Book Review: "Selina, Countess of Huntingdon: Her Pivotal Role in the 18th Century Evangelical Awakening by Faith Cook

I was first introduced to Lady Huntingdon when my husband bought me a biography about her entitled, Lady Huntingdon and Her Friends: The Revival of the Work of God in the Days of Wesley, Whitefield, Romaine, Venn, and Others in the Last Century by Mrs. Helen C. Knight. Rather than deter him, that “dainty” title most likely induced him to secure the book for me since the men named in the title were all great preachers from days gone by. Being collectors of old books we were delighted to receive our worn and aged copy from 1853—and then began my adventure with Lady Huntingdon.

Lady Huntingdon and Her Friends provides a peek at God’s stirring of the spiritual waters in England in the 1700s through preachers like John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, William Romaine, Henry Venn, John Berridge and a host of other faithful preachers of the gospel of God. The Countess of Huntingdon connected them all in her zeal to use her position and finances to spread the gospel of God in Great Britain. Lady Huntingdon and Her Friends is our introduction to this remarkable woman.  But it is Selina, Countess of Huntingdon: Her Pivotal Role in the 18th Century Evangelical Awakening by Faith Cook that adds the human details behind the deeds of faith. Faith Cook’s biographical skill has only increased with each book she writes, so it was with eagerness that I dived into her book on the Countess.  

The magnificent moving of God’s Spirit throughout Great Britain during Selina’s time is breathtaking to behold and makes one long for a similar revival in our land. Yet, the most compelling part of Selina’s story is the undeniable fact that one person can be of great use for the Kingdom. Selina lived with her eyes upon the Prize of Jesus Christ and endeavored to give whatever resources she had available for His use and pleasure. This alone makes her worthy of our admiration and respect. Yet, Selina, Countess of Huntingdon is a treasure trove of biographical anecdotes on some of the great men of faith as well. It may serve us best to close with words from the Countess’ own lips at the age of 62 at which age many are thinking of retirement. This concept was foreign and unwelcome to Selina who pressed on faithfully until she died at the age of 84. As you read her words, may they be your heart’s prayer as well, “O, that I may be more and more useful to the souls of my fellow creatures. I want to be every moment all life, all zeal, all activity for God, and ever on the stretch for close communion with Him.”