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unto him for ever. Not to insist upon particulars, it is by faith that we put on Christ as the Lord our righteousness. By faith the bride receives out of Christ's fulness grace for grace, whereby the heart is purified, the old man crucified, and the body of fin destroyed, that we may not serve sin. By f»ith we overcome the world, I John v. 4. *' This is the fictory that overcometh the world, even our faith." By faith we resist the devil, and quench his fiery darts, Eph. vi. 12. And if you aflc, how it is that faith does this? I answer, (t.) Faith brandishes the sword of the Spirit in the face of the enemy, as Christ did, Matth. iv. saying, Thus and thus it is written. (2.) Faith takes up the blood of the Lamb, and presents it to the enemy; at the sight of which he flies, remembering that by this blood his head was bruised upon Mount Calvary, and therefore cannot endure the sight ot it. Hence is that word, Rev. xii. 11. " They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." By faith we receive the great and precious promises, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature. All manner of grace is laid up in the promises, for the babes of grace, like milk in the breast; and faith is the mcuth of the foul, which, when applied to the breast, fucks in the sincere milk of the word, and of the grace of God by the word, whereby the foul is made to grow in grace, like a babe thriving upon the breast. But I pass this use.
Matth. Xxv. 6—And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.
THE FIFTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
go on to a second use of this doctrine, viz. by way of Trial _ and Examination. And here there are two questions that naturally anse, 1. Have you matched with the Bridegroom? are you espoused to that one Husband. 2. Have you gone out and met the Bridegroom ? has he and you had any pleasant and comfortable interviews? Shiest. 1. Whether are you the bride? are you married
unto Christ the blessed Bridegroom of souls? I offer the folio wn < maiks to clcir you is to this.
\st, The true bride of Christ has the Bridegroom in great admiration; her esteem of him is such, thit the just admire! every thing in him and about him. She admires his personal glory, as Immanuel; (lie wonders that ever the second Person of the glorious Godhead should ever h.ive past by tl.< angelic nature, and joined hi i-self in a personal union to the human nature, out of love to her, that he might be a help meet for her. tlence that word of the apostle is much m her mouth and heart, i rim. 1.3. " Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness," God was manifest in the flesh. Oh he is just a Nonsuch!" as the jpplc tree ammj! the trees of the wood. The chiefest among ten thousand.' And when the bride thinks of the love he bor; ro her before the world was made; and how, in the fulnci's of time, he came and spent his blood for her redemption; how in time he drew her with the cords of love, conquered her enmity by shedding abroad his love upon her heart; she is just swallowed up with admiration, and is ready to cry out, "O, what am I, or my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto! Is this the manner of men, O Lord God? O, what hath God wrought! O the heighth, the depth, the breadth, and the length of his love! It passeth all knowledge."
idly, The true bride of Christ knows the voice of the Bridegroom, and is much delighted with the words of his mouth, "My (heep hear my voic;," John x. You fee, Cant, ii- 8. how her heart (lighters at tiie first opening of his lips, "It is the voice of my beloved:" It is sweeter to me than the melody of angels or archangels. Every word of the Bridegroom creates admiration in her heart, and she remembers them with delight and pleasure, Cant. ii. 10. "My Beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my dove, my love, my fair one, and come away.'' Such words make her heart to glow and burn within her. O, fays Job, "1 have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food;" andO, fays David, "the law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver, more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much sine gold, yea, sweeter also than honey, and the honey conib." O, says Jeremiah, "thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart."
^dly, Not only every word, but every thought of the Bridegroom, is a banquet unto the foul of the bride, "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O Gcd. ' My m"1'" tstion of him shall be fweet: I will be glad in the Lord." So David, Pfal. civ. 34. and Pfal. Ixxiii. 6. "When 1 remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on <hee in the night watches;" ver. 5. "My foul shall be fatissied as with marrow and fatnefs." Many a fweet interview has the bride with Christ, upon the mount of meditation, which strangers do not intermeddle with'.
$thly, The true bride of Christ hates all his rivals. She is dead to the law her sirst husband, and is ready to fay, " 1 through the law, am dead to the law." She is dead to sin, and crucisies the flesh, with the assections and lusts, though as dear as a right hand, or a right eye. She is dead to the world, and counts all its prosits, pleafures, and honours, nothing but a mafs of vanity. "I am crucisied to the world, and the world to me." Thus, 1 fay, the true bride of Christ hates all Christ's rivals; "I count all things but lofs for the -excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and do count them out dung," &c. Yea, she is ready to part with all relations whatever for him, father, mother, wife, children, let them all go for him; yea, if her life comes in competition with Christ, she will be ready to fay, "I am ready not to be bound only, but to die," for the glory of the Bridegroom: "They loved not their lives unto the death," for the love that they We unto the Lord Jefus.
