‘I never read Calvin’: George Whitefield, a Calvinist Untimely Born

Published: Churchman 125, Issue 1,  Spring 2011

‘I never read Calvin’: George Whitefield, a Calvinist Untimely Born

Jared C. Hood

Luke Tyerman was no lover of Calvinism. His leading question in his study of Wesley is famous: ‘Is it not a truth that Methodism is the greatest fact in the history of the church of Christ?’[1] In 1876, he posited a theory that continues to influence Whitefield studies today, saying that Whitefield, in his earliest and best years of public ministry, was an Arminian. The preacher changed his theological views for pragmatic reasons, wanting to gain the patronage of the Countess of Huntingdon, and wanting to more readily engage the support of Dissenting ministers.[2]

Dallimore has promulgated a version of this view, and it has become the scholarly consensus.[3]  He believes that Whitefield’s thoughts on election and Reformed soteriology were not settled until the time of the Erskine correspondence in 1739. On the one hand, he notes that one of Whitefield’s earliest sermons, from 1737, speaks of election, justification, perseverance, and the particular nature of redemption.[4] The first point of the sermon is thus: ‘First endeavour to prove that Christ has purchased for, and in due time will actually confer on all true believers, eternal glory in the world to come.’ Under this heading, Whitefield says, ‘Christ has purchased for, and in due time will actually confer on all true believers, eternal glory.’[5]

Whilst Calvinist teaching is included even in the heading of a sermon point, and the sermon extrapolates from election to limited atonement, Dallimore asserts that these were not core teachings for Whitefield. Whitefield was still only moving towards Calvinism, and ‘he was not fully clear in his understanding of it’.[6]

Prior to the first voyage to America, Whitefield had a tendency to intermingle faith and works.[7] Entering the year, 1739, in correspondence with the Erskines, and with the Wesley division unfolding, he came to see more clearly that justification was by faith alone. Dallimore quotes Whitefield’s confession: ‘I fear I have been sinfully silent too long.’[8]

Clarkson takes a similar view, but ties the transformation to the effects of the schism with Wesley. Until then, he had a ‘latent Calvinism’.[9] Hardman makes the catalyst for change Whitefield’s links with America, and particularly the relationships formed during the second sojourn (embarking August 14, 1739).[10]

Was Whitefield a Calvinist untimely born? What was the impact of the Erskine correspondence and the Wesley division upon him? Had he read Calvin in his earliest years of ministry, and did he, later in his life, admit to early doctrinal errors?

  1. The Erskines

The final letter of Ralph Erskine to Whitefield before he left for America was ‘virtually a theological treatise’.[11] It brought Whitefield to become ‘somewhat pronounced in the Calvinistic position’.[12] Baker points adamantly to Whitefield’s reading of Erskine’s Collection of Sermons on Several Subjects, published in 1738.[13]

The difficulty with this is that Whitefield did not accord the Erskines such influence. His comments about them are all too brief. The Journal entries of May 18, May 26, June 9 and July 21, 1739, say nothing more enlightening than being ‘pleased and edified’. [14]

In a letter to Ralph Erskine in November, 1739, he mentions that he had read some of Ralph’s sermons on the crossing to America, and comments upon their usefulness. He says that he agrees with the Reformed theology of Ralph Erskine and Thomas Boston, but requests more information about the Scottish covenanters and the constitution of the Scotch church.[15] There is no acknowledgement of prior theological error, but a new world was clearly opening up for Whitefield with regard to the history and doctrine of 17th century Presbyterianism.[16]

There is a detectable shift in the content of Whitefield’s letters towards the end of 1739. The first mention, in his letters, of justification is made on November 10, 1739: ‘The doctrines of our election, and free justification in CHRIST JESUS, are daily more and more pressed upon my heart.’[17] He wrote a number of letters that day which speak profusely of ‘election, free grace, free justification’.[18]

However, there is on this day of letter writing no indication that he thinks he has changed his position. Instead, he writes, ‘This is my comfort, the doctrines I have taught are the doctrines of Scripture, the doctrines of our own and of other reformed churches.’[19] This statement indicates what had occurred during 1739. Whitefield had made the discovery that, despite his prior loneliness in the Church of England, he was not alone in his Reformed beliefs.

