Jonathan Edwards

1703-1758

Jonathan Edwards was a colonial American Congregational preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian.”

His 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. His famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” is credited for starting the First Great Awakening. Edwards is widely known for his books Religious Affections and The Freedom of the Will. He died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later to be named Princeton University). Edwards is widely regarded as America’s greatest theologian.

 

The weakness of human nature has always appeared in times of great revivals of religion, by a disposition to run into extremes, especially in these three things: enthusiasm, superstition, and intemperate zeal.

 

We cannot believe that the church of God is already possessed of all that light which God intends to give it; nor that all Satan’s lurking places have already been found out.

 

Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that overawes our little anxieties and doubts: the sight of the deep-blue sky, and the clustering stars above seem to impart a quiet to the mind.