« AnteriorContinuar »
meeting house, I, at the desire of the parents, preached in the evening a sermon at the funeral of a little boy, about five years of age. A great number of people attended, and the Lord enabled me so to speak, as to affect many of the hearers. Blessed be the Lord for this day's work! Not unto me, O Lord ! not unto me, but unto thy free grace be all the glory!
“Sunday, April 24. The last week being rainy, I preached only five times in private houses ; and this day but once in the meeting house; but I hope neither time without effect. This evening expounded at Counsellor Riddle's, who with the other gentlemen treat me with great respect every day. Colonel Gilbert, one of the council, has lent me his horse, during my stay; and Mr. Dorrel, this morning, informed me of a design the gentleman had, to raise a contribution to help me to discharge my arrears, and support my orphan family. Thanks be given to thy name, o God! Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I want to owe no man any thing, but love; and provide for Bethesda, after my decease. Thou hast promised Thou wilt fulfil the desire of them that fear thee. I believe, Lord help my unbelief, that thou wilt fulfil this desire of my soul. Even so. Amen!
“Saturday, April 30. Preached since Lord's day, two funeral sermons, and at five different houses in different parts of the island, to still larger and larger auditories, and perceived the people to be affected more and more. Twice or thrice I preached without doors. Riding in the sun, and preaching very earnestly, a little fatigued me; so that this evening I was obliged to lie down for some time. Faint, yet pursuing, must be my motto still.
"Sunday, May 1. This morning was a little sick; but I trust God gave us a happy beginning of the new month. I preached twice with power, especially in the morning, to a very great congregation in the meeting house; and in the evening, having given previous notice, I preached about four miles distant, in the fields, to a large company of negroes, and a number of white people who came to hear what I had to say to them. I believe in all, there were nearly fifteen hundred people. As the sermon was intended for the negroes, I gave the auditory warning, that my discourse would be chiefly directed to them, and that I should endeavor to imitate the example of Elijah, who, when he was about to raise the child, contracted himself to its length. The negroes seemed very sensible, and attentive. When I asked, if they all did not desire to go to heaven, one of them, with a very audible voice said, Yes, sir.' This caused a little smiling ; but in general every thing was carried on with great decency; and I believe the Lord enabled me so to
discourse, as to touch the negroes, and yet not to give them the least umbrage to slight, or behave imperiously to their masters. If ever a minister in preaching, needs the wisdom of the serpent to be joined with the harmlessness of the dove, it must be when discoursing to negroes. Vouchsafe me this favor, O God, for thy dear Son's sake!
"Monday, May 2. Upon inquiry, I found that some of the negroes did not like my preaching because I told them of their cursing, swearing, thieving, and lying. One or two of the worst of them, as I was informed, went away. Some said, they would not go any more. They liked Mr. M -r better, for he never told them of these things; and I said, their hearts were as black as their faces. They expected, they said to hear me speak against their masters. Blessed be God, that I was directed not to say any thing, this first time, to the masters at all, though my text led me to it. It might have been of bad consequence, to tell them their duty, or charge them too roundly with the neglect of it, before their slaves. They would mind all I said to their masters, and, perhaps, nothing that I said to them. Every thing is beautiful in its season. Lord, teach me always that due season, wherever I am called, to give either black or white a portion of thy word! However, others of the poor creatures, I hear were very thankful, and came home to their masters' houses, saying, that they would strive to sin no more. Poor hearts ! These different accounts affected me; and upon the whole, I could not help rejoicing, to find that their consciences were so far awake.
"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 my preaching 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 me 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 thus : "Ah, thou fool! dost thou not understand it ? He means black with sin.' Two more 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 unto them.
“Sunday, May 8. This also, I trust, has been a good Sabbath. In the morning I was helped to preach powerfully to a melting, and rather a larger congregation than ever, in Mr. Paul's meeting house; and in the evening, to almost as large a congregation of blacks and whites as last Sunday in the fields, near my hearty friend, Mr. Holiday's house. To see so many black faces was affecting. They heard very attentively, and some of them now began to weep. May God grant them a godly sorrow that worketh repentance not to be repented of!
