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2. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good of mankind in general.
3. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
4. Resolved, To live with all my might while I do live.
5. Resolved, Never to do any thing which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
6. Resolver, To be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.
7. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.
8. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
9. Resolved, 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.
10. Resolved, That I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
11. Resolved, To live so at all times as I think it best, in my most devont frames, and when I have the clearest notion of the things of the gospel and another world.
12. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
13. Resolved, Never to do any thing which, if I should see in another, I should account a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
14. Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
15. Resolved, 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.
16. Resolved, Never to say any thing at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind; agreeable to the lowest humility and sense of my own faults and failings; and agreeable to the Golden Rule; often when I have said any thing against any one, to bring it to, and try it strictly by, the test of this resolution.
17. Resolved, In narrations, never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.
18. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call to it.
19. Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent; what sin I have committed ; and wherein I have denied myself. Also at the end of every week, month, and year.
20. Resolved, Never to do any thing of which I so much question the lawfulness, as that I intend at the same time to consider and examine afterwards whether it be lawful or not, unless I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
21. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could with respect to eating and drinking.
22. Resolved, Never to allow the least measure of fretting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved, to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye; and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.
23. 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.
In June, 1724, Mr. Edwards was elected tutor in Yale College, in which office he continued two years. He then accepted a call to settle in Northampton as a colleague to his grandfather, Rev. Solomon Stoddard. It is said that, when in ordinary health, he would spend thirteen hours every day in his study. This was too much for his constitution, which was naturally delicate, and doubtless shortened his life many years. In 1727 he was married to Miss Sarah Pierrepont, daughter of Rov. James Pierrepont, pastor of a church in New Haven. The union proved a most happy one in every respect. By her wisdom, energy, and economy she relieved her husband from the interruptions of domestic care, and thus he was left at liberty to pursue his studies without remission.
Soon after his ordination, Mr. Edwards was permitted to witness some gratifying fruit of his labors in the conversion of a number of his people. In 1729, the vanerable Mr. Stoddard dying, the whole care of the congregation devolved on the youthful pastor; and so faithful and laborious were his ministrations that, in 1734 and 1735, the town was favored with a “revival so extensive and powerful as to constitute a memorable era in the history of that church.” In the year 1739 he commenced a series of discourses in his own pulpit, which afterwards formed the basis of his celebrated work, The History of the Work of Redemption, which was not, however, published till after his decease. In the spring of 1740 a second extensive and powerful revival of religion commenced in Northampton, which was aided by the labors of the celebrated Rev. George Whitefield, and an account of which Mr. Edwards published in 1742, under the title of Thoughts concerning the Present Revival in New England. It was immediately republished in Scotland, and brought the author into correspondence with some of the most distinguished divines of that country.
In 1743 Mr. Edwards finished a series of sermons upon the distinguishing marks and evidences of true religion, which were published in 1746, under the
title of A Treatise concerning Religious Affections, and which called forth the warmest praises and thanks from the friends of true piety on both sides of the Atlantic. In the latter part of the year 1747, David Brainerd, the celebrated missionary, who had been laboring for many years among the Indians in different settlements in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, amidst many discouragements and with enfeebled health, with a zeal, diligence, self-denial, and perseverance which bave seldom had any parallel in the history of missions, came, on invitation, to Mr. Edwards's house, and, gradually sinking under the power of a consumptive disease, closed his life in the bosom of his friend's family on the 9th of October of that year. In 1749 Mr. Edwards prepared and published a memoir of this remarkable man, entitled An Account of the Life of the late Rev. Darid Brainerd, Missionary to the Indians, and Pastor of a Church of Christian Indians in Nero Jersey.
Thus far, the life of this eminently great and pious man had not been attended by any marked or painful trials. But his path, henceforth, was to be any thing but a smooth one. He was to experience the fickleness of popular applause, and, what was still more trying, persecutions from his own Christian brethren. It baving been credibly reported that a number of the younger members of his church bad in their possession immoral and licentious books, he preached upon the subject; whereupon the church resolved unanimously that a committee should be appointed to investigate the matter. But they had not proceeded far in their duty before it was ascertained that nearly every leading family in town had some member implicated in the guilt. This disclosure produced an immediate reaction, and a majority of the church determined not to proceed in the inquiry; so true is it, as his learned biographer remarks, that “nothing is more apt to revolt and alienate, and even to produce intense hostility in the minds of parents, than any thing which threatens the character or the comfort of their children." The result was that great disaffection ensued, the discipline of the church was openly set at defiance, and great declension in zeal and morals naturally followed.
But there was a cause of still deeper disaffection. Mr. Stoddard, the predecessor of Edwards, had been accustomed to receive into the church such as applied for admission, whether they gave any evidence of a change of heart or not; and Mr. Edwards continued the same practice after his ordination. At length doubts as to its rightfulness began to arise in his mind, and continued to increase with such strength that, in 1749, he disclosed to his church his change of opinion, and publicly vindicated it by his Humble Inquiry into the Rules of the Word of God concerning the Qualifications Requisite to a Complete Standing and Full Communion in the Visible Christian Church, which was published in August of that year. This treatise at once produced great excitement in the congregation, and he became tho object of bitter opposition, which continued so long that he concluded to accept a call from the church at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, whither be removed in the spring of 1751. Here he enjoyed great quiet and happiness, and was enabled to complete what for many years he had been engaged in, bis immortal treatise,that on which his fame chiefly rests, The Freedom of the Will and Moral Agency, which was published in the spring of 1754.
