summer he sometimes preached at Bath and Bristol, " with
good seasons" and large congregations, at six o'clock in the
morning. He was now assisted in London by Mr. Occum, the
attractive Indian preacher, who had come over from New Eng-
land to raise funds for Drl Wheelock's Indian College. Mr.
Whitefield took a very deep interest in this good work,
and nearly ;Â£ 1,000 were soon raised for it. Lord Dart-
mouth, and even the king himself, contributed to it. " O,
what an honor," says Whitefield, " to be permitted to do or
suffer anything for Jesus of Nazareth."
With the interest still increasing, he says, September 25,
" Many here seem to be on the wing for God. Had I wings I
would gladly fly from pole to pole ; but they are clipped by
thirty years' feeble labors."
On one occasion, when urging sinners to Christ and speak-
ing of their irretrievable ruin, he exclaimed, " O, my God,
when I think of this, I could go to the very gates of hell and
preach." Although " almost breathless" sometimes after
preaching in London during the summer, we find him preach-
ing to very large and brilliant assemblies of the rich and noble
at Bath in the fall. Here he says, "the congregations have
been very large and very solemn. O, what Bethels hath Jesus
given us !"
His desire to go about doing good was now so strong that
he prayed, " O that God would make my way into every town
in England !" Although this prayer was not answered, yet the
spirit that indited it enabled Whitefield to stir the souls of
stronger men. Upon hearing that four Methodist parsons were
visiting one of his friends, he exclaimed : " Four Methodist
parsons ! it is enough to set a whole kingdom on fire when
316 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
Jesus says, Loose them and let them go !" This message,
backed up by the following appeal, was deeply felt : " Fie upon
me, Fie upon me," says he, " fifty-two years old last Saturday,
and yet, O loving Jesus, how little, yea, how very little, have I
done and suffered for Thee ! Indeed and indeed, my dear and
honored friends, I am ashamed of myself; I blush and am
confounded. To-morrow, God willing, I intend to take the
sacrament upon it, that I will begin to be a Christian.
Though I long to go to heaven to see my glorious Master,
what a poor figure would I make among the saints, confessors
and martyrs that surround His throne, without some deeper
signatures of His divine impress, and without more scars of
Christian honor." " It was appeals like this," says Dr. Philip,
"that made the Romaines and Venns bestir themselves, and
that gathered around Whitefield the Shirleys and DeCourcys
of the time." And in speaking of the deep piety of a Christian
lady who had just come to London, he exclaims, " O for this
single eye, this disinterested spirit, this flaming zeal, this dar-
ing to be singularly good, this holy laudable ambition to lead
the van; O, it is heaven upon earth!" To increase the flame,
in January, 1767, he wrote a commendatory preface to a new
edition of Bunyan's Works.
Leaving London in the spring, with " a large plan of opera-
tions," he was called, March 20, to preach the opening sermon
at the dedication of Lady Huntingdon's new chapel at
Brighton. He preached from 2 Peter iil 18, to a vast, deeply
impressed congregation. Thence he went and enjoyed " a
sweet gospel excursion" at Cambridge and Norwich, where he
preached with unusual power. Fearing the return of his
inward fever, Lady Huntingdon â€” his best friend â€” now con-
veyed him in an easy coach to Rodborough, where " he was
regaled with the company of some simple-hearted old Meth-
HIS LAST LABORS IN ENGLAND. 317
odists of near thirty years' standing." Inspired with fresh
courage, he now mounted his " field throne" again, and " with
thousands and thousands attending, they had very precious
seasons at Rodborough." " Lady Huntingdon was wonder-
fully delighted." While laboring here under disease, he
exclaimed, " O when shall I be unclothed ! When, O, my
God, shall I be clothed upon ! But I am a coward, and want
to be housed before the storm."
After " a most blessed season" at Gloucester, late in May,
he went to Haverford-west, in Wales â€” where " thousands and
thousands attended to hear him from his field throne by eight
in the morning. Life and light seemed to fly all around."
He returned, " quite worn down," and exclaimed, " What a
scene last Sunday ! What a cry for more of the bread of life!"
