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At Limerick and Cork he preached to great multitudes, undisturbed, although the Methodists had met with violent persecution there. At Bandon and Kinsale, the like blessings attended him: and at Cork, the numbers of affectionate hearers greatly increased. Being detained at Belfast, by the urgent importunity of the people, he preached in many towns and villages, and so great was the prospect of success, that he wished he had visited the north of Ireland sooner. But he hastened to Scotland, intending to return before winter to his beloved charge in America. In July, 1751, he therefore went from Belfast to Irvine, where the magistrates requested him to preach ; and from thence to Glasgow. July 12, he writes thus:–“Though I preached nearly eighty times in Ireland, and God was pleased to bless his word, yet Scotland seems to be a new world to me. To see the people bring so many Bibles, turn to every passage when I am expounding, and hanging, as it were, upon me to hear every word, is very encouraging. I feel an uncommon freedom here; and talking with the winter, as well as with the summer saints, feeds and delights my heart.” He was much pleased at this time to hear, that Mr. Dinwiddie, brother-in-law to the Rev. Mr. M:Culloch of Cambuslang was appointed governor of Virginia. There had been a remarkable awakening in that province for several years, in particular in Hanover county, and parts ad
* Here it may be proper, once for all, to take notice of some particulars relating to Mr. Whitefield's visits to Scotland, which he continued till within a few years of his death.
Though after the years 1741 and 1742 there were no such extensive new awakenings, Mr.Whitefield's coming was always refreshing to serious persons, and seemed to put new life into them, and also to be the means of increasing their number. His preaching was still eminently useful in various respects. In the first place, it had an excellent tendency to destroy the hurtful spirit of bigotry, and excessive zeal for smaller matters, and to turn men's attention to the great and substantial things of religion. Another effect was, that it drew several persons to hear the gospel, who seldom went to hear it from other ministers. Again, young people in general, were much benefited
his ministry, and particularly young students, who became afterwards serious evangelical preachers. Lastly, his morning discourses, which were mostly intended for sincere but disconsolate souls, were peculiarly fitted to direct and encourage all such in the christian life. And his addresses in the evening to the promiscuous multitudes who then attended him, were of a very alarming kind. There was something exceedingly striking in the solemnity of his evening congregation in the Orphan-house park at Edinburgh, and High churchyard of Glasgow, especially towards the conclusion of his sermons (which were commonly very long, though they seemed short to the hearers) when the whole multitude st fixed, and, like one man, hung upon his lips with silent attention, and many under deep impressions of the great objects of religion, and the concerns of ... These things will not soon be forgotten; and it is hoped the many good effects which, by the divine blessing attended them, never will.
is conversation was no less reviving than his sermons. Many in Edin
burgh and Glasgow are witnesses of this, especially at Glasgow, when in company with his good friends, Mr. M'Laurin, and Mr. Robert Scott. One might challenge the sons of pleasure, with all their wit, good humor, and gaiety, to furnish entertainment so agreeable. At the same time, no part of it was more agreeable than it was useful and edifying.
