Hail, Happy Saint a Poem by Philis Wheatly Concerning the Death of George Whitefield


On September 30th, 1770, six years before the authors of the Declaration of Independence would proclaim the liberty to all people the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness George Whitefield died. This 17-year-old slave girl penned the most extraordinary eulogy to the luminaire and reknown evangelist of the First Great Awakening, George Whitefield. Philis would be one of the first women to publish in America and the first African American woman.

I love the lines, 

He charg'd its youth to let the grace divine
Arise, and in their future actions shine;
He offer'd THAT he did himself receive,
A greater gift not GOD himself can give:
He urg'd the need of HIM to every one;
It was no less than GOD's co-equal SON!
Take HIM ye wretched for your only good;
Take HIM ye starving souls to be your food.
Ye thirsty, come to his life giving stream:
Ye Preachers, take him for your joyful theme:
Take HIM, "my dear AMERICANS," he said,
Be your complaints in his kind bosom laid:
Take HIM ye Africans, he longs for you;
Impartial SAVIOUR, is his title due;
If you will chuse to walk in grace's road,
You shall be sons, and kings, and priests to GOD.



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