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Revival Lit the Fire for the American Revolution

2 11 0
04.07.2021

As I note in The Miracle and Magnificence of America, between the colonial and Revolutionary periods of American history came what historians have dubbed the (first) "Great Awakening." The lack of passionate Christianity, along with the coinciding adoption of certain liberal interpretations of Scripture and a turn toward the secular, greatly concerned ministers such as Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Prince, and William Cooper. By the 1730s, passionate and animated pleas for the souls of the lost became widespread.

The earliest principal figure of this period of spiritual revival was the brilliant and pious Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards. Edwards succeeded his grandfather as pastor of the church at Northampton. Later, he accepted a role as pastor of a church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Jonathan Edwards loved the pulpit, and according to BJU Press, he was more teacher and preacher than pastor. In late 1734 and early 1735, revival broke out in Northampton. By the summer of 1735, it ended, but the seeds for something more lasting were planted. Enter the mighty George Whitefield.

Whitefield is generally considered "The Father of the Great Awakening." Born in England in 1714, Whitefield entered Pembroke College at Oxford at age 17. There he joined a group called the "Holy Club," where he befriended John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley led the group, and as a result of their "methodical" ways, critics took to calling them "Methodists." The name stuck.

In 1738, Whitefield left for North America. It was not long before most of Georgia had heard of this young preacher with the booming voice and wild pulpit antics. News of Whitefield and his preaching soon spread throughout the colonies. In 1739, after a brief return to England in hopes of securing land and funding for an orphanage in Georgia, Whitefield came back to America and would preach throughout the colonies. Jonathan Edwards invited Whitefield to preach in Northampton, Massachusetts. Whitefield's message resonated with rich and poor, farmers and tradesmen, churchgoers and sinners — virtually everyone within earshot,........

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