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ligious conversation, as there is also in acts of kindness; yet this is to be broke through.
Tuesday, Feb. 18. Resolved, To act with sweetness and benevolence, and according to the 47th Resolution, in all bodily dispositions,―sick or well, at ease or in pain, sleepy or watchful, and not to suffer discomposure of body to discompose my mind.
Saturday, Feb. 22. I observe that there are some evil habits, which do increase and grow stronger, even in some good people, as they grow older; habits that much obscure the beauty of christianity some things which are according to their natural tempers, which, in some measure, prevails when they are young in Christ, and the evil disposition, having an unobserved control, the habit at last grows very strong, and commonly regulates the practice until death. By this means, old christians are very commonly, in some respects, more unreasonable than those who are young. I am afraid of contracting such habits, particularly of grudging to give, and to do, and of procrastinating.
Sabbath, Feb. 23. I must be contented, where I have any thing strange or remarkable to tell, not to make it appear so remarkable as it is indeed; lest through the fear of this, and the desire of making a thing appear very remarkable, I should exceed the bounds of simple verity. When I am at a feast, or a meal, that very well pleases my appetite, I must not merely take care to leave off with as much of an appetite as at ordinary meals; for when there is a great variety of dishes, I may do that, after I have eaten twice as much as at other meals, is sufficient. If I act according to my resolution, I shall desire riches no otherwise, than as they are helpful to religion. But this I determine, as what is really evident from many parts of Scripture, that to fallen man, they have a greater tendency to hurt religion.
Monday, March 16. To practice this sort of self-denial, when at sometimes on fair days, I find myself more particularly disposed to regard the glories of the world, than to betake myself to the study of serious religion.
Saturday, May 23. How it comes about I know not, but I have remarked it hitherto, that at those times, when I have read the Scriptures most, I have evermore been most lively and in the best frame.
"AT YALE COLLEGE."
Saturday night, June 6. This week has been a very remarkable week with me, with respect to despondencies, fears, perplexities, multitudes of cares, and distraction of mind: it being the week I came hither to New-Haven, in order to entrance upon the office of Tutor of the College. I have now, abundant reason to be convinced, of the troublesomeness and vexation of the world, and that it never will be another kind of world.
Tuesday, July 7. When I am giving the relation of a thing,
remember to abstain faom altering either in the matter or manner of speaking, so much, as that, if every one, afterwards, should alter as much, it would at last come to be properly false.
Tuesday, Sept. 2. By a sparingness in diet, and eating as much. as may be, what is light and easy of digestion, I shall doubtless be able to think more clearly, and shall gain time; 1. By lengthening out my life; 2. Shall need less time for digestion, after meals; 3. Shall be able to study more closely, without injury to my health; 4. Shall need less time for sleep; 5. Shall more seldom be troubled with the head-ache.
Saturday night, Sept. 12. Crosses of the nature of that, which I met with this week, thrust me quite below all comforts in religion. They appear no more than vanity and stubble, especially when I meet with them so unprepared for them. I shall not be fit to encounter them, except I have a far stronger, and more permanent faith, hope and love.
Wednesday, Sept. 30. It has been a prevailing thought with me, to which I have given place in practice, that it is best, sometimes, to eat or drink, when it will do me no good, because the hurt, that it will do me, will not be equal, to the trouble of denying myself. But I have determined, to suffer that thought to prevail no longer. The hurries of commencement, and diversion of the vacancy, has been the occasion of my sinking so exceedingly, as in the three last weeks.
Monday, Oct. 5. I believe it is a good way, when prone to unprofitable thoughts, to deny myself and break off my thoughts, by keeping diligently to my study, that they may not have time to operate to work me to such a listless frame. I am apt to think it a good way, when I am indisposed to reading and study, to read of my own remarks, the fruit of my study in divinity, &c., to set me agoing again.
Friday, Nov. 6. Felt sensibly, somewhat of that trust and affiance, in Christ, and with delight committing of my soul to him, of which our divines used to speak, and about which, I have been somewhat in doubt.
Tuesday, Nov. 10. To mark all that I say in conversation, merely to beget in others, a good opinion of myself, and examine it.
Sabbath, Nov. 15. Determined, when I am indisposed to prayer, always to premeditate what to pray for; and that it is better, that the prayer should be of almost any shortness, than that my mind should be almost continually off from what I say.
Sabbath, Nov. 22. Considering that by-standers always copy some faults, which we do not see, ourselves, or of which, at least, we are not so fully sensible; and that there are many secret workings of corruption, which escape our sight, and of which, others only are sensible: Resolved, therefore, that I will, if I can by any
convenient means, learn what faults others find in me, or what things they see in me, that appear any way blame-worthy, unlovely, or unbecoming.
Friday, Feb. 12, 1725. The very thing I now want, to give me a clearer and more immediate view of the perfections and glory of God, is as clear a knowledge of the manner of God's exerting himself, with respect to Spirits and Mind, as I have, of his operations concerning Matter and Bodies.
Tuesday, Feb. 16. A virtue, which I need in a higher degree, to give a beauty and lustre to my behaviour, is gentleness. If I had more of an air of gentleness, I should be much mended.
Friday, May 21. If ever I am inclined to turn to the opinion of any other Sect: Resolved, Beside the most deliberate consideration, earnest prayer, &c., privately to desire all the help that can possiby be afforded me, from some of the most judicious men in the country, together with the prayers of wise and holy men, however strongly persuaded I may seem to be, that I am in the right.
