Thursday, 19 April 2018

Jonathan Edwards: Ministry and the Life of the Family

By Doreen Moore
I do not desire, I do not advise a bustling, artificial effort to get up a revival, nor the construction of any man-devised machinery .... I want God's work, not man's .... I want no revivalist preachers. - John Angell James 
Things are allowed to be said and done at revivals which nobody could defend .... If, for a moment, our improvements seem to produce a larger result than the old gospel, it will be the growth of mushrooms, it may even be of toadstools; but it is not the growth of the trees of the Lord. - C. H. Spurgeon 
I would affirm that much of the modern approach to evangelism, with its techniques and methods, is unnecessary if we really believe in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His application of God's message .... Should we not concentrate more, as the church has done through the centuries, upon praying for, and laying the basis of Christian instruction for, revival as it is described in the Bible? - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones 
When William Carey, the father of modern missions, decided to go to India as a missionary, his wife did not want to go. She had three children and was pregnant with a fourth. He resolved to go even if he had to leave her and the children behind. Shortly after the birth of her fourth child she gave in and accompanied him to India. While there, they lived in the interior surrounded by malaria-infested swamps. At one point, Dorothy and two of her children became deathly ill. Her physical health continued to decline and her mental health began to deteriorate as well. After her five-year-old son died, her mental health deteriorated to such an extent that others said she was ''wholly deranged." William Carey believed "the cause of Christ" took precedence over his family. [1]

When John Wesley married Molly Vazeille he determined he would not "preach one sermon or travel one day less in a married than in a single state." [2] Initially his wife traveled with him, but the hardships were difficult and she stopped. After that she rarely saw him. Although he wanted to accommodate her desires, he stopped short of anything that would interfere with the cause of Christ (viz., the Methodist cause). He believed that if he slackened at all, even for her, he would be disobedient to the work God had called him to do. To this cause John Wesley desired to "spend and be spent." Their relationship deteriorated and she often left him. In 1771, he wrote, "I have not left her; I have not sent her away; I will not recall her." [3] John Wesley believed "the cause of Christ" took precedence over family.

A survey of church history reveals that many other great leaders of the Christian church believed "the cause of Christ" took precedence over their family. Their influence was extensive, but their families suffered great hardship. The prevalence of this can make one wonder if commitment to ministry will necessarily cause one's family to suffer. Fortunately, there are examples of those who had both - a zeal to minister to the world and an equal fervor to serve their family.

One man who stands out as a "success" in both areas is Jonathan Edwards. The legacy he has left to the Christian community as well as the legacy he has left to his family is extraordinary. Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sarah were married thirty years and had eleven children: three sons and eight daughters. [4] One can see a clear trajectory of his influence on his descendants. A study of 1400 descendants shows one hundred lawyers, sixty-six doctors, thirteen college presidents, thirty judges, sixty-five professors, eighty public office holders, three senators, three governors, and one vice president. [5] Jonathan Edwards was able to keep in perspective the tension between commitment to the "the cause of Christ" and commitment to family. In light of his "success," the goal of this article will be to analyze his biblical and theological convictions which shaped his understanding of the role of a minister of the Gospel as well as his role as a husband and father.

Edwards' Marriage and Family

Jonathan Edwards was captivated by a young woman named Sarah Pierrepont. In 1723 he wrote:
They say there is a young lady in [New Haven] who is beloved of that Great Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this Great Being, in some way other or invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him - that she expects after a while to be received up where he is, to be raised up out of the world and caught up into heaven; being assured that he loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from him always. There she is to dwell with him, and to be ravished with his love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct; and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful, if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this Great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness and universal benevolence of mind; especially after this Great God has manifested himself to her mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly; and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure; and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her. [6] 
He later proposed to this young lady by saying, "Patience is commonly esteemed a virtue, but in this case I may almost regard it as a vice." [7] On July 28, 1727, Sarah Pierrepont married Jonathan Edwards, [8] beginning what he later called their "uncommon union." This union was "founded on high personal esteem, and on mutual affection, which continually grew, and ripened, and mellowed." [9]

