George Whitefield Sermon 57

Preached before the Governor, and Council, and the House of Assembly, in

Georgia, on January 28, 1770.

Zech. 4:10, "For who hath despised the Day of small things?"

Men, brethren, and fathers, at sundry times and in diverse manners,

God spake to the fathers by the prophets, before he spoke to us in these

last days by his Son. And as God is a sovereign agent, and his sacred

Spirit bloweth when and where it listeth, surely he may reveal and make

known his will to his creatures, when, where, and how he pleaseth; "and who

shall say unto him, what doest thou?" Indeed, this seems to be one reason,

to display his sovereignty, why he chose, before the canon of scripture was

settled, to make known his mind in such various methods, and to such a

variety of his servants and messengers.

Hence it is, that we hear, he talked with Abraham as "a man talketh

with a friend." To Moses he spoke "face to face." To others by "dreams in

the night," or by "visions" impressed strongly on their imaginations. This

seems to be frequently the happy lot of the favorite evangelical prophet

Zechariah, I call him evangelical prophet, because his predictions, however

they pointed at some approaching or immediate event, ultimately terminated

in Him, who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all the

lively oracles of God. The chapter from which our text is selected, among

many other passages, is a striking proof of this: An angel, that had been

more than once sent to him on former occasions, appears again to him, and

by way of vision, and "waked him, (to use his own words) as a man that is

wakened out of his sleep." Prophets, and the greatest servants of God, need

waking sometimes out of their drowsy frames.

Methinks I see this man of God starting out of his sleep, and being

all attention: the angle asked him, "what seest thou?" He answers, "I have

looked, and behold, a candle-stick all of gold," an emblem of the church of

God, "with a bowl upon the top of it, and seven lamps thereon, and seven

pipes to the seven lamps, which were upon the top thereof;" implying, that

the church, however reduced to the lowest ebb, should be preserved, be kept

supplied, and shining, through the invisible, but not less real, because

invisible aids and operations of the blessed Spirit of God. The occasion of

such an extraordinary vision, if we compare this passage with the second

chapter of the Prophecy of the prophet Haggai, seems to be this: It was now

near eighteen years since the Jewish people had been delivered from their

long and grievous Babylonian captivity; and being so lone deprived of their

temple and its worship, which fabric had been rased even to the ground, one

would have imagined, that immediately upon their return, they should have

postponed all private works, and with their united strength have first set

about rebuilding that once stately and magnificent structure. But they,

like too many Christians of a like luke-warm stamp, though all acknowledged

that this church-work was a necessary work, yet put themselves and others

off, with this godly pretense, "The time is not come, the time that the

Lord's house should be built." The time is not come! What, not in eighteen

years! For so long had they now been returned from their state of bondage:

and pray, why was not the time come? The prophet Haggai tells them; their

whole time was so taken up building for an habitation for their great and

glorious Benefactor, the mighty God of Jacob.

This ingratitude must not be passed by unpunished. Omniscience

observes, Omnipotence resents it! And that they might read their sin in

their punishment, as they thought it best to get rich, and secure houses

and lands and estates for themselves, before they set about unnecessary

church-work, the prophet tells them, "You have sown much, but bring in

little: ye eat, but ye have not enough: ye drink, but ye are not filled

with drink: ye clothe you, but there is none warm: and he that earneth

wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." Still he goes on

thundering and lightening, "Ye looked for much, and lo it came to little:

wand when ye brought it home, (pleasing yourselves with your fine crops) I

did blow upon it: why? Saith the Lord of Hosts; because of mine house that

is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house." A thundering sermon

this! delivered not only to the common people, but also unto, and in the

presence of "Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the son of

Josedech the high-priest. The prophet's report is believed; and the arm of

the Lord was revealed. Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua, the

son of Josedech (O happy times when church and state are thus combined)

with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God,

and the words of Haggai the prophets."

The spirit of Zerubbabel, and of Joshua, and the spirits of all the

remnant of the people were stirred up, and they immediately came,

disregarding, as it were, their own private buildings, "and did work in the

house of the Lord of Hosts their God." For a while, they proceeded with

vigor; the foundation of the house is laid, and the superstructure raised

to some considerable height: but whether this fit of hot zeal soon cooled,

as is too common, or the people were discouraged by the false

representations of their enemies, which perhaps met with too favorable a

reception as the court of Darius; it so happened, that the hearts of the

magistrates and ministers of the people waxed faint; and an awful chasm

intervened, between the finishing and laying the foundation of this

promising and glorious work.

