George Whitefield - First Sermon in Scotland (1741)

The Seceders were in communication with Whitefield from 1739. Whitefield was Calvinistic, which explains why he had so much more success in Wales and Scotland than Wesley. He pointed out to Erskine that he would not approve of taking up arms such as the Cameronians did, and he was concerned that they favoured only Presbyterian Church government as this could lead to persecution of those favouring different forms of government. Whitefield was very supportive of the Seceders, but not so Wesley, who was much more connected to the Anglican Church and always would be. Erskine and his brother Ralph invited Whitefield in 1741 to come to help them, but they insisted that he should only work for them. Whitefield told them that he was unwilling to do this, however, he still went to Scotland, preaching his first sermon in Ralph Erskine’s meeting-house on July 31st 1741. Whitefield’s attitude that he would take no party’s side resulted in the Seceders denouncing him as a Latitudinarian. This was a major error by the Seceders and so unnecessary. The Secession Church was to suffer several spits and unions over the coming two hundred years, but by 1956 all the different bodies were finally joined back into the Church of Scotland.

At this time Ralph Erskine's meeting-house was the Abbey.

Ralph Erskine wrote on the same day to his brother '...He preached in my meeting-house this afternoon. The Lord is evidently with him.'