The greatest revival in American history burst onto the scene with lively displays of religious affections and their extraordinary effects, leading some to conclude that people subject to them were “delusional.” Others assumed by their energy and impact that the Holy Spirit produced them all. Edwards, however, acknowledged a mixture of good and bad and rejected both the “nothing of God” and “all of God” views as extreme.
Who can deny that we should be fervent in our love of Christ, zealous for the Gospel, and passionate for the honor of God? Saints are created and redeemed to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). Can anyone love God too much?
Love is an affection, but will any Christian say, men ought not to love God and Jesus Christ in a high degree? And will any say, we ought not to have a very great hatred of sin, and a very deep sorrow for it? Or that we ought not to exercise a high degree of gratitude to God for the mercies we receive of Him, and the great things He has done for the salvation of fallen men? Or that we should not have very great and strong desires after God and holiness? Is there any who will profess that his affections in religion are great enough, and will say, ‘I have no cause to be humbled, that I am no more affected with the things of religion than I am; I have no reason to be ashamed, that I have no great exercises of love to God and sorrow for sin, and gratitude for the mercies which I have received?” 
As religious affections form an essential part of new life in Christ, and as love forms the fountain of all religious affections, affections will be great where the love of God is great. 
Scripture portrays Christ and the greatest saints as possessing the highest of religious affections, such as the Psalmist (David), the Apostle Paul, John the Baptist, the woman who anointed the body of Jesus, “the church in her future happy seasons,” and the “saints and angels in heaven.”  “The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord, and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice” (Psalm 21:1). “Let the righteous be glad: let them rejoice before God; yea, let them exceedingly rejoice” (Psalm 68:3). “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law” (Psalm 119:136).
At the same time, lofty religious affections might not be from God. For instance, Israel “sang God’s praise” following their deliverance at the Red Sea, but soon returned to their faithless grumbling. The hopeful shouts of “hosanna!” quickly turned to “crucify!” when their presumed deliverer from Rome stood bleeding and humiliated before Pilate.  Indeed, enemies of Christ can be excited by great miracles, the hope of great blessings, or the receipt of great earthly benefits. Stadiums can fill to overflowing from love of God’s perks, with or without love for the God who gives them.
Thus, great affections can arise from sources other than God, including satanic or human delusion, depravity, weakness of disposition, or foolishness (among other things). And, as God alone knows the heart perfectly, discerning the cause of intense affections can be difficult.
The absence of religious affections indicates the absence of love for God,  yet great religious affections do not “prove” love for God, given their many possible sources. Thus, we should take care to affirm the true and reject the false, “separating between the wheat and the chaff, the gold and the dross, the precious and the vile.”  And while the presence of great religious affections can be deceiving, those who reject all religious affections reduce the Christian life to “a mere lifeless formality and effectually shut out the power of godliness.”  They “make a thorough work in ruining their souls.” 
Lastly, what moves your affections?
In things which concern men’s worldly interest, their outward delights, their honour and reputation, and their natural relations, they have their desires eager, their appetites vehement, their love warm and affectionate, their zeal ardent; in these things their hearts are tender and sensible, easily moved, deeply impressed, much concerned, very sensibly affected, and greatly engaged; much depressed in grief at losses, and highly raised with joy at worldly successes and prosperity. But how insensible and unmoved are most men about the great things of another world! How dull are their affections! How heavy and hard their hearts in these matters! Here their love is cold, their desires languid, their zeal low, and their gratitude small.” 
If we ought ever to exercise our affections at all, then they ought to be exercised about those objects which are most worthy of them. But is there anything which Christians can find in heaven or earth so worthy to be the objects of their admiration and love, their earnest and longing desires, their hope, and their rejoicing, and their fervent zeal, as those things that are held forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ?” 
May God grant us greater love for His infinite excellence in Christ and discernment to distinguish the gold from the dross.
Next, we’ll examine why religious affections producing great effects on the body, such as fainting, shaking, and other phenomena, do not necessarily indicate a work of the Holy Spirit.
 BT, 55; Yale, 127-128.
 BT, 54-5; Yale, 127.
 BT, 56-7; Yale, 128-130.
 BT, 58-9; Yale, 131.
 BT, 50; Yale, 121.
 BT, 50; Yale, 121.
 BT, 49; Yale, 120.
 BT, 50; Yale, 121.
 BT, 51-2; Yale, 122-3.
 BT, 52; Yale, 123.
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