August 6, 1801: Revival hits a Presbyterian camp meeting in Cane Ridge, Kentucky (as pictured in sketch below). Within a week, 25,000 were attending the revival services.
Cane Ridge became the largest and most famous camp meeting of the Second Great Awakening.
Although the revival at Cane Ridge grew out of a Presbyterian gathering, it helped spark the Methodist camp meeting movement, as noted by theologian Fred Sanders of Biola University.
Preachers from numerous denominations arrived [at Cane Ridge], set up pulpits in tree stands, and preached; sometimes as many as seven preachers at once addressing different crowds throughout the woods. There was a lot of fainting, swooning, shouting, and dancing as the days went by.
In the aftermath, Presbyterians pretty much washed their hands of it and backed away. It was the Methodists who, while denouncing the excesses of the event, nevertheless were proud to claim ownership. They retroactively dubbed it a camp meeting staffed by circuit riders, and promoted similar revivals elsewhere.
August 7, 1771: Francis Asbury answers John Wesley’s call for volunteers to go to America as missionaries. He would become the father of American Methodism.
A biography of Asbury was released in 2009, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford University Press).
August 10, 70: Roman troops, sent to put down a Jewish rebellion, break through the walls of Jerusalem and destroy the temple.
August 21, 1741: Composer George Frideric Handel (left) shuts himself up in his home to write the oratorio, Messiah. He finished the composition only 23 days later.
“Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not,” he later said.
August 27, 1727: Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf‘s Moravian community at Herrnhut, Germany, begins a round-the-clock “prayer chain.” At least one person in the community prayed every minute of the day — for more than 100 years.
August 31, 1688: English Puritan writer and preacher John Bunyan (right), author of Pilgrim’s Progress, dies at age 69.
Though one of England’s most famous authors even in his own day, he maintained his pastoral duties until his death, caused by a cold he caught while riding through the rain to reconcile father and son.
Adapted with permission from ChristianHistory.net.
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