Still longing " to be a flame of fire," he returned to London
in July,, and resumed "his Thursday morning 6 o'clock Taber-
nacle Lectures," with crowded houses. With "a Methodist
field street-preaching plan before him," he now made another
excursion to Yorkshire, preaching as he went at Northampton
and Sheffield. At Newcastle, September 20, he said, "I am
well. My delightful itinerancy is good for both my body and
soul. My body feels much fatigued in traveling, but comforts
in the soul over-balance." And after preaching at several
places in the street with "golden seasons," he says, "Every
stage more and more convinces me that old Methodism is the
thing after all. Hallelujah ! Come, Lord, come !" " Good
old work, good old seasons !" Greatly blessed is his labors,
and improved in health by street-preaching, in October he re-
turned to winter-quarters in London, praising the Lord. Hav-
ing no riding to do now, he was tempted "to nestle," but re-
calling his old motto, "No nestling this side heaven," he pressed
on, went out and preached at the Tabernacle to " the society
318 LIFE OF WHITEF1ELD.
for promoting religious knowledge among the poor." His
text was, "Thy kingdom come," and with an immense congre-
gation, he preached with unusually great fervor and power.
The collection reached over $500, and was over four times as
much as usual, besides eighty new annual subscribers. Nearly
all the dissenting ministers of London attended and dined
with him. With the ties of Christian fellowship strengthened,
all seemed well pleased.
His project for a college at Bethesda was now coming to
an issue, and he awaited the result with deep interest. He had
petitioned the king, setting forth to his majesty the great de-
mand for such an institution in the Southern Provinces, that
he had already expended about $60,000 on Bethesda, and now
prayed for a charter similar to that of the College of New Jer-
sey. This petition was Â«ent through Lord Dartmouth to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent it to the premier, who
decided " that the head of the college should be an Episco-
palian, and its prayers the established forms." But these
narrow restrictions did not suit the broad, large-hearted views
of Whitefield. And as nearly all the money raised for Beth-
esda had come from Protestant dissenters, and as he had prom-
ised that "the intended college should be founded on a broad
bottom," he could not conscientiously agree to make it exclu-
sively Episcopalian. He said, " I would sooner cut my head
off than betray my trust, by confining it to a narrow bottom."
He concluded, therefore, to make " a public academy." This
affair and the reforming of "a little college of outcasts" now
gave him so much trouble that he said, "none but God knows
what a concern lies upon me."
At Bath early in December, 1767, Whitefield preached at
the funeral of the Earl of B n, with great solemnity. His
subject was "The blessed dead." With earls, countesses,
HIS LAST LABORS IN ENGLAND. 319
lords and ladies, present as "noble mourners," together
with hundreds of the nobility and gentry, "all was hushed and
solemn." "Attention sat on every face," reverence and awe
filled every heart. For five days, they had two sermons a day
with the deepest interest. With many anguished hearts, weep-
ing eyes and hopeful conversions, he says, "I never expect to
see such a like scene again this side eternity." Passing over
to Bristol, the congregations were so large, and the effect so
deep, " thousands went away for want of room."
1768. He entered upon the year 1768 lamenting his bar-
renness, saying, " Did you ever hear of such a fifty-three year
old barren fig-tree ? So much digging, so much dunging, and
yet so little fruit ? God be merciful to me a sinner ! A sin-
ner â€” a sinner â€” a sinner." Yet with shouts of " Hallelujahs,
and praying, ' come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,' " to stir up
some halting, faint-hearted brethren, he said, " Go forward, go
forward, and never mind the envious cry of elder brethren."
WHITEFIELD DEFENDS PERSECUTED STUDENTS.
On March 12, 1768, six pious students of Edmund Hall,
Oxford University, were expelled from that noted institution
" for holding , Methodistical tenets," " whose only crimes,"
says Tyerman, " were that some of them had been ignobly
bred, and all had sung and prayed and read the scriptures in
private houses." The Rev. Dr. Dixon, principal of the hall,
defended their orthodoxy, " spoke in the highest terms of their
piety and exemplary lives," but the Rev. Dr. Durell, the Vice
Chancellor of the University, heeded him not, and pronounced
the unmerciful sentence of expulsion. Filled with indignation
at this tyrannical and execrable act, Whitefield, with his tender
compassion, rushed to their defence, and wrote a long letter,
expostulating with the chancellor, telling him how " God hath
320 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty."
