The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards the parent

leave a comment »

Z tells us about someone else enjoying Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards, quoting from chapter 20 on aspects of his family life:

The first impression a visitor would have upon arriving at the Edwards home was that there were a lot of children. The second impression would be that they were very well disciplined. Jonathan aided Sarah in disciplining the children from an early age. ‘When they first discovered any considerable degree of will and stubbornness,’ wrote biographer Samuel Hopkins, ‘he would attend to them till he had thoroughly subdued them and brought them to submit with the greatest calmness, and commonly without striking a blow, effectively establishing his parental authority and producing a cheerful obedience ever after.

Care for his children’s souls was his preeminent concern. In morning devotions he quizzed them on Scripture with questions appropriate to their ages. On Saturday evenings, the beginning of the Sabbath, he taught them the Westminster Shorter Catechism, making sure they understood as well as memorized the answers.

Edwards also believed in not holding back the terrors of hell from his children. ‘As innocent as children seem to us,’ he wrote, ‘if they are out of Christ, they are not so in God’s sight, but are young vipers….’ At the judgment day unregenerate children would hardly thank their parents for sentimental tenderness that protected them from knowing the true dangers of their estate. Always looking for opportunities to awaken the young to their condition, he had taken the children to view the remains of the Lyman house fire that claimed two girls’ lives.

By far the greater burden of childrearing fell to Sarah….On one occasion, when she was out of town in 1748, Jonathan was soon near his wits’ end. Children of almost every age needed to be cared for. ‘We have been without you,’ Jonathan lamented in a letter, ‘almost as long as we know how to be!’ (George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life, 321-323)

How I should love to sit down and ask Edwards for practical advice as to how a father goes about securing such a spirit among his children as is described in the first paragraph.  I admit that I do not recognise much of that in myself.  I recognise a little more of the next two paragraphs, though I need more of a servant spirit in seeking to cultivate such an environment in my home.  The final paragraph is the one where I think, “Ah! I am like Jonathan Edwards.”

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 7 August 2009 at 08:57

Posted in family

Tagged with , ,

True boldness

leave a comment »

lion roaringThe righteous are bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1)

Two things urgently needed in ministers, if they would attempt great advances for the kingdom of Christ, are zeal and resolve. Their influence and power for impact are greater than we think. A man of ordinary abilities will accomplish more with zeal and resolve than a man ten times more gifted without zeal and resolve. . . . Men who are possessed by these qualities commonly carry the day in almost all affairs. Most of the great things that have been done in the world, the great revolutions that have been accomplished in the kingdoms and empires of the earth, have been primarily owing to zeal and resolve. The very appearance of a intensely engaged spirit, together with a fearless courage and unyielding resolve, in any person that has undertaken leadership in any human affair goes a long way toward accomplishing the intended outcome. . . . When people see a high degree of zeal and resolve in a person, it awes them and has a commanding influence upon them. . . . But while we are cold and heartless and only go on in a dull manner, in an old formal round, we will never accomplish anything great. Our efforts, when they display such coldness and irresolution, will not even make people think of yielding. . . . The appearance of such indifference and cowardice does, as it were, call for and provoke opposition. Our misery is lack of zeal and courage.

Jonathan Edwards, “Thoughts on the Revival,” in Works, I:424, paraphrased.

HT: Ray Ortlund.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 8 June 2009 at 08:50

The works of Jonathan Edwards online

leave a comment »

John Piper tells us that

jonathan-edwards-21The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has fulfilled a dream I did not expect to see. With the 26 volumes of the Yale paper edition of the Works of Edwards selling for over $100 each, I never expected to see every word of Edwards freely available to read, search, and quote on line.

But there it is, like an ocean of hidden treasures and no fees for the diving gear. Amazing. This is a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Yale who dreamed and labored to make this happen.

The agony and the ecstasy of Jonathan Edwards is laid bare in this breathtaking availability of all of that remains of him. From the bill of sale for a slave named Venus (the agony) to 68 titles on Heaven in the Miscellanies (the ecstasy), you can find it with the search engine built into the website.

All the printed volumes are available with pagination keyed to the printed version. Besides the printed volumes there are 47 more volumes of material. These are searchable in various ways.

  • You can enter a scripture text or key words.
  • You can get your results in a concordance format or with contexts.
  • You can peruse the sermons by text or chronologically.
  • You can see the entire list of the Miscellanies and do a word search on the titles, for example, to find all the ones on “Christ’s righteousness.”

