Category Archives: Jonathan Edwards

“Speak and think and live God’s praises” by Jonathan Edwards

“Let those who have been made partakers of the free and glorious grace of God, spend their lives much in praises and hallelujahs to God, for the wonders of His mercy in their redemption.

To you, O redeemed of the Lord, doth this doctrine most directly apply itself; you are those who have been made partakers of all this glorious grace of which you have now heard.

’Tis you that God entertained thoughts of restoring after your miserable fall into dreadful depravity and corruption, and into danger of the dreadful misery that unavoidably follows upon it.

’Tis for you in particular that God gave His Son, yea, His only Son, and sent Him into the world;

’Tis for you that the Son of God so freely gave Himself;

’Tis for you that He was born, died, rose again and ascended, and intercedes;

’Tis to you that there the free application of the fruit of these things is made: all this is done perfectly and altogether freely, without any of your desert, without any of your righteousness or strength.

Therefore, let your life be spent in praises to God.

When you praise Him in prayer, let it not be with coldness and indifferency; when you praise Him in your closet, let your whole soul be active therein; when you praise Him in singing, don’t barely make a noise, without any stirring of affection in the heart, without any internal melody.

Surely, you have reason to shout, cry, “Grace, grace, be the topstone of the temple!” (Zech. 4:7) Certainly, you don’t want mercy and bounty to praise God; you only want a heart and lively affections to praise him with.

Surely, if the angels are so astonished at God’s mercy to you, and do even shout with joy and admiration at the sight of God’s grace to you, you yourself, on whom this grace is bestowed, have much more reason to shout.

Consider that great part of your happiness in heaven, to all eternity, will consist in this: in praising of God, for His free and glorious grace in redeeming you; and if you would spend more time about it on earth, you would find this world would be much more of a heaven to you than it is.

Therefore, do nothing while you are alive, but speak and think and live God’s praises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Glorious Grace,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1720–1723 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 10; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1992), 10: 399.

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“Typical of Gospel things” by Jonathan Edwards

“Almost everything that was said or done that we have recorded in Scripture from Adam to Christ was typical of Gospel things.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Typological Writings (ed. Harry S. Stout; vol. 11; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1993), 11: 51, fn. #6.

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“Children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world” by Jonathan Edwards

“The following reasons may be given why children ought to love Jesus Christ above things in the world.

He is more lovely in Himself. He is one that is greater and higher than all the kings of the earth, has more honor and majesty than they, and yet He is innately good and full of mercy and love.

There is no love so great and so wonderful as that which is in the heart of Christ. He is one that delights in mercy; He is ready to pity those that are in suffering and sorrowful circumstances; one that delights in the happiness of His creatures.

The love and grace that Christ has manifested does as much exceed all that which is in this world as the sun is brighter than a candle. Parents are often full of kindness towards their children, but that is no kindness like Jesus Christ’s.

And He is an infinitely holy One. He is God’s holy child, so holy and pure that the heavens are not pure in His sight, so that He is fairer than the sons of men, as the Psalmist says (Ps. 45:2). He is ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ (Cant. 5:10) and ‘altogether lovely’ (5:16).

Because of His glorious excellency, He is compared to the sun, that is the brightest of all things that we behold with our bodily eyes. ’Tis He that is called ‘the Sun of righteousness’ (Mal. 4:2).

So He is called the ‘morning star,’ the brightest of all the whole multitude of stars (Rev. 22:16). He is so lovely and excellent, that the angels in heaven do greatly love Him; their hearts overflow with love to Him, and they are continually, day and night without ceasing, praising him and giving Him glory.

Yea, He is so lovely a person, that God the Father infinitely delights in Him; He is his beloved Son, the brightness of His glory, whose beauty God continually sees with infinite delight, without ever being weary of beholding it. ‘I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him,’ (Prov. 8:30).

And if the angels and God himself love Him so much above all, surely children ought to love Him above all things in this world.

Everything that is lovely in God is in Him, and everything that is or can be lovely in any man is in Him: for He is man as well as God, and He is the holiest, meekest, most humble, and every way the most excellent man that ever was.

He is the delight of heaven. There is nothing in heaven, that glorious world, that is brighter and more amiable and lovely than Christ.

And this darling of heaven, by becoming man, became as a plant or flower springing out of the earth; and He is the most lovely flower that ever was seen in this world. (Cant. 2:1)—there ’tis said of Christ, ‘I am the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valleys.’

There is more good to be enjoyed in Him than in everything or all things in this world. He is not only an amiable, but an all-sufficient good.

There is enough in Him to answer all our wants and satisfy all our desires. Children, if they come to Christ and set their hearts on Him, will find that in Him that is better for them and will be sweeter to them than anything that is to had in the presence and company or provision of their parents, and better than anything that is to be found in their parents’ houses.

Christ has the bread of life in Him; their souls may feed and feast upon that which will be much better than anything they are ever entertained with at their fathers’ tables.

Christ is to those that love Him as glorious clothing and excellent ornaments to their souls. Those children that love Him, their souls are clothed with those robes that are a thousand times as beautiful and desirable than the best clothing their parents provide for them.

In Him they shall have that spiritual good which will be as gold tried in the fire, that will make them richer than if they were kings’ children.

Christ is the most suitable good for them. If they love Him, they will find Him sweeter to them than the honey and the honeycomb.

In Him they shall have enough, all that they desire. He will give them rest and satisfaction.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “Children Ought to Love the Lord Jesus Christ Above All, (Matthew 10:37),” Sermons and Discourses, 1739–1742 (ed. Harry S. Stout, Nathan O. Hatch, and Kyle P. Farley; vol. 22; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2003), 22: 171–173.