Upon this, another prophet, even Zechariah, (who with Haggai had been

joint sufferer in the captivity) is sent to lift up the hands that hang

down, to strengthen the feeble knees, and by the foregoing instructive

vision, to reanimate Joshua and the people in general, and the heart of

Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, in particular, maugre all

discouragements, either from inveterate enemies, or from timid unstable

friends, or all other obstacles whatsoever. If Haggai thunders, Zechariah's

message is as lightening. "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel,

saying, Not by might, not by power, (not by barely human power or policy)

but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts: Who art thou, O great mountain?

(thou Sanballat and thy associates, who have been so long crying out, what

mean these feeble Jews? However great, formidable, and seemingly

insurmountable) before Zerubbabel thou shalt (not only be lowered and

rendered more accessible, but) become a plain;" thy very opposition shall,

in the end, promote the work, and help to expedite that very building,

which thou intendest to put a stop to, and destroy.

And lest Zerubbabel, through unbelief and outward opposition, or for

want of more bodily strength, should think this would be a work of time,

and that he should not live to see it completed in his days, "The word of

the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the

foundation of this house; his hands also shall finish it, and he shall

bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto

it." Grace! Grace! Unto it: a double acclamation, to show, that out of the

abundance of their hearts, their mouth spake; and this with shoutings and

crying from all quarters. Even their enemies should see the hand and

providence of God in the beginning, continuance, and ending of this

seemingly improbable and impracticable work; so that they should be

constrained to cry, "Grace unto it," and wish both the work and the

builders much prosperity: But as for its friends, they should be so

transported with heart-felt joy in the reflection upon the signal

providences which had attended them through the whole process, that they

would shout and cry, "Grace, grace unto it:" or, This is nothing but the

Lord's doing; God prosper and bless this work more and more, and make it a

place where his free grace and glory may be abundantly displayed. Then by a

beautiful and pungent sarcasm, turning to the insulting enemies, he utters

the spirited interrogation in my text, "Who hath despised the day of small

things?" Who are you, that vauntingly said, what can these feeble Jews do,

pretending to lay the foundation of a house which they never will have

money, or strength, or power to finish? Or, who are you, O timorous, short-

sighted, doubting, though well-meaning people, who, through unbelief, were

discouraged at the small beginnings and feebleness of the attempt to build

a second temple? And, because you thought it could not come up to the

magnificence of the first, therefore were discouraged from so much as

beginning to build a second at all?

A close instructive question this; a question, implying, that whenever

God intends to bring about any great thing, he generally begins with a day

of small things.

As a proof of this, I will not lead you so far back, as to the

beginning of time, when the Everlasting "I AM" spoke all things into

existence, by his almighty fiat; and out of a confused chaos, "without form

and void," produced a world worthy of a God to create, and of his favorite

creature man, his vicegerent and representative here below, to inhabit, and

enjoy in it both himself and his God. And yet, though the heavens declare

his glory, and the firmament showeth his handy work, though there is o

speech nor language where their voice is not heard, and their line is gone

out through all the earth: and by a dumb, yet persuasive language, proves

the hand that made them to be divine; yet there have been, and are now,

such fools in the world, as to "say in their hearts, There is no God;" or

so wise, as by their wisdom, not to know God, or own his divine image to be

stamped on that book, wherein these grand things are recorded, and that in

such legible characters, that he who runs may read.

Neither will I divert your attention, honored fathers, to the

histories of Greece and Rome, or any of the great kingdoms and renowned

monarchies, which constitute so great a part of ancient history; but whose

beginnings were very small, (witness Romulus's ditch) their progress as

remarkably great, and their declension and downfall, when arrived at their

appointed zenith, as sudden, unexpected, and marvelous. These make the

chief subjects of the learning of our schools; though they make but a mean

figure in sacred history, and would not perhaps have been mentioned at all,

had they not been, in some measure, connected with the history of God's

people, which is the grand subject of that much despised book, emphatically

called, The Scriptures. Whoever hath a mind to inform himself of the one,

may read Rollin's Ancient History, and whoever would see the connection

with the other, may consult the learned Prideaux's admirable and judicious

connection. Books which, I hope, will be strenuously recommended, and

carefully studied, when this present infant institution gathers more

strength, and grows up into a seat of learning. I can hardly forbear

mentioning the final beginnings of Great Britain, now so distinguished for

liberty, opulence and renown; and the rise and rapid progress of the

American colonies, which promises to be one of the most opulent and

powerful empires in the world. But my present views, and the honors done

this infant institution this day, and the words of my text, as well as the

feelings of my own heart, and I trust, of the hearts of all that hear me,

lead me to confine your meditations to the history of God's own peculiar

people, which for the simplicity and sublimity of its language, the

veracity of its author, and the importance and wonders of the facts therein

recorded, if weighed in a proper balance, hath not its equal under the sun.

