Serious comments only, please.
I want to ask you to think and think hard about what Jonathan Edwards is saying in the following excerpt. If my experience (and, I recently found out, that of Tim Keller) is any guide, you’re going to have a hard time understanding him because he’s using a psychological paradigm you’ve never considered. You may have never even thought that you had a psychological paradigm. But I have been thinking increasingly that Edwards is shaped by the Bible in this area—and we by the Enlightenment. What do you think? I’m especially interested in anyone who can give me a good bibliographic pointer to someone discussing this Edwardsean assertion, coming from his classic work, Religious Affections (pp. 96-97):
I. It may be inquired, what the affections of the mind are?
I answer, the affections are no other, than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul.
God has indued the soul with two faculties: one is that by which it is capable of perception and speculation, or by which it discerns and views and judges of things; which is called the understanding. The other faculty is that by which the soul does not merely perceive and view things, but is some way inclined with respect to the things it views or considers; either is inclined to ’em, or is discinclined, and averse from ’em; or is the faculty by which the soul does not behold things, as an indifferent unaffected spectator, but either as liking or disliking, pleased or displeased, approving or rejecting. This faculty is called by various names: it is sometimes called the inclination: and, as it has respect to the actions that are determined and governed by it, is called the will: and the mind, with regard to the exercises of this faculty, is often called the heart.
The exercises of this faculty are of two sorts; either those by which the soul is carried out towards the things that are in view, in approving of them, being pleased with them, and inclined to them; or those in which the soul opposes the things that are in view, in disapproving them, and in being displeased with them, averse from them, and rejecting them.
And as the exercises of the inclination and will of the soul are various in their kinds, so they are much more various in their degrees. There are some exercises of pleasedness or displeasedness, inclination or disinclination, wherein the soul is carried but a little beyond a state of perfect indifference. And there are other degrees above this, wherein the approbation or dislike, pleasedness or aversion, are stronger; wherein we may rise higher and higher, till the soul comes to act vigorously and sensibly, and the actings of the soul are with that strength that (through the laws of the union which the Creator has fixed between soul and body) the motion of the blood and animal spirits begins to be sensibly altered; whence oftentimes arises some bodily sensation, especially about the heart and vitals, that are the fountain of the fluids of the body: from whence it comes to pass, that the mind, with regard to the exercises of this faculty, perhaps in all nations and ages, is called the heart. And it is to be noted, that they are these more vigorous and sensible exercises of this faculty, that are called the affections.
The will, and the affections of the soul, are not two faculties; the affections are not essentially distinct from the will, nor do they differ from the mere actings of the will and inclination of the soul, but only in the liveliness and sensibleness of exercise.
A little tip: the paradigm Edwards is casting off is that which divides the human person into separate faculties called mind, will, and emotion.