- John Nelson (1707-74) was converted under John Wesley's influence in 1739 while working as a stonemason in London. He returned to his native Yorkshire in 1740 and within a few years commenced the preaching tours which introduced Methodism to much of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Nelson was eventually appointed by Wesley to the regular itinerancy, in which capacity he served in many parts of the country. His experiences were used by the Wesleys in their preaching and publications and helped to make Nelson the most famous of the lay-preachers. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974).
Manuscript extract of a letter from Rev. James Robe in Kilsyth, Scotland, to [James Erskine]. In Robe's Christian History he published an account from two different sources of the good work done in the British army campaigning in Flanders last summer by six Methodist soldiers. The devil was a tool of those men being sent there and so outwitted himself. In fact, Robe is uncertain whether good was done by the [Countess of Huntingdon] and [Erskine] in rescuing John Nelson from the clutches of the press gang, which intended sending him to Flanders. Last week Robe received an extract of a letter from an Anglican chaplain in that army dated 28 January 1745 at Bruges. In the letter it is stated that every Monday all the officers who are mounting guard have to march their men to church, where prayers are celebrated regularly at ten. After the service they are led back to the parade. Every Sunday, prayers are held and two sermons a day are preached. In addition there are 'irregular preachers' among the ranks who daily exhort their fellows and have succeeded in converting quite a few of them. The General allows them to use the church.
The above testimony from an Anglican minister is important.
The news from New England and Erskine's reply must be kept until he writes next.