Religious revival that swept the colonies. Participating ministers, most notably Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, placed an emphasis on direct, emotive spirituality.
People's faith and piety was waning until this rousing religious revival occurred in the 1730s and 1740s. In his fire and brimstone sermons, Edwards proclaimed with a burning righteousness the folly of believing in salvation through good works and affirmed the need for complete dependence on God's grace. One of his famous sermons was called "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Later, George Whitefield, a great
orator, continued to revolutionize the spiritual lives of the colonists. They heaped abuse on sinners and
shook enormous audiences with emotional appeals. Many people became converts. Orthodox clergymen, "Old lights," were skeptical of all of this. "New light" ministers defended it. Lasting effects of this event:
emphasis on direct, emotive spirituality; more denominations formed; fresh wave of missionary work; new centers of learning were formed. It united the American people. A Second Great Awakening arose in the nineteenth century.