By NEMS Daily Journal
Few people beginning their new year today will not have made at least some kind of resolutions or a resolution – for personal improvement, to reach a goal or to live better and in a different way.
The practice is ancient and flows though many cultures with many different new year’s days.
Resolutions were practiced early in American history. Among the most prominent and widely known resolvers was Jonathan Edwards, the fiery Presbyterian preacher who, with George Whitefield, the English Anglican/Methodist, is credited with starting the Great Awakening that swept through the 13 colonies and the early United States. Edwards didn’t dabble in the trivial, and reading from his resolutions for 1723 provides a window on the kind of mental and spiritual determination that shapes great people:
Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly intreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.
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.
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, Never to lose one moment of time, but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
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.
Resolved, To strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace …
Resolved, To ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better.
Resolved, Frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism, which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722.
Resolved, Never hence-forward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.
Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.