“The people that are converted and brought home to Christ by the preaching of the Gospel are a people that God has especially formed for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). And to this end they are predestined and called (Ephesians 1:11-12).
Jesus will rejoice in the success of His ministers, as therein those who are saved and made happy that are the objects of His great love. Christ has loved them with an everlasting love.
Their names were written on Christ’s heart from eternity, as the names of the twelve tribes were graven on the high priest’s breastplate. And they are those that He has loved with a transcendent love, ‘a love that passeth knowledge’ (Ephesians 3:19), a love that was stronger than death.
They are redeemed from a most miserable, doleful state and condition that Christ had bowels of pity and compassion to. They are called out of darkness into marvelous light.
They are bought out of cruel bondage. Their prison doors are opened, and they are taken out of the horrible pit and miry clay and saved from everlasting destruction.
They that were lost are found and they that were dead are alive again. And those whose welfare was dear to Christ, and that He prized as it were more than His own precious blood, are brought into happy circumstances.
They are washed and cleansed and sanctified and have become the children of God and do become excellent, beautiful, and blessed persons. They have their souls adorned with the richest ornaments. They are possessed of the most invaluable and durable riches.
They are brought to union with Christ with their whole hearts, to close with Him and to love and choose Him and follow Him. They are brought to a right to eternal pleasures and delights.
And at last they are brought into the paradise of God, there to dwell with Christ and to dwell before the throne of God, to have all tears wiped away from their eyes by Him, and to be feasted with Christ, and to be led by Him to the living fountain of water.”
–Jonathan Edwards, “The Minister Before the Judgment Seat of Christ,” in The Salvation of Souls: Nine Previously Unpublished Sermons on the Call of Ministry and the Gospel, Eds. Richard Bailey and Gregory Wills (Wheaton: Crossway, 202), 79-80. This ordination sermon was preached by Edwards on November 17, 1736 in Lambstown, Massachusetts.