Aroused by this " Oxford bull," five months after this expul-
sion Lady Huntingdon opened a college at Trevecca, in
Wales, to train young men for the ministry. Whitefield
preached the opening sermon August 24, and Mr. Fletcher was
In June he went to Scotland for the fifteenth and last time,
and found a stirring among his old friends and spiritual chil-
dren in Edinburgh, seeking their first love. With congrega-
tions as large, attentive and as affectionate as ever, he says, " I
am here only in danger of being hugged to death. Friends of
all rank seem heartier and more friendly than ever. All is of
grace." This shows how well Mr. Whitefield wore among his
friends. Though " worn down by preaching abroad and talk-
ing at home," he says, " everything here goes on better and
better." And with occasional "Hallelujahs" bursting from his
pious soul, he exclaimed, "O, to die in the field !"
his wife's death.
Still striving " to stir and fly as formerly," late in July he
took his final melting leave of Scotland and returned to Lon-
don. And now, "while engaged in maturing Trevecca College,
and opening chapels for Lady Huntingdon," his wife suddenly
took an inflammatory fever, and died August 9, 1768. Mr.
Whitefield preached her funeral sermon on the 14th, from
Romans viii. 20. Touching her death, he said, on the 16th,
"The late very unexpected breach is a fresh proof that the
night cometh when no man can work." Enjoying the sancti-
fication of his loss, he exclaimed, " Sweet bereavements, when
God fills up the chasm ! Through mercy I find it so." Miss-
ing her much, he said, six months after, "I feel the loss of my
right hand daily." He erected a neat marble monument to her
HIS LAST LABORS IN ENGLAND. 321
memory in Tottenham Court Chapel. He now labored so hard
in opening colleges and dedicating churches for Lady Hunting-
don, that he not only "burst a vein," but was thrown into such
a severe flux that he was compelled to keep silent several days.
Although Whitefield's whole Christian life was a continual
Christ-like sacrifice, yet as he approached his latter end, his zeal
seemed to increase. And while, through excessive labor and
pain, his body had been brought very low towards the close of
the year, so that he could not preach, yet with his enraptured
soul exulting in the expectation of a speedy departure, he en-
tered upon the new year, 1769, with repeated hallelujahs, and
praying "God be merciful to me a sinner." By the following
spring his health was so much improved he was able to preach
three or four times a week. Rejoiced at seeing a number of
the nobility unite with Lady Huntingdon's society, he says,
"Some more coronets, I hear, are likely to be laid at the
Redeemer's feet. They glitter gloriously when set in and sur-
rounded with a crown of thorns."
After enjoying "delightful passover feasts" at London, in
April he made an excursion to Bath and Bristol, with "good,
precious seasons everywhere." On his return he preached at
Bradford, Trome, Chippenham, Rodborough, Castlecourt and
Dursley, "with blessed results." At Trome he says, "we had
a blessed day in the fields : thousands attended, and all was
more than solemn." At Rodborough they had a real " Pente-
cost." " Never was that place so endeared to me as at this visit."
Encouraged with many hopeful conversions during this fruitful
campaign, in May he returned to London with a heart gushing
with gratitude and joy.
On July 23, 1769, he dedicated another new chapel for Lady
Huntingdon at Tunbridge Wells, a popular watering place
322 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
about twenty miles from London. Here he preached one of
his most eloquent sermons, from Gen. xxviii. 17.
Rejoicing in the prosperity of Bethesda, he says, "a lasting,
ample foundation is now laid there for the future support and
education of both rich and poor." And being very anxious to
see after his poor orphans and his school there, he now began
to prepare for another voyage across the Atlantic. Filled, with
joy in view of his speedily entering "an eternal harbor," he
said, "Glory be to God, all sublunary coasting will soon be
HIS FAREWELL TO ENGLAND.
