From “The Indwelling Spirit: The Common Privilege of All Believers” (1739)
Our Lord, just before his bitter passion, when he was about to offer up his soul an offering for the sins of the elect world; when his heart was most enlarged and he would undoubtedly demand the most excellent gift for his disciples, prays, “That they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us, I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one,” that is, that all his true followers might be united to him by his Holy Spirit, by as real, vital, and mystical an union, as there was between Jesus Christ and the Father.
I say all his true followers; for it is evident, from our Lord’s own words, that he had us, and all believers, in view, when he put up this prayer; “Neither pray I for these alone, but for those also who shall believe on me through their word;” so that, unless we treat our Lord as the high priests did, and count him a blasphemer, we must confess, that all who believe in Jesus Christ, through the word, or ministration of his servants, are to be joined to Jesus Christ, by being made partakers of the Holy Spirit.
A great noise has been made of late, about the word enthusiast, and it has been cast upon the preachers of the gospel, as a term of reproach; but every Christian, in the proper sense of the word, must be an enthusiast; that is, must be inspired of God or have God, by his Spirit, in him. St. Peter tells us, “we have many great and precious promises, that we may are made partakers of the divine nature.” And our Lord prays, “that we may be one, as the Father and he are one;” and our own church, in conformity to these texts of scripture, in her excellent communion-office, tells us, that those who receive the sacrament worthily, “dwell in Christ, and Christ in them; that they are one with Christ, and Christ with them.” And yet, Christians must have their names cast out as evil, and ministers in particular, must be looked upon as deceivers of the people, for affirming, that we must be really united to God, by receiving the Holy Ghost. Be astonished, O heavens, at this!
George Whitefield (1714-1770) was an Anglican priest and evangelist, a leader of the first Great Awakening. As a student at Oxford, he was part of John and Charles Wesley’s Holy Club, committing himself to serious discipleship. After his ordination he became an itinerant evangelist, and is estimated to have preached 18,000 sermons to as many as 10 million people in thirty years of ministry in Britain and the American colonies.