With this discovery came greater depth to an already Reformed conviction. This greater depth had several elements to it. Intellectually, it is from this period that he began to understand 17th century covenant theology. There was also a renewed emotional commitment to Reformed teaching, and a greater experience of its worth. In that way, it felt as though he had entered into a new Reformed world. It felt as though he had never believed before as much as he believed in the present. 

  1. Free Grace: Wesley versus Whitefield

In mid-1739, before the ‘theological treatise’ from Erskine, Whitefield counselled Wesley not to preach on predestination. On June 25, 1739, he wrote to John Wesley in these terms:

I hear, honoured sir, that you are about to print a sermon against predestination. It shocks me to think of it. What will be the consequences but controversy? If people ask my opinion, what shall I do? I have a critical part to act. GOD enable me to behave aright! Silence on both sides will be best. It is noised abroad already that there is a division between you and me, and my heart within me is grieved.[20]

It was not that Whitefield in mid-1739 had no understanding of the doctrine of predestination, or thought that it was not a topic worthy of discussion. Whitefield was fully cognizant of the theological issues involved, and knew exactly what side of the debate he was on. The concern was that such a discussion would show that Whitefield and Wesley were divided on the subject. ‘If people ask my opinion, what shall I do?’ His dilemma was that, if pressed on the subject, he would have to be true to his beliefs, speak against Wesley’s Arminian position, and so cause division in the Methodist movement.

Whitefield says, ‘It is noised abroad already that there is a division…’ on predestination. The views of both men were thus set prior to June, 1739. It is a fair assumption that the division was brewing before the first letters from the Erskines in May 1739, and Whitefield was already a settled predestinarian before that time (and therefore likely to have been settled in Reformed soteriology, too).

The painful division with Wesley led Whitefield to consider his ground on predestination more carefully than he had before. He does not say that he discovered the doctrine for the first time, but rather that it is confirmed to him. The result is that the doctrines of grace also became more existentially meaningful to him, as from his pain he sought comfort in his religion. This is why he can write that the Reformed truths were ‘daily more and more pressed upon my heart’.

All that really transpired in 1739 is that Whitefield believed himself obligated to become more partisan on these matters than he had previously been. Never before had he been required to defend his specifically Reformed beliefs. He had attempted to work within a more broadly evangelical environment, and had thought that by presenting his doctrines in a winsome manner he would soon win the nation to the Calvinistic understanding of the Church Articles. In 1739, though, he came not to a theological epiphany, but to the realization that his beliefs would necessarily involve him in conflict amongst his beloved Methodists. Whitefield the ecumenist, who had sought to rise above denominationalism, chose to accept division rather than error. He could no longer be ‘sinfully silent’, which signifies a prior, sinful reluctance to speak the Reformed truth, rather than prior ignorance of it.

Another letter to Wesley, on June 25, 1740, from America, confirms this:

For CHRIST’S sake, if possible, dear Sir, never speak against election in your sermons: no one can say that I ever mentioned it in public discourses, whatever my private sentiments may be. For CHRIST’S sake, let us not be divided amongst ourselves: nothing will so much prevent a division as your being silent on this head.[21]

First, the statement is hyperbolic, for it has already been seen that Whitefield had preached about election in 1737. Secondly, removing the polemic, the truth is that Whitefield had been reserved in speaking about election prior to the Wesley schism. Thirdly, Whitefield does not hesitate to imply that his ‘private sentiments’ are firmly set. There is no indication that his private views had changed. Fourthly, his concern is for unity, and this is the essence of the problem that Wesley posed.

Looking at it from another angle, there may be a flurry of statements on the issue of election in 1739–1740, but one will not find the opposite kinds of statements in the pre-1739 period. The movement is from quiet expression to more dominant expression, and that is all. There is no warrant for concluding that prior to 1739, Whitefield had not been preaching Calvinism.[22]

  1. Answering the Querists

What of Whitefield’s retractions, found in A Letter to Some Church Members of the Presbyterian Persuasion, in answer to certain scruples lately proposed… (November 1, 1740)?[23] The case for a doctrinal transformation finds its chief support from this one document.

Whitefield wrote, ‘I think it no dishonour, to retract some expressions that formerly dropped from my pen, before GOD was pleased to give me a more clear knowledge of the doctrines of grace.’[24] What development was Whitefield confessing?