As the solemnities of parting drew near, he said, " Talk not
of taking a personal leave. You know my make. Paid could
stand a whipping, but not a weeping farewell." So it was with
Whitefield. His affection for his London churches was so
strong that when he went out to preach his farewell sermon,
he said, "It seemed like going out to be executed. I would
rather, was it the will of God, it should be so, than to feel what
I do in parting from you ; then death would put an end to all :
but I am to be executed again and again, and nothing will sup-
port me under the torture, but the consideration of God's
blessing me to some poor souls." After "this most awful part-
ing season," with his melting farewell sermon at both churches,
from Genesis xxviii. 12-15, ne reached Gravesend, September
2, 1769, accompanied with a host of friends "as dear to him as
his own soul." The next day, his last day in England, he
preached three times; once in "the Methodist tabernacle," and
twice in Gravesend Market-house, and says, "Our parting
solemnities have been exceedingly awful, and I thank God for
giving me the honor of taking my leave on Sunday afternoon
at Gravesend Market Place. O for this rambling way of preach-
HIS LAST LABORS IN ENGLAND. 323
ing till I die." Exclaiming, "O England! England!" and
praying, " God preserve thee," he now got aboard the " Friend-
ship," Capt. Ball, bound for Charleston, South Carolina. The
next day, September 4th, he says, " I had my dear Christian
friends on board to breakfast with me. The conversation was
sweet, but the parting bitter. O these partings! Without
divine support they would be intolerable. What mean you,
said the apostle, to weep and break my heart? However,
through infinite mercy, I was helped to bear up ; and after their
departure, the divine presence made up the loss of all." His
friends, Messrs. C. Winter and Smith, sailed with him. He
was now in such good health and spirits, that although this
was his thirteenth and last voyage across the Atlantic, he said,
September 6th, " Hitherto it seems like the first. I seem to be
now as I was thirty years ago." He was detained in the
Downs by contrary winds nearly a month, and preached as
opportunity favored. His last sermon was on the 15 th of Sep-
tember, to a deeply affected audience at Ramsgate. The same
day he received a surreptitious copy of his Tabernacle farewell
sermon taken down in short-hand and published very inaccu-
rately. It made him speak nonsense. Yet with his heroic
devotion, he said, "If one sentence is blessed to the conviction
of a single individual, I care not what becomes of my charac-
ter." Although they were tossed about so long in the Downs,
yet with a heart gushing with "Ebenezers and hallelujahs," he
says, "All is well. I am comforted on every side." At last a
favorable gale rises, and away they go, and with a long, linger-
ing gaze, methinks I hear him say, "Farewell, farewell
England ! May God bless thee."
HIS LAST LABORS IN AMERICA.
FTER a long perilous voyage of over two
months, he reached Charleston, November 30,
1769, and says "Our reception was heartier
than ever. Friends received me most cordi-
ally. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and for-
get not all His mercies. Oh ! to begin to be
a Christian and a minister of Jesus." With
his health renewed, he preached in Charleston
the same day he arrived, and daily for ten successive days,
with great success. Upon hearing that "all was in great for-
wardness at Bethesda," he exclaimed, " God be praised, heaven
is in sight!' After visiting his old friend Mr. Habersham, at
Savannah, he reached Bethesda, January 11, 1770, and says,
"Every thing here exceeds my most sanguine expectation.
The increase of this colony is almost incredible." "I am
almost tempted to say it is good to be here ; but all must
give way to Gospel ranging." Two new large wings had
already been added to the Orphan House, for the accom-
modation of students, and besides having secured the hearty
co-operation of the Governor "for the establishment of his in-
tended college," he was now further encouraged by an expres-
sion of sympathy and respect from the legislature of the col-
ony, as seen by the following papers :
HIS LAST LABORS IN AMERICA. 325
"Commons House of Assembly, Monday, Jan. 29, 1770.
"Mr. Speaker reported that he, with the House, having waited on the Rev.
Mr. Whitefield, in consequence of his invitation, at the Orphan House Academy,
heard him preach a very suitable sermon on the occasion; and with great pleas-
ure observed the promising appearance of improvement toward the good pur-
poses intended, and the decency and propriety of behavior of the several residents
there ; and were sensibly affected when they saw the happy success which has
attended Whitefield's indefatigable zeal for promoting the welfare of the province
in general, and the Orphan House in particular. Ordered, that this report be
printed in the Gazette. John Simpson, Clerk."
The Gazette says :
" Savannah, Jan. 31, 1770.
" Last Sunday, his excellency, the Governor, Council and Assembly, having
been invited by the Rev. Mr. Whitefield, attended divme service in the chapel of
the Orphan-house Academy, where a very suitable sermon was preached by the
Rev. Mr. Whitefield, from Zech. iv. 10, to the great satisfaction of the auditory.
After divine service, the company were very politely entertained with a handsome
and plentiful dinner ; and were greatly pleased to see the useful improvements
made in the house, the two additional wings for apartments for students, 150 feet
each in length, and other lesser buildings, in so much forwardness ; they expressed
their gratitude in the most respectful terms."
We give an extract from an orphan boy's speech, delivered
on this occasion, after Whitefield's sermon. After sketching
the history of Bethesda, he says, " Behold the once despised
institution! â€” the very existence of which for many years de-
nied, â€” through the indefatigable industry, unparalleled disinter-
estedness, and unwearied perseverance of its reverend founder,
expanding and stretching its wings, not only to receive a
larger number of helpless orphans like myself, but to nurse
and cherish many of the rising generation, training them up
to be ornaments both in Church and State. Forever adored
be that providence, that power and goodness, which have
brought matters to such a desirable and long-expected issue!"
