Following up the great preacher, we find him, April 9th,
preaching again to a very large congregation in Gloucester, his
native city. And after visiting the societies in the evening, he
exclaimed, " Oh, what unspeakable pleasure it affords me to see
my own townsmen receive the Word with joy!" Here he
found many of all denominations leaving the church, he said,
" because they could not find food for their souls ; they staid
amongst us till they were starved out.
" I know this declara-
tion will expose me to the ill-will of all my indolent, earthly-
minded, pleasure-taking brethren ; but were I not to speak, the
very stones would cry out against them. Speak, therefore, I
must and wz7/,,and will not spare." After visiting two crowded
societies, he said, "To-day I felt such an intense love, that I could
have almost wished myself accursed for my brethren according
to the flesh." Laboring alternately in the city and in the coun-
try, he frequently preached in Boothall to congregations of
about 5,000 "with extraordinary power." And with his heart
greatly enlarged, he exclaimed, " Oh that I had a thousand
tongues to praise my Maker. There is scarce a day passes
over my head, but God shows me that He works effectually
upon the hearts of many by my ministry." One day he
traveled through the rain to Stonehouse, and preached to about
3,000 out doors, in the rain. It rained all the time, but the
people were so deeply interested, not one left during the ser-
vice. After baptizing an old Quaker in Gloucester, he gave
them a weeping farewell sermon on Boothall to a very
thronged congregation. " But oh," he said, "what love did the
people express for me! How many came to me weeping, and
telline: me what God had done for their souls ! I dared not
108 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
expect such success among my own countrymen." " Oh; how
did they pray for my return amongst them J" *
After leaving Gloucester, upon approaching Cheltenham to
fill an appointment, he says, " When I first came to town I
found myself quite shut up. My heart and head were dead as
a stone ; but when I came to the inn, my soul began to enlarge,
and I was enabled to preach with extraordinary power, to near
2000 people. Many were converted. One was drowned in
tears, and some were so filled with the Holy Ghost, that they
were almost unable to endure it."
" Pressed in Spirit," April 21, he hastened to Oxford, and
was much shocked to hear of the back-sliding of some of his
Oxford friends. Mr. Kinchin, an humble minister of the gos-
pel, had gone so far that he had ceased to commune, and con-
cluded to resign his charge. " This gave Whitefield a great
shock." Whereupon he wrote him a most touching letter,
urging him not to give up his charge until he had consulted his
friends in London. Appealing to him in the strongest terms,
he exclaimed, " Oh ! my dear brother, I travail in pain for you.
Never was I more shocked at anything than at your proceed-
ings." " Satan has desired to sift you as wheat." But " Oh,
*During Mr. Whitefield's preaching in Gloucester, old Mr. Cole, a dissenting
minister, used to say, " These are the days of the Son of man, indeed." White-
field was taught, when young, to ridicule Mr. Cole ; and being asked one day
"what business he would be of," he said, "A minister, but he would take care and
never tell stories in the pulpit, like old Cole." Mr. Cole having heard Mr.
Whitefield tell some story in his sermon twelve years afterwards, said, " I find
that young Whitefield can tell stories as well as old Cole." He was much affected
at Mr. Whitefield's preaching, and often went about preaching after him from
place to place. But one evening, while preaching, he was struck with death,
and then asked for a chair to lean on till he finished his sermon, when he was
carried up stairs and died. Whereupon Mr. Whitefield exclaimed, " O blessed
God ! if it be Thy holy will, may my exit be like his." His prayer was heard.
See his death.
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND. IO9
my dearest brother, do nothing rashly. Consult your friends,
and do not break the heart of your most affectionate brother in
In visiting the societies here, although many of the students
honored him with their presence, yet wringing his heart with
grief at the fall of Kinchin and the unfaithfulness of others, like
the weeping prophet he exclaimed, " Oh, that my head were
waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep
day and night for the members of this University !"
HIS RETURN TO LONDON.
Leaving Oxford, he reached London, April 25, and was
received most kindly. After a very pleasant conference with
the Fetter Lane brethren, and assisting in administering the
sacrament at Islington, he expounded in the evening to a house
full of people, "with such power and demonstration of the
Spirit as he never saw before." " Floods of tears flowed from
their eyes." Preaching again the next day, in Islington church-
yard, and expounding again at night, he found the London
people much improved since he had left them ; " and I believe
they would pluck out their eyes if it were possible, to serve me."
