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serve to be perused and studied by all who feel a concern for the prosperity of the church, and who would become acquainted with the various ways in which the God of grace is pleased to approach the soul with the blessings of his salvation.

At the present time, when the divine influence is in a remarkable manner manifesting itself far and wide, it seems to be particularly desirable that the work should be given to the public in a detached form, so as to be accessible to all.


New York, August, 1831.

I am pleased to find that it is proposed to republish the work of President Edwards on Revivals. The character of the author for intellect and piety, has its praise in all the churches, and needs no commendation. The work proposed to be republished, as well as the treatise on the affections by the same author, contain a clear, discriminating, and searching delineation of evangelical and vital religion. At its first publication it was highly useful, during a period of extensive revivals, in promoting the work of God, and in preventing and removing incident evils. It is hoped that at this period its republication will be greatly beneficial. THOMAS DE WITT.

New York, August, 6, 1831.

What President Edwards has written on Revivals, I consider a full and thorough discussion of the whole subject. If ministers of the gospel would read it once a year, it seems to me that all controversy among the orthodox with respect to the truths which are to be mainly insisted on, and the means to be used for giving such truths a free access to men's minds, would come to an end. If it were circulated among Christians where there is no revival, it would tend strongly to arouse the church to a sense of the importance of such a blessing, and lead them to seek successfully to promote the quickening of God's people, and the conversion of sinners. If read in a time of revival, it might be expected to give increased tone and energy to the revival feeling, and at the same time to regulate that feeling when excited. If read by minister and people in the decline of a revival, it might be expected, under God, to stop the ebbings of spiritual feeling, and bring back a heavier and richer tide of mercy. I rejoice in its republication, and recommend it to the careful perusal of all who love the salvation of sinners.


New York, September, 1831.

Dear Sir-I consider the proposed publication of Edwards' work on Revivals of Religion, as highly important, and, in the present times, specially appropriate. The work is full of valuable truth, instructive experience, and discriminating observation, well calculated to guard against pernicious perversion, that characteristic spirit of these days, which Satan would so gladly delude into extravagance and heresy. The publication will richly merit the patronage of a Christian public. Yours, &c.


Brooklyn, September 23, 1831.

I concur in the foregoing recommendations.

New York, 1831.



A REVIVAL OF RELIGION is a subject of great interest and importance. The phrase has, by common consent, been appropriated to denote a work of the Spirit of God, turning the attention of considerable numbers in a place to the things of eternity, and bringing many, in a short time, to a saving knowledge of Christ. It is merely the success of the gospel, unusually increased. It is the conversion of numbers of sinners in a short space of time. Whatever interest is attached to the institutions of religion, whatever pleasure is felt in the success of a preached gospel, or whatever emotions arise, on earth or in heaven, at seeing one sinner repent and believe in Christ, all these must be heightened and enhanced abundantly at the multiplication of such results, which constitutes a revival of religion. The Savior himself sees the travail of his soul, and is satisfied, when converts are multiplied, as trophies of his grace. It is only through mistake or misinformation, that any who love our Lord Jesus Christ are grieved or alarmed at a revival of religion.

These seasons are as important as they are interesting. They constitute not only the glory and the rejoicing of the church, but her safety and life. In the darkest periods, the church has been saved from utter extinction by revivals. The first preaching of the gospel was attended with powerful revivals. The book of Acts is a history of revivals. The reformation from popery was almost everywhere accompanied with revivals. There were extensive revivals in the times of the Puritans in England. The early churches in New England had numerous revivals. Powerful seasons of the same kind were experienced in Scotland and Ireland, in the former part of the last century. At a later period, extensive revivals took place in England, under the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. The revivals which occurred in America, under the ministrations of President Edwards and his cotemporaries, were distinguished for striking manifestations of divine power and grace. Numerous revivals in the United States marked the close of the last and beginning of the present century, both in the east and the west. And from that time they have been regularly growing more frequent, more numerous, more powerful and rapid, all over our country, to the present time. The last year was undoubtedly distinguished, above all that have preceded it, since the formation of the Christian church. Never before has the Holy Spirit been poured out in so many places at once; never before has the Lord Jesus gathered so many into his churches, in the same space of time, "of such as shall be saved."

