« PreviousContinue »
morning, his dwelling house at Plymouth would be demolished. He has sometimes been surrounded by eight or nine drums from the military, to drown his voice. But amidst this formidable opposition, his strength was equal to his day. Now Providence would soften his adversaries into pity, and thereby divert thein from their evil purposes; then would fortify him with courage to withstand the united efforts of an outrageous mob. Once in particular, at Dock, a person of considerable fortune hired a number of men to interrupt his preaching. On arriving at the spot, they were so moved by his engaging address, that they not only desisted from their design, but directed their ven• geance against their mischievous employer, who with difficulty escaped with his life; and so exemplified the words of David, “ His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate."
At another time, when the congregation was assembled in Plymouth Tabernacle, it was disturbed by a lieutenant of the navy; who came, with a part of his crew, armed for a desperate assault. Having broken the windows, they entered the place in a body. Their first atteinpt was to extinguish the lights, and then to fall upon the people ;—but a person, perceiving their design, drew up the chandelier to the ceiling of the building. Baffied in this project, they fell upon the people, without regard either to age or sex, and beat them with their bludgeons in a merciless manner. The worship being interrupted, a general alarm and outcry of murder ensued. At this instant Mr. Kinsman, by an extraordinary effort, throwing himself into the midst of the throng, seized the lieutenant, the ringleader of the rioters ; and as he was drawing his sword upon him, he wrested it from his hand. No exertion on the side of the rioters could force Mr. Kinsman to quit his hold of the lieutenant; and by main strength, in the heat of the rencounter, he drew him out of the Tabernacle into the yard, where the scene of confusion was continued. Here the lieutenant made many violent struggles to disengage himself, lost his laced hat, and had his clothes considerably torn in the atteinpt. But Mr.Kinsman preserved his hold; and dragging him into the dwelling-house, carried him off through the front door to the magistrate. Both parties were now at a loss to discover what was become of their champions. Mr. Kinsman's frien, ure almost distracted, supposing he had been care ried off by the rioters, and torn piece-meal. But they were soon agreeably disappointed. The lieutenant conducted himself with great insolence before the magistrate, who committed him to the watch house, where he lay all night. Being brought before him again the next morning, he acknowledged his offences, engaged to repair all damages, and make such other concessions as the injured party might require. Mr. Kinsman, having obtained his object, and being unwilling to injure the cause of religion in the esteem of the world, by a spirit of inexorable resentment, acceded to his proposals, and he was accordingly disinissed ; nor was he ever after called upon by Mr. Kinsman or his friends to fulfil his engagements.
Having procured a private house in Dock, he preached the first time to about sixteen persons; but the congregation rapidly increased ; and God gave testimony to the word of his grace, Here his animated exertions, his profuse perspirations, and his inattention to his bodily health, soon injured the finest of constitutions, and laid the foundation of that asthmatic disorder which proved so severe a trial to him for more than forty years. At lengib his ainiable manners and exemplary life silenced the clamours of the populace; and, though many hated the cause, he became respected and revered ; and the congregation not only increased, but“ the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Mr. Whitefield, returning from America, landed at Ply. mouth, and intending to preach on the Lord's day morning, multitudes came from all parts of the country to hear him, so that the place could not contain them. Just as it was time to begin the service, he became so much indisposed as to be unable to preach ; so that Mr. Kinsinan was obli. ged to engage, though unprepared. This circumstance distressed him so much, that he wept exceedingly. He spoke from the following words :- What. hath God wrought?” This discourse was made so eminently useful, that it never was forgotten by multitudes; and many spake of it as the best opportunity they ever enjoyed.
In 1752 a meeting house was erected at Dock; which, by the blessing of God upon his ministry, wasobliged io be enlarged six or seven times; and now measures sixty-four by sixty feet. He was now called ont to itinerate frequently w inany
counties counties in the kingdom ; and his peculiar abilties attracted general attention, which, together with the affability of his manners, the uncommon cheerfulness of his disposition, and his great usefulness, raised himn to a high degree of esteem wherever he went. Nor was he less respected, nor his ministry attended with less general good, at Bristol and London, cities to which he was invited by Mr. Whitefield; who was used to call Bristol, Mr. Kiusinan's America, al. luding to his own popularity and success in that quarter of the world. The fraine of his mind, on entering upon this new scene, may be learned froin some hints found among his papers. Nov. 21, 1754, “Having received many pressing invitations, I once more attempt to go forth in the name of Christ, to preach his Gospel. The weakness, and continual disorders of my body have been urged as a powerful dissuasive by my anxious friends, against the undertaking. But none of these things move me; for I find the God of grace is the God of nature also. After committing my dear friends and family to the Lord of Prayer, I left them, though not without inward throes on their behalf; and especially for my little ones, who become continually more and inore engaginy. Through the good hand of my God upon me, I find iny journey more agreeable than I expected; and the Lord continues to assist me in my labours, though at intervals I have some severe fits of the asthma.”?.
