“Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.“
In 1971, on her debut album titled “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” Australian pop vocalist Helen Reddy wailed a tune that would become the anthem of the feminist movement. The opening words of her song, which would be re-released on a subsequent album sharing the song’s title, were “I am woman, hear me roar.” Reddy’s song would become a chart-topper and garner her a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performer. Across the globe, the song would energize those engaged in celebrating and pursuing female empowerment. Even today, nearly five decades later, it continues to enjoy occasional references in films, television, and pop culture.
Indeed, in our current culture, given over as it is to identity politics, critical theory, and intersectionality, “I Am Woman” could easily and boisterously be bellowed as an anarchic chant against gender victimization for greater than half of the population who are, oddly enough, considered a “minority.” And as we approach that time of year when millions will engage in the annually expected rite of resolution-making, Reddy’s tune could, for that majority-minority, as well as for others, serve as the paradigm from which self-expressing and self-lauding resolutions ought to issue forth. What “I am” and what “I want” are, for most, the guiding principles of popularly promoted, culturally common, and socially applauded resolutions. Resolutions are invariably about self.
When Christians ponder the idea of making resolutions, we ought to recognize that our resolutions aren’t to be as those the world makes. We are not to be “conformed to the world” (Rom. 12:2) and we are not to “love the world nor the things in the world” (1 John 2:15). The world will be busy making self-endorsed, self-focused vows that most will fail to see persist through the first month of the New Year. Whether losing weight, saving money, quitting a bad habit, picking up a new habit, or “living life to the fullest,” most resolutions require very little time for failure. The world’s infidelity to its own resolutions, regardless of how noble, is inconsequential to the Christian who has been made “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10). In our Lord, who has “overcome the world” (John 16:33), we are made “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37). Our resolutions are thus to have an eternal, and certain, perspective.
Like “I Am Woman,” the world’s resolutions are almost entirely focused on self. Self-improvement, self-achievement, self-gratification, self-discovery, and self-sufficiency are categories into which many resolutions may neatly fit. “I resolve to …” is invariably driven by the all-consequential “I.” And, sadly, this is often the repeated pattern of resolution-making by well-meaning Christians. But to the extent that the world is permitted to define what it means to be resolved, the Christian has willfully, if not knowingly, given themselves over to a different master (Matt. 6:24). The resolution that is aimed purely at self-fulfillment is in direct contradiction to the gospel command to deny self (Luke 9:23).
To rightly consider resolutions, Christians are to turn to Scripture which, coincidentally, does not expressly command us to engage in such an endeavor. Yet, though it neither expressly forbids or endorses resolution-making, Scripture does give us God’s pattern for our life which, when obeyed faithfully, pursued relentlessly, and submitted to humbly, yields His promised blessing: “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
Christians are to be constantly in an “examine yourself” (2 Cor. 13:5) mode that we may increasingly honor Christ (1 Cor. 10:31) in our living and be continually conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 12:1-2). Our resolutions are not merely the product of an annual assessment but are the daily result of focusing on Christ in His Word (Col. 3:16). He is our daily bread (John 6:35). He is our living water (John 4:14).
Jonathan Edwards: A Nineteen Year Old Resolves
At this time of year, many Christians will turn to the resolution-making example we have in 18th-century theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards. His famous 70 resolutions (reprinted in full below) were formulated at the beginning of the winter of 1722 and completed in the summer of the following year. Take time to read the Resolutions he produced and keep in mind that Edwards was merely nineteen years old when he penned them.
Edwards’ resolutions cover the gamut from outlining his overall life goals, his desire for good works, and his relationships with others. Edwards resolves on such matters as the wise usage of his time, of the place of suffering, and his response to it, in his life. His resolutions deal with his character and integrity, his pursuit of righteous living, the mortification of sin, and the tenor of his personal language habits. Edwards emphasizes the importance of his spiritual life, with resolutions speaking to the Scriptures, to prayer, to the Sabbath, and to communion with God. He puts a premium on divine truth and anticipates his eternal reward.
But what is often missed by focusing on the content of this Christ-devoted young man’s resolutions is the preface which he penned to it. It is Edwards’ preface to the resolutions that provide the fullest context to their value. As Stephen Nichols, President of Reformation Bible College and a Ligonier Ministries Teaching Fellow has stated, “Cutting the resolutions off from the foundation of the preface leads to seeing them as the stuff of personal grit and determination to better oneself. That’s not only a mistaken reading, but it’s also a tragic one. The self-made person is a modern ideal, not a biblical one.”
