|On John Davenport's "excesses."
From J. Bauer's Protestantism in America, Chapter 3,
The Great Awakening.
n March, 1743, men were busy rushing around New London, Connecticut, knocking on doors to invite people to a special meeting. Rev. James Davenport, famous Congregational revivalist, was in town. The previous year he had traveled through New England imitating the procedures of Whitefield, but his spirit was utterly different from that of Whitefield. He would gain the right to use a pastorís pulpit and then denounce that pastor before his congregation as an unconverted man. As he preached, his voice would grow in shrillness until it reached a vibrating singsong. Often he would close his eyes and rock back and forth as if in a trance. This was the worst side of the revival.
"Come to the wharf this afternoon and see the Lordís will done," was the word spread through New London, Connecticut, on March 6. Mr. Davenport was holding a special service, and people were urged to bring all worldly possessions that they idolized. A great fire was to be lighted.
As a woman threw rings and a silver necklace to the flames, she cried out that they were the devilís toys. Another flung a beautiful gown and a rich cloak onto the smoldering pile. All around men and women were chanting, singing, and praying. Mr. Davenport was pacing about, exhorting his followers to sacrifice their idolatrous love for worldly things. Suits, velvet breeches, wigs, hoods, and books -- from the pens of "unconverted " pastors -- were added to the bonfire. And into that fire went the last shreds of the spirit of unity that still bound together those opposing and those upholding revivals.