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“I love those that thunder out the Word,” said George Whitefield. “The Christian World is in a dead sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awaken them out of it.” Whitefield was almost certainly the greatest evangelist of the eighteenth century. He preached throughout the British Isles and the British colonies in North America. Although Whitefield’s reputation has been overshadowed by Wesley’s, his contribution to the revivals of the eighteenth century is almost as great.
Most accounts of the Great Awakening focus predominantly on the revivals in the middle colonies and particularly in New England. The South was the scene of revival too, however. Whitefield preached in southern cities, and Presbyterian Samuel Davies led a notable awakening in Virginia. Even farther south, in the Carolinas, was another phase of the Great Awakening, the Sandy Creek Revival.
Next to Jonathan Edwards, the leading American preacher of the Great Awakening was Gilbert Tennent of Pennsylvania. Tennent was a man of unusual abilities, but part of the credit for his accomplishments—humanly speaking—must go to the unusual education that he, his brothers, and several others received from Gilbert’s father, William Tennent, Sr. Their “log college” may not have been an Ivy League school, but it certainly was—as George Whitefield called it—a “school of the prophets.”