Strife, backbiting, and gossiping subsided among the people.Almost as quickly as it had begun, the revival ended by May and June.If these seem strange subjects for such tender youth, they reflect something of the uniqueness of this fertile mind and its uncommon thirst for knowledge.Tags: Teacher AssignmentTechniques For Creative WritingParts Of Reflective EssayEssay ObjectiveTips On Writing A Persuasive EssayEssay Writing TipEssay Community Involvement
Even more briefly he preached in Bolton, Connecticut, before being invited back to Yale to take the master’s degree, and serve as tutor and to perform administrative duties during an interlude of several months when there was no president. Not long afterward, his diary and notebooks of meditations reflect the resolutions of his will in the service of Christ. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Here he was to labor in that service and devotion for almost the quarter century that followed.
It was during these years between graduation and his being “settled” in the Northampton parish which became inextricably linked with his name that Jonathan Edwards was converted, enjoyed that “sweet delight in God and divine things,” and set down in his diary a covenant and a determination to dedicate all his effort to the service of God. Particularly beginning in January of 1723, and continuing through the spring and summer of that year are such revealing entries as these: Now, henceforth, I am not to act, in any respect, as my own. Northampton was the most important inland city in New England, ecclesiastically second only to Boston.
I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to Him in Heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! To his congregation of about six hundred, he would usually read (from the small booklet he had made by sewing together small pieces of paper, 3 7/8 by 4 1/8 inches, most of which had been used for other purposes on the other side—a picture of his native frugality, of things no less than time) the closely reasoned exposition in the Puritan style. He possessed a quiet intensity, “looking and speaking as in the presence of God.” He was deliberate and piercing. His was the eloquence that moves to action after the words are forgotten.
Each sermon was begun with the assertion of a subject, “the doctrine”; next came the series of developed points, “the reasons, or proofs”; finally, the applications or “uses.” The text was often not immediately obvious and usually an unfamiliar one, but wonderfully replete with the “doctrine” he was presenting. Contributing to his later difficulties with his people was his preference for his study over their society.
For the next several years Edwards sought to revive the spirit of 1735.
By the 1740s the Awakening, part of a movement which had begun simultaneously in the middle colonies, was again reaping a harvest of souls in New England. Never primarily an itinerant like Whitefield, Edwards was occasionally invited to preach at other parishes.
As a child he was docile, reflective, affectionate, and sensitive, but, above all, precocious. He began then what was to be his practice throughout life: writing to cultivate thought.
From Edwards’s pen, when his fingers were but twelve and thirteen years old, came such essays as one, of a thousand words, on the habits of the field spider. Another was a demonstration that the soul is not material.
Because he served as college butler in his senior year, one who ladled out the meat and potatoes at mealtime, he enjoyed little society even at meals. Never let me trifle with a book with which I may have no present concern.
Having completed the course in 1720, a Yale graduate at seventeen, he remained for further study before taking a Presbyterian pulpit briefly in New York in 1722. These samples, of so many others like them, reflect the dedication and singleness of mind and heart of the man of twenty-three who was called as colleague pastor to his maternal grandfather, the Reverend Solomon Stoddard, at Northampton, Massachusetts, in November of 1726.