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Title: George Whitefield - A Biography, with special reference to his labors in America
Author: Belcher, Joseph
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: titlepage]

[Illustration: George Whitefield. (handwritten signature)]






  ETC., ETC.






  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 Oxford--Becomes connected with the Wesleys
  and other Methodists--Illness and mental trials--Relief--
  Preparation for the ministry--Return to Gloucester--
  Ordination--First sermon                                       13




  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 Garden--
  Embarkation for Europe--Stormy voyage--Arrival in Limerick--
  Journey to London--Meeting with the trustees of Georgia--
  Ordination as priest--Return to London--First extempore
  prayer--First idea of open-air preaching                       40



  1738, 1739.

  Whitefield's visit to Bristol--New opposition--Interviews
  with the chancellor of the diocese--Preaching at Kingswood--
  Large congregations--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 nobility on Whitefield's
  ministry--Architecture of Tabernacle and Tottenham Court
  road chapel                                                    71



  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 conversion of Dr. Rodgers--
  Whitefield's first visit to New York--Description of him by
  one of his hearers--Sermons in New Jersey--Old Tennent
  church--Places of preaching at New York--Address to sailors--
  Letter to Pemberton--Interview with Gilbert Tennent--Some of
  Whitefield's sermons printed--Departure from Philadelphia--
  Sermons on his journey to Savannah--Arrival and reception at
  Charleston--Departure for Savannah--Dangers 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




  Feebleness of Whitefield's health--Again visits Charleston,
  Philadelphia, etc.--Extent of his former success--Extracts
  from Seward'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
  England                                                       129




  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, Roxbury,
  Old North, Cambridge, First church--Interview with Governor
  Belcher--Roxbury--Hollis-street--Old South church--
  Portsmouth--York--Return to Boston--Frequent preaching--
  Invitation to children--Interesting conversation with a
  child--Anecdote of juvenile usefulness--Remarks on an
  unconverted ministry--Whitefield's character of Boston--
  Preaches at Concord, Sudbury, Marlborough, Worcester,
  Leicester, Brookfield, Cold Spring, Hadley, Northampton--
  Revival there--Whitefield'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,                          148



  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, Bohemia--Sails from Reedy island to Charleston--
  Arrival at Bethesda--Remarkable escape from death--
  Prosecution at Charleston--Preaching--Letters from Boston--
  Departure for England--Separation from Messrs. Wesley--
  Difficulties in London--Triumph--Howel Harris                 196




  Scheme of comprehension--Account of Rev. John Cennick--
  Voyage to Scotland--Letter to Rodgers--Visit to Erskine--
  Preaching 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 Scotland--Cambuslang--Kilmarnock--Glance
  at subsequent visits--Orphan-house park, Edinburgh--
  Glasgow--Increasing reputation--Extracts from letters--
  Anecdotes--Visit to Wales--Letters from America--Visit to
  Gloucester, Strand, Tewkesbury--Encouraging news from
  America--Success in London--Awakening at the Tabernacle--
  Visit to Gloucester and its neighborhood--South Wales--
  Return to London--Bristol--Exeter--Mr. Saunders--Conversion
  of Thomas Olivers--Birmingham--Kidderminster--Health--
  Assizes at Gloucester--Plymouth--Deliverance from
  assassination--Conversion of Mr. Tanner--Visits to the
  poor--Anecdote--Embarkation for America                       222



  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
  signatures to the testimony--Progress of revival--
  Proceedings of Harvard College--Whitefield's defence--
  Subsequent act of the College--Expositions at Boston,
  Ipswich, Portland, Exeter--Expedition 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




  Whitefield's preaching in New York, New Jersey,
  Philadelphia--Liberal offer declined--Usefulness of his
  printed sermons in Virginia--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 integrity--Preaching tour in
  Maryland--Visit to Charleston--Success of his preaching in
  Maryland--Visits New York, Newport, Portsmouth, 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 Bermudas--
  Kindness of the people there--Voyage to England--His labors
  on the voyage--Arrival at Deal                                277



  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 vulgarism--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 London--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




  Efforts made by Whitefield for Bethesda--His ardent love for
  America--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 consternation--Preaching of Whitefield at midnight
  in Hyde park--Whitefield and his friends at Court--Journey to
  Bristol--Taunton--Rev. R. Darracott--Preaching at Rotherham,
  Bolton, Ulverston--Conversion of Mr. Thorpe--Edinburgh and
  other places in Scotland--Testimony of Hume--Second visit to
  Ireland--Opposition on Oxmantown Green--Usefulness in
  Ireland--Rev. John Edwards--Fourth voyage to America--
  Interview with Lady Huntingdon--Moravians--Lady Huntingdon's
  testimony--Letter to Dr. Franklin--Itinerant labors--
  Revision of manuscripts--Erection of the new Tabernacle--
  Again itinerates--Dedication of the Tabernacle at Bristol--
  Somersetshire--Condolence on Mr. Wesley's sickness--Visit of
  Messrs. Davies and Tennent to England--Whitefield's fifth
  voyage to America                                             323




  Whitefield's arrival and proceedings in Lisbon--Lands at
  Beaufort, S. C.--Voyage to New York--New Jersey--Interview
  with William Tennent--Accompanies President Burr to New
  England--Popularity at Boston--Correspondence with
  Habersham--Portsmouth--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, Norwich--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--Shuter--Violent
  persecution--Interference of government--Journey to
  Bristol--Lines on a chair--Journey to Kent, north of England,
  Scotland--Meeting at Leeds--Interview with the new governor
  of Georgia--Prosperity of Tottenham Court--Journey to
  Scotland--Ireland--Returns to London--Ill health--Anecdote--
  Another visit to Scotland--Death of friends--Debts of
  Bethesda paid--Renewed visit to Scotland--Visit to
  Brighton--Foote's mimicry--Activity--Sails on his sixth
  voyage to America                                             350




  Improvement of Whitefield's health--Friends in Virginia--
  Proceedings 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--Philadelphia--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. Samson 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--Preface to
  Bunyan's works--Whitefield in Wales and Gloucestershire--
  North of England--Disappointed in obtaining a charter
  for Bethesda                                                  375




  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-chancellor--Usefulness of the expelled young
  men--Letter to a gentleman 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 Trevecca--Improvement
  of his health--Letter to Mr. Shirley--Letter of Dr. Franklin
  to Whitefield--Whitefield's remarks on it--Dedication 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



  1769, 1770.

  Arrival at Bethesda--Its prosperity--Honors paid him by the
  legislature--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--Anecdote--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 funeral--Its solemn services--
  Cenotaph                                                      423



  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



  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


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 preserved 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 benefit 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 apostolic labors before the minds of
vast multitudes of the rising generation, to whom both are all but
unknown; and this is far from unimportant. Whatever 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, or 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 Cæsar, 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 missionaries 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 reflecting 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.





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 distinguished the seventeenth century, and which is
perpetuated in a religious literature that will bless the world.
Causes had long been at work which produced 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 subjects; the principle
of priestly control of the minds of men in religious matters; and
clerical influence, sustained 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 expulsion from their
pulpits, by the "Act of Uniformity," 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 Leighton 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 doctrine 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
establishment 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 generally 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 Christianity 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 discernment; 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 Whitefield, and who cannot be charged
with enthusiasm, says, "I have lived to see that fatal crisis, when
religion 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 mournful havoc among the clergy,
and that spiritual religion had been almost buried in forms and
ceremonies. A recent writer has well described the state of religion
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 comparatively 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 assuredly 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 _programma_, exhorted the tutors to
discharge their duties by double diligence, 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 conscientious bishops
at this era. Such men were Secker and Gibson, Lowth and Horne,
Butler, and others. But even the best of them seem sadly to have
misunderstood 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 Articles and Homilies of his
church, was set down as an enthusiast or fanatic.

Among those who had dissented from the established hierarchy, and
who were untrammelled by the impositions of secular authority, the
state of vital godliness 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 England, 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 endowments,
and lulled themselves, or were drawn by favorable 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 exceptions. 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 Somerset; 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 highest 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, gambled, 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 infidel, to obtain power by intrigue, and
to retain it by the grossest and most notorious bribery, were
considered 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 Smollett 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 paganizing Christianity for the sake of
pleasing the world.

Turning to _Scotland_, we find that the bold proclamation 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 Socinianism were
becoming fashionable. Old Mr. Hutchinson, 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 accurately, 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 Secession church;
but for the most part, coldness, barrenness, 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 suitable to its reception, it took
root and grew up, so as to characterize a distinct section of the
Presbyterian 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
continued 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 college
degree; and no education, either literary or moral, which had not
been obtained among wild young men at the university. According
to the interest 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 congregations were satisfied with some short
moral discourse. Many of the people were almost as ignorant of the
Scriptures and scripture truth as the inhabitants 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 possessed 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 ignorant people. They were
now ready to receive absolution; 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 numbers
of the lower and middle classes of the Protestants 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 darkness and superstition had prevailed
among its mountains. It is true that in the days of James I.,
a clergyman 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 establishment 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 hierarchy, 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 translation.

The land, he tells us, was dark indeed. Scarcely any of the lower
ranks could read at all. The morals 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
mention 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 _Bobl gerdded_, or walking people, used to
traverse the villages, begging with impunity, to the disgrace alike
of the law and the country. With all this social sprightliness, 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, followed 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 gesture 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 Cyclopedia which bears his name, visited Pwllheli, a
town on the promontory of Slëyn, 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 every thing
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 distinguished
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
encounter, 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 revival 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 providence 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 antique 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 interesting 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 endured fourteen weeks' sickness after
she brought me into the world; but was used to say, even when I
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 generally, 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 connection which led to much unhappiness.
He was, however, 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 himself. "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 reason 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 sometimes 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 carefully 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 persuaded her to allow him to leave school and
assist in labor. "I 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

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 composed 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. Frequently 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 necessary for her
to leave the inn; in which she was succeeded 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 Gloucester, he resided for a short season with his
mother. While thus living unemployed, without any definite object
before him, and waiting the openings of providence, 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." Application
was immediately made to several friends who had influence at
the college, and they pledged themselves 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-conformists had been
expelled from the church, the universities had been sinking into a
moral lethargy, preferring uniformity to vital religion. Our young
servitor 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 _Methodists_. 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 attached 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,
Whitefield 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
frequently seen Whitefield walking by himself, on the next morning
invited him to breakfast. An introduction 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

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 salvation,
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 dying 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 pardoning 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 Oxford, 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, "O what sweet communion 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 refreshed in the multitude of peace. I always observed that
as my inward strength increased, so my outward sphere of action
increased proportionably."

Thus, happy in himself, and thankful to the gracious 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 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; attended 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 Entertainment." 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 during 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
denomination, who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." This
statement in his diary is connected with an account of the benefit
he derived from studying 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 recognized their spirit he
acknowledged "a brother beloved." On this portion of his history
we dwell with unspeakable delight; the only drawback is an undue
importance 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 any thing 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 preaching 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

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 solemn services of the day, he says, "I trust I
answered every question from the bottom of my heart, and heartily
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 myself 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 accordingly, on the next Sabbath he preached his
first sermon in his native city of Gloucester, selecting for his
subject, "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 Sunday. 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. Glorious 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 distinguished 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 Christianity, 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 irrefragable
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
apostle Paul, "_This one thing I do_."




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 opportunity 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 Methodist, 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 afternoon of Lord's day, August
8. On entering the pulpit, 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 expressions 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 continued 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 inhabitants 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 impressions, 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 attended wherever he preached, and Lady
Anne Frankland 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 Princesses 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 Raleigh 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 admirably
carried out the motto he gave to his companions 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 purposes, it
was a cherished principle with the early patrons of this colony,
that it should become the centre 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 Wesleys and Ingham. The records of the colony, as quoted
in White's Historical Collections of Georgia, show that, Sept. 14,
1735, Charles Wesley was appointed "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 fellow-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 fulfilling
his duties at Dummer, in Hampshire, preaching for the Rev. Mr.
Kinchin, who was now absent from home, to which labors we have
already 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 himself 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 sermon increased his
popularity. We give his account of his preaching at Bristol, as a
specimen of the reception 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 Oglethorpe, the first
governor, and indeed the founder of the colony of Georgia, and to
the end of Whitefield's life his cordial friend, a few additional
facts concerning him may here be stated. He was the son of Sir
Theophilus Oglethorpe, and was born in London, December 21, 1688.
At sixteen he was admitted a student 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 ensign.
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 retirement.
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

It was indeed a surprising fact, that a young man, scarcely more
than twenty-two years of age, and previously unknown to the world,
should be able to collect such immense congregations, and rouse
and command 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 evangelist. He was faithful to his trust, and his divine Master
abundantly blessed and honored him in the discharge of its momentous

We have now traced the amazing effects of Whitefield's _first_
sermons, and it may be interesting briefly to inquire into their
general character, and to ascertain 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_," "_Regeneration_," and "_Intercession_." Whoever
will read the appeals in these sermons, realizing the circumstances
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
sermonizing 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 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 happiness, 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 brethren; 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, Whitefield 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 discourses. How bold and beautiful is the peroration of
that on "_Intercession_." Referring to the holy impatience of "the
souls under the altar," for the coming of the kingdom of God, he

"And shall not we who are on earth be often exercised in this
divine employ with the glorious company 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 provoke 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
heavens 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 imagination 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 administered 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 proportioned, though at that time slender, and
remarkable for native gracefulness of manner. His complexion 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
expression 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
accompanied 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, partaking 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 number of the London
churches, collected about a thousand pounds for the charity
schools, and obtained upwards of three hundred pounds for the
poor in Georgia, 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 London, 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 willing 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 correct 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 people 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 under 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 consequence 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, published a volume of his sermons, which, however admired by
gay formalists, furnished but too much evidence 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 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 enclosure 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 invested 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
remarkable 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 became 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 officers, with the hearty concurrence of the gentlemen
who were passengers, reading "full public prayers" to them twice a
day in the great cabin, and expounding 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 catechized 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. Habersham to accompany
the young evangelist to Georgia. Mr. Habersham's friends, at
Beverly, in Yorkshire, where he was born in 1712, were greatly
opposed 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 compelled him to visit the north, in
hope of its renovation. 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
distinguished in private life by a conscientious discharge of the
social duties, as a tender and affectionate parent, a sincere and
warm friend, and a kind and indulgent 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 children, three of
whom, sons, survived him, and were zealous in the cause of American

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 Whiting's pillow "The
Independent Whig," Whitefield exchanged it for a book entitled "The
Self-Deceiver." The next morning, the captain came smiling and
inquired who made the exchange. Mr. Whitefield confessed 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 reminded 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 every thing 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 promontories, 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 mountains,
and is girded about with power." And the place being a sort of
public rendezvous of all nations, 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, "Samson'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 bold; and many saints have
had their hearts filled with joy unspeakable, and full of glory."

Among other religions societies to which Whitefield 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 sermon. 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 cometh, how
quickly his beauty is gone! A Christian may learn instruction from
every thing he meets with." While he was preaching on the death
of Christ darkness came on, and he said, "It puts me in mind of
that darkness which overwhelmed the world when the God of nature

In the latter part of the voyage, fever laid prostrate 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
endangered 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 recovery 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 introduced to king George the Second. He was accompanied
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 bones. Senanki, his wife, sat by, fanning him with
Indian feathers. There was no one could talk English, 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 drunkard 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 natural 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
impenitently wicked shall go into everlasting punishment."

The records of Georgia say, under date of December 21, 1737,
"Ordered, that a license be made out for the Rev. Mr. George
Whitefield to perform ecclesiastical offices in Georgia, as a deacon
in the church of England."

Before Whitefield 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 any thing had been
wanted to settle his own determination, or to inflame his zeal, he
found it there. The Saltzburghers were exiles for conscience' sake,
and were eminent for piety and industry. Their ministers, the Rev.
Messrs. Grenaw 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 conductors 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 November, 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.


    "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 people "having had a famine of the word for a
long season." 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
Savannah, 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
inexpressible. His name is very precious among the people, and he
has laid such a foundation, that I hope neither men nor devils will
be able to shake it. O that I may follow him as he has followed

Mr. Whitefield having as yet only received deacon's orders, and
wishing to be ordained priest, for the more complete performance
of his duty as a minister of the church of England, it became
necessary for him to return to Europe for that purpose; and being
also desirous of making collections for his Orphan-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 commenced 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 evangelical 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 coppersmith
did me much evil; the Lord reward him according 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 vessel 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-passengers, 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," Whitefield 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 cordially received by that worthy prelate, Bishop Birscough,
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 Rundel, and Dr. Delany.

Remaining but a short time in Ireland, he proceeded 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 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 meekness 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 earliest
opportunity to expunge from his journals whatever 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 compliance with the wishes of the
colonists, they presented 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

On Sunday, January 14, 1739, being then in his twenty-fifth year,
Whitefield was ordained priest at Oxford, by his worthy friend
Bishop Benson. Having 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
circumstances. Shortly after the late Countess of Huntingdon first
became acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus, Bishop Benson,
who had been lord Huntingdon'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

The interval between his taking priests' orders, and embarking a
second time for Georgia, was employed by Whitefield, with his usual
energy and success, in preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
and in making collections for his Orphan-house. Having, 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 clerical 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, however, 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, Whitefield
blamed himself for having done so. Whatever he might himself be
willing to suffer, he was not willing to inflict inconvenience on

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, London. 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 answer, O 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.




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 afterwards 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
supposed 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 diocese 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 desired, 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. Wesley, 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.

[Illustration: TABERNACLE, p 89.]

[Illustration: HANHAM MOUNT]

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 go abroad; have we not Indians
enough at home? If you have a mind to convert Indians, there are
colliers 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 struggles, 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 colliers. The scene
must have been very impressive. Before him stretched the rich and
beautiful valley of the Avon, through which the river was gently
winding, 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 increased, till he found himself
addressing _nearly twenty thousand persons_. His own account of the
effects produced 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 thorough
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 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 prospect 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 ecclesiastical history. Here houses
for Wesleyan Methodists 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 neighborhood 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 neighboring 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 example, who immediately
committed the work to him. Before leaving the neighborhood, however,
Whitefield 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 before, 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 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 causelessly 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

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 person, I 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 sympathy
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
promote the common interest of our Lord. Blessed be God, there seems
a noble spirit gone out into Wales; 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 different 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 observe 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 lesson
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 longer 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 Pontypool, 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 inviting 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 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 wonder
that he should thus speak, who consider the spirit which animated
his soul. What he some time afterwards wrote to Howel Harris,
from Philadelphia, indicated 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 eminently successful.
Bowling-greens, market-crosses, highways, and other such places,
bore witness to his faithful and tearful labors.

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 preaching 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, "O 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 circumstances 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 polemics 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 pungent ingredients, and the
polemics with whom Whitefield 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 Whitefield 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 compendious, obscure, and repulsive, of
whatever was remarkable 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 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 preached 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 moderate 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 hundred coaches, besides
wagons, scaffolds, and other contrivances by which a sight of him
could be obtained. The rising ground on Blackheath, from which
Whitefield preached, is still known as "Whitefield's mount," and
after his death, Lord Dartmouth planted it with fir-trees. It will
ever be a grateful recollection to the author of this volume, that
during the summer of 1839 he prevailed on some of the most eminent
ministers of England to preach on every successive 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

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 attention had been
arrested, and she wished to stay a minute 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, every thing 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 terrified
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

Speaking of his open-air labors, the devoted preacher 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 subsequent 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 conquering 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 full of notes from persons brought under concern, and read
them amidst the praises and spiritual acclamations 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 believe 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 Tabernacle, it is important
that the reader should be acquainted 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 western 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

Moorfields, just without the limits of the old north city wall of
London, was, a few years before Whitefield 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 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 mountebanks, 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 therefore 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 Moorfields.

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 assembled. 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 abandoned 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 received 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 Moorfields 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 determined, and this
proved the commencement of a permanent establishment of the means of
grace. A great spiritual awakening took place; congregations became
very large, acquiring at the same time considerable 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 anticipating 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 afterwards. Here then several important
facts are established: that the original tabernacle sprang not from
Whitefield, but from a voluntary movement among his adherents,
composed chiefly, if not wholly, of Protestant 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 certain 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 happened to
meet together, in the summer of 1751. During the following winter,
Whitefield began to make collections for the object, and on almost
its first presentation in London, nine hundred pounds, or four
thousand 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 thousand 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 orphan-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 capacious 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 Tabernacle 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 Hundred and Sixty-four, under the Hands of
Starkey Myddleton Minister, Robert Keen, Thomas Cox, Samuel Grace,
Robert Hodgson, James Smith, Thomas Robinson, Benjamin Coles,
Thomas Brooks, and Samuel Lockhart, for appropriating and setting
apart a Certain 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 Dissenters from the Church of England, calling themselves
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

  "THOMAS COLLINS, Deputy Registrar."

While the new Tabernacle was in the course of erection, Whitefield
visited Norwich, where his ministry 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 people 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 converts
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
Norwich. 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 erection 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 immediately
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 every thing that is rare and wonderful, that
I may sit, when incapable of other employments, and entertain my
descendants. Thus shall my company be rendered pleasant, and I shall
be respected, 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 celebrated Rev. Andrew
Fuller, he went to hear Whitefield preach. That evening his text
was, "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come
to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matt. 3:7. "Mr.
Whitefield," said Robinson, "described 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 Pharisees. He
described their exterior decency, but observed, 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 retired alone. For days
and weeks I could think of little else. Those awful words would
follow me wherever I went: 'The wrath's to come! The wrath's to

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 evangelist; nor did an interference on the
part of the hierarchy, which followed soon after, prohibiting his
preaching in an incorporated chapel. "I hope you will not look on
it as contumacy," said Whitefield to the bishop, "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 beautiful 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 many wandering creatures. My constant work is preaching
fifteen times a week. Conviction and conversion go on here, for God
hath met us in our new building." It was completed and dedicated in
November, 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 accommodated 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 professions of high regard for those of
a spiritual character. 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 widows. The Tabernacle has always
acted with equal generosity. In proportion to their means, few
congregations in the world have exceeded these two in works of

Assuredly what has sometimes been charged on evangelical
ministers--that they attend to the spiritual 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 frequently 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
thousand 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 government for a general fast,
Mr. Whitefield preached both at the Tabernacle and at Tottenham
Court-road chapel, 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 attend his ministry on other occasions."
Few places at that time could boast of such a constellation of
transcendent 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 architecture of these
buildings. "We are," says the excellent Mr. James, "in many things
improved, and I rejoice in the improvement; but the occasion of my
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. Whitefield, 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 uncouth 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."



1739, 1740.

As in the preceding chapter, for the sake of connecting 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 Whitefield 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 taking
a Mr. Seward and some other friends with him, he went before the
committee of the hospital to explain the case. It must have been
somewhat of a 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 deputation, that in their opinion,
Whitefield and his followers were "really beside themselves." It was
however 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 exemplary 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 possession, 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 receiving
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 purpose of instructing the inhabitants of
the town of Savannah, 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 invited 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 Cumming of
Andover, Hampshire, England.

          "Wrote at Sea, dated at Philadelphia, Nov. 9, 1739.

     "REVEREND AND DEAR SIR--You 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 neither 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,


The old court-house of Philadelphia, then standing 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 appeared 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 Delaware river, not a few bathed in tears, and
inquiring after the way of salvation.


[Illustration: TENNENT CHURCH, FREEHOLD, N. J. p. 117.]

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 hearers, and how much they admired and respected him,
notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring 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 without 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 captivated with the beauty and propriety of his address. He
was no contracted bigot; all denominations partook 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 gentleman, 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 Presbyterian
church; and the gazette of the day, in noticing the fact, says,
'The change to religion here is altogether surprising, through the
influence of Whitefield; 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
complimentary effusions to him appeared in the newspapers, 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 introducing in this place
an account of the institution called "the Log college." It has
proved the parent of every collegiate and theological institution
connected with the large and wealthy body of Presbyterians 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
statement of facts concerning it which history has preserved.

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 Presbyterian church
in this country were sound in the faith, and strongly attached to
the Westminster confession of faith and catechisms, as were also
their people; 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 persons 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 address 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 extension 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 determination 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 handsomely to the eye, and the more distant prospect
is very beautiful; for while there is a considerable extent 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
description 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 ministers
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

Of the senior Tennent, the founder of the Log college, little more
is known than what we have already given. He was a member of the
synod of Philadelphia, who were satisfied with his reasons for
leaving the Established church of Ireland, and for several years
this body cordially coöperated 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 beautiful view of the good old man. "At my return home, was
much comforted by the coming of one Mr. Tennent, an old gray-headed
disciple and soldier of Jesus Christ. He keeps an academy about
twenty miles from Philadelphia, and has been blest with four
gracious sons, three of which have been, and still continue 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, according to appointment. About
twelve o'clock, we came thither, and found about three thousand
people gathered together in the meeting-house yard. Mr. William
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
dismissed the people with a blessing; O 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
providentially that Mr. Tennent and his brethren are appointed to be
a presbytery by the synod, so that they intend bringing up gracious
youths, and sending them out from time to time into the Lord's

We may be permitted to add here, that among the ministers sent out
by Mr. Tennent, from the Log college, 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 famine
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 certainly 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
enlarged 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 proceeded, 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 testimony that after this visit of the
great evangelist, public 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 Pennsylvania, 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 Philadelphia 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 was either more than human, or else that he was supernaturally
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 be 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 constituent members of the church organized by Mr. Tennent.
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 Philadelphia, another
interesting circumstance occurred. Whitefield preached one evening
standing on the steps of the court-house, in Market-street,
which became, 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 accommodation; 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 Rodgers, 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, "O yes, I
remember it well; and have often thought I would give almost any
thing 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 instrumental.

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 Whitefield 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 replied,
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 therefore 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 enthusiasm 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 appeared
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 shamefacedness 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 expounded 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 congregation 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 doctrines 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, cheerful temper,
and acts and moves with great agility and life. The endowments of
his mind are very uncommon; 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 judgment. 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 mastery 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 righteousness wrought in us, is the
only cause of man's salvation. 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 common 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 hearers, 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 doctrine
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 surprise his hearers, when he expounds them. He expresses 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
uncharitableness 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 primitive 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

While going from Philadelphia to New York, or on his return,
Whitefield appears to have preached at Maidenhead, Abington,
Neshaminy, Freehold, Burlington, 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

Some of our readers may inquire as to the localities 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 country; 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. During 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. Afterwards, a few years before his death, he was
accustomed 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 Presbyterian
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 introduced 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 willing, in about
seven months I hope to see New England on my return to Europe.
An effectual door is there opened, and no wonder there are many
adversaries. Shortly I expect to suffer for my dear Master." 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
concerned 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
discernible in my conduct, O 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 employ 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 Gilbert Tennent. Two powerful
preachers could hardly resemble each other less; and the great
strength of each lay in characteristics in which the other was
deficient. In one point, especially, Whitefield felt and recorded
his new friend's superiority. He heard Tennent 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 further 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 applied to Whitefield
for copies of his sermons for publication, 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

But the time was now come when it became important that Whitefield
should pursue his course towards 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 convictions. 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 orphans; 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 Whitefield, 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 southward 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 business 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, composed 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 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 commissary, 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 London could exceed." Before he left, however, there was what
he called "a glorious alteration in the audience." 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 companions 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 corruptions from the
soul." On his arrival at Savannah, January 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 Georgia, 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
mean time, 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 requested 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 Charleston, 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 justification, 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
Worcester, Massachusetts.

In the mean time, Whitefield had returned to Savannah, 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 discouraged,
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 almighty _fiat_ to it,
O 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 assuredly produced a very extraordinary
excitement, and very opposite opinions were entertained in reference
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 published during the following
June, with a commendatory preface by the Rev. Drs. Colman and Cooper
of Boston, and is still highly valued as a piece of contemporary
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 gestures, in all their strength and decencies. He appeared to
me, in all his discourses, to be very deeply affected 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 _alive_ 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 consciences, our theatre would soon sink
and perish. I freely own he has taken my heart."



At the period when Whitefield laid the cornerstone of his Bethesda,
his health was much impaired, 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 Philadelphia, 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 commissary 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 thousand 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 sermon, he collected eighty
pounds more for Bethesda.

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 inquire 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
congregation that he had hitherto been deceiving both himself 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 itinerate 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 country. They date from the 24th to the 26th of
April. "Came to Christopher Wigner's plantation in Skippack, where
many Dutch people are settled, and where the famous Mr. Spalemburg
lately resided. It was surprising to see such a multitude of people
gathered 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. Whitefield 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 kingdom. He said their society at New York
was enlarged 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

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
collected at one time upwards of £70 sterling for the benefit of
the orphan-house in Georgia; and on Sunday 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 Whitemarsh, Germantown, Philadelphia,
Salem, N. J., Neshaminy, 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
Greenwich 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 Brunswick, 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 Pennsylvania, 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 enlightening 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 assemblies, 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 righteousness 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 justifying 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 Newcastle, 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 addressed to a young lady
and her parents, connected with a family much devoted to piety.
Here, as everywhere 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, Whitefield, like his
eminent friend John Wesley, was married, and, like him also, was
unhappy in his domestic relation. In each case, the husband exacted
a previous 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 gospel. 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
happened before his birth, and since at his death, has taught me
such lessons as, if duly improved, may render his mistaken parent
more sober-minded, more experienced 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, August 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 particularly 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 ferocious looks, and horrid imprecations and
menaces, my courage began to fail. My wife was then standing 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 boldness 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, 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 Whitefield's eloquence as
to his voice, but still more strongly 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, thinking 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 money, three or
four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded, I
began to soften, and determined 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 correspondent of the "New England Weekly
Journal," at Newcastle, May 15: "This evening Mr. Whitefield went
on board his sloop here, to sail for Georgia. On Sunday he preached
twice In Philadelphia, and in the evening, when he preached his
farewell sermon, it is supposed he had twenty thousand hearers. On
Monday he preached at Darby and Chester; on Tuesday, at Wilmington
and White Clay creek; on Wednesday, 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

He arrived at Savannah June 5, and most interesting was the manner
of his reception. He says, "O what a sweet meeting I had with my
dear friends! 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. O 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 particular, 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 continued for
near an hour; till at last, finding their concern rather increase
than abate, I desired all to retire. Then some or other might be
heard praying earnestly, 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 benefactors may rejoice in what God is doing for their

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 university 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 friendly 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 faithfulness which has endeared
J. S---- to me. I think I never was obliged to any one so much
before. O 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 sacrament at his hands, withdrew. Never, I believe, was such
a preparation sermon preached before. After sermon, he sent his
clerk to desire me not to come to the sacrament till he had spoken
with me. I immediately retired to my lodgings, rejoicing that I was
accounted worthy to suffer this further degree of contempt for my
dear Lord's sake."

The next day, the commissary of the bishop of London issued against
Whitefield the following ecclesiastical writ:

"Alexander Garden, lawfully constituted Commissary of the Right
Reverend Father in Christ, Edmund, 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 lawfully 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 in justice 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 be just
in that behalf, on pain of law and contempt. And what you shall do
in the premises, you shall duly certify us, together with these

"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
undisputed matter of fact, as Tracy says, was, that he always used
that form when he could obtain an Episcopal church to preach in; but
when he was shut out of such pulpits, and was preaching to Baptists,
Presbyterians, 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

On the day this writ was issued, Whitefield preached 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
Dorchester; the next day at Dorchester again, and at Charleston
in the evening; the next day preached and read prayers in Christ's
church, and twice at Charleston 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 commissary. 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, according 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 commissary. 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. Whitefield
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 allowing him time
to correct it. He now filed his objection 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
appointed. He now appealed to the high Court of Chancery in London,
declaring all further proceedings in this court to be null and
void. He then retired and read letters which refreshed his spirit,
by informing him how "mightily grew the word of God and prevailed"
at Philadelphia; and that Mr. Bolton, 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
authorities 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 gospel 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 conversation
with the commissary."

The next day, July 20, was the Sabbath. The commissary preached in
his usual style, and Whitefield preached his farewell sermon to
the people of Charleston. By his recommendation two or three of
the dissenting ministers had instituted a weekly lecture; 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 summed 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 pleasure. 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 discernible 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 farther than externals. Many moral, good sort
of men, who before were settled on their lees, have been gloriously
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 communicants, 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 dedication-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 hopefully 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.




The religious 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 members of a family as were detained at home on a
Sabbath, whether any had been visibly awakened in the house of God
that day." And he adds, "Few Sabbaths did pass without some being
evidently converted, 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 statements we have already given,
bears farther testimony which is of a very painful character.
He says, "Prayer 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 conversion 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 any thing
such as this? Clear, sound conversions are not frequent in our
congregations; 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 order, 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 children 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 religious. There was a famous man
who preached before one of the greatest assemblies that ever was
addressed; 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 revival 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 instance, 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. Edwards, 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 President
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 circumstances, and one which we fear has been often overlooked.
"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 lecture 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 distance"--a proof of the prayerful interest
felt on behalf 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
fathers. 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 afterwards 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 coming. 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 began, 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, undiscovered. 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 necessaries for me and my friends. I went, silently
admiring God's goodness in answering my prayer so minutely. 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
venerable 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 countenance 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 unwilling, 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 injunction, '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 consulted with the
gentlemen, he said, 'If my preaching 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 gentleman
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 appointment, 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
afternoon. 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 twoedged 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


"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

Tuesday, we scarcely need remark, was spent by Whitefield in the
work of his great Master. He preached to a vast congregation,
including the members of the House of Assembly, who adjourned to
attend the service; and he had very delightful evidence 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 any thing
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 ministers, 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 validity 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 Whitefield,
finding how inconsistent they were, took his leave, resolving that
they should not have the opportunity 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

In the afternoon of the same day, he preached to a vast congregation
in the Rev. Dr. 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 Dr. Sewall was pastor, the only church
edifice in Boston with which Whitefield was connected which is still
standing 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
Dr. Colman preach; in the afternoon, he preached at Mr. Foxcroft's
meeting-house to a vast auditory. This gentleman was the senior
pastor 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 afterwards preached
on the Common, to about fifteen thousand 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 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 corner 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. Cheekley's, in Summer-street, but was prevented
by an accident. Just before the time for the commencement 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
pressing 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 presence
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 followed into the fields."

On Tuesday morning, Whitefield visited Mr. Walter, at Roxbury. This
gentleman had been the colleague, 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 Beveridge, 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 celebrated 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 preached to that morning was not very
crowded, as the people 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 manifestations 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 training 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 superior 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 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 Boston, 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

An elm under which Whitefield preached in Cambridge 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 circumstance,
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
student 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 sinner 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 effectually convinced by that morning's sermon. After
public 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 explicitly 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 melting 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. Welsteed'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 groanings that cannot be

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
yesterday. 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. People 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 affection 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 manifested 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 concern." 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 promoters of the revival, as was also Daniel Rogers, of the
same family. Whitefield learned with deep interest 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 congregation." 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 gratified
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
accustomed 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 before, 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,
'Little 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 preaching at Boston. Glory be to God, who has not forgotten
to be gracious." He collected, after this sermon, £440 for his
orphan-house, which was now more generally supported than ever

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 opportunity to introduce one or two other facts
bearing on the same general topic, and suggesting some practical

Whitefield could indeed descend to talk with children. 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

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

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 Redeemer 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. O, 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 daughter, 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, "O, mother,
if all the world knew this! I wish I could tell every body. 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 delusion." "Oh, mother," replied
the dear girl, "I think they would believe me. I must go over to
the shoemaker and tell him; he will believe me." She ran 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 forgiven
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
supplication 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 labors 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 conference with
Nicodemus. A large number of ministers 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
persuaded 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. O 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 purpose. 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. Unspeakable freedom God gave me while treating on
this head. After sermon, I dined with the governor, who seemed more
kindly affected than ever, and particularly 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 preached 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 almshouse, 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 engaged
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 conversing 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 farewell 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 company, 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
remaining part of the evening was chiefly spent in conversation with

In closing his account of this day's work, he exclaims, "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 meeting-houses of
the Congregational persuasion, one Baptist, one French, and one
belonging to the Scotch-Irish. One thing Boston is very remarkable
for--the external 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 opposition.
But one might easily see much would hereafter 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 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 intend to fulfil my promise when
it shall please God to bring me again from my native country. In the
meanwhile, 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 comfortable 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 considerable commotion in the assembly;" as was also the case the
same afternoon at Marlborough. At the latter 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.'" Passing 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 complained 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 extraordinary
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 December, 1734, five or six persons, one after another,
became 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 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 any one 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 imperceptibly,
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 companies
was upon these things only, except so much as was necessary for
people carrying on their ordinary secular business. The minds of
people were wonderfully 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 marvellous 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 husbands
over their wives, and wives over their husbands. The goings of God
were then seen in his sanctuary, God's day was a delight, and his
tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful;
the congregation was alive in God's service, every one eagerly
intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the
words of the minister 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 concern 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 conversation, 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 together, for these
sixty years, as it has these nine years 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,
especially 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 persons, 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 arrival at Northampton?
Let us hear him. "Their pastor's name is Edwards, successor and
grandson to the great Stoddard, whose memory will be always precious
to my soul, and whose books, entitled, "_A Guide to Christ_," and
"_Safety of appearing in Christ's righteousness_," 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 any thing 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' request, I spoke to his
little children, who were much affected. Preached at Hatfield, five
miles from Northampton, 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. Whitefield 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
Abraham 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 simplicity. 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 Abraham 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
affected; 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
meetings 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 experiences, 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 immediately appeared when stirred up."

