Mr. Whitefield Is Dead

Benjamin Randall, great New England preacher and denominational leader, was born in 1749 to a sea captain and his wife on a rocky island off the coast of New Hampshire. In time, he became a tailor and sail-maker.

In September 1770, evangelist George Whitefield arrived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Randall attended the meetings unimpressed. Whitefield moved on. But a few days later, a horseman flew through town with dramatic news: “Mr. Whitefield is dead! Died this morning at Newburyport, about six o’clock!”

As I heard this an arrow pierced my heart. Mr. Whitefield was a man of God, and I had spoken reproachfully of him. That voice is not silent in death. On reaching home, I took to my room to mourn in solitude over my condition. My former religion seemed altogether worthless.

On October fifteenth, while musing on my condition, I fell into the following train of thought: “Once I was company for almost everyone, but now for none. I took pleasure in the world, but now there remains nothing of that. All things appear insipid.” While thus musing, Hebrews 9:26 came to my mind: “But now, once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” I was in such deep meditation that the words passed without particular notice. They came up the second time, however; then I began to think, “What can the passage mean?” While meditating upon the text my burden rolled off, leaving me calm and peaceful.
As my faith grasped the meaning of the text, I gave glory to God. And what a joy filled my soul! I could now see in Jesus Christ a blessed sacrifice for sin. How the character of Jesus shone in my soul! For a time I could do nothing but repeat the name of Jesus. Jesus! Jesus!! It seemed to me that if I had a thousand souls, I could trust them all in His hands.

Robert J. Morgan

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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