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The Great Awakening (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 4 | WJE)

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Interpreting the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century was in large part the work of Jonathan Edwards—whose writings on the subject defined the revival tradition in America. Moving from sensitive descriptions of “the surprising work of God” in conversion to a consuming quest for the essence of true religion, and threading his way through mounting controversies over “errors in doctrine and disorders in practice,” Edwards sought to locate an authentic core of evangelical experience, to define it in terms of biblical faith and psychological insight, and to defend it against both overheated zealous and rationalistic critics. The tracts that unfold his thoughts, presented here (with related correspondence) for the first time in accurate critical texts, document a movement so significant for the American character that it has been called “our national conversion.”

In a carefully researched introduction, C. C. Goen identifies the “Arminian threat” to which the Northampton pastor responded at the onset of the Awakening, and traces Edwards’ understanding of vital religion as it developed in the ambiguous context of revivalism. Mr. Goen’s study also illuminates little-known aspects of A Faithful Narrative and describes the haphazard way in which that important work reached its eager audience.

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Top Highlights

“We all know that there is a judging and censuring of some sort or other, that the Scripture very often, and very strictly forbids.” (Page 283)

“The work of the Gospel ministry, consisting in the administration of God’s Word and ordinances, is the principal means that God has appointed for carrying on his work on the souls of men; and ’tis his revealed will that whenever that glorious revival of religion and reformation of the world, so often spoken of in his Word, is accomplished, it should be principally by the labors of his ministers; and therefore how heinous will it be in the sight of God, if when a work of that nature is begun, we appear unbelieving, slow, backward and disaffected?” (Pages 374–375)

“It has been observable that there has been scarce any part of divine worship, wherein good men amongst us have had grace so drawn forth and their hearts so lifted up in the ways of God, as in singing his praises.” (Page 151)

“There is doubtless a time coming when God will accomplish things vastly greater and more extraordinary than these.” (Page 367)

“I don’t think ministers are to be blamed for raising the affections of their hearers too high, if that which they are affected with be only that which is worthy of affection, and their affections are not raised beyond a proportion to their importance, or worthiness of affection. I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.” (Page 387)

  • Title: The Great Awakening
  • Author: Jonathan Edwards
  • Edition: Revised Edition
  • Series: The Works of Jonathan Edwards
  • Volume: 4
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2009
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Great Awakening
  • ISBNs: 9780300158427, 0300158424
  • Resource ID: LLS:EDWARDS04
  • Resource Type: text.monograph.collected-work
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T23:37:06Z
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.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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