Read this testimony from a Connecticut farmer named Nathan Cole (1711-83) during the First Great Awakening in America.
“One morning, all on a sudden, about 8 or 9 o’clock there came a messenger. I was in my field, at work, I dropped my tool that I had in my hand and ran home and ran through my house and bade my wife get ready quick to go. I ran to my pasture for my horse with all my might, fearing I should be too late. I brought my horse home and soon mounted and took my wife up and went forward as fast as I thought the horse could bear, and when my horse began to be out of breath I would get down and put my wife in the saddle and bid her ride as fast as she could and not stop or slack for me except I bade her, and so I would run until I was almost out of breath and then mount my horse again, and so I did several times to favour my horse … for we had twelve miles to ride double in little more than an hour.
On high ground I saw before me a cloud or fog rising, I first thought off from the great river [the Connecticut River] but as I came nearer the road I heard a noise something like a low rumbling of horses feet coming down the road and this cloud was a cloud of dust made by the running of horses feet. It arose some rods in the air, over the tops of the hills and trees, and when I came within about twenty rods of the road I could see men and horses slipping along in the cloud like shadows and when I came nearer it was like a steady stream of horses and their riders, scarcely a horse more than his length behind another, all of a lather and some with sweat.…
We went down with the stream, I heard no man speak a word all the way, three miles, but everyone pressing forward in great haste, and when we got down to the old meetinghouse there was a great multitude—it was said to be 3000 or 4000 people assembled together. We got off from our horses and shook off the dust, and the ministers were then coming to the meetinghouse. I turned and looked towards the great river and saw ferry boats running swift, forward and backward, bringing over loads of people, the oars rowed nimble and quick. Everything, men, horses and boats, all seemed to be struggling for life.”
Sweeney, D. A. (2005). The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
What caused such hysteria and urgency in the hearts of Nathan Cole and thousands of others?
“One morning, all on a sudden, about 8 or 9 o’clock there came a messenger and said (to me Nathan Cole), “Mr. (George) Whitefield preached at Hartford and Wethersfield yesterday and is to preach at Middletown this morning at 10 o’clock.”
Now that is a Revival! That is a Great Awakening! That people would drop everything and flee to hear the preaching of God’s Word. Lord, send revival again!
I’ve never heard of that book, but it looks fascinating.