And yet, though God himself hath become an author among us, we will not

condescend to give his book one thorough reading. Be astonished, O heavens,

at this!

Who would have thought that from once, even from Abraham, and from so

small a beginning, as the emigration of a single private family, called out

of a land wholly given to idolatry, to be sojourners and pilgrims in a

strange land; who would have thought, that from a man, who for a long

season was written childless, a man whose first possession in this strange

land, was by purchasing a burying place for his wife, and in whose grave

one might have imagined he would have buried all future expectations; who

would have thought, that from this very man and woman, according to the

course of nature, both as good as dead, should descend a numerous offspring

like unto the stars of heaven for multitude, and as the sand which is upon

the sea shore innumerable? Nay, who would have imagined, that against all

probability, and in all human appearance impossible, a kingdom should

arise? Behold a poor captive stave, even Joseph, who was cruelly separated

from his brethren, became second in Pharaoh's kingdom: he was sent before

to work out a great deliverance, and to introduce a family which should

take root, deep root downwards and bear fruit upwards, and fill the land.

How could it enter into the heart of man to conceive, that when oppressed

by a king, who knew not Joseph, though they were the best, most loyal,

industrious subjects this king had, when an edict was issued forth as

impolitic as cruel, (since the safety and glory of all kingdoms chiefly

consist in the number of its inhabitants) that an outcast, helpless infant

should be taken, and bred up in all the learning of the Egyptians, and in

that very court from which, and by that very tyrant from whom the edict

came, and that the deliverer should be nurtured to be king in Jeshurun?

But time as well as strength would fail me, was I to give you a detail

of all the important particulars respecting God's peculiar people; as their

miraculous support in the wilderness, the events which took place while

they were under a divine theocracy, and during their settlement in Canaan

to the time of their return from Babylon, and from thence to the

destruction of their second temple, &c. by the Romans. Indeed, considering

to whom I am speaking, persons conversant in the sacred and profane

history, I have mentioned these things only to stir up your minds by way of


But if we descend from the Jewish, to the Christian era, we shall

find, that its commencement was, in the eyes of the world, a "day of small

things" indeed. Our blessed Lord compares the beginning of its progress in

the world, to a grain of mustard-seed, which though the smallest of all

seeds when sown, soon becomes a great tree, and so spread, that the "birds

of the air," or a multitude of every nation, language and tongue, came and

lodged in its branches: and its inward progress in the believers heart,

Christ likens to a little leaven which a woman hid in three measures of

meal. How both the Jewish and Christian dispensations have been, and even

to this day are despised, by the wise disputers of this world, on this very

account, is manifest to all who read the lively oracles with a becoming

attention. What ridicule, obloquy, and inveterate opposition Christianity

meets with, in this our day, not only from the open deist, but from formal

professors, is too evident to every truly pious soul.

And what opposition the kingdom of grace meets with in the heart, is

well known by all those who are experimentally acquainted with their

hearts: they know, to their sorrow, what the great apostle of the Gentiles

means, by "the Spirit striving against the flesh, and the flesh against the


But the sacred Oracles, and the histories of all ages acquaint us,

that God brings about the greatest thing, not only by small and unlikely

means, but by ways and means directly opposite to the carnal reasonings of

unthinking men: he chooses things that be not, to bring to nought those

which are. How did Christianity spread and flourish, by one, who was

despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,

and who expired on a cross? He was despised and rejected, not merely by the

vulgar and illiterate, but the Rabbis and Masters of Israel, the Scribes

and Pharisees, who by the Jewish churchmen were held too in so high a

reputation for their outward sanctity, that it became a common proverb, "if

only two went to heaven, the one would be a Scribe, and the other a

Pharisee." Yet there were they who endeavored to silence the voice of all

his miracles and heavenly doctrine with, "Is not this the Carpenter's son?"

