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for conversation, but more especially for the government of a college. This makes me shrink at the thoughts of taking upon me, in the decline of life, such a new and great business, attended with such a multiplicity of cares, and requiring such a degree of activity, alertness, and spirit of government ; especially as succeeding one so remarkably well qualified in these respects, giving occasion to every one to remark the wide difference. I am also deficient in some parts of learning, particularly in algebra, and the higher parts of mathematics, and in the Greek classics ; my Greek learning having been chiefly in the New Testament. The other thing is this; that my engaging in this business will not well consist with those views, and that course of employ in my study, which have long engaged and swallowed up my mind, and been the chief entertainment and delight of my life.
And here, honored Sirs, (emboldened, by the testimony I have now received of your unmerited esteem, to rely on your candor) I will with freedom open myself to you.
My method of study, from my first beginning the work of the ministry, has been very much by writing ; applying myself in this way, to improve every important hint ; pursuing the clue to my útmost, when any thing in reading, meditation, or conversation, has been suggesed to my mind, that seemed to promise light, in any weighty point ; thus penning what appeared to me my best thoughts, on innumerable subjects for my own benefit. The longer I prosecuted my studies in this method, the more habitual it became, and the more pleasant and profitable I found it. The further I travelled in this way, the more and wider the field opened, which has occasioned my laying out many things in my mind to do in this manner, if God should spare my life, which my heart hath
much upon: Particularly many things against most of the prevailing errors of the present day, which I cannot with any patience see maintained (to the utter subverting of the gospel of Christ) with so high a hand, and so long continued a triumph, with so little control, when it appears so evident to me, that there is truly no foundation for any of this glorying and insult. I have already published something on one of the main
points in dispute between the Arminians and Calvinists; and have it in view,God willing (as I have already signified to the public) in like manner to consider all the other controverted points, and have done much towards a preparation for it. But besides these, I have had on my mind and heart (which I long ago began, not with any view to publication) a great work, which I call a History of the Work of Redemption, a body of divinity in an entire new method, being thrown into the form of a history ; considering the affair of Christian theology, as the whole of it, in each part, stands in reference to the great work of redemption by Jesus Christ; which I suppose to be of all others the grand design of God , and the summum and ultimum of all the divine operations and decrees ; particularly considering all parts of the grand scheme in their historical order. The order of their existence, or their being brought forth to view, in the course of divine dispensations, or the wonderful series of successive acts and events; beginning from eternity and descending from thence to the great work and successive dispensations of the infinitely wise God in time, considering the chief events coming to pass in the church of God, and revolutions in the world of mankind, affecting the state of the church and the affair of redemption, which we have account of in history or prophecy ; tiil at last we come to the general resurrection, last judgment, and consummation of all things ; when it shall be said, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Concluding my work, with the consideration of that perfect state of things, which shall be finally settled, to last for eternity, This history will be carried on with regard to all three worlds, heaven, earth and hell ; considering the connected successive events and alterations in each, 30 far as the scriptures give any light ; introducing all parts of divinity in that order which is most scriptural and most natural; a method which appears to me the most beautiful and entertaining, wherein every divine doctrine will appear to greatest advantage, in the brightest light, in the most striking manner, shewing the admirable contexture and harmony of the whole.
I have also for my own profit and entertainment, done much towards another great work which I call the Harmony of the Old and New Testament in three parts. The first considering the prophecies of the Messiah, his redemption and kingdom ; the evidences of their references to the Messiah, &c. compare ing them all one with another, demonstrating their agreement, true scope, and sense ; also considering all the various Particulars wherein these prophecies have their exact fulfila ment ; shewing the universal, precise, and admirable correspondence between predictions and events. The second part : Considering the types of the Old Testament, shewing the evidence of their being intended as representations of the great things of the gospel of Christ'; and the agreement of the type with the antitype. The third and great part, considering the harmony of the Old and New Testament, as to doctrine and precept. In the course of this work, I find there will be occasion for an explanation of a very great part of the holy scripture ; which may, in such a view, be explained in a method, which to me seems the most entertaining and profitable, best tending to lead the mind to a view of the true spirit, design, life and soul of the scriptures, as well as their proper use and improvement. I have also many other things in hand, in some of which I have made great progress, which I will not trouble you with an account of. Some of these things, if divine providence favor, I should be willing to attempt a publication of. So far as I myself am able to judge of what talents I have, for benefiting my fellow creatures by word, I think I can write better than I can speak.
