“But what a dead and barren time has it now been, nor a great while, with all the churches of the Reformation. The golden showers have been restrained; the influences of the Spirit suspended; and the consequence has been, that the gospel has not had any eminent success. Conversions have been rare and dubious; few sons and daughters have been born to God and the hearts of Christians not so quickened, warmed and refreshed under the ordinances, as they have been. That this has been the sad state of religion among us in this land, for many years…”
This is a description of New England — of Massachusetts, specifically. Dry, spiritually parched, not much receptive to the gospel. It is a description of New England in the early 1700′s.
Then, as now, the spiritual landscape was discouraging. Then the Spirit did something extraordinary through the work of Jonathan Edwards and others in Massachusetts specifically and New England in general. This description is from W. Cooper in his Preface to one of Edwards’s works, describing the state of the place before the Spirit began His Great Awakening.
Now, as then, we are dry.
Now, as then, we only need the Spirit’s inclination to see revival.
Because of this, now, as then, things are not hopeless.