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FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
THE Editor, in offering to the religious public, the Works of President EDWARDS, in what may, perhaps for this country, without impropriety, be called a standard edition, has gratified his personal attachment to this excellent man. He has sought also the advancement of the great doctrines of the cross, particularly among the younger clergy, and the excitement of their zeal by a persuasive example. Here they will have truth, accompanied, not with evidence only, but with demonstration, Here they will learn that conclusive arguing is as applicable to morals as to mathematics. Here they will see sophistry stript.of its disguises, and systems of learned error frittered to nothing. Here they will have before them an example of research, the force of which they will not be able to resist. Modern times scarce furnish a more imitable character.
President EDWARDS began his career of virtuous exertion at an early period of life, and pursued it with a zeal and steadiness which could not but be successful. He had an object worthy of his pursuit, and he never lost sight of it. If much is to be ascribed to his talents, no less is to be attributed to his industry. And his industry is particularly imitable as it sprung from the best motives. Founded in the supreme love of God, and an ardent desire to do as much good as possible, it could not be conversant with trides or degenerate into pastime. These writings are in part the fruit of it. They are fraught with instruction, and are entitled to a diligent and repeated perusal. The honorary declaration made in the preface to the English edition of these works, as it is entitled to full approbation, may properly have a place here. “Although we do not consider ourselves responsible for every sentiment of the Author, whose works we publish, we will nevertheless freely acknowledge, that were we to assume any such responsibility, or were we disposed to hold up the writings of any fallible man, as forming our standard of faith, we should not hesitate to give our most decided preference to EDWARDS and OWEN. In these authors we see the soundest principles united with the most fervent charity.” In similar terms another respectable English divine writes to his friend in
America, (March 25, 1808.)—JONATHAN EDWARDS is, in my esteem, the Coryphæus of modern divines, as Dr. OWEN was of the preceding century. EDWARDS is every day rising in esteem among dissenters, so that his works sellivery fast.”
It has been the Editor's aim to meet the expectations which the proposals warranted the patrons of the work to form. He has used his best discretion in the arrangement, and as far as his attention would go, in the midst of many and pressing avocations, has labored to have the typography correct. It was found necessary to use a smaller type than was first intended. This is a material advantage to the subscriber, as he has proportionably a greater quantity of matter in each page. The pages have also swelled to a greater number than was promised. After all, a few posthumous, unfinished discourses of the author, and some of his miscellanies, consisting principally of quotation, we have been necessitated to omit. The multiplying of notes, upon the plan of elucidating and correcting the sentiments of so sagacious a divine, was, after reflection, and after observing with some carefulness how others have done in this matter, thought too adventurous. An index to assist the reader in recurring to particular subjects, will be an acceptable substitute for these. That the work may be extensively useful, is the hope and prayer of the Editor,
SAMUEL AUSTIN. WORCESTER, (Mass.) November 1, 1808.
N. B. The reader will observe in the Treatise on the “ Nature of Virtue," several references to the on “ The end o! God in creating he World, as & foregoing Treatise. These have hrretofore been sewed together, so as to agrec with the references. And it was our intention to have placed the latter Treaeise at the end of the first volume, which wis printed after the second. But the other pieces swelled the volume, so that we had no room for it. The reader must of course look forward to the sixth volume for this srcatise.
OF THE LATE REVEREND
JONATHAN EDWARDS, A. M.
Mr. EDWARDS's Birth, Parentage, Éducation and
Entrance into the Ministry.
PRESIDENT EDWARDS was one of those men of whom it is not easy to speak with justice without seeming, at least, to border on the marvellous, and to incur the guilt of adulation. The Christian Biographer labors under a difficulty, in describing the characters of extraordinary men, which the writers of other lives are but too generally allowed to forget ; for he is bound so to represent actions and motives, as to remind his readers, that the uncommon excellencies of a character, flow entirely from the bounty of heaven, for the wisest and best purposes, and are not the result of nat. ural vigor and acumen. Otherwise, instead of placing these excellencies in a view advantageous for imitation, or describing a character attainable, as to its most valuable traits, only by gracious aids, there would be danger of setting up an idol, more precious indeed than gold, but still an idol, whereby the mind would be led astray from the one great object of the Christian life, Jesus CHRIST, whose fullness filleth all in all. While we have a just view of him, it is a privilege to bear of his wonderful works in and by his honored servants ; and to be enabled to imitate them is a great augmentation of the privilege. If their graces, exemplified in a variety of circumstances, in a manner force us to a throne of grace, and thereby prove the means of quickening ours ; then do we make a VOL. I.