The reason all this matters is not merely that Edwards is the poster boy of intellectual American Historians, but, even more importantly, that, using the lens of Scripture, he saw and believed and described the greatest realities in the universe in ways that few of us would ever see on our own. He saw Jesus Christ through whom and for whom all things exist. And he saw the Gospel-that Christ died for our sins and rose again to be Lord of all.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 11 February 2009 at 15:04

Posted in Book notices

Tagged with

Reasons to fear, reasons to pray

leave a comment »

Paul Wallace quotes some sobering words from Isaac Watts and John Guyse, drawn from the preface to A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1:344):

There has been a great and just complaint for many years among the ministers and churches in Old England, and in New, (except about the time of the late earthquake there,) that the work of conversion goes on very slowly, that the Spirit of God in his saving influences is much withdrawn from the ministrations of his word, and there are few that receive the report of the gospel, with any eminent success upon their hearts. But as the gospel is the same divine instrument of grace still, as ever it was in the days of the apostles, so our ascended Saviour now and then takes a special occasion to manifest the divinity of this gospel by a plentiful effusion of his Spirit where it is preached: then sinners are turned into saints in numbers, and there is a new face of things spread over a town or a country. The wilderness and the solitary places are glad, the desert rejoices and blossoms as the rose ; and surely concerning this instance we may add, that they have seen the glory of the Lord there, and the excellency of our God;they have seenthe out-goings of God our King in his sanctuary. Certainly it becomes us, who profess the religion of Christ, to take notice of such astonishing exercises of his power and mercy, and give him the glory which is due, when he begins to accomplish any of his promises concerning the latter days: and it gives us further encouragement to pray, and wait, and hope for the like display of his power in the midst of us. The hand of God is not shortened that it cannot save, but we nave reason to fear that our iniquities, our coldness in religion, and the general carnality of our spirits, have raised a wall of separation between God and us: and we may add, the pride and perverse humour of infidelity, degeneracy, and apostacy from the Christian faith, which have of late years broken out amongst us, seem to have provoked the Spirit of Christ to absent himself much from our nation. “Return, O Lord, and visit thy churches, and revive thine own work in the midst of us.”

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 30 January 2009 at 12:38

Blog blizzard

leave a comment »

The following is not a series of recommendations in itself, more a bundle of interesting posts from the blogosphere over last few days: putting it here is for my own benefit as much as for anyone else

Christ manifested

leave a comment »

What is it to have Christ manifest himself to his people?  A sermon by John Ryland Jr addresses The nature and evidences of divine manifestations.  With echoes of Jonathan Edwards on the religious affections,  he provides negatives considerations, several concessions, and six assertions concerning the nature of divine manifestations, or Jesus showing himself to the believing soul.  He moves on to the effects and evidences of such demonstrations of the divine presence, before closing with some lessons.

Here is solid, Scriptural, experiential Calvinism of high order.  Ryland offers the following evidences and effects:

First: A deep conviction (proportioned to the manifestation) of the meanness, unworthiness, guilt, past and present sinfulness of the soul thus favoured; humbling its pride, and filling it with self-abasement.  This is exemplified in the language of Old-testament saints.  Thus Jacob, “I am less than the least of thy mercies.”  Job, “Now I repent and abhor myself.” David, “Who am I, and what is my father’s house?”  Isaiah, “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips.”  Daniel, “My comeliness is turned into corruption.”  And Jude, in the text, How is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Secondly: A conviction of our entire dependence on Christ, both for righteousness and strength; thankfully falling in with the design of his redemption; resting with complacency in his plan of salvation; feeling our need of his mediation; and sensible of our weakness and insufficiency to follow the Lord, except continually upheld.

Thirdly: An assurance of the reality and excellence of the objects manifested; i.e. the person and grace of Christ.  They shine with such a divine glory, that, they needs must be realized.

Fourthly: A conviction that there is much more to be seen and admired in Christ, than has yet been manifested to the soul; and consequently an earnest increasing desire, to know, love, and enjoy more, which prevents resting in present attainments, and induces the soul to resolve never to stop its pursuit, till it shall enjoy all it wants, and awake in the complete likeness of Christ.

Fifthly: A glorying in this salvation, renouncing all other Saviours, and all other portions; as seeing that there is enough in him to satisfy, though in the want of all things; and that all other things are nothing without him.

Sixthly: A concern to honour and glorify, in all possible ways this blessed Redeemer; never thinking he can be exalted enough; longing that others may see, admire, love, and be devoted to him.

Seventhly: Tenderness of conscience, fearing the least sin, or rather looking on none as little; with a jealousy of our own hearts, and a holy fear of dishonouring God our Saviour.

Eighthly: Not only a spirit of devotion towards God, and peculiar complacency in his people; but universal benevolence, or a spirit of pure, gentle, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, disinterested love towards all mankind.

Ninthly: The transforming efficacy of these manifestations, producing universal holiness and love to all God’s commandments.

Tenthly: Preparation for heaven, anticipating both its enjoyments and employments; drawing off the affections from the world, and causing them to be set on things above.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 12 November 2008 at 18:03

Three things

leave a comment »

Three posts worth checking out:

Each of these requires significant and careful self-evaluation and self-examination.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 2 October 2008 at 14:05

%d bloggers like this: