Edwards Jonathan

break out your badges and celebrate




5.10.1703 – 22.3.1758



“The loss sustained by his death, not only by the  college of New Jersey, but by the church in general, is irreparable.  I do not think our age has produced a divine of equal genius or judgment.”  So wrote one theologian about this extraordinary man of outstanding character and talent, author of 22 books on theology including Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – with another 10 works being published posthumously – and The Life and Diary of Rev. David Brainerd (David Brainerd having actually died in Edward’s house).


Jonathan started the study of Latin at the age of six under his father Rev Timothy Edwards, well known as a Latin, Greek and Hebrew scholar and for 64 years pastor of the Congregational Church of East Windsor, Connecticut, New England.  He was taught by his father to write letters from an early age, as well as journalling and diary entries.  He entered Yale College at the age of 12 and at age of 14 had read Locke’s Essay on the Human Understanding, and said that he had more pleasure in it “than the most greedy miser finds, when gathering up handfuls of silver and gold from some newly discovered treasure.”


He graduated from Yale with the highest honours just before his 17th birthday and aged 19 received a Master of Arts degree.  At the same age he drew up a list of 70 Resolutions as standards for his own life and these give an insight into Edwards’ methodical mind, habits of self-discipline, and his consuming desire to glorify God in all things.  Here are just a few:

  1. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
  2. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
  3. Resolved, When I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom and of hell.
  4. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again. Resolved,  that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
  5. Resolved, Never to do anything but my duty, and then, according to Ephesians 6:6-8, to do it willingly and cheerfuly as unto the Lord and not to man; knowing that whatever good any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.


He was inaugurated as president of Princeton College on Feb 16, 1758.  He contracted smallpox and died on Mar 22, having only been president for 5 weeks.  It is a mark of the respect in which he was held that he has commonly been known as “President Edwards”.                               Philip E. Howard, Jr.


                        Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected.                Jonathan Edwards.


Leave a Reply