Jonathan Edwards, one of our countries greatest preachers, and the first president of Princeton; made a habit of guiding his life by resolutions. At age 17, he penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He continued to add to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. He put at the top of his list: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, (Phil. 4:13). I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions….Remember to read over these resolutions once a week.” During this time of year when are considering things we would like to change, add, or delete in our lives; maybe we would do well to let our own resolutions be challenged by the kind of resolutions that Jonathan Edwards considered important.
Citation: Jan Brown, Christianity Online Connection (1-8-99). Excerpts from Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions: And Advice to Young Converts.
1. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
2. Resolved, Never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
3. Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
4. Resolved, When I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
5. Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge.
6. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
7. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
8. 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.
9. Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
10. Resolved, To examine carefully and constantly what that one thing in me is which causes me in the least to doubt the love of God, and so direct all my forces against it.
11. Resolved, Constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictness scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know truly whether I have an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.
12. 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 an assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer.