A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominations/Jumpers

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JUMPERS, so called from their practice of humping during the time allotted for religious worship1785 and instruction. They /originated in Wales, about the year 176, when the Calvinistic Methodists had made some progress in the principality. Several of the first preachers in that connexion were naturally of very warm tempers, and zealously engaged in promoting their views of religion. Their discourses were calculated to produce a strong sensation among the hearers. Such as were ignorant, and at the same time of a warm temper, under deep impression, gave way to their feelings. They cried out loudly, some uttering one thing and some another in the midst of the congregation some clapped their hands, other shook hands one with another, and others, rejoicing at the discovery which the gospel makes of a Savior, began to jump for joy. This was taken notice of, and b some considered as an indication of pious zeal. The custom spread like wild-fire. Very soon jumping began to be considered as a proof that the people enjoyed the presence of God. Many preachers among the independents and baptists imitated the methodists, and discovered their religious zeal by shouting and jumping.

Instances have also bee known in Wales, where the clergy were methodistically inclined to this jumping, in the parish churches. This exercise is sometimes continued, with occasional singing or exhortation between, for hours, until the strength of the party is quite exhausted.

Mr. Evans relates, that about the year 1785, he happened to be present accidentally at a meeting which terminated in jumping. It was held in the open air, on a sunday evening, near Newport, Monmouthshire. The preacher was one of the late Huntingdon's students, who concluded his sermon with the recommendation of jumping ; and to allow him the praise of consistency, he got down from the chair on which he stood, and jumped along with them. The arguments he adduced from this purpose were, that David dances before the ark ; and that the man, whose lameness was removed, leaped and praised God for the mercy which he had received. He expatiated on these topics with uncommon fervency, and then drew the inference, that they ought to show similar expressions of joy, for the blessings Jesus Christ had put into their possession. He then gave an impassioned sketch of the sufferings of the Saviour ; and hereby roused the passions of a few around him into a state of violent agitation. About nine men and seven women, for some little time, rocked to and fro, groaned aloud, and then jumped with a kind of frantic fury. Some of the audience flew in all directions ; others gazed on in silent amazement. They all finally dispersed except the TEXT MISSING , who continued their TEXT MISSING from eight in the evening to near eleven at night. TEXT MISSING at least kneeled down in circle, holding each other by the hand, while one of them prayed with great fervour, and TEXT MISSING all rising up from their TEXT MISSING, departed. But previous to their dispersion, they wildly TEXT MISSING up towards the sky, and TEXT MISSING one another that they would soon meet there and be TEXT MISSING again separated.

Several of the more zealous TEXT MISSING preachers in Wales TEXT MISSINGnmened the people to cry TEXT MISSINGogoniant, (the Welsh word for glory) Amen, &c. &c, to themselves in violent agitation ; and finally to jump till they were quite exhausted, so as often to be obliged to fall down on the floor, or on the field where this kind of worship is held.

Some years since, Mr. W. Williams, a blind Welsh poet, wrote a pamphlet in defence of this practice, which was patronized by the abettors of jumping in religious assemblies but viewed by the serious and grave with disapprobation. It appears from late accounts that the jumpers are comparatively very few, even among the Methodists ; and those are persons of very warm tempers, and animated manners.[1]

Original footnotes[edit]

  1. Mr. Evans' Tour through Wales, and Bingley's North Wales, Evans 'Sketch of various Denominations, 12 London Edition.