Johannine Writings is a revision and adaptation, made but left unfinished ca.1980, of “The Memoir of John” (1969) and “The Memoir of Yahweh-is-Gracious” (1969–1977).
I completed the work, from XXV.35 to the end, in July 2006.
III.2.Now we had seen a film on television a few weeks before, about a church in Manchester where they were saying that Jesus was alive, and that if people would believe in him, then their diseases would be cured, as Jesus cured diseases when he was on earth in the flesh.[more] 3.And while we were walking from our home town Thornton, to Cleveleys, passing King George’s playing fields, I said, “Why don’t you go to this place?”[more]
"My friend Christopher Woodhead", ca.1967
II.3.A few days previously I had seen Chris having a fit: suddenly, he collapsed on the floor and lay still. Then he started to twitch; his arms and legs began to beat frantically on the floor; his teeth ground together and he growled. 4.After some time he lay still again, then he started shaking again. 5.Later he regained consciousness, a bit shaken and worn out, not remembering what had just happened, and none the worse for it.[more] 6.Then why were these fits considered dangerous if he felt none the worse? 7.Because one time he had fallen into a boating lake and nearly drowned; another time he had pulled a pan of water on to himself; one time he had fallen downstairs: 8.These fits endangered his life.
"Now we had seen a film on television a few weeks before, about a church in Manchester…" – TV listing in Grimsby Evening Telegraph for Wednesday 9th December 1964. The church was called "Sharon Full Gospel Church".
III.4.A few days after I had suggested to Chris that he should go to this church, he came round to our house, saying, “We must go tonight.
5.“I had a dream last night,” he added untruthfully, “where my Grandma appeared to me, telling me to go there.” His Grandma had died a few months previously. 6.And I wondered anxiously whether I should go, but I was won over by his strong persuasions; and in addition, my friend Peter, who was there, agreed to go along.[more]
IV.4.We left home without telling our parents that we were going, although we left notes. 5.But Christopher’s note made his parents worry, for it said how he was “going to end these fits once and for all.”
6.And it rained exceedingly heavily that night, so much so that my Mum nearly wouldn’t let me go out that night—I said I was going to Chris’s house—but finally she relented and I went out. 7.I wore an ancient raincoat that reached almost if not quite down to my ankles.[more]
"Johannine Writings" omits the next stage of the story. We had arranged to meet at Four Lane Ends, Thornton (1979 photo), at 6.30pm. I was a bit late, because of my difficulty getting out of the house. We set out hitch-hiking (in the reverse direction to this photo).
Remember, it was night-time when this originally happened: Wednesday 13 January 1965.
We ran like crazy past my house (to the right in this 1979 photo).
…when Chris's dad (whom we nicknamed Fido because of his tendency to bark) passed us in his car. We ran and hid in a nearby deserted farmyard.
We emerged when we thought it was safe to do so; but further along the road, as we approached the crossroads at the Castle Gardens pub, Fido saw us again and stopped.
In 1965, the wall of the pub continued along the line of the grass verge. (The nearer building in this 2008 photo is a later extension.) There was an entrance to the back yard of the pub in this wall, through which we fled. Chris wrote in 1967: "We ran and hid in the outside toilets of a nearby public house. I praise God that my father never caught us that night, he had a bad foot, and this hindered him in searching for us. We hid in a compartment in the toilets, but my father wasn’t sure where we had gone. He even came in, but amazing as it may seem he never looked in the compartment where we were although the door was ajar. This was surely a miracle!"
After this incident, we gave up the idea of hitch-hiking and decided to catch a train instead. Emerging from our hiding place, we turned the corner on which the Castle Gardens stands, left into Poulton Road (right in this 2008 photo). It was nearly a mile to the station, but we ran for most of the way.
There was a narrow passage, a short cut at the start of Tithebarn Street (the continuation of Poulton Road), leading along the railway embankment, leading to the station. (The entrance to the passage can just be seen by the traffic-light in this 1997 photo.)
We sprinted down this narrow passage (2008 video),…
(2008 photo) …and arrived out of breath at the ticket office of the deserted station, with its dimly glowing gas lamps, and that smell that hung around stations—that familiar, sweet smell, a mixture of gas from the lamps and coal or coke from the heating stoves.
"And the train got to Bolton…" (1977 photo). We had decided to take the train to Bolton, then get a bus into Manchester, because when Chris had run away from home once, he had found the police waiting for him at Manchester Victoria railway station.III.1.And now we were on our way to the great city of Manchester on a train. III.7.And the train got to Bolton,[more] and we took a bus to Manchester.
8.And we did not know where to go, because we were alone in a strange city. 9.Then Christopher suggested that we should go to the Granada studios, for Granada had screened the television programme. And we agreed.[more]
"Then Christopher suggested that we should go to the Granada studios" (2001 photo). Not sure whether it was Chris who suggested this. Certainly he was the spokesman when we got there: Peter stammered, and I was shy.
"We went back to the watchman and asked him if he knew where we could stay the night" (2001 photo). Again, it was Chris who did this.10.But it was only a night watchman who was there, and he did not have access to the files, and he could not tell us where this church, “Sharon”, was. 11.So we walked away, feeling sad. 12.But we did not have anywhere to stay, so we went back to the watchman and asked him if he knew where we could stay the night.
13.The watchman suggested that we might try the YMCA, which, he said, “is 100 yards down the road.” 14.So we decided to take his advice; we walked about 100 yards down the road, but could not see it.
15.We walked further, and much further along we saw it. 16.But to our disappointment it was closed; there was not a light to be seen in the building. 17.And it was very late, so how could we hope to find somewhere to stay?[more]
18.As we stood there on the street corner, a man appeared, walking quickly. 19.As he passed by, we asked him if he knew of any hotels where we might stay. And thinking for a moment, he said, “You can come to our flat.”
20.Now we did not know what sort of a man he was, but we decided that we would take a chance, and so we went with him. 21.At the flat, after walking what seemed like miles into Salford—at the flat there was a woman called Grace, also another man. 22.And Tom—the first man, Tom Bennett, whom we had met on the street corner—got Grace to make us some supper. IV.34.(Tom and those with him were Irish.)
