In the 1730s and 1740s, the Great Awakening shook up the English colonies. This religious movement caused an outpouring of Christian faith. It also prompted new ways of thinking about the church and society. As a result, it helped lay the foundations for political changes to come.
Thousands of people were rushing to Middletown to hear Whitefield speak. “I saw no man at work in his field,” Cole wrote, “but all seemed to be gone.” When Cole and his wife reached the town, they found a large crowd gathered there. The mood was electric as they waited for Whitefield to appear.
What was behind all this excitement? Why would a preacher's arrival cause a commotion like that of a rock star or a Hollywood celebrity today?
In fact, Whitefield was a superstar of his time. He was the most famous figure in a religious revival that was sweeping the colonies. People were seeking a deep spiritual experience and a direct connection to God. They found that connection in preachers like Whitefield.