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Written originally as part of a series of â€śbiographical papersâ€ť between 1866-1867, on men who â€śrevived religion in Englandâ€ť, Bishop J. C. Ryle writes enthusiastically about the life and ministry of George Whitefield. He describes him as being â€śthe Prince of English Evangelistsâ€ť, and speaking about Whitefield's relationship with the Church of England, Ryle writes, â€ś..He loved the church in which he was ordainedâ€ť, but goes on to say â€śthe church did not love himâ€ť.
In this first chapter we learn a little of Whitefield's early days, his meeting John and Charles Wesley, and amongst many other things commented on by Ryle we learn that on preaching his first sermon at the church of St. Mary-le-Crypt, in Gloucester, complaint was made to the Bishop that â€śI drove fifteen people mad the first sermonâ€ť It is recorded that the Bishop of Gloucester replied â€śâ€¦he wished that the madness might not be forgotten before next Sundayâ€ť.
Knowing that thousands attended no place of worship, â€śspent their Sundays in idleness or sin, and were not reached by sermons within wallsâ€ť Whitefield took his preaching into the open-air. For the remainder of his life he became a â€śconstant field preacherâ€ť. Thousands came to hear him, hearing from his lips the â€śpure Gospelâ€ť, with life-changing results.
He died, following a severe attack of asthma, aged 56, on 30th September 1770. He was buried in the church at Newbury Port, near Boston, where he was to preach on the day of his death.
John Charles Ryle was born in the English town of Macclesfield, in the County of Cheshire, on the 10th of May, 1816. His education took him to the prestigious college at Eton, followed by time spent at the great University of Oxford. His conversion can be traced to a time when his own...