Quotes by George Whitefield
Ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross; the Spirit of Christ and of glory then rests upon them. It was this, no doubt, that made the Puritans such burning and shining lights. When cast out by the black Bartholomew-act [the 1662 Act of Uniformity] and driven from their respective charges to preach in barns and fields, in the highways and hedges, they in an especial manner wrote and preached as men having authority. Though dead, by their writings they yet speak; a peculiar unction attends them to this very hour.
When you hear of a notorious sinner, instead of thinking you do well to be angry, beg of Jesus Christ to convert, and make him a monument of His free grace.
I was delivered from the burden that had so heavily suppressed me. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was to truly rejoice in God my Savior.
We are immortal until our work on earth is done.
Other men may preach the gospel better than I, but no man can preach a better gospel.
Works? Works? A man get to heaven by works? I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand!
Every man, by his own natural will, hates God; but when he is turned to the Lord, by evangelical repentance, then his will is changed; then his conscience, now hardened and benumbed, shall be quickened and awakened; then his hard hearts shall be melted, and his unruly affections shall be crucified. Thus, by that repentance, the whole soul will be changed, and he will have new inclinations, new desires, and new habits.
God has condescended to become an author, and yet people will not read his writings. There are very few that ever gave this Book of God, the grand charter of salvation, one fair reading through.
I am tired in the Lord’s work, but not tired of it.
Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.
God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.
I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God.
What! Get to heaven on your own strength? Why, you might as well try to climb to the moon on a rope of sand!
It is an undoubted truth that every doctrine that comes from God, leads to God; and that which doth not tend to promote holiness is not of God.
To help prevent spiritual pride, let us remember, that we did not chose Christ, but were chosen by Him. We have nothing but what has been given to us. The free grace of God has alone made the difference between us and others; and, if God was to leave us to the deceitfulness of our own hearts for even one moment, we would become weak and wicked, like other men. We should further consider, that being proud of grace, is the quickest way to diminish it.
Learning without piety will only render you more capable of promoting the kingdom of the devil. Henceforward therefore I hope you will enter into your studies, not to get a parish, not to be a polite preacher, but to be a great saint… The more holy you are, the more will God delight to honor you. He loves to make use of instruments like Himself.
Take care of your life and the Lord will take care of your death.
There is not a thing on the face of the earth that I abhor so much as idleness or idle people.
I find you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent, unprejudiced pursuit and study, the mystery of the new birth. It is a most important, interesting study; and, when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains. One, at whose bar we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared, without it we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. You will excuse this freedom. I must have something of Christ in all my letters.
Every governor of a family ought to look upon himself as obligated to act in three qualities as a prophet, to instruct; as a priest, to pray for and with; as a king, to govern, direct and provide for them.
For if, as the apostle argues, “He that does not provide for his own house,” in temporal things, “has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel;” to what greater degree of apostasy must he have arrived, who takes no thought to provide for the spiritual welfare of his family!
[P]ersons are generally very liberal of their invectives against the clergy, and think they justly blame the conduct of’ that minister who does not take heed to and watch over the flock, of which the Holy Ghost has made him overseer: but may not every governor of a family, be in a lower degree liable to the same censure, who takes no thought for those souls that are committed to his charge? For every house is as it were a little parish, every governor a priest, every family a flock; and if any of them perish through the governor’s neglect, their blood will God require at their hands.
Jesus Christ came down to save us, not only from the guilt, but also from the power of sin… Tell me, are not many of you offended at what has been said already?… Are not others ready to cry out, if this be true, who then can be saved? Is not this driving people into despair?… I would to God…that the whole world was filled with this despair.
I am glad you know when persons are justified. It is a lesson I have not yet learnt. There are so many stony ground hearers, who receive the Word with joy, that I have determined to suspend my judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. That makes me so cautious now, which I was not thirty years ago, of dubbing converts too soon. I love now to wait a little, and see if people bring forth fruit; for there are so many blossoms which March winds you know blow away, that I cannot believe they are converts till I see fruit brought back; it will never do a sincere soul any harm.
A true faith in Jesus Christ will not suffer us to be idle. No, it is an active, lively, restless principle; it fills the heart, so that it cannot be easy till it is doing something for Jesus Christ.
There are so many stony ground hearers, who receive the Word with joy, that I have determined to suspend my judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. I cannot believe they are converts until I see fruit brought back; it will never do a sincere soul any harm.
[Knowing the character of ] Satan, we may easily judge who his children are. They are those who love to tell a lie, who slander and speak evil of their neighbor, and whose hearts are full of pride, deception, hatred, envy, revenge, and cruelty. Surely they have Satan for their father: for they know Satan’s character and they do the works of Satan. But if they could either see themselves, or Satan as he really is, they would be terrified at their resemblance to him, and totally hate themselves with a deep remorse.
If our sins outnumbered the number of the hairs on our head; yet the merits of the death of Jesus Christ are infinitely greater, and faith in His blood shall make them white as snow.
We must expect to be tempted by [Satan] in some degree or another, all of our lives, because this life is a continual warfare. We must never expect to have rest from our spiritual adversary the devil, or to say, our combat with him is finished. Our fight with the evil one will continue until we bow our heads and our spirit is removed from our body and is brought into the presence of our dear precious Savior Jesus Christ!
If we would therefore behave like good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must be always on our guard, and never pretend to lay down our spiritual weapons of prayer and watching, till our warfare is ended by death; for if we do, our spiritual foe will quickly prevail against us. What if he has left us? It is only for a season; yet in a little while, and, like a roaring lion, with double fury, he will break out upon us again. Satan is such a evil enemy, that he seldom leaves us after the first attack. As he followed our blessed Lord with one temptation after another, so will he treat the Lord’s servants. And the reason why he sometimes does not renew his attacks, is because God knows our weaknesses and at times are unable to bear an attack. Sometimes the pause in the temptations come because our adversary thinks it is better to assault us at a more convenient season.
Since then Christ is praying for us, whom should we fear? And since He has promised to make us more than conquerors, of whom should we be afraid? No, though an host of demons are lined up against us, let us not be afraid; though the hottest persecution should rise up against us, yet let us put our trust in God. Even though Satan, and the rest of his apostate spirits, are powerful, when compared with us; yet, if put in competition with the Almighty, they are as weak as the smallest worms. God has them all reserved in chains of darkness until the final judgment day. They shall only go as far as He permits them, and no farther.