Martha Thompson: Preston's Faithful Old Dog

The Old Dog Inn in Preston’s centre was once a place of spiritual revival. Although the current building is clearly Victorian, its predecessor was where John Wesley several times preached. A little Methodist society was started in its upper rooms by Martha Thompson (born 1731). She was a successful dress-maker, who was converted to Christ while hearing Wesley in London. Her employer had forbidden her to hear the great evangelist, and when she was finally converted, a doctor was summoned to have her certified insane, on the grounds of religious mania, she having been heard humming hymn tunes. She was duly carted off to Bedlam, the capital’s lunatic asylum. A pencilled note smuggled out to Wesley precipitated a visit by two doctors who correctly certified her as sane. She desired to return to Lancashire where she might share gospel light in her native town. She died in 1820, in the company of her grandchildren singing those same Wesleyan hymns to her.

While incarcerated in the asylum, she remained faithful to Jesus and His truth, even when its repudiation would have purchased her liberty. How could she reject so loving a Saviour who had endured the shame of Calvary for her?

And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment.

Hebrews 11:36

I would the precious time redeem, 
and longer live for this alone, 
to spend and to be spent for them
who have not yet my Saviour known; 
fully on these my mission prove, 
and only breathe, to breathe thy love.