PARTHENIOS Patriarch of Jerusalem [1737-1766] see 1731 and 1766
POTTER, JOHN – Archbishop of Canterbury [1737-1747]. He was the son of a linen-draper at Wakefield, Yorkshire. At the age of fourteen he entered University College, Oxford and in 1694 he was elected fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. Besides holding several livings he became, in 1704, chaplain to Archbishop Tenison, and shortly afterwards was made chaplain-in-ordinary to Queen Anne. From 1708 he was regius professor of divinity and canon of Christ Church, Oxford; and from 1715 he was bishop of Oxford. He took a prominent part in the controversy with Benjamin Hoadly, bishop of Bangor as even though Potter was a notable Whig, he was a high churchman and had opposed Hoadly. In January 1737 Potter was unexpectedly appointed to succeed William Wake in the see of Canterbury. While in that seat, he continued to represent a high church position, but he was also ineffective at restoring the Convocation. He died on 10 October 1747. He succeeded William Wake [see 1715] and was succeeded by Thomas Herring [see 1747].
WHITEFIELD, GEORGE [1714-1770] – English preacher who was educated at Oxford where he associated with those who formed the “Holy Club” and who would later be known as the first Methodists. At Oxford he experienced an evangelical conversion and was subsequently ordained. His first sermon in Gloucester, his native town, was of such fervour that a complaint was made to the bishop that he had driven fifteen people mad. He accepted an invitation from John and Charles Wesley [see 1738] to go to Georgia where with the exception of a notable visit home he remained from 1737 to 1741. The visit home included his first attempt at open-air preaching in Bristol. He was to continue that practice until the end of his life, regularly delivering up to twenty sermons a week and travelling vast distances including 14 visits to Scotland and no less than seven journeys to America where he eventually died. He argued with the Wesleys over salvation having a Calvinistic viewpoint compared with the Arminian view of the brothers. J.C. Ryle has justly claimed that no preacher had ever retained his hold on his hearers so entirely as Whitefield did for 34 years.
WESLEY, CHARLES [1707-1778] – Hymn writer who was the 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Charles was educated at Oxford and was instrumental in forming the “Holy Club” there and in 1735. He joined his brother John in an abortive mission to Georgia acting as secretary to the governor James Oglethorpe. On his return to England he came under the influence of Peter Boehler [see 1748] the Moravian. Lying ill in the house of John Bray he first read Luther on Galatians. On Whitsunday 1738 he experienced an evangelical conversion three days before his brother John. Charles now threw himself into the work of evangelism. He began in the house of friends, visited the prisons, and preached in the churches until the doors were closed against him. He became one of the most powerful of the field preachers in the revival. He was the most gifted and most prolific of all English hymn writers with some 7270 hymns coming from his pen including many of the very highest order. He gave expression to evangelical faith and experience in language at once biblical and lyrical. Hymns that are still used today include "And Can It Be That I Should Gain?", "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today", "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing", "Jesus, Lover of My Soul", "Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending", "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling", "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing", "Rejoice, the Lord is King", "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" and "Ye Servants of God"
WESLEY, JOHN [1703-1791] – Founder of Methodism. John was the 15th child of rector Samuel Wesley and although his father was a staunch High Churchman his grandparents were Puritan Nonconformists. Educated at Oxford he was ordained by John Potter in 1728. Returning to Oxford he found that his brother Charles had gathered a few undergraduates together including George Whitefield [see 1737] into a society for spiritual improvement which was nicknamed the “Holy Club” of which he eventually took over the leadership. Its members met for prayer, the study of the Greek Testament and self-examination. To their devotional exercises they added works of charitable relief. In 1735 he went to Georgia but when he got back to England in 1738 Wesley wrote “I went to America to convert the Indians but oh who shall convert me?” On the journey to America he met German Moravians whose simple faith made a considerable impression on him. Wesley was converted in 1738 shortly after which he visited the Moravian settlement at Herrnhut and met Count Zinzendorf [see 1727]. In April 1739 he took to open-air preaching at the instigation of Whitefield. It was at Kingswood, Bristol that he ventured “into this strange way of preaching in the fields” as he described it. This gave him great flexibility and brought him face to face with the common folk who heard him gladly. To conserve the gains of evangelism Wesley formed societies in the wake of his missions. The organisation of Methodism was thus a direct outcome of his success in preaching the gospel. He soon extended his journeys to include Ireland and Scotland while he left Wales to Howell Harris [see 1735] and though he never went to America again he ordained Thomas Coke [see 1777] in 1784 to superintend the work.
