70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.(Source: A Puritan's Mind)
Aug. 17, 1723
This is the last resolution Jonathan Edwards wrote.
So has my project of posting the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards with little bit of my thoughts attached time to time come to its conclusion too. Yes, I failed to keep to my initial plans of posting regularly and finishing up by the end of last year! Ah well, my life is full of failures and God is full of grace.
Anyway, here are my final thoughts.
1) Jonathan Edwards sure displays an amazing level of maturity from such a young age. He was born in 1703. So by the time he wrote this last resolution of his, he was only 20 years old. Perhaps it was the the culture of his generation, that people matured (or had to mature) early. But it is not just the maturity. There were plenty of men who had to grow up quickly and provide for his family back in those days for example. But what is remarkable is his "Christian maturity" in his thinking and in his conduct. What was going on in his mind in regards to God (or in his own words, religion) had a definite and powerful impact on his heart, and consequently, he was compelled to review and reflect on his life again and again. Hence his long list of resolutions. And all these by the age of 20. Look around. Or perhaps look at yourself, if you are 20. How do they compare with Jonathan Edwards' seriousness towards God? I certainly do not come close to his relentless zeal and passion for godliness.
2) One comforting fact remains, however, for all of God's saints. Jonathan Edwards may have been (and I believe he really is) a great role model for other Christians. Yet, the fact that he had to make all these resolutions to remind himself regarding his faith and conduct only shows that he was also a mere mortal sinner. He wouldn't have made a resolution to speak with love (as in this last resolution) unless he had failed to speak lovingly at some point and realised it by God's grace some time later. We are all at the mercy of God's grace. None of us can boast about our own achievements however great they may make us look great. When properly understood, everything comes from our gracious God, for our own strength, our own intellectual power, our disciplined attitude towards others, even our own faith, all come from God. There is no need for us to revere Jonathan Edwards beyond respect. He was much loved by God and received some great gifts from God so that we can benefit from his gifts as well. God loves us as much and He is still working in us, sometimes through the work He had done in Jonathan Edwards' life. So we are all in one Church of God and are all taking part in building up His Church. It is God who is to be revered and adored, not Jonathan Edwards.
3) Finally, just to lighten up the whole thing a little bit, what I would tell Jonathan Edwards about all these resolutions?
When I see him in heaven, I'll probably say, "Hey, bro, you had so many resolutions, how did you go about keeping them, eh?" and we both will laugh at our short-comings, and give each other a brotherly hug, and turn to look towards the One who graciously redeemed both of us and sing praises.