Christopher Niebuhr of the well-known Niebuhr tribe wrote to me recently. He is celebrating the Yale University Press publication of Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758 (edited by Wilson H. Kimnach), 800 pages of transcribed scripts and notes that make up the 25th and final volume of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.
Niebuhr sent me a copy of notes from the last sermon that Edwards preached to the Indians in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Edwards had been run out of Northampton’s “Great Awakening” church in a complicated “Bad Book” fight over ministry to youth, and preached at Stockbridge from 1751 to 1754, when most of the Indian congregation dribbled away. (Of course, Edwards needed translators—John Wauwaumpequunnaunt for the Mohicans and Rebecca Ashley for the Mohawks.) Then, in 1758, this twice-failed cleric moved from Stockbridge to become president of the College of New Jersey, but died soon after he arrived.