One of the more syncopated and fun songs out of the Baptist hymnal growing up was a ditty called, “I Am Resolved”. I always loved singing the bass line with its moving parts and echoes. Fun stuff. The first verse and chorus goes like this:
I am resolved no longer to linger
Charmed by the world’s delights
Things that are higher, things that are nobler
These have allured my sight!
I will hasten to him
Hasten so glad and free (Bass—me—oohh, sing it: Hasten so glad and free!)
Jesus, greatest, highest
I will come to Thee!*
One hundred and fifty years before that song pealed forth from the lungs of robust Baptists, Jonathan Edwards penned his own treatise of resolutions, a list of 70 things he was resolved to lay down, take up, and set forth to do**. These Resolutions were a dedication of himself to God—a giving up of himself, his rights and all that he had. Mr. Edwards went over this list each week with the Lord, allowing the Spirit to take inventory of his heart. Here are just a few:
LIVE A PURPOSEFUL LIFE
RESOLVED, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, but what tends to the glory of God
RESOLVED, never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
LIVE A GROWING LIFE
RESOLVED, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find…myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
RESOLVED, to strive every week to be brought higher (spiritually), and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.
LIVE AN EXAMINED LIFE
RESOLVED, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent—what sin I have committed—; also, at the end of every week, month, and year.
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.
LIVE A HUMBLE LIFE
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.
RESOLVED,…all my life long, with the greatest openness of which I am capable, 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.
LIVE A HOLY LIFE
RESOLVED, in narrations, never to speak any thing but the pure and simple [truth].
RESOLVED, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
LIVE A CONSECRATED LIFE
RESOLVED, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God.
RESOLVED, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.
LIVE IN LOVE
RESOLVED, never to do anything out of revenge.
RESOLVED, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor…
RESOLVED, to do always what I can toward making, maintaining and preserving peace.
LIVE IN LIGHT OF ETERNITY
RESOLVED, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
RESOLVED, [that] I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best…when I come into the future world.
*entire hymn found here.
**for all 70 “Resolutions for Godly Living,” visit Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ website. Thanks to Life Actions Ministry’s “HeartCry: A Journal on Revival and Spiritual Awakening” for providing this piece (Issue 37: Winter 2007, pp59-61)