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“Death may deprive of dear friends, but it can’t deprive us of our best friend” by Jonathan Edwards

“Now, Madam, let us consider what suitable provision God has made for our consolation under all our afflictions in giving us a Redeemer of such glory and such love, especially when it is considered what were the ends of that great manifestation of His beauty and love in His death.

He suffered that we might be delivered. His soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death, to take away the sting of sorrow and that we might have everlasting consolation.

He was oppressed and afflicted that we might be supported. He was overwhelmed in the darkness of death and of hell, that we might have the light of life.

He was cast into the furnace of God’s wrath, that we might swim in the rivers of pleasure. His heart was overwhelmed in a flood of sorrow and anguish, that our hearts might be filled and overwhelmed with a flood of eternal joy.

And now let it be considered what circumstances our Redeemer now is in. He was dead but is alive, and He lives forevermore.

Death may deprive of dear friends, but it can’t deprive us of this, our best friend. And we have this friend, this mighty Redeemer, to go to under all affliction, who is not one that can’t be touched with the feeling of our afflictions, He having suffered far greater sorrows than we ever have done.

And if we are vitally united to Him, the union can never be broken; it will remain when we die and when heaven and earth are dissolved. Therefore, in this we may be confident, we need not fear though the earth be removed.

In Him we may triumph with everlasting joy; even when storms and tempests arise we may have resort to Him who is a hiding place from the wind and a covert from the tempest.

When we are thirsty, we may come to Him who is as rivers of waters in a dry place.

When we are weary, we may go to Him who is as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

Having found Him who is as the apple tree among the trees of the wood, we may sit under His shadow with great delight and His fruit may be sweet to our taste.

Christ told his disciples that in the world they should have trouble, but says He, ‘In Me ye shall have peace.’ If we are united to Him, our souls will be like a tree planted by a river that never dieth.

He will be our light in darkness and our morning star that is a bright harbinger of day. And in a little while, He will arise on our souls as the sun in full glory. And our sun shall no more go down, and there shall be no interposing cloud, no veil on His face or on our hearts, but the Lord shall be our everlasting light and our Redeemer, our glory.

That this glorious Redeemer would manifest his glory and love to you, and apply the little that has been said of these things to your consolation in all your affliction, and abundantly reward your generous favors, as when I was at Kittery, is the fervent prayer of, Madam, your Ladyship’s most obliged and affectionate friend,

And most humble servant,

Jonathan Edwards.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Letters and Personal Writings (ed. George S. Claghorn and Harry S. Stout; Vol. 16; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1998), 16: 418–419. Edwards wrote this letter from Stockbridge to Lady Pepperrell on November 28, 1751, to console her on the loss of her son.

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“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied” by Jonathan Edwards

“Heaven is that place alone where is to be obtained our highest end, and highest good. God hath made us for Himself: ‘of God, and through God, and to God are all things’ (Rom. 11:36).

Therefore then do we attain to our highest end, when we are brought to God. But that is by being brought to heaven, for that is God’s throne; that is the place of His special presence, and of His glorious residence.

There is but a very imperfect union with God to be had in this world: a very imperfect knowledge of God in the midst of abundance of darkness, a very imperfect conformity to God, mingled with abundance of enmity and estrangement. Here we can serve and glorify God but in an exceeding imperfect manner, our service being mingled with much sin and dishonoring to God.

But when we get to heaven, if ever that be, there we shall be brought to a perfect union with God.

There we shall have the clear views of God’s glory: we shall see face to face, and know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12).

There we shall be fully conformed to God, without any remains of sin: ‘we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2).

There we shall serve God perfectly. We shall glorify Him in an exalted manner, and to the utmost of the powers and capacity of our nature.

Then we shall perfectly give up ourselves to God; then will our hearts be wholly a pure and holy offering to God, offered all in the flame of divine love.

In heaven alone is attainment of our highest good. God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.

To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here: better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any or all earthly friends.

These are but shadows; but God is the substance.

These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun.

These are but streams; but God is the fountain.

These are but drops; but God is the ocean.

Therefore, it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end, and proper good, the whole work of our lives; and we should subordinate all the other concerns of life to it.

Why should we labor for anything else, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The True Christian’s Life a Journey Towards Heaven,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1730–1733 (ed. Mark Valeri and Harry S. Stout; vol. 17; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1999), 17: 437–438.

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“The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced” by Jonathan Edwards

“The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced have not been those that have arisen from a hope of my own good estate, but in a direct view of the glorious things of the gospel.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “A Personal Narrative,” Letters and Personal Writings (ed. George S. Claghorn and Harry S. Stout; vol. 16; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1998), 16: 800.

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“Those things that are held forth to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ” by Jonathan Edwards

“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?

In which, not only are things declared most worthy to affect us, but they are exhibited in the most affecting manner.

The glory and beauty of the blessed Jehovah, which is most worthy in itself, to be the object of our admiration and love, is there exhibited in the most affecting manner that can be conceived of, as it appears shining in all its luster, in the face of an incarnate, infinitely loving, meek, compassionate, dying Redeemer.

All the virtues of the Lamb of God, His humility, patience, meekness, submission, obedience, love and compassion, are exhibited to our view, in a manner the most tending to move our affections, of any that can be imagined.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections (ed. John E. Smith and Harry S. Stout; vol. 2, Revised edition.; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 2: 123–124.

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