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That work is done, that time is spent.
There neither was my home nor stock.
Would I in all my journey have,
Still the same inn and furniture ?
Forgetting what thy saints endure ?
My Lord hath taught me how to want
A place wherein to put my head; While He is mine, I'll be content
To beg or lack my daily bread.
Heaven is my roof, earth is my floor,
Thy love can keep me dry and warm, Christ and Thy bounty are my store :
Thy angels guard me from all harm.
As for my friends, they are not lost;
The several vessels of Thy fleet, Though partcd now, by tempests tost, Shall safely in the haven nieet.
THE REV. JONATHAN EDWARDS, M.A.,
OF NORTHAMPTON, AMERICA,
THE METAPHYSICAL DIVINE.
JARIED are the gifts which the great Creator
bestows upon his servants, and by which they
are fitted for the special places they have to fill in providence. It is an interesting study to mark what were the particular qualities by which eminent individuals have become distinguished, and which made them influential among their own contemporaries, and perhaps still more upon succeeding generations. “The number of those men who have produced great and permanent changes in the character and condition of mankind, and stamped their own image on the minds of succeeding generations, is comparatively small; and even of this small number, the great body have been indebted for their superior efficiency, at least in part, to extraneous circumstances, while very few can ascribe it to the simple strength of their own intellect. Yet here and there an individual can be found, who, by his mere mental energy, has changed the course of human thought and feeling, and led mankind onward in that new and better path which he had opened to their view. Such an individual
was JONATHAN EDWARDS. Born in an obscure colony, in the midst of a wilderness, and educated at a seminary just commencing its existence, passing the better part of his life as the pastor of a frontier village, and the residue as an Indian missionary in a still humbler hamlet, he discovered and unfolded a system of the Divine moral government, so new, so clear, so full, that while at its first disclosure it needed no aid from its friends, and feared no opposition from its enemies, it has at length constrained a reluctant world to bow in homage to its truth.”
Jonathan Edwards was styled, by the Rev. Robert Hall, “one of the greatest of the sons of men,” in reference to the powers of mind with which he was endowed, and certainly he stands among the very loftiest intellects. But he was no less remarkable as an evangelist of the cross. Metaphysicians have not been generally popular speakers or preachers; but Jonathan Edwards was a preacher of extraordinary power, whose words were the means of winning many souls. A sketch of his life cannot fail to be both interesting and instructive.
He was born at Windsor, Connecticut, on the 5th October, 1703, and was the son of the Rev. Timothy Edwards, who was minister of that place for sixty years. Early dedicated to the Lord by his pious parents, young Edwards was brought up in a religious atmosphere. This impressed him in his youthful years. He felt serious convictions in various periods of his school and college life. He says of these: “I had a variety of concerns and exercises about my soul from my childhood; but I had two more remarkable seasons of awakenings before I met with that change by which I was brought to
* Lise prefixed to American edition of his works.
those new dispositions and that new sense of things that I have since had. The first time was when I was a boy, some years before I went to college (which was entered at twelve years of age), at a time of a remarkable awakening in my father's congregation. I was then very much affected for many months, and concerned about the things of religion and my soul's salvation, and was abundant in religious duties. I used to pray five times a day in secret, and to spend much time in religious cenversation with other boys, and used to meet with them to pray together.” These impressions subsided for a time, but rose again about the end of his college career. New views of divine truth now affected him. He opened up his mind to his father, and had his soul drawn out to the Lord thereby. He became wrapt up in the contemplation of God's goodness and grace, of his sovereignty and glory. "I spent,” he says, “most of my time in thinking of divine things year after year, often walking alone in the woods and solitary places for meditation, soliloquy, and prayer, and converse with God; and it was always my manner, at such times, to sing forth my contemplations. I was almost constantly in ejaculatory prayer wherever I was. Prayer seemed to be natural to me as the breath by which the inward burnings of my heart had vent.”
He records that on 12th January, 1723, he made a solemn dedication of himself to the Lord, desiring to be his, his only, and for ever. This dedication fixed his whole life. His diary, both before and after this period, evidences unusual devotion, holy jealousy over himself, and sincere desire to serve the Lord. O reader, have you passed into a state so blessed ? Christ is the way of
His atonement is the reconciliation of your soul
to God. His Spirit is the agent of regeneration. Yield to the Spirit's striving, and accept the reconciliation.
His education, until he was able to enter college, was carried on at home under his father, who was a distinguished scholar, and his elder sisters, who were also pursuing their studies at home. In his early days he was fond of minute investigation, and of using his pen while thinking. He was not quite thirteen years of age when he entered Yale College, New Haven, then in its infancy. Here his behaviour was remarkably correct, his application intense, and his success rapid. Locke's treatise on the “Human Understanding” was perused with pleasure by him in his fourteenth year. He made great progress in languages and philosophy. He finished his regular collegiate studies before he was seventeen years age, and took his degree of B.A.; but he resided two years more at college before taking his M.A. degree. His time was occupied in preparing for the ministry. He received his licence to preach in his nineteenth year. About this period he composed those remarkable resolutions, seventy in number, by which he sought to regulate his life,—
1. Resolved that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, 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 myriads 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 so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
2. Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.