III.23.Then we retired to bed; we slept under blankets on the floor, and they all three slept in a bed in the same room.[more]
"You can come to our flat" – 73 Camp Street, Salford 7: boarded up for demolition, 1977. Tom's flat was on the top floor.
Rear view of 73 Camp Street, Salford 7: 1977. You can see the light shining through the damaged roof, out of the rear window of Tom's flat.IV.1.In the morning we set out from there, going, via the studios where we found out the address of the church, to a post office, 2.where we sent a brief telephone message to my neighbours, very confused, for I was not used to telephones at that time. 3.For we maintained that we had not run away from home, but had come with a purpose.
IV.8.Then in the afternoon we did what the man at the studios told us: “Take the 81 bus from Albert Square.” 9.And we did, and behold, “Sharon Full Gospel Church”.[more]
10.To our dismay, however, it was closed; we had thought it would have been open all the time, but it was closed. 11.So we were exceedingly disappointed. 12.But then Christopher noticed a sign in the church yard; 13.we read the notice board, which gave a telephone number, and quickly rang the pastors’ number.[more]
14.Pastor Williams’s wife answered the telephone; upon our explaining the situation, she said that usually they did not have prayer for the sick midweek; but seeing we had come a long way, she said that Pastor Williams would see us for half an hour at half-past four, which was in an hour.[more]
"But then Christopher noticed a sign in the church yard; we read the notice board, which gave a telephone number, and quickly rang the pastors’ number" (from a 1965 photo). Not sure if it was Chris who noticed the sign; again, though, he was the spokesman: he was the one who used the public phone across the road.
15.How long, how eternal that hour seemed! As we wandered through the slums of Moss Side, we wondered if it would ever pass.
16.However, soon it was time, and we were at the pastors’ house, standing outside the door.[more]
"The pastors' house", no longer theirs in 2001. Note that "pastors" is plural – both Pastors Barratt and Williams, and their families, had apartments in this large Victorian house.17.But who should knock? We were very frightened, and did not dare knock. 18.For we thought that the pastor was psychic, for on the television programme he had discerned what diseases people had. 19.However, a man arrived at the house, and after we briefly explained our business, he went round the back, suggesting that we ring the front doorbell. This we did; 20.the pastor met us, led us into the front room, and there we told him how we had come from Blackpool without our parents’ knowing it, and we told him about Christopher, how he had fits.
21.Then the pastor bade Peter and me kneel on the floor and pray for Chris; he stood with Christopher in front of us. 22.He then laid his hand upon Christopher’s forehead, and commanded the epilepsy to leave him “in the name of Jesus”.
23.Immediately, Christopher fell to the floor, as if struck down by the power of God. 24.And we thought he was dead or that there was something wrong with him. 25.But Pastor Williams took him by the hand and raised him up, and asked him how he felt. 26.And Christopher said that he felt easier. 27.And Pastor Williams told Christopher not to say that he himself had cured him, but to say, “With his stripes”, that is, those of Jesus, “I am healed.”
28.Then he took us upstairs, and his wife prepared us some tea—baked beans on toast—and we ate gladly.
29.[Pastor Williams told us that since the showing of the film on television the church had had visits from people from all over the north of England. He said, “We’ve had people from Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield…”
Any moment now, I thought, he’s going to say, “Barnsley”.
At his mention of Barnsley I had to bite my lip because I couldn’t help smiling.][more]
[Verse 29 was rewritten following discussion with Chris in 1980, and replaces the original Johannine Writings IV.29. Chris’s form-master at school, H. Ellis Tomlinson or “Toss” as he was called by them, was known to lampoon Barnsley; he said things like, “The palm-fringed beaches of sunny Barnsley.” Barnsley thus became a trigger to great mirth between Chris and me.]
30.Going from that place we were thrilled and happy and overjoyed and leapt for joy and ran in our rejoicing. 31.For we no longer “believed”, as we said; we now “knew”: we knew that God was real, that he had healed Christopher. 32.Yes, we knew. How happy the revelation, for that [is what] it was!
33.After this, we decided to return to Tom’s flat.[more]
V.1.Then, in the morning, we set out, thumbing lifts. 2.A lorry took us so far; a van took us further. 3.Then seeing a 180 bus, we decided to get it, and this took us home to Thornton.
4.So we were home. 5.The first task was to inform our parents. 6.Mrs. Gooding, Peter’s mother, received us well, as did Christopher’s and mine. 7.But while [we were] at Christopher’s house, his father, whom we nicknamed Fido, came in.
8.“Do you want to see him?” his mother asked. “I DON’T KNOW!” was the reply; he was angry.[more]
9.Then after this we went to the police station, where we were ushered upstairs into the presence of the inspector. 10.“Don’t smile,” warned a young constable as we were on our way up.
11.In the room was the inspector, who said, “Mr. and Mrs. Gooding, you may sit here—” (for they had brought us there) “—but as for you three, you can stand.
12.“Now, which one of you is Woodhead? Are you Woodhead?”
“No,” I said.
“No,” said Peter.
13.“Then you are Woodhead. 14.Now, Woodhead, I’m getting sick and tired of you. This is the third time this year that you’ve run away from home. 15.Do you realise that I could put you away for being in need of care and protection?”
16.Then he tried to prove that Christopher had persuaded us to run away, and that this was our only motive in going. 17.When we explained that we had gone in order to get Chris cured, he would have none of this. 18.Peter was quite strong in his defence of Christopher.
19.He made us turn out our pockets. 20.Again Peter defied him; he had left his money at home.
21.After this, at home, I wept because no-one would understand our motives. 22.Also, I was convinced that God was real and that he had healed Chris, but no-one would understand this.[more]
VII.3.Chris, Peter and I started going to the Full Gospel Church in Fleetwood. 4.We had heard of it through a letter sent to us from Pastor Williams of Sharon. He gave us three addresses, two of which he had crossed out; the remaining one was Fleetwood.
5.We arrived, then, that Sunday night. 6.Pastor Stanley Smith took the meeting, after Barry Hill had led the choruses, many of which we did not know.
7.Afterwards there was a “Coffee Rendezvous”, where there were tables set up, and where unconverted young people were invited to sit and talk. 8.A big, muscular man, Richard English, and another, came and sat with us and asked us if we knew Jesus Christ. 9.This worried me, as did the appeal that Pastor Smith had given for people to come and accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour: did I in fact know Jesus Christ as my Saviour?
10.Peter, however, told them that we did, and they accepted us as Christians.[more]
"The Full Gospel Church", Lowther Road, Fleetwood – before the church moved to larger premises in 1969
A view inside the Full Gospel Church, Lowther Road, Fleetwood.
This photo was taken, ca. 1969 – actually, on the occasion of the wedding of now-widowed Mrs. Gooding, Peter’s mother, to Tom Smith. It was just before the church moved from Lowther Road to larger premises in Elm Street, Fleetwood. Pastor Stanley Smith officiates, and John Nelson Parr stands by.
Another view inside the Full Gospel Church, Lowther Road, Fleetwood, ca.1969.11.Did I, in fact, know Christ as my Saviour at this time?
This photo back-tracks somewhat from the above one, as Tom Smith, with stepson and best man Peter Gooding, awaits the arrival of his bride.
12.When Chris was healed Peter and I had, at the order of Pastor Williams, been kneeling. I had prayed, “God heal Chris”; and when Chris had been prayed for, I suddenly had the realisation that God was indeed real; in my own words, “We don’t believe any more—we KNOW!” 13.I think that was the time when I was born again, because that is what it felt like: everything seemed new and different.
14.However, appeals by Pastors at Sharon and Fleetwood worried me, and my heart beat, and the worried feeling raged in my stomach.
15.I remember saying to God at home concerning commitment to Christ, “Not now—later, when I’m older.”[more]
I.1.When Stanley Smith was pastor of the Full Gospel Church, Fleetwood, it was decided that we should have a special meeting, convened that those wishing to be “baptised with the Holy Spirit” could pray.
2.And it was a few weeks before the Day of Pentecost.
3.Several people were gathered, and we began to kneel and pray for God’s blessing. 4.I prayed in my heart and in whispers, for I was afraid to do otherwise.
5.Then someone put his hands on my shoulders, and immediately I felt power emanating from the places where his hands touched my shoulders. 6.It was like heat flowing from those places and filling my whole body; it was like “pins and needles”, and they flowed and filled me from head to toe, so much so that I could feel the feeling in my teeth.
7.And I was moved by this Spirit to praise the Lord. With every breath, I voiced praises to God. 8.I was being driven to do so, and yet I suppose I could have stifled it, had I wanted to.
9.This experience was new to me; I had been told very little about it. Consequently, I did not understand what it is that had been happening to me.[more]
VI.1.Two weeks or so after the prayer meeting where I had first known the feeling of the power of God, Christopher and I went down to Sharon for some meetings. 2.(And at that time we were courting Pastor Williams’s daughters.)[more] 3.During one meeting, on the Day of Pentecost, the Pastor asked all those who wanted to be filled with the Holy Spirit to go into a room at the back. 4.So Christopher and I went. 5.The Pastor laid his hands upon me, and I spoke in another tongue, although I do not recall feeling like I did the first time someone put his hands upon me.[more]
XI.1.I was going out with Pamela, Pastor Williams’s daughter; and I was fond of her. 2a.However, apart from one moment of passion, she seemed not to return the fondness.[more]
"Christopher and I went down to Sharon…" – contemporary photo taken in the Williamses’ back garden, probably on the Sunday since I am wearing my suit, with me attempting to strike a pursed-lipped, “Don’t you think I look sexy?—sexier than HIM!” pose
"I was going out with Pamela, Pastor Williams’s daughter; and I was fond of her. However,… she seemed not to return the fondness" – contemporary photo taken in the Williamses’ back garden: there I am with my eyes seemingly glued to Pamela’s chest, as she sits, neatly attired in a modest cream cotton dress, on my knee in a deck chair, and looks as though she would rather be anywhere else but there.
"I was going out with Pamela, Pastor Williams’s daughter; and I was fond of her. However,… she seemed not to return the fondness" – contemporary photo taken near Buxton, where again Pam looks very uncomfortable to be there.
"I was going out with Pamela, Pastor Williams’s daughter; and I was fond of her. However, apart from one moment of passion, she seemed not to return the fondness" – contemporary photo taken near Buxton. This is not the "one moment of passion", though; in fact, this scene was not as spontaneous as it makes out, for a similar photo was taken of Chris and Hazel.X.1.One day the Opposer called a secret meeting of the fallen ones. 2.During the meeting one named Snaresetter said, “There is a boy named Lorsgrace, son of Lofreman. He loves serving the Lord, and I think we ought to tempt him away from such love.” 3.The Opposer raised his eyebrows and said, “I cannot devote my time or the valuable time of this meeting to such an insignificant one as he. How many souls, for example, has he won from me by his efforts of service? 4.However, seeing that you are persistent, what do you propose should be done about him? 5.So Snaresetter proposed some ideas…
XI.1.I was going out with Pamela, Pastor Williams’s daughter; and I was fond of her. 2a.However, she seemed not to return the fondness. 2b.This became particularly evident when we all went on holiday to the Pentecostal Fellowship Camp at Scarborough. She would barely have anything to do with me.[more]
3.This coldness, it seemed to me, was due to the influence of a certain unmarried middle-aged woman called Mary, who was in the Williams daughters’ party at Scarborough. 4.So I despised her, and one time I raged about her to myself and my friends Chris and Peter in an outburst of hate, saying, “I know it’s un-Christian, but I hate that woman!” All this because of an unfounded notion that she was trying to put Pamela off me![more]
5.Anyway, Pamela finished with me, causing me very much sorrow and grief, with tears. Such was the aching I felt inside, that I thought I could never be happy again. But I got over the pain within the week.[more]
VIII.4.When I was at Scarborough camp, in one of the meetings, the speaker called for those who wanted to dedicate their lives completely to the Lord to stand on their feet. 5.This I did, and such a mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit came upon me that I helplessly fell back into my seat again with tears of great joy and laughter.[more]
XI.6.As for my upset over the loss of Pamela, I was soon comforted by a certain girl, very attractive, called Ann Fenton from Blackburn.
