And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
~ Daniel 12:3
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
~ Matthew 4:19
And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
~ John 4:36
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
~ 1 Thessalonians 2:19
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
~ James 5:20
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
~ Hebrews 13:17
But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
~ Jeremiah 23:22
Of the Life of the Reverend George Whitefield, Compiled by the Reverend John Gillies. The following contains Chapter Ten of his work.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
— Phil. iii. 8
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;
— 2 Cor. xii:15a
He that winneth souls is wise.
— Prov. xi. 30b
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
— Dan. xii. 3.
From his Arrival in Scotland 1742, to his return to London the same Year.
Soon after this, he embarked a second time for Scotland, and arrived at Leith, June 3, 1742.
But here it is proper to take a view of the state of things in that country upon his arrival. It had on Thursday last our dear friend Mr. Whitefield returned to this “place, to the great comfort of many honest christians, especially of those to whom he was made a mean of “conviction and conversion when last here. He seems to have improved much in christian knowledge. He is much refreshed with the accounts of the work of God in the west country. I have heard him preach “five excellent discourses, all calculated for the building up of christians (though he never fails to put in a word for the conviction of sinners); and, I think, can I say, that I have never heard him without some in audience attending his preaching, especially in private “houses. O may the impressions made on my heart “never wear off, lest at any time I should be in danger ” of dropping my watch, and becoming untender.”
“Sabb. October 17, 1742. . It is a great recommendation of Mr. Whitefield to me, that though the Seceders give him every bad character that can be devised, viz. a farcerer, &c. yet he takes all patiently, and o wherever he goes, speaks well of them, so far as he can: for none can approve of those gross parts of their conduct: therefore these he chooses to cast a mantle of love over.” Diary, formerly quoted.
…pleased God to bless his first visit to Scotland, not only for the conversion of particular persons, and the comfort and quickening of private christians, but to rouse them to more than ordinary concerns about the salvation of their neighbours, and to excite pious and conscientious ministers to greater diligence in their work. Prayers were put up, with some degree of faith and hope, that God would now give success to their labours; and not suffer them always to complain that they spent their strength in vain. Nor were these prayers long unanswered : for in the month of February, 1742, an extraordinary religious concern began to appear publicly at Cambuslang; and soon after at Kilfytli and other places: the news of which quickly spread through the land, and engaged general attention: Of this, a just though short description is given in the following letter, written by the Rev. Mr. Hamilton (then minister in the Barony parish, now in the High-Church of Glasgow) to Mr. Prince, minister in Boston (q). Glasgow, Sept. 13, 1742: “We in the south and west of Scotland, have great “reason to join in thankfulness to God, with you, “for the days of the Redeemer’s power that we are favoured with. Mr. Whitefield came to Scotland in summer 1741, for the first time: and in “many places where he preached, his ministrations were evidently blessed, particularly in “the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, where a considerable number of persons were brought ” under such impressions of religion, as have never yet left them; but they are still following on to s know the Lord. However, this was only the beginning of far greater things : for about the “middle of February last, a very great concern appeared among the people of Cambuslang; a small parish, lying four miles south-east of Glasgow, “under the pastoral inspection of the Rev. Mr. “William MacCulloch, a man of considerable parts “and great piety. This concern appeared with “some circumstances very unusual among us : to “wit, severe bodily agonies, outcryings, and “faintings in the congregation. This made the report of it spread like fire, and drew vast multitudes of people from all quarters to that place. And, I believe, in less than two months after: ” the commencement of it, there were few parishes ” within twelve miles of Cambuslang, but had some, more or fewer awakened there, to a very deep, piercing sense of sin: and many at a much greater distance. I am verily persuaded with your worthy brother Mr. Cooper, in his preface to Mr. Edwards’s sermon, that God has made “use of these uncommon circumstances, to make “his work spread the faster. But, blessed be “God, Cambuslang is not the only place where ” these impressions are got. The same work is spreading in other parishes, and under their own ministers, particularly at Calder, Kilsyth, and Cumbernoud, ail to the north, and north-east of Glasgow. And I doubt not, that since the middle of February, when this work began at “Cambuslang, there are upwards of two thousand persons awakened, and almost all of them, by “‘the best accounts I have, in a promising condition: there being very few instances of impostors, or such as have lost their impressions; and many i whom we are bound to think are true scripture converts, and evidencing it by a suitable walk ” and conversation. There is evidently a greater is seriousness and concern about religion appearing in most of our congregations, than formerly : a “a greater desire after the word; people applying “themselves more closely to their duty; and erecting new societies for prayer and spiritual “conference: which gives us the joyful prospect “of a considerable enlargement of the Messiah’s kingdom.”
