Letter to George Whitfield, September 10, 1736

SAVANNAH, September 10, 1736.

I had long since begun to visit my parishioners in order from house to house.. But I could not go on two days longer; the sick were increasing so fast as to require all the time I had to spare, from one to five in the afternoon. Nor is even that enough to see them all, as I would do, daily. In Frederica and all the smaller settlements there are above five hundred sheep almost without a shepherd. He that is unjust must be unjust still, Here is none to search out and lay hold on the mollia ternpora fandi, [‘Apt times for speech.’] and to persuade him to save his soul alive.

He that is a babe in Christ may be so still. Here is none to attend the workings of grace upon his spirit, to feed him by degrees with food convenient for him, and gently lead him till he can follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Does any err from the right way? here is none to recall him; he may go on to seek death in the error of his life. Is any wavering? here is none to confirm him. Is any falling ? there is none to lift him up. What a single man can do is neither seen nor felt. Where are ye who are very zealous for the Lord of hosts ? Who will rise up with me against the wicked? who will take God's part against the evil-doers? Whose spirit is moved within him to prepare himself for publishing glad tidings to those on whom the Sun of Righteous ness never yet arose, by laboring first for those his country men who are else without hope as well as without God in the world? Do you ask what you shall have? why, all you desire: food to eat, raiment to put on, a place where to lay your head (such as your Lord had not), and a crown of life that fadeth not away! Do you seek means of building up yourselves in the knowledge and love of God?

I know of no place under heaven where there are more, or perhaps so many, as in this place. Does your heart burn within you to turn many others to righteousness? Behold the whole land, thousands of thousands are before you! I will resign to any of you all or any part of my charge. Choose what seemeth good in your own eyes. Here are within these walls children of all ages and dispositions. Who will bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, till they are meet to be preachers of righteousness? Here are adults from the farthest parts of Europe and Asia and the inmost kingdoms of Africa; add to these the known and unknown nations of this vast continent, and you will indeed have a great multitude which no man can number.

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