The First Great Awakening in America
- George Whitefield
As Whitefield arrived in America, a number of regional revivals were under way. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania William Tennant and his four sons preached the new birth to Presbyterians. Tennant was fed up with the resistance of Yale and Harvard Administrators to the new evangelical fervor, and he founded his own school to train preachers. Derisively his school was called, "log college," but it would lead to the formation of Princeton University. In New Jersey Theodore Frelinghuysen spread revival throughout the Dutch Reformed Church. In Virginian there was the minister and hymn writer Sam Davies. In the backwoods of Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey, the missionary David Brainerd spread the word to Native Americans on horseback. They all served wonderfully within geographic or denominational boundaries, but it was Whitefield that God would use to tie them all together. When revival in Jonathan Edwards congregation died down he invited George Whitefield to speak, and he himself was moved to tears. Edward's wife Sarah wrote, "It is wonderful to see how he casts a spell over the audience by proclaiming the simplest truths of the Bible..." In Philadelphia William Tennant welcomed him warmly. Whitefield preached from the courthouse steps to streets that were packed with 78,000 people. In Philadelphia Whitefield became friends with a famous agnostic, then turned devout “Deist” (some say Christian), named Benjamin Franklin. Franklin loved to hear him speak, he wrote about him with glowing praise, and became his American publisher. Franklin was amazed at the carrying power of his voice, and calculating how far it traveled, estimated that in an open space, as many as 30,000 people could hear his voice. He was thus convinced of the legendary crowds who had gathered in England could indeed hear him. GW followed a punishing schedule, and never let up for an instant. He was either traveling somewhere to...
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