Over the generations men and women have been raised up in Bristol who have had a profound impact on human history. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, always over budget, never to schedule, had a global impact through his visionary leadership. Hannah More, as a well connected member of the establishment, played a crucial role supporting William Wilberforce and paving the way for the abolition of slavery. And George Muller established the model of caring for orphans and preparing them for fruitful lives. However, all these fall under the shadow of Bristol’s greatest, George Whitfield.
George Whitfield went onto the streets and into the fields to preach the Gospel. At Kingswood he preached to around 20,000, many miners, and thousands are said to have been saved. His passion was for the lost, the unsaved and the common man. He left the UK for a second time in 1740 and led the Christian movement in the USA that became known as the Great Awakening. This was the Christian foundation on which USA might was established and made it the greatest nation on earth prevailing against Nazism and the Stalinist might of the Socialist Soviet Republic. He developed a lifelong friendship with Benjamin Franklin.
George was born around 40 years after the man widely recognised as the greatest scientist of all time. However, he and Isaac had a shared understanding of one crucial area, that of creation. They had the wit and the humility to accept that order cannot somehow emerge from chaos, that nothing cannot produce something and that if you have a design then you inevitably have a designer. Here’s Newton’s take on the matter the post-modern mind is so determined to ignore:
“Did blind chance know that there was light and what was its refraction and fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These and such like considerations always have and ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things and has all things in his power and who is therefore to be feared.”
“He who thinks half-heatedly will not believe in God; but he who really thinks has to believe in God.”
~Sir Isaac Newton~
We are at present celebrating Bristol’s Lesbian, Bi-sexual-gay-transgender history with details like this:
1746 Bristol was scandalised by the case of Mary Hamilton, the Female Husband, who was convicted of fraud at Taunton for posing as a man and marrying several women, including one in Bristol.
1752 September 19: Richard Arnold, a former pub landlord aged about 60, was caught having sex with William Critchett, a footman aged about 20, in a back room at the Swan alehouse in Broad Street. Both were convicted of felony and buggery in August 1753 and were hanged.
Meanwhile George Whitfield’s memory, who preached a message of salvation for all nations, tongues, tribes and sexual proclivities, passes unnoticed. Welcome to the post-modern cultural mandate.