3 Jonathan Edwards Biographies and 1 Volume of his Sermons

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (Wikipedia)Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian,” and one of America’s greatest intellectuals. Edwards’s theological work is very broad in scope, but he is often associated with his defense of Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life’s work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset.

Edwards played a very critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first fires of revival in 1733–1735 at his church – First Church – in Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a classic of early American literature, during another wave of revival in 1741, following George Whitefield’s tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is widely known for his many books: The End For Which God Created the World; The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the nineteenth century; and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals read even today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later to be named Princeton University), and was the grandfather of Aaron Burr. [More via Wikipedia]

  • An excellent biography of Jonathan Edwards, written by Alexander V.G. Allen, is available here.
  • Sereno Edwards Dwight’s biography can be found here.
  • Samuel Hopkins’ biography can be found here.

Jonathan Edwards Sermons:

Selected Sermons of Jonathan Edwards. (227 pages)
[epub mobi txt web via Project Gutenberg] [web via Internet Archive]
These are high-quality files, not unedited scans. This volume contains the following:

  1. God Glorified in Man’s Dependence.
  2. The Reality of Spiritual Light.
  3. Ruth’s Resolution.
  4. The Many Mansions.
  5. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. -popular-
  6. A Strong Rod Broken and Withered.
  7. Farewell Sermon. -popular-

VIA http://digitalpuritan.net/jonathan-edwards/

In competition with God… – Jonathan Edwards

Jon Bloom (de la Desiring God, organizatia lui John Piper):

Jonathan Edwards: Vezi, sa nu ajunga niciodata in conflict stima de sine cu Dumnezeu.

Previous Jonathan Edwards posts –





Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – Aug. 17, 1723

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via A Puritan’s Mind.Scroll down to the bottom of article for a 19 minute audio (in video form) of this list

A list of the resolutions that Edwards read once every week to keep his mind on his duty before God.

Signature of theologian Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

(written at 19 years of age)

In an effort to be helped spiritually by Edward’s idea in inscribing his resolutions and then reading them each week, I also made a list of my own Maxims, which may also be of help to you – even if they simply spark you to make a list of your own (See my Maxims in the list on The Christian Walk page). Some are very similar to Edwards, some are exactly the same, and some are completely different. In any case, enjoy these Resolutions and Maxims in your daily walk.

Resolutions 1 through 21 were written by in one sitting in New Haven in 1722.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don’t hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is

perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14′ and July ’3′ 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear’, of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton’s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards


Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – Aug. 17, 1723

This video was the list of the resolutions that Jonathan Edwards read once every week to keep his mind on his duty before God.

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions
(written at 19 years of age)

In an effort to be helped spiritually by Edward’s idea in inscribing his resolutions and then reading them each week, I also made a list of my own Maxims, which may also be of help to you – even if they simply spark you to make a list of your own (See my Maxims in the list on The Christian Walk page). Some are very similar to Edwards, some are exactly the same, and some are completely different. In any case, enjoy these Resolutions and Maxims in your daily walk.

Resolutions 1 through 21 were written by in one sitting in New Haven in 1722.

VIDEO by turning2jesus

Jonathan Edwards Sermon – Persons Ought Not to Rest Ignorant and Unresolved About Their Own State

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Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

2 Corinthians 13:5; Jeremiah 6:30

Know ye not your own selves? Persons ought not to rest ignorant  and unresolved about their own state, whether they are real Christians or not.

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There were in the Church of Corinth some that were adversaries to Paul and his doctrine, certain false teachers that labored to seduce the Christian Corinthians, and to that end, industriously cast reproach and calumnies on the apostle Paul. They seem to have charged his with lateness and not coming to them according to his promise, with contemptibleness, in his person, that however his letters seemed weighty and powerful, yet his bodily presence was mean in his speech and contemptible. By these, and other such means, they endeavored to draw away the Corinthians from the doctrine that the apostle had taught them. And the Corinthians, so much gave ear to them, some of them at least, that things necessitated for the apostle to not only vindicate his own name and reputation, but to declare what God had done for him and by him, but also to threaten them with using that power that Christ had given him, against offenders, as in the forgoing verses of this chapter.

