This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 things, as indeed the devil had, but unless the love of God was implanted in his heart by the free act of Grace he had no lot with the faithful. To develop this theme he wrote his great Treatise concerning religious affections, a work which may without exaggeration be said to go as far as the human intellect can go in the perilous path of discriminating between the purely spiritual life and the life of worldly morality. Now even the simple statement of the difference between the condition of Grace and the condition of nature is hard for the natural man to follow; but when Edwards, with the acumen of a genius and the doggedness of a scholar, imposed his distinction on all the intricate feelings of life, the natural man was dazed; and when he attempted to make it the criterion of admission to the Lord's Table, the natural man who thought himself a Christian rebelled. Stoddard had held it right to admit to communion all those who desired honestly to unite themselves with the church. Edwards protested that only those who had undergone a radical conversion and knew the affections of supernatural love should enjoy this high privilege. His congregation sided with their old guide against him. The quarrel was further embittered by another issue. It came to light that certain young folk of the church were reading profane books which led to lewd conversation. Edwards called for public discipline of the sinners; the congregation supported him until investigation showed that the evil was widespread and would bring discredit on most of the better families of the town, and then they blocked further proceedings. If tradition is correct in naming Pamela as one of the guilty books, we may admire the literary taste of youthful Northampton, yet think that their pastor was justified in condemning such reading as incendiary. However that may be, when, on 22 June, 1750, a public vote was taken whether Edwards should be dismissed from his pastorate, a large majority was counted against him. Northampton has the distinction of having rejected the greatest theologian and philosopher yet produced in this country. The behaviour of Edwards when the crisis actually came was simple, dignified, and even noble. His Farewell sermon, with its dispassionate and submissive appeal from the tribunal of men to that final judgment which shall be given in knowledge and righteousness,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.