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exception of the weekly lecture, ceased, though the public services of the Sabbath were still performed in the fields till the month of November, when the inclemency of the weather rendered it necessary again to take the benefit of the church.
up to the tent, preached three times with great life; and returned with much satisfaction and joy. Mr. Whitefield's sermons on Saturday, Sabbath, and Monday, were attended with much power, particularly on Sabbath night about ten, and that on Monday, several crying out, and a very great but decent weeping and mourning was observable thro' the auditory. On Sabbath even. ing while he was serving some tables, he appeared to be so filled with the love of God, as to be in a kind of ecstasy or transport, and communicated with much of that blessed frame. Time would fail me to speak of the evidences of the power of God coming along with the rest of the assistants; and I am in part prevented by what is noticed by Mr. Robe in his narrative.
The number of people that were there on Saturday and Monday was very considerable. But the number present at the three tents on the Lord's day was so great, that, so far as I can hear, none ever saw the like since the revolution in Scotland, or even any where else at any sacrament occasion; some have called them fifty thousand, some forty thousand, the lowest estimate I can hear of, with which Mr. Whitefield agrees, who has been so much used to great multitudes, and forming a judgment of their number, makes them to have been upwards of thirty thousand.
The number of communicants appears to have been about three thousand. The tables were double, and the double was reckoned to contain one hundred and fourteen, or one hundred and sixteen, or one hundred and twenty communicants. The number of tables I reckoned had been but twenty-four; but I have been since informed, that a man who sat near the tables and kept a pen in his band, and carefully marked each service with his pen, assured that there were twenty-five double tables or services, the last table wanting only five or six persons to fill it up. And this account comes indeed the most probable, as agreeing nearly with the number of tokens distributed, which was about three thousand. And some worthy of credit, and that had proper opportunities to know, gave it as their opinion, that there was such a blessed frame fell upon the people, that if there had been access to get tokens, there would have been a thousand more communicants than what were.
This vast concourse of people, you may easily imaginc, came not only from the city of Glasgow, and other places near by, but from many places at a considerable distance; it was reckoned there were two hundred communi. cants from Edinburgh, two hundred from Kilmarnock, one hundred from Irvine, and one hundred from Stewarton. It was observed, that there were some from England and Ireland here at this occasion; a considerable number of Quakers were hearers; a great number of those that had formerly been seceders were hearing the word, and several of them were communicants. A youth that had a near view to the ministry, and had been for some time under
Of the number of persons brought under conviction, or sup. posed to have been actually converted, no very accurate list has been preserved. Of the latter, Mr. M‘Culloch, nine years after this, states, that he had a list of four hundred awakened this
great temptations that God's presence was no more to be enjoyed, either in the church or among the seceders, communicated here, and returned with great joy, full of the love of God.
There was a great deal of outward decency and regularity observable about the tables. Publick worship began on the Lord's day at half-past eight in the morning. My action sermon, I think, was reasonably short; the third or fourth table was a serving at twelve o'clock, and the last table was a serving about sunset ; when that was done, the work was closed with a few words of exhortation, prayer, and praise, the precentor having so much day-light as to let him see to read four lines of a psalm. The passes to and from the tables, were with great care kept clear for the communicants to come and go. The tables filled so quickly, that oftimes there was no more time between one table and another, but to sing four lines of a psalm. The tables were all served in the open air, beside the tent, below the brae; the day was temperate; no wind or rain in the least to disturb. Several persons of considerable rank and distinction, who were elders, most cheerfully assisted our elders in serving the tables, such as the honourable Mr. Charles Erskine of
- advocate, Bruce of Kennet, Esq. Gillen of Wallhouse, Esq. Mr. Warner of Andees, and Mr. Wardrop, surgeon in Edinburgh.
But what was most remarkable, was the spiritual glory of this solemnity, I mean the gracious and sensible presence of God. Not a few were awakened to a sense of sin, and their lost and perishing condition without a Saviour. Others had their bands loosed, and were brought into the marvellous liberty of the sons of God. Many of God's dear children have declared, that it was a happy time to their souls, wherein they were abundantly satisfied with the goodness of God in his ordinances, and filled with all joy and peace in believing. I have seen a letter from Edinburgh, the writer of which says, ' That having talked with many christians in that city, who had been here at this sacrament, they all owned that God had dealt bountifully with their souls on this occasion.' Some that attended here, declared that they would not for a world have been absent from this solemnity. Others cried, Now let thy servants depart in peace from this place, since our eyes have seen thy salvation here. Others wishing, if it were the will of God, to die where they were attending God in his ordinances, without ever returning again to the world or their friends, that they might be with Christ in heaven, as that which is comparatively best of all.
I thought it my duty to offer these open hints concerning this solemnity, and to record the memory of God's great goodness to many souls at that occasion. And now, I suppose, you will by this time find yourself disposed to sing the ninety-eighth psalm at the beginning, or the close of the seventy
year at Cambuslang, who to the day of their death, or to the date of his letter, 1751, had walked in a manner becoming the gospel. Of these, seventy persons are stated to have belonged to the parish of Cambuslang.
Much violent and idle controversy was excited by this event at the time, nor has the question of its origin, so far as we know, yet been set at rest. By the churchmen by whom it was promoted or countenanced it was universally cried up as a more than ordinary work of the Spirit of God, and the improvement they made of it was certainly an extraordinary one, viz. that it was an open intervention in behalf of the established church, and a plain providential rebuke of the presumption of the seceders in declining the authority of her judicatories, and withdrawing from her communion, a most absurd conclusion, even granting the premises, God's providential dispensations forming no rule of duty either as they regard societies or individuals. The seceders, on the other hand, irritated by senseless abuse, went to an opposite extreme, and made more noise about it than was really called for, which their enemies sedulously and very successfully employed to their disadvantage.
