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Archive for the ‘Edwards, Jonathan’ Category

Hence we learn how absolutely we are dependent on God in this great matter of the eternal salvation of our souls. We are dependent not only on his wisdom to contrive a way to accomplish it, and on his power to bring it to pass, but we are dependent on his mere will and pleasure in the affair.

We depend on the sovereign will of God for every thing belonging to it, from the foundation to the top-stone. It was of the sovereign pleasure of God, that he contrived a way to save any of mankind, and gave us Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, to be our Redeemer. …

It was of his sovereign pleasure what means to appoint. … His giving those means to us rather than to others, his giving the awakening influences of his Spirit, and his bestowing saving grace, are all of his sovereign pleasure.

When he says, ‘Let there be light in the soul of such an one,’ it is a word of infinite power and sovereign grace.

source: Jonathan Edwards, God’s Sovereignty in the Salvation of Men (Romans 9:18) Sermon IV of Seventeen Occasional Sermons

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note: In the quotes below Jonathan Edwards, the last of the Puritans, is not referring to husbands-wives but of loving Christian relationships generally. In the quotes below he describes the eternal love between God’s people.

“How soon do earthly lovers come to an end of their discoveries of each other’s beauty; how soon do they see all that is to be seen! … And how happy is that love, in which there is an eternal progress in all these things; wherein new beauties are continually discovered, and more and more loveliness, and in which we shall forever increase in beauty ourselves; where we shall be made capable of finding out and giving, and shall receive, more and more endearing expressions of love forever: our union will become more close, and communication more intimate” (Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies, 13:198).

“Heavenly lovers will have no doubt of the love of each other. They shall have no fear that their professions and testimonies of love are hypocritical; they shall be perfectly satisfied of the sincerity and strength of each other’s love, as much as if there were a window in all their breasts, that they could see other’s hearts. There shall be no such thing as flattery or dissimulation in heaven, but there perfect sincerity shall reign through all. Everyone will be perfectly sincere, having really all that love which they profess. All their expressions of love shall come from the bottom of their hearts” (Jonathan Edwards, Yale, 8:378).

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I am convinced that there are many things in religion and the Scriptures that are made difficult on purpose to try men, and to exercise their faith and scrutiny, and to hinder the proud and self-sufficient.

source: Jonathan Edwards, from Miscellanies #139:

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Jonathan Edwards viewed heaven as a place where the joy of God’s people will only increase forever and ever. But what will cause the saints’ joy to constantly overflow and expand again and again into eternity?

The object of their thought shall be the glory of God; which they shall contemplate in the creation in general, in the wonderful make of it, particularly of the highest heavens, and in the wonders of God’s providence. It shall most clearly and delightfully be manifested in the church of saints and angels; which they shall discover more and more by their conversation, assisting one another to discoveries in other things; and, most of all mediate ways, in the man Christ Jesus.

They shall employ themselves in singing God’s praise, or expressing their thoughts to God and Christ, and also to one another; and in going from one part of heaven to another, to behold the glories of God shining in the various parts of it.

Source: Jonathan Edwards, The Miscellanies #137

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"Christ will not refuse to save the greatest sinners, who in a right manner come to God for mercy; for this is his work.  It is his business to be a Savior of sinners; it is the work upon which he came into the world; and therefore he will not object to it.  He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matt 9.13).  Sin is the very evil which he came into the world to remedy: therefore he will not object to any man, that [though] he is very sinful.  The more sinful he is, the more need of Christ."

"Christ doth not pity sinners because they are worthy, but because they need his pity."

Source: A sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled “Pardon for the Greatest Sinners” based on Psalm 25.11.

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source: Jonathan Edwards sermon preached in 1753 to Stockbridge Indians "The Pure in Heart Blesssed" Edwards, Vol. 2 p. 905.

