Imágenes de páginas


From his arrival at the Bermudas, to his return to London in July,


WHITEFIELD met with the kindest reception at the Bermudas, and for about a month he preached generally twice a day, traversing the island from one end to the other; but his activity, treatment, success, will best appear from the following extracts from his manuscript journal of that period.

“ 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 lent us by Captain 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. One Mrs. Smith, of St. George, for whom I had a letter of recommendation from my dear old friend, Mr. Smith, of Charleston, 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 at a tavern. We accepted the invitation, and all behaved with great civility and respect. After the governor rose from the table, he desired, if I staid in town on Sunday, that I would dine with him at his house.

“Sunday, March 20. Read prayers and preached twice this day, to what were esteemed here large auditories—in the morning at Spanish Point church, and in the evening at Brackish Pond church, about two miles distant from each other. In the afternoon I spoke with greater freedom than in the morning; and I trust not altogether in vain. All were attentivesome 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 ! Amen and Amen!

“ 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 was here also large, attentive, and affected. Our Lord gave me utterance. I expounded on the first part of the eighth


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 the report was true, that the governor had served the ministers with an injunction that I should not preach in the churches.

“ Friday, March 25. Was prevented from preaching yesterday by the rain, which continued from morning till night; but this afternoon, God gave me another opportunity of declaring his eternal truths to a large company at the house of one Mr. B -S, who last night sent me a letter of invitation.

“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 Counsellor Riddle's. My body was somewhat weak; but the Lord carried me through, and caused me to go to rest rejoicing. May I thus

my grave,

when my ceaseless and uninterrupted rest shall begin!

* Monday, March 28. Dined this day at Mrs. Dorrel's, mother-in-law to my dear friend the Rev. Mr. Smith ; and afterwards preached to more than a large house full of people, on Matthew ix. 12. Towards the conclusion of the sermon, the hearers began to be more affected than I have yet seen them. Surely the Lord Jesus will give me some seals in this island ! Grant this, O Redeemer for thy infinite mercy's sake!

“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 moun

tains, and is girded about with power. While I was in the cave, quite unexpectedly I turned and saw Counsellor 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 and 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 in 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 dismissary from my lord of London, and 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 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, because 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 15th chapter of the 1st book of Samuel. I preached on those words, ' Righteousness exalteth a nation.' Being weak and faint and afflicted much with the head-ache, 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 unto thy free grace be all the glory!

“After sermon, Dr. F-bs, and Mr. P-t, the collector, came to me, and desired me to favor them and the gentlemen of the town with my company at dinner. I accepted the invitation. The governor and the president, and Judge Bascom were there. All wondered at my speaking so freely and fluently, without notes. The governor asked, whether I used minutes? I answered no. He said it was a great gift. At table, his excellency introduced something of religion, by asking me the meaning of the word HADES? Several other things were started about free will, Adam's fall, predestination, &c., to all which God enabled me to answer so pertinently, and taught me to mix the utile and dulce 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-bs, 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 that supped with me. Oh that this may be the beginning of good gospel times to the inhabitants of this town! Lord, teach me to deal prudently with them, and cause them to melt under thy word !

“Friday, April 8. Preached yesterday with great clearness and freedom, to about fourscore people, at a house on David's Island, over against the town of St. George—went and lay at Mr. Holiday's, who came in a boat to fetch me—and this day I heard him preach and read prayers; aster which I took the sacrament from him. Honest man! he would have made me administer and officiate; but I chose not to do it, lest I should bring him into trouble after my departure. However, in the afternoon, I preached at Mr. Todd's, in the same parish, to a very large company indeed. The Lord was with me. My heart was warm-and what went from the heart, I trust went to the heart; for many were affected. · Oh that they may be converted also! Then will it be a good Friday, indeed, to their souls.

“Sunday, April 10. Dined and conversed yesterday very agreeably with Judge Bascom, who seems to have the greatest insight into the difference between Arminian and Calvinistic schemes, of any one I have met with upon the island. In the afternoon, I visited a paralytic; and this day preached twice again at Mr. Paul's meeting house. The congregations were rather larger than ever, and the power of God seemed to be more among them. I think I see visible alteration for the better every Lord's day. Blessed be God! In the evening I expounded at Mr. Joseph Dorrel's, where I dined, to a very large company : then went to his kinsman's, my usual lodging on Saturday and Sunday evenings; who with his wife and other friends, seemed kinder and kinder daily. Good measure pressed down, and running over, may the Lord, both as to spirituals and temporals, return into all their bosoms !

“ Saturday, April 16. Preached since Lord's day, at five different parts of the island; but was more indisposed one night after going to bed, than I had been for some time. On two of the days of this week, I dined with the president, and Captain Spafford, one of the council, both of whom entertained me with the utmost civility.

“Sunday, April 17. Still God magnifies his power and goodness more and more. This morning we had a pleasing sight at Mr. Paul's meeting house. I began to preach, and the people to hear and be affected as in days of old at home. Indeed, the prospect is encouraging. Praise the Lord, O my soul! After preaching twice to a large congregation in the

« AnteriorContinuar »