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good name to powder. Learn, therefore, to make such use of his clack as to make thy bread by it; I mean, so to live, that no credit shall be given to slander." Thus all the abuses you meet with may prove to you, in the hand of a faithful God, no other than the strokes which a statuary employs on his ill-shaped marble; only to form you into a more beautiful shape, and make you fitter to adorn the heavenly temple. Thus you are informed of a way to "shake off a viper" most advantageously! Yea, I am going to inform you, how you may fetch sweetness out of a viper. Austin would have our very sins numbered amongst the "all things" that are to "work together for good." Therefore, first, I propose, that our former barrenness may now be looked upon as an obligation and incitement to greater fruitfulness. But this motion is too general; I must be more particular. I would look back on my past life, and call to mind what singular acts of sin have blemished it, and been the reproach of my youth. Now, by way of thankfulness, for that grace of God and that blood of his Christ, through which my crimes have been pardoned, I would set myself to think, "What virtues, what actions, and what achievements for the kingdom of God will be the most contrary to my former blemishes? And what efforts of goodness will be the noblest and most palpable contradiction to the miscarriages with which I have been chargeable?" Yet more particularly, "What signal thing shall I do, to save others from dishonouring the great God by such miscarriages as those into which I myself once fell?" I will study such things; and perhaps the sincerity and consolation of repentance, cannot be better studied than by such a conduct.

Give me leave to press this one more point of prudence upon you. There are not a few persons who have many hours of leisure in the way of their personal callings. When the weather takes them off from their business, or when their shops are not full of customers, they have little or nothing to do. Now, Sirs, the proposal is, "Be not fools," but redeem this time to your own advantage, to the best advantage. To the man of leisure as well as to the minister, it is an advice of wisdom, "Give thyself unto reading." Good books of all sorts may employ your leisure, and enrich you with treasures more valuable than those which you might have procured in your usual avocations. Let the baneful thoughts of idleness be chased out of our minds. But then also, let some thoughts on that subject, "What good may I do?" succeed them. When you have leisure to think on that subject you can have no excuse for neglecting so to do. ***

9. St. Augustine (d. 604).




Jonathan Edwards, the last and most gifted defender of New England Calvinism, was in several respects the most remarkable American Puritan. Later even than Cotton Mather he attempted to revive the Puritan idealism in a new age of science, secularism, and mercantile activity. Where Mather militantly supported an institutional heirarchy, Edwards relied on spiritual insight; where Mather was aggressive and pedantic, Edwards possessed a profound learning supported by genuine mystical experience and the persuasive gifts of the logician. Unlike Mather, Edwards saw the fruits of his evangelism in the temporary revival of Puritan orthodoxy, but within sixteen years his own congregation had repudiated him. He was in all things too late born. If as a result he was at once identified with the past, he has at least held his position in history.

Edwards was born in 1703, in East Windsor, Connecticut. In childhood he wrote serious works, including a logical refutation of materialism and a pioneer study of the behavior of spiders. At thirteen he was enrolled at Yale. About 1717, before any other American thinker, he discovered, in Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, a new empiricism, a theory of knowledge, and a psychology which he later used in support of such Calvinistic doctrines as predestination and the sovereignty

of God, doctrines which, as Personal Narrative reveals, he had accepted for himself only after much soul-searching.

They became his foundation stone of faith during his ministry at Northampton, Massachusetts, where he was pastor from 1726 to 1750; they are equally fundamental to the fifteen books that he published, principally from Northampton. The "Great Awakening" of religious faith began there with his preaching, and spread in a wave of evangelism through the middle colonies, ironically producing, in a few years, organized schisms from Congregational and Presbyterian orthodoxy. This schismatic tendency was reflected in his own congregation after 1744. While his influence was being carried abroad by his writings, Edwards was confronted at home with a growing resistance to his severe orthodoxy, and finally, in 1750, with the decree of exclusion memorialized by his famous Farewell Sermon to his congregation.

At Stockbridge, Massachusetts, then a frontier village, he was appointed as pastor and Indian missionary, and there he completed his greatest writings, including Freedom of the Will (1754). Elected president of Nassau Hall (Princeton) in 1757, he assumed office in January, 1758, but died within three months as the result of an inoculation against smallpox.

He had gained a position as

our country's first systematic philosopher, and earned a permanent place among those who have advanced the thought of the western world. For his use of the empiricism and psychology of Locke was truly an advance, although he employed it to defend a primitive Calvinistic orthodoxy that could not long sustain itself against the rationalistic "enlightenment" of the age of science which had already dawned. Yet no other writer has been so successful in suffusing this grim, Puritan determinism with "a divine and supernatural light" (as he said), in showing human predestination as the necessary corollary to the beauty of God's majestic sovereignty, in combining cold logic with the warmth of mystical insight.

