« PreviousContinue »
, Answers already given him, both at home and abroad.
As it has been thought unfit, this Posthumous Book should go unattended with a respectful Memorial of the Author, it is hoped, the Reader will candidly accept the following Minutes of his Life and Character.
Mr. EDWARDS was the only Son of the late Reverend Mr. TIMOTHY EDWARDS, long a faithful Pastor of a Church in Winsor, in Connecticut; who (together with his Wife, our Author's pious Mother) was living, in a very advanced Age, till a little before the Death of this his excellent Son, who had for many Years been his Parents Joy and Crown.
He had his Education in YALE-COLLEGE. At the Age of about Eighteen, commenced Batchelor of Arts, Anno 1720.-Afterwards resided at College for some Time, pursuing his Studies with a laudable Diligence.-Took the Degree of Master, at the usual Time: and for a while served the College in the Station of a Tutor.
He soon entered into the Ministry, and was settled at Northampton, in Massachusetts, as Colleague with his aged Grandfather, the Reverend and famous Mr. SOLOMON STODDARD; with whom, indeed, as a Son with the Father, he served in the Gospel, till Death divided them.--There he continued his Labours for many Years, in high Efteem at home, as well as abroad; till uncomfortable Debates arising about a Right to Sacraments, and after his best Attempts finding no rational Prospect of any safe and speedy Issue of them, he at length amica
bly bly refigried his Pastoral Relation, and had an honourable Quietus, Anno 1750.
Soon after this, there being a Vacancy in the Mission at Stockbridge, by the Death of the Reverend and learned Mr. John SERGEANT, the Board of Commissioners at Boston, who act under the Society in London, for propagating the Gospel among the Indians in and about New England, turned their Eyes to Mr. EDWARDS, for a Supply of that Mission.. And upon their unanimous Invitation, in Concurrence with the Call of the Church (consisting of Indians and English) at Stockbridge, he removed thither, and was regularly re-instated in the Pastoral Office.
He continued his Ministry there, until on Ocm casion of the Death of his worthy Son-in-law, the Reverend and Learned Mr. AARON Burr, who had succeeded the Reverend and Learned Mr, JONATHAN DICKINSON, in the Station of President of the College of New-JERSEY, he was by the Honourable and Reverend TRUSTEES of that Society chosen to be his Successor. The Commissioners at Boston having received a Motion from them for his Translation, did in Deference to the Judgment of fo respectable a Body, as well as from an Esteem for Mr. EDWARDS, and a View to his more extensive Usefulness, generously consent to his Removal: and the venerable Council, to whom he finally referred himself for Advice on this important Occasion, giving their unanimous Opinion for the Clearness of his Call to the President's Place, he at Length (though with much Reluctance and Self-diffidence) relinquished his Pastoral Charge and Ministerial Mission at Stockbridge, and rea
for Minectable a BoDefcren
moved to Prince-Town in New-Jersey, where Nassau-HALL stands, lateiy erected.
the porough his Difene 23d of Feb
But that fatal Distemper, the Small-pox, which has in former Days been so much the Scourge and Terror of AMERICA, breaking out, in or near the College, about that Time, and Inoculation being favoured with great Success, Mr. EDWARDS, upon mature Thought and Consultation, judged it advisable to go into this Method. Accordingly he was inoculated on the 23d of February 1758. And though his Disease was comparatively light, the Pock of a milder Sort, and few, yet such a Number happened to be seated in his Throat and Mouth, as prevented his receiving the necessary cooling and diluting Draughts; and so, upon the Turn of the Pock, a secondary Fever came on, which prevailed to the putting an End (on March 22d) to the important Life of this good and great Min touchant les good and rear Man. ----- As he lived chearfully resigned in all Things to the Will of Heaven, so he died, or rather, as the Scripture emphatically expresses it, in relation to the Saint in Christ Jesus, he fell asleep, without the least Appearance of Pain, and with great Calm of Mind. Indeed, when he first perceived the Symptoms upon him to be mortal, he is said to have been a little perplexed for a while, about the Meaning of this mysterious Conduct of Providence, in calling him out from his beloved Privacy, to a publick Scene of Action and Influence; and then so fuddenly, just upon his Entrance into it, translating him from thence, in such a Way, by Mortality! Flowever, he quickly got believing and compofing Views of the Wisdom and Goodness of God in this surprising Event: and readily yielded to the fovereign Disposal of Heaven, with the most placid Submillion. Amidst the Joy of Faith, he
departed this World, to go and see Jesus, whom his Soul loved ; to be with him, to behold his Glory, and rejoyce in his Kingdom above.
Though, by the preceding Account of Mr. EDWARDS, the Reader may form a general Idea of his Character; yet doubtless a more particular Description will be expected. ..
In Person, he was tall of Stature, and of a Nender Make. There was something extremely delicate in his Conftitution ; which always obliged him to the exactest Observation of the Rules of Temperance, and every Method of cautious and prudent living, He experienced very signally the Benefit hereof, as by such Means he was helped to go through inceffant Labours, and to bear up under much Study, which, Solomon observes, is a Weariness to the Fleth.—Perhaps, never was a Man more constantly retired from the World; giving himself to Reading, and Contemplation. And a Wonder it was, that his feeble Frame could subfist under fuch' Fatigues, daily repeated and fo long "continued. Yet upon Occasion of soine Remark upon it by a Friend, which was only a few Months before his Death, he told him, “ He did not find but he was then as well able to bear the closest Study, as he was 30 Years before ; and could go through the Exercises of the Pulpit with as little Weariness or Difficulty." In his Youth, he appeared healthy, and with a good Degree of Vivacity; but was never robust, In middle Life, he appeared very much emaciated (I had almost said, mortified) by severe Studies, and intense Applications of Thought. Hence his Voice was a little languid, and too low for a large Assembly; though much relieved and advantaged by a proper Emphasis, just Cadence,
well-placed Pauses, and great Distinctness in Pronunciation. He had a piercing Eye, the trueit Index of the Mind. His Aspect and Mein had a Mixture of Severity and Pleafancy. He had a natural Turn for Gravity and Sedateness; ever contemplative; and in Conversation usually reserved, but always observant of a genuine Decoruni, in his Deportment; free from sullen, supercilious and contemptuous Airs, and without any Appearance of Oftentation, Levity, or Vanity. As to Imagination, he had enough of it for a great and good Man : but the Gaieties of a luxuriant Fancy, so captivating to many, were what he neither affected himself, nor was much delighted with in others. He had a natural Steadiness of Temper, and Fortitude of Mind; which, being fanctified by the Spirit of God, was ever of vast Advantage to him, to carry him through difficult Services, and support him under trying AMictions, in the Course of his Life. Personal Injuries he bore with a becoming Meekness and Patience, and a Disposition to Forgiveness. The Humility, Modesty, and Serenity of his Behaviour, much endeared him to his Acquaintance, and made him appear amiable in the Eyes of such as had the Privilege of conversing with him. He was a true and faithful Friend; and thewed much of a disinterested Benevolence to his Neighbour. The several Relations sustained by him, he adorned with an exemplary Conduct; and was solicitous to fill every Station with its proper Duty. He, kept up an extensive Correspondence, with Ministers and others, in various Parts ; and his Letters always contained some significant. and valuable Communications. In his private Walk, as a Christian, he appeared an Example of truly rational, consistent, uniforin Religion and Virque: a thining Instance of the Power and Efficacy