GEORGE WHITEFIELD

                      A BIOGRAPHY,

                                                                                     WITH

                           SPECIAL REFERENCE TO HIS LABORS
                                               IN AMERICA.

                                                                       COMPILED

                                    BY JOSEPH BELCHER, D. D.,

                                  AUTHOR OP THE LIFE OP REV. DR. CAREY, MISSIONARY TO INDIA,
                                                                                 ETC., ETC.


                                                      PUBLISHED BY THE
                                              AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY
,
                                                          150 NASSAU-STREET, NEW YORK.


 


                     CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.

    MORAL STATE OF GREAT BRITAIN IN THE EARLY
   PART OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY — WHITE-
   FIELD, FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS FIRST SERMON.

                                       1714-1736.

Low state of religion in Great Britain and its dependencies when
Whitefield appeared—His birth in Gloucester—Hooper—Raikes
—Whitefield’s early life—His entrance at the university of Ox-
ford—Becomes connected with the Wesleys and other Method-
ists—Illness and mental trials—Relief—Preparation for the min-
istry—Return to Gloucester—Ordination—First sermon----13

 

CHAPTER II.

   WHITEFIELD’S SUCCESS AS A PREACHER IN ENG-
   LAND-FIRST VISIT TO AMERICA.

   1736-1738

Whitefield’s return to Oxford—Usefulness there—-Visits London—
Great popularity—Georgia—His anxiety as to duty—Invited to
Georgia by the Wesleys—Preparation and departure—Preaching
and excitement at Deal—Labors and success on board—Arrival
and labors at Gibraltar—Interesting incidents on the voyage—
Sickness and recovery—His reception at Savannah—Visit to an
Indian king—Origin of the Orphan asylum—Visit to Frederica—
Return to Savannah—Visit to Charleston—Treatment by Gar-
den—Embarkation for Europe—Stormy voyage—Arrival in Lim-
erick—-Journey to London—Meeting with the trustees of Geor-
gia—Ordination as priest—Return to London—-First extempore
prayer—-First idea of open-air preaching-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --   40

 

CHAPTER III.

   OPEN-AIR PREACHING IN ENGLAND AND WALES—
   ERECTION OF THE TABERNACLE IN LONDON.

    1738, 1739.

Whitefield’s visit to Bristol—-New opposition—Interviews with the
chancellor of the diocese—-Preaching at Kingswood—Large con-
gregations—Preaching at Bristol—Labors in Wales with Howel
Harris—Gloucester—Old Mr. Cole—Return to London—Conflict


with Bishop Warburton and others—Moorfields—Kennington
Common—Blackheath—Anecdotes—Erection of the Tabernacle
—New Tabernacle—Certificate—Visit to Norwich—Conversion
of Robert Robinson—Preaching at the West End of London—
Liberality of Whitefield’s congregations—Attendance of the no-
bility on Whitefield’s ministry—Architecture of Tabernacle and
Tottenham Court road chapel.................... ---   71

 

 CHAPTER IV.

  WHITEFIELD’S SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA.

   1739, 1740.

Joseph Periam’s release by Whitefield from Bedlam—Whitefield’s
arrival at Philadelphia—Preaches to vast crowds in the open
air—Testimony of Dr. Franklin and others—Account of the Log
College—William Tennent, Sen.—Whitefield’s own account of
his preaching at Philadelphia—Subsequent discovery of the con-
version of Dr. Rodgers—Whitefield’s first visit to New York    

Description of him by one of his hearers—Sermons in New Jer-
sey—Old Tennent church—Places of preaching at New York—
Address to sailors—Letter to Pemberton—Interview with Gil-
bert Tennent—Some of Whitefield’s sermons printed—Departure
from Philadelphia—Sermons on his journey to Savannah—Arri-
val and reception at Charleston—Departure for Savannah—Dan-
gers of the way—State of things in Georgia—Whitefield revisits
Charleston—Controversy with Commissary Garden—Lays the
foundation-stone of the Orphan house—Sermon by Smith on the
character of Whitefield............................. ---  97

 

 CHAPTER V.

   CONTINUATION OF HIS SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA.

   1740.

Feebleness of Whitefield’s health—Again visits Charleston, Phila-
delphia, etc.—Extent of his former success—Extracts from Sew-
ard’s journal—Extracts from newspapers—Whitefield’s letter to
England—His correspondence on marriage—Birth and death of
his son—His funeral sermon for his wife—Franklin and others
on Whitefield’s eloquence—Anecdote—Extract from the New
England Weekly Journal—Return to Savannah—Manner of his
reception—Activity at Savannah—Again visits Charleston—
Cited into the Commissary’s court—Various examinations—
Whitefield’s appeal to the Court of Chancery—Interview with
the Commissary—Usefulness at Charleston—Sails for New Eng-
land...................................................... ---   129

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER VI.

WHITEFIELD’S FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.

SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER, 1740.

State of religion in New England—Testimony of Prince—Dr. I.
Mather—Dr. Jonathan Edwards success—Prevalence of prayer—
Whitefield’s arrival and labors at Newport—Interview with
Clap—Honeyman—Letter from Barber—Journey to Boston—
Interview with the Commissary and the clergy—Preaches at
Brattle-street, Old South church, New North, Common, Rox-
bury, Old North, Cambridge, First church—Interview with Gov-
ernor Belcher—Roxbury—Hollis-street—Old South church—
Brattle-street — Marblehead — Salem — Ipswich — Newbury —
Plampton—Portsmouth—York — Return to Boston—Frequent
preaching—Invitation to children—Interesting conversation with
a child—Anecdote of juvenile usefulness—Remarks on an uncon-
verted ministry—Whitefield’s character of Boston—Preaches at
Concord, Sudbury, Marlborough, Worcester, Leicester, Brook-
field. Cold Spring, Hadley, Northampton—Revival there—White-
field’s opinion of Mr. Edwards and family—Important interview
—Preaching at East Windsor, Westfield, Springfield, Suffield—
Opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, Sen.—Relinquishment of
appointments to preach—Visit to New Haven—Interview with
Principal Clap—Departure from New England—Whitefield’s
character of it—Conversion of Mr. Emerson—Prince’s account of
Whitefield’s visit—Dr. Baron Stow on its results—Anecdote, ---   118

 

CHAPTER VII.

LABORS IN NEW YORK AND THE MIDDLE AND SOUTH-
ERN STATES.

1740, 1741.

Whitefield’s arrival and labors at New York, Staten Island, and
Newark—Mr. Burr-—Meeting with Gilbert Tennent—Visit to
Baskinridge—Tennent’s preaching in Cross’ barn—Whitefield
preaches in the new house at Philadelphia—Franklin’s advice to
Gilbert Tennent—Remarkable instances of conversion—Success
in Philadelphia—Apostrophe in a sermon—Visit to Gloucester,
Greenwich, Cohansey, Salem, Newcastle, Fagg’s Manor, Bohe-
mia—Sails from Reedy island to Charleston—Arrival at Bethes-
da—Remarkable escape from death—Prosecution at Charleston
—Preaching—Letters from Boston—Departure for England—
Separation from Messrs. Wesley—Difficulties in London—Tri-
umph—Howel Harris- ----- - -- --- - - -- -   196

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER VIII.

FIRST AND SECOND VISITS TO SCOTLAND—LABORS
IN ENGLAND AND WALES.

1741-1744.

Scheme of comprehension—Account of Rev. John Cennick—Voy-
age to Scotland—Letter to Rodgers—Visit to Erskine—Preach-
ing in Edinburgh—Labors at Glasgow—His sermons printed—
Return to England—Letter from McCulloch—Renewed glance
at Edinburgh—Public attention deeply riveted—Execution of
a convict—Improvement of the event in a sermon—Conversion
of a mimic—A drunken sergeant—Miss Hunter—Marquis of
Lothian—Conduct of Rev. Mr. Ogilvie—Second visit to Scot-
land—Cambuslang—Kilmarnock—Glance at subsequent visits—
Orphan-house park, Edinburgh—Glasgow—Increasing reputa-
tion—Extracts from letters—Anecdotes—Visit to Wales—Let-
ters from America—Visit to Gloucester, Strand, Tewkesbury—
Encouraging news from America—Success in London—Awaken-
ing at the Tabernacle—Visit to Gloucester and its neighborhood
—South Wales—Return to London—Bristol—Exeter—Mr.
Saunders—Conversion of Thomas Olivers—Birmingham—Kid-
derminster—Health—Assizes at Gloucester—Plymouth—Deliv-
erance from assassination—Conversion of Mr. Tanner—Visits to
the poor—Anecdote—Embarkation for America- - - — ---   222

 

CHAPTER IX.

WHITEFIELD’S SECOND VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.

1744, 1745.

Incidents of the voyage from England—Prayer heard—General
alarm—Whitefield’s illness—Arrival at York—-Threatening
sickness—Rev. Mr. Moody—Preaching at York and Portsmouth
—Apparent danger of death—Departure for Boston—Constant
preaching there — Chelsea—Malden—Prince’s account of his
preaching and conduct—Objections made to his administration
of the Lord’s supper—Changes in New England—Opposition to
Whitefield in Connecticut, New Haven, Massachusetts, Harvard
College—Large meeting in his favor at Boston—Number of sig-
natures to the testimony—Progress of revival—Proceedings of
Harvard College—Whitefield’s defence—Subsequent act of the
College—Expositions at Boston, Ipswich, Portland, Exeter—Ex-
pedition against Cape Breton—Sherburne’s request—Sermon to
the soldiers—Refusal of chaplaincy—Conversion of a colored
trumpeter—Of a noted scoffer—Anecdote of Whitefield and Dr.
Hopkins----------------------------- - - — - -- ----   254


 

CHAPTER X.

LABORS IN THE MIDDLE AND SOUTHERN STATES—

THE BERMUDAS.

1745-1748.

Whitefield’s preaching in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia—
Liberal offer declined—Usefulness of his printed sermons in Vir-
ginia—Preaches at Hanover—Isaac Oliver—Visit to Bethesda—
His account of the Orphan-house—His character as given by the
New York Post-boy—Public testimony as to Whitefield’s integ-
rity—Preaching tour in Maryland—Visit to Charleston—Success
of his preaching in Maryland—Visits New York, Newport, Ports-
mouth, Boston—Return to Philadelphia—Bohemia—Journey to
North Carolina—Embarkation for the Bermudas—His progress
and labors—Honored by the governor and others—Usefulness
among the negroes—-Summary of his proceedings in the Bermu-
das—Kindness of the people there—Voyage to England—His la-
bors on the voyage—Arrival at Deal- - -  - -- -- -- --   277

 

CHAPTER XI.

LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND-CHAPLAIN
TO LADY HUNTING-DON.

1748, 1749.

Triumphs and trials in London—Becomes chaplain to the Countess
of Huntingdon—Complimented by the great—Bolingbroke and
Rev. Mr. Church—Rev. James Hervey—Honors conferred on
Whitefield—Falsehoods of Horace Walpole—Charged with vul-
garism—Defence—Third visit to Scotland—Return to London—
Visit to the west of England—Conversions in Gloucestershire—
Tour in Cornwall—Brilliant assemblies in London—Excursion to
Exeter and Plymouth—Rev. Andrew Kinsman—Return to Lon-
don—Decline of health and visit to Portsmouth and Wales—
Arrival of Mrs. Whitefield from the Bermudas—Visit to the north
of England—Popularity there—Intensely interesting services—·
Rev. W. Grimshawe—Solemn instances of mortality—Return to
London for the winter—Usefulness          — - - ---   301

 

CHAPTER XII.

LABORS IN GREAT BRITAIN—FOURTH VISIT TO AMER-
ICA-NEW TABERNACLE IN LONDON, AND TABER-
NACLE AT BRISTOL.

    1750-1754.

Efforts made by Whitefield for Bethesda—His ardent love for Amer-
ica—Love to his mother—His mourning for sin—Dr. Doddridge


 

    London ministers—Interview with Doddridge and Hervey—
Earthquake in London—Bishop Horne’s sermon—Universal con-
sternation—Preaching of Whitefield at midnight in Hyde park—
Whitefield and his friends at Court—Journey to Bristol—Taun-
ton—Rev. R. Darracott—Preaching at Rotherham, Bolton, Ul-
verston — Conversion of Mr. Thorpe — Edinburgh and other
places in Scotland—Testimony of Hume—Second visit to Ire-
land—Opposition on Oxmantown Green—Usefulness in Ireland
—Rev. John Edwards—Fourth voyage to America—Interview
with Lady Huntingdon—Moravians—Lady Huntingdon’s testi-
mony—Letter to Dr. Franklin—Itinerant labors—Revision of
manuscripts—Erection of the new Tabernacle—Again itinerates
—Dedication of the Tabernacle at Bristol—Somersetshire—Con-
dolence on Mr. Wesley’s sickness—Visit of Messrs. Davies and
Tennent to England—Whitefield’s fifth voyage to America--323

CHAPTER XIII.

FIFTH VISIT TO AMERICA— RENEWED LABORS IN
GREAT BRITAIN—TOTTENHAM COURT-ROAD CHAP-
EL.

    1754-1763.

Whitefield’s arrival and proceedings in Lisbon—Lands at Beaufort,
S. C.—Voyage to New York—New Jersey—Interview with Will-
iam Tennent—Accompanies President Burr to New England—
Popularity at Boston—Correspondence, with Habersham—Ports-
mouth—Rhode Island—Franklin’s narrative of a drummer and
Whitefield—Powerful, address in Virginia—Pleasant interview
at Charleston—Embarks for England—Arrival at New Haven—
His feelings on arriving in England—Labors at the Tabernacle—
Love for America—Journey to Bristol, Gloucestershire, Nor-
wich—Returns to London—Reproof from Grimshawe—Serious
illness—Earthquake at Lisbon—Tottenham Court-road Chapel—
Conversion of Mr. Crane—Publication of “A short Address”—
Personal character of Whitefield’s preaching—His servant—Shu-
ter—Violent persecution—Interference of government—Journey
to Bristol—Lines on a chair—Journey to Kent, north of Eng-
land, Scotland—Meeting at Leeds—Interview with the new gov-
ernor of Georgia—Prosperity of Tottenham Court—Journey to
Scotland—Ireland—Returns to London—111 health—Anecdote—
Another visit to Scotland—Death of friends—Debts of Bethesda
paid—Renewed visit to Scotland—Visit to Brighton—Footers
mimicry—Activity—Sails on his sixth voyage to America---   350.


 

CHAPTER XIV.

SIXTH VISIT AND LABORS IN AMERICA—RENEWED
LABORS IN GREAT BRITAIN.

1763-1767.

Improvement of Whitefield’s health—Friends in Virginia—Proceed-
ings in Philadelphia—New Jersey—A collegiate hearer—New
York—Letter from Boston Gazette—Opposition of Seabury—
Arrival and preaching at Boston—Public thanks to him—Leaves
Boston—New Haven—New York—New Jersey College—Phila-
delphia—Virginia—South Carolina—Bethesda—Proceedings of
the government—Prosperity of the Orphan-house—Thoughts of
returning to England—Still detained in America—Sails for
England—Arrival there—Dedicates a church at Bath—Returns
to London—Sickness—Interest in American affairs—Rev. Sam-
son Occum—Labors with Mr. Whitaker in England—Success—
Whitefield’s journey to Bristol—Success in London—Mr. Joss
becomes his colleague—Rev. Rowland Hill—Whitefield again
visits Bath and Bristol—Mr. Fletcher’s sermons in London—Pref-
ace to Bunyan’s works—Whitefield in Wales and Gloucester-
shire-North of England—Disappointed in obtaining a char-
ter for Bethesda...................................    375

 

CHAPTER XV.

HIS LAST LABORS IN GREAT BRITAIN - COLLEGE
AT TREVECCA— EARL OF BUCHAN—TUNBRIDGE
WELLS.

1767-1769.

Letter to Keen—Whitefield preaches before the Book Society—
Change in his style and manner of preaching—Expulsion of six
students from Oxford—Whitefield’s letter to the Vice-chancel-
lor—Usefulness of the expelled young men—Letter to a gentle-
man at Wisbeach—To Captain Scott—To Hon. and Rev. Walter
Shirley—Death and funeral services of the Earl of Buchan—
Whitefield’s last visit to Edinburgh—Death of Mrs. Whitefield—
Whitefield’s own sickness—Dedication of the college at Trevec-
ca—Improvement of his health—Letter to Mr. Shirley—Letter
of Dr. Franklin to Whitefield—Whitefield’s remarks on it—Ded-
ication of church at Tunbridge Wells—Contemplated voyage to
America—His last sermon—Account of Rev. George Burder—
Messrs. Wilson—Embarkation of Whitefield—Detained in the
Downs—Ordination and preaching at Deal—Anecdote of Dr.
Gibbons—Clears the Channel—Arrival at Charleston-------   400

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XVI.

SEVENTH VISIT AND LAST LABORS IN AMERICA—
DEATH.

1769, 1770.

Arrival at Bethesda—Its prosperity—Honors paid him by the legis-
lature—Letter at Charleston—Plan of the proposed college—
Visits Philadelphia—Preaches at Burlington, New York, Albany
—Attends an execution—Visit to Sharon—Conversion of Mr.
Randall—Visit to Boston—Letters to Messrs. Wright and Keen
—Letter in Pennsylvania Journal—Arrival at Exeter—Anec-
dote—Vast congregation—Delivers his last sermon—Account of
it—His solemnly interesting appearance—Rodgers’ Journal—
Journey of Whitefield to Newburyport—Alarming illness —
Death—His remarks to Dr. Finley—Arrangements for the funer-
al—Its solemn services—Cenotaph- - ------- —- - - ---   423

 

CHAPTER XVII.

TESTIMONIES AND FACTS ILLUSTRATIVE OF WHITE-
FIELD’S CHARACTER.

Funeral sermon by Dr. Cooper—Respect shown to his memory in
Georgia—Whitefield county—Sermon by Rev. Mr. Ellington—
Arrival of the news in London—Sermon by Rev. J. Wesley—
Rev. John Newton—Anecdote—Reply of Bacon the sculptor—
Visits to his tomb—Old man in Ipswich—Whitefield’s indifference
to his reputation and ease—Institution at Georgia-—Laborious
life—Extraordinary voice—Use of common facts—Anecdotes—
His solemnity of manner—Testimony of an American preacher—
Of Winter—Anecdotes—Sermons in storms—Appearance in the
pulpit—Character of his printed sermons—His devotional spirit—
Visiting the sick—Intercourse with society—Neatness---   445

 

CHAPTER XVIII.

CHARACTER OF WHITEFIELD AS A PREACHER—CEN-
TENNIAL COMMEMORATIONS.

Prominence given by him to the truths of salvation—His ardent
glow of feeling—His direct address—His habitual dependence on
the Spirit of God—Dealt with men as immortal beings—Dr.
Hamilton’s estimate of Whitefield—Comparison of Whitefield and
Wesley—Centennial commemorations—Hymns by Mr. Conder—
Usefulness—Bristol Tabernacle—Mr. James’ sermon—Character
of Whitefield’s ministry, by Mr. Glanville ---   479


 


                       PREFACE.

The excellent Matthew Henry has very truly said,
“There are remains of great and good men, which,
like Elijah’s mantle, ought to be gathered up and pre-
served by the survivors—their sayings, their writings,
their examples; that as their works follow them in
the reward of them, they may stay behind in the ben-
efit of them.”

Influenced by this and kindred sentiments, the
compiler of this volume has devoted no small labor
to gather from every source to which he could gain
access, whatever appeared to him important to be
known respecting the most distinguished uninspired
preacher perhaps of any age or country. Whatever
may be the faults of the work, to use the language of
the Rev. Dr. Campbell, one of the present pastors of
Whitefield’s churches in London, in reference to a
short sketch he had himself prepared of our great
evangelist, “It will serve to bring him and his apos-
tolic labors before the minds of vast multitudes of
the rising generation, to whom both are all but un-
known; and this is far from unimportant. What-
ever tends to fix the minds of men afresh upon the
character of Whitefield
is, and it always will be,
something gained to the cause of true religion. The
contemplation of that character is one of the most
healthful exercises that can occupy a Christian heart,

                                  11



of a Christian understanding. It is an admirable
theme for ministerial meditation. It tends equally to
humble, to instruct, and to encourage; to excite love
to Christ, zeal for his glory, and compassion for the
souls of men. What Alexander and Caesar, Charles
XII. of Sweden and Napoleon the first, are to those
of the sons of men who have not yet ceased to ‘learn
war,’ that Whitefield and Wesley are to those who
aspire to eminent usefulness as ministers and mission-
aries of the cross.”

In the preparation of this memoir, the compiler
has sought to collect together incidents which might
interest and instruct, especially in connection with
Whitefield's labors in America; to present him as
much as possible in his own dress; and to use the
facts of his life to excite and cherish his own spirit,
so far as he had the spirit of Christ. Facts reflect-
ing on the reputation and feelings of others have
been used only as the interests of truth seemed to
demand.

It would have been easy to place on almost every
page an array of authorities, and to give here a long
list of friends to whom the writer has been indebted
for aid; but the sole object of the volume is the honor
of Christ in the salvation of men, and that this may
be accomplished, we pray that the blessing of Heaven
may rest upon it.

Philadelphia, 1857.


 

       GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

 

                   CHAPTER I.

MORAL STATE OF GREAT BRITAIN IN THE EARLY
PART OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY-WHITE-
FIELD FROM HIS BIRTH TO HIS FIRST SERMON.

 

That we may have a clear and comprehensive view
of the labors and success of George Whitefield, it is
important that we consider the moral condition of
Great Britain and its dependencies when the Head of
the church brought him on the field of action. The
latter part of the seventeenth and the beginning of the
eighteenth centuries presented in that country a scene
of moral darkness, the more remarkable as it so soon
succeeded the triumph of evangelical truth which dis-
tinguished the seventeenth century, and which is per-
petuated in a religious literature that will bless the
world. Causes had long been at work which pro-
duced such insensibility and decline as to all that is
good, and such a bold and open activity in evil, as it
is hoped the grace of God may avert from his churches
in all future time. The doctrine of the divine right
of kings to implicit obedience on the part of their sub-
jects; the principle of priestly control of the minds of
men in religious matters; and clerical influence, sus-

                                    13


 

tained by kingly authority, in favor of sports on the
Lord’s day, together with the evil examples of men high
in rank and power, had produced their natural results
on the masses of the people, and make it painful, even
at this distant period, to survey the scene.

Nor were these all the evils of that day. The ex-
pulsion from their pulpits, by the “Act of Uniformi-
ty,” of two thousand of the most able and useful of
the clergy in England, had led to great ignorance
and neglect of religion; and though men like Leigh-
ton and Owen, Flavel and Baxter, with Bunyan and
a host of others, had continued, in spite of opposing
laws, to preach when they were not shut up in prison,
and to write their immortal practical works, by the
time of which we are speaking they had been called
to their eternal reward, leaving very few men of like
spirit behind them. Thus infidelity, profligacy, and
formalism almost universally prevailed.

The low state of religion in the established church
at that time may be learned from the Rev. Augustus
M. Toplady, himself one of its ministers, who died in
1778. In a sermon yet extant he says, “I believe no
denomination of professing Christians, the church of
Rome excepted, were so generally void of the light
and life of godliness, so generally destitute of the doc-
trine and of the grace of the gospel, as was the church
of England, considered as a body, about fifty years
ago. At that period a converted minister in the estab-
lishment was as great a wonder as a comet; but now,
blessed be God, since that precious, that great apostle
of the English empire, the late dear Mr. Whitefield,
was raised up in the spirit and power of Elias, the


word of God has run and been glorified; many have
believed and been added to the Lord all over the
three kingdoms; and blessed be his name, the great
Shepherd and Bishop of souls continues still to issue
his word, and great is the company of preachers,
greater and greater every year.”

If it be said that Toplady, as he belonged to a
different school of theology from that which then gen-
erally prevailed, could scarcely be expected to be
impartial, we ask leave to transcribe a few lines from
Bishop Butler, who within six months of Whitefield’s
ordination wrote thus: “It is come, I know not how,
to be taken for granted by many persons, that Chris-
tianity is not so much as a subject of inquiry; but
that it is now at length discovered to be fictitious.
And accordingly they treat it as if in the present age
this were an agreed point among all people of discern-
ment and nothing remained but to set it up as a
principal subject of mirth and ridicule, as it were by
way of reprisals for its having so long interrupted the
pleasures of the world.” Bishop Warburton, who
commenced his ministry a few years before White-
field, and who cannot be charged with enthusiasm,
says, “I have lived to see that fatal crisis, when re-
ligion hath lost its hold on the minds of the people.”
Many other witnesses might be brought to testify
that error and worldly mindedness had made mourn-
ful havoc among the clergy, and that spiritual relig-
ion had been almost buried in forms and ceremonies.
A recent writer has well described the state of relig-
ion in the established church at that time, as only to
be compared to a frozen or palsied carcass. “There,”


 


says this Episcopal clergyman, “were the time-honored
formularies which the wisdom of the reformers had
provided. There were the services and lessons from
Scripture, just in the same order as we have them now.
But as to preaching the gospel, in the established
church there was almost none. The distinguishing
doctrines of Christianity—the atonement, the work
and office of Christ and the Spirit—were compara-
tively lost sight of. The vast majority of sermons
were miserable moral essays, utterly devoid of any
thing calculated to awaken, convert, save, or sanctify
souls.” Southey, a biographer of Wesley, who assur-
edly will not be accused of too strong a tendency to
evangelical truth, is compelled to say, “A laxity of
opinions as well as morals obtained, and infidelity, a
plague which had lately
found its way into the country,
was becoming so prevalent, that the vice-chancellor
of the university at Oxford, in a programme exhorted
the tutors to discharge their duties by double dili-
gence, and had forbidden the under-graduates to read
such books as might tend to the weakening of their
faith.”

There were undoubtedly some learned and con-
scientious bishops at this era. Such men were Seeker
and Gibson, Lowth and Horne, Butler, and others.
But even the best of them seem sadly to have misun-
derstood the requirements of the day they lived in.
They spent their strength in writing apologies for
Christianity, and contending against infidels. They
could not see that without the direct preaching of the
essential doctrines of the gospel, their labors must be
sadly defective. The man who dared to preach the


 


doctrines of the Bible, and in harmony with the Arti-
cles and Homilies of his church, was set down as an
enthusiast or fanatic.

Among those who had dissented from the estab-
lished hierarchy, and who were untrammelled by the
impositions of secular authority, the state of vital god-
liness was also unhappily very low. The noble spirits
of early non-conformity had passed from earth, or
crossed the Atlantic to the frozen shores of New Eng-
land, and a race of men had sprung up, some of whom
retained the tenets of orthodoxy, but had lost its
power; while others reposed on comfortable endow-
ments, and lulled themselves, or were drawn by favor-
able breezes, into the cold elements of Arianism and
Socinianism. As persons in the frozen regions are
said to sleep longer and more soundly than others, so
did they; and a more terrific blast of the trumpet of
the gospel was required to rouse and awake them
from their spiritual slumbers. Happily indeed for the
world, and for the church in it, there were some ex-
ceptions. Watts and Guyse and Doddridge, and their
pious associates in different parts of the land, were
laborers together in “God’s husbandry,” and ceased
not to cultivate it with affectionate faithfulness and
care; and wherever their labors extended, the plants
of grace grew and flourished. Darracott, “the star of
the west,” threw his mild rays over the vales of Som-
erset; and in the north also a few faithful men were
found.

Nor have we even now said all that should be
written as to the character of those times. The high-
est personages in the land then openly lived in ways


 


contrary to the law of God, and no man rebuked
them. Profligacy and irreligion were reputable and
respectable. Judging from the description we have
of men and manners in those days, a gentleman might
have been defined as a creature who got drunk, gam-
bled, swore, fought duels, and violated the seventh
commandment, and for all this very few thought the
worse of him.

Those too were the days when the men whom even
kings delighted to honor were such as Bolingbroke,
Chesterfield, Walpole, and Newcastle. To be an in-
fidel, to obtain power by intrigue, and to retain it by
the grossest and most notorious bribery, were consid-
ered no disqualifications even for the highest offices.
Such men indeed were not only tolerated, but praised.
In those days too, Hume, an avowed infidel, put forth
his History, and obtained a pension. Sterne and
Swift then wrote their talented, but obscene books;
both of them were clergymen, but the public saw little
inconsistency in their conduct. Fielding and Smol-
lett were the popular authors, and the literary taste
of high and low was suited by Roderick Random,
Peregrine Pickle, Joseph Andrews, and Tom Jones.
These authors were ingenious heathen philosophers,
assuming the name of Christians, and forcibly pagan-
izing Christianity for the sake of pleasing the world.

Turning to Scotland, we find that the bold proc-
lamation of the discriminating truths of the gospel
which characterize the preaching of Knox, Welsh,
and others, was being rapidly laid aside, and cold
formal addresses, verging towards a kind of Socinian-
ism were becoming fashionable. Old Mr. Hutchin-


 


son, minister of Kilellan, in Renfrewshire, who saw
but the beginning of this sad change, used to say to
Wodrow the historian, “When I compare the times
before the restoration with those since the revolution,
I must own that the young ministers preach accurate-
ly, and methodically; but there was far more of the
power and efficacy of the Spirit and of the grace of
God went along with sermons in those days than now.
For my own part—all the glory be to God—I seldom
set my foot in a pulpit in those days, but I had notice
of the blessed effects of the word.” It is true, that
even then there were a few faithful witnesses for God
in Scotland, such as the brothers Erskine, in the Se-
cession church; but for the most part, coldness, bar-
renness, and death prevailed. The people knew not
God, and were strangers to the life-giving influence
and power of the gospel.

The Arianism of England had been carried to the
north of Ireland, and finding a state of feeling suit-
able to its reception, it took root and grew up, so
as to characterize a distinct section of the Presby-
terian church, then and still distinguished by the
name of the Remonstrant Synod. The south and
west of Ireland were subjected to a blight not less
withering, though of a different kind, and which con-
tinued much longer—continued, to a great extent,
throughout the whole of the last century. The clergy
were usually sons of the gentry, and accustomed to
their sporting, drinking, and riotous habits. They
had no preparation for ministerial duties but a col-
lege degree; and no education, either literary or
moral, which had not been obtained among wild


 


 

young men at the university. According to the in-
terest which they happened to have, they passed at
once from college to ministerial charges, and again
mixed in all the dissipations of the districts where
these lay. Ignorant of the truth, they and their con-
gregations were satisfied with some short moral dis-
course. Many of the people were almost as ignorant
of the Scriptures and scripture truth as the inhabi-
tants of Hindostan. The Catholic priests meanwhile
were at work among the people, and they had many
to help them. The sick and the dying were watched;
their fears were wrought upon; they were told of
the power which the priests had, of the influence pos-
sessed by the Virgin, and much about the old church;
and as soon as any seemed to give way, on whatever
point, the priest was sent for, who plied them anew,
and seldom failed in succeeding with the poor igno-
rant people. They were now ready to receive ab-
solution; but he had farther conditions to propose.
The whole family must submit to be rebaptized, or at
least promise to attend mass—and this also was not
unfrequently gained; the Protestant clergyman being
all the while at a distance, neither knowing nor much
caring what was going on. In this way great num-
bers of the lower and middle classes of the Protes-
tants went over to the church of Rome. Throughout
whole districts the Protestant churches were almost
emptied, and many of those in rural districts were
allowed to fall into ruins.

Of Wales it is not important at present to say
much. From the middle ages downwards, great dark-
ness and superstition had prevailed among its moun-


 


tains. It is true that in the days of James I., a cler-
gyman named Wroth, whose conversion to the truth
had been remarkable, had labored with eminent zeal
and success, but at the period of which we are now
writing declension had succeeded. Within the estab-
lishment all was cold and dead; nearly every minister
was ignorant of the Welsh language, a fact which
also applied to several successive bishops, while the
state of morals, among even the leaders of the hierar-
chy, was truly deplorable. An old Methodist simply
but truly described the country at this period, and of
his correct narrative we will here give a free trans-
lation.

The land, he tells us, was dark indeed. Scarcely
any of the lower ranks could read at all. The mor-
als of the country were very corrupt; and in this
respect there was no difference between high and low,
layman and clergyman. Gluttony, drunkenness, and
licentiousness prevailed through the whole country.
Nor were the operations of the church at all adapted
to repress these evils. From the pulpit the name of
the Redeemer was scarcely heard; nor was much men-
tion made of the natural sinfulness of man, or of the
influence of the Holy Spirit. On Sunday mornings,
the poor were more constant in their attendance at
church than the gentry; but the Sunday evenings
were spent by all in idle amusements. Every Sabbath
there was practised a kind of sport, called in Welsh
Achwaren-gamp, in which all the young men of the
neighborhood had a trial of strength, and the people
assembled from the surrounding country to witness
their feats. On a Saturday night, particularly in the


 


summer, the young men and women held what they
called Nosweithian cann, or singing eves; that is, they
met together and amused themselves by singing in
turns to the harp, till the dawn of the Sabbath.
These things, with the performance of rustic dramas,
would occupy sometimes the whole of the sacred day
itself; while a set of vagabonds, called the Bohl
gerdded
, or walking people, used to traverse the vil-
lages, begging with impunity, to the disgrace alike of
the law and the country. With all this social spright-
liness, the Welsh were then a superstitious, and even
a gloomy people. They still retained many habits
apparently derived from paganism, and not a few of
the practices of popery. Their funerals, like those of
the Irish, were scenes of riot and drunkenness, fol-
lowed by prayers for the release of the deceased from
the pains of purgatory. Such was the superstition of
the people, that when Methodism was first introduced
among them, many of the peasantry expressed their
horror of the new opinions by the truly Popish ges-
ture of crossing the forehead; and when Wesley first
visited them, he pronounced them “as little versed in
the principles of Christianity as a Creek or Cherokee
Indian.” To this declaration he added the striking
remark, that, “notwithstanding their superstition and
ignorance, the people ‘were ripe for the gospel,’ and
most enthusiastically anxious to avail themselves of
every opportunity of instruction.”

As an illustration of the truth of the remark we
have just introduced from the discerning Wesley, we
may mention an incident which occurred in 1736. At
this period dissent itself was reduced so low in the


 

 

country, that there were only six dissenting houses of
worship in all North Wales. One Sunday, Mr. Lewis
Rees, a dissenting minister from South Wales, and the
father of Dr. Rees, the author of the celebrated Cyclo-
pedia which bears his name, visited Pwllheli, a town
on the promontory of Sleyn, in Caernarvonshire, and
one of the few places in which the Independents still
had a chapel. After the service, the congregation,
collecting around him, complained very sorely that
their numbers were rapidly diminishing, that the few
who yet remained were for the most part poor, and
that everything connected with their cause looked
gloomy. To which the minister replied, “The dawn
of religion is again breaking out in South Wales,”
referring them to the fact, that already a distin-
guished man—Howel Harris—had risen up, going
about instructing the people in the truths of the
gospel. Such was the character of the times when
God was raising up agents to revive and extend his
cause. We shall before long return to Wales with
lively interest.

“Such,” says the eloquent Robert Hall, “was the
situation of things when Whitefield and Wesley made
their appearance, who, whatever failings the severest
criticism can discover in their character, will be hailed
by posterity as the second reformers of England.
Nothing was farther from the views of these excellent
men than to innovate on the established religion of
their country; their sole aim was to recall the people
to the good old way, and to imprint the doctrines of
the Articles and Homilies on the spirits of men. But
this doctrine had been so long a dead letter, and so



 

completely obliterated from the mind by contrary
instructions, that the attempt to revive it met with
all the opposition that innovation is sure to encoun-
ter, in addition to what naturally results from the
nature of the doctrine itself, which has to contend
with the whole force of human corruption. The re-
vival of the old, appeared like the introduction of a
new religion; and the hostility it excited was less
sanguinary, but scarcely less virulent, than that which
signalized the first publication of Christianity. The
gospel of Christ, or that system of truth which was
laid at the foundation of the Reformation, has since
made rapid advances, and in every step of its progress
has sustained the most furious assaults.”

It ought here to be stated, as illustrating the prov-
idence of God in preparing the British empire for the
reception of the gospel, that the revolution of 1688
introduced the spirit of toleration, and in 1714, the
very year of Whitefield’s birth, Anne, the last English
sovereign of a persecuting spirit, died, and the throne
was assumed by George I., the first prince of the
house of Hanover. The way of the Lord was thus
prepared for bright illustrations of his mercy.

Rising from the beautiful valley of the Severn, and
on the borders of that noble stream, reposes in an-
tique glory the affluent city of
Gloucester, with its
regular streets, and its majestic cathedral and other
relics of bygone days. In that city the traveller
may examine three spots which will long be interest-
ing to the student of ecclesiastical curiosities. The
first of these is the ancient church of Mary de Crypt,


 


where reposes the dust of Robert Raikes, the founder
of Sunday-schools; the second, is the little stone
which, in a pensive-looking inclosure, marks the site
on which the truly noble-minded and Protestant Bishop
Hooper was burnt, an early martyr of bloody Mary’s
reign. There wicked men stood around to light up
the flames, and to mock his sorrows; but as we stand
and look, we exult in the subsequent triumphs of
truth.

The third spot, and the one to us at the present
moment the most interesting, is the Bell inn or hotel,
yet standing, though enlarged and beautified since
the period of which we write. There WHITEFIELD

the saint, the seraph, the “angel, flying in the midst
of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to
them that dwell on the earth”—first breathed the
vital air. Venerable city, we will rejoice that though
within thy walls one glorious luminary of salvation
was extinguished, another “burning and shining light”
was raised up to diffuse joy and happiness over the
two most influential quarters of the globe, and a third
has since been given to suggest the simple plan by
which millions of the young have already acquired
the knowledge of salvation.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD, the sixth son of Thomas and
Elizabeth Whitefield, was born December 16,1714, old
style. Concerning his father and mother he writes,
“The former died when I was two years old; the
latter died in December, 1751, in the seventy-first
year of her age, and has often told me how she en-
dured fourteen weeks’ sickness after she brought me
into the world; but was used to say, even when I

Whitefield.                            2


 

was an infant, that she expected more comfort from
me than from any other of her children. This, with the
circumstance of my being born in an inn, has often
been of service to me, in exciting my endeavors to
make good my mother’s expectations, and so follow
the example of my dear Saviour, who was laid in a
manger belonging to an inn.”

In one of his journals, which he commenced at a
very early part of his ministry, Whitefield details with
great simplicity many incidents of his childhood and
youth; from which it appears, that though at times
he had many serious thoughts and impressions, the
general course of his life, till the age of sixteen, was
irreligious. He tells us that in early youth he was
“so brutish as to hate instruction, and used purposely
to shun all opportunities of receiving it,” and that
he spent much money, improperly obtained from his
mother, in cards, plays, and romances, “which,” says
he, “were my heart’s delight. Often have I joined
with others in playing roguish tricks; but was gener-
ally, if not always, happily detected: for this I have
often since, and do now bless and praise God.” His
full confessions of this character are very affecting,
and should be a caution to young persons to repel all
such temptations.

When George was about ten years of age, his
mother married a second time, thus forming a connec-
tion which led to much unhappiness. He was, how-
ever, continued at school; and when twelve years old,
was transferred to the grammar-school of St. Mary de
Crypt, where he remained about three years. Having
a graceful elocution and a good memory, he gained


 


much credit for delivering speeches before the city
corporation at the annual visitation of the school, and
received pecuniary rewards for his performances on
those occasions. How deeply he afterwards deplored
these celebrations, especially the performance of plays
in connection with his school-fellows, may be learned
from his own words: “I cannot but observe here,
with much concern of mind, how this way of training
up youth has a natural tendency to debauch the mind,
to raise ill passions, and to stuff the memory with
things as contrary to the gospel of Christ, as darkness
to light, hell to heaven.” This sad tendency was
but too clearly evinced in the case of Whitefield him-
self. “I got acquainted,” he says, “with such a set
of debauched, abandoned, atheistical youths, that if
God, by his free, unmerited, and special grace, had
not delivered me out of their hands, I should have sat
in the scorner’s chair, and made a mock at sin. By
keeping company with them, my thoughts of religion
grew more and more like theirs. I went to public
service only to make sport, and walk about. I took
pleasure in their lewd conversation. I began to rea-
son as they did, and to ask why God had given me
passions, and not permitted me to gratify them. In
short, I soon made great proficiency in the school of
the devil. I affected to look rakish, and was in a
fair way of being as infamous as the worst of them.”
These were the things, and not oratory, as has some-
times been said, which Whitefield learned from plays
and acting.

          In the midst of all this, his conscience often made
him unhappy; and he wished, if possible, to combine


 

 

religion with, his pleasures. He purchased and care-
fully read “Ken’s Manual for Winchester Scholars,”
a book which commended itself as having comforted
his mother in her afflictions, and which he afterwards
considered to have been “of great benefit to his
soul.”

At the age of fifteen, he thought he had acquired
learning enough for any ordinary occupation in life,
and as his mother’s business was declining, he per-
suaded her to allow him to leave school and assist in
labor. “began,” says he, “to assist her occasionally
in the public-house, till at length I put on my blue
apron and my snuffers, washed mops, cleaned rooms,
and in one word, became professed and common drawer
for nearly a year and a half.” In the midst of the
activity called for in such a situation, it pleased God
to renew his religious impressions, which induced him,
at least at intervals, to attend with much earnestness
to the concerns of his soul.

From his childhood, Whitefield tells us, he “was
always fond of being a clergyman, and used frequently
to imitate the ministers’ reading prayers.” Nor did
this tendency towards clerical engagements cease as
he became older. “Notwithstanding,” he says, “I
was thus employed in a large inn, and had sometimes
the care of the whole house upon my hands, yet I com-
posed two or three sermons, and dedicated one of
them to my elder brother. One day, I remember, I
was very much pressed to self-examination, and found
myself very unwilling to look into my heart. Fre-
quently I read the Bible when sitting up at night.
And a dear youth, now with God, would often entreat



me, when serving at the bar, to go to Oxford. My
general answer was, ‘I wish I could.’”

His mother’s difficulties increasing, it became ne-
cessary for her to leave the inn; in which she was suc-
ceeded by one of her married sons, with whom George
for some time remained to continue his assistance in
the business. Some disagreement, however, arising
between them, he after a time took his departure from
the inn, and went to spend a month with his eldest
brother at Bristol. Returning from that city to Glou-
cester, he resided for a short season with his mother.
While thus living unemployed, without any definite
object before him, and waiting the openings of provi-
dence, his mother was visited by an Oxford student,
a servitor of Pembroke college in that university.
In the course of their conversation, he told her, that
after all his expenses at college for the quarter
were discharged, he had one penny remaining. She
immediately exclaimed, “This will do for my son!”
and turning to him, said, “Will you go to Oxford,
George?” He replied, “With all my heart.” Appli-
cation was immediately made to several friends who
had influence at the college, and they pledged them-
selves to serve her. In this confidence, her favorite
son returned to the grammar-school, where he not
only resumed his studies with greater diligence, but
endeavored, and not altogether in vain, to promote
religion and virtue among his associates.

Having fully secured his literary preparation for
the university, Whitefield removed to Oxford in his
eighteenth year, and was immediately admitted, as a
servitor, into Pembroke college. He soon found that



 

the seat of learning was also a scene of danger. From
the period of 1662, when the two thousand Non-con-
formists had been expelled from the church, the uni-
versities had been sinking into a moral lethargy, pre-
ferring uniformity to vital religion. Our young ser-
vitor was shocked with the impiety of the students in
general, and dreading their influence on himself, he
as much as possible abstained from their society, and
shut himself up in his study.

Before he went to Oxford, Whitefield had heard
of a class of young men in the university who “lived
by rule and method,” and were therefore called Meth-
odists,
They were much talked of, and generally
despised. Of this party, John Wesley, a Fellow of
Lincoln college, and already in holy orders, was the
leader, his brother Charles being also as warmly at-
tached to it. They avowed that the great object of
their lives was to save their souls, and to live wholly
to the glory of God; and rarely have men subjected
themselves to greater self-denials and austerities.
Drawn towards them by kindred feelings, Whitefield
strenuously defended them whenever he heard them
reviled, and when he saw them going, through a crowd
manifesting their ridicule, every Sunday to receive the
sacrament at St. Mary’s or Christ church, he was
strongly inclined to follow their example.

For more than a year he intensely desired to be
acquainted with them, but a sense of his pecuniary
inferiority to them prevented his advances. At length,
learning that a pauper had attempted suicide, White-
field sent a poor woman to inform Charles Wesley,
that so he might visit her, and administer religious


 


instruction. He charged the woman not to tell Mr.
Wesley who sent her, but, contrary to this injunction,
she told his name; and Charles Wesley, who had fre-
quently seen Whitefield walking by himself, on the
next morning invited him to breakfast. An introduc-
tion to the little brotherhood soon followed, and he
also, like them, “began to live by rule, and pick up
the very fragments of his time, that not a moment
might be lost.”
          It is painful to read Whitefield’s own account of the
mortifications of body to which he now submitted; and
we are not surprised that, as the result, his health
was so reduced as to place even his life in danger.
All this time he had no clear view of the way of sal-
vation, and was “seeking to work out a righteousness
of his own.” In this state he lay on his bed, his
tongue parched with fever, and the words of the dy-
ing Saviour, “I thirst,” were impressed on his mind.
Remembering that this thirst occurred near the end
of the Saviour’s sufferings, the thought arose in his
mind, “Why may it not be so with me? Why may
I not now receive deliverance and comfort? Why
may I not now dare to trust and rejoice in the par-
doning mercy of God?” There was, as Tracy has
said, no reason why he might not—why he ought not.
He saw nothing to forbid him. He prayed in hope,
borrowing language from the fact which suggested
the train of thought—“I thirst, I thirst for faith in
pardoning love. Lord, I believe; help thou mine
unbelief.” His prayer was heard. He dared to trust
in the mercy of God, as revealed in the death of Jesus
Christ for sinners. Conscience and his Bible bore



 

witness that he did right. The load that had so
heavily oppressed him, the load of guilt and terror
and anxiety, that weighed down his spirit while he
sinfully and ungratefully hesitated to trust in divine
mercy, was gone. He saw the trustworthiness of the
mercy of God in Christ, and his heart rejoiced.

“Though,” as Tracy has well said, “the English
universities were established mainly for the purpose
of educating men for the ministry, Whitefield was not
likely to gain a good knowledge of theology there.
He took another, and a characteristic course. Some-
time after his conversion, when he was at Gloucester,
he says, ‘I began to read the holy Scriptures upon my
knees; laying aside all other books, and praying over,
if possible, every line and word. This proved meat
indeed and drink indeed to my soul. I daily received
fresh life, light, and power from above. I thus got
more true knowledge in reading the book of God in
one month, than I could ever have acquired from all
the writings of men.’”

Every hour of Whitefield’s time, especially after
he had been “filled with peace and joy in believing,”
was sacredly devoted to preparation for the great
work to which he had now solemnly devoted himself.
He visited the prisoners in the jail, and the poor in
their cottages, and gave as much time as he could to
communion with God in his closet. His friends now
earnestly importuned him to apply for ordination;
but from this his deep sense of unworthiness made
him shrink. Besides, he intended to have a hundred
and fifty sermons carefully written before he began
to preach. He had as yet but one, and he lent that to


 


a neighboring clergyman, to convince him that he was
not yet fit to be ordained. The clergyman kept it
for two weeks, divided it into two, preached it to his
own people, and then returned it to Whitefield, with
a guinea for the use of it.

Still, however, the work of preparation for the
ministry was rapidly going on. The state of his
health compelled him to retire for a season from Ox-
ford, and he returned home to increase the depth of
his piety, and to be led, little as he thought of it, at
once to the pulpit. He writes, “0 what sweet com-
munion had I daily vouchsafed with God in prayer,
after my coming to Gloucester. How often have I
been carried out beyond myself, when meditating in
the fields. How assuredly I felt that Christ dwelt in
me, and I in him; and how daily did I walk in the
comforts of the Holy Ghost, and was edified and re-
freshed in the multitude of peace. I always observed
that as my inward strength increased, so my outward
sphere of action increased proportionally.”

Thus, happy in himself, and thankful to the gra-
cious God who made him so, the affectionate soul of
George Whitefield ardently desired that others might
participate in his sacred joys. In order to advance
this object, he mixed in the society of young people,
and endeavored to awaken them to a just sense of the
nature of true religion. Some were convinced of the
truth, and united with him in religious exercises; and
these were some of the first-fruits of his pious labors.
His discovery of the necessity of regeneration, like
Melancthon’s great discovery of the truth, led him to
imagine that no one could resist the evidence which

                                                   2*


 

 

convinced his own mind. He writes, “Upon this,
like the woman of Samaria, when Christ revealed
himself to her at the well, I had no rest in my soul
till I wrote letters to my relations, telling them
there was such a thing as the new birth. I imagined
they would have gladly received it; but, alas, my
words seemed to them as idle tales. They thought I
was going beside myself.” He visited the jail every
day, and read and prayed with the prisoners; at-
tended public worship very frequently, and read twice
or three times a week to some poor people in the city.
In addition to all this, he tells us, “During my stay
here, God enabled me to give a public testimony of
my repentance as to seeing and acting plays; for
hearing the strollers had come to town, and knowing
what an egregious offender I had been, I was stirred
up to extract Mr. Law’s excellent treatise, entitled,
“The absolute Unlawfulness of the Stage Entertain-
ment.” The printer, at my request, put a little of it
in the newspaper for six weeks successively; and God
was pleased to give it his blessing.”

In this manner Whitefield employed himself dur-
ing nine months; and one effect of so doing was, that
the partition wall of bigotry was soon broken down
in his heart. He says, “I loved all, of whatever de-
nomination, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sin-
cerity.” This statement in his diary is connected
with an account of the benefit he derived from study-
ing the works of the Non-conformists.  “Baxter’s Call,”
and “Alleine’s Alarm,” so accorded with his own
ideas of fidelity and unction, that wherever he recog-
nized their spirit he acknowledged “a brother beloved.”


 

 

On this portion of his history we dwell with unspeak-
able delight; the only drawback is an undue impor-
tance he appears to have attached to dreams; and even
those, considered as an index to his waking hours, are
interesting, revealing as they do his deep solicitude
on the behalf of souls.

Here then, before he had completed his twenty-
first year, we see Whitefield returned to Gloucester,
and such was already the fame of his piety and talents,
that Dr. Benson, the bishop of the diocese, offered to
dispense, in his favor, with the rule which forbids the
ordination of deacons at so unripe an age. Thus
graphically did he afterwards describe his acceptance
of this proposal.

“I never prayed against any corruption I had in
my life so much as I did against going into holy
orders so soon as my friends were for having me go.
Bishop Benson was pleased to honor me with peculiar
friendship, so as to offer me preferment, or to do
anything for me. My friends wanted me to mount
the church betimes. They wanted me to knock my
head against the pulpit too young; but how some
young men stand up here and there and preach, I do
not know. However it be to them, God knows how
deep a concern entering into the ministry and preach-
ing was to me. I prayed a thousand times, till the
sweat has dropped from my face like rain, that God
of his infinite mercy would not let me enter the church
till he called me and thrust me forth in his work. I
remember once in Gloucester—I know the room; I
look up to the window when I am there and walk
along the street—I said, ‘Lord, I cannot go; I shall



 

be puffed up with pride, and fall into the condemnation
of the devil. Lord, do not let me go yet.’ I pleaded
to be at Oxford two or three years more. I intended
to make one hundred and fifty sermons, and thought
that I would set up with a good stock in trade. I
remember praying, wrestling, and striving with God.
I said, ‘I am undone, I am unfit to preach in thy great
name. Send me not. Lord, send me not yet.’ I
wrote to all my friends in town and country to pray
against the bishop's solicitation; but they insisted I
should go into orders before I was twenty-two. After
all their solicitations these words came into my mind:

‘Nothing shall pluck you out of my hands they came
warm to my heart. Then, and not till then, I said,
Lord, I will go; send me when thou wilt.' ”

Sunday, June 20, 1736, was the day appointed for
his ordination in the cathedral at Gloucester. On
the preceding evening he spent two hours in prayer
for himself and the others who were to be set apart
to the sacred office with him; and on the day itself
he rose early, and passed the morning in prayer and
meditation on the qualifications and duties of the office
he was about to undertake. On a review of the sol-
emn services of the day, he says, “I trust I answered
every question from the bottom of my heart, and heart-
ily prayed that God might say, Amen. And when
the bishop laid his hands upon my head, if my vile
heart do not deceive me, I offered my whole spirit,
soul, and body to the service of God's sanctuary.
Let come what will, life or death, depth or height,
I shall henceforward live like one who this day, in the
presence of men and angels, took the holy sacrament,


 


on the profession of being inwardly moved by the
Holy Ghost to take upon me that ministration in the
church. I call heaven and earth to witness, that
when the bishop laid his hands upon me, I gave my-
self up to be a martyr for Him who hung upon the
cross for me. Known unto him are all future events
and contingencies; I have thrown myself blindfold,
and I trust without reserve, into his almighty hands.
When I went up to the altar, I could think of nothing
but Samuel’s standing before the Lord with a linen
ephod.”

Having thus received ordination as a deacon of
the church of England, he delayed not to enter upon
the work to which he was appointed; and according-
ly, on the next Sabbath he preached his first sermon
in his native city of Gloucester, selecting for his sub-
ject, “The necessity and benefit of religious society.”
At the appointed time he ascended the pulpit, in the
church of St. Mary de Crypt. We have his own
record of the service: “Last Sunday, in the afternoon,
I preached my first sermon in the church where I first
received the Lord’s supper. Curiosity drew a large
congregation together. The sight, at first, a little
awed me; but I was comforted with a heartfelt sense
of the divine presence, and soon found the advantage
of having been accustomed to public speaking when
a boy at school, and of exhorting and teaching the
prisoners and the poor people at their private houses,
while at the university. By these means I was kept
from being daunted overmuch. As I proceeded, I
perceived the fire kindled, till at last, though so young,
and amidst a crowd of those who knew me in my


 


childish days, I trust I was enabled to speak with
some degree of gospel authority. Some few mocked,
but most, for the present, seemed struck; and I have
since heard that a complaint was made to the bishop,
that I drove fifteen people mad the first sermon. The
worthy prelate, as I am informed, wished that the
madness might not be forgotten before the next Sun-
day. Before then, I hope that my sermon upon, ‘He
that is in Christ is a new creature,’ will be completed.
Blessed be God, I now find freedom in writing. Glo-
rious Jesus,

“Unloose my stammering tongue to tell
Thy love immense, unsearchable.’”

It is remarkable, under all the circumstances of
the case, that Bishop Benson, a man never distin-
guished for his evangelical views, always showed his
friendship for Whitefield.  Not only did he offer him
ordination when others might have refused, and defend
him against the persecutions to which he was exposed,
but he more than once gave him pecuniary help when
it was much needed, though the young clergyman had
never complained.

