George Whitefield, by John Russell (died 1806), given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1917. See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Said Sir John Herschel, “I could see Sirius announcing himself,” as he swept the heavens with his telescope, in search of Sirius, “till the great star rushed in and filled the whole field of vision with a sea of light.” The time came for Whitefield to die. The man had been immortal till his work was done. His path had been bright, and it grew brighter to the end, like that of the just.
“You had better be in bed, Mr Whitefield.” said his host, the day he preached his last sermon.
“True,” said the dying evangelist, and clasping his hands, cried: “I am weary in, not of, thy work, Lord Jesus.”
He preached his last sermon at Newburyport, pale and dying; he herein uttered one of the most pathetic sentences which ever came to his lips:
“I go to my everlasting rest. My sun has risen, shone, and is setting–nay, it is about to rise and shine forever. I have not lived in vain. And though I could live to preach Christ a thousand years I die to be with Him–which is far better.”
The shaft was leveled. That day he said: “I am dying!” He ran to the window; lavender drops were offered, but all help was vain; his work was done. The doctor said, “He is a dead man.” And so he was; and died in silence. Christ required no dying testimony from one whose life had been a constant testimony.
So passed away on September 30th, 1770, one of the greatest spirits that ever inhabited a human tabernacle. The world has ever been an innumerable gainer by his life. He had preached eighty thousand sermons, and they had but tow key-notes: 1. Man is guilty, he must be pardoned. 2. Man is immortal, he must be happy or wretched forever. Weeping filled Newburyport, flags floated at half-mast, and the ships fired minute-guns.
“Mortals cried, a man is dead;
Angels sang, a child is born.”
Rev. Daniel Rodgers, remembering in his prayer that Whitefield had been his spiritual father, burst into tears, and cried: “My father! my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.”
Coke sleeps in his grand sea-grave, with the everlasting music of the billows for his dirge; Robert Newton sleeps at Easingwold; Richard Watson, and John and Charles Wesley slumber in a London graveyard; and George Whitefield’s dust rests in its Transatlantic abode till
“That illustrious morn shall come,”
when the “dead in Christ shall rise,” and they will meet in glory, to die no more. Meantime, earth holds no mightier dust. Blessed be God that ever they lived, and left their influence to mold humanity.
by Rev. Abel Stevens, D. D.