Friday, May 29, 2009

The First Great Awakening

The First Great Awakening occurred in New England, 1740-1742.

I am currently reading Jonathan Edwards' account of what took place in his A Narrative of Surprising Conversions. Jonathan Edwards was minister at the church in Northampton, Massachusetts, at the time of this awakening. What follows is a summary of the first section.

This area was a relatively godly area.

My grandfather had 5 "harvests" (where several came to the Lord at once) during his 60 years of ministry here. (Edwards served with his grandfather at the church during his grandfather's last few years of ministry.)

After the last "harvest" was over, a far more degenerate time set in.

But then the evil lessened in the community, particularly among young people.

There began to be a remarkable religious concern at a nearby village, particularly on the occasion of 3 different deaths in the community.

Doctrinal heresy threatened, but it actually strengthened the people here, because it caused people to be concerned about the truth.

"And then it was, in the latter part of December, that the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in, and wonderfully to work amongst us." There were 5 or 6 conversions.

A seriousness about Christianity spread. People became heavenly-minded, so that all conversations around town were about spiritual and eternal matters. ("... all other talk ... was soon thrown by; all the conversation, in all companies and upon all occasions, was upon these things only, unless so much as was necessary for people carrying on their ordinary secular business. Other discourse than of the things of religion would scarcely be tolerated in any company. The minds of people were wonderfully taken off from the world ...")

There were conversions daily. Congregational worship became quite alive. Christ and salvation were the topics of conversations everywhere.

There were many skeptics who came to town to see what was occurring, and they left convinced that the work done was of the Lord.

Other towns soon experienced the same divine work, and news of what God was doing in other towns kept our own work going.

Further, God was also working in similar ways in Connecticut and in some parts of the Jerseys.

This divine work was universal in that it was across all age groups; not just young people, but the elderly and children, too.

Great numbers of people came to the Lord, at least 300 people in our town--an equal number of men and women.

This work of the Holy Spirit include both the quickening of lax Christians as well as the regeneration of unbelievers.

Don't you yearn for the Holy Spirit to come in power to Fort Wayne this way?

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