The LORD’S dealing with me was somewhat out of the common way. I can say, to the honour of rich free distinguishing grace, that I received the Spirit of adoption before I had conversed with one man, or read a single book, on the doctrine of “Free justification by the imputed righteousness of JESUS CHRIST. No wonder then, that I was not so clear in some points at my first setting out in the ministry. Our LORD was pleased to enlighten me by degrees; and I desire your prayers, that his grace may shine more and more in my heart, till it breaks forth into perfect day.”[25]

This is a half apology with regard to his early views on ‘imputed righteousness’. First, he revels in having received the Spirit before having ‘read a single book’ on the subject. As he expresses elsewhere (see below), Whitefield felt an affinity with the Apostle Paul, who in Galatians 1 claimed to have his truth from Jesus Christ alone. That he never ‘conversed…or read’ can be taken as hyperbole. It might strictly be true that he had not read a treatise solely dedicated to imputed righteousness, but from the time of his conversion, he twice daily read Matthew Henry’s commentary, which speaks about imputed righteousness in a number of places.

Secondly, is he apologizing for errors in his thinking, or errors of expression? ‘I was not so clear’, is probably deliberately ambiguous. In the rest of the letter, he only ever admits to error of expression, not error of belief. The tone is conveyed in the words immediately following the above citation: ‘But to come to the exceptionable passages in my sermons. You blame me for saying…’

You blame me for saying, Vol. II. page 17. “That Adam was adorned with all the perfections of the Deity.” It is a wrong expression: I would correct it thus: “All the moral communicable perfections of the Deity.” Again, “Man was the perfection of the moral and material world: let it stand thus: “The perfection of all the visible world.”

Whitefield had not meant to say that Adam was deified. It was a ‘wrong expression’. Rather than defend the original statement, he offers to recast it, drawing on the classical distinction of the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God.[26]

Thirdly, the effect of saying ‘Our Lord was pleased to enlighten me by degrees’ is mitigated by the ensuing statement, that he still has more to learn. He is not directly admitting any particular error, but apologizing for the same limitations that belong to all people living this side of the ‘perfect day’.

Fourthly, the letter is filled with conciliatory rhetoric, but Whitefield also seems to be having mischievous fun with the whole situation. He compares his mea culpa to none other than the famous retractions of Augustine.[27] After dealing with the objections raised by the Querists, Whitefield performs works of penitential supererogation, admitting to errors that even the strict Presbyterians had not yet been able to find. ‘These, if I mistake not, are all the passages in my sermons, which you object against. And now to convince you, that I am not ashamed to own my faults, I can inform you of other passages as justly exceptionable. In my sermon on justification, I seem to assert universal redemption, which I now absolutely deny.’[28] Of course, no-one would think that he believed universal redemption, even if the over-busy preacher had slipped with the tongue and pen. Whitefield must have been laughing aloud as he wrote, ‘which I now absolutely deny’! Such is his confession of error with regard to imputed righteousness, too.

Fifthly, what were his original views on imputed righteousness? Article 11 in the Thirty-Nine Articles says, ‘We are accompted righteous before God, only for the merite of our Lord’. Whitefield’s later statements about imputed righteousness would be much clearer than this, basing the imputation upon the active obedience of Christ. If all he had before him initially was Article 11, it is quite possible that Whitefield did progress slowly on this particular doctrine, until he eventually read more widely on the topic. The 1738 edition of his sermon on the new birth lacked the expression, ‘and his perfect obedience imputed to them’, when speaking about justification thus: ‘vainly think they are justified by CHRIST, or have their sins forgiven, and his perfect obedience imputed to them’.[29]

Returning to the letter to the Querists, Whitefield does appear to concede a substantial error:

“Who vainly depend on their own righteousness, and not on the righteousness of JESUS CHRIST, imputed to, and inherent in them, as necessary for their eternal salvation.” To avoid all mistakes, I would express myself in this manner, “Who have neither CHRIST’S righteousness imputed to them, for their justification in the sight, nor holiness wrought in their souls as the consequence of that, in order to make them meet for the enjoyment of GOD.”[30]

The offending comment was from the 1738 sermon referenced above. The problem for the Querists was that it seemed to say that the meritorious grounds of salvation was both imputed and inherent righteousness. Whitefield offers to recast it.

First, it should be noted that he does not state that he had erred previously, but only gives a new expression to the same thought.

Secondly, there is nothing unorthodox about the original statement. Inherent righteousness, in the Calvinist scheme, is ‘necessary’ for salvation. Even as the revised statement says, it ‘makes them meet for the enjoyment of God.’

