The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God

By Jonathan Edwards

Moreover, seeing inspiration is not to be expected, let us not despise human learning. They who assert that human learning is of little or no use in the work of the ministry do not well consider what they say; if they did, they would not say it. By human learning I mean, and suppose others mean, the improvement of common knowledge by human and outward means. And therefore to say that human learning is of no use is as much as to say that the education of a child, or that the common knowledge which a grown man has more than a little child is of no use. At this rate, a child of four years old is as fit for a teacher in the church of God, with the same degree of grace and capable of doing as much to advance the kingdom of Christ by his instruction, as a very knowing man of thirty years of age. If adult persons have greater ability and advantage to do service because they have more knowledge than a little child, then doubtless if they have more human knowledge still, with the same degree of grace, they would have still greater ability and advantage to do service. An increase of knowledge, without doubt, increases a man’s advantage either to do good or hurt, according as he is disposed. It is too manifest to be denied that God made great use of human learning in the apostle Paul, as he also did in Moses and Solomon.

And if knowledge obtained by human means is not to be despised, then it will follow that the means of obtaining it are not to be neglected, viz., study; and that this is of great use in order to a preparation for publicly instructing others. And, though having the heart full of the powerful influences of the Spirit of God may at some time enable persons to speak profitably, yea, very excellently without study; yet this will not warrant us needlessly to cast ourselves down from the pinnacle of the temple, depending upon it that the angel of the Lord will bear us up, and keep us from dashing our foot against a stone, when there is another way to go down, though it be not so quick. And I would pray that method in public discourses, which tends greatly to help both the understanding and memory, may not be wholly neglected.

Taken from Jonathan Edwards On Revival. "The Distinguishing

Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God," section 3. Submitted by Martien C. Vanderspek, Principal of Rehoboth Christian School, Norwich, Ontario.