« VorigeDoorgaan »
only a leopard, spotted here and there, but an Ethiopia an, wholly black and ugly. When she is cast forth in the open field to the loathing of her person, she is a spectacle of horror and 'misery; yet then it is a marriage. day, and a time of love. . (2.) What are the terms of the marriage; the articles of it on his part and her part ? The terms on her part, though the whole belong to Christ, yet, to speak of terms in an improper, fenie, he requires of her what he worketh in her ; namely,
1. That she be divorced from all other husbands, and give up with all other lovers and idols; particularly, that she be divorced from the law, that she may be mar. ried unto Christ: she must not obey the law from a principle of her own strength'; nor as a covenant of works, that, by obedience, the mây purchase a title to heaven ; nor to gratify a natural conscience; nor mere. ly to escape hell, and make a righteousness of her cbedience: she must be divorced from that husband.
2. Upon her part it was required, that the be satisfied with ths husband alone, as the great portion of the soul, that he may have no rival, no conipetitor in her affections, none to fit on the throne with him: she must keep the chief room for the Son of God. Again, on his part; he contracts, : I. That he will make over himself to her; all he is all he hath, all he hath purchased, all he hath promised: he will make over to her all the blellings of the everlasta i ing covenant. O this is a sweet article! and a large charter indeed!
3. He contracts to perform all the glorious offices of a husband to her; to provide for her, protect her, direct her, pity her, clothe her, to encourage and comfort her;, and to do all for her she needs; this is the sum of the contract; for, to speak properly, Christ is all, and does all in this matter; and our part is done by him in us, Hof. ii. 19, 20. “ I will betrothe thee unto me for ever: yea, I will betrothe thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies ; I will' even betrothe thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know, the Lord.” : Christ figns the contract
for for him and her hoth. “I will betrothe thee unto me in righteousness;" I will fulfil the law, and fatisfy God's justice. “I will betrothe thee unto me in loving.kind. ness :” though there be nothing in thee to invite my love,' but much to challenge my aversion, yet I will overcome all thy imperfections, and fet my love upon thee. “I will betrothe thee unto me in mercies ;” in pardoning mercy, fanctifying mercy, supporting mercy, comforting mercy. But left the bride think, that when ever she fins there may be a divorce, the may break and go away, therefore it follows, “I will betrothe thee un. to me in faithfulness.” He pledges his veracity for fulfilling the articles on her part and his both. But then,
(3.) What are the Properties of this marriage?. ..
I. It is a very Mysterious marriage, that the Crea. tor should take the work of his hands for a bride ; not only when in its primitive and virgin integrity, as it dropt out of his creating hands, but when polluted with the poison of the devil, the venom of the serpent, that he should take her for a bride; “ Thy Maker is thy Husband.” This is a wonderful conjunction. If a glorious angel should be matched with a creeping worm, and a king with a beggar, it would not be such a wonder; but the Maker to join himself to the work of his hands; there cannot be a greater distance conceived betwixt any thing, than betwixt a Creator, and that which is brought out from the barren womb of nothing, a creature; and yet they are in a inarriage-relation; “ Thy Maker is thy Husband.”
2. This marriage is very difficult and hard. It is true, there is nothing too hard for Omnipotency; yet the human nature of Christ had much to do with it: though he was supported by the divine nature, yet he behoved to swim through the river of his own blood, before he could get his bride. He satisfied the justice of God, established a new covenant. All this must be done in order to this marriage.
3. This marriage is an indissolvable marriage; death dissolves other relations, but it increases this intimate union: Nothing shall separate Christ and the believer ; “I am persuaded, faith Paul, that neither life, nor deathing
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to conie, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom, viii. 38, 39. . (4.) What are the Effects of this marriage?
1. The first and immediate effect is a most cloru uni. on betwixt Christ and the believer. This union, though less than a personal union, although it be in fome refpect, yet it is more than a political union, more than a moral union ; It is very close union. The Bride. groom, Christ, he gives his bride his own Spirit; com. municates vital influences, from the glorious Head, to her; and the cleaves, by faith and love, close to him ; and God promises that he will make the house of Israel cleave close to him, as a girdle to the loins of a man, Jer. xiii, 11. He makes his spouse, in spite of all her folly, in spite of all her enmity, in spite of all her ene. mies and temptations, to cleave close to him.
