Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher and theologian. Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian,” and one of America’s greatest intellectuals. Edwards’s theological work is broad in scope, but he is often associated with Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life’s work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733–35 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Edwards delivered the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, a classic of early American literature, during another wave of revival in 1741, following George Whitefield’s tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey. He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr, 3rd Vice President of the United States.
The entire corpus of Edwards’s works, including previously unpublished works, is available online through the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University website. The Works of Jonathan Edwards project at Yale has been bringing out scholarly editions of Edwards based on fresh transcriptions of his manuscripts since the 1950s. There are 26 volumes so far. Many of Edwards’s works have been regularly reprinted. Some of the major works include:
- Charity and its Fruits.
- Christian Charity or The Duty of Charity to the Poor, Explained and Enforced. 1732. online text at Bible Bulletin Board
- Concerning the End for Which God Created The World.
- Contains Freedom of the Will and Dissertation on Virtue, slightly modified for easier reading.
- Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God.
- A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God. (1734)
- A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God
- Freedom of the Will.
- A History of the Work of Redemption including a View of Church History
- The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, Missionary to the Indians.
- The Nature of True Virtue.
- Original Sin.
- Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival in New England and the Way it Ought to be Acknowledged and Promoted.
- A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections.
See: Jonathan Edwards (theologian) on Wikipedia