Jan 28, 2008

A response to "resistance" and pacifism. (Part II)

As a humble disclaimer, I would like to proclaim that my research has been troubling, and at best, convicting of my own personal conscience in the perceptions of this particular topic. When I first undertook this response and owned the burden of proof, I underestimated the task at hand, and saw very quickly that this is not an easy issue to explore. While I find that my opinion and proof for it is easily grounded in scripture, church history, and extra-biblical sources, I must admit that I find sympathetic and evident proof for the opposing argument. I would also like to further note that my “humanity” at most points of personal conflict was the antagonist of God’s revealed word. This opposition was due to my personal, fair, and humane sense of justice that should be dealt equally amongst all mankind. Most importantly, it was a matter of changing my feelings about such things and finding a better way. Let it be known my partiality will influence my opinion on this subject. Be it as it may, I will make the best attempt within my humanity to be neutral in the presentation and to address the subject matter I proposed in the initial post of Part I.

(Once again, all cited scripture comes from the NASB unless otherwise noted)

The first verse I would like discuss and address is Matthew 5:39 from the teaching of Jesus at the Sermon on the Mount. As Jesus ascended the Mount and took His seat from which our Master was to teach, He began to deliver His Beatitudes. These scriptures for many cite the peaceable and rewarded nature that Christ has taught the Christian to live and strive for daily. In this discourse of instruction for the believers life, Jesus says the blessed are those who are poor in spirit, mourn, are gentle, hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, and of course the high note, are peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Immediately after, Jesus reminds them of the result and consequence of exhibiting this type of behavior in the world. Because He has taught the believer to exhibit these traits and characteristics, the world’s response will obviously be the same as it was to our Master, as He endured the very persecution and insult as the prophets and foresaw that we too would receive the same treatment (vv11-12). The teachings of our Lord enter their fullness through the Beatitudes and He comforts His children as He gives warning of what is to come as a result.

Let’s take a look at the preceding verse in Matthew 5:38. This verse gives the reader a detailed description of what Jesus is about to proclaim. If the reader is not discerning or taking into consideration the whole of scripture, it is easy to read into the text an absolution of any kind of retribution. The basis of this proclamation, “You have heard that it was said” is in Exodus 21:24. The entire 21st chapter of Exodus gives ordinances to the people that clearly define the dealings of retribution and retaliation when it comes to personal offense. The issue at stake here is not the misunderstanding of the words our Lord is speaking, it’s a misreading of what our Lord is referring to and what He eventually addresses. The law of retaliation (Exo_21:23-25;Lev_24:19, Lev_24:20; Deu_19:21) gave a clear prescription of how to administer justice and provide an example to others of what God’s law required of the individual, and the punishment for violation. So now we ask the question, “What does that have to do with Jesus stating that you should turn the other cheek?” Well, quite simply, we must always remember the audience, and what kind of understanding they would have when being addressed by a Rabbi, leader, or specifically here, Jesus. The understanding they would have is the knowledge of the abuse of this law that was being carried out by current rabbinical tradition.

To understand the violation that was occurring under rabbinical tradition we must know what means were to be utilized to carry out these ordinances properly. As was cited above, the Old Testament ordinances provided direction, or inference of who was to make the decisions and appropriate the justice in regard to any given violation of the Law (Exo 21:22; Deu 19:18; Lev 24:14-16). This ordination of the magistrate (or governing body) to carry out justice is a clear and obvious illustration of scriptural governance and justified punishment. One obvious problem with this mandate being carried out personally by an individual is the obvious nature of the sinful human condition. The same condition which would cause the person to go above and beyond the outlined ordinances, and take more than he should, is the very condition that Christ is speaking of here in Matthew chapter five. What we have in the Lord’s words is a clear rebuke of what the Scribes and Pharisees had perverted with their own advocacy of personal revenge. Further evidence (Pro 20:22; Pro 24:29) in the scripture to prohibit personal revenge further proves the need of instruction by Jesus in this text and gives a solemn example and precedence of why He makes the statement, “Turn to him the other also…”

