first seek


A stirring account by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) of the revival that took place in Northampton, Massachusetts in the 1730s

“This seems to have been a very extraordinary dispensation of providence; God has in many respects gone out of, and much beyond, his usual and ordinary way,” Edwards wrote in his “Narrative of Surprising Conversions.”

“The work in this town, and others about us, has been extraordinary on account of the universality of it, affecting all sorts, sober and vicious, high and low, rich and poor, wise and unwise.” Edwards rarely saw dramatic spiritual change in everyday life except from the young. But during revival, even older church members professed newfound vitality. His sermons marshaled the same old arguments, but they suddenly gained traction, and people understood what had previously escaped them. It seemed like almost overnight the town changed unmistakably. Overcome either by distress from sin or by the greatness of God, people talked of nothing but revival. Those yet untouched by the awakening pleaded for God to revive them. Every day felt like Sunday, and everyone seemed to look forward to the Sunday meeting.”

“Our public assemblies were then beautiful: the congregation was alive in God’s service, every one earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the Word was preached: some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.”

We spend our lives in busy activism, instead of pausing to realize the possibilities. The inevitable and constant preliminary to revival has always been a thirst for God, a thirst, a living thirst for a knowledge of the living God, and a longing and a burning desire to see him acting…