Thus early apprized of the secret of his strength,
his profound aspirations for the growth of Christian-
ity, the delight of exercising his rare powers, and the
popular admiration, operating with combined and
ceaseless force upon a mind impatient of repose, urged
him into exertions which, if not attested by irrefra-
gable proofs, might appear incredible. It was the
statement of one who knew him well, and who was
incapable of wilful exaggeration, and it is confirmed
by his letters, journals, and a “cloud of witnesses,”



 

that “in the compass of a single week, and that for
years, he spoke in general forty hours, and in very
many sixty, and that to thousands: and after his
labors, instead of taking any rest, he was engaged in
offering up prayers and intercessions, with hymns and
spiritual songs, as his manner was, in every house to
which he was invited.” Never perhaps, since the
apostolic age, has any man given himself so entirely
to preaching the gospel of Christ for the salvation of
souls, adopting as his motto the language of the apos-
tle Paul, “This one thing I do.”

 


 

 

 

 

                         CHAPTER II.

WHITEFIELD’S SUCCESS AS A PREACHER IN ENG-
LAND—FIRST VISIT TO AMERICA.

                                         1736-1738.

 

Whitefield, though thus prepared for action, was
not impatient, but willing to wait till his duty was
fully ascertained. On the Wednesday after his first
sermon he went to Oxford, where, he says, “I was
received with great joy by my religious friends. For
about a week I continued in my servitor’s habit, and
then took my degree of Bachelor of Arts, after having
been at the university three years and three quarters,
and going on towards the twenty-second year of my
age. My dear and honored friends, the Rev. Messrs.
John and Charles Wesley, being now embarked for
Georgia, and one or two others having taken orders,
the interest of Methodism, as it was then and is now
termed, had visibly declined, and very few of this
reputedly mad way were left at the university. This
somewhat discouraged me at times, but the Lord Jesus
supported my soul, and made me easy by giving me a
strong conviction that I was where he would have me
to be. My degree, I soon found, was of service to
me, as it gave me access to those I could not be
seen with when in an inferior station; and as oppor-
tunity offered, I was enabled to converse with them
about the things which belonged to the kingdom of
God. The subscriptions for the poor prisoners, which


 


amounted to about forty pounds per annum, were soon
put into my hands; two or three charity schools,
maintained by the Methodists, were under my more
immediate inspection which, with the time I spent in
following my studies, private retirement, and religious
converse, sweetly filled up the whole of my day, and
kept me from that unaccountable but too common
complaint of having any time hang upon my hands.”

The stay of Mr. Whitefield at Oxford, however,
was very short. He says, “By a series of unforeseen,
unexpected, and unsought-for providences, I was called
in a short time from my beloved retirement to take a
journey to the metropolis of England. While I was
an under-graduate, among the religious friends, I was
very intimate with one Mr. B---        n, a professed Meth-

odist, who had lately taken orders, and was curate at
the Tower of London. With him, when absent, I
frequently corresponded, and when present took sweet
counsel, and walked to the house of God as friends.
He mentioned me to that late good and great man,
Sir John Phillips; and being called down for a while
into Hampshire, he wrote to me to be of good
courage, and in the strength of God bade me hasten
to town to officiate in his absence, and to be refreshed
with the sight and conversation of many who loved
me for Christ’s sake, and had for a long time desired
to see me.”

On his arrival in London, Whitefield delivered his
first sermon there in Bishopsgate church, on the after-
noon of Lord’s day, August 8. On entering the pul-
pit, his juvenile aspect excited a general feeling of his
unfitness for the station, but he had not proceeded far



 

in his sermon before it gave place to universal expres-
sions of wonder and pleasure. If however he was thus
exposed to the danger of vanity, as he says, “God sent
me something to ballast it. For as I passed along
the streets, many came out of their shops, admiring to
see so young a person in a gown and cassock. One
I remember in particular, cried out, ‘There’s a boy
parson;’ which, as it served to mortify my pride, put
me also upon turning that apostolical exhortation into
prayer, ‘Let no man despise thy youth.’”  From his
first sermon to his departure, at the end of two months,
his popularity in London continued to increase, and
the crowds were so vast that it was necessary to place
constables both inside and outside of the churches to
preserve the peace. He tells us himself, “Here I con-
tinued for the space of two months, reading prayers
twice a week, catechizing and preaching once, visiting
the soldiers in the infirmary and barracks daily. I also
read prayers every evening at Wapping chapel, and
preached at Ludgate prison every Tuesday. God
was pleased to give me favor in the eyes of the inhab-
itants of the Tower; the chapel was crowded on
Lord’s days; religious friends from divers parts of
the town attended the word, and several young men
came on Lord’s-day morning, under serious impres-
sions, to hear me discourse about the new birth, and
the necessity of renouncing all in affection in order
to follow Jesus Christ.”

The preaching of Mr. Whitefield now excited an
unusual degree of attention among persons of all
ranks. In many of the city churches he proclaimed
the glad tidings of great joy to listening multitudes,


 


who were powerfully affected by the fire which was
displayed in the animated addresses of this man of
God. Lord and Lady Huntingdon constantly at-
tended wherever he preached, and Lady Anne Frank-
land became one of the first-fruits of his ministry
among the nobility of the metropolis. Her ladyship
spent much of her time with Lady Huntingdon, from
whose society and conversation she derived great
comfort. She was a daughter of Richard, the first
Earl of Scarborough; was for many years lady of the
bedchamber to the Princess Anne, and to the Prin-
cesses Amelia and Caroline; and finally became the
second wife of Frederic Frankland, Esq., a member
of Parliament, from whose cruelty she endured much.

We have already said, that some time before this
Messrs. John and Charles Wesley had embarked for
Georgia, and to their names we might have added
that of Mr. Ingham, also a member of the Methodist
fraternity at Oxford.

Georgia, which was explored by Sir Walter Ra-
leigh in 1584, had been colonized by debtors from
Europe, by multitudes who had fled from the grasp of
persecution, and by others who were interested in
constructing a barrier against Spanish aggression.
It originally had trustees in England, concerned for
its interests, including sons of the nobility. The chief
agent in executing the benevolent designs in view
was the truly excellent General Oglethorpe, who ad-
mirably carried out the motto he gave to his com-
panions in the work, “Non sibi sed aliis”—“Not for
themselves, but for others.” The children of poverty,


 


taken from the overgrown agricultural population,
already a tax upon parish bounty at home, were to
be transferred in large numbers to the silk and indigo
plantations which were established on the savannahs
and bottoms south and west of the river, which thence
derived its name from the peculiar conformation of the
adjoining plains. Combined with these leading pur-
poses, it was a cherished principle with the early
patrons of this colony, that it should become the cen-
tre for the diffusion of the gospel among the natives;
while charitable foundations were also laid for the
secular and religious education of all who "would take
advantage of such provisions. The first Christians
who left Europe to advance the spiritual interests of
Georgia were Moravians, and the next were the Wes-
leys and Ingham. The records of the colony, as
quoted in White’s Historical Collections of Georgia,
show that, Sept. 14, 1735, Charles Wesley was ap-
pointed “Secretary for the Indian affairs in Georgia,”
and that, Oct. 10, 1735, John Wesley was appointed
“missionary at Savannah.”

Whitefield had left London, and was laboring
among a poor and illiterate people in Hampshire,
when his attention was directly drawn to Georgia.
This was not, indeed, the first time his heart had been
interested in the matter. He writes, “When I had
been about a month in town, letters came from the
Messrs. Wesley, and the Rev. Mr. Ingham their fel-
low-laborer, an Israelite indeed, from Georgia. Their
accounts fired my soul, and made me long to go abroad
for God too. But having no outward call, and being
as I then thought too weak in body ever to undertake


 


a voyage at sea, I endeavored to lay aside all thoughts
of going abroad. But my endeavors were all in vain;
for I felt at times such a strong attraction in my soul
towards Georgia, that I thought it almost irresistible.
I strove against it with all my power, begged again
and again, with many cries and tears, that the Lord
would not suffer me to be deluded, and at length
opened my mind to several dear friends. All agreed
that laborers were wanted at home, that I had as yet
no visible call abroad, and that it was my duty not
to be rash, but wait and see what Providence might
point out to me. To this I consented with my whole
heart.”

The path of duty, however, soon opened before
him. While fulfulling his duties at Dummer, in Hamp-
shire, preaching for the Rev. Mr. Kinchin, who was
now absent from home, to which labors we have al-
ready referred, he received an invitation to a lucrative
curacy in London; but Georgia still rested like one
of the prophetic “burdens” on his mind. At this
juncture he received a letter from his clerical friend
at the Tower, saying that Mr. Charles Wesley had
arrived in London. Very soon Mr. Wesley him-
self wrote to Whitefield, saying, that he was come
over to procure laborers, “but,” added he, “I dare
not prevent God’s nomination.” “In a few days after
this,” writes Mr. Whitefield, “came another letter
from Mr. John Wesley, wherein were these words:
‘Only Mr. Delamotte is with me, till God shall stir
up the hearts of some of his servants, who putting
their lives in their hands, shall come over and help
us, where the harvest is so great, and the laborers so



 

few. What if thou art the man, Mr. Whitefield?’
In another letter were these words:  ‘Do you ask me
what you shall have? Food to eat and raiment to
put on, a house to lay your head in—such as our Lord
had not—and a crown of glory that fadeth not away.’
Upon reading this my heart leaped within me, and as
it were echoed to the call.”

After having consulted his bishop, Dr. Benson, as
also the archbishop of Canterbury, and the trustees
of Georgia including General James Oglethorpe who
was then in London, he went to Bristol, Bath, and
other places, to take leave of his personal friends
As he could not refrain from preaching, so every ser-
mon increased his popularity. We give his account
of his preaching at Bristol, as a specimen of the recep-
tion he met with.

“It was wonderful to see how the people hung
upon the rails of the organ-loft, climbed upon the
leads of the church, and made the church itself so hot
with their breath, that the steam would fall from the
pillars like drops of rain. Sometimes almost as many
would go away for want of room as came in, and it
was with great difficulty I got into the desk to read
prayers or preach. Persons of all ranks not only
publicly attended my ministry, but gave me private
invitations to their houses. A private society or two
were erected. I preached and collected for the poor
prisoners in Newgate twice or thrice a week, and
many made me large offers if I would not go abroad.”

Having mentioned General James Edward Ogle-
thorpe, the first governor, and indeed the founder of
the colony of Georgia, and to the end of Whitefield’s


 

          Success as a preacher                                47

 

life his cordial friend, a few additional facts concern-
ing him may here be stated. He was the son of Sir
Theophilus Oglethorpe, and was born in London, De-
cember 21, 1688. At sixteen he was admitted a stu-
dent at Oxford, but did not finish his studies, as the
military profession had more charms for him than
literary pursuits. He was first commissioned as an en-
sign. After the death of Queen Anne, he entered into
the service of Prince Eugene. "When he attained the
age of twenty-four years, he entered Parliament, for
Haslemere, where he continued thirty-two years. In
November, 1732, Oglethorpe, with one hundred and
sixteen settlers, embarked for Georgia, and landed at
Charleston, S. C., January 13, 1733. They shortly
afterwards proceeded to Georgia, where Oglethorpe
laid out a town, and called it Savannah. He very
happily secured the good will of the Indians. In
1743, he left Georgia for England, to answer charges
brought against him by Lieutenant-colonel Cook. A
court martial declared the charges groundless and
malicious, and Cook was dismissed from the service.
In 1744 he was appointed one of the field-officers
under field-marshal the Earl of Stair, to oppose the
expected invasion of France. He died in 1785. He
was truly a noble man.

As the period approached when Whitefield was to
leave England, the people showed their esteem for
him in almost every possible way. They followed
him so closely, and in such numbers, for holy counsels,
that he could scarcely command a moment for retire-
ment. They begged to receive from him religious
books, and to have their names written therein with


 


his own hand, as memorials of him, and very many
followed him from place to place till his final embar-
kation.

It was indeed a surprising fact, that a young man,
scarcely more than twenty-two years of age, and pre-
viously unknown to the world, should be able to col-
lect such immense congregations, and rouse and com-
mand their attention; multitudes hanging upon and
receiving instructions from his lips. But God had
endowed him with a singular union of qualities, which
most eminently fitted him for the work of an evange-
list. He was faithful to his trust, and his divine Mas-
ter abundantly blessed and honored him in the dis-
charge of its momentous duties.

We have now traced the amazing effects of White-
field’s sermons, and it may be interesting briefly
to inquire into their general character, and to ascer-
tain what truths thus aroused the public mind. Three
of these sermons can, happily, be identified with these
“times of refreshing and they may be depended on,
as specimens of both the letter and the spirit of his
preaching, because they were printed from his own
manuscripts: they are those on “Early Piety” “Re-
generation”
and “Intercession.” Whoever will read
the appeals in these sermons, realizing the circum-
stances under which they were made, will scarcely
wonder at the effect produced by them. The topics
of the second and third, and the tone of all the three,
are very different from the matter and manner of ser-
monizing then known to the masses of the people.
They do not surprise us, because happily neither the
topics nor the tone of them are “strange things to our


 


          Success as a preacher                                49

 

ears.” Both, however, were novelties in those days,
even in London. When or where had an appeal been
made like this?

“I beseech you, in love and compassion, to come
to Jesus. Indeed, all I say is in love to your souls.
And if I could be but an instrument of bringing you
to Jesus, I should not envy, but rejoice in your happi-
ness, however much you were exalted. If I was to
make up the last of the train of the companions of the
blessed Jesus, it would rejoice me to see you above
me in glory. I could willingly go to prison or to
death for you, so I could but bring one soul from the
devil's strong-holds, into the salvation which is by
Christ Jesus. Come then to Christ, every one that
hears me this night. Come, come, my guilty breth-
ren; I beseech you, for your immortal souls' sake, for
Christ's sake, come to Christ. Methinks I could
speak till midnight unto you. Would you have me
go and tell my Master that you will not come, and
that I have spent my strength in vain? I cannot bear
to carry such a message to him. I would not, indeed,
I would not be a swift witness against you at the
great day of account; but if you will refuse these
gracious invitations, I must do it.”

In this spirit, not very prevalent even now, White-
field began his ministry. There is a fascination as
well as fervor, or rather a fascination arising from
fervor, in some of his earliest as well as his later dis-
courses. How bold and beautiful is the peroration, of
that on “Intercession.” Referring to the holy impa-
tience of uthe souls under the altar,” for the coming
of the kingdom of God, he exclaims,

Whitefield.                        3


 

 

“And shall not we who are on earth be often
exercised in this divine employ with the glorious com-
pany of the spirits of just men made perfect? Since
our happiness is so much to consist in the communion
of saints in the church triumphant above, shall we not
frequently intercede for the church militant below,
and earnestly beg that we may be all one? To pro-
voke you to this work and labor of love, remember,
that it is the never-ceasing employment of the holy
and highly exalted Jesus himself; so that he who is
constantly interceding for others, is doing that on
earth which the eternal Son of God is always doing
in heaven. Imagine, therefore, when you are lifting
up holy hands for one another, that you see the heav-
ens opened, and the Son of God in all his glory, as
the great High-priest of your salvation, pleading for
you the all-sufficient merit of his sacrifice before the
throne. Join your intercession with his. The imagi-
nation will strengthen your faith, and excite a holy
earnestness in your prayers.”

The nearer the time approached for his leaving
the country, the more affectionate the people grew
towards him, and the more eagerly did they attend on
his ministry. Many thousands of ardent petitions
were presented to heaven on behalf of his person and
his ministry; and multitudes would stop him in the
aisles of the churches, or follow him with their tearful
looks. Most of all was it difficult for him to part
from his friends at St. Dunstan’s, where he adminis-
tered the sacrament, after spending the night before
in prayer.

The man who had produced these extraordinary


 

 

effects, says Dr. Gillies, had many natural advantages.
He was something above the middle stature, well pro-
portioned, though at that time slender, and remark-
able for native gracefulness of manner. His com-
plexion was very fair, his features regular, his eyes
small and lively, of a dark blue color: in recovering
from the measles, he had contracted a squint with one
of them; but this peculiarity rather rendered the ex-
pression of his countenance more rememberable, than
in any degree lessened the effect of its uncommon
sweetness. His voice excelled both in melody and
compass, and its fine modulations were happily accom-
panied by the grace of action which he possessed in
an eminent degree, and which is said to be the chief
requisite of an orator. An ignorant man described
his eloquence oddly, but strikingly, when he said that
Mr. Whitefield preached like a lion. So strange a
comparison conveyed no unapt idea of the force, and
vehemence, and passion—of the authority which awed
the hearers, and made them tremble like Felix before
the apostle. Believing himself to be the messenger of
God, commissioned to call sinners to repentance, he
spoke as one conscious of his high credentials, with
authority and power; yet in all his discourses there
was a fervor and melting charity, an earnestness of
persuasion, an outpouring of redundant love, partak-
ing of the virtue of the faith from which it flowed,
insomuch that it seemed to enter the heart which it
pierced, and to heal it as with a balm.

At length, having preached in a considerable num-
ber of the London churches, collected about a thou-
sand pounds for the charity schools, and obtained up-


 


52         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

 

wards of three hundred pounds for the poor in Geor-
gia, Whitefield left London, December 28, 1737, in
the twenty-third of his age, and went in the strength
of God, as a poor pilgrim, on board the Whitaker.

Scarcely had he entered on his voyage from Lon-
don, when he discovered that but little comfort was
to be expected in the ship on which he had embarked.
There was no place for retirement, no disposition to
receive him as an ambassador of Christ, and a decided
dislike even to the forms of religion. They moved
but slowly to the Downs, where they were detained
for nearly a month, and where Whitefield went on
shore to visit Deal, an ancient town, one of the Cinque-
ports, so called, where “the common people,” as in
the case of his great Master, “heard him gladly.”
With him, through his whole ministry, it was of small
importance whether he preached to the rich or the
poor; for he viewed the gospel as a message of mercy
to sinners, and wherever men were found, he was will-
ing to persuade them to be reconciled to God.

The account given by Mr. Whitefield of his visit
to Deal, and of the different treatment he received
there from different persons, would be almost as cor-
rect a description of his labors and reception in a
hundred other places. He spent his first evening
very comfortably in religious conversation and family
prayer, at which a poor woman was much affected.
“Who knows,” he says, “what a fire this little spark
may kindle?” Next evening, eight or nine poor peo-
ple came to him at the report of this poor woman;
and when, after three or four days, the ship in which
he had embarked was driven back to Deal, many met



 


together to bewail their own sins and those of others.
Soon the landlady who owned the house where he
lodged, sent to her tenants, beseeching them not to
let any more persons come in, for fear the floor should
break under them; and they actually put a prop un-
der it.

The minister of Upper Deal, a mile or two from
the town, now invited Whitefield to preach in the
church; it was much crowded, and many went away
for want of room. Some stood on the leads of the
building outside, and looked in at the top windows,
and all around seemed eager to hear the word. “May
the Lord” says the good man, “make them doers of it.
In the evening I was obliged to divide my hearers
into four companies, and was enabled to expound to
them from six till ten. Lord, keep me from being
weary of, or in well-doing.”

The excitement at Deal became very great, in con-
sequence of the conviction of the people that their
own minister, the Rev. Dr. Carter, did not preach the
gospel. The good man, to disprove the charge, pub-
lished a volume of his sermons, which, however ad-
mired by gay formalists, furnished but too much evi-
dence of the justice of the charge.

Just as he had left the church at Upper Deal,
where he had been preaching to a vast congregation,
Mr. Whitefield, in consequence of a sudden change of
the wind, was summoned on board, and the Whitaker
sailed for Georgia. A very few hours afterwards,
the vessel which brought back John Wesley from that
colony anchored in the Downs, when he learned that
the ships had passed each other, but neither of these



 


54         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

 

remarkable men then knew how dear a friend was on
board the other. When Wesley landed, he found it
was still possible to communicate with his friend, and
Whitefield was surprised to receive a letter from him,
saying, “When I saw God by the wind which was
carrying you out brought me in, I asked counsel of
God. His answer you have enclosed.” The enclo-
sure was a slip of paper with the words, “Let him
return to London,” which Wesley had obtained by
lot, to which he had had recourse. Whitefield prayed
for direction, and went on his voyage.

This first voyage of Whitefield to America was in-
vested with scenes of far more than common interest.
Perhaps, since the apostle Paul’s memorable voyage
to Rome, the ocean had never exhibited a more re-
markable spectacle than that furnished by this ship.
He was but a stripling in his twenty-third year, and
a faint and hesitating homage once on a Sabbath-day,
from a few of the less obdurate sinners among his
hearers, would be all that such a clergyman could
expect from an assemblage of gentlemen, of soldiers
with their wives and families, and the ship’s crew.
Yet in the hands of this remarkable youth all be-
came pliant as a willow. He converted the chief
cabin into a cloister, the deck into a church, and the
steerage into a school-room. He so bore down all
opposition by love, reason, and Scripture, that we
soon see him, at the request of the captain and offi-
cers, with the hearty concurrence of the gentlemen
who were passengers, reading “full public prayers”
to them twice a day in the great cabin, and expound-
ing every night after the evening prayers, besides daily



 

reading prayers, and preaching twice a day on deck
to the soldiers and sailors, and increasing the services
on Sundays. In addition to all this, he daily cate-
chized a company of young soldiers, and engaged in the
same exercise with the women apart by themselves.

Nor did even all this suffice to expend his zeal,
for he commenced a course of expositions on the creed
and ten commandments; and so convinced was he of
the value of catechetical teaching, that on February 3d
he writes, “I began to-night to turn the observations
made on the lessons in the morning into catechetical
questions, and was pleased to hear some of the soldiers
make very apt answers.”

Nor were the children forgotten; the Hon. Mr.
Habersham, a personal friend who accompanied him,
assumed their instruction as his department of holy
labor. Mr. Whitefield wrote of him, that he was
“pleased to see Mr. Habersham so active in teaching
the children. He has now many scholars-—may God
bless him.”

Friendship for Whitefield had influenced Mr. Hab-
ersham to accompany the young evangelist to Geor-
gia. Mr. Habersham’s friends, at Beverly, in York-
shire, where he was born in 1712, were greatly op-
posed to his plans, but surely the hand of God directed
them. He presided over the Orphan-house till 1744,
when he entered into a commercial partnership. He
occupied several important stations, till he became
president of the colony in 1769. The proceedings
connected with the revolutionary war more than once
placed him in great difficulties; he did not live to see
its happy results, for in 1775 the state of his health


 


56         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

compelled him to visit the north, in hope of its reno-
vation. The change, however, was of no benefit, and
he died at New Brunswick, New Jersey, August 28,
1775. The “Gazette” of the day said of him, “In the
first stations of the province he conducted himself with
ability, honor, and integrity, which gained him the love
and esteem of his fellow-citizens; nor was he less dis-
tinguished in private life by a conscientious discharge
of the social duties, as a tender and affectionate par-
ent, a sincere and warm friend, and a kind and indul-
gent master. Mr. Habersham was married by the
Rev. Mr. Whitefield to Mary Bolton at Bethesda, on
the 26th of December, 1740, by whom he had ten chil-
dren, three of whom, sons, survived him, and were
zealous in the cause of American liberty.”

In harmony with the solemn duties which Mr.
Whitefield had assumed, he watched over the conduct
of all around him. He tells us that the ship’s cook
was awfully addicted to drinking, and when reproved
for this and other sins, he boasted that he would be
wicked till within two years of his death, and would
then reform. Alas, he died on the voyage, after an
illness of six hours, brought on by drinking.

One day on this voyage, finding on Captain Whit-
ing’s pillow “The Independent Whig,” Whitefield ex-
changed it for a book entitled “The Self-Deceiver.”
The next morning, the captain came smiling and in-
quired who made the exchange. Mr. Whitefield con-
fessed the fact, and begged his acceptance of the book,
which he said he had read, and liked very well. From
thenceforward a visible alteration took place in the
conduct of the captain.


 

 

On their arrival at Gibraltar, where they had to
continue some time, Mr. Whitefield found that Major
Sinclair, without solicitation, had provided a lodging
for him, and the governor and military invited him
to their table. Being apprehensive that at a public
military table he might be more than hospitably
treated, to prevent any thing disagreeable, he remind-
ed his excellency that, at the court of Ahasuerus,
“none did compel.” The governor took the hint, and
pleasantly replied, “No compulsion of any kind shall
be used at my table;” and everything was conducted
with the greatest propriety. Here he often preached,
and was heard by many, including all in high offices.
Unusual indeed were the scenes, both with respect to
the place and the people. The adjacent promonto-
ries, and the vastness of the rock of Gibraltar, aided
in the enlargement of the ideas of the preacher as
to Him, who “in his strength setteth fast the moun-
tains, and is girded about with power.” And the
place being a sort of public rendezvous of all na-
tions, he thought, he says, “he saw the world in
epitome.”

The success of Whitefield's ministry at Gibraltar
was truly remarkable. He quaintly says of it, “Sam-
son's riddle was fulfilled there:  ‘out of the strong
came forth sweetness.' Who more unlikely to be
wrought upon than soldiers? And yet, among any
set of people, I have not been where God has made
his power more known. Many that were quite blind,
have received their sight; many that had fallen back,
have repented and turned to the Lord again; many
that were ashamed to own Christ openly, have waxed

                                           3*


 

 

58         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

bold; and many saints have hd their hearts filled
with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

Among of her religious societies to which White-
field was introduced at Gibraltar, he one day attended
the Jewish synagogue, and was agreeably surprised
when one of the rulers handed him into the chief seat.
The rabbi had the day before heard him preach against
profane swearing, and now thanked him for his ser-
mon. He remained in the synagogue during the whole
service, engaged, he says, “in secret prayer that the
veil might be taken from the heart of the Jews, and
they grafted again into their own olive-tree.”

Several facts occurred on the way to Savannah
after their embarkation from Gibraltar, which are too
interesting to pass without notice. On one occasion
Captain Mackay, after Whitefield had preached against
drunkenness, urged the men to attend to the things
which had been spoken; telling them that he was a
notorious swearer until he did so; and beseeching
them for Christ's sake to give up their sins. On
another occasion, while marrying a couple on deck,
Whitefield suddenly shut the prayer-book in the midst
of the ceremony, because the bridegroom had behaved
with levity; and not until the laughter was turned
into weeping, would he proceed. At the close of the
service he gave the bride a Bible. When a shark
was caught, with five pilot-fish clinging to its fins, he
said, “Go to the pilot-fish, thou that forsakest a friend
in adversity; consider his ways, and be abashed.”
When a dolphin was caught, the change of its hues
from lovely to livid, reminded him to say, “Just so is
man; he flourishes for a little while, but when death



IN GEORGIA.                                                        59

 

cometh, how quickly his beauty is gone! A Christian
may learn instruction from ever thing he meets "with.”
While he was preaching on the death of Christ dark-
ness came on, and he said, “It puts me in mind of that
darkness which overwhelmed the world when the God
of nature suffered.

In the latter part of the voyage, fever laid pros-
trate all in the ship except four persons, and at
length it seized Whitefield, and confined him to his
bed for a week. The attack, though short, must have
been severe; for besides other remedies, he was bled
three times. During his illness, the captain gave up
his own bed to him, and Mr. Habersham watched him
day and night; but that which gratified him most
was, that the sick between decks, whom he had endan-
gered his life to console, prayed for him with great
fervor. He recovered, and repaid the kindness of all.
At length, on May 5, they came in sight of Savannah
river, and sent off for a pilot; and such was the joy
of all, when they came to anchor at Tybee island, that
he could not help exclaiming, “How infinitely more
joyful will the children of God be, when, having passed
through the waves of this troublesome world, they
arrive at the haven of everlasting rest!” Though
still weak, he preached a farewell sermon to his “red-
coated and blue-jacketed parishioners,” as he called
his military and naval congregation. It was heard
with floods of tears.

Upon this voyage, says Dr. Gillies, he made these
reflections many years after:  “Even at this distance
of time, the remembrance of the happy hours I enjoyed
in religious exercises on deck, is refreshing to my


 

 

soul; and although nature sometimes relented at being
taken from my friends, and I was little accustomed to
the inconveniences of a sea-life, yet, a consciousness
that I had the glory of God and the good of souls in
view, afforded me, from time to time, unspeakable
satisfaction.”

Whitefield was cordially welcomed at Savannah
by Delamotte and other friends of the Wesleys: the
magistrates also offered to wait upon him to pay their
respects; but this he declined, and waited upon them.
They agreed to build him a tabernacle and a house at
Frederica, and to accept his services at Savannah as
long as he pleased. He was soon, however, again
laid aside by the return of his fever, now accompanied
with ague. This attack in a few days brought him
so low, and made so great an alteration in his person,
that he says, “Had my friends seen me at that hour,
they might have learned not to have any man’s person
in admiration, and not to think more highly of me
than they ought to think.”

The first thing which Whitefield did after his re-
covery was to visit Tomo-Chici, the Indian king, then
on his death-bed. This was the micoe, or king, whom
Oglethorpe had taken to England, in 1734, and intro-
duced to king George the Second. He was accom-
panied by his wife and son, and seven other Indians
of the Creek nation. His eloquent speech to the
king and queen was so well received at court, that he
was loaded with presents, and when he had again to
embark, was sent in one of the royal carriages to
Gravesend. “He now lay,” says Whitefield, “on a
blanket, thin and meagre; little else but skin and


 


IN GEORGIA.                                                        61


bones. Senanki, his wife, sat by, fanning him with
Indian feathers. There was no one who could talk Eng-
lish, so I could only shake hands with him and leave
him. A few days afterwards, Mr. Whitefield again
went to visit Tomo-Chici, and found that his nephew,
Tooanoowee, could speak English. Whitefield says, “I
desired him to ask his uncle, whether he thought he
should die; who answered, ‘I cannot tell.’ I then
asked where he thought he should go after death.
He replied, ‘To heaven.’ But alas, how can a drunk-
ard enter there? I then exhorted Tooanoowee, who
is a tall, proper youth, not to get drunk; telling him
that he understood English, and therefore would be
punished the more if he did not live better. I then
asked him whether he believed in a heaven. He said,

‘Yes,’  I then asked whether he believed in a hell,
and described it by pointing to the fire.  He replied,
‘No,’ from whence we may easily gather, how nat-
ural it is to all mankind to believe there is a place of
happiness, because they wish it to be so; and on the
contrary, how averse they are to believe in a place of
torment, because they wish it may not be so. But
God is just and true ; and as surely as the righteous
shall go away into everlasting happiness, so the im-
penitently wicked shall go into everlasting punish-
ment.”

The records of Georgia say, under date of Decem-
ber 21, 1737, “Ordered, that a license be made out
for the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield to perform eccle-
siastical offices in Georgia, as a deacon in the church
of England.”

Before Whiteiield had any thoughts of going


abroad, Charles Wesley talked to him of an orphan-
house in Georgia, which he and General Oglethorpe
had contemplated. When he arrived in Savannah,
and had sufficiently recovered from his illness to
examine the state of the colony, the condition of the
children deeply affected him; and he set his heart on
founding the projected institution as soon as he should
be able to collect the needful funds. In the mean
time he opened schools in the villages of Highgate
and Hampstead, and one also, for girls, in Savannah.
He afterwards visited the Saltzburgher’s orphan-
school at Ebenezer; and if anything had been want-
ed to settle his own determination, or to inflame his
zeal, he found it there. The Saltzburghers were ex-
iles for conscience sake, and were eminent for piety
and industry. Their ministers, the Rev. Messrs. Gre-
naw and Boltzius, were eminently evangelical, and
their asylum, which they had been enabled to found
by British benevolence, for widows and orphans, was
flourishing. Whitefield was so delighted with the
order and harmony of Ebenezer, that he gave a share
of his own “poor’s store” to Boltzius, for his orphans.
Then came the scene which entirely completed his
purpose: Boltzius “called all the children before him;
catechized and exhorted them to give God thanks for
his good providence towards them; then prayed with
them, and made them pray after him; then sung a
psalm. Afterwards, the little lambs came and shook
me by the hand, one by one, and so we parted.”

Whitefield was now pledged to this cause for life.

Most of our readers probably know that the con-
ductors of “The Gentleman’s Magazine,”  a work which


 

has now been regularly published in London for much
more than a century, have never been favorable to
evangelical truth, or its ministers; it is therefore the
more gratifying to copy from that work for Novem-
ber, 1737, the following lines: it will be seen that
they were published more than a month before Mr.
Whitefield’s departure to the American colonies.

“TO THE REV. MR. WHITEFIELD, ON HIS DESIGN
FOR GEORGIA.

“How great, how just thy zeal, adventurous youth,

To spread in heathen climes the light of truth!

Go, loved of heaven, with every grace refined,

Inform, enrapture each dark Indian’s mind;

Grateful, as when to realms long hid from day,

The cheerful dawn foreshows the solar ray.

How great thy charity, whose large embrace
Intends the eternal weal of all thy race;

Prompts thee the rage of waves and winds to scorn,

To effect the work for which thy soul was born.

What multitudes, whom Pagan dreams deceive,

Shall, when they hear thy heavenly voice, believe!

On Georgia’s shore thy Wesley shall attend,

To hail the wished arrival of his friend;

With joy the promised harvest he surveys,

And to his Lord for faithful laborers prays;

Though crowded temples here would plead thy stay,

Yet haste, blest prophet, on thy destined way.

Be gentle, winds, and breathe an easy breeze,

Be clear, ye skies, and smooth, ye flowing seas!

From heaven, ye guardian angels, swift descend,
Delighted his blest mission to attend;

Which shall from Satan’s power whole nations free,
While half the world to Jesus bow the knee.

Long as Savannah, peaceful stream, shall glide,

Your worth renowned shall be extended wide;


 

Children as yet unborn shall bless your lore,

Who thus to save them left your native shore;

The apostles thus, with ardent zeal inspired,

To gain all nations for their Lord desired.

They measured seas, a life laborious knew,

And numerous converts to their Master drew;

Whose hallelujahs, on the ethereal plains,

Rise scarce beneath the bright seraphic strains.

“ Gloucester, Nov. 1, 1737.”

After spending a few weeks at Savannah, laboring
as much as his health would permit, Whitefield went
to Frederica, where he was gladly received; the peo-
ple “having had a famine of the word for a long sea-
son.” They had no sanctuary, and therefore he had
to preach under a tree, or in Mr. Habersham’s house.
This visit, although short, endeared him to all the
people; and he had the satisfaction before he left, to
see them “sawing timber for a commodious place of
worship, until a church could be built.” His return,
however, to Savannah was hastened by a somewhat
painful event. One of his friends was lost in the
woods, and missing from Tuesday till Friday. The
great guns had been fired to direct the wanderer, but
in vain; and some of the people had searched for him
day and night, without success. This report was sent
to Whitefield, and it hurried him away from Frederica.
He had the pleasure, however, on his arrival at Savan-
nah, to find his “lost sheep.”

During the stay of Whitefield in Georgia, the
weather was intensely hot, sometimes almost burning
his feet through his shoes. Seeing others do it, he
determined to accustom himself to hardship by lying
constantly on the floor; which by use he found to be



 

so far from "being uncomfortable, that afterwards it
became so to lie on a bed. Nor was he more ready
to deny himself than he was assiduous to do good;
preaching often, catechizing the young, visiting the
sick, and exhorting from house to house. Entirely
independent and unrestrained, he knew no fear in the
discharge of what he regarded as his duty. Knowing
that some men of influence, to whom his voice could
not be addressed from the pulpit, were living in open
defiance of morality and shame, he went into the
court and made an address to the grand jury, urging
them to present all such offenders without partiality
or fear, since the miserable state of the colony was
doubtless owing to divine displeasure against their
sins.

Reflection on the character, labors, and success of
his predecessors, stimulated his zeal and encouraged
his hope. It could not be denied that John Wesley
had been misrepresented and unkindly treated, both
in Savannah and Frederica, and Whitefield therefore
rejoiced to bear honorable testimony of him and his
colleagues. He says, “Surely I must labor most
heartily, since I come after such worthy men. The
good Mr. John Wesley has done in America is inex-
pressible. His name is very precious among the peo-
ple, and he has laid such a foundation, that I hope
neither men nor devils will be able to shake it. 0
that I may follow him as he has followed Christ.”

Mr. Whitefield having as yet only received dea-
con’s orders, and wishing to be ordained priest, for
the more complete performance of his duty as a min-
ister of the church of England, it became necessary


 


66         GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

for him to return to Europe for that purpose; and
being also desirous of making collections for his Or-
phan-house, he left Mr. Habersham at Savannah, and
went to Charleston, S. C., on his way to England.

At Charleston he became acquainted with the Rev.
Alexander Garden, the ecclesiastical commissary of
the Bishop of London, who with apparent cordiality
twice invited him into his pulpit, and assured him
that he would defend him with his life and property,
should the same arbitrary proceedings ever be com-
menced against him which Mr. Wesley had met with
in Georgia. Dr. Deems, in his recently published
volume, “The Annals of Southern Methodism,” tells
us, when speaking of his first sermon, “The people at
first despised his youth, but his engaging address soon
gained their general esteem, and Mr. Garden thanked
him most cordially.” In an after-period, however,
when Mr. Garden more fully understood the evan-
gelical character of Mr. Whitefield’s preaching, he
frequently took occasion to point out what he called
the pernicious tendency of his doctrines, and irregular
manner of life. He represented him as a religious
quack, who had an excellent way of setting off and
rendering palatable his poisonous tenets. On one
occasion Garden, to keep his flock from going after
this strange pastor, preached from the text, “These
that have turned the world upside down are come
hither also.” Whitefield, however, was not to be
silenced in this way, and returned the compliment by
preaching from the words, “Alexander the copper-
smith did me much evil; the Lord reward him ac-
cording to his works.”


 

 

On. September 6, 1738, Whitefield embarked for
London. The voyage was perilous in the extreme.
They were tossed about with bad weather, in a ship
out of repair, and in sad want of provisions. When
they were over about one-third of the Atlantic, a ves-
sel from Jamaica would have gladly received him,
but he chose to share the lot of his shipmates. They
highly valued his services, and one of his fellow-pas-
sengers, Captain Gladman, became, as the result of
this voyage, a truly pious man. The captain, in a
subsequent period, at his own earnest request, became
the fellow-traveller of his teacher.

After a passage of about nine weeks, they made
the port of Limerick, in Ireland. “I wish,” White-
field says, “I could never forget what I felt when
water and provisions were brought us from the shore.
Mr. M’Mahon, a country gentleman, came from his
seat at midnight on purpose to relieve us, and most
kindly invited me, though unknown, to his house, to
stay as long as I pleased.” At Limerick he was cor-·
dially received by that worthy prelate, Bishop Birs-
eough, who engaged him to preach at the cathedral.
From thence he went to Dublin, where he preached,
and was hospitably entertained by Archbishop Bolton,
Bishop Bundel, and Dr. Delany.

Remaining but a short time in Ireland, he pro-
ceeded to London, where he arrived December 8.
Here he had the pleasure of conversing with some of
the Moravian brethren, whose faith and love refreshed
his spirit, though he did not entirely approve some
of their views. He soon discovered somewhat of a
change of feeling towards him on the part of many of


 


68         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

the London clergy. Within two days, he found five
of the churches were closed against him. He called
on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of
London, who received him with cold civility. The
bishop asked him if his journals were not tinctured
with enthusiasm; and he replied, with his usual meek-
ness and candor, that they were written only for his
own use, and that of his private friends, and that they
were published without his knowledge. So anxious
was he to avoid giving offence, that he took the ear-
liest opportunity to expunge from his journals what-
ever he discovered to be erroneous, and whatever he
had said without imperative necessity, or which was
likely to injure the character and feelings of any one.

The trustees of Georgia, at a meeting in London,
received Whitefield with great cordiality, and in com-
pliance with the wishes of the colonists, they present-
ed him with the living of Savannah, the salary of which
he declined to receive; but he thankfully accepted
five hundred acres of land, on which he proposed to
erect his orphan-house.

On Sunday, January 14, 1739, being then in his
twenty-fifth year, Whitefield was ordained priest at
Oxford, by his worthy friend Bishop Benson. Hav-
ing preached twice to very crowded congregations,
and administered the Lord’s supper at the castle, he
returned to London the next day. As Dr. Benson
once expressed regret that he had ordained Mr.
Whitefield, it may be proper here to explain the cir-
cumstances. Shortly after the late Countess of Hun-
tingdon first became acquainted with the truth as it
is in Jesus, Bishop Benson, who had been lord Hun-



\

tingdon’s tutor, was sent for to remonstrate with her
ladyship, and to induce her to relinquish what were
then considered her erroneous views; but she pressed
him so hard with the Articles and Homilies of his own
church, and so plainly and faithfully urged upon him
the awful responsibility of his station, that for the
moment his mind was hurt, and he rose up to depart,
lamenting that he had ever laid his hands upon George
Whitefield, to whom he imputed the change which had
been wrought in her ladyship. “My lord,” said she,
“mark my words; when you come upon your dying
bed, that will be one of the few ordinations you will
reflect upon with pleasure.” It would seem that it
was so; for, on his death-bed, the Bishop sent ten
guineas to Mr. Whitefield as a token of his favor and
approbation, and begged to be remembered by him in
his prayers.

The interval between his taking priests’ orders,
and embarking a second time for Georgia, was em-
ployed by Whitefield, with his usual energy and suc-
cess, in preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
and in making collections for his Orphan-house. Hav-
ing, before his visit to America, collected large sums
for the charity schools in the metropolis, he naturally
expected that the pulpits would not be denied him
now, in which to plead the interests of his own poor.
But he was scarcely yet aware that the tide of cleri-
cal opinion had turned so extensively and strongly
against him. The doctrines he had preached, and the
manner in which he had preached them, had produced
a sensation so strong, that he found himself excluded
from most of the churches in London. A few, how-


 


ever, were yet open to him for his benevolent design.
The Rev. Mr. Broughton conducted himself, among
others, very nobly. Having been urged to refuse his
pulpit, as some of his neighbors had done, he boldly
replied, that “having obtained the lectureship of St.
Helen’s by Whitefield’s influence, he should have the
pulpit if he desired it.” Mr. Whitefield preached,
but Mr. Broughton thus losing the lectureship, White-
field blamed himself for having done so. Whatever
he might himself be willing to suffer, he was not will-
ing to inflict inconvenience on others.

Only a few days before his being ordained as
priest, Whitefield offered his first public extempore
prayer, in a large meeting in Red Cross-street, Lon-
don. He mentions this fact in a note of his diary as
“the first time I ever prayed extempore before such
a number.” He did not even then suppose that his
preaching, as well as his prayers in this manner, were
to develop his mighty power. The crowding of the
churches now suggested the idea of preaching in the
open air. He says, “When I was informed that
nearly a thousand people stood out in the church-
yard, and that hundreds returned home, this put me
first upon thinking of preaching without doors. I
mentioned it to some friends, who looked upon it as a
mad motion. However, we kneeled down and prayed
that nothing might be done rashly. Hear and an-
swer, 0 Lord, for thy name’s sake.”

We shall soon see how his extempore expositions
and prayers were fitting him for this new enterprise.
He would have commenced in London now, but he
lacked a fair opportunity.


 

 

 

                             CHAPTER III.

OPEN-AIR PREACHING IN ENGLAND AND WALES—

ERECTION OP THE TABERNACLE IN LONDON.

                                      1738-1739.

 

Under the circumstances we have related in our
last chapter, Whitefield paid another visit to Bristol,
and soon found that he had to meet with new and
very unexpected opposition. When he arrived in the
city, the chancellor of the diocese, while he did not
approve of what he considered his irregular conduct,
told him that he would not prohibit any clergyman
from lending him his church; but in a few days after-
wards he sent for the evangelist, and announced
his entire opposition to his movements. Strangely
enough, he now asked Whitefield by what authority
he preached in the diocese of Bristol without a license.
The reply of the intrepid minister was, that he sup-
posed such a custom had become obsolete, and asked
the chancellor in his turn, “And pray, sir, why did
you not ask the clergyman who preached for you last
Thursday this question?” The chancellor then read
to him the canons which forbid any clergyman from
preaching in a private house; to which Whitefield
replied, that he did not suppose these canons referred
to professed ministers of the church of England; and
when the chancellor told him he was mistaken, he
reminded his superior, “There is also a canon, sir,
forbidding all clergymen to frequent taverns and play
at cards; why is not that put in execution?” And


 


he then added, that notwithstanding any canons to
the contrary, he could not but speak the things which
he knew, and that he was resolved to proceed as usual.
His answer was written down, and the chancellor
closed the interview with the words, “I am resolved,
sir, if you preach or expound anywhere in this dio-
cese till you have a license, I will first suspend, and
then excommunicate you.” The crisis was now come;
the Rubicon had been passed, and the inquiry might
well be made, “What will Whitefield now do?”

Already have we seen that he had earnestly de-
sired, in London, to preach in the open air, for want
of room in the churches, and indeed also from the
opposition of the clergy, which had begun so strongly
to manifest itself; and during this journey to Bristol
he found it necessary to preach in the open air or not
at all. As this event was of vast importance in its
results, both in his own history and that of Mr. Wes-
ley, who also began to preach on the same spot within
two months after Whitefield had opened the way, we
must stay a while to narrate the facts.

At that time, the colliers of Kingswood, near the
city of Bristol, were a most depraved and reckless
class of men. Inconceivably barbarous and ignorant,
they trampled on all laws, human and divine, and
hesitated not to set the magistrates at defiance. It
was dangerous to pass near the scene of their labors,
even in open day, for robberies and murders were of
frequent occurrence; in a word, it was truly “a seat
of Satan.” When Whitefield was at Bristol, making
collections for his projected orphan institution in
Georgia, not a few persons had said to him, “Why


IIANHAM MOUNT
image4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


FIRST OPEN-AIR PREACHING                    73

 

go abroad; have we not Indians enough at home?
If you have a mind to convert Indians, there are col-
liers enough in Kingswood.”  “I thought,” says he,
“it might be doing the service of my Creator; who
had a mountain for his pulpit, and the heavens for his
sounding-board, and who, when his gospel was refused
by the Jews, sent his servants into the highways and
hedges.” After much prayer and many inward strug-
gles, he went one day to a gentle elevation on the
south side of Kingswood, called Hanham Mount, and
there, under an old sycamore-tree, he preached his,
first sermon in the open air to about a hundred col-
liers. The scene must have been very impressive.
Before him stretched the rich and beautiful valley of
the Avon, through which the river was gently wind-
ing, bordered in the distance by the undulating hills;
while on his right and left the cities of Bath and
Bristol were within sight.

The fact of his preaching here soon and extensively
spread, and at meeting after meeting his audience in-
creased, till he found himself addressing nearly twenty
thousand persons
. His own account of the effects pro-
duced is very striking. He says, “The first discovery
of their being affected, was in the white gutters made
by their tears, which plentifully fell down their black
cheeks, as they came out of their coal pits. Hundreds
and hundreds of them were soon brought under deep
convictions, which happily ended in sound and thor-
ough conversion. As the scene was quite new, and
I had just begun to be an extempore preacher, I had
often many inward conflicts. Sometimes, when twenty
thousand people were before me, I had not, as I

Whitefield.                          4


 

74           GEORGE WHITEFIELD

thought, a word to say; but I was never deserted;
and I was often so assisted as to understand what
that meaneth, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of
living water.’ The open firmament above; the pros-
pect of the adjacent fields; with the sight of thousands
and thousands, some in coaches, some on horseback,
and some in the trees, and all so affected as to be
drenched in tears together, to which sometimes was
added the solemnity of the approaching night, were
almost too much for me; I was occasionally all but
overcome.” Writing to Mr. Wesley a few weeks
afterwards, he says, “Yesterday I began to play the
madman in Gloucestershire, by preaching on a table
in Thornbury-street. To-day I have exhorted twice,
and by and by I shall begin a third time; nothing
like doing good by the way. I suppose you have
heard of my proceedings in Kingswood.”

We scarcely need to remark here, that Kingswood
has ever since been regarded as a sacred spot in ec-
clesiastical history. Here houses for Wesleyan Meth-
odists and Independents were soon erected, and in
them thousands have been converted to God. Here
was placed the first school for the sons of Methodist
preachers, and on Hanham Mount, besides the voice of
Whitefield, those of the Wesleys, Coke and Mather,
Pawson and Benson, and Bradburn, accomplished some
of the mightiest effects which attended their powerful
preaching. There are yet some living in the neigh-
borhood who were awakened under their ministry, and
whose eyes glisten as they tell of the blessed days that
are past.

Besides the colliers, and thousands from the neigh-


 

boring villages, persons of all ranks daily flocked out
of Bristol. And he was soon invited by many of the
most respectable people to preach on a large bowling-
green in the city itself. Many of the people indeed
sneered to see a stripling with a gown mount a table
on unconsecrated ground; this even excited once or
twice the laugh of some of the higher ranks, who had
admired him in the churches. But he was unmoved,
and his preaching was so blessed, that many were
awakened. Sometimes he was employed almost from
morning till night answering those who, in distress of
soul, cried out, “What shall I do to be saved?” He
now sought the help of Mr. John Wesley, who, after
much reasoning with himself on the subject, complied
with the invitation, and followed Whitefield's exam-
ple, who immediately committed the work to him.
Before leaving the neighborhood, however, White-
field had the satisfaction of laying the foundation of
a school for Kingswood; for the support of which the
colliers liberally and cheerfully subscribed.

Taking an affectionate leave of his Bristol friends,
Whitefield made an excursion into Wales, where a
revival of religion had commenced several years be-
fore, under the ministry of the Rev. Griffith Jones,
and was now carried on by the ministry of Mr. Howel
Harris, a man of strong mental powers, great Christian
zeal, and considerable learning. They met at Cardiff.
Whitefield’s heart was then glowing with the fire he
had himself kindled at Bristol and Kingswood. On
his way from Bristol to Cardiff, he was delayed at the
New Passage by contrary winds. He says, “At the
inn there was an unhappy clergyman who would not


 


76         GEORGE WHITEFIELD

go over in the passage-boat, because I was in it. Alas,
thought I, this very temper would make heaven itself
unpleasant to that man, if he saw me there. I was
told that he charged me with being a dissenter. I
saw him, soon after, shaking his elbows over a gaming-
table. I heartily wish those who charge me cause-
lessly with schism and being righteous overmuch,
would consider that the canons of our church forbid
the clergy to frequent taverns, or to play at cards or
dice, or any other unlawful games. Their indulging
themselves in these things is a stumbling-block to
thousands.”

We have said that Whitefield first met Howel
Harris at Cardiff. After preaching in the town-hall,
from the judges’ seat, he says, “I was much refreshed
with the sight of Mr. Howel Harris; whom, though
I knew not in personal have long loved, and have
often felt my soul drawn out in prayer in his behalf. . .
When I first saw him, my heart was knit closely to
him. I wanted to catch some of his fire, and gave
him the right hand of fellowship with my whole heart.
After I had saluted him, and given an exhortation to
a great number of people, who followed me to the inn,
we spent the remainder of the evening in taking sweet
counsel together, and telling one another what God
had done for our souls. A divine and strong sympa-
thy seemed to be between us, and I was resolved to
promote his interest with all my might. Accordingly
we took an account of the several societies, and agreed
on such measures as seemed most conducive to pro-
mote the common interest of our Lord. Blessed be
God, there seems a noble spirit gone out into Wales;


 

 

PREACHING IN WALES.                         77

and I believe that, ere long, there will be more visible
fruits of it. What inclines me strongly to think so
is, that the partition wall of bigotry and party spirit
is broken down, and ministers and teachers of differ-
ent communions join, with one heart and one mind, to
carry on the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Lord
make all the Christian world thus minded; for, until
this is done, we must, I fear, despair of any great
reformation in the church of God.”

Before leaving Cardiff, Whitefield preached again
in the town-hall, to a large assembly. He says, “My
dear brother Harris sat close by me. I did not ob-
serve any scoffers within; but without, some were
pleased to honor me so far as to trail a dead fox, and
hunt it about the hall. But, blessed be God, my voice
prevailed. This being done, I went, with many of my
hearers, among whom were two worthy dissenting
ministers, to public worship; and in the second les-
son were these remarkable words: ‘The high-priests,
and the scribes, and the chief of the people sought to
destroy him; but they could not find what they might
do to him; for all the people were very attentive to
hear him.’

“In the afternoon I preached again, without any
disturbance or scoffing. In the evening, I talked for
above an hour and a half with the religious society,
and never did I see a congregation more melted
down. The love of Jesus touched them to the quick.
Most of them were dissolved in tears. They came to
me after, weeping, bidding me farewell, and wishing I
could continue with them longer. Thanks be to God,
for such an entrance into Wales. I wrestled with God



 

for them in prayer, and blessed be His holy name for
sending me into Wales. I hope these are the first-
fruits of a greater harvest, if ever it should please
God to bring me back from Georgia. ‘Father, thy
will be done.’”

Whitefield returned from this short excursion, to
Bristol, baptized with Welsh fire, and renewed his
labors among the Kingswood colliers with more than
his usual power and success. He could not, however,
forget the tears which had entreated him to stay lon-
ger in Wales, and in three or four weeks he visited
Usk and Pontypool, where he was again met by Howel
Harris. At Usk, “the pulpit being denied, I preached
upon a table, under a large tree, to some hundreds,
and God was with us of a truth. On my way to Pon-
typool, I was informed by a man who heard it, that
Counsellor H—— did me the honor to make a public
motion to Judge P to stop me and brother Howel
Harris from going about teaching the people. Poor
man, he put me in mind of Tertullus, in the Acts; but
my hour is not yet come. I have scarcely begun my
testimony. For my finishing it, my enemies must
have power over me from above. Lord, prepare me
for that hour.”

The report to which we have just referred did not
prevent the curate of Pontypool from cordially invit-
ing Whitefield into his pulpit. He also read prayers
for him. After the sermon, it was found that so many
had come to hear who could not find room in the
church, that another sermon was loudly called for.
He says, “I went and preached to all the people in
the field. I always find I have most power when I


 


PREACHING IN WALES.                         79

preach in the open air; a proof to me that God is
pleased with this way of preaching. I betook myself
to rest, full of such unutterable peace as no one can
conceive of but those who feel it.”

In several other places did our evangelist, during
this excursion, unfurl the banner of the cross; and at
its close he writes, “Oh how swiftly this week has
glided away. To me it has been but as one day.
How do I pity those who complain that time hangs
on their hands! Let them but love Christ, and
spend their whole time in his service, and they will
find but few melancholy hours.” Nor will any won-
der that he should thus speak, who consider the spirit
which animated his soul. What he some time after-
wards wrote to Howel Harris, from Philadelphia, in-
dicated the spirit he himself cherished: “Intersperse
prayers with your exhortations, and thereby call down
fire from heaven, even the fire of the Holy Ghost,

    “To soften, sweeten, and refine,

And melt them into love.”

Speak every time, my dear brother, as if it were your
last; weep out, if possible, every argument, and compel
them to cry, ‘Behold how he loveth us.’”

From Wales, Whitefield went to visit his native
city, Gloucester; and after one or two sermons, he
found himself here also excluded from the parochial
pulpits. But notwithstanding his persecutions, and
the infirm state of his health at that time, his labors
in Gloucester and its vicinity were constant and emi-
nently successful. Bowling-greens, market-crosses,
highways, and other such places, bore witness to his
faithful and tearful labors.


