Thank You, Yale, For This Gift
Today, 280 years ago, Solomon Stoddard, Jonathan Edwards’ grandfather, died. He had been pastor of the church in Northampton, MA for 60 years.
Jonathan had been his assistant for two years. Now he was the sole pastor. From this position, and later from Stockbridge, CT would emerge the greatest writing from any pastor America has ever produced.
The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has fulfilled a dream I did not expect to see. With the 26 volumes of the Yale paper edition of the Works of Edwards selling for over $100 each, I never expected to see every word of Edwards freely available to read, search, and quote on line.
But there it is, like an ocean of hidden treasures and no fees for the diving gear. Amazing. This is a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Yale who dreamed and labored to make this happen.
The agony and the ecstasy of Jonathan Edwards is laid bare in this breathtaking availability of all that remains of him. From the bill of sale for a slave named Venus (the agony) to 68 titles on Heaven in the Miscellanies (the ecstasy), you can find it with the search engine built into the website.
All the printed volumes are available with pagination keyed to the printed version. Besides the printed volumes there are 47 more volumes of material. These are searchable in various ways.
- You can enter a scripture text or key words.
- You can get your results in a concordance format or with contexts.
- You can peruse the sermons by text or chronologically.
- You can see the entire list of the Miscellanies and do a word search on the titles, for example, to find all the ones on “Christ’s righteousness.”
The reason all this matters is not merely that Edwards is the poster boy of intellectual American Historians, but, even more importantly, that, using the lens of Scripture, he saw and believed and described the greatest realities in the universe in ways that few of us would ever see on our own. He saw Jesus Christ through whom and for whom all things exist. And he saw the Gospel—that Christ died for our sins and rose again to be Lord of all.
The website is a gift because Edwards is a greater gift because Christ is the greatest gift to the world.