Where there were so many eminent ministers employed for the space of six months, there must have been many clear exhibitions of the gospel, and wherever these are made for a length of time, we cannot but think that some good fruits will follow. At the same time, we must say, that the whole business, from first to last, was in a high degree disorderly, and that there was a great deal of delusion in it is evident even from the showing of its warmest defenders. It was not the seceders alone who questioned the heavenly origin of the bodily convulsions, in which one great peculiarity of this work consisted; Whitefield himself “ believed them," as he has told us in his Journal, “ to come from the devil, who wanted to bring an evil report on the work by these fits,” and Robe, Webster,
second psalm, or some other psalm of praise. May our excellent Redeemer still go on from conquering to conquer, till the whole earth be filled with his glory, Amen, so let it be. In him I am,
Yours, &c. &c.
Narrative of the Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God at Cambuslang, &c. pp. 33-98.
Willison, &c. &c. have, to a considerable extent, admitted the same thing. Perhaps after all, the causes, strange as the effects were, might be found in the elements of the human mind, operated upon by circumstances which the contending parties were not cool enough at the time to observe, nor sufficiently candid afterwards to acknowledge. Such, however, were the convictions of the associate presbytery concerning these causes, that in the month of July, they held a meeting at Dunfermline, and appointed the fourth day of August to be observed as a day of fasting and humiliation through their whole body, for which, among other reasons, they specified the countenance given to Mr. Whitefield, “ a priest of the church of England, who hath sworn the oath of supremacy,” and “ abjured the solemn league and covenant,” and particularly " the symptoms of delusion attending the present awful work upon the bodies and spirits of men.” With an honesty which he did not on all occasions practise, Whitefield had avowed himself, when before the seceding brethren, a member of the church of England, the government and worship of which he thought lawful, and he declared, moreover, unless he was thrust out, that he was resolved to continue in that church, rebuking sin, and preaching Christ. He also told them that “ he reckoned the solemn league and covenant a sinful oath, as too much narrowing the communion of saints, and that he could not see the divine right of presbytery.”* But his friends in the establishment were just as great sticklers for the divine right of presbytery, and professed to adhere to the covenants just as warmly as the seceders, and of course this public accusation, the truth of which Mr. Whitefield's conversations had amply confirmed, must have given them great uneasiness. Among others, Mr. Willison seems to have had some difficulties on the subject, which Whitefield was at great pains to obviate, by a letter from Cambuslang, which the reader may consult at the foot of the page.t Whether this letter was satisfactory to Mr. Willison
* Memoirs of the Life of Mr. George Whitefield, by John Gillies, D.D. p. 100.
+ I heartily thank you for your concern about unworthy me. Though I am not very solicitous what the world say of me, yet I would not refuse to give any one, much less a minister of Jesus Christ, (and such an one I take
or not, we have not discovered. Whitefield probably thought his assertions ingenuous, but Mr. Willison could not but know, that the oath of supremacy which Whitefield bad sworn, and for which he never made any apology, was a real abjuring of
you to be) all reasonable satisfaction about any part of my doctrine or conduct. I am sorry that the associate presbytery, besides the other things exceptionable in the grounds of their late fast, have done me much wrong. As to what they say about the supremacy, my sentiments as to the power and authority of the civil magistrate as to sacred things, agree with what is said in the Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. xxiii. paragraph 3d and 4th. And I do own the Lord Jesus to be the blessed head and king of his church. The solemn league and covenant I never abjured, neither was it ever proposed to me to be abjured: and as for my missives, if the associate presbytery will be pleased to print them, the world will see that they had no reason to expect that I would act in any other manner than I have done. What that part of my experience is, that savours of the grossest enthusiasm, I know not, because not specified, but this one thing I know, when I conversed with them, they were satisfied with the account I then gave of my experiences, and also of the validity of my mission; only when they found I would preach the gospel promiscuously to all, and for every minister that would invite me, and not adhere only to them, one of them particularly said, " They were satisfied with all the other accounts which I gave of myself, except of my call to Scotland at that time.” They would have been glad of my help, and have received me as a minister of Jesus Christ, had I consented to have preached only at the invitation of them and their people. But I judged that to be contrary to the dictates of my conscience; and therefore I could not comply. I thought their foundation was too narrow for any high house to be built upon. I declared freely when last in Scotland (and am more and more convinced of it since) that they were building a Babel. At the same time, they knew very well I was very far from being against all church government (for how can any church subsist without it?) I only urged, as I do now, that since holy men differ so much about the outward form, we should bear with and forbear one another, though in this respect we are not of one mind. I have often declared in the most publick manner, that I believe the church of Scotland to be the best constituted national church in the world. At the same time, I would bear with, and converse freely with all others, who do not err in fundamentals, and who give evidence that they are true lovers of the Lord Jesus. This is what I mean by a catholick spirit. Not that I believe a Jew or Pagan continuing such, can be a true Christian, or have true Christianity in them; and if there be any thing tending that way in the late extract which I sent you, I utterly disavow it. And I am sure I observed no such thing in it, when I published it, though upon a closer review, some expressions seem justly exceptionable. You know how strongly I assert all the doctrines of grace, as held forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, and doctrinal articles of the church of England. These I trust I shall adhere to as long as I live, because I verily