No one stirs my soul and fills the mind with sweet thoughts and affections for Christ like Jonathan Edwards. He especially loved to wander in the woods contemplating God’s goodness communicated through His creation. Marsden is trying his best to be a dispassionate historian, but it is the nature of his subject that, what Marsden takes care to minimize in himself, shines through all the more brightly in Edwards. My soul is thrilled, reading an academic biography!
Today, as I read, the sun was shining brightly, filled with beauteous light in a clear day. I had to set the book down and glory in the beauty and wonder of Christ.
Edwards was captivated by the idea that God’s purpose in creating the universe is to bring harmonious communications among minds, or spiritual beings, and every detail of physical creation points to that loving reality, epitomized in Christ. In this enthralling framework, he continued his meditation:
When we are delighted with flowery meadows and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we only see the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ; when we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see his love and purity. So the green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of his infinite joy and benignity; the easiness an naturalness of trees and vines [are] shadows of his infinite beauty and loveliness; the crystal rivers and murmuring streams have the footsteps of his sweet grace and bounty. … That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day is a lively shadow of his spotless holiness and happiness, and delight in communicating himself.”
Jonathan Edwards: A Life, by George Marsden p. 100