Archive for October 9th, 2007

Jonathan Edwards; Mystical Contemplative


yoga in field

“The sense I had of divine things, would

often of a sudden as it were, kindle up a

sweet burning in my heart; an ardor of my

soul, that I know not how to express.

Not long after I began to experience these

things… I walked abroad alone, in a solitary

place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation.

And as I was walking there, and looked up on

the sky and clouds; there came into my mind,

a sweet sense of the glorious majesty and

grace of God, that I know not how to express.

I seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunc-

tion: majesty and meekness joined together….

After this my sense of divine things gradu-

ally 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 every-

thing; in the sun, moon and stars; in the

clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers,

trees; in the water, and all nature… I often

used to sit and view the moon… and so in

the daytime, spent 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 Redeemed”

 

These beautiful words were written by the same man who wrote “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. If nothing else it shows that Edwards also had a much softer side when it came to describing God. More importantly he reveals a part of his nature that encounters God through contemplative prayer and meditation. This is surprising, in that many of his ardent followers of today seem terrified of this practice. Apparently Edwards had no such qualms. On the contrary, here is another quote of his;

“I felt God at the first appearance of a thunderstorm and used to take the opportunity at such times to fix myself to view the clouds and see the lightening’s play and hear the majesty and awful voice of God’s thunder, which led me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God; and while I viewed I used to spend my time singing or chanting for my mediatations, speaking my thoughts in soliloquies – speaking with a singing voice.”

storm

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