The Essential Edwards Collection provides and excellent introduction to the works of one of America’s brightest (and most prolific) theologians – Jonathan Edwards. This collection is comprised of four books that deal with Edwards thought on different topics (Jonathan Edwards on… Beauty, Heaven and Hell, the Good Life and True Christianity), and one book that serves as a brief biography of the divine (Jonathan Edwards: A Lover of God).
Intended for the “uninitiated,” this series is written in extremely accessible language, to help the reader glean insight from Edwards writings. By briefly commenting on different quotes from Edwards works Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney aid the reader to understand Edwards while also demonstrating how to interact well with Edwards writings. Each chapter ends with suggestions on how a reader can connect the truths they are learning from Edwards to their every day lives (which I think is a brilliant idea!).
On a more personal level, I really enjoyed the emphasis the authors put on the importance of both the local church and the family unit.
One critique – and it is minor – is that there are a couple of typological errors (for example, one of the illuminated first letters of a section was not italicized), but, being extremely few and far between, these do not hinder the readability of the books.
I think this is a great set of books, serving as a fantastic introduction to Jonathan Edwards. To whet your appetite to explore Edwards through this collection here is a fantastic quote from Edwards, as quoted in Jonathan Edwards on Beauty (pg. 37):
All creatures do continually live upon the bounty of God; he maintains the whole creation of his mere goodness: every good thing that is enjoyed is a part of his bounty. When kings are bountiful, and dispense good things to their subjects, they do but give that which the Almighty before gave to them. So merciful and so full of pity is God, that when a miserable man, whom He had no need of, who did Him no good, nor could be of any advantage to Him, had made himself miserable by his rebellion against God, He took such pity on him that He sent His only Son to undergo his torment for him, that he might be delivered and set free. And now He offers freely, to bestow upon those rebels, complete and perfect happiness to all eternity upon this, His Son’s account. There never was such an instance of goodness, mercy, pity, and compassion since the world began; all the mercy and goodness amongst creatures fall infinitely short of it: this is goodness that never was, never will, never can be paralleled by any other.
Books provided for free by Pure Publicity for review.