Edwards had looked forward to Whitefield's visit to Northampton with
interest, for he felt greatly concerned for his success. He wrote
a week before his arrival to his friend Dr. Wheelock, then a young
minister 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 particularly
should be earnest with God, that he would still uphold and succeed
the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, the instrument 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 extraordinary
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 religion, showing a greater forwardness to make
it the subject of their conversation, and to meet frequently for
religious purposes, and to embrace all opportunities 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
furnished 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 reasonings 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 language which
the great evangelist was accustomed to employ as to those whom he
considered to be unconverted, 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, Wethersfield, Middletown, and
Wallingford, he preached to large assemblies, generally with his
accustomed animation and power, and with the happy proofs of
success 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
unworthiness, 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 converted;" meaning, no doubt, that
though conversion was necessary to his salvation, it was not
indispensable 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 ministers 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 unconverted 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 unconverted 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 Ministry_,' 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 unconverted 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, senior, "I believe," he says, "a true
disciple and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. After exercise, we
supped 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 Providence, 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 itinerants intruding
into other men's parishes without their consent. The proceeding
was certainly somewhat irregular, but Whitefield was not much to
be blamed for it. The details were settled, and the publication
made, by men in whose judgment and knowledge 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 hastening on to New
York, and immediately, therefore, published a note recalling these

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
session, he remained till after the Lord's day; and "had the
pleasure of seeing numbers daily impressed," under his ministrations
in the old polygonal meeting-house. Several ministers of the
vicinity visited him, "with whose pious conversation he was much
refreshed." 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
glowing 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
biographer 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 awakened 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 disapproved of several things, which occasioned
considerable 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 impressed 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 conversation 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 Cambridge. It has one rector, three tutors, and about a
hundred students. But I hear of no remarkable concern 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, "O
that God may quicken ministers! O 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 England. 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 establishment 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
eastwards 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 advantage to tempt them to take upon
them the sacred function. Few country ministers, as I have been
informed, 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 righteous men. They certainly
followed our Lord's rule, sought first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness; 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 Connecticut
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
measure 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 preaching 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 simple 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, O Lord, thy light and thy truth, and for
thine infinite mercy's sake, show thou hast a peculiar delight in
these habitable parts of the earth. Amen, Lord Jesus, amen, and

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 doctrine, deep feeling, and zeal at times almost overwhelming.
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 enjoyed 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 extreme 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 righteousness, or their having any
hand in our justification, or being indeed pleasing to God while
we are totally unsanctified, acting upon corrupt principles, and
unreconciled enemies to him; which occasioned some to mistake him,
as if he opposed morality. But he insisted 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, 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 expressions 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 exhortations 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 general; 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 ministrations for the time to come, and told them how glad he
should be to hear of the same.

"Multitudes were greatly affected, and many awakened 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 any thing like it before, 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 consequence of which a public lecture was
proposed to be set up at Dr. Colman's church, near the midst of the
town, on every Tuesday evening."

  [1] Dr. Prince, in a note, here says, "Though people were _then_,"
  in the time of the earthquake, "generally frightened, and many
  awakened to such a sense of their duty as to offer themselves to our
  communion, yet very few came to me _then_ under deep convictions of
  their unconverted and lost condition, in comparison of what came
  _now_. Nor did those who came to me _then_, come so much with the
  inquiry, 'What shall we do to be saved?' as to signify they had such
  a sense of their duty to come to the Lord's table that they dare not
  stay away any longer."

In reference to the work of grace which was connected with
Whitefield's preaching in New England, the Rev. Dr. Baron Stow,
in his "Centennial Discourse," 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 vehemence; 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 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 slumber; 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 regenerated 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 conversion, 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 England.
One of his daughters, a lady of fortune, had heard Whitefield preach
in Dr. Prince's church at 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 distinguished 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 ministers in the
neighborhood of Boston who unhesitatingly 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
journalist 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 multitude to hear him. It is said that
Mr. Hobby afterwards remarked, he came to pick a hole in Mr.
Whitefield'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. Henchman, 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
country." 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 _ungospelized_ wilds."

Is there not an awfully retributive providence connected with the
rejection of the gospel and its ministers? 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 Massachusetts, 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.



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 himself. 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 somewhat 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 several 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 crowded
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, wherefore 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 sermon. 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 gracious 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 present 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 manifestations 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 condition for about half an hour, astonished at my own vileness
and the excellency of Christ, then rose full of peace and love and

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
collected 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 refreshed in my inner man. A dear Christian
friend received us gladly, and we solaced ourselves by singing 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 sermon 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, coming down to family prayer where
I lodged, and perceiving 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 preceding Whitefield's
visit. During the period of this revival, the neighboring village
of Elizabethtown had been remarkable for its insensibility; even
Whitefield had preached there, "and not a single known conversion,"
says Dr. Stearns, "followed his ministrations." Afterwards the
pastor, the well-known Jonathan Dickinson, 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
Whitefield'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, fourteen 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 congregation 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 exceeding 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 people 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

In the evening, Gilbert Tennent preached excellently 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 presence attended it in a surprising
manner. One, in 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 ministers 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 delightful 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 existed 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 Boston to carry on the work so happily begun
there. After preaching, exhortation, and prayer, Whitefield went
with Davenport to Trenton, and so on to Philadelphia. 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 Providence 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 congregation. 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 inexpressible. 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 doctor's
counsel, and the funds were raised without difficulty.

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 upwards 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 Whitefield, "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 reformed, but renewed. The effectual stroke,
he told me, was given when I preached last spring at Pennepack. 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 evidence 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 sectarianism 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 you 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 Philadelphia. 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 bondage before, at that time
received joy in the Holy Ghost. I rode on in company with several
to Greenwich, 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 thousand 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
Cohansey, 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 before 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 different
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
thousands, 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 regard
the rain, so they might be watered with the dew of God's blessing."

On the following afternoon, at Bohemia, in Maryland, 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

On December 1, when they sailed from Reedy Island to Charleston,
he wrote in his journal, "But before I go on, stop, O my soul, and
look back a little on the great things the Lord hath done for thee
during 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 exhorting 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 company 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. Commencing 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 professors 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 written
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 alterations in it. Writing on January 10,
he says, "This evening a constable came to me with the following

     "'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 fourteenth 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 hundred 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
persecution. 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 pretence of religion_, being his theme.
The afternoon sermon was on the murder of Naboth, from which he
discoursed on _the abuse of power by men in authority_. He says,
"My hearers, as well as myself, made the application. It was pretty
close." 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 persecuted and spoken

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 salvation."

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 awakened 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 jewels 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. Impressions 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 every one 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 however 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
opportunities 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 began to remark, that on some doctrinal points, especially
on that of predestination, a difference was springing 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 America. 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 I 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 election." He then tells Mr. Charles Wesley, that in
Christmas-week he had written an answer to his brother's 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.
O, my dear brethren, my heart almost bleeds within me. Methinks I
could be willing 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 worship; 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 obscured by a cloud
for a season."

The friendship between Mr. Whitefield and the Messrs. Wesley was
very much increased and perpetuated 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. Whitefield, who as
cordially reciprocated it. She was married 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 Whitefield 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 satisfaction to her dear husband, who
was glad to see her look so much older, and better suited to be his

On Whitefield's arrival at Falmouth, he immediately 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 Mohammed. The Moravians had made inroads on our societies;"
besides which, the controversy with the Messrs. Wesley injured him.
His congregations on the Sabbath 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 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 any more. 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 outward circumstances. A
thousand pounds I owed for the orphan-house. Two hundred and fifty
pounds drawn on Mr. Seward, [who was now dead,] were returned 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 maintained, 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 running 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 London, on which, as we have already seen, they built the
Tabernacle. Here his congregations immediately increased, 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 accordingly
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 defamed and persecuted, he manfully
prosecuted his work, and thousands were by his agency brought to
repentance. 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 preached 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 public prosecutions,
and had constables sent to apprehend him. But God has blessed him
with inflexible courage; strength has been communicated to him from
above, and he still goes on from conquering to conquer. 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

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
ministerial 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 example,"
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."




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 dissenting 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, however, good was done; Whitefield preached, and God was
glorified. More union between Christians in advancing the cause of
Christ would have been exceedingly 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 employed 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 swaddling clothes," which
gave occasion for the Methodists 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 reduced 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 walking 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 abundant

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 beating 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 Whitefield 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 indication 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 Scriptures.
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 listening multitudes, and not unfrequently, after his
sermons, 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 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 hands, having heard nothing 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 [Tennent] 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 worked
     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, knowing
     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 sharpeneth 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 Scotland,
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 proceeded to Dunfermline. Writing on the 1st of
August, 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 meeting-house. He received me very lovingly. I
preached to his and the town's people--a very thronged assembly.
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. Erskine, 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 therefore, 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 evenings 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 brother, 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 instrument, 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. O grace, grace! let that be my song.

In this manner Whitefield continued to preach very extensively
over Scotland; and early in September 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 circulation. 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 laying 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 respectable lady who heard
him sat near the door, a considerable 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 damnation."

After Mr. Whitefield'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
referred to:

"As it is matter of joy and thankfulness to God, who sent you
hither, and gave you so much countenance, and so remarkably crowned
your labors with success here at Glasgow, so I doubt not but the
following 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 Redeemer is so much advanced thereby,
and as the everlasting 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 apparently under conviction,
but not reckoned, as being still doubtful. Several Christians
also, of considerable 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 converts are yet under doubts
and fears, but a considerable 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 ordinances, 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 Lothian, the Earl of Leven, Lord Ray, Lady Mary Hamilton,
Lady Frances Gardiner, Lady Jane Nimms, and Lady Dirleton; and at
some one of their houses he expounded almost every evening. Numbers
of ministers 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
circumstances, 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 during 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. Whitefield, could not lay a
single plank."

Another narrative has been thus given. An unhappy man who had
forfeited his life to the offended laws of his country, was
executed in that neighborhood. Mr. Whitefield mingled with the
crowd collected 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 opinions as to the motives which led him to join the

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 unhappy
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 sympathizing 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 luminary," pointing to the sun, "veiled his brightness, and
travelled on his course in tenfold night."

On another occasion, near the same city, and probably in the field
to which we have already referred, under the shade of a venerable
tree, in a lovely meadow, 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 earnestness 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
unsuccessful. 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 forward, 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 ministers 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. Bisset, who, as
Sir Henry Moncrieff says, was the highest of the High church, were
evangelical, though otherwise 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 seceder 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 interested. 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 remained in the session-house, and the people hastened
back, expecting to bear 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 mean time
he had heard that his dear friends the Erskines had become greatly
offended, on account of what they considered his lax views of church
government. But notwithstanding this difference with the seceders,
he was received by great numbers, among whom were some persons of
distinction, with cordiality and joy, and had the satisfaction
of hearing 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 congregation. People sat unwearied till two in the morning,
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 communion was in the field;
three tents, at proper distances, all surrounded with a multitude of
hearers; above twenty ministers, among whom was good old Mr. Bonner,
attending to preach and assist, all enlivening and enlivened by one

In addition to his labors at Glasgow and Cambuslang, 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 afterwards in Edinburgh and Glasgow with much satisfaction.
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 concluded with a most devout
and fervent prayer." About the end of October, Whitefield returned
to London.

Probably few are aware that Mr. Whitefield visited Scotland no
less than _fourteen_ times. These visits extended over a period
of twenty-seven years, beginning in 1741, and ending in 1768.
In none of his visits after 1742 were there the same extensive
awakenings 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 especially young students, who afterwards became
zealous and evangelical preachers. His morning discourses, which
were generally intended for sincere but disconsolate souls, were
peculiarly fitted to direct and encourage 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 conclusion 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 excellent 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 lowest, 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 transparent
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 affectionate 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 Tuesday next, hope to mount my throne again. O, to die
there! too great, too great an honor to be expected." 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 Aberdeen, 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 forgotten. During his stay in
Scotland, in the year 1759, a young lady, Miss Hunter, who possessed
a considerable 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 declining it for himself, she offered it to
him for the benefit of his orphan-house. This also he absolutely

Never could Whitefield be accused of moral cowardice. When the old
Scotch Marquis of Lothian professed that his heart was impressed
with the importance 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 infidelity, or both."

       *       *       *       *       *

On his return from Scotland to London in 1741, Whitefield passed
through Wales, where at Abergavenny 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
circumstances of his orphan family, somewhat discouraged 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 numbers came. On Sunday afternoon, after I had
preached 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 afternoon,
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, informing 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 savingly 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 constantly 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 period 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 Tabernacle, which in the mean time had
been enlarged. He says, "I am employed, and, glory to rich grace,
I am carried through the duties of each day with cheerfulness 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 having 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 morning 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 orphans, so as to be able to pay all his debts,
and to make a remittance to Georgia, we again find him at Bristol,
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
discoursing 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 conveying 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 became an eminent Christian. He was,
till extreme old age, the body-coachman of George III., with whom he
frequently held Christian conversation, and died happily 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 Olivers, 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 compounding
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 occasion,
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." Accordingly, 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. Williams,
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 preceding 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 appeal to law, which in England in
such cases is severe. At the preceding sessions the rioters had been
convicted, 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 forgiveness 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, another seaport, to accomplish his
purpose. On his way, he preached at Exeter and other places, with
delightful results. "But," he says, "the chief scene was at Plymouth
and the Dock, [now called Devonport,] where I expected least

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. Whitefield 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 answered, 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 precaution 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
gentleman earnestly wished to speak with him. Supposing that it was
some person under conviction of sin, many such having previously
called upon him, he desired 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 considerable 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 cowardly
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
unoffending 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 person 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 preaching 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 purpose 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 impressed. On the following evening, he
again attended, and heard Mr. Whitefield on the sin of those who
crucified the Redeemer. After he had forcibly illustrated 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 commanded 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 labored
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. Kinsman, 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. Returning 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 stranger 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 usefulness 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 delicate health he embarked for America.



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
western 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, together with that of the
concussion itself, was communicated to the convoy, and led to the
use of much violent 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,
O 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 difference 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." Whitefield at first did
not at all regret the loss, but when two strange sails appeared
in the distance, and preparation 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 terminate in a thorough cleansing and an eternal
purification 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 patience; 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 "nervous 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 answer, 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 excellent, but eccentric
minister of whom we have already spoken, took the earliest suitable
opportunity of calling on the great evangelist, and said very
characteristically, "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 people of York; and sixthly and lastly, to me, dear
sir, less than the least of all." Prince's "Christian History" had
announced his arrival, and that his intention 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 hesitated, on account of his illness, but "good
old Mr. Moody" did not give him the benefit of his own favorite
maxim, "When you know not what to do, you must _not_ do you know
not what." Whitefield preached, and immediately went to Portsmouth,
where he preached the same evening, November 6, for Mr. Fitch, and
was to have preached again the next morning, but was too ill, and
deferred it till the afternoon. In the mean time, 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 every one 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 suspended; 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 testimony 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 opportunities of being with him, and there
always appears in him such a concern for the advancement of the
Redeemer'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; proposes 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 province.

"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 delusions. 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

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. Colman replied, that,
as it was customary for pastors to invite the assistance of other
ministers on such occasions, 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 providentially with us, I have asked
him to administer the ordinance;" and that by the countenances of
the people 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 England, 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 professed themselves to
be his followers, had created great confusion by carrying these
charges much farther than he would have approved. His second visit
was therefore 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
minister of the First church in New Haven, Thomas Darling, for many
years chief justice of the Court of Common 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 Connecticut than at any previous period.
Violent controversies arose, churches were divided, and the
government, 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
Harvard 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 introduce foreigners in their stead.
The good man, notwithstanding 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 ministers, 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 remarkable work of
God, may have an interview at Boston, the day after the approaching
commencement, to consider whether they are not called to give an
open, conjunct testimony to an event so surprising and gracious; 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 measure 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 mistakes 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, Adams, Cooper, Nathanael Rogers, Leonard,
and Hobby, to prepare a report. On the next morning this committee
presented a document, which, after full discussion, 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 sentences will show its general

"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 extraordinary 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 inward concern has
occasioned extraordinary outward distresses, the most of them, when
we came to converse 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 converted, 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 before.... 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 sentiments, 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 extravagances 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 intermingle himself to hinder and blemish a work so directly
contrary to the interests of his own kingdom?... 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
plentiful, 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 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 attestations.
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 proposal 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
estimated at thirty-three thousand, the number of communicants 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 genuine fruits of holiness
appeared, according to the acknowledgment of all parties, in
multitudes of those who professed religion. They were Christians,
who endured unto the end. This is the unanimous testimony 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 commands 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 college, we quote, as showing that then,
as well as now, a difference of opinion existed as to written and
extempore sermons. They thought his extempore manner of preaching
"by no means proper," because extempore 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 preaching; 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 defended 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, "authorizes 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 "Baxter's Reformed Pastor," a plan which had been
adopted in some parts of England, for circular lectures by settled
ministers selected for the purpose, and with the consent of the

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
opponent President Holyoke was yet in office, the following minute
was entered on their records: "At a meeting of the President and
Fellows of Harvard college, 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, Foxcroft, 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 published. 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." Whitefield 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 compass?"

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 latter 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 leading men
violently opposing." Under the date of May 19, after Whitefield's
departure, we find in the "Journal" 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 sermon. 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 withdrawn, "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 attending Whitefield's
lectures. On the day before he accepted 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 widows and orphans of the slain soldiers would be
like lions robbed of their whelps; but if it pleased God to give
him success, envy 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 Providence really called him, he would find his
strength equal to the difficulties with which he would have to

About the same time, Mr. Sherburne, another of Whitefield's friends,
being appointed one of the commissioners, 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. Whitefield 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 despaired of, Christ
being leader.] In these circumstances 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 discontented, 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 himself,
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 undisciplined,
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 Louisburgh. 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."

Some time 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 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
interrupt 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 distance from him. The crowd became very great, and those who
were towards the extremity pressed forward, 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 increased, 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 harangue." 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 doctor
on the Sabbath, the next day he proposed a ride into the country
for exercise. During the ride, Whitefield 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. Whitefield 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 returned Dr. Hopkins.
Whitefield frankly acknowledged his error, and rejoiced that there
was no disagreement on the subject.




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 interpreter 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 Brainerd; 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 under "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 critics 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 Presbyterian 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 anxiously inquired the way of
salvation. The feelings of many were powerfully excited, and they
could not forbear 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, trembled. It was not long
before Christians had the happiness 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, whereupon 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 produced by the labors of the Rev. Messrs. Robinson,
Tennent, Blair, and others. Of the visit of Whitefield 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
encouragement, and engaging others to the Lord, especially among
the church people, who received his doctrine 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 Whitefield's lips at Glasgow.

Among the converts in the south who met Whitefield, 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 understood by every one; and among
his own friends he could converse about the love of Christ in the
language 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

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 concerted 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 hardships 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 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 Georgia, 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
circumstances. 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. Accordingly, 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,
having 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
imbittered. 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 Bristol, 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
collected 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 gotten 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 voyage 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 children came to school gratis, and many poor people that
could not maintain their children, upon application, 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 likewise 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 patients,
which were under the surgeon's hands, exclusive 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 journeyman,
and the others serving under their masters. One that I brought from
New England is handsomely settled in Carolina; and another from
Philadelphia 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 winter's 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 valuable young man from New England is my schoolmaster, and
in my absence performs duty in the family. On Sabbaths, the grown
people attend on public worship 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. Georgia is very healthy; not above one, and
that a little child, has died out of our family since it removed to

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 sometimes 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,
humility, 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 arrivals in the city, his
engagements in it, his departures from it, and the places of his
destination, were all given with the minutiæ with which even the
movements of monarchs are recorded.

It was not without its use that the organs of the public thus
expressed their high sense of his character. 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 Savannah 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 honestly
applied, and that besides, he had given considerably to them of his
own property.

Having done what he could at Bethesda, feeling his health failing
him, needing resources for his orphans, and urged on by his love of
preaching, Whitefield 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 Maryland: "I trust the
time for favoring this and the neighboring southern provinces is
come. Everywhere, almost, the door is opened for preaching, great
numbers 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 Charleston, South Carolina, he
writes, January 1747, "The Lord Jesus is pleased to give me great
access to multitudes 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 ministers 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. Samuel, 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 promising. 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 England; 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 strengthen 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 excellent friend Dr. Colman. He adds, "My reception at
Boston and elsewhere was like unto the first. Arrows of conviction
fled and stuck fast. Congregations were larger than ever, and
opposers' mouths were stopped."

After again making short visits to Philadelphia and Bohemia,
Whitefield, according to previous arrangements, went to spend the
winter in North Carolina. 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 Bathtown, in North
Carolina, was long and slow. Even a short ride was fatiguing and
painful. Still, he preached 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 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 accordingly
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, together with the
pleasant situation of the island, much delighted me. The Rev.
Mr. Holiday, minister of Spanish Point, received me in a most
affectionate, Christian 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 commodious; 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 behaved with great civility and
respect. After the governor rose from the table, he desired, if I
stayed in town on the Sunday, that I would dine with him at his own

"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 attentive, 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 23. 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 expounded 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 minister, to his pulpit; which I complied with upon
condition that the rumor was true, that the governor had served
the ministers with an injunction that I should not preach in the

"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 Bermudas, 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 convincing 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 Colonel Corbusier's, and on
Wednesday at Colonel Gilbert'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 preaching, 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 auditories. 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 everlasting.' 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, unless 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 ordained 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 satisfied 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 himself 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
assembly-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 prayers. 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 gentlemen
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 freewill, Adam's fall, predestination, etc., to all
which God enabled me to answer so pertinently, and taught me to mix
the _utile_ and _dulce_ [useful and pleasant] so together, 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 respects, and went to my lodgings with some
degree of thankfulness for the assistance vouchsafed me, and abased
before God at the consideration of my unspeakable 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 evening
had liberty to speak freely and closely to those who supped with
me. O that this may be the beginning of good gospel times to the
inhabitants of this town."

We might fill other pages from Whitefield's journal, 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

"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 preached 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, answered, 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 understand it?
He means black with sin.' Two girls were overheard by their mistress
talking about religion, 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. 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 morning to a large congregation in the fields;
and expounded 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 thankfulness of heart will I here, O Lord,
set up my _Ebenezer_, for hitherto surely hast thou helped me.
Thanks be to the Lord for sending me hither. I have been received
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 contribution,
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 given heartily, and people only lamented that they could do no

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 illustrates 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 speaking 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
opposition. 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 "Gentleman'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. O
that it may be to declare the works of the Lord."



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 immediate circle many things were in an unhappy
condition. 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 "Moorfields 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 furniture, 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 Huntingdon, 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 Whitefield'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
chaplain, 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. O that some of them
might be effectually called to taste the riches of redeeming love."
On the first day appointed, Chesterfield 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. O that his eyes might be opened by the
illuminating influence of divine truth. He is a singularly awful
character; and I am fearfully alarmed, 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 awakened,
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 utility of our feeble efforts."

It is related that the Rev. Mr. Church, a clergyman 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 learning; he handles the
doctrines of grace in a very masterly manner." "Doctrines of grace,"
replied the clergyman; "the doctrines of grace have set all mankind
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
believe the Bible I must believe them. And let me seriously 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 acquaintance with the Rev.
James Hervey, who has not improperly 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, "Your journals and sermons, and
especially that sweet sermon on 'What think ye of Christ?' were a
means of bringing me to the knowledge of the truth." Whitefield felt
the warmest attachment to Hervey in return, and when he introduced
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

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 patiently, and thus much seed is sown by Mr. Whitefield's
preaching. O that it may fall on good ground, and bring forth

Some one, we believe a bishop, complained to George II. of the
popularity and success of Whitefield, 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 "unpreaching
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 courtier, thought it worth while 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." Every thing 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 Chatham; so with
Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster; and to turn to eminent preachers,
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.
William Bates, an accomplished and courtly non-conformist minister,
in the seventeenth century, once complained in the presence of his
faithful but unpolished friend Daniel Burgess, that he found very
little success 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 evening, 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
preposterous 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 receive 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.
Whitefield 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 desired 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 some one 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 devil's 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

In September, 1748, Mr. Whitefield made his third visit to Scotland,
where he met with a cordial welcome, and where his labors became
increasingly valued. 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 ministers who were disposed to invite him to preach, were at
liberty to do so, except in the presbytery of Edinburgh; here,
however, he was accommodated by the magistrates with a church to
preach in whenever he visited the city. In Scotland he now warmly
advocated 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
ministers; 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
cultivating 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 respectfully
to him; he visited also his old tutor, now become 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 be 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 converts 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

An interesting fact connected with Gloucestershire, 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 preaching, 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 violin. 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 accompanied
our evangelist in his last voyage to America, and who after his
death conveyed his will to England, 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, including 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 Cornwall, 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 hardihood alike to their character and frame,
at first received 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 gladly.
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 preached 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 conviction seemed to fly fast." Again, in a communication
to the Countess of Huntingdon, he says, "I have been very near
the Land's 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. O 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 children 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
holiness, 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 talented 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 surprised 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. During
this and subsequent visits to Plymouth, he resided with the Rev.
Andrew Kinsman, an excellent Congregational minister, of whom we
have already spoken. He was born in Devonshire in 1724, and was
therefore ten years younger than Whitefield. While peculiarly
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 interests 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 conscious
shame, for the neglect of so clear a duty, he fell upon his knees
and prayed with so much readiness and fervor that it excited their

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 himself 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 danger 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 violent 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.

    "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 conversation which, by the blessing of God, led to his

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 contrast between their professions,
and bitterly lamented that he had not cordially embraced religion,
when his conscience was impressed under the preaching of the great

But we must not stay longer to speak of Kinsman; suffice it to say
that he founded, in addition to Plymouth, 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, 1793. 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 expression 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 circuit 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 comforted 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. Grimshaw, a clergyman from
Yorkshire, for whom in September 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. Whitefield 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
having 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 temporary
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 service, tells us
that "not only the field, but the woodlands 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 it reëchoed through the vale below, 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 acquainted with the reality of true religion. His conversion
was very striking; after which he became a remarkably 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 providential circumstances. He had
mounted the temporary scaffold to address the thousands before him.
Casting a look over the multitude, he elevated his hands, and in an
energetic manner implored the divine presence 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 minutes 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 salvation of sinners,
"you stand among the dead and the dying. An immortal soul has been
called into eternity; the destroying angel is passing over the
congregation; cry aloud, and spare not." The awful occurrence was
speedily announced to the congregation. After the lapse of a few
moments, Mr. Whitefield 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 pilgrim life.'" He was now in "winter quarters," but 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.




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 college 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 saying, '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 neglected
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 any thing more brought, pray write, honored mother.
* * * Tomorrow 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 children. 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 dissenters, 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 labors 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 February, 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 company with Dr. Doddridge, and two pious,
ingenious clergymen of the church of England, both of them known to
the learned world by their valuable writings. 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 exemplary 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 delight in
God, such enlarged benevolence to man, such a steady faith in the
divine promises, and such a fervent zeal for the divine glory; and
all this without the least moroseness of humor, or extravagance of
behavior, sweetened with the most engaging cheerfulness 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

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 divinity of our Lord and Saviour--without which
our redemption is absolutely void, and we are yet in our sins,
lying under the intolerable burden of the wrath of God--blasphemed
and ridiculed openly in conversation 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 impending 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 Almighty, MENE,
MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN--God hath numbered the kingdom, and finished
it. Thou art weighed in the balances of heaven, and found wanting
the merits of a rejected Redeemer, and therefore the kingdom is
divided and given away."

The shocks felt in London in February and March of this year, were
far more violent than any remembered for a long series of years. The
earth moved throughout the whole cities of London and Westminster.
It was a strong and jarring motion, attended with a rumbling noise
like that of thunder. Multitudes 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. Towerhill, 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 London and Westminster would be destroyed
by an earthquake 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 overwhelmed, and repaired to the
fields, where they continued 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 hypocrite, strikingly terrific. With
a pathos which showed 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 attention to that
most important event in which every one 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 memorable
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
manufacture. 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 regretted 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 Methodists." 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
pelted him in his field-pulpits, he preached "about twenty times
in eight or nine days." As soon as he found himself in his own
element, he saw every thing in his old lights. He says, "Every
thing I meet with seems to carry this voice with it: 'Go thou and
preach the gospel; be a pilgrim on earth; have no party, or certain
dwelling-place.' My heart echoes back, 'Lord Jesus, help me to do
or suffer thy will. When thou seest me in danger of _nestling_, in
pity, in tender pity put a thorn in my nest, to prevent me from it.'"

From Bristol, Whitefield went to Taunton, where he met with the Rev.
Richard Pearsall, an eminent and excellent Presbyterian minister, of
whom he speaks very highly; and from thence, on his way to Plymouth,
he stayed at Wellington, to preach for the Rev. Risdon Darracott,
who has ever since been distinguished as "the star in the west." Mr.
Darracott was the son of a dissenting minister in Dorsetshire, where
he was born in 1717, when Whitefield was three years old. He studied
for the ministry under the Rev. Dr. Doddridge, at Northampton,
and entered on his ministerial course in Cornwall in 1738, which
situation he was most reluctantly compelled to leave two years
afterwards from violent hemorrhage of the lungs. Under this alarming
visitation he spent about six months with his friends in Devonshire,
where his fervent-minded father had preached till his death at the
age of forty. While here, he had a call to succeed a venerable
minister at Wellington, who had recently deceased. He found the
congregation small, and the number of communicants but twenty-eight.
His ministry soon drew a large congregation, many of whom had never
before made a profession of religion, and were first attracted
into the town from the neighboring villages out of mere curiosity
to hear him. The house of worship was soon insufficient to contain
his hearers; and even when it was enlarged, many were frequently
compelled to stand out of doors, unable to obtain an entrance. The
Rev. Benjamin Fawcett, who preached his funeral sermon, said, "I
never knew any congregation which appeared to have so many instances
of abiding religious impressions;" and added, "I have good reason to
believe that his ministry was owned to the effectual conversion of
many hundreds of souls."

The night before the death of this excellent man, which took place
in his forty-second year, he exclaimed, "Oh, what a good God have I,
in and through Jesus Christ. I would praise him, but my lips cannot.
Eternity will be too short to speak his praises." The physician
coming in, he said to him, "Oh, what a mercy is it to be interested
in the atoning blood of Jesus. I come to the Lord as a vile sinner,
trusting in the merits and precious blood of my dear Redeemer. O
grace, grace, free grace!" His last words were, "I am going from
weeping friends to congratulating angels, and rejoicing saints in
glory. He is coming. Oh, speed thy chariot wheels; why are they so
long in coming? I long to be gone!" He left in his church more than
two hundred communicants.

Whitefield and Darracott were congenial spirits, and Darracott, like
his friend, had suffered much reproach in the cause of his Master;
he was what Whitefield called him, "a flaming and successful
preacher of the gospel." He had just at this time lost three lovely
children. "Two of them," says Whitefield, "had died on the Saturday
evening before the sacrament; but weeping did not prevent sowing.
He preached the next day, and administered as usual. Our Lord
strengthened him; and for his three natural, gave him above _thirty_
spiritual children; and he is likely to have many more. He has
ventured his little all for Christ; and last week a saint died who
left him and his heirs two hundred pounds in land. Did ever any one
trust in God, and was forsaken?" This interview with Darracott, and
with good old Mr. Pearsall, who had been a preacher of righteousness
before Whitefield was born, had an inspiring influence upon him. He
says, "I _began_ to take the field again at his dwelling for the
spring! I begin to _begin_ to spend and be spent for Him who shed
his own dear heart's blood for me. He makes _ranging_ exceedingly

Soon after this, Whitefield went again into Yorkshire. At Rotherham
he says, "Satan rallied his forces. The crier was employed to give
notice of a bear-baiting. You may guess who was the bear! However,
I preached twice. The drum was heard, and several watermen attended
with great staves. The constable was struck, and two of the mobbers
apprehended, but rescued afterwards." Sheffield and Leeds he found
to be a new and warmer climate. Lancashire, however, was still but
cold to him. All was quiet at Manchester, and he "humbly hoped some
had enlisted," but no great impression was then made. At Bolton, a
drunkard stood up behind him to preach; and the wife of the man who
lent him the field, twice attempted to stab the workman who put up
the stand for him. This roused him, and he bore down all opposition
by a torrent of eloquence, which quite exhausted him. In the night,
however, some rude fellows got into the barn and stables where his
chaise and horses had been put, and cut them very shamefully. This
conduct he called, "Satan showing his teeth."

To narrate the particulars of this journey would be little more
than a repetition of scenes of insult and of success with which the
reader has already become familiar. At Ulverston he says, "Satan
made some small resistance. A clergyman, who looked more like a
_butcher_ than a minister, came with two others, and charged a
constable with me; but I never saw a poor creature sent off with
such disgrace."

One of the most remarkable conversions recorded in the history of
the church occurred during this journey by the ministry of Mr.
Whitefield. The full particulars are recorded in the Life of the
Countess of Huntingdon, and can only be briefly mentioned here.

In the early period of Whitefield's ministry, many of the taverns
became places where his doctrines and zeal were talked of and
ridiculed. A Mr. Thorpe, and several other young men in Yorkshire,
undertook at one of these parties to mimic the preaching of Mr.
Whitefield. The proposition met with applause; one after another
stood on a table to perform his part, and it devolved on Mr. Thorpe
to close this irreverent scene. Much elated, and confident of
success, he exclaimed, as he ascended the table, "I shall beat you
all." Who would have supposed that the mercy of God was now about to
be extended to this transgressor of his law? The Bible was handed to
him; and by the guidance of unerring Providence, it opened at Luke
13:3: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." The moment
he read the text his mind was impressed in a most extraordinary
manner; he saw clearly the nature and importance of the subject;
and as he afterwards said, if he ever preached with the assistance
of the Holy Spirit, it was at that time. His address produced a
feeling of depression in his auditors; and when he had finished,
he instantly retired to weep over his sins. He soon after became
associated with the people of God, and died a successful minister of
Christ, at Masborough, in Yorkshire, in 1776, about six years after
the death of Mr. Whitefield. He was the father of the distinguished
Rev. William Thorpe, of Bristol.

Passing on to Edinburgh, Whitefield was, as usual, received with the
most unfeigned tenderness and joy, preaching to great multitudes
of attentive and serious people, whose earnest desire to hear him
made him exert himself beyond his strength. He says, "By preaching
always twice, once thrice, and once four times in a day, I am quite
weakened; but I hope to recruit again. Christ's presence makes me
smile at pain." He returned to London, having preached about one
hundred times, it was believed to not less than one hundred thousand

Among the occasional hearers of Whitefield when in Scotland, was
the celebrated infidel historian, David Hume. An intimate friend
having asked him what he thought of Mr. Whitefield's preaching, he
replied, "He is, sir, the most ingenious preacher I ever heard; it
is worth while to go twenty miles to hear him." He then repeated
the following passage, which occurred towards the close of the
discourse he had been hearing. "After a solemn pause, Mr. Whitefield
thus addressed his numerous audience: 'The attendant angel is just
about to leave the threshold, and ascend to heaven. And shall he
ascend, and not bear with him the news of one sinner, among all
this multitude, reclaimed from the error of his ways?' To give
the greater effect to this exclamation, he stamped with his foot,
lifted up his eyes and hands to heaven, and with gushing tears cried
aloud, 'Stop, Gabriel! stop, Gabriel! stop, ere you enter the sacred
portals, and yet carry with you the news of one sinner converted to
God.' He then, in the most simple but energetic language, described
what he called a Saviour's dying love to sinful man, so that almost
the whole assembly melted into tears. This address was accompanied
with such animated, yet natural action, that it surpassed any thing
I ever saw or heard in any other preacher."

In the summer of 1751, Whitefield paid a second visit to Ireland,
and was most hospitably received in Dublin by a respectable and
opulent gentleman named Lunell, who had been brought to Christ by
the first Methodist itinerant preacher in that city. During this
excursion, Whitefield preached about eighty sermons, fourteen
of them in Dublin, and seven in Limerick. His hearers in Dublin
organized themselves into a public society, which does not seem
to have met his approbation. He says, "This morning I have been
talking with dear Mr. Adams, and can not help thinking that you
have run before the Lord, in forming yourselves into a public
society as you have done. I am sincere when I profess that I do
not choose to set myself at the head of any party. When I came to
Ireland, my intention was to preach the gospel to all; and if it
should ever please the Lord of all lords to send me thither again,
I purpose to pursue the same plan. For I am a debtor to all of
every denomination, and have no design, if I know any thing of this
desperately wicked and deceitful heart, but to promote the common
salvation of mankind. The love of Christ constrains me to this."

During this visit, Whitefield a few times ventured out of the city
to Oxmantown-green, then a large open place, situated near the
royal barracks, where the Ormond and Liberty boys, two factions
among the lowest class of the people, generally assembled on the
Sabbath to fight with each other. The congregations at first were
very numerous, and deeply affected, nor did any disturbance occur.
Thus encouraged, the preacher ventured again, and gave notice of
his intention to resume his labors. He went through the barracks,
the door of which opened into the green, and pitched his tent near
the barrack walls, not doubting of the protection, or at least of
the interposition of the officers and soldiers, if there should be
occasion for it. The multitude in attendance was indeed vast. After
singing and prayer, Whitefield preached without molestation, except
that now and then a few stones and clods of dirt were thrown at
him. It being war-time, he took occasion to exhort his hearers,
as was his usual practice, not only to fear God, but to honor the
king; and prayed for the success of the king of Prussia. When the
service was over, he thought to return home by the way he came,
but, to his great surprise, a passage through the barracks was
denied; and he was compelled to pass from one end of the green to
the other, through thousands of Roman-catholics. He was unattended;
for a soldier and four preachers who came with him had fled from
the scene of danger, and he was seriously attacked by the mob.
They threw vollies of stones upon him from all quarters, and he
reeled backwards and forwards till he was almost breathless and
covered with blood. At length, with great difficulty he staggered
to the door of a minister's house near the green, which was kindly
opened to him. For a while he continued speechless, and panting for
breath; but his weeping friends having given him a cordial, and
washed his wounds, a coach was procured, in which, amidst the oaths,
imprecations, and threatenings of the rabble, he got safe home,
and united in a hymn of thanksgiving with his friends. In a letter
written to a friend soon after this event, he says, "I received many
blows and wounds; one was particularly large, and near my temple: I
thought of Stephen, and was in hopes, like him, to go off in this
bloody triumph to the immediate presence of my Master."

