Many consider Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) the greatest American theologian and philosopher of the eighteenth century. He graduated from Yale University as valedictorian at 17, and became the president of Princeton University at 54, only to die shortly thereafter from a tainted smallpox vaccination. Best known for his 1741 sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” he was effective as an evangelist. His books include A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God, The Nature of True Virtue, Original Sin and others.
At the age of 19, he wrote out 70 resolutions that were to govern his life and ministry. Some include:
“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.
Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but improve it the most profitable way I can.
Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
Resolved, to study the scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.”
If you make resolutions, you might want to give some consideration to Edwards’ resolutions. What we do with our lives is in our own hands. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).