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Gerald R. McDermott

The Half-Way Covenant , adopted by the synods of and , had made baptism alone the condition to the civil privileges of church membership, but not of participation in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Edwards's grandfather and predecessor in the pastorate, Solomon Stoddard, had been even more liberal, holding that the Supper was a converting ordinance and that baptism was a sufficient title to all the privileges of the church.

As early as , Edwards, in his sermons on Religious Affections, had plainly intimated his dislike of this practice. In the same year, he had published in a church meeting the names of certain young people, members of the church, who were suspected of reading improper books, and also the names of those who were to be called as witnesses in the case.

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It has often been reported that the witnesses and accused were not distinguished on this list, and so the entire congregation was in an uproar. However, Patricia Tracy's research has cast doubt on this version of the events, noting that in the list he read from, the names were definitely distinguished.

Those involved were eventually disciplined for disrespect to the investigators rather than for the original incident. In any case, the incident further deteriorated the relationship between Edwards and the congregation. Edwards's preaching became unpopular. For four years, no candidate presented himself for admission to the church, and when one eventually did, in , he was met with Edwards's formal tests as expressed in the Distinguishing Marks and later in Qualifications for Full Communion , The candidate refused to submit to them, the church backed him, and the break between the church and Edwards was complete.

Even permission to discuss his views in the pulpit was refused. He was allowed to present his views on Thursday afternoons. His sermons were well attended by visitors, but not his own congregation.

A council was convened to decide the communion matter between the minister and his people. The congregation chose half the council, and Edwards was allowed to select the other half of the council. His congregation, however, limited his selection to one county where the majority of the ministers were against him. The ecclesiastical council voted that the pastoral relation be dissolved. The church members, by a vote of more than to 23, ratified the action of the council, and finally a town meeting voted that Edwards should not be allowed to occupy the Northampton pulpit, though he continued to live in the town and preach in the church by the request of the congregation until October In his "Farewell Sermon" he preached from 2 Corinthians and directed the thoughts of his people to that far future when the minister and his people would stand before God.

In a letter to Scotland after his dismissal, he expresses his preference for Presbyterian to congregational polity. His position at the time was not unpopular throughout New England. His doctrine that the Lord's Supper is not a cause of regeneration and that communicants should be professing Protestants has since largely through the efforts of his pupil Joseph Bellamy become a standard of New England Congregationalism. Edwards was in high demand.

A parish in Scotland could have been procured, and he was called to a Virginia church. He declined both, to become in , pastor of the church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts and a missionary to the Housatonic Indians, taking over for the recently deceased John Sergeant. To the Indians, he preached through an interpreter, and their interests he boldly and successfully defended by attacking the whites who were using their official positions among them to increase their private fortunes.

He there composed the treatises on which his reputation as a philosophical theologian chiefly rests, the essay on Original Sin , the Dissertation Concerning the Nature of True Virtue , the Dissertation Concerning the End for which God created the World , and the great work on the Will , written in four and a half months, and published in under the title, An Inquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions Respecting that Freedom of the Will which is supposed to be Essential to Moral Agency.

Aaron Burr, Sr.

Jonathan Edwards

Edwards felt himself in "the decline of life", and inadequate to the office, but was persuaded to replace Burr as president of the College of New Jersey. He arrived in January and was installed on February 16, He gave weekly essay assignments in theology to the senior class. Unfortunately, never having been in robust health, he died as a result of the inoculation on March 22, He is buried in Princeton Cemetery. Edwards had three sons and eight daughters. The followers of Jonathan Edwards and his disciples came to be known as the New Light Calvinist ministers, as opposed to the traditional Old Light Calvinist ministers.

Through a practice of apprentice ministers living in the homes of older ministers, they eventually filled a large number of pastorates in the New England area. Edwards's writings and beliefs continue to influence individuals and groups to this day. The Banner of Truth Trust and other publishers continue to reprint Edwards's works, and most of his major works are now available through the series published by Yale University Press , which has spanned three decades and supplies critical introductions by the editor of each volume.

Yale has also established the Jonathan Edwards Project online. Author and teacher, Elisabeth Woodbridge Morris, memorialized him, her paternal ancestor 3rd great grandfather in two books, The Jonathan Papers , and More Jonathan Papers In , he became the namesake of Jonathan Edwards College , the first of the 12 residential colleges of Yale, and The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University was founded to provide scholarly information about Edwards' writings.

Understanding Affections in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards

In , a classical Protestant school was founded in Nashville, TN bearing his name and dedicated to memorializing Edwards' example of fervent piety and rigorous academics: Jonathan Edwards Classical Academy. The contemporary poet Susan Howe frequently describes the composition of Edwards' manuscripts and notebooks held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in a number of her books of poetry and prose, including Souls of the Labadie Tract , and That This , She notes how some of Edwards' notebooks were hand sewn from silk paper that his sisters and wife used for making fans.

Most recently, Edwards' texts are also studied with the use of digital methods.

Stephen Nichols: Jonathan Edwards

Scholars from the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University have applied stylometry to establish stylistic connections between different groups of Edwards' sermons. The eminence of many descendants of Edwards led some Progressive Era scholars to view him as proof of eugenics. Hannah Morse, and some original minutes of a town meeting in Northampton are held by The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.

The entire corpus of Edwards' works, including previously unpublished works, is available online through the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University website. Many of Edwards' works have been regularly reprinted. Some of the major works include:.


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The text of some of many of Edwards's sermons have been preserved, some are still published and read today among general anthologies of American literature. Among his more well-known sermons are: [44]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named Jonathan Edwards, see Jonathan Edwards disambiguation. East Windsor , Connecticut , English America. Princeton , New Jersey , British America.

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Edwards Center. Yale University. Retrieved September 13, Princeton University.

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Archived from the original on December 24, The works of Jonathan Edwards, A. Retrieved October 15, Electronic Texts in American Studies. March 23, InterVarsity Press.

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Beginning in June , Edwards joined the slave trade, buying 'a Negro Girle named Venus ages Fourteen years or thereabout' in Newport, at an auction, for 'the Sum of Eighty pounds. Valley Advocate. Retrieved October 5, Edwards defended the traditional definition of slaves as those who were debtors, children of slaves, and war captives; for him, the trade in slaves born in North America remained legitimate.

Poetry Daily. Retrieved August 13, My Emily Dickinson. New York: New Directions Press. Elemental Theology. PC USA.

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