Friday, December 16, 2005

Happy Birthday George Whitefield and Jane Austen



On December 16, 1714 George Whitefield, the celebrated Calvinist Methodist preacher of the Great Awakening, was born at the Bell Inn, Gloucester.
Jane Austen was born on the same day in 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire.

Please take a moment to read this bit of Whitefield wisdom on irresistable grace:

“Come, ye dead, Christless, unconverted sinner, come and see the place where they laid the body of the deceased Lazarus; behold him laid out, bound hand and foot with graveclothes, locked up and stinking in a dark cave, with a great stone placed on top of it. View him again and again; go nearer to him; be not afraid; smell him, Ah! how he stinketh. Stop there now, pause a while; and whilst thou art gazing upon the corpse of Lazarus, give me leave to tell thee with great plainness, but greater love, that this dead, bound, entombed, stinking carcase, is but a faint representation of thy poor soul in it natural state;...thy spirit which thou bearest about with thee, sepulchered in flesh and blood, is literally dead to God, and as truly dead in trespasses and sins, as the body of Lazarus was in the cave. Was he bound hand and foot with graveclothes? So art thou bound hand and foot with thy corruptions; and as a stone was laid on the sepulchre, so there is a stone of unbelief upon thy stupid heart. Perhaps thou has lain in this estate, not only four days, but many years, stinking in God’s nostrils. And, what is still more effecting, thou art as unable to raise thyself out of this loathsome, dead state, to a life of righteousness and true holiness, as ever Lazarus was to raise himself from the cave in which he lay so long. Thou mayest try the power of thy boasted free will, and the force and energy of moral persuasion and rational arguments (which, without doubt, have their proper place in religion); but all thy efforts, exerted with never so much vigor, will prove quite fruitless and abortive, till that same Jesus, who said ‘take away the stone” and cried “Lazarus, come forth,” also quicken you. This is grace, graciously offered, and grace graciously applied."

Miscellaneous:
  • "It is a poor sermon that gives no offense; that neither makes the hearer displeased with himself nor with the preacher." (Then I guess Jesus preached good sermons)
  • "The fall of man is written in too legible characters not to be understood: Those that deny it, by their denying, prove it."
  • "As for the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, such as working of miracles, or speaking with divers kinds of tongues, they are long since ceased." (...coming from a revival preacher)
  • "Here then I could conclude; but I must not forget the poor negroes; no, I must not. Jesus Christ had died for them, as well as for others."

And Austen:

  • "We met Dr. Hall in such deep mourning that either his mother, his wife, or himself must be dead. "