THE JOURNAL OF JOHN MARRANT
On the 15th day of May, 1785, I was ordained and put into the ministry of the
word of God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ. In that day, I was full
of the Spirit of God, and felt a willingness to tell the world the love of God
in Christ; and preached many sermons in Bath and Bristol, which God was pleased
to accompany with his divine power, to the conviction of fouls which afterwards
proved their everlasting conversion; and many precious fouls in London experienced
great blessings from my labours; which gave me great consolation; at my return,
that God was pleased to work, by so weak an instrument, to his glory, and the
good of precious fouls: one of whom, I am informed, is gone down to the college,
to be a mouth for Christ. Here we see that God does not work as man imagines,
who takes the safe things of this world, and things that are not to bring to
nought things that are, that so flesh should glory in his presence. I Cor. 1.
26, 27, 28, 29, verses.
On the 18th day of August, 1785, I left London
for America, in the connections of the Right Honorable the Countess of Huntingdon,
to go into a strange country; but being filled with zeal and the love of God,
and her Ladyship's promises of assistance when there.
We failed from Gravesend on the 19th, to perform
our voyage. Having arrived there an hour after the ship failed, I was necessitated
to pay two guineas to get on board; by the help of God I did get on board;
by the help of God I did get on board. The wind being fair, we kept on till
the tide came against us; we then brought to, and waited for the next tide;
so about six o'clock she got on the way again, and kept on all night. At twelve
o'clock at night, she was hailed by a boat, who enquired what ship that was?
and was answered the Peggy, bound for Halifax. They then asked, if Mr. Marrant
was on board? and was answered, yes; so she came along side, and I was called
up. A man came on board, and presented to me a pocket book, which, when I opened,
I found a twenty pound bank note. Here I saw that the Lord opened the heart
of a friend to sympathize with my affliction, who is now alive, but his name
I forbear to mention.
We came to the Downs on the 20th, and laid there
till the 23rd, then we sailed, and were obliged to put into Portsmouth, where
we laid four hours, and then sailed for our voyage. We came to the Needles about
four o'clock in the afternoon, with a sweet and pleasant breeze, and the smiles
of the gracious God, till we came as far a Cape Clove, in Ireland; the wind
came about west and west northwest for three weeks. The passengers, in general,
swearing and playing at cards all day, and impatient with a gracious God, I
spoke to them about their wicked ways; that God's frowns were upon us by
of their wickedness on board the ship, but in proved fruitless.
In the fourth week, it pleased God to send a violent
storm, wherein we shifted a heavy sea, which almost filled the cabin; then did
they cry out for the God to have mercy upon them, and called for the minister
to pray for them. I went immediately into the cabin, and asked them what was
the matter? Their answer was, "Pray for us, that we perish not. I told
them, that they must pray for themselves; but as soon as the water was gone
out of the cabin, I bid them all get up, and we went down to prayers. God was
pleased to hear the prayer of a unworthy creature, so that the arrows of conviction
went to the heart of one of the ladies. Indeed, when I came upon deck the sea
seemed to be all on fire; running mountains high. Here I saw more of the power
of the Almighty God; this night the bowsprit of our ship was sprung; none of
the passengers went to sleep any more, but crying for prayer all night this
was a sweet work to me, and I believe to two souls on the ship, who saw the
power and glory of God.
The next morning, about eight o'clock, it was
as calm as though there never had been any storm; the captain, positively declared,
he never saw such a thing in his life: then I had an opportunity of speaking
to him concerning the love, and irresistible power of God; and while I was embracing
the opportunity of speaking for Christ, and telling him all things were possible
to them that believe, the mate went forward, and hallooed to the captain that
the bowsprit was sprung. This gave me a greater opportunity to speak to the
glory of God, and shewing him, by scripture proof, how good and kind God was,
even in his providential ways, that he is not willing that sinners should be
lost; he therefore informed them of their danger, and if we reject these
warnings, we must expect his judgments to fall upon us. The men went to work
to secure the bowsprit, and everybody about the ship tried to assist what they
About four o'clock they got in secure; after this
we went to prayers in the cabin, and all attended that could be spared from
off the deck. Here I experienced the kind goodness of gracious, God in answering
prayer, so that we had a fair wind for three days: during this time, the captain
and I contrived to make a law against swearing, and playing at cards; so it
was agreed to, by all the passengers, and even all the sailors; that every person
was to pay one penny for every oath, and that immediately. After this we had
no swearing on board but, instead of swearing, reading, praying, singing of
hymns, and preaching, every opportunity when their watch was below, was heard
to be singing of hymns, and coming to me to teach them.
Here I had work enough to do to watch all night,
and part of the day, and everybody was upon the catch; so that there was a great
alteration in the ship for the better. It was noticed, by all in the ship, that
we never had a storm after this, but always high winds, but fair; although our
passage being long, but a very good one. Here we see God fulfilling his own
glorious promise, in saying, that were two or three agree to call upon his name,
there he will be in the midst of them, and that to bless them; and not only
so, but to take care of them in all storms and troubles of this world; God will
deliver us, and bring us to his heavenly kingdom. Here I saw the land where
we were bound to, and all well, not a soul lost; and this day I hoped to be
in harbour, and into harbour we came at four o'clock in the afternoon, being
week, and one day; all the people were in cheerful spirits.
After the ship anchored, we all went to prayers, to return
thanks to God. Some of the people went on shore, being informed this
harbour is called Bevan Harbour, and four and twenty leagues to the eastward of
Halifax, where the ship was bound.
The next morning, being Saturday, after prayers were over,
our captain asked me and some of the passengers, whether we would go on shore to
walk; and the wind being a head, we thought it best to take the ladies on shore,
to give them a walk. After we got on shore, we went into the woods, and on
our knees, returned God thanks for landing us once more on shore. The
captain and I , and two other passengers went into the woods after rabbits, and
by following them who were shooting, we missed our way, and were out all night
in the woods, till Sunday afternoon, four o'clock, without victuals, except two
partridges they killed, that we dressed on Saturday night, keeping a fire all
night; and on the Lord's day morning, the sun being risen, we walked on until we
came to a high mountain; and after prayers, the captain climbed up into a tree,
in order to see whether he could discern the sea having a sight of the ocean, he
cried out "We are near the shore;" so we were all encouraged, and soon
came to the sea; but we were about twelve miles westward from the ship.
Prayer was made for direction from God which way we should go. The captain
and the other went to the westward, and I and another to the eastward; we were
to make signal by a gun, if any of us should spy the ship.
An hour after we parted, my companion and I got up on a high
mountain, and fired a gun, and were answered from the ship, still eastward from
us. We fired a signal gun to our companions, and they followed us to the
ship. It was twelve o'clock
before we came to the boat, which had been
rowing about all night with provisions for us; so we waited two hours till the
captain and the other came to us.
It was past four o'clock on the Lord's day afternoon, before
we got on board. After we had got some refreshment we performed divine
service. I continued on board till Tuesday the 24th of November and then
four of us hired a fishing, to take us to Halifax, and save them twenty dollars,
thinking to be before the ship; the wind being in the west. The same
evening, we came to a place called Littleziddo, when I performed divine service
among a congregation of Irish Romans; after divine service I had conversation
with they, seemed to express a great desire for me to stay with them, so I
preached again in the morning, and left them in the hands of God.
On the 25th, we arrived at Ship Harbour; I preached to a
number of Scotch and Irish together, and afterwards visited several of their
small huts, and found the greater part of them very desirous to hear the gospel;
and expressing their desire, as many of them had not heard the gospel for many
years; so after praying in the morning, we sailed from thence.
On the 26th, in the evening, we arrived at Shag Harbour.
Here we stayed four days, weather bound; and very few souls to preach to.
The 1st of December we sailed from thence, and arrived at
Three-fathomed Harbour, and attempted to perform divine service, but was
prevented, by the violence of the Irish Romans.
On the 2nd, we sailed for Halifax, and arrived in the evening
at nine o'clock; where we found the ship had arrived before us, and there was no
small stir concerning us. Being strangers, we were obliged to lodge in
Golden Ball Tavern, where I found it was impossible to join together in prayer,
however two of us did join together, while the others forgot their God.
After supper, I went to bed, leaving the other four behind, making themselves
merry: by this I learned, that many will pretend to serve God while in danger,
but soon forget his mercies. In the morning I came out to go to the ship,
and met with the captain, who expressed great satisfaction in seeing me; and
hearing all was well, he soon took me to the ladies, where we all joined in
prayer together. I then went down to the ship, and found the sailors
expressing themselves full of joy; I then returned to the tavern, and found my
companions had done breakfast, and the bill was brought in to the amount of six
pounds sterling; so I paid the bill, and took myself from thence On the
4th night, I preached in Halifax to a large congregation.
The 5th day, we had all our things from n board the ship,
and we met in the evening, in order to settle our accounts with the captain and
passengers after which we had prayers, and parted in peace.
The sixth day, being the Lord's day, I preached twice to a
crowded congregation, and God was pleased to manifest his divine power
both to black and white, which proved the conversion of several present
On Monday, the 7th I went over to Dartmouth, to see the
Tuesday, the eighth, I preached again in Halifax to a large
concourse of people. Here I was encouraged, because many were crying,
"What shall I do to be saved." The Reverend Mr. Furmage took me
from place to place, so I had opportunities of conversing with many precious
souls, who were groaning for redemption through the blood of Christ.
The 11th, I preached a farewell sermon to a large concourse
of people. I preached from the thirteenth
chapter of the second epistle of
Paul to the Corinthians, the eleventh and following verses. The Lord was
truly present with us, so that there was groaning, and sighing, heard throughout
the congregation. After I had dismissed the congregation, I conversed with
a great number of them, finding their desire that I should stay a little longer
with them, I replied, that the pacquet could not stop, but I promised them that
I would come through Halifax once a year; so we had prayers, and commended them
to God, who was able to build them up; and give them an inheritance among all
them that are sanctified.
The next morning I was accompanied down to the pacquet by
Mr. William Furmage, and some of his people. The wind being fair,
we sailed on the 12th morning for Shelburne Port Roseway; but we had a
violent storm on the passage, which kept us four days, and arrived in
Shelburn Harbour on the 15th.
