GEORGE WHITEFIELDÂ’S LETTERS
To Mr. S.
On Saturday I answered your two last letters. Our Saviour sent me to Gloucester for wise ends. Much substantial good has been done to several of the society. My mouth and heart were greatly opened in preaching. Saturday evening was a time much to be remembered. Sunday was a great day of the Son of Man. I preached at Gloucester in the morning, and near Stroud in the evening. The Lord was clothed with much power, both for sinners and saints. I think the congregation at Hampton was greater than ever. At night we had a precious meeting at Hampton-house garden; the house itself being too small to hold the people without almost stilling them. The simplicity, sweetness, and brokenheartedness of the poor souls would have melted your heart. Indeed, much grace was upon them, and many, I believe, to their unspeakable consolation, heard the voice of the Lord God in the trees of the garden in the cool of the day. On Monday morning I preached again, and came away rejoicing. Whilst I was at Hampton, J. CÂ— told me, how he and his people had been abused. My coming at this time, I believe, has much strengthened the persecuted. Indeed there is a glorious work in Gloucestershire. Brother CÂ— is truly a great soul! one of the weak things that God has chosen to confound the strong. In my
journey from Hampton hither, our dear Master was graciously with us. We have blessed news from Scotland. Brave news also from Pembrokeshire. Surely the kingdom of the Lord and His Christ is coming on apace. I know you say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.’
Ever, ever yours,
P.S. I must acquaint you by way of postcript, of the following anecdote of the old Mr. Cole, a most venerable dissenting minister;
whom I was always taught to ridicule, and (with shame I write it) used, when a boy, to run into his meeting-house, and cry. Old Cole old Cole! old Cole! Being asked once by one of his congregation, what business I would be of? I said, ‘a minister, but I would take care never to tell stories in the pulpit, like the old Cole.’ About twelve years afterwards, the old man heard me preach in one of the churches at Gloucester; and on my telling some story to illustrate the subject I was upon, having been informed what I had before said, made this remark to one of his elders, ‘I find that young Whitefield can now tell stories, as well as old Cole.’ Being affected much with my preaching, he was as it were become young again, and used to say, when coming to and returning from the Barn, These are the days of the Son of Man indeed!’ nay, he was so animated, and so humbled, that he used to subscribe himself ‘my Curate’, and went about preaching after me in the country, from place to place. But one evening whilst preaching, he was struck with death, and then asked for a chair to lean on till he concluded his sermon, when he was carried upstairs and died. O blessed God! if it be thy holy will, may my exit be like his!
To Mr. S.
Full of divine consolations, and at the same time I trust, deeply sensible of my own vileness, I have just arose from the throne of grace, where I have been laying yours, my own, and the affairs of the whole church, before our common Father and our God. He was bleased to give me sweet access, and to assure me, that if He gave me His presence, He would freely give me all things; but I must wait His time and season, because that will be better for me. I have therefore just now put my soul, as a blank, into the hands of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, and desired Him to write upon it what He pIeases. I know it will be His own image. Methinks I hear you say, Amen. I know you do from your heart; for I believe you love me in
the bowels of Jesus Christ, as I do you, God knoweth. Our Saviour, by His wise providence has prevented our receiving each others letters so soon as we expected. I preached Tuesday last in the evening at Bristol and on Wednesday twice; and once at Kingswood. On Thursday in the morning I preached there also, and afterwards went to Bath, where I was most cordially received by Mr. CÂ— and one Dr. HÂ—, a Christian physician, and Lady CÂ—. Here our Saviour gave me fresh hints, that if I would stand still and wait His time and way. He would make even my enemies to be at peace with me. I returned in the evening to Bristol, and preached. I think it was this day the news came of His majesty’s lighting, and coming off conqueror. I had observed for some time past, when praying for him, whether I would or not, out came this petition, ‘Lord, cover thou his head in the day of battle.’ Though even while I was praying, ‘. wondered why I prayed so, not knowing that he was gone to Germany to fight. This gave me fresh confidence towards God. I spent almost the whole day on Friday in retirement, and prayer. My house was made a Bethel to me indeed, the very gate of heaven. Saturday I preached again, and found in the day-time our Saviour had blessed my endeavours to some souls. About three in the aftemoon we set out for Wiltshire. On Sunday I preached at Brinkworth, on these words: “Thy Maker is thy husband.’ It was a day of espousals, I believe to many. God was with us of a truth. After sermon I rode to Longley, in company with many dear children of God, who attended me both on horseback and on foot. We sang, and looked like persons who had been at a spiritual wedding. The Lord helped me in preaching there also. All was quiet. In the evening I preached at Tetherton, and a blessed time it was. We rode like as the children of Israel passing through the enemies’ country. Afterwards we set out for Hampton, and reached there about midnight. After having travelled about thirty miles, I yet preached thrice. This morning I arose like a giant refreshed with wine, and came hither about eleven. I found my mother recovered from her illness, and my own soul filled and blessed in Christ. O grace! how sweet is it? I am glad you are thirsting after an abiding God, after greater degrees of knowledge, both of yourself, and of Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal. In order to this, you must aspect many trials, and well it is to be under the discipline of so tender a Master. I know you will pray to the Lord to make and keep me humble. I recommend you to His care, and with you all the blessings of the everlasting covenant, from