HIS THIRD VISIT TO AMERICA. 245
In the summer of 1743, nearly three years after the revival
began, at a convention held in Boston, 135 ministers of Boston
and New England bore their united testimony to the "late
happy revival of religion, through a remarkable Divine influ-
ence, in many parts of this land.
This was signed by Dr.
Coleman and nearly all of the leading ministers of Boston.
While in Boston, "a man of good parts and ready wit"
came to hear Whitefield, to furnish himself with matter for
preaching ludicrous temperance discourses at a hotel. While
listening for this sinful purpose, " God was pleased to prick him
to the heart." " Full of horror," he confessed his crimes and
longed to ask Whitefield's pardon, but was afraid to do it. But
stung with guilt and shame, he went to him and cried with a
low, plaintive voice : " Sir, can you forgive me ? " " Yes, sir,"
he said, "very readily." "Indeed, sir," he replied, "you can-
not when I tell you all." Bidding him to sit down, Whitefield
preached the Gospel to him.
About the 1st of August, 1746, Whitefield's friend, Col.
Pepperill, was appointed to command an expedition to Cape
Breton. After consulting Whitefield, he accepted the appoint-
ment, and then came the cry, " To arms ! to arms ! " His friend
Sherburne, being appointed commissary, he urgently requested
Mr. Whitefield to give him a motto for their flag. After repeated
requests, he gave him
"Nil desperandttm Christo duce "- —
"If Christ be captain, no fear of defeat." Under which great
numbers enlisted. Before their embarkation, Mr. Whitefield
gave them an appropriate sermon. In about six weeks they
took Louisburgh, and returned laden with the spoils of victory.
"Having taken a weeping leave of dear Boston," with
renewed health, Mr. Whitefield now set his face southward, and
hurrying on to see his poor orphans, he gives us but few letters.
246 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
Passing through Yarmouth, Connecticut, Plymouth and Rhode
Island, he generally preached twice a day, to thousands, with
great power, until he reached New York. Here he preached
as usual, and " found that the seed sown had sprung up abund-
antly." On his way to Philadelphia, he had the pleasure of
preaching, through an interpreter, to some converted Indians,
and of seeing about fifty young ones in school, studying the
Assembly's catechism. A revival had been going on through
the labors of Mr. Brainard. The church at Philadelphia that
grew out of his labors there, had now become so strong that
they offered Mr. Whitefield ^800 a year to become their pas-
tor for half his time, giving him six months a year for travel-
ing. But declining the call, he says, " The Lord Jesus keeps
me from catching at the golden bait."
READING HIS SERMON "KINDLED A FIRE."
On reaching Hanover, Va., Mr. Whitefield found "a fire
kindled" and " a sweet shaking among the dry bones " by read-
ing his sermons. When Whitefield preached at Glasgow a
number of his extempore sermons were taken down in short-
hand and published almost as fast as he preached them. A
volume of them was taken to Virginia, and fell into the hands
of Samuel Morris, who read them with deep interest in 1743.
" He then read them to others. They were awakened and con-
vinced. Other 'laborers were sent for, and many, both whites
and blacks, were converted to God." They met every Sabbath
and on week days, in his house, till it became too small to hold
the people ; then they built a meeting-house " merely for read-
ing!' Accustomed to the Liturgy, he says, "none of us durst
attempt extempore prayer." The interest spread, and Mr. Mor-
rison was invited to go abroad and read Whitefield's stirring
sermons. " By their plainness and fervor they produced a pow-
HIS THIRD VISIT TO AMERICA. 247
erful effect." " The feelings of many," says Dr. Belcher, "were
powerfully excited, and they could not forbear bitter and violent
weeping. Numbers were pricked to the heart, and ' What shall
we do ? ' was the general cry. The Lord spoke as on Mount
Sinai, with a voice of thunder, and sinners, like the mountain
itself, trembled." Thus this good work went on until Provi-
dence sent them ministers. Mr. Morrison was tried for letting
Mr. Roan, Presbyterian, preach in his house. Afterwards Rev.
Messrs. Tennent, Blair, Robinson and President Davies came
and preached. Then Whitefield came and preached four or
five days, which greatly revived them. This was the origin of
Presbyterianism in Virginia, and of the present Presbyterian
church of Hanover, and three other churches in that vicinity.
" Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth." "Morris'
reading-house " is still known in the neighborhood. Thus we
see the wonderful effect of Whitefield's sermons, even when
HIS TOUR NORTH.
On January 23, 1747, we find him back to Charleston
again. Having established a Latin school in connection with
Bethesda, and received a ^300 contribution from his Charles-
ton friends, with which he bought a good well-improved plan-
tation of 640 acres in South Carolina to support Bethesda, he
said, March 15," That it was never in better order than now.
The blessed Spirit has been striving with several of the chil-
dren, and I hope ere long to see some ministers go forth from
that despised place called Georgia." After a pleasant journey
of about five weeks from Charleston, we find him at Bohemia,
Maryland. Here he says, " I purpose, God willing, to take a
three-weeks' circuit in hunting after Maryland sinners." "Jesus
hath indeed done wonders for us. As we came along, the
wilderness seemed to blossom like the rose." After making a
248 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
short visit to Dover, Pa., he returned much rejoiced to find
that " Maryland is yielding converts to the blessed Jesus. The
harvest is promising." Just before he left Maryland, he says,
"I have now been on the stretch, preaching continually for
almost three weeks." " My body is often extremely weak,
'but the joy of the Lord is my strength,' and through Christ
strengthening me, I intend going on till I drop."
About the first of June he went to Philadelphia, where he
preached with his usual success and power. "With great
regret," he says, " I have omitted preaching one night to oblige
my friends, that they may not charge me with murdering myself
— but I hope yet to die in the pulpit, or soon after I come out of
it. Dying is exceeding pleasant to me." He was so very anx-
ious to preach, that while at Philadelphia he was so weak he-
could not, he said, "'Tis hard to be silent — but I must be tried
every way." Hoping to regain his health he now went further
north. He reached New York June 28th, "with a soul longing
to take its flight to Jesus."
Here he says, "The people flock rather more than ever,
and the Lord vouchsafes us solemn meetings." Having been
burdened'so long with his Orphan House affairs, he now hoped,
through the products of his new plantation and donations, to
be relieved. Although at one time he had almost concluded
never to return to England, he now determines to go back next
spring. After preaching twice with great power, to unusually
large congregations in New York, he hurried off to Boston,
where he was received with great warmth. "Again," he says,
"we have seen great things in New England. Congregations
were rather larger than ever, and opposers' mouths were
stopped. Arrows of conviction flew thick and stuck fast.
Weak as I was and have been, I was enabled to travel 1100
miles and preach daily." And with his obligations to his
HIS THIRD VISIT TO AMERICA. 249
Saviour increased, and his attachment to New England revived
by his late visit, he says, "If I forget her, let my right hand
forget her cunning."
On returning to New York, with his towering faith increased,
and his strength and health improved, he says, in a letter to
Gilbert Tennent, " God gives me grace to spend it to the utmost
in the Redeemer's service. I am determined in His strength
to die fighting, though it be on my stumps ."
" I think the foundation of the Moravians is too narrow for
their superstructure. The Lord bless what is right, and rectify
what is wrong in them, in us, and in all. Even so, Lord Jesus.
After his long journey to the north, he now returns south
and makes ready to go back to England. Mrs. Whitefield
had gone on before him. At Philadelphia, September 11,
1747, the news of the death of his good friend, Dr. Coleman,
brought him to his knees. Renewing his strength, he says,
" My heart is yet springing for God, and / am determined to
die fighting. Jesus is my rock, my stay, my God, and my all."
And in finishing his paternal letter to his dear Bro. H., he says,
" My heart is almost too full to subscribe myself, Ever Yours."
With his heart enlarged while in New England and at New
York, he writes from Philadelphia, Sept. I ith, to his old friend
John Wesley, and says, with his characteristic unselfishness,
"I rejoice as much in your success as in my own. O for
heaven! where we shall mistake, judge, and grieve one another
no more." In a letter of the same date, he says to Charles
Wesley, " I love you most dearly," praying for his success.
Preaching as he went, he now winds his way to the South.
