Jonathan Edwards

Recommendation:  5/5

Description of author:  Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) has been called by some the greatest thinker in American history.  He was pastor of the church at Northampton, MA and was part of the Great Awakening.

Comments:  Due to the size of the pages and the size of the print in this edition, this 66 page treatise would probably be closer to 250 pages in a normal sized book.  The treatise was a response to critics of the revival that was then taking place in New England. Divided into five parts, this work seeks to demonstrate that the revival is from God (part 1), and that it must be promoted (part 2);  he then shows how promoters of the revival have been falsely accused (part 3), and what things in the revival are to be corrected or avoided (part 4); then he gives positive suggestions as to how the revival might be promoted (part 5).  The whole work is of great value to anyone interested in the nature of the Great Awakening, but the most spiritually profound section is part 4.  In this part Edwards describes spiritual pride (section 1); the tendency of men to claim inspiration or immediate revelation in times of revival (section 2, p. 404); the tendency to trust impressions as being unquestionably from the Holy Spirit (section 2, p. 406); and the tendency to mistake success and spiritual experience as approbation from God (section 2, p. 408).  The warnings that Edwards gives in this part demonstrate deep understanding of the things of God and human nature.  The errors and extravagances referenced by Edwards are still present with us today, reminding us that human nature is still unchanged and our enemy, the devil, is still unchanged.  In this treatise, Edwards also demonstrates his tendency to allegorize the Old Testament (p. 385, 428), and gives us numerous examples of his Classic Postmillennialism (p. 377, 380-382).