My parish has likewise had some share in this “good work. There has been above an hundred new communicants among them this summer, “who never did partake of the blessed sacraments before : which is five times as many as ever ! ” admitted in any former year : most of them ” were awakened at Cambuslang ; some of them “in their own church; and in others the impressions have been more gradual, and not attended with these uncommon circumstances before mentioned. And it is to be observed, that before, “we admit any person to the Lord’s table, we particularly examine them, and are satisfied with to their knowledge of the principles of religion, of as the nature and ends of the sacrament, and the impressions of religion they have on their “minds.”
To the same purpose is the Rev. Mr: Willison’s letter to Dr. Colman, minister in Boston : dated Dundee, Feb. 28, 1743. (r) ” I must inform you a little of the work of God begun here. I told you in my last, that after Mr. Whitefield’s first “coming and preaching three months in Scotland, ” there were some beginnings of a revival of religion in some of our principal cities, as Edinburgh and Glasgow, which still continue and increase; especially since Mr. Whitefield’s second coming in June last. But besides these cities, ? the Lord hath been pleased to begin a work ” much like that in New-England, in several places ” in the west of Scotland. The first parish awaken”ed, was Cambuslang; the next was the parish of the Compiler. “Edinburgh, February, 1772. I would not ascribe all to the revival of religion in Scotland, to (the instrumentality of) Mr. Whitefield. At Cambuslang, it began, d before he had been there, but in Edinburgh, and all “the other places in Scotland, that I heard of, after diligent enquiry; it began with his first visit. This honour he had from his divine Master, and it ought not to be taken from him. And every time he came to os Scotland, it is an undoubted fact, that an uncommon power attended his ministry: and many were always & brought under serious and lasting impressions.”
Kzlyth, about nine miles north-east of Glasgow, “and afterward the parishes of Calder, Kirkintilloch, “Cumbernaud, Campsie, Kilmarnock, Gargunnock, ” and a great many others in the country. The “awakenings of people have been, in a good many, attended with outcryings, faintings, and bodily distresses: but in many more, the work “has proceeded with great calmness. But the ” effects in both forts are alike good and desirable, “and hitherto we hear nothing of their falling “back from what they have professed at the beginning: and fill we hear of some new parishes “falling under great concern here and there, “though the great cryings and outward distresses are much ceased.
“The Lord, in this backsliding time, is willing ” to pity us, and see our ways and heal them, ” however crooked and perverse they have been. “O shall not this wonderful step of divine condescension, lead us all to repentance, and to go “out to meet a returning God, in the way of “humiliation and reformation. The magistrates “and ministers in Edinburgh, are beginning to up societies for reformation of manners, and “new lectures on week days. May all our cities “follow their example. There is a great increase “of praying societies also in Edinburgh and other towns and villages, and in them they are keeping days of thanksgiving for the partial waterings the Lord is giving us : those in Edinburgh, “send printed memorials to others through the “nation, to excite them to it.”
The greatest strangers to religion could not avoid hearing of these things, but they were very differently affected with them. Whilst some became more thoughtful and serious, many mocked, and some were even filled with rage. On the other hand, the temper and behaviour of those who were the subjects of this remarkable work, was the strongest of all arguments that it came from above. Their earnest desire to be rightly directed in the way to heaven; their tender and conscientious walk; their faithfulness in the duties of their stations; their readiness to make ample restitution for any act of injustice they had formerly commit ted; their disposition to judge mildly of others, but severely of themselves; their laying aside. quarrels and law-suits, and desiring to be reconciled, and to live peaceably with all men; such amiable and heavenly qualities, especially when appearing in some who had formerly been of a very opposite character, could not fail to strike every serious observer. In short, it was such a time for the revival of religion, as had never þefore been seen in Scotland.
