From the first his professorial lectures were conspicuous for the unconventional enthusiasm with which he endeavoured to revivify the study of the classics; and his growing reputation, added to the attention excited by a translation of Aeschylus which he published in 1850, led to his appointment in 1852 to the professorship of Greek at Edinburgh University, in succession to George Dunbar, a post which he continued to hold for thirty years.
His chief philosophical importance consists in the fact that he was a leader in the attempt to revivify French philosophy by the new thought of Germany, to which he had been introduced by Cousin, but of which he never had more than a second-hand knowledge.
Napoleon was surprised by the news of Prussia's mobilization; he had come to regard her as a negligible quantity, and now he found that her unexpected sensitiveness on points of honour was about to revivify the Third Coalition against France.
He declared that twenty new churches, with parishes, should be erected in Glasgow, and he set to work to revivify, remodel and extend the old parochial economy of Scotland.
Edwards's main aim had been to revivify Calvinism, modifying it for the needs of the time, and to promote a warm and vital Christian piety.