The Beliefs of Locke and Newton, Inspired Jonathan Edwards

1493 Words3 Pages

In Jonathan Edwards's The Nature of True Virtue his beliefs of following God's supremacy leads to moral beauty, the virtue in nature, and the selflessness of true virtue will unite society all stem from John Locke's beliefs of the social contract, Isaac Newton's belief of the logical perfection of nature, and both of their beliefs of human morality.

An important point which Edwards writes in his sermon is his belief that when man is truly following the path of God, he will reach a sense morality that has beauty. In the sermon, Edwards writes, "And if we consider the…moral excellency, the same will appear…God is infinitely the greatest Being, so he is allowed to be infinitely the most beautiful and excellent" (14). He is referring to the Puritanistic ideal that God is everything that is good and right. Therefore, God is the most moralistic entity in existence and striving for a godly life will eventually lead to one's own moral beauty. Although John Locke's ideas of morality are more political, they are passionate ideas, much like Edwards's ideas. John Griffith, commentating on Edwards's The Nature of True Virtue, states, "Edwards begins by accepting Hutcheson's proposition that virtue is moral beauty. Beauty, he says, is always a harmony, or 'consent and agreement'" (2576). Griffith is stating, like I previously stated, that Edwards predominantly focused on the moral aspect of his beliefs.

Furthermore, Locke's passion for morality is also seen in his interpretation of the social contract. We see that Locke's ideas in freedom of life, liberty, and property have formed the basic morals of past and current governments. One of Edwards's morals that have been seen throughout American history is the infinite sovereignty of G...

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...1960. Print.

Griffith, John. "Jonathan Edwards." The Critical Perspective. Ed. Harold Bloom. Vol. 5. New York: Chelsea, 1987. 2573-79. Print. Rpt. of "Jonathan Edwards as a Literary Artist." Criticism (1973): 156-73.

Henry, Caleb. "Pride, Property, and Providence: Jonathan Edwards on Property Rights." Journal of Church and State 3(2011):401. eLibrary. Web. 17 Jan. 2012.

Lane, C, Belden.. "JONATHAN EDWARDS ON BEAUTY, DESIRE, AND THE SENSORY WORLD." Theological Studies 1(2004):44. eLibrary. Web. 17 Jan. 2012.

Minkema, Kenneth P., Stout, Harry S.. "The Edwardsean Tradition and the Antislavery Debate, 1740-1865." Journal of American History 1(2005):47. eLibrary. Web. 17 Jan. 2012.

Scheick, William J. "Virtue and Identity: Last Works: Of Beauty and Virtue." The Writings of Jonathan Edwards: Theme, Motif, and Style. College Station: Texas A&M UP, 1975. 128-32. Print.

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