A Critical Analysis of the Tradition of Edwards as a Manuscript Preacher
Although the sermons and the writings of Jonathan Edwards have been given much consideration through the years, the preaching of Edwards has been largely ignored. While none doubt the persuasive power of the words he used, many have advanced caricatures of him as a boring manuscript preacher.
Indeed it is rare to find any account that does not advance this interpretation of Edwards’s preaching. Most textbooks on homiletics cite him as an example of one who preached powerfully although lamely dependent on his manuscript. Popular authors, such as Peter Marshall, Jr., present the same picture of Edwards, “who delivered his sermons in a monotone, with his eyes never straying from the back wall of the church.”
Many church historians and theologians render similar views of the preaching of Edwards. Alan Heimert, in his Religion and the American Mind, suggested:
He spoke in measured tones and just stared at the bell rope as though he would stare it off, and worked his effects, it was thought, through the sheer power of his doctrines and language.
Edward Collins concurred noting that Edwards “did not use gestures, and a heavy dependence on his manuscript prevented any rapport with his congregation.” Even John Gertsner, a prominent writer on the theology of Edwards, provided a similar assessment:
From the standpoint of delivery, he possibly was one of the most mediocre the Church has ever known. He had none of the grand eloquence of George Whitefield or that powerful or sonorous voice. Apparently there were no real gestures, just a solemn reading of the manuscript most of the time, much to the chagrin of his senior pastor, Solomon Stoddard.
Likewise, Lewis Drummond, in his work on revival, concluded:
We would hardly have called him a dynamic preacher. He laboriously read every word from a manuscript. Not only that, his eyesight and writing were so poor he held the manuscript only inches from his nose, rarely looking at the congregation.
That Edwards read his sermons painstakingly from a manuscript appears to be the consensus of historians and theologians alike.
Interestingly, a few current writers have begun to suggest the possibility that Edwards may not have always used a manuscript in preaching. John Smith, in his Jonathan Edwards: Puritan, Preacher, Philosopher, concluded that “Edwards, for the most part, read his sermons, although there are indications that he would have liked to speak extemporaneously.” Even Wilson Kimnach, in his excellent introduction to Volume 10 in the Yale Edition of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, pondered the possibility that Edwards might not have been exclusively a manuscript preacher:
Given the preference of JE’s father and grandfather Stoddard for extempore or memoriter preaching, one must assume that JE made an initial effort to preach without relying upon his manuscript, at least for some months. There are in fact a number of formal or stylistic devices in the early sermons (discussed in the appropriate places) which might have functioned as mnemonic aids also. On the other hand, there is no record that JE ever preached without his manuscript.
In spite of such indications, the only author to date who has been willing to confront the persistent idea of Edwards as a manuscript preacher is Iain Murray in his biography of Jonathan Edwards. However, Murray merely lists some facts in passing that bring this supposition into doubt.
This article focuses on the examination of Edwards’s manuscripts and other contemporary data to provide a more accurate picture of the preaching of Edwards. This process will include an examination of the historical situation in which Edwards preached, a discussion of eyewitness accounts, and an investigation of his views on preaching and his impact on the preaching of some who were tutored in his methods. Finally, it will consider the manuscript evidence that militates against the traditional view of Edwards’s preaching.
I. THE GREAT AWAKENING SETTING
If Jonathan Edwards preached laboriously from a manuscript as many have asserted, then he would definitely be the great exception to the preaching pattern of all the other awakening preachers. Indeed, this exception is often cited by writers of the First Great Awakening to emphasize that the revivals that occurred were not dependent, to any degree, upon the style of some of the preachers in that Awakening.
However, one must acknowledge that the Great Awakening was stimulated, at least in part, by a new approach in preaching. Alan Heimert noted that the Great Awakening came as the result of new ideas in theology as well as some new approaches in preaching: “Not just the old divinity, but the old homiletics, had proven ‘stale and unsavory’ to American >palates.’” Between the time of the ministry of John Cotton and that of Jonathan Edwards, a dramatic shift in preaching had occurred. By the third and fourth generation in New England, preaching had shifted to a “more logical style” with an increasing number of ministers reading their sermons to their congregations.