After thanking- all for their attendance, he turned to Mr.
326 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
Whitefield and said, "And, above all, thanks, more than an
orphan tongue can utter, or orphan hearts conceive, be under
God, rendered unto you, most honored sir, who have been so
happily instrumental in the hands of a never-failing God, in
spreading His everlasting Gospel. â€¢
Under these bright prospects, after visiting Charleston and
Savannah, upon returning to Bethesda in April, his peace
seemed to flow like a river. He says, " Never did I enjoy
such domestic peace, comfort and joy during my whole pil-
grimage. It is unspeakable, it is full of glory. Peace, peace
unutterable, attends our paths, and a pleasing prospect of in-
creasing, useful prosperity, is continually rising to our view."
Still increasing in joy, he begins his next letter with " Hallelu-
jah! Praise the Lord!" And upon taking in ten more little
orphans, he was so much overjoyed, he exclaimed, " Prizes !
prizes ! Hallelujah," begging his friends to help him praise the
Lord for His mercies. Wrought up by the grandeur and
glory of this blessed consummation, with his heart still swelling
with gratitude and joy, he exclaimed, " O Bethesda, my Bethel,
my Peniel ! My happiness is inconceivable. Hallelujah !
Hallelujah ! Let chapel, Tabernacle, heaven, and earth,
rebound with Hallelujah ! I can no more. My heart is too
big to add more than my old name. Less than the least of
all, G. W."
Having " now spent the most comfortable domestic winter
of his life," he left Bethesda, embarked for Philadelphia April
24th, and reached it May the 6th, " more and more in love
with his pilgrim life than ever." He preached the next even-
ing to a very large congregation, and says, " Pulpits, hearts
and affections seem to be as open towards me as ever." After
preaching here five or six times a week with great success for
about three weeks, he says, " people of all ranks flock as much
HIS LAST LABORS IN AMERICA. 327
as ever." And with many hopeful conversions, with all the
Episcopal and nearly all the other churches thrown open to
him, he was very much encouraged.
With his health " rather better than for many years," he
now began to explore the region round about Philadelphia.
In a letter of June 14, 1770, to his dear friend Keen, he says,
"This leaves me just returned from a hundred and fifty miles
circuit, in which, blessed be God ! I have been enabled to preach
every day." He now had so many calls to go and preach, he
says, " I know not which way to turn myself."
From Philadelphia, June 23, he went to New York. Here
he says, " Congregations are rather larger than ever." Though
the heat was intense, he was now able " to itinerate and preach
daily." He now received so many invitations from all quarters
daily, he sent a bundle of them to England as a curiosity.
Moved with compassion toward the "Poor Indian," he now
purposed to attend a large. Indian congress with Mr. Kirkland.
With his missionary spirit increasing, he now struck out on
"fresh work" and during the month of July he made another
five hundred miles circuit, " preaching and traveling through
the heat every day." " Congregations," he says, " have been
very large, attentive and affected, particularly at Albany,
Schenectady, Great Barrington, Norfolk, Salisbury, Sharon,
Smithfield, Poughkeepsie, Fishkill, New Rumbert, New Wind-
sor, and Peckshilt. O what a new scene of usefulness is open-
ing in various parts of this new world ! All fresh work.
Invitations crowd upon me both from ministers and people
from every quarter."
Led by a peculiar providence, he now attended the execution
of a horse thief. He says, " thousands attended. The poor
328 LIFE OF WHITEFIELD.
criminal had sent me several letters. The sheriff allowed him
to come and hear a sermon under an adjacent tree. Solemn,
solemn ! After being by himself about an hour, I walked half
a mile with him to the gallows. His heart had been softened
before my first visit. He seemed full of solid divine consola-
tions. An instructive walk. I went up with him into the
cart. He gave a short exhortation." Standing upon his
coffin, Whitefield exhorted, prayed, pronounced the benedic-
tion, and retired, trusting that " effectual good" had been done
From New York he went to Boston. Here the interest was
so great, he says, " Never was the Word received with greater
eagerness than now. All opposition seems for a while to
cease." Here he preached daily from the 17th to the 20th of
September, and having stood the heat and labor so well, on