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The Religious Affections (Works of Jonathan Edwards #2)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  3,898 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
Jonathan Edwards is best known as the theologian of revival. In this, his major study on the theme, he analyses the nature of a genuine work of the Holy Spirit.
Paperback, 382 pages
Published October 1st 1986 by Banner of Truth (first published 1746)
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Jul 24, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it
Very interesting. I'm going to be thinking for a long time about three ideas from this book: 1) that we do not truly love God if we have no actual affection for him in our hearts. Dutiful obedience is not love, knowledge about the things of God is not love. Love is love. 2) Edwards' idea that true love for God is founded upon God's own loveliness, which, combined with #1, means that true love for God means, among other things, a deepening trust in the face of mystery, a deepening confidence that ...more
May 02, 2008 Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: extracurricular
For Edwards there is no way to reason your way into a faith. The "religious affections" he's talking about is a sincere love and devotion to God. And in the sense that most people think of Puritans as judgmental beings, Edwards takes half the book to discuss the twelve signs a person will have if he is faithful.

But the key here is that these signs can only be used for yourself. You can only judge you, and no one else. In fact, as the introducer to this edition points out, Edwards' subject has st
Jan 22, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christianity
Can't really put into words what kind of affect this book had on me. Reading it once will not do it justice... Mr. Edwards is most notably a keen intellectual...a brilliant mind & has the most unique way of communicating the timeless truths of scripture... This book is only for the serious seeker....and I wouldn't hesitate to say this book 'changed my life & the course of my Christian walk.'
Jan 01, 2011 Joshua rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. Reading it was like putting up a mirror to our present culture in the USA. Edwards precise definitions, distinctions, descriptions, expositions, and elaborations complete a masterpiece on the subject of discerning vibrant faith from counterfeits. There are too many profound things to share that I'm just going to say that anyone who hasn't read this book is deprived of profound riches until they do.
Jan 07, 2008 Stevie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As was about a 1/3 of the way through the book when it hit me that I was reading an abridged and modernized text. I was quite frustrated and felt like I was not even reading Edwards' actual words. Despite this I was thoroughly roughed up in my soul by his words. The whole book is about how we need to examine our own sense of salvation. He argues that the surest sign of inward salvation is outward Christian obedience and character.

Poignant Excerpts:

"So it is God's way of dealing with mankind to l
Julia Bucy
Jul 14, 2012 Julia Bucy rated it it was amazing
Ok, so this particular author is not one whose books you fly through in a week. The language is quite cumbersome and the content requires a slow pace to absorb and appreciate it all. Jonathan Edwards is my favorite reformed theologian/philosopher/writer. Here is a very convicting snippet from this treatise:

"A true saint, when in the enjoyment of true discoveries of the sweet glory of God and Christ, has his mind too much captivated and engaged by what he views without himself, to stand at that t
Min Lee
May 06, 2015 Min Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phew, even this abridged and updated version was a tough read at times... But I gained tremendously from Edwards' deep insights of true religious affections. The paragraphs on true and false spiritual humbleness were particularly helpful.

Would have definitely given it 5stars for the parts I kept up with and understood, but there were numerous places where Edwards just took off in his long train of thought, leaving me behind in confusion. It would be definitely necessary for me to read this work
Jul 14, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing
I've read this book only once, but plan on reading it at least a few more times. Edwards' main emphasis in this book is on what true revival is, and true conversion. It challenged my own walk with the Lord tremendously. This is not an easy read, but the jewels that you do get out of it is worth it. It is one of the best books I have ever read.
Aaron Downs
Aug 01, 2015 Aaron Downs rated it it was amazing
Jonathan Edwards’s Religious Affections investigates the nature of true and false religion. The Great Awakening produced both true and false religious actions and affections leading Edwards to answer the question, “what are the distinguishing qualifications of those that are in favor with God, and entitled to his eternal rewards?” His Religious Affections is an inquiry into the distinguishing marks of “that virtue and holiness, that is acceptable in the sight of God.” Edwards was responding to t ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Kristi rated it liked it
Phew. It is a miracle I finished this book. I am not one to put down a book lightly. Unlike some people, like my sister, I can't be 20 pages from the end of a book and just walk away. I can't stop midpoint and never pick it up again. I am haunted to know, what happens in the end? Does it get better and redeem itself? Does it live up to the hype when taken as a whole? In the case of a book revered as a "classic," these quandaries push me all the more to complete a book and not leave myself wonder ...more
John Wise
May 31, 2015 John Wise rated it it was amazing
Shelves: devotional, theology
Lots of excellent, helpful content.

