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George Whitefield (1714-1770)  Whitefield was born at Gloucester in the year 1714, of humble origin, and had no rich or noble connections to help him forward in the world. Furthermore, Whitefield's early life, according to his own account, was anything but religious; He confesses that he was "addicted to lying, filthy talking, and foolish jesting," and that he was a "Sabbath-breaker, a theater-goer, a card-player, and a romance reader."  After his conversion as a young man, he was deeply moved by a small handful of influential books including Richard Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, Joseph Alleine's Alarm to Unconverted Sinners, and Matthew Henry's Commentary. "Above all," he says, "my mind being now more opened and enlarged, I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books, and praying over, if possible, every line and word."  After a time of favorable pastoral ministry and a short visit to America, he returned to England, where he found that the bulk of the clergy were no longer favourable to him, and regarded him with suspicion as an enthusiast and a fanatic. The number of pulpits to which he had access rapidly diminished, and, moved with a particular compassion for the unchurched, he began the practice of open-air preaching, and frequently was attended by crowds as large as thirty thousand people, where the gospel so proclaimed was listened to and greedily received by hundreds who never dreamed of going to a place of worship.  From 1739 to the year of his death, he was almost incessantly preaching Christ, and going about the world entreating men to repent and come to Christ and be saved. In the thirty-four years of his ministry it is reckoned that he preached publicly eighteen thousand times.  He died at last very suddenly at Newburyport, Massachusetts, on Sunday, September 29th, 1770, at the comparatively early age of fifty-six. Never perhaps was there a man of whom it could be so truly said that he spent and was spent for Christ than George Whitefield.  (from “George Whitefield & His Ministry” by J.C. Ryle.)

True Conversion

From a sermon by Evangelist George Whitefield

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