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The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader (Paperback) by Jonathan Edwards (Author), Professor Wilson H. Kimnach (Editor), Kenneth P. Minkema (Editor), Professor Douglas A. Sweeney (Editor)

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Summary

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The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader is the first published anthology of sermons by the most influential American Puritan of the 18th century. Some people think Edwards is scary, because his most famous fire-and-brimstone preaching ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God") is too severe for today. But this book demonstrates that Edwards is equally capable of rapture, of reason, and of relating to a great variety of Christian experiences. The following passage, from a sermon called "Heaven Is a World of Love," is timeless in its sensibilities: "[B]y living a life of love ... you will be in the way to heaven. As heaven is a world of love, so the way to heaven is the way of love. This will best prepare you for heaven, and make you meet for an inheritance with the saints in that land of light and love. And if ever you arrive at heaven, faith and love must be the wings which must carry you there."

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards contains 14 sermons (of the more than 1,200 that Edwards preached), including five that have not previously been published. A smart introduction describes the sermons' historical context (some were preached to white congregations, others to Native Americans; all were delivered in the volatile period between the Salem witch trials and the American Revolution) and their literary structure. (Each sermon starts with a Scripture text and brief comment or interpretation; makes a simple statement of doctrine that will be presented in the sermon; and then proceeds with various defenses, applications, and uses of the doctrine, which address the immediate personal and social concerns of the listeners.) As a collection, the editors note, "the sermons have a sense of progression to them that reflects the pilgrimage of the soul ... from its sinful earthly state to a pure heavenly existence." A sermon called "The Way of Holiness," preached when Edwards was a teenager, explains what each step in the soul's pilgrimage should be like, urging believers to live so as to deepen the "likeness in nature between God and the soul of the believer." Edwards's own credo, written when he was 19, declares his intention to follow such a pilgrimage, "to live with all my might, while I do live." --Michael Joseph Gross

Reviews

From Library Journal

It is difficult to say whether or not 18th-century divine Jonathan Edwards has a place in the spirituality of those now living; however, since his influence on American preaching and conservative Protestant theology is beyond calculation, it is worthwhile to note the publication of this first anthology of his sermons, including five not published before. The editors have carefully prepared a wide-ranging collection, from a sermon on the "pleasantness of religion" to an address to the Mohawk Indians. Informed general readers will greatly enjoy Edwards's clear style and keen intellect, and from this they can be directed to the complete Works also published by Yale. For larger collections, especially in a university setting.

Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

5 out of 5 stars A monument in Christian literature!!, December 1, 2002

By Robert Cain (Lompoc, CA USA)

The sermons of Edwards are a cornerstone of religious faith in this country. His ability to reach common man led to a national revival. This "calvinistic" doctrine is what our nation needs now! It is both a comfort and a fearful thing to know that our eternal lives are in the hands of a loving God and a just God who can be angry at sin!!! I'm sorry some people feel threatened by Calvin and Edwards but if you are seeking enlightenment this book can help point you there.

5 out of 5 stars As always, excellent!, October 12, 2003

By R. A. Livingston "rhondalivingston@hotmail.com" (West Virginia)

(REAL NAME)    

Edwards is excellent in presenting the gospel. His sermons are quite substantive and always pointing the reader (or hearer in his days) towards God. Should you desire a great book of some of Edward's greatest works, this is the book for you.


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