 

 

80                 GEORGE WHITEFIELD

          At Gloucester lived at that time the Rev. Mr.
Cole, an old dissenting minister, who often heard
Whitefield preach, and used to say, “These are the
days of the Son of man indeed!” Whitefield, when a
boy, had been taught to ridicule this Mr. Cole; and
when he was once asked what profession he would
engage in, replied, “I will be a minister, but I will
take care never to tell stories in the pulpit like old
Cole.” Twelve years afterwards, the old minister
heard the young one preach, and tell some story to
illustrate his subject, when the venerable servant of
Christ remarked, “I find young Whitefield can tell
stories now as well as old Cole.” The good man
was much affected with the preaching of his young
friend, and was so humble, that he used to subscribe
himself his curate, and went about in the country preach-
ing after him. One evening, while preaching, he was
struck with death, and asked for a chair to lean on
till he had finished his sermon. Having done this, he
was carried up stairs and died. When the fact was
told to Whitefield, he said, “0 blessed God, if it be
thy holy will, may my exit be like his!” How striking
is this fact when looked at in connection with the cir-
cumstances of his own removal from earth.

Intent on the advancement of his orphan-house in
Georgia, Whitefield soon went to London, passing on
his way through Oxford. At both places he found
opposition, and in London was shut out of the churches.
He preached to thousands in Islington churchyard,
and now resolved to give himself to the work in the
open air.

From the conflict with the enemies who a few


 

years before had threatened her existence, the po-
lemics of the church of England now turned to resist
the unwelcome ally who menaced her repose. Bishop
Warburton led the van, and behind him many a mitred
front scowled on the audacious innovator. Divested
of the logomachies which chiefly engaged the attention
of the disputants, the controversy between Whitefield
and the bishops lay in a narrow compass. It being
mutually conceded that the virtues of the Christian
life can result only from certain divine impulses, and
that to lay a claim to this holy inspiration when its
legitimate fruits are wanting, is a fatal delusion, he
maintained, and they denied, that the person who is
the subject of this sacred influence has within his own
bosom an independent attestation of its reality. So
abstruse a debate required the zest of some more pun-
gent ingredients, and the polemics with whom White-
field had to do were not such sciolists in their calling
as to be ignorant of the necessity of riveting upon
him some epithet at once opprobrious and vague.
While therefore milder spirits arraigned him as an
enthusiast, Warburton, with constitutional energy of
invective, denounced him as a fanatic. In vain White-
field demanded a definition of these reproachful terms.
To have fixed their meaning would have been to blunt
their edge. They afforded a solution, at once com-
pendious, obscure, and repulsive, of whatever was re-
markable in his character, and have been associated
with his name from that time to the present.

The spots on which Whitefield now began, in his
own language, “to take the field,” and publicly to
erect the standard of the Redeemer’s cross, are well

                                             4*


 

 

82       GEORGE WHITEFIELD

known. Moorfields, then a place of general rendezvous
and recreation from the crowded city, Kennington
Common then about two, and Blackheath about five
miles from London, were the favorite sites to which
he loved to resort, and “open his mouth boldly” to
listening thousands, in honor of his crucified and
glorified Lord. Recording his first engagement of
this kind in his diary of Sabbath evening, April 29,
1739, he writes, “ Begun to be yet more vile this day,
for I preached at Moorfields to an exceeding great
multitude; and at five in the evening went and preach-
ed at Kennington Common, where upwards of twenty
thousand were supposed to be present. The wind
being for me, it carried my voice to the extreme part
of my audience. All stood attentive, and joined in
the psalm and the Lord’s prayer so regularly, that I
scarce ever preached with more quietness in a church.
Many were much affected.

              “‘For this let men revile my name,

I’ll shun no cross, I’ll fear no shame;

All hail, reproach, and welcome pain,

Only thy terrors, Lord, restrain.’ ”

For several successive months, the places we have
named were his chief scenes of action. At a moder-
ate computation, the audience frequently consisted of
twenty thousand. It is said that the singing could
be heard two miles, and the voice of the preacher
nearly one. Sometimes there were upwards of a hun-
dred coaches, besides wagons, scaffolds, and other
contrivances by which a sight of him could be ob-
tained. The rising ground on Blackheath, from which
Whitefield preached, is still known as “Whitefield’s


 


PREACHING IN LONDON             83

mount,” and after his death, Lord Dartmouth planted
it with fir-trees. It will ever be a grateful recollec-
tion to the author of this volume, that during the
summer of 1839 he prevailed on some of the most em-
inent ministers of England to preach on every succes-
sive Monday evening on this hallowed spot; and that
here many thousands then heard the way of salvation,
and not a few were brought to the cross of Christ.
In that immediate neighborhood too, now densely
populated, he organized, and for some years preached
to a Christian church. Memorable times! Many
were the manifestations of the Redeemer’s favor.

An anecdote which we heard many years ago from
one of Whitefield’s Blackheath hearers, may here be
related. While one day preaching on “the heath,”
there passed along the road at some distance, an old
man and “Mary” his wife, with their ass and his
loaded panniers, returning from London to their home
in Kent. Attracted alike by the crowd and the
preacher’s voice, the old man and his wife turned a
little out of their way to hear “what the man was
talking about.” Whitefield spoke of somewhat which
occurred eighteen hundred years ago, and the old
man said, “Mary, come along, it is only something
which happened a long while ago but Mary’s atten-
tion had been arrested, and she wished to stay a min-
ute or two longer. They were both soon in tears,
and the inquiry was excited in their hearts, “What
shall we do to be saved?” On their way home, while
“talking of all these things,” the old man recollected
his neglected Bible, and asked, “Why, Mary, does
not our old book at home say somewhat about these



 

things?” They went home, and examined the old book
with new light. “Why, Mary,” asked the old man,
“is this indeed our old book?  why, everything in it
seems quite new.” So true is it, that the teaching of
the Spirit gives new discernment as to the truths of
divine revelation.

A fact strikingly illustrating the children’s love
to our evangelist may be here mentioned. In his
open-air preachings, especially in and about London,
he was usually attended by many of them, who sat
round him, in and about the pulpit, and handed to
him the notes of those who desired his counsels and
prayers. These children were exposed to the missiles
with which he was often assailed, but however terri-
fied they might be? or even hurt, they seldom shrunk;
“but,” says he, “on the contrary, every time I was
struck, they turned up their little weeping eyes, and
seemed to wish they could receive the blows for me.”

Speaking of his open-air labors, the devoted preach-
er says, “Words cannot express the displays of divine
grace which we saw, and heard of, and felt. Lord, not
unto me, but unto thy name be all the glory.” On a sub-
sequent occasion he writes, “We have had a glorious
season, a true Easter. Jesus Christ is risen indeed.
I have been preaching in Moorfields, and our Saviour
carries all before us. Nothing can resist his conquer-
ing blood. It would have delighted you to see poor
sinners flock from the booths to see Jesus lifted up on
the pole of the gospel.” The climax of his success
there, is one of the most remarkable letters that ever
came from a mortal’s pen. He records at its close,
“We then retired to the Tabernacle, with my pockets


 


TABERNACLE IN LONDON               85

full of notes from persons brought under concern, and
read them amidst the praises and spiritual acclama-
tions of thousands, who joined with the holy angels in
rejoicing that so many sinners were snatched, in such
an unexpected, unlikely place and manner, out of the
very jaws of the devil. This was the beginning of
the Tabernacle society. Three hundred and fifty
awakened souls were received in one day; and I be-
lieve the number of notes exceeded a thousand. But
I must have done, believing you want to retire, to join
in mutual praise with me in thanksgiving to God and
the Lamb.”

Having thus introduced the name of the Taberna-
cle, it is important that the reader should be acquaint-
ed with the origin of the buildings which have borne
that name. From the very first of what may be called
his irregular labors, Whitefield always declared that
he “would never be the founder of a sect.” He kept
his word; yet two London churches remain as his
memorial—the Tabernacle, and Tottenham Court-road
chapel, the one in the north, and the other in the wes-
tern part of the metropolis. The Tabernacle, which
was first erected, was his more especial and favorite
field of labor, and he dwelt in the house adjoining it,
which is still the pastoral residence.

Moorfields, just without the limits of the old north
city wall of London, was, a few years before White-
field first knew it, a marsh, and during the greater
part of the year, was absolutely impassable. Having
been partially drained, a brick kiln was erected, and
the first bricks used in London are said to have been
manufactured there. Afterwards it was a field for


 


86                     GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

the practice of archery, when it was laid out in walks,
and called the City Mall. Though improved in name
and appearance, it became the rallying ground for the
rabble of London; wrestlers, boxers, and mounte-
banks, the idle, the dissolute, and the profane, held
here their daily and nightly revels. It appeared, in
fact, to be one of the strong-holds of Satan, and there-
fore became a most tempting and important point of
attack for the daring eloquence of Whitefield. All
London rang one day with the announcement that
Whitefield would preach the day following at Moor-
fields.

This was in January, 1739. Gillies says, “The
thing being strange and new, he found, on coming out
of the coach, an incredible number of people assem-
bled. Many told him that he would never come out
of that place alive. He went in, however, between
two friends, who by the pressure of the crowd were
soon parted from him entirely, and obliged to leave
him to the mercy of the rabble. But these, instead of
hurting him, formed a lane for him, and carried him
along to the middle of the fields, where a table had
been placed. This, however, having been broken by
the crowd, he mounted a wall, and preached to an
exceeding great multitude in tones so melting, that
his words drew tears and groans from the most aban-
doned of his hearers. Moorfields became henceforth
one of the principal scenes of his triumphs. Thirty
thousand people sometimes gathered together to hear
him, and generous contributions here poured in for
his orphan-house at Bethesda. On one occasion
twenty pounds—about one hundred dollars—were re-


 


TABERNACLE IN LONDON.               87

ceived in half-pennies, more than one person was able
to carry away, and enough to put one out of conceit
with a specie currency.”

It was not till his fifth visit to London, in March,
1741, that Whitefield ventured to preach in Moor-
fields on a week-day; the day selected for this bold
action being Good-Friday. His chief, if not his only
friends on this occasion, he tells us, were a few
“orthodox dissenters.” These people perceiving the
inconvenience to which he was subjected by the
weather, during the morning and evening services in
Moorfields, procured the loan of a piece of ground,
and employed a carpenter to build a large temporary
shed, to screen the auditory from the cold and rain.
This building Whitefield called a “ tabernacle,” as it
was only intended to be used a few months during his
stay in his native country, previous to his return to
America. Providence, however, had otherwise deter-
mined, and this proved the commencement of a per-
manent establishment of the means of grace. A great
spiritual awakening took place; congregations be-
came very large, acquiring at the same time consider-
able cohesion, and assuming a stationary character.
This original fabric of wood was a place of large
dimensions; and notwithstanding its rude aspect and
temporary design, it sufficed for the accommodation of
Whitefield and his flock, during the twelve succeeding
years—a period the most brilliant and useful of his
extraordinary career.

Some of Whitefield’s friends, however, did not
approve of the original wooden structure; and an-
ticipating or desiring the formation of a Christian



 

church, they called for the immediate erection of a
substantial brick building, a point which was debated
with a warmth approaching to violence, of which
Whitefield makes pathetic mention seven years after-
wards. Here then several important facts are estab-
lished: that the original tabernacle sprang not from
Whitefield, but from a voluntary movement among his
adherents, composed chiefly, if not wholly, of Protes-
tant dissenters; that the expense was borne not by
him, but by them; that much debate and dissension
attended the measure, proving the thoroughly free
and popular character of the original movement; and
that, as the edifice originated with the people alone,
so did the institution of regular worship. It is cer-
tain that fears existed in the mind of Whitefield as to
the success of such an organization; but the results
most happily disappointed his expectations.

The subject of the erection of a more spacious
edifice in the place of the tabernacle of wood, was
first discussed at the mansion of Lady Huntingdon, in
Leicestershire, when Drs. Doddridge and Stonehouse,
and the Rev. Messrs. Hervey and Whitefield happen-
ed to meet together, in the summer of 1751. During
the following winter, Whitefield began to make col-
lections for the object, and on almost its first presenta-
tion in London, nine hundred pounds, or four thou-
sand five hundred dollars, were subscribed. “But,”
he says, “on the principle that burned children dread
the fire, I do not mean to begin until I get one thou-
sand in hand, and then to contract at a certain sum
for the whole.” The fact was, that Whitefield had
often been in great straits for the support of his or-


 


TABERNACLE IN LONDON.               89

phan-house in Georgia, “for I forgot,” he says, “that
Professor Francke built in Glaucha, in a populous
country, and that I was building at the very tail of
the world.”  In March, 1753, he wrote to Mr. Charles
Wesley,” On Tuesday morning the first brick of our
new Tabernacle was laid with awful solemnity. I
preached from Exodus 20:24, ‘In all places where I
record my name, I will come unto thee, and I will
bless thee.’ The wall is now about a yard high. The
building is to be eighty feet square. It is on the old
spot. We have bought the house, and if we finish
what we have begun, shall be rent free for forty-six
years.”  In June the dedicatory services took place,
when the Tabernacle, though capable, with its capa-
cious galleries, of holding four thousand people, was
crowded almost to suffocation. Often have we seen
this vast building crowded with worshippers, with
delight have we occupied its pulpit, and with devout
gratitude do we record, that never for a moment has
the frown of heaven rested upon it. Thousands will
ever bless God for its erection.

Not unfrequently has the question been discussed,
to what denomination of Christians does the Taberna-
cle really belong? In answer to this question, we give
a legal document which may also show what is done
in reference to houses of worship in England, under
the laws for the maintenance of religious toleration.

“These are to certifie whom it may Concern, that
a Certificate bearing date the Eighteenth Day of June,
in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hun-
dred and Sixty-four, under the Hands of Starkey
Myddleton Minister, Robert Keen, Thomas Cox,


 

 

90             GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

Samuel Grace, Robert Hodgson, James Smith, Thomas
Robinson, Benjamin Coles, Thomas Brooks, and Samuel
Lockhart, for appropriating and setting apart a Cer-
tain Building for that purpose erected, situate near
the Barking Dogs in the Parish of Saint Luke in the
County of Middlesex, and intended for the meeting
place of a certain Congregation of Protestant Dis-
senters from the Church of England, calling them-
selves Independents, was Registered in the Registry
of the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of
Saint Paul, London, This Twenty-first Day of June in
the year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred
and Sixty-four.

“THOMAS COLLINS, Deputy Registrar.”

While the new Tabernacle was in the course of
erection, Whitefield visited Norwich, where his minis-
try was largely attended, and notwithstanding much
opposition, was followed with considerable success.
Writing to his friend Keen, he says, “How does God
delight to exceed even the hopes, and to disappoint the
fears of his weak, though honest-hearted people. In
spite of all opposition, he hath caused us to triumph
even in Norwich. Thousands attend twice every day,
and hear with the greatest eagerness. I hope it will
appear yet more and more that God hath much peo-
ple here.” Compelled by alarming illness, the result
of his too much preaching, he suddenly returned to
London, from whence he thus wrote to one of the con-
verts at Norwich: “I shall little regard the weakness
and indisposition of my body, if I can but have the
pleasure of hearing, if not before, yet at the great
day, that good was done to one precious soul at Nor-


 


TABERNACLE IN LONDON.             91

wich. Blessed be God for the seed sown there. I
doubt not but it will be watered with the dew of his
heavenly blessing, and bring forth a divine increase.”

Truly the gospel did triumph, not only in the erec-
tion of the Tabernacle in that city, but in preparing
sinners to be pillars in the temple of God, and to win
others to his service.

Among other converts won at Norwich, was the
afterwards popular and useful minister of Christ, the
Rev. Robert Robinson, of Cambridge, England. When
a young man, about eighteen, he resided in that city,
and was engaged in the business of a barber.  When
he was walking one morning with several companions
who had agreed that day to take their pleasure, the
first object which attracted their attention was an old
woman who pretended to tell fortunes. They imme-
diately employed her to tell theirs, and that they
might qualify her for the undertaking, first made her
thoroughly intoxicated. Robinson was informed,
among other things, that he would live to a very old
age, and see his children, grandchildren, and great-
grandchildren growing up around him. Though he
had assisted in intoxicating the old woman, he had
credulity enough to be struck with those parts of the
prediction which related to himself. “And so,” said
he when alone, “I am to see children, grandchildren,
and great-grandchildren. At that age I must be a
burden to the young people. What shall I do? There
is no way for an old man to render himself more
agreeable to youth, than by sitting and telling them
pleasant and profitable stories. I will then,” thought
he, “during my youth, endeavor to store my mind



 

with all kinds of knowledge. I will see and hear,
and note down everything that is rare and wonder-
ful, that I may sit, when incapable of other employ-
ments, and entertain my descendants. Thus shall my
company be rendered pleasant, and I shall be respect-
ed, rather than neglected, in old age. Let me see,
what can I acquire first? Oh, here is the famous
Methodist preacher, Whitefield; he is to preach here,
they say, to-night; I will go and hear him.”

From these strange motives, as he told the cele-
brated Rev. Andrew Fuller, he went to hear White-
field preach. That evening his text was, “But when
he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to
his baptism, he said unto them, 0 generation of vipers,
who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
Matt. 3 :7.   “Mr. Whitefield,” said Robinson, “de-

scribed the Sadducees’ character; this did not touch
me; I thought myself as good a Christian as any man
in England. From this he went to that of the Phari-
sees. He described their exterior decency, but ob-
served, that the poison of the viper rankled in their
hearts. This rather shook me. At length, in the
course of his sermon, he abruptly broke off; paused
for a few moments; then burst into a flood of tears,
lifted up his hands and eyes, and exclaimed, ‘Oh, my
hearers, the wrath’s to come! the wrath's to come!”
These words sunk into my heart like lead in the
water; I wept, and when the sermon was ended re-
tired alone. For days and weeks I could think of
little else. Those awful words would follow me wher-
ever I went: “The wrath’s to come! The wrath’s to
come!”


 

TOTTENHAM COURT-ROAD CHAPEL.                               93

 

Scarcely had Whitefield completed the Tabernacle
in London, before he was earnestly solicited to hold
public services at the west end of the city, and Long-
Acre chapel, then under the charge of a dissenter, was
offered for his use. An unruly rabble endeavored to
drive the preacher from his post; but a running fire
of brickbats, broken glass, bells, drums, and clappers,
neither annoyed nor frightened the intrepid evange-
list; nor did an interference on the part of the hierar-
chy, which followed soon after, prohibiting his preach-
ing in an incorporated chapel. “I hope you will not
look on it as contumacy,” said Whitefield to the bish-
op, “if I persist in prosecuting my design until I am
more particularly apprized wherein I have erred. I
trust the irregularity I am charged with will appear
justifiable to every lover of English liberty, and what
is all to me, be approved at the awful and impartial
tribunal of the great Bishop and Shepherd of souls.”
Writing to Lady Huntingdon, he says, “My greatest
distress is so to act as to avoid rashness on the one
hand and timidity on the other;” and this shows, what
indeed was proved in his whole life, an entire absence
of that malignant element of fanaticism which courts
opposition and revels in it.

“Determined,” as Mrs. Knight says, in her beauti-
ful volume, “Lady Huntingdon and her Friends,” “not
to be beaten from his ground, yet hoping to escape
some of its annoyances, Whitefield resolved to build
a chapel of his own. Hence arose Tottenham Court-
road chapel, which went by the name of ‘Whitefield’s
soul-trap.’” Admirably does he say, “I pray the
Friend of sinners to make it a soul-trap indeed to


 

94              GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

many wandering creatures. My constant work is
preaching fifteen times a week. Conviction and con-
version go on here, for God hath met us in our new
building.” It was completed and dedicated in No-
vember, 1756. Though not equal in its triumphs to
the Tabernacle, the congregation has always been
large, and its preachers—always the same as those
at the Tabernacle—have not labored in vain. In
1829, ’30, improvements were made in the building,
which still, however, contains Whitefield's pulpit. A
vast area in the centre was originally filled with plain
seats, where the masses of the people were accommo-
dated free of all pew rent.

Let not infidels tell us, that the religion of these
men and of those times was mere enthusiasm, and that
the temporal interests of men were neglected in pro-
fessions of high regard for those of a spiritual charac-
ter. Let such men know that within two years of the
opening of Tottenham Court-road chapel, not only
did the congregation build a parsonage-house for their
minister, but twelve almshouses for as many poor wid-
ows. The Tabernacle has always acted with equal
generosity. In proportion to their means, few con-
gregations in the world have exceeded these two in
works of benevolence.

Assuredly what has sometimes been charged on
evangelical ministers—that they attend to the spirit-
ual interests of mankind, but neglect their temporal
sufferings—would never apply to Mr. Whitefield. No
sooner had he completed these large edifices, where
vast congregations assembled, than he was heard fre-
quently to plead for those laboring under oppression



 

or distress in foreign lands. He preached in both
these houses in behalf of the poor French Protestants
in Prussia, who had suffered much from the cruelty
of the Russians, when great numbers of the nobility,
and some of the highest officers of the crown went to
hear him. The collections for this object amounted
to upwards of fifteen hundred pounds, or seven thou-
sand five hundred dollars; and for this disinterested
act of benevolence Whitefield received the thanks of
his Prussian Majesty.

Again, on the day recommended by the govern-
ment for a general fast, Mr. Whitefield preached both
at the Tabernacle and at Tottenham Court-road chap-
el, after which he collected five hundred and sixty
pounds for the relief of the German Protestants, and
the sufferers by fire at Boston, for which he received
the unanimous thanks of the inhabitants of that town.
Lady Huntingdon wrote to one of her friends, “It
would delight you to have seen what crowds of the
mighty and noble flocked to hear him. The collection
was for the relief of the poor German Protestants. I
invited several to come who probably would not at-
tend his ministry on other occasions.” Few places at
that time could boast of such a constellation of trans-
cendent genius and senatorial talent, such a brilliant
assemblage of wisdom, magnanimity, and oratorical
powers, as were then found within these houses of the
living God.

One word may be allowed here on the plain archi-
tecture of these buildings. “We are,” says the excel-
lent Mr. James, “in many things improved, and I
rejoice in the improvement; but the occasion of my


 


96               GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

joy is at the same time the occasion of my fear and
my jealousy also. Our ecclesiastical architecture is
just now a special object of our attention. White-
field, it may be confessed, paid too little attention to
this; we, perhaps, are paying too much. His only
solicitude was to save souls, careless altogether of the
tastefulness of the building within which that work,
which has no relation to styles of architecture, was
carried on. His only calculation in the construction
of a building was, how many immortal souls could be
crowded within four square walls, and under a roof,
to hear ‘the joyful sound.’ Hence the somewhat un-
couth buildings which he erected. Ah, but when I
consider that every stone in those unsightly walls has
echoed to the sound of salvation and the hymns of
redeemed spirits, and that almost every spot on the
floor has been moistened by the tears of penitence,
then, in a feeling of sanctity I seem to lose the sense
of deformity, and there comes over me an awe and
solemnity which no modern gothic structure with its
lofty arches and painted windows can inspire. But
still, as religion is not only the most holy, but the
most beautiful thing in God’s universe, there is no
reason why taste and devotion should not be united.
It is the ministry of the word, however, upon which
the church must be chiefly intent.”


 


SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA.                97

 

                CHAPTER IV.

WHITEFIELD’S SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA.

                                 1739, 1740.

 

As in the preceding chapter, for the sake of con-
necting the history of Whitefield’s church edifices in
London, we have anticipated the order of events, we
go back to the period, shortly before his second voyage
to America.

About the time of which we are now writing, a
circumstance occurred of deep interest, which White-
field relates at considerable length. Joseph Periam,
a young man in London, who had read his sermon on
“regeneration,” became deeply impressed by it; he
sold all that he possessed, and prayed so loud and
fasted so long, that his family supposed him deranged,
and sent him to the Bedlam madhouse, where he was
treated as “methodistically mad,” and as “one of
Whitefield’s gang.” The keepers threw him down,
and forced a key into his mouth, while they drenched
him with medicine. He was then placed in a cold
room without windows, and with a damp cellar under
it. Periam, however, found some means of conveying
a letter to Whitefield, requesting both advice and a
visit. These were promptly given. The preacher
soon discovered that Periam was not mad; and tak-
ing a Mr. Seward and some other friends with him,
he went before the committee of the hospital to ex-
plain the case. It must have been somewhat of a

Whitefield.


 

                                   
98                    GEORGE  WHITEFIELD.

ludicrous scene. Seward so astounded the committee
by quoting Scripture, that they pronounced him to be
as mad as Periam. The doctors frankly told the dep-
utation, that in their opinion, Whitefield and his fol-
lowers were “really beside themselves.” It was how-
ever agreed, that if Whitefield would take Periam out
to Georgia, his release would be granted. Thus the
conference ended, and the young man went out as a
schoolmaster at the Orphan-house. There he was ex-
emplary and useful, and when he died two of his sons
were received into the institution.

Mr. Whitefield so successfully pleaded the cause
of his American orphans, that during his journeys of
twelve months he collected upwards of one thousand
pounds towards the erection of his intended house for
their accommodation. With this sum in his posses-
sion, he set sail for America the second time, August
14, 1739, accompanied by his friend Mr. Seward, eight
men, one boy, and two children.

While all this was going on, the inhabitants of
Georgia were making every possible preparation for
his reception. The records of the trustees say, May
16, 1739, “Read a commission to the Rev. George
Whitefield to perform all religious and ecclesiastical
offices at Savannah, in Georgia.” Again: “June 2,
1739. Sealed a grant of five hundred acres of land
to the Rev. George Whitefield, in trust for the use of
the house to be erected and maintained for the receiv-
ing such children as now are, and shall hereafter be
left orphans in the colony of Georgia, in pursuance of
the direction of the Common Council held the 30th of
last month.”


 

Not only was Whitefield anxious to establish the
orphan-house for the benefit of the whole colony of
Georgia, but having been ordained priest, for the pur-
pose of instructing the inhabitants of the town of Sa-
vannah, he was desirous of making full proof of his
ministry among them. After a passage of nine weeks
he landed at Philadelphia, and was immediately in-
vited to preach in the churches; to which people of
all denominations thronged as in England. He was
especially pleased to find that they preferred sermons
when not delivered within the church walls.” And
it was well they did, for his fame had arrived in the
city before him, and crowds were collected to hear
him which no church could contain.

A letter written on this voyage to America has
recently come to light, which beautifully illustrates
the spirit by which Whitefield was now animated. It
was addressed to the Rev. John Gumming of Andover,
Hampshire, England.

           “Wrote at Sea, dated at Philadelphia, Nov. 9, 1739.
    
“Reverend and dear SirYou see by my writing
this how willing I am to cultivate a correspondence
with you. I wish Christians in general, and ministers
of Christ in particular, were better acquainted. The
cause of Christ thereby must be necessarily promoted.
But bigotry and sectarian zeal have been the bane of
our holy religion. Though we have one Lord, one
faith, and one baptism, yet if we do not all worship
God in one particular way, we behave to each other
like Jews and Samaritans. Dear sir, I hope that nei-

ther of us have so learned Christ. Blessed be God


 

 

for his free grace in Christ. The partition wall has for
some time been broken down out of my heart, and I
can truly say, whosoever loves the Lord Jesus, £ the
same is my brother, and sister, and mother/ For this
reason, dear sir, I love you. For this reason, though
I decrease, yet I heartily wish you may increase, even
with all the increase of God. I am persuaded you
are like-minded. I believe my friends have prayed
for me. The Lord hath dealt most lovingly with me
his servant. He has chastened and corrected, but hath
not given me over into the hands of the enemy. A
future journal will acquaint you with particulars.
What I have sent over to be published will afford you
abundant matter for thanksgiving in behalf of,

“Dear sir, your affectionate friend,

“ Brother, and servant,

“ G. WHITEFIELD.”

The old court-house of Philadelphia, then stand-
ing on Second and Market streets, had a balcony,
which several years before the visit of Whitefield had
been often used instead of a pulpit. In 1736, we find
that Mr. Abel Noble had preached “from the court-
house steps,” on a Monday, to a large congregation
standing in Market-street, on the subject of keeping
the Sabbath. In the same year, Michael Welfare ap-
peared there to give his “warning voice,” and now, in
1739, it became one of the favorite preaching stands
of the great evangelist. Here he stood, surrounded
by many thousands, even down to the side of the Del-
aware river, not a few bathed in tears, and inquiring
after the way of salvation.


image5

OLD COURT-HOUSE, PHILADELPHIA.


TENNENT CHURCH, FREEHOLD, N. J. p. 117.


Hosted by


 


 

Dr. Franklin says, “The multitudes of all sects
and denominations that attended his sermons were
enormous; and it was a matter of speculation with
me to observe the influence of his oratory on his hear-
ers, and how much they admired and respected him,
notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assur-
ing them that they were, naturally, half beasts and
half devils. It was wonderful to see the change soon
made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being
thoughtless and indifferent about religion, it seemed
as if all the world was growing religious; so that one
could not walk through the town in an evening with-
out hearing psalms sung in different families in every
street.”

A constant attendant on his ministry at this time
says, “His hearers were never weary; every eye was
fixed on his expressive countenance; every ear was
charmed with his melodious voice; every heart cap-
tivated with the beauty and propriety of his address.
He was no contracted bigot; all denominations par-
took of his religious charity. Anxious in America
for our civil privileges, he was alike solicitous for the
spiritual and temporal happiness of mankind. No
man since the apostolic age preached oftener or with
better success. He was, moreover, a polite gentle-
man, a faithful friend, an engaging companion, and a
sincere Christian. His sermons in the open air lasted
about one and a half hours.”

Watson, in his “Annals of Philadelphia,” speaking
of Whitefield’s first visit to that city, tells us that he
preached to a crowd of fifteen thousand persons on
Society hill, and adds, “About the same time he so


 


far succeeded to repress the usual public amusements,
that the dancing-school was discontinued, and the
ball and concert rooms were shut up, as inconsistent
with the requisitions of the gospel. No less than
fourteen sermons were preached on Society hill in the
open air in one week, during the session of the Pres-
byterian church; and the gazette of the day, in no-
ticing the fact, says, ‘The change to religion here is
altogether surprising, through the influence of White-
field; no books sell but religious, and such is the
general conversation.’”

It is said, that though some gentlemen broke open
the assembly-rooms, no company could be induced to
visit them. Such was the popularity of Whitefield,
that when he left the city, about one hundred and
fifty gentlemen accompanied him as far as Chester,
fifteen miles from Philadelphia, where he preached to
about seven thousand people. At White Clay creek,
he preached to eight thousand people, three thousand
of whom, it is said, were on horseback. Many com-
plimentary effusions to him appeared in the newspa-
pers, and James Pemberton, a very distinguished
Friend, said of him, “In his conversation he is very
agreeable, and has not much of the priest; he frequents
no set company.”

An old gentleman assured Watson, the annalist,
that on one occasion the words, “And he taught them,
saying,” as pronounced by Whitefield on Society hill,
were heard at Gloucester point, a distance by water
of two miles.

Abundant reasons might be assigned for our in-
troducing in this place an account of the institution


 


called “the Log college.” It has proved the parent
of every collegiate and theological institution con-
nected with the large and wealthy body of Presbyte-
rians in this country it was originated by a family
which became especially endeared to Mr. Whitefield;
and from his journal, recording his visit to it, we
have, in some respects at least, the clearest state-
ment of facts concerning it which history has pre-
served.

As we have already shown, about one hundred and
forty years ago, the state of religion, both in Europe
and America, was very low. Nor was the condition of
the Presbyterian body an exception. As the late Dr.
Alexander, in his interesting volume, called “The Log
College,” says, “The ministers composing the Pres-
byterian church in this country were sound in the
faith, and strongly attached to the Westminster con-
fession of faith and catechisms, as were also their peo-
ple; and there were no diversities or contentions
among them respecting the doctrines of the gospel;
but as to the vital power of godliness, there is reason
to believe that it was little known or spoken of.
Revivals of religion were nowhere heard of, and an
orthodox creed, and a decent external conduct were
the only points on which inquiry was made, when per-
sons were admitted to the communion of the church.
Indeed, it was very much a matter of course, for all
who had been baptized in infancy, to be received into
communion at the proper age, without exhibiting or
possessing any satisfactory evidence of a change of
heart by the supernatural operations of the Holy
Spirit. And the habit of their preachers was to ad-



 

dress their people as though they were all pious, and
only needed instruction and confirmation.”

Such was the lamentable state of things when the
Rev. William Tennent, sen., an Irish clergyman past
the middle stage of life arrived in this country, about
the year 1716. After laboring for a season in the
state of New York, till about 1721, he received an
invitation to settle at Bensalem, where he ministered
to the small Presbyterian congregation till 1726, when
he was called to Neshaminy, in the same county, where
he labored for the rest of his life, living till 1746,
when he died, aged seventy-three. In Neshaminy the
good man felt that he was called not only to discharge
the duties of a preacher and pastor, but to look over
the whole country, and to devise means for the exten-
sion of the cause of Christ. He had himself four
sons, the subjects of divine grace, and blessed with
talents for usefulness in the kingdom of the Redeemer,
and he felt that when other young men rose up in the
church, favored with ministerial talents, they also
would need mental cultivation. Hence his determi-
nation to erect the humble building of which we now
write, which was the first Presbyterian literary and
theological institution in this country, the immediate
parent of the college at Princeton, and from which,
indeed, all similar institutions emanated.

The site of the Log college is about a mile from
Neshaminy creek, where the Presbyterian church has
long stood. The ground near and around it lies hand-
somely to the eye, and the more distant prospect is
very beautiful for while there is a considerable ex-
tent of fertile, well-cultivated land, nearly level, the


 


view is bounded to the north and west by a range of
hills, which have a very pleasing appearance. Mr.
Whitefield has left in his “Journal,’ the only descrip-
tion we have of the building. “ The place,” says he,
“wherein the young men study now, is in contempt
called ‘the college.’ It is a log-house about twenty
feet long, and nearly as many broad; and to me it
seemed to resemble the school of the old prophets,
for their habitations were mean. That they sought
not great things for themselves is plain from these
passages of Scripture, wherein we are told that each
of them took a beam to build them a house; and
that at the feast of the sons of the prophets, one of
them put on the pot, while the others went to fetch
some herbs out of the field. All that we can say of
most of our universities is, they are glorious without.
From this despised place, seven or eight worthy minis-
ters of Jesus have lately been sent forth; more are
almost ready to be sent, and the foundation is now
laying for the instruction of many others.”

Of the senior Tennent, the founder of the Log col-
lege, little more is known than what we have already
given. He was a member of the synod of Philadel-
phia, who were satisfied with his reasons for leaving
the Established church of Ireland, and for several
years this body cordially cooperated with him in his
zealous labors. Their unity of feeling, however, seems
to have declined. This we learn from a passage in
Whitefield’s “Journal,” which also gives us a beauti-
ful view of the good old man. “At my return home,
was much comforted by the coming of one Mr. Ten-
nent, an old gray-headed disciple and soldier of Jesus

                                      5*


 

 

 

Christ. He keeps an academy about twenty miles
from Philadelphia, and has been blest with four gra-
cious sons, three of which have been, and still con-
tinue to be eminently useful in the church of Christ.
He brought three pious souls along with him, and
rejoiced me by letting me know how they had been
evil spoken of for their Master's sake. He is a great
friend of Mr. Erskine, of Scotland; and as far as I
can learn, both he and his sons are secretly despised
by the generality of the synod, as Mr. Erskine and
his friends are hated by the judicatories of Edinburgh,
and as the Methodist preachers, as they are called,
are by their brethren in England."

Not long after this, the Log college was visited by
Whitefield, who wrote the account we have already
given. He also says, under the date of Nov. 29,1739,
“Set out for Neshaminy, twenty miles distant from
Trent Town, where old Mr. Tennent lives, and keeps
an academy, and where I was to preach to-day, accord-
ing to appointment. About twelve o'clock, we came
thither, and found about three thousand people gath-
ered together in the meeting-house yard. Mr. Will-
iam Tennent, junior, an eminent servant of Jesus
Christ, because we stayed beyond the time appointed,
was preaching to them. When I came up, he soon
stopped sung a psalm, and then I began to speak as the
Lord gave me utterance. At first, the people seemed
unaffected, but in the midst of my discourse, the power
of the Lord Jesus came upon me, and I felt such a
struggling within myself for the people as I scarce
ever felt before. The hearers began to be melted
down immediately, and to cry much; and we had



 

 

good reason to hope the Lord intended good for many.
After I had finished, Mr. Gilbert Tennent gave a word
of exhortation, to confirm what had been delivered.
At the end of his discourse, we sung a psalm, and dis-
missed the people with a blessing; 0 that the people
may say Amen to it. After our exercises were over,
we went to old Mr. Tennent’s, who entertained us
like one of the ancient patriarchs. His wife, to me
seemed like Elizabeth, and he like Zachary; both, as
far as I can learn, walk in the commandments and
ordinances of the Lord blameless. Though God was
pleased to humble my soul, so that I was obliged
to retire for a while, yet we had sweet communion
with each other, and spent the evening in concerting
what measures had best be taken for promoting
our dear Lord’s kingdom. It happened very provi-
dentially that Mr. Tennent and his brethren are ap-
pointed to be a presbytery by the synod, so that
they intend bringing up gracious youths, and send-
ing them out from time to time into the Lord’s vine-
yard.”

We may be permitted to add here, that among the
ministers sent out by Mr. Tennent, from the Log col-
lege, to preach the gospel, were his four sons, Gilbert,
William, John, and Charles, the Rev. Messrs. Samuel
Blair, John Blair, Charles Beatty, and Rev. Dr. Samuel
J. Finley, President of Princeton College; of some of
these excellent men the reader will hear again in the
course of this volume.

In reference to his first visit to Philadelphia,
Whitefield thus writes: “I have scarcely preached
among them, but I have seen a stirring among the



 

 

dry bones. Go where I will, I find people with great
gladness receive me into their houses. Sometimes I
think I am speaking to stocks and stones; but before
I have done, the power of the Lord comes over them,
and I find I have been ploughing up some fallow
ground, in a place where there has been a great fam-
ine of the word of God. But as God’s word increases,
so will the rage and opposition of the devil. Scoffers
seem to be at a stand what to say. They mutter in
coffee-houses, give a curse, drink a barrel of punch,
and then cry out against me for not preaching more
morality. Poor men, if God judges them, as he cer-
tainly will do, by their morality, out of their own
mouths will he condemn them. Their morality, falsely
so called, will prove their damnation. God has en-
larged my heart to pray. Tears trickle down my
face, and I am in great agony; but the Lord is pleased
to set his seal to what he enables me to deliver.
Amid cries and groans in the congregation, God gives
me much freedom of speech. Many people and many
ministers weep. My own soul is much carried out.
I preached to a vast assembly of sinners; nearly
twelve thousand were collected; and I had not spoken
long, before I perceived numbers melting; as I pro-
ceeded, the power increased, and thousands cried out;
never before did I see so glorious a sight. Oh, what
strong crying and tears were poured forth after the
dear Lord Jesus! Some fainted; and when they had
gotten a little strength, they would hear and faint
again. Never was my soul filled with greater power.
Oh, what thoughts and words did God put into my
heart. As great, if not greater commotion was in



 

the hearts of the people. Look where I would, most
were drowned in tears.”

An aged man who was living in 1806, and who
well remembered the scenes he witnessed, bore testi-
mony that after this visit of the great eyangelist, pub-
lic worship was regularly celebrated in Philadelphia
twice a day for a whole year; and that on the Lord’s
day it was celebrated three, and frequently four times
in each church. He said there were not less than
twenty-six societies regularly held for prayer and
Christian conference.

Such was the influence of Whitefield, not only in
Philadelphia, but throughout the colony of Pennsyl-
vania, that in the city attention to commerce was
suspended, and in the country the cultivation of the
land for the time being was abandoned, that people
might hear him proclaim the gospel of the Lord
Jesus.

Among other very striking conversions in Phila-
delphia at this period, was that of a young lady, who
had for several years made a public profession of
Christianity, but who now became fully convinced
that “she was totally unacquainted with vital piety.”
When Mr. Whitefield began his labors in that city,
she was greatly affected by his preaching, on which
she constantly attended, and often afterwards told
her friends, that after the first sermon she heard
him preach, she was ready to say with the woman of
Samaria, “Come see a man who told me all things
that ever I did.” The preacher, she said, so exactly
described all the secret workings of her heart, her
wishes, and her actions, that she really believed he


 

110           George Whitfield

was either more than human, or else that he was su-
pernaturally assisted to know her heart. She was
not then aware that all depraved hearts are much
alike, and that he who in lively colors can paint one,
gives a description which will he recognized by many
as their own. This young lady once walked twenty
miles to hear a sermon from Whitefield; she became
a most eminent Christian, and was one of the constit-
uent members of the church organized by Mr. Ten-
nent. She married Mr. Hugh Hodge, who was also
one of the seals of Mr. Whitefield’s ministry, and a
deacon of the church, and for more than sixty years
she eminently “adorned the gospel of God in all
things.”

During this first visit of Mr. Whitefield to Phila-
delphia, another interesting circumstance occurred.
Whitefield preached one evening standing on the
steps of the court-house, in Market-street, which be-
came, as we have said, his favorite spot during that
and subsequent visits. A youth some thirteen years
of age stood near him, and held a lantern for his ac-
commodation; but becoming deeply absorbed in the
sermon, and strongly agitated, the lantern fell from
his hands, and was dashed in pieces. Those near the
boy, observing the cause of the accident, felt specially
interested, and for a few moments the meeting was
discomposed by the occurrence. Some fourteen years
afterwards, Mr. Whitefield, on his fifth visit to this
country, was visiting St. George’s, in Delaware. He
was one day riding out with the Rev. Dr. John Rodg-
ers, then settled as the minister at St. George’s, in
the closed carriage in which Whitefield generally



 

rode. Mr. Rodgers asked him whether he recollected
the occurrence of the little boy who was so affected
with his preaching as to let his lantern fall. Mr.
Whitefield replied, “ 0 yes, I remember it well; and
have often thought I would give almost anything in
my power, to know who that little boy was, and what
had become of him.” Mr. Rodgers replied with a
smile, “I am that little boy.” Mr. Whitefield, with
tears of joy, started from his seat, took him in his
arms, and with strong emotion remarked, that he was
the fourteenth person then in the ministry whom he
had discovered in the course of that visit to America,
in whose conversion he had, under God, been instru-
mental.

From Philadelphia, Whitefield was invited by Mr.
Noble to New York; this gentleman being the only
person with whom he then had an acquaintance in
that city. Upon his arrival, he waited with his
friend on the commissary, but he refused to White-
field the use of the church. This commissary of the
bishop, he says, “was full of anger and resentment,
and denied me the use of his pulpit before I asked for
it. He said they did not want my assistance. I re-
plied, that if they preached the gospel, I wished them
good luck: I will preach in the fields; for all places
are alike to me.” The undaunted evangelist there-
fore preached in the fields; and on the evening of the
same day, to a very thronged and attentive audience,
in the Rev. Mr. Pemberton’s meeting-house, in Wall-
street; and continued to do so twice or three times
a day, with apparent success.

Of this visit to New York, and of Whitefield’s


 

 

labors there, we have a graphic account, furnished by
one of his hearers, for “Prince’s Christian History.”
Of the first sermon in the fields, the writer says, “I
fear curiosity was the motive that led me and many
others into that assembly. I had read two or three
of Mr. Whitefield’s sermons and part of his Journal,
and from them had obtained a settled opinion, that he
was a good man. Thus far was I prejudiced in his
favor. But then having heard of so much opposition,
and many clamors against him, I thought it possible
he might have carried matters too far; that some en-
thusiasm might have mixed itself with his piety, and
that his zeal might have exceeded his knowledge.
With these prepossessions I went into the fields.
When I came there, I saw a great number of people,
consisting of Christians of all denominations, some
Jews, and a few, I believe, of no religion at all.
When Mr. Whitefield came to the place designated,
which was a little eminence on the side of a hill, he
stood still and beckoned with his hand, and disposed
the multitude upon the descent, before, and on each
side of him. He then prayed most excellently, in the
same manner, I suppose, that the first ministers of the
Christian church prayed. The assembly soon appear-
ed to be divided into two companies, the one of which
I considered as God’s church, and the other the devil’s
chapel.  The first were collected round the minister,
and were very serious and attentive; the last had
placed themselves in the skirts of the assembly, and
spent most of their time in giggling, scoffing, talking,
and laughing. I believe the minister saw them, for
in his sermon, remarking on the cowardice and shame-



 

facedness in Christ's cause, he pointed towards this
assembly, and reproached the former, those who
seemed to be Christians, with the boldness and zeal
with which the devil's vassals serve him. Towards
the last prayer the whole assembly appeared more
united, and all became hushed and still; a solemn
awe and reverence appeared in the faces of most, a
mighty energy attending the word. I heard and felt
something astonishing and surprising, but I confess I
was not at that time fully rid of my scruples. But as
I thought I saw a visible presence of God with Mr.
Whitefield, I kept my doubts to myself.

“Under this frame of mind, I went to hear him in
the evening at the Presbyterian church, where he ex-
pounded to above two thousand people within and
without doors. I never in my life saw so attentive
an audience. All he said was demonstration, life, and
power. The people's eyes and ears hung on his lips.
They greedily devoured every word. I came home
astonished. Every scruple vanished; I never saw
nor heard the like; and I said within myself, ‘Surely
God is with this man, of a truth.' He preached and
expounded in this manner twice every day for four
days, and his evening assemblies were continually
increasing.

“On Sunday morning at eight o'clock, his congre-
gation consisted of about fifteen hundred people; but
at night several thousands came together to hear him;
and the place being too strait for them, many were
forced to go away, and some, it is said, with tears
lamented their disappointment. After sermon he left
New York at ten at night, to fulfil a promise that he




had made to preach at Elizabethtown, at eleven a. m.
the next day.”

We give a few paragraphs from the same vigorous
pen, relating to the personal manners and the doc-
trines of our evangelist. “He is a man of a middle
stature, of a slender body, of a fair complexion, and
of a comely appearance. He is of a sprightly, cheer-
ful temper, and acts and moves with great agility and
life. The endowments of his mind are very uncom-
mon; his wit is quick and piercing; his imagination
lively and florid; and as far as I can discern, both
are under the direction of an exact and solid judg-
ment. He has a most ready memory, and I think
speaks entirely without notes. He has a clear and
musical voice, and a wonderful command of it. He
uses much gesture, but with great propriety. Every
accent of his voice, every motion of his body speaks,
and both are natural and unaffected. If his delivery
is the product of art, it is certainly the perfection of
it, for it is entirely concealed. He has a great mas-
tery of words, but studies much plainness of speech.

“His doctrine is right sterling. I mean, perfectly
agreeable to the Articles of the church of England, to
which he frequently appeals for the truth of it. He
loudly proclaims all men by nature to be under sin, and
obnoxious to the wrath and curse of God. He maintains
the absolute necessity of supernatural grace to bring
men out of this state. He asserts the righteousness
of Christ to be the only cause of the justification of
the sinner; that this is received by faith; that this
faith is the gift of God; that where faith is wrought,
it brings the sinner under the deepest sense of his


 


guilt and unworthiness to the footstool of sovereign
grace, to accept of mercy as the free gift of God, only
for Christ’s sake. He denies that good works have
any share in our justification: that indeed they do
justify our faith, and necessarily flow from it, as
streams from the fountain; but Christ’s external
righteousness imputed to us, and his inherent right-
eousness wrought in us, is the only cause of man’s sal-
vation. He asserts the absolute necessity of the new
birth, where a principle of new life is ingenerated in
the heart of man, and an entire change is produced in
the temper and disposition of the soul; and that this
new production is the work only of God’s blessed
Spirit. That wherever this change is wrought, it is
permanent and abiding, and that the gates of hell
shall never prevail against it. He asserts that the
special influence and indwelling of the Spirit, was not
peculiar to the first Christians, but that it is the com-
mon privilege of believers in all ages of the church;
that the Holy Spirit is the author of the sanctification
and comfort of all God’s people; and that, even in
these days, if any man have not the spirit of Christ,
he is none of his. He said, that to many of his hear-
ers, he feared he spoke in an unknown tongue; that
he preached great mysteries; that true Christians
knew what he meant, and that all his hearers, if they
are saved, must be brought to understand them. These
are some of the doctrines which have been attended
with such mighty power in this city. This is the doc-
trine of the martyrs. This they sealed with their
blood; notwithstanding that so many in our days
have departed from it.


 

 

“Mr. Whitefield speaks much of the language of
the New Testament; and has an admirable faculty in
explaining the Scriptures. He strikes out of them
such lights, and unveils those excellencies which sur-
prise his hearers, when he expounds them. He ex-
presses the highest love and concern for the souls of
men; and speaks of Christ with the most affectionate
appropriation—‘My Master! My Lord’  He is no
enemy to the innocent freedoms and liberties of the
gospel; nor does he affect singularity in indifferent
things. He spends not his zeal in trifles, but says,
‘The kingdom of God consists not in meats and
drinks; but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
Holy Ghost.’  He breathes a most catholic spirit, and
prays most earnestly that God would destroy all that
bigotry and party zeal which has divided Christians.
He supposes some of Christ’s flock are to be found
under every denomination, and upbraids the uncharit-
ableness of those who confine the church to their own
communion. He professes a most sincere love to all
those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,
and declares that he has no design to make a party
in religion. He professes that his whole design in
preaching the gospel is to bring men to Christ, to
deliver them from their false confidences, to raise
them from their dead formalities, and to revive prim-
itive Christianity among them; and if he can obtain
this end, he will leave them to their liberty, and they
may go to what church, and worship God in what
form they like best.”

While going from Philadelphia to New York, or
on his return. Whitefield appears to
have preached at


 

 

Maidenhead, Abington, Neshaminy, Freehold, Bur-
lington, Elizabethtown, and New Brunswick, to many
thousands, gathered from various parts, among whom
there had been a considerable awakening under the
ministry of Mr. Frelinghuysen, a Reformed Dutch
minister, and the Rev. Messrs. Tennent, Blair, and
Rowland. It was no less pleasing to him than
strange to see such congregations in a foreign land;
ministers and people shedding tears, sinners struck
with awe, and religious persons who had been much
persecuted, filled with joy. The old Tennent church
at Freehold, where preached Whitefield, Brainerd,
Davies, and other “famous men” of that day, still
echoes with the same gospel. In size the building is
forty feet by sixty, with three entrances on the larger
side. The pulpit is on the north side of the house,
immediately opposite the central door, so that the
minister faces the width of the church instead of its
length. The pulpit is very narrow, and is surmounted
with a sounding-board, according to the custom of our
fathers. In the middle aisle lie buried the remains of
the sainted William Tennent, whose death took place
about seven years after that of Whitefield, at the age
of seventy-two years. A handsome monumental tablet
records the leading dates of his pilgrimage.

Some of our readers may inquire as to the local-
ities honored by Whitefield’s preaching in and about
the city of New York. We find many records of his
discoursing in the open fields of the surrounding coun-
try; the old City Exchange, which stood at the foot of
Broad-street, near Water-street, and which was built
on large arches, was a favorite spot for itinerant



 

preachers, and for Whitefield among the rest. Dur-
ing his various visits to New York, from 1745 to
1760, he generally preached in the Presbyterian church
in Wall-street, which was then the only church of that
denomination in the city, and of which the Rev. Dr.
Pemberton, from Boston, was the minister. After-
wards, a few years before his death, he was accus-
tomed to preach in the Brick church in Beekman-
street; which was then familiarly called the “Brick
meeting,” and in common parlance, said to be “in the
fields so little was the city extended at that period.
So prosperous was his ministry in New York, that it
was found necessary immediately to enlarge the Pres-
byterian church in Wall-street, by the erection of
galleries; and a year or two afterwards it was again
enlarged about one-third, in order to accommodate
the stated worshippers.

When Whitefield was preaching before a very
large number of the seamen of New York, he intro-
duced the following bold apostrophe into his sermon:
“Well, my boys, we have a cloudless sky, and are
making fine headway over a smooth sea, before a light
breeze, and we shall soon lose sight of land. But
what means this sudden lowering of the heavens, and
that dark cloud arising from beneath the western
horizon?  Hark!  don’t you hear the distant thunder?
Don’t you see those flashes of lightning? There is a
storm gathering. Every man to his duty. How the
waves rush and dash against the ship! The air is
dark. The tempest rages. Our masts are gone!
What next?” The unsuspecting tars, reminded of
former perils on the deep, as if struck by the power



 

of magic, arose, and with united voices exclaimed,
“Take to the longboat, sir!” The reader may well
imagine how this very natural answer would be used
by the preacher.

While at New York, Whitefield wrote, “God will-
ing, in about seven months I hope to see New Eng-
land on my return to Europe. An effectual door is
there opened, and no wonder there are many adver-
saries. Shortly I expect to suffer for my dear Mas-
ter.” And after his return to Philadelphia, he showed
his piety and meekness by writing to the Rev. Dr.
Pemberton, of New York, “I have been much con-
cerned since I saw you, lest I behaved not with that
humility towards you which is due from a babe to a
father in Christ; but you know, reverend sir, how
difficult it is to meet with success, and not be puffed
up with it; and therefore, if any such thing was dis-
cernible in my conduct, 0 pity me, and pray to the
Lord to heal my pride. All I can say is, that I desire
to learn of Jesus Christ to be meek and lowly in
heart: but my corruptions are so strong, and my em-
ploy so dangerous, that I am sometimes afraid.”

One of the most important incidents of this journey
to New York, was the meeting of Whitefield with Gil-
bert Tennent. Two powerful preachers could hardly
resemble each other less; and the great strength of
each lay in characteristics in which the other was de-
ficient. In one point, especially, Whitefield felt and
recorded his new friend’s superiority. He heard Ten-
nent preach. “Never before heard I such a searching
sermon. He went to the bottom indeed, and did not

‘daub with untempered mortar.’  He convinced me,


 

 

more and more, that we can preach the gospel of
Christ no farther than we have experienced the power
of it in our hearts. I found what a babe and novice
I was in the things of God.” These men, as Tracy
says, having once met, could not but be friends and
allies for life; and the effects of their alliance could
not fail to be felt by thousands.

Both at Philadelphia and New York, printers ap-
plied to Whitefield for copies of his sermons for pub-
lication, and two were so issued, in the influence of
which their author had cause to rejoice. In an after-
period, the celebrated Benjamin Franklin printed
Whitefield’s “Journal in New England,” still extant;
a copy of which was sold at auction in Philadelphia
in 1855, for about thirty times its original price. His
journals, indeed, and his sermons became considerable
articles in commerce, and did not a little, amid the
comparatively sparse population of the country, to
extend both his fame and his usefulness.

But the time was now come when it became im-
portant that Whitefield should pursue his course tow-
ards Savannah. He could not, however, regret his
stay so long on the road. “It is unknown,” he says,
“what deep impressions have been made on the hearts
of hundreds. Many poor sinners have, I trust, been
called home, and great numbers are under strong con-
victions. An opposer told me I had unhinged many
good sort of people. I believe it.”

Nor was this the only good he had done. No
small sympathy had been excited among Christian
people in favor of his orphan family, and a spirit of
liberality and of prayer was extensively cherished.


 

 

“They sent me,” says the grateful evangelist, “butter,
sugar, chocolate, pickles, cheese, and flour, for my or-
phans; and indeed, I could almost say, they would
pluck out their own eyes and give me. O that what
God says of the church of Philadelphia may now be
fulfilled in the city called after her name— ‘I know
thy works.”

