Tuesday, December 06, 2005

JE Resolution 5

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

This is the first of the what I have dubbed the “living and dying” resolutions. In Section I of his sermon, “The Preciousness of Time and the Importance of Redeeming It” Edwards gives us a list of 4 reasons that time is precious:

1. Because a happy or miserable eternity depends on the good or ill improvement of it.
"Things are precious in proportion to their importance, or to the degree wherein they concern our welfare. Men are wont to set the highest value on those things upon which they are sensible their interest chiefly depends. And this renders time so exceedingly precious, because our eternal welfare depends on the improvement of it. — Indeed our welfare in this world depends upon its improvement. If we improve it not, we shall be in danger of coming to poverty and disgrace; but by a good improvement of it, we may obtain those things which will be useful and comfortable. But it is above all things precious, as our state through eternity depends upon it. The importance of the improvement of time upon other accounts, is in subordination to this."

2. Time is very short, which is another thing that renders it very precious.
"Time is so short, and the work which we have to do in it is so great, that we have none of it to spare. The work which we have to do to prepare for eternity, must be done in time, or it never can be done; and it is found to be a work of great difficulty and labor, and therefore that for which time is the more requisite."

3. Time ought to be esteemed by us very precious, because we are uncertain of its continuance.

"We know that it is very short, but we know not how short. We know not how little of it remains, whether a year, or several years, or only a month, a week, or a day. We are every day uncertain whether that day will not be the last, or whether we are to have the whole day. There is nothing that experience doth more verify than this. — If a man had but little provision laid up for a journey or a voyage, and at the same time knew that if his provision should fail, he must perish by the way, he would be the more choice of it. — How much more would many men prize their time, if they knew that they had but a few months, or a few days, more to live!"

4. Time is very precious, because when it is past, it cannot be recovered.
"There are many things which men possess, which if they part with, they can obtain them again. If a man have parted with something which he had, not knowing the worth of it, or the need he should have of it; he often can regain it, at least with pains and cost. If a man have been overseen in a bargain, and have bartered away or sold something, and afterwards repents of it, he may often obtain a release, and recover what he had parted with. — But it is not so with respect to time. When once that is gone, it is gone forever; no pains, no cost will recover it. Though we repent ever so much that we let it pass, and did not improve it while we had it, it will be to no purpose. Every part of it is successively offered to us, that we may choose whether we will make it our own, or not. But there is no delay. It will not wait upon us to see whether or no we will comply with the offer. But if we refuse, it is immediately taken away, and never offered more. As to that part of time which is gone, however we have neglected to improve it, it is out of our possession and out of our reach."

[UPDATE] Kim at the Upward Call has her reflections on Resolution 5 posted here.


Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

When I set out to do this series, I really did expect to comment more, but somehow, as I have been reading and re-reading, I realize that I cannot improve upon Edwards words with my own ramblings, nor explain them better than he did himself, so I am content to share his Resolutions and provide illumination through his other writings as they come to mind.

Any personal thoughts or comments I have will be added here in the comments from now on.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I am reminded of the preciousness of time when I look at my daughter. My brother and sister-in-law were here on the weekend, and we were reflecting how quickly the kids have grown. My daughter will be in university two years from now. I often feel pressured because I think: "I have so little time left with her."

6:12 AM  
Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

With my son getting married in the spring, I can certainly attest to how quickly our kids are grown and gone!

But maybe it will comfort you to know that even when they are off at college, or working at their first job, or preparing to be married and start a life entirely on their own, they are still your own, given by God, and you have the same amount of time with them that you ever had--what the Lord has ordained.

The trick is to realize that the time that's past can never be reclaimed or revisted and the time still in the future is not yet in our possession, nor is it promised or to be depended upon; we can only ever live one moment at a time.

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. After reading "The Preciousness of Time" I am thinking that that verse is less about "counting" and more about "reckoning."

7:03 AM  

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