"I was soon comforted by a certain girl, very attractive, called Ann Fenton."7.So it was that Lorsgrace did not turn away from his devotion to the service of the Lord, except that he sinned in hating Wishchild for a brief time.[more] 8.In fact his dedication was strengthened at that time, and he was filled powerfully with the Holy Spirit.[more]
See Holiday in Scarborough — Day One, Holiday in Scarborough — Day Six, Holiday in Scarborough — Day Seven, Holiday in Scarborough — Day Eight, The Free Trade Hall, Friday 7th January 1966, Friday 8th April 1966; Friday 9th December 1966.
XII.1.Again the Opposer called a secret meeting of the fallen ones. 2.Again while the meeting was in session one named Snaresetter said, “There is a boy named Lorsgrace. He still loves serving the Lord, and in fact his dedication to the same service has doubled since we last met.” 3.The Opposer raised his hand to his chin and tapped his cheek and said, “I cannot devote my time to this insignificant one for I am occupied on other business pouring cold water on the assemblies of believers, nor can we devote the valuable time of this meeting to such an insignificant one as he. 4.How many strongholds of mine, for example, has he battered down by his efforts of service, and how many souls has he won from me by the doubling of his dedication? 5.However, seeing that you are persistent, what do you propose should be done about him? So Snaresetter proposed some ideas…
XIII.1.Shortly afterwards, a friend of mine named Peter, one of those who had been with me at Scarborough, received a letter from a girl named Barbara and her sister Doreen. We had met them at the Pentecostal Fellowship Camp. 2.This letter seemed to be one of invitation to come to where they lived. 3.And immediately Peter and I packed our bags and travelled there by public transport, and paid Barbara and her sister a visit. 4.(Now Barbara and Doreen were both attractive, but Doreen was more attractive than Barbara.)
5.However, on our arrival at their house, Doreen told me, “I am spoken for.” 6.And Barbara also seemed uninterested in our coming. 7.Then we explained that we had come because they had written to us, saying, “You’ll have to come and see us.” They explained that the letter had meant something different.
8.So we pitched our tent on a piece of spare ground. This was at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, in Nottinghamshire.
9.Then we went, and got invited to stay at the house of a young lad called Ian 10.W—, who had been in the Kirkby-in-Ashfield party at the Pentecostal Fellowship Camp. 11.Ian’s parents made us very comfortable, and we were happy there, except that the W—s had strange customs, such as pouring water instead of milk on their cereals before eating. 12.Ian’s grandfather, full of years and whose eyes were very dim with age, also dwelt with them.
13,14.In Kirkby-in-Ashfield there lived a young woman of loose morals whose name was G— D—. 15.Ian and his friend Robert, who worked in the coal mine, used to visit her when her husband was away and mess about with her. 16.And while we were there Peter and I went along with them, not regarding the fact that it is shameful for Christians to do such things. And we desired her, 17.but we came to our senses, and did not utterly abandon the form of wise conduct that had been passed on to us by our Pastor, Stanley Smith. 18.Nevertheless, we feasted our lusts on what would have seemed pleasurable for a season, although we were spared the guilt of gratifying these immoral desires.
19.That night, having left late, we were afraid to return to the W—s’ house, and so we wandered out of the town. 20.But we were spotted by the police, who made us stop. 21.After [aski]ng us questions they took us in their car to the [W—s’] hou[se.] 22.They did not believe our story and wanted confirmation, thinking [that we may have been two youths] who had escaped from detention.[more]
[There are a number of lacunae in the original text in vv.21 and 22.]23.Later, having thus disregarded the Lord, we repented, and renewed our zeal in trying to please him.
24.When we got home and went to the meeting at church, Pastor Smith asked us if we had visited a young woman there. 25.He told us that Pastor Hollis of Kirkby-in-Ashfield had been in touch with him and told him that we had, despite Hollis’s having told us not to. 26.We admitted that we had visited her, then added, “But we didn’t do anything.”[more]
27.Thus was Lorsgrace stumbled and hindered, but it was not to death, and a place of repentance was found.
VIII.6.At that time my joy in the Lord was so great—I was so absolutely glad he had saved me—that I sometimes just did not know what to do with myself or where to put myself; it was so frustrating not to be able to find expression for the joy that I had.[more]
"Then we went, and got invited to stay at the house of a young lad called Ian W—… Ian’s parents made us very comfortable, and we were happy there…" – Peter and I bought the W—s gifts for their hospitality, and they wrote thanking us.
IX.1.After these things, Pastor Smith came up to us (three, I think), and asked us if we would be baptised. 2.We discussed about this, and so agreed.
3.At this time my parents had started coming to the church. 4.My mother, concerned and a little alarmed that I had got so involved (after being filled with the Holy Spirit), had decided to go to a Sunday morning service, to which I had not gone that Sunday. 5.Soon afterwards in the Sunday evening meeting she had got saved; and my father, later, having been to a number of Sunday evening services, also received Christ.
6.So I was baptised. Before baptism I bore testimony: “I thank the Lord for saving my soul; after all, look what he’s saved me from!” 7.Then I was baptised in the w[ater].
8.[Pa]stor Cartwright […
…]ther baptised that night.[more]
[There are lacunae in the original text in vv.7 and 8.]
"Pastor Smith came up to us (three, I think)" – John Edward Cooper (ca.1967), Chris Woodhead (1968), Peter Gooding (ca.1967)XIX.1.Then there was a council of the ministering spirits of the Lord in heaven, presided over by the Lord, and the Opposer entered. 2.For although he is a serpent and a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, yet is he a minister of the Lord, and carries out the predetermined, foreordained purposes of the Lord.
