June 4, 2009


I have been reading some more of the letters of Jonathan Edwards in A Sweet Flame. It is interesting to read letters form well over 200 years ago, letters written at a time that letter writing was the primary means of communication between people who did not live in the same town. Writing letters when everyone who communicated well wrote well. I think this is the thing that makes me enjoy blogging; it is an opportunity to communicate through writing, something that was becoming more of an art form amongst an ever smaller group of people rather than a primary means of communication. It is an exciting opportunity; combining a skill that has been around for centuries with the turbo charging of the internet, making the medium available to countless writers and readers.

The man had an eloquence to his writing that showed his faith and his humility:

Never was I so sensible in any measure how vain a creature man is, what a leaf driven of the wind, what dry stubble, what poor dust, a bubble, a shadow, a nothing, and more vain than nothing, and what a vain and vile helpless creature I am, and how much I need God's help in everything, as of late.

A Sweet Flame: Jonathan Edwards letter to James Robe, May 12, 1743
People do not write letters like that anymore, what a pity. To be able to pull off that prose in a blog, I would be a happy man. Instead I am more stubble, dust and bubbles.

Edwards had the opportunity to be a driving force behind the First Great Awakening. That was good news. The fact that America had slid into a spiritual decline that made the Great Awakening both possible and necessary was the bad news. There is today the opportunity and necessity for spiritual revival in America. We are blessed with tools that magnify both the scope and sweep of our ability to communicate Gospel truths.

May we be up the task in our time; in some small way modelling the impact a giant like Edwards had in his.

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