Deeply admired by contemporaries such as King George III, Henry Venn and George Whitefield (who described her as ‘all in a flame for Jesus’), Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon left an indelible mark on the Evangelical Awakening of the Eighteenth Century. Closely involved for nearly forty years with the leaders of the burgeoning Methodist movement, she gave herself unstintingly to the cause of Christ. She contributed sacrificially to the construction of sixty-four chapels, the opening of many other places of worship, and the founding of Trevecca College in Wales. Drawing on unpublished letters, Faith Cook gives a deeper and truer-to-life portrait than previously available. Introducing the reader to a gallery of well-known Eighteenth Century personalities, she takes us behind the scenes into Selina’s drawing rooms. There the Countess secured an entrance for the gospel among the aristocracy through the powerful preaching of such evangelical luminaries as George Whitefield, William Romaine and John Fletcher.
The driving passion of Selina’s life, according to the author, was ‘a zeal for the salvation of her servants, her acquaintances, her family and the nobililty’.
As Lady Catherwood points out in the Foreword, Faith Cook’s biography not only rescues the Countess from undeserved obscurity and misrepresentation, but also shows what God can accomplish through the tireless labours of a godly woman whose heart’s desire was that the ‘dear Lamb of God, my best, my eternal, my only Friend should have all dedicated to his service and glory’.
Table of Contents
|List of Illustrations||ix|
|Preface and Acknowledgements||xi|
|The Young Countess||11|
|All Things New||26|
|Setting the Scene||42|
|‘An Instrument for Good’||57|
|To Rich and to Poor||69|
|Family Sorrows – Christian Friendships||82|
|‘I Dread Slack Hands in the Vineyard’||101|
|‘A Most Brilliant Assembly’||116|
|‘The Strength of Her Soul Is Amazing’||129|
|The Countess and the Wesley Brothers, 1749-55||141|
|An Emerging Pattern||154|
|Cross Currents, 1759-60||181|
|Doors of Opportunity||194|
|New Chapels, New Friends, New Unity||217|
|‘A School of Prophets – That Is the Thing!’||232|
|Calm before the Storm||254|
|The Parting of the Ways||271|
|‘She Is a Mother to Us All’||299|
|‘The Surprising Success of Our Labours Everywhere’||332|
|Old Friends and New||349|
|‘I Am to Be Cast Out’||366|
|Encouragements and Setbacks of Declining Years||382|
|‘My Time Is Short’||398|
|‘My Work Is Done’||412|
|1.||Letter on the Death of the Countess of Huntingdon||423|
|2.||Biographical Works on the Countess of Huntingdon||425|
|3.||Shirley Family Tree||430|
|4.||Hastings Family Tree||431|
|5.||Subsequent Service of Some Trevecca Students||432|
|6.||And Afterwards. . .||438|
|7.||The Fifteen Articles of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion||442|
|8.||The Plan of Association, 1790||448|
About the Author
Faith Cook, daughter of Stanley and Norah Rowe, missionaries of the China Inland Mission (now OMF), was born in north-west China. After missionaries were evicted from the country in 1951, she returned to the UK and attended Clarendon School in North Wales before proceeding to teacher training college in Bromley, Kent. She married Paul Cook in 1961, and they served several evangelical churches in the Midlands and Yorkshire before his retirement. They have a daughter, four sons and ten grandchildren, and now live in Breaston, Derbyshire.
Faith has written of her childhood in China in Troubled Journey, and has authored several other books published by the Trust, including Sound of Trumpets, Singing in the Fire, and two major biographies – Selina, Countess of Huntingdon and William Grimshaw of Haworth.