3.And the Lord said to him, “Why are you here?”
To which he replied, “There is one of yours, named Lorsgrace, and I would have him to buffet him grievously and afflict him.”
4.The Lord replied, “He is so small; how can he stand? 5.But yet I must show to him my great faithfulness and my power at work in him, which keeps him standing though he knows it not. Yes, buffet him and afflict him, and then he will know that I the Lord wound, but bind up; I the Father chastise, but the grievousness is but for a moment. 6.And he will then learn that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.”
7.As the Opposer would have gone, and turned in order to do so, the Lord said, “I know all about your secret meetings and what you have done thus far, for there is nothing done without my knowing it altogether; moreover I ordained it thus.”
8.Then the Opposer departed, and left the presence of the Sovereign Lord, who is king of all the earth for ever and ever.
XX.1.Again the fallen ones met in array. Again the Opposer presided. And again the one who had sought to turn Lorsgrace out of the Way stood in the midst, and answered the accusations brought against him.
2.“What have you to say for yourself?” said the Opposer. “These two times have I given you leave to tempt him, and these two times you have failed me. Answer well, or I will send you hence to possess some worm of a man who has been depraved by my own cunning. 3.Then you will be cast before your time into the Abyss of Tartarus, kept in nether gloom and everlasting chains of darkness.”
4.Panic filled the other’s breast and pangs his bowels. “Have mercy on me, and I will fulfil your every command and commission; I will obey your word and cast a sure stumbling-block before the feet of Lorsgrace, son of Lofreman, descendant of the maker of casks and barrels.”
5.“Enough of the high-sounding words! Enough of the genealogies! Get you hence, and do that whereto I have sent you. 6.And be sure that this time you fail not. 7.I cannot damn this boy, for behold the mercies of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting, [An odd admission to be put into the mouth of the “father of lies”!] but yet it is necessary that certain be kept from the kingdom, that kingdom which I loathe. 8.So get hence, and see that you irrevocably stumble him.”
9.Now Lorsgrace was responsible for the conversion of a boy who came from the town of Farmstead. 10.And so the Lord’s kingdom was extended through this convert, through Lorsgrace. 11.And such conversions in the future the Opposer wanted to prevent, by causing a backsliding if possible on Lorsgrace.
XIV.2.One day, Peter declared that he was in love. 3.So I asked him, “What’s her name?” 4.But Peter declined to answer, saying, “I’m not going to tell you. Remember what happened with Pam.” 5.But I wore him out with persuasions, so he said in a riddle, “Her name is Milk-cart Forest.” 6.This, it turned out, meant Audrey Wood. By “Milk-cart” he meant dray, which sounds like Audrey, and by “Forest” he meant Wood.[more]
XV.1.Audrey had a nice figure and was attractive-looking. She was unkissed; she had never been out with a boy.[more]
11b.Now I had met a girl called Valerie when an evangelist had visited Bolton. 12.Many people went to see him; I had met her there.[more]
XIV.7.So there were two girls whom I fancied: Audrey and Valerie; and I could not decide who was the more desirable.
XV.2.It was decided at church—and a new attender Mr. Dobson had not a little to do with it—that we should go over to Knott End, a small town on the other side of the River Wyre from Fleetwood (where our church was) and preach the gospel there.[more]
3.(Mr. Dobson was a crook, and he was later revealed for the bad person he was. 4.He was small and bald.)
5.So we held a series of meetings there, at the local cinema. 6.And the Lord did not look with favour on the meetings; he did not bless the people there. 7.Not many turned to the Lord, but a young woman was converted with tears and penitence.[more]
8.During this time, quite a lot of the young people of the church worked hard, trying to get the inhabitants of Knott End to come to the meetings. 9.Of this number were Audrey Wood and I. 10.And it was while we were going across on the ferry, that I got acquainted with the girl for the first time.[more]
XVII.8.And I visited the Woods’ house a number of times in those days.
XV.11a.I still thought of Valerie, 13.but I also fancied Audrey, and could not decide who was the more desirable.
14.So I prayed:
“If the girl whom Thou hast chosen to go out with me belongs to Fleetwood, let her be the one I shall sit with on the coach going to Knott End.”A coach was laid on for the actual meetings; we did not go on the ferry. 15.So when there was an empty place on the coach by Audrey, I immediately sat in it.
16.After the meeting, I was very disheartened to find that Peter was already sitting with Audrey; but my face fell and I looked sad; 17.and Audrey said to Peter, “Will you move?”
18.And Peter obliged; he moved and sat elsewhere.
19.And I sat with her, and talked with her, and became fond of her, and developed a big crush on her.[more]
XVI.1.Later on, I was at home. Les Smith and his wife Maureen were there as guests of my Mum and Dad. 2.And Maureen asked me, “Are you sweet on Audrey Wood’s daughter?” 3.(Audrey’s mother was also called Audrey.) 4.Maureen had seen that I had sat with Audrey on the Knott End bus.[more]
XVII.1.At that time it was the custom at our church for the young people to have Hallowe’en parties every year. 2.(This was later disparaged by the “Chasidim”.*) 3.At such occasions there was much merrymaking and enjoyment.[more]
[*Chasidim: my name for a group of the young people at Fleetwood Full Gospel Church, ca.1966–ca.1971, whom I thought of as a bit too “pious” for me, or too daring in their evangelistic exploits: going in coffee bars to witness to people, for example.]
4.And I had made up my mind to take steps to try to get Audrey to agree to go out with me.
5.That night I wept much on account of Audrey, and prayed that I might go out with her, calling on the Lord for help. I kept saying, “I love that little girl.” 6.For I had been prevented from approaching her that evening by Peter, who had spoken with her.[more]
XXI.3.It was not until two days later that I was able to ask her to go out with me, owing to the (to me) unwanted presence of Peter Gooding near to Audrey whenever I wanted to get her on her own.[more]
XVIII.1.Then a number of the young people assembled at the church, for the purpose of distributing tracts to those outside, to try to get them saved. XXI.4.When we had finished giving out tracts, 5.we gathered again back at church.
