What was it?
II. History and Consequences
A wave of religious revival sweeping through
New England that increased conversions and church membership.
New way of apprehending God's truth: through
The Congregational Church split into Old Light
and New Light factions.
Supporters of the revival were called New Lights
in New England and New Sides in the Middle Colonies: these emphasized primacy
of emotions. "New Lights": justification by faith, itinerant evangelizing,
enthusiasm, revival, radicalism
New Light Preachers:
George Whitefield: thousands traveled to see
James Davenport: loud music, disturbing peace
late at night, powerful extemporaneous sermons, burning idols (March 6,
Old Lights or Old Sides: downplayed emotion,
"Old Lights": those who believed in moderation,
intellect, predestination, justification through works: men could attain
salvation through time, exercise observation, instruction against enthusiasm.
III. Why did it occur?
In winter of 1742-43, critics were questioning
Awakening. Rev. Charles Chauncy attacked its extravagances.
Revival of 1734-1734 described in letter.
Series ended when Edwards's uncle killed himself in a fit of religious
Baptists gained converts
Social leveling, since Awakening underscored
inherent depravity of the human soul.
From Miller, Errand into the Wilderness
A. . Decline in church membership. Great
Awakening an attempt to get the people back to God.
1."City upon a Hill" idea of Winthrop was
based on the idea of the covenant.
"Covenant theology taught that God
had voluntarily limited the exercise of His power, binding himself into
partnership with man.":
2. By 1662, the churches were losing members,
so the "half-way
covenant" was started. "half-way covenant": if you were baptized and
child of primitive church members, you could be included but not have full
1. External covenants: church covenant &
social covenant. "In return for man's walking as faithfully as he could
in divine paths, God would bless both he church and the land itself."
Because of election, saints couldn't be distinguished from sinners.
2. Internal covenant of grace. Covenant with
Adam had been covenant of works, which he had voided by his sin.
3. Covenant of redemption, by which God accepted
sacrifice of Christ; and covenant of grace, by which he extended salvation
to Christ's followers. Man himself could not achieve his half of
the equation: it was based on a conditional promise by God and a matching
requirement of faith by man. Only the Deity through election could
provide man with saving faith. Thus, only the elected could covenant
with God BUT only about 1/5 of the population were found able to take the
covenant. The rest just prayed for grace. The second generation
of Puritans didn't have the kind of emotional experiences. To become
a church member, people had to experience conversion.
3. Miller: "The theology of the founders
conceived man as single and alone (from individual to community) in an
empty field, wrestling with his sins; once he had survived this in solitude
he could walk into church and by telling about it could join the church.
But the communal confession . . . was something new" (160).
Solomon Stoddard, Edwards's grandfather and an enemy of the Mathers, extended
the practice or renewal of covenant to those who had never been there.
He called the times when the community responded "harvests" 1679, 1683,
B. Worldliness of the people
C. Rise of sectarianism following immigration
of Quakers, Lutherans,
D. Doctrine of Arminianism: opposition to
idea of predestination, emphasis on freedom of the will, belief in good
works as a means to salvation
E. Rise of Skepticism
A. Spiritual autobiography: Daniel Shea,
Spiritual Autobiography in Early America:
of Conversion (from Thomas Hooker)
"The spiritual autobiographer is primarily concerned
with the question of grace: whether or not the individual has been accepted
into divine life, an acceptance signified by psychological and moral changes
which the autobiographer comes to discern in his past experience" (xxvii).
"New England Puritans regularly stipulated a
qualification for church membership . . . . Beyond the usual confession
of faith, the applicant was required to give a satisfactory narrative of
his experience of grace. These narratives hardly deserve to be considered
autobiography...[subjects are reduced to ] testifying that their experiences
follow a certain pattern of feeling and behavior"
Thematic pattern: distinction between easy self-righteousness
and the new birth of saving grace.
1.Contrition. Man should look into the Law
of God and make an examination of his life and state according to the Law.
2.Humiliation. Conviction of conscience by
which seeker realizes that he is under sin.
3.Vocation. Despair of salvation, in respect
to strength of self and other creatures.
4. Implantation. True humiliation of heart,
grief and fear because of sin. Confession.
5.Exaltation. First entrance into the state
of saving grace.
6.Possession. Awareness of presence of faith.
Drawing on sermon notes from first-generation
pastor Thomas Allen, Harry Stout describes a less rigidly formulated series
1.Agitations of the soul lead to the sinner's
deep sense of humiliation at his condition.
2.The stricken sinner attempts to redress
the wrongs he has done
through "legal obedience" to the covenant
of works. He turns to
good works as a remedy, but this effort fails
and he is brought to
3.The sinner experiences abject despair and
misery. He sees all his
efforts as vain and inconsequential
before a perfect God.
4.At the most abject moment of despair, the
soul begins to understand God's grace and is elevated to an appreciation
5.Gratitude causes the sinner to live a life
of obedience and thanksgiving, although human nature and pride may cause
the sinner to backslide and to rely on his own will and works once again.
Because of this temptation, individuals must continually monitor their
spiritual state and repeat the process of conversion if necessary.
B. Sermons (Jeremiads)
Parts of a Sermon
A.Laying open the text
1. Grammatical meaning
2. Logical meaning
3. Figurative meaning
1. Partition and division of the topic
2. Collects profitable points of Scripture
1. Demonstration of the truth of the doctrine
2. Leads to rational conviction
1. Magnifies arguments
2. Leaves listener well-disposed, refreshed, and stimulated to
The structure of the jeremiad
was prescribed by the theory of external covenant.
1. Doctrine (text taken from Bible, especially
Isaiah or Jeremiah):
a. Some proposition that people are pursued
for their sins.
b. Recital of afflictions and review of history
2. Reasons or Explication: Exposition of
the national covenant
3. Applications or uses
a. Provocations to vengeance
b. Proposed scheme of reformation
c. Imagined still more gory judgments unless
the listeners acted upon preacher's recommendations.
Samuel Danforth, A Brief Recognition of
New Englands [sic] Errand into the Wilderness, (1671; famous sermon
which set the standard for later jeremiads)
Benjamin Thompson, New England's Crisis
Increase Mather, Day of Trouble is Near
Increase Mather, A Renewal of Covenant
the Great Duty Incumbent on Decaying and Distressed Churches
Samuel Torrey, Exhortation Unto Reformation
Samuel Hooker, Righteousness Rained from