Edwards is widely regarded as “one of America’s most important cause and effect great awakening pdf original philosophical theologians”. Vice President of the United States. His mother, Esther Stoddard, daughter of the Rev. Jonathan, their only son, was the fifth of 11 children.
He was trained for college by his father and elder sisters, all of whom received an excellent education and one of whom, Esther, the eldest, wrote a semi-humorous tract on the immateriality of the soul, often mistakenly attributed to Jonathan. 1716, at just under the age of 13. The Scriptures” and “Miscellanies,” had a grand plan for a work on natural and mental philosophy, and drew up for himself rules for its composition. Edwards would edit this text to match the burgeoning genre of scientific literature, and his “The Flying Spider” fit easily into the then-current scholarship on spiders. Even though he would go on to study theology for two years after his graduation, Edwards continued to be interested in science. God’s masterful design, and throughout his life, Edwards often went into the woods as a favorite place to pray and worship in the beauty and solace of nature.
Before he undertook full-time ministry work in Northampton, he wrote on various topics in natural philosophy, including flying spiders, light and optics. While he was worried about the materialism and faith in reason alone of some of his contemporaries, he saw the laws of nature as derived from God and demonstrating his wisdom and care. The church invited him to remain, but he declined the call. The years 1720 to 1726 are partially recorded in his diary and in the resolutions for his own conduct which he drew up at this time. Balancing these mystic joys is the stern tone of his Resolutions, in which he is almost ascetic in his eagerness to live earnestly and soberly, to waste no time, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
He was a scholar-pastor, not a visiting pastor, his rule being 13 hours of study a day. In the same year, he married Sarah Pierpont. Sarah’s spiritual devotion was without peer, and her relationship with God had long proved an inspiration to Edwards. He first remarked on her great piety when she was 13 years old. Solomon Stoddard died on February 11, 1729, leaving to his grandson the difficult task of the sole ministerial charge of one of the largest and wealthiest congregations in the colony, and one proud of its morality, its culture and its reputation. The emphasis of the lecture was on God’s absolute sovereignty in the work of salvation: that while it behooved God to create man pure and without sin, it was of his “good pleasure” and “mere and arbitrary grace” for him to grant any person the faith necessary to incline him or her toward holiness, and that God might deny this grace without any disparagement to any of his character. In 1733, a Protestant revival began in Northampton and reached an intensity in the winter of 1734 and the following spring, that it threatened the business of the town.
In 6 months, nearly 300 of 1100 youths were admitted to the church. That every mouth may be stopped. Valley, and perhaps as far as New Jersey. However, criticism of the revival began, and many New Englanders feared that Edwards had led his flock into fanaticism.
Over the summer of 1735, religious fervor took a dark turn. A number of New Englanders were shaken by the revivals but not converted, and became convinced of their inexorable damnation. Edwards wrote that “multitudes” felt urged—presumably by Satan—to take their own lives. At least two people committed suicide in the depths of their spiritual distress, one from Edwards’s own congregation—his uncle Joseph Hawley II.
However, despite these setbacks and the cooling of religious fervor, word of the Northampton revival and Edwards’s leadership role had spread as far as England and Scotland. The two men may not have seen eye to eye on every detail. Whitefield was far more comfortable with the strongly emotional elements of revival than Edwards was, but they were both passionate about preaching the Gospel. They worked together to orchestrate Whitefield’s trip, first through Boston and then to Northampton. When Whitefield preached at Edwards’s church in Northampton, he reminded them of the revival they had experienced just a few years before. This deeply touched Edwards, who wept throughout the entire service, and much of the congregation too was moved.