William Columbus Ferril.

The Connecticut quarterly (Volume 2) online

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heart so that he keep what he hath got I would therefore have him say pretty
often to the girls. I would also have the girls keep what they have learnt of
the Grammar and get by heart as far as Jonathan hath learnt, he can keep

them as far as he had learnt — and
would have both him and them
keep their writing, and therefore
write much oftener than they did
when I was at home. I have left
paper enough for them which they
may use to that end."

The expedition failed in its
attempt, and, after two years,
Timothy Edwards returned home
sick and exhausted. Again he
gathered up the reins of discord
and again by the pure words of his
teaching he sought to instill new
hope into the hearts of his tired

His sermons are full of vital
force, well rounded by the breadth
of learning. He preached the story
of a substantial hell and of a per-
fect peace.

Amidst these strange conditions of circumstance the character of Jonathan
Edwards was moulded. His home life was carefully guarded by the refined
influences of his mother and of his little army of sisters, while the strong hand
of his father was ever stretched out to help him. Beyond the high sill of the
parsonage were only crude beginnings, and yet, from the very center of these
primitive surroundings, came the boy who was to become one of the greatest




conquerors of human thought. He was a poetical, dreamy lad, easily moved
by the sights and sounds of that world of uncultivated nature about him. He
loved to wander along the brook by the edge of the forest and he was subject
to strange religious impressions. When a mere child he and a couple of com-
rades erected a booth in a swamp close by and retired to it each day for
prayer. The two little comrades were willing enough to drive the nails, but
when the next chapter of the episode was disclosed, we can hardly believe that
their boyish fancies would allow them to leave the butterflies and dancing
sunbeams for quiet meditation. I suspect that the little Jonathan was left
to solitary reflection.

When scarcely beyond the age of babyhood the originality of his thoughts
is very impressive, and the letter which he wrote when only twelve years old


is strikingly unnatural in its deep suggestions. Someone had stated that the
soul was material and dwelt in the bodi' until the resurrection. The idea im-
pressed the thoughtful little listener as ridiculous. His reply is full of a hid-
den humor:

" I am informed y' you have advanced a notion y* the soul is material &
keeps w'h y^ body till y*^ resurrection, as I am aprofest lover of novelty you
must alow me to be much entertained by this discovery, ist I w

Online LibraryWilliam Columbus FerrilThe Connecticut quarterly (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 46)