« EdellinenJatka »
myself wholly to him ; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.
54. Resolved, Whenever I hear any thing spoken in commendation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, that I will endeavour to imitate it. July 8, 1723.
55. Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of Heaven, and Hell torments. July 8, 1723.
56. Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be. .
57. Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it, and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin. and July 13, 1723.
58. Řesolved, Not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and
anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.
59. Resolved, When I am most conscious of provocations to illnature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good-nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.
60. Resolved, Whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.
61. Resolved, That I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I
have for it—that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, &c. May 21, and July 13, 1723.
62. Resolved, Never to do any thing but my duty, and then according to Eph. vi, 6—8, to 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.
63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having christianity always shining in its true lustre, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, To act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14, and July 13, 1723.
64. Resolved, When I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered," of which the Apostle speaks, and those “ breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm oxix, 20, That I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavouring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
65. Resolved, Very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. With the greatest openness, of which I am capable, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him, all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance, according to Dr. Manton's Sermon on the 119th Psalm. July 26, and Aug. 10, 1723.
66. Resolved, That I will endeavour always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.
67. Resolved, After afflictions, to enquire, What I am the better for them; What good I have got by them; and, What I might have got by them.
68. Resolved, To confess frankly to myself all that which I find in mysell, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.
69. Resolved, Always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.
70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.
Those, who have read the preceding Resolutions, will not need to be apprised, that they discover in the writer a knowledge of his own heart, of the human character, and of the secret springs of human action, as well as a purity, conscientiousness and evangelical integrity, very rarely found in any individual. His obvious intention and rule was, to refer every voluntary action, and every course of conduct, habitually and immediately to the eye of Omniscience; to live as always surrounded by his presence; and to value nothing in comparison with his approbation, and, what of course accompanied it, that of his own conscience. At this early period, he had begun to remember, that he was immortal, that he was soon to enter on a stage of existence and action, incomparably more expanded and dignified than the present, and that nothing here had any ultimate importance, except as it had a bearing on his own welfare, and that of others, in that nobler state of being. These Resolutions are, perhaps, to persons of every age, but especially to the young, the best uninspired summary of christian duty, the best directory to high attainments in evangelical virtue, which the mind of man has hitherto been able to form. They are, also, in the highest degree interesting, as disclosing the writer's own character; and no one will wonder that the youth, who, in his nine
teenth year, could, in the presence of God, deliberately and solemnly form the first Resolution :-“ Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, ON THE WHOLE ; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence ; to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general,—whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever :"-should have attained to an elevation and energy of virtue rarely witnessed in this fallen world,
was nineteen years of age. As far as to Jan. 15th, at night, it is written on two detached slips of paper; and the remainder in a book.* As it commences abruptly, and as near as possible to the top of that paper; the beginning of it is undoubtedly lost; and it is not improbable, that, as he originally wrote it, it may have reached back, at least to the period of his preparation for the ministry. It was intended, as will at once be perceived, for his own private use exclusively; and had it been with him at the close of life, it is not unlikely it might have been destroyed. Still, whatever is calculated to do good, and is perfectly consistent with an author's real reputation, may be published with honour, whatever his design might be while writing. The best of men, indeed, have thoughts, and opinions and feelings, which are perfectly proper and right in themselves, which yet it would be wholly improper for them to disclose to others. But a man of sound discretion, will take care that nothing of this nature is placed within the reach of accident. What Mr. Edwards wished to have concealed from every eye but his own, he wrote in short hand. And on one occasion, after having written to a considerable extent in that character, he adds this remark in his customary hand, “Remember to act according to Prov. xii, 23, A prudent man concealeth knowledge.”
The reader, while perusing the Diary in its various parts, will, I think, be struck with it, as possessing the following characteristics. It consists of facts; and of solid thought, dictated by deep religious feeling: and not of the mere expressions of feeling, or of commonplace moral reflexions, or exhortations. It was intended for his own eyes exclusively; and not chiefly for those of his friends and of the public. It is an exhibition of the simple thinking, feeling and acting, of a man, who is unconscious how he appears, except to himself, and to God: and not the remarks of one, who is desirous of being thought humble, respecting his own humility. If we suppose a man of christian simplicity, and godly sincerity, to bring all the secret movements of his own soul under the clear, strong light of heaven, and there to survey them with a piercing and an honest eye, and a contrite heart, in order to humble himself, and make himself better; it is just the account which such a man would write.-In these respects, it is, with only here and there a solitary exception, wholly unlike any Diary of modern times; and, as such, is, with here and there a solitary exception, the only Diary of modern times, that ought ever to have been published.
* He mentions, Jan, 14th, his making the book, and annexing the loose papers to it,
Dec. 18. This day made the 35th Resolution. The reason why I, in the least, question my interest in God's love and favour, is, --1. Because I cannot speak so fully to my experience of that preparatory work, of which divines speak :-2. I do not remember ihat I experienced regeneration, exactly in those steps, in which divines say it is generally wrought:-3. I do not feel the christian graces sensibly enough, particularly faith. I fear they are only such hypocritical outside affections, which wicked men may feel, as well as others. They do not seem to be sufficiently inward, full, sincere, entire and hearty. They do not seem so substantial, and so wrought into my very nature, as I could wish.–4. Because I am sometimes guilty of sins of omission and commission. Lately I have doubted, whether I do not transgress in evil speaking. This day, resolved, No.
Dec. 19. This day made the 36th Resolution. Lately, I have been very much perplexed, by seeing the doctrine of different degrees in glory questioned; but now have almost got over the difficulty.
Dec. 20. This day somewhat questioned, whether I had not been guilty of negligence yesterday, and this morning ; but resolved, No.
Dec. 21, Friday. This day, and yesterday, I was exceedingly dull, dry and dead.
Dec. 22, Saturday. This day, revived by God's Holy Spirit ; affected with the sense of the excellency of holiness; felt more exercise of love to Christ, than usual. Have, also, felt sensible repentance for sin, because it was committed against so merciful and good a God. This night made the 37th Resolution.
Sabbath-night, Dec. 23. Made the 38th Resolution.
Monday, Dec. 24. Higher thoughts than usual of the excellency of Christ and his kingdom.-Concluded to observe, at the end of every month, the number of breaches of Resolutions, to see whether they increase or diminish, to begin from this day, and to compute from that the weekly account, my monthly increase, and, out of the whole, my yearly increase, beginning from new year days.
Wednesday, Dec. 26. Early in the morning yesterday, was