We’ve been talking about the Methodist General Conference of 1792, and the formation of the United Brethren in Christ and Evangelical Association in the late 18th, early 19th centuries. What was Bishop Francis Asbury up to during all this time? Let’s turn to his journal to find out…
Monday, August 27, 1792: Came to New York [ED – to John Street Church], and opened conference, twenty-eight preachers being present. We spent most of the afternoon in prayer; and nearly all the preachers gave an account of what each one had seen and felt since last conference. The young gave us their experience, and there were several who professed sanctification [ED – i.e., having reached “perfect love”]. Awful Hammett haunted us one day, requesting us to give him an honourable discharge from the connexion; but we shall publish him expelled – he is the Wheatley of America.
Friday, August 31, 1792: We had a solemn love feast, the lower floor of the house being nearly filled; several of the brethren professed perfect love; others had lost the witness.
My mind has been so bent to the business of the conference, that I have slept but little this week. Connecticut is supplied much to my mind, several very promising young men having been admitted to this conference. The societies are in harmony, but not as lively as they ought to be. I went to hear Dr. Livingston [ED- chief minister of the Reformed Dutch Church in NY], but was greatly disappointed: he had such a rumbling voice that I could understand but little in that great house. How elegant the building! How small the appearance of religion! Lord, have mercy upon the Reformed Churches! O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! I was obliged to my friend for renewing my clothing and giving me a little pocket money; this is better than 500 pounds per annum. I told some of our preachers, who were very poor, how happy they were; and that probably, had they more, their wants would proportionately increase [ED – I have found this to be true in my ministry! Ask me about the time I made my daughter, Lauren, quit school!] My soul is humble, and by grace is kept holy: I do the best I can, and leave the event to the Lord; if others do wrong, they must answer for themselves now, and at the day of judgment.
Sunday, September 2, 1792: We had a severe crossing the North River; it was as much as ever the horses could do to keep their feet. We came to Newark, and thence to Elizabethtown, in Jersey. I now began to unbend my mind, and became very heavy. I went upstairs, sat in my chair, rested my head, and slept solidly; but a kind friend would have me waked, which made me sick.