All Saints Day "(a festival I dearly love)"
By Steve Manskar
Collect for All Saints:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Excerpts from John Wesley's Journal:
Saturday, November 1, 1739. While I was preaching at Long Lane the storm was so exceeding high that the house we were in shook continually. But so much the more did many rejoice in him whom the winds and the seas obey, finding they were ready to obey his call, if he should then require their souls of them.
Tuesday, November 1, 1748. Being All Saints’ Day, we had a solemn assembly at the chapel, as I cannot but observe we have had on this very day for several years. Surely, ‘right dear in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints’!
Monday, November 1, 1756. Was a day of triumphant joy, as All Saints’ Day generally is.11 How superstitious are they who scruple giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints!
Saturday, November 1, 1766. ‘God, who hath knit together his elect in one communion and fellowship,’ gave us a solemn season at West Street (as usual) in praising him for all his saints. On this day in particular, I commonly find the truth of these words: The church triumphant in his love, Their mighty joys we know; They praise the Lamb in hymns above, And we in hymns below.
Sunday, November 1 (1767), being All Saints’ Day (a festival I dearly love), I could not but observe the admirable propriety with which the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel for the day are suited to each other. As I was to set out for Kent in the morning, Mr. Blackwell invited me to spend the evening with him at Lewisham. Soon after we took horse, we found one of our horses lame. On inquiry, it appeared that five nails were driven into the quick. So we were at a full stop. But Mr. Blackwell supplying us with another horse, we rode on, though through heavy rain, to Staplehurst. In the evening, I met with a young clergyman who seemed to have no desire but to save his own soul and those that heard him. I advised him to expect crosses and persecution. But he was sure his rector would stand by him. Vain hope, that the children of the world should long stand by the children of God! Soon after, his rector told him unless he kept away from this people, he must leave his curacy.
Sunday, November 1, 1772. I administered the Lord’s Supper as usual to the society and had at least fifty more communicants than this time last year. In the evening, many hundreds went away, not being able to squeeze into the room. For those that were within, it was a blessed season: God watered them with the dew of heaven, and so likewise at five in the morning. Even to part in this manner is sweet. But how much sweeter will it be to meet before the throne!
Sunday, November 1, 1778 was the day appointed for opening the New Chapel in the City Road. It is perfectly neat, but not fine, and contains far more people than the Foundery. I believe, together with the Morning Chapel, as many as the Tabernacle. Many were afraid that the multitudes crowding from all parts would have occasioned much disturbance. But they were happily disappointed—there was none at all; all was quietness, decency, and order. I preached on part of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, and both in the morning and afternoon (when I preached on the ‘hundred forty and four thousand standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion’), God was eminently present in the midst of the congregation.
Saturday, November 1, 1788. All Saints’ Day, I preached at Snowsfields on Revelation 14:1, a comfortable subject, and I always find this a comfortable day.
Sunday, November 1, 1789. All Saints’ Day, a day that I peculiarly love, I preached on Revelation 7:1, and we rejoiced with solemn joy.