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The small pox had now become very common in the coun, try, and was then at Princeton, and likely to spread. And as Mr. Edwards had never had it, and inoculation was then practised with great success in those parts, he proposed to be inoc. ulated, if the physician should advise to it, and the corporation would give their consent. Accordingly, by the advice of the physician, and the consent of the corporation, he wa; inoculated February 13th. He had it favorably, and it was thought all danger was over ; but a secondary fever set in, and by reason of a number of pustules in his throat, the obstruction was such, that the medicines necessary to check the fever, could not he administered. It therefore raged till it put an end to his life on the 22d of March, 1758, in the 55th year of his age.
After he was sensible that he could not survive that sick, ness, a little before his death, he called his daughter to him, who attended him in his sickness, and addressed her in a few words, which were immediately taken down in writing, as near as could be recollected, and are as follows :..... Dear Lucy, It seems to me to be the will of God that I must shortly leave you ; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue for ever : And I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God. And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father who will never fail you. And as to my funeral, I would have it to be like Mr. Burr's; and any additional sum of money that might be expected to be laid out that way, I would have it disposed of to charitable uses."
He said but very little in his sickness; but was an admirable instance of patience and resignation to the last. Just at
* President Burr ordered, on his death bed, that his funeral should not be attended with pomp and cost. He ordered that nothing should be expended but what was agreeable to the dictates of Christian decency; and that the sum which must be expended-at a modish funeral, above the necessary cost of desent one, should be given to the poor, out of his estate
the close of life, as some persons who stood by, expecting he would breathe his last in a few minutes, were lamenting his death, not only as a great frown on the college, but as having a dark aspect on the interest of religion in general; to their surprise, not imagining that he heard, or ever would speak another word, he said, “ Trust in God, and ye need not fear." These were his last words. What could have been more suitable to the occasion! And what need of more! in these is as much matter of instruction and support, as if he had written a volume. This is the only consolation to his bereaved friends, who are sensible of the loss they and the church of Christ have sustained in his death; God is all sufficient, and still has the care of his church.
He appeared to have the uninterrupted use of his reason to the last, and died with as much calmness, and composure, to all appearance, as that with which ones goes to sleep. The physician who inoculated and constantly attended him in his sickness, has the following words in his letter to Mrs. Ed. wards on this occasion : “ Never did any mortal man more fully and clearly evidence the sincerity of all his professions, by one continued, universal, calm, cheerful resignation and patient submission to the divine will, through every stage of his disease, than he. Not so much as one discontented expression, nor the least appearance of murmuring through the whole! And never did any person expire with more perfect freedom from pain ; not so much as one distortion
; but in the most proper sense of the words, he really fell asleep.”
His Publications, Manuscripts, and Genius as
MR. EDWARDS was greatly esteemed, and indeed celebrated, as an author, both in America and Europe. His publications naturally raise in the reader of judgment and moral taste a high opinion of his greatness and piety. Hin books met with a good reception, in Scotland especially, and procured for him great esteem and applause. A gentleman of note there has the following words concerning Mr. Ed wards, in a letter to one of his correspondents in America : # I looked on him as incomparably the greatest divine and (moral*) philosopher in Britain or her colonies ; and rejoiced that one so eminently qualified for teaching divinity was chosen president of Newjersey College." And in another letter, the same gentleman says, “ Ever since I was acquainted with Mr. Edwards's writings, I have looked upon him as the greatest divine this age has produced." And a reverend gen. tleman from Holland observed, “ That Mr. Edwards's writ, ings, especially on the Freedom of the Will, were held in great esteem there ; and that the professors of the celebrated A. cademy presented their compliments to President Edwards." This gentleman further observes, that “ Several members of the Classes of Amsterdam gave their thanks, by him, to pious Mr. Edwards, for bis just observations on Mr. Brainerd's Life ; which book was translated in Holland, and was highly approved by the University of Utrecht."
As these Memoirs are introductory to a complete edition of Mr. Edwards's Works, a professed enumeration of all hís publications must be needless. Yet, as it is not desirable, on many accounts, to observe a chronological order in their ar, rangement, a view of those works which were published by himself, and the chief of his posthumous productions accord. ing to the order of time, may be acceptable to many. For this the reader is referred to the note below.t
This must have been the writer's meaning.
+ 1731 A Sermon preached at Boston, on 1 Cor. i, 29, 30,
1734 Do. at Northampton, on Matth. xvi. 17.
Viewing Mr. Edwards as a writer of sermons, we cannot give him the epithet eloquent, in the common acceptation of the term. We see in him nothing of the great masters of elos quence, except good sense, conclusive reasoning, and tho power of moving the passions. Oratorical pomp, a cryptic method, luxurious descriptions presented to the imagination, and a rich variety of rhetorical figures, enter not into his plan. But his thoughts are well digested, and his reasoning conclu. sive ; he produces considerations which not only force the assent, but also touch the conscience ; he urges divine authority, by quoting and explaining scripture, in a form calculated to rouse the soul. He moves the passions, not by little artifices, like the professed rhetorician, but by saying what is much to the purpose in a plain, serious, and interesting way; and thus making reason, conscience, fear and love, to be decidedly in his favor. And thus the passions are moved in the most profitable manner ; the more generous ones take the lead, and they are ever directed in the way of practical utility.
From what has been said, it is easy to conjecture, that close discussions were peculiarly suited to Mr. Edwards's talents.
1746 Religious Affections,
N. B. This last was in the press when the author died. All his
papers after his decease : the principal of which were published in the following order. 1765 Eighteen Sermons, with his Life prefixed, 1774 The History of Redemption. 1788 On the Nature of Virtue. 6788 God's Last End in the Creation, 1788 Thirtythree Sermons. 1789 Twenty Sermons. 1793 Miscellaneous Observations. 1796 Miscellaneous Remarks.
And as a further evidence to shew which way his genius had its prevailing bent, it is observable, that his style improves in proportion to the abstruseness of his subject. Hence, gencrally speaking, the productions, especially thosc published by himself, which enter into close, profound, metaphysical distinctions, seem to have as much perspicuity as the nature of the case will admit. To be convinced of the propriety of this remark, the reader need only consult the Treatise on the Will ; a work justly thought by able judges to be one of the greatest efforts of the human intellect. Here the author shews such force' and strength of mind, such judgment, penetration, and accuracy of thought, as justly entitles him to the character of one of the greatest geniuses of his age. We may add, that this treatise goes further, perhaps, towards settling the main points in controversy between Calvinists and Arminians, than any thing that had been written. Herein he has abundantly demonstrated the chief principles on which Arminians build their whole scheme, to be false and most absurd. Whenever, therefore, this book comes to be generally attended to, it will doubtless prove fatal to Arminian and Pelagian principles.
Though the work now mentioned afforded the fairest opportunity for metaphysical investigation ; yet, the same penetrating turn, the same accuracy of discrimination, and the same closeness of reasoning, distinguish many of his other productions. Among these we might mention, particularly, his book on Original Sin, his Discourse on Justification, his Dissertation on the Nature of true Virtue, and that concerning the End for which God created the world. If the advocates of selfish virtue, and of universal restoration, will do themselves the justice to examine these Dissertations with candor and closeness, they may see cause to be of the author's mind. His other discourses are excellent, including much divinity, and tending above most that are published to awaken the conscience of the sinner, as well as to instruct and quicken the Christian. The sermon (preached at Enfield, 8th July, 1741) intitled “ Sinners in the hand of an angry God," was attended with remarkable impressions on many of the hear