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I, Memoirs of Mr. EDWARDS's Life.
IV. Treatise on Qualifications for Full Communion.
Sermons and General Index,
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION.
THE Editor, in offering to the religious public, the Works of President EDWARDS, in what may, perhaps for this country, without impropriety, be called a standard edition, has gratified his personal attachment to this excellent man. He has sought also the advancement of the great doctrines of the cross, particularly among the younger clergy, and the excitement of their zeal by a persuasive example. Here they will have truth, accompanied not with evidence only, but with demonstration. Here they will learn that conclu. sive arguing is as applicable to morals as to mathematics. Here they will see sophistry stript of its disguises, and systems of learned error frittered to nothing. Here they will have before them an example of research, the force of which they will not be able to re.' sist. Modern times scarce furnish a more imitable character.
President EDWARDS began his career of virtuous exertion at an early period of life, and pursued it with a zeal and steadiness which could not but be successful. He had an object worthy of his pursuit, and he never lost sight of it. If much is to be ascribed to his talents, no less is to be attributed to his industry. And his industry is particularly imitable as it sprung from the best motives. Founded in the supreme love of God, and an ardent desire to do as much.good as possible, it could not be conversant with trifles or dea generate into pastime. These writings are in part the fruit of it. They are fraught with instruction, and are entitled to a diligent and repeated perusal. The honorary declaration made in the preface to the English edition of these works, as it is entitled to full approbation, may properly have a place here. “Although we do not consider ourselves responsible for every sentiment of the Author, whose works we publish, we will nevertheless freely acknowledge, that were we to assume any such responsibility, or were we disposed to hold up the writings of any fallible man, as forming our standard of faith, we should not hesitate to give our most decided preference to EDWARDS and OWEN. In these authors we see the soundest principles united with the most fervent charity." In simHar terms another respectable English divine writes to his friend im America, (March 25, 1808.)-JONATHAN EDWARDS is, in my esteem, the Coryphæus of modern divines, as Dr. OWEN was of the preceding century. EDWARDS is every day rising in esteem among dissenters, so that his works sell very fast.”
It has been the Editor's aim to meet the expectations which the proposals warranted the patrons of the work to form. He has used his best discretion in the arrangement, and as far as his attention would go, in the midst of many and pressing avocations, has labored to have the typography correct. It was found necessary to use a smaller type than was first intended. This is a material advantage to the subscriber, as he has proportionably a greater quantity of matter in each page. The pages have also swelled to a greater number than was promised. After all, a few posthumous, unfinished discourses of the author, and some of his miscellanies, consisting principally of quotation, we have been necessitated to omit. The multiplying of notes, upon the plan of elucidating and correcting the sentiments of so sagacious a divine, was, after reflection, and after observing with some carefulness how others have done in this matter, thought too adventurous. An index to assist the reader in recurring to particular subjects, will be an acceptable substitute for these. That the work may be extensively useful, is the hope and prayer of the Editor,
SAMUEL AUSTIN. WORCESTER, (Mass.) November 1, 1898.
N. B. The reader will observe in the Treatise on the ". Nature of Virtue," several references to that on “ The end of God in creating he World, as a foregoing Treatise. These have heretofore been sewed together,, so as to agree with the references. And it was our intention to have placed the latter Treas tise at the end of the first yolume, which was printed after the second. But the other pieces swelled the volume, so that we had no rcom for it. The readet must of course look forward to the sixth volume for this Treatise,
OF THE LATE REVEREND
JONATHAN EDWARDS, A. M.
Mr. EDWARDS's Birth, Parentage, Education and
Entrance into the Ministry.
PRESIDENT EDWARDS was one of those men of whom it is not easy to speak with justice without seeming, at least, to border on the marvellous, and to incur the guilt of adulation. The Christian Biographer labors under a difficulty, in describing the characters of extraordinary men, which the writers of other lives are but too generally allowed to forget ; for he is bound so to represent actions and motives, as to remind his readers, that the uncommon excellencies of a character, flow entirely from the bounty of heaven, for the wisest and best purposes, and are not the result of nat. ural vigor and acumen. Otherwise, instead of placing these excellencies in a view advantageous for imitation, or describe ing a character attainable, as to its most valuable traits, only by gracious aids, there would be danger of setting up an idol, more precious indeed than gold, but still an idol, whereby the mind would be led astray from the one great object of the Christian life, Jesus CHRIST, whose fullness filleth all in all. While we have a just view of him, it is a privilege to bear of his wonderful works in and by his honored servants ; and to be enabled to imitate them is a great augmentation of the privilege. If their graces, exemplified in a variety of circum. stances, in a manner force us to a throne of grace, and thereby prove the means of quickening ours ; then do we make a Vol. I.