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and, at the same time, showing the grounds of it, or showing what things are true, and also why they are true manifesting the mutual dependance of the various parts of the true scheme of religion, and also the foundation of the wholethings being reduced to their first principles in such a manner, that the connexion and reason of things, as well as their agreement with the word of God, may be easily seen; and the true source of the dangerous errors concerning the terms of God's favour and qualifications for heaven, which are prevailing at this day, is plainly discovered, showing their falsehood at the very foundation, and their inconsistence with the very first principles of the religion of the bible.

Such a discourse as this is very seasonable at this day: and although the author (as he declares,) has aimed especially at the benefit of persons of vulgar capacity; and so has not laboured for such ornaments of style and language as might best suit the taste of men of polite literature; yet the matter or substance that is to be found in this discourse, is what, I trust, will be very entertaining and profitable to every serious and impartial reader, whether learned or unlearned.

JONATHAN EDWARDS Northampton, August 4, 1750.



We are designed, by GOD our Maker, for an endless existence. In this present life we just enter upon being, and are in a state introductory to a never-ending duration in another world, where we are to be for ever unspeakably bappy or miserable, according to our present conduct. This is designed for a state of probation; and that, for a state of rewards and punishments. We are now upon trial, and God's eye is upon us every moment; and that picture of ourselves, which we exhibit in our conduct, the whole of it taken together, will give our proper character, and determine our state for ever. This being designed for a state of trial, God now means to try us, that our conduct, under all the trials of life, may discover what we are, and ripen us for the day of judgment; when God will judge every man according to his works, and render to every one according to his doings. He does not intend, in the dispensations of his providence, to suit things to a state of ease and enjoyment, which is what this life is not designed for; but to a state of trial : He puts men into trying circumstances of set purpose, and, as it were, contrives methods to try them. One great end he has in view, is, that he may prove them, and know what is in their hearts.

He did not lead the children of Israel directly from Egypt to Canaan, but first through the Red Sea, and then out into a wilderness, where there was neither water, nor bread, nor flesh; and made them wander there forty years, that he might try them, and prove them, and know what was in their hearts—Deut. viii. 2. So when the christian religion was introduced into the world, it was not in such a way as men would have chosen, but in a manner suited to a state of trial. The Son of God did not come in outward glory, but in the form of a servant; not to reign as an earthly prince, but to die upon the cross : and his apostles made but a mean appearance in the eyes of the world, and that sect was every where


spoken against, and persecuted; and many were the stumbling-blocks of the times : and these things were to try the temper of mankind. And when christian churches were erected by the indefatigable labours of St. Paul and others, that God might thoroughly try every heart, he not only suffered the wicked world to rise in arms against them, but also let Satan loose, to transform himself into an Angel of Light, and, as it were, to inspire, and send forth his ministers, transformed into the apostles of Christ, to vent heretical doctrines, and foment strife and division. In the inean while, the secure and wicked world looked on, pleased, no doubt, to see their debates and divisions, and glad they could have such a handle against Christianity, and so good a plea to justify their infidelity: and God delighted to have things under circumstances so perfectly well adapted to a state of trial. He love ed to try the apostles, to see how they would be affected and act; when not only the world was in arms against them, but many of their own converts turned to be their enemies too, by the influence of false teachers. He loved to try private christians, to see how their hearts would be affected towards the truths of the gospel, and the true ministers of Christ, and towards their temporal interest, while the truths of the gospel were denied or perverted, and the true ministers of Christ despised and stigmatized by heretics, and their temporal interest exposed to the rage of a wicked, merciless world : And he loved to try hypocrites, to see whether they would not renounce the truch they pretended so highly to value, and become disaffected towards the ministers of Christ they seemed so dearly to love, and follow false teachers, or fall off 10 the world.

It is reasonable and fit, and a thing becoming and beautiful, that beings in a state of probation should be tried; and God looks upon the present outward ease and comfort even of his own people, as a matter of no importance, compared with things spiritual and eternal. Eternity, with all its importance, lies open to his view; and time appears as a point, and all its concerns as things comparatively of no worth. If the wicked are in prosperity, and the righteous in adversity, or all things come alike to all, God is well pleased, be

cause things of time are of so little importance, and because such an administration of things is suited to a state of trial. There will be time enough hereafter for the righteous to be rewarded, and the wicked punished. In this view of things, we may, in a measure, understand the darkest, and account for the most mysterious, dispensations of divine providence, and discern the wisdom of the divine government.

It has doubtless appeared as a thing strange and dark to many pious persons, and occasioned not a little perplexity of mind, to observe what has come to pass in New-England since the year 1740.—That there should be so general an out-pouring of the spirit-so many hundreds and thousands awakened all over the country, and such an almost universal external reformation, and so many receive the word with joy; and yet, after all, things come to be as they now are: so many fallen away to carnal security, and so many turned enthusiasts and heretics, and the country so generally settled in their prejudices against experimental religion and the doctrines of the gospel, and a flood of Arminianism and immorality, ready to deluge the land: but, as strange and dark as it may have seemed, yet doubtless if any of us had lived with the Israelites in the wilderness, or in the three first ages after Christ, or in the time of the reformation from Popery, the dispensations of Divine Providence would, upon the whole, have appeared much more mysterious than they do now. And yet those were times when God was doing glorious things for his Church. And indeed, it has happened in our day, however strange it may seem to us, no otherwise than our Saviour foretold it commonly would under the gospel dispensation, at least till Satan is bound, that he may deceive the nations no more. The souer goes forth to sow, and some seed falls by the way-side, and some on stony, and some on thorny, and some on good ground; and while he is sowing good seed, an enemy in the night, the devil, unobserved, sows tares: now, when the sun is up, i. e. when new times come on, and trials approach, the main of the seed is lost; not only what fell by the way-side, but also what fell on the stony and thorny ground. And when the good ground is about to bring forth fruit, the tares begin to appear too. Mat.



xiii. Thus it has always been. This is a state of trial, and God has permitted so many sad and awful things to happen in times of reformation, with design to prove the children of men, and know what is in their hearts.

The young people almost all over New-England professed they would for ever renounce youthful vanities, and seek the Lord. “Well,” God, in the course of his Providence, as it were, says, " I will try you.” Seeming converts expressed great love to Christ, bis truths, and ministers, and ways: "Well,” says God, “ I will try you.” Multitudes, being ' enemies to all true religion, longed to see the whole reformation fall into disgrace, and things return to their own channel; and they sought for objections and stumbling-blocks ; “Well,” says God, "you may have them, and I will try and see how you will be affected, and what you will say, and whether you will be as glad when the cause of my Son is betrayed by the miscarriages of those that profess to be his friends, as the Jews of old were, when my Son himself was betraved into their hands by Judas.Thus God means to try every one.

A compassionate sense of the exercises, which godly persons, especially among common people, might be under, in these evil days, while some are fallen away, and others are clapping their hands and rejoicing with all their hearts to see Zion laid waste; while Arminians are glossing their scheme, and appealing to reason and common sense, as though their principles were near or quite self-evident to all men of thought and candour; and while enthusiasts are going about as men inspired and immediately sent by the Almighty, pretending to extraordinary sanctity, and bold in it that they are so holy in themselves, and so entirely on the Lord's side, that all godly people must, and cannot but sce as they do, and fall in with them, unless they are become blind, dead, and carnal; and gotten back into the world; a compassionate sense, I say, of the exercises of mind, which pious persons among common people might have, in such a trying situation of things, was the first motive which excited me to enter upon this work, which I now offer to the public: and to make divipe truths plain to such, and to strip error naked before their

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