Edwards had good reason to esteem his wife. She was gracious and kind in her conversation and manner. She was bright and had an "enlightened and polished education." [10] Most importantly of all, Edwards saw that she was a godly woman. As one of Edwards' biographers noted, "so warm and animated were her religious feelings, in every period of life, that they might perhaps have been regarded as enthusiastic, had they not been under the control of true delicacy and sound discretion." [11] Edwards' respect for his wife, especially her religious devotion, can be seen in the fact that he had her record her experience and then later used this testimony in his writings as his paradigm for what constituted valid religious experience. [12]

Their relationship was characterized by companionship, as well as love and esteem. Although Edwards was in his study thirteen hours a day, she was frequently there. [13] They often discussed religion together. They prayed together at least once a day. When the rest of the family retired for the night, they had a devotion together. [14] Edwards was committed to her happiness and said in one of his sermons that husbands and wives were to "study to render each other's lives comfortable." [15] After staying at their home, George Whitefield said their relationship renewed his desire to get married. Regarding Jonathan and Sarah he said, "A sweeter couple I have not seen." [16]

When children came along, Edwards was committed to them as well. He was an affectionate, tender, and faithful Christian father. His custom was to spend time daily with his family in relaxation. [17] Samuel Hopkins, who stayed at the Edwards' household for quite some time, said Edwards "entered freely into the feelings and concerns of his children and relaxed into cheerful and animated conversations, accompanied frequently with sprightly remarks and sallies of wit and humor." [18] Bills from Edwards' trips to Boston reveal that he bought a gold locket and chain for Sarah, silk handkerchiefs, toys, chocolate, and other gifts. [19] He also often took one of his children on trips with him. [20]

His commitment to his family encompassed a concern for their salvation. This was his foremost concern for them. In a letter to his daughter Mary, he wrote, "But yet, my greatest concern is not for your health, or temporal welfare, but for the good of your soul." [21] He wrote the same to his son Timothy and said his "chief anxiety" was for their salvation. [22] He arose at 4 a.m. before the rest of his family, and when they arose they prayed together and read a chapter of the Bible. He asked them questions according to their age, explained passages, and enforced duties. They were taught doctrines, memorized the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, and were questioned on it until they understood it. The Lord's Day was honored. They came together Saturday evening, sang a Psalm and prayed together. He also brought each child individually into his study at different times to discuss with him his "soul's concerns." [23]

The Edwards household was orderly in its government. He taught them the right things to do and admonished them of the wrong things. [24] Hopkins states he disciplined "with the greatest calmness and commonly without striking a blow." [25]

It is true that Sarah attended to all temporal affairs. This was so he could give himself entirely to pastoral duties. Yet if she needed advice or assistance he would "attend to it as a matter of utmost importance." [26]

Because of some doctrinal differences, Jonathan Edwards was dismissed from his congregation at Northampton. Before his dismissal he was concerned for his family. He knew that if he persisted in his stance this could ruin not only his career, but also the temporal well-being of his large family. He therefore didn't take lightly his stance, but he sat down and counted the cost. As he did this he realized that "taking up the cross" by holding firm to his convictions might ruin his family temporally, but their eternal well-being was far more important. [27]

The result of his commitment to Christ and to his family was that his Wife and children greatly loved and respected him. Hopkins wrote, "No person of discernment could be conversant in the family without observing and admiring the great harmony and mutual love and esteem that subsisted between them." [28]

After a visit to Stockbridge to visit her parents, his daughter Esther recorded in her journal,
Last eve I had some free discourse with my Father on the great things that concern my best interest - I opened my difficulties to him very freely and he as freely advised and directed. The conversation has removed some distressing doubts that discouraged me much in my Christian warfare - He gave me some excellent directions to be observed in secret that tend to keep my soul near to God, as well as others to be observed in a more public way - What a mercy that I have such a Father! Such a Guide! [29]
Sarah too loved and respected him. She had often told her closest friends how difficult it was for her to think of her husband dying. One biographer wrote,
She had long told her intimate friends, that she had, after long struggles and exercises, obtained, by God's grace ... to resign up him, whom she esteemed so great a blessing to her and her family, her nearest partner, to the stroke of death, whenever God should see fit to take him. [30] 
As can be seen, there was great harmony in the Edwards household. Edwards, however, was extremely committed to ministry as we shall now see.

