What Happens When God Surprises a Town with Grace? (Revival)

God showed up on the East Coast in the mid-1700s and he surprised everyone. The wind of the Spirit blew across Jonathan Edwards’ town and brought revival. Here’s what it was like:

A great and earnest concern about the great things of religion [by which, he means Christianity] and the eternal world, became universal in all parts of the town, and among persons of all degrees, and all ages…. 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 (12-13).

The only thing in their view was to get the kingdom of heaven, and every one appeared pressing into it… There was scarcely a person in town, old or young, left unconcerned about the great things of the eternal world… souls did as it were come by flocks to Jesus Christ (13).

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 assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors (14).

A loose careless person could scarcely be found in the whole neighborhood; and if there was any one that seemed to remain senseless or unconcerned, it would be spoken of as a strange thing (19).

I suppose there were upwards of fifty persons converted in this town above forty years of age… At that time God’s work in the conversion of souls… appears to have been at the rate at least of four persons in a day; or nearly thirty in a week, taken one with another, for five or six weeks together (21).

– Jonathan Edwards, “A Narrative of Surprising Conversions” in Jonathan Edwards: On Revival (Banner of Truth, 1965).

It’s happened elsewhere and it will happen again. Join me in praying that revival will happen in our place and in our time.

This entry was posted in Missional, Quotes, Revival. Bookmark the permalink.

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