Part III - The Unity of the Spirit
16 - Samuel Hughes - A Shropshire Miner
THE view to the west of the Longmynd is dominated by the jagged ridge of the Stiperstones with its harsh quartzite masses and scattered rocks. In the nineteenth century its western slopes were stabbed with pit shafts and a chain of mines flourished there, getting lead and barytes from Snailbeach and Pennerley, galena from Shelve, Callow Hill and Bog. Plans of the Snailbeach mine are in existence from 1790, but the people used to say "the old men" worked it in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Mining ore was not an easy matter. The miners "followed the lode", in this case finding lead in hard slates, which passing into the harder grits of Longmyndian became poor in lead and rich in copper. They followed it downwards from the surface, using ladders as the trench deepened. At a certain depth this gave place to shafts and tunnels. Before the days of cages and winding gear the ore was brought up in baskets. When the contour of the ground allowed it, "day tunnels" or adits were driven in from the side of the hill at a low angle; this was also good for drainage purposes. The lode material was picked over (the great whitish refuse heaps still dot that landscape); the ore was broken and washed, roasted in a furnace and raked. The sulphur and arsenic fumes were thus got rid of. Then the heat was increased, and the mass of ore brought into fusion. The molten lead was then run into moulds, which solidified into "pigs" and was ready for trading. In 1851 about 500 miners were engaged at Snailbeach besides those washing and smelting ore.
The miners lived in hamlets tucked into the side or up some crannies of the Stiperstones, and strings of laden donkeys wound along the hairpin bends of the road, precipitous in places. The scene must have had a wild beauty. There was not the flat dreariness and dirt of the coal-mining districts. Magnificent woods swept the whole length of the Hope Valley below (these were all slaughtered in the First World War), and the countryside lay open and varied to the sight. Over to the south-west the slow Onny gleamed, taking the drainings from the mines. Nowadays all this seems a lost country, the Onny's streams one vast gentle bog, the old shafts rising ghost-like into an indefinite blur of background.
But at the period of which we are writing, the barytes mines were thriving. Cornishmen and miners from Montgomery had come up and settled among the Shropshire men. Stripped to the waist in summer-time, hooded with coarse sacking in winter when outside with bleak winds whistling round them, they worked amidst many a hazard, and found their pleasures in drink and cock-fighting, the wake, the fair, and the races. The women had a pinching time when money went in wild living, and many of the children had to go into the mines to work where "morals, actions and language were obscene and filthy".
But there were some among even these rough creatures that sought the things of salvation. The Cornishmen had brought Methodism with them, and in the early eighteen hundreds Shrews-bury Baptist Church sent out a preacher to take services in several villages, including Snailbeach. A spiritual harvest resulted, and on Communion Sunday in Shrewsbury there was usually a contingent of sober miners and their families. But these monthly journeys were tedious especially in winter, and a request was made that a separate Church should be formed. This was granted, and a blacksmith's shop at the mine became a regular meeting place for fifteen years, receiving the monthly oversight of a minister. This little Church "had many tokens of divine favour, and many were added to the Church". In 1825 a Mr. Lakeline, of Pontesbury, undertook the pastorate. We read of him that "it was his custom to stay up till midnight on Saturday to feed his horse, and then it would fast till midnight on Sunday. He rode to take three services each Sunday - at Minsterley, Wrentnall and Snailbeach".
By 1830 the Church was so flourishing that a proper building was indicated. A young minister, Edward Evans, travelled up and down the country to collect funds for a church. At once there was difficulty in getting ground at Snailbeach to build upon. The Marquis of Bath owned all the land that would have been most convenient, and he refused to have a Free Church on his estate. A stiff climb up the hillside brings one to a small stream - the boundary between the Marquis of Bath's estate and that of the Earl of Tankerville. The Church applied to the Earl, who readily granted them permission to build and also gave a large site as a burial ground. So, away up the northern end of the Stiperstones, in a sheltered coign, stands - to this day - Lord's Hill Chapel. This place was being built in 1833 when Samuel Hughes was a young man. He saw the young minister gathering stones and was astonished, thinking There certainly must be something more in religion that I have ever been aware of.