Having preached through seven counties in Maryland, he
reached Annapolis, November 8, "and found the harvest
250 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
On October 6, 1747, he passed over into the " ungos-
pelized wilds" of North Carolina, and set out "hunting after
sinners in North Carolina woods." "It is pleasant work,"
he says, " though my body is weak and crazy. After a
short fermentation in the grave, it will be fashioned like unto
Christ's glorious body. The thought of this rejoices my
soul, and makes me long to leap my seventy years." He
wrote several letters at Bathtown, North Carolina, and long-
ing to leave a bright testimony for the Lord, he said, "I
would fain die blazing, not with human glory, but with love
to Jesus. O, that every minute may be employed for God! I
would not but be thus employed for millions of worlds."
With his affections still lingering with New England, while
here in these lonely wilds of North Carolina, he says, " God
only knows what a cross it was to me to leave dear New
England so soon. I hope death will not be so bitter to me, as
was parting from my friends. Glad shall I be to be prayed
thither again, before I see my native land. But future things
belong to God. I would be just where He would have me,
though it be in the uttermost parts of the earth. I would
willingly put a blank into his hands to be filled up just as He
pleases." Encouraged with his labors in North Carolina, he
says, "Jesus makes the barren wilderness to smile."
Hastening on to see his poor orphans, he reached Charleston
October 25, and started for Georgia the next day.
Here the curtain drops, and makes a wide gap in his life.
From October 25, 1747, to May 27, 1748, he fails to give us
a single letter.
WHITEFIELD IN BERMUDAS.
EIGHED down with the cares of the Orphan
House, "and being much troubled with
stitches in my side," he says, "I was advised
to go to Bermudas for my health." He em-
barked, therefore, and landed there March
15, 1748. He was received with great kind-
ness and treated very respectably by all.
" Rev. Mr. Halliday," he says, " received me
in a most affectionate manner, and begged I would make his
house my home."
Delighted with the situation of the island and the sim-
plicity of the people, he at once commenced preaching and
going about doing good. By invitation he dined with the
governor, who treated him very courteously. On the first
Sabbath he read prayers and preached twice in different
churches, to large attentive congregations. Some wept. Sev-
eral invited him to their homes. Praying that they might
receive Jesus in their hearts, he closed the day with a double
Encourged with the results of the second Sabbath, he
begins the record of it with a shout of "Glory be to God!" He
preached twice in Mr. Paul's (Presbyterian) church with great
power, to a congregation of about 400. Many colored people
attended. Cheered by the beautiful scenery, delightful climate
of the island, and the hospitality of the people, and their atten-
252 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
tion to the gospel, he exclaimed, "O how does the Lord make
way for a poor stranger in a strange land." He preached again
with a still deeper effect the next day. On March 3 1 , he preached
on an adjoining island, called Ireland, and was surprised to see
so many from other quarters. Carried about upon the affections
of the people, he returned and preached twice the next Sabbath
in Mr. Paul's church with increased power. When dining one
day with the governor, the president, the judge, the collector, and
Dr. F., Mr. Whitefield says, " all wondered at my speaking so
freely and fluently without notes. The governor asked me if I
used minutes. I answered ' No.' He said it was a great gift."
The governor asked some questions about the meaning of the
words " Hades," "free will," "Adam's fall," " predestination," etc.
all of which Whitefield answered so pertinently that all were
so highly pleased at the close, that they all shook hands with
him and invited him to their respective homes.
On April 7, he preached in a private house on David's Island
to about 80 persons, and the following Sabbath with increased
power to enlarged congregations in Mr. Paul's church. He
now preached nearly every week-day in private houses ; and
often three times on the Sabbath with greatly increased interest.
At the church he says, " I began to preach, and the people to
hear and be affected as in the days of old at home. Praise the
Lord, O my soul." Preaching out-doors, in private houses and
funerals, the interest still increased more and more. On May
1st he says, "I preached in the fields, to a large company of
negroes and a number of whites, who came to hear what I had
to say to them. There were near 1500 in all. They seemed
very sensible and attentive." Seeing the difficulty of preaching
to suit them, he says, " If ever a minister, in preaching, need
the wisdom of the serpent to be joined to the harmlessness of
the dove, it must be when discoursing to negroes. Vouchsafe
WHITEFIELD IN BERMUDAS. 253
me this favor, God, for Thy dear Son's sake!" Some of
them did not like his plain, searching preaching — others were
very thankful, and came home to their masters' houses, saying
that they would "strive to sin no more!' " Poor hearts! These
different accounts affected me." He rejoiced to find the colored
people so tender and so knowing.
