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Freedom of the Will (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1 | WJE)

ISBN: 9780300158403

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This inaugural volume in The Works of Jonathan Edwards is his major contribution to theology and stands as a leading document on Calvinist thought. Paul Ramsey’s introduction provides a fresh analysis of Edwards’ theological position, includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in the philosophical context of today and in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.

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“I don’t suppose, that ‘will’ and ‘desire’ are words of precisely the same signification: ‘will’ seems to be a word of a more general signification, extending to things present and absent. ‘Desire’ respects something absent. I may prefer my present situation and posture, suppose sitting still, or having my eyes open, and so may will it. But yet I can’t think they are so entirely distinct, that they can ever be properly said to run counter. A man never, in any instance, wills anything contrary to his desires, or desires anything contrary to his will.” (Page 139)

“‘Liberty,’ he writes, ‘is the power, opportunity, or advantage, that anyone has to do as he pleases, or conducting in any respect, according to his pleasure; without considering how his pleasure comes to be as it is.’ Choosing as one pleases he also understands ‘without determining how he came by that pleasure.’” (Page 15)

“The choice of the mind never departs from that which, at that time, and with respect to the direct and immediate objects of that decision of the mind, appears most agreeable and pleasing, all things considered.” (Page 147)

“It must be observed in what sense I use the term ‘good’; namely, as of the same import with ‘agreeable.’ To appear good to the mind, as I use the phrase, is the same as to appear agreeable, or seem pleasing to the mind.” (Page 143)

“And therefore it must be true, in some sense, that the will always is as the greatest apparent good is.” (Page 142)

  • Title: Freedom of the Will
  • Author: Jonathan Edwards
  • Edition: Revised Edition
  • Series: The Works of Jonathan Edwards
  • Volume: 1
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2009
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Free will and determinism › Early works to 1800
  • ISBNs: 9780300158403, 0300158408
  • Resource ID: LLS:EDWARDS01
  • Resource Type: text.monograph.collected-work
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T23:37:03Z
Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is considered one of America’s greatest theologians. While attending Yale College, he encountered the same Calvinism that had influenced his own Puritan upbringing.

Three years after Edwards was ordained as a minister, the First Great Awakening began in his church, which prompted Edwards to study conversion and revival within the context of Calvinism. During the revival, Edwards preached his most famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and penned many of his most popular works, including Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, and Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd.

In 1757, Edwards reluctantly became president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton University), where he hoped to complete two major works—an expansion of his treatise on the history of redemption and a study of the harmony of the Old and New Testaments. The Works of Jonathan Edwards (26 vols.) is a massive collection containing five decades’ worth of study and scholarship on and from Edwards.

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