The Role of a Minister of the Gospel 

An examination of those works which reveal his biblical and theological convictions regarding the role of a minister of the Gospel, seem to suggest that he concurs with the perspective of those who say that a minister's entire life should be devoted to ministry. For example, he exhorted other ministers to labor "therein night and day." [31] Elsewhere he wrote, "Ministers should follow the example of Christ, in his readiness not only to labor, but suffer for the salvation of souls, to spend and be spent for them." [32] This echoes the beliefs of Wesley, Carey, et al.

Furthermore, Edwards tried to live this out in his own life. He did expend himself in his calling. He commonly spent long days in his study. [33] He painstakingly studied the Scriptures and other works of divinity, [34] he fervently prayed for those in his care, [35] he diligently exhorted his hearers, during the Great Awakening he counselled those who thronged to his study, [36] frequently they had visitors to their home, [37] and he travelled many places for the work of ministry. [38] After one such trip, Esther recorded in her journal that her father had "tired himself sick." [39]

Edwards did not take his ministerial responsibilities lightly. To another minister he wrote that ''we must be faithful in every part of our ministerial work." [40] Being faithful meant that ministers were to fulfill their calling. Edwards believed God had a design for the church, society, and the world. In The Nature of True Virtue we read that each member of society had a special calling according to his talents. Each calling had respective duties that accompanied that calling. [41] Seeking salvation was dependent on performing all duties. He wrote "The right way of seeking salvation is, to seek it in the diligent performance of all duties, and in the denial of ungodliness." [42]

Ministers have a special calling and it is the highest office. [43] One duty of the minister was to be an example. Edwards believed ministers "above all other men upon earth, represent his [Christ's] person." [44] He believed that Philippians 3:17 taught that ministers were "to be a pattern for Christians to follow." [45] As Christ's representatives, another ministerial duty was to carry on Christ's work. Edwards believed that Christ's work of redemption was his most significant. When Christ rose from the dead, He appointed apostles to teach and baptize. This ministry continues throughout history and ministers are responsible to fulfill the commission Christ gave to His apostles to set up His kingdom. [46] Ministers "especially are the officers of Christ's kingdom" [47] and "the dignified servants of his family," [48] said Edwards. The minister's task is to care for those that Christ has committed to him so that they may not be eternally lost: "... in order to their being indeed preserved from eternal perishing ... he has appointed a certain order of men, whose whole business it might be to take care of immortal souls." [49]

A minister is God's ambassador and is to speak out in His name. [50] As God's ambassador, his most important work is "to explain and apply the Word of God to his hearers." [51] This is especially important because the preaching of the Word is a means of grace. [52] This primacy of preaching remained a conviction throughout his life. [53] This helps to explain why he spent thirteen hours a day in his study. He was careful to search the Scriptures with the "utmost diligence and strictness," [54] meditate on them, and record his thoughts.

Edwards summed up the ministry: when he said,
For this is the very business to which they are called and devoted .... They are his ambassadors ... to awaken and convert sinners, and establish, build up, and comfort saints; it is the business they have been solemnly charged with, before God, angels, and men, and to which they have given up themselves by the most sacred vows ... into whose hands Christ has committed the sacred oracles, holy ordinances, and all his appointed means of grace. [55] 
Edwards desired to fulfill his calling to represent Christ both as an example and to carry on His work of Redemption. Thus, he was diligent in ministry.