Samuel was a native of Habberley, a village "over the hill", and although he was a miner - and had been since the age of twelve - living the hard reckless life described before, with many "hairbreadth escapes" to relate, he had not been brought up in the uncouth way of most of them. In a Memoir of him we learn that "he was tenderly brought up by his parents, and was taught by his mother to repeat the Lord's Prayer every night, and some verses of one of Dr. Watts's hymns beginning,
Almighty God, Thy piercing eye
Naturally of a tender disposition, he feared to do anything wrong, but especially at times when the feeling came over him that the unseen God would bring every secret thing into judgment".
His father had held an appointment in the Militia, then on discharge worked as a day labourer until he moved to Habberley and got work at Snailbeach mines. He had an elder sister Martha, and the two of them went to school and learnt the "rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic". They went regularly to Church, and Samuel sang in the choir. Martha, at nine, asked her mother how a man could make her a child of God at baptism; her father cut her short, saying 'she was going to teach the parsons, was she?". The same verse that they all learnt to say at night frightened Martha, and she used to wonder how she could stand before God.
When Samuel was eighteen his father died, and his mother, who had been stricken with paralysis for some years, could only sit childish and helpless in the corner. Freed thus from the restraint of his parents, Samuel gave loose, he says, "to the reins of folly and wickedness, thinking there was time enough to think about religion". Martha married, at twenty-eight, a boot-maker, Thomas Burgwin, an industrious young man, and it seemed a comfortable opening in life. He and his parents were staunch Church people, and Martha went with them. For a year they were comfortable, when a painful position developed through jealousy on his part. This was quite unfounded but for many years, Martha says "our happiness was quite marred and he took to drinking and abused me fearfully."
Samuel, meanwhile, married at the age of twenty-two, and was enjoying his life, though not without some terrible stings of conscience, from time to time resolving to become religious, especially after hearing some arousing sermon. He went to hear the first sermon in the new Chapel at Lord's Hill, and feeling his prejudice against them as Dissenters removed he became a regular hearer. But, he said, "the ministry said many things I could not comprehend, so, beginning in my own strength and freewill notions, I determined to search for myself. He began to read the first eight chapters of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, but felt it 'seemed to make right against me and when I came to the verses in Chapter 9, "I will have mercy; on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion", here the blow was struck, and I fell under it, so that to tell my feelings I am unable. [ thought this was not fair. I said to my wife, "It's no use my trying". I seemed to writhe under it, and when I glanced at my book again and caught the words, "Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it. Why hast thou made me thus?" this probed the wound already made. Here I was, a helpless, lost, ruined sinner, seeing that unless the Lord had mercy on me I must certainly be lost.
"I found my troubles did not end here. They affected my health. I was reduced almost to a skeleton, and some said I was going out of my mind. But bless God! I was just coming into it! The trees and fields did not seem to wear the same aspect as usual, and particularly the clouds: these seemed to frown and look gloomy, and I was afraid sometimes to look up. [How this reminds us of Sukey!] I would be ready to burst out crying many a time as I walked up and down the Coppice [going to work and returning home]. Some of the members of the Chapel being aware of my trouble tried to comfort me. Sometimes the prayers and preaching would seem the very thing I wanted; but all went off, till one evening I got my Bible again and began to read the 10th chapter of Romans. The first verse seemed very pleasant and riveted my attention, especially the word saved. I read on to the 6th verse, and O how it seemed to speak to me. "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Here I am lost for words to describe the richness, sweetness and comfort that entered my poor soul. The burden was taken off my mind, and I was like a man loosed out of prison into liberty!"
After this he became a member of Lord's Hill Chapel and found true fellowship with some of the congregation. He began to teach in the Sunday School and to speak at the prayer-meetings. At the suggestion of a good old man who worked with him in the mines and who had continued all through to be much attached to him, the Church requested him to go out to preach at certain stations in the neighbourhood. This he was made willing to do from the encouragement he felt from Hart's hymn beginning, Gird thy loins up, Christian soldier! "Every word of that hymn," he said, 'seemed to speak to me, particularly the two lines, Lo! thy Captain calls thee out, and Though to speak thou art not able. I would say, "No, Lord, I am not able", and weep. Then it would come again, Gird thy loins up, Christian soldier. So between hope and fear I came to the conclusion I would try, and said, "Lord, Thou hast the lip and the heart, and when Thou didst see fit Thou didst open the mouth of the dumb ass to speak Thy word".
"His old friend heard him preach once or twice and encouraged him to go on, but shortly afterwards died rather suddenly, and Samuel felt what it was to lose a friend and brother."
