Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions

Posted: June 23, 2011 in edwards, history, humility, obedience, puritans, sanctification

Matt Perman recently posted a list of Jonathan Edwards’ famous “Resolutions”, grouped by category.  Introducing Edwards’ list, Perman writes,

As I’ve been working on my book on gospel-centered productivity, Jonathan Edward’s resolutions have been very relevant and significant. Edwards is an example to us of true productivity — he shows us that true productivity is about a life well lived and that, even more, a life well lived is a God-centered life.

Edwards also shows us that a well lived life doesn’t just happen; it requires intentionality. And intentionality manifests itself in certain “mechanisms” that help us maintain our intentionality. Edwards’ resolutions are one example of such a “mechanism.”

So Edwards is a good example not just of a life that is lived well, but also of the “practical side” of how to actually build that intentionality into our lives, rather than just letting it remain a vague wish that never takes deep root and makes a real difference.

Below is Edwards’ introduction and a few of his resolutions:

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.

  • 1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
  • 22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
  • 52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.
  • 28. 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.
  • 30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
  • 24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
  • 56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
  • 53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

HT: Ligonier

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