True Soul Mates and the Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards


Soul mates is a phrase I love to hate. I hate it because our culture has warped its true meaning. Poets and writers have expressed the concept. These, I love. What heart does not flutter at this thought?

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.
-Emily Brontë

or this one:

He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began.
-Leo Tolstoy


America’s first published poet, Anne Bradstreet, penned these lines for her soul mate husband, Simon:

My head, my heart, mine Eyes, my life, nay more,
My joy, my Magazine of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I,
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lye?


Jonathan and Sarah

If ever there were soul mates they had to be Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Jonathan Edwards died at age 54 after he was inoculated with smallpox vaccine. He was aware the vaccine did not work and knew he was dying. I was touched to read that Jonathan Edwards, austere preacher of ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’, could also convey this loving message to his wife while on his deathbed:

“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.”

The uncommon union. Spiritual. One flesh, bound together in Christ. This is the stuff of true soul mates.

 “…therefore will continue forever”

The bible clearly says there is no marriage in heaven. Yet these true soul mates, since they are knit together in Christ, will forever be one, as we, the bride of Christ, are all One in Him. What a glorious thought. Earthly roles of husband and wife do not continue, but the spiritual oneness does.

True soul mates are not the stuff of silly romance novels or chick flicks. It’s not serendipity. Soul mates are not linked by love of dogs or mocha latte. True soul mates become soul mates over time. True soul mates seek to understand each other, love each other and nurture each other – all with enabling grace from God. True soul mates guard one another’s souls against sin.

Separated by Death, Temporarily

Sarah Edwards wrote a letter to her daughter, Esther, after Jonathan’s death:

“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 us! We are all given to God; and there I am, and love to be.”

I have noticed soul mates often die close together in time. A mere six months after Jonathan’s death, Sarah joined him in heaven. How odd, but not really.

David and Jerusha

Jonathan and Sarah’s daughter, Jerusha, cared for missionary David Brainerd through his illness. Gerstner’s book and others say they were engaged, but there is no proof of this. When Brainerd died of tuberculosis at age 29, Jerusha was by his side.

David spoke to her on his deathbed:

“Dear Jerusha, are you willing to part with me? I am willing to part with you…though, if I thought I should not see you and be happy with you in another world, I could not bear to part with you. But we shall spend an happy eternity together!”

Four months later, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1748, Jerusha died. These two were soul mates destined to continue their love in their heavenly home. Jonathan Edwards himself was convinced of that:

Jonathan Edwards, remembering the words David Brainerd had spoken to Jerusha while on his deathbed, buried his daughter next to Brainerd. He was confident that they were both presently with the Lord and in the company of each other. But he wanted to ensure that their bodies would rise together at the resurrection. He seemed to understand that the love of David and Jerusha would endure despite death. He seemed to recognize that love is eternal. — source –

The Marriage Theme in God’s Word

In Jonathan Edwards’ sermon “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons and to Her God” he said:

“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.”

God places such great importance on marriage as a mirror reflection of the blessed union of Christ and his saints. That is a forever marriage.

So while we are wrapped up in Valentine’s Day and we unwrap Dove chocolate foils of fools’ wisdom, let’s ponder marriage as God intended it.

Sweet little nothings.

Let’s ponder the words of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and words like these from Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet:

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

 The uncommon union will continue forever.


For further very interesting reading about Jerusha Edwards:

3 thoughts on “True Soul Mates and the Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards

  1. I didn’t want to include this in my comments about this piece, but I am sad that I don’t or ever will have this kind of love…and I beat myself up about it every day—it was my choice, so no one else is to blame–there is good that came out of it though, namely my children, and my growth and ‘evolution’ as a reformed believer–so for that I am thankful—and thank you again —-this is really your forte!!


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