Strange to say, it was the same doctrine (election) that was used by the Holy Spirit to awaken Martha Burgwin, but quite independently of her brother. She relates how (in about 1839) the vicar of Habberley Church in the course of his sermon said these words, "Except ye be written in the Lamb's book of life before the foundation of the world, ye are none of His". "This came like a dagger to me", she says. "I went home wringing my hands almost in despair, thinking, "If that's true, I am lost", and a great trembling came over me. I asked my brother Samuel if it was true what I had heard, and he said, "It is so", and he showed me a verse in the Bible, Rev. 21, v. 27. I said, "Then there's no hope for me" He said, "Why? that does not prove you are lost. We are none of us saved for our righteousness".
"I wrung my hands for distress, and he said, "It is not God's fault, and it is not Jesus Christ's fault", and I said (oh, the rebellion of my heart!) "It is not my fault." With this my brother left me suddenly, and I returned from the garden where we were standing into my house, with such awful thoughts of God, that He should have put salvation out of the power of man. So I thought; and I got deeper and deeper into distress for nearly two years. I had no friend I could speak to, and so I kept it all to myself. I had a little school with which I supported myself, and some days I hardly knew what I was doing."
Again strange to say, the same word that had condemned Samuel, "Nay, but, O man, who art thou that replies! against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?" was used to Martha, in seeming to settle it in her mind that there was nothing but destruction before her, so that she used to cry from self-pity. "But at the end of two years I was standing in the middle of my kitchen," she says, "when these words came, "I will have a desire to the work of Mine hands." They awakened in me such an attention to what the Lord would say that I went upstairs and fell upon my knees for the first time for two years, and I poured out my soul before the Lord in prayer - "O Lord, if thou wilt have a desire unto the work of Thy hands, / am the work of Thy hands!" and immediately it was spoken to me, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance". The hope that now entered my heart I had never known before. Though I did not experience great joy, I had no trouble left.
"After this I wished to go to Lord's Hill Chapel, where my brother Samuel attended. I had to steal off to conceal it from my husband, and once being delayed in returning he was watching for me in great displeasure, and the next Sunday locked me in the house till I should promise to go to Church. This excited my anger, but I yielded to his wish, and then seemed in a stupor, fearing I had angered the Lord by yielding to man. I broke my trouble to my brother, who urged my attendance at the Chapel, but my husband made this at that time impossible for me. I cried sorrowfully to the Lord for two or three years. My earnest desire was to know where the Lord's people were, and to be permitted to join with them in worship."
Samuel said of the ministry at Lord's Hill, "It was a sound doctrinal ministry, truth in the letter, which has been a comfort to me many times down to this present day, and has been of great use to me when I have been searching the Word of God. But there was something going on in my poor soul that the minister scarcely ever spoke about: a base string in the harp which he could not, or did not sound. Then I would think I must be wrong, since many seemed to enjoy the word. These things drove me to weep and cry mightily to the Lord for help, for I would sometimes question all my religion and think it was all gone. ... I began to be a speckled bird among them. I could not hear to any profit, so I went here and there in search of an experimental preacher. Sometimes I would go to Shrewsbury, a twenty-four mile walk, sometimes to Broseley a deal further. Once I heard of a faithful minister at Little London near Wolverhampton, but how was I to hear him? It was about forty-six miles distant from my home, and I was very poor. But neither poverty nor the journey could stop me. I scraped together a bit of money and off I went, walking to Shrewsbury, taking the train to Wolverhampton, and walking to Little London. O what a knitting was between me and the minister when he engaged in prayer! His text was, "Gad, a troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last". O how he traced the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows that were going on in my troubled mind! I thought, This is of the Lord, for no one knows me here. After the service a venerable old gentleman came to me and asked me to go and dine with him! After dinner we went to the prayer meeting and I was asked to join in. I gave out the 84th Psalm (Watts), My soul, how lovely is the place. Surely it was a lovely place to me! The dear Lord filled my mouth with arguments, and there was another Bochim to my poor thirsty soul. The kind gentleman took me with him to tea, then we went to the evening service. The text was, "Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name". This confirmed what I had heard in the morning.