He preached and expounded again the next day, in the
same place, "with extraordinary power/' to much larger con-
gregations, and says, " The Word of the Lord runs, and is
glorified. God strengthens me exceedingly, and I preach till I
sweat through and through."
Thus prepared by afflictions, trials and persecutions, White-
field now entered upon a train of events of most surpassing
grandeur. "All London was now ringing with the announce-
ment that he would preach next Sunday, April 29, in Moor-
fields." And moved as by a divine impulse, the people turned
out to hear him in such vast multitudes as the world never saw
I IO LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
before. " The thing being new and singular," says Gillies,
" upon coming out of the coach he found an incredible number
of people assembled." And although " many had told him
that he should never come out of that place alive," yet awed by
no threats and flaming with zeal, " he went in however, between
two friends, who, by the pressure of the crowd, were soon
separated from him entirely, and obliged to leave him to the
mercy of the rabble. But these, instead of hurting him, formed
a line for him, and carried him along to the middle of the
fields, where a table had been placed, (which was broken ' in
pieces by the crowd,) and afterwards back again to the wall
that then parted the upper and lower Moorfields, from which
he preached without molestation to an exceeding great multi-
tude in the lower fields."
Encouraged by this grand success, after "hearing Dr. Trapp
preach most virulently against him" (from Eccl. 7, 16), he
preached again at five, at Kennington Common (about two
miles from London), he says, " to a congregation of about thirty
thousand people. All stood attentive and. joined in the psalm
and Lord's Prayer so regularly, that I scarce ever preached
with more quietness in any church. The people were much
affected." " Oh, what need have all God's people to rejoice and
" For this — let men revile my name,
I'd shun no cross, I'd fear no shame,
All hail reproach, and welcome pain !
Only Thy terrors, Lord restrain."
" For several months after this," says Gillies, " Moorfields,
Kennington Common, and Blackheath were the chief scenes of
action." With such vast auditories, " it is said their singing
could be heard two miles off, and his voice nearly a mile.
Sometimes there were upwards of a hundred coaches, besides
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND. I 1 1
wagons, scaffolds and other contrivances which persons let out
for the convenience of the audience." The place where he
preached on Blackheath is still known as " Whitefield's
Going on in his glorious work, he preached again at Isling-
ton churchyard to an increased congregation, and upon reach-
ing Down-gate hill to expound, he found some 3,000 people
gathered around the house, and being unable to get in he stood
in the front window and preached to them in the street. This
convinced him more fully that God called him to the fields, for
says he, " no house or street will contain half of the people that
come to hear the Word." He preached repeatedly at Ken-
nington Common during the week, to congregations varying
from ten to twenty thousand, with a very deep effect. And
seeing them " so much affected," he exclaimed, " Glory be to
God. I begin to see an alteration in the people's behavior
Although Whitefield now met with much strong opposition,
yet, increasing in popularity and power, he went forth preach-
ing the gospel to vast and increased multitudes. On Sabbath
morning, May 6, he preached in Moorfields to a congregation
of about 20,000 much-affected hearers ; and in the evening
again at 6, at Kennington Common. And says he, " such a
sight I never saw before. I believe they were no less than
fifty thousand people, near four-score coaches, besides great
numbers of horses ; and what is more remarkable, there was
such an awful silence among them. The Word of God came
with such power, that all seemed pleasingly surprised. God
gave me great enlargement of heart. I spoke for an hour
and a half; -and when I returned home, I was filled with such
love, peace, and joy, that I cannot express it. The more
men oppose, the more will Jesus be exalted." On the 8th, he
112 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
preached again at Kennington Common, and before he started,
it rained so hard, he says, " I thought of not going ; but sev-
eral pious friends joined in hearty prayer that God would be
pleased to withhold the rain, which was done immediately.