And because there were such evils amongst them, this occasioned the apostle, in the verse of the text, to be putting them upon examining themselves and trying their own state, whether they are real Christians or not. In the verse, may be observed:

  1. What is the thing to be judged of, namely, whether they were in the faith, or whether Christ was in them. Though all made a profession of Christ and of the faith, the words imply that a man may make a profession of the Christian faith and not be in the faith. And that a man may profess to be a follower of Christ and, yet, not have Christ dwelling in him.
  2. The means to be used in order to judge, namely, examining and proving themselves.
  3. The arguments or motives the apostle makes use of to stir them to it, which are two: Number 1 – The absurdity of being ignorant of themselves: „Know ye not your own selves?” If they did not know whether they were in the faith or not, whether Christ was in them, or not, it was their own salvation that they were ignorant of. For a man not to be acquainted with others that he seldom sees and has but little opportunity to converse with was no wonder. And if he did not know some of his neighbors and relatives, that was not so much to be wondered at. But for a man to be a stranger to his own self, there’s a great absurdity  in it. And no man ought to rest in such ignorance.  Number 2 – The second motive the apostle uses is the great importance of knowing, because if Christ was not in them, they were reprobates.By reprobates, here, is not intended the same sense in which it is commonly used by … for those that are in cause eternal decree, reprobated  to eternal damnation. We can’t suppose that the apostle means that any man that  has not Christ now dwelling in them is decreed to eternal punishment. Christ is not in him now, yet, He may be in him afterwards. He may be converted before he dies. But, by reprobates is intended here the same as false professors. The word in the original signifies disapproved or rejected by the all seeing God. He sees and approves all professors of Christianity and some He approves as sincere and real Christians, and others He rejects and disapproves of as not being of the right sort. Every professor either stands approved or disapproved in the sight of God. They that are disapproved, the apostle calls reprobates. God deals with professors as a husbandman deals with his wheat and chaff, or wheat and tares. Both grow together, but one is separated. One is approved and the other rejected. Or, as a goldsmith does for the silver and the dross. The dross may glisten and look like silver, but the goldsmith tries it and finds it not true silver, and so rejects it. And this is called reprobate silver in Jeremiah 6:30 „Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.

Doctrine: Persons ought not to rest ignorant  and unresolved about their own state, whether they are real Christians or not.

Reason #1 – It is not a thing impossible for a person to come to the knowledge of his own state.

Not only  conversion, as a thing attainable, but also the knowledge of it. The knowledge of one’s conversion, in some cases, may be obtained with difficulty. Many persons that are truly converted may be ignorant of their conversion. They may be in doubt about their condition and not be able for the present to resolve the case. No, not through the strictest examination that they’re capable of, by the rule of God’s word and by those signs  that are there given. But this is not because the knowledge of one’s conversion is in itself a thing unattainable, but because of weakness of grace or the prevalence of corruption, or the particular infirmity, or temptations, or error, or ignorance that attend that person. But the knowledge of our own state is a thing attainable. Wicked men may know that they have no grace and Godly men may come to know that they have grace. This is evident because we are directed in God’s word to use means to know as in the text. We’re directed to examine ourselves, whether  we be in the faith and approve ourselves. To this end, so that we may know our own selves.

But if the knowing of ourselves in this respect  were impossible, why does the apostle give us directions in order to it? And so, the apostle Peter directs people to endeavor for this: 2 Peter 1:10 – „Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” If a man could not know that Christ is in him, well then, the man is not to be blamed that he doesn’t know. And, why then does the apostle Paul blame the Corinthians for it, as he evidently does in these words of the text: „Know ye not your own selves?” Where is the absurdity of not knowing oneself, or what wonder is it if we don’t know our own selves, if this be a thing impossible?

