With the surge of interest in Jonathan Edwards’ life and writings, studies on his wife and family are scarce. When I read through John Piper’s commemorative collection of essays on Edwards titled A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, I was delighted to find Noël Piper’s essay “Sarah Edwards: Jonathan’s Home and Haven.” It is one delightful distillation of the biographies I have read of Sarah and the Edwards’ family:

All the biographers mention the contrast between the two of them. Sarah was from one of the most distinguished families in Connecticut. Her education had been the best a woman of that era typically received. She was accomplished in the social skills of polite society. She enjoyed music and perhaps knew how to play the lute. (In the year of their marriage, one of the shopping reminders for Jonathan when he traveled was to pick up lute strings. That may have been for a wedding musician, or it may have been for Sarah herself.) People who knew her mentioned her beauty and her way of putting people at ease. Samuel Hopkins, who knew her later, stressed her “peculiar loveliness of expression, the combined result of goodness and intelligence.”

Jonathan, on the other hand, was introverted, shy, and uneasy with small talk. He had entered college at thirteen, and graduated valedictorian. He ate sparingly in an age of groaning dining tables, and he was not a drinker. He was tall and gangly and awkwardly different. He was not full of social graces.

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