YOUNG, EDWARD [1683-1765] – English poet who was educated at Oxford and is best known for “Night Thoughts” 1742-1745. He had entered the church in 1727 becoming rector at Welwyn in 1730. Night Thoughts was meant as a poem of Christian triumph over death but is often dismissed as a gloomy work. There is indeed much argument to that but there are also flashes of joy celebrating Christ’s victorious death and glorious resurrection.
HUME, DAVID [1711-1776] – Scottish philosopher, historian, and man of letters. His philosophical program first outlined in “A treatise of Human Nature” 1739, involved the application of Newtonian scientific method to human nature. In religion he is chiefly noteworthy for his sceptical attacks on miracles and on the argument from design. He said miracles are denied as it is always more reasonable to reject someone's testimony about the miracle than to accept it. He attacked argument from design as it involves showing the ambiguity of the evidence. His work on religion can be regarded as one of the most fundamental attacks on natural theology in modern times.
MUHLENBERG, HENRY MELCHIOR [1711-1787] – Father of American Lutheranism who was born in Germany, a son of a master shoemaker, he had a hard upbringing especially after his father’s death. He graduated from Gottingen in 1738. In 1739 he was ordained and appointed co-pastor and inspector of an orphanage. He had at first contemplated going as a missionary to the East Indies but in 1741 was called to serve the United Lutheran congregations of Pennsylvania. He arrived in America in 1742 where he set himself to build up the church. Expert as a linguist and a tireless traveller he summoned the first Lutheran Synod in America in 1748. The number of churches grew throughout the middle colonies, many of them planted as a result of his missionary labours.
SCHLATTER, MICHAEL [1716-1790] – Organiser of the German Reformed Church in the thirteen colonies. Born in Switzerland, Schlatter was educated at Gelmstadt University and ordained in 1739 as a minister in the German Reformed Church. In 1746 he was sent to America to organise and supervise the scattered German Reformed congregations, This he did so ably and then returned to Europe to secure ministers for the colonial churches one of whom was Philip Otterbein [see 1752]. He also served as superintendent of schools in Philadelphia 1754-56 and as a British army chaplain 1756-59. He then became a pastor in Philadelphia and lost his property and was imprisoned during the Revolutionary War.
BENEDICT XIV – Pope [1740-1758]. He was born into a noble family of Bologna and created cardinal-priest in 1728. He was elected pope in 1740. After a conclave lasting six months. He is alleged to have said to the cardinals: "If you wish to elect a saint, choose Gotti; a statesman, Aldrovandi; a donkey, elect me." His papacy began in a time of great difficulties, chiefly caused by the disputes between Catholic rulers and the papacy about governmental demands to nominate bishops rather than leaving the appointment to the church. He however managed to overcome most of these problems. He had a very active papacy, reforming the education of priests, the calendar of feasts of the church, and many papal institutions including missions. In 1741 Benedict XIV produced a bull against the enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and other countries. He was also responsible for beginning the catalogue of the Vatican Library. He succeeded Clement XII [see 1730] and was succeeded by Clement XIII [see 1758].
EDWARDS, JONATHAN [1703-1758] – After a precocious childhood he entered Yale in 1716 having by the age of 13 obtained a good knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and had written papers on philosophy. It was during his time at Yale, Edwards “began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him.” After a short pastorate in New York he was appointed a tutor at Yale. Under the influence of Edwards’ powerful preaching the Great Awakening occurred in 1734-1735 and a geographically more extensive revival in 1740-1741. Edwards became a firm friend of George Whitefield who was then ministering in America. After various differences with prominent families in his congregation he was dismissed as pastor in 1750 and the following year he became a pastor of a church in the frontier town of Stockbridge and a missionary to the Indians. He was elected president of Princeton in 1757 but in March the following year he died of the effects of a smallpox injection.
