Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What was Jonathan Edward’s wife like? - Elizabeth Prince

What was Jonathan Edward’s wife like?

Since the mid 1700’s Jonathan Edwards has been seen as a man of great moral, and an astounding preacher.  In modern day schools, works such as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” are still read and seen as amazing words of literature.  While males analyze Edward’s works, we women often wonder about the husband’s backbone, the wife, who keeps him standing and supports him.  We ponder over topics such as what was her role in his life? How did she deal with his radical position in religion?  This is almost always the case for women and has been done with great figures throughout history.  We women seem to worship the wives of historical figures, such as Michelle Obama and Jacqueline Kennedy.  We are always trying to imitate their mannerisms and the way they dress.  So who was the wife of Jonathan Edward’s exactly, and what exactly did she do?


Sarah Edwards, born of the maiden name Pierpont, was born during the date of 1710 in New Haven, Connecticut.  Her profession, like her husband, was writing.  Unfortunately for her, the only thing she is really known for was a narrative she wrote about mystical events she experienced with her husband.  This was lost in time.  Sarah came from many generations of preachers and was a very religious girl herself, more so than the norm (1).  Jonathan Edwards later stated that this is the reason he fell in love with her and ended up marrying her (7).  Sarah Edwards was also one of the founders of Yale University and inspired much of its building (2). Sadly, not much information can be found about the life, or is known, of this amazing woman except for in her husband’s writings.
Sarah and Jonathan married when she was only seventeen, and met when she was thirteen. He was several years older than her (6)(8).  The two were madly in love and Jonathan viewed her as a spiritual goddess, often writing of her beauty.  Sarah was described to praise upon her husband often (6).  They had ten children, having only one that died early, that made it to adulthood (3).  Almost everyone during the time viewed the couple as a modern day Romeo and Juliet.  Sarah had a reputation of being a “Proverbs 31” woman (8). However, sometimes Sarah was very frightened of her husband due to his family past and imagined him beating her if she were ungodly (6).  Sarah had an expensive taste in clothing (7), which contributed to her husband’s anger often. 

Like most writers, Sarah Edwards received several criticisms from her works. Her letters stated that during her husband’s congregations she would have mystical encounters. (1) These encounters included leaping from her chair and fainting (5). Edwards was seen as making this up for the sake of her husband to prove his worth as a preacher in the society there were living in. In other light, she was seen as doing it for the sole purpose of attention because she was jealous of all the attention her husband was getting. She was said to be copy-catting the idea from Benny Hinnand was questioned just about how true her experiences were (4). Besides being insulting, Edwards has also been praised. Many women, even today, view her as a true role model and she is the topic of many biblical sermons (3).


        (2)    http://www.librarycompany.org/women/portraits_religion/edwards.htm

        (3)    http://mustardseedsisters.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/the-life-of-sarah-edwards-growing-in-godliness/

        (4)    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhiDfD1S5ww&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL2E1593030529F240

        (5)    http://www.pastornet.net.au/renewal/journal14/14c%20Chant.htm

         (6)    http://edwards.yale.edu/research/about-edwards/family-life

         (7)    http://www.christianity.com/ChurchHistory/11630206/

         (8)    http://thealabasterjar-book.com/Testimonies/S_Edwards1.html


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