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Rev. Jonathan Edwards, a leader of the Great A...

Rev. Jonathan Edwards, a leader of the Great Awakening, is still remembered for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jonathan Edwards, in a November 1739 sermon entitled, “Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth”:

Some diversion is doubtless lawful; but for Christians to spend so much of their time, so many long evenings, in no other conversation than that which tends to divert and amuse, if nothing worse, is a sinful way of spending time, and tends to poverty of soul at least, if not to outward poverty. Prov. 14:23, “In all labor there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” Besides, when persons for so much of their time have nothing else to do but to sit, and talk, and chat in one another’s chimney corners, there is great danger of falling into foolish and sinful conversation, venting their corrupt dispositions in talking against others, expressing their jealousies and evil surmises concerning their neighbors; not considering what Christ hath said, Matt. 12:36, “Of every idle word that men shall speak, shall they give account in the day of judgment.”

If you would comply with what you have heard from this doctrine, you would find something else to spend your winters in, one winter after another, besides contention, or talking about those public affairs which tend to contention. Young people might find something else to do, besides spending their time in vain company; something that would be much more profitable to themselves, as it would really turn to some good account; something, in doing which, they would both be more out of the devil’s way, the way of temptation, and be more in the way of duty, and of a divine blessing. And even aged people would have something to employ themselves in, after they are become incapable of bodily labor. Their time, as is now often the case, would not lie heavy upon their hands, as they would with both profit and pleasure, be engaged in searching the Scriptures, and in comparing and meditating upon the various truths which they should find there.