The Rev. Mr. Mackright of Irvine, thus writes to Mr. Whitefield, June 21, 1742.
Blessed be our glorious God, there are some awakenings amongst us at “Irvine ; not only of those who have been at Cambuslang, but several others are lately brought into great concord “about their eternal state, and among the several children; the news of which I know will rejoice yoli, ” and I hope will encourage you to visit us to help for”ward this great and glorious work of converting sinners.”—Remarkable Particula’s, &c.
The enmity which wicked and profane men discovered against this work, and the derision with which they treated it, is no more than what might naturally be expected. But it is not so easy to account for the conduct of the Seceders. These, not satisfied with forbearing to approve of it, went the length even to appoint a general fast among them, one of the grounds of which was, the receiving Mr.Whitefield into Scotland; and another, the delusion, as they called it, at Cambuslang and other places. And Mr. Gibb, one of their ministers, wrote a pamphlet inveighing against both, in the most virulent language. Such was the bigotry, and misguided zeal of the bulk of the party at that time. It is hoped their successors have juster views of this matter. But it is not proper here to enlarge upon this subject. With respect to Mr. Whitefield, the spring of their first opposition to him, sufficiently appears from his conversation with them at Dunfermline, formerly mentioned. And the following letter, which he wrote at Cambuslang, August 1742, and which was afterwards printed at Glasgow, gives an account of their objections, and his answers, which are perfectly agreeable to the spirit of both. “I heartily thank you for your concern about unworthy me. Though I am not very solicitous what the world say of me, yet I “would not refuse to give any one, much less a minister of Jesus Christ, (and such an one I take you to be) all reasonable satisfaction about any part of my doctrine or conduct. I am sorry that “the affociate presbytery, besides the other things “exceptionable in the grounds of their late fast, “have done me much wrong. As to what they say about the supremacy, my sentiments, as to ” the power and authority of the civil magistrate as to sacred things, agree with what is said in the Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. xxiii.
…paragraph 3 and 4. And I do own the Lord Jesus to be the blessed head and king of his church.
“The solemn league and covenant I never abjured, neither was it ever proposed to me to be abjured: and as for my millives, if the associate presbytery will be pleased to print them, the “world will see that they had no reason to expect “I would act in any other manner than I have “done. What that part of my experience is, that “savours of the grossest enthusiasm, I know not, “because not specified; but this one thing I know, when I conversed with them, they were satisfied with the account I then gave of my experiences, “and also of the validity of my mission ; only, “when they found I would preach the gospel promiscuously to all, and for every minister that ” would invite me, and not adhere only to them, one of them particularly said, “They were satisfied with all the other accounts which I gave “of myself, except of my call to Scotland at that “time. They would have been glad of my help, “and have received me as a minister of Jesus “Christ, had I consented to have preached only at “the invitation of them and their people. But I judged that to be contrary to the dictates of my “conscience, and therefore I could not comply. “I thought their foundation was too narrow for any high house to be built upon. I declared “freely, when last in Scotland, (and am more and “more convinced of it since) that they were “building a Babel.
