Despite his staunch Puritan background, Jonathan Edwards struggled spiritually during his years at Yale. My convictions wore off; and I returned like a dog to his vomit, and went on in the ways of sin. Indeed, I was at times very uneasy, especially toward the latter part of my time at college; when it pleased God to seize me with pleurisy; in which He brought me nigh to the grave, and shook me over the pit of hell. And yet, it was not long after my recovery, before I fell again into my old ways of sin.
The turning point came while … reading 1 Timothy 1:17. As I read the words, there came into my soul a sense of the glory of the Divine Being, quite different from anything I ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought to myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to Him in heaven, and be, as it were, swallowed up in Him forever! I kept saying and singing over these words of Scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy Him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do.
From about that time, I began to have a new idea of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him.
Jonathan shared his experience with his father, and was pretty much affected by the discourse we had together; and when the discourse was ended, I walked alone in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation. And as I was looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God that I do not know how to express.
Edwards spent the rest of his life trying to express it, and his sermons sparked the greatest revival in American church history.
Robert J. Morgan