Whitefield In Evesham

If you’re still struggling to fill your time, you could do worse than to work your way through George Whitefield’s Journals. They’re readily available online, if you don’t wish to buy a copy. Here is a brief but instructive extract...

Continued at Cheltenham, for the Sake of a little Retirement, and some private Business, till after Dinner, and got safe to Evesham (where Mr. Seward's Relations live) about seven at Night. I found there had been much Talk about my coming, GOD wisely ordering it to engage and excite the People's Attention. Several Persons came to see me, amongst whom was Mr. Benjamin Seward, whom GOD has been pleased to call by his free Grace very lately.

Both his Circumstances before, and in Conversion, much resemble those of St. Paul. For he was bred up at the Feet of Gamaliel, being at Cambridge for some Years. As touching the Law, so far as outward Morality went, he was blameless; concerning Zeal, opposing the Church. My Proceedings he could not like, and he had once a Mind, he said, to write against Mr. Law's Enthusiastic Notions in his Christian Perfection.

But lately it has pleased GOD to reveal his dear Son in him, and to cast him down to the Earth, as he did Saul, by eight Days Sickness; in which Time he scarce ever eat, or drank, or slept, and underwent great inward Agonies and Tortures. After this, the Scales fell more and more from the Eyes of his Mind. GOD sent a poor travelling Woman, that came to sell Straw Toys, to instruct him in the Nature of our second Birth, and now he is resolved to prepare for Holy Orders, and to preach CHRIST and those Truths straightway in every Synagogue, which once he endeavoured to destroy. He is a Gentleman of a very large Fortune, which he has now devoted to GOD.

And I write this, to shew how far a Man may go, and yet know nothing of JESUS CHRIST. Behold, here was one who constantly attended on the Means of Grace, exact in his Morals, humane and courteous in his Conversation, who gave much in Alms, was frequent in private Duties; and yet, till about six Weeks ago, as destitute of any saving experimental Knowledge of JESUS CHRIST, as those on whom his Name was never called, and who still sit in Darkness, and the Shadow of Death.

Blessed be GOD, that although not many rich, not many mighty, not many noble are called, yet some are. Who would but be accounted a Fool for CHRIST's sake? How often has my Companion and honoured Friend Mr. William Seward been deemed a Madman even by this very Brother, for going to Georgia? But lo! GOD now has made him an Instrument of converting his Brother. This more and more convinces me, that we must be despised, e'er we can be Vessels fit for GOD's Use.

(From Third Journal. I would have liked to know more about the “poor travelling Woman, that came to sell Straw Toys”, and what exactly she said to Mr Benjamin Seward - wouldn’t you?) 

P.S. What, you want a pretty picture, too? Oh. all right then...