Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New England Then, as Now -- And Now, as Then

“But what a dead and barren time has it now been, nor a great while, with all the churches of the Reformation. The golden showers have been restrained; the influences of the Spirit suspended; and the consequence has been, that the gospel has not had any eminent success. Conversions have been rare and dubious; few sons and daughters have been born to God and the hearts of Christians not so quickened, warmed and refreshed under the ordinances, as they have been. That this has been the sad state of religion among us in this land, for many years...”
This is a description of New England -- of Massachusetts, specifically. Dry, spiritually parched, not much receptive to the gospel. It is a description of New England in the early 1700's.

Then, as now, the spiritual landscape was discouraging. Then the Spirit did something extraordinary through the work of Jonathan Edwards and others in Massachusetts specifically and New England in general. This description is from W. Cooper in his Preface to one of Edwards's works, describing the state of the place before the Spirit began His Great Awakening.

Now, as then, we are dry.

Now, as then, we only need the Spirit's inclination to see revival.

Because of this, now, as then, things are not hopeless.


Ryan Phelps said...

Thanks for this, Brother. Encouraging, illuminating.

Standing beside you, keeping up the good fight in New England!

Zach said...

I greatly appreciate your posts on the spiritual state of New England. Your posts remind my heart of the hope for New England in Jesus. I am expectant of spiritual awakening in NE. Just this morning I was reminded of the great thought that no matter how slow the progress may seem now, God has children in New England.

I'm currently reading "The Christian Ministry" by Charles Bridges and in it he says, "Faith and patience will be exercised - sometimes severely so. But after a pains-taking, weeping seed-time, we shall bring our sheaves with rejoicing, and lay them upon the alter of God." I hope that quote gives you a measure of grace today.

You understand this truth more than I, and I'm thankful for your service and example. Praying for you and Vermont and all of New England.

bobw said...

Thanks for this encouragement. I don't know if you remember our previous conversations, but the Lord is leading us to move to Portland, ME to start a church-planting internship with Christ the Redeemer PCA (while I keep my day job). The only step left is to sell our house here in TN.

So we continue to pray for NE and are eager to serve the Lord there. Perhaps we'll meet someday.


Farming Family said...

Check out this article Wes is seeing God move in VT. God Bless.

Jared said...

Yep, great piece; saw that yesterday.

I had the privilege of having breakfast with Wes a couple of weeks ago. Great guy. He was a huge encouragement to me.