(With some help from the Puritans—yes, those Puritans, don’t be surprised!)
I am a man who has been shown mercy, as the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter wrote: “It is a mercy to have a faithful friend, that loveth you entirely, and is as true to you as yourself, to whom you may open your mind and communicate your affairs, and who would be ready to strengthen you, and divide the cares of your affairs and family with you, and help you to bear your burdens, and comfort you in your sorrows, and be the daily companion of your lives, and partaker of your joys and sorrows. And it is a mercy to have so near a friend to be a helper to your soul; to join with you in prayer and other holy exercises; to watch over you and tell you of your sins and dangers, and to stir up in you the grace of God, and remember to you of the life to come, and cheerfully accompany you in the ways of holiness.”
I am a man who has been comforted, as the Puritan preacher Thomas Adams declared: “There is no such fountain of comfort on earth, as marriage.”
I am a man who, as the Puritan author Thomas Hooker put it, has a wife that “lies in his bosom, and his heart trusts in her, which forceth all to confess, that the stream of his affection, like a mighty current, runs with full tide and strength.”
I am the man of whom Hooker also said: “The man whose heart is endeared to the woman he loves, he dreams of her in the night, hath her in his eye and apprehension when he awakes, museth on her as he sits at table, walks with her when he travels and parlies with her in each place where he comes.”
What can I say that these men did not? I am a man blessed beyond measure; unworthy of the mercy he has been shown; undeserving of the gift he has been given; comforted by a companion divinely fitted for him; made happy beyond words; and daily enjoying the sweetest foretaste of heaven. For this I thank and praise a good and loving God. And I thank his precious, blood-bought and adopted daughter, through whom he has shown me these things and given me such joy.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Erin.