In many churches today, there is a time during the service where a message is given specifically to the children. The children gather around a teacher or children's minister to listen as a short lesson is offered in simple words. After reading this compilation of sermons given by Jonathan Edwards, I am amazed at the difference 300 years has made in the way in which we teach biblical truth to children and young adults. There are 13 sermons included, as well as a chapter entitled "A Letter to a Young Convert". The last chapter is a list of questions for the children of Northampton. These questions were taken directly from an original manuscript and are presented to be answered by the child. In the preface, it is noted by the editor that during Edwards' time children referred to those under the age of 14 and young adults were those between the ages of 14 and 25.
Each sermon contains a doctrinal statement and application. The language is surprisingly easy to understand, though the content is not so easy to hear. The sermons included are: Early Piety is Especially Acceptable to God, The Sudden Death of Children, The Time of Youth Is the Best Time to Be Improved for Religious Purposes, The Sins of Youth Go With Them to Eternity, The Most Direct Way to Happiness, God Is Very Angry at the Sins of Children, Children Ought to Love the Lord Jesus Christ above All Things in this World, Corrupt Communication, A Flower Cut Down, Don?t Lead Others into Sin, A Lovely and Pleasant Sight, The Awful Death of Unclean Youth, and The Danger of Sinful Mirth. As the titles convey, these are serious sermons that don?t mince words. The subjects are very applicable to today and really opened my eyes to the fact that we water down many of the spiritual truths that we present to children.
If you have children ranging in age from 11 to 18, this book would make an interesting addition to your family devotion time. Children that lived during this time were not assured a long life and Jonathan Edwards' sermons clearly point out that it is desirable to see salvation occur in childhood and that children live their faith from the moment that they are saved. My children are five and six years old, so I felt that some of the sermons were a little above their abilities; and frankly, a little harsh for ones so young. However, I am sure that in a few years I will be pulling it off the shelf as an excellent, thought provoking read aloud.