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“The Great Awakening”

By Jonathan Edwards

 

“…And then it was, in the latter part of December (1734), that the Spirit of God began

extraordinarily to set in and wonderfully to work amongst us. And there were, very suddenly,

one after another, five or six persons who were to appearance savingly converted,

and some of them wrought upon in a very remarkable manner.

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“Particularly, I was surprised with the relation of a young woman, who had been one of

the greatest company-keepers in the whole town. When she came to me, I had never

heard that she was become in any wise serious.

But by the conversation I then had with her, it appeared to me, that what she gave an account

of, was a glorious work of God’s infinite power and sovereign grace…God had

given her a new heart, truly broken and sanctified.”

 

“Presently upon this, a great and earnest concern about the great things of religion and the

eternal world became universal in all parts of the town, and among persons of all degrees

and all ages. The noise amongst the dry bones waxed louder and louder; all other talk but

about spiritual and eternal things 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. It was treated

amongst us as a thing of very little consequence.”

 

“This work of God, as it was carried on and the number of true saints multiplied, soon

made a glorious alteration in the town. So that in the spring and summer following

(1735), the town seemed to be full of the presence of God. It never was so full of love,

nor joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then.

 

“There were remarkable tokens of God’s presence in almost every house. It was a time of

joy in families on account of salvation being brought unto them. Parents rejoiced over

their children as new born, and husbands over their wives and wives over their husbands.

 

“The goings of God were then seen in His sanctuary. God’s day was a delight, and his

tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful. The congregation

was alive in God’s service, every one earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer

eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth.

 

“The assemblies in general were, from time to time, in tears while the word was

preached. Some (were) weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others

with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.

 

“Our public praises were then greatly enlivened. God was then served in our psalmody, in

some measure, in the beauty of holiness. It has been observable, that there has been

scarce any part of divine worship wherein good men amongst us have had grace so drawn

forth and their hearts so lifted up in the ways of God as in singing his praises.”

 

(These selections come from The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1, p. 348, and gives a

partial description of the Holy Spirit’s work in his ministry.)