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there was reason to think well of him, and to countenance his ministry. Conversions had become rare, little liveliness was to be found even in real christians, and bigotry and blind zeal were producing animosities and divisions, and turning away the attention of good men from matters of infinitely greater importance. In this situation an animated preacher appears singularly qualified to awaken the secure, to recover christians to their first love and first works, and to reconcile their affections one to another.
“ The episcopal clergy gave him no countenance, though some few of their people did. And in the established Church of Scotland, some of the more rigid Presbyterians would not hold communion with him, on account of his connection with the Church of England, and his seeming to assume the office of an evangelist, peculiar, in their apprehension, to the first ages of the church : while some, who affected to be thought more sensible, or more modish and polite, were mightily disaffected with him for preaching the Calvinistic doctrines of election, original sin, efficacious grace, justification through faith, and perseverance of the saints; and for inveighing against the play house, dancing assemblies, games of chance, haunting taverns, vanity and extravagance in dress, and levity in behavior and conversation.
“Some gentlemen and ladies, who went to hear him, would not go a second time, because he disturbed them by insisting on man's miserable and dangerous state by nature, and the strictness and holiness essential to the christian character. But, upon many of his hearers in Edinburgh, of all ranks and ages, especially young people, deep impressions were made, and many of them waited on him privately, lamenting their former immoral lives, or stupid thoughtlessness about religion, and expressing their anxious concern about obtaining an interest in Christ, and the sanctifying influences of the Spirit. In the greater part of these, the impressions have appeared to be saving, from their circumspect, exemplary conduct since that time, or from their comfortable or triumphant deaths. Many Presbyterians begin to think more mildly and candidly than before of the ministers and members of the Church of England."*
* This year, 1741, he received the compliments of honorary Burgess Tickets from the towns of Stirling, Glasgow, Paisley, and Aberdeen. And in 1742, from Irvine. And 1762, from Edinburgh.
From his leaving Edinburgh, 1741, to his return to that city in the
MR. WHITEFIELD having left Edinburgh in the latter end of October, 1741, set out for Abergavenny, in Wales, where, having some time ago formed a resolution to enter into the married state, he married one Mrs. James, a widow between thirty and forty years of age; of whom he says, “She has been a house-keeper many years, once gay, but for three years last past a despised follower of the Lamb of God." From Abergavenny he went to Bristol, where he preached twice a day with his usual success. Upon returning to London, in the beginning of December, he received letters from Georgia concerning his orphan family, which, with respect to their external circumstances, were a little discouraging. On the other hand, he had most comfortable accounts of the fruits of his ministry in Scotland. This made him think of paying another visit there in the spring. Meantime he had the pleasure of seeing his labors attended with the divine blessing at London and Bristol. And from Gloucester he thus writes :
--- December 23, 1741. Last Thursday evening the Lord brought me hither. I preached immediately to our friends in a large barn, and had my Master's presence. Both the power and the congregation increased. On Sunday, Providence opened a door for my preaching in St. John's, one of the parish churches. Great numbers came. On Sunday afternoon, after I had preached twice at Gloucester, I preached at Mr. F's at the hill, six miles off, and again at night, at Stroud. The people seemed to be more hungry than ever, and the Lord to be more amongst them. Yesterday morning I preached at Painswick, in the parish church, here in the afternoon, and again at night in the barn. God gives me un
peakable comfort and uninterrupted joy. Here seems to be a new awakening, and a revival of the work of God. I find several country people were awakened when I preached at Tewksbury, and have heard of three or four that have died in the Lord. We shall never know what good field preaching has done, till we come to judgment. Many, who were prejudiced against me, begin to be of another mind; and God shows me more and more that when a man's ways please the Lord, he will make even his enemies to be at peace with him. To-morrow morning I purpose to set out for Abergavenny, and to preach at Bristol, in Wilts, Gloucester and Gloucestershire, before I see London."
In the latter end of December he came to Bristol, where he continued nearly a month, preaching twice every day, and writing to his friends in London and Scotland. He also set up a general monthly meeting to read corresponding letters. From Bristol he returned to Gloucester, and January 28, 1743, writes—“On Friday last I left Bristol, having first settled affairs, almost as I could wish. At Kingston I administered the sacrament on Wednesday night. It was the Lord's passover. On Thursday we had a sweet love feast; on Friday the Lord was with me twice at Tockington; on Saturday morning I broke up some fallow ground at Newport; and in the evening preached to many thousands at Stroud; on Monday morning at Painswich; and ever since twice a day here. Our congregations, I think, are larger than at Bristol. Every sermon is blessed."
On his way to London, Feb. 23, he was still farther encouraged by receiving letters from America, informing him of the remarkable success of the gospel there, and that God had stirred up some wealthy friends to assist his orphans in their late extremity.* Upon his return to London, he went on with greater zeal and success, if possible, than ever. “ Our Savior (says he, writing to a brother, April 6, 1742) is doing great things in London daily. I rejoice to hear that you are helped in your
work. Let this encourage you ; go on, go on; the more we do, the more we may do, for Jesus. I sleep and eat but little, and am constantly employed from morning till midnight, and yet my strength is daily renewed. Ofree grace! It fires my soul, and makes me long to do something for Jesus. It is true, indeed, I want to go home; but here are so many souls ready to perish for lack of knowledge, that I am willing to tarry below as long as my Master has work for me.”
