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Charles Chauncy

1705-1787. American Congregational clergyman and leader of the “Old Light” (those opposed to the Great Awakening*). Born in Boston, he received his education at Harvard and was pastor of the First Church in Boston (1727-87). When revivalism broke out in New England in the early 1740s, Chauncy at first spoke sympathetically of the movement; however, by 1742 he had become one of the most outspoken critics and leaders in the antirevivalist camp. He charged the revivalists with excessive enthusiasm and antinomianism. His Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England (1743) contains his serious and satirical criticism of revivalism. He also opposed the appointment of any Episcopal bishop in the colonies.