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her friendships, and most true and faithful to her friends-highly valuing their affection, and discovering the deepest interest in their welfare. Her conversation and conduct, indicated uncommon innocence and purity of mind; and she avoided many things, which are thought correct by multitudes, who are strictly virtuous. During her sickness, she was not forsaken. A day or two before its termination, she manifested a remarkable admiration of the grace and mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, to sinners, and particularly to herself: saying, "It is wonderful, it surprizes me." A part of the time, she was in some degree delirious; but, when her mind wandered, it seemed to wander heavenward. Just before her death, she attempted to sing a hymn, entitled, "The Absence of Christ," and died, in the full possession of her rational powers, expressing her hope of eternal salvation through his blood. This first example of the ravages of death, in this numerous family, was a most trying event to all its members; and the tenderness, with which they cherished the memory of her who was gone, probably terminated only with life.
The second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, was born on the 26th of the following April, and named JERUSHA, after their deceased sister.
In July, 1731, Mr. Edwards being in Boston, delivered a Sermon at the public lecture, entitled, "God glorified in Man's Dependence," from 1 Cor. i. 29, 30. "That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." It was published, at the request of several ministers, and others who heard it, and preceded by a preface, by the Rev. Messrs. Prince and Cooper, of Boston. This was his first publication, and is scarcely known to the American reader of his Works. The subject was at that time novel, as exhibited by the preacher, and made a deep impression on the audience, and on the Rev. Gentlemen who were particularly active in procuring its publication. "It was with no small difficulty," say they, "that the author's youth and modesty were prevailed on, to let him appear a preacher in our public lecture, and afterwards to give us a copy of his discourse, at the desire of divers ministers, and others who heard it. But, as we quickly found him to be a workman that need not be ashamed before his brethren, our satisfaction was the greater, to see him pitching upon so noble a subject, and treating it with so much strength and clearness, as the judicious will perceive in the following composure: a subject, which secures to God his great design, in the work of fallen man's redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, which is evidently so laid out, as that the glory of the whole should return to him the blessed ordainer, purchaser, and applier; a subject, which enters deep into practical religion; with
out the belief of which, that must soon die in the hearts and lives of men."
The following is the testimony, borne by these excellent men, to the talents and piety of the author:
"We cannot, therefore, but express our joy and thankfulness, that the great Head of the Church is pleased still to raise up, from among the children of his people, for the supply of his churches, those who assert and maintain these evangelical principles; and that our churches, notwithstanding all their degeneracies, have still a high value for just principles, and for those who publicly own and teach them. And, as we cannot but wish and pray, that the College in the neighbouring colony, as well as our own, may be a fruitful mother of many such sons as the author; so we heartily rejoice, in the special favour of Providence, in bestowing such a rich gift on the happy church of Northampton, which has, for so many lustres of years, flourished under the influence of such pious doctrines, taught them in the excellent ministry of their late venerable pastor, whose gift and spirit we hope will long live and shine in his grandson, to the end that they may abound in all the lovely fruits of evangelical humility and thankfulness, to the glory of God."
The discourse itself, deserves this high commendation. It was the commencement of a series of efforts, on the part of the author, to illustrate the glory of God, as appearing in the greatest of all his works, the work of man's redemption. Rare indeed is the instance, in which a first publication is equally rich in condensed thought, or in new and elevated conceptions.
The third child of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, also a daughter, was born, February 13th, 1732, and received the name of ESTHER, after his Mother and Mrs. Stoddard,
Remarkable Revival of Religion, in 1734, and '35.-Its Extent and Power-Manner of treating Awakened Sinners.-Causes of its Decline.-Religious Controversy in Hampshire.-Death of his Sister Lucy.-Characteristics of Mrs. Edwards.-Remainder of Personal Narrative.
EARLY in 1732, the state of religion in Northampton, which had been for several years on the decline, began gradually, and perceptibly, to grow better; and, an obvious check was given, to the open prevalence of disorder and licentiousness. Immoral practices, which had long been customary, were regarded as disgraceful, and extensively renounced. The young, who had been the chief abettors of these disorders, and on whom the means of grace had exerted no salutary influence, discovered more of a disposition to hearken to the counsels of their parents, and the admonitions of the Gospel, relinquished by degrees their more gross and publicsins, and attended on the worship of the Sabbath more generally, and with greater decorum and seriousness of mind; and, among the people as a body, there was a larger number than before, who manifested a personal interest in their own salvation. This desirable change in the congregation, became more and more perceptible, throughout that and the following year. At the latter end of 1733, there appeared a very unusual flexibleness, and a disposition to yield to advice, in the young of both sexes; on an occasion, too, and under circumstances, where it was wholly unexpected. It had long, and perhaps always, been the custom in Northampton, to devote the Sabbath evening, and the evening after the stated public lecture, to visiting and diversion. On a Sabbath preceding one of the public lectures, Mr. Edwards preached a sermon on the subject, explaining the mischievous consequences of this unhappy practice, exhorting the young to a reformation; and calling on parents and masters, universally, to come to an explicit agreement with one another, to govern their families in this respect, and on these evenings, to keep their children and servants at home. The following evening, it so happened that, among a considerable number visiting at his house, there were individuals from every part of the town; and he took that occasion, to propose to those who were present, that they should, in his name, request the heads of families in their respective neighbourhoods, to assemble the next
day, and converse upon the subject, and agree, every one, to restrain his own family. They did so. Such a meeting was accordingly held in each neighbourhood, and the proposal was universally complied with. But, when they made known this agreement to their families, they found little or no restraint necessary; for the young people, almost without exception, declared that they were convinced, by what they had heard from the desk, of the impropriety of the practice, and were ready cheerfully to relinquish it. From that time forward, it was given up, and there was an immediate and thorough reformation of those disorders and immoralities, which it had occasioned. This unexpected occurrence, tenderly affected and solemnized the minds of the people, and happily prepared them for events of still deeper interest.
