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Selina: Countess of Huntingdon: Her Pivotal Role in the 18th Century Evangelical Awakening Hardcover – November 1, 2001
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What this biography has done for me is to shed much light on the relationships between the outstanding 18th century revival men, all greatly influenced by Selina Hastings, the Countess of Huntingdon. George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, Howell Harris, John Berridge, Henry Venn, Grimshaw, Romaine, and on and on. I knew that the Countess had a pivotal role in encouraging the planting of evangelical churches in England and Wales, but I was unaware of how far her influence extended. But this is no hagiography. Faith Cook analyzes with honesty not only the strength of this great Christian lady, but also brings to light her weaknesses. As a noble lady, she was used to having her own way, and so this aspect of her personality sometimes clashed with other leaders such as John Wesley, who were also accustomed to having their words heeded. But through it all, they loved one another for the mutual faith they shared.
Christian women, as well as men, should love this book. Not many women in the 18th century, when the lot of women was often not a happy one, had the opportunity to support the cause of the evangelical Gospel as she did. This book has been a joy to read
"Lady Huntingdon and Her Friends provides a peek at God’s stirring of the spiritual waters in England in the 1700s through preachers like John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, William Romaine, Henry Venn, John Berridge and a host of other faithful preachers of the gospel of God. The Countess of Huntingdon connected them all in her zeal to use her position and finances to spread the gospel of God in Great Britain. "Lady Huntingdon and Her Friends" is our introduction to this remarkable woman. Yet it is "Selina, Countess of Huntingdon: Her Pivotal Role in the 18th Century Evangelical Awakening" by Faith Cook that adds the human details behind the deeds of faith. Faith Cook’s biographical skill has only increased with each book she writes, so it was with eagerness that I dived into her book on the Countess.
The magnificent moving of God’s Spirit throughout Great Britain during Selina’s time is breathtaking to behold and makes one long for a similar revival in our land. Yet, the most compelling part of Selina’s story is the undeniable fact that one person can be of great use for the Kingdom. Selina lived with her eyes upon the Prize of Jesus Christ and endeavored to give whatever resources she had available for His use and pleasure. This alone makes her worthy of our admiration and respect. Yet, "Selina, Countess of Huntingdon" is a treasure trove of biographical anecdotes on some of the great men of faith as well. It may serve us best to close with words from the Countess’ own lips at the age of 62 at which age many are thinking of retirement. This concept was foreign and unwelcome to Selina who pressed on faithfully until she died at the age of 84. As you read her words, may they be your heart’s prayer as well, “O, that I may be more and more useful to the souls of my fellow creatures. I want to be every moment all life, all zeal, all activity for God, and ever on the stretch for close communion with Him.”
Selina Hastings was born in the upper class in England, and had money, power, and influence. After being converted, she used all of these to advance the Gospel in England for the rest of her life. She spent thousands of pounds to build chapel buildings, started a preachers college and helped poor preachers. She hired Whitefield as her personal chaplain so as to provide the opportunity for him to preach to members of her noble circle - including princes and relatives to kings! She constantly shared the gospel with her friends, family and acquaintances. In all her entire life is an inspiration, an example of one who lived her whole life for Christ. At the end, she was selling property to get the funds to build more chapels!
I highly recommend this book. In face, I'm planning to give away copies for Christmas this year.