Preacher and evangelist George Whitefield was widely known in both Britain and America in the 18th century. J.C. Ryle notes that Whitefield’s “preaching the doctrine of regeneration or the new birth, as a thing which many baptized persons greatly needed” became a primary reason for his being unwelcome in many Church of England pulpits. Following this, Whitefield took to open-air preaching. The truth, conviction and steadfastness with which he preached earned him recognition as one of history’s greatest preachers of the Gospel.
Preaching on the necessity of heeding the command to search the Scriptures, Whitefield reminds the Christian to keep Christ always in view:
Have always in view, the end for which the scriptures were written, even to show us the way of salvation, by Jesus Christ.
“Search the scriptures,” says our blessed Lord, “for they are they that testify of me.” Look, therefore, always for Christ in the scripture. He is the treasure hid in the field, both of the Old and New Testament. In the Old, you will find him under prophesies, types, sacrifices, and shadows; in the New, manifested in the flesh, to become a propitiation for our sins as a Priest, and as a Prophet to reveal the whole will of his heavenly Father.
Have Christ, then, always in view when you are reading the word of God, and this, like the star in the east, will guide you to the Messiah, will serve as a key to every thing that is obscure, and unlock to you the wisdom and riches of all the mysteries of the kingdom of God.
George Whitefield, Selected Sermons of George Whitefield, “The Duty of Searching the Scriptures,” (Logos Research Systems, Inc.: 1999).