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matics, and Nathan Prince, one of the tutors, were dismissed for intemperance.
At the first commencement, after the inauguration of Holyoke, some of the questions on the printed order of exercises excited alarm, as indicating, on the part of those who were to discuss them, a leaning towards Arianism. Wherefore, the orders were required to be altered with pen and ink," and solemn inquiry was instituted on the subject, by a committee of the overseers.
In August, 1738, John Winthrop, Esq., of Boston, was elected Hollis professor of mathematics, in place of Professor Greenwood, who had been dismissed. Mr. Peirce thinks him the first college officer that had ever been elected, without a strict previous inquiry into his religious principles. *
REVIVAL UNDER THE PREACHING OF WHITEFIELD.
It was early in the presidency of Mr. Holyoke, that the great revival of religion commenced in Boston and the vicinity, under the preaching of Whitefield and others. As President Quincy has devoted a considerable space to this subject, it will be necessary to follow him, and review his statements.
The Rev. George Whitefield made his first visit to Georgia, in 1738, being then not more than twenty-three years of age. He soon went tack to England to receive priest's orders, and to collect contributions for his projected orphan house. He returned to his charge in Georgia in the following year; and shortly after, received pressing invitations from Dr. Colman and Mr. Cooper, joint pastors of the Brattle-street church in Boston, to make a visit to New England. As he approached Boston, in the month of September, 1740, he was met, several miles from the city, by the governor's son, and many of the clergy and principal inhabitants, who escorted him into town. He commenced his labors in the Brattle-street church, but extended them to the other churches, and at length to the common, where he is supposed to have addressed 20,000 people at once. He was greatly honored by Governor Belcher, Mr. Secretary Willard, and the principal ministers of the town, if we except Dr. Chauncy, who was then comparatively a young man. Mr.
* Hist. of Harv. University, p. 188.
Foxcroft of the first church, Messrs. Colman and Cooper of Brattle-street, Messrs. Sewall and Prince of the Old South, Mr. Cheekley of the New South, Mr. Gee of the Old North, and Messrs. Webb and Elliot of the New North, were all among his constant hearers and admirers. Old Mr. Walter, of Roxbury, the immediate successor of John Elliot, represented the preaching of Whitefield as “ Puritanism revived ;” and Dr. Colman declared the period of his visit to be “the happiest day he ever saw in his life.”
Mr. Whitefield, while in New England, did not confine his labors to Boston. He proceeded east as far as York (Maine); and on his return south, he visited Northampton, and several towns in that vicinity.
While staying in Boston, Mr. Whitefield visited Cambridge, and preached there with his usual power and effect. In a letter addressed to him, shortly after his departure, Dr. Colman says:
“At Cambridge, the college is entirely changed. The students are full of God, and will, I hope, come out blessings in their generation. Many of them are now, we think, truly born again, and several of them happy instruments of conversion to their fellows. The voice of prayer and praise fills their chambers, and sincerity, servency and joy, with seriousness of heart, sit visibly on their faces. I was told yesterday, that not seven, of a hundred, remain unaffected. I know how these good tidings will affect you." So hopeful were the appearances at college, that the overseers appointed a day of thanksgiving on account of in, and “ earnestly recommended to the president, professors, tutors, and instructors, by personal application to the students under impressions of a religious nature, and by all other means, to encourage and promote this good work.” II. p. 43.
But notwithstanding Mr. Whitefield's honorable reception in New England, and the abundant success which attended his labors, the impression seems to have been forced upon his mind, that there had been, and was, a great want of spirituality in the churches, and among ministers, and in fact that not a few of the ministers had no experimental acquaintance with the gospel. To this impression he sometimes gave utterance in the pulpit, and in conversation. He also recorded it in his journal, which was afterward published. It was the publication of this journal, which disturbed the feelings of many of the New England ministers, and brought him into open controversy with some of the officers of Harvard College. The more offensive
passages in his journal, are the following. Speaking of Boston, he says:
“Both ministers and magistrates were exceeding civil to me, during my stay. I never saw so little scoffing ; never had so little opposition. Butone might easily foresee much would hereafter arise, when I come to be more particular, in my application to particular persons; for I fear many, many rest in a head knowledge, and are close Pharisees, having only a name to live. It must needs be so, when the power of godliness is dwindled away, and the form only of religion is become fashionable among a people."
Under date of Wednesday, Sept. 24th, Whitefield says: “Went this morning to see and preach at Cambridge, the chief college for training up the sons of the prophets, in all New England. It has one president, four tutors, and upwards of a hundred students. It is scarce as big as one of our least colleges in Oxford ; and as far as I could gather from some who well knew the state of it, not far superior to our universities, in piety and true godliness. Tutors neglect to pray with, and examine the hearts of their pupils. Discipline is at too low an ebb. Bad books are become fashionable amongst them. Tillotson and Clark are read, instead of Shepard, Stoddard, and such like evangelical writers; and therefore I chose to preach from those words, We are not as many, who corrupt the word of God.' In the conclusion of my sermon, I made a close application to tutors and students."