And again, it is evident that this thing may be known because Scripture tells us how we may know in

  • 1 John 2:3 – „And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
  • 1 John 2:5 – „But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
  • 1 John 3;19 – „And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
  • 1 John 3:24 – „And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
  • 1 John 4:13 – „Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Why does the apostle tell us so much, whereby we may know we are of the truth, if there be no such thing as knowing? Seems therefore, the knowledge of a person’s state is attainable. A person should not rest ignorant and unresolved  about their own state, whether they are real Christians or not.

Reason # 2 – Persons, as long as they remain unresolved about their condition, in many instances, can’t know what is proper for them to do or what work they have before them. (From the first 8 1/2 minutes of a 46 min sermon) 

VIDEO by Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books

Why the knowledge of doctrine is intended and very necessary for „everyone” by Jonathan Edwards

Edwards makes 3 main points here
1) None of the things which God hath taught us in his word are needless speculations, or trivial matters; all of them are indeed important points.
2)  When God hath opened a very large treasure before us, for the supply of our wants, and we thank him that he hath given us so much; if at the same time we be willing to remain destitute of the greatest part of it, because we are too lazy to gather it, this will not show the sincerity of our thankfulness.
3) However diligently we apply ourselves, there is room enough to increase our knowledge in divinity, without coming to an end.

In this 18 page sermon, Jonathan Edwards observes two things. First, that Paul reproves the Hebrews of „dullness and backwards in understanding”  because Paul’s expectation at that point they should have known enough of divinity and the Holy Scripture to be able to understand matters such as he would have liked to engage in (i.e. Melchizedek). Second, Paul observes that every christian should make a business of endeavoring to grow in knowledge of divinity (doctrine). As Edwards points out: The short answer for the „why is knowledge of doctrine necessary?” It is because, as seasoned christians, we all should be teachers by now, as Paul reproved the Hebrews in 5:12.

Jonathan Edwards goes on to show:

Theologian Jonathan Edwards

1. What divinity is.
2. What kind of knowledge in divinity is intended.
3. Why knowledge in divinity is necessary.
4. Why all Christians should make a business of endeavoring to grow in this knowledge.
Sermon is from ccel.org

A Sermon by Jonathan Edwards

[from Works (Worcester reprint), IV:1-15.]
Hebrews 5:12 – For when, for the time, ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Christian Knowledge or The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth

If the print in this reader is too small you can either click on the link below the reader to view it on Scribs, or you can click here to read it at ccel.org.

Vezi acest document pe Scribd

My personal notes and highlights from the sermon:

(Note: Edwards is not  indicating that this endeavor for acquiring this knowledge of doctrine involve anything other than God’s revealed Word in the Old Testament and New Testament. He is not referring to church creeds or church history, although he believes it very profitable for the christian to read as much as possible on each of those subjects.)

