Images of Divine Things

Images of Divine Things October 3, 2003

A few quotations from Edwards’ “Images of Divine Things” (1728):

“When we travail up an hill ‘tis against our natural tendency and inclination, which perpetually is to descent; and therefore we can’t go on ascending without labor and difficulty. But there arises a pleasant prospect to pay us for our labor as we ascend, and as we continue our labor in ascending, still the pleasantness of the prospect grows. Just so is a man paid for his labor and self-denial in the Christian course.”

“Concerning the blossoming and ripening of fruits and other things of that nature. The first puttings forth of the tree in order to fruit make a great show and are pleasant to the eye, but the fruit then is very small and tender. Afterwards, when there is less show, the fruit is increased. So it often is at first conversion: there are flowing affections, passionate joys, that are the flower that soon falls off, etc. The fruit when young is very tender, easily hurt with frost, or heat, or vermin, or anything that touches it.” Just as young fruit is often bitter so “young converts have a remaining sourness and bitterness.”

“The way in which most of the things we use are serviceable to us and answer their end is in their being strained, or hard-pressed, or violently agitated. Thus the way in which the bow answers to its end is in hard straining of it to shoot the arrow and do the execution; the bow that won’t bear straining is good for nothing, So it is with a staff that a man walks with: it answers its end in being hard-pressed . . . . Here is a lively representation of the way in which true and sincere saints (which are often in Scripture represented as God’s instruments or utensils) answer God’s end, and serve and glorify him in it: by enduring temptation, going through hard labor, suffering, or self-denial or such service or strains hard upon nature and self. Hypocrites are like a broken tooth, a foot out of joint, a broken staff, a deceitful bow, which fail when pressed or strained.”

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