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choice

March 2007

from Jonathan
Edwards

Jonathan Edwards lived from 1703 until 1758. While he was still a young man he wrote 70 ‘Resolutions’, completing them shortly before his twentieth birthday. These are not trite or empty things, along the lines of the ‘new year’ resolutions that people sometimes make. These, rather, are deep expressions of spiritual commitment and desire. They are prefaced by the following solemn statement:

‘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’.

The following selection is representative of the whole.

Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.

Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.

Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

Resolved, To do always what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without an overbalancing detriment in other respects.

Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, - what sin I have committed, - and wherein I have denied myself; - also, at the end of every week, month, and year.

Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Resolved, Not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity.

Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what am I the better for them; what good have I got by them; and, what I might have got by them.