[W]hile [George] Whitefield was at Charleston, Commissary Garden confronted him with a copy of Wesley's sermon "Against Predestination." This was Whitefield's first realization that, contrary to his expressed desire, Wesley was circulating this divisive document, and he could see that the day was approaching when it would be necessary for him to write a reply.And:
And further disappointment awaiting him: he received an answer to his proposal of marriage. He merely tells us, "I find from Blendon letters that Miss E[lizabeth] D[elamotte] is in a seeking state only." Apparently either the parents or Elizabeth had written to say that she was not a sufficiently mature Christian to undergo all the trials he had listed. But the Delamottes, with the rest of the Fetter Lane Society, had become Moravians and were now opposed to the Wesleys, and we must suppose to some degree to Whitefield too. Moreover, Elizabeth was now keeping company with another young man, William Holland, the one spoken of as reading from Luther on the evening John Wesley was converted, and within five months Elizabeth and Holland were married. Our hearts go out to Whitefield in this further disappointment, and we feel for him as following his mention of the "Blendon letters" he says, "Just now I have been weeping, and much carried out before the Lord."
In this sense of deep disappointment he returned to Bethesda.
After a few days spent in superintending the work of the Orphan House, Whitefield set out on his Fall Tour -- that of New England. He had been invited by the governor and the secretary of Massachusetts, by a number of laymen, and by several ministers.
And now, as always, Boston people thronged to hear him. Civic officials of today would not allow such crowding as was practiced under Whitefield's ministry in the churches. Time after time humanity pressed into the pews, filled the aisles and the stairways, and covered the pulpit area. But in a congregation that had gathered ahead of time at the New South Church and was waiting for Whitefield to arrive, someone broke a board to form a makeshift seat, and a cry went up that the gallery was falling. Immediately the place was in a panic as people rushed to get to the doors, and many fell and were trampled upon. Some even threw themselves out of the windows. Five were killed and several seriously injured.
Whitefield was disturbed by the tragedy . . .
My Dear, Dear Brethren,
. . . Why did you throw out that bone of contention? Why did you print that sermon against predestination? . . .
Do you not think, my dear brethren, that I must be as much concerned for truth, or what I think truth, as you? God is my judge. I always was, and I hope I always shall be, desirous that you may be preferred before me. But I must preach the Gospel of Christ, and this I cannot now do without speaking about election. . . .
O my dear brethren, my heart almost bleeds within me! Methinks I would be willing to tarry here on the waters forever, rather than come to England to oppose you.
Whitefield to John and Charles Wesley, from aboard ship, as it approached England March 1741