The most noticeable impact on preaching occurred with the arrival of George Whitefield from England. His preaching provided a stark contrast to that of most Congregational ministers, especially his preaching without notes:
Throughout his journeys, Whitefield urged ministers and aspiring ministers to “preach without notes,” and criticized recorded [written] sermons as a deficiency in faith: “I think the ministers preaching almost universally by note, is a mark that they have, in great measure, lost the old spirit of preaching. Though they are not to be condemned who use notes, yet it is a symptom of the decay of religion, when reading sermons becomes fashionable where extempore preaching did once almost universally prevail.”
Harry S. Stout notes that while Whitefield’s statement may be an exaggeration, he “was correct in how many New England ministers” had come to read their sermons verbatim.
Donald Weber’s studies led him to conclude that Edwards and other “New Light” preachers, “changed from linear narrative to fragmentary, disfluent modes—and all at virtually the same historical juncture.” Certainly Edwards was impressed by the preaching of Whitefield and may have modified his preaching after Whitefield’s visit to his congregation.
However, there is evidence that Edwards, like Whitefield and other awakening preachers, already preached in an extemporaneous style. He was not the exception to the pattern of preaching in the Great Awakening, but, instead, he preached messages from his heart that had great impact on his listeners.
II. EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS
But what can be said about all the eyewitness accounts that verify that Edwards preached from a manuscript in a monotone? In reality, there are no such accounts of Edwards reading his sermons. It appears that the idea of Edwards preaching with his manuscript held up close to his eyes originated in the writings of Serno E. Dwight over two generations later. In 1829, Dwight mentioned that “He wrote his sermons and in so fine and so illegible a hand that they could be read only by being brought near to the eye.” From this statement, inference has been made to Edwards’s preaching method. However, Dwight only makes reference to the writing of sermons, not necessarily to Edwards’s preaching it.
One reference to Edwards’s preaching comes from a contemporary preacher, Thomas Prince. Prince described Edwards as
a preacher of a low and moderate voice, a natural way of delivery; and without any agitation of body, or anything else in the manner to excite attention; except his habitual and great solemnity, looking and speaking as in the presence of God, and with a weighty sense of the matter delivered.
While Prince’s account tells much about Edwards’s manner of delivery, it says nothing about his use of a manuscript.
Most point to Gordon Clark’s reference to Edwards reading his sermon at Enfield, Connecticut. However, that account does not square with the manuscript evidence. In examining the manuscripts at Yale, it becomes clear that Edwards delivered the sermon twice. It was first delivered to his own congregation in Northampton in June 1741 with little effect. When requested to speak at the area conference in Enfield, Connecticut, the following month (July 8, 1741), Edwards preached the same sermon with dramatically different results. While tradition holds that he delivered this particular sermon by reading from his manuscript in a monotone voice, the manuscripts at Yale reveal that the discourse was not entirely written out, so that the tradition is hardly to be relied on.
Actually, the documents at Yale contain both a full manuscript and an outline. Based upon an examination of the ink and the handwriting, Kimnach assessed that the manuscript preceded the outline. He concluded:
The thought arises that JE, under the influence of Whitefield, might have made an outline of his Northampton sermon for the Enfield performance. With the outline, his preaching would necessarily have been more “spontaneous.”
He also noted that “certain discrepancies between the outline and the original sermon . . . suggest that Edwards may have made up the outline from memory.” Clearly, at least the Enfield sermon does not fit the tradition of Edwards as a manuscript preacher.
Perhaps the account of the preaching of Edwards left by Samuel Hopkins provides the most accurate information. Hopkins was a contemporary of Edwards, who lived in his home and preached in his church. In 1764, Hopkins published a biographical work on Edwards, “The Life and Character of the late Reverend, Learned, and Pious Mr. Jonathan Edwards, President of the College of New Jersey; Together with Extracts from his Private Writings and Diary.” Hopkins even pastored a church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, during the time Edwards was in Stockbridge. His biographer noted that the distance was only “about one hour’s ride” away and that the two spent much time together. Through that relationship, he had a number of occasions to hear Edwards preach.
