“What God aims at in the in the disposition of things in the affair of redemption is that man should not glory in himself, but alone in God (I Cor. 1:29-31). That no flesh should glory in His presence, that according as it is written, he that glories, let him glory in the Lord.” – Jonathan Edwards, July 8, 1731.
During the years 1722-1723, Jonathan Edwards completed his master’s degree from Yale and began an interim pastoral ministry in New York City. The church was a small Scottish Presbyterian church located near Broadway and Wall Street.
Biographer Iain Murray explains “All his personal papers from this period indicate that a new master-interest possessed him: it was to enjoy the Word of God.”
Of that particular time in his life, Edwards wrote, “I had then the greatest delight in the Holy Scriptures, of any book whatsoever. Oftentimes in reading it, every word seemed to touch my heart. I felt a harmony between something in my heart and those sweet and powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light exhibited by every sentence, and such a refreshing food communicated, that I could not get along in reading; often dwelling long on one sentence to see the wonders contained in it, and yet almost every sentence seemed to be full of wonders.”
It was during these two years that Edwards seriously considered what the Lord specifically wanted him to do. It was a soul searching and soul stretching time for the young eighteen year old. It was then that Edwards began writing his “Resolutions.”
Edwards’ Resolutions were/are seventy purpose statements. He designed each one of them as directives for his Christian life and living. They became his guidelines. They were a spiritual checks and balances for him. By them, Edwards could continually evaluate his relationships, conversations, desires and activities.
The first twenty-one Resolutions were written in one sitting. The seventieth was composed on August 17, 1723. Here is but a sample.
- 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.
- 5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
- 7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
- 17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
- 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.
- 25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
- 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.
- 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.
I encourage you to take note of Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions and compile your own series of resolutions by which you may glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!