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stance of the small decay of mental powers at so advanced an age. This venerable couple had eleven children; one son, the subject of these Memoirs, and ten daughters, four of whom were older, and six younger than himself.*
Mr. Edwards entered Yale College when about twelve years of age, and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Sept. 1720, a little before he was seventeen. While at college, his character was marked with sobriety and improvement in learning. In the second year of his collegiate course he read Locke on the Human Understanding with much delight. His uncommon genius, by which he was naturally formed for close thought and deep penetration, now began to discover and exert itself. From his own account, he was inexpressibly entertained and pleased with that book when he read it at college ; more so than the most greedy miser, when gathering up handfuls of silver and gold from some newly discovered treasure. Though he made good proficiency in all the arts and sciences, and had an uncommon taste for Natural Philosophy (which he cultivated to the end of his life), yet Moral Philosophy, including divinity, was his favorite subject, in which he made great progress in early life.
He lived at college nearly two years after he took his first degree, preparing for the work of the ministry. After which, having passed the usual trials, he was licensed to preach the gospel as a candidate. In consequence of an application from a number of ministers in New England, who were intrusted to act in behalf of the English Presbyterians in NewYork, he went to that city the beginning of August, 1722, and preached there with great acceptance about eight months. But on account of the
* We shall here subjoin a sketch of Mr. Edwards's more remote ancestors, as it may gratify some readers. Jonathan Edwards's grandfather was Richard Edwards, who married Elizabeth Tuttle, daughter of William Tuttle, of New Haven, in Connecticut, and Elizabeth his wife, who came from Northamptonshire, in Old England. By this connexion he had seven children, of whom the eldest was Timothy, our author's father. His second marriage was to Mrs. Talcot, by whom he had six children. The father of Richard was William Edwards, Jonathan's greatgrandfather, who came from England young and unmarried. The person he married, whose Christian name was Agnes, and who had left England for America, had two brothers in England, one of them Mayor of Exeter, and the other of Barnstable. The father of William, Richard Ed. wards, our author's great-great-grandfather, was minister of the gospel in London, in the reign of queen Elizabeth; and his wife, Ann Edwards, was employed in making some part of the royal attire. After the death of Mr. Edwards, she married Mr. James Cole, who with her son William accompanied her to America, and all died at Hartford in Connecticut.
President Edwards's grandfather on the mother's side, Rev. Solomon Stoddard, of Northampton, New England, married Mrs. Mather, the relict of the Rev. Mr. Mather, his predecessor, who was the first minister at Northampton. Her maiden name was Ester Warham, daughter, and the
the Rev. John Warham, minister at Windsor, in Connecticut, and who, before he left England, had been minister at Exeter. This lady had three children by Mr. Mather, viz., Eunice, Warham, and Eliakim; and twelve children by Mr. Stoddard, six sons and six daughters. Three of the sons died in infancy, and three lived to adult years, viz., Anthony, John, and Israel; the last of whom died a prisoner in France. Anthony was minister of the gospel at Woodbury, in Connecticut; he was in the ministry about sixty years, and died September 6,
r of his re, John lived at Northampton, and often, especially in his younger years, served the town as their representative, at the General Court at Boston; and was long head of the county of Hampshire, as chief colonel, and chief judge of the court of common pleas. He moreover served in the province of Massachusetts Bay, as one of his Majesty's council. He distinguished himself as an able politician, a wise counsellor, an upright and skilful judge; possessed in an eminent degree the spirit of government, and ever proved a great and steady friend to the interest of religion. He was a great friend and admirer of our Mr. Edwards, and to the time of his death, greatly strengthened his hands in the work of the ministry. A more particular account of the life and character of this truly great man may be seen in the sermon which Mr. Edwards preached and published on the occasion of his death. The father of Mr. Solomon Stoddard, and Mr. Edwards's great-grandfather, on the mother's side, was Anthony Stoddard, Esq., of Boston, a zealous congregational man. He had five wives, the first of whom was Mary Downing, sister to Sir George Downing, whose other sister married Governor Brad. street. Solomon was the first child of this first marriage. From these particulars it appears, that Mr. Edwards's ancestors were from the west of England, who, upon their emigration, allied them. selves to some of the most respectable families in America.
smallness of that society, and some special difficulties that attended it, he did not think there was a rational prospect of answering the good end proposed, by his settling there as their minister. He therefore lest them the next spring, and retired to his father's house, where he spent the summer in close study. He was earnestly solicited by the people to return again to New-York; but his former views were not altered, and therefore, however disposed to gratify them, he could not comply with their wishes.
In Sept. 1723, he received his degree of Master of Arts. About this time several congregations invited him to become their minister; but being chosen tutor of Yale College, he chose to continue in that retirement, and attended the business of tuition there above two years. During his stay there, he was applied to by the people of Northampton, who had some powerful motives to offer, in favor of his exercising his ministry there, and especially that his grandfather Stoddard, by reason of his great age, stood in need of assistance. He therefore resigned his tutorship in Sept. 1726, and accepted their invitation, and was ordained as colleague with his grandfather, Feb. 15, 1727, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, and continued at Northampton twenty-three years and four months.
EXTRACTS FROM HIS PRIVATE WRITINGS. BETWEEN the time of his going to New York and his settlement at Northampton, Mr. Edwards formed a number of resolutions, which are still preserved. The particular time and special occasion of making many of these résolutions, he has noted in a diary which he then kept'; where we also find many other observations and rules relative to his own exercises and conduct. As these private writings may be justly considered the basis of his conduct, or the plan according to which his whole
life was governed, it may be proper here to give the reader some idea of .. them by the following extracts.
His Resolutions. Mr. Edwards was too well acquainted with human weakness and frailty, where the intention is most sincere, to enter on any resolutions rashly. He therefore looked to God for aid, who alone can afford success in the use of any means. This he places at the head of all his other important rules, that his dependence was on grace, while he frequently recurred to a serious perusal of them :-"Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.” He then adds:
"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, ON THE WHOLE; without any
The Resolutions, as contained in the original manuscript, ware seventy in number; a part only is here transcribed, as a specimen of the whole. The figures prefixed to them are those by which they were numbered in that manuscript; and they are her; retained for the sake of the
consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence; to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general—whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find some new contrivance to promote the forementioned things.
4. Resolved, never to do, be, or suFFER, any thing in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God.
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.*
7. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. 1 9. Resolved, to think much, on all occasions, of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. 1 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.
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 motion of anger to irrational beings.
17. Resolved, that I will so live 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 the gospel and another world.
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.
24. Resolved, whenever I do any 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.
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.
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.
32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that Prov. XX. 6 (A faithful man who can find ?) may not be partly fulfilled in me.
references made to soine of them in the Diary, as the reader will find in the subsequent part of these Memoirs. It may be proper to add, that we should regard the spirit of these Resolutions, and of the following extracts from the Diary, without a minute attention to the critical nicety of his language. In fact, as these extracts were penned at a very early period of life, his style was not formed; and his chief concern was to deal plainly with himself, in the presence of God, and to record for his own private inspection what he thought might be of most use to him in future.
* This is the full and exact import of the Latin motto, “Dum vivimus, vivamus ;" which was the motto of Dr. Doddridge's family arms, and which he paraphrased with so much beauty :
"Live, while you live, the Epicure would say,
33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, anu establishing peace, when it can be done without an overbalancing detriment in other respects.
34. Resolved, never to speak in narrations any thing but the pure and simple verity.
36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any person, except some particular good call for it.
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.
38. Resolved, never to speak any thing that is ridiculous, or matter of laughter, on the Lord's day.
39. Resolved, never to do any thing that I so inuch question the law. 1 fulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no : except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.
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.
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 ratified this twelfth day of January, 1723.
43. Resolved, never to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's. '
46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting or un. easiness at my father or mother. Resolved, to suffer no effects of it, só 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, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so.
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 no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.
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.
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.
54. Whenever I hear any thing spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it.
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.
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 it be just as Providence orders it, I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin.
62. Resolved, never to do any thing but duty; and then, according to Eph. vi. 6–8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shad he receive of the Lord.
65. Resolved, to exercise myself much in this all my life long, viz with the greatest openness 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. Man ton's 27th sermon on the 119th Psalm.
67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them; what good I have got, and what I might have got by them.”
Extracts from his Diary. Though Mr. Edwards wrote his Diary for his own private use, exclusively, it is not apprehended that the following extracts are unfairly exposed to public view. Whatever is calculated to do good, and is perfectly consistent with an author's real reputation, may be published with honor, whatever his design might be while writing. Besides, what Mr. Edwards wished to have effectually concealed from every eye but his own, he wrote in a particular short-hand. After having written pretty much in that character, he adds this remark in long-hand : “Remember to act according to Prov. xii. 23, A prudent man concealeth knowledge.”
Saturday, Dec. 22, 1722. This day, revived by God's Holy Spirit. Affected with a sense of the excellency of holiness. Felt more exercise of love to Christ than usual. Have also felt sensible repentance for sin, because it was committed against so merciful and good a God. This night, made the 37th Resolution.
Sabbath night, Dec. 23. Made the 38th Resolution.
Monday, Dec. 24. Higher thoughts than usual of the excellency of Jesus Christ and his kingdom.
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 1723. Dull. I find' by experience, that let me make resolutions, and do what I will, it is all nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the motions of the Spirit of God : for if the Spirit of God should be as much withdrawn from me always, as for the week past, notwithstanding all I do, I should not grow; but should languish, and miserably fade away. There is no dependence upon myself. It is to no purpose to resolve, except we depend on the grace of God; for if it were not for his mere grace, one might be a very good man one day, and a very wicked one the next.
Sabbath, Jan. 6, at night. Much concerned about the improvement of precious time. Intend to live in continual mortification, without ceasing, as long as in this world.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, in the morning. Higher thoughts than usual of the excellency of Christ, and felt an unusual repentance for sin therefrom.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, at night. Decayed. I am sometimes apt to think I have a great deal more of holiness than I really have. I find, now and