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is the Bridegroom, and they are borh collectively and singularly considered the bride, the Lamb's wife: and " as the Bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall the Lord thy God rejoice over thee." There is a threefold mysterious union we read of in scripture.
i. The mysterious union of the three Persons in one essence, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three in one, and one in three.
2. There is the mysterious union of the two natures, viz. God and man in one person, i Tim. iii. last, " Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh."
•\. There is the mystical, or mysterious conjugal union between Christ and believers, Eph. v. 32. "This is a great mystery (fays the apostle), but 1 speak concerning Christ and the church ;" and ver. 30. " We are the members of his body, of his stem, and of his bones." Oh what a strange fibness is this, between Christ and us. The apostle, from ver. 25. had beeu discoursing of the relative duties between husband and wife; and enforcing this duty, from the consideration of the close and intimate union between husband and wife; " They are no more twain but one flesh." And then presently idd% "This is a great mystery, but 1 speak concerning Christ and the church." Whereby he gives us to undestand, that the natural marriage between Adam and Eve, or other husbands and their wives, is a faint fiiadow and representation os the spiritual marriage between Christ and the church.
There is such a depth of infinite wisdom in the works of God in this visible world, that they serve as a glass to lead the the spiritual mind unto another world, and the-hid mvsteries of our "holy religion. Hence it is, that the scriptures of truth, which are a revelation of the mind of God, abound so much with parables and metaphors, which are nothing else but a revelation of divine supernatural mysteries, by expressions borrowed from the things of this world, which are obvious to cur external fenses. The apostle, Rom. v. 14. tells us, that the first Adam was the figure or representation of him that was to corr.e, /'. e. of a second Adam, and new covenant Head: 1 might state the similitude, and also the dissimilitude in many respects, which 1 do not stand upon at present: but I confine myself unto the point in hand, namely, that of marriage between man and woman, particularly between Adam and Eve, as bearing ;i manifold similitude unto the marriage between Christ and the church. This I snail endeavour to illustrate in these particulars.
1st, When God m^de our first parent Adam, he gave this whole eartli to him, for his inheritance: he set him in a pa
rtdife of pleafure, and made him lord ot all the works of his hand, fo that he wanted for nothing to make him happy. But it was some abatement and diminution ot his happinefs, when he wanted one like himfelf, as a confort, to enjoy the fame happinefs with him. For it is the obfervation, even of a heathen philofopher, there is no pleafant or comfortable enjoyment of any happinefs alone: and therefore God himfelf faid concerning Adam, " It is not good that the man should be alone :" thereby intimating, that it would add lo his happinefs if he had a creature of his own stamp and mould to converfe with,fand fhare of his happinefs. Now*, in this, the sirst Adam was a sigure of him that was to come; the blessed Bridegroom of fouls, Christ Jefus, was happy from eternity, and possessed all divine perfection and glory. But he refolves to have a bride, a confort for himfelf, that might fhare with him of the fame happinefs and gLpry, that he himfelf was possessed of. And for this end, he casts his eyes upon the fallen tribe of Adam, lying in their blood, and choofes a bride and fpoufe for himfelf there. Hence, Pror. viii. 30. He is faid, before the creation of the world, to rejoice in the habitable parts of the earth, his delights were with the fons of men; the desire of his eyes and heart was among them, in profpect of a marriage union with them.
zdly, The sirst woman, you know, was taken out of Adam's side, when he was cast into a deep fleep: hence, fays the apostle, " the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man." Juft fo, in the fpiritual marriage, the bride and fpoufe of Christ, is (as it were) taken out of his side, when he slept the fleep of death upon the crofs, and in the fepulchre. The church is just founded in the blood of Christ. His death was her life; the price of our redemption is not by " silver or gold, or fuch corruptible things, but the precious blood of Christ the Lord."
jd.<y, The man and the woman are of one common nature. Jult fo is it in this fpiritual marriage, Heb. ii. 11. "Both he that fanctisieth, and they that are fmctified, are ail of one, wherefore he is not ashamed to call them brethren." The Bridtgrooin, indeed, as to his divine nature, is the Son of God, the fecond Perfon of the glorious Trinity, a;id fo of a nature nuite disserent from ours, and fo insinitely above us, that there could be no marriage between him and us; but in the fulnefs of time he was made of a woman, made under the law, that fo, being upon a level with us, he might be made like unto us in all things, and betrothe us unto himfelf as his beloved Ipoufe and bride.
*fblyt We are told, Gen. ii. 22. That when God had formed the woman of a rib taken out of th: man's side, he brought
her her to the man ; (he did not know that there was such a creature,as Adam in the world; and therefore could never have come to him unless she had been brought: Just so the bride and spouse of Christ, the second Adam, is by nature ignorant of God, and his Son Christ Jesus, and would never come to him, unless she were brought to him by the power of God, John vi. 44. " No man (says Christ) can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him." To the same purpose is that ver. 4. 5. " Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." Quest. What way is that? Answ. ' * He enlightens the mind in the knowledge of Christ, renews the will; and so persuades and enables us to receive the Bridegroom, as he is freely presented in the gospel,' Psal. ex. 3.
$thly, Whenever Eve -was presented to Adam, he gladly rind joyfully received her, and expyssed his satisfaction with her, saying, " This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." Just so, whenever a poor sinner is determined by the Father to come unto Christ, O how doth he rejoice, and how gladly doth he entertain1 him. This is " the day of his espousals, and the day of the gladness of his heart." "AU that the Father giveth me shall come unto me, and him that Cometh to me, I will in no ways cast out." This is signified by the reception of the prodigal, Luke xv.