Hopkins suggested that “nearly twenty years after he first began to preach” (i.e., approximately 1742), Edwards stopped writing his sermons in full. Although Murray provided no citation for this information, Hopkins may have deduced this from his examination of Edwards’s manuscripts which were, “by request of Mr. Edwards . . . placed in the hands of Mr. Hopkins.” Regardless, Hopkins’s observations agree with the manuscripts presently in the collection at Yale.
In all of Hopkins’s accounts of the preaching of Edwards, no reference is made to his reading from a manuscript in a monotone. He did note that
President Edwards, during the later years of his life, recommended the practice of preaching without notes altogether, but not without writing the sermons, which were to be delivered in the great degree memoriter.
Hopkins himself struggled with this type of preaching, which he felt followed the pattern of his mentor, Edwards. His journal reveals that he heard Edwards often and assessed his preaching to be anything but boring and lifeless. Consider the following excerpt:
Sunday, July 24, 1743. Heard Mr. Edwards preach all day. I have been very dull and senseless; much discouraged about preaching. Hearing Mr. Edwards makes me ashamed of myself.
Obviously, Hopkins, who would certainly not be regarded as a monotone, manuscript preacher, often became discouraged as he compared his preaching with that of Edwards.
With regard to Edwards’s delivery, Hopkins makes some comments which may help to put the preaching of Edwards in perspective. Hopkins recorded:
He read most that he wrote: still he was not confined to them; and if some thoughts were suggested to him while he was preaching, which did not occur to him when writing, and appeared pertinent, he would deliver them with as great propriety and fluency, and often with greater pathos, and attended with a more sensibly good effect on his hearers than what he had written.
While this clearly refutes the idea of Edwards as a manuscript preacher, it also reveals that Edwards did utilize notes in the pulpit. The manuscript evidence at Yale concurs with this assessment, especially with regard to the size of Edwards’s “palm notes” as shall be examined later.
III. MODELS PROVIDED BY FATHER AND GRANDFATHER
The two main influences upon the preaching of Edwards were his father, Timothy Edwards, and his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard. Both provided extemporaneous models of preaching for young Jonathan. Timothy Dwight noted that Timothy Edwards “always preached extemporaneously, and, until he was upwards of seventy, without noting down the heads of the discourse.” Kimnach suggested that Edwards’s grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, employed the same pattern of preaching, as did Timothy Edwards. Both of these men provided models for the preaching of Jonathan Edwards.
In 1726, Jonathan Edwards came to Northampton to serve as the assistant to Stoddard. Just three years prior to his coming to that church, Solomon Stoddard preached his famous sermon, “The Defects of Preachers Reproved,” in which he soundly condemned the reading of sermons. In that sermon, he noted that it was not the pattern of the prophets to read their prophecies. Then he summarized his view of such “reading preachers:”
The reading of sermons is a dull way of preaching. Sermons when read are not delivered with authority and in an affecting way. . . . When sermons are delivered without notes, the looks and the gesture of the minister, is a great means to command attention and stir up affection. Men are apt to be drowsy in hearing the word, and the liveliness of the preacher is a means to stir up the attention of the hearers, and beget suitable affection in them. Sermons that are read are not delivered with authority, they savor the sermons of the scribes, Matthew 7:29. Experience shows that sermons read are not so profitable as others.
This did not mean, however, that ministers should preach without adequate preparation. Stoddard usually wrote out his entire sermon manuscript and committed it largely to memory before his delivery. Additionally, he was not opposed to a preacher having some notes to aid his delivery. He disapproved of ministers who had to “carry a quiver full of them” into the pulpit each Sunday.
Scholars have little doubt that Stoddard provided a preaching pattern for young Edwards. John Smith even suggested that Edwards may have been under some pressure from his grandfather “not to read his sermons, but to preach more freely.” Even Kimnach stated, “one must assume that JE made an initial effort to preach without relying upon his manuscript, at least for some months.” Yet he concludes that this attempt was unsuccessful, and that Edwards quickly returned to his style of manuscript preaching. However, manuscript evidence indicates that the opposite occurred. Beginning in 1741, Edwards ceased to write his sermons in full, writing only certain sections and leaving other sections to be “filled in” while speaking. Kimnach noted that Edwards was only outlining his “application” sections as early as 1729.
