Thursday, January 26, 2006

secret fasting

"...But particularly, his example and success with regard to one duty, in an especial manner, may be of great use to both ministers and private Christians; I mean the duty of secret fasting. The reader has seen, how much Mr. Brainerd recommends this duty, and how frequently he exercised himself in it; nor can it well have escaped observation, how much he was owned and blessed in it, and of what great benefit it evidently was to his soul. Among all the many days he spent in secret fasting and prayer, that he gives an account of in his diary, there is scarce an instance of one, but what was either attended or soon followed with apparent success, and a remarkable blessing, in special incomes and consolations of God's Spirit; and very often, before the day was ended.--But it must be observed, that when he set about this duty, he did it in good earnest; "stirring up himself to take hold of God," and "continuing instant in prayer," with much of the spirit of Jacob, who said to the angel, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."

The Life of David Brainerd, ed. Norman Pettit, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 7, (New Haven: Yale University Press)

Friday, January 20, 2006


Wednesday, April 20. Set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to bow my soul before God for the bestowment of divine grace; especially that all my spiritual afflictions and inward distresses might be sanctified to my soul. And endeavoured also to remember the goodness of God to me the year past, this day being my birth-day. Having obtained help of God, I have hitherto lived, and am now arrived at the age of twenty-five years. My soul was pained to think of my barrenness and deadness; that I have lived so little to the glory of the eternal God. I spent the day in the woods alone, and there poured out my complaint to God; O that God would enable me to live to his glory for the future!"

From The Life and Diary of Rev. David Brainerd, by Jonathan Edwards. Works, Volume II.

This is a full year in the diary after the last post, not the following day.

Happy Birthday Nick - you are a blessing brother.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

prayer and fasting

Monday, April 19. I set apart this day for fasting, and prayer to God for his grace; especially to prepare me for the work of the ministry, to give me divine aid and direction in my preparations for that great work, and in his own time to send me into his harvest. Accordingly, in the morning, I endeavoured to plead for the divine presence for the day, and not without some life. In the forenoon, I felt the power of intercession for precious, immortal souls; for the advancement of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Saviour in the word; and withal, a most sweet resignation, and even consolation and joy in the thoughts of suffering hardships, distresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it; and had special enlargement in pleading for the enlightening and conversion of the poor heathen. In the afternoon, God was with me of a truth. O it was blessed company indeed! God enabled me so to agonize in prayer, that I was quite wet with perspiration, though in the shade, and the cool wind. My soul was drawn out very much for the world; for multitudes of souls. I think I had more enlargement for sinners, than for the children of God; though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both. I enjoyed great sweetness in communion with my dear Saviour. I think I never in my life felt such an entire weanedness from this world, and so much resigned to God in every thing. O that I may always live to and upon my blessed God! Amen, Amen."

From The Life and Diary of Rev. David Brainerd, by Jonathan Edwards. Works, Volume II

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Evangelist encourages Christian and Faithful

The crown is before you, and it is an incorruptible one; so run that you may obtain it1. Some there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for it, another comes in, and takes it from them; hold fast therefore that you have, let no man take your crown2. You are not yet out of the gun-shot of the Devil; you have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin3; let the Kingdom be always before you, and believe stedfastly concerning things that are invisible4. Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you5; and above all, look well to your own hearts, and to the lusts thereof, for they are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked6; set your faces like a flint; you have all power in Heaven and Earth on your side.

1 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27

2 Revelation 3: 11

3 Hebrews 12: 4

4 2 Corinthians 4:18, Hebrews 11:3

5 James 4: 4, 1 John 2:16

6 Jeremiah 17: 9

[read all Scripture texts]

From The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan. This is a good book.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Consistency of character

These Resolutions afford ample testimony how much the author had entered into the spirit of 1 Cor. x. 31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. They also illustrate his views of the importance of consistency of character. He was not content with accurate views of truth, or any kind of outward profession, apart from holy consistency of character. He studied, he admired, and he exhibited the influence of the gospel; a walk “worthy of the vocation wherewith he was called” was the elevated object at which he ardently aimed. He well knew that the followers of Christ are required “to hold forth the word of life,” to shine as lights in the world, to instruct by their examples as well as by their words; and he desired to honour God by presenting to the view of the members of the spiritual kingdom, and also of the world, an example which might declare the reality and the beauty of religion. It is further manifest from these Resolutions, that his mind was most anxious for daily advancement in every branch of holiness. An active spiritual principle existed in him, which caused him to press forward; whatever might be the obstacles in his way. He could not be contented while one sin remained in him, while one grace was defective, or a single duty engaged in but imperfectly. He longed for the holy perfection of the heavenly world, and anticipated with joy that day when he should awake with the Divine likeness. It cannot be a matter of surprise that with these sentiments and feelings he attained an exaltation of character seldom equaled and perhaps never surpassed.

From Volume I of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Referring to Edward's Resolutions.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Self-loathing (Ezek. 36:31)

Resolution 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.

Diary. Tuesday night, July 30. Have concluded to endeavor to work myself into duties by searching and tracing back all the real reasons why I do them not, and narrowly searching out all the subtle subterfuges of my thoughts, and answering them to the utmost of my power, that I may know what are the very first originals of my defect, as with respect to want of repentance, love to God, loathing of myself, - to do this sometimes in sermons. - Vid. Resolution 8. Especially, to take occasion there from, to bewail those sins of which I have been guilty, that are akin to them; as for instance, from pride in others, to take occasion to bewail my pride; from their malice, to take occasion to bewail my evil speaking: and so of other sins. Mem. To receive slanders and reproaches, as glorious opportunities of doing this.

From Volume I of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


"Wednesday, Jan. 2. Dull. I find, by experience, that, let me make resolutions, and do what I will, with never so many inventions, 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. I perceive, if God should withdraw his Spirit a little more, I should not hesitate to break my resolutions, and should soon arrive at my old state. There is no dependence on myself. Our resolutions may be at the highest one day, and yet, the next day, we may be in a miserable dead condition, not at all like the same person who resolved. So that 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. I find also by experience, that there is no guessing on the ends of Providence, in particular dispensations towards me — any otherwise than as afflictions come as corrections for sin, and God intends when we meet with them, to desire us to look back on our ways, and see wherein we have done amiss, and lament that particular sin, and all our sins, before him: — knowing this, also, that all things shall work together for our good; not knowing in what way, indeed, but trusting in God."

From DIARY in Volume I of The Works of Jonathan Edwards.
Click here to read the list of The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.