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and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception—which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in him; to live upon him; to serve and follow him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.
“I have many times had a sense of the glory of the third person in the Trinity, in his office of sanctifier; in his holy operations, communicating divine light and life to the soul. God, in the communications of his Holy Spirit, has appeared as an infinite fountain of divine glory and sweetness; being full and sufficient to fill and satisfy the soul; pouring forth itself in sweet communications; like the sun in its glory, sweetly and pleasantly diffusing light and life. And I have sometimes had an affecting sense of the excellency of the word of God, as the word of life; as the light of life; a sweet, excellent, life-giving word; accompanied with a thirsting after that word, that it might dwell richly in my heart.
“Often, since I lived in this town, I have had very affecting views of my own sinfulness and vileness; very frequently to such a degree as to hold me in a kind of loud weeping, sometimes for a considerable time to. gether; so that I have often been forced to shut myself up. I have had a vastly greater sense of my own wickedness, and the badness of my heart, than ever I had before my conversion.* It has often appeared to me, that if God should mark iniquity against me, I should appear the very worst of all mankind; of all that have been since the beginning of the world to this time; and that I should have by far the lowest place in hell. When others, that have come to talk with me about their soul concerns, have expressed the sense they have had of their own wickedness, by saying that it seemed to them, that they were as bad as the devil himself; I thought their expressions seemed exceeding faint and feeble, to represent my wickedness.
“My wickedness, as I am in myself, has long appeared to me perfectly ineffable, and swallowing up all thought and imagination ; like an infinite deluge, or mountains over my head. I know not how to express better what my sins appear to me to be, than by heaping infinite upon infinite, and multiplying infinite by infinite. Very often, for these many years, these expressions are in my mind and in my mouth, · Infinite upon infinite
-Infinite upon infinite! When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell. And it appears to me, that were it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite height of all he fulness and glory of the great Jehovah, and the arm of his power and grace stretched forth in all the majesty of his power, and in all the glory of his sovereignty, I should appear sunk down in my sins below hell itself; far beyond the sight of every thing, but the eye of sovereign grace, that can pierce even down to such a depth. And yet it seems to me, that my conviction of sin is exceeding small, and faint; it is enough to amaze me, that I have no more sense of my sin. I know certainly, that I have very little sense of my sinfulness. When I have had turns of weeping for my sins, I thought I knew at the time that my repentance was nothing to my sin. .
* Our author does not say, that he had more wickedness, and badness of heart, since his conversion, than he had before ; but that he had a greater sense thereof. Thus the blind man may hare
full of noxious weeds, and yet not see or be sensible of them. But should the garden be in great part cleared of these, and furnished with many beautiful and salutary plants; and supposing the owner now to have the power of discriminating objects of sight; in this case, he would hare less, but would sce, and have a sense of more. To which may be added, that the better the urgan, and clearer the light may be, the stronger will be the sense excited by sin or holiness.
“I have greatly longed of late for a broken heart, and to lie low before God; and, when I ask for humility, I cannot bear the thoughts of being no more humble than other Christians. It seems to me, that though their degrees of humility may be suitable for them, yet it would be a vile self-exaltation in me, not to be the lowest in humility of all mankind. Others speak of their longing to be humbled in the dust;' that may be a proper expression for them, but I always think of myself, that I ought, and it is an expression that has long been natural for me to use in prayer, “to lie infinitely low before God.' And it is affecting to think, how ignorant I was, when a young Christian, of the bottomless, infinite depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy and deceit, left in my heart.
"I have a much greater sense of my universal, exceeding dependence on God's grace and strength, and mere good pleasure, of late, than I used formerly to have; and have experienced more of an abhorrence of my own righteousness. The very thought of any joy arising in me, on any consideration of my own amiableness, performances, or experiences, or any goodness of heart or life, is nauseous and detestable to me. And yet I am greatly afflicted with a proud and self-righteous spirit, much more sensibly than I used to be formerly. I see that serpent rising and putting forth its head continually, every where, all around me.
