This is a short treatise, unpublished in Edwards' lifetime, which has many features in common with other of his mature works – Freedom of Will, Treatise of the Religious Affections , etc. In formulating the distinction between common grace and saving grace, he was in part responding to humanistic trends in 17th and 18th century Enlightenment philosophy, just as he was to defend the distinction between natural virtue and true virtue in the major unpublished treatise Nature of True Virtue . Yet he was also following in a long theological tradition stretching back to Augustine, and beyond – emphasizing that all true grace and virtue stems from the presence of God's Spirit; that humans are sinful and insufficient of themselves to "naturally" know and experience the divine presence, or to be justified before God. To this end the treatise, organized in three simple parts, is written.
NOTE: The Works of Jonathan Edwards are part of the PC Study Bible Version 5 and OneTouch Libraries.