This small work of the famed puritan intellectual was originally written in the late 1730s, but it was not published until 1865 by Alexander Grosart with a very limited printing. Soli Deo Gloria Publications reprinted the entire volume of Grosart’s selections of the Edwards material in 1992. The treatise now appears alone with only minor editing to improve its readability.
The title that Edwards gave the treatise is misleading. The booklet is not about the believer’s standing in grace; instead it pertains to the nature of divine grace implanted in the soul at regeneration. The book is about the ministry of the Spirit. Edwards describes how the Spirit’s work differs in His common and special grace in object, nature, and kind, and he discusses the indwelling of grace in the soul (i.e., the Holy Spirit is that new principle in the soul). The book is more a masterful treatment of the third person of the Trinity in His redeeming functions than a discussion of the doctrine of grace as such.
Edwards’s treatise is a treasure of insights into the work of the Holy Spirit. Edwards is correct in pointing out that it is wrong to limit the work of the Spirit to the application of the Savior’s mediatorial work. This, he says, treats the members of the Trinity unequally in the procurement of salvation. The Spirit not only applies Christ’s benefits to believers. He is also the benefit whom Christ has given to believers through His death and resurrection.
About the Contributors
John D. Hannah (ThM, 1971; ThD, 1974) has worked at DTS for more than forty years. His interests include the history of the Christian church, with particular focus on Jonathan Edwards and John Owen. Among his published works are a history of DTS and a general history of the Christian Church.