The ready liberality which everywhere met White-
field, determined him to pursue his journey by land.
He therefore procured a vessel, in which he sent on
his family and their supplies to Savannah. Of this
sloop, Captain Gladman was master; and a young man
who had recently been converted by the preaching of
the great evangelist, willingly offered himself as mate.
We have already seen that he was accompanied south-
ward as far as Chester by a very large company of
gentlemen of Philadelphia; and on his arrival at that
place, a court was about to open, but the judges sent
him word that they would not commence their busi-
ness until the sermon, which they expected from him,
was over. Nearly a thousand people had travelled
from Philadelphia to hear it, and it was thought that
those collected from places many miles around, com-
posed an assembly of not less than seven thousand
persons. A platform was erected, and it was believed
that many of his hearers obtained something infinitely
better than the mere gratification of their curiosity.

Among other places at which he preached on this
journey, was White Clay creek, endeared to him not
only as the place where he first met with his beloved
friend William Tennent, but as the residence of a
Welsh family who had heard him preach at Cardiff

Whitefield.                        6


 



and Kingswood before they emigrated, and who bore,
what was to him a fact of endearing interest, the
name of
Howell. But during this tour Whitefield had
to endure considerable privations and peril in riding
through the woods. On one occasion, he heard the
wolves “howling like a kennel of hounds” near to the
road; on another, he had a narrow escape in trying
to cross the Potomac in a storm. Here also he had
once to swim his horse, owing to the floods; for it
was now the depth of winter. One night, Seward
and he lost their way in the woods of South Carolina,
and were much alarmed at seeing groups of negroes
dancing around large fires. Notwithstanding all the
hardships, however, of the journey, no real injury was
sustained from it.

Our evangelist at length arrived at Charleston in
good health and spirits. But he could not obtain
admittance to St. Philip’s church; Garden, the com-
missary, who had once promised to “defend him with
life and fortune,” was absent, and the curate would
not open the doors without his leave. The people,
however, had not forgotten him, and the Rev. Josiah
Smith, the congregational minister, and the pastor of
the French church, at once threw open their houses
and pulpits, and rich indeed were the blessings they
enjoyed.

The congregations during his present visit to
Charleston were large and polite; but he says they
presented “an affected finery and gayety of dress and
deportment, which I question if the court-end of Lon-
don could exceed.” Before he left, however, there
was what he called “a glorious alteration in the audi-



 

ence.” Many of them wept; and the hitherto light
and airy had visibly strong feelings, as shown in their
countenances. Such was their extreme anxiety to hear
more from him, that after he had gone to the shore to
sail for Georgia, they prevailed on him to preach
again.

On the next morning, Whitefield and his compan-
ions left Charleston in a canoe for Savannah and on
their way lay on the ground in the woods, surrounded
by large fires to keep off the wild beasts. On this fact
he makes the reflection, “An emblem, I thought, of the
divine love and presence keeping off evils and corrup-
tions from the soul.” On his arrival at Savannah, Jan-
uary 11, 1740, he was very happy to meet his family,
who had arrived there three weeks before him and
to find, by letters from England, New York, etc., that
the work of the Lord prospered. One thing, however,
greatly distressed him. The colony of Georgia was
reduced even to a much lower state than when he left
it, and was deserted by nearly all who could get away.
He thought that to employ those who were left, would
render them an important service, and that the money
thus expended might be the means of keeping them in
the colony.

During the absence of Mr. Whitefield from Geor-
gia, Mr. Habersham had fixed on a plot of ground of
five hundred acres, about ten miles from Savannah, on
which the orphan-house should stand, and had already
commenced to clear and stock it. The orphans, in
the meantime, were accommodated in a hired house.
Whitefield afterwards regretted the course pursued.
He found the condition of the orphans so pitiable, and


 


the inhabitants so poor, that he immediately opened
an infirmary, hired a large house at a great rent, and
took in, at different times, twenty-four orphans.

In the March following, "Whitefield was again at
Charleston, where he went to meet his brother, the
captain of a ship, from England. Here he was re-
quested by many of the inhabitants to give some
account of his poor orphans, which he did in the house
of worship occupied by his friend the Rev. Josiah
Smith, the first native of South Carolina who received
a literary degree. Such was the spirit excited, that
the collection amounted to seventy pounds sterling.
This was no small encouragement, especially as he
had reason to believe that most of it came from those
who had received spiritual benefit from his ministry.

But if Whitefield now had his joys in Charles-
ton, so he had also his sorrows. We have seen that
in a previous visit to this city, he had considered
himself “set for the defence of the gospel.” He had
remarked, in reference to the twelfth article of the
church of England, “Observe, my dear brethren, the
words of the article, ‘Good works are the fruit of
faith, and follow after justification.’ How can they
then precede, or be in any way the cause of it? No,
our persons must be justified, before our performances
can be accepted.” Commissary Garden, of whom we
have already spoken, now seized the opportunity of
Whitefield’s visit to Charleston, to write him a letter,
dated March 17, attacking his doctrine of justifica-
tion, and challenging him to defend what he had said
concerning the bishop of London and his clergy. In
this letter, he urged in reply to what the evangelist


 


had said, “If good works do necessarily spring out of
a true and lively faith, and a true and lively faith
necessarily precedes justification, the consequence is
plain, that good works must not only follow after, but
precede justification also.” Whitefield replied the
next day, “I perceive that you are angry overmuch.
Was I never so much inclined to dispute, I would
stay till the cool of the day. Your letter more and
more confirms me, that my charge against the clergy
is just and reasonable. It would be endless to enter
into such a private debate as you, reverend sir, seem
desirous of. You have read my sermon: be pleased
to read it again; and if there be any thing contrary
to sound doctrine, or the Articles of the church of
England, be pleased to let the public know it from
the press; and then let the world judge whether you
or my brethren the clergy have been rashly slandered.”
This was but the commencement of a controversy, in
which were concerned Garden of Charleston, and the
Rev. Messrs. Croswell and Gee of Boston, portions of
which are preserved in the Old South church library,
in the latter city; and which was afterwards resumed
between Garden and Smith, of Charleston, in the
“South Carolina Gazette,” as may be seen in the
library of the American Antiquarian Society at Wor-
cester, Massachusetts.

In the meantime, Whitefield had returned to Sa-
vannah, and on March 25, he laid the first brick of
the main building of the orphan-house, which he called
Bethesda, that is, a house of mercy. It was built of
wood, and measured seventy feet by forty. By this
time nearly forty children had been received, to be


 


provided for with food and raiment; and counting
the workmen with these, he had nearly one hundred
persons to feed day by day. To do all this he had
very little money in the bank; still he was not dis-
couraged, being persuaded that his present duty was
to advance the interests of the colony by carrying on
his work. “As yet,” says he, “I am kept from the
least doubting. The more my family increases, the
more enlargement and comfort I feel. Set thy al-
mighty fiat to it, 0 gracious Father, and for thine
own name’s sake convince us more and more, that thou
wilt never forsake those who put their trust in thee.”
On reviewing this passage fifteen years afterwards,
he wrote, “Hitherto, blessed be God, I have not been
disappointed of my hope.”

We close our present chapter with a very short
visit to Charleston. In this city Whitefield had as-
suredly produced a very extraordinary excitement,
and very opposite opinions were entertained in refer-
ence to his character and doctrines. On the day
after he had laid the first stone of Bethesda, Mr. Smith
undertook at Charleston to defend the conduct and
character of his beloved friend, in a sermon from Job
32:17: “I said, I will answer also my part; I also
will show mine opinion.” As this discourse was pub-
lished during the following June, with a commenda-
tory preface by the Rev. Drs. Colman and Cooper
of Boston, and is still highly valued as a piece of con-
temporary history, we give an extract, particularly as
to the manner of the preaching of the great evangelist.

“He is certainly a finished preacher. A noble
negligence ran through his style. The passion and



 

flame of his expressions will, I trust, be long felt by
many. My pen cannot describe his action and ges-
tures, in all their strength and decencies. He appear-
ed to me, in all his discourses, to be very deeply affect-
ed and impressed in his own heart. How did that
burn and boil within him, when he spake of the things
which he had ‘made touching the King.’ How was
his tongue like the pen of a ready writer, touched as
with a coal from the altar. With what a flow of
words, what a ready profusion of language, did he
speak to us upon the great concerns of our souls. In
what a flaming light did he set our eternity before us.
How earnestly he pressed Christ upon us. How did
he move our passions with the constraining love of
such a Redeemer. The awe, the silence, the attention
which sat upon the face of the great audience, was an
argument how he could reign over all their powers.
Many thought he spake as never man spake before
him. So charmed were the people with his manner
of address, that they shut up their shops, forgot their
secular business, and laid aside their schemes for the
world; and the oftener he preached, the keener edge
he seemed to put upon their desires to hear him again.

“How awfully, with what thunder and sound, did
he discharge the artillery of heaven upon us. And
yet, how could he soften and melt even a soldier of
Ulysses with the mercy of God. How close, strong,
and pungent were his applications to the conscience;
mingling light and heat; pointing the arrows of the
Almighty at the hearts of sinners, while he poured in
the balm upon the wounds of the contrite, and made
broken bones rejoice. Eternal themes, the tremendous



 

solemnities of our religion, were all dim upon his
tongue. So, methinks—if you will forgive the figure—
St. Paul would look and speak in a pulpit. In some
such manner, I am tempted to conceive of a seraph,
were he sent down to preach among us, and to tell us
what things he had seen and heard above.

How bold and courageous did he look. He was
no flatterer; he would not suffer men to settle on their
lees; and did not prophesy smooth things, nor sew
pillows under their arms. He taught the way of God
in truth, and regarded not the persons of men. He
struck at the politest and most modish of our vices,
and at the most fashionable entertainments, regardless
of every one’s presence, but His in whose name he
spoke with this authority. And I dare warrant, if
none should go to these diversions until they have
answered the solemn questions he put to their con-
sciences, our theatre would soon sink and perish. I
freely own he has taken my heart.”


 

 

 

 


                CHAPTER V.

CONTINUATION OF WHITEFIELD’S SECOND VISIT TO
                                    AMERICA.

                                         1740.

 

At the period when Whitefield laid the corner-
stone of his Bethesda, his health was much impair-
ed, and his spirits depressed. But it was necessary
that funds should be obtained, to meet the claims now
daily made upon him. He had received handsome
donations from Charleston, New York, and Phila-
delphia, yet the urgent demand was for more. He
therefore embarked from Charleston for Newcastle,
Delaware, in a sloop, and arrived there in about ten
days. Passing on from thence to Philadelphia, he
found the churches closed against him. The commis-
sary told him that he would lend the church to him
no more. The laconic answer of Whitefield was,
“The fields are open;” and eight thousand people
assembled to hear him the same evening, and ten thou-
sand on the following day. On the following Lord’s
day morning, he collected one hundred and ten pounds
sterling for his “poor orphans,” and then went to the
Episcopal church, where the commissary preached a
sermon on justification by works. As Whitefield was
recognized at church, it was naturally expected that
in the evening he would answer the sermon; nor was
the public expectation disappointed. After his ser-
mon, he collected eighty pounds more for Bethesda.

                                                6*


 

 

But far higher success than this attended his labors.
Societies for worship were commenced in different
parts of the town; not a few began seriously to in-
quire after the way of salvation many negroes came
to the evangelist with the inquiry, “Have I a soul?”
and a church was formed, of which the distinguished
Gilbert Tennent was the eminently useful pastor. No
less than one hundred and forty, who had undergone
a previous strict examination as to their personal
piety, were received as constituent members of the
church, and large additions were from time to time
made to their number.

Several events of special interest occurred during
this visit to Philadelphia. Tennent had to tell a series
of delightful facts as to the usefulness of Whitefield’s
former labors. He began to deliberate on a plan for
a negro school in Pennsylvania, as he did afterwards
also in Virginia, but unexpected difficulties intervened,
and both in the end were abandoned. Mr. Jones, the
Baptist minister of the city, told Whitefield of the
change produced by his former preaching on the minds
of two ministers; one of whom stated to his congre-
gation that he had hitherto been deceiving both him-
self and them, and added, that he could not preach to
them at present, but requested them to unite in prayer
with him; and the other resigned his charge, to itin-
erate among the unenlightened villages of New Jersey
and elsewhere. Another fact was, that an Indian
trader became so impressed with the preaching of
Whitefield, that he had given up his business, and
was gone to teach the Indians with whom he used to
trade. Nor had his usefulness stopped here: he heard


 


of a drinking club, which had attached to it a negro
boy remarkable for his powers of mimicry. This boy
was directed by the gentlemen who composed the
club to exercise his powers on Mr. Whitefield: he did
so, but very reluctantly; at length he stood up and
said, ‘I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not; unless
you repent, you will all be damned.” This unexpected
speech had such an effect as to break up the club,
which met no more.

We add a few paragraphs from Seward’s journal,
who soon after sailed for England to promote the
interests of Georgia, and who died in the parent coun-
try. They date from the 24th to the 26th of April.
“Came to Christopher Wigner’s plantation in Skip-
pack, where many Dutch people are settled, and
where the famous Mr. Spalemburg lately resided. It
was surprising to see such a multitude of people gath-
ered together in such a wilderness country, thirty
miles distant from Philadelphia. Mr. Whitefield was
exceedingly carried out, in his sermon, to press poor
sinners to come to Christ by faith, and claim all their
privileges; namely, not only righteousness and peace,
but joy in the Holy Ghost; and after he had done,
our dear friend Peter Bohler preached in Dutch, to
those who could not understand Mr. Whitefield in
English.”

“Before Mr. Whitefield left Philadelphia, he was
desired to visit one who was under a deep sense of sin,
from hearing him preach. In praying with this person,
he was so carried beyond himself, that the whole
company, about twenty, seemed to be filled with the
Holy Ghost, and magnified the God of heaven.”


 

“Arose at three o’clock, and though Mr. White-
field was very weak in body, yet the Lord enabled
him to ride nearly fifty miles, and to preach to about
five thousand people at Amwell, with the same power
as usual. Mr. Gilbert Tennent, Mr. Rowland, Mr.
Wales, and Mr. Campbell, four godly ministers, met
us here.”

 “Came to New Brunswick. Met Mr. Noble from
New York, a zealous promoter of our Lord’s king-
dom. He said their society at New York was en-
larged from seventy to one hundred and seventy, and
was daily increasing; and that Messrs. Gilbert and
William Tennent, Mr. Rowland, and several others,
were hard laborers in our Lord’s vineyard.”

It will be readily supposed that by this time
Whitefield and his movements had become so much a
matter of interest as to be frequently discussed in the
newspapers of the day.

The “New England Weekly Journal” of April 29,
1740, copies from a Philadelphia paper of April 17:
“The middle of last month the Rev. Mr. Whitefield
was at Charleston, and preached five times, and col-
lected at one time upwards of £70 sterling for the
benefit of the orphan-house in Georgia; and on Sun-
day last, after ten days’ passage from Georgia, he
landed at Newcastle, where he preached morning and
evening. On Monday morning he preached to about
three thousand at Wilmington, and in the evening
arrived in this city. On Tuesday evening he preached
to about eight thousand on Society hill, and preached
at the same place yesterday morning and evening.”
Then follows a list of his appointments daily to April


 


29, during which time he was to preach at White-
marsh, Germantown, Philadelphia, Salem, N. J., Ne-
shaminy, Skippack, Frederick township, Amwell, New
Brunswick, Elizabethtown, and New York. On May
6th, the Journal copied a Philadelphia notice of April
24th, that he had preached on the previous Sabbath to
fifteen thousand hearers, and on Monday at Green-
wich and Gloucester, and that he would return to
Georgia before visiting New England.

The Journal of May 20th, contains a letter from
Whitefield to a friend in England, dated New Bruns-
wick, N. J., April 27. Of his visit to Charleston
he says, “A glorious work was begun in the hearts of
the inhabitants, and many were brought to cry out,

‘What shall we do to be saved?’  A fortnight ago,
after a short passage of ten days, I landed in Penn-
sylvania, and have had the pleasure of seeing and
hearing that my poor endeavors for promoting Christ’s
kingdom, when here last, were not altogether in vain
in the Lord. I cannot tell you how many have come
to me laboring under the deepest convictions, and
seemingly truly desirous of finding rest in Jesus Christ.
Several have actually received him into their hearts
by faith, and have not only righteousness and peace,
but joy in the Holy Ghost. In short, the word has
run and been much glorified, and many negroes also
are in a fair way of being brought home to God.
Young ones I intend to buy, and do not despair of
seeing a room full of that despised generation, in a
short time, singing and making melody with grace in
their hearts to the Lord.

“An effectual door is opened for preaching, the


 



everlasting gospel, and I daily receive fresh and most
importunate invitations to preach in all the counties
round about. God is pleased to give a great blessing
to my printed sermons. They are in the hands of
thousands in these parts, and are a means of enlight-
ening and building up many in their most holy faith.
The clergy, I find, are most offended at me. The
commissary of Philadelphia, having gotten a little
stronger than when I was here last, has thrown off
the mask, denied me the pulpit, and last Sunday
preached up an historical faith, and justification by
works. But the people only flock the more. The
power of God is more visible than ever in our assem-
blies, and more and more are convinced that I preach
the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Some of the bigoted,
self-righteous Quakers now also begin to spit out a
little of the venom of the serpent. They cannot bear
the doctrine of original sin, and of an imputed right-
eousness as the cause of our acceptance with God.
I have not yet met with much opposition from the
dissenters; but when I come to tell many of them,
ministers as well as people, that they hold the truth
in unrighteousness, that they talk and preach of justi-
fying faith, but never felt it in their hearts, as I am
persuaded numbers of them have not, then they no
doubt will shoot out their arrows, even bitter words.”
While on his voyage from Charleston to Newcas-
tle, Whitefield seems to have devoted the 4th of April,
1740, to correspondence on the subject of marriage.
“I find,” said he, “by experience, that a mistress is
absolutely necessary for the due management of my
increasing family, and to take off some of that care



 

which at present lies upon me.” His letters were ad-
dressed to a young lady and her parents, connected
with a family much devoted to piety. Here, as every-
where else, his heart is transparent. He says to the

parents of Miss E---, “I write only because I believe

it is the will of God that I should alter my state; but
your denial will fully convince me that your daughter
is not the person appointed for me. He knows my
heart; I would not marry but for him, and in him, for
ten thousand worlds.”

The next year, having returned to England, White-
field, like his eminent friend John Wesley, was mar-
ried, and, like him also, was unhappy in his domestic
relation. In each case, the husband exacted a previ-
ous pledge that the wife should never prevent the
delivery of a single sermon; and this was followed
by separation from the wife for weeks, months, or
even years, in the prosecution of their arduous labors.
In the case of Whitefield, his marriage in Wales, with
a widow lady, in 1741, was followed by the birth of
a son; previous to which event he had said, in the
joy of his heart, that his name should be John, and
that he should be a preacher of the everlasting gos-
pel. The first prediction was realized, and when his
child was a week old, the good man told his people in
the Tabernacle, London, that he would live to preach,
and “be great in the sight of the Lord.” But alas,
at the end of four months John died, and his father
very wisely wrote in his journal: “I hope what hap-
pened before his birth, and since at his death, has
taught me such lessons as, if duly improved, may ren-
der his mistaken parent more sober-minded, more ex-



 

perienced in Satan’s devices, and consequently more
useful in his future labors in the church of God.”

On the death of his wife somewhat suddenly, Au-
gust 9, 1768, Mr. Whitefield himself preached her
funeral sermon, from Romans 8: 28: “And we know
that all things work together for good to them that
love God, to them that are the called according to his
purpose.” In describing her character, he particular-
ly mentioned her fortitude and courage, and suddenly
exclaimed, “Do you remember my preaching in those
fields by the stump of the old tree? The multitude
was great, and many were disposed to be riotous. At
first I addressed them with firmness; but when a gang
of desperate banditti drew near, with the most fero-
cious looks, and horrid imprecations and menaces,
my courage began to fail. My wife was then stand-
ing behind me, as I stood on the table. I think I
hear her now. She pulled my gown”—himself suiting
the action to the word, by placing his hand behind
him and touching his robe—“and looking up, said,
‘George, play the man for your God.’ My confidence
returned. I again spoke to the multitude with bold-
ness and affection; they became still; and many were
deeply affected.”

Before we leave Philadelphia, we may relate an
instance or two as to the power of his eloquence. Dr.
Franklin says, “He had a loud and clear voice, and
articulated his words so perfectly that he might be
heard and understood to a great distance; especially
as his auditors observed the most profound silence.
He preached one evening from the top of the court-
house steps, which are in the middle of Market-street,


 


SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA                             137


and on the west side of Second-street, which crosses
it at right angles. Both streets were filled with his
hearers to a considerable distance. Being among the
hindmost in Market-street, I had the curiosity to learn
how far he might be heard by setting backwards down
the street towards the river; and I found his voice
distinct till I came near Front-street, where some
noise in that street obstructed it. Imagine, then, a
semicircle of which my distance should be a radius,
and that it was filled with auditors, to each of whom
I allowed two square feet, I computed that he might
well be heard by more than thirty thousand people.”
But not only does Franklin bear witness of White-
field’s eloquence as to his voice, but still more strong-
ly as to its persuasiveness, of which, it seems, he was
himself a striking illustration. He says, “I refused
to contribute to his orphan-house in Georgia, think-
ing it injudiciously located. Soon after, I happened
to attend one of his sermons, in the course of which
I perceived he intended to finish with a collection,
and I silently resolved he should get nothing from
me. I had in my pocket a handful of copper mon-
ey, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in
gold. As he proceeded, I began to soften, and de-
termined to give the copper. Another stroke of his
oratory made me ashamed of that, and determined me
to give the silver; and he finished so admirably, that
I emptied my pocket wholly into the collector’s dish,
gold and all. At this sermon there was also one of
our club; who being of my sentiments respecting the
building at Georgia, and suspecting a collection might
be intended, had, by precaution, emptied his pockets


 


before he came from home. Towards the conclusion
of the discourse, however, he felt a strong inclination
to give, and applied to a neighbor, who stood near
him, to lend him some money for the purpose. The
request was made to, perhaps, the only man in the
company who had the firmness not to be affected by
the preacher. His answer was, ‘At any other time,
friend Hodgkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but
not now, for thee seems to be out of thy right
senses.’”

Whitefield, much as he loved Philadelphia, had
now again to leave it. Thus writes the correspond-
ent of the “New England Weekly Journal,” at New-
castle, May 15.: “This evening Mr. Whitefield went
on board his sloop here, to sail for Georgia. On Sun-
day he preached twice in Philadelphia, and in the
evening, when he preached his farewell sermon, it is
supposed he had twenty thousand hearers. On Mon-
day he preached at Darby and Chester; on Tuesday,
at Wilmington and White Clay creek; on Wednes-
day, twice at Nottingham; on Thursday, at Fog’s
Manor and Newcastle. The congregations were much
increased since his being here last. The presence of
God was much seen in the assemblies, especially at
Nottingham and Fog’s Manor, where the people were
under such deep soul distress, that their cries almost
drowned his voice. He has collected in this and the
neighboring provinces, about £450 sterling for his
orphans in Georgia.”

He arrived at Savannah June 5, and most inter-
esting was the manner of his reception. He says, “0
what a sweet meeting I had with my dear friends!


 

 

SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA                             139


What God has prepared for me, I know not; but
surely I cannot well expect a greater happiness, till
I embrace the saints in glory. When I parted, my
heart was ready to break with sorrow; but now it
almost bursts with joy. 0 how did each in turn
hang upon my neck, kiss, and weep over me with
tears of joy! And my own soul was so full of a sense
of God’s love when I embraced one friend in particu-
lar, that I thought I should have expired in the place.
I felt my soul so full of a sense of the divine goodness,
that I wanted words to express myself. Why me,
Lord; why me? When we came to public worship,
young and old were all dissolved in tears. After
service, several of my parishioners, all my family, and
the little children, returned home, crying along the
streets, and some could not avoid praying very loud.

“Being very weak in body, I laid myself upon a
bed; but finding so many weeping, I rose and betook
myself to prayer again. But had I not lifted up my
voice very high, the groans and cries of the children
would have prevented my being heard. This con-
tinued for near an hour; till at last, finding their
concern rather increase than abate, I desired all to re-
tire. Then some or other might be heard praying ear-
nestly, in every corner of the house. It happened at
this time to thunder and lighten, which added very
much to the solemnity of the night. Next day the
concern still continued, especially among the girls. I
mention the orphans in particular, that their bene-
factors may rejoice in what God is doing for their
souls.”

On the 7th of June, he wrote, I have brought


 

with me a Latin master, and on Monday laid the
foundation, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for a uni-
versity in Georgia.” On the 28th of the same month,
he wrote to a Mr. W. D——, in a style admirably
corresponding with the meek spirit we have already
seen in his letter to the Rev. Dr. Pemberton, of New
York. “I thank you for your kind letters and friend-
ly cautions; and I trust I shall always reckon those
my choicest friends, who, in simplicity and meekness,
tell me the corruptions of my heart. It is that faith-
fulness which has endeared J. S-—— to me. I think
I never was obliged to any one so much before. 0
my dear brother, still continue faithful to my soul;
do not hate me in your heart; in any wise reprove
me. Exhort all my brethren to forgive my past, I
fear, too imperious carriage; and let them pray that
I may know myself to be, what I really am, less than
the least of them all.”

Whitefield’s family at Bethesda had now increased
to not less than one hundred and fifty persons, and to
advance their interests, it was needful that he should
again visit Charleston, where he arrived on the third
of July, and immediately commenced preaching, as on
former visits. On the following Sabbath, three days
after his arrival, he attended the Episcopal church,
where, he says, “I heard the commissary preach as
virulent and unorthodox, inconsistent a discourse, as
ever I heard in my life. His heart seemed full of
choler and resentment. Out of the abundance thereof,
he poured forth so many bitter words against the
Methodists, as he called them, in general, and me in
particular, that several who intended to receive the


 


SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA                              141


sacrament at his hands, withdrew.  Never, I believe,
was such a preparation sermon preached before. Af-
ter sermon, he sent his clerk to desire me not to come
to the sacrament till he had spoken with me. I im-
mediately retired to my lodgings, rejoicing that I was
accounted worthy to suffer this further degree of con-
tempt for my dear Lord’s sake.”

The next day, the commissary of the bishop of
London issued against Whitefield the following eccle-
siastical writ:

“Alexander Garden, lawfully constituted Commis-
sary of the Right Reverend Father in Christ, Ed-
mund, by divine permission Lord Bishop of London,
supported by the royal authority underwritten:

“Alexander Garden, To all and singular clerks,
and literate persons whomsoever, in and throughout
the whole province of South Carolina, wheresoever
appointed, Greeting:

“To you, conjunctly and severally, we commit, and
strictly enjoining, command, that you do cite, or cause
to be cited, peremptorily, George Whitefield, clerk,
and presbyter of the Church of England, that he law-
fully appear before us, in the parish church of St.
Philip, Charleston, and in the judicial place of the
same, on Tuesday, the fifteenth day of this instant
July, ’twixt the hours of nine and ten in the forenoon,
then and there injustice to answer to certain articles,
heads, or interrogatories, which will be objected and
ministered unto him concerning the mere health of
his soul, and the reformation and correction of his
manners and excesses, and chiefly for omitting to use
the form of prayers prescribed in the Communion-


 

 

Book; and further to do and receive what shall he
just in that behalf, on pain of law and contempt. And
what you shall do in the premises, you shall duly cer-
tify us, together with these presents.

“Given under our hands and seals of our office, at
Charleston, this seventh day of July, in the year of our
Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty.”

Justice to all parties requires it should be said,
that the phrase as to the health of Whitefield’s soul
was used by Garden not of choice, but in conformity
with the forms of English ecclesiastical law; the
theory of which is, that ecclesiastical courts are only
held to promote the spiritual health or welfare of
those who are cited into them. The principal sin of
Whitefield was “omitting to use the form of prayer
prescribed in the Common Prayer Book.” The un-
disputed matter of fact, as Tracy says, was, that he
always used that form when he could obtain an Epis-
copal church to preach in; but when he was shut out
of such pulpits, and was preaching to Baptists, Pres-
byterians, and Congregationalists, in their own houses
of worship, where none of the congregations had
prayer books, or knew how to use them, and where
the introduction of unaccustomed forms would not
have promoted the devotion of the worshippers, he
prayed extempore.

On the day this writ was issued, Whitefield preach-
ed for Mr. Chanler, “a gracious Baptist minister,
about fourteen miles from Charleston;” and twice on
the next day “to a large audience in Mr. Osgood’s
meeting-house, a young Independent minister,” at Dor-
chester; the next day at Dorchester again, and at


 

 

SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA                              143


Charleston in the evening; the next day preached and
read prayers in Christ's church, and twice at Charles-
ton the next day, with great success. And now, on
July 11th, a citation was served upon him to appear
on the fifteenth, as required in the writ.

On the 12th, he preached and read prayers twice
on John's island; and on the 13th, which was the
Sabbath, he again listened to a sermon from the com-
missary. Of this sermon Whitefield says, “Had some
infernal spirit been sent to draw my picture, I think
it scarcely possible that he could paint me in more
horrid colors. I think, if ever, then was the time that
all manner of evil was spoken against me falsely for
Christ's sake. The commissary seemed to ransack
church history for instances of enthusiasm and abused
grace. He drew a parallel between me and all the
Oliverians, Ranters, Quakers, French prophets, till he
came down to a family of Dutartes, who lived not
many years ago in South Carolina, and were guilty
of the most notorious incests and murders."

The next day Whitefield again preached twice;
and on Tuesday appeared before the commissary, ac-
cording to his citation. This is said to have been
the first court of the kind ever attempted to be held
in any of the colonies. It consisted of the reverend
commissary A. Garden, and the Rev. Messrs. Guy,
Mellichamp, Roe, and Orr, who, as well as Whitefield
himself, and his able advocate, Mr. Andrew Rutledge,
respectively showed their want of familiarity with
such business, and, after a series of blunders on both
sides, the court adjourned to nine o'clock the next
morning, to afford Whitefield time to ascertain the



 

extent of the jurisdiction of the bishop and his com-
missary. How little, however, he studied the subject
may be inferred from the fact, that he preached twice
during the remainder of the day. The next day, a
Mr. Graham appeared as a prosecuting attorney, and
Mr. Rutledge as counsel for the respondent. White-
field made some mistakes, but hints from his quick-
sighted advocate and his own adroitness saved him
from their consequences; though he contrived to give
the court a lecture on the meanness of catching at a
word as soon as it was out of his lips, without allow-
ing him time to correct it. He now filed his objec-
tion against being judged by the commissary, who, he
alleged, was prejudiced against him. This gave rise
to new questions: the court adjourned; and the
evangelist went to James’ island, read prayers, and
preached. The next day he again appeared in court,
and found that his exceptions were repelled, and that
the arbitrators he had asked for would not be ap-
pointed. He now appealed to the high Court of
Chancery in London, declaring all further proceed-
ings in this court to be null and void. He then re-
tired and read letters which refreshed his spirit, by
informing him how “mightily grew the word of God
and prevailed ” at Philadelphia; and that Mr. Bol-
ton, in Georgia, had nearly fifty negroes learning to
read. On the 18th he preached twice, and on the
19th again appeared before the commissary, and
bound himself, in a penalty of ten pounds, to prosecute
his appeal in London within twelve months. The
appeal was never tried, as the ecclesiastical author-
ities allowed it to die of neglect.


 

 

“The court being ended,” says Whitefield, in his
journal, “the commissary desired to speak with me.
I asked him to my lodgings. He chose to walk on a
green near the church. His spirit was somewhat
calmer than usual; but after an hour’s conversation,
we were as far from agreeing as before.”  “All his
discourse was so inconsistent and contrary to the gos-
pel of our Lord, that I was obliged to tell him that I
believed him to be an unconverted man, an enemy to
God, and of a like spirit with the persecutor Saul.
At this he smiled; and, after we had talked a long
while, we parted, and God gave me great satisfaction
that I had delivered my soul in my private conversa-
tion with the commissary.”

The next day, July 20, was the Sabbath. The
commissary preached in his usual style, and White-
field preached his farewell sermon to the people of
Charleston. By his recommendation two or three of
the dissenting ministers had instituted a weekly lec-
ture; and the evangelist “advised the people, as the
gospel was not preached in church, to go and hear it
in the meeting-house.” On leaving the city, he sum-
med up, in his journal, the results of his labors in this
manner:

“What makes the change more remarkable in the
Charleston people is, that they seemed to me, at my
first coming, to be a people wholly devoted to pleas-
ure. One well acquainted with their manners and
circumstances, told me more had been spent on polite
entertainments, than the poor’s-rate came to; but now
the jewellers and dancing-masters begin to cry out
that their craft is in danger. A vast alteration is dis-

                                 Whitefield.               


 


cernible in the ladies’ dresses. And some, while I
have been speaking, have been so convinced of the sin
of wearing jewels, that I have seen them with blushes
put their hands to their ears, and cover them with
their fans. But I hope the reformation has gone far-
ther than externals. Many moral, good sort of men,
who before were settled on their lees, have been glo-
riously awakened to seek after Jesus Christ; and
many a Lydia’s heart hath been opened to receive the
things that were spoken. Indeed, the word came like
a hammer and a fire. And a door, I believe, will be
opened for teaching the poor negroes. Several of
them have done their usual work in less time, that
they might come to hear me. Many of their owners,
who have been awakened, resolved to teach them
Christianity. Had I time, and proper schoolmasters,
I might immediately erect a negro school in South
Carolina, as well as in Pennsylvania. Many would
willingly contribute both money and land.”

The Baptist church in Charleston at this time was
nearly extinct, being reduced to five or six communi-
cants, but Whitefield’s success greatly increased their
number, and it thus gained strength which it has never
lost. It is also gratefully mentioned even now by the
church of that denomination at Eutaw, that Whitefield
during this visit to South Carolina preached the dedi-
cation-sermon, of their house of worship.

Whitefield left Charleston on July 21, visiting and
preaching on his way homeward, which he reached
towards the close of the same week. He preached on
the Sabbath in extreme weakness of body, but “with
the Holy Ghost from above,” and several were hope-


 

SECOND VISIT TO AMERICA                              147


fully converted to God. On the 18th of August, he
again left Savannah for Charleston, where he was
able, for want of bodily strength, to preach but once
a day, but he thought that his sermons were attended
with more power and success than ever before. In a
few days after, having preached a farewell sermon to
four thousand hearers, he sailed for New England,
where he had been very cordially invited by leading
ministers and others in Boston and many other places.

 

 


 

 

              CHAPTER VI.

WHITEFIELD’S FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.

                 SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER, 1740.

 

 

The religions state of New England in the early
part of the eighteenth century, was little better than
the description we have already given of the state
of Great Britain and its other dependencies at that
period. Dr. Prince tells us, that the first age of
New England was one of an almost continual revival.
Preaching was attended with so much power in some
places, “that it was a common inquiry, by such mem-
bers of a family as were detained at home on a Sab-
bath, whether any had been visibly awakened in the
house of God that day.” And he adds, “Few Sab-
baths did pass without some being evidently convert-
ed, and some convincing proof of the power of God
accompanying his word.”

Dr. Increase Mather, writing towards the close of
the seventeenth century, while he confirms the state-
ments we have already given, bears farther testimony
which is of a very painful character. He says, “Pray-
er is necessary on this account, that conversions have
become rare in this age of the world. They that have
their thoughts exercised in discerning things of this
nature, have sad apprehensions that the work of con-
version has come to a stand. During the last age
scarcely a sermon was preached without some being
apparently converted, and sometimes hundreds were


 


converted by one sermon. Who of us now can say
that we have seen anything such as this? Clear,
sound conversions are not frequent in our congrega-
tions; the great bulk of the present generation are
apparently poor, perishing, and if the Lord prevent
not, undone; many are profane, drunkards, lascivious,
scoffers at the power of godliness, and disobedient;
others are civil and outwardly conformed to good or-
der, because so educated, but without knowing aught
of a real change of heart.” The same estimable writer
says, in 1721, “I am now in my eighty-third year, and
having had an opportunity of conversing with the first
planters of this country, and having been for sixty-five
years a preacher of the gospel, I feel as did the ancient
men who had seen the former temple, and who wept
aloud as they saw the latter. The children of New
England are, or once were, for the most part, the chil-
dren of godly parents. What did our fathers come
into this wilderness for? Not to gain estates as men
do now, but for religion, and that they might have
their children in a hopeful way of being truly relig-
ious. There was a famous man who preached before
one of the greatest assemblies that ever was address-
ed; it was about seventy years ago; and he said to
them, ‘I lived in a country seven years, and all that
time I never heard a profane oath, or saw a man
drunk.’ And where was that country? It was New
England. Ah, degenerate New England! What art
thou come to at this day? How are those sins become
common that were once not even heard of!”

Passing over, for the present, indications of a re-
vival of religion, which had appeared in other parts


 

of the country, we speak now only of New England.
In 1734, a very extraordinary work of grace appeared
at Northampton, Massachusetts, under the ministry of
the distinguished Jonathan Edwards, the elder, the
history of which is given in his admirable “Narrative
of the surprising Work of God” at that period, in
Northampton and the vicinity.

It is important to remark here, that the preaching
which led to such delightful results was of the most
faithful and pungent character. We will give one in-
stance, as illustrative of many, as will be distinctly seen
by those who have read
Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in
the hands of an angry God”
or his “Justice of God in the
damnation of Sinners”
Perhaps, however, no sermon
in New England has ever acquired greater celebrity,
or accomplished more good, than the one preached
by President Edwards at Enfield, July 8, 1741, from
the words, “Their feet shall slide in due time.” Deut.
32:35. “When they went into the meeting-house,

the appearance of the assembly was thoughtless and
vain; the people scarcely conducted themselves with
common decency.” But as the sermon proceeded, the
audience became so overwhelmed with distress and
weeping, that the preacher was “obliged to speak to
the people and desire silence, that he might be heard.”
The excitement soon became intense; and it is said
that a minister who sat in the pulpit with Mr. Ed-
wards, in the agitation of his feelings, caught the
preacher by the skirt of his dress, and said, “Mr.
Edwards, Mr. Edwards, is not God a God of mercy?”
Many of the hearers were seen unconsciously holding
themselves up against the pillars, and the sides of the


 


pews, as though they already felt themselves sliding
into the pit. This fact has often been mentioned as
a proof of the strong and scriptural character of Presi-
dent Edwards’ peculiar eloquence—the eloquence of
truth as attended by influence from heaven; for his
sermons were read, without gestures.

But there was another element which must be
taken into account when we look at the result of this
sermon, as well as others delivered in like circum-
stances, and one which we fear has been often over-
looked. “While the people of the neighboring towns
were in great distress about their souls, the inhabitants
of Enfield were very secure, loose, and vain. A lec-
ture had been appointed there, and the neighboring
people were so affected at the thoughtlessness of the
inhabitants, and had so much fear that God would, in
his righteous judgment, pass them by, that many of
them were prostrate before him a considerable part
of the previous evening, supplicating the mercy of
heaven in their behalf. And when the time appointed
for the lecture came, a number of the surrounding
ministers were present, as well as some from a dis-
tance”—a proof of the prayerful interest felt on be-
half of the town. In all this we see much of the
secret of the powerful impression produced by that
sermon, and are taught that in seasons when God
seems about to pour out his Spirit on a community,
Christians should be found “continuing instant in
prayer.

In this more hopeful state of things than had long
before existed in New England, Whitefield, who was
now the second time in America, was most urgently


 

 

entreated to visit the descendants of the Pilgrim fa-
thers. He complied with the request, and arrived at
Newport on the evening of the Sabbath, September
14, 1740. We furnish an account, written chiefly by
himself, in his journal, published in London, 1741, a
copy of which may be found in the library of Harvard
University, to which we have had a kind access, and
which is rich in what we may term Whitefieldian lore.
He writes,

“Was sick part of the passage, but found after-
wards the sea-air, under God, much improved my
health. Arrived at Newport, in Rhode Island, just
after the beginning of evening service. We came
purposely thither first with our sloop. I think it the
most pleasant entrance I ever yet saw. Almost all
the morning the wind was contrary, but I found a
very strong inclination to pray that we might arrive
time enough to be present at public worship. Once I
called the people; but something prevented their com-
ing. At last, finding my impression increase upon me,
I desired their attendance immediately. They came.
With a strong assurance that we should be heard, we
prayed that the Lord would turn the wind, that we
might give him thanks in the great congregation;
and also that he would send such to us as he would
have us to converse with, and who might show us a
lodging. Though the wind was ahead when we be-
gan, when we had done praying, and came up out of
the cabin, it was quite fair.

“With a gentle gale we sailed most pleasantly
into the harbor; got into public worship before they
had finished the psalms; and sat, as I thought, undis-



 

covered. After service was over, a gentleman asked
me whether my name was not Whitefield. I told
him ‘yes;’ he then desired me to go to his house, and
he would take care to provide lodgings and necessa-
ries for me and my friends. I went, silently admir-
ing God’s goodness in answering my prayer so mi-
nutely. Several gentlemen of the town soon came to
pay their respects to me, among whom was one Mr.
Clap, an aged dissenting minister, but the most vener-
able man I ever saw. He looked like a good old
Puritan, and gave me an idea of what stamp those men
were who first settled New England. His counte-
nance was very heavenly; he rejoiced much in spirit
at the sight of me, and prayed most affectionately for
a blessing on my coming to Rhode Island.”

In the evening, in company with Mr. Clap and
other friends, Whitefield visited Mr. Honeyman, the
minister of the church of England, and requested the
use of his pulpit. At first he seemed a little unwill-
ing, being desirous to know ‘what extraordinary call
I had to preach on week-days,’ which he said was
disorderly. I answered, ‘St. Paul exhorted Timothy
to ‘be instant in season and out of season;’ that if the
orders of the church were rightly complied with, our
ministers should read public prayers twice every day,
and then it would not be disorderly at such times to
give them a sermon. As to an extraordinary call, I
claimed none otherwise than upon the apostle’s injunc-
tion, ‘As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all
men.’ He still held out, and did not give any positive
answer; but at last, after he had withdrawn and con-
sulted with the gentlemen, he said, ‘If my preaching

                                                   7*


 

would promote the glory of God, and the good of
souls, I was welcome to his church as often as I
would, during my stay in town.’ We then agreed to
make use of it at ten in the morning, and three in the
afternoon. After this, I went to wait on the governor,
who seemed to be a very plain man, and had a very
plain house, which much pleased me. By profession,
I think he is a Seventh-day Baptist; he is a man of
good report as to his conduct and dealing with the
world.”  As might have been expected, the evening
was spent in exposition and prayer, with a crowded
company, in the house of his friend Bowers, the gen-
tleman who first addressed him when coming out of
church.

On Monday morning, he breakfasted with “old
Mr. Clap, and was much edified by his conversation.”
Of this venerable servant of Christ he says, “I could
not but think, while at his table, that I was sitting
with one of the patriarchs. He is full of days, a
bachelor, and has been minister of a congregation in
Rhode Island upwards of forty years. People of all
denominations, I find, respect him. He abounds in
good works; gives all away, and is wonderfully tender
of little children; many of different persuasions come
to be instructed by him. Whenever he dies, I am
persuaded, with good old Simeon, he will be enabled
to say, ‘Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in
peace.’”  Whitefield preached, according to appoint-
ment, morning and afternoon, “in the church. It is
very commodious, and I believe will contain three
thousand people. It was more than filled in the after-
noon. Persons of all denominations attended. God


 


assisted me much. I observed numbers affected, and
had great reason to believe the word of the Lord had
been ‘sharper than a two-edged sword,’ in some of the
hearers’ souls.”

On the evening of the same day he received the
following note:

Reverend Sir and beloved Brother—Although
mine eyes never saw your face before this day, yet my
heart and soul have been united to you in love, by
the bond of the Spirit. I have longed and expected
to see you for many months past. Blessed be God,
mine eyes have seen the joyful day. I trust, through
grace, I have some things to communicate to you that
will make your heart glad. I shall omit writing any-
thing, and only hereby present my hearty love, and
let you know that I am waiting now at the post of
your door for admission. Though I am unworthy,
my Lord is worthy, in whose name, I trust, I come. I
am your unworthy brother,

“JONATHAN BARBER.”

“On reading it,” says Whitefield, “I could not but
think this was one of those young ministers whom
God had lately made use of in such a remarkable
manner, at the east end of Long Island. I sent for
him, and found he was the man. My heart rejoiced.
We walked out, and took sweet counsel together and
among other things, he told me that he came to
Rhode Island under a full conviction that he should
see me there, and had been waiting for me about a
week. . . . What rendered this more remarkable was,
I had no intention of sailing to Rhode Island till


 


about three days before I left Carolina; and I had a
great desire to put in, if I could, at the east end of
Long Island, to see this very person, whom the great
God now brought unto me. Lord, accept our thanks,
sanctify our meeting, and teach us both what we shall
do for thine own name’s sake. In the evening I went
to the venerable Mr. Clap’s, and exhorted and prayed
with a great multitude, who not only crowded into the
house, but thronged every way about it. The dear
old man rejoiced to see the things which he saw; and
after my exhortation was over, dismissed me with his
blessing.”

Tuesday, we scarcely need remark, was spent by
Whitefield in the work of his great Master. He
preached to a vast congregation, including the mem-
bers of the House of Assembly, who adjourned to
attend the service; and he had very delightful evi-
dence that his labors had already been useful. On
Wednesday he left Newport, and about noon preached
at Bristol, at the request of the court, which was then
in session, and slept that night at a hotel on the road
to Boston. On Thursday morning he set out early,
and as he passed on with his friends, he says, “Found
that the people were apprized of my coming, and were
solicitous for my preaching; but being resolved under
God, if possible, to reach Boston, we travelled on for
near fifty miles, and came to Boston about eight in the
evening. When we were within four miles of the
city, the governor’s son, several other gentlemen, and
one or two ministers, waited at a gentleman’s house
to give me the meeting. They received me with great
gladness, and told me many more would have come,



 

had not a large funeral been in the town, or if there
had been more certain notice of my arriving. This
rejoiced me; for I think I can stand anything better
than this. It savors too much of human grandeur.
But I must be tried every way; the Lord be my
helper. After stopping a while, we went together to
Boston, to the house of one Mr. Sandiford, brother-in-
law to the Rev. Dr. Colman, who long since had
sent me an invitation. . . . My heart was but low, and
my body weak; but, at the request of one of the min-
isters, I gave thanks to our gracious God for bringing
me in safety, and prayed that my coming might be in
the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of peace.”

He slept well that night, and the next morning, he
says, “I perceived fresh emanations of divine light
break in upon and refresh my soul.” He was visited
by several gentlemen, including Josiah Willard, Esq.,
the secretary of the province, a man who feared God,
and with whom Whitefield had for some time been in
correspondence. The governor, Belcher, received him
with the utmost respect, and requested frequent visits.
He attended public worship at the church of England,
and waited on the commissary home, who received
him very courteously. As it was a day on which the
clergy of that body had a meeting, he came into the
company of five of them assembled- together. They
soon attacked him “for calling that Tennent and his
brethren faithful ministers of Christ.” He answered,
that he believed they were so. They questioned the va-
lidity of Presbyterian ordination, and quoted from his
journal his own words against him. He replied, that
perhaps his. sentiments were altered. They then went



 

into a doctrinal discussion, which continued till White-
field, finding how inconsistent they were, took his
leave, resolving that they should not have the oppor-
tunity of denying him their pulpits. However, they
treated him, on the whole, with more courtesy than
he had lately been accustomed to receive from the
ministers of his own church.

In the afternoon of the same day, he preached to
a vast congregation in the Rev. Mr. Colman’s meeting-
house, in Brattle-street, and in the evening exhorted
and prayed with such as came to his lodgings. On
Saturday, in the forenoon, he discoursed to a crowded
audience at the Old South church, where Mr. Sewall
was pastor, the only church edifice in Boston with
which Whitefield was connected which is still stand-
ing as it then was. In the afternoon he preached on
the Common to about eight thousand persons, and  at
night to a thronged company at his own lodgings.

On the morning of the next day, which was the
Sabbath, he heard Mr. Colman preach; in the after-
noon, he preached at Mr. Foxcroft’s meeting-house to
a vast auditory. This gentleman was the senior pas-
tor of the First church, meeting in Chauncy place, and
the Rev. Charles Chauncy was his colleague. The
church edifice was in Cornhill-square, not far from
the old state-house, and was usually called the “Old
Brick meeting.” As this house was by far too small
to contain his auditory, he almost immediately after-
wards preached on the Common, to about fifteen thou-
sand hearers; and again at night at his lodgings.
He says, “Some afterwards came into my room. I
felt much of the divine presence in my own soul, and


 


FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.                                                159


though hoarse was enabled to speak with much power,
and could have spoke, I believe, till midnight.”

On Monday morning, Whitefield preached at Mr.
Webb's meeting-house, the “New North,” on the cor-
ner of Clark and Hanover streets. “The presence of
the Lord,” he says, “was among us. Look where I
would around me, visible impressions were made upon
the auditory. Most wept for a considerable time.”
In the afternoon he meant to have preached at Mr.
Checkley's, in Summer-street, but was prevented by
an accident. Just before the time for the commence-
ment of the service, a person broke a board in one of
the galleries, of which to make a seat; the noise
alarmed some who heard it, and they imprudently
cried out that the galleries were giving way. The
house being much crowded, the whole congregation
were thrown into the utmost alarm and disorder;
some jumped from the gallery into the seats below,
others fell from the windows, and those below press-
ing to get out of the porch, were many of them thrown
over each other and trodden upon. Many, as might
be expected, were seriously bruised; others had bones
broken; and within two days five persons died from
the injuries they had received. Mr. Whitefield's pres-
ence of mind did not fail him; he immediately led
the anxious throng to the Common, and preached to
them from the text, “Go ye out into the highways
and hedges, and compel them to come in.” He says,
“The weather was wet, but above eight thousand fol-
lowed into the fields."

On Tuesday morning, Whitefield visited Mr. Wal-
ter, at Roxbury. This gentleman had been the col-


 


league, and was now the successor of John Eliot,
“the apostle of the Indians.” These two men had
been pastors of that church one hundred and six years.
Whitefield was much pleased with Walter, who, in
return, was glad to hear that he, like old Bishop Bev-
eridge, called man “half a devil and half a beast.”
He preached that forenoon at Mr. Gee’s meeting-
house, the “Old North,” of which church the celebrat-
ed Dr. Cotton Mather had formerly been pastor. The
house stood in the North square, and was taken down
by the British army and burned for fuel at the siege
of Boston, in 1776. The auditory Whitefield preach-
ed to that morning was not very crowded, as the peo-
ple were in doubt where he would preach. After
dining with the secretary of the province, he says, “I
preached in the afternoon at Dr. Sewall’s to a thronged
congregation, and exhorted and prayed as usual at
my own lodgings; at neither place without some man-
ifestations of a divine power accompanying the word.”
Wednesday was not lost. Whitefield himself shall
describe its proceedings. “Went this morning to see
and preach at Cambridge, the chief college for train-
ing up the sons of the prophets in all New England. 
It has one president, I think four tutors, and about a
hundred students. It is scarce as big as one of our
least colleges in Oxford, and as far as I could gather
from some who well knew the state of it, not far su-
perior to our universities in piety and true godliness.
Tutors neglect to pray with, and examine the hearts
of their pupils. Discipline is at too low an ebb. Bad
books are become fashionable. Tillotson and Clarke
are read instead of Sheppard, Stoddard, and such like


 


FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.                                                161


evangelical writers; and therefore I chose to preach
on these words: ‘We are not as many, who corrupt the
word of God;’ and in the conclusion of my sermon I
made a close application to tutors and students. A
great number of neighboring ministers attended, as
indeed they do at all other times, and God gave me
great boldness and freedom of speech. The president
of the college and minister of the parish treated me
very civilly. In the afternoon I preached again in
the court, without any particular application to the
students. I believe there were, about seven thousand
hearers. The Holy Spirit melted many hearts. The
word was attended with a manifest power; and a
minister soon after wrote me word, that  he believed
one of his daughters was savingly wrought upon at that
time.’ Paid my respects to the lieutenant-governor, who
lives at Cambridge, and returned in the evening to Bos-
ton, and prayed with and exhorted many people who
were waiting round the door for a spiritual morsel.
I believe our Lord did not send them empty away.”

An elm under which Whitefield preached in Cam-
bridge became distinguished; it being under its shade
that Washington, thirty-one years after, first drew his
sword in the cause of the Revolution, on taking the
command of the American army. From this circum-
stance, it has been called the “Washington elm.” The
last time the late distinguished Dr. Holyoke, of Salem,
Mass., was in Cambridge, then nearly a hundred years
old, while passing this tree with a friend, he said that
he heard Whitefield’s sermon, being at the time a stu-
dent in college.

On Thursday he preached the weekly lecture at


 

Mr. Foxcroft's, the First church. But he says, “I
was so oppressed with a sense of my base ingratitude
to my dearest Saviour, that Satan would fain have
tempted me to hold my tongue, and not invite poor
sinners to Jesus Christ, because I was so great a sin-
ner myself. But God enabled me to withstand the
temptation, and since Jesus Christ had shown such
mercy to, and had not withdrawn his Holy Spirit from
me, the chief of sinners, I was enabled more feelingly
to talk of his love; and afterwards found that one
stranger, in particular, was in all probability effectu-
ally convinced by that morning's sermon. After pub-
lic worship, I went, at his excellency's invitation, and
dined with the governor. Most of the ministers of
the town were invited with me. Before dinner, the
governor sent for me up into his chamber. He wept,
wished me ‘good luck in the name of the Lord,' and
recommended himself, ministers, and people to my
prayers. Immediately after dinner, I prayed explic-
itly for them all, and went in his coach to the end of
the town; but had such a sense of my vileness upon
my soul, that I wondered people did not stone me.
Crossed a ferry, and preached at Charlestown, a town
lying on the north side of Boston. The meeting-house
was very capacious, and quite filled. A gracious melt-
ing was discernible through the whole congregation,
and I perceived much freedom and sweetness in my
own soul, though the damp I felt in the morning was
not quite gone off. In the evening I exhorted and
prayed as usual at my lodgings; and blessed be God,
I found a great alteration in my hearers. They now


 


began to melt and weep under the word."

On Friday, the following day, he preached in the
morning at Roxbury, from a little ascent, to many
thousands of people, with much of the divine presence.
Several came to him afterwards telling him how they
were struck with the word. Having dined with Judge
Dudley, he preached to a still larger congregation
from a scaffold erected outside Mr. Byles’ meeting-
house in Hollis-street. Wrote to several friends in
England; gave a short exhortation to a large crowd
of hearers; and then spent the evening with several
ministers in edifying conversation, singing, and prayer.

Saturday, he preached in the morning at Mr. Wel-
steed’s meeting-house, and in the afternoon to about
fifteen thousand people on the Common. “ But Oh,
how did the word run! It rejoiced me to see such
numbers greatly affected, so that some, I believe, could
scarcely abstain from crying out. That place was no
other than a Bethel, and a gate of heaven.” After
he had gone home to his lodgings he says, “The power
and presence of the Lord accompanied and followed
me. Many now wept bitterly, and cried out under
the word like persons that were really hungering and
thirsting after righteousness; and after I left them,
God gave me to wrestle with him in my chamber, in
behalf of some dear friends then present, and others
that were absent from us. The Spirit of the Lord
was upon them all. It made intercession with groan-
ings that cannot be uttered.”  

