Edwards Theological Writings
Edwards' sermons are without question the largest bulk of original Manuscripts still available. However, besides the infamous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" preached at the height of the New England Revivals in 1741, Edwards is known mostly for his Doctrinal Treatises. Many of these were written during his Stockbridge pastorate late in his career, and show the brilliance and exactness of one of the greatest theologians the world has ever seen.
Originally written as a rebuttal to a work by Dr. John Taylor and entitled, The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin defended; Evidences of it's Truth produced, and Arguments to the Contrary answered. Containing, in particular, A Reply to the Objections and Arguings of Dr. John Taylor, in his book, Entitled, "The Scripture-Doctrine of Original Sin proposed to free and candid Examination, &c." The doctrine of Original Sin and the Federal headship of Adam has been an accepted doctrine of Christian Orthodoxy for 2,000 years. It was attacked in Edwards day by professing Christians and Deists alike. This heterodoxy has its roots in Modern American Evangelicalism from the teaching and revivalism of Charles G. Finney. This timeless treatise is needed today just as it was in 1754.
Written as both a defense of the Revivals in colonial New England, and a warning of false profession and religion, The Religious Affections ranks as one of the most powerful works ever written. It has been said that, "if one can read Religious Affections, and still be convinced they belong to Christ, they most assuredly must be". Edwards objective is to distinguish between true and false religion by showing the marks of a saving work of the Holy Spirit in men. In his preface, Edwards stresses the importance of using, "our utmost endeavours clearly to discern ... wherein true religion does consist". For "till this be done, it may be expected that great revivings of religion will be but of short continuance".
Originally Entitled, A Careful and Strict Enquiry into the Modern Prevailing Notions of that Freedom of Will which is supposed to be essential to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame, Freedom of the Will was originally published in 1754, near the midpoint of Edwards pastorate of the Indian missionary church in Stockbridge, MA. This treatise was written to destroy not only the Arminian argument of the Free Will of Man, but attacks the anti-evangelistic determinism of Hyper-Calvinism as well. In Allen C. Guelzo's superb book, Edwards on the Will, A Century of American Theological Debate, Guelzo writes in the introduction, ""Edwards on the Will" - No single title in American literature has ever had quite the ring of finality, of unquestioned settlement of dispute, as this...." Amen -
Enclosed is just the outlines of what was to be Jonathan Edwards' greatest work. In his Preface Jonathan Edwards Jr. says this about the work, "Mr. Edwards had planned a body of divinity, in a new method, and in the form of a history, in which he was to first show, how the most remarkable events, in all ages from the fall to the present (1773) times, recorded in sacred and profane history, were adapted to promote the the work of redemption, and then to trace, by the light of scripture prophecy, how the same work should be yet further carried on even to the end of the world." This series of outlines were first preached as a series of sermons in Northampton, MA in 1739.
Other Edwards' Theological Writings
Treatise On Grace This Manuscript was found by itself, carefully placed within folds of thick paper, and tied up with a silk ribbon. It proved to be arranged into chapters and sections, all page; and, in short, precisely as presented here. Edwards most likely kept it this way for future publication. It can be said to be a "sister" treatise to Religious Affections, and Freedom of the Will, as arguments in both are presented again here only from a slightly different perspective. Originally unpublished, this treatise was part of Selections From The Unpublished Writings of Jonathan Edwards, Edited and printed for private circulation by Rev. Alexander B. Grosart in 1865, reprinted by Soli Deo Gloria Publications in 1992.
The Qualifications For Communion Formally titled, "An Humble Inquiry Into The Rules Of The Word Of God Concerning The Qualifications Requisite To A Complete Standing And Full Communion in the visible Christian Church" This is the treatise that cost Jonathan Edwards his pulpit in Northampton, MA. Edwards writes against the "Half Way" covenant taught by his Grandfather Solomon Stoddard. It is Edwards conviction that only true believers in Christ are qualified to partake of the Lord's Supper.
Unpublished Treatise on the Trinity This excellent defense of the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was never presented publicly nor published.
Directions For Judging of Person' Experiences: Also from, Selections From The Unpublished Writings of Jonathan Edwards, this short work is evidently Edwards guide for testing conversions with questions during the Great Awakening.
Edwards "Two Dissertations:"
Intended by Edwards to be published together, here are two of his greatest masterpieces. The one can be considered to be the mirror of the other. In Edwards view the "End" for which God created the world must be the "End" of True Virtue. Therefore the "Truly Virtuous" life is the reason God created us.
I. Concerning the End for Which God Created the World:
Preface, Chapter 1, Chapter 2:
This Manuscript is presented in 2 Parts. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. for the sake of the size of the files. Chapter 1 includes the Preface written by Samuel Hopkins and Edwards Introduction.
II. The Nature of True Virtue: One of Edwards most reproduced, read, and loved works..