The biggest thing that hit me as I read this is that "love" has become an empty, meaningless word. Our world desperately longs to see *true* love, that is, Christ-like love.

"Some men show a love to others as to their outward man, they are liberal of their worldly substance, and often give to the poor; but have no love to, or concern for the souls of men. Others pretend a great love to men's souls, that are not compassionate and charitable towards their bodies.
Daniel Alvers
Jul 27, 2011 Daniel Alvers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Edwards is brillant. I thought reading this book I would find something complicated and brainy. It was very straight foward. It slowly became thought provoking and caused me to think all sorts of thoughts. I was very convicted by this book. It challenges you to live a truly authentic Christian life. It goes to the reaches of depravity in the mind a person who boasts in humility. It challenges you to think about geniune religious affections and not the show. After reading this book I hav ...more
Marcus Vinicius
Jun 06, 2015 Marcus Vinicius rated it it was amazing
James states that "pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (chapter 01, v. 27). Jonathan Edwards, in this well grounded essay, shows the biblical concept about true religion. The Scripture is his object of work. The christians are his audience. His argument gives emphasis in the fruits produced by a christian whose life belongs to Jesus. In order to recognize this, one has t ...more
Hank Pharis
Aug 03, 2014 Hank Pharis rated it liked it
Edwards' thesis is that "true religion consists in great part in holy affections." In other words, genuine saving faith is not lifeless or indifferent
but passionate about God.

Many people struggle with issues like God's existence, the problem of evil, evolution and creation etc. But my greatest struggle is the gap
between what the New Testament says Christians and the church should be and what we are in contemporary America. Are we a nation of spiritual infants or only deceiving ourselves as to th
Dec 19, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing
Written to help put into perspective the awakening going on in New England at the time, Edwards is very careful to lay out how to determine genuine faith. While he does acknowledge that there will be immediate external indicators, he also points out that these can easily be counterfeited. Ultimately it comes down to the internal affections being changed so that the convert loves Jesus with all their heart and as a result the fruit they bear, as the Bible defines fruit, will witness to the genuin ...more
Bob Ladwig
Dec 13, 2010 Bob Ladwig rated it really liked it
Brilliant work by Edwards differentiating the signs of true conversion from false, and true revival from false. A must read for those serious about studying revival. A bit dense so it will take the modern reader some time but once you get used to the Edwardsian prose you will realize that it is the modern writers who can't communicate rather than the puritans.
Aug 24, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, theology
This is a tremendously helpful book as it explores the evidence of personal salvation in a believer's life. The evidence that we can rely upon is an increasing love for God and for others, as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit. Edwards thoroughly explores this evidence.
Nov 22, 2016 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, classics
“And the duty of singing praises to God seems to be appointed wholly to excite and expression religious affections. No other reason can be assigned why we should express ourselves to God in verse rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only that such is our nature and frame that these things have a tendency to move our affections.” 44

“And the impressing divine things on the hearts and affections of men is evidently one great and main end for which God has ordained that His Word delivered
Mike E.
Mar 26, 2011 Mike E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jonathan-edwards
Edwards’ topic of discussion in Affections was one of great controversy in his day and continues to be a significant and perhaps troublesome issue for many evangelicals today. How does one determine if he/she is truly saved? Or, in a language more in step with Edwards, What affections are signs of a truly gracious and efficacious miracle of redemption? This is the question which Edwards meticulously works through in his soteriological magnum opus. The book is divided into two main s
Karsten Hultgren
Different theologians of all different backgrounds have praised Jonathan Edwards and even declared him the greatest theologian in America. He was an incredible scholar, theologian, pastor, Indian missionary and university President. Yet for all of Edwards’ great work he often either forgotten or not given a chance. Editor James M Houston diagnoses this for two reasons. First, Edwards was the last of the Puritans and automatically associated with its legalism. Second, his most famous sermon “Sin ...more
David Steele
Oct 08, 2012 David Steele rated it it was amazing
Religious Affections is a classic work by America’s greatest theologian, and my favorite theologian, Jonathan Edwards. The thesis: True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections.

