The book gives accounts of the thrills and chills that attended the glorious events of that great awakening in New England in 1734, 35. It all began with the sudden death of a young person. This was followed by the death of a young married woman who had been much exercised about the condition of her soul. This led to much solemnity among the young people. They began to meet in small social groups. An outbreak of Arminianism which caused ''friends of vital piety'' to tremble for the issue. Many who had looked upon themselves as in a Christian condition seemed to be awakened by it, with fear that God was about to withdraw His hand. This caused ''a kind of trembling fear with their doubts, lest they should be led into bypaths to their eternal undoing.'' With much concern they began 'to inquire what was indeed the way . . . to be accepted with God'' ''And then it was . . . that the Spirit of God began extraordinarily to set in, and to wonderfully work amongst us. There ''were very suddenly, one after another, five or six persons who were to all appearances savingly converted, '' some remarkably. Here, in Edwards' words, is an example of what happened: ''In all companies, on other days, on whatever occasions persons met together, Christ was to be heard of and seen in the midst of them. Our young people, when they met, were accustomed to spend the time in talking of the Excellency and dying love of Jesus Christ, the glory of the way of salvation, the wonderful, free, and sovereign grace of God, His glorious work in the conversion of a soul, the truth and certainty of the great things of God's Word, the sweetness of the views of His perfections, etc. And even at weddings, which formerly weremere occasions of mirth and jollity, there was now no discourse on anything but religion, and no appearance of anything but spiritual mirth'' (p. 27). Can it that there will be another such visitation of God the Spirit as to see the young people of our day talking to one another in that vein? Yes, for this is the magnitude of the work of God when His Spirit determines to new creatures in Christ Jesus, and to induct thousands into the family of God. At that time, early in the eighteenth century, ungodliness had reigned just as firmly as it does now as we enter into the twenty-first century ''If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God and man, it is a sure sign that is the Spirit of God. ''everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God'' (1 John 4:7).
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