Thirdly, and most significantly, it demonstrates that in 1738, when the sermon was published, and probably in mid-1737, when the sermon was first preached, Whitefield was quite familiar with and accepting of the ‘imputed’ and ‘inherent’ distinction. It was important enough for him to use it in his most popular sermon.

In the same sermon, Whitefield draws a very clear distinction between justification and sanctification. He speaks of the latter as making ‘Christ’s redemption complete’, but assigns it not a forensic function but existential. Justification overcomes the ‘legal hinderence to our Happiness’, but ‘Christians would do well to consider’ that that is not the only problem. By ‘moral impurity in our Natures’, Christians are ‘incapable of enjoying Heaven’.

Sanctification is designed to ‘prepare us for the Enjoyment of that Happiness our Saviour has purchased by his precious Blood.’ He goes on to refer to 1 Corinthians 6:11, noting that Paul was able there to refer to sanctification before justification, which indicates that ‘there is no Salvation to be had without it’, although he later reworked this so as to remove the comment about sanctification preceding justification, by instead quoting from 1 Corinthians 1:30: ‘Christ is to us justification, sanctification and then redemption’.[31]

This reveals a developed theological consciousness. This being the sermon that made him famous, as it were, it can be concluded that Christ’s imputed righteousness, determinedly held in appropriate correlation with inherent righteousness worked by Christ, was a core doctrine of the Whitefieldian revival.

  1. The Thirty-Nine Articles

Whence did Whitefield gain his earliest Calvinistic beliefs? Henry Scougal’s, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, was instrumental in Whitefield’s conversion. From this Scottish Presbyterian of the 17th century, Whitefield learned of salvation through faith by God’s grace alone and of the centrality of union with Christ. These fundamental elements of Puritan doctrine were thus cherished by him from the inception of his ministry. As well as this, there is another well known source of Whitefield’s thought.

There is a tantalising expression in the letter against Wesley’s sermon on free grace:

Thirdly, says your sermon, page 137 paragraph 12, “This doctrine tends to destroy the comforts of religion, the happiness of Christianity, &c.” But how does Mr Wesley know this, who never believed election? I believe they who have experienced it, will agree with our 17th article…[32]

There is a subtle implication here. Wesley, Whitefield says, ‘never believed election’. It is not that he ‘does not believe’, but ‘never believed’. One may infer that Whitefield knew all along what Wesley’s thoughts on the matter were. Going back to the Holy Club days, Whitefield knew that Wesley did not accept Reformed theology. It conjures up images of Wesley and Whitefield debating the subject on the grounds of Oxford University.

Of course Wesley had ‘never believed election’ as Whitefield had. Wesley had been reared in an Arminian home. His later teaching—even his doctrine of Christian perfection—can be traced back to his father or mother. The 17th Article of the Thirty-Nine he knew had to be taken circumspectly. There is every reason to suppose that Whitefield and Wesley discussed these things at Oxford in much the same way as they did in 1740, including debate on the 17th Article.

Whitefield refers to the ‘Articles of the Church’ incessantly in his letters, journals and sermons. It is the single most cited reference, after the Scriptures. It indicates not only the source of his theology, but implicitly the timing of his Reformed awakening, for it was immediately after his conversion that he immersed himself in the Scriptures[33] and the Articles. Whitefield took his ordination very seriously, and was very seriously committed to the official doctrinal standard of the Church of England. He records that in the lead-up to the examination for ordination, he ‘made some observations upon the thirty-nine Articles, and proved them by Scripture’.[34]

Smith writes of Whitefield’s doctrines that they were ‘exactly correspondent with the articles of the establishment’.[35] The Thirty-Nine Articles was not a seventeenth century Reformed scholastic document, but it was a Reformed document, and Whitefield held to it at such.

  1. Had he read Calvin?

Whitefield was happy to assert that he was a Calvinist. ‘I am a staunch Calvinist’.[36] ‘[O]ne reason why I think Calvinism is right is, because proud nature will not stoop to be saved by grace.’[37] ‘[W]e are of Calvinistical principles’.[38] ‘I profess myself a Calvinist as to principle’.[39] However, what kind of Calvinist was he? It was a mediated Calvinism, first coming to him through the Thirty-Nine Articles, with him later moving into 17th century Reformed orthodoxy (including belief in the ‘covenant of redemption’).

