« VorigeDoorgaan »
clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see. thy countenance, let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely," He calleth his spouse his love, being the dear object of his love; and he admireth her loveliness; he repeats it twice in one verse, “Behold thou art fair, my love, behold thou art fair.” Thus you see he describes their beauty. And then, my sisters, we have a won. derful expression of CHRIST to his spouse, “ Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” Thus you fee how pleased the LORD JESUS CHRIST is with his spouse; and will .10t you, therefore, be espoused unto the LORD Jesus? I offer Jesus CHRIST to all of you; if
you have been never so notorious for fin, if you have been as great a harlot as Mary Magdalen was, when once you are espoused to CHRIST, you shall be forgiven. Therefore be not discouraged, at whatever flights and contempts the world may pass upon you, but come and join yourselves to the LORD Jesus CHRIST, and all your sins shall be washed away in his blood; and when once you are espoused to Jesus, you are disjoined from fin, you are born again. You are now, as it were, espoused unto sin; fin is your husband, and you are too fond of it, but when once you are married to Christ, when you are born again, then you may be said to die unto fin !; but till then, sin liveth in your affections; therefore, my firters, givé fin its death-wound in your hearts; you have been called by the word time after time, and it has had no effect upon you; but when you are espoufed unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST, then you will be brought to him by his Spirit: You will then lay hold on him by faith, his Spirit will draw you unto himself; he will make you to be willing in the day of bi power; he will give you faith in him. Faith is the hand of the soul which layeth hold on CHRIST; therefore, do not rest contented till you have this grace of faith wrought in you with power ; do not be contented till you have received the LORD Jesus CHRIST.
Embrace CHRIST in the arms. of your deareft love; then you love the LORD JESUS CHRIST with sincerity, when you love and esteem him before father, mother, or all the delights and pleasures of this life; but if you do delight in any thing
that this world can produce, more than in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, you have no true love to him.
If you are espoused to CHRIST, you have acquaintance and converse with him; you will endeavour to promote his intereft, and advance his name in the world; when others are going to the polite and fashionable diversions of life, you will be labouring to bring honour to the Lord Jesus CHRIST; you will commend your beloved above all other beloveds, and endeavour to bring others into love to him. Can you, my dear fisters, who are now afsembled to worship God, thew such evidence of your espousals unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST? O! how joyful, how comfortable an estate is this ! Surely this is a marriage worth seeking after; this is the only desirable marriage, and the LORD JESUS CHRIst is the only lover that is worth seeking after.
Now, my dear fisters, I shall speak a few words to those of you who have not yet espoused yourselves to the LORD Jesus. It is a great fin, and surely you highly affront the Lord that bought you. It is likewise your folly to refuse and neglect the gracious proffers of being the spouse of CHRIST; hereby you forfeit all that love which he would bestow upon you; hereby you chuse rags before robes, drofs before gold, pebbles before jewels, guilt before a pardon, wounds before healing, defilement before cleansing, deformity before comeliness, trouble before peace, slavery before liberty, the service of the devil before the service of CHRIST. Hereby you chuse dishonour before a crown, death before life, hell before heaven, eternal misery and torment before everlasting joy and glory. And need there a farther evidence of your folly and madness, in refusing and neglecting CHRIST to be your spouse.
My dear fisters, I should exceed the limits of your time, should I particularize all the advantages which you would obtain by being espoused to the LORD JESUS. This is your wisdom; they are foolish virgins who refuse; but you are the wise virgins who have accepted of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and have disposed of yourselves to him; you have made the wifest choice; and however the blind world may deem you fools, and despise you as being methodically mad, yet you are wise in the esteem of God, and will, one day, appear so in the esteem of them that now despise you. It is your glory
o that you arev espoused unto the LORD JESUS; and therefore glory in your espousal; glory not in yourselves, but in the
LORD who hath thus freely and graciously bestowed these -9favour's upon you. It is your safety to be espoused unto the bLORD' Jesus CHRIST, he will protect and defend you even o from fin and satan, and eternal ruin; and therefore thus far ve you are safe; he hath a regard, for you in times of danger from
men, and these times of danger seem to be haftening; it is
now arising as a black cloud no bigger than a man's hand, Di and by andi by. it will overspread the heavens, and when it is
full it will burlt; but if you are espoused to CHRIST, you are. fafe.,
Now, my dear sisters, I shall conclude with an earnest exhortation to high and low, rich and poor, one with another, to be espoused unto CHRIST.