"Not to restrain evil is neither just nor kind. It fails to protect the innocent and has the effect of encouraging the wicked in their evil. Proper restraint of evil, however, not only is just but is beneficient as well. (MacArthur)

Arthur Pink said,

”Magistrates and judges were never ordained by God for the purpose of reforming reprobates or pampering degenerates, but to be His instruments for preserving law and order by being a terror to evil. As Romans chapter 13 says, they are to be “a revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil.”… Conscience has become comatose. The requirements of justice are stifled; maudlin concepts now prevail. As eternal punishment was repudiated—either tacitly or in many cases openly—ecclesiastical punishments were shelved. Churches refuse to enforce sanctions and wink at flagrant offenses. The inevitable outcome has been the breakdown of discipline in the home and the creation of ‘public opinion,’ which is mawkish and spineless. School teachers are intimidated by foolish parents and children so that the rising generation are more and more allowed to have their own way without fear of consequences. And if some judge has the courage of his convictions, and sentences a brute for maiming and old woman, there is an outcry against the judge.” (An exposition of the Sermon on the Mount [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974], p.112-13)

So the question remains, what evil is to be resisted then? The word Anthistēmi (resist) means set against or oppose and in this verse obviously refers to harm done by someone who is evil. This would bring the understanding immediately back to a personal attack and specifically against the dignity of the person. The Jewish practice of striking one across the face was extremely demeaning and spiteful. Jesus endured such treatment without retaliation from such Jews (cf. Matt. 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; John 18:22). Turning the other cheek symbolizes the nonavenging, nonretaliatory, humble, and gentle spirit that is to characterize kingdom citizens (cf. vv. 3, 5). When evil was directed against others, especially His Father—as when He cleansed the Temple of those who defiled His Father’s house, Jesus strongly resisted it (Matthew 21:12). While this remains a sole event to illustrate non-resistance, there is also the resistance when it was personally against Him and His character or dignity (Matt. 26:67-68). (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 1-7 [Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1985], p.332-33)

This brings us to the final entry in this post. In direct relation to the “resistance” of evil, or “resist an evil person” a definition is necessary. If one has a presupposed idea of this text, and it is in error, the error can only further misrepresentation in the teaching of Jesus, and a misconception of how to apply it to the Christian life. Because the above definition of what the commandment meant, how Jewish culture exercised it in life, we should see how Jesus’ sayings would influence the mind and hearts of those hearing His words that day. This post is not advocating any preference of physical retaliation or violence toward any one individual for any reason. What is being illustrated hear is that the command Jesus issued in the Scripture is not one that abrogates defense of one’s person upon attack (or in later posts war and Christian involvement in it.) As most would like to see here in this particular text, I disagree with it being a command to not defend one’s person, or initiate defense for someone who is unable to do so on behalf of them. These issues will be addressed in upcoming posts and until then I urge you to consider the rest of this passages context, the commands, and what they directly relate to. Ideally the legalities and ordinances given for Christian action when involved in civil suits or disputes (cf. vv 5:40-42)

(other sources include John Gill's Exposition of the whole Bible, Matthew Henry's Commentary, Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown Commentary, and the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge)

Jan 22, 2008

Service ended when?

After leaving services on Sunday morning I had set off to accomplish the rest of this weeks homework and pick up some groceries. I was aspiring to finish all of my weekly notes so that I may catch up on rest between workdays and achieve that ever elusive sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Seeing as I was only after a couple of gallons of orange juice at the grocery store, I wasn't very picky about where I was going to shop except for whether it was en route to home or not. I hate going out of my way to drive somewhere that isn't convenient.

With convenience in mind, I didn't feel like doing any extra activities or acquiring any extra chores. That was going to change as soon as I realized that my mission to the grocery story had more to it than orange juice and lunch-meat.