XVIII.2.And I was frightened, but taking courage I asked Audrey to leave the church with me, before Peter had the opportunity to walk with us, and thus spoil my intentions. XXI.6.I asked her if she would come outside with me, because, I said, I had something to say to her. 7.And being in an ecstasy of nervousness and fear, I explained how I had prayed that on the coach, the girl whom I should go out with would sit with me, and how she had sat with me, and “will you go out with me?” 8.She answered quietly and simply, “Yes.”
9,10.And this came as a bit of an anticlimax to me; it was so easy. I thought I was going to have to engage in a battle of wits and verbiage.
11.And so we held hands, and came to her mother’s house.
And that is how it happened.[more]
VIII.1.Some time later, after I had been filled with the Holy Spirit, I went to my first Prayer Meeting. 2.I was sitting and bowed down; then I sat back. 3.Suddenly, the feeling that I had had when someone had placed his hands on my shoulders came again, and filled my whole body, and I also shook. How glorious was that experience![more]
XXI.12.But where was the backsliding purposed by the Opposer’s messenger, Snaresetter? Did it not happen? Did Snaresetter fail?
For I immediately set to work, encouraging Audrey to serve the Lord with all her might.
13.And whereas Audrey had had little zeal or enthusiasm, I fanned a blaze and stirred up a great zeal in her heart to extend the Lord’s kingdom. And this encouragement I did by my own example, and not merely in words.
14.We gave all our time to the distributing of gospel tracts, because we wanted people to be saved.[more]
XXII.1.But gradually and imperceptibly, I lost my zeal, left my first love; my devotion began to abate, my fiery passion for the souls of men began to be quenched, and I became cold in heart.[more]
2.And the reading of books replaced the ardent perusal of the Scriptures.[more]
3.And so Audrey grew weary, for when she asked me about giving out tracts, I would not allow it; and when she asked again, I blazed in wrath and refused.[more]
4.Now all along, Audrey had been cold in the way she acted towards me. I did not think that this showed that Audrey did not like me, for it had been thus all along; even the time she had been jealous at my eyeing a girl and had said, “I want you”,* it had been like this: she had always been cold, even when she had been jealous, without my knowledge, that I was writing to female pen-friends abroad.
[*This bit of the story seems a little obscure. Presumably, I admired some girl; Audrey objected, so I replied, “Don’t you ever fancy other boys?”, and she replied, “I want you.” This, however, is only guesswork.]
5.This coldness frustrated and exasperated and sometimes infuriated me; I was used to coming home in a state of tension and frustration.
6.Be it known, that it was not in my mind to know her carnally, to lie with her (although at one time, when she particularly frustrated me as she sat on my knees, I squirmed, thinking, “Lie with me, my sister!” (2 Sam. 13:11) But I did not seriously intend to do this), but it was merely that she denied me any reciprocation whatever of my affectionate behaviour. Why, she would never fondle and cuddle me, and she would never kiss me without my having kissed her first.
7.So it was that she wearied of me, because I had no zeal for the Lord, and was thus causing hindrance to her in the Lord. I admit it.
8.And it was also, that I wearied of her as well, for the aforementioned reasons.[more]
XXIII.4.And I had in mind, owing to her undue coldness, to emancipate myself from her, and by some means finish going out with her.[more]
Diary entry for 7 Jan.1967:11.And she said quietly, “John, I don’t want to go out with you any more.”
"Went [to visit the] Williams[es in] M[an]c[hester.] Heap big crush on Pam."
Tch, tch! – while I was going out with Audrey, as well!
12.To which I immediately replied, “I don’t want to go out with you any more.”
13.And so we parted.[more]
14.But all that evening, and especially when I went to see Chris and heard the song which went—
She wakes up, she makes up,—I longed with all my heart, yearned for her.[more]
15.And the next day, while I was sitting on the bus going to school, I saw her walking, in her black PVC leather-look coat. 16.And the grief overwhelmed me and the tears rushed to my eyes; and in this state of utter sadness, fighting back the tears, was I all day long.[more]
17.And when evening came I came down to the small wall in the street where I was wont to meet Audrey when she came out of school.
18.She came out, and I wanted to tell her how much I wanted her, but all I could do was cry and sob. 19.By this time we were by the pillar where I was wont to say goodbye to her.[more]
20.So as not to be seen, I quickly ushered her down a passage between two buildings.[more]
21.At her house she comforted me and cuddled me in an affectionate way that I was not used to.
22.I cried, saying, “It was horrible.”[more]
23.And by our pillar I kissed her goodbye, for I had to catch the bus home.
24.And she looked exceedingly lovely with raindrops on her face which looked like diamonds.[more]
XXIII.1.Try to see it my way,2.So sang the Beatles. I used to listen attentively to this song at this time, for it spoke to me of the love which was crumbling.
3.Desperately I pleaded with her at one time after we had had a conflict of angry words, and I begged her earnestly, beseeching her not to leave me.
“You won’t leave me, will you?” I asked.
To which she replied, “No,” comforting me, for I was exceedingly sorrowful.[more]
XXIV.1.Some months after these events, Audrey told me one morning when I was with her near Broadwater in Fleetwood, that she would not go out with me any more because of how backslidden I had become.
2.Now I was on my way to the house of a girl called Jean Kirkham, in order to listen to a tape recording of a certain preacher.[more]
3.After pleading with Audrey, as I thought without result, and saying that I would go and see Pastor, I went to Jean’s house with great sadness.
4.Why did Audrey threaten to finish with me at this time? First, it could be suggested truthfully that it was, as has been said before, due to my having left my great zeal and first love for the Lord. But although this was the underlying reason, there was a more immediate cause, namely that being hot I had walked out of church on Sunday evening (it was now Monday morning) and had left Audrey there, and had gone with Chris to his [or, my] house.[more]
5.After I had been to Jean Kirkham’s house, I met Audrey again opposite the Queen’s Hotel. And she gladly accepted me, and I was pleasantly surprised by her assumption that our relationship was in good health again.
