Puritan Belief

The Puritans are the men of God who started in the 16th century building on the purity of the gospel message that Salvation is by Grace alone.

Jonathan Edwards

1703-1758 (only 55)
Jonathan Edwards was a preacher during the Great Awakening and known for both his fire and brimstone preaching such as Sinners in the hands of an angry God and also his preaching on Grace. Like Spurgeon and Knox and all the great puritans his defence of Calvinism can be seen in every sermon.

Early Years
He was born to Timothy Edwards who was also a minister and was the only Son amongst 10 girls. Education was part of his family life and His father was a tutor. During Jonathan's youth he was tutored by his father and elder sisters and entered Yale College at the tender age of 13. Even before entering college he wrote an incredible essay on the soul and also on the flying spider. His writings in college can still be read on science and philosophy.

Like many of the Puritans such as Spurgeon and Whitefield who were often preaching and teaching before their conversion. Jonathan Edwards when he was saved no longer felt that the Lord Loving only the elect was a "horrible doctrine" and afterwards he thought this doctrine to be "exceedingly pleasant, bright and sweet". After his salvation everything looked better. He now enjoyed nature with more vigour and delighted in books such as Song of Solomons.

13 Hours Study Per Day was his rule he imposed on himself after he became a young minister at Northampton and in that same year he married Sarah Pierrepont (Her dad was a founder of Yale). He was 24 and she was 17 and they had been friends since she was 13. All accounts show her to be a model wife with piety, bright and cheerful and a practical housekeeper. They had 12 children.

Great Awakening
In 1731 just before the Great Awakening Edwards preached publicly against Arminianism. Then in 1733 a revival broke out that reached its peak in 1734 so that businesses in the town were threatened with little workers and interest.

The Sermons Jonathan Edward Preached
Jonathan recorded with great enthusiasm what happened during this time of revival such as A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the conversion of many hundred souls in Northampton (1737). He said that the sermons that were most effective were Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners. Although the revival did subdue it was not for long and he came into contact with George Whitefield and it was after this that he preached his most famous sermon titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

Bodily Effects
During the revival there were bodily effects such as trembling, groaning, being sick, crying out, panting and fainting. This caused much uproar by many of the conservatives in the area and Edwards wrote pamphlets to distribute to explain them.

No Stranger to Controversy
His church the Half-Way Covenant made baptism alone the condition of church membership. Edwards in his sermon Religious Affections outlined his dislike for this practice. With a vote of 200 to 23 he was dismissed from the church yet due to no one taking his place his last Farewell sermon was preached much later with no rancour or spite.

Last Years
Just prior to his death he reluctantly agreed to become the president of the college of New Jersey (Now Princeton University) to replace his late son in law. Shortly after he died of smallpox.

Jonathan Edwards writings and sermons have been published and republished and are incredibly popular to date.

Further Reading

Add Your Comment(7)

Jonathan Edwards
Posted by Correy Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Blogger Rand said...

Can you imagine a church ousting a preacher like Edwards???


January 17, 2006 12:53 PM   Edit
Blogger Doug E. said...


Gotta love Edwards not the easiest read, but worth the work.

13 hours of study a day? I did not know that about him. Amazing!!!

Thanks for inspiring us through the lives of other great men and women.


January 17, 2006 3:09 PM   Edit
Blogger Nephos said...

Great stuff! Edwards is a great model of "loving God with your mind". Not only a great preacher and theologian, but an outstanding thinker as well.

January 18, 2006 1:52 AM   Edit
Blogger Guy Montag said...

Puritan, I appreciate your efforts to introduce (or even re-introduce for some of us) us to men like Edwards, Knox, Spurgeon and others. For any of you who don't own the works of Jonathan Edwards, and you can afford it, try to get a copy. Banner of Truth trust still has it in print I believe. His essay on Free Will (along with Owen's A display of Arminianism was the turning point for me coming to a reformed theology. Another excellent bit included with his works is the diary of David Brainerd.

Anyway, reading this little bit about Edwards makes me think I should crack open a volume and have a feast!


January 18, 2006 1:37 PM   Edit
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

J. Edwards is the greatest American thinker, period.

January 20, 2006 8:36 AM   Edit
Blogger Tony said...

I'm just curious - you do know Jonathan Edwards was a Trinitarian, right?

May 08, 2011 6:38 AM   Edit
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