The following Sabbath he preached with great power to a
melting and rather larger congregation than ever ; and in the
evening to the colored people. " To see so many black faces
was affecting." They listened very attentively. Some wept.
The next Sabbath, May 15th, he preached his farewell sermon
at Mr. Paul's church, to a house crowded to overflowing.
Hundreds stood outside. Attention sat on every face ; and
when I came to take my leave, oh, what a sweet, unaffected
weeping. I believe there were few dry eyes. My own heart was
affected, and though I have parted from friends so often, yet I find
every fresh parting almost unmans me, and very much affects
my heart. Surely, a great work is begun in some souls at Ber-
mudas. Carry it on, O Lord, and if it be Thy will, send me to
this dear people again."
Detained over another Sabbath, he gave them another
weeping farewell. " Go where I would," he says, " upon the
least notice, houses are crowded, and the poor souls that fol-
low are soon drenched in tears." Though ready to die with
heat and straining, yet he was enabled to preach louder than
usual. " After service, when I lay down on the bed to rest,
many came weeping bitterly around me, and took their last
farewell. Though my body was very weak, yet my soul was
full of comfort. Abundance of prayers and, blessings were put
up for my safe passage to England, and speedy return to Ber-
mudas again. God willing, I intend visiting these dear people
Hi'ehlv appreciating 1 hi? services, they loaded him down with
254 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
provisions, and raised by private voluntary contributions over
one hundred pounds sterling. This, besides aiding him in
paying the Orphan House debt, enabled him to make a hand-
some remittance to his dear wife, whom he had left at Bethesda
Urged to return to England, and dreading, in his feeble
health, to go back to America at that season of the year, early
in June, 1748, he sailed for England on board of " The Betsy."
After a pleasant voyage of some thirty days, he reached Eng-
land July 5, 1748. Chased and fired at three times one day by
a large French vessel, once he says, " We gave up all for lost.
But the vessel turning her course, the captain announced, ' the
danger is over.' " The captain gave Whitefield a free passage,
but he was not allowed to preach on board. This, he says,
" may spare my lungs, but it grieves my heart." He read
prayers daily. His health was somewhat improved.*
* During this voyage, he completed his abridgment of Law's Serious Call, and
finished revising his journals. And upon finding himself wrong in many things
in revising them, with his characteristic honesty, simplicity and open-heartedness, he
makes the following confession : " Alas ! alas ! in how many things have I judged
and acted wrong. I have been too rash and hasty in giving characters both to
places and persons. Being fond of Scripture language, I have used a style too
apostolical, and at the same time, I have been too bitter in my zeal. Wild-fire
has been mixed with it, and I find that I frequently wrote and spoke in my own
spirit, when I thought I was writing and speaking by the assistance of the Spirit
of God. I have likewise too much made inward impressions my rule of acting,
and too soon and too explicitly published what had better been kept in longer, or
told after my death. By these things, I have hurt the blessed cause I would de-
fend, and also stirred up needless opposition. This has humbled me much, and
made me think of a saying of Mr. Henry's, ' Joseph had more honesty than he
had policy, or he never would have told his dreams.' At the same time, I cannot
but praise God, who filled me with so much holy fire, and carried me, a poor, weak
youth, through such a torrent both of popularity and contempt, and set so many
seals to my unworthy ministrations. I bless Him for ripening my judgment a lit-
tle more, for giving me to see and confess, and I hope, in some degree, to correct
and amend, some of my mistakes."
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.
AVING endured "torrents of popularity," and
torrents of trials in America, after an absence of
near four years, he reached London July 7,
1748, "and was received by thousands with a
joy that almost overcame both them and me."
Still possessing an unquenchable desire to
win souls, though feeble in health, he resumed
preaching at once, fully determined to work on
" till he could work no more." Meeting in the large church
of St. Bartholomew, multitudes flocked to hear him. He had
a thousand communicants the first Sabbath. But as Antino-
mianism had " made sad havoc" in the religious societies, " the
congregation at the Tabernacle was sadly scattered." But
upon going out to Moorfields, he found the prospects as en-
couraging as ever. The scattered congregations were soon
gathered again, glowing with their former zeal and power.
Oppressed with the Orphan House debt, he now sold all his
household furniture to pay it.
WHITEFIELD AND THE NOBILITY.