Unpromising, however, as things were in Ireland, the labors of
Whitefield, followed as they were by those of the Wesleys, became
the foundation of a number of Christian societies that proved vast
blessings to Ireland; and some of them grew into large churches,
which continue to flourish till this day.

The society to which reference has been made, which assembled
in Skinner's alley, secured ministerial aid from the late Rev.
John Edwards, who was one of Whitefield's converts, and among
the earliest preachers at the Tabernacle in London; and who also
itinerated over nearly the whole of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The period was one of great persecution, and this good man had
several remarkable preservations from death. At one time, while he
resided in Dublin, he was returning from preaching at a village,
when he was seized by a party of rude fellows, who declared they
would throw him over the bridge into the Liffey. This was observed
by an opposite political party, residing on the other side of the
river, who encountered his assailants, and rescued him out of their
hands, saying he lived on their side the river, and none should hurt
him. At another time, having preached out of doors, a furious mob
of the _White-boys_, a political party so called, beset the house
in which he was, and threatened to burn it to the ground, unless he
was driven out of it. His anxious friends could see but one way for
his escape, which was through a window that opened into a garden
belonging to a justice of the peace, who was himself a violent
persecutor of the Methodists. Through this window Mr. Edwards was,
like the apostle Paul, let down in a basket. Here he stood some
time in great consternation, fearing the family might observe him,
and charge him with breaking into the garden for improper purposes,
and so both religion and himself would be injured. At length he
ventured to knock at the door, and asked for the magistrate, to
whom he ingenuously stated the facts, and who most generously
protected and extended to him the hospitalities of his house for two

One fact more must be told of this excellent man. He resolved to
visit a town to which had removed a number of soldiers who had
received benefit from his ministry. He was met, however, by some of
these pious men, who told him that the inhabitants were determined
to take his life. Edwards was not to be dissuaded from his purpose;
and on his arrival he immediately preached in the street, and
several distinguished persons, including the mayor of the town, came
to hear him, and by their influence prevented disturbance. After
the service, the mayor invited him to breakfast with several of
the principal inhabitants, and told him they were very glad he was
come--that the people were extremely dissolute in their manners, and
the clergy, both Protestants and Catholics, exceedingly remiss in
their duty, and they hoped the Methodists would succeed in reforming
the town. These gentlemen subscribed to the support of stated
preaching, and extensive and lasting good was done.

Amid Whitefield's innumerable engagements and declining health,
Bethesda and his beloved America could not be forgotten. While
he was at Glasgow during this summer of 1751, he was greatly
delighted to hear that Mr. Dinwiddie, brother-in-law to the Rev. Mr.
M'Culloch, of Cambuslang, was appointed governor of Virginia. The
gospel had been much opposed there, and he thought the appointment
now made would greatly tend to check persecution.

Whitefield, as it appears to us, now very suddenly determined on
another voyage to America. He arrived in London from Edinburgh in
the early part of August, with improved health, the country air
having healed his hemorrhage. He took a hasty leave of his friends,
and set sail for Georgia, in the Antelope, Captain M'Lellan, taking
several orphans with him. He arrived at Savannah Oct. 27, and had
the happiness of finding the orphan-house in a prosperous condition.
Here, however, he did not stay long; as in November we hear of
him in his usual labors, and with his usual ardor engaged in his
constant work of preaching. Having formerly suffered much from the
climate of America in the summer, he determined again to embark for
London, which he did in April. We can scarcely trace his object in
this journey to and from America, except in some designs of the
government to place Georgia on a new footing.

In June, 1752, Mr. Whitefield was found in the society of the
Countess of Huntingdon at Bath, where he continued about three
weeks, preaching every evening to great numbers of the nobility.
Here he became acquainted with Mrs. Grinfield, a lady who attended
on the person of Queen Caroline. "One of Cæsar's household,"
he writes, "hath been lately awakened, through her ladyship's
instrumentality, and I hope others will meet with the like
blessing." He afterwards visited her at the palace of St. James,
and says, "The court, I believe, rings of her, and if she stands, I
trust she will make a glorious martyr for her blessed Lord."

The Moravians, or United Brethren, were at one period on terms of
very cordial friendship with the Messrs. Wesley and Whitefield. At
the time of which we are writing, a series of strange absurdities,
resembling the adoration of saints and other superstitions of
popery, developed themselves among members of that body, at the head
of which then stood Count Zinzendorf, to whom Whitefield wrote an
urgent remonstrance on the subject. An open separation took place,
and Mrs. Grinfield, the Rev. John Cennick, and some others, adhered
to the count, while Whitefield and Lady Huntingdon endeavored to
bring him back to what they believed the simplicity of the gospel.
Lady Huntingdon, speaking of her final interview with him, says,
"Our conference was long, and as the count honored me with his
company for a few days, was resumed at intervals, always closing
with a solemn scriptural prayer to our great and glorious Head,
for the illuminating influences of his Spirit to guide us into all
truth. We parted with the utmost cordiality."

"Dear Mr. Whitefield's letter," says Lady Huntingdon, "has much
grieved the count. But his remonstrance is faithful, and the awful
exposures he has reluctantly been forced to make, may be productive
of the highest good in opening the eyes of many to the miserable
delusions under which they lie."

A correspondence, indeed we may say friendship, had for years
existed between Whitefield and the eminent philosopher Dr. Benjamin
Franklin. The following, from a letter of Whitefield, August 17,
1752, shows his fidelity to the eminent citizen and statesman:
"I find you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As
you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries
of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent,
unprejudiced pursuit and study, the mystery of the new birth. It
is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will
richly answer and repay you for all your pains. One, at whose bar
we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared that, without it,
we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. You will excuse this
freedom. I must have _aliquid Christi_--something of Christ, in
all my letters." This honest letter ought to have delighted the
philosopher in his closet, even more than the eulogium he heard
while standing behind the bar of the House of Lords, when Earl
Chatham said of him, "Franklin is one whom Europe holds in high
estimation for his knowledge and wisdom; one who is an honor, not to
the English nation only, but to human nature."

In the course of the summer of 1752, and the following one,
Whitefield visited Scotland twice, and preached much also throughout
England and Wales. As usual, he greatly rejoiced in the presence
and service of God, and never appears to have been more happy than
in this period of his life. "Since I left Newcastle," he writes, "I
have scarcely known sometimes whether I have been in heaven or on
earth. Thousands and thousands flock twice or thrice a day to hear
the word of life. God favors us with weather, and I would fain make
hay while the sun shines. Oh that I had as many tongues as there are
hairs in my head. The ever-loving, ever-lovely Jesus should have
them all. Fain would I die preaching."

About this period also, Mr. Hervey and he were employed in revising
each other's manuscripts; the former was then preparing his "Theron
and Aspasio," a work which, though florid in its style, has been
eminently useful in conducting many of its readers to a saving
knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel. Of his friend's writings
Mr. Whitefield says, "For me to play the critic on them, would be
like holding up a candle to the sun. However, I will just mark a
few places, as you desire. I foretell their fate; nothing but your
scenery can screen you. Self will never bear to die, though slain
in so genteel a manner, without showing some resentment against its
artful murderer.... I thank you a thousand times for the trouble you
have been at in revising my poor compositions, which I am afraid you
have not treated with a becoming severity. How many pardons shall I
ask for mangling, and, I fear, murdering your 'Theron and Aspasio?'
If you think my two sermons will do for the public, pray return them
immediately. I have nothing to comfort me but this, that the Lord
chooses the weak things of this world to confound the strong, and
things that are not, to bring to naught things that are. I write for
the poor; you for the polite and noble. God will assuredly own and
bless what you write."

Whitefield was now also very busy in erecting his second London
Tabernacle, which he dedicated, June 10, 1753. We have, for the sake
of completing the narrative of its first building, already given in
our third chapter a statement of the second tabernacle, to which the
reader is referred.

Both the judgment and inclination of Mr. Whitefield concurred to
induce him to persevere in his itinerant course, correctly judging
that in this way he best employed his peculiar talents. After
preaching, therefore, with his usual fervor and success for a short
time in his newly erected Tabernacle, he again set out towards
Scotland, where he spent some days at Edinburgh and Glasgow, and
preached generally twice, sometimes three times a day, and once five
times. He says, "Attention sat upon all faces, and friends came
round like bees, importuning me to stay another week." This he found
too much for his strength, but still went forward, often expressing
his desire to serve his divine Master to the utmost limit of his
power, and his hopes to be with him soon in heaven. During this
journey, including his return to London, where he arrived the latter
end of September, he travelled about twelve hundred miles, and
preached one hundred and eighty times, to many thousands of hearers.

As converts increased in Bristol and its neighborhood, Mr.
Whitefield felt compelled to erect there also a "tabernacle." Lady
Huntingdon was one of the earliest contributors to this important
object, and through her influence Lord Chesterfield gave twenty
pounds to it. He had no taste for religion, but he well understood
oratory, and in his letter to Lady Huntingdon covering his
remittance, he said, "Mr. Whitefield's eloquence is unrivalled, his
zeal inexhaustible." The Earl of Bath sent fifty pounds, saying,
"Mocked and reviled as Mr. Whitefield is by all ranks of society,
still, I contend that the day will come when England will be just,
and own his greatness as a reformer, and his goodness as a minister
of the most high God."

The Tabernacle at Bristol was dedicated November 25, 1753, with a
sermon from Whitefield. Its history is one of deep interest. Its
early ministers were worthy of any age, but remarkably fitted for
that in which their lot was cast; men of pith and power, undismayed
at dangers, braving all kinds of difficulty and toil, and prepared
equally for labor and sufferings in the cause of their great Master.
Nor have later ministers dishonored their predecessors; the cause
still flourishes, and the hallowed house has been the birthplace of
many eminent Christians. What Whitefield then said of this house
might often be said of it now: "It is large, but not half large
enough; for if the place could contain them, nearly as many would
attend as in London." He always delighted in his visits to this
place, and laid here a foundation for vast benefits, even to the
present day. On one of his visits to preach here, he began a series
of sermons on the evening before the commencement of the fair. His
text was, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and
he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and
milk without money, and without price." Isa. 55:1. The congregation
was large, and thus he began: "My dear hearers, I fear that many of
you are come to attend Bristol fair. So am I. You do not mean to
show your goods until to-morrow; but I shall exhibit mine to-night.
You are afraid purchasers will not come up to your price; but I am
afraid my buyers will not come down to mine; for mine," striking his
hand on the Bible, "are 'without money, and without price.'"

After the dedication of this Bristol Tabernacle, Whitefield preached
in the open air in various parts of Somersetshire, at seven o'clock
at night. "My hands and body," says he, "were pierced with cold; but
what are outward things, when the soul is warmed with the love of
God? The stars shone with exceeding brightness; by an eye of faith
I saw Him who 'calleth them all by their names.' My soul was filled
with a holy ambition, and I longed to be one of those who 'shall
shine as the stars for ever and ever.'"

At this time he had a fine opportunity to show his Christian
attachment to his old friends. Mr. John Wesley had, by a series
of extraordinary labors, brought his life into great danger, and
Whitefield, hearing of this while at Bristol, wrote a sympathizing
letter to his brother Charles, in which he prays for the descending
garment of Elijah to rest on the surviving Elisha, and encloses
an ardent and solemn farewell to the invalid, who was supposed
to be dying. He says, "The news and prospect of your approaching
dissolution have quite weighed me down. I pity myself and the
church, but not you. A radiant throne awaits you, and ere long you
will enter into your Master's joy. Yonder he stands with a massy
crown, ready to put it on your head, amidst an admiring throng of
saints and angels. But I, poor I, that have been waiting for my
dissolution these nineteen years, must be left behind to grovel here
below. Well, this is my comfort, it cannot be long ere the chariots
will be sent even for worthless me. If prayers can detain you, even
you, reverend and very dear sir, shall not leave us yet. But if the
decree is gone forth that you must now sleep in Jesus, may he kiss
your soul away, and give you to die in the embraces of triumphant
love. If in the land of the living, I hope to pay my best respects
to you next week. If not, reverend and dear sir, farewell." He had
soon the satisfaction of witnessing the recovery of his friend, who
was to survive him more than twenty years.

We have already intimated that Whitefield used his influence in
Scotland in favor of the New Jersey college, located at Princeton.
In accordance with his advice, the friends of the college in this
country sent over the Rev. Samuel Davies, afterwards president of
the college, and the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, to promote its interests
in the British islands. A few extracts from the manuscript diary of
Davies, with the use of which we have been favored for this volume,
will show the readiness of Whitefield to labor, or to "be nothing,"
so that the cause of Christ might be advanced. The deputation
arrived in England in the closing month of 1753, and thus writes

"Wednesday, December 26. Mr. Whitefield having sent us an invitation
last night to make his house our home during our stay here, we
were perplexed what to do, lest we should blast the success of our
mission among the dissenters, who are generally disaffected to him.
We at length concluded, with the advice of our friends and his, that
a public intercourse with him would be imprudent, in our present
situation, and visited him privately this evening; and the kind
reception he gave us revived dear Mr. Tennent. He spoke in the most
encouraging manner as to the success of our mission. And in all
his conversation discovered so much zeal and candor, that I could
not but admire the man as the wonder of the age. When we returned,
Mr. Tennent's heart was all on fire, and after we had gone to bed,
he suggested that we should watch and pray; and we rose and prayed
together till about three o'clock in the morning.

"Jan. 1. Went in the evening to hear Mr. Whitefield in the
Tabernacle, a large, spacious building. The assembly was very
numerous, though not equal to what is common. He preached on the
parable of the barren fig-tree; and though the discourse was
incoherent, yet it seemed to me better calculated to do good to
mankind than all the accurate, languid discourses I ever heard.
After sermon I enjoyed his pleasing conversation at his house."

It would seem that Messrs. Davies and Tennent had their trials, as
well as their encouragements. Writing Jan. 14, Mr. Davies says,
"Spent an hour with Mr. Whitefield. He thinks we have not taken
the best method in endeavoring to keep in with all parties, but
should 'come out boldly,' as he expressed it, which would secure the
affections of the pious people, from whom we might expect the most
generous contributions." On the evening after this, they dined with
Whitefield at the house of a common friend, and he rejoiced in the
abundant success they afterwards met with from nearly all parties.

"Jan. 25. Dined with Mr. Bradbury, who has been in the ministry
about fifty-seven years. He read us some letters which passed
between Mr. Whitefield and him, _anno_ 1741; occasioned by Mr.
Whitefield's reproving him in a letter for singing a song in a
tavern, in a large company, in praise of old English beef. The old
gentleman sung it to us, and we found it was partly composed by
himself, in the high-flying days of Queen Anne. He is a man of a
singular turn, which would be offensive to the greatest number of
serious people; but for my part I could say,

    'I knew 'twas his peculiar whim,
     Nor took it ill, as't came from him.'"

In March, 1754, Whitefield, in company with twenty-two poor
destitute children, sailed the fifth time for America.




On this voyage to America, Whitefield sailed for South Carolina by
way of Lisbon. His health demanded repose; he thought that seeing
Popery as it is when unrestrained by public opinion, might be of use
to him in his future labors; and moreover, he had with him a number
of orphans whom he wished comfortably to settle at Bethesda before
he visited the northern provinces. It would be pleasant, if our
limits would allow it, to furnish the letters he wrote from Lisbon
during nearly four weeks, but a few sentences must suffice: "This
leaves me an inhabitant of Lisbon. We have now been here almost
a week, and I suppose shall stay a fortnight longer. A reputable
merchant has received me into his house, and every day shows me the
ecclesiastical curiosities of the country. O, my dear friend, bless
the Lord of all lords, for causing your lot to be cast in such a
fair ground as England, and giving you such a goodly heritage. It
is impossible to be sufficiently thankful for civil and religious
liberty, for simplicity of worship, and powerful preaching of the
word of God. O for simplicity of manners, and a correspondent
behavior. The air agrees with my poor constitution extremely well.
Through divine assistance; I hope what I see will also improve
my better part, and help to qualify me better for preaching the
everlasting gospel."

In another letter he writes, "Never did civil and religious liberty
appear to me in so amiable a light as now. What a spirit must Martin
Luther and the first reformers be endued with, that dared to appear
as they did for God. Lord, hasten that blessed time when others,
excited by the same spirit, shall perform like wonders. Oh, happy
England! Oh, happy Methodists, who are Methodists indeed! And all I
account such, who, being dead to sects and parties, aim at nothing
else but as holy a method of living to, and dying in the blessed

He was heartily glad to get away from Popish processions and
superstitious rites, and again to visit his "dear America."

Our evangelist arrived with his orphans at Beaufort, in South
Carolina, May 27, 1754, greatly improved in health, with a heart
burning with love and zeal for his Lord and Master. He says, with
his usual energy, "Oh that I may at length learn to begin to live.
I am ashamed of my sloth and lukewarmness, and long to be on the
stretch for God." His family now consisted, "black and white," of
one hundred and six members, all dependent on his personal efforts
and influence. He regarded his charge as a stewardship for God, and
collected accordingly, nothing doubting. It was now summer, and
besides the oppressive heat, "great thunders, violent lightnings,
and heavy rains" frequently beat upon him as he journeyed from
place to place. His health improved, and his spirits rose as he
advanced on his journey. At Charleston, and elsewhere, his labors
were received with the same degree of acceptance as formerly, and
he was much encouraged by the conversion of a clergyman, a faithful
successor to Mr. Smith of the city just named, and the first student
sent forth from Bethesda.

He arrived at New York, by water, July 27, and divided his labors
between that city and Philadelphia almost entirely for nearly two
months. In the latter city, he tells us, he was seized with violent
_cholera morbus_, and brought to the gates of death. To use his own
words, he "had all his cables out, ready to cast anchor within the
port of eternity;" but he was soon "at sea again," although only
able to preach once a day for some time. "Everywhere," he says, "a
divine power accompanied the word, prejudices were removed, and a
more effectual door opened than ever for preaching the gospel." When
he looked at "the glorious range for hunting in the American woods,"
he was at a loss on which hand to turn.... "Affection, intense
affection cries aloud, Away to New England, _dear_ New England,
immediately. Providence, and the circumstances of the southern
provinces, point directly to Virginia."

While thus undecided, he visited his old friend Governor Belcher,
then governor of New Jersey, and residing at Elizabeth town. He
found the good old man ripening for heaven, willing to depart and to
be with Christ. At this time the commencement of New Jersey college
was held, and as a mark of their respect, the president and trustees
conferred on him the honorary degree of master of arts. The meeting
of the synod immediately followed, respecting which body he says,
"I was much refreshed with the company of the whole synod; such a
number of simple-hearted, united ministers I never saw before. I
preached to them several times, and the great Master of assemblies
was in the midst of us."

Influenced by what he saw and heard in New Jersey, Whitefield
determined to go to New England, and to return from thence by
Virginia to Georgia, and made his arrangements accordingly; it would
comprise a circuit of more than two thousand miles, but he said,
"The Redeemer's strength will be more than sufficient."

It has been thought that it was during this visit of Whitefield
to New Jersey, and probably at the table of Governor Belcher,
that he dined in company with a number of ministers, and held the
often-reported conversation with "Father Tennent." After dinner,
Mr. Whitefield adverted to the difficulties attending the Christian
ministry; lamented that all their zeal availed but little; said that
he was weary with the burden of the day; and declared his great
comfort in the thought, that in a short time his work would be done,
when he should depart and be with Christ. He then appealed to the
ministers, if it was not their great comfort that they should soon
go to rest. They generally assented, except Mr. Tennent, who sat
next to Mr. Whitefield in silence, and by his countenance indicated
but little pleasure in the conversation.

Seeing this, Mr. Whitefield, gently tapping him on the knee, said,
"Well, brother Tennent, you are the oldest man among us; do you not
rejoice to think that your time is so near at hand, when you will
be called home?" Mr. Tennent bluntly answered, "I have no wish about
it." Mr. Whitefield pressed him again. Mr. Tennent again answered,
"No, sir, it is no pleasure to me at all; and if you knew your
duty, it would be none to you. I have nothing to do with death; my
business is to live as long as I can, as well as I can, until He
shall think proper to call me home." Mr. Whitefield still urged for
an explicit answer to his question, in case the time of death were
left to his own choice. Mr. Tennent replied, "I have no choice about
it; I am God's servant, and have engaged to do his business as long
as he pleases to continue me therein. But now, brother, let me ask
you a question. What do you think I should say, if I was to send my
servant into the field to plough; and if at noon I should go to the
field, and find him lounging under a tree, and complaining, 'Master,
the sun is very hot, and the ploughing hard; I am weary of the work
you have appointed me, and am overdone with the heat and burden of
the day. Do, master, let me return home, and be discharged from this
hard service?' What should I say? Why, that he was a lazy fellow,
and that it was his business to do the work that I had appointed
him, until I should think fit to call him home."

Accompanied by President Burr, Whitefield set out, October 1, for
Boston, and arrived there on the 9th. Here he stayed a week, and
saw there, morning after morning, three or four thousand people
hanging in breathless silence on his lips, and weeping silent tears.
Whitefield himself calls it "a lovely scene," and says he "never
saw a more effectual door opened for the gospel. Sinners have been
awakened, saints quickened, and enemies made at peace with me.
Grace, grace! Surely my coming here was of God. Convictions _do_
fasten, and many souls are comforted." Such were the crowds at the
early sermons, that in order to reach the pulpit, he had to get
in at the windows of the churches. In a letter to the Countess of
Huntingdon, he wrote, "In Boston, the tide ran full as high as ever
your ladyship knew it at Edinburgh, or in any part of Scotland."

While at Boston, Whitefield heard with much pleasure of the
appointment of his friend Habersham as secretary to the new governor
of Georgia, and wrote to him, "I wish you joy of your new honor.
May the King of kings enable you to discharge your trust as becomes
a good patriot, subject, and Christian. You have now a call, I
think, to retire from business, and to give up your time to the
public." Our evangelist travelled north as far as Portsmouth, in
New Hampshire, generally preaching two or three times a day, till
November 7, when he took his farewell at Boston, at four o'clock in
the morning. Speaking of this journey, he says, "What have I seen?
Dagon falling everywhere before the ark; enemies silenced, or made
to own the finger of God; and the friends of Jesus triumphing in
his glorious conquests. A hundredth part cannot be told. We had
scarcely one dry meeting." When he arrived in the neighborhood of
Portsmouth, the northern boundary of his journey, he was overwhelmed
with humility as well as joy, by the large cavalcade which came out
to meet and welcome him. He says of them, "They were too many;" and
of this northern journey, "It seems to me the most important one I
was ever engaged in."

Of no portion of Whitefield's life are we so ignorant as of the
journey he now made from New England to the South. Journal, letters,
historians, and newspapers alike fail us. Gillies tells us only that
from Boston he "proceeded to Rhode Island, and went onward through
Maryland and Virginia, with a prospect so pleasing, that he lamented
he had not come sooner. The whole country seemed eager to hear the
gospel, many coming forty or fifty miles, and a spirit of conviction
and consolation appeared in every congregation. Prejudices seemed
to have fled; churches were opened to him; high and low, rich and
poor, now seemed to think favorably of his ministrations; and
many acknowledged what God had done for their souls through his
preaching, when he was there before." It scarcely appears probable
that he went from Rhode Island to Maryland by water; but if he
did not, he must have passed through New York, New Jersey, and
Philadelphia, and we feel somewhat of surprise that no records of
the journey appear to have been preserved.

Dr. Franklin relates a very characteristic anecdote of Mr.
Whitefield, which probably occurred in Philadelphia or its
neighborhood at a period not later than this. "The eloquent orator"
was preaching in an open field, when a drummer was present, who
was determined to interrupt the preacher, and rudely beat his drum
in a violent manner, in order to drown his voice. Whitefield spoke
very loud, but could not make so much noise as the instrument.
He therefore called out to the drummer, "Friend, you and I serve
the two greatest masters existing, but in different callings. You
beat up for volunteers for King George, I for the Lord Jesus: in
God's name, then, let us not interrupt each other; the world is
wide enough for both, and we may get recruits in abundance." This
speech had such an effect on the drummer, that he went away in great
good-humor, and left the preacher in full possession of the field.

Virginia, alike from the success of his former labors there, and
from the general characteristics of the people, must have presented
a scene of intense interest to Whitefield at this time. Everywhere
great preparations were made for his coming, and large congregations
assembled to hear him. It is said, that on one occasion, as he was
speaking on the banks of one of the rivers of this noble province,
and spoke of the strength of human depravity, and the insufficiency
of the means of grace to convert the sinner without the influence
of the Holy Spirit: "Sinners," said he, "think not that I expect to
convert a single soul of you by any thing that I can say, without
the assistance of Him who is 'mighty to save.' Go and stand by that
river, as it moves on its strong and deep current to the ocean, and
bid it stop, and see if it will obey you. Just as soon should I
expect to stop that river by a word, as by my preaching to stop that
current of sin which is carrying you to perdition. Father in heaven,
see! they are hurried on towards hell; save them, or they perish!"
The impression which this address produced on his hearers was so
strong, that they were ready to respond with trembling, "Save,
Lord; we perish!"

Whitefield must have been highly gratified on reaching Charleston,
in attending the ordination of the young minister there, his first
student from Bethesda, of whom we have already spoken as succeeding
Mr. Smith; and not less would he rejoice that one of the actors
at the Charleston theatre had been "snatched as a brand from the

Though we have not the exact date of his arrival at Savannah, we
know that he remained there but a very short time. His health
again declined, his former vomitings returned with violence, and
his animal spirits failed with his strength. In February, 1755, we
again find him at Charleston; and in the latter end of March, he
embarked for England, arriving, after a comparatively short voyage,
at Newhaven, in Sussex, May the eighth.

Two strong impressions were made on the mind of Whitefield as he now
looked on his native land. The first was that of grief on account of
its condition. Nothing less than war with France was daily expected,
for the French threatened to invade Britain, and were constantly
making encroachments on her American colonies. "At this time," he
says, "next to Jesus Christ, my king and my country were upon my
heart, I hope I shall always think it my duty, next to inviting
sinners to the blessed Jesus, to exhort my hearers to resist the
first approaches of popish tyranny and arbitrary power. O that we
may be enabled to watch and pray against all the opposition of
antichrist in our own hearts; for, after all, there lies the most
dangerous man of sin." His second feeling was one of holy joy; for
during his absence the preaching of the gospel had been abundantly
successful. He writes, "Glory be to the great Head of the church!
The poor despised Methodists are as lively as ever; and in several
churches the gospel is now preached with power. Many in Oxford are
awakened to the knowledge of the truth; and I have heard almost
every week of some fresh minister or another, who seems 'determined
to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.'"

At the Tabernacle in London, as might be expected, Whitefield
enjoyed what he terms "golden seasons;" but by this time not a few
of the London clergy had begun to preach Christ with holy fidelity;
and as this was the principal thing he desired, he says his "call to
go abroad was still more clear." Indeed, so little did he now esteem
London as a sphere of labor, and so much did he regard places by the
amount of their destitution, that he wished at once to return to
America, without ranging through England or Scotland. Hence he says,
"Methinks I could set out for America to-morrow, though I have not
yet entered upon my country range."

But if he loved America most, England loved herself more, and he
was drawn again into Gloucestershire and Bristol. He went also, at
the request of Lady Huntingdon, to dedicate the new Tabernacle at
Norwich, to which we have already referred. At this last place,
he says, August 30, 1755, "Notwithstanding offences have come,
there has been a glorious work begun, and is now carrying on. The
polite and great seem to hear with much attention; and I scarcely
ever preached a week together with greater freedom." For a long
period the work of God abundantly prospered in connection with this
"Tabernacle." Two years after its dedication, the Hon. and Rev.
Walter Shirley preached some time in it, and had eight hundred
communicants in fellowship, and he said of them, "Their experience,
lives, and conversation are so excellent, that there is nothing like
it in the whole kingdom."

On Whitefield's return to London, there were those who urgently
entreated him to engage in a new controversy with the Messrs.
Wesley, some of whose followers had been jealous of his success at
Norwich. He declined, with his common remark, "I have no time for
controversy," and reserved what he had to say till he could see them
"face to face," simply writing to assure them that he had no party
designs on foot.

Very soon after this, he set out for his northern circuit; and
wonderfully indeed did the Lord grant him success. One thing,
however, on this journey grieved him. His friends at Leeds, without
his knowledge, had built a large church edifice. He saw at once,
that this circumstance would create an "awful separation among
the societies" formed by the Messrs. Wesley and his own friends;
and lost no time in writing to those ministers, that they might
endeavor to prevent a breach. Both the plan and the spirit of this
undertaking so grieved him, that he exclaimed, "Oh this self-love,
this self-will, is the _devil of devils_." This he wrote to Lady
Huntingdon, a proof that party was not their object; and it is
pleasant to add, that Whitefield's fears were groundless. Leeds,
even then, contained population sufficient to fill both houses,
and the whole movement "fell out rather to the furtherance of the
gospel." During two months he preached twice, and some days three
times, to greater numbers than ever before, inviting them to Christ,
and "exhorting them to pray for King George, and the dear friends
in America." He heard at this time, that the American ladies were
making the soldiers' coats; and he immediately wrote to urge his own
female friends in the new world to be "some of the most active in
this labor of love."

Though Mr. Whitefield stood very high in the esteem of that class
of ministers who embraced his views of evangelical truth, and who
approved the plans he pursued for the evangelization of the world,
they never considered him perfect, nor were some of them backward,
when they deemed it needful, to reprove him. In a sermon he once
preached in Haworth church, Yorkshire, of which his friend Grimshaw
was the minister, having spoken severely of those professors of the
gospel who, by their loose and evil conduct, caused the ways of
truth to be evil spoken of, he intimated his hope, that it was not
necessary to enlarge much on that topic to the congregation before
him, who had so long enjoyed the labors of an able and faithful
preacher; and he was willing to believe that their profiting
appeared to all men. This latter expression roused Mr. Grimshaw's
spirit, and notwithstanding his great regard for the preacher, he
stood up and interrupted him, saying, with a loud voice, "O sir,
for God's sake, do not speak so; I pray you, do not flatter. I fear
the greater part of them are going to hell with their eyes open."

Notwithstanding the astonishing labors of Whitefield on this
tour, he returned to London apparently in full flesh, and was
congratulated by his friends on his improved appearance. Alas, all
this, as he well knew, was disease, which indeed very soon became
apparent. He was seized with inflammatory sore throat, that was
followed by quinsy, assuming an almost fatal aspect. One physician
prescribed silence and warmth, and the preacher "promised to be
very obedient," but a few days afterwards, another recommended a
perpetual blister: this proposal roused him, and he determined to
try his own remedy--perpetual preaching. The remedy itself was
painful, but he said, "When this grand catholicon fails, it is
all over with me." At this time the sad news of the earthquake at
Lisbon arrived in London; he was unable to preach on the subject,
but when told of it he said, "Blessed be God, I am ready; I know
that my Redeemer liveth. Oh that all in Portugal had known this!
Then an earthquake would only be a _rumbling_ chariot to carry the
soul to God. Poor Lisbon, how soon are thy riches and superstitious
pageantry swallowed up!"

In the winter of 1755-6, he was applied to to preach in the vicinity
of the two great theatres, which he began to do in Long Acre chapel.
Disturbances took place, and the Bishop of London interposed to stop
him. In the end he erected Tottenham Court-road chapel, as already
detailed in our third chapter.

Mr. Whitefield's ministry in London at this time was still
successful. Thousands hung on his lips with delight, not a few of
whom were won to the service of Christ. He tells us, among many
similar facts, of the conversion of a Mr. Crane, who was afterwards
appointed steward of the orphan-house in Georgia. This gentleman
had one evening determined to visit the theatre, and set out
for Drury-lane; that house being crowded, he resolved to go to
Covent-garden; that also being so full that he could not obtain
admittance, he changed his plan, and resolved on being entertained
with one of Whitefield's sermons, and hastened to Tottenham
Court-road chapel. It pleased God to impress the word on his heart,
and he became an eminent Christian. So truly is the prediction
verified, "I am found of them who sought me not."

During this year he published "A Short Address to Persons of all
Denominations, occasioned by an Alarm of an intended Invasion."
We have examined it, and not without pleasure. It is a faithful
exposure of Popery and its bitter fruits.

It is a charge often preferred against the faithful ministers of
Christ, by those whose consciences testify to their own guilt,
that they are _personal_ in their remarks, and mean to censure
particular individuals. It is certain that this was often done by
Mr. Whitefield, and sometimes with very happy effect. He once drew,
from the conduct of his female servant, the picture of a Christian
failing in his duty, which painfully distressed her, till he gave
her an assurance of his entire forgiveness.

Nor was this the only time when his hearers were compelled to
feel, "he means _me_." The celebrated comedian, Shuter, had a great
personal regard for Mr. Whitefield, and not unfrequently attended
his ministry. At one period of his popularity he was acting in
a drama under the character of _Ramble_. During the run of the
performance, he attended service at Tottenham Court chapel, and was
seated in a pew exactly opposite the pulpit. Mr. Whitefield on that
occasion gave full vent to his feelings, and in his own energetic
manner invited sinners to the Saviour. While doing this, fixing his
eye full on Shuter, he added, "And thou, poor _Ramble_, who hast
long rambled from him, come also. Oh, end your rambling by coming
to Jesus." Shuter was exceedingly struck, and going afterwards to
Whitefield, he said, "I thought I should have fainted; how could you
serve me so?"

In the early part of 1756, Whitefield was engaged in London,
preaching and collecting for the poor not only at Bethesda, but
also for the French Protestants. At the Tabernacle, a man came up
to him in the pulpit, threatening his life, and handing him three
anonymous letters denouncing sudden and certain death, unless he
ceased to preach and to pursue the offenders by law. One of these
letters Whitefield sent to the government, who at once offered a
reward, and his majesty's pardon, to any one who would discover
the writer. While this fact gratified, it also embarrassed him. He
wrote to Lady Huntingdon, "My greatest distress is to act so as to
avoid rashness on the one hand, and timidity on the other." For his
own sake, he would not have cared about the matter; but looking at
it as connected with the cause of civil and religious freedom, he
wisely allowed the law to take its course at the hazard of his own
life by assassination. Agreeably with the advice of the government,
he carried the whole affair into the court of the King's Bench; this
alarmed the offenders, and the annoyance ceased.

We next find him at Bristol, but not to rest, though the labors
and anxieties of the winter and spring had nearly worn out his
strength and spirits. Here he preached as usual, and then returned
to London. During this journey he preached in several places
in Gloucestershire, his native county, and in Bradford, Frome,
Warminster, and Portsmouth, spending about three months in the tour.

In the county which gave Whitefield birth, is still to be seen
a chair on which he often sat, and on which may be yet read the
following lines:

    "If love of souls should e'er be wanting here,
     Remember me, for I am Whitefield's chair;
     I bore his weight, was witness to his fears,
     His earnest prayers, his interesting tears.
     His holy soul was fired with love divine:
     If thine be such, sit down and call me _thine_."

A very few weeks passed, and we find him in Kent. In a letter
written July 27, after his visit to that county, he says, "The
gospel flourishes in London. I am just returned from preaching at
Sheerness, Chatham, and in the camp." On the next day he set off
towards Scotland. On August 14, he writes from Sunderland, "How
swiftly doth my precious time pass away! It is now a fortnight since
I came to Leeds, in and about which I preached eight days, thrice
almost every day, to thronged and affected auditories. On Sunday
last at Bradford, in the morning, the auditory consisted of about
ten thousand; at noon and in the evening, at Birstal, to nearly
double the number. Though hoarse, I was helped to speak so that all
heard. Next morning I took a sorrowful leave of Leeds, preached at
Doncaster at noon, and at York the same night. On Wednesday, at
Warstall, about fifty miles off; on Thursday, twice at Yarm; and
last night and this morning, here." Wherever he labored, he heard
of the good effects of his preaching in those places last year, and
was constantly finding "many trophies of redeeming love." Such was
the effect of the two sermons he preached at Birstal, that "several
hundreds rode eight miles with him in the evening, singing and
praising God."

In a day or two after this, we find him at Edinburgh and Glasgow,
preaching, as usual, to vast crowds, and with his accustomed
success. At the former places especially, even politicians gave him
a cordial welcome, and thronged to hear him, while the newspapers
applauded him for his spirit-stirring exposures of "Popish
tyranny and arbitrary power." He preached twice every day in the
Orphan-hospital park, and blended with almost every sermon rousing
appeals to the Protestantism, courage, and loyalty of the Scotch.
At the close of one of his sermons he pleaded the cause of the poor
Highlanders, and collected at its close about three hundred dollars.

