I’ve been very spotty since last spring on my writing, largely because I am in the home stretch of working on my dissertation and have needed to focus all my efforts on the goal of finishing it. I will likely continue to post only occasionally until the dissertation is defended — hopefully before Christmas!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a passage from John Wesley’s Journal that I find remarkable. It is a story he tells about the work of one of his preachers in a small community in (what is today) Northern Ireland called Glenarm. The Journal entry is dated July 4, 1771 and reads as follows:

“The preaching began here in an uncommon manner. Some months since, John Smith, now with God, was pressed in spirit to go and preach there, though he knew no one in the town. Near it, he overtook a young lady riding behind a servant and, on her saying it was a very wiked place, he asked, ‘Are there no good men there?’ She said, “Yes, there is one, William Hunter.’ He rode into the town and inquired for William Hunter’s house. When he came to the door, a young woman was sweeping the house. He asked her name and, being answered ‘Betty Hunter’, alighted and said, ‘Betty, take my horse to an inn and tell everyone you meet, “A gentleman at our house has good news to tell you at seven o’clock.”‘ At seven, the house was well filled. John preached to them twice a day for nine days. But when he took his leave, he had only threepence. However, he asked the landlady, ‘What is to pay for my horse?’ ‘Nothing, sir,’ said the woman, ‘A gentleman has paid all; and will do if you stay a month.'”

May Methodist preachers today have the courage and perseverance of John Smith.