On the day following, being the Sabbath, in the
morning he preached at the Old South church, Dr.
Sewall’s, to a very, crowded auditory, “with almost as
much power and visible appearance of God as yester-


 


day. Collected £555 currency for my little lambs;
was taken very ill after dinner; vomited violently,
but was enabled to preach at Dr. Colman’s in the
afternoon to as great, if not a greater congregation
than in the morning. Here also £470 were collected
for the orphan-house in Georgia. In both places all
things were carried on with decency and order. Peo-
ple went slowly out, as though they had not a mind
to escape giving and Dr. Colman said ‘it was the
most pleasant time he ever enjoyed in that meeting-
house through the whole course of his life.’ Blessed
be God, after sermon I perceived myself somewhat
refreshed. Supped very early. Had the honor of a
private visit from the governor, who came full of affec-
tion to take his leave of me for the present. Went,
at their request, and preached to a great company of
negroes, on the conversion of the Ethiopian, Acts the
eighth; at which the poor creatures, as well as many
white people, were much affected; and at my return,
gave an exhortation to a crowd of people who were
waiting at my lodgings. My animal spirits were
almost exhausted, and my legs, through expense of
sweating and vomiting, almost ready to sink under
me; but the Lord visited my soul, and I went to bed
greatly refreshed with divine consolations.” Even at
this early period such sufferings of his bodily system
frequently followed his herculean labors.

Early on Monday morning, Sept. 29, Whitefield
left Boston on an excursion to the eastward. At
Marblehead, he “preached to some thousands in a
broad place in the middle of the town, but not with
much apparent effect.” At Salem, he “preached to


 



about seven thousand people. Here the Lord mani-
fested forth his glory. One man was, I believe, struck
down by the power of the word. In every part of the
congregation, persons might be seen under great con-
cern.” He went on to Ipswich, where he was kindly
“entertained at the house of Mr. Rogers, one of the
ministers of the place.” Of this family our evangelist
was soon to know more than he had hitherto done.
At about this period, John Rogers, aged 77, and
Nathanael Rogers, were joint pastors of the First
church at Ipswich; both of them were ardent pro-
moters of the revival, as was also Daniel Rogers, of
the same family. Whitefield learned with deep inter-
est that his host was a descendant of the celebrated
martyr, John Rogers. The next day he preached
there to some thousands. “The Lord,” says he, “gave
me freedom, and there was a great melting in the con-
gregation.” At Newbury, in the afternoon, the Lord
accompanied the word with power. The meeting-
house was very large, many ministers were present,
and the people were greatly affected. Blessed be
God, his divine power attends us more and more.”
"Wednesday, he preached at Hampton, in the open air,
to some thousands. He was here very highly grati-
fied with the conversation of Mr. Colton, the minister,
and with the Christian simplicity of his excellent
wife. The high wind prevented his being heard so
well as he usually was, and he did not enjoy his accus-
tomed freedom; still, “some, though not many, were
affected.” At Portsmouth, he “preached to a polite
auditory, but so very unconcerned, that I began to
question whether I had been speaking to rational or



 

brute creatures. Seeing no immediate effects of the
word preached, I was a little dejected; but God, to
comfort my heart, sent one young man, crying out in
great anguish of spirit, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’”
From Portsmouth, our evangelist proceeded to
York, in Maine, “to see one Mr. Moody, a worthy,
plain, and powerful minister of Jesus Christ, though
now much impaired by old age. He has lived by
faith for many years, would have no settled salary,
and has been much despised by bad men, and as much
respected by the true lovers of the blessed Jesus.”
The next morning he was much comforted to hear,
from Mr. Moody, that he would preach that morning
to a hundred new creatures; “and indeed,” says he,
“I believe I did; for when I came to preach, I could
speak little or no terror, but most consolation.” He
preached morning and evening. “The hearers looked
plain and simple, and the tears trickled apace down
most of their cheeks.” He returned to Portsmouth
that night, and the next morning preached to a far
greater congregation, and with much better effect than
before. “Instead of preaching to dead stocks, I now
had reason to believe I was preaching to living men.
People began to melt soon after I began to pray;
and the power increased more and more during, the
whole sermon.” This was still more clearly evinced
after Mr. Whitefield’s departure from the town.

Returning to Boston, through Salem, Marblehead,
and Malden, in each of which places he preached, and
being now in improved health, he preached, October 7,
both morning and evening, “with much power,” at
Brattle-street. There had been for several days a


 


report in circulation, that he had died suddenly, or
was poisoned, and the people greatly rejoiced again
to see him alive. At Mr. Webb’s, the New North
church, on the following Wednesday, he thought there
was more of the presence of God through the whole
ministration, than he had before, known at one time
in the course of his life. He went there with the
governor, in his coach, and preached morning and
evening. “Jesus Christ manifested forth his glory;
many hearts melted within them; and I think I was
never drawn out to pray for and invite little children
to Jesus Christ, as I was this morning. A little be-
fore, I had heard of a child who was taken sick just
after it had heard me preach, and said he would go
to Mr. Whitefield’s God, and died in a short time.
This encouraged me to speak to the little ones. But
O, how were the old people affected when I said, ‘Lit-
tle children, if your parents will not come to Christ,
do you come, and go to heaven without them.’ There
seemed to be but few dry eyes, look where I would.
I have not seen a greater commotion since my preach-
ing at Boston. Glory be to God, who has not for-
gotten to be gracious.” He collected, after this ser-
mon, £440 for his orphan-house, which was now more
generally supported than ever before.

The interesting fact we have just related of the
impression produced on the mind of a little child by
the preaching of Mr. Whitefield, may afford the oppor-
tunity to introduce one or two other facts bearing on
the same general topic, and suggesting some practical
lessons.

Whitefield could indeed descend to talk with chil·


 


dren. Here is a specimen which, at once impresses us
with a lively idea of his spirit, and of the adaptation
of the religion of Jesus to the young as well as the
old. A little girl seven years of age, when on her
death-bed, desired an interview with him; he came, and
thus they conversed:

Whitefield. For what purpose, my dear child,
have you sent for me?

Girl. I think I am dying, and I wished very
much to see you.

Whitefield. What can I do for you ?

Girl. You can tell me about Christ, and pray
for me.

Whitefield. My dear girl, what do you know
about Christ?

Girl. I know he is the Saviour of the world.

Whitefield. My dear child, he is so.

Girl. I hope he will be my Saviour also.

Whitefield. I hope, my dear, that this is the
language of faith out of the mouth of a babe; but tell
me what ground you have for saying this?

Girl. Oh, sir, he bids little children, such as I,
to come unto him, and says, “Of such is the kingdom
of heaven;” and besides, I love Christ, and am always
glad when I think of him.

Whitefield. My dear child, you make my very
heart to rejoice; but are you not a sinner?

Girl. Yes, I am a sinner, but my blessed Re-
deemer takes away sin, and I long to be with him.

Whitefield, My dear girl, I trust that the desire
of your heart will be granted; but where do you
think you will find your Redeemer?


 

 

Girl. 0, sir, I think I shall find him in heaven.

Whitefield. Do you think you will get to heaven?
Girl. Yes, I do.

Whitefield. But what if you do not find Christ
there?

Girl. If I do not find Christ there, I am sure it is
not heaven; for where he dwells must be heaven, for
there also dwells God, and holy angels, and all that
Christ saves.

Who can tell the results of a single sermon, or
trace the consequences of one conversion? When
Mr. Whitefield was preaching in New England, a
lady became the subject of divine grace, and her spirit
was peculiarly drawn out in prayer for others. But
in her Christian exercises she was alone; she could
persuade no one to pray with her but her little daugh-
ter, about ten years of age. She took this dear child
into her closet from day to day, as a witness of her
cries and tears. After a time, it pleased God to
touch the heart of the child, and to give her the hope
of salvation by the remission of sin. In a transport
of holy joy she then exclaimed, “0, mother, if  all the
world knew this! I wish I could tell everybody. Pray,
mother, let me run to some of the neighbors and tell
them, that they may be happy and love my Saviour
too.” Ah, my dear child,” said the mother, “that
would be useless, for I suppose that were you to tell
your experience, there is not one within many miles
who would not laugh at you, and say it was all delu-
sion.” “Oh, mother,” replied the dear girl, “I think
they would believe me. I must go over to the shoe-
maker and tell him; he will believe me.” She ran

Whitefield.               8


 

over, and found him at work in his shop. She began
by telling him that he must die, and that he was a
sinner, and that she was a sinner, but that her blessed
Saviour had heard her mother’s prayers, and had for-
given all her sins; and that now she was so happy
that she did not know how to tell it. The shoemaker
was struck with surprise, his tears flowed down like
rain; he threw aside his work, and by prayer and sup-
plication sought for mercy. The neighborhood were
awakened, and within a few months more than fifty
persons were brought to the knowledge of Jesus, and
rejoiced in his power and grace.

But to return to our narrative of Whitefield’s la-
bors in Boston. On Thursday, October 9, he preached
the public lecture at the Old South church. He had
selected another text, but it was much impressed on
his heart that he should preach from our Lord’s con-
ference with Nicodemus. A large number of minis-
ters were present, and when he came to the words,
Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these
things?” he says, “The Lord enabled me to open my
mouth boldly against unconverted ministers, to caution
tutors to take care of their pupils, and also to advise
ministers particularly to examine into the experiences
of candidates for ordination. For I am verily per-
suaded the generality of preachers talk of an unknown
and unfelt Christ; and the reason why congregations
have been so dead is, because they have had dead men
preaching to them. 0 that the Lord may quicken
and revive them, for his own name’s sake. For how
can dead men beget living children? It is true, indeed,
God may convert men by the devil, if he pleases, and


 


so he may by unconverted ministers; but I believe
he seldom makes use of either of them for this pur-
pose. No; the Lord will choose vessels made meet
by the operations of the blessed Spirit for his sacred
use: and as for my own part, I would not lay hands
on an unconverted man for ten thousand worlds. Un-
speakable freedom God gave me while treating on
this head. After sermon, I dined with the governor,
who seemed more kindly affected than ever, and par-
ticularly told me, of the minister who has lately begun
to preach extempore, that ‘he was glad he had found
out a way to save his eyes. ‘In the afternoon I preach-
ed on the Common to about fifteen thousand people,
and collected upwards of two hundred pounds for the
orphan-house. Just as I had finished my sermon, a
ticket was put up to me, wherein I was desired to
pray for a person just entered upon the ministry, but
under apprehension that he was not converted. God
enabled me to pray for him with my whole heart; and
I hope that ticket may teach many others not to run
before they can give an account of their conversion.
If they do, they offer to God strange fire.” The same
day and evening, Whitefield attended the funeral of
one of the provincial council, preached at the alms-
house, exhorted a great number of persons at the
workhouse, who followed him there, and conversed
with many who waited at his lodgings for spiritual
advice. From the time of his return from the east,
he had been thronged, morning and evening, with
anxious inquirers. His friends cried, “Spare thyself;”
but he says, I went and ate bread very comfortably
at a friend’s house, where I was invited, and soon


 


after retired to my rest. Oh, how comfortable is
sleep after working for Jesus.”

On Friday he preached at Charlestown and at
Reading to many thousands, and on Saturday from
the meeting-house door at Cambridge, on Noah as a
preacher of righteousness; a great number of persons
were present, who stood very attentively during a
shower of rain, and were at the latter part of the
sermon much affected. On the same afternoon he
returned to Boston, and again preached, and was en-
gaged till midnight, chiefly in conversation and prayer
with persons anxious for their salvation.

Sunday, October 12, he rose with body and soul
greatly refreshed, and spent its early hours in con-
versing with those who came for spiritual counsel.
He then “preached with great power and affection”
at the Old South church, which was so exceedingly
thronged, that he was obliged to get in at one of the
windows. He dined with the governor, who came to
him after dinner weeping, and desired his prayers.
He heard Dr. Sewall in the afternoon. Both during
the exercises and after them he was sick, but went
with the governor in his coach, and preached his fare-
well sermon on the Common, Gillies says, to twenty
thousand, and Tracy to nearly thirty thousand people,
though the whole population of Boston did not at that
time exceed twenty thousand. Great multitudes were
melted into tears when he spoke of leaving them.
The governor then went with him to his lodgings.
He stood in the passage and spoke to a great com-
pany, both within and without the doors; but they
were so deeply affected, and cried out so loud, that



 

he was compelled to leave off praying. The remain-
ing part of the evening was chiefly spent in conversa-
tion with inquirers.

In closing his account of this day’s work, he ex-
claims, “Blessed be God for what things he has done
in Boston! I hope a glorious work is now begun,
and that the Lord will stir up some faithful laborers
to carry it on. Boston is a large, populous place,
very wealthy. Has the form kept up, but has lost
much of the power of religion. I have not heard of
any remarkable stir for these many years. Ministers
and people are obliged to confess, that the love of many
is waxed cold. Both, for the generality, seem to be
too much conformed to the world. There is much of
the pride of life to be seen in their assemblies. Jewels,
patches, and gay apparel are commonly worn by the
female sex; and even the common people, I observed
dressed up in the pride of life. There are nine meet-
ing-houses of the Congregational persuasion, one Bap-
tist, one French, and one belonging to the Scotch-Irish.
One thing Boston is very remarkable for—the exter-
nal observance of the Sabbath. Men in civil offices
have a regard for religion. The governor encourages
them, and the ministers and magistrates are more
united than in any other place where I have been.
Both were exceedingly civil to me during my stay. I
never saw so little scoffing, never had so little oppo-
sition. But one might easily see much would here-
after arise, when I came to be more particular in my
application to particular persons; for I fear many
rest in a head-knowledge, are close pharisees, and
have only a name to live. It must needs be so when


 

174                            GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

the power of godliness is dwindled away, and where
the form only of religion is become fashionable among
people. Boston people are dear to my soul. They
were greatly affected by the word, followed me night
and day, and were very liberal to my dear orphans.
I promised, God willing, to visit them again, and in-
tend to fulfil my promise when it shall please God to
bring me again from my native country. In the mean-
while, dear Boston, adieu. The Lord be with thy
ministers and people, and grant that the remnant
which is still left according to the election of grace,
may take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards,
and fill the land.”

On the morning following these solemn services,
Whitefield left Boston on his way to Northampton.
To detail his four days’ progress, would be almost to
repeat what we have already written. At Concord,
where he arrived on Monday about noon, he preached
twice to some thousands in the open air, “and a com-
fortable preaching it was. The hearers were sweetly
melted down.”  Mr. Bliss, the minister of the town,
of whose subsequent labors it has been well said, more
perfect accounts ought to have been preserved, wept
abundantly. On Tuesday he “preached at Sudbury
to some thousands with power, and observed a consid-
erable commotion in the assembly;” as was also the
case the same afternoon at Marlborough. At the lat-
ter place he was met by Governor Belcher, who went
with him through the rain that night to Worcester.
Here, on Wednesday, he “preached in the open air to
some thousands. The word fell with weight indeed.
It carried all before it. After sermon, the governor


 


said to me, ‘I pray God I may apply what has been
said to my own heart. Pray, Mr. Whitefield, that I
may hunger and thirst after righteousness.’” Pass-
ing on, he preached at Leicester, Brookfield, and Cold-
Spring, on his way to Hadley, where he arrived on
Friday, and preached about noon. In this place he
says, “A great work was begun, and carried on some
years ago; but lately the people of God have complain-
ed of deadness and losing their first love. However,
as soon as I mentioned what God had done for their
souls formerly, it was like putting fire to timber. The
remembrance of it quickened them, and caused many
to weep sorely.” On the same afternoon he crossed
the ferry to Northampton.

Of the great revival of religion in New England,
which commenced at Northampton about 1734, and is
the subject of President Edwards’ “Narrative,” we
have already briefly spoken; its importance will justify
a more extended notice. It began without any extra-
ordinary circumstances to awaken the attention of the
people, or any uncommon arrangements or efforts by
the minister. The young people of the place had for
two or three years shown an increased measure of
thoughtfulness, and a growing disposition to receive
religious instruction. There had been, from time to
time, instances of strong religious impression and of
hopeful conversion. But in the latter end of Decem-
ber, 1734, five or six persons, one after another, be-
came very suddenly the subjects of the grace of God
which newly creates the soul. Among these was a
young woman distinguished for her gayety in youthful
society, “one of the greatest company-keepers in the


 

176         GEORGE WHITEFIELD.

whole town,” who came to the pastor with a broken
heart and a contrite spirit, and with faith and hope in
the Saviour of sinners, before anyone had heard of
her being at all impressed with serious things. The
sudden, though, as time proved, the real conversion of
this young woman, was the power of God striking the
electric chain of religious sympathies which had im-
perceptibly, but effectually encircled all the families
of Northampton. Mr. Edwards’ “Narrative” says,
“The news of it seemed to be almost like a flash of
lightning upon the hearts of young people all over the
town, and upon many others. . . . Presently a great
and earnest concern about the great things of religion
and the eternal world became universal in all parts
of the town, and among persons of all degrees and all
ages. All talk but about spiritual and eternal things
was soon thrown by; all the conversation in all com-
panies was upon these things only, except so much as
was necessary for people carrying on their ordinary
secular business. The minds of people were wonder-
fully taken off from the world; it was treated among
us as a thing of very little consequence. All would
eagerly lay hold of opportunities for their souls, and
were wont very often to meet together in private
houses for religious purposes. And such meetings,
when appointed, were generally thronged. Those
who were wont to be the vainest and loosest, and
those who had been most disposed to think and speak
lightly of vital and experimental religion, were now
generally subject to great awakening. And the work
of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing
manner, and increased more and more. From day to



 

day, for many months together, might be seen evident
instances of sinners brought out of darkness into mar-
vellous light. In the spring and summer following,
the town seemed to be full of the presence of God; it
was never so full of love, and yet so full of distress,
as it was then. It was a time of joy in families, on
account of salvation being brought to them; parents
rejoicing over their children as new-born, and hus-
bands over their wives, and wives over their hus-
bands. The goings of God were then seen in his
sanctuary, God’s day was a delight, and his taberna-
cles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then
beautiful; the congregation was alive in God’s ser-
vice, every one eagerly intent on the public worship,
every hearer eager to drink in the words of the min-
ister as they came from his mouth. The assembly
were, from time to time, in tears, while the word was
preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress,
others with joy and love, others with pity and con-
cern for their neighbors.”

In December, 1743, nine years after this blessed
work had begun, Edwards writes, “Ever since the
great work of God that was wrought here about nine
years ago, there has been a great, abiding alteration
in this town, in many respects. There has been vastly
more religion kept up in the town, among all sorts of
persons, in religious exercises, and in common conver-
sation, than used to be before. There has remained
a more general seriousness and decency in attending
the public worship. I suppose the town has been in
no measure so free from vice, for any long time to-
gether, for these sixty years, as it has these nine years

                                               8*


 

 

 

past. There has also been an evident alteration with
respect to a charitable spirit to the poor. And though,
after that great work of nine years ago, there has
been a very lamentable decay of religious affections,
and the engagedness of people’s spirits in religion,
yet many societies for prayer and social religion were
all along kept up, and there were some few instances
of awakening and deep concern about the things of
another world, even in the most dead time. In the
year 1740, in the spring, before Mr. Whitefield came
to this town, there was a visible alteration. There
was more seriousness and religious conversation, espe-
cially among young people. Those things that were
of ill tendency among them were more forborne; and
it was a more frequent thing for persons to visit their
ministers upon soul accounts. In some particular per-
sons, there appeared a great alteration about. that
time. And thus it continued till Mr. Whitefield came
to town, which was about the middle of October
following.”

And what thought Whitefield himself on his arri-
val at Northampton? Let us hear him. “Their pas-
tor’s name is Edwards, successor and grandson to the
great Stoddard, whose memory will be always pre-
cious to my soul, and whose books, entitled,’ “A Guide
to Christ”
and “Safety of appearing in Christ’s right-
eousness
,” I would recommend to all. Mr. Edwards
is a solid, excellent Christian, but at present weak in
body. I think I may say I have not seen his fellow
in all New England. When I came into his pulpit, I
found my heart drawn out to talk of scarce anything
besides the consolations and privileges of saints, and



 

the plentiful effusion of the Spirit upon the hearts of
believers. And when I came to remind them of their
former experiences, and how zealous and lively they
were at that time, both minister and people wept
much; and the Holy Ghost enabled me to speak with
a great deal of power. In the evening, I gave a word
of exhortation to several who came to Mr. Edwards’
house.”

On the following morning, “At Mr. Edwards’ re-
quest, I spoke to his little children, who were much
affected. Preached at Hatfield, five miles from North-
ampton, but found myself not much strengthened.
Conversed profitably on the way about the things of
God with dear Mr. Edwards, and preached about four
in the afternoon to his congregation. I began with
fear and trembling, feeling but little power in the
morning, but God assisted me. Few dry eyes seemed
to be in the assembly for a considerable time. I had
an affecting prospect in my own heart of the glories
of the upper world, and was enabled to speak of them
feelingly to others. I believe many were filled, as it
were, with new wine; and it seemed as if a time of
refreshing was come from the presence of the Lord.”

The day following this was the Sabbath. White-
field tells us in his journal, that he “felt wonderful
satisfaction in being at the house of Mr. Edwards.
He is a son himself, and hath also a daughter of Abra-
ham for his wife. A sweeter couple I have not yet
seen. Their children were dressed, not in silks and
satins, but plain, as becomes the children of those who
in all things ought to be examples of Christian sim-
plicity.  She is a woman adorned with a meek and



 

quiet spirit, talked feelingly and solidly of the things
of God, and seemed to be such a help-mate for her
husband, that she caused me to renew those prayers,
which, for some months, I have put up to God, that
he would be pleased to send me a daughter of Abra-
ham to be my wife. I find, upon many accounts, it is
my duty to marry. Lord, I desire to have no choice
of my own. Thou knowest my circumstances; thou
knowest I only desire to marry in and for thee.”

Whitefield “preached this morning, and perceived
the melting begin sooner and rise higher than before.
Dear Mr. Edwards wept during the whole time of
exercise. The people were equally, if not more af-
fected; and my own soul was much lifted up towards
God. In the afternoon the power increased yet more
and more. Our Lord seemed to keep the good wine
till the last. I have not seen four such gracious meet-
ings together since my arrival. My soul was much
knit to these dear people of God; and though I had
not time to converse with them about their expe-
riences, yet one might see they were for the most
part, a gracious, tender people; and though their
former fire might be greatly abated, yet it immedi-
ately appeared when stirred up.”

Edwards had looked forward to Whitefield’s visit
to Northampton with interest, for he felt greatly con-
cerned for his success. He wrote a week before his
arrival to his friend Dr. Wheelock, then a young min-
ister of twenty-nine, “I think that those that make
mention of the Lord, should now be awakened and
encouraged to call upon God, and not keep silence,
nor give him any rest, till he establish and till he



 

make Jerusalem a praise in the earth; and particu-
larly should be earnest with God, that he would still
uphold and succeed the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, the in-
strument that it has pleased him to improve to do
such great things for the honor of his name, and at
all times so to guide and direct him under his extra-
ordinary circumstances, that Satan may not get any
advantage of him.”

After his visit, Edwards writes, “Mr. Whitefield’s
sermons were suitable to the circumstances of the
town; containing just reproofs of our backslidings,
and in a most moving and affecting manner, making
use of our great profession and our great mercies as
arguments with us to return to God, from whom we
had departed. Immediately after this, the minds of
the people in general appeared more engaged in relig-
ion, showing a greater forwardness to make it the
subject of their conversation, and to meet frequently
for religious purposes, and to embrace all opportuni-
ties to hear the word preached. The revival at first
appeared chiefly among professors, and those who had
entertained the hope that they were in a state of grace,
to whom Mr. Whitefield chiefly addressed himself;
but in a very short time, there appeared an awakening
and deep concern among some young persons that
looked upon themselves in a Christless state; and
there were some hopeful appearances of conversion;
and some professors were greatly revived. In about
a month or six weeks, there was a great alteration in
the town, both as to the revivals of professors, and
awakenings of others.”

During this visit of Whitefield to Edwards, some


 


conversation was held between them, of which, several
years afterwards, as it appears to us, far too much
was said. Edwards took an opportunity, privately,
to converse with his friend about impulses, and furnish-
ed him with some reasons for thinking that he gave
too much attention to such things. Whitefield did
not appear offended, neither did he seem inclined to
converse much on the subject, or to yield to the rea-
sonings of his friend Edwards. The latter says, “It
is true, that I thought Mr. Whitefield liked me not so
well for my opposing these things; and though he
treated me with great kindness, yet he never made so
much of an intimate of me, as of some others.”  It
seems also, that they conversed on the strong lan-
guage which the great evangelist was accustomed to
employ as to those whom he considered to be uncon-
verted, and the duty of the people to forsake the
preaching of ministers whom he did not consider to
be renewed in the spirit of their minds. Whitefield
told Edwards also, of the design he had cherished of
bringing over a number of young men from England,
to be ordained by the Tennents, in New Jersey; an
object, however, which he never accomplished.

It appears that after preaching at Northampton
twice on the Sabbath, Whitefield, accompanied by his
friend Edwards, rode to the house of the father of the
last-named gentleman, the Rev. Timothy Edwards, in
East Windsor, Connecticut. At this place, as also at
Westfield, Springfield, Suffield, Hartford, Wethers-
field, Middletown, and Wailingford, he preached to
large assemblies, generally with his accustomed ani-
mation and power, and with the happy proofs of suc-



 

cess which he so frequently witnessed. During this
week also, he experienced a remarkable deliverance
from great danger. He says, “A little after I
left
Springfield, my horse, coming over a broken bridge,
threw me over his head, directly upon my nose. The
fall stunned me for a while. My mouth was full of
dust, I
bled a little, but falling upon soft sand, got not
much damage. After I had recovered myself, and
mounted my horse, God so filled me with a sense of
his sovereign, distinguishing love, and my own un-
worthiness, that my eyes gushed out with tears; but
they were all tears of love. Oh, how did I want to
sink before the high and lofty One who inhabiteth
eternity!”

During this week also, on his way to Suffield, he
met with a minister who said, “It was not absolutely
necessary for a gospel minister, that he should be con-
verted meaning, no doubt, that though conversion
was necessary to his salvation, it was not indispensa-
ble to his ministerial character and usefulness. This
gave Whitefield a subject. “I
insisted much in my
discourse upon the doctrine of the new birth, and also
the necessity of a minister’s being converted, before
he could preach Christ aright. The word came with
great power, and a great impression was made upon
the people in all parts of the assembly. Many minis-
ters were present.  I
did not spare them. Most of
them thanked me for my plain dealing; but one was
offended; and so would more of his stamp be, if I
were to continue longer in New England. For un-
converted ministers are the bane of the Christian
church; and though I honor the memory of that great


 

and good man Mr. Stoddard, yet I think he is much
to be blamed for endeavoring to prove that uncon-
verted men might be admitted into the ministry. How
he has handled the controversy, I know not. I think
no solid arguments can be brought to defend such a
cause. A sermon lately published by Mr. Gilbert
Tennent, entitled, ‘The Danger of an Unconverted Minis-
try
,’ I think unanswerable. Tracy truly says, that
Stoddard, in his ‘Appeal to the Learned,’ assumes that
an unconverted minister is bound to continue in the
performance of ministerial duties, and infers that uncon-
verted men may therefore be admitted to the church.
This opinion at one period extensively prevailed,
though all held it desirable that a minister should be
a converted man. By his attacks on this opinion, and
especially by thus endorsing Tennent’s Nottingham
sermon, Whitefield gave great offence.”

On Wednesday afternoon, he preached at East
Windsor, and spent the night with Mr. Edwards, sen-
ior, “I believe,” he says, “a true disciple and minis-
ter of the Lord Jesus Christ. After exercise, we sup-
ped at the house of old Mr. Edwards. His wife was
as aged, I believe, as himself, and I fancied that I was
sitting in the house of a Zacharias and Elisabeth.”  On
the following day, he “preached to many thousands,
and with much freedom and power,” at Hartford in
the morning, and at Wethersfield in the afternoon.
Here he met Messrs. Wheelock and Pomeroy, “two
young, faithful, and zealous ministers of Jesus Christ.”
From this place he had intended to go eastward as
far as Plymouth, and return by another route to Prov-
idence, and notice had been given in the newspapers


 


of about twenty sermons which he proposed to preach
at the times and places specified. He was afterwards
blamed for making these appointments without first
consulting the pastors of the several churches; thus
giving countenance, it was said, to the practice of itin-
erants intruding into other men’s parishes without
their consent. The proceeding was certainly some-
what irregular, but Whitefield was not much to be
blamed for it. The details were settled, and the pub-
lication made, by men in whose judgment and know-
ledge of the customs of the country he had a right to
confide; and the appointments were believed, in all
cases, and doubtless known in some, to be agreeable
to the parties concerned. At Wethersfield, however,
the evangelist ascertained the necessity of his hasten-
ing on to New York, and immediately, therefore, pub-
lished a note recalling these appointments.

On Friday, October 24, Whitefield arrived at New
Haven, and was entertained at the house of Mr. James
Pierpont, the brother-in-law of Mr. Edwards, and of
Mr. Noyes, the minister of the First Congregational
church. The Legislature of the colony being in ses-
sion, he remained till after the Lord’s day; and “had
the pleasure of seeing numbers daily impressed,” un-
der his ministrations in the old polygonal meeting-
house. Several ministers of the vicinity visited him,
“with whose pious conversation he was much refresh-
ed.” Good old Governor Tallcott, on whom with
due politeness he waited to pay his respects, said to
him, “Thanks be to God for such refreshings in our
way to heaven.” Among others who heard his glow-
ing appeals to the congregations that listened to


 


him during this visit, was young Samuel Hopkins,
still well known as an eminent divine. Hopkins was
now nineteen, and was a student at college; his biog-
rapher tells us, that “he was much interested in the
man, and much impressed by his solemn warnings.”

The testimony of Hopkins himself may here be
introduced. He says, speaking of Whitefield, “The
attention of the people in general was greatly awak-
ened upon hearing the fame of him, that there was a
remarkable preacher from England travelling through
the country. The people flocked to hear him when
he came to New Haven. Some travelled twenty miles
out of the country to hear him. The assemblies were
crowded, and remarkably attentive; people appeared
generally to approve, and their conversation turned
chiefly upon him and his preaching. Some disap-
proved of several things, which occasioned consid-
erable disputes. I heard him when he preached in
public, and when he expounded in private in the
evening, and highly approved of him, and was im-
pressed by what he said in public and in private. He
preached against mixed dancing and the frolicking
of males and females together, which practice was
then very common in New England. This offended
some, especially young people. But I remember I
justified him in this in my own mind, and in conver-
sation with those who were disposed to condemn him.
This was in October, 1740, when I had entered on
my last year in college.”

On this visit, Whitefield dined with the Rev. Mr.
Clap, the rector of the college. Of the college he
says, “It is about one-third part as big as Cam-



 

bridge. It has one rector, three tutors, and about a
hundred students. But I hear of no remarkable con-
cern among them concerning religion.”  Mr. Clap, it
is well known, afterwards became the public opponent
of Whitefield; and it would seem that his dislike to
him commenced with this first interview; for he
“spoke very closely to the students, and showed the
dreadful consequences of an unconverted ministry.”
In his journal of the day he says, “0 that God may
quicken ministers!  0 that the Lord may make them a
flaming fire!” On the two days following, he preached
at Milford, Stratford, and Fairfield, on his way to New
York. On Wednesday, when at Stamford, he thus
speaks of New England and his labors in it:

“I give God thanks for sending me to New Eng-
land. I have now had an opportunity of seeing the
greatest and most populous parts of it and take it
all together, it certainly on many accounts exceeds
all other provinces of America, and for the establish-
ment of religion, perhaps all other parts of the world.
Never, surely, was so large a spot of ground settled
in such a manner, in so short a space of one hundred
years. The towns all through Connecticut and east-
wards towards York in the province of Massachusetts,
[Maine,] near the river-side, are large, well peopled,
and exceedingly pleasant to travel through. Every
five miles, or perhaps less, you have a meeting-house,
and I believe there is no such a thing as a pluralist,
or non-resident minister in both provinces. Many,
nay, most that preach, I fear do not experimentally
know Christ; yet I cannot see much worldly advan-
tage to tempt them to take, upon them the sacred


 



function. Few country ministers, as I have been in-
formed, have sufficient allowed them in money to
maintain a family. God has remarkably, in sundry
times and in divers manners, poured out his Spirit in
several parts of both provinces; and it often refreshes
my soul to hear of the faith of the good forefathers
who first settled in these parts. Notwithstanding
they had their foibles, surely they were a set of right-
eous men. They certainly followed our Lord's rule,
sought first the kingdom of God and his righteous-
ness; and behold, all other things God added unto
them. Their seed are now blessed, in temporal things
especially, and notwithstanding the rising generation
seem to be settled on their lees, yet I believe the Lord
hath more than seven thousand who have not bowed
the knee to Baal. The ministers and people of Con-
necticut seem to be more simple than those that live
near Boston, especially in those parts where I went.
But I think the ministers' preaching almost universally
by notes, is a certain mark they have in a great meas-
ure lost the old spirit of preaching. For though all
are not to be condemned that use notes, yet it is a sad
symptom of the decay of vital religion when reading
sermons becomes fashionable, where extempore preach-
ing did once almost universally prevail. As for the
universities, I believe it may be said, their light is
become darkness, darkness that may be felt, and is
complained of by the most godly ministers. I pray
God these fountains may be purified, and send forth
pure streams to water the cities of our God. ... As for
the civil government of New England, it seems to be
well regulated, and I think, at opening all their courts,



 

either the judge or a minister begins with a prayer.
Family worship, I believe, is generally kept up. The
negroes I think better used, both in soul and body,
than in any other province I have yet seen. In short,
I like New England exceedingly well; and when a
spirit of reformation revives, it certainly will prevail
here more than in other places, because they are sim-
ple in their worship, less corrupt in their principles,
and consequently easier to be brought over to the
form of sound words, into which so many of their
pious ancestors were delivered. Send forth, 0 Lord,
thy light and thy truth, and for thine infinite mercy's
sake, show thou hast a peculiar delight in these hab-
itable parts of the earth. Amen, Lord Jesus, amen,
and amen.”

Among many who became the subjects of divine
grace, during this visit of Whitefield to New England,
was Daniel Emerson, who was educated at Harvard
college, where he received his first degree in 1739,
and where he continued to reside for some time as a
graduate. While at college, he is said to have been
very fond of the gay pleasures of this life, until his
attention was effectually called to religion by the
preaching of Whitefield, whom he followed from place
to place for several days. He was ordained at Hollis,
New Hampshire, in 1743, where, in a ministry of fifty
years, he was a worthy follower of his spiritual father.
The chief excellences of his preaching were sound doc-
trine, deep feeling, and zeal at times almost over-
whelming. He was truly a son of thunder, and a
flaming light. He was almost incessantly engaged in
labors, preaching, attending funerals, etc., far and


 


near. His efforts were greatly blessed, especially
among his own people, who under his ministry en-
joyed extensive revivals of religion, and where also a
large number of ministers have been called to their
work. He died in 1801, aged eighty-five.

It may be appropriate to introduce here a sketch
of Whitefield’s doctrines and labors at this time, as
given us by the eminent Dr. Thomas Prince, in his
“Christian History,” under date of January 26, 1744-5,
but having reference to Whitefield’s first visit to New
England, which we have just described:

“He spoke with a mighty sense of God, eternity,
the immortality and preciousness of the souls of his
hearers, of their original corruption, and of the ex-
treme danger the unregenerate are in; with the nature
and absolute necessity of regeneration by the Holy
Ghost; and of believing in Christ, in order to our
pardon, justification, yielding an acceptable obedience,
and obtaining salvation from hell and an entrance
into heaven. His doctrine was plainly that of the
reformers; declaring against our putting our good
works or morality in the room of Christ’s righteous-
ness, or their having any hand in our justification, or
being indeed pleasing to God while we are totally
unsanctified, acting upon corrupt principles, and un-
reconciled enemies to him; which occasioned some to
mistake him, as if he opposed morality. But he in-
sisted on it, that the tree of the heart is by original
sin exceedingly corrupted, and must be made good by
regeneration, that so the fruits proceeding from it may
be good likewise ; that where the heart is renewed, it
ought and will be careful to maintain good works,



 

FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND              191


that if any be not habitually so careful who think
themselves renewed, they deceive their own souls;
and even the most improved in holiness, as well as
others, must entirely depend on the righteousness of
Christ for the acceptance of their persons and services.
And though now and then he dropped some expres-
sions that were not so accurate and guarded as we
should expect from aged and long-studied ministers,
yet I had the satisfaction to observe his readiness with
great modesty and thankfulness to receive correction
as soon as offered.

“In short, he was a most importunate wooer of
souls to come to Christ for the enjoyment of him, and
all his benefits. He distinctly applied his exhorta-
tions to the elderly people, the middle-aged, the young,
the Indians, and negroes, and had a most winning
way of addressing them. He affectionately prayed
for our magistrates, ministers, colleges, candidates for
the ministry, and churches, as well as people in gen-
eral; and before he left us, in a public and moving
manner, he observed to the people how sorry he was
to hear that the religious assemblies, especially on
lectures, had been so thin, exhorted them earnestly to
a more general attendance on our public ministra-
tions for the time to come, and told them how glad he
should be to hear of the same.

“Multitudes were greatly affected, and many awak-
ened with his lively ministry. Though he preached
every day, the houses were crowded; but when he
preached on the Common, a vaster number attended;
and almost every evening the house where he lodged
was thronged to hear his prayers and counsels.


 

 

“On Mr. Whitefield's leaving us, great numbers in
this town [Boston] were so happily concerned about
their souls, as we had never seen anything like it be-
fore, except at the time of the general earthquake;[1]
and, their desires excited to hear their ministers more
than ever. So that our assemblies, both on lectures
and Sabbaths, were surprisingly increased, and now
the people wanted to hear us oftener. In conse-
quence of which a public lecture was proposed to be
set up at Dr. Column's church, near the midst of the
town, on every Tuesday evening."

In reference to the work of grace which was con-
nected with Whitefield's preaching in New England,
the Rev. Dr. Baron Stow, in his “Centennial Dis-
course," says, “The result, by the blessing of God, was
a powerful revival, such as New England had never
witnessed. The work was opposed with great vehe-
mence; and no impartial reader of the history of those
extraordinary scenes can question that much of the
hostility was provoked by improprieties of both speech
and action, that would at any time be, offensive to
those who love good order and Christian decorum.
But after making liberal allowance for all that was
truly exceptionable, it is cheerfully admitted by the


 

FIRST VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND              193


candid Christian, that the excitement was, in the
main, the product of the Holy Spirit, and that its
fruits Were eminently favorable to the advancement
of true religion. A torpid community was aroused,
as by the trump of God, from its long and heavy slum-
ber; ministers and people were converted; the style
of preaching, and the tone of individual piety were
improved; a cold, cadaverous formalism gave place
to the living energy of experimental godliness; the
doctrines of the gospel were brought out from their
concealment, and made to reassert their claims to a
cordial, practical credence, and all the interests of
truth and holiness received new homage from regen-
erated thousands.”

One or two other facts connected with Whitefield’s
usefulness in New England are too important to be
omitted. During this visit he was much gratified by
an interview with a colored man, who had been his
chaise-driver when he first visited Cambridge. The
negro had heard him preach in the college a sermon
especially addressed “to those who labor and are
heavy-laden.” It took such a hold on the poor man,
that he repeated it in the kitchen when he reached
home. Mr. Cooper of Boston was so well satisfied,
as was Whitefield also, with his account of his con-
version, that he was admitted to the Lord’s table.

Another “brand plucked from the burning” was a
son of Mackintosh, an English rebel, who had been
condemned to perpetual imprisonment, and had been
allowed by George the First to settle in New Eng-
land. One of his daughters, a lady of fortune, had
heard Whitefield preach in Dr. Prince’s church at

Whitefield.                            9


 

Boston, and had been won by the word to Christ.
She was soon after smitten by sickness, and ripened
rapidly for heaven. On her death-bed she cried out
for her “soul friend.”  Mr. Whitefield; but checking
her own impatience, she asked, “Why should I do so?
He is gone about his Master’s work, and in a little
time we shall meet to part no more.” The distin-
guished evangelist had a very high opinion of her
piety, and his interest in her was increased by the
fact that she had a very remarkable escape from some
ruffians who had been bribed to convey her and her
sister to Scotland, that their uncle might seize on an
estate worth a thousand pounds a year.

There were at this time not less than twenty min-
isters in the neighborhood of Boston who unhesitat-
ingly spoke of Whitefield as their spiritual father,
directly tracing their conversion to his ministry. Of
one of these we have an account by Collins, The jour-
nalist of South Reading. Speaking of 1741, he says,
“Mr. Whitefield preached upon our Common in the
open air. Mr. Hobby the minister went with the mul-
titude to hear him. It is said that Mr. Hobby after-
wards remarked, he came to pick a hole in Mr. White-
field’s coat, but that Whitefield picked a hole in his
heart. Mr. Hobby afterwards wrote and published
a defence of Mr. Whitefield in a letter to Mr. Hench-
man, the minister of Lynn, who had written against
him.”

The letters of Whitefield, during his journeys of
eleven hundred miles in New England, were few and
brief; but they clearly indicated that at this time he
was inclined “to return no more to his native coun-


 


try.” New England, notwithstanding his trials there,
had evidently won his heart, and for a time almost
weaned him from Great Britain. When he left it, as
he was now about to do, for the south, he wrote,
“God only knows what a cross it was to me to leave
dear New England so soon. I hope death will not
be so bitter to me as was parting with my friends.
Glad shall I be to be prayed thither again before I see
my native land. I would just be where He would
have me, although in the uttermost parts of the earth.
I am now hunting for poor lost sinners in these ungos-
pelized
wilds.”

Is there not an awfully retributive providence con-
nected with the rejection of the gospel and its minis-
ters? Do we not see this principle at work in the
history and present state of the Jews; and has it not
often appeared also in the history of Christianity?
There was a beautiful village, now a city, in Massa-
chusetts, from which Whitefield was driven with such
rancorous abuse, that he shook off the dust of his feet,
and proclaimed that the Spirit of God would not
visit that spot till the last of those persecutors was
dead. The good man’s language had a fearful truth
in it, though he was not divinely gifted with the
prophet’s inspiration. A consciousness of desertion
paralyzed the energies of the church; for nearly a
century it was nurtured on the unwholesome food of
unscriptural doctrine. In the very garden of natural
loveliness, it sat like a heath in the desert, upon
which there could be no rain; and not till that whole
generation had passed from the earth, did Zion appear
there in her beauty and strength.


 

 

 

 

               CHAPTER VII.

       LABORS IN NEW YORK AND THE MIDDLE AND
                                SOUTHERN STATES.

                                          1740, 1741.


Whitefield was now again on his way to New
York, preaching at Rye and King’s Bridge on the
road. At the latter place he was met by several
friends from the city, with whom he pleasantly talked,
“and found,” he says, “an inexpressible satisfaction in
my soul when I arrived at the house of my very dear
friend Mr. Noble. After supper the Lord filled my
heart, and gave me to wrestle with him for New York
inhabitants and my own dear friends.” He was also
cheered by meeting Mr. Davenport from Long Island,
whose labors as an evangelist were then exciting much
interest. Here too he met with a violent pamphlet
published against him. “Met also with two volumes
of sermons published in London as delivered by me,
though I never preached on most of the texts. But
Satan must try all ways to bring the work of God
into contempt.”

On the morning after his arrival, Whitefield
preached in Mr. Pemberton’s meeting-house, and says
concerning the service, “Never saw the word of God
fall with such weight in New York before. Two or
three cried out. Mr. Noble could scarce refrain him-
self. And look where I would, many seemed deeply
wounded. At night the word was attended with
great power. One cried out; and the Lord enabled



 

me at the latter end of my sermon to speak with
authority. Alas, how vain are the thoughts of men!
As I came along yesterday, I found my heart some-
what dejected, and told Mr. Noble I expected but
little moving in New York; but he bid me ‘expect
great things from God,’ and likewise told me of sev-
eral who were, as he hoped, savingly wrought upon
by my ministry when I was there last.”

On the following day he finished his answer to
the pamphlet already referred to, and says, “God
enabled me to write it in the spirit of meekness.”
He adds, “Preached twice as yesterday to very crowd-
ed auditories, and neither time without power. In
the evening exercise some fainted, and the Lord
seemed to show us more and more that a time for
favoring New York was near at hand. Oh, where-
fore did I doubt? Lord, increase my faith.”

The following day, November 2, was the Sabbath.
“Preached this morning with freedom and some
power, but was much dejected before the evening ser-
mon. For near half an hour before I left Mr. Noble’s
house, I could only lie before the Lord, and say I was
a poor sinner, and wonder that Christ would be gra-
cious to such a wretch. As I went to meeting I grew
weaker and weaker, and when I came into the pulpit
I could have chosen to be silent rather than speak.
But after I had begun, the Spirit of the Lord gave me
freedom, till at length it came down like a mighty
rushing wind, and carried all before it. Immediately
the whole congregation was alarmed. Shrieking,
crying, weeping, and wailing were to be heard in
every corner; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and



 

many falling into the arms of their friends. My soul
was carried out till I could scarcely speak any more.
A sense of God’s goodness overwhelmed me.”

After narrating two or three pleasing incidents as
to the effect of his preaching even on the minds of
children, and describing his feelings on his return
home, he gives an account of the wedding of two
young persons who were going as his assistants to
Georgia. “Never,” he says, “did I see a more solemn
wedding. Jesus Christ was called, and he was pres-
ent in a remarkable manner. After Mr. Pemberton
had married them, I prayed. But my soul, how was
it enabled to wrestle with and lay hold on God! I
was in a very great agony, and the Holy Ghost was
so remarkably present, that most, I believe, could say,
‘Surely God is in this place.’ After this, divine man-
ifestations flowed in so fast, that my frail tabernacle
was scarce able to sustain them. My dear friends sat
round me on the bedsides. I prayed for each of them
alternately with strong cries, and pierced by the eye
of faith even within the veil. I continued in this con-
dition for about half an hour, astonished at my own
vileness and the excellency of Christ, then rose full of
peace and love and joy.”

On Monday, the 3d, he preached both morning
and afternoon to increasing congregations, and says,
“There was a great and gracious melting both times,
but no crying out. Nearly £110 currency were col-
lected for the orphans and in the evening many came
and took an affectionate leave. About seven we took
boat; reached Staten Island about ten, greatly re-
freshed in my inner man. A dear Christian friend


 


received us gladly, and we solaced ourselves by sing-
ing and praying. About midnight retired to sleep,
still longing for that time .when I shall sleep no
more.”

On Tuesday he preached on Staten Island from a
wagon, to three or four hundred people. “The Lord
came among them,” and several inquired after the
way of salvation. Here he met Gilbert Tennent and
Mr. Cross. The former of these excellent ministers
had recently lost his wife, and though he was ardently
attached to her, he calmly preached her funeral ser-
mon with the corpse lying before him. Tennent had
lately been preaching in New Jersey and Maryland,
and had a delightful account to give his friend of the
progress of the good work. Nor was the account
given by Mr. Cross of less interest. After sermon he
rode to Newark, where he preached till dark, as he
thought with but little good effect. “However, at
night the Lord manifested forth his glory; for, com-
ing down to family prayer where I lodged, and per-
ceiving many young men around me, my soul was, as
it were, melted down with concern for them. After
singing, I gave a word of exhortation; with what
power none can fully express but those that saw it.
Oh, how did the word fall like a hammer and like a
fire. What a weeping was there!”

We must stay a moment to give a fact or two
in reference to the Rev. Aaron Burr, then quite a
young man, who two or three years before had been
ordained at Newark, and whose ministry had been
attended with a delightful revival the year preced-
ing Whitefield’s visit. During the period of this re-


 


vival, the neighboring village of Elizabethtown had
been remarkable for its insensibility, even Whitefield
had preached there, “and not a single known conver-
sion,” says Dr. Stearns, “ followed his ministrations.”
Afterwards the pastor, the well-known Jonathan Dick-
inson, saw happy results from very plain preaching.
Newark caught a new flame from its neighboring altar,
and Mr. Burr, who had lately been to New England
in quest of health, had heard the devoted evangelist
again and again, and invited him to visit his flock,
which he did about a month afterwards with happy
results. The account given by Mr. Burr of White-
field’s preaching in New England was precisely what
we should expect from the man who was afterwards
the first president of Princeton college, and who, four-
teen years after this, accompanied his eloquent friend
to New England, “and saw at Boston, morning after
morning, three or four thousand people hanging in
breathless silence on the lips of the preacher, and
weeping silent tears.”

The Rev. Stephen Dodd of East Haven, Conn.,
relates that an old lady told him that when Mr.
Whitefield came to preach in the old meeting-house at
Newark, she was twelve years old, and as he entered
the pulpit she looked at him with distrust, but before
he got through his prayers herself and all the congre-
gation were melted down, and the sermon filled the
house with groans and tears. The next time he came,
the congregation was so large that the pulpit window
was taken out, and he preached through the opening
to the people in the burying-ground.

On Wednesday, the 5th, he went to Baskinridge,


 

Mr. Cross’ parish, where he found Mr. Davenport,
who, according to appointment, had been preaching to
about three thousand people. He writes, “As I went
along, I told a friend my soul wept for them, and I
was persuaded within myself that the Lord would
that day make his power to be known among them.
In prayer, I perceived my soul drawn out, and a
stirring of affections among the people. I had not
discoursed long before the Holy Ghost displayed his
power. In every part of the congregation somebody
or other began to cry out, and almost all melted into
tears. This abated for a few moments, till a little
boy about seven or eight years of age cried out ex-
ceeding piteously indeed, and wept as though his little
heart would break. Mr. Cross having compassion on
him, took him up into the wagon, which so affected
me, that I broke from my discourse, and told the peo-
ple the little boy should preach to them, and that God,
since old professors would not cry after Christ, had
displayed his sovereignty, and out of an infant’s mouth
was perfecting praise. God so blessed this, that a
universal concern fell on the congregation again.
Fresh persons dropped down here and there, and the
cry increased more and more.”

In the evening, Gilbert Tennent preached excel-
lently in Mr. Cross’ barn, two miles off. His subject
was the necessity and benefit of spiritual desertions, a
remarkable subject, as has been said, at such a time,
in a barn, and at night. “A great commotion,” says
Whitefield, “was soon observed among the hearers.
I then gave a word of exhortation. The Lord’s pres-
ence attended it in a surprising manner. One, in

                                     9*


 


about six minutes, cried out, ‘He is come, He is come!’
and could scarcely sustain the discovery that Jesus
Christ made of himself to his soul. Others were so
earnest for a discovery of the Lord to their souls, that
their eager crying obliged me to stop, and I prayed
over them as I saw their agonies and distress increase.
At length my own soul was so full that I retired, and
was in a strong agony for some time, and wept before
the Lord under a deep sense of my own vileness, and
the sovereignty and greatness of God’s everlasting
love. Most of the people spent the remainder of the
night in prayer and praise. Two or three young min-
isters spoke alternately, and others prayed as the Lord
gave them utterance.”

The next morning Whitefield exhorted, sung, and
prayed with the people in the barn, and had some de-
lightful conversation with a lad of thirteen, a poor
negro woman, and several others. In company with
several Christian friends, he then rode to the house of
Gilbert Tennent in New Brunswick. Here he found
letters from Savannah saying that great mortality ex-
isted in the neighborhood, but that the family at the
orphan-house continued in health, and that a minister
was about coming from England to take his church at
Savannah. “This last,” says he, “much rejoiced me,
being resolved to give up the Savannah living as soon
as I arrived in Georgia. A parish and the orphan-
house together are too much for me; besides, God seems
to show me it is my duty to evangelize, and not to fix
in any particular place.” Here he was met by William
Tennent also, and after much conversation and prayer,
it was settled that Gilbert Tennent should go to Bos-


 

ton to carry on the work so happily begun there.
After preaching, exhortation, and prayer, Whitefield
went with Davenport to Trenton, and so on to Phila-
delphia. On their way, they were twice remarkably
preserved from drowning in creeks much swollen by
the rains; and late on a very dark Saturday night
arrived in the city, which had been already honored
by his usefulness.

On the following day, he twice preached in the
house which his friends were now building for him,
and in which Gilbert Tennent labored for many years
with great success. He says, “It is one hundred feet
long and seventy feet broad. A large gallery is to
be erected all around in it. Many footsteps of Provi-
dence have been visible in beginning and carrying it on.
Both
in the morning and evening God’s glory filled
the house, for there was great power in the congrega-
tion. The roof is not yet up, but the people raised a
convenient pulpit and boarded the bottom. The joy
of most of the hearers when they saw me was inex-
pressible. Between services, I received a packet of
letters from England, dated in March last. May the
Lord heal, and bring good out of the divisions which
at present seem to be among the brethren there. God
giving me freedom, and many friends being in the
room, I kneeled down and prayed with and exhorted
them all. But Oh, how did they melt under both; my
soul was much rejoiced to look round on them.”

A fact in connection with the building of this
church edifice illustrates the practical philosophy of
Dr. Franklin. Tennent waited on him for aid in the
erection of the house, which was cheerfully afforded;


 

 

the philosopher was asked by Tennent as to the best
method of raising the necessary funds, who instantly
recommended him to call at every house in the town
to solicit help. He argued thus: “Many are really
desirous to give, and will be glad to see you; others
are inclined to be friendly, and will give if they are
urged; a third will be sure, if they are omitted, to
say they would have given had they been asked;
and a fourth class will give you, rather than have
it said they refused.” Tennent acted on the doc-
tors counsel, and the funds were raised without diffi-
culty.

Two instances of the happy influence of the truth
in the conversion of sinners, in connection with this
visit, must be given from Whitefield’s own pen. The
first related to a Mr. Brockden, a lawyer eminent in
his profession, and the recorder of deeds for the city.
For many years this gentleman had been distinguished
for Deism. Whitefield writes, “In his younger days
he had some religious impressions, but going into
business, the cares of the world so choked the good
seed, that he not only forgot his God in some degree,
but at length began to doubt of and to dispute his
very being. In this state he continued many years,
and has been very zealous to propagate his deistical,
I could almost say atheistical principles among moral
men; but he told me he never endeavored to make
proselytes of vicious, debauched people. When I
came to Philadelphia, this time twelvemonth, he told
me he had not so much as a curiosity to hear me.
But a brother Deist, his choicest friend, pressed him
to come and hear me. To satisfy his curiosity, he at


 


length complied with the request. I preached at the
court-house stairs, upon the conference which the Lord
had with Nicodemus. I had not spoken much before
the Lord struck his heart. ‘For,’ said he, ‘I saw your
doctrine tended to make people good.’  His family
knew not that he had been to hear me. After he
came home, his wife, who had been at sermon, came
in also, and wished heartily that he had heard me.
He said nothing. After this, another of his family
came in, repeating the same wish; and, if I mistake
not, after that another; till at last, being unable to
refrain any longer, with tears in his eyes, he said,
‘Why, I have been hearing him;’ and then expressed
his approbation. Ever since he has followed on to
know the Lord; and I verily believe Jesus Christ
has made himself manifest to his soul. Though up-
wards of threescore years old, he is now, I believe,
born again of God. He is as a little child, and often,
as he told me, receives such communications from
God, when he retires into the woods, that he thinks
he could die a martyr for the truth.”

