Jonathan Edwards Read These Once a Week

And maybe you should, too.

You know Jonathan Edwards as the poster pastor of the Great Awakening in the mid-18th century and the man who preached the most famous sermon ever given on this continent. What you may not know is that Edwards was a man of radical self-discipline and productivity. Let us tell you about it: Pick up a biography of him and you’ll see instance after instance of prodigious output.

For a glimpse, you just need to look at his “resolutions,” his personal spiritual goals and practices. In all, he drafted 70 statements between 1722 and 1723, which he attempted to review once a week. These far exceed your typical New Year’s resolutions, and all 70 are worth reading and giving some attention. Until then, here are 10:

(No. 5) Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

(No. 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.

(No. 13) Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

(No. 25) 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 to direct all my forces against it.

(No. 33) Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects.

(No. 36) Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it.

(No. 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, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so.

(No. 62) Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Ephesians 6:6–8, 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.”

(No. 67) Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

(No. 17) Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

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