|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by W.G. Campbell
We must here refer to one or two circumstances of an interesting character, which took place in connexion with Mr. [Gideon] Ouseley about this time (1806). They are recorded in his Memorial, by Mr. Reilly. It appears that a Methodist class-meeting was established by Mr. Ouseley in a dark part of the County Clare, and that a leader was appointed to meet it who had to come from a distance. Some of the local people hearing that 'a new religion' was to be thus imported to the county, resolved to destroy the house where the class was met. Accordingly, having watched the leader's movements, this party followed him on a Sabbath morning, resolving to make short work of this 'new sect.' They besieged the house, and sent in the ringleader to watch the movements, and to give the signal for their entrance at the proper time; but, to the great surprise of the gang outside, Pat did not reappear as soon as they expected. They were utterly confused and disappointed. The hymn was first given out and sung. 'This is very purty' -pretty- said Pat; 'I'll not disturb them yet.' Prayer was offered up. 'I'll let them alone until they have done with their prayers,' said he to himself. The class began, and he said to himself, 'I'll hear what they have to say' The leader at length accosted the rude stranger thus:-'My good man, did you ever know yourself a sinner before God, and that you deserved to be for ever excluded from His presence?' Pat wept exceedingly, and cried out, 'Lord have mercy upon me! what shall I do? I'm a wicked sinner.' The whole meeting joined in earnest prayer for him, and very soon Pat was 'sitting at the feet of Jesus, quiet, and in his right mind.' What wonders grace can do!
'I knew him afterwards,' says Mr. Reilly, 'as noble an advocate for truth as he had been before a daring opposer.'
The banditti decamped with all speed, when they heard Pat's cries, all of them exclaiming, 'The devil is among the Methodists.' It was surely 'the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes.'
This was quite in character with the account of the man in the County Wexford (of whom Dr. Stephens writes), who concealed himself in a sack at a Methodist meeting, that he might give a signal at a certain time to some outside to enter, and scatter, if not injure, the congregation. But the poor fellow in the sack found the preaching too powerful to lie quiet any longer, and at length he cried aloud for mercy. Some thought the devil was in the sack, and were afraid to go near it; but at length he was extricated, and came forth, to the astonishment of all, a partaker of Gospel freedom. The house was pointed out to the writer last June, where this occurred.
How wonderful are the ways of the Lord, in thus 'making the wrath of man to praise Him!'
Excerpted from Charles Graham: The Apostle of Kerry by W.G. Campbell, recently reprinted by Tentmaker Publications. Anyone interested in this and other quality reprints should contact Mr Phil Roberts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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