A central theme of Jonathan Edwards’ writing is the importance of religious ‘affections’; passions that move the will to act.
He writes that the kind of religion that God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeless ‘wouldings’ – those weak inclinations that lack convictions – that raise us but a little above indifference. That in nothing is the state of the heart so crucial as in religion and in nothing is lukewarmness so odious. That worldly affections are the spring of worldly actions, covertness leads a person to seek worldly profits, ambition to pursue glory, lust to the pursuit of sensual delights. Religious affections are the spring of religious actions. And that there is never any great achievement by the things of religion without a heart deeply affected. We should be consumed with affections of holy fear, hope, love, holy desire for God, joy, gratitude, compassion and zeal.
What is your heart set on? Wealth, fame, fortune, security, popularity, success, comfort, ease. None are necessarily wrong but neither are they that which should consumer our affections.
Is your day, week, life shaped in the pursuit of God, holy fear, hope, love, joy, compassion and zeal? It’s a great challenge from a father in the faith who was born and lived over 300 years ago.