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A Sweet Flame: Piety in the Letters of Jonathan Edwards (Profiles in Reformed Spirituality) Paperback – May 25, 2012
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In this collection of letters Michael Haykin offers you a behind-the-scenes look into the life of Jonathan Edwards. As you look, you will see him dealing with sick children, trying to make sense out of the conflict with his Northampton congregation, and reveling in the serendipitous of friendship. Read these letters and you will find Edwards becoming your own most obliging and affectionate friend in the labors of the gospel. --Stephen J. Nichols
Jonathan Edwards was not only a brilliant theologian, but also a devoted husband, father, pastor, and friend. Underneath it all, he was a man passionate about living in joyful obedience to God. In this highly recommended collection of letters, skillfully edited and annotated by historian Michael Haykin, Edwards's warm-hearted piety shines through on every page, giving us a glimpse into the heart and mind of this servant of God. --Justin Taylor
A rare privilege awaits you. In these pages, you are about to meet one of the great Christians of all time: Jonathan Edwards! Your guide is reliable. Dr. Haykin has gathered some of the choicest letters of Edwards. In them, you will discover the insights of this noble leader on Piety, up close and personal. Piety? That is the way we tap the resources God provides, to live for His glory and help others find them, too. Before going on to the high ridges of thought, your escort will sketch the chief events of Edwards life. Then, in the letters, you will find Edwards views on piety, in his own words. Treasures for all ages are here. Edwards tells how he found heaven within, God's mighty presence, enabling him to meet every challenge and be more than conqueror. Best of all, he had the radiant hope of being at home with the Lord in the life beyond. Bringing the eternal into practical situations is no mean feat. Edwards, however, accomplishes just that. We see his role as a child, husband, parent, pastor, mentor, and educator with pungent thoughts on conversion, prayer, the Bible, revival, evangelism, and other vital topics. Each fruit of the Spirit is to be found here, expressed in Edwards own words, demonstrated in his life. The selections were chosen wisely. We are all indebted to Dr. Haykin for his outstanding service in making these classics available in such an attractive format. Now, to savor them! --George S. Claghorn
About the Author
Michael A.G. Haykin is professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, and Research Professor of Irish Baptist College, Constituent College of Queen's University Belfast, N. Ireland.
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These letters provide an intimate portrait of Edwards' triumphs and trials. We discover a sincere faith in his sovereign God and a deep felt commitment to a personal relationship with the Lord. Edwards mentions the revivals that occurred during his father Timothy's ministry and also during the Great Awakening. We discover Edwards' life and ministry through the difficulties of his era as he mentions England's war with France and the numerous trials with sickness and death in his family. His letters to John Erskine and Joseph Bellamy peer into the pain of the controversy he experienced as a pastor when he addressed the topic of who should be admitted to the Lord's Supper in his church at Northhampton. Edwards leans upon the Lord and requests prayer through this time, showing us all to lean upon God during our own trials, persecutions, and difficulties. It is inspiring to see Edwards' hunger for learning God's Word as he comments about various theological works he cherished or the numerous books he was interested in reading. Edwards' reveals his apologetic concerns about the dangers of Arminianism and Unitarianism. It is heartwarming to see that he had a band of brothers who encouraged him in his service to the Lord, especially during his darkest times. Edwards' letter to a young woman named Deborah Hatheway, who requested advice about how to live the Christian life, is a special treat wherein he provides seventeen points on Christian living and demonstrates his practical and pastoral concern for God's people (pgs. 42-47). This one letter is worth the weight of the book.
All-in-all, Haykin's collection of letters provides inspiration for Christians of all ages to walk closely with the Lord, depending upon His sovereign grace and providential care. Even non-Christians can benefit by reading this beloved and faithful Christian's letters, discovering what it means to live for Christ according to God's word. These letters give evidence to real Christian faith in this world and show the sweat aroma of a life well lived in the service of God.