Monday, July 03, 2017

Another Great Awakening? by Rose McCormick Brandon

Jonathan Edwards
America’s first citizens built a nation based on godly principles. A century or so later, descendants of the founders had transferred their affection from God to money, power and influence. Although most attended church, they were smug, proud and godless.
         In the 1730s Jonathan Edwards, minister at Southampton, Massachusetts became disturbed by the spiritual deadness and immoral conduct of his parishioners. Edwards, who had devoted himself to holy living early in life while attending Yale, began a series of sermons on justification by faith alone (Martin Luther’s principle message). Hundreds responded to his heartfelt sermons by making public commitments to Christ.
          Edwards’ sermons ignited a revival  that became The Great Awakening. Thousands more converted to Christ through the preaching of George Whitefield of Britain. When Edwards invited Whitefield to preach in his church he reported that “the congregation was extraordinarily melted” and that all were in tears. Whitefield went on to preach to crowds gathered in fields because no building could hold the tens of thousands who attended. 
         Edwards experienced fierce opposition from the religious sector because of his support for Whitefield, but he recognized that God was doing something extraordinary.
          Edwards famously preached his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. The title may convey a judgemental attitude, but Edwards was a loving man who defended emotional responses that often accompany revival. He became a missionary to the natives and wrote theological papers, eventually becoming President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton).
        The Great Awakening resulted in so many entering the ministry that more schools were required. Princeton, Rutgers, Brown and Dartmouth were all founded to meet this need.
God has had it much on his heart, from all eternity, to glorify his dear and only-begotten Son; and there are some special seasons that he appoints to that end, wherein he comes forth with omnipotent power to fulfill his promise and oath to him. Now these are times of remarkable pouring out of his Spirit, to advance his kingdom. (1)
           Have we become smug and proud? As dry as dust? Passive, compromising and dull? Oh for an awakening, a remarkable outpouring of His Spirit to jolt us out of passivity and into the vibrant life of Christ.
Understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:11-14
Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19

(1)   Jonathan Edwards, Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England
  Rose McCormick Brandon writes faith and family articles, short stories, biblical essays, Bible studies and devotionals from her home in Caledonia, Ontario. She is presently writing a daily devotional book. Rose also writes articles on Canadian history and gives presentations at libraries, historical societies and museums. She is the author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home - Stories of Canada's British Home Children.
   Visit Rose's two blogs: Listening to my Hair Grow and Promises of Home.


Peter Black said...

Ah, "The Great Awakening"! The annals of those times ring with challenge for us today, and also with comfort that God hears and answers the heart-cry of faithful people who long and pray for Him to save their generation. God can do it again . . . can't He? I appreciate your chosen scriptures, too. Thanks Rose. ~~+~~

Susan Harris said...

I'm always in awe how these men spoke in pastures and outdoors without the benefit of sound systems, using just their voice, yet they were heard and lives saved by the thousands. What hunger there must have been among the people, but more so, to have lived in such a way that Jonathan Edwards was able to do as in Bible days - as the crowds followed Jesus. Thanks for the reminder, Rose.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Awakening is on my mind as I write a series of devotionals on the subject. Personal awakenings, villages, nations. Oh, how the Lord wants to visit the world with His heart-rending, transforming presence!!

Glynis said...

And we have to pay attention to His voice as we read His Word and try to fathom the reality of Christ's return. Awakening - yes, this corrupt world needs another Great Awakening.
Jonathan Edwards has fascinated me - we learned about him when we were homeschooling and I found his courage admirable. Great post, Rose. Thanks.

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