reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.

3/15/2006

A Fresh Look At Jonathan Edwards (Part 6)

With five installments behind us in our series, "A Teenager's Resolutions," and two more to come, it can become easy to stop -- to stop reading, to stop striving to understand, and to stop seeking to apply to our own lives the wisdom and passion of young Jonathan Edwards.

I will admit that even as I post Edwards' resolutions and diary entries I find myself merely skimming over them -- not delving into them for their full affect on my heart, soul, and mind. Admittedly, I don't think they're as "fun" as some of the other articles we normally post -- the English is definitely much harder to read (though much more beautiful) -- but I cannot deny that they are hundreds of times richer and more substantial.

Reading this series is a "hard thing" that we must push ourselves to do. And we must not only read the series, we must strive to understand what we read. And we must not only understand what we read, but we must seek to apply to our own lives the insights of young Jonathan Edwards -- who, if he was alive today, at 19-years-old, would be one of our peers.

Allow us to again recommend to you, "The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards" -- many of which were written while he was still a teenager. May they quicken your heart after God and light in you a passion for holiness.

THE RESOLUTIONS OF JONATHAN EDWARDS

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 ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it 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. [View Edwards' diary for corresponding entry: 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. May27, 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 ii, and July 13. [View Edwards' diary for corresponding entry: July 13, 1723]

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. [View Edwards' diary for corresponding entry: July 13, 1723]
Read Part One - Resolutions #1-10
Read Part Two - Resolutions #11-20
Read Part Three - Resolutions #21-30
Read Part Four - Resolutions #31-40
Read Part Five - Resolutions #41-50
Read Part Six - Resolutions #51-60
Read Part Seven - Resolutions #61-70
Read Closing Statements
Questions for discussion:
  • In #52 Jonathan resolves to live now as he will wish he had lived when he is older. If you applied that resolution to your own life, what would you have to change?
  • In #55 Jonathan uses the "happiness of heaven" and the "torments of hell" to motivate him to live for God, right now. Does your current vision of Heaven and Hell cause you to pursue righteousness and fight sin? If not, what must you do to increase your vision of eternity?
  • In #56 Jonathan makes an incredible resolution to never give in or slack off in his fight against indwelling sin. How are doing in your fight against the enemy within? Are you giving in? Are you slacking off? Have you made truce with sin?