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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Praying for Muslims Today | Main | Contemplation on Christ »

    Book Review: Altogether Lovely, by Jonathan Edwards

    Synopsis: The American Puritan Jonathan Edwards is well known for his keen insight into theological matters, his brilliant rational mind and the logical precision with which he explores every question he encounters in the text of scripture, and the flame of soul-deep passion and ardor which those minute biblical explorations fuel. These characteristics are seen nowhere more clearly than when he is speaking of the person and work of Christ. To Edwards, the beautiful mystery of Jesus Christ is the only illimitable and eternal source of heart-thrilling meditation and worship. And when so gifted a theologian and so passionate a Christ-lover as Jonathan Edwards turns the fire of his heart and the brilliance of his mind to the subject of the glory and excellency of Jesus, the result is a profound celebration of joy and an exhilarating foretaste of the very blessedness of heaven. Altogether Lovely, from the pen of America's most exact thinker and heavenly-minded theologian, is a rich, rich book. If it cannot stir your heart to rejoice in the Savior, then your heart must be utterly dead indeed!

    When one reads many theological works which are good, true, and helpful, it takes a very unusual book to capture his attention in a way that sets it apart from any other of its kind. Altogether Lovely, by Jonathan Edwards, is one of those books that stands apart from others in its class. It is unusual both for the exactness of its precision and the beauty of its descriptive language. It is a commingling of the most minute science with the most inspired art, which both work together to paint a portrait of the altogether lovely Savior that cannot but thrill the souls of them who likewise love him. There is no class of Christian and no sort of earthly problem that cannot be helped by a clearer view of Jesus Christ. And there is almost no one more capable of directing the eyes of men to Jesus Christ than Jonathan Edwards. Whoever you are, and whatever your struggle may be, read this book! It will be a help to you, no matter what sort of help you might need.

    Because the chapters of this book are taken from the various sermons which Edwards preached in his time as a minister of the gospel, they are eminently pastoral and applicational. Edwards did not just exposit the truth of God's word, he applied it with remarkable skill to all classes of people. He had an unusual wisdom in discerning the various heart-conditions in which men approached the preaching of the word, and a way of unerringly exposing those hidden states of the heart, and applying the truths of the scriptures in the manner most likely to correct the problems he had exposed. Edwards believed that the doctrine of Christ held forth the answer to the needs of any person, whether an arrogant false professor, an unbeliever terrified by his guilt and sin, a believer who had become complacent, or a smoldering wick, ready to be extinguished by the slightest breath of reproach; and he was very careful to show just how Christ's excellently diverse attributes posed the perfect solution to every various situation. Today, almost three hundred years later, people are still the same, and the skill with which Edwards applied the truth of Jesus will break down self-sufficiency and bind up sin-brokenness in our own hearts just as surely as it did in the hearts of his congregants.

    Although space forbids a thorough catalog of all the highlights of the collection, here are a few at least, to whet the potential reader's appetite: “God the Best Portion of the Christian” cuts away the foundation of every false religion, and unveils the stunning beauty of genuine Christianity's true riches. “The Excellency of Christ” is a thorough examination of the gloriously complementary nature of Jesus' “lion-like” and “lamb-like” perfections, and shows how perfectly the admirable conjunction of those diverse excellencies meets every kind of need in fallen mankind. “Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ” is a profoundly comforting and glory-filled exposition of Isaiah 32:2. “Christ the Example of Ministers” is an absolute must-read for every pastor or minister of the gospel, and for anyone considering the ministry. And “Praise One of the Chief Employments of Heaven” is one of the most well thought-through descriptions of the glories and blessedness of the saints' eternal state of joy that one could ever encounter.

    This is a book to be read, re-read, and savored. It is solid spiritual food, full of energizing nutrition for the long journey home to the glories of heaven, that most blessed place where we will finally see our Savior face to face.

    Reviewed by Monergism.com's Nathan Pitchford

    Altogether Lovely - Available at Monergism Books

    Posted by John on December 21, 2007 11:27 AM

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