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LIFE OF PRESIDENT EDWARDS.
into a meek, calin, serious and prayerful, consideration; and that so, peace, with truth and holiness, may greatly prevail in this
"Northampton, June 22d, 1750."
N. B. This copy, though not attested by the Scribe, who is at an hundred miles distance, is yet, by a careful comparing of it with the original, which is now in my hands, attested by me.
Result of Council, and Protest, read.-Farewell Sermon.-Postscript of Letter to Mr. Gillespie.-Letter to Mr. Erskine.— Letter to Mr. M' Culloch.-Marriage of two of his daughters. -Forbidden to preach at Northampton.-Exemplary conduct of Mr. Edwards.-Proceedings of his Friends.-Council.Proceedings of Church.-Letter of Mr. Hawley.
On Friday afternoon, June 22d, 1750, the Result of the Council, and the Protest of the Minority, were publicly read to the people, assembled in the church. On the next Sabbath but one, July 1st, Mr. Edwards delivered to them his FAREWELL SERMON; which was soon afterwards published, at the request of some of the hearers. This Sermon, with the facts stated in the Preface, is too intimately connected with some of the most important events of his life, and too illustrative of his character, not to be inserted in this volume ;* and should be read at this point of the author's history. It has been extensively and deservedly styled, "the best Farewell Sermon, that was ever written;" and has been the source, from which subsequent discourses, on occasions and in circumstances generally similar, have, to a great extent, been substantially derived. Had it been written in the case of an indifferent person, instead of his own, it could not have discovered less of passion, or of irritation, or have breathed a more calm and excellent spirit. Instead of indicating anger under a sense of multiplied injuries, it appears in every sentence, to have been dictated by meekness and forgiveness. Instead of manifesting the signs of alienation towards his persecutors and enemies, the writer appears throughout, to desire their subsequent prosperity, as an ecclesiastical community, and their individual acquittal and acceptance on their final trial. At the same time, it presents an exhibition of the scenes of the Last Judgment, singularly solemn and awful. Few indeed are the compositions, which furnish so many, or so unequivocal, marks of uncommon excellence in their author; and very few are so well adapted to be practically useful to churches and congregations.
THE following Postscript to the letter to Mr. Gillespie,† of April 2, 1750, and the letters to Mr. Erskine and Mr. M'Culloch, all written immediately after the separation of Mr. Edwards from his
* See Farewell Sermon, at the close of the Life.
Eor the Letter itself, see p. 287.
people, exhibit also, in a very striking manner, the calm and tranquil state of his mind at the time when they were written,
"P. S. July 3, 1750. Having had no leisure to finish the preparation of my letters to Scotland, before this time, by reason of the extraordinary troubles, hurries and confusions, of my unusual circumstances, I can now inform you, that the controversy between me and my people, which I mentioned in the beginning of my letter, has issued in a separation. An Ecclesiastical Council was called on the affair, who sat here the week before last, and by a majority of one voice determined an immediate separation to be necessary; and accordingly my pastoral relation to my people was dissolved, on June 22d. If I can procure the printed accounts from Boston of the proceedings of the Council, I will give orders to my friend there, to enclose them with this letter, and direct them to you.-I desire your prayers, that I may take a suitable notice of the frowns of heaven on me and this people, between whom there once existed so great an union, in bringing to pass such a separation between us; that these troubles may be sanctified to me; that God would overrule the event for his own glory, (in which doubtless many adversaries will rejoice and triumph;) that he would open a door for my future usefulness, provide for me and my numerous family, and take a fatherly care of us in our present unsettled, uncertain circumstances, being cast on the wide world. J. E."
"To the Rev. Mr. Erskine.
"REV. AND DEAR BROTHER,
Northampton, July 5, 1750.
"I now acknowledge the receipt of three letters from you since I last wrote to you; one of Sept. 12; another of Sept. 20; another of Dec. 22; all of the year 1749. The two first I received in
the winter, with Mr. Glass' Notes on Scripture Texts, Ridgeley on Original Sin, Wheatley's Schools of the Prophets, Davidson's Sermon occasioned by the death of Mr. Harrison, and Mr. M'Kaile's Sermon. Your letter written in December, I received at little while ago. I have greatly regretted the want of opportunity to answer you, till now: but such have been my extraordinary circumstances, the multitude of distracting troubles and hurries that I have been involved in, (which I cannot easily represent to you,) that I have had no leisure. I have been very uneasy in neglecting to write to my correspondents in Scotland; and about two months ago I set myself to the business; but was soon broken off; and have not been able to return to it again, till now. And now, my dear Sir, I thank you for your letters and presents. The books you sent me, were entertaining to me, and some of them will be of advantage to me, if God should give me opportunity to prosecute the studies I
had begun on the Arminian Controversy. There were various things pleasing to me in Glass' Notes, tending to give some new light into the sense of Scripture. He seems to be a man of ability; though I cannot fall in with all his singularities.
