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Open Air Preaching with Wesley and Whitefield

I'm loving Lex Loizides's blog.  At the moment he's taking us through the history of open air preaching from Howell Harris to George Whitefield to John Wesley.

Here's Wesley's journal entry the first day he tried open air preaching:

At four in the afternoon, I submitted to be more vile and proclaimed in the highways the glad tidings of salvation.

Whoever desires to become more vile desires a noble task!


And here's Whitefield describing one occasion of preaching to thousands:

‘The open firmament above me, the prospect of the adjacent fields, with the sight of thousands and thousands, some in coaches, some on horseback, and some in the trees, and at times all affected and drenched in tears together, to which sometimes was added the solemnity of the approaching evening, was almost too much for, and quite overcame me.’


0 thoughts on “Open Air Preaching with Wesley and Whitefield

  1. codepoke

    I could cry just to believe there was such a day. That Christ should be proclaimed in holiness to Americans who wanted to hear of Him and were moved at the words of truth is a dream.

    I'm reminded of Spurgeon's experience, though. His early books are quite harsh. In his youth he said explicitly and clearly that if a man was seeing a conversion or two every week, he was certainly not preaching the gospel. He might be mentioning Christ, but if he were preaching the gospel, he would be seeing people brought to His Lord in tens and twenties, and so might a man judge himself. In his later years, Spurgeon retrenched that statement. He wept to say that the move of the Spirit which made his statement true those many years ago had ended, and the purest gospel could scarce get a hearing anywhere in England.

    I suppose the work is to recognize what the Spirit's doing today.

  2. Glen

    That's very interesting about Spurgeon. Young men say rash things! Perhaps on balance though we are too resigned to seeing stoney responses to the gospel. Paul saw his fair share of that but it grieved him. Jesus saw hard-hearted unbelief too - but He didn't shrug His shoulders, even the Lord was amazed at it. It's too easy to become jaded and cynical when, on the contrary, reactions of unbelief and indifference should shock and grieve us.

    Straight after Lex quoted Whitefield, he says this:

    "Such multitudes, and even larger, are being regularly seen in Africa, India, South America and many other parts of the world. But let’s not only rejoice in what God has done in the past or in what God is doing in other places – let’s cry out to God for our cities, towns and rural regions, that He would ‘rend the heavens and come down’ (Isaiah 64:1), revealing the truth of the cross of Christ in our world."

    He also speaks about the prayer meetings held prior to the Awakening which both Wesley and Whitefield pointed to as absolutely crucial:

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