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ment. Otherwise, instead of rightly placing them in a view for an imitation, attainable in any degree only through grace, or for an encouragement, reviving to the soul through the same grace, we should only set up idols, though idols of more worth than gold, and lead others astray, as well as ourselves, from the ONE GREAT OBJect of the Christian life, which is Jesus Christ and his fulness, which filleth all in all. Interested in Him, it is a privilege to hear of his wonderful works in or by his eminent servants; and it is the confirmation of the privilege to be enabled to imitate them. If their graces send us upon our knees, and thereby are the means of quickening ours, we have not run over their history for an idle amusement, but have made the right use of it, which is, the spurring us on to follow them, who now through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Mr. Jonathan Edwards* was born on the 5th of October 1703, at Windsor, in the province of Connecticut, North America. His father was minister of that place almost sixty years; he was descended from Mr. Richard Edwards, minister of the gospel in London, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by whom, it seems, his wife was employed for some part of her royal attire. In short, by his lineage, it appears that his ancestors came from the west of England, and allied themselves, upon their emigration, to some of the best families in the New Country, whither they came.
Our Author was entered at Yale College in 1716, and was made bachelor of arts in 1720, before he was seventeen years of age. His mental powers opened themselves so early and so strong, that he read Locke's Essay upon Human Understanding with delight, in his second year at this college, when other boys usually amuse themselves with Robinson Crusoe, or books of romance and amusement. He discovered thus early an uncommon depth, solidity, and penetration of mind, which found nothing so pleasant to itself, as the exercise of its own powers.
He lived at college near two years after taking this first degree, preparing himself, principally, for the sacred
* There was another valuable writer of the name of Jonathan Edwards, Principal of Jesus College, Cambridge, who published an excellent hook, entitled, “A Preservative against Socinianism,' in four parts, 410. The first of which was printed in 1693, and the last 1703. Another writer of the same namne, Dr. John Edwards, is worthy of remembrance for his well-known treatise · Veritas redur,' and many other books upon theological subjects.
function. After passing the usual trials, he was licensed, according to the custom of the college and the form of religion in the province, to preach the gospel as a candidate.
In August 1722, he received a call to preach to the English presbyterians at New-York, where he continued with approbation above eight months. This society was then too small to maintain a minister, and therefore, in the spring of the year 1723, he returned to his father's house in Connecticut, where, during the following summer, he followed his studies with the closest application. It appears, however, that he had a deep sense of his Christian and ministerial profession upon his mind, during his abode at New-York; that the people he watched over became very dear to him, and that he left them at last with great regret. Some extracts from his own Diary will delineate more exactly the frame of his mind at this time, and therefore they are committed to a note below. *
*" Wednesday, January 2, 1722-3. Dull. I find by experience, that let ine make resolutions, and do what I will, with never so many in. ventions, it is all nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the mo. tions of the Spirit of God! For if the Spirit of God should be as mach withdrawn froin me always, as for the week past, notwithstanding all I do, I should not grow, but should languish, and mi. serably fade away.--There is no dependence upon myself. It is to no purpose to resolve, except we depend on the grace of God; for if it were not for his mere grace, one might be a very good man one day, and a very wicked one the next. Thursday, January 10, about noon, reviving. It is a great dishonour to Chris', in whom I hope I have an interest, to be uneasy at my worldly state and condition. When I see the prosperity of others, and that all things go easy with them; the world is sinooth to them, and they are happy in many re. spects, and very prosperous, or are advanced to much honour, &c. to grudge and envy them, or be the least uneasy at it; to wish or long for the same prosperity, and that it would ever be so with me. Wherefore, concluded always to rejoice infevery one's prosperity, and to expect from myself no happiness of that nature as long as I live; but depend upon afilictions, and betake myself entirely to other bappiness. I think I find myself much more sprightly and healthy, both in body and mind, for my self-denial in eating, dink. ing, and sleeping. I think it would be advantageous every morning to consider my business and temptations, and what sins I shall be exposed to that day: And to make a resolution how to improve the day, and to avoid those sins. And so at the beginning of every week, month, and year. I never knew before what was meant by not set. ting our hearts upon these things. It is, not to care about them, to depend upon them, to afflict ourselves much with fears of losing them, nor please ourselves with expectation of obtaining them, or bope of the continuance of them. At night made the forty-first resolu. tion Saturday, January 12, in the morning. I have this day solemnly renewed my baptismal covenant and self-dedication, which I renewed when I was received into the communion of the church. I have been before God; and have given myself, all that I am and have, ta
In the spring of the year 1724, having taken his master's degree in the year before, he was chosen tutor of Yale College; and he followed this duty above two years. It must be owned, that this was an engagement of great consequence for a young man of twenty-one, who, by his early introduction to the ministry and other avocations,
God, so that I am not in any respect my own : I can challenge no right in myself; I can challenge no right in this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither have I any right to this body, or any of its members : No right to this tongue, these bands, por feet: No right to these senses, these eyes, these ears, this smell or taste, I have given myself clear away, and have not retained any thing as my own. I have been to God this morning, and told Him that I gave myself wholly to Him. I have given every power to Him; so that for the future I will challenge no ght in myself, ia any respect. I have expressly promised Him, and do now promise Almighty God, that by his grace I will not. I have this morning told Him, that I did take Him for my whole portion and felicity, looking on nothing else as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience : And would fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. And did believe in Jesus Christ, and receive him as a Prince and a Saviour; and would adhere to the faith and obedience of the Gospel, how hazardous and difficult soever the profession and practice of it may be. That I did receive the blessed Spirit as my teacher, sanctifier, and only comforter; and cherish all bis motions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort and assist me. This I have done. And I pray God, for the sake of Christ, to look upon it as a self-dedication; and to receive me now as entirely his own, and deal with me in all respects as such; whether he afflicts me or prospers me, or whatever he pleases to do with me, who am his. Now, henceforth I am not to act in any respect as my own. --I shall act as my own, if I ever make use of any of my powers to any thing that is not to the glory of God, and do not make the glorifying Him my whole and entire business; if I murmur in the least at afflictions ; if I grieve at the prosperity of others; if I am any way uncharitable; if I am angry because of injuries; if I revenge ; if I do any thing, purely to please myself, or if I avoid any thing for the sake of my ease : If I omix any thing because it is great self-denial: If I trust to myself: If I take any of the praise of any good that I do, or rather God does by me; or if I am any way proud. Tuesday, January 15. It seemed yesterday, the day before and Saturday, that I should always retain the same resolutions to the same height, but alas ! how soon do 1 decay! O, how weak, how infirm, how unable to do any thing am l! What a poor, inconsistent, what a miserable wretch, without the assistance of God's Spirit! While I stand, I am ready to think I stand in my own strength, and upon my own legs; and I am ready to triumph over my enemies, as if it were I myself that caused them to flee: When, alas! I am but a poor infant, upbeld by Jesus Christ; who holds me up, and gives me liberty to smile to see my enemies flee, when he drives them before me; and so I laugh, as though I myself did it, when it is only Jesus Christ leads me along, and fights himself against my enemies. And now the Lord has a little left me, and how