Persecuted Preachers

On a preaching tour in 1741, John Cennick and Howell Harris found the townspeople of Swindon, Wiltshire (England) less than friendly toward their message.

The mob fired guns over our heads, holding the muzzles so near to our faces that Howell Harris and myself were both made as black as tinkers with the powder. We were not affrighted, but opened our breasts, telling them we were ready to lay down our lives. . . .

Then they got dust out of the highway and covered us all over; and then they played an engine [catapult] upon us, which they filled out of the stinking ditches. While they played on brother Harris, I preached; and when they turned the engine upon me, he preached. This they continued till they spoiled the engine; and they threw whole buckets of water and mud over us.

After we left the town, they dressed up two images, called one Cennick and the other Harris, and then burnt them. The next day they gathered about the home of Mr. Lawrence, who had received us, and broke all of his windows with stones, cut and wounded four of his family, and knocked down one of his daughters.

By the Editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #38 in 1993]

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