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Sweeney’s Booknotes—Jonathan Edwards: Spiritual Writings

Jonathan Edwards, Spiritual Writings, ed. Kyle C. Strobel, Adriaan C. Neele, and Kenneth P. Minkema, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 2019).

Edwards_Spiritual WritingsAt long last, Paulist Press has published Edwards in its series of The Classics of Western Spirituality—a world famous list pushing 130 volumes that, until now, included nothing by the sage of Northampton.

Expertly edited by three leading scholars of Edwards’ work, this anthology has selections from Edwards’ best-known spiritual writings and a few long-hidden treasures published here for the first time. Here’s a look at the table of contents:


Prelude: Locating Jonathan Edwards’s Spirituality (Neele)

Introduction (Strobel)


Part One: The General Contours of Edwards’s Spirituality

Introduction to Part One



“Personal Narrative” (1740)

Excerpt from A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God (1737)

The Spiritual Enjoyments and Comforts Believers Have through Christ (1738)


Part Two: Affections

Introduction to Part Two

Excerpt from A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections (1746)

Spiritual Appetites Need No Bounds (1729)

The Saints Often Miss Sweet Communion with Christ (1737)

Excerpt from The Portion of the Righteous (1735)

“Apostrophe to Sarah Pierpont”

“The Narrative of Sarah Pierpont Edwards”


Part Three: Beauty

Introduction to Part Three

“Miscellanies” no. a, “Of Holiness”

Excerpts from “Types” Notebook

The Sweet Harmony of Christ (1735)

Fragment: Application on Love to Christ (1723)

Letter to Lady Mary Pepperrell (1751)

Excerpt from Charity and Its Fruits (1738)


Part Four: Means of Grace

Introduction to Part Four

The Duty of Self-Examination (1722-23)

God’s Wisdom in His Stated Method of Bestowing Grace (1729)

“Miscellanies” no. 539, “Means of Grace”

Striving After Perfection (1735)

A Native American Profession of Faith

Letter to Deborah Hatheway (1741)


Part Five: The Internal and External Work of Grace

Introduction to Part Five

A Spiritual Understanding of Divine Things Denied to the Unregenerate (1723)

“Directions for Judging of Persons’ Experiences”

True Grace Is Divine (1738)

Excerpt from “Treatise on Grace” (1739-42)

Excerpt from “Miscellanies” no. 790, “Signs of Godliness” (c. 1740)

Excerpt from Extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit Are Inferior to Graces of the Spirit (1748)

Excerpts from True and False Christians (On the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins) (1737-38)


The items published here for the first time include the sermons titled The Spiritual Enjoyments and Comforts Believers Have through Christ, The Saints Often Miss Sweet Communion with Christ, and True Grace Is Divine. Also, The Portion of the Righteous, another sermon, is published here in a version much improved over its nineteenth-century ancestor.

This is now essential reading for all serious Edwards scholars, suggested reading for those interested in Christian spirituality, and, when released in paperback, it will make a fine textbook for classes on Edwards and/or Protestant spiritual history. Highly recommended.

Andrew Fuller Conference | September 21-22, 2018



The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and the Jonathan Edwards Center Germany at Heidelberg University will co-host a conference on Biblical Interpretation and Early Transatlantic Evangelicalism.

The speakers include the conference hosts: the Director of the JE Center Germany, Jan Stievermann, and the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center, Michael Haykin. Joining them is a team of world-class scholars in the field (including notable Edwards scholars): Douglas Sweeney, Ken Minkema, Isabel Rivers, Bruce Hindmarsh, Crawford Gribben, Adriaan Neele, and Robert Brown.

The objective of the conference aims to bring the historiography of early transatlantic evangelicalism together with the history of biblical interpretation. The goal is to understand the exegesis of various eighteenth-century exegetes in their intellectual, cultural, and religious contexts.

To learn more about the conference speakers, schedule, and to register, visit the conference website.

Conference Website >