This column customarily restricts itself to current periodical literature. This time, however, we are devoting the page to a book—or more accurately a series of books—The Works of Jonathan Edwards. (Perry Miller, General Editor. Volume I, Freedom of the Will, edited by Paul Ramsey, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1957. 494 pp.; $6.50). This definitive edition is a matter of the highest importance and significance. Inasmuch as we have a personal interest both in Edwards and in this edition we feel compelled to give it the attention that it demands.
First a word about Edwards himself, and then a word on this whole edition, with incidental references to the first volume which has just appeared. Born in 1703 this child of a Connecticut manse early exhibited an intellectual precocity never surpassed in history. Well-trained by his father at home, he finished his academic discipline at the head of his class at Yale, where a college is today named for him. Possibly the two most important events in his intellectual life occurred here as he came under the influence of the British empiricist, John Locke, and as his conversion was occasioned by his yielding to the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Domestically speaking, he became acquainted with Sarah Pierpont, who later entered into one of the happiest of marriages with him, and began that line of descendants which is usually cited as America’s most distinguished.
For twenty-three years he preached the doctrines of the Bible to the Congregational church in Northampton, Mass., with a thoroughness and profundity that has never been matched in the annals of the Christian pulpit. It was during this period that the revivals occurred which have caused him to be regarded as our most eminent ...1
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