Jonathan & Sarah Edwards on Finding Happiness in God Above all Others
God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. — To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. — Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness? (Edwards, "Christian Pilgrim," in The works of Jonathan Edwards)
With his death fast approaching, he told his 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. (Dwight, "Memoirs," in The Works of Jonathan Edwards as quoted by Moore, Good Christians, Good Husbands?, p.126)I am always astounded when I read Sarah's response to her husband's death. I wonder if I could respond as she does if God chose to take my husband. When she heard of her husband's death, she wrote to her daughter:
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. (In Burr, Journal, 301. as quoted by Moore in Good Christians, Good Husbands?, p.126)Oh, to sincerely love God even more than our greatest earthly blessing! To say amidst great trials that God has our heart. To 'kiss the rod' and 'adore his goodness.' To be fully satisfied in Christ alone and say, "there I am and love to be." I pray that God would do this work in my heart.