Slike strani

ily, both on earth and in heaven." The design of this is, to open to him his new state of existence, to enable him to understand its relations and duties, and to give him an earnest of better things in reversion. It is a most refreshing and happy period of his life; and, were he designed for contemplation merely, might well be protracted to its close. But, as we are taught most explicitly, in the word and providence of God, his great worth lies in Action-in imitating Him, whose rule it was "I must do the work of him that sent me, while it is day;" and whose practice it was-that "he went about doing good." The Scriptures are given by the inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,-Wherefore? that the man of God may be perfected, being thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Probably no year in the life of Mr. Edwards, was spent more usefully, than that in which he was oceupied, with his associates, in laying the foundation of sober habits, and sound morals, in the seminary now entrusted to their care. Probably in no equal period, did he more effectually serve God, and his generation. And if, in its progress, he found less of that enjoyment, which grows out of spiritual contemplation; he must have had the more delightful consciousness, that, in the midst of great difficulties and crosses, he had honestly endeavoured to serve God, and to perform his duty.

There may therefore be reason for doubt, whether the change in his feelings, of which he speaks, in the succeeding parts of his Narrative and Diary, was not a declension in this particular species of religious enjoyment, necessarily growing out of the circumstances in which he was placed; rather than a declension in the life and power of religion.

"I continued," he observes, "much in the same frame, in the general, as when at New-York, till I went to New-Haven, as Tutor of the College: particularly, once at Bolton, on a journey froin Boston, while walking out alone in the fields. After I went to New-Haven, I sunk in religion; my mind being diverted from my eager pursuits after holiness, by some affairs, that greatly perplexed and distracted my thoughts.

"In September, 1725, I was taken ill at New-Haven, and while endeavouring to go home to Windsor, was so ill at the North Village, that I could go no farther; where I lay sick, for about a quarter of a year. In this sickness, God was pleased to visit me again, with the sweet influences of his Spirit. My mind was greatly engaged there, on divine and pleasant contemplations, and longings of soul. I observed, that those who watched with me, would often be looking out wishfully for the morning; which brought to my mind those words of the Psalmist, and which my soul with delight made its own language, My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that

watch for the morning; and when the light of day came in at the window, it refreshed my soul, from one morning to another. It seemed to be some image of the light of God's glory.

"I remember, about that time, I used greatly to long for the conversion of some, that I was concerned with; I could gladly honour them, and with delight be a servant to them, and lie at their feet, if they were but truly holy. But some time after this, I was again greatly diverted with some temporal concerns, that exceedingly took up my thoughts, greatly to the wounding of my soul; and went on, through various exercises, that it would be tedious to relate, which gave me much more experience of my own heart, than I ever had before."

While reading the above, we can scarcely fail to remark, that when his mind was freed from the cares and anxieties, necessarily attendant on the discharge of his official duties, and left amid the calm and retirement of sickness, to its own spontaneous movements; it returned instinctively to meditation, and prayer and heavenly contemplation, as its greatest privileges, and found in them, as the means of immediate cominunion with God, the same spiritual enjoyment which it had before experienced. This could scarcely have been the fact, if, in consequence of official cares and perplexities, he had been, as he supposes, the subject of a marked deelension in his religious state and character.

THE remainder of his DIARY, is chiefly confined to the period of his life which we have now reviewed, and is, therefore, inserted here. It is only to be regretted, that, through the multiplicity of his affairs, he should have found it necessary to discontinue it.


Thursday forenoon, Oct. 4, 1723. Have this day fixed and established it, that Christ Jesus has promised me faithfully, that, if I will do what is my duty, and according to the best of my prudence in the matter, that my condition in this world, shall be better for me than any other condition whatever, and more to my welfare, to all eternity. And, therefore, whatever my condition shall be, I will esteem it to be such; and if I find need of faith in the matter, that I will confess it as impiety before God. Vid. Resolution 57, and

June 9.

Sabbath night, Oct. 7. Have lately erred, in not allowing time enough for conversation.

Friday night, Oct. 12. I see there are some things quite contrary to the soundness and perfection of christianity, in which almost all good men do allow themselves, and where innate corruption has an unrestrained secret vent, which they never take notice of, or think to be no hurt, or cloke under the name of virtue; which

things exceedingly darken the brightness, and hide the loveliness, of christianity. Who can understand his errors? O that I might be kept from secret faults!

Sabbath morning, Oct. 14. Narrowly to observe after what manner I act, when I am in a hurry, and to act as much so, at other times, as I can, without prejudice to the business.

Monday morning, Oct. 15. I seem to be afraid, after errors and decays, to give myself the full exercise of spiritual meditation: -Not to give way to such fears.

Thursday, Oct. 18. To follow the example of Mr. B. who, though he meets with great difficulties, yet undertakes them with a smiling countenance, as though he thought them but little; and speaks of them, as if they were very small.

Friday night, Nov. 1. When I am unfit for other business, to perfect myself in writing characters.*

Friday afternoon, Nov. 22. For the time to come, when I am in a lifeless frame in secret prayer, to force myself to expatiate, as if I were praying before others more than I used to do.