Such a pattern does not represent a shift back to manuscript reading, but an increasing tendency toward a more extemporaneous style. One must seriously question the tradition of Edwards as a “reading preacher” being called to Stoddard’s church so soon after Stoddard’s denunciation of manuscript preaching. Thus Iain Murray rightly inquired, “Is it likely that only three years later [following the “Defects” sermon] he would have approved of a colleague who could only read?”
IV. EDWARDS’S VIEWS ON PREACHING
Another area that must be considered is Edwards’s own views about preaching. He taught that “God has ordained that his Word be opened, applied and set home upon men in preaching,” and that God desires “a particular and lively application of his Word.” According the Murray, Edwards “believed that preaching is NOT the equivalent to reading a book.”
Although his sermons provided deep, intellectual treatments of topics, he placed great emphasis on preaching affecting the heart. Edwards himself stated:
Our people don’t so much need to have their heads stored as to have their hearts touched and they stand in the greatest need of that sort of preaching that has the greatest tendency to do this.
He also taught that the preacher should not be devoid of emotion in his presentation. In Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival, Edwards argued in favor of the preacher speaking to affect his hearers’ emotions:
I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as I possibly can, provided that they are affected with nothing but the truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.
In his Distinguishing Marks, he criticized ministers for speaking of dreadful things without emotions and gestures appropriate to those words. When the preacher does so, “his behavior and manner of speaking contradict” his words, and “shew that the preacher don’t think so; so that he defeats his purpose.”
Another way to assess Edwards’s views on preaching would be to examine what he taught others about preaching. Stout noted that Edwards often invited students to his home for “post-graduate training.” He suggested that Edwards directly influenced a generation of extemporaneous preachers:
Through his printed sermons and the school of prophets established in his household Edwards taught a generation of evangelical ministers how to articulate their extemporaneous sermons in glowing terms that warmed the hearts of their listeners.
Two of the more prominent men tutored by Edwards were Joseph Bellamy and Samuel Hopkins. Both preached extemporaneously. Hopkins probably spent the greatest amount of time with Edwards. He came to live with him in 1742 and continued his education with him off and on until 1743. Thereafter, he pastored in close proximity to Edwards and continued to spend much time with him.
Hopkins’s Works also provide a number of insights about the influence of Edwards on his preaching. He noted that:
President Edwards, during the later years of his life, recommended the practice of preaching without notes altogether, but not without writing of sermons, which were to be delivered in the great degree memoriter.
Upon this recommendation, Hopkins almost exclusively preached extemporaneous sermons. In his Works, he summarized his life of preaching:
I have not been confined to my notes in preaching, except for a short time, when I first began; and have not generally written my sermons in full length, but only the heads of them, and some short hints to suggest ideas, which were to be mentioned under the general heads.
In passing on his insights about preaching, Hopkins suggested the following for young preachers:
I think it would be best, in general, to write all the sermon, and commit it to memory, with an allowance to deviate in some instances from what has been written, and to add to it what may be suggested to the mind in delivery. If this practice be diligently followed for a time, the preacher, it is expected, will be able not only to preach without notes, but his mind will be so furnished with the knowledge of divinity, that he will be able to preach without writing his sermons.
This certainly appears to reflect something of the process through which Edwards himself passed: beginning by writing out his manuscripts in full, memorizing the greater portion of it, and eventually coming to write out mainly outlines of his thoughts to enhance his speaking extemporaneously.
V. MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE
Perhaps the most persuasive evidence against the traditional view of Edwards’s preaching comes from the manuscript evidence at Yale. Two facts lend credence to the idea that Edwards preached largely extemporaneously.
First, no explanation exists for the change in the size of note paper used by Edwards after arriving at Northampton other than a desire on the part of Edwards to appear more “free” in his delivery. When he came to Northampton in 1726, he changed the size of the paper on which he wrote his sermons from octavo to the much smaller duodecimo. Murray noted that “his sermon ‘booklet’ became about 3-7/8 inches by 4-1/8 inches, a size which could be ‘palmed,’ almost unseen, in his hand.” He suggested:
The obvious explanation for this is that he did not mean to parade his use of notes. Such an exercise would have been pointless had the people seen him reading word for word from an uplifted manuscript.
