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could not have found too many opportunities for his own improvement: But the strength of his mind overcame what are usually insuperable difficulties in the way of the generality; and perhaps his genius acted more forcibly from not being fettered with academical clogs, which other geniuses, of an elevated rank, could never endure. I
weak do I find myself! O, let it teach me to depend less on myself, to be more humble, and to give more of the praise of my ability to Jesus Christ. The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? Saturday, March 2.--- - O, how much pleasanter is humility than pride! O, that God would till me with exceeding great bumility, and that he would evermore keep me from all pride! The pleasures of humility are really the most refined, inward and exquisite delights in the world. How bateful is a proud man! how hateful is a worin that lifts up itself with pride! What a foolish, silly, miserable, blind, deceived, poor worin am I, when pride works! Wednesday, March 6, near sun set. Felt the doctrines of election, free-grace, and of our not being able to do any thing without the grace of Gov; and that holiness is entirely, throughout, the work of God's Spirit, with more pleasure than before. Wednesday, May 1, forenoon. Last night I came home, after my melancboly parting from New-York. I have always, in every different state of life I have hitherto been in, thought the troubles and difficulties of that state to be greater than those of any other, that I proposed to be in ; and when I have altered, with assurance of mending myself, I have still thought the same; yea, that the difficulties of that state are greater than those that I left last. Lord, grant that from bence I may learn to withdraw my thoughts, affections, desires, and expectations, entirely from the world, and may fix them upon the hea. venly state, where there is fulness of joy; where reigas heavenly, sweet, calm, and delightful love without alloy; where there are continually the dearest expressions of their love: Where there is the enjoyment of the persons loved, without ever parting: Where those persons, who appear so lovely in this world, will really be inexpressibly more lovely, and full of love to us. How sweetly will the mutual lovers join together to sing the praises of God and the Lamb! How full will it fill us with joy to think, this enjoyment, these sweet exercises, will never cease or come to an end, but will last to all eternity! Thursday, October 18. To follow the example of Mr. B-, who, though he meets with great difficulties, yet undertakes them with a smiling countenance, as though he thought them but little ; and speaks of them as if they were very small. Monday, February 3, 1724. Let every thing have the value now that it will have on a sick bed: And frequently in my pursuits, of whatever kind, let this come into my mind : How much shall I value this on my deaih-bed ? Sa. turday night, June 6. This week has been a remarkable week with me with respect to despondencies, fears, perplexities, multitudes of cares, and distraction of mind; being the week I came bither to NewJiaven, in order to entrance upon the office of tutor of the college. I have now abundant reason to be convinced of the troublesomeness and vexation of the world, and that it never will be another kind of world. Tuesday, September 2. By a sparingness in diet, and eating, as much as may be, what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubt.
need only mention Milton, Dryden, and Swift, in confirmation of such an opinion. Our Author was certainly not in the highest class of learned men ; for his times, his duties, and his means, did not allow of such an attainment: But he was far more happily employed both for himself and others ; and he hath given such proofs of a mind uncommonly invigorated and enlightened, that it is matter of joy it was not engrossed by studies, which would have rendered him only the admiration of a few, instead of allowing him to be the instructor of all. He had, in short, the best and sublimest sort of knowledge, without being too much incumbered with what was unnecessary to or beneath his calling.
In September 1726, he resigned his tutorship, in consequence of the invitation of the people at Northampton in Connecticut for assistance to his mother's father Mr. Stod. dard, who was the settled minister of the town. He was ordained colleague on the 15th of February 1727, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, and continued in the ministerial service there till the 22d of June 1750; when he was dismissed in as extraordinary a way, and for as extraordinary a cause, as perhaps most of our readers may ever have heard of. We have (says his Biographer) with respect to this, an instructive lesson on the stability of all human affairs, and the unreasonableness of trusting in man.' He might have said--the unreasonableness of submitting such a man as Mr. Edwards to the passionate ignorance of the brutish multitude.
What seems at first to have rendered Mr. Edwards an object of hatred, was a circumstance, which should have made him, and would have made him among persons truly religious, an object of love. Some young persons of his flock had procured some obscene publications, which they commented upon among themselves for their own improvement in lasciviousness, and which they quoted, with the usual decency of such persons, for an impression upon others. This came in a short time to Mr. Edwards's ears ; and therefore, taking occasion, after a sermon upon Heb. xii. 15, 16. preached for the purpose, to call the leading members of his charge together, he informed them of what he had heard, and procured a consent that the matter should be examined. A committee was appointed for this purpose, and to assist the pastor. When this was done, Mr. Edwards appointed a time of meeting ; and then read a list of the names of young persons, accusing and accused, without specifying under which predicament they stood, who were desired to come together at his house.
less be able to think clearer, and shall gain time. 1st, By lengthening out my life. 2dly, Shall need less time for digestion after meals. 3dly, Shall be able to study closer without wrong to my health. 4thly, Shall need less time to sleep. 5thly, Shall seldomer be troubled with the head-ache.”
Upon the declaration of names, it appeared, that almost all the families in the town had some relation or other concerned in the matter; and therefore a great number of the heads of families not only altered their minds about examination, but declared, that their children, &c. should not be called to account for such things as these. The town was immediately in a blaze: And this so strengthened the hands, or hardened the faces of the guilty, that they set their pastor at defiance with the greatest insolence and contempt. Here this affair ended : And obscenity enjoyed its triumph.
But its effects did not end here. Mr. Edwards's hands were weakened; and, we are told, that he afterwards had no great visible success in his ministry, but, on the contrary, that security and carnality much increased among his people, and the youth in particular became more wanton and dissolute.
All this paved the way for something more. It had been a standing opinion among this people for some time, countenanced also by their late pastor, · That unconverted persons,' known to be such by the ungodliness of their lives, or the ignorance of divine truth in their minds, by which men are known to be unconverted, had, not withstanding, a right in the sight of God to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper ; and that, therefore, it was their duty to partake of it, even though they had no appearance of the grace and holiness which the gospel states to be inseparable from true believers. It was sufficient, if they were outward and visible members ; so that they, who really rejected Jesus Christ, and disliked the gospel way of salvation in their hearts, and knew that this was true of themselves, might (inconceivable as it appears) make the profession, without lying and hypocrisy.
To the common inconveniencies always attending a National church, where it is impossible to examine every man's profession, or to keep him from disgracing it, here is an addition becoming the disciples of Ignatius of Loyola, by which men may be hypocrites without the guilt of hy. pocrisy, and lyars without the imputation of sin. A convenient sort of principle indeed, to men of a certain cast;
but it. He saw,
but by no means to those, who are never to forget, that fornication and all uncleanness--should not be even named amongst them, as becometh saints. See Eph. v. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Mr. Edwards had long been uneasy upon the prevalence of this principle, which, I believe, no church of Christ ever avowed, and upon his own yielding to the example of his predecessor, and to a practice settled before he came hither. His doubts and inquietude (as might be expected from so gracious a man) increased upon him, and drove him at length to a thorough investigation of the subject, the result of which was, (and how could it be otherwise?) an absolute conviction of the error, and a firm determination to expose
" that to be a visible Christian was to put on the visibility or appearance of a real Christian; that the profession of Christianity was a profession of that in which real Christianity consists;" and that, therefore, as the Lord's Supper was intended for real Christians, none ought to come to it, who were not at least professors of real Christianity, and to whom no imputation of allowed ungodliness could justly be made.
The declaration of his mind upon this head, among such a kind of men, raised an immediate clamour, and put this town into as great a ferment, as the preaching of an holy apostle had long before occasioned at Ephesus. They were all in an uproar; and Dismiss him, dismiss him, was the universal cry of men, women, and elders. He had touched a favourite sin, and a favourite principle which protected it: And (what was a very great truth, though not in their sense of it) he was no longer fit to be their pastor. He attempted to reason with them calmly, but he breathed against the winds. They knew well enough, that their views were by no means subjects of cool discussion: for there is no man so base or so stupid as to believe, that iniquity can be sanctified by reason or revelation; and therefore, the business was to be bellowed down with the force of lungs, against which it is scarce possible for the gentle voice of meekness and wisdom to be heard in opposition.
Mr. Edwards, when they would not hear him, wished to refer the matter to impartial judges out of the vortex of this noisy faction; but this would not answer their designs of confusion and the meditated ruin of Mr. Edwards, more than the former proposal. He attempted to discuss the matter in a course of lectures, which he began for the purpose; but they would not hear him. Rebellion, like The sin of witchcraft, as a prophet hath observed, added
stubbornness to their iniquity, and diffused itself so unis versally among these people, that there was not a tenth of the whole which did not declare against him. So froward is the multitude at all times under the inflammation of nonsense and wickedness, that no conciliations, urged with truth and calmness even for their own interest, can claim or receive a moderate attention. While the hot fit lasts, medicaments, like oil, do only heighten the flame.
How often did he use all means in his power to reduce them at least to a calm, if not a charitable temper; to hear and weigh, with a little attention, what he had to say for himself; and not to condemn him, were it only for their own sakes, without some shadow of a reason ! But his meekness and modesty were treated as concessions against himself, and only raised the insolence and fury of his adversaries, instead of lowering them into peace. Nothing would serve their turn, (how highly soever against their spiritual and real interests) but an absolute separation; and they who disagreed before, agreed with lies and contumelies to promote this mean and unjust design, in the true spirit of injustice and meanness. Their excellent pastor had written against the liberty of the will in divine concerns; but these unreasonable men were resolved he should feel that it had liberty enough to do him evil in his human affairs.
Mr. Edwards, deploring their unhappy temper, and finding all methods ineffectual to restrain the torrent of virulence, slander, and falsehood rolling upon him, at length yielded to a low artifice of these men in packing a council, composed of people like themselves, which soon came to a resolution for his dismission. Only twenty out of above two hundred who voted upon this occasion, were for Mr. Edwards; and therefore he was expelled, with all the marks of an inexpressible rancour, on the 22d of June 1750.
Thus had these wretched people the lasting infamy of endeavouring to ruin one of the meekest and humblest of men, and the most able and celebrated divine, who hath as yet been born in America.—But they knew not their own mercies; and it would be well if yet they knew them.-Such a man as Mr. Edwards would impart honour to any country or profession, and be readily embraced by all: How difficult is it then to reflect, without some indignation, that a person of his uncommon worth should be made the sport of wayward ignorance, or be baffled by the cunning intrigues of an ungodly party, or be over