“ Though it seems to me, that, in some respects, I was a far better Christian, for two or three years after my first conversion, than I am now; and lived in a more constant delight and pleasure; yet, of late years, I · have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty; and have had more of a sense of the glory of Christ, as a Mediator revealed in the gospel. On one Saturday night, in particular, I had such a discovery of the excellency of the gospel above all other doctrines, that I could not but say to myself, . This is my chosen light, my chosen doctrine;' and of Christ, This is my chosen Prophet.' It appeared sweet, beyond all expression to follow Christ, and to be taught, and enlightened, and instructed by him; to learn of him, and live to him. Another Saturday night (January, 1739) I had such a sense, how sweet and blessed a thing it was to walk in the way of duty; to do that which was right and meet to be done, and agreeable to the holy mind of God; that it caused me to break forth into a kind of loud weeping, which held me some time, so that I was forced to shut myself up, and fasten the doors. I could not but, as it were, cry out, "How happy are they which do that which is right in the sight of God! They are blessed indeed, they are the happy ones!' I had, at the same time, a very affecting sense, how meet and suitable it was that God should govern the world, and order all things according to his own pleasure; and I rejoiced in it, that God reigned, and that his will was done.”
RIS GENERAL DEPORTMENT, PARTICULARLY WHILE AT NORTHAMPTON.
In the first chapter of these Memoirs, we have seen that Mr. Edwards, having taken his Master's degree, was very soon invited to be tutor of that college where he received his education, and which conferred upon him that degree; a clear proof, that the managers had a high opinion of his talents and qualifications, when only in the twenty-first year of his age. It must be owned, that this was an engagement of great consequence for so young a man; especially, considering that no small portion of his time had been devoted to ministerial occupations, and the requisite preparatory studies wnich relate exclusively to that important business. But the strength of his mind overcame difficulties, which to the generality of students appear insuperable. It must be allowed, indeed, that our author was not in the highest class of learned men; for his time, his means, and his duties, did not allow of such an attainment. We should recollect, however, what Mr. Locke somewhere very properly observes, that though men of much reading “are greatly learned, they may be but little knowing." In some situations and circumstances, he might have been a great linguist, a profound mathematician, a distinguished natural philosopher; but (without any designed reflection on those who excel in these, or any other branches of literature and science) he was far more happily employed, both for himself and others. In fact, he has given proofs of a mind so uncommonly vigorous and enlightened, that it is rather a matter of joy it was not engrossed by studies, which would have rendered him only the admiration of a few, but prevented him from producing those works which are of universal importance, and in which he appears as the instructor of all. He had, in short, the best and sublimest kind of knowledge, without being too much encumbered with what was but little compatible with his calling.
We have also seen that Mr. Edwards resigned his tutorship at Yale College, when he had been there, in that capacity, a little more than two years, in consequence of an invitation from Northampton, in Massachusetts, in order to assist the aged and venerable Mr. Stoddard. In the present chapter we propose to detail his general manner of life more particularly while at this place; which, in connection with the uncommon revival of religion there, of which he was the happy and honored instrument, is a very interesting period of his life.
He who enters into the true spirit of our author's writings, and especially of the extracts we have given from his private papers, cannot question that he made conscience of private devotion; but, as he made a secret of such exercises, nothing can be said of them but what his papers discover, and what may be fairly inferred from circumstances. It appears, by his Diary, that in his youth he determined to attend secret prayer more than twice a day, when circumstances would allow; and there is much evidence that he was frequent and punctual in that duty, often kept days of fasting and prayer, and set apart portions of time for devout meditations on spiritual and eternal things, as part of his religious exercises in retirement.
This constant, solemn converse with God in these exercises made his face, as it were, to shine before others. His appearance, his countenance, words, and whole demeanor, though without any thing of affected grimace, or sour austerity, were attended with a seriousness, gravity, and solemnity, which were the genuine indication of a deep, abiding sense of divine things on his mind, and of living constantly in the fear of God.
Agreeably to his Resolutions, he was very careful and abstemious in eating and drinking; as doubtless it was necessary for so great a student, and a person of so delicate a make as he was, in order to be comfortable and useful. When he had, by careful observation, found what kind, and what quantity of diet best suited his constitution, and rendered him most fit to pursue his work, he was very strict and exact in complying with it. In this respect he lived by rule ; and herein he constanly practised great self-denial; which he also did in his constant early rising, in order to redeem time for study. He accustomed himself to rise at four, or between four and five, in the morning.
Though he was of a tender constitution, yet few students are capable of more close application, or for more hours in a day, than he was. He commonly spent thirteen hours, every day, in his study. His most usual diversion, in summer, was riding on horseback and walking. He would commonly, unless diverted by company, ride two or three miles after dinner to some lonely grove, where he would dismount and walk a while. At which times he generally carried his pen and ink with him, to note any thought that might be suggested, and which promised some light on any important subject. In the winter, he was wont almost daily to take an axe, and chop wood moderately, for the space of half an hour or more.