“Being sensible that I am unable to do anything 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.”
“Being sensible” was, for Edwards, clearly the result of his biblically apprehended understanding of the sovereignty of God. As the only son of eleven children to his pastor-father, Jonathan wrote that the Calvinistic view of God’s sovereignty in which he was raised “used to appear like a horrible doctrine to me.” But he wrote that, from meditating on Paul’s glorious doxology in 1 Tim. 1:17, “As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it was diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from anything I ever experienced before… I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven; and be as it was swallowed up in him forever!” This Spirit-illumined moment, which Edwards points to as the moment of his conversion, came in 1721, a year before he would engage in formulating his Resolutions.
Edwards’ preface of biblical sensibility, in light of God’s sovereignty, emphasizes his recognized need for God’s aid and grace in undertaking his resolved initiatives, and he “humbly,” prayerfully, entreats God’s favor to accomplish them. Edwards does not posit his resolutions as inviolably etched in stone, but duly submits them before God “so far as they are agreeable to his will.” The purpose of his resolutions, while hopefully being reflected in his character, his conduct, and his tongue, was not for the elevation of self but, as he concludes his preface, “for Christ’s sake.”
The resolutions of Jonathan Edwards took the better part of a year for him to complete. They were not the product of last-minute, year-end reflection. Edwards sought, as a nineteen-year-old, thoughtfully and biblically define what a life of faithfulness under the hand of a sovereign God “for Christ’s sake” ought to look like.
His endeavor resulted in what may be seen as a Christ-centered exposition that firmly reflects our Lord’s own gospel command: “And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Though there are seventy resolutions from Edwards, they are infused with a Christ-like attitude of self-denial and intended to produce a life that was rich in the gracious fruit of His Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24
An Apostle’s Resolve
When Christians consider resolutions, however, there is a further, and biblical, example beyond even the godly desires outlined by Edwards. Scripture gives us the pithy words of a Christ-appointed apostle who tells us, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). The apostle Paul succinctly gives us what could be his singular resolution in his epistle to the Philippians.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21
Commenting on these words of Paul, John MacArthur writes: “The apostle’s very being was wrapped up in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He trusted, loved, served, witnessed for, and in every way was devoted to and dependent on Him. His only hope, his only purpose, his only reason to live was Christ. He traveled for Christ, preached for Christ, and was persecuted and imprisoned for Christ. Ultimately he would die for Christ. But even death, by God’s marvelous grace, was ultimately for Paul’s eternal gain.”
This all-encompassing preeminence of Christ in the life of Paul was repeated in his letter to the churches of Galatia: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
That this Pauline reality of Christ-is-all was not merely to be an attribute exclusive to him as an apostle is evident in his exhortation to the Colossians:
“For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:3-5
A Scriptural “I Am Woman”
“I Am Woman” reflects the perpetually popular ideology and idolatry of self that is exemplary of our fallen world, and is increasingly evident in the visible church as it seeks to accommodate, emphasize, and elevate “self” in all its various iterations. But Scripture gives us a different sort of “I am woman” account that is brief, simple, and yet illustrates the godly response of one whose life had been changed by the Savior.
In the course of his gospel narrative, Matthew records a miracle performed by the Lord early in His ministry that might be easily missed. By the time this miracle occurs, our Lord had, of course, initiated His public ministry at His baptism, had been tempted by Satan for forty days in the wilderness, and had preached His astounding Sermon on the Mount. Matthew records that Jesus was “going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people” (Matt. 5:23).
Coming down from the Mount, Matthew records, Jesus healed a contrite leper (Matt. 8:1-4) and, when He entered Capernaum, encountered the centurion with a sick slave (Matt. 8:5-13). Before speaking the word which would remotely heal the centurion’s servant, the Lord astonishingly remarks of this Roman that “I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel” (Matt. 8:10).
But it is the third specified miracle of Christ in Matthew’s timeline which is simple, yet profoundly, contrary to the anthems of self currently playing in the culture and within the culture-accommodating church. It is this account that speaks directly to the rightful orientation of a Christ follower’s resolution.
