Like the great speculators Augustine, Aquinas, and Pascal, Jonathan Edwards treated religious ideas as problems not of dogma, but of life. His exploration of self-love disguised as "true virtue" is grounded in the hard facts of human behavior.
More than a hell-fire preacher, more than a theologian, Edwards was a bold and independent philosopher. Nowhere is his force of mind more evident than in his book. He speaks as powerfully to us today as he did to the keenest minds of the eighteenth century.
I. Showing Wherein the Essence of True Virtue Consists 1
II. Showing How That Love, Wherein True Virtue Consists, Respects the Divine Being and Created Things 14
III. Concerning the Secondary and Inferior Kind of Beauty 27
IV. Of Self-Love, and Its Various Influence, to Cause Love to Others, or the Contrary 42
V. Of Natural Conscience, and the Moral Sense 61
VI. Of Particular Instincts of Nature, Which in Some Respects Resemble Virtue 75
VII. The Reasons Why Those Things That Have Been Mentioned, Which Have Not the Essence of Virtue, Have Yet by Many Been Mistaken for True Virtue 85
VIII. In What Respects Virtue or Moral Good Is Founded in Sentiment; and How Far It Is Founded in the Reason and Nature of Things 98