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Great quotes on revival.
With the possible exception of John Owen (1616-83), the English-speaking world has never produced a greater theologian than the revered Jonathan Edwards (1703-58).
He is perhaps best-known for preaching the most famous Evangelical sermon of all time –Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God- as well as being powerfully used by the Lord in the First Great Awakening in Northampton (Massachusetts, USA).
The Edwards’ quotes we share with you today have all been taken from the wonderful book: Jonathan Edwards on Revival (Banner of Truth: Edinburgh, 1984). Our advice is: get a copy! The page numbers from which the quotes are drawn are in brackets at the end of each citation.
1.- The minds of people were wonderfully taken off from the world, it was treated amongst us as a thing of very little consequence. They seemed to follow their worldly business, more as a part of their duty, than from any disposition they had to it; the temptation now seemed to lie on that hand, to neglect worldly affairs too much, and to spend too much time in the immediate exercise of religion. (13)
2.- In the spring and summer following, 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God: it never was so full of love nor of joy. (14)
3.- Our young people, when they met, were wont to spend the time in talking of the excellence and dying love of Jesus Christ, the glory of the way of salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, His glorious work in the conversion of a soul, the truth and certainty of the great things of God’s word, the sweetness of the views of His perfections, etc. (14-15)
4.- A loose careless person could scarcely be found in the whole neighbourhood. (19)
5.- Some few instances there have been, of persons who have had such a sense of God’s wrath for sin, that they have been overborne; and made to cry out under an astonishing sense of their own guilt, wondering that God suffers such guilty wretches to live upon earth. (25)
6.- God is under no manner of obligation to show mercy unto any natural man. (30)
7.- I think I have found that no discourses have been more remarkably blessed, than those in which the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty with regard to the salvation of sinners, and His just liberty with regard to answering the prayers, or succeeding the pains, of natural men, continuing such, have been insisted on. (31)
8.- Some express themselves that they see the glory of God would shine bright in their own condemnation. (33)
9.- To see that there is an all-sufficiency in God, and such plentiful provision made in Christ, after they have been borne down and sunk with a sense of their guilt and fears of wrath, exceedingly refreshes them. (36)
10.- It was very wonderful to see how persons’ affections were sometimes moved –when God did as it were suddenly open their eyes, and let into their minds a sense of the greatness of His grace, the fullness of Christ, and His readiness to save- after having been broken with apprehensions of divine wrath, and sunk in an abyss, under a sense of guilt which they were ready to think was beyond the mercy of God. (37)
11.- Conversion is a great and glorious work of God’s power, at once changing the heart, and infusing life into the dead soul; though the grace then implanted more gradually displays itself in some than in others. (40)
12.- Several personas have had so great a sense of the glory of God, and excellence of Christ, that nature and life seemed almost to sink under it; and in all probability, if God had showed them a little more of Himself, it would have dissolved their frame. (45)
13.- Those that have been considered as converted among us, have generally manifested a longing to lie low and in the dust before God; withal complaining of their not being able to lie low enough. (45)
14.- The supreme attention of their minds is to the glorious excellencies of God and Christ; and there is very often a ravishing sense of God’s love accompanying a sense of His excellence. They rejoice in a sense of the faithfulness of God’s promises, as they respect the future eternal enjoyment of Him. (46)
15.- Many express earnest longings of soul to praise God; but at the same time complain that they cannot praise Him as they would, and they want to have others help them in praising Him. (47)
16.- I know of no one young person in the town who has returned to former ways of looseness and extravagance in any respect; but we still remain a reformed people and God has evidently made us a new people. (72)
17.- Some of the most rude and disorderly are become regular in their behaviour, and sober in all things. The gay and airy are become grave and serious. (80)
18.- The doctrines of grace are espoused and relished. Private religious meetings are greatly multiplied. The public assemblies (especially lectures) are much better attended; and our auditors were never so attentive and serious. There is needed an extraordinary appetite after “the sincere milk of the word”. (82)
19.- We are to take the Scriptures as our guide [...]. This is the great and standing rule which God has given to His church, in order to guide them in things relating to the great concerns of their souls; and it is an infallible and sufficient rule. (87)
20.- The Holy Spirit is sovereign in His operation [...]. We ought not to limit God where He has not limited Himself. (89)
21.- A true sense of the glorious excellence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of His wonderful dying love, and the exercise of a truly spiritual love and joy, should be such as very much to overcome the bodily strength. (92)
22.- If I am in danger of going to hell, I should be glad to know as much as possibly I can of the dreadfulness of it. (106)
23.- The Gospel is to be preached as well as the Law, and the Law is to be preached only to make way for the Gospel, and in order that it may be preached more effectually. (107)
24.- I think it is a reasonable thing to endeavour to fright persons away from hell. (108)
25.- When the operation is such as to raise their esteem of that Jesus who was born of the virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish their minds in the truth of what the Gospel declares to us of His being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; it is a sure sign that [the revival] is from the Spirit of God. (109)
26.- When the spirit that is at work operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, which lies in encouraging and establishing sin, and cherishing men’s worldly lusts; this is a sure sign that it is a true, and not a false spirit. (111)
27.- The man who has an awakened conscience is the least likely to be deceived of any man in the world; it is the drowsy, insensible, stupid conscience that is most easily blinded. [...] A man that has been thoroughly terrified with a sense of his own danger and misery, is not easily flattered and made to believe himself safe, without any good grounds. (112)
28.- The influence of the Spirit of God is yet more abundantly manifest if persons have their hearts drawn off from the world and weaned from the objects of their worldly lusts, and taken off from worldly pursuits, by the sense they have of the excellence of divine things, and the affection they have to those spiritual enjoyments of another world, that are promised in the Gospel. (113)
29.- The spirit that operates in such a manner as to cause in men a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes them more in their truth and divinity is certainly the Spirit of God. (113)
30.- If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God and man, it is a sure sign that it is the Spirit of God. (115)
31.- Humility and self-diffidence and an entire dependence our Lord Jesus Christ will be our best defence. (136)
32.- It was a very frequent thing to see a house full of outcries, fainting, convulsions, and such like, both with distress, and also with admiration and joy. (151)
33.- There were some that were so affected, and their bodies so overcome, that they could not go home, but were obliged to stay all night where they were. (151)
34.- After great convictions and humbling, and agonizing with God, they had Christ discovered to them anew as an all-sufficient Saviour, and in the glories of His grace, and in a far more clear manner than before; and with greater humility, self-emptiness, and brokenness of heart, and a purer, a higher joy, and greater desires after holiness of life; but with greater self-diffidence and distrust of their treacherous hearts. (152)
35.- Almost the whole town seemed to be in great and continual commotion, day and night, and there was indeed a very great revival of religion. (153)