The seriousness of his call is seen in his conviction that he will appear before the judgment seat to give an account for those in his care. In one sermon he portrayed the scenario of a minister who stands before the Judge to give an account of those souls in his care who are missing. Will he be able to say,
Lord, thou knowest that I have sincerely and faithfully endeavoured their salvation, I have not been slack nor negligent towards them, I have earnestly watched for their souls, and diligently and unweariedly used all the means with them that thou didst appoint; they perished not through my neglect, but through their own obstinate negligence and wickedness! [56] 
Faithful ministers will receive a reward from God but ministers who neglect their calling will incur harsh judgment and will likely be "nearest to the fallen angels" in hell. [57]

All of these things, ie., the importance of his call, his duty to fulfill that call, and the fact that he would stand before the judgment seat, weighed heavily on him. It was these biblical and theological convictions that caused him to be wholly devoted to "the work of the Lord."

Edwards' ordination sermons give further insight regarding his view of the role of a minister of the Gospel. Here we find, as Harry Stout says in The Soul of New England, his "most systematic statements on the role of a minister." [58] In these sermons, Edwards used much biblical imagery to describe the minister's role. The minister, for example, is a steward, a messenger, a burning and shining light, a "son of oil," a watchman, a soldier, a nurturing mother, a spiritual father, and a proxy bridegroom. An extensive look at each one of these images would take us outside the parameters of this article; therefore I will focus only on the domestic images because of their relevance to our topic.

In "The Church's Marriage to her Sons, and to Her God," Edwards looked at Isaiah 62:4-5, which says, "As a young man marries a virgin so shall thy sons marry thee." Edwards understood this to be an image of the relationship between a minister and his congregation; i.e., the minister is married to his church. [59] Their relationship is to be such that they are to be "the objects of each other's most tender and ardent love." [60] The minister, as the church's husband, is continually and earnestly to promote the well-being of his church. A minister's entire life is to be spent to this end. [61] It must be noted that the church's true husband is Christ, but until the church is united with Him, the minister is a proxy bridegroom and is to act in the same regard to his church as he would to his wife. [62]

Ministers, said Edwards, are also to be spiritual fathers and nurturing mothers. As fathers, they are to instruct, reprove, warn, and exhort with authority and ''with a fatherly tender concern for your eternal good." [63] They are to direct the church's affairs. They are to bean example both in their words and their lifestyle. [64]

The image of minister as a nurturing mother is described in his discursive notes on Luke 1:35 ("Bringing Forth Christ''). In this sermon the Virgin Mary typifies ministers who labor to bring forth Christ in the lives of believers. They care for and feed their spiritual children just as a mother does with her children. He wrote:
It is a very constant care; the child must be continually looked after; it must be taken care of both day and night. When the mother wakes up in the night she has her child to look after and nourish at her breast, as it sleeps in her bosom, and it must be continually in the mother's bosom, or arms, there to be upheld and cherished; it needs its food and nourishment much oftener than adult persons; it must be fed both day and night; it must in everything be gratified and pleased; the mother must bear the burden of it as she goes to and fro. This is also a lively image of the care that the church, especially the ministers of the gospel, should have of the interest of Christ, committed to their care. [65] 
We see in this quote that a minister is to cherish those in his care and has an ongoing responsibility to provide the nourishment that his spiritual children require.

These images once again show the importance that Edwards attached to his responsibilities as a minister. It is so important that a minister is to be married to the Lord's work and be as committed as a parent is to his children. His use of domestic imagery is interesting especially in light of our study and how this relates to familial responsibility. If a minister is to be continually devoted to ministry, and ministry is to be "the object of his most tender and ardent love," how did Edwards reconcile this with commitment to his family? The remainder of this article will seek to determine Edwards' theological and biblical convictions regarding his view of marriage and family as it related to his role and responsibilities as a minister of the Gospel.