Others agree, at least in part.
Kimnach suggested that he changed the size of his notes in part, to avoid “paper shuffling in the pulpit.” He also noted that Edwards worked hard to make “the sermon as compact and efficient for pulpit use as he could.” According to Winslow, “Tradition says that Jonathan Edwards placed the tiny sermon booklet in the open pulpit Bible, keeping his finger on his place.” The only reason that accounts for Edwards cutting his “sermon booklets” to this new, smaller size is that he modified his pulpit notes to fit a freer delivery style of preaching after arriving in Northampton.
Second, and even more conclusive, is Edwards’s shift, around 1741, away from writing out his manuscripts in full to simply outlining the leading thoughts. The Yale collection does include full manuscripts for some sermons after that period, but the majority of them are sermons preached on special occasions. Some have suggested that this change in Edwards’s style occurred after Whitefield’s visit to his church in October 1740.
Kimnach, based upon his examination of the manuscript evidence, observed a noticeable change in Edwards’s sermon preparation. He noted:
As the decade [of the 1740s] wears on, not only do the sermon booklets look more like bundles of waste paper and the outlines grow more and more like bare lists, but the very nature of the notation in the booklets changes. Whereas Edwards had always written in his booklets the words he expected to speak to his congregation, and even in the outline form preserved the decorum of the oration, he now began to write notes on sermons. Beside the brief notes for heads, or in place of a head, one is likely to encounter such statements as “Conclude with some consideration to enforce the whole” (Luke 12:35-36), and often there is no hint of what that consideration might be.
One must not think, however, that this type of a pattern is anything “late” in Edwards’s career. Even Kimnach notes that Edwards is outlining at least the “conclusions of the Doctrine and Application divisions” as early as 1729.
In spite of evidence to the contrary, Kimnach persists in his view of Edwards as a manuscript preacher. He attributed his outlining of sermons to his increasing “mastery of the pulpit” and the increasing demands on his time. According to Kimnach, this should not be interpreted to mean that Edwards was in any way extemporaneous in his delivery. He concluded that descriptions of Edwards’s personality
gives little precedence for the kind of on-the-spot intellectual improvising that would be required to transform such lists into unified wholes with even a little of that old ideational richness.
In other words, although the evidence might suggest a move to a more extemporaneous style, Kimnach still concluded that traditional reports about Edwards prohibits any such conclusion.
Kimnach presents at least three explanations for the manuscript evidence. First, he concluded that Edwards might have made these outlines in response to the “spontaneous” delivery that he had witnessed in Whitefield’s preaching. However, Kimnach himself had noted that the manuscripts reveal that Edwards had begun to outline some parts of the conclusions and applications as early as 1729. Second, Kimnach suggested that the outlines might have been “reductions” of his sermons for preaching more simply to the Indians at Stockbridge. However, the outlines do not reveal any reduction of doctrinal substance to make the messages simple for the Indians.
Third, he advanced the idea that the outlines were designed by Edwards so that he could later insert other material he had gathered at the appropriate places. He even suggested that the tradition of Edwards’s “pinning” himself might be mistaken. Instead, Kimnach pondered the possibility that Edwards pinned these notes into his outlines. However, no evidence exists on the manuscripts to support the idea of “pinning” notes into the outlines.
None of this provides an adequate explanation of the manuscript evidence. Additionally, it is not just that Edwards changes the written form of his notes; even his sermonic organization shows evidence of change during this period:
as he developed his sermons less and less, and gradually gave over to the outline, so he seems to have placed less and less emphasis on the old intricate relationships between the parts of the sermon. The major divisions—Text, Doctrine, Application–remain, even though the statement of doctrine tends to dissolve into a mere proposition or “three things I shall here discuss,” but the hierarchy of heads and subheads nearly vanishes, and the form becomes not an essay but a mere list of ideas on the subject. Significantly, Edwards tends to mark the “heads” of these outlines with large Roman numerals–much larger than the numerals of the written-out sermons–as if only the arbitrary march of numerals gave order to the sermon.
