Harper's New Monthly Magazine
November, 1871.

A New England Village.


Jonathan Edwards of thought, sitting down in that little closet in the wilderness, and amidst a flock of rude savages, to compose in the space of not more than four or five years those essays which have moulded and modified the thinking of a large part of the world, and which will always be referred to by students of the human mind with the utmost respect.
       The private life and personal habits of such a man become a matter of interest. Edwards was pre-eminently a student. Tall in person, and having even a womanly look, he was of delicate constitution. He was, however, so temperate and methodical in his living that he was usually in good health, and able to give more time to study than most men. Twelve or thirteen hours of every day were commonly allotted to this. So devoted was he to his work as a student that he was most unwilling to allow any thing to disturb it. Though be was careful to eat regularly and at certain fixed hours, yet be would postpone his meals for a time if be was so engaged in study that the interruption of eating would interfere with the success of his thinking. He was so miserly also in his craving for time that he would leave the table before the rest of the family and retire to his room, they waiting for him to return again when they had finished their meal, and dismiss them from the table with the customary grace.
       Edwards was almost a thinking machine. Wherever he was, wherever he went, his pen was with him as the means of preserving his thoughts, and if by chance be failed to have it with him in his walks or rides, he would fasten pieces of paper to various parts of his clothing by means of pins, and associate with each Some train of thought or some important conclusion, to be thus preserved until he could get to his ink and paper. So, also, at night he would fasten pins into his bed curtains as the mementoes of his thoughts during his wakeful hours.
Mrs.        That a man thus thoughtful should yet be indifferent to many things of practical importance would not be strange. Accordingly we are told that the care of his domestic and secular affairs was devolved almost entirely upon his wife, who happily, while of kindred spirit with him in many respects, and fitted to be his companion, was also capable of assuming the cares which were thus laid upon her. It is said that Edwards did not know his own cows, nor even how many belonged to him. About all the connection he had with them seems to have been involved in the act of driving them to and from pasture occasionally, which he was willing to do for the sake of needful exercise. A story is told, in this connection, which illustrates his obliviousness of small matters. As he was going for the cows once, a boy opened the gate for him with a respectful bow. Edwards acknowledged the kindness, and asked the boy whose son he was. "Noah Clark's boy," was the reply. A short time afterward, on his return, the same boy was at hand and opened the gate for him again. Edwards again asked, "Whose boy are you?" The reply was, "The same man's boy I was a quarter of an hour ago, Sir."
       Stockbridge, as a mission station, and in connection with the Indians, reached the height of its importance, perhaps, under the ministry and care of Sergeant. At the time

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Transcribed by Laurel O'Donnell
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