Dluxe's World

Friday, January 19

Whitefield for the Weekend [14]

It is recorded by one of [Whitefield's] biographers that an American gentleman once went to hear him, for the first time, in consequence of the report he heard of his preaching powers. The day was rainy, the congregation comparatively thin, and the beginning of the sermon rather heavy. Our American friend began to say to himself, 'This man is no great wonder after all'. He looked round, and saw the congregation as little interested as himself. One old man, in front of the pulpit, had fallen asleep.

But all at once Whitefield stopped short. His countenance changed. And then he suddenly broke forth in an altered tone: 'If I had come to speak to you in my own name, you might well rest your elbows on your knees, and your heads on your hands, and sleep; and once in a while look up, and say, What is this babbler talking of? But I have not come to you in my own name. No! I have come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts' (here he brought down his hand and foot with a force that made the building ring) 'and I must and will be heard'. The congregation started.

The old man woke up at once. 'Ay, ay!' cried Whitefield, fixing his eyes on him, 'I have waked you up, have I? I meant to do it. I am not come here to preach to stocks and stones: I have come to you in the name of the Lord God of Hosts, and I must, and will, have an audience.' The hearers were stripped of their apathy at once. Every word of the sermon after this was heard with deep attention, and the American gentleman never forgot it.
J.C. Ryle, Five Christian Leaders

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