Mr. Whitefield being about to sail for America, sent for him to London. On his arrival he was introduced, and dined with him at the Tabernacle-house, in company with a young clergyman. After dinner there was a most tremendous storm of thunder and lightning. As they stood lat the window below the raying elements, Mr. Kinsinan,
supposing the clergyman, from his being a visitant to Mr, · Whitefield, to be a serious person, familiarly put his hand · upon his shoulder, and, with great cheerfulness and energy, repeated the words of Dr. Watts,
“ The God that rules on high,
And thunders when he please;
. That rides upon the stormy sky, .
And manages the seas,-",
“ This aweful God is ours
The words so appositely introduced, so solemnly and so emphatically delivered, made a deep impression on the mind of the young clergyman, and began a conversation, which, by the blessing of God, ended in his saving conversion. Here his injnistry was greatly owned; and he thought himself highly honoured in preaching the first serinon that ever was delivered from the pulpit of the present Tabernacle. His harmonious voice, his sprightly and pathetic manner of address, brought no small number of all ranks to hear him; among whom was Mr. Shuter, the celebrated comedian, wbo, having been excited by curiosity to hear Mr. Whitefield, was so affected with his preaching, that at one time there were hopes of his being under serious impressions. Having also heard Mr. Kinsman, he was so delighted with him, that he frequently visited himn. But the lamentable immorality that pervades the stage, the scoffs of ridicule from men of considerable influence, and the contemptuous insinuations of the profane (that most dangerous and destructive method of attack to which Mr. Shuter was, by his profession, particularly exposed) soon operated as a foil to those rising hopes that were entertained concerning him, and, as blasts, swept away those promising and blooming flowers. Some years after, having forgot where he lived, accidentally meeting Mr. Kinsinan at Plymouth, he embraced hiin with rapture, and enquired, If that was the place of his residence? He replied, “ Yes; but I am just returned from London, where I have preached so often, and to such large auditories, and have been so indisposed, that Dr. Fothergill advised my immediate return to the country, for change of air.”_"And I,' said Mr. Shuter, have been acting Sir John Falstaff so often, that I thought I should have died, and the physicians advised me to come into the country for the benefit of the air. Had you died, it would have been serving the best of Masters; but had I, it would have been the service of the Devil. Oh, Sir, do you think I shall ever be called again? I certainly was when I was studying my part in the Park; and if Mr. Whitefield had let me come to the Lord's Table with him, I never should have gone back again. But the caresses of the great are exceed ingly ensnaring. My Lord E- sent for me to day; and I was glad I could not go. Poor things; they are unhappy; and they want Shuter to make them laugh. But, o Sir! such a life as yours !--As soon as I leave you, I shall be
KING KING RICHARD. This is what they call a good play; as good as some serions. I acknowledge there are soine striking and moral things in it. But after it, I shall come in again with my Farce of A DISH OP ALL SORTS, and knock all that on the head. Fine reformers are we!'--The inbabitants afterward taking notice that he visited Mi. Kinsman, were astonished; and one gentleinan in particular, asked him, if he were a Methodist ? “ Mine is a fine method, is it not ? No; I wish I was. If any are right, they are.”
Mr. Kinsman has now and then amused his friends by saying " That his popularity in the metropolis originated entirely in mistake.” On his arriving in town, Mr. Whitefield published, Mr. Kinsman, a promising young man, to preach ; and the people running away witb the idea that he said, “ My Kinsman is to preach," flocked together to hear Mr Whitefield's relation. When he was once preaching in London on the Lord's Day, a heavy and unexpected shower of rain coming on, several Sabbath breakers passing by at that instant, fed into the Tabernacle for shelter. Among these, was a young man who was personally acquainted with Mr. Kinsman at Plyinouth. Seeing him in the pulpit, he iininediately resolved to wait the conclusion of the service, and enquire after the welfare of his relations. This he accordingly did ;-to whom Mr. Kinsman replied, with his usual affability, “ Your good aant and religious mother are both lately gone to heaven; but which way are you going? what will your pious mother say, if she should miss her William there?”—Though the sermon had not the least effect, this sentence struck him to the heart ; and God made it the means of his conversion. He afterwards became a very valuable member of the church at Dock, and died an Israelite indeed! Some years after, his youngest son, a wild young man, marrying, and baving a child, applied to Mr. Kinsman to baptize it. He having some knowledge of his character, told him, he would baptize his child for its grandfather's sake; and then began to relate the striking circumstance of his father's conversion. This so affected the young man, that from that time he becaine serious; and became likewise a inenaber of the same church at Dock.
As the mariner, when he puts to sea, does not expect to reach the desired haven unassailed by the inauspicious gale; neither should Christians expect to bask in the sun beams