Jonathan Edwards on the need for Thanksgiving

Jonathan Edwards on the need for Thanksgiving November 25, 2014

I found this quote in the Jonathan Edwards online library. It is rather apt as my American friends prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving. This week we are focusing on  Edwards here at the Patheos Evangelical channel. As part of that my friend Frank Viola posted a great contribution “The Shocking Beliefs of Jonathan Edwards” that is well worth a read. Here then is Jonathan Edwards on thanksgiving.


The godly, those who have that inestimable blessing, have cause to bless God which cannot be expressed. The more we consider it, the more wonderful and inexpressible will it appear. When we read over the history of Moses, and how God appeared to him, and what wonderful works were wrought by his hands, and how he went up into the holy Mount, etc., etc. And when we read the history of Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, the Virgin Mary, the apostle Paul who was caught up to the third heaven, and consider what privileges these had and what high honors were done them, we are ready to admire at the greatness of those privileges by which they were distinguished from the others. But all those extraordinary privileges, considered in themselves, separately from the saving grace of God, are nothing compared to this.

Let those, therefore, who are thus highly favored, consider more than ever yet they have done, how great that blessing is which God has bestowed upon them of his mere free love and sovereign grace, and not for any worthiness of theirs; and how great obligations they are under to glorify God: and to glorify Christ, who hath purchased this blessing with his own blood.What manner of persons ought you to be! pray consider it! Do you hope that God has thus highly advanced and exalted you? And will you not be careful indeed to live to his glory, and to exalt and magnify his name? Will you dishonor Christ, who has thus honored you? Will you regard him but a little, who has shown such infinite regard to your welfare? Shall the world have your heart, and Christ and his glory be neglected after all? Will you not rather watch against your corrupt, worldly, proud dispositions? Will you not seek opportunities to do something for God, who, as you think, has been thus kind to you?

And for that Savior, who has purchased this, at the cost of such extreme sufferings? And that for you— worms!— vipers! Will you not every day, with the Psalmist, be ready to say, as in Psalms 116:12, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me?”

What could God have done more for you? What privileges can you think of now, that would have been better, and more worthy to engage your heart in gratitude and thankfulness, and in all holy living? And consider, how you live! How little you do for God! How little for his honor! How much to his dishonor! How little this lies with weight upon your heart, that you may do something for God and Christ! Consider how you ought to live, and the inexpressible obligations you are under to live so. And then consider how you do live, and how vast the distance is. How should such as you, who are so highly privileged, at all times carry towards God, in all filial love, thankfulness, strict obedience, quiet submission! And how should you live towards your neighbors, walking humbly, inoffensively, meekly, charitably, doing good to all, to their souls and bodies as you have opportunity, always fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, with the greatest and most earnest diligence.

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  • Awesome quote. Thank God for those who saw our need to thank God!

  • Gratitude isn’t the exclusive realm of your particular “godly” religious sect; Epicurus had gratitude figured long before Jesus.

    “The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future…Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ~Epicurus

    The Epicurean Doctrine of Gratitude
    Norman W. DeWitt
    The American Journal of Philology
    Vol. 58, No. 3 (1937), pp. 320-328
    Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

    • Realist1234

      And God’s prophets and people were already saying it in Old Testament times, long before Epicurus. Jesus was simply reiterating it.

      • “God’s people?” There is no evidence that some humans are more “divinely special” than others.

        • Mike Laughlin

          That’s true no one person is more divinely special than another but every person who has humbly responded to Christ’s offered forgiveness for their sin is set apart in God’s eyes from those who have not. They are the one’s that are truly God’s people.

          • So there are no chosen ones—but—there are chosen ones. gotcha

            P.S. I don’t need “saved,” there is no underworld realm of Zeus’ brother Hades (or Loki’s daughter Hell) from which to be saved. Being redeemed from Hell/Hades is a scam centuries older than your syncretic redeemer.

            “[…] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.”

            Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.