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might is, that it is a constant mortification. Let this objection by no means ever prevail.
Monday, September 2. There is much folly, when I am quite sure I am in the right, and others are positive in contradicting me, in entering into a vehement or long debate
Monday, September 23. I observe that old men seldom have any advantage of new discoveries ; because these are beside a way of thinking they have been so long used to. Resolved, if ever I live to years, that I will be impartial to hear the reasons of all pretended discoveries, and receive them, if rational, how long soever I have been used to another way of thinking
Thursday, October 18. To follow the example of Mr. B-, who, though he meets with great difficulties, ye dertakes them with a smiling countenance, as though he thought them but little ; and speaks of them as if they were
Thursday November 26. It is a most evil and penicious practice in meditating on our afflictions, to ruminate on the aggravations of the affliction, and recken up the evil circumstances thereof, dwelling long on the dark side ; it doubles and trebles the affliction. And so, when speaking of them to others as bad as we can, and use our eloquence to set forth our own troubles ; we thus are all the while making new trouble, and feeding the old ; whereas the contrary practice would starve our afflictions. If we dwelt on the light side of things in our thoughts, and extenuated them all tirat possibly we could when speaking of then, we should then think little of them ourselves ; and the affliction would really, in a great measure vanish away.
Thursday Night, December 12. If at any time I am forced to tell persons of that wherein I think they are sometimes to blame ; for avoiding the important evil that would otherwise ensue, resolved not to tell it them in such a manner, that there shall be a probability of their taking it as the effect of little, fretting, angry emotions of mind.
December 31, at night. Concluded never to suffer nor express any angry emotions of mind more or less, except the honor of God calls for it, in zeal for him, or to preserve myself from being trampled on.
TV dnesday, January 1, 1724. Not to spend too much time in thinking even of important and necessary worldly business. To allow every thing its proportion of thought according to its urgency and importance.
Friday, Jan. 10. [Astor short hand notes] Remember to act according to Prov. xii. 23. A prudent man concealeth knowledge.
Monday, Feb. 3. Let every thing have the value now, that it will have on a sick bed ; and frequently in my pursuits of whatever kind, let this come into my mind ; “ How much shall I value this on my death bed ?”
il'ednesday, Feb. 5. Have not in time past, in my prayers, insisted enough upon glorifying God in the world, and the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, the prosperity of the church, and the good of men. Determined that this objection is without weight, viz. “ That it is not likely that God will make great alterations in the whole world, and overturnings in kingdoms and nations, only for the prayers of one obscure person, seeing such things used to be done in answer to the united carnest prayers of the whole church ; and if my prayers should have some influence, it would be but imperceptible and small."
Thursday, Feb 6. More convinced than ever of the usefulness of religious conversation. I find by coversing on natural philosophy, I gain knowledge abundantiy faster, and see the reasons of things much clearer, than in private study. Wherefore, resolved earnestly to seek at all times for relig. ious conversation ; and for those persons that I can with profit, delight, and freedom so converse with.
Sabbathday, Feb. 23. If I act according to my resolution, I shall desire riches no otherwise than as they are helpful to religion. But this I determine, as what is really evident from many parts of scripture, that to fallen man they have a greatep tendency to hurt religion.
Saturday, May 23. How it comes about I know not ; but I have remarked it hitherto that at those times when I have read the scriptures most, I have evermore been most lively, and in the best frame.
Saturday Night, June 6. This has been a remarkable week with me, with respect to despondencies, fears, perplexities, multitudes of cares and distraction of thought ; being the week I came hither (to Newhaven) in order to entrance upon the office of tutor of the college. I have now abundant reason to be convinced of the troublesomeness and perpetual vexation of the world.
Tuesday, July 7. When I am giving the relation of a thing, let me abstain from altering, either in the matter or manner of speaking, so much, as that if every one afterward should alter as much, it would at last come to be properly false.
Tuesday, Sept. 2. By a sparing diet, and eating what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think more clearly ; and shall gain time, 1st, By lengthening my life ; 2illy, Shall need less time for digestion after meals ; 3dly, Shall be able to study closer without wrong to my health ; 4thly, Shall need less time to sleep ; 5thly, Shall more seldom be troubled with the headache.
Sabbathday, Nov. 22. Considering that bystanders always espy some faults which we do not see, or at least are not so fully sensible of ourselves; for there are many secret workings of corruption which escape our sight, and others only are sensible of; resolved, therefore, that I will, if I can by any convenient means, learn what faults others find in me, or what things they see in me that appear any way blameworthy, unlovely, or unbecoming."
Some Account of his Conversion, Experience, and Religious Ex
ercises, written by himself.
The foregoing extracts were written by Mr. Edwards when about twenty years of age, as appears by the dates.
The judicious reader, therefore, keeping this in mind, will make proper allowance for some things which may appear like the productions of a young Christian, both as to the matter, and the manner of expression. And indeed, the whole being taken together, these apparent blemishes have their important use. For hereby all appears more natural and genuine ; while the strength of his resolution, the fervor of his mind, and a skill in discriminating divine things so selo dom found even in old age, appear the more striking. A picture of human nature in its present state, though highly improved by grace, cannot be a true resemblance of the original, if it be drawn all light, and no shades. In this view we shall be forced to admire his conscientious strictness, his diligence and zeal, his deep experience in some particulars, and his accurate judgment respecting the most impor. tant parts of true religion, at so early an age. Here we have, not only the most convincing evidence of his sincerity in religion, and of his engaging in a life devoted to God in good earnest, so as to make religion his one great business ; but also, through his great attention to this matter, how in many instances he acquired the judgment and experience of gray hairs.
Behold, reader, the beginning of a life so eminently holy and useful ! Behold the views, the exercises, the resolutions of a man who became one of the greatest divines of his age ; one who had the applause and admiration of America, Britain, Holland, and Germany, for his piety, judgment, and great usefulness. Behold here an excitement to the young, to devote themselves to God with great sincerity, and enter on the work of strict religion without delay, and more especially, those who are looking forward towards the work of the ministry. Behold then, ye students in divinity, our future preachers and writers, the most immediate and direct, yea the only way to answer the good ends which you profess to seek. “ Go, ye, and do likewise.”
It is to be lamented, that there is so much reason to think, there are few instances of such early piety in our day. If the protestant world abounded with young persons of this
stamp ; young men, preparing for the work of the ministry with such a temper, such exercises, and such resolutions, what a delightful prospect would this afford of the near approach of happier days, than the church of God has ever yet seen! What pleasing hopes, that the great and merciful head of the church was about to send forth laborers, faithful, successful laborers into his harvest ; and bless his people with “ pastors which shall feed them with knowledge and understanding !"
But if our youth neglect all proper improvement of the mind; are shy of seriousness and strict piety ; choose to live at a distance from all appearance of it ; and are given to carnal pleasures ; what a gloomy prospect does this afford ! If they who enter into the work of the ministry ; from a gay, careless, and what may justly be called a vicious life, betake themselves to a little superficial study of divinity, and soon begin to preach ; while all the external seriousness and zeal they put on, is only from wordly motives; they being without any inward, experimental acquaintance with divine things, and even so much as any taste for true divinity ; no wonder if the people perish for lack of spiritual knowledge.
But, as the best comment on the foregoing Resolutions and Diary; and that the reader may have a more full and instructive view of Mr. Edwards's entrance on a religious life, and progress in it, as to the views and exercises of his mind; a brief account thereof is here inserted, which was found among his papers, in his own hand writing ; and which, it seems, was written near twenty years after, for his own private advantage.
“ I had a variety of concerns and exercises about my soul from my childhood ; but had two more remarkable seasons of awakening, before I met with that change by which I was brought to those new dispositions, and that new sense of things, that I have since had. The first time was when I was a boy, some years before I went to college, at a time of remarkable awakening in my father's congregation. I was then very much affected for many months, and concerned about the things of religion, and my soul's salvation ; and was abund