And to my great surprise when I came to the common I
found above 20,000 people." Receiving a shower of grace,
they were much melted down, and earnestly prayed for the
With all the glory of his wonderful success, in Moorfields
and Kennington Common, Whitefield never lost sight of his
poor orphans in Georgia. And waiting upon the Georgia
Trustees the next day, they not only received him " with the
utmost civility," but granted him 500 acres of land for the
Orphan House. He preached again in the evening at Ken-
nington Common to about 26,000 people, and God so touched
their hearts that they gave with great cheerfulness and eager-
ness, over £47 for the Orphan House. " For this," he says
" God so filled me with love, humility and joy, that I could at
last only pour out my heart before Him in an awful silence."
" I was so full that I could scarcely speak."
A HEAVY COLLECTION.
Every day's Work is now surrounded with such a halo of
glory, it is very refreshing to record it. And wrought up by
the grandeur of his work, like a flaming seraph, he went on in
it, and preached again, May 13, to a vast multitude at Moor-
fields. Touched by God's grace, they gave £$2 19s. 6d., for the
poor orphans ; ^"20 of which was in half-pence. He said, " It
was more than one man could carry home." After tending
public worship twice in the church, " he preached again in the
evening," he says, " to near sixty thousand people. Many went
away because they could not hear." " It is very remarkable
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND. II3
what a deep silence is preserved while I am speaking." After
sermon "I made another collection, making in all £j2 17s. 2d.,
during the day ; and came home deeply humbled with a sense
of what God had done for my soul." After preaching " to the
politer sort," at Hamstead-heath, he gave them another
stirring sermon to a congregation of over 20,000 at Shadwell.
And witfy all this grand success, he says, " I have scarcely felt
one self-complacent thought."
Being deeply impressed by reading Whitefield's sermon on
Regeneration, Joseph Periam prayed so loud, fasted so long,
and gave so liberally, that his family thought him deranged,
and sent him to the mad-house. There he was treated as one
" Methodistically mad." " There the keepers threw him down,
thrust a key into his mouth, and drenched him with medicine."
While there he sent' for Whitefield ; who when he went to see
him, " found him in perfect health, both in body and in mind."
It was agreed, however, that if Whitefield would take Periam
to Georgia, they would release him. He was released, and
went as a school-master for the Orphan House, where he lived
a useful and exemplary life, and died in the triumphs of faith.
After preaching three or four more sermons at Moorfields
and Kennington Common, to congregations varying from
fifteen to thirty thousand, he went to Hertford, where he found
a thronged and much alarmed town. Here he expected many
scoffers, but he preached with so much tenderness and power
they were all soon awed, into silence.
Cheered by a refreshing letter from Rev. Ralph Erskine
of Scotland, Whitefield reached Northampton May 23, and
was most courteously received by Dr. Doddridge. After giving
them two powerful sermons here, he went on and preached
with unusual interest at Olney, Bedford, Hitchen and St. Al-
bans, and again on Saturday evening at Kennington Common,
114 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
and says "This has been a week of fat things." He gave
them another melting sermon at Moorfields the next Sabbath
morning, and another to a congregation of about 30,000 in the
evening at Kennington Common. The effect was so great, he
said it was enough to convince the greatest skeptic.
Although Whitefield had a heart glowing with tenderness
and love, yet, like Jesus, he sometimes warned and reproved
in the strongest terms. Constrained by a Saviour's love, when
he saw Christ's cause suffering through unsound ministers, he
would boldly " cry aloud and spare not."
Standing before a weeping congregation in the green fields
of Hackney, where he had just preached with great power on
the necessity of Regeneration and the operation of the Holy
Spirit, he said when " Great numbers were drowned in tears, I
could not help exposing the impiety of those vile teachers,
who say we are not now to receive the Holy Ghost, and count
the doctrine of the new birth enthusiasm. Out of your own
mouths will I condemn you, you wicked and blind guides.
Did you not, at the time of ordination, tell the bishop that
you were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon you
the administration of the Church ? Surely at that time, you
acted the crime of Ananias and Sapphira over again. You
lied not only unto man, but unto God."
This bold denunciation brought down upon him the wrath
of the clergy, and the controversy about the nature and neces-
sity of Regeneration, and the operation of the Spirit, waxed
very warm. But, says "The Christian Review," "It did infinite
good, 'by rebound.' The common people received and be-
lieved it to the very salvation of the church." (No. 10, 1838, p.
