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An Uncommon Union (Follow-Up)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

This is a follow up post to an earlier one found here.

Having now completed the book, I continue with my earlier statement that it is an educational read into the life of the members of the Edwards’ family. I will add that at times, I found that many items were repeated and sometimes even in the same chapter and at times the same paragraph, but I will not allow this to affect my original thoughts or suggestion that it is a good read and suggest it. The latter chapters dealt more with Mrs. Edwards and the children, especially Mrs. Edwards, than the earlier chapters and even at that, the earlier chapters spent more time with the ministry at Stockbridge and relationships with the Indians and other Englanders, than it did with Jonathan Edwards.

Even if you do not care for biographies, this may be what is used to prompt you in to the benefits of reading biographies. As before, I will post some “stick-ems” (words, sentences which are worthy to remember).

When Jonathan Edwards shared with the children of Mrs. Edwards sickness and her faith he reassured them only with the comfort of the fact that she possessed an “unweaned resignation to the Divine will.” (p. 210) This comes into practice much in the remaining chapters.

When speaking about the family’s medical practices, the author writes, “But although the family quickly availed themselves of the best medical advice of the day, they never forgot for a moment the dispenser of health and the withholder of the same. In every sickness the children were taught to resign themselves to the will of God.” (p. 211)

When the daughter, Esther Burrs, had visited it was during a hostile time with the Indians. The family’s slave and second-mother to the children, Venus, urged the new mother to leave early. Sensing Esther’s hesitancy to leave and not because of the fear of Indians getting her, Venus said, “I do declare, Miss Esther, I believe you are more afraid of your father than you are of the Indians.” (p. 226)

Upon Jonathan Edwards’ deathbed, he continued to urge his children to a nearness of God, he wrote, “who are now like to be left fatherless; which I hope will be an inducement to you all, to see a Father who will never fail you” and “Trust in God, and ye need not fear.” (p. 232)

What Jonathan Edwards left to the son who followed in his religious work (who happened to be Jonathan Jr.) was the following from his personal library:

  • 301 volumes
  • 536 pamphlets
  • 48 maps
  • 30 unpublished manuscripts
  • 1074 manuscript sermons

all these had a total worth at that time of 415 dollars, today’s worth is about $5,000. (p. 235)

Legacy’s must be passed: (p. 239)

  • Man proposes. God disposes
  • The frowns of heaven
  • O what a legacy
  • The vinegar of life

Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions: (p. 240)

  • Resolved, never to DO, BE, or SUFFER, anything, in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God
  • Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can
  • Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live
  • Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s

All of his Resolutions may be accessed here.

In closing, the words which were said of both Jonathan Edwards, “It is seldom that a son has such a father, and it is still more rare that such a father leaves behind him a son so worthy of his lineage.” (p. 242)

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote of the Puritans, “They are too honest to dilute the vinegar of life.” Such theology produces strong men and strong sons, not too proud to bow the neck to the “frowns of heaven” and to drink “the vinegar of life.” (p. 242)

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