“I would now apply myself to the honoured one, who stood in the nearest relation of any to the deceased, whom God by this awful providence has made a sorrowful widow.
Suffer me, honoured madam, in your great affliction, to exhibit to you a compassionate Redeemer.
God has now taken from you that servant of His, that was the nearest and best friend you had in this world. He was your wise and prudent guide, your affectionate and pleasant companion.
He was so great a blessing while he lived, to you and your family, and, under Christ, was so much the comfort and support of your life.
You see, madam, where your resort must be: your earthly friends can condole your loss, but cannot make it up to you. We must all confess ourselves to be but miserable comforters.
But you may go and tell Jesus, and there you may have both support and reparation. His love and His presence is far beyond that of the nearest and most affectionate earthly friend.
Now you are bereaved of your earthly consort, but you may go to a spiritual Husband, and seek His compassion and His company.
He is the fountain of all that wisdom and prudence, that piety, that tender affection and faithful care, that you enjoyed in your departed consort.
In Him is an infinite fountain of all these things, and of all good.
In Him you may have light in your darkness, comfort in your sorrow, and fulness of joy and glory in another world, in an everlasting union with your dear, deceased relative, in the glorious presence of the same Redeemer, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.
This doctrine also directs the bereaved, afflicted children, that are, with hearts full of grief, now mourning over a dear departed father, where to go and what to do.
You will no longer have your father’s wisdom to guide you, his tender love to comfort and delight you, and his affectionate care to guard you and assist you.
You will no longer have his pious and judicious counsels to direct you, and his holy examples set before you, and his fervent, humble, believing prayers with you and for you.
But in the blessed Jesus, your father’s Lord and Redeemer, you may have much more than all those things. Your father’s virtues that made Him so great a blessing to you, were but the image of what is in Christ.
Therefore go to Jesus in your mourning: go and tell Jesus. Tell a compassionate Saviour what has befallen you.
Heretofore you have had an earthly father to go to, whose heart was full of tenderness to you. But the heart of His Redeemer is much more tender.
His wisdom and His love is infinitely beyond that of any earthly parent. Go to Him, and then you will surely find comfort.
Go to Him, and you will find that, though you are bereaved, yet you are not left in any want. You will find that all your wants are supplied, and all your loss made up, and much more.”
–Jonathan Edwards, “The Sorrows of the Bereaved Spread Before Jesus,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 2:968. The entire sermon may be read here. Edwards preached this sermon on Matthew 14:12 on September 2, 1741, at the funeral of the Rev. William Williams. In this section Edwards is speaking directly to the widow and children of the deceased.