ERSKINE, EBENEZER [1680-1754] – Founder of the Secessionist Church [see 1842] called the Burghers [see above] in Scotland. Son of a Minister ejected in 1662 for nonconformity, he graduated at Edinburgh University in 1697 and was ordained six years later. He was very successful as a preacher often having to hold open-air services because the church could not contain the congregation. He moved to Stirling in 1731 and as synod moderator preached against assembly legislation on patronage, convinced that it took away the right of Christian people to elect and call their minister. Rebuked by synod and assembly Erskine with three others handed in a formal protest. The breach widened and in 1740 Erskine and seven other ministers were deposed. Within five years the Seceders were ministering to more than 40 congregations in Scotland.
THE GREAT AWAKENING – A series of revivals in the American colonies between 1725 and 1760 with the earliest occurring among the Dutch Reformed in New Jersey through the preaching of T.J. Frelinghuysen [see 1747]. This reached a peak in 1726 when encouraged by him Gilbert Tennent [see 1735], a Presbyterian pastor in New Brunswick, began to preach for conviction. This also led to a revival in New England through the preaching of Jonathan Edwards [see 1740]. However it was the English evangelist George Whitefield who after 1740 helped to plant evangelical Christianity on American shores and prepared the colonies spiritually for the trials of the revolutionary age. Through the “Reading Houses” of Samuel Morris and the preaching of William Robinson and Samuel Davies [see 1747], the Presbyterians experienced revival in the south. The Methodists and Baptists also grew rapidly in the era of the Great Awakening.
The revival soon met resistance from the established clergy led by Charles Chauncey [see 1727] in New England. Jonathan Edwards however vigorously promoted the Great Awakening, showing that a change made in the disposition of people created in the heart by the Holy Spirit and showing itself in unselfish love for the things of God and in a burning desire for Christian conduct in other men. Those who followed Edwards were called New Lights and those who opposed it were the Old Lights. In the Presbyterians there was also a split into the New Side and the Old Side between 1741 and 1758, and the Baptists into Separate and Regular Baptists. Some of the changes included the fostering of early antislavery sentiment and an increased missionary activity amongst the Indians as represented by the work of David Brainerd [see 1745], Eleazar Wheelock [see 1733], and Samuel Kirkland. A number of very significant schools were created because of the Awakening. Of equal importance was the mood of tolerance that crossed denominational lines. This attitude not only contributed to a national spirit of religious tolerance that helped to make the first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution a workable arrangement but it also provided an evangelical consensus that is traceable to the present.
NEWLIGHTISM – New England Congregational preachers who supported the Great Awakening in the 1740s with its emphasis on the instantaneous or sudden conversion experience and attendant emotional and mystical features became known as New Lights because they sought to get their congregation “new lighted” by the spirit of God. A majority of the preachers were moderates such as Jonathan Edwards but many became radical separatists.
RAUCH, CHRISTIAN HEINRICH [1718-1763] – First Moravian missionary to the American Indians. He was born in Texas and became a missionary under the Moravians, arriving in New York in 1740. He soon made contact with a group of Mohicans who accepted his offer to serve as a teacher among them. After months of severe hardship living in the Shekomeko village he baptised several converts in the presence of Count Zinzendorf [see 1727]. By 1743 the mission prospered and a chapel was built but growing white settler opposition resulted in the expulsion of the Moravians and termination of the work by 1746. Rauch then served in Pennsylvania and North Carolina before going to Jamaica where he spent his last years working among black people.
TENNENT, GILBERT [1703-1764] – Presbyterian minister and revivalist who was the eldest son of William Tennent [see 1735]. He was born in Ireland and read theology under his father and was licensed to preach in 1725. Tennent became the minister of New Brunswick Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. Theodore Frelinghuysen [see 1747] befriended and guided him in his revivalistic ministry among the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians in what was the opening phase of the Great Awakening [see above]. Tennent accompanied George Whitefield through the colonies in 1740-41. His famous sermon on “The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry” in 1740 was a broadside against the Philadelphia Synod's opposition to ordaining graduates of the Log College and was a factor in causing the Old Side - New Side schism in 1741. He and Samuel Davis [see 1747] went to Britain from 1753 to 1755 to raise money for the new College of New Jersey later named Princeton.