>For fans of Jonathan Edwards and fans of free resources, there is now a great website for you. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has put together a website that provides free access to many of Edwards’ writings and some really good biographical material. One of my favorite features is the Sermon Index they have compiled (I used it today to read his sermon on Psalm 72.6 since I am preaching Psalm 72 this Lord’s Day). It has sermons filed by date or by scripture reference. I am including the index for scripture reference below for easy access. They also provide an index for his “Miscellanies,” and their is also a search option. Go check it out.
[HT: Nick Batzig]
>In the introduction to his sermon on Psalm 72.6 “Like Rain upon Mown Grass,” Jonathan Edwards makes this observation about reading the psalm christocentrically:
It is observable that the Holy Spirit, in some of the Psalms, has a twofold aim
and intendment, the one more immediate and the other more ultimate. They
have respect more immediately to some person that is an eminent type of
Christ. But their principle and more ultimate respect is to Christ
himself. So many of the Psalms have a more immediate respect to David; but
the main respect is to Christ, the son of David. So some of the Psalms
have a more immediate respect to Solomon, but ultimately respect Christ,
(Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742, available
The importance of recognizing this christocentric principle is in understanding the main thrust of the Holy Spirit is to communicate truths about Christ, his reign and his kingdom, and not necessarily about Solomon’s kingdom. By reading the Psalm christocentrically, Edwards understands that the blessings of the psalm are eschatologically focused.
Jesus comes down from heaven like rain from the sky. Jesus’s heavenly person and benefits become the priority of the psalm. Just as the grass is nourished and quenched by rain from the sky, so believers are nourished and refreshed by his heavenly presence and work. This presence is twofold: first, in the incarnation of the first advent and second, in his coming in the second advent on the great day of judgment. The result in one of his applications is to encourage believers, because they have experienced the blessing of Christ come down from heaven, to forsake worldliness and renounce the vanity of exaltation in this life. Life in Christ is a life of humbly looking to Christ and not the world or the self for one’s blessings and for righteousness. Look to Christ who alone can revive the soul and be refreshed!
Edwards christocentric reading naturally leads to the eschatological unfolding of the Psalm. Now, if only Edwards would have applied this to every psalm! If only he could have read Vos.
>Jonathan Edwards and his classic sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is rich and deep in its portrait of God in his holiness and graphic in its portrayal of man’s end because of his sin. It has much to offer contemporary persons who tend to relativize biblical teaching on sin and its due consequence. But given that it was originally written in July of 1741, the archaic language has been a barrier to reading Edwards for many. As a result, many are missing out on what this godly theologian has to share.
Well my good friend Jason Dollar has taken this barrier out of the way. He has just finished updating the sermon into contemporary English. If you have never read it, then this is a good place to start and a good opportunity to be introduced to one of the most influential pastor theologians in American history. You can find it here.