I arrived at the most convenient Kroger's near my house and found a somewhat decent parking spot. It was freezing cold and easily below zero. The wind was gusting and there were light flurries in the air. When I exited my car I pocketed a couple of Gospel of John booklets and proceeded to the door of the market. I was determined to give away at least one, if not all of the gospel's in my pocket. When I got to the doorway I noticed an individual walking slowly with his bicycle. We made eye contact several times, and at the initial first-look I knew that I was going to share the Gospel, no doubt about it.

Stephen Alexander approached me and said, "Hey man, got a cigarette?" I replied to that I had quit smoking some two plus years ago. He instantly proclaimed his "need" for a smoke and I laughed in recognition with him as I too knew that "desperate" feeling. Desperation was not the only emotion Stephen exhibited in his need for a cigarette. His face, voice, eyes, and clothing all screamed in desperation. My heart broke inside because I was all too familiar with the state of being and mind that he was in. I knew almost instantaneously that Stephen was obviously homeless and the smell of camp fuel was indicative of someone who was sleeping outdoors or in a garage. The conversation swung quickly from cigarettes to warmth, and eventually, to what he needed, I felt an obligation to serve this man today.

Stephen's next statement was that he had just run out of fuel and Kroger had run out. From further inquiry, he noted that he was keeping warm by using a Coleman heater. I told him to set his bicycle in the vestibule and I would take him to get some more fuel at another location. Immediately I was overjoyed at knowing that while helping serve this man's immediate need I would be able to minister the full-counsel of God to him! He was very happy and surprised to be receiving so much help. While we drove he mentioned his alcohol problem and why he was in the streets. Eventually he made a statement and said, "Instead of going to get fuel, can you take me to the Salvation Army? I would like to detox and get clean." This came as a surprise to me
because I thought he was going to ask me to take him to get some alcohol.

Unfortunately, the Salvation Army's capacity was full and they told us to try back Tuesday morning. So we proceeded to get the fuel for his heater and discussed things further, and every time the conversation took a detour, I always brought it back to Christ and Salvation. One more time Steve started to ask me for something and jumped the gun in my mind again and assumed he was going to ask for a drink. But this time he asked for food, which I intended on buying him anyway. We got him some McDonald's and returned to his bike. After learning that he couldn't read the Bible he had, or the information I had just given him, It was imparative that I buy him some reading glasses. We tested them out before I bought them and they worked just fine!

After all was said and done Stephen and I had prayer and some departing words. He seemed astonished and couldn't believe how much I was helping him. I wasn't, I just kept thinking of Christ Jesus and this mans need for his grace. Stephen was convinced the whole ordeal was heaven sent, and so was I. The Lord was there doing something in that man's heart and whatever was accomplished will be for His Glory. I will make a journey tomorrow to see if I can find him and his tent, and seek yet one more place for refuge for him. Please pray there is a bed open somewhere for him, and that I may be able to get him to it.

Driving home from the whole ordeal I wept and begged God for his mercy. This touches home for me because I know personally this man's plight. Many assume the homeless are either pitiful and need our help, and others assume that they are there because they choose to be and that they are unreachable because they don't want help. I implore with anyone who works with the street people or homeless citizens anywhere to be ever cautious, and know that many, choose to be where they are for a reason. While there are a few who have gone the dishonorable route in life and are waiting for a hand to pull them out of it.

Always and faithfully ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and dutifully seeking His will....

Jan 19, 2008

More Patience, Wait on God...

Vision and Darkness

When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him —Genesis 15:12

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in "the shadow of His hand" (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a "darkness" that comes from too much light-that is the time to listen. The story of Abram and Hagar in Genesis 16 is an excellent example of listening to so-called good advice during a time of darkness, rather than waiting for God to send the light. When God gives you a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will bring the vision He has given you to reality in your life if you will wait on His timing. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Abram went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all of his self-sufficiency was destroyed. He grew past the point of relying on his own common sense. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not a period of God’s displeasure. There is never any need to pretend that your life is filled with joy and confidence; just wait upon God and be grounded in Him (see Isaiah 50:10-11 ).

