The Great Awakening was a series of religious revivals that took the colonies .
by storm during the 1730's and 1740's. The primary cause of these revivals were .
changes in economics, political transformations, and Enlightenment rationalism. .
Implementations of such things like the "half-way covenant," allowed people to take .
part in church affairs without actually having a salvation experience, thus, rebellion in .
the church became very immanent. Men and women alike no longer felt very strongly .
of a need for conversion. The supporters of the Awakening pointed to the apparent .
degeneration of Puritan values to explain the need for revival (The Great Awakening, .
pgs. 1-9). John Whiting of Hartford expressed the sentiment and the need for revival .
in an election sermon of 1686, saying: .
Is there not too visible and general a declension; are we not turned (and that .
quickly too) out of the way wherein our fathers walked? A rain of .
righteousness and soaking showers of converting, sanctifying grace sent from .
heaven will do the business for us, and indeed, nothing else.
In New England, revival started with the fiery preaching of Jonathan Edwards. William .
Tennent became the leading figure in New Jersey and the middle colonies, and .
George Whitefield took the South with his preaching of methodology. This revival, .
with it's fiery preachers, focused on the preeminence of salvation and ultimately .
reformed the religious order of the colonies.
One of the most noted theologians of his time, Jonathan Edwards was born .
October 5, 1703, into a Puritan evangelical household. He received his childhood, as .
well as adult education from Yale College. From 1726 to 1750 Edwards served as .
the pastor of Northampton, Massachusetts (Yale, n.pg.). Edwards became known as .
a revivalist and theologian after publishing "A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising .
Work of God," which described the awakening of his church and served as a model .