The fundamental doctrines which Edwards undertakes to establish in the Freedom of the Will are, that the only rational idea of human freedom is, the power of doing what we please; and that the acts of the will are rendered certain by some other cause than the mere power of willing; or, in other words, that they are the result of the strongest motive presented, and not brought about by the mere “self-determining power of the will;" and he has sustained his position with a degree of novelty, acuteness, depth, precision, and force of reasoning which no one ever before had reached.
In 1755 he wrote two other treatises: one A Dissertation on God's Last End in the Creation of the World ; and the other A Dissertation on the Nature and End of Virtue. But these, together with his treatise on Original Sin, were not published till after his death.
On the death of the Rev. Aaron Burr, President of Princeton College, the trustees invited Mr. Edwards to succeed to that most responsible post,--the presidency of the college.—and he removed thither in the month of January, 1758. All the friends of the college, as well as the students, were highly elated at the thought of having such a man at its head, and the manner in which he entered upon his duties more than answered their highest expectations. But, alas, huw vain are all human calculations! In five weeks after bis introduction into office, he was cut off by the smallpox, on the 22d of March, 1758, in the fifty-fifth year of his age.
Language can hardly express the sense of loss which all good men felt that religion and learning had sustained in the death of this great man, in whose praiso the most distinguished scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have been emulous to speak and write. “On the arena of metaphysics," writes Dr. Chalmers," he stood the highest of all his contemporaries, and we know not what most to admire in him, whether the deep philosophy that issued from his pen, or the humble and childlike picty that issued from his pulpit." The venerable and learned Dr. Erskine, of Scotland, thus wrote a friend :-" The loss sustained by his death, not only by the College of New Jersey, but by the church in general, is irreparable. I do not think our age has produced a divine of equal genius or judgment." Sir James Mackintosh, in his Progress of Ethical Philosophy, says of him, “In the power of subtle argument he was, perhaps, unmatched, certainly unsurpassed, among men.” Dugald Stewart—and no one can speak on such a subject with more authority than he-remarks, “ America may boast of one metapbysician, who, in logical acuteness and subtlety, does not yield to any disputant bred in the universities of Europe. I need not say that I allude to Jonathan Edwards.” Ard Hazlitt, in his Principles of Human Actions, thus writes :-"Having produced him, the Americans need not despair of their metaphysicians. We do not scruple to say that he is one of the acutest, most powerful, and of all reasoners the most conscientious and sincere. His closeness and bis candor are alike admirable."
In summing up his general character, his biographer, Dr. Miller, says, “ Other men, no doubt, have excelled him in particular qualities or accomplishments. There have been far more learned men; far more eloquent men ; far more active and enterprising men in the out-door work of the sacred office. But in the assemblage and happy union of those high qualities, intellectual and moral, which constitute finished excellence,—as a Man, a Christian, a Divine, and a Philosopher,
undoubtedly, one of the greatest and best men that have adorned this or any other country since the apostolic age.”1
1 Read Biography by Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D., in the Sth volume of Sparks's American Biography.
THE FREEDOM OF THE WILL.
If the Will, which we find governs the members of the body, and determines their motions, does not govern itself, and determine its own actions, it doubtless determines them the same way, even by antecedent volitions. The Will determines which way the hands and feet shall move, by an act of choice: and there is no other way of the Will's determining, directing or commanding any thing at all. Whatsoever the Will commands, it commands by an act of the Will. And if it has itself under its command, and determines itself in its own actions, it doubtless does it in the same way that it determines other things which are under its command. So that if the freedom of the Will consists in this, that it has itself and its own actions under its command and direction, and its own volitions are determined by itself, it will follow, that every free volition arises from another antecedent volition, directing and commanding that: and if that directing volition be also free, in that also the Will is determined : that is to say, that directing volition is determined by another going before that; and so on, till we come to the first volition in the whole series; and if that first volition be free, and the Will self-determined in it, then that is determined by another volition preceding that. Which is a contradiction; because by the supposition it can have none before it, to direct or determine it, being the first in the train. But if that first volition is not determined by any preceding act of the Will, then that act is not determined by the Will, and so is not free in the Arminian notion of freedom, which consists in the Will's selfdetermination. And if that first act of the Will which determines and fixes the subsequent acts be not free, none of the following acts, which are determined by it, can be free. If we suppose there are five acts in the train, the fifth and last determined by the fourth, and the fourth by the third, the third by the second, and the second by the first; if the first is not determined by the Will
, and so not free, then none of them are truly determined by the Will: that is, that each of them are as they are, and not otherwise, is not first owing to the Will, but to the determination of the first in the series, which is not dependent on the Will
, and is that which the Will has no hand in determining. And this being that which decides what the rest shall be, and determines their existence; therefore the first determination of their existence is not from the Will. The case is just the same if, instead of a chain of five acts of the Will, we should suppose a succession of ten, or an hundred, or ten thousand. If the first act be not free, being determined by something out of the Will, and this determines the next to be agreeable to itself, and that the next, and so on ; none of them are free, but all originally depend on, and are determined