6.At the Woods’ house, I cried much, to the great surprise of Audrey, who exclaimed, “What are you crying for? What’s the matter? You know there’s nothing wrong to cry about.”
7.And when Audrey’s mother comforted me, I squeezed her hand very tight.
8.This now is the second breach, together with the second repair thereof.[more]
XXV.2.And so I continued with Audrey for some months more, and though at diverse times things were uneasy, yet had I no idea that it was in her heart to finish with me, indeed had been since about Christmas.
3.However, she had kept these things locked away in her heart, for fear that she would hurt me, or put me off following the Lord; thinking chiefly, I suspect, to avoid hurting me, and possibly wanting to avoid having to prepare her nerve for such an encounter.[more]
4.On the twenty-seventh of July, in the second year of my going out with Audrey, it came about that I decided not to go to the prayer meeting at church, because of my oppressive conscience and my inability to pray.
5.Instead, I decided to catch the bus and go to the Woods’ house 6.and wait for them to come home after the prayer meeting.
7.But they delayed for such a long time that I began to get anxious. 8.Some time later, about an hour, being roused by impatience, I arose and walked to the church.[more]
9.Now at that time there was a lad with protrusive teeth who had started to attend our church. (Trevor and I used the words “Teeth in Motion” in connection with him, from the pop song San Francisco, current at that time, which contained the words “People in motion”.)
10.This boy greatly admired a girl,* handsome† and full-figured; but she was believed to be demon-possessed and unwilling to have it exorcised.
[*She was called Dot. I forget the toothy lad’s name. †She had an attractive face, but she couldn’t be called quite beautiful.]
11.Unbeknown to me, these two had caused a disturbance during the prayer meeting, which had caused the meeting to be prolonged.[more]
12.I was indignant because of the delay; but when I showed it, 14a.my indignation was matched by that of Audrey’s mother, who, 13.coming out of the building with the others after the meeting had finished, 14b.spoke to me with angry words, “You don’t know what went on in the meeting; for your information demons were being cast out.”
15.And this served to cool me down a little.[more]
16.The next evening, I went again to Audrey’s house.
17.I had on my hands some ointment which the doctor had prescribed, which gave off the odour of naphthalene.
18.But when I invited Audrey to smell it, she would have none of it, but said, “John, do you want to go out with me?”
19.And my heart started to beat hard within me, till I felt out of breath.
20.And I answered her, “Yes.”
21.So my shattered heart smote hard, my heart dissolved and pangs seized upon me.[more]
22.And she expounded to me the intents and thoughts of her heart; and I knew that our courtship was ended.
23.And I left that place in sorrow and bewilderment, my hopes perished.[more]
"And I left that place in sorrow and bewilderment, my hopes perished" – written with bitter hindsight, but the contemporary record indicates an amicable agreement to part.24.And I was sorry that I had gone my own way and had not practised uprightness, setting my face to go in the way that the Lord willed, and being diligent thereto, stirring up the gift within me and rejoicing in the Lord.
25.And I prayed to the Lord and made confession, confessing my sins and the multitude of my backslidings.[more]
26.The evening after this, I went along to the Testimony Meeting at church, my heart in an agony.
27.I sat down beside Audrey and after the meeting had ended I had a word with her, to see whether perhaps we could mend the split between us. But she refused to be courted, even though I pleaded strongly with her.[more]
"Wanted to get back to Audrey but NO!" – here, bitter hindsight and contemporary record are in complete agreement.
28.What could I do? I was powerless to act. I could plead, but all in vain.
29.And ah! the drawn-out agonyXXIV.9.But we must remember in all this that the Lord is supreme and pre-eminent above all things. Nothing is done by any agency, save it be permitted from above; and everything is done by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. He is supreme.[more]
XXV.32.Now Audrey’s mother and I worked for a woman called Mrs. West.
33.And in my desperate plight I pleaded that she would intercede between her daughter and me.[more]
34.And Audrey’s mother reported that she and her husband had both tried hard to persuade Audrey, but Audrey, she said, was determined and persistent in her refusal to go out with me any more.[more]
35.Ah! the dreary, drawn out agonyThese are some lines that I wrote XXVI.1.a few years afterwards. I also wrote the following words:
2.Ah, most Noble Strength!And I wrote the following too:
5.Ah! the dreary, drawn-out agonyXXVII.1.Again the angels met in array, and again the Opposer presided over them. The spirit named Snaresetter approached the throne of the infernal majesty and said, “Let not my lord be angry, nor let him be wroth with his humble servant. For I will turn this defeat into victory, this shame on me I will turn to your triumph.”
2.The Opposer said to him, “Let your story be well pleasing, or into deep and nether darkness you will certainly go.”
3.The spirit trembled and shook, but regained his composure and said, “I have sent my secret agents who have made the heart of Christ-bearer the friend of Lorsgrace cold toward his Mighty One, and I have personally prepared a young woman who knows not the Lord, named Lorsgracie. 4.Christ-bearer will send to Lorsgrace, saying, ‘Come over and see us, and behold, I have asked a good-looking woman if she will accompany you when you arrive.’ 5.And she, lord infernal, will cool the heart of Lorsgrace, till he no longer serves the Lord, neither worships him, neither is willing to think about him.”
6.And the Opposer answered him, “Well, well: will it work? I fear not, for Lorsgrace is careful to avoid the establishment of relationships of long standing with persons who know not the one whom I shall overthrow in course of time, whose kingdom shall soon cease, whose subjects shall be put beneath my feet.”
7.The spirit said, “Most noble king, I tremble and quake exceedingly in your presence. Yet allow me to speak but this once, I pray you. 8.My agents have brought a young woman (also named Lorsgracie) to the notice of Lorsgrace. 9.He is charmed by her, for she has qualities of body and soul, she is quite different from the other girls he knows. 10.He is certain to offer love to her, but she will reject him. I have seen to it that she has already been hurt in love, and will not thus take love when offered never so sincerely. 11.He will be sad, and will accept the love of the other. 12.He will see this Lorsgracie giving love to another, and will be very sad, but he will forget his sadness in a day, for Christ-bearer will bring him the first-named Lorsgracie.”
