jonathan-edwardsJonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes — the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God’s holiness. Edwards was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, October 1703. His father, Timothy Edwards, graduated from Harvard and was the village pastor.

Like all youngsters of his time, Jonathan was home schooled. Because he showed unusual intelligence, his father enrolled him at Yale at age 13. During graduate school, he had an intense conversion experience that radically altered his life and laid the foundation for all the profound and wonderful fruit that followed.

After graduation he married New England’s most eligible maiden, 17-year-old Sarah Pierrepont. They had 11 children, and the legacy of their posterity was phenomenal.3 Although several books have been written about their marriage and family life, it was Jonathan’s deep grasp of the Bible that links his name with Christianity’s greatest thinkers.

Jonathan soon moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, to become the assistant pastor to his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. A few years later Stoddard died and Jonathan became senior pastor. He labored at Northampton for 21 years.

In 1735–37, a revival swept through Northampton. About it Edwards wrote, “A great and earnest concern about the great things of religion and eternal world became universal in all parts of the town…the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner and increased more and more; souls did, as it were, by flocks come to Jesus Christ.”4

Overnight, the town was transformed. The citizens sang hymns in the streets, the tavern closed, the young people pursued God in bands, and it was impossible to get into church unless one arrived hours early.

Then in 1740, like a great flash flood, the Great Awakening rolled through New England, and Northampton was included. It was at this time that Edwards preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” at Enfield with such remarkable results. It is estimated that 10 percent of New England was converted during this time. Imagine today 28 million converted in 2 years. Picture every church in your town doubling or tripling in the next 2 years, and you have some grasp of the enormity of what happened.

A God-sized Vision

“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper; 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 the enjoyment of 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.”

 

Resources

2003 Desiring God Conference

One of the reasons that the world and the church need Jonathan Edwards three hundred years after his birth is that his God-entranced vision of all things is so rare and yet so necessary. Mark Noll wrote about how rare it is:

Edwards’ piety continued on in the revivalist tradition, his theology continued on in academic Calvinism, but there were no successors to his God-entranced world view . . . The disappearance of Edward’s perspective in American Christian history has been a tragedy.

Conference Messages

  1. A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: Why We Need Jonathan Edwards 300 Years Later
  2. Speaker Interviews, Session 1  Sarah Edwards: Jonathan’s Home and Haven
  3. Jonathan Edwards: The Life, the Man, and the Legacy
  4. Speaker Interviews, Session 2
  5. Joy’s Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven
  6. The Glory of God and the Reviving of Religion  How Jonathan Edwards Got Fired, and Why It’s Important for Us Today
  7. Pursuing a Passion for God Through Spiritual Disciplines: Learning from Jonathan Edwards
  8. A Divine and Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God 

What is missing is the mind-shaping knowledge and the all-transforming enjoyment of the weight of the glory of God. The glory of God-holy, righteous, all-sovereign, all-wise, all-good-is missing. God rests lightly on the church in America. He is not felt as a weighty concern. David Wells puts it starkly, “It is this God, majestic and holy in his being, this God whose love knows no bounds because his holiness knows no limits, who has disappeared from the modern evangelical world.” It is an overstatement. But not without warrant.

What Edwards saw in God and in the universe because of God, through the lens of Scripture, was breathtaking. To read him, after you catch your breath, is to breathe the uncommon air of the Himalayas of revelation. And the refreshment that you get from this high, clear, God-entranced air does not take out of the valleys of suffering in this world, but fits you to spend your life there for the sake of love with invincible and worshipful joy.

 

Free e-book Resources from Desiring God

God Entranced Vision For All ThingsTwenty-five hundred people gathered in Minneapolis in October 2003 to celebrate the 300th birthday of Jonathan Edwards (1703- 1758), considered by many to be “the greatest philosopher-theologian yet to grace the American scene.”1 The conference, hosted by Desiring God Ministries, was entitled “A God-Entranced Vision of All Things: The Unrivaled Legacy of Jonathan Edwards.”

This book is a continuation and expansion of that tercentenary celebration, with the aim of introducing readers to Edwards, and more importantly, to his “God-entranced vision of all things.” This vision is not properly Edwards’s, but God’s. God is the designer and definer of reality, and all of life must be lived to his glory. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31), working “heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).

Jonathan Edwards said it best: “the whole is of God, and in God, and to God, and God is the beginning, middle and end in this affair.”

