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soul motion : "O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, thou art my Lord," Psal. xvi. 2. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul," Psal. cxvi. 7. Is. xxvi. 9. " With my soul have I desired thee," &c.
idly, It is not a blind, but a rational and understanding motion : he draws with the cords of a man, and with the bands of love. The entrance of God's word having given light to the mind, he has got an understanding to know him that is true. So that the man in going" out to meet the Bridegroom, knows well what he is doing, for he knows the Lord, and therefore follows on to know him more and more.
jdly, It is not a forced, but a free and voluntary motion the foul hath, when it goes out to meet the Bridegroom, Psal. ex. 3"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." He rejoices to meet the Lord in his ways, &c.
^tbly, It is not a cold, but a most affectionate motion. All the affections of the soul are taken up with the glory- of the Bridegroom, such as love, delight, desire, that before were pursuing other lovers, do now centre upon him alone.
Stbly, It is not a flow, but a swift and speedy motion : " I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy righteous judgements." Like the flight of a dove to its windows, when pursued by the birds of prey, or that of the man-slayer to the city of refuge. . . .
6tbly, It is not a careless, but a careful and resolute motion. The man, in going out to meet the Bridegrom, is resolved to be at him, and with him, whatever bars or impediments be in the way : he will not fay, " there is a lion in the way, a lion in the streets :" no ; although lions and leopards be in his wav; though all the armies of hell, and showers of fiery darts be in his way, he will break through them all.
~tbly, It is a praying, importunate, and wrestling motion. The man in going out to meet the Bridegroom, is crying, "0 when wilt thou come unto me? And O that I knew where I might find him," &c.
Utbly, It is a very mysterious motion : the soul is carried out after Christ, and it knows not how : like the wind which blows where it lilleth, we hear the found of it, «« but cannot tel! whence itcometh, or whither it goeth."
i)ihly, It is a joyful and cheerful motion. O with what alacrity doth the foul receive and embrace the Bridt-groo-.r, in the day of espousals.'' the foul is Jl-1 silled " with joy anil peace in believing; yea, a joy unspeakable and full of glory," saying, " Let us be glad and rejoice, for the marriage of the Lamb is come."
The third question, For what end and purpose are we called to go out and meet the Bridegroom i
i/r, We are to go out and behold him, and contemplate his glory, Cant. iii. last, " Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon," &c. If. xlii. i. "Behold my servant whom 1 uphold, mine elect in .whom my soul delighteth," &c. The Lord, by the prophet, had been reproving the nations for their idolatry, in the close of the preceding chapter, ver. 29* "Behold they are all vanity, their works are nothing, their molten i-r.ages are wind and confusion." Well, to take their hearts off 1 heir idol3, he presents them with an object worthy of their looks: It is as if the Lord had said, Turn away your eyes from beholding vanity, and behold " mine elect in whom ray soul delighteth," &c. As if he had said, He is worthy to be beheld, and, if you knew him, you would think little of all other objects that tike up your mind.
idly, We arc to go out, and admire and wonder at the glory of his person and mediation -, for one of the names of the Bridegroom i-, Wonderful, If. ix. 6. Admire the union of the two natures in him, " for without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the fk-sh ; admire the. heighth, the depth, the breadth, and the length, of the love of God," in matching with our nature, that he might be a sit Bridegroom for us, and match with our persons: " Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the feed of Abraham." Admire the exploits he has wrought in the gTc.it workof bur redemption; he has brought over an angry and offended God» to be a God with us Admire how he ha.> bruised the head of the serpent, finished transgression, made an tnd of Gn, i ade reconciliation .for iniquity, brought in an everlasting righteousness, and confirmed tlie covenant with many, and made the sacrifice and oblation to cease. Oh ! how should these tilings make us cry out with admiration, as the church doth, If. lxiii. ]. " Who is this that cometh from Edom, with died garments from Bozrah," &c.
.dly, We should go out and meet him so as to match with him, tor he i> the Bridegroom, and wants a bride among the sons of men, Prov. viii. jo. The day of his espousals with any poor foul is the day of the gladness of his heart; he just rejoices over that poor soul that yivr> its cons nt to take him for a Husband, as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, and ihc rtport of it readmit htaven, mak< s all the angels and spirits ot just mm mad perfect to rejoice with hrm O then go out a.d mtet him, and present yourselves as chatte virgins to this one Husband. 4/A/y. Go out and meet him, ;<mi least with him, and feed Vol. ill. I i, upon upon him, for the Bridegroom and his royal Father has prodded a banquet for every one that will come to the marriage, and he has sent forth his servants, faying, " Tell them who are hidden, Behold I have prepared my dinner, my oxen, and my sittings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage," Matth. sxii. 4. If. xxv. 6. " And in this mountain (hall the Lord of hods make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," Prov. ix. 1.—3. &c.
