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?
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.