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The Soul

Miscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.

Edwards talks about how the soul is immortal, and its worth based on God’s creation of it.

361. Soul of Man. Matter. Thought. Vid. Mind, p. [8] 40.


1. Immortality of the Soul. The immortality of the soul may thus be argued: men, or intelligent beings, are the consciousness of the creation, whereby the universe is conscious of its own being, and of what is done in it, of the actions of the Creator and governor with respect to it. Now except the world had such a consciousness of itself, it would be altogether in vain that it was. If the world is not conscious of its being, it had as good not be as be, as is very clear, for the creation was known as much in every respect from all eternity as it is now, to the Creator. Now it is as evident that the world is as much in being, if this consciousness lasts but a little while and then ceases, as it would be if there was no consciousness of it — that is, after the consciousness ceases, from that time forth forever it is in vain that there ever was such a consciousness. For instance, when the earth is destroyed, if its consciousness does not remain it is in vain that ever it has been.

20. Immortality of the Soul. How does it seem to grate upon one to think that an intelligent being, that consciousness, should be put out forever so as never to know that it ever did think or had a being! If it be put out as a punishment, it can never know that it is punished, never reflect on the justice of God or anything of that nature.

865. The Immortality of the Human Soul. It need not be looked upon as any objection to men’s remaining in being after the death of their bodies, that the beasts that are made for man cease to be when they die. For it is manifest, in fact, that man is the end of the rest of the creatures in this lower world. This world, with all its parts, inanimate, vegetative, and sensitive, was made for an habitation for man during his present state: and if man be the end of the rest of the creatures, for which the rest were made, and to whose use they are subordinated, then man is instar omnium. The end of all is equivalent to the whole. Therefore there is no need of anything else to be preserved: nothing is lost, no part is in vain. If the end of all be preserved, all is preserved: because he is all, the rest is only for his occasional use. The beasts subserve man’s use in the present state: and then, though they cease, yet their end is obtained, and their good, which is their end, remains still in man. Though the tent that was set up for man to sojourn in during his state of probation, ceases when that occasion is over, surely there is no argument that the inhabitant ceases too.

And that the beasts were made for man, affords a good positive argument for a future state of man’s existence. For that all other creatures in this lower world are made for man, and that he himself should be made for no more than they, viz., a short continuance in this world to enjoy the good things of it is unreasonable.

1006. Immortality of the Soul. Some part of the world, viz. that which is the highest, the head and the end of the rest, must be of eternal duration — even the intelligent, reasonable creatures. For if those creatures, this head and end of all the rest of the creation, comes to an end and is annihilated, it is the same thing as if the whole were annihilated. If the world be of a temporal duration and then drops into nothing, it is in vain, i.e. no end is obtained worthy of God. There is nobody but what will own that if God had created the world and then it had dropped into nothing the next minute, it would have been in vain. No end could be obtained worthy of God, and the only reason is that the end would have been so small: by reason of the small continuance of the good obtained by it, it is infinitely little. And so it is still infinitely little if it stands a million of ages and then drops into nothing. That is as a moment in the sight of God. If the good obtained by the creation of the world be of so long continuance, it is equally small, when we compare it with God, as one moment. It is in comparison of him absolutely equivalent to nothing, and therefore an end not worthy of him. No end is worthy of an infinite God but an infinite end. Therefore, the good that is obtained must be of infinite duration. If it be not so, who shall fix the bounds? Who shall say a million years is long enough? If it be, who shall say a good of a thousand years continuance does not become the wisdom of God? And if it does, how can one say but that less still would not answer the ends of wisdom? If it would, who can say that the sovereignty of God shall not fix on a good of a minute’s continuance as sufficient — which is as great, in comparison with him, as a million years? The only reason why a good of a minute’s continuance is not great enough to become the Creator of the world is that it is a good so little when compared with him, and the same reason stands in equal force against a good of any limited duration whatsoever.

If there be nothing that ever began to be, or that ever God made worthy to exist, or whose existence was a thing valuable or worthy for the most high to value, then why did God ever cause it to have existence? But if otherwise, if it be valuable or worthy for the Most High to value, then why should its existence eternally cease after it has been a little while? If it be said, because, though it existed but a little while, its end was obtained, and so it may be thrown by as useless for the future, I ask, what end? On the supposition that nothing that ever began to be remains, then no end ever obtained remains. Nothing in any respect new or lately arrived at, or that was not from all eternity and before any creature was made, remains, if the whole creation ceases after it has been a little while or (which is tantamount) if the chief creatures that are the end of the inferior creatures cease forever after they have existed a little while.

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.

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