Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

PAQI

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

MR. EDWARDS'S BIRTH, PARENTAGE, EDUCATION AND ENTRANCE INTO THE MINISTRY.

President Edwards was one of those men of whom it is not easy to speak with justice without seeming, at least, to border on the marvellous, and to incur the guilt of adulation. The Christian Biographer labors under a difficulty, in describing the characters of extraordinary men, which the writers of other lives are but too generally allowed to forget; for he is bound so to represent actions and motives, as to remind his readers, that the uncommon excellencies of a character flow entirely from the bounty of heaven, for the wisest and best purposes, and are not the result of natural vigor and acumen. Otherwise, instead of placing these excellencies in a view advantageous for imitation, or describing a character attainable, as to its most valuable traits, only by gracious aids, there would be danger of setting up an idol, more precious indeed than gold, but still an idol, whereby the mind would be led astray from the one great object of the Christian life, Jesus Christ, whose fulness filleth all in all. While we have a just view of him, it is a privilege to hear of his wonderful works in and by his honored servants; and to be enabled to imitate them is a great augmentation of the privilege. If their graces, exemplified in a variety of circumstances, in a manner force us to a throne of grace, and thereby prove the means of quickening ours; then do we make a right use of their history, and follow them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Mr. Jonathan Edwards was born on the 5th of October, 1703, at Wingsor, in the then Province of Connecticut, North America. His father, the Rev. Tinothy Edwards, was minister of that place almost sixty years, and resided there from November, 1694, till January, 1758, when he died in the 89th year of his age, not two months before this his only son Jonathan. He was very universally beloved and esteemed, as an upright, pious, exemplary man: a faithful and very useful minister of the gospel. A few more particulars of this excellent inan will be acceptable. He was born at Hartford, in Connecticut, May 14, 1669, received the honors of the college at Cambridge, in New England, by having the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts given him the same day, July 4th, 1694, one in the forenoon, and the other in the afternoon. On November 6th, 1694, he inarried Esther Stoddard, daughter of the Rev. and celebrated Soloman Stoddard, of Northampton, in the 230 year of her age. They lived together in the married state above sixty-ihree years. Mrs. Edwards, our author's mother, was born June 20, 1072, and lived to about ninety years of age (some years after her son), a remarkable in. VOL. I.

1

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

stance of the small decay of mental powers at so advanced an age. This venerable couple had eleven children; one son, the subject of these Memoirs, and ten daughters, four of whom were older, and six younger than himself.*

Mr. Edwards entered Yale College when about twelve years of age, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Sept. 1720, a little before he was seventeen. While at college, his character was marked with sobriety and improvement in learning. In the second year of his collegiate course he read Locke on the Human Understanding with much delight. His uncommon genius, by which he was naturally formed for close thought and deep penetration, now began to discover and exert itself. From his own account, he was inexpressibly entertained and pleased with that book when he read it at college; more so than the most greedy miser, when gathering up handfuls of silver and gold from some newly d'scovered treasure. Though he made good proficiency in all the arts and sciences, and had an uncommon taste for Natural Philosophy (which he cultivated to the end of his life), yet Moral Philosophy, including divinity, was his favorite subject, in which he made great progress in early life.

He lived at college nearly two years after he took his first degree, preparing for the work of the ministry. After which, having passed the usual trials, he was licensed to preach the gospel as a candidate. _In consequence of an application from a number of ministers in New England, who were intrusted to act in behalf of the English Presbyterians in NewYork, he went to that city the beginning of August, 1722, and preached there with great acceptance about eight months. But on account of the

* We shall here subjoin a sketch of Mr. Edwards's more remote ancestors, as it may gratify some readers. Jonathan Edwards's grandfather was Richard Edwards, who married Elizabeth Tulile, daughter of William Tutile, of New Haven, in Connecticut, and Elizabeth his wife, who came from Northamptonshire, in Old England. By this cunnexion he had seven children, of whom the eldest was Timothy, our author's father. His second marriage was to Mrs. Talcot, by whom he had six children. The father of Richard was William Edwards, Jonathan's greatgrandfather, who came from England young and uninarried. The person he married, whose Christian name was Agnes, and who had left England for America, had two brothers in England, one of them Mayor of Exeter, and the other of Barnstable. The father of William, Richard Edwards, our author's great-great-grandfather, was minister of the gospel in London, in the reign of queen Elizabeth; and his wise, Ann Edwards, was employed in making some pari of the royal attire. After the death of Mr. Edwards, she married Mr mes Cole, who with her son William accompanied her to America, and all died at Hartford in Connecticui.

President Edwards's grandfather on the mother's side, Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, New England, married Mrs. Mather, the relict of the Rev. Mr. Mather, his predecessor, who was the first minister at Northainpion. Her maiden name was l'ster Warham, daughter, and the youngest child of the Rev. John Warham, ininister at Windsor, in Connecticui, and who, before he left England, had been minister at Exeter. This lady had three children by Mr. Mather, viz., Eunice, Warham, and Eliakimn; and (welve children by Mr. Stoddard, six sons and six daughters. Three of the sons died in infancy, and three lived to adult years, viz., Anthony, John, and Israel; the last of whom died a prisoner in France. Anthony was minister of the gospel at Woodbury, in Connecticut; he was in the ministry about sixiy years, and died Sepiember 6, 1760, in the 82d year of his age. John lived at Northampton, and often, especially in his younger years, served the town as their representative, at the General Court at Boston; and was long head of the county of Hampshire, as chief colonel, and chief judge of the court or common pleas. He morcover served in the province of Massachusetts Bay, as one of his Majesty's council. He distinguished himself as an able politician, a wise counsellur, an upright and skilful judge; possessed in an eminent degree the spirit of government, and ever proved a great and steady friend to the interest of religion. He was a great friend and admirer of our Mr. Edwards, and to the time of his death, greatly strengthened his hands in the work of the ministry. A more particular account of the life and character of this truly grent man may be seen in ihe resnion which Mr. Edwards preached and published on the occasion of his death. The father of Mr. Solomon Stoddard, and Mr. Edwards's great-grandfather, on the mother's side, was Anthony Stoddard, Esq., of Boston, a ziolous congregational man.' He had five wives, the first of whom was Mary Downing, sister to Sir George Downing, whose other sister married Governor Brad

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Soloinon was the first child of ihis first marriage. From these particulars } appears, that Mr. Edwards's ancestors were from the west of England, who, upon their emigration, wllied them. selves to some of the most respectuble fumilits in America.

street.

« EelmineJätka »