Edwards: Breaking the darkness

Jonathan Edward’s account of the revival that broke out in Northampton, Mass., in the 1730s is an interesting and careful account of the variety of ways that the Holy Spirit worked conversions in his community. He is a great antidote for anyone who argues that there is only one way for a person to be converted to God. That is not the book’s only virtue by far, but it is one that struck me while reading it recently.

Here is one passage that I particularly liked in which he described the way saving grace breaks through the darkness.

In some, converting light is like a glorious brightness suddenly shining upon a person, and all around him: they are in a remarkable manner brought out of darkness into marvelous light. In many others it has been like the dawning of the day, when at first but a little light appears, and it may be presently hid with a cloud; and then it appears again, and shines a little brighter, and gradually increases, with intervening darkness, till at length it breaks forth more clearly from behind the clouds.