountain.

The weather, at first, seemed unfavorable,
there was a show of rain and occasionally a
little moisture descended. But in a short time
the clouds dispersed, and the Lord sent fine
weather the whole of the day.

The people came in very fast, and after
some time another preaching stand was erect-
ed, at a considerable distance from the first.
And nearly at the same time two praying com-
panies took up their stations, and in these
companies the Lord made bare his arm ; sev-
eral were brought into distress, and some
were brought into liberty.

There were permanent praying companies,
they did not break up for preaching. f

About noon a third preaching stand was
erected, and after that a fourth. At the preach-
ing stands the services were diversified ; they
were carried on with singing, prayer, preach-
ing, exhortations, speaking experience, relat-
ing anecdotes, &c.

The meeting went on without intermission,
from about six in the morning, till about half-
past eight in the evening : and a great solem-
nity rested on the people all the time.

In the afternoon, a camp meeting was ap-
pointed to be held upon Mow, in July, and to
continue a few days, to engage the people,
and counteract the bad effect of the wake ;
and it was published together with that to be
held at Norton.

Soon after four o'clock the congregation be-
gan sensibly to decline, and at six they were
confined to one stand. The meeting thru pro-
ceeded chiefly in praying services. About
seven o'clock several were brought under a



concern, chiefly by being spoken to, while the
meeting was going on : and six were brought
into liberty. About half-past eight the meet-
ing closed. And this was the first Mow Camp
Meeting.



•He has since died, gloriously triiinipliin^ in the Lord.
tThis method was again adopted on Sunday, Julj 30,
1610, at a camp meeting near Loughborough ; where a
permanent company was formed to pray with mourners,
and they labored, without intermission, from ten or elev-
en o'clock in the forenoon, till nine in the evening. See
the Primitive .Methodist Magazine, volume 1, page 241.



CHAPTER III.

Good done at the first Meeting— An account published.
— Opposition. — Proceedings of the second Mow camp
meeting. — Opposition turned to good — Many converted.

The first camp meeting exceeded the ex-
pectation of the people both in the greatness
of it and in its effect. A visible change for
the better appeared in the neighborhood ; and
it was the unanimous opinion of the pious
people at Harresehead, that more good had
been done at that meeting than at all the
preachings and meetings in that neighborhood,
during the preceding twelve months. H.
Bourne wrote an account of the meeting, of
which, (being printed in a small pamphlet)
thousands were speedily circulated. Camp
Meetings being new in England, people wish-
ed to know how the services were carried on,
and what success attended the labors.

As the camp meetings were calculated for
great usefulness, they met with great and un-
expected opposition. In the first place, the
two travelling preachers in the Burslem cir-
cuit put out hand-bills against them. And in
a short time, the travelling preachers in the
Macclesfield circuit did the same.

In addition to this, a man in the Potteries
who was a great persecutor of religion, gave
it out that he would crush the camp meetings.
This he thought to do by means of the Con-
venticle Act, which was then unrepealed.*
Many eyes were fixed on this man. His ha-
tred to religion was well known; and many,
both professors and profane, fully expected
that the camp meetings would be immediately
suppressed. And this man's threats, together
with the travelling preachers' exertions, hind-
ered several from attending.

Nevertheless, on Sunday, July 19, 1807,
the wake commenced, and the second Mow
camp meeting was held. Great numbers at-
tended, and it was well supported ; and pro-
ceeded with energy and effect. Twice during
the day the work broke out in a powerful
manner, and many were brought into liberty.

On one of these occasions, when many were
praying with mourners the persecutor before
mentioned, came on horseback, attended with
one or two more. He attempted to break into the
meeting where prayer was making for mourn-

♦This act was repealed in 1812.



ers, but could not succeed. He then inquired
for the heads of the meeting, and was directed
to H. Bourne, who had just before retired be-
hind a hill, and who was ignorant of this
man, and of his intentions. The man, how-
ever, was soon brought to him, and appeared
to be very warm. But he conversed with him
coolly and at large. The man then, with
some threatening?, went away, riding past the
congregation. The Lord then interposed, and
struck such a terror on him, that he stopped
his horse, and sent for H. Bourne, and seemed
conscious of being in an error. After some
conversation, he took leave ; and, at parting
said : " God bless you." And the people pre-
sent said, " God bless him."

Through the blessing of Almighty God, this
man's coming proved of the utmost service to
the camp meetings. It put a bridle on the
open persecution ; it being naturally conclud-
ed, that if any thing could have been safely
done against the camp meetings, this man
would have done it.

On the Monday, the meeting was numerous
and proceeded with good effect, and a number



Online LibraryLorenzo DowThe dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete → online text (page 110 of 126)