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rufalem. This chariot of state is none else than the chariot of the everlasting gospel, wherein Christ, like a bridegroom, goes forth, manifesting the glory of his person, and the glo. rious device of Infinite Wisdom for the salvation of finners. And in the last verse a cry is made, like this in my text, to all professors of religion, who are designed the daughters of Zion. "Behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espoulals, and in the day of the gladness of his heari.”
But now, in discoursing this doctrine, I shall, through divine allistance, observe the following method.
I. I would premise a few things with relation to the spiritual marriage spoken of in this parable.
II. Give some account of the Bridegroom, and his excel. lent engaging qualities.
III. Give some account of the bride, and the vast disparity of the match.
IV. Speak a little of the comings of the Bridegroom, and his gracious approaches to his people.
V. Speak of the import of the duty required upon his approach, in these words, Go ye out to meet him.
VI. Give the reasons of the doctrine, why we are to go out and meet him, and give him suitable reception.
VII. Make some practical improvement of the whole.
I. The first thing in the method is, to premise a few things anent the spiritual marriage ; for, as I said in the explication, a bridegroom supposes a marriage in hand.
Jt, God the Father, from all eternity, had a purpose of marriage betwixt his own beloved Son, and a select company of the fallen race and posterity of Adam : hence Christ tells us, Matth. xxii. 2. “ The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain King who made a marriage for his son.” The marsiage was made in the purpose of God from eternity, and the bride was given unto the Bridegroom before ever she had a being, “ Thine they were, and thou gavelt them me," John xvii. 8. Pfal. ii. “ I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermolt parts of the earth for thy poí. session.” And that they were given him in a design of mar, riage, is plain from what the Lord says to, and concerning the church of the Gentiles, by the spirit of prophecy, long before their being called by the gospel, If. liv. I. 5.“ Sing, () barren, thou that didit not bear ; for more are the children of the defolate, than the children of the married wife.” And
ver. 5. “Thy Maker is thine Husband, the Lord of hosts is his name."
2dly, This proposal of marriage with a bride of Adam's family was graciously received and entertained by the Son of God before the world was made,” Proy. viii. 3. He rejoiced « in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men.-I delight to do thy will, O my God," says he, Psal. xl. 8. q.d. I consent to, and am heartily will. ing and content; a bargain be it; let it be registrated in the volume of thy book ;' i.e. Let it be entered into the records of heaven, and an extract thereof be given out in the scriptures of truth unto sinners of mankind, that they may have their thoughts about it.
3dly, So much was the heart of the Bridegroom set upon the match, that he undertook to remove all impediments that lay in the way: and indeed the im; ediments were so great and insuperable, that nothing but almighty power, inspired with infinite and amazing love, could remove them; and yet they are all rolled away by the wisdom and power of the Bride. groom.
The first impediment was the inequality of the parties as to their nature. We may easily suppose that the question would be put upon the first proposal of the marriage, How Thall God and man, the Creator and the creature, be ever brought unto a conjugal relation? The distance of natures is infinite, and therefore there can be no marriage. "Well, (says the Son of God, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person,) [he takes care to remove that], I will assume the human nature unto a personal union; I will become the feed of the woman, the feed of Abraham; I will be God manifested in the flesh; I will become IMMANUEL, God with them, and so that natural impediment shall be removed ; I will come upon a level with the bride, and so I will be a help meet for her.'
(2.) There is another impediment arises from the law : O, says the Law, 'I have an action against the supposed bride, She was once married unto me, and I promised her the inheritance of life, upon the condition of her fulfilling perfect obedience to my commands; but she disobeyed, and played the harlot, and she is under the curse ; and therefore there can be no marriage.' " Well but (lays the Bridegroom), I will remove this impediment also ; I will be made a curse for her, and so redeem her from the curse; I will cancel the hand writing that is against her, and contrary to her.' · (3.) • Well but (fays justice), I stand upon a complete sajislacion; for without death, and the thedding of blood,
these there can be no remission of sin.' "Well (says the Bridegroom), I will die for the bride, and in her room and itead; the sword of justice shall be soaked in my blood initead of her's ; my life thall be a ransom for her's; I will be wounded for her iniquities, and bruised for her transgressions; I will be made sin for her.'
(4.) There is another impediment yet that must be removed: The bride hates the Bridegroom ; she is wholly averse from the match; and what will be done in this case? Well (lays the Bridegroom), I will undertake to gain her affe&tion. Prál. cx. 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. I will draw with the cords of a man, and with the bands of love; and then her affections fall be gained, and she shall call me
(5.) Another great impediment in the way of the marriage is, that the bride is a lawful captive to fin and Satan: “Now (says Satan) shall the lawful captive be delivered; both law and justice have put her in my power; and therefore I will not part with my prisoner.' Well but (says the bleffed Bridegroom), it is true, Satan, thou hast law and justice on thy lide : but I will fulfil the law, and satisfy justice; and, in so doing, thy head shall be bruised, and the lawful captive shall be delivered, and the prey shall be taken from the terrible. I will redeēm her by purchase and by power.' And accordingly he spoiled principalities and powers, and took the bride by main force out of the devil's prison, saying to the prisoners, Go ge forth, &c.
