On this day in 1758, Jonathan Edwards died from a small pox vaccination.

Edwards is most famous for his sermons such as “Sinner In The Hands Of An Angry God.” He is also known for his book “The Life of David Brainerd.”  This book, which gave an account of the life of the great missionary to the Native American, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the nineteenth century, including Henry Martyn, William Carey, Jim Elliot, and Adoniram Judson.

Although Edwards is better known for his works that encouraged and supported missions and missionaries, it is less known that he, himself, served as a missionary for the last seven years of his life. After leaving his church in Northhampton, Massachusetts, Edwards moved to western Massachusetts to work in the Stockbridge mission as a missionary to the Mohawk Indians.

When Edward’s name was suggested to be a successor of a deceased leader of the Stockbridge mission, a pier of his objected stating that Edwards was unsocial and too old to learn the Indian language.  He described Edward as having “head full of divinity but empty of politics.” Edwards would prove that God could still use his life to make a difference.

While living among the Mohawk people, Edwards gained the respect and love of the people. By spending time teaching their young people, Edwards discovered things about being a cross cultural missionary. Because of their culture, he learned to teach the people with an style of teaching that emphasized story telling as opposed to mechanical repetition and memorization.

Do we love and believe God enough to follow Him in the face of outside doubts and discouragements? Jonathan Edwards was known for being a pastor and an author. However, when God led him to work as a missionary, he was willing to forsake the box that many people held him in and step out in faith to follow God.  Are we willing to do the same?


Yale University

*Entry submitted and written by Edward de los Reyes

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