Nay, "He is mad, why hear you him? he hath a devil, and casteth out devils

by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." And their despite not only followed

him to, but after death, and when in the grave. "We remember (said they)

that this deceiver said, after three days I will rise again; command

therefore that the sepulcher be made sure;" but, maugre all your impotent

precautions, in sealing the stone, and setting a watch, he burst the bars

of death asunder, and, according to his repeated predictions, proved

himself to be the Son of God with power, by rising the third day from the

dead. And afterwards, in pretense of great multitudes, was he received up

into glory; as a proof thereof, he sent down the Holy Ghost, (on the

mission of whom he pawned all his credit with his disciples) in such an

instantaneous, amazing manner, as one would imagine, should have forced and

compelled all who saw it to own, that this was indeed the finger of God.

And yet how was this grand transaction treated? With the utmost

contempt: when instantaneously the apostles commenced orators and

linguists, and with a divine profusion spoke of the wonderful things of

God; "these men (said some) are full of new wine." And yet by these men,

mean fishermen, illiterate men, idiots, in the opinion of the Scribes and

Pharisees, and notwithstanding all the opposition of earth and hell, and

that too only by the foolishness of preaching, did this grain of mustard-

seed grow up, till thousands, ten thousands of thousands, a multitude which

no man can number, out of every nation, language and people, came and

lodged under the branches of it.

Neither shall it rest here; whatever dark parenthesis may intervene,

we are assured, that being still watered by the same divine hand, it shall

take deeper and deeper root downward, and bear more and more fruit upward,

till the whole earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the

waters cover the sea. Who shall live when God doth this? Hasten O Lord that

blessed time! O let this thy kingdom come! Come, not only by the external

preaching of the gospel in the world, but by its renovating, heart-

renewing, soul-transforming power, to awakened sinners! For want of this,

alas! alas! though we understood all mysteries, could speak with the

tongues of men and angels, we should be only like sounding brass, or so

many tinkling cymbals.

And yet, what a "day of small things" is the first implantation of the

seed of divine life in the soul of man? Well might our Lord, who alone is

the author and finisher of our faith, compare it to a little leaven, which

a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was

leavened. Low similes, mean comparisons these, in the eyes of those, who

having eyes, see not; who having ears, hear not; whose heart, being waxed

gross, cannot, will not understand! To such, it is despicable, mysterious,

and unintelligible in its description; and, if possible, infinitely more

so, when made effectual by the power of God, to the salvation of any

individual soul. For the wisdom of God will always be foolishness to

natural men. As it was formerly, so it is now; they who are born after the

flesh, will persecute those that are born after the spirit: the disciple

must be as his master: they that will live godly in him; they that live

most godly in him, must, shall suffer persecution. This is so interwoven in

the very nature and existence of the gospel, that our Lord makes it one

part of the beatitudes, in that blessed sermon which he preached, when, to

use the words of my old familiar friend the seraphic Hervey, a mount was

his pulpit, and the heavens his sounding board. A part, which, like others

of the same nature, I believe, will be little relished by such who are

always clamoring against those few highly favored souls, who dare stand up

and preach the doctrine of JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE in the imputed

righteousness of Jesus Christ, and are reproached with not preaching, like

their master, Morality, as they term it, in his glorious sermon on the

mount; for did we more preach, and more live it, we should soon find all

manner of evil would be spoken against us for Christ's sake.