On his way back to London, Whitefield held a peculiarly solemn
and refreshing meeting with his friends at Leeds; and after it,
he braced his nerves by a tour of _mountain preaching_ in company
with his friend Grimshaw. But it was now late in October, and
as he found "these cold countries bringing on his last year's
disorder," and having, as he significantly says, "grown very
prudent," he returned to London, and dedicated Tottenham Court-road
church edifice. Another errand also had taken him to that city.
The new governor of Georgia had sent for him, to consult with him
before sailing to that colony. Whitefield met him, and was so much
delighted with him, that he wrote off to Bethesda to prepare them
for a _state_ visit. He says, "Waited upon his excellency, and gave
him, and all whom he pleases to bring, an invitation to Bethesda.
Dear Mrs. C---- will make proper provision." He went even farther,
and proposed that the governor, if possible, should be received at
Bethesda with military honors.

The success of his new house of worship in Tottenham Court-road
showed the necessity and propriety of its erection on that spot.
Several persons of distinction came, and engaged permanent seats;
and the place was often so crowded, that hundreds were unable to
obtain admission. It was now usual with him to preach about fifteen
times every week, which, with a weak appetite, want of rest, and
much care upon his mind, greatly enfeebled him. He writes, "But the
joy of the Lord is my strength; and my greatest grief is, that I can
do no more for Him who hath done and suffered so much for me."

In the following year, 1757, Whitefield planned another journey to
Scotland, at the time the general assembly of the church was held.
Before leaving London, he had placed the affairs of his projected
college in the hands of Lord Halifax, and he now seems to have
hoped that this journey to Scotland would have promoted that object,
as well as others. It is said, that about a hundred ministers at a
time attended his sermons, thirty of whom invited him to a public
entertainment. Lord Cathcart, his majesty's commissioner to the
assembly, also invited him to his own table. Whitefield says that he
preached "just fifty times" on this visit, which extended to about a

From Scotland he went, in June, as we have seen, to Ireland, and
enjoyed, in the midst of no small persecution, much preaching, and
much success. On his return to London, he found that the governor
of Georgia had visited Bethesda, and promised to communicate
his sentiments to Lord Halifax, "concerning its being enlarged
into a college;" but the pressure of public affairs hindered his
application to the government. Bad news arrived from America, "about
the fleet," and therefore Whitefield kept a fast-day at his houses
of worship.

The health of our evangelist now sadly failed. He was brought to
live on the "short allowance of preaching but once a day, and thrice
on the Sunday;" very "short allowance" for _him_. Once, however, he
broke through the restraint, and preached three times on the success
of the king of Prussia; which, he says, "somewhat _recovered_" him,
after he had been for a week at the gates of the grave. He was not
able this winter to attempt what he considered great things; but
Tottenham Court was his _Bethel_, as he called it. This house was
then surrounded by a beautiful piece of ground, and he formed the
plan of building on it an almshouse for "twelve godly widows,"
as a "standing monument that the Methodists were not against good
works." This charity he soon carried into effect. His thoughts,
however, were not confined to home. Although broken down in health
and spirits, by weakness and want of rest, he watched the affairs of
Prussia with intense interest, and assured the German Protestants,
through Professor Francke, that "we looked on their distresses as
our own."

In the spring of 1758, he laid the foundation-stone of his
almshouse, and in June of the same year began to select its inmates.
Pointing to these houses, some years afterwards, he said to a
gentleman who was visiting him, "Those are my redoubts. The prayers
of the poor women who reside in them, protect me in my house."
Having arranged for the supply of his London pulpits, Whitefield
went into the west of England, and proceeded from thence into Wales.
But his health was so feeble, that he could not bear to drive, nor
even ride in a one-horse chaise. The roads were rough, and riding
shook him nearly to pieces. "Every thing," he says, "wearies this
shattered bark now." A friend purchased for him a close chaise,
advancing the money until he could conveniently repay it. He
deeply felt this kindness, because by no other means could he have
itinerated. "I would not," he says, "lay out a single farthing but
for my blessed Master; but it is inconceivable what I have undergone
these three weeks. _I never was so before._ O for a _hearse_ to
carry my weary carcass to the wished for grave." During all this
tour he was unable to sit up in company even once; yet he often
preached to ten or fifteen thousand people, and made their "tears
flow like water from the rock." His views of himself at this time
were more than usually humble. He said to Lady Huntingdon, "Oh, I
am sick--sick in body, but infinitely more so in mind, to see so
much dross in my soul. Blessed be God, there is One who will sit as
a refiner's fire, to purify the sons of Levi. I write out of the
burning bush. Christ is there; Christ is there!"

Among the many illustrations of Scripture which Whitefield often
introduced into his sermons, one is truly worthy of record.
Preaching from the words, "Wherefore, glorify ye the Lord in the
fires," Isa. 24:15, he says, "When I was, some years ago, at
Shields, I went into a glass-house, and standing very attentively,
I saw several masses of burning glass of various forms. The workman
took one piece of glass, and put it into one furnace, then he put
it into a second, and then into a third. I asked him, 'Why do you
put that into so many fires?' He answered me, 'Oh, sir, the first
was not hot enough, nor the second, and therefore we put it into the
third, and that will make it transparent.' 'Oh,' thought I, 'does
this man put this glass into one furnace after another, that it
may be rendered perfect? Oh, my God, put me into one furnace after
another, that my soul may be transparent, that I may see God as he

In the month of July, Whitefield again set out for Scotland,
preaching on his way in many pulpits, including "Bishop Bunyan's,"
as he used to call him, at Bedford, Berridge's at Everton, and
Doddridge's at Northampton. Four Episcopal clergymen lent him their
pulpits. His health received, for some time, little benefit, so that
he sometimes feared he must return. But he adds, "Through divine
strength, I hope to go forward; and shall strive, as much as in me
lies, to die in this glorious work." He preached and collected in
Scotland with his accustomed energy and success, and returned to
London with his health somewhat renovated. This year he lost by
death some of his earliest and warmest friends, including Hervey in
England, and Presidents Burr and Edwards, and Governor Belcher, in
America. Such removals gave him also "a desire to depart," but his
work on earth was not yet done.

Three principal facts connected with our evangelist may be said to
mark the year 1759. One was, that he had the satisfaction to clear
off all his debts for the orphan-house. "Bethesda's God," he writes,
"lives for ever, and is faithful and all-sufficient." He longed
again to visit America, but several difficulties intervened for the

A second event which marked the year, was another journey to
Scotland. He complains in his letters, that though his congregations
at Edinburgh and Glasgow were never more numerous and attentive,
yet, with respect to the power of religion, it was a dead time in
Scotland, in comparison with London and several other parts of
England. His presence in Scotland, however, at this time was very
important, especially in collecting for his orphan-house and the
Highland Society for the support of children. Many Scottish soldiers
were now in America, which greatly increased the interest felt in
every thing relating to it.

In this year, 1759, Mr. Whitefield also for the first time
visited Brighthelmstone, now called Brighton, a very fashionable
watering-place, where George IV. afterwards, while regent, built a
tawdry tasteless palace. The preacher's first sermon was delivered
under a tree in a field behind the White Lion inn. Among his
congregation on that day was a young man named Tuppen, about
eighteen years of age. He had been educated by a pious mother in
the strict observance of the external parts of religion, but was
entirely destitute of its power. He attended not so much from
curiosity, as from the intention to insult and interrupt the
preacher. He tells us, "I had therefore provided myself with stones
in my pocket, if opportunity offered, to pelt the preacher; but
I had not heard long, before the stone was taken out of my heart
of flesh; and then the other stones, with shame and weeping, were
dropped one by one out upon the ground." The words, "Turn ye, turn
ye," became the means of turning him from sin to God. Mr. Tuppen
became an excellent Christian minister, and labored as a pastor for
some years in Portsmouth. He then removed to the city of Bath, where
he originated a congregation, and built a house for public worship.
He was succeeded in this important sphere by the late distinguished
William Jay, who labored there for about sixty-four years.

Such was the prosperity attendant on the efforts of Messrs.
Whitefield, Madan, Romaine, Berridge, Venn, and Fletcher, at
Brighton, that Lady Huntingdon felt it her duty to erect a church
edifice there, and being unable to do it in any other way, sold her
jewels to the amount of nearly three thousand five hundred dollars.
The cause still flourishes there, and very many have been turned to

While Whitefield's ministry at the Tabernacle was at its height of
popularity, Foote, a comedian of eminent talent for mimicry, who
was frequently in difficulties on account of his love of ridicule,
by which indeed his life was shortened, employed his wit to bring
the distinguished preacher into contempt. One of his biographers
says, that "very pressing embarrassments in his affairs compelled
him to bring out his comedy of '_The Minor_,' in 1760, to ridicule
Methodism, which, though successful, gave great offence, and was at
last suppressed." Of this miserable piece of buffoonery, it may be
enough to say, that Foote, and the agents employed at the Tabernacle
and Tottenham Court-road chapel to collect materials from Whitefield
for the accomplishment of their object, were so disgracefully
ignorant of the inspired writings, as not to know that what they
took for Mr. Whitefield's peculiar language was that of the word of

Lady Huntingdon interposed in the matter, first with the Lord
Chamberlain, by whose license alone any play could then be performed
in London, and then with Mr. Garrick, the latter of whom assured her
that he would use his influence to exclude it, and added, that had
he been aware of the offence it was adapted to give, it should never
have appeared with his concurrence. The representation of this piece
of mummery, as might have been expected, considerably increased
Whitefield's popularity, and brought thousands of new persons to
hear the gospel: thus Providence gave him the victory over his

To report the sicknesses, the labors, and the successes of
Whitefield from this time to that of his sixth embarkation for
America, would be little more than a repetition of the past. Suffice
it to say, that in England, and in Scotland, he labored amid much
ill-health, and surrounded with many dangers; but at length, having
found an Episcopal clergyman, the Rev. John Berridge, a man of
somewhat eccentric manners, but of great learning, of eminent piety,
and of burning zeal, who was willing to labor for a time in London,
Whitefield set sail in the ship Fanny, Captain Archibald Galbraith,
bound from Greenock to Virginia, June 1, 1763, and arrived at
Rappahannock, after a tedious, but otherwise pleasant voyage of
about twelve weeks, in the last week of August.




Whitefield was now for the sixth time in America. He was twelve
weeks on the voyage; but though tedious, it had done him good. "I
enjoyed," he says, "that quietness which I have in vain sought after
for some years on shore." Owing to the violence of his asthma, he
had set sail "with but little hopes of farther public usefulness;"
but after being six weeks at sea, he wrote to a friend, "Who knows
but our latter end may _yet_ increase? If not in public usefulness,
Lord Jesus, let it be in heart-holiness. I know who says Amen. I
add, Amen and amen."

On his arrival in Virginia, Whitefield was surrounded by many
Christian friends, the fruits of his former labors in that colony,
but whom he had not hitherto known. It was with great difficulty,
however, that he preached to them; for though his general health
was better, his breathing was very bad. The months of September,
October, and November, he spent in Philadelphia. He says, "Here are
some young bright witnesses rising up in the church. Perhaps I have
already conversed with forty _new creature_ ministers of various
denominations. Sixteen popular students, I am credibly informed,
were converted in New Jersey college last year. What an open door if
I had strength! Last Tuesday we had a remarkable season among the
Lutherans; children and grown people were much impressed." Ill as he
was, he preached twice a week, and with his usual success.

He intensely desired at this time to visit Georgia, but was
absolutely prohibited by his physicians, till he had recovered his
strength. In the end of November, therefore, he passed over into New
Jersey, visiting the college, and Elizabethtown. He tells us that
at the college he had "four sweet seasons." His spirits rose at the
sight of the young soldiers who were to fight when he had fallen. It
was now winter, and "cold weather and a warm heart" put him in good
spirits, so that he was able to preach three times a week.

A young man, a member of the college, hearing that Whitefield was
to preach in the neighborhood, and being more than a little anxious
to ascertain whether he really deserved all the celebrity he
enjoyed, went to hear him. The day was very rainy, and the audience
was small; the preacher, accustomed to address thousands, did not
feel his powers called forth as at other times. After having heard
about one-third part of the sermon, the young man said to himself,
"The man is not so great a wonder after all--quite commonplace and
superficial--nothing but show, and not a great deal of that;" and
looking round upon the audience, he saw that they appeared about as
uninterested as usual, and that old father ----, who sat directly
in front of the pulpit, and who always went to sleep after hearing
the text and plan of the sermon, was enjoying his accustomed nap.
About this time, Whitefield stopped. His face went rapidly through
many changes, till it looked more like a rising thunder-cloud than
any thing else; and beginning very deliberately, he said, "If I had
come to speak to you in my own name, you might rest your elbows upon
your knees, and your heads upon your hands, and sleep; and once in a
while look up and say, 'What does the babbler talk of?' But I have
not come to you in my own name. No; I have come to you in the name
of the Lord God of hosts, and"--here he brought down his hand and
foot at once, so as to make the whole house ring--"and I must, and
will be heard." Every one in the house started, and old father ----
among the rest. "Aye, aye," continued the preacher, looking at him,
"I have waked you up, have I? I meant to do it. I am not come here
to preach to stocks and stones; I have come to you in the name of
the Lord God of hosts, and I must, and I will have an audience." The
congregation was fully aroused, and the remaining part of the sermon
produced a considerable effect.

From New Jersey, Whitefield passed on to New York, where he says,
"Such a flocking of all ranks I never saw before at New York....
Prejudices have most strangely subsided. The better sort flock as
eagerly as the common people, and are fond of coming for private
gospel conversation. Congregations continue very large, and I trust
saving impressions are made upon many." Such also was his influence
as a philanthropist, that though prejudices ran high against the
Indians, on account of a threatened insurrection in the south, he
collected about six hundred dollars for Dr. Wheelock's Indian school
at Lebanon, Conn., which he soon after visited with much pleasure.

An extract of a letter from New York, dated Jan. 23, 1754, which
appeared in the Boston Gazette, may show the esteem in which he was
held: "The Rev. George Whitefield has spent seven weeks with us,
preaching twice a week, with more general approbation than ever; and
has been treated with great respect by many of the gentlemen and
merchants of this place. During his stay he preached two charity
sermons, the one on the occasion of the annual collection for the
poor, in which double the sum was collected that ever was upon the
like occasion; the other was for the benefit of Mr. Wheelock's
Indian school at Lebanon, for which he collected, notwithstanding
the present prejudices of many people against the Indians, the sum
of one hundred and twenty pounds. In his last sermon, he took a very
affectionate leave of the people of this city, who expressed great
concern at his departure. May God restore this great and good man,
in whom the gentleman, the Christian, and accomplished orator shine
forth with such peculiar lustre, to a perfect state of health, and
continue him long a blessing to the world and the church of Christ."

Leaving New York, he visited and preached, as far as his strength
would allow, at Easthampton Bridge, Hampton, and Southhold, on
Long Island; at Shelter Island, and at New London, Norwich, and

Whitefield arrived at Boston in the end of February, 1764, and was
welcomed by multitudes with cordial affection; and again he saw "the
Redeemer's stately steps in the great congregation." Boston at that
time was visited with small-pox, and Whitefield therefore devoted
much of his labor to the adjacent towns. Writing from Concord, he
says, "How would you have been delighted to have seen Mr. Wheelock's
Indians. Such a promising nursery of future missionaries, I believe,
was never seen in New England before. Pray encourage it with all
your might." About two months after his arrival in Boston, his
illness returned, but did not long prevent him from preaching, and
the people still flocked in crowds to hear him. He left Boston for
the south; but messengers were sent to entreat his return, and
especially urged him to renew his six o'clock morning lecture. He
did return, but was now unable to preach at the early hour they
desired; he appeared, however, in the pulpit for some time on
three occasions in the week, and such was the number of converts
discovered, that after he had left it was proposed to send him a
book filled with their names, as desiring his return.

We ought to have said, that according to the Boston Gazette,
about the time of the arrival of Whitefield, "at a meeting of the
freeholders and other inhabitants of the town of Boston, it was
unanimously voted that the thanks of the town be given to the Rev.
George Whitefield, for his charitable care and pains in collecting
a considerable sum of money in Great Britain for the distressed
sufferers by the great fire in Boston, 1760. A respectable committee
was appointed to wait on Mr. Whitefield, to inform him of the vote,
and present him with a copy thereof."

Notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of his friends, he left
Boston in the early part of June. On the first of that month he
wrote, "Friends have even constrained me to stay here, for fear of
running into the summer's heat. Hitherto I find the benefit of it.
Whatever it is owing to, through mercy, I am much better in health
than I was this time twelve months, and can preach thrice a week to
very large auditories without hurt; and every day I hear of some
brought under concern. This is all of grace."

Sorrowfully parting from his friends at Boston, Whitefield left them
for New York by way of New Haven. Here he preached to the students,
and had taken his leave of them; but such was the impression he had
made on their minds, that they requested the president to go after
him, to entreat for another "quarter of an hour's exhortation." He
complied with the request, and the effect was what he called "the
_crown_ of the expedition." He continued at New York till the end of
August. While there he writes, "At present my health is better than
usual, and as yet I have felt no inconvenience from the summer's
heat. I have preached twice lately in the fields, and we sat under
the blessed Redeemer's shadow with great delight. My late excursions
upon Long Island, I trust, have been blessed. It would surprise you
to see above one hundred carriages at every sermon in the new world."

On his way to Philadelphia, in September, Whitefield preached at the
New Jersey college commencement; for which, and for the influence
he had exerted in favor of the institution, the trustees sent him
a vote of thanks. His reception at the college was all he could
desire. The governor and the ex-governor of the state, with many
other gentlemen, attended, and every other mark of respect was shown
him. At Philadelphia, he describes the effect of his labors as
"great indeed," and as usual, he was compelled to exclaim, "Grace,

Leaving Pennsylvania, he went on through Virginia; here he tells
us, in places as "unlikely as _Rome_ itself," he found societies of
Christians, formed and led on by a wealthy planter of that colony;
they met him in a body, wishing publicly to identify themselves with
him. "Surely the _Londoners_," he writes, "who are fed to the full,
will not envy the poor souls in these parts. I almost determine to
come back in the spring" from Georgia to them.

On one occasion, while he was preaching in this colony, a Mr. Allen,
afterwards a member of the eminent Mr. Davies' church at Hanover,
and who, with his family, "addicted himself to the ministry of the
saints," fell on the ground at full length, suddenly, as if shot
through the heart, and lay for the remainder of the evening as one
who was dead. His descendants are now very numerous, and many of
them are among the most zealous Christians in that state.

From Virginia, Whitefield proceeded to South Carolina, and, Nov.
22, wrote, "At Newbern, last Sunday, good impressions were made. I
have met with what they call 'New Lights' in almost every place,
and have the names of several of their preachers." Having preached
at Charleston, he passed on to Bethesda, and had the happiness to
find the whole colony in a prosperous condition. Here he spent the
winter, and writes, "Peace and plenty reign at Bethesda. All things
go on successfully. God hath given me great favor in the sight of
the governor, council, and assembly. A memorial was presented for
an additional grant of lands, consisting of two thousand acres. It
was immediately complied with. Both houses addressed the governor
on behalf of the intended college. A warm answer was given; and I
am now putting every thing in repair, and getting every thing ready
for that purpose. Every heart seems to leap for joy at the prospect
of its future usefulness to this and the neighboring colonies. He
who holdeth the stars in his right hand will direct, in due time,
whether I shall directly embark for England, or take one tour more
to the northward. I am in delightful winter quarters for once. His
excellency dined with me yesterday, and expressed his satisfaction
in the warmest terms. Who knows how many youths may be trained up
for the service of the ever-loving and altogether lovely Jesus. Thus
far, however, we may set up our Ebenezer. Hitherto the bush hath
been burning, but is not consumed." To this statement he adds, "Mr.
Wright hath done much in a little time; but he hath worked night and
day, and not stirred a mile for many weeks. Thanks be to God, all
outward things are settled on this side the water. The auditing the
accounts, and laying the foundation for a college, hath silenced
enemies and comforted friends. The finishing of this affair confirms
my call to England at this time."

But the intense anxiety of multitudes to hear his preaching,
prevented Whitefield from leaving America for several months longer.
He had, indeed, as early as the middle of February, determined not
to visit New England till his return from Europe; but arriving at
Charleston, he was compelled to devote to labors there the whole
month of March, and then set out for Philadelphia, preaching at many
places on his way. He says, "All the way from Charleston to this
place the cry is, 'For Christ's sake, stay and preach to us.' Oh for
a thousand lives to spend for Jesus."

The heat of the weather made it indispensable for his health that
he should go to sea, and July 5th he once more arrived in England,
on his last return voyage from America. He says, "We have had but
a twenty-eight days' passage. The transition has been so sudden,
that I can scarcely believe that I am in England. I hope, ere long,
to have a more sudden transition into a better country." When he
arrived in his native land, he was ill of a nervous fever, which
left him extremely weak in body, and unable to exert himself as
formerly. Yet, still intent on his work, he did what he could, in
expectation of soon entering into his eternal rest. "Oh, to end life
well!" he writes; "methinks I have now but one river to pass over.
And we know of One who can carry us over without being ankle deep."

On Whitefield's arrival in England, he found that his excellent
friend the Countess of Huntingdon was erecting a large and beautiful
church edifice in the fashionable city of Bath, and to that place he
at once repaired. There he found several of his clerical brethren
preaching in the private chapel at Bretby Hall, belonging to the
Earl of Chesterfield, who had placed it for the time being at the
disposal of Lady Huntingdon. On Whitefield's arrival, this place was
of necessity exchanged for the Park, where the concourse of people
was as vast as ever.

October 6, he preached the dedicatory sermon of Lady Huntingdon's
church at Bath, to an immense crowd. To his friend Robert Keen,
Esq., one of the managers of his London houses, he wrote, "Could
you have come, and have been present at the opening of the chapel,
you would have been much pleased. The building is extremely plain,
and yet equally grand. A most beautiful original! All was conducted
with great solemnity. Though a wet day, the place was very full, and
assuredly the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls consecrated and
made it holy ground by his presence."

He made but a short stay at Bath, and returned to London, still
feeble and tottering, but still compelled to labor. He had an
interview with his old friend John Wesley, who says of him, "He
seemed to be an old man, being fairly worn out in his Master's
service, though he has hardly seen fifty years; and yet it pleases
God that I, who am now in my sixty-third year, find no disorder,
no weakness, no decay, no difference from what I was at five and
twenty, only that I have fewer teeth, and more gray hairs." Writing
to a friend at Sheerness, in Kent, Jan. 18, 1766, Whitefield says,
"I am sorry to acquaint you that it is not in my power to comply
with your request, for want of more assistance. I am confined in
town with the care of two important posts, when I am only fit to be
put into some garrison among invalids." By some means, however, he
obtained a release, for in March we find him at Bath and Bristol.
Writing, March 17, he says, "The uncertainty of my motions has made
me slow in writing; and a desire to be a while free from London
cares, has made me indifferent about frequent hearing from thence.
Last Friday evening, and twice yesterday, I preached at Bath, to
very thronged and brilliant auditories."

Whitefield's interest in America was not lessened by his absence
from it. He ardently loved it, and wished for the return of its
peace and prosperity. He hoped, with many others, that the repeal
of the Stamp Act would lead to this result; hence, we find in his
Letter-book this entry: "March 16, 1766, Stamp Act repealed. _Gloria

Among the remarkable men of his day was Samson Occam. He was
descended, on his mother's side, from Uncas, chief of the Mohegans.
He was born in 1723, of parents who led a wandering life, depending
on hunting and fishing for subsistence. None cultivated their
lands, all dwelt in wigwams, and Samson was one of the very first
of the tribe who learned to read. About the year 1740, at the age
of seventeen, he was converted by the labors of Whitefield, Gilbert
Tennent, and their companions. In a year or two he had learned to
read his Bible with ease, and to his great advantage. He was a
pupil at the school originally founded by Dr. Wheelock, at Lebanon,
Conn., for the benefit exclusively of Indians, four years, and
was then a teacher for eleven years. In 1759, he was ordained by
the Suffolk Presbytery, and became an eminently zealous preacher
to the scattered Mohegans. In 1766, in company with the Rev. Mr.
Whitaker of Norwich, he went to England to advocate the cause of
Dr. Wheelock's Indian school, which school was afterwards merged in
Dartmouth college, of which Mr. Wheelock was also founder and first
president. Occum preached in the churches of Whitefield and Lady
Huntingdon, as well as in some others of different denominations. We
remember half a century ago hearing an old lady at Kidderminster,
the town of Richard Baxter, describe a scene which occurred in
Fawcett's church in that town. Occum had preached, and a handsome
collection had been taken for his object; with tears of gratitude
and joy the good man thanked them, and in tones which neither the
weeping nor the mimetic talent of the old lady would allow her fully
to imitate, assured them that the blessing of many ready to perish
would come upon them. The place was a Bochim, and nothing could
prevent the people from having the plates again carried round, that
they might add to the liberal contributions they had already made.

Occum preached in Great Britain from three to four hundred sermons;
and as no North American Indian had ever preached in England before,
public curiosity was great, and his pecuniary success considerable.
He brought to this country, with his companion, as the produce of
their labors, more than forty-five thousand dollars. In 1772 he
published an interesting sermon which he preached to an Indian at
his execution. An excellent portrait of him was published in England.

Dr. Timothy Dwight writes, "I heard Mr. Occum twice. His
discourses, though not proofs of superior talents, were decent;
and his utterance in some degree eloquent. His character at one
time labored under some imputations; yet there is good reason to
believe that most, if not all of them were unfounded; and there is
satisfactory evidence that he was a man of piety." An account of the
Montauk Indians, written by Occum, is preserved in the "Historical
Collections." He died at New Stockbridge, N. Y., July, 1792. It has
been said that the first Sunday-school in these United States was
founded in the house of his sister, a few months after his death.

Occum was somewhat of a wit, and could well apply his talent in his
conflict with the enemies of divine truth. He once ended a long
controversial conversation with a Universalist, by saying, "Well,
well, remember, if you are correct, I am safe; if you are not
correct, I am safe. I have two strings to my bow; you have but one."

In June, 1766, we again find Whitefield in the neighborhood of
Bristol, whence he writes, "As my feverish heat continues, and the
weather is too wet to travel, I have complied with the advice of
friends, and have commenced a Hot-wells water drinker twice a day.
However, twice this week, at six o'clock in the morning, I have
been enabled to call thirsty souls to come and 'drink of the water
of life freely.' Tomorrow evening, God willing, the call is to be
repeated, and again on Sunday." On his return to London, he writes,
under date of September 25, "Many in this metropolis seem to be on
the wing for God; the shout of a king is yet heard in the Methodist
camp. Had I wings, I would gladly fly from pole to pole; but they
are clipped by thirty years' feeble labors. Twice or thrice a week
I am permitted to ascend my gospel throne. The love of Christ, I am
persuaded, will constrain you to pray that the last glimmering of
an expiring taper may be blessed to the guiding of many, wandering
souls to the Lamb of God."

The good providence of God now gave Whitefield a colleague in the
ministry at the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court-road chapel, the Rev.
Torial Joss. This gentleman had spent many years as captain at sea;
converted by divine grace, and filled with holy zeal, he devoted
his popular talents to the welfare of his fellow-men, preaching
both on sea and land. In a remarkable manner, Mr. Whitefield became
acquainted with him, and, without his knowledge, published that he
would preach in his houses of worship, which, though with extreme
reluctance, Joss did. These services were often renewed, and
Whitefield gave him no rest till he abandoned the sea, and devoted
himself to the ministry. Everywhere he was popular, and everywhere
useful. He continued minister of the two places in London--spending
four or five months in each year travelling and preaching--for
twenty-seven years after the death of his friend, and then departed
from earth, in 1797, in holy triumph, in the 66th year of his age.

One of the most extraordinary men in modern times was the late Rev.
Rowland Hill, who erected Surrey chapel, London, and continued to
preach in it till his death, in his eighty-ninth year, in 1833. He
was eminently dignified in person, possessed extraordinary zeal,
and was honored by his great Master with probably more success in
the direct work of saving souls than any other minister of his day.
He was a man of considerable rank, his father being a gentleman of
title, one of his brothers a member of Parliament for many years,
representing his native county, and the late eminent statesman
and soldier Lord Hill was his nephew. Mr. Hill himself in early
life became a Christian, and was educated for the ministry in the
established church, but violated its rules, and preached wherever he
could; for many years he was greatly persecuted by his own family,
some of whom, however, in the end sustained the yoke of Christ.
When Rowland began his somewhat erratic career, the opposition from
his father was so great, that he was reduced sometimes to extreme
poverty; and he was exactly the man to be encouraged by such men
as Whitefield and Berridge. We give a few extracts from letters
addressed to him by Whitefield, which certainly show no small
degree of ardor, though we cannot see in them what Hill's clerical
biographer, Mr. Sidney, professed to find, "an aspiration after the
honors, when he had no prospect of the sufferings of martyrdom." The
fact was, that Mr. Sidney was offended with Whitefield, as he was
with his venerable uncle, Mr. Hill, for having deviated from the
rigid laws of the establishment. It is only needful to introduce
the first letter by saying that it was dated, London, December 27,
1766, and was sent in answer to one in which Mr. Hill had asked his

"About thirty-four years ago, the master of Pembroke college,
where I was educated, took me to task for visiting the sick and
going to the prisons. In my haste I said, 'Sir, if it displeaseth
you I will go no more.' My heart smote me immediately; I repented,
and went again; he heard of it--threatened--but for fear he should
be looked on as a persecutor, let me alone. The hearts of all
are in the Redeemer's hands. I would not have you give way; no,
not for a moment. The storm is too great to hold long. Visiting
the sick and imprisoned, and instructing the ignorant, are the
very vitals of true and undefiled religion. If threatened, denied
degree, or expelled _for this_, it will be the best degree you can
take--a glorious preparative for, and a blessed presage of future
usefulness. I have seen the dreadful consequences of giving way and
looking back. How many by this wretched cowardice, and fear of the
cross, have been turned into pillars, not of useful, but of useless
salt. Now is your time to prove the strength of Jesus yours. If
opposition did not so much abound, your consolations would not so
abound. Blind as he is, Satan sees some great good coming on. We
never prospered so much at Oxford as when we were hissed at and
reproached as we walked along the streets, as being counted the
dung and offscouring of all things. That is a poor building which
a little stinking breath of Satan's vassals can throw down. Your
house, I trust, is better founded. Is it not built upon a rock? Is
not that rock the blessed Jesus? The gates of hell, therefore, shall
not be able to prevail against it. Go on, therefore, my dear man, go
on. Old Berridge, I believe, would give you the same advice; you are
honored in sharing his reproach and name. God be praised that you
are enabled to bless when others blaspheme. God bless and direct and
support you. He will, he will. Good Lady Huntingdon is in town; she
will rejoice to hear that you are under the cross. You will not want
her prayers, or the poor prayers of, my dear honest young friend,
yours, in an all-conquering Jesus."

The opposition Mr. Hill met with from his parents increased, and
the threat of his degree being withheld, was, on the part of
the university authorities, more determined; still, however, he
persevered in his preaching and his visits, in violation of the
laws of discipline. In June, 1767, Mr. Whitefield wrote him: "I
wish you joy of the late high dignity conferred upon you--higher
than if you were made the greatest professor in the university of
Cambridge. The honorable degrees you intend giving to your promising
candidates, [allowing some of his fellow-students to preach in the
various places which he had visited,] I trust will excite a holy
ambition, and a holy emulation; let me know who is first honored. As
I have been admitted to the degree of doctor for near these thirty
years, I assure you I like my field preferment, my airy pluralities,
exceedingly well. For these three weeks last past I have been
beating up for fresh recruits in Gloucestershire and South Wales.
Thousands and thousands attended, and good Lady Huntingdon was
present at one of our reviews. Her ladyship's aid-de-camp preached
in Brecknock-street, and Captain Scott, that glorious field-officer,
lately fixed up his standard upon dear Mr. Fletcher's horseblock
at Madeley. Being invited thither, I have a great inclination to
lift up the Redeemer's ensign next week in the same place; with
what success, you and your dearly beloved candidates for good
old methodistical contempt shall know hereafter. God willing, I
intend fighting my way up to town. Soon after my arrival there,
I hope thousands and thousands of volleys of prayers, energetic,
effectual, fervent, heaven-besieging, heaven-opening, heaven-taking
prayers, shall be poured forth for you all. Oh, my dearly beloved
and longed-for in the Lord, my bowels yearn towards you. Fear not
to go without the camp; keep open the correspondence between the
two universities. Remember the praying legions--they were never
known to yield. God bless those that are gone to their respective
_cures_--I say not _livings_, a term of too modern date. Christ is
our life; Christ is the Levite's inheritance, and Christ will be the
true disinterested Levite's lot and portion and all. Greet your dear
young companions whom I saw; they are welcome to write when they
please. God be your physician under your bodily malady. A thorn, a
thorn! but Christ's grace will be sufficient for you. To his tender,
never-failing mercy I commit you."

A few weeks after this, Mr. Hill was much depressed in spirits,
partly from bodily illness, partly because he was about to leave
Cambridge and its surrounding villages, where he had latterly so
frequently preached, but chiefly from the fact that he was going
home, where he would again meet the frowns of his honored parents,
for what they deemed his overrighteousness. In the midst of all
this, however, he knew that he would meet at Hawkstone, his father's
residence, the cordial welcome of his sister and elder brother,
Richard Hill, afterwards a baronet. This gentleman had lately become
a village preacher and a visitor of prisons, like his brother. Under
these circumstances he was addressed by Whitefield, in his own
peculiar and energetic style: "What said our Lord to Martha? 'Did I
not say unto thee, If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldst see the
glory of God?' Blessed, for ever blessed be the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, for what he hath done for your dear brother.
A preaching, prison-preaching, field-preaching _esquire_, strikes
more than all the black gowns and lawn sleeves in the world. And
if I am not mistaken, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls will
let the world, and his own children too, know that he will not be
prescribed to in respect to men, or garbs, or places; much less will
he be confined to any order or set of men under heaven. I wish you
both much, very much prosperity. You will have it--_you will have
it_. This is the way, walk ye in it. Both Tabernacle and [Tottenham
Court-road] chapel pulpits shall be open to a captain or an esquire
sent of God. The good news from Oxford is encouraging. Say what they
will, preaching should be one part of the education of a student in
divinity. I pray for you night and day."

On the arrival of Mr. Hill at his father's beautiful seat, it was
his happiness to find that his brother Brian, afterwards useful as
a clergyman, was added to the number of believers in Christ; he
learned also, that one of his college friends had been threatened
to have an exhibition, or yearly gift towards his university
expenses, withdrawn, unless he renounced his evangelical doctrines
and practices. The reader will now understand Mr. Whitefield's
letter: "I have been sadly hindered from answering your last letter,
delivered to me by your brother. I gave it him to read, and we had,
I trust, a profitable conference. God be praised if another of your
brothers is gained. What grace is this! Four or five out of one
family--it is scarcely to be paralleled. Who knows but the root,
as well as the branches, may be taken by and by? Abba, Father, all
things are possible with thee! Steadiness and perseverance in the
children will be one of the best means, under God, of convincing the
parents. This present opposition I think cannot last very long; if
it does, to obey God rather than man, when forbidden to do what is
undoubted duty, is the invariable rule. Our dear Penty [afterwards
the Rev. Thomas Pentycross] is under the cross at Cambridge. But

    "'Satan thwarts, and men object,
      Yet the thing they thwart effect.'

I should be glad if any one's exhibition was taken from him for
visiting the sick, etc. It would vastly tend to the furtherance of
the gospel; but Satan sees too far, I imagine, to play such a game
now. Let him do his work; he is only a mastiff chained. Continue to
inform me how he barks, and how far he is permitted to go in your
parts; and God's people shall be more stirred up to pray for you

The close of Mr. Hill's life was truly interesting and instructive.
As has been intimated, he preached with scarcely diminished power
until within a few weeks of his death. During the last two or three
years of his life he very frequently repeated the following lines of
an old poet:

              "And when I'm to die,
               Receive me, I'll cry,
    For Jesus has loved me, I cannot tell why;
               But this I can find,
               We two are so joined,
    That he'll not be in glory, and leave me behind."

"The last time he occupied my pulpit," writes his neighbor, the Rev.
George Clayton, "when he preached excellently for an hour, in behalf
of a charitable institution, he retired to the vestry after service
under feelings of great and manifest exhaustion. Here he remained
until every individual except the pew-openers, his servant, and
myself had left the place. At length he seemed with some reluctance
to summon energy enough to take his departure, intimating that it
was in all probability the last time he should preach in Walworth.
His servant went before to open the carriage-door, the pew-openers
remaining in the vestry. I offered my arm, which he declined, and
then followed him as he passed down the aisle of the chapel. The
lights were nearly extinguished, the silence was profound, nothing
indeed was heard but the slow majestic tread of his own footsteps,
when, in an undertone, he thus soliloquized:

                 "'And when I'm to die,' etc.

To my heart this was a scene of unequalled solemnity, nor can I ever
recur to it without a revival of that hallowed, sacred, shuddering
sympathy which it originally awakened."

When the good old saint lay literally dying, and when apparently
unconscious, a friend put his mouth close to his ear, and repeated
slowly his favorite lines:

                  "And when I'm to die," etc.

The light came back to his fast-fading eye, a smile overspread his
face, and his lips moved in the ineffectual attempt to articulate
the words. This was the last sign of consciousness which he gave.

We could almost wish that every disciple of Christ would commit
these lines, quaint as they are, to memory, and weave them into
the web of his Christian experience. Confidence in Christ, and
undeviating adherence to him, can alone enable us to triumph in life
and death.

