Jonathan Edwards is well known to be America’s most important early philosopher and most brilliant theologian. Here we see another individual who was highly concerned with the happenings of his time, due to his involvement in various religious and social movements. Edwards’ work primarily concerned itself with the sovereignty of God, an absolute power.
Johnathan Edwards was born on October 5, 1703 in East Windsor, Connecticut. His parents were Rev. Timothy Edwards and Esther Stoddard Edwards. His father was a pastor and his mother, the daughter of a known, influential pastor. He had a fairly interesting childhood, being born into a family of eleven, being the only boy. His youth shaped much of what would become the reason for his later actions. Edwards, at the age of nine was already seen as a model of sanctity. He secretly prayed at least five times per day and often discussed religion with others his age at prayer meetings he held with them.
His education early in his childhood wasn’t very traditional as he was schooled by his father at home. Despite this, Edwards was a brilliant individual and very academically advanced. At the young age of 13, he entered the Collegiate School, better known today as Yale University in 1716. He began studying Newton and Locke and focused on natural sciences and philosophy. He graduated Yale in 1720 and was at the top of his class. This was somewhat surprising given the circumstances throughout his time at Yale. Based on Edwards’ personality, he had a tendency to be very shy, but very studious. He was also judgmental of his classmates at times who didn’t work as hard as him. Throughout his college years, Edwards was faced with depression and various illnesses. Although he had great interests in the natural sciences, he turned his attention to God and was bound on joining the faith.
Right after he finished his Bachelor’s Degree, he went on to complete a Master’s. While completing his Master’s Degree, he studied theology and took on a job with a Presbyterian Church in New York City. This was seen as a temporary position since he was only in this Church from 1722-1723 and was not considered a pastor of that Church. Instead, Edwards was considered interim or “stated supply” which is defined as a minister appointed to the Church for a set time. After his term, Edwards was given the opportunity to join the Presbyterian Church but declined the offer. In 1723, he completed his Masters of Arts Degree and went back to Yale in 1724 to work as a tutor in his first year and senior tutor in his second year. Working at Yale gave him access to many books and resources. When he graduated with his Master’s, his thesis concerned itself with the idea of justification by faith alone. This was appropriate considering he consistently sought salvation.
In 1727, Edwards went on to his next big step. He was called upon to assist as a pastor in the Northampton Church where he would later be taking the place of his grandfather, the...