Clearly the manuscripts of Edwards indicate a continual attempt on the part of Edwards to become more spontaneous in his delivery. The documents at Yale reveal that, especially during the time of the Great Awakening and his time at Stockbridge, he relied almost entirely upon outlines rather than manuscripts for his preaching.
That Jonathan Edwards preached in a monotone from a manuscript held close to his eyes cannot be substantiated by the records which are extant. No clear eye-witness account exists that supports this tradition. Indeed, those who were closest to him and taught by him never mention his use of a manuscript in the pulpit.
The mere presence of complete manuscripts of Edwards’s sermons does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that he also preached from those manuscripts. Ralph Turnbull’s study of the preaching of Edwards brought him to such a conclusion:
The discipline of writing at the first did not mean that he always used a manuscript when in the pulpit. Most of the manuscripts left behind are in notes and outlines, so we can state that Edwards was no slave to any one method.
The clear shift to outlines after 1741 also militates against the idea that he relied upon a manuscript. To hold to the traditional view of Edwards, some reasonable explanation must be provided for the outlines in the Yale collection.
While it might be possible that Edwards, the manuscript preacher, encouraged others to develop an extemporaneous style that was not his own, it appears unlikely. Instead, contemporary accounts from students such as Hopkins indicate that Edwards himself provided the model for their extemporaneous preaching.
It is even more unlikely that Edwards could have received the support of his grandfather if he had been one of those “reading preachers” about whom Stoddard preached and wrote. Further, no explanation exists for Edwards’s shift to smaller notes, called his “thumb notes” or “palm notes,” apart from the fact that he was consciously attempting to follow the pattern of his father and grandfather in presenting his messages with a degree of freedom. Everything in the Yale collection indicates that Edwards preached extemporaneously, although not completely without notes. His pulpit notes even include devices to help him emphasize various points, and his outlines often clearly indicate that he intended to speak completely extemporaneously at certain points.
In light of this evidence, there appears to be no reason for continuing to hold to the idea of Edwards as a manuscript preacher. Like other preachers used mightily in the First Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards impacted lives, in part, because he delivered his sermons, not by reading them with his manuscript hiding his face, but as one speaking directly to the people urging them to act upon the message which came from a Sovereign God.
1 One such example is Henry C. Brown, Jr., and H. Gordon Clinard, and Jesse J. Northcutt, Steps to the Sermon (Nashville: Broadman, 1963), 186.
2 Peter J. Marshall, Jr., and David B. Manuel, Jr., The Light and the Glory (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1977),
3 Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 230.
4 Edward M. Collins, Jr., “The Rhetoric of Sensation Challenges the Rhetoric of the Intellect: An Eighteenth Century Controversy,” in Sermons in American History: Selected Issues in the American Pulpit, 1630-1967, ed. Dewitt Holland, (New York: Abingdon, 1969), 102.
5 John H. Gerstner, The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, (Powhatan, VA: Berean Publications, 1991), 1:480.
6 Lewis Drummond, The Awakening That Must Come (Nashville: Broadman, 1978), 13.
7 John E. Smith, Jonathan Edwards: Puritan, Preacher, Philosopher (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 139.
8 Wilson H. Kimnach, Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, vol. 10 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. John E. Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 282, note 3. Emphasis in the original. Hereafter cited as Yale 10.
9 Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), 188-89.
10 For the purposes of this study, such manuscript evidence will be examined using the data compiled by Kimnach. Yale 10.
11 A number of authors have recently advanced this theory. See Marion D. Aldridge, “George Whitefield: The Necessary Interdependence of Preaching Style and Sermon Content to Effect Revival,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23 (March 1980): 55-64; Donald Weber, Rhetoric and History in Revolutionary New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988); and Harry S. Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
12 Heimert, 160.
13 Samuel T. Logan, “The Hermeneutics of Jonathan Edwards,” Westminster Theological Seminary 43 (Fall 1980): 86-87.
14 Stout, 357-58, note 24.
One such example is Henry C. Brown, Jr., and H. Gordon Clinard, and Jesse J. Northcutt, Steps to the Sermon (Nashville: Broadman, 1963), 186.
