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for and against this proposal, they thought it best he should go ; which, however diffident of himself, he was persuaded to do. And his ministrations were attended with an extraordinary blessing to multitudes, as is particularly narrated elsewhere.*
What sort of reception Mr. Whitefield had in New England, will farther appear from the following letters of some eminent ministers of Boston, and the adjacent towns, published by the Rev. Josiah Smith, of Charleston, in the South Carolina Gazette.
“OCTOBER 1, 1740. “ Rev. and dear Sir, “ Your kind letter by Mr. Whitefield, and your other, are both now before me. You raised our expectations of him very much, as did his Journals more, and Mr. P. of New York, concurred with them; but we own, now that we have seen and heard him, that our expectations are all answered, and exceeded, not only in his zealous and fervent abounding labors, but in his command of the hearts and affections of his hearers.
He has been received here as an angel of God, and a servant of Jesus Christ. I hope this visit to us will be of very great use and benefit to ministers and people. He has found his heart and mouth much open to speak freely and boldly to us, and he finds it received with joy."
By the same gentleman :
“NOVEMBER 29, 1740. “Rev. and dear Sir, " Mr. Whitefield left us seven weeks ago; the last week we heard of him in Philadelphia. I hear that much of the presence of God is with him. He has left a blessing behind him, we hope with us. Our people, high and low, old and young, are very swift to hear. The excellent meekness of Mr. Whitefield's Answer to the Querists, will honor him to you."
Another writes thus :
"OCTOBER 22, 1740. “Though it is always a singular pleasure to me to hear from you, yet your two letters by Mr. Whitefield, had a new circumstance of pleasure from the dear hand that presented them. I perceive you were impatient to know what sort of introduction he had among us. We (ministers, rulers, and people)
See Prince's Christian History, or, Historical Collections of the Success of the Gospel, Vol. II. where the facts are set down in the order of time.
About this time Mr. Whitefield wrote his letter to some church members of the Presbyterian persuasion, in answer to certain scruples and queries which they had proposed.
generally received him as an angel of God. When he preached his farewell sermon in our common, there were TWENTYTHREE THOUSAND, at a moderate computation. We are abundantly convinced, that you spoke the words of truth and so. berness in your sermon relating to him. Such a power and presence of God with a preacher, and in religious assemblies, I never saw before; but I would not limit the Holy One of Israel. The prejudices of many are quite conquered, and the expectations of others vastly outdone, as they freely own. A considerable number are awakened, and many christians seem to be greatly quickened. He has preached twice at Cambridge; he has one warm friend there, Mr. the tutor, who has followed him to Northampton, and will, for aught I know, to Georgia. But Mr. Whitefield has not a warmer friend any where, than the first man among us. Our governor has showed him the highest respect, carried him in his coach from place to place, and could not help following him fifty miles out of town. I hope the religion of the country will fare the better for the impressions left on him.” The same gentleman writes,
“ DECEMBER 2, 1740. “The man greatly beloved, I suppose, may be with you before now. That his visit here will be esteemed a distinguished mercy of heaven by many, I am well satisfied. Every day gives me fresh proofs of Christ's speaking in him. A small set of gentlemen amongst us, when they saw the affections of the people so moved under his preaching, would attribute it only to his force of voice and gesture. But the impressions on many are so lasting, and have been so transforming, as to carry plain signatures of a divine hand going along with him."
Another gentleman writes,
" NOVEMBER 1, 1740. “I received yours by the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, with whom I coveted a great deal more private conversation than I had opportunity for, by reason of the throngs of people almost perpetually with him. But he appears to be full of the love of God, and fired with an extraordinary zeal for the cause of Christ, and applies himself with the most indefatigable diligence, that ever was seen among us, for the promoting the good of souls. His head, his heart, his hands, seem to be full of his Master's business. His discourses, especially when he goes into the expository way, are very entertaining. Every eye is fixed upon him, and every ear chained to his lips. Most
áre very much affected; many awakened and convinced, and a general seriousness excited. His address, more especially to the passions, is wonderful, and beyond what I have ever seen. I think I can truly say, that his preaching has quickened me, and I believe it has many others besides, as well as the people. Several of my flock, especially the younger sort, have been brought under convictions by his preaching; and there is this remarkable thing showing the good effect of his preaching, that the word preached now by us, seems more precious to them, and comes with more power upon them. My prayer for him is, that his precious life may be lengthened out, and that he may be an instrument of reviving dying religion in all places whithersoever he comes, who seems to be wonderfully fitted for, as well as spirited in it.”
Saturday, November 8, Mr. Whitefield came back to Philadelphia, and on the next day preached to several thousands in a house built for that purpose since his last departure. Here he both heard of and saw many, who were the fruits of his former ministrations; and continued among them till November 17, preaching twice a day. Afterwards he preached in Gloucester, Greenwich, Pilesgrove, Cohansie, Salem, Newcastle, Whiteley Creek, Frog's Manor, Nottingham; in many or most of which places the congregations were numerous, and deeply affected.
