John Nelson (1707-1770) was considered one of the foremost pastors of the early Methodists during John Wesley's time. Originally working as a stone mason, he eventually worked full-time sharing the news of full salvation in England. He suffered much persecution from those who were opposed to Wesley's understanding of the Christian life, and was also strongly opposed by the Moravians.He was a stonemason living in Birstall,Yorkshire. For thirty years he travelled as a Methodist preacher, on various circuits, and to the benefit of thousands. He was a man of a sound understanding, of great courage, and deep piety. John Nelson was born at Birstal in October, 1707. His father was a good man, and read the Scriptures in his family. John became impressed with religious feeling and conviction at a very early age; but his father dying while he was yet young, he had no one to guide his mind, or direct his steps; he grew up addicted to almost all kinds of sin, and was eventually married without any change of life.
During the whole of his wicked career, he was filled with deep conviction, sometimes amounting to great alarm and distress. At length, feeling convinced that he was not likely to break off his sinful habits in his native place, he left it. After bidding his wife an affectionate farewell, with her consent he sought new fields of labour; and after working awhile in various places, he ultimately reached London. He soon afterward heard Mr. Whitfield preach, was very much delighted, but not saved. He attended the public worship of nearly every denomination, not excepting Roman Catholics and Quakers, in search of rest and peace, but found neither. He at length heard Mr. Wesley preach at Moorfields, of which he gives the following account. 'His countenance struck such an awful dread upon me, before I heard him speak, that it made my heart beat like the pendulum of a clock; and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse was aimed at me. When he had done, I said, "This man can tell the secrets of my heart; he hath fully described the disease of my heart, but he hath not left me there, for he hath shown the remedy, even the blood of Jesus." Then was my soul filled with consolation through hope.'He visited Leeds, parts of Lancashire and Cheshire, and several places in the north of Lincolnshire. The journeys were long, the roads bad to travel, and the accommodation frequently very poor indeed. A large portion of the population was intensely hostile; eggs, stones, and sticks were the favourite weapons of the unruly mob, and yet in the latter county, at Epworth, Grimsby, and the intervening villages his success was truly glorious. Mr. Wesley now sent for him to London; he obeyed the call, and with him took a long tour right through Cornwall. During this journey they had to pick the blackberries from the hedgerows to satisfy their hunger, and slept for nights together on the hard boards.
His enemies tried to force him into the army.Here they determined to compel him to put on the uniform of a soldier. He answered, 'You may array me as a man of war, but I shall never fight. I cannot see anything in this world worth fighting for. I want neither its riches nor honours, but the honour that cometh from God only; I regard neither its smiles nor its frowns; and have no business in it but to get well out of it. The captain ordered the Sergeant to pull off Mr. Nelson's coat, and put him a red one on.
Shortly after, through the influence of Mr. Wesley, Lady Huntingdon, and others, he obtained his discharge, but only after a substitute had been found, and without the slightest acknowledgment of the injustice or illegality of his impressment. The motto of magistrates, clergymen, and military officers seemed to be, 'No justice for a Methodist.'
Extracts from Path2Prayer
Specifically: Died in Leeds buried in Birstall maybe 1774
Created by: David Martin
Record added: Apr 25, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 109500290
Added: Apr. 13, 2014
But we ourselves had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not have our trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead. 2 Cor.1|
Added: Apr. 25, 2013