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Asahel Nettleton (1783-1844) might well be called "the greatest evangelist you've never heard of," though in his day he was greatly used of God in New England in the revivals known as the Second Great Awakening.  Following a period as a young man, of which he writes, "I tried to repent, but could not feel the least sorrow for my innumerable sins," he experienced a dramatic conversion that one biographer has described as, "not the result of any effort of his own, but of the sovereign and distinguishing will of God."  Grounded in the truths of Scripture and reinforced by the reality of his own conversion experience, for his entire life and ministry he remained committed to the truths of the doctrines of grace, and a confidence in the power of God alone to bring about conviction and conversion.  As the man-centered beliefs and "New Methods" (mostly emotional manipulation) employed by Charles Finney and others under his influence, became increasingly popular because of their seemingly dramatic results (though many of the "converts" later proved to be not genuine), Nettleton was one who stood against them; however, he was unable to stop the tide, and much of American evangelism would be led astray.  Nettleton's ministry resulted in the conversion of an estimated 20,000 souls, a remarkable percentage of whom were still walking with Christ many years later.  He was tireless worker until he contracted a serious illness in 1822 that would hinder him for the last 20 years of his life.  On his deathbed in 1844, he gave his friends his dying counsel:  "While ye have the light, walk in the light."

Divine Election Illustrated
from the Parable of the Great Supper

From a Sermon by
by evangelist Asahel Nettleton (1783-1844)

“I did,” replies the servant, “and so it is.  You are all freely invited.  Nay, you are commanded to come, and threatened with a fearful punishment if you do not come.  But since my master has made such large provision, he is determined that it shall not be lost.  And as all my arguments prove ineffectual, and I cannot persuade one of you to come, he has determined to exert his own power on a certain number, and make them willing.”

“Then your master is partial, and does not give us all an equal opportunity to come to the feast,” one said.

“If it is discouraging,” the servant replies, “to hear that my master has determined to make some willing, and to leave others to their own choice, let us suppose that he has not determined to make any willing, but to leave all to their own choice.  Is this more encouraging?”

The man now pleads another excuse.  He says, “If your master has not determined to make me willing to come to the feast, I cannot come. How can I?”

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