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Talks with Whitefield

Friday, July 6.—In the afternoon I was with Mr. Whitefield, just come from London, with whom I went to Baptist Mills, where he preached concerning “the Holy Ghost, which all who believe are to receive”; not without a just, though severe, censure of those who preach as if there were no Holy Ghost.

Saturday, 7.—I had an opportunity to talk with him of those outward signs which had so often accompanied the inward work of God. I found his objections were chiefly grounded on gross misrepresentations of matter of fact. But the next day he had an opportunity of informing himself better: for no sooner had he begun (in the application of his sermon) to invite all sinners to believe in Christ, than four persons sank down close to him, almost in the same moment. One of them lay without either sense or motion. A second trembled exceedingly. The third had strong convulsions all over his body, but made no noise unless by groans. The fourth, equally convulsed, called upon God with strong cries and tears. From this time, I trust, we shall all suffer God to carry on His own work in the way that pleaseth Him.

Friday, 23.—On Friday, in the afternoon, I left Bristol with Mr. Whitefield, in the midst of heavy rain. But the clouds soon dispersed so that we had a fair, calm evening and a serious congregation at Thornbury.

Tuesday, 17.—I rode to Bradford, five miles from Bath, whither I had been long invited to come. I waited on the minister and desired leave to preach in his church. He said it was not usual to preach on the weekdays; but if I could come thither on a Sunday, he should be glad of my assistance. Thence I went to a gentleman in the town who had been present when I preached at Bath and, with the strongest marks of sincerity and affection, wished me good luck in the name of the Lord. But it was past. I found him now quite cold. He began disputing on several heads and at last told me plainly that one of our own college had informed him they always took me to be a little crack-brained at Oxford.

However, some persons who were not of his mind, having pitched on a convenient place (called Bear Field, or Bury Field), on the top of the hill under which the town lies; I there offered Christ to about a thousand people, for “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Thence I returned to Bath and preached on “What must I do to be saved?” to a larger audience than ever before.

I was wondering the “god of this world” was so still; when, at my return from the place of preaching, poor R---d Merchant told me he could not let me preach any more in his ground. I asked him why; he said, the people hurt his trees and stole things out of his ground. “And besides,” added he, “I have already, by letting thee be there, merited the displeasure of my neighbors.” O fear of man! Who is above thee, but they who indeed “worship God in spirit and in truth”? Not even those who have one foot in the grave! Not even those who dwell in rooms of cedar and who have heaped up gold as the dust and silver as the sand of the sea.

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