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.”



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  1. #1 by lovewillbringustogether on October 11, 2007 - 2:57 am

    Woops! I think i was guilty of reading back up from the bottom up and took C’s quote for IW’s – my bad.

    I would agree ( in part) with the idea that JC can be a ‘shield’ we are able to slip into/behind during meditation for ‘protection’.

    If it produces ‘good fruit’ for you the way you do it it may well be beneficial. If it doesn’t you may not be doing it ‘right’.

    There is much more to it than it looks to many.

    The devil ( of our ego) is a tricky little sucker that can fool us into a false sense of ‘security’ – it goes DEEP. right down through many levels to all but the Ultimate last level inside of us – Our Soul.

    JC was able to see into His Own and our souls clearly.

    Very few humans achieve and maintain this with any degree of effectiveness.

    I read in the NT that Jesus told us how (or at least where) to meditate as well as a how to pray.

    We can trust that our Faith in Him will not go unrewarded.

    It is important to recognise that not everything that ‘looks’ like JC to us IS the Real Deal. He is not the Deceiver – that role is in each one of us, though.

    Anyone follow that?

  2. #2 by Carl McColman on October 11, 2007 - 10:06 am

    Thank you for posting this. I had a professor in graduate school who was an ardent non-Christian but even so recommended that I read Jonathan Edwards, that I’d find much beauty beyond the infamous “SInners in the Hands” sermon. Your post gives me a glimpse of the treasures to be found there. I’m glad to have discovered your blog; I’ll be back.

    Carl McColman
    The Website of Unknowing

  3. #3 by inWorship on October 11, 2007 - 11:36 am

    I follow you lwbut.. I think you probably have more faith in that we have some protection than your original words seemed to speak to.

    Your last paragraph I appreciate. I always have been intrigued by those who look for counterfeit money. To find the counterfeit, they have trained heavily by doing nothing but studying the authentic money. they don’t look at or study counterfeit money. When a counterfeit bill is placed before them, the clearly see the differences from the authentic bill. I love how this looks for us with God. Study Him and know Him. When we have a clear picture of who God is, we will easily spot the counterfeit.

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