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The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader


by: Jonathan Edwards

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader
variant image of The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader

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Binding: Paperback
EAN: 9780300077681
ISBN: 0300077688
Item Dimensions: 85057592100
Label: Yale University Press
Languages: EnglishPublishedEnglishOriginal LanguageEnglishUnknown
Manufacturer: Yale University Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 336
Publication Date: July 11, 1999
Publisher: Yale University Press
Studio: Yale University Press

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Editorial Review:

Product Description:
Jonathan Edwards, widely considered America’s most important Christian thinker, was first and foremost a preacher and pastor who guided souls and interpreted religious experiences. His primary tool in achieving these goals was the sermon, out of which grew many of his famous treatises. This selection of Edwards’ sermons recognizes their crucial role in his life and art.

The fifteen sermons, four of which have never been published before, reflect a life dedicated to experiencing and understanding spiritual truth. Chosen to represent a typical cycle of Edwards’ preaching, the sermons address a wide range of occasions, situations, and states, corporate as well as personal. The book also contains an introduction that discusses Edwards’ contribution to the sermon as a literary form, places his sermons within their social and cultural contexts, and considers his theological aims as a way of familiarizing the reader with the "order of salvation" as Edwards conceived of it. Together, the sermons and the editors’ introduction offer a rounded picture of Edwards the preacher, the sermon writer, and the pastoral theologian.

Amazon.com Review:
The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader is the first published anthology of sermons by the most influential American Puritan of the 18th century. Some people think Edwards is scary, because his most famous fire-and-brimstone preaching ("Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God") is too severe for today. But this book demonstrates that Edwards is equally capable of rapture, of reason, and of relating to a great variety of Christian experiences. The following passage, from a sermon called "Heaven Is a World of Love," is timeless in its sensibilities: "[B]y living a life of love ... you will be in the way to heaven. As heaven is a world of love, so the way to heaven is the way of love. This will best prepare you for heaven, and make you meet for an inheritance with the saints in that land of light and love. And if ever you arrive at heaven, faith and love must be the wings which must carry you there."

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards contains 14 sermons (of the more than 1,200 that Edwards preached), including five that have not previously been published. A smart introduction describes the sermons' historical context (some were preached to white congregations, others to Native Americans; all were delivered in the volatile period between the Salem witch trials and the American Revolution) and their literary structure. (Each sermon starts with a Scripture text and brief comment or interpretation; makes a simple statement of doctrine that will be presented in the sermon; and then proceeds with various defenses, applications, and uses of the doctrine, which address the immediate personal and social concerns of the listeners.) As a collection, the editors note, "the sermons have a sense of progression to them that reflects the pilgrimage of the soul ... from its sinful earthly state to a pure heavenly existence." A sermon called "The Way of Holiness," preached when Edwards was a teenager, explains what each step in the soul's pilgrimage should be like, urging believers to live so as to deepen the "likeness in nature between God and the soul of the believer." Edwards's own credo, written when he was 19, declares his intention to follow such a pilgrimage, "to live with all my might, while I do live." --Michael Joseph Gross

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