From what is said, it appears, that the heart of the Bridegroom is exceedingly set upon the match, with defire he delired to be baptised with his own blood, that he might fi.
nish her redemption; and, having completed her redemption, I he longs for the day celpousals, when he gains the love and
affection of the bride. So much was the heart of the Bridegroom fet upon the match, that, when he saw the bride in danger of perishing, he few, as it were, from his Father's bosom, left all the glories of heaven behind him, and travelled through the armies of hell and earth, yea encountered the legions of his Father's wrath, in order to accomplish her de. liverance. Hence is that of the church, If. Ixvi, 1. “ Who is this that cometh from Edom ? with dyed garments frony Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that Ipeak in righteousness.” And ver. 3. “I have trodden the wine-press alone, and or the people there was none with me.”
4thly, A fourth premile is, That the covenant of grace is the contract of marriage, the plan of which was agreed upon
in the council of peace, betwixt the Father and the Son, froin all eternity: Pfal. Ixxxix. 3. “ I have made a covenant with my chofen, I have sworn unto David my servant.” It was originally made with the Bridegroom, as the Head, Husband, and Representative of the bride, wherein he undertakes, that the grace of God shall reign and be glorified through his own righteousness, to her eternal life and salvation. As Surety of the covenant, he undertakes to fulfil the condition of ir, by his own obedience unto death, to buy his bride from the hands of justice, by paying a ransom of his own blood for her, and to buy, at the farie time, all the blessings and goods of the covenant for her use; and that, by the power of his word and Spirit, he will make her to take hold of his corenant, bring her within the bond of it, and make an effectual application thereof in due time, according to the order of the covenant; and that he will betrothe her unto himself for ever, in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies; yea, that he will betrothe her unto himself in frithfulness, and that she fall know the Lord, Hof. ii. 19. 20.
Sthly, In the day of his espousals all this is fulfilled. The Bridegroom prefents himself to the bride in his divine and human glories, fulness, and excellencies; he makes the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God," in his own person, to shine in her heart; where with the is made to see him, and fall so much in love with him, that she cannot but cry out, “O! he is infinitely fairer than the sons of men, he is as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, the chiefest among ten thousand, white and ruddy, his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars; his mouth is most (wect, yea, he is altogether lovely. O! this is my Beloved, this is my Friend :•if I had ten thousand heats and hands to give, he should have them all. I am well pleased with his person; well pleased with the contract he has made, and figned with his blood; well pleased with all the promises, which I see to be yea and amen in him; well pleased with his law : I will follow him whithersoever he goes." And in this way the marriage is concluded and agreed upon, “I will make an everluiting covenant with them, even the sure mercies of Dvid," If. lv. 3. Jer. xxxii. 40. “I will make (or establith) an everlasting covenant with them. That I will not turn away from thein to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they fall not depart from me. I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." So much for the first thing.
- II. The second thing in the method is, to speak a little of the öl.fed Bridegroom, who is here fuid to be a-ccming. Behold the Bridegroom cometh.
But Oh! Who can speak of him to any purpose? we but darken counsel by words without knowledge, when we speak of him ; and no wonder, for he is the unspeakable gift of God. All the saints that ever were on earth, and all faithful minifters, martyrs, and witnesses, that ever appeared in the church militant, have been ay speaking to his commendation, but they always acknowledged he was above all their praises; the most that they could say of him was, that he is altogether lovely, and that there is none in heaven or in earth that is to be in the least compared unto him. Ask the innumerable company of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, who see him as he is, and know him as they are known of him, what is their estimate of him? All they can say of him is, Rev. v. 9.“ Worthy is he to take the book, and to open the (leren) leals thereof. Worthy is the Lamb that was fain." But how worthy is he they cannot tell; his praise is in all the churches, both militant and triumphant. But their praises are nothing but a profound filence, in comparison of what he is and deserves, Pral. lxxxv. 1. “ Praise waiteth (or is filent) for thee, O God, io Zion-Go forth, Oye daughters of Zion, and behold him ;" for behold he cemeth, go out and meet him.
All I shall say anent him, shall be comprised in the answer of a few questions, that some poor soul may be ready to put concerning the blessed Bridegroom. They that love Christ, and have a mind to match with him, have commonly a great deal of questions to put concerning him.
Queft. 1. Will you tell us, what is the Bridegroom's name, if you can tell ? Answ. That is not eagly answered, for it is a part of Agur's confession of faith, Prov. xxx, 4. " Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended. What is his name, and what is his Son's name, if thou canst tell ?” And wlien Manoah asked the angel what was his name? (that he might do him honour), He (viz. Christ the angel of the covenant) answers, “Why askelt thou thus after my name, seeing it it secret?" or, as in the margin, seeing it is Wonderful. Such a secret is his name, that no man can call him Lord, but by the Holy Ghost ; you may read his name in your Bibles, and still his name will be a secrec, till the Spirit of the Lord open it unto you by glorifying his person in your eyes, and then, and never till then, will you cry out, O! his name is like ointment poured forth ; O ! he has a name above every name that can be named, whether in this world or that which is to come: Every knee must bow unto this name, and every tongue muit