Parents and Children: Works of the Postrevival Period
By May, 1735, the revival had declined, and Edwards began to ponder what had occurred. A letter from Benjamin Colman of Boston requesting information about the Northampton experience provided him with a specific opportunity to examine further what he had learned about conversion. The reply to Colman was seminal, and Edwards soon undertook to rewrite his description. The resulting work, correctly entitled A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls, in Northampton, and the Neighboring Towns and Villages of the County of Hampshire, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, proved to be a singularly popular book, seeing three editions and twenty printings within two years.
The time, Edwards explains in A Faithful Narrative, was one of "a remarkable religious concern"; "this seems to have been a very extraordinary dispensation of Providence: God has in many respects gone out of, and much beyond his usual and ordinary way."1 Although people of all ages were affected, Edwards is particularly cognizant of the changes in the youth of the town. By the 1730's not only was piety less evident in people generally, at least____________________