Balancing Ministry and Family 

One reason God gave the family, said Edwards, is for our happiness. In his sermons on Hebrews, he called family an "outward enjoyment," and said "we ought to possess them, enjoy and make use of them." [66] Although we should desire heaven "above ... husband or wife, or children," [67] elsewhere he wrote, one of heaven's attractions is the reunion of our families. [68]

In The Nature of True Virtue Edwards again brought out that family is given by God for our happiness. He said familial kind affections add greatly to our "comfort in the world." [69] This natural affection is implanted by the Creator both to preserve the world and for our comfort in this world. [70] These "instinctual kind affections," as he calls them, lead to mutual esteem (which sees the good in the other) and to benevolence (which gives good to the other). [71] As we saw previously, his family experienced the enjoyment and comfort of one another's esteem and benevolence. His relationship with his wife was also pleasant to him. Elsewhere Edwards mentioned that he believed "the conjugal relation leads the persons united therein to the most intimate acquaintance and conversation with each other." [72] He also said that God commands "so great and dear a friendship to be maintained." [73] This intimacy must have been ''very pleasant" to him and his wife. Thus, to Edwards, God designed the family to be enjoyed.

Another reason Edwards was committed to his family was because of his conception of the horror of hell, and that children are "by nature children of wrath and are in danger of Eternal Damnation in Hell." [74] Children who do not know Christ are ''young vipers" in God's Sight, said Edwards, and "are in a most miserable condition." [75] There was thus an urgency to care for his family's eternal welfare. [76]

A third reason for Edwards' commitment to his family was because it is a father and husband's duty. On March 16, 1742, Edwards led his congregation in a renewal of their covenant with God. One commitment made to God read: "We also promise, with great watchfulness, to perform relative duties, required by Christian rules, in the families we belong to, as we stand related respectively, towards parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, masters or mistresses, and servants." [77] This reveals that to Edwards, commitment to family was a necessary "duty." This sense of duty stems back to the Puritan concept of covenant. In Edwards' Humble Inquiry we see that he accepted the covenant scheme. As an heir of Puritan theology, this theological framework is Edwards' interpretive grid for understanding his role as a husband and father.

The Puritan founders desired to build a godly society. Of the four main institutions, the family, the church, the commonwealth, and the school, [78] the family was the basic social unit. [79] In other words, both church and state were founded on individual family units. The Puritans believed that family harmony was necessary for civil and ecclesiastical harmony. If the family was not strong, this would have a deleterious effect on society and the church. [80] Furthermore, each individual has his place and station in life and is responsible to fulfill this calling. This was mentioned previously with regard to one's vocation. This idea of a calling related to the family as well. Each person was responsible both in society and in his family to perform the corresponding duties that accompany his calling. [81] For example, the duties of a husband were to provide his wife with food and clothing, to protect her, to guide her, [82] and to admonish her to pursue her Sanctification. The duties of a wife were to submit to her husband's authority, to care for his needs, and to admonish him (in a spirit of gentleness and submission) to pursue his Sanctification. [83] Fathers and mothers had their corresponding duties as well. Children were created by God and placed within the family under the parent's care. Parents were responsible to prepare their children for their vocation in life and in their future calling as parents. [84] Another duty was to nurture and educate their children so that they would be ready to receive God's grace. [85] Religious education took place in the family. Parents were admonished by Edwards to "great painfulness in teaching, warning, and directing their children; bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; beginning early, where there is yet opportunity." [86] The family was considered a microcosm of the church, [87] and thus an instrument of salvation. [88] Edwards wrote,
Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief of the means of grace. If these fail, all other means are like to prove ineffectual. If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be like to prosper and be successful. [89] 
The fact that the family was a "little church" made family worship important. Morning and evening family worship were characteristic of good family government. The Lord's Day being honored was the same. The head of the home, the father and husband, was the preacher. [90]

The Puritans believed that if they raised godly children, the church and society would prosper. The foundation of Puritan theology concerning the family is God's covenant promise which He made to Abraham and to His "seed." Puritan children were the seeds of the covenant, and Puritan parents were responsible to produce this holy seed. [91] Parents obeyed not only because of God's command but because they feared the curse of the covenant falling upon their children. [92] Thus Edwards was adamant about maintaining family government, not only for the children's spiritual well-being but for the well-being of the church and the commonwealth as well.