He had an uncommon thirst for knowledge, in the pursuit of which he spared no cost nor pains. He read all the books, especially books of divinity, that he could come at, from which he could hope to get any help, in his pursuit of knowledge. And in this, he did not confine himself to authors of any particular sect or denomination; but even took much pains to come at the books of the most noted writers who advanced a scheme of divinity most contrary to his own principles. But he studied the Bible more than all other books, and more than most other divines do. His uncommon acquaintance with the Bible appears in his sermons, and in most of his publications; and his great pains in studying it are manifest in his manuscript notes upon it; of which a more particular account will be given hereafter. He took his religious principles from the Bible, and not from any human system or body of divinity. Though his principles were Calvinistic, yet he called no man Father. He thought and judged for himself, and was truly very much of an original. Reading was not the only method he took to improve his mind; he was much given to writing, without which, probably no student can make improvements to the best advantage. Agreeably to Resolution 11th, he applied himself, with all his might, to find out the truth; he searched for understanding and knowledge as for silver, and digged for it as for hid treasures. Every thought, on any subject, which appeared to him worth pursuing and preserving, he pursued as far as he then could, with a pen in his hand. Thus he was all his days, like the busy bee, collecting from every opening flower, and storing up a stock of knowledge, which was indeed sweet to him, as the honey and the honey-comb. And, as he advanced in years and in knowledge, his pen was more and more employed, and his manuscripts grew much faster on his hands.
He was thought by some, who had but a slight acquaintance with him, to be stiff and unsociable; but this was owing to want of better acquaintance. He was not a man of many words indeed, and was some. what reserved among strangers, and those on whose candor and friendship he did not know he could rely. And this was probably owing to two things. First, the strict guard he set over his tongue from his youth, which appears by his Resolutions, taking great care never to use it in any way that might prove mischievous to any; never to sin with his tongue; nor to employ it in idle, trivial, and impertinent talk, which generally makes up a great part of the conversation of those who are full of words in all companies. He was sensible that, in the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin; and therefore refrained his lips, and habituated himself to think before he spoke, and to propose some good end even in all his words; which led him to be, above others, conformable to an apostolic precept, slow to speak. Secondly, this was in part the effect of his bodily constitution. He possessed but a comparatively small stock of animal life; his spirits were low, and he had not strength of lungs to spare, that would be necessary in order to make him what might be called an affable, facetious gentleman. They who have a great flow of animal spirits, and so can speak with less expense than others, may doubtless lawfully practise free conversation in all companies for a lower end, e. g. to please, or to render themselves acceptable. But not so, he who has not such a stock; it becomes him to reserve what he has, for higher and more important service. Besides, the want of animal spirits lays a man under a natural inability of exercising that freedom of conversation, which those of more life naturally glide into; and the greatest degree of a social disposition, humility and benevolence, will not remove this obstacle.
He was not forward to enter into any dispute among strangers, and in companies where there might be persons of different sentiments; being sensible, that such disputes are generally unprofitable, and often sinful, and of bad consequence. He thought he could dispute to the best advantage with his pen; yet he was always free to give his sentiments on any subject proposed to him, and to remove any difficulties or objections offered by way of inquiry, as lying in the way of what he looked upon to be the truth. But how groundless the imputation of stiff and unsociable was, his known and tried friends best knew. They always found him easy of access, kind and condescending; and though not talkative, yet affable and free. Among such, whose candor and friendship he had experienced, he threw off reserve, and was quite patient of contradiction, while the utmost opposition was made to his sentiments, that could be by any plausible arguments or objections. And indeed, he was, on all occasions, quite sociable and free with all who had any special business with him.
In his family he practised that conscientious exactness which was conspicuous in all his ways. He maintained a great esteem and regard for his amiable and excellent consort. Much of the tender and kind was expressed in his conversation with her, and conduct towards her. He was wont frequently to converse freely with her on matters of religion; and he used commonly to pray with her in his study, at least once a day, unless something extraordinary prevented. The time for this, commonly, was just before going to bed, after prayers in the family. As he rose very early himself, he was wont to have his family up betimes in the morning; after which, before they entered on the business of the day, he