Although I have been writing this series of posts intermittently for two years now, I have yet to recommend a book by the man who inspired the name of this ministry. Jonathan Edwards’ book Religious Affections is indeed a book you ought to read.
But that’s not the book I want to recommend now. In fact, if you have never read Edwards, there is a better place to begin sitting at the feet of this giant of the faith. I began my first-hand acquaintance with Edwards, as many people do, by reading his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in an American literature class. Though justly famous, this sermon does not present the heart and soul of Edwards’ life and ministry. Instead, we ought to turn to his pastoral classic, originally preached as a series of sermons in 1738, called Charity and Its Fruits.
Love, Edwards teaches, is the greatest virtue. “All true grace is summed up in charity.” By walking us through 1 Corinthians 13, he presses us “to seek a spirit of love, to grow in it more and more, and very much to abound in the works of love.”
Living the teaching of this book is the closest thing to heaven on earth we can experience. In fact, it draws us irresistibly toward heaven, for “heaven is a world of love.” The Spirit of God aims and calibrates our desires through his Word, and in this book you will find simple, soul-searching, biblical preaching which draws your heart to God. I don’t know how anyone could seriously engage this book without being humbled, chastened, and ultimately lifted up to long for God who is love.
It is God’s business to give awards to his servants, and the praise of man doesn’t count for much eternally. In fact, I’m quite sure this book would never win a Pulitzer Prize. But for what it is worth, I would praise this book as one of my all-time favorites. I wish that every believer would read it, that every church would practice it, and that our great triune God of love would be worshiped as the sunshine of his love propels light everywhere.