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The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader

Wilson H. Kimnach
Kenneth P. Minkema
Douglas A. Sweeney
Copyright Date: 1999
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards
    Book Description:

    Jonathan Edwards, widely considered America's most important Christian thinker, was first and foremost a preacher and pastor who guided souls and interpreted religious experiences. His primary tool in achieving these goals was the sermon, out of which grew many of his famous treatises. This selection of Edwards' sermons recognizes their crucial role in his life and art.The fifteen sermons, four of which have never been published before, reflect a life dedicated to experiencing and understanding spiritual truth. Chosen to represent a typical cycle of Edwards' preaching, the sermons address a wide range of occasions, situations, and states, corporate as well as personal. The book also contains an introduction that discusses Edwards' contribution to the sermon as a literary form, places his sermons within their social and cultural contexts, and considers his theological aims as a way of familiarizing the reader with the "order of salvation" as Edwards conceived of it. Together, the sermons and the editors' introduction offer a rounded picture of Edwards the preacher, the sermon writer, and the pastoral theologian.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13363-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Editors’ Introduction
    (pp. ix-xlviii)

    In 1722 Jonathan Edwards, arguably America’s greatest religious genius, began a list of “Resolutions” by which he intended to live. He was then just nineteen. The first resolution read: “Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I...

  4. Chronology of Edwards’ Life
    (pp. xlix-l)
  5. Further Reading
    (pp. li-liv)
  6. The Way of Holiness (1722)
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book of Isaiah speaks so much of Christ, gives such a particular account of the birth, life, miracles and passion, and of the gospel state, that it has been called a fifth Gospel. In this chapter is contained a glorious prophecy of the evangelical state:

    1. We have a description of the flourishing state of Christ’s kingdom in the two first verses, in the conversion and enlightening of the heathen, here compared to a wilderness, and a desert, solitary place: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as...

  7. The Pleasantness of Religion (1723)
    (pp. 13-25)

    ’Tis very probable that Solomon wrote these Proverbs more especially for the use of his children, and particularly of his son that was to be the heir of the kingdom and of the chief of his riches and honors, to give him wisdom that he might be prudent and righteous in all his life. And therefore he so frequently says in this book, “My son do thus,” or “Thus, my son, hear the instruction of thy father,” “My son, forget not my law,” and the like. And so in our text: “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good;...

  8. The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth (1739)
    (pp. 26-48)

    These words are a complaint, which the Apostle makes of a certain defect in the Christian Hebrews, to whom he wrote. Wherein we may observe,

    1. What the defect complained of is, viz. a want of such a proficiency in the knowledge of the doctrines and mysteries of religion, as might have been expected of them. The Apostle complains of them, that they had not made that progress in their acquaintance with the things of divinity, or things taught in the oracles of God, which they ought to have made. And he means to reprove them, not merely for their...

  9. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741)
    (pp. 49-65)

    In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, that were God’s visible people, and lived under means of grace; and that, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works that he had wrought towards that people, yet remained, as is expressed, v. 28, void of counsel, having no understanding in them; and that, under all the cultivations of heaven, brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text.

    The expression that I have chosen for my text, “Their foot shall slide in due time,” seems to imply the following things, relating...

  10. God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by the Greatness of Man’s Dependence upon Him, in the Whole of It (1731)
    (pp. 66-82)

    Those Christians to whom the Apostle directed this epistle, dwelt in a part of the world where human wisdom was in great repute; as the Apostle observes in the twenty-second verse of this chapter, “The Greeks seek after wisdom.” Corinth was not far from Athens, that had been for many ages the most famous seat of philosophy and learning in the world.

    The Apostle therefore observes to them how that God by the gospel destroyed, and brought to naught, their human wisdom. The learned Grecians, and their great philosophers, by all their wisdom did not know God, they were not...

