Monday, July 09, 2007

Edwards on New Christians and Spiritual Growth, 3

This is the final segment of Jonathan Edward's 1741 letter to Deborah Hatheway. Mrs. Hatheway was converted during the Great Awakening. She wrote to Edwards seeking his counsel because her church was without a pastor at the time. Edwards responded with 19 recommendations, which Michael A.G. Haykin has edited to 17 in his introduction to the piety of Jonathan Edwards, A Sweet Flame: Piety in the Letters of Jonathan Edwards.

12. When you counsel and warn others, do it earnestly and affectionately and thoroughly. And when you are speaking to your equals, let your warnings be intermixed with expressions of your sense of your own unworthiness and of the sovereign grace that makes you differ.

13. If you would set up religious meetings of young women by yourselves, to be attended once in a while, besides the other meetings that you attend, I should think it would be very proper and profitable.

14. Under special difficulties, or when in great need of or great longings after any particular mercy for yourself or others, set apart a day for secret prayer and fasting by yourself alone; and let the day be spent not only in petitions for mercy you desire, but in searching your heart, and in looking over your past life, and confessing your sins before God, not as is wont to be done in public prayer, but by a very particular rehearsal before God of the sins of your past life, from your childhood hitherto, before and after conversion, with the circumstances and aggravations attending them, and spreading all the abominations of your heart very particularly, and fully as possible, before him.

15. Do not let the adversaries of the cross have occasion to reproach religion on your account. How holily should the children of God, the redeemed and the beloved of the Son of God, behave themselves. Therefore, "walk as children of the light" and of the day and "adorn the doctrine of God your Savior." And especially abound in what are called the Christian virtues and make you like the Lamb of God: be meek and lowly of heart, and full of pure, heavenly, and humble love to all; abound in deeds of love to others, and self-denial for others; and let ther be in you a disposition to account others better than yourself.

16. In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ, as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ's hand, keeping your eye on the marks of the wounds in his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses your from sin, and hiding your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robes of his righteousness.

17. Pray much for the ministers and the church of God, especially, that he would carry on his glorious work which he has now begun, till the owrld shall be full of his glory.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these posts. A real blessing.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, why were the 19 edited to 17?

Chaplain Mark said...

I have been following the series here by Jonathan Edwards very closely and appreciate it very much. Would you provide one more post for numbers 18 and 19? You have a wonderful blog!