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Newlightism

New England Congregational preachers who supported the Great Awakening* of the 1740s with its emphasis on an instantaneous or sudden conversion experience and attendant emotional and mystical features became known as “New Lights”-because they sought to get their congregations “new- lighted” by the Spirit of God. A majority of these men were moderates (e.g., Jonathan Edwards*) and took an irenic approach, but many became radical separatists, vehemently critical of the established churches and advocates of the complete separation of church and state. Later, followers of B.W. Stone* became known as New Lights.