Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity -- By: Edwards A. Park

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 038:149 (Jan 1881)
Article: Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity
Author: Edwards A. Park

Remarks Of Jonathan Edwards On The Trinity

Edwards A. Park

Not earlier than 1752, nor later as we imagine than 1754, a missionary among the North American Indians spent a few hours or days in penning certain remarks on a theory of the Trinity. In 1851, a century after he wrote them, the question was asked by an eloquent preacher, in a carefully written volume, what were those remarks? No public answer was given to the question. The missionary had penned his remarks for his individual, private use. His early friends and editors were reported to have interdicted the publication of the papers which were obviously not designed for the public eye. The report of this interdict intensified the popular curiosity. The inquiry became general: What was the missionary writing a hundred years ago for his own private use? The common answer was. He kept a book of common-places, jotted down his adversaria as they happened to enter his mind, preserved them unfinished and unassorted. He hewed out many timbers which he designed for a theological structure; but the scattered hints which he left were the chips which flew out while he was fashioning the pillars for public use. But what was he writing? — the question continued to engage the interest of scholars, In 1880 it was asked impressively by an eminent divine, in the columns of a widely-circulated secular newspaper. Why should the question be publicly answered? May not the house of the missionary be regarded as his castle? May not his study-chamber be respected as his donjon? He had been exiled from one of the outposts of civilization in New England; had fled into a still deeper wilderness; his neighbors were John Pohpnickhan-

nowuh, Solomon Waunaumpkus, James Wohuhukkomuk, and a score of other men who had learned to make their mark. In the midst of these literary associations the studious exile had a right to shut himself up in his chamber, and regale himself in silent contemplation without any fear that his extemporaneous notes would be held up for public criticism. But what was he writing while buried up in the wilderness? The question was pressed in 1880 again and again by celebrated scholars, poets, essayists; was echoed in religious and secular newspapers, in monthly and bi-monthly magazines, in quarterlies, and in the conversation of the people in distant parts of our land. One preliminary answer to the question is this: The name of Jonathan Edwards has the mystery of genius in it. A hundred and thirty years have not exhausted the interest of men in the records which he penned among the Indians for his future study. A second preliminary answer is this: An honest and inquisitive student has an enduring weight of character which cannot be gained by a mere partisan. A third a...

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