The Biblical World of Jonathan Edwards



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The Language of Liberty, 1660-1832: Political Discourse and Social Dynamics in the Anglo-American World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Ole Peter Grell and Roy Porter, eds., Toleration in Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Hoppit, A Land of Liberty?; James E. Bradley and Dale K. Van Kley, eds., Religion and Politics in Enlightenment Europe (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001), esp. the chapter by James E. Bradley, “The Religious Origins of Radical Politics in England, Scotland, and Ireland, 1662-1800,” 187-253; Andrew R. Murphy, Conscience and Community: Revisiting Toleration and Religious Dissent in Early Modern England and America (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001), 27-207; Harris, Revolution; Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-Century Culture and History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009); and Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson, eds., Religion, Politics and Dissent, 1660-1832: Essays in Honour of James E. Bradley (Farnham, U.K.: Ashgate, 2010).

111 On the dozens of usually short-lived Dissenting academies, see especially Irene Parker, Dissenting Academies in England: Their Rise and Progress and Their Place among the Educational Systems of the Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914); Herbert McLachlan, English Education under the Test Acts: Being the History of the Nonconformist Academies, 1662-1820 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1931); A. Victor Murray, “Doddridge and Education,” in Nuttall, ed., Philip Doddridge, 102-21; J. W. Ashley Smith, The Birth of Modern Education: The Contribution of the Dissenting Academies, 1660-1800 (London: Independent Press, 1954); Deacon, Philip Doddridge of Northampton, esp. 24-25; Gordon Rupp, Religion in England, 1688-1791, Oxford History of the Christian Church (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 172-79; David L. Wykes, “The Contribution of the Dissenting Academy to the Emergence of Rational Dissent,” in Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. Knud Haakonssen, Ideas in Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 99-139; and Goldie, Roger Morrice and the Puritan Whigs, 1:505-507 (“Appendix 40”).

112 On the so-called “Protestant interest,” or “Dissenting interest,” in Britain, which included many colonists and evangelical churchmen, see Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 11-54; Craig Rose, England in the 1690s: Revolution, Religion and War, A History of Early Modern England (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999); Thomas S. Kidd, “‘Let Hell and Rome Do Their Worst’: World News, Anti-Catholicism, and International Protestantism in Early-Eighteenth-Century Boston,” New England Quarterly 76 (June 2003): 265-90; Thomas S. Kidd, The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); Brendan McConville, The King’s Three Faces: The Rise & Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Carla Gardina Pestana, Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), esp. 159-217; and Owen Stanwood, The Empire Reformed: English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution, Early American Studies (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). For some helpful qualifications to the recent scholarly tendency to magnify this interest, see Katherine Carté Engel, “The SPCK and the American Revolution: The Limits of International Protestantism,” Church History 81 (March 2012): 77-103.

