This quick read is a part of the Essential Edwards Collection and the first one that I have read. It is a good introduction to the works of Jonathan Edwards, but the only really great sections are excerpts from his works. This book serves a narrow purpose – to introduce some interested parties to Edwards, who will then move on to larger works or not read him altogether. I would recommend that someone start with the books that he wrote or copies of his sermons, all available for free on Yale’s new Jonathan Edwards site (edwards.yale.edu). But if someone was on the fence about reading Edwards or wanted short, topical overviews, then this book would serve that purpose.
The book is organized into five main sections. The Beauty of God, Creation, Christ, Church, and the Trinitarian Afterlife. The Beauty of God is a great section and really sets the stage for Edwards thoughts on Beauty. For Edwards, God is the starting point of theology and His attributes form a multi-faceted diamond that is incomparable. As good as the first section is, the last chapter on the Trinitarian Afterlife really ties the book together. Edwards thoughts on the Trinity, love, and the believer’s entrance into the shared life are eye-opening. These passages from his works will give you a glimpse into his thoughts and theology, and should inspire anyone to read more of his works.
Below is a mind map of the book. (For more information about Mind Maps click here and here).
Again, this is a good introduction to America’s most gifted theologian. Recommended.