SeekingMiscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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116b. Preparatory Work. This with me is established, that grace and the exercise of grace is given entirely by the Spirit of God by his free and most arbitrary motions, but that his ordinary method, notwithstanding, is to give grace to those that are much concerned about it, and earnestly and for a considerable time seek it or continue to do things in order to it. That is, it is the Spirit’s ordinary method first to make them concerned about it so as to convince them that it is best to seek it, so far as to make them seek it much, and then to bestow it. Wherefore it is established that in those that are brought up under the gospel, God’s ordinary way is thus first to convince them, so that there is doubtless ordinarily a preparatory work of conviction. This conviction that causes men to think it worth the while to seek salvation is hardly ever a conviction of the worth of the reward but of the dreadfulness of the punishment. So that there is doubtless in God’s ordinary way a preparatory conviction of sin, that is, the danger of it, before conversion. In the more unthinking people, such as husbandman and the common sort of people who are less used to much reasoning, God commonly works this conviction by begetting in their minds a dreadful idea and notion of the punishment. In the more knowing and thinking men, the Holy Spirit makes more use of rational deductions to convince them that it is worth their while to seek earnestly for salvation. For God makes use of those things, viz., good nature, a good understanding, a rational brain, moral prudence, etc., as far as they hold.
734. Preparatory Work. Preparatory work is from the Spirit of God. It is a work that properly belongs to this person of the Trinity, though there be no holiness in it, and so nothing of the nature of the Holy Spirit communicated to the soul or exerted in the soul in it. As the embryo of Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary, though it had no spirit or soul and so no proper holiness of nature and nothing of the nature of the Holy Spirit in it, yet was from the Spirit of God. For it was a work wrought in the womb of the virgin that was preparatory or in order to an holy effect or production in her, for that was an holy thing that was born of her….
1019. Preparatory Work. One might as strongly argue…. the necessity of a distinct preparatory work of mortification of sin to go before a work of conversion or sanctification of the nature, as for the necessity of a person’s being brought off from their own righteousness by a distinct preceding work of humiliation, but yet no sound divine will say that sin is mortified…. before grace is infused. The truth is that the case is the same with regard to the objects of his lust and a man’s own righteousness. There is a legal work commonly preparing the way for a man’s being weaned from each. A legal conviction to beat and force him from his own righteousness and his legal repentance to beat him off from the object of his lust, but the heart is not truly weaned from either till grace is infused.
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.