Rev. Whitfield arrived and rode directly for Philadelphia the center of the colonies where he intended to work from as the center of his ministry to America.
The population then was around 1,000,000 from the north to Georgia with the three largest cities: Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Their populations ranged from 12, 000 – 14,000.
As he arrived and began to preach in Philadelphia he was drawing crowds of 6,000 – 8,000. That’s 1/2 to 3/4 of the population.
He also sided with Mr. William Tennent and the other men who were preaching in opposition to the dry formalization of the church. Thus Rev. Whitfield joined to fray that was diving all denominations and thereby put the Church of England in the debate whereby almost all their clergy turned against him.
During one of Rev. Whitefield’s sermons on New York an anonymous watcher recorded these thoughts, “He prays most earnestly, that God would destroy all that bigotry and party zeal that has divided Christians. He supposes some of Christ’s flock are to be found under every denomination…He declares that his whole view of preaching is to bring men to Christ, to deliver them from their false confidences, to raise them from their dead formalities, to revive primitive Christianity among them; and if he can obtain this end he will leave them to their liberty, and they may go to what church, and worship God in what form they like best.” [page 436].
Back in Philadelphia Ben Franklin wrote this about Rev. Whitfield, “It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seem’d as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk thro’ the town in an evening without hearing Psalms sung in different families of every street.” [page 439].