  •  There is an order of men whom Christ has appointed on purpose to be teachers in his church. They are to teach the things of divinity. But they teach in vain, if no knowledge in these things is gained by their teaching. (According to Edwards, the fault here lies not with the teacher (on occasion this may be the case), but mostly the fault is with the learner, whose duty is to learn, just as the teacher’s is to teach. This brings to mind the  visible biblical illiteracy of some of the modern churches. How many christians even find and bring a/their Bible to church service on Sunday? How many even pick up the one that is sitting on the back of the pews? If this is indeed an indication, it would prove Edwards premise that these christians are failing in their duty as learners)
  • By divinity is meant, that science or doctrine which comprehends all those truths and rules which concern the great business of religion. There are various kinds of arts and sciences taught and learned in the schools, which are conversant about various objects; about the works of nature in general; as philosophy; or the visible heavens, as astronomy; or the sea, as navigation; or the earth, as geography; or the body of man, as physic and anatomy; or the soul of man, with regard to its natural powers and qualities, as logic and pneumatology; or about human government, as politics and jurisprudence. But there is one science, or one certain kind of knowledge and doctrine, which is above all the rest, as it is concerning God and the great business of religion: this is divinity; which is not learned, as other sciences, merely by the improvement of man’s natural reason, but is taught by God himself in a certain book that he hath given for that end, full of instruction.
  • This is the rule which God hath given to the world to be their guide in searching after this kind of knowledge, and is a summary of all things of this nature needful for us to know. Upon this account divinity is rather called a doctrine, than an art or science.
  • There are many truths concerning God, and our duty to him, which are evident by the light of nature. But Christian divinity, properly so called, is not evident by the light of nature; it depends on revelation.
  • It is only the word of God, contained in the Old and New Testament, which teaches us Christian divinity.
  • 1. That there are two kinds of knowledge of the things of divinity, viz., speculative and practical, or in other terms, natural and spiritual. The former remains only in the head. No other faculty but the understanding is concerned in it. It consists in having a natural or rational knowledge of the things of religion, or such a knowledge as is to be obtained by the natural exercise of our own faculties, without any special illumination of the Spirit of God. The latter rests not entirely in the head, or in the speculative ideas of things; but the heart is concerned in it: it principally consists in the sense of the heart. The mere intellect, without the heart, the will or the inclination, is not the seat of it.
  • 2. Neither of these is intended in the doctrine exclusively of the other: but it is intended that we should seek the former in order to the latter. The latter, even a spiritual and practical knowledge of divinity, is of the greatest importance; for a speculative knowledge of it, without a spiritual knowledge, is in vain and to no purpose, but to make our condemnation the greater.
  1. It should not satisfy them that they know as much as is absolutely necessary to salvation, but should seek to make progress.
  2. They should make it part of their daily business….. There are no things so worthy to be known as these things….
  3. Such things as these have been the main subject of the study of the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and the most excellent men that ever were in the world, and are also the subject of the study of the angels in heaven; 1 Pet. 1:10,11,12.
  4. The things of divinity not only concern ministers, but are of infinite importance to all Christians. It is not with the doctrines of divinity as it is with the doctrines of philosophy and other sciences.
  5. The doctrines: this nearly concern every one. They are about those things which relate to every man’s eternal salvation and happiness. The common people cannot say, Let us leave these matters to ministers and divines; let them dispute them out among themselves as they can; they concern not us: for they are of infinite importance to every man. Those doctrines of divinity which relate to the essence, attributes, and subsistencies of God, concern all; as it is of infinite importance to common people, as well as to ministers, to know what kind of being God is. For he is the Being who hath made us all, „in whom we live, and move, and have our being;” who is the Lord of all; the Being to whom we are all accountable; is the last end of our being, and the only fountain of our happiness.
  6. The doctrines also which relate to Jesus Christ and his mediation, his incarnation, his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, his sitting at the right hand of the Father, his satisfaction and intercession, infinitely concern common people as well as divines.
  7. The same may be said of the doctrines which relate to the manner of a sinner’s justification, or the way in which he becomes interested in the mediation of Christ. They equally concern all; for all stand in equal necessity of justification before God. That eternal condemnation, to which we are all naturally exposed, is equally dreadful. So with respect to those doctrines of divinity, which relate to the work of the Spirit of God on the heart, in the application of redemption in our effectual calling and sanctification, all are equally concerned in them. There is no doctrine of divinity whatever, which doth not some way or other concern the eternal interest of every Christian. None of the things which God hath taught us in his word are needless speculations, or trivial matters; all of them are indeed important points.
  8. Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you to dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls, and in order to practice. If applause be your end, you will not be so likely to be led to the knowledge of the truth, but may justly, as often is the case of those who are proud of their knowledge, be led into error to your own perdition. This being your end, if you should obtain much rational knowledge, it would not be likely to be of any benefit to you, but would puff you up with pride: 1 Cor. 8:1, „Knowledge puffeth up.”
  9. Seek to God, that he would direct you, and bless you, in this pursuit after knowledge. This is the apostle’s direction, James 1:5: „If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, who giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not.” God is the fountain of all divine knowledge. Prov. 2:6, „The Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Labor to be sensible of your own blindness and ignorance, and your need of the help of God, lest you be led into error, instead of true knowledge. 1 Cor. 3:18, „If any man would be wise, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.”

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