Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Giving

As I'm watching TV with my mother at home, Oprah is preaching. Not only is she preaching her particular system of thought and counsel, but she held a contest recently. It was called 'the Biggest Giver'. The point of the competition is for the contestants to out give one another to various charities or organizations. And so, I guess, for weeks, this competition got done. Until there were three people left.

And then something happened. It showed a clip of the three finalists standing together with envelopes. Oprah told them to open the envelopes; two had a substantial amount of money in them (I don't know if the third person got hosed or not). The guy who won was very excited when he found out he won; so excited he screamed with sheer excitement (and so did Oprah). Note: This contest happened in 2008.

The catch was that half the money received was to be given away to any organization this winner so chose. And he chose a Rwandan based organization.

I have no problem with this contest at all, except for two things: First, there had to be a contest in the first place. The competitors are apparently well off and they didn't HAVE to participate to make a huge difference. In fact, I'm sure Oprah could buy a nation, but that's neither here nor there.

Why there had to be a contest is beyond me. Why the man had to celebrate is also beyond me. He won a contest? On giving? If the contest seems absorb, his end zone dance was just as much so.

Secondly, the man actually won a million dollars. Half of it had to be donated as per the rules of the contest. That means he got 500 thousand to keep…? To do what with? Add to his large bank account?

I'm not jealous, nor am I angry. This man did give so much and he did give away his money he had to and he was rewarded. He is heading up a noble cause for Rwanda education. But why was this contest necessary? Why did it take an Oprahatic (see what I did there?) act to get all this giving done?

On Unity

Abraham Lincoln said, in response to the imminent Civil War, that, 'a house divided against itself cannot stand'. This isn't just a cute saying to give meaning to community; it's a natural law. If something that was once a whole structure is divided, it will fall. This is the nature of gravity and the nature of matter in space. If you cut a tree at it's base, it will fall. If you try and cut your house in half, it will fall. I don't advise either action if you're in the fall zone, because you'll inevitably hurt yourself.

This law applies to families and communities. The community is, in this case, a church. Paul has a lot to say in the Bible on community. But, that will come later. For now, I'll start with chronological order.

1) Psalms 133:1

1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

The Psalmist is very open and about this statement. He goes on to say, "2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, 
   running down on the beard, 
running down on Aaron’s beard, 
   down on the collar of his robe. 
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon 
   were falling on Mount Zion. 
For there the LORD bestows his blessing, 
   even life forevermore.

It is like precious oil on the head. We all know, in the days of David, oil was a very precious commodity. And it is like this that David compares unity in brotherhood!

2) John 17:20

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
   24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
   25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus prayed that we would have unity like He has with the Father. Friends, I believe that there is a reason why God is manifest in a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Unity is a necessary part of life. Before everything, God was eternally preexistent: the Father in perfect love and unity with the Son, the Son with the Spirit, the Spirit with the Father. C.S. Lewis described it as a dance of perfect love and unity in Mere Christianity. He has give us an example to follow; we, as His people, are obligated to follow His example for it is right. He is God. He knows our heart and He knows what is best for His beloved creation.

3) Romans 6:1-5

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin."

It seems, many times, that we put a Dan Brown twist on our crucifixion with Christ; like our old man never died. This is not unity! It's a lie! Shall we go on proclaiming Christ, but live in sin? No! It is impossible. If you continue in habitual sin, you were never in Christ. If you are in Christ, habitual sin becomes harder to do. We are to exhort one another in love so that we can walk together in unity! But watch out for planks in your own eye. Removing a speck of sawdust from one brother's eye isn't worth whacking him in the face with the plank in your own eye.

4) 1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[b]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

IS Christ divided? Can we take one part of Scripture and ignore another? No. That is the making of a cult tantamount to that of Westboro Baptist. If there is a problem with the leader of a church, test what he teaches against the Scripture in the fullness. The Bible is our foundation; we base our principles and leadership off of these living words. Are we going to say, "I follow Bob" or "I follow Johnny"? Or are we going to follow Jesus Christ, our God, in the fulness of His revelation to us through the Word which became flesh?

