The purpose of this series, as laid out in the introduction (linked above) is to try and glean wisdom from Edwards’ life and piety and then apply it to our own circumstances. With each resolution, I’m going to just briefly comment and then reflect and apply to my own life. My hope is you will then do the reflecting and applying to yours.
Resolution 1 and 2
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.
Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
I notice a tendency in myself to prefer immediate gratification and to prioritize the low hanging spiritual fruit in place of the fruit that is nestled high atop the tree. I think Edwards saw that in himself, as well. So when he says “without any consideration of the time” he’s calling himself to remember that no amount of time spent pursuing greater knowledge or intimacy with God is wasted time. In fact, it is the greatest possible way to spend time, in any amount.
Something I appreciate about this resolution is that Edwards is aware his faith does not exist in a vacuum, but in the presence of others. Not only is he resolved to do what is to God’s glory, and his own good, but to the good and advantage of mankind in general. There are no limiting qualifiers to the term mankind, either. I notice in myself a temptation to prefer serving certain types of people over others. To consider the good of these people but not those people. Shame on me, for sure.
Lastly, notice resolution 2 combats what he must’ve seen in himself as he was writing resolution 1, that is, a tendency to grow stagnant and fall into a “good enough” routine.
I cannot separate doing whatever brings the most glory to God from what brings the most good to mankind. The two are inextricably linked. The first is not exclusively linked to the second, but they’re inseparable for sure.
I know sometimes I reject people, in one way or another, to serve my own religious affections. Hypocrite! I ought to stop doing this.