By Alan Young
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Additional info for In the Footsteps of Robert Bruce: In Scotland, Northern England and Ireland
I have no doubt whatever, that many a faithful minister, who became a shining light in those days within the Church of England, first lighted his candle at the lamp of a man outside. Whitefield, again, was among the first to show the right way to meet infidels and skeptics. He saw clearly that the most powerful weapon against such men is not metaphysical reasoning and critical disquisition; but preaching the whole gospel, living the whole gospel, and spreading the whole gospel. It was not the writings of Leland, and the younger Sherlock, and Waterland, and Leslie, that rolled back the flood of infidelity one half so much as the preaching of Whitefield, and Wesley, and Fletcher, and Romaine, and Berridge, and Venn.
Infidelity stalked in. The Devil sowed tares broadcast, and walked to and fro. The gentry gloried in their shame, and no man pointed out their wickedness. The people sinned with a high hand, and no man taught them better. Ignorance, profligacy, irreligion, and superstition, were to be seen everywhere. Such were the times when Whitefield was raised up. I know that this is a dreadful picture. I marvel God did not sweep away the Church altogether. But I believe that the picture is not one whit too highly colored.
I believe the apostles would have said much the same. But while Whitefield addressed the careless and ungodly masses in this style, he never failed to urge on those who made a high profession of religion their responsibility, and to stir them up to walk worthy of their high calling. He never tolerated men who talked well about religion, but lived inconsistent lives. Such men, no doubt, there were about him, but it is pretty certain they got no quarter from him. On the contrary, one of his biographers tells us that he was especially careful to impress on all the members of his congregation the absolute necessity of adorning the doctrine of God in all the relations of life.
In the Footsteps of Robert Bruce: In Scotland, Northern England and Ireland by Alan Young