17th Century Heroes

Richard Sibbes

Richard Sibbes

By the end of the 16th century Cambridge was beginning to reap results from the work done by the first generation of Puritans at the parish level. There is no doubt that the 17th century Puritans enjoyed seasons of local revival all over England.

John Welch saw the beginnings of revival at Kirkcudbright, Scotland in 1896 and at Ayr, in 1600. This was a time of renewed blessing and outpouring of the Spirit in Southern Scotland.

Back in England Richard Rogers had much success at Wethersfield, Essex from 1574-1618 and John Rogers at Haverhill in 1603 proved to be one of the most ‘awakening’ of all Puritan preachers and one whose ministry was attended with a power. He moved to Haverhill and reaped a great spiritual harvest there. ‘Let us go to Dedham to get a little fire’ became a common saying among his contemporaries. One writer declares how a sense of the greatness of eternal issues would at times overcome the crowded church at Dedham; on one such occasion Rogers took hold of the supports of the canopy over the pulpit with both hands, “roaring hideously to represent the torments of the damned”. At another time when Rogers was taking a wedding service he preached on the necessity of the wedding garment: “God made the word so effectual that the marriage solemnity was turned into bitter mourning, so that the ministers who were at the marriage were employed in comforting or advising those whose consciences had been awakened by that sermon.”

When Richard Sibbes was appointed lecturer at Holy Trinity, Cambridge, in 1610, additional galleries had to be built to accommodate the crowded congregation.

William Gouge, became minister of the church at Blackfriars, London in 1608 and in the next forty-five years and six months thousands were converted and built up by his ministry’

Ulster saw a number of revivals in the 1620’s under the preaching of Robert Blair, Josias Welch, (son of John Welch) John Livingstone, and others who moved from Scotland; also that of John Ridge, an English minister.

Stewarton, West of Scotland. David Dickson used to spread revival fire 1625-1630. Famous for the ‘Stewarton Sickness.’

The first revival in Ulster came through the preaching of James Glendinning in 1626 in Oldstone, near the town of Antrim.

Samuel Fairclough saw a revival under his ministry from 1627-1662 at Kedington, seventeen miles from Cambridge, England,

Robert Bruce of Kinnaird saw revival at Edinburgh and Inverness1627.

Revival visited Ireland under Robert Blair and John Livingstone in 1628. The latter led a revival at the kirk of Shotts, a few miles west of Edinburgh, Lanarkshire.

George Fox began his ministry in 1647 which included powerful preaching in England, Ireland, Wales, in Continental Europe and in America, accompanied by many reported miracles of healing. He organised the Society of Friends, or ‘Quakers’ and brought large numbers into his societies.

In Mells, Somerset, England, Richard Fairclough saw a powerful revival. John Rogers of Dedham in Suffolk also saw revival phenomena as a result of his preaching.
In Kidderminster, Worcestershire, Richard Baxter saw a prolonged awakening over several years, 1660-1691, which resulted in the vast majority of the town coming to saving faith. “When I came thither first, there was about one family in a street that worshipped God and called on his Name, and when I came away there were some streets where there was not past one family in the side of a street that did not so; and that did not, by professing serious godliness, give us hopes of their sincerity.”

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