Supernatural Healing and Health in Jonathan Edwards’ Town

Now this may come as a surprise, especially if you are aware of Edwards’ position on the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12, at least ‘the extraordinary gifts’ as he puts it.

But good Mr. Edwards faithfully recounts what actually happened in Northampton during the season of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1735.

And one of the tremendous surprises, as we read the Narrative is his testimony of a season of supernatural health that literally affected the whole town.

The passage is tucked away and rarely brought out, but here it is:

‘In the former part of this great work of God amongst us, till it got to His height, we seemed to be wonderfully smiled upon and blessed in all respects.

Satan seemed to be unusually restrained; persons who before had been involved in melancholy, seemed to be as it were waked up out of it;

and those who had been entangled with extraordinary temptations, seemed wonderfully freed.

And not only so, but it was the most remarkable time of health that ever I knew since I have been in the town.

We ordinarily have several bills put up, every Sabbath, for sick persons; but now we had not so much as one for many sabbaths together.’ (From, A Narrative of Surprising Conversions, in Jonathan Edwards on Revival, Banner of Truth, p. 69)

This amazing season of health didn’t last forever. Indeed he declares honestly that ‘after this it seemed to be otherwise.’ But the reality is that Jonathan Edwards did actually witness a season of supernatural health and healing in his own town during his ministry.

Why he didn’t consider this season of health an ‘extraordinary gift’ of healing, though it was truly extraordinary we don’t know. Why this experience of health over a whole community didn’t impact his thinking about the continuance of the gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 we don’t know.

What we do know is that God did grant such a season of health, and that God does continue to answer prayer even now, though perhaps not on such a widespread scale as Jonathan Edwards saw.

You can purchase Edwards on Revival here
You can read a review of Edwards on Revival here

© 2009 Lex Loizides

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3 thoughts on “Supernatural Healing and Health in Jonathan Edwards’ Town

  1. Marcia Daniels June 25, 2010 / 6:27 pm

    How can I purchase Edwards on Revival??

  2. Christian Ortiz May 4, 2013 / 11:17 pm

    This is great and encouraging news. it would be nice to see more evidence listed though. As encouraging a message as this is, it is always a good idea to include evidence. Listing scriptures would be a great start. Also interviewing witnesses would be a great idea. When dealing with topics as controversial as these, i find it best to use as much evidence as possible. By doing so it makes it easier for a greater number of people to be encouraged about this message of faith healing. Its hard to tell how much evidence a person needs to accept this though. biased on what church they’ve gone to and what experiences they have had they may be completely unaccepting of such a practice. None the less, it is still nice to include more evidence for those who are on the borderline of acceptance so that they can be given the little extra push they need to accept this encouraging story. other than that this is a really nice story. thank you for posting.

  3. Ade September 18, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Thanks for this article sir.

    I myself am still thinking through the whole issue of the cessation of the ‘supernatural’ gifts. At present I’d be more inclined towards the position that the Soveriegn Spirit can at anytime He pleases enable that these gifts be exercised for a season to accomplish God’s purposes.

    However I don’t think this article does much to rebut the position that Edwards held. I don’t know one cessationist (maybe except one) that would say that God cannot grant health to an individual (or even a community) in response to prayer, the contention is that He no longer grants to any man the ability to exercise the supernatural gift of healing. The issue is the human instrumentality not the healing itself.

    So for that reason I don’t think this article does much to vindicate the other position.

    Blessings in Christ.

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