Vipers in covenantal diapers

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by JOwen, Jun 17, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Friends. Does anybody know WHERE Edwards used the term "little vipers" in reference to our covenant children? I'd appreciate any help in finding the quote.

    Kind regards,

    Jerrold
     
  2. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    :lol::lol: Great thread title.
     
  3. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    This may not be the precise quote you are looking for, but...

    Source: Original Sin

    John Gerstner, The Terror of the Lord:

     
  4. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    JO -

    I have his works on CD. Its not there. Here is the closest:

    "And that little children have a negative virtue or innocence, in relation to the positive acts and hurtful effects of vice, is no argument that they have not a corrupt nature within them: for let their nature be ever so corrupt, yet surely it is no wonder that they be not guilty of positive wicked action, before they are capable of any moral action at all. A young viper has a malignant nature, though incapable of doing a malignant action, and at present appearing a harmless creature."

    It may be that Gerstner found it in his unpublished works.

    I have one other place to check.....
     
  5. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    In Gerstner's RBToJE he says:

    "Edwards preached hell-fire to the young vipers of his congregation, but he also wooed them as well. He knew that they were filled with the zest of life and wanted to get most out of it. He appealed very directly to youthful desire for pleasure. Do you think that sin has some advantage, he asks his children. Do you think that it will bring you pleasure, in this world at least? No, he says, it will not. Rather, it will make you sad even in this world. On the other hand, piety will not spoil your fun. It will increase your pleasure. You are, he reminds them, inexperienced with religion now but you know this much: it is better to be at peace with God. I speak to you as reasonable creatures, he continues. You do not know that what I say is true, but try it and see. If you test these things which I tell you, you will find that they are so. You will find that religion increases rather than destroys joy. This is the burden of the application of the sermon on Job 20:11, and it runs through much of Edwards´ preaching to youth."

    Gerstner aslo makes this note:


    "Nor is Edwards unaware of the contrary appeal to Christ´s taking the children in his arms and saying that of such is the kingdom of heaven. For Edwards they are no more virtuous than the doves who have the same image. *25* Grimly he reminds his readers that vipers too, when young, are cute and harmless, though their malignant nature will later appear clearly. If this doctrine is considered harsh, Wesley´s Arminianism did not save him from it either, for he, too, argued that infants would not suffer if they did not deserve to."

    *25* - Works (Yale), 3:422-423. (It might be here.)
     
  6. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    I believe the quote comes not from Edward's writings but from a colleagues memoirs of something he said. I read the book Marriage to a Difficult Man by Elisabeth Dodds and she leaned heavily on what others had said about the Edwards'. I believe it was mentioned in the book. Can't say for certain.
     
  7. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Hmmm, ok, thanks for your help everyone.

    Kind regards,

    Jerrold
     
  8. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    I heard this exact quote from the resource:

    Meet the Puritans (audio series) by Don Kistler

    Kistler talks briefly about Edwards and his use of the term "viper" for children. You might e-mail him and ask him!
     
  9. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    thx Jeff.
     
  10. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Edwards said in, "Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival" that children were "young vipers, and are infinitely more hateful than vipers." And in his Original Sin he wrote that they are "by nature children of wrath."


    Jerrold
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page