In November, 1766, Whitefield again visited Bath and Bristol, and
then passed on to Gloucestershire and Oxford. Never did so many
of the nobility attend his ministry as he now saw at Bath, and
the results of his whole journey were such as to fill him with
the most devout gratitude. He saw too the number of his clerical
friends largely increasing, and especially rejoiced in the fact
that the excellent Fletcher, of Madeley, preached in his pulpits in
London. He writes of this event, "Dear Mr. Fletcher has become a
_scandalous_ Tottenham Court preacher.... Were we more scandalous,
more good would be done.... Still, 'the shout of a king is yet
heard' in the Methodist camp."

In January, 1767, Whitefield wrote a recommendatory preface to
the works of John Bunyan, whom he pleasantly designated, "Bishop
Bunyan;" and as soon as the weather would permit, we find him
at Norwich, and then at Rodborough, Woodstock, Gloucester, and
Haverfordwest, from which last place he wrote, "Thousands and
thousands attend by eight in the morning. Life and light seem to
fly all around." On a second visit to Gloucester on this tour, he
wrote, "Blessed be God, I have got on this side the Welsh mountains.
Blessed be God, I have been on the other side. What a scene last
Sunday! What a cry for more of the bread of life! But I was quite
worn down."

In September following, he again visited the north of England,
writing from day to day in high spirits. September 28, he says,
"My body feels much fatigued in travelling; comforts in the soul
overbalance;" and from Leeds, October 3, he writes, "Field and
street preaching have rather bettered than hurt my bodily health."

Whitefield now returned to London, to sustain a heavy
disappointment. The negotiations relative to the college at Bethesda
were this winter brought to an issue. A memorial addressed to his
Majesty was put into the hands of the clerk of the Privy Council,
setting forth the great utility of a college in that place to the
southern provinces; and praying that a charter might be granted upon
the plan of the college in New Jersey. This memorial was transmitted
by the clerk of the Privy Council to the lord president, and by his
lordship referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom also a
draft of an intended charter was presented by the Earl of Dartmouth.
A correspondence followed all this between the archbishop and
Whitefield; the consequence of which was, that his grace gave the
draft of the college to the lord president, who promised he would
consider of it; and gave it as his opinion that "the head of the
college ought to be a member of the church of England; that this was
a qualification not to be dispensed with; and also, that the public
prayers should not be extempore ones, but the liturgy of the church,
or some other settled and established form." Whitefield replied
that these restrictions he could by no means agree to, because the
greatest part of the contributions for the orphan-house came from
Protestant dissenters; and because he had constantly declared that
the intended college should be founded upon a broad foundation, and
no other.

"This," said he, "I judged I was sufficiently warranted to do,
from the known, long-established, mild, and uncoercive genius of
the British government; also from your grace's moderation towards
Protestant dissenters; from the unconquerable attachment of the
Americans to toleration principles, as well as from the avowed
habitual feelings of my own heart. This being the case, and as
your grace, by your silence, seems to be like-minded with the lord
president; and as your grace's and his lordship's influence will
undoubtedly extend itself to others, I would beg leave, after
returning all due acknowledgments, to inform your grace that I
intend troubling your grace and his lordship no more about this so
long depending concern. As it hath pleased the great Head of the
church in some degree to renew my bodily strength, I propose now
to renew my feeble efforts, and to turn the charity into a more
generous, and consequently into a more useful channel. I have no
ambition to be looked upon as the founder of a college; but I would
fain act the part of an honest man, a disinterested minister of
Jesus Christ, and a true, catholic, moderate presbyter of the church
of England."

Thus ended Whitefield's labors to establish a college at Bethesda.
Berridge, and not a few others of his friends rather rejoiced in his
disappointment, as they thought there was some fear, uncontrolled as
the institution might hereafter be by men of established principles
of piety, that an unconverted ministry might be increased by its




Whitefield had abandoned the idea of a charter for a college at
present, but he was yet ardently desirous of a public academy being
added to his orphan-house, similar to what existed at Philadelphia
before a college charter was granted. He thought that if this
could be done, a better day might arrive, when a charter on broad
principles might be obtained. He developed his whole plan in a
letter to Governor Wright. Feeling too the uncertainty of life, he
wrote to his friend Mr. Keen, "None but God knows what a concern is
upon me now, in respect of Bethesda. As another voyage, perhaps, may
be the issue and the result of all at last, I would beg you and my
dear Mr. H---- to let me have all my papers and letters, that I may
revise and dispose of them in a proper manner. This can do no hurt,
come life or come death."

October 28th, 1767, Whitefield preached at the London Tabernacle
before the society for promoting religious knowledge among the poor,
usually called, The Book Society. This society had been organized
seventeen years before this period, and included in it such men as
Watts, Doddridge, and Gifford. He gave way to all the zeal of his
heart while he discussed the petition, "Thy kingdom come." Luke
11:2. The congregation was immense, many had to go away unable
to obtain admittance. It was believed that a larger number of
dissenting ministers were present than ever before heard a sermon
from an Episcopal minister, and the collection reached more than
five hundred dollars, or above four times the usual amount, besides
eighty new annual subscribers. After the service, he dined with a
very large party, including the ministers, where harmony reigned,
and much respect was shown him.

It may be readily supposed, that with advancing years and increasing
experience, some changes might have taken place both in the style
and manner of Whitefield's preaching. The Rev. Cornelius Winter, who
had become somewhat closely associated with him, says, "He dealt
more in the explanatory and doctrinal mode on the Sabbath morning
than at any other time, and sometimes made a little, but by no means
an improper show of learning. His afternoon sermon was more general
and exhortatory. In the evening, he drew his bow at a venture;
vindicated the doctrines of grace, fenced them with articles and
homilies, referred to the martyr's seal, and exemplified the power
of divine grace by quotations from the venerable Foxe. Sinners were
then closely plied, numbers of whom, from curiosity, coming to
hear for a minute or two, were often compelled to hear the whole
sermon. How many in the judgment-day will rise to prove that they
heard to the salvation of the soul. Upon the members of society,
the practice of Christianity was then usually inculcated, not
without some pertinent anecdote of a character worthy to be held
up for an example, and in whose conduct the hints recommended were
exemplified. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays,
he preached at six in the morning; and never, perhaps, did he
preach greater sermons than at this hour." This, with the frequent
administration of the Lord's supper to hundreds of communicants, was
his usual plan for several years; but now he became more colloquial
in his style, with but little action; he gave pertinent expositions
of the Scriptures, with striking remarks, all comprehended within an
hour. Winter adds, "The peculiar talents he possessed, subservient
to great usefulness, can be but faintly conceived from his sermons
in print; though, as formerly, God has made the reading of them
useful, and I have no doubt that in future they will have their use."

But even yet our evangelist had to engage in war. The opposition
of the universities in Oxford and Cambridge to the principles and
practices introduced by Whitefield, Wesley, and their companions,
grew and strengthened, till an event occurred at Oxford singularly
remarkable in its history for opposition to evangelical religion,
which for many years continued to excite very extraordinary
interest. The London "St. James' Chronicle," of Thursday, March 17,
1763, contained the following "extract of a letter from Oxford:"
"On Friday last, six students, belonging to Edmund Hall, were
expelled the university, after a hearing of several hours before
Mr. Vice-Chancellor and some of the heads of houses, for holding
methodistical tenets, and taking upon them to pray, read, and
expound the Scriptures, and singing hymns in a private house.
The ---- of the ---- [The Principal of the Edmund Hall, Rev. Dr.
Dixon] defended their doctrines from the Thirty-nine Articles of
the established church, and spoke in the highest terms of the piety
and exemplariness of their lives; but his motion was overruled,
and sentence pronounced against them. Dr. ----, [Dixon,] one of
the heads of houses present, observed, that as these six gentlemen
were expelled for having too much religion, it would be very proper
to inquire into the conduct of some who had too little; and Mr.
---- [Dr. Nowell] was heard to tell their chief accuser, that the
university was much obliged to him for his good work."

To detail the events which followed this extraordinary act, and to
describe the excitement thus created, form no part of the design of
our volume. We have referred to the fact because Mr. Whitefield and
his friend Sir Richard Hill took part in the controversy. Referring
to Dr. Nowell's assertion to Mr. Higson, their "chief accuser," and
who was also their tutor, that the university was obliged to him,
Whitefield says to the Vice-Chancellor, "What thanks, reverend sir,
he may meet with from the whole university I know not; but one thing
I know, namely, that he will receive no thanks for that day's work
from the innumerable company of angels, the general assembly of the
first-born which are written in heaven, or from God the Judge of
all, in that day when Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant shall
come in his own glory, in the glory of the Father and his holy
angels, and gather his elect from all the four corners of the world.

"It is true, indeed, one article of impeachment was, that 'some of
them were of _trades_ before they entered into the university.'
But what evil or crime worthy of expulsion can there be in that?
To be called from any, though the meanest mechanical employment,
to the study of the liberal arts, where a natural genius hath been
given, was never yet looked upon as a reproach to, or diminution of
any great and public character whatsoever. Profane history affords
us a variety of examples of the greatest heroes, who have been
fetched even from the plough to command armies, and who performed
the greatest exploits for their country's good. And if we examine
_sacred_ history, we shall find that even David, after he was
anointed king, looked back with sweet complacency to the rock from
whence he was hewn, and is not ashamed to leave it upon record, that
God took him away from the sheepfolds, as he was following the ewes
great with young; and, as though he loved to repeat it, he took
him, he says, 'that he might feed Jacob his people, and Israel his

"But why speak I of David, when Jesus of Nazareth, David's Lord and
David's King, had for his reputed father a carpenter? and in all
probability, as it was a common proverb among the Jews, that 'he
who did not teach his son a trade, taught him to be a thief,' he
worked at the trade of a carpenter himself. For this, indeed, he was
reproached and maligned: 'Is not this,' said they, 'the carpenter's
son?' Nay, 'Is not this the carpenter?' But who were these
maligners? The greatest enemies to the power of godliness which
the world ever saw, the scribes and Pharisees, that 'generation of
vipers,' as John the Baptist calls them, who, upon every occasion,
were spitting out their venom, and shooting their arrows, even
bitter words, against that Son of man, even that Son of God who,
to display his sovereignty, and confound the wisdom of the worldly
wise, chose poor fishermen to be his apostles; and whose chief of
the apostles, though brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, both before
and after his call to the apostleship, labored with his own hands,
and worked at the trade of a tent-maker."

It is pleasant to know that the young men thus expelled became
useful in the church of Christ. One of them, indeed, Erasmus
Middleton, who had been sustained at Oxford by Mr. Fuller, a
dissenter and banker in London, was ordained in Ireland by the
bishop of Down, and having married a lady of the ducal family of
Gordon, in Scotland, was curate successively to the Rev. Messrs.
Romaine and Cadogan in London, and finally rector of Turvey, in
Bedfordshire, where he was the immediate predecessor of the sainted
Legh Richmond.

Many delightful evidences yet exist that as Whitefield drew nearer
the end of his career on earth, his holy zeal increased, rather
than lessened. We have lying before us three of his letters, not
included either in the collection of his printed correspondence, or
in the lives which have been published. The first was addressed to a
gentleman at Wisbeach, and appears to have been written from London.
It is dated Sept. 25, 1766.

"DEAR SIR--As your letter breathes the spirit of a sincere
follower of the Lamb of God, I am sorry that it hath lain by
so long unanswered; but bodily weakness, and a multiplicity of
correspondents, both from abroad and at home, must be pleaded
as excuses. 'Blessed be God, our salvation is nearer than when
we believed.' It should seem that you have now served three
apprenticeships in Christ's school, and yet I suppose the language
of your heart is, 'I love my Master, and will not go from him;' and
Oh, what a mercy, that whom Jesus loves, he loves to the end! Do you
not begin to long to see him more than ever? Do you not groan in
this tabernacle, being burdened? Courage, courage; he that cometh
will come, and will not tarry. Oh that patience may have its perfect
work! Many in this metropolis seem to be on the wing for God; the
shout of a king is yet heard in the Methodist camp. Had I wings, I
would gladly fly from pole to pole; but they are clipped by thirty
years' feeble labors. Twice or thrice a week I am permitted to
ascend my gospel throne. The love of Christ, I am persuaded, will
constrain you to pray that the last glimmering of an expiring taper
may be blessed to the guiding of many wandering souls to the Lamb of

The second letter was written from the same city, February 12, in
the following year, and was addressed to Captain Scott, a military
officer then "quartered at Leicester." This gentleman, in early
life, had been much devoted to the gayeties of fashionable society;
long after he had entered the army, he was converted to God, under
the ministry of the Rev. W. Romaine; and a few weeks before Mr.
Whitefield addressed to him this letter, he had begun to preach the
grand message of reconciliation. He afterwards left the army, was
ordained as a Congregational minister, and labored for many years in
almost innumerable places in city and country, with abundant success.

"What, not answer so modest a request, namely, to snatch a few
moments to send dear Captain Scott a few lines? God forbid. I must
again welcome him into the field of battle. I must again entreat
him to keep his rank as captain, and not suffer any persuasions to
influence him to descend to the low degree of a common soldier. If
God will choose a red-coat preacher, who shall say unto him, 'What
doest thou?'

    "Prevent thy foes, nor wait their charge;
     But call the lingering battle on;
     But strongly grasp thy seven-fold targe,
     And bear the world and Satan down.

    "Strong in the Lord's almighty power,
     And armed in panoply divine,
     Firm mayest thou stand in danger's hour,
     And prove the strength of Jesus thine.

    "The helmet of salvation take,
     The Lord the Spirit's conquering sword;
     Speak from the word, in lightning speak;
     Cry out, and thunder from the Lord.

    "Through friends and foes pursue thy way,
     Be mindful of a dying God;
     Finish thy course, and win the day,
     Though called to seal the truth with blood.

"Gladly would I come, and in my poor way endeavor to strengthen your
hands; but alas, I am fit for nothing, but, as an invalid, to be
put into some garrison, and now and then put my hand to some old
gun. Blessed be the Captain of our salvation for drafting out some
young champions to reconnoitre and attack the enemy. You will beat
the march in every letter, and bid the common soldiers not halt, but
go forwards. Good Lady Huntingdon wishes you much prosperity. Pray
write to her at Brighthelmstone, [now Brighton,] Sussex. She will
most gladly answer you; and I assure you, her Ladyship's letters
are always weighty. Hoping one day or another to see your face in
the flesh, and more than hoping to see you crowned with glory in
the kingdom of heaven, I must hasten to subscribe myself, my dear
captain, yours in our all-glorious Captain-general,


The last letter we shall introduce in this connection was addressed
by Whitefield to the Honorable and Rev. Walter Shirley, of Ireland,
a near relative of the Countess of Huntingdon, who breathed, as a
minister of Christ, much of the spirit of his great Master. It was
dated, Bath, Dec. 8, 1767:

"REV. AND VERY DEAR SIR--How glad was I to hear by the London
Shunamite, [Mrs. Herritage,] that you and your lady were well;
that God had given you a son; that you reflected on your preaching
at Tottenham Court chapel with pleasure; that you had gotten a
curate; and, to complete all, that you intended to visit England
next spring. This news rejoiced me before I left town, and was most
grateful to our good Lady Huntingdon, whom I have the honor of
waiting upon at this time in Bath. She hath been sick, nigh unto
death, but through mercy is now somewhat recovered, though as
yet unable to write much. This her ladyship much regrets on your
account; and therefore enjoins me to inform you, that your letter
did not reach her hands till many weeks after the proper time; that
ever since she has been visited with lingering sickness, but begs
you will not linger in coming over to our Macedonia to help us. The
thought of it seems to refresh her heaven-born soul. Blessed be God,
her ladyship still takes the lead.

"She is now doing honor to the remains of the Earl of Buchan, who
sweetly slept in Jesus last week. All hath been awful, and more
than awful. On Saturday evening, before the corpse was taken from
Buchan house, a word of exhortation was given, and a hymn sung
in the room where the corpse lay. The young Earl stood with his
hands on the head of the coffin, the Countess Dowager of Buchan
on his right hand, Lady Ann Agnes, and Lady Isabella Erskine on
his left, and their brother the Hon. Thomas Erskine next to their
mother, with Miss O----, Miss W----, Miss G----; on one side
all the domestics, with a few friends on the other. The word of
exhortation was received with great solemnity, and most wept under
the parting prayer. At ten, the corpse was removed to good Lady
Huntingdon's chapel, where it was deposited within a place railed in
for that purpose, covered with black baize, and the usual funeral
concomitants, except escutcheons.

"On Sunday morning, all attended in mourning at early sacrament.
They were seated by themselves, at the feet of the corpse, and with
their head servants, received first, and a particular address was
made to them. Immediately after receiving, these verses were sung
for them:

    "'Our lives, our blood, we here present,
      If for thy truth they may be spent:
      Fulfil thy glorious counsel, Lord;
      Thy will be done, thy name adored.

    "'Give them thy strength, O God of power,
      Then let men rave or devils roar,
      Thy faithful witnesses they'll be;
      'Tis fixed, they can do all through thee!'

"Then they received this blessing: 'The Lord bless you, and keep
you; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you; the
Lord cause his face to shine upon you, and give you peace;' and so
returned to their places.

"Sacrament ended, and a blessed sacrament it was, the noble mourners
returned to the good Countess of Huntingdon's house, which was lent
them for the day. At eleven, public worship began. The bereaved
relatives sat in order within, and the domestics round the outside
of the rail. The chapel was more than crowded. Near three hundred
tickets, signed by the present earl, were given out to the nobility
and gentry, to be admitted. All was hushed and solemn. Proper hymns
were sung, and I preached on the words, 'Blessed are the dead that
die in the Lord.' Attention sat on every countenance, and deep
and almost universal impressions were made. The like scene, and
if possible more solemn, was exhibited in the evening, and I was
enabled to preach a second time, and a like power attended the word
as in the morning. Ever since, there hath been public service and
preaching twice a day. This is to be continued till Friday morning,
then all is to be removed to Bristol, in order to be shipped off to
Scotland. The inscription on the coffin runs thus: 'His life was
honorable--his death blessed--he sought earnestly peace with God--he
found it, with unspeakable joy, alone in the merits of Jesus Christ,
witnessed by the Holy Spirit to his soul--he yet speaketh. Go and do

"I have often wished for you here. Congregations are very large,
attentive, and deeply impressed. Great numbers of all ranks crowd
to see and hear; and I trust many will also feel. Surely the death
of this noble earl, thus improved, will prove the life of many.
He behaved like the patriarch Jacob, when by faith, leaning upon
his staff, he blessed his children. The earl added, 'Yea, and they
shall be blessed.' He laid his hands on, and blessed his children,
assuring them of his personal interest in Jesus. He had great
foretastes of heaven. 'Had I strength of body,' cried he, 'I would
not be ashamed, before men and angels, to tell what the Lord Jesus
hath done for my soul. Come, Holy Ghost--come, Holy Ghost; happy,
happy, happy!' and then sweetly slept in Jesus. All surviving
relatives still feel the influence. They sit round the corpse,
attended by their domestics and supporters, twice a day. Good Lady
S---- gets fresh spirits. The present noble earl, I believe, hath
got the blessing indeed, and seems, upon the best evidence, to
determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. He
hath behaved in the most delicate manner to the Countess, and other
noble survivors."

The summer of 1768 brought to Whitefield a series of changes.
For the last time he now visited Edinburgh, where he found his
congregations as large, and his Christian friends as affectionate
as ever. Soon after his return to London, Mrs. Whitefield was
seized with inflammatory fever, and died, as we have already seen,
on the 9th of August. His own health too was more than declining.
He writes, "I have been in hopes of my own departure. Through hard
writing, and frequent preaching, I have burst a vein. The flux is
in a great measure stopped; but rest and quietness are strictly

"Rest and quietness!" With Whitefield such things were impossible as
long as he could move or speak. His fire must burn till its whole
material was expended; his heart overflowed, and he must labor till
his body sank under exhaustion. No persecution could appall him, no
sickness could long keep him from his beloved engagements. He would
preach till he died, being fully assured that his "labor was not in
vain in the Lord."

Neither Whitefield nor any of his friends could ever be the
advocates of an unlearned ministry. Many of the men engaged under
his direction, and preaching in what was already called "Lady
Huntingdon's connection," needed, as they well knew, a better
education than they possessed. Hence her ladyship obtained a lease
of an old structure, supposed to have been part of an ancient
castle erected in the reign of Henry the Second. The date over the
entrance, now almost effaced, is 1176. It was called Trevecca House,
was situated in the parish of Talgarth, in South Wales, and was for
some time the residence of Howel Harris. This building was opened
as a college for religious and literary instruction, and the chapel
dedicated to the preaching of the everlasting gospel, Aug. 24, 1768,
the anniversary of the Bartholomew act, and of the birth of her
ladyship. Mr. Whitefield preached from Exod. 24:24: "In all places
where I record my name, I will come unto thee and bless thee;"
and on the following Sabbath he addressed a congregation of some
thousands, who assembled in the court before the college. His text
on that occasion was, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is
laid, which is Jesus Christ." When speaking of the dedication of the
college, Mr. Whitefield says, "What we have seen and felt at the
college is unspeakable."

After her ladyship's death the institution was removed to Cheshunt,
about thirteen miles north of London, where it still flourishes
under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. W. H. Stowell.

In the early part of 1769, Mr. Whitefield was for some weeks
seriously ill, but towards the close of March, he was able to
write, "Through infinite mercy I have been able to preach four
days successively." During his illness he received many offers of
assistance from his brethren in the ministry, but from none more
cordially than from the Honorable and Rev. Mr. Shirley. Writing to
him, April 1, Whitefield says:

"How much am I obliged to you for your two kind letters, and more
especially for the repeated offers of your ministerial assistance.
They will be most gratefully accepted, and, I humbly hope, be
remarkably succeeded by Him who hath promised to be with us always,
even unto the end of the world. Blessed be His name, we have been
favored with most delightful passover feasts. The shout of the
King of kings is still heard in the midst of our Methodist camps;
and the shout of, Grace, grace! resounds from many quarters. Our
almighty Jesus knows how to build his temple in troublous times. His
work prospers in the hands of the elect countess, who is gone to
Bath, much recovered from her late indisposition. Worthy Lady Fanny
Shirley proposes soon to follow, in order to reside there. Some more
coronets, I hear, are likely to be laid at the Redeemer's feet. They
glitter gloriously when set in and surrounded by a _crown of thorns_.

    "'Subjects of the Lord, be bold;
      esus will his kingdom hold;
      Wheels encircling wheels must run,
      Each in course to bring it on.'"

That the friendship of Dr. Franklin towards Mr. Whitefield was
sincere, cannot be doubted; there is, however, somewhat painful
in the thought, that even in this connection Franklin could not
conceal his scepticism. In 1769 both these eminent men were in
London, and every one knows that the state of our country was very
trying. Franklin thus wrote to Whitefield: "I am under continued
apprehensions that we may have bad news from America. The sending
soldiers to Boston always appeared to me a dangerous step; they
could do no good, they might occasion mischief. When I consider
the warm resentment of a people who think themselves injured and
oppressed, and the common insolence of the soldiery, who are taught
to consider that people as in rebellion, I cannot but fear the
consequences of bringing them together. It seems like setting up
a smith's forge in a magazine of gunpowder. I _see_ with you that
our affairs are not well managed by our rulers here below; I wish I
could _believe_ with you, that they are well attended to by those
above: I rather suspect, from certain circumstances, that though
the general government of the universe is well administered, our
particular little affairs are perhaps below notice, and left to take
the chance of human prudence or imprudence, as either may happen to
be uppermost. It is, however, an uncomfortable thought, and I leave

It would have been strange indeed if Whitefield had allowed a
letter closing in this manner to pass without a remark; hence we
are prepared to find that, in his own handwriting, at the foot
of the autograph letter, he wrote, "_Uncomfortable_ indeed! and,
blessed be God, _unscriptural_; for we are fully assured that 'the
Lord reigneth,' and are directed to cast _all_ our own care on him,
because he careth for us." Could Dr. Franklin have seen the splendid
results of that management which he thought indicated the absence of
a particular providence--could he have beheld the vast Republic, the
abode of liberty, commerce, literature, and religion, which in less
than a century has grown out of the insurgent colonies--he would
surely have exclaimed, in the language of the prophet, "Verily there
is a God in the earth!"

In July, Whitefield was called by Lady Huntingdon to visit Tunbridge
Wells, a popular watering place in Kent, some twenty or thirty miles
from London, to dedicate a new and beautiful house to the service
of God. The congregation was far too large to be accommodated within
the walls; he therefore preached out of doors from a mount in the
court before the house. His text was, "This is none other but the
house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." Gen. 28:17. This
sermon is said to have been one of his most eloquent and thrilling
efforts; the lofty energy of his tones, the utter forgetfulness
of himself in the all-absorbing interest of his subject, the very
impersonation of the truths which he uttered as he stretched forth
his hand, "Look yonder; what is that I see? It is my agonizing Lord!
Hark, hark! do you not hear? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word
of the Lord!" thrilled the vast congregation, riveting the eye,
piercing the conscience, and holding strong men breathless before
the resistless might of his inspired eloquence. After the service
he delivered an exhortation, and on the next day again preached and
administered the Lord's supper.

He now began to prepare for his _seventh_, and as it proved, his
_last_ voyage to America, especially to visit his beloved orphans
and friends in Georgia. The only thing which seems to have grieved
him, was the pain of parting for a time from his London friends.
This was nothing new, but his feelings were even less reconciled to
the event than formerly. "Oh," he says, "these partings! without
a divine support they would be intolerable. Talk not of taking
_personal_ leave; you know my _make_. Paul could stand a whipping,
but not a weeping farewell."

The text of his last sermon was John 10:27, 28: "My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man
pluck them out of my hand." The sermon was printed, and that very
incorrectly; but a few sentences will show that it was strikingly
characteristic: "These words, it will be recollected, were uttered
by Christ at the feast of dedication. This festival was of bare
human invention, and yet I do not find that our Lord preached
against it. And I believe that when we see things as we ought, we
shall not entertain our auditories about rites and ceremonies,
but about the grand thing. It is the glory of Methodists, that
while they have been preaching forty years, there has not been,
that I know of, one single pamphlet published by them about the
non-essentials of religion.... The Lord divides the world into
sheep and goats. O sinners, you are come to hear a poor creature
take his last farewell; but I want you to forget the creature and
his preaching. I want to lead you further than the Tabernacle--even
to mount Calvary, to see with what expense of blood Jesus Christ
purchased 'his own.' Now, before I go any further, will you be so
good, before the world gets into your hearts, to inquire whether
you belong to Christ or not. Surely the world did not get into
your hearts before you rose from your beds. Many of you were up
sooner than usual. [The sermon was preached at seven o'clock in the
morning.] I hope the world does not get into your hearts before
nine. Man, woman, sinner, put thy hand upon thy heart, and say,
Didst thou ever hear Christ's voice so as to follow him?... I once
heard Dr. Marryatt, who was not ashamed of 'market language,' say
at Pinner's Hall, 'God has a great dog to fetch his sheep back
when they wander.' He sends the devil after them, to bark at them;
but instead of barking them further off, he barks them back to the
fold.... 'None shall pluck them out of my hand.' This implies that
there is always somebody plucking at Christ's sheep. The lust of the
flesh is plucking; the pride of life is plucking; and the devil is
continually plucking at them; 'but nothing shall pluck them out of
my hand;' I have bought them, and am gone to heaven to 'prepare a
place for them.'"

Of this sermon, as taken in shorthand and printed, Whitefield
received a copy while at Deal, and was much dissatisfied with it. He
says, "This morning I received a surreptitious copy of my Tabernacle
farewell sermon, taken, as the shorthand writer professes,
verbatim as I spoke it. But surely he is mistaken. The whole is so
injudiciously paragraphed, and so wretchedly unconnected, that I
owe no thanks to the misguided, though it may be well-meant zeal of
the writer and publisher, be they who they will." Had Whitefield
known that the lad of seventeen who had thus taken down his sermon,
would hereafter become a devoted and useful minister of Christ, the
secretary of the London Missionary Society, the originator of the
London Religious Tract Society, and for many years the editor of the
London Evangelical Magazine, and the author of "Village Sermons,"
which have circulated by hundreds of thousands of volumes in both
hemispheres, how would his heart have warmed towards him. Let us
copy from the journal of George Burder, as given in his life by his
son, the Rev. Dr. H. F. Burder, a short passage:

"August, 1769. About this time I heard Mr. Whitefield preach
several sermons, particularly his two last in London; that at
Tottenham Court chapel on Sabbath morning, and that at the
Tabernacle on Wednesday morning at seven o'clock. I remember a
thought which passed my mind, I think, as I was going to hear his
last sermon--'Which would I rather be, Garrick or Whitefield?' I
thought each, in point of oratory, admirable in his way. I doubt not
conscience told me which was best. I wrote Mr. Whitefield's sermons
in shorthand, though standing in a crowd. The latter I copied out,
and by the request of a friend it was printed in about a week. I
remember sitting up part of a night to write it out, and at the same
time I observed the comet which then appeared. The sermon was very
incorrect, and Mr. Whitefield being detained at Deal before he left
England, saw it, and complained of it."

Before we entirely separate from the Tabernacle, we wish to record
some other interesting facts associated with it, especially relating
to Thomas Wilson, Esq., for many years the treasurer of Hoxton,
afterwards Highbury, college, who gave the ground on which the
latter building stands, devoted his fortune to the extension of the
cause of Christ, and in addition to many other noble acts, erected
five large houses of worship in the British metropolis, capable of
seating eight thousand persons. The father of this gentleman was for
many years a devoted deacon of a Congregational church, but entered
into full sympathy with the labors of Whitefield, attending the
Tabernacle on Lord's-day evenings. "To this circumstance, perhaps,
may be traced much of his own zeal for the glory of God, and no
inconsiderable portion of that public spirit which afterwards
distinguished his son Thomas, who well remembered being carried
in his nurse's arms, in company with his parents, to the scene of
Whitefield's ministry, and listening with such interest as one so
young was likely to feel, to a preacher of surpassing eloquence
and power." The Rev. Dr. Morison, one of his biographers, adds:
"Thus did he imbibe in early life a strong prepossession for
animated public address, which he never lost in after-years, and
which he never failed to urge upon all youthful candidates for the
sacred office. As might have been expected, the Tabernacle became
his Sabbath home, where he was wont to listen to men of fervent
eloquence, and of purely evangelical sentiment. He entered, while
very young, into communion with the church in that place, and
afforded a pleasing example of early and consistent dedication to
the service of Christ."

Having finished the service of the Tabernacle which we just now
described, Whitefield went immediately to Gravesend, twenty miles
from London, to set sail, embarking in the Friendship, Captain
Ball, for Charleston. His companions on the voyage were Messrs.
Winter and Smith, both of them young ministers of lively zeal; and
the former especially, was distinguished in after-life by great
success in his labors for Christ and his church. Whitefield wrote,
"I am comfortable on every side--a civil captain and passengers;
all willing to attend on divine worship, and to hear of religious

But delay was the lot of our evangelist and his friends. They
arrived in the Downs, and had to stay there about a month waiting
for a fair wind. While here, he was delighted with a most unexpected
visit from Dr. Gibbons of London, and the Rev. Mr. Bradbury of
Ramsgate, who had met at Deal to ordain a young minister. He says,
"Wednesday, Sept. 13, I went on shore, and attended an ordination
solemnity at the dissenting meeting. Several ministers officiated.
Several important questions were asked and answered before, and
a solemn charge given after imposition of hands. But the prayer
put up in the very act of laying on of hands, by Dr. Gibbons, was
so affecting, and the looks and behavior of those that joined so
serious and solemn, that I hardly know when I was more struck under
any one's ministration. The ordination being over, at the desire
of the ministers and other gentlemen, I went and dined with them:
our conversation was edifying; and being informed that many were
desirous to hear me preach, I willingly complied; and I trust some
seed was sown the same evening at Deal, which, by God's heavenly
blessing, will spring up to life eternal. The people of Deal seemed
very civil, and some came to me who had not forgotten my preaching
to them, and their deceased friends and parents, thirty-two years

Whitefield tells a somewhat amusing anecdote of Dr. Gibbons, on one
of his visits on board. The worthy doctor was unused to the sea,
and became sea-sick, so that he was obliged to lie down for some
time in the state-cabin. "There," says our evangelist, "he learned
more experimentally to pray for those who do business in the great
waters." While yet in the Downs, Whitefield preached not only on
board, but at Ramsgate and elsewhere. On September 25, in company
with many other ships, they sailed, but soon were again compelled
to cast anchor over against New Romney and Dungenness. At length,
however, they cleared the channel, and after a long and dangerous
voyage arrived safe at Charleston, S. C. Happily, Whitefield's
health had become greatly renovated, so that he felt better than
after any voyage he had made for many years. In his memorandum he

"November, 1769. For the last week we were beating about our port,
within sight of it, and continued for two days in Five-fathom hole,
just over the bar. A dangerous situation, as the wind blew hard, and
our ship, like a young Christian, for want of more ballast, would
not obey the helm. But through infinite mercy, on November 30, a
pilot-boat came and took us safe ashore to Charleston, having been
on board almost thirteen weeks. Friends received me most cordially.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his mercies. Oh, to
begin to be a Christian and minister of Jesus!" On the very day of
his landing, Whitefield preached at Charleston, and learned from his
friend Mr. Wright that all was well at Bethesda.



1769, 1770.

Whitefield now lost no time in proceeding to his beloved Bethesda,
which at present wore a very inviting aspect. Writing, January 11,
1770, he says, "Every thing exceeds my most sanguine expectations.
I am almost tempted to say, 'It is good for me to be here;' but all
must give way to gospel ranging--divine employ!

    "'For this, let men revile my name,
      I'll shun no cross, I'll fear no shame;
      All hail, reproach!'"

In another letter he says, "The increase of this colony is almost
incredible. Two wings are added to the orphan-house, for the
accommodation of students; of which Governor Wright laid the
foundation, March 25, 1769."

An official paper of the Georgia legislature will show the esteem in
which Whitefield was held by that body.

"Commons House of Assembly, Monday, Jan. 29, 1770. Mr. Speaker
reported, that he, with the house, having waited on the Rev. Mr.
Whitefield, in consequence of his invitation, at the orphan-house
academy, heard him preach a very suitable and pious sermon on the
occasion; and with great pleasure observed the promising appearance
of improvement towards the good purposes intended, and the decency
and propriety of behavior of the several residents there; and
were sensibly affected, when they saw the happy success which has
attended Whitefield's indefatigable zeal for promoting the welfare
of the province in general, and the orphan-house in particular.
Ordered, that this report be printed in the Gazette.

  "JOHN SIMPSON, Clerk."

In pursuance of this vote, we find in the Georgia Gazette as
follows: "Savannah, January 31, 1770. Last Sunday, his Excellency
the Governor, Council, and Assembly, having been invited by the
Rev. Mr. Whitefield, attended divine service in the chapel of the
orphan-house academy, where prayers were read by the Rev. Mr.
Ellington, and a very suitable sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr.
Whitefield, from Zechariah 4:10, 'For who hath despised the day
of small things?' to the great satisfaction of the auditory; in
which he took occasion to mention the many discouragements he met
with, well known to many there, in carrying on the institution for
upwards of thirty years past, and the present promising prospect of
its future and more extensive usefulness. After divine service, the
company were very politely entertained with a handsome and plentiful
dinner; and were greatly pleased to see the useful improvements
made in the house, the two additional wings of apartments for
students, one hundred and fifty feet each in length, and other
lesser buildings, in so much forwardness; and the whole executed
with taste, and in so masterly a manner; and being sensible of
the truly generous and disinterested benefactions derived to the
province through his means, they expressed their gratitude in the
most respectful terms."

On February 10, we find a letter written at Charleston by Whitefield
to his friend Mr. Robert Keen of London:

"Through infinite mercy, this leaves me enjoying a greater share of
bodily health than I have known for many years. I am now enabled
to preach almost every day, and my poor feeble labors seem not to
be in vain in the Lord. Blessed be God, all things are in great
forwardness at Bethesda. I have conversed with the governor in the
most explicit manner, more than once, concerning an act of Assembly
for the establishment of the intended orphan-house college. He most
readily consents. I have shown him a draft, which he much approves
of, and all will be finished at my return from the northward; in the
meanwhile the building will be carried on. As two ministers from New
Jersey and Rhode Island have been soliciting benefactions for their
respective colleges, no application of that nature can be made here;
but the Lord will provide.... Since my being in Charleston, I have
shown the draft to some persons of great eminence and influence.
They highly approve of it, and willingly consent to be some of the
wardens. Nearly twenty are to be of Georgia, and about six of this
place; one of Philadelphia, one of New York, one of Boston, three of
Edinburgh, two of Glasgow, and six of London. Those of Georgia and
South Carolina are to be qualified; the others to be only honorary
corresponding wardens."

Two days afterwards he again writes to the same friend, "In a few
months, I hope all will be completed. But what may these few months
produce? Lord Jesus, prepare us for whatsoever thou hast prepared
for us, and give peace in our time, for thine infinite mercy's sake.
You must expect another draft soon. God be praised for that saying,
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' You would be pleased
to see with what attention the people hear the word preached. I have
been in Charleston near a fortnight--am to preach at a neighboring
country parish church next Sunday, and hope to see Georgia the week
following. Perhaps I may sail from thence to the northward, and
perhaps embark from thence. Lord Jesus, direct my goings in thy way.
I am blessed with bodily health, and am enabled to go on my way
rejoicing. Grace, grace!"

On returning to Bethesda, his heart seems to have been full of the
orphan-house and the college. For the direction of the latter, he
prepared a series of rules, and especially provided for the reading
of the old Puritan and Non-conformist writers of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries. Every letter he wrote contained references
to the improved state of his health, and the increased number of
preaching engagements which he was now able to fulfil. His spirits
seem to have been better, and his exultations in the divine kindness
more ardent than ever, while his correspondence indicates much
heavenly-mindedness, and lively desires for the highest happiness of
his friends.