From this principle of compassion to perishing souls, he now ventured to take a very extraordinary step. It had been the custom for many years past, in the holiday seasons, to erect booths in Moorfields, for mountebanks, players, and puppetshows, which were attended from morning till night by innumerable multitudes of the lower sort of people. He formed a resolution to preach the gospel among them, and executed it. On Whitmonday, at six o'clock in the morning, attended by a large congregation of praying people, he began. Thousands, who were waiting there, gaping for their usual diversions, alí
"The everlasting God reward all their benefactors. I find there has been a fresh awakening among them. I am informed, that twelve negroes, belonging to a planter lately converted at the Orphan-house, are savingly brought bome to Jesus Christ.”
flocked around him. His text was, John iii. 14. They gazed, they listened, they wept; and many seemed to be stung with deep conviction for their past sins. All was hushed and solemn. “Being thus encouraged (says he) I ventured out again at noon, when the fields were quite full; and could scarce help smiling, to see thousands, when a merry-andrew was trumpeting to them, upon observing me mount a stand upon the other side of the field, deserting him, till not so much as one was left behind, but all flocked to hear the gospel. But this, together with a complaint that they had taken near twenty or thirty pounds less that day than usual, so enraged the owners of the booths, that when I came to preach a third time in the evening, in the midst of the sermon a merry-andrew got up upon a man's shoulders, and advancing near the pulpit, attempted to slash me with a long heavy whip several times. Soon after they got a recruiting sergeant, with his drum, to pass through the congregation. But I desired the people to make way for the king's officer, which was quietly done. Finding these efforts to fail, a large body, quite on the opposite side, assembled together, and having got a great pole for their standard, advanced with sound of drum, in a very threatening manner, till they came near the skirts of the congregation. Uncommon courage was given to both preacher and hearers. For just as they approached us with looks full of resentment, I know not by what accident, they quarrelled among themselves, threw down their staff, went their way, leaving, however, many of their company behind, who before we had done, I trust were brought over to join the besieged party. I think I continued in praying, preaching, and singing (for the noise was too great at times to preach) about three hours. We then retired to the tabernacle, where thousands flocked. We were determined to pray down the booth; but blessed be God, more substantial work was done. At a moderate computation, I received (I believe) a thousand notes from persons under conviction; and soon after, upwards of three hundred were received into the society in one day. Some I married, that had lived together without marriage. One man had exchanged his wife for another, and given fourleen shillings in exchange. Numbers, that seemed as it were to have been bred up for Tyburn, were at that time plucked as firebrands out of the burning.”
“I cannot help adding, that several little boys and girls, who were fond of sitting round me on the pulpit, while I preached, and handing to me people's notes, though they were often pelted
and dirt, thrown at me, never once gave way; but on the contrary, every time I was struck turned up their little weeping eyes, and seemed to wish they could receive the blows
God make them, in their growing years, great and living martyrs for him, who out of the mouth of babes and sucklings perfecteth praise."
From his arrival in Scotland, 1742, to his return to London the same
year. Soon after this he embarked a second time for Scotland, and arrived at Leith, June 3, 1742.*
But here it is proper to take a view of the state of things in that country upon his arrival. It had pleased God to bless his first visit to Scotland, not only for the conversion of particular persons, and the comforting and quickening of private christians, but to rouse them to more than ordinary concern about the salvation of their neighbors, and to excite pious and conscientious ministers to greater diligence in their work. Prayers were put up, with some degree of faith and hope, that God would now give success to their labors, and not suffer them always to complain that they spent their strength in vain. Nor were these prayers long unanswered : for in the month of February, 1742, an extraordinary religious concern began to appear publicly at Cambuslang, and soon after at Kilsyth and other places; the news of which spread quickly through the land, and engaged general attention. Of this a just though short description is given in the following letter, written by the Rev. Mr. Hamilton (then minister in the Barony parish, now in the High Church of Glasgow) to Mr. Prince, minister in Boston. “Glasgow, Sept. 13, 1742. We, in the south and west of Scotland, have great reason to join in thankfulness to God, with you, for the days of the Redeemer's power, that we
*"Edinburgh, Sabbath, June, 6 1742. On Thursday last our dear friend Mr. Whitefield returned to this place, to the great comfort of many honest christians, especially of those to whom he was made a means of conviction and conversion when last here. He seems to have improved much in christian knowledge. He is much refreshed with the accounts of the work of God in the west country. I have heard him preach five excellent discourses, all calculated for the building up of christians (though he never fails to put in a word for the conviction of sinners ;) and, I think, can say, that I have never heard him without some influence attending his preaching, especially in private houses. Oh may the impressions made on my heart never wear off, lest at any time I should be in danger of dropping my watch, and becoming untender."
“Oct. 17, 1742. It is a great recommendation of Mr. Whitefield to me, that, though the seceders give him every bad character that can be devised, viz. a sorcerer, &c. yet he takes all patiently, and, wherever he goes, speaks well of them so far as he can : for none can approve of those gross parts of their conduct; therefore these he chooses to cast a mantle of love over."