« PreviousContinue »
It has long been desired by the friends of Mr. Edwards that a number of his manuscripts should be published ; but the disadvantage under which all posthumous publications must necessarily appear, and the difficulty of getting any considerable work printed in this infant country hitherto, have proved sufficient obstacles to the execution of such a proposal. The first of these obstacles made me doubt, for a considerable time after these manuscripts came into my hands, whether I could, consistently with that regard which I owe to the honor of so worthy a parent, suffer any of them to appear in the world. However, being diffident of my own sentiments, and doubtful whether I were not over jealous in this matter, I determined to submit to the opinion of gentlemen, who are friends both to the character of Mr. EDWARDS and to the cause of truth. The consequence was, that they gave their advice for publishing them.
The other obstacle was removed by a gentleman in the church of Scotland, who was formally a correspondent of Mr. EDWARDS. He engaged a bookseller to undertake the work, and also signified his desire, that these following discourses in particular might be made public.
Mr. EDWARDS had planned a body of divinity, in a new method, and in the form of a history ; in which he was first to show, how the most remarkable events, in all ages from the fall to the present times, recorded in sacred and profane history, were adapted to promote the work of redemption ; and then to trace, by the light of scripture prophecy, how the same work should be yet further carried on even to the end of the world. His heart was so much set on executing this plan, that he was considerably averse to accept the presidentship of Princeton college, lest the duties of that office should put it out of his power.
The outlines of that work are now offered to the public,
as contained in a series of sermons, preached at Northampton
in 1739,* without any view to publication. On that account,
the reader cannot reasonably expect all that from them, which
he might justly have expected, had they been written with
such a view, and prepared by the Author's own hand for the
As to elegance of composition, which is now esteemed so
essential to all publications, it is well known, that the Author
did not make that his chief study. However, his other writ-
ings, though destitute of the ornaments of fine language, have
it seems that solid merit, which has procured both to them-
selves and to him a considerable reputation in the world, and
with many an high esteem. It is hoped that the reader will
find in these discourses many traces of plain good sense,
sound reasoning, and thorough knowledge of the sacred ora-
cles, and real unfeigned piety; and that, as the plan is new,
of the sentiments uncommon, they may
tertainment and improvement to the ingenious, the inquisitive,
and the pious reader; may confirm their faith in God's gov-
ernment of the world, in our holy Christian religion in gen-
eral, and in many of its peculiar doctrines ; may assist in
studying with greater pleasure and advantage the historical
and prophetical books of scripture ; and may excite to a con-
versation becoming the gospel.
That this volume may produce these happy effects in all
who shall peruse it is the hearty desire and prayer of
The reader's most humble servant,
Newhaven, Feb. 25, 1773.
* This is necessary to be remembered by the reader, in order to understand
some chronological observations in the following work.
From the fall to the incarnation of Christ,
From the fall to the flood, -
From the flood to the calling of Abraham,
From the calling of Abraham to Moses,
From Moses to David,
From David to the Babylonish captivity,
From the Babylonish captivity to the coming of Christ, -
Inspiration, and usefulness of the books of the Old Testament,
The time of Christ's humiliation,
Of Christ's becoming incarnate to capacitate himself for the purchase of
Of the purchase itself,
Sect. i. What is intended by Christ's purchasing redemption,
Sect. 2. Observations concerning this purchase,
Sect. 3. Sufferings by which Christ purchased redemption,
Sect. 1. Reproof of unbelief, selfrighteousness, and neglect of salva-
Sect. 2. Encouragement to trust in Christ, for salvation,
From Christ's resurrection to the end of the world,
General observations concerning this period,
Things whereby Christ was put into a capacity for accomplishing the
ends of his purchase,
How Christ accomplished this success,
Sect. 1. How this success is accomplished by God's grace here, 246
§ 2. The means of this success established after Christ's resurrection, ibid.
$ 2. The success itself,
FIRST. In the suffering state of the Church,
1. From Christ's resurrection till the destruction of Jerusalem,
II. From the destruction of Jerusalem to that of the Heathen empire, 266
INFERENCE. Truth of Christianity argued from the success of the gospel, 277
III. Success from the time of Constantine till the fall of Antichrist,
ist, From Constantine till the rise of Antichrist,
2dly. From the rise of Antichrist till the reformation,
3dly. From the reformation till the present time,
i. Of the reformation itself,
2. Of the opposition made to the Reformation,
3. What success the gospel has lately had,
4. Present state of things with regard to the success of the gospel,
1. Truth of Christianity argued from the events of this period,
2. The spirit of true Christians a spirit of suffering,
3. What reason we have to expect that events foretold in scripture, not
yet fulfilled, shall be accomplished,
4thly. How the success of redemption shall be carried on till Antichrist's
SECONDLY, Success of redemption through that space wherein the christ.
ian church shall for the most part enjoy prosperity,
1. Prosperity of the church through the greater part of this period, 347
II. The great apostacy that shall take place towards the end of this period, 354
Sect. II. The success of redemption in glory,
General remarks on this success,
The particular manner in which this success is accomplished,
IMPROVEMENT OF THE WHOLE.
I. How great a work the work of redemption is,
II. God the Alpha and Omega, of all things,
III. Christ in all things has the preeminence,
IV. The consistency, order, and beauiy of providence,
V. The scriptures the word of God,
VI. The majesty and power of God in the work of redemption, 385
VII. The glorious wisdom of God in the work of redemption, 387
VIII. The stability of God's faithfulness to his people,
IX. How happy a society the church of Christ is,
X. The misery of those that are not interested in Christ,
THE NATURE OF VIRTUE.
CHAP. I. The essence of virtue,
II. What true Virtue respects,
III. Secondary kind of beauty,
V. Conscience and the moral sense,
VII. Mistakes respecting Virtue,
VIII. Of sentiment as the foundation of Virtue,
MYSTERIES OF SCRIPTURE,
FOR THE MOTH SHALL EAT THEM UP LIKE A GARMENT,
AND THE WORM SHALL EAT THEM LIKE WOOL: BUT MY
RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL BE FOREVER, AND MY SALVATION
FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION.
THE design of this chapter is to comfort the church under her sufferings, and the persecutions of her enemies; and the argument of consolation insisted on, is, the constancy and perpe*tuity of God's mercy and faithfulness towards her, which shall be manifest in continuing to work salvation for her, protecting her against all assaults of her enemies, and carrying her safely through all the changes of the world, and finally crowning her with victory and deliverance.
In the text, this happiness of the church of God is set forth by comparing it with the contrary fate of her enemies that oppress her. And therein we may observe,
1. How short lived the power and prosperity of the church's enemies is : The moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; i.e. however great their prosperity is, and however great their present glory, they shall by degrees consume and vanish away by a secret curse of God, till they come to nothing; and all their power and glory, and so their persecutions, eternally cease, and they be finally and irrecoverably ruined: As the finest and most glorious apparel will in VOL. I.