The Great Awakening

by Mar 22, 2016News in General

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards and America’s Great Awakening

By William J. Federer

On MARCH 22, 1758, Princeton University President Jonathan Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation.
He had been the valedictorian of his class at Yale.

He was ordained in 1727 as a minister in Northampton, Massachusetts, serving as assistant to his grandfather Solomon Stoddard.


In 1727, Rev. Jonathan Edwards married Sarah Pierpont, whose father, Rev. James Pierpont, was a founder of Yale University.

Sarah’s great-grandfather was Rev. Thomas Hooker, the founder of Connecticut.

Rev. Thomas Hooker stated in a sermon in Hartford, Connecticut, May 31, 1638:

“The foundation of authority is laid firstly in the free consent of people.”

This was revolutionary, as most of the world at the time was ruled by kings, emperors, czars and chieftains.

Thomas Hooker’s sermon became the basis for The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut 1638-39, which according to historian John Fiske, comprised the first written constitution in history.

It became a blueprint for other New England colonies and eventually the United States Constitution.

Connecticut’s General Assembly designated Connecticut “The Constitution State” in 1959.

Thomas Hooker’s statue is prominently displayed at Connecticut’s Capitol in Hartford.

Rev. George Whitefield preached in Jonathan Edwards’ church during a revival tour in 1739-1740.

In 1741, Jonathan Edwardspreached a sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” which began the Great Awakening, a revival so widespread history credits it with uniting the colonies prior to the Revolution.

Of the revival,Jonathan Edwards wrote:

“God made it, I suppose, the greatest occasion of awakening to others, of anything that ever came to pass in the town.

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