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erecting he preached abroad, in Moorfields, and Spitalfields, and made excursions to Chatham, Sheerness, and Braintree.
In April, he went for a few days, to Norwich,* preaching twice a day; the people flocked with the greatest earnestness, to hear. In the evening some riotous persons endeavored to disturb him, but in vain. It was about this time that he published his expostulatory letter to Count Zinzendorf, the bishop of the Moravians, in London.
In May, he took another circuit westward; and every where a gracious melting season appeared to be among the people. In about a fortnight, he rode THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY miles, and preached above TWENTY times.
His new Tabernacle was opened on Sunday, June 10, 1753, with a sermon in the morning, from 1 Chronicles xxix. 9.
A young man of the city of Norwich, of about eighteen years of age, was walking one morning, with a party of other young men, who had all agreed to make that day a holiday. The first object that attracted their attention was an old woman, who pretended to tell fortunes. They immediately employed her to tell theirs, and that they might fully qualify her for their underiaking, first made her thoroughly intoxicated with spirituous liquor. The young man of whom mention was first made, was informed, among other things, that he would live to a very old age, and see his children, grand children, and great grand children, growing up around him. Though he had assisted in qualifying the old woman for the fraud, by intoxicating her, yet he had credulity enough to be struck with these parts of her predictions which related to himself. “And so,” quoth he, when alone, “I am to see children, grand children, and great grand children ! 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 employment, 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 I can acquire first? Oh! here is the famous Methodist preacher, Whitefield; he is to preach, they say, to-night. I will go and hear him."
From these strange motives the young man declared he went to hear Whitefield. He preached that evening from Matthew iii. 7. “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 ?" “Mr. Whitefield,' said the young man,"described the sadducean 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, O my hearers! The wrath's tó come! the wrath's to come! These word's sunk into my heart, like lead in the waters. 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 come !"" The issuc was, that the young man, soon after made a public profession of religion, and in a little time became a considerable preacher. He himself related the foregoing circumstances a few years since, to the Rev. Andrew Fuller, of Kettering.
From his opening the nero Tabernacle in Moor fields, to his preaching
at the chapel in Tottenham court road, 1756. WHITEFIELD, having preached at his Tabernacle a few days with his accustomed earnestness and success, to crowded auditories, in the end of June, set out for Scotland.
In his progress, he enjoyed very pleasant opportunities at Oulney. He preached likewise at Leicester, Nottingham, and Sheffield. Multitudes every where were flocking like doves to to their windows, to receive the word of eternal life.
In his way to Leeds, he preached at Rotherham* and
* Rotherham, and its environs, had, for a considerable time, been ranked by serious people, among those parts of Yorkshire, which were least inclined to favor the spread of evangelical religion ; and when Whitefield attempted to disseminate divine knowledge in thai neighborhood, his person and message was treated with contempt. The propagation of malicious falsehoods was encouraged, with a design to counteract the good effects of his ministry. Mr. Thrope, afterwards pastor of the Independent church at Masborough, near Rotherham, ranged under the standard of his most virulent opposers; and not content with personal insult, added private ridicule to public interruption. Public houses became theatres, where the fate of religious opinions was to be determined.
It was at one of these convivial resorts, that Mr. Thrope and three of his associates, to enliven the company, undertook to mimic the preacher. The proposition was highly gratifying to all parties present, and a wager agreed upon, to inspire each individual with a desire of excelling in this impious attempt. That their jovial auditors might adjudge the prize to the most adroit performer, it was concluded that each should open the Bible, and hold forth from the first text that should present itself to his eye. Accordingly three in their turn mounted the table, and entertained their wicked companions, at the expense of every thing sacred. When they had exhausted their little stock of buffoonery, it devolved on Mr. Thrope to close this very irreverent scene. Much elated, and confident of success, he exclaimed as he ascended the table, "I shall beat you all!” But 0! the stupendous depths of divine mercy! who would have conceived that a gracious Providence should have presided over such an assembly, and that this should be the time of heavenly love to one of the most outrageous mockers!
Mr. Thrope, when the Bible was handed to him, had not the slightest preconception, what part of the scripture he should make the subject of his banter. However, by the guidance of an unerring Providence, it opened at that remarkable passage, Luke xiii. 3. “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” No sooner had he uttered the words, than his mind was affected in a very extraordinary manner. The sharpest pangs of conviction now seized him, and conscience denounced tremendous vengeance upon his soul. In a moment he was favored with a clear view of his subject, and divided his discourse more like a divine, who had been accustomed to speak on portions of scripture, than like one who never so much as thought on religious topics, except for the purpose of ridicule! He found no deficiency of matter, no want of utterance, and he has frequently declared," If ever I preached in my life by the assistance of the Spirit of God, it was at that time. The impression
the subject made upon his mind had such an effect upon his manner, that the most ignorant and profane could not but perceive that what he had spoken was with the greatest sincerity.
The unexpected solemnity and pertinency of his address, instead of enter
Wakefield ; at the former place, he had met with such disturbance from the mob, that he almost resolved to preach there no more. But he was now convinced of the rashness of such a step; for some who had been bitter persecutors, now gladly received him within their doors : acknowledging that God had made him instrumental in their conversion.
At Leeds he had great success; at York he was twice disturbed, and twice he preached in peace, and with much power. At Newcastle and Sunderland, great multitudes were deeply impressed. At five in the morning the great room was filled, and on the Lord's day the congregation without was immense. In short, so promising was the appearance, that he was inclined to wish he had not engaged to go to Scotland, and resolved to return as soon as possible.
Having spent a few days at Edinburgh and Glasgow, in his accustomed manner, with much acceptance, he returned to England, the 7th day of August.* He found his continual ex
taining the company, first spread a visible depression, and afterwards a sullen gloom, upon every countenance. This sudden change in the complexion of his associates did not a little conduce to increase the convictions of his own bosom. No individual appeared disposed to interrupt him; but, on the contrary, their attention was deeply engaged with the pointedness of his remarks ; yea, many of his sentences, as he has often related, made, to his apprehension, his own hair stand erect!
When he had left the table not a syllable was uttered concerning the wager; but a profound silence pervaded the company. Mr. Thrope immediately withdrew, without taking the least notice of any person present; and returned home, with very painful reflections, and the deepest distress imaginable. Happily for him, this was his last bacchanalian revel! His impressions were manifestly genuine, and from that period, the connection between him and his former companions was entirely dissolved. Then by a sovereign, and almost unexampled act of divine grace, in a place where, and at a time when, it was least expected, " the prey was taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive delivered.”
Hell mourns sincere, as for an only son !
A captive lost—and heaven the prize has won ! The people whom he had before so frequently reviled, became now the objects of his delight. He sought their company with avidity: and soon after, was joined to the Methodist society. His habitual seriousness, and uniform morality, soon endeared him to his new connections, and the specimens he gave of his talents, in his occasional exercises in private, flattered their hopes, that he would soon be called forth to public notice. In these expectations they were not disappointed ; for he was quickly sent out by Mr. Wesley to "preach the faith which he once labored to destroy."
About two years after he was stationed for a season at Rotherham. Here bis ideas became more enlarged in the doctrines of grace; which procured his dismission from the society. He was chosen pastor of the church at Masborough, where he exercised the ministerial function, thirteen years. On November 8, 1776, about the forty-sixth year of his age, he gently resigned his breath, without a struggle; and doubtless went triumphantly to the perfect worship and happiness of heaven!
After he had been in Glasgow, the following paragraph appeared in the Newcastle Journal, August 11, 1753. “By a letter from Edinburgh, we are informed, that on the 2d instant, Mr. Whitefield, the itinerant, being at Glas