Saturday, March 25, 2006

On happiness

I wil grant the point - the last entry was a touch involved. For something completely different - consider Edwards' first sermon (at least the earliest manuscript) which was on the subject of Christian Happiness. I'm not sure if there is a recent study of Edwards on Happiness (I guess someone will have covered it on Joy etc and the Religious Affections) but it is interesting that this was his topic in an early sermon. JE was 17 or 18 when he wrote this:

'To talk of raptures and ecstasies, joy and singing, is but to set forth by very low shadows of the reality, and all we can say by our best rhetoric is really and truly vastly below what is but the bare and naked truth, and if St. Paul, who had seen them, thought it but in vain to endeavour to utter it, much less shall we pretend to it, and the Scriptures have gone as high in the descriptions of it as we are able to keep pace with in our imagination and conception. We shall only say this, that the good man has the assurance and certainty: that he shall at last surely enjoy such a happiness as the Scripture describes to us.' (Works, 10, 300-301)

Of course, Edwards famously went on to say a lot about these things - see for example his famous sermon Heaven is a World of Love.

You can read Heaven is a World of Love in our introductory volume of JE sermons:

The Sermons of Jonathan Edwards: A Reader edited by Wilson H. Kimnach, Kenneth P. Minkema, & Douglas A. Sweeney.


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