Tuesdays with Edwards!
On a communion Sunday in January of 1740 Edwards preached this sermon on Psalm 72:6 (KJV), He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass. In this sermon, Edwards argues that as rain causes mown grass to grow back, Jesus causes Christians to grow back after being cut down by sin, spiritual attack, and suffering. In this section, Edwards shows hoe Christ is more than enough to restore, renew, and revive those who are In Him.
You can read this sermon, Like Rain upon Mown Grass, in its entirety at the Jonathan Edwards Center website at www.edwards.yale.edu. This selection is from Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742, ed. Harry S. Stout, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 22 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003) pages 308-310.
Though the grass be a very weak and despicable plant, yet this is remarkable concerning it: that when it is cut down, it will sprout again when watered by the showers of heaven, not less than it did before. Cutting of it down, though it be never so often, yet don’t put its case at all out [of] hope. It may be cut down year after year, and many times in a year. If it be devoured from day to day by the beasts that feed upon it, it will revive and grow by the dew and rain.
When a field is mown close to the ground, yet the rain refreshes it and as it were heals the wound of the scythe, and presently it appears green and pleasant again, and seems to rejoice and to be clothed with gladness. It as it were rises from the dead and grows and flourishes anew.
So it is with those that are the subjects of Christ’s benefits. Therefore it is said in Isaiah 26:19, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs”; i.e. you shall be revived after you are as it were killed, as the dew revives the grass or herbs after they are cut down. This matter may be more fully explained under two particulars:
First. There is enough in Christ to refresh, revive and restore those that are as it were cut down as the mown grass. Though men are cut down by the fall, though they have utterly ruined themselves, though they are dead in sin naturally, and that death be never so much confirmed by actual sin and a contracted hardness of heart, yet there is enough in Christ to give new life to such souls.
Though God’s favor be utterly lost, though God has been so much provoked and never so dreadful a damnation deserved, yet there is enough in Christ to restore to the favor of God, and to bring into the state of his children and to make happy in God’s everlasting smiles.
There is enough in Christ to restore rest, peace and comfort to those who are as it were cut down to the earth with terror of conscience, whose burden and distress has been so great as quite to sink the soul. And though its hope has been as it were cut off and all comfort seemed to be gone, and the soul was brought to give up itself as lost, yet there is enough in Christ to heal souls under such wounds, to raise up out of the dust with the most excellent refreshment, to give light in the greatest darkness. He can raise up as it were out of the depths of hell; he can take out of the miry clay and most horrible pit and set the foot upon a rock.
Christ is strong enough to do it. His voice has power enough in it to quicken the dead. This blessed rain has virtue enough in it to heal those that are cut down to the ground. His merits are sufficient. There is provision enough made in Christ for new life and new comfort to the most wretched and miserable and ruined creatures. And there is love enough, grace enough, in Christ for it. Such is the grace of Christ that, if once those that are disconsolate and destroyed and lost come to see it, [it] will irresistibly revive and renew ’em, it will put new life into ’em and give ’em new strength and fill them with rejoicing.