“When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and waited on Him. ” Matt. 8:14-15
Sometime around 29 AD, Jesus heals the mother-in-law of Peter. The details of her fever are absent from the text, though it must be presumed to have been of such severity that she was incapacitated from extending the hospitality expected and due among faithful Jews. Only two verses are given by Matthew of this miracle of the Lord. The event is also recorded by Mark (Mark 1:29-31) and Luke (Luke 4:38-40), each of whom likewise gives it brief coverage in their gospel narratives.
The most pronounced distinction among the three accounts is given by Matthew. Upon her healing, where Mark and Luke report that this unnamed beneficiary of the Lord’s grace got up and “served them,” Matthew makes the point, “she got up and waited on Him” (Matt. 8:15). MacArthur notes “Matthew emphasizes her special ministry to Jesus” and that, while this woman certainly extended courteous hospitality to everyone present, “we can be sure she served her gracious Lord with special attention and care.”
This unadorned, brief historical record of the miracle granted by the Lord to the unnamed and unquoted mother-in-law of the apostle Peter is utterly contrary to the spirit of our age. In our day, this woman would be surely be named. Her picture would be promoted on every “Christian” website. She would be ubiquitously featured in memes accompanied by some catchy Christian cliche that captures clicks and captivates the naive. She would have book deals and endorsement opportunities galore. Doubtless, she’d be a target speaker for conferences eager to leverage her fame with Jesus into culturally relevant points-scored. Simply put, she would be the latest, greatest evangelical celebrity.
But what actually happened, according to the Word of God, is this: “She got up and waited on Him.” Though unnamed, unquoted, and sparsely mentioned, this woman would find herself included in the inspired and eternal text of God’s inscripurated Word precisely because she was not the focus. The Lord was.
Helen Reddy may have bellowed “I Am Woman” and been ironically incapable of understanding why “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” as her titled album proclaimed of some unidentified “him,” but the mother-in-law of Peter had no such quandary when it came to Him. She knew how to love, obey, and serve Christ, for He had first loved her (1 Jn. 4:19).
When approaching resolutions, Christians must eschew culturally anointed self-focus and rather exalt Christ as did Peter’s mother-in-law. Consider these words from an older Jonathan Edwards writing on the topic of Christian Knowledge and the Christian’s main work.
“If it concerns men to excel in anything, or in any wisdom or knowledge at all, it certainly concerns them to excel in the affairs of their main profession and work. But the calling and work of every Christian is to live to God. This is said to be his high calling, Phil. iii.14. This is the business, and, if I may so speak, the trade of a Christian, his main work, and indeed should be his only work. No business should be done by a Christian, but as it is some way or other a part of this. Therefore certainly the Christian should endeavor to be well acquainted with those things which belong to this work, that he may fulfill it, and be thoroughly furnished to it.
It becomes one who is called a soldier, to excel at the art of war. It becomes a mariner, to excel in the art of navigation. It becomes a physician, to excel in the knowledge of those things which pertain to the art of the physic. So it becomes all such as profess to be Christians, and to devote themselves to the practice of Christianity, to endeavor to excel in the knowledge of divinity.”
As we worship, let us remember the prayed words of our Lord that ground our very salvation in His divine knowledge, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). May our perpetual resolve be that of the apostle Paul: to live is Christ. May an unnamed woman graced by our Lord be our example: let us serve Him. May we glean wisdom from the youthful Edwards whose resolutions are framed by the will of our sovereign God and focused on living life “for Christ’s sake.” May our worshipful and daily resolution reflect that Christ-glorifying, self-denying utterance of John the Baptist, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). Then, with Paul, may we praisefully proclaim, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:17).
For more Striving For Eternity resources on resolutions, see HERE.
The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything 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.
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 myriad’s 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 and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance 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.
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 don’t 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 anything out of revenge.
15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to 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 anything, 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 anything, 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.
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 anything, 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 anything at all against anybody, 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 Prov. 20:6, “A faithful man who can find?” may not be partly fulfilled in me.
33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.
34. Resolved, in narration’s never to speak anything 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 anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterward, whether it be lawful or no; except 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. Jan.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. Jan.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 eve: 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. 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 no; 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 ~ 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. 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. May27, 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 ii, 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 Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; “knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord.” 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. Jan.14′ and July ‘3’ 1723.
64. Resolved, when I find those “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those “breakings of soul for the longing it hath,” 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 wear’, 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 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 good I have got by 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. Aug. 11, 1723.
70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.