right use of their history, and follow them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Mr. JONATHAN EDWARDS was born on the 5th of October, 1703, at Windsor, in the then Province of Connecticut, North America. His father, the Rev. TIMOTHY EDWARDS, was minister of that place almost sixty years, and resided there from November, 1694, till January, 1758, when he died in the 89th year
of his age ; not two months before this his only son Jonathan. He was very universally beloved, and esteemed, as an upright, pious, exemplary man ; a faithful and very useful minister of the gospel. A few more particulars of this excellent man will be acceptable. He was born at Hartford, in Connecticut, May 14th, 1669, received the honors of the college at Cambridge, in Newengland, by having the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts given him the same day, July 4th, 1694, one in the forenoon, and the other in the afternoon. On November 6, 1694, he married Esther Stoddard, daughter of the Rev. and celebrated Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, in the 23d year of her age. They lived together in the married state above sixty three years. Mrs. Edwards, our author's mother, was born June 2d, 1672, and lived to about ninety years of age, (some years after her son) a remarkable instance of the small decay of mental powers at so advanced an age. This venerable couple had eleven children ; one son, the subject of these Memoirs, and ten daughters, four of whom were older, and six younger than himself.*
* We shall here subjoin a sketch of Mr. Edwards's more remote ancestors, as it may gratify some readers. Jonathan Edwards's grandfather was Rich. ard Edwards, who married Elizabeth Tuttle, daughter of William Tuttle, of Newhaven, in Connecticut, and Elizabeth his wife, who came from Northamptonshire, in Old England. By this connexion he had seven children, of whom the eldest was Timothy, our author's father, His second marriage was to Mrs. Talcot, sister to governor Talcot, by whom he had six children. The father of Richard was William Edwards, Jonathan's great grandfather, who came from England young and unmarried. The person he married, whose Christian name was Agnes, and who had left England for America, had two brothers in England, one of them Mayor of Exeter, and the other of Barnstable, The father of William, Richard Edwards, our author's
Mr. Edwards entered Yale college, when about twelve years of age ; and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Sept. 1720, a little before he was seventeen. While at college, his character was marked with sobriety and improvement in learning. In the second year of his collegiate course he
great great grandfather, was minister of the gospel in London, in the reign of queen Elizabeth ; and his wife, Ann Edwards, was employed in making some part of the royal attire. After the death of Mr. Edwards, she married Mr. James Cole, who with her son William accompanied her to America, and all died at Hartford in Connecticut.
President Edwards's grandfather on the mother's side, Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, Newengland, married Mrs. Mather, the relict of the Rev. Mr. Mather his predecessor, who was the first minister at Northampton, Her maiden name was Esther Warham, daughter, and the youngest child of the Rev. John Warham, minister at Windsor, in Connecticut, and who, before he left England, had been minister at Exeter. This lady had three children by Mr, Mather, viz. Eunice, Warham, and Eliakim ; and twelve children by Mr. Stoddard, six sons and six daughters. Three of the sons died in infancy, and three lived to adult years, viz. Anthony, John, and Israel; the last of whom died a prisoner in France. Anthony was minister of the gospel at Woodbury, in Connecticut; he was in the ministry about sixty years, and died September 6, 1960, in the 82d year of his age. Joho lived at Northampton, and often, especially in his younger years, served the town as their representative, at the General Court at Boston ; and was long head of the county of Hampshire, as chief colonel, and chief judge of the court of common pleas. He moreover served in the province of Massachusetts Bay, as one of his Majesty's council. He distinguished himself as an able politician, a wise counsellor, an upright and skillful judge ; possessed in an eminent degree the spirit of government, and ever proved a great and steady friend to the interest of religion. He was a great friend and admirer of our Mr. Edwards, and to the time of his death, greatly strengthened his hands in the work of the ministry. A more particular account of the life and character of this truly great man, may be seen in the sermon which Mr. Ed. wards preached and published, on the occasion of his death, The father of Mr. Solomon Stoddard, and Mr. Edwards's great grandfather, on the mother's side, was Anthony Stoddard, Esq. of Boston, a zealous congregational man. He had five wivel, the first of whom was Mary Downing, sister to Sir George Downing, whose other sister married Governor Bradstreet. Solo. mon was the first child of this first marriage. From these particulars it appears, that Mr. Edwards's ancestors were from the west of England, who,up: on their emigration, allied themselves to some of the most respectable families in America.