Friday, April 30, 2010

An Inward, Sweet Sense

As I've been working on a biographical research project on Jonathan Edwards, I've had the privilege of reading much about him as well as much of what he himself has written on various subjects. Perhaps most interesting for me is to read from his diary and his personal letters to various friends, family members, and acquaintances.

Among those are his reflections on his own conversion. I reproduce some of those thoughts here and pray that they would benefit your soul as they have my own.

The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words, 1 Tim. 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up in him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! I kept saying, and as it were singing over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do; with a new sort of affection. …

From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. …

The sense I had of divine things, would often of a sudden kindle up, as it were, a sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of soul, that I know not how to express.

After [my conversion] my sense of divine things gradually increased, and became more and more lively, and had more of that inward sweetness. The appearance of everything was altered: there seemed to be as it were a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything.

God’s excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the day time, spend much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. …

The delights which I now felt in those things of religion, were of an exceeding different kind from those before mentioned, that I had when a boy; and what I then had no more notion of than one born blind has of pleasant and beautiful colours. They were of a more inward, pure, soul-animating and refreshing nature. Those former delights never reached the heart; and did not arise from any sight of the divine excellency of the things of God; or any taste of the soul-satisfying and life-giving good there is in them.

I will bless Yahweh at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in Yahweh;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify Yahweh with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
- Psalm 34:1-3 -


Rachael Starke said...

Seriously - you know Russian too??!! Brother, you are one scary smart dude. :)

BTW, this is a very random thing that I remembered I didn't mention when I first read it. Did you say back in December you preached at Christian Fellowship Church? That was my Dad's church before he retired to Arizona a few years ago. What a small world, no?

Oh, and this is a great quote. Makes me envy Edwards in a holy way, and long to love Jesus the way he did.

God bless! There aren't too many I know who can take on the random drive-bys at Pyro so well, and winsomely. Not that they'll listen, but it benefits me at least. :)

Mike Riccardi said...


Heheh... oh, Google Translator is my friend.

And yeah! Christian Fellowship Church in North Brunswick, NJ. Your dad was the pastor?! That's crazy! He's got quite a good reputation among those who were around while he was still there. And he's got good taste too, picking a TMS grad and all. :-) Small world indeed. That makes me feel that much more blessed to have had such an opportunity!

And thanks for your encouragement. It's always appreciated and very effective. ;-)