Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christ's Beauty and Love

A selection from a letter by Jonathan Edwards to Lady Mary Pepperrell. Edwards had visited her husband, Sir William Pepperrell, and had found her to be in deep sorrow because of the death of her only son. When Edwards left, she asked him to write her, so he did. He penned a letter, as he said, on "the subject which above all others appeared to me to be a proper and sufficient source of consolation to one under your heavy affliction: and this was the Lord Jesus Christ." He developed two main points in his letter – "the infinite worthiness" of Christ and Christ's "great and unparalleled love to us." What sweet comfort this letter breathes! It was written from Stockbridge [Massachusetts], November 28, 1751.

Now, Madam, let us consider what suitable provision God has made for our consolation under all our afflictions in giving us a Redeemer of such glory and such love, especially when it is considered what were the ends of that great manifestation of his beauty and love in his death. He suffered that we might be delivered. His soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death, to take away the sting of sorrow and that we might have everlasting consolation. He was oppressed and afflicted that we might be supported. He was overwhelmed in the darkness of death and of hell, that we might have the light of life. He was cast into the furnace of God's wrath, that we might swim in the rivers of pleasure. His heart was overwhelmed in a flood of sorrow and anguish, that our hearts might be filled and overwhelmed with a flood of eternal joy.

Jonathan Edwards: Letters and Personal Writings, edited by George S. Claghorn, vol. 16 in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale University Press, 1998, p. 418.

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