Wit and Wisdom from John Hannah (9)

Part 1 – Monday’s quotes
Part 2 – Tuesday’s quotes
Part 3 – Wednesday’s quotes
Part 4 – Thursday’s quotes
Part 5 – Friday’s quotes
Part 6 – Saturday’s quotes
Part 7 – Quotes from biographical lectures (1)
Part 8 – Quotes from biographical lectures (2)

Here are some more lecture quotes by John Hannah as he walked our class through early writings of Edwards such as A Faithful Narrative of Surprising Conversions (1736), Discourses on Various Subjects (1738), The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God (1741), An Account of the Revival of Religion in Northampton (1743), and Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival (1743).

Writing:  Edwards never writes just to write.  He’s always out to prove something.

Self-deception:  In Edwards’ day, he had to get people lost in order to get them saved.  In our day, we have the blessing of people knowing that they don’t know.  In his day, the people confused catechism with life.

Consistency of affection:  Does the lack of consistency in affection indicate its invalidity?  That’s the question Edwards wrestled with.

Conversion and proofs:  God saves people in all kinds of ways.  You never know.  Tears prove nothing.  Doesn’t mean they can’t happen or that they’re bad.  But they prove nothing.

Puritan preaching and gospel belief:  Puritan preaching was preparation preaching.  They didn’t believe that people could come to Christ.  But they wanted to prepare people to come to Christ.  They would tell people to go home and get on your knees and read your Bible and pray.  Maybe God will be merciful.  But this isn’t entirely biblical.  Edwards went against this and said, “Believe right now.”  But not everyone who believes actually believes.  So the question becomes, “What makes an action a virtuous action?”  Motive.  And you can’t see the motive until it’s expressed over time.

Edwards’ preaching:  Edwards was the first to use personal stories (of others).  He foresaw the Enlightenment and he adjusted to it.

Satanic opposition:  When God is doing something, Satan will oppose it.  Expect it.

Evaluating conversions:  Is there any absolute, unmistakable sign of a genuine work of God?  No.  So ultimately, you’re left with faith, and I think that’s right.

Evidence of grace:  Edwards said that those who have experienced redeeming grace are of two sorts: those in deep distress and those overwhelmed by God’s grace.  Some take the dark side, some take the light side.

Knowing people:  One thing I’ve learned in the ministry: knowing people’s hearts is beyond me.

Spiritual awakenings:  If anything, we learn that you can’t sustain an awakening.  It comes and goes.  It’s a stirring to faithfulness.  It’s God sending the Spirit in extreme measure to get us to do what we should’ve been doing all along.  We shouldn’t need awakenings.


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