6th!y, In marriage between man and woman, both parties quit their former relatives in some respect, that they may cleave to one another; " For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife;'' and the wist, on the other hand, doth the fame. Just so is it between Christ and his bride. Christ, the blessed Bridegroom, when he had his bride to redeem and purchase, he left the bosom of his Father, and the glory of the higher house, that he might accomplish our redemption, at the expenct of his death; and •when he had a mind for a bride among the Gentiles, lie forsook his mother's house, namely, the Jewish church, thnt he might brtrothe her unto himself for ever. It is with a particular view unto the G ntiles, that he fays, If. liv. 6. "Thy Maker is thine Husband." And, on the other hand, the soul truly • spoused unto Christ, the Bridegrcoin, is said to former her own people and htrF ther's house, Psal. xlv. 10. "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, incline thine ear; fotger ? so thine own people, and thy Father's house." Tic meaning is, that flic gives up with the devil, the word, and the lulls ot the flesh, or the law as a covenant, unto which flic hud been cleaving, and fays, "O Lord, other lords besides thee
* See Shorter Catechism, Q. What h effeSual eillmg?
have had dominion over me;" but now I will be under the law to Christ, as my only Lord ,ir.d Lawgiver.
Other particulars of this nature might be added, but some of them may occur afterwards; these that I have named are sufficient to shew, that there is a wonderful sibnefs between Christ in heaven, and the church of believers on earth, and that Infinite Wisdom has seen sit to paint out and decypher the marriage union between Christ and his church, by the relation between the husband and the wist; which made the 3post!e say, when discoursing of the relation between husband and wife, Eph. v. ult. "This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Inf. 4. See from this doctrine, what happy and honourable persons believers are, and why they are railed the excellent ones of the earth, with whom is all Christ's delight. Why, they are the bride of an honourable Bridegroom. Oh! who is so well matched? Every believer is married to his Maker, to the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, the Heir of God; :.nd he makes his bride also an heir of God, and a joint heir of all things with himself. There are two or dire: mysteries, or seeming contradictions, about the bride of Chrilt, (1.) She is basely, and yet honourably descended. If we view the believer as to his natural birth and pedigree, he is a child of the devil, and an heir of hell; and O! what a wonder is it, that ever the Son of God should match with such a creature? But, by her new birth .md adoption, she has the blood royal of heaven in her veins, John i. 13. " Born not of blood, nor of the will of the ties.), nor of the will of man, but of God." (2.) Christ's bride is hltitk, aud yet beautiful, " I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, .is the curtains of Solomon." View her in her natural stite, or as (he is harassed with Satan, the wot d, and indwelling corruption, the ts black and iii hued; but yet the is comely, through the conirlinese of the Lord her God; he fays of her, " 1'hou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee." (v) Christ's bricie is naked, and yet well arrayed j n ;ked in herself, quite dfstitu'e of all righteousness: '* There is none righteous; no, not one." But the Bridegroom decks her with the garments of salvation, and wkh a robe of righteousness. If. Ixi. to. (4.) ->he is poor, and y-1 possessed of great riches: In herself considered; (h is poor, and has nothing but poverty, wretcuedncfs, and misery, ye.., orowned in debt to hw and juitio:; but yet, by virtu- ol her marri-ige relation to the bridegroom, she,is poss sseii of Uiiiearchablc riches, and gold better thin the gold ot Ophir. In a word, the is condemned in the court ol law, of justice, of conscience; and
yet, yet, by virtue of her relation to Christ the Bridegroom, (he is absolved and discharged, and can lift up her head and say, *' Who can lay any thing to my charge? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemnethf" Thus you fee what happy and honourable persons believers are, by virtue of their marriage relation to Christ.
Inf. 5. From this doctrine we may fee the folly, madness, and misery, of a carnal, Christless, and unbelieving world, (who fall in among the rank of the foolish virgins). Why, although they be called, as well as the wife virgins, to go mi and meet the Bridegroom, they yet lie still slumbering and sloping in their beds of sloth, saying, "yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep," neglect to buy oil for their vessels, and so do not go out to meet the Bridegroom, but lie still in the embraces of some lust and idol or other, which they prefer unto Christ, the glorious Bridegroom: O! "be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate," at the folly of sinners, who forsake their own mercy for lying vanities that cannot prosit them. You prefer a sou'-murdering lust to the glorious Bridegroom, like the Jews, who preferred Barabbas unto Jesus. M This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and ye choose darkness rather than light." And you have reason to fear, lest the Lord say unto you, as he did unto Ephraim, " He is joined to his idols, let him alone."
Inf. 6. See the good office of the Spirit of God: why-' he it is that testifies of the glory of the Bridegroom, and enlightens the eyeM of the poor sinner to take up the glory of his person and mediation, r.nd so gains the consent of the bride; yea, he i» the leading band of union between the parties, for *• he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit."
Inf. 7. See the usefulness of a gospel ministry: why, they are the friends of the Bridegroom, and come, by commission from him, to court a bride for him among the sons of men. A faithful minister travels as in birth till ihe match be made up; and, Oh! when the match is made, this is the joy and rejoicing of their hearts, for they are their crown and rejoicing in the day of the Lord. They that are won to consent to the Bridegroom, and to go out and nuet him, will be ready to fay, " How beautiful, upon the mountains, are the kt-t of them that, preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things."
Inf. 8. See the excellency of the grp.ee of faith. It is the band of union, whereby we are married to Christ, as our Husband; lor it includes the assent and consent of the seu' -.into this better Husband, whereby we come to be betrothed