The other instance was that of the captain of a
ship, “as great a reprobate,” says Whiteheld, “as
ever I heard of.” This man used to go on board the
transport ships, and offer a guinea for a new oath,
that he might have the honor of making it. “To the
honor of God’s grace,” says our evangelist, “let it be
said, he is now, I believe, a Christian; not only re-
formed, but renewed. The effectual stroke, he told
me, was given when I preached last spring at Penne-
pack. Ever since he has been zealous for the truth;
stood like a lamb when he was beaten, and in danger


 


of being murdered by some of my opposers, and, in
short, shows his faith by his works.”

The stay of Mr. Whitefield in Philadelphia at this
time was about a week, during which he preached in
the new house twice every day to large and deeply
interested congregations. He says, “It would be
almost endless to recount all the particular instances
of God’s grace which I have seen this week past.
Many that before were only convicted, now plainly
proved that they were converted, and had a clear evi-
dence of it within themselves. My chief business was
now to build up and to exhort them to continue in the
grace of God. Notwithstanding, many were convicted
almost every day, and came to me under the greatest
distress and anguish of soul. Several societies are
now in the town, not only of men and women, but of
little boys and little girls. Being so engaged, I could
not visit them as I would, but I hope the Lord will
raise up some fellow-laborers, and that elders will be
ordained in every place.”

Perhaps no man was ever more free from secta-
rianism than George Whitefield. It is true, that he
was ordained a clergyman of the church of England,
and never manifested any degree of reluctance to
officiate within its walls; but it is equally true, that
the vast majority of his sermons were delivered in
connection with other bodies of Christians. When
he was once preaching from the balcony of the court-
house, Market-street, Philadelphia, he delivered an
impressive apostrophe: “Father Abraham, who have
you in heaven? any Episcopalians?” “No.” “Any
Presbyterians?” “No.” “Any Baptists?” “No.”


 

“Have yon any Methodists, Seceders,or Independents
there?” “No, no!”  “Why, who have you there?”

“We don’t know those names here. All who are
here are Christians, believers in Christ—men who
have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the
word of his testimony.”  “Oh, is that the case? then
God help me, God help us all, to forget party names,
and to become Christians, in deed and in truth.” It
might be well for the different bodies of Christians
to think of the propriety of following this example of
the holy man. The peculiarities of each Christian
denomination may have their importance, but they
ought not to keep good men in a state of separation,
much less of alienation from each other.

On Monday, November 17, Whitefield left Phila-
delphia. He says, “Was much melted at
parting from
my dear friends. Had it much impressed upon my
mind, that I should go to England, and undergo trials
for the truth’s sake. These words, ‘The Jews sought
to stone thee, and goest thou thither again?’ with our
Lord’s answer, have been for some time lying upon
me; and while my friends were weeping round me,
St. Paul’s words darted into my soul, ‘What mean
you to weep and break my heart? I am willing not
only to be bound, but to die for the Lord Jesus.’
After fervent prayer, I took my leave of some, but
being to preach at Gloucester in the West Jerseys,
others accompanied me in boats over the river. We
sung as we sailed, but my heart was low. I preached
at Gloucester, but found myself weighed down, and
was not able to deliver my sermon with my usual
vigor. However, there was an affecting melting, and



 

 

several, as I heard afterwards, who had been in bond-
age before, at that time received joy in the Holy
Ghost. I rode on in company with several to Green-
wich, and preached to a few, with scarce any power.
In the evening we travelled on a few miles, but my
body was more and more out of order, and I thought
God was preparing me for future blessings. It is
good to be humbled. I am never better than when
I am brought to lie at the foot of the cross. It is a
certain sign God intends that soul a greater crown.
Lord, let me always feel myself a poor sinner.” On
Tuesday he preached at Pilesgrove to about two thou-
sand people, but saw only a few affected. “At night,”
he says, “God was pleased so abundantly to refresh
my soul as to make me forget the weakness of my
body; I prayed and exhorted with great power in the
family where I lodged.” On Wednesday, at Cohan-
sey, where Gilbert Tennent had prepared the way
for him, he says, “Preached to some thousands both
morning and afternoon. The word gradually struck
the hearers, till the whole congregation was greatly
moved, and two cried out in the bitterness of their
souls after a crucified Saviour, and were scarcely
able to stand. My soul was replenished as with new
wine, and life and power flew all around me.” At
Salem, on the 20th, he preached in the morning at the
court-house, and in the afternoon in the open air be-
fore the prison, to about two thousand persons. “Both
times God was with us.” On Friday, November 21,
he got with some difficulty to Newcastle, where he
preached in the court-house, and “observed some few
affected, and some few scoffing.” Here he was joined


 

by Mr. Charles Tennent, who had lately married a
young lady awakened under Whitefield’s ministry.
They went on to White Clay creek, “and God,” says
he, “was pleased to appear for me in an extraordinary
manner. There were many thousands waiting to hear
the word. I have not seen a more lovely sight. I
sang the twenty-third psalm, and these words gave my
soul unspeakable comfort:

             “‘In presence of my spiteful foes,

He does my table spread.’

“The Lord Jesus assisted me in preaching. The
melting soon began, and the power increased more
and more, till the greatest part of the congregation
was exceedingly moved. Several cried out in differ-
ent parts; and others were to be seen wringing their
hands and weeping bitterly. The stir was ten times
greater than when I was here last.” At Fagg’s Manor,
on Saturday afternoon, he preached “to many thou-
sands, and God was pleased mightily to own his word.
There was a wondrous powerful moving, but it did
not rise to such a degree as when I preached here
last spring. I was taken ill after preaching.” After
still farther labors, he retired to rest, and he says,
“The Lord gave me sweet sleep, and in the morning I
arose with my natural strength much renewed.” This
was the Sabbath, and he preached at Nottingham “to
a large congregation, who seemed in no wise to re-
gard the rain, so they might be watered with the dew
of God’s blessing.”

On the following afternoon, at Bohemia, in Mary-
land, he says, “Preached to about two thousand, and
have not seen a more solid melting, I think, since my


 

arrival. Some scoffers stood on the outside, but the
Holy Spirit enabled me to lay the terrors of the Lord
before them, and they grew more serious. My soul
much rejoiced in the Lord to see salvation brought to
Maryland;” On Tuesday, November 25, “came to

Reedy Island, and had the wonderful presence of God
in the assembly in the afternoon.  Several of my dear
Philadelphia friends came to take their last farewell.”

On Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, he preached
again. “The Lord was with us every time. I was
greatly delighted to see the captains of the ships, and
their respective crews, come constantly to hear the
word of God on shore, and join with us in religious
exercises on board.”

On December 1, when they sailed from Reedy
Island to Charleston, he wrote in his journal, “But
before I go on, stop, 0 my soul, and look back a little
on the great things the Lord hath done for thee dur-
ing this excursion. I think it is now the seventy-
fifth day since I arrived at Rhode Island. My body
was then weak, but the Lord has much renewed its
strength. I have been enabled to preach, I think, one
hundred and seventy-five times in public, besides ex-
horting very frequently in private. I have travelled
upwards of eight hundred miles, and gotten upwards
of £700 sterling in goods, provisions, and money for
my poor orphans. Never did God vouchsafe me such
great assistances. Never did I perform my journeys
with so little fatigue, or see such a continuance of the
divine presence in the congregations to whom I have
preached. All things concur to convince me that
America is to be my chief scene for action.”


 

 

      In about eight days, he arrived at Charleston,
where he found there had recently been a large fire,
and to improve the sad event he preached a sermon,
and passed on to his own home, where he found all
well, and where he made arrangements for his voyage
to England, leaving on the 29th of December. On
that day he narrowly escaped death. A laborer was
walking behind him with a gun under his arm, which
went off unawares happily its muzzle was towards
the ground, “otherwise,” says Whitefield, “I and one
of my friends, in all probability, should have been
killed; for we were directly before, and not above a
yard or two distant from it. How ought we to live
in such a state as we would not fear to die in; for in
the midst of life we are in death!” In the evening he
preached his farewell sermon as pastor of Savannah.

On Mr. Whitefield’s arrival at Charleston, in com-
pany with two gentlemen named Bryan, who had been
called to suffer persecution for Christ’s sake, he had
the happiness of meeting his brother, the captain of a
vessel from England, who gave him much interesting
intelligence of the Christians in that country. Com-
mencing with the Sabbath, he preached twice every
day, in addition to expounding the Scriptures almost
every evening, and expresses his gratitude for divine
assistance. But though he had much to rejoice in, he
had also more than one source of sorrow. Some pro-
fessors of religion, of whom he had hoped well, had
fallen away, and not a few of his enemies were even
more enraged than formerly. Hugh Bryan had writ-
ten a letter, in which, among other matters, “It was
hinted that the clergy break their canons.” At the


 


request of Jonathan Bryan, Whitefield had corrected
it for the press, and it was published while he was
now in the city. Hugh Bryan was apprehended, and
on his examination, being asked, frankly confessed
that Whitefield had corrected and made some altera-
tions in it. Writing on January 10, he says, “This
evening a constable came to me with the following
warrant:

“‘South Carolina SS. By B—- W —, etc.

Whereas I have received information upon oath that
George Whitefield, Clerk, hath made and composed a
false, malicious, scandalous, and infamous Libel against
the Clergy of this Province, in contempt of His Majesty
and His Laws, and against the King’s Peace: These
are therefore, in His Majesty’s Name, to charge and
command you and each of you forthwith to apprehend
the said George Whitefield, and to bring him before
Me to answer the premises. Hereof fail not, at your
peril. And for your so doing this shall be your and
each of your sufficient Warrant. Given under my
hand and seal this tenth day of January, in the four-
teenth year of His Majesty’s Reign, Anno Domini one
thousand seven hundred and forty [one.]

“‘B--- W------ ’”

Whitefield gave security to appear by his attorney
at the next quarter sessions, under penalty of one hun-
dred pounds proclamation money. “Blessed be God,”
he says in his journal, “for this further honor. My
soul rejoices in it. I think this may be called perse-
cution. I think it is for righteousness’ sake.” The
next morning he preached on Herod sending the wise
men to find out Christ, professing a desire to worship



 

him, but intending to kill him; persecution under pre-
tence of religion,
being his theme. The afternoon ser-
mon was on the murder of Naboth, from which he dis-
coursed on the abuse of power by men in authority. He
says, “My hearers, as well as myself, made the appli-
cation. It "Was pretty closed no doubt it was. In
the evening he expounded the narrative of Orpah and
Ruth, and exhorted his hearers to follow the Lord
Jesus Christ, though his cause be never so much per-
secuted and spoken against.

On the following Thursday, he received several
highly gratifying letters from his friends at Boston.
Mr. Secretary Willard said to him, “Divers young
men in this town, who are candidates for the ministry,
have been brought under deep convictions by your
preaching, and are carried off from the foundation of
their false hopes to rest only upon Christ for salva-
tion.”

The Rev. Mr. Cooper wrote, “I can inform you
that there are many abiding proofs that you did not
run in vain, and labor in vain among us in this place.
I can only say now in general, some have been awak-
ened who were before quite secure, and I hope a good
work begun in them. Others, who had been under
religious impressions, are now more earnestly pressing
into the kingdom of heaven, and many of the children
of God are stirred up to give diligence for the full
assurance of faith. There is a greater flocking to all
the lectures in the town, and the people show such a
disposition to the new Tuesday evening lecture, that
our large capacious house cannot receive all that
come. I am sure your visit to us has made a large



 

addition, to the prayers that are going up for you in
one place and another, and I hope also unto the jew-
els that are to make up your crown in the day of the
Lord.”

In addition to these statements, Mr. Welch, a pious
merchant, wrote, “I fear I am tedious, but I cannot
break off till I just mention, to the glory of the grace
of God, and for your comfort and encouragement, the
success your ministry of late has had among us. Im-
pressions made seem to be abiding on the minds of
many. The doctrines of grace seem to be more the
topic of conversation than ever I knew them. Nay,
religious conversation seems to be almost fashionable,
and almost everyone seems disposed to hear or speak
of the things of God. Multitudes flock to the evening
lecture, though it has sometimes been the worst of
weather. Ministers seem to preach with more life,
and the great auditories seem to hear with solemn
attention, and I hope our Lord Jesus is getting to
himself the victory over the hearts of many sinners.”
These, and other letters of a similar character,
filled the heart of Whitefield with grateful pleasure;
and he went on preaching and enjoying the society of
his friends till Friday, January 16. He says, “I never
received such generous tokens of love, I think, from
any people before, as from some in Charleston. They
so loaded me with sea-stores, that I sent many of them
to Savannah.” He now went on board, and was fully
engaged in preparations for the voyage, which how-
ever was not entered on till the 24th. On that day
the Minerva sailed over Charleston bar, and after a
generally pleasant.voyage, they landed at Falmouth,


 

 

March 11.  “This,” says he, “was a profitable voyage
to my soul, because of my having had many sweet op-
portunities for reading, meditation, and prayer.”

The impartiality of history requires us, however
reluctantly, here to notice the separation which to
some extent now took place between Whitefield, and
his old friends Messrs. John and Charles Wesley.
Their mutual attachment in early life we have already
seen, as also Whitefield’s anxiety in Georgia to defend
Mr. John Wesley’s conduct against those who opposed
him.  Impartial observers, however, after a while be-
gan to remark, that on some doctrinal points, espec-
ially on that of predestination, a difference was spring-
ing up. On his passage to England, February 1, 1741,
Whitefield thus wrote to Mr. Charles Wesley:  “My
dear, dear brethren, why did you throw out the bone
of contention? Why did you print that sermon
against predestination? Why did you in particular,
my dear brother Charles, affix your hymn, and join in
putting out your late hymn-book? How can you say
you will not dispute with me about election, and yet
print such hymns? and your brother sent his sermon
against election, to Mr. Garden and others in Amer-
ica. Do not you think, my dear brethren, I must be
as much concerned for truth, or what I think truth,
as you? God is my judge, I always was, and hope 1
always shall be desirous that you may be preferred
before me. But I must preach the gospel of Christ,
and that I cannot now do, without speaking of elec-
tion.”  He then tells Mr. Charles Wesley, that in
Christmas-week he had written an answer to his
brothers sermon, “which,” says he, “is now printing


 

 

at Charleston; another copy I have sent to Boston,
and another I now bring with me, to print in London.
If it occasion a strangeness between us, it shall not be
my fault. There is nothing in my answer exciting to
it, that I know of. 0, my dear brethren, my heart
almost bleeds within me. Methinks I could be will-
ing to tarry here on the waters for ever, rather than
come to England to oppose you.”

Dr. Whitehead, in his “Life of John Wesley,” has
very wisely said, “Controversy almost always injures
the Christian temper, much more than it promotes the
interests of speculative truth. On this question a
separation took place between Mr. Wesley and Mr.
Whitefield, so far as to have different places of wor-
ship; and some warm and tart expressions dropped
from each. But their good opinion of each other’s
integrity and usefulness, founded on long and intimate
acquaintance, could not be injured by such a difference
of sentiment; and their mutual affection was only ob-
scured by a cloud for a season.”

The friendship between Mr. Whitefield and the
Messrs. Wesley was very much increased and perpet-
uated by the wife of Mr. Charles Wesley. This very
extraordinary lady, whose original name was Gwinne,
was equally distinguished for her beauty, talents, and
piety. She had a very cordial regard for Mr. White-
field, who as cordially reciprocated it. She was mar-
ried when the controversy among these eminent men
was at its height, and stipulated that she should
always be allowed to hear the preaching of Whitefield
and his friends. In her latter years especially, and
she lived till ninety-six, she expressed her pleasure in


 

the belief that she promoted the continuance of that
endearing intercourse which subsisted between White-
held and her husband. She softened all parties, and
was on all occasions a blessed peacemaker.

One fact relating to this eminently excellent
woman may be mentioned. She was nearly twenty
years younger than her husband, and four years after
her marriage, and at the age of twenty-six, she was
seized with small-pox, of which at that time her eldest
child died. She lay twenty-two days in imminent
danger of death, and when she recovered she was so
much altered in features that no one could recognize
her; but never did woman before lose her beauty
with so little regret. She used sportively to say, that
the change in her appearance “afforded great satis-
faction to her dear husband, who was glad to see her
look so much older, and better suited to be his com-
panion.”

On Whitefield’s arrival at Falmouth, he immedi-
ately set off in a post-chaise to London, in order to
preach on the following Sabbath. But he now found
occasion for all the patience he had acquired. He
had, he says, “written two well-meant, though ill-
judged letters against England’s two great favorites,
The Whole Duty of Man,’ and Archbishop Tillotson,
who, I said, knew no more about religion than Moham-
med. The Moravians had made inroads on our socie-
ties besides which, the controversy with the Messrs.
Wesley injured him. His congregations on the Sab-
bath were still large, but on week-days he had not
more than two or three hundred hearers. He says,
“Instead of having thousands to attend me, scarcely

                   Whitefield.      10


 


one of my spiritual children come to see me from
morning to night. Once, on Kennington Common, I
had not above a hundred to hear me.”

Even this was not all. He says, “One that got
some hundreds of pounds by my sermons, refused to
print for me anymore. And others wrote to me, that
God would destroy me in a fortnight, and that my fall
was as great as Peter’s.” Still other sorrows attended!
him. He writes, “I was much embarrassed in my out-
ward circumstances. A thousand pounds I owed for
the orphan-house. Two hundred and fifty pounds
drawn on Mr. Seward, [who was now dead,] were re-
turned upon me. I was also threatened to be arrested
for two hundred pounds more.” Besides all this, he
had “a family of one hundred persons to be maintain-
ed, four thousand miles off, in the dearest part of his
majesty’s dominions.” He now began to preach in
Moorfields on week-days, under one of the trees;
where he saw numbers of his spiritual children run-
ning by him without looking at him, and some of them
putting their fingers in their ears, that they might not
hear one word he said. “A like scene,” he says,
“opened at Bristol, where I was denied preaching in
the house I had founded.” It was the Kingswood
school-house, built for the children of the colliers.

But Whitefield could not long be kept down. His
friends built a new house and opened a new school at
Kingswood. Some “free-grace dissenters,” as Gillies
calls them, procured the loan of a building lot in Lon-
don, on which, as we have already seen, they built the
Tabernacle. Here his congregations immediately in-
creased, and he addressed them with his usual power


 


and success. Invitations soon poured in from the
country, and even from places where he had never
been. At a common near Braintree, in Essex, he had
more than ten thousand hearers, and at many other
places congregations were large and much affected.
“Sweet,” says he, “was the conversation which I had
with several ministers of Christ.” Soon again did he
triumph, even in England.

Among the men who were now invited to aid, and
who rendered important assistance to Whitefield in
his houses of worship in London and Bristol, as well
as in his itinerant labors, was Howel Harris, a native
of Wales, a gentleman, and a magistrate, to whom we
have already referred. His name in Wales is yet “a
household word,” and his labors form a part of the
history of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism. As soon as
he had embraced the gospel for himself, he became
intensely solicitous respecting the condition of his
neighbors. The scenes of profligacy and vice which
everywhere presented themselves burdened his heart,
and he became anxious to be actively employed in
removing evil and doing good. He determined on
taking orders in the church of England, and accord-
ingly entered St. Mary’s Hall, in Oxford university;
but shocked at the dissolute habits of the collegians,
and finding what were called his methodistical views
were in the way of his ordination, he returned to
Wales, and began to evangelize its towns and villages.
Wherever there was an opening, there he went, and
preached Christ to the people; and although defam-
ed and persecuted, he manfully prosecuted his work,
and thousands were by his agency brought to repent-



 

ance. He and Mr. Whitefield were kindred spirits,
moved by the same impulses, and pursuing the same
course. Mr. Whitefield spoke of him as “‘a burning
and shining light,’ a barrier against profaneness and
immorality, and an indefatigable promoter of the true
gospel of Jesus Christ. For these years he has preach-
ed almost twice a day, for three or four hours together.
He has been in seven counties, and has made it his
business to go to wakes and fairs to turn people from
their lying vanities. He has been made the subject
of numbers of sermons, has been threatened with pub-
lic prosecutions, and had constables sent to apprehend
him. But God has blessed him with inflexible cour-
age; strength has been communicated to him from
above, and he still goes on from conquering to con-
quer. God has greatly blessed his pious endeavors;
many call, and own him as their spiritual father, and
would, I believe, lay down their lives for his sake.”

In the year 1759, when England was threatened
with a French invasion, Mr. Harris became a captain
in the Brecknockshire militia, and into whatever place
in England the regiment was ordered, he uniformly
began to preach, and was the means of introducing
the gospel into many ignorant and depraved districts.
Thus an unusual act and an undesirable office were
overruled to doing much good. When the regiment
was disbanded, he again regularly entered on his min-
isterial duties with all his former zeal and activity.
In a word, he may justly be regarded the evangelist
of Wales.

As an illustration of the spirit of the energetic
ministers of Christ in those days, we quote a fact or


 


two from the life of Rowland Hill; the more readily
as Howel Harris is the principal subject. In 1774,
four years after the death of Whitefield, Mr. Hill
travelled through Wales, preaching three or four
times every day; many conversions took place, which
greatly sustained him under an attack of illness; and
led to the remark in his “Journal,” “My body quite
weak, but my soul was refreshed.”  “A like exam-
ple,” says Sidney, one of the biographers of Hill, “had
been previously before his eyes in the case of Howel
Harris, one of Mr. Whitefield’s energetic followers,
who was a man of extraordinary powers of body and
mind. Harris used to relate of himself, that being
once on a journey through Wales, he was subjected to
great temptation to desert his Master’s cause, when
he said, ‘Satan, I ’ll match thee for this;’ and ‘so I
did,’ he used to add; ‘for I had not ridden many miles
before I came to a revel, where there was a show of
mountebanks, which I entered, and just as they were
commencing, I jumped into the midst of them and
cried out, ‘Let us pray,’ which so thunderstruck them
that they listened to me quietly, while I preached to
them a most tremendous sermon, that frightened many
of them home.’ Mr. Hill greatly delighted in this
anecdote, and often said that amidst somewhat similar
scenes, he had been enabled successfully to attack the
kingdom of Satan.”


 

 

 

 

              CHAPTER VIII.

FIRST AND SECOND VISITS TO SCOTLAND—LABORS
                      IN ENGLAND AND WALES.

                                      1740-1744.

 

 

We have seen the spirit in which Mr. Whitefield
returned to London, and the cool manner in which he
was too generally received. It is painful to say that
this coldness was not confined to enemies of the
truth; it appeared in some degree in eminent dissent-
ing ministers, as Watts and Bradbury, Barker, and
even, to some extent, Doddridge. A plan had a few
years before been agitated to restore the dissenters
to the church, usually called the Comprehension scheme,
and assuredly, under the circumstances, friendship
with Whitefield was by no means favorable to such a
plan being accomplished, though it was at this period
greatly desired by many of both parties. Still, how-
ever, good was done; Whitefield preached, and God
was glorified. More union between Christians in ad-
vancing the cause of Christ would have been exceed-
ingly desirable, but even the want of this was not
permitted to stay the progress of this man of God.

One of the most popular and useful ministers em-
ployed by Whitefield and his friends at this time was
John Cennick, the author of two well-known hymns,
beginning,

“Jesus, thy blood and righteousness;”
“Jesus, my all, to heaven is gone.”


 

 

He was the preacher who, in Ireland, discoursed from
the text, “Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swad-
dling clothes,” which gave occasion for the Method-
ists in that country to be called “Swaddlers” The
parents of this excellent man were Quakers, who had
been imprisoned in Reading jail for the maintenance
of their religious principles. This persecution re-
duced them from respectability to want, so that, like
John Bunyan, they were forced to make shoe-laces in
prison for their support.

The conversion of the son was very remarkable.
His first deep and lasting religious convictions flashed
upon his mind like lightning from heaven, while walk-
ing in the crowds of Cheapside, in London. The
effects were soon manifested; he became a new man,
pursuing a new course,, and entering on a new work.
His ministry was very efficient, his views of truth
were evangelical, his public speaking popular, his zeal
so great as sometimes to lead him to preach six times
in one day—all which labors were followed with abun-
dant success.

Mr. Cennick was rather below the middle stature,
of a fair countenance, and though by no means robust
in health, he knew little of timidity. The spirit in
which he discharged his ministry may be seen in a
letter he wrote to a friend: “We sang a hymn, and
then the devil led on his servants; they began beat-
ing a drum, and then made fires of gunpowder: at
first the poor flock was startled; but while God gave
me power to speak encouragingly to them, they waxed
bolder, and very few moved. The mob then fired
guns over the people’s heads, and began to play a


 


water engine upon brother Harris and myself, till we
were wet through. They also played an engine upon
us with hog’s-wash and grounds of beer-barrels, and
covered us with muddy water from a ditch; they
pelted us with eggs and stones, threw baskets of dust
over us, and fired their guns so close to us that our
faces were black with the powder; but, in nothing
terrified, we remained praying. I think I never saw
or felt so great a power of God as was there. In the
midst of the confused multitude, I saw a man laboring
above measure, earnest to fill the buckets with water
to throw upon us. I asked him, ‘What harm do we
do? Why are you so furious against us? We only
come to tell you that Christ loved you, and died for
you.’ He stepped back a little for room, and threw a
bucket of water in my face. When I had recovered
myself, I said, ‘My dear man, if God should so pour
his wrath upon you, what would become of you? Yet
I tell you that Christ loves you.’ He threw away
the bucket, let fall his trembling hands, and looked
as pale as death; he then shook hands with me, and
parted from me, I believe under strong convictions.”

Mr. Cennick had heretofore labored with White-
field and Wesley, but now adhered to the former, and
labored very successfully in the Tabernacle. After
some years he united with the Moravian brethren,
and died in triumph at thirty-five.

In the summer of 1741, some three or four months
after his arrival from America, Whitefield paid his
first visit to Scotland. The state of religion in that
country at the commencement of the ministry of this
distinguished evangelist, has been already glanced at.


 

It is here important to remark, that in 1740 an indi-
cation of better things began to appear in several
places, especially in Cambuslang, under the ministry
of the Rev. Mr. M’Culloch. This excellent man, for
nearly a year before the revival began, had been
preaching to his people on those subjects which tend
most directly to explain the nature and prove the
necessity of regeneration, according to the different
aspects in which it is represented in the holy Scrip-
tures. The church edifice had become too small
for the congregation, and the minister, in favorable
weather, frequently conducted the public worship on
a green brae on the east side of a deep ravine near the
church, scooped out in the form of an amphitheatre.
In this retired and romantic spot, the worthy pastor
preached in the most impressive manner to the listen-
ing multitudes, and not unfrequently, after his ser-
mons, detailed to them the astonishing effects of
Whitefield’s preaching in America, which did not a
little to increase the interest of the people, as well
as lead them to wish to see such an extraordinary
preacher.

While on his voyage to Scotland, Whitefield gave
evidence that he had not forgotten America. In his
second visit to America, he had become intimately
acquainted with the Rev. Daniel Rodgers of Exeter,
New Hampshire, a direct descendant of the seventh
generation of John Rogers, who was burnt at the
stake for the testimony of Christ in the days of the
bloody Mary. It is not surprising that Whitefield’s
original letter to him, now in the possession of the
family of the grandson of Daniel Rodgers, is highly
                                       10*


 



valued. It is dated on board the Mary and Ann,
bound from London to Scotland, July 25, 1741.

“ My dear Brother Rodgers—How glad was I to
receive a letter from your bands, having heard noth-
ing from you or of you particularly since we parted.
Oh, what great things has the Lord shown us since
that time! methinks I hear you say; and yet I can tell
of greater things. And I believe we shall see far
greater yet before we die. The work is beginning
afresh here. I sometimes think brother Gilbert [Ten-
nent] must take a voyage to old England. Most of
our London ministers too much shun the cross, and do
not appear boldly for God. Now the Lord has work-
ed so powerfully in your college, I have less to object
against your joining Mr. Web. I am glad to hear that
you speak  plain and close.
What comfort will this
afford you in a dying hour. Go on, my dear brother,
go on; venture daily upon Christ. Go out in his
strength, and he will enable us to do wonders. He is
with me more and more. I have sweetly been carried
through the heat and burning of every day’s labor.
Jesus bears all my burdens. Jesus enables me to cast
all my care upon him. Oh then, let us magnify his
name together. I am now going to Scotland, know-
ing not what will befall me. What God does, you
may expect to hear of shortly. In the meanwhile, let
us pray for and write to each other. As iron sharp-
eneth iron, so do the letters of a man his friend. Your
last I have printed. God’s glory called me to it.

“My dear brother, adieu. Dear brother Sims sits
by and salutes you. My kind love awaits Mr. Web,


 

and all who love the Lord in sincerity. In hopes of
receiving another letter from you shortly, I subscribe
myself, dear Mr. Rodgers, your most affectionate,
though very unworthy brother and servant in the
sweetest Jesus,

“G. W.”

Among those who were most anxious that Mr.
Whitefield should visit Scotland, were the Rev.
Messrs. Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine. These two
excellent brothers had separated themselves from the
established church, chiefly on the ground of its cold
formalism, and with some other zealous ministers had
formed what has since been known as the Associate
Presbytery. Their wish was, that in coming to Scot-
land, Whitefield should preach only in connection with
their body, and so help forward the work in which
they were engaged. To this he objected, regarding
himself as an evangelist at large. As he proceeded,
they rather opposed him, as not sufficiently particular
and discriminative in his zeal. They wished him not
to labor in the church from which they had seceded,
saying, “God had left it.” “Then,” said he, “it is the
more necessary for me to preach in it, to endeavor to
bring him back.  I’ll preach Christ wherever they’ll
let me.” On the 30th of July he arrived in Edinburgh,
where he was urged to preach, but declined till he
had seen the Messrs. Erskine; and accordingly pro-
ceeded to Dunfermline. Writing on the 1st of Au-
gust, he says, “I went yesterday to Dunfermline,
where dear Mr. Ralph Erskine hath got a large and
separate, or as it is commonly termed, seceding meet-
ing-house. He received me very lovingly. I preached


 


to his and the town’s people—a very thronged assem-
bly. After I had done prayers and named my text,
the rustling made by opening the Bibles all at once
quite surprised me—a scene I never was witness to
before.”

On the day following, Whitefield returned to
Edinburgh, accompanied by Mr. Ralph Erskine, and
preached in the Orphan-house park to a large and
attentive audience. His text was, “The kingdom of
God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Rom. 14:17.
After the sermon, a large company, including some of
the nobility, came to bid him God-speed; and among
others a portly Quaker, a nephew of the Messrs. Er-
skine who, taking him by the hand, said, “Friend
George, I am as thou art; I am for bringing all to
the life and power of the ever-living God; and there-
fore, if thou wilt not quarrel with me about my hat, I
will not quarrel with thee about thy gown.” On
Sabbath evening, he preached in the same place, to
upwards of fifteen thousand persons; and on the even-
ings of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, to nearly as
many; on Tuesday in the Canongate church; on
Wednesday and Thursday at Dunfermline; and on
Friday morning at Queensferry. “Everywhere,” says
he, “the auditories were large and very attentive.
Great power accompanied the word. Many have
been brought under convictions, and I have already
received invitations to different places, which, God
willing, I intend to comply with.” Writing a week
later, he says, “It would make your heart leap for joy
to be now in Edinburgh. I question if there be not



 

upwards of three hundred in this city seeking after
Jesus. Every morning I have a constant levee of
wounded souls, many of whom are quite slain by the
law. God’s power attends the word continually, just
as when I left London. At seven in the morning we
have a lecture in the fields, attended not only by the
common people, but also by persons of rank. I have
reason to think that several of the latter sort are
coming to Jesus. Little children also are much
wrought upon, God much blesses my letters from
the little orphans, [girls in the hospital.] He loves
to work by contemptible means. Oh, my dear broth-
er, I am quite amazed when I think what God has
done here in a fortnight. My printed sermons and
journals have been blessed in an uncommon manner.
I am only afraid lest people should idolize the instru-
ment, and not look enough to the glorious Jesus, in
whom alone I desire to glory. Congregations consist
of many thousands. Never did I see so many Bibles,
nor people looking into them, while I am expounding,
with so much attention. Plenty of tears flow from the
hearers’ eyes. Their emotions appear in various ways.
I preach twice daily, and expound at private houses
at night, and am employed in speaking to souls under
distress great part of the day. I have just snatched a
few moments to write to my dear brother. Oh, that
God may enlarge your heart to pray for me. This
afternoon I preach out of town, and also to-morrow.
Next post, God willing, you shall have another letter.
I walk continually in the comforts of the Holy Ghost.
The love of Christ quite strikes me dumb. 0 grace,
grace! let that be my song. Adieu.”


 

 

In this manner Whitefield continued to preach
very extensively over Scotland; and early in Septem-
ber he arrived at Glasgow. On the eleventh of that
month he began his labors in the High Church-yard,
and for five days in succession preached there twice a
day—at an early hour in the morning, and again in
the evening. The expectations of the people were
high, not only in Glasgow, but all around, and crowds
flocked to hear him preach. Morning after morning,
and evening after evening, that vast church-yard,
almost paved as it is with tombstones, was crowded
with living worshippers, trembling under the word.
But not satisfied with hearing, the pen of the ready
writer was from day to day at work, and each sermon
was printed by itself, and put immediately into circu-
lation.  His sermons were characterized by great
simplicity, as if the language of the preacher merely
expressed what he felt, and yet there was so much
earnestness, and so much closeness of application, as
to account for the effects they produced. He was in
the pulpit very much what Baxter was in the press.
He spoke as a man realizing all that he said, and lay-
ing open the feelings of his own heart in addressing
the hearts of others.

Very few men better knew the human heart than
Whitefield. He seemed to know all the thoughts and
feelings of his hearers, and the best way in which to
meet them. He once preached in Scotland from the
text, “The door was shut.” Matt. 25:10. A respect-
able lady who heard him sat near the door, a consid-
erable distance from the pulpit, and observed two
showy and trifling young men who appeared to turn


 


the solemn appeals of the preacher into ridicule; she
heard one of them say in a low tone to the other,
“Well, what if the door be shut? another will open.”
In a very few minutes, to the great surprise of the
lady, Mr. Whitefield said, “It is possible there may
be some careless, trifling person here to-day, who may
ward off the force of this impressive subject by lightly
thinking, ‘What matter if the door be shut? another
will open.’”  The two young men looked at each
other as though they were paralyzed, as the preacher
proceeded:  “Yes, another door will open; and I will
tell you what door it will be: it will be the door of
the bottomless pit, the door of hell!—the door which
conceals from the eyes of angels the horrors of dam-
nation.”

After Mr. Whitefleld’s return to England, at the
close of October, among many letters which followed
him, detailing the results of his labors, was one from
Mr. M’Culloch, the excellent minister already re-
ferred to:

“As it is matter of joy and thankfulness to God,
who sent you hither, and gave you so much counte-
nance, and so remarkably crowned your labors with
success here at Glasgow, so I doubt not but the fol-
lowing account of the many seals to your ministry in
and about that city, will be very rejoicing to your
heart, especially as the kingdom of our glorious Re-
deemer is so much advanced thereby, and as the ever-
lasting happiness of souls is promoted. I am well
informed by some ministers, and other judicious and
experienced Christians, that there are to the amount
of fifty persons already known, in and about Glasgow,


 


who appear to be savingly converted, through the
blessing and power of God on your ten sermons.
And there are, besides these, several others appar-
ently under conviction, but not reckoned, as being
still doubtful. Several Christians also, of considera-
ble standing, were much strengthened, revived, and
comforted by what they heard. They were made to
rejoice in hope of the glory of God, having attained
to the full assurance of faith. Among those lately
converted, there are several young people who were
before openly wicked and flagitious, or at best but
very negligent as to spiritual things; and yet they
are now in the way of salvation. Some young con-
verts are yet under doubts and fears, but a considera-
ble number of them have attained to peace and joy in
believing. Several of those who were lately wrought
on in a gracious way, seem to outstrip Christians of
considerable standing, in spiritual-mindedness, and in
many other good qualifications; particularly in their
zeal for the conversion of others, in their love to ordi-
nances, and in their freedom from bigotry and party
zeal. Those converted by your ministry have not
been discovered at once, but only from time to time.
A good many of them have been discovered only of
late. Their convictions were at first less pungent,
and through the discouragements they met with in the
families where they resided, as well as from their own
feelings, they endeavored for a time to conceal their
state. These circumstances afford ground for hoping,
that there are yet others who may afterwards become
known. Besides such as have been awakened through
the power of God accompanying your sermons, there


 


have been others who have been since awakened, and
who have been discovered in consequence of the change
observable in their conduct. These, dear brother, are
a few hints concerning some of the most remarkable
things, as to the blessing which accompanied your
labors at Glasgow.”

At Edinburgh, when first visited by Whitefield,
many persons of the highest rank constantly attended
his ministry. Among them were the Marquis of Lo-
thian, the Earl of Leven, Lord Kay, Lady Mary Ham-
ilton, Lady Erances Gardiner, Lady Jane Nimms, and
Lady Dirleton; and at some one of their houses he
expounded almost every evening. Numbers of min-
isters and students crowded to hear him; and aged
Christians told him they could set their seal to what
he preached.

In connection with this first visit to Edinburgh,
several incidents have been related which show the
power that accompanied his preaching, and the skill
with which he could seize upon passing circumstan-
ces, and apply them to the great purpose which he
always had in view. A gentleman, on returning from
one of his sermons, was met on his way home by
an eminent minister whom he usually heard, and who
expressed great surprise that he should; go to hear
such a man. The gentleman replied, “Sir, when I
hear you, I am planting trees all the time; but dur-
ing the whole of Mr. Whitefield’s sermon, I could not
find time to plant one.” A similar instance is related
of a ship-builder, who usually could “build a ship from
stem to stern during the sermon; but under Mr. White-


 


field, could not lay a single plank.”

Another narrative has been thus given. An un-
happy man who had forfeited his life to the offended
laws of his country, was executed in that neighbor-
hood. Mr. Whitefield mingled with the crowd col-
lected on the occasion, and was much impressed with
the decorum and solemnity which were observable in
the awful scene. His appearance, however, drew the
eyes of all upon him, and produced a variety of opin-
ions as to the motives which led him to join the mul-
titude.

The next day, being Sunday, he preached to a very
large congregation in a field near the city; and in the
course of his sermon, he adverted to the scenes of the
preceding day. “I know,” said he, “that many of
you may find it difficult to reconcile my appearance
yesterday with my clerical character. Many of you,
I know, will say that my moments would have been
better employed in praying for the unhappy man, than
in attending him to the fatal tree; and that perhaps
curiosity was the only cause that converted me into a
spectator on that occasion; but those who ascribe
that uncharitable motive to me, are under a mistake.
I went as an observer of human nature, and to see the
effect that such an occurrence would have on those
who witnessed it. I watched the conduct of those
who were present on that awful occasion, and I was
highly pleased with their demeanor, which has given
me a very favorable opinion of the Scottish nation.
Your sympathy was visible on your countenances;
particularly when the moment arrived that your un-
happy fellow-creature was to close his eyes on this
world for ever. Then you all, as if moved by one


 


impulse, turned your heads aside, and wept. Those
tears were precious, and will be held in remembrance.
How different it was when the Saviour of mankind
was extended on the cross! The Jews, instead of sym-
pathizing in his sorrows, triumphed in them. They
reviled him with bitter expressions, with words even
more bitter than the gall and vinegar which they
handed him to drink. Not one of all who witnessed
his pains, turned his head aside, even in the last pang.
Yes, my friends, there was one—that glorious lumi-
nary,” pointing to the sun, “veiled his brightness, and
travelled on his course in tenfold night.”

On another occasion, near the same city, and prob-
ably in the field to which we have already referred,
under the shade of a venerable tree, in a lovely mead-
ow, a poor unhappy man, thinking to turn him into
ridicule, placed himself on one of the overhanging
boughs, immediately above the preacher’s head, and
with monkey-like dexterity mimicking his gestures,
endeavored to raise a laugh in the audience. Guided
by the looks of some of his hearers, Whitefield caught
a glance of him, but without seeming to have noticed
him, continued his discourse. With the skill of a wise
orator, he reserved the incident for the proper place
and time. While forcibly speaking on the power and
sovereignty of divine grace, with increasing earnest-
ness he spoke of the unlikely objects it had often
chosen, and the unlooked for triumphs it had achieved.
As he rose to the climax of his inspiring theme, and
when in the full sweep of his eloquence, he suddenly
paused, and turning round, and pointing slowly to the
poor creature above him, he exclaimed, in a tone of


 


deep and thrilling pathos, “Even he may yet be the
subject of that free and resistless grace.” It was a
shaft from the Almighty. Winged by the divine
Spirit, it struck the scoffer to the heart, and realized
in his conversion the glorious truth it contained.

Yet another fact may be told connected with
Whitefield and Edinburgh. When he was once there,
a regiment of soldiers were stationed in the city, in
which was a sergeant whose name was Forbes, a very
abandoned man, who, everywhere he could do so, run
in debt for liquor, with which he was almost at all
times drunk. His wife washed for the regiment, and
thus obtained a little money. She was a pious woman,
but all her attempts to reclaim her husband were un-
successful. During one of Mr. Whitefield’s visits to
the city, she offered her husband a sum of money, if
he would for once go and hear the eloquent preacher.
This was a strong inducement, and he engaged to go.
The sermon was in a field, as no building could have
contained the audience. The sergeant was rather
early, and placed himself in the middle of the field,
that he might file off when Mr. Whitefield ascended
the pulpit; as he only wished to be able to say that
he had seen him.  The crowd, however, increased;
and when the preacher appeared, they pressed for-
ward, and the sergeant found it impossible to get
away. The prayer produced some impression on his
mind, but the sermon convinced him of his sinfulness
and danger. He became a changed man, and showed
the reality of his conversion by living for many years
in a very penurious manner, till he had satisfied the
claims of every one of his creditors.


 

One fact more should be stated in connection with
this visit. Mr. James Ogilvie was one of the minis-
ters of Aberdeen. This city was not in that day, nor
indeed in any part of the eighteenth century, warmly
attached to a fully-exhibited gospel. At this time,
however, both Mr. Ogilvie and his colleague, Mr. Bis-
set, who, as Sir Henry Moncrieff says, was the highest
of the High church, were evangelical, though other-
wise very opposite men. “Though colleagues of the
same congregation,” says Whitefield, “they are very
different in their natural temper. The one is, what
they call in Scotland, a sweet-blooded man, the other
of a choleric disposition. Mr. Bisset is neither a seced-
er nor quite a true kirkman, having great fault to
find with both. Soon after my arrival, dear Mr.
Ogilvie took me to pay my respects to him. He was
prepared for it, and pulled out a paper containing a
great number of insignificant queries, which I had
neither time nor inclination to answer.” For several
years Mr. Ogilvie had been corresponding with Mr.
Whitefield to induce him to visit Aberdeen, hoping
that some good might be done; and as he was himself
to preach on Sabbath forenoon in presence of the
magistrates, he gave Mr. Whitefield his place. The
congregation was large, and apparently much inter-
ested. Mr. Bisset, in the afternoon, preached against
Mr. Whitefield by name. Mr. Ogilvie, without either
consulting his friend, or noticing the conduct of his
colleague, stood up, after the sermon, and intimated to
the congregation that Mr. Whitefield would again
preach in about half an hour. The magistrates re-
mained in the session-house, and the people hastened



 

back, expecting to hear a reply. Mr. Whitefield,
waiving as much as possible all controversial matter,
preached Christ. The audience was silent, solemn,
and deeply impressed. Next day, the magistrates
apologized for their minister; and as a mark of their
own respect, presented to Mr. Whitefield the freedom
of their city. The effect of this visit to Aberdeen
was great and beneficial.

In 1742, Mr. Whitefield again visited Scotland.
In the meantime he had heard that his dear friends
the Erskines had become greatly offended, on account
of what they considered his lax views of church gov-
ernment. But notwithstanding this difference with
the seceders, he was received by great numbers, among
whom were some persons of distinction, with cordi-
ality and joy, and had the satisfaction of bearing
more and more of the happy fruits of his ministry.
At Edinburgh he again preached twice a day, as
before, in the Hospital-park, where a number of seats
and shades, in the form of an amphitheatre, were
erected for the accommodation of his hearers. On
the day of his arrival at Cambuslang, he preached
three times to an immense body of people, although
he had preached that same morning at Glasgow.
The last service continued till eleven o’clock; and so
much were the people interested, that Mr. M’Culloch,
after preaching till past one in the morning, could
scarcely persuade them to depart. Mr. Whitefield
himself thus describes the scene:  “Persons from all
parts flocked to see, and many, from many parts, went
home convinced and converted to God. A brae, or
hill, near the manse at Cambuslang, seemed to be


 


formed by Providence for containing a large congre-
gation. People sat unwearied till two in the morn-
ing, to hear sermons, disregarding the weather. You
could scarcely walk a yard, but you must tread upon
some either rejoicing in God for mercies received, or
crying out for more. Thousands and thousands have
I seen, before it was possible to catch it by sympathy,
melted down under the word and power of God. At
the celebration of the holy communion, their joy was
so great, that, at the desire of many, both ministers
and people, in imitation of Hezekiah’s passover, they
had, a month or two afterwards, a second, which was
a general rendezvous of the people of God. The com-
munion was in the field; three tents, at proper dis-
tances, all surrounded with a multitude of hearers;
above twenty ministers, among whom was good old
Mr. Bonner, attending to preach and assist, all enli-
vening and enlivened by one another.”

In addition to his labors at Glasgow and Cambus-
lang, it is surprising to observe the number of places
in the west of Scotland which Whitefield visited in
the course of a few weeks; preaching wherever he
went, with his usual frequency, energy, and success.
A gentleman of piety and intelligence thus refers to
one of them several years afterwards: “When Mr.
Whitefield was preaching at Kilmarnock, on the
twenty-third of August, from the words, ‘And of his
fulness have all we received, and grace for grace,’ I
thought I never heard such a sermon; and from the
era above mentioned, I have always looked upon him
as my spiritual father, and frequently heard him after-
wards in Edinburgh and Glasgow with much satisfac-


 


tion. When Cape Breton was taken, I happened to
be at Edinburgh, and being invited to breakfast with
Mr. Whitefield, I never, in all my life, enjoyed such
another breakfast. He gave the company a fine and
lively descant upon that part of the world, made us all
join in a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, and con-
cluded with a most devout and fervent prayer.” About
the end of October, Whitefield returned to London.

Probably few are aware that Mr. Whitefield visit-
ed Scotland no less than fourteen times. These visits
extended over a period of twenty-seven years, begin-
ning in 1741, and ending in 1768. In none of his
visits after 1742 were there the same extensive awak-
enings as in his first two visits, yet his coming was
always refreshing to serious persons, infusing new
life, and increasing their numbers. Young people,
too, were much benefited by his ministry, and espec-
ially young students, who afterwards became zealous
and evangelical preachers. His morning discourses,
which were generally intended for sincere but discon-
solate souls, were peculiarly fitted to direct and en-
courage such in the Christian life; and his addresses
in the evening to the promiscuous multitudes who then
attended him, were powerful and alarming. There
was great solemnity in his evening congregations in
the Orphan-house park at Edinburgh and the High
Church-yard at Glasgow, especially towards the con-
clusion of his sermons—which were usually long,
though they seemed short to his hearers—when the
whole multitude stood fixed, and like one man, hung
upon his lips with silent attention, and many were
under deep religious impressions.


 

 

His conversation was no less useful and delightful
than his sermons. Many in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and
other parts of the land, bore witness of this fact. In
Glasgow especially, when in company with his excel-
lent friends M’Laurin, Scott, and others, one might
challenge the professed sons of pleasure, with all their
wit, humor, and gayety, to furnish entertainments so
gratifying; nor was any part of it more agreeable
than it was useful and edifying.

Mr. Whitefield’s friends in Scotland, among whom
were many of all ranks, from the highest to the low-
est, were constant and steady in their great regard
for him, and his opposers from year to year became
less violent. Indeed, his whole behavior was so trans-
parent to the eyes of the world, and his character,
after it had stood
many attacks from all quarters,
became so thoroughly established, that some of his
opposers in Scotland seemed to acquire esteem for
him; at least, they ceased to speak evil of him.

In closing our sketch of Whitefield in Scotland,
we select a few paragraphs from his letters, which are
the more interesting as being among the very last
words he wrote in that country. June 15, 1768, he
says, “ You would be delighted to see our Orphan-
house park assemblies, as large, attentive, and affec-
tionate as ever. Twenty-seven-year-old friends and
spiritual children remember the days of old; they
are seeking after their first love, and there seems to
be a stirring among the dry bones.” Writing on the
second of July, he says, “Could I preach ten times a
day, thousands and thousands would attend. I have
been confined for a few days; but on Monday or

Whitefield.                              11


 

 

Tuesday next, hope to mount my throne again. 0,
to die there! too great, too great an honor to be ex-
pected.” Again, on the ninth of July, “Every thing
goes on better and better here; but I am so worn
down by preaching abroad and talking at home almost
all the day long, that I have determined, God willing,
to set off for London next Tuesday.”

The respect with which Whitefield was treated in
Scotland, not only by professing Christians, but in
general society, was shown by the fact that he was
presented with the freedom of some of the principal
cities and towns which he visited. This privilege
was given him in Stirling, Glasgow, Paisley, and Ab-
erdeen, in 1741, and at Irvine and Edinburgh some
years afterwards.

It is difficult, in such a world as this, so to live as
that “our good” shall not “be evil spoken of.” Mr.
Whitefield has sometimes been charged with motives
of a mercenary character, but his whole life showed
the fallacy of such a charge. Dr. Gillies, his original
biographer, received from unquestionable testimony
the knowledge of a fact which ought not to be forgot-
ten. During his stay in Scotland, in the year 1759,
a young lady, Miss Hunter, who possessed a consider-
able fortune, made a full offer to him of her estate in
money and lands, worth several thousand pounds.
He promptly refused the offer; and upon his declin-
ing it for himself, she offered it to him for the benefit
of his orphan-house. This also he absolutely refused.

Never could Whitefield be accused of moral cow-
ardice. When the old Scotch Marquis of Lothian
professed that his heart was impressed with the im-


 


portance of religion, but wished to be a Christian in
the dark, Whitefield said to him, “As for praying in
your family, I entreat you not to neglect it; you are
bound to do it. Apply to Christ to overcome your
present fears; they are the effects of pride or infidel-
ity, or both.”

On his return from Scotland to London in 1741,
Whitefield passed through Wales, where at Aberga-
venny he was married to a Mrs. James, a widow,
some ten years older than himself. Of this marriage,
as also of the death of his only child, we have already
spoken. After preaching at Bristol twice a day for
several days in succession, he returned to London in
the beginning of December, where he found letters
from Georgia, which, on account of the temporal cir-
cumstances of his orphan family, somewhat discour-
aged him. But to trace his progress, and to report
all his labors, would be to extend our volume beyond
its due limits.

He was soon again in the west of England, and
writing from Gloucester, his native place, December
23, 1741, he says, “Last Thursday evening the Lord
brought me hither. I preached immediately to our
friends in a large barn, and had my Master’s presence.
Both the power and the congregation increased. On
Sunday, Providence opened a door for my preaching
in St. John’s, one of the parish churches. Great num-
bers came. On Sunday afternoon, after I had preach-
ed twice at Gloucester, I preached at the hill, six
miles off, and again at night at Stroud. The people
seemed to be more hungry than ever, and the Lord to


 


be more among them. Yesterday morning I preached
at Painswick, in the parish church, here in the after-
noon, and again at night in the barn. God gives me
unspeakable comfort and uninterrupted joy. Here
seems to be a new awakening, and a revival of the
work of God. I find several country people were
awakened when I preached at Tewkesbury, and have
heard of three or four that have died in the Lord.
We shall never know what good field-preaching has
done till we come to judgment. Many who were
prejudiced against me begin to be of another mind;
and God shows me more and more that ‘when a man’s
ways please the Lord, he will make even his enemies
to be at peace with him.’”

In the following February he was still further
encouraged by receiving letters from America, inform-
ing him of the remarkable success of the gospel there,
and that God had stirred up some wealthy friends to
assist his orphans in their extremity. He writes,
“The everlasting God reward all their benefactors.
I find there has been a fresh awakening among them.
I am informed that twelve negroes belonging to a
planter lately converted at the orphan-house, are sav-
ingly brought home to Jesus Christ.” Nor were these
things all which afforded him joy. Writing to a
friend, April 6, he says, “Our Saviour is doing great
things in London daily. I rejoice to hear that you
are helped in your work. Let this encourage you;
go on, go on; the more we do, the more we may do
for Jesus. I sleep and eat but little, and am con-
stantly employed from morning till midnight, and yet
my strength is daily renewed. Oh, free grace! It


 


fires my soul, and makes me long to do something for
Jesus. It is true, indeed, I want to go home; but
here are so many souls ready to perish for lack of
knowledge, that I am willing to tarry below as long
as my Master has work for me.” It was at this pe-
riod that he first ventured to preach in the fair in
Moorfields, to which we have already referred. In
this year he made also his second journey to Scotland,
the particulars of which have been already given.

On his arrival from Scotland in London, October,
1742, Whitefield found a new awakening at the Tab-
ernacle, which in the meantime had been enlarged.
He says, “I am employed, and, glory to rich grace, I
am carried through the duties of each day with cheer-
fulness and almost uninterrupted tranquillity. Our
society is large, but in good order. My Master gives
us much of his gracious presence, both in our public
and private ministrations.”

In March, 1743, he went again into Gloucestershire,
where the people appeared to be more eager to attend
on his ministry than ever before. “Preaching,” says
he, “in Gloucestershire, is now like preaching at the
Tabernacle in London.” And in a letter, April 7, he
says, “I preached, and took leave of the Gloucester
people with mutual and great concern, on Sunday
evening last. It was past one in the morning before
I could lay my weary body down. At five I rose
again, sick for want of rest; but I was enabled to

get on horseback and ride to Mr. T---’s, where I

preached to a large congregation, who came there at
seven in the morning. At ten, I read prayers and
preached, and afterwards administered the sacrament


 



in Stonehouse church. Then I rode to Stroud, and
preached to about twelve thousand in Mr. G——’s
field; and about six in the evening, to a like number
on Hampton common.”  Next morning he preached
near Dursley to some thousands; at about seven
o’clock he reached Bristol, and preached to a full
congregation at Smith’s hall; and on the following
morning, after preaching, set out for Waterford, in
South Wales, where he opened the association which
he and his brethren had agreed upon, and was several
days with them, settling the affairs of the societies.
The work in Wales, during his absence, had very
greatly extended itself, not a few of the clergy hav-
ing become converted, as well as their people. He
tells us, “The power of God at the sacrament, under
the ministry of Mr. Rowland, was enough to make a
person’s heart burn within him. At seven in the morn-
ing have I seen perhaps ten thousand from different
parts, in the midst of a sermon, crying, Gugunniaut—·
bendyth—[glory—blessed]—ready to leap for joy.”
He continued in Wales some weeks, preaching with
great apparent success, and in the latter part of April
returned to Gloucester, after having, in about three
weeks, travelled about four hundred miles, spent three
days in attending associations, and preached about
forty times. Among the interesting events of this
journey may be reckoned the fact, that when he was
at Caermarthen the quarterly sessions were held.
When he was about to preach, the magistrates sent
him word, that if he would stay till the court rose,
they would attend on the service. He acceded to
their proposal, and they were present, with many



 

thousands more, including several persons of high
rank.

