All things must be done decently and in orderMay 30, 2013 1 Comment
Jonathan Edwards was often told by opponents of the Great Awakening that it couldn’t be a work of God because “all things must be done decently and in order.” To which he replied:
"But let it be considered what is the proper notion of confusion, but the breaking that order of things whereby they are properly disposed, and duly directed to their end, so that the order and due connection of means being broken they fail of their end. Now the conviction of sinners for their conversion is the obtaining of the end of religious means. Not but that I think the persons thus extraordinarily moved should endeavour to refrain from such outward manifestations, what they well can, and should refrain to their utmost, at the time of their solemn worship. [Edwards' point here is that during times of worship, during those moments when reverence, awe, silence, and the like, seem proper, if possible, people should try to restrain those sorts of manifestations that would prove inconsistent with the atmosphere of the service.]
But if God is pleased to convince the consciences of persons, so that they cannot avoid great outward manifestations, even to interrupting and breaking off those public means they were attending, I do not think this is confusion or an unhappy interruption, any more than if a company should meet on the field to pray for rain, and should be broken off from their exercise by a plentiful shower. Would to God that all the public assemblies in the land were broken off from their public exercises with such confusion as this the next Sabbath day! We need not be sorry for breaking the order of means, by obtaining the end to which that order is directed. He who is going to fetch a treasure need not be sorry that he is stopped by meeting the treasure in the midst of his journey" (Some Thoughts, 126-27).