"Then I thought I would go back to Wolverhampton, and prepare for the early train on Monday morning, but such was the joy, comfort and consolation that flowed through my soul that I was almost bewildered. I didn"t know which way to go! So I asked a young man the way to Wolverhampton. He showed me the way, but I soon lost it again! He and two more, it seems, were watching me, so then they walked with me a good way and put me on the turnpike road. We had some pleasant conversation about the sermon, and when we parted, they shook hands with me and one of them left half-a-crown in my hand, which paid for my train back to Shrewsbury! Thus I could go in those days ninety-two miles to hear a Gospel sermon! O how that very journey and the things connected with it established me in my former views of Christ and of His Gospel!"
In January of 1843 Samuel heard that a minister was preaching the Gospel at Wrentnall, Pulverbach. This was Mr. Bourne, on his third visit to Pulverbach. He had arrived in December with his daughter Philippa, and was staying with Mrs. Gittings at The Grove. Here his morning readings were well attended, the three Miss Gilpins (for Catharine was there this time) and often three of their servants coming regularly. Sukey went every day and tried to lose nothing. She said that 'she and Charles and her stout grand-daughter when they all work together hard can earn a shilling per day by picking up stones in the farmers" fields, and therefore as the weather is so beautiful they have done well this winter to what they often do. The mighty opposition is chiefly amongst the farmers who all combine against my meetings, not in any incivility to me, but in preventing their wives and grown-up children from attending. Mrs. Rawson, the butcher's wife, is as much hindered as her husband can accomplish but is determined to hear. She lost the opportunity when I was here before, she said, but now, when she goes for orders or takes meat she always contrives to be at my house when the reading takes place. She told me today she never understood anything till she heard me, but now she understands the conflicts of hope and fear, and yesterday, she added, I was made like Zaccheus to come down, and though I used to think these places the saddest and lowest I could be in I now find them the best, and had a good day in hearing".
"The day after New Year's day was the day appointed for the Rector's agent to collect the tithes, and a dinner is always provided for the farmers at the public-house. Philip Morris, a farmer on the bank above Sukey's house, is considered a great scholar and once thought he knew all that needed to be known. He came to hear me last Sunday from these words, "Whereby shall I know that / shall inherit it?". Here all his religion fell away and he felt he must have a better religion or perish. This man was obliged to appear at the dinner to pay his tithes, and after dinner the men all set upon him to know what it was he heard at the preaching. So he told them in great simplicity exactly what he felt, upon which they all began to abuse him, and put the poker into the fire to push him with it red-hot, but he made his escape.
"For the convenience of the people the Sunday and Wednesday services are now held at William Morris's house near the Black Lion at Wrentnall (no relation to Philip Morris.) A much larger number now attend. The men and myself are in the porch, and the parlour, kitchen and brewhouse are crowded, also some stand outside and say they can hear. Many of these are colliers, who listen with great seriousness. I am astonished to find all six of the Rectory servants come, except the little boy who is set to watch in case he should want anything. Mrs. Morris is most generous, and nothing is a trouble to her, although in all weathers the people tread her house and leave her much work to clean after them. Young Mr. Freme is their landlord, and seeing so many come out of the house said I'll soon put a stop to all this. This greatly aroused their fears and they were sure he would give them warning on my account. But Mrs. Morris said, "Now's the time for prayer. Mr. Freme is but a man, and it would be worse to offend God". Later on the young gentleman said "what is it the person preaches?" So they told him simply the doctrines and the manner of our meetings and he finished up in a calmer tone, "Well, well, he has a right to preach where he likes, and as much right as anybody", and went off. This family, the squires of the place, had had Thomas Overton into the parlour and questioned the poor frightened man, but, from being greatly against us during my earlier visits, they are altogether calmer. The old gentleman stopped Sukey and said, "Don't I owe you a little money, Sukey? Come to the house to-morrow at half past nine". "I cannot, Sir, I must go to Mr. Bourne's at the Grove." "Cannot you put that off?" "No, Sir, the Lord directs me to go for my soul's profit, Sir." "Then come to me afterwards as you return home."
"Last week five miners from the Snailbeach lead-mines came to hear me. There was so little time between the finish of their day's labour and the beginning of my meeting and the distance several miles that the men said they were obliged to run most of the way, and when it was over they would have to return in the same manner because of the night work at the mines. I was told they were in such a state of perspiration that they had scarcely any dry clothes upon them. They went home much pleased, it seems, and have sent a very kind message asking that ten of them may speak to me after the next meeting. They accompanied me on my mile and a half walk and one, John Philpot, told me that though their preacher could get at the Gospel doctrines out of books yet he never spoke of a secret spiritual work, and because they asked about it he publicly warned them they should be excluded, and soon dismissed them without allowing them to make a defence before the congregation. They now have a little cottage to meet in, but are greatly despised. They said they hoped to come and hear me regularly before I leave, but now there has been a very heavy fall of snow and in their hill country they are cut off."