Tuesday forenoon, Nov. 26. It is a most evil and pernicious practice, in meditations on afflictions, to sit ruminating on the aggravations of the affliction, and reckoning up the evil, dark circumstances thereof, and dwelling long on the dark side: it doubles and trebles the affliction. And so, when speaking of them to others, to make them as bad as we can, and use our eloquence to set forth our own troubles, is to be all the while making new trouble, and feeding and pampering the old; whereas, the contrary practice, would starve our affliction. If we dwelt on the bright side of things in our thoughts, and extenuated them all that we possibly could, when speaking of them, we should think little of them ourselves, and the affliction would, really, in a great measure, vanish away. Friday night, Nov. 29. As a help to attention in social prayer, to take special care to make a particular remark, at the beginning of every petition, confession, &c.

Monday morning, Dec. 9. To observe, whether I express any kind of fretting emotion, for the next three weeks.

Thursday night, Dec. 12. If, at any time, I am forced to tell others wherein I think they are somewhat to blame; in order to avoid the important evil that would otherwise ensue, not to tell it to them so, that there shall be a probability of their taking it as the effect of little, fretting, angry emotions of mind.-Vid. Aug. 28. When I do want, or am likely to want, good books, to spend time in studying Mathematics, and in reviewing other kinds of old learning; to spend more time in visiting friends, in the more private duties of a pastor, in taking care of worldly business, in going abroad and other things that I may contrive.

*He probably refers to short-hand characters.

Friday morning, Dec. 27. At the end of every month, to examine my behaviour, strictly, by some chapter in the New Testament, more especially made up of rules of life.-At the end of the year, to examine my behaviour by the rules of the New Testament in general, reading many chapters. It would also be convenient, some time at the end of the year, to read, for this purpose, in the book of Proverbs.

Tuesday night, Dec. 31. Concluded never to suffer, nor express, any angry emotions of mind, more or less, except the honour of God calls for it in zeal for him, or to preserve myself from being trampled on.

1724. Wednesday, Jan. 1. Not to spend too much time in think~ ing, even of important and necessary worldly business, and to allow every thing its proportion of thought, according to its urgency and importance.

Thursday night, Jan. 2. These things established-That time gained in things of lesser importance, is as much gained in things of greater; that a minute, gained in times of confusion, conversation, or in a journey, is as good as a minute gained in my study, at my most retired times; and so in general that a minute gained at one time, is as good as at another.

Friday night, Jan. 3. The time and pains laid out in seeking the world, is to be proportioned to the necessity, usefulness, and importance of it, with respect to another world, together with the uncertainty of succeeding, the uncertainty of living, and of retaining; provided, that nothing that our duty enjoins, or that is amiable, be omitted, and nothing sinful or unbecoming be done for the sake of it.

Friday, Jan. 10. [After having written to a considerable extent, in short-hand, which he used, when he wished what he wrote to be effectually concealed from every one but himself, he adds the following.] Remember to act according to Prov. xii. 23, A prudent man concealeth knowledge.

Monday, Jan. 20. I have been very much to blame, in that I have not been as full, and plain and downright, in my standing up for virtue and religion, when I have had fair occasion, before those who seemed to take no delight in such things. If such conversation would not be agreeable to them, I have in some degree minced the matter, that I might not displease, and might not speak right against the grain, more than I should have loved to have done with others, to whom it would be agreeable to speak directly for religion. ought to be exceedingly bold with such persons, not talking in a melancholy strain, but in one confident and fearless, assured of the truth and excellence of the cause.


Monday, Feb. 3. Let every thing have the value now which it will have on a sick bed: and frequently, in my pursuits of whatever

kind, let this question come into my mind, "How much shall I value this, on my death-bed?"

Wednesday, Feb. 5. I have not, in times past, in my prayers, enough insisted on the glorifying of God in the world, on the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, the prosperity of the Church and the good of man. 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 prayers of the whole church; and that 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 free, religious conversation. I find by conversing on Natural Philosophy, that I gain knowledge abundantly faster, and see the reasons of things much more clearly than in private study: wherefore, earnestly to seek, at all times, for religious conversation; for those, with whom I can, at all times, with profit and delight, and with freedom, so converse.

Friday, Feb. 7. Resolved, If God will assist me to it, that I will not care about things, when, upon any account, I have prospect of ill-success or adversity; and that I will not think about it, any further than just to do what prudence directs to for prevention, according to Phil. iv. 6, Be careful for nothing; to 1 Pet. v. 7, Cast all your care upon God, for he careth for you; and again, Take no thought for the morrow; and again, Take no thought, saying, What shall I eat, and what shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed: seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Saturday night, Feb. 15. I find that when eating, I cannot be convinced in the time of it, that if I should eat more, I should exceed the bounds of strict temperance, though I have had the experience of two years of the like; and yet, as soon as I have done, in three minutes I am convinced of it. But yet, when I eat again, and remember it, still, while eating, I am fully convinced that I have not eaten what is but for nature, nor can I be convinced that my appetite and feeling is as it was before. It seems to me that I shall be somewhat faint if I leave off then; but when I have finished, I am convinced again, and so it is from time to time.-I have observed that more really seems to be truth, when it makes for my interest, or is, in other respects, according to my inclination, than it seems, if it be otherwise; and it seems to me, that the words in which I express it are more than the thing will properly bear. But if the thing be against my interest, the words of different import seem as much as the thing will properly bear.-Though there is some little seeming, indecorum, as if it looked like affectation, in re

« PrejšnjaNaprej »