As Whitefield had now been in the south more than five months, we
are not surprised to find that applications poured in from every
part of the north, entreating him to revisit the scenes of other
years. He left Bethesda and its affairs in the hands of persons
worthy of his confidence, of whom he said, "Such a set of helpers I
never met with."

After some hesitation as to where he should first go, he set out
for Philadelphia, where he arrived on the 6th of May. Writing three
days afterwards, he says, "The evening following, I was enabled to
preach to a large auditory, and have to repeat the delightful task
this evening. Pulpits, hearts, and affections, seem to be as open
and enlarged to me as ever." On the 24th he again wrote, "A wide
and effectual door, I trust, has been opened in this city. People
of all ranks flock as much as ever. Impressions are made on many,
and I trust they will abide. To all the Episcopal churches, as
well as most of the other places of worship, I have free access.
Notwithstanding I preach twice on the Lord's day, and three or four
times a week besides, yet I am rather better than I have been for
many years. This is the Lord's doing." On June 14, he says, "This
leaves me just returned from a one hundred and fifty miles' circuit,
in which, blessed be God, I have been enabled to preach every day.
So many new as well as old doors are open, and so many invitations
sent from various quarters, that I know not which way to turn

Of his last visit to New Jersey, Bishop White of Philadelphia, then
a young man of twenty-three, says, "When he was on his way from
Philadelphia to Boston, late in the summer, he had been prevailed on
to promise to cross from Bristol to Burlington, and to preach there.
I happened to be in the latter place, and staying in the house of a
relative, when it was announced that Mr. Whitefield was at a tavern
on the other side of the river. He was expected to be escorted by
my relative. I went with him; and we returned in a boat with Mr.
Whitefield and his company. He preached to the assembled citizens in
front of the court-house, and afterwards dined at the house of my
relative. During dinner, he was almost the only speaker, as was said
to be common; all present being disposed to listen."

A few days after this visit, we find him at New York, writing, June
30, "I have been here just a week. Have been enabled to preach
four times; and am to repeat the delightful task this evening.
Congregations are larger than ever. Blessed be God, I have been
strengthened to itinerate and preach daily for some time. Next
week I purpose to go to Albany; from thence, perhaps to the Oneida
Indians. There is to be a very large Indian congress; Mr. Kirkland
accompanies me. He is a truly Christian minister and missionary.
Every thing possible should be done to strengthen his hands and his
heart. Perhaps I may not see Georgia till Christmas. As yet, I keep
to my intended plan, in respect to my returning. Lord Jesus, direct
my goings in thy way. The heat begins now to be a little intense;
but through mercy I am enabled to bear up bravely. What a God do we

On the twenty-ninth of July, he again writes from the same city, and
it is the _last entry_ in his memorandum: "Since my last, and during
this month, I have been above a five hundred miles' circuit; and
have been enabled to preach and travel through the heat every day.
The congregations have been very large, attentive, and affected;
particularly at Albany, Schenectady, Great Barrington, Norfolk,
Salisbury, Sharon, Smithfield, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, New Rumbart,
New Windsor, and Peck's Hill. Last night I returned hither, and
hope to set out for Boston in two or three days. O what a new scene
of usefulness is opening in various parts of this world! All fresh
work where I have been. The divine influence has been as at first.
Invitations crowd upon me both from ministers and people, from many,
many quarters. A very peculiar providence led me very lately to a
place where a horse-stealer was executed. Thousands attended. The
poor criminal had sent me several letters, hearing I was in the
country. The sheriff allowed him to come and hear a sermon under
an adjacent tree. Solemn, solemn! After being by himself about an
hour, I walked half a mile with him to the gallows. His heart had
been softened before my first visit. He seemed full of solid, divine
consolation. An instructive walk! I went up with him into the cart.
He gave a short exhortation. I then stood upon the coffin--added,
I trust, a word in season--prayed--gave the blessing, and took
my leave. Effectual good, I hope, was done to the hearers and
spectators. Grace, grace!"

Our local histories seem to delight to honor Whitefield by the
introduction of his name whenever they have an opportunity.
In a notice of Sharon, in "Barber's Historical Collections of
Connecticut," the writer says, "In the latter part of July, 1770,
the Rev. George Whitefield passed through this town on a preaching
tour. There was considerable opposition to his being admitted into
the meeting-house, and arrangements had been made to hold the
service in an orchard still standing near the meeting-house, in case
he should be refused. Mr. Smith, [the Rev. Cotton Mather Smith, a
descendant of Cotton Mather,] invited him into the pulpit, though
strongly opposed by a considerable number of influential men. An
immense congregation from this and the neighboring towns filled the
meeting-house to overflowing. His text was, 'Marvel not that I said
unto you, Ye must be born again.' He proceeded to discourse on the
doctrine of the new birth with astonishing power and eloquence,
and the congregation were much moved by the power of the truth
and Spirit of God. The concluding words of his discourse were a
quotation, with a little variation, from the close of the fourth
chapter of Solomon's Song. 'Awake, O north wind, and come, thou
south; blow upon _this_ garden, that the spices thereof may flow
out. Let my Beloved come into _this_ garden, and eat his pleasant
fruits.' Many of the inhabitants of Sharon followed him for several
successive days, to hear the word of life from this devoted minister
of the cross."

We think it must have been in this journey that Whitefield's
ministry was blessed to the conversion of a young man who has left
his mark on the age. Benjamin Randall was born in New Castle,
New Hampshire, in 1749. In his twenty-second year he was brought
under the ministry of Whitefield, by which means he became deeply
convinced of sin, and was soon after converted to God. In 1776,
he united with a Calvinistic Baptist church; but before long
began to preach what he accounted more correct doctrines in his
native town, and was honored of God to effect a very powerful and
extensive revival. He is considered the founder of the denomination
of Freewill Baptists, which now comprises from eleven to twelve
hundred churches, more than a thousand pastors and licentiates, and
upwards of fifty thousand communicants. Mr. Randall was a man of
strong mental powers, and though he had not a classical education,
he was a good English scholar, aspired after general and religious
knowledge, had fine discriminating talent, and was remarkable for
the perseverance with which he pursued whatever he undertook. Above
all, like his spiritual father, he possessed what a living preacher
has well called, "a passion for souls."

From New York Whitefield proceeded to Boston, and short extracts
from two of his letters, and those _the last_ he wrote, will show
his position and his feelings:

September 17, he says to Mr. Wright, at Bethesda, "Fain would
I come by Captain Souder, from Philadelphia; but people are so
importunate for my stay in these parts, that I fear it will be
impracticable. 'My God will supply all my need according to the
riches of his grace in Christ Jesus.' Two or three evenings ago, I
was taken in the night with a violent flux, attended with retching
and shivering, so that I was obliged to return from Newbury; but
through infinite mercy I am restored, and to-morrow morning hope
to begin again. Never was the word received with greater eagerness
than now. All opposition seems, as it were, for a while to cease. I
find God's time is the best. The season is critical as to outward
circumstances; but when forts are given up, the Lord Jesus can
appoint salvation for walls and for bulwarks; he has promised to be
a wall of fire round about his people. This comforts me concerning
Bethesda, though we should have a Spanish war. You will be pleased
to hear, I never was carried through the summer's heat so well."

And finally, to his dear friend Mr. Keen of London, he wrote from
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, September 23, just one week before his
death, "By this time I thought to be moving southward. But never
was greater importunity used to detain me longer in these northern
parts. Poor New England is much to be pitied; Boston people most of
all. How grossly misrepresented! What a mercy that our Christian
charter cannot be dissolved! Blessed be God for an unchangeable
Jesus! You will see, by the many invitations, what a door is opened
for preaching the everlasting gospel. I was so ill on Friday that I
could not preach, though thousands were waiting to hear. Well, the
day of release will shortly come, but it does not seem yet; for by
riding sixty miles I am better, and hope to preach here to-morrow.
I trust my blessed Master will accept these poor efforts to serve
him. O for a warm heart! O to stand fast in the faith, to acquit
ourselves like men, and be strong! May this be the happy experience
of you and yours. I suppose your letters are gone for me in the
Anderson to Georgia. If spared so long, I expect to see them about
Christmas. Still pray and praise. I am so poorly, and so engaged
when able to preach, that this must apologize for not writing to
more friends: it is quite impracticable."

Whitefield's hope to "preach here to-morrow" was fully realized. In
the "Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser," we find a letter
from Portsmouth, dated Sept. 28, 1770, which says, "Last Sunday
morning came to town from Boston, the Rev. George Whitefield, and
in the afternoon he preached at the Rev. Dr. Haven's meeting-house;
Monday morning he preached again at the same place, to a very large
and crowded audience. Tuesday morning a most numerous assembly met
at the Rev. Dr. Langdon's meeting-house, which it is said will hold
nearly six thousand people, and was well filled, even the aisles.
Evening he preached at the Rev. Mr. John Rodgers' meeting-house in
Kittery, and yesterday at the Rev. Mr. Lyman's in York, to which
place a number of ladies and gentlemen from town accompanied him.
This morning [Friday] he will preach at the Rev. Dr. Langdon's
meeting-house in this town."

We are now approaching the closing scene, and are invited to hear
Whitefield's last sermon. On his way to Newburyport, where he had
engaged to preach on Sunday morning, September 30, he was entreated
to preach at Exeter. This had been the scene of some of his former
triumphs. He was once preaching here, when a man was present who had
loaded his pocket with stones to throw at the preacher. He heard
his prayer with patience, but as soon as he had read his text, the
man took a stone out of his pocket and held it in his hand, waiting
for an opportunity to throw it. But God sent a word to his heart,
and the stone dropped from his hand. After the sermon, the poor
fellow went to Mr. Whitefield, and said, "Sir, I came here to-day
with the intention of breaking your head, but God has given me a
broken heart." This man was converted to God, and lived an ornament
to the gospel.

As though it had been felt by the public that this might be our
preacher's last sermon, inconvenient as Saturday noon must be for
the assembling of a congregation for worship, such a multitude was
collected that no house could contain them, and Whitefield, for
nearly two hours, discoursed to an attentive crowd in the open air.
Of this last sermon at Exeter, a gentleman who was present has given
a deeply interesting and affecting account. The relator was then in
his eighty-sixth year, but he retained a strong remembrance of the
most trivial incidents connected with that extraordinary man. He

"It was usual for Mr. Whitefield to be attended by Mr. Smith,
who preached when he was unable on account of sudden attacks of
asthma. At the time referred to, after Mr. Smith had delivered a
short discourse, Mr. Whitefield seemed desirous of speaking; but
from the weak state in which he then was, it was thought almost
impossible. He rose from the seat in the pulpit, and stood erect,
and his appearance alone was a powerful sermon. The thinness of his
visage, the paleness of his countenance, the evident struggling of
the heavenly spark in a decayed body for utterance, were all deeply
interesting; the spirit was willing, but the flesh was dying. In
this situation he remained several minutes, unable to speak; he
then said, 'I will wait for the gracious assistance of God, for
he will, I am certain, assist me once more to speak in his name.'
He then delivered perhaps one of his best sermons, for the light
generally burns most splendidly when about to expire. The subject
was a contrast of the present with the future; a part of this sermon
I read to a popular and learned clergyman in New York, who could
not refrain from weeping when I repeated the following: 'I go, I go
to rest prepared; my sun has arisen, and by aid from heaven, given
light to many; 't is now about to set for--no, it cannot be! 't is
to rise to the zenith of immortal glory; I have outlived many on
earth, but they cannot outlive me in heaven. Many shall live when
this body is no more, but then--Oh, thought divine!--I shall be in a
world where time, age, pain, and sorrow are unknown. My body fails,
my spirit expands; how willingly would I live for ever to preach
Christ! but I die to be with him. How brief, comparatively brief,
has been my life, compared with the vast labors I see before me yet
to be accomplished; but if I leave now, while so few care about
heavenly things, the God of peace will surely visit you.' These,
and many other things he said, which, though simple, were rendered
important by circumstances; for death had let fly his arrow, and
the shaft was deeply enfixed when utterance was given to them: his
countenance, his tremulous voice, his debilitated frame, all gave
convincing evidence that the eye which saw him should shortly see
him no more for ever. When I visited the place where he is entombed,
Newburyport, I could not help saying, 'The memory of the just is
blessed,' Few are there like George Whitefield; however zealous,
they do not possess the masterly power, and those who do, too often
turn it to a purpose that does not glorify God."

We have already spoken of the Rev. Daniel Rodgers, a descendant of
the martyr of that name, and pastor of the second congregational
church at Exeter. It was this old friend of Whitefield who had
importuned him to preach at Exeter. The "_Almanack Journal_" of
this excellent man contains the following items of the activity of
our "eloquent orator" in his closing days: "September 10, 1770,
dear Mr. Whitefield preached here, A. M., ten o'clock. 11th, Mr.
Whitefield preached again in Mr. Parsons' meeting-house. 12th, I
rode over to Rowley, Mr. Whitefield preached there. 14th, a storm
of rain. 15th, the rain continues. Mr. Whitefield went to Boston,
not well. 25th, I heard dear Mr. Whitefield preach. 26th, he went to
Kittery, and preached for brother John; P. M. I rode to York. 27th,
Mr. Whitefield preached at York; P. M. we returned to Portsmouth.
28th, Mr. Whitefield preached his farewell sermon; I returned home.
29th, dear Mr. Whitefield preached for me the last sermon he ever

Mr. Smith's account of the closing scene will not be considered too
minute in its details. "Before he commenced his journey of fifteen
miles from Portsmouth to Exeter, Mr. Clarkson, senior, observing
him more uneasy than usual, said to him, 'Sir, you are more fit to
go to bed than to preach.' Whitefield's reply was, 'True, sir;' but
turning aside, he clasped his hands together, and looking up, said,
'Lord Jesus, I am weary _in_ thy work, but not _of_ thy work. If I
have not yet finished my course, let me go and speak for thee once
more in the fields, seal thy truth, and come home and die.' His last
sermon was from 2 Cor. 13:5, 'Examine yourselves, whether ye be in
the faith. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in
you, except ye be reprobates?' He dined at Captain Gillman's. After
dinner, Mr. Whitefield and Mr. Parsons rode to Newbury. I did not
get there till two hours after them. I found them at supper. I asked
Mr. Whitefield how he felt after his journey. He said he was tired,
therefore he supped early, and went to bed. He ate a very little
supper, talked but little, asked Mr. Parsons to discharge the table,
and perform family duty, and then retired up stairs."

The Rev. Dr. Hallock tells us, that, in 1822, he visited Newburyport
and the tomb of Whitefield. He was then told by persons whom he
considered reliable, that when Whitefield was retiring to his
chamber on this last evening of his life, many were so desirous to
see and hear him, that he stood on the stairs with a lamp in his
hand, and there gave them a tender spiritual address.

We resume Mr. Smith's account: "He said he would sit and read till I
came to him, which I did as soon as possible; and found him reading
the Bible, with Dr. Watts' Psalms lying open before him. He asked
me for some water-gruel, and took about half his usual quantity; and
kneeling down by his bedside, closed the evening with prayer. After
a little conversation, he went to rest, and slept till two in the
morning, when he awoke, and asked for a little cider; he drank about
a wine-glass full. I asked him how he felt, for he seemed to pant
for breath. He said to me, 'My asthma is coming on again; I must
have two or three days' rest. Two or three days' riding, without
preaching, would set me up again.' Soon afterwards, he asked me to
put the window up a little higher, though it was half up all night.
'For,' said he, 'I cannot breathe; but I hope I shall be better by
and by: a good pulpit sweat to-day may give me relief; I shall be
better after preaching.' I said to him, 'I wish you would not preach
so often.' He replied, 'I had rather wear out than rust out.' I then
told him, I was afraid he took cold in preaching yesterday. He said
he believed he had; and then sat up in bed, and prayed that God
would be pleased to bless his preaching where he had been, and also
bless his preaching that day, that more souls might be brought to
Christ. He prayed for direction whether he should winter in Boston,
or hasten to the southward; and he prayed for a blessing on his
Bethesda college, and his dear family there, for the Tabernacle and
Chapel congregations, and all connections on the other side of the
water; and then he laid himself down to sleep again.

"This was near three o'clock. At a quarter past four he awoke,
and said, 'My asthma, my asthma is coming on; I wish I had not
given out word to preach at Haverhill on Monday; I don't think I
shall be able; but I shall see what to-day will bring forth. If I
am no better to-morrow, I will take two or three days' ride!' He
then desired me to warm him a little gruel; and in breaking the
fire-wood, I waked Mr. Parsons, who thinking I knocked for him, rose
and came in. He went to Mr. Whitefield's bedside, and asked him
how he felt. He answered, 'I am almost suffocated. I can scarcely
breathe, my asthma quite chokes me.' I was then not a little
surprised to hear how quickly, and with what difficulty he drew his
breath. He got out of bed, and went to the open window for air. This
was exactly at five o'clock. I went to him, and for about the space
of five minutes saw no danger, only that he had a great difficulty
in breathing, as I had often seen before. Soon afterwards, he turned
himself to me, and said, '_I am dying_.' I said, 'I hope not, sir.'
He ran to the other window, panting for breath, but could get no
relief. It was agreed that I should go for Dr. Sawyer; and on my
coming back, I saw death on his face; and he again said, '_I am
dying_.' His eyes were fixed, his underlip drawing inward every time
he drew breath. I persuaded him to sit down in the chair, and have
his cloak on; he consented by a sign, but could not speak. I then
offered him a glass of warm wine; he took half of it, but it seemed
as if it would have stopped his breath entirely. He went towards
the window, and we offered him some warm wine, with lavender drops,
which he refused.

"In a little time he brought up a considerable quantity of phlegm.
I then began to have some small hopes. Mr. Parsons said he thought
Mr. Whitefield breathed more freely than he did, and would recover.
I said, 'No, sir, he is certainly dying.' I was continually employed
in taking the phlegm out of his mouth with a handkerchief, and
bathing his temples with drops, rubbing his wrists, etc., to give
him relief, if possible, but all in vain; his hands and feet were
as cold as clay. When the doctor came in, and saw him in the chair
leaning upon my breast, he felt his pulse, and said, 'He is a dead
man.' Mr. Parsons said, 'I do not believe it; you must do something,
doctor.' He said, 'I cannot; he is now near his last breath.' And
so indeed it was; for he fetched but one gasp, and stretched out
his feet, and breathed no more. This was exactly at six o'clock. We
continued rubbing his legs, hands, and feet, with warm cloths, and
bathed him with spirits for some time, but all in vain. I then put
him into a warm bed, the doctor standing by, and often raised him
upright, continued rubbing him and putting spirits to his nose for
an hour, till all hopes were gone. The people came in crowds to see

Whitefield seems to have had somewhat of a presentiment that
his death would be unattended with any remarkable expression of
spiritual enjoyment. In his last preceding visit to this country,
he had spent a day or two under the roof of the Rev. Dr. Finley,
then president of the college at Princeton, New Jersey. One day Dr.
Finley said at the dinner-table, "Mr. Whitefield, I hope it will be
very long before you will be called home; but when that event shall
arrive, I shall be glad to hear the noble testimony you will bear
for God." Whitefield replied, "You would be disappointed, doctor; I
shall die silent. It has pleased God to enable me to bear so many
testimonies for him during my life, that he will require none from
me when I die. No, no. It is your dumb Christians, who have walked
in fear and darkness, and thereby been unable to bear a testimony
for God during their lives, that he compels to speak out for him on
their death-beds."

We resume Mr. Smith's narrative: "The Rev. Mr. Parsons, at whose
house my dear master died, sent for Captain Fetcomb, and Mr.
Boadman, and others of his elders and deacons, and they took the
whole of the burial upon themselves, prepared the vault, and sent
and invited the bearers. Many ministers of all persuasions came to
the house of the Rev. Mr. Parsons, where several of them gave a very
particular account of their first awakenings under his ministry
several years ago, and also of many in their congregations that,
to their knowledge, under God, owed their conversion to his coming
among them, often referring to the blessed seasons they had enjoyed
under his preaching; and all said, that this last visit was attended
with more power than any other, and that all opposition fell
before him. Then one and another would pity and pray for his dear
Tabernacle and Chapel congregations, and it was truly affecting to
hear them bemoan America and England's loss. Thus they continued for
two hours, conversing about his great usefulness, and praying that
God would scatter his gifts, and drop his mantle among them."

Dr. Gillies says, "Early next morning, Mr. Sherburn of Portsmouth
sent Mr. Clarkson and Dr. Haven with a message to Mr. Parsons,
desiring that Mr. Whitefield's remains might be buried in his own
new tomb, at his own expense; and in the evening several gentlemen
from Boston came to Mr. Parsons, desiring the body might be carried
there. But as Mr. Whitefield had repeatedly desired to be buried
before Mr. Parsons' pulpit, if he died at Newburyport, Mr. Parsons
thought himself obliged to deny both these requests."

Mr. Parsons, in a note to his funeral sermon, says, "At one o'clock
all the bells in the town were tolled for half an hour, and all the
vessels in the harbor gave their proper signals of mourning. At two
o'clock the bells tolled a second time. At three the bells called
to attend the funeral. The Rev. Dr. Haven of Portsmouth, and the
Rev. Messrs. Rodgers of Exeter, Jewet and Chandler of Rowley, Moses
Parsons of Newbury, and Bass of Newburyport, were pall-bearers.
Mr. Parsons and his family, with many other respectable persons,
followed the corpse in mourning."

"The procession," says Mr. Smith, "was only one mile, and then the
corpse was carried into the Presbyterian church, and placed at the
foot of the pulpit, close to the vault; the Rev. Daniel Rodgers made
a very affecting prayer, and openly declared, that, under God, he
owed his conversion to that dear man of God whose precious remains
now lay before them. Then he cried out, 'O my father, my father!'
then stopped and wept as though his heart would break; the people
weeping all through the place. Then he recovered, and finished his
prayer, and sat down and wept. Then one of the deacons gave out the

  "'Why do we mourn departing friends?'

some of the people weeping, some singing, and so on alternately.
The Rev. Mr. Jewet preached a funeral discourse; and made an
affectionate address to his brethren, to lay to heart the death of
that useful man of God, begging that he and they might be upon their
watchtower, and endeavor to follow his blessed example. The corpse
was then put into the vault, and all concluded with a short prayer,
and dismission of the people, who went weeping through the streets
to their respective places of abode."

The Rev. Mr. Rodgers, from whose "Almanack Journal" we have quoted,
records that the vast assembly at the funeral consisted of "four,
since thought five thousand people," and adds, Oct. 7, "I preached
from those words in the first Philippians, 'Having a desire to
depart and be with Christ,' etc. I spoke extempore, somewhat
largely, of dear Mr. Whitefield's character."

The late venerable Mr. Bartlet of Newburyport, some years ago,
erected a monument to the memory of Whitefield in the church beneath
which his remains are interred. The cenotaph was executed by Mr.
Struthers of Philadelphia, after a design of Strickland, and the
inscription which follows was written by the late Rev. Dr. Ebenezer
Porter, of the Theological seminary at Andover.



  To the Memory





[Illustration: MONUMENT]




"Last evening," says a letter from Boston, October 1, 1770, to the
"Pennsylvania Journal," "we were informed by a melancholy messenger
from Newburyport, that yesterday morning about six o'clock, at
that place, the renowned and Rev. George Whitefield, chaplain to
the Right Hon. the Countess of Huntingdon, etc., was, by a sudden
mandate, summoned to the bosom of his Saviour. He had been preaching
in divers parts of this province since his arrival from the
southward, with his usual diligence and energy; was now from a tour
to the province of New Hampshire on his return to this town, but
being seized with a violent fit of the asthma, was in a short space
translated from the labors of this life to the enjoyment of a better.

"Of this truly pious and very extraordinary personage, little can
be said but what every friend to vital Christianity who has sat
under his ministry will readily attest. In his public performances
throughout Europe and British America, he has, for a long course of
years, astonished the world as a prodigy of eloquence and devotion.
With what frequency and cheerfulness did he ascend the desk, the
language of his actions being ever, 'Wist ye not that I must be
about my Master's business?' With what divine pathos did he plead
with, and persuade by the most engaging incitements, the impenitent
sinner to the practice of piety and virtue. Filled with the spirit
of grace, he spoke from the heart; and with a fervency of zeal
perhaps unequalled since the apostles, ornamented the celestial
annunciations of the preacher with the graceful and most enticing
charms of rhetoric and oratory. From the pulpit he was unrivalled
in the command of an ever-crowded and admiring auditory; nor was
he less entertaining and instructive in his private conversation
and deportment. Happy in a remarkable ease of address, willing to
communicate, studious to edify, and formed to amuse--such, in more
retired life, was he whom we lament. And while a peculiar pleasantry
enlivened and rendered his company agreeable, his conversation was
ever marked with the greatest objects of his pursuit--virtue and
religion. It were to be wished that the good impressions of his
ministry may be long retained; and that the rising generation, like
their pious ancestors, may catch a spark of that ethereal flame
which burnt with such lustre in the sentiments and practice of this
faithful servant of the most high God."

Another contemporaneous article says, "Dr. Cooper of Brattle-street,
called an enthusiast by none, won early to serious religion by his
[Whitefield's] instrumentality, delivered a sermon upon his death,
in which he pronounced a strong eulogy in favor of his holy and
successful activity in the cause of vital and practical religion
through the English dominions. Pews, aisles, and seats were so
crowded, and heads and shoulders were in such close phalanx, that it
looked as though a man might walk everywhere upon the upper surface
of the assembly, without finding an opening for descending to the

When the news of Mr. Whitefield's death reached Georgia, its
inhabitants vied with each other in showing him the highest respect.
All the black cloth in the stores was bought up; the pulpit and
desk of the church, the branches, the organ-loft, and the pews of
the governor and council were covered with black. The governor and
council in deep mourning convened at the state-house, and went in
procession to church, where they were received by the organ playing
a funeral dirge. Two funeral sermons were there listened to by the
authorities. In the Legislature high eulogiums were pronounced
on the admirable preacher, and a sum of money was unanimously
appropriated for removing his remains to Georgia, to be interred
at his orphan-house; but the inhabitants of Newburyport strongly
objected, and the design was relinquished. Forty-five years later
when a new county was formed in Georgia, it received the name of
Whitefield in commemoration of his worth and useful services.

In a letter from Dr. Franklin to a gentleman in Georgia, he says,
"I cannot forbear expressing the pleasure it gives me to see
an account of the respect paid to his memory by your assembly.
I knew him intimately upwards of thirty years; his integrity,
disinterestedness, and indefatigable zeal in prosecuting every good
work, I have never seen equalled, I shall never see excelled."

Of course it would be expected that the sermons at Savannah would
be of great interest. Such a discourse was delivered by the Rev.
Mr. Ellington, who very truly said, "Whitefield's longing desires
for the salvation of immortal souls would not admit of his being
confined within the limits of any walls. How he has preached, with
showers of stones, and many other instruments of malice and revenge
about his ears, many of his surviving friends can witness. But
having the salvation of sinners at heart, and a great desire to
rescue them from the power of an eternal death, he resolved to spend
and be spent for the service of precious and immortal souls; and
spared no pains and refused no labor, so that he might administer
to their real and eternal good. He died like a hero on the field
of battle. Thousands in England, Scotland, and America have great
reason to bless God for his ministrations."

Who shall attempt to describe the feelings of the congregations
at the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court chapels, when the news of
their pastor's death first reached them? All were indeed clothed in
mourning. By Whitefield's own previous appointment, the Rev. John
Wesley preached the funeral sermon at Tottenham Court-road chapel.
The preacher bore this testimony: "In his public labors he has for
many years astonished the world with his eloquence and devotion.
With what divine pathos did he persuade the impenitent sinner to
embrace the practice of early piety and virtue. Filled with the
spirit of grace, he spoke from the heart with a fervency of zeal
perhaps unequalled since the days of the apostles; and adorned
the truths he delivered with the most graceful charms of rhetoric
and oratory. From the pulpit he was unrivalled in the command of
an ever-crowded auditory. It was the love of God shed abroad in
his heart by the Holy Ghost which filled his soul with tender,
disinterested love to every child of man.... Mention has been
already made of his unparalleled zeal, his indefatigable activity,
his tender-heartedness to the afflicted, and charitableness towards
the poor. But should we not likewise mention his deep gratitude to
all whom God had used as instruments of good to him? of whom he did
not cease to speak in the most respectful manner, even to his dying
day. Should we not mention that he had a heart susceptible of the
most generous and the most tender friendship? I have frequently
thought that this, of all others, was the distinguishing part of
his character. How few have we known of so kind a temper, of such
large and flowing affections! Was it not principally by this that
the hearts of others were so strongly drawn and knit to him? Can
any thing but love beget love? This shone in his very countenance,
and continually breathed in all his words, whether in public or
private. Was it not this which, quick and penetrating as lightning,
flew from heart to heart; which gave that life to his sermons, his
conversation, his letters? Ye are witnesses."

The Rev. John Newton preached a funeral sermon at Olney, where
he was then settled, from the highly appropriate text, "He was a
burning and a shining light," John 5:35, in which he thus speaks
of Whitefield: "Some ministers are burning and shining lights
in a peculiar and eminent degree. Such a one, I doubt not, was
the servant of God whose death we now lament. I have had some
opportunities of looking over the history of the church in past
ages; I am not backward to say, that I have not read or heard
of any person, since the apostles' days, of whom it may be more
emphatically said, 'He was a burning and a shining light,' than the
late Mr. Whitefield; whether we consider the warmth of his zeal, the
greatness of his ministerial talents, or the extensive usefulness
with which the Lord honored him. I do not mean to praise the man,
but the Lord who furnished him, and made him what he was. He was
raised up to shine in a dark place. The state of religion when he
first appeared in public, was very low in our established church.
I speak the truth, though to some it may be an offensive truth.
The doctrines of grace were seldom heard from the pulpit, and the
life and power of godliness were little known. Many of the most
spiritual among the dissenters, were mourning under a sense of a
great spreading declension on their side. What a change has taken
place throughout the land within a little more than thirty years;
that is, since the time when the first set of despised ministers
came to Oxford! And how much of this change has been owing to God's
blessing on Mr. Whitefield's labors, is well known to many who have
lived through this period, and can hardly be denied by those who are
least willing to allow it.... His zeal was not like wildfire, but
directed by sound principles, and a sound judgment.... The Lord gave
him a manner of preaching which was peculiarly his own. He copied
from none, and I never met with any one who could imitate him with

With regret we tear ourselves away from Romaine and Toplady, from
Pemberton and Parsons, and from a multitude of others who bore
testimonies like those we have given, but which would exceed the
limits of our narrative.

Mr. Newton, after his removal to London, once breakfasting with
a company of noblemen and gentlemen, was asked if he knew Mr.
Whitefield. He answered in the affirmative, and remarked, that as a
preacher Mr. Whitefield far exceeded every other man of his time.
Mr. Newton added, "I bless God that I lived in his time: many were
the winter mornings I rose at four o'clock to attend his Tabernacle
discourses at five; and I have seen Moorfields as full of lanterns
at these times, as I suppose the Hay market is full of flambeaux
on an opera night." As a proof of the power of Mr. Whitefield's
preaching, Mr. Newton said, that a military officer at Glasgow, who
had heard him preach, laid a wager with another, that at a certain
charity sermon, though he went with prejudice, he would be compelled
to give something. The other, to make sure that he would not, laid
aside all the money out of his pockets; but before he left the
church, he was glad to borrow some, and lose his bet. Mr. Newton
mentioned as another striking illustration of Mr. Whitefield's
persuasive oratory, his collecting after one sermon £600, or about
$3,000, for the inhabitants of an obscure village in Germany, that
had been burned down. After this sermon, Whitefield said, "We shall
sing a hymn, during which those who do not choose to give their
mite on this awful occasion, may sneak off." Not one moved; he came
down from the pulpit, ordered all the doors to be shut but one, at
which he held the plate himself, and collected the large sum we have
named. Mr. Newton farther stated what he knew to be a fact, that at
the time of Whitefield's greatest persecution, when obliged to speak
in the streets, in one week he received not fewer than a thousand
letters from persons distressed in their consciences by the energy
of his preaching.

A gentleman of title in England was one day examining some works
of the distinguished sculptor, John Bacon. Among them he observed
a bust of Mr. Whitefield, which led him to remark, "After all that
has been said, this was truly a great man; he was the founder of a
new religion." Mr. Bacon replied, "A new religion, sir?" "Yes," said
the baronet; "what do you call it?" "Nothing," was the reply, "but
the old religion revived with new energy, and treated as though the
preacher meant what he said."

Several interesting narratives have been given of visits to the tomb
of Whitefield, which show the preciousness of his memory.

In 1834, the Rev. Andrew Reed, D. D., of London, and the late
Rev. James Matheson, D. D., of Durham, visited this country as a
deputation to its churches from the Congregational Union of England
and Wales. In describing their visit to Newburyport, Dr. Reed says,
"We had a conference with the pastors here, and afterwards went
to the church which is enriched with the remains of Whitefield.
The elders of the church were present in the porch to receive us.
We descended to the vault. There were three coffins before us.
Two pastors of the church lay on either side, and the remains of
Whitefield in the centre. The cover was slipt aside, and they lay
beneath my eye. I had before stood in his pulpits; seen his books,
his rings, and chairs; but never before had I looked on part of his
very self. The skull, which is perfect, clean, and fair, I received,
as is the custom, into my hand. I could say nothing; but thought
and feeling were busy. On returning to the church, I proposed an
exercise of worship. We collected over the grave of the eloquent,
the devoted, and seraphic man, and gave expression to the sentiments
that possessed us, by solemn psalmody and fervent prayer. It was not
an ordinary service to any of us."

In the year 1835, a similar deputation visited this country from
the Baptist Union of Great Britain and Ireland. It consisted of
the late Rev. F. A. Cox, D. D., of London, and the Rev. James
Hoby, D. D., then of Birmingham. They also visited the tomb of our
never-to-be-forgotten evangelist. We give a few sentences from their
report: "We made an excursion to Newburyport, thirty-nine miles from
Boston, to see the tomb of Whitefield. On our arrival, we hastened
to the depository of the precious remains of that eminent servant
of God.... We descended with some difficulty into the subterraneous
vault, which is immediately behind the pulpit, in a small chamber
like a vestry, external to the body of the church. Deep expectant
emotions thrilled through our bosoms, while a kind of trap-door was
opened, and we descended beneath the floor to another door, which
stood perpendicularly, by which we entered, or rather crept, into
the awful and silent sepulchre. There were three coffins placed
in parallel lines; two of them containing the mortal part of Mr.
Parsons and Mr. Prince, pastors of the church. We instinctively
took our seats, the one on the one coffin, the other on the other,
with the coffin of Whitefield between, over which, when the upper
part of the lid was removed, to reveal the skeleton secrets of the
narrow prison-house, we bent in solemn stillness and awe. We gazed
on the fragments--we contemplated and handled the skull of that
great preacher of righteousness--we thought of his devoted life,
his blessed death, his high and happy destiny; and whispered our
adorations of the grace that formed him both for earth and heaven."

The following lines were written by the departed and amiable William
B. Tappan, on visiting this spot in September, 1837.

    "And this was Whitefield!--this, the dust now blending
     With kindred dust, that wrapt his soul of fire--
     Which, from the mantle freed, is still ascending
     Through regions of far glory, holier, higher.

     Oh, as I gaze here with a solemn joy
     And awful reverence, in which shares Decay,
     Who, this fair frame reluctant to destroy,
     Yields it not yet to doom which all obey--
     How follows thought his flight, at Love's command,
     From hemisphere in sin, to hemisphere,
     Warning uncounted multitudes with tears--
     Preaching the risen Christ on sea and land--
     And now those angel journeyings above!
     Souls, his companions, saved by such unwearied love!"

In December, 1845, one of the London daily papers, "The Sun,"
contained a somewhat extended account of Whitefield in New England,
and especially his death, funeral, and tomb, from which we
borrow mementos that in both hemispheres may be interesting "for
generations to come."

"I was spending Sunday at Old Ipswich, in the latter part of last
September, when by accident I fell in with an old inhabitant of
the town who had heard Whitefield preach there. He was a sort of
patriarch of the place, and as he sat on one of the stones which
surrounded the ancient orthodox meeting-house, his grey locks
streaming from beneath his queerly shaped hat, and attired in his
primly cut old-fashioned coat, he appeared no bad representative of
the departed Puritans who, in former days, had soberly and decently
obeyed the call of the Sabbath bell, and worshipped in the same
temple whose steeple now casts its shadow athwart the green sward
beneath.... As the bell of Old Ipswich church swung out that bright
Sabbath morning, it was a pretty sight to see the village people
coming from different points to the decaying old church, which
was situated, as most country churches in New England are, on a
hill-top. While I was enjoying the scene, the old man to whom I have
alluded, and who was sitting on a stone, accosted me, and asked me
if I was not a stranger 'in these parts.' On my informing him that I
was, he pointed out to me the 'lions' of the neighborhood, and wound
up by asking, 'I suppose, sir, you've heard of Whitefield?'

"'Of Whitefield? to be sure I have.'

"'Well, I've seen Whitefield, George Whitefield stood on this very
stone,' (dropping his stick feebly from his shaking hands,) 'and I
heard him preach here.'

"'And do you remember any thing about him?' I asked.

