Throughout his adult life Jonathan Edwards kept a series of personal theological notebooks on a wide variety of miscellaneous subjects. This volume includes the notebook entries written during the eventful and tumultuous years 1740–1751, when Edwards was plagued by a series of bitter controversies with his Northampton congregation that culminated in his dismissal. This was also the period during which he witnessed, documented, and pondered the surprising revivals of the Great Awakening, as well as their precipitous decline.
The notebook entries chronicle Edwards’ continuing fascination with the nature of saving faith and with faith’s culmination in the glories of heaven and the torments of hell. They also reflect his keen interest in defending Christianity’s reasonableness from enemies at home and abroad. A new theme emerges as Edwards expresses a growing sense of the deist threat and in numerous entries defends Christian doctrines by showing striking similarities between Christian orthodoxy and ancient “heathen” philosophy. Finally, the entries show the development of Edwards’ thinking on the topics of the great treatises he would come to write during his years in Stockbridge.
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