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I'm reading "Freedom of the Will" by Jonathan Edwards, and I'm finding a lot of comma usage that seems jarring. As I understand it, the comma is generally used to indicate a pause in thought (among other uses), but there are commas placed in the text where a pause feels unnatural. Is there an older/archaic rule for the comma that Edwards is using, or is it just a style that is no longer used?

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    Frankly, this calls for speculation. Comma usage can get quite complicated and unless you post an example, the question is very moot. – Lambie Aug 31 '18 at 15:45
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    If you're looking for historical answers, you should tell us when the book was first published. – John Feltz Aug 31 '18 at 15:57
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    In the 18th and 19th centuries, some authors used commas much more frequently than they are used today. Many texts from that era have edited out the superfluous commas. But I have no idea what the rules for the extra commas were back then, if there were indeed rules. – Peter Shor Aug 31 '18 at 16:11
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    Can you please provide a passage from the work that relates to your question? – Lumberjack Aug 31 '18 at 18:29
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    There is no common standard for comma use in English, even today; and when Jonathan Edwards wrote, there was even less. He was a noted orator, and his written speeches don't come close to representing his oral presentation. Certainly you can't depend on his comma usage to be anything other than idiosyncratic. Executive Summary: If you're gonna read stuff that old, you gotta expect it to look weird. – John Lawler Aug 31 '18 at 19:21
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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

There is no common standard for comma use in English, even today; and when Jonathan Edwards wrote, there was even less. He was a noted orator, and his written speeches don't come close to representing his oral presentation. Certainly you can't depend on his comma usage to be anything other than idiosyncratic. Executive Summary: If you're gonna read stuff that old, you gotta expect it to look weird.

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