There is reason to believe, that these displays of divine grace will continue to increase, till one general revival shall extend over the habitable globe. We are assured of the universal extension and final triumph of the gospel in the whole world. We know, from the "sure word of prophecy," that what we now see of the progress and effects of spiritual religion, is only a small sample of what is yet to be seen. And we thence infer, that all the revivals which have hitherto taken place, are only the first fruits of the glorious harvest. It is only by revivals that the work of conversion can overtake the increase of population in the world. It is only by revivals that the ministers and other instruments and means for sending out the gospel can be furnished. It is only in this way that infidelity and the love of the world can be made to yield to the authority of Christ. By no other process can the church gain strength and numbers fast enough, to meet the opposition which will inevitably be provoked by the growing influence and power of religion.

It is manifest, therefore, that the church is to calculate upon revivals of religion, as habitual events, and to consider the duties and responsibilities incident to revivals as her customary burden. Or rather we may say, that the state of revival, the rapid gathering in of souls to Christ, by the labors of his people, and in answer to their efficacious prayers, ought to be regarded as the natural and appropriate state of the church. And by consequence, the absence of revivals implies something wrong in the church, of declension, neglect of duty, sinning against the Lord Jesus Christ, destroying the souls of men.

It is incumbent then upon the church, to prepare for such a state of revival as we are thus authorized to anticipate. The subject of revivals must be more studied, and better understood. And the spirit of revivals must be more diligently cultivated. What an impulse would at once be given to the study of the art of war, if it were anticipated that the country would soon be involved in such a calamity. Why should not the science of revivals, and the course of action required in revivals, become a matter of general study in the church? Ministers have doubtless much yet to learn concerning revivals, the signs of their approach, the means of producing them, the manner of conducting them, the way to guard against difficulties, and to secure the happiest results. And every Christian ought to understand revivals, because every one has a part to act in relation to them. There is a growing conviction in the church, of the responsibility which rests upon every individual professor of religion, in times of revival. In times of revival it becomes manifest. how much the conduct of each one may help or hinder the effect of divine truth. But without knowledge on the subject, no one can correctly perform his duty in revivals. And unless one understands the principles that are applicable in them, it is impossible he should be well prepared to act, in the ever-varying emergencies which a revival does not fail to exhibit. How great the calamity, to prevent or destroy a revival, from not knowing how to act in regard to it! Or to resist and extinguish a real revival, under a mistaken opinion that it is spurious! Or to encourage and cherish a spurious excitement, supposing it to be a genuine work of the Spirit of God! Or to have the

fruits which might have followed a revival stinted or marred, by any imbecile or ill-judged procedures!

With these views of revivals, and of their importance as a subject of religious study, when the publishers of the present volume applied to me, last summer, for advice in selecting a book which would be seasonable and acceptable in the present revived state of things, I could think of no one so appropriate as Edwards on Revivals. I was struck also with the coincidence, when on making inquiry of several individuals, whose opinion in such a case is of great weight, they spontaneously, and without any suggestion from me, designated the same work, as one which it was particularly desirable to have circulated in the churches at the present time. If any farther evidence were needed, it may be found in the testimonials to the value of these writings, which the publisher has obtained and prefixed to this volume. Coming as they do, from ministers of different evangelical denominations, and men who are known to differ in many particulars, the unanimity of their approbation, and the unqualified terms in which they have given it, are worthy of particuand grateful notice. It augurs well for revivals, that a work so full, efficient, and thorough, should have united such suffrages in its favor.

