The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

Selina – Countess of Huntingdon

I have long maintained that, next to the Scriptures, there are few books that encourage and inspire more than the biographies of believers. I haven’t had much chance to read biographies for a while but am currently delighting in Faith Cook’s superb account of the life of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791). I will, in due course, write a proper review of the book but, in the meantime, I thought I would post a few extracts that have warmed my heart and blessed me. Here is the first.

“On Sunday 17 June 1739, while the Countess of Huntingdon was still troubled and fearful concerning her spiritual state, John Wesley was in London. That evening he wrote in his journal:

‘I preached at seven [in the morning] in Upper Moorfields to (I believe) six or seven thousand people on ‘Ho everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.’…At five I preached on Kennington Common to about fifteen thousand people on these words, ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.’

Charles Wesley, who had accompanied his brother in the morning, estimated that the crowd that gathered was nearer ten thousand. Later that day he himself preached twice in one of the prisons, seeking to brings words of mercy and forgiveness from God to offenders, many of whom awaited the death penalty. Meanwhile George Whitefield, soon to leave English shores once again, was preaching to a congregation of three hundred in the morning, but was on Blackheath Common in the evening where he noted in his journal that he preached to a throng of humanity which he guessed could well number above twenty thousand people.

These were extraordinary days, and Whitefield rejoiced in them. At the close of that Sunday he was able to write: ‘I retired to bed much pleased to think that religion, which had long been skulking in the corners, and was almost laughed out of the world, should now begin to appear abroad, and openly shew herself at noonday.’

Oh, that God would favour us with some such “extraordinary days” in our day and generation!

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