Since we are at the beginning of a new year, I am in a resolution mood. I found the 70 resolutions written by Jonathan Edwards in 1722-23. They are so good and noble-spirited that I have decided to adopt some of them for my own. I want to share these with you; I have translated them freely into modern language (with apologies to Jonathan Edwards) so that they will be more understandable to the 2007 soul.
Edwards wrote (in Judy’s modern interpretation):
I know that I can’t do anything without God’s help. So, with humility, I ask him to help me, by his grace, to keep these resolutions, as long as they are in line with his will for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Edwards wrote himself this note: “Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.”
1. I resolve that I will do whatever I think will be most likely to glorify God and be for my own good, benefit, and pleasure for the rest of my life, without considering the times, now or in the distant future. I resolve to do whatever I think is my duty and most for the good and benefit of all people. I resolve to do this, no matter what difficulties I encounter—no matter how many or how great.
2. I resolve to continually try to find new ways to accomplish these things.
3. I resolve, if I ever fail or fall short or forget and neglect any of these resolutions, that I will be sincerely sorry for all that I can remember that I did wrong and put things right again, when I come back to my senses.
4. I resolve never to do any kind of thing, either spiritually or physically, other than what contributes to the glory of God; I will neither be nor allow anything that does not glorify him, if I can possibly avoid it.
5. I resolve never to waste one minute of time, but to improve my time the best way I possibly can.
6. I resolve to live my life to the fullest, as long as I live.
7. I resolve never to do anything that I would be afraid to do if I knew I were about to die. (In other words, I would live as if I were in the last few hours of my life, doing only that which is right, good, and loving.)
8. I resolve to act and speak with the understanding that I am just as bad and mean-spirited as the worst person. When I become aware of wrongdoings or mistakes of others, I will take that opportunity to confess my own wrongdoings to God, rather than criticizing others.
9. I resolve to be aware that I will die eventually and to think about the circumstances surrounding death. I will be prepared for death.
10. I resolve that when I feel pain, I will think of the greater pain of people who have willingly suffered and died for their Christian beliefs, and the eternal pain of people in hell, suffering because of their lack of belief.
11. I resolve, when I think of any puzzling religious question, to do what I can immediately towards solving it, if circumstances do not prevent me from it.
12. I resolve to immediately give up anything that I find I delight in because of pride or vanity.
13. I resolve to always be trying to find people who need charity and generosity.
The 70 resolutions can be found, complete and original, at the site of the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics, linked here.