Sunday, August 28, 2005

Marriage to a Difficult Man

Although I have no doubt that it may be true, the title of this blog entry does not refer to my wife’s situation but to the “uncommon union” of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. It is actually the title of Elisabeth Dodds’ biography of Jonathan Edwards. She tells the story of Jonathan Edwards through the perspective of his dear wife, Sarah. As Dodds writes, “A genius is seldom an easy husband.” While it certainly was not easy for Sarah, their relationship was, by all accounts, a model of Christ-like love and affection.

The previously confirmed bachelor, George Whitefield, was so impressed with the Edwards family (“A sweeter couple I have not seen”), and Sarah in particular, that he could write,
Mrs. Edwards is adorned with a meek and quiet spirit; she talked solidly of the things of God, and seemed to be such a helpmeet for her husband, that she caused me to renew those prayers, which for some months, I have put up to God, that he would be pleased to send me daughter of Abraham to be my wife.
Sarah was indeed a remarkable lady.

One of the most touching aspects of their marriage transpired on the occasion of her husband’s untimely death. While Jonathan lay on his death bed, his last words were directed towards his wife,
Give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature, as I trust is spiritual, and therefore will continue forever: and I hope she will be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God.

Sarah responded in kind, with a letter to her daughter Esther:

Oh My Very Dear Child,

What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. Oh that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands on our mouths! The Lord has done it. He has made me adore his goodness, that we had him so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart. Oh what a legacy my husband, and your father, has left us! We are all given to God: and there I am, and love to be.

It is touching that they obviously both loved each other deeply, yet both held their earthly loves in palms open to their heavenly Father to do with as He seemed best.


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