Awakening Essay Great

Hence Edwards’s famous description of the sinner as a loathsome spider suspended by a slender thread over a pit of seething brimstone in his best known sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” These early revivals in the northern colonies inspired some converts to become missionaries to the American South.In the late 1740s, Presbyterian preachers from New York and New Jersey began proselytizing in the Virginia Piedmont; and by the 1750s, some members of a group known as the Separate Baptists moved from New England to central North Carolina and quickly extended their influence to surrounding colonies.But Whitefield—and many American preachers who eagerly imitated his style—presented that message in novel ways.

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) and reverberated throughout the Protestant countries of Europe as well.

So your next move might be to pose the question: What could account for the tremendous appeal of evangelical Christianity to men and women living on both sides of the Atlantic during the latter half of the eighteenth century?

By the 1740s, the clergymen of these churches were conducting revivals throughout that region, using the same strategy that had contributed to the success of the Tennents.

In emotionally charged sermons, all the more powerful because they were delivered extemporaneously, preachers like Jonathan Edwards evoked vivid, terrifying images of the utter corruption of human nature and the terrors awaiting the unrepentant in hell.

You’ve sketched out the story of the first Great Awakening—its beginnings in the mid-Atlantic, its transit to New England, and its culmination in the South, its legacy of debate and division.

Awakening Essay Great

And you’ve emphasized that it was only the colonial manifestation of a religious revival of much broader geographic scope—it spread the length of British North America (where, indeed, the only public figure whose name was known to virtually all colonials was George Whitefield!

By the eve of the American Revolution, their evangelical converts accounted for about ten percent of all southern churchgoers.

The First Great Awakening also gained impetus from the wideranging American travels of an English preacher, George Whitefield.

Evangelical preachers and converts rejoined by lambasting their opponents as cold, uninspiring, and lacking in piety and grace.

Battles raged within congregations and whole denominations over this challenge to clerical authority as well as the evangelical approach to conversion from “the heart” rather than “the head.” So the first Great Awakening left colonials sharply polarized along religious lines.


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