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your practice, we will not go with this man, Gen. xxviii, 58. we will not have him to rule over us, Luke xix. ! 4. “ Let God depart from us, for we delire not the knowledge of his ways ; what is the Almighty that we should serve him,” Job xxi. 14. Therefore the dreadful and awful sentence shall go forth against you, Matth. xxy. 41. “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." and thereupon you mall be hurried by legions of devils into everlasting torments. O consider these things in time, ye that forget God, and make light of the offers of the Bridegroom's love, lest he tear you in pieces, when there is none to deliver.
2dly, But I do not love to conclude with the thunders and lightnings of Mount Sinai, but choose rather to turn agaia to Mount Zion, and to cry again, and again, Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye cut to meet him. Go forth, Oye daughters of Zion, and behold the beauty and excellency of the true King Solomon, Cant. iii. 11. "O that this may be the day of his espousals, and the day of the gladness of his heart.” Behold how glorious he is in his apparel, and how hè comcs travelling from Edom, and from Bozrah, in the greata ness of his strength, in order to meet you, and will not you go forth and meet him. The Bridegroom began his journey towards you, from the early ages of eternity, Mic. v. 2. For his goings forth were of old, from everlasting. He left the glory he had with his Father before the world was, and travelled up and down this world for his spouse, for about the space of thirty-three years, in poverty, reproach, and perse. cution; he travelled through seas of wrath, and the Jordan of death, and then back again to heaven, in order to bring about the match; and, since his ascensioni, he has been tra. velling in the chariot of the everlasting gospel, first among the Jews, and then among the Gentile nations; and he is come even unto these isics of the seas, and utmost parts of the earth; he has been long stretching out the arms of redeeming love unto Scotland, and unto the inhabitants of Stirling, crying,
Behold me, behold me : How gladly would I gather you, unto me as the “ ben futhereth her chickens under her wings !" Matth. xxii. 37. How would my soul rejoice over you, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, if you would but entertain and embrace me as your Bridegroom? I who am your Maker will be your Husband, and betrothe you unto me for ever. Well then, Sirs, take on with the best of Husbands, and say with thy whole heart and soul, Thine are we, O David, and on thy side will we be, thou Son of Jefle, i Chron. xii. 18. O let it be an everlasting bargain, that shall never be dissolved.
Oh! may some poor soul say, gladly would I go forth and meet the Bridegroom, and present myself as the bride, the Lamb's wife; but when I begin to think of it, there are a thousand obstacles cast in my way, which I know not how to surmount.
Well, let us hear what either the devil, the world or an evil heart of unbelief, has to say; for there is no objection they can offer, that is of any relevance; the blefi-d Bridegroom has removed all impediments on the side of law and justice, by his obedience unto death; and he stands ready to answer, and we in his name and authority are ready to answer, what. ever may come from any other airth.
Object. 1. Oh! may some poor dejected foul say, " The diltance between the Bridegroom and me is so great and infinite, that I can never think it will be a bargain ; le is Goa's firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth; will he ever match with me, a poor despicable worm, who am but nothing, yea, less than nothing and vanity.'
Antw. It is true, the distance between him and you is great as he is the Son of God, God co-equal with the Father; and if he had not removed this bar, by taking the human nature into a personal union with himself, there could never have been any such thing as a spiritual marriage between him and any of Adam's race: “ But though he be in the form of God, and thinks it not robbery to be equal with God," yet he has become our equal also by the alumption of the human nature; that so, being upon a level with us, he migh: betrothe us to bim. self for ever. Since he has come orer the mountain of infinite diftance, both natural and moral, let not the distance of par. ties be any impediment on your aide; but consider the greater the inequality of the match be, the more are the riches, freea dom, and sovereignty, of the grace of God cxalted, and this is the great plot of heaven, li. lvii. 15. * Thus faith the higir and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place"-To which no man can approach, 1 Tim. vi. 16. “ With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” God would have us, and all the world, to know that his ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts; but as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his thoughis ihan our thoughis. Ii is God's way to pass by the great, the rich, and the wise and noble, and to pitch upon the weak, the poor and contemprible things of the world, “ that 110 flelin may glory in his presence.'' Objec?. 2. May another lay, “I am a poor deformed creature, there is nothing defireable in or about me, I am a transgressor from the womb, conceived in sin, and shapen in iniqui. î ty, altogether as an unclean thing; will ever the glorious Bride i groom match with the like of me!' clarations of his love; and to doubt of his love, is to charge him foolishly with deceitful dealing: and O! do not treat him fo any more, but believe, and see his salvation.
Anfw. If Christ stood upon this objection, he could never have a bride among the race of Adam ; he never married any of Adani's race because of their beauty or comeliness, but that he might make them beautiful, through his comeliness, that he puts upon them, Ezek. xvi. 8.-12. . · Object. 3. But Oh ! My transgressions are multiplied, innumerable evils compass me about, and my sins have been highly aggravated against light, against love, against covenant vows and engagements : I gave my confent unto Chrift, but I have flidden back, and therefore Christ will never look upon me.' · Arifw. Be it so as you say; yet, if you will return, he will receive you graciously, Jer. iii. 1. Though “ thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again to me ;” and 11. 1. 18. “Come now, and let us italon together, faith the Lord : though your fins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though ihey be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Re: member the example of Manaffeh, Mary Magdalene, Paul, and inany others; the same mercy and grace that saved them, is as able to save you: his hand is not thortened that he cannot lave," &c.
