Book/Printed Material The character and death of the late Rev. George Whitefield ... [Portsmouth] Printed and sold by D. and R. Fowle [1770].

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Bearers, the Rev. Messirs.

Daniel Rogers, Exeter.

James Chandler, Rowley.

Edward Bass, Newbury-Port.

Jedediah Jewett, Rowley.

Moses Parsons, Newbury.

Dr. Haven, Portsmouth.

LAST Lord's Day departed this Life, in the 56th Year of his Age, at Newbury-Port, about Six o'Clock in the Morning, the ever memorable, learned, ingenious, renowned and pious GEORGE WHITEFIELD, Chaplain to the Right Hon. the Countess of Huntingdon, &c. &c. having the Friday before, preached to a most numerous Congregation in Dr. Langdon's Meeting House, there being at least Six Thousand Persons who attended:—He had preach'd to near an equal Number once before, in said Meeting House, and twice in the Rev. Doctor Haven's the same Week, with great Fervor.—He was a Gentleman, who perhaps was as universally beloved, and as universally lamented, and more so than any one ever was in America; and no Doubt when this melancholly News reaches Europe, they will join in the general Grief. It is now about thirty Years since he first arrived in Boston; and has several Times taken a Tour along the Continent from Georgia, to Old York in the Massachusetts.—He always appeared to be a truly pious and very extraordinary Personage, both in his public Performance throughout Europe, and in his different Visits in most Parts of British America.—It may be said, that he has for a long Course of Years astonished the World as a Prodigy of Eloquence and Devotion! It is questionable whether any one since the Days of the Apostles, or even they, had more Hearers, he having delivered above Seventeen Thousand Discourses, to Five, Ten, Fifteen, and Twenty Thousand Persons at a Time, both in Europe and America.—He kept up his Zeal and Popularity to the last Discourse, which he delivered at Exeter in the Province of New-Hampshire, where he had at least Six Thousand Hearers, being three Times as many as could be contained within the Walls of the Place of public Worship; he therefore chose to preach in the open Air—And tho' he was much troubled with the Asthma, yet the Charms of his Rhetorick and Oratory, were surprizing—He always appeared to speak from the Heart; and as to his Fervency and Zeal, perhaps unequal'd by any since the Days of the Apostles.—“With what Frequency and Chearfulness did he ascend the Desk, the Language of his Actions being ever, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Master's Business.”— He was facetious, agreeable and pleasant in Conversation.—“From the Pulpit he was unrivalled in the Command of an over crowded and admiring Auditory; nor was he less entertaining and instructive in his private Conversation and Deportment.—Happy in a remarkable Ease of Address, willing to communicate, studious to edify, and form'd to amuse; such in more retir'd Life, was the Character of the Person whose Departure we lament.—And while a peculiar Pleasure enlivened and render'd his Company agreeable, his Conversation was ever marked with the great Object of his Pursuit, Virtue and Religion!”

He seem'd to have a very clear View of the Entertainments of another Life; and would commonly converse so familiarly of Death, as tho' he was a kind Friend he was waiting for, and even long'd to receive the Summons; and was unwilling to tarry here any longer than he could be serviceable to Mankind.—When the News of his Death reached Portsmouth, which was in about Six Hours after his Decease, the Gloom that sat on the Countenances of Persons of all Denominations, was very surprizing; and when his Death came to be mentioned in the Afternoon Service, the Congregations were bath'd in Tears—Such was the Love they bore to this wonderful Man.

On Monday Morning some Gentlemen of this Town went to Newbury, with an Intent to bring his Remains, if they could be obtained, to this Place; and to lay them in a new Tomb, hewn out of a Rock, which was generously offered; But it was judged his Body was not fit to be removed, upon which they gave over their intended Design.—There was a Committee appointed, and came from Boston, in order to convey his Body there, to be interr'd in that Metropolis.—He was interr'd the Tuesday following, in a new Tomb before the Pulpit of the Rev. Mr. Parsons's Meeting House, where he was to have preached at Ten o'Clock that Morning he died.

On the Morning he died, he rose from his Bed about Three o'Clock, made a most excellent and copious Prayer in his Bed-Chamber, as usual, with only Mr. Smith, his Companion present—laid down on his Bed again.—Between Four and Five o'Clock rose again, said his Asthma was coming on,—opened the Windows,—found himself greatly distressed for Breath,—walked Two or Three Times across the Chamber,—went into the Entry-way, threw up the Window there—but could get no Relief.—Said to his Companion, He was just agoing, or Words to that Effect—Who then took hold of him, lead him to, and seated him in his Chair.—Soon after, viz. about Six o'Clock, this most celebrated Man of God expired, without saying any Thing more.—

“It was a noble Character which the Historian gives of Marcus Cato, which is in the following Words,— Cato, (saith he, was Virtue drawn to the Life, and the Resemblance was so exact, that it wa? hard to say whether Virtue animated Cato, or Cato gave Subsistence and Visibility to Virtue; nay, such was the unshaken Greatness of his Mind, and the Purity of his Life, that he seem'd more to partake of divine Perfection than of human Felicity—for he was both so far above all Temptations of doing Evil, and also free from the Allay of mean Ends and Designs in doing Good; that it seem'd a Kind of “Necessity of Nature in him to do well”—This was bravely said, had it not been somewhat too Romantick.—But the Man we are about speaking of (under the aforesaid Qualifications) must as much out-go Cato, as he out-striped other Men; or, rather as much as the advantages of Christianity out-went those of Philosophy;—Therefore the following brief Description of a perfect Christian, may be, as an addition to the foregoing Account, applied to the Rev. Mr. WHITEFIELD:—This Man of GOD, was not only improved by humane Discourse, but raised by divine Revelation, and govern'd by the Wisdom of God; —was not under the saint and fluctuating Hopes which Reason can suggest, but under the assurances of Faith;—was not only eminent for some one or more Virtues, but being inflamed by the Love of God, and the prospect of Heaven, he breath'd Nothing but greatness and glory:—Wherever he went, God was in his Heart, Heaven in his Eye, Joy in his Countenance; and he spread the sweet Odours of Piety, and cast a Lustre upon Religion.

