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Appreciation of George Whitefield

On Sunday the 20th Instant, the Rev. Mr. Whitefield preach’d twice, tho’ apparently much indispos’d, to large Congregations in the New-Building in this City, and the next Day set out for New-York. When we seriously consider how incessantly this faithful Servant (not yet 32 Years old) has, for about 10 Years past, laboured in his great Master’s Vineyard, with an Alacrity and fervent Zeal, which an infirm Constitution, still daily declining, cannot abate; and which have triumphed over the most vigorous Opposition from whole Armies of invidious Preachers and Pamphleteers; under whose Performances, the Pulpits and Presses, of Great-Britain and America, have groaned; We may reasonably think with the learned Dr. Watts, “That he is a Man raised up by Providence in an uncommon Way, to awaken a stupid and ungodly World, to a Sense of the important Affairs of Religion and Eternity:” And the Lines of Mr. Wesley, concerning another young Methodist, may justly be applied to his dear Friend Whitefield —

Wise in his Prime, he waited not for Noon,
Convinc’d that Mortals never liv’d too soon;
As if foreboding here his little Stay,
He makes his Morning bear the Heat of Day.
No fair Occasion glides unheeded by,
Snatching the Golden Moments as they fly,
He by few fleeting Hours ensures Eternity.

His Sermons here this Summer have given general Satisfaction, and plainly proved the great Ability of the Preacher. His rich Fancy, sound and ripening Judgment, and extensive Acquaintance with Men and Books of useful Literature, have been acknowledg’d by every unprejudiced Person. Purity of Language, Perspicuity of Method, a ready Elocution, an engaging Address, and an apt Gesture, peculiar to this accomplish’d Orator, consider’d with his unspotted Character in private Life, have added Force to the plain strong Arguments, and pathetick Expostulations, wherewith his Discourses abounded. And, it cannot be doubted, that many have been awaken’d to a Sense of the Importance of Religion, and others have been built up in their most holy Christian Faith under his Ministry.

The Pennsylvania Gazette, July 31, 1746