“ Friday, May 13. This afternoon preached over the corpse of Mr. Paul's eldest son, about twenty four years of age ; and by all I could hear, and judge of by conversing with him, he did indeed die in the Lord. I visited him twice last Lord's day, and was quite satisfied with what he said, though he had not much of the sensible presence of God. I find he was a preacher upon his death bed : for he exhorted all his companions to love Christ in sincerity; and blessed his brother and sister, and, I think, his father and mother, just before his departure. A great many people attended the funeral. I preached on Luke vii. 13.' And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, weep not.' Many were affected in the application of my discourse, and, I trust, some will be induced, by this young man's good example, to remember their Redeemer in the days of their youth. Grant it, O Lord, for thy dear Son's sake.
“Sunday, May 15. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name! This morning I preached my farewell sermon at Mr. Paul's meeting house-it was quite full; and, as the president said, above one hundred and fifty whites, besides blacks, were around the house. Attention sat on every face; and when I came to take my leave, Oh! what a sweet, unaffected weeping was there to be seen every where. I believe there were few dry eyes. The negroes, likewise, without doors, I heard weep plentifully. My own heart was affected; and though I have parted with friends so often, yet I find every fresh parting almost unmans me, and very
much affects my heart. Surely, a great work is begun in some souls at the Bermudas. Carry it on, O Lord ! and if it be thy will, send me to this dear people again. Even so, Lord Jesus. Amen!
“ After sermon, I dined with three of the council, and other gentlemen and ladies, at Captain Bascom's; and from thence went to a funeral, at which Mr. Mr preached : and after
that, I expounded on our Lord's transfiguration, at the house of one Mrs. Harvey, sister to dear Mr. Smith, of Charleston. The house was exceedingly full, and it was supposed above three hundred stood in the yard. The Lord enabled me to lift up my voice like a trumpet. Many wept. Mr. M-r returned from the funeral with me, and attended the lecture; as did the three counsellors, with whom I conversed freely. May God reward them, and all the dear people of the island, for those many favors conferred on me, who am the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints !
“Sunday, May 22. Blessed be God! the little leven 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 unto 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. Harvey'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 thou hast helped me! Thanks be to the Lord for sending me hither. I have been received in a manner I dared not 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 I hear that what was given, was given exceedingly heartily; and people only lamented that they could do no more."
* Bermudas is placed by itself in almost the middle of the Atlantic ocean. It has been justly celebrated by Waller the Poet, and the late Bishop Berkeley, who resided there for some time.
After having transmitted to Georgia what was given to him for the Orphan-house, and dreading to go back to America in that season of heat, for fear of relapsing, and having pressing calls to England, he took the opportunity of sailing in a brig, and in twenty-eight days arrived at Deal.* The next evening, July 6, 1748, he reached London, after an absence of nearly
From his arrival in London, 1748, to his going to Ireland in the
On Whitefield's visiting a few of his friends, immediately after his return, he found himself in no very agreeable situation. His congregation at the Tabernacle was sadly scattered. And as to his outward circumstances, he had sold all his household furniture, to help to pay the Orphan-house debt, which yet was far from being canceled. But under all these discouragements, he was still supported. His congregation was soon recruited, and received him with the greatest joy. And at this time a very unexpected thing happened to him. The Countess of Huntingdon, before his arrival, had ordered Mr. Howel Harris to bring him to her house at Chelsea, as soon as he came on shore. He went and having preached twice, the countess wrote to him, that several of the nobility desired to
During this voyage, among other letters, he wrote the following:" June A, 1748, (on board.) 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 often used a style to apostolical, and at the same time I have been too bitter in my zeal. Wild-fire 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 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 hím 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."
At this time also he finished his “Abridgment of Mr. Law's Serious Call;" which he endeavored to make more useful, by excluding whatever is not truly evangelical, and illustrating the subject more fully from the Holy Scriptures.