George Whitefield - His Life and Ministry (1)
Series Readings from J. C. Ryle
Written originally as part of a series of “biographical papers” between 1866-1867, on men who “revived religion in England”, Bishop J. C. Ryle writes enthusiastically about the life and ministry of George Whitefield. He describes him as being “the Prince of English Evangelists”, and speaking about Whitefield's relationship with the Church of England, Ryle writes, “..He loved the church in which he was ordained”, but goes on to say “the church did not love him”.
In this first chapter we learn a little of Whitefield's early days, his meeting John and Charles Wesley, and amongst many other things commented on by Ryle we learn that on preaching his first sermon at the church of St. Mary-le-Crypt, in Gloucester, complaint was made to the Bishop that “I drove fifteen people mad the first sermon” It is recorded that the Bishop of Gloucester replied “…he wished that the madness might not be forgotten before next Sunday”.
Knowing that thousands attended no place of worship, “spent their Sundays in idleness or sin, and were not reached by sermons within walls” Whitefield took his preaching into the open-air. For the remainder of his life he became a “constant field preacher”. Thousands came to hear him, hearing from his lips the “pure Gospel”, with life-changing results.
He died, following a severe attack of asthma, aged 56, on 30th September 1770. He was buried in the church at Newbury Port, near Boston, where he was to preach on the day of his death.
|Feb 26, 2006