"'Well, I guess I do. I was but a bit of a boy then; but here he
stood on this stone, looking like a flying angel, and we call this
Whitefield's pulpit to this day.... There was folks here from all
parts to hear him; so he was obliged to preach outside, for the
church wasn't half big enough for 'em, and no two ways about it.
I've heard many parsons sin' that time, but none on 'em could come
nigh him, any how they could fix it.'

"'Do you remember any thing of his sermons?' I inquired.

"'Oh, I was too young to notice aught, sir, but the preacher hisself
and the crowds of people, but I know he had a very sweet voice;
and as I said, when he spread his arms out, with a little Bible in
his hand, he looked like a flying angel. There never were so many
people, afore nor since, in Old Ipswich. I suppose, sir, you'll be
going to see his bones? He was buried at Newburyport, and you can
see 'em if you like.'

"I made up my mind that I would see them, if possible. On the
following day, I went over to Newburyport by railroad, and proceeded
first to the house in which Whitefield died. It was at the time the
residence of the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, the first regular pastor of
the Presbyterian Society in the town. It is a plain unpretending
structure, possessing no other claims to attention than its being
the spot where the last scene of Whitefield's career was enacted.
I knocked, and asked of a lady who answered my summons, if I might
be allowed to see the room in which Mr. Whitefield died. She very
courteously showed me up a flight of stairs into a chamber, which,
she said, Mr. Whitefield used to sleep in. 'Here is the place he
died in,' said the lady, as she showed me a little entry just
outside the door of the chamber, directly over the entrance to the
house. 'He lay the night before he died,' said the lady, 'in that
bed-chamber; and when he was struck with death, he ran out to this
entry window for breath, and died while sitting in a chair opposite
to it.'

"The Federal-street church, where Whitefield was buried, was but a
short distance from the house in which he died, and on my way to
it I called on the sexton.... He preceded me through the aisle of
the church, and opening a little narrow door by the side of the
pulpit, we passed into a dim gloomy room behind it, and from thence
descending four or five steps, found ourselves in a brick vault
which lay directly under the pulpit. It was two or three minutes
before my eyes got accustomed to the gloom; but soon objects became
discernible, and I saw three old coffins, two of them serving as
supporters to the third, which lay across them.... The sexton
trimmed his lamp, then lifted the lid of an old coffin, and holding
the flame close to it, said, 'Here, look in, ... THAT'S THE MAN.'

"Yes, there lay the man, or at least, all that remains of the once
mighty preacher. A strange awe came over me at his words, '_That's
the man._' I took the skull in my hands, and examined it carefully.
The forehead was rather narrow than broad, and by no means high. I
soon put it back again to the coffin."

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the more prominent traits in the character of Whitefield,
we may designate his _indifference to his own honor and ease_, of
which his narrative contains almost innumerable illustrations. In
the preparation of the deed of trust for his intended college, he
entirely omitted his own name, that the proposed trustees might
accept the office without suffering contempt for being connected
with him. It was not pretence which led him often to say, "Let the
name of George Whitefield perish, if God be glorified." On the
same principle of almost self-annihilation he acted in reference
to the accumulation of money. He secured nothing for himself. It
does not seem that what he left to his friends by his will was or
could be paid; what had been left him as legacies had been nearly
all expended, and would have been entirely, had he lived to return
to his beloved Bethesda. By his will he placed the institution in
the hands of Lady Huntingdon, who sent out ministers and other
persons to conduct it. But soon after this, the buildings were burnt
down. After the fire, came the Revolutionary war, which tended to
unsettle the tenure of property, and at the time of its close, the
whole plans, alike of the orphan-house and the college, were nearly
unknown. The authorities of Savannah, in accordance with the high
regard which they still entertained for Whitefield's memory, secured
whatever they could of the wreck, the proceeds of which they
invested in a school for the young, which yet flourishes.

Perhaps no man was ever more thoroughly _fond of labor_. From a
memorandum in which Mr. Whitefield recorded the times and places
of his ministerial labors, it appears that from the period of his
ordination to that of his death, which was thirty-four years,
he preached upwards of _eighteen thousand sermons_. It would be
difficult to imagine how many thousand miles he travelled. When he
ascertained that his physical powers began to fail, putting himself
on what he called "short allowance," he preached _only once on every
week-day, and three times on the Sabbath_. In view of his various
journeyings in the slow and inconvenient modes of travelling then
in use, his thirteen voyages across the Atlantic, and all that he
accomplished, it appears that few men ever performed so much labor
within the same period.

Nearly every one who has attempted a description of Whitefield has
said much of his _extraordinary voice_. It is known that Garrick was
heard to say that he would give a hundred guineas if he could say
"Oh!" as Whitefield did. The late Rev. Dr. Haweis, speaking of his
"wonderful voice," and of its sweetness and variety of tone, said he
believed on a serene evening it might be distinctly heard for nearly
a mile. Others have given similar evidence.

The late Sir George Beaumont, no mean authority on such a subject,
thus familiarly speaks: "Oh yes; I heard that young gentleman this
morning allude to 'roaring Whitefield,' and was amused at his
mistake. It is a common one. Whitefield did not roar. I have been
his auditor more than once, and was delighted with him. Whitefield's
voice could be heard at an immense distance; but that was owing to
its fulness, roundness, and clearness. It was a perfectly sound
voice. It is an odd description, but I can hit upon no better; there
was neither crack nor flaw. To describe him as a bellowing, roaring
field preacher, is to describe a mountebank, not Whitefield. He had
powers of pathos of the highest order. The tender, soft, persuasive
tones of his voice were melodious in the extreme. And when he
desired to win, or persuade, or plead, or soothe, the gush of
feeling which his voice conveyed at once surprised and overpowered

Speaking on the authority of his tutor, the Rev. Cornelius Winter,
the late excellent Mr. Jay says that Whitefield's voice was
incomparable: not only distinct and loud, but abounding with every
kind of inflection, and perfectly under his power; so that he could
render every thing he expressed, however common or insignificant in
itself, striking and affecting.

This distinguished man had a peculiar talent for making the
_narration of facts tell in the pulpit_. Nothing occurred among
even his own family connections, but he would make it contribute to
the edification of his auditors. One Lord's day morning, with his
usual fervor he exhorted his hearers to give up the use of means for
the spiritual good of their relatives and friends only with their
lives. He told them he had a brother, for whose spiritual welfare
he had very long used every possible means. He had warned him, and
prayed for him, but all apparently to no purpose, till a few weeks
previous; when that brother, to his astonishment and joy, came to
his house, and with many tears declared that he had come up from
the country to testify to him the great change which divine grace
had wrought in his heart, and to acknowledge with gratitude his
obligation to the man by whom God had wrought. Mr. Whitefield added,
that he had that morning received information, that on his brother's
return to Gloucestershire, where he resided, he dropped down dead as
he was getting out of a stagecoach. "Let us pray always," said he,
"for ourselves, and for those who are dear to us, and never faint."

This habit of making every occurrence bear on his ministry, Mr.
Winter, who knew him more intimately, and has told us more of his
private life and conduct than any other man, tells us was "perfectly
in character with Mr. Whitefield. He turned every thing into gold;
he improved every thing for good. Passing occurrences determined
the matter of his sermons, and, in some degree, the manner of his
address. Thus, if he had read on astronomy in the course of the
week, you would be sure to discover it. He knew how to convert
the centripetal motion of the planets to the disposition of the
Christian towards Christ; and the fatal attraction of the world
was very properly represented by a reference to the centrifugal.
If he attended any extraordinary trial, he would avail himself of
the formality of the judge in pronouncing sentence. It would only
be by hearing him, and by beholding his attitude and tears, that a
person could well conceive the effect; for it was impossible but
that solemnity must surround him who, under God, became the means
of making all solemn."

He sometimes made use of an incident of history in the reign of
Henry VIII. The apprentices of London appeared before that monarch,
pleading his pardon for their insurrections, manifesting intense
feeling on the matter, and praying for "mercy, mercy." "Take them
away, take them away," was the monarch's request, moved by the sight
and the cries of these youths, "I cannot bear it." The application,
as will be readily supposed, was, that if an earthly monarch of
Henry's character could be so moved, how prevalent must be the plea
of the sinner in the ears of infinite Love.

The case of two Scotchmen in the convulsion of the state at the
time of Charles II. served him on more than one occasion. These
men, having to pass some of the troops, were thinking of their
danger, and meditating the best way of escape, when one of them
proposed wearing a skullcap; but the other, thinking that would
imply distrust of the providence of God, determined to proceed
bareheaded. The last was the first laid hold of, and being asked,
"Are you for the covenant?" replied, "Yes;" and being further asked,
"What covenant?" answered, "The covenant of grace;" by which reply,
eluding farther inquiry, he was allowed to pass; but the other, not
answering satisfactorily, received a blow from the sabre, which
penetrating through the cap, struck him dead. In the application,
Mr. Whitefield, warning against vain confidence, exclaimed, "Beware
of your skullcaps."

An American clergyman has told us that he once related to Whitefield
an affecting occurrence, but did it with the ordinary brevity and
feeling of common conversation. Afterwards he heard Mr. Whitefield
preach, and tell this same story with such nature, pathos, and
power, that the clergyman found himself weeping like a child. It has
been well said, that he spoke with the tones of the soul; and that
his gestures were impelled by the same spontaneous magical influence
which made them, as well as his words, seem part of his soul.
Indeed, he threw his soul into every thing he did and said.

It is said that Whitefield would sometimes rise in the sacred desk,
and for a minute or two looking in silence around his vast audience,
as if salvation or perdition teemed in every cast of his eye, would
burst into tears, while the swift contagion, before he uttered a
word, had reached every heart that could feel, and dimmed every eye
that could weep.[2]

  [2] The New York Evangelist, in 1830, made the remark, that
  "Whitefield would have lost much of his oratorical influence on his
  hearers, had his speaking eyes been covered with a pair of modern

While his path to the sinner's heart was thus met with tears, he was
never without strength or aim. He struck everywhere. He swung his
glittering weapon, "the sword of the Spirit," in every direction,
the same whether he preached in the cushioned and carpeted pulpit to
lords, ladies, and gentlemen, or encountered a mob of stage-players
and merry-andrews in the open field. He insisted on instant,
visible, decisive action in his hearers. All was commotion where he
moved. The very earth would seem to be shaken with the thunder of
his eloquence; the heavens seemed, in the bold metaphor of Isaiah,
to "drop down from above, and the skies to pour down righteousness,"
when he set the trumpet of the gospel to his lips, and made the
notes of salvation or perdition ring in the ears of dying men. Such
unwonted sounds startled the multitude into life, rousing energies
that were forthwith enlisted either for or against the mighty cause
which he advocated, with the boldness and fervor of one who had
received immediate commission from heaven. His sacred ambition was
content with nothing short of the conquest of thousands.

It has been well said by a living American writer, that "Whitefield
was, in sacred eloquence, what Handel was in sacred music. There
was an air, a soul, and a _movement_ in his oratory, which created
indescribable emotion in his vast assemblies, and if Handel, with a
thousand auxiliary voices and instruments, astonished the multitude
in Westminster Abbey, even to raising them on their feet, by the
performance of his Messiah, Whitefield did greater wonders in his
single person by _preaching_ the Messiah to the immense crowds in
Tottenham Court-road and Moorfields."

The same writer has said elsewhere, "The influence of Whitefield and
Edwards on theology and pulpit eloquence were immense. There was in
those two men indeed 'a diversity of gifts, but the same spirit,'
The intellect prevailed in Edwards, the impassioned in Whitefield.
Pure truth came forth from the mind of the one as nakedly
demonstrated as it ever was on the pages of Newton and Locke; for
Edwards, when but a child, read Locke with enthusiasm. From the
soul of Whitefield it came forth arrayed in the gorgeous robes of
his own many-colored imagination, baptized in the tenderness of his
own sympathetic spirit. At times, indeed, the thunders of Sinai
seemed to shake the sacred desk, but the softer music of the harp
of Zion was more congenial with his compassionate spirit, though he
was always bold for God, and braved danger in every form for the
salvation of sinners. It is not strange that American preachers
venerate, even to enthusiasm, the memory of such a man, and visit
his dust, enshrined as it is in the bosom of New England, with
feelings of indescribable interest. His labors were for us; his rest
is with us; his example is before us. The first were indefatigable;
the second is peaceful; the last is glorious."

The Rev. Mr. Winter says, "I hardly ever knew him to go through
a sermon without weeping more or less;" and again, "It was only
by beholding his attitude and tears, that one could well conceive
of the effect." No doubt there was a connection between the tears
of Whitefield and his piety; but it must not be supposed that he
was always "the weeping prophet;" he could smile as well as weep.
A venerable lady in New York, known to some yet living, speaking
of the influence which first won her heart to God, said that "Mr.
Whitefield was so cheerful that it _tempted her to be a Christian_."

Every thing about this distinguished man excited attention. His
voice, accompanied by his look from crossed eyes, and proceeding
from a man of his robust frame, produced wonderful effects. It
is said that when once preaching in a graveyard, two young men
conducted themselves improperly, when he fixed his eyes upon them,
and with a voice resembling thunder, said, "Come down, ye rebels."
They instantly fell, neither of them being inclined again to come
into contact with such a look, or to hear such a voice.

He was once preaching to a vast crowd of people in southern
Pennsylvania, which was at that time ignorant and uncivilized. He
was incessantly disturbed by their noise, and twice reproved them
with great severity. At length he was so overcome by their noisy and
irreverent conduct, that he stopped short, dropped his head into his
hands, burst into a flood of tears, and exclaimed, "Oh, Lord God, I
am ashamed that these people are provoking thy wrath, and I dare not
reprove them a third time." Such was the effect of his conduct and
feeling, that his audience became perfectly quiet, and remained so
till the end of his discourse.

We have before us two narratives of his preaching during very heavy
storms. Dr. Campbell, a successor of Whitefield in the _Tabernacle_
in London, and whose ministry has been marked by much of the power
and success of his great predecessor, has given to the first of
these narratives the title of "_Thunder and Eloquence_." Before
he commenced his sermon on this occasion, long darkening columns
crowded the bright sunny sky of the morning, and swept their dull
shadows over the building, in fearful augury of the storm.

His text was, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many,
I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
"See," said he, pointing to a shadow that was flitting across the
floor--"see that emblem of human life. It passed for a moment, and
concealed the brightness of heaven from our view; but it is gone.
And where will ye be, my hearers, when your lives have passed away
like that dark cloud? Oh, my dear friends, I see thousands sitting
attentively, with their eyes fixed on the poor unworthy preacher.
In a few days, we shall all meet at the judgment-seat of Christ.
We shall form a part of that vast assembly that will gather before
the throne; and every eye will behold the Judge. With a voice whose
call you must abide and answer, he will inquire whether on earth you
strove to enter in at the strait gate; whether you were supremely
devoted to God; whether your hearts were absorbed in him. My blood
runs cold when I think how many of you will then seek to enter in,
and shall not be able. Oh, what plea can you make before the Judge
of the whole earth? Can you say it has been your whole endeavor to
mortify the flesh, with its affections and lusts--that your life has
been one long effort to do the will of God? No; you must answer, 'I
made myself easy in the world by flattering myself that all would
end well; but I have deceived my own soul, and am lost.'

"You, O false, and hollow Christian, of what avail will it be that
you have done many things--that you have read much in the sacred
word--that you have made long prayers--that you have attended
religious duties, and that you have appeared holy in the eyes of
men? What will all this be, if, instead of loving Him supremely,
you have been supposing you should exalt yourself in heaven by acts
really polluted and unholy?

"And you, rich men, wherefore do you hoard your silver? Wherefore
count the price you have received for Him whom you every day crucify
in your love of gain? Why--that when you are too poor to buy a
drop of cold water, your beloved son may be rolled to hell in his
chariot, pillowed and cushioned around him."

The eye of the preacher gradually lighted up as he proceeded, till
towards the close it seemed to sparkle with celestial fire. With
his whole energy he exclaimed, "O sinners, by all your hopes of
happiness, I beseech you to repent. Let not the wrath of God be
awakened. Let not the fires of eternity be kindled against you. See
there!" pointing to the lightning, which played on the corner of the
pulpit, "it is a glance from the angry eye of Jehovah!" Raising his
finger in a listening attitude, as the distant thunder grew louder
and louder, and broke in one tremendous crash over the building, he
continued, "Hark! It was the voice of the Almighty as he passed by
in his anger!" As the sound died away, he covered his face with his
hands, and knelt beside his pulpit, apparently lost in inward and
intense prayer. The storm passed rapidly away, and the sun, beaming
forth in his might, threw across the heavens a magnificent arch of
peace. Rising, and pointing to the beautiful object, he exclaimed,
"Look upon the rainbow, and praise Him who made it. Very beautiful
it is in the brightness thereof. It compasseth the heavens about
with glory; and the hands of the Most High have bended it!"

On another occasion, as Mr. Whitefield was preaching in Boston, on
the wonders of creation, providence, and redemption, a violent
storm of thunder and lightning came on. In the midst of the sermon
it attained to so alarming a height that the congregation sat in
almost breathless awe. The preacher closed his note-book, and
stepping into one of the wings of the desk, fell on his knees, and
with much feeling and fine taste repeated:

    "Hark, THE ETERNAL rends the sky!
     A mighty voice before him goes--
     A voice of music to his friends,
     But threatening thunder to his foes:
    'Come, children, to your Father's arms;
     Hide in the chambers of my grace,
     Till the fierce storm be overblown,
     And my revenging fury cease--'

"Let us devoutly sing to the praise and glory of God this hymn, Old

The whole congregation instantly rose, and poured forth the sacred
song, in which they were accompanied by the organ, in a style of
simple grandeur and heartfelt devotion that was probably never
surpassed. By the time the hymn was finished the storm was hushed.
The remainder of the services were well adapted to sustain the
elevated feeling which had been produced; and the benediction with
which the good man dismissed the flock was universally received with
streaming eyes, and hearts overflowing with tenderness and gratitude.

Another writer has thus described his appearance in the pulpit.
There was nothing in the appearance of this extraordinary man which
would lead you to suppose that a Felix would tremble before him.
He was something above the middle stature, well proportioned, and
remarkable for a native gracefulness of manner. His complexion
was very fair, his features regular, and his dark blue eyes small
and lively. In recovering from the measles he had contracted a
squint with one of them; but this peculiarity rather rendered the
expression of his countenance more remarkable, 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
accompanied by that grace of action which he possessed in an eminent
degree, and which has been said to be the chief requisite in an
orator. To see him when he first commenced, one would have thought
him any thing but enthusiastic and glowing; but as he proceeded,
his heart warmed with his subject, and his manner became impetuous
and animated; till, forgetful of every thing around him, he seemed
to kneel at the throne of Jehovah, and to beseech in agony for his

After he had finished his prayer, he knelt for a long time in
profound silence, and so powerful was the effect on the most
heartless of his audience, that a stillness like that of the tomb
pervaded the whole house.

Mr. Tracy, in his narrative of "the Great Awakening" about 1740,
has admirably remarked, "It is often said that Whitefield cannot
have been a very great man, because his printed sermons contain only
plain, common thoughts, such as men of ordinary minds habitually
use. But what made those thoughts so common? They were not common
when he began to utter them. In England especially, and to a
considerable extent here also, they astonished his hearers by their
strangeness. What is more common than a voyage across the Atlantic?
But was Columbus, therefore, only an ordinary man? The case of
Copernicus is more nearly parallel. He reasserted a truth which had
been uttered, repudiated, and forgotten. That truth is now common,
even among school-boys. But was he, therefore, only a child in

There are yet extant about eighty of the sermons by which Whitefield
agitated nations, and the more remote influence of which is still
distinctly to be traced, in the popular divinity and national
character of Great Britain and of the United States. Of these
compositions, Sir James Stephen, an evangelical Episcopalian of
London, wrote at some length in the "Edinburgh Review," 1838, and
we shall make no apology for borrowing a portion of his remarks,
combining them with some of our own.

It is true, that these sermons have fallen into very general
neglect; for to win permanent acceptance for a book, into which the
principles of life were not infused by its author, is a miracle
which not even the zeal of religious proselytes can accomplish. Yet,
inferior as were his inventive to his mimetic powers, Whitefield is
entitled, among theological writers, to a place which, if it cannot
challenge admiration, may at least excite and reward curiosity.
Many, and those by far the worst of his discourses, bear the marks
of careful preparation. Take at hazard a sermon of one of the
preachers usually distinguished as evangelical, add a little to
its length, and subtract a great deal from its point and polish,
and you have one of his more elaborate common topics discussed in
a commonplace way; a respectable mediocrity of thought and style;
endless variations on one or two cardinal truths--in short, the task
of a clerical Saturday evening, executed with piety, good sense, and
exceeding sedateness. But open one of that series of Whitefield's
sermons which bears the stamp of having been conceived and uttered
at the same moment, and imagine it recited to myriads of eager
listeners with every charm of voice and gesture, and the secret
of his unrivalled fascination is at least partially disclosed. He
places himself on terms of intimacy and unreserved confidence with
you, and makes it almost as difficult to decline the invitation
to his familiar talk as if Montaigne himself had issued it. The
egotism is amusing, affectionate, and warm-hearted, with just that
slight infusion of self-importance without which it would pass for
affectation. In his art of rhetoric, personification holds the first
place; and the prosopopoeia is so managed as to quicken abstractions
into life, and to give them individuality and distinctness without
the exhibition of any of those spasmodic and distorted images which
obey the incantations of vulgar exorcists. Every trace of study and
contrivance is obliterated by the hearty earnestness which pervades
each successive period, and by the vernacular and homely idioms in
which his meaning is conveyed.

It is in the grandeur and singleness of purpose that the charm of
Whitefield's preaching seems to have consisted. You feel that you
have to do with a man who lived and spoke, and who would gladly
have died, to deter his hearers from the path of destruction, and
to guide them to holiness and peace. His gossipping stories, and
dramatic forms of speech, are never employed to hide the awful
realities on which he is intent. Conscience is not permitted to
find an intoxicating draught in even spiritual excitement, or an
anodyne in glowing imagery. Guilt and its punishment, pardon and
spotless purity, death and an eternal existence, stand out in bold
relief on every page. From these the eye of the teacher is never
withdrawn, and to these the attention of the hearer is riveted. All
that is poetic, grotesque, or rapturous is employed to deepen these
impressions, and is dismissed as soon as that purpose is answered.
Deficient in learning, meagre in thought, and redundant in language
as are these discourses, they yet fulfil the one great condition of
genuine eloquence. They propagate their own kindly warmth, and leave
their stings behind them.

The enumeration of the sources of Whitefield's power is still
essentially defective. Neither energy, nor eloquence, nor histrionic
talents, nor any artifices of style, nor the most genuine sincerity
and self-devotedness, nor all these united, would have enabled him
to mould the religious character of millions in his own and future
generations. The secret lies deeper. It consisted in the theology
he taught--in its perfect simplicity and universal application.
"Would ministers," says he, "preach for eternity, they would then
act the part of true Christian orators; and not only calmly and
coolly inform the understanding, but by pathetic and persuasive
address, endeavor to move the affections and to warm the heart. To
act otherwise, betrays a sad ignorance of human nature, and such
an inexcusable ignorance and indifference in a preacher, as must
constrain the hearers to suspect, whether they will or not, that
the preacher, let him be whom he will, only deals in the false
commerce of unfelt truth." His eighteen thousand sermons were but
so many variations on two key-notes: man is guilty, but may obtain
forgiveness; he is immortal, and must ripen here for endless weal or
woe hereafter. Expanded into innumerable forms, and diversified by
infinite varieties of illustration, these two cardinal principles
were ever in his heart and on his tongue. Let who would invoke
poetry to embellish the Christian system, or philosophy to explore
its esoteric depths, from his lips it was delivered as an awful and
urgent summons to repent, to believe, and to obey. To set to music
the orders issued to seamen in a storm, or to address them in the
language of Aristotle or Descartes, would have seemed to him not a
whit more preposterous than to divert his hearers from their danger
and their refuge, their duties and their hopes, to any topics more
trivial or more abstruse. In fine, he was thoroughly and continually
in earnest, and therefore possessed that tension of the soul which
admitted neither of lassitude nor relaxation, few and familiar
as were the topics to which he was confined. His was, therefore,
precisely that state of mind in which alone eloquence, properly so
called, can be engendered, and a moral and intellectual sovereignty

Nor less important is it to remark, though we need not illustrate
it at length, that much was effected by every one seeing that he
always forgot himself in his subject, and rested only on heaven for
success. He felt himself called to serve Christ, and gave himself
to his task, to save sinners, and he cared for nothing else. No
one ever doubted his sincerity when he prayed, "Help me, Friend of
sinners, to be nothing, to say nothing, that thou mayest say and do
every thing, and be my all in all." If the same feelings were fully
shown by the ministry at present, our messages would tell more on
the hearts of our hearers.

We need hardly remind the reader that Whitefield was remarkable for
_a devotional spirit_. Probably no man ever lived nearer to God. Had
he been less prayerful, he would have been less powerful. It has
been said that during a few of the last years of his life he read
the voluminous exposition of Matthew Henry, comprising six quarto
volumes, in a kneeling posture, pausing and praying that God would
engraft upon his mind the instructions of that extraordinary man.
When he came before his auditors, he looked like one who had been
with God. This it was which won for him the title of _seraphic_--he
was a human _seraph_, and burnt out in the blaze of his own fire.
Usually for an hour or two before he went into the pulpit, he
claimed retirement. In this claim he was imperative, and would not
be interrupted in his seasons of hallowed intercourse with God.

Engaged almost incessantly in preaching, or in preparation for it,
it was impossible, however much he desired it, to pay many private
visits of a religious nature. We are told, however, that on one
occasion, when a young minister, afterwards exceedingly popular and
useful, was once visiting him, he was sent for to visit a poor woman
who had been so dreadfully burnt that she could not survive many
hours. He went immediately, and prayed with her. He had no sooner
returned, than she called out, "Oh, where is Mr. Whitefield?" Urged
by her entreaty, her friends requested him to visit her a second
time. He complied, and again prayed with her. The poor afflicted
woman continued still to desire his presence. When her friends came
for him a third time, "I begged of him," said the young clergyman,
"not to go; for he could scarcely expect to do any good. 'Your
nerves are too weak, your feelings are too acute to endure such
scenes.' I shall never forget his mild reproof: 'Leave me; my Master
can save to the uttermost, to the _very uttermost_.'"

In conversation with his friends, Whitefield was as far removed as
possible from duplicity and mere compliment. He invited from his
friends whatever of instruction and of reproof they considered him
to need. And while he was always ready to receive reproof, he was,
when called to the duty, ready to give it, and often in a way which
his friends did not expect. A censorious professor of religion,
knowing the doctrinal differences between the two men, asked
Whitefield if he thought they would see Mr. John Wesley in heaven.
His answer was truly admirable: "No, sir, I fear not; for he will
be so near the throne, and we shall be at such a distance, we shall
hardly get sight of him."

It is said, that when he was once travelling in company with a
Christian man, they had occasion to stay for a night at a road-side
tavern. After they had retired, they were greatly annoyed by a
company of gamblers, who were in an adjoining room. Whitefield
could not rest, and told his friend that he would go into the room
and reprove them for their conduct. The other remonstrated against
his doing so, but in vain. He went; and unhappily, his words fell
apparently powerless upon them. Returning, he laid down to sleep.
"What," asked his companion, "did you gain by your trouble?"
Whitefield characteristically answered, "A soft pillow."

In his intercourse with general society, Mr. Whitefield never forgot
his dignity as a servant of Jesus Christ. When he was in the zenith
of his popularity, Lord Clare, who knew that his influence was
considerable, applied to him by letter, requesting his influence
at Bristol at the ensuing general election. To this request Mr.
Whitefield replied, that in general elections he never interfered;
but he would earnestly exhort his lordship to use great diligence to
make his own particular "calling and election sure."

Mr. Whitefield was greatly distinguished, even from early life, for
neatness in his person, order in his apartments, and regular method
in the management of all his affairs. He was accustomed to say that
a minister should be "without a spot;" and on one occasion remarked,
that he could not feel comfortable if he knew that his _gloves_
were out of their proper place. The advantages of such habits are
numerous. They save time, give a degree of comfort which can only
be known by experience, and add not a little to the dignity of the
Christian minister.

The device upon Whitefield's seal, of which probably few impressions
are now to be found, was truly characteristic. It was a winged heart
soaring above the globe, and its motto was, "_Astra petamus_"--Let
us seek heaven.



In suggesting a few of the CHARACTERISTICS OF WHITEFIELD'S
PREACHING, we are very greatly indebted to an excellent anonymous
writer in the London Evangelical Magazine for 1853. We consider as
among the reasons of his success, and as worthy of our imitation,

First, _the prominence given to the leading truths of salvation,
and the constant exaltation of Christ in them_. There needs no
minute inquiry, or great analytical care, to ascertain what was
the pervading theme of this popular minister: it was "Christ,
and him crucified," and the glorious truths that hover around
the cross, and derive from it their being and lustre. There was
no other subject, in Whitefield's estimation, that was worthy of
preëminence, and to unfold, elucidate, and apply it, was the great
design of his labors. He saw in it such a wonderful adaptation to
the necessities and condition of fallen humanity, that he stood in
the midst of its wants and woes with all the confidence of a good
physician who had a sovereign and sufficient remedy to propose.
He knew that there was no case which it could not meet, no moral
disease from which it would not recover, no spiritual need which
it would not supply; and therefore, however far gone men might
be from original righteousness, however hardened in sin, sunk in
iniquity, or however elevated by the delusions of a false morality
and fancied self-righteousness, he propounded this as the only and
all-sufficient antidote, at once to destroy and heal, to kill and
to make alive. As to the spurious production of a rationalistic
theory on the one hand, or the prescriptions of ceremonial virtue
and sacramental grace on the other, he knew them not. He saw at
once their hollowness and insufficiency, and would not mock the
necessities of our fallen nature, or aggravate the wounds which sin
had made by a proposal of them. His acquaintance with the human
heart was deep, and his knowledge of the different modifications
of the original disease was so great, that he despaired of relief
from any expedients save that which infinite Wisdom had devised, and
which "the gospel of the grace of God" revealed. Philosophy with
all its discoveries, and reason with all its powers, the law with
all its authority, and virtue with all its rewards, he knew could
only, like the priests and the Levites, have passed the patient by,
and left him to despair, till a greater than they should arrive,
and say, "I will come and heal you." On that adorable Personage,
therefore, and the wonders of his skill and love, he delighted to
dwell. Every sermon was full of Christ; every discourse was odorous
of him. From whatever part of revealed truth he derived his text,
and with whatever peculiar development of man's moral physiology he
had to do, there was something to suggest, to demonstrate the need,
or the suitableness, or the all-sufficiency of the Saviour of the
world. To set him forth, in the glories of his wonderful person, the
variety of his offices, the perfection of his righteousness, the
completeness of his atonement, and the plenitude of his grace, was
his perpetual aim. To these he gave continual prominence, at all
times, and in every place. There was no reserve, no equivocation, no
partial statement on such themes. It was a full, clear, consistent
gospel. From his lips the gospel gave no "uncertain sound." This
made him a welcome messenger of glad tidings to all. This gave him
a key to the hearts of many, who, as they stood around him, and
wondered at him, like those five thousand whom the Redeemer fed
with "five loaves and two small fishes," found all their appetites
suited, and all their necessities supplied. It was the magic power
which arrested them; the centre of gravitation which attracted them;
the bread of life which fed them. "As Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness," so now was the Son of man lifted up by the
ministry of this his devoted herald; and far as the camp extended,
and wide as the circumference of poison and death was spread, the
wounded looked thereon and lived. A restorative virtue issued from
it. The hardest heart was softened. The most obstinate in rebellion
was overcome. The blindest saw. The moral lepers were cleansed.
The broken in heart were made whole, and the spiritually dead were
raised to life. "This was the Lord's doing, and it was marvellous in
their eyes." They beheld the man. They heard him preach. They felt
the power. It was because He was exalted among them who had said,
"I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

Secondly, _the glow of feeling, the melting compassion, which
pervaded his own soul_. Oh, it is supremely delightful and deeply
affecting to observe the tender affection and melting pathos with
which Whitefield propounded and proclaimed the precious truths and
everlasting verities of the gospel to his fellow-men. He stood
among them as one of their race, one of their number, conscious of
the common misery into which all had fallen, and weeping over the
miseries and ruin in which by nature they were alike involved. As
he opened up the treasures of infinite mercy, and the riches of
redeeming love to their view, he wept to think how long they had
been unknown or despised by many, and with what base ingratitude
thousands would probably still turn away from them. As one who
saw their immortal being in jeopardy, and their souls standing
on the verge of irretrievable ruin, he hastened, with joy in his
countenance and tenderness in his heart, to tell them of One who was
"mighty to save," and that "now was the accepted time, and now the
day of salvation." Not as one who had a cold lecture on ethics to
deliver, or a dissertation on philosophy to expound, or a problem
in mathematics to solve, did he proceed to such a work; but as one
who felt the weight of his great commission, and knew the worth
of never-dying souls. The evil of sin, the danger of impenitence,
the powers of the world to come, the glories of heaven, and the
unutterable miseries of the regions of woe, were visibly present to
his own mind; and of these, "out of the abundance of his heart," he
spoke to others. He could not be calm, he could not be apathetic on
such themes as these.

        "Passion was reason, transport temper, here."

And with much of the melting tenderness of Him who wept over
Jerusalem, he spoke of these things to all that resorted to him.
What moving words did he utter on Blackheath hill, in the Tabernacle
pulpit, and on Kingswood mount! His vivid eye beamed with the glow
of tenderness, and his tears, as he spoke, oft-times moistened his
little Bible or bedewed the ground. In his printed sermons, which
doubtless are but feeble specimens of his free and fervent manner,
there are strains of tender pathos and impassioned oratory, which it
is almost impossible to read even now without being moved to share
in his feelings and in the emotions which they must have enkindled
around; and in the perusal of which we wonder not that, in all the
circumstances, the place in which he stood was a Bochim--a place of
weeping. Oh, the melting power, the exquisite pathos, the tender
expostulation of this preëminent man, and unrivalled preacher of the
gospel of our salvation! We wish we could catch them now--that all
preachers possessed them; that the rising ministry especially would
emulate him in these things. Whitefield showed his intense feeling,
not from the mere power of ratiocination, or from the poetic
memento, or for the sake of producing effect by the tears that were
unfelt, or which only flowed from the surface; but from the meltings
of a tender heart, influenced by a Saviour's love, and overflowing
with the commiseration of a benign compassion for dying multitudes
around. Doddridge's beautiful hymn,

            "Arise, my tenderest thoughts, arise,"

one might almost think was written at Whitefield's side. The
tenderness of John, and the "weeping" of Paul, were blended in him
with the boldness of Peter. The love that agonized in the garden of
Gethsemane, and bled on the cross of Calvary, was largely diffused
through all his powers.

Thirdly, _the direct address of his ministry_. The characteristic
mode of his preaching, and the style of his public ministrations,
was, to direct his appeal to the hearts and consciences of his
hearers, and to "preach _to_ the people all the words of this
life." It was not an harangue _before_ them. It was not an oration
beautifully prepared, read, or delivered in their hearing, and
presented simply for their acceptance and admiration; but a
direct address, an affectionate appeal, a solemn and earnest
communication of the message he had received from God to them. Oh,
we have sometimes thought, what a marked difference there ought
to be between the ministrations of a servant of Christ to his
fellow-immortals, on things of eternal importance in which they are
personally and deeply concerned, and the delivery of a lecture from
the philosopher's desk, or even of a dissertation on theology from
the professorial chair. So thought the apostles. So thought the
prophets and public teachers of sacred mysteries of old. They had
the "burden of the Lord" to deliver, and it was _unto_ the people.
They had an embassy to execute, and it was by negotiating directly
with, and in the consciences of their hearers. Whitefield caught
their spirit, proceeded in their way, and did such mighty execution,
not by the mere symmetrical illustration of divine truth, but by
the direct presentation of it to their minds. They had not to ask,
"For whom is all this intended?" and, "Is it designed for us?" They
felt that it was. It came home to their consciences, and to their
very hearts. They could not transfer it to others, nor avoid the
application of it to themselves. Had the preacher called them by
name, which in his skilful delineation of character, he sometimes
virtually did, they could not have been more certain that he
intended it for them, and that it was at their peril to neglect or
pass it by. "I have a message from God unto thee," he substantially
said in every discourse he uttered, and the people were compelled
to believe it. "Go, and tell this people," said the divine voice
to Isaiah, "Ye hear indeed, but do not understand; ye see indeed,
but do not perceive." "Therefore," said Peter, "let all the house
of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, _whom
ye have crucified_, both Lord and Christ." "Now then," said Paul,
"we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech _you_ by
us, we pray _you_, in Christ's stead, _be ye_ reconciled to God."
Such was the tenor of the apostolic ministry. Such the secret of
its mighty power and success. And such also was the characteristic
of the faithful and seraphic Whitefield, by which he knocked at the
door of many hearts, and those hearts were opened to him, to his
message, and to his Lord. His plan was that of heavenly wisdom; his
appeal was the same. "Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to
the sons of men." In him were verified the poet's graphic lines:

    "There stands the messenger of truth; there stands
    The legate of the skies: his theme divine,
    His office sacred, his credentials clear.
    By him the violated law speaks out
    Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
    As angels use, the gospel whispers peace.
    He stablishes the strong, restores the weak,
    Reclaims the wanderer, binds the broken heart,
    And sues the sinner to return to God."

