Jonathan Edwards on an Infinite Investment

In an earlier post I referred to the way in which Jonathan Edwards wrote of the infinity of God. He also loved to write about the infinite blessing of the saved and felt compelled to warn of the infinite misery of the lost. As I was marking a paper by one of our ThM students on the early preaching of Edwards a passage he quoted leapt out at me as particularly apt for the reflective season at the start of a new year: ‘The least happiness or the least misery that is eternal is more to be regarded [than] the greatest happiness or the greatest misery that is but temporal and will have an end; so that the smallest additions to our eternal happiness and treasure in heaven is of more value than the greatest additions to our outward prosperity, because there is no proportion at all between the greatest finite and least infinite, the greatest temporal and the least eternal, the one so much exceeds the other.’ (Works, 10:521). The argument is irresistible as we look ahead to the coming year: what is the point of investing in temporal happiness that will not last when we can invest in a happiness that lasts for ever?