Immediate RevelationMiscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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379. Cessation of Immediate, Open Revelation. We need not wonder at all that God should so often and continually reveal himself by prophets and miracles, and by external signs and tokens of his presence and will, to the Israelite nation. We need not wonder that now we should see nothing of this nature, no immediate open revelation or communications any more than if there was no God. For this way of revealing himself, as God used to do to that nation, is not at all suitable to the present state of the church. The church was then confined to one particular nation, who God chose on purpose to make them the receptacle of his revelation and the conveyor of it to the rest of the world. And I can think of no other way that it could be done with any tolerable convenience, but by a chosen peculiar nation, who should alone be God’s people and have the true religion among them. Therefore, it was highly convenient and necessary that there should be such a manner of communication with such a nation. It was also necessary in the first transition of this revelation from the Jews to the world, as it was in the apostles’ times, that the world receiving this revelation from them, might see God still revealing himself, and so might receive it from God in the same manner as they received it. And upon many other accounts, it was necessary that inspiration and miracles should be continued while divine revelation was in transition from the Jews to the world. It was necessary for the establishing of the truth of the gospel, which was now revealed and brought out from under its types, shadows, and dark prophecies. It was necessary for the introducing of this new, most perfect and everlasting dispensation, and it was necessary till the completing of the canon of Scripture, etc. But that God should now, from time to time, reveal himself after that manner to his church, is no way necessary, nor at all suitable to the gospel state of the church, which is not any particular enclosure, but is dispersed through the whole world. The church is made up of the true worshippers of God throughout the world, without any walls or dividing bounds. How is it practicable that God should treat with the church now, in such a way as he did with that peculiar nation? Besides, if it were practicable, it would be very impertinent, for what need [is there] of new revelations to the end of the world? Is it not better that God should give the world a book, which should be the summary of his will, to which all nations in all ages may resort, to know the mind of God? It would be impertinent because that extraordinary and miraculous way was made use of once, only for the introducing the more perfect way in which the catholic church of all nations was forever to be instructed. God now communicates himself to his church in a much more glorious way than that by miracles, etc. [It is] by the communication of his Spirit of holiness to the hearts of his people, and his teaching and spiritually instructing us out of the world. This is infinitely a more excellent way, as the apostle says in 1 Cor. 12:31, etc. This is the end of the other way. It is excellent in itself, but inspiration and miracles are good for nothing without it, as the apostle plainly tells us in 1 Cor. 13. He tells us that prophecy and miracles are nothing without charity, like the sounding brass or the shadow without the substance. And seeing the substance is come, what need the shadow be continued? Seeing the end is come, it would be impertinent still to continue the means. The church now enjoys that glory in comparison with which all the glory of prophecy and miracles, even those of that extraordinary prophet Moses, is no glory at all. 2 Cor. 3:10.
1144. Immediate Revelation. That the prophets after they had once had intercourse with God by immediate revelation from God gained acquaintance with [him], so as afterwards to know him: as it were to know his voice or know what was indeed a revelation from God is, confirmed by 1 Samuel 3:7….
Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:
Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.
Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.