An informal definition of an artist is one who makes it a habit of practicing an activity in order to master it. An artist improves on what he does. He learns to develop his craft through careful evaluations and adjustments. His skill increases. His work becomes more polished and refined.
In his second resolution, Jonathan Edwards resolves to improve the way he glorifies God. He desired to be an artist with God’s glory—always refining his life to be more lofty and more holy as unto God. He speaks of his diligence in effort, his creativity in celebration, and his intentionality in advancement.
Resolved, To be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.Jonathan Edwards
Diligently Seeking the Glory of God
For Edwards, glorifying God was an industrious undertaking. He could not be slipshod about his time. It was too precious to him. Instead, he was resolved to be “continually endeavoring,” or always laboring, to and for the glory of God.
In his instruction to the Colossian believers, the apostle Paul teased this idea as a part of their attitude toward daily work. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23). The same attitude ought to be lifted above our earthly work to a vision of glorifying God in all that we do.
Creatively Celebrating the Glory of God
The key word in this resolution is find. Edwards wanted to discover new ways, new means, and new methods to glorify God. It details what he continuously endeavored to do. It also reveals something about his inward desire to be creative. He wanted to improve, to supplement, to broaden his toolset of honor. Like a painter, he wanted more colors. Like a musician, he wanted more instruments. Like an artist, he desired to be more eclectic with his expression.
Speaking of Christ, the Bible tells us that “all things were created through him and for him” (Col. 1:16). Be they sacred or secular, significant or trivial, all things are here for our disposal to use, even redeem to use, for the sake of God’s glory. We are only limited to our imagination. Edwards wanted to “find out some new invention and contrivance” that would facilitate yet another way to glorify God.
Intentionally Advancing the Glory of God
In the end, Edwards was resolved “to promote the aforementioned things” which, as best we can tell, is a reference to the previous resolution. It was his first, and arguably most robust resolution. In it, he resolves to give everything to the duty of glorifying God and the goodness of man.
In other words, Edwards was resolved to work diligently to discover new methods and means to better facilitate his supreme duty of glorifying God. Each waking moment was an opportunity for him to earnestly and conscientiously strive to improve upon the ways in which he would honor the Lord. He was resolved to be a diligent craftsman of spiritual worship (Rom. 12:1). You might say that he made the glory of God his heartily work of art.