273.) And braving all opposition, he went on in the good
work, and relying with full confidence upon God for protection,
to their false charges he would very often make no reply, but
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND. 1 1 5
simply leave the whole matter with God, saying, " Thou shalt
answer for me, O, Lord."
Still rising in popularity and power, he entered upon the
labors of another month with renewed zeal and increased
congregations. Moved as by a divine impulse, the people now
turned out in still greater multitudes than ever. Standing upon
a broad scaffold at Mayfair, he discharged another heavy volley
of "the artillery of heaven" upon a congregation which "he
believed consisted of near eighty thousand." He said, " It was
by far the largest congregation I ever preached to." The
Word came with wonderful power, and they were wrapt in " a
deep silence during the whole discourse." "Though weak,
God enabled him to speak so loud that most all could hear ;
and so powerful that most all were made to feel. Oh, what a
glorious sight ! To see the sword of the Spirit falling and
flaming from his fiery lips, and cutting its way into the hearts
of so many at once, was truly grand and sublime. "All glory
be to God through Jesus Christ." And, "keeping up the fire,"
although very sick and weak, the next day he preached again
at Hackney for an hour and a half, and with such power, " that
the people were dissolved into tears, and contributed £70 for
Having enjoyed many precious seasons at Moorfields and
Kennington Common, on June 3 he preached them a melting
farewell sermon, with a congregation of some 60,000 drenched
in tears ; the sight was very impressive. When he came to
speak of his departure, the feeling and interest rose higher
than ever, and with thousands of ejaculations and fervent
prayers going up in his behalf, he bade them an affectionate
farewell. * With a grateful heart, he exclaimed, " Oh, what
great kindness has God shown me in this great city ! Indeed,
I have seen the kingdom of God come with power."
Il6 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
" Changing his base," he went, June 4, 1739, to Blackheath,
and was kindly received by the Bishop of London. Here he
found nearly as large a congregation as he had at Kennington
the previous Sabbath. Speaking with unusual power, he says,
" the people were so melted down, and wept so loud, that they
almost drowned my voice." Here he preached repeatedly to
congregations of about 20,000, and the interest was so great
the people "often sung and prayed all night." Sometimes
they became so happy, he said, " Surely it was heaven begun
upon earth." Detained by the embargo from sailing for
America soon as he expected, Whitefield had the pleasure of
hearing his old honored friend, John Wesley, preach to the
thronged congregations of Blackheath. For him he prayed
"The Lord give him ten thousand times more success than he
has given me." After sermon they spent the evening most
agreeably together with many friends in the prayer meeting.
After a happy reunion with his old friends at Blendon, he ex-
claimed " Oh ! how sweet is this retirement to my soul."
With the "great work" now begun and rapidly progress-
ing in England, he went on in it with renewed zeal. Although
reported "dead" on June 23, with much surprise to the people
he filled his appointment that day, and preached to over
20,000 the next day at Blackheath." Returning again to Glou-
cester, "to his great surprise on going out to preach at, Hamp-
ton Common, he found over 20,000 people assembled to hear
him." The report of his being dead increased the anxiety to
hear him. And on the 8th of July we find him back to Bris-
tol again, preaching to a congregation of 20,000 at his old
stand, Rose Green. He now had the great pleasure of
preaching to several thousand in the Kingswood school
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND. 117
house, the foundation of which he formerly laid, which hav-
ing been carried on by John Wesley, was now nearly com-
pleted. Having proved a great success, it afterwards became
" The first Methodist Seminary in the world!' In noticing the
great improvement of the people, he says, " instead of cursing
and swearing as formerly, the poor colliers now make the
woods ring with the high praises of God." The success of
their school and their future prospects " filled him with a joy
unspeakable." Hastening back to Bristol, he preached to a
large congregation the next day at Baptist Mills, and, says he,
" It rained much, but blessed be God, the people's hearts are
so much influenced by the Gospel, that they care but little
whether it rains or shines." — Let dry-weather Christians be
Leaving his congregation at Bristol in a flood of tears,
whence "they would scarcely let him go," "with his own
heart ready to burst with joy," after preaching again to about
20,000 at Hampton Common, we find him on the 17th at
Malmsbury, where he was so weak in body and deserted in
mind, that he says, " I felt myself to be what I often say we
all are by nature, half a devil and half a beast." And longing
to be more meek and lowly, he prayed " Lord, give me humility
or I die."
