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[March 1, 2001]
Cennick, John; 1718-1755
1 Reel of Microfilm
Originals of this microfilm are the property of the Bristol Moravian Church Archives. Microfilm was prepared by Micro Methods, Ltd., East Ardsley, Wakefield, Workshire, England.
There are no restrictions stated on the microfilm.
John Cennick was born December 12, 1718, in Reading, Berkshire, England. Although his parents were of Quaker background, he was reared in the Church of England. As a young man, he came under the influence of John Wesley and gave up a career as a surveyor to join the Methodist movement. Wesley appointed him a teacher at Kingswood School, Bristol, and it was in Kingswood that he preached his first public sermon on June 14, 1739, at the age of twenty. Because of doctrinal differences, he left the Wesleys and aligned himself with George Whitefield, but later still joined the Moravian Brethren and was ordained by them in 1749.
For the decade prior to his ordination, Cennick worked as a lay preacher, traveling constantly. He is remembered not so much as a missionary, but as a hymn-writer, author of works such as "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending" and "Children of the Heavenly King."
Cennick married in about 1747, and left descendants when he died in London, July 4, 1755. He was buried in the Moravian Cemetery, Chelsea.
Scope and Content
Although the title of this collection is the Memoirs of John Cennick, the microfilm also contains three other manuscripts from early Moravian church work: these concern the founding of the Labrador mission, 1771-1772; a missionary account of an Atlantic voyage, undated; and journals about Persian missions, 1748-1749. Cennick's memoirs, however, comprise the major bulk of the material.
The memoirs are in bound manuscript form, and appear to have been copied into the book from an earlier draft. The handwriting is that of Cennick's. There are three chapters: 1. "Memorable Passages relating to the Awakening in Wilts[hire] wch. began in ye Year 1740," 2. "An account of ye most remarkable passages relating to the awakening in Dublin in Ireland from the Begining till the Settling of ye Congregation," and 3. "The most remarkable Things wch happen'd from the time of the Awakening in ye North of Ireland." Cennick recounts the history of these three missionary efforts, giving great detail to religious discussions, controversies, persecutions, etc. He also follows the progress of the work with accounts of salvation and the state of the Church. On several occasions he refers to his sisters Anne and Sally who were apparently church leaders. He seldom mentions his wife.
Topics of substance in the memoirs are listed here in the order in which they appear in the volume.
|Chapter 1: "Memorable Passages relating to the Awakening in Wilts. wch. began in ye Year 1740."|
|1740||Invitation by William Orchard, a tailor of Castlecoom, Wiltshire|
|List of place preached|
|I was about a year in Wilts. alone & had no help from any person & often I staid only a few days & at other times 2 or 3 weeks together."|
|"Thus i did fr. the time of my disagreeing with Mr. Wesley 'till I intirely mingled with Mr. Whitefield & his friends..."|
|Controvery: the Wiltshire brethren spoke so evangelically, they were considered by most Methodist "to be tinctur'd with Antinominism."|
|Description of church services conducted by laity|
|1741||Continuation of work in Wiltshire|
|Wesleyan doctrine of free will and sinless perfection rejected|
|Service "hinder'd... by a great mobb" who fire guns into the air and turn water hoses on Cennick and fellow preacher Howell Harris of Wales. Persecution spearheaded by a Mr. Gothard.|
|He is burned in effigy|
|Home of their host attacked|
|God prevents a second persecution; horrible deaths of hecklers|
|A hanging for horse-thievery|
|They are beaten again; several tales of persecutions|
|Terrible death of Mr. Gothard and others, which gives cause to pause before persecuting Cennick|
|Ann Lawrence, self-styled prophetess, at whose meetings people "fell into strange fitts." "Ann gave out that these agonies were ye pangs of ye New-Birth without wch none cd be sav'd." Early success of this "delusion," description of the fits, and end of the delusion.|
|1742||Salvation comes to a man shortly before his death|
|Mr. Edwards, a "Welsh exhorter," considered by Cennick to be a hypocrite|
|Jonathan Wildboar, preacher of "a sort of ridged Calvinism" involved in theft; lifestyle brings injury upon entire Church|
|Death of a Saint|
|Mr. Edwards and Mr. Jones start a Presbyterian; church|
|Three Deaths to smallpox; lengthy obituary of one|
|Thomas Beswick and wife come to live in Wiltshire, he a collier who preached "with blessing 'till falling into ye most rigid Doctrines of Reprobation be became dry in his Heart." Beswick leaves ministry.|
|Several accounts of religious persecution|
|1743||An imposter tries to preach and is repulsed|
|Riot at Clack, and subsequent lawsuits|
|Death of Richard Gotly (referred to many times previously), aged 21. "Awakened" via Charles Wesley's preaching and finally brought to Christianity by Cennick's sister Sally. Back sliding toward end of life.|
|Death of blasphemer|
|October 16: George Whitefield leads a service; a young man accepts salvation just before his death; his dying testimony|
|Other deaths of saints and reprobates|
|1744||Saint denied burial in parish churchyard "because she belong'd to our|
|Society"; Cennick buries her in his own yard--beginning of a Moravian cemetary here|
|April 3: Meeting of the first association of Wiltshire preachers and ministers, total of nine present, with George Whitefield present. List of 25 decisions made by body; item ten calls for rapprochment between Whitefield and Wesley.|
|Persecution of civil magistrates; general persecutions|
|Church/pastor relations break down|
|1745||Deaths of Saints|
|December 15: Conference of the Stewards, at which Cennick tells "how I left ye Methodist & was come among ye Brethren." Stewards issue an invitation to Moravian brethren to take Wilshire societies (churches) into their care. Signed by both men and women.|
