[Papercut Press] 2015-07-30 - Lenox Massachusetts in 1799

Originally Published 2004-03-02

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2 Chronicles 7:13, 14, "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

In 1799, there was a revival that swept through the Northeast. Many came to Christ through the standard means of the faithful preaching of God's Word and prayer. We have not had a national revival in the United States since 1858, when the Prayer Meeting Revival began in New York City. I came upon a list of seven characteristics in a general accounting of what occurred during this revival in Lenox, Massachusetts. Most interesting to me was what did not occur during this revival. It was not driven by emotional outbursts, but rather was a solid contemplation of the individual's position before God and state of the soul. I intend to summarize the seven points below without much comment.

  1. It was a work of God. There was a marked change in the appearance and pursuits of the people.

  2. The revival began in the church. When God is about to bestow spiritual blessings upon a people, it is His usual method, first to awake His professed friends out of spiritual sleep.

  3. There began a striking importance given to the means of grace. Prayer became precious.The Lord's day was honored. People studied and cherished the Bible with a newfound love. Every opportunity for religious instruction was prized, and fellowship with the people of God involved serious conversation.

  4. Nothing was said about dreams and visions, hearing unusual voices, or seeing uncommon sights. No extravagance, either in gestures or outcries, appeared. No wild enthusiasm attended the revival in any stage of it.

  5. There was a unity of faith and understanding. There was a focus on the need for regeneration (being born again). There was an additional emphasis on the need for a moral life as evidence of having been justified. All these, and other, aspects of the faith were "received by all with one consent."

  6. The revival in this town proved the "death-wound" to vain amusements. The youth are remarkable for their sobriety.

  7. One distinguishing feature, both here and elsewhere was humility. Humility has been the common effect of the operation of the Spirit in the hearts of sinners in every age during a revival.

The author gives the end result of the effects of the revival in Lenox. He says the result was: happy families, happy neighborhoods, happy societies, happy towns, happy states, happy kingdoms, and a happy world.

If you are one who longs for revival this list is an example of what one looked like. I found numbers four and seven the most interesting, because both of these are not typically what we look for when there is an outburst of God's grace and mercy. I'm not intending to say that God has to work this way. In fact, I gave this list because of how surprised I was by it. If we seek revival, it may be the case that the Lord brings it in ways that we are not expecting.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] Gone Home May 29, 2015

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