14 Quotes From “The Printer And The Preacher”

The Printer And The PreacherI loved this book! It’s a great historical story of how Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield’s lives intertwined at such a pivotal time in history. America exists the way it does politically and religiously today because of the influence of these two titans. You can read my full book review here. Below are a few quotes from this remarkable book.

“The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the world…. But I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it: I mean real good works, works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not a holiday-keeping, sermon-reading or hearing, performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers. … Your great Master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions than many of His modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the Word to the mere hearers…and those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick.” —Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to pastors

There are many who “perhaps fear less the being in Hell, than out of the fashion.” —Benjamin Franklin

“The alteration in the face of religion here is altogether surprising. Never did the people show so great a willingness to attend sermons, nor the preachers greater zeal and diligence in performing the duties of their function. Religion is become the subject of most conversations. No books are in request but those of piety and devotion; and instead of idle songs and ballads, the people are everywhere entertaining themselves with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. All of which, under God, is owing to the successful labors of the Reverend Mr. Whitefield.” —Benjamin Franklin, in a newspaper article

The Body of
B. Franklin
Printer;
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ’d, appear once more,
In a new& more perfect Edition,
Corrected and Amended
By the Author. —Benjamin Franklin, the Epitaph he wrote for himself at age 22

“I have seen your Epitaph. Believe on Jesus, and get a feeling possession of God in your heart, and you cannot possibly be disappointed of your expected second edition finally corrected, and infinitely amended.” —George Whitefield 

“You blame me for weeping, but how can I help it when you will not weep for yourselves, though your immortal souls are on the verge of destruction?” —George Whitefield

Those who hear the gospel “have more need of heat than light. Would to God we had as much warmth in our hearts, as light in our understandings!” —George Whitefield

“If we are truly converted, we shall not only be turned and converted from sinful self, but we shall be converted from righteous self. That is the devil of devils: For righteous self can run and hide itself in its own doings, which is the reason self-righteous people are so angry with gospel preachers.” —George Whitefield

“Let your practice correspond to your profession.”—George Whitefield

“Oh pray, dear Mr. H., that God would always keep me humble, and fully convinced that I am nothing without Him, and that all the good which is done upon earth, God doth it Himself.” —George Whitefield, in a letter to Gabriel Harris, when his popularity was growing

“Will it not in the end destroy brotherly love, and insensibly take from us that cordial union and sweetness of soul, which I pray God may always subsist between us? … How glad would the enemies of the Lord be to see us divided? How many would rejoice, should I join and make a party against you? And in one word, how would the cause of our common Master every way suffer by our raging disputes about particular points of doctrines? … I write not this, honored Sir, from heat of spirit, but out of love. At present, I think you are entirely inconsistent with yourself, and therefore do not blame me, if I do not approve of all that you say.” —George Whitefield, in correspondence with John Wesley over doctrinal differences

“I find that you grow more and more famous in the learned world. As you have made a pretty considerable progress in the mysteries of electricity, I would now humbly recommend to your diligent unprejudiced pursuit and study the mystery of the new-birth. It is a most important, interesting study, and when mastered, will richly answer and repay you for all your pains. One at Whose bar we are shortly to appear, hath solemnly declared, that without it, ‘we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.’ You will excuse this freedom. I must have aliquid Christi [something of Christ] in all my letters.” —George Whitefield, in a letter to Benjamin Franklin

“satan is angry. I am now mimicked and burlesqued upon the public stage. All hail such contempt! God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of Jesus Christ.” —George Whitefield, in a letter after a play was produced in London making fun of him

“Whitefield and Franklin were not just the two most famous people in America in their time—they were also the most significant. The effects of their lives and their work are still being felt today … If America was born as a Christian nation, it’s because many of its people were genuinely, powerfully Christians. It had less to do with the language in any founding documents and more to do with the fact that George Whitefield had been tromping from town to town, inviting people to hear the call of God. It had even less to do with church membership. God was grabbing lives. People’s hearts were flying open. No one was imposing Christianity on society. The power came from within.” —Randy Peterson

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