His best and most representative sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," holds the "rebellious and disorderly" congregation of Enfield over the flaming pit of hell. Even in that sermon, as the notes will show, he was less concerned with God's wrath than with His Grace, which was freely extended to sinners who repented. This is also his theme in his masterpiece, Freedom of the Will, in Personal Narrative, and in such

essays as "The Nature of True Virtue."


Except in the expression of mystical experience, and of the joy of nature and thought, Edwards' style tends to be reserved and somewhat tiresomely scrupulous; Perry Miller marks (in Jonathan Edwards), even in controversy "he demolishes at tedious length all possible positions of his opponents, including some that they do not hold *** and all the time hardly declares his own." But the beauty of this method is that there is nothing left but his own position, and whatever may be thought of his style, it enabled him, very often, to perform that miracle of metaphysics which he called "seeing the perfect idea of a thing."

Collected editions entitled The Works of President Edwards were edited by Edward Williams and Edward Parsons, 8 vols., Leeds, 1806-1811, and (source of this text) the American edition, 8 vols., edited by Samuel Austin, 18081809; reprinted, 4 vols., New York, 1843. An adequate selection is Jonathan Edwards: Representative Selections, edited by Clarence H. Faust and Thomas H. Johnson, 1935. For biography, see Ola E. Winslow's Jonathan Edwards, 1940, and Perry Miller's Jonathan Edwards, 1949, and see A. O. Aldridge, Jonathan Edwards, 1964. A Yale University definitive edition is in progress, general editor, Perry Miller: the following are in print: The Freedom of the Will, ed. by Paul Ramsey, 1957, Religious Affections, ed. by J. E. Smith, 1959.

Sarah Pierrepont

They say there is a young lady in- 1 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

1. New Haven, Connecticut. Sarah was only thirteen when Edwards wrote this, about 1723. In 1727 he married Sarah,

and she became a principal inspiration in his life and writing.

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 forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it 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 any thing wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, 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. 1723?

From A Divine and Supernatural Light1


A Divine and Supernatural Light, immediately imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, shown to be both a Scriptural and Rational Doctrine.

MATTHEW XVI. 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.



That there is such a thing as a Spiritual and Divine Light, immediately imparted to the soul by God, of a different nature from any that is obtained by natural means.

1. The present sermon contrasts with the later "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (see below), although both deal with an aspect of regeneration. The later sermon grimly warned the unregenerate that the saving grace is not to be won simply by church membership. "A Divine and Supernatural Light," by contrast, is a serene attempt to explain the spiritual experience of regeneration itself. Making use of a new psychology inspired by Locke and later writers, Edwards argues that the indwelling light of regeneration-of redeeming grace is the very presence of God. This, if supernatural, is still certainly a reality, but a reality apprehended directly by consciousness without the necessary and "natural"

intervention of the senses or the rational faculty.

The second of the works of Edwards to be printed, this bore a footnote, "Preached at Northampton and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734." The sermon was delivered in August, 1733. The text below is that of the first American collection of Edwards' Works, 1808-9, which reproduced the first edition text of this sermon except for typography.

In the present text we have retained the Doctrine and the Defense of Doctrine, omitting the demonstration, or exegesis, of biblical text supporting the Doctrine, then a conventional but not universal requirement of homiletics.

In what I say on this subject, at this time, I would,

I. Show what this divine light is.

II. How it is given immediately by God, and not obtained by natural means.

III. Show the truth of the doctrine.

And then conclude with a brief improvement.

I. I would show what this spiritual and divine light is. And in order to it, would shew,

First, In a few things what it is not. And here,

1. Those convictions that natural men may have of their sin and misery, is not this spiritual and divine light. Men in a natural condition may have convictions of the guilt that lies upon them, and of the anger of God, and their danger of divine vengeance. Some convictions are from light or sensibleness of truth. That some sinners have a greater conviction of their guilt and misery than others, is because some have more light, or more of an apprehension of truth than others. And this light and conviction may be from the Spirit of God; the Spirit convinces men of sin. But yet nature is much more concerned in it than in the communication of that spiritual and divine light that is spoken of in the doctrine; it is from the Spirit of God only as assisting natural principles, and not as infusing any new principles. Common grace differs from special, in that it influences only by assisting of nature; and not by imparting grace, or bestowing any thing above nature. The light that is obtained is wholly natural, or of no superior kind to what mere nature attains to, though more of that kind be obtained than would be obtained if men were left wholly to themselves: Or, in other words, common grace only assists the faculties of the soul to do that more fully which they do by nature, as natural conscience or reason will, by mere nature make a man sensible of guilt, and will accuse and condemn him when he has done amiss. Conscience is a principle natural to men; and the work that it doth naturally, or of itself, is to give up an apprehension of right and wrong, and to suggest to the mind the relation that there is between right and wrong, and a retribution. The Spirit of God, in those convictions which unregenerate men sometimes have, assists conscience to do this work in a further degree than it would do if they were left to themselves: He helps it against those things that tend to stupify it, and obstruct its exercise. But in the renewing and sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost, those things are wrought in the soul that are above nature, and of which there is nothing

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