Matt Haste and Rob Plummer have put together a little gem of a book on marriage titled Held in Honor: Wisdom for Your Marriage from Voices of the Past. I’ve never seen a book like this. It is an anthology of statements on marriage from major figures of church history. Some of the material is theological (like the entry from John Calvin). Some of it is deeply personal (like the poem Anne Bradstreet wrote for her husband). The book is formatted as a devotional and has a practical orientation. These voices from the past are marshalled to help marriages in the present.
Each reading has three parts: (1) a brief introduction from the authors, (2) the reading, and (3) devotional. I will include will include the first two parts from the Jonathan Edwards section below. This is a delightful little book that I am pleased to have received.
Give My Kindest Love to My Dear Wife
JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703–1758)
Jonathan Edwards was possibly the most brilliant mind America ever produced. While he is best known for his classic sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” his many other works such as Religious Affections (1754) and Freedom of the Will (1754) were significant during the Great Awakening and beyond. In addition to his legacy as a pastor and theologian, Edwards also set a solid example in his family. There is no stronger evidence for his devotion to his family than the following two excerpts, which contain his fi nal words regarding his wife and her response to his unexpected death.
[Jonathan Edwards’ words to his daughter, Lucy, on his deathbed: ]
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.
[Sarah Edwards to her daughter, Esther:]
O my very Dear Child, What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may all 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. O 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.