american literature

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. JONATHAN EDWARDS, THINKER AND THEOLOGIAN. Two Great Men In the last chapter you read of men whose names are almost forgotten, whose books, found only in a few special collections, are never disturbed by any reader except by historians or those who make it their delight to search into old, dusty records of the past; but there are two men of Colonial times whose memory will never die, and whose views and sayings are still quoted and have an important influence. One of them, Benjamin Franklin, belongs partly to the Revolutionary period; the other, Jonathan Edwards, died several years before the Revolution. Boyhood of Jonathan Edwards. — From his very babyhood Jonathan Edwards showed signs of having an unusual mind and disposition. His heart was full of religious thoughts, of reachings out towards God. A diary which he kept astonishes us by its solemn words,— for it gives his inner feelings,— and his acts are just like his words. Children were rarely permitted to join the church in those days; but he was a very tiny lad when he became a member, and even then he had fixed on the rules which should guide his life, rules which he afterwards wrote out in seventy resolutions, and faithfully kept. Even when a boy he used to call together his schoolmates and hold prayer meetings, and it was his habit to go off from others five times a day that he might pray. On leaving college he dedicated himself to God, " never to be in any respect his own." His mind developed early, like his soul; he loved to think on deep questions, to look inside his mind to see its workings. A book called Locke's 1 Essay on the Human Understanding came in his way, and it was like stumbling on a discovery of gold and silver. It probably shaped his life ; for he became, like Locke, one of the ... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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