From the biography of Edwards by his great grandson, Sereno Dwight
Brainerd came there on the 28th of May, apparently very much improved in health, cheerful in his spirits, and free from melancholy, yet at that time probably in a confirmed consumption. Mr. Edwards had now an opportunity of becoming most intimately acquainted with him and regarded his residence under his roof as a peculiar blessing to himself and his family. “We enjoyed,” he observes, “not only the benefit of his conversation but had the comfort and advantage of having him pray in the family from time to time.”
Many men who live in ways which are not agreeable to the rules of God’s Word, yet are not sensible of it. And it is a difficult thing to make them so because the same lust that leads them into that evil way, blinds them in it. — Thus, if a man [lives] a way of malice or envy, the more malice or envy prevails, the more will it blind his understanding to approve of it. The more a man hates his neighbor, the more will he be disposed to think that he has just cause to hate him, and that his neighbor is hateful, and deserves to be hated, and that it is not his duty to love him. So if a man live in any way of lasciviousness, the more his impure lust prevails, the more sweet and pleasant will it make the sin appear, and so the more will he be disposed and prejudiced to think there is no evil in it.
The doctrine of the day of judgment, in which men are taught that Christ will come with glory, majesty and mighty power on the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and dead, and that all, both small and great, must stand before him to give an account, is a very awful and awakening doctrine, tending very much to rouse both saints and sinners, and excite to watchfulness and diligence that they may be ready for such a day. But this doctrine has been preached in the world now for many ages, but men see nothing of the accomplishment of it; and many that hear of it are the less moved by it, because they look upon [it] as at a great distance. They hear that there are many things yet to be accomplished in the world before the day of judgment, and they never expect to see it while they live, nor till a great while after they are dead.
From the sermon, “consider whether you do not horribly defile and profane the public prayers and other ordinances. Notwithstanding all your pretenses, and what you seem to hold forth by your attendance on them, do you not all the while live in known wickedness against God? For all your pretenses of respect to God, of humiliation for sin, and desires to avoid it, have you not come directly from the allowed practice of known sin to God’s ordinances, and did not at all repent of what you had done, nor at all sorry for it at the very time when you stood before God, making these pretenses, and even had no design of reformation, but intended to return to the same practice again after your departure from the presence of God?”
Introduction: the word Revival defined. The Connecticut Evangelical Magazine. The authors Heman Humphrey, Bennet Tyler, Ashbel Green, and other key pastors in this history. Authentic narratives from numerous first-hand accounts.
In this lesson the conversation is continued between Faithful and Christian. Faithful recounts his interaction with Adam the First, Moses, Discontent, and then they both encounter Talkative. It includes an introduction to Jonathan Edwards on The Religious Affections, what are NOT signs that a person has holy affections.
I would by no means flatter you concerning this work, or go about to make you believe, that you shall find an easy light business of it: no, I would not have you expect any such thing. I would have you sit down and count the cost; and if you cannot find it in your hearts to engage in a great, hard, laborious, and expensive undertaking, and to persevere in it to the end of life, pretend not to be religious. Indulge yourselves in your ease; follow your pleasures; eat, drink, and be merry; even conclude to go to hell in that way, and never make any more pretenses of seeking your salvation.
There was too little discrimination between true and false religious feeling. There was too much encouragement given to outcries, faintings, and bodily agitations, as probable evidence of the presence and power of God. There was, in many, too much reliance on impulses, visions, and the pretended power of discerning spirits. There was a great deal of consciousness, and of a sinful disregard of ecclesiastical order. The disastrous effects of these evils, the rapid spread of false religion, the dishonour and decline of true piety, the prevalence of erroneous doctrines, the division of congregations, the alienation of Christians, and the long period of subsequent deadness in the church, stand up as a solemn warning to Christians, and especially to Christian ministers in all times to come.”
Hodge’s masterful analysis of the aberrations that happened during the Great Awakening. Agree with him or not, this is Hodge at his best and must be consulted by any serious historical student. “there must have been something very wrong in the revival itself. It may, however, be said, that the decay of religion through the land generally, is perfectly consistent with the purity of the revival and the flourishing state of those particular churches which had experienced its influence. The facts of the case, unfortunately, do not allow us the benefit of this assumption. It is no doubt true, that in some congregations… religion was in a very desirable state, in the midst of the general decline; but it is no less certain, that in many instances, in the very places where the revival was the most remarkable, the declension was the most serious.”
I have been just a dying now for more than a week; and all around me have thought me so. I have had clear views of eternity; … oh, what anguish is raised in my mind, to think of an eternity for those who are Christless, for those who are mistaken, and who bring their false hopes to the grave with them! The sight was so dreadful I could by no means bear it: my thoughts recoiled, and I said, (under a more affecting sense than ever before,) “Who can dwell with everlasting burnings?” Oh, methought, could I now see my friends, that I might warn them to see to it, that they lay their foundation for eternity sure.