Gilbert Tennent, the son of religious leader William Tennent, became pastor of the Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He soon met and was inspired by Dutch Reformed minister Theodorus Frelinghuysen, who emphasized piety and conversion in his sermons. Both Tennent and Frelinghuysen stirred religious fervor and revivalism among their congregations.
New England Puritans established the Half-Way Covenant, an agreement extending partial church membership to church members’ children who had not yet experienced conversion. Solomon Stoddard, grandfather ofreligious leader Jonathan Edwards, was among the major proponents of the Covenant.
In Enfield, Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards delivered his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” warning of the “torments of Hell” and urging listeners to “save themselves from Hell’s pains” by accepting Christ.
A wave for religious revival and enthusiasm popularly known as the “Great Awakening” began in New England, ignited by Jonathan Edwards, whose sermons in Northampton, Massachusetts, emphasized human depravity and divine omnipotence.
The term “the Great Awakening” wasn’t broadly used to describe the religious revivals that took place in the American colonies from the 1740s to the late 1760s until the 1842 publication of Rev. Joseph Tracy’s book of that title. Modern historians disagree about the term’s usefulness. Those who employ “the...