In Edwards' time, this conception of the commonwealth was fading, and so Edwards attempted to revive it. [93] This gives clarity to why in A Faithful Narrative Edwards pointed to the failure of family government as the reason the youth in his time were wanton. Edwards believed if family government were revived, society would change. [94]

In addition, parents would one day stand before God to give an account whether they fulfilled their duty to their children. [95] In one sermon, he said, "When parents lose their government over their children ... the blood of their children will be required at their hands." [96]

Therefore, to Jonathan Edwards, commitment to family was absolutely essential. It was his "duty" to be both the preacher of his family and the preacher of his church. He was the husband of his wife as well as the spiritual husband of his church. He was married to the work of the Lord and he was married to his wife. He was a father to his family as well as a spiritual father to his congregation. He was a minister of the Gospel, both in his family and in his calling to vocational ministry.

He believed he was to be zealous in his call to fulfill both roles. Edwards would agree that one is to "spend and be spent" for the souls in his congregation and the souls in his family. [97] He was one day to stand before the Judge to give an account of the souls in his care, whether in his congregation or in his family. There was no dichotomy because both were the "work of the Lord." Furthermore, family duties were important to him, not only because he was concerned for his children's salvation, but because the welfare of the commonwealth and the church depended on it. This was the Puritan conception of covenant theology of which Edwards was an heir. [98]

For Edwards the essence of his duty both to his family and to his ministry was summed up in the word "love." [99] Love for family "will dispose men to the duties they owe to one another in their several places and relations, [100] and love for people in one's ministry ''will dispose ministers faithfully and ceaselessly to seek the good of the souls of their people, watching for them as those that must give account." [101] Simply put, "love is the sum ... of all the duties required in his word." [102]

Concluding Remarks 

The familial and marital harmony in the Edwards family lasted throughout their lives. When Jonathan Edwards was about to die, he called his daughter Lucy to him and said,
Dear Lucy, it seems to me to be the will of God that I must shortly leave you; therefore, give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God. And as to my children, you are now to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a father who will never fail you. [103] 
Upon hearing of the death of her husband, Sarah Edwards wrote the following letter to her daughter:
O my very Dear Child, 
What shall I say. A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may all kiss the rod and lay our hands on our mouths. The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness that we had him so long. But my God lives and he has my heart. O what a legacy my husband and your father has left us. We are all given to God and there I am and love to be. [104] 
The account in the Boston Gazette of Jonathan Edwards' death read that he was "admired by all (emphasis mine) who knew him." [105] Truly, his was a legacy that is worthy of our admiration.


Mrs. Doreen Moore received her M. A. degree, with highest honors, from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. She studied church history and theology and wrote her thesis on the ministry and family relationships of Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley and George Whitefield. Previously she served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ for over eight years and now lives in Austin, Texas, with her pastor husband, David. She is the mother of two children.