Saturday, May 22. When I reprove for faults, whereby I am in any way injured, to defer, till the thing is quite over and done with; for that is the way, both to reprove aright, and without the least mixture of spirit, or passion, and to have reproofs effectual, and not suspected.
Friday, May 28. It seems to me, that whether I am now converted or not, I am so settled in the state I am in, that I shall go on in it all my life. But, however settled I may be, yet I will continue to pray to God, not to suffer me to be deceived about it, nor to sleep in an unsafe condition; and ever and anon, will call all into questien and try myself, using for helps, some of our old divines, that God may have opportunities to answer my prayers, and the Spirit of God to show me my error, if I am in one.
Saturday night, June 6. I am sometimes in a frame so listless, that there is no other way of profitably improving time, but conversation, visiting, or recreation, or some bodily exercise. However it may be best in the first place, before resorting to either of these, to try the whole circle of my mental employments.
Nov. 16. When confined at Mr. Stiles'. I think it would be of special advantage to me, with respect to my truer interest, as near as I can in my studies, to observe this rule. To let half a day's, or at most, a day's study in other things, be succeeded, by half a day's, or a day's study in Divinity.
One thing wherein I have erred, as I would be complete in all social duties, is, in neglecting to write letters to friends. And I would be forewarned of the danger of neglecting to visit my friends. and relations, when we are parted.
When one suppresses thoughts that tend to divert the run of the mind's operations from Religion, whether they are melancholy, or anxious, or passionate, or any others; there is this good effect of VOL. I.
it, that it keeps the mind in its freedom. Those thoughts are stopped in the beginning, that would have set the mind agoing in that stream.
There are a great many exercises, that for the present, seem not to help, but rather impede, Religious meditation and affections, the fruit of which is reaped afterwards, and is of far greater worth than what is lost; for thereby the mind is only for the present diverted; but what is attained is, upon occasion, of use for the whole life-time.
Sept. 26, 1726. "Tis just about three years, that I have been for the most part in a low, sunk estate and condition, miserably senseless to what I used to be, about spiritual things. 'Twas three years ago, the week before commencement; just about the same time this year, I began to be somewhat as I used to be.
Jan. 1728. I think Christ has recommended rising early in the morning, by his rising from the grave very early.
Jan. 22, 1734. I judge that it is best, when I am in a good frame for divine contemplation, or engaged in reading the Scriptures, or any study of divine subjects, that ordinarily, I will not be interrupted by going to dinner, but will forego my dinner, rather than be broke off.
April 4, 1735. When at any time, I have a sense of any divine thing, then to turn it in my thoughts, to a practical improvement. As for instance, when I am in my mind, on some argument for the Truth of Religion, the Reality of a Future State, and the like, then to think with myself, how safely I may venture to sell all, for a future good. So when, at any time, I have a more than ordinary sense of the Glory of the Saints, in another world; to think how well it is worth my while, to deny myself, and to sell all that I have for this Glory, &c.
May, 18. My mind at present is, never to suffer my thoughts and meditations, at all to ruminate.
June 11. To set apart days of meditation on particular subjects; as sometimes, to set apart a day for the consideration of the Greatness of my Sins; at another, to consider the Dreadfulness and Certainty, of the Future Misery of Ungodly men; at another, the Truth and Certainty of Religion; and so, of the Great Future Things promised and threatened in the Scriptures.
Settlement in the ministry at Northampton.-Situation of things at the time of his settlement.—Attention to Religion in the Parish.-Course of Study.-Habits of Life.-Marriage. -Death and Character of Mr. Stoddard.-Sickness of Mr. Edwards. -Death and Character of his Sister Jerusha.-His first Publication.
On the 15th of February, 1727, Mr. Edwards was ordained as a minister of the Gospel, and placed over the church and congregation at Northampton, as the colleague of his grandfather, the Rev. Mr. Stoddard. He was now entering on the business of life, in a profession attended with many difficulties, and presenting a field, sufficiently ample for the employment of the highest faculties ever conferred on Man. It may not be improper, therefore, to stop a moment, and review the circumstances in which he was placed.
He was twenty-three years of age. His constitution was naturally so tender and feeble, as to be preserved, even in tolerable health, only with unceasing care. He had passed through the successive periods of childhood, youth and early manhood, not only without reproach, but in such a manner, as to secure the high esteem and approbation, of all who knew him. His filial piety, and fraternal affection, had been most exemplary, and had rendered him a centre of strong attraction, to the united family. Originally of a grave and sober character, he had been the subject of early, frequent and strong religious impressions; which, if they did not result in saving conversion, in his childhood, yet rendered him conscientious, and solemnly and habitually mindful of eternal things. For a considerable period, he had not only felt the life and power of religion, but had appeared imbued with an unusually large measure of the grace of God. Few persons, of the same age, discover a piety so pure, so practical, or so pervading.
He had been devoted to books, from his infancy, and appears of his own accord, from an early period, to have formed habits of severe and successful application. His mind, originally possessed of uncommon powers, and fraught with an intense desire of knowledge, was qualified for eminence, as we have already seen, not in a single pursuit merely, but in every walk of literature and science. Though probably the youngost member of his class, he had been