  11. The Reality of Conversion (1740)
    (pp. 83-104)

    In these words Christ reproves Nicodemus’ ignorance and doubtfulness of the doctrine of the new birth, which he had taught him in the preceding part of the chapter. The arguments of reproof that Christ makes use of are two:

    1. Nicodemus’ special advantages and obligation to know such things. He was a master in Israel, one that had made it much more his business to acquaint him with the doctrines of religion than the common people ordinarily did, and one whose business it was to instruct others.

    2. The certainty of the doctrine of the new birth itself, which is...

  12. To the Mohawks at the Treaty, August 16, 1751
    (pp. 105-110)

    These honorable gentlemen treat in the name {of King George}, but I in the name of Jesus Christ. . . .

    We have also a more sure word of prophecy‚ whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

    When God first made man, he had a principle of holiness in his heart.

    That holiness that was in him was like a light that shone in his heart, so that his mind was full of light.

    But when man...

  13. He That Believeth Shall Be Saved (1751)
    (pp. 111-120)

    Before Christ came, there was but one nation that worshipped the true God, which was the nation of the Jews. All other nations in the world worshipped idols, the sun, moon, and stars, and worshipped images, and worshipped the devil.

    The nations of the world first of all worshipped the true God that made heaven and earth, and continued to do so for some time after the flood.

    But in two or three hundred years after the flood, they began by degrees to grow more wicked and to forget the true God. The devil drew’em away to worship other things...

  14. A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul By the Spirit of God, Shown to Be Both a Scriptural, and Rational Doctrine (1734)
    (pp. 121-140)

    Christ says these words to Peter, upon occasion of his professing his faith in him as the Son of God. Our Lord was inquiring of his disciples, who men said that he was; not that he needed to be informed, but only to introduce and give occasion to what follows. They answer, that some said he was John the Baptist, and some Elias, and others Jeremias or one of the prophets. When they had thus given an account, who others said he was, Christ asks them, who they said he was. Simon Peter, whom we find always zealous and forward,...

  15. I Know My Redeemer Lives (1740)
    (pp. 141-160)

    In saying this, Job seems to have an eye to the reproaches that his three friends cast upon him and so much insist upon, viz. that he was an hypocrite and wicked man. He says in the two foregoing verses, “Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!” I. e. “Those words that I am now going to say,” which are said in the verse of the text and two next verses: “I know that my Redeemer liveth,...

  16. The Excellency of Christ (1738)
    (pp. 161-196)

    The visions and revelations that the apostle John had of the future events of God’s providence, are here introduced with a vision of the book of God’s decrees, by which those events were fore-ordained; which is represented in the first verse of this chapter, as a book in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, “written within, and on the back side, and sealed with seven seals.” Books in the form in which they were wont of old to be made, were broad leaves of parchment, or paper, or something of that nature, joined together at one...

  17. Much in Deeds of Charity (1741)
    (pp. 197-211)

    In these words I would observe two things:

    1. Here are two duties mentioned that Cornelius had been much in the practice of, viz. prayer and giving of alms. “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” How he abounded in them is [more] particularly declared in the second verse. There it is said that he “gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.”

    2. I would observe the great benefits he obtained in the way of the practice of these duties. In the first place, he is peculiarly favored and honored...

  18. A Farewell Sermon Preached at the First Precinct in Northampton, After the People’s Public Rejection of Their Minister . . . on June 22, 1750
    (pp. 212-241)

    The Apostle, in the preceding part of the chapter, declares what great troubles he met with in the course of his ministry. In the text, and two foregoing verses, he declares what were his comforts and supports under the troubles he met with. There are four things in particular.

    1. That he had approved himself to his own conscience. Verse 12, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-wards....

  19. Heaven Is a World of Love (Charity and Its Fruits, Sermon Fifteen, 1738)
    (pp. 242-272)

    I have already insisted on the first of these verses singly from the doctrine that the great fruit of the Spirit in which the Holy Ghost shall not only for a season but everlastingly be communicated to the church of Christ is divine love. I would now take a view of this verse together with the two following verses in order to a further instruction. And to that end, I would observe two things in these verses. First, something, which will hereafter be, which will show the great worth and excellence of charity; viz. that charity shall remain when other...

  20. Index
    (pp. 273-281)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)