This is the God-given, God-centered, God-intoxicated, God-entranced vision of all things. Edwards did not invent this vision. But God gave him the grace to articulate this vision as well as or better than anyone ever has.

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/books/a-god-entranced-vision-of-all-things

 

Gods Passion for His GloryJohn Piper writes of Jonathan Edwards “But even more important than making all things his own in unique ways was his riveted focus on God, and his unwavering passion to see all that could be seen of God in this life.

“To live with all my might, while I do live” was his resolution. He applied it mainly to the pursuit of God. Thus he resolved again, “When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.”

The channel where this passion for God flowed was the channel of unremitting, prayerful thinking on the truths of Scripture. Hence he resolved once more “to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.” Which means in the end that Edwards too was a secondary teacher—as are all honest Christian pastors and theologians. “He was a man who put faithfulness to the Word of God before every other consideration.”

Jonathan Edwards believed entirely “The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted.”

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/books/gods-passion-for-his-glory

 

Favorite Works of Jonathan Edwards

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

The Nature of True Virtue

The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners

Freedom of the Will

Religious Affections

How to Know If You are  a Real Christian

Pressing into the Kingdom of God

The Peace Which Christ Gives His True Followers

Treatise on Grace

The Doctrine of Original Sin

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

The Nature and End of Excommunication

Quotes

Here are some quotes from Jonathan Edwards:

 

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”

“Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.”

“The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted.”

“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.”

“True liberty consists only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will”

“To pretend to describe the excellence, the greatness or duration of the happiness of heaven by the most artful composition of words would be but to darken and cloud it; to talk of raptures and ecstasies, joy and singing, is but to set forth very low.”

“As God delights in his own beauty, he must necessarily delight in the creature’s holiness which is a conformity to and participation of it, as truly as (the) brightness of a jewel, held in the sun’s beams, is a participation or derivation of the sun.”

“The way to Heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel uphill, though it be hard and tiresome, and contrary to the natural bias of our flesh.”

“Can the believing husband in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving wife in Hell? Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell? Can the loving wife in Heaven be happy with her unbelieving husband in Hell? I tell.”

“The godly may take great comfort in this, that Christ has as their high priest offered up such strong cries to God. You that have good evidence of your being believers in Christ, and his true followers and servants, may comfort yourselves in this, that Christ Jesus is your high priest, that that blood, which Christ shed in his agony, fell down to the ground for you, and that those earnest cries were sent up to God for you, for the success of his labors and sufferings in all that good you stood in need of in this world, and in your everlasting happiness in the world to come.”

“I assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a cause.”

“There are two sorts of hypocrites: ones that are deceived with their outward morality and external religion; and the others are those that are deceived with false discoveries and elevation; which often cry down works, and men’s own righteousness.”

“True liberty consists only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will.”

“Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.”

“We cannot believe that the church of God is already possessed of all that light which God intends to give it; nor that all Satan’s lurking places have already been found out.”

“As grace is first from God, so it is continually from him, as much as light is all day long from the sun, as well as at first dawn or at sun-rising.

“Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.”

“The true spirit of prayer is no other than God’s own Spirit dwelling in the hearts of the saints. And as this spirit comes from God, so doth it naturally tend to God in holy breathings and pantings. It naturally leads to God, to converse with him by prayer.”

” Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.”

“Such is man’s nature, that he is very inactive and lazy unless he is influenced by some affection, either love or hatred, desire, hope, fear, or some other. These affections we see to be the springs that set men agoing, in all the affairs of life, and engage them in all their pursuits: these are the things that put men forward, and carry them along.”

“Resolved to live with all my might while I do live, and as I shall wish I had done ten thousand ages hence.”

“Love is the sum of all virtue, and love disposes us to good.”

“Many pray with their lips for that for which their hearts have no desire.”

“By Christ’s purchasing redemption, two things are intended: his satisfaction and his merit; the one pays our debt, and so satisfies; the other procures our title, and so merits. The satisfaction of Christ is to free us from misery; the merit of Christ is to purchase happiness for us.”

“Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.”

“The devil can counterfeit all the saving operations and graces of the Spirit of God.”

“Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.”

“A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness.”

“Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.”

“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 myriad’s 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 meet with, how many and how great soever.”

“Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.”

“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper; 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 the enjoyment of 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.”

“He, whose heart is fixed, trusting in Christ, need not be afraid.”

