I find Jonathan Edwards’ assertion unanswerable that religious affections are a necessity in Christian faith since we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind soul and strength.
What does that mean in practice?
According to scripture, creation itself declares to us that God deserves our total worship. God’s word clarifies, commends and commands that same duty. And we resonate with true life only when we set our faces to pursue the glory of God.
What can we do when we fall short? Cry out to God for his grace to make up that which we lack (Luke 18:13) and trust that the Holy Spirit will write God’s law upon our minds and put it in our heart (Hebrews 10:16).
God answers this prayer in many ways, for Jonathan Edwards’ wife, Sarah, he answered it dramatically.
Jonathan wrote of her experience:
“Now if such things are enthusiasm, and the offspring of a distempered brain; let my brain be possessed evermore of that happy distemper! If this be distraction; I pray God that the world of mankind may all be seized with this benign, meek, beneficent, beatific, glorious distraction! What notion have they of true religion, who reject what has here been described? What shall we find to correspond with these expressions of Scripture, The peace of God, that passeth all understanding: Rejoicing with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: God’s shining into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ: With open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of God, and being changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord: Being called out of darkness into marvellous light: and having the day-star arise in our hearts..?“