Probably no uninspired man was ever qualified for such a work, like President Edwards. To a very clear, discriminating, and philosophical mind, he added a habit of patient study and diligent research, excited and governed by a love of truth. The clearness, which in others is so often cold and dull, in him was warmed and enlivened by an experience in religion, singularly deep and spiritual. Having been most thoroughly trained in theology, and received practical instruction from his father, and from his grandfather Stoddard, respecting revivals, he was privileged to be the instrument of producing one of the most genuine and powerful revivals on record in modern times, the first in a scries of revivals, of great extent and power. These things conspired to put in requisition all the powers of his copious mind, and employ them on the subject of revivals. His piety, zeal, faith, judgment, courage, integrity, were all tried, and not found wanting. He wrote these works with all the savor of the revivals fresh upon his soul. His mind was full of revival influence. He felt that revivals were the great interest, which ought to enlist the zeal, and absorb the sensibilities of the church. Indeed, these writings are so pervaded with the revival spirit, that they cannot be properly appreciated, but by one who partakes of the same heavenly influence. There is spirituality, a thoroughness, a devotedness to the subject, a delicacy of discrimination, which no man can duly understand, whose mind is in a cold, worldly, unbeHieving, caviling state. None but a revived Christian can rightly comprehend, or judiciously apply, the various principles and rules which are here developed. He who reads this, and does not feel himself moved to prize, and seek, and pray for revivals, is poorly qualified to use the book, in its applications to others.

The account given by President Edwards himself, of the work in 1735, in the first portion of the subsequent volume, is so full and authentic, that it is only needful to mention this as the first in a series or cluster of revivals,

which extended over our whole country during a space of twenty years. The "Thoughts concerning the Revival," which occupy the principal part of the book, is a more labored work. It was written in 1742, during the progress of a very extensive revival, which commenced in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and continued for several years. This is what is generally known by the name of "the great revival." I gather from Trumbull's History, that it began in Connecticut, early in the year 1740. Its rise in Massachusetts is traced to the first visit of Mr. Whitefield, who reached Boston in September of that year. The Boston ministers seem to have entered zealously into the work, with the exception of Dr. Chauncey, who afterwards wrote a book against it.* Rev. Gilbert Tennent, a preacher of great eloquence and remarkable success, also visited New England soon after Mr. Whitefield, and spent upwards of two months in Boston. He likewise labored in Connecticut. The work was more powerful in the years 1740, 1741, and 1742, in Connecticut than in Massachusetts. The ministers who labored with most extensive effect were Messrs. Mills, Pomeroy, Wheelock, and Bellamy, who preached in all parts of the colony, and in Massachusetts, wherever their brethren would admit them. Some of the leading ministers, however, were bitter enemies of the revival; and about the time that this book was written, 1742, their hostility had reached its height. Dr. Trumbull says, it was the "plan of the old lights, or Arminians, both among the clergy and civilians, to suppress, as far as possible, all the zealous and Calvinistic preachers." The most severe laws were passed against them, and rigorously executed. As the consequence of this withdrawment of so many leading ministers, and the opposition which was made to the work, the zeal of many degenerated to enthusiasm, discord and fanaticism crept in, and in the subsequent years, many grievous separations and other evils took place in the churches. Still, however, the work of genuine revival seems to have gone steadily forward, notwithstanding these mixtures of human infirmity, so that by the year 1748, the balance of public opinion was entirely changed, the oppressive laws were repealed, and the ministers who had been punished for laboring in revivals, were restored to their rights. Much has been said about the disorders which attended these revivals; but Dr. Trumbull says, "Of these, in most of the churches, there was little or nothing; and perhaps they were not greater in any, than were found in the church at Corinth, even in the apostolic age." "It was estimated that in two or three years of the revival, thirty or forty thousand souls were born into the family of heaven, in New England, besides great numbers in New York and New Jersey, and in the more southern provinces."†

President Edwards wrote his "Thoughts on the Revival," in 1742, the most critical period of this interesting history, when the work seemed to be balancing, as it were, between the deadly opposition of some, and the extravagancies of others. And how admirably calculated was this man, how

*He subsequently avowed himself a believer in universalism.
Trumbull, Hist. Conn. Book II. Chap 8.

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