The Puritans and Revival Christianity by Iain Murray

Posted at Grace Online Library:

George Wishart
"The commencement of the Reformation in England and Scotland was marked by a thirst for Scripture among the people. Tyndale’s version of the New Testament circulated in both realms from 1526 onwards and soon a train of preachers appeared, at first small in number, whose ministry was attended by effects which had not been commonly seen for many long centuries. Of the Scottish reformer, George Wishart, martyred in 1546, we have this account of his open-air preaching: ‘He mounted an earthen fence, and continued preaching to the people above three hours, and God wrought so wonderfully by that sermon that one of the wickedest men in the country, the laird of Sheld, was converted by it, and his eyes ran down with such abundance of tears that all men wondered at him.’"

Following as it did so closely upon the Reformation it is not surprising that the Puritan movement in England believed so firmly in revivals of religion as the great means by which the Church advances in the world. For the Reformation was itself the greatest revival since Pentecost — a spring-time of new life for the Church on such a scale that the instances recorded in the apostolic era of three thousand being converted on one day, and of a ‘great multitude of the priests’ becoming ‘obedient to the faith’, no longer sounded incredible.

The Reformation, and still more, Puritanism, have been considered from many aspects but it has been too often overlooked that the main features of these movements, as, for instance, the extensiveness of their influence, the singular position given to Scripture and the transformation in character of the morally careless, are all effects of revival. When the Holy Spirit is poured out in a day of power the result is bound to affect whole communities and even nations. Conviction of sin, an anxiety to possess the Word of God, and dependence upon those truths which glorify God in man’s salvation, are inevitable consequences.

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