Jonathan Edwards: Writings from the Great Awakening (Library of America)
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Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is recognized today as a great theologian and philosopher. The historian Perry Miller has called him “one of America’s five or six major artists,” a writer possessed of “an intelligence which, as much as Emerson’s, Melville’s, or Mark Twain’s, is both an index of American society and a comment upon it.” But in his own day Edwards was best known as a leader of what is now known as the Great Awakening: a series of small-town revivals that mushroomed into a movement credited with giving birth to American evangelicalism and laying the groundwork for the American Revolution. In authoritative texts drawn from first editions and manuscript sources, this volume brings together all of Edwards’s essential writings from and about the revivals, including the famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and his vivid Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundreds of Souls, the work that first publicized the awakenings. Characterized by precise logic and powerful imagery, his writing continues to inspire students and spiritual seekers alike.
carry in it, a visible, publick Appearance, of a great Engagedness of Mind in it, as the main Business of Life: And especially is it fit, that at such an extraordinary Time, when GOD appears unusually present with a People, in wonderful Works of Power and Mercy, that they should spend more Time than usual in religious Exercises, to put Honour upon that GOD that is then extraordinarily present, and to seek his Face; as it was with the Christian Church in Jerusalem, on Occasion of that
something very beautiful in it, provided they don’t speak so many as to drown each others Voices, that none can hear what any say; there is a greater and more affecting Appearance of a joint Engagedness of Heart, in the Love & Praises of GOD. And I had rather see it, than to see one speaking alone, and all attending to what he says; it has more of the Appearance of Conversation. When a Multitude meets on any Occasion of temporal Rejoycing, freely and cheerfully to converse together, they ben’t
God as the Object, because he is the Being offended by Sin, and to be reconciled, but that in this justifying Act, whence it is denominated Faith, does more especially respect Christ.—But let us interpret it how we will, the Objection of Faith being here so distinguished from Repentance, is as much of an Objection against the Scheme of those that oppose Justification by Faith alone, as against this Scheme; for they hold that the justifying Faith that the Apostle Paul speaks of, includes
than formerly: The Work is of the same nature, and has not been attended with any extraordinary Circumstances, excepting such as are analogous to the extraordinary degree of it before described. And God’s People, that were formerly converted, have now partook of the same Shower of divine Blessing, in the renewing, strengthening, edifying Influences of the Spirit of God, that others have in his converting Influences; and the Work here has also been plainly the same with that, which has been
imaginary Idea ordinarily be; especially when the Contemplation and Affection of the Mind is attended with any Thing of Surprize; as when the View a Person has is very new, and takes strong hold of the Passions, either Fear or Joy; and when the Change of the State and Views of the Mind is sudden, from a contrary Extreme, as from that which was extreamly dreadful, to that which is extreamly ravishing and delightful: And it is no Wonder that many Persons don’t well distinguish between that which is