Born in East Windsor, Connecticut, in 1703, Edwards was the only son of the Reverend Timothy Edwards and Esther Stoddard Edwards. He was a dedicated student and scholar from his early youth, well before he entered Yale University at the age of thirteen. Despite his scholarly bent, however, he was also philosophical, and he had an appetite for the divine. In 1729, after earning a Master of Divinity from Yale, Edwards succeeded his grandfather, the famed Solomon Stoddard, as full pastor of the First Church of Northampton, Massachusetts. In the twenty-four years that he lived in Northampton, Edwards was deeply concerned with the nature of true religion. Edwards was keenly aware of the fact that true religion had to be lived out, and he set forth to transform his congregation, as well as congregations throughout New England, from believers who only understood Christian doctrine to converted Christians who were truly moved by their beliefs.