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Edwards never saw any reason to retract his opinions, even though there were undoubted excesses, deficiencies and errors abounding in that remarkable work. Many were to use these, not simply as points that could be raised in criticism of the conduct of the revival, but as conclusive arguments against it being considered as a true work of God. The critics were not slow to condemn what they considered to be mere enthusiasm.

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To be fair to them, many of their criticisms had a measure of justification. One of the men who was greatly used of God in this remarkable work, Gilbert Tennent, preached a sermon in which he inveighed against an unconverted ministry. Not surprisingly, this drew resentment from many of those who, rightly or wrongly, conceived themselves to be the target at which the sermon was aimed. A little later, a young minister by the name of James Davenport developed the same theme much more aggressively.

He gathered his people together, preached to them for 24 hours and then, not surprisingly, collapsed. Upon recovery, he began to discriminate amongst his church members. In a nearby parish there lived a woman who was mad and dumb.