Jonathan Edwards referred to his marriage to Sarah Edwards as an “uncommon union”. They were very different temperamentally, to say the least. When the Spirit of God fell in Northampton in the 1740s, Sarah fell rapturously in love with Christ, while Edwards wrote treatises regarding “Religious Affections”.
A record of her encounter with Christ was preserved and is part of “The Works of Jonathan Edwards”. She first was made aware of her low state of grace and began to wrestle with God, as a “spirit of earnestness” came on her in her longing for God. After a time of surrendering herself to God, one morning during prayer she felt that God “…sweetly smiled upon me, with the look of forgiveness and love, having laid aside all his displeasure towards me, for Jesus’ sake; which made me feel very weak, and somewhat faint.”
The rest of that week she was under “under a delightful sense of the immediate presence and love of God” and she wept tears of joy. “The peace and happiness, which I hereupon felt, was altogether inexpressible.” In her own words she speaks of continuing in “a very sweet and lively sense of divine things, day and night, sleeping and waking” for days on end.
When she heard preaching or singing or while just talking with friends about Christ, the intensity of her feelings would overwhelm her and take away her bodily strength. At one point while quoting a hymn of praise to Jesus, she says “…my mind was so deeply impressed with the love of Christ, and a sense of his immediate presence, that I could with difficulty refrain from rising from my seat, and leaping for joy. I continued to enjoy this intense, and lively, and refreshing sense of divine things, accompanied with strong emotions, for nearly an hour; after which, I experienced a delightful calm, and peace and rest in God, until I retired for the night; and during the night, both waking and sleeping, I had joyful views of divine things, and a complacential [peaceful] rest of soul in God”.
When hymns were read, she says they, “…made so strong an impression on my mind, and my soul was drawn so powerfully towards Christ and heaven, that I leaped unconsciously from my chair. I seemed to be drawn upwards, soul and body, from the earth towards heaven; and it appeared to me that I must naturally and necessarily ascend thither… At length my strength failed me, and I sunk down; when they took me up and laid me on the bed, where I lay for a considerable time, faint with joy, while contemplating the glories of the heavenly world”.
She felt an incredible sense of peace and an she felt she did not care one bit what anyone thought of her, because she was “entirely swallowed up in God”.
She would see her Christian friends and see them (as it were, by faith) in their glorified state, which would result in her feeling “a ravishing sense of the unspeakable joys of the upper world”.
One night she describes her “love encounter” in this way:
“ I seemed to myself to perceive a glow of divine love come down from the heart of Christ in heaven, into my heart, in a constant stream, like a stream or pencil of sweet light. At the same time, my heart and soul all flowed out in love to Christ; so that there seemed to be a constant flowing and reflowing of heavenly and divine love, from Christ’s heart to mine; and I appeared to myself to float or swim, in these bright, sweet beams of the love of Christ, like the motes swimming in the beams of the sun, or the streams of his light which come in at the window. My soul remained in a kind of heavenly elysium… It was a pure delight, which fed and satisfied the soul. It was pleasure, without the least sting, or any interruption. It was a sweetness, which my soul was lost in. It seemed to be all that my feeble frame could sustain, of that fulness of joy, which is felt by those, who behold the face of Christ, and share his love in the heavenly world”.
It goes on and on… She would hear the words “The Comforter” referring to the Holy Spirit and would be so hit with intense joy that she would collapse, and have to be caught and held up.
This is Romans 5:5 to the extreme. Are you ready for some Holy Spirit love encounters?