Monday, August 22, 2016

The love story of our forefathers (A Family Secret)

Ephesians 5:25
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

At first I came across the love story of Charles Spurgeon and thought that was beautiful. Then I stumble upon the love story of John Newton and behold the amazing grace of God. Lastly I remember Jonathan Edward and his excellent wife Sarah Pierpont. What was their secret, thought I..

1.The Love of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon

"Founded on pure love and cemented in mutual esteem."

Spurgeon died in the late nineteenth century. His views on wives, marriage, and relationship may seem quaint and strange in a world where most women find it necessary to work outside the home. The selection below is from one of his sermons in which Charles Spurgeon described a happy marriage and the true wife, all the while describing his beloved spouse Susie:

"Sometimes we have seen a model marriage, founded on pure love, and cemented in mutual esteem. Therein, the husband acts as a tender head; and the wife, as a true spouse, realizes the model marriage-relation, and sets forth what our oneness with the Lord ought to be. She delights in her husband, in his person, his character, his affection; to her, he is not only the chief and foremost of mankind, but in her eyes he is all-in-all; her heart's love belongs to him, and to him only. She finds sweetest content and solace in his company, his fellowship, his fondness; he is her little world, her Paradise, her choice treasure. At any time, she would gladly lay aside her own pleasure to find it doubled in gratifying him. She is glad to sink her individuality in his. She seeks no renown for herself; his honor is reflected upon her, and she rejoices in it. She would defend his name with her dying breath; safe enough is he where she can speak for him. The domestic circle is her kingdom; that she may there create happiness and comfort, is her lifework; and his smiling gratitude is all the reward she seeks. Even in her dress, she thinks of him; without constraint she consults his taste and considers nothing beautiful which is distasteful to him."

"A tear from his eye, because of any unkindness on her part, would grievously torment her. She asks not how her behavior may please a stranger, or how another's judgment may approve her conduct; let her beloved be content, and she is glad. He has many objects in life, some of which she does not quite understand; but she believes in them all, and anything she can do to promote them, she delights to perform. He lavishes love on her, and, in return, she lavishes love on him. Their object in life is common. There are points where their affections so intimately unite that none could tell which is first and which is second. To watch their children growing up in health and strength, to see them holding posts of usefulness and honor, is their mutual concern; in this and other matters, they are fully one. Their wishes blend, their hearts are indivisible. By degrees, they come to think very much the same thoughts. Intimate association creates conformity; I have known this to become so complete that, at the same moment, the same utterance has leaped to both their lips."

2.The Love of John and Mary Newton

After his marriage, Newton was captain of his own ship, and he had to be separated from Mary for months at a time. The two corresponded constantly. Repeatedly in his letters John wrote how their love and marriage increased his thankfulness and gratefulness to the Lord:

. . when I indulge myself with a particular thought of you, it usually carries me on farther, and brings me upon my knees to bless the Lord, for giving me such a treasure, and to pray for your peace and welfare . . . when I take up my pen, and begin to consider what I shall say, I am led to think of the goodness of God, who has made you mine, and given me a heart to value you. Thus my love to you, and my gratitude to him, cannot be separated. . . . All other love, that is not connected with a dependence on God, must be precarious. To this want, I attribute many unhappy marriages.

Happy though he was in his love for Mary, Newton never wanted their love to be a substitute for or take the place of their love for God. He felt that many of the problems people had in their marriages were caused by people trying to find all their happiness and fulfillment in a human relationship apart from their relationship with the Lord. While at sea in 1753 John wrote Mary,

You will not be displeased with me for saying, that though you are dearer to me than the aggregate of all earthly comforts, I wish to limit my passion within those bounds which God has appointed. Our love to each other ought to lead us to love him supremely, who is the author and source of all the good we possess or hope for. It is to him we owe that happiness in a marriage state which so many seek in vain, some of whom set out with such hopes and prospects, that their disappointments can be deduced for no other cause, than having placed that high regard on a creature which is only due to the Creator. He therefore withholds his blessing (without which no union can subsist) and their expectations, of course, end in indifference . . .

3.The Love of Jonathan Edward and Sarah Pierpont

The many people who visited the home were impressed by the peace which flourished in the home. There was none of the quarreling or coldness so common in other homes. Husband and wife supported and admired each other. They prayed daily together. Evangelist George Whitefield, after spending a few days in the calm, happy Edwards home, was so impressed that he determined to get married himself. "A sweeter couple I have not yet seen," he enthused.

Jonathan himself saw home life as a living lesson in faith. In his sermon, "The Church's Marriage to Her Sons and to Her God," he reminded his listeners of the importance of marriage. "Of all the various kinds of union of sensible and temporal things that are used in Scripture to represent the relation there is between Christ and his church; that which is between bridegroom and bride, or husband and wife, is much more frequently made use of both in the Old and New Testament. The Holy Ghost seems to take a particular delight in this, as a similitude [likeness] fit to represent the strict, intimate, and blessed union that is between Christ and his saints."

The Edwards suffered their share of criticism. Although Sarah was not wasteful, she had expensive tastes, especially in dresses and dishes. Jonathan came under a cloud of anger when he refused to admit just anyone to communion. The last years of the couple's lives were lived in turmoil and poverty.

Jonathan had just accepted the presidency of Princeton when he contracted smallpox. On his death bed, his last thoughts were of Sarah. "...give my kindest leave to my dear wife and tell her that the uncommon union which has so long existed 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." he said.

Upon hearing of Jonathan's death, Sarah wrote this 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."
Even in the worst trial of her life, Sarah Edwards was submissive to the will of God and blessed Him in it all.

Sarah and he had just lost a daughter and son-in-law. Sarah fell ill of dysentery while on a visit to collect her grandchildren to raise with her own younger children. Just six months after Jonathan's death, she joined him in the grave.

Psalm 37:4
New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
What is the desire of our heart.

If your love to your spouse is to bring glory to Him, will He not give you the desire of your heart?

4.To be continue...

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