But shall this hinder the progress, the growth, and consummation? And

shall the Christian therefore be dismayed and discouraged? God forbid! On

the contrary, the weakest believer may, and ought, to rejoice and be

exceeding glad. And why? For a very good reason; because, he that hath

begun the good work, hath engaged also to finish it; though Christ found

him as black as hell, he shall present him, and every individual purchased

with his blood, without spot or wrinkle, or any such-thing, before the

Divine Presence. O glorious prospect! How will the saints triumph, and the

sons of God then shout for joy? If they shouted when God said, "Let there

by light, and there was light;" and if there is joy in heaven over one

sinner only that repenteth, how will the heavenly arches echo and rebound

with praise, when all the redeemed of the Lord shall appear together, and

the Son of God shall say, "of all these that thou hast given to me, have I

lost nothing." On the contrary, what weeping, wailing, and gnashing of

teeth will there be, not only amongst the devil and his angels, but amongst

the fearful and unbelieving, when they see that all the hellish temptations

and devices, instead of destroying, were over-ruled to the furtherance of

the gospel in general, and to the increase and growth of grace in every

individual believer in particular. And how will despisers then behold and

wonder and perish, when they shall be obliged to say, "we fools counted

their lives madness, and their end to be without honor; but how are they

numbered among the children of God, and how happy is their lot among the


But whither am I going? Pardon me, my dear hearers, if you think this

to be a digression from my main point. It is true, whilst I am musing, the

fire begins to kindle: I am flying, but not so high, I trust, as to lose

sight of my main subject. And yet, after meditating and talking of the rise

and progress of the gospel of the kingdom, I shall find it somewhat

difficult to descend so low, as to entertain you with the small beginnings

of this infant colony, and of the Orphan-house, in which I am now

preaching. But I should judge myself inexcusable on this occasion, if I did

not detain you a little longer, in taking a transient view of the traces of

divine Providence, in the rise and progress of the colony in general, and

the institution of this Orphan-house in particular. Children yet unborn, I

trust, will have occasion to bless God for both.

The very design of this settlement, as charity inclines us to hope all

things, was, that it might be an Asylum, and a place of business, for as

many as were in distress; for foreigners, as well as natives; for Jews and

Gentiles. On February 1, a day, the memory of which, I think, should still

be perpetuated, the first embarkation was made with forty-five English

families; men, who had once lived well in their native country, and who,

with many persecuted Saltzburghers, headed by a good old soldier of Jesus

lately deceased, the Rev. Mr. Boltzius, came to find a refuge here. They

came, they saw, they labored, and endeavored to settle; but by an

essential, though well-meant defect, in the very beginning of the

settlement, too well known by some now present, and too long, and too much

felt to bear repeating, prohibiting the importation and use of Negroes, &c.

their numbers gradually diminished, and matters were brought to so low an

ebb, that the whole colony became a proverb of reproach.

About this time, in the year 1737, being previously stirred up thereto

by a strong impulse, which I could by no means resist, I came here, after

the example of my worthy and reverend friends, Messieurs John and Charles

Wesley, and Mr. Ingham, who, with the most disinterested views, had come

hither to serve the colony, by endeavoring to convert the Indians. I came

rejoicing to serve the colony also, and to become your willing servant for

Christ's sake. My friend and father, good Bishop Bensen, encouraged me,

though my brethren and kinsmen after the flesh, as well as religious

friends, opposed it. I came, and I saw (you will not be offended with me to

speak the truth) the nakedness of the land. Gladly did I distribute about

the four hundred pounds sterling, which I had collected in England, among

my poor parishioners. The necessity and propriety of erecting an Orphan-

house, was mentioned and recommended before my first embarkation. But

thinking it a matter of too great importance to be set about unwarily, I

deferred the farther prosecution for this laudable design till my return to

England in the year 1738, for to have priests orders.

Miserable was the condition of many grown persons, as well as

children, whom I left behind. Their cause I endeavored to plead,

immediately upon my arrival; but being denied the churches, in which I had

the year before collected many hundreds for the London charity-schools, I

endeavored to plead their cause in the fields. The people threw in their

mites most willingly; once or twice, I think, twenty-two pounds were

collected in copper; the alms were accompanied with many prayers, and

which, as I told them, laid, I am persuaded, a blessed foundation to the

future charitable superstructure. In a short time, though plucked as it

were out of the fire, the collections and charitable contributions amounted

to more than a one thousand pounds sterling.

With that I reimbarked, taking Philadelphia in my way, and upon my

second arrival, found the spot fixed upon; but, alas! who can describe the

low estate to which it was reduced! The whole country almost was left

desolate, and the metropolis Savannah, was but like a cottage in a

vineyard, or as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. Many orphans, whose

parents had been taken from them by the distresses that naturally attend

new settlements, were dispersed here and there in a very forlorn helpless

condition; my bowels yearned towards them, and, animated by the example of

the great professor Franck, previous to bringing them here, I hired a

house, furnished an infirmary, employed all that were capable of

employment, and in a few weeks walked to the house of God with a large

family of above sixty orphans, and others in as bad a condition.

On March 25, 1740, in full assurance of faith, I laid the foundation

of this house; and in the year following, brought in my orphan family, who,

with the workmen, now made up the number of one hundred and fifty: by the

money which was expended on these, the remaining few were kept in the

colony, and were enabled to pay the debts they owed; so that in a

representation made to the House of Commons, by some, who for very good

reasons wanted the constitution of the colony altered; they declared, that

the very existence of the colony was in a great measure, if not totally,

owing to the building and supporting of the Orphan House.