Just after this, there began to be an unusual concern on the subject of religion, at a little hamlet called Pascommuck, consisting of a few farm houses, about three miles from the principal settlement; and a number of persons, at that place, appeared to be savingly converted. In the ensuing spring, the sudden and awful death of a young man, who became immediately delirious, and continued so until he died; followed by that of a young married woman, who, after great mental suffering, appeared to find peace with God, and died full of comfort, in a most earnest and affecting manner warning and counselling others; contibuted extensively, and powerfully, to solemnize the minds of the young, and to excite a deeper interest on the subject of religion, throughout the congregation.
The fourth child and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, was born April 7th, 1734, and baptized by the name of MARY.
In the autumn, Mr. Edwards recommended to the young peo ple, on the day of each stated public lecture, to assemble in various parts of the town, and spend the evening in prayer, and the other duties of social religion. This they readily did, and their example was followed, by those who were older.
The solemnity of mind, which now began to pervade the church and congregation, and which was constantly increasing, had a visible re-action on all the labours of Mr. Edwards, public as well as private; and it will not be easy to find discourses,in any language,more solemn, spiritual or powerful, than many of those which he now delivered. One of these, from Matt. xvi. 17, entitled, "A Divine and Supernatural Light immediately imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, shown to be both a Scriptural and Rational doctrine," excited uncommon interest in the hearers, and, at their request, was now published. As an exhibition of religion, as existing within the soul, in one of its peculiar forms or aspects, it will be found, in the perusal, remarkably adapted to enlighten, to refresh and to sanctify; while the evidence of the reality of such a light, as derived both from the Scriptures and from Reason, will convince every unprejudiced mind.
At this time, a violent controversy, respecting Arminianism, prevailed extensively over that part of New-England, and the friends of vital piety in Northampton, regarded it as likely to have a most unhappy bearing on the interests of religion in that place; but, contrary to their fears, it served to solemnize, rather than to excite animosity, and was powerfully overruled for the promotion of religion. Mr. Edwards, well knowing that the points at issue had an immediate bearing on the great subject of Salvation, and that mankind never can be so powerfully affected by any subject, as when their attention to it has been strongly excited; determined, in opposition to the fears and the counsels of many of his friends, to explain his own views to his people, from the desk. Accordingly, he preached a series of sermons, on the various points relating to the controversy, and among others, his well-known Discourses, on the great doctrine of Justification by Faith alone. For this, he was severely censured by numbers on the spot, as well as ridiculed by many elsewhere. The event, however, proved that he had judged wisely. In his discourses, he explained the scriptural conditions. of salvation, and exposed the errors then prevalent with regard to them, with so much force of argument, and in a manner so solemn and practical, that it was attended with a signal blessing from heaven, on the people of his charge. Many, who had cherished these errors, were convinced that they could be justified only by the righteousness of Christ; while others, who had not, were brought to feel, that they must be renewed by the Holy Spirit; and the minds of both were led the more earnestly to seek that they might be accepted of God. In the latter part of December, five or six individuals appeared to be very suddenly and savingly converted, one after another; and some of them, in a manner so remarkable, as to awaken and solemnize very great numbers, of all ages and conditions.
The year 1735, opened on Northampton, in a most auspicious manner. A deep and solemn interest, in the great truths of religion, had become universal in all parts of the town, and among all classes of people. This was the only subject of conversation, in every company; and almost the only business of the people, ap
*Among those, who opposed Mr. Edwards on this occasion, were several members of a family, in a neighbouring town, nearly connected with his own, and possessing, from its numbers, wealth and respectability, a considerable share of influence. Their religious sentiments differed widely from his, and their opposition to him, in the course which he now pursued, became direct and violent. As his defence of his own opinions was regarded as triumphant, they appear to have felt, in some degree, the shame and mortification of a defeat; and their opposition to Mr. Edwards, though he resorted to every honourable method of conciliation, became, on their part, a settled personal hostility. It is probable, that their advice to Mr. Edwards, to refrain from the controversy, and particularly, not to publish his sentiments with regard to it, was given somewhat categorically, and with a full expectation that he, young as he was, would comply with it. His refusal so to do, was an offence not to be forgiven. We shall have occasion to recur to this subject again.