Angel in the Whirlwind

February 12, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, English Bible Translations | Leave a comment

For the last few weeks I have been reading Benson Bobrick’s book, Angel in the Whirlwind:  The Triumph of the American Revolution.  Because of my interest in English Bible history and translation, I had previously read his Wide as the Waters: The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired.  I was so fascinated by that work, that I had to read this one as well.  This one is no less fascinating, though it is not a quick read.  My reading time has been limited the past few weeks and I am only 110 pages into a 500 page book, but every page and detail has been intriguing.  Here is just one of many great quotes so far:

From time to time, the religious life of America was shaken by evangelicals, most notably in the mid-1730s and 1740s, when a fundamentalist revival – marked by prayer meetings, confessions, repentances, and hysterical conversions – swept through the colonies north and south.  .  .  . 

Perhaps the most charismatic of the “New Light” evangelicals was George Whitefield, a follower of John Wesley, who challenged his listeners to awake to the requirements of a spiritual life.  He emphasized personal accountability as well as a more passionate communion with God.  .  .  . 

Even the worldly wise Benjamin Franklin was so moved by Whitefield’s oratory on one occasion that, he tells us in his Autobiography, “I emptied my pocket wholly, gold and all, into the collector’s dish.”  .  .  .  The Great Awakening helped bind Americans together with a shared sense of their spirituality as a people and, perhaps, “prepared them,” in the words of one historian, “for the coming ordeal of sacrifice and war.”

Franklin and his compatriots were not so moved when, in the mid-1760s, the king and Parliament began to preach their own requirements and to pass the collection plate around for themselves.  (pages 59-61)

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