Finding the care of such a family, incompatible with the care due to a

parish, upon giving previous warning to the then trustees, I gave up the

living of Savannah, which without fee or reward I had voluntarily taken

upon me: I then ranged through the northern colonies, and afterwards once

more returned home. What calumny, what loads of reproach, I for many years

was called to undergo, in thus turning beggars for a family, few here

present need to be informed; a family, utterly unconnected by any ties of

nature; a family, not only to be maintained with food, but clothed and

educated also, and that too in the dearest part of his Majesty's dominions,

on a pine barren, and in a colony where the use of Negroes was totally

denied; this appeared so very improbable, that all beholders looked daily

for its decline and annihilation.

But, blessed be God, the building advanced and flourished, and the

wished-for period is now come, after having supported the family for

thirty-two years, by a change of constitution and the smiles of government,

with liberal donations from the northern, and especially the adjacent

provinces, the same hands that laid the foundation, are now called to

finish it, by making an addition of a seat of learning, the whole products

and profits of which, are to go towards the increase of the fund, as at the

beginning, for destitute orphans, or such youths as may be called of God to

the sacred ministry of his Gospel. I need not call on any here, to cry,

"Grace, grace, unto it." For on the utmost scrutiny of the intention of

those employed, and considering the various exercises they have been called

to undergo, and the opposition the building hath every where met with, we

may justly say, "not by might, nor by power, but by thy Spirit, O Lord,"

hath this work been carried on thus far; it is his doing, let it be

marvelous in our eyes. With humble gratitude, therefore, would we now set

up our Ebenezer, and say, "Hitherto thou, Lord, hast helped us;" and

wherefore should we doubt, but that he, who hath thus far helped, will

continue to help, when the weary heads of the first founders and present

helpers, are laid in the silent grave.

I am very well aware, what an invidious task it must be to a person in

my circumstances, thus to speak on an affair in which he hath been so much

concerned. Some may perhaps think, I am become a fool in thus glorying. But

as I am now, blessed be God, in the decline of life, and as, in all

probability, I shall never be present to celebrate another anniversary, I

thought it best to be a little more explicit, that if I have spoken any

thing but truth, I may be confronted; and if not, that future ages, and

future successors, may see with what a purity of intention, and what

various interpositions of Providence, the work was begun, and hath been

carried on to its present height.

It was the reading of a like account, written by the late Professor

Franck, that encouraged me: who knows but hereafter, the reading something

of a similar nature, may encourage others to begin and carry on a like work

elsewhere? I have said its present height, for I would humbly hope, that

this is, comparatively speaking, only a "day of small things," only the

dawn of brighter scenes. Private genius's and individuals, as well as

collective bodies, have, like the human body, the nonage, puerile, juvenile

estate, before they arrive at their zenith, and their lives as gradually

they decline. But yet I would hope, that both the province and Bethesda,

are but in their puerile or juvenile state. And long, long may they

increase, and make large strides, till they arrive at a glorious zenith! I

mean not merely in trade, merchandise, and opulence, (though I would be far

from secluding them from the province, and would be thankful for the

advances it hath already made) but a zenith of glorious gospel blessings,

without which, all outward emoluments are less than nothing, or as the

small dust of the balance: "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall

gain the whole world and lost his own soul."

Who can imagine, that the prophet Zechariah would be sent to

strengthen the hands of Zerubbabel, in building and laying the foundation

of the temple, if that temple was not to be frequented with worshippers

that worshipped the Father in spirit and truth. The most gaudy fabrics,

stately temples, new moon Sabbaths, and solemn assemblies, are only solemn

mockeries God cannot away with. This God hath shown by the destruction of

both the first and second temples. What is become of the seven churches of

Asia? How are all their golden candlesticks overthrown? "God is a Spirit,

and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth." And no

longer do I expect that this house will flourish, than when the power of

religion is encouraged and promoted, and the persons educated here,

prosecute their studies, not only to be great scholars, but good saints.

