Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thorny Issue 2

Marsden writes (157):

'This sermon, A Divine and Supernatural Light, encapsulates better than any other single source the essence of his spiritual insight.'

What Marsden does in the rest of his discussion DSL is describe the content of the argument of the sermon. He writes that that 'God communicates to humans, he explained, in an immediate way ...' The result of this immediate divine communication is 'a new spiritual sense.' This gets us to the heart of the theological logic at the heart of the sermon - Marsden then develops his discussion with the practical outworkings of the doctrine. This application is important, but need not detain us at this point. It is important to underline the two ideas that Edwards pushes in the sermon. First, divine grace is immediately communicated. This is the primary point in the sermon, indeed it controls the doctrinal proposition in the discourse. Very little has been written about the immediate nature of divine grace in JE and I hope to show in this series of posts that it is a vital aspect of his understanding of soteriology. In order to do this I will need to look at a couple of secondary texts that do look at immediacy and demonstrate the inadequacy of the treatment they offer.

The second idea in the sermon is the 'new spiritual sense.' If little has been written about immediacy vast tracts of literature exist on the new sense. Much of the latter material is helpful, but would gain vital definition if placed in the historical context of immediate divine grace, and the various other polemical issues with which Edwards was engaging.


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