Jonathan Edwards
en

Jonathan Edwards

There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Jonathan Edwards.Jonathan Edwards was the most eminent American philosopher-theologian of his time, and a key figure in what has come to be called the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s.The only son in a family of eleven children, he entered Yale in September, 1716 when he was not yet thirteen and graduated four years later (1720) as valedictorian. He received his Masters three years later. As a youth, Edwards was unable to accept the Calvinist sovereignty of God. However, in 1721 he came to what he called a "delightful conviction" though meditation on 1 Timothy 1:17. From that point on, Edwards delighted in the sovereignty of God. Edwards later recognized this as his conversion to Christ.In 1727 he was ordained minister at Northampton and assistant to his maternal grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. He was a student minister, not a visiting pastor, his rule being thirteen hours of study a day. In the same year, he married Sarah Pierpont, then age seventeen, daughter of Yale founder James Pierpont (1659–1714). In total, Jonathan and Sarah had eleven children.Stoddard died on February 11th, 1729, leaving to his grandson the difficult task of the sole ministerial charge of one of the largest and wealthiest congregations in the colony. Throughout his time in Northampton his preaching brought remarkable religious revivals.Yet, tensions flamed as Edwards would not continue his grandfather's practice of open communion. Stoddard believed that communion was a "converting ordinance." Surrounding congregations had been convinced of this, and as Edwards became more convinced that this was harmful, his public disagreement with the idea caused his dismissal in 1750.Edwards then moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, then a frontier settlement, where he ministered to a small congregation and served as missionary to the Housatonic Indians. There, having more time for study and writing, he completed his celebrated work, The Freedom of the Will (1754).Edwards was elected president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in early 1758. He was a popular choice, for he had been a friend of the College since its inception. He died of fever at the age of fifty-four following experimental inoculation for smallpox and was buried in the President's Lot in the Princeton cemetery beside his son-in-law, Aaron Burr.
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