Blessed be God! I can say with Professor Franck, that it is in a great

measure owing to the disinterested spirit of my first fellow-helpers, as

well as those who are now employed, that the building hath reached to its

present height. This I am bound to speak, not only in honor to those who

are now with God, but those at present before me. Nor dare I conclude,

without offering to

Your Excellency, our pepper corn of acknowledgment for the countenance

you have always shown Bethesda's institution, and the honor you did us last

year, inlaying the first brick of yonder wings: in thus doing, you have

honored Bethesda's God. May he long delight to honor you here on earth! And

after a life spent to his glory, and your country's good, may he honor you

to all eternity, in placing you as Christ's right-hand in the kingdom


Next to your Excellency, my dear Mr. President, I must beg your

acceptance both of thanks and congratulation on the annual return of this

festival. For you was not only my dear familiar friend, and first fellow-

traveler in this infant province; but you was directed by Providence to

this spot, laid the second brick of this house, watched, prayed, and

wrought for the family's good: A witness of innumerable trials, partner of

my joys and griefs; you will have now the pleasure of seeing the Orphan-

house a fruitful bough, its branches running over the wall. For this, no

doubt, God hath smiled upon and blessed you, in a manner we could not

expect, much less design; and may he continue to bless you with all

spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Look to the rock

from whence you have been hewn, and may your children never be ashamed,

that their father left his native country, and married a real Christian,

born again under this roof. May Bethesda's Good grant this may be the happy

portion of your children, and children's children!

Gentlemen of his Majesty's council,

Mr. Speaker, and you members of the General Assembly, many thanks are

owing to you, for your late address to his Excellency in favor of Bethesda.

Your joint recommendation of it, when I was last here, which, though in

some measure through the bigotry of some, for the present is rendered

abortive, by their wanting to have it confined to a party, yet I trust the

event will prove that every thing shall be over-ruled to the furtherance of

the work. Here I repeat, what I have often declared, that as far as lies in

my power before and after my decease, Bethesda shall be always on a broad

bottom. All denominations have freely given; all denominations, all the

continent, God being my helper, shall receive benefit from it. May

Bethesda's God bless you all! In your private as well as public capacity;

and as you are honored to be the representatives of a now flourishing

increasing people: may you be directed in all your ways! May truth,

justice, religion, and piety be established amongst you through all


LASTLY, My reverend brethren, and you inhabitants of the colony,

accept unfeigned thanks for the honor done me, in letting us see you at

Bethesda this day. You, Sir, for the sermon preached here last year. Tell

it in Germany, tell my great, good friend, Professor Franck, that

Bethesda's God, is a God whose mercy endureth for ever. O let us have your

earnest prayers! Encourage your people not to "despise the day of small

things." What hath God wrought? From its infancy, this colony hath been

blessed with many faithful gospel ministers: O that this may be a nursery

to many more! This hath been the case of the New England College for almost

a century, and why not the Orphan-house Academy at Georgia?

Men, brethren, fathers, as many of you, whether inhabitants or

strangers, who have honored this day with your presence, give us the

additional blessings of your prayers. And O that Bethesda's God may make

this day, though but a day of small things, productive of great things to

the souls of all amongst whom I have been now preaching the kingdom of God.

A great and good day will it be indeed, if Jesus Christ, our great

Zerubbabel, should, by the power of the eternal Spirit, bless any thing

that hath now been said, to cause every mountain of difficulty, that lies

in the way of your conversion, to become a plain. And what art thou, O

great mountain, whether the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the

pride of life, sin, or self-righteousness? Before our Bethesda's God, thou

shalt become a plain.

Brethren, my heart is enlarged towards you: it is written, blessed be

God that it is written, "In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, whether

things in heaven, or things in earth, or things under the earth." O that we

may be made a willing people in the day of his power! Look, look unto him,

all ye that are placed in these ends of the earth. This house hath often

been an house of God, a gate of heaven, to some of your fathers. May it be

a house of God, a gate of heaven, to the children also! Come unto him, all

ye that are weary and heavy laden, he will give you rest; rest from the

guilt, rest from the power, rest from the punishment of sin; rest from the

fear of divine judgments here, rest with himself eternally hereafter. Fear

not, though the beginnings are but small, Christ will not despise the day

of small things. A bruised reed will he not break, and the smoking flax

will he not quench, until he bring forth judgment unto victory. His hands

that laid the foundation, also shall finish it: yet a little while and the

top-stone shall be brought forth with shouting, and men and angels join in

crying "Grace! Grace! Unto it." That all present may be in this happy

number, may God of his infinite mercy grant, through Jesus our Lord.