$tkly, Go out and meet him, and list with him, for the Bridegroom is a " man of war, and the armies which are in heaven follow him," Rev. xix. 14. Virgin fouls are slid to *' follow the Lamb, whithersoever he goeth," Rev. xiv. 4. and they that follow him, he makes thtfm all conquerors, yea, more than conquerors, and admits them as such to Gt with him upon his throne, as he also overcame, and is set down with the Father upon his throne, Rev. iii. at the close. Sirs, we are the recruiting officers of the Bridegroom, the Captain of salvation, who leads many sons unto glory. We want you to take on in the service of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, that under his victorious banner, you may wage war against sin, Satan, and the world, which he came to destroy.
^iieft. 4. You call us to go out and meet the Bridtgroom, Where may we meet him i Oh! may some poor ioul say, 'That I knew where I might find him. Oh! tell me where he feedeth, and where he makerh his stocks to rest at noon.' Ans-m. Although the Bridegroom, as to his human nature, be in heaven, and in this respect the heavens are to "receive him until the times of restitution of all things;" yet he is to be found any where upon earth as to his divine, spiritual, gracious presence, by these that are rea!Iy seeking after fellowship and communion with him by faith, in the ways and means of his own appointment; and this is what he has promised to his church, " Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. In all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and 1 will bless thee. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of the.n." So that 1 fay, there is as real communion and fellowship to be had with Christ now, though ascended, as ever his disciples had when he was going out and in among them, in a state or humiliation here upon earth ; hence fays the apostle John concerning Christ, after he was gone away to heaven, 1 John i. 3» " Truly our fellowsliip is with the Father, and with his Sou Jesus Christ."
But Oh, fay youj Will you tell me more particularly where' I may meet him and find him? Anfiv. He is so fond of a meeting with sinners, that he is sometimes, yea, many times, sound of them that seek him not, as in the cafe of Paul going a black errand to Damascus, and poor Zaccheus upon the sycamore tree, seeking only to satisfy his curiofity: and if so, mnch more will he be found of them that seek him in the ways of hi6 appointment; for he has said, he meeteth him that Ttjoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember him in his ways.
$uest. What are these ways and means of his appointment where I may meet the Bridegroom, and have fellowship with him?
Ansv>. He is sometimes found in the mount of secret meditation, " while I was mufing, the fire burned," fays David. Many a sweet interview have the fouls of believers with Christ in meditation, Psal. lxiii. 6. "When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate upon thee in the night watches —ver. 5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness." He o to be met with in secret prayer, " Then shall ye find me, when yt seek me, and search after me with all your hearts." In this doty Jacob found the Lord, and wrestled for the blessing till break of day, and like a prince prevailed, Hos. xit. 34. "He took his brother by the heel, in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power wer the angeJ, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him : He found him at Bethel," &c. compared with Gen. xixii. 24—26. "And Jacob Was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking os the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh; and he said, I will not let thee go, ticept thou bless me." He is to be met with in the duty of ptrfoiu!, family, or public fasting and humiliation, "But to this man will I look, who is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and ttembleth at my word." He is to be met with in the duty of Christian conference and fellowship, when they that *' feared the Lord spake often one to another, the Lord hearkened and Heard." He is to be met with in reading and searching the scriptures, John v. 39. " Search the scriptures, for in them ye •hinkyehave eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." While the Ethiopian eunuch was reading his Bible, the Lord "Kt him in the ministry of Philip, insomuch that he "went on his way rejoicing." Many a sweet glimpse of the glory of 'He bridegroom has the bride, while (he is looking after him, through the glass of the revelation, 2 Cor. iii. last, «• We all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame image, from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord" He is especially to be found in the gate? of Zion, the public ordinances of his worship, where his pe< pie attend upon him in their assemblies, for prayer, for praise, for preaching and hearing the gospel, and for the celebration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper in a solemn manner ;• " the Lord love* these gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." These are the streets and broad ways where the spouse sought him, Cant. iii. It is true she missed him for a while, but, at length, she met the Bridrgroom, and W2s in case to fay, " I found him whom my foul loveth, I held him and would not let him go." David saw his power and glory in his sanctuary; hence Psal. Ixxxiv. he d-clares how amiable his tabernach s were unto him; "A day (Dys he) in thy courts is better than a thousand; 1 had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
He is especially to be met with in the breaking of bread at a communion nble: for the cup which we bless, it is the communion of the blood of Christ ; and the bread which we break, it is the communion of the nody of Christ." Here the blessed liridegrcom is to he seen in his dyed garments ; for, out of love to his bride, he trc.e '• the wine press alone, when of the people ti rre were none with him." If that question be put to him, " Why art thou red in thine apparel, as one that treadeth the wi: e fat? He may well answer, It is no wonder ui| appartl be red, for 1 was " wounded for thine iniquities, and bruised for thy transgressions."
Matth. xxv. 6.—And at midnight there was a cry madet Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
THE FOURTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
THE fifth question was, Who are they that stand fairest for a meeting with the Bridegroom in love and mercy i
fiu. What God may do, in a way of sovereign grace, for