When they came again Samuel Hughes was among them. It is interesting that the only objective description of Mr. Bourne's preaching comes in the modest Memoir of this miner. Samuel says, "He opened up the great truths of the Gospel in a plain simple style so that a babe in grace might have understood him. I went again and again, and this led to an interview, which I shall never forget. His deep searching questions! He has puzzled and perplexed me sometimes till I knew not what to answer him till I was on the road home. Then it would often come, and I could have answered him then, but it was too late! This caused a few letters to pass between us".
Mr. Bourne in another letter says, "When I arrived at the room and saw the people collecting, my heart sank, and it made me in earnest with the Lord, and he heard my cry, and my subject unfolded from these words, "Through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father". The Lord was very near to me, and helped me to speak upon that precious doctrine of the Trinity. I believe that many were enabled to receive the Word, and though I also set forth, by the help of God, his eternal purpose in Christ Jesus in saving some, and not all, yet they seemed patiently to endure it. I spoke also of that foolish supposition which some advance that if they are elected they may live as they like; though the Apostle says "we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them", namely, godly fear, repentance unto life and self-abhorrence.
This subject was so sweet and so extensive that I was obliged to continue it in the evening, when there were present more than I had ever seen before". A week later he writes, "I think the people increase every time. Mrs. Morris thinks there were more than a hundred. Poor Winny said to Sukey Harley, "These are things we never heard before; no minister ever spoke a word to us upon this subject. I feel it is the true way, and what a mercy to have such instruction". William Morris seemed much cheered".
In one sermon Mr. Bourne says, "I had occasion to speak to-day upon these words - "When the sun went down and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp". I could not help calling to mind the terrible afflictions the Lord had brought me safely through, in consequence of which the lamp of my profession had many bright shining evidences of the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the things which make the lamp to burn bright. I was led to show that the smoking furnace denotes the various and heavy troubles that the people of God are called to endure, and the darkness and confusion that often attends the entrance into them. I told the people they all knew in their country what a literal furnace meant, for they could see for miles on a dark night the fire and smoke that issued from them; and that I had known many such spiritual furnaces and had feared they would never end, and I never find any way of escape. I have said with Asaph, "How long, Lord? Wilt Thou be angry for ever? Shall Thy jealousy burn like fire?". But there has always been some relief when it came to this, for then the Lord has come with some encouragement and I have been enabled to acknowledge my need of these afflictions; both to bring down my proud heart, and to make fresh and further discoveries of His everlasting love and mercy to me. Sukey was greatly comforted with what I said on this subject; she said her heart was quite full".
This visit of Mr. Bourne's was a blessing not only to Samuel Hughes and Sukey Harley, but to Miss Jane Gilpin, who records it as follows:
"When I heard of Mr. Bourne's arrival at The Grove I was much bowed down because I thought he would find out I was a hypocrite. These last five months I have felt as if I had lost all - all the good things I had received at the hand of God. If I were but one with them in heart and soul as I once was, I should not care for all the other troubles. But now a single straw will throw me down; I cannot stand my ground against one trial. Nevertheless on my way I thought, Well, I shall be glad to see him again too. But when I arrived I thought he looked very black at me, though I had no reason to think so at all, for he was very kind. I felt just like an alien amongst them.
"Next morning I suffered my sisters to go to The Grove without me, and then I was vexed with myself. I thought, O Lord, to what a pass my sin has brought me! Where will it carry me? So I set off by myself, and found Mr. Bourne had begun his reading. When it was over I felt exactly as I had done before, an alien among them all. When my sisters left Mr. Bourne sat down by me and told me how my letter had comforted him. Did it? thought I. Why I thought I had been entirely discovered by it that I was a hypocrite. I cannot tell how it was, but somehow while we were thus conversing I began to feel in one moment such a blessed union of heart with him as I never expected to feel as long as I lived. I felt a giving way of those strong chains that had bound my soul so long. My mind began to expand, and I felt the power of returning spiritual life to my drooping soul, which had so long languished for want of it.
