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When the itinerant preacher George Whitefield came to America in 1740, he believed that the religion in Boston was lethargic. He had this to say:

Boston is a large, populous place, and very wealthy. It has the form of religion kept up, but has lost much of its power. I have not heard of any remarkable stir for many years. Ministers and people are obliged to confess, that the love of many is waxed cold. Both seem to be too much conformed to the world. There is much of the pride of life to be seen in their assemblies. Jewels, patches, and gay apparel are commonly worn by the female sex. The little infants who were brought to baptism, were wrapped up in such fine things, and so much pains taken to dress them, that one would think they were brought thither to be initiated into, rather than to renounce, the pomps and vanities of the world.*


*A Documentary History of Religion in America to 1877, eds. Edwin S. Gaustad and Mark A. Noll (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 162.