|1746||Steward John Smith dies, a good young man but "intangled with a woman of Stockham Marsh, by wch means [he] lost his ardency & simplicity," aged about 22 years|
|1747||Obituary of brother Edward Stone (1718-1747), story of his religious walk.|
|List of Burials in Teherton Burying-ground (total of twenty) and list of Moravians buried elsewhere in area (total of eleven), 1742-47|
|Chapter 2. "An account of ye most remarkable passages relating to the awakening in Dublin in Ireland from the Begining till the Setting of ye Congregation."|
|1744||Two young men come from Dublin to London and are invited by their hostess to hear Cennick preach at the "Tabernacle"|
|He is invited to come to Dublin|
|1745||His initial prejudice again Ireland and the Irish|
|Sails September 30 for Ireland; bad weather turns him back; spends winter in Germany|
|1746||Leaves Germany in May, for Ireland, arriving June 3; first impressions of Dublin|
|Beginning of ministry there; a dying minister's predictions for Cennicks' success; persecutions vs. gains made|
|Detractor quotes heavily from Gilbert Tennant; religious view of detractors|
|Priest writes a pamphlet against Cennick|
|Crowds of over 1000 gather to hear him|
|Heckled by Methodist; detractor pulls a sword on him|
|Catholic priests threaten excommunication to any who hear Cennick, calling him "a Devil in human shape, & no real man"|
|Letter from a Carmelite priest blessing his work|
|Dangerous mob threaten ministry|
|Sheriff befriends him|
|Severe persecutions by Roman Catholic authorities|
|He sails for Wiltshire; progress of the Dublin work in his abscence|
|Trouble with Baptists|
|1747||Returns to Dublin; recounting of troubles since his departure|
|Some send to Wesley to supply Methodist preachers|
|Dissention among the saints|
|Dublin society (church) numbers 520|
|Application to Lord Mayor for protection; description of the persons involved in mobs|
|Meeting of society leaders, September 21; list of leaders, men and women, with former denomination affiliation given|
|1748 Controversy with the Methodists|
|General history of the congregation|
|Cennick becomes a prisoner|
|He leaves Dublin|
|Chapter 3. "The most remarkable Things wch happen'd from the time of the Awakening in ye North of Ireland."|
|1746||Joseph Deane, Ballymenagh shopkeeper, comes to Dublin, hears Cennick preach, and invites him to Northern Ireland|
|Oppressiveness of spirit upon entering Ballymenagh|
|Examination by local pastors|
|Beginning of his ministry there; signs of God's approbation|
|He is accused of being a Scottish Covenanter|
|Poor state of religion in Ballymenagh|
|He is bodily removed from Ballymenagh by Lord of the Manor|
|Goes to Antrim, and thence to Dublin|
|1748||Two years later, Deane calls on him again in Dublin; many desire his preaching in Northern Ireland, but it is not safe; Cennick goes anyway; local man describes low spiritual state of region; he is welcomed by the faithful|
|Local ministers warn him not to preach|
|Brought before a kangaroo court, which only adds to his popularity|
|List of places preached|
|Recounting of the preaching of Scottish Presbyterian Mr. Peden on same spot in 1684, and his prophesies which seem to be fulfilled in Cennick|
|Brought before civil authorities; his defence; he is put in prison for refusal to swear (take and oath)|
|Received by bishop, examined and given leave to preach in diocese|
|He and wife set up housekeeping|
|Debate with a Scottish Presbyterian|
|He is jeered at Ballymenagh Horse Races, and is delivered from it|
|1749 Preaching and conversions; Presbyterians ridicule him; his self-defence|
|List of places preached|
|1750||Dissention among the Brethren; reconciliation|
|Opening of a chapel|
|Organization of several Brethren societies|
|Chapel destroyed in a storm; his premonition that something would happen|
|Christmas Day services|
|1751||A deist-atheist comes over to Moravian cause|
|Scotch Seceder (Associate Presbyterian) questions him re the Trinity and other doctrines, especially predestination; his defence|
The other sections of manuscripts contained on this film are briefly described below.
I. "Account from the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, Containing the Diary from the little congregation at Nain in Esquinary [?] Bay on the coast of Labrador from Sept 25th 1771 to the end of October 1772."
When one Brother Hill sailed from London in 1772 with provisions for the mission colony, numbering fourteen inhabitants, he brought back with him the journal kept by the congregation concerning their missionary efforts among the Eskimos. This 84-page item is a copy of that original journal, recounting the history of the mission from its founding.
II. "Journey Across the Atlantic ca. 18th Century"
Undated, unsigned journal of 8 pages, with cover page missing, describing a missionary voyage across the Atlantic and among some West Indian islands. It is stamped on the back, "Bristol Moravian Church Archives." The archives put its date between 1551 and 1770, but the style of handwriting indicates a date of late 17th century or later.
III. "Brother Hocker's Diary from Ispahan and his Journey Back to Livorno from 28 March 1748
to April 9th 17489."
42 pages, apparently a copy of original diary. Persian mission.
"Bro. Hocker E. Ruffers Diary of their Journey to Ispahan."
32 pages, covering August 24 to March 20 of the following year, no year given.
The microfilm in this collection was purchased by the Graham Center Archives. Original manuscripts are in the possession of the Moravian Church Archives, Bristol.
No Accession #
September 24, 1982
Galen R. Wilson
Type of Material: Microfilm
The following items are located in the CENTER LIBRARY MICROFILM ROOM:
All reels are 35mm, positive copy.
Reel 1 - Memoir book of John Cennick
Chapter 1; 1740-1747
Chapter 2; 1744-1748
Chapter 3; 1746-1751
Journal from small missionary colony recording efforts among Eskimos; 1771-1772
Journal describing a missionary voyage across the Atlantic; ca. 1700s
Diary of Persian missionaries; 1748-1750