July 26, 2012

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) on the Difference Christ's Redemption Makes for the Generality of Mankind

God deals with the generality of mankind, in their present state, far differently, on occasion of the redemption by Jesus Christ, from what he otherwise would do; for, being capable subjects of saving mercy, they have a day of patience and grace, and innumerable temporal blessings bestowed on them; which, as the apostle signifies, (Acts xiv. 17.) are testimonies of God's reconcilableness to sinful men, to put them upon seeking after God.
Jonathan Edwards, "The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 vols. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:227.

Also in the Yale edition here: Jonathan Edwards [1758], Original Sin (WJE Online Vol. 3), Ed. Clyde A. Holbrook

Observe:
1) On occasion of the redemption of Christ, God is dealing with the generality of mankind differently than he otherwise would (He is not dealing with men as He is with the fallen angels).
2) The generality of mankind, by virtue of Christ's redemptive work, are now "capable subjects of saving mercy," i.e. their salvation is possible.
3) They all are given "a day of patience and grace" because of Christ (common grace is associated with Christ's death in Edwards' theology).
4) Innumerable temporal blessings are bestowed on them (these common bounties of providence are blessings, or sent for the well-being of them all).
5) All of these things God gives to the generality of mankind "to put them upon seeking after God," i.e. He wants them all to be saved.

1 comment:

THEOparadox said...

Tony,

Excellent quote and excellent analysis! Thanks for posting this.

Derek