4) 1 Corinthians 12-26

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

5) Ephesians 4:1-3

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Make. Every. Effort. If every effort has been expended; if multiple chances have been given, what can one do? Nothing! If the person in question is unwilling to change, then that's that. What can the leader, or the congregation with a bad leader, do? Exhort your brother, in love, to turn from sin. It is not loving to let someone you love to live in sin, because it is destructive to the spirit. Do you let your children do things that are destructive to yourself? No, you love your children.

6) Ephesians 4:11-13

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

We are to mature spiritually in a healthy unity through Christ Jesus. If we aren't maturing, we cannot be in unity: some people are growing apart from those who won't mature. There becomes a spiritual generation gap. This is NOT conducive to spiritual unity. Eventually, there must be growth. If not, there will only be schism.

7) Colossians 3:14

14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

8) Philippians 2:1-3

1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

This is the tallest command that can be made of a human, besides Jesus's commission to 'be perfect'. It is to overlook your pride and self-conceit. Love is not prideful. Love your neighbor in a pure fashion; unconditionally.

Trusting God for Everything: Easier Said Than Done

This is actually a really ironic thing for me to write, because like everyone else, I scramble around like a chicken with its head cut off when something doesn’t fit into my plan. At this moment in time, I am very short on cash with two bills coming up and no cash inflow coming until February. In an earthly kind of way, I’m what they call, “so very poor”. And so I can do nothing for myself.
This is the condition God finds us most useful; broken and poor; in one word, destitute. When we’re not in this condition, we’re happy (or at least not in lack). We don’t need God to provide us for everything we need; we’ve got this. And then a storm hits; we lost a large sum of money, our significant other or spouse has left us, everything seems to go wrong at just the right time. And so we get on our knees and say, “Hey, God. It’s me again. I’m in that situation again…”

This is not a Christian walk; it is a lie. You have friends whom you talk to daily; but you have ‘friends’ whom you talk to when you’re in need of their specialized talent. He wants your needs spoken to Him. He doesn’t need it because He is God; not in need of anything that we can give. He wants it; no, desires it.

‘Ask and you shall receive.’

This verse trips a lot of people out. They expect immediate gratification from God. But often we forget that He lives in a realm not harnessed with time and space. We get impatient because we have a biological clock that ticks closer to expiration every second.
Will you trust God to provide what you need? Will you ask it of Him in time of need, or thank him in time of prosperity? Will you talk to your friend? Trust in Him; He knows what He is doing because He’s been around the block before.

'I Want Thyself; Only Thyself'

As the story goes, St. Thomas Aquinas was praying one day in a cathedral. During his prayer, he had a vision of the Christ-statue, which hung crucified, detaching from its cross mounting. The statue spoke to him and said that he has written well and He would give him one thing that he desired most.

Thomas was an avid reader and was grateful most that he ‘remembered and understood every page he had ever read’. However, the humble man knew exactly what he wanted. He replied, “I want Thyself; only Thyself.”


Whether this vision really happened or not, wow. How often do we think, ‘I really wish God would throw me a bone… Or a corvette… Or a girlfriend… Or a boyfriend…’? How many things do we place on our list of desires in front of the One who can fulfill all of our deepest wants and all of our deepest needs?

Thomas hit the nail on the head. He saw his depravity, and kept his carnal wants in check. He saw that he needed the One who can give him everything else. Do you desire this same outlook? Do you want to go deeper than a new car? Do you fully desire the One who has truly earned the first spot?

Distractions, Distractions

Recently, I fell in love with a girl who seemed absolutely perfect. She could keep up with my intellect and understood my sense of humor. And she, herself, was funny as well. All the things that make a girl dateable, she has. However, we didn’t go through with it and are still only good friends today, which is fine because in hindsight, I see why it is good that it didn’t work out. Through all the pain and sorrow, God had a purpose and it came into fruition through months of working out the ‘whys’.
There is one thing people of the opposite sex seem to always come with; the pure ability to distract us from our God. There are plenty of other distractions: video games, music, Facebook, books, school, family, friends. Dating just happens to be the easiest thing to distract us.

God made us a sexual people; He placed that desire for high relationship with another human of opposite gender in us. That relationship isn’t to take His place though. It is to strengthen our relationship with Him. Our response to marriage should be, “Thank you God, for You have blessed us very highly.” As far as the dating saying can take us, we must ‘leave room for Jesus between us’.

The good things in life can turn bad when it keeps us from the best things. We can only allow a relationship so far as we can continually keep Christ on the forefront of our thoughts; all else is only a distraction.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amicus Fidelis

There was once a man; a blind man who had seen a glimpse of light. This glimpse, though small, had reoccurred at odd intervals in his life. Although he saw it, he did not know what to call it. This glimpse was not part of himself, nor was it an experience he could articulate with his limited knowledge of things seen; it simply was and he simply observed these stabs of light as they penetrated his perpetual darkness.

Now, in the same city he was in, he had heard of a person that could help him articulate what he had thought he'd seen. The person named Amicus was one who had experience with blind people who saw glimpses like these; it was said that Amicus could help them see.

And so the man set out of his dwelling to where Amicus was supposedly located and when the sun almost was at it's highest, he had been helped to her seat. He could feel her bearing down on him, just as a stalker finds those they stalk. It was very uncomfortable at first, but then it was normal after days of this.

In the days since they met, Amicus asked the man many questions. What gods he worshiped, whether he was married, what he did as occupation. She got to know him and they became friends; but he was still blind.

One day, at their meeting, Amicus said to the man, 'It is time you were healed.' As Amicus placed her hand over the man's eyes, the light began to expand inside the man's view. This former glimpse had turned into a full fledged light source. When the man awoke, he did a weird thing. He observed his surroundings. He was no longer blind! In his joy, he got up from where he laid and looked for Amicus to offer his thanks.

When the man found Amicus, he was surprised. She was crippled herself! The nature of the injury was unknown to him; she had never mentioned it. He finally concluded that it probably wasn't important at all and they shared tea together. At evening, he thanked her and went to his home to view it for the first time.

The next day, he went to call upon her to have tea and visit again so that he could share some of his sight-based adventures. However, she was busy with another patient and could not visit. So he left back to his home.

The next day, he did the same thing but the house guard who had been showing him in during his blind days said she could not meet; so he left again.

The next day, he went to speak with Amicus and neither she nor the house guard spoke to him. He was simply shown the way that took him away from the house.

At this point, the man was hurt. However, he let go of these feelings. He had the light because Amicus had shown it to him and that was enough to be grateful for. He didn't understand the nature of her injury, but he did understand that despite current trends and appointments with other patients, Amicus was indeed faithful. She simply needed time to work on herself and the patients she worked with; and so the man left her to her work knowing that his faithful friend was doing the work of the light.

Don't Judge Puritans

The most unfortunate thing about Jonathan Edwards is that the only thing students in high school read of him is "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Consequently, all the regular student hears of him is fire and brimstone preaching.

Edwards is one of the most brilliant minds to touch American soil. In terms of theology and Christian philosophy, no one has held a torch to him until the likes of C.S. Lewis, Alvin Plantiga, and Ravi Zacharias. He had a special kind of wisdom that could have only been the revelation of God. And he had no other aim than to glorify God in all he did, from his preaching right down to his very thoughts. Jonathan Edwards lived his life how I want to live mine; one with trust in Christ and without regret or fear of failure.

These resolutions are his life code; how he wanted to live. As I read it, it seemed like a very overwhelming list. And it is. I think that's why Edwards lived how he did; he desired a full life in Christ and went all out. I want to do the same. As you read it, if you read it, notice the feeling of, "Goodness, this is a lot" and then think about how big this list would seem without a God who is bigger than it.

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 these resolutions over 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 afterwards, 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, peace able, 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. Aug. 17, 1723