Let me fpeak unto you, young women, who are not yet os espoused unto CHRIST, in an especial manner. It may be to
fatisfy your curiosity, has brought many of you here; though, perhaps, this may be the time when you shall be brought home to embrace the LORD JESUS, and be espoufed to him. / And O, that I may perfuade you; by his Spirity, to espouse your, selves unto the LORD of life.ir
And if you are but brought to close with the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I shall attain my end, and then both you and I fhall rejoice that I preached this sermon to you.
Come virgins, will you give me leave to be a fuitor unto you, not in my own name, but in the name of the LORD? Or that I may prevail with you for your affections, and perfuade you to give them unto CHRIST! May I be inftrumental of bringing your souls to CHRIST! May I be instrumental to join you and CHRIST together this day!
Be not coy, as some of you possibly are in other loves : modesty and the virgin blush may, very well become you, when proposals of another kind are made unto you; but here coyness is folly, and backwardness to accept of this motion, is shame: you have ten thousand times more reason to blush at the refusal of Christ for your beloved, than at the acceptance; when otherwise the devil and fin would ravilh your virgin affections, Never had you a better motion made to you; never was such a match proffered to you as this, of being matched and espoused unto the LORD JESUS CHRIST,
» Consider who the LORD Jesus is, whom you are invited
to espoule yourfelves unto; he is the beft husband; there is ...tone comparable to Jesus CHRIST.
Do you' defire one that is great ? He is of the highest dig* •nity, he is the glory of heaven, the darling' of eternity, ad. ..mired by angels, dreaded by devils, and adored by Saints. For
you to be espoused to so great a king, what honour will you
Do you defire one that is potent, who may defend you,
you defire one that is good ? There is none like unto CHRIST in this regard; others may have some goodness, but it is imperfect; CHRIST's goodness is compleat and perfect,
hé is full of goodness, and in him dwelleth no evil. 's Do you desire one that is beautiful? His eyes are thost
sparkling, his looks and glances of love are ravishing, his smiles are most delightful and refreshing unto the soul : CHRIST is the most lovely person of all others in the world.
Do you 'defire one that can love you? None can love you like Christ: His love, my dear fifters, is incomprehensible; his love passeth all other loves : The love of the Lord Jesus is first, without beginning; his love is free without any motive; his love is great without any measure ; his love is conftast without any change, and his love is everlasting.
It was the love of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, my dear misters, which brought him down from heaven; and which
veiled his divinity in a human soul and body; for he is God over all blessed for ever : It was love that made him subject to hunger, thirst and sorrow; he was humbled, even unto death for you; for you who are espoused to him, he underwent the painful, shameful and ignominious death of the cross : and can you, my sisters, hear this, and not be concerned to think that the blessed JESUS underwent all this for such sinful creatures as you and I are ? And when out of love he had finished the redemption on earth, as to what was needful for fatisfaction; it was his love that carried him back to heaven, where he was before, that he might make appliçation of what he had purchased, that there he might make intercession for those whom he had redeemed, and prepare a place for them, even glorious manfions with himself, in the house not made with hands, which is eternal in the heavens. It is out of love that he fendeth such tokens to his people from heaven to earth, which he conveyeth through his ordinances, by his Spirit unto them. Surely then none is so deserving as the LORD Jesus CHRIST for you to espouse yourselves unto: if you be espoused unto Christ he is your's, all that he is, all that he hath; you shall have his heart, and share in the choiceft expressions of his deareft love.
The Lord Jesus CHRIST, my dear sisters, doth beseech you to be his spouse. We ministers have a commission from the LORD JESUS CHRIST to invite you, in his name, unto this very thing; and CHRIST's invitations are real ; general ; frequent; earneft; free.
CHRIST's invitations of you, to be his spouse, are real; and as the thing is real, so you, my dear sisters, are really invited unto it. The Lord doth not mock and diffemble with you, as some pretending lovers, who dissemble love unto virgins, until they have gained their affections, and then falsely and basely relinquish them, never really intending either to espouse, or marry them: but the LORD doth really intend the thing, in his invitations of you; he never cast off any whose consent and affections he had gained. Again,
Christ's invitations of you, my dear sisters, are general. All of you are invited, none of you are excluded; all forts of finners are invited ; the most vile and abominable finners, the most notorious transgressors are invited to bę Christ's