  1. Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1983), 11-17. 
  2. John Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. John Wesley, Nehemiah Curnock, ed. (London: The Epworth Press, 1912; reprint), 512-13. 
  3. Ibid., 5:399-400. 
  4. Sereno Edwards Dwight, The Life of President Edwards (New York: S. Converse, 1829),582. 
  5. William J. Petersen, "Sarah and Jonathan Edwards: An Uncommon Union," Partnership (May-June 1987), 41. 
  6. Jonathan Edwards, "Sarah Pierrepont," in Jonathan Edwards: Basic Writings, ed. Ola Elizabeth Winslow (New York: The New American Library, 1966), 6-67. 
  7. Petersen, "An Uncommon Union," 42. 
  8. Dwight, Life of Edwards, 113. 
  9. Ibid., 115. 
  10. Ibid., 114. 
  11. Ibid., 114. 
  12. Rita Mancha, "The Woman's Authority: Calvin to Edwards," Journal of Christian Reconstruction 6 (Winter 1979-80),98. 
  13. Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1988), 184. 
  14. Sereno E. Dwight, Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, in The Works of President Edwards, Vol. 1 (New York: Leavitt, Trow & Co., 1849), 26. 
  15. Jonathan Edwards, Christian Cautions, or, The Necessity of Self-Examination, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. Edward Hickman, Vol. 2 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990; reprint, 1974 ed.), 183. 
  16. George Whitefield, George Whitefield's Journals (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1989; reprint, March 1960),477. 
  17. Dwight, The Life of President Edwards, 111. 
  18. Petersen, "An Uncommon Union," 43. 
  19. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 185. 
  20. Ibid., 186. 
  21. Dwight, The Life of President Edwards, 285. 
  22. Ibid., 525. 
  23. Dwight, Memoirs, 27-29. 
  24. Ibid. 
  25. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 192. 
  26. Dwight, The Life of President Edwards, 128. 
  27. Dwight, Memoirs, 38. 
  28. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 192. 
  29. Esther Edwards Burr, The Journal of Esther Edwards Burr, 1754-57, ed. Carol F. Karlsen and Laurie Crumpacker (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984),224. 
  30. Dwight, The Life of President Edwards, 580. 
  31. Jonathan Edwards, "The Concern of a Watchman for Souls," in The Minister's Task and Calling in the Sermons of Jonathan Edwards by Helen Westra (LeWiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1986),274. 
  32. Jonathan Edwards, Christ the Example of Ministers, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:962. 
  33. Sereno E. Dwight, Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, l:xxxix. 
  34. Jonathan Edwards, Resolutions, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1 :xxi. 
  35. Jonathan Edwards, Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in New England in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:375. 
  36. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, 184. 
  37. Dwight, Memoirs, 1:xlv-xlvi. 
  38. Ibid. 
  39. Burr, Journal, 156. 
  40. Jonathan Edwards, Letter to Mr. Probe, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, l:cvii. 
  41. Jonathan Edwards, The Nature of True Virtue, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:129. 
  42. Jonathan Edwards, Christian Cautions, or, The Necessity of Self-Examination, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:184. 
  43. Edwards, Thoughts on Revival, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:387. 
  44. Ibid. 
  45. Helen Westra, The Minister's Task and Calling, in The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards (leWiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1986), 16. 
  46. Ibid., 19. 
  47. Edwards, Thoughts on Revival in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1 :387. 
  48. Edwards, Christ the Example of Ministers, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:963. 
  49. Edwards, "Watchman," in The Minister's Task and Calling, 267. 
  50. Edwards, Thoughts on Revival, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:387. 
  51. Edwards, p. 814 of the interleaved Bible in the Beinicke Edwards MSS Collection, in Westra, The Minister's Task and Calling, 26. 
  52. Westra, The Minister's Task and Calling, 20. 
  53. Ibid., 58. 
  54. Jonathan Edwards, "The True Excellency of a Gospel Minister," in The Works of President Edwards, Vol. 3 (New York: Leavitt, Trow & Co., 1849), 591. 
  55. Edwards, Thoughts on Revival, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:387. 
  56. Edwards, "Watchman," in The Minister's Task and Calling, 278. 
  57. He wrote, "But if we fail of the proper excellency of  ministers of the gospel, we shall not be in the sight of God the more worthy or honourable for our high office, but the more abominable and inexcusable; for our wickedness being aggravated by God's great goodness and condescension to us, and the peculiar obligations that he laid upon us; and instead of being eminently beneficial and great blessings, as lights to reflect the beams of  Christ's glory and love, we shall be so much the more hurtful and pernicious, for our being in such a station; and so shall be likely hereafter to suffer a so much more dreadful punishment." Edwards, "The True Excellency of a Gospel Minister," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:959. 
