Having not read much directly from the pen of Jonathan Edwards, I randomly decided to start with A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World. Immediately, the editor warned me that I’m probably not smart enough to read it. He says,
As these Dissertations were more especially designed for the learned and inquisitive, it is expected that the judicious and candid will not be disposed to object, that the manner in which these subjects are treated is something above the level of common readers. For though a superficial way of discourse and loose harangues may well enough suit some subjects, and answer some valuable purposes; yet other subjects demand more closeness and accuracy. And if an author should neglect to do justice to a subject, for fear that the simpler sort should not fully understand him, he might expect to be deemed a trifler by the more intelligent.
Not only does the editor tell me that I’m probably not smart enough, he then lets me know that things too complex for me were but “ease, profit, and entertainment” for Jonathan Edwards. He says,
Our author had a rare talent to penetrate deep in search of truth; to take an extensive survey of a subject, and look through it into remote consequences. Hence many theorems, that appeared hard and barren to others, were to him pleasant and fruitful fields, where his mind would expatiate with peculiar ease, profit, and entertainment. Those studies, which to some are too fatiguing to the mind, and wearying to the constitution, were to him but a natural play of genius, and which his mind without labour would freely and spontaneously perform. A close and conclusive way of reasoning upon a controversial point was easy and natural to him.
While I may be but a “common reader” I do enjoy watching a master work. Whether it is a skilled craftsman constructing a fine piece of furniture, a master chef preparing a delicate meal, my HVAC guy fixing my AC, I enjoy watching those to whom something difficult for me is but “ease.”
So, with warnings and humblings, I’m diving in to A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World.