The "Uncommon" Sarah Edwards
|Image from Colonial Quills|
By Camille Van Buren - Posted at The Highway:
There are many great men within American history. Their stories are of dedication to various aspects of American life from the founding of our nation to heroism in battlefields defending her. History easily remembers the men who spent their lives fortifying America, but it often forgets the men who impacted our nation through their faith in God. Many of these stories of faith are found in Puritan America; a time when faith was the foundation of family, church and community. These men, such as John Winthrop, David Brainerd, Cotton Mather, and George Whitefield laid the foundation of faith on which a nation was built. And the backbone of these men lay in the women who supported them. One particularly strong woman was Sarah Pierrepont Edwards, the wife of Jonathan Edwards. Sarah was not just another woman on the pages of history; rather, her amazing faith became her legacy. Sarah’s virtue was intertwined in the three major relationships in her life: her husband, her children and her God. It was through these relationships that she found and lived her faith to such an extent that the ripples of her faith are still being felt today.
Sarah and Jonathan saw their marriage, as did most of their Puritan counterparts, as an analogy of a Christian’s relationship to God. Thus their marriage was rooted not only in love for each other but also in a deep commitment to God. On his death bed Jonathan’s last thoughts were not of theology, but of his wife as he bid her farewell: “I hope she shall be supported under so great a trial, and submit cheerfully to the will of God.”1 Sarah first attracted Edwards at the early age of 13 because of her unusually deep faith in God. The attraction was mutual and was intensified by their shared devotion to that “Great Being who created all things.” Just as God was the center of the Puritan town, it was all the center of the Edwards’ marriage.
Their love and dependence was a shared affection: Sarah needed Jonathan and Jonathan needed Sarah. Despite the busy and intense schedules that both kept, he in studying and she in running a household, neither one deprived the other of any attention. Sarah knew that if she ever needed her husband all she had to do was walk into his study and she would have his undivided attention. Likewise, all Jonathan had to do was ask and she would leave an older child in charge of the house so she could take a walk or a ride with her husband. It was during these private times that Jonathan and Sarah would talk about their anxieties and problems; Jonathan would tell Sarah about his newest ideas from his studies and she would share about her growth in faith. It was because of these quiet moments together that they grew to know the heights and depths of each other’s souls and this provided for a very loving environment in which to grow.