Not every American priest has fallen victim to the age of sanity. In the 1730s, a religious wave swept through the Anglo-American colonies. JONATHAN EDWARDS, a Yale pastor who refused to join the Church of England, worried about New Englanders’ excessive focus on material things. He felt that people cared more about material success than John Calvin’s Christian faith. Some have even begun to argue that fate is wrong and that one’s actions can actually save one’s soul. In his sermon, Edwards spoke out against these ideas. “Man is a sinner, and God is an angry judge,” he declared. When he spoke with such intensity and conviction, people gathered around him to listen. As a result, the American colonies experienced a Great Awakening. A British minister named GEORGE WHITEFIELD traveled to the American colonies (Gills, 2020). Trained as an actor, he preached the Word of God, weeping with terror and trembling with fervour. Thousands of colonists gathered to hear his speech. He converted several Indians and slaves. Religious skeptic Benjamin Franklin emptied his wallet after hearing him speak in Philadelphia. Much of the United States soon fell apart. The Awakened or Missionaries of the New Light established their own schools and churches in all colonies. One of these institutions is Princeton University. Priests of OLD LIGHT reject this new form of worship. Despite the war, one unintended consequence was an increase in religious tolerance. As new beliefs spread, it became clear that no religion would dominate any region. The Great Awakening was a response to the Enlightenment, but also contributed to the revolution in the long run (Gills, 2020). continue…
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