2. Another effect of this union, is sweet communion, mutual fellowship: he feasts with them and they with him; he blows upon her garden, quickens and animates her graces; and then he comes and eats his pleasant fruits.
3. Another effect is, Familiarity, which is coincident with the former : he treats them not as strangers, but as friends; and not as friends only, but as his ow:3 Spouse ; he cominunicates to her, and speaks comfort. ably and kindly to her. It is a wonder what conde. fcenfion God will make sometimes : and the believer. again can be more familiar with God, than with the whole world; and can tell to God what he can tell to. none elle. Thus you see some of the effects of this, marriage.
(5.) How was the match carried on?
I answer, In a word. On his part it was carried on thus :
1. He gave the Father his hand, and engaged to. him in the covenant of redemption, from eternity, that he would do all things necessary for accomplishing the Marriage.
2. Because there, must be an union of natures betwixt the Bridegroom and the bride ; (it was not posible that we could be matched with the divine nature ;) there. fore he becomes a nan, and takes on our nature, that there might be an union of natures.
3. Because the bride is a slave, he pays her ransom, substitutes himfelf in her room, takes on her debt, and pays all that the owed to jultice, and then takes on witlr her. But, on our part, just nothing at all: we had no hand in the covenant of redemption; no hand in the contrivance of salvation ; we knew nothing about the business; we had no thoughts of a Redeenier ; deserv. ed nothing but pure wrath : we were lying, with full contentment, in the devil's territories when Christ was carrying on the match.
(6.) How is the marriage concluded upon his part ?
I. He sends forth his ambassadors to court for him, as Abraham did his servant for Isaac: and there is a great work, indeed, to make her give her consent. Let angels in heaven unite their topicks of persuasion, they could not prevail with one foul, if a converting
day were not come: but they must always speak fair to · her., How rhetorical was Abrahanı's servant for his
master? he hath but one child, and that child hath great riches; he seeks no portion with Rebecca, only her consent. Thus he rhetorizes and flourishes exceed, ingly, and perfuades with the greatest motives. But yet the ambassadors of Christ have a larger commission, if our eyes were opened to see it: they are fent forth to make love to the bride, and in his name to commend Christ.
2. He concludes the marriage thus. The bride be. ing wretchedly ignorant of her true happiness, there. fore his Father distresses her with the debt that she owes to him; and the wretched person is forced, for some time, to mount Sinai; and there God defcends in all the circumstanees of terrible majesty; he thunders aa gainst her, curses her; “Cursed is every one that continu, eth not in all things which are written in the book of the la ti to do them," Gal. iii. io. God exacts all the debt, conscience roars, and the devils are let loose; the fears
hell and wrath ; and God declares, in the gospel, that the wretched bankrupt Mall go to prison, and ly eternally in hell, if she do not take on with his Son, marry him, and believe or him. Thus the bride is forced to an extremity : fome have more, fome have less of this law-work; but all àre humbled and broken in fome measure, who are married to Christ : he sends forth his Spirit and convinces the world of sin. But this would not do either; and therefore,
3. The Bridegroom fees that nothing but Condescen. fion will do it; and so he appears in all his glory: when the bride is full of fears, 'perplexities, and anxieties; when the terrors of God are fiirrounding her, and the arrows of the Almighty drinking up her spirits, and when she is crying out, What shall I do? Whether fhall I go? Then the Bridegroom appears in all his excellency and glory, and says, “ Behold me, behold'me;'. and she gets a view of him that ravishes her heart, and enlarges her foul : then it is that the Spirit is sent to determine her to consent. The manifestation of his glo. ry does enlighten her mind and spirit ; and inmediately grace, upon the will, draws out the whole heart after him; so that if the bride could be grieved and pained upon the marriage day, it would be for her felly in refusing him so long.-But what is done upon the bride's part, for concluding the match ? Nothing at all; but the whole soul is enabled to acquiesce in a Redeemer ; and the believer is ready, at such a time, to say, He is my Lord, my God, my strength, my all, and shall be for ever.--Thus you have a brief scheme of the na. 'ture and way of this marriage. .
Having spoken but very briefly to the former heads, I shall here, before I proceed to the reasons of the doctrine, offer a few remarks upon the time of this marriage. union betwixt Christ and believers. We told you how this match was concluded and compleated by Christ, and now we say, there is a stated day and time for the concluding thereof: and upon this head we may remark,
ist, That there is a two-fold day we are to consider in this marriage, namely, the day, of espousals on earth,