Strangers & Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845

By Catherine A. Brekus | Go to book overview

1
Caught Up in God

Female Evangelism in the Eighteenth- Century Revivals

I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, 1 cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And 1 knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory.--2 Corinthians 12:1-5

In October of 1741 in Westfield, Massachusetts, during the height of the revivals known as the Great Awakening, a visionary woman named Bathsheba Kingsley stood before her church as a humble penitent. In a public confession, she admitted that the charges her congregation had brought against her were true: she was guilty, of "stealing a Horse [and] riding away on the Sabbath with[ou]t her husbands Consent." To justify herself, she explained that she had been obeying the will of God. After receiving "immediate revelations from heaven," she had stolen her husband's horse--or snatched one from a neighbor--so she could travel from town to town proclaiming the gospel. 1

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