Had he read Calvin? Did he deny that he had read Calvin? Clarkson argues, ‘nor was he a follower of Calvin or John Knox as such’, referring to the often quoted statement in the letter to John Wesley, dated August 25, 1740:

I cannot bear the thoughts of opposing you: but how can I avoid it, if you go about (as your brother Charles once said) to drive John Calvin out of Bristol. Alas, I never read any thing that Calvin wrote; my doctrines I had from CHRIST and his apostles; I was taught them of GOD; and as GOD was pleased to send me out first, and to enlighten me first, so I think he still continues to do it.[40]

Several comments can be made. First, Whitefield exhorts Wesley ‘not to be strenuous in opposing the doctrines of election and final perseverance’ (p. 231), and instead says that these doctrines are ‘children’s bread, and ought not in my opinion to be with-held from them’ (p. 232). These are, then, necessary doctrines.

Secondly, Whitefield may not have read Calvin in his Oxford days, but the ‘never read’ statement cannot be relied upon too heavily. Whitefield is employing hyperbole, as per his claim to never have preached on election cited above. He adopts the posture of the apostle Paul in Galatians 1, with the intention of saying that the Scriptures are his authority and dominating influence, not a mere human. The safer conclusion is that Whitefield had not extensively read Calvin in his formative, post-conversion years up to 1740.

Thirdly, by 1740, Whitefield certainly had come to accept 17th century covenant theology. Why had he not taken the trouble to read Calvin more fully? This goes to Whitefield’s whole approach to the academic endeavour. For him, it really was a matter of sola scriptura, not just in terms of epistemology (as the Reformers meant it), but also as an academic method. There is in Whitefield that kind of disconnect with academia—that tendency to anti-intellectualism—that is found in the Fundamentalism of the 20th century. This is part of what Henry calls ‘an unbecoming pride of ignorance which was a recurrent, though not dominant, note in Whitefield’s thought.’[41]

Fourthly, in this statement of 1740, Whitefield gives no indication that his theology has developed from his earlier years. As Whitefield says, ‘as GOD was pleased to send me out first, and to enlighten me first, so I think he still continues to do it.’ He commenced his ministry as a person enlightened by God (remembering that this is in the context of discussing the doctrines of election and final perseverance, the start and end points in the Calvinist scheme of salvation).

Fifthly, the evidence is that even after 1740, he only grappled occasionally with Calvin.[42] In a letter dated February 20, 1741, Whitefield writes that he had sent for ‘several of Calvin’s books’,[43] but he speaks about Calvin’s influence dismissively. He states, ‘You remember what I have often told you about Calvin… But what is Calvin, or what is Luther? Let us look above names and parties; let JESUS, the ever-loving, the ever-lovely JESUS, be our all in all.’[44] ‘I embrace the calvinistical scheme, not because Calvin, but JESUS CHRIST, I think, has taught it to me.’[45]

These statements parallel the 1740 ‘never read Calvin’ statement. Whilst it cannot be shown that Whitefield had read Calvin prior to 1740, neither can the letter to Wesley be used as evidence that he had not.

  1. Conclusion

Whitefield was happy to confess holding to the Calvinist system, but did not like to be identified as a follower of a mere human. His Calvinism was primarily mediated, but he did have some direct familiarity with Calvin’s writings. There is a shift in Whitefield’s theology over the period 1739–1740, not from unclear to clear Calvinism, but from Calvinism derived from the 16th century Thirty-Nine Articles to the covenant theology of the 17th century Reformed Scholastics. He was not a Calvinist untimely born.

[1]        Luke Tyerman, The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley, M.A.: Founder of the Methodists, 2 vols, Vol. 1 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1871), 12.

[2]        Luke Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield, B.A., of Pembroke College, Oxford, 2 vols, Vol. 1 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1876), 275.

[3]        Michael J. Crawford, Seasons of Grace: Colonial New England’s Revival Tradition in Its British Context (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 148, who references Dallimore in support.

[4]        Arnold A. Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival, 2 vols, Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980), 25–26.

[5]        Quoted from Arnold A. Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the 18th Century Revival, 2 vols, Vol. 1 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), 126–127.

[6]        Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 2, 25–26.

[7]        Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 1, 127, 223. John Wesley demonstrably lacked clarity about the nature of justification in his earlier years. Even in 1745, he had Baxter’s work on Justification read to the second Methodist Conference.

[8]        Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 2, 44, quoting Whitefield’s letter of December 24, 1740, to John Wesley, regarding Wesley’s sermon on Free Grace.

[9]        George E. Clarkson, George Whitefield and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1996), 29, 38.

[10]       Keith J. Hardman, ‘George Whitefield and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism,’ review of George Whitefield and Welsh Calvinistic Methodism, by Clarkson, George E, Church History 67 (1998): 173.

[11]       Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 1, 405.

[12]       Dugald Butler, John Wesley and George Whitefield in Scotland: Or, the Influence of the Oxford Methodists on Scottish Religion (Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1898), 13. Cf. William R. Ward, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 314, who is more cautious about the Erskine influence.

[13]       Frank Baker, ‘Erskines and the Methodists,’ London Quarterly and Holborn Review 183 (1958): 37.

[14]       George Whitefield, Journals, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), 295, 305, 317, 343. Cf. George Whitefield, Letters 1735-1742, 6 vols, Vol. I, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000),  Letter CLI, 163, January 22, 1740.

[15]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CXXXVIII, 149.

[16]       A comment to his friend, James Hervey, made on November 10, 1739 (Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, 113), might also seem to cast doubt on Whitefield’s previous understanding of justification. He asks Hervey what he thinks of the doctrine that works are the effect of justification, not the partial cause of it. Is it that Whitefield has changed, though, or does he want Hervey to change?

[17]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter LXXXII, 95.

[18]       As the letter to the Rev Mr S puts it, Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CXIII, 127.

[19]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CXV, 129, and other similar statements from the same day.

[20]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter 14, 551.

[21]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CXCIX, 214-215.

[22]       Far less that Whitefield changed to appeal to the Calvinists of America, contrary to Harry S. Stout, ‘George Whitefield in Three Countries,’ in Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond, 1700-1990, ed. Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George A. Rawlyk (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 62.

[23]       George Whitefield, Controversial Writings and Tracts, 6 vols, Vol. IV, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), 53–59.

[24]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 55.

[25]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 55–56.

[26]       Cf. Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, Observations on Some Fatal Mistakes, 321. In 1674, Whitefield issued another mea culpa, when countering the attack of Bishop Warburton. He speaks of ‘exceptionable passages in my journals’, though many, he says, have now been set forth in ‘a more correct attire’. This is about the indiscrete disclosures in the journals that had hurt individuals, not the doctrine of his sermons (contra Dallimore, Whitefield, Vol. 2, 421.).

[27]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 55.

[28]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 57.

[29]       Compare George Whitefield, Sermons on Several Practical Subjects: Viz. I. Of Our New Birth in Christ Jesus…Vii. On Justification… (London: C. Rivington…and J. Hutton, 1738), 3, with George Whitefield, Sermons, 6 vols, Vol. VI, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Sermon XLIX, 263.

[30]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 56.

[31]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. VI, Sermon XLIX, 270.

[32]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 72, written in Georgia on December 24, 1740.

[33]       The Scriptures, read through the prism of ‘Burkitt’s and Henry’s Expositions’ (Whitefield, Journals, 68).

[34]       Whitefield, Journals, 74.

[35]       George Whitefield, Samuel Drew, and Joseph Smith, ‘Sermons on Important Subjects,’ in Commendations by Notable Preachers, the Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), 29.

[36]       George Whitefield, Additional Letters, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000),  Letter 29, p. 39, May 21, 1746.

[37]       George Whitefield, Additional Sermons, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Sermon LXII, 71.

[38]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CCCCLVI, 483, September 22, 1742.

[39]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. IV, 241.

[40]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, 232. Clarkson, 21. Cf. Stuart Clark Henry, George Whitefield: Wayfaring Witness (New York: Abingdon Press, 1957), 96.

[41]       Henry, 96.

[42]       Clarkson, 24–25, assesses Whitefield’s later familiarity with Calvin, and concludes that Calvin is viewed as ‘a prominent person in Christian history’, not as a theologian.

[43]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CCLXVIII, 283. Later in the year, March 25, 1741, Letter CCLXXII, 289, he indicates that he had been reading Beza’s Life of Calvin, too.

[44]       George Whitefield, Letters 1742-1753, 6 vols, Vol. II, The Works of George Whitefield (Shropshire: Quinta Press, 2000), Letter DCCCCXII, 433.

[45]       Whitefield, Works, Vol. I, Letter CCCCLVIII, 486–487, September 24, 1742.