There are several biographies that I regularly go back to for encouragement, enlightenment, correction, hope and simply to restore my focus on the main things; Dallimore’s biography of Whitefield is one of them. If you haven’t yet read it, may I recommend it to you? It’s a thrilling read and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you already know about the life of Whitefield, you’ll gain even greater insights into his spiritual pilgrimage and work, and if you don’t, this is the best introduction to his life and times that I know of. Also, if you are involved in ministry, I guarantee this book will help to restore your confidence that God really does bless the faithful and diligent application of his ordinary means of grace even in the most difficult of circumstances.
For instance, most people are aware of Whitefield’s famous open-air sermons delivered to thousands in places like Boston, and the way God used those sermons to spark revival. But far more thrilling and encouraging to me is the way Whitefield perseveringly ministered to the passengers on the Whitaker. When that ship left England it was packed with swearing, card playing soldiers who had no fear of God or care for their souls, and yet through prayer, catechizing, ministering to the sick, and the gentle and continuous application of scripture, God used Whitefield to bring about an amazing transformation in the ship’s company so that by the time they reached their destination Dallimore records:
“Although but seven weeks earlier the men had been a scornful, cursing company, they now stood forth like little children to say their Catechism,” many read their Bibles regularly, and almost all attended services both morning and evening. Such were the fruits of Whitefield’s labor in that short period of time. And when he left Gibraltar “many came to him, weeping, telling him what God had done for their souls,” and bringing him gifts.”