Peter J. Marshall, Jr., and David B. Manuel, Jr., The Light and the Glory (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1977), 241.
Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966), 230.
Edward M. Collins, Jr., The Rhetoric of Sensation Challenges the Rhetoric of the Intellect: An Eighteenth Century Controversy, in Sermons in American History: Selected Issues in the American Pulpit, 1630-1967, ed. Dewitt Holland, (New York: Abingdon, 1969), 102.
John H. Gerstner, The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards, (Powhatan, VA: Berean Publications, 1991), 1:480.
Lewis Drummond, The Awakening That Must Come (Nashville: Broadman, 1978), 13.
John E. Smith, Jonathan Edwards: Puritan, Preacher, Philosopher (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 139.
Wilson H. Kimnach, Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723, vol. 10 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards, ed. John E. Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), 282, note 3. Emphasis in the original. CIted as Yale 10.
Iain H. Murray, Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1987), 188-89.
For the purposes of this study, such manuscript evidence will be examined using the data compiled by Kimnach. Yale 10.
A number of authors have recently advanced this theory. See Marion D. Aldridge, George Whitefield: The Necessary Interdependence of Preaching Style and Sermon Content to Effect Revival, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23 (March 1980): 55-64; Donald Weber, Rhetoric and History in Revolutionary New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988); and Harry S. Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
Samuel T. Logan, The Hermeneutics of Jonathan Edwards, Westminster Theological Seminary 43 (Fall 1980): 86-87.
Stout, 357-58, note 24.
Extemporaneous is used here and throughout to indicate a type of preaching that may utilize notes but generally provides for a free delivery.
Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 1:clxxxix. Emphasis in the original. CIted as Edwards, Works.
C. C. Goen, The Great Awakening, vol. 4 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards , ed. John E. Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972), 72. CIted as Yale 4.
Ralph G. Turnbull, Jonathan Edwards: The Preacher (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1958), 100-01.
Edwards A. Park, ed., The Works of Samuel Hopkins (Boston: Doctrinal Tract and Book Society, 1865), 13-50. CIted as Hopkins, Works.
Hopkins, Works, 1:215. There is also a description of Hopkinss efforts in attempting to edit those manuscripts. Ibid., 215-20.
Hopkins, Works, 1:39.
Ibid., 11, note 9. Kimnach, however, notes that Timothy preached memoriter rather than extempore simply because some complete manuscripts of Timothy survive. Ibid.
The outward form of his sermons is the same as that employed by Timothy Edwards. . . . Ibid., 12.
That sermon was preached on May 19, 1723 and was printed on January 28, 1724. Ola Elizabeth Winslow, Jonathan Edwards: 1703-1758 (New York: Macmillian, 1940), 321, note 4.
Solomon Stoddard, The Defects of Preachers Reproved in a Sermon Preached at Northampton, May 19, 1723 (New London, CT: n.p., 1724; reprint, Ames, IA: International Outreach, n.d.), 20-21. Emphasis in original.
Keith J. Hardman, Seasons of Refreshing (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 44.
Yale 10:282, note 3.
Edwards, Works, 1:242.
John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 82.
Ibid., 231. Also see Teresa Toulouse, The Art of Prophesying: New England Sermons and the Shaping of Belief (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987), 62-65.
Hopkins, Works, 1:13-35.
Stout, 364, note 21. Stout also notes that Wilson H. Kimnach traced this shift of Edwards toward abbreviated sermon outlines in The Literary Techniques of Jonathan Edwards, (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1971), 136, 176-77.
One example would be ordination sermons. Helen Petter Westra provides such an example in her Jonathan Edwards on Faithful and Successful Ministers, Early American Literature 23 (1988): 286. Kimnach stated: When Edwards had an extraordinary preaching occasion during the forties, such as an ordination sermon, a guest lecture, or a difficult case to put across at home, he seems to have returned to his earlier practice. . . . Yale 10:124.
Yale 10:122; and Winslow, 130.
See note 63.