13 December 2008

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions

Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions

A few of the resolutions made by Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan theologian. His resolutions were written during 1722-1723. When he wrote the seventy resolutions, "he was completing his schooling and ministerial training and was anticipating setting out on his life's work. He took advantage off the opportunity to pause and reflect on the type of person he wanted to be and the way in which he wanted to live his life.

"In a manner that would come to typify his entire career, he took up his pen and, in the moments of quiet he could wrest fro a busy day, wrote the guidelines, the system of checks and balances he would use to chart out his life--his relationships, his conversations, his desires, his activities. In short, through these resolutions he offers himself his own advice." ---from Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions and Advice to Young Converts, Ed. Stephen J. Nichols.

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.
. . .
8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and to let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is that causes me in the least to doubt the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.

43. Resolved, never henceforward till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but to act entirely and altogether as God's.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and the torment of hell.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when i am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, that is, with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance.

69. Resolved, always to do that which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it.


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