113 For more on Old Dissent (Presbyterian, Congregational, and Baptist Protestants, as distinguished from the later and increasingly diverse array of nonconforming Christians sometimes called the New Dissent), see Edmund Calamy, A Defence of Moderate Non-Conformity . . ., 3 vols. (London: T. Parkhurst, 1703-1705); Edmund Calamy, An Account of the Ministers, Lecturers, Masters and Fellows of Colleges and Schoolmasters, Who Were Ejected or Silenced after the Restoration . . ., 2nd ed., 2 vols. (London: J. Lawrence et al., 1713); Edmund Calamy, A Continuation of the Account of the Ministers . . . Who Were Ejected and Silenced . . . (London: R. Ford, R. Hett, and J. Chandler, 1727); David Bogue and James Bennett, History of Dissenters, from the Revolution in 1688, to the Year 1808, 4 vols. (London: Williams and Smith et al., 1808); Joshua Toulmin, An Historical View of the State of the Protestant Dissenters in England, and of the Progress of Free Enquiry and Religious Liberty, from the Revolution to the Accession of Queen Anne (Bath, U.K.: Richard Cruttwell, 1814); Walter Wilson, The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses, in London, Westminster, and Southwark; including the Lives of Their Ministers, from the Rise of Nonconformity to the Present Time . . ., 4 vols. (London: R. Edwards, 1814); Robert Halley, Lancashire: Its Puritanism and Nonconformity, 2 vols. (Manchester: Tubbs and Brook, 1869), 2:210-413; Matthews, Calamy Revised; Nuttall, Richard Baxter and Philip Doddridge; R. Tudur Jones, Congregationalism in England, 1662-1962 (London: Independent Press Ltd., 1962); Geoffrey F. Nuttall and Owen Chadwick, eds., From Uniformity to Unity, 1662-1962 (London: S. P. C. K., 1962), 149-342; Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Roger Thomas, R. D. Whitehorn, and H. Lismer Short, The Beginnings of Nonconformity, The Hibbert Lectures (London: James Clarke & Co., 1964); C. G. Bolam et al., The English Presbyterians: From Elizabethan Puritanism to Modern Unitarianism (Boston: Beacon Press, 1968); Russell E. Richey, “The Origins of British Radicalism: The Changing Rationale for Dissent,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 7 (Winter 1973-1974): 179-92; Michael R. Watts, The Dissenters: From the Reformation to the French Revolution (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978); Donald Davie, A Gathered Church: The Literature of the English Dissenting Interest, 1700-1930 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 1-54; Isabel Rivers, “Dissenting and Methodist Books of Practical Divinity,” in Books and Their Readers in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Isabel Rivers (Leicester, U.K.: Leicester University Press, 1982), 127-64; Rupp, Religion in England, 105-79; N. H. Keeble, The Literary Culture of Nonconformity in Later Seventeenth-Century England (Leicester, U.K.: Leicester University Press, 1987); Bradley, Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism; David L. Wykes, “‘To Let the Memory of These Men Dye Is Injurious to Posterity’: Edmund Calamy’s Account of the Ejected Ministers,” in The Church Retrospective: Papers Read at the 1995 Summer Meeting and the 1996 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society, ed. R. N. Swanson, Studies in Church History (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell Press, 1997), 379-92; J. C. D. Clark, English Society, 1660-1832: Religion, Ideology and Politics during the Ancien Regime, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000; orig. 1985); Richard L. Greaves, Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002); Martin Sutherland, Peace, Toleration and Decay: The Ecclesiology of Later Stuart Dissent, Studies in Evangelical History and Thought (Carlisle, U.K.: Paternoster Press, 2003); R. Tudur Jones, Congregationalism in Wales, ed. Robert Pope (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2004), 1-109; Alan P. F. Sell et al., eds., Protestant Nonconformist Texts, 4 vols. (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2006-2007), vols. 1-2; David Steers, “Arminianism amongst Protestant Dissenters in England and Ireland in the Eighteenth Century,” in Arminius, Arminianism, and Europe: Jacobus Arminius (1559/60-1609), Brill’s Series in Church History (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 159-200; and Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes, eds., Dissenting Praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

114 On the decline of Old Dissent and the transition from Dissent to evangelical revival in the mid-eighteenth century (which was funded even more heavily by evangelical leaders in the established Church of England), see John Walsh, “Origins of the Evangelical Revival,” in Essays in Modern English Church History, in Memory of Norman Sykes, ed. G. V. Bennett and J. D. Walsh (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), 132-62; John Walsh, “‘Methodism’ and the Origins of English-Speaking Evangelicalism,” in Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles, and Beyond, 1700-1990, ed. Mark A. Noll, David W. Bebbington, and George A. Rawlyk, Religion in America Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 29; Geoffrey F. Nuttall, “Methodism and the Older Dissent: Some Perspectives,” The Journal of the United Reformed Church History Society 2 (October 1981): 259-74; Henry D. Rack, “Survival and Revival: John Bennet, Methodism, and the Old Dissent,” in Protestant Evangelicalism: Britain, Ireland, Germany and America, c. 1750-c. 1950, Essays in Honour of W. R. Ward, ed. Keith Robbins (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 1-23; Watts, The Dissenters, 434-45, 450-64; D. W. Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989), 21; Bradley, Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism, 93; Clark, English Society, 31; Hoppit, A Land of Liberty?, 220-21; D. Bruce Hindmarsh, John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition: between the Conversions of Wesley and Wilberforce, Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 8, 72; Peter J. Morden, Offering Christ to the World: Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) and the Revival of Eighteenth-Century Particular Baptist Life, Studies in Baptist History and Thought (Milton Keynes, U.K.: Paternoster, 2003), 7-9, 22; Jones, Congregationalism in Wales, 118; and Goldie, Roger Morrice and the Puritan Whigs, 198.

