Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions and Advice to Young Converts
While completing his preparation for the ministry, Jonathan Edwards wrote seventy resolutions that guided him throughout his life. About 20 years later he wrote a letter to young Deborah Hatheway, a new convert in a nearby town, advising her concerning the Christian life.
These two writings, often reprinted during the 18th and 19th centuries, overflow with straightforward and biblically sound advice. This advice is as current today as it was in the 1700s, and it far surpasses the “how to” books now overrunning bookstores.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) served the Northampton Congregational Church in Massachusetts for twenty-three years, then missionary outpost to the Mohawk and Mohican tribes. In 1758, he became president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), only to die a few months later due to an adverse reaction to a vaccination.
Samples of the Resolutions
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 myriad’s 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 and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance 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.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
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.
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.” June 25 and July 13, 1723.