Three Eras Of Revival In The United States -- By: A. P. Marvin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 016:62 (Apr 1859)
Article: Three Eras Of Revival In The United States
Author: A. P. Marvin


Three Eras Of Revival In The United States

Rev. A. P. Marvin

The history of our churches, from the early years of the settlement of the country, is illumined by the record of God’s gracious dealings in the form of revivals of religion. In the darkest times there were tokens of the Divine presence. Towards the close of the seventeenth century, when the churches began to decline from their primitive purity of doctrine, and during the first quarter of the century succeeding, when the half-way covenant and the errors of the Arminian system had done their worst, and even after the Revolution, when infidelity of the French type was so prevalent, there were churches which enjoyed the special influences of the Holy Spirit. An account of these occasional works of grace will form an interesting chapter in some future history of revivals. They belong to the general life of the church, and illustrate it, showing how God kept alive the flame of piety in the wilderness, and during wars with savage tribes, and while, in opposition to French and British aggressions, our fathers were laying the foundations of a great Protestant and independent empire.

Some of these detached instances of religious awakening may be referred to, as they throw a few rays of light upon that dark period which lasted from about the time when the first generation of settlers had passed away, to the beginning of the “Great Awakening.” There were several revivals in Northampton, under the ministry of Stoddard, during this season of decline. The first, according to Trumbull, vol. I. p. 135 Hist. Conn., “was about the year 1679; a second was in 1683. Another was about the year 1696; a fourth, in 1712. In 1718 he had the happy experience of the fifth. These he termed his harvests. He was eminent and renowned, both for his gifts and graces; and his ministry

was, from the beginning, blessed with uncommon success. The revivals were, some of them, much more remarkable than others; but in each of them, and especially in those in 1683, in 1696, and in 1712, the greatest part of the young people in the town appeared chiefly concerned for their salvation.” The town of Windham, Conn., was the scene of a remarkable work of grace in 1721. Though the population was not large, yet under the ministrations of Mr. Fitch, who was a “clear and powerful preacher of the doctrines of the reformation,” as many as eighty persons were admitted to full communion in the church in the short space of six months. It appears that the first of the revival seasons in Northampton was in 1679. This was the year when the “Reforming Synod “met for the express purpose of discussing these two questions: “What are the provoking evils of New England?” and “What is to be do...

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