Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards was a great early American preacher, whose famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was used by God to start a revival in this country. Over the course of several years he penned 70 resolutions by which he sought to live his life. I found a number of these highly beneficial to read through, especially in our day of lackadaisical Christianity.




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.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.
  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 myriads 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 soever, and how great soever.
  2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.
  3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
  4. 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 avoid it.
  5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
  6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
  7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
  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 that I will 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. July 30.
  9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
  10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
  11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.
  12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
  13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
  14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.
  15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
  16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
  17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
  19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
  20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.
  21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

    (Resolutions 1 through 21 written in one setting in New Haven in 1722)
  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.
  23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God's glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.
  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.
  26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.
  27. Resolved, never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.
  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.
  29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
  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.
  31. Resolved, never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.
  32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Prov. 20:6, "A faithful man who can find?" may not be partly fulfilled in me.
  33. Resolved, to do always, what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.
  34. Resolved, in narrations never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.
  35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.
  36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.
  37. 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. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.
  38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord's day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.
  39. Resolved, never to do any thing of which I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or not; unless I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
  40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.
  41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.
  42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.
  43. Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's; agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.
  44. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.
  45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.
  46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye: and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.
  47. Resolved, to endeavor, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving and sincere temper; and to do at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.
  48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.
  49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.
  50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.
  51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.
  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.
  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.
  54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
  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 hell torments. July 8, 1723.
  56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
  57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it, and let the event be just as providence orders it. I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.
  58. 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. May 27, and July 13, 1723.
  59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.
  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. July 4, and 13, 1723.
  61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.
  62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty, and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man: "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723.
  63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14 and July 13, 1723.
  64. Resolved, when I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those "breakings of soul for the longing it hath," of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness, of which 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 every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.
  66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
  67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.
  68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
  69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.
  70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Big Thunder Gold Mine and Seeking After God

My family and I visited South Dakota this year on our family vacation, during which we stopped at the Big Thunder Gold Mine and were amazed to hear the history of that piece of property.  At a time when mining was extremely dangerous and the average miner would drop over dead after just a few years of work, two German immigrants bought the property and labored for decades cutting through solid rock by hand:
"Using hand equipment to drill holes in the solid rock, they then placed the powder in the drill holes to blast the rock loose. The miners used the drilling process called double jacking. One miner would hold the steel drilling bit, and the other would hit it with a sledge hammer."
Our guide told us that when visibility was poor, the miner holding the drill bit would place his thumb over the end of the bit so that his companion would have a target to aim at. He would then shout "MARK!" and move his thumb out of the way before his friend smashed it with a sledge hammer! Once the dynamite was inserted into the holes and lit, the miners would have to run out of the mine in order to escape the blast debris; a task which no doubt increased in difficulty as the miners became older and the mine became longer.

The miners earned almost nothing from their work in the mine, but I was struck at how they willingly spent decades of their lives engaged in the most grueling and life threatening work in the mere hope of riches.  I could not help but think of our Christian lives and wonder how much we are willing to go through for Christ who died for us, when we are assured of success and eternal reward.  May God help us to live for Him!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

David Did NOT Dance Naked Before the Lord!


In 2 Samuel chapter 6, David brings the ark of the covenant into the City of David, going before the ark with singing, music, and dancing.  His wife Michal does not join the procession, however, but aloofly watches from her window.  In 2 Samuel 6:20b, she condescendingly says "How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!"  This statement has been twisted by some to claim that David was dancing naked, but that position is simply untenable.  Back up just a few verses and read the description of when David was dancing:
2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NKJV) "Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet."

There's another mention of the event in 1st Chronicles, which clearly states that David wore not only a linen ephod (which was a priestly garment), but a robe underneath that as well:
1 Chronicles 15:27 (NKJV) "David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod."

Clearly, David was "uncovered" in Michal's eyes because he had removed his kingly garments and replaced them with plain simple clothing - not because he was naked.

Friday, June 20, 2014

God's Resistance to Sin and Offer of Salvation

When God cursed the earth, He made it more difficult for man to fulfill His commands to "...be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over ... every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28) God shortened the lives he had given to Adam and Eve, but did not snuff them out. God created thorns and made the ground more difficult for Adam to work, but it was not impossible for him to get his food. God gave Eve great pain in childbirth, but she could still have children.

He did all of this because His holiness demands that He not bless and assist man's wicked and sinful rebellion in any way - yet His grace and mercy plead for patience and second chances. He permits sin to exist on the Earth for a short season, not because he approves of sin but because the alternative would be to destroy the world.

Yet, "scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' ... But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9)

Repent therefore, and turn to the Lord that your sins may be blotted out and your name added to the Lamb's book of life. Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made righteous through Him. "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Old Testament Verses About the Resurrection

I was speaking with a Jewish woman recently who stated that "we are only guaranteed this life". I found that surprising since the Old Testament contains several references to the resurrection, but it seems that her perception is actually fairly common among Jews.  I was able to remember Job 19:25-27 when I was speaking with her - here's that verse plus a few more for future reference:
  • Job 19:25-27 - For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
  • Daniel 12:2 - And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
  • Isaiah 26:19 - Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
  • Psalm 17:15 - As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
  • Psalm 49:15 - But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
  • 1 Samuel 2:6 - The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
  • Hosea 13:14 - I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list.  Is anything ever an exhaustive list?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Salvation is Freely Available for All!

Salvation by grace through faith is the only way God can offer eternal life to everyone!  If salvation depended on performing some great physical or mental task, there would be some who could not attain it.  If salvation depended on how much money we had, there would be some who could not afford it.  Even if salvation depended on our good deeds, some would not be able to accomplish the required deeds before they died.  (The thief on the cross had his arms and legs nailed down)  No, but because salvation is through faith, anyone can obtain it in an instant of time.  How great is the love and mercy of our God which is poured out freely for all!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Christianity Cannot Be Forced

One of the reasons Christianity is unique is that since salvation is by faith in Christ, Christianity cannot be forced on anyone. I cannot put a gun to your head and make you believe in something. I can make you say a creed, perform a ritual, or do a "good deed", but none of those things will make you a Christian and save your soul from Hell. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!