JONATHAN EDWARDS MUCH BLINDED.
AS an illustration of Calvinism as it was preached in by-gone days, but which the intelligence both of hearers and preachers prohibits in this day of greater light, we quote the following from the New York Journal's review of a new biography of Jonathan Edwards recently published:--
"Now let us see what impression was produced by the preaching of the doctrines of the immutable election of the few and the inevitable damnation of the many which Edwards with remorseless logic reared on his conception of the human will. The contemporary records and surviving traditions on the subject are brought together by Dr. Allen on pages 126-129 of this volume. 'One man has recorded that as he listened to Edwards, when discoursing of the day of judgment, he fully anticipated that the dreadful day would begin, when the sermon should come to an end.' Then follows the memorable account left by an ear and eye witness of the effect of the sermon preached at Enfield, Conn., in July, 1741 --a sermon which, in the words of the biographer, 'If New England has forgiven, it has never been able to forget.' The title was, 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God;' and the impression made by it was 'as if some supernatural apparition had frightened the people beyond control. They were convulsed in tears of distress and agony. Amid their sobs and outcries the preacher pauses, bidding them to be quiet in order that he might be heard.' The discourse was one constant stream of imprecation against sinful humanity, and it ended with these words: 'If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing it would be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight would it be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him! But, alas! instead of one, how many, it is likely, will remember this discourse in hell! And it would be a wonder if some that are now present should not be in hell in a very short time, before this year is out. And it would be no wonder if some persons who now sit here in some seats of this meeting house, in health, and quiet and secure, should be there before the morrow morning."
If it be true that
"Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees,"
it must frequently cause him to chuckle and laugh to see how completely he succeeds in getting good men, wearing the livery of the royal priests, to blaspheme the character of the great Jehovah by such false statements.
The cunning of the great adversary in hoodwinking and leading captive to his service the professed servants of God, through false doctrines, is wonderful, marvelous. He is the successful prince of this age. As "the god [mighty one] of this world," he has been wonderfully successful in blinding the minds of them which believe not simply and implicitly in God's Word, but manufacture and use theories of their own and the traditions of other men to accomplish their own plans and to bring quick and popular results; so that they come really to love the darkness of error, of Satan-designed human theory, rather than the light of truth and reason which God's Word supplies. And so blinded are they, that even when brought in contact with the light of truth, the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, they fear and dread it and cling to the darkness of which really they are often ashamed.--2 Cor. 4:4.
O Lord, we are waiting, hoping, praying for that brighter, better day, when the reign of evil shall have finished its work of testing and proving the Church, the Bride; when Satan shall be bound and deceive the nations no more and blind thy children no longer with misrepresentations of thy Word, thy character and thy plan; when the Sun of Righteousness (the glorified Church--Head and body) shall shine forth, the true light which shall enlighten every man that ever came into being (John 1:9); when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. For this, O Lord, we wait; and, as thou hast bidden us, we labor on and trust and pray--"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Yea, even now we discern the dawning of that better day which shall emancipate thy Church, the whole creation, from the bondage of sin and Satan and death, and open the way for all who will to come as the Lord's sheep into his great fold with its bountiful provision of life everlasting.