“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“Do you hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel?” by Jonathan Edwards

“In order to learn the new song, you must hear the melody of the voice of Christ in the gospel.

You have heard that the glorious gospel is that out of which this song is to be learned, and that ’tis Christ that must teach it. And this is the way that He teaches it: by causing the soul to hear the melody of His own voice in the gospel.

’Tis Christ that speaks to us in the gospel. Many hear His words, but they perceive no sweetness in them. They perceive no pleasantness in His voice, in the doctrines and invitations and promises of the gospel. ’Tis all an insipid thing and dead letter to them.

But to the godly, Christ’s mouth is found to be most sweet. You must perceive the sweetness of the voice. You must see the glory of those doctrines, and the sweetness of those invitations, and the exceeding preciousness of those promises.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “They Sing A New Song (Revelation 14:3)” in 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: 243-244.

“Every Christian family ought to be a little church” by Jonathan Edwards

“Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “A Farewell Sermon Preached at the First Precinct in Northampton, after the People’s Public Rejection of Their Minister … on June 22, 1750,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 25; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 25: 484.