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The Jonathan Edwards Legacy—Why?

Perhaps you’ve read about it?  The profound legacy of Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards was the renowned preacher of the 1700s.  He and his wife, Sarah, had 11 children.

Nearly 150 years after his death, A.E. Winship, educator and pastor, decided to trace the lineage of Edwards.  His legacy included the following:

1 U.S. Vice President

3 U.S. Senators

3 governors

3 mayors

13 college presidents

30 judges

65 professors

80 public office holders

100 lawyers

100 missionaries

It’s an astounding legacy.  So what was it that allowed Edwards to be so successful?  Presumably as a pastor, Edwards spent considerable time teaching his children the bible.  But perhaps you remember the 65 resolutions of Edwards?  These resolutions were designed to cover every area of his life, including suffering, time management, good works etc.

These resolutions were the compass settings of his life, and presumably he shared these same resolutions with his family.  Notably, one of those resolutions relating to relationships states the following:

  1. 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.

As one example, this resolution reflects a code of conduct—honor, love, humility, forgiveness, and care for others.

Perhaps the wisdom from Edwards is what resolutions, what compass settings, have we provided our own family.  These resolutions must not be proverbial adages, but instead written down, shared frequently and lived out.  When we live that way, our legacy might look like his.

About Bill High

Bill is CEO of the Signatry: A Global Christian Foundation. He works with families, individual givers, and financial advisers to share the foundation’s message regarding biblical generosity and charitable giving. He is the co-author with David Green of Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously: » Learn More

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