Going on in his good work, we next find him driven out of
a hotel in Basingstoke, under a shower of cruel mockings, bit-
ter words, and fire-rockets ; but with a Christ-like forbearance,
instead of resenting these revilings, he stopped and gave God
thanks for counting him worthy to suffer such reproaches for
His name's sake. Some threatened that " he should never go
out of Basingstoke alive," yet he went out and preached in the
field the next day with scarce any interruption. And he spoke
with such melting power against reviling, the very scoffers
Il8 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
were overawed and unable to resist the truth. He says, " Here
I got a blow."
Saturday morning, July 21, brought him back to London;
and after a joyful interview with his friends, he preached with
great power to upwards of 10,000 at Kennington Common.
" The poor souls," he says, " were ready to leap with joy at my
return, and my own heart overflowed with love towards them."
And being much refreshed since he was abused at Basingstoke,
he says, " When men cast us out, then does Jesus Christ chiefly
take us up."
Thanking God for what had been done in London during
his absence by his dear friend, Charles Wesley, he preache*d
again the next day at Moorfields, " with a deeper interest than
ever," and says, " Never were souls more melted down by
the power of God's word, and never did they give more will-
ingly to support His cause." He preached again in the even-
ing at Kennington Common to about* 30,000, and collected that
day over ^40 for Kingswood school. Here he spoke with
great power and boldness in refuting the prevalent false views
of Sanctification and Regeneration, which denied the funda-
mental doctrine of the new birth.
On the 26th he preached to over 10,000 at a Horse-Race at
Hackney-Marsh ; where the magic power of his eloquence
was seen in holding the curious crowd from the exciting scene
of a horse-race. "Very few," he said, "left the sermon to see
the race." Encouraged by this grand success, he said, "By the
help of God, I will still go on to attack the devil in his strong-
The following Sabbath he took his leave of Kennington
Common ; and with a congregation of near 30,000 bathed in
tears and patiently standing in the rain, the scene was very
affecting. And rejoicing " at the great things God had done,"
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND.
he went on with his weeping farewells, until he came to Black-
heath, when, with a congregation of near 40,000 deeply-affected
hearers, he said, "Finally, Brethren, Farewell; thousands im-
mediately burst into strong crying and tears." Yet with all
this grand success, with a deep sense of his own weakness and
imperfections, he felt himself to be " but a stripling," " a babe,"
and " a novice," just "beginning to be a Christian;" and expect-
ing soon to die at the stake, he says, " I care not what I suffer,
so that souls are brought to Christ."
HIS SECOND VOYAGE AND VISIT TO AMERICA.
sROWNED with a glorious success in Great
Britain, with over 1,000 pounds sterling col-
lected for the Orphan House, the great Evang-
elist sailed on board the Elizabeth, from
Gravesend, for Philadelphia, August 14, 1739.
Accompanied with his little family of eight
men, one boy, two girls, and Mr. Seward, with
his sublime faith, he said, " I doubt not but
we shall be as safe as was Noah in the Ark." " Every place
is alike to those who have the presence of God with them."
Before sailing, he went on board the ship and sanctified it with
the Word of God and prayer.
Shut out from his wide range of field-preaching, and con-
fined to the narrow limits of ship-board, he now turned in and
gave special attention to self-examination. In asking pardon
for the defects of his own public ministry, and in praying for
strength for his future work, he says, " My soul was frequently
dissolved into tears — a sense of my actual sins humbled me ex-
ceedingly." "And then the freeness and richness of God's
everlasting love broke in with such light and power upon my
soul, that I was awed into silence, and, for a while, could not
speak." He said, "My heart is like Ezekiel's temple, the
farther I search into it, the greater abominations I discover."
He felt himself to be "less than the least of all saints," and so
humbled that he called himself " a dead dog." On anothei
HIS SECOND VOYAGE AND VISIT TO AMERICA. 121
occasion, he got so deep into the depravity of his own depraved
heart, that he says, " I see nothing but hell in my soul." In
reading the history of the Martyrs, he says, " They make me
blush to think how little I suffer for Christ's sake, and make me