“We receive all from the power of God. Man’s redemption is often spoken of as a work of wonderful power as well as grace. The great power of God appears in bringing a sinner from his low state, from the depths of sin and misery, to such an exalted state of holiness and happiness.”

“We are dependent on God’s power through every step of our redemption.”

“We are dependent on the power of God to convert us and give faith in Jesus Christ and the new nature.”

“Happiness and rest are what all men pursue. But the things of the world, wherein most men seek it, can never afford it; they are laboring and spending themselves in vain. But Christ invites you to come to Him and offers you this peace, which He gives His true followers, and that so much excels all that the world can afford.”

“Christ gives peace to the most sinful and miserable that come to Him. He heals the broken in heart and binds up their wounds.”

“True Christian prayer is the faith and reliance of the soul breathed forth in words.”

“Those that are called and sanctified are to attribute grace alone to the good pleasure of God’s goodness by which they are distinguished.”

“God’s greatest dishonor is made an occasion of His greatest glory.”

“The human nature, on account of its weakness, is in Scripture compared to the grass of the field, which easily withers and decays. So it is compared to a leaf; and to the dry stubble; and to a blast of wind: and the nature of feeble man is said to be but dust and ashes, to have its foundation in the dust, and to be crushed before the moth. It was this nature, with all its weakness and exposedness to sufferings, which Christ, who is the Lord God omnipotent, took upon him. ”

“See to it that there is nothing that stands in any competition with God in your esteem; value Him more than all riches; value His honor and glory more than all the world; be ready at all times to part with all things else, and cleave to God.”

“When you lose other enjoyments, when you lose earthly friends, let this be a supporting, satisfying comfort to you, that you have not lost God.”

“Examine yourselves by this: Are not your hearts chiefly set upon the world and the things of it? Is it not more your concern, care, and endeavor to further your outward interests than to secure an interest in heaven?”

“Our Lord Jesus Christ, in His original nature, was infinitely above all suffering, for He was “God over all, blessed for evermore;” but, when He became man, He was not only capable of suffering, but partook of that nature that is remarkably feeble and exposed to suffering.”

“The longer Christ lived in the world, the more men saw and heard of Him, the more they hated him. His enemies were more and more enraged by the continuance of the opposition that He made to their lusts; and the devil having been often baffled by Him, grew more and more enraged, and strengthened the battle more and more against Him.”

“When we go before God in prayer with a cold, dull heart, and in a lifeless and listless manner pray to him for eternal blessings, and those of infinite import to our souls, we should think of Christ’s earnest prayers that he poured out to God, with tears and a bloody sweat. The example of Jacob in wrestling with God for the blessing, should teach us earnestness in our prayers, but more especially the example of Jesus Christ, who wrestled with God in a bloody sweat.”

“Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts: the sight of the deep-blue sky, and the clustering stars above seem to impart a quiet to the mind.”

“Every saint in heaven is as a flower in the garden of God, and holy love is the fragrance and sweet odor that they all send forth, and with which they fill the bowers of that paradise above. Every soul there is as a note in some concert of delightful music, that sweetly harmonizes with every other note, and all together blend in the most rapturous strains in praising God and the Lamb forever.”

“By Christ’s purchasing redemption, two things are intended: his satisfaction and his merit; the one pays our debt, and so satisfies; the other procures our title, and so merits. The satisfaction of Christ is to free us from misery; the merit of Christ is to purchase happiness for us.”

“If there is ground for you to trust in your own righteousness, then, all that Christ did to purchase salvation, and all that God did to prepare the way for it is in vain.”

“When we read of God’s appearing after the Fall, from time to time, in some visible form or outward symbol of his presence, we are ordinarily, if not universally, to understand it of the second Person of the Trinity…He is therefore called, ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1:15), intimating, that though God the Father be invisible, yet Christ is his image or representation, by which He is seen.”

“He who knows God truly knows himself.”

“He who does not know Him, knows nothing else as it truly is.”

“He who has Christ has all he needs and needs no more.”

“Endeavor to promote spiritual appetites by keeping yourself out of the way of allurement.”

“If you long to be more like Christ, then act like Him, and walk as He walked.”

“Where will all of our worldly enjoyments be when we are laid in the silent grave?”

“If a man is constant in prayer, it will restrain him from willful sinning.  On the other hand, if he allows himself in sinful practices, they will restrain him from praying.”

“A man who knows that he lives in sin against God will not be inclined to come daily into the presence of God.”