Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George M. Marsden Book Review
Marsden writes about Jonathan and Sarah Edwards’ relationship carefully. He talks about how deeply Sarah cares for her husband (Marsden, 83-84). Sarah not only was a wife and mother but a homesteader. She watched over the farm and handled the servants. Sarah took on many roles in the household, but despite her efforts, she fell in a spiritual battle that was soon defeated when she fully submitted herself to the Lord. She began having an overwhelming amount of joy and physical ecstasies. I find this interesting because in our previous readings and even pages before this passage, Jonathan Edwards speaks highly of Sarah’s spirituality. He talked about how she was such a great example of someone who loved God. But, I find that every Christian goes through periods where they kind of go astray or fall behind in their faith. I tend to have days, even weeks, where I just need to remind myself to give it all to God. It is easy to get caught up in everyday life.
Another part I found interesting was that Edwards had a slave, specifically an African American slave. Although the Bible did not condemn those who had a slave, I find it interesting that Edwards had his own because of his Puritan views. His religious beliefs weighed heavily on equality, but Marsden states, “Spiritual equality, however, did not imply social equality” (91). I personally feel that equality should be a broad term, meaning every aspect of each individual is equal. Edwards later spoke out about slavery, but I still find it interesting that it took him so long to change those views.
The last part of this chapter that was interesting to me was the “bad book” ( Marsden, 93). This part really caught my attention because it wasn’t the fact that the books were bad, but what they were being used for was bad. There were two big reasons that Edwards made this such a big deal, instead of just dismissing it as young men's behavior. One of the reasons was that it became a public issue (Marsden, 93). The other reason was that the young men were church members. Edwards also had teenage daughters at the time, so the issue became more emotional to him. A big aspect of membership in the church is communion. It is said to be unholy if you take communion while partaking in hypocrisy. Marsden writes, “Scripture warned strongly against ‘eating and drinking judgement to yourselves’ by partaking of the Lord’s supper unworthily” (94).