The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Resolutions of Edwards

edwards.jpg Jonathan Edwards is a fascinating character in American history. He was a pastor, theologian, and writer on topics as varied as philosophy, politics and even optics. He spent his life in positions as wide as living humbly among Indians in western Massachusetts to serving as President of Princeton University. He died testing a smallpox vaccination developed by a scientist friend.

I enjoyed reading Edwards during the years I lived in Boston, as I was being awakened in my Christian faith at the time, as well as enjoying connecting with the history of the area. I have always been intrigued by his resolutions, which he reviewed every week while he was alive. I uncovered them recently and was struck by the fresh challenge they set to me in my situation where I continue to skirt death and wonder if my end on earth is near. I imagine that in colonial times people were more aware of death, as it showed its face more acutely in a world where medicine was crude and life spans were short. This may not have been all bad, as the Bible seems to connect living wisely to being aware of one's own death (e.g. Ps 39:4; 90:12).

I have included below some of his resolutions which have poignant meaning to me today.

Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards (1722-1723)
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.
Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

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.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.
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. May 26, 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.
67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.


Gary Waldecker said...

Thanks for posting this!

Lynn Scroggin said...

I am constantly amazed by the profound thoughts you continue to share with us. God has truly given you the strength to walk the path you have been given and to be an example to us of strength and faith. Not to say you are not of human frailty, but to acknowledge the strength which prevails in you. Thank you for your insights.
Lynn Scroggin
Tualatin Presbyterian Church
Tualatin, Oregon

Wayne Bowman said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. My prayers are with you.

Craig & Maria B said...

Thanks for the encouragement from Jonathan Edwards. You are a blessing to us always to the graciousness of our Lord Jesus. Thanks for the reminder that our earthly tent is temporary and passing away and that we have a more eternal weight of glory. It certainly changes the way we live in our immediate condition.

Syd And Dan said...

Greg--You know --I begin readng your postings,and am amazed at your writing abilities first. Then I am overwhelmed at your insight and strength. God is truly using you in all this .
Many times ,I forward what you have posted to everyone I know. Today is no exception.
Thank you for encouraging me today to follow these resoluions.

Bob Longacre said...

Dear Greg: Very sobering reminder from JE. He being dead yet speaketh (Heb 11). God bless hyou in your epic struggles!!
Bob Longacre

Henry Chu said...

Thank you. This makes me want to look up his biography. Died for the sake of advancing small pox vaccination. Was he married? Did he ever had children?
I am really impressed by his inisght shed on Resolve-29, the one on prayer and confession. As I meditate on the life of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Daniel, and Job, or the sons of Jacob before the exodus,when they went thru long periods of wait, facing heartbreak and cold facts, .... our God surely tries man's soul, who can stand!!!
When we first come to Christ as we were, God gladly took us in as His children, and when we grow and serve, He take us in as His servants; and when we grow further, we become molded to love what He loves and hate what he hates. We start to yearn for His will be done in all things, we become his confidant. Then as the relationship and trust grows even deeper, He starts to let us get a taste of His feeling, (as expressed in the Book of Isaiah and Hosea etc.),His hurt, His frustrations, His hurt, His loneliness. Those are tough and hard to bear. Pray that the Lord will grant us capacity of heart and spirit to bear the "sharing" that God
allow us to experience. Greg, I think you know plenty well in what you have gone thru.
I grew up in HK, used to ride the Ferry several times a week. When the ferry approached the pier, the mate throw out a small metal ball with a light rope tied to it. The man on the pier easily caught the ball, pull in the light rope, which leads to the heavy rope, and with the heavy rope secured, the ferry inched to final position. It seemed to me that the "grace from God" is somewhat like that. The initial grace that attracted us to Christ is like the metal ball with the light robe, then the much heavier rope is like our growth in Christ and changed life, and finally it pull in the entire ship is like growing to the mature statue of Christ, and sharing His experience and His heart.
Now back to Johnathan Edwards, most of the resolves made great sense, but some I do not understand. For example, what is meant by:
resolve 17: and resolve 19. Please enlighten.

Daniel Hwang said...

Greg, I miss you and Christine. Recently I found that you are fighting the biggest fight in your life. I am now in Boulder, Colorado. I will visit this site, thinking of you and praying for your recovery and strength. I know that Jonathan Edwards edited the Life of David Brainerd who had a great passion for his sanctification and mission to the sheep not in the fold. Thank you for your insight on JE...

Byron said...

Thanks very much Greg. I'm so glad that you are feeling better adn stronger adn have the energy to put into writing what you are thinking.
...Makes me think of and sing the spiritual: "Give me Jesus; ..oh, when I come to die..."