On the 16th, I landed on shore, but did not see anybody I
knew, neither did I think to stay in the place, seeing it was a new uncultivated
place. The people seemed all to be wild; I was obliged to conclude with
Abraham, and said, "Sure the fear of God is not in this place."
About three o'clock in the afternoon, I went into a coffee house to get
something to refresh me; there I met with a gentleman, whom I had some knowledge
of, and he of me. I asked him several questions about the people; he
informed me of several of them of whom I knew and persuaded me to get my things
from on board the pacquet. Accordingly I did, and lodged at the coffee
house that night, without seeing anybody else that I knew, and still retained a
strong desire to return with the pacquet, but, about midnight I arose up and
went to prayer, and I had it impressed on my mind, that god had some people in
and so concluded in my mind to stay one week; but on the 17th, in the
morning, after addressing the throne of grace once more, I came down stairs, and
ordered my breakfast. In the mean time, a gentleman came in, whom I had a
perfect knowledge of; and that because we went both to school together. We
breakfasted together at one table; but he did not know me, until after
breakfast, when I took him into a private room and made myself known to him; he
then burst into a flood of tears, and I wept also. He went with me to many
others that I perfectly knew, and was gladly received by them.
On the 18th, in the morning, I went over Birch Town, with
two others in company; but was not known by anybody there; but one man who was
not at home, but came in about six o'clock in the evening, and was very glad to
see me; so we talked about old times, which made us to shed many tears, and I
continued all night with him.
On the 19th, in the morning, we returned to Shelbourn
Town, in order to get my things over to Birch Town, and returned the same
evening back again, when I had many to visit me, and was informed by them,
that Mr. Marchenton, in Halifax, had wrote a letter to them, informing
them that I was not an Arminian, and did not come from Mr. Wesley, and
preached, there was no repentance this side the grave; and thus inflamed
the minds of the people. Some cried one thing and some another;
but God over-ruled all things for his glory, and I was permitted to preach
in the Arminian meeting (because there was no other in the place) to a
very large congregation.
On the 20th, being the Lord's day, I preached from the third
chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, twenty-second and twenty-third verses; and
here God displayed his divine power, in convincing them of the truth of the
gospel. Ten of them were pricked
to the heart, and cried out, "Men
and brethren what shall we do to be saved." In the afternoon, I
preaching again to a larger congregation than the morning, of white and black,
and Indians, when groans and signings were heard through the congregation, and
many were not able to contain; but cried out to God to have mercy upon them, and
would not depart from the place.
In the evening, I preached again from the 5th chapter of the
gospel by St. John, at the twenty-eighty and twenty-ninth verse, when God's
spirit was very powerfully felt both by the preacher and hearer, and for five
minutes I was so full I was not able to speak. Here I saw the display of
God's good spirit; several sinners were carried out pricked to the heart.
Here Mr. Marchenton's letter proved fruitless; the people determined to hear for
themselves; all this week I was engaged very much in visiting those poor wounded
souls; six of whom God was pleased to manifest himself to.
On the 25th, being Christmas day, I did not administer the
sacrament, being no well acquainted with the people. In the afternoon, I baptized
ten of them, and married four couple. In the evening, I preached from the
sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, and the Lord was pleased to rise and shine in the
hearts of those that were wounded; so that they could glorify God through our
Lord Jesus Christ. Seven more, also, God was pleased to awaken, under the
same discourse. For three days I preached three times a day, and the
people were running form all quarters, very desirous to hear the word of
God. Preaching the gospel became my mean and my drink; and the mighty work
of God spread as far as Barrington, Cape Negro, Shelborn, and Jordan
River. I had letters from those places to come over to the, but could not
go till after new year's day.
On New Year's day, I preached to a large congregation, from
the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, first chapter, twenty-ninth,
thirtieth, and thirty-first verses; when God was pleased to manifest himself
again, and got himself great glory in the conversation of many precious souls;
after which I administered the sacrament to them; where I had great rejoicing
with them whom God had been pleased to add as seals to the ministry of his
unworthy servant; and I may add, many more groaning for redemption in the blood
of Christ. I stayed with them until the 7th of January, and then set off
for Green's Harbour
I passed over Jordan River on the 8th day, in a violent
storm of snow. About three o'clock, we came up to a ferry house, and
enquired the way to Green's Harbour, About five o'clock we came to the Indian's
wig-wam; and after a little discourse, I went to prayers with them; after
prayers, I went on my journey, with three of them to accompany me to the house
where I stayed all night.
The next morning, a small company of people came together; I
preached from the twenty-eighth of Matthew, nineteenth verse; after which I had
some discourse with them, and finding that none of them had been baptized, and
expressing themselves very desirous, I preached again in the evening from the
sixteenth of Mark, sixteenth verse; and the Lord was pleased to manifest
himself, and send the words to their hearts: four of them were very much
distressed. I gave notice that I would preach in the morning of the
9th, at five o'clock, but the greater part of the people would not go home, so I
got no sleep this night; but conversed with them till five o'clock, and found
that the master of the house