"The account you say Mr. Davidson gave of the absurdities of the Moravians, are not very surprising to me: I have seen, here in America, so much of the tendency and issue of such kind of notions, and such sort of religion, as are in vogue among them, and among others in many respects like them, that I expect no other than that sin, folly, absurdity, and things to the last degree reproachful to christianity, will forever be the consequence of such things. It seems to me, that enough and enough of this kind has lately appeared, greatly to awaken the attention of christian divines, and make them suspect that the devil's devices in the various counterfeits of vital, experimental religion, have not been sufficiently attended to, and the exact distinctions between the saving operations of the Spirit of God, and its false appearances, not sufficiently observed. There is something now in the press in Boston, largely handling the subject. I have had opportunity to read the MS. and, in my humble opinion, it has a tendency to give as much light in this matter, as any thing that ever I saw. It was written by Mr. Bellamy, minister of Bethlehem, in Connecticut; the minister whom Mr. Brainerd sometimes speaks of as his peculiarly dear and intimate friend, (as possibly you may have observed, in reading his Life.) He was of about Mr. Brainerd's age; and it might have been well, if he had had more years over his head. But as he is one of the most intimate friends that I have in the world, and one that I have much acquaintance with, I can say this of him; that he is one of very great experience in religion, as to what has passed between God and his own soul; one of very good natural abilities, of closeness of thought, of extraordinary diligence in his studies. and earnest care exactly to know the truth in these matters. He has long applied his mind to the subject he has wrote upon, and used all possible helps, of conversation and reading. And though his style is not such as is like to please the polite world; yet if his youth, and the obscurity of his original, and the place that he lives in, etc., do not prevent his being much taken notice of, I am persuaded his book might serve to give the church of God consider ble light as to the nature of true religion, and many important do trines of christianity. From the knowledge I have of him, I am fully satisfied that his aim in this publication is not his own fame a reputation in the world; but the glory of God and the advancement of the kingdom of his Redeemer.
"I suspect the follies of some of the Seceders, which you men tion in both your letters of Sept. 20, and Dec. 22, arise in conside rable measure, from the same cause with the follies of the Mor vians, and the followers of the Wesleys, and many extravagan
people in America, viz. false religion, counterfeit conversions, and the want of a genuine renovation of the spirit of their minds. I say as to many of them, not to condemn all in the gross. The spirit seems to be exactly the same with what appears in many, who apparently, by their own account, have had a false conversion. I am a great enemy to censoriousness, and have opposed it very much in my preaching and writings. But yet I think we should avoid that bastard, mischievous charity, by which Satan keeps men asleep, and hides their eyes from those snares, and crafty works of his, which it is of the utmost consequence to the church of God to discern and be aware of; and by which, for want of their being discovered, the devil has often had his greatest advantages against the interest of religion. The Scriptures often lead us to judge of true religion, and the gracious sincerity of professors, by the genius, the temper and spirit, of their religion: Jam. iii. 17. Eph. v. 9. Gal. v. 19, 25. 1 Col. xiii. 4, etc. Rom. viii. 9. 1 John iv. 16. John xiii. 35. 1 John ii. 10. 1 John iii. 14 and 18, 19, and 23, 24. chap. iv. 7. v. 12, 13, and very many other places. I have been greatly grieved at a spirit of censoriousness; but yet I heartily wish that some sorts of charity were utterly abolished.
"The accounts you give of Archbishop Herring, of the moderate, generous, truly catholic and christian principles appearing in him, and some other of the dignified clergy, and other persons of distinction in the Church of England, are very agreeable. It is to be hoped that these things are forerunners of something good and great to be brought to pass for the church of God.
"I have seen some accounts in our public prints, published here in America, of those conversions and baptisms in the Russian empire, which you mention in your last letter; and should be glad of further information about that matter. We have had published here, an extract of a letter, written by Dr. Doddridge to Mr. Pearsall of Taunton, in Somersetshire, and transmitted by him to Boston, in a letter to Mr. Prince; giving a surprising account of a very wonderful person, a German by nation, a preacher of the Gospel to the Jews, lately in London; whom he, (Dr. Doddridge,) saw and conversed with, and heard preach (or rather repeat) a sermon there; who had had great success in preaching to those miserable people in Germany, Poland, Holland, Lithuania, Hungary, and other parts; God having so blessed his labours that, in the various parts, through which he had travelled, he had been the instrument of the conversion of about six hundred Jews; many of whom are expressing their great concern to bring others of their brethren to the knowledge of the great and blessed Redeemer, and beseeching him to instruct their children, that they may preach Christ also. I should be glad, if you hear any thing further of the affair, to be informed of it by you. I think such things may well be improved to animate and encourage those who have engaged in the Concert