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commodity among them; evening and weekly lectures are set up, and always crowded with persons of different persuasions ; while he has put a damp upon their polite diversions, which always dwindle as christianity revives. Surely, no man could do these things, I had almost said, these miracles, unless God were with him, who gives the increase, even when Paul plants, and Apollos waters. Had ecclesiastical perferment been his idol, fame and reputation his motive, as he has taken a preposterous way to acquire them, so I can never suffer myself to think God would have owned him so visibly, or given him so many seals of his ministry. Our Savior himself makes good fruits the general characteristic of good ministers. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Either the fruits and success of their ministry, the design and tendency of their doctrines, or the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. And which of these have been wanting in this extraordinary man? Who can object against the tendency of his doctrines? And for success, his enemies know it to their own confusion. And who can say his life is unfruitful, or that he has appeared like an immoral man? He renders to all their due. While zealous for the things of God, he is a friend to Cæsar; a loyal subject to King George, heartily prays for him and his royal house; “ May it abide before God!" A prayer, to which, I doubt not, you are all ready to say Amen.
But to proceed with our character of the preacher, whom hath he wronged or defrauded? Whose ox or whose ass hath he taken ? Say, if any man hath found aught in his hands; so far from it, that he seems to live, not by bread alone, but by the word and promise of God; without taking thought for the morrow, what he shall eat, or drink, or put on.
And for charity, as it consists in compassion and acts of beneficence, we have few men like minded. In this grand circle of practical religion, he seems to be a second Job, as well as for patience; and deserves a good report of all men, and of the truth itself. Had he been under any criminal influence of a mercenary, covetous temper, had he collected money for himself, in his journeyings often, and itinerating preachings, under the pretext of doing it for the poor, as he was slanderously reported, he had certainly a fair opportunity to enrich himself. But we have seen a plain fact cannot be denied, that he cast all into the treasury, and serves the table of the poor with it. Strolling and vagabond orphans, poor and helpless, without father, without mother, without purse, and without friend, he seeks out, picks up, and adopts into his family. He is now building accommodations, and laying the best foundation for their support and religious instruction, with
out any visible fund; encouraged to go on in faith, from the shining example of the great professor in Germany, who began a like pious work with almost nothing; and raised it to such perfection, as is the wonder and astonishment of all that hear it. This is a sacrifice well pleasing to God! The loins of the poor will bless him, the blessing of him that was ready to perish, shall come upon him! He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness ought to endure, and be celebrated among us. After this, let none call him an uncharitable man; for what brighter evidence of pure religion than this, to visit the fatherless in their affliction.
And permit me here, to join in my thanks to you, and the other charitably disposed christians, who have shown their bowels of mercy in the late very large collection* for the Orphan-house in Georgia. This is an honor to our whole town. And, believe me, you will never be a penny the poorer, for helping the poor; Them we have always with us, and inasmuch as we have done it unto them, we have done it unto Christ, and cannot fail of a reward ; at least the reflection we make upon it, on our last bed, will give us more satisfaction, than what we contribute to the support of balls and assemblies of music, to the pride and luxuries of life ; nor can it fail to occasion many thanksgivings unto God.
I now proceed, under the last head, to give my opinion, what views Providence may have in raising up men of this stamp, now among us.
And this I desire to do with all humility and modesty.
I pretend to no spirit of prophecy, and can only conjecture, and offer the result of observation, reason, and the usual tendencies of things, corroborated by the great promises scattered up and down in our Bibles, wherein glorious things are spoken of thee, thou city of our God! The prophecies are usually too dark and mystic to be fully understood : the seals of that book are seldom broken, until the several periods of accomplishment, which makes time the best and surest expositor. But certainly, if we can discern the face of the sky in the morning, we might make some humble and faint conjectures at the times and seasons, which the Father keeps in his own power. Now we are none of us ignorant, how far the primitive spirit of christianity has sunk into a mere form of godliness. Irreligion has been rushing in, even upon the Protestant world like a flood : the dearest and most obvious doctrines of the Bible have fallen into low contempt; the principles and systems of our good and pious fathers have been more and
Six hundred pounds.
more exploded. And now behold! God seems to have revived the ancient spirit and doctrines. He is raising up our young men, with zeal and courage to stem the torrent. They have been in labor more abundant ; they have preached with such fire, assiduity, and success; such a solemn awe have they struck upon their hearers; so unaccountably have they conquered the prejudices of many persons; such deep convictions have their sermons produced ; so much have they roused and kindled the zeal of ministers and people ; so intrepidly do they push through all opposition, that my soul overflows with joy, and my heart is too full to express my hopes. It looks as if some happy period were opening, to bless the world with another reformation. Some great things seem to be upon the anvil, some big prophecy at the birth : God give it strength to bring forth ! May he especially water the good seed his servant has plentifully sown among us ; may we remember how we have heard, and hold fast; may we cherish conviction ; be fixed and rooted in our christian faith; not rebel against the light, nor make shipwreck at last, by the various winds of doctrine which are blowing upon us!