Do I trust at all in the flesh? Or have I learned to go beyond all confidence in myself and other people of God? Do I trust in books and prayers or other joys in my life? Or have I placed my confidence in God Himself, not in His blessings? "I am Almighty God . . ."— El-Shaddai, the All-Powerful God (Genesis 17:1). The reason we are all being disciplined is that we will know God is real. As soon as God becomes real to us, people pale by comparison, becoming shadows of reality. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever upset the one who is built on God.

You can find more devotions like these at this site!.

Jan 17, 2008

Yeah, Yeah, Patience is a Virtue…

(All scriptures NAS)

When experiencing the most nail-biting, fist-clenching, white-knuckling, grueling moments that test your patience and endurance, do you ever think of the patience and endurance of our Lord? I write this with no intent or direction toward anyone other than myself, and if it falls upon you, may you be blessed as well. I so love the word of our Lord as there's nothing that it doesn't reveal for us. There are no dark areas in our world that the light of God has cannot shine upon, His revelation is clear and concise, and cuts to the quick! That said, my motto has forever been, "Patience is a virtue, but it can also kill you!" I always said this because I hated waiting for things that I knew eventually would not go my way.

1Ti 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

As the Apostle Paul here makes a proclamation of the patience of our Lord he cites what appears to be his prominence and high favor that he held in the Lord. Who wouldn't be seemingly high-esteemed in believing they have favor in our Lord Jesus? His infinite mercy is enough to cause anyone who rightly has it and warrants an exceeding amount of joy and hope. As a matter of fact, the scriptures state that the fruits of the Spirit manifest themselves in our life as a result of those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Yet for this reason I found mercy… Paul reflects on the abundant grace of Jesus Christ in the previous verse that it deserves full acceptance that Christ came into the world to save sinners. The only reason that he has found mercy in the Lord, is because Jesus came to save sinners. Paul goes on to make the proclamation that among sinners that he is (v15) foremost of all... This is no mere understatement or false humility. Paul does not make this proclamation based upon his false piety or self-righteousness. He makes this statement based on his honest assessment of who he really is outside the grace of God. I too, am chief of sinners when my deeds are compared to the light of our Lord. His grace is more than abundant (v14). I find that a tad encouraging, to know that just a little of the Lord's grace is enough to cover a multitude of transgressions. To describe it is not doing it justice but it brings it into perspective. That's true, saving, amazing grace! So that in me as the foremost... Paul is not assigning himself superiority, what he does here is assign the true value of grace that is worthy of the Lord's mercy. Paul, the accuser of the Church, murderer of Christians, and persecutor of the Lord Jesus proclaims the value of his redemption in the Lord. The very man, who stood at command of the death of Stephen, bows at the feet of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. AMEN! For His mercy is worth being waited upon. Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Do you have to explain that one? Should it even warrant any explanation? I don't believe so, but glory to the Lord of Hosts, let's talk about it! Christ demonstrates His PERFECT PATIENCE. How hard would it be for you or I to exhibit patience when wrath is due someone who knowingly, admittedly, and fully deserves the justice coming to them? The temptation of man to exact payback and demand retribution all too often drives our desires. We see this in the many things we do in life. Relationships, desires, decisions, and even when to go to bed is all driven by our own use or misuse of patience. This deserves much more attention on our behalf's, and the Christian should often examine His own fruits, as we all too often spend way too much time inspecting everyone else's. Not only is Paul stating his undeserving state, but he explains his understanding of the infinite mercy Jesus shows to those that belong to Him. While I place expectations on others, have I fulfilled those that the Lord and I have on myself?

1Ti 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

The days of Noah during the construction of the Ark (I Pe 3:20) attribute a perfect example of the Lord's patience, 120 years He waited on the people of the Earth to repent, and they did not, except eight, who entered the Ark. Then there's the clear implication that His patience is so merciful, that man consistently believes he may put it to the test, forever trying to run the duration of our Lord's patience (Is. 7:13).

