Legacy of the Saints from the 18th Century
Jonathan Edwards – born in Connecticut, to Pastor Timothy Edwards, and Esther Edwards. The only son in a family of 11 children, he entered Yale at 12 years old and graduated 4 years later as valedictorian. He received his Masters 3 years later. “From my childhood up my mind was full of objections against the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.” However, in 1721 he came to a “delightful conviction.” Edwards delighted in the sovereignty of God. Edwards later recognized this as his conversion to Christ.
William Cowper – English poet and hymn writer. His mother died when he was 5, and his life was full of personal anguish. After being institutionalized for insanity (1763–65), Cowper moved to the country town of Olney, where John Newton was pastor. Soon they were close friends. Newton, grew concerned with Cowper’s melancholy. His personal discipleship to his friend was a lifeline he needed.
Charles Wesley – was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, the great hymn-writer of all ages. He is said to have written no less than 6500 hymns. He was educated at Westminster School and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford. May 21, 1738 marks the date of Charles’ conversion, and on that date, he opened his Bible to Psalm 40:3, “He hath put a new song in my mouth; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”
John Wesley – was an English cleric and theologian who, with his brother Charles and fellow cleric George Whitefield, founded Methodism. In June 1720, Wesley entered Christ Church, Oxford. In 1724, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. For all of his outward piety, Wesley sought to cultivate his inner holiness or at least his sincerity as evidence of being a true Christian. In 1738, at a Moravian meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, in which he heard a reading of Martin Luther‘s preface to the Epistle to the Romans, it revolutionized the character and method of his ministry.
George Whitefield – Largely forgotten today, George Whitefield was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. Newspapers called him the “marvel of the age.” He was a preacher capable of commanding thousands through the sheer power of his oratory. Though mentored by the Wesleys, Whitefield set his own theological course: he was a convinced Calvinist. The spiritual revival he ignited, the Great Awakening, became one of the most formative events in American history.