On leaving New England, he says: “Many, nay, perhaps most that preach, I fear, do not experimentally know Christ; yet, I cannot see much worldly advantage to tempt them to take upon them the sacred function.”—“ As for the universities, I believe it may be said, • Their light has now become darkness'-darkness that may be felt and is complained of by the most godly ministers. I pray God those fountains may be purified, and send forth pure streams, to water the city of our God."*
As remarked above, it was the publication of passages such as these, which excited the displeasure of not a few of the New England ministers, and brought Whitefield into open conflict with a portion of the faculty at Cambridge. It will be necessary, therefore, to examine into the truth and propriety of these published statements. And first, in regard to the religious state of many of the churches and ministers. It will be observed, Whitefield does not represent these as heretical or immoral; but rather as cold, formal, conformed to the world, and in many instances, he feared, without true religion. And when we consider that, for a long period, there had been no general revival of religion in New England, at least in the southeastern
* See Whitefield's Journal at New England, pp. 55–96.
ate of interly we finally in this. It was slack urches of New by Christians remissa arsonna, that reallen into as were su
section of it—that for three-fourths of a century, the plan of the half-way covenant had been in general operation—and that the practice prevailed extensively of receiving persons of sober life to the communion of the churches, without so much as a profession of a change of heart;—when, I say, these things are considered, we might expect them to be followed by much such a state of spiritual declension as that which Whitefield describes. Accordingly we find, from concurrent testimony, that the churches were actually in this cold, backslidden state. Mr. Parsons, of Newburyport, says: “It was then a time in New England, that real Christians generally had slackened their zeal for Christ, and fallen into a remiss and careless frame of spirit ; and hypocritical professors were sunk into a deep sleep of carnal security. Ministers and their congregations seemed to be at ease.” Mr. Shurtleff, of Portsmouth, speaking of the state of the churches, says: “ No serious Christian could behold it without a heavy heart, and scarce without a weeping eye; to see the solid, substantial piety, for which our ancestors were justly renowned, having long languished under sore decays, brought so low, and seemingly just ready to give up the ghost.” Dr. Holmes says, in his Annals, that “the zeal which had characterized the churches of New England, at an earlier period, had, previous to Whitefield's arrival, subsided; and a calm, perhaps lethargic state, ensued.” Dr. Chauncy, the great opponent of Whitefield, not only admits (by implication) that many of the ministers, at that day, were unconverted, but he attempts to justify it. “ The first error I would take notice of,” in the preaching of Whitefield, “is that which supposes ministers, if not converted, incapable of being instruments of spiritual good to men's souls.” “But conversion does not appear to be alike necessary for ministers, in their public capacity, as officers of the church, as it is in their private capacity.” Indeed, the Christian Examiner says that, at the time of which we speak, “a heavy jejune style of preaching prevailed almost universally, and made any thing, in comparison, interesting and exciting.” Vol. IV. p. 478.
In considering the representations of Whitefield as to the state of the New England colleges, and especially of Harvard College, it is important that we keep in mind the standard by which he judged of it. He had no reference, in his remarks, to its literary character, or to its moral character, or even to its religious character, as estimated according to the ordinary standard of the times. He did not mean to say that the students were illinstructed; or that they were grossly immoral; though judging from President Quincy's account of them,-only a few years before, as well as after, this period—of their drinking, and feasting, and dancing, and frolicking, and of the various methods resorted to by the government to restrain them, we fear that something of this sort might have been said, without violating truth. Neither does Whitefield mean to say, that the forms of religion were not maintained in college, with their customary decency and regularity. But, estimating the religious character of college according to his high, spiritual, revival standard—as a place where the interests of the soul should be regarded as paramount to all others—where should be sought, first of all and above all, the kingdom of God and his righteousness—and such was originally designed to be the character of Harvard College-he judged it to be in an unfavorable, unhappy condition. “Tutors neglect to pray with, and examine the hearts of their pupils.” Not that they do not have public prayers, morning and evening, in the chapel; but they do not send for the students privately to their rooms, as Increase Mather was accustomed to do; or see them in their own rooms; and there converse and pray with them, and endeavor to promote their conversion and salvation. “Bad books have become fashionable among them.” By bad books, Whitefield meant, not immoral books, or books of a grossly heretical character, but those which did not relate directly to vital, experimental, heart religion ;—which had no tendency to bring and bind the soul to Christ. This is certain, from his classing the works of Clark and Tillotson among bad books, in distinction from those of Shepard and Stoddard, which he reckoned as good. And when Whitefield complained further, that the light of the universities had become darkness," he continued to use language in the same sense. The New England colleges had ceased to be nurseries of glowing, evangelical piety-places of high spiritual privilege and enjoyment; and had become little more than schools of mere secular learning.
That this is the manner in which the statements of Whitefield should be interpreted, there can be no doubt. And thus interpreted, it is presumed that they were not far from the truth. Indeed, this is evident, if there were no other proof, from the replies which were inade to him. Prof. Wigglesworth, in his reply, does not pretend that the tutors prayed and conversed with their pupils, in the sense of Whitefield, but argues that