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he was exceedingly rejoiced and elevated with this extraordinàry work, so carried on in this part of the country, and was possessed with an opinion that it was the beginning of the glorious times of the church spoken of in scripture : And had read it as the opinion of some divines, that there would be many in these times that should be endued with extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, and had embraced the notion ; though he had at first no apprehensions that any besides ministers would have such gifts. But he since exceedingly laments the dishonor he has done to God, and the wound he has given religion in it, and has lain low before God and man for it.
After these things the instances of conversion were rare here in comparison of what they had before been, (though that remarkable instance of the little child was after this ;) and the spirit of God after that time appeared very sensibly withdrawing from all parts of the country, (though we have heard of its going on in some places of Connecticut, and that it continues to be carried on even to this day.) But religion remained here, and, I believe in some other places, the main subject of conversation for several months after this. And there were some turns, wherein God's work seemed something to revive, and we were ready to hope that all was going to be renewed again ; yet in the main there was a gradual decline of that general, engaged, lively spirit in religion, which had been before. Several things have happened since, that have diverted people's minds, and turned their conversation more to other affairs, as particularly his Excellency the Governor's coming up, and the Committee of the General Court, on the treaty with the Indians; and afterwards the Springfield controversy, and since that, our people in this town have been engaged in the building of a new meetinghouse ; and some other occurrences might be mentioned, that have seemed to have this effect.
But as to those that have been thought to be converted among us, in this time, they generally seem to be persons that have had an abiding change wrought on them: I have had particular acquaintance with many of them since, and they generally appear to be persons that have a new sense of things, new apprehensions and views of God, of the divine at: tributes, and Jesus Christ, and the great things of the gospel : They have a new sense of the truth of them, and they affect them in a new manner ; though it is very far from being always aliķe with them, neither can they revive a sense of things when they please. Their hearts are often touched, and sometimes filled with new sweetnesses and delights; there seems to be an inward ardor and burning of heart that they express, the like to which they never experienced before ; sometimes, perhaps, occasioned only by the mention of Christ's name, or some one of the divine perfections : There are new appetites, and a new kind of breathings and pantings of heart, and groanings that cannot be uttered. There is a new kind of inward labor and struggle of soul towards heaven and holiness.
Some that before were very rough in their temper and manners seem to be remarkably softened and sweetened.... And some have had their souls exceedingly filled and overwhelmed with light, love, and comfort, long since the work of God has ceased to be so remarkably carried on in a general way ; and some have had much greater experiences of this nature than they had before. And there is still a great deal of religious conversation continued in the town, amongst young and old; a religious disposition appears to be still maintained amongst our people, by their upholding frequent private religious meetings, and all sorts are generally worshipping God at such meetings, on sabbath nights, and in the evening after our public lecture. Many children in the town do still keep up such meetings among themselves, I know of no one young person in the town that has returned to former ways of looseness and extravagancy in any respect, but we still remain a reformed people, and God has evidently made us a new people.
I cannot say there has been no instance of any one person that has carried himself so, that others should justly be stumbled concerning his profession; nor am I so vain as to imagine that we have not been mistaken concerning any that we have entertained a good opinion of, or that there are none that pass amongst us for sheep, that are indeed wolves in sheep's cloathing, who probably may, some time or other, discover themselves by their fruits. We are not so pure but that we have great cause to be humbled and ashamed, that we are so impure; nor so religious but that those that watch for our halting may see things in us, whence they may take occasion to reproach us and religion ; but in the main there has been a great and marvellous work of conversion and sanctification among the people here, and they have paid all due respects to those who have been blest of God to be the instruments of it. Both old and young have shewn a forwardness to hearken not only to my counsels, but even to my reproofs from the pulpit.
A great part of the country have not received the most favorable thoughts of this affair, and to this day many retain a jealousy concerning it, and prejudice against it; I have rea. son to think that the meanness and weakness of the instrument, that has been made use of in this town, has prejudiced many against it ; it does not appear to me strange that it should be so: But yet the circumstance of this great work of God is analagous to other circumstances of it; God has so ordered the manner of the work in many respects, as very sig. nally and remarkably to shew it to be his own peculiar and immediate work, and to secure the glory of it wholly to his own almighty power and sovereign grace. And whatever the circumstances and means have been, and though we are so unworthy, yet so hath it pleased God to work! And we are evidently a people blessed of the Lord ! And here in this corner of the world, God dwells, and manifests his glory.
Thus, Reverend Sir, I have given a large and particular account of this remarkable affair, and yet considering how manifold God's works have been amongst us, that are worthy to be written, it is but a very brief one. I should have sent it much sooner, had I not been greatly bindered by illness in my family, and also in myself. It is probably much larger than you expected, and it may be than you would have chosen. I thought that the extraordinariness of the thing, and the innumerable misrepresentations which have gone abroad of it, many of which have, doubtless, reached your ears, made it VOL. III.
necessary that I should be particular. But I would leave it entirely with your wisdom to make what use of it you think best, to send a part of it to England, or all, or none, if you think it not worthy; or otherwise to dispose of it as you may think most for God's glory, and the interest of religion. If you are pleased to send any thing to the Rev. Dr. Guyse, I should be glad to have it signified to him, as my humble desire, that since he, and the congregation to which he preached, have been pleased to take so much notice of us, as they have, that they would also think of us at the Throne of Grace, and seek there for us that God would not forsake us, but enable us to bring forth fruit answerable to our profession, and our mercies, and that our light may so shine before men, that others, seeing our good works, may glorify our father which is in heaven.
When first I heard of the notice the Reverend Dr. Watts and Dr. Guyse took of God's mercies to us, I took occasion to inform our congregation of it in a discourse from these words; A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. And having since seen a particular account of the notice of the Reverend Dr. Guyse, and the congregation he preached to, took of it, in a letter you wrote to my honored uncle Williams, I read that part of your letter to the congregation, and labored as much as in me lay to enforce their duty from it. The congregation were very sensibly moved and affected at both times.
I humbly request of you, Reverend Sir, your prayers for this country, in its present melancholy circumstances, into which it is brought by the Springfield quarrel, which, doubtless, above all things that hare happened, has tended to put a stop to the glorious work here, and to prejudice this country against it, and hinder the propagation of it. I also ask your prayers for this town, and would particularly beg an interest in them for him who is,
Your obedient son and servant,
JONATHAN EDWARDS. NorthAMPTON, Nov. 6, 1736.