At the same time, they knew very well, I was very far from being ” against all church-government, (for how can any church subsist without it?) I only urged, as ” I do now, that since holy men differ so much w about the outward form, we should bear with, ” and forbear one another, though in this respect we are not of one mind. I have often declared “in the most public manner, that I believe the Church of Scotland to be the best constituted national church in the world. At the same time “I would bear with, and converse freely with all “others, who do not err in fundamentals, and “who give evidence that they are true lovers of ” the Lord Jesus. This is what I mean by a catholic spirit. Not that I believe a Jew or Pagan continuing such, can be a true christian, or have (Cambuslang) so very extensive, must meet with great opposition. My collections for the orphans gave a great ” handle ; but the chief opposition was made by the Seceders, who, though they had prayed for me at a most s extravagant rate, now gave out that I was agitated by ” the devil. Taking it for granted, that all converted “persons must take the covenant, and that God had left the Scotch established churches long ago, and that ” he would never work by the hands of a curate of the “Church of England, they condemned the whole work, ” as the work of the devil ;, and kept a fast through all of Scotland, to humble themselves, because the devil was come down in great wrath, and to pray that the “Lord would rebuke the destroyer (for that was my title). But the Lord rebuked these good men; for “they split among themselves, and excommunicated one another. Having afterwards a short interview “with Mr. Ralph Erskine, we embraced each other, and he said, “We had seen strange things.”…”true christianity in them; and if there be any ” thing tending that way in the late extract which ” I sent you, I utterly disavow it. And I am ” sure, I observed no such thing in it, when I “published it, though upon a closer review, some “expressions seem justly exceptionable. You know “how strongly I assert all the doctrines of grace as held forth in the Westminster. Confession of “Faith, and doctrinal articles of the Church of England. These I trust I shall adhere to as long as I live, because I verily believe they are the “truths of God, and have felt the power of them in my own heart. I am only concerned that “good men should be guilty of such misrepresentations. But this teaches me more and more ” to exercise compassion toward all the children of “God, and to be more jealous over our own “hearts, knowing what fallible creatures we all s are. I acknowledge that I am a poor blind sinner, liable to err, and would be obliged to an enemy, much more to so dear a friend as you are, to point out to me my mistakes, as to my practice, or unguarded expressions in my preaching or writing. At the same time, I would “humble myself before my Master, for any thing “I may say or do amiss, and beg the influence ” and assistances of his blessed Spirit, that I may “say and do so no more.”
So much for Mr.Whitefield’s difference with the Seceders. But notwithstanding all this, upon his second arrival in Scotland, June 1742, he was received by great numbers, among whom were some persons of distinction, with much joy : and had the satisfaction of seeing and hearing more and more of the happy fruits of his ministry. At Edinburgh he preached twice a day, as usual, in the Hospital park, where a number of seats and shades, in the form of an amphitheatre, were erected for the accommodation of his hearers. And in consequence of earnest invitations, he went to the west country, particularly to Cambuslang, where he preached no less than three times upon the very day of his arrival, to a vast body of people, although he had preached that fame morning at Glasgow. The last of these exercises he began at nine at night, continuing till eleven, when he said he observed such a commotion among the people, as he had never seen in America. Mr. MacCuiloch preached after him, till past one in the morning, and even then could hardly persuade the people to depart. All night in the fields might be heard,
This morning I received glorious accounts of the carrying on of the Mediator’s kingdom. Three of the little boys that were converted when I was last here, came to me and so wept, and begged me to pray for and with them. A minister tells me, that scarce one is fallen back, who was awakened, either among old and young…
And in the M. S. “Societies (or fellowship meetings) I found set up for prayer, especially at Glasgow “and Edinburgh. Several young gentlemen dedicated themselves to the ministry, and became burning and shining lights.”
…the voice of prayer and praise. As Mr. Whitefield was frequently at Cambuslang during this season, a description of what he observed there at different times, will be best given in his own words; “Persons from all parts flocked to see, and many “from many parts, went home convinced, and converted unto God. A brae, or hill, near the “manse at Cambuslang, seemed to be formed by “Providence, for containing a large congregation, “People sat unwearied till two in the morning, to hear sermons, disregarding the weather. You “could scarce walk a yard, but you must tread upon some, either rejoicing in God for mercies “received, or crying out for more. Thousands and thousands have I seen, before it was possible “to catch it by sympathy, melted down under “the word and power of God. At the celebration of the holy communion, their joy was so great, that at the desire of many, both ministers “and people, in imitation of Hezekiah’s passover, “they had, a month or two afterwards, a second; “which was a general rendezvous of the people of God. The communion-table was in the “field ; three tents, at proper distances, all surrounded with a multitude of hearers ; above twenty ministers (among whom was good old “Mr. Bunner) attending to preach and assist, all “enlivening and enlivened by one another.”
Besides his labours at Glasgow and Cambuslang, it is somewhat surprising to think, how many other places in the west of Scotland he visited within the compass of a few weeks, preaching once or twice at every one of them, and at several three or four times. It is worth while to set down the Journal of a week or two. In the beginning of July, he preached twice on Monday at Paisley; on the Tuesday and Wednesday, three times each day at Irvine ; on Thursday, twice at Mearns ; on Friday, three times at Cumbernaud ; and on Saturday, twice at Falkirk. And again in the latter end of August on Thursday, he preached twice at Greenock; on Friday, three times at Kilbride ; on Saturday, once at Kilbride, and twice at Stevenson ; on Sabbath, four times at Irvine ; on Monday, once at Irvine, and three times at Kilmarnock; grace,’ I thought I never heard such a sermon on the “fulness of grace that is treasured up in Christ Jesus :: as and can truly say, that I felt the efficacy of the Holy “Spirit upon my soul, during that discourse. I afterwards “Shut up myself in my chamber, during the remaining part of that day ; and before I laid myself down to rest, I made a solemn and serious dedication of myself “to God, by way of covenant, extended and subscribed ” the same with my hands, and, I think, bad communion with God in so doing; to which I have often “had recourse since, in adhering thereto, and in renewing thereof; though my life since has been attended “with many backslidings from God, and have been perfidious
Kilmarnock ; (d) on Tuesday, once at Kilmarnock, and four times at Stewarton; on Wednesday, once at Stewarton, and twice at the Mearns. He was also at Inchannen, New Kilpatrick, Calder, and Killyth, (where the religious concern still increased) and at Torphichen. He was indeed sometimes taken very ill, and his friends thought he was going off: “But in the pulpit (says he) the Lord out of weakness, makes me to wax strong, and causes ” me to triuniph more and more.” And even when he retired for a day or two, it was on purpose in his covenant; yet I still rejoice in his salvation through precious Christ. And it is refreshing to “behold the place at this very day, as I have often done since.
I from the ‘ abovementioned, always ” looked upon Mr. Whitefield as my spiritual father, and “frequently heard him afterwards in Edinburgh and “Glasgow with much satisfaction. It always gave me joy, the mentioning of his name, and grieved me “when he was reproached. And I can very well re member, that when Cape Breton was taken, I happened to be then at Edinburgh; and being invited to breakfast with Mr. Whitefield, I never in all my life “enjoyed such another breakfast. He gave the company a fine and lively descant upon that part of the world, made us all join in a hymn of praise and thanksgiving, ” and concluded with a most devout and fervent prayer: “In the evening of that day, he preached a most excellent thanksgiving sermon, from the first two verses of “the cxxvi-th psalm”….to write letters, and to prepare pieces for the press, so that he was as busy as ever.
When he was at Edinburgh, he received accounts that the Spaniards had landed in Georgia. Upon this occasion he wrote to Mr. Habersham, “I “am glad my dear family is removed to Mr. ” Bryan’s, and rejoice that our glorious God had “raised him and his brother up, to be such friends “in time of need. My thoughts have been variously exercised, but my heart kept stedfast and joyful in the Lord of all lords, whose mercy “endureth for ever. I long to be with you, and ” methinks could willingly be found at the head “of you kneeling and praying, though a Spaniard’s sword should be put to my throat. But alas, I know not how I should behave, if “trial: only we have a promise, that as our day ” is, so our strength shall be. The thoughts of is divine love carry me above every thing…”dear friend, the Spaniards cannot rob us of this; nor can men or devils. I humbly hope that I shall shortly hear of the spiritual and temporal “welfare of you all.” And he was not disappointed; for a few weeks after he was informed ” of his family’s safe return to Bethesda. About the end of October he left Scotland, and rode post to London, where he arrived in about five days.