It seems to me that the patience we have, in all things should be measured upon not what we feel has been given us according to each one in a matter of portion. But, that we should measure the patience we have by the quality of its substance. The waiting and patience described in the NT is not any superficial like "patiently waiting for tomorrow's mail." This reduces patience down to something you know is going to come and merely becomes a delay or prolonging. No, the patience and waiting described is a patience that consists of eagerness and certainty. Not a certainty of knowledge of the result, a certainty on the Sovereignty of God! How great a blessing to be had to know that WE get to WAIT on the return of our Lord with a certainty that He will do as He has promised! Redeem those whom are His! So what is this eagerness like? It's a blessing that is afforded us through the knowledge of our Master's return.

Luke 12:35-38
"Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.
"Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks.
"Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.
"Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

Rom 8:24-25 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Php 3:20-21 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; (21) who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

The conclusion is maybe not obvious for you, but is clearly obvious for me. Tonight, I've learned there is a greater joy in awaiting the will of our Lord then there is in pursuing the desires of our flesh. Even though our actions may be based upon good, well-intentioned, and providential motives, we can go seriously wrong. The only way to go right is through the will of our Lord. If Jesus Christ could wait patiently upon the heinous and gruesome acts of Paul, save him from damnation and give him purpose, then we too can await on the Lord to provide patience and an ability to await His will in our lives. This seems to me a bit better than me hurrying something along to get a temporary fix to a permanent problem. That's my thought today. Please be "Patient" in your commenting!

Jan 16, 2008

War or Defeat?

Just a thought, maybe more than a thought. Perhaps a fear. A fear of imagining what it'd be like to dwell upon the earth during the Woe trumpets proclaimed in Revelation 8:13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!" (NAS) This would be absolutely terrifying. Yet, those who are unredeemed and know not the Lord of Salvation, then they would still attempt to deny the truth they'll witness with their own eyes.

Saw a church sign today that said "If you are living as if there is no God, you better be right!" Another sobering thought.

I thank God Almighty that He has given a Spirit to us with which we can have assurance and hope in. A spirit that gives us strength and power to fight the uphill battle that weakens our human legs and burdens our fallen bodies. The despair that was once had has been defeated in the victory of calvary, and the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:13-14 said, for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Be assured that we will always be at war, but engaged in a war that vanquishes the enemy little by little until at last....complete victory.

Jan 6, 2008

Love for Christ = Love for Doctrine?

Conformity to the truth of Scripture, Love for Christ, and Application in the Christian life will generate a necessity to defend doctrinal truth. So much minimization of doctrinal truth in exchange for unity amongst the brethren is a catastrophe and needs to be properly understood...

Please listen HERE. This clip is brought to you by Oldtruth blog.

Jan 3, 2008

Secular thought, proved right?

As many of my readers already know, some may not, that I am studying social work. Better yet, I am studying it at a Semi-Emergent, liberal Free-Methodist College. For sake of labeling, I think that one barely does it justice, thank you very much. Aside from that qualifying statement, the textbook I am currently reading has made several statements about the development of a child, and this is the one I have found most amusing...

"Cross-cultural studies show that children all begin to babble in a systematic way. Some aspects of language still baffle us: children always learn to say no before yes." -Human behavior in the social environment, Ashford, Lecroy, & Lortie (3rd Ed.) emphasis mine.

Learn? who said this is a matter of learning, if "we" are so baffled by this notion, after thousands of years of human history and learning, something has to be a definitive source to determine what "really" is occurring here. I'll make an assumption here, and it's one I'm sure will be mutual among many, and that is this, the answer is not the one "we" want, nor the one "we" will accept.

Maybe just maybe...

The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.
(Psa 58:3)

Our nature already says NO! To any order, any law, or any thing right. And in fact needs to be righted. What say you?