13.The Opposer answered him, “It is not enough. For he gave love to Plainswoman, but she was not of our Enemy, so he did not let the love prosper. 14.And he gave love to Pearl, but she was not of our Enemy, so he did not let the love prosper. 15.And he gave love to Rebel-Wishchild, but she was not of our Enemy, so he did not let the love develop. 16.And besides all this, he has carefully avoided involving himself with those who know not our Enemy, so as not to let them come between him and the one whom he serves.”[more]
17.The spirit named Snaresetter answered him, “Allow me to speak this once in my defence.”
He said, “You are so permitted.”
18.He said, “My lord, he will be ensnared by this one because she will love him to the point of distraction. When he departs she will not have control, and her tears will fall unchecked. 19.It will be made known to him, and he will not let her go. 20.Moreover, when he shall try to serve his master and give her up, he will be unable, for he will remember the grief he felt at the departure of Noble-Strength.”
21.The Opposer said to him, “You have done well this once.”
“I am your humble servant.”
22.“But even so, if this plot fails, you will be imprisoned in Tartarus until the day I triumph. Mark these words well. 23.Go therefore to your task, and do it well. You have been warned.”
24.So he departed from that place, and went his way.[more]
25.It came about that a company of young people was wont to gather together to pray and discuss about the Lord. They did so at the house of Janet Aikman, who was one of their company.
26.A group of these people also went to the Full Gospel Church in Fleetwood. 27.And I was there one Sunday, when I espied this Janet Aikman, dancing and behaving more as an individual person, than as one of the ordinary people; and I was quite taken by her. 28.She was not beautiful, it is true, but her general appearance was attractive to me.
29.And I asked Robert Ashworth, whose sister Gillian I used to go out with, what this girl’s name was, and her age and telephone number.
30.He told me that her name was Janet Aikman, and that she was seventeen; and he gave me her telephone number.
31.Now I was already taken by this girl; my heart started to beat a little faster at the thought of her. 32.So, next day, I called her on the telephone. “You may not know me,” I said, “but I know you. I am the one with long hair and ginger whiskers. Do you know who I am?” 33.Then I asked if I could take her out. But she put me off, saying that she was about to do something different that night.[more]
34.Before long I began to attend the meetings at her house. 35.And she did consent to go out one night; but she did not turn up, because, she told me, she could not obtain transport home from Manchester. 36.So I felt disappointed, and doubted her sincerity in saying I could take her out.
37.I did take her out, but the evening did not work out as I hoped: it was a complete failure. 38.And I wrote a letter and sent it to her, asking if we might be more than just friends. 39.But she wrote me a reply, saying, “I have been hurt before, and do not wish to rush into such a relationship.” 40.So I was disappointed and sad.[more]
But she wrote me a reply, saying, “I have been hurt before, and do not wish to rush into such a relationship.”
XXVIII.1.I sing a doleful dirge ’pon oneXXVII.41.And further, I was saddened when her letter appeared to be insincere. 42.For at the church there was a young man named Ron Green, and it was plain to see that he had intentions with regard to Janet Aikman. 43.I thought he couldn’t possibly succeed here, because of what my letter said. But I was mistaken.
44.Between my receiving Janet Aikman’s letter and Ron Green’s starting to notice her, Chris Woodhead, my close friend, telephoned me, and invited me to come and see him. 45.He told me about a girl called Janet, who would be my date, should I wish to visit. 46.I answered him that I did so wish. And so it was arranged.
47.Some days later, the day before my departure to Grimsby, where Chris now lived, I was at the prayer-meeting at church. 48.And Janet Aikman was there, and Ron Green was there as well. 49.And it dismayed me to see them with their arms round each other in an intimate embrace afterwards. 50.Yes, I was sad, and felt no desire to see this Janet in Grimsby because of this sadness.
51.However, the next day, I did get on the train, as arranged, and later arrived in Grimsby, and Chris and Janet met me; 52.and thus was I comforted over my disappointment, and desire for the other Janet never entered my mind thereafter.[more]
XXIX.1.Now the mind of the Lord is not known to the mind of manXXX.1.So we have traced the use of my folly… by the agent of the Opposer. 2.I fell into sin on each occasion.
3.I burned with wrath even though I had no evidence that Mary was drawing Pamela away from me; I was filled with loathing for her without cause in my distress over Pamela’s avoidance of me. 15.This first sin was one of passion, an uncontrolled outburst. 20.It was, as it were, the flaring of a flame.
4.I feasted my lusts in the matter of G— D—, in wilful disregard of the Lord. 5.“I am doing nothing wrong,” I told myself; “this is new and proud achievement, such as to make me swell with pleasure.… The Lord will not punish me,” I told myself; “I am safe from his wrath. 9.And I had thought that these believers said, ‘You shall not do this’, ‘You are not supposed to do that’.” 10.(Would that they did, if in the absence of such rules I went and did that!) 8.And I took pride in my shame, for I bragged about it as an exploit. 11.And the scar of this self-inflicted wound remained after the sepsis had been cleansed; for I would think from time to time, albeit sometimes ambivalently, with pleasure on my actions. 16.This second sin was one of wilfulness, a deliberate closing of the eyes. 21.It was, as it were, the kindling of a flame.
17a.My third sin, 14.when I was going out with Audrey, 17b.was insidious, an unnoticed falling off of my ardour for the Lord, a creeping up of coldness. 22.It was, as it were, the dying of a flame. 18.I was plunged into grief for many a day, on and on it went, till I felt I could stand no more; and another day followed—19.and another, when although I felt no better, still I felt no worse.
12.Do I need to continue with a catalogue of my follies? [I have not given details here of my fourth sin, but] 23.it was, as it were, being burnt by a flame.
13.The important question is: Can the Lord bring good out of all this folly? We are certain that he can; we know without doubt that he can; we have seen it happen in part; who knows what the whole will be like?
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