My heart is so much in these studies, that I cannot feel willing to put myself into an incapacity to pursue them any more in the future part of my life, to such a degree as I must, if I undertake to go through the same course of employ, in the office of a president, that Mr. Burr did, instructing in all the languages, and taking the whole care of the instruction of one of the classes in all parts of learning, besides his other la.' bors. If I should see light to determine me to accept the place offered me, I should be willing to take upon me the work of a president, so far as it consists in the general inspec. VOL. I.
tion of the whole socicty; and to be subservient to the school, as to their order and methods of study and instruction, assista ing myself in immediate instruction in the arts and sciences (as discretion should direct and occasion serve, and the state of things require) especially the senior class : And added to all, should be willing to do the whole work of a professor of divinity, in public and private lectures, proposing questions to be answered, and some to be discussed in writing and free conversation, in meetings of graduates and others, appointed in proper seasons for these ends. It would be now out of my way, to spend time, in a constant teaching of the languages; unless it be the Hebrew tongue ; which I should be willing to improve myself in, by instructing others.
On the whole, I am much at a loss, with respect to the way of duty in this important affair: I am in doubt, whether, if I should engage in it, I should not do what both you and I would be sorry for afterwards. Nevertheless, I think the greatness of the affair, and the regard due to so worthy and venerable a body, as that of the trustees of Nassau Hall, requires my taking the matter into serious consideration. And unless you should appear to be discouraged by the things which I have now represented, as to any further expectation from me, I shall proceed to ask advice, of such as I esteem most wise, friendly and faithful : If after the mind of the commissioners in Boston is known, it appears that they consent to leave me at liberty, with respect to the business they have employed me in here."
In this suspense he determined to ask the advice of a number of gentlemen in the ministry, on whose judgment and friendship he could rely, and to act accordingly. Who, upon his, and his people's desire, met at Stockbridge, January 4, 1758 ; and, having heard Mr. Edwards's representation of the matter, and what his people had to say by way of objection against his removal, determined it was his duty to accept of the invitation to the presidency of the college. When they published their judgment and advice to Mr. Edwards and his people, he appeared uncommonly moved and affected with it, and fell into tears on the occasion, which was very unusual for him in the presence of others : And soon after said to the gentlemen, who had given their advice, that it was matter of wonder to him, that they could so easily, as they appeared to do, get over the objections he had made against his removal..... But as he thought it his duty to be directed by their advice, he should now endeavor cheerfully to undertake it, believing he was in the way of his duty.
Accordingly, having had, by the application of the trustees of the college, the consent of the commissioners to resign their mission; he girded up his loins, and set off from Stockbridge for Princeton in January. He left his family at Stockbridge, not to be removed till spring. He had two daughters at Princeton, Mrs. Burr, the widow of the late President Burr, and his oldest daughter that was unmarried. His arrival at Princeton was to the great satisfaction and joy of the college.
The corporation met as soon as could be with convenience, after his arrival at the college, when he was by them fixed in the president's chair. While at Princeton, before his sick, Dess, he preached in the college hall, sabbath after sabbath, to the great acceptance of the hearers; but did nothing as president, unless it was to give out some questions in divinity to the senior class, to be answered before him ; each one having opportunity to study and write what he thought proper upon them. When they came together to answer them, they found so much entertainment and profit by it, especially by the light and instruction Mr. Edwards communicated in what he said upon the questions, when they had delivered what they had to say, that they spoke of it with the greatest satisfaction and wonder.
During this time, Mr. Edwards seemed to enjoy an uncommon degree of the presence of God. He told his daugh. ters he once had great exercise, concern and fear, relative to his engaging in that business; but since it now appeared, so far as he could see, that he was called of God to that place and work, he did cheerfully devote himself to it, leaving him. self and the event with God, to order what seemed to him good,