 

Spiritual Sight

The saints in heaven will behold an outward glory … and there will doubtless be appearances of a divine and inimitable glory and beauty in Christ’s glorified body, which it will indeed be a refreshing and blessed sight to see. …

So the sight that they will have in heaven will exclude all doubting. The knowledge of God which the saints have in this world, has certainty in it, but yet the certainty is liable to be interrupted with temptations, and some degree of doubtings, but there is no such thing in heaven. …

[The] sight which the saints will have of God will make them as sensible of his presence, and give them as great advantages for conversing with him, as the sight of the bodily eyes doth an earthly friend. Yea, and more too. For when we see our earthly friends with bodily eyes, we have not the most full and direct sight of their principal part, even their souls. We see the qualities, and dispositions, and acts of their minds, no otherwise than by outward signs of speech and behavior. Strictly speaking, we do not see the man, the soul, at all, but only its tabernacle or dwelling.

But their souls will have the most clear sight of the spiritual nature of God itself. They shall behold his attributes and disposition towards them more immediately, and therefore with greater certainty, than it is possible to see anything in the soul of an earthly friend by his speech and behavior. And therefore their spiritual sight will give them greater advantage for conversing with God, than the sight of earthly friends with bodily eyes, or hearing them with our ears, gives us for conversing with them.

God as the supreme object of one’s happiness

The love of God is also the most suitable entertainment of the soul of man, which naturally desires the happiness of society, or of union with some other being. The love of so glorious a being is infinitely valuable, and the discoveries of it are capable of ravishing the soul above all other love.

It is suitable to the nature of an intelligent being also, as it is that kind of delight that reason approves of. There are many other delights in which men indulge themselves, which, although they are pleasing to the senses and inferior powers, yet are contrary to reason. Reason opposes the enjoyment of them, so that unless reason be suppressed and stifled, they cannot be enjoyed without a war in the soul. Reason, the noblest faculty, resists the inferior rebellious powers. And the more reason is in exercise, the more will it resist, and the greater will be the inward war and opposition. …

The happiness of seeing God is a blessing without any mixture. That pleasure has the best claim to be called man’s true happiness, which comes unmixed, and without alloy. But so doth the joy of seeing God. It neither brings any bitterness, nor will it suffer any.

This pleasure brings no bitterness with it. That is not the case with other delights, in which natural men are wont to place their happiness. They are bitter sweets, yielding a kind of momentary pleasure in gratifying an appetite, but wormwood and gall are mingled in the cup. He who plucks these roses, finds that they grow on thorns. He who tastes of this honey is sure to find in it a sting. If men place their happiness in them, reason and conscience will certainly give them inward disturbance in their enjoyment. There will be the sting of continual disappointments, for carnal delights are of such a nature that they keep the soul, that places its happiness in them, always big with expectation and in eager pursuit, while they are evermore like shadows, and never yield what is hoped for. They who give themselves up to them, unavoidably bring upon themselves many heavy inconveniences. If they promote their pleasure in one way, they destroy their comforts in many other ways. And this sting ever accompanies them, that they are but short-lived, they will soon vanish, and be no more.

And as to the pleasure found in the enjoyment of earthly friends, there is a bitterness goes also with that. An intense love to any earthly object, though it may afford high enjoyment, yet greatly multiplies our cares and anxieties through the defects and blemishes, the instability and changeableness, of the object, the calamities to which it is exposed, and the short duration of all such friendships, and of the pleasures thence arising.