Fourthly, _his habitual dependence on the Spirit of God, and his
earnest aspirations for the manifestation of his power_. That he
was conscious of his own superior talents as an orator, and knew
how to employ them on sacred themes; that he skilfully wielded
all the weapons of a well-studied eloquence to gain access to the
human mind, and knew both how to alarm and how to persuade, and
could attempt both with as much success probably as any speaker,
either of ancient or modern times; that he had a large and minute
acquaintance with the powers and passions of the human soul, and
knew well when and how to touch the hidden springs of its energies
and actions; that he had a good amount of common and sacred learning
at his command, and like that Apollos whom among the early teachers
of Christianity he most resembled, was "mighty in the Scriptures;"
and that he delighted to expatiate on the wonders and glories of
redemption as a restorative scheme preëminently adapted to interest
and attract, to impress and rule our common nature--are facts open
to all who inspect his writings and accompany him in his labors,
and will be denied by none. But with all these, and amid all, in
every sermon he composed and delivered, and in his most impassioned
addresses to his hearers, there is manifested an underlying and
all-pervading dependence on the power and grace of the Spirit
of God, which was in character, if not in degree, meek, humble,
genuine, entire, like that of the most eminent apostle or adoring
saint at the foot of the divine throne. With him it was not merely a
sentiment, but a feeling; and that feeling constant and habitual, as
it was in him who in the review of his labors said, "I have planted,
Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." He knew that none but
the almighty Spirit could gain effectual access to the spirit of
man; and that not even a Melancthon, a Luther, or a Whitefield,
could make old Adam yield, unless constrained by a superior power.
He seemed to stand in the valley of vision among the dry bones, as
the prophet did, and while he addressed them with something like a
prophet's power, he had no expectation or hope of success until the
wind of heaven came down and blew upon them. Therefore he prophesied
to it as well as to them. "Come from the four winds, O breath, and
breathe upon the slain, that they may live," was often the mighty
cry of his soul, before preaching, while preaching, and after
preaching. It seemed to be his joy, his only, his all-sustaining
confidence, that he lived under "the dispensation of the Spirit,"
and wrought in a day, and preached upon a theme, in connection with
which "the ministration of the Spirit" was to be "glorious," by his
wonderful works of conviction, conversion, and sanctification, among
the children of men. To that Spirit, as the glorifier of Christ, he
often devoutly and earnestly appealed. Sometimes, in the midst of
an unusual flow of tender and eloquent address to his hearers on
his favorite theme of the glories and grace of his divine Master,
he would pause in solemn silence, and lifting up his hands and his
voice to heaven, and carrying the hearts of his audience with him,
invoke aloud the descending and all-consuming fire. The present God
was acknowledged and felt. The word came "in demonstration of the
Spirit and of power." And while the habitual aim of his preaching
was to exalt "Christ Jesus the Lord," and while he reasoned, and
opened the Scriptures, and taught and alarmed or invited his
hearers, in the most touching strains of urgent remonstrance and
tender entreaty, to accept now "the great salvation," the inward
state of his soul was that of entire reliance on the presence and
coöperation of the Holy Spirit of God. To him were sent up his most
intense aspirations. In all the records of his success, to that
Spirit the honor is always ascribed. "Not I, but the grace of God
which was with me," is the grateful acknowledgment he makes in the
review of every field occupied and every triumph won. And thus it
was that the fabric of his ministry, and of all his ministrations,
in the multitudinous labors which he directed against the kingdom
of darkness and of Satan in his day, was like the mystic vision
which Ezekiel saw, _instinct with life_. The spirit of the living
creatures was in the wheels. "When this went, those went; when this
stood, those stood; when this was lifted up from the earth, those
were lifted up." It was all life. A living preacher; a living theme;
a living power, giving life, and spreading it all around. Therefore
it was that life followed in the region of death, and at his coming
the desert rejoiced, and the wilderness blossomed as the rose.

    "Dry bones were raised, and clothed afresh,
     And hearts of stone were turned to flesh."

By preaching such as we have now attempted to describe, thousands
and tens of thousands were gathered to Christ. "An exceeding great
army" stood up. Slumbering churches were awakened, religion was
revived, and "righteousness and praise" were caused to "spring forth
before all the nations." And as this apostolic man surveyed the
amazing scene, and glanced at the wide circumference of his labors,
in the British Isles and in the New World, he might have exclaimed,
as one before him had done, "Now thanks be unto God, who always
causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of
his name by us in every place." "Through mighty signs and wonders,
_by the power of the Spirit of God_, from Jerusalem round about to
Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." "For I am
not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to
salvation; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Who, in the
remembrance of Whitefield and his times, will not long for their
return, and exclaim, "Awake, awake; put on strength, O arm of the
Lord; awake, as in the ancient days." "O that thou wouldest rend
the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might
flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the
fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine
adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!" Spirit
of the living God, descend and replenish with thy power all our
souls, our ministry, our temples, our land.

In estimating the character of Whitefield, it should be observed
that _he dealt with his hearers, individually and collectively, as
immortal beings_. To use the language of Isaac Taylor, "he held
MAN as if in the abstract, or as if whatever is not common to all
men were forgotten. The most extreme diversities, intellectual and
moral, differences of rank, culture, national modes of thought, all
gave way and ceased to be thought of; distinctions were swept from
the ground where he took his position. At the first opening of his
lips, and as the rich harmony of his voice spread its undulations
over the expanse of human faces, and at the instant when the sparkle
of his bright eye caught every other eye, human nature, in a manner,
dropped its individuality, and presented itself in its very elements
to be moulded anew. Whitefield, although singularly gifted with a
perception of the varieties of character, yet spoke as if he could
know nothing of the thousands before him but their immortality and
their misery; and so it was that these thousands listened to him.

"No preacher whose history is on record, has trod so wide a field as
did Whitefield, or has retrod it so often, or has repeated himself
so much, or has carried so far the experiment of exhausting himself,
and of spending his popularity, if it could have been spent, but
it never was spent. Within the compass of a few weeks he might
have been heard addressing the negroes of the Bermuda islands,
adapting himself to their infantile understandings, and to their
debauched hearts; and then at Chelsea, with the aristocracy of rank
and wit before him, approving himself to listeners such as the
lords Bolingbroke and Chesterfield. Whitefield might as easily have
produced a Hamlet or a Paradise Lost, as have excogitated a sermon
which, as a composition, a product of thought, would have tempted
men like these to hear him a second time; and as to his faculty and
graces as a speaker, his elocution and action, a second performance
would have contented them. But in fact Bolingbroke, and many of his
class, thought not the hour long, time after time, while, with much
sameness of _material_ and of language, he spoke of eternity and of
salvation in Christ.... Floods of tears moistened cheeks rough and
smooth; and sighs, suppressed or loudly uttered, gave evidence that
human nature is one and the same when it comes in presence of truths
which bear upon the guilty and the immortal without distinction."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Rev. Dr. James Hamilton of London has admirably delineated
Whitefield, in a passage which must be admired by all who read
it: "Whitefield was the prince of English preachers. Many have
surpassed him as sermon-makers, but none have approached him
as a pulpit orator. Many have outshone him in the clearness of
their logic, the grandeur of their conceptions, and the sparkling
beauty of single sentences; but in the power of darting the gospel
direct into the conscience, he eclipsed them all. With a full and
beaming countenance, and the frank and easy port which the English
people love--for it is the symbol of honest purpose and friendly
assurance--he combined a voice of rich compass, which could easily
thrill over Moorfields in musical thunder, or whisper its terrible
secret in every private ear; and to this gainly aspect and tuneful
voice he added a most expressive and eloquent action. Improved by
conscientious practice, and instinct with his earnest nature, this
elocution was the acted sermon, and by its pantomimic portrait
enabled the eye to anticipate each rapid utterance, and helped the
memory to treasure up the palatable ideas. None ever used so boldly,
nor with more success, the highest styles of impersonation: as when
he described to his sailor-auditors a storm at sea, and compelled
them to shout, 'Take to the longboat, sir!' His 'hark, hark!' could
conjure up Gethsemane with its faltering moon, and awake again the
cry of horror-stricken innocence; and an apostrophe to Peter on
the holy mount would light up another Tabor, and drown it in glory
from the opening heaven. His thoughts were possessions, and his
feelings were transformations; and he spoke because he felt, his
hearers understood because they saw. They were not only enthusiastic
amateurs, like Garrick, who ran to weep and tremble at his bursts
of passion, but even the colder critics of the Walpole school
were surprised into momentary sympathy and reluctant wonder. Lord
Chesterfield was listening in Lady Huntingdon's pew when Whitefield
was comparing the benighted sinner to a blind beggar on a dangerous
road. His little dog gets away from him when skirting the edge of
a precipice, and he is left to explore the path with his iron-shod
staff. On the very verge of the cliff this blind guide slips through
his fingers and skims away down the abyss. All unconscious, the
owner stoops down to regain it, and stumbling forward--'Good God,
he is gone!' shouted Chesterfield, who had been watching with
breathless alarm the blind man's movements, and who jumped from his
feet to save the catastrophe.

"But the glory of Whitefield's preaching was his heart-kindled
and heart-melting gospel. But for this, all his bold strokes and
brilliant surprises might have been no better than the rhetorical
triumphs of Kirwan and other pulpit dramatists. He was an orator,
but he only sought to be an evangelist. Like a volcano where gold
and gems may be darted forth as well as common things, but where
gold and molten granite flow all alike in fiery fusion, bright
thoughts and splendid images might be projected from his pulpit,
but all were merged in the stream which bore along the gospel
and himself in blended fervor. Indeed, so simple was his nature,
that glory to God and good will to man had filled it; there was
room for little more. Having no church to found, no family to
enrich, and no memory to immortalize, he was simply the ambassador
of God; and inspired with its genial piteous spirit--so full of
heaven reconciled and humanity restored--he soon himself became a
living gospel. Radiant with its benignity, and trembling with its
tenderness, by a sort of spiritual induction a vast audience would
speedily be brought into a frame of mind--the transfusing of his
own; and the white furrows on their sooty faces told that Kingswood
colliers were weeping, or the quivering of an ostrich plume bespoke
its elegant wearer's deep emotion. And coming to his pulpit direct
from communion with his Master, and in the strength of accepted
prayer, there was an elevation in his mien which often paralyzed
hostility, and a self-possession which made him amid uproar and
confusion the more sublime. With an electric bolt he would bring the
jester in his fool's cap from his perch on the tree, or galvanize
the brickbat from the skulking miscreant's grasp, or sweep down in
crouching submission and shamefaced silence the whole of Bartholomew
fair; while a revealing flash of sententious doctrine, of vivified
Scripture, would disclose to awe-struck hundreds the forgotten
verities of another world, or the unsuspected arcana of their inner
man. 'I came to break your head, but, through you, God has broken
my heart,' was a sort of confession with which he was familiar; and
to see the deaf old gentlewoman who used to mutter imprecations
at him as he passed along the streets, clambering up the pulpit
stairs to catch his angelic words, was a sort of spectacle which the
triumphant gospel often witnessed in his day. And when it is known
that his voice could be heard by twenty thousand, and that ranging
all the empire, as well as America, he would often preach thrice
on a working-day, and that he has received in one week as many as
a thousand letters from persons awakened by his sermons, if no
estimate can be formed of the results of his ministry, some idea may
be suggested of its vast extent and singular effectiveness."

       *       *       *       *       *

Very admirably has a writer in the North British Review compared and
contrasted Whitefield and Wesley. He says, "Few characters could be
more completely the converse, and in the church's exigencies, more
happily the supplement of one another, than were those of George
Whitefield and John Wesley; and had their views been identical,
and their labors all along coincident, their large services to the
gospel might have repeated Paul and Barnabas. Whitefield was soul,
and Wesley was system. Whitefield was a summer cloud which burst at
morning or noon a fragrant exhalation over an ample track, and took
the rest of the day to gather again; Wesley was the polished conduit
in the midst of the garden, through which the living water glided
in pearly brightness and perennial music, the same vivid stream
from day to day. After a preaching paroxysm, Whitefield lay panting
on his couch, spent, breathless, and deathlike; after his morning
sermon in the foundry, Wesley would mount his pony, and trot and
chat, and gather simples, till he reached some country hamlet, where
he would bait his charger, and talk through a little sermon with the
villagers, and remount his pony and trot away again. In his aërial
poise, Whitefield's eagle eye drank lustre from the source of light,
and loved to look down on men in assembled myriads; Wesley's falcon
glance did not sweep so far, but it searched more keenly and marked
more minutely where it pierced. A master of assemblies, Whitefield
was no match for the isolated man. Seldom coping with the multitude,
but strong in astute sagacity and personal ascendency, Wesley could
conquer any number one by one. All force and impetus, Whitefield
was the powder-blast in the quarry, and by one explosive sermon
would shake a district, and detach materials for other men's long
work--deft, neat, and painstaking, Wesley loved to split and trim
each fragment into uniform plinths and polished stones. Or, taken
otherwise, Whitefield was the bargeman or the wagoner who brought
the timber of the house, and Wesley was the architect who set it up.
Whitefield had no patience for ecclesiastical polity, no aptitude
for pastoral details--with a beaver-like propensity for building,
Wesley was always constructing societies, and with a king-like
craft of ruling, was most at home when presiding over a class or a
conference. It was their infelicity that they did not always work
together--it was the happiness of the age, and the furtherance of
the gospel, that they lived alongside of one another."


When a century had elapsed from the commencement of Whitefield's
public labors, it was deemed desirable by many in England to
hold public services of a devotional and practical character, in
celebration of the event. Especially was it designed that such
celebrations should have a reference, as far as possible, to
advance open-air preaching. The first services of this character
were very properly held in the Tabernacle, London, on May 21, 1839,
and well do we remember with what intense interest, in common with
thousands, we attended them. Ministers and laymen of at least
four religious denominations assisted in them, and eloquently
discoursed on subjects illustrating the grace of God in connection
with Whitefield, but still more intent were they on benefiting the
present and future generations of men. Dr. Campbell delivered a
sermon on the character and labors of Apollos, illustrated by those
of Whitefield; the late Dr. Cox discoursed on the genius and labors
of Whitefield; the late Rev. John Blackburn described the past and
present state of religion in England; and the Rev. John Young, LL.
D., urged the propriety, duty, and necessity of open-air preaching.
In addition to these sermons, several admirable speeches were made,
and every thing was marked by a spirit of earnest devotion. A small
volume, containing the sermons and speeches, was printed, and put
into extensive circulation.

About the same time, a number of ministers of the Congregational
order met in a central town of Gloucestershire, when one of them
suggested, that "as the present year was the centenary of the Rev.
George Whitefield's labors in reviving the apostolic practice of
open-air preaching, it might be desirable to commemorate them by a
special religious open-air celebration. It was further remarked,
that Whitefield was a native of Gloucester; that as many ministers
present presided over churches instituted by his ministry; that
as Stinchcombe hill, in the very centre of the county, presented
a most beautiful and eligible spot for a public meeting; and as
upon its summit, a century ago, Whitefield himself had preached and
showed the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, it seemed a duty to
improve the opportunity it offered of addressing, on the gracious
persuasives of the cross, a large concourse of persons, many of whom
might never hear the gospel, and of promoting in the county the
revival of evangelical religion, which God so highly honored his
devoted servant in commencing in our land."

The suggestion was most cordially received, arrangements were made,
and, July 30, 1839, though the weather was unfavorable, the meeting
was attended by at least seven thousand persons. A large preaching
stand was erected for the ministers, nearly one hundred of whom
were present. Sermons were preached by the Rev. Drs. Matheson and
Ross, and by the Rev. Messrs. T. East, J. H. Hinton, and J. Sibree;
and addresses were given, and the devotional exercises led by many
others. The services were solemnly impressive. The late Josiah
Conder, Esq., wrote two hymns especially for the occasion, which are
well worthy of preservation; we therefore transfer them to our pages.


      How sweet from crowded throngs,
      Zion, ascend thy songs,
    With choral swells through echoing aisles!
      Where brethren, brethren meet,
      These songs rise doubly sweet,
    From humbler rooms or loftier piles.

      But here, not made with hands,
      A nobler temple stands;
    Here, 'mid thy works, O God, we bow,
      Where all around, above,
      Proclaims thy power and love;
    Oh, tune our hearts to praise thee now.

      We bless thy gracious care,
      For many a house of prayer,
    Where saints may meet with conscience free,
      To keep thy simple rites,
      In which thy church delights,
    And unforbidden, wait on thee.

      But now, beneath the sky,
      We raise our songs on high,
    To Him who gave all nature birth;
      While the free air wafts round
      To distant vales the sound--
    Praise to the Lord of heaven and earth.

      So to the mountain air
      The Saviour breathed his prayer;
    So 'mid green hills or deserts rude,
      The poor he meekly taught,
      And gracious wonders wrought,
    Or fed the famished multitude.

      So did apostles teach;
      So did our Whitefield preach;
    These hills have heard his fervent prayer:
      Oh, let the saving word
      Throughout our land be heard,
    Free as the light, and open as the air.


    Where is the voice of Whitefield now?
      Where does his mantle rest?
    Oh, for Elisha's from the plough,
      With kindred zeal possessed!
    Apostles of heroic mould,
      With love seraphic fired,
    Divinely called, like those of old
      At Pentecost inspired!

    Oh THOU, our Head, enthroned on high,
      By whom thy members live,
    Wilt thou not hear our fervent cry,
      The holy unction give?
    In all the plenitude of grace
      Thy gifts of might bestow;
    And by us, Lord, in every place,
      Thy saving virtue show.

    This Christian land with error teems,
      The blind by blinder led;
    The sophist weaves his Atheist schemes;
      Wide has the poison spread.
    Arise, O Lord, send forth thy word;
      Thy faithful heralds call;
    And while the gospel trump is heard,
      Let Satan's bulwarks fall.

    Free, pure, and vital as the light,
      GOD'S message to our race;
    Like genial gales the SPIRIT'S might,
      Sovereign, mysterious grace.
    Breathe forth, O wind, and to new birth
      Quicken the bones of death;
    Regenerate this withered earth;
      Give to the dying breath.

It is pleasant to add to this account, that satisfactory evidences
were given that some, during these services, were brought to the
saving knowledge of "the truth as in Jesus." And it may be mentioned
as a singular circumstance, that an old man one hundred and three
years of age attended on this occasion, who had been carried in his
mother's arms to this same spot to hear Whitefield preach just a
century before.

The last centenary service to which we shall make reference, is the
one held at the _Bristol_ Tabernacle, November 25, 1853. The sermon
on _The Character of Whitefield_, by the Rev. John Angell James, was
from the text, "This one thing I do." Phil. 3:13. In it he said:

"We hear much in our days about the adaptation of the gospel to
the age. There is no word I more hate or love, dread or desire,
according to the sense in, or the purpose for which it is used,
than this word _adaptation_ as applied to preaching. Now, if by
adaptation be meant, more philosophy, and less Christianity; more of
cold abstract intellectualism, and less of popular, simple, earnest
statement of gospel truth; more profound discussion and artificial
elaboration addressed to the learned few, and less of warm-hearted
appeal to the multitude, may God preserve us from such adaptation,
for it is high-treason against truth and the salvation of souls. But
if by this be meant a stronger intelligence, a chaster composition,
a sterner logic, a more powerful rhetoric, a more correct criticism,
and a more varied illustration, but all employed to set forth the
gospel as comprehending those two great words, _redemption and
regeneration_, let us have it; we need it; and come in ever such
abundance, it will be a blessing.

"Adaptation! the gospel is adaptation, from beginning to end, to
every age of time, and to all conditions of humanity. It is God's
own adaptation. It is he who knows every ward of the lock of
man's nature, who has constructed this admirable key; and all the
miserable tinkering of a vain and deceitful philosophy can make no
better key, nor can all the attempts of a philosophizing theology
make this key better fit the wards of the lock.

"Adaptation! was not the gospel in all its purity and simplicity
adapted to human nature as it existed in commercial, scholastic,
philosophical Corinth? And did not Paul think so when he determined
to know nothing there, but 'Christ, and him crucified?' Was it not
by this very gospel, which many are "beginning to imagine is not
suited to an intellectual and philosophical age, that Christianity
fought its first battles, and achieved its victories over the
hosts of darkness? Against the axe, the stake, the sword of the
gladiator, and the lions of the amphitheatre; against the ridicule
of wits, the reasoning of sages, the interests, influence, and craft
of the priesthood; against the prowess of armies, and the brute
passions of the mob, Christianity, strong in its weakness, sublime
in its simplicity, potent in its isolation, asking and receiving
no protection from the sceptre of the monarch or the sword of the
warrior, went forth to do battle with the wisdom of Greece and the
mythology of Rome. Everywhere it prevailed, and gathered its laurels
from the snows of Scythia, the sands of Africa, the plains of India,
and the green fields of Europe. With the gospel alone she overturned
the altars of impiety in her march. Power felt his arm wither at her
glance. She silenced the lying oracles by the majesty of her voice,
and extinguished the deceptive light of philosophy in the schools,
till at length she who went forth forlorn and weeping from Calvary
to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, ascended, upon the ruins of the
temples, the idols, and the altars she had demolished, to the throne
of the Cæsars, and with the diadem on her brow, and the purple on
her shoulders, gave laws to the world from that very tribunal where
she had been dragged as a criminal and condemned as a malefactor.[3]

  [3] See Dr. John M. Mason's Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Graham.

"Adaptation! is not justification by faith the very substance of the
gospel, and was it not by this doctrine that Luther effected the
enfranchisement of the human intellect, from the chains of slavery
which had been forged in the Vatican; achieved the liberation of
half Europe from the yoke of Rome, and gave an impulse to human
thought and vital Christianity which has not yet spent itself, and
never will, till it issues in the jubilee of the nations and the
glories of the millennium?

"Adaptation! did not Whitefield move this kingdom almost to its
centre, and equally so our then great transatlantic colony to
its extremities, fascinating alike the colliers of Kingswood and
the citizens of the metropolis; and by this mighty theme enable
myriads to burst the chains of sin and Satan, and to walk abroad
disenthralled by the mighty power of redeeming grace?

"Adaptation! is not this gospel now proving its power in heathen
countries to raise the savage into civilized man, the civilized man
into the saint, and in this ascending scale of progression, the
saint into the seraph?

"And yet, with these proofs of the power of the gospel to adapt
itself to every age of the world, and to every condition of
humanity, there are those who want something else to effect the
regeneration of mankind. 'And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all
men unto me.' So said the Saviour of men. The cross is the great
moral magnet for all ages and all countries, to draw men from
barbarism to civilization, from sin to holiness, from misery to
happiness, and from earth to heaven; and it were as rational to say
the loadstone had lost its original power of polar attraction, and
the mariner's compass is an old, stale invention, and must now be
replaced with some new device, better adapted to the modern light
of science, as to suppose that the doctrine of the cross had become
effete, and must give way to some new phase of theological truth.

"I now consider the _manner_ in which Whitefield carried out his own
purpose into action. '_One thing I do_:' and _how_ did he accomplish

"Never was the joyful sound sent over the world by a more
magnificent _voice_. All his biographers labor, as do the
historians of Greece in describing the power of Demosthenes, to
make us understand his wondrous oratory. Perhaps, after all, that
which gives us the most vivid idea of it is, not the _crowds_ it
attracted, moved, and melted, but that it warmed the cold and
calculating Franklin, and fascinated the philosophical and sceptical
Hume. Heaven rarely ever gave, or gives to man the faculty of speech
in such perfection. But what is particularly worthy of notice is,
that he trusted not to its native power, but increased that power
by assiduous cultivation. His matchless elocution was not only an
endowment, but an acquirement. If he preached a sermon twenty times,
he went on to the last improving his method of delivering it, both
as to tones and action; not for theatrical display--no man was
ever more free from this--but to carry out his 'one thing'--_the
salvation of souls_. He knew, and deeply and philosophically entered
into the meaning of that text, 'Faith cometh by hearing;' and he
also knew that attentive hearing comes by the power of speaking.
With such a theme as the gospel, with such an object as salvation,
with such an aim as eternity, and such a Master to serve as Christ,
he would not give utterance to such subjects, and for such purposes,
in careless and slovenly speech. He studied to be the orator, that
he might thus pluck souls as brands from the burning. In this let us
imitate him. Of all our faculties, that of speech is perhaps least
cultivated, yet is most susceptible of cultivation, and pays best
for the pains bestowed upon it. My brethren, speech is the great
instrument of our ministerial labor. Our assault upon the rebel town
of Mansoul is to be carried on, and our entrance to be effected,
to use the language of Bunyan, at ear-gate. The tongue, rather
than the pen, is the weapon of most of us. For the love of souls,
let us endeavor to be good speakers. With the loftiest themes in
the universe for our subjects, do, do let us endeavor to speak of
them in some measure worthily. It is an instructive and astounding,
and to us humiliating and disgraceful fact, that the stage-player,
whether in comedy or in tragedy, takes ten times more pains to
give effective utterance to his follies, vices, and passions, for
the amusement of his audience, than we do to eternal and momentous
truths for the salvation of ours. The stage seems the only arena
where the power of oratory is much studied. Should this be?

"A few characteristics of Whitefield's manner deserve emphatic
mention and particular attention, as connected with the execution
of his one great purpose. The first I notice is _solemnity_. He
never, as did some of his followers, degraded the pulpit by making
it the arena of low humor and wit; abounding in anecdote, and even
in action, he was uniformly solemn. His deep devotional spirit
contributed largely to this, for his piety was the inward fire
which supplied the ardor of his manner. He was eminently a man of
prayer; and had he been less prayerful, he would also have been less
powerful. He came into the pulpit from the closet, where he had been
communing with God, and could no more trifle with merry humor at
such a time than could Moses when he came down from the mount to the
people; or than the high-priest when he came out from the blazing
symbols of the divine presence between the cherubim in the holy of
holies; or Isaiah when he saw the Lord of hosts, high and lifted up,
with his train filling the temple. Happily the age and taste for
pulpit buffoonery is gone, I hope never to return.

  ''Tis pitiful to count a gain when you should woo a soul.'

It was the stamp and impress of eternity upon his preaching, that
gave Whitefield such power. He spoke like a man that stood upon
the borders of the unseen world, alternately rapt in ecstasy as he
gazed upon the felicities of heaven, and convulsed with terror as
he seemed to hear the howlings of the damned, and saw the smoke
of their torment ascending from the pit for ever and ever. His
maxim was to preach, as Apelles painted, for eternity, and he
said, if ministers preached for eternity, they would then act the
part of true Christian orators. And tell me, my brethren, what are
all the prettinesses, the beauties, or even sublimities of human
eloquence--what the similes, metaphors, and other garniture of
rhetoric--what the philosophy and intellectualities which many in
this day are aiming at, to move and bow and conquer the human soul,
compared with 'the powers of the world to come?'

"But there was another characteristic of Whitefield's manner, and
that was its _tenderness_. Our Lord, as to his humanity, was a man
of sorrows, and therefore of tears; so was Paul, so was Whitefield.
Perhaps the latter somewhat too much so, at any rate far too much so
for any preacher but himself, and with him the fountain of his tears
was somewhat too full and flowing. But Oh, what an apology for this,
and what a stroke of pathetic eloquence was that appeal when on one
occasion he said, 'You blame me for weeping, but how can I help
it, when you will not weep for yourselves, although your immortal
souls are on the verge of destruction, and for aught I know you are
hearing your last sermon, and may never more have an opportunity
to have Christ offered to you.' Man is an emotional as well as an
intellectual creature, and sympathy is one of the powers of our
physical and mental economy. The passions are of an infectious
nature, and men feel more in a crowd than in solitude. The adage of
the ancient elocutionist is still true, 'If you wish me to weep,
weep yourself.' Whitefield's tears drew forth those of his audience,
and his pathos softened their hearts for the impressions of the
truth. It is forgotten by many preachers that they may do much by
the heart, as well as by the head. We are not the teachers of logic,
mathematics, metaphysics, or natural philosophy, which have nothing
to do with the heart, but of religion, the very seat of which is
there; and _we_ address ourselves not only to the logical, but to
the æsthetical part of man's complex nature. By argument, I know
we must convince, but we must not stop in the judgment, but go on
to reach the heart, and we ourselves must feel as well as reason.
_Clear, but cold_, is too descriptive of much modern preaching. It
is the frosty moonlight of a winter's night, not the warm sunshine
of a summer's day. A cold preacher is likely to have cold hearers.
Cold! What, when the love of God, the death of Christ, the salvation
of souls, the felicities of heaven, and the torments of hell are the
theme? Enthusiasm here is venial, compared with lukewarmness.

"Need I say that _earnestness_ was characteristic of Whitefield's
preaching? Yes, that one word, perhaps, more than any other in our
language, is its epitome. An intense earnestness marked its whole
career, and was carried to such a pitch as to subject him, as did
that of Paul, to the imputation of madness. The salvation of souls
was so entirely the one thing that engrossed his soul, his time,
his labors, that not a step deviated from it. Every moment, every
day, was an approximation to it. His devotions, his recreations,
if any such he had, his journeys, his voyages, his sermons, his
correspondence, were all referred to this one end. His exertions
never relaxed for a moment, and he, with his great compeer Wesley,
made the trial so seldom made, what is the utmost effect which, in
the way of saving souls, may be granted to any one preacher of the
gospel in any age or country.

"What may not be done, and is not done by earnestness? It gives
_some_ success to any error, however absurd or enormous, and to any
scheme of wickedness, however flagrant and atrocious. What is it
that has given such success to popery, to infidelity, to Mormonism?
_Earnestness._ And shall the apostles and advocates of error be
more in earnest than the friends of truth? Whitefield often quoted
Betterton the player, who affirmed that the stage would soon be
deserted if the actors spoke like the preachers. And what _would_
empty the play-house, that is, dulness and coldness, _does_ often
empty the meeting-house. 'Mr. Betterton's answer to a worthy
prelate,' says Whitefield, 'is worthy of lasting regard.' When asked
how it is that the clergy, who speak of things _real_, affected
the people so little, and the players, who speak only of things
imaginary, affected them so much, replied 'My lord, I can assign but
one reason--we players speak of things imaginary as though they were
real, and too many of the clergy speak of things real as though they
were imaginary.' It is not always so. Many a preacher, even in our
own day, by the unaffected earnestness of his manner, carries away
his audience upon the tide of his own feeling. They hear what he
says, they see what he feels, his eye helps his tongue, the workings
of his countenance disclose the feelings of his heart; his manner is
a lucid comment upon his matter, breaks down the limits which words
impose upon the communication of ideas, and gives them not only an
apprehension of the meaning, but a sense of the importance of his
subject, which unimpassioned language and manner could not have done.

"I name but one thing more as characteristic of this great man,
and which it would be well for us to imitate, and that is, his
_dauntless courage_. See him not only facing mobs, defying threats,
and even lifting up his pulpit amid the wild uproar of a London
fair, the boldest achievement that a speaker ever accomplished, but
holding on his noble career unterrified, and working amid the storm
of obloquy that came upon him from so many quarters. Who that has
ever read, can ever forget Cowper's exquisite description of him?

    "'LEUCONOMUS--beneath well-sounding Greek
      I show a name a poet must not speak--
      Stood pilloried on infamy's high stage,
      And bore the pelting storm of half an age,
      The very butt of slander, and the blot
      For every dart that malice ever shot.
      The man that mentioned him at once dismissed
      All mercy from his lips, and sneered and hissed.
      His crimes were such as Sodom never knew,
      And perjury stood up to swear all true;
      His aim was mischief, and his zeal pretence,
      His speech rebellion against common-sense:
      A knave when tried on honesty's plain rule,
      And when by that of reason, a mere fool.
      The world's best comfort was, his doom was passed,
      Die when he might, he must be damned at last.
      Now truth, perform thine office, waft aside
      The curtain drawn by prejudice and pride,
      Reveal--the man is dead--to wondering eyes,
      This more than monster, in his proper guise.
      He loved the world that hated him; the tear
      That dropped upon his Bible was sincere:
      Assailed by scandal and the tongue of strife,
      His only answer was--a blameless life;
      And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
      Had each a brother's interest in his heart.
      Paul's love of Christ, and steadiness unbribed,
      Were copied close in him, and well transcribed.
      He followed Paul--his zeal a kindred flame,
      His apostolic charity the same.
      Like him, crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
      Forsaking country, kindred, friends, and ease.
      Like him he labored, and like him, content
      To bear it, suffered shame where'er he went.
      Blush, calumny! and write upon his tomb,
      If honest eulogy can spare the room,
      Thy deep repentance of thy thousand lies,
      Which, aimed at him, have pierced the offended skies;
      And say, Blot out my sin, confessed, deplored,
      Against thine image, in thy saint, O Lord.'

"What but a guilty cowardice is it, a false and pusillanimous shame,
that keeps us in these days from some novel and bolder method of
aggression upon the domain of darkness? Are we not wanting here in
that moral courage which would make us, when conscious of doing
right, indifferent to the stare of the ignorant, and the wonder
of the timid; to the shaft of ridicule, and the malignant censure
of the cynic? How enslaved are we by the fetters of custom, or
restrained by the trammels of conventiality! How little are we
disposed to go out of the usual track, even in saving souls! Very
few are disposed to imitate the boldness, ingenuity, and novelty
of that noble-hearted brother,[4] who hired a disengaged theatre
in the city where he dwelt, and for four months preached there to
listening and well-behaved crowds, the gospel of salvation; and for
his reward had very many given to him, who are his joy now, and will
be his crown of rejoicing in the presence of Christ at his coming.
Who can see Paul on Mars-Hill, addressing himself to the sages and
their followers of all sects, and preaching to them a doctrine so
repugnant to the mythology of the temple and the philosophy of the
schools, as Christ, the last judgment, and the resurrection of the
body, without being impressed with the moral courage of such an act?
It is this spiritual heroism that is wanted in our modern preaching,
and indeed, which was no less needful when the Methodistic company
commenced their preaching.

  [4] The Rev. Richard Knill of Chester, formerly a missionary in
  India, and afterwards in Russia, since deceased.--B.

"Nor is it only in this unwillingness to go off from our own
ground for saving souls that our guilty cowardice is seen, but in
the disposition to shirk the more solemn and searching truths of
revelation. Are we not giving way too much to the fastidiousness of
modern taste and refinement, which is craving after smooth things;
which desires the sentimental, the picturesque, the imaginative, but
turns with disgust from the solemn, the alarming, the awakening? Are
we not too gentle and courteous to mention such a word as 'hell'
to modern ears polite? Are we not too fearful to break in with the
thunders of a violated law upon those who are at ease in Zion? I do
not ask for a gross, revolting method of describing the punishment
of the wicked, as if the preacher delighted in harrowing up the
feelings of his audience. This is as disgusting as if, in order
to keep men from crime, our judges and magistrates were ever and
anon giving a minute detail of the process of an execution, and the
convulsive pangs of an expiring wretch suspended to the beam of the
gibbet. We ask not for a harsh, scolding, and denunciating style of
preaching; but we do want more of the unflinching boldness, and the
dauntless courage, which, are necessary to fidelity, and absolutely
essential to him who would win souls to Christ. It is too generally
forgotten, that our Lord Jesus, who was incarnate love, was the most
solemn and awful of all preachers. He whose gentle spirit so often
breathed out itself in invitation, and whose compassion melted into
tears, at other times robed himself in terror, and uttered the most
alarming peals of divine indignation. What we need for our ministry
is this mixture of tenderness and solemnity, which entered so deeply
into the ministry of Christ, and was so characteristic of his
servant, whose labors we this day commemorate and commend."

       *       *       *       *       *

Hear also the Rev. John Glanville, the present successor of
Whitefield in the Tabernacle at Bristol: "And such preaching _must
continue_, if the world is to be saved. Nothing but this is suited
to man's necessities; nothing else can meet man's miseries. The
battle must be fought with the old, well-tried, but not worn-out
weapons. God has provided them, and we must use them. We require
nothing else; the world has not outgrown the old gospel, so as to
need something new to soothe its sorrows and satisfy its wants.

"Not that ministers can now produce the effect Whitefield did. He
was a man standing alone. The charm and power of his preaching
have never been explained. It was all fire and flame, shooting
out red-hot thunderbolts against the citadels of sin. It was an
undivided soul, solemnly consecrated to one object--an entire life,
zealously employed in one thing. As he preached, every feature
spoke, the whole man became vocal, and the truth of God stood out
in its full proportions and beauty, in the bright and broad daylight
of heaven. So unreserved was his self-consecration, that every thing
was deemed impertinent which obtruded upon, or interfered with the
one great end of his existence. He lived in communion with God--more
in heaven than on earth. He was much at the foot of the throne,
and got his strength there; he prevailed with men, because he had
prevailed with God. His whole soul was filled with life, and fired
with love, from being in habitual contact with the cross.

"And _we_ must pursue the same course, and try to do the same thing.
We have the power, and we must bring it forth and use it. God has
given the machinery, and it is for us to set it in motion. The
world is perishing, and we must save it; it is dying, and we must
give it life. God from his eternal throne calls us--Christ from his
bleeding cross speaks to us--voices from the abodes of sin, and the
regions of despair, sound in our ears. And we all, as ministers and
as members, must rise up in the vigor of piety and the fervor of
prayer. We must rise up from the slumbers of selfishness, and tear
off the fetters of the world, and act as those who believe in the
existence of an eternal heaven and an eternal hell, and that all
souls will be found in the one or in the other--as those who have a
great work to do, and but a short and uncertain time to do it in.
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the
ancient days, in the generations of old."

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.
Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have been retained as

Missing page numbers are page numbers that were not shown in the
original text.

Mismatched quotes are not fixed if it's not sufficiently clear where
the missing quote should be placed.

The cover for the eBook version of this book was created by the
transcriber and is placed in the public domain.

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