Kissing the Rod

On March 22nd, 1758, the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards died of smallpox, having received the disease from a smallpox vaccine one month earlier. He left behind a family and an incredible legacy of writing and ministry. His last words, and the words of his wife upon his death, are instructive for every Christian. Jonathan wrote to 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 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, his dear wife, wrote to her daughter Esther on April 3rd, “What shall I say: A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may 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 to us! We are all given to God: and there I am and love to be. Your ever affectionate mother, Sarah Edwards.” God is sovereign over all our life, and the trials He ordains as discipline for us are from the hand of a loving heavenly Father. So let us kiss the rod, and trust and wait on Him.

SDG,
Ezra

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ThatLiberal on November 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks Caleb, that was super sad.

    Reply

  2. […] Kissing the Rod — Touching quotes from Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sarah on the occasion of the great preacher’s death. […]

    Reply

  3. Posted by Larry Walker on November 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I disagree “ThatLiberal”. I think it was beautiful, and a major encouragement to remind us of the limited nature of this life and the relationships in it. God is the only one, as Edwards says, who “will never fail” us.

    Reply

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