“As the philosopher he could discern, and discern truly, between the sterling and the counterfeit in Christianity –still it was as the humble and devoted pastor that Christianity was made, or Christianity was multiplied, in his hands.” – Thomas Chalmers.
Jonathan Edwards not only left behind a whole host of messages and sermons, but also personal reflections in his diaries. He referred to these entries as his Personal Narrative. These were primarily composed in the 1730’s while he served as the pastor of the church in Northampton.
“While telling us nothing of his outward life, the document gives us the key to his mind and, as Cromwell once told the English Parliament, ‘The mind is the man’,” explains Edwards’ biographer Iain Murray.
What follow are excerpts from Edwards’ Personal Narrative. The personal knowledge of God is the main theme.
- “God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends. These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
- “God’s purpose for my life was that I have a passion for God’s glory and that I have a passion for my joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.”
- “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”
- “A truly humble man is sensible of his natural distance from God; of his dependence on Him; of the insufficiency of his own power and wisdom; and that it is by God’s power that he is upheld and provided for, and that he needs God’s wisdom to lead and guide him, and His might to enable him to do what he ought to do for Him.”
- “If I murmur in the least at affliction, if I am in any way uncharitable, if I revenge my own case, if I do anything purely to please myself or omit anything because it is a great denial, if I trust myself, if I take any praise for any good which Christ does by me, or if I am in any way proud, I shall act as my own and not God’s.”
- “Since I came to this town, I have often had sweet complacency in God, in views of His glorious perfections and the excellency of Jesus Christ. God has appeared to me a glorious and lovely Being; chiefly the account of His holiness. The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all His attributes.”
Today, consider beginning a personal narrative of your own concerning God. What attributes of God completely captivate you? Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!