$thly, The bride of Christ has much tvust and considence to put in the Bridegroom, and by trusting in him is kept in perfect peace, and is silled with joy and peace in believing. -She dares venture upon flie greatest dangers, when called, upon the credit of his word, "Fear not, for I am with thee; be not difmayed, for I am Uiy God," 8tc. The very name of the Bridegroom is the ground of her trust, and is to her like a strong tower, where she Hies and is fafe. The language of *he bride's considence towards the Bridegroom is that, Pfal. xxxvi. 7. "How excellent is thy loving-kindnefs, O God .' therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings;" and Pfal. xxvii. 5. For " in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the fecret of hid tabernacle fhall he hide me," &c .
titbly, The bride of Christ has a great regard for his comrainds, and is ready to follow him whitherfoever he goes. 1 lie Bridegroom fays to the bride, "If ye love me, ye will keep all my commandment?," Johnxiv.15.; and ver. 21. "He that hath my commandments, and keepetti them, he it is that lovcth me." The wife virgins will keep themfelves chaste f-T the fervice of the Bridegroom, and will net desile themVol. III. LI felves
selves with "the corruption that is in the world through lull." Hence is that, Rev. xiv. 4. speaking of the hundred forty and four, thousand, that stood with the Lamb upon Mount Zion: "These are they who were not defiled with women (i.e. with the errors, idolatry, and abominations of Antichrist), for they are virgins: These are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever lie goeth."
'Jtb/y, The true bride of Jesus holds fast the testimony of Jesus, in opposition to the devil, and the world, and all errors and corruptions that are cast out of hell in order to obscure his declarative glory, Rev. xii. 17. There we are told, that the dragon " was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her feed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." And if it be asked, What is the testimony of Jesus? it is answered, Rev. xix. 10. For "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," t. e. the " word of God, which holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." Now, the true bride of Christ " contends earnestly for this testimony or faith which was once delivered unto the saints," and will receive no doctrine, no practice, no decision, though it were of the general assembly of angels, but what quadrates or agrees with, and is founded upon this testimony and word of * Jesus; and this is what Christ hath given in charge to his bride, the church, and every believer in particular, If. viii. 20. "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
Stb/y, The bride of Christ is very fond to bring forth a feed to serve him; and for this end she studies to bring him to her mother's house, and the ordinances of his appointment. It is only his presence in the church that makes the word effectual f< r ti»e conversion of sinners and the edification of faints; and then fore they that are married to the Bridegroom are fond to fee his power and glory in the sanctuary, that so it may be " said us Zion, This and that man was born in her," Plal. lxxxvii. 5. and " who hath begotten me these," Is. xlix. 21.
ythly, The bride of Christ longs sometimes for the consummation of the marriage at death, especially at the last juugen.ent, when the collective body of Christ mull be made fully up, and when the Bridegroom sliall present his bride to his Father, " not having spot or wiinkle, or any such thins;," aud whe she " shall shine forth as the fun in the kingdon of her Father." Paul had this in his eye, when he laid, ''There is laid up for c.e a crown of nghtpculness, which the Lord,
the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Jay, and not to me only, but unto all them alfo who love his appearing;" and the church, when she faid, Cant. viii. last verfe, "Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of fpices."
Second question for trial is, Have you had any meeting with the Bridegroom? Has he and you had any pleafant and comfortable interview? Did he draw ne.ir and manifest himfelf to you, as he does not unto the world. I do not insist on this. Only in a few words:
lji, A meeting with Christ, the Bridegroom, puts life, new Ufe, into the languishing foul and fpirit of the bride; and no wonder, for he is " the refurrection and the life. He that hath the Son hatn life.'r
idly, A meeting with Christ, the Bridegroom, gives light to the bride when sitting in darknefs; and no wonder, fur he is the bright and morning Srar that brings day with him. He is the true light, and darknefs evanisiies before him.
•idly, A meeting with the Bridegroom sires the heart with love, that many waters cannot quench, and all floods are not able to drown. His banner is love, and the bride will follow the banner through life and death, Rom. viii. at the clofe.
^tbly, A meeting with the Bridegroom brings liberty and enlargement of foul with it. The foul that was in bonds is made free by the St?n; and then the foul sings, as in Pfal. cxvi. "O Lord, truly I am thy fervant, and the fon of thy handmaid: thou hast loofed my bonds:" and then it runs the way of his commandments, he having enlarged it.
$thly, A meeting with the Bridegroom quickens the longings of the foul for another meeting: For the bride never tires of his company; and when he is making as though he would withdraw, she hangs about him to detain him, faying, Oh ! "Why shouldst thou he as a stranger in the land, and as a, wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?" And when he is withdrawing, O, will she fay, "that I knew where I might sind him! I charge you, O daughters of Jerufalem, if you sind my Beloved, that ye tell him, that I am tick of love."
6/bly, If you have met the Bridegroom, you will study to keep his room for him, until he return again. Christ's bride will not play the harlot, or take up with other lovers in his abfence; and when enticed by the devil or the world, to join with them in sin, the true bride of Christ will be ready tri fay, with David, "Depart from me evil doers, for 1 will keep the commandments of my God;" or as Jofeph, whert