When I read George Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards, I was overwhelmed by the former’s theological and historical acumen. There is a reason why he is a household name in American Religious History and why he led a group of scholars known as the Evangelical Mafia – within the ranks of the historical guild. This man is giant among boys when it comes to doing religious history! Well..enough of that.
Toward the end of the book, like all other biographies, Marsden recounts the final words of Edwards as the latter was knocking on death’s door. These are the words captured by Edwards’ daughter, Lucy:
Dear Lucy, it seems to me to be the will of God that I must shortly leave you; therefore 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. And as to my children, you are now like to be left fatherless, which I hope will be an inducement to you all to seek a Father, who will never fail you.
Edwards died in Princeton, NJ, away from his wife and children (except Lucy), for they were still in Stockbridge, MA, waiting for spring to come. Edwards worked tirelessly as a theologian/pastor, but more importantly, he shepherded his family even as death came calling.