November 22, he reached Bohemia in Maryland, and from thence he went to Reedy Island. At both places his preaching was attended with great influence. And at the last (their sloop being detained by contrary winds near a week) he preached frequently. All the captains and crews of the ships that were wind-bound constantly attended, and great numbers crowded out of the country, some as far as from Philadelphia; and as great concern as ever came upon their minds.
December 1, he set sail from Reedy Island for Charleston in South Carolina, and here he makes the following remark: “ It is now the seventy-fifth day since I arrived in Reedy Island. My body was then weak, but the Lord has much renewed its strength. I have been enabled to preach, I think, a hundred and seventy-five times in public, besides exhorting frequently in private. I have traveled upwards of eight hundred miles, and gotten upwards of seven hundred pounds sterling, in goods, provisions, and money, for the Georgia orphans. Never did I perform my journeys with so little fatigue, or see such a continuance of the divine presence in the congregations to which I have preached. "Praise the Lord, O my soul.""
After a pleasant passage of eight or nine days, and preaching again at Charleston and Savannah, he arrived on the 14th of December at the Orphan-house, where he found his family
comfortably settled. At Rhode Island he had providentially met with Mr. Jonathan Barber, whose heart was very much knit to him, and who was willing to help him at the Orphanhouse. Him, therefore, he left superintendant of the spiritual, and Mr. Habersham of the temporal affairs; and having spent a very comfortable Christmas with his Orphan family, he set off again for Charleston, were he arrived January 3, 1741, and preached twice every day as usual, to most affectionate auditories, till the 16th of January, when he went on board for England. He arrived the 11th of March at Falmouth, rode post to London, and preached at Kennington common the Sunday following
His separation from Mr. Wesley, and the circumstances attending it,
about the period of his return to London, 1741. On his return to England, Mr. Whitefield was called to meet a dispensation eminently afflictive to a heart, whose very life was fervent and all-circling love-separation from his spiritual coadjutor and guide. No single chapter of his history was probably so fraught with incidents painful to be thought of, even to the last day of his life. While Whitefield and Wesley were each alike absorbed in the work of saving a perishing world; while the hearts of both yearned with insatiable longings for the restoration of men to bliss; they each, with their native and habitual intensity of character, attributed the utmost importance to what was felt to be the best modus operandi, the proper manner and means of conversion. They doubtless, as a matter of fact, both held that regeneration could be affected by divine interposition alone on the one hand; and, on the other, that it could never be made manifest but through human actings and strivings, or in any manner take place without them. It so happened, however, that they each viewed the subject in one relation only, and thus they soon found themselves pursuing opposite directions in the formation of their theological systems : Mr Whitefield viewing man chiefly in his condition of dependence upon God for salvation; and Mr. Wesley looking at him mainly as a responsible and guilty being. In short, Mr. Wesley became an Arminian and Mr. Whitefield a Calvinist
Nevertheless, up to this period their differences had not become sufficiently mature and distinct to lead to a breach. But now conscience impelled each to assert doctrines, which, as
understood by the other, were not only wrong, but so monstrous as to forbid all fellowship; and the following narrative and correspondence shows the process which consummated the rupture, and the painful reluctance with which they came to it.
In pushing his doctrine to its extreme, Wesley came to entertain as a favorite doctrine, "the free, full, and present salvation from all the guilt, all the power, and all the inbeing of sin;" and knowing Whitefield to be at the opposite pole of Calvinistic predestination and decrees, he could not feel satisfied without writing to his old friend and disciple then in Georgia, upon both these subjects, who at this time, though he could yield to him upon neither, wished earnestly to avoid all dispute.
“My honored friend and brother,” said he in his reply, “for once hearken to a child who is willing to wash your feet. I beseech you, by the mercies of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, if you would have my love confirmed towards you, write no more to me about misrepresentations wherein we differ. To the best of my knowledge, at present no sin has dominion over me, yet I feel the strugglings of indwelling sin day by day. The doctrine of election, and the final perseverance of those who are in Christ, I am ten thousand times more convinced of, if possible, than when I saw you last. You think otherwise. Why then should we dispute, when there is no probability of convincing? Will it not, in the end, destroy brotherly love, and insensibly take from us that cordial union and sweetness of soul, which I pray God may always subsist between us? How glad would the enemies of the Lord be to see us divided ! How many would rejoice, should I join and make a party against you! And, in one word, how would the cause of our common Master every way suffer, by our raising disputes about particular points of doctrine! Honored Sir, let us offer salvation freely to all by the blood of Jesus ; and whatever light God has communicated to us, let us freely communicate to others. I have lately read the life of Luther, and think it in no wise to his honor, that the last part of his life was so much taken up in disputing with Zuinglius and others, who in all probability equally loved the Lord Jesus, though they might differ from hím in other points. Let this, dear sir, be a caution to us; I hope it will to me; for, by the blessing of God, provoke me to it as much as you please, I do not think ever to enter the lists of controversy with you on the points wherein we differ. Only I pray to God, that the more you judge me, the more I may love you, and learn to desire no one's approbation, but that of my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.”
While such feelings do honor to Whitefield, he gradually