After a few weeks spent in London, preaching to
vast congregations in Moorfields, and exulting in his
accustomed success, collecting too for his beloved or-
phans, so as to be able to pay all his debts, and to make
a remittance to Georgia, we again find him at Bris-
tol, and in a few days afterwards at Exeter. Among
the clergymen who met him there was Mr. Cennick.
As this gentleman was preaching during this visit in
the High-street of the city, he was eloquently dis-
coursing on the doctrine of the atonement by the
blood of Christ, when a profane butcher in the crowd
exclaimed, “If you love blood, you shall presently
have enough of it” and ran to obtain some to throw
on him. A Mr. Saunders, who was employed in con-
veying persons from one place to another, though an
entire stranger to religion, from a sense of justice,
determined to defend the preacher; and when the
butcher came with a pail nearly filled with blood, he
quietly took it from him, and poured it over the
man’s own head. This Mr. Saunders afterwards be-
came an eminent Christian. He was, till extreme old
age, the body-coachman of George III., with whom he
frequently held Christian conversation, and died hap-
pily in 1799, at the age of eighty-nine.

During this visit to Bristol, Whitefield’s ministry
was owned of God in the conversion of Thomas Oli-
vers, a young profligate Welshman. It is said, he
had so studied profanity and cursing, that he would
exemplify the richness of the Welsh language by com-
pounding twenty or thirty words into one long and


 

 

horrid blasphemy. He had often sang profane songs
about Whitefield, and was now induced by curiosity
to go to hear him. Being too late on the first occa-
sion, he went on the following evening nearly three
hours before the time. The text was, “Is not this a
brand plucked out of the fire?” Zech. 3:2. His
heart became broken with a sense of his sins, and he
was soon enabled to trust in the mercy of Christ. He
became a zealous and successful minister of Christ
among the followers of Mr. Wesley, and was the author
of the well-known hymn,

              “The God of Abram praise,” etc.

In August, Whitefield returned to London, but not
to make a long stay there. “I thank you,” he writes
to a correspondent, “for your kind caution to spare
myself; but evangelizing is certainly my province.
Everywhere effectual doors are opened. So far from
thinking of settling in London, I am more and more
convinced that I should go from place to place. Ac-
cordingly, during the three last months of 1743, we
find him in a large number of places in the central
and western parts of England. At Birmingham, he
writes, “I have preached five times this day, and weak
as I am, through Christ strengthening me, I could
preach five times more.”   At Kidderminster he met
with a distinguished Christian merchant, a Mr. Will-
iams, whose published “Memoirs” have been eminently
useful. Whitefield writes, “I was kindly received by
Mr. Williams. Many friends were at his house. I
was greatly refreshed to find what a sweet savor of
good Baxter's doctrine, works, and discipline remains



 

to this day.” Nor did he, amidst all his labors, feel
his health much impaired. He observes, indeed, that
he had taken a cold, but adds, “The Lord warms my
heart.”

In the beginning of March, 1744, he was compelled
to attend the assizes at Gloucester. During the pre-
ceding summer, the enemies of the Methodists had
been very violent, especially at Hampton, in that
county. Forbearance in the case had ceased to be a
virtue, and Mr. Whitefield was strongly urged to ap-
peal to law, which in England in such cases is severe.
At the preceding sessions the rioters had been con-
victed, but appealed to the assizes, a higher court.
After a full hearing, a verdict was given in favor of
Whitefield and his friends, and all the prisoners were
found guilty. This exposed each to a fine of forty
pounds, or six months’ imprisonment; the rioters were
greatly alarmed, public feeling on the subject was
corrected, and the Methodists readily extended for-
giveness to the unhappy offenders.

Whitefield was now invited by Mr. Smith, an
American merchant then in England, in the name of
thousands, to revisit this country, and took passage
with that gentleman in a vessel sailing from Portsmouth.
But the captain refused to take him, “for fear ” as he
said, “he would spoil the sailors.” On this account
Mr. Whitefield was compelled to go to Plymouth, an-
other seaport, to accomplish his purpose. On his way,
he preached "at Exeter and other places, with delight-
ful results. “But,” he says, “the chief scene was at
Plymouth and the Dock, [now called Devonport,]
where I expected least success.


 

 

While he was at Plymouth, four well-dressed men
came to the house of one of his particular friends, in
a kind manner inquiring after him, and desiring to
know where he lodged. Soon after, Mr. Whitefield
received a letter informing him that the writer was a
nephew of Mr. S——, an attorney in New York;
that he had the pleasure of supping with Mr. White-
field at his uncle’s house, and requested his company
to sup with him and a few friends at a tavern. Mr.
Whitefield replied to him that he was not accustomed
to sup abroad, at such houses, but he should be glad
of the gentleman’s company to eat a morsel with him
at his own lodging. The gentleman accordingly came
and supped, but was observed frequently to look
around him, and to be very absent. At length he took
his leave, and returned to his companions in the tavern,
and on being asked by them what he had done, he an-
swered, that he had been treated with so much civility
and kindness that he had not the heart to touch him.
One of the company, a lieutenant of a man-of-war, laid
a wager of ten guineas that he would do his business
for him. His companions, however, had the precau-
tion to take away his sword.

It was now about midnight, and Mr. Whitefield
having that day preached to a large congregation,
and visited the French prisoners, had retired to rest,
when he was awoke and told that a well-dressed gen-
tleman earnestly wished to speak with him. Suppos-
ing that it was some person under conviction of sin,
many such having previously called upon him, he de-
sired him to be brought to his room. The gentleman
came, sat down by his bedside, congratulated him


 


upon the success of his ministry, and expressed con-
siderable regret that he had been prevented from
hearing him. Soon after, however, he began to utter
the most abusive language, and in a cruel and cow-
ardly manner beat him in his bed. The landlady
and her daughter, hearing the noise, rushed into the
room and laid hold of the assailant; but disengaging
himself from them, he renewed his attack on the un-
offending preacher, who, supposing that he was about
to be shot or stabbed, underwent all the feelings of a
sudden and violent death. Soon after, a second per-
son came into the house, and called from the bottom
of the stairs, “Take courage, I am ready to help you.”
But by the repeated cries of murder the neighborhood
had become so alarmed, that the villains were glad
to make their escape. “The next
morning,” says Mr.
Whitefield, “I was to expound at a private house,
and then to set out for Biddeford. Some urged me to
stay and prosecute, but being better employed, I went
on my intended journey, was greatly blessed in preach-
ing the everlasting gospel; and, upon my return, was
well paid for what I had suffered, curiosity having
led perhaps two thousand more than ordinary to see
and hear a man that had like to have been murdered
in his bed. And I trust, in the five weeks that I waited
for the convoy, hundreds were awakened and turned
unto the Lord.”

As Whitefield was one day preaching in Plymouth,
a Mr. Henry Tanner, who was at work as a ship-
builder at a distance, heard his voice, and resolved,
with five or six of his companions, to go and drive
him from the place where he stood; and for this pur-


 


pose they filled their pockets with stones. When,
however, Mr. Tanner drew near, and heard Mr.
Whitefield earnestly inviting sinners to Christ, he
was filled with astonishment, his resolution failed
him, and he went home with his mind deeply im-
pressed. On the following evening, he again attend-
ed, and heard Mr. Whitefield on the sin of those who
crucified the Redeemer. After he had forcibly illus-
trated their guilt, he appeared to look intently on Mr.
Tanner, as he exclaimed, with great energy, “Thou
art the man!” These words powerfully impressed
Mr. Tanner; he felt his transgressions of the divine
law to be awfully great, and in the agony of his soul
he cried, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”  The
preacher then proceeded to proclaim the free and
abundant grace of the Lord Jesus, which he com-
manded to be preached among the very people who
had murdered him; a gleam of hope entered the heart
of the penitent, and he surrendered himself to Christ.
Mr. Tanner afterwards entered the ministry, and la-
bored with great success, for many years, at Exeter.

We are not quite certain whether it was on this
or a subsequent visit to Plymouth, that Whitefield
had preached on the Sabbath for the Rev. Mr. Kins-
man, and after breakfast on Monday morning, said to
him, “Come, let us visit some of your poor people.
It is not enough that we labor in the pulpit; we must
endeavor to be useful out of it.”  On entering the
dwellings of the afflicted poor, he administered to
their temporal as well as their spiritual wants. Mr.
Kinsman, knowing the low state of his finances, was
surprised at his liberality, and suggested that he



 

thought he had been too bountiful. Mr. Whitefield,
with some degree of smartness, replied, “It is not
enough, young man, to pray, and put on a serious
face; true religion, and undefiled, is this, to visit the
widow and the fatherless in their affliction, and to
supply their wants. My stock, it is true, is nearly
exhausted; but God, whom I serve, and whose saints
we have assisted, will, I doubt not, soon give me a
supply.” His expectation was not disappointed. A
stranger called on him the same evening, who said,
“With great pleasure I have heard you preach; you
are on a journey, as well as myself, and travelling is
expensive. Do me the honor to accept of this;”
handing him five guineas, or twenty-five dollars. Re-
turning to the family, Mr. Whitefield, very pleasantly
smiling, showed them the money, saying, “There,
young man, God has very speedily repaid what I lent
him this morning. Let this in future teach you not to
withhold what it is in the power of your hand to give.
The gentleman to whom I was called is a perfect stran-
ger to me; his only business was to give me the sum
you see.” It was a singular fact, that this gentleman,
though rich, was notorious for a penurious disposition.

During his stay in Plymouth, Whitefield’s useful-
ness daily increased. The ferry-men, who obtained
their living by carrying persons between Plymouth
and Dock, refused to take money from his hearers,
saying, “God forbid that we should sell his word!”
The evangelist exclaimed, “Oh, the thousands that
flock to the preaching of Christ’s gospel!” In the
midst of these scenes, the convoy arrived, and in deli-
cate health he embarked for America.


 

 

 

 

                         CHAPTER IX.

 

WHITEFIELD’ S SECOND VISIT TO NEW ENGLAND.

                                  1744, 1745.

 

Mr. Whitefield commenced his third voyage to
America in August, 1744. His health while crossing
the Atlantic became worse, rather than better, the
voyage lasting eleven weeks. He had set out in
company with about one hundred and fifty ships,
attended by several men-of-war as convoys, which,
however, they lost by storms separating them on the
way. It was more than six weeks, owing generally
to want of wind, before they reached any of the west-
ern islands. When the wind again sprung up, one of
the vessels, which missed stays, drove upon the ship
in which Whitefield was, striking her mainsail into
the bowsprit. The alarm was very great, but no
lives were lost. He had been singing a hymn on
deck when the concussion took place; this fact, to-
gether with that of the concussion itself, was commu-
nicated to the convoy, and led to the use of much vio-
lent and wicked language. But the good man was not
intimidated. He says, “I called my friends together,
and broke out into these words in prayer:  ‘God of
the sea, and God of the dry land, this is a night of
rebuke and blasphemy. Show thyself, 0 God, and
take us under thine own immediate protection. Be
thou our convoy, and make a difference between those
who fear thee, and those that fear thee not.”  A dif-
ference was soon made. Next day a heavy storm


 


arose, which “battered and sent away our convoy, so
that we saw him no more all the voyage.”  White-
field at first did not at all regret the loss, but when
two strange sails appeared in the distance, and prepara-
tion was made for action by mounting guns, slinging
hammocks on, the sides of the ships, and encircling the
masts with chains, he being, as he says, “naturally a
coward,” found it formidable to have no convoy. The
vessels, however, proved to be only a part of their
own fleet. This was a pleasant discovery to them,
especially to Whitefield. “The captain, on clearing
the cabin, said, ‘After all, this is the best fighting.’
You may be sure I concurred, praying that all our
conflicts with spiritual enemies might at last termi-
nate in a thorough cleansing and an eternal purifica-
tion of the defiled cabin of our hearts.”

The tediousness of this voyage, in the feeble state
of his health, seems to have tried Whitefield’s pa-
tience; so that when he arrived in sight of the port
of York, in the then territory of Maine, in order to
land a few hours sooner he went on board a fishing
smack then in the bay; but darkness coming on, she
missed her course, and was tossed about all night.
Unfortunately, too, she had no provisions, and he was
so hungry that he says he “could have gnawed the
very boards.” Besides he was suffering from “ner-
vous colic.”  He was greatly discouraged, until a
man who was lying at his elbow in the cabin began
to talk of “one Mr. Whitefield, for whose arrival the
‘New Lights’ in New England” were watching and
praying. “This,” he says, “made me take courage.
I continued undiscovered; and in a few hours, in an-


 


swer, I trust, to new-light prayers, we arrived safe.”
This was on October 19, 1744. He was quite ill
when he landed; but was received by Dr. Sherburne,
an eminent physician at York, who was once a Deist,
but had been converted under Whitefield’s ministry.
This gentleman took him to his own house, and after
a few days he began to recover.

The Rev. Mr. Moody, of York, the aged and excel-
lent, but eccentric minister of whom we have already
spoken, took the earliest suitable opportunity of call-
ing on the great evangelist, and said very character-
istically, “Sir, you are, first, welcome to America;
secondly, to New England; thirdly, to all faithful
ministers in New England; fourthly, to all the good
people of New England; fifthly, to all the good peo-
ple of York; and sixthly and lastly, to me, dear sir,
less than the least of all.” Prince’s “Christian His-
tory” had announced his arrival, and that his inten-
tion was “ to pass on to Georgia; and as he goes on,
to meddle with no controversies, but only to preach
up the parts of vital piety and the pure truths of the
gospel, to all who are willing to hear them.”

After giving Whitefield this hearty welcome,
Moody urged him for a sermon. The preacher hesi-
tated, on account of his illness, but “good old Mr.
Moody” did not give him the benefit of his own favor-
ite maxim, “When you know not what to do, you
must not do you know not what.” Whitefield preach-
ed, and immediately went to Portsmouth, where he
preached the same evening, November 6, for Mr.
Pitch, and was to have preached again the next morn-
ing, but was too ill, and deferred it till the afternoon.


 

In the meantime, as he wrote, “My pains returned;
but what gave me most concern was, that notice had
been given of my being engaged to preach. I felt a
divine life, distinct from my animal life, which made
me, as it were, laugh at my pains, though everyone
thought I was taken with death. My dear York
physician was then about to administer a medicine.

I on a sudden cried out, ‘Doctor, my pains are sus-
pended; by the help of God, I will go and preach,
and then come home and die.’ With some difficulty
I reached the pulpit. All looked quite surprised, as
though they saw one risen from the dead. I indeed
was as pale as death, and told them they must look
upon me as a dying man, come to bear my dying testi-
mony to the truths I had formerly preached to them.
All seemed melted, and were drowned in tears. The
cry after me, when I left the pulpit, was like the cry
of sincere mourners when attending the funeral of a
dear departed friend. Upon my coming home, I was
laid upon a bed on the ground, near the fire, and I
heard them say, ‘He is gone.’ But God was pleased
to order it otherwise. I gradually recovered.”

In another account he himself says, “In my own
‘apprehension, and in all appearance to others, I was
a dying man. I preached—the people heard me—as
such. The invisible realities of another world lay
open to my view. Expecting to launch into eternity,
and to be with my Master before the morning, I spoke
with peculiar energy. Such effects followed the word,
I thought it was worth dying for a thousand times.
Though wonderfully comforted within at my return,
home, I thought I was dying indeed. .... Soon after,



 

a poor negro woman would see me. She came, sat
down upon the ground, and looked earnestly in my
face, and then said, ‘Massa, you just go to heaven's
gate, but Jesus Christ said, Get you down, get you
down; you must not come here yet; but go first, and
call some more poor negroes.’ I prayed to the Lord,
that if I was to live, this might be the event.”

It was nearly three weeks before he was sufficiently
recovered to proceed to Boston. The day before he
left Portsmouth Mr. Shurtleff wrote, “The prejudices
of most that set themselves against him before his
coming, seem to be in a great measure abated, and in
some, to be wholly removed; and there is no open
opposition made to him. I have frequent opportuni-
ties of being with him, and there always appears in
him such a concern for the advancement of the Re-
deemer’s kingdom and the good of souls, such a care
to employ his whole time to these purposes, such
sweetness of disposition, and so much of the temper
of his great Lord and Master, that every time I see
him, I find my heart further drawn out towards him.”

“Prince’s Christian History,” of December 15, says,
“The Rev. Mr. Whitefield was so far revived as to be
able to take coach with his consort, and set out from
Portsmouth to Boston, Nov. 24; whither he came in
a very feeble state, the Monday evening after; since
which he has been able to preach in several of our
largest houses of public worship, particularly the Rev.
Dr. Colman’s, Dr. Sewall’s, Mr. Webb’s, and Mr.
Gee’s, to crowded assemblies of people, and to great
and growing acceptance. At Dr. Colman’s desire,
and with the consent of the church, on the Lord’s day


 


after his arrival, he administered to them the holy
communion. And last Lord’s day he preached for the
venerable Mr. Cheever, of Chelsea, and administered
the holy supper there. The next day he preached for
the Rev. Mr. Emerson, of Malden. Yesterday he set
out to preach for some towns to the northward; pro-
poses to return hither the next Wednesday evening,
and after a few days to comply with the earnest
invitations of several ministers to go and preach to
their congregations, in the southern parts of the prov-
ince.

“He comes with the same extraordinary spirit of
meekness, sweetness, and universal benevolence as
before. In opposition to the spirit of separation and
bigotry, he is still for holding communion with all
Protestant churches. In opposition to enthusiasm,
he preaches a close adherence to the Scriptures, the
necessity of trying all impressions by them, and of
rejecting whatever is not agreeable to them, as delu-
sions. In opposition to Antinomianism, he preaches
up all kinds of relative and religious duties, though
to be performed in the strength of Christ; and, in
short, the doctrines of the church of England, and the
first fathers of this country. As before, he first
applies himself to the understandings of his hearers,
and then to the affections; and the more he preaches,
the more he convinces people of their mistakes about
him, and increases their satisfaction.”

The administration of the Lord’s supper by a priest
of the church of England in the Congregational church
in Brattle-street, Boston, gave great offence. Some
said, the consent of the church was neither given nor


 


asked, and Dr. Colman was blamed for introducing
Whitefield by his own authority; to which Dr. Col-
man replied, that, as it was customary for pastors to
invite the assistance of other ministers on such occa-
sions, he thought it unnecessary to call for a vote of
the church; that he plainly intimated his intention in
his prayer after sermon, and then, on coming to the
table, said, “The Rev. Mr. Whitefield being provi-
dentially with us, I have asked him to administer the
ordinance;” and that by the countenances of the peo-
ple it seemed to be universally agreeable to them,
which he supposed to be all the consent which the
case required.

Since Mr. Whitefield’s former visit to New Eng-
land, a considerable change had taken place in not a
few of the ministers and churches. In 1740, he had
inveighed strongly against many of the ministers, some
of them even by name as, in his opinion, unconverted;
and after his departure, some preachers, who profess-
ed themselves to be his followers, had created great
confusion by carrying these charges much farther than
he would have approved. His second visit was there-
fore anticipated by many with anxiety, lest it might
cause a new outbreak of enthusiasm and disorder.
The General Association of Connecticut, in June,
1745, advised that he be not invited to preach in any
of the churches. When he visited New Haven, he
found himself shut out of the pulpit of the First church
by its minister Mr. Noyes. A great crowd, however,
assembled to hear him, from the neighboring towns,
as well as from New Haven, and he preached from a
platform erected in the street, before Mr. Pierpont’s


 


house on the Green, to a congregation which neither
of the meeting-houses could have contained.

From Professor Kingsley’s “Sketch of the History
of Yale College,” we learn that “President Clap
issued a declaration, signed by himself and three
tutors, that is, Samuel Whittlesey, afterwards minis-
ter of the First church in New Haven, Thomas Dar-
ling, for many years chief justice of the Court of Com-
mon Pleas for the county of New Haven, and John
Whiting, in which some of the proceedings of Mr.
Whitefield were condemned. In consequence of the
religious fervor which had been excited, a much greater
diversity of theological opinions prevailed in Con-
necticut than at any previous period. Violent con-
troversies arose, churches were divided, and the gov-
ernment, by interfering to prevent these evils, increased
rather than checked them. The college became an
object of jealousy; and the declaration of the rector
and tutors, respecting the preaching of Whitefield,
offended some, without effectually conciliating others.”

The opposition to Mr. Whitefield of which we
have spoken, was by no means all that he met with.
Even before the Association in Connecticut had taken
action, several similar bodies in Massachusetts had
acted in a similar manner. The corporation of Har-
vard college published a testimony against him, while
that of Yale represented that he intended to root out
all the standing ministers in our land, and to intro-
duce foreigners in their stead. The good man, not-
withstanding all this opposition, and much more, went
on laboring for the salvation of souls, and God still
honored him with success.


 

 

While the impartiality to which we hold ourselves
bound demanded the statement just made, and while
we are compelled to admit the existence of evils
attendant on these revivals, we also record some of
the facts connected with a convention of ministers,
who assembled in Boston in pursuance of a previous
notice in the Boston Gazette of May 30, 1743. We
copy the original invitation.

“It is desired and proposed by a number of minis-
ters, both in town and country, that such of their
brethren as are persuaded that there has been of late
a happy revival of religion through an extraordinary
divine influence, in many parts of this land, and are
concerned for the honor and progress of this remark-
able work of God, may have an interview at Boston,
the day after the approaching commencement, to con-
sider whether they are not called to give an open,
conjunct testimony to an event so surprising and gra-
cious; as well as against those errors in doctrine, and
disorders in practice, which through the permitted
agency of Satan have attended it, and in any meas-
ure blemished its glory and hindered its advancement;
and also to consult as to the most likely method to be
taken to guard people against such delusions and mis-
takes as in such a season they are in danger of falling
into, and that this blessed work may continue and
flourish among us.” Those who could not be present
were invited to send written attestations.

In accordance with this proposal, the convention
met in Boston on Thursday, July 7. The Rev. Dr.
Sewall of Boston officiated as Moderator, and the Rev.
Messrs. Prince of Boston, and Hobby of Reading, as


 

 

Scribes. Ninety persons thus assembled, and letters
were read from twenty-eight who were absent. A
committee was appointed, consisting of the Rev. Dr.
Sewall, the Rev. Messrs. Wigglesworth, Prince, Ad-
ams, Cooper, Nathanael Rogers, Leonard, and Hobby,
to prepare a report. On the next morning this com-
mittee presented a document, which, after full discus-
sion, was signed by all present; and the meeting was
dissolved.

Our limits will not allow us to give the whole of
the report to which we have referred, but a few sen-
tences will show its general character:

“We, whose names are undersigned, think it our
indispensable duty—without judging or censuring such
of our brethren as cannot at present see things in the
same light with us—in this open and conjunct manner
to declare, to the glory of sovereign grace, our full
persuasion, either from what we have seen ourselves,
or received upon credible testimony, that there has
been a happy and remarkable revival of religion in
many parts of this land, through an uncommon divine
influence, after a long time of decay and deadness, and a
sensible and very awful withdrawal of the Holy Spirit
from his sanctuary among us. . . . The present work
seems to be remarkable and extraordinary, on account
of the numbers wrought upon. We never before saw
so many brought under soul concern, and with great
distress making the inquiry, ‘What must we do to
be saved?’ And these persons were of all ages and
character. With regard to the suddenness and quick
progress of it, many persons and places were surprised
with the gracious visit together, or near about the


 

 

same time, and the heavenly influence diffused itself
far and wide, like the light of the morning. Also
[the work seems to be remarkable] in respect to the
degree of operations, both in a way of terror, and in
a way of consolation, attended in many with unusual
bodily effects. Not that all who are accounted the
subjects of the present work have had these extraor-
dinary degrees of previous distress and subsequent joy.
But many, and we suppose the greater number, have
been wrought on in a more gentle and silent way,
and without any other appearances than are common
and usual at other times, when persons have been
awakened to a solemn concern about salvation, and
have been thought to have passed out of a state of
nature into a state of grace. As to those whose in-
ward concern has occasioned extraordinary outward
distresses, the most of them, when we came to con-
verse with them, were able to give what appeared to
us a rational account of what so affected their
minds. . . . The instances were very few in which
we had reason to think these affections were produced
by visionary or sensible representations, or by any
other images than such as the Scripture itself presents
to us. Of those who were judged hopefully convert-
ed, and made a public profession of religion, there
have been fewer instances of scandal and apostasy
than might be expected. . . . There appears to be
more experimental godliness and lively Christianity
than most of us can remember we have ever seen be-
fore. . . . And now we desire to bow the knee in
thanksgiving to the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that our eyes have seen and our ears



 

heard such things. And while these are our senti-
ments, we must necessarily be grieved at any accounts
sent abroad representing this work as all enthusiasm,
delusion, and disorder. Indeed, it is not to be denied,
that in some places many irregularities and extrava-
gances have been permitted to accompany it, which
we would deeply bewail and lament before God, and
look upon ourselves obliged, for the honor of the
Holy Spirit, and of his operations on the souls of
men, to bear a public and faithful testimony against;
though at the same time it is to be acknowledged,
with much thankfulness, that in other places where
the work has greatly flourished, there have been few
if any of those disorders and excesses. But who can
wonder if, at such a time as this, Satan should inter-
mingle himself to hinder and blemish a work so
directly contrary to the interests of his own king-
dom? . . . Finally, we exhort the children of God to
continue instant in prayer, that He, with whom is the
residue of the Spirit, would grant us fresh, more plen-
tiful, and extensive effusions, that so this wilderness,
in all the parts of it, may become a fruitful field;
that the present appearances may be an earnest of the
glorious things promised in the latter days, when she
shall shine with the glory of the Lord arisen upon
her, so as to dazzle the eyes of beholders, confound
and put to shame all her enemies, rejoice the hearts of
her solicitous and now saddened friends, and have
a strong influence and resplendency throughout the
earth. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus; come
quickly.”

This paper was signed by eighteen ministers in the

               Whitefield.     12


 

 

 

county of Suffolk, among whom were Colman, Sewall,
Prince, Webb, Cooper, Foxcroft, Checkly, Gee, Eliot,
and Moorhead of Boston ; twelve in the county of
Essex, nine in Middlesex, six in Worcester, ten in
Plymouth, one in Barnstable, three in Bristol, three
in York, five in New Hampshire, and one in Rhode
Island. There were one hundred and fourteen in all
who gave attestations, either by signing their names
to the above document, or by sending written attesta-
tions. Ninety-six of the one hundred and fourteen
took their first degree of Bachelor of Arts more than
ten years previously; consequently before the revival
commenced. Twenty-six took their first degrees
above thirty years before. Attestations were received
but from twelve ministers in Connecticut, as the pro-
posal did not reach them in time.

We may add to this statement, as showing in some
degree the extent of this revival, that while in 1729
the number of members in the Congregational and
Presbyterian churches of this country may be esti-
mated at thirty-three thousand, the number of com-
municants in 1745 could not be less than seventy-five
thousand. “The special revivals of religion,” says an
able writer in the “American Quarterly Register,”
vol. 4, 1832, “were probably the means of adding
from twenty thousand to thirty thousand members to
the churches.” The same writer adds, “The gen-
uine fruits of holiness appeared, according to the ac-
knowledgment of all parties, in multitudes of those
who professed religion. They were Christians, who
endured unto the end. This is the unanimous testi-
mony of those men who were the best able to judge.


 

Great numbers who were convinced of sin by Mr.
Whitefield’s preaching, gave ample evidence, living
and dying, of sincere and fervent love to the com-
mands of God. There is reason to believe that a
preparation had been made for the descent of the Holy
Spirit, many years before the revival commenced. The
fasts and public reformations, the prayers and tears of
good men, from 1700 to 1730, were not in vain.”

One fact connected with the testimony against
Whitefield, published by the faculty of Harvard col-
lege, we quote, as showing that then, as well as now,
a difference of opinion existed as to written and ex-
tempore sermons. They thought his extempore man-
ner of preaching “by no means proper,” because ex-
tempore preachers are of necessity less instructive,
the greater part of the sermon being commonly “the
same kind of harangue which they have often used
before, so that this is a most lazy manner” of preach-
ing; and because it exposes the preacher to utter rash
expressions, and even dangerous errors, as Whitefield.
they thought, had done in several instances, probably
from that cause. Assuredly he preferred extempore
preaching to any other; yet he never pretended to
preach without previous study. His sermons usually
cost him as much previous labor as if they had been
written; so that, in his case at least, it was not “a
lazy way” of preaching. The errors which they said
he had uttered, were a few hasty expressions, which
he had retracted as soon as he had been reminded of
them.

Itinerancy, which had also been objected against
Whitefield as one of his crimes, he strenuously de-



 

fended as scriptural and right; understanding an
evangelist to be, what they said an itinerant was,
“One that hath no particular charge of his own, but
goes about from country to country, or from town to
town in any country, and stands ready to preach to
any congregation that shall call him to it.” For the
divine command, “Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature,” he argued, “au-
thorizes the ministers of Christ, even to the end of
the world, to preach the gospel in every town and
country, though not ‘of their own head,’ yet whenever
and wherever Providence should open a door, even
though it should be in a place ‘where officers are
already settled, and the gospel is fully and faithfully
preached.’ This, I humbly apprehend, is every gospel
minister’s indisputable privilege.” He further asked,
“Was not the Reformation begun and carried on by
itinerant preaching?” He then quoted from “Bax-
ter’s Reformed Pastor,” a plan which had been adopt-
ed in some parts of England, for circular lectures by
settled ministers selected for the purpose, and with
the consent of the pastors.

In reference to Harvard college, Whitefield lived
long enough to take a Christian’s revenge. In 1764,
he solicited from his friends donations of books for
their library, which had recently been destroyed by
fire, and four years afterwards, while his old oppo-
nent President Holyoke was yet in office, the fol-
lowing minute was entered on their records: “At a
meeting of the President and Fellows of Harvard col-
lege, August 22, 1768, the Rev. G. Whitefield having,
in addition to his former kindness to Harvard college,



 

lately presented to the library a new edition of his
Journals, and having procured large benefactions from
several benevolent and respectable gentlemen; voted,
that the thanks of the corporation be given to the
Rev. Mr. Whitefield, for these instances of candor
and generosity.”

It will be readily supposed, that notwithstanding
all the opposition which Whitefield met, there were
yet many thousands always ready to attend on his
ministry. It was now the close of 1744, but the cold
of winter did not prevent vast crowds assembling at
early services long before daylight. Speaking of the
opposition he met, “so that,” says he, “for a while
my situation was rendered uncomfortable,” he adds,
“But amidst all this smoke a blessed fire broke out.
The awakened souls were as eager as ever to hear
the word. Having heard that I expounded early in
Scotland, they begged that I would do the same in
Boston. I complied, and opened a lecture at six in
the morning. I seldom preached to less than two
thousand. It was delightful to see so many of both
sexes neatly dressed flocking to hear the word, and
returning home to family prayer and breakfast before
the opposers were out of their beds.”

The late Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander tells us,
that when he was at Boston, in 1800, he found in the
Old South church a lingering relic of Whitefield’s
times, in a convert of his day, a lady between eighty
and ninety years of age, who belonged to a prayer-
meeting founded then, which had been kept up weekly
until within a few years. Of this, she was the only
surviving member.


 

 

The “Evening Post,” which seems to have been
on the side of those who opposed Whitefield, in its
issue of March 11, 1745, says, “Prince, Webb, Fox-
croft, and Gee, are the directors of Mr. Whitefield’s
public conduct, as he himself has lately declared at
Newbury.” He had other powerful friends among
the clergy, and still more among the laity, who invited
him by vote into some pulpits where the pastors were
“shy” of him.

On the 7th of February, we find him at Ipswich,
where he spent several days. Mr. Pickering, of the
Second church, declined admitting him into his pulpit,
and assigned his reasons in a letter, which was pub-
lished. It contains the usual objections set forth in
the various “testimonies,” and is remarkable only for
one convenient metaphor. The Bishop of London had
published on “Lukewarmness and Enthusiasm.” White-
field had said in reply, “All ought to be thankful to
that pilot who will teach them to steer a safe and
middle course;” and Pickering wittily asks, “But
what if the pilot should take the vane for the com-
pass?”

Early in March we find him making an excursion
into the east, as we hear of him both at Berwick and
Portland, in the then territory of Maine. In the lat-
ter place, he not only made a powerful impression on
the people, but on their minister. In the outset a
strong feeling existed against his preaching in the
pulpit of the First church. Mr. Smith, the pastor,
says in his “Journal,” “The parish are like to be in a
flame on account of Mr. Whitefield’s coming; the lead-
ing men violently opposing.” Under the date of May


 


19, after Whitefield’s departure, we find in the “Jour-
nal”  a remarkable passage:  “For several Sabbaths,
and the lecture, I have been all in a blaze; never in
such a flame, and what I would attend to is, that it
was not only involuntary, but actually determined
against. I went to meeting resolving to be calm and
moderate, lest people should think it was wildness
and affectation to ape Mr. Whitefield; but God, I
see, makes use of me as he pleases, and I am only a
machine in his hand.”

About the middle of March, we find our evangelist
at Exeter, where he afterwards preached his last ser-
mon. Here some of the more zealous members of the
church had withdrawn, and formed a new church.
Their conduct had been sanctioned by one council,
and censured by another, two years before this time.
Whitefield preached to them twice, though Mr. Odlin,
the pastor of the church from which they had with-
drawn, “solemnly warned and charged him against
preaching in his parish.” So says the “Evening Post,”
of March 25, which further calls the people to whom
he preached, “Separatists.”

In this spring of 1745, the first expedition for the
capture from the French of the island of Cape Breton,
near Nova Scotia, was set on foot. Colonel Pepperell,
a warm personal friend of Whitefield, and the only
native of New England who was created a Baronet of
Great Britain, was then at Boston, constantly attend-
ing Whitefieid’s lectures. On the day before he ac-
cepted a commission to be general in that expedition,
he asked his opinion of the matter, and was told, with
the preacher’s usual frankness, that he did not indeed



 

think that the scheme proposed for taking Louisburgh
would be very promising; and that the eyes of all
would be upon him. If he did not succeed, the wid-
ows and orphans of the slain soldiers would be like
lions robbed of their whelps; but if it pleased God to
give him success, enyy would endeavor to eclipse his
glory: he had need, therefore, if he went, to go with
a single eye; and then there was no doubt, if Provi-
dence really called him, he would find his strength
equal to the difficulties with which he would have to
contend.

About the same time, Mr. Sherburne, another of
Whitefield’s friends, being appointed one of the com-
missioners, told him he must favor the expedition,
otherwise the pious people would be discouraged from
enlisting; not only did he say this, but he insisted
that the evangelist should give him a motto for his
flag, for the encouragement of his soldiers. White-
field refused to do this, as it would not be consistent
with his character as a minister of the gospel of peace.
But as Sherburne would take no denial, he gave him,
Nil desperandum, Christo Duce—[Nothing to be de-
spaired of, Christ being leader.] In these circum-
stances a large number of men enlisted.

The soldiers and their officers now went farther,
and before their embarkation requested him to give
them a sermon. He preached to them from the text,
“And every one that was in distress, and every one
that was in debt, and every one that was discontent-
ed, gathered themselves unto him; and he became
a captain over them.” 1 Samuel 22:2. From this
somewhat singular text, he discoursed on the manner


 


in which distressed sinners came to Jesus Christ, the
Son of David; and in his application, exhorted the
soldiers to behave like the soldiers of David, and the
officers to act like David's worthies; saying, that if
they did so, there would be good news from Cape
Breton. After this he preached to the general him-
self, who invited him to become one of his chaplains.
Whitefield declined this, saying, that though he should
esteem this an honor, yet, as he generally preached
three times a day, to large congregations, he could
do more service by stirring up the people to pray,
thus strengthening the hearts and hands of the army.
In this practice he persevered during the whole siege
of Louisburgh. “I believe," said he, “if ever people
went with a disinterested view, the New Englanders
did then. Though many of them were raw and un-
disciplined, yet numbers were substantial persons, who
left their farms and willingly ventured all for their
country's good. An amazing series of providences
appeared, and though some discouraging accounts
were sent during the latter end of the siege, yet in
about six weeks news came of the surrender of Louis-
burgh. Numbers flocked from all quarters to hear a
thanksgiving sermon upon the occasion. And I trust
the blessing bestowed upon the country through the
thanksgivings of many, redounded to the glory of
God."

Sometime before this, the people of Boston had
proposed to build for Whitefield “the largest place
of worship ever seen in America," in which he should
regularly preach; but, as usual, he feared this plan
would abridge his liberty of itinerating: he thanked
                                          12*


 


them for their offer, but decidedly declined to accept
it. As his bodily strength increased, he began to
move southward, and went through Rhode Island and
Connecticut, preaching to thousands generally twice
a day. He says, “Though there was much smoke, yet
every day I had more and more convincing proof that
a blessed gospel fire had been kindled in the hearts
both of ministers and people.”

About this time occurred a fact which delightfully
shows how the enemies of this admirable man were
often converted into friends. A colored trumpeter
belonging to the. English army resolved to inter-
rupt him while delivering a sermon in the open air.
For this purpose he went to the field, carrying his
trumpet with him, intending to blow it with all his
might about the middle of the sermon. He took his
station in front of the minister, and at no great dis-
tance from him. The crowd became very great, and
those who were towards the extremity pressed for-
ward, that they might hear more distinctly, and caused
such a pressure where the poor trumpeter stood, that
he found it impossible at the time when he intended
to blow his trumpet, to raise the arm which held it,
by which means he was kept within the sound of the
gospel as effectually as if he had been chained to the
spot. In a short time his attention was powerfully
arrested, and he became so deeply affected by the
statements of the preacher, that he was seized with
all the agonies of despair, and was carried to a
house in the neighborhood. After the service, he
was visited by Mr. Whitefield, who gave him suitable
counsels, and from that time the trumpeter became a



 

greatly altered man. So true is it in reference to the
omnipotent and gracious Being,

“Hearts base as hell he can control,

And spread new powers throughout the whole.”

 

While preaching at Boston, he was delighted to
observe that the sheriff, who had heretofore been the
leader of the persecution against him, now began to
hear him preach; and his pleasure was vastly in-
creased, when he saw the crowds come around him
to inquire as to their highest interests.

Among these crowds was a somewhat remarkable
gentleman of that city. He was a man of ready wit
and racy humor, who delighted in preaching over a
bottle to his ungodly companions. He went to hear
Whitefield, that he might be furnished with matter for
a “tavern harangued.”  When he had heard enough of
the sermon for his purpose, he endeavored to quit the
church for the inn, but “found his endeavors to get
out fruitless, he was so pent up.” While thus fixed,
and waiting for “fresh matter of ridicule,’ the truth
took possession of his heart. That night he went to
Mr. Prince full of terror, and sought an introduction
to ask pardon of the preacher. Whitefield says of
him, “By the paleness, pensiveness, and horror of his
countenance, I guessed he was the man of whom I had
been apprized.  ‘Sir, can you forgive me?’ he cried
in a low, but plaintive voice. I smiled, and said, ‘Yes,
sir, very readily.’ ‘Indeed,’ he said, ‘you cannot when
I tell you all.” I then asked him to sit down; and
judging that he had sufficiently felt the lash of the
law, I preached the gospel to him.” This, with other
remarkable conversions, gave increasing energy and



 

influence to his preaching in Boston. “My bodily
strength,’ he says, “is recovered, and my soul more
than ever in love with a crucified Jesus.”

Another illustration may also be here given of the
meekness and gentleness which usually characterized
our evangelist in his intercourse with his brethren.
In his later visits to New England, it was Whitefield’s
usual practice to spend a few days with Dr. Hopkins.
On one of these occasions, after preaching for the doc-
tor on the Sabbath, the next day he proposed a ride
into the country for exercise. During the ride, White-
field spoke with regret of the views of their “good
brother Edwards on the subject of the witness of the
Holy Spirit.” “Ah,” asked Dr. Hopkins, “and what
is the error?” Here Whitefield made a long pause
and Hopkins continued the conversation:  “Do you
believe, Mr. Whitefield, that the witness of the Spirit
is a direct communication from God?”  “I cannot say
that I do,” was the reply. “Well, do you believe
that Christians have any other witness of the Spirit
than that afforded by the testimony of their own holy
affections?”  “I cannot say that I do,” Mr. White-
field again replied. “Do you believe it to be any-

thing more or less,” continued Hopkins, “than the
Spirit producing in the heart the gracious exercises
of repentance, faith, etc.?”  “No, that is precisely my
view of it,” said Whitefield. “And that is precisely
the view of good father Edwards,” pleasantly return-
ed Dr. Hopkins. Whitefield frankly acknowledged
his error, and rejoiced that there was no disagreement
on the subject.


 

 

 

                CHAPTER X.

 

FROM HIS LEAVING- NEW ENGLAND TILL HIS ARRI-
VAL IN ENGLAND—LABORS IN THE MIDDLE AND
SOUTHERN STATES—THE BERMUDAS.

                                1745-1748.

 

Leaving New England, Whitefield proceeded first
to New York, where he preached as he had formerly
done, and found that the seed sown in past days had
produced much fruit. Proceeding still southward, on
his way towards Philadelphia, arriving in New Jersey,
he says, “I had the pleasure of preaching by an inter-
preter to some converted Indians, and of seeing nearly
fifty young ones in one school, near Freehold, learning
the Assembly's Catechism." A blessed awakening
had before this time been begun and carried on among
the Delaware Indians, by the ministry of David Brain-
erd; no such work had been heard of since the days
of the apostolic Eliot in New England.

Arriving in Philadelphia, Whitefield was rejoiced
to find that his friend Gilbert Tennent was still blessed
with success in his labors. Many, he says, were un-
der “soul-sickness,” and Tennent's health suffered
much with walking from place to place to see them.

The gentlemen connected with the new house in which
Tennent preached, were, as well as Tennent himself,
desirous of securing at least a portion of Whitefield’s
labors, and offered him eight hundred pounds a year,
if he would become their pastor, and labor with them


 


six months in the year, travelling the other six months
wherever he thought proper. He thanked them, but
declined.

Not unfrequently have we been told by frigid crit-
ics of the inferior character of Whitefield’s printed
sermons. But have they not looked too much for the
beauties of style, and overlooked the simple energy of
their scriptural truths? Even these printed sermons
have, under God, accomplished wonders. In the year
1743, a young gentleman from Scotland, then residing
at Hanover, in Virginia, had obtained a volume of
Whitefield’s sermons preached in Glasgow, and taken
in shorthand, which, after a gentleman of Hanover,
named Hunt, the father of a distinguished Presbyte-
rian minister of that name, had studied with great
personal benefit, he invited his neighbors to visit his
house to hear read. By their plainness and fervor,
attended with the power of God, not a few became
convinced of their lost condition as sinners, and anx-
iously inquired the way of salvation. The feelings of
many were powerfully excited, and they could not for-
bear bitter and violent weeping. The intelligence
spread, curiosity prompted the desire of many others
to attend such remarkable services; and one and
another begged for admission, till the houses were
crowded. Numbers were pricked to the heart; the
word of God became quick and powerful; and, “What
shall we do?” was the general cry. What to do or
say the principal leaders knew not. They themselves
had been led by a still small voice, they hardly knew
how, to an acquaintance with the truth; but now the
Lord was speaking as on mount Sinai, with a voice of


 


thunder; and sinners, like that mountain itself, trem-
bled. It was not long before Christians had the hap-
piness to see a goodly number healed by the same
word that had wounded them, and brought to rejoice
in Christ, and his great salvation. “My dwelling-
place,” said Mr. Morris, one of their number, “was
at length too small to contain the people, where-
upon we determined to build a meeting-house merely
for reading. And having never been used to social
prayer, none of us durst attempt it.” This reading-
house
, as it was called, was followed by others of
like character, and the number of attendants and the
power of divine influence were much increased. Mr.
Morris, as the report spread, was invited to several
places at a distance to read these sermons. The
phrase, “Morris’ reading-house,” has come down by
tradition to the present age, as well as important
details of the opposition of the magistracy and other
classes, who sought, but in vain, to stop the progress
of the work.

Such was the origin of the Presbyterian church at
Hanover, where, in after-days, William Robinson and
President Davies accomplished such mighty triumphs,
and where the sacred cause still flourishes.

Whitefield does not seem to have been made
acquainted with these facts till he now arrived in the
colony, and saw the happy effects which had been pro-
duced by the labors of the Rev. Messrs. Robinson,
Tennent, Blair, and others. Of the visit of White-
field among them, one of them writes, “Mr. Whitefield
came and preached four or five days in these parts,
which was the happy means of giving us further en-


 

couragement, and engaging others to the Lord, espec-
ially among the church people, who received his doc-
trine more readily than they would from ministers of
the Presbyterian denomination.” We may add here,
that in 1747 there were four houses of worship in and
around Hanover, which had sprung from the “mustard-
seed” of the sermons taken in shorthand from White-
field’s lips at Glasgow.

Among the converts in the south who met White-
field, was Isaac Oliver, who was both deaf and dumb,
and had been so from his birth. Notwithstanding
these great disadvantages, he could both feel and
evince his strong feelings by the most significant and
expressive signs. He could, for instance, so represent
the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, as to be un-
derstood by everyone; and among his own friends he
could converse about the love of Christ in the lan-
guage of signs, till he was transported in rapture and
dissolved in tears. He was much beloved for his
eminent piety.

Whitefield had not, during any portion of this
time, forgotten Bethesda. The public had warmly
sustained it, and he now went forward to see to its
affairs, and to add to the orphan-house a Latin school,
intending, indeed, before a long time to found a col-
lege.

The following account of the orphan-house in
1746, was written by Mr. Whitefield in the form of a
letter to a friend, and published as a small pamphlet.
We transcribe it from “White’s Historical Collections
of Georgia,” published in 1854:


 

 

“Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”—Rom. 12: 17.

“Bethesda, in Georgia, March 21,1745-6.

 

“Some have thought that the erecting such a
building was only the produce of my own brain; but
they are much mistaken; for it was first proposed to
me by my dear friend the Rev. Mr. Charles Wesley,
who, with his excellency General Oglethorpe, had con-
certed a scheme for carrying on such a design before
I had any thoughts of going abroad myself. It was
natural to think that, as the government intended this
province for the refuge and support of many of our
poor countrymen, numbers of such adventurers must
necessarily be taken off, by being exposed to the hard-
ships which unavoidably attend a new settlement. I
thought it, therefore, a noble design in the general to
erect a house for fatherless children; and believing
that such a provision for orphans would be some
inducement with many to come over, I fell in with the
design, when mentioned to me by my friend, and was
resolved, in the strength of God, to prosecute it with
all my might. This was mentioned to the honorable
the trustees. They took it kindly at my hands, and
wrote to the bishop of Bath and Wells for leave for
me to preach a charity sermon on this occasion in the
Abbey church. This was granted, and I accordingly
began immediately to compose a suitable discourse.
But knowing that my first stay in Georgia would
necessarily be short, on account of my returning again
to take priest’s orders, I thought it most prudent first
to go and see for myself, and defer prosecuting the
scheme till I came home. . . . When I came to Geor-
gia, I found many poor orphans, who, though taken


 


notice of by the honorable trustees, yet, through the
neglect of persons under them, were in miserable cir-
cumstances. For want of a house to bring them up
in, the poor little ones were tabled out here and there;
others were at hard services, and likely to have no
education at all.

“Upon seeing this, and finding that his Majesty
and Parliament had the interest of the colony much at
heart, I thought I could not better show my regard to
God and my country than by getting a house and land
for these children, where they might learn to labor,
read, and write, and at the same time be brought up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Accord-
ingly, at my return to England, in the year 1738, to
take priest’s orders, I applied to the honorable society
for a grant of five hundred acres of land, and laid
myself under an obligation to build a house upon it,
and to receive from time to time as many orphans as
the land and stock would maintain. As I had always
acted like a clergyman of the church of England, hav-
ing preached in a good part of the London churches,
and but a few months before collected near a thousand
pounds sterling for the children belonging to the
charity schools in London and Westminster, it was
natural to think that I might now have the use at
least of some of these churches to preach in for the
orphans hereafter more immediately to be committed
to my care. But by the time I had taken priest’s
orders, the spirit of the clergy began to be much im-
bittered. Churches were gradually denied me, and I
must let this good design drop, and thousands, and I
might add ten thousands, go without hearing the word


 


of God, or preach in the fields. Indeed, two churches,
one in London, namely, Spitalfields, and one in Bris-
tol, namely, St. Philip’s and Jacob, were lent me on
this occasion, but those were all. I collected for the
orphan-house in Moorfields two hundred and fifty
pounds one Sabbath-day morning, twenty-two pounds
of which were in copper. In the afternoon I collect-
ed again at Kennington Common, and continued to do
so at most of the places where I preached. Besides
this, two or three of the bishops, and several persons
of distinction contributed, until at length, having got-
ten about a thousand and ten pounds, I gave over
collecting, and went with what I had to Georgia. At
that time multitudes offered to accompany me; but I
chose to take over only a surgeon and a few more of
both sexes, that I thought would be useful in carrying
on my design. My dear fellow-traveller William
Seward, Esq., also joined with them. Our first voy-
age was to Philadelphia, where I was willing to go
for the sake of laying in provision. I laid out in
London a good part of the thousand pounds for goods,
and got as much by them, in Philadelphia as nearly
defrayed the families’ expenses of coming over. Here
God blessed my ministry daily. . . .

“January following, 1739, I met my family at
Georgia, and being unwilling to lose any time, I hired
a large house, and took in all the orphans I could find
in the colony. A great many also of the town’s chil-
dren came to school gratis, and many poor people
that could not maintain their children, upon applica-
tion, had leave given them to send their little ones
for a month or two, or more as they could spare them,


 

 

till at length my family consisted of between sixty
and seventy. Most of the orphans were in poor case,
and three or four almost eaten up with lice. I like-
wise erected an infirmary, in which many sick people
were cured and taken care of gratis. I have now by
me a list of upwards of a hundred and thirty pa-
tients, which were under the surgeon’s hands, exclu-
sive of my own private family. About March I began
the great house, having only about one hundred and
fifty pounds in cash. I called it Bethesda, because I
hoped it would be a house of mercy to many souls.
Many boys have been put out to trades, and many
girls put out to service. I had the pleasure, the other
day, to see three boys work at the house in which
they were bred, one of them out of his time, a journey-
man, and the others serving under their masters.
One that I brought from New England is hand-
somely settled in Carolina; and another from Phila-
delphia is married, and lives very comfortably in
Savannah. We have lately begun to use the plough,
and next year I hope to have many acres of good
oats and barley. We have nearly twenty sheep and
lambs, fifty head of cattle, and seven horses. We
hope to kill a thousand weight of pork this season.
Our garden is very beautiful, furnishes us with all
sorts of greens, etc., etc. We have plenty of milk,
eggs, poultry, and make a good deal of butter weekly.
A good quantity of wool and cotton have been given
me, and we hope to have sufficient spun and wove for
the next winters clothing. The family now consists
of twenty-six persons. Two of the orphan boys are
blind, one is little better than an idiot. I have two



 

women to take care of the household work, and two
men and three boys employed about the plantation
and cattle. A set of Dutch servants has been
lately sent over. The magistrates were pleased to
give me two; and I took in a poor widow, aged near
seventy, whom nobody else cared to have. A valu-
able young man from New England is my school-
master, and in my absence performs duty in the family.
On Sabbaths, the grown people attend on public wor-
ship at Savannah, or at White Bluff, a village near
Bethesda, where a Dutch minister officiates. The
house is a noble, commodious building, and every
thing sweetly adapted for bringing up youth. Geor-
gia is very healthy; not above one, and that a little
child, has died out of our family since it removed to
Bethesda.”

A tabular statement follows this account, giving
full particulars of the eighty-six children who to that
period had been admitted into the establishment.

Old newspapers, as daguerreotyping the facts, and
even the feelings of any particular period, are some-
times invaluable. In New York, as everywhere
else, Whitefield had his enemies, and many charges
were brought against him. But that there were those
who took a strongly favorable view of his character
and conduct, is very clear from an extract we give
from “The New York Post-Boy,” of April, 1746:
“Mr. Whitefield’s excellent parts, fine elocution, and
masterly address; his admirable talent of opening the
Scriptures, and enforcing the most weighty subjects
upon the conscience; his polite and serious behavior,
his unaffected and superior piety, his prudence, humil-


 


ity, and. catholic spirit, are things which must silence
and disarm prejudice itself. By these qualifications
of the orator, the divine, and the Christian, he has
not only fixed himself deeper in the affections of his
former friends, but greatly increased the number
wherever he has preached; and made his way into
the hearts of several who, till this visit, had said all
the severe things against him that enmity itself seemed
capable of.”

From this period, this paper especially noticed
the various movements of this apostolic man; his ar-
rivals in the city, his engagements in it, his depart-
ures from it, and the places of his destination, were
all given with the minutiae with which even the move-
ments of monarchs are recorded.

It was not without its use that the organs of the
public thus expressed their high sense of his charac-
ter. In 1745, suspicions were whispered abroad as
to the entire integrity of this excellent man in the
appropriation of the funds collected for Bethesda.
But happily for all parties, the magistrates of Savan-
nah published in the Philadelphia Gazette an affidavit,
that they had carefully examined Mr. Whitefield’s
receipts and disbursements, and found that what he
had collected in behalf of the orphans, had been hon-
estly applied, and that besides, he had given consid-
erably to them of his own property.

Having done what he could at Bethesda, feeling
his health failing him, needing resources for his or-
phans, and urged on by his love of preaching, White-
field was soon again in the field, far away from his
home. In the autumn of 1746, we find many passages



 

in his journals and letters like these, while in Mary-
land:  “I trust the time for favoring this and the neigh-
boring southern provinces is come. Everywhere,
almost, the door is opened for preaching, great num-
bers flock to hear, and the power of an ascended
Saviour attends the word. For it is surprising how
the Lord causes prejudices to subside, and makes my
former most bitter enemies to be at peace with me.. . .
Lately I have been in seven counties in Maryland,
and preached with abundant success.” At Charles-
ton, South Carolina, he writes, January 1747, “The
Lord Jesus is pleased to give me great access to mul-
titudes of souls.” A few weeks later, he writes from
the same place, that Bethesda was never in a better
condition; that he had opened a Latin school there
during the winter, and that he hoped yet to see minis-
ters furnished from Georgia.

In April, we again find him in Maryland, as he
writes on the twenty-fifth of that month from Bohemia,
in that province, and speaks of the success of Mr. Sam-
uel, afterwards President Davies, in Virginia, but
adds that a proclamation had been issued in that state
against itinerants, so that he himself was shut out of
it.  In the middle of May he exults, “Maryland is
yielding converts to the blessed Jesus. The gospel
seems to be moving southward. The harvest is prom-
ising. The time of the singing birds is come;” and
five days afterwards he says, “I have been now a three
hundred miles’ circuit in Maryland, and through one
or two counties in Pennsylvania. Everywhere the
people have a hearing ear, and I trust some have an
obedient heart.”


