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At New York, New Brunswick, Staten Island, Baskenridge, Whitely Creek, Frog's Manor, and Reedy Island, there was great concern upon the minds both of the preacher and hearers.
Sometimes he was almost dead with heat and fatigue. Thrice a day he was lifted upon his horse, unable to mount otherwise; then rode and preached, and came in and laid himself along upon two or three chairs. He did not doubt that such a course would soon take him to his desired rest. Yet he had many delightful hours with Messrs. Tennents, Blair, &c. “Night,” says he, “ was as it were turned into day, when we rode singing through the woods. I could not help recommending these men, wherever I went, in the strongest manner, because I saw they gloried in the cross of Christ.”
In a Journal written by Mr. William Seward, (Mr. Whitefield's companion in traveling,) we have the following particulars relating to this period.
“ April 9, 1740. Mr. Whitefield proposed my going to England upon several important affairs, particularly to bring over Mr. Hutchins to take care of the Orphan-house in his absence --to acquaint the trustees of Georgia with the state of the colony, and the means under God, for the better establishment thereof, it being now upheld almost wholly by the soldiery and Orphan-house, most of the people who are unconcerned in either, being gone or about to go. The proper means are principally three : 1. An allowance of negroes. 2. A free title to the lands. 3. An independent magistracy, viz. such as are able and willing to serve without fee or reward. My business with the trustees will be farther, to bring over the money lodged in their hands for building the church at Savannah. I am, moreover, to collect subscriptions for a negro school in Pennsylvania, where Mr. Whitefield proposes to take up land, in order to settle a town for the reception of those English friends, whose hearts God shall incline to come and settle there.
"April 13. Mr. Tennent informed us of the great success which had attended Mr. Whitefield's preaching when here last. For some time a general silence was fixed by the Lord on the people's minds, and many began seriously to think on what foundation they stood. A general outward reformation has been visible. Many ministers have been quickened in their zeal to preach the word in season and out of season. Congrega
this newly constituted church. The admission of a large number more was delayed, only because their exercises and spiritual state had not yet attained such maturity as to afford satisfaction to themselves, or to the oficers of the church.-Scé Memoirs of Mrs. H. Hodge.
tions are increased, and some few, it is hoped, will be brought through their convictions, into a sound and saving conversion.
“ April 14. Mr. Jones, the Baptist minister, told us of two other ministers, Mr. Treat and Mr. Morgan, who were so affected with Mr. Whitefield's spirit, that the latter had gone forth preaching the glad tidings of salvation towards the sea coast in New Jersey, and many other places which lay in darkness and the shadow of death. The former told his congregation that he had been hitherto deceiving himself and them, and he could not preach to them at present, but desired they would join in prayer with him.
“ April 15. We were informed that an Indian trader was so affected with Mr. Whitefield's doctrine, that he was gone to teach the Indians, with whom he used to trade.
“ April 18. This day was published, Mr. Whitefield's letter to the inhabitants of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, about the abuse of the poor negroes.
“Heard of a drinking club that had a negro boy attending them, who used to mimic people for their diversion. The gentlemen bid him mimic Mr. Whitefield, which he was unwilling to do: but they insisting upon it, he stood up and said, 'I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not; unless you repent, you will all be damned. This unexpected speech broke up the club, which has not met since.
“Notice was given of a new lecture at Germantown every Thursday, by four ministers.
“ April 22. Agreed with Mr. Allen for five thousand acres of land on the forks of Delaware, at 2.2001. sterling, the conveyance to be made to Mr. Whitefield, and after that assigned to me, as security for my advancing the money. Mr. Whitefield proposes to give orders for building the negro school on the purchased land, before he leaves the province.
“ April 24. Came to Christopher Wigner's plantation in Skippack, where many Dutch people are settled, and where the famous Mr. Spalemburg lately resided. It was surprising to see such a multitude of people gathered together in such a wilderness country, thirty miles distant from Philadelphia. Mr. Whitefield was exceedingly carried out, in his sermon, to press poor sinners to come to Christ by faith, and claim all their privileges; viz. not only righteousness and peace, but joy in the Holy Ghost; and after he had done, our dear friend, Peter Bohler, preached in Dutch, to those who could not understand Mr. Whitefield in English.
“Before Mr. Whitefield left Philadelphia, he was desired to visit one who was under a deep sense of sin, from hearing him preach. In praying with this person, he was so carried be
yond himself, that the whole company (which were about twenty) seemed to be filled with the Holy Ghost, and magnified the God of heaven.
“ April 25. Arose at 3 o'clock; and though Mr. Whitefield was very weak in body, yet the Lord enabled him to ride nearly fifty miles, and to preach to about five thousand people at Amwell
, with the same power as usual. Mr. Gilbert Tennent, Mr. Rowland, Mr. Wales, and Mr. Campbell, four godly ministers, met us here.
April 26. Came to New Brunswick. Met Mr. Noble from New York, a zealous promoter of our Lord's kingdom. He said their society at New York was increased from seventy, to one hundred and seventy, and was daily increasing; and that Messrs. Gilbert and William Tennent, Mr. Rowland, and several others, were hard laborers in our Lord's vineyard.
“ April 28. Had a most affectionate parting with our dear Mr. Whitefield, and our other brethren."
The rest of Mr. Seward's journal was written mostly during his passage to England, where he arrived June 19, and with which it concludes. Mr. Whitefield, in the new edition of his Journals, 1756, observes, “ April 28, 1740. This was the last time I saw my worthy friend; for before my return to England, he was entered into his rest, having left behind, a glorious testimony of the transforming efficacy of everlasting grace. This hath also been the happy case of his brother Benjamin, who lately finished his course with joy.”