"We walked a little way together. He said, "Miss Jane, you want encouragement; I wish I could give it you". I replied, "No, Sir, you don"t know what a bad place I have been in, in giving way to sin". Then he said, "Well, but there is a confession". I thought Yes, but that I could not find; that is what I have wanted all along. I cannot tell how it was, but just at this point I felt the sweetest returning power of the presence of the Lord that I almost ever felt. My chains fell off and my burden was gone; my tongue was ready to sing out the praises of God my Saviour. He made "the lame man to leap as an hart" that moment, and the tongue of the stammerer was ready to speak plainly. And when we parted I went on my joyful way. I said in my heart, O Lord, whence is this? This is something very wonderful, what does it mean? And immediately that verse fell upon me, "We have this treasure in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us". I said, Yes, it is of God, it is indeed of God! I did give glory to His Name on that very spot of ground on which I stood.
"I could not sleep all night for wondering at God's condescension and goodness. It was about the middle of the night when these words were spoken upon my heart, "This house, which ye say shall be desolate etc. . . again there shall be heard . . . the voice of joy, etc". I knew the voice when the words came, and I replied, lifting up my head from my pillow, O Lord, I do believe with all my heart!
"How joyfully I arose in the morning (December 18th, 1842), with the expectation of hearing the word preached. It was now no forced duty. I now found His service perfect freedom. While I was busying myself about the house concerns before I went, these words entered my heart - "Though faint, yet pursuing". I cannot express the tenderness with which this was spoken, nor the sweet encouragement it conveyed to my heart. I said, Have I been pursuing, Lord? Why I thought I had given it up long ago. I thought to myself if Mr. Bourne had said these words to me, I should have replied in my heart, No, I am not pursuing; I have given it up long long ago. But when I knew the voice that spoke to me, that He would not lie, I could not deny His word, and I replied, Have I been pursuing, Lord? I am sure I did not know it; I thought far otherwise.
"While I was on my way to The Grove this song was put into my heart, and I could not help singing it all day long -
Jesus, my Lord! I know His name;
It was a substantial hope which nothing could remove. It was the first time I had ever felt that holy boldness to cry, "I know His name". This boldness is attended with such humility that none can understand it but such as the Lord reveals it to by His Spirit. It is a mystery. O the change between the last Sabbath and this! I could not help saying, O Lord, how is this? I do bear Thy name. I am Thy adopted child. Why should I be like an alien?
"In the evening the Lord brought to my recollection in the sweetest manner what I had found eight years ago, namely, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow . . . but (these were the words that comforted me) I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man taketh from you". But this did not give me the rest I wanted, but something whispered in my heart as though the Lord Jesus Christ called it to my remembrance, and said, Did I not say unto thee I will see thee again, and that thine heart should rejoice, and that thy joy no man should take away? O how my heart leaped within me, and I replied instantly, O yes, yes! Thou didst say these words to me in that hour of deep distress. [See Chapter X.] And my soul magnified the Lord.
The next day, Monday, these things continued, and none can tell the joy I felt as I went to The Grove. On this day I had a sweet sight of that low place where Jesus talks with His disciples. I loved to find it again. "Lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh." These last words brought great fear into my heart lest the devil should come in and place lofty imaginations and vain and rapturous speculations before my eyes, and cause me to lose that real spiritual and divine substance which the Lord had put into my heart. I earnestly entreated the Lord that He would not suffer me to go after idle dreams.
"At the Wednesday evening meeting one remark fell with great awe upon my spirit. Mr. Bourne was speaking of the necessity of tenderly regarding and cherishing those secret whisperings of the Spirit, and he said, "O be very cautious here how you suffer a trifling mind to rob you of your true peace!".
"It pleased the Lord to continue this gracious favour towards me for many days, so that I can but declare, "O taste and see that the Lord is good; and blessed is the man that trusteth in Him"."
At the end of his visit Mr. Bourne wrote to Matilda, "I cannot tell you of the uproar my speaking has made in this place - how severely bitter the farmers show themselves, how silently provoked the curate who preaches against me, without names. Your father has been very kind. He found my daughter in the carriage with Miss Catharine going to Shrewsbury and was exceedingly kind and hoped if they found the cold inconvenient they would keep the carriage all night and make themselves comfortable. He said moreover that he liked his family to be friendly with me and wished his daughters to visit me". But Mr. Bourne had no more personal interviews with him.