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On Edwards’ Porch

5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen Nichols

Ligonier Ministries

Religion & Spirituality, Christianity, History

4.81.6K Ratings

🗓️ 4 October 2023

⏱️ 5 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


After the death of his son-in-law, Jonathan Edwards took office as the third president of Princeton University. Today, Stephen Nichols discusses the short yet impactful tenure that Edwards held at this institution.

Read the transcript: https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/on-edwards-porch/

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Well, welcome back to another episode of Five Minutes in Church History. For this episode,


I'm on location. I'm standing on the porch of the president's house on the campus of Princeton


University. Jonathan Edwards came here at the end of January in 1758. He reluctantly came here.


His son-in-law was the previous president, Aaron Burr, and when he died,


the trustees of the College of New Jersey, as it was then known, sent the letter inviting


Edwards to succeed him as president. Well, Edwards didn't want to leave Stockbridge. He loved


ministering to the Mohicans and the Mohawks that were there at Stockbridge. He had a number of


writing projects that he wanted to tackle, and he did not want to come here. He submitted the


decision to the ministerial association. The congregational churches up in New England at that time


functioned very much like Presbyterian churches, and the ministerial association was very much like


a Presbyterie. Edwards submitted the decision to them, and they thought, for the good of the church


and the potential impact that Edwards could have, that he should come here, take the position


and be president. He arrived in January 1758, and he was active as president


for about five weeks. In the month of February, he preached a few sermons. His final sermon was


on Jude 6. On February 16, he met with the trustees, and at the conclusion of that meeting,


he was installed as the third president of the College of New Jersey. He wrote up a list of


theological questions for the senior students. The idea is that he would give them these questions.


They would have the full term to study these questions and research the answers, and then at the


end of the term, he would quiz them on all of those questions. Well, at the end of February,


he partook of a smallpox anoculation. A few days later, he contracted smallpox. It began on the


roof of his mouth. It then traveled throughout his mouth and also through his throat. This was


very painful for Edwards, and as he had this, and as it restricted his throat, he was not able to


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