'Tis said, " every man has his price." And Whitefield now
began to rise in the estimation of the nobility. Hitherto he
had preached mainly in the lanes, streets, fields and woods ; but
now he is cordially received into the drawing-rooms of the
rich and noble. Even before his arrival, Lady Huntingdon
256 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
had engaged Howell Harris to bring him to her house at
Chelsea " soon as he came ashore." He went and preached
twice in her drawing-room. The effect was so deep that it
induced her to invite some of the nobility to hear him. In a
few days the Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Bolingbroke, and a
whole circle of them attended ; and having heard him once, they
desired to hear him again. " All behaved quite well," he says,
" and were in some degree affected. Lord Chesterfield thanked
me, and said, ' Sir, I will not tell you what I shall tell others,
how I approve of you.' He conversed with me freely after-
wards." Lord Bolingbroke was much moved, and desired that
I should come and see him the next morning. I did ; and his
lordship behaved with great candor and frankness, To extend
Mr. Whitefield's influence among the nobility, Lady Hunting-
don now moved to London, and arranged to have him preach
twice a week regularly at her house. The interest increased.
And after preaching several weeks to many of the most dis-
tinguished lords and ladies of the kingdom, such as the
Duchess of Argyle, Lady Betty Campbell, etc., he says,
"Blessed be God, the prospect is promising. Last Sunday I
preached to a most brilliant assembly. They expressed great
approbation, and some, I think, begin to feel." The interest
was so great that the ladies of rank organized themselves into
a regular prayer-meeting. And says Lady Huntingdon, " re-
ligion was never so much the subject of conversation as now."
WHITEFIELD AND "THE DEVIL'S CASTAWAY."
Eager to win souls, Whitefield sometimes went great lengths
in persuading sinners to come to Jesus. One evening about
this time, he said in his sermon, that " Christ is so ready to re-
ceive sinners, that He is willing to receive even the devil's cast-
aways!" One of Lady Huntingdon's friends heard him say
FURTHER LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. 257
this, and came complaining to her about it, saying, " Did you
ever hear of such a thing since -you were born?" Acknowl-
edging its singularity, Lady Huntingdon called Mr. Whitefield
into the drawing-room to answer the heavy charge brought
against him. He at once plead guilty of the charge. " Whether
I did what was right, you can judge from the following circum-
stance : Did your ladyship notice, about half an hour ago, a
very modest, single rap at the door ? It was given by a poor,
miserable-looking, aged female, who requested to speak with
me. I desired her to be shown into the parlor, when she ac-
costed me in the following manner : ' I believe, sir, you preached
last evening in such a chapel.' 'Yes, I did.' 'Ah, sir! I was
accidentally passing the door of that chapel, and hearing the
voice of some one preaching, I did what I have never been in
the habit of doing — I went in : and one of the first things I
heard you say was, that Jesus Christ was so willing to receive
sinners, that He did not object to receiving the devil's castaways.
Do you think, sir, that Jesus Christ would receive me ?' " Mr.
Whitefield assured her there was not a doubt of it, if she was
but willing to go to Him. The event resulted in "the sound
conversion of the poor old woman." She felt a bright evidence
that though her sins had been as scarlet, they were now made
as white as snow.
Lords Chesterfield, Bolingbroke and Horace Walpole, heard
Whitefield with great delight. Chesterfield furnished him a
chapel. Hume listened to him with great admiration, and said,
" He is the most ingenious preacher I ever heard : it is worth
going twenty miles to hear him." Of the latter part of the
sermon he said, "After a solemn pause, Mr. Whitefield thus
addressed his numerous auditory: 'The attendant angel is just
about to leave the threshold and ascend to heaven. Shall he
ascend and not bear with him the news of one sinner amone
258 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
all this multitude, reclaimed from the error of his ways?' To
give greater effect to his exclamation, he stamped with his foot,
lifted up his hands and eyes to heaven, and with gushing tears,
cried aloud, ' Stop, Gabriel ! Stop Gabriel ! Stop, ere you enter
the sacred portals, and yet carry with you the news of one sin-
ner converted to God ! ' He then, in the most simple but ener-
getic language, described what he called a Saviour's dying love
to sinful men, so that almost all the assembly melted into tears. '
This address was accompanied with such animated, yet natural,
action, that it surpassed anything I ever saw or heard from any
other preacher." Whitefield had good success among the