Section one discusses the nature of the affections and their importance in religion. Edwards defines his terms early in the work. He describes the affections as the exercises of the "inclination and the will of the soul." He notes that one may have doctrinal knowledge and speculate in matters of theology, but
Jul 04, 2015 Nile rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
This book is like a mountain of hard rock that you know has gold in it. It is a lot of work to read and Edwards spends pages expounding on small points with long and complicated sentences. I had a hard time reading this book and found that short intervals worked better for me.
I will say that there is definitely gold in this book; it both encouraged and convicted me more times than I can count. It painted a bigger picture of what it is to love God than I see when I look at my own life or even re
Alex Yi
Apr 18, 2015 Alex Yi rated it really liked it
It took much effort to get through this book. I started reading this book I wanted to check off Jonathan Edwards' magnum opus off my list of "Books serious Christians read." My mind cannot wrap around the run-on sentences of the mid 1700's, but it was enlightening to learn of the patience of the early Americans. That is not to say I came out of this journey without any gain. Some say the journey itself is what makes things worthwhile. In my case the journey led me to a treasure of tremendous val ...more
Alexa Nikol
Sep 11, 2016 Alexa Nikol rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book! To anyone out there that thinks this is too big or too difficult to read or too "spiritual" or intellectual, I read this book in two long days during my senior year of high school, and I would read it again in a heartbeat. So insightful and full of wisdom, and no age is too young to think.
Jun 19, 2012 Bob rated it liked it
This is a well known classic from the pen of Jonathan Edwards. It is very good and thought provoking. I would recommend that one should read through this slowly. It is very profitable. He makes statements such as "If there is no great & abiding change in people who think they have experienced a work of conversion, they are deluded." The following is not Buddhism it is Christian thinking: “The great Christian duty is self-denial. This duty consists in two things; first, in denying worldly inc ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing
After a second reading, I think this is both the best book I've ever read on Christian hedonism, and one of the most dangerous on various other problematic doctrines.

It does an excellent job answering the question, are affections really important in religion? And it also does an excellent job (far better than I realized the first time I read it) at laying out the essential parts of pursuing such affections for God. It's laid a number of principles out that I can see myself diving into for years
Nov 18, 2015 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Evangelical Christians
I bought the book for a specific discussion of "enthusiasm." I have since just started to read it through. Tied directly to the Word and Jesus. I have heard that Jonathan Edwards is a true heavy weight. So far, I find that to be an accurate assessment.

Have now finished the book. The writing is dense and covers the same points from multiple angles, probably an artifact of the writing style back then.

Edwards gives an extended discussion of the marks of a true Christian, coming down on the side of
The Men's Ministry of Denton Bible Church
This stands as Edwards’ most penetrating interpretation of the awakenings of his time, not to mention one of the most penetrating of any time. As in "Some Thoughts," he argued against the extremes of emotionalism on the one hand and intellectualism on the other. Affections were essential to true religion, but they had to be tested. First, Edwards lays out his religious psychology of affections, which encompassed both understanding and will and involved the total range of human faculties. Answeri ...more
Dave Shulse
Aug 04, 2007 Dave Shulse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pastors
This book was a tough one to read, not because of the style so much as what he was saying. Edwards was greatly distressed, by the condition Christianity had fallen into so soon after so many had embraced the Christian faith as a result of the revivals of the Great Awakening. He seems to encourage serious heart surgery by Christians so that they can discover if they have truly embraced faith in Christ. He speaks frequently in this work of a needed "principle of grace" which must be placed in the ...more
Jan 31, 2008 Dick rated it liked it
Shelves: theology
A little group of six friends read this together and met to discuss it weekly (and sometimes weakly). Edwards wrote it in 1746 to address a controversy in his day regarding the authenticity of some New Englanders' emotionally enthusiastic response to an re-awakening of Christian faith. He aims to establishe a balance that neither dismisses 'religious affections' as trivial nor credits them with too much authority.

The book is not an easy read. Edwards is long-winded, never stopping at one support
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards was the most eminent American philosopher-theologian of his time, and a key figure in what has come to be called the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s.

The only son in a family of eleven children, he entered Yale in September, 1716 when he was not yet thirteen and graduated fou
More about Jonathan Edwards...

Other Books in the Series

Works of Jonathan Edwards (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • Freedom of the Will
  • Original Sin
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 4: The Great Awakening
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 5: Apocalyptic Writings
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 6: Scientific and Philosophical Writings
  • The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8: Ethical Writings
  • A History of the Work of Redemption
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 10: Sermons and Discourses, 1720-1723
  • The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 11: Typological Writings

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“Godliness is more easily feigned in words than in actions” 43 likes
“A truly Christian love, either to God or men, is a humble broken-hearted love. The desires of the saints, however earnest, are humble desires. Their hope is a humble hope; and their joy, even when it is unspeakable and full of glory, is a humble broken-hearted joy, and leaves the Christian more poor in spirit, and more like a little child, and more disposed to a universal lowliness of behaviour.” 34 likes
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