His friends in Scotland, among whom were many of all ranks, from the highest to the lowest, were very constant and steady in their great regard for him. And his opposers grew more and more mild. Some anonymous pamphlets were written against him at his first coming, but these soon died and were forgotten. Afterwards a number of stories were handed about to his disadvantage; but, upon lo it was found either that matters were misrepresented or exaggerated, or that there was no foundation for such reports at all: in short, when they were traced to their origin, they rather turned out to his honor. He used to smile at good Mr. M. Laurin's honest zeal, who on such occasions spared no pains to come at the truth, and, when he had discovered it, was no less eager to communicate the discovery to others, for the vindication of Mr. Whitefield's character, in which he thought the credit of religion was concerned. The following instance is well remembered:—One Lieutenant Wright alleged, that Mr. Whitefield had kept back money sent by a gentlewoman to her son in America. This coming to Mr. M“Laurin's ears, he was restless till he procured a meeting between Whitefield and his accuser. They met; Mr. Wright did not retract what he had said. Upon which a letter was instantly written to the mother at London; and her answer being received, a confutation of the calumny was published in the Glasgow Courant, in the following terms: “October 31, 1748. A story having been spread in this town of Mr. Whitefield's having received twenty unds sterling from a gentlewoman in London, to give to her son in Georgia, ło he had received only three guineas, which he had returned to the gentlewoman when he came back from Georgia, her son having been gone from thence before his arrival) a letter was written to London to clear up this affair, to which the gentlewoman has sent this answer: 'Sir, this is to assure you that I received of Mr. John Stevens the three guineas, which was the full sum that I gave you for my son, I hope it is only a false aspersion on him ; for I never heard that he would say any such thing, being three months in England. I am, &c. September 13, 1748. There is likewise a receipt handed down, dated September 3, to Mr. Stevens. Both the letter and the receipt are to be seen in the hands of the publisher.” But, indeed, Mr. Whitefield's whole behavior was so open to the eyes of the world, and his character, after it had stood many attacks from all quarters, came at last to be so thoroughly established, that several of his opposers in Scotland seemed rather to acquire a certain degree of esteem for him; at least, they all thought proper to give over speaking against him. When he was at Glasgow, he always lodged with Mr. James Neven, merchant, above the Cross; till, towards the end of his life, his asthmatic disorder made the town air disagree with him. And then he went out in the evenings, and stayed with his good friend Mr. M'Culloch, at Cambuslang. A person of eminence, whom a sincere esteem of Mr. Whitefield made attentive to his reception and ministrations in Scotland, from first to last, writes thus to the compiler: “Edinburgh, January, 1772. I think more might be said, with great justice, concerning the effects of his ministry in Scotland, after the first two years; as there was always a remarkable revival following each of his visits; which many of the ministers testified to from their particular knowledge, especially by the number of new communicants. Mention might be made of the great number of ministers in Scotland that employed him, and of the many affectionate letters he received from them, of which there were a g many printed, both in London and Glasgow Weekly Histories, from some of the most eminent men in the church, who had employed him to preach in their pits, and continued so to do, when opportunity offered; except in the Presery of Edinburgh; and even there |. magistrates always allowed him a church to preach in, every time he came.”
jacent. Being unsupported by the established clergy, and having put themselves under the care of the Synod of New York, the Methodists were greatly discouraged by men in power. However Providence interposed in their behalf, for the Rev. Samuel Davies, afterwards president of the college at New Jersey, was licensed, and placed over a congregation; after which the power of religion increased, and one congregation in a short time, was increased to seven. Thus had these good people the pleasing prospect of enjoying equal privileges with Protestant dissenters at home. August 6, he set out from Edinburgh for London, in order to embark for America. He had thrown up much blood in Edinburgh; but traveling recovered him. He was much refreshed with hearing of the happy effects of his labors at Kendal, the year before. Having taken an affectionate farewell of his friends at home, he set sail in the Antelope, Captain M'Lellan, bound for Georgia, with Germans, taking several children with him. October 27, he arrived at Savannah, and had the consolation to find the Orphan-house in a flourishing state. “Thanks be to God,” says he, “all is well at Bethesda. A most excellent tract of land is granted to me, very near the house, which in a few years, I hope, will make a sufficient provision for it.” November, 1751, to the beginning of April, 1752, he was partly at Bethesda and partly in South Carolina, always alert in the path of duty. “I intended,” says he, “by God's assistance, now to begin ; for as yet, alas! I have done nothing. O that I may be in earnest; it is a new year; God quicken my tardy pace, and help me to do much work in a little time ! This is my highest ambition.” Having suffered from the climate formerly, he did not choose to spend the summer in America. But again embarked in April for London. He arrived in a very seasonable time, as it was the intention of government to put the infant colony on the same footing with the