Friday, June 25, 2010

God Saves Whom He Wants

“He would stop at Rotherham, however, because the insults he had formerly received there, had tempted him to return no more. Then, he thought no good was done. Now, he found the chief family of his " bitter persecutors" converted to God, and ready to welcome him under their roof. He became their guest. Rotherham had signalized itself by hostility to Whitefield. Both his person and character had been assailed there; and by none more than the late Thorpe of Masborough, then a young man. He was in the habit of meeting his boon companions in the alehouse, to mimic Whitefield, and turn religion into mockery. One evening Thorpe and three others laid a wager, which of them could imitate him in the highest style, at an off-hand sermon, from the first text which should turn up on opening the Bible. The buffoonery of the three soon failed, and Thorpe sprung on the table, saying," I shall beat you all hollow." The Bible was handed to him. He opened it at random. His eye fell on the words, " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." He uttered them without fear or hesitation. But that moment his conscience smote him. It burst into flames. It compelled him to preach repentance to himself and all the club. He went on in spite of himself, until his own hair stood on end with horror, and all the bacchanals (drunks) were blanched with terror. Not a word was said of the wager when he came down. He walked out in awful silence. Soon after this he joined the Wesleyans, and was sent out by Wesley himself as a preacher, who wisely stationed him at Rotherham. He afterwards became an independent.”

From Robert Philip’s Life and Times of George Whitefield (1838).