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Sickness of Mr. Edwards." God's Last End in Creation."-
"Nature of Virtue.". -Mr. Edwards' second son resides at
Onohquauga.-Dangers of the War.-Letter to Mr. Erskine.
-Letter to Col. Williams.-Lord Kaimes.-Letter to Mr.
Erskine.-Letter to Mr. M' Culloch.-Letter of Dr. Bellamy.-
Treatise on Original Sin.-Letter to his Father.-Letter to
Mr. Erskine.

IN July 1754, Mr. Edwards had a most severe attack of the ague and fever, which lasted until January. It wholly disqualified him from writing, even to his correspondents, and greatly enfeebled his constitution. In the course of the spring following, he began the preparation of two other Treatises, which were entitled "A DISSERTATION, CONCERNING THE END FOR WHICH GOD CREATED THE WORLD;" and "A DISSERTATION, CONCERNING THE NATURE OF TRUE VIRTUE." These two subjects are fundamental, in a System of Theology. On the first, many writers had hazarded occasional remarks; yet it has rarely occupied the space even of a chapter, or a section, in theological systems; and I know not whether any writer, before Mr. Edwards, had made it the subject of a formal and separate Treatise. From the purest principles of reason, as well as from the fountain of revealed truth, he demonstrates, that the chief and ultimate end of the Supreme Being, in the works of Creation and Providence, was the manifestation of his own glory, in the highest happiness of his creatures. The treatise was left, by the author, as at first written, without being prepared for the press; yet it exhibits the subject, in a manner so clear and convincing, that it has been the manual of theologians from the time of its publication to the present.

The Nature of Virtue has been a frequent subject of discussion, among ethical writers of almost every class,-heathen, infidel and christian. Aristotle, and other ancient moralists, supposed virtue to consist in avoiding extremes, and in following the mean in every thing. Others of the ancients, defined virtue to be living according to Nature. Balguy and Doddridge represent it as consisting in acting agreeably to the Moral Fitness of things. Wollaston places it in regard to Truth. Hutcheson defines it to be "a quality apprehended in some actions, which produces approbation and love towards the actor, from those who receive no benefit from the action."

Many writers, ancient and modern, have placed virtue in Imitation of God; and many others in Obedience to the Will of God. Waterland, Rutherforth and (John) Brown, have placed it in a wise regard to Our own Interest. Bishop Butler says, that "a due concern about our own interest or happiness, and a reasonable endeavour to promote it, is Virtue;" and that "Benevolence, singly considered, is in no sort the whole of Virtue." Hume, who appears to have read several of the works of Edwards, and to have made use of them in accommodation to his own views,includes in his description of virtue, whatever is Agreeable and Useful to ourselves and others. Adam Smith refers it to the principle of Sympathy. Paley, who read Edwards with care, defines Virtue to be "The Doing Good to mankind in obedience to the Will of God, and for the sake of everlasting happiness." Cumberland, in his Laws of Nature, justly regards it as consisting in the love of God, and of our fellowcreatures; and explains himself thus; "The foundation of all natural law is the greatest benevolence of every rational agent towards all.

Mr. Edwards represents Virtue as founded in HAPPINESS; and as being Love to the greatest Happiness, or Love to the Happiness of Universal Being. He describes it, as leading its possessor to desire, and to promote, as far as in him lies, the happiness of all beings, and a greater degree of happiness in preference to a less. His account of the subject is in exact accordance, with the decision of Reason. Happiness is the end, for which intelligent beings were made, the perfection of their existence and therefore Virtue, or Moral Excellence, must be love to that Happiness. It is also in exact accordance with the Scriptures. The Sum of our duty is unquestionably Virtue. But Moses sums up our duty in the two commands, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," and "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself:" In other words, Thou shalt love the Happiness of Universal Being.

When the Scriptures had so plainly pointed out the Nature of Virtue, as consisting in Love; and its Foundation, as being Happiness; it is not a little remarkable, that so many acute writers, with the Scriptures in their hands, should have formed views either so obscure, or so erroneous, of these subjects; and, perhaps not less remarkable, that Mr. Edwards should have been able to discover its true Nature, and its real Foundation, at a very early age, as clearly as he did in after life. That this was the case, no one will want evidence, who reads the various articles, under the head of EXCELLENCY, particularly the last, in the NOTES ON THE MIND.*

*See Appendix, H. In several of the articles under the head of EXCELLENCY, the reader will find, if I mistake not, as striking specimens of powerful metaphysical reasoning, as any to be found in the Essay on the Freedom of the Will.

These two treatises were first published together in a pamphlet, in Boston, in 1788, without alteration from the rough draft of the author. He designed them both for publication, but never prepared either of them for the press. Though conceived and expressed with great perspicuity, they treat of subjects, which demand close thought in the reader, as well as the writer; and, on this account, have often been imperfectly comprehended, even by divines. But wherever they have been read and understood, they have, to such a degree, formed and regulated the views of theologians, with regard to the subjects of which they treat, that other treatises are consulted, rather as objects of curiosity, or history, than as guides of opinions and principles.*


IN February, or early in March, this year, Mr. Edwards sent his second son, Jonathan,† then a lad of nine years of age, to Onohquauga, to reside with Mr. Hawley, that he might learn more perfectly the language of the Iroquois. He continued there about a twelvemonth: when, in consequence of the war with France, the danger of attack from the Indians became so imminent, that Mr. Hawley returned with him to his father's house.

The war of 1754 was most disastrous to the colonies; and the frontier settlements of New England, of which Stockbridge was one, were exposed to unceasing anxiety and alarm, from their constant liability to attack from the French and savages. In the autumn, several of the inhabitants of Stockbridge were killed by these marauders; in consequence of which it became a garrisoned town; and every family had quartered upon it its own quota of the soldiers, necessary for the defence of the place. The state of things, in this respeet, may be learned from the following letter of Mr. Edwards, to the officer who had the command of the troops in that part of the county.


Stockbridge Feb. 26, 1755.

We have not lodgings and provisions, so as to board and lodge more than four soldiers; and being in a low state as to my health, and not able to go much abroad, and upon that and other accounts, under much greater disadvantages, than others, to get provisions, it is for this reason, and not because I have a disposition to make dif

*Bishop Butler has left a " DISSERTATION ON THE NATURE OF VIRTUE," which the curious reader will do well to examine in connexion with Mr. Edwards' "DISSERTATION ON THE NATURE OF TRUE VIRTUE;" if he wishes to compare the powers of these two distinguished men, when endeavouring to grasp the same subject.

+ Afterwards the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, D. D. President of Union College, Schenectady. He was familiarly acquainted with the Housatonnuck and the Iroquois; in early life, more so than with the English.

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ficulty, that I told the soldiers of this province, who had hitherto been provided for here, that we could not board them any longer. I have often been told that you had intimated, that you have other business for them in a short time. Capt. Hosmer has sent three of his men to lodge at my house, whom I am willing to entertain, as I choose to board such, as are likely to be continued for our defence, in times of danger. Stebbins has manifested to us a desire to continue here. Him, therefore, I am willing to entertain, with your consent. Requesting your candid construction of that, which is not intended in any inconsistence, with my having all proper honour and respect, I am

"Your humble servant,


The subsequent letter to Mr. Erskine will show, still more fully, the state of alarm and terror, then existing at Stockbridge.


"Stockbridge, April 15, 1755.

"The last year, in the spring, I received, without a letter, a pacquet, containing the following books: Casaubon on Enthusiasm; Warburton's Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion; Merrick on Christ the True Vine; Campbell's Apostles no Enthusiasts; Discourse on the Prevailing evils of the present time; Remarks on Apostles no Enthusiasts; Moncrief's Review and Examination of some principles in Campbell's Apostles no Enthusiasts; Gilbert on the Guilt and Pardon of Sin; Hervey on the Cross of Christ; An account of the Orphan School, etc. at Edinburgh; Memorial concerning the Surgeon's Hospital; Gairdner's Account of the Old People's Hospital; State of the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian Knowledge; Abridgement of the Rules of said Society; Regulations of the Town's Hospital at Glasgow; and Annals of the Persecution of the Protestants in France.

"In the beginning of last December, I received another pacquet, without a letter: the wrapper superscribed with your hand. In this, were the following pamphlets: A Sermon by a Lay Elder, before the Commission; A Letter to a gentleman at Edinburgh; Resolutions of the General Assembly, of May 22d, 1736; Rutherford's Power of Faith and Prayer; Enquiry into the method of settling Parishes; The nature of the Covenant and Constitution of the Church of Scotland; Essay on Gospel and Legal Preaching; Necessity of Zeal for the Truth; A Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine of Justification, against the charge of Antinomianism. The last week, I received a letter from you, dated 11th July, '54; which was found at Mr. Prince's, by one that went to Boston from hence, and had lain there, Mr. Prince could not tell how long. In this letter, you make mention of these last mentioned pamphlets, VOL. 1.


received last December. I now return you my hearty thanks for this letter, and these generous presents. I should have written to you long ago, had I not been prevented, by the longest and most tedious sickness, that ever I had in my life: I being followed with fits of ague, which came upon me about the middle of last July, and were, for a long time, very severe, and exceedingly wasted my flesh and strength, so that I became like a skeleton. I had several intermissions of the fits, by the use of the Peruvian bark; but they never wholly left me, till the middle of last January. In the mean time, I several times attempted to write letters to some of my friends, about affairs of importance, but found that I could bear but little of such writing. Once, in attempting to write a letter to Mr. Burr, a fit of the ague came upon me, while I was writing, so that I was obliged to lay by my pen. When my fits left me, they left me in a poor, weak state, so that I feared whether I was not going into a dropsy. Nevertheless, I have, of late, gradually gained strength.

"I lately received a letter from Mr. M'Laurin, dated Aug. 13, '54; which Mr. Prince sent me, with a letter from himself, wherein he informed me, that a Captain of a ship from Glasgow, then lately arrived, brought an account of Mr. M'Laurin's death, that he died very suddenly, with an apoplexy, a little before he left Glasgow. Since I received that letter, I sent to Mr. Prince, desiring to know more of the certainty of the account. This is an affecting piece of news. It is an instance of death, which I have much cause to lament. He has long shown himself to be a very worthy, kind and obliging, friend and correspondent of mine. And doubtless, the Church of Scotland has much cause to lament his death. There is reason to think, that he was one of them that stood in the

gap, to make up the hedge, in these evil times. He was a wise, steady and most faithful, friend of Gospel truth, and vital piety, in these days of great corruption. I wish that I may take warning by it, as well as by my own late sickness, to prepare for my own departure hence.

"I have nothing very comfortable to write, respecting my own success in this place. The business of the Indian mission, since I have been here, has been attended with strange embarrassments, such as I never could have expected, or so much as once dreamed of: of such a nature, and coming from such a quarter, that I take no delight in being very particular and explicit upon it. But, beside what I especially refer to, some things have lately happened, that have occasioned great disturbance among the Indians, and have tended to alienate them from the English. As particularly, the killing of one of them in the woods, by a couple of travellers white men, who met him, and contended with him. And though the men were apprehended and imprisoned; yet, on their trial they escaped the sentence of death: one of them only receiving a

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