others, whereby it was hoped it would soon become a flourishing province. This revived his spirits much. He now thought that Providence was appearing for Georgia and Bethesda; and determined, therefore, to dispose of his plantation, and to carry all his strength to the Orphan-house. In June he planned a new excursion. “Next week,” says he, “God willing, I will go to Portsmouth, and through Bath to Wales, and may be to Scotland and Ireland.” And we find his letters about this time, dated at Portsmouth, Bristol, Cardiff, and Haverfordwest. In returning to Bristol, he met an association, at which were present, about nine clergymen, and nearly forty lay preachers; “who,” says he, “I trust are all born of God, and desirous to promote his glory, and his people's All was harmony and love.” s' August 17. His letter of this date, from London, to his friend Dr. T , the celebrated electrical philosopher, deserves a particular notice here. “I find you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent and unprejudiced pursuit and study, the mystery of the new birth. It is a most important, interesting study; and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains. One at whose bar we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared, that without it we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You will excuse this freedom. I must have aliquid Christi in all my letters.” From London he next proceeded to Edinburgh, where he arrived in the beginning of September, 1752. He preached twice, in his way; at Lutterworth, the parish of the famous John Wickliffe, and at Leicester; and at each place, much good was done. At Newcastle he was entreated to stay, and preached four times to very large congregations. At Edinburgh and Glasgow, he labored as usual. From the latter he writes:–“At Edinburgh, great multitudes, among whom were an abundance of the better sort, attended twice a day. Many young ministers and students have given close attention, and I hear of several persons that have been brought under deep convictions. I intended to send you a copy of two letters from a highland school master, who is honored of God to do much good among the poor highland children. I have brave news from Leicester and Newcastle, and have strong invitations to Yorkshire and Lancashire. What a pity it is that the year goes round so soon.” On his return to London, he preached at Berwick, and all the principal towns. November 1, from Sheffield he writes: “Since I left Newcastle, I have scarce known sometimes, whether I was in heaven, or on earth. At Leeds, Barstall, Haworth, and Halifax, thousands and thousands have flocked twice a day to hear the word of life. I am now come from Bolton, Manchester, Stockport, and Chinly. Yesterday I preached in
* In 1752, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, upon a division of the house, by a few votes, deposed Mr. Gillespie; which afterwards gave occasion to the society called the Presbytery of Relief. Whitefield, being informed of the circumstances of that affair, writes thus—“I wish Mr. Gillespie joy. The Pope, I find, has turned Presbyterian. The Lord reigns, that is enough for us.” And again—“Now j Mr. Gillespie do more good in a week, than before in a year. How blind is Satan! what does he get by casting out Christ's servants? I expect that some great good will come out of these confusions.”
a church. Four ordained ministers, friends to the work of God, have been with me. The word has run so swiftly at Leeds, that friends are come to fetch me back; and I am now going to Rotherdam, Wakefield, Leeds, York, and Epworth. God favors us with weather; and I would fain make hay whilst the sun shines. O that I had as many tongues, as there are hairs upon my head ' The ever loving, ever lovely Jesus should have them all. Fain would I die preaching.” November 10, he arrived at the Tabernacle, in London. December 15, he says, “my hands are full of work; and I trust I can say, the Lord causes his work to prosper in my unworthy hands. More blessed seasons were never enjoyed. Our sacramental occasions have been exceedingly awful and refreshing.” He now thought of erecting a new Tabernacle, a capacious building, eighty feet square; which was finished the summer following. Mr. Hervey and he, about this time, were employed in revising each other's works. Of Mr. Hervey's he says— “for me to play the critic on them, would be like holding up a candle to the sun. However, I will just mark a few places, as you desire. I foretell their fate; nothing but your scenery can screen you. Self will never bear to die, though slain in so genteel a manner, without showing some resentment against its artful murderer.” Again, “I thank you a thousand times for the trouble you have been at revising my poor compositions, which I am afraid you have not treated with a becoming severity. How many pardons shall I ask for mangling, and I fear murdering your THERON and Aspasio. If you think my two sermons will do for ..". pray return them immediately. I have nothing to comfort me but this, that the Lord chooses the weak things of this world, to confound the strong, and things that are not, to bring to nought things that are. I write for the poor—you for the polite and noble. God will assuredly own and bless what you write.” About this time he was very much afflicted, on account of the death of the Rev. Mr. Steward, a valuable minister, who began to be popular in the church, but was soon called to his everlasting rest. “When I met the workmen to contract about the building, I could scarce bear to think of building a Tabernacle. Strange that so many should be so soon discharged, and we continued. Mr. Steward spoke for his Lord, as long as he could speak at all. He had no clouds nor darkness. I was with him till a few minutes before he slept in Jesus.” March 1, 1753, he laid the foundation of the new Tabernacle, and preached from Exodus xx. 24. While the building was