A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837

By Paul E. Johnson

A quarter-century after its first book, A Shopkeeper's Millennium is still a landmark work--brilliant either as a brand new interpretation of the intimate connections between politics, economic system, and faith throughout the moment nice Awakening, and as a shocking portrait of a swiftly growing to be frontier urban. The non secular revival that remodeled the USA within the 1820s, making it the main militantly Protestant country in the world and spawning reform pursuits devoted to temperance and to the abolition of slavery, had a particularly robust impact in Rochester, ny. Paul E. Johnson explores the explanations for the revival's fabulous luck there, suggesting vital hyperlinks among its ethical accounting and the city's new commercial international. In a brand new preface, he reassesses his facts and his conclusions during this significant work.

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However the skill to wish with religion used to be itself experimental facts of conversion. by means of definition, the unregenerate couldn't pray. For Finney there has been a transparent and seen method out, a fashion that he and Rochester Protestants witnessed hundreds of thousands of instances in the course of the revival iciness: “Nothing is extra calculated to beget a spirit of prayer, than to unite in social prayer with person who has the spirit himself. ”6 that easy mechanism is on the middle of evangelical Protestantism. Conversion had continually resulted in prayer and humiliation ahead of God. yet ministers had defined the phrases of salvation and left terrified sinners to combat with it on my own. Prayer used to be transacted in deepest among a guy and his God, and so much middle-class Protestants have been uncomfortable with public monitors of humiliation. As overdue as 1829, Rochester Presbyterians had scandalized the village after they started to kneel instead of stand at prayer. 7 greater than their theological implications, Finney’s revival options aroused controversy simply because they remodeled conversion from a personal to a public and extremely social occasion. The door-to-door canvass, the intensification of kin devotions, prayer conferences that lasted until eventually sunrise, the open humiliation of sinners at the nervous bench: all of those reworked prayer and conversion from inner most communion into awesome public occasions. What gave those occasions their odd strength used to be the immediatist corollary to voluntary conversion. The Reverend Whitehouse of St. Luke’s Church (yes, the Episcopalians too) defined it in quiet phrases: Appeals are addressed to the center and the appeals are in connection with the current time. and every time the unconverted sinner leaves the home of God with no need closed with the phrases of the Gospel he rejects the provide of mercy. Had a few destiny time been particular as that during which we have been to choose we would hear time after time to the invites and reject them. however it is expressly acknowledged this present day and now could be the authorized time. eight first and foremost, those pressures fell at the already switched over. It used to be the prayers of Christians that led others to Christ, and it was once their failure to hope that despatched untold thousands into hell. Lay evangelicals seldom defined the phrases of salvation within the language of a Reverend Whitehouse—or even of a Charles Finney. yet with the destiny in their youngsters and friends at stake, they carried their lousy accountability to the purpose of emotional terrorism. Finney tells the tale of a lady who prayed whereas her son-in-law attended an worried assembly. He got here domestic switched over, and she or he thanked God and fell useless instant. nine Everard Peck mentioned the loss of life of his spouse to an unregenerate spouse's father, and informed the outdated guy that his useless daughter’s final want used to be to determine him switched over. 10 “We are both marching in the direction of heaven or in the direction of hell,” wrote one convert to his sister. “How is it with you? ”11 the hot measures introduced sinners into extreme and public touch with praying Christians. Conversion hinged no longer on deepest prayer, arbitrary grace, or highbrow selection, yet on purposive encounters among humans.

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