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2Co 5:17)

Jan 1, 2008

A response to "resistance" and pacifism. (Part I)

A sister in the Lord has posed a question, this question has been a slightly ongoing discussion between her and I. Consideration of our presuppositions should always be laid out beforehand and set aside in lieu of scriptural authority. I hope to attempt and succeed at avoiding frivolous personal preference in favor of presenting accurate descriptions of the nature of our Lord and His direction in warfare and justice in the Old Testament. To further refute the notion that warfare is not biblical, I hope to illustrate the presence of direction, instruction, and reasonable justification of war through the citation of war, the sword, or action against an enemy (of God) in the New Testament.

This by no means will be exhaustive, but thorough in its description. It is purely a survey of findings thus far and I pray to do it justice. I merely hope to provide an answer to a question that requires an answer, and further promotes a proper biblical view of the precepts our Lord has given in scripture.

(all scripture quotations will come from the NASB unless otherwise noted)

First the pacifist position states that the Christian is to renounce and separate themselves from any participation in war, murder, or violence toward any other person. No matter the catalyst or consequence, the Christian must abstain from any such practice. Common citations of scripture include the verse in Mat. 5:39 "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." There is also the immediate thought of all Christians (at least I would hope) of Murder being profoundly ruled against through the commandment of our Lord given to Moses in Exodus 20:13 "You shall not murder." I have also heard the citation of Luke 3:14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."

Now I have based the initiation of this examination on just a few of the scriptures utilized to abrogate Christian participation or view of war and further remove the unchanging nature of God from a position of tolerance of war (OT) to pacifism (NT). I would also like to further point out the need to clarify the error based on this position. This does not just cause one to become antagonistic toward war, be it just or unjust, but also furthers a misunderstanding, misinterpretation, and bad hermeneutic when reading the Word of our Lord and living out His commands in our life. This error can also present a severe stumbling block when approaching the Word of God and rightly dividing the truths contained within.

Because I have elected to respond to this question I will bear the burden of proof and provide answers to the selected scriptures above. If there are others that any of you would like to present for explanation, I humbly accept any commentary and/or proof to be examined. But for now, the discussion will be limited to these particular texts.

In Closing for this installment, please consider the notion needed to understand the presentation and need for clarification on this matter. The opposition to conflict by way of war or battle is a contradiction to the truth of God's unchanging nature/being. To state that Jesus did away with war/violence etc., in the NT is to say that God somehow changed His ways in how He dealt with the world, most notably the wicked. That said, the next post will include some clarification on the cited scriptures, a treatment of the nature of God's dealings with men in war and peace, and a remedy to the idea posed by my arguments "War contradicts the teachings of Jesus." I do not believe in any way whatsoever that war and civil justice dealt by the authorities given by God and placed by God (Romans 13) conflict with the nature Jesus admonished us to exhibit in loving our neighbor or our enemy.

See you then....

New Year's Resolutions

Jonathan Edwards

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. 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, 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 to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, 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 avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do any thing, 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. (Resolutions 1 through 21 written in one setting in New Haven in 1722)

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God' s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, 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.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. 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.

29. 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.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say any thing at all against any body, 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 anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Proverbs 20:6,‹A faithful man who can find?Š may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, to do always, what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narrations never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. 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. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord' s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do any thing of which I so much question the lawfulness of, 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.

40. 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. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. 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, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God' s; agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12, 1723.

44. Resolved, 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. January 12, 1723.

45. Resolved, 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. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting 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.

47. Resolved, to endeavor, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving and sincere temper; and to do at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5, 1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. 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. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if, I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it, and let the event be just as providence orders it. I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty, and then according to Ephesians 6:6-8, to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man:‹knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.Š June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. 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 luster, 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. January 14 and July 13, 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those ‹groanings which cannot be utteredŠ (Romans 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those‹breakings of soul for the longing it hath,Š of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness, of which I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton' s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. August 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. August 17, 1723.