Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1607–1764
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. I–II: Colonial Literature, 1607–1764
 
A Young Christian’s Directory
By Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)
 
[From the Seventy Resolutions formed in his Twentieth Year. 1722–23.]

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.
  1
  Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God 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 myriads 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, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.  2
  To be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance, and invention, to promote the forementioned things.  3
  Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.  4
  To live with all my might, while I do live.  5
  Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.  6
  To think much, on all occasions, of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.  7
  When I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.  8
  When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can toward solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.  9
  If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.  10
  Never to do anything out of revenge.  11
  Never to suffer the least motions of anger toward irrational beings.  12
  Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.  13
  To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the Gospel, and another world.  14
  Never to do anything, 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.  15
  Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.  16
  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.  17
  In narrations, never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.  18
  Never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.  19
  That no other end but religion shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it.  20
  Never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion.  21
  That I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world.  22
  That I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned.  23
  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.  24
  To endeavor, 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.  25
  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.  26
  Always to do that which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it.  27
  Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak.  28
 
 
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