  58. Helen Petter Westra, "Above All Others: Jonathan Edwards and the Gospel Ministry," American Presbyterians 67 (Fall 1989),209. 
  59. Jonathan Edwards, The Church's Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:18. 
  60. Ibid., 2:19. 
  61. Ibid. 
  62. Ibid., 2:20-21. 
  63. Edwards, The Sorrows of the Bereaved Spread Before Jesus, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:967. 
  64. Ibid. 
  65. Westra, The Minister's Task and Calling, 183. 
  66. Jonathan Edwards, "A 'Commentary' on Hebrews," in John H. Gerstner, The Rational And Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1 (Powhatan, Virginia: Berea Publications, 1991),396. 
  67. Ibid., 1 :408. 
  68. Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits in Jonathan Edwards: Ethical Writings, ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989),372. 
  69. Jonathan Edwards, The Nature of True Virtue, in Jonathan Edwards: Ethical Writings, 605. 
  70. Ibid. 
  71. Ibid., 604. 
  72. Edwards, The Church's Marriage, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:565. 
  73. Edwards, Christian Cautions, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:183. 
  74. Jonathan Edwards, "Sermon to the Children, August, 1740," in Sandford Fleming, Children and Puritanism (New York: The Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969), 100. 
  75. Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 3 (New York: 1881),340. 
  76. Edwards exhorted, "Do you take pains in any measure proportionate to the importance of the matter? You cannot but own that it is a matter of vast importance, that your children be fitted for death, and saved from hell; and that all possible care be taken that it be done speedily; for you know not how soon your children may die. "Edwards, "Christian Cautions," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:183. 
  77. Dwight, Life of Edwards, 165-67. 
  78. Richard Flinn, "The Puritan Family and the Christian Economy," Christian Reconstruction 6 (Winter 1979-80), 75. 
  79. Jonathan Edwards, God's Awful Judgment in the Breaking and Withering of the Strong Rods of a Community, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:38. 
  80. William J. Scheick, The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style (College Station, Texas: Texas A. & M. University Press, 1975),41. 
  81. Edwards, True Virtue, 1: 129. Elsewhere he wrote, "Reason teaches, that it is our duty to exercise the utmost care, that we may know the mind and will of God, and our duty in all the branches of it, and to use our utmost diligence in everything to do it; because the service of God is the great business of our lives, it is that work which is the end of our beings; and God is worthy, that we should serve him to the utmost of our power in all things." Edwards, Christian Cautions, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:174. 
  82. Edwards, The Church 's Marriage, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards,2:565. 
  83. Flinn, "The Puritan Family," 82. 
  84. Flinn, "The Puritan Family," 83. 
  85. Janet Fishburn, "The Family As a Means of Grace in American Theology," Religious Education 78 (Winter 1983), 91-93. 
  86. Edwards, Farewell Sermon, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards,l:ccvi. 
  87. Margo Todd, "Humanists, Puritans, and the Spiritualized Household," Church History 49 (March 1980), 23. 
  88. Richard A. S. Hall, The Neglected Northampton Texts of  Jonathan Edwards: Edwards on Society and Politics (LeWiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1990), 273. 
  89. Edwards, Farewell Sermon, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards,l:ccvi. 
  90. Flinn, "The Puritan Family," 84-85. 
  91. Fishburn, "The Family As a Means of Grace," 92. 
  92. Flinn, "The Puritan Family," 79. 
  93. Jonathan Edwards, A Faithful Narrative of a Surprising Work of God, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 1:346-47. 
  94. Ibid., 1:347. 
  95. He wrote, "A great proportion of the wickedness of which men are guilty, and that will be brought out at the day of judgment, will be the sin which they shall have committed in the families to which they belong." Edwards, "Christian Cautions," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:182. 
  96. Jonathan Edwards, "Great Care Necessary, Lest We Live in Some Way of Sin," as quoted in Scheick, The Writings of Jonathan Edwards, 41. 
  97. He even said, "The nearer the relation, the greater is the obligation to love." Edwards, Christian Cautions, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2:182. 
  98. This is an expansive subject which goes beyond Edwards' personal theology to the whole theology surrounding the New England dream. This concept could be further developed, but for the purposes of this article, what is written here is sufficient. 
  99. Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings,16. 
  100. Ibid., 12. 
  101. Ibid., 13. 
  102. Ibid., 16. 
  103. Dwight, Memoirs, 51. 
  104. Burr, Journal, 301. 
  105. Dwight, Life of Edwards, 579. 

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