"The whole world is now my parish."
On the first morning of his first transatlantic voyage, which took place aboard The Whitaker, George Whitefield met cursing ridicule from the sailors and soldiers when he announced his intention “to know nothing among them, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” He made it his task to serve the crew, the hundred soldiers, and the twenty women and children in a manner befitting the Lord Jesus. Every day Whitefield gave from his own supplies of food and medicine to ill passengers, ate breakfast with several of the men, walked the deck at night to speak with the chief mate, and carried on conversations with the sailors. He read prayers in the morning and evening on the deck and began a catechism class. Whitefield soon earned the goodwill of all. Although many had cursed him initially, by the time the ship reached the shores of Georgia the conversions of many were evident as they read the Bible regularly, attended all morning and evening services, and repeated the catechism.
During the trip Whitefield gave attentive reading to works refuting Arminianism. Of these, he wrote, “There are such noble testimonies given…of justification by faith only, the imputed righteousness of Christ, our having no free-will, &c., that they deserve to be written in letters of gold.” This issue was not merely academic for Whitefield. At sea he preached evangelistic sermons with Calvinistic content. An example of this is “The Marriage of Cana.” In the course of this sermon he tells his hearers that they would never have called on the Lord if left to themselves. He also tells them that it is only because of God’s “free grace” that the “elect people of God” are saved, and that they are called at the very moment they hear the Gospel to embrace the Lord Jesus by faith.
When Whitefield arrived in Georgia he was brought into contact with many homeless children, orphaned due to the hardships on the frontier. He resolved to return to England, secure a charter, and establish an orphanage. He cut his missionary tour short, returned home, and worked toward this end. He also spent a vast amount of time larobinr for the sake of the Gospel while back in England. The thought of the Colonists, however, beckoned him to go back. On his return voyage Whitefield proclaimed, “The whole world is now my parish. Wheresoever my Master calls me I am ready to go and preach the everlasting Gospel.”
Whitefield, Sermons on Important Subjects
Whitefield, George Whitefield’s Journals
Hardy, George Whitefield: The Matchless Soul Winner
Dallimore, George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant
Dallimore, George Whitefield: The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival, 2 vols.