Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Jonathan Edwards Sermons Are a Blessing and a Joy

It is simply a fact that I'm going to be relating a lot of my posts for awhile to Jonathan Edwards, and there's a simple narrative to explain why that's happening. I know that Jonathan Edwards has been the "It Guy" in Reformed circles for quite awhile, but there is a reason for that, and it's not because he has a great public relations team working overtime to get people to read his 300 year old sermons and books. It's because he really is a redwood in the forest of the Christian faith.

But the truth is also more practical than that. The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has begun to publish Edwards' complete manuscripts - most of which have never before seen publication. In addition to his Miscellanies, this also includes lots and lots of Edwards' sermons. Now, even though the 24 volumes of Edwards' writings sell for well over $100 each, Yale has made every single thing that Edwards wrote available online for free. They have also made three of these volumes available in paperback for around $20 each: The Freedom of the Will, The Great Awakening, and Religious Affections.

When you combine this awesomeness with an e-Reader like the Kindle, it creates a series of wonderful (and portable) heavenly delights. I have the physical two volume works of Edwards' published by Hendricksen, but the words in these volumes are tiny, and the giant size of the books is not exactly conducive to frequent and constant reading.

What I have done is take every single complete sermon of Edwards' that Yale has made available and put them into user-friendly files that my Kindle will read, complete with tables of contents so that I can easily get to any sermon that I wish to read. Here are the sermons by year:

So I took all of these sermons contained in these links and placed them into a file on my Kindle. I can literally carry around all of Jonathan Edwards' sermons - worth at least $600 in printed form - around with me wherever I go. What is most exciting to me is being able to read sermons that most people for the last 300 years were unable to read. One of my favorites is only available in a shorthand form that is somewhat difficult to read, but it has the greatest title of a sermon that I've ever seen: "Judas Iscariot Has Been in Hell for 1700 Years." There is no ambiguity in the title, and he shows himself a master of the human condition as he skillfully forces his audience to connect with not only the reality of Judas, of his continued existence even to our own day - but with the even now present suffering of Judas. What follows is my sloppy reconstruction of my favorite part of the sermon based on Edwards' notes which have been made available to us.
How many things have come to pass since [Judas was sent to hell]. Great Changes. Many things worn out since. City of Jerusalem destroyed & Roman Empire fallen but still his torment [continues] [the] flames [have] not gone out ...He has had no rest all this while; none one moment...Every moment is dreadfull to him. You lie & down & rest, but he has none. You lay down the last night, [but] all his cries have been in vain. Every moment is dreadfull to him. What he endured this day since [morning]. Since you came into this [house], since this Text was read. God has no mercy on him.
Edwards concludes his sermon with a warning for all of us:
Don't do as he did & sell your Lord & your God for a moments enjoyment of a few Pieces of silver.


  1. Adam, thanks for this post. I found it doing a blog search for Kindle books (my newly-ordered Kindle is "out for delivery," according to UPS). At any rate, I would love to know how you prepared Edwards' works for Kindle. I've used personal computers since the mid-1980's, but I'm a complete novice to eReaders.

    My email address is wgmoore55 at bellsouth dot net.


  2. Could you possibly send me your kindle files with all of Edwards's sermons? Honestly, I could make all of them, but it would take quite a while (as I'm sure it did for you). Anyway, if you could send it to, I would greatly appreciate it.


  3. Adam, I know you probably put a lot of work into making these sermons Kindle-ready. Are you willing to email them to people (like the two individuals above)? If so, would you kindly email them to me at justin310 at gmail dot come?
    Thanks for your consideration and all the work you did,



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