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Thoughts on the New England Revival: Vindicating the Great Awakening (Edwards)

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1742 was a year of great blessing but also of growing controversy. The Great Awakening of 1740 was still in progress, but a few dissenting voices were starting to make themselves heard. In Thoughts on the New England Revival Jonathan Edwards spoke out, not for the first time, in defence of what he considered to be ‘the glorious work of God’.

In this book, he enlarges and develops the arguments put forward in his The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, with the aim of defending this unprecedented period of revival against the unjust words of its critics and the overzealous excesses of its friends, both of which, he feared, would quench the Spirit and put a stop to the blessing.

What is a revival? How is it to be recognized? Is it a genuine work of the Spirit of God? If it is, then how is revival to be guarded against the spurious errors and unspiritual tendencies of its over-zealous promoters? These are the questions taken up and ably answered by ‘the theologian of revival’, who, in God’s providence, has supplied future generations of Christians with a sure guide on this vital subject.

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Table of Contents:

Part 1: A Glorious Work of God

Part 2: Obligation to Promote This Work

Part 3: Subjects and Promoters of the Work Wrongly Blamed

Part 4: Things to be Corrected or Avoided

Part 5: How to Promote This Work 


Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) served the Northampton Congregational Church in Massachusetts for twenty-three years, then missionary outpost to the Mohawk and Mohican tribes. In 1758, he became president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals.