By Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. — Isaiah 48.12
I have greatly longed for a broken heart and to lie low before God. It is affecting to think how ignorant I was when a young Christian—of the bottomless, infinite depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy and deceit, left in my heart.
I have a much greater sense of my universal, exceeding dependence on God’s grace and strength, and mere good pleasure, of late, than I used formerly to have. And I have experienced more of an abhorrence of my own righteousness.
The very thought of any joy arising in me—on any consideration of my own amiableness, performances, or experiences, or any goodness of heart or life—is nauseous and detestable to me. And yet I am greatly afflicted with a proud and self righteous spirit; much more than I used to be. I see that serpent rising and putting forth its head continually, every where, all around me.
Holiness appears to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, serene, calm nature—which brings an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness and ravishment to the soul. In other words, it makes the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers; all pleasant, delightful, and undisturbed: enjoying a sweet calm and the gently vivifying beams of the sun.
The soul of a true Christian appears like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the years; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun’s glory; rejoicing as it were in a calm rapture; diffusing around a sweet flagrancy; standing peacefully and lovingly in the midst of other flowers; all in like manner opening their bosoms to drink in the light of the sun.
There is no part of creature holiness, that I have such great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart, and poverty of spirit—and there is nothing else I so earnestly long for. My heart pants after this—to lie low before God, as in the dust; that I might be nothing and that God might be all; that I might become as a little child.
*Abridged and language updated from The Personal Narrative of Jonathan Edwards and His Seventy Resolutions.