 

On the first of June we find him in Philadelphia,
from whence he writes, “At present I have full work
here. The congregations yesterday were large, and
for this month past I have been preaching to thousands
in different places.” During the whole of this month
his health was in a very critical state. Here we have
a few sentences from his pen, as given on different
days: “I am sick and well, as I used to be in Eng-
land; but the Redeemer fills me with comfort. I am
determined, in his strength, to die fighting. .... I
have almost a continual burning fever. With great
regret I have omitted preaching one night to oblige
my friends, and purpose to do so once more, that they
may not charge me with murdering myself. But I
hope yet to die in the pulpit, or soon after I come out
of it. .... Since my last, I have been several times
on the verge of eternity. At present I am so weak
that I cannot preach. It is hard work to be silent,
but I must be tried every way.”

Sickness did not interrupt Whitefield’s labors, if
he could move or preach at all. “I am determined,”
he says to Gilbert Tennent, “to die fighting, though
it be on my stumps.” He was soon after at New York,
Newport, Portsmouth, and Boston. At New York
he writes, “I am as willing to hunt for souls as ever.
I am not weary of my work.” On the next day he
writes, “I have preached to a very large auditory,
and do not find myself much worse for it.” He did
so again with success. He then says, “I shall go to
Boston like an arrow out of a bow, if Jesus strength-
en me. I am resolved to preach and work for Him
until I can preach and work no more. I have been


 

upon the water three or four days, and now eat like
a sailor." He went on to Boston, where he heard of
the sudden but joyful death of his venerable and ex-
cellent friend Dr. Column. He adds, “My reception
at Boston and elsewhere was like unto the first. Ar-
rows of conviction fled and stuck fast. Congrega-
tions were larger than ever, and opposers’ mouths
were stopped.

After again making short visits to Philadelphia
and Bohemia, Whitefield, according to previous ar-
rangements, went to spend the winter in North Caro-
lina. Before he left Bohemia, however, he wrote to
his friends at New York, who were intensely anxious
about his health, but he could only say it was yet
fluctuating. Even so was it when he arrived in North
Carolina, yet he writes, “I am here, hunting in the
woods, these ungospelized wilds, for sinners. It is
pleasant work, though my body is weak and crazy.
But after a short fermentation in the grave, it will be
fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body. The
thought of this rejoices my soul, and makes me long
to leap my seventy years. I sometimes think all will
go to heaven before me. Pray for me as a dying
man; but Oh, pray that I may not go off as a snuff.
I would fain die blazing—not with human glory, but
with the love of Jesus.”

Such was his weakness, that his journey to Bath-
town, in North Carolina, was long and slow. Even
a short ride was fatiguing and painful. Still, he preach-
ed with considerable power; cheered on from stage
to stage by the hope that the conversion of “North
Carolina sinners would be glad news in heaven.” His

                    Whitefield.    13


 


letters indicated lively hopes of an extensive revival,
but his expectations were not fully realized. His
health was still exceedingly feeble, and his physicians
ordered him to try a change of climate. He accord-
ingly embarked for the Bermudas, where he landed,
March 15, 1748.

The Bermudas are a group of four small islands
lying about nine hundred miles east of Georgia. The
largest of the islands is called St. George’s, with a
capital of the same name; the climate is remarkably
fine, and well adapted for the temporary residence
and recovery of invalids. Here Whitefield met with
an exceedingly kind reception, and remained on the
island with great benefit to his health, more than a
month. We scarcely need to say that he was not idle
during his residence here, but traversed the island
from one end to the other, generally preaching twice
a day. A few passages from his journal will best
show the facts.

“The simplicity and plainness of the people, togeth-
er with the pleasant situation of the island, much de-
lighted me. The Rev. Mr. Holiday, minister of Span-
ish Point, received me in a most affectionate, Chris-
tian manner; and begged I would make his house my
home. In the evening, I expounded at the house of
Mr. Savage, at Port Royal, which was very commo-
dious; and which also he would have me make my
home. I went with Mr. Savage in a boat to the town
of St. George, in order to pay our respects to the
governor. All along we had a most pleasant prospect
of the other part of the island; a more pleasant one I
never saw. Mrs. Smith, of St. George, for whom I


 

had a letter of recommendation from my dear old
friend Mr. Smith, of Charlestown, received me into
her house. About noon, with one of the council and
Mr. Savage, I waited upon the governor. He received
us courteously, and invited us to dine with him and
the council. We accepted the invitation, and all be-
haved with great civility and respect. After the gov-
ernor rose from the table, he desired, if I stayed in
town on the Sunday, that I would dine with him at
his own house.

“Sunday, March 20. Read prayers and preached
twice this day, to what were esteemed here large
auditories—in the morning at Spanish Point church,
and in the evening at Brackish Pond church, about
two miles distant from each other. In the afternoon
I spoke with greater freedom than in the morning,
and I trust not altogether in vain. All were atten-
tive, some wept. I dined with Colonel Butterfield,
one of the council; and received several invitations
to other gentlemen’s houses. May God bless and
reward them, and incline them to open their hearts to
receive the Lord Jesus.

“Wednesday, March 28. Dined with Captain
Gibbs, and went from thence and expounded at the

house of Captain F---le, at Hunbay, about two miles

distant. The company here also was large, attentive,
and affected. Our Lord gave me utterance. I ex-
pounded the first part of the eighth chapter of Jeremiah.
After lecture, Mr. Riddle, a counsellor, invited me to
his house; as did Mr. Paul, an aged Presbyterian min-
ister, to his pulpit; which I complied with upon con-
dition that the rumor was true, that the governor had


 


served the ministers with an injunction that I should
not preach in the churches.

“Sunday, March 27. Glory be to God! I hope,
this has been a profitable Sabbath to many souls; it
has been a pleasant one to mine. Both morning and
afternoon I preached to a large auditory, for the Ber-
mudas, in Mr. Paul's meeting-house, which I suppose
contains about four hundred. Abundance of negroes,
and many others, were in the porch, and about the
house. The word seemed to be clothed with a con-
vincing power, and to make its way into the hearts
of the hearers. Between sermons, I was entertained
very civilly in a neighboring house. Judge Bascom,
and three more of the council, came thither, and each
gave me an invitation to his house. How does the
Lord make way for a poor stranger in a strange land.
After the second sermon I dined with Mr. Paul; and
in the evening expounded to a very large company at
Councillor Riddle's. My body was somewhat weak;
but the Lord carried me through, and caused me to go
to rest rejoicing. May I thus go to my grave, when
my ceaseless and uninterrupted rest shall begin.

“Thursday, March 31. Dined on Tuesday at Colo-
nel Corbusier's, and on Wednesday at Colonel Gil-
bert's, both of the council; and found, by what I
could hear, that some good had been done, and many
prejudices removed. Who shall hinder, if God will
work? Went to an island this afternoon called
Ireland, upon which live a few families; and to my
surprise, found a great many gentlemen, and other
people, with my friend Mr. Holiday, who came from
different quarters to hear me. Before I began preach-


 


ing, I went round to see a most remarkable cave, which,
very much displayed the exquisite workmanship of
Him, who in ‘his strength setteth fast the mountains,
and is girded about with power.’ While I was in the
cave, quite unexpectedly I turned and saw Councillor
Riddle, who, with his son, came to hear me; and
while we were in the boat, told me that he had been
with the governor, who declared he had no personal
prejudice against me, and wondered I did not come to
town and preach there, for it was the desire of the
people; and that any house in the town, the court-
house not excepted, should be at my service. Thanks
be to God for so much favor. If his cause requires
it, I shall have more. He knows my heart; I value
the favor of man no farther than as it makes room for
the gospel, and gives me a larger scope to promote
the glory of God. There being no capacious house
upon the island, I preached for the first time here in
the open air. All heard very attentively; and it was
very pleasant, after sermon, to see so many boats full
of people returning from the worship of God. I talked
seriously to some in our own boat, and sung a psalm,
in which they readily joined.

“Sunday, April 3. Preached twice this day at
Mr. Paul's meeting-house, as on the last Sabbath, but
with greater freedom and power, especially in the
morning; and I think to as great, if not greater audi-
tories. Dined with Colonel Harvy, another of the
council; visited a sick woman, where many came to
hear; and expounded afterwards to a great company,
at Captain John Dorrel’s, Mrs. Dorrel's son, who with
his wife courteously entertained me, and desired me


 

to make his house my home. So true is that promise
of our Lord, that ‘whosoever leaves father or mother,
houses or lands, shall have in this life a hundred-fold
with persecution, and in the world to come, life ever-
lasting.’ Lord, I have experienced the one; in thy
good time grant that I may experience the other also.

“Wednesday, April 6. Preached yesterday at the
house of Mr. Anthony Smith, of Baylis Bay, with a
considerable degree of warmth; and rode afterwards
to St. George, the only town on the island. The
gentlemen of the town had sent me an invitation by
Judge Bascom; and he, with several others, came to
visit me at my lodgings; and informed me that the
governor desired to see me. About ten I waited upon
his excellency, who received me with great civility,
and told me he had no objection against my person or
my principles, having never yet heard me; and he
knew nothing with respect to my conduct in moral
life, that might prejudice him against me; but his
intentions were to let none preach in the island, un-
less he had a written license to preach somewhere in
America, or the West Indies; at the same time he
acknowledged that it was but a matter of mere form.
I informed his excellency that I had been regularly
inducted into the parish of Savannah; that I
was or-
dained priest by letters dismissory from my lord of
London, and was under no church censure from his
lordship; and would always read the church prayers,
if the clergy would give me the use of their churches.
I added farther, that a minister’s pulpit was always
looked upon as his freehold; and that I knew one
clergyman who had denied his own diocesan the use


 


of his pulpit. But I told his excellency I was satis-
fied with the liberty he allowed me, and would not
act contrary to his injunction. I then begged leave
to be dismissed, as I was obliged to preach at eleven
o’clock. His excellency said he intended to do him-
self the pleasure to hear me. At eleven, the church bell
rung. The church Bible, prayer-book, and cushion,
were sent to the town-house. The governor, several
of the council, the minister of the parish, and assem-
bly-men, with a great number of the town’s people,
assembled in great order. I was very sick, through
a cold I caught last night; but read the church pray-
ers. The first lesson was the fifteenth chapter of the
first book of Samuel. I preached on those words,
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation.’ Being weak and
faint, and afflicted much with the headache, I did not
do that justice to my subject which I sometimes am
enabled to do; but the Lord so helped me that, as I
found afterwards, the governor and the other gentle-
men expressed their approbation, and acknowledged
they did not expect to be so well entertained. Not
unto me, Lord, not unto me, but to thy free grace
be all the glory!

“After sermon, Dr. F---bs, and Mr. P---t, the

collector, came to me, and desired me to favor them
and the gentlemen of the town with my company at
dinner. I accepted the invitation. The governor,
and the president, and Judge Bascom were there.
All wondered at my speaking so freely and fluently
without notes. The governor asked whether I used
minutes. I answered, ‘No.’ He said it was a great
gift. At table, his excellency introduced something


 


of religion by asking me the meaning of the word
Hades. Several other things were started about free-
will, Adam’s fall, predestination, etc., to all which God
enabled me to answer so pertinently, and taught me
to mix the utile and duke [useful and pleasant] so to-
gether, that all at table seemed highly pleased, shook
me by the hand, and invited me to their respective
houses. The governor, in particular, asked me to

dine with him on the morrow; and Dr. F---, one

of his particular intimates, invited me to drink tea in
the afternoon. I thanked all, returned proper re-
spects, and went to my lodgings with some degree of
thankfulness for the assistance vouchsafed me, and
abased before God at the consideration of my un-
speakable unworthiness. In the afternoon, about five
o’clock, I expounded the parable of the prodigal son
to many people at a private house; and in the even-
ing had liberty to speak freely and closely to those
who supped with me. 0 that this may be the begin-
ning of good gospel times to the inhabitants of this
town.”

We might fill other pages from Whitefield’s jour-
nal, but will only give two more passages. The first
will show him in connection with the African race, in
whose highest welfare he always took a special
interest.

“Saturday, May 7. In my conversation these two
days with some of my friends, I was diverted much
in hearing several things that passed among the poor
negroes, since I preached to them last Sunday. One
of the women, it seems, said that ‘if the book I preach-
ed out of was the best book that was ever bought at


 

London, she was sure it had never all that in it which
I spoke to the negroes.’ The old man who spoke out
loud last Sunday, and said ‘yes’ when I asked them
whether all the negroes would not go to heaven, being
questioned by somebody why he spoke out so, answer-
ed, that ‘the gentleman put the question once or twice
to them, and the other fools had not the manners to
make any answer; till at last I seemed to point at
him, and he was ashamed that nobody should answer
me, and therefore he did.’ Another, wondering why
I said negroes had black hearts, was answered by his
black brother, ‘Ah, thou fool, dost not thou under-
stand it? He means black with sin.’  Two girls
were overheard by their mistress talking about relig-
ion, and they said ‘they knew, if they did not repent,
they must be damned.’ From all which I infer that
these negroes on the Bermudas are more awake than
I supposed; that their consciences are awake, and
consequently prepared in a good measure for hearing
the gospel preached to them.”

Whitefield sums up the events which had occurred
in connection with himself on the Bermudas, the
praise of which islands has also been celebrated by
the distinguished Bishop Berkeley, who resided there
for some time, and by Waller the poet.

“Sunday, May 22. Blessed be God, the little
leaven thrown into the three measures of meal begins
to ferment and work almost every day for the week
past. I have conversed with souls loaded with a
sense of their sins, and as far as I can judge, really
pricked to the heart. I preached only three times,
but to almost three times larger auditories than usual.

                                         13*


 

Indeed, the fields are white, ready to harvest. God
has been pleased to bless private visits. Go where I
will, upon the least notice, houses are crowded, and
the poor souls that follow are soon drenched in tears.
This day I took, as it were, another farewell. As the
ship did not sail, I preached at Somerset in the morn-
ing to a large congregation in the fields; and expound-
ed in the evening at Mr. Harvy’s house, around
which stood many hundreds of people. But in the
morning and evening how did the poor souls weep.
Abundance of prayers and blessings were put up for
my safe passage to England, and speedy return to the
Bermudas again. May they enter into the ears of the
Lord of sabaoth. With all humility and thankful-
ness of heart will I here, 0 Lord, set up my Ebenezer,
for hitherto surely hast thou helped me. Thanks be
to the Lord for sending me hither. I have been re-
ceived in a manner I dared not to expect, and have
met with little, very little opposition indeed. The
inhabitants seem to be plain and open-hearted. They
have loaded me with provisions for my sea-store; and
in the several parishes, by a private voluntary contri-
bution, have raised me upwards of one hundred pounds
sterling
. This will pay a little of Bethesda’s debt,
and enable me to make such a remittance to my dear
yoke-fellow, as may keep her from being embarrassed,
or too much beholden in my absence. Blessed be
God for bringing me out of my embarrassments by
degrees. May the Lord reward all my benefactors a
thousand-fold. I hear that what was given, was giv-
en heartily, and people only lamented that they could
do no more.”


 

 

Whitefield now transmitted to Georgia what had
been collected for the orphan-house; but fearing a
relapse, if he returned to the south during the hot
season, which was near commencing, and pressed also
again to visit England, he took his passage in a brig,
and in twenty-eight days arrived at Deal.

On his voyage, he completed an abridgment,
which he had previously begun, of “Law’s serious Call
to a devout and holy Life’’
which he endeavored to
make more useful by excluding whatever is not truly
evangelical, and illustrating the subject more fully,
especially from the holy Scriptures. He also wrote
letters to his friends, one of which strikingly illus-
trates his Christian humility. It bears date June 24,
1748. “Yesterday I made an end of revising all my
journals. Alas, alas, in how many things I have
judged and acted wrong. I have been too rash and
hasty in giving characters both of places and persons.
Being fond of Scripture language, I have used a style
too apostolical, and at the same time I have been too
bitter in my zeal. Wildfire has been mixed with it,
and I find that I frequently wrote and spoke in my
own spirit, when I thought I was writing and speak-
ing by the assistance of the Spirit of God. I have,
likewise, too much made inward impressions my rule
of acting, and too soon and too explicitly published
what had been better kept in longer, or told after my
death. By these things I have hurt the blessed cause
I would defend, and also stirred up a needless oppo-
sition. This has humbled me much, and made me
think of a saying of Mr. Henry, ‘Joseph had more
honesty than he had policy, or he never would have



 

told his dreams.’  At the same time, I cannot but
praise God, who fills me with so much of his holy fire,
and carried me, a poor weak youth, through such a
torrent, both of popularity and contempt, and set so
many seals to my unworthy ministrations. I bless
him for ripening my judgment a little more, for giving
me to see and confess, and I hope in some degree to
correct and amend some of my former mistakes.”

In the early part of this year, 1748, the “Gentle-
man's Magazine” had announced Whitefield’s death
as having taken place in America. One of his first
letters on his arrival at Deal in that year, says,
“Words cannot express how joyful my friends were
to see me once more in the land of the living, for I
find the newspapers had buried me ever since April
last. But it seems I am not to die, but live. 0 that
it may be to declare the works of the Lord.”


 


                   CHAPTER XI.

 

  LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND—CHAPLAIN
                      TO LADY HUNTINGDON.

                                  1748,1749.

 

 

On the evening of July 6, 1748, Whitefield again
found himself in London, after an absence of nearly
four years. Here he was welcomed with joy by many
thousands. The large church of St. Bartholomew was
at once thrown open to him, where multitudes flocked
to hear, and where on the first Sabbath he had a
thousand communicants. But in his own more imme-
diate circle many things were in an unhappy condi-
tion. His congregation at the Tabernacle had been
much scattered during his absence; Antinomianism
had made sad havoc among the people; and one of
this party threatened to rival him in Moorfields.
Whitefield sent him word, “The fields are no doubt
as free to you as to another. God send you a clear
head and a clean heart. I intend preaching there on
Sunday evening.” He did so; and found “Moor-
fields as white to harvest as ever.” Our evangelist
was again called to mourn the evils of poverty. He
found himself compelled to sell his household furni-
ture, to pay, in part, the debts of his orphan-house,
which were yet far from being cancelled; his aged
mother, for whom he always retained the highest
regard, also needed his aid. These and other trials
pressed him sorely; but on the other hand, he felt
happy in his work, and his congregation were soon
reunited, and happy in his labors.


 

 

We have seen that as early as 1738, Lady Hunt-
ingdon, with his lordship her husband, as frequently
as they could, heard Whitefield preach; since that
period his lordship had died, leaving her ladyship a
widow, in the thirty-ninth year of her age. At what
period she became more openly and intimately White-
field’s friend does not appear; but when he landed at
Deal from his third visit to America, she sent Howel
Harris to bring him to her house at Chelsea, where
he preached to large circles of the gay world, who
thronged this then fashionable watering-place. For
the benefit of this class of hearers, she soon after
removed to London, at that time some three miles
distant from Chelsea, appointed Whitefield her chap-
lain, and during the winter of 1748 and ’49, opened
her splendid mansion in Park-street for the preaching
of the gospel. “Good Lady Huntingdon,” he writes,
“has come to town, and I am to preach twice a week
at her house to the great and noble. 0 that some of
them might be effectually called to taste the riches of
redeeming love.” On the first day appointed, Ches-
terfield and Bolingbroke, both of them well-known
for their gayety and infidelity, and a circle of the
nobility, attended; and having heard him once, they
desired to come again. “Lord Chesterfield thanked
me,” he says. “Lord Bolingbroke was moved, and
asked me to come and see him the next morning. My
hands have been full of work, and I have been among
great company. All accepted my sermons. Thus the
world turns round. ‘In all time of my wealth, good
Lord
, deliver me?’”

The death-bed of Lord St. John Bolingbroke,


 

whom we have already mentioned as one of his parlor-
hearers, exhibited scenes unusual in the circle where
he moved. The Bible was read to him, and his cry
was, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” “My Lord
Bolingbroke," wrote Lady Huntingdon to Whitefield,
“was much struck with his brother's language in his
last moments. 0 that his eyes might be opened by
the illuminating influence of divine truth. He is a
singularly awful character; and I am fearfully alarm-
ed, lest the gospel which he so heartily despises, yet
affects to reverence, should prove the savor of death
unto death to him. Some, I trust, are savingly awak-
ened, while many are inquiring; thus the great Lord
of the harvest hath put honor on your ministry, and
hath given my heart an encouraging token of the util-
ity of our feeble efforts."

It is related that the Rev. Mr. Church, a clergy-
man who died curate of Battersea, near London, one
day called on Bolingbroke, who said to him, “You
have caught me reading John Calvin; he was indeed
a man of great parts, profound sense, and vast learn-
ing; he handles the doctrines of grace in a very mas-
terly manner." “Doctrines of grace," replied the
clergyman; “the doctrines of grace have set all man-
kind by the ears." “I am surprised to hear you say
so," answered Lord Bolingbroke, “you who profess to
believe and to preach Christianity. Those doctrines
are certainly the doctrines of the Bible, and if I be-
lieve the Bible I must believe them. And let me seri-
ously tell you, that the greatest miracle in the world
is the subsistence of Christianity, and its continued
preservation, as a religion, when the preaching of it



 

is committed to the care of such unchristian men as
you.”

At this period Whitefield renewed his acquaint-
ance with the Rev. James Hervey, who has not im-
properly been called the Melancthon of the second
reformation in England. Among all the converts of
our evangelist, no one was more distinguished for piety,
or for his fascination as a writer, than this admirable
clergyman. His writings, though too flowery in their
style, were eminently suitable, as Whitefield himself
says, “for the taste of the polite world.” Hervey
wrote to Whitefield, “Tour journals and sermons, and
especially that sweet sermon on ‘What think ye of
Christ,’ were a means of bringing me to the know-
ledge of the truth.” Whitefield felt the warmest
attachment to Hervey in return, and when he intro-
duced some of his works into America, wrote, “The
author is my old friend a most heavenly-minded
creature; one of the first Methodists, who is contented
with a small cure, and gives all he has to the poor.
We correspond with, though we cannot see each
other.” Whitefield intimated in one of his journals
his intention of sketching Hervey’s character, but this
was one of the many intended things which were
never accomplished. Dr. Doddridge wrote a preface
to one of his works, which Warburton, as might be
expected, called “a weak rhapsody.”

Under the auspices of Lady Huntingdon, a prayer-
meeting was established for the women who, from the
circles of rank and fashion, became the followers of
the Lord. Among these were Lady Frances Gardiner,
Lady Mary Hamilton, daughter of the Marquis of


 

 

Lothian, who had attended the ministry of Whitefield
in Scotland, Lady Gertrude Hotham and Countess
Delitz, sisters of Lady Chesterfield, Lady Chesterfield
herself, and Lady Fanny Shirley. “Religion,” says
Lady Huntingdon, when writing to Doddridge, “was
never so much the subject of conversation as now.
Some of the great ones hear with me the gospel pa-
tiently, and thus much seed is sown by Mr. White-
field’s preaching. 0 that it may fall on good ground,
and bring forth abundantly.”

Someone, we believe a bishop, complained to
George II. of the popularity and success of White-
field, and entreated his majesty in some way or other
to silence him. The monarch, thinking, no doubt, of
the class described by the martyr Latimer, as “un-
preaching prelates,” replied with jocose severity, “I
believe the best way will be to make a bishop of
him.”

But if Whitefield was honored by some of the
great, he received from others unmingled hostility.
Horace Walpole, the gay man, and the corrupt cour-
tier, thought it worthwhile to introduce the Methodist
preacher into his “Private Correspondence.” The
statement he makes of professed facts is altogether
incredible, but shows unmistakably the spirit of the
writer. “The apostle Whitefield is come to some
shame. He went to Lady Huntingdon lately, and
asked for forty pounds for some distressed saint or
other. She said she had not so much money in the
house, but would give it him the first time she had.
He was very pressing, but in vain. At last he said,
‘There’s your watch and trinkets, you don’t want



 

such vanities; I will have that.’ She would have put
him off; but he persisting, she said, ‘Well, if you must
have it, you must.’ About a fortnight afterwards,
going to his house, and being carried into his wife’s
chamber, among the paraphernalia of the latter the
countess found her own offering.  This has made a
terrible schism; she tells the story herself. I had
not it from Saint Frances, [Lady Fanny Shirley,] but
I hope it is true.” Everything goes to prove the
sincerity of his hope, though founded on falsehood.

It has generally happened that the most effective
public speakers, whether secular or sacred, have been
accused by a fastidious class with vulgarisms. So with
Cicero, Burke, and Chathamso with Patrick Henry
and Daniel Webster; and to turn to eminent preach-
ers, so with Luther, Latimer, and Whitefield. The
reason was, that intent on the greatest good to the
greatest number, they used what Dr. Johnson, after
Daniel Burgess, called “market language.” Dr. Will-
iam Bates, an accomplished and courtly non-conform-
ist minister, in the seventeenth century, once com-
plained in the presence of his faithful but unpolished
friend Daniel Burgess, that he found very little suc-
cess in his work as a minister; when his aged brother
smartly replied, “Thank your velvet mouth for that—
too fine to speak market language.” Whitefield, very
happily for thousands, had no squeamishness of this
sort.

Some ladies called one Saturday morning to pay a
visit to Lady Huntingdon, and during the interview,
her ladyship inquired of them if they had ever heard
Mr. Whitefield preach. On being answered in the


 


negative, she said, “ I wish you would hear him; he
is to preach to-morrow evening.” They promised her
ladyship they would certainly attend. They fulfilled
their promise; and when they called on her ladyship
the next Monday morning, she anxiously inquired if
they had heard Mr. Whitefield on the previous even-
ing, and how they liked him. The reply was, “Oh,
my lady, of all the preachers we ever heard, he is the
most strange and unaccountable! Among other pre-
posterous things, would your ladyship believe it, he
declared that Jesus Christ was so willing to receive
sinners, that he did not object to receive even the
devil's castaways!  Now, my lady, did you ever hear
of such a thing since you were born?” Her ladyship,
in reply, said, “There is something, I acknowledge, a
little singular in the invitation, and I do not recollect
to have met with it before; but as Mr. Whitefield is
below in the parlor, we will have him up, and let him
answer for himself.”

On Mr. Whitefield's entering the drawing-room,
Lady Huntingdon said, “Sir, these ladies have been
preferring a very heavy charge against you, and I
thought it best that you should come up and defend
yourself. They say, that in your sermon last evening,
in speaking of the willingness of Jesus Christ to re-
ceive sinners, you said, that ‘so ready was Christ to
receive sinners who came to him, that he was willing
to receive even the devil's castaways.' ” Mr. White-
field immediately replied, “I certainly, my lady, must
plead guilty to the charge; whether I did what was
right, or otherwise, your ladyship shall judge when
you have heard a fact. Did your ladyship notice,



 

about half an hour ago, a very modest single rap at
the door? It was given by a poor, miserable looking
aged female, who requested to speak with me. I de-
sired that she might be shown into the parlor, when
she thus addressed me: ‘I believe, sir, you preached
last evening at such a chapel.’  ‘Yes, I did.’  ‘Ah,
sir, I was accidentally passing the door of that chapel,
and hearing the voice of someone preaching, I did
what I have never been in the habit of doing—I went
in; and one of the first things I heard you say, was,
that Jesus Christ was so willing to receive sinners,
that he did not object to receive the devils castaways.
Do you think, sir, that Jesus Christ would receive me?’
I answered her that there was not a doubt of it, if she
was but willing to go to him.

It is pleasant to add, that the impression conveyed
in the singular language of Mr. Whitefield ended in
the conversion of the poor woman to God. She gave
satisfactory evidence that her great and numerous sins
had been forgiven through the atonement of the Lord
Jesus Christ. Was Mr. Whitefield to be censured for
the use of this language?

In September, 1748, Mr. Whitefield made his third
visit to Scotland, where he met with a cordial wel-
come, and where his labors became increasingly val-
ued. Some of the clergy at Glasgow, Perth, and
Edinburgh used their influence to exclude him from
the pulpits, but the majority voted in his favor; and
a full examination vindicated his character, and made
his excellences more generally known. All the min-
isters who were disposed to invite him to preach, were
at liberty to do so, except in the presbytery of Edin-


 


burgh; here, however, he was accommodated by the
magistrates with a church to preach in whenever he
visited the city. In Scotland he now warmly advo-
cated the cause of the college in New Jersey: of the
results of his labors we shall hear more hereafter.

On his return to London, Whitefield resumed his
preaching at Lady Huntingdon’s to “the great ones,”
as he calls them. Thirty, and sometimes even sixty
persons of rank attended, although the newspapers
gave false and degrading accounts of the reception he
met with in Scotland. He now availed himself of the
influence he possessed, to forward his intended college,
in addition to his orphan-house, for which his plea
was, “If some such thing be not done, I cannot see
how the southern parts will be provided with minis-
ters for all are afraid to go over.” On this ground
he appealed to the trustees of Georgia; reminding
them that he had expended five thousand pounds upon
the orphan-house; begging them to relieve it, as a
charitable institution, from all quit-rent and taxes;
and especially to allow him the labor of blacks in cul-
tivating the farm. “White hands,” he said, “had left
his tract of land uncultivated.”

It will not be expected that Whitefield could stay
long, even in the courtly circles of London, where he
met with so much acceptance. We very soon find him
among his old friends at Gloucester and Bristol. The
bishop of the latter see, he says, behaved very respect-
fully to him; he visited also his old tutor, now be-
come one of the prebendaries, and met with the old
kindness received at Oxford. “I told him, that my
judgment, as I trust, was a little more ripened than it


 


was some years ago; and that as fast as I found out
my faults, I should he glad to acknowledge them.
He said the offence of the governors of the church
would wear off as I grew moderate.” The evangelist
did not tell the doctor how little he cared for such
moderation as the governors of the church in that day
required; but he wrote to Lady Huntingdon, on the
subject of their favor, “I am pretty easy about that.
If I can but act an honest part, and be kept from
trimming
, I leave all consequences to Him who orders
all things well.” During this journey, many new con-
verts were won. One of these was a counsellor, who
was so much affected, that his zeal in inviting others
to hear Whitefield led his wife to suspect him of
madness.

An interesting fact connected with Gloucester-
shire, his native county, may be introduced in this
place, though we are not sure that it occurred during
this journey. John Skinner of Houndscroft was a
strolling fiddler, going from fair to fair, supplying
music to any party that would hire him. Having
determined to interrupt Mr. Whitefield while preach-
ing, he obtained a standing on a ladder raised to a
window near the pulpit. Here he remained a quiet,
if not an attentive hearer, till the text was read, when
he intended to begin his annoying exercise on the vio-
lin. It pleased God, however, while he was putting
his instrument in tune, to convey the word preached
with irresistible power to his soul; his attention was
diverted from his original purpose, he heard the whole
sermon, and became a new man.

Happily Whitefield was blessed in bringing to


 

Christ many who were made eminently useful. Among
others we might mention the late Rev. Cornelius
Winter, an eminent minister, who afterwards accom-
panied our evangelist in his last voyage to America,
and who after his death conveyed his will to Eng-
land, and sought ordination to return and labor in
Georgia. Disappointed in this, he became an able
and successful minister in England; and also trained
several young men for the Christian ministry, in-
cluding the late celebrated William Jay of Bath.
Whitefield had often been heard by Winter with
great pleasure, for he admired his eloquence; but for
some time no good effects were apparent. One night,
while playing at cards, an amusement in which he
much delighted, and though surrounded by a number
of gay companions, the thought presented itself to
Winter’s mind that he might that evening hear his
favorite preacher. He broke off from play in the
midst of the game, which made his companions, very
angry, as they suspected where he was going. He
tells us that it was a night much to be remembered.
He had reason to hope the scales of ignorance were
then removed from his eyes, he had a sense of his
misery as a sinner, and was led to earnest inquiry
after the way of salvation. It is scarcely necessary
to say, that he never again played at cards.

From the exhilarating scenes of Gloucestershire
and Bristol, we must accompany Whitefield into Corn-
wall, among the glens and dales of which, or on
the seaside to a somewhat similar population and
with almost equal success, he spoke “all the words of
this life.” The robust and determined miners of the


 

west of England, whose very employment gives hardi-
hood alike to their character and frame, at first re-
ceived him in somewhat rough and unpolished style,
but were soon after melted and transformed by the
grace which had displayed its triumphs among their
brethren at Kingswood. “I am just returned,” he
writes on one occasion, “from near the Land’s End,
where thousands and thousands heard the gospel glad-
ly. Everywhere the word of God has run and been
glorified. Every day I have been travelling and
preaching; and could I stay a month, it might be
spent to great advantage. At a place called Port
Isaac, the Redeemer’s stately steps were indeed seen.
At Camelford I preached with great quietness in the
streets. At St. Ann’s we had a very powerful season,
and yesterday at Redruth several thousands attended,
and the word was quick and powerful.” Again he
writes, “Immediately after writing my last, I preach-
ed to many thousands at a place called Gwennap.
The rain descended, but the grace of God seemed to
fall like a gentle dew, sprinkling rain upon our souls.
It was indeed a fine spring shower. In the evening
I rode to St. Ives, and preached to many who gladly
attended to hear the word; a great power seemed to
accompany it. On the Lord’s day I preached twice
to great auditories. On Monday I preached again at
Redruth, at ten in the morning, to nearly, as they
were computed, ten thousand souls. Arrows of con-
viction seemed to fly fast.” Again, in a communica-
tion to the Countess of Huntingdon, he says, “I have
been very near the Land7s End, and everywhere souls
have fled to hear the word preached, ‘like doves to


 


their windows.’ The harvest is great, yea, very great,
but laborers are few. 0 that the Lord of the harvest
would thrust out more laborers.”  And yet again he
says, “Invitations are sent to me from Falmouth and
several other places, but I cannot attend to them all
at present. I want more tongues, more bodies, more
souls, for the Lord Jesus. Had I ten thousand, he
should have them all.”  Such was the noble spirit he
displayed, and such were the manner and fruits of his
“entering in among” the, at that time, benighted chil-
dren of Cornwall. A great light shone upon them.
They came from the caverns of the earth to welcome
its rising, and to look upon its brightness. Thousands
of them were indeed “brought out of darkness into
marvellous light,” and turned by it from sin to holi-
ness, and from Satan to God; and thousands are still
rejoicing in its beams.

On his return to London, Whitefield found his
assemblies at the countess’s “brilliant indeed,” and
Lord Bolingbroke still one among them. Of this tal-
ented nobleman our evangelist at this time indulged
a happy hope, which, alas, seems never to have been
realized.

In February, 1749, Whitefield made an excursion
to Exeter and Plymouth, where he was agreeably sur-
prised to find a great alteration had taken place since
his preceding visit, five years before. He loved to
“range,” as he called it, “after precious souls,” and
happily for him and for others he found them. Dur-
ing this and subsequent visits to Plymouth, he resided
with the Rev. Andrew Kinsman, an excellent Congre-
gational minister, of whom we have already spoken.

                 Whitefield.       14


 

 

 

He was born in Devonshire in 1724, and was there-
fore ten years younger than Whitefield. While pecul-
iarly amiable in his manners, and remarkable for his
regard to his parents, he was unacquainted with the
religion of the heart till his seventeenth year, when he
met with a volume of Mr. Whitefield’s sermons, and
one of those on the new birth alarmed him. His
pious friends were few, but his religious feelings were
deeply moved, and God at length gave him “the oil
of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness.” Concerned for the highest inter-
ests of his relatives, he one night, as the family were
retiring to rest, broke out, with intense emotion, “What,
shall we go to bed without prayer? How do we know
but some of us may awake in hell before morning?”
This unexpected address struck the family with solemn
awe; and while they looked at each other with con-
scious shame, for the neglect of so clear a duty, he
fell upon his knees and prayed with so much readi-
ness and fervor that it excited their astonishment.

As might be expected, his concern for others did
not stop here; he was anxious that his neighbors
might also find “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
He began, therefore, to read Whitefield’s sermons to
as many as would attend, supposing, with Melancthon,
that what had proved so great a blessing to himself,
would not fail of similar effects on others, as soon as
they were heard. After a short time, he began him-
self to expound and preach, and was encouraged by
many conversions under his ministry, including those
of his father, mother, and three sisters. Not long
after these events, Whitefield, in entering on one of


 


his voyages to America, had "been compelled to stay
at Plymouth, where Kinsman first saw and heard him.
By a series of remarkable events, Mr. Kinsman was
brought to settle as a minister at Plymouth, where
the “Tabernacle” was erected on ground given by
himself, and the congregation were served by him and
other ministers with abundant success. In the whole
neighborhood an extraordinary blessing attended his
labors, and his usefulness and deliverances from dan-
ger were only second to those of Whitefield himself.
Nor was he less respected, nor his ministry attended
with less success, at Bristol and London—cities to
which he was invited by Whitefield; who used to
call Bristol “Kinsman’s America,” alluding to his own
reception and success in the western world.

On one occasion, when Whitefield was about to
sail for America, he sent for Kinsman to London, and
on his arrival dined with his distinguished friend at
the Tabernacle house. After dinner there was a vio-
lent storm of thunder and lightning. As they stood at
the window looking out on the raging elements, Mr.
Kinsman, supposing a young clergyman who had dined
with them, and who now stood by his side, to be a
pious man, familiarly put his hand on his shoulder,
and with great cheerfulness and energy repeated the
lines of Dr. Watts:

“The God who rules on high,

And thunders when he please;

Who rides upon the stormy sky,

And manages the seas—

This awful God is ours,

Our Father, and our love!”


 

 

The words so appropriately introduced, and so
emphatically spoken, made a deep impression on the
mind of the young clergyman, and gave rise to a con-
versation which, by the blessing of God, led to his
conversion.

At the Tabernacle in London, the ministry of Mr.
Kinsman was greatly distinguished for its excellence
and success, and he thought himself highly honored in
preaching the first sermon delivered from the pulpit
of the present Tabernacle. His musical voice, his
lively and pathetic address, and the richness of the
evangelical truths he proclaimed, brought numbers of
all classes of society to hear him. Among them was
Shuter, the comedian, to whom we shall again refer
as a hearer of Whitefield, and who years afterwards,
in an interview with Kinsman, drew a striking con-
trast between their professions, and bitterly lamented
that he had not cordially embraced religion, when his
conscience was impressed under the preaching of the
great evangelist.

But we must not stay longer to speak of Kinsman;
suffice it to say that he founded, in addition to Plym-
outh, a new church three miles from thence, at a place
now called Devonport, and labored with energy and
holy success till the sixty-ninth year of his age, when he
died in triumph, February 28, 1798. Of such a man
it was truly said, that for Whitefield “he retained the
most filial affection to his dying day; and frequently
travelled with, and consulted him as a father upon all
his religious concerns.”

In March Whitefield returned to London, where
the feeble state of his health made him feel weary



 

even in his success. He says, “I have seen enough of
popularity to be sick of it, and did not the interest of
my blessed Master require my appearing in public,
the world should hear but little of me henceforward.”

Yet his zeal abated not. “I dread the thoughts of
flagging in the latter stages of my road,” is an expres-
sion often used, in his letters to his friends. He
thought that preaching and travelling contributed to
his health. In a letter to Hervey, he says, “Fear not
your weak body, we are immortal till our work is
done. Christ’s laborers must live by miracle; if not,
I must not live at all, for God only knows what I
daily endure. My continual vomitings almost kill
me, and yet the pulpit is my cure; so that my friends
begin to pity me less, and to leave off that ungrateful
caution, ’Spare thyself.’  I speak this to encourage
you.”

All this Whitefield meant. Hence in May we find
him preaching at Portsmouth daily, for more than a
week, to very large and attentive auditories; where
was shown another remarkable instance of the power
which attended his preaching, for many who a few
days before were speaking all manner of evil against
him, were very desirous of his longer stay to preach
the gospel among them. From Bristol, June 24, he
writes, “Yesterday God brought me here, after a cir-
cuit of about eight hundred miles, and enabled me to
preach to, I suppose, upwards of a hundred thousand
souls. I have been in eight Welsh counties, and I
think we have not had one dry meeting. The work
in Wales is much upon the advance, and likely to
increase daily.”


 

Whitefield returned to London to welcome his
wife home from the Bermuda Islands. From her he
learned that there his character had been aspersed by
one of the clergy; but while he grieved over the fact,
he said, “I am content to wait till the day of judgment
for the clearing up of my character; and after I am
dead, I desire no other epitaph than this, ‘Here lies
George Whitefield. What sort of a man he was, the
great day will discover.”

In the midst of his sorrows, Whitefield was com-
forted by a visit from two German ministers, who had
been laboring among the Jews with apparently happy
results. He found also several of the peeresses, and
others of “the great,” cordially disposed to receive
him; and shortly afterwards was visited by Mr. Grim-
shaw, a clergyman from Yorkshire, for whom in Sep-
tember he went to preach. Thousands in the village of
Haworth attended his preaching, even ten thousand at
a time, and a thousand communicants approached the
table of the Lord. At Leeds also he preached, at the
invitation of Mr. Wesley’s people, to ten thousand
persons, and Mr. Charles Wesley himself introduced
him to the pulpit at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

In the north of England the visits of Mr. White-
field were always looked for with intense interest. In
one of his letters, he thus describes the state of things
there in August, 1756:  “It is now a fortnight since I
came to Leeds, in and about which I preached eight
days successively, three times almost every day, to
thronged and affected auditories. On Sunday last at
Bradford, in the morning, the audience consisted of
above ten thousand; at noon, and in the evening, at


 

Birstal, of nearly double that number. Though hoarse,
I was able to speak so that they all heard.” These
hallowed services were often spoken of by the late
Rev. Dr. John Fawcett, for more than half a century
an eminent Baptist minister of that neighborhood, to
whose soul they proved a rich blessing. After hav-
ing heard Whitefield at Bradford in the morning, he
followed him to Birstal, where a platform was erected
at the foot of a hill adjoining the town, whence Mr.
Whitefield addressed an immense concourse of people,
not fewer, it was believed, than twenty thousand, who
were ranged before him on the declivity in the form
of an amphitheatre. “I lay,” says Fawcett, “under
the scaffold, and it appeared as if all his words were
addressed to me, and as if he had known my most
secret thoughts from ten years of age. As long as
life remains, I shall remember both the text and the
sermon.” Accustomed as he was to preach to large
and promiscuous multitudes, when he looked on this
vast assemblage, and was about to mount the tempo-
rary stage, he expressed to his surrounding friends a
considerable feeling of timidity; but when he began
to speak, an unusual solemnity pervaded the assembly,
and thousands, in the course of the sermon, as was
often the fact, gave vent to their emotions by tears
and groans. Fools who came to mock, began to pray,
and to cry out, “What must we do to be saved?”

Mr. Shirley, in giving an account of this same ser-
vice tells us that “not only the field, but the wood-
lands about it, were covered with crowds collected
from different parts. An unusual solemnity pervaded
this vast multitude, and at the close of the service the



 

one hundredth psalm was sung, and concluded with
Mr. Grimshaw’s favorite doxology,

“‘Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.’

The volume of sound produced by the united voices
of thousands, while if reechoed through the vale be-
low, had such an effect as no language can describe.”

Mr. Grimshaw was a very remarkable clergyman
connected with the church of England, though found
fault with on account of his irregularity. He studied
at Cambridge for the ministry before he was acquaint-
ed with the reality of true religion. His conversion
was very striking; after which he became a remarka-
bly faithful and pungent preacher. He settled at
Haworth, in Yorkshire, where Mr. Whitefield visited
him.

In one of the services held by Mr. Whitefield in
Yorkshire, a deep solemnity was created by providen-
tial circumstances. He had mounted the temporary
scaffold to address the thousands before him. Cast-
ing a look over the multitude, he elevated his hands,
and in an energetic manner implored the divine pres-
ence and blessing. With a solemnity peculiarly his
own, he then announced his text, “It is appointed
unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Heb. 11:27. After a short pause, as he was about
to proceed, a wild, terrifying shriek issued from the
centre of the congregation. A momentary alarm and
confusion ensued. Mr. Whitefield waited to ascertain
the cause, and requested the people to remain still.
Mr. Grimshaw hurried to the spot, and in a few min-
utes was seen pressing towards the place where Mr.


 

Whitefield stood. “Brother Whitefield,” said he,
manifesting in the strongest manner the intensity of
his feelings, and the ardor of his concern for the sal-
vation of sinners, “you stand among the dead and the
dying. An immortal soul has been called into eter-
nity; the destroying angel is passing over the con-
gregation; cry aloud, and spare not.” The awful
occurrence was speedily announced to the congrega-
tion. After the lapse of a few moments, Mr. White-
field again announced his text. Again a loud and
piercing shriek proceeded from the spot near where
Lady Huntingdon and Lady Margaret Ingham were
standing!  A thrill of horror seemed to escape from
the multitude when it was understood that a second
person, had fallen a victim to the king of terrors.
When the consternation had somewhat subsided, Mr.
Whitefield gave indications of proceeding with the
service. The excited feelings of many were wound up
to their highest point. All was hushed; not a sound
was to be heard; and a stillness like the awful silence
of death spread over the assembly, as he proceeded in
melting strains to warn the careless, Christless sinner
to “flee from the wrath to come.”

As winter was now approaching, Whitefield felt it
important to return to the metropolis. During the
tour he had made, he won to Christ not a few of those
who afterwards laid the foundations of churches now
flourishing in the counties of Lancaster, York, and
Northumberland. He met, however, with so much
“rude treatment here and there, as sent him home
praying, ‘Lord, give me a pilgrim heart for my pil-
grim life.’” He was now in “winter quarters,”  but
                                 14*



 

was neither idle nor useless. To use his own words,
“The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, and the
shout of a king was in the camp,” and that from week
to week. “Thousands, thousands crowded to hear.”

Every day also he heard of instances of conversion.
One of these pleased him greatly. It was that of a
boatswain, who, before hearing him, knew no more
about divine truth, “than the whistle he blew on
board.”  He mentions also a boy eleven years of age,
a woman of eighty, and a baker, who had been “a
Jerusalem sinner,” all of whom bowed before the
cross, and placed their hopes of salvation on Him
who died thereon.


 

 

 


                CHAPTER XII.

 

LABORS IN GREAT BRITAIN-FOURTH VISIT TO
AMERICA—NEW TABERNACLE IN LONDON, AND
TABERNACLE AT BRISTOL.

                              1750-1754.

 

At the beginning of the year 1750, Whitefield was
still in London. At this time his intended college at
Bethesda occupied much of his attention. He wrote
to his friends in every quarter for help. His usual
appeal was, “We propose having an academy or col-
lege at the orphan-house. The house is large, and
will hold a hundred. My heart
, I trust, is larger, and
will hold ten thousand.” Though in London, his
heart was in America. He says, “Ranging seems my
province; and methinks I hear a voice behind me say-
ing, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ My heart echoes
back, ‘Lord, let thy presence go with me, and then
send me where thou pleasest.’ In the midst of all,
America, dear America, is not forgotten. I begin to
count the days, and to say to the months, ‘Fly fast
away, that I may spread the gospel-net once more in
dear America.’ ”

Be it here mentioned, that amid the busy scenes
of his life, and while surrounded with the flatteries of
the great and noble, Whitefield did not forget the
duties he owed to his mother. A person whom he had
employed to obtain some comforts for her, had neg-
lected the duty, so that the now aged matron might


 

 

have felt a week’s anxiety. He wrote to her, “I
should never forgive myself, was I, by negligence or
any wrong conduct, to give you a moment’s needless
pain. Alas, how little have I done for you. Christ’s
care for his mother excites me to wish I could do any-
thing for you. If you would have anything more
brought, pray write, honored mother. * * * To-

morrow it will be thirty-five years since you brought
unworthy me into the world.  O that my head were
waters, and mine eyes fountains of tears, that I might
bewail my barrenness and unfruitfulness in the church
of God.”

While he was now fully engaged in preaching, and
was surrounded with flatteries, he did not forget his
duty to conflict with sin. He writes, “I find a love
of power sometimes intoxicates even God’s dear chil-
dren. It is much easier for me to obey than govern.
This makes me fly from that which, at our first setting
out, we are apt to court. I cannot well buy humility
at too dear a rate.”

Dr. Philip Doddridge, as every reader knows, was
one of the most pious and accomplished preachers and
writers of the Non-conformists of England in his day.
Nor was his missionary zeal small in its degree.
Though he died as early as 1751, he had said, “I am
now intent on having something done among the dis-
senters, in a more public manner, for propagating the
gospel abroad, which lies near my heart. I wish to
live to see this design brought into execution, at least
into some forwardness, and then I should die the more
cheerfully.” It was indeed the passion of his life to
promote the interests of evangelical truth, and save


 


the souls of men. And though, as his recent eulogist,
the Rev. John  Stoughton, has said, condemned by
some, and suspected by others for so doing, he took a
deep and sympathetic interest in the evangelical la-
bors of Whitefield. It seems strange in our day to
think of Whitefield being regarded as an enthusiast
by orthodox dissenters. Yet there were those who
did thus regard him. Bradbury poured on him streams
of wit; Barker regarded his sermons as low and
coarse; and another in writing calls him “ honest,
crazy, confident Mr. Whitefield.” But Doddridge
regarded him as far otherwise, and spoke of him as
“a flaming servant of Christ.” He prayed on one
occasion at the Tabernacle, but Dr. Watts was much
grieved by it; and when, on Whitefield’s visiting
Northampton, Doddridge gave him the use of his
pulpit, the managers of the college of which he was
president remonstrated with him for so doing.

The visit of Whitefield to Doddridge was in Feb-
ruary, 1750, where he met with the Rev. Dr. Sir James
Stonehouse, and the Rev. Messrs. Hartley and Hervey.
The latter eminent clergyman thus writes: “I have
lately seen that most excellent minister of the ever-
blessed Jesus, Mr. Whitefield. I dined, supped, and
spent the evening with him at Northampton, in com-
pany with Dr. Doddridge, and two pious, ingenious
clergyman of the church of England, both of them
known to the learned world by their valuable writ-
ings. And surely I never spent a more delightful
evening, or saw one that seemed to make nearer
approaches to the felicity of heaven. A gentleman of
great worth and rank in the town invited us to his


 


house, and gave us an elegant treat; but how mean
was his provision, how coarse his delicacies, compared
with the fruit of my friend’s lips: they dropped as
honey from the honey-comb, and were a well of life.
Surely people do not know that amiable and exem-
plary man, or else, I cannot but think, instead of
depreciating, they would applaud and love him. For
my part, I never beheld so fair a copy of our Lord,
such a living image of the Saviour, such exalted de-
light in God, such enlarged benevolence to man, such
a steady faith in the divine promises, and such a fer-
vent zeal for the divine glory; and all this without
the least moroseness of humor, or extravagance of
behavior, sweetened with the most engaging cheerful-
ness of temper, and regulated by all the sobriety of
reason and wisdom of Scripture; insomuch that I
cannot forbear applying the wise man’s encomium of
an illustrious woman to this eminent minister of the
everlasting gospel:  ‘Many sons have done virtuously,
but thou, excellest them all.’”

In the month of March, 1750, a general alarm had
been awakened by earthquakes in London, and fears
were excited by pretended prophecies of still greater
devastation. These signal judgments of Jehovah
were preceded by great profligacy of manners, and its
fruitful parent, licentiousness of principle. Dr. Horne,
afterwards dean of Canterbury and bishop of Bristol,
in a sermon preached at the time, says, “As to faith,
is not the doctrine of the Trinity, and that of the divin-
ity of our Lord and Saviour—without which our re-
demption is absolutely void, and we are yet in our
sins, lying under the intolerable burden of the wrath


EARTHQUAKE IN LONDON.              327

 

of God—blasphemed and ridiculed openly in conver-
sation and in print? And as to righteousness of life,
are not the people of this land dead in trespasses and
sins? Idleness, drunkenness, luxury, extravagance,
and debauchery; for these things cometh the wrath
of God, and disordered nature proclaims the impend-
ing distress and perplexity of nations. And Oh, may
we of this nation never read a handwriting upon the
wall of heaven, in illuminated capitals of the Almigh-
ty,
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin—God hath num-
bered the kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weigh-
ed in the balances of heaven, and found wanting the
merits of a rejected Redeemer, and therefore the king-
dom is divided and given away.”

The shocks felt in London in February and March
of this year, were far more violent than any remem-
bered for a long series of years. The earth moved
throughout the whole cities of London and West-
minster. It was a strong and jarring motion, attend-
ed with a rumbling noise like that of thunder. Multi-
tudes of persons of every class fled from these cities
with the utmost haste, and others repaired to the
fields and open places in the neighborhood. Tower-
hill, Moorfields, and Hyde Park were crowded with
men, women, and children, who remained a whole
night under the most fearful apprehensions. Places
of worship were filled with persons in the utmost
state of alarm. Especially was this the case with
those attached to Methodist congregations, where
multitudes came all night, knocking at the doors, and
for God’s sake begging admittance. As convulsions
of nature are usually regarded by enthusiasts and


 


 

fanatics as the sure harbinger of its dissolution, a
soldier “had a revelation,” that a great part of Lon-
don and Westminster would be destroyed by an earth-
quake on a certain night, between the hours of twelve
and one o’clock. Believing his assertion, thousands
fled from the city for fear of being suddenly over-
whelmed, and repaired to the fields, where they con-
tinued all night, in momentary expectation of seeing
the prophecy fulfilled; while thousands of others ran
about the streets in the most wild and frantic state
of consternation, apparently quite certain that the
day of judgment was about to commence. The whole
scene was truly awful.

Under these circumstances, the ministers of Christ
preached almost incessantly, and many were awakened
to a sense of their awful condition before God, and to
rest their hopes of eternal salvation on the Rock of
ages. Mr. Whitefield, animated with that burning
charity which shone so conspicuously in him, ventured
out at midnight to Hyde Park, where he proclaimed
to the affrighted and astonished multitudes that there
is a Saviour, Christ the Lord. The darkness of the
night, and the awful apprehensions of an approaching
earthquake, added much to the solemnity of the scene.
The sermon was truly sublime, and to the ungodly
sinner, the self-righteous pharisee, and the artful hyp-
ocrite, strikingly terrific. With a pathos which show-
ed the fervor of his soul, and with a grand majestic
voice that commanded attention, he took occasion from
the circumstances of the assembly, to call their atten-
tion to that most important event in which everyone
will be interested, the final consummation of all things,


 


the universal wreck of nature, the dissolution of earth,
and the eternal sentence of every son and daughter of
Adam. The whole scene was one of a most memora-
ble character. Mr. Charles Wesley, Mr. Romaine,
and others preached in a similar manner, and with
like happy results.

At this period, Whitefield and his female friends
especially, were the subjects of royal attention at the
court of George the Second. It is said that on one
occasion Lady Chesterfield appeared in a dress “with
a brown ground and silver flowers,” of foreign manu-
facture. The king, smiling significantly, said to her
aloud, “I know who chose that gown for you—Mr.
Whitefield; I hear you have attended on him for a
year and a half.” Her ladyship acknowledged she
had done so, and professed her approbation of his
character and ministry; and afterwards deeply re-
gretted that she had not said more when she had so
good an opportunity. Whitefield had occasion to
wait on the secretary of state, in company with Dr.
Gifford, a Baptist pastor in London, to ask relief for
some persecuted Christians in Ireland, and was assured
that “no hurt was designed by the state to the Meth-
odists.”  He also renewed his friendship with the
Messrs. Wesley, and several times exchanged pulpits
with them. He writes, “I have now preached thrice
in Mr. Wesley’s chapel, and God was with us of a
truth.”

Again was our evangelist tired of London, and
again had he grown sick for want of field-preaching.
Accordingly he set out for Bristol and other parts of
the west of England; and although rain and hail pelt-