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In Their Own Words

February 03, 1740

Whitfield Preached Fiery Sermon

William Stephens went into detail about a sermon preached by George Whitfield:

“…Mr. Whitfield performed the divine Office as before; but being taken with a sudden Disorder upon me, during the Service at Eleven, I was obliged to go out of Church home; where, after a few Hours, with a little Help of warm Things inwardly applied, I quickly found Relief; and at the Seven a Clock Evening Lecture, I went again, having never yet been there; when the Work he took in Hand, was expounding on a Chapter in St. John’s Gospel; and, indeed, he did it, I thought, with great Perspicuity; but when he came towards a Conclusion, he could not shut up without a Touch on his darling Topick of Regeneration, which must spring from a vital Principle in the Heart, infused by the Holy Spirit; till which is made sure to us, we are all in a State of Damnation: And the Way to attain this, is by strong Faith, without Regard to good Works; which will occasion great Pangs in the New Birth; and when by struggling with God in Prayer, we have obtained his Grace, we shall find the Holy Spirit sensibly moving upon our Hearts, as it did upon the Face of the Waters: Which if any one denies, in plain he told us he lied; for that the Warmth of the Spirit was as sensibly felt, as the Beams of the Sun upon our Bodies: But this, he said, was a Doctrine which very few of our modern Clergy approved of; whom he inveighed against terribly, as slothful Shepherds, dumb Dogs, &c. who led their
People dreaming on in a carnal Security to Dcstruction; and that he was firmly persuaded in himself, very few great and rich Men, and as few of our learned Doctors, for an Age and more past, could ever see Heaven; among whom, the Author of the Whole Duty of Man, he verily believed, had sent Thousands to Hell: Then he exhorted such of his Hearers as were true Converts, to be on their Guard against all Temptations, which they must surely expect, to try them, whether or not they were steadfast; telling them they must meet with Contempt and Derision, on their thus setting out on their Way to Glory; and by and by Persecution would follow: For Men in high Places would be offended at all Opposition made to their Delusions, and then we might expect undoubtedly it was at hand. These Things were very shocking to many People, who were otherwise well disposed.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 504-505.