Jonathan Edwards

6339612“The word of God, which is given for our instruction in divinity, contains enough in it to employ us to the end of our lives, and then we shall leave enough uninvestigated to employ the heads of the ablest divines to the end of the world. The psalmist found an end to the things that are human; but he could never find an end to what is contained in the word of God; Ps. 119:96. ‘I have seen an end to all perfection; but thy command is exceeding broad.’ There is enough in this divine science to employ the understanding of saints and angels to all eternity.” “Be directed to sacrifice every thing to your soul’s eternal interest. Let seeking this be so much your bent, and what you are so resolved in, that you will make every thing give place to it. Let nothing stand before your resolution of seeking the kingdom of God. Whatever it be that you used to look upon as a convenience, or comfort, or ease, or thing desireable on any account, if it stands in the way of this great concern, let it be dismissed without hesitation; and if it be of that nature that it is likely always to be a hinderance, then wholly have done with it, and never entertain any expectation from it more.”
– Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a Congregational minister, theologian and missionary. He is widely recognized as the most important North American theologian, and is undoubtedly one of the great intellectuals in American history. He was firmly committed to Reformed theology in the Puritan tradition, which he rigorously defended and expounded, and he was also a key figure in the great revivals in the middle of the 18th century. Some of his best known works are A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, Freedom of the Will, Charity and its Fruits and The Life and Diary of David Brainard, Missionary to the Indians, which is considered by many to be the best missionary biography ever written (David Brainard was Edwards’ son-in-law). He reluctantly accepted a position as the president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), but died from a smallpox inoculation only a few weeks after he assumed the presidency. Edwards had eleven children, and George Marsden remarks that “the Edwards family produced scores of clergymen, thirteen presidents of higher learning, sixty-five professors, and many other persons of notable achievements.”