Sunday, September 16, 2007

Persecution and Providence

I just read chapter 8 in the book The Elusive Mr. Wesley and I never realized the extent of persecution that the early Methodist went through. John Wesley wrote an account in his journal his experience when he went to preach in Wednesbury. After he had preached that day, the mob came and wanted his head. They disperesed for a while but later came back with more people with more force and angrier this time. But Wesley believed that God's providence will carry him through this danger. he recalled that he asked for one of the mob's leader and talked to him. He became peaceful and his anger was gone. Wesley then talked to several leaders more of the mob. Then he went out to talk to the mob who called for him to be brought to the judge and be punished. Wesley believed that it was providence because if he had not talk to the leaders of the mob before he went out, he would have been attacked right then and there. And so he was brought later that t night to the judge, but the judge would have nothing to do with him. It was already raining and so some of the mob went home. Others still went to another judge for Wesley to be punished but still the judge had nothing to do with Wesley. Again, as Wesley recounted, that it was God's providence that no judge would punish him for he did nothing wrong. And yet another mob - Wesley's supporters, came and a riot broke. Men and women fought barehands. One women knocked three men down to the ground. The mob retaliated and she was tackled to the ground and beaten almost to death. Each one was grabbing another. Wesley was in the midst of the riot trying to hold back the people. Despite being in the middle of the riot, God's providence was still at work as Wesley only got managed to be hit [softly] in the head, scratched in his arms and had his coat half-torn. Of course they were those who protected him but God was there to protect Wesley too. It is unimaginable that a riot this big could arise because of a preacher's sermon. What was more strinking was the fact that this did not happen just once but almost in any place that Wesley preached. Wesley recalled how many times he was persecuted and the same number of times God's providence have saved him from the angry mob.

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