For in the first Place, we have Reason to think he was sanctified throughout, the Image of God was restored upon him, and Christ Jesus formed in him. All the Maimes of his Fall were cured, and the Confusion of his Powers rectified, the Tyranny of Custom vanquished.—his Conscience inlightened, his Reason raised, his Passions subdued, his Will set right, and all the inferior Powers obedient, Virtue was made natural, easy and delightful to him, and it was his Meat and Drink to do the Will of his heavenly FATHER.

Furthermore, to assure his Station, he was confirmed by the Grace of God, and upheld by divine Power; he was the peculiar Care of God's Providence, the special Charge of the holy Angels, and the Temple of the blessed Spirit; all God's Dispensations provided for his safety, and work'd for his good.—The Devil was so restrained that he could not tempt him above what he was able to bear, —and hath not so little wit, with his great Malice, to attempt where he is sure to be foiled. He was sensible, Persecutions might assault him, and Flatteries undermine him; Prosperity might endeavour to blow him up, or adversity to crush him down; railery might go about to shame him out of his Course, or buffoonry to laugh him out of it;—but his race was as certain as that of the Sun, or the Stars in the Firmament, and his Foundation sure as the Mountains; for he knew in whom he had believed.

Again, he was adopted a Son of God, and sealed by the Holy Ghost, to the day of redemption —He felt himself quicken'd by his vital presence, warmed with his motions, and assured by his testimony.—This erected the hands that would hang down, and strengthened the feeble knees: This lifted up his head with joy, because he knew his Redemption drew nigh, and seem'd to be sensible his tottering Tabernacle would soon fall, which he was in daily expectation of; and every day he found himself a day's journey nearer Heaven—He, as it were, went up thither frequently by contemplation, and view'd it, his heart was ravish'd with a sight;—falls into a kind of trance with admiration, and when he comes to himself again, cries out, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. He was so swollowed up with the Love of God, that he really needed nothing, he fear'd nothing, he despis'd the world; life was tedious, death was welcome; he long'd to be dissolv'd, and be with Christ —And would often express himself in this manner, that could he have thought twenty years ago, he should have lived to this time, it would have almost broke his heart, tho' at the same time was willing to live to the age of Methusalem, if it was for the Glory of GOD and good of souls.

Now to draw towards the close of an imperfect sketch of a worthy Servant of the most high God, we may observe, What could trouble him that had peace in his conscience? What could dismay him that was secure of immortality?—What could affright him, whom death could not hurt?—And what could deject him that was sure of a Crown?

No wonder, if after all this, such a Man was active and vigorous for God, if he was used by him, and become his Embassador, beseeching men in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God. For all those comforts and incouragements aforementioned, inlarg'd his soul like an Angel,—put Wings upon him like a Cherub, and set him on fire like one of the Seraphims, with holy zeal of God's glory and the good of Men:—Therefore, with David, he might tell the unbelieving world, what God had done for his Soul;—and with his Lord and Master Christ Jesus, he went about doing good, and in his flame of holy love was content, and even took the greatest pleasure, to offer up himself a Sacrifice of a Sweat Smell to God.

Here is adulta virtus, Religion and Piety at their highest pitch and fullest maturity that is attainable in this world;—the next Step is Heaven, one degree more commences Glory. Let the envious world now (if they dare) reproach Religion as Hypocrisy, as mere pretence and great Words; when they observe that this glorious state is the design and the attainment of it, whenever it is wisely and worthily persecuted; or let them say all this is impossible; who, as Tully well expresses it, Ex sua ignavia & inertia & non ex ipso virtutis robore existimat. These things are no romancies, nor have I dressed up any Legendary Hero: the things are true and real: Thus shall i? be done to the man who God delights to honor. —All this hath been attain'd, and might be attained again, would men but cease to take up an opinion of their own goodness from the extream badness of others, and take their Measures rather from the rules, and motives, and assistances of the Gospel, than from the examples and Customs of the world; then without doubt, others besides Paul, might be able to say, I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, from henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but to all of them also that love his appearing.

All the Bells in this Town tolled from Eleven o'Clock in the Forenoon, till near Sun-down, at Three different Times.—

Portsmouth, October 5 th, 1770.

If any should incline to criticise, or find fault with the foregoing, it will be kindly taken, provided they will gratify the Public more to their Edification, as the worthy Person's just Character is sufficient to employ the ablest Pens, the brightest Genius's, and the most eloquent Orators.

About Fifteen Thousand Persons attended his Funeral.

Printed and Sold by D. and R. Fowie.

About this Item

The character and death of the late Rev. George Whitefield ... [Portsmouth] Printed and sold by D. and R. Fowle [1770].
Created / Published
Portsmouth, 1770.
Subject Headings
-  United States--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
Broadsides--New Hampshire--Portsmouth
-  Not in Evans.; Imprint 3.; Whitefield, George.
-  Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML.
-  Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 87, Folder 14.
1 p.; 39 x 31.5 cm.
Call Number/Physical Location
Portfolio 87, Folder 14
Source Collection
Broadsides, leaflets, and pamphlets from America and Europe
Digital Id
OCLC Number
Online Format
online text
Not in Evans.; Imprint 3.; Whitefield, George. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 87, Folder 14.
Original Format

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