Biographical Book Reviews - Jonathan and Sarah: An Uncommon UnionTolle Lege - Take and Read Book Reviews
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What was Edwards’ life like with his wife Sarah? This very readable biography will help Christians become familiar with America’s greatest Theologian, and his saintly wife.
Biographical Book Reviews – Jonathan and Sarah: An Uncommon Union
Reviewed by Mrs. Therese McMahon
Jonathan and Sarah: An Uncommon Union
by Edna Gerstner
Soli Deo Gloria Publications, Morgan, PA: 1995
242 Pages, Paperback
30 years ago Edna Gerstner penned the first written work of the private life of Jonathan Edwards and his family, but it remained unpublished until now. However, though many current biographies have been sold on the Christian market today concerning Edwards, this book is now ranked among them as a jewel.
Edwards is seen not only as minister in this account but also as husband and father. Jonathan Edwards having resigned the assistant pastorate in Northampton Mass. takes up his post as minister among the Indians in Stockbridge Mass. It is here that you will learn what becomes of the lives of their 12 children as they discover a new life altogether unfamiliar as they unite as a family in ministry towards the Indians. This work is filled with providences of joys and sorrows as you read the pages of the Edwards’ day to day life among the Indians. All the children except one journey to the new land. Actual quotes from the Edwards’ diaries and journals are included. This true story which was compiled over thirty years ago but now in it’s first publication, was nicely orchestrated by Edna Gerstner and deserves our attention. You will indeed feel as if you are part of all the ups and downs of all that the Edwards’ family endured. This truly is an exhorting account to every Christian who would “Take up and Read”.
The first part of the book largely concerns Jonathan Edwards Junior as a young boy. He was a sharp boy with many gifts and quite willing to put them to use. Jonathan Junior was truly a great help to his father in ministering to the Indians. As a result of close daily relations with the Indians, he spoke and understood their language quite well. Even his dreams were in Indian. This helped his father greatly as Mr. Edwards thought it most unprofitable to spend most of his time among them learning the language. It was the willingness of the young boy as well as the leadership and exhortation of the father that Jonathan junior utilized his gifts.
Edwards and his young son had a special relationship. The boy trusted and obeyed his father. Jonathan junior would one day remember the last words he heard from his father, “Trust in God and ye need not fear!” They combined their gifts to work together for the good of those to whom they hoped to win to Christ. The young boy would translate to his father Indian rituals in order to know and understand them more intimately. The young boy loved his new friends. He spent everyday among them playing with their children; he was part of their culture and part of their lives.
The day to day home life looked something like this: Mr. Edwards was in his study thirteen hours daily. However, whenever their was and emergency or a child was troubled, his door was always open to them; he was a gentle man given to much thought. At his eulogy it was said of him: “It may be questioned whether the world can furnish a more signal example of the results of solitary thought.” Sarah was always about the home caring for it and the well being of her children. She was a woman who was calm and never raised her voice. As stated in the book, “Mother was a violin which responded to the slightest touch”. Their home included two maids to whom they treated with utmost love and respect. They were like family to the Edwards’. Each evening, for a few hours, Mr. Edwards would spend time with the family in devotions which would begin with singing. As a result of the family time spent each night, the children were taught to treasure family discussions not disclosing them outside the home. They were a close knit family thanks to the devotion of their parents who trained them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Their home life was a pleasant one. They were a family who loved each other, looked out for each other and amidst the difficulties in the village, the children as well as the parents always did what was right. God truly blessed the efforts of Jonathan and Sarah in the training up of their children. Sarah in a letter to her daughter Esther is quoted speaking of her husband saying: “O what a legacy my husband and your Father has left us”.
However, as in all families, death and tragedy and sorrow and pain took it’s place as the providences of God unfolded. On his death bed Mr. Edwards said to his wife in a note dictated to his daughter: “tell my “dear wife” he said, “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.” The hardships are evident as well as the persevering faith displayed in the lives of the Edwards’.
A quote from the Edwards’ daughter Esther after losing her husband: “Heavenly and eternal things appear much more real and important than ever before. I feel myself to be under much greater obligations to be the Lord’s than before this sore affliction.” It is truly an exhortation to all Christians that God is always with us; He will never leave us – never. It is a clear realization that earth is not our home and that we are not home yet.