… Even the sight of God’s vindictive justice will add to their joy. This justice of God will appear glorious to them, and will make them prize his love. …

But the fountain that supplies that joy and delight, which the soul has in seeing God, is sufficient to fill the vessel. Because it is infinite. He that sees the glory of God, in his measure beholds that of which there is no end. The understanding may extend itself as far as it will. It doth but take its flight into an endless expanse and dive into a bottomless ocean. It may discover more and more of the beauty and loveliness of God, but it never will exhaust the fountain. …

A desire to be pure in heart

… To those animals which are of a filthy and impure nature, as swine and dogs, ravens and vermin, those things that are filthy and nauseous to mankind, do not seem at all disgusting. But on the contrary they love them, it is food that suits their appetites. It is because they are of an impure and filthy nature. The nature of the animal is agreeable to such things. So it is with men of impure hearts. They see no filthiness in sin, they do not nauseate it, it is in no way uncomfortable to them to have it hanging about them, they can wallow in it without any reluctance. Yea, they take pleasure in it, it is their meat and their drink, because they are of an impure nature. But he who has become pure in heart hates sin. He has antipathy to it. He does not love to be near it. If he sees any of it hanging about him, he abhors himself for it. He seems filthy to himself. He is a burden to himself. He abhors the very sight of it, and shuns the appearance of it. If he sees sin in others, it is a very unpleasant sight to him. As sin, and as committed against God, it is grievous and uncomfortable to him wherever he discovers it. It is because his heart is changed, and God has given him a pure nature. …

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Jonathan Edwards – sermon on Romans ii.10

There are different degrees of happiness and glory in heaven. As there are degrees among the angels, viz. thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; so there are degrees among the saints. In heaven are many mansions, and of different degrees of dignity. The glory of the saints above will be in some proportion to their eminency in holiness and good works here. Christ will reward all according to their works. He that gained ten pounds was made ruler over ten cities, and he that gained five pounds over five cities. Luke xix. 17 2 Cor. ix. 6 “He that soweth sparingly, shall reap sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” And the apostle Paul tells us that, as one star differs from another star in glory, so also it shall be in the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor. xv. 41. . Romans ii:10 . Christ tells us that he who gives a cup of cold water unto a disciple in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward. But this could not be true, if a person should have no greater reward for doing many good works than if he did but few. It will be no damp to the happiness of those who have lower degrees of happiness and glory, that there are others advanced in glory above them: for all shall be perfectly happy, every one shall be perfectly satisfied. Every vessel that is cast into this ocean of happiness is full, though there are some vessels far larger than others; and there shall be no such thing as envy in heaven, but perfect love shall reign through the whole society. Those who are not so high in glory as others, will not envy those that are higher, but they will have so great, and strong, and pure love to them, that they will rejoice in their superior happiness; their love to them will be such that they will rejoice that they are happier than themselves; so that instead of having a damp to their own happiness, it will add to it. They will see it to be fit that they that have been most eminent in works of righteousness should be most highly exalted in glory; and they will rejoice in having that done, that is fittest to be done. There will be a perfect harmony in that society; those that are most happy will also be most holy, and all will be both perfectly holy and perfectly happy. But yet there will be different degrees of both holiness and happiness according to the measure of each one’s capacity, and therefore those that are lowest in glory will have the greatest love to those that are highest in happiness, because they will see most of the image of God in them; and having the greatest love to them, they will rejoice to see them the most happy and the highest in glory. And so, on the other hand, those that are highest in glory, as they will be the most lovely, so they will be fullest of love: as they will excel in happiness, they will proportionally excel in divine benevolence and love to others, and will have more love to God and to the saints than those that are lower in holiness and happiness. And besides, those that will excel in glory will also excel in humility. Here in this world, those that are above others are the objects of envy, because that others conceive of them as being lifted up with it; but in heaven it will not be so, but those saints in heaven who excel in happiness will also in holiness, and consequently in humility. The saints in heaven are more humble than the saints on earth, and still the higher we go among them the greater humility there is; the highest orders of saints, who know most of God, see most of the distinction between God and them, and consequently are comparatively least in their own eyes, and so are most humble. The exaltation of some in heaven above the rest will be so far from diminishing the perfect happiness and joy of the rest who are inferior, that they will be the happier for it; such will be the union in their society that they will be partakers of each other’s happiness. Then will be fulfilled in its perfection that which is declared in 1 Cor. xii. 22. “If one of the members be honoured all the members rejoice with it.”

 

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