A METHODIST’S MEMOIRS

An Extract of John Nelson’s Journal, being an Account of God’s Dealing with his Soul from his Youth to the forty-second Year of his Age, and his working by him, likewise, the Oppressions he met with from People of different Denominations, written by himself.

Bristol, E. Farley & Co., 1767.

8vo in 4s, pp. ‘v’ [recte iv], 136, ‘135-169’ [i.e. 137-171], [3 (blank)]; typographic ornaments and composite factotum initial; slight foxing with the occasional spot, a few pencil marks; a good copy in later eighteenth-century sheep-backed boards with marbled sides and vellum tips, spine gilt-ruled in compartments, sewn two-up on 5 cords (of which 2 laced in), evidence of earlier stab-stitching; somewhat worn, joints and spine fragile and chipped, sewing a little shaken.

£600

Approximately:
US $734€695

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An Extract of John Nelson’s Journal, being an Account of God’s Dealing with his Soul from his Youth to the forty-second Year of his Age, and his working by him, likewise, the Oppressions he met with from People of different Denominations, written by himself.

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Rare first edition, printed in Bristol, of the autobiography of the preacher and pioneer of Methodism in Yorkshire John Nelson (1707–1774).

Born at Birstall in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Nelson came to London to find work and heard John Wesley at Moorfields in 1740: he ‘struck such an awful Dread upon me … that it made my Heart beat like the Pendulum of a Clock’ (p. 10). Returning to Birstall at Christmas he began to preach from the doorway of his cottage, often drawing opposition but winning over many listeners to Methodism; in 1744 he built Yorkshire’s first Methodist preaching house at Birstall, whose members by 1767 numbered 1491, and the Yorkshire circuits he evangelized amounted to almost a quarter of the total Methodist membership. Nelson was influential too in the development of Methodism beyond Yorkshire, preaching throughout the country and being among the eight preachers who, in 1747, met with the Wesleys to determine Methodist doctrine and practice.

The Extract of John Nelson’s Journal recounts with vivid imagery and in great detail his early religious experiences, his turn to Methodism, and his subsequent career touring the country with Wesley and preaching. It was reprinted frequently and far-afield, with editions in Newcastle, Leeds, and London within a decade, and remained in print both in Britain and America well into the following century.

ESTC T33897, recording only two copies in the UK (BL and Rylands) and three in North America (McMaster, Perkins, and Victoria).

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