Shortly before Edwards’ death on March 22 he spoke briefly with his younger daughter Lucy who was then living with his daughter Esther (Burr’s widow) in Princeton: “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 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.”
From a human perspective the death of Jonathan Edwards, Colonial America’s preeminent pastor-theologian, was untimely. But Edwards did not adopt such an outlook as his earthly life came to a previously-unforeseen and rather abrupt end. Instead, he manifested remarkable trust in God’s watchcare over himself and his family, as well as submission to the Lord’s will.
Edwards’ responses in those ways flowed out of decades of intimate fellowship with, and intense devotion to, God and Christ. Edwards’ example has much to teach us about living with and for the Lord in such a way that we come to trust Him in what He ordains in our life and death.
Edwards pastored for twenty-three years (1727-1750) in the town of Northampton, Massachusetts, then for seven years (1751-1758) in the frontier village of Stockbridge, also in the Massachusetts Colony. During those years he gained great prominence as a highly-respected minister, leader in America’s Great Awakening, and writer of numerous devotional and theological treatises.