Thus have I answered for my part, and shown my opinion: I have done it in the integrity of my heart; I have designed no offence; only supported the doctrines and character of a preacher, which love and duty constrain me to honor and defend : while I preclude no man from showing his opinion, who shall do it with the same impartiality.
An examination of Whitefield's character as an Orator, Preacher,
In the preceding memoir, the main facts of interest in Mr. Whitefield's public career have been narrated in detail, and while they prove and illustrate the influence of extraordinary elements in the formation of his character, they are yet far from stating, or holding forth in distinct view, what these elements were. It cannot be otherwise than profitable to unravel as far as possible, the secret of this man's almost super-human power, that we may know in what respects he ought to be our model, and in the light of his excellencies and defects, rightly appreciate, adjust, and attemper our own characters. A genéral review of his public course, illustrated by some of those
* For a description of his person see page 23.
incidents of every-day life, in which character is nakedly and spontaneously spoken out, will be most likely to set forth distinctly those gifts, in which he was “ imitating none and inimitable by any.” In terminating this memoir, therefore, we shall endeavor to give a more decisive expression and meaning to the wondrous incidents already detailed, by illustrating them in the light of the principles and constitutional peculiarities, in which they had their origin. For the more perfect accomplishment of this aim, recourse will be had to those authors who have been most successful in their attempts to define and delineate his real character.
In reviewing the life of this extraordinary man, the following particulars appear very remarkable.
First – We are struck with his unwearied diligence in the offices of religion, and his conscientious improvement of every portion of his time. Early in the morning he rose to his Master's work, and all the day long was employed in a continual succession of different duties. Take a view of his public conduct; here he is engaged either in preaching the gospel, in visiting and giving counsel to the afflicted, in instructing the ignorant, or in celebrating the praises of God. Observe his behavior in private company; there you hear him introducing, upon all occasions, and among all sorts of people, discourse that tended to edification. And if you follow him to his retirements, you see him writing devout meditations upon the occurrences of the day, or letters to his christian acquaintance, full of piety and zeal. What a gloomy idea must a stranger to vital piety entertain of a life spent in this manner! He will think it must have been not only joyless and disgusting, but intolerably burdensome. Far otherwise did it appear in the experience of this servant of Christ. He felt the greatest enjoyment when engaged in a constant round of social and religious duties. In these, whole weeks passed away like one day. And when he was visited with any distress or affiction, preaching, as he tells us himself, was his catholicon, and prayer his antidote against every trial. The pleasure of a man of business, in successfully pushing his trade, or of a philosopher, when pursuing his favorite studies, may give us some faint conception of the joys which he felt. Yet so ardent were his desires after the heavenly happiness, that he often longed to finish his work, and to go home to his Savior. “Blessed be God,” says he, “ the prospect of death is pleasant to my soul. I would not live here always. I want to be gone. Sometimes it arises from a fear of falling. Sometimes from a prospect of future labors and sufferings. But there are times when my soul has such foretastes of God, that I long more eagerly to be
with him; and the prospect of the happiness which the spirits of just men made perfect, now enjoy, often carries me, as it were, into another world.”
Again, we are justly surprised at his frequent and fervent preaching, under all the disadvantages of a sickly constitution, and the many fits of illness with which he was suddenly seized. It must, indeed, be confessed, that change of air, frequent traveling on horseback, and the many voyages he made, might contribute to the preservation of his health and vigor; but when we consider what exertion of voice was necessary to reach his large congregations; that he preached generally two or three times a day,* and often four times on the Lord's day; but above all, after what waste of strength and spirits every sermon must have cost him, through the earnestness of his delivery, it is truly astonishing, how his constitution could hold out so long. He says, “I preach till I sweat through and through.” But there is another circumstance not less remarkable than either of the former; which is, the uncommon desire
* "As a specimen of his indefatigable labors in the work of the ministry, we take the following account of the sermons he preached after his arrival at Newport, Rhode Island, to the time of his death. He sailed from New York, Tuesday, July 31, P. M., arrived at Newport, Friday, August 3, A. M., and preached, Aug. 4, at Newport,
Aug. 24, at Boston, 5, do.
25, do. 6, do.
26, at Medford, 7, do.
27, at Charlestown, do.
28, at Cambridge, at Providence,
29, at Boston, 10, do.
do. 11, do.
31, at Roxbury Plain, 12, do.
Sept. 1, at Milton, 13, at Auleborough,
2, at Roxbury, 14, at Wrentham,
3, at Boston,
5, at Salem,
6, at Marblehead,
7, at Salem, 18, do.
8, at Cape Ann, 19, at Malden,
9, at Ipswich, 20, at Boston,
10, at Newburyport, 21,
12, at Rowley, 23, do.
13, do. "From the 13th of Sept. to the 17th, he was detained from public service by a severe indisposition. When recovered, he preached, Sept. 17, at Boston,
Sept. 19, at Boston, 18, do.
20, at Newton. " The 21st of September, he departed from Boston, upon a tour to the eastward, pretty much indisposed. But on the 23d he preached. Sept. 23, at Portsmouth.
Sept. 27, at York,
28, at Portsmouth,
29, at Exeter. 26, at Kittery,