Friday, March 09, 2007

Images of Divine Things (4)

Cindy Mercer Photography

This is the final installment
of quotations from Jonathan Edwards' Typological Writings.

Have a great spring break everyone!

66. Hills and mountains, as they represent heaven, so they represent eminence in general, or any excellent and high attainment. And as hills, especially high mountains, are not ascended without difficulty and labor, and many rocks and steep places are in the way, so men don’t attain to anything eminent or of peculiar excellence without difficulty.

74. Lightning more commonly strikes high things such as high towers, spires and pinnacles, and high trees, and is observed to be more terrible in mountainous places; which may signify that heaven is an enemy to all proud persons, and that especially makes such the marks of his vengeance.

97. The beams of the sun can’t be scattered, nor the constant stream of their light in the least interrupted or disturbed, by the most violent winds here below; which is a lively image of what is true concerning heavenly light, communicated from Christ, the Sun of Righteousness to the soul. ‘Tis not in the power of the storms and changes of the world to destroy that light and comfort; yea, death itself can have no hold of it. The reasons why the sun’s light is not disturbed by winds is two-fold: first, the light is of so pure and subtle a nature that that which is so gross as the wind can have no hold of it; and second, the sun, the luminary, is far above, out of the reach of winds. These things are lively images of what is spiritual.

123. The glory of the face of the earth is the grass and green leaves and flowers. These fade away; they last but a little while and then are gone. After the spring and summer, a winter comes that wholly defaces and destroys all; and that which is most taking and pleasant of [all], and as it were the crown of its glory, viz. the flower of the trees and the field, fades soonest. The glory of the heavens consists in its brightness, its shining lights, which continue the same through winter and summer, age after age. This represents the great difference between earthly glory, riches and pleasures, which fade as the leaf and as the grass of the field, and the glory and happiness of heaven which fadeth not away, which is agreeable to many representations in the Scriptures.

128. As the SUN is an image of Christ upon account of its pleasant light and benign, refreshing, life-giving influences, so it is on account of its extraordinary fierce heat, it being a fire of vastly greater fierceness than any other in the visible world. Hereby is represented the wrath of the Lamb. This is a very great argument of the extremity of the misery of the wicked, for doubtless the substance will be vastly beyond the shadow. As God’s brightness and glory is so much beyond the brightness of the sun, his image, thus the sun is but a shade and darkness in comparison of it, so his fierceness and wrath is vastly beyond the sun’s heat.

136. The destruction of the face of the earth in winter is a type of the end of the world, as is evident by the appointment of the Feast of Tabernacles, which was at the end of the year, just before the tempestuous season began. See notes on the Feast of Tabernacles.

151. As one ascends a mountain, they get further and further from this lower world, and the objects of it look less and less to him. So it is in one that ascends in the way to heaven. Commonly near the foot of an high mountain is a deep valley, which must be descended in order to come to the mountain. So we must first descend low by humiliation to fit us for spiritual exaltation.

152. The changes that pass on the face of the earth by the gradual approach of the sun is a remarkable type of what will come to pass in the visible church of God and world of mankind, in the approach of the church’s latter-day glory. The latter will be gradual, as the former is. The light and warmth of the sun in the former is often interrupted by returns of clouds and cold, and the fruits of the earth kept back from a too-sudden growth, and a too-quick transition from their dead state in winter to their summer’s glory, which in the end would be hurtful to them and would kill them. So it is in the spiritual world. If there should be such warm weather constantly without interruption, as we have sometimes in February, March and April, the fruits of the earth would flourish mightily for a little while, but would not be prepared for the summer’s heat, but that would kill ‘em. This is typical of what is true concerning the church of God, and particular souls. The earth being stripped of its white winter garments, in which all looked clean but all was dead, and the making of it so dirty, as it is early in the spring, in order to fit it for more beautiful clothing in a living state in summer, is also typical of what passes in the spiritual change of the world, and also, a particular soul. The surface of the earth is as it were dissolved in the spring. The ground is loosened and broke up, and softened with moisture, and its filthiness never so much appears as then; and then is the most windy turbulent season of all.

156. The Book of Scripture is the interpreter of the book of nature in two ways: viz. by declaring to us those spiritual mysteries that are indeed signified or typified in the constitution of the natural world; and secondly, in actually making application of the signs and types in the book of nature as representations of those spiritual mysteries in many instances.

183. The spiritual restoration of the world is compared to the renewing of the face of the earth in the spring.

All quotations are taken from Typological Writings, Vol. 11 of the Works of Jonathan Edwards, edited by Wallace E. Anderson, Mason I. Lowance, Jr., and David Watters (New Haven: Yale, 1993).

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