Last week I read a book called "The Selected Writings of Jonathan Edwards" for a course I'm taking at Reformed Theological Seminary.
Edwards, who lived from 1703-1758, was a pastor, theologian and briefly served as president of Princeton University.
I had read Edwards's famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in several English classes in High School and college, and so was expecting quite a lot of harsh language in his collected works. (I'll get to that famous sermon in another post or two).
What was surprising to me, however, about Jonathan Edwards' writing were his numerous works about his enjoyment of God.
While walking in his father's pasture he explains, "as I was walking there, and looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God, that I know not how to express."
In another passage he writes, "My mind was very much taken up with contemplations on heaven and the enjoyments there...Heaven appeared exceedingly delightful, as a world of love; and that all happiness consisted of living in pure, humble, heavenly, divine love."
In yet another passage he tells his readers: "I very frequently used to retire into a solitary place, on the banks of Hudson's river, at some distance from the city, for contemplation on divine things, and secret converse with God; and had many sweet hours there."
Interesting thoughts on contemplation and reflection from Jonathan.