Objeci. 4. "I am lying in a dunghill of sin and misery, the Bridegroom will never look upon me.'
Ani/w. He raisech the poor out of the duft, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill, and lets them with princes : See what a dunghill the poor Israelitish infant was lying in, when the Lord paffed by, and said unto it, Live, Ezt k. xvi. “ Though ye have lien among the pots, yet will I make thee as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow
Object. 5. 'I am só miserable, the Bridegroom will never look upon me.'
Answ. That is a mistake, for the Bridegroom's name is mercisul, and his mercy is in the heavens. · Obje£t. 6. I am blind,' says the finner. Christ answers,"! recover fight to the blind ;" Christ says to blind “ Laodicea, I counsel thee to buy of me eye-falve that thou mayeft see."
Obje£t.7. I am naked, have no robe of righteousness to cover me.' Ay, but (says the Bridegroom) give but thy confent, and I will bring forth the best robe in heaven, and cover the Thame of thy nakedness that it may not appear. : Objeit. 8. 'I am poor, and so poor, that I have no defireable
qualification to recommend me.'. Answ. The Bridegroom, “though he was rich, yet he became poor, that, through his poverty, we might be made rich.” He has abundance of gold, “ gold tried in the fire, unsearchable riches ;" and all his riches are thine, that moment you consent to him.
Object. 9. “I am dead, there is not the least spark of spiritual life in me, and therefore the Bridegroom will never look upon me.'
Answ. “ Hear (says the Bridegroom to the dead), and your souls shall live,” Ifa. lv. 3. “ And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, for I am the resurrection and the life :" And if thou be but groaning under a sense of thy deadness, it is a sign of some life, for the dead do not use to tell any such tales of themselves. See what Christ doth to the dead, Eph. iii. i. “ You hath lie quickened, who were dead in trespasses and fins," Ezek. xxxi. « The Spirit of life quickeneth the dry bones." .
Object. 10. I do not know if ever the Bridegroom loved me, or choosed me.'
Answ. He has revealed his love in the proposal of marriage that he makes thee in the gospel of his grace. He has said that he is willing; and he swears by his life, that he has " no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they would turn unto him and live." He declares, that he hates putting away, and that him that comes to him, he will in no ways cast out, that “ the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off.”
Now, your way is, to take him by his word, and to judge of his thoughts and purpose by his word ; for “ those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ' ever." I illustrate the case in hand, by a familiar fimilitude of a proposal of marriage made unto a woman; the man that is in suit of her, not only proposes and profers love to her, but he solicits and courts her consent; he forms the contract to the greatest advantage; he makes over himself and bis whole eftate unto her, and confirms his ingenuity by his oath, that the may not have any doubt of his love and affection,
Now, if after all, the woman should say, I will not consent to marry this man, because I do not know if he really loves me; would not every body look upon the woman as most ridiculous and unreasonable? and, in this case, does the not charge the man with the most horrid disingenuity? Well, this is the very case : how should you know the love of Christ to you, but by his offers, proinises, intreaties, and de
Object. 11. 'Oh! God is angry with me, I think I see frowns in his countenance, when I begin to think of matching with his beloved Son.'
Answ. You are in a great mistake; for the main ground of his controversy with you is, because you do not go forth to meet his beloved Son: And that moment you receive him by faith, you shall find him a well pleased God; for to as many as received him, as tlieir Saviour, Husband, King, Priest, and Prophet, John i. 12.“ to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”
Object. 12. • You urge me to wed by faith the Bridegroom, and gladly would I do it, but I find an entire impo- ! tency, and inability in myself, and it is only the power of God ... that must do the work; and therefore, all you have said is in vain, till a day of power come.'
Answ. It is true, it is the power of God that must make a finner willing; but the way that this power is exerted is, by convincing the finner of his own inability either to will or to do, that so he may put the whole work in the Lord's hand. And if this be your case, the good work is already begun; and he that has begun to convince you, and humble you under a sense of your own impotency, he will carry it on, and finish the matter; for he has said, Psal. cx. 3. “ Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,” Isa. xl. 29. “ He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might increaseth strength."
I conclude this exhortation with two or three advices.
1. Be convinced and persuaded of your dangerous and deplorable case, while married unto the law, and your lufts; for which see the use of reproof and lamentation.
2. Conceive and entertain hopes of getting the match between Christ and you accomplished and brought about. A hopeless despair as to this matter cuts the finews of all activity: “ There is no hope; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go,” Jer. ii. 25. and therefore, « it is good that a man should hope," Lam. iii. 26.
3. Be much in studying the love of God in providing such a help every way meer for you. It was an evidence of God's kindgess to Adain, when he said, “ It is not good that the man fhould be alone,” Gen. ii. 18. I will make “ him an help meet for him." Much more is it an evidence of the