Whitefield and Orphans

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in Whitefield

If you have been introduced to the Rev. George Whitefield in a biographical fashion, you well-know of his compassion for orphans, whom he refers in the following letter as his “family.” He founded and oversaw a number of “orphan-houses” in his time in the United States. His purpose in opening such homes is evident – he longed to see these children, and those who came into contact with them, come to know Christ savingly! Here is a portion of a letter addressed on New Year’s Day, 1741 to a Rev. Mr. C– of Good Hope, SC:

I am going now to Charles-town, in order to embark for England ;  the cloud of God’s providence seems to be moving that way ;  I have enjoyed much of the divine presence since I left Boston, and have had a comfortable Christmas with my dear family at Georgia.  At my return, I found my Orphan-household removed from Savannah to Bethesda, and great improvements made during the time of my absence.  The great house will be finished, God willing, so as to be habitable, in about two months.  It would have been finished so far by this time, if the Spaniards had not taken a schooner loaded with bricks and other provisions to a considerable value ;  but God about the same time stirred up the heart of a planter in South-Carolina, lately brought home at the orphan-house to God, to send my family some rice and beef.  At other times, when they have wanted food, the Indians have brought plenty of venison.  God, every day, more and more convinces us that this work is of him.  His power has been made known, especially among young ones.  I bless God, I have settled my family to my great satisfaction, and verily believe I shall live to see great things come from the Orphan-house.  God works upon the hearts of labourers.  One woman hath had a glorious discovery of Christ made to her heart :  last week, two or three men were brought into heart-distress, and another young man that came to see us, was made so sick of sin, as to feel the want of, and to enquire after the great and all-powerful physician of souls.  My family, I think, consists now of 89 persons. [Source, George Whitefield’s Letters: 1734 to 1742pages 229-230]

Pray that God so stir the hearts of many to take care of the orphans, however He might call, for the glory of His name! If the Indians provided, shouldn’t we?

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