With great joy Mr. Whitefield again arrived at Savannah, June 5, bringing in money and provisions more than five hundred pounds sterling; and to his great encouragement, the minds of many were wonderfully impressed, and there evidently appeared the strongest marks of the divine blessing on the undertaking. His family was now increased to one hundred and fifty, and his friends believing the work to be of God, continued cheerfully to assist him.
Though he was now very weak in body, yet the cry from various quarters for more preaching, and the necessity of supplying so large a family, made him go again to Charleston, where, as well as at many other towns, the people thronged. Charleston was the place of his greatest success, and of the greatest opposition. The commissary thundered anathemas, and wrote against him, but all in vain; for his followers and success still more and more increased. He preached twice almost every day to great crowds, in the Independent and Baptist meeting house; besides expounding in the evening in merchants' houses. Thus he went on successfully, though often ready to die with excessive heat.
At the end of August, having received letters of invitation from the Rev. Dr. Colman and Mr. Cooper, ministers in Boston; and longing to see the descendants of the stern old Puritans, and their seats of learning, he sailed in the Orphanhouse sloop for New England, in company with several Charleston friends, and arrived in Rhode Island, September 14. Here he was visited (among others) by the Rev. Mr. Clap, a very venerable and aged dissenting minister, in whom he thought he saw what manner of men the old Puritans were) who procured him the church, in which he preached twice a day, to numerous and deeply affected auditories.
This was a good entrance into New England, and before he reached Boston his encouragement increased; for being met ten miles from that city by the governor's son, and a train of the clergy and principal inhabitants, they conducted him to Mr. St--nf-rd's, brother-in-law to Dr. Colman, who with Mr. Cooper and others came and joined in prayer.
Jonathan Belcher, Esq. was then governor of the Massachusetts colony, and Josiah Willard, secretary. Both these gentlemen were his sincere friends : so were the ministers, Messrs. Webb, Foxcraft, Prince, Dr. Sewall, Gee, &c. To avoid, however, giving any just offense, he went to the English church; but not being permitted to preach there, he began at Dr. Colman's meeting-house, and then preached in all the rest, and sometimes on the common.
The governor, the secretary, and several of the council generally attended, treating him with the greatest respect. Old Mr. Walter, successor to Mr. Elliot, commonly
called the apostle of the Indians, at Roxbury, said, “it was Puritanism revived." And Dr. Colman said, “ that it was the happiest day he ever saw in his life.”
He preached also at many other places, to great multitudes of people. Gentlemen of the greatest repute had their houses open in every place : collections were readily made for the orphans: and in about a week, having preached sixteen times, and rode one hundred and seventy miles, he returned to Boston, October 6.
Here the congregations still increased, and his labors were crowned with increasing success. At his farewell sermon, it was supposed there were about TWENTY THOUSAND people. He received a great number of letters, and could have spent whole days in conversing with those that came to him under soul concern. Ministers and students attended, and even little children were impressed. The contributions for the orphans amounted to nearly five hundred pounds sterling.
He next went to Northampton, having an earnest desire to
see the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, and to receive from the mouth of that eminent divine, an account of a remarkable conversion there. At every place on the road pulpits were open, and a divine unction attended his preaching.
At Northampton, when he came to remind them of what God had formerly done for them, it was like putting fire to tinder. Both minister and people were much moved; as were the children of the family, at an exhortation which their father desired Mr. Whitefield to give them.
After leaving Northampton, he preached in every town to large and affected congregations. October 23, he reached New Haven," where he was affectionately received by Mr. Pierpont, brother-in-law to Mr. Jonathan Edwards, and had the pleasure of seeing his friend Mr. Noble, of New York, who brought him letters from Georgia. It being assembly time, and the governor and burgesses then sitting, he stayed till the Sabbath and had the pleasure to see numbers impressed. The good old governor was affected in a particular manner, and at a private visit which Mr. Whitefield paid him, said, “thanks be to God for such refreshings in our way to heaven."
On Monday morning he set forward and preached with unusual success at Milford, Stratford, Fairfield, Norwalk, and Stamford, where he was visited by some ministers under deep concern.
This was on the borders of New York province, into which he now again entered, and preached at Rye and Kingsbridge, on his way to the city of New York, where he arrived October 30. Here for three days successively, and afterwards at Staten Island, Newark, Baskenridge, his preaching appeared to be attended with more success than ever. At Trenton he had a long conference with some ministers, about Mr. Gilbert Tennent's complying with an invitation to go and preach in New England. After prayer, and considering the arguments, both
"The attention of the people in general was greatly awakened upon hearing the fame of him, that there was a remarkable preacher from England, traveling through the country. The people flocked to hear him when he came to New Haven. Some traveled twenty miles out of the country to hear him. The assemblies were crowded, and remarkably attentive; people appeared generally to approve, and their conversation turned chiefly upon him and his preaching. Some disapproved of several things which occasioned considerable disputes. I heard him when he preached in public, and when he expounded in private in the evening, and highly approved of him, and was somewhat impressed by what he said in public
and in private. He preached against mixed dancing and the frolicking of males and females together; which practice was then very common in New England. This offended some, especially young people. But I remember I justified him in this in my own mind, and in conversation with those who were disposed to condemn him. This was in October, 1740, when I had entered on my last year in college.”— See Memoirs of Dr. Samuel Hopkins.