The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader (Review)

I've been captivated by the book: "The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader."  It contains fourteen complete sermons by Jonathan Edwards compiled by Kimnach, Minkema and Sweeney. I usually don't like readers because they mutilate larger books and I don't trust the authors to give an accurate account of the original author but this Reader contains complete sermons that haven't been cut up (as far as I know) but they are formated and ordered in a way that makes the book easy to read straight through. Most people only know of Jonathan Edward's most famous sermon: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God but this book contains a full spread of sermons that gives a fuller spectrum of Edward's theology.

(I've listed each sermon, followed by Edward's reference verse and doctrine statement in italics, and then added my own summary for each sermon in the book. Sermons with *'s are especially good.)

The Way of Holiness*

Isaiah 35:8, Those only that are holy are on the way to heaven. One highway to heaven exists, and only those who travel it in strict holiness will enter heaven.

The Pleasantness of Religion

Proverbs 24:13-14 It would be worthwhile to be religious, if it were only for the pleasantness of it. A discussion of how true religion yields a more pleasant life and testifies to its truth, in this life and especially in the age to come.

The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth*

Hebrews 5:12 Every Christian should make a business of endeavoring to grow in knowledge in divinity. It is not enough to know the basic teachings of Christianity or to only study one part of Christianity, but all Christians are called to have full knowledge of all areas of divinity; and this learning effort should never cease.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God*

Deuteronomy 32:35 There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any one moment, out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God. Its by God's grace alone that anyone is alive and not our will, such that at any moment God may send us to hell, and that we should be aware of the severe danger we are in if we don't repent.

God Glorified in the Work of Redemption

1 Corinthians 1:29-31 God is glorified in the work of redemption in this, that there appears in it so absolute and universal a dependence of the redeemed on him. A reminder of our total depravity, and it is only by God's glory that we are saved.

The Reality of Conversion*

John 3:10-11 There is such a thing as conversion. The repentance of many notorious vicious and also Martyrs testify that a necessary conversion occurs in salvation for all believers. Followed by a discussion of what is true conversion.

To the Mohawks at the Treaty

2 Peter 1:19 A message to Native Americans about how the men of King George has abused them and gave a false witness of Jesus Christ, and how they must turn to God despite the hypocritical "honorable gentlemen." (Message is in a simplified vernacular for 'em.)

He That Believeth Shall Be Saved

Mark 16:15-16 Only those who believe in Jesus will be saved and the rest will be damned.

A Divine and Supernatural Light*

Matthew 16:17 There is such a thing, as a spiritual and divine light, immediately imparted to the soul by God, of a different nature from any that is obtained by natural means. It is impossible to know god through natural means and men may only know god through revelation of truth directly from God. This is also a testimony to divine truth.

I Know My Redeemer Lives

Job 19:25 It is a matter of great comfort and rejoicing to any person, whatever circumstances he is in, when he can say that he knows that his Redeemer lives. Our strength is not in our own ability but the knowledge that Jesus Christ will deliver us from our worst situation and knowing that he is coming soon.

The Excellency of Christ*

Revelations 5:5-6 There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ. An admiration of God's contrasting attributes such as his glory to his humility, sovereignty to resignation, majesty to meekness, lion of Judah to the lamb of God.

Much in Deeds of Charity*

Acts 10:4-6 To be much in deeds of charity is the way to have spiritual discovery Using Cornelius example of giving, prayer and noting him as the first gentile convert, Edwards concludes that he is an archetype for all gentile Christians who desire God revelation. The emphasis is on giving and prayer, as the means for gentiles to obtain more from God. Edwards also used Rebekah as a gentile archetype, when Abraham fetches her from far off after she gives alms to Abraham's messengers.

A Farewell Sermon

2 Corinthians 1:14 Ministers and the people that have been under their care, must meet one another, before Christ's tribunal, at the day of Judgment. Edward's last message after a disagreement over church membership criteria. A reminder that we will all be judged righteously before God, a warning to the unsaved that they are in danger of hell, and a humble goodbye.

Heaven Is a World of Love

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Heaven is a world of love. A discussion of what heaven's structure will be like, with reminders that all people will be fully satisfied, and that people will rejoice for those who are more beloved by God (such as the apostles, renown saints, etc.), and God will be praised for punishing the wicked. Reminders of how the world will be purged, and other things about heaven.

By: Wyatt Houtz

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