Jonathan Edwards laughs at your New Year’s Resolutions.
Sure, it may be impressive that we’ve decided to work out more, eat less, or even give more to charity. Those are all good things. But I assure you, Mr. Edwards has us beat.
Besides having unmatched game when it came to powdered wigs and Calvinism, Jonathan Edwards was really good at resolving to do things. Between 1720 and 1726, the theologian made note of several hundred resolutions in his journal, starting with this one:
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.
He didn’t let off with the rest of his list.
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.
Now that he’s blasted our New Year’s goals into submission, surely Edwards will take a little time to relax, right?
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Okay, if not now, maybe he’ll chill out a little when he’s older?
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
Fine, you win, Jonathan Edwards. You have much better resolutions than us. But other than impressing us, is there anything in your resolutions that can help us mere mortals better ourselves and our relationships with Christ in 2013?
48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.
Joking aside, isn’t resolution 48 what a resolution is all about? Self-evaluation in the name of progress? I think so, and I resolve to do as much of that as I can in hopes of improving my relationship with Jesus this year.
For more on Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions, check out Desiring God.