115 Calvinism is often said to have declined rather severely in the Restoration period and early eighteenth-century England. In the classic words of G. R. Cragg, From Puritanism to the Age of Reason: A Study of Changes in Religious Thought within the Church of England, 1660-1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966; orig. 1950), “the second half of the seventeenth century saw many changes in English religious thought, but none more striking than the overthrow of Calvinism” (13). But recent scholarship has shone a light on Calvinist and broadly Reformed survivals in this period, stressing the ongoing importance of Puritan authors in a post-Puritan age. See Barbara Olive, “The Fabric of Restoration Puritanism: Mary Chudleigh’s The Song of the Three Children Paraphras’d,” in Puritanism and Its Discontents, ed. Laura Lunger Knoppers (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2003), 122-42; David P. Field, ‘Rigide Calvinisme in a Softer Dresse’: The Moderate Presbyterianism of John Howe (1630-1705), Rutherford Studies in Historical Theology (Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 2004); Goldie, Roger Morrice and the Puritan Whigs, 148-49, 194, 225; Stephen Hampton, Anti-Arminians: The Anglican Reformed Tradition from Charles II to George I, Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); and Dewey D. Wallace, Jr., Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660-1714: Variety, Persistence, and Transformation, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

116 Edwards to the Rev. John Erskine, July 7, 1752, in WJE, 16:491.

117 On Erskine’s role in keeping Edwards abreast of British Dissent, see especially Jonathan M. Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 147-49, 163, 178-80.

118 The work of these writers owned by Edwards included William Bates, The Harmony of the Divine Attributes, in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man’s Redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ . . . (London: J. Darby for Nathaniel Ranew and Jonathan Robinson, 1674); Anthony Burgess, Spiritual Refining: A Treatise of Grace and Assurance . . . (London: A. Miller for Thomas Underhill, 1652); Doddrige, Family Expositor; John Evans, Practical Discourses concerning the Christian Temper . . ., 2 vols. (London: John and Barham Clark, Eman. Matthews, and John Morley, 1723); Flavel, Pneumatologia; John Gill, The Cause of God and Truth: Being an Examination of the Principal Passages of Scripture Made Use of by the Arminians, in Favour of Their Scheme . . ., 4 vols. (London: Aaron Ward, 1735-38); Nathaniel Lardner, The Credibility of the Gospel History; or, The Facts Occasionally Mention’d in the New Testament; Confirmed by Passages of Ancient Authors, Who Were Contemporary with Our Saviour or His Apostles, or Lived Near Their Time . . ., 17 vols. (London: John Chandler et al., 1727-57); and Isaac Watts, Sermons on Various Subjects . . . (London: John Clark, Em. Matthews, and Richard Ford, 1721). See WJE, 26:319-51. It is not certain whether Edwards read the English Independent Rev. Daniel Neal (1678-1743). But Neal’s History of the Puritans; or, Protestant Non-Conformists . . ., 4 vols. (London: Richard Hett, 1732-38), was owned by Timothy Edwards, held in the Hampshire, Massachusetts Association of Ministers Library, and served for many in Edwards’ day as the main source on its subject from the time of the Reformation to the Glorious Revolution (WJE, 26: 359, 382). For more on Neal and his Dissenting historiography, see Laird Okie, “Daniel Neal and the ‘Puritan Revolution,’” Church History 55 (December 1986): 456-67; Laird Okie, Augustan Historical Writing: Histories of England in the English Enlightenment (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991), chapter 4; and Goldie, Roger Morrice and the Puritan Whigs, 299-303.

119 Edwards refers to Calvin only three times in his corpus, all in his treatise on the Affections (WJE, 2:278, 314, 322). As confirmed by Wallace, Jr., Shapers of English Calvinism, “it is somewhat surprising how seldom English Calvinists cited or discussed Calvin” (11). On this phenomenon, see also the work of Richard A. Muller, “Reception and Response: Referencing and Understanding Calvin in Post-Reformation Calvinism,” in Calvin and His Influence, 1509-2009, ed. Irena Backus and Philip Benedict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 182-201.

120 Preston, “Biblical Criticism, Literature, and the Eighteenth-Century Reader,” 98-99.

121 Much has been said about this above, but see also Gerard Reedy, The Bible and Reason: Anglicans and Scripture in Late Seventeenth-Century England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985); and Simon Ross Valentine, John Bennet and the Origins of Methodism and the Evangelical Revival in England, Pietist and Wesleyan Studies (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, inc., 1997), 287-95. On the interpretation of Scripture in Edwards’ eighteenth-century world, see also Joel C. Weinsheimer, Eighteenth-Century Hermeneutics: Philosophy of Interpretation in England from Locke to Burke (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993); and G. T. Sheppard and A. C. Thiselton, “Biblical Interpretation in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” in Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, ed. McKim, 45-66.

122 For more on state-church Christianity and mainstream Christian thought during the long eighteenth-century in England, see Leslie Stephen, The History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 3d ed., 2 vols. (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1902); Mark Pattison, “Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688-1750,” in Essays by the Late Mark Pattison, Sometime Rector of Lincoln College, 2 vols., ed. Henry Nettleship (New York: Burt Franklin, 1978; orig. 1889), 2:42-118; Norman Sykes, Church and State in England in the XVIIIth Century, The Birkbeck Lectures in Ecclesiastical History, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1931-3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1934); Norman Sykes, From Sheldon to Secker: Aspects of English Church History, 1660-1768 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959); Bennett, The Tory Crisis in Church and State, 1688-1730; J. A. I. Champion, The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken: The Church of England and Its Enemies, 1660-1730, Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); John Walsh, Colin Haydon, and Stephen Taylor, eds., The Church of England, c. 1689-c. 1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Jane Garnett and Colin Matthew, eds., Revival and Religion since 1700: Essays for John Walsh (London: Hambledon Press, 1993); Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, Accommodating High Churchmen: The Clergy of Sussex, 1700-1745, Studies in Anglican History (Urbana: University Of Illinois Press, 1997); Thomas C. Pfizenmaier, The Trinitarian Theology of Dr. Samuel Clarke (1675-1729): Context, Sources, and Controversy, Studies in the History of Christian Thought (Leiden: Brill, 1997); B. W. Young, Religion and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century England: Theological Debate from Locke to Burke (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998); Clark, English Society, 1660-1832; Jeremy Gregory and Jeffrey S. Chamberlain, eds., The National Church in Local Perspective: The Church of England and the Regions, 1660-1800, Studies in Modern British Religious History (Woodbridge, U.K.: Boydell Press, 2003); and William Gibson and Robert G. Ingram, eds., Religious Identities in Britain, 1660-1832 (Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2005).

123 The work of these writers owned by Edwards included Richard Bentley, The Folly and Unreasonableness of Atheism . . . (London: J. H. for H. Mortlock, 1693); Samuel Clarke, A Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation . . ., 6th ed. (London: W. Botham for James Knapton, 1724); James Hervey, Theron and Aspasio; or, A Series of Dialogues and Letters, upon the Most Important and Interesting Subjects, 3 vols. (London: John and James Rivington, 1755); Richard Kidder, A Demonstration of the Messias . . ., 3 vols. (London: B. Aylmer et al., 1684-1700); Humphrey Prideaux, The Old and New Testament Connected; Thomas Sherlock, The Use and Intent of Prophecy in the Several Ages of the World . . ., 5th ed. (London: J. Whiston, 1749); and William Warburton, The Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated: on the Principles of a Religious Deist, from the Omission of the Doctrine of a Future State of Reward and Punishment in the Jewish Dispensation, 2 vols. (London: Fletcher Gyles, 1738-41). See WJE, 26:321-50.

124 See WJE, 26:117-318. Though the “Catalogue” contains only 720 entries, many refer to multiple books.

125 See “Jonathan Edwards’ Last Will, and the Inventory of His Estate,” Bibliotheca Sacra 33 (July 1876): 428-47, a literal transcription of the original document held by the Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Courthouse (published anonymously by Edwards Amasa Park, George Allen, and George W. Hubbard). This document does not list the titles in Edwards’ library, but does reveal that Edwards left 301 volumes (38 folios, 34 quartos, 99 octavos, 130 duodecimos), 536 pamphlets, as well as 25 “Books published by the Owner lately deceased” (446).

126 See WJE, 26:428-72. I count 386 different printed titles cited by Edwards in his corpus.

127 Though the phrase “republic of letters” dates back to the beginning of the Italian Renaissance, most use it to refer to the literary networks whose exchanges shaped the age of the Enlightenment. See Anne Goldgar, Impolite Learning: Conduct and Community in the Republic of Letters, 1680-1750 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), though her focus on Huguenot refuges in Holland keeps her from paying much attention to the Anglo-American world; Peter N. Miller, Peiresc’s Europe: Learning and Virtue in the Seventeenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), an extraordinary treatment of the early seventeenth-century republic; Constance M. Furey, Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), which focuses on sixteenth-century Catholic intellectuals but highlights the spiritual component of the republic; and April G. Shelford, Transforming the Republic of Letters: Pierre-Daniel Huet and European Intellectual Life, 1650-1720, Changing Perspectives on Early Modern Europe (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007), which looks at the early, or “old,” phase of the republic (more Latinate, philological, and classically-oriented than the later eighteenth-century republic). On evangelicals involved in both spiritual and secular republics of epistolary and literary exchange, see Susan O’Brien, “A Transatlantic Community of Saints: The Great Awakening and the First Evangelical Network, 1735-1755,” American Historical Review 91 (October 1986): 811-32; Michael J. Crawford, Seasons of Grace: Colonial New England’s Revival Tradition in Its British Context, Religion in America Series (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); W. R. Ward, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), still the best book on the international dimension and connections of the revival; Leonard I. Sweet, ed., Communication and Change in American Religious History (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), passim; Susan O’Brien, “Eighteenth-Century Publishing Networks in the First Years of Transatlantic Evangelicalism,” in Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles and Beyond, 1700-1990, 38-57; Hindmarsh, John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition; David Ceri Jones, “A Glorious Work in the World”: Welsh Methodism and the International Evangelical Revival, 1735-1750, Studies in Welsh History (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2004); Jennifer Snead, “Print, Predestination, and the Public Sphere: Transatlantic Evangelical Periodicals, 1740-1745,” Early American Literature 45:1 (2010): 93-118; Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism; and Peter J. Thuesen, “Jonathan Edwards and the Transatlantic World of Books,” Jonathan Edwards Studies 3, No. 1 (2013): 48-50. On the historiography of the republic of letters, see also Anthony Grafton, “A Sketch Map of a Lost Continent: The Republic of Letters,” Republics of Letters: A Journal for the Study of Knowledge, Politics, and the Arts 1 (May 1, 2009), unpaginated (online journal); and Françoise Waquet, “Qu’est-ce que la République des letters?: Essai de sémantique historique,” Biblioth

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