Emerson Andrews – 1806-1884

Emerson Andrews

Emerson Andrews

Emerson Andrews in the long line of Revivalists

Influenced by the eccentric revivalist, Lorenzo Dow and converted under the ministry of another revival preacher, Asahel Nettleton, this powerful preacher enjoyed an effective evangelistic ministry for forty years. His estimates were that 40,000 were converted through his ministry.

Itinerant evangelists or revivalists had begun in the Great Awakening, with George Whitefield, the Wesley’s, the Tennant’s and a host of lesser known ministries, and had continued in the years preceding the Second Awakening, expanding in numbers in the Second Awakening itself.

In the Resurgence of 1830, (Edwin Orr’s view) men like the Presbyterians Jedidiah Burchard, Charles Finney and Daniel Baker, the Congregationalist Edward Norris Kirk (through whom D. L. Moody was converted), the Baptists Jacob Knapp and Jabez Swan, and Methodists like John Newland Maffitt, James Caughey (who visited Britain a number of times) and John S. Inskip.

In the 1959 Revival a number of itinerant evangelists came to prominence, notably Dr. and Mrs. Walter Palmer, the Booths, William Taylor, and Dwight L. Moody,” together with many others whose spheres of influence were less widespread.

These great Gospel forerunners were further expanded following the mid-century Prayer Revival with such men in Britain as Humphrey Jones, Richard Weaver, Reginald Radcliffe, Brownlow North, William Carter, Robert Aitken, and many others – and in US Absalom Earle, Edward P. Hammond, and Orson Parker. It was among this latter group that Emerson Andrews appeared

His Early life

Emerson Andrews was born in Mansfield, Bristol County, Massachusetts in 1806 to godly parents, James and Mercy Andrews. They were from English stock and were strict Puritans in faith and lifestyle. Although young Emerson was raised in the Congregational Church he was far from God in his teens and twenties.

Nevertheless, periodically, he experienced intense conviction, usually through his parents’ counsels and prayers but particularly through two unforgettable sermons delivered by the eccentric revivalist, Lorenzo Dow. Soon after this he was converted under the ministry of another revival preacher, Asahel Nettleton.

He was a very educated man formerly studying at Chesterfield Academy and, at the time of his conversion, at Plainfield Kimball Union Academy, in New Hampshire. In the spring of 1832 whilst studying further at Union College in Schenectady, New York, he was baptised by immersion in the Mohawk River. It was his convictions about the Bible’s teaching on water baptism that caused him to join the Baptist’s instead of the Congregationalists or Presbyterians.

A Lover of Revival

He wrote “Many revivals and protracted meetings of one, two, or more days, and some for weeks and months, have been held, in New England and elsewhere, within, my personal remembrance. These have sent out their hallowed influences, as the light of the world and salt of the earth. Just before and at the time of my second birth, many sweeping and glorious revivals, under the celebrated Dr. Netteton, John Leland, Jedediah Burchard, C. G. Finney, were hailed, enjoyed, and sounded all around and over the country.

As soon as I was converted I cherished the good news of revivals; and I sought a place and portion with live Christians, that I might speak for Christ and win souls to salvation. I asked God for direction and help, and was answered.

His first visit to a Revival

He describes his first visit to a Revival “The first meeting that I attended after my regeneration was held in the town of Windsor, Vt. It was called a “four days’ meeting.” But many such were held in different places about that time. This came off in the summer of l830. I was much delighted, fed, and strengthened by such a sight, experience, exercise, and spiritual supper. It was a precious banquet, adapted to develop and enlarge the young convert’s soul.

The four pastors of the town, with their respective churches and congregations, and some from neighboring towns, met with the Baptist church, of which Elder Leland Howard was the long-honored pastor. Some twenty other pastors also came in from adjacent towns, and a few Lawyers and teachers, who took leading parts in the services. Large congregations were constantly in attendance, and all the various exercises and meetings were interesting and profitable.

Some of the sermons and prayers were most powerful, melting, and effective. Sinners often arose, requesting prayers, or sent up short petitions to be read. A lawyer by the name of Shepherd, from New York, was found to be very able, pointed, and specific in prayer, and so effective and precise in noting each different request more perfectly than the ministers, that he was often invited to lead in prayer — especially when there were some ten or twenty different, or some difficult requests presented.

He seemed to be full of the Spirit, and was especially gifted and successful. Ministers learned something valuable from his wisdom and tact. I confess that his pointedness made a powerful and lasting impression on my mind and practice.

The professors and ministers were much blessed, and many sinners were converted in the meetings. The gospel was preached and the Spirit poured out, prayer and sacrifices made. Novelty and wonder attracted many. Here God crowned the effort.”

Mentored by Jacob Knapp

He writes. ” ROCHESTER, N.Y. 1839. Here I assisted in a powerful meeting, under the preaching of the celebrated Elder Jacob Knapp, for three weeks. Marvellous things were done. The wicked raged, the Spirit worked, grace prevailed, and hundreds were converted — a glorious triumph over rum, gambling, and infidelity. Jesus reigned.” This exposure to revival power whetted his appetite for an evangelistic ministry.

His first revival efforts

“WHITE DEER, PENN. 1839. In this rich farming district I had a revival meeting of five weeks, with a feeble Baptist church. We began at the close of the Association; but, with all the eloquent pastoral preaching in it, the brethren were not aroused, nor sinners much convicted.

Here my first sermon was from the text, “O Lord, revive thy work!” And he did so immediately. Some half a dozen persons were convicted and converted, and the church was revived by the power of God on that evening’s effort. The whole region, then, for seven miles around, was awakened, and some forty converts were immersed by Elder Spratt, D.D.

Here, too, we experienced severe opposition and much persecution from outside professors and sinners, but God strengthened our hands for a triumphant work. This was a blessed era with the church, and it is fragrant still.

“CLINTON,  PENN.  I had a revival meeting in this township.  It was very great and powerful.  Satan and sinners raged, at times, terribly, but the cross was triumphant.  Many were immersed by the beloved pastor, Elder Spratt, D.D.  

Hugh Donelly, the postmaster, rum-selling merchant, and an avowed infidel, who had slandered me and ridiculed the meeting, crept in away back, then into the middle seats; then, after a few nights, fell on his knees groaning and crying for mercy.  I soon aided him in coming forward. 

Then out came his wife and sister.   We all prayed, and soon the three rejoiced in hope, and spoke boldly for Jesus.  Brother Donelly has made a noble record in Pennsylvania and Indiana for Jesus and his cause…..

PARMA, N.Y.  In this western village, in mid-winter, I preached night and day, for three weeks, to overflowing houses and attentive hearers.  Christians renewed their “first love and vows,” and many sinners were converted and baptized.  

An infidel, hearing a few sermons, was struck under conviction, and fled away thirty miles for comfort; but, feeling worse and worse, returned like the prodigal, feeling wretched and lost.  He came forward, prayer was offered, and he soon yielded and believed, giving glory to God.  Then he told his experience, and exhorted his old Universalist and infidel friends to repent and be saved from hell. 


Emerson Andrews Preaching

His preaching zeal and effectiveness were quickly recognised and he was soon licensed to preach and for a four year period served brief pastorates in New York State – Waterford, West Troy, Lansingburg and Rome (1834-1838)

In 1838 began an itinerant evangelist for thirty-five years, mainly in America, but also in Europe, Africa, Asia and Canada. His estimates were that 40,000 were converted through his ministry.

Tony Cauchi

For further research
Emerson Andrew’s Autobiography