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· BRIEF MEMOIR
JONATHAN EDWARDS, D. Ò.
he was in at Non of Preto
was attended with as a boy of grehampton, May
DR. JONATHAN EDWARDS; President of Union College, in Schenectady, was the second son of President Edwards, of New Jersey,' and was born at Northampton, May 26, 1743. In his childhood he was a boy of great promise; but his early life was attended with very discouraging circumstances. He was afflicted with an inflammatory weakness ini his eyes, which prevented his learning to read until a lateř period than is common. This complaint resisted many and longcontinued medical applications. At length, by the repeated shaving of his head for long eontinuance, the inflammation in some degree abated, so that he was able to apply; in a moderate degree, to the rudiments of learning, and to revive in his anxious parents a hope that he would not be entirely lost, even to the literary world. It was during his childhood also, that the unhappy contest at Northampton was at its height, between his father and the church there, which terminated in a final separation; whereby the assiduous attention of his affectionate parents was necessarily much diverted from him.
When Mr. Edwards and his family removed froņ Northainpton to Stöckbridge; his son Jonathan was but six years old. There was no school in the settlement but one, whichi was common to the Indians and the white children and there were so few of the latter, either in the school or the town, that he was in danger of forgetting entirely the English tongue. However, whilst here, he learned the language of the Mohekaneew; or Stockbridge Indians, so perfectiy, that the natives frequently observed he spoke exactly like and Indian. This language he retained in a good degree througi: life; and sone interesting remarks upon it were compiu' lil,
cated by him to the Connecticut Society of Arts and Sciences and published at their request.
His father had a strong desire, in subserviency to the openings of Providence, and growing evidences of grace in this beloved chuld, that he might become a missionary among the Aborigines:-à noble wish, worthy of so great a mind, and so benevolent a heart! Accordingly, in October, 1755, when he was about ten years of age, he was sent, with the Rev. Gideen Hawley (sifice of Mashpee, on Cape Cod) to Oughquauga, on the Susquehannah River, in order to learn the language of the Oneida Indians. Oughquauga was in a wildernerness, at the distance of about one hundred miles from any English settlement. At this place he continued but about four months, by reason of the war which broke vut between England and France, and extended itself into their colonies. Whilst he was with these Indians he made rapid progress in acquiring their language, and in engaging their affections. They were so much pleased with his attainments and his amiable disposition, that, when they thought their settlement exposed to inroads from the French, they took him upon their shoulders, and carried him many miles through the wilderness, to a place which they deemed secare.
His father died in 1758; but it was not till he had almost completed his fafteenth year that he seriously commenced the study of the Latin language, at a grammar-school in Prince - town, New Jersey; but he made such progress, that, in September, 1761, he was admitted a member of the college over which his father had presided for a short time before his death; and, in Sept. 1765, he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
While he was at college, and during the time of a general awakening in Princetown, le obtained a hope of his reconciliation to God, through Jesus Christ, under the impressive preaching of the late Dr. Finley, then President of the College.
The following Dedication of hiinself to the service of God, which was made by himn at that time, was found among his papers after his decease:- :.
Nassau Hall, Sept. 17, 1763. '", Jonathan Edwards, Student of the College in New Jerses, on this seventeenth day of September, 1763, being the day before the first time I proposed to draw near the Lord's table, after much thought and consideration, as well as prayer to Almighty God for his assistance, resolved, by the grace of God, to enter into an express act of self-dedication to the service of God, as being a thing bighly reasonable in its own nature, and tbat might be of emineni service lo keep me sleady in my Christian course, to rouse me out of sloth and indolence, and uphold me in the day of lempi. ation.
• Elernal and ever-blessed God! I desire, with the deepest bumiliation and a bassinent of soul, to come in the name aad for the sake of Jesus
Christ, and present myself before thee, sensible of my infinite unworthiness to appear before thee, especially on such an occasion as this, to enter into a covenant with thee. But, notwithstandior :my sips have made such a separation between twee and my soul, I beseech thee, through Christ thy Sun, to vouchsafe thy presence with me, and acceptance of the best sacri. fice which I can make. I do, O Lord ! in hopes of ihy assisting grace, solemnly make an entire and perpetual surrender of all that I am and have unto thee, being determined, in iby strength, to renovace all former Jords who have had dominion over me, every lust of the eye, (f the Aesh, and of the mind, and to live entirely devoted to thee and thy service., Toinee do I cousecrate the powers of my mind, with whatever improvemen's thou bast already, or shalt be pleased hereafier to grant ine in the literary way; purposing, if it be thy good pleasure, to pursue my studies assiduously, ihat I may be better prepared to act in any sphere of life in which thou shalt place me. I do solemnly dedicate all my possessions, my cine, my influence over others, to be all used for thy glory.
• To thy direction I resign myself and all that I have, trusting ali future contingencies in thy hands, and may thy will in all things, and not mine, be dove! Use me, O Lord, as an instrument of thy service! I beseech tbee punber me among thy people! May ( be clothed with the righ. teousness of thy Son! Ever impart to me, through him, all neeuful sup. plies of thy purifying and cheering Sp:rit! I beseech thee, O Lord! that ihou wouldst enable me to live according to this my vow, constantly avoid. ing all sin ; and, when I shall come to die, in that solemn and awful hour may I remember this my covenant; and do thou, O Lord ! remember it too, and give my departing spirit an abundant admitiance into the realms of bliss ! — and it, when I am laid in the dust, any surviving friend should meet with this memorial, may it be a means of good io him; and do shou admit him to pariake of the blessings of thy covenant of grace, through Jesus the geat Mediator; to whom with thee, O Father, and thy Holy Spirit, be everlasting praises ascribed by saints and angels! Amen,',
When he had finished the usual course of studies at col. lege, he entered more particularly upon the study of divinity, the favourite study of his life, under the instruction of the late Rev. Dr. Joseph Bellamy, at Bethlehem, in Connecticut.
In October, 1766, he was licenced to preach the gospel by the Association of the County of Litchfield; and, in 1767, was appointed a Tutor in the College at Princetown, where he continued two years.
During his residence here, he was invited to preach to the Society of Whitehaven, in the town of Newhaven, in Con· necticut, and ordained to the pastoral charge Jan. 5, 1769;
and continued there until May, 1795, when he was dimissed by an Ecclesiastical Council, at the mutual request of the pastor and the society, after a residence among them of about six-and-twnty years. For several years previous to his dismission, some uneasiness had subsisted among them, arising from a difference of religious opinions. The peculiar sentiments whence the uneasiness originated, and which were adopted by some of the leading men among his parishioners, were of a nature quite opposite to his own sentiments, and indeed to those of the same society at the time he was ordained among them. This may be justly considered as the principal cause of the separation between Dr. Edwards and his