Thursday, February 21, 2008

Edwards on Beauty

God is not only infinitely greater and more excellent than all other being; but he is the head of the universal system of existence; the foundation and fountain of all being and all beauty; from whom all is perfectly derived, and on whom all is most absolutely and perfectly dependent; of whom, and through whom, and to whom is all being and all perfection; and whose being and beauty is as it were the sum and comprehension of all existence and excellence: much more than the sun is the fountain and summary comprehension of all the light and brightness of the day.
Jonathan Edwards

There's a fairly easily accessible piece on Edwards' views of beauty here.


Anonymous said...

here's the true voice of edwards:
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

Nice guy!!!

John said...

Obviously from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

I think both are the true voice of Edwards. He's also widely rated as one of the greatest American philosophers of all time, the inventor of the missionary biography, the person to do the best analysis of ecstatic experiences in the context of Christian worship...

And if Edwards believed what he said in Sinners, it seems reasonable that he should say it, and that he should plead with people to take hold of the way out of that situation.

Given that people believe that, would you rather they stay silent? I think it is love that compels them to speak out.

Anonymous said...

no. what he says is evil. and if you think what you say then you are living proof the wycliffe hall is not a suitable place for the formation of christian priests and mr turnbull should be removed instantly.

John said...

Now that is curious.

1) Why do you think what Edwards said to be evil?

2) On this comments thread, have I said much more than Voltaire's alleged willingness to defend people's right to say what they think? I don't think I have.

3) Even if you are right on everything else, teachers being sacked for the views of their students sounds somewhat extreme. I don't think even the Nazis went that far...