« הקודםהמשך »
had done for their souls. And others who went among them acknowledged that the work exceeded the fame of it.
Now the Psalmist observes that God has made his wonderful works to be remembered. We therefore apprehend that our Rev. brother has done well to record and publish this surprising work of God; and the fidelity of his account would not have been at all doubted of by us, though there had not been the concurrent testimony of others to it. It is also a pleasure to us to hear what acceptance the following narrative has found in the other England, where it has had two impressions already, and been honored with a recommendatory preface by two divines of eminent note in London, viz. the Rev. Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse: after whom it may seem presumption in us to attempt any thing of this kind, But it having been thought proper to reprint this letter here, and disperse it among our our people, we thankfully embrace this opportunity to praise the Most High for the exceeding riches of his grace, and earnestly to recommend this epistle to the diligent reading and attentive consideration of all into whose hands these shall come. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." And indeed, the particular and distinct account which the author has given of God's dealings with the souls of men, at this remarkable season, in the variety of cases then set before him, and in many of his observations thereupon, we apprehend are written with that judgment and skill in divine things as declare him to be a scribe well instructed unto the kingdom of heaven; and we judge may be very useful to ministers in leading weary souls to Christ for rest, and for the direction and encouragement of all under the like operations of the Holy Spirit. Yea, as the author observes, "There is no one thing I know of, that God has made such a means of promoting his work among us, as the news of others' conversion." We hope that the further spreading of this narrative may, by the divine blessing, still promote the conversion of souls, and quicken God's children to labor after the clearer evidences of their adoption, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentAnd as this wonderful work may be considered as an earnest of what God will do towards the close of the gospel day, it affords great encouragement to our faith and prayer in pleading those promises which relate to the glorious extent and flourishing of the kingdom of Christ upon earth, and that have not yet had their full and final accomplishment. And surely the very threatening degeneracy of our times calls aloud to us all, to be earnest in prayer for this most needed blessing, the plentiful effusion of the Spirit of truth and holiness. Nor ought the sense of our own unworthiness discourage us, when we go to our heavenly Father in the name of his dear Son,
who has purchased and received this great gift for his people, and says to us, “Ask, and it shall be given you. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." Luke xi. 9-13.
But we must draw to a close. May the worthy author be restored to health, and long continue to be a rich blessing to his people! May he still see the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hand; and in particular, may the Spirit of grace accompany this pious endeavor to spread the savor of the knowledge of Christ, for the everlasting advantage of many! May it please God to revive his work throughout this land; and may all the ends of the earth see his salvation! Boston, November 4th, 1738.
Minister of Old South Church.
Minister of Old South Church.
Minister of New North Church. WILLIAM COOPER,
Minister of Brattle street Church.
P. S. Since the writing this Preface, one of us has received a letter from a Reverend and very worthy minister in Glasgow, in which is the following passage:
"The friends of serious religion here were much refreshed with a printed account of the extraordinary success of the gospel, of late, in some parts of New England. If you can favor me with more particular accounts of those joyful events, when you have opportunity of writing to me, it will much oblige me."
REV. BENJAMIN COLMAN, D. D.
PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN BOSTON.
Westfield, October 11, 1738.
In your letter of August 19, you inform us that the Rev. Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse desire that some other ministers, who were eye and ear witnesses to some of those numerous conversions in the other towns about Northampton, would attest unto what the Rev. Mr. Edwards has written of them.
We take this opportunity to assure you, that the account Mr. Edwards has given in his narrative of our several towns or parishes is true; and that much more of the like nature might have been added with respect to some of them.
We are, Rev. Sir, your brethren and servants,
WILLIAM WILLIAMS, Pastor of Hatfield.
"of Long Meadow.
A FAITHFUL NARRATIVE.
LETTER TO REV. DR. COLMAN.
Reverend and Honored Sir,
HAVING seen your letter to my honored uncle Williams of Hatfield, of July 20, wherein you inform him of the notice that has been taken of the late wonderful work of God, in this, and some other towns in this county, by the Rev. Dr. Watts, and Dr. Guyse of London, and the congregation to which the last of these preached on a monthly day of solemn prayer; as also, of your desire to be more perfectly acquainted with it, by some of us on the spot; and having been since informed by my uncle Williams, that you desire me to undertake it, I would now do it, in as just and faithful a manner as in me lies.
THE people of the county, in general, I suppose, are as sober, and orderly, and good sort of people, as in any part of New England; and I believe they have been preserved the freest by far, of any part of the country, from error, and variety of sects and opinions. Our being so far within the land, at a distance from sea-ports, and in a corner of the country, has doubtless been one reason why we have not been so much
corrupted with vice, as most other parts. But without question, the religion and good order of the county, and their purity in doctrine, has, under God, been very much owing to the great abilities and eminent piety of my venerable and honored grandfather Stoddard. I suppose we have been the freest of any part of the land from unhappy divisions, and quarrels in our ecclesiastical and religious affairs, till the late lamentable Springfield contention.*
We being much separated from other parts of the province, and having comparatively but little intercourse with them, have from the beginning, till now, always managed our ecclesiastical affairs within ourselves: it is the way in which the county, from its infancy, has gone on, by the practical agreement of all, and the way in which our peace and good order has hitherto been maintained.
The town of Northampton is of about eighty-two years standing, and has now about two hundred families; which mostly dwell more compactly together than any town of such a bigness in these parts of the country; which probably has been an occasion that both our corruptions, and reformations have been, from time to time, the more swiftly propagated, from one to another, through the town. Take the town in general, and so far as I can judge, they are as rational and understanding a people as most I have been acquainted with : Many of them have been noted for religion, and particularly, have been remarkable for their distinct knowledge in things that relate to heart religion, and Christian experience, and their great regards thereto.
I am the third minister that has been settled in the town: the Rev. Mr. Eleazer Mather, who was the first, was ordained in July, 1669. He was one whose heart was much in his work, abundant in labors for the good of precious souls: he
The Springfield contention relates to the settlement of a minister there, which occasioned too warm debates between some, both pastors and people, that were for it, and others that were against it, on acconnt of their different apprehensions about his principles, and about some steps that were taken to procure his ordination.