A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

By Mark A. Noll | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
A Renewal of Piety, 1700-1750

Samuel Davies

Eternal Spirit, source of light,
        Enlivening, consecrating fire,
Descend, and with celestial heat
    Our dull, our frozen hearts inspire.
Our souls refine, our dross consume!
    Come, condescending Spirit, come!
Come vivifying Spirit, come,
    And make our hearts thy constant home!


Henry Alline

Ye sons of Adam lift your eyes,
        Behold how free the Saviour dies,
To save your souls from hell!
    There’s your Creator, and your friend;
Believe and soon your fears shall end,
    And you in glory dwell.

During and after the Great Awakening a new style of hymnody appeared in America. It featured songs that appealed just as directly for conversion and just as forcefully for individual piety as Charles Wesley’s more famous hymns from Britain’s contemporary Methodist movement. Two of the most prolific writers of these hymns were a Presbyterian minister in Virginia, Samuel Davies, author of the first stanza above from a hymn published in 1769, and Henry Alline, an

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