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however, in one of Mr. Law's books, a fictitious character held up for imitation : this ideal being served him for a friend; and he had soon full satisfaction, as well as full employment, in pursuing the same round of duties as his predecessor. For the people had been taught by their pastor to attend public prayers twice a-day; in the morning before they went to work, and in the evening after they returned from it, their zealous minister had also been accustomed to catechise the children daily, and visit his parishioners from house to house. In pursuance of this plan, Whitefield allotted eight hours to these offices, eight for study and retirement, and eight for the necessities of nature; he soon learnt to love the people among whom he labored, and derived from their society a greater improvement than books could have given him.
While he was in London, some letters from Ingham and the Wesleys had made him long to follow them to Georgia; but when he opened these desires to his friends, they persuaded him that laborers were wanting at home; that he had no visible call abroad; and that it was his duty to wait and see what Providence might point out for him,-not to do any thing rashly. He now learned that Charles Wesley had come over to procure assistance; and though Charles did not invite him to the undertaking, yet he wrote in terms which made it evident that he was in his thoughts, as a proper person. Soon afterwards came a letter from John: “Only Mr. Delamotte is with me," said he, “till God shall stir up the hearts of some of his servants, who, putting their lives in his 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, it was said, “Do you
ask me what have? Food to eat, and raiment to put on; a house to lay your head in, such as your Lord had not; and a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”. Upon reading this, his heart, he says, leaped within him, and, as it were, echoed to the call. The desire thus formed soon ripened into a purpose, for which all circumstances seemed favorable. Mr. Kinchin had been elected Dean, and must therefore reside at College ; he would take upon him the charge of his prisoners : Hervey was ready to supply his place in the curacy; there were many Indians in Georgia, -for their sake it was a matter of great importance that serious clergymen should be sent over : there he should find Wesley, his spiritual teacher and dear friend; a sea voyage, too, might not improbably be helpful to his weakened constitution. Thus he reasoned, finding in every circumstance something which flattered his purpose; and having strengthened it by prayer into a settled resolution, which he knew could
never be carried into effect if he conferred with flesh and blood," he wrote to his relations at Gloucester, telling them his design, and saying, that if they would promise not to dissuade him, he would visit them to take his leave; but otherwise he would embark without seeing them, for he knew his own weakness.
Herein he acted wisely, but the promise which he extorted was not strictly observed : his aged mother wept sorely; and others, who had no such cause to justify their interference, represented to him what “pretty preferment” he might have if he would stay at home. The Bishop approved of his determination, received him like a father, as he always did, and doubted not but that God would bless him, and he would do much good abroad. From Gloucester he went to bid his friends at Bristol farewell. Here he was held in high honor : the mayor appointed him to preach before the corporation ; Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, people of all denominations, flocked to hear; the churches were as full on week days as they used to be on Sundays; and on Sundays crowds were obliged to go away for want of room. “The whole city," he said, “ seemed to be alarmed.” But though he says that the word was sharper than a two-edged sword, and that the doctrine of the new birth made its way like lightning into the hearers' consciences,” the doctrine did not assume a fanatic tone, and produced no extravagance in public.
He himself, however, was in a state of high toned feeling. Having been accepted by General Oglethorpe and the trustees, and presented to the Bishop of London and the Primate, and finding that it would be some months before the vessel in which he was to embark would be ready, he went for a while to serve the church of one of his friends at Stone-house, in his native country; and there he describes the habitual exaltation of his mind in glowing language. Uncommon manifestations, he says, were granted him from above. Early in the morning, at noon-day, evening, and midnight,--nay, all the day long, did the Redeemer visit and refresh his heart. Could the trees of the wood speak, they would tell what sweet communion he and his christian brethren had, under their shade, enjoyed with their God. “Sometimes, as I have been walking," he continues, " my soul would make such sallies, that I thought it would go out of the body. At other times I would be so overpowered with a sense of God's infinite majesty, that I would be constrained to throw myself prostrate on the ground, and offer my soul as a blank in his hands, to write on it what he pleased. One night was a time never to be forgotten. It happened to lighten exceedingly. I had been expounding to many people, and some being afraid to go home, I thought it
my duty to accompany them, and improve the occasion, to stir them up to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man. In my return to the parsonage, whilst others were rising from their beds, and frightened almost to death to see the lightning run upon the ground, and shine from one part of the heavens unto the other, I and another, a poor but pious countryman, were in the field, praising, praying too, and exulting in our God, and longing for that time when Jesus shall be revealed from heaven in a flame of fire! Oh that my soul may be in a like frame when he shall actually come to call me !"
From hence he went again to Bristol, having received many and pressing invitations. Multitudes came out on foot to meet him, and some in coaches, a mile without the city; and the people saluted and blessed him as he passed along the street. He preached about five times a week to such congregations, that it was with great difficulty he could make way along the crowded aisles to the reading-desk. “Some hung upon the rails of the organ-loft, others climbed upon the leads of the church, and all together made the church so hot with their breath, that the steam would fall from the pillars like drops of rain.” When he preached his farewell sermon, and said to the people that perhaps they might see his face no more, high and low, young and old, burst into tears. Multitudes after the sermon followed him home weeping : the next day he was employed from seven in the morning till midnight in talking and giving spiritual advice to awakened hearers; and he left Bristol secretly in the middle of the night, to avoid the ceremony of being escorted by horsemen and coaches out of the town.
The man who produced this extraordinary effect 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 lessening 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 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 a notion of the force and vehemence and passion of that oratory which awed the hearers, and made them tremble like Felix before the apostle. For believ
ing 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 fervent and melting charity, an earnestness of persuasion, an out pouring of redundant love, partaking of the virtue of that faith from which it flowed, insomuch it seemed to enter the heart which it pierced, and to heal it as with balm.
From Bristol he went to Gloucester, and preached to a very crowded auditory, and after staying a few days went on to Oxford, where he had an agreeable interview with the other Methodists, and came to London about the end of August.
Here he was invited to preach, and assist in administering the sacrament, in a great many churches. The congregations continually increased ; and generally on the Lord's day he used to preach four times to very large and very much affected auditories, and to walk ten or twelve miles in going to the different churches. His friends began to be afraid he would hurt himself; but he used to say, he found by experience, the more he did, the more he might do, for God.
His name was now put into the newspapers (though without his consent or knowledge) as a young gentleman going volunteer to Georgia, who was to preach before the societies at their general quarterly meeting. This stirred up the people's curiosity more and more. He preached, on that occasion, his sermon on Early Piety, which was printed at the request of the societies. After this, for near three months successively, there was no end of people's flocking to hear him, and the managers of charity schools were continually applying to him to preach for the benefit of the children; for that purpose they procured the liberty of the churches on other days of the week besides the Lord's day; and yet thousands went away from the largest churches, not being able to get in. The congregations were all attention, and seemed to hear as for eternity. He preached generally nine times a week, and often administered the sacrament early on the Lord's day morning, when you might see the streets filled with people going to church with lanterns in their hands, and hear them conversing about the things of God.
As his popularity increased, opposition increased proportionably. Some of the clergy became angry; two of them sent for him, and told him they would not let him preach in their pulpits any more, unless he renounced that part of the preface of his sermon on Regeneration, (lately published,) wherein he wished “that his brethern would entertain their auditors oftener with discourses upon the new birth.” Probably some of them were irritated the more, by his free conversation with some of the serious dissenters, who invited him to their houses, and
repeatedly told him, " That if the doctrines of the new birth, and justification by faith, were preached powerfully in the churches, there would be few dissenters in England.” Nor was he without opposition even from some of his friends. But, under these discouragements, he had great comfort in meeting every evening with a band of religious inmates, to spend an hour in prayer for the advancement of the gospel, and for all their acquaintance, so far as they knew their circumstances. In this he had uncommon satisfaction : once he spent a whole night with them in prayer and praise; and sometimes at midnight, after he had been quite wearied with the labors of the day, he found his strength renewed in this exercise, which made him compose
Intercession. The nearer the time of his embarkation approached, the more affectionate and eager the people grew. Thousands and thousands of prayers were put up for him. They would run and stop him in the alleys of the churches, and follow him with wishful looks. But, above all, it was hardest for him to part with his weeping friends at St. Dunstan's, where he helped to administer the sacrament to them, after spending the night before in prayer. This parting was to him almost insupportable.
From the time of his embarking for Georgia, to his re-embarking
for England, 1738. In the latter end of December, 1737, he embarked for Georgia. This was to him a new, and at first appearance, a very unpromising scene. The ship was full of soldiers, and there were near twenty women among them. The captain of the ship, and the officers of the regiment, with the surgeon, and a young cadet, gave him to understand, that they looked upon him as an impostor; and for awhile treated him as such. On the first Lord's day one of them played on the hautboy; and nothing was to be seen but cards, and little heard but cursing and blasphemy. This was a very disagreeable situation; but it is worth while to observe, with what prudence he was enabled to behave among them; and how God was pleased to bless his patient and persevering endeavors to do them good.
He began with the officers in the cabin, in the way of mild and gentle reproof; but this had little effect.* He therefore
" I could do no more for a season, than whilst I was writing, now and then to turn my head, by way of reproof, to a lieutenant of the soldiers, who swore, as though he was born of a swearing
constitution. Sometimes he would take