Jonathan Edwards, during the years 1722 to 1723, while a young man, composed a set of resolutions for himself. For Edwards, these resolutions were a way for him to gauge his relationship to Christ as well as to provide a set of goals for his life.
Throughout his life, these resolutions were his constant companion as he resolved “to read over these resolutions once a week.” Stephen Nichols thinks we might benefit from doing the same. He writes that the Resolutions are as relevant today as they were when [Edwards] first penned them so long ago. Reading though them on a regular basis may very well help us also to live with all of our might to the glory and praise of God.
While each of Edwards’ seventy resolutions are valid and worthy of reciting, there are a few that personally seemed to rise above the rest.
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 that I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
25. Resolved, to examine carefully an constantly what that one thing in me is that causes me in the least to doubt the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of them.
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 the torments of hell.
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fifth with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life ling, that is, with the greatest openness I am capably of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my should to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and everything, and every circumstance.
70. Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.
As you can see, though written almost 300 years ago, these resolutions continue to challenge and speak to the heart. Though Edwards did not write these resolutions to be published, we benefit greatly because they were.