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Book The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Religious Affections Volume 2: Religious Affections v. 2 (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series)


The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Religious Affections Volume 2: Religious Affections v. 2 (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Works of Jonathan Edwards: Religious Affections Volume 2: Religious Affections v. 2 (The Works of Jonathan Edwards Series).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jonathan Edwards(Author) John E. Smith(Author)

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This volume contains Edwards' most mature and persistent attempt to judge the validity of the religious development in eighteenth-century America known as the Great Awakening. In developing criteria for such judgment he attacked at the same time one of the fundamental questions facing all religion: how to distinguish genuine from spurious piety? The Awakening created much bitter controversy; on the one side stood the emotionalists and enthusiasts, and on the other the rationalists, for whom religion was essentially a matter of morality or good conduct and the acceptance of properly formulated doctrine. Edwards, with great analytical skill and enormous biblical learning, showed that both sides were in the wrong. He attacked both a "lifeless morality" as too pale as to be the essence of religion, and he rejected the excesses of a purely emotional religion more concerned for sensational effects than for the inner transformation of the self, which was, for him, the center of genuine Christianity.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian, "and one of America's greatest intellectuals. Edwards's theological work is very broad in scope, but he is often associated with his defense of Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life's work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a very critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first fires of revival in 1733-1735 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards delivered the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", a classic of early American literature, during another wave of revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is widely known for his many books: The End For Which God Created the World; The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the nineteenth century; and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals read even today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (later to be named Princeton University), and was the grandfather of Aaron Burr. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Review Text

  • By Phil McCheddar on 4 April 2017

    This edition is abridged so drastically it is only about 20% the length of the original. I thought some of Jonathan Edwards' comments were insightful but I felt he often defined ways to differentiate genuine and counterfeit affections in absolute terms that don't always reflect real life, since other factors (such as mental illness) can influence how religious people feel and act. One other point about this book which annoys me personally is that the modernised English language uses feminine pronouns as gender-non-specific pronouns. To me that seems a needless change to Jonathan Edwards' original style. I recommend anyone wanting to read this book to buy a copy of the original text instead of this modern abridgement.

  • By Penguin on 23 May 2015

    Let's be honest, this is not the easiest book to plough through. It requires some effort and determination to persevere. Yet the subject matter is so fundamental to Christian life that it is hugely beneficial if one does. For this reason I would recommend it for anyone who is serious about knowing what it means to be a Christian and patient enough to devote some time to read and meditate on this subject.When you read this book, one cannot help but admire the supernatural illumination that underpins it. Otherwise, no man could ever write like this. This book probes very deep into the transformation that a real Christian goes through, distinguishing the false religious affections from the genuine all along. It tells us what is not. This is important because of an asymmetry. Those who possess the true faith can tell what religious affections or experience are only counterfeit; but those who have only experienced the counterfeit religious affections cannot tell the difference and believe that they are the elect when they are not. Jonathan Edwards painstakingly goes through nearly all scenarios commonly encountered and carefully analyses which are true and which are not and why with biblical references. Some are really subtle and it takes a spiritual giant who was truly blessed in skills, intellect, and spiritual walk with God to be able to see through both sides and attempt to put into words something literally out of this world. When I read this work, I was reminded of 2 Cor 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.This book is essential for spiritual discernment. I am surprised how relevant this book is even today. Reading this book helps us realise that the devil's tricks are nothing new. We see the same tricks repeated down the ages in perhaps different attires. Jonathan Edwards observes and warns in these words, for example, "Experiences and discoveries such as these, commonly raise the affections of such as are deluded by them to a great height, and make a mighty uproar in both soul and body. And a very great part of the false religion that has been in the world, from one age to another, consists in such discoveries as these, and in the affections that flow from them.... It is chiefly by such sort of religion as this that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light: and it is that which he has ever most successfully made use of to confound hopeful and happy revivals of religion, from the beginning of the Christian church to this day. When the Spirit of God is poured out to begin a glorious work, then the old serpent, as fast as possible and by all means, introduces this bastard religion, and mingles it with the true; which has from time to time soon brought all things into confusion.... Great and strict therefore should be the watch and guard that ministers maintain against such things, especially at a time of great awakening: for men, especially the common people, are easily bewitched with such things, they having such a glaring and glistening show of high religion. The devil hides his own shape, and appears as an angel of light, that men may not be afraid of him but adore him. " (p. 212-213)Do we see this happening in our days? Of course, most definitely. We are in much need of spiritual discernment as in Edwards' days.Apart from warning us about the pitfalls and what is not genuine, this book helps us, the professing Christians, examine ourselves and our faith. I can tell you that this is not an easy process of soul-searching. But the upside is that it will leave us with no delusion or illusion. We should be assured of our distinctiveness and understand more of the challenges ahead. We are given the tools to examine ourselves not just now but also in the future when we face trials and temptations. This book should produce what it calls evangelical humility, as we understand more of our carnal nature and what it takes to run this race towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.This book is not supposed to depress us but to describe how precious and glorious in what we have been offered. He does not wish anyone to miss the treasure due to the confusion that Satan throws in. I like its concluding remark after the long journey with this book: "It would become fashionable for men to show their Christianity, more by an amiable distinguished behaviour, than by an abundant and excessive declaring their experiences. We should get into the way of appearing lively in religion, more by being lively in the service of God and our generation than by the liveliness and forwardness of our tongue... Many occasions of spiritual pride would thus be cut off, and so a great door shut against the devil. A great many of the main stumbling-blocks against experimental and powerful religion would be removed, and religion would be declared and manifested in such a way that, instead of hardening spectators, and exceedingly promoting infidelity and atheism, it would, above all things, tend to convince men that there is a reality in religion, and greatly awaken them, and win them, by convincing their consciences of the importance and excellency of religion. Thus the light of professors would so shine before men, that others, seeing their good works, would glorify their Father who is in heaven." (p.382)Be warned that this book has no index of bible references or subjects at the end. Therefore for future reference, be prepared to mark it along the way when you read it through the first time.

  • By Tom Lisle on 11 May 2014

    A classic book by a true man of God, reading this book has been a great help, despite it being written long ago it is just as relevant today!

  • By Guest on 1 September 2014

    Very useful little book! I struggled with Religious Affections when I went through it first time. This book helped me to grasp it better.

  • By Sheryl Smith on 18 May 2015

    A must read for anyone seeking deep and genuine faith..

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