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cipal example is probably Thomas Hutchinson’s “ History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay.” The first volume of this appeared in 1764. Neglected by reason of the traditional unpopularity which sincere, self-sacrificing Toryism brought on the last native governor of provincial Massachusetts, this remains an admirable piece of serious historical writing, not vivid, picturesque, or very interesting, but dignified, earnest, and just. In the history of pure literature, however, it has no great importance.

Further still from unmixed literature seems the work of the two men of this period who for general reasons now deserve such separate consideration as we gave Cotton Mather. They deserve it as representing two distinct aspects of American character, which closely correspond with the two ideals most inseparable from our native language. One of these ideals is the religious or moral, inherent in the lasting tradition of the English Bible; the other is the political or social, equally inherent in the equally lasting tradition of the English Law. In the pre-revolutionary years of our eighteenth century, the former was most characteristically expressed by Jonathan Edwards; and the kind of national temper which must always underlie the latter was incarnate in Benjamin Franklin. Before considering the Revolution and the literature which came with it and after it, we may best attend to these men in turn.



JONATHAN EDWARDS, son of a minister who had been educated at Harvard, was born at East Windsor, Connecticut, on October 5, 1703. In 1720 he took his degree at Yale, where he was a tutor from 1724 to 1726. In 1727 he was ordained colleague to his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, minister of Northampton, Massachusetts. Here he remained settled until 1750, when his growing austerities resulted in his dismissal from that ministry. The next year he became a missionary to the Stockbridge Indians, in a region at that time remote from civilisation. In 1757 he was chosen to succeed his son-in-law, Burr, as President of Princeton College. He died at Princeton, in consequence of inoculation for smallpox, on March 22, 1758.

Beyond doubt, Edwards has had more infuence on subsequent thought than any other American theologian. In view of this, the uneventfulness of his life, so utterly apart from public affairs, becomes significant of the condition of the New England ministry during his lifetime. He was born hardly two years after Increase Mather, the lifelong champion of theocracy, was deposed from the presidency of Harvard College; and as our glance at the Mathers must have reminded us, an eminent Yankee minister of the seventeenth century was almost as necessarily a politician as he was a divine. Yet Edwards, the most eminent of our eighteenth-century ministers, had less to do with public affairs than many ministers of the present day. A more thorough divorce of church and state than is indicated by his career could hardly exist.

Nothing less than such separation from public affairs could have permitted that concentration on matters of the other world which makes the work of Edwards still potent. From his own time to ours his influence has been so strong that almost all discussions of him are concerned with the question of how far his systematic theology is true. For our purposes this question is not material, nor yet is that of what his system was in detail. It is enough to observe that throughout his career, as preacher and writer alike, he set forth Calvinism in its most uncompromising form, reasoned out with great logical power to extreme conclusions. As for matters of earthly fact, he mentioned them only as they bore on his theological or philosophical contentions.

Early in life, for example, he fell in love with Sarah Pierrepont, daughter of a New Haven minister, and a descendant of the great emigrant minister Thomas Hooker, of Hartford. Accordingly this lady presented herself to his mind as surely among God's elect, an opinion which he recorded when she was thirteen years old and he was twenty, in the following words:

“They say there is a young lady in New Haven who is beloved of that great Being who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything except to meditate on Him; that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from Him always. There she is to dwell with Him, and to be ravished with His love and delight for ever. Therefore, if you present all the world be. fore her, with the richest of its treasures she disregards and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her the whole world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful calmness, and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her."

The spiritual gifts of this chosen vessel of the Lord, who in 1727 became Mrs. Edwards, in no way interfered with her attention to human duties. During the twenty-three years of her husband's ministry at Northampton she bore him eleven children, one of whom married the Reverend Aaron Burr, first President of Princeton College, and became the mother of that other Aaron Burr whose political and social career was among the most scandalous of our opening nineteenth century.

That little record of Edwards's innocent love, which felt sure that its object enjoyed the blessings of God's elect, has a certain charm. What tradition has mostly remembered of him, however, is rather the unflinching vigour with which he set forth the inevitable fate of fallen man. His most familiar work is the sermon on “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," of which one of the least forgotten passages runs thus :

“O sinner! consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell: – you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

" It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity: there will be no end to this exquisite, horrible misery : when you look forward you shall see a long for ever, a boundless dura. tion before you, which will swallow up your thoughts and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this Almighty merciless vengeance; and then, when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains."

In view of such doctrine as this, his last sermon to the church of Northampton, delivered on June 22, 1750, becomes very grim. His final trouble with his parishioners arose from a decay in church discipline which by that time had grown conspicuous. In the New England churches there had early arisen something called the Half Way Covenant, by which those who had received baptism in infancy might in turn present their own children for baptism. At first, however, no one was admitted either to the Lord's Supper or to the voting privileges of a church without performing some personal act of public consecration. As time went on, and discipline relaxed, many ministers, among them Edwards's grandfather Stoddard, began to administer the communion to those who were consecrated to the Lord by the Half Way Covenant only. The chief ground of Edwards's dispute with his congregation was his refusal of the sacrament to persons who had not formally joined the church. And here are some of the words in which he bade his flock farewell :

“My work is finished which I had to do as a minister: You have publicly rejected me, and my opportunities cease.

“ How highly therefore does it now become us, to consider of that time when we must meet one another before the chief Shepherd ? When I must give an account of my stewardship, of the service I have done for, and the reception and treatment I have had among the people he sent me to: And you must give an account of your conduct toward me, and the improvement you have made of these three and twenty years of my ministry. There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, nor hid which shall not be known; all will be examined in the searching, penetrating light of God's omniscience and glory, and by him whose eyes are as a flame of fire; and truth and right shall be made plainly to appear, being stripped of every veil ; and all